Bobby threw his head back in laughter. It was amazing how one lady could make him feel so light and at ease. That feeling was alien to him. He had always only known how to feel responsible for someone else’s happiness, certainly not the other way around. Yet, that was how she made him feel.
“Where’s your mind?”
He didn’t realize he had stopped laughing.
“Your mind jor. Where was it?”
“Oh it’s right here.”
“Here being a thousand miles away. Noted”
He laughed again.
“Sorry. I was thinking about how cool you are.”
He stretched out his hand and ran it through her hair. She laughed and slapped his hand off.
“You’ll leave me looking like a madwoman.”
Bobby laughed and nursed his hand.
“So that’s why you want to break my hand abi?”
His phone began ringing and he reluctantly pulled it out of his pocket. When he saw the caller, he smiled.
“Give me a minute please.”
He got up and walked a few feet away to answer the call
“Hi Bobby, how’s it going?”
“Good, good. How are you?”
“Just alright. Busy day.”
“Pele. And my girls?”
“Wrecking my house and making me want to bite my hair. Bobby, you should come take them for a week. You owe me.”
Bobby laughed and shook his head.
“For where?! Naah. They’re your headache for now. Enjoy.”
“You’re not nice.”
“It’s not my fault.”
Bobby grinned. He was enjoying teasing her.
“Right! When are we seeing you?”
Her voice had suddenly become somewhat intimate. He smiled.
“Anytime you want dear. You say the word and I’ll be there.”
“How about this evening?”
“Sure. I’m having lunch with Kate. I’ll come over as soon as we’re done.”
Almost as soon as the words were out of his mouth, he regretted them. He did not have to tell her he was with another woman. Ese was good natured about it though.
“Enjoyment officer. Sha don’t come empty-handed. The girls will kill you and I’ll be a happy spectator.”
“Chei! I always knew you were mean.”
Ese laughed and hurried off the phone. As soon as the line went dead, Bobby smiled. Maybe, just maybe things would work out. He went back to where Kate was seated and smiled at her.
“Ehen, you were saying?”
“I was saying nothing. You left me to talk to woman.”
“Do I sense jealousy there?”
“Shior. You wish!”
“You know what I really wish?”
Kate smiled. He could tell she knew but she went on to indulge him.
“That you would agree to be my woman. Seriously.”
Kate laughed a little.
“We’ve had this conversation before. I told you. I’m still trying to adapt to the fact that you’re not gay. Plus I know you still feel something for Ese. I don’t want to be caught up in that mix. We’re building a great friendship. Let’s take it one day at a time.”
“One day at a time huh?”
“Yes, one day at a time. It’s been lovely getting to know you and hanging out with you the last two months. But I don’t want us to rush anything.”
Bobby smiled. She was right. He would take his time with her. There was no need to rush anything.
“Oh well. Rumor had it that I was gay, I’m glad we have cleared that up.”
He grinned and without giving it a second thought, he kissed her lightly on the lips. Kate was taken by surprise. She smiled shyly and then unexpectedly kissed him back. She stayed stuck on his lips for a while and by the time she pulled away, her eyes were shining. Bobby grinned.
“One day at a time? Sure!”
Kate laughed and slapped his arm.
Kachi rolled over on the bed in Teni’s room at the hotel and grinned sheepishly.
“I like the view from here.”
Teni shook her head.
“You better close your eyes.”
She was fresh out of the shower and had only a towel wrapped around her body. She sat in front of the mirror and began to rub cream on her legs.
“Honestly, you look like some scene straight out of a nollwood movie.”
Kachi laughed as walked over to stand behind her. Teni hissed.
“Mumu! I don’t blame you. You don’t have work to do abi?”
Kachi placed his arms around her and kissed her neck.
“You’re my only work.”
Teni felt her insides go mush and she raised a hand to stop him.
“You’ll just be making a black girl blush. Stop.”
“You know you don’t want me to stop.”
He kissed her neck and then her shoulders and she shuddered.
“Deola will be here any minute.”
It was a weak protest. A protest Kachi ignored as he turned and kissed her fully on the lips, slowly, savouring every moment. Eventually, Teni pushed him away.
“You’re such a tempter! I’m going to get dressed.”
Kachi laughed and grinned mischievously, running his tongue around his teeth.
“You’re the chief temptress babe. I’m only a learner where you are.”
Teni laughed, got off the stool, picked a dress off the bed and went into the bathroom to change.
“I don’t know what you’re hiding o.” Kachi called after her.
She simply laughed and shut the door.
Kachi smiled and sat on the bed. He was happy and content and he had been that way for about a month now. Teni had spent only two weeks at the hospital before she recovered fully and in that time, he never left her side. He was available in her sleeping and waking moments, only disappearing to cook for her, wash for her and help run her office.
He was surprised at himself. It had been years since he had gone out of his way to make sacrifices for any woman. But that was what love did to you. It made you selfless and humble and doting. If Teni as much as sneezed, he was beside her with tissue. Teni had laughed and teased him endlessly but he did not mind. He really loved her and he was glad he did not lose her. One morning he said to her
“Knowing that I could have lost you forever is the scariest thing to ever happen to me. I promise to love you till my dying days. And I will express my love for you in every possible way. You go tire for me.”
Teni had laughed and responded jokingly.
“Don’t start loving me if you’re ever going to stop.”
He had absolutely no intentions of stopping. He was crazy about her. Even Tejiri could tell. He smiled. Tejiri, the whirlwind of a woman had finally calmed down for real. It was hard to imagine that she was not secretly plotting something but Teni had encouraged him to give her the benefit of doubt one last time.
Tejiri introduced him to Austin as his father and it was one of Kachi’s proudest moments. They had resolved that Kachi could visit often to see Austin and as soon as Kachi and Teni got married, Austin could come and visit as often as he liked. It seemed a fair compromise and Austin said he was alright with the arrangement. Because he was a really reserved kid by nature, it was difficult to tell if the changes would greatly affect him but in the past month, he had seemed fine.
But Kachi was happy and content. He had finally decided to reduce his travels. He and Teni would be getting married in a few months and he would stay with her in Abuja and build a home. And if he ever needed to travel on business, Teni would go with him. Everything was perfect now and he was determined to work hard to keep it that way.
Ese smiled warmly at Bobby as he sat in the living room with the girls. Hurricane Anne and Annie, he called them. They were all over him, tickling, pinching, jumping and laughing. The sight brought joy to her heart. It was incredible that she could feel this measure of peace and contentment. There was no pressure on her from Bobby to give more than she was willing. Her heart was entirely for her girls and Bobby understood that. She liked him. A lot. But just not enough to pursue a serious relationship with him. It had seemed a tad bit difficult for him to understand at first but now they seemed fine.
Bobby came around often to keep the girls company, he was available to listen to her when she had gist, he was just really nice. She had worried that they would keep having clashes with their emotions but somehow things were working out better than she had anticipated. Who said men and women could not be friends with no strings attached?
She thought of Kate, the young lady Bobby seemed to have feelings for. Bobby had told her they met while working on a project together. She had been stubborn and difficult but after a few casual outings with Bobby, the girl seemed to have a change of heart. She knew Bobby liked her and she was happy. The girl was closer to his age and did not have half the drama she had going on in her own life. Bobby deserved someone fresh and new- someone without baggage and that someone was Kate.
More importantly, the rumors going round would finally stop. She wasn’t dating Bobby. People would move on from that soon enough. She smiled
“You’ll just stay there and be staring. You won’t come and help me abi?”
“You seem to have it all covered. I’m going to the kitchen.”
She got up and walked away just as Anne tossed a throw pillow at Bobby. She giggled. Her daughters were a handful. Let Bobby enjoy them. They were his cross to carry for the day
“I’m never getting married, all men are douche bags, I can’t stand them… Who dey plan wedding now?”
Deola laughed really long and hard. She was ready for Teni.
“Shut up jor! Ode! When will you have sense?”
Deola would not wipe the smirk off her face.
“Kachi, you go tame this woman o.”
Kachi looked up from his iPad
“Tame gini? You don see where person dey tame tornado?”
They all burst out laughing. Teni shook her head
“Olorun! I don suffer. It’s not you people’s fault at all.”
Kachi blew her a kiss.
“But you know I love you na.”
She pretended to sulk for a minute and Kachi put on a mock sad face.
“Shey you just want all the joy to disappear from my life?”
“Abegi! You ehn! I’ve told you! All these soppy things you’re doing. The day you stop ehn!”
“Ehn, the day I stop you start your own na.”
Teni shook her head. Kachi walked to where she sat and cupped her face in his palms.
“Babe, I nearly lost you once. I’m not going to lose any opportunity I get to let you know that I love you. It’s how scared I am of losing you.”
Teni smiled and Deola cleared her throat.
“It haff do o. Lovers! I did not come in from Lagos to watch you people gush over each other.”
Kachi grinned and kissed Teni fully on her lips. They had been through a lot but finally, they were where they wanted to be. Nothing else mattered.
Teni had tears in her eyes. Who said she couldn’t find a man? or couldn’t find love? The most amazing man in the world had found her and he was crazy about her! It could certainly not get any better than this.
Phew! Thank you for reading. You guys rock! I love you!
Ps. I’m going to be off for a looooong time. I’m doing screenwriting these days and it’s really tedious combining that with my job, I won’t even lie. I can assure you though that I’ll drop by occasionally with some flash fiction. Then I’ve got a few friends who have written stories and have given me permission to share with you. So I guess you won’t be bored here.
Thank you again. Plenty much. My blog turned 2 years today and you guys really showed me a lot of love. God bless you. And may all your dreams come true.
With all the love in my heart,
Kachi woke up that Saturday morning feeling off. He got off the couch where he had passed the night and went to sit on the bed. He stared at Isioma who looked so beautiful in her sleep but he was not at peace. Something was wrong. Perhaps it was guilt from hurting Teni last night. He had seen it in her eyes even though she had been mature and civil. In truth, there was nothing between him and Isioma. He just brought her there to make Teni jealous and now that he had achieved that, he did not know what else to do. There was a hollow feeling in his chest and he did not know how to rid himself of it.
He reached over to the head of the bed and picked up his phone. He checked the time. It was already 7:00am. He dialed Teni’s number but it was switched off. He tried again a couple more times but it was still the same thing. He sighed and stretched out on the bed. Isioma stirred and smiled at him.
“Hey you. Good morning.”
He managed a smile back. She was actually one of his few partners that he was a little close to.
“Morning. Sleep well?
She stifled a yawn as she sat up
“Mehh. Just there. I feel bad for Teni.”
Isioma laughed and shook her head.
“No kidding! I told you this was such a sixth grader stunt to pull but you wouldn’t listen.”
Kachi shook his head.
“So we’re tossing blames now huh?”
“Naah. I’m just telling you the truth like I always have.”
Kachi shut his eyes and ignored her.
“So what do you want to do now? Aren’t you gonna see her and talk with her?”
“Her phone is switched off.”
“I said see her silly. Go to her office or something. She should be there.”
“Later. I guess. What are you doing today?”
“Going to see my baby daddy. I think he finally caught feelings. He was saying something about settling down the last time we spoke.”
Kachi’s eyes sprang open and he sat up in bed immediately.
“You have a baby daddy?”
Isioma burst out laughing.
“Sorta kinda. Don’t ask for details. I won’t tell you.”
“Okay. But you have a baby?”
Isioma laughed again, swung her feet off the bed and walked away to the bathroom without answering. Kachi shook his head and lay down again.
Bobby read the text on his phone again and felt slightly irritable. Ese had issues and his patience was running out. He was tired of being tossed about by the waves of her ever changing emotions. One day she was all soft and seemingly into him, the next she was macho and distant. It was most annoying. Her text message read “Hey, how’s it going with you? It would be nice to see you again. Been what? A month? Well, I miss you. And the girls do too.”
She missed him. So what was he to do about it? He didn’t miss her. He had gotten over whatever it was he thought he felt for her. This was the sole reason he never dated. Ladies loved to front and he had no time for all their theatrics. What was hard about admitting to a guy that you had feelings for him? Why go round in circles and play unnecessary endless games?
He tossed the phone on his couch and went to the kitchen. He needed to eat something and settle down to work. It was going to be a busy weekend for him. He had some ideas for the job he was supposed to do with Kate and he needed to put them in order ahead of their meeting on Monday. Strangely, he found himself looking forward to seeing her again. He sighed. He could not even understand what was going on with him. As he beat eggs in a small bowl, he made up his mind to ignore Ese. No point replying her text or going to see her. He had work to do.
Four hours later, Bobby was bent over his laptop and lost to the world. The sound of his ringing phone jerked him back to the present and he scuttled over from his bed to the table where his phone was. When he saw the caller ID, he sighed and dropped it. The phone rang out then started ringing again. It wasn’t until the third time that he picked it up.
There was something about her voice. He was certain that it would calm any raging storm and silence the loudest of thunders. He had forgotten what that soft, leathery voice sounded like; almost musical, absolutely magical. Bobby managed to respond.
“How are you?”
“I’m good. Haven’t heard from you in a long while and you didn’t reply my text. I had to be sure you’re okay.”
Bobby did not like the way his heart pounded steadily in his chest.
“I’m fine. Good. Just had lots of work”
His voice was gruff.
“Okay. Sorry if I’m disturbing. Maybe I should call later so-”
“Oh no, it’s fine. I wasn’t doing anything spectacular. How are you? How are the girls?”
He nearly slapped himself. Why did he sound so eager?
“They’re alright. Anne has asked after you endlessly. Lord! That child! She wears me out.”
Ese laughed and the sound was music to Bobby’s ears.
“Anne is the more outgoing one right?”
“The tornado-causing one you mean?”
Bobby found himself laughing even as Ese continued speaking.
“Her teacher called me in for a meeting yesterday and I was scared for a minute. I kept thinking, what has she done? What trouble has she made?”
Bobby couldn’t help himself. His laughter continued
“The lady kept asking how things were at home, if everything was alright… Bobby, I nearly passed out. When she was done with her interrogation, she finally said the reason she was asking all the questions was because Anne had been exceptional at school, always high on energy and very hyper. So she wanted to know how I was faring knowing my husband had passed on.”
Bobby’s heart melted.
“Oh wow. That was sweet.”
“Tell me about it! I kept thinking, why can’t this child of mine just be calm and not draw attention to herself?”
“Naah. Don’t say that. You need her energy, trust me. She’ll guarantee that you never have a dull moment.”
“I guess so. Anita balances her out anyways. That one cannot make trouble to save her life.”
Bobby laughed again. Ese had the most amusing expressions.
“Oh well, they haven’t stopped asking after you. I promised them that when their exams are over, you’ll visit. Can you help me keep that promise?”
Bobby didn’t even give it a thought.
“I would have asked that you come over sooner but I don’t know what your schedule is like and I’m afraid if you come, they won’t study or get any work done at all.”
“That’s fine. I’m available whenever.”
There was an awkward pause for a moment and Bobby gushed out the next few words that came into his mind without thinking.
“I miss you Ese. So much, it feels really strange.”
Ese was silent for a moment and Bobby wanted to knock himself. Of course she would not reply. It was typical of her to run.
“I miss you too. A lot. And I want to see you. Certainly more than the girls do.”
Bobby smiled and before he could reply, Ese spoke again.
“This might seem like I’m pushing my luck but would you like to have dinner with me? Tonight?”
Bobby withdrew the phone from his ear and stared at the screen. Was it really Ese speaking or had someone taken her phone? He put the phone back to his ear and caught the last words of her statement.
“…really awkward but it’s fine.”
“Sorry, I didn’t get that.”
Ese laughed nervously.
“I said, I know me asking you like this feels really awkward but it’s fine. Like if you don’t want to have dinner with me, it’s cool.”
“Naah. I’d like dinner. Let me take you out. I know a really nice spot in Wuse 2. Can I pick you up at 7?”
“Umm. Sure. I’ll get my mum to watch the girls. We’ll just have dinner and catch up, then you can fill me in on what’s been going on with you instead of me yapping all about myself.”
Bobby laughed. I love listening to you yap. You have an amazing yapping voice. Ese laughed and the sound made Bobby smile.
“Alright then. You take care. See you at seven.”
As soon as Bobby hung up, he wanted to smack himself. What was wrong with him? He had just acted like a complete wuss! Just like that, he had let her back into his life again. No questions asked, no hard time given. He sighed. Love made people act without thinking. And just then, he paused. Could he maybe possibly by any chance be in love with Ese?
Tejiri opened the estate gate and walked briskly inside. Austin followed her closely behind. She made her way to Teni’s apartment and knocked a few times on the door but there was no response.
“Mummy, are you sure she’s around? Her car is not here” Austin said.
Tejiri looked around her. He was right. She silently cursed herself for losing Teni’s number. Her blackberry had crashed and as she had not backed up any of her files, she had lost all her contacts. She sat on the short step and Austin stood a few feet away watching her. He shifted from one foot to the other. The kid was tired.
“Mummy, what are we going to do?”
“I dunno. Wait till she comes from wherever? I don’t have money and I don’t have anybody’s number.”
Austin scratched his head.
“What if you ask the other neighbours?”
Tejiri slapped a mosquito off her leg and rubbed the spot.
“We were not close to anyone here. I can’t start asking people questions.”
Austin heard footsteps approach him and he turned his head to see Teni’s closest neighbour, a young man in his late twenties. He walked up to him and asked.
“Uncle, please we’re looking for the nice aunty that lives here.”
The young man looked at Austin, then looked beyond him at Tejiri. Tejiri stood up and dusted her dress.
“I remember you. Shebi you used to live here.”
“Please, did Teni travel?”
The young man shook his head, looked at Austin a little uncertainly then reverted his eyes back to Tejiri.
“She’s at the hospital. She was in an accident.”
Tejiri’s eyes grew big as she screamed. Austin was mute. She covered her mouth with both hands and watched the young man continue speaking.
“She was rushed there last night I think. We only heard this morning. I don’t know if she’s going to make it. The doctors did not sound positive.”
Tejiri did not attempt to stop the tears that pooled around her eyes. She just let them flow. The man stared at her for a bit then walked into his apartment. Austin remained rooted to the spot and minutes later, when Tejiri managed to gather herself together, she turned to him.
“I’m going to the hospital to try and see aunty Teni. Will you wait here for me?”
Austin shook his head.
Tejiri sighed. The young man opened his door again.
“You’re still here?”
Tejiri wiped her face
“Yes. Please can we keep our things in your house? We’re just coming in from a trip and we’d like to go and see her.”
“No problem. I’ll give you the address to the hospital. Bring your bags inside.”
Tejiri followed the man but Austin still remained where he was.
Kachi heard the vibration of his phone more than he felt it. He had fallen asleep without realizing it. He looked at the phone, saw the unregistered number and turned the phone over. He had been having such a good dream. The phone rang out and the caller stopped. He grumbled when the sleep would not return and eventually sat up. It was 11am! He hurriedly got out of bed, took a quick shower and put on a nice sweatshirt Teni had gotten him almost three years ago. She loved the shirt but he didn’t like it so he only wore it when he wanted to make her happy. She would be at work by now. It was time to finally have that conversation with her. “I like you, you like me, let’s stop playing games with each other.”
He took the elevator down to the reception and tried her number one more time but it was still switched off. That was unlike her. Maybe she was really pissed at him. Pissed off enough to shut the entire world out. He smiled as the elevator doors opened and he walked out into the reception. One glance around and he knew something was wrong. One of the girls was crying at the reception and a guy was consoling her. The entire staff looked upset and moody. Something was definitely wrong. Other than the gloom that pervaded the atmosphere, the hotel appeared quiet.
Kachi quickly walked up to one of the young men standing around and asked what happened. The man said simply.
“Our manager. We lost our manager this morning.”
Kachi was sure he had not heard right. It took him a few seconds to process.
“Your manager? Who is your manager?”
“Ms. Teniola Owoyemi. She was in an accident last night.”
Kachi stood still and his eyes grew wide. In that exact moment, he felt his entire world come crashing down. His life was over.
Choi! The dust in this place ehn!
Una still dey here?
“Guy that was completely messed up! What on earth did you do that for?”
Jakes ignored Kayode and sipped his drink calmly. Kayode kept staring at him until finally he spoke.
“Na wa for you o. I talk true and all of a sudden una wan chop my head. I lie?”
“She was here man. You would have at least shown some respect. She’s a hard worker.”
“Did I say she wasn’t? I actually pointed that out.”
“But you didn’t have to put down the entire women folk na.”
“Women hate each other. They’re constantly putting each other down.”
“It was wrong Jakes. Accept that for once you goofed. Haba!”
Jakes turned his attention back to his bottle
Kayode shook his head. His phone began to ring again and he got up.
“That’s my cousin. I really need to run, I’m sure she’s at my place already. Tell Bobby I’ve gone and abeg, apologize to Teni if she comes back. Don’t be a douche.”
He picked the phone and walked away to where his car was parked. Having reassured the person on the other end of the line that he was on his way, he hung up, got into his car and drove off.
Twenty minutes later and Kayode was parked in front of his house. He met an irate Kate standing outside his door. She had a totally pissed off look on her face and Kayode sighed. He was in no mood to deal with another pissed off stubborn female.
“You know you’d look a lot nicer if you wore a smile.”
He walked past her and up to his door and fiddled with the key.
“I’m not even in your mood this night. Please open the door, I want to go and crash.”
The door opened and Kayode led the way in. Kate walked right through the living room and into the only bedroom. She pulled the sheets off and sent all of Kayode’s scattered clothes flying to the ground. Kayode ignored her and turned on the TV instead. He knew the couch would be his space for the night. Kate was such a bully.
Soon, she had the bed looking neat and tidy and all of Kayode’s things stacked in one corner of the room.
“Every time I’m always cleaning up after you. What is your problem?”
Kayode pretended not to have heard her and turned up the volume of the TV instead.
Kate changed into one of his big t-shirts, put on her leggings and walked out to the living room. She stood in front of him, blocking his view of the tv.
“What is it? I swear you keep acting like you’re my girlfriend! Abeg comot for that screen jare. I no dey watch you.”
Kate hissed and sat down sulking
“I’m just tired of all of you. I got home and mumcee was nagging about what Ben did and didn’t do. I called Ben and that one just went off on me as if I’m the reason he isn’t married. After chasing all those small girls up and down, he can’t now find wife to marry…”
Bobby rubbed his forehead. How was any of this his business?
“So… your point is?”
Kate eyed him viciously
“My point is, I couldn’t deal with any of their madness tonight so I decided to come crash at your place. Why is your room so disorganized sef?”
“Because I’m a guy. I don’t feel the need to clean up except I’m having some hot girl over. Please just leave your theatrics behind. I’m tired and I need to sleep.”
He took off his shirt and slung it over the couch then lay down with his head over a throw pillow. Kate shook her head. She got up, retrieved the shirt and took it to the room. She returned a few seconds later.
“Ehen, I met that your gay friend today o.”
Kayode sat up immediately.
“Your friend, the one that is gay. I met him today.”
“Which of them?”
“Na wa for you o. So you’re just packing gay friends up and down abi? Bobby nau. The one that works with the consultancy firm. He came to do some work with my office and my boss paired us up for the project.”
“Ah! I don’t think Bobby is gay o. At least not anymore.”
“What do you mean you don’t think he’s gay? Are you not the one that was swearing on your life that he was gay, the day you talked about him at my party?”
“Yeah. I thought so. But now, he seems to have picked an interest in a couple of women.”
“Abegi! Cover up. I don’t like him already. He’s not even fine sef. He was now forming one kind of mumu attitude for me today; telling me to lose my plastic look and some rubbish like that.”
Kayode burst out laughing. That was so Bobby!
“Actually, I don’t get why you wear so much make up. It doesn’t suit you.”
“Oh please! Don’t bring your own and join o.”
Kayode could not help himself. He continued laughing and fanning himself.
“Ah. You like him. I can tell.”
Kate raised her brows.
“What’s worrying this one? What are you smoking?”
“You’re in denial baby!”
“You’re not well.”
“Yes, I am. People always complain about your loud makeup and your attitude in general. It has never bothered you until now.”
“Who says I’m bothered? I was simply telling you I met your gay friend-”
“Who I clearly just explained isn’t gay. And you said he’s not so fine which is a lie ladies tell themselves to deny their attraction to some guy.”
Kate got off the couch and stalked off into the room. Kayode had a good time laughing to his heart’s content. Kate was easy to troll. He knew she didn’t like Bobby. He just enjoyed trolling her and she had walked right into this one easily.
Ese tossed and turned on her bed that night. The weather was hot and she was tired. It had been a long day. She checked the time on her phone; 10:30pm. It was too late to go and turn on the gen. The light must have gone while she was asleep and now that she was awake, she was finding it hard going back to sleep. She sighed and finally got off the bed. She walked to the kitchen and returned a little later with biscuits and a hot cup of Milo. That was meant to help her sleep in spite of the heat. It was frustrating being this way. She thought of calling Bobby but as quickly as the thought came, she discarded it.
She recalled the conversation she had with her mother only a few weeks ago. Her mother had noticed that she and Bobby kept going back and forth.
“If you’re not going to settle with this man, stop toying with his emotions.”
Ese sighed. Her mother just would not get it.
“I’m not toying with his emotions mum. I told him we can’t have any meaningful relationship but he said he’s attracted to me but he won’t act on it. He just wants to come around because of the girls and be sure we’re fine.”
“Shey you can hear yourself? Are you a child? A man likes you but you’re not interested in dating him, then you will allow him keep making emotional investments into you. Is that fair?”
“Let him go. Don’t hold on to him like that. You’re a very easy woman to fall in love with. If you’re not going to give Bobby a chance to love you, then don’t bait him.”
And that was how Ese gradually distanced herself from Bobby. She sighed again. They had not spoken in almost two weeks. She missed him, no doubt but she knew she couldn’t. The girls were all she had. She wanted to devote her time and energies to nurturing them and loving them. There was no room for any extra person.
She took the last gulp of Milo and dropped the cup then climbed into bed. Tomorrow she would send a text just checking up on him. She would keep it simple.
Bobby felt only a little awkward having Teni lean into him the way she did. Jakes was such an idiot but that was unusual. Jakes was usually the nice guy. It was very rare to hear him say anything out of line. He took a deep breath and ran his hands over Teni’s hair. He felt the bumps that told him she had a weave-on tucked in somewhere in her hair. It made him think of Kate and her natural hair. He longed to run his fingers through her hair and feel its thickness.
“I didn’t hear from you for the longest time after the accident. How are the girls?”
Teni’s voice jolted him back to the present. He liked the sound of her voice. It had a rough texture, a little coarse nothing musical or feathery.
“Mmm? They’re alright I guess.”
Her head was still nuzzled in his chest.
“You guess? When last did you see them and their mum?”
“Actually been a while. We haven’t spoken so much.”
Teni raised her head.
“She didn’t forgive you?”
“She did. It’s just that things became a little weird after that and I decided to just let it go.”
Teni looked thoughtful and she raised her eyebrow.
“Hmmn. What’s your story? You guys have history?”
Bobby wasn’t sure he wanted to go into a conversation about Ese.
“If you’re asking if we were dating at any point, the answer is no.”
“Hmmn. Okay o.”
Bobby could sense the disbelief in her response.
“You think I’m lying?”
Teni shook her head.
“Nope! I just know there’s a lot you aren’t telling.”
Bobby laughed. She was smart.
“Maybe it’s coz I don’t feel like telling.”
Teni grinned triumphantly
“See? I knew there was a story there.”
Bobby laughed some more.
Bobby shook his head.
“No story jor. What about you and your boyfriend that was with you that day? I’m sure he must be proud of you and what you’ve done with this place. What’s your own story?”
A shadow fell over Teni’s eyes for the briefest second. It was a flash of hurt that was gone as soon as it appeared but Bobby caught it.
“There’s no story there.”
“Ah. Now you lie.”
Teni laughed and hit him.
“No! I never lie.”
“Naah. You just did. Everyone lies at some point or the other.”
Teni laughed but did not reply. She was too tired to engage in another argument.
Bobby watched her and decided he would not question further. There was definitely something between her and Kachi but he was not going to ask. It was not his business. He let her relax in his arms again and continued stroking her hair absent-mindedly. He was surprised when she spoke up a little while later.
“Kachi and I are best friends but we kinda had a fall out and he hasn’t spoken to me since then.”
There was silence between them for a bit before Teni spoke up again.
“Aren’t you gonna ask for details?”
Bobby made a sound that was somewhere between a grunt and a snort. Ask for details? It did not concern him. But he could sense that she wanted to talk so he decided to indulge her.
“I figured if you were going to tell me then you would. I didn’t think it was necessary to pry.”
“Really? Oh well. We’re best friends but he got mad at me for suggesting that he be my baby daddy.”
Bobby raised his head sharply and Teni withdrew hers from his chest. He burst into uncontrollable laughter and took quite some time to get himself together.
“Hold up, so some guy gets the opportunity to sleep with you and he passes it up? Amazing!”
“No jor. Not like that.”
Bobby sat away from her and folded his arms.
“Alright then. Explain it to me. Suddenly I’m very interested in this your story.”
Teni rubbed her hand over tired eyes and stifled a yawn.
“It’s a long story. Summary is, I want to have a kid but I want to do an IVF procedure. I needed him to be my sperm donor and he got mad simply coz he assumed I did not care about him.”
Bobby looked confused. She wasn’t making sense.
“Wait. This is just crazy. First off, why a sperm donor? Why not follow the natural process? And then why did it surprise you that he assumed you did not care about him? You were going to use him to make a baby and there would have been nothing in it for him.”
“Don’t say that.”
“Ha. Did I lie?”
“You don’t know the full story and you’re judging me.”
“No Teni, I’m not judging you. I’m only giving you feedback based on what you just said’”
“You won’t understand. It’s a little complicated.”
“It really isn’t my business o. You don’t need to explain yourself to me.”
“He’s actually my ex.”
Bobby chuckled slightly.
“You women are wonderful. From best friend to ex.”
Teni ignored him and continued.
“We dated while in school then split up when he was about graduating coz he was supposed to leave the country. We were both hurt but somehow we got over it and became best friends. He kept globetrotting, I kept getting my heart broken until finally we both decided that marriage was not for either of us.
He came back to Nigeria a few months ago and we started hanging out. I had already made up my mind on the IVF procedure but I did not have a donor in mind. Now when we kept hanging out regularly, I thought we might have something together but he seemed totally opposed to the idea. I did not want to risk making things awkward between us by asking for a relationship so I thought it would be alright to have him as my sperm donor instead. Next thing I knew, he was accusing me of being selfish and asking if that was all he was good for. I honestly thought he was kidding so I jokingly replied yes. Next thing I know, we’re having this huge fight and he’s telling me he’s going back to Dubai and I haven’t heard from him since then.”
Bobby nodded thoughtfully.
“Hmmn. I see.”
“Yeah. That’s pretty much it.”
“Do you want my honest opinion?”
Teni looked a little uncertain
“If you really cared about him, you should have told him. Guys are very proud. You can’t ask him to donate his sperm to you and expect him to jump at the idea. It would feel like he was being used.”
“Bobby, sex between us would have made things a whole lot more complicated. You don’t get it. I don’t want to get married or get stuck with one guy who will hurt me in the future. I just want to be by myself with my kid.”
“So you think this Kachi guy would hurt you?”
“I dunno. I’m not sure.”
“I think you’re just really scared. It’s not as though you do not want to get married. You’re just scared of getting hurt. But here’s the truth. You must learn to face your fears. Everyone will hurt you; whether friends, lovers or family, people will hurt you. You just have to decide who is really worth it.”
“Love guru. No one is worth it jor. I’m tired.”
Bobby looked at her and smiled.
“You’re lying to yourself but certainly not to me. Kachi is worth it and you know it. Better find his number and give him a call.”
Bobby got up and dusted his trousers.
“I need to be on my home. I’m sorry for Jakes’ misconduct tonight.”
Teni smiled and got up as well.
“It’s alright. Thank you for staying here with me anyways.”
He gave her a quick hug and walked away.
Teni sat down after he was gone. She knew he was right. She cared about Kachi. Maybe she was even in love with him. She clutched her stomach. She was experiencing the weirdest sensation ever. Yes, she was in love with Kachi! Teni laughed out loud. She reached for her phone that was just beside her. Her heart was racing and her fingers weren’t really cooperating but she forced them to scroll through and find Kachi’s contact. Her phone froze for a second in that instant and started ringing. Kachi was calling her! Teni gasped and slid her thumb across the screen.
“Madam! How far?”
Teni put her hand over her chest as though to steady her rapidly beating heart.
“Kachi, I was just about to call you! I miss you!”
Kachi’s laughter floated through the line. He sounded excited.
“Na so. If I didn’t call you now I know I wouldn’t have heard from you.”
“Haba Kachi, that’s not true!”
“It’s okay o madam hotel manager! I love what you’ve done with the place. Where are you sef? I’m at your front desk. Show ya sef.”
Teni screamed in excitement and Kachi laughed.
“Don’t deafen me jor. Show up here already.”
He hung up and Teni scrambled to her feet. Kachi was back! She was going to smack his head first for running off then tell him she was madly in love with him. Of course he had to feel the same way too. Why else would he return? She laughed as she tried to stop herself from skipping all the way to the front desk. See what Kachi had done to her. He brought out the baby in her.
Teni eventually got to the front doors. She took a deep breath to steady herself and then walked right in. As she approached the front desk, her steps involuntarily slowed down. Kachi was there alright. But he was there with some other lady. The lady, whoever she was clung to Kachi’s arm like her life depended on it and was laughing at something Kachi was saying. Teni felt the tears well up in her eyes but she suppressed them and bit her lip in an attempt to calm down. Before she could fully gather herself, Kachi swung around and their eyes met. She caught the mischievous glint in them as he smiled.
He left the lady and came to give her a warm hug but Teni stiffened her body.
“How are you darling?”
“I’m fine thanks. Long day, really tired.”
Kachi seemed to note the jealousy in her eyes. He also seemed to be enjoying her discomfort.
“Sorry dear. I’d like you to meet Isioma. We flew in from Lagos this evening. We’d like to take a room here.”
Teni forced herself to put on her brightest smile and she stretched her hand out to the lady who looked really classy.
“Hi, I’m Teni.”
Isioma smiled back and shook her hand warmly.
“Nice to meet you dear.”
Teni looked at the girl at the front desk
“I’m sure you can sort them out. Give them the best suite we have then get the guys at the bar to send up a bottle of champagne and ice, all on the house.”
She turned to Kachi and smiled sweetly.
“You don’t need to pay for the room. Usually you’d stay at the Hilton but since you have chosen to grace us with your presence here tonight, it’ll be my pleasure to host you. Please call the front desk if you need anything.”
Kachi looked at her oddly. She could tell she had taken him by surprise.
“Uhh, thanks. We appreciate.”
Isioma smiled and put her arms around Kachi again.
“Yep. Have a good night guys.”
Teni turned around quickly and took the elevator to the pent house. As soon as she got into her room, she grabbed her car keys and purse and walked out. She took the elevator down to the reception and used a back door to exit the building. She could not bear to see Kachi again.
She got to her car and got in. She turned off her phone then started the car and drove off. Her heart was beating furiously in her chest and she was crying. Kachi had not come back because he loved her. He came back to revenge and flaunt some stupid woman in her face. Teni let the tears pour endlessly. She did not even try to stop them.
As she approached the Dantata bridge where she would turn, she noticed a car coming towards her with just one light. The driver was not supposed to be on that lane. Before Teni would figure out what to do, the car came fully into view and she realized too late that it was a trailer. Teni did not get a chance to scream or pray. She tried to swerve to the right but she did not make it in time. The trailer ran into her side and sent her car spinning off the road. The last image Teni saw was Kachi and Isioma laughing at her front desk and then she blacked out.
Totally missed you guys! I promise to be back with the next episode in less than 3 weeks. 😀
This is a bit long but the words simply would not stop rolling out. I had to force them to come to a stop eventually. Enjoy
Teni sat in a nicely cushioned swivel chair and worked steadily on her laptop. Her new office was spacious and a lot nicer than the small one she had before. She looked up from her laptop soon and sighed. One month later and she was still finding it hard to completely erase Kachi from her thoughts. They had not spoken a word to each other since she left his hotel that night. Kachi was stubborn and proud just like herself. She sighed again and turned back to her laptop. She was sure he had moved on. But she knew he would return. He always did eventually. Only when he returned, he would pretend like they never had the fight. Kachi always had her on an emotional roller coaster. The thought of that had her worried. She sighed and turned back to her laptop. This was tiring.
Her new job was exciting however. She had resumed as manager two weeks ago. The director at her former office actually told her she was free to leave whenever and so after two weeks, she called it quits. Her duties as manager were not really complicated and she was able to handle herself. She took charge of the place, drew up a plan, set goals and executed her tasks with a diligence and precision that amazed everyone. Anyone found slacking on her team was laid off. Teni was that ruthless. She had fired two people already and she didn’t care. It made every other person up their game. And that was all she needed; optimal performance from each one of them. She contracted a DJ and set up a nice cozy spot downstairs. So there was music and there was a barbecue. She also had people who prepared asun, suya and grilled fish. The traffic to the hotel increased rapidly. She had done that in just two weeks.
When Charly came to the hotel the night before, he could not believe his eyes. His business was booming. He nearly fell over Teni as he tried to express his gratitude to her for resurrecting his business and Teni was amused. When he asked after Kachi, Teni said he was fine and was disappointed to hear that he had not heard from Kachi since he left for Dubai. She wanted some information on how he was faring but she was too proud to call him and ask for herself. She wasn’t even sure what she felt anymore but she knew that she definitely missed him. She sighed. Kachi. Emotional roller coaster indeed.
Someone knocked on her door and she looked up as one of the hotel staff led in a middle aged woman. The woman looked very troublesome and was clearly spoiling for a fight. Teni was not in the mood but she put on her best smile and fixed her eyes on the woman as the young man who brought her proceeded to state the problem.
“Ma, this lady has a problem and would like to see you.”
The lady immediately snapped
“I do not have a problem my friend! You and your incompetent people are the ones with a problem.”
She turned to Teni and eyed her.
“So you’re the manager? Wonders will never end. Why should a woman be a hotel manager sef?”
Teni felt the irritation crawl up her spine but she kept her smile in place.
“Is there something I can help you with ma’am?”
“My money! You people can help me with my money! Otherwise I will call police.”
Teni massaged her temples. The lady was not making any sense.
“Ma’am, you still haven’t told me anything I can work with-”
“Your useless staff here, collected my money and did not reserve my room. I made a reservation a month ago for an executive suite. I called last week to check that the room was still available and they said yes. Only for me to show up today and the room isn’t available anymore. And I’m being told to manage one of the smaller rooms. Do I look like someone who manages anything? I paid N450,000 to be here for three nights. Four hundred and fifty thousand naira! Now I want it back. And I want it in cash!”
Teni looked the woman over. She was tired. People like this got on her nerves. People with a sense of entitlement and privilege. She would deal with the staff who was responsible for the error later but for now, she would handle the woman. She looked at her and smiled.
“Alright ma’am. There are two things I could do for you. I could write you a cheque of N450,000 because we really do not keep cash around here for security reasons. Or I could give you one of our presidential suites and complimentary breakfast meals for the duration of your stay here at no extra charges at all. Which would you rather have?”
The woman’s eyes grew big and she adjusted herself. Teni knew she had won her over.
“Errm. I think I’ll just stay. After all the meeting I’m having is taking place in one of your halls.”
Teni smiled but her smile held no warmth. It was a ‘see-how-cheap-you-are’ kind of smile.
“I guess that’ll be all then. Tunde, please show the lady to a presidential suite then find out who was responsible for the error and send them back to me.”
The young man who had brought in the lady nodded and led her out. Teni turned her attention back to her laptop. She checked the time on her watch. It was 2:30pm. She had a doctor’s appointment. It was time to take the first step towards the process of making her baby. She packed up her laptop, picked her handbag and left the office.
Bobby walked in through the front door of Jenkins & Co, Accountants and Consultants. He dropped his card with the lady at the front desk and requested to see the director finance. They had an appointment. While he waited for her to confirm his appointment, a young lady in a fitted dress and high heels walked in through the door and straight past him. Bobby looked up and noticed the way she swung her hips as she walked. He shook his head. But what held him spellbound was the short afro she was carrying. It looked like her natural hair. Bobby was a sucker for natural hair.
The front desk lady cleared her throat in an attempt to get his attention. Bobby turned and she smirked at him. He was slightly embarrassed. He was sure she assumed he was staring at the lady’s hips. He sighed. If only.
“The director will see you now.”
He nodded, got up and walked in the direction the lady had gone. He found the director’s office and knocked on the door before going in. The pretty lady with the afro hair was seated in front of the director and Bobby found himself smiling.
“Hi Bobby, good to see you. Please take a seat. This is Kate, she’ll be joining us for the meeting. Let’s make this is as brief as possible please, I’ve got another important meeting in twenty minutes.”
The lady turned and Bobby was momentarily disappointed. She had heavy make-up on and fake eye lashes. She also wore coloured contacts. But the afro was real. It was her natural hair. She stretched her hands out to him and her accent made him irritable. It sounded forced.
“Hi Bobby, nice to meet you.”
He managed a smile and shook her hands.
They both sat in front of the director and the middle aged man began to speak.
“Bobby, it’s just like I told Dele at your office. Neither of our firms has the required funds and manpower to independently take on the contract for the audit reports and you know it. I need you to convince Dele to stop being stubborn and selfish. There is a time and place for rivalry and competition in business and there is also a time to humble yourself and admit to your incapacities. Both our firms are at that point.
One of my best hands just left the firm a couple of weeks ago so I am in an even tighter position. So talk to Dele, let us work together. There’s a lot of money at stake here. You and Kate here can work out the finer details but make Dele see reason why this will work.”
Bobby looked at Kate who was busy picking her nails. There was something about her manner that left him really curious and annoyed at the same time. He did not like the feeling at all. He turned his attention back to the man in front of him and spoke.
“I absolutely understand you sir. And Mr. Dele does as well. But I think his problem is the profit sharing ratio. I personally think 65:35 is unfair. Granted you might have more money, but we have more people. You brought up the idea to partner together on this job but we could easily walk away if we so choose. Let’s make it even; 50:50. It’s either that or nothing. I find that extremely generous on the part of my firm because we could easily ask for 55:45 or even 60:40. But like you said, let’s both be reasonable here. The bid opening is in two weeks. We do not have time for games.”
The director looked annoyed and he turned to Kate.
“What do you think?”
Kate stopped picking her nails and looked up, not at Bobby, but at the director.
“55:45 or nothing. That’s the best we can do. It is business and not romance. Money has got to be made. If they don’t play ball, we move on. Something better will come. Something better always comes.”
She picked up her phone and began fiddling with it.
Bobby felt insulted. She had totally disregarded him. Were it left to him, he would have called the deal off but his boss had told him that if they agreed to 55:45 at the very worst, he should take it. It was better than the 65:35 the firm had initially proposed.
The director’s voice brought him back to the room.
“You heard her. That’s the best we can do.”
Bobby turned a grim face to the director.
“Fine. We’ll take that. When do we get started?”
“This very minute. Follow Kate to her office. You’re both officially in charge of this. Work together, come up with a list of people from both sides that will work on this project let us have all the details. We’ll have a meeting with the entire team in two days.”
Bobby got up and shook the director’s hand. Kate disregarded him again and walked right out of the office. Bobby was very irritated but he did his best to keep his cool. As he opened the door, he nearly bumped into her. She was standing just by the door, waiting for him.
“My office is this way.”
She walked briskly and he followed her into a much smaller room than the director’s.
“I already have my list. I don’t know what other details Mr. Azu is talking about but I’ll give you my number so you can call me if anything comes up.”
Bobby decided he’d had just about enough of her attitude.
“Why are you so stuck up?”
It was almost as though he’d slapped her. She turned her eyes sharply from her phone.
“You heard me. Why are you so stuck up? What’s with the attitude? You have been condescending, barely acknowledging my presence right from the moment I walked into the office.”
“Aren’t we an attention seeker?”
“You really think you’re cute don’t you?”
“You need to calm down. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve got work to do and I’d like to get on with it.”
She wrote her number on a notepad, tore off the sheet and gave it to him.
“Here. Call me if you need to discuss anything further. And for your information, if I was being condescending like you’re accusing me, I would not agree to work on this project with you and I would not be giving my number to you just like that.”
Bobby breathed deeply. She was getting under his skin. That didn’t happen often. He was usually more patient than this.
He took the piece of paper from her and admired the neat handwriting that showed off not just her number but her full name as well; ‘Kate Tariye’. He smiled.
“Lose the plastic look, it doesn’t suit you. Your hair is perfect by the way.”
He walked out and shut the door behind him. He was going to find a way to get even. She had gotten to him in a manner that was both annoying and intriguing.
Teni drove into the hotel premises and parked her car in the special corner reserved for her. It had been a long day and she was tired. After spending an hour at the hospital, she finally saw a doctor who talked her through the entire procedure and asked her to go find a donor. That was going to be the hard part. When she talked about artificial insemination, she never really considered whose child she wanted to carry and when Kachi showed up, she figured he was the perfect candidate, only she had mentioned it jokingly and he had taken offence. She tried to think of someone else that would not mind but kept drawing blanks. She got down from her car and headed towards the main entrance. She would come back to check on the services outside but the music sounded good and she liked the number of cars she could see parked out. The night was young; there would be more customers soon. She was more or less living in the hotel these days. She could not remember the last time she slept in her apartment. Perhaps it was time to give it up but she wondered if she could handle living in a hotel. It just did not feel like home.
She turned and looked back. It was Kayode. She smiled pleasantly and walked back in his direction.
“Hi! Longest time!”
She hugged him warmly
“No see! After you ground me and my cousin’s hearts to dust!”
“You’re not serious. How are you?”
“I’m fine thanks. Heard this place was bubbling so I came to check it out with my friends. They’re over there.”
He pointed in a direction and Teni’s eyes followed him. She sighted Bobby and her heart did a double take. They had not really spoken since after the accident.
“Oh, I see. That’s nice.”
“So what are you doing here? You have a new maga?”
He grinned mischievously and Teni punched him lightly.
“No be only maga. I work here. I’m actually the hotel manager.”
Kayode’s eyes were big and round.
“No I’m not and don’t look so surprised.”
“Wait, I thought you said you are an accountant or something like that?”
“I was. I quit my accounting job two weeks ago and took up this one. It’s more fun and pays better.”
“Wow! That is amazing! You’ve got to come say hi to my friends. We heard that some smart hottie took over this place and revamped it, I had absolutely no idea it was you. We must wash it o.”
Teni laughed hard.
“Kayode, leave me o. I’ll come join you guys in a bit, I promise. Let me just go and freshen up. It’s been a long day.”
“Alright dear. No wahala. We dey wait o. Sharp sharp.”
Teni laughed and walked away. She thought about Bobby and smiled. The night looked like it was going to be fun after all. She decided to momentarily forget about the problem of a sperm donor and enjoy herself tonight. If she was to be honest with herself, her nights had been a little lonely. She tried to cover it up with work but it never really worked. She missed Kachi.
She hurried into the building and took the elevator to the penthouse where she had been sleeping for the past week. She showered quickly and changed into a nice evening dress that accentuated her curves but was free from the waist down. Her makeup was light and she combed her hair and packed it neatly into a bun then made her way back into the elevator and downstairs again.
She found the guys easily enough and walked up to them. Kayode whistled as soon as she appeared. She smacked his head and stretched her hand to Jakes.
Jakes took her hand and smiled warmly.
“Nice to meet you Teni, Jakes.”
She turned to Bobby who was upstanding and smiled.
Bobby smiled calmly and stretched his hand.
“Good to see you again Teni.”
She was slightly disappointed but she shook his hand warmly.
“Please sit.” Bobby said politely
She took a seat next to him and crossed her legs.
“Kayode was just telling us you run this place. Incredible. Well done. No one seemed to know about this place and all of a sudden it’s becoming popular. Really, well done.”
Bobby shook her hand again and Teni allowed herself enjoy his compliment for a bit before she responded.
“Thank you. It really wasn’t difficult. I just needed to identify the crucial thing that was missing and fix it in. No hotel thrives without a night life.”
“Ah. True!” Jakes intoned. He seemed impressed by her.
“I like that you’re the manager here. I’ll be coming regularly for free drinks.” Kayode said
Teni looked at him and laughed.
“Look at this one. Are you ever serious?”
“Serious people are in the grave.” Kayode said simply.
“Nope! You would have been in the grave a few months ago if it weren’t for Teni.” Bobby quipped.
“Grouchy grandpa returns.”
Teni, Kayode and Jakes burst into laughter and Bobby sipped his drink.
“You guys aren’t serious. Madam hotel manager, please do you guys have a pool here? I’d like to come swimming sometime.”
“Yeah we do. It’s somewhere in the back. You can come whenever. I’ll let you swim for free. Probably give you a lesson or two.”
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you’re hitting on Bobby.” Kayode said.
Teni laughed easily. He had no clue. She was feeling only a little flirty tonight.
“Unfortunately Bobby doesn’t have eyes for the women.”
Jakes and Kayode laughed. Apparently it was some private joke. She looked at Bobby who smiled dryly.
“Please, excuse my friends. They are known to be senseless.”
“Ah! Kay baba, you got it a little wrong. He doesn’t have eyes for the women except they’re Ese.”
The guys laughed again and Teni sipped from the bottle of Smirnoff ice that had since appeared before her.
Kayode’s phone rang and he excused himself to answer it. He did not stay up to a minute and he returned.
“I’ll have to leave you guys soon. My cousin says she’s crashing at my place tonight. Apparently she’s fighting with everyone in her family.”
They all laughed and Jakes turned his eyes back to Teni.
“Seriously though, Teni, I’m the only one who hadn’t met you before. Now I see why you impressed these guys. Although anything in skirts impresses Kayode.”
All four of them laughed and Jakes continued.
“But you’re a pretty woman with brains. That’s unusual. We should drink to it.”
Teni had an amused expression on her face.
“Why is it unusual? So pretty women don’t have brains or women with brains aren’t pretty?”
Kayode said “Ghen ghen!” and they all burst into laughter.
“I’m curious Jakes. Make your point.”
“I was just saying. Most women whether pretty or ugly don’t have brains. Or if they do, they don’t use them.”
The smile on Teni’s face disappeared speedily. Even Bobby looked offended and quickly chided him.
“Jakes, that wasn’t a smart thing to say.”
“But it was the truth.” Jakes said
“No. That is what you assume and believe to be true. But that is a far cry from the truth. There are smart, hardworking women all over the place. You’re just not observant enough.”
“And there are the women who sit about doing nothing, waiting for some man to come rescue them and marry them off into a life of posh houses, exotic trips and the general luxurious life style.”
“Jakes stop. Really, what’s the point of this?” Bobby shot him a warning look but he ignored it. Teni had a plastic smile on her face. Bobby could tell she was about to hit back. He certainly did not intend to have an awkward night.
“The point is, I respect that she’s done well, but we can’t deny that most women are a general pain in the butt always looking for someone to latch themselves to and the ones who are smart and successful have the suckiest attitudes ever. This one looks cool though.”
Teni could not believe her ears. So here was someone who did not know her but had already formed an opinion about her and was generally condescending towards women. He had to be joking! She could not stand him anymore. Her anger had gotten to boiling point.
“I think it’s extremely retarded for you to have such a low opinion of women in general particularly when so many of us out here are breaking out backs trying to make a decent living. Matter of fact, I’m not even going to engage you in this conversation. You have nothing to add to me.”
She got up and stormed off. This one! He had called her this one! Who in the world did he think he was? She heard footsteps behind her but she hastened hers and walked towards the pool located somewhere at the back of the hotel. Thankfully, it was empty. She walked to the poolside, took off her slippers and sat down with her feet in the water. She wanted to just cry. She was tired, angry and frustrated. How was it that no man in the world had any bit of sense? Why did they all have to be stupid?
Bobby appeared beside her suddenly. He took off his palm slippers, rolled up his trousers and sat down beside her dipping his feet in the water as well. She was grateful for his company but didn’t say a word to him.
“Water is such a great therapist! I always take a shower or go swimming when I’m pissed. It usually helps.”
Teni smiled and turned to him.
“Same for me too. Your friend is such an idiot.”
“I know. I wonder why we’re friends sometimes.”
“Maybe coz you’re an idiot as well?”
“Naah. I’m grouchy grandpa. Don’t forget that.”
Teni laughed hard.
“Ha. I won’t.”
They were silent for a while and then Teni asked
“Grandpa, can I get a hug? It’s been one crazy day.”
He threw his arms around her and Teni snuggled comfortably. She held onto him tightly and enjoyed the musky scent that was his and in that moment, everything around her came to a complete halt.
So, two things.
1. You guys will have to forgive me but I won’t be posting on Mondays anymore. I can’t even say what day specifically I’ll be posting and that is because I have several writing projects going on at the same time with deadlines attached to them. So please bear with me. I appreciate everyone who keeps checking back. I see the hits and I am humbled. You guys are awesome. I was gonna end the series today but the director and another friend of mine wanted to wring my neck so I’m stretching the story some more. Hehe. I hope you enjoy it.
2. I guess we remember this fine babe below
This is bestie of 12 years and she’s been entered into a competition as the face of one magazine. Because you guys are awesome, kindly help me click on this link and like her picture. She needs A LOT of likes to win. So help me help bestie. Because you guys are awesome like that. I love you from my heart’s depth. Here’s the link
Please like and share for others to like as well. Thank you!
Ese sat in her living room watching Tv with her daughters. Anita lay on her lap, head still wrapped in a bandage. It was Sunday afternoon. She hadn’t gone to church because she didn’t think Anita was up to it. She was feeling a lot better and so was Anita. She heard someone knock on her door and she sent Anne to get it.
Anne returned seconds later with Bobby in tow. She was a little reserved, fully aware of the tensions that existed between her mum and Bobby only the previous day. As they got to the living room, she settled in a couch and turned her attention back to the television.
“Hi. How are you?”
Ese looked at him and delivered a polite smile.
“I’m very well, thank you. How are you?”
He walked closer to her and stopped down so his was the same level as Anita’s head.
“How are you dear?”
Anita smiled and said she was fine. He stroked her cheek and apologized for the accident. He had brought some ice cream as peace offering and he dropped it on the center table. He looked at Ese and his eyes implored her to talk with him. Ese gently laid Anita’s head on the chair and walked towards the dining with Bobby following close behind. She took a seat and turned a stern face to him.
“I hope you aren’t expecting an apology from me.”
Bobby looked surprised.
“No nau. I actually just want to know how you’re doing and your daughter as well.”
Ese relaxed her shoulders a bit and her tone was softer.
“We’re fine. I was really scared yesterday, I can’t even begin to describe how much.”
“Yeah, I know. I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine. I guess. She’ll be alright. No irreparable damage done.”
A brief moment of silence, then Ese spoke again.
“The couple that helped you. Who are they? I forgot to even thank them properly, especially the lady.”
“I don’t think they’re married. I didn’t see a ring on her finger. I don’t know the guy’s name but the lady is Teni.”
“Oh really? Okay. Maybe they’re just dating but anyways, I like the lady. She seemed pretty nice.”
“Yes. She actually is nice. That was not even my first time of meeting her. The first day I met her, it was also a crisis situation. One of my friends was in an accident and she stopped and rushed him to the hospital then called me on his phone.”
Ese looked impressed.
“Wow. That’s nice. People like her are hard to come by. Good Samaritans. Very rare. Please thank her for me o. God bless her.”
Bobby nodded and his mind unwittingly brought back thoughts of Teni. He had woken up that morning thinking of her. It was pretty strange indeed. Perhaps the reason she affected him so much was simply because she reminded him of his mother. His mother had been everything to him. She was a single parent and had raised him well. He had always promised to spoil her silly when he made money but that never happened. She died in his final year in the university. The same way Teni went out of her way to help was the same way his mother was always going out of her way to help people who were in need or in some form of trouble or the other. And when Teni had said ‘don’t cry over spilt milk, rather tell yourself this is how to not spill milk again,’ he felt like he would pass out. His mother always said that. She taught him how to deal with mistakes and move on instead of brooding over them.
He sighed and turned his attention back to Ese.
“So what plans have you got for today?”
Ese smiled and said
Bobby was confused.
“Welcome back from wherever it is you went to. You had this faraway look in your eyes for the longest time and then you sighed. Where did your mind go?”
Bobby rubbed his forehead and then his nose all the while smiling.
“Nowhere. I was just thinking about my mum. Teni said something to me yesterday that reminded me of her.”
Ese’s smile disappeared and was swiftly replaced by a concerned look
“Yeah. Don’t look at me like that. I’m not sad or anything. I just found it interesting. My mum was a single parent and I was her only child. Anytime I made a mistake or did something I knew greatly disappointed her, I would beat myself up about it endlessly and she would say to me ‘never cry over spilt milk. Rather, tell yourself this is how not to get milk spilled.’ And Teni said that to me yesterday, it was the most unusual thing ever.”
Ese had a look of understanding on.
“Oh I see, well that’s pretty good advice.”
“Yeah, it is. Anyways, what are you doing today?”
Ese noted that he was eager to change the subject and she obliged him.
“Nothing. I’ll be home with the girls watching tv and resting. Not much else to do.”
“Alright. I’ll just stay here and keep you ladies company for a little while longer. I don’t have any major plans for the day.”
“Thanks Bobby, I really think you’re sweet.”
Bobby smiled back and they walked back to the living room.
Teni turned on the couch in her living room and suddenly found herself awake. She reached for her phone on the center table and checked the time. It was 8:00pm. She yawned and stretched. She had been watching a movie and hadn’t realized when she’d fallen asleep. She yawned again and rubbed her eyes. Her phone started ringing and she picked it up again. It was Deola.
“Birthday babe! How did your day go?”
Deola’s excitement carried heavily in her voice.
“Sister mi! You won’t believe it! Deji threw me a surprise party!”
Teni immediately sat up.
“Eh? What did you say?!”
“I’m telling you o! He threw me a surprise party and he bought me a car! That’s why he had been sneaking up and down since and having all these secret meetings. Ah! I cried o! I wasn’t expecting it at all.”
Teni laughed. She was really happy for her sister.
“You see yourself? And you were there worrying like what I don’t know.”
Deola laughed happily
“Wo, leave me jare. Is it my fault? You should have been here! Honestly! He did not follow me to church this morning. I was so annoyed! He didn’t even wish me a happy birthday before I left for church-”
“Yeah, you mentioned that.”
“Ehen, so when I now came back from church, I told him it was my birthday and said I was really disappointed that he forgot. He was so dramatic! He said he was sorry and promised to make it up to me. Then he said he would take me out to lunch by 3. I agreed.
He took me to one nice hotel. As we got there, we ran into one of his friends that is a businessman. Deji told him it was my birthday and he said we should follow him to one hall where he was having a meeting so he could write me a check. I was happy o! At least, the birthday was beginning to look good. Omo, nothing prepared me for the shock I received o. We walked into the hall and everyone shouted ‘surprise!’ They now started singing for me. I cried o. I really cried. A lot of his friends were there and my friends too. Colleagues from our offices… As in! I was just so weak.”
Teni smiled warmly. She was truly happy.
“Awww! Look at you!”
“Then he now gave me the car. I had been telling Deji since that I wanted my own car. It wasn’t convenient managing just one car in the house and he actually bought it! Sis, I’m so happy!”
“Congrats darling! I’m happy for you as well.”
“We just got home now and he’s tucking the boys in so I decided to call you and gist you. We’ll talk more tomorrow.”
“Alright dear. Kosi wahala.”
“Ehen, before I forget. How is Kachi?”
Teni smiled. She had been wondering as well. They hadn’t spoken all day.
“He’s fine. He’s in Lagos now sef but he should be back to Abuja tomorrow.”
“Alright. Please greet him for me o. I don’t even know what two of you are waiting for sef. You’re perfect for each other. You should just get married already.”
“See this clown. Madam matchmaker! Comot for my phone jor. Go and perform your wifely duties. We’ll talk tomorrow.”
As soon as the call ended, Teni bowed her head and covered her eyes.
Why on earth could she not find someone to love her like that? Kachi was wonderful but Kachi was not stable and she hated that.
You haven’t even considered telling him how you feel. What makes you think he would not decide to settle with you?
Feelings ke? What did she feel? She had lost the ability to feel. All her past relationships had scarred her. The guys always stopped being loving and caring the moment they settled into the relationship. They stopped sacrificing, they stopped going out of their way for her. She could not handle that and she could not risk getting hurt again. She just wanted to have a baby and be happy. Whoever said she needed a man to be happy and fulfilled?
You know you love Kachi. You can’t even deny it. Stop lying to yourself.
Okay. So what if she loved Kachi? He was her best friend. So really, what was not to love?
Keep deceiving yourself. You know you want to marry regardless of what you keep telling everyone. You want someone who would see you as special and spoil you silly and you know Kachi can do that.
Teni grew tired of fighting the voices in her head. They were wearing her out. She picked her phone again and dialed Kachi’s number. He picked up on the first ring.
“Bebe! I have missed you like crazy!”
Teni laughed and the warmth spread across her cheeks and managed to get to her tummy as well.
“Yeye! You didn’t even let the phone ring.”
“Yes nau. I had missed you that much.”
“Indeed! How are you? How did your day go?”
“Very well thanks. I’ll return tomorrow. How did your own day go?”
“Oh it was fine. I went to church, came home then lazed about. I even slept sef.”
“Lucky you. You’re chilling. I’ve been in meetings all day.”
“Ah. Today that is Sunday?”
“Yes o. Every day is a working day for the business men. But good thing sha, I’ve sorted things out with the customs people. I’ll finish up with them tomorrow morning then take an afternoon flight back.”
“Alright dear. That’ll be fine.”
“Are you okay? I kinda feel like you don’t sound right. How is Deola? Have you guys spoken?”
“Yeah. I’m alright just a little listless. Deola is great o. Deji wasn’t cheating on her. He threw her a surprise birthday party and even got her a car.”
“Oh wow! Check him out! That’s amazing. Really amazing! So is that why you’re down?”
Teni was irritated and she snapped at him
“Kachi I’m not down jor. Please leave me alone. I’m just tired. I want to go and sleep.”
Kachi was not convinced.
“At past 8? Abeg! It’s perfectly normal to feel a little jealous. Do you know how it stings me sometimes when my friends say something about their wives and children? I can’t have what they have and it really sucks but I don’t wallow in it. Marriage isn’t for everyone. My brief spell with Tejiri taught me that. So chill out. It’s okay for this to get under your skin but don’t dwell on it.”
“You’re just a mumu. Sha hurry and come back. I miss you. A lot.”
“I miss you too dear. I’ll come straight to your office from the airport tomorrow.”
“Ah no. Please don’t. I’ll be really busy. I’ve prepared my resignation letter sef. My boss will be in shock. Let’s just meet after work.”
“Alright dear. Good night.”
Teni hung up and wanted to slap herself. Why had she acted so weird with Kachi? She knew he was right. She envied Deola and the fact that she was able to get a good man but Kachi was right. Marriage wasn’t for everyone. Had she not said the same thing to herself a thousand times already? Why then did she feel differently now?
It was late Monday afternoon and Teni was in the bathroom stall adjusting her skirt when she heard two people walk in. The office restrooms were small and as she put her hand on the latch to open it, one of the voices stopped her.
“I heard Teni is resigning.”
“Yes o. Omo, I don’t even understand that babe.”
“Abeg. Whatever jor. Make she go. The woman tire me. Women like her get on my nerves. She go dey form hardworker and she can’t even find a man.”
“I heard that no guy has toasted in a long time.”
“Mtscheew. Madam sophisticated! How will they toast her? Me I even heard that she says she doesn’t want to get married. That one no be lie? Which sensible woman does not want to get married? She’ll now be pretending to be happy meanwhile, I’m sure she envies all of us that aren’t single.”
“Nne rapu okwu biko! Just leave talk for people wey sabi talk. Meanwhile, keep your oil money boyfriend o. I’m sure if she has a chance, she will want to snatch him. That’s the thing with women like her. After forming that they don’t want to marry, they will now be looking for someone’s boyfriend to snatch.”
“Are you telling me?!”
At that point, Teni decided that she’d heard enough. She flushed the toilet then unlatched the door and walked right out. The two ladies froze. Teni ignored them and proceeded to wash her hands before leaving. The girls were stupid. There was no point indulging them.
She went through the rest of her activities for the day and the moment it was closing time, she picked her bags and drove straight to Kachi’s hotel. Kachi seemed really excited to see her and after the pleasantries, they settled on his bed to talk
“How far? How did your day go?”
“Good good. Until some scallywags tried to ruin it.”
“Scallywags kwa? What did they do?”
“I overheard some idiots in the bathroom saying I am a frustrated old maid who can’t find a man because I am too sophisticated.”
Kachi’s entire body rippled with laughter. He spent a good few minutes laughing even as Teni smacked him with a pillow.
“Idiot! You better stop laughing o. It’s not even funny.”
Kachi laughed some more before he got himself together.
“That has got to be the most retarded thing ever. The men keep coming to you. You just keep chasing them away.”
Teni eyed him.
“Even you yourself are getting it wrong. Kachi, there was a time in my life when I wanted to get married, have a family, build a home but all that has changed. In my quest for marriage and happiness, I have gotten unending hurt. I don’t even get it. It’s almost as though there are no good men left. I’m tired. It’s not as if I can’t find a man. I just don’t trust the ones I have seen. I can see right through them and I know they aren’t up to any good. If they’re not looking for trophy wife that’ll sit home and do nothing, they are looking for a woman that will make good investments in them without returns. The men are not exactly in short supply, my trust is.”
Kachi nodded in understanding.
“I get you. Omo, if you know what you want, go for it and stick to your guns. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a loveless marriage.”
Teni nodded dryly.
“Please, let’s talk about something else. Oh by the way, I’m going to get an artificial insemination next week. I’ve thought about it. I really want to have a baby.”
Kachi had a look of utter surprise on his face.
“You’re joking! Artificial gini?”
“Don’t look so shocked silly! People do it all the time.”
“I don’t think you should.”
“How can you carry the baby of someone you know nothing about? And when the child grows up, who do you tell them their biological father is?”
“You really need to relax. What makes you think I’ll take some random guy’s sperm? I was actually thinking you’d donate yours.”
She laughed but Kachi was not amused.
“So that’s all I’m good for? A sperm donor?”
Teni grinned. She was enjoying teasing Kachi.
“Yes ke. My baby daddy!”
Kachi still did not smile.
“I see. Well, the answer is no.”
Teni suddenly realized he was serious.
“Ahan. What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing. All I’m good for is making babies abi?”
“Haba Kachi! I didn’t mean it like that.”
Kachi did not let her finish.
“When we are seemingly joking, we say the things that are really on our minds.”
Teni sighed. The one problem Kachi had. He could be overly dramatic.
“Kachi, I really think you’re overreacting. It was just a joke.”
“Say whatever you please. Na me get my emotions.”
She stared at him for a bit and she grew tired.
“If you’re going to keep sulking, I might as well go home.”
Kachi eyed her.
“Typical. You won’t even apologize.”
Teni was shocked.
“Apologize ke? What did I do wrong? I was messing with you, you decided to take it seriously. Why on earth would you believe I think you’re only good for a sperm donor?”
“I dunno, maybe because you said it? And mind you, we were having a serious conversation.”
“Omo mehn, I can’t deal. I’m going home.”
Kachi did not bother stopping her.
Teni looked like she wanted to say something but she did not bother. Rather, she picked her bag and walked to the door.
“Oh and by the way, I’m going back to Dubai tomorrow evening. My business here is done.”
Teni was shocked. She was hurt and angry and all she could think of in that moment was to hurt him with her words just as much as he had hurt her.
“I guess it’s just as well then. I don’t understand this sudden overbearing attitude of yours. I’ll be glad to be rid of it.”
She walked out and slammed the door shut.
Ese was hysterical at the hospital. It did not matter that the doctor said Anita was fine but she was ready to break Bobby’s skull.
“How do you leave children in your care to answer a phone call?! How?! You should never have taken your eyes off them even for a second!”
She berated Bobby some more while he just looked on. He had tried and tried to apologize but she wouldn’t listen. She did not stop until some nurse came to call her to see her child. Bobby sat down and Teni who had been sitting with Kachi at some corner went to meet him.
“Hey, I’m sorry about all that. Are you okay?”
Bobby looked at her uncertain how to react. Her face looked familiar but he could not remember where he had met her. She had been really helpful at the park. When Anita fell and he saw the blood close to her head, he just froze. It was the lady and the guy she was with that helped get the girls in a car and drive to the hospital.
He saw the genuine concern in her eyes and something in him gave way
“I’m not sure if I’m okay. I feel really bad. It had been such a good day, I just had to go and mess it up. Man! This really sucks.”
“Don’t even start beating yourself up. Their mother has done enough of that already. Any more of that and there’ll be nothing left of you.”
Bobby smiled back.
“Thanks. I’m just tired sef.”
Teni rubbed his arm.
“You’ll be fine. I’m glad the girls are alright. Are you their uncle?”
He shook his head.
“Not really. Just a friend.”
He narrowed his eyes at her.
“I know I’ve met you somewhere before but I honestly can’t remember where. And please, I am not trying to hit on you.”
Teni laughed in spite of herself.
“Yes, we have met and why would I think you’re trying to hit on me?”
“I dunno. Women are very weird creatures.”
Teni shook her head.
“Well, I’m the lady that took your friend to the hospital when he had an accident. My name is Teni.”
Bobby’s eyes lit up as recognition hit him.
“Yeah! It is you!.”
And then he sighed.
“I wasn’t very nice to you that day, was I?”
“You’re forgiven. I just thought you were a grouchy grandpa.”
Bobby smirked and she noticed the dimple in his cheek.
“I’m sorry. That wasn’t a good day for me. Unfortunately, today isn’t such a good one either. But thank you. Really, thanks for all your help.”
“It’s no biggie.”
She looked up and saw Kachi signal to her that he needed to leave. He had been on his phone all the time she was talking to Bobby
“I’ll be right back.”
She got up and walked to Kachi.
“Tee, I need to leave now. One of my guys in Lagos is having issues with customs. I’m bringing in some cars from Belgium and the customs people are trying to make trouble. I need to go back to Lagos tonight.”
Teni looked surprised. She checked the time on her watch and it was almost 7:00pm.
“Oh wow! Are you sure you’ll find a flight tonight?
“Yeah. I just spoke to Charly. There’s an Aero flight for 8pm and the pilot is a friend of ours. So they’ll hold the flight for me till I get there. It’s why I really need to hurry now.”
Teni could not believe her ears.
“Hold the flight for you?”
“Tee, I need to leave now. Let’s go please. The more time I waste, the more money I lose. Please, come drive me back to my hotel so I can pick a few things and then we’ll go to the airport.”
Teni was confused but she tried to comport herself.
“Alright. Let me just say goodnight to Bobby. I’ll meet you at the car.”
Kachi nodded and hurried out.
She walked over to Bobby and whipped out her phone.
“Sorry, I have to leave you. My friend has an emergency and is flying out to Lagos tonight so I need to get him to the airport. Will you be okay by yourself?”
“Sure I will. Thank you for your concern.”
“Can I have your number? I know it’s really not my business but I’d like to check on you and the girls later on.”
He typed out his number on her phone and handed it back to her. She told him to take care of himself and disappeared.
Kachi was driving back to the hotel and Teni was rather subdued.
“You alright dear?”
She nodded and kept her eyes glued to the window.
“This one you’re not talking to me. What’s the matter?”
Teni forced herself to return to the car.
“I was just thinking about the girls and the guy with them. He must really feel horrible. I would if I were in his shoes. Trying to do a nice thing for someone and then it all goes horribly wrong. That sucks.”
“Yeah, that really sucks. Anyways, get over it. It’s not your problem. I’m glad we were there to help. The guy looked so clueless.”
Teni was a little surprised.
“Kachi, he was in shock. Of course he’d be clueless.”
Kachi looked at her briefly then reverted his eyes back to the road.
They continued the trip in silence and once they got to the hotel, Kachi asked her to wait for him in the car while he raced to get his bag. He returned within a few minutes with just a backpack.
“Is that all you came with?”
He shook his head as he started the car
“No. I didn’t check out of the hotel so the rest of my stuff is still there. I should be back in a day or two.
I’ll drive to the airport and you can drive back home.”
Bobby sat in the waiting room long after Teni was gone. He didn’t know what to do. He felt really bad about the accident and it was clear in the way he sat with hunched shoulders and a faraway look in his eyes. Ese showed up almost an hour later with her two girls in two. She carried Anita who had bandages around her head and wrists in her arms while Anne walked closely beside her. Her face was expressionless as she spoke calmly to Bobby
“We’re going home now. Take care of yourself.”
He stood up and struggled to find the right words.
“Ese, I’m really sorry-”
“I know that. But it doesn’t change the fact that I could have lost my daughter today. These girls are my life. That’s something you’ll never be able to understand. Good night.”
She turned away and walked out of the hospital.
Bobby sighed and ran both hands over his head. He really wished he had taken the girls home after they had lunch. It was clear that Ese would never trust him again. The phone call should have been a quick one. It actually did not last more than 5 minutes and next thing he knew, someone was screaming. He sighed and got up as he picked his keys. He needed to go swimming or take a cold shower. Water always helped him calm his nerves.
As he drove home, he cast his mind back to Teni. It was hard to believe she was the same lady from the night of Kayode’s accident. She actually was pretty. Not in the manner of drop dead gorgeous but her beauty radiated in her eyes and in her smile. It was in her kind words and in her general manner. He appreciated how she took charge of the situation at the park when he froze and how she coordinated things even when they got to the hospital. He smiled. She seemed to be just like his mother. He wondered about the young man who had been with her. Probably a boyfriend or fiancé. They seemed to have quite some bond.
He thought about Ese and felt a huge stab of pain in his chest. It broke his heart to know that he was responsible for the panic and hurt she felt tonight. Again, he wished for the umpteenth time that he had just taken the girls home. He sighed and kept his eyes on the road.
Teni heard her phone ring as she drove back from the airport. It was her sister. She instantly remembered that they had not spoken since early that morning and she sighed. She answered and activated the speaker button on the phone, eyes still on the road.
“Hi darling, bawo ni?”
“I’m alright sis. You didn’t call back again.”
“Sorry dear, I’ve had a really busy day. But it’s not important. How are you? How are things with Deji?”
“Things are okay. I decided not to make any noise about it yet. Let me just wait some more. Sis, the truth is I don’t even have the power to fight. I don’t want him to leave me.”
Teni felt the knots instantly form in her tummy. The sadness and fear were very evident in her sister’s voice.
“Deola, calm down. If Deji leaves you then he is pretty retarded. You’re a special woman and I’m not saying that coz you’re my sister. I’m saying it because it is true. You should know your worth as a lady and carry yourself with as much dignity and pride as is equivalent. Any man who chooses to walk away from you is a fool. So stay put and give him another week. Let’s see how things play out. But whatever happens, you must not cry or show any form of weakness. Hold your ground. Do you understand?”
“Alright sis. Thank you. I feel better now. Are you driving?”
“Yeah, you can hear some static abi? Phone is on speaker. Let’s talk tomorrow darling. I still have a few things to take care of. Love you.”
Teni frowned when she hung up and said a desperate prayer that she and Deola were wrong about Deji.
Fifteen minutes later, she was home and decided to check in with Bobby. He picked up on the second ring.
“Hi Bobby, this is Teni, how are you doing?”
She heard the lift in his voice and it made her smile
“Hi Teni! I’m fine thank you. How you doing?”
“I’m very well thanks. Just got back home from the airport.”
“Really? That was fast.”
“Yeah, I stay along airport road anyway so, yeah.”
“You do? Where? I stay at Lugbe!”
“Oh? Lovely! I stay before Lugbe sha. Or after Lugbe, that’s coming from the airport. One of those estates just before the SSS quarters.”
“Oh that’s nice. Well, I’m home myself. Really beat. The girls gave me quite a scare tonight.”
“I’m sorry about that. How is the little girl?”
“She’s fine. Thankfully, it wasn’t serious enough for them to admit her. She didn’t lose too much blood. She had a bandage around her head and her wrists and she was asleep when they were leaving the hospital. Other than that, she’s fine.”
“Okay. And the mum?”
“Ha. She’ll never trust me around her kids again, that’s for sure.”
“Well, you can’t be too sure about that-”
“Naah. I’m sure. She’s been through a lot lately. Her girls are all she has left. What I did was careless and stupid.”
“Bobby, you know there’s no point crying over spilled milk right? Just tell yourself, this is how to not spill milk again and move on. Clearly, she’s important to you but it was one mistake so get over it and in time, I’m sure she will too.”
Bobby was silent for a bit and Teni thought the call had dropped.
“Hello? Are you still there?”
Bobby managed to find his voice.
“Yeah… Yeah. Wow. That is the exact same thing my mother used to say.”
He sighed. He had just been about to get into the shower when her call came in and now he figured it was time to go take that shower. He had way too many thoughts flying through his head and he needed to sort them out. He heard her over the phone again.
“Oh well, your mother is one wise woman then. Send her flowers for me tomorrow and tell her it’s from one wise woman to another.”
She laughed lightly expecting him to do same but was surprised by his reply.
“I’ll actually send flowers but that’s next time I’m in my hometown. My mother is late.”
“Oh wow. I’m so sorry…”
“It’s fine. Thank you for all your help today. I’ve really got to run now. Need to take a shower. Water is my all-time never-failing therapist. Have a good night.”
She wished him same and hung up. And suddenly, she was not sure why there were knots in her tummy.
Ese got home and tucked Anita nicely in her bed. Anne who had been terrified by the accident as well, slipped into the big bed beside her sister and stared at her.
“Mummy, is she going to be okay?”
“Yes darling. She’ll be fine.”
Ese changed into her night dress and climbed into the bed as well.
“Mummy, you were yelling at uncle but it wasn’t his fault. It was me who asked Annie to run up the steps.”
Ese was not even in the mood. She was still very angry at Bobby for his negligence and she found it hard to believe that her four year old daughter was taking responsibility for his mistake. Her voice was firm when she spoke
“Anne, we’re not going to talk about this. Uncle should not have taken his eyes off you two even for a second. You were his responsibility. Now shut your eyes and go to sleep.”
The little girl knew there was no point arguing further so she did as she was told.
Ese picked up her Bible and turned the pages, looking but not really seeing the verses. She could not imagine what would happen to her if she lost either of her girls. Her phone beeped with a text message and she knew without checking it that it was from Bobby.
She finally gave up on trying to study her Bible and turned off the lights instead. She tossed and turned in bed for a while until curiosity got the better of her and she checked out the text message.
“I hate that I disappointed you today and made a huge mistake but you have got to understand. I’ve never had to do any bit of baby-sitting before. I have learned tonight however that I should never take my eyes off children under my watch. I hope you forgive me soon. My warmest regards to the girls.”
She rolled her eyes and typed out a reply quickly.
“My girls are not for you to experiment with. You’re not taking them out again. Good night.”
She wondered for a moment if she was being too hard on him but she discarded the thought. She needed to focus again on her girls. Right now, there wasn’t room for any other person in her life. They were all she had and she was all they had.
Sorry I’m posting late guys. I’ve been extremely busy with so much. I’ve got great news though. But you’ll have to get to the end of the story to find it. Enjoy!
Kachi drove Teni’s car back to her house and she had a change of clothes. They had eaten breakfast back at the hotel so he waited for her to get a few things together before leaving. He observed the living room while she busied herself in her room and he smiled.
“Your place is always spotless. You no dey tire?”
Her laughter floated from the room.
“Kachi leave me jor. All you untidy people better take a cue from me and stop trying to make me feel odd.”
She showed up almost immediately.
“Let’s go. I hope I don’t look too casual.”
She had on a nice short dress that held her waist nicely but was free around her upper and lower body.
Kachi grinned mischieviously.
“Sweet! I like it”
She hit him playfully and they left the house together.
Charly was staying somewhere in Apo and she was impressed when they walked into the house. He gisted with Kachi for a while before calling her into his study for the interview. Kachi excused himself and she felt a little nervous.
“So tell me about yourself.”
Teni smiled and made conscious effort to not look how she felt.
She spoke for a few minutes and Charly kept interrupting her and asking random questions until he was satisfied.
“I like you. I think you’re smart, pretty confident and very expressive.”
Teni smiled and said thank you.
“Are you dating Kachi?”
The question took her by surprise.
“Uhh. No, I’m not.”
“Hmmn. I wonder why. You strike me as the type of lady that would interest him. He was scarred pretty bad by his ex-wife and we haven’t stopped hoping that he would re-marry.”
Teni smiled again.
“Naah. Kachi and I have a really great friendship. To convert it to a relationship would be a really big mistake.”
“Hmmn. You really think so?”
“I know so.”
“But you’re supposed to marry your best friend right? Isn’t that what everyone says?”
Teni was a little uneasy.
“Can we please stop talking about my friendship with Kachi? That’s really personal.”
Charly raised his hands up.
“Alright. I’m sorry. I’ll back off. Anyways, when can you resume?”
Teni tried to suppress the look of surprised excitement on her face but failed. Charly laughed.
“Are you serious?! Thank you so much! Really! Thanks.”
“What’s your notice period?”
“Umm, three weeks.”
“Alright. I can hold up till then. I was really going to shut down the hotel but Kachi hyped you much and I like you already. I hope you work a miracle for real.”
Teni thanked him again, they shook hands and then she got up to leave. She found Kachi waiting in the living room and all three walked out together. Kachi and Charly talked for a while before Kachi got into the driver’s seat and moved the car.
“So, are you happy?”
Teni was slightly distracted. She had never thought of getting married to Kachi before. Somehow, the idea had never occurred to her. Charly had to mention it now and her mind was running a thousand miles per minute, trying to figure out if it would work.
“Hmm? Sorry, I was a bit distracted.”
“No kidding! Remember to bring my share of the salary o. After you give God 10%, bring me my 30% commission.”
Teni smacked his arm.
“Tiff. No be only. But thanks Kachi, really. I appreciate this.”
Kachi threw her a kiss and grinned mischievously again.
“You’re welcome bebe.”
They were both silent for a while then Kachi asked
“What do you want to do? I’m pretty jobless today o. Do you want to go swimming?”
Teni’s eyes lit up
“Awesome! But first I have to go set Benjamin straight.”
She dialed Benjamin’s number and confirmed that he was already at the golf club in Maitama and she gave Kachi directions to the place.
Benjamin sat with his drink and watched her approach him. She wasn’t alone. He saw the lanky fair guy with her and he was irritated. The guy looked so random. He was dressed down in jeans and a polo shirt. Nothing about him looked special. Was he the best friend? Why was she bringing him along?
He got up and gave her a warm hug but she stiffened her body. Bad sign.
“This is my best friend Kachi. Kachi, this is Ben.”
Ben took the young man’s hand and said it was nice to meet him. The rich baritone that emanated from his throat took Benjamin by surprise.
“Wow! Why do you sound like that?”
Kachi could not help himself; he burst into laughter.
“Uhh, I dunno. That’s how my voice is.”
Teni grinned and took a seat as Benjamin kept staring. He eventually took a seat as well and ordered for drinks for them. They made small talk for a while and Benjamin was impressed to know that regardless of his skinny frame, Kachi was a wealthy businessman and extremely intelligent too. They talked all sorts; music, art, business, the economy… Kachi had an intelligent opinion on everything. It was most annoying.
Finally, as though sensing his discomfort, Kachi excused himself, saying he wanted to take a walk around the premises. The moment he was gone, Benjamin turned fully to Teni. He was really upset but he was doing his best to contain it.
“Why did you bring him here?”
“You insisted on seeing me and he’s like my handbag for the weekend.”
She laughed for a while until she realized he wasn’t amused.
“Sorry. Kachi is my best friend. I haven’t seen him in a long time and so we’ve been catching up and making up for lost time.”
“His presence here made me uncomfortable. I don’t really like the idea of him around you.”
Teni looked amused.
Benjamin thought for a few seconds before responding.
“I think I’m in love with you…”
“Yes, I think. Because it’s still too early. But I’ve been out with you a few times and we get along so well and you already know a lot about me. You’re a really good listener. And for the first time, I can actually think of wanting to spend the rest of my life with one woman.”
Teni smiled and slowly put on a serious expression.
“Ben, I appreciate that you feel this way. I am deeply flattered actually. But two things you must know. 1. You’re not really in love with me. I can assure you that. The only reason you feel this way is because we’ve been out a few times and I have given you a listening ear. You know next to nothing about me so whatever you’re feeling, I’m certain it isn’t love. 2. I am emotionally unavailable. I think you’re a cool guy to be friends with but nothing more than that. I’m not looking to get married ever. So, me and you? No future together.”
Benjamin looked like he’d been knocked out cold by a heavyweight.
“You’re kidding me right?”
“No Ben, I am not. Getting to know you was fun but we really do not have any chemistry. And quite frankly, marriage does not interest me. Please, let’s keep the friendship and not try to push for a relationship or even marriage. It certainly won’t work.”
Benjamin did not know what to say. He tried to gather his scattered wits for a bit then finally spoke.
“I see. I’ve never had to beg a lady to be with me and I certainly don’t intend to start now. Your loss, not mine.”
Teni smiled as she saw Kachi approaching them.
“Thanks for understanding.”
She got up and pushed her chair behind her.
“Have a lovely Saturday.”
Kachi appeared beside her and bid him farewell too and he watched both of them leave the club together. He sighed and ordered another drink.
Teni grinned at Kachi
“Well, that went well.”
“Teniola Owoyemi, breaking hearts since she could walk.”
Teni laughed and smacked him.
“You know that’s not true. I’m the one who has always had her heart broken. A little payback doesn’t hurt.”
Kachi shook his head.
“That’s not true. You broke my heart first before yours started happening. It was just karma.”
Teni looked at him and saw he was serious.
“C’mon Kay! Don’t even go there. You wanted to leave. I couldn’t hold you back.”
“But you could have come with me or even waited for me but you didn’t.”
“Don’t be like that nau Kachi. We’ve been through this a gazillion times. You finished school, did your NYSC and decided to travel the world and do business. You weren’t even certain when you would return. I could not wait uncertainly nau. Haba!”
“Babe. Easy. I’m not blaming you or anything. I’m just saying. I thought you would have waited for me but you didn’t want to. You jumped at the break up.”
“Kachi, the break up was your idea and I didn’t ‘jump’ at it. You asked for it and you said you wanted to set me free. I wanted you to beg me to wait or even give me a short time frame within which you would be back but you did no such thing. Next thing you came back and said you were getting married.”
“Omo, girls can like to twist stories. Before I came and told you about Tejiri, you were dating someone and you didn’t even tell me. I heard from someone else.”
“You heard, but it wasn’t true. I was still getting to know him. I liked him but I was still in love with you. Yet you came back and said ‘oh, I heard you’re with Dunni now, good for you. I’m not even staying long.’ And you disappeared again. Next time you returned, you told me you were getting married.”
Kachi stopped walking and turned to stare at her.
“Okay, let’s just stop. This is getting awkward.”
“Yeah. I agree.”
He pulled her into a tight hug.
“You’re still my main Gee! Never forget that. Let’s go swimming. The weather’s really hot.”
Teni shoved down the pile of emotions that had welled up inside of her within the few minutes of that conversation and smiled brightly.
“Yes! I could do with some water right now. Of which, we should go to DMP afterwards. I need to do some shopping and I want fish.”
Kachi smiled and bowed mockingly.
“Your wish is my command my lady!”
Teni held Kachi’s hand as they walked around City Park. She thought back to their conversation from earlier in the day and discovered she had a lot of unanswered questions. Damn Kachi and his inability to let sleeping dogs lie. He would complicate things and then pretend like he hadn’t done anything. It had been 3 years since they last discussed their relationship. That topic was a no-go area and now Kachi had gone to unsettle the dust. She sighed.
“Kachi, let’s go and place an order for that fish o. Me I don’t want stories.”
They would have walked past but Teni’s eyes caught the twin girls that stood somewhere afar off talking to each other.
“Wait. See those two girls. Aren’t they cute? I wonder who they’re with.”
Kachi smiled and followed her eyes. The girls were indeed pretty. He saw a young man not too far from them. His back was turned to them and he was talking on his cell phone.
In the split second before it happened, Teni knew it would happen. She saw it coming but she just couldn’t stop it. One of the girls ran up the steps and beckoned to the other to do same. As the little girl tried to run as well, she tripped and came crashing to the floor, bumping her head along every step.
Teni screamed and she and Kachi ran to the girls. The young man who Teni assumed was with the girls turned when he heard the sound of the other girl screaming and he dropped his phone. He could see the blood even before he got to the girl’s side…
So, despite the sad note this is ending on. I’ve got amazing news. #RumorHasIt is going to screen! It’s going to be made into a movie. I met this amazing director, Mr.E. He has worked on Mnet, he loved the story and is really gingered to take the story to screen. He has done a test shoot already and it turned out great. So spread the word. There’s a major motion picture coming your way. The title is #RumorHasIt and it’s based on my blog story. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been majorly busy. Thanks guys for all your support. Love you guys!