Storms of Love (3) A shoulder to lean on

She looked searchingly into his face.
"So, you are engaged," she said.
"That's not true. Look, Amara, let me explain," he quickly stated. They were at the side of the hotel complex close to the large pool area. He had led her there so they could talk, far away from the raucous party in the hall.

"No need. I get the message," she stated, a note of what sounded like bitterness in her voice.
Just when she was warming to him, trying to give him a chance, now this! A hidden fiancé pops up suddenly! What was she expected to do, to think? What kind of bad luck did she have with men? Was she cursed or what?

Ebi was talking.

"Its not what you think. Contrary to what she says or believes, Belema's not my fiancé. We are just friends. Actually we grew up together in the same neighbourhood, attended school together and all that. To me, she's more like a sister. But my Mum thinks she will make a suitable wife for me, thus putting these ideas in Belema's head that we will end up marrying one day. That's the truth," he said earnestly. 

Later, as he held her close and they danced to a slow number, she kept wondering if she could trust him. Was it the truth or was he lying to her? 

Most of the men she had dated in the past had professed undying love to her but at the end, broken her heart with their lies, deceit, betrayal.

"What are you thinking?" Ebi asked, breaking into her thoughts, his face very close to hers.
"Nothing. Just wondering..." she began to say.
"What kind of game I'm playing with you? If I'll simply use you and dump you?" he asked.

She was a bit disconcerted that he could read her so easily.
"What are you, a mind reader?" she queried.
"It's written all over your face. I wish I could get my hands on that guy who did this to you," he said.

"Did what?" she asked again.

"Broke your heart so bad, you find it difficult trusting any man," he said. 
The slow tune was replaced by a popular dancehall number by D'Banj, the Kokomaster.

They could barely hear themselves above the loud music so he took her hand and led her out of the hall.

They sat on deck chairs by the pool. On a table were some bottles of wine and other drinks and finger foods a waiter had brought.
They chatted for a long time. Perhaps, it was the drinks, the cool ambience by the pool and Ebi's attentiveness. For the first time in a long while, Amara opened up to all the pain buried deep in her heart.

About CJ, her boyfriend whom she had caught making love to her younger sister, a 19 year old student. Jeri, who turned out to be a conman who made away with a large amount of money including money she had borrowed from her mother.

Or Teni.

"We were together for over three years and were planning to marry. Then two months to our wedding, he dumped me for a colleague of his in the office who was pregnant for him. This happened two years ago. It took me a while to recover. Before then was Ehis who..."

He placed a finger on her lip.
"Enough! I don't want to hear anymore!" he said.
"No! Let me talk! So you can see what men like you have done to me! All the horrors I've seen in the hands of men in the name of love! What kind of love is that, that hurts so much?" she cried. 

Tears snaked down her face and to her shock, she broke down and wept. Bitter tears of anguish, heartache, pain coursed down like a rivulet.

He held her close, murmuring softly to her. Pushing her hair off her face, he kissed her eyelids, nose and cheeks.

"It's alright, dear. Everything will be fine," he said soothingly. 
She calmed down a little and managing a weak smile said:
"I must look a mess. I need to use the restroom to fix my hair and make up."

By the time she returned some time later, she was more composed.
"I'm sorry for acting that way. It's just that..." she stated hesitantly as she took a sip of wine.
"I understand. And I'm sorry for what you've gone through in the hands of those men. What they did was unpardonable, despicable. I can see the reason for your detesting men and relationships so much," he said. "What you went through are the storms of love. 

Love can come with a lot of pain as well as sweetness depending on the person you hook up with. 
"But after the storm comes sunshine to brighten the day. Your sunshine will come.

"So, I think its time to forget the past and move on with your life. You can't keep holding on to the past. It's the future that matters now. So, let it go," he advised.

"It's easy for you to say. You are not the one who has been hurt so badly, her heart torn to shreds," said Amara.
"Listen. Your past experiences have made you build a cage round your heart. You need to open this cage, free your heart. Open up and learn to love again. Ok," he cajoled.

"What if I'm hurt again? I can't stand more pain!" she said in a plaintive voice.

"If you open your heart to me, I promise to cherish it and not hurt you," he stated beseechingly.

"What makes you think I want to open up to you?" she asked.

"I know you want to. It's fear that's holding you back. Let go of this fear, free yourself, your heart," he said.

She was silent for a while, thinking about how safe and comfortable she had felt in his arms as he consoled and comforted her. Could she give him a chance?
"What about Belema?" she enquired, suddenly remembering his supposed fiancé.

"Forget about her. You are the one that matters. It's you I want to be with. Not her," he said firmly. He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her lightly on the lips.

Then holding her hand, they walked back to the party...

Will Amara give in to Ebi or will her fear of men and relationships keep them apart? Log in tomorrow for the final episode of her story.

To be continued...

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