Lola and Duke stopped kissing when they heard Bidemi waking up. She opened her eyes and saw her daughter. She rose on her feet happily and moved to hug her. Duke stood beside the bed.
“I’m so happy you are awake.” Bidemi said and looked at Duke. “I heard what you did. Thank you.”
“You don’t need to thank me.” He stared at Lola with a huge smile on his face.
He added. “It was my responsibility to see that she is treated.”
“It doesn’t matter, Dr. Duke. Thank you once again.”
Duke said to her. “You are welcome ma.”
“Duke,” Lola called his name and he answered her. “You need to go home and take care of yourself.”
“I will take care of myself but I have to stay by your side tonight.”
“I really want you to stay with me considering the fact that you remember everything. You are human. The body needs to rest. You must be exhausted.”
“Duke please, listen to me.”
He held her hand tightly and peered deeply into her eyes.
Lola continued, “My mom is here. She will look after me. You need to rest.”
“It’s true,” Bidemi said. “Dr. Duke you have to rest.”
He nodded. “I will rest in my office and go home tomorrow morning.”
“That’s fine by me.” Lola said.
“Don’t worry, I will look after her.” Bidemi said.
Duke gave a nod. “I know you will.”
She opened her arms and hugged Duke. Duke thanked her, pecked Lola and left the room.
The next day, the hospital celebrated the good news, although the death of Oliver broke their hearts. Jidenna contacted his family and they came for the body. Duke checked on Lola before he went home. Dr. Robertson, Melissa, and Wendy made sure Lola received proper care as they continue to monitor her for some time. Bidemi drove home and planned to go to the supermarket before going back to the hospital.
After Jidenna was through with a patient, he went to see Lola. He met her awake with some well-wishers.
His face beamed as he noticed how happy Lola was. Seeing her alive was more than enough for him. When her visitors left, he moved near her.
“You look well.” He said.
“Yes. Thanks to you too. I appreciate you.”
“I didn’t do anything.”
“You did more than enough. I heard you followed Duke to the police station.”
“Yes, I did.” He brought a plastic chair close to the bed. He sat down with a sad expression on his face. He bowed his head.
“Jidenna, are you okay?”
He raised his head and looked at her. “It’s about Oliver.”
Lola’s eyes became sad. “I wish I could turn back the hands of time.”
“Me too,” he said in a saddened tone. “I think this is not the right time to ask you…”
She placed her hand on him. “You can ask me anything.”
He heaved a sigh. “Did he say anything before he died?”
She nodded slowly and set her hands on her laps. “When he started coughing, he told me it was the end for him. Despite going through pain, he still had hope that Duke and I would be together again. He said I should tell his family he loved them.” She swallowed a huge lump down her throat. Tears began to hover inside her misty eyes. “He said I should tell you he didn’t love you like a friend…”
Jidenna stared at her with tears around his eyes.
She said to him. “He loved you like a brother and that was his last words. He died that moment he said it.”
Tears dropped from their eyes. Zara and Melvin had been standing beside the door. Zara quickly wiped the tears about to drip to her cheeks. Anger took the entire face of Melvin. Both walked to meet them.
Jidenna and Lola cleaned their faces.
“Thank you Lola.” Jidenna said. “I’m happy you overcame the infection.”
Melvin looked at the direction of Jidenna. “Two police officers wanted to see Dr. Duke. I told them he has not resumed work this morning. I told them they could wait for him, but they insisted they to see the doctor that followed him last night.”
“I hope there is no problem.”
“I asked and they said no.”
“Oh okay.” He rose and smiled at Lola. “Welcome back.”
“Thanks.” She smiled at him.
Jidenna left the room. Melvin and Zara appeared to be happy seeing Lola.
“You scared the shit out of us yesterday,” Melvin told her. “I thought I would never see you again.”
“I thought I would never see everyone again.” Lola said.
“It’s good to see you Dr. Lola,” Zara said. “You are a strong woman.”
Melvin’s phone beeped. “I have to go. I have a patient right now. Ahmed called me this morning. He said he tried to reach you yesterday. I informed him about what happened. He should be on his way now.”
“Okay.” Lola said. “I don’t even know where I kept my phone.”
“It’s inside your locker at the dressing room,” Zara said. “I kept it for you.”
“I had no reason to tell you. He didn’t ask after you. He asked after Lola.” Melvin marched out.
Zara was angry at his statement but she chose not to show it.
“You shouldn’t let what Melvin said bother you.” Lola said to her. “You are a strong woman too.”
She took a deep breath and sat down. “After my behavior towards you, you still believe in me, why?”
“Because I feel you can change.”
“I respect you Dr. Lola. Even when Dr. Duke didn’t love you back, you remain hopeful and you never changed towards anyone around you. I wish I could be like you.”
“I wish you could be more open about yourself.”
Zara shrugged and sighed. She kept quiet for a while. Her eyes were staring at the wall. She glimpsed at Lola with a fragile smile. “I wasn’t like this before. I loved to be around people, I loved to make people laugh too.”
“So what happened?”
“My parents. They felt I wasn’t serious with my life. They started to compare me with my elder siblings. They were doing so well and because of the comparisons, I had to stop making people laugh. I had to stop showing who I really am. I became cold and I believed it was the best way for my parents to see me as a serious person. When I told them I wanted to be a surgeon, they praised me and I felt very good about myself.”
“Are you still that same person?”
"Of course not. After what happened to you, I had to lecture myself. If I was in your shoes, who would do what Dr. Duke did for you? No one. They might try to save me, but not the way yours happened. I could be a surgeon and a nice person too. It will even make my job easier.”
“I am glad you feel that way.”
“I hope you can forgive me. I am sorry for whatever I said that made you upset.”
“You are forgiven Dr. Zara.”
“I hope Ahmed can forgive me. I shouldn’t have lied.”
“I am sure if you continue to show how sorry you are, he would forgive you.”
Zara smiled. “Thank you Dr. Lola.”
Lola wore a bright smile. “Thank you Dr. Zara for confiding in me.”
“Thank God!” Duke’s brother said over the phone as Duke was driving back to the hospital. He gave him details about what happened. “I’m glad you are back to your senses too!”
“I wanted to beat you up when you were claiming you didn’t remember her.” Mike said. “This is good news. I can’t wait to tell mom and dad. We will check on Lola before she is discharged.”
“Not again. Nothing should bother you, Duke. Lola is alive. You love her again. That is the most important thing.”
“Send my regards to her.”
Bidemi came to drop the items and Lola advised her to eat. She motioned to the cafeteria. Melvin described where Lola was to Ahmed. He was looking good. Zara was coming out from the room when they bumped into each other mistakenly.
“I’m sorry.” Both stated.
“I didn’t see you coming.” Ahmed said.
Zara quickly said. “It’s okay. It’s good to see you again.”
“It’s good to see you healthy.”
She walked away. Zara had given Lola her phone. It was on the table beside the bed. Lola planned to call her father in the evening. Ahmed with a smile on his face went to hug Lola. She was already sitting on the bed.
“I was shocked when Melvin told me. I’m very happy to see you.”
“I am happy to see you too.”
“I hope Zara did not come here to antagonize you.”
“No! She is actually a changed person. She is not the Zara you used to know.”
“That’s good for her.”
Ahmed sat down.
“Are you still planning to travel?” Lola asked.
“Yes. That is why I was calling you last night. My flight is next week.”
“Wow! That means I will never see you again.”
“You will see me again. We will be friends for forever. Whenever you need me, all I need is a phone call from you.”
“Won’t you give Zara a second chance?”
“I would if I was ever in love with her.” He decided to change the topic of the discussion. “I saw my mom.”
“What did she say?” Lola asked eagerly.
“She told me it was my father that told her to leave. She claimed she doesn’t want anything from me but a relationship.”
“What did you tell her?”
“I told her I would think about it. I did and I am ready to give her a second chance.”
“If you can give your mother a second chance, Zara deserves one.”
“Lola, I do not want anyone to complicate my life.”
“She won’t complicate it. Just be her friend, please.”
He looked at her for a moment and sighed. “I will think about it.”
“There is no time for that. You are travelling out of the country very soon.”
Ahmed smiled at her. “I might give her a second chance to be my friend because of you.”
Lola chuckled and clapped her hands. “Thanks!”
Jidenna and Duke stood opposite each other. They were having a conversation.
Jidenna spoke. “The officers came and requested some information about Dr. Yvonne and they mentioned she will be charged to court for murder, attempted murder and a threat to the country.”
“What about Chief Jumbo and Daniela?”
“Chief Jumbo’s hospital was raided after they received a warrant. They had evidence of the virus and arrested others that collaborated to invent it. They are charging him for two felonies. As for Daniela, she is charged for one offence.
“At least they will go to prison.”
“Only Daniela would get a lesser sentence.”
“I don’t care. I just want them to pay for what they did. Oliver and the other man didn’t deserve to lose their lives.”
“We will see later.” Duke said and began to walk away with an uncertain look on his face.
“Dr. Duke,” Jidenna called him.
He turned back. “Yes.”
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, I am.”
Duke left to the dressing room. He went to see Lola. She was alone and resting on the bed. Ahmed had gone to speak with Zara.
“I miss you.” Lola said.
“I miss you too.” He pecked her on the forehead and sat down. He appeared worried. “How are you feeling?”
“I should be the one asking you, Duke.” Lola said. “You don’t look happy.”
“I am happy. I am happy you are alive.” He stayed quiet for few minutes and cleared his throat. “When I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about you.”
“I couldn’t stop thinking about you too.”
He gave a smile. A sad smile. “I know I love you. I know I can’t do without you, but I keep wondering why the world doesn’t want us to be together.”
“I don’t understand. What are you talking about?”
“The day I professed my love for you, I got shot. The day I remembered you, you were inflicted with a virus.”
“I think being together will make things worse for us. I don’t want anything bad to happen to you. I feel being apart from each other is the best thing to do.”
Lola couldn’t believe it. She opened her mouth in shock. “Duke tell me you are joking.”
“I want to protect you. I think I am bad luck.”
“That’s wrong. You are not bad luck.”
“Then why are bad things happening to us whenever we want to be together.”
“It’s just a coincidence. Bad things will not happen to us again.”
Duke shook his head. “I don’t believe that. I have to let you go to protect you.”
“You won’t be protecting me by doing this. You will be breaking me. I love you Duke.”
“And I love you too.”
“We have to be together. Our love will conquer anything that comes our way. You coming out of coma and me overcoming this infection prove we are stronger together.”
Duke rose. “Lola, I will never forgive myself if any bad thing happens to you while we are together as a couple. You have to think about this. This is the right way.”
“No Duke. This is the wrong way. You can’t leave me.”
“I will never leave you. I will always be there for you. I just want us…”
“No Duke, don’t say it. We have to be together.” Lola said, almost crying.
Duke turned away. He began to walk away. Lola wrapped her arms around her fragile body. Bidemi with Ahmed and Zara entered the room.
“He is always breaking my heart,” Lola said with tears crawling down her face. “He is always breaking my heart.”
Bidemi pushed Duke back. “What have you done to my daughter?”
Zara and Ahmed had gone to console Lola. They were begging her not to cry.
“I didn’t do anything.” Duke replied Bidemi.
Bidemi went to her daughter as Lola tried to get up from the bed. She wanted to stop her, but Lola said she was strong enough. She gestured closer to Duke and stood behind him.
Lola said with tears in her eyes. “If you really love me, don’t let our challenges get to you. The love both of us have for each other will conquer the world. Our love is powerful and you know it. Don’t give up on us, please. I don’t want to lose you.”
Duke turned and looked at her. He had tears crawling down his face. “I don’t want to lose you Lola. I am sorry for what I said. I was only scared.”
“You don’t have to be scared. I am here for you. I love you. I will never leave you.”
“Then prove it. I don’t to lose you.” Duke said with emotion in his voice.
“You can never lose me.” Lola said. “I love you.”
“I just want you to prove it.”
Lola gazed at him puzzled. “How?”
Bidemi, Ahmed and Zara exchanged glances. They appeared confused.
Duke smiled brightly at her, went down on one bended knee and brought out a small box from his pocket. He opened it and an engagement ring glimmered. Lola gasped.
“Omolola Bello, will you be the mother of my unborn children? Will you love me forever? Will you be my wife?”
All of them were stunned.
He inserted the ring around her finger and hugged her excitedly.
She looked at him with so much admiration. Her mother, Zara and Ahmed were joyful.
She looked at him with so much admiration. Her mother, Zara and Ahmed were joyful.
“Oh my God!” Lola uttered elatedly. “Were you actually pretending when you said those things to me?”
Duke laughed. “Do you think I would ever leave you alone for another man? Lola, you are everything to me. I just wanted to see your reaction.”
She hit him on the shoulder. “You almost gave me a heart attack!”
He hugged her again and mounted a deep kiss on her lips. “I love you Lola Bello.”
“I love you Gerard Duke.”
“Yes! I, Lola Bello Duke married the love of my life and we have been together for many years. I have been a happy woman. I gave birth to three adorable children. As for my father, he fought cancer but died ten years later. My mother has been supportive and very close to her grandchildren.”
Lola continued, “Jidenna fell in love with a patient. They have been together for a long time, but he never married her. He is a good father to his son. Melvin has been married three times. We are hoping he won't invite us for a fourth wedding. As for Ahmed, he is the godfather of my first-born. He married a white woman but the union did not last. They divorced two years later. With the help of Duke, we set up a blind date for him when he relocated back to Nigeria. He thought it wouldn’t work out because it was Zara. He was wrong. They have been married for years with a kid.”
“I hope you enjoyed my story. Always remember love is a beautiful thing.”
Thanks for reading! I will take a break for some time.
The next story will be posted when I am ready…
‘HER MOTHER’S DAUGHTER’ is next.
The people she trusted betrayed her. The only reward Olivia has to offer them is revenge.