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Afraid To Love 9



Edwin was startled. The glass had missed his mouth and spilled on his singlet. This was bad. He dropped the glass quickly.
“Are you mad? Jeremy what is wrong? You see what you made me do? You really scared me. I don’t have a heart for that.”
Edwin cursed his son. He got mad at him. Without waiting for a response, he stood up from the lounger and made to leave.
“Father, I’m sorry,” Jeremy humbly apologised though, he couldn’t see the wrong he had done. He followed his father in.
Edwin didn’t turn to reply his son, he kept on moving. When they got into the living room, he turned to Jeremy.
“What is it?” he queried.
Jeremy stopped and scanned his father. He noticed the stain on his single and not only that, the man was not happy. He was wearing a sad look. He looked more older than his actual age. There was no joy in his eyes.
“Father, are you okay?” Jeremy enquired, he reached out for the old man. “You don’t seem to look good.”
Edwin backed off. “I’m fine. Now, tell me what you came for,” he demanded.
Something was going on with this man, Jeremy thought. He doesn’t sound okay. Hostility was in his voice and it was very rare for him to sound that way. “I’m not saying a thing till you tell me what’s wrong with you.”
Edwin sat on the couch and rubbed his head. “Remembered your mum and the good times we had together. I feel lonely.”
His father had just lied. Jeremy was sure that his father was hiding something. It’ll come out soon, but now he had to focus on what he came for. “You can remarry if its your wish.”
Edwin shot him a grave look.
Jeremy smirked. “Tricia was at my office.”
“I was never in support of your relationship with that girl.”
“Because of Purity, I guess.”
“So you need to help me.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Tricia, she’s in love,” he bit his lips in disgust, “obsessed with me.”
Edwin sighed. “Aren’t you two over?”
He scratched his head. “We are. But she claims to still love me. She said she’d never let any other woman have me. I’ve never seen her that way. I am confused.”
“That’s a jealous woman’s talk.”
“And when women get jealous, world war three’s about to commence.”
Edwin laughed. “Its your problem. Deal with it.”
Jeremy walked over to his father and sat down with him. “Tricia isn’t all that bad. Talk to her, please. If she goes on this way, I’m sure she’d hurt me or Purity.” He wasn’t so concerned of himself, but Purity. He wouldn’t let anyone harm her and get away with it. She now had a place in his heart and he was gonna safeguard that place and her too. Using Purity, he was sure his father was going to act. He loved that girl.
“If its Purity you’re talking about, why don’t you see to this yourself?” Edwin asked showing no interest.
Jeremy frowned. “You insisted I marry her. If not that, do you think I’d be in this mess?”
“Aren’t you a grown man? Why don’t you admit it. You are getting to love Purity.”
Jeremy faked a cough. He smiled coyly. “What did you say?”
Edwin was bewildered at his son’s stupid question. “I know you heard me. I wonder why you’re always like this when I talk about love. Don’t you believe in it?”
“Sure, I do. Just don’t know. I’m still confused. Are you going to help me or not?”
Edwin shook his head.
“Its your Purity. Remember I’m filing for a divorce a year after the marriage. And I can still decide not to marry her now.”
“Emotional blackmail,” Edwin remarked laughing. “Have you told her?”
“You are scared it”ll hurt her. She’s doing you a great favour.”
“Father, I’ve got things to do. The companies will have to be merged. There’s a meeting this afternoon with the heads of the two companies. Purity will soon start working under me and I’ve got to get things ready. I can’t start talking to Tricia now.” Jeremy explained.
“Hmph! I’ll see what I can do.”
“Becareful with her.”
“Why she’d hurt me?”
“I don’t think so. Starting to hate her already. I will murder her if she does anything to you.”
“Funny you. Then why are you sending me there?”
“I don’t want to see her.”
“You don’t want to see another woman ’cause of Purity? I can see you are getting to love her.” Edwin stood up to leave.
Jeremy silently watched him.
“One more thing. Concerning that divorce thing I mentioned, it isn’t what I have in mind. I bet when you two are married, you’d never want to look at any woman.”
Jeremy had wanted to reply his father, but the man was already out of the living room. Jeremy rested on the couch. A million thoughts flooded his mind. What was his father talking about? He really never meant it when he had told him about divorce? One of his ploys of getting him together with Purity? He hadn’t even told her. What was this man plotting? What if his illness wasn’t real? He and Purity had spent some time alone, he might have told her and instructed her not to mention anything to him. Was she being greedy and selfish? If they got married and divorced, she’d get a lot from him. Purity couldn’t be after the money, still he could trust no one. Not even his father. This had just added to his troubles. He’d confront Purity, then visit the hospital to enquire of his father’s health. He got to be sure.
His cell phone buzzed in his pocket, dragging him out of his reverie. It was his P.A calling.
“The meeting’s about to begin.”
d–n! He had forgotten all about it. “I’ll be there in a jiffy.” he hung up and dashed out of the house.
“Jeremy, my boy.” Aaron called out happily.
Jeremy turned around and saw the familiar face calling him. He grinned on seeing him. “Mr. Aaron Theodore.” he walked to meet with him.
“Congratulations.” Aaron and Jeremy shook hands. “You really did good out there. I’m impressed.”
“Thank you, sir.” Jeremy humbly replied.
“Welcome on board.” Aaron patted his shoulder.
“Lets talk over lunch.” Jeremy requested.
Aaron agreed.
They walked to the dining room. Before they got there, they had received lots of handshake from different persons that had attended the meeting. Jeremy was mostly congratulated and Aaron felt so proud of his soon-to-be son-in-law. They were now going to be partners. A family business.
“What would you like to take?” the waitress asked.
“Can we go over the menu?” Jeremy requested.
“Yeah. Lemme go and get it.” the waitress answered and left them.
“Jeremy, I’m glad you agreed to help us.”
“Sir, there’s no need to thank me again and again. I’m really happy I did. I could help and offered it. I am glad you accepted it.”
“Wow! You are-”
“Here, it is.” the waitress interrupted.
Jeremy took it from her and proceeded to hand it over to Aaron.
“No, no. You can pick.” Aaron refused taking it.
“Alright.” Jeremy scanned through the menu and made his choice. “Is fried chicken, macaroni and cheese okay with you?”
Aaron nodded.
“We’ll have that,” Jeremy said to the waitress.
She nodded and strolled to get their order. In no time, she was back, served them and left.
“I haven’t really come up with a name for the new company we’ve formed.” Jeremy broke the silence.
“Me neither,” Aaron replied, swallowing.
“What if we choose ‘Theodore’s&Broderick’s Enterprise’?”
“Hmm.” Aaron nodded. “Nice choice. But the company now belongs to you and my daughter. We, the fathers are no more in control. Something like, ‘JP Business Enterprise.’”
“Wow. Cool name. What does ‘JP’ stand for?” Jeremy asked, pretending not to know.
“Are you kidding me? Jeremy and Purity of course.” Aaron was full of smiles.
Jeremy really liked the new name. Why hadn’t he thought of it? JP. Jeremy and Purity.
“I accept it. I like it.”
“That’s good.”
They continued eating.
“Where is Purity? She was supposed to be here.” Jeremy asked. He really wanted to see her. Never been with her or talked about issues relating to business only when he had stomped into her office the previous day.
“Oh. Should be home with Prudence. She really didn’t want to attend this meeting.”
Jeremy was surprised. “Why? Am I reason?”
“Aaron chuckled. “Not at all. She had to spend time with her mama.”
“Oh, that’s good.” the lurch he felt in his heart was no more there. He was scared, thinking that she’d ran away from him. They still had something to talk about. “Sir-”
Aaron raised a finger. “Don’t call me sir. Call me papa or father.” he grinned.
That was the last thing Jeremy expected to hear from this man. This pending marriage between him and Purity was this serious? He hoped within himself not to shatter their hopes. “Alright, father. I want to ask about Purity. I have observed how humble you are and your wife too- mother.” Never called another woman ‘mother’ after his mum passed away. He had to get used to it. “Purity is so different. Why?”
Aaron shook his head sadly. “I must confess; I don’t really know why. Her mother pampered her when she was still a little girl and taught her so many things. As she turned to a teenager, she withdrew herself. She started acting so disrespectful. At that moment, I decided to have full control over her life, I brought her up with an iron hand. But at certain times, I had to be reasonable and abide by her wish. She has manners but doesn’t know how to practise them. I am glad I can control her, but not for long.”
“She has them. Saw the way she spoke to my father.”
“And you are a daring young man. I believe you can handle her very well. You are the man for her.”
“I’ve been with different ladies, but never came across one like your daughter. What baffles me is the fact that she’s pure but doesn’t act like it. All her life, I am the first and only person she has kissed.”
“Really? I never knew you two have shared something. Its a good sign. She has phobia for men anyway. Help her, please.” Aaron pleaded.
“Not to worry, father. I’ll see to that. She’s my responsibility now.” What had he just done? Promised to handle Purity? He was going to confront her regarding what his father had told him and now, he was going to make her love him. And he too would have to fall for her. Loving someone wasn’t the problem here. He had always wished to find love and happiness, but not with a woman like Purity. She was innocent and all that, but she had bad manners, how’s he gonna fix her? He had already given his word and there was no going back.
“Thank you, son. You’ll never regret this.”
Jeremy deeply sighed. “I hope so.”
The air conditioner was on, yet perspiration formed on his face and arms. Jeremy shifted uncomfortably on the dining chair he rested on. He dressed casually, a denim jean and a t-shirt. He covered his legs with Converse sneakers.
He laid his two hands on the table as he waited for the arrival of Purity. He had promised Aaron Theodore that he’ll handle Purity. Before that, he had to know if she was aware of the divorce he was going to file for, a year after the marriage. It was not going to be an easy conversation. He silently prayed for things to go well.
As his eyes continued to rove around the restaurant, it fell on a lady’s leg. Her feet were decorated with heeled sandals, from her hips down, a blue denim jean, her body, a black lose top. Her smile was sexy. She sent it to him and gracefully walked over to the table. She sat down.
Jeremy didn’t smile back, neither did her look happy to see her. He examined her. By the time she was relaxed, he shot her a-no-apology-look. She immediately understood.
“I’m sorry I kept you waiting. I had things to do at home.” She was in a very good mood. Didn’t want a fight. “How are you?” She grinned.
Jeremy’s heartbeat increased. He couldn’t respond. The attractive young woman that sat in front of him made him lose his sanity. She was so so stunning. She was driving him crazy. At that moment, he wanted her all to himself. He actually forgot the reason why he had wanted to talk to her. He returned her smile in an amusing way.
“Jeremy are you okay?” Purity couldn’t understand why he was so quiet, acting strange and smiling like he was crazy.
What the hell is wrong? Why am I acting so stupid? I have always been composed when I’m with a lady, why is this different? I am fidgeting, so unusual. He used a hand to wipe his forehead. “I-I am okay.”
Purity looked at him thoroughly. She wasn’t convinced. “Are you sure?”
He nodded.
“If you say so.”
Now, Jeremy, do it. Ask her about the divorce. “Do-?”
“You want to order something?” a young, beautiful blonde girl cut in.
Jeremy and Purity exchanged glances.
“You want to order?” they asked in unison.
They smiled at that.
“Just a bottle of champagne would do.”
The waitress left them.
“Papa said you wanted to speak to me. About what?”
“So many things.” He was beginning to get himself back.
“Really?” She crossed her legs. “Well, lets begin.”
Jeremy had seen that she was happy. One could tell easily. For once, she didn’t decline or abuse him, she was just okay and delighted. Why did she feel that way? He wanted to know. He’d never forgive himself if he made her sad tonight. What if she knew nothing? He had to let that pass.
“Why are you so happy?”
So, he finally noticed. She giggled. “I don’t know, I’m just happy.”
The waitress returned with a bottle of champagne and two glasses on a tray. She dropped them and left.
“The name for the new company JP, its cool. Do you like it.” she asked shyly.
Jeremy opened the bottle and filled their glasses. “Look at me. My eyes.” he emphasized the last phrase.
Purity did so. She locked her eyes to his. After several minutes which seemed like forever, she looked away. Her hands were unsteady.
“I did not ask you to look away.” Jeremy was unimpressed.
“I can’t do it. I just can’t.”
“Don’t you go on business dates?”
“I do. Its totally different from this.”
He emptied his glass in one gulp. “Why don’t you go out? Do you have any friends?”
“I am very happy on my own. I have no friends. Just you.”
“Are you scared of women too?”
She sipped her wine. “I am not. I keep them at a distance.”
“Why did you choose this kind of life?”
She smiled. “Reasons best known to me. Aren’t you happy I’m here?”
I’d get to know them soon. He smiled back. “Sure, I am.”
“Tell me about you.” she requested.
“There’s nothing much to say.” He wiped his mouth using a servet.
“I doubt it. Come on. Who’s being shy now?”
Jeremy laughed heartily. “What exactly?”
“Um,” She glanced at the ceiling of the restaurant and then at Jeremy. “Your previous relationships, if you want me to know.” She wasn’t sure if she had done the right thing. She was really curious about the woman he had dated. She might want to be like them so he’ll like her.
He grinned and cleared this throat. “It began like this. . . . .”

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