As promised, here’s part 2 of chapter one
“The worst part is I’m not even really heartbroken about his lying and stealing. Or his deserting me. I just feel so humiliated, so used.” Brenda brushes a tear from her cheek with manicured fingers. “I posted our holiday pictures on Instagram and Facebook four days ago. Now, the world’s laughing at me.”
“Oh, don’t say that. If anyone should be embarrassed, it’s him,” Adanna says. “He is nothing but a liar and a cheat.”
“But, God, he is so fine. I really liked how good we looked together.” Brenda squeezes her eyes shut, and then, pops them open again. “Can I be honest about something?”
Adanna nods, the muscles of her face tensing in concern. She leans in closer, and I feel myself doing the same.
“I think what I’ll miss the most is …,” Brenda begins. She pauses and sighs. Drops sad eyes to her lap and shakes her head. After a few seconds, she looks up again. “The way people look at us when we enter a room. Like we’re royalty. That’s what I’ll miss.”
My sister slaps Brenda’s arm. “Will you be serious, girl? If you didn’t like him all that much, why all the tears?”
“Simple. Embarrassment. Oh, and all the social media likes for our pictures. A real bonus for my feed,” Brenda says with a shrug. Then, the space between her eyes crinkles into a frown. She sighs. “Great pictures I will have to delete now.”
“Or you can just cover his face with emojis.”
“Excellent idea. I’ll use devil emojis.” Brenda barks out a short laugh, sniffling again.
“Devil emojis are good, but getting even is better,” my sister says. “If I were you, I’d report him.”
“Report who?” Brenda asks. “I don’t know his name. He’s deleted all his accounts. Gone up in a poof of smoke. It’s like he doesn’t exist.”
I’ve never seen her with the man possibly named Ndukwe. But I follow her on social media, and wow, all the couple pictures she posted were extremely cosy. Holding hands, exchanging intimate smiles, eating out. A typical young couple, happy and in love.
I pored over their recent holiday photographs on Instagram. Pangs of jealousy surged through me with each image of Brenda and the loser at Calabar’s Obudu Cattle Ranch. Adanna is right. The snake is a damn good con artist. He looked in love, too.
“Well, good riddance to bad rubbish. The man isn’t worth another thought. I hope that someday, you find his true identity and file charges against him,” Adanna says.
“Easy for you to say. I’m the one who’d have to face him in court. Oh, the humiliation.” Brenda shudders. “Nope. I’d rather he remain lost forever, so that I can wipe him from my memory, too.”
“Well, if you’d really like to erase him from your memory, I’ve got just the ticket,” Adanna says.
Brenda looks at her with confused eyes.
“Maybe it’s time for you to sign up for our dating site. You know, meet other fine guys that will make your social media pages blow up again.”
My chest traps my next breath. Will Brenda take my sister’s advice and find herself another handsome rich guy? As long as I’ve known her, she has never been single for too long. Will she jump into another relationship so soon?
“Tufiakwa! I’ve had it up to here with liars,” Brenda says, placing a hand above her head.
Phew. Relief surges through my chest. Please God, don’t let her meet anyone new just yet. Not until I get the chance to tell her how I feel. Maybe … just maybe… she’ll give me a chance.
“You know what?” Brenda says, straightening her back and tapping her fingers against the armrest of the sofa. “I’m done trying to have the picture-perfect man instead of a man I really care about. I’m done faking for social media. Fuck it. The next time I put a man’s picture up on my page, I’m making damn sure he’s worthy of the spot.”
Then, as if propelled by a magnetic current coursing between us, her head swivels in my direction. Our gazes meet, and I freeze. Well, everything except for my heart. It careens into my chest and beats so fast, I feel faint. Her eyes lock on mine for seconds before she rises from her seat.
“I’m tired,” she says. “Tired of looking for perfection. It’s unattainable.”
That word—unattainable. I know the heavy weight of that word all too well.
For so long I’ve wondered what a stunner like Brenda could ever see in me. Wealthy and sophisticated as she is, why would she ever turn her attention on a skinny, average-height IT technician? Especially one who saves what few conversational skills he possesses for chickens and other farm birds.
Thanks for reading. Can’t wait to share the rest of this love story.