Lẹ́bẹ́: Sneak Peek

You know Seun Odukoya, of course you would, seeing that I’m always going on and on about him.

Well Seun has done it again. Read the excerpt of his new book below to see what I’m talking about.

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***

There were no stars in the sky that night; Chibuzor could tell that much from his position as his vision seemed to dim and brighten alternatively. He was conscious enough to regret not backing up the latest designs for the clothing line company he and his girl were setting up; conscious enough to know the police could see what was happening to him but refused to do anything; thinking about how he was alive with nothing worse than a headache and ripped pants to show for his ordeal. He could hear the clatter of plastic on tarmac and tried to sit up.

A light-headed feeling rushed in on him; his stomach rebelled – he quickly lay on his back once again. From the sounds, it didn’t seem the thieves had noticed him.

Another thing to be thankful for, he decided.

He lay still, feigning unconsciousness, wishing they would just go away. They were mumbling, but for reasons he wasn’t sure about, he couldn’t hear what they were saying.

“Wetin una dey do dia?” said a voice.

Chibuzor’s eyes flew open; the police had come! He stretched his hand, groping for the iron grating of the compound. He found it and pulled himself up, at the same time forcing his swimming vision to focus long enough and seek out who it was that had spoken.

What he saw however made him freeze halfway up.

A figure, a tall and dark figure stood not too far away from the left of Chibuzor. It was what this man was wearing however that made Chibuzor freeze. It was impossible to tell what he looked like because his head was covered with a hood, leaving his face in shadow. He was wearing a dark-colored hooded shirt with a huge, white skull and crossbones printed on the front of it. His hands were wrapped in white bandages; like a boxer would have on before putting on his gloves. Dark-colored jeans and ankle-length black and white Converse sneakers completed his ensemble.

He looked out of place considering the evening heat; there was nothing friendly about the way he stood, in the way darkness somehow clung to him.

The thieves looked at each other and then the self-elected spokesman for the group said, “Oga, waka dey go o. Na we reach here fest. We don even obtain am finis, tomorrow fit be your – “

Chibuzor wasn’t sure what happened. One moment the tout was trying to discourage the stranger, next moment he was staggering backwards trying to keep blood in his nose with his hands. The hooded guy was standing in front of Chibuzor now.

“Oya, drop everything wey you collect back!” the man snarled.

The other touts jumped forward, the smoker pulling out a kitchen knife from the waistband of his jeans, the second wielding a plank. Hooded guy slowly moved backwards, drawing them away from Chibuzor who couldn’t believe his eyes.

God! I must have banged my head real hard, he thought.

Nevertheless, he watched as his savior sidestepped the descending plank and hit its wielder with a left uppercut. Chibuzor winced as he heard the clear crunch of teeth clashing together in a not-so-nice way. The plank wielder went down and screamed through mashed lips and blood-soaked hands. The one with a smashed nose straightened from his crouch and, grabbing the plank, joined the knife-swinger who just sent the knife towards the hooded guy’s midriff in a stabbing move.

A left forearm knocked the knife-holding hand aside and a right jab to the throat put him out of the fight permanently. The knife fell to the tarmac with a clatter and he held his throat with both hands and staggered, thudding loudly beside Chibuzor, breath rattling in his throat.

The loud blaring of a horn drowned out the coughing sounds and a danfo screamed past. “See dis mumus wey dey fight for night!!!” somebody, probably the conductor, yelled.

The plank wielder and the hooded guy circled each slowly, like boxers looking for an opening – and then the plank went up. At that moment, a sound interjected and Chibuzor realized that a phone somewhere was vibrating. The next moment he was once again focused on the tableau before him, forgetting what he’d heard.

He watched as the hooded figure moved aside to avoid the plank with a smoothness that reminded of Michael Jackson moonwalking. He blinked – and the hooded figure was close enough to the plank wielder to hug him. Instead of a hug however, the hooded figure hit him with a swift right-left combination that would have made many a professional boxer envious. In this case however, the street lights were enough illumination for Chibuzor to see the tout’s face change color – and then, he turned his head away as the tout threw up.

The tout fell to his knees and continued to throw up, blood dripping from his nose and mixing with the puke.

Chibuzor was disgusted.

“How you…are you alright?”

Chibuzor stayed against the wall, frightened into immobility. He stared as though hypnotized at the man’s face – at least, where a face was supposed to be. The man’s voice was gruff, uncultured…not too different from what the thieves had sounded like. Chibuzor didn’t move, his heartbeats thunderous in his ears.

“E for beta if you begin dey go o, because dem go wake soon,” hooded guy said, waving in the direction of the touts who were slowly moving again, holding parts of them that hurt. The tout throwing up had stopped, but he was bent over on his knees holding his stomach, rocking back and forth and making moaning noises. Chibuzor left the wall and staggered a bit, feeling for and finding a lump on the back of his head, aware his headache was now a distant pain. He looked at his savior with disbelief.

“What are you, Daredevil…or what…?”

The hood swung his way – and even though he couldn’t see inside it he felt a burning stare.

“Carry your tins dey go,” the voice from within the hood said.

There was a cold finality to the sentence that started Chibuzor moving. He looked around, and spotted his valuables scattered amongst the groaning bodies. Quickly he darted between them and scooped up his laptop, phone, wallet and twenty naira one after the other. Stashing them into his bag, he turned towards the hood who was pointing back towards the busier side of Opebi – the left side from where they were standing.

“Selfie?” Chibuzor asked.

 

Click on link to buy Lẹ́bẹ́ now!

http://okadabooks.com/book/about/lebe_first_cut/13423

Read Lebe

***

I disappeared from the blog without warning, I’m sorry. I was drowning and needed the time out but all is right with the world again now. See you guys next week! In the mean time, buy Lẹ́bẹ́!

 

Take Your Writing To the Next Level With Seun Odukoya’s Story wars

story-wars

Halla!!!! Saturday is only 24 hours away! Excited about season 2 of Hunter’s Game? Well, I am!

But that’s not why we’re here. Lol. Forgive me.

***

I’m sure by now, you guys all know the amazing, brilliant Seun Odukoya. (I’m always gushing about him so of course you do!)

Anyways, remember how I say he’s always up to something? This time around, it’s something that will be significantly beneficial to you. He has teamed up with some incredibly skilled people in the craft and they have something of great value to share.

If you are a writer, an aspiring writer, an envier of writers, this is for you.

‘Move your writing to the next level’ may sound like a cliché – but that’s the reason behind these classes. Else, what’s the point?

That’s the only reason you’re attending too – the knowledge that you will get something different and worthwhile out of it. That’s the only reason you should attend.

Hence, STORY WARS I.

The precursory writing mashups came as a result of a need to see writers/creatives be more than their ‘situation’. You’re only as successful as your options and this is designed to give you more options by improving and diversifying your skill set.

What more could you need?

For details/registration visit: https://theunderlineacademy.wordpress.com/story-wars/

Ps. The dates on the flyer are incorrect. It is actually for the 15th and 22nd of October. Please take note.

You’re welcome!

See you tomorrow morning. 9am, bright and early!

 

Two Lives and a Soul (Update)

This is straight from the writer himself

***

Hello everyone,

I really don’t know how to do this, but I’m going to try. I’ll use that evergreen cliché: There is good news, and there’s the bad news. I know the one you want first, so here is it: The bad news is that I won’t be continuing with the series Two Lives And A Soul on this blog, or any other. It’s painful. And I hate myself for it. But the good news is the reason I have to discontinue it.

My publishing team finally got to read the entire script of the series, and they loved it like hot dog. They would love to publish it in the nearest future, but advised that I had to stop blogging it if that can be achieved. Actually, it was more of an order, than a request.

Truth is that Two Lives And A Soul wasn’t intended to be this long, but you know what happens when characters begin to have minds of their own, and all you can do as a writer is to document what you see, or what you are told. I just kept writing, and writing, and ‘like play like play’, it’s been about a year since we started the story.

You guys have been amazing! You are one of the most curious and somehow ‘impatient’ readers I have ever met. You guys fueled the enthusiasm I needed as a writer to create those plots in the series. I really do appreciate. Tell you a secret? The end of the story isn’t as convoluted as the story itself, but the end will kill you. So why die now when you can die later.

Two Lives And A Soul will be rewritten, professionally edited, and published in paperback, but I want to dedicate the story to every reader on this blog. I mean, I want to put your names on the first page of the book. Maybe the first 100 names we get on my mail. This is just a way of appreciating you all, because somehow we wrote the story together.

To the bloggers who made this possible, you guys are incredible, and I am honored for the platter. Sally, Gboyega, Walter, Ogechi, Connected Lagos, Tatafo, I’m immensely grateful to you all.

My debut novel, Night of a Red Moon will be out before the end of this year, and I’m not sure you’ve seen anything like it before. I kid you not. We’ll keep you posted. It will be followed by Two Lives And A Soul, then Dead Man’s Messenger, then Sons of Thunder, then God The Brother. Maybe Life of a Barrack Boy (short stories) will be revisited. There are about eight novels (all > 100,000 words) already waiting to be published, just so you know we aren’t here to play.

On behalf of my family, I say merci, gracias, thank you!

 

Ojay Aito

For life and fiction.

I’m Free (A Tribute to Peju Esan) by Dikachi Mann

 

free

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free,

I’m following the path God laid for me

I took His hand when I heard Him call,

I turned my back and left it all.

 

I could not stay another day,

To laugh, to love, to work or play.

Tasks left undone must stay that way

I found ‘that’ peace at the close of the day

 

If my parting has left a void

then fill it with remembered joy

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss

Ah yes, these things I too will miss

 

Be not burdened with times of sorrow

I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.

My life’s bee full, I’ve savoured much,

Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch

 

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief

Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief

Lift up your heart and share with me

God wanted me now, He set me free

 

***

Here’s to you dearest read who may have lost a loved one. May you find comfort and strength.

“I saw Him” by Temitope Arogundade

I think I saw him

I must have seen him

He was lying in the path I took

I didn’t notice him then

As I looked out of the bus

I saw him

 

Lying at the roundabout at Obalende

Sprawled across it, better put

One leg actually on the road

People passing around him

Gingerly trying to avoid stepping on him

I saw him

 

He looked like a young boy

I estimate around 13 or 14

He was wearing a dirty Grey tracksuit

Tracksuit had red lettering and a red waistband

He was also wearing black boxers

I saw him

 

I thought he was sleeping

Then I began to fear he was dead

It looked like there was no movement

Obalende was at its noisiest

If he was alive, how come he wasn’t moving

I saw him

 

I began to panic

Why was there a dead teenager on the road and no one is concerned?

I almost put my head out of the bus

Trying to detect chest movement, to indicate breathing

Finally I saw it, he is alive, whew!

I saw him

 

I then thought, let me take a picture of this

Let me capture this and show the world

Then I wondered, wasn’t it the world that was passing by him?

Wasn’t I part of the world that will look and say ‘Eyah’?

And what did I do? Nothing

I saw him

 

The bus is full, we are moving

The bus is getting closer to him

I can see his face now

His face is bruised and swollen, lips twice the size of normal lips

Yet he still sleeps

I saw him

 

Then I wondered, what is his back story

Did he have a family?

Did he have a house or any other place to sleep?

Why sleep at a roundabout?

Why was he bruised and dirty?

I saw him

 

Why didn’t anyone help?

Why didn’t I do something?

Have we become so desensitized that we just look and walk away?

Is this a city problem, would it have been different in a village?

Or are we so preoccupied by our own problems that we cant see anyone else’s?

I saw him

 

I saw him

Everyone saw him

And as far as I saw, no one did anything to help him

Clueless by Tomi Adesina (The eBook)

Hello everyone,

So we have been airing Tomi Adesina’s #Clueless in the past weeks;  Thank you so much for following and your support.

The complete book is available for download on Okadabooks for 500Naira. Click here
http://www.okadabooks.com/book/about/clueless/11958

For those who can’t purchase via Okadabooks, please send a mail indicating interest to purchase to writetotomiadesina@gmail.comand we would direct you. You could also send a WhatsApp message to 08075750609

Finally, don’t forget to share and join in the online discussion across social media.

Sample: I am Sharon and I just downloaded #Clueless by Tomi Adesina (@tomi_adesina) Download here:

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Don’t forget to share to a book lover. Thank you!

Clueless (6) by Tomi Adesina

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Sharon was tired of waiting for Dapo. He had told her that he would drop her at the office for the presentation but he was nowhere to be found. This was eight a.m. and the presentation was thirty minutes away. She had tried using Tobi’s phone to get across to him but he wasn’t answering his phone. “That dude is deep into corruption. He was raised that way. I am sure he has gone to handle it himself.” Tobi said, walking into the living room. “He must want all the money for himself when he didn’t do anything.” He continued. “That dude is so full of it. Coercing a helpless person in exchange for shelter to doing his dirty job is just wrong.”

Sharon wasn’t as antagonistic as Tobi that morning. Dapo already asked for forgiveness. It didn’t make any sense that he would do that to her. “Then why did he come here last night?” Sharon asked. “He asked for my forgiveness and all of a sudden he turns back to sly me?”

Tobi shrugged. “I can’t put it past him.” He said, adjusting his tie. “I have to leave now, so you have to let me know what you want to do. Do you want to come with me to the studio? Or would you rather stay here?” he asked, staring at Sharon who was staring aloof. “Sharon?”

“I don’t know yet.” She replied, turning to him. “I don’t know why Dapo did this and maybe that’s why I am so confused.” She continued. “He put me through all the basics last night. Why would he just bolt?”

Tobi exhaled. “I don’t know and I wish I had answers, but I have to go now. I don’t want to be stuck in traffic.” He said. “Else, my show won’t have a presenter today.”

“I guess I’ll just wait here.” She replied.

He nodded. “Or you could take the time to go to the bank and sort out your account issues?” he suggested. “I could drop you on my way.”

“Alright.”

***

Jane woke up to see her husband, mother and doctor in her room. “What is going on here?” she asked.

“Take it easy, Mrs Amadi. You had quite a long sleep.” The Doctor said, approaching her. “How do you feel?”

“Disgusted. I have you all staring at me and so I feel really disgusted.” She replied and then turned to her husband. “What are you doing?”

Chike took his seat beside her. “They want to examine you for a few days.”

“Mama?” Jane called, turning to her mother.

Mama nodded with a smile. “You’ll be fine. You are a little bit worked up and maybe you need to speak with your doctor.”

“No! What I need is to speak with you! I want you to tell me why you are scared of staring at your reflection.” Jane said, standing up. “Everything you see now is as a result of what you did to me as a child and all I am trying to do is ensure that I don’t make the same mistakes with my daughter.”

Chike stared at the doctor and gave a nod. “Jane, Sharon would be back but I don’t want her to see you like this.”

“You are really putting me away, right? You all are going to see that I am right. When Sharon returns home because she has been frustrated, you are going to come to me and apologize and I would not forgive you.” She said.

Chike sighed. “Sharon’s accounts are all active. I am hoping she gets in touch with us soon enough. We will tell her that you took a trip to Seychelles Island or something.”

Jane smiled. “Whatever suits you.” She said and turned to Mama. “I am your biggest disappointment. There is nothing you can do about that.” She said and walked over to the doctor. “You don’t need to sedate me. I know what the nod implied. I’ll follow you willingly. I am not the crazy one.” She said and stepped out of the room.

***

The splash of water across Dapo’s face woke him up. He couldn’t move his hands or legs. He was gagged to a chair. He gasped for breath as he struggled to keep his eyes open. The water in his eyes caused him pain.

“Sorry for the inconvenience, Dapo George.”

He stared at the man. “What am I doing here?” he asked. The last thing he remembered was getting out of his car to check his flat tyre on his way from Tobi’s house.

“You are here to continue the work you started.” Mr John said, approaching him. “I must say you are quite the nice guy.”

“What are you talking about?” Dapo asked, coughing.

Mr John smiled. “Sharon Amadi. She is your new assignment.”

“What assignment?” Dapo asked. “I have not done any assignment for you before and I certainly would not.”

Mr John nodded. “I feared you would say this, so we brought something to persuade you.” He said, placing a file before Dapo. “This is a list of all the companies you have scammed as a fake Architect and we are very much inclined to report this.”

Dapo hissed. “Bullshit! It’s business. They are my clients. That doesn’t hold water.”

“Dapo George, you are quite interesting. Well, we understand it is business.” He continued. “Now, to the business of the day, you did a noble thing by taking Sharon in when she was robbed by us.” Mr John said. “Sharon is quite a complicated contract for us and you would be decently rewarded.”

“You robbed her?” Dapo asked. “And you want me to help you? You are a fool.”

Mr John nodded. “Yes, I know, but you are going to help us with the remaining part of the business.”

“I am not doing anything for you.” Dapo replied.

Mr John laughed. “Did you miss the part where I said you didn’t have a choice?” he asked and then turned to one of his boys. “We didn’t tell him about the special part, right?” he said, chuckling. “Dapo, your parents spend a lot of money treating Daddy’s kidneys, right?”

Dapo groaned. “You bastards.”

“Yes, we know all about you. And we know your mom and dad and your pretty little sister too. It would be a shame if they had to go through pain because you wouldn’t do us a tiny favour. Sharon is just a stranger and we are not asking you to hurt her.” Mr John said with a smile. “So what do you say to our offer?”

Dapo stared at them. The men were scary. He was not going to put his family at risk. He couldn’t hurt Sharon as well. But he had to make a decision and do it quickly.

“You are wasting time, Dapo.” Mr John said. “Would you like me to bring your sister down here? She should be on her way to lectures right now at the University of Lagos.”

Dapo took a deep breath. “What do you need me to do?”

Mr John smiled. “Now you are talking.”

***

Sharon told her cabman to hang on as she arrived at Woworx Hotels and Suites. She was now liquid and could afford to smile at the receptionists. She stared at them with a haughty smile. “Can I please get a room?”

“Ma’am?” One of the receptionists said for emphasis. They could recall that Sharon had shared a room. It was not like they would give her the card to the room but they just had to put on the part of their Lagos DNA that was gossip-inclined.

“Do you have a problem with giving me a room? I’ll be happy to check out another hotel.” Sharon fronted with a subtle grin.

“Single room?” The receptionist asked.

Sharon thought a while. She had suffered in the last weekend. She owed herself the best. “I want your executive suite and I want to be scheduled for a spa treatment by two p.m.” She said.

“Yes, ma’am.” The receptionist replied and pulled out a key card. “We are ready for you.”

Sharon sighed as another thought flashed across her mind. She was not going to be nice to them and it felt just right. She smiled at them. “You know, I think I’ll just check out another hotel.” She said with a smug smile. “It was to stress you unprofessional ducks a little.”

The receptionists watched her walk out and hissed in unison. “That girl na bastard! One of them said.

She no get sense, I swear. Another continued. “So, she just come here demo for us, abi? Na thunder go fire her!

Sharon stepped into the cab. “MDB studios.” She said as she settled into the back seat. She fetched her new phone from her purse and dialled Dapo’s number again. She was unable to get across to him. She wondered why she was having so much concern for him. She thought about the possibility of something going wrong but didn’t want to dwell on it. She then dialled her mother’s phone. Out of coverage. “Why is everyone unavailable?” she thought and dialled Mama’s phone. She could bank on her grandmother to always keep her phone close. “Hello, Mama.”

“Ifesinachi. How are you?” Mama asked.

Sharon rolled her eyes. “Very fine, thank you.” She replied.

“Have you finally sorted out your phone issue?” Mama asked.

Sharon nodded. “Yes, Mama. So, you can save my number. Is my Mom there? I tried calling her.”

“No, darling. Your mom decided to take a vacation.”

Sharon chuckled. It wasn’t strange of her mother to do that. “And she left you all by yourself in that house?”

“Oh well, you know how she can be.”

Sharon smiled. “I am going to call you later in the evening. I am off to see a friend.”

“Friend? Really? You now have someone you call a friend? Lagos is definitely good for you after all.”

Sharon nodded. She just realized she had absently called Tobi her friend. She didn’t have friends, she only had acquaintances but with the budding friendship she was sure to build with Tobi, she didn’t mind calling him a friend. “Yes, Mama. A friend. His name is Tobi.” She reiterated.

“He is a Yoruba boy?”

“Yes, Mama. He is Yoruba and that’s the end of our discussion.” Sharon said. “I’ll call you later.” She said, ending the call.

She paid the cabman as they arrived MDB Studios and walked into the building, handing them Tobi’s card as a passage into the studio.

“Hey, Sharon.” Tobi said, welcoming her into his office. “Please, sit.”

She took her seat. “Thank you.”

“What do I offer you?” he asked, reaching for the intercom. “Water? Juice? I would say coffee but it’s a little too hot in the afternoon for coffee.”

“I am fine, thank you.” She replied.

He replaced the intercom. “So, have you gotten your suite in the hotel?”

“No. I searched some apartments online and I spoke to their realtor. I think I want to check that out.” She replied.

He checked his wristwatch. “Now? I don’t get out until six.”

“I… I actually wasn’t requesting your company.” She replied.

He shrugged. “You are having it anyway. It’s my off day tomorrow. We could check them out tomorrow. Just call the realtor to reschedule.”

Sharon found herself thinking about his offer. Maybe she could use his company after all. “So, what am I going to spend the rest of the day doing?” she asked. “I can’t have this much free time.”

“I could take you to see a movie tonight.” He replied. “Then we could go back to the apartment and have a good evening.” He added with a coy grin.

She shook her head. “I am not sure I want to be seen anywhere near a cinema hall.” She said, remembering the experience with Jadesola.

He tapped his forehead. “We could go and get your art materials. But if that’s the case, I need to get off a little earlier.”

“You are a celebrity here. It shouldn’t be so hard.” She replied. “I could see your vain photos on the wall.”

He chuckled. “I actually told them to take those pictures down. They don’t quite reveal my good side.”

Sharon smiled. “Are you not worried about Dapo?” she asked.

“Well, I can’t say I didn’t think about it but the only thing I could come up with was he bolted after making the money.” He replied.

She sat up. “What if something happened to him?”

“What could possibly have happened to him?” Tobi said, rising to his feet. “I don’t know but I really feel you should get your mind off it.” He said, approaching the door. “Hang on, I am going to get us that early dismissal from work.”

Sharon waited after he had shut the door and dialled Dapo’s phone again. Out of coverage.

***

Dapo searched through all the missed calls on his phone and thought about who to call back first. He had several from his family, the client he was meant to pitch to, Tobi and weirdly, Jadesola. He needed to get some rest after the ordeal from the previous night. He thought about what he had committed himself to by agreeing to the plan Mr John had set before him. He thought about going to the police and turning them in but that would involve him risking his family’s lives; he feared that they were faster than him, which had to be the case, since they knew all about him already. He packed his bag and returned his phone into his pocket. He wasn’t going to return any of the calls. He was going to get to work. The sooner he accomplished the task he was given, the quicker he would be in getting Mr John and his men off his back.

***

Sharon stared at the materials she had just purchased and wondered if she was doing the right thing. It had been forever since she last did anything related to painting and while Tobi needed the momentum to put his own work out there, she needed more than momentum. She needed to hone her skills all over again and while she might have told herself that once an artiste, always an artiste was real, she had a lot of work to do.

“Do you like them?” Tobi asked, joining Sharon at the cashier’s. “I got us a few more brushes.”

She nodded and turned to him. “This is likely going to be a lot more difficult than I thought.” She started. “What if I can no longer paint right?”

“You can’t quit on me now, we had a deal.” He replied, handing his card to the cashier. “Sharon, I know this is scary but if you really want to do what you love doing, you have got to start from somewhere.”

Tobi’s motivational speech wasn’t working for Sharon but she at least had to put up a front. She didn’t know what she was looking for but if painting was going to give her life, she had to give it a shot. “Let’s go paint.” She said.

***

Dapo was waiting outside Tobi’s house by the time they arrived. He watched Tobi and Sharon approach him with bags in their hands and smiled. Maybe Sharon had gotten him to do some shopping for her too. He wasn’t surprised. He had found himself in that situation before. But at least, now he knew that Sharon was genuinely robbed.

“Dapo, where have you been?” Sharon asked as they got to him.

He smiled faintly. “Hi, Sharon.”

“That doesn’t answer the question, bro.” Tobi said. “Why did you come here yesterday to try to deceive her into believing that you wanted her to do the presentation?” he asked.

Dapo smiled. “I wanted her to do the presentation.”

“That’s a lie.” Tobi replied.

Dapo chuckled. “Why would I lie? It got cancelled and I was so disappointed that I just shut down the whole day.” He said.

Sharon stared at him. “It’s okay. It doesn’t matter anymore.”

Tobi nodded. “Yep. You can see yourself out.” He said, leading the way.

“Sharon.” Dapo said, taking her hand.

Tobi stared at Dapo’s hand. “Bro, stop it.”

“Shut up, Tobi.” Dapo yelled. “I just want a minute with her.”

Sharon stared at Tobi. “It’s fine. I’ll be upstairs in no time.”

“I am not leaving you alone with this guy.” Tobi replied. “Whatever you want to say to her, you can say it while I am here.”

Dapo took a deep breath. “I don’t really do well with this drama, but I am sorry, Sharon, and I would like to make it up to you if you would let me.”

“And how exactly do you want to make it up to her? Deceiving her that you have another deal again?”Tobi asked. “She is not going to fall for it again. I won’t let her.”

“Tobi! Chill!” Sharon said. “You are not even letting him speak.” She added. Tobi was being unnecessarily protective of her such that it got her nervous.

Tobi nodded. “That’s because I know guys like him.”

Dapo stared at him. “What do you mean about guys like me? Tobi, mind your business. I am talking to Sharon and you should stay out of our conversation. Who are you to her? I have had enough of you.”

“Then get off my property!” Tobi yelled, taking Sharon’s hand. “Let’s go in.”

She yanked out of his grip. “I am not your property.”

Tobi took a deep breath. He was getting agitated. Maybe he was already assuming roles in his head. “I am sorry, Sharon.” He said, stepping back. “I’ll be waiting upstairs.”

Dapo waited until Tobi had disappeared up into the house before turning to Sharon. “I am really sorry about everything.”

“Was the deal really cancelled?” she asked. “Tell me the truth. Please.”

He took a deep breath and nodded. “Yes, it was.” He lied. He could see her eyes yearning for the truth but the truth was going to risk the ones he loved and right now, he had only one mission, he couldn’t afford to screw it up.

“I am sorry about it.” She replied.

He managed a smile. “So, were you able to get to the bank?”

“Yes.” She said. “And I am going to refund your money just like I promised.”

He shook his head. “You don’t need to. I already made you work. So, we are all square now. However, I’ll love a chance to be your friend…again.” He said, stretching out a hand. “Friends?”

Sharon stared at it. “Do you really want to be an Architect?”

“It’s all I have been good at pretending to be.” He replied, taking his hand back. “My parents wanted it and eventually I grew used to lying to be one.”

“Well, it is a skill I have learnt but I have no use for. Tobi is going to help me get back to painting, so if you don’t mind, I could work with you on designing.” She said.

He blinked as cold chills ran down his spine. “You want to teach me?”

She nodded. “Yes.”

“I don’t know what to say.” He said.

She smiled. “A thank you is in order.” She said. “I’ll call you. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.” He replied and watched her walk away. He clenched his teeth in anger. She was making his work a lot more difficult with her kind gestures. It was going to be difficult for him to carry out the task before him…he had to find a way; else his family would be in danger.

***

Sharon switched through the TV channels. The news channel didn’t have anything good to offer except for sad news which was the routine. She dropped the controller as soon as Tobi joined her in the living room.

“Hi.”

She folded her arms. “Hello.”

“Can I please sit?”

She shrugged. “It’s your house.”

He took his seat beside her. “I am sorry about what happened earlier. I guess I lost control for a second.”

“Bi-polar?” she joked with a chuckle.

He shook his head. “God forbid.”

“My mom is bi-polar.”

He rubbed his forehead. “I am sorry.”

“It’s alright.” She replied. “She gets to switch off some times and it could really be worrisome but she is a great person.”

“I bet she is.” He replied.

She stared at him. “I am going to help Dapo with Architecture.” She started. “I think he wants it so he would understand it better.”

“What if he’s doing it just to get closer to you?” Tobi asked.

Sharon chuckled. “Dude, you have so many weird theories.”

Tobi took her hand. “I like you.”

Sharon withdrew her hand from him. “Thank you.”

“No. I like you, very much.” He said and drew closer to her. He could see her eyes cowering as he towered over her slowly. “I want you, Sharon.” He said.

She put her hand in between their chests. “Tobi, stop.”

“I want you.” He muttered as he started to brush his lips against her face.

Sharon was struggling. “Tobi, stop it.” But he would not stop.