“Mom, Aunt Nasiche asked me to give you this. It looks very interesting. She can’t go because she has to cover for another nurse who called in sick, but I hope you go.”
Ife took the flyer from her daughter and looked at it. It was a women’s conference and luncheon held at the Hall on Sunday afternoon. One of the speakers was a Japanese woman. Her heart leaped in her chest when she saw the name, Miko Kobayashi.
Who was she? She had the same last name as Toshiro. Was that a coincidence or was she his wife? Seven months had passed since they parted ways on the beach. It was possible that he could have met Miko, fallen in love with her and married her. Maybe she was the reason why he cut her loose from their arrangement. Ife felt sick and blinking back tears, she dropped the flyer on the sofa and went into the kitchen to get dinner ready.
She did end up going and it was purely out of curiosity. She had to meet the woman who could be Toshiro’s wife. She hardly paid attention to what was being said. All sorts of thoughts went through her mind and she was anxious for the program to be over so that she could meet Miko Kobayashi. The time seemed to drag but finally, it was over and the first opportunity, she got, she went over to her and introduced herself.
To Ife’s surprise, a look of recognition came over the other woman’s face before she extended her hand and said, “Ife, it’s a pleasure to meet you. My brother has told me about you.”
“Toshiro is your brother?” Ife exclaimed as they shook hands.
Relief washed over Ife. “I thought you were his wife.”
Miko smiled. “No, I’m his younger sister. Toshiro isn’t married.”
“Is he dating anyone?”
“Well, he was dating Asuka but he broke up with her last year after he returned from Kampala. They had been dating for five years. Everyone thought they were going to get married.”
“Was he in love with her?”
Miko shook her head. “No, but she was in love with him, poor girl.”
“How is he?”
“Busy as usual. He doesn’t have much time for a social life. I try to encourage him to go out more but he’s a hopeless workaholic.”
“Do you know if he’s going to come back to Kampala?”
“No, I don’t. I told him that I was coming but he didn’t say anything.”
“So, he told you about me.”
“Yes, he told me everything. He’s very cut up about what he did to you.”
“I think that’s why he broke up with me.”
“I think he did it for two reasons. It was the right thing to do and because he’s in love with you.”
Ife’s eyes widened. “He’s in love with me?”
“Yes. He admitted it to me. It started as just sex for him but he ended up falling in love with you.”
Ife looked dazed. “I had hoped…”
Miko put her arm around her shoulders. “Come, let’s go and have something to eat. And socialize. Afterwards, we can go back to my hotel and talk some more in the lobby.”
Ife nodded and followed her across the room to join the buffet line. A few hours later, they went to the lobby of Miko’s hotel and they spent the rest of the afternoon talking about Toshiro.
Toshiro was lying in bed when the doorbell rang. He really wasn’t in the mood to see anyone so he ignored it. Then, the phone rang. Muttering under his breath, he answered it. “Kon’nichiwa.”
It was Miko. “I’m standing outside of your door. Will you please let me in?”
“Miko, I’m not in the mood for company right now.”
“I want to talk to you about Ife.”
He sat up at once. “Ife? Did you see her?”
He hung up the phone and scrambled out of the bed. He sprinted to the front door and flung it open. He caught Miko by the arm and pulled her inside. “Now, tell me everything.”
“You look terrible,” Miko exclaimed.
Toshiro’s mouth tightened. “Thanks a lot,” he said dryly.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t say it to be mean. It’s just that you look like you haven’t slept in weeks and you’ve lost weight.”
“Never mind how I look,” he muttered irritably. “Just tell me about Ife. How is she? Did she know that you’re my sister? Did she ask about me? Is she dating anyone?”
“Okay. Let me answer you one question at a time. She’s fine, I guess. She thought that I was your wife and was very relieved when I told her that I was your sister. Yes, she asked about you. She asked if you were dating anyone. I mentioned that you had a girlfriend but you broke up with her. She asked if you were in love with Asuka and I told her that you weren’t.”
“Is Ife dating anyone?” he asked again, his expression tense.
“No! She’s in love with you, Toshiro.”
“She is? How do you know that?”
“I asked her.”
“Tell me exactly what was said.”
“Okay. I asked her ‘how do you feel about my brother?’ And she said, ‘I’m in love with him.'”
Toshiro expelled a shaky breath as he dragged his fingers through his hair. “So, there’s hope for me.”
“Yes. She’s a remarkable woman.”
“Yes. She’s one of a kind. That’s why I’m so madly in love with her.”
“She asked me if you would ever go back to Kampala.”
“Yes,” he said, nodding his head. His eyes were bright and there was color in his face. “I have reason to go back now.”
Next up is Toshiro Returns to Kampala.