Could this be love? .....by Cerebrally Busy.

Iphey got out of her car as fast as she could and hurried up the steps of General Hospital Ikeja. In the corridor beyond the nurse’s station, she saw was a slightly harried, fifty-something year old woman with an arm around a sobbing younger woman. Her heart rose into her throat. It was her mother and sister. Something really was wrong…her nephew had crises all the time…but this time was different. Her sister had a strange…aura around her. She was crying like there was no tomorrow, like all hope was lost.

Iphey swallowed. She didn't know how to deal with grief. Her legs suddenly felt like lead, but she managed to lift them one after the other, each step filled with dread.

"Mum…Ngoo, what did they say?" she asked, dreading the answer. Her sister looked over and the despair in her eyes cracked Iphey's heart. She reached for her.

"Iphey…Iphey…my baby, the doctors…said…he's going to…die," her voice broke on the last word. "Iphey, what will I do…he's my life…" she sobbed "my life…"

She clung like a leech and Iphey could do nothing but cry too and murmur useless soothing words. When she could finally get up, she handed her purse to her mother and went into Obi's ward.

He was sleeping so peacefully, but there were so many tubes...It should be illegal for so many tubes to be attached to one small child, Iphey thought angrily, what kind of world is this, where the young die and leave the old? Minutes passed…or was it hours?? Her mother came in and hugged her, offering wordless support. They stood like that for a long time, looking at the boy beneath the sheets, each thinking their own thoughts.

"One Chinedu called," her mother said.

Iphey looked at her mother in shock. "Who?"

"Chinedu. The same number called so many times, I decided to pick it. Who is he?"

She pulled out of her mother's embrace. “Just someone I met some days ago…"

"Anything I should know about?"

Should I tell her? Iphey wondered. No, she decided as she put on a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.

“Not yet mum, I’ll let you know if there is."

"You know I want you to settle down soon right?"

"I know but not now…”

Her mother shrugged. "OK but I told him where you were and that you will call him back later. Anyway, you can go home and have some rest.”

Iphey stared. Trust her mother to make all the arrangements. Iphey hugged her without a word and said goodbye to her sister who came back in then.

As she drove home, she became depressed and the tears brimmed over again. Her mother had called after her earlier phone conversation with Aisha. When she had not heard from Iphey, her mother had flown in from Port Harcourt to be with her sister in the hospital. Iphey had gone straight over totally ashamed of herself. She had assumed her sister and nephew were back home. She now thought of all Ngozi had been through. First with her husband's mysterious disappearance, and now her son, Obi, was about to die. She prayed that by some miracle, the little boy pulled through this.

In her street, she noticed a car parked beside the gate and wondered who it could be. Could it be him? The headlights shone brightly on the figure leaning against the wall. It was Chinedu. Her heart gave a very uncomfortable lurch that had nothing at all to do with her family. She frowned and got out of the car, she really didn’t need any distraction right now. All she wanted was to crawl into her bed and cry her eyes out, for Ngozi and for Obi. She hoped a brusque dismissal would get him off her case.

"What are you doing here?" she asked.

"Aisha called me after you both spoke earlier…" he trailed off at the sight of her tears. “Your mother told me about your sister and nephew. Is it very bad…"

She raised her hand and halted him. "I don’t want to talk about it.”

"Iphey, I’m sorry I didn’t call in the past few days. I wanted to hear from you or Aisha first. I’ll like to talk to you…”

“Can I just go in please?" She tried to move away.

Chinedu held her hand. It hurts, he realized. It hurts me that she's hurting. “I left some friends to come over here after speaking with your mother. You can talk to me you know?”

Don’t be nice please, she inwardly pleaded. I can't take it if you're nice.

To her utmost horror she began to sob. The sound grabbed his heart and squeezed. He pulled her into his arms while she wept it out. He gathered little from her unintelligible gabbles, but it saddened him the more. He pried the keys from her fingers and opened the door, and then guided her over the threshold.

"First you're going to sit down, and then I'm going to get you some water. Where's the kitchen?"

"First door to the left," she sniffed. She loved being babied.

He sat her on the couch then he removed her shoes and her jacket. He smiled at the way her eyes widened.

"Don’t worry, that’s all." He could guess where her thoughts had gone. He gave her a wink that was absolutely charming…it had her staring stupidly at the door long after he had left the room.

Good man, she mused. What could have possessed him to be an armed robber? She fell asleep with the barest hint of a smile on her lips and the slightest frown on her forehead.

That was the exact expression Chinedu saw on her face when he came back out. He held the sweating glass in his hand as love budded in his heart for the girl who had fallen asleep with a stranger in her house.


********************


That is it folks. I have to confess I really loved this post. Now vote for the next chapter on the left side bar. Our contributor is CEREBRALLY BUSY. This is an excerpt from the last entry on her blog. She and her siblings stole. Not armed robbery ooo...LOL, meat from the cooking pot.

"My mother opened the door, planted her hands on her hips and glared at us...my heart stopped, then took off in a sprint. cold sweat broke out all over my body, and my hands became ice. i can't tell how my sibling-partners in crime reacted, cos i was too busy praying for my life. She was going to flog us, she had even taken my brother's belt, but then she sat down on the couch, and tears silently coursed down her face...

"i was child-less for ten years, and all that time, while i was begging God for children, i didnt ask him to give me children who would be thieves, why are you doing this? don't i do enough for you? what have u asked for that i haven't given you?"

Results are in + Update

The results are in and we're expecting a story from Iphey's POV where she is having a conversation with her mother and Chinedu as well. Our next contributor is CEREBRALLY BUSY aka Fabulous Scribbles.

You can download a copy of the ebook on lulu now and remember, the first person to comment on the next chapter wins a free copy.

Also, my website is ready and I have begun to invite the first readers which will include those who have contributed so far. To increase your chances of being invited, join and comment on the Myne Whitman page on facebook. You can follow me on twitter too. Buttons are on the right side bar.

A reminder to those who have not voted, the poll is still up on the left side bar. Get involved and decide the next chapter of the story.

So some more people want to contribute or get involved in the story. The interactive follows the adventures of 25 year old Iphey who just recently started a job as a banker in Lagos. Romance or mystery, thriller or action, it can all be here! Anyone can contribute and as the story continues, everyone can vote for the next chapter.

The guidelines for contributors are as follows…(may be amended as things progress):

-Contributors can introduce new characters whose stories can fit into the plot.
-Keep chapters consistent with previous entries along the chosen story line.
-No abrupt changes unless the chapter explains the reason for it.
-This blog is not restricted so while love scenes are allowed, keep everything PG13.
-Chapter submissions should be between 500 and 750 words.
-I will try to keep changes to submissions to a minimum, but reserve the right to edit as necessary. I will try to carry the authors along in this.
-There will be two chapters a week; two days for voting and same for a contributor to get a story ready.
-Contributors will be acknowledged on their chapter and linked with a small excerpt from their blog.
-Send in expressions of interest to contribute in the comments or to my email from my profile page and I will let you know when it's your turn.
-There will be no compulsion at all. Even when you can't meet up with your turn to submit, another person can always fill in.
-If you write something but it is not yet your turn, send it in, the more the merrier.
-Finally, everyone please vote and let’s have fun, cheers.

Thank you all.

She asked didn't she? ....by Real Naijabloke

Chinedu stood there staring as Iphey’s taxi sped off. It wasn’t hard to figure out what went wrong with the date. Why had he blurted out that he was an armed robber? That was certainly what made Iphey’s attitude change.

The next day he called his friend Habib, Aisha’s brother, as he walked to his car after work. Habib picked up after the 6th ring.

“Hey Habib, what’s cracking with you and where you at?”

“Hey ‘Nedu, am good. What’s the deal?” Habib answered grudgingly.

“Dude what you up to over there ‘cos you sound like you kina busy or something.” Chinedu asked.

“Nothing much dude, just doing some overdue laundry over here at the moment, but I can talk” chimed Habib.

“Anyway dude I had an incident with your sister’s friend yesterday, the one that she setup with me for the blind date? I think I might have spooked her.”

“What happened” Habib asked.

“Well, we were just rambling, you know trying to know each other. She insisted I talk about myself, so I thought why not? You remember I told you about the crazy things I did when younger, the stuff with the street gangs that almost destroyed my life. Well I told her that I used to be an armed robber, which isn’t far from the truth really. Shey you get my drift?“

“What did she do?” Habib chuckled.

“I think she got the wrong impression. She ended the date before I could go into details or say any other thing.”

“You sef, how you go talk that kain thing? Of course she ran away!”

“Well…” Chinedu stuttered. “She asked didn’t she?”

“U don kolo sha! You like the girl abi na to move on be this?” Habib queried.

“Well it seems like there might be some potential there…”

“Then you need to apologize and in a big way too. Chicks like that sort of thing, like flowers saying you are sorry…”

“But dude, did I do anything wrong?”

“Then call her and say you were just trying to make conversation.” Habib suggested.

“Ok. Fine. I will think of something but I’ll wait till Aisha gets back to me. She was the one that arranged this so I’m sure Iphey will tell her how it happened and she’ll come blasting me.”

“If you say so…” Habib concurred. “In the mean time, we go still see tomorrow night?

“I’ll meet you at the SWE bar by 10pm if that’s OK.”

Habib was already on his second bottle of Gulder when Chinedu walked in the next day.

“My guy why you dey always late?” Habib queried him.

“I like to move by night, thought you already knew that?” Chinedu joked and both of them laughed it off.

“Yea back to my wahala, Aisha still hasn't called.” Chinedu started after his drink was served. “And I kind of felt a connection between me and Iphey. Just talked to her for an hour and I felt something I have not felt in a while. It was like we had known each other for a long time and were just catching up. Well…until I decided to yield to her and opened my big mouth.”

“I have told you that honesty will get you nowhere dude but you no dey listen.” Habib spat out.

“Well you know most people I meet get to hear my life story one way or the other, so this time I decided to bring it up before Iphey hears it somewhere else. Especially because I feel I might have a relationship with her, a very personal one...”

“I don’t like this kain lovey dovey gist,” Habib joked. “Abeg make we change topic… ”

“My guy this one serious oo.” Chinedu laughed before he obliged.

They hung out again the next day and went to Cubes lounge inside the Silverbird Galleria to meet up with a couple of their friends. Kunle and Jide were already there with three ladies and Kunle introduced them. Immediately, one of the ladies started paying a lot of attention to Habib who whispered that she would make a nice laundry. Chinedu shrugged but was not really interested. His mind was caught in a loop of Iphey and why Aisha had not called. He knew Habib would not appreciate him raising the topic here with the new girls so he decided to snap out of it.

“So Bisi what do you do?” Chinedu asked one of the other ladies.

“Oh I work for Diamond bank as an account reconciliation protocol officer” Bisi replied.

“Hmm...with all those titles you must be the biggest shot in that bank.” Chinedu teased even as he thought; another diamond banker again.

“Don’t let those titles fool you o! I’m one of the smallest fishes.” Bisi replied.

Chinedu couldn’t stop himself. “Hey I have a friend that works for Diamond bank, her name is Iphey, what branch are you in?”

Bisi straightened up when she heard the uncommon name. It must be the same her new colleague who had acted strange at the meeting today. Where had Iphey met this guy? She was the nice but quiet type and judging by his friends, Chinedu was the opposite. Bisi sat forward with a smile.


**********************

That's it folks, remember to vote for the chapter you want to see next on the right side bar. So who is REALNAIJABLOKE? I think he's also in 'team bad boys'. He replied a meme on his blog so;

Have You Ever Stolen Anything: Hmmmmmm ....... who hasn't?
Been Drunk Before Noon: College days was crazy is all i could say!
Had Sex In A Public Place: Hmmmmmmmm......
Got Caught Telling A Lie: Who Hasn’t?
Been Arrested: Got To The Station and was let go 'cos it was mistaken identity.
Littered: Story....tell me you've not.
Fantasized About A Co-Worker: Omo HR fit dey read this arena
Cheated On A Test: Well ...depends on what you call cheating...is spying cheating?

Update + To the one I love (Poem)

This is to confirm that our next contributor is Realnaijabloke. He's going to be writing from Chinedu's point of view. Was he really an armed robber or was it a joke? Will he call Iphey again or did she fail the test? Check back tomorrow to read and vote for the next chapter. Remember, the first to comment on it will win an ebook. If you're no good at stalking but you want the book, head over to LULU and download your copy now! Mynewhitman's Storefront

While we wait, enjoy the poem. TO THE ONE I LOVE

I love to drink and dine
And I’ll love to feed you fine
I love to dance in line
And I’ll love to make you mine
I love the number nine
And I’ll not see you pine

I love any joke funny
And I’ll make your life sunny
I love an exciting journey
And I’ll love to call you honey
I love but it's not for money
And I’ll love to make you bonnie

I love a good story well told
And I'll love your virtues extolled
I love to see two lovers old
And I'll love to give you a ring of gold
I love you to have and to hold
And I'll love you till my bones are cold

Get out of my dreams ....By Isha

“What?!” Iphey spluttered.

She could have sworn that she just heard her supervisor tell the entire operations staff and their managers that the procurement schedule template would be available at the armed robber meeting.

“I said it would be available at the advisory board meeting,” Funmi spat at her.

“Yes ma,” Iphey responded, suddenly finding something very important in her notebook. She wiped at a bead of sweat that wasn’t there, trying to relax. She passed her notebook to Bisi who was seated next to her, “Please, help me take notes. I’d be right back,” she whispered and she excused herself.

She didn’t exhale till she had shut the bathroom door behind her. “Oh dear, I’m losing my mind!” she said to the empty bathroom with her hand on her chest. She walked up to the sink, and washed her hands though they weren’t dirty. The running water provided some kind of solace.

It started when Funmi called on the intercom at about 10am, asking for a client’s armed robber, which was actually the client’s asset report. She felt like her mind was playing tricks on her. It had been a few days since she met with Chinedu, and she thought she had wiped him off her mind; only, to wake up this morning and find him sleeping peacefully next to her. She screamed and then woke up, and realized that the first wake-up sequence was only a dream.

She didn’t understand why this thing with Chinedu bothered her so much. After all he'd said it was in the past. Could it be that this hit so close to home because she refused to accept she was attracted to him? The finely chiselled frame of his face fluttered in her head as it had done every so often since her date, and gave her an instant thrill.

"But how could someone with such an honest demeanour have ever used a gun in his life?’ she thought. She shook her head rapidly like it was the proven method of clearing ones thoughts and winced at the headache she gave herself.

“OK,” she spoke to the washbasin this time, with new found determination, “I’ve had enough of this. I have a job to do.” She straightened her empire waist dress in front of the mirror and looked herself straight in the eye. “You can’t let this worry you. He’s not important. You’re probably never going to see him again.”

She looked around to ascertain that no one else was in the bathroom, ignoring what it seemed her conscience was saying to her. She didn’t want to become ‘office gist’ for having a nervous breakdown in the bathroom.

She pulled open the bathroom door holding her head high with square shoulders, but weary about how far the pep talk she had just given herself would go.

* * *

She got home that evening and finally decided to return Aisha’s missed calls. Her friend had tried to reach her non-stop since the night of the date, and she had ignored every one of the calls, because she couldn’t decide what to tell her. What if her well-meaning friend didn’t know of Chinedu’s past? What if it turned out that Aisha’s brother had a history of armed robbery as well, since they were so close?!

Her friend picked up on the second ring and didn’t bother with the perfunctory pleasantries. “I know what you’re trying to do,” Aisha started with a tone that made Iphey feel that she was furious, “you want me to drop dead in suspense!”

Iphey managed a believable chuckle before responding, “No be so now. I’ve been busy. How body?”

“Body dey as you leave am. No use that one waste time. Give me all the juicy details. Did you guys hit the club after dinner? Is he a good dancer? More importantly, is he a good kisser? Did he take you home? How was it?”

“It was nice,” Iphey replied. The silence that followed hinted that Aisha was waiting for more.

Aisha spoke up when he friend said nothing else, “Come on! Who do you think you’re talking to? Your Mum? I’m asking for gist, you’re giving me the version for the people who still believe that you’re a good girl.”

“It was just a regular date now, abi?” Iphey replied, “I met him at the restaurant. We talked about our backgrounds, our families, secondary schools; etcetera. The food was good sha.”

“Ehen?”

“And I went home after the meal!”

“As in? Did you ask for his number?”

“He gave it to me but I’m sure he can call me if he really wants to.”

“Hmmm. What are you not telling?”

“Nothing important, I’m serious.” She decided that she would not be the one to tell Aisha about Chinedu’s past if she didn’t already know.

“OK o,” Aisha replied, in a resigned tone, “but be sure that I don’t believe you completely. Do you want to see him again?”

“I don’t know,” Iphey laughed to lighten the moment and avail herself a change of subject. “Meanwhile,” she continued, “Ayo PM’ed me while we were sitting across from each other at a meeting this afternoon.”

“Who’s Ayo again? I know Tunde the flirt...”

“No, this is my branch manager now. The one who wants me to schedule my leave at the same time he’s taking his, so we can travel together.” She emphasized the last two words to stress the idiocy of the idea.

“Wait, are you sure you’ve told me about this guy before?”

“Yes now, Mr. You-like-me-but-you’ve-not-realized-it-yet.”

Aisha burst out in peals of laughter, “He said that?!”

“Well, maybe not in those exact words, but he might as well have. In his message today, he was like: ‘so why do you look so sexy this afternoon. I’m trying so hard not to be lustful’. This man is married oo...”

“OK, that’s just nauseating. You need to teach him a thing or two about appropriateness.”

“Oh, I sent him a very nice email, which is probably why he didn’t stop by my desk to say goodnight when he was leaving. There's more gist oo...”

“OK, hold it for me." Aisha's voice was hurried, "My dear, I have to get off now. TJ just drove in, and dinner is almost not ready.”

“No starve my broda o,” Iphey replied with a laugh. “OK then, goodnight!”

“Goodnight hon.”

* * *


So who's our latest Contributor? It's ISHA, and she has the following to say on her blog. Does this mean she is team Chinedu? LOL...read on. Voting resumes after the next chapter.

"Anyways, I think I find myself drawn to bad guys. I'm a complete fun lover, and I don't mean to be 'racist' but those plain-and-simple looking guys don't seem like they can be as exciting as I like my men. Then again, I often hear that people need comfort zones to really express themselves. That's all good, but I've learnt from experience to be weary of those quiet guys, many of them become beasts in their comfort zones.

I'd rather deal with someone who's openly daring and tough-looking, than find out that my quiet, serene lover is a wife-beating freak. You know what I'm saying?"

The Results are in + Wishing (Poem)

Hey people, thanks so much for voting.

So the results are in again and this time we have a tie. Same number of people want to hear about Iphey's talk with Aisha and also from Chinedu's POV. Rather than choose one over the other, we're gonna have both branches of the story before another vote.

Therefore the story will continue by tomorrow with a chapter by ISHA and on Wednesday with another by REALNAIJABLOKE. In that chapter will be the options to vote for the next chapter of the story. BTW, how come no one wants to hear about her family? We too like love gist sha, and I'm the chief culprit. LOL...

In the meantime, enjoy the poem. It was written back in the day when love was oceans apart...


WISHING

Wishing you were here
So I can hold you tight
Wishing you were here
So there’ll be no more night
Wishing you were here
So you can make me bright
Wishing you were here
So I can face any plight

Wishing you were here
So I may see the light
Wishing you were here
To gladden my sight
Wishing you were here
To make all things right
Wishing you were here
To make up after a fight

Wishing you were here
To protect me with might
Wishing you were here
To lift me to the height
Wishing…

A Heart to Mend: Love Happens (eBook)



Finally, the eBook is ready as promised. This is the cover as it appears on Lulu. The print version of the book and the sequel to Love Happens will be out next month either in time for Christmas or soon after.

The price of the eBook is $9.99 but as a promo and a compliment to my blog readers, I will revise the price down. For the rest of this weekend, the new price will be $5.99. So if you've been hungering and thirsting for the Gladys and Edward story, this is the time to download your copy. The link is on the left side bar beneath the poll.

To those who have already purchased the book, Thank You! I cannot wait to hear your thoughts. If you want to email them to me, depending on whether they could spoil the story for those who have not read the book, please feel free to do so. My addy is mulan.mine(at)gmail. If you can also leave a review on the Lulu page, I'll really appreciate that.

The last entry on Gladys sickness and "I go love oo" was a very small peek at the sequel but will be the last here. I will be opening up a second blog which will only be accessible to those who have purchased and read this eBook for more drafts. As you may have noticed, the URL of this blog has changed. It is now mynewhitmanwrites.com. I decided to customize the name thanks to GNG who provided insight and my SO as usual for his support.

The new site will be Mynewhitman.com and will morph into my website when the print book is ready. Don't be left behind, join the train now and be the first in the know of everything good that is coming. A second book is in the works and I will start posting excerpts from January.

In the meantime, the blogsville community story will continue here. I want to appreciate all the contributors and those who have expressed interest. I see a lot of talent here and that is giving me ideas. Please keep coming folks, and don't forget to vote for the story you want.

Thanks again.

Office Politics: It's complicated ...by Fabulo-la

“Cucku-roo-koo!” 6 am, and the cock had barely finished crowing as Iphey walked into the bank premises. ‘Click-click-click’ as her heels hit the concrete.

Truth is, Iphey was nervous about meeting with her boss Funmi again, which is why she was at the office early to take a closer look at her work. She had no idea what she could have done. Funmi had called her ‘unprofessional’. Why? She couldn’t think of a reason. Since she started at this bank, she has consciously been professional about everything.

She hurried to her desk in the common office and began shuffling through files and to-do lists making sure she had left no stones unturned. As she began to work, she turned on some music to keep her company. She had another hour or so to herself before the first set of bankers began to arrive. The crooning voice of Michael Buble will work wonders to calm her nerves.

“..Somehow I know that it’ll all turn out, You'll make me work so we can work to work it out, And promise you kid, I'll give so much more than I get, mmmm....I just haven't met you yet..” she sang to herself, bobbing her head to the music.

“Well I have certainly met you.” A voice said behind her. Startled she dropped the file she was holding.

“Oh I didn’t mean to startle you” It was the bank manager. Her bosses’ boss, Ayo.

“Oh its not problem sir. I wasn’t expecting anyone to be here. I’ll just turn the music off”. She replied. She was a little uncomfortable being in the same room with him.

“Ah, but I didn’t ask you to turn it off.”

“No, its ok. I will turn it off. I have to run to the basement anyways."

“Why are you avoiding me eh Iphey?”

"Ah no its nothing sir." She got up to put the files away. As she walked by him, he grabbed her by the waist and held her close to him.

"I don’t bite." he whispered in her ear.

"Ahem!" A voice said behind them. It was Tunde, her colleague. She hurriedly released herself from Ayo's grip.

"I will see you later ok Iphey?" He smiled at them both. "Good morning Tunde."

"Good morning sir," Tunde eyed their boss as he strolled out.

"There is nothing going on, before you start to accuse me abeg!" Iphey began defending herself.

"Have I said anything?" Tunde laughed in her face. He ran a finger down Iphey’s arm and caught her palm in a lingering handshake.

"Now if only you will agree my own…." He let the words hang and then turned away. "See you at lunch?"

He smiled on his way to his office on the other side of the hall. He was in marketing where as she was in clearing operations. Oh lawd. Why did she attract all these men? Chinedu, Ayo and now Tunde. The latter was her friend but he would get her in trouble soon if he didn't stop.

Tunde had just gotten engaged but would not stop his flirting with all the girls in the bank especially her. Other staff began to arrive including those who shared her office and they all settled down to the day's grind.

Knock knock! She spun on her seat. It was Funmi. "Meet me in my office in 10”.

Great the day just got worse, Iphey muttered under her breath. She tidied her desk, as she got ready to head over to Funmi’s office. What could I have done? She wondered to herself trying to figure out what it was. As she approached Funmi’s office, she heard voices, so she stood outside waiting.

“Why did you call this meeting Funmi?”

“This girl is not doing her work Ayo! Her work is sub standard, not up to par. She needs to be taught a lesson.”

“But you know this is not the company policy. You need to tell her privately first before bringing me into this.” Pause. “ Are you doing this because we are not sleeping together anymore Funmi?" He queried her.

"What we had was more than sleeping together Ayo and you know it!" Funmi yelled.

"You're married now Funmi. YOU went and got married but decided NOT to tell me..."

"Did you tell me when you got married three years ago? And did that stop us?"

There as silence in the room and the sound of Funmi's heavy breathing.

"Funmi, I believe you're being harsh on your staff because you're frustrated more than anything else. So leave the girl, she has done nothing wrong. You know, the transfer offer to be with your husband is still open. I think you should consider it. Me and you are finished."

The door swung open and Ayo nearly ran over Iphey in the doorway. Iphey avoided meeting his eyes. He smiled at her.

“I’m guessing you heard all that then?” he asked her. She looked everywhere but at him.

“It was bound to come out sooner or later,” he muttered, almost to himself. "But you should keep it to yourself." Ayo gave her a look-over, with a knowing twinkle in his eyes as he walked away.

Iphey rubbed the back of her neck feeling very uncomfortable. Just then, a visibly shaken Funmi opened the door.

“What are you standing there for?” she snapped.

“Err..you asked me to come and see you?’ Iphey answered.

“Forget it. Let me just warn you that I will not take kindly to any silly mistakes from you again. You hear me?”

“Yess ma,” Iphey answered sheepishly.

“Now get back to work, before I change my mind”. She spat at her.

Iphey spun on her heels and raced back to her desk. Its wasn’t yet 10am and the day was already off to a rocky start. She still had to call her mother when she got home that evening. Thoughts of Chinedu had chased it from her mind last night...


>>>>>>>Vote on the right side bar for More on; Conversation with Mother, Phone call from Chinedu, Talk with Aisha.>>>>>>


***********************************************************

Who is Fabulo-la, our latest contributor? She had this to say on her BLOG. Click on the link and go show her some love.

"Its amazing.
Barely 4 months ago all Brokeass wanted to do was bare her thoughts
and just release all the mental tension suffocating her.
But she got more than that. With all the encouragement she got,
Fabulo-la was born. And I can honestly say it has been pleasant
I am not going away"

Giveaways + Poem

Fabulola: So I have just confirmed from Fabulola. She is giving us the next chapter of the story by Thursday morning. The votes say most people want to know what happens between Iphey and her Boss Funmi.

Giveaway: And since the e-version of my book is almost ready, the first bloggers to comment on the next three chapters will get free copies of the ebook. So keep your eyes peeled. And if you've not updated your blog list, do so now. Goodluck.

While we wait, enjoy the short poem.

WHAT IS LOVE

Is it a feeling or an action?
Is it to love or to be in love?
Can one do without love?
A cool love or a fast love?
Which is the better love?
Why do we even love?
When does love start?
Where does love end?
Have you ever loved?
How will you describe love?

Do you live in Nigeria?




And more specifically in Abuja and environs? The above is a flyer for a home makeover show created through a company run by my sister and friends. The company is Klasik Nigeria Ltd and it is billed as Dress My Home They also sell and deliver high quality fabric sofas in most parts of the country.

For enquiries, please call any of the following lines from Nigeria or add the codes as necessary. 07025032642, 07028380777, 07027851480.

Tell them Myne Whitman sent you. They'll be distributing my book when it lands in naija too.

The Date ....by Atala Wala Wala

She had just returned from seeing one of her clients about an overdraft facility he wanted on his account, and was walking back to her office when her manager beckoned her into her office.

Funmi gestured to a seat. "Good morning, Iphey. Please shut the door - this won't take long."

Iphey sat down, wondering what was up; she got on reasonably well with her, so she couldn't figure out why she sounded unusually curt. Her apprehension mounted as Funmi went on to talk about the unprofessionalism she said she had observed in Iphey's work, and how she preferred to let her know about it first rather than writing a query. Iphey was quite shocked; she tried to ask her to be more specific, but Funmi cut her off, saying that she had said everything she wanted to say.

Iphey responded by emphatically stating that Funmi was being unfair in not giving her a fair hearing, and things went rapidly downhill from there. The encounter left her really rattled, she was certain that there was more it that met the eye. "Best not to think too much about it", she muttered to herself. After all, there was this date to look forward to.

Her friend, Aisha had been pestering her forever to go out with this friend of her brother's. She wasn't exactly filled with confidence; the last person that Aisha had recommended had not turned out so well. She’d almost refused, but Aisha pleaded that this guy was really good. The truth was she doubted that Aisha even knew the kind of person she wanted.

Iphey sighed as she put finishing touches to her makeup and prepared to step out of her flat. Aisha had managed to persuade her this time, but only after she swore never, ever to trouble her with her randomly picked blind dates if this didn't work out.

She had also agreed because of the impression she had got when her date called to set up the time and venue. He had appeared charming, intelligent and well-spoken - definitely no red flags. He seemed a bit reticent to give more information about himself, though. All she knew was that his name was Chinedu, and he "ran an engineering business”. Well, at the very worst, it sounded like she might have a more interesting time going out than staying in, even if nothing happened.

******************

The skies were already darkening when she stepped out of the cab in front of the restaurant that they'd agreed to meet at. She looked around, wondering if he might be waiting outside, but she didn't see anyone who looked like they might be him. Maybe I'll have more luck inside, she thought as she walked in. Again, she scanned the dark interior.

"Is he late?" she wondered aloud. She hoped not; one of her pet peeves was people who disrespected others by not keeping to time.

"No, he's not. In fact, he's been watching you since you entered, and he's quite impressed by what he's seen," she heard a voice say in the same deep baritone she had heard on the phone.

She turned round, startled, and saw someone who looked to be in his early thirties, of average height, a bit slim and medium complexioned.

He smiled at her and continued, "Sorry for the unusual introduction... I shouldn’t have chosen a table out of sight, but I usually find the view outside the window provides interesting things to talk about. I don't think that will apply this evening, my eyes will be taken up with a much more beautiful spectacle."

She smiled back. "Thank you, Chinedu - that's a very nice compliment."

He led her to her table, and they ordered their entrees straightaway. The evening passed pleasantly; she told him all about herself, her schooling, how she got a job at Diamond Bank, what she would really like to do if she had the money, places she would like to travel to, her views on the different places she had been to, and so on. Chinedu seemed genuinely interested and impressed by her ideas and her views; the more she talked, the more he wanted to know. She was definitely enjoying herself.

Iphey leaned back and smiled at him. "You sound like a very interesting person. I'd like to hear more of your views on the world; you've not talked a lot about yourself."

Chinedu smiled. "What business does the moon have in the sky when the sun is out shining? My life these days is not that interesting; you'll agree that we've both enjoyed ourselves listening to you talk."

"But what if we could enjoy ourselves even more by listening to YOU talk? Oya... spill the beans!"

He made an expansive gesture. "OK, what do you want to know?"

She grinned back mischievously. "Tell me your deepest, darkest secret."

Chinedu appeared to think for a while. Then he leaned closer to her and whispered, "I used to be an armed robber."

Iphey stared at him. Then she laughed. "Be serious now."

"I am being serious."

Iphey shook her head. He must be joking - who would come out openly and say such a thing? Even armed robbers wouldn't do so. "So assuming you're telling the truth - why did you go into armed robbery?”

"For the same reason that most other people do - lack of opportunity elsewhere, and a friend drew me into it with the promise of making a lot of money from it. The honest truth is that back then, I felt that I had to do what I had to do. I saw people as objects rather than as human beings with feelings, so I didn't feel bad about doing what I did. But that was then."

"I don't understand how you can be so open about your past."

Chinedu smiled, and made the same expansive gesture as before. "Well, you wanted to know my deepest, darkest secret... there's a saying, 'beware of what you ask for, because you may get it'."

They continued chatting, but the earlier pleasant mood of evening for her had definitely soured. After a few more minutes, she stood up and announced that she had to go.

"What a pity. I feel that we were really enjoying ourselves. I came with my car; I can drive you home if you like."

“No, but thanks anyway.”

He insisted, but she was firm. She did assent for him to wait with her while she hailed a taxi, but responded to his chat in monosyllables. Eventually, a cab turned up, and as she got in, he gave her his number and said that he would like them to meet again sometime.

"Let’s see how it goes," she murmured.

As the taxi sped off towards her flat, she reminded herself to call her sister and update her mother. Aisha would have to answer about Chinedu later.

Vote on the left side bar for the story to continue in any of the following directions;
- The event at work with Bisi;
- Iphey's sister/nephew or;
- Conversation with her mother.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Before I depart, I should introduce myself. You probably know that I'm Myne's Signficant Other. Here are a few other random facts about me:

- This is my the third continent I'll be living on, after Europe and Africa. But I don't think I'm cut out for the 'Ajala' life, so I have no plans to move to Asia or Australia (but then again, two years ago I didn't know I'd be moving to Seattle, so who knows?).

- I love listening to the sound of a well played piano. Whether the notes are being played in spartan isolation, or whether I'm listening to a concordance of chords, I get caught up in the performance, especially if there's feeling and melody to go with it.

- I don't get Facebook. I've tried, but honestly, poking and messaging on walls is just not my thing - I'd rather correspond via mail or phone. I guess I'm old fashioned that way.

The results are in + Poem

This is to say a big thanks to all who voted. The votes have been counted and the results are in. Isn't that what they say in all those reality TV shows?

More on --- Her date

Her name ---- Iphey

The place --- Lagos Nigeria.

The next contributor is Atala Wala Wala, and he will have two days to come up with the next chapter of the story. Fabulola, get ready to go next...LOL

Some have asked for each chapter to be self contained; this may not be possible but I'll request contributors to do their best. The most important thing is to keep reading and keep voting. Thanks again.

Enjoy this poem in the meantime...

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT


It was love at first sight
And try as I might
I just couldn’t find
A way to get you off my mind
You’ve stolen my heart
Given me a brand new start
I just want you to know
That as our love grows
Treat my heart with care
And please be fair
Don’t break my heart
By wanting to be apart
Because I’m in love with you
And I feel everything you do
Any harsh word you speak
Can make my eyes leak
You know you hold my heart
So please save it from hurt

Let's tell a story...

Hey people, so the time to tell a story together has come. This would be an interactive story, the plot of which is to be decided by both the writers and the readers. Romance or mystery, thriller or action, it can all be here!

The guidelines are as follows… I may change, add or remove as things progress, and as needed:

-Contributors can introduce new characters whose stories can fit into the plot.
-Keep chapters consistent with previous entries along the chosen story line.
-No abrupt changes unless the chapter explains the reason for it.
-This blog is not restricted so while love scenes are allowed, no graphic descriptions please.
-For each chapter ending, there is a minimum of two and maximum of five lead offs.
-Chapter submissions should be between 750 and 1000 words.
-I will try to keep changes to submitted chapters to a minimum, but reserve the right to edit as necessary.
-There will be two chapters a week; two days for voting and same for a contributor to get a story ready.
-Contributors will be acknowledged on their chapter and linked to their blog.
-Send in expressions of interest to contribute in the comments or to my email from my profile page. I already have Fabulola and Omotee! Thanks girls.
-Please vote and let’s have fun, cheers.

Thank you all.

Myne Whitman.

**********************************

The Story Begins...

She got back from work that day sweating heavily and knew she was going to be very late for her date. It had been a hot and humid day and she had been caught in the rush hour traffic returning home from the office. She now rushed about her apartment like a headless chicken putting her stuff together for the date when her phone rang.

"Hello?" She panted struggling into a deep purple skirt.

"Hello, my daughter is that you?" It was her mum's voice.

"Yes mum, it's me." she replied with a bitten off, "who else could be answering my phone?" under her breath.

"I just heard from your sister. Her son is in crisis again and they are at the hospital."

Her heart sank and the wind was knocked out of her sails. She had thought this was one of those her mum's infrequent marriage badgering calls. The sister her mum mentioned was her elder sister who had a 6 years old asthmatic son. He had often got this sort of crises during this period but it had seemed to subside in the past year. However, this was the second within the same month this year.

"Mum, I have to go out this evening and I’m already running late. I'll call her when I get back and give you feedback later OK?”

"That's fine, talk to you later dear. Take care of yourself and be careful"

Yes mum," she replied as she pressed the end button.

She wanted to continue getting ready but the “be careful” from her mum got her thinking of the stormy events at the office today.


**********************


To start with, we have three separate polls so readers can choose the name of our heroine, the setting and the next storyline. Vote and get involved.

Romance or mystery, thriller or action, you determine what goes on!

A little piece of me (2)

1) Is the weather really always that nice or are those just good days:
Most of the pictures were taken on bright and sunny days some as recent as last week. The weather in Seattle can be very fickle and temperamental. Summer was fantastic, over a month with no rain. Sunny skies but not run-out-screaming hot, except on two or so occasions. Now we’re in fall, it’s dry one minute and wet the next. It rains even when the sun is out. LOL, and it rains almost every other day.

2) As a writer, does all the art in the city inspire you or you don’t actively think about it:
I don’t actively think about it. I love going to museums and art events but more to relax. What inspires my writing about the city is the sense of serenity. There are trees all over the place and beaches when the weather is nicer. These are the things that get my muse in the right mood.

3) Who is your favourite author?
I love various authors and cannot narrow it down. The names that stick are; M&B, Cartland, Rivers, Sheldon, Ludlum, Uris, Grisham, and Critchton. And in Africa; Pacestters, AWS, Nwapa, Emecheta, Ekwensi, and Achebe. Recently I read more by how I like the preview or reviews of a book than who wrote it. However, I always try to buy a Nigerian author each time I shop.

4) How did you decide to self-publish your book?
I sent out the manuscript to about three publishers, but I always knew I might go the self publishing route. I’m not the literary author type that is more acceptable to mainstream publishers and the genre publishers may not be comfortable with the Nigerian setting. However, I wanted people to read my story and hope it leads to bigger things. I also own the rights and if a good offer comes in later, I will accept.

5) How long have you lived in Seattle? I have lived here for going on a year now.

6) What are the pros and cons of living there?
One big pro of course was being able to join SO, LOL. OK, Seattle is a slow paced city which I prefer and the weather is manageable. It’s close to the Canada border and to California so easier to visit these places (I like travelling). The cons are that the weather can get depressing at times. It is three hours behind the rest of the country time-wise and 8hrs behind naija and UK, making it harder to call friends and family. It is also far from the South, Midwest and East coast, and very far from naija with more expensive flights.

7) What did you study in college?
I studied Applied Biology for my first and Public Health Research for Masters. So what am I doing writing? Search me…LOL, the research comes in useful sha.

8) Are you a writer for real?
Who is a real writer? LOL...well I’ve been writing since I was little. I did sciences all through and still kept on writing. Now it is my 9 – 5 and hopefully more people are reading me now and will be reading in future. I’ll be very fulfilled when the first book is out in print I can tell you.

9) Other than writing, what else do you enjoying doing?
I watch a lot of TV and movies, listen to music, and chat with friends. I enjoy the outdoors with good weather and a long hike somewhere; beach, wood park, walking and hill climbing. I also love travelling, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. Of course reading is the easiest and cheapest way of doing this and some of my best days are curled up with a book while it’s rain-drenched outside.

10) I always wonder how you manage to sit and write an entire story without throwing your laptop out the window. I have a big issue with over-editing my stuff.
It’s both a fault and a blessing. I cannot tell a short story unless I’m forced to. So it’s something I enjoy, writing long stories about people in my imagination. Now that I’ve made it my 9-5, you don see my life finish. LOL. I edit a lot while writing so that at the end it’s minimal. Still I appreciate fresh eyes to help me proof and then I force myself to move to the next project. “A heart to Mend” took me about 6months.


>>>>>That’s it my friends, some questions were answered in the previous comments. The details for those that want to contribute will be ready tomorrow with the first installment and poll. Thanks again…

A little piece of me (1)

So the theme of this blog will be changing in the next few weeks, at least till the end of the year. As most of you know, I have submitted the manuscript for Edward and Gladys' story to the publishers and the process has started. Now I have started research for the next book, it has to do with twins and of course romance in Nigeria. Some of you on twitter already know where it is set. LOL. It's gonna be partly in Benin-City.

Anyway I digress. The blog is gonna change a little to give me time to get my flow on the new one and till "A mended heart" premieres. So while we wait for the washing, SO has agreed to take some of the load off. He is a blogger though he rested his spot some time ago. Some of you may recognize him. Yes leggy, that is the person responsible for all the mushy poems so blame him when he comes oo.

As I was saying, we want to start an interactive story with the commenters. It will have a poll driven storyline and interested bloggers can contribute as well. Before the end of this week, I will have the details ready.

For now I was tagged by Scomiss to talk about the hype in my city. This ties in with my idea to celebrate my over 100 followers. I realised my blog doesn't share a lot of myself, though I leave a few pieces here and there on other blog's comments. So to share more of me, I have made a video of the city I live in with one or two pictures of me thrown in.

Look at the pictures, ask any questions you want in the comments section and I will answer as much as I can. My next blog post will be dedicated to answering those questions so look out for it too.

Thanks for following and thanks for the comments. I really appreciate it. I even think that without you guys, it would have been more difficult to finish the book so quickly. You're all the best. If you're not following, join now and keep commenting/ voting. Giveaways are coming again soon...

ps...I will take down the video once I have 10 questions I want to answer.

Sweet things you do to me. (Poem)

Sweet things you do to me
You make me feel so fine
In the press of a mobbing crowd
The way you look into my face
And hold on to my hand

Sweet things you do to me
You treat me like I’m a queen
The most important thing to you
You do all in your power
To see that I’m always happy

Sweet things you do to me
You point out those things
That you know I love to see
You cause me to smile at you
And make me laugh out loud

Sweet things you do to me
You show a real sense of depth
In times of pain and sorrow
Which I cherish as much as
Your arms of comfort around me

Sweet things you do to me
You can spin the silliest jokes
Just to tease and thrill me
Your warm and tender smile
Is a lighthouse in the storm

Oh! Sweet things you do to me
For in this ever–changing world
Long as you're always near
Most sweet is your love for me
It always sees me through

I go love ooo...

Ayo laughed and scooted further up the bed. “Oh so you’re up to eating already?”

“Yes, in fact I was ravenous after I woke up this morning. It felt like my abdomen was stuck to my spine. There were eggs for breakfast and steamed rice for lunch; not the best but bearable. I’m still waiting on dinner which will soon be here.”

“How long will you be here?”

“Two nights. I’ll probably be discharged tomorrow evening.”

“Two nights is not so bad. It must be expensive, though.” Jennifer chipped in.

“Aunt Isioma already has a health plan with them; it’s not really that expensive. Also I don’t even think I need stay tonight as I have no problems drinking fluids.”

“It’s been a while since I last saw your aunt. How is she?”

“She’s fine. She was with me through out yesterday. She was the one that called my mother and brothers and Edward too. She was here this morning and will soon be back.”

“That’s very nice of her. Your aunt is always so gracious.”

Gladys nodded. In the year since she’d arrived in Lagos, her aunt had become like a second mother to her. They had grown even closer after she had confided about her late husband’s lack of sympathy and the unhappy prison their marriage had become.

“You said last Sunday that Edward was out of the country and won’t be back till the weekend." Jennifer scooted forward on the armchair. "How did he take the news of you being admitted in hospital?”

“He called last night but I was still too weak to carry on a conversation. He did say he’d wrap up his business and return home as soon as possible.”

“This love is really catching him…”

“I go love ooo." Ayo quipped. "At least you’ll be looking better then.”

“Oh, so you think I timed the illness for when he was away?” All three girls laughed.

“I hope you get well soon. I still need you for my planning, and we must all dance our legs off that night.” Jennifer bounced on her chair and took out some cards from her purse.

“Great, the cards are out.” Gladys reached out and collected one from her. Jennifer’s engagement party had been fixed for the night of Valentine’s Day in just about three weeks time.

“Yes, and you and Edward are the number one guests.”

The girls hashed out a tentative agenda for the party after Gladys had admired the card in glowing terms. They remained with her through dinner until her aunt arrived.

Dehydration and Food poisoning

An update on the Gladys and Edward story. It is the new year and she is back in Lagos. I liked writing this part as I'm sure most of us can relate having been sick one time or the other. Enjoy...

Gladys turned over groggily on the bed as the door to her room opened. She looked up and broke into a weak smile when she recognized Jennifer and Ayo.

“And we thought you were invincible!” Jennifer exclaimed as she quickly took the only armchair in the spacious room.

Ayo came closer and perched on the bed. “I hope you’re not infectious? I can stand if that’s the case.”

Gladys laughed. Just last Sunday at their outing after the church service, she’d bragged of never being sick after a year in Lagos. Alas she spoke too soon! Around lunch time at work on Tuesday, she’d started to feel ill, and it got worse to the point that she was miserable by afternoon. She had chills all over her body, a terrible headache, and felt faint. Ola took her home ahead of the usual time and waited until Aunt Isioma came back. The fever receded but in the evening; she had barely started a phone call with Edward before her stomach turned to liquid.

When she spent most of the night in the toilet, her aunt had brought her to Reddington Hospital for a checkup. She had ended up being admitted for observation because based on the blood tests; she had a very high white blood cell count. That was yesterday.

“Sorry we couldn’t come to see you earlier. We decided to come together after work.”

“No problem at all, thanks for coming.” Gladys had called them both this morning. She’d been too weak yesterday to think of even raising a finger.

“So what exactly is wrong? You look terrible.”

“I’m surprised to be alive. I puked out everything in me, and from both ends too.”

“Eewwww,” Ayo groaned. “Too much information; please enough of that.”

Gladys laughed, “But you asked. You should have seen me yesterday. I looked like death warmed over and I couldn’t eat a thing. Once I was admitted, they started me on IV antibiotics and fluids because of the fever and the chills, and I was dehydrated too.”

“So what caused all that?”

“The doctor said it is dehydration and food poisoning. I must have eaten something that did not agree with my stomach. As for the dehydration, the sun this January has been horrible.” Her hands kneaded her stomach as she sat up on the bed.

Ayo plumped the pillows behind her. “You can say that again. How do you feel now?”

“I feel better today; the treatments must be working.”

“And you have this cool room to get well in. How lucky!”

Gladys smiled. Jennifer had always been lively but she was even bouncier these days. “Yeah, that was fortunate. These rooms on the 6th floor are the Royal Suites and I get to stay here because the normal suites are full. As for the food, I’d rather be home eating Tolani’s spaghetti and chicken. That girl has her issues but cooking is definitely not one of them.”

Precious (Poem)

Your eyes flash with a fire
That shames that of sapphire
Your skin is from the mould
That poured the purest gold

Your hair is of a glory
Darker than the finest ebony
Your charm will never fade
Like that of an Indian jade

I need no tear in a pond
To compare to a diamond
Because your lips are ruddy
Redder yet than any ruby

Your smile glows so silvery
It cannot be rivaled by ivory
You’ve been made more perfect
Than the best crafted garnet

So like the jewels of the bold
Much too valuable to be sold
You have been made to be
Very very precious to me

I'm well and truly loved (Poem)

Update: Just to say that I'll soon get back to posting excerpts of the Gladys and Edward story. I have just signed the contract with my publishers and want to finalize things first. Hopefully things will be clearer by the end of the week. In the meantime, enjoy the poem...


Your love is music in my heart
In the midst of the silent desert
Your love is the warm blanket
Over me in the coldest season
In a dark and heavy sky
It is the brightest star
Your love is a guiding light
In the blackest of night
Through the hardest famine
It feeds me with food and wine
Even in the hottest weather
It cools my lips with water
Your love springs up to fill me
When drought seeks to kill me
So I'm not going to be moved
Because I’m well and truly loved

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