CHEF 26 by Ojeiwa Ojeabu Omo- Episode 24

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After a hard day’s work, Kaima left the silver building and drove to the Magic Menu Restaurant, practicing how she was going to break the news of her love to Damilare.

Some minutes later she pulled up to the parking lot of the restaurant. Her pulse raced as she took a deep breath to calm her nerves. As soon as she stopped, she retrieved a portable make-up kit from her bag, in it, she carried her beauty essentials; a mirror, a hair brush, powder, and red lipstick. She was excited and anxious as she applied some make up and the red lipstick. Satisfied, she turned off the ignition, stepped out of her car and hid her eyes behind dark Ray Ban sunglasses.

Kaima sashayed towards the entrance of the restaurant, paused, took a deep breath, exhaled then opened the glass doors that connected her to the front desk. Approaching the girl whose name tag read Bisi at the reception, and flashing a radiant smile, she said;

“Hi there.”

“Hello Madam. Are you here to place an order?” The girl at the reception asked smiling.

“No. I am here to see one of your Chefs. Damilare or Chef 26.” Kaima replied, taking off her sunglasses.

“One moment Madam.” The girl at the front desk motioned for her to take a seat in the waiting area.

Kaima promptly sat down in the waiting area she was directed to.

“Chef 26 you have a visitor.” Bisi the receptionist announced to the personnel in the kitchen.

Damilare who was chatting with Ikenna at the time excused himself from the conversation.

“Dude all this visitors you keep having, do you want to share what’s going on?” Ikenna asked partly curious, partly amused.

“Yea, my relatives who live under the sea have decided to start living on land, so they need a tour guide to show them around. I guess one of them is here now.” Damilare replied with a wry grin.

They both laughed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kaima was still feeling very nervous waiting for Damilare. Just then, the kitchen door swung open, Kaima’s heart beat raced as Damilare stepped out of the kitchen, his eyes connecting with hers as he marched confidently towards her.

“Hi Kay.” Damilare said smiling, reaching for a hug.

“Hi Dre.” Kaima replied as she stood up to embrace him. She took in his scent as he tore away from her embrace.

“It’s good to see you.” Damilare said.

“Same here.” Kaima tried her best to conceal her nervous energy with a smile.

“Let’s go into the restaurant.” Damilare said. Opening the door to the restaurant and ushering her in.

She followed his lead taking his hand as he navigated their way to a table for two close to a window.

Damilare pulled a chair away from the table playing the part of the gentleman as he allowed her to seat first. Taking a seat opposite hers, he stared directly into her eyes and braced himself for whatever Kaima planned to say.

Silence ensued for some seconds, Kaima who still felt nervous, finally mustered the courage to speak. “

“There is something I want to tell you.” She said.

“Go on I’m listening.” Damilare replied.

Kaima paused, her hands were shaking uncontrollable. This was much harder than she anticipated. Damilare could see she was absorbed in so much nervousness that speaking had suddenly become a very tough task for her.

“Kay, say what you want to say, I’m here, I know you have something you want to get off your chest, you can take it off now, just say it.” Damilare gently reassured her.

Kaima exhaled.

“I can do this; I can do this.” She repeated to herself.

Her gaze was fixed on the table cloth and not Damilare’s face; it was easier to say I love you to the table cloth than to him she thought.

“I…. I…… I……. think, I mean I…. I…..” She stuttered and wondered what was wrong, she kept trying to hit the nail on the head, but instead she succeeded in putting more dents on the wood.

“Dear God this is embarrassing.” Kaima whispered to herself.

“You like me?” Damilare helped her out.

Kaima sat upright and looked at him, surprise etched on her pretty face.

“No, no I don’t like you.” Kaima replied.

“Excuse me! Then why are we here? I am sorry, but I have to return to the kitchen.” Damilare said in a low, hard and disappointed tone.

He stood up and was about to leave when he felt Kaima’s hands on his.

He paused and looked at her.

“Please sit Dre.” Kaima said as the nervous energy she had earlier gave way to calm and composure.

She had to do it now, or else she knew someone else would, and that someone else wasn’t even trying to hide it. It was now or never.

Kaima hands travelled across the table and landed on Damilare’s. She wrapped them with hers, holding it at first, and then squeezing it. She looked into his eyes and said;

“I don’t know what happened; I don’t know why it happened. But the first day I tasted your meal, I sensed there was something special about the person who cooked the meal. I thought you were a woman, but I learnt through Cynthia that you were a man, and I was amazed, I wanted to meet this man who cooked food that lightened my mood and seemed to bless me with boundless energy. Each time I eat your food, I get 3 hours of work done in an hour. Your food has the power to release positive emotions. I spotted a business opportunity, and decided to take it but when I met you in person, my heart skipped a beat. I couldn’t and still can’t take my mind off you, I kept seeing you everywhere I go; when I am awake and when I am sleeping.”

Damilare was too delighted to say anything.

Kaima continued.

“Then things went sour and I lost everything, I lost Cynthia, I lost you, and I lost me. I couldn’t live with myself, I had to make things right, by getting everything I lost back. I’ve gotten Cynthia back; I’ve gotten a part of me back, so here I am trying to get that other part of me back. You Dre! I’m in love with you Dre and I can’t explain it, I can only feel it in here.”
Kaima tapped her chest to indicate her heart as a tear rolled down her face.

Damilare released his hand from Kaima’s grip and wiped the tear away.

Kaima sniffled then continued pouring out her heart.

“Dre if you’ll be my man,” she paused staring directly into his eyes, “I’ll be your woman every second, every minute, every hour, and every day, forever.” Reconnecting her right hand with his and squeezing them tightly.

Damilare was too stunned to speak. Now, he was the one looking nervous, his composed demeanour was gone, only to be replaced by the nervous energy that was coursing through Kaima some minutes ago.

He dropped his head, lost in his own thoughts then raised it up again without meeting Kaima’s eyes. He looked out the window, suddenly finding the environment around them more interesting.

Kaima sensed that maybe he wasn’t ready for this and decided that she might have to give him some time to think about. She knew he liked her, she had heard his open confession from Lola’s phone recording. She knew that she was out of his league, but Lola was right, if he was placed in the right environment, he would excel.

“Dre if you are not ready yet to start ‘this’ motioning to him and her using her finger in a back and forth movement. I can walk away now.” Kaima said desperately seeking affirmation.

Damilare returned his attention to the table, there were tears in his eyes too.

Kaima looked puzzled.

She didn’t understand what the tears in his eyes were for. He wasn’t the one doing the asking out, so why were there tears in his eyes she thought. A few tears strolled away from his face; he had something to say to.

“Me too.” Damilare finally said. His voice barely audible.

Kaima didn’t hear him clearly.

“What did you say?” She asked.

“The feeling is mutual, I’m in love with you too, and I’m ready for ‘This’.” He said, mimicking the back and forth finger motion she had done earlier.

Kaima let out a hearty smile.

Damilare grabbed her hands and squeezed it gently.

For the first time in a long time, Kaima felt whole. ”

“Why don’t i drop you off? Make your journey less stressful?” Kaima asked Damilare.

“Really! That’ll be great. Let me sign out, I’m done for today.” Damilare said, releasing her hands and disappearing momentarily.

Minutes later, they were out of the restaurant. Marching hand in hand towards Kaima’s car.

Kaima turned on the ignition and manoeuvred her Toyota Camry out of the parking lot and drove out.

As soon as they got to Oshodi bus stop, Damilare thanked Kaima for helping him out.

“Why don’t i drop you off at your house?” Kaima asked.

Damilare looked at her as if she was suddenly mad.

“No way Kay! My place is too far from yours. Besides, there’ll be traffic there by this time of the day, what time will you get home? It’s 8pm already.” He said.

Kaima smiled.

“Don’t worry honey; I know that. I plan to spend the night at yours.” She added with a girlish grin.

Damilare grinned back.

…...to be continued

Genre: Nigerian Romance/Fiction

Do you think Kaima’s going home to Damilare’s after her big reveal was a wise decision? We would love to see what you think.

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