THE INVITATION (Love Gone Sour) - By Tessy Mordi



"So you mean you won't tell Ehis it is over between you two?" Lizzy asked Omo as they strolled into their flat one sunny Saturday afternoon. They had just returned from a friend's wedding, another reason Omo was so bitter.

"Why should I?" Omo's expression was a mixture of anger and regret. "Kike only dated Peter for 6 months. Look now, its their wedding we are coming from. If Ehis thinks he is smart, this will tell him who is smarter".

Omo and Ehis had been dating for over 3 years, but he had never mentioned anything about marriage, let alone propose. When he travelled almost a year ago to Benue for a contract job, Omo silently called it quit and started dating another guy, James. She met him during her short term training at a catering school. However, she kept open communications with Ehis, only that it was no longer based on love.

A week later, after the wedding of her friend, Kike, Ehis invited her over to visit him for the weekend. She didn't object, rather she accepted and lied to James, her new found love, that she would be going to see her sick uncle in Benue and spend a few days caring for him.

James was glad about the development. He promised to surprise her. Unknown to Omo, he too had an invitation to come over to Benue.

Thank God for friends with strengths like that of bulldozer. Ehis thought of his longtime buddy, as he dropped his phone on the stool by his side. They had lost contact after secondary school. But when he ran into Uju, a former classmate of his, he was able to get his friend's phone number and reach him again.

"Finally, I've been able to conclude the preparation for the proposal surprise I have been planning for about 6 months now. Oh my dear Omo, it is you that give me the strenght to continue with this hectic job. The good pay will help me make you comfortable as my wife", he smiled to himself, holding out and admiring the engagement ring sitting comfortably in a dark blue ring case.

This thing is damn expensive. He thought. But you deserve it my dear Omo baby. His eyes glittered with pride.

**********************

"Hey man, good to see you again". James walked up excitedly to Ehis who came to pick him up at the park. The duo locked themselves in a brief embrace, giving each other a manly pat at the back.

"Its really good to see you too." Ehis said, pulling back to look at his friend well.

"I'm glad I could make it using one stone to kill two birds actually."

"Interesting. What is the other bird you are killing?" Ehis asked, taking one of his bags and leading the way to the car.

"Well my babe is in Benue for some days. I want to surprise her. I didn't tell her I was coming though. I've tried calling her a couple of times, but her phone is switched off." James sounded a bit worried.

"Don't worry man. You will see her. For now, its about me and my to be bride."

"Of course" James agreed, laughing. Ehis joined him
     *************************************

All the way to Benue, Omo kept thinking about the life she had chosen. She knew deep down she was trying really hard to love James as much as she had loved Ehis. At the same time, she was struggling to end things with Ehis.

"No! She shouted inwardly. Deep down she resolved that it would be the last time she would see Ehis. It had to end. James deserved better.

She alighted from the bus when it got to the destination Ehis had asked her to stop. The driver knew it quite well and made sure she got there safely. Ehis was there already, waiting for her. His smile broadened as soon as he set eyes on her.

"Baby!!! It is good to see you after such a long time"

"Same here", Omo forced a smile and managed not to push him away as he hugged her.

"You must be very tired. Not to worry, I will make sure you have adequate rest before I start bugging you." He chuckled, helping her with her bags. "Hope Uju is fine?"

"She is well", Omo replied, "How's work?" She tried to follow through with the conversation.

They soon got to the car. During the short journey to Ehis' place, they talked about random things and it was fun.
 
On getting to the flat, Ehis pleaded that he blindfolded her for a brief surprise gift he had been preparing for her. She obliged reluctantly, seeing he was not willing to let her disagree. Just as she stepped her foot into the flat all the while directed by Ehis, she felt a change of hand.

"Ehis, who are you giving my hand to and where are you people taking me?"

Before she could get a reply, the blinds were taken off her eyes. What she saw left her dumfounded. Ehis was on one knee. And on the wall just above him, these words were written: "Sorry I took this long to ask. But I just wanted to have you here first in our future home. So now, you are here. Will you marry me, Omo baby?"

Her heart raced. This was supposed to be a last visit. How come? Why now? She turned to see who Ehis had given her hand to. She was dazed. James stood there, all tall and handsome. But he stared at her with so much sadness and disbelieve. This was it. She had played a fool's game and lost. She was left with only one option. Run away and never return. She ran.



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