Ijeoma was reading in the class more than a week later when Joan her roommate came in and whispered in her ear softly.
“You don't mean it?” She shouted and then hid her face in shame as she felt everyone in the class staring at her in anger at the disturbance.
“I'm serious,” Joan whispered laughing quietly at Ijeoma's embarrassment.
“Oh my God!” Ijeoma exclaimed as she quickly packed up her books.
“Are you going back to the hostel?” She asked Joan when they were outside the class. “No, I am just from there,” she replied.
“Wow,” Ijeoma kept repeating as she dashed to the hostel. She didn't go to her room but straight to Nneka's. The door was open and she tiptoed inside. Nneka was backing her therefore she quietly dumped her books and whistled long and hard.
Nneka started, turned towards her and screamed as they both rushed into each other's arms. Disentangling themselves, they looked carefully up and down at each other.
“I heard you just came back,” Ijeoma said finally sitting on Nneka's bed.
“As you can see, I'm still unpacking,” Nneka replied gesturing to the scattered luggage.
“You are looking very cute,” Ijeoma complimented her, “How was America?”
“It is a very long story my sister. Ehen,” Nneka said in a conspiratorial manner, “you don't know what happened,”
“What happened?” Ijeoma asked eagerly.
“I'll tell you everything later,” Nneka said folding her clothes and hanging up some in the wardrobe. “What about yours?”
“So-so my dear. Nigeria is always Nigeria,” Ijeoma replied.
“You mean nothing happened? Nneka asked looking at Ijeoma meaningfully.
“Ha, you know me better now,” Ijeoma protested standing up to help fold some clothes. “Mmm,” Nneka said, “Listen, I think things have changed a bit. There was this guy I refused just before I left, around twenty seven, he was quite responsible and rich and the son of my dad's friend. My mum didn't let me rest. She continued drumming into my ears how old I was, that it was time to start looking out for the right husband material and not turning guys down left, right and center as I saw fit. I told her categorically that I was just twenty and not yet in the market and thankfully, I left for the US a few days later.” “That one is for them o, as for me I'm not yet ready. My mum is also making noise but luckily I've never turned down anybody she knows,” Ijeoma confided in return.
“Ah, talking of guys, I know you would have seen Ifeanyi by now,” Nneka stated and then queried, “When did you even come back?”
“About a week ago,” Ijeoma answered, “ He came to visit me that same day.”
“Wow,” Nneka exclaimed smiling, “That was cool. Who informed him?”
“I don't know,” Ijeoma replied then tried to change the subject, “Nneka, your holiday...” “Forget my holidays for now,” Nneka cut in “So....”
“So... what?” Ijeoma feigned ignorance as she folded the clothes with more vigor. “What did he say?” Nneka asked directly.
“What could he say?” Ijeoma evaded and then when Nneka said her name warningly, she laughed, “Curiosity killed the cat, and you know that, don't you?” She teased Nneka. “I know,” Nneka replied unabashed, “Continue,”
“What did he even say?” Ijeoma asked herself, “Well, he came out plainly with his feelings, said he loves me and all that...”
At this point, Nneka's eyes grew round “And then...?”
“I gave him the usual spiel but he was still persistent. At a point I gave in. I like him too, you know that,” Ijeoma summarized.
“Mmm, you mean you agreed to become lovers?”
“No...” Ijeoma protested laughing, “Just good friends.”
“Okay” Nneka nodded “But do you realize that he's a perfect husband material?
“Nneka!” Ijeoma exclaimed and they laughed, “Who is saying anything about marriage now? She asked rhetorically.
“You don't know?” Nneka answered, “Ifeanyi looks like a serious and responsible guy. He loves you, is in his final year. And he has...” She paused meaningfully till she got Ijeoma's full attention, “rich parents!”
“Nneka! You're incorrigible,” Ijeoma laughed, “Anyway I've seen him just once since then so maybe he's just like the others,”
“No, I trust Ifeanyi,” Nneka replied.
“Please tell me what happened to you abroad, you're being unusually secretive,” Ijeoma pleaded.
“You want to know?” Nneka asked in return building the suspense.
“Of course” Ijeoma replied sitting closer.
“Okay”, Nneka said and began narrating her experiences.