Hi, reader? Good evening. How are you feeling ❤️? I hope you are ready for this episode. I totally enjoyed writing it?. I pray that you enjoy reading it too. The circle, episode seven…cheers?
Episode 7- Cloud Nine
A year passed by and everything died down. Shirley blocked Femi everywhere, she didn’t want to see him at all. They never spoke again after the last time they spoke on the phone.
Hazel stayed off relationships, after all, that she has been through and all that she had seen Shirley go through she decided to take some time off to heal.
When Alex had healed, he broke things off with Zoey, it was a very nasty breakup that created a lot of problems between his family and Zoey’s family.
Work took Aisha to the UK and Dompreh moved with her, they had a beautiful son they couldn’t wait to show the group.
Shirley focused on work more and embraced her singlehood, as time went by she gradually started to appreciate how her life had turned out. She learned how to play lawn tennis and mastered how to dance and make certain foods.
She was on a solo date one weekend at a café when a new number texted her. Shirley knew right away that it was a Nigerian number from the area code. She ignored it because she thought it was Femi.
Her phone kept buzzing so she decided to check. She checked the messages and realized it was Didi, Femi’s kid sister. She has always known her to be based in the states but the number she contacted her with was a Nigerian number. She replied and when she did, Didi called immediately.
“Hello, Shirley. I know what this looks like and I am terribly sorry for this inconvenience. I really didn’t know what else to do”
“Don’t apologize Didi. it’s fine. You sound a little troubled. What’s happening?”
“ Femi needs you. He isn’t himself. Trust me, I wouldn’t have reached out if I wasn’t in dying need of your help. I moved back to Nigeria a couple of months after his wedding because he changed drastically and my parents thought my presence might help him calm down and go back to his normal self, but he is getting out of hand. He is suicidal now and gets these crazy panic attacks and when they come he cries out for you”
“oh my God. This is bad. What do you need me to do?”
“ I know is asking a lot but can you come to Nigeria next weekend? I am pretty sure you can help the situation with your presence and talk some sense into him”
“ Wow. This is quite a lot. I really do understand. And I would have loved to come but I haven’t really budgeted for a trip you see. And it’s a short notice”
“ Oh, don’t worry about the money at all. I will pay for everything. I just need you here for my brother. Please”
“ let me think about it, I promise to let you know my decision during the week”
“ Alright. I will be on standby but I am hoping your answer is going to be yes”
Shirley smiled over the phone but didn’t say anything
Damilola ended the call.
Shirley thought about everything, she knew her parents would flip if she ever told them she wanted to go to Nigeria. She closed her laptop and signaled the waiter to bring the check.
She prayed as she drove back home, her first thought, when Didi asked her to come to Nigeria, was to say no but she knew Femi needed her. He had reached out to her several times but she had ignored him. Hearing how very badly he was doing broke her heart.
When she got home, her first instinct was to try and talk her parents into allowing her to go to Nigeria but her parents were in such a good mood she decided to keep quiet.
She greeted them and went to her bedroom to change. Hazel called her when she settled down.
“ Hey Hazel, how are you doing?”
“ I am good. How was the solo date?”
“ It was okay. I made the best of it. I will try and go on more solo dates and get used to it”
“ ooh cool. I think I will give it a try too”
“ You should. Anyway, how was your day?”
“ My day was good. So we have this trip coming up at work and I was wondering if you wanted to join”
“ A trip? Where are you going?”
“ Turks and Caicos,” Hazel said
“ Turks and what?”
“ It’s an island”
“ Whoa! Who in your office decided on that place?”
“ It was a unanimous decision. Come on. I checked it out and it’s very beautiful”
“ When are you going?”
“ Next month, and I know you will be on leave by then. That’s why I am asking you to join. My other colleagues are bringing their friends too. It’s a perfect way to clear your head, relax and probably meet someone new. After the hurt you went through last year I am sure this trip will do you some good”
“ What did you say the place is called again?”
“ Turks and Caicos”
“ why didn’t you guys decide on the Maldives, Bora Bora Island, or any interesting place? Turks and chaos sounds creepy”
“ It’s Turks and Caicos, not Chaos, Shirley. Stop being difficult. I promise you are going to love it there”
“Talking about trips, you won’t believe what happened to me this afternoon?”
“Femi’s kid sister reached out to me. She invited me to Nigeria. Femi hasn’t been himself lately and she wants me to go to Nigeria and cheer him up.”
“Cheer him up? Because of what? Are you a cheerleader?”
“ Be serious Hazel”
“ I am being serious, Shirley. What are you going to do there? Femi is not a kid. He is a grown man. He knew what he was doing. It’s been a year. There is no need to go to Nigeria. He is in your past. The best you can do is to send a message or call him. You can sing him a lullaby for all I care, he isn’t your priority anymore. You have the rest of your life ahead of you. Trust me. You still have your dignity intact, don’t sell yourself short by moving to another country to baby a married man. I hope you weren’t considering it?”
“I told her I will think about it and let her know.”
“Okay, well we have thought about it and the answer is No. His wife can cheer him up.”
“He is still our friend Hazel. I have a feeling he might be in a lot of trouble.”
“He has his family around him. You are no superhero, Shirley. Going there for a couple of days, isn’t going to make any difference.”
“Well, you are right. I have no idea what I am going there to do anyway.”
“ Yes. Mind your business. Pray for him. He knew what he was getting into when he chose to marry Bisola. There is nothing you can do”
After the call, Shirley thought about what Hazel had said and sent Damilola a message declining her request.
Claudia ended the relationship when she started to notice Kwadwo’s lack of interest. His new role in New Zealand was more challenging and the time difference between them became apparent whenever she wanted to have a long and serious conversation about their relationship.
She endured the whole year but she just couldn’t take it anymore. Kwadwo asked for a chance to do right by her but Claudia didn’t want to hear it.
He thought about contacting Shirley when things went south with Claudia but he never reached out to her all year when the news about Femi broke. It made him feel reaching out to her now would make him look insensitive. For weeks he battled with himself, he wanted to send her a message but anytime he starts typing, he overthinks the whole thing and then gives up.
Shirley made payments for the trip through Hazel and they were both very excited.
Her parents wouldn’t allow her to go alone without Alex, who happened to be on leave too around that time. Shirley begged him countlessly before he agreed to join the girls. With Alex on board, Mr.Yankey gave his blessing.
Hazel hated it so much when Shirley told her that Alex would be joining. If she could, she would have forfeited the trip altogether.
Alex didn’t know what to expect on the trip, on the plane he stole glances at Hazel any chance he got. He read a book to escape his reality.
“I read this book last year, it changed my life”
Alex turned to look at the lady seated next to him. She hadn’t said anything the whole flight so her voice startled Alex but he smiled at her and they started a conversation.
“Really? I must say so far it’s been such a great read. A friend at work recommended it”
“ooh? That’s a great friend you’ve got. Hold on to him or her”
“it’s him. I sure will”
“I am Maame Yaa by the way,” she said and smiled
“I am Alex”
“Nice to meet you, Alex”
“Same here,” Alex said and shook her hand
They spoke and giggled, drawing a little attention to themselves. Shirley didn’t have to ask Hazel to know that she was jealous. She had a frown on her face and Shirley saw her putting headphones on so that she doesn’t hear Maame Yaa and Alex laughing.
They arrived at the hotel and were warmly welcomed by the staff. They all grabbed a bite to eat, and after dinner, they introduced themselves so that everyone got acquainted.
Hazel noticed when Alex left the table with Maame Yaa. She sighed and asked Shirley if she was ready to leave too.
Shirley and Hazel’s room were very close and that made them very happy. After unpacking Shirley went to Hazel’s room and they lazied in bed.
Alex walked Maame Yaa to her room and she invited him in. They continued their conversation but out of nowhere, Maame Yaa forced a kiss on his lips. Alex kissed her back for a short while and gently pushed her off him.
Maame Yaa is a very beautiful young lady and any man wouldn’t think twice about going all the way with her. But Alex didn’t see her kiss coming but more importantly he wasn’t looking to have sex with a random stranger he met on a plane.
“I have a girlfriend Maame Yaa,” he said
“Ooh? Really? I am sorry. I only thought there was something here, you know, and wanted us to explore it”
Alex stayed quiet, he was starting to feel uncomfortable.
“is your girlfriend here?” she added
“Actually she is. And I should be getting back to her. It’s been a pleasure meeting you Maame Yaa” Alex said and awkwardly left the room
Maame Yaa was left confused.
The next morning Alex told Shirley what happened with Maame Yaa and she laughed
“You liar! Now you see the mess you are in?”
“I had no choice. She was moving too fast and too strong”
“And saying you have a girlfriend was what you could have come up with?”
“It wasn’t smart I know. Goodness, what am I going to do now? She would expect to see me with this “girlfriend. Can you pretend to be my girl?”
“Ah! Fiifi..! I am your sister! There you go making stupid decisions again”
“Don’t Fiifi me, Shirley. I don’t want to be caught in a lie, she really likes me. I will feel bad if she finds out I lied.”
“I am not doing it but I have an idea though, you owe me big time”
Shirley chuckled and walked out of Alex’s room.
“Hell No! Shirley! I want no part in this!” Hazel angrily said
“Come on. It’s only for a short while”
“What was he thinking anyway? As a matter of fact, I am going to tell Maame Yaa the truth”
Shirley made a sad face and it cracked Hazel up
“What’s with the face?” Hazel asked
“Please. Do this for me. I know it’s difficult because he is your ex-boyfriend. It’s just for the week we are going to be here and you would only need to pretend when Maame Yaa is around”
“The thing is, Maame Yaa knows I am single. It would still look odd”
“She is just a colleague, what she thinks doesn’t matter. And your love life is none of her business. Do you prefer she gets him? I saw how jealous you were on the plane when they were talking”
“Alright fine. But tell him no touching; no holding of hands, kissing, or hugging. We can talk and laugh to make it seem we are together”
“That’s so boring girl, add some spice to pepper her small. She kissed your man oo” Shirley teased
Hazel chuckled and threw a pillow at her
“You are really sick. Crazy girl”
Shirley laughed and hugged her
“Thank you, let me go and inform Alex now ” Shirley said and excitedly left Hazel’s room
It was awkward at first when they met in front of Shirley’s room. They were going downstairs for breakfast. they couldn’t make eye contact. Shirley was secretly enjoying every moment of it.
When they got downstairs, Hazel saw a couple of her colleagues but Maame Yaa wasn’t there yet. Shirley suggested that Alex and Hazel found a table for just the two of them in a corner so that it seemed like they wanted some privacy.
Hazel rolled her eyes and agreed. She saw a table in a corner and walked towards it, and Alex followed her.
Hazel was still mad at Alex for a lot of things but she decided not to talk about it.
“I am very sorry about this Hazel”
Hazel sighed and took her sunglasses off. She looked at her phone trying to ignore Alex.
“What would you like to eat?” he asked.
“I haven’t decided yet,” Hazel said.
“It’s a buffet. I am going to check what they have and run it by you” Hazel nodded without looking at him.
Since plans changed overnight causing Hazel and Alex to spend more time together, Shirley was kind of left alone. She didn’t know how to approach Hazel’s colleagues to start conservation, so she too found a corner table. She went to get herself a plate of pancakes and was reading and eating.
Nana Kwame had already spotted her when she got to the restaurant with Alex and Hazel. He got a little confused when they sat at different tables but he was glad Shirley was alone. He took his chance and walked to Shirley’s table.
“Hello,” he said
Shirley looked up at him
“Hi,” she said and smiled
“Wow. Beautiful smile”
“Thank you,” she said and blushed
“Do you mind?” he said pointing at the empty chair across from her
“Thank you,” Nana Kwame said and sat down
“My name is Nana Kwame; I saw you from across the room when you got here with your friends and decided I want to be your friend too.”
“Oh? Really?” Shirley said and giggled.
“Yes really. I know you have a ton of friends, but could you please squeeze me somewhere on your list?”
Shirley laughed; she was a little speechless.
“What are you reading?” he asked to start a conversation
Alex got back to the table with a plate of spicy shrimp noodles for Hazel. He knows how much Hazel can’t resist it. She was touched by his gesture, she looked around to check if Maame Yaa has arrived but she was nowhere to be found.
“You didn’t have to Alex,” Hazel said
“I know but I wanted to”
Hazel smiled and it made Alex smile too. Maame Yaa came downstairs a couple of minutes later and immediately noticed Hazel and Alex. Her heart sank, and she walked past their table to make sure they know she has seen them. Hazel felt a little bad but a part of her didn’t want her colleague to get with the man she knew she wasn’t completely done loving.
After breakfast, Shirley and Nana Kwame went for a walk. All along she assumed he was part of Hazel’s work people but he was there for a vacation alone. He is an architect based in the UK, it’s his second time in Turks and Caicos.
They spoke about random things and hit it off quite strongly. He walked her to her room when the day ended and asked for her number.
Shirley gave it to him, she wasn’t expecting to spend her whole day with Nana Kwame, but she enjoyed every moment of it.
She missed out on some activities her group had in the afternoon, but she wasn’t bothered about it. She went to check if Hazel was asleep after she freshened up. Hazel was just about to sleep when Shirley knocked on her door.
“Who is it please?”
Hazel chuckled and opened the door
“Ay! Ewurakua Yankey! Didn’t your parents tell you that talking to strangers is bad? But here you are on an island galavanting with a very handsome one”
Shirley laughed and entered her room.
“I completely lost track of time. He is such a great conversationalist, and I couldn’t stop looking at him.”
“I can imagine. Whoa! Way to go, girl. So, are you going to see him tomorrow?”
“Of course! He is here alone for vacation, and I don’t mind keeping a handsome stranger company at all. You and Alex are on your own this week.”
“Shirley! You need to calm down. He is a great-looking guy, and he obviously likes you, but you just met him don’t get carried away. I am serious.”
“I won’t trust me, but at this moment, I am happy. One of the reasons you dragged me here was to let a load off and meet new people, no?”
“So, I am doing exactly that. Don’t worry about me” Shirley said and covered herself with the duvet.
“Are you sleeping here?” Hazel asked.
“Yes, I am. Come on, tell me how it went with Alex today.”
Hazel joined her in the bed, and she described everything in detail, as she spoke Shirley noticed immediately that Hazel still loved her brother very much. Shirley dozed off first and Hazel followed a couple of minutes later.
Alex absolutely loved spending the day with Hazel, in a way, he was glad that he lied, he was looking forward to “pretending’ some more with Hazel. He thought about her for a while before he finally slept off.
The next morning Shirley woke up very excited, she couldn’t wait to see Nana Kwame again. She had overslept a little bit. She wanted to wake Hazel too, but she didn’t want to disturb her sleep. She picked up her key card and quietly walked out of the room.
Nana Kwame was already at her door knocking, he wanted them to have breakfast together.
She was startled when she saw him. She was in her nightwear and a bonnet.
“Hey,” she said shyly
Nana Kwame smiled but was a little confused
“Nice bonnet” he teased
Shirley chuckled and opened her door
“I was with my best friend Hazel, we spent the night talking”
She ushered him into her room and she rushed to her bathroom to wash her face and brush her teeth.
She came out and greeted him properly.
“You look cute by the way. Bonnet and all”
Shirley covered her face shyly
“Thanks,” she said
“Okay, I will leave you to dress up. I will be downstairs waiting on you” he said
“Okay sure thank you. See you soon”
Nana Kwame left the room and Shirley rushed to the bathroom to shower.
Hazel woke up and found a message from Alex, he wanted to know if she was awake. She read it but didn’t reply.
When she was done dressing up she called him and they went downstairs together. Shirley was already eating with Nana Kwame when Alex and Hazel arrived for breakfast.
After breakfast the group got a boat, and they went whale watching. Shirley asked Nana Kwame to join, and he gladly accepted.
He took some photos of her when she wasn’t looking, and Shirley absolutely loved that.
While on the boat, Nana Kwame invited her to watch him play some golf the next morning and Shirley was excited about it.
By the third day, Maame Yaa was over Alex and Hazel, and all their shenanigans.
Alex enjoyed spending time with Hazel and he knew Hazel did too. They weren’t pretending anymore and Alex knew if he wanted to get a real chance with Hazel again he had to man up and have an honest conversation with Hazel’s mother. He had really missed her and the days that they spent together were the reminder he needed.
Shirley also took photos of Nana Kwame on the golf course, he looked very handsome and happy. Shirley immediately knew that golfing is one of his favorite things to do. They were starting to like each other a lot and they were sad the week was ending.
On the last day, after dinner, they went on a long walk on the beach and Nana Kwame gave her a really beautiful bracelet.
The first day they met and spent all day together walking and talking on the beach, Nana Kwame noticed that Shirley picked up a couple of pebbles from the shore.
She dropped them when Nana Kwame helped her get up, but he picked them up quickly when she wasn’t looking and turned them into a beautiful bracelet for Shirley. She was stunned when she saw the bracelet.
“I was wondering where I left them, I completely thought that I lost them.”
“You didn’t,” Nana Kwame said and placed it on her left wrist.
“Thank you very much,” she said shyly.
Nana Kwame smiled and kissed her on the forehead and then hugged her.
“I wish you were based in the UK or I in Ghana. This trip has been awesome and I am going to miss you” he said sadly.
“I will miss you too,” Shirley said
“I promise to stay in touch,” he said
“You better!” she said and they both laughed
Alex and Hazel let down their pride and had a heart-to-heart. Alex was tired of denying how he truly feels about Hazel. He didn’t want anyone else but her but he needed to be sure Hazel felt the same way and that they were on the same page. He had decided to face Stella and fight for the one woman he loves. Hazel let her walls down and confessed that she wasn’t over him either.
“I think it would be good if I go with you to see my mother. That way you will not be nervous”
“I am not going to be nervous. Aunt Stella practically raised me. I will be more nervous when you are there rather than you not being there,”
“Really?” Hazel blushed
“Yes, so don’t block my shine,” Alex said and chuckled
“I missed you so much,” Hazel said
Alex stared at her
“I missed you more and I know I have been such a jerk”
“Don’t remind me, I can’t begin to tell you how much I wanted to punch you in the jaw anytime I saw you”
Alex laughed hysterically and held his jaw
“My poor jaw,” he said and they both laughed.
He walked her to her room and hugged her. Hazel smiled so much when she entered her room. She showered and was making her bed when she heard a knock on the door. She knew immediately that it was Shirley, she opened it with a smile, but it was Alex.
“Hey? Are you okay?” she asked.
Alex walked into her room, he stared at her beautiful face for a short while and kissed her. He was dying to do it all week. Hazel was startled but she kissed him back.
Shirley got back with Nana Kwame and when he left, she went to check in on Hazel. Her knock startled Hazel and Alex and they broke off the kiss. Shirley raised an eyebrow when Alex opened the door. He quietly walked past his sister to his room and Shirley turned to take a good look at him.
“I don’t even want to know what Alex was doing here. You two clearly aren’t pretending anymore”
Hazel blushed and sat on the bed.
“We have decided to give us another chance. I think we are both up for it and he wants to go and speak to mummy alone to iron things out with her. He is taking the bold step of speaking to her.”
“Wow. That’s great news. But are you sure that’s what you really want? Don’t rush this. We both know how things went down for me when I went back to an ex-boyfriend”
“I know but in this case, I am so sure about this and about him. I don’t love anyone like I love your brother Shirley, he is it for me. Now my prayer is for my mother to understand him and give us her blessing”
“She will. I am so happy that you two are getting back together” Shirley said
Hazel noticed Shirley’s bracelet.
“Wow! This is beautiful” Hazel said and looked at her wrist.
“Nana Kwame made it for me.”
“Yes. I found the pebbles on the beach, I thought I lost them, not knowing he had picked them, only for him to surprise me with a beautiful bracelet this evening.”
“Oh, my God! This guy is something else.”
“I know. I am in trouble. He is too good to be true.”
“Let’s see how he goes. You seem happy and I absolutely want that for you.”
The next morning Nana Kwame left early to catch the first flight, but he sent Shirley a sweet message and promised to call her when he lands.
Thanks for coming this far ?. See you soon with the next episode. Enjoy the rest of your weekend?