Saving Dapo V
Read Episode I here
Read Episode II here
Read Episode III here
Read Episode IV here
No o. Dapo wasn’t shocked, not in the slightest. Yemisi was crazy; he knew.
But he hadn’t seen that coming.
“What?” he said, staring at his closest friend like she was naked. He had not seen her naked before.
She smiled. “Hear me out. I know how it must sound to you – but let me have my day in court before you shut me down, okay?
“We’ve been friends forever, and allow me brag and say I’m the closest thing to a soul-mate you have – if there’s such a thing. That’s one.
“Two; I want to be right there with you – more than you’ve allowed me be in the past. I want to mean more to you.
“Three; you’ve been single for too long; and I’m not talking about those half-hearted attempt at relationships. I’m talking about how long it’s been since you allowed someone into that – that sore heart of yours. The last girl was that one you met on Facebook….what’s her name again?”
“Diana,” Dapo replied mechanically.
“Yes, her. And how long were you together for?”
“You’ve made your point,” Dapo said, allowing a tinge of irritation creep into his voice. Yemisi chuckled – and then retained her serious mien.
“So I’m saying – go out with me. Let’s date each other for a while – see if two lonely hurting people can find with each other what they can’t with the rest of the world.”
“What if it doesn’t work?” Dapo interjected. “Are you willing to throw this away for something unknown – something that might be the worst thing ever? We’re not young anymore, you know. The time for trial by error is long past –“
“I can’t believe this. Are you trying to ‘friend-zone’ me?” Yemisi cut in, mouth and eyes wider open than usual.
“That’s our line, Dapo,” she said before starting to speak with an irritating whine, “I’m hurt and disappointed! We’ve been friends for years – you’re like my brother!” She stuck her tongue out at him. “That’s so old!”
Dapo said nothing.
Yemisi threw her head slightly towards the left, indicating something over her shoulder. Dapo’s eyes followed the movement and saw a girl watching him. As she caught his glance, she looked away, crimson creeping up her light-skinned neck and down her cleavage – what the white off-shoulder blouse allowed him see of it anyway. Her hair was done in a Brazilian weave, throwing the planes of her make-up bare face in sharp relief. He turned back to Yemisi.
“Your point is…?” he asked.
“If you were here by yourself and you noticed her staring, you’d have walked over to ask why abi?”
“Anyone would na,” Dapo retorted.
“But there’s no guarantee – none that she would answer you, is there?”
Dapo looked at his friend. “You’re annoying,” he said fondly.
“I know. Isn’t it cool? Look, you would have anyway. So what were the chances that it would have worked with any of the other two-and-a-half million women you’ve tried with?”
Yemisi chuckled as Dapo jumped. “You didn’t know how it was going to work out and yet you went ahead to make it happen. I’m saying we have a higher – way higher ratio of succeeding.”
Dapo clasped his hands together to hide their trembling. “You don’t know what you’re saying. This has more consequences than any other relationship I’ve been in. If it does not work, we can’t just walk away –“
“Says who? How many fights have we had over the past years? How many times have we walked away – only to call each other first thing the following day?”
“Okay,” Dapo muttered, “I want to know sha – what’s in it for you?” He looked at Yemisi with curiosity and some suspicion.
“As much as I’d like to say I’m doing this out of the goodness in my heart I’m really being selfish. There’s the fact that I’m lonely and it has been a while since I had someone to call mine, someone to be mushy and cuddly with,” she paused and then rushed on as though embarrassed. “Someone who makes it okay to be vulnerable. There’s the fact that you’re a great guy with a lot to offer any woman and I’ll be damned if I don’t want some of that, and then there’s also the fact that my mother is in my house right now, refusing to leave until I bring a man home.”
Yemisi covered her face.
Unrestrained laughter burst from Dapo’s guts, startling the other people. This has to be the craziest thing ever, he thought. But what am I afraid of? She’s kidding, I’m sure.
A look at the scared but determined face in front of him put paid to that assumption.
“Are you serious?” Dapo asked. Yemisi nodded enthusiastically.
Dapo drummed his fingers on the table. “Do you remember The Proposal? That movie with Sandra Bullock and Ryan…one-thing like that?”
“Ryan Reynolds. Sure I remember. And you’ve started again o, using movies to illustrate what you can just say,” she said, biting her lip.
“Calm down. Do you remember what Ryan asked Sandra to do after she blackmailed him?”
Yemisi remembered. “Uh oh,” she said half-aloud.
Dapo nodded, teeth flashing. “Uh huh. I mean, how far would you go to have some…” He stopped, stunned as she stood up, came beside him and knelt down. “Hey,” he began hurriedly, “I was only…”
Yemisi, looking like she wanted to run away said loudly, “Oladapo Ojo, my best friend and personal pessin, who means more to me than I can say, will you go out with me?”
Oh dear Lord, Dapo thought. She’s serious.
As one, Yemisi and everyone in the Ozone cinema lobby waited for Dapo’s answer.
Feeling silly, Dapo got off his seat and knelt down in front of her. “Yes,” he answered, “I would very much love to.”
Amidst roars of approval, applause and laughter, the two friends hugged each other for the first time.
“Can you stop these people from buying me drinks?! It stopped being fun about ten minutes ago!”
Dapo grinned at her. “What are you complaining about now? You broke it, you bought it.” At his companion’s scowl he rubbed her hand. “They’re just having fun, Yemisi. They mean nothing by it.”
He waved off a couple of other guys bearing drinks and popcorn towards them, and then saluted as the guys stopped, looking disappointed like they just missed the movie they came to see. “But you’re crazy,” he said, respect lifting his voice several octaves higher. “I thought you would back down.”
He opened one of the several cans of Schweppes and drank. “Of course you know there has to be rules –“ he began as he lowered the can.
Her phone rang suddenly.
She waved Dapo on, ignoring the shrill scream her phone was emitting. Dapo shook his head and held his right hand to his head in the universal sign for ‘phone’. Looking like a petulant child, she pulled the noisemaking device from her pocket and eyed the screen.
It was a number she did not recognize.
“Hello?” she asked.
It was Priye. At the worst possible time ever.
Air left her lungs as she exhaled in an attempt to calm down. “I told you not to call me that,” she answered.
“Whatever. I’m in town – so when are we seeing?”
Of all the – !
She let out all the resentment she had bottled up in her response.
“Listen – clearly; I don’t want to see you now or forever,” she said, relying on emphasis rather volume to get her point across, “you hear me?”
Sensing rather than seeing Dapo move, she signaled at him to calm down – and then she saw the only thing he had done since she started talking was to open the movie pamphlet in front of him.
“But…Princ…I mean Yemisi, it’s me o, Priye! What are you saying?”
“I don’t want to see you. Not now, not ever. So please, do not call me again.” She took a deep breath. “Feel free to hang up.”
Placing her phone on the table, Yemisi leaned back and sighed. Imagine that… she clenched her hands, physically restraining herself from going too far.
For the moment, she forgot everything and everyone.
Closing her eyes, she thought about Priye and how she had given him everything – only to go looking for him one time and finding out he’d traveled the day before – traveled to Germany.
She thought about his eleven-month silence – and how he had suddenly called her to say he was coming back and wanted to see her. She thought about all the things she had taken from him, endured from his friends –
I never want to go through a relationship like that again. Ever.
She opened her eyes to see Dapo observing her seriously. A smile – a real one, appeared on her face and she grabbed his hand, thankful that they had that moment.
She nodded firmly. “Very much so,” and rubbed his hand.
Dapo shrugged. “I was talking about rules…”
Yemisi interrupted. “But of course. We date for three months, after which we agree it’s either working or it’s not. During the three months, we must see each other at least twice a week and once on weekends except when absolutely impossible. For those three months, we see each other exclusively. No hook-ups, no back-ups, side runs or one night stands for that matter.” She looked at Dapo accusingly.
“Sure,” he answered, raising his hands in a gesture of surrender.
She grabbed Dapo’s can and drank. “We agree to be completely honest with each other – no matter what. For three months, no less. Most importantly, this is not intervention or ‘salvation’ – as your ever-present sarcasm would like to call it. It is a real, romantic relationship.”
Dapo sat in silence, fingertips drumming lightly on the table. And then; “you’ve really thought this through, haven’t you?”
Yemisi responded with the universal sign for ‘yes’. “I have, every night for the past week.”
“How about sex?” he suddenly asked.
Her throat jumped up and down as she swallowed. “Wha…what about it?”
“What’s the plan? Go there, don’t go there, watch and see what happens? What?”
“Er…I didn’t think about that one jo! Figure it out. Are you not the man?”
“Hmm. You’re asking for trouble o. Anyways…”
Yemisi held up her hand.
“Sorry to interrupt, but can I ask you to stop drinking – at least for the three months?”
Dapo gaped. “How realistic is that? You know that’s not a sustainable solution.”
She nodded in agreement. “That’s why I said ‘three months’ – just for the time we’re together. I ask as your new girl. Please, Dapo,” she said quietly, rubbing the back of his hand and looking into his eyes with her always-wet ones.
This is crazy. I’ve never actually looked into her eyes before.
This changes everything. Just know that.
“Can I still watch porn?”
“You watch porn?” Yemisi ejaculated in surprise.
Dapo shrugged. “Everybody watches porn,” he said.
She shook her head. “I don’t. And from now on, neither do you. I’m not even going to beg for that one!”
This really changes everything.