It would have been something laugh-worthy, lewd – and then mildly inspirational; a staring husband sporting an ill-concealed erection on his wedding day.
The problem was; the husband – Tade – wasn’t staring at his wife.
No. He was looking at the dark-skinned, wet-eyed long legged wide-hipped beauty with rubbery lips swaying towards him. Her gele – her headtie was exceptionally woven – and the shimmering gown she wore wobbled at her every move.Tade had a small fight with himself – to stare at her so-generously-offered breasts or – at her face and the simpering smile that adorned it.
The face won.
It was familiar, Tade reasoned. He swiftly sorted through files in his memory – files and faces of variously hued women; trying to remember which she was as he shifted in his seat to hide the thing growing between his thighs. He searched out his wife with the sides of his eyes – and then he saw her surrounded by her friends. Good.
Once again he gave his attention to the approaching beauty – at the off-shoulder gown she was wearing and the tattoos that covered her right arm from elbow to wrist. She was attracting stares and whispers – Tade chuckled as he saw some old women frowning in displeasure. Old women – and then he winced, realizing his new wife, Peju would sooner or later become one of them.
Such is life.
She – the approaching beauty – was close to his seat – and he was sure he knew her. He had seen her face before, but where? Across a table, at dinner? Across a pillow, after dinner?
And then she stood before him. “Tade darling,” she purred. “You look so good in a suit.” She took his right hand and leaned over it, presenting him an uninterrupted view down her gown. Tade swallowed, fettered monster in his pants rearing its head in anger, fiending to be let loose. He cleared his throat. “Ah – I’m sorry. Do I know you?”
The smile widened – and she let go of his hand. “Ah, Tade. You’ll never change.” Her hands reached behind her, fiddled with something – and came away with two handguns. “This is for Onye – my best friend who killed herself after you broke her heart, for the baby you made me abort and all the other women.”
Tade remembered her then. Yemisi; her name was. He remembered her as a geek who spent all her time reading books. He remembered he’d only seduced her because he was dared – and he remembered being surprised at her skills between the sheets. So surprised he had been unable to stop – not even after he impregnated her.
His mouth fell open – but all speech failed him. The last thing he saw were the tattoos on her right arm. They seemed to glow.
‘That’s not normal,’ he still had time to think.
The twin guns winked, and Tade’s lights went out.
Just One More Thing…
End Of Story.
Good morning. I have been away for a bit.
I missed you.
There’s something I’d like to share with you – the next chapter in the ‘Saving Dapo’ story.
So I got in the studio with some amazing friends of mine and we went to work for some days. What we came up with is what I want to share with you – a track from the soundtrack to the Saving Dapo novel.
It would be easier to just share the song here – but to be able to do that I have to be a premium wordpress user. I have however embedded a link via which you can listen to and download the track.
I would really love to hear what you think.
Thank you so much.
Read previous episodes here.
Yemisi was nervous; watching the door as she was.
She did not want to call Dapo again; she had called him like fifty times in the past hour – and that wasn’t exactly bringing him any closer.
She had to be patient.
Her cocktail was beginning to warm; she put it down gently after taking a long pull from it and put it down – studying the hand she had carried it with.
It was trembling.
Hastily she put the hand in her lap and wished the whole thing with Dapo and his cousin would just disappear.
In fact; she would like to just disappear.
She hadn’t tried to sort through her feelings; every time she thought about Remi she felt as though she was betraying Dapo – and even though it had always been like that; the feeling was ten times worse now she knew they were related.
What do I do?
“The cocktail can’t be that bad,” a familiar baritone spoke from her elbow making her jump in fright. She laughed in spite of herself.
“Trust you to make an entrance,” she said before standing up and turning slightly to hug the tall figure beaming at her. She let the tension ease away from her shoulders and back, relaxing into his embrace and closing her eyes at his scent. “You smell so good,” she said.
Dapo’s laughter rumbled from his chest. “That’s Mosun’s handiwork. The whole world must know I have a sister who just returned to the country.” He released her but held on to her left hand, standing back to look at her from top to bottom, taking in her blue Ankara gown and brown sandals. “You’re really beautiful tonight,” he said with a straight face.
Yemisi looked down shyly – and then looked up, meeting his eyes. “Thank you. You look good yourself.”
And he did, in a white shirt, blue jeans and brown boat shoes. He smiled and handed her into her seat before sitting himself directly opposite her. “I’m sorry I’m late. Traffic is crazy.”
She nodded. “I’m grateful you still came sef. Didn’t you just return from IB?”
“We have plenty to talk about. How did your send-forth go?”
Yemisi looked away, her eyes filling with tears. “It was just sad. You know, sometimes you never know what you mean to people until it’s too late to do anything about it.” Reaching into her silver purse, she pulled out a white handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes. “I laughed plenty too.”
She put her unoccupied hand over his. “I missed you there too. Adura wanted so much to meet you – she was hurt when I told her you weren’t coming. And the boss’ speech?” she shook her head. “It would have been easier if you were there.”
Dapo couldn’t resist. “Me – or Remi?”
He saw a flash of hurt appear in her eyes and wished he had not made that crack. She made to pull her hand away but he quickly covered it with his other one. She shook her head, but she stopped pulling away.
“We need to talk about that, Yemisi.”
“I know, Dapo. But whatever it is I’m feeling, I know the difference between you two. And if I say I miss you; Dapo, I’m talking about you. Understand?”
He nodded solemnly. “I know – and I’m sorry I made such a lame joke.”
Yemisi nodded. “That’s okay. I feel guilty myself – because there are times I have wished I hadn’t started anything with you, and I would just have met Remi and everything would be perfect.”
“That wouldn’t make such a great story,” Dapo interjected. “There’s always something bigger over the horizon.”
“But doesn’t that mean we should all keep chasing straws?”
“‘Bigger’ is relative, Yemisi. When you find your ‘bigger’, you and only you can know it. And besides – there’s always the next thing – ‘bigger’.”
She raised both her hands in mock surrender. “You win!”
Dapo signaled the nearest waiter. “Wouldn’t you rather have some ice with that drink – or would just have a new one?” he asked Yemisi.
“Yes; a new one would be good thank you.”
“I want a huge chapman – she would just have a regular cocktail.” He considered for a bit. “I would like some meats too – something I can chew on as I drink,” he said. The waiter nodded and slid off.
“Did you really think I would set you up to meet Remi like that?” he asked the girl sitting in front of him.
She averted her eyes. “I honestly didn’t know what to think! Seeing him at the wedding like that –“ She sighed. “You’re the one who
always says there’s no such thing as coincidence. Really – what would you have thought?”
Dapo shook his head. “I would have trusted you.”
“Don’t be so hard on me, Dapo – “ she broke off as the waiter appeared with their drinks, and sat silently as Dapo carried her drink off the tray and placed it in front of her before carrying his. The waiter bent over and whispered something in his ear. He nodded.
“Meats will be done in a moment,” he said as the waiter slid off again. “Why he thought it necessary to whisper will forever baffle me.” He lifted his drink and took a long pull. “You were asking me not to be hard on you – should we use your actions as a benchmark?”
Yemisi sighed. Dapo was on the warpath – there was no stopping him. In fact, if anything she could expect it to get worse. She looked at the smile playing around his lips and thought to herself how someone so – could be so –
“Don’t mind me – I’m just having myself a bit of fun at your expense.” He stirred his drink with the straw he was holding but he wasn’t looking at it. Instead, his eyes were on her face.
“You know one thing I’ve been meaning to ask you since that awkward moment?”
At her nod he continued. “I was wondering – were you that upset because you thought I had something to do with your meeting with Remi; or was it just guilt?”
Yemisi started from her seat; mouth half-open in denial – and then she slumped back, wrapping her arms around shoulders that suddenly felt really cold.
“You know,” she sounded like a turned-down radio set. “That’s one question I have been asking myself – but I haven’t been willing to look too closely at the answer. ‘Why was I so hard on you’? I knew; deep down you couldn’t have done anything that elaborate; too many parts of it depended on coincidence – which you and I know you’re not exactly a fan of –“
She broke off as Dapo pointed at her drink. The ice was a lot less than she remembered; so she lifted it and took a sip, enjoying the cold liquid as it streamed down her throat and seemed to make fluttering nerves somewhat steadier. She watched as the same waiter set a steaming plate of meat in front of her; and set her drink down before reaching for one.
“Don’t look so serious – it’s not that serious.”
Yemisi slowly bit into the piece of meat, enjoying the sticky warmth of various seasonings as they flooded her mouth. “Hmmm hmm,” she moaned out loud, looking at Dapo through half-closed lids. “This is really good!”
He smiled in response. “They should feel complimented – a top chef just approved their cooking!”
She looked at Dapo with shinny, grateful eyes; “It is true isn’t it?”
He nodded wisely, understanding what she meant. “Yes indeed it is. How does it feel?”
“It feels – surreal. I still wake up feeling like I should get going else I’ll be stuck in early-morning traffic; and then I remember I’m self-employed. An entrepreneur.”
Dapo raised his glass. “Hear hear!” and drained it, sucking away at the straw long after the glass was empty. Yemisi could barely contain her laughter.
“So what’s next, CEO?” he asked after their laughter had subsided.
“Well, I feel some self-development is in order so I registered for some cooking courses; immediately after which I’ll be headed to Poise for some on grooming too.”
Dapo nodded. “I like that. Maybe you’ll show up a judge on the next Knorr Taste Quest.”
Yemisi smiled. “Who knows?”
Dapo nodded and for the next few moments the only sounds from their table were clinking glasses and chewing jaws. Yemisi raised her drink to her lips and eyed Dapo over the rim of the glass.
“I like it when you smile, you know. Your face relaxes – and you look so young.”
He looked away from her piercing gaze in embarrassment. “Well ah – thank you. It’s really nice to hear that.”
She slowly lowered her glass and shifted uncomfortably. “You know, I’m really fond of you – I really care and worry; which is what prompted me to ask you out in the first place.”
“I know that,” Dapo said quietly.
“It did hurt when you said what you said – about saying yes to me when you could have said no. It made me feel as though you were…as though you said yes only because you felt sorry for me.”
“Yeah. That was a really thoughtless thing to say – and I really didn’t mean it. I agreed because I wanted to date you too; that and no other reason. I’m really sorry.”
Yemisi pressed his hand briefly. “It’s okay,” she sighed. “It’s okay. I have grown so much between then and now – I mean, I now have my own business to say the least.” She looked at him, her heart in her eyes. “Dapo, the time we spent together was…it redefined all of my ideas concerning what a relationship should be like – should be about. I learned a lot about myself, about guys and stuff – and it made me a better person because as timid as I was, as insecure as I used to be, I saw something I wanted – something I wanted so much I did not consider the consequences. I just went for it. And boy – am I glad I did.” She looked away, an intimate smile caressing her lips.
Dapo had never seen her look any more beautiful.
“I love you, Dapo. I always have and I always will. There’s this – there’s this kind of steadfastness you have; a kind of ‘always there’ presence that I have come to rely on. I know I don’t have to look too far to find you; I know you’re always somewhere around me. I have come to love that – about you, I mean.”
Her light skin darkened around her cheeks and she lowered her eyes briefly before facing him again. “I love you. Maybe not the want-to-jump-on-you-and-rip-your-clothes-off type, but the I-feel-safe-in-your-arms type.”
Dapo cleared his throat. “Gee thanks. That’s really encouraging – I’m only good enough for brotherly hugs!”
But he smiled at her brightly and held onto her hand.
“I’d rather have brotherly hugs than none.” He inhaled sharply. “Yemisi, I know how you feel about me. And it’s okay. We did find something – in fact; we found plenty things. Don’t you know how easy it is to forget people who matter? This whole thing has made me and you closer – I have rediscovered a friendship of life; for life. I’m thankful for that.”
Yemisi’s eyes watered. “Are we breaking up?”
A throaty chuckled emanated from Dapo’s chest. “Do friends – do siblings break up?”
The car taking Remi to the airport was quiet. The occupants were lost in thoughts of various variations.
Dapo, behind the steering wheel was thinking about that night three weeks ago – the night he returned from Ibadan and saw Yemisi.
It went well – all things considered.
Yeah. That it did.
I think it was particularly thoughtful we did not mention that Mope is still single.
Yeah. That would have been a bad idea. Even if it wasn’t meant to be, no woman likes the idea that another is preferred to her.
That – is correct.
So – I would expect that after so many dates Yemi and Remi would have plenty to say to each other.
We expect that too.
Or maybe they’ve said everything.
Maybe that too.
Remi; sitting beside Dapo was softly caressing the hand in his grip and thinking about the owner of the hand.
This is crazy. This is stupid. How can I be this in love with this girl?
She’s so sweat, so calm, so kind, so considerate. All soft and firm at once.
I wish I didn’t have to return so early. I wish I could just tell her how I feel – but I’m worried she might start to feel like some
family heirloom. Like family hand-me-downs.
However did Dapo let her go so easily?
Who cares? My luck.
But Dapo na one kain guy sha o! And wait…
Is she over him sef?
Yemisi; seated behind the two of them was also lost in thoughts of her own.
She was thinking about the guy rubbing her hand.
What does this guy want sef?
Just rubbing my hand as if it’s an ATM card.
She chuckled quietly at her own joke.
And became thoughtful again.
But what does he want?
Takes me to the cinema – and spends the whole movie holding my hand. Na hand-hold I wan chop?!
At least make a move. Or say something. Or say something more.
He keeps looking in my eyes and sighing.
Would have grabbed and kissed him too – the way the butterflies were misbehaving.
I had a rethink in time though – and I concluded it’ll be wise to wait. Let someone else do the asking for a change.
She looked up and met Dapo’s eyes in the rearview mirror. He smiled and winked at her.
“So why are you guys quiet?”
Remi jumped and let go of the hand he had been holding on the far side of his seat as though it was red hot. Dapo smiled as Yemisi
blushed and looked out of the window. He adjusted the rear-view mirror and cleared his throat.
“I suggest the two of you go check in – or at least Yemisi help Remi check in while I look for a place to park.”
Yemisi looked around, startled. They were in front of the departure area of Murtala International.
Aware of some trembling in her thighs, she shot Dapo a grateful look through the mirror before scrambling out of the car on Remi’s
They both stood and watched their cupid drive off and then walked towards the entrance; Yemisi grabbing her companion’s hand.
“I still can’t over the fact that you’re traveling with a backpack,” she stated as they cleared the policemen at the entrance.
Remi shrugged. “I wasn’t planning to stay for long – this long sef.”
“What changed your mind?”
He eyed her from his ‘Idris Elba’ height. “You really think you need to ask that?”
She nodded – and then they were at the Arik checking-in section. “I’ll be right back,” He said as he walked towards the pretty attendant who was grinning, leaving a disgruntled Yemisi standing at the line, arms folded against her chest.
“When is he going to kiss you? Shall I ask him?”
Yemisi tried to look stern but failed miserably, smiling up at Dapo as he materialized beside her. “Who send you message?” she asked.
“I want to know – that’s all. Can’t I ask?”
“No you can’t,” Yemisi answered, hugging his arm. “He should take his time – all the time he wants or needs so it won’t as though someone helped him make up his mind or coerced him into something he’d rather not be doing.”
Dapo eyed her. “All of a sudden you’re so smart.”
She chuckled. “That’s what saving Dapo did for this woman. Made her wiser and stronger – more mature.”
“Saving Dapo? What’s that – a Nollywood movie?”
Yemisi punched his shoulder lightly. “You never know.”
She rested her head against his shoulder and watched as Remi walked over.
“What happens now?”
Remi looked everywhere but at Yemisi. “Now I’m supposed to – “
Yemisi; who was hanging onto every word Remi was saying did not see the almost imperceptible nod Dapo gave over her head. The only thing she knew was that Remi stopped talking and gently took her hand.
But he was already walking away from them.
Remi looked at Yemisi. “I guess maybe I didn’t know what to say to you, Yemisi. You have to admit this is one helluva strange
He scratched his jaw. “Yeah – I mean, who would have thought I would run into a girl in an eatery, fall in love with her – only to find that she’s my cousin’s girl?”
“Yeah! I mean – waitaminute,” Yemisi interrupted herself. “What did you say?”
“I said who would have thought…”
She waved her hand impatiently. “I heard all that. I mean the almost-last part.”
Remi grinned. “Hmm…it went something like…” he leaned closer to her and whispered; “I have fallen in love with you, Yemisi. Totally, completely…”
She shook away his hand. “That’s what you should said since, you idiot!” She said as she slowly slipped her arms around his neck. Remi laughed as they kissed.
And Dapo, who was watching from the confectionary stands shook his head, grabbed the Bounty chocolate bar he had been struggling with for the past minute and walked away.
He was not smiling.
Yemisi snuggled in Remi’s arms, heart tripping a mile a minute. “So how long are you leaving me for?”
“It won’t be too long – maybe five months at most,” Remi winced as he saw the hurt that flashed in her eyes. Maybe he should have given her a non-committal answer.
“At least I have something to look forward to,” she answered, tangling her fingers with his. “Remi, I love you too. You know, sometimes those words sound like clichés and repeated phrases – but they are true sometimes too – and they have never been
truer for me than now.”
He bent his head slightly and kissed her, and did not stop till it seemed as though she was catching a bad case of vertigo. “Wait for me, Yemi. Wait.”
Remi smiled and looked over her head for his cousin. “Where is this bullheaded – “
“I think it’s time,” Yemisi said in a trembling voice – and pointed to a couple who were scrambling towards the departure point.
They had been ahead of Remi on the check-in line.
“Time to go, cousin.” Dapo spoke from Yemisi’s elbow making her jump.
“What is wrong with you sef?” she freed her right hand from Remi’s embrace and hit Dapo in the chest with it. “Just be disappearing and reappearing like one thief!”
He chuckled dryly. “I have been standing behind the two of you since – your romance has been turning my belly is why I kept quite.” He winked at Yemisi. “Time to go, cousin,” he said again.
Remi nodded. “I know. Okay.” He bent at the waist and planted a soft kiss on Yemisi’s lips.
Remi broke off and pulled his cousin in a hug. “You don’t have to tell me anything;” Dapo said. “You don’t tell me to take care of my friend. You behave yourself.”
Remi pulled away from the hug, intending to swing away but Dapo pulled him back. “Behave yourself,” he said again.
“Why are you repeating yourself again and again?” Yemisi asked, pushing herself into Remi’s arms.
“Because he does not hear anything once,” Dapo answered, scowl marring his otherwise smooth forehead. “I’ll be waiting for you over there,” he told Yemisi and walked off.
Standing as he was, thinking about Mope as he was, Dapo did not notice Yemisi till he felt a hand pull his sleeve. He turned and there she was.
“Hey, you – “
He broke off the moment his eyes met hers.
She looked like she ought to look – tears in her eyes, smudged lipstick and all; but there was something more – something that
made her eyes shine like stars.
She looked like she was seeing things.
“Hey…are you okay?”
She swallowed and nodded repeatedly for a few seconds before she could frame an answer.
“Yes…em…yes. I’m okay.” She paused. “At least I think so.” She looked up at Dapo, smiling brightly as tears slowly started trickling down her cheeks. “Your cousin just asked me to marry him.”
Thank you so much for staying with us through this journey!
We hope you won’t leave!
Have an amazing week.
Read previous episodes here.
The voice sounded eeriely faint – and Dapo spent a moment wondering if the person calling his name was who he thought it was.
The smile that creased his father’s face was like a child’s scrawl in mud. It lent humanity to what was to easy to mistake for a papier-mâché design. The whole thing looked crazy – with the different wires hanging from all over the place. Dapo knew where to look for his father’s face was because he knew where to look – not because the man’s face stood out distinctly in the midst of all the wires.
“I’m really happy to see you…”
A frown of disapproval materialized on Dapo’s face. “You know you shouldn’t be talking,” he said in a tone that was directly at variance with the look on his face.
You know you sound like a home video character.
You know you should be quiet!
The old man wheezed. “Well, listening to advice and suggestions is not exactly one of the Ojos’ strongest points. You know that,” he finished and then threw his head back gasping for breath. Dapo rubbed his knuckles gently but firmly across the man’s chest, averting his head to avoid the stench of rotting flesh that came from the man’s open mouth.
When his breathing had stabilized, the man nodded and smiled in his son’s direction – and Dapo, for a moment, could see what the man must have looked like forty years ago.
Maybe you’ll understand why your mother fell for him so hard.
All I need do is to look at myself – and that makes all the sense in the world to me –
“There…are some things…you need to know…”
“Dad, they can wait. Please – “
“And how is the patient this morning?”
He looked over his shoulder to see an attractive woman with a stethoscope around her neck walking in from the door. She wasn’t too tall, but she had a full body with black hair that was graying at the temples.
“Disagreeable as always, doctor. He’s been trying to talk all morning.”
Dapo caught a whiff of a perfume he believed was expensive as she swung past him to bend over his father’s chest. The smile that appeared on the old man’s face gleamed.
“Don…don’t mind him, doctor. I can still sweep you…off your…feet.”
The doctor chuckled. “I don’t doubt that, engineer. But I doubt your son’s mother would very well appreciate that.” She turned her head towards Dapo and he caught a glimpse of some purple-frilly something peeking from underneath her blouse. “You’re his son, are you not?”
Dapo grunted. “Is it that obvious?”
“If it was anymore obvious, you’d be identical twins. Does that bother you?”
“Why should it?” he answered a bit too sharply and the doctor’s smile widened. “You tell me,” she responded.
He stood up. “I need…I need some air. I’ll be right back dad,” he said and dashed outside.
What the hell is wrong with that doctor?
What the hell is wrong with you?!
Dapo pulled out his Samsung S4 from his pocket and turned it on.
About time you did that. It’s been two days.
He stared down the hall while the phone loaded, trying not to think about of one man in particular lying a few meters from him at that moment. There was a smiling wheelchair-bound woman being wheeled in his direction, bantering and laughing with the smiling boy who was wheeling her. There was a male nurse discussing passionately with another female doctor who was patiently responding to his rather sharp retorts.
There was a moment in which Dapo wondered; as people are wont to do when they are in places like the one he was in; what the people in the different wards where in there for – and which of them would make it back home alive. He wondered what dying people saw..what they experienced in their last moments. He wondered if they wished they could set things right.
And he thought about his father.
A slight vibrating from his left hand brought his attention back to the moment, and he looked at the phone screen to see he had several text and Whatsapp messages. He sighed, because he could think of who the bulk of the messages were from. He made to open them – and then he changed his mind, instead looking up in time to see the doctor stepping out of his father’s room.
“Excuse me doctor,” he started as he walked towards her. She stopped and turned in his direction, squinting slightly before smiling as she recognized him.
“Handsome man – hope you didn’t take anything I said in there personal…”
Dapo shook his head. “That’s not an issue. How’s he looking?”
The doctor looked serious. “He’s holding up okay; considering. I would say continue praying; but don’t raise your hopes too high. Your sister was the one here yesterday?”
At Dapo’s nod she smiled. “She’s very pretty and quite nice. Also, she loves your dad.”
He grinned. “Mosun loves everybody.”
She grinned at him. “Is that her name?”
Dapo nodded again.
“She’s quite pretty. And you,” she paused, looking him over unabashedly. “Black sheep abi?”
“That’s what they all say,” was his distracted reply. “So…you were saying…”
He liked the way she became all businesslike. “His prognosis is pretty grim – so are his chances, but really it could swing either way.” She patted his shoulder. “Pray.”
He watched as she walked away, looking but not really seeing. And as he snapped back to head into his dad’s room, his phone began to vibrate.
You are going to have to talk with her sooner or later.
He clenched his jaw and slid the circle in the centre of the phone’s screen upwards. “Hello?” he said.
“Dapo…how is daddy doing?”
He closed his eyes, concentrating on the sound of her voice as though he was young Clark in that Man of Steel movie listening to his mother. She was worried.
“Dad is fine – holding up pretty well, as well as can be expected. How are you?”
A sound, something that sounded like a sob mixed with laughter came drifting down the phone. “I’m fine. How are you doing, baby?”
A half-smile appeared on his face. “Honestly, I haven’t had time to think about that. I’m just pretty much in ‘doing’ mode – just doing what I need to do.”
“And mummy? Mosun?”
A pair of heels clicking rapidly on floor tiles made itself known to him, and he turned over his shoulder to see Mosun coming towards him. “She just got here,” he said to Yemisi. “Hold on a bit, please.”
He hugged his sister back, and then leaned away to look into her eyes. “You’re not supposed to be here for at least…” he broke away to look at his left wrist. “…three hours. What are you doing?”
She sniffed at him. “I cannot stay at home doing nothing, worrying about him. And mummy was steadily driving me crazy with her wails and screams. I just…” she shook her braided tresses. “How is he doing?”
“He’s a lot better – the doctor just left sef.” And then he remembered Yemisi was waiting.
“I’m so sorry – “ he began, waving Mosun away.
Yemisi interrupted him. “Hey, it’s okay. Tell her I said hi.” She was quiet for the space of three heartbeats, and then; “when are you coming back?”
“Have Chidi them paid your balance?”
Yemisi snorted again. “Dapo, seriously? Get back here and we’ll talk about that.”
“You do know though – whether my dad dies or not, life goes on, right?”
He chuckled mirthlessly. “Well, I’m not known for my political correctness. And it is true, whether you admit it or not.”
“Whatever. When do you expect…”
He interrupted her. “Saturday most likely. Shade will be arriving tomorrow – and she intends to spend quite some time so…I should be back then – Sunday latest.”
“Okay. I’ll be waiting.”
Some spirit of mischief in him prompted him to ask. “How is Remi?”
“He’s – hey! How am I supposed to know how your cousin is doing?”
Dapo laughed and hung up.
Hope you realize – she’s gone too sha.
Could you be a lot more obvious?
Shoving the phone in his pocket, he walked back into his father’s ward.
Their father looked at peace, laying so still that but for the beeping monitor he would easily have passed for dead. Brother and sister stood side by side and watched the man quietly, lost in their own thoughts.
“I was shocked to see you,” Mosun whispered suddenly. “You and dad are not exactly the best of pals.”
Dapo scoffed. “Yeah maybe – but he is my father isn’t he? There’s nothing he or I can do to change that.”
“I think it’s because you’re like him so much. Mum always says that – “
“Can you guys not hold that over my head? You don’t want me to turn out like him, yet you cannot help reminding me at every opportunity that I am like him. How does that work?”
Mosun smiled sadly. “You know we love you, D. No matter what. You know mum is nuts about you. And me…” she winked at him. “I’m happy you’re my big brother. When I look at you, I see everything dad once was – I see everything he could have been…”
“And that’s why I’m so hard on you – so…so you do not turn out like me.”
The siblings turned towards the voice. Their father was struggling to sit up in spite of all the wires and tubes surrounding him. Dapo rushed over to his side and pushed him down none-too-gently.
“This is not Nollywood, ‘papa’. You’re not dying, you hear? Save all the ‘I’m-sorry-I-meant-well’ speeches for later, okay?” he said roughly.
He turned to his sister, walking away from the bedside towards the door. “It’s true, isn’t it? Abeg!”
The door handle was turning before his hand closed on it – and then the door opened and he was face to face with a very beautiful buxom woman whose lips and cheeks looked like they were made for smiling – even though they were busy with a frown at that moment. And then the golden-brown eyes met his and they expressed themselves, natural warmth lighting the gold.
“My darling!” the woman said happily, and pulled Dapo against her blue-blouse covered chest. He closed his eyes, inhaling the scent of the woman who gave him life; the woman whose love would never leave room for doubt.
“How is the food at the hotel?”
Dapo grunted. “I don’t do hotel food o. Why would I, when Iya Ibrahim is still alive and well?”
“She’s still there? Shey you will take me for lunch – or is it dinner now?” Mosun interjected while their mother rolled her eyes at their antics. Dapo grinned and nodded.
“Of course. Now we should give the wife some time with her husband,” he said as he gently took Mosun’s elbow. “We’ll see you later, maami.”
As they stepped into the corridor, Mosun pulled at his hand. “I saw Muyiwa sef.”
Dapo was surprised. “Muyiwa! Where did you see the mufu?”
“At the airport – said he came to drop his uncle off. He insisted on driving me to the park sef. I had to send the cab guy I’d called away.”
“So how is he doing? I didn’t even know he was in Lagos!”
Mosun poked his side with her elbow. “What do you actually know? He said he’s been asking you for your number – sending you messages on Facebook and so on. No response.”
“He should have tried my Twitter handle,” Dapo grumbled. “What is it that he wants to tell me?”
Mosun chuckled. “Well for one, he did say I should tell you Mope did not get married after all.”
Dapo stopped in his tracks, mouth wide open like the expressway in broad daylight. “What?!”
“Yes o – he also said I should watch when I tell you cos you might just react like that,” she said, pointing a finger at his open mouth. “Why do you find that so shocking? Who’s Mope again?”
His thoughts in a whirl, Dapo kept walking, no longer hearing his sister as she continued speaking. Suddenly it seemed as though there was so much for him to do. He had to clear things up with his parents, get Yemisi and Remi sorted out, catch up with work –
So Mope is not married!
He didn’t know whether to be happy or sad.
Read previous episodes here.
Dapo sounded bored. “Really? And how did that happen – by diffusion or osmosis?”
Yemisi’s chest rose and fell in time with her sigh. “You could have at least played along and said ‘congratulations! Who’s the father?’
“Em…why would I ask that, knowing well I’m your guy? Na dat kain question dey cause wahala jare.”
“You’re too serious jo! Lighten up o, and besides I’m quite the bad girl o.”
She liked the sound of his laughter. “Trust me, there are easier ways to prove you’re a bad girl than getting pregnant for someone else,” he said.
She also liked the small shiver that ran down her back at his words. “Like?” she asked.
“Like you don’t know.” There was some static and then his voice came back clearer. “You’re a beautiful woman, Yemisi Adeoba.”
“You’re not too shabby yourself, Oladapo Ojo,” Yemisi answered, grinning happily. “I still don’t know how to say ‘thank you’ for the wedding gig.”
“Some more of those your kisses would do just fine,” Dapo responded.
Yemisi winced as she unconsciously pulled several strands of her hair along with the hairclip she’d just removed. “You know you don’t have to ask too hard.”
Network is just so clear tonight.
There was a slapping sound from Dapo’s end of the conversation. “What’s that, baby?” Yemisi asked.
“Mosquitoes. Giant humongous ones.” As though to affirm what he was saying, the sound came again.
Yemisi clapped a hand over her mouth to hold down the laughter threatening to burst lose.
“You can laugh – it’s okay,” He definitely had a smile on his face. “Still trying to figure out how they got in.”
After things were a bit quiet, Dapo asked, “So how’s things at work?”
“They’re okay love,” She stopped and looked at her toenails. They winked a deep purple and she smiled. “I’m getting a bit tired of it sha – especially one annoying loudmouth colleague of mine.”
“You know what to do sha,” He suddenly sounded down.
“What is it?”
There was a long pause. “Nothing. I just remembered something – “
“Nothing – something. If it’s enough to affect your voice while you’re talking with me, it’s something enough to matter. Oya tell me.”
“Dating 101: never discuss the ex with the new girl. It’s something to do with Mope…”
“Last week was her wedding,” Yemisi finished for him. “Oh Dapo, of course that’s something. I don’t expect you to just forget her like that now.”
“I have no business thinking about her. That’s that.” He stopped.
“Okay,” Yemisi began. “How do you feel about Robocop?”
Well, I’d like to see it – if that’s what you’re asking.”
She smiled. “I have two tickets – Friday, 6:40 pm.”
“It’s a date.”
“The client asked for a revert on the campaign which we shared last year before we left,” Yemisi hated the way she was sounding defensive. “I wonder what’s going on in there.”
“When did you share this revert?” the CEO asked.
“I didn’t get any mails to that effect o,” the CEO’s fingers danced on the screen of his iPad. “Yes…yes…no,” he said, fingers punching – and then turned to Yemisi. “I didn’t see any mail to that effect,” he repeated.
“I got a mail,” Adura raised her hand. “She copied me and the creative team.”
The CEO looked over to where the creative team looked like clothes draped over the backs of chairs. One by one, they nodded.
“But you’re supposed to share with me,” he remarked as he turned back to Yemisi, his voice noticeably softer and kinder. “If you had, I would have known what to tell that rude Indian.”
She mentally exhaled. The worst was over.
“I’m sorry sir. I guess I was distracted the last few days of work…”
“It’s not work jo,” Fred interrupted. “She suddenly found herself a boyfriend, though why any guy in his right mind would –“
All the pent up fear and frustration came out of Yemisi by way of a calm remark; “If you have nothing sensible to say, shut your mouth or I’ll come over there and make sure you don’t open it again – ever.”
Fred looked as if he had suddenly found out the shy neighborhood Bingo had grown teeth and could bite.
Amidst loud laughter the CEO who had a smile on his face raised his hand.
“That’s okay. Adura, you’ll be coming with me to speak with these guys. I think it’s time we’re clear on what we’re doing with them. That will be all.”
“About time you served that Fred some of his own medicine,” Adura whispered once they were out of the conference room.
Yemisi nodded, adrenaline surge still pulsing through her body. Would I actually have gone over to make good on my threat?
“But would you really have gone over there? You wouldn’t have, would you?”
Smiling at the other girl, Yemisi responded, “Honestly, I don’t know.” She paused. “And I don’t think I want to find out.”
Richard, a graphic artist touched Yemisi’s shoulder and snatched his hand away. Blowing on his fingers, he retreated towards his seat, grinning.
“Smoking hot! O gbona feli feli,” he muttered.
Both women laughed.
“Yemisi,” Felicia spoke two octaves higher than normal. “There’s…there’s a Remi here to see you.”
“Where’s he –“ Yemisi started and sighed as the click of a disconnected intercom sounded.
Pushing back her chair, she stood up and turned, almost bumping into Fred. He seemed to shrink.
She patted his shoulder, smiled briefly and continued towards the lobby.
Who is this Remi…Remi? It sounded familiar, like the name of a movie she’d only seen once but liked a lot. I’ll find out in about ten seconds, she told herself as she pushed through the double doors that led into the lobby.
A deep red flush covered Yemisi’s face and her ears started tingling, a strange reaction going by the commonplace picture that met her eyes.
A tall guy, average build was standing in front of Felicia’s desk, smiling in amusement at Felicia who looked as though she was staring at Tuface. Or Banky W. Or Iyanya.
But it was really the guy who held her attention.
He noticed her and straightened, his smile taking on depth. For some reason it pleased her to see him smile that way, and she mentally chided herself.
Of course she knew him. It was the guy from Tantalizers.
“How did you find me?” she asked.
“I er…I followed you that day. Just as far as the entrance though.” He chuckled. “I didn’t want to freak you out.”
“And why were you following me – why would you want to know where I work?”
Remi looked at Yemisi as though she had grown a beard. “You cannot seriously be asking me that. Why else would a guy be following a girl?”
He interrupted as she was about to speak. “And don’t talk about Twitter.”
After they both stopped laughing, Yemisi answered as she touched his arm lightly. “Well Romeo, I have a – I’m in a serious relationship.”
She almost winced at the 350 watt smile Remi was emitting. A smile like that cannot be natural. It cannot!
“I would be so disappointed if you said you were single. It cannot be that easy now, can it?”
“But I’m serious,” Yemisi said. “I am in a committed relationship and I’d rather not have any distractions.” She folded her arms and frowned at him. “Where have you been since – what if I didn’t remember you?”
“I travelled for about a month – but I didn’t forget you. I thought it was one of things that eventually goes away – you know, boy meets girl for a moment and puff,” he snapped his fingers. “It’s done.
“But I was wrong. I couldn’t forget you so I decided to come find you. I got back last night. And as for forgetting me – I’d have helped you remember.”
He lifted the box he was carrying. “Won’t you take this? It’s just sweets o, nothing diabolical.”
She shook her head. “Too early, but thank you. Maybe next time…”
“Oh. So there’s going to be a next time!”
She smiled in that woman’s sweetly secretive way and stood up. “Sure, if you want. You can always come looking for me here – whenever you’re around.”
Remi grinned. “Can I at least get a – “ Yemisi’s head-shaking stopped him mid-sentence.
“No calls. Not yet anyways. Do come again,” she said and walked into her office, smiling over her shoulder.
“Okay!” Remi yelled after her.
She was dialing Dapo’s number for the second time in three minutes when the quiet ‘PING’ of a text message interrupted the ringing in her ear. After listening for a while and her boyfriend still did not pick, she looked at the phone screen.
It was an alert from her bank.
Heart quickening, she opened the message and saw three and a half million naira had been deposited into her account by one Chidi Ighweh.
Three and a half million naira. She stopped breathing for a moment.
Even her heart seemed to stop beating.
Oh Dapo, she screamed mentally, Friday’s on me.
Read previous episodes here.
I could lie here forever; Dapo thought.
The rush of the waves sounded like Lagbaja’s saxophone, running soothing fingers along the nerve endings inside his head. Softly blending lights, stars blinking like diamonds laid in blue velvet – pink lips softening in a smile all lined his vision.
Which was strange, considering his eyes were closed.
Some of the diamonds in his imagination – cold and hard, began to trickle down his back and his eyes flew open. His clutching right hand closed on air as Yemisi danced away – and then he jumped up and began a dance of his own as wet sand she poured on his back entered his shorts.
“What is wrong with you!” he yelled, jumping up and down, shaking his shorts violently while other folk paused in their merrymaking and looked at the alien amongst them.
After dancing all variations of etighi, azonto and creating some new ones, he looked around, freezing when he finally found his girlfriend.
Those are boobs, my friend. BOOBS. When was the last time you really looked at those?
Dapo posed as if he was thinking deeply. “Whoa. That’s such a cheap below-the-belt blow,” he complained.
Think about it.
”I am thinking!” His shoulders drooped. “It has been a while.”
His heart pounded as he looked at his girlfriend of five weeks for the first time; really looked at her as a woman not as a friend or sister, as he liked to tell himself. What he saw was a woman; a very beautiful one at that.
Her skin…well, it wasn’t particularly blemish-free or stained, but he did not mind. She wore it well – she gleamed.
Her boobs were like oranges – small oranges; barely making bumps in the loose t-shirt she was wearing. He didn’t care. They were exquisite. Her legs –
He always knew how fabulous her legs were but looking at them now, laid bare by bum shorts, he thought they looked like well made barbeque turkey.
He liked barbeque turkey.
And her hips…
You better get over yourself and this ridiculous I-feel-like-I’m-dating-my-sister bullshit syndrome in your head and take what’s being offered. It won’t always be there, you know.
“And that IS the wahala.”
“Are you okay?” Yemisi crept closer, caution in her steps despite the concern in her voice. Dapo said nothing, allowing his whole demeanor speak defeat. Yemisi forgot herself and hurried towards him.
“What is…” Her sentence was punctuated by a shriek as Dapo burst into motion, charging towards her as she turned and ran as though her life depended on it. She was on automatic; Dapo marveled as she went from zero to one eighty in seconds.
“I’m going to catch you!” he yelled, laughing loudly as he accelerated. He felt good, tearing through the cold night air and beach-partying people in pursuit. Yemisi’s shrieking laughter sounded closer than before, and he ran even harder. He caught a glimpse of pink lips, white teeth as she looked over her shoulder – and then she dropped below his sight as she missed her footing. Dapo closed his eyes and executed a dive Sarsaparilla would have envied, catching her midriff and rolling over to end up on top.
Her laughter washed over him in waves of beautiful calm, and he opened his eyes, expecting to look into her shiny ones.
Imagine his surprise when it remained pitch black.
He nodded this way and that, checked by soft yet firm lumps of flesh on either side of his head. He stopped moving as he realized the only thing ‘soft yet firm lumps of flesh’ around where they were could be.
Yemisi’s loud laughter confirmed his thoughts and he looked up, his lips a few inches from hers.
How do you kiss your sister?
Idiot. Try ‘how do you kiss your girlfriend’ and whether you like it or not…
“Yeah. I get.” He mumbled and slid upwards till he was eye to eye with Yemisi. Her laughter faded out in time with the Mariah Carey playing in the background; in time with the clashing waves and incoming tide, in time with the dancing and laughing couples till all that remained were her eyes and lips; eyes glued nervously to Dapo’s hungry ones and lips that kept opening to allow a pink appendage dart out at intervals.
He focused on that and followed it through.
It’s so easy to forget what’s it’s like to be caught in a passionate embrace with someone you care about. Frighteningly easy to forget what a passionate kiss feels like.
It wasn’t ‘shocking’ or ‘electrifying’ or anything like that, it just felt as though his tongue had a million nerve endings and someone had dumped a five-flavor ice cream on it. Various sensations and tastes scrambled for expression in his head; anymore and his brain would short-circuit.
Dapo winced involuntarily as Yemisi’s teeth tightened around his tongue in reaction to the cold tide that suddenly drenched them both, leaving them spluttering and gasping.
He wiped his forehead clean of water and sand, and then finally opened his eyes.
Opened them – and couldn’t close them anymore even if he wanted to.
And he did not want to.
For a second, Dapo doubted the girl in front of him was the same as his friend Yemisi. It wasn’t as though she morphed or anything.
She just did not look like Yemisi.
Her hands were in her hair attempting to wring it dry. Only somehow the pose made her look like Beyonce on stage in front of salivating men. The wet t-shirt she had on was wet and therefore molded itself to every available curve on the surface of her upper body. There was a lot of ‘curve’ and so Dapo’s throat began to bench press eagerly. Her bra –
Something was pulling his eyes, but it wasn’t till he looked down he realized what it was. Her bellybutton was a dimple that accentuated rather than flawed the smooth landscape the wet t-shirt had exposed. There was a bulge where her tummy was – but he really did not care.
A frilly blue something whose color matched something else higher up peeked over the edge of her shorts, subtly waving. He couldn’t seem to decide whether to keep leading with his eyes or to follow them with his hands. Something long-forgotten stirred to life and slowing fanned itself into a raging fire.
“Something you like, boyfie?”
He tried to speak but only a croak came out. He tried again.
“Words fail me, so I think I should revert to that age-old but evergreen and ever-true cliché – ‘action speaks louder than words’.
His eyes narrowed as Yemisi lay back on the wet sand with as much poise as she would lie on a divan. Keeping her eyes locked with his, she spoke;
“Why aren’t you eating?”
Dapo looked from his knees. Yemisi was seated at his elbow, chewing on KFC chicken as though her teeth had been replaced with glass. He smiled.
“I’m probably having too much fun looking at you,” he answered. His left hand rose in a lazy arc that ended on her head and got lost in her hair.
“Don’t do that o, you know what they say about a woman’s hair.”
Dapo’s hand stilled but remained where it was. “And what do they say about that?”
She shook his hand off and continued eating. “Are you a learner?”
The extended silence drew her attention from the chicken she was holding to her boyfriend. Dapo sat still, head cocked in the direction of dunes in the distance. She wanted to ask what he was thinking – but she did not want to interrupt what might be a profound moment for him.
She reached for the hand nearest her – his left hand and held it.
He squeezed back gently and then began to talk.
“You know my dad’s sick, right?”
Yemisi was silent, her heart lurching with fear as Dapo continued to speak. “You don’t have to answer that. How would you know? It’s not like you’re psychic or anything.”
She liked the warmth from his hand whenever he pressed hers like he was doing just then.
“He’s sick. Diabetes. And it looks like…” his shoulders slumped. “My mum has been asking me to come home but I really don’t care. I don’t want to see him.”
Yemisi returned the gentle pressure of his hands but remained silent. It wasn’t the time to start sermonizing.
“She misses me, you know. She called me yesterday and was crying. Mosun’s not back from Spain yet but Peju has been with mum since.” He paused for a moment. “You remember Peju, right?”
“Your elder sister? You guys are cool now, abi?”
He shrugged. “Makes no difference to me either way. We just happen to be born of the same mother – we don’t have to get along.”
Yemisi had to ask. “And Mosun?”
She felt her heart soften like Eclairs that had stayed too long in a conductor’s pocket as he smiled. It did something to his face, something that made him look like he was fifteen years old again.
“She’s great. I suspect she’s found herself a moustache twirling Zorro wannabe,” his fingers plucked at an imaginary moustache as he turned his nose in the air. He had to reach out to stop himself from falling as Yemisi punched his shoulder.
“I guess you guys get on so well because you’re the last two.”
“How does it feel to be the last?” Dapo asked Yemisi, shifting wet hair away from her face. “Lonely?”
“No o. Just overworked and over disciplined. Everyone was too concerned that I would end up spoilt so they paid too much attention to disciplining me. Sore buttocks and tear-drenched pillows describe most of my nights growing up – but it’s okay. I forgave them a while ago.”
Dapo’s face closed as though a shutter was lowered over it. “Well I’m happy for you.”
The shrill ring of his phone interrupted the conversation. Yemisi reached into her bag and handed him the guilty phone – the Samsung Galaxy.
“Hello?” he answered, the question in his response telling Yemisi he did not know the caller.
“It’s me jo, baby cousin.”
Dapo flared up. “This your baby cousin greeting is really annoying. I have a name, you know?”
“Easy now, no vex. How far Dapo?”
He felt his muscles loosen and he closed his eyes as Yemisi’s firm hands massaged his shoulders. He exhaled slowly.
“I dey, ‘Lekun. You don enter country?”
“Yes o! I don dey for almost three weeks now. I bin dey Lag, then I enter Ib go greet my people. I suppose show Lagos next week then enter your side.”
“No problem na. Just tell me when you wan come,” Dapo answered, smiling as Yemisi gasped from his quick kiss. “I dey always.”
His cousin’s soft chuckle drifted down the line. “You go text me address na,” he said.
“No wahala. If I no send am tonight just call me tomorrow.”
“Okay now.” There was some silence, and then a click as the line disconnected.
“Just send the text now,” Yemisi said.
Dapo dived on her. “After I kiss you some more,” he said.
Their laughter was loud and happy.