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Ruby's Search For Romance - Literature (9) - Nairaland

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Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Cynthialinlin(f): 4:11am On May 31
EPISODE NINETY-TWO

The vibration of her phone woke Ruby up. She crept out of the room to pick up the call when her phone vibrated. She tip-toed so she would not disturb Justin as he was still sleeping. She took the call on the balcony. The sun was out, casting warm rays on the railings. She yawned as she said, “So when are you guys coming?” She stretched her body, twisting her waist to wake up the muscles in that region.

“By ten ‘o’clock.” The voice on the other side said. Ruby could hear the noise of the traffic as the woman spoke.

“Alright. Don’t be too loud.” She walked back into the house and stealthily laid down beside Justin. In the dim-lit room, she looked at Justin, his face free from the frown that he had come home with the previous night. He had come across some problems in one of the branches of his dealership. Even though he travelled some days to sort out the problem, the people he was supposed to deal with were bent on frustrating him before doing what they were supposed to do. There was little she could do but give him some listening ear and comfort him the best way she could. Luckily, the next day, today, was his birthday. This would be the first birthday they would be celebrating together. Her’s was still about three months ago. But she felt it was the best time to put a smile on his face.

When Justin woke up, he trailed the smell of akara to the dining table. A bowl of deeply fried, awkward-shaped akara was sitting in the middle of the table, beside it was sliced bread and the electric jug with steam still coming out of its lid. 

“Babe,” he called out. 

Ruby’s reply came from the kitchen. She was cleaning up after an untidy mission of making akara. She was glad that Justin came out a little late, otherwise, he would have cringed at the mess she’d made in his kitchen, with splatters of the akara dough on different surfaces.

Justin hugged her from behind and kissed her neck, not forgetting to pinch her waist before letting go. “Why did you wake up so early to make the akara yourself? We could have just bought some from the woman down the road.”

Ruby shook her head. She turned over to kiss him on the lips. “Happy birthday, Justin.” She wrapped her hands around his waist not minding that her hands were wet. “I wanted to prepare something for you. Besides, you’ve not tasted my akara before.”

Justin kissed her again, first on her forehead, then on the tip of her nose and then finished it off with a kiss on her lips. “Thank you, babe. But you really didn’t need to. Come on. Let’s eat. Leave the cleaning up until we finish eating. We can do it together.”

Ruby followed him into the dining room. She winced when she saw the shapes of the akara she’d fried. No matter how she dried, she couldn’t seem to be able to get the perfect round shape like the ones they bought by the roadside or the ones Rose use to make when she was still around. But Justin was already using his phone to take pictures of the bowl of akara balls—or akara shapes.

She stretched out a hand to stop him but he cleanly evaded her. “Don’t take pictures. They look so ugly,” she whined.

“It doesn’t matter. I like them like that.” He reached for one and bit from it before feeding her the other half of it. “Come on. It’s not that bad. It also tastes good.”

Ruby pouted and chewed. It didn’t taste bad, not as good as she aimed for, but it was eatable. She sat down beside him. “This is the first time I’m making akara,” she admitted. 

“Whoa! I’m glad I’m your first akara taster.” He made tea for both of them, making it in one cup before dividing it into another cup and adding water to the two cups.

They finished the bowl of akara, sometimes feeding each other. 

“Do you have anything planned for today?” Ruby asked.

Justin shrugged. “Nothing. I’m too tired.”

“I want to take you out,” she announced.

He raised his brows. 

“I’m serious!” She slapped his shoulders gently. “We’ll first go shopping, then I’ll take you to a massage parlour. And then we’ll go to a barbing saloon. Then dinner together, what do you think?”

He was still looking at her. “I just cut my hair a few days ago.”

“Then we can skip that part. We’ll go to a spa. Don’t worry. I’ll sponsor everything.” She patted her chest confidently.

“We can just stay at home and relax. We-”

She shook her head and placed a finger on his mouth to cut him off. “No, no, no. We are going to celebrate your birthday. I suspected you didn’t want something big and complicated so I settled for this. Don’t say no please.” She batted her lashes at him.

Justin took her hand and kissed it, giving her an affectionate gaze. “Anything you want.” 

Ruby’s phone pinged with a message when they were in the living room, watching a show. 
We just got into the elevator.

Feeling giddy, she excused herself and went into the room. She replied to the message, saying they could ring the bell when they arrived at the apartment. She quickly changed her clothes and tidied up her hair. The doorbell was extremely loud. She heard Justin’s “Who’s there?” as he went to open the door.

Because she didn’t want to disturb the neighbours, she’d gotten a guitarist rather than a sax player (she also thought the guitar was more romantic). The strains of the music flooded into the house, Wande Coal’s Olulufe. Ruby came out just in time, looking at Justin. There was a myriad of expressions on his face, surprise, happiness as he looked at the surprise party, and then love when he looked back to see Ruby. He didn’t mind the visitors. He walked over to her and hugged her, encircling her in a warm embrace, holding her tight. 

“Babe,” he whispered into her neck. 

She returned the hug, wrapping her hands around him. “Happy birthday, sweetheart. I love you. So much.”

Hands around each other, they listened to the sound of the guitar. Ruby recited the lyrics of the song to Justin in a low voice, “You're my everything; I can't even say I need; Because of the love you bring; That's why I will always sing; And every time I'm weak; And every time I sleep; I know I'm still dreaming about you.” Changing the pronouns in the lyrics when needed. 

The lead of the surprise party presented Justin with a bouquet of flowers when the serenade was over, after an open speech that said they were sent by his girlfriend, Ruby. They placed a food tray on the table as well as two gift boxes. They left after their service was others.

“Flowers?” Justin smelled the flowers and beamed at Ruby.

She blushed. “I thought you would love it.” 

“Of course I do.” He kissed the flowers and placed them on the chair. Then looked at the food tray. “I didn’t expect this.” He picked up the bottle of red wine. “My favourite,” he smiled and pulled her closer by the waist. He kissed her temple. “I love you, babe.”

She basked in his attention, enjoying the look on his face as he opened up the rest of the gifts. A perfume set; a Gucci belt; a silver pendant; and a pair of leather shoes. It had taken her ages to decide which gift to give him. He seemed to have everything, but as she arranged it all, including the surprise party, she understood that it was the intention that mattered. She suspected that even if it was just the guitarist with his serenade or even just the flowers, Justin would still have the same look of happiness and adoration on his face. She had spent a big part of her savings to set it up—the belt took a huge chunk of her money—but it was all worth it.

“I love them,” Justin said when he finished opening up the gifts. “Thank you, babe.” They sat down together, wrapped in each other’s arms. 
 
***
Later in the afternoon, they went shopping. Or rather, Ruby took Justin shopping. “Pick what you want,” she said when they entered the boutique, adopting the stance Justin often took when he took her shopping, that bossy “I’ll pay for everything you get.”

Justin obeyed. He picked out three shirts and tried them in front of her like she usually did. As Ruby paid for the clothes, she felt a little sting in her chest. So expensive, she cried inside. But she was careful not to show it at all. She was certain she would have to take three or four freelance gigs to replace the money. As they left the store, Justin said, “I like this feeling. We should do this more often.”

You want me to go broke! She moaned to herself but said, “Of course. Maybe next time we’ll use your card.” She gave him an impish look.

Justin laughed. Their next stop was at the spa. They enjoyed a lovely service—a professional massage, facials, pedicure and manicure. Ruby also got a salt bath. 

“This feels so good,” Justin said when they came out of the spa about two hours later.

Ruby felt the same. Her whole body was relaxed. Her skin felt as smooth as that of a baby. Even though she wanted to pay for it, they ended up swiping Justin’s card. (Not that she minded.)

Dinner was at Justin’s favourite restaurant—the one with the private booths that offered great pepper soup. Ruby sang ‘Happy birthday’ to him while they waited for their food to arrive. Justin held her hands over the table as she sang, his eyes not leaving her for a second.

“I love you, Justin. Thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for standing by my side. Thank you for choosing me. And I thank God that he created you.” She choked as she said the words. This wasn’t the first time she was professing her love for Justin. She felt grateful, really grateful for his presence in her life.

Justin reached over to wipe a tear from the corner of her eyes. “Thank you, Ruby. For today. The best birthday I ever had. I love you. To the moon and back. You make me happy, babe. The happiest I’ve ever been.”

When their food arrived, they teased themselves as they ate. Despite their banters, the romantic ambience between them didn’t dissipate.

They sipped on their glasses of wine when they finished eating. They didn’t talk about the serious things in their lives; like Ruby's courses or her job; or Justin’s frustrations. Justin patted the empty space on his seat and told Ruby to come over. “You’re seating so far away.”

He put his arm around her and kissed her neck when she sat down beside her. “You’re special, you know, right?” 

“That’s like the ten-thousandth time you’re saying that today.”

“I just want you to understand,” he said. “I’m so glad I took the wrong order that day. I don’t why I didn’t get your number that day. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t go back to that bar with my friends.”

It was something they talked about often. Something they never got tired of reminiscing. If she hadn’t gone to the bar the next Friday after they met, she probably must have missed out on something big. And when she thought of this, she thought of the events leading up to it. The main catalyst being Rose leaving for Canada. A lot had happened since then.

They were still reminiscing when a waitress walked up to their table with a glass of wine, intruding on their sweet moment.

“Sorry, sir, madam. The lady over there asked me to bring this here,” she said politely.

At the “lady” part, Ruby instantly felt irritated. She looked in the direction the waitress referred to and her irritation increased. Talk about Lagos being small. If it was not Jasmine with the expired honey voice, who else would disturb them at this critical point.

“What does she want again?” Ruby muttered. Even though she couldn’t see the other person clearly, sitting opposite Jasmine was another man. Jasmine stood up and walked over to their booth when she saw the both of them looking over.

“Happy birthday, Emy,” she said stopping beside their booth.

Justin replied with a small smile. 

“You didn’t-”

“Hi, Jasmine,” Ruby cut in. She hated Jasmine’s feigned ignorance of her presence. Couldn’t she tell that she was intruding on a private moment? The private booths didn’t seem so private after all. The owners should just build private huts instead, she thought. 

Jasmine smiled at her, a fake smile. “Huh?! I didn’t get your name the other day. You’re…”

Ruby rolled her eyes, not hiding her vexation. “Thank you for your wine.” She gave Jasmine a fake smile of hers. “I’m sure your partner is waiting for you.” 

Jasmine looked at Justin, but he ignored her, looking through his phone. “Happy birthday,” she said again. “I’ll just leave you guys to enjoy your date.” It was difficult to hide the envy in those words.

“What does she want again?” Ruby grumbled when Jasmine left. 

Justin kissed her neck and then turned her face to kiss her on the lips. “Don’t mind her, babe. We’re still celebrating my birthday. I don’t want any unhappy thoughts, okay?”

But the gossip in Ruby’s mind was already rearing its head. “She is with someone, isn't she?" Ruby peered in the direction of Jasmine's booth. "Maybe it’s her boyfriend. But doesn’t she know that it is rude to go and greet your ex when you’re with your current boyfriend? Hmm. Do you think the guy knows?”

“Ruby!” Justin was offended.

Ruby kissed him and rubbed his back. “I won’t talk about her again. But she should not come near you again o. Can’t she-” Her words were cut off by a ruthless kiss. Can’t she see that you have moved on? She completed in her mind, then surrendered herself to his kiss.

They were breathless when they separated. There were smears of lipstick around Justin’s lips. Ruby reached for a piece of tissue to wipe it off.
“You didn’t need to be so harsh,” she chided.

Justin remained still, allowing her to wipe his lips. “I don’t like it when you do that, bring up topics of unnecessary people and things that will make you unhappy during our dates.”

“I won’t do that again,” she promised then kissed him.

“We should go home now and round off the birthday celebration.”

Ruby was quite confused. “You have something else planned? I thought you said-” she was cut off by another kiss. Justin pulled her closer so she would sit on his legs. It was only then that she understood what he meant. Under her blouse, her nipples stiffened and she could feel a little wetness between her legs. She pulled away quickly.

“Not here.”

She adjusted her clothes and they stood up. Justin picked up her purse for her and they walked out of the garden restaurant, abandoning the untouched glass of wine on the table. 



Author's Note: Colour suggestions for our asoebi pls!!!

5 Likes

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Gloriagee(f): 8:33am On May 31
Biro blue, ugwu green and atarodo red. Welldone babe

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Ann2012(f): 4:52pm On May 31
Crocodile green nko

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Blesstar(f): 11:57pm On May 31
Army green, navy blue and airforce white grin

PS. I'm still waiting for the price of the asoebi material o... cheesy
Make i begin to dey sew am now. No time to waste cool

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Cynthialinlin(f): 12:30pm On Jun 01
EPISODE NINETY-THREE

Justin proposed to Ruby on her birthday. It was a simple proposal, a private one. In a private dining at a restaurant in Victoria Island. She hadn’t suspected anything when they entered the room and saw the decorations of red flowers and balloons. Justin was romantic like that. There were times when they enjoyed romantic diners in his house where he set his home up, giving off that romantic ambience. It had seemed like any other day, like most of the Sundays she spent with him. Early that afternoon, they had gone to a spa where she got her nails done. Then he’d taken her shopping and got her the blue diner gown that she wore to the date. It was normal when he put on the new silver necklace he’d gotten her, with a tiny heart inside a small circle. These were things he did often. Things she’d gotten used to in the eleven months of their dating.

Ruby’s attention was so focused on Justin and his bright smile that she didn’t notice when the background music changed. And then she watched with widened eyes and a rapidly beating heart as he stood up and knelt down in front of her. The black box with the ring seemed to have appeared from nowhere. Her surprise wasn’t feigned. Though she knew they were getting married, she knew this scenario was going to happen, had imagined it in different ways—maybe at that resort in Abuja that had become their getaway destination, or in the cinema like in that video she’d watched on Tiktok—yet, her surprise when it came was real. It was the classic old proposal, nothing out of the ordinary, but when she looked at Justin kneeling in front of her, his eyes gleaming with expectations and love, not a hint of hesitation or worry that she was going to say ‘no’, she felt that it was the most romantic proposal. This was her proposal, she didn’t need strangers shouting “say yes” around her when they didn’t know their story, strangers that only cared about their personal entertainment. This was between her and Justin, the most important person in her life; the only characters that mattered in this love story.

She said yes, a shaky yes, with a choked voice that was trying to hold back her sobs, even though the tears were already running down her cheeks, some falling on her gown. She stretched out her hand and watched as he gently put the ring on her middle finger, kissing that finger before he got up and pulled her in for a deep kiss.

As if on cue, the door opened and a waiter came in with a plate covered with a cloche. Ruby tried to pull away from Justin and tidy up her face in the presence of an outsider. Justin’s hands remained tight around her, not giving her an opportunity to separate.

“I got you a gift,” he said and gestured at the waiter to carry on.

Ruby gently patted her face and looked at the plate that was expertly balanced on the waiter’s hand.

The waiter placed the plate on the table and looked at Justin.

Justin kissed her hand, the one with the ring on it and nodded at the waiter. The waiter raised the cloche with slow, dramatic movements. Ruby’s eyes remained trained on the plate. When the cover was taken away, she looked with shock at the contents of the plate. One was something she would never mistake. A car key. Her hands tightened around that of Justin.

“Justin,” she muttered. She wanted to scream, like in the videos she saw, but her mouth felt too dry. Her emotions were whirling over the top. She looked at the other contents of the plate. A silver rose was sitting on a white envelope. Though filled with curiosity, she first turned to Justin and hugged him. That hug was filled with things she wanted to say but couldn’t find words to express them. She hugged him, breathing in his natural scent mixed with the scent of the perfume she’d gotten him. She pressed herself into his body feeling his warmth and hardness against her body. She felt content like this, with his hands around her waist, his fingers tapping lightly against her clothed skin.

“I love you, Justin.” She’d said the words numerous times in the past, to different men—to Fred, to Dafe. Yet, this time, the weight of those three words were strengthened by the name that followed them. This feeling, she was coming to understand, was different from what she’d felt with the other men. Maybe, she thought, what defined love for different people was the person they shared it with. Justin had become her symbol for love—the smile that reached his eyes when he was with her, the way he moaned her name when they made love, the way he held her when they were in public with his strong muscled arms around her waist, the vulnerability that he didn’t hide when he professed the way he felt about her. The gifts he gave her were only physical indications of his feelings, a mere extension of what he wanted to say, how much he valued her. And so, even though she enjoyed these gifts, she was more conscious of the intention that came with it, inner emotions that couldn’t be measured by money or any material gift.

“Open it,” Justin urged when she continued hugging him. The waiter left as his task had been completed. Justin led her closer to the table and took the gold rose and handed it to her. “I know you don’t really like flowers, but you know what this means, right?”

Ruby took the rose from him. It wasn’t as heavy as she’d expected it to be. “No.” She shook her head.

“An eternity rose,” he said. He went on to tell her that eternity roses were treated to make the flowers last longer. It signified that he wanted their love to last longer than infinity.

“Quite cheesy.” She smiled. “I love it.”

He kissed her cheeks. After he handed the envelop to her, he led her to sit down, then prompted for the second time. “Open it.”

She opened it slowly, guesses of what it could be running through her mind. Inside the envelop were two property deeds. One had her name on it and the other was blank with no name on it.

She looked at Justin in shock. “Honey, what is this?”

Justin smiled at her. “My second engagement gift. The first one is yours, the second one will be our home after we get married.”

She widened her eyes. “You don’t need to do this, Justin. The car… this… its too much.”

Justin took her hand over the table and covered them with his. “I want to do this for you.”

The property with her name was in Lekki and the other one, the one he intended to be their home, was in Victoria Island. They’d talked about where they would live when they got married. At first, Ruby didn’t see the need in getting a new place as Justin’s home was big enough. But Justin felt it was a bachelor’s pad, wasn’t suited to married life. They never really agreed on where they would live. But now, it was obvious that Justin never forgot about it. She looked from the deeds to Justin.

“What am I supposed to do with this?” She gestured at the one with her name on it.

“I don’t know.” Justin gave her a roguish smile. “After you sign it, it’s yours. You can do whatever you want with it.”

“It’s too much,” Ruby blinked away tears. “I don’t know what to say, Justin.”

Justin got up and came around to her side. He pulled her up and embraced her. “You don’t need to say anything, or do anything. Just enjoy it, alright. I love you. All these are just material things. What matters is that you feel the same for me. That you are willing to walk down the aisle with me. That we are going to spend the remaining part of our lives together. That is what matters. Okay?”

This time, Ruby didn’t hold back her tears. For the first time since her ugly breakup with Fred, she cried. Not tears that couldn’t reduce the pain in her chest or tears that were awash with bitterness. The tears that fell on Justin’s shirt, staining it with little spots of black from her eye make-up were tears of joy, of happiness and of love.

Later when Ruby settled down and the property deeds and car key were placed away, Justin said, “Six months.”

“What?” Ruby looked at him in confusion.

“Six months and we get married, is that okay?”

Ruby tipped her head, deep in thought. She would have preferred to wait until she got her accountancy certification to get married, knowing that she wouldn’t have as much zeal to pursue that dream of hers after she got married.

“I won’t stop you from chasing your dreams, Ruby. I don’t want you to feel getting married to me will be putting yourself in a cage.” He shook his head. “I’ll always be there to support you.”

“Six months it is then,” Ruby said with conviction, then gave Justin a smile. Justin reached over the table and kissed her.


Author's Note: All these weird colors.... where are they coming from? grin Our couple deserve better o!

3 Likes

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Cynthialinlin(f): 12:31pm On Jun 01
Blesstar:
Army green, navy blue and airforce white grin

PS. I'm still waiting for the price of the asoebi material o... cheesy
Make i begin to dey sew am now. No time to waste cool
I like this one shocked
Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by heemah(f): 1:14pm On Jun 01
As the Chief Bridesmaid, I choose Lime and Peach.
Strictly by invitation ooo. Your asoebi is your invitation card��

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Blesstar(f): 8:32pm On Jun 01
Awwwnn...

I love love cheesy
Chai God when o grin

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Blesstar(f): 8:35pm On Jun 01
heemah:
As the Chief Bridesmaid, I choose Lime and Peach.
Strictly by invitation ooo. Your asoebi is your invitation card��
Haba
Aunty heemah don't drag my position with me na... grin

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Cynthialinlin(f): 1:38pm On Jun 02
Blesstar:

Haba
Aunty heemah don't drag my position with me na... grin
Where did you people throw Rose too abeg?!!! grin
Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Cynthialinlin(f): 1:39pm On Jun 02
EPISODE NINETY-FOUR

Ruby pulled Rose into a big embrace as soon as she came into her sight. The frustration she’d felt navigating the congested traffic that led to the airport soon forgotten. Rose smelled of abroad, she joked when they separated.

“Biko, how does abroad smell abeg?”

Ruby laughed off the question. It was then that her eyes turned to the man standing behind Rose. He was looking around the airport, obviously surprise at the busyness and liveliness of the Nigerian airport.

“Omo, he’s tall o,” Ruby remarked. “When you told me he was tall, I didn’t know you mean this much.”

“Don’t you understand what 6 foot 3 mean?” Rose pinched her elbows.

“Ow!” Ruby slapped off her hands.

Rose took Ruby’s hand and turned to the man. “Kay, this is my friend, Ruby. Ruby, Kay, my boyfriend.”

Ruby stretched out her hand to shake the man. “Rose told me a lot about you,” they both said at the same time, eliciting a laugh from Rose.

“Nice to meet you,” Kay said with a polite smile.

“And you too. Welcome to Nigeria. Rose said this is your first time here.”

He nodded. “It’s…it’s uhmm… different.”

Ruby laughed Of course it’s different. When Rose told her that she was bringing Kay home to meet her parents, Ruby had been surprised. They had only been dating for four months but Rose was certain that he was the right person for her. She threw inconspicuous looks at Kay as she and Rose walked hand-in-hand out of the airport.

“It feels like ages since I breathed in Lagos air.” Rose took a deep breath when they came out. “I’m already perceiving the aroma of authentic amala and gbegiri.”

Ruby laughed. “After you guys freshen up, I’ll take you to this new restaurant that opened near the estate. You’re totally going to love it.”

They’d decided to stay at Ruby’s place for the duration of her stay. Ruby had already moved her things into her and Justin’s new house and spent most of her time in Justin’s place, so the old apartment was mostly uninhabited.

“I’ve been wanting to feel this car since you sent me the photos. Wow! So sleek.” They had gotten to Ruby’s car now, the one Justin gifted her. It was a dark blue Nissan. Rose ran her hands through the body of the car.

“Right.” Ruby smiled brightly. “This baby is mine.” She did a little dance. She opened the booth of the car so that Kay could put his and Rose’s luggages inside.

“I’m actually surprised Justin got you to ride more often,” Rose said as they got into the car.
Ruby scoffed. “It’s just because of you today. I really don’t like driving, especially on these roads.”

“Look at her.”

It felt good to have Rose, her chief bridesmaid, back. They bantered as they drove to the apartment. Ruby’s white wedding ceremony with Justin was going to take place in two weeks. The months after the proposal had been very strenuous for Ruby; trying to complete her accounting exams—she’d taken the exams the previous week and was waiting for the results to come out—and preparing for the wedding: dealing with the decorations and designs, attending marriage counselling with Justin, getting caterers, sorting out the asoebi (she settled on having just four ladies, people that were really close to her for her asoebi), and most importantly dealing with wedding nerves. Rose’s coming back was like a breath of fresh air. She would be able to handle things better with Rose’s presence.

They went to the restaurant Ruby talked about to eat after they freshened up at the apartment. Rose resumed her task as the chief bridesmaid with prompt as soon as they made their order in the restaurant. Even when she was in Canada, she’d been actively involved in the preparation process, spending long hours on video calls with Ruby as she ran around with the event planner to get things settled.

“Who are the other asoebis? I know Ama and Precious. The other one, you’re sure she’s not going to Bleep anything up, right?”

Ruby nodded. “Helen. She’s my closest friend at the firm.” She’d met Helen at the new firm she worked. Though she would only describe Helen as her foodie friend. Helen cared mostly about food. She knew the best restaurants in Lagos. She had a blog where she wrote about food and shared her recipes.

“Okay. So have they all sewed their clothes? I don’t want anybody to come a day before the wedding and say ‘their tailor suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth’.” Rose clicked her tongue.

Their food arrived and they started eating. Rose took some time to explain to Kay who had been mostly silent (and ignored) about the food. She’d ordered fried rice for him, joking about how he had a running stomach after he ate the first egusi soup she gave him.

“I can eat them now,” Kay said in a slightly childish tone.

Ruby took the time to watch him, to observe their interactions. Later that evening, when Kay retired into Rose’s former room, Ruby pulled Rose into her old room to have a private talk.

“He’s cute,” she started.

“More like beautiful.” Rose chuckled. “That was the first thing I thought when I saw him.”
Rose was right. When Ruby first saw Kay, she thought he was attractive. But the longer she looked at him, she realized that he had very soft features that enhanced his looks. He was from Cape Verde and had light brown skin. Rose told her that they met on the plane when she travelled for a weekend vacation with one of her colleagues. It sounded like the classic romantic story: they had a lovely conversation on the plane, exchanged numbers, went on a few dates and bam! they were ready to settle down.

“So you love him?” Ruby looked searchingly at Rose.

Rose shrugged. “Yea, I love him.”

Ruby frowned. “Really? You don’t sound like it.” She’d seen Rose ‘in love’. Even though she looked at Kay with a sparkle in her eyes, it was different from the look in her eyes when she was with Blossom.

“Love works different ways, you know, right? I do love him, but not like I loved Blossom. The whole thing with Blossom took something away from me,” Rose sighed. “I’ll never feel like that for someone else again.”

“Then why are you planning to get married?”

“He’s the right person for me.” Rose used a rubber band to pack her braids. They were already so old, but somehow they looked really good. Even though she said the words with seriousness, Ruby still found it hard to believe.

“I don’t understand. But do you love him?”

“I love Kay,” Rose said again. “What I have with him is different. Different from what I had with Blossom. From what you have with Justin. I mean, it just feels sweet and comfortable, you know.”

“You’re not one to settle for just comfortability,” Ruby put in.

Rose smiled wryly. “Well, not in this case. Kay, he’s dependable. You know, like a mountain. Strong, resilient, funny, like that. When I’m with him, I feel happy, at peace with myself and all my demons. I don’t want to love someone the way I loved Blossom again. It’s dangerous.”

Somehow, Rose’s words made Ruby to think of her mother. She wondered if this was how her parents relationship had been before her father died. Sweet and comfortable? Or maybe just comfortable and resilient? Ruby rubbed her friends back. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Rose’s laughter dispersed the gloomy air that was gathering in the room. “I actually like it like this, the simplicity of being with him. Love is different for everybody. It may not be like what you imagined it to be, but it’s still love. We love in different ways, don’t we?”

Ruby smiled. “Of course.”

“We’ll go to see my parents next tomorrow. Then the introductions will be after your wedding. We’ll do a small ceremony when we go back to Canada and register there. But we’ll have a simple dinner party here with my parents and a few friends and relatives. I don’t want something big.”

Ruby raised hr voice, “Why?”

“I just want things that way, something small. I don’t want to handle the whole marriage process when we can just complete it in an hour or two.”

“What about Kay? His family? Are you-”

“He’s an orphan, Ruby,” Rose said drily. “The more reason I want to keep it simple. You know how our traditional rites are, and then he has nobody to back him, to speak for him the way I do. I don’t want to put him through the whole stress. Thankfully, he’s also a simple person like that. So he totally agrees with me.”

“Oh.” Ruby had to admit, she didn’t understand a lot of Rose’s choices.

“By the way, you won’t guess who I saw at the airport while we were driving out,” Rose said in a light tone, changing the topic.

“We were there together,” Ruby said dryly.

“I saw him from my side. Boye. You won’t believe it. I think he was waiting for someone.”

Ruby frowned, reminded of her hopeless ‘love’ for Boye. Thinking about it now, she laughed at herself for selling herself too low. “Like it concerns me.”

“There’s another thing you should know too.” Rose’s voice reduced to a whisper even though they were the only people in the room. “I might be pregnant.”

Ruby widened her eyes. “Oh my God! That is so great, Rose. Congratulations.”

“Shh!” Rose shushed her. “I’m not sure yet, so I haven’t told Kay yet.”

“But babe, that is so cool.” Ruby hugged Rose.

“I know.” A genuine smile spread across Rose’s face. “It feels surreal, I tell you. I never knew I would trust a man again after Blossom. Even when I dated that Jamaican guy, I couldn’t get myself to feel free around him. Then when I met Kay, even though I was the person that approached him first, I was still quite sceptical. I mean, look at the guy. Attractive, a doctor, and this might sound cruel, but he doesn’t come with the whole family baggage. The more we spent time together, being around him began to feel more natural, like we were meant to be together.”

“Feels like love.” Ruby cupped her face in her hands.

“I told you I love him.”

“I know, I know. It just sounds strange to me. I just have this feeling, that you deserve more, like real, stomach-churning love, like the way I feel around Justin.”

Rose flicked her forehead. “And who said this isn’t real love? And besides, Blossom gave me enough stomach-churning to last a lifetime, and not in a good way.” She scrunched her nose.

Ruby rubbed her forehead with a dissatisfied look. “You know what I mean. Does he love you? Abi its the same thing with you.”

“He loves me.” The conviction was strong in her voice. “He says it. I feel it in my heart.”

“Well, it’s all good if he loves you,” Ruby said. “I’m a little angry that I don’t get to attend a wedding or do asoebi for you. We talked about it before.”

“I’m really sorry, babe. But you know it’s not the wedding that is important. In the end, it’s just the two of us that will spend the rest of our lives together. And though, there’s no wedding, Kay planned an exquisite honeymoon. Wait till I show you pictures.”

Ruby shook her head with a small smile. “I can’t say I understand, but it’s your choice.”

“Don’t worry. We’ll have a dinner party here, after the introductions. I argued so much with my mum before I could convince her. Thank God, I’m not the only girl she has. My younger sisters are there.”

“Alright. If a dinner party is the only thing we can get, I’ll take it like that. How long before you return to Canada?”

“One month. We’ll spend three weeks here then we’ll travel to his country. Even though he doesn’t have relatives there, I just want to see where he grew up.”

“That sounds fair. What about the pregnancy?”

“I’ll do a test then tell him if it’s positive. He’ll be so excited. He wants like four or five children.”

Ruby laughed. “Same with Justin. Look at them, they think giving birth is easy.”

“I told him I want just two o. No more no less. I can’t deal with more than that.”

“We settled for three kids. Me and Justin.”

“Three is good. Maybe they can come often to visit us in Canada, right? Did I tell you Kay plans to move away from the city in a years time. He is building this lovely house in the countryside, like those ones in romantic novels. Let me show you.” Rose unlocked her phone to show the house designs that Kay had sent to her.

They talked late into the night. They talked about their future husbands, about the way they would bring up their kids. They laughed together at the fact that somehow, they still ended up getting married at the same time. They cried too, at they fact that they were going to become mothers and wives. Together, they hoped they would become good women to their husbands and kids. They fell asleep on Ruby’s bed at the early hours of the money. This would be the last time Ruby slept in this apartment that held so many memories for her.

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Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Cynthialinlin(f): 2:05pm On Jun 02
EPISODE NINETY-FIVE

The next evening, Justin invited both Rose and Kay to dinner. Rose and Justin had gotten to know each other through the video calls with Ruby, so when they met, it was like old friends reuniting, easily falling into comfortable interaction. Conversation with Kay kicked off as soon as Rose introduced the two men. Ruby watched in disbelief as Kay practically turned into another person, laughing out and talking excitedly. When it was just her and Rose, he remained in the background, replying with simple words if he was asked a question.

“He’s like that,” Rose said. “With women, he just locks up. It’ll take a while for him to warm up to you.”

“And you said you guys met on the plane?”

“Don’t get me started on that.” Rose rolled her eyes. “I was the one that struck up the conversation. I think it’s my charms that got him at first.”

Ruby smiled. The sat down around the table. Kay and Justin on one side, Ruby and Rose on the other. Ruby noticed that after Justin ordered a bottle of wine, before Rose could say anything, Kay had already asked for a separate order of juice. He looked at Rose pointedly after he did so, and Rose looked away guiltily.

“He knows?” Ruby whispered. Early that afternoon, she escorted Rose to do a test and it came out positive. Rose wanted to wait until when they got home to tell Kay. Seeing his swift actions, she guessed that he must have figured out that Rose was pregnant. Didn’t Rose say he was a doctor.

“I think so.” Rose gave him a small smile and Ruby watched as he shook his head with a small smile playing on his lips. It was easy to pick out that tell-tale sign of affection.

It was a lovely dinner. Ruby felt excited having her favorite people beside her. She and Justin talked about their wedding plans, the whole stress involved. Justin joked that he just wanted to cart her off for their honeymoon and skip the whole strenuous process. Rose gave Ruby a knowing wink at the statement. Ruby shrugged. Justin had been keeping their honeymoon destination a secret. He refused to tell her despite her constant pestering.

“Maybe an island?” Rose guessed. “It’ll be romantic, I bet.”

Soon, Justin engaged Kay in a conversation about Canadian land laws, comparing it with Nigerian laws. Ruby and Rose talked about the latest entertainment gossip and then about Ruby’s bridal shower. They chilled at a nearby bar before they separated. Patrick came in Rose’s car to drive her and Kay back to the apartment, while Ruby went home with Justin.

***
The next two weeks were extremely busy for Ruby. In between the preparations for the wedding, Ruby’s results for the accountancy certificate came out. She had passed the exam. Though she didn’t feel like it, Rose and Justin thought it was worth pausing in their preparations to celebrate.

“You know, sometimes, you pretend as though you’re not smart, but you’re really intelligent, you know right? Passing these exams in one sitting?” Rose said while they looked at the results. That day, they were at Justin’s house. Ruby and Rose just returned from getting Rose’s clothes from the tailor.

“Help me tell her,” Justin said placing a jug of juice on the table.

Ruby smiled modestly. “I have to be humble, don’t you know?”

She was a little surprised that she had passed the exams, since she’d only registered for the exams at the last minute, deciding on a whim to write the exams before rather than after the wedding. After Justin proposed to her, she toyed with the thought of writing the exam sooner than she planned. Even as she increased her study time, abandoned freelancing, and took more courses, she doubted that she would be prepared for the exam as the date drew closer.

“You don’t even know what happened,” Justin sat down eager to tell the story. “I woke up one day and Ruby was sitting on the bed with her laptop. Before I said anything, she said “I registered for the exam. Are you busy later, so you’ll follow me to submit my application?” She didn’t even allow me to wake up before she started dressing.”

Ruby slapped him lightly. “It’s not true. I started dressing like two hours later.”

“Without explaining clearly,” Justin retorted. “When I asked her which exam, because we agreed she would write the exams three months after the wedding, she just kept saying “the exam now, that exam” as she wore her clothes.”

They laughed. Ruby remembered the day clearly. It was the second to the last day before the deadline for registration. She had been unable to sleep thinking about writing the exam, doing tumbum in her mind to decide whether to register. In the end, she thought writing it was not bad, if she failed, she could always rewrite it.

“So how are we celebrating?” Before Justin or Ruby said anything, she was already bringing out her phone, “There’s this cool lounge in Marina. We’ll go there. Let me call Kay and inform him.”

Ruby sighed. “You just left the guy at home, like this? Are you not supposed to take him around to view the sights of Nigeria?”

Rose laughed. “Is it not you that has been dragging me around? Don’t worry, after the wedding, he will see Nigeria well.”

“We’ll celebrate it better. After the wedding,” Justin whispered into her ears as Rose talked to Kay over the phone. He bit her ear suggestively and a shot of pleasure spiked through her spine.

***
The week before the white wedding, they travelled first to Ruby’s home in Kogi and then to Justin’s village in Imo State for the traditional marriage. A month earlier, Justin’s parents and some of his relatives had gone to see her people for the introduction ceremony. Justin didn’t go with them as the custom had required. After dealing with the traditional marriage ceremonies, Ruby’s mother flew with them back to Lagos for the white wedding.

It was a big wedding ceremony, bigger than Ruby had imagined her wedding would be. Justin’s parents were extremely generous. In fact, his parents had been extremely supportive since they started planning for the wedding. Her mother and Justin’s mother, though of totally different personalities—her mother more simpleminded and straightforward and Justin’s mother being the typical businesswoman—became close friends after they met. Somehow, Justin’s mother was able to get her mother to visit them in Abuja after the wedding. Justin’s parents handled the payments for the venue and the refreshments. While she and Justin handled the rest.

Even though Ruby had spent the week pruning herself, preparing herself, even having a wedding rehearsal, she couldn’t help the queasy feeling in her stomach when she woke up on the wedding day. She only ate at the prompting of Rose as nausea threatened to ruin her pretty look. She and the other bridesmaids as well as her mother were in the house Justin got her in Lekki. It was big enough to contain all of them including the make-up stylist and the videographer.

Rose couldn’t help exclaiming when she saw the house. “Babe! This one has passed love o. Even though I saw pictures of the house, I didn’t know it would be this big.” Her mother didn’t say much, but Rose told her she heard her mother singing songs of gratitude at night.

Her wedding gown was a Venetian lace gown, specially customized for her. It was an off-shoulder mermaid gown with flowers embroidered on the material, enhancing her upper body curves and flowing out from her mid-thigh. She wore a silver tiara, her hair styled back and enhanced with attachments. Her bridesmaids were dressed in elegant lavender-colored gowns. Her make-up was classic and simple. Even though she had a mini-fan, Ruby couldn’t help feeling hot especially during the church ceremony. As she repeated the pastor’s words, saying that “I do” that echoed through the church’s speakers, she forgot the people in the church, her eyes trained on Justin, the center of her world. Her hands shook as she slid the ring into Justin’s finger. They might have kissed more than a thousand times in the past, but kissing in front of the people in the church, his parents, her mother, made her feel shy. Justin understood, settling for a simple peck. “I love you, Ruby,” he said when he moved away. She mouthed the words back.

Ruby changed into a royal purple gown for the wedding reception. The wide hall was decorated in purple and silver, with splotches of pink here and there. It gave off a feel of enchantment, turning the formally wide, bare hall into an intimate space they could share with their closest people. The wedding cake was a three-tier cake, white with purple flowers and silver beads around it. Topping the cake was a mini-Justin and Ruby, looking just like them in their wedding attire. After the couple’s dance, Ruby danced with Justin’s father. Ideally, it should have been a dance with her father. During the dance, his father promised to treat her just like his daughter, because that was what she was now.

The wedding ended on a good note, with Ruby feeling so exhausted that when they got home, she fell asleep barely handling a round of celebratory sex with Justin. Three days after the wedding, they travelled first to Bali, and then to the Maldives for their honeymoon.



The End.

4 Likes

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Cynthialinlin(f): 2:38pm On Jun 02
EPILOGUE

A pinch in her waist sent waves of shock through Ruby’s body. She looked up from her laptop at the offender. “You really should stop that. It’s annoying.”

Justin grinned widely and poked the frame of her glasses. “You really look good in glasses, you know eh? If someone sees you working now, with your glasses and your studious look, they will think you are too serious. They don’t know you are a vixen in bed.” He leaned down and kissed her neck. She moaned as he sunk his teeth gently into the soft skin. “I didn’t bring you here to work. Come on, babe.” He pulled her up from the chair.

Ruby rolled her eyes. “You said you wanted to take a nap. I thought you would sleep for more than an hour.”

Justin hugged her, placing small kisses on her bare shoulder. “Like I can sleep without you on the bed. How’s it going? Still that annoying client?”

Ruby whimpered as he used his teeth to graze her skin. “Yes. The money he…” she trailed off as Justin’s hands started roaming over her body. She turned to face him and inhaled his scent. She could catch a wisp of her peppermint shower lotion. She scrunched her face and when she opened her mouth to query him about it, he covered it with his lips. Before she knew it, she was lying on the bed. Justin covered the length of her body with his and instinctively, she wrapped her legs around his waist, welcoming his intrusion into her. She moaned his name loudly when she came, then wrapped her hands around his neck and pulled him in for a deep kiss.

“You never get tired, do you?” Ruby said, drawing lines on Justin’s chest ten minutes later.

Justin took her hand and kissed the finger with her wedding band. “Why should I get tired when you’re still going strong?”

Ruby chuckled. Feeling adventurous, she ran her hands down his body and teased him back to hardness. “Never fails,” she said as she went down on him.

Seven years of marriage and the sex with Justin remained as passionate as it had been like their first time together. Their two kids, Zara and Jachi, were five and three respectively. They had wanted a third child but after Ruby suffered two miscarriages, they decided to stop trying. She worked for two years after the wedding, building her personal accounting brand, and quit working at the firm when she got pregnant with Zara. It hadn’t been easy, but through their years together, Justin remained just as loving and as supportive as he’d promised her. She conceived Jachi when they went on a family vacation to Jamaica just a few months before Zara clocked two. Currently, they were on a couple’s vacation in Dubai, celebrating their seventh wedding anniversary.

“Mum called me this morning. She said Jachi has been crying that he is missing you. I even heard his voice through the phone,” Justin said when they were spent. Lying naked on the bed, sheets entangled around their legs, the smell of their passion in the air felt completely natural. Ruby felt content just lying like this and talking about their kids.

“He’s like that. Mummy’s boy.” Ruby laughed. “He should learn from Zara. That madam was already forming independent before she was one year.”

“Just like you.” He pinched her nose.

Ruby pulled her head away and straightened up, using her elbows to support her body weight. “But she looks just like you, with the same frown, the same expression when she doesn’t get what she wants.” Ruby used her finger to touch his forehead, thinking of their beautiful daughter.

“I was hoping that as she grew, she would look more like you. Your eyes, your smile,” he touched her eyes and her lips as he spoke. “But no, everything went with Jachi.”

“Isn’t it normal?” Ruby chuckled. “For the son to look like his mother, and the daughter like her father. You look just like your mother, you know right?”

Justin pouted. “My father has been saying that since I was four years and now, you!”

Ruby kissed his chest, tugging at his nipple with her lips. “Then you know better.”

“Rose says they’re coming home this Easter, with the kids,” she said. What an irony that Rose had ended up giving birth to three kids while she ended up with two. Rose had joked that God had mistakenly sent Ruby’s last child to her instead. Ruby somewhat believed it seeing as Gael, Rose’s last born, adored Justin. Anytime she called Rose, Gael would scream and ask for his Uncle Justin until Ruby put him on the line. “One day, I’ll just bundle him and dash Justin,” Rose joked one day while she complained that he was the naughtiest of her kids even though he was only four years old. Rose’s first two kids were twins, two girls, Iris and Ivy. So she and Kay decided to try again for a boy.

Justin put a hand over his eyes. “Not Gael again!” Even though he was complaining, his lips were curved up in an affectionate smile. “You know last year when they came, he was already teaching Jachi how to play tricks on me. These children!”

“Children are like that. I hope the two of them remain friends. When Jachi grows up, we should send him to the UK to study. Rose wants to do the same for Gael too.”

“They’re still small,” Justin laughed tugging at her cheeks. “Let’s wait till they finish primary school first na!”

Ruby shrugged. “I’m just saying. We should start saving towards it. Even for Zara.”

“Okay, okay.” Justin kissed her on the forehead. “I’ve got it covered, so you don’t need to worry.”

Ruby smiled and snuggled deeper into his arms. “So where are we going later? I sure as hell don’t want to remain on this bed with you before my legs totally give out.”

***
Later that evening, they were seated a seafood restaurant that served food made with freshly caught seafood from the aquarium in the restaurant. The longer she stayed with Justin, the more she became used to eating in places like this, having exquisite dates in expensive restaurants both in the country and around the world, enjoying romantic and family vacations to tropical islands. She never dreamed her life would turn out like this. She’d only set out looking for love, for romance. For someone that would return her affections. For someone that she would feel safe with for the rest of her life. And the universe sent her Justin, giving her all and even more than she asked for. He’d given her two lovely kids and a warm family, a happy home.

“I love, you Justin. I never get tired of saying this.” She smiled at him, emotions swimming in her eyes.

Justin kissed her hand over the table. “I love you too, Ruby. So much.”

Clicking their glasses, they said to each other, “Happy anniversary, babe.”


This time it’s really the end.



Authors Note: I’ll really miss this story.

Thank you, readers, for following till the end of Ruby’s story. Even though I’m a reluctant to part with this story, we all know that all good stories always have an end. But is it really an end to Ruby’s story? For Rose, I really wanted to give her her own story, but the more I wrote, the more I felt that maybe not all love has to be tagged with that ‘romance’ title. Romance is good, but it only goes so far. What matters is having companionship, having someone that is willing to walk the rest of your life with you, with trust, loyalty and also important, friendship.
Again, may we all find the type of love we need, whether its the crazy, romantic type or the simple yet long-lasting type.

I’m working on another series. I don’t know if I would post them on Nairaland or simply get my blog running and post them there. But I hope you’ll still be willing to read my stories.

Thank you for journeying with Ruby as she discovers herself and the love of her life. I hope we meet again.


Fades out!

9 Likes

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Bam17: 3:48pm On Jun 02
And thank you for giving us an amazing story kiss

1 Like 1 Share

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Heartstrings: 3:49pm On Jun 02
Well done Op. It was an interesting read

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by yettielicious(f): 4:11pm On Jun 02
Thank you for the awesome storyline.

Thank you for giving Justine and Rose a happy ending, they both deserve it.

Please let us know when you start a new story, wherever you decide to post it.

God bless you Cynthia.

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by heemah(f): 5:18pm On Jun 02
Tightest hug from me to you!!
Thanks for this Happy Ever After! See me blushing here ooo. Who doesn't love happy endings??
Looking forward to more of your stories dear kiss kiss

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Ann2012(f): 9:38pm On Jun 02
Interesting as usual

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Blesstar(f): 10:37pm On Jun 02
Awwwn... cheesy

Love is sweet oh..
When money enter love is sweeter grin


May we all have this type of happy-ending love with money to make it sweeter...


Thanks so much Cynthialinlin for sharing this beautiful story. More ink to your pen dear.



From your number one fan. grin

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Kiddogarcia(m): 8:25am On Jun 03
Thank you so much for bringing this to an conclusion,I really appreciate you

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Teddybliss: 12:09am On Jun 08
Thank you so much for this amazing story

Love this

Perfect ending
Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Advantaged: 11:20am On Jun 08
Thank you for the nice story.
Do you watch Best Friends on youtube by Neptune Studios? The names Iris and Ivy made me aak
Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by jullyrosy(f): 11:36am On Jun 08
Advantaged:
Thank you for the nice story.
Do you watch Best Friends on youtube by Neptune Studios? The names Iris and Ivy made me aak


Lol dat series is so Interesting
Just waiting for Saturday for next episode
Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Heartstrings: 2:55pm On Jun 08
jullyrosy:



Lol dat series is so Interesting
Just waiting for Saturday for next episode
Put me through Biko. How do I get the link or name of the channel? I'm curious to watch it also.
Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by jullyrosy(f): 4:49pm On Jun 08
Heartstrings:
Put me through Biko. How do I get the link or name of the channel? I'm curious to watch it also.


Go to YouTube and type "best friends in the world" u will see d series....
Watch the first series b4 watching senior year so dat u can understand better
Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Heartstrings: 7:11pm On Jun 08
jullyrosy:



Go to YouTube and type "best friends in the world" u will see d series....
Watch the first series b4 watching senior year so dat u can understand better
Thanks so much

1 Like

Re: Ruby's Search For Romance by Blackween(f): 11:52am On Jun 10
Thank you so much for this story
Aawwwn, love is so sweet

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