After one month, things had changed for Febi. She walked with more confidence in school, began making new friends, grew closer to God and didn’t allow her father and step-mother’s comments deflate her anymore. Her father noticed the changes and could only wonder what had come over his daughter. Somewhere within him, he was happy that she was growing into a strong young woman but he never told her.
She had been in touch with Segun almost every day of the month. She had done most of the calling because she had limitless access to the phone. That was one of the few things her father never deprived her of. She kept updating him on her improvements on phone and whenever she saw him in church.
On a particular day, she had a conversation with Segun that was quiet different. She had called him to tell him how she had surprised her step-mother by buying her flowers because she was down with a cold.
“Guess what?” she had screamed on the phone.
“I bought my step the flowers you told me to buy and she was so shocked and touched that her eyes filled but she quickly blinked back the tears.
“Did she thank you?”
“Yes, she did. I’m so happy, Segun. Thank you.”
“Thank God. I’m happy for you too sweetie”
“I’m happy for myself too” she said. ‘But did he just call me sweetie?’ she asked herself. She pushed the thought aside and kept ranting about how many friends she had made. She told him about what she learnt on sexual purity from the bible that morning. She noticed however that he was silent for a while.
“Are you there?” she asked.
“Did I say something wrong?”
“Oh no, you didn’t.” After a short pause, he asked, “what did you gain from that scripture?”
“I learnt that it is not good to have sex”
“What about kissing and those other things before sex?” he asked.
“I don’t know o! I didn’t see anything written about those there.”
“But what do you think about those other intimate activities yourself?”
“I’ll let you know some other time.”
“Not now, trust me, okay?”
“Febi, I’ll tell you later.”
“Okay” she conceded.
They talked on for a few minutes before Segun said what had been on his mind for about a month. “I would want us to celebrate your impressive improvement.” Febi was happy and started imagining eating out with Segun, it had been a while she ate in an eatery. The last time was the day before her father found out the truth about her mother. That was five years back.
“Where are we going?” she asked excitedly
“What? Are you joking?”
“I’m dead serious. It’s okay if you don’t want to come”, Segun said.
“No, it’s not that”, she said “but I don’t even know your house. Besides, I’m wondering why you would want me to come over. Thought we would go to an eatery”
“Because I want you to eat a Segun-prepared food. It’ll be all set before you come. Moreover, eating outside is a waste of money.”
“Okay then. Describe your house to me.”
“Let me make it easier for you. Come over to church at 4pm and I’ll pick you up.”
“Oh that’s so sweet of you” she said beaming.
“Anything for you, Febi.”
“But that’s just in about two hours from now?”
“Yes, I know. It’s Friday and I’ll have to be back early for prayer meeting.”
“Okay then. See you soon.”
That was the conversation they had and Febi prepared to go to church early. She had learnt from her dad, an efficient lawyer, never to keep anyone waiting if there was a prior appointment. He had said over and again that it was a sign of irresponsibility. Remembering how he used to hurry her for school years ago, she couldn’t help smiling. Then, he would chase her round the sitting room, urging her to hurrying up. At breakfast table, they used to do the ‘toe-fight’ under the table. Those days were fun and she wished for them again. Her father had started changing towards her. She only hoped the change would be faster. But somewhere within, she knew it would take longer, probably a year.
By 3:30pm she was in church but Segun hadn’t come. She decided to take a leisure stroll through the church compound. She walked through the corridor in front of the children’s classes and noticed two people in a class. A girl was teaching some guy Mathematics. Looking at their faces, she knew they were faces she saw in church. She said hi and walked on but noticed that the girl had a questioning look on her face.
Soon after, while still around the classrooms, she saw Segun coming in her direction. He looked dashing. She couldn’t help staring at him for while. ‘How did I escape noticing how handsome this guy is? The girl he’ll date would be a very lucky girl’ she thought to herself. He had told her he had been in a relationship which hit the rocks but he didn’t tell her who it had been he dated. She remembered telling herself then that the girl who had broken up with Segun must have been very stupid, blind or callous, in the least.
“I checked you in the youth church then decided to come here” he said walking towards her.
“I decided to take a stroll while waiting for you”. She felt privileged to be the object of his attention even if it was only for the few weeks he would be her counselor.
He moved close to her and gave her a bear hug. That was her first time hugging a guy that way. He pulled back after the brief hug, as a gentleman should, and held her hand as they exited the church premises. Unknown to Segun, Precious was watching from the classroom, smiling, because she knew what his game plan was.