JETH sidled through the throng of exiting worshippers and paced his steps when he came side by side of her. “Bless you, Sister.”
Shiloh angled her head. Then rolled her eyes at him. “Did you at least pay attention to the Man of God during service?”
“I did and was wholesomely blessed by his teaching.” Jeth grinned. “I really did, no fibbing. There were a few distracting moments when my mind wanted to wonder if you were also in church. But I took charge and made it listen to the Word.” He paused, enjoying the way her light painted mouth twitched in amusement. “Knowing that the Word would give wisdom to my mind, courage to my heart and swiftness to my feet.” H gently nudged her through the open entranceway. “And that he who is the Word himself would give me the right word to whisper into your ears.”
“But you are not whispering.” He wasn’t but his deep voice and his nearness were making her feel some faint tingles.
“The whispering is for the right time and the right place.” Jeth stopped with her beside the fruit drinks seller. “May I do the honours?” He asked, fishing in his pocket for his wallet.
“No.” Shiloh objected and paid for the drinks. Then she passed him one.
“Thanks.” He took her hand, flashed the other with the bottle of Zobo drink at an oncoming vehicle before crossing them to the other side of the road.
“Why are you crossing me this way?” Shiloh already half guessed why.
He stopped beside his car, let go off her hand and opened the passenger door. “Accord me the honour of driving you home, Sister Shiloh.”
“I can take a cab home, Jeth.”
“I know you can. But I’d like to drive you home.” He gestured. “Please, allow me this honour.”
Shiloh vacillated between holding on to her refusal and giving in. She’d didn’t want him to start thinking she depended on him for anything and she didn’t want to act difficult and reject his kind offer.
Finally, she gave in. “All right. Thank you, even though it’s not at all necessary.”
“Thank you for letting me do the unnecessary for you.” Shooting her a wink, Jeth shut the car door after her and went around to get in behind the wheel. “How was your day today?”
“Busy. And yours?”
“Busy and productive.” Jeth cast her a side glance. “You kept creeping into my mind though. But then, you’ve been preying on my mind since I first heard you singing one bright Sunday morning.”
“I don’t know what to say.” Shiloh confessed after a moment of silence. “You are moving at a pace I am not entirely comfortable with, Jeth. I don’t know whether to tell you to slow down or to stop completely. I’m not the type to rush into relationships. Not anymore.”
“I am not either, Shiloh. I know this may seem too hasty to you, and maybe it is, but I am not acting thoughtlessly here. I think deeply of every step I am making with you and I am praying about this too.”
“Sometimes we pray and hear the answers we want to hear, Jeth.”
“When we are impatient for something, that can happen.” Jeth agreed. “But I am not impatient. Neither am I out to get my way at all cost. I think he that defines our destinies set this in motion himself.”
“He set it up for you to hear my voice in church and come after me?”
“You doubt the possibility of that happening?”
The amused look he tossed her made Shiloh shrug. “I don’t doubt that God can orchestrate certain things. I just don’t like to think he leaves us without choices when he is making plans.”
“No, he doesn’t leave us without choices. We can say yes or no at any time. Or choose to go this way or that way.” Jeth pulled his own shoulders. “He makes a plan, has a vision for us, but it is for us to choose whether to align ourselves with his vision or to build our own.”
“Or we can build a plan, present it to him and ask him, as a father, to validate it.” Shiloh’s eyes narrowed with the pensiveness of her thoughts. “We, like him, are creators too. We can create a thing, a life, a future… anything our human and god-like abilities allows us to. He doesn’t always interfere. He sits back, like a father would sit and give leeway for his child to learn his first steps and master them on his own, and he gives an applauding approval when we have done well. Like any proud father would.”
Jeth thought about her words. “You are saying I have a choice and may not be using it?”
Shiloh looked at him. His face had such a nicely defined side view. “I am saying when matters of the heart are concerned, let us be certain, certain beyond the merest doubt, that whatever choices we are making are ours and we are contented in them.”
“Ergo, we must not hold anyone else, but ourselves, responsible for whatever consequences may arise from our choices.” Jeth concluded for her.
Jeth pulled up beside the iron wrought fence, turned off the car and looked at her. “This is my choice, Shiloh. Yet, I feel certain, beyond doubt, that it is also God’s choice.”
“Some never learn until they bat their head against a stone, my father used to say.” Shiloh muttered and pushed open the car door.
Jeth grinned at her sour grunt and came down too. “Let me say hello to your mum.”
“Okay.” Shiloh grunted, leading the way through the pedestrian gate.
They met her mum in the leaving room, watching the news on NTA.
“Good evening, ma’am.” Jeth greeted, dipping his head.
“Evening, Jethro. How are you?” Joy beamed a smile at him.
“I am well, thank you. You weren’t able to make the service?”
“Not today. I sometimes attend a prayer group meeting that holds Thursday afternoons.” Joy explained. “But how was this evening’s service? Power-packed?”
“Indeed it was.” Jeth affirmed. “The teaching was on doing good and it was an eye-opener how much a simple kind gesture can bless us for endless years to come.”
“Hmm, sounds interesting. Won’t you sit and maybe join us for dinner?”
“Ah…” Jeth felt nervous and bad that he was going to refuse her invitation a second time. “I am sincerely sorry to once more refuse your kindest invitation, ma’am, but I really need to start getting back home. I have some work I have to do before going to bed tonight. Please, permit me to take another rain-check on this, ma’am.”
“Two rain-checks. Hmm, you will be bailing them with a good bottle of wine, young man. That is the recommendation of our elders.”
“And I willingly submit to their wisdom.” Jeth smiled. “I’ll be on my way then.” He looked at Shiloh, who’d been silent all through. “I’d like very much to take you out to dinner tomorrow evening, Shiloh. Is that possible?”
“Yes, it is possible.” Her mother smoothly cut off her refusal, smiling at Jeth. “Though it’s our home video night, I’m sure I’ll entertain myself just fine all on my own.”
“Thank you, ma’am.” Jeth grinned at her and then at a scowling Shiloh. “I’ll be here at seven p.m., Shiloh. Hope that is all right?”
“Would seven p.m. suit you to get rid of your daughter, mum?” Shiloh sourly queried.
“Perfect timing.” Joy beamed. “See you then, Jethro, and drive safe.”
“Thank you, ma’am.” Jeth dipped his head again to her before turning to leave.
“Really, mum? I can’t refuse an invitation anymore without you interfering?”
“Why refuse the invitation when nothing is stopping you from going out with him?”
“Because I don’t want to be going out with him!” Shiloh felt supremely exasperated with both her mum and Jeth. “I don’t want him think we are dating, mum.”
“You are dating.” Joy countered, completely relaxed in her chair. “You’ve seen movies together twice now, you’ve had lunch together once on a weekday and twice on weekends and on one of those weekends, you drove together to see Bonny Island. My dear girl, in my social dictionary, and the world’s, that is dating.”
“I feel like he is too good for me, mum.”
“What nonsense is that?” Joy heaved up to stare at her. She didn’t like her doubtful, worried expression. “No one, and let me repeat, no one is too good for you, Shiloh. If he is the best, then you deserve him. If he is not, then he doesn’t deserve you. Simple.”
Shiloh stared back at her mother’s no-nonsense face until her mouth curved. “I wish he was here to hear you say that. But hearing it myself has set me straight once more. I deserve the best and nothing but the best deserves me.”
“I see I raised you right.” Joy grinned. “Now go get my dinner and yours and let’s watch Super-Story. I want to be eating while enjoying that drama.”
“Good to me one moment and ordering me about the next, the life of a poor only daughter.” Rolling her eyes and chuckling, Shiloh walked to her room to undress and then do her sweet mother’s bidding.
DINNER was at the Red Coral and seated across of him in the amazing ambiance, Shiloh was glad her mother had interfered and said yes on her behalf.
“This is a lovely place and their food is really good.” She praised again, smiling at him.
“I’m glad it meets with your approval.” Jeth felt the sizzle of pride. “I was debating between Ororo and Charcoal and Spice but I thought we’d run those routes a few times and should try other parts of the city.”
“This is a good choice. I’ve not had the pleasure of being at the two mentioned, but this one is quite splendid. It meets my approval for a good dinner spot.”
“Thank you.” Jeth lifted his glass of water and sipped. “Do you know a man’s heart beats unsteadily when he is taking a woman out? A woman who is important to him, that is.”
“This is the first I’m hearing it.” Shiloh said carefully.
“It’s the first I’m experiencing it.” Jeth confessed. “You make me want to do the best, better than the best for you, Shiloh. And to be better than the best for you too.”
Shiloh didn’t know how to respond. There was such sincerity in his eyes, she wasn’t sure how best to let gently let him down. Or if she should be letting him down.
“I am going to be thirty-three next month…”
“Wow, happy birthday in advance.” Shiloh lightly broke in.
Jeth gave a nod. “Thank you. But I’m certain we will deal with celebrations and felicitations when that time comes. What I was going to say is that I am almost thirty-three and this is the first time in my life I am meeting a woman I want to share forever with.”
“Jeth, this is happening too fast.”
He nodded at her protest. “Maybe it is. But it is the truth of what is in my heart all the same.” He reached across the table and lightly touched her hand. She did not withdraw it but it stiffened. “Shiloh, I have feelings for you which have already gone beyond like. I am almost certain which way they are headed but I’d rather let them reveal themselves as we go. Today you talked about us having a choice.”
“Jeth, please.” Shiloh wanted him to stop.
“Please hear me, Shiloh.” Jeth pleaded in return. “Hear what is in my heart. It won’t change whether you hear it today or next year, this I can assure you. You talked about choice and my choice, one I am making of my own free will, is to be with you. Shiloh.” He slid his fingers through her stiff hand. “Shiloh, I am officially asking you to date me. To give me a chance in your life and a place in your heart.”
Shiloh set down her fork, sat back… but couldn’t think what to say.
PHED have learnt one new habit. Cut power on Friday mornings and don’t re-install it all through the weekend. There’s been no power since yesterday morning. I had to ask hub to put the generating set for we to write and post this. If they continue like this, weekend posts will be highly affected o, my people.
Na wa. Meanwhile: GLO: 6695-6823-2462-755. Let’s know if you load it. Cheers, everyone.