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Silent Seduction

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I’m over being under your spell

It keeps blinding me

Was too blind to see, yeah

I’m not the only one that you tell

That I’m the only one

- Zendaya (Butterflies)

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1

It had been a hectic day and it was expected since it’s her first time in Lagos. Toriola stepped down from the cab she boarded at the car park to the address James gave her. She doesn’t have much stuffs to unload. Just a black luggage filled with some of her clothes along with some documents and a big blue polythene bag which consists of a few pairs of her shoes.

After getting her stuffs down from the trunk of the car she paid the driver the agreed pay.

 

‘Hello’ The driver of the cab called back as she had her back turned in an attempt to carry her load.

‘You forgot your phone’ He said handing her a white phone which turned out being an iPhone. A phone Tori was quite sure wasn’t hers. She made to let the cab driver know too but her words got caught up in her throat as she was left to cough out the dust left behind by the cab.

 

Great. She slumped her shoulders in distress.

 

Her first time in Lagos has to be with a phone belonging to ‘God-knows-who’ in a ‘God-knows-where’ part of the city. That being one of the least worries she has, Tori tried calling James once again murmuring a silent prayer as she held her phone to her left ear, hoping he would pick up this time around.

Her heart had raced a mile when she had tried to call his number several times this evening and her call got disconnected each time. It wasn’t like she knows anyone else here so where the hell was she supposed to stay the night considering the fact that it was already past her bedtime if James phone refuses to be reachable?

 

With a frustrated sigh which followed the beep sound that came from her phone to signal a disconnected call, Toriola paced in panic and restlessness. She had heard so much about this city regarding serial killers, robbers and ‘serial rapists’ too (if there’s anything like it).

She was freaking out thinking about all the terrible things that could happen to her if she stayed another minute on this lonely street. She noticed there wasn’t even an insect passing through and what scared her the more was the number of tall trees surrounding the narrow road.

 

Anything could be lurking behind those trees.

 

She looked around to check if anyone was coming and somehow she was glad no one was but at the same time she was terrified she was alone.

It was like she was alone in the whole world and that made her shiver in fear. She could feel goosebumps form on her upper arms.

She steadied tried hard to steady herself. The number one thing she needs to do is flush negative thoughts out of her mind. Still pacing a small distance right beside the road, she thought about seeing Richard again.

 

It would be quite nice.

 

If she should recall vividly, it had been almost a year since she last saw him and she realised just how long it had been since they last saw and how much she really do miss him.

 

Then returning her pacing to the other side of the road, she saw a shadow coming towards her. It was the shadow of a hefty man with quite a height and the strides he was taking was quite amazing. It was as though his strides were thrice an average person’s.

 

Taking a few steps backwards, Tori dialed James number but she got the beeping sound. Just when she was trying his number once again, she felt a fat palm on her shoulder and her eyes went wide with fright. She closed her eyes almost immediately.

 

‘Please don’t kill me… I have no money but you can take my stuffs.’

 

‘Wooh… Chill girl…’

 

James?

 

She wouldn’t miss that accent for anything. It was quite unique. Letting that thought sink in, she carefully opened her eyes one after the other as though if she didn’t do that, she was going to be betrayed by her ears and the proclaimed James might turn to a serial killer.

 

It was James alright but why was he looking this fat?

 

His features looked as though he had been blown by some big bicycle pump if she would compare him with the James she had always known.

 

Somebody wasn’t watching what he had been eating…

 

‘James’ Tori slowly said his name when she saw that it was really him as she let out a sigh of relief.

 

‘What were you thinking? Why didn’t you call me?’ James snapped at her and that seemed to show just how ironically worried and relieved he was at the time.

 

‘I did call you but my call got disconnected each time…. By the way, how did you know I’d be here since the last time we talked was when I got to the park here? ‘ Tori asked.

 

‘After waiting for you for so long and you decided not to show up for a ride which normally takes thirty minutes, I decided to come check up on you here since I know whichever cab you took is gonna drop you off here.‘James explained as he ran his hands through his hair.

 

‘Oh really… ‘ Tori digested his explanation.

 

‘By the way, it was hard recognizing you from a distance. You’ve grown.’ He said with a glint in his eyes even though he barely glanced at her.

 

Yeah and you’ve grown too.

 

Fat though.

 

Tori smiled back her thoughts

 

‘It was your luggage and the way you were pacing frantically when I approached that made me conclude it was you.’ He added to his previous explanation.

 

‘I see.’ Tori replied. Having nothing to say to his statement.

 

‘Anyways, it’s getting late, let’s get you home.’ With that, James dragged her luggage down the street with one hand and carried the polythene bag with the other leaving Tori with only her handbag. He was quite a gentle man.

 

‘So, when was the last time you saw Richard?’ Toriola started while they walked.

 

‘A month or two ago. He moved out all of a sudden a few months after we got here leaving only the address of his new place. He had never been home whenever I tried visiting. I bumped into him at the mall and he was with… ‘ Tori could feel the hesitation in his eyes. She could see his thick palm encircle the luggage handle with much firmness. ‘…He was in a hurry. ‘ He finally said.

 

Tori doesn’t need a sage to tell her James was holding something back.

 

Something crucial.

 

‘So that was it?’ Tori tried to get words out of James but her effort ended up being futile. ‘I tried calling his number too and it had always been switched off. I wonder what went wrong with him.’ She said looking into James’ eyes for clues.

 

Richard was her boyfriend. They had been dating for close to two years now back then in the university. He was two years ahead of her and they were the perfect couple until he moved down to Lagos to search for greener pastures a few years after graduating. What really attracted him to her was the fact that he was quite a funny dude who was quite brilliant as well.

 

She knows distance was supposed to change some things. Many things to be precise. But she wasn’t expecting distance to make him a complete stranger. She wasn’t quite sure she knows the new Richard anymore. He seldom contacts her and she had never been able to reach him for a couple of months. Whichever way it is; she was bent on not giving up on them just yet.

 

‘The last time I talked to him was when he called and I told him I chose LUTH for my internship. He was quite happy about it and he told me he would find me a place to stay here… But ever since then, I had not been able to reach him.’ Tori said as she looked at her feet. Trying not let the emotion that welled up in her, show on her face.

 

James was mute while Tori reminisced

 

‘He called me frequently to update me about how everything was going. There was this time he said he got a place for 140k and told me all he has was a 100k. He was bent on finding the rest of the money but I was scared the place might get taken by someone else so I sent him the rest of the money.’ Tori paused and weighed the magnitude of what she was about to say.

 

‘Do you think I’m being played by Richard. He probably got no place and just used that as an excuse to extort money from me.’ She said wincing as the word left her mouth.

It wasn’t a good idea as she had thought it was at first.

 

‘Why would you think that?’ The look on James eyes made her take back her words.

 

‘I know it is crazy right.’ She smiled back her worries. ‘Richard can’t do that.’ She really doesn’t know who she was trying to convince.

 

James or her. But she had always had a bad feeling about Richard and her.

 

About the possibility of having her worst nightmare come true.

 

Right before she came here, she knew things wouldn’t be as rosy with Richard as it was in the past and she was scared of the extent he must have changed.

 

Scared of the extent he possibly cared less about keeping their relationship.

 

She shrugged off the crazy thoughts in her head and they continued their awkward walk down the road.

 

‘Well, how have you been?’ James asked after they had been silent for minutes.

 

She was quite surprised about how obvious James made it that he wants to change the topic. His personality hasn’t changed a bit. He was still the shy and introverted James she had known.

 

James was Richard’s best friend back then in College of Health Science as both studied Anatomy. They traveled down here to Lagos together. It was amazing things had changed this much between the duo.

 

When she was unable to reach Richard, she had called James and told him about her plight. He urged her to come and told her he has a place for her.

 

‘Here we are.’ James announced as he slanted her luggage against the wall of a medium sized apartment. Tori watched as he timidly, with shaky hands, plugged a key inside the keyhole and dragged her stuffs in immediately he opened the door.

 

Tori stepped in cautiously. With a glance here and there across the well-lighted apartment, she concluded James had been living well. The house wasn’t the least bad for a single graduate.

 

‘Richard and I used to stay here. Over there was his room and right here was my room. His room is going to be yours now.’ He said pointing to doors leading to opposite sides of the room.

 

Tori nodded her comprehension. She was going to stay here until she was able to secure her own place. It was just for the meantime. She hates being a pain in the neck to anybody. The room wasn’t at all bad. There was a kitchenette and a little bathroom adjacent to the entrance. A single mattress was lying on the tiled floor and over the mattress was a clean blue duvet. The walls of the room were painted Yellow and the ceiling fan was rotating at a very high speed. She switched that off first before putting down her stuffs.

 

Minutes later, she was done with arranging her stuffs and, resting her palm on her hips, she grinned with satisfaction at the outcome of her arrangement. She stepped inside the bathroom and had a cold shower after which changed into her pajamas.

 

‘I hope you are Okay? ‘ It was more like a statement than it was a question. James voice emanated from behind the door. Tori got up from the bed and opened the door for him.

 

‘ Yeah. It’s all thanks to you. You are really a lifesaver.’ Tori rubbed her palms on her thighs as she smiled at him.

 

‘If you need anything just let me know okay? ‘ he avoided her eyes while being cautious with every word he said.

 

‘Sure, I promise I won’t hold a thing back.’ Tori beamed hoping that would snap out the fretfulness in him.

 

‘I am… err…. Making dinner right now. It should be ready in a few minutes.’ He announced trying the brave task of looking at her which actually got him looking at his fingers after a few seconds.

 

‘No wonder my stomach kept rumbling. It should be great.’ Tori said cheerfully trying to help release the tenseness in his chest.

 

He gave a soft smile then walked away from the door. Tori closed the door behind her and walked back to the mattress. She was about settling in when the vibrating sound from her bag got her attention.

 

She picked her bag and searched through it for her phone.

 

There it is.

 

She picked it up and dropped her bag back on the mattress. Tori gave her phone a puzzled look cos it wasn’t ringing nor was it vibrating. It was then she realized the vibration in her bag hadn’t ceased.

 

It was ‘that’ phone. She fished out the iPhone just in time.

 

‘Hello’ she said into the phone after she answered the call in which the caller’s I.D displayed Tobi.

 

‘Yes. This is great. I think you have my phone. ‘ It was a male voice from the other end. Tori wondered why he would save his own number on his second phone with Tobi.

 

‘ It appeared you forgot it inside a cab and the driver thought it was mine.’

 

‘Thanks for explaining that to me. But the thing is I’m not really in Lagos right now. But I would be in a few days’ time. So, what I’m saying basically is, I would be glad if you’d keep that for me till I get back. I’m taking your silence as a ‘YES’ which will make me hang up now and Bye.’ With that, she heard a beep which signaled the end of the call.

 

He wasn’t even taking his time talking to her. Like he was in a hurry.

 

She could bet his restlessness was the reason he forgot his phone in the first place and it was as though he had little concern for the phone because if he really cared about it, he wouldn’t have been so sure she was going to return it. Tori dropped the phone back in her bag and lay flat on the bed with thoughts of her grandma flooding her mind.

 

The woman had gone through a lot for her.

 

She never really got to know her mum as she was told she died few minutes after giving birth to her.

 

Tori wished she could achieve her aim in time and give her grandma the good life she deserves.

 

As beautiful thoughts crossed her mind, she slowly drifted off to sleep.

 

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Do you know why the wedding ring is placed on the fourth finger of your right hand?

Answer: ‘Cos It is believed to be the only finger that has a vein that is directly connected to our hearts

- Greek Mythology

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2

 

After making that call and ensuring the phone was safe, Tobi checked his reflection in the huge standing mirror and for the umpteenth time, he gave his reflection a thumbs up. He was wearing a black suit over a white shirt. He had a red tie sliding from his neck down to his chest. His jet black shoe shone in the dark and even though he felt uncomfortable wearing the suit, he knew he had to make the sacrifice. Peering closer to the mirror, he touched the tip of his tongue with his thumb and gently brushed his brows lightly to the ends.

 

Oh, great. Let’s see how Johanna’s gonna react to him in suit.

 

She seemed to get easily attracted to men in suit and he could tell that was how that Marcus got to her. The dude was always in suits or sometimes blazers that Tobi had to conclude he has no other stuff in his closet aside suits.

 

It was a relief those two had to break up. He had lost all hope of getting Johanna when the duo started dating. Jo was so all over him that she didn’t try reaching Tobi the few months those two spent together as a couple.

 

Tobi couldn’t imagine his joy when he got a call from her after months of holding onto his phone, waiting for his phone to even beep to show her caller’s ID. You could imagine his joy when she broke the news of her breakup with Marcus to him amidst sobs without specifically telling him why the relationship ended that quick. She only fed him the little detail of being dumped by Marcus and even though Tobi knew Marcus was rather stupid for letting a lady as precious as Jo go, he was glad Marcus made that mistake because if he hadn’t, there was no way Tobi’s hand would stay on Jo’s body for long with the excuse of consoling her the very day they broke up. And of course, Tobi wouldn’t be here as Jo’s date, which he somehow happened to be and owe all thanks to Marcus.

 

There was nothing like getting your rival out of the way without having to do anything. From then on, his motto was never to mess up his chances with Jo ever again.

 

If she likes men in suit that much, he wouldn’t mind wearing suit for the rest of his life.

 

Even wear it to bed.

 

He would be another Marcus-in-suit for her if that’s what it takes to be with her.

 

Even if it kills him.

 

The weird thing is, Tobi isn’t actually a fan of suits. He sees them as torture and only wore them when he has to do something very official or crucial business related activities. His office wears are rather too simple or casual and his uncle and boss has always been on his neck when it comes to his choice of wears.

 

Tobi was in the pavement in no time with a glass of wine in hand, trying to portray a calm, confident and boring doctor like everyone else seemed even though he knew he wasn’t anything like the aforementioned. A crowd of people were already forming clusters randomly on different parts of the hall. He searched for Jo through the hall, his eyes roaming from one cluster of head to another.

 

It was a 3-day Medical Conference and dinner. Why Jo invited him to be her date for the conference still amazed him considering the fact that his career differs a great deal from whatever doctors do. He doubts if he would ever understand a word regarding the topic of the night.

 

Tobi almost called out to her when he finally saw her in the company of two other girls. It looked like they were having a healthy chat as they kept smiling and laughing. She was facing the direction he was but had her attention on the girls around her while the other girls had their backs turned in his direction.

 

Jo looked ravishing in the blue sleeveless gown she wore which left her arms and legs bare. The brown wavy hair brought out the outline of her perfectly shaped face which matched the tone of her breathtaking well-tanned skin. She really took his breath away and he had to control himself by swallowing her name back into his gut, sure he would sound weird and desperate if did.

.

So, where should he start?

 

He needs to let her notice him without making it obvious that he was stalking and had seen her the whole time. He walked towards her hiding behind people when necessary until he was finally behind her and they both had their backs turned. Gently pushing himself backwards a little nudging his elbow with hers slightly, he succeeded in getting her attention.

 

‘Hey…’ He acted all surprised ‘I didn’t see you there.’ He placed his hands on his hips dramatically. The smile playing softly on her lips told him she already knows he was faking it.

 

Damn! He should have taken his drama lessons back then in college seriously. He never knew he was going to put it into good use.

 

After a quick introduction to her colleagues, Tobi shook hands with them one after the other, putting on his charming smile. Charm her friends first, then her.

 

‘Dr. Edwards really has good eyes when it comes to guys. Your date is so cute.’ One of the girls said.

 

What was that hot thing on his cheek?

 

Was he really blushing? He watched as Jo smiled away their compliments and excused herself as she locked her arms with his. They moved to another part of the hall and he noticed the smile on her face seconds ago vanish, making her face expressionless.

 

‘Hypocrites. I’m glad you came to get me.’ Jo mumbled under her breath and Tobi only acted like he didn’t hear her.

 

‘Wow you are looking great! The suit suits you’ She complimented Tobi, putting on the smile again.

 

Yes! Yes! Yes!

 

The butterflies in his head fluttered. He turned his face away from her, afraid she might be able to read his thoughts through his face. No one can trust this doctors, they could be psychics if they want to.

 

‘Hmmm… You are not looking bad as well.’ Tobi returned her compliment with a faked straight face.

 

Gosh! You look amazing! was the word he had planned to say but his arrogant mouth had to say the substitute. He sensed her disappointment from the way she pursed her lips. Did he just break her heart with his words?

 

‘You look gorgeous Jo! I didn’t mean to say you didn’t look bad. I was going to say you look amazing. Didn’t know what got caught up in my throat…’ He faked a slight cough.

 

Jo giggled and he knew she got him again. He felt frustrated with himself.

 

‘I’m so glad you could make it. I was afraid you’d be in Lagos and I would be without a date tonight.’ She said bringing a cup half-filled wine to her lips and it was then Tobi realized she was even holding something7.

 

‘Oh that.’ He scratched the back of his neck thoughtfully.

 

‘I had been in Abuja for three days now. So, when you asked me to be your date tonight and I have a free night, I see no harm coming.’ The lie came out so smooth he was scared of himself.

 

Did he just do that?

 

His mind flashed back to when she called this afternoon and asked him to be her date for the conference. He had lied he was in Abuja and after she dropped the call, he took a cab to the airport and got a room for himself for twice the actual price.

 

‘Thanks for coming Tobi.’ Her almond shaped eyeballs showed sincerity.

 

He stifled a smile by putting the wine glass to his lips and sipping gently.

 

‘What were you doing in Abuja anyways?’ She asked making Tobi’s eye widened in shock. The question was so unexpected that he choked on his drink. He had been so dumb that he didn’t prepare any excuse whatsoever.

 

‘huh…I…err…’ Tobi stammered his answer out

 

‘Dr. Edwards..’ Tobi had never been grateful for any interruption when it comes to Jo and him before but he was grateful for this one. The guy that called Jo was just an inch away from her. He has quite a height and even though he hated to admit it, the guy looked so cool he could get loads of girls by just snapping his fingers.

 

And he was in suits!

 

Tobi could feel his blood boil venomously and jealousy forgetting he was grateful he was the guy who saved him from not embarrassing himself seconds ago before Jo. Tobi didn’t realise gritted his teeth unconsciously. He watched both of them talk like they had known each other for like forever. Tobi tightened his grip on Jo. He wasn’t letting her go just yet. Not when this guy is here anyways. He was too lost in his own thought that he didn’t notice the guy’s outstretched hand.

 

‘Tobi’ Jo’s voice snapped him out of his reverie and he shook the guy’s hand violently with a stiff, forced smile on his lips.

 

‘Your boyfriend is quite strong for his looks.’ The guy said as he wrung his palm off Tobi’s grip.

 

Does it take that long to figure it out dummy? I do GYM! Now stay away from my girlfriend.

 

‘He’s not my boyfriend.’ Jo’s statement slashed through his heart like a samurai’s sword. ‘He is a longtime friend I ran into tonight. So, how is Felicia?’ She said the last statement by freeing her hand from the union it had with Tobi’s hand.

 

That was just more than he could take. A longtime friend she ran into at the dinner? Tobi need not be told Jo has something for this guy and she didn’t want him thinking they were a couple. Why did she have to lie about him being her date? She was flirting too much for someone who had a break up a week ago. Now, he knows she wasn’t joking when she said they wouldn’t be more than friends. She has dated so many guys that he had lost count and she never took a look at his side. Someone who was willing to do anything to get her.

 

Even wear suits!

 

Tobi smiled and drank the rest of his drink in one gulp then excused himself from the duo. He could tell that Jo’s eyes lingered on his back as he left but it wasn’t for long because he heard a shrill laughter from her a few moments later.

 

What was even that funny?

 

****************************

 

Someone please stop that music. Tori had her palm on her ears. It was something around 7:30 am.

 

Who the hell plays music this early?

 

The music stopped after a while and Tori tried to go back to her sweet dream but she knew that was the end of her dreaming for today.

 

Trying to shut her eyes, the music started all over again and it was then she discovered it was a ringtone but she was sure as hell that wasn’t her phone’s ringtone. What the…

 

Oh! That phone.

 

She sat up, pillow on her legs and picked her bag which lay right beside her and she fished out the iPhone from it. The caller I.D displayed ‘MUM’. She was having second thoughts about picking the call, then finally, she did.

 

‘Hello’ she said politely into the phone. She heard a gasp from the other end.

 

‘How the hell did my phone end up with a lady? Tobi is so in for it… Mum! A lady picked up the call… Why did you even give my phone to him…? If you were going to seize it, you should have just kept it anywhere at home….’ It was a teenager’s voice and Tori heard everything on the other end quite clearly.

 

‘So that you can steal it back like you always do?’ An elderly female voice said and the voice seemed like it was from a distance. A little bit far from the teen’s.

 

‘What were you saying about a lady picking up your phone? Would it be that Tobi has a girlfriend… Oh my God. Tife, give me the phone…Hello?’ Tori could hear the elderly woman’s voice clearly now. The excitement in her voice was rather astonishing.

 

So, Tobi was that guy that called the other night and the teen is his sis, the I phone’s owner.

Tori gets the drift now.

 

‘How was your night my dear.’ It was the elderly woman speaking now.

 

‘It was fine ma. Actually…’ tori tried to say but was cut short.

 

‘By the look of things, you must be in Abuja with Tobi. How did you even meet him?’ The woman asked expectantly.

 

‘No Ma. I..’ Tori tried to say only to be interrupted once again.

 

‘You don’t have to be shy about it. I’m his mum, you can say anything to me. Don’t allow him

make you tell lies…’

 

‘Ma…’

 

‘You know what? You can call me mum from now on.’

 

‘But I’m not your son’s girlfriend…’ Tori said but she realized the line was dead. She switched the iPhone off after giving it a thought then dialled the number that called her the other nigh, ‘Tobi’s’ numbee with her phone.

 

After several rings, he picked it up.

 

‘Hello… Please who is this?’ His voice was kind of ruffled like he just woke up.

 

‘I have the iPhone with me… Remember, you forgot it in the cab…‘Tori rolled her eyes while explaining.

 

‘Yeah, Yeah I remember… Why are you calling this early?’ He asked while stifling a yawn.

 

‘Your mum and sister called me this morning and….’

 

‘What!’ He yelled and Tori had to keep the phone distances away from her ear to avoid deafening. ‘You would have to do me another favour. Switch off that iPhone and never switch it on until I come for it. I would reach you through this number from now on… Besides, what’s your name?’

 

Why does he think he was in control? Why is he so authoritative? Maybe he needs to be reminded that she was the one holding the iPhone.

 

‘And why should I do that?’ Tori asked.

 

‘Goodness.’ He scoffed. ‘Were you thinking I was hitting on you? I thought you were matured enough to tell when a guy is hitting on you and when he isn’t. Don’t worry I’d just save your name with bighead instead.’

 

‘Oh, that’s so charming. I can sense the maturity in your speech already.’

 

‘I know your type. You play hard to get yet you seem to be throwing yourself at the feet of some guy who clearly doesn’t even know you exist…’ That statement got to Tori. She ended the call without hesitation and immediately, she heard a knock on the door.

 

‘Oh you’re up.’ James poked his head inside from behind the door. ‘I’m sorry I didn’t knock.’

 

‘It’s okay. You can come in.’ Tori smiled. James entered with a tray there was a cup of tea and slices of toasted bread on the tray. He dropped it on the bed beside her.

 

Tori felt like ‘awwing’

 

‘Came to check up on you yester night but you were asleep. I guess you were tired so I didn’t bother waking you up for dinner.’

 

‘Well, I’m grateful you didn’t. But you shouldn’t have gone through the trouble of making breakfast for me. I can manage.’

 

James smiled shyly.

 

‘I think I’ll leave you to eat. Let me know if you need anything.’

 

‘Yeah. Sure. When I’m done, I’d need Richard’s address.’

 

‘Oh that.’ James said hesitantly then added ‘When you are done then.’ With that, he left the room closing the door behind him. Tori stood up from the bed and went to the bathroom to wash up.

************************

We live in an age where

Everything is staged and

And all we do is fake our feelings…

 

Jon Bellion

*************************

3

 

‘Good morning!’

 

Tobi turned over, his face right inside the soft pillow. He wasn’t ready to rise just yet. His mum never lets him enjoy his sleep. She always comes disturbing when his dream gets deep and interesting.

 

Wait a minute, he was supposed to be in a hotel room, was he still dreaming or where did that voice come from?

 

His eyes went wide open. He turned to the other side in an instant and there she was, standing beside his bed hands on her hips. She was cladded in a white chiffon gown, her hair packed neatly behind her neck.

 

‘Are you going to rise now or you are going to lie down all day and stare?’

Her almond shaped eyes made his heart melt. She looked too gorgeous he finds it so hard to get mad at her. All he could muster his strength to do at that point was stare.

 

He was supposed to be mad at her but here he was drooling over her. This is so embarrassing! He rose in one swift movement and walked to the small fridge adjacent his bed.

 

Oh great!

 

He was in his shorts and Jo was right in the room. He felt so naked that he wanted to wrap the blanket over his body but it was too late now. His bare chest, back and thigh were all there for her see his build.

 

Back to what really matters to him, he needs to show her that he wasn’t the least pleased with the drama she pulled last night but he wasn’t sure how long he would be holding onto the string of pride in him with her looking so gorgeous.

 

He took a bottled water from the fridge and gulped down the drink. The chillness burned his throat and he felt a small chunk of ice travel down his throat. It was so uncomfortable. Why the hell did he even walk to the fridge this early? Why does her presence makes him so nervous he couldn’t control his thoughts?

 

‘You dissapeared yesternight. I wondered where you left for that you decided not to let me know.’ She said sitting down on the king sized bed comfortably like it was made for her.

 

You acted like I was nothing! Like I wasn’t there! I was embarrassed yesterday and you expected me to stay and be tortured watching you flirt with some other guy? Are you really kidding me?

 

That was the planned speech only God knows where,

 

‘How did you get in?’ came from. You could guess it was his mouth.

 

‘Your door was opened and I don’t really think I need to knock or alert you I want to come in. So I just let myself in.’ She replied. ‘You are acting weird. Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?’ She asked pursing up her lips in confusion.

 

Was she trying to act like nothing was wrong when everything seems so wrong? Wow!

 

‘Nothing is wrong. I am just feeling a bit sick.’ Tobi walked to the large window in the room and looked down the bush street from there. He slightly lifted the curtain as he rested his palm on his forehead.

 

‘Sick?’ Jo asked, her tone indicating worry as she rose and walked to him. Tobi wasn’t sure what the thumping at his chest at every step she took signifies.

 

‘It’s nothing. I’d be fine.’ He hurriedly said.

 

‘Does that mean you won’t be able to make it tonight…’

 

Yeah! I can’t. I want to go back to Lagos. I am sick of seeing you throw yourself at other guys.

 

Another planned speech that never got the chance to leave his head.

 

‘…You don’t have to worry I’d get someone else then.’ Jo said as she folded her hands across her chest while she stood before him.

 

‘I am fine…’ That came out so wrong

He felt like he screamed that out. But does it matter. Anything but her being with another guy for one night. He quickly cleared his throat and scrunched up his face in a faked pain. Jo was now facing him and he knew he really has to make his acting look real

 

‘I will be here till that stuff ends. I would be fine…’ He watched as Jo smiled a knowing smile. Did he fall for her once again? He hopes not.

 

‘Okay then.’ she said rising abruptly ‘I am going to get dressed now. I hope by the time I’m done, you’d be too and we would go grab breakfast. I am so famished!’ She said the last statement in whispers as she trotted out of his room, smiling as she did.

 

Everything about her is so cute.

 

Well, he doesn’t know why he can’t get her out of his head

 

But, why does she find it so hard to apologize? Was she so used to him that apology is so out of it when it comes to them? Or is it the number of years they had known each other that warrants a ‘No apology’ relationship? Or was he getting a bit paranoid about it all? Was this how things were supposed to be and he was the one overthinking it?

Why can’t he even summon up the courage to ask her out, once again? Is he really so scared she would turn him down, once again that he had chosen muteness? Maybe she won’t turn him down like she did ten years ago? Maybe the reason she turned him down ten years ago was because she thought she was too young to be in a relationship.

 

Ten years ago, Jo was fifteen and he was sixteen. Their age difference was just a few months. Jo was the foster daughter of his grandpa’s neighbour’s. The three years he spent at his grandpa’s were the years whose memories he cherished the most. The years he hated and the year he loved.

 

While he stayed with his grandpa he got to know Jo. Jo’s foster parents were the busy type and they were always away. Despite the number of maids, they had, they felt she would be secured staying with their neighbor, Tobi’s grandpa. It was as though the duo had lived together because Jo’s parents were seldom around. The duo went to school together, came home together. They know virtually everything about each other.

 

Tobi regarded her as his sister at first until those feelings changed. What he felt for her wasn’t a brotherly love anymore. It was something greater. He always wants to be with her. He always wants to see her. He always feels the urge to hold her. It took several weeks of planning what to say, several days of making up his mind to tell her but later changing his mind immediately he was in front her, several hours of battling with his mind on whether to go ahead or not to go ahead. They were in school when he finally forced the words out of his mouth. Her reply totally shattered him.

 

OMG! Tobi, You are just like a brother!’

 

Just like a brother.

 

He can’t forget that statement. The statement he even heard in his sleep. How could he possibly forget?

 

Ever since then, he had been scared to approach her, he avoided her and it was like she did too. They didn’t go home together that day and she never showed up at his grandpa’s place for days. When he got worried he scared her away, it was then his grandpa made him know she came around when Tobi wasn’t there to say her goodbyes. Her parents want her to study abroad and she already left.

 

She didn’t even say goodbye to him.

 

They never saw each other again until earlier last year. It was by his grandpa’s grave. He was there with flowers as was his routine every July 3rd. He felt a palm on his shoulder. It was Jo’s. She heard his grandpa died and she was there to pay her respect. Blah, blah, blah. A week after they met, she started dating one bloated face guy, when she broke up with that one she dated another….

 

‘What are you still waiting for?’ It was Jo. She poked her head inside the room, cutting his chain of thought short. She was in black T shirt and a denim trouser.

 

‘In a minute!’ He rushed to the bathroom to have his teeth brushed. You can’t keep a lady waiting.

A lady like Jo to be precise.

 

 

***************************

Right from the start

You were a thief

You stole my heart

And I’m your willing victim

I let you see the part of me

That weren’t all that pretty

And with every touch you fixed them.

 

P! NK (Just give me a reason)

*****************************

4

 

Did she get the wrong address or the mansion before her was really Richard’s supposedly new place?

After deliberating on whether to knock on the gate or not to and later choosing the latter after what seemed like ages, she sighted a lock on the gate.

 

It looks like a wrong address anyways but should she give James a call and confirm if she really got the wrong address?

 

How would she even do that? Her credit status is low and she was saving the little airtime she has to call her grandma later in the day.

 

She was still standing before the gate when a jet black Range Rover pulled before the gate. She directed her attention to the driver who alights rather too slowly. A pair of expensive sneakers came out first. He smelled and looked expensive too. His eyes were masked by the baseball cap he wore which covered half his face. He refused to look up as he was busy with a bunch of keys but Tori had this gut feeling he was Richard even without seeing his face. She waited patiently as he approached her still fiddling with the keys. Tori was surprised when he plugged a key into the lock and completely ignored her.

 

It was like she doesn’t exist! She pinched herself lightly to be sure she wasn’t dreaming.

 

‘Richard.’ She snapped rather than called. Her emotion engulfing the better part of her

 

That got him looking right at her. It was Richard alright and what Tori saw in his eyes was either shock or surprise and it could also be a mixture of both.

 

‘Tori???’ The statement came out more like he was confirming if it was really her.

 

‘You didn’t see me here?’ Tori asked a bit annoyed.

 

‘I’m so sorry. My mind was totally somewhere else. I was thinking about some stuff…’ The surprise seemed to have disappeared and he was speaking rather freely with a cute smile on his lips which didn’t disappear from his face even as he talked.

 

‘Wow! You look different. When did you get to Lagos anyways?’ He said slowly.

 

Why don’t you just say terrible instead of different? Tori thought

 

‘Yesterday. I had to stay at James’. He gave me your address since I was unable to reach you on phone.’ Tori explained ignoring his question.

 

‘Actually, my phone got stolen…’ He said as he fiddled with the bunch of keys in his hand.

 

That’s not an excuse. Why did she have this feeling he was going to say that?

 

If you really want to reach me. You would have tried getting my number from James or made other efforts. Looking at you right now, it doesn’t look like you even thought about it talk more of giving it a shot.

 

She kept it all in though. She wasn’t here to start an argument.

 

‘… Well let’s forget about that. How have you been?’ He asked. He wasn’t faking the concern on his face. She had always thought their relationship already crumbled the moment his number wouldn’t go through anymore. But here he was stirring up the hope she was going to bury.

 

‘Fine….’ She robotically replied.

 

‘I missed you.’ Her heart did some flip flops at that statement of his.

 

He was still her boyfriend. Why was she acting like she was just getting wooed by him?

 

‘Hmmm Richard, we really need to talk. Can we step in? Talking outside is uncomfortable. You were going to open the gate anyways.’ She started hurriedly as though if she hadn’t hurriedly let it out, he would sense her excitement.

 

‘Oh that… I just dropped by… I should be going somewhere now You should get inside the car and let’s talk on the way.’ He also hurriedly replied.

 

He didn’t even wait for her reply before he pulled and walked her to the car. He opened the door for her and waited for her to hop in before closing the door. Then he was at the driver’s in a minute.

 

‘Where are you taking m…. ?’ Her words got caught up in her mouth when his phone started ringing. She was quick to see the caller’s I.D. It was some Dr. Eme. He excused himself then picked up the call.

 

‘Yes Doctor…. What!’ Richard sounded alarmed and he really looked startled. ‘…. I’d be on my way right now.’ He said then hung up.

 

Great, they are never going to talk.

 

‘Something wrong?’ Tori asked hiding her disappointment.

 

‘Tori… I’m really sorry; I really need to get to the hospital. We’d do our talk some other day… I’d give you my new number and you can let me know whenever you are going to be available.’

 

She didn’t want to push it since it doesn’t look like he was faking it. She meant to ask him what was it he had to do in the hospital but she changed her mind when she saw his state. He looked shaken and sweat has started forming on his forehead. She would be taking it too far if she asks him about the accommodation and other stuffs they needed to talk about in this state. There would always be a next time.

 

He dictated his number to her which she hurriedly typed into her phone. After they exchanged numbers, he volunteered to drop her off somewhere close to her place since their destination coincides to a point.

 

 

 

James was obviously getting a bit roasted by the elderly man. Tori was just a few meters away from the duo and she could clearly hear the ruthless words the man lashed out on James who just kept looking at him without uttering a word. Why would James allow himself be bullied like that? She won’t call that being introverted; she would simply call it stupidity. Tori kept walking towards them. She would say something if James won’t.

 

‘James, what’s happening here?’ She turned to James completely ignoring the man.

 

‘He is the landlord….’ James half whispered.

 

Does that give him the right to say those stuffs to you? Cos he is your landlord? Tori wondered.

 

‘Okay, so this is supposed to be the lady who stays with you now. Your girlfriend, I presume? You couldn’t pay for a 2-month rent yet you have the gut to bring in another person… Do you take me for some fool or what? I am promising you, the next time I come here; I’d be throwing your stuffs out….’ The so called landlord thundered and with that he furiously went to the rickety car he parked few distances away, then zoomed off.

 

‘You never told me you were having rent issues? I feel like a burden coming here having absolutely nothing to offer yet depend on you. You should have told me about this, I would have looked for some other way…’ Tori voiced out immediately they stepped inside.

 

‘You are no burden and stop saying that. I’d be leaving this place soon anyway. My brother said he would send for me anytime soon and I’d leave for PH. I think he got me a job there. I’m only worried about you… Forget about what the man said and let’s talk about something else. Did you happen to meet Richard?’ Jo stammered out, careful to avoid eye contact with her.

 

‘I did and we didn’t really get to talk. He had some stuffs to attend to. He gave me his new number though so I won’t have trouble meeting up with him again.’

 

‘I pray he gets you accommodation like he promised. I don’t know what this man.. The landlord could do and I might not be here then…’

 

‘You shouldn’t worry about me. I’m no baby. I can take care of myself. Thanks for everything you’ve done for me.’ Tori said urging him with a forced smile on her lips.

 

‘It’s absolutely nothing. I want to get somewhere before the landlord came by. May I go now?’

 

‘Do you really have to ask for my permission when I’m the one staying in your place?’ Tori couldn’t believe he just did that

 

************************

‘For goodness sake, I have no idea what you are talking about.’ Tobi sighed. His mum has started her drama once again. He thought she had already dropped the topic about girlfriends but why is she really bringing it up all of a sudden.

 

‘But a lady picked the call up this morning. I was talking to her when all of a sudden, the call got terminated I wasn’t able to reach her again.’ His mum said. ‘I thought you instructed her to hang up and switch the phone off as well.’

 

‘You know I don’t let anyone touch my phone. So why are you saying all these…’ She was probably talking about Tife’s phone. Oopsie!

 

‘I am talking about Tife’s phone. I called her number…’

 

I figured that out.

 

‘Oh…. That…’ He stammered.

 

‘You had better not lie. Just go ahead and tell me who she is….’ Tobi could tell his mum was probably smirking now.

 

‘Mum, it’s nothing like what you are thinking…’ Tobi wasn’t allowed to finish that before his mum interjected.

 

‘Or did you lose the pho….’

 

‘No… Of course not…. What are you even saying? Lose the phone? No. Absolutely not. you know I’m not careless…’ He could tell his mum was probably rolling her eyes at his last statement.

 

He was right.

 

She was seriously rolling her eyes.

 

‘Then tell me who the lady is…’

 

No lie was coming to his mind. He would rather tell his mum he lost phone or have her stick to the fact that he was keeping a girlfriend or…

 

‘The lady was Jo.’

 

Or that.

 

'Johanna??? She doesn't sound like her.' His mum paused for a while like she was reflecting on his statements. 'You are not fooling me. Why would Johanna even talk to me like I'm some stranger.... Why don't you just come out and tell me who she really is. I won't do anything.'

 

By I won’t do ANYTHING, Tobi knew she meant to say she would invite the girl in question to breakfast, lunch and dinner then introduce her to all her friends after which she would discuss the type of Aso-ebi that would be most suitable for his wedding and probably call a wedding planner and tell her to prepare for her son’s unfixed wedding and she would definitely use ‘my son’s getting married’ by anybody as her caller’s tune.

 

He knows his mum so well; he won’t risk that.

 

‘Mum. It was Jo. I have stuffs to do now, bye…’ He quickly said and hung up.

 

That was a close one. He heaved a sigh of relief then fetched himself a cup of water which he took a few sips before laying back on his bed and started pressing his phone. He opened his WhatsApp app and strolled through his contacts after replying the few important messages leaving the rest pending.

 

Bighead had been added to his Whatsapp contacts.

 

The more he looked at the name, the more he felt and knew he had acted a bit immature. He tapped on her profile icon to view her picture but she only had a meme as her display picture.

The picture had ‘when non medics say medical school is easy…’ And down the text was the picture of a lion, falling on his side, as he held a middle finger.

 

She was last seen yesterday.

 

He felt the need to call her and apologize for his attitude but something told him there is no need to. After summoning up courage, he finally called her and she picked up after a few rings.

 

‘Were you waiting so bad for me to call? You didn’t even let the phone ring…’ Before he could say another word, he realized she already hung up.

 

She really has no chill.

 

He dialed her number once again. She picked up after several rings this time. A smile crossed his lips.

 

‘Missed me?’ And the line was dead again.

 

So stubborn!

 

He called again and she didn’t pick up. Then he called again and the second time she did pick up.

 

‘Are you really going to do this all day?’ She was the one talking this time around.

 

‘Okay fine. I’m going to be serious this time around. I’m just calling to…’ He cleared his throat and he smirked at what he was about to say. ‘….. To let you know how mad I am that you didn’t call to apologize.’

 

OMG! I can’t believe I picked this call!’ The hissing that followed the statement, Tobi knew she was going to hang up and it was more than likely she wouldn’t pick up again.

 

‘Wait… Don’t hang up. I am sorry. I was in a bad mood yesterday and took it out all on you. I was a jerk and I am sorry and I promise it won’t happen again.’ He ‘rapped’ his apology rather too quickly that he closed his eyes. He hates apologizing!

 

The other end was so silent he thought she hung up but when he checked, she was still on.

 

‘Forgiven?’ He added

 

‘It’s alright. I accept your apology.’ She said after being mute for a while.

 

‘So… How did you get a hold of the phone?’ He was starting a conversation with a complete stranger? Yeah, He needs to get on her good side so that his lies to his mum won’t be figured out.

 

‘I thought we already talked about it. You forgot it in a cab and the driver thought it was mine. Before I knew it, I was with a lost phone my first time in Lagos.’

 

‘So, it is your first time in Lagos. Where are you from?’

 

‘Kwara. I stay with my grandma.’

 

I didn’t ask that.

 

‘Well, what are you doing here anyways? Searching for Job opportunities?’

 

‘Actually, I’m here for my internship. LUTH actually.’ She replied.

 

‘Wait a minute. Are you a medical student?’ Tobi asked.

 

‘Was.’ She replied after a second pause or so.

 

Great.

 

‘Oh… Right…’ Should he probably introduce her to Jo since it was her first time here in Lagos as a medical intern? And she would also be working in LUTH too.

 

‘Enough about me. What made you forget such an expensive phone in a cab? It was like you weren’t thinking straight.’ Tori started when the line was silent for too long.

 

‘Let’s just say I had something extra urgent to attend to.’ Tobi already said it before he realized Jo was more than worthy of being qualified with that adjective.

‘So, tell me, when is your internship starting?’ He added

 

‘In a couple a months or so.’ Tori replied.

 

‘I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m currently attending a 3-day medical conference which is totally not my thing. Today would be the second day as I wasn’t really present the first day because of something very great I had to do. Well, the thing is the topic itself has a lot of consonants in it that when I actually pronounce it, it sounded so much like a Wi-Fi password…’

 

‘So?’ Tori paused before asking that.

 

‘So, what I’m saying in essence is, I might have to call you tonight or text you and ask you for the meaning of some words so I won’t look like a dummy when I have to talk about it.’

 

‘The summary is you are indirectly asking me to help you.’ It was more like a question on Tori’s part.

 

‘I would rather call it being an interpreter to someone as great as me, isn’t that an honour?’

 

‘Are you always this cocky or you are on weed tonight? Call me back when you have something important to say.’ It was like she was going to hang up.

 

‘Wait…’

 

‘What?’

 

‘Should I stick with your name being Bighead or Miss lousy is more attractive?’

 

She hung up.

 

 

*******************

Save your advice

Cos I won’t hear

You might be right

But I don’t care

There’s a million reason why I should give you up

But the heart wants what it wants

-Selena Gomez (The heart wants what it wants)

*******************

 

5

 

‘What?’ Was the first thing she yawned out when she picked up after he had called and texted…

 

… And call and texted

 

…and called and texted endlessly practically pleading in his texts. He wanted to argue it out with her at first but why waste time about that? He would just go straight to the point.

 

‘What is a vasectomy?’ He asked.

 

Tobi was in the restroom after politely excusing himself from that lousy lady who Jo introduced to him earlier tonight. It was only the three of them on the table and the lady never had her mouth shut. Not for a minute. It’s not like Tobi really had any trouble with her being a talkative but why does she really have to involve him in a conversation that has anything to do with medical terms? He could tell she already assumed he was a doctor the way she was talking to him like a pro. Jo was there so all he really had to do was keep a sealed lip with a plastic fake smile and nodding whenever it looks like she wants him to agree to whatever it is she was saying.

 

Then Jo was invited to one of her superiors table and he was left with the lady. Alone.

 

All he wanted at that very moment was alien abduction.

 

‘My husband and I agreed he should have a vasectomy next week. I don’t know why I’m having second thoughts about it after we’ve both agreed he’d do that after our third child. Now our baby is five and we think now is the right time. I don’t know why I’m thinking this is a bad idea. But I’d like to ask you, as a guy, what do you think about vasectomy?’

 

That would have been easy to answer if he knows the meaning of the vasectomy thingy.

 

So that was how our dear Tobi took a trip to the restroom.

 

‘Has it never occurred to you I might be busy? Sleeping?’ Tori’s voice simply signifies frustration.

 

‘Well, sorry to disturb you about those unimportant things you were busy doing. Can you please help me out?’ He sighed depressingly.

 

‘You really have no shame when it comes to asking for help do you?’ Tori groaned.

 

‘Please?’ His tone was more of command than request.

 

‘Huh… Really? It’s late already.’ She moaned.

 

‘What is vasectomy?’

 

‘Seriously? You woke me up because of ‘that’? You must be kidding me. Can’t you consult Google? Huh?’ She suggested, her voice growing clearer than when she initially picked the call.

 

‘You think I haven’t tried that. The network here is completely out!’ He was snapping before it dawned on him.

 

‘Then, the dictionary on your phone at least?’ Another suggestion coming from her.

 

‘Seriously? Do I look or sound like someone who keeps such things? Huh? What’s the fuss about anyways, you are already awake? Just go ahead and answer!’ Tobi was getting impatient but he knew he had to play it cool with her.

 

‘It’s even one of the basics. Who doesn’t know what a vasectomy is?’ Tori rhetorically asked

 

‘This guy here. Let’s just assume I’m not of a fan of basics or whatever you call it.’ Tobi answered.

 

‘Fine. A vasectomy is a surgical division of all or part of the vas deferens….’

 

‘Vas difference? Really? Are you really going to do this to me right now? Just tell me you don’t want to answer.’

 

‘Deferens not difference…’

 

‘Who cares? Just put it in lay man English…’

 

‘It is an ‘operation’ that makes a man unable to produce sperm during sex thereby making it impossible for him to make a woman pregnant.’

 

‘Bye.’ He said as he ended his call hurriedly. He doesn’t want that lady thinking he’s got diarrhoea or something.

Confidently patting his suit and adjusting his tie, he walked back to the lady.

 

And after some minutes…

 

‘…so, I don’t really think it’s really a good idea. You guys shouldn’t make that mistake.’ Tobi finished his speech and he could hear some invisible applause.

 

‘Thanks so much. It was quite nice talking to someone about it. It would have been a shame if we really have to do it and forever regret it.’ She was quite impressed

 

 

‘Well, what do we have here? What were you guys discussing?’ Jo said as she sat back down. She had this inquisitive look in her eyes as she stared at the duo. Tobi could feel relief sweep over him and at the same he felt so proud of himself.

 

‘Doctor Tobi and I had to talk about vasectomy.’

 

‘Doctor Tobi?’ Jo was quite surprised at first then a soft smile crossed her lips. ‘Interesting. I never knew you had interest in those kinds of things.’ That was meant for him.

 

‘I actually don’t like boasting.’ Tobi said smiling back at her.

 

If that’s not boasting. I don’t know what is.

 

‘Well, ‘Doctor,’ Jo had a strong emphasis on the ‘doctor’. ‘Would you marry someone with an oesophagus?’ She asked, as the edge of her lips was raised, musing as she awaited his reply.

 

There was no way he could escape to the restroom this time. He was trapped and he just had to gamble his answer through.

 

‘Actually, having an oesophagus is not the end of the world. Although it’s a rare case and people with oesophagus tend to give up on life easily. Some even go ahead to commit suicide because they think no one will marry them. If the oesophagus is in the early stage, I can still….’

 

The shrill laughter both ladies gave told him he had said something completely wrong. Something very wrong and they were so mocking him.

 

His escape route was the restroom even though his excuse request wasn’t granted because both ladies were busy laughing, he went to the restroom anyway.

 

Tori had to do the face palm thing. Her face completely buried in her palm in utter disbelief. Is he really human? He obviously didn’t go through primary school. She had nothing to offer but embarrassment at his ‘oesophagus story’

 

‘Did you really tell them all that?’ She asked to be sure she heard right.

 

‘Yeah. I said something wrong right?’ He really didn’t want to hear the affirmative as her reply.

 

‘Something so wrong nothing in this world has ever been wrong before! Something so unbelievable too. Seriously? How did you make it through primary school?’

 

‘You can’t blame me. It sounded so much like a disease I thought it had something to do with cancer. So are you going to tell me the meaning now?’ He was being defensive again.

 

‘No. Download a dictionary and see the meaning yourself.’ And she hung up.

 

How is he possibly going to face Jo and her friend?

 

*****************************

…You take each and every day

Make it special in some way

I love you more than the words in my brain can express

I can’t imagine even loving you less…

Jaime Grace (Hold Me)

******************************

6

 

Tori smiled as she read the message Tobi sent to her.

 

OMG! I really want to die. I just downloaded a dictionary and what I need right now is you giving me options of various painless way to commit suicide.’

 

Is he really this pathetic? Everything about his science life sucks. Tori thought for a while then typed her reply.

 

‘Jumping from a twenty-five story isn’t that bad. According to researches, you should have blacked out before you hit the ground practically feeling no pain when you finally do then straight to heaven my dear.’

 

She waited patiently for his reply which came in a few seconds later.

 

‘I should have known you never liked me!’ She couldn’t help but giggle at his reply.

 

Oh dear! She was really exhausted. She was sitting on one of the concrete slab in front of Richard’s gate and her butt aches so badly. She had been waiting for something close to half an hour now for Richard.

 

His gate was locked when she got to his place this afternoon and she just decided to wait for a while. There was no better choice especially when the realization that James’ landlord might come packing her things out any minute now that James already left is kind of staring right at her in her face…

 

Oh, I forgot to mention. James left for PH this morning after he received a call from his brother. Tori helped him with his stuffs to the park and from there she had come to Richard’s place. That was where the exhaustion came from.

 

She was bored and chatting with Tobi lifted the boredom. His ego and lifestyle is complete humour itself.

 

She was giving up on waiting when she saw the Range Rover she saw the other day approached. She stood up in reflex. She could hear her heart thumped nervously. Where did the nervousness come from? When did she start becoming nervous when she sees Richard? This was so unlike her.

 

The Range Rover pulled over a few metres away from her. She wondered why he had to park so far away. She watched as Richard jumped down from the car and came to her.

 

‘What are you doing here?’ He snapped and it sounded so much like he was in haste.

 

‘What do you mean by what am I doing here? You asked me to come. Remember?’ Tori spread her arms wide to show disbelief. She couldn’t believe she was replying his question.

 

‘Yeah I did. But I told you to call!’ Why was he speaking so hurriedly? And also in a hushed voice? That thing in his eyes scared her. It was as though he was frightened.

Was coming to his place really this bad an idea?

 

Tori didn’t know why he was giving her attitude and the ‘i-don’t-get-this’ expression was visibly readable on her face. Richard seemed to pick her countenance.

 

‘Listen, Tori. There are so many things we need to talk about. I am so sorry Tori but…’ He seemed frightened and he glanced towards the car and Tori could see the horror as he continued staring in that direction. Tori followed his gaze and she saw exactly what he was staring at.

 

She saw a lady climb down from the Range Rover obviously from the passenger’s seat. She was heavily pregnant and she took careful strides towards them.

 

Her brain did some calculations and she prayed what she was thinking remained only her imagination.

 

‘…. I am married. And my wife is having a baby. Our first baby. We are having problems regarding the pregnancy so we kept visiting and revisiting the hospital. I know I messed up and should have told you earlier on. I’m a jerk. But she is the only thing going right in my life right now and I don’t want to mess things up with her too. I just…’

 

Tori was lost in her thought. All he said after then went through the back of her ear. All she could do now was have her eyes fixed on the pregnant lady who was now right in front of her.

 

‘Honey, what’s going on here?’ The lady asked a worried look on her face as she put her hands on Richard’s shoulder for support. The way she talked and walked showed how much pains she was feeling at that very moment. Tori knew she should be angry but all she felt for this lady was just compassion.

 

‘It’s just … Huh… This is Tori… She used to be a Unilorite as well…. Tori this is my wife…’

 

Tori felt numb. She was so lost she didn’t see the lady’s outstretched hand or she probably saw it and just ignored it without knowing. With the shocked expression still on her face, she walked slowly away from both of them and away from reality. Towards the direction she came from.

 

She couldn’t cry. She doesn’t know why but tears just refuse to come. Were you not supposed to cry when you are heartbroken? Why wasn’t she crying?

 

Well, maybe the reason she wasn’t able to cry was because ‘this’ was expected.

 

Maybe because she knew it was over the moment he stopped calling.

 

Maybe because she had been having this feeling something was wrong somewhere.

 

 

But why does her heart ache so bad? Why does it hurt so bad she wanted to let it all out and cry her eyes sour? But bravely, she held it all in.

 

It was all in until she got to her room safely then her strength to hold it in slacked and she just had to let it all out.

 

She cried. She wept so bad she hated herself. Hated the fact that she cried over something she knew was bound to happen. She was supposed to be strong. She had vowed to be strong. Strong for her grandma and never let her weakness show.

 

But here she was, breaking her vows.

 

***********************

 

‘Hello, Uncle.’ Tobi mumbled into the phone.

 

‘You’d be representing… Err…Wright Wears at the meeting in Abuja tomorrow.’ The way he stammered the statement through made Tobi conclude he was obviously drunk.

 

Tobi scoffed. Was his uncle dumb or something?

 

‘What meeting? And wait a minute, have you forgotten you suspended me indefinitely? It so happens I’m kind of enjoying my suspension so much I don’t want to take a break from it.’ Tobi replied. He was simply pissed.

 

He wasn’t even REALLY his uncle. Why does he think he could order him around anyhow?

 

You are probably wondering who Uncle Soji is. Right?

 

Okay. If you are confused, I’ll do some explanation.

 

Uncle Soji was Tobi’s Step Uncle (if there’s anything like that). By step uncle, I mean his mum’s stepbrother and his grandpa’s stepson. When his grandma died, his grandpa remarried. He married a widow who already had a son and that son turned out to be Uncle Soji.

 

Now, when his grandpa died, he had willed his company, Wright Wears to Tobi but he clearly states that Soji should manage the company until Tobi becomes thirty.

 

Tobi would agree his grandpa never made any mistake as grave as asking his uncle to manage the company. It was the gravest of the grave.

 

But to be candid, his Uncle was completely useless. He had no managing skills and all he cared about and spent his money on is alcohol and girls.

 

Tobi had always been in charge whenever he drinks and flirts away. But being someone who dislikes anybody who go against his opinions and Tobi being someone who wasn’t a fan of his uncle’s opinions, the duos were always at each other’s neck and the best and only thing Uncle Soji does whenever they had an argument is to ‘indefinitely suspend him’ from work. Knowing how enthusiastic Tobi is about his grandpa’s company, which was the best he could do as punishment for going against him.

 

For the past two weeks, Tobi had been suspended from work. Well, it wasn’t quite a surprise that his uncle called. Something he always does whenever he wants him to come back to work. This happens whenever there is something nobody else could handle but him in the company.

 

‘Perhaps you want us to lose this John Grey’s contract. You should be thinking about the company and not our rift. Your mum told me you are currently in Abuja so, I would send Kike to you with the necessary documents and everything else you need. She should be on her way now. The meeting is by 10:00am’

 

‘Do you even realize what you are asking me to do? Go for a meeting without being prepared? I am supposed to attend a meeting tomorrow and you are sending the necessary documents today? It’s 3:46pm already! Does that make sense to even you?’

 

‘You should stop whining and just do it. It’s not like it’s my father’s company.’ With that he hung up.

 

Tobi couldn’t help but scoff. He was just so annoyed this dumb thing was actually his uncle.

 

Tobi forgot about his uncle immediately he picked up his phone. He had called that girl with the iPhone and also sent her messages but he got no reply on both. He was trying to send her a message telling her that he would be in Lagos the next day when his uncle’s call came in. Now he wasn’t so sure if he would be able to make it again since there’s a meeting. But why isn’t she picking up anyway? He had called her for like 10 times already.

 

He dialed her number again.

 

‘Hello.’ She sounded low.

 

‘Why haven’t you been picking your calls? Were you expecting me to call earlier?’ He said stirring himself up for some tongue lashing conversation between the two of them.

 

‘I am really not in the mood to talk.’ Her voice was still as low as ever and she sounded depressed.

 

‘What is wrong with you? I was only gone for a few hours and you already missed me this much.’ He knew she was probably playing games

 

‘I’m not in the…’ Her voice was still the same

 

‘Cut the crap…’

 

‘I’m being serious!’ Did she really just scream at him? He wasn’t expecting it.

 

‘I’m in no mood to talk to you or anybody right now! Does one really have to spell it out to you before you understand? I just want to be alone right now….’ She terminated the call but Tobi could hear how near to tears she was. She must have been crying cos she kept sniffing too.

 

But whatever she must have been going through, doesn’t really give her the right to transfer aggression.

 

Tobi lay on his back. Why was she even crying? They already talked this afternoon and there was no sign of her being sad. After several minutes of deliberating, Tobi finally sent her a text.

 

‘Do you want to talk about it?’

 

And he waited all day for her reply which didn’t come through.

 

Kike came in with the documents later in the night. He studied and planned and that actually was an excuse for not being able to make it to the dinner with Jo. Surprisingly, he was glad he couldn’t make it there. He doesn’t know how he was going to show his face to Jo and her friend if he ever has to be there anyway.

 

It was somewhere around midnight when he was planning to sleep that his phone beeped. It was a text.

 

‘I want to talk about it’.

 

You know who that came from.

 

 

 

************************

I used to know love

Now when they ask me,

I just reply slow,

And sound like an iPhone,

I do not know love; I am a robot.

I used to know love

Cos I had a fire

Passion and desire

Now all I require

Are circuits and wires

Jon Bellion (iRobot)

*****************************

 

7

 

Tori woke up with a banging headache. She checked the time on her phone still lying down. It was 11:47am. She never realized she could wake up this late but it was expected since she slept around 4:30am and had to wake up something between 5:30-6:00 because of that dream she had.

 

She tried to rise but her head hurts so bad she felt it splitting in her palms as she held it gingerly. She walked to the bathroom and ran water over head from the tap. While the water cooled her brain, she busied herself with her thoughts.

 

What was the reason she had that weird dream again? It had been fifteen years since she had the exact dream and she remembered how frightened she was. She was so scared she clung to her grandmother all through the night.

 

It was still so fresh in her memory because she had never had a dream as scary as that before. But what really made the dream super weird was she was having it again. The exact way she did the first time. And it had scared her like it did the first time too.

 

Is there really any meaning attached to it?

 

She turned off the tap after washing her face and staggered back to her room.

 

Great! The water only succeeded in making her feel cold cos her headache seemed to have worsened. She must have cried so hard yesterday.

 

There was simply no other explanation for this…. headache.

 

She sat on her bed and threw her head backwards gently placing it on the wall behind her, eyes closed. She thought of the dream again and she knew she needed to place a call to her grandmother.

 

‘Grandmother, I had that dream again.’ Tori narrated the dream to her grandma while she held her head like that would save it from the excruciating headache.

All her grandmother did was give a deep sigh.

 

‘Listen carefully to me Toriola. We have to talk. When do you think I should come to Lagos?’

 

‘Right now, things aren’t going exactly as planned. My accommodation is not even certain. It is as bad as that. Once I secure a place here, I’d come get you myself. Whatever you have to say, can’t you say it right now?’

 

‘What I want to tell is not something that could or should be discussed on phone. Or why don’t you just come home instead?’

 

‘Grandmother, it’s not that easy…’

 

‘It would just be a day… ‘

 

‘I’d let you know when I should be coming but the truth is I don’t think it’s anytime soon.’

 

‘It’s like you are not curious about your dream.’

 

‘I think that could wait till whenever I’m ready. Alright. Goodbye. I love you.’ she made a kissing sound then hung up.

 

She knew her grandmother was going to ask her to come home in order to give her dream various superstitious meaning. She wasn’t going to let that happen. It’s not like the dream is meaningful anyway. It looks senseless if she views it from a different point.

 

How could she push herself in a ditch? It made no sense to her.

 

Or maybe that’s what she wants herself to believe. But no matter how hard she tried to convince herself her dream was pointless, a part of her knew there was something to it.

 

Something she doesn’t want to know.

 

Events that happened the other day kept coming to her. Firstly, it was Richard, then she remembered she told Tobi everything about her relationship.

 

Her ex-relationship with Richard to be precise.

 

Well, so far so good. She wouldn’t have to think about their relationship anymore. She wouldn’t have to constantly brood on whether they are still together or not.

 

It hurts her. Yes, but she was just going to brace herself up and smile at her worst nightmare. There are some people she has to be strong for and Richard is not really worth her tears.

 

Even though she felt a lot relieved when she told him, even though she felt like a newborn baby when she was done talking to him, something still felt so wrong.

 

The Tobi guy was just a stranger a few days ago!

 

She hasn’t even seen him!

 

How could she have let her guard down so easily!

 

She felt so much like a weakling.

 

She prays he doesn’t see her as one.

 

She picked up her phone and messages popped up upon opening it. They were all from Tobi.

 

‘Wakey sleepy head. I hope you are done crying now. I have absolutely no tissue to offer you if you aren’t. I would have loved to but I used a whole roll myself after downloading the dictionary.’

 

Typical Tobi. A smile crossed her lips.

 

She tapped on the second message.

 

‘Just a little humor to cheer you up.’

 

Then she proceeded to the next one,

 

‘You shouldn’t let anyone make you feel like that ever again and to cheer you up even more I’ll be changing your name (which is actually a honour and you should be applauding right now) from Miss Lousy back to Bighead.’

 

Really? When is this dude growing up?

 

Then to the next.

 

‘Good news! My mum already found out I lost the phone. She succeeded in squeezing it out of me and now, since there’s little or no assurance I’d be in Lagos today and Tife (My sis if you must know) seems to have convinced my mum she’ll be needing her phone for one made-up assignment, you would be meeting my mum and you’d be giving her the phone.’

 

Then the next.

 

‘I know the good news in the previous text is actually a bad one for you (cos you’ve never met someone as great as me before and the only chance you have is slipping off your fingers sooner than you expected). I’d be saying my goodbyes now.

I’ve got a meeting to attend.’

 

Then the next.

 

‘My mum’s phone number and address….’

 

She smiled after reading all his texts but she really didn’t feel good about it all. She knows it should be good news for her too. She wouldn’t have to worry about the phone getting stolen or something.

 

But she can’t help thinking….

 

Were they still going to talk after giving the phone back?

 

Would he probably still send her his annoying and pretty funny texts?

 

Would he still call her to ask for the meaning of another word… Probably… Probably lungs?

 

She couldn’t help thinking ‘No’ could be the answer to all the questions she just asked herself.

 

 

*************************

The colossal view was definitely breathtaking. If this is really Tobi’s place, then his parents must be filthy rich. Tori took careful steps towards the house. The gate was opened so all she had to do was step in.

 

Her phone had gone off. It went off after giving his mum a call that she was on her way. If the address hadn’t been easy to locate, she’d probably be lost now.

 

It was getting late already. It was a few minutes to six and she would have been here in the afternoon if that terrible headache hadn’t made her have another round of sleep. She felt much better after waking up though.

 

The door to the building was wide open but Tori still knocked anyway. It would be impolite to step inside someone’s house without knocking.

 

A stuffy ‘come in’ amidst coughs was what she got as reply.

 

One step inside, and she was taken aback by the thick and blinding smoke that was emanating from somewhere she guessed must be the kitchen. That was where the ‘come in’ came from too.

 

She doesn’t really need to be told something got burnt. The smoke and the smell has said it all.

 

She got choked by the smoke and a minute later was spent coughing and gasping in a whole lot of smoke all over again.

 

The amazing thing was she wasn’t the only one coughing. The person in the kitchen was too.

 

Tori knew better than to go out and just leave. She knows the person in the kitchen needs help.

 

She coughed her way into the kitchen, rarely finding her way through the enormous smoke.

First step in the kitchen and her eyes widened at the first sight that welcomed tithe frypan on the gas cooker was on fire!

 

Like fire was actually dancing inside the frying pan and the lady in the kitchen was just coughing her intestine out.

 

Who does that?

 

Tori stepped forward without thinking, picking a rag from the floor she took the frying pan off the fire onto the tiled floor then she off the gas cooker after which she emptied a bucket of water on the burning frying pan putting the fire out in the process.

 

As she panted like she just ran a race, she coughed too.

 

The next minute, the duo was standing outside.

 

Tori could tell she looked like crap. Her eyes must have reddened so badly now. She was amazed the other lady looked quite fine despite the hazard she exposed herself to in the kitchen.

 

If this was Tobi’s mum. She looked too young from what she was expecting.

 

‘I’m thinking you are the lady Tobi said has the phone.’ The lady coughing slightly.

 

‘Yeah.’ Tori replied holding her knees with her palms while she crouched

 

‘Well, I’m Tobi’s mom and it’s a shame you have to discover I suck at cooking the first time we are meeting.’

 

I know right?

 

‘Thanks for what you did in there. You are so brave. I wish I could approach a burning fry pan like you did.’ She added

 

Tori only nodded her ‘you are welcome.’

 

‘It was ‘a fried egg go wrong’. I already had the eggs in the fry pan and it was cooking quite fine, I was going to add groundnut oil when that frying pan just went up on fire.’

 

Seriously? Eggs in frying pan before the groundnut oil?

She had never met a family so odd in her life.

 

‘I was going to impress Tobi. There is this big thing I have to tell him and I was thinking cooking for him would put him in a good mood. I never knew I shouldn’t have tried it. Just like I didn’t do in the years that I’ve passed…’ She said the last statement quickly but Tori heard without straining.

 

‘Do you mean Tobi is coming back today?’

 

‘Yeah, he called some minutes ago that he was already on his way. His sister went to wait for him at the airport. You didn’t know?’

 

Fantastic! Her phone is dead!

 

‘Well, I should get going now. I think it’s about to rain and I’d just drop the phone with you.’ She stood upright and unstrapped the small bag she had slanted across her chest to her side then produced the phone from inside the bag.

 

‘Ermmm…’ Tobi’s mum said as she collected the phone from her. ‘You know how to cook, right?’

 

Tori prayed it’s not what she was thinking.

 

‘You won’t mind helping me in the kitchen before you go? Please.’ Her lips sadly slid downward which reminded her so much of the n lipped emoji

 

Or did she just imagine she gave her that face?

 

Now she knows whose gene Tobi got all ‘THAT’ from.

 

 

**************************

If the darkness falls

And my angel calls

In my despair

Will you be there?

 

In the darkest night

When I need your light

Will you show me the way?

 

If my time runs out

And the sky falls down

Despite my fear

Will you appear

 

If the world goes blind

And I lose my mind

Will you show you me the way?

Owl City- (Wolf Bite)

*******************************

8

 

Tobi stepped down from the driver’s seat and stretched his whole length. Why would his mum send Tife to come and get him at the airport? Knowing how great his mum’s phobia his when it comes to Tife driving, he couldn’t help thinking is mum was up to something and she needed to get rid of Tife to achieve that thing. Driving was the easiest way to get rid of that girl.

 

She could go haywire when it comes to driving.

 

She was sixteen. An underage yet too enthusiastic about driving that he sometimes risked letting her driving despite his mum’s protest.

Although she was pretty good, she was never allowed to drive alone.

 

‘You should have let me drive back home.’ Tife moaned as she slammed the car door. The sky was

 

‘I can’t let you do it. It was too risky.’ Tobi said closing the car door. And pressing a button on the key to unlock the trunk. He went to the back to get his bag then pressed another button to lock the car.

 

‘I was doing just fine driving the car to the airport. You and mum just don’t want me to grow up. I’ve got the height and there won’t be any problem if I happen to run into any road official.’

 

‘You’ve got the height but not the face. Now, let’s go find out why mum let you drive without you even asking.’

 

‘It’s weird she did right? But I couldn’t question her. Was scared she might just her mind so I just gripped the key and fled out. You know how she always is sometimes. One minute she is agreeing with something and the next minute she is completely against it.’

 

Tobi and Tife moved towards the door but the two stopped abruptly sniffing the air at the same time.

 

‘Are you thinking what I’m thinking?’ Tobi said still sniffing the air.

 

‘Yeah. Mum is cooking and we need to escape. Let’s go somewhere and eat then come back when it’s so very late.’ Tife said taking two steps backward.

 

‘We already told her we are here. She must have heard the car pull inside the compound so there is no way we’re escaping. We’d be going in now and force our bowels to endure the torture.’ Tobi squeezing his face in terror.

 

‘Oh dear. I’m so sorry but you’d have to bear this with me.’ Tife said patting her stomach lightly.

 

Tobi pulled the door handle and stepped inside the large sitting room with Tife following closely behind with that terrified expression still hanging on her face.

 

‘Mum!’ He announced as he moved to the centre of the sitting room. He stopped when he saw someone head bowed while sipping some coloured drink from a small tumbler but looking a bit tensed up on one of the posh couches irrespective of how calm she tried to look.

 

There was only one person who came to his mind.

 

Bighead!

 

Tobi

 

‘Wow, see who we have here!’ Tobi exclaimed holding his hip with both hands dramatically. He went ahead to sit just beside her.

 

‘Why are you so quiet? You should at least show a bit of yourself. Let your big mouth do the trick.’

 

Tori dropped the tumbler on the table before her then turned to face him. The stupid, childish smile on his face made her twist her mouth in some sort of ‘are you for real expression?’

 

‘Can’t you just pretend you weren’t some wild animal who escaped from the zoo? You will be doing yourself and a lot of people around you a whole lot of good.’

 

‘That’s more like it. I knew you were holding in the beast but thanks for unleashing that devil of a mouth.’ Tobi said still smiling. He stood up then asked,

 

‘But you already dropped the phone, shouldn’t you be going already?’

 

‘You mum asked me to stay for dinner and it would be pretty rude ignoring an elderly person you know…’

 

‘Mum!’ Tobi called as he skipped to the kitchen. His mum was holding a set of plates as she went past him. Tobi followed her from the kitchen through the sitting room to the dining room.

 

‘You shouldn’t be inviting anybody to dinner!’ He whispered extending his cilliary muscles in order to show his emphasis.

 

‘And why not?’ She replied not looking at him as she placed the plates in front of each chairs on the dining table.

 

Why not? Cos even your kids endure what you are cooking!

 

That was what he had in mind but he was never going to hurt her feelings.

 

‘I know what you are thinking. My cooking is so bad and I’d be embarrassing you if she tastes the food because you have obviously created a good impression on her and I’d be ruining that for you right?’ She said as she sped off to the kitchen once again and Tobi tagged along like a puppy.

 

That’s it!

But he won’t call it ‘good impressions’ though.

 

‘Not to worry. Today’s meal will certainly be different.’

 

Every meal you’ve cooked had always been different from any normal dish in the world. If part or all of it is not burnt, different ingredients would stay on different parts of the plate.

 

If that’s not different then nothing else is.

 

‘By different, I mean it would be unique.’ She added. It was like she was a psychic!

 

Tobi threw his head back in distress.

 

Tife came inside the kitchen to join them.

 

‘By the look of things, she was the lady with my phone all this while right?’ She asked as she drained some water into a cup from the dispenser then gulped everything down.

 

‘She already gave me the phone; you don’t have to worry.’ Her mum replied.

 

‘She told me. We’re getting to know each other already. Mum, she is a medical doctor and she’s doing her internship already!’ She seemed elated.

 

‘Well, pass your JAMB this year and you’d be doing your internship in no time.’

 

‘Do you really have to bring that up now?’ She seemed offended.

 

‘What’s the big deal about being a medical doctor? besides Jo is a doctor too.’ Tobi quickly joined in.

 

‘Yeah. But we only don’t really talk. I can’t talk to her because even you are all shaky when you are around her it completely gives me the creeps.’ Tife said. ‘But mum, what happened to the frying pan?’ She asking pointing at the charcoal-black frying pan on the hotplate with the hand that held the empty cup.

 

‘A little kitchen accident.’ Her mum quickly answered.

 

‘The more reason why I’m not having dinner in this house’ Tife mumbled under her breath but they all heard anyway. ‘That reminds me, I’d be having dinner at Anita’s place tonight.’

 

As if the rain heard what she said, thunder claps and lightening flashed and then rain started. Lightly at first then aggressively later.

 

‘Oopsie! Looks like someone can’t make it to Anita’s tonight. Now take these cups to the dining table.’ Her mum commanded while Tife frowned and her mum had this triumphant smile on her lips.

 

One thing is cooking the food; another thing is getting her kids to eat it.

 

At the dining table,

 

‘Amazingly, the meal smells nice.’ Tobi said after sniffing the rice on his plate five minutes after dinner had been served. He dreaded putting it in his mouth. Someone else shared his thoughts.

Tife.

 

‘And looks nice too.’ Tife added looking at the food temptingly. Those two have never used nice words for their mum’s meal before with sincerity.

 

This was like the first time.

 

His mum and Bighead were halfway into their foods already and as much as he looked at Bighead to see any hidden complaint, he saw none.

 

He can’t trust those two. They were probably tricking him into eating.

 

 

His mum was eating because she cooked it and Bighead was trying to be nice and modest. Being a stranger she wanted to create a good impression but whichever way it is, she was doing quite a good at pretending.

 

After hesitating, he struggled to taste the food.

 

‘Wow,’ He said his mouth full after having one spoon and was going for the other one. ‘Amazingly, it tastes great.’

 

Tife knowing her brother wasn’t faking it, also tried her luck.

 

‘Mum, this is so nice. What is the magic?’ Tife asked taking another spoon too.

 

‘I had been secretly attending cooking lessons.’ Their mum seemed to be blushing with pride.

 

‘Your teachers must be magicians then.’ Tife said giving her thumbs up with a mouth full.

 

The table was silent except for sound the rain made with the roof and the clanging of spoons with plate as they all busied themselves with the meal.

 

‘I want to tell you something.’ Their mum said breaking the silence.

 

‘What is it?’ Tobi asked focusing on his food.

 

‘Your dad and I are back together.’

That statement took the kids by surprise as they directed their gaze to her with stuffed cheeks. Their mom felt like she could shrink under the intense stares.

 

‘Can we not talk about that man while we are eating and when it’s not just ‘us’ here?’ Tobi placed emphasis on the ‘us’ as he glanced at Tori who pretended she was more concerned about her food. His expression showed he was more than angry.

 

The atmosphere was so tense Tori felt awkward.

 

‘I just think you guys sh…’ Their mum tried to say but Tobi flared up, cutting her statement.

 

‘Goodness! I just lost my appetite!’ He stood up carrying his plate to the kitchen. His mum followed empty handed and Tife also joined them after smiling nervously at her Tori.

 

Tori sat down listening to their arguments. Tobi was raising his voice and his mum was trying to calm him down in whispers.

 

Tori had never been lost on what to do before.

 

It’s a dinner gone bad.

 

 

************************************

Cos if I want you

And I want you babe

Ain’t going backwards

Won’t ask for space

Cos space was just a word made up by someone who’s afraid to get too

Close…

 

Nick Jonas (Close)

***********************************

 

9

 

It was pretty awkward being amidst a family when they were having a fight. Tori couldn’t even concentrate on the soap opera on the TV because of the tenseness in the room. Everybody in the sitting room has a couch to him/herself with different thoughts on each mind and their eyes sternly fixed to the screen of the big flat screen TV.

 

She had been so bored that she had completely surveyed the sitting room like ten times and when she realized there was nothing new to see, she had had her gaze fixed on the TV screen.

 

Tori glanced at Tobi at intervals and not once did he relax the frown masking is face a bit. Whatever his mum had said really put him in a bad shape. Tori couldn’t help wondering what his dad had to do that the mentioning of his name stirs so much anger.

 

His mum had this ‘I shouldn’t have told him’ look on her face. Weirdly, Tori used the opportunity to assess his mum’s feature. She was pretty young to be Tobi’s mum. In looks, she could easily pass for his elder sister. With her petite and miniature stature nobody would argue with her if she claims someone in her early thirties.

 

At what age did she even have Tobi?

 

And sitting quietly directly opposite Tobi was Tife. Tori could see the confusion in her eyes. It was obvious she had no idea what was going on between her mum and her brother. She seemed rather lost.

 

Tori could sense their wish in the atmosphere. The only wish those three had going through their minds that rhymed was for her to leave.

 

Of course, she would be glad to leave. She was actually the one tormented by the silence. She was the one who was most uncomfortable in this situation but there was nothing she could do. The rain has refused to stop and she had to sit with her buttocks glued to the seat and watch her host-family give one another the silent treatment.

 

The worst part of it was, she had something stuck in her throat and she couldn’t even cough it out because she thought she was going to draw unnecessary attention to herself and that would be very bad. So all she did was swallow the saliva to avoid coughing.

She raised her gaze to the big wall clock on the wall and the time read 8:45

 

‘It’s getting late already. You should get going.’ Tobi said rising. Tori could sense the urgency in his voice and she just stood up without saying anything about the rain which seemed to have become more aggressive. She stood up like a wooden toy that just had its strings pulled.

 

‘But it’s still raining…’ His mum protested.

 

‘I know.’ He half shouted. ‘That’s why I’m going to drive her home.’ He closed his eyes as he tried to control his anger. Grabbing the car key on the centre table, he walked out with Tori trotting silently behind him. Tori said her goodbyes to the females in the house who in turn reply her with faked smiles after which Tife rose and followed them. She went straight to opening the gate and she waited to close it after they were gone.

 

The first thing Tori did was cough when she got outside then let her lungs inhale a whole amount of moist oxygen. Rain fell on her nose and trickled down her chin in the process. Tobi was already inside the car by the time she was done. Noticing this, she ran to sit on the passenger’s seat beside him. She didn’t want to aggravate his anger.

 

Tori waved at Tife as they went past her through the gate. She looked back to see her close the gate. It was a better view compared to this stone cold guy sitting beside her.

 

‘You didn’t even ask where I was staying.’ Tori tried to start a conversation.

 

‘Where are you staying?’ He concentrated on the road as he asked rather too straightforward.

***

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Silent Seduction

'Seriously? You woke me up because of 'that'? You must be kidding me. Can't you consult Google? Huh?' She suggested, her voice growing clearer than when she initially picked the call. 'You think I haven't tried that. The network here is completely out!' He was snapping before it dawned on him. 'Then, the dictionary on your phone at least?' Another suggestion coming from her. 'Seriously? Do I look or sound like someone who keeps such things? Huh? What's the fuss about anyways, you are already awake? Just go ahead and answer!' Tobi was getting impatient but he knew he had to play it cool with her. 'It's even one of the basics. Who doesn't know what a vasectomy is?' Tori rhetorically asked 'This guy here. Let's just assume I'm not of a fan of basics or whatever you call it.' Tobi answered. 'Fine. A vasectomy is a surgical division of all or part of the vas deferens....' 'Vas difference? Really? Are you really going to do this to me right now? Just tell me you don't want to answer.' 'Deferens not difference...' 'Who cares? Just put it in lay man English...' 'It is an 'operation' that makes a man unable to produce sperm during sex thereby making it impossible for him to make a woman pregnant.'

  • ISBN: 9781370721108
  • Author: Omoshalewa Abdullahi
  • Published: 2017-06-12 14:20:11
  • Words: 85037
Silent Seduction Silent Seduction