Ijeoma chuckled at the look on Lilian’s face. Though she knew the answers to her question, she still wanted to hear a confirmation from the young nurse.
Lilian stuttered. “Erm, your mother a…and another young man.” She was quick to add that she didn’t know who the man was, grateful that it was not a lie. She had forgotten where she had dumped the card that he had given her. She should have looked at the name before disposing of it. Since his first visit, she had not seen him again.
Ijeoma nodded. “Did my husband give any special instructions before he leave?”
“After he transferred you to this ward, he arranged for the bodyguards in front of the ward. He ordered for you not to have any visitors. I allowed your mother because, well, she is your mother. And for the man, I’m not sure how he got here. The bodyguards were there when he entered so I thought he must have one sort of connection to you.”
“He is my ex-boyfriend,” Ijeoma said tiredly.
Lilian widened her eyes. Ex-boyfriend? When she thought about it, the look the man gave Ijeoma had been filled with some kind of emotion. She felt her left hand itch. It only happened when she got interested in a juicy piece of information. She wondered about the sort of relationship that existed between the two of them before Ijeoma got married. Different scenarios began playing out in her head. What if Ijeoma was still in love with her ex-boyfriend?
Ijeoma must have read the thoughts going on in the young nurse’ mind for she bit back a smile and cleared her throat. Lilian shoved the thoughts into a chamber inside her mind to later obsess on it and turned to her.
“Can I get a phone? Did he bring my phone?” Ijeoma asked.
Lilian nodded her head and searched inside the drawers of the bedside table. She handed Ijeoma the sleek Apple phone that she had always kept charged. Lilian returned to her table sensing that Ijeoma would need her privacy.
Ijeoma looked through the unread messages in her phone, answering a few of them. She was surprised when she saw that most of her business emails had been replied from another phone. She dialed her husband’s number. When he picked, a sheepish smile covered her lips.
“I.J, are you alright?” Apham’s voice was full of worry. Where he sat at his desk, he ignored the man that was sitting opposite him with an angry look on his face.
“Honey, I’m okay. Where are you? Are you okay?” Worry also crept into her voice.
Apham wanted to laugh at the irony of it all. She was the one on the hospital bed and yet, she was asking him if he was okay. “Baby, I’m okay. Hope the nurse is taking good care of you. I will fly back tomorrow as soon as I wrap things up here.”
Ijeoma wanted to ask him more, but she could sense that there was another person with him on the other side of the phone. Who could it be? She had questions, they were not questions she could ask over the phone. It was a struggle to keep the questions back. She took a deep breath and after extracting a promise from him that he wouldn’t overexert himself, she hung up the call. She lost interest in her phone. She looked at the nurse, who had returned her attention to her phone. What she would give for a person to talk with. She sighed and turned her attention to the window, her mind going back to the things that had happened between her and Gabriel in the last six years.
She and Gabriel were still in a relationship when she had met Apham. They had been dating for seven years. They were in the same department back in the university, Gabriel being a class higher than her. He was one of the popular students in the school, coming from a wealthy and politically inclined family. He was also politically involved in the university’s Student Union Government. Though he never held a post in the union, he was the godfather of many contestants. Only once did someone who had his support lose an election. They belonged to similar social circles, though while her father was a top figure in the business world, his was in a political world. She caught his attention during the Department orientation when she had sung a song on the stage. She said yes to him three weeks after he made his intentions clear to her. They had won The couple of the year in the school for three years until he had graduated. They continued their relationship even when he left the country to study for a masters degree in the UK.
Everyone expected both of them to get married, especially their friends who had been the witness of their long-term relationship. She had seen her friends get into new relationships and suffer heartbreaks, she joined them when they gathered to curse at unfaithful boyfriends. However, she couldn’t relate to most of their experiences though. For all his popularity and handsomeness, Gabriel had been the ideal boyfriend. He celebrated her birthday in grand styles, took her out for dates on their anniversaries. Never for once did he cheat on her. There were times when she suffocated from a suspicion that he was seeing another girl. And he always proved her wrong. They quarreled though. But when she heard the complaints from her friends, she realized that hers were not worth mentioning.
The only problem she had with Gabriel was that despite all his political affiliations, he always seemed too acquiescent, too accepting of her decisions and what she said. Her friends said he loved her too much to oppose her, it was his way of showing her his affection. There were times when she wanted him to argue with her, to say no to her. But he always gave her the same answer, flashing her his angel-of-my-life smile. It was a smile that she loved to be on the receiving end of, but she soon grew tired of it.
And that was when Apham glided into her life, with a disarming smile and charm that made her stomach flutter so hard that she could hardly get any meal down.