Read About: 917 times
Added: Oct 18, 2016
Poster: ib4real

Must Read: A Man Worth Waiting For
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Tomilola sat listlessly on the sofa in the living room, staring out at the Big W. It was almost noon. The sun was approaching its zenith, its heat busily baking the Lagos oil. The hands were flocking to the bunk house, coming in from the barns and the closer ranges for lunch.

She shifted her gaze from the daily hustle and bustle and stared at the little house across the road.

The house that had been Demola’s.

Pain clawed at her heart and the numbing s£nsat!on she’d been battling since he’d left two weeks ago got a little deeper.

Rose came into the room, pouting as she spied Tomilola on the sofa. “You’re not sitting around brooding again, are you?”
Pulling herself from her stupor, Tomilola mustered what energy she could and shoved it into an expression that hopefully made her look cheery. “No. I’m just sitting here. . .”

“Brooding,” Rose filled in with a knowing look.

What energy Tomilola’d managed to gather leaked out of her like air from a balloon. “Yeah.”

Tomilola dropped down onto the sofa beside her. “This is pitiful. You realize that, don’t you? You’re acting like an idiot. Quit lying around mooning over this guy. Go out and learn how to chase cows or something.”

“Cattle. Learn how to chase cattle. And there’s no point in that.”

“Why not?”
“Because I’m not going to stay.” There, she’d said it. She ought to be glad the only person she had to say it to was Rose. Amaka and Yemi had headed back to their own homes last week.

Rose’s brows crumpled in confusion. “You’re not staying? Are you all going to sell the place then?”
She shook her head. “I still want to use it as a base for the charity. But I’ll get someone else to run it. Charles, maybe. As the financial man, he knows better than anyone what it will take to keep the place going. Once I’m gone, he can hire someone to keep the day-to-day operations running smoothly.” She hadn’t been able to hire anyone to take Demola’s place. It just seemed. . .wrong, somehow.

“But if you leave, where will you go?” Concern filled Rose’s voice.

“Back to my place in Port-Harcourt.”

“Oh, no, you’re not going back to that godforsaken hole-in-the-wall where your only company will be the cockroaches living under your sink.” She pushed up from the sofa and paced away. When she turned back, her eyes crackled with stubborn determination.

“This is ridiculous. You can’t walk away from the most decent home you’ve ever known just because Demola did. The man is gone. Snap out of it and get on with your life.”

Fresh pain slashed through her. “You don’t have to tell me he’s gone, Rose. I’m well aware of that fact.”

“Then stop acting like a thirteen-year-old with a broken heart and get back into the game. Think about some of the fund-raisers we talked about using the estate for. The auction.
The rodeo.”

Tomilola thrust up from the sofa. “I don’t want to think about those things. They both require being here. And I don’t want to be here anymore, period. It’s too painful.

Everywhere I look, I see him. I look at the flowers and I remember the day he took me to dad’s study. Yesterday I took a ride out to the bar and. . .” Her voice broke and tears flooded in her eyes. She spun away, swiping at the tears. She wasn’t going to break down in front of Rose, never.

“Oh, my God.” Rose whispered, dropping back onto the sofa. “You love him.”

Tomilola spun back, shaking her head. “Don’t be ridiculous. It’s just. . .”

“Just what?” Rose demanded.

Tomilola’s heart raced. She’d already lost too many people she loved. Her mother, way too early for a child to be saying goodbye to a parent. Her father, before she’d even known him. She didn’t want to add the man she loved to that list.

She strode over to the window, panic pushing at her. She didn’t love him. She didn’t.

She stared out at the window looking for a distraction, anything to keep her from thinking about the words pounding through her head, the emotions squeezing the air from her.

But the yard was quiet, everyone had gone to eat.

She tried to concentrate on the cattle standing nose to tail and gently scratching each other’s rumps in the nearest corral. But her gaze slid sideways until she was staring, once again, at Demola’s favorite cattle. She dropped her head against the cool pane of glass with a defeated groan. She could deny the words all she wanted, but there was no denying the pain in her heart.

She loved him.

God help her, she loved him. She turned back to Rose, her shoulders slumping as she leaned against the glass. “Now what?”
Her expression sympathetic, Rose came over and put her arms around her. She held her quietly for a minute, then pulled back just far enough to look into her eyes. “If you love this guy, you can’t give up this easy. You can’t give up on this estate and you can’t give up on him. You’ve got to go after him. Fight for him.”

She shook her head. “He’s not going to give in, Rose. He’s too damned stubborn.

Too damned. . . honorable.”

Rose waved away her comments. “Honor, you’re not buying that nonsense about him tainting you, are you?”
“I’ve never bought it and you know it. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t buy it. And in case you haven’t heard, it takes two to tango.”

“I’m not asking you about the tango. I’m asking you if you believe he’s not worthy of you.”

“Oh, for pity’s sake. He is the most decent man I’ve ever met. Any woman would be lucky to have him in her life.”

“Well, then, pardon my bluntness, but you need to quit sitting here like some sorry quitter.

You need to pack your bags and go out and get him.”


The word caught in her mind, jogging another memory.
. .

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