As far as imaginary marriage proposals went, Nike never imagined herself proposing because marriage was a huge commitment. There was no point in picturing herself married since she never felt comfortable enough in her relationships.
This was why she found her current situation amusing. She had just proposed to her boyfriend of one year. Normally, this would have been a joyous occasion, but her current sentiments brought forth the question: why had she done it? And to that, her answer would be, why the hell not?
Nike’s heart felt as if it was working overtime and she had to find a way to slow it down. The truth was, she was taking the piss and ever since she made the inane decision to propose, she had a need, one that could only be fulfilled by watching his reaction.
This wasn’t the time to feel hopeful or happy, she was about to get herself hitched. Her motivation to propose wasn’t intended to be a good thing. Everything she had with him was a sham, and frankly, he was the epitome of the ultimate douchebag.
She was more than grateful he had said, “No.”
Because she had never wanted to be married to him in the first place. It was written all over his face, she had bruised his ego and gone too far in front of most of his work colleagues when she got on one knee and presented the three-thousand-naira ring she had bought from an aboki man to him.
“King. I love you. Marry me?” The words of her proposal were not original, but straight to the point. Most of the people in the room with them had gone silent except those letting out cute sounds like ‘aww’ or gasps of surprise, the forgotten music, a backdrop in the background.
It was an extremely rare sight to see a woman doing the proposal, asking for a man’s hand in marriage. Nike laughed bitterly in her mind. Society really isn’t shit, she thought and absently wondered why it became a thing and was always blown out of proportion when a woman proposes.
The tension in the room was so thick a butcher’s knife could slice through it. She and King were locked in a staring contest, her on one knee looking up at him. The other people in the room didn’t matter at that moment.
King froze. His eyes wide like a deer caught in the headlights, his body tense, a sign he was irritated. It took everything she had in her to maintain a serious face and not let a satisfied grin break out.
“Nike. What the hell are you thinking?” He questioned.
On the outside she remained impassive but, on the inside, she was disgusted, why was he such a douche?
“I’m thinking, I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” she said, her voice sounding clearer than ever.
His blinking eyes looked like they were going to fall from their sockets, as he came to the realisation that she wasn’t going to back down, concede to his will, or the least bit embarrassed.
“We haven’t known each other that long. It’s quite early for marriage. Especially for you.” Scratching his head as if lice had taken home there.
Oh, now he’s playing the age card. She couldn’t help it anymore, letting a smile break out right before she started to laugh.
Of course, the coward couldn’t just leave it at no. Instead, he was dropping excuses left to right, paving his way out of conflict with her.
Standing up, she put the offending ring back in her pocket. She looked around the crowded hall for a server, ignoring the pitiful looks that were cast her way.
The nearest one stood frozen, eyes wide, taking in the scene. She headed towards him and helped herself to a glass of wine. She downed it all before addressing King and everyone in the room, who was watching her as if she had lost her mind while processing the unfolding drama.
“Goodbye, King.” Before turning to walk away from him and everything they ever had, and if she was being honest, it felt liberating.
In the end, their relationship had meant nothing because he didn’t try to stop her from leaving. She should be heartbroken, but all she felt was a deep sadness, thankful she hadn’t let herself get deeply invested in the relationship which had shown signs of being doomed from the very start.
She had been his young trophy girlfriend. He had taken pride in providing for her and catering to her every need. Making sure she never wanted for anything in exchange for having someone to appear on his arm when he needed it, to keep up appearances and warm his bed.
In that regard, everything was great, but nothing else. He didn’t talk to her about anything important. She knew as much about him as his staff did, and when she complained of feeling like a highly pampered escort, he either bought presents or brushed her off.
So, she changed. Holding back her affection and treating their relationship like a business arrangement, but he never noticed or just didn’t care.
Needing to force his hand, she knew she had to do something that would justify her leaving him. She wasn’t naive. If she had simply ended things, his PR team would paint a bullshit story, and make it look like he was the injured party. Taking the storytelling into her own hands had been great.
A lot of thought had gone into her plan until she settled on proposing to him at an event. A place where all the people he considered important would be in attendance. Thereby, forcing him to acknowledge the sham their cordial relationship had become. The fact of the matter was, she wasn’t happy, she had reached her breaking point and she wanted out.
She got all she wanted—her closure. Deep down, she knew he would never say yes. Being the mummy’s goody two-shoes girl who listened to almost everything her mum told her about life, she had tried her best to behave how a woman should, according to society.
But lately, she realised it was all hogwash. Well, most of it. A bunch of restrictions perpetuated to undermine the ability, strength and power that women held. The patriarchal system women were told and sometimes forced to live by was nothing but bullshit.
Moving forward, she was going to throw her middle finger at everything in society that was stopping her from freely expressing and being herself. Vowing to embrace her new mental freedom, even though she knew it was easier to say and accept than actually doing it.
The adrenaline from doing something so crazy—publicly ending her relationship with a high-class powerful man was beginning to wear off. She wrapped her hands around her body as she stood in the reception of the hotel where the event was being held. Right now, she needed her best friend, along with shots of liquid courage. Or rather, several bottles of liquid courage.
Buy/Preorder | Find on Goodreads
Social links for Lara T. Kareem: larakareem.com | Twitter | Instagram