Love Africa Press consistently puts out wonderful books, and new adult contemporary romance, Not Just Another Interlude, by Nigerian author, Lara T. Kareem, is another such story.
Sewa’s decision to steer her love life in the direction she wants, instantly backfires, prompting her to halt her quest for love and focus on other more important things like getting a job. Fate has its own plan and puts her in the path of the man of her dreams, Jide.
Jide isn’t afraid to go after what he wants. Crossing Sewa’s path more than once, he doesn’t leave it up to chance because there is something special about her.
When their budding relationship suffers a huge blow, Jide will have to prove to Sewa that love is worth fighting for.
I wonder what would happen if I threw caution to the wind — damn the consequences and the domino effect it could have on my life. If I walked up to him and told him straight, “I want you to be my future.” I’m exaggerating a bit — the worst that could happen is he flat-out says no and proceeds to end whatever it is that we have but haven’t entirely defined or named.
I would run away if someone I’ve known for less than a month comes up to me and makes such a declaration — although I wouldn’t if it was him, though. I’m way in over my head when it comes to him. It’s like Cupid shot an arrow that hit me on my right butt cheek, from the moment my gaze fell upon him. And when he spoke to me, I knew it was a match made in Heaven.
Love-struck. That’s how I describe myself, ever since that day. Nothing else comes close to explaining how I feel, so it has to do, and I have a feeling he feels the same way, or else I’m going to dig a massive hole in a forest and pay someone without a heart to bury me alive.
To hell with it. I’m doing it. After a quick trip to the ladies’ to make sure I look good and embody a woman who is sure of herself, confident and exuberant, I walk out of there like I own the place and immediately slam into a body. It’s not pretty: I lose my footings and fall right on my ass, and I may not or may have screamed as I went down. Is God trying to send me a message?
“Do you need a hand?”
I look up at the human brick that has me ass sitting on the floor of a restaurant, and that’s when I realize that I am still down on that hard surface. I take the hand he has stretched out, and he helps with pulling me up.
I’m dying of embarrassment now. I can feel people’s eyes on me and glance around to see several people looking at me with smiles on their faces while some seem sorry for me, and some just shake their heads before returning their focus to the reason why they’d come to this restaurant in the first place.
“Thanks, I’m such a klutz,” I say as I take a full look at my human brick.
Whoa, it can’t be just me feeling the effect of looking at his face, because the room suddenly seems ten times brighter and hotter than it was seconds ago.
He is beautiful. Oh, gosh, I am staring. A blush creeps up at the smile that is taking over his face; my staring is that obvious.
“No problem. I wasn’t exactly paying attention to my surroundings. So I didn’t notice the door had opened, but I’m not sorry a beautiful woman walked into me. Is your derrière okay?”
Excuse me? Did I hear him right? Can the world just let me melt into a puddle of embarrassment? His voice is entrancing, deep, but delivers softly, like a caress, and of course, he’s a flirt. The beautiful ones usually are. He is flirting, right? Or is that his way of being polite? Either way, I know my cheeks are at full puff because I can’t help but shyly smile at the compliment he blessed me with.
I look back, and Lucas is steadily approaching me. I smile at him and turn back to the beautiful stranger, who smiles at me, dips his head in farewell, and walks off. My full attention stays on the fine male specimen walking away from me, before returning to Lucas. I smile when he’s finally by my side and go in for a hug. He hugs me back but releases me almost instantly, to my disappointment.
“Who was that?”
“You missed the show, Lu. I collided with him and fell ass to the floor.”
“That would have been spectacular to watch,” he says before bursting into laughter.
Of course, he would laugh. I don’t feel bad because I would do the same if he ends up in an embarrassing situation. I roll my eyes, and he smiles at me before putting his arm around my shoulder and leading us to a table.
Once we chose a secluded table for two, a waiter approaches us with the menu. Trepidation settles in my bones like a million little jolts. I’m not going to back out now, because I have decided to just do it. If I don’t take risks, I will live a half-life. I peek over at Lucas, who isn’t even looking at the menu but checking something on his phone. It amazes me how unbothered he can be at times.
Lucas and I met through a mutual friend, and the connection between us had been instant. We speak non-stop, and he’s always a text away when he’s not with me. We restaurant-hop a lot—it’s an experiment we are carrying out, and so far, this is our fourth restaurant.
The waiter returns, and I request for dun dun pelu ata din-din, with a bottle of water. Lucas orders the same, and I shake my head at him. How original. We’re meant to be experimenting and trying out different foods. He just shrugs at me and goes back to his phone. After waiting for him to acknowledge my presence, I finally break and say something.
“So, Lu. Are we going to talk, or are you going to be glued to your phone?”
There is guilt on his face as he smiles sheepishly at me before reluctantly putting his phone away. Reluctantly because he paused to think before deciding keeping it aside was the best option. He is looking at me now, his facial expression asking me now what.
I roll my eyes at him. This is bad. There has never been an awkward moment between us. Come to think of it, I’m usually the one talking non-stop. I don’t get why most guys I tend to fall for don’t like talking and let me ramble away for there not to be a lag in the conversation.
“Sewa, I believe I know you fairly well by now, so whatever is it that’s eating you right now, I’m all ears.”
Am I that noticeably nervous? What did I do to give myself away? And now, what should I say? What is wrong with me? Lucas is looking at me expectantly, waiting for my reply, and I am at a loss for words
Luckily for me, the waiter appears, pushing a trolley with our order, and I remember how hungry I am.
I use the excuse of food not to speak or interact with Lucas. I don’t think I’ve ever been this interested in the foods we have eaten at restaurants before. I’m just glad he lets me be for now.
“What do you think about this restaurant?” I ask once we are done eating and have paid our bills respectively.
The food was excellent, and I especially liked the ata din-din, the pepper sauce nicely complementing the fried yam and the small pieces of meat. I would order more, but I don’t have the time to wait.
“It’s okay, I guess. When are we going to stop restaurant-hopping? I think four is enough.”
And there goes my excuse to have us meeting up more than once in a week.
“If you’re tired already, then this will be our last. Geez, Lu, you’re no fun.”
He childishly sticks his tongue out at me, and I shake my head at him. I should do it now, just blurt it out and wait for his reaction. If this was via text, I would send it and turn my phone and everything that allows for a two-way means of communication off.
“Sewa, think we should get going now. I’ll drop you off at home.”
“I have something to say to you.”
Here I go. I sound so scared — what is wrong with my voice? Lucas looks at me with questioning eyes and smiles. Maybe he’s trying to calm my nerves.
“I like you. In fact, I more than like you and want you to be my boyfriend. I don’t know about you, but the few weeks I’ve spent with you have me so in my feelings, and there is nothing more I want.”
My heart is beating so fast, my face must be flushed, and I can feel myself slightly shaking as I dare to look at Lucas’ face because he still hasn’t said anything and is leaving me hanging.
He looks conflicted, and I immediately know our relationship is about to be hit by a BRT bus.
“I’m sorry, Sewa. I agreed to work things out with Chika yesterday. If I had known—”
“It’s fine. I understand. No need to justify your answer.”
I cut him off before he can go on with his excuses. I’m sad, but it doesn’t feel like overwhelming sadness as I had expected. I feel like I’m going to be okay again. I am suddenly very calm.
It’s like cold water poured on me and numbed all my feelings.
I look at Lucas and smile. He doesn’t smile back and is still looking at me with an expression that pretty much screams pity. It’s either we get past this bump in our relationship, or it ends entirely.
“Seriously, Lucas. It’s fine. I’ll nurse my broken feelings, and I’ll be fine. Don’t worry, nothing has to change. We can still be friends, right?” I ask him, trying to set his mind at ease.
I don’t know why I’m trying to appease him. I’m the one who got rejected.
He nods and motions for us to get up and leave. Since he’s my ride, I have no choice but to follow him. When I’m home, I’ll have time to regroup and process what the hell just happened.
About The Author
Lara Tommy Kareem is a literary publicist, editor, enthusiast and blogger based in Lagos, Nigeria. When she’s not working, writing, reading or catching up on her favorite TV shows, she can be found talking and taking pictures of and blogging about all things literary. You can read free stories written by her on her website.
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