In the most unlikely place

She was 21, when she met him.

They shared mutual friends and had become fast friends because he was the only familiar face in a new country. When her family initially moved, they had been connected via a girlfriend who had gone to the same high school as him. He quickly became succor and best friend.

He was 22 when they met, and he loved her like he had loved no other, he had siblings but with her the connection was different. She became a sister, best pal and confidante. They grew together, and he witnessed the heartbreaks while she witnessed the heartbreaking. She never, not once, gave a voice to the feeling that had grown as the years went by. She had loved him all the while but had not ever acknowledged it or cared to think it through.

She went away for a second degree but had been home several times in the course of her studies. He went into business, with a good head and eye for investments that paid dividends. He lived large, and was very open-handed, a favorite with the ladies. She teased him constantly about the women, but he would do anything she wanted, all she had to do was think about it and it was done.

She moved back home after graduation, and settled into the family business, as the only child to a successful property developer. Their reunion had been sweet, but she felt empty, the voice within her yearning for release. She had shaken her head and told herself it was best not to rock the boat. She however, began to push him to make decisions about his future, steering him towards landed property.

He gave her money to purchase land and build for him as she deemed fit. She went to work and developed an apartment complex that was the talk of the town, it filled up quickly, and the bank alerts began to come in. He was amazed by how dedicated to the project she was and bought her a car as a thank you gift.

25, she looked out over the balcony, she had come to the apartment he shared with one of his best guy pals and business partner. One of her girlfriends would be coming into town, and they were planning the trip. The feelings had blossomed and grown, no matter how much she fought them, heading back inside she caught the tail end of the plans.

Her girlfriends’ trip was a success and opened his eyes to the love she had carried for so long, he confessed that he had killed the thought each time it surfaced. Taking the bull by the horns, he let her know that he had loved her since he met her, but that he had been worried about messing up their friendship. She made him a promise then and there that their friendship would not ever be compromised.

To show he was serious, he bought a piece of land in a very nice area of town and handed her the deed, he asked her to build on it the home of her dreams in the space of six months. On that note, they began the walk towards forever.

He went away frequently for business trips, but he was a constant presence over the phone. Daily, she went to the site to oversee the work on ground. Over to the right, there was an abandoned project, one day, a range rover pulled up on that property and a distinguished gentleman exited.

He looked at the house and looked at the workers on her site going about their business. He approached the fence and asked who was in charge, the foreman quickly called out for madam, and she walked across to meet him. He introduced himself as a retired colonel, and explained that this house was supposed to be his sons’. Things however had gone south when his childhood love walked out of their union, leaving the young man heartbroken. he had left home and not looked back.

Money was no issue! He asked if she could take it on and make it beautiful; as an architect, with a flair for creatively utilizing spaces, she nodded and they shook hands. She undertook the challenge and began to develop the property alongside, what would be her dream home. Daily, divided between both and giving her best in both circumstances, both houses began to take shape.

The colonel was an amazing man and she got along with him, he was appreciative of every single thing she did and gave her a free hand to build a home she would be comfortable in if it were hers. They talked about his life, and the experiences he had had. His wife was dead, his daughters all in their husbands’ homes, busy with their families, and his son away following his business interests. He seemed worried about his son and constantly spoke about his fears with her, she gave him hope that one day soon, this child would come home, tired of wandering.

He would be home in a week, after travelling for a six-week stretch. She was working on the interior decoration, as the houses were completed. She had named the house ‘safe haven’ and engraved on the Colonels’ property ‘the rock’. The colonel had asked her to do up the house, as his son had made a promise to come to see the finished work. The week ended with both houses completed.

She and his best male bud picked him up from the airport, they spent the evening at the apartment, then she left with a promise of them hanging out at the new house tomorrow. She arrived at the house early and cooked up a storm, she had invited his brother and his wife. His best friend drove him in, and on sighting the house, he was stunned.

She had erected a masterpiece, simple but elegant, nothing boisterous, and he noted that the formerly abandoned project next door also had been completed. As he looked at the property, the feeling of ‘home at last’, hit him, he picked her up in a really tight hug, and she giggled as she handed him the keys with the title deed.

As he walked into the house, his brother met him at the door, as did his sister-in-law, the smiles were huge. He walked all over the house and the grounds, unable to stop muttering the words “my God”.

The spread she had prepared was delicious looking, and after a quick word of prayer, everyone settled to dishing out and eating what they wanted. When the bell went off, she went to open the door, Colonel stood with a handsome young man to his side, She hugged Colonel warmly, and thanked him for coming. He introduced her to his son, who expressed his awe at the woman who had turned a sour mess into such a beautiful delight.

She quickly introduced them to the others, and set plates of food before them, the mood was merry, when suddenly the doorbell went off again, this time around when she opened it, a young lady stood with an older woman, hands on her hips.

The young woman was visibly pregnant, and she tearfully introduced herself, the name was a familiar one, she recollected him talking about a young catch who was a possible wife material before they became an item. She let them in and led the way into the living area. The look of shock on his face told her what she needed to know; quickly she moved both the young lady and her guardian to the formal living area.

She offered them a seat and refreshments, then asked who was responsible, the response confirmed her fear. She asked the young girl if she would be willing to have a paternity test done.

“Gladly!”

Gently she rose, gave her a warm hug, and brought both ladies to join the party, the colonel and his son left for ‘the rock’ not long after. As the night wound down, everybody went home leaving four occupants in ‘safe haven’.

She cleaned up, and headed for the door. He followed, but she stopped him at the door.

“I’ll get home ok, sort this out, we’ll talk tomorrow.”

She walked down the driveway and stood to wait for a taxi when the gates to ‘the rock’ opened and a black jaguar pulled up beside her. The windows came down, revealing the Colonels’ son, who offered her a ride, she accepted and he brought her home. As she exited the car, the words ‘please wait’ were uttered.

She paused in the doorway, he alighted came around, and simply held her. She came undone and wept.

29, on a Saturday morning.

“Wake up mummy, wake up!”

She opened one eye, saw the little hand hitting her face, she yawned and caught the hand before it landed again. Laughter filtered into the sleeping area of their bedroom from the sitting area.

She rose groggily and walked with her son in hand, but there was no one in the sitting area. The doors to the balcony were open, her son ran through them, and as she came through the doors, she saw the table set for breakfast, her husband and their twin girls laughing.

She shook her head, and looked at all four, she had come full circle. Later that afternoon, the range rover pulled up with the Colonel, who caught the twins as they barreled down the path into his arms. She walked into his warm embrace, and as they walked back towards the house, she looked over the fence and waved to him and his boys playing ball in the garden.

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