So, I know I promised that Parts 4 and 5 would be available sooner, but in between everything I now joggle, completing this story has been a big challenge.
To compensate, I decided that instead of publishing Part 4 and 5 separately, I should just publish both as one.
Chika and Zimmy is about best friends who kept their feelings from each other, until they were forced to confront it. Would their love triumph?
As always, thanks for reading.
Peace and love,
Zimmy held the wine glass to her lips and took a long-drawn-out sip, trying to delay her response to what Chika had just told her. Chika was looking intently at her, as if willing her to say something. After what seemed like an age, Zimmy could only bring herself to utter one word – ‘who?’
‘I met her three months ago, at a friend’s wedding’
‘Do you love her?’
‘I guess so’
‘You don’t seem too enthused for someone getting married Chika’
‘You, don’t seem enthused that your best friend is getting married either’ Chika replied in an accusatory manner.
‘Chika this isn’t about me. Besides I’m only just hearing about this now, I’m actually shocked’.
Without uttering a word, Chika made a chore out of eating his Shawarma, which made Zimmy feel like he was expecting a different kind of reaction from her.
‘Are you happy?’
‘Of course, I am’
‘As long as you are happy then that’s all that matters to me’.
Zimmy tried to force a smile. She turned towards the television, the popular Nigerian soap-opera ‘Tinsel’ was on. Was Chika so clueless? All these years, she had hoped that Chika would come to realise the depth of her feelings for him. In a way, she blamed herself for the way things were between her and Chika, if only she’d summoned up the courage to tell him how she felt. After her accident, her mum insisted on taking her back to Port-Harcourt to recover, by the time she came back to Abuja Chika was already graduating. In between preparing for his graduation ceremony and NYSC, she never could find the perfect opportunity to tell him how she truly felt.
‘Penny for your thoughts’, Chika said, interrupting her reverie.
‘No no, I was actually wondering why you failed to mention this before now’
‘I just wasn’t sure then Zimmy’
‘And now you are, just barely three months of knowing this girl? That’s stupid’ Zimmy blurted out before she could caution herself –
I’m so sorry I shouldn’t have said that’
‘It’s okay, I should have mentioned it earlier and saved you the stress of coming here. I just felt it would be easier telling you in person rather than over the phone’.
‘Don’t mind me Chika, marriage or not, I’m glad we are spending this time together, it’s just taken me by surprise that’s all, as long as you are happy, I am happy’
‘So where is my congratulatory hug?’
Zimmy scooted closer to Chika and embraced him ‘Congratulations darling, I am genuinely happy for you’
‘Sure, doesn’t seem like it’, Chika whispered into her ears
‘No no, I genuinely am’.
‘Then you will be happy to meet her tomorrow’.
By the time Zimmy woke up, it was already 10 am. Her and Chika had spent the rest of the night talking about Chizi, his fiancé. Chizi was into the business of selling jewellery, she was a graduate of mass communication at the Enugu State University, but she relocated to Abuja and decided to start her own business when she couldn’t secure a job. Zimmy could hear voices coming from the living room, Chizi must be here already. She really wasn’t in the mood or in the right frame of mind to meet Chizi, but she must, for Chika’s sake. Zimmy got up, brushed her teeth and headed out to meet this girl that had won the heart of her Chika.
As soon as she opened the bedroom door and stepped out, she was nearly knocked off her feet as the girl whom she presumed to be Chizi ran to her and literally threw herself at Zimmy – ‘You must be Zimmy, I’ve like heard so much about you, Chika like rarely shuts up about how much of an awesome friend you are, sometimes I wonder why he hasn’t married you yet’
‘Oh wow, I’m Zimmy, you must be Chizi, nice to meet you’. Zimmy gently but firmly pushed Chizi off herself.
‘Hey Zim, you are up, I was just making us some breakfast’ Chika said as he came bounding out of the kitchen with a towel over his shoulder and a spatula in his right hand, looking apologetically at her – ‘I see you’ve met Chizi’
‘Yes, we have met’. Chizi interrupted ‘I’m gonna have to snatch your best friend from you Chi, she is so like pretty’.
Chizi had this annoying high pitched voice, and an accent Zimmy suspected was fake. They had only just met, but Zimmy was not sure she could tolerate Chizi. Perhaps she was just feeling territorial about Chika.
‘We have a lot to catch up on, liiiiike, you have to tell me how much of a bad boy Chi was at school and all that. Go back into the kitchen Chi, me and your friend have like a lot to talk about’.
Zimmy thought she caught Chika cringe everytime Chizi called him Chi, but, maybe her mind was playing tricks on her.
Listening to Chizi ramble on was a nightmare for Zimmy. In between her incessant use of the word ‘like’ and the fact that she called Chika ‘Chi’, Zimmy could not stand Chizi. She wondered inwardly what Chika saw in this girl, she would be sure to ask him later. Zimmy was grateful when Chika came into the living room to announce that breakfast was ready.
All through breakfast, Zimmy watched Chizi boss Chika around, ‘Chi, pass me the salt, Chi, could you grab me another slice of bread Chi’, Chi this, Chi that. Watching them interact with each other was even more painful than listening to Chizi ramble on about how the jewellery business in Abuja was hotcake, and how she got to meet a lot of government officials because of her business. Zimmy tried as much as possible to remain expressionless especially since Chika would occasionally glance at her and linger on as if trying to read her expression.
When later Chizi tried to convince her that they should go for a swim and maybe some cocktails, Zimmy politely but firmly declined. She had to put her foot down. Maybe Chika enjoyed being pushed around, but Zimmy sure as hell didn’t, plus she needed a break from Chizi.
‘It was nice to have finally met you Zim, I can call you Zim right? Chika does’
‘Sure Chizi, you can call me whatever you want. It was nice meeting you too’
‘O my gosh Chi, your friend is like sooo pretty’
‘You’ve told her a million times already today Chizi, come let me see you off’
Zimmy could sense that Chika was getting frustrated.
‘I thought you were going to drop me off Chi?’
‘You don’t really expect me to drive all the way to Kubwa right now, you know I have a visitor’
‘Chi she will be fine jare, Kubwa isn’t too far. Zim tell him you will be fine’
‘I’ll be fine Chika please go drop off your fiancé’
Chizi’s squeal was enough to send Zimmy over the edge. Chika didn’t look at all pleased with the situation, but he just seemed completely helpless where Chizi was concerned which didn’t make any sense at all to Zimmy. Her Chika was so full of himself even to the point of arrogance that she didn’t quite get how Chika was literarily eating out Chizi’s palm.
With the house to herself, Zimmy could finally bring herself to relax. She was tensed all day. In between listening to Chizi rambling on and trying to avoid Chika’s occasional glances, she was glad to be alone. It seemed like Chika was waiting for her stamp of approval, with his lingering gazes and attempts to catch her alone when Chizi was distracted, which wasn’t much of the time. Why was Chika so timid around Chizi? She suspected that something was amiss. There was zero chemistry between them, and Chika seemed to be put off by Chizi. Why did he keep acting helpless, like he was under some kind of spell?
It was nearly 6pm when Chika walked into his apartment, in a very sour mood ‘Are you okay?’
‘Yeah, I’m fine, just a little tired. I decided to get some Suya on my way back just in case we were too tired to cook anything tonight’
‘I already made some food for you’
‘Yes, I decided to pop by the market and pick up some groceries, you forget that Abuja used to be my town too’.
Zimmy sat there watching Chika eat the entire bowl of Eba and Oha soup. Chika couldn’t stop thanking her in between mouthfuls of goat meat and stock fish – ‘Thank you Zim, this is amazing, you are the best cook in the world, I swear’
‘You don’t have to thank me Chika, you remember I used to enjoy cooking for you’
‘You even remember what my best food is, you are just too much Zimmy’
‘Stop making this weird Mr man, eat your food, am sure your wife-to-be makes better soups than this’
For a short while an uncomfortable silence enveloped them. Eventually, when Chika looked up at her, he looked quite forlorn – ‘You make things so easy Zimmy’
Later than evening, they were sat on the sofa, binge watching the series – Modern Family. Irrespective of the fact that Zimmy had already seen the most recent episode, she didn’t mind re-watching some of the older episodes with Chika, although her mind drifted occasionally to what Chika said earlier – ‘She made things so easy’, what did he mean by that? As usual, she was too shy to ask him to elaborate, and of course he just acted like it was a normal thing to say, and then they didn’t talk about it.
‘On a scale of 1 – 10 how much do you like me?’ Zimmy blurted out before she could restrain herself
Muting the television, Chika turned towards her, wearing a grim expression ‘why are you asking me that?’
She immediately became very self-conscious ‘I do-don’t know, don’t mind me’.
Turning to face the muted television, she felt hot and uncomfortable. She felt Chika staring at her, but she kept her eyes on the television. When Chika got up and left the living room, Chika heaved a huge sigh of relief. Maybe she shouldn’t have said anything, now things were going to be awkward between them. She assumed that Chika went to use the bathroom, but when he didn’t return for around 15 minutes she realised that maybe she’d upset him with her question.
She walked towards Chika’s bedroom and knocked on his door ‘Chika are you okay, can I come in?’
Chika opened the door slightly, and peered through at her. Although it was dark in the bedroom, Zimmy could see that Chika looked crestfallen. He just stood there and stared at her. Zimmy could only think of one thing to do. She pushed the door wide open and took a step towards him. She placed her head on his chest and wrapped her arms around his waist. It took a minute for Chika to respond to her hug, but he eventually did, resting all his weight on her. They stood like that for what seemed like several minutes, until the weight of Chika’s arms and the warmth of his body started making her feel uncomfortable. She gave him a little nudge before he released her, but he took hold her hands ‘On a scale of 1 – 10, I love you like twenty Chukwuzirim’.
The voices in her head, told her it was wrong, but she couldn’t bring herself to stop, and Chika didn’t stop them either. All her supressed feelings from years back were raging on as they kissed each other. She mentally willed herself to stop, but she just couldn’t. Chika picked her up, and wedged her in between the bedroom wall and his muscular frame. All Zimmy felt was fire in her core and the pressure of his erection against her belly. The desperation in their kiss was so overwhelming that it left Zimmy thinking that they were going to combust. When Chika’s phone rang the first time, they both ignored. It was at the third ring, that she wrestled Chika away from her, signalling to him that he had to answer the call. Chika put her down, but didn’t let go of her hands.
‘Chizi, what is it? How bad is the pain? Okay, get yourself to the hospital, I’ll meet you there.
The atmosphere in the car, on the ride to the hospital was so tense. Chizi was pregnant, and Chika conveniently omitted to mention that important detail. If Chizi hadn’t called him, or if she hadn’t signalled to him to pick up, they more than likely would have slept together. Zimmy felt so angry and betrayed by Chika.
‘Zimmy please say something. I swear, I was going to tell you, but I couldn’t find the right time to’.
By the time they got to the hospital, Chizi was already getting discharged. Apparently, abdominal cramps during pregnancy were normal.
Zimmy was mentally and emotionally drained when they returned to Chika’s apartment after dropping Chizi off. She went into the bedroom, shut the door and sobbed for a good 10 minutes. How could Chika behave like this towards her? She heard Chika knock on the bedroom door over and over again, but she just couldn’t face him, not tonight. She felt so ashamed for letting Chika take advantage of her like that.
In the morning, Chika came to knock on the bedroom door to tell her breakfast was ready.
‘Zimmy please don’t be mad’
‘I’m not mad Chika, just disappointed’
‘Do you for a second think that I am not equally disappointed in myself? Of all the mistakes I could have made, I went and got Chizi pregnant, and I don’t even feel anything for her’
Chika was clearly frustrated, but Zimmy didn’t care. She just had to get out of here, she couldn’t stand being around Chika, not right now.
‘I’ll be leaving for Port-Harcourt today, I’m almost finished packing my things’.
Chika’s jaw dropped a fraction ‘You can’t be serious Zimmy, please you can’t go, I’m begging you, I need you Zimmy’
Zimmy was heartbroken. If Chika really felt that way for her, why didn’t he come out and say so, after all, compared to her, he was a taking charge kind of person. She had always been a shy and withdrawn type of person, but he on the other hand was bold and daring. Why did he let her carry the burden of loving him alone? Now he’d gone and gotten Chizi pregnant, it had finally become convenient for him to express his feelings for her. She wasn’t going to let him make her an option, or use her as rectification for his mistake.
All through breakfast, Chika tried to convince her to stay till Sunday, but Zimmy refused. Now that she was feeling this way, it was best she left. Seeing Chika this morning brought back memories of the passionate kiss they’d shared. Standing close to him, eating breakfast with him, the way he was staring at her, made her feel extremely confused. She’d always imagined what making love to Chika would feel like. She would have given anything in the world to kiss Chika again, but she was still very much upset with him and with herself.
When Chika suggested taking her to the airport, she objected, but he paid no attention to her. The atmosphere in the car on the ride to the airport was charged especially since Chika insisted on holding on to her hand the entire way. When she tried to pull her hands off, Chika held on firmly, and didn’t let her go.
‘You can just drop me off at departures so that you don’t pay for parking’
‘Don’t be daft Zimmy, it’s not like I have anything else to do. Maybe I can still convince you to stay with me’ He looked so fragile, but she needed to get away from him as soon as possible, she needed to clear her head – ‘Staying would only make things more uncomfortable than they already are Chika.’
‘What about yesterday?’ Chika asked
‘And what about it?’ That wasn’t a subject she was prepared to broach with him, but she knew he’d been itching to talk about it.
‘Didn’t it mean anything to you?’
‘No Chika it didn’t’ she answered, irritated more at him than at the question.
‘I love you Zimmy, I’ve always loved you. I just couldn’t place your feelings for me. You always kept me in the friend zone, and because I respect you and our friendship, I felt like opening up to you about my feelings would ruin our friendship’.
‘Why now?’ She asked, but Chika just sat there staring at her, like she’d asked a rhetorical question. Thankfully he had parked the car, so she got out, grabbed her luggage and started making her way towards the departure hall, not caring if Chika was behind her.
Zimmy was lucky enough to get a seat on the next flight to Port-Harcourt which was due to leave in the next 25 minutes. Chika hardly uttered a word all the time she was getting her ticket and even as they walked towards security check. Just as she was about to go through, Chika grabbed hold of her hand and pulled her towards him – ‘Are you seriously leaving Zim?’ He looked quiet distressed, but Zimmy’s mind was made up, she had to make certain that Chika did what was right, what was best.
‘Yes Chika, I am’.
She tried to pull away from him, she couldn’t. She rested her head on his chest once more and took in him smell, a smell she’d gotten used to, a smell she would have to learn to rid her senses of.