“In the months you’ve been dating Gladys, you’ve changed a lot Edward. We called you ‘Mr. Ice’ as a joke but it was very apt. I don’t know any other person so much in control of their emotions, especially with women. You were with Bisi for almost two years and were about to consider marriage but you were never as sentimental as you are with Gladys.”
The silence stretched again before Kanayo continued. “You spend every spare minute with her in person or on the phone. Could it be that you’re falling in love with Gladys?”
Edward lay back against the headboard. “I have thought of it, but what exactly is love?”
Kanayo laughed. “That is the billion naira question! If I knew I would have solved most of the world’s problems. But you can begin to tell by the way you feel about her.”
Edward inhaled deeply and let out a rush of air. He stood up and began to pace again. The deep brown rug padded his footsteps as he marched from one end to the other. While he couldn't pinpoint the moment he’d begun to need her so much, he couldn't deny that he did.
“Gladys has asked me this same question. I don’t know what love is, but it’s clear to me that I have very strong feelings for her. The problem is this sexual frustration. I don’t know whether it’s clouding my judgment.”
“But there are other issues on which you guys don’t agree. I remember that heated argument we had about organized religion and how some pastors scam their members.”
“For me, that was just a general debate. Still we’ve talked about and are working through our issues. Did I tell you I dreamt about asking her to marry me? I know I toyed with asking Bisi, but it would have been for convenience. With Gladys, it definitely won’t be settling.”
“You know, I often wondered why it took you from February to May to get together with her.”
“I made moves earlier on but it was clear from the first that she would be different from the other women. I backed out because I couldn’t handle it. You saw me the day at your branch.”
“Yeah, I remember that day. It was obvious you were very attracted to her. And it’s no different today; you still look at her that way."
"Yeah, that was why I ended up pursuing her in spite of my misgivings. She moves me in ways no one else does. I wanted to experience that at least once. Now I'm hooked."
"Another question is how does she really feel? The rumors have been flying, among our friends and in the papers, don’t you care?”
“You mean about her being after my money.” Edward stopped beside the heavy drapes at the netted windows and looked out on the pitch-dark night.
“You’re a very wealthy man Edward and she’s not exactly rolling in it.”
“Gladys is not after my wealth. She loves me.”
Kanayo allowed the silence to go on for a while before he added. “If you are sure, then it may be time to ask yourself serious questions; to bail out or go forward.”
Edward rubbed a hand over his eyes. “I can’t bail out now, Kanayo. Maybe I should have made plans from the beginning when I anticipated the possibility of feeling this way. The signs were certainly there. Sometimes I actually think I’d ask ‘how high?’ if she said ‘jump’. Now I am confused and don’t know the next step to make.”
“Just be cautious my friend, take your time. Men like us don’t just get married. We have to measure how it would affect our professional future. A partner should be able to add value to your business, not take it away. I’m not saying this against Gladys, but think carefully before you make up your mind. Feeling so strongly about a wife may be harmful in the long run.”
Edward let the curtain drop. “I’ll think about what you said. I really think I need time to sort out my thoughts. I’ll get back to you. Sorry for disturbing your sleep.”
“No problem at all, any time.” They soon said their goodnights.