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Saturday, July 28, 2012



                Dora brushed my hair backwards. “So Prince Charming will be here to pick you,” She started. “I would really love to see him when he arrives.”
                I nodded as I coolly applied my strawberry flavoured lip-gloss. Something to lick when the going gets tough. My phone buzzed and Jake’s message came up. It read:
                                “Heard there’s a dinner, need a date? Jake x”
                Dora and I exchanged a knowing look. I knew better than to reply Jake’s message. He could go from Amazing to Bad in a split if he knew that I was going with Dare to the dinner. Well, what can a pretty girl do? Moreover, I have already disappointed Dare once on a date, or twice.
                                “This will be the first time that I will turn Jacob down. I can’t tell him why.”
                                “Why not?” She asked applying the spray gel to my hair.
                I titled my head to the back to allow for ease. “He might get upset.”
                Dora rolled her eyes. “Is there anything between Jake and you aside from being best pals?”
                                “Nope. Why?” I asked, although I could guess why she asked the question.
                Dora let out a deep breath. “You can hang out with whosoever you please. Jake does, so why won’t you?”
                I sighed. I could not see things in the same light as Dora, Jake and I have come a long way so I see this as turning him down. Dare asked me out first, right? “Just forget it, Dora. You don’t understand.”
                                “Tada!” Dora said as she turned the Giant Mirror towards me.
                Dora had me looking simply gorgeous! I am not one to flatter myself, but on this occasion, I cannot help it. “Omg!”
                                “You are looking good sis.”
                I smiled. “Thank you Dora.”
                                “You are welcome.” She replied, as she brushed off some hair from my dress. “I am going to have to cut your hair; it makes me think you aren’t Negro.”
                I laughed.
                                “Dad has a short hair. Your mom’s hair must have been really long.”
                I smiled faintly. Dora had succeeded in sending memories of my mom into my head, but I had outgrown the part where I always had to cry, especially not tonight. I smiled again, but this time, a tear dropped. Can you really stop those moments?
                                “D...if you wanna cry, you’ll have to choose your moments. I am not about to have you mess up my hard work.” She said wiping the tears off delicately. “Its okay baby, momma’s here...,” she whispered.
                I laughed. Dora could switch moods. Bless you Dora.
                The doorbells chimed. My heart skipped a beat. It had to be Dare Ade-Cole. “Smile now.” Dora said, and dashed out. I could hear the trumping on the stairs; Dora did not want the house cleaner to open the door. She had sworn that she must have an encounter with the elegant Dare Ade-Cole.
                                “Please wait here for here, she will be down in a moment.” Dora said, leading Dare to the hallway.
                I took a deep breath, grabbed my purse, and descended the stairs.
                                “Oh my God,” Dare muttered. “You are beautiful.”
                                “Thank you.” I replied, with a casual smile.
                                “May I?” Dare asked as he lifted his arms.
                I nodded. “Please do.” I replied. I winked at Dora before we stepped out.
                The Grand floor of Ade-Cole firm wore an elegant look. There was a chandelier in the centre. The staffs and attendants moved around with a smile that was rare on a normal working day. So much for a function. I walked round with Dare as we welcomed the guests.
                                “Immediately the meeting is over. There will be dinner, cannot wait. I am starving.” Dare whispered.
                I chuckled softly. “You are the host, remember?”
                                “So much for being my father’s son.”
                About thirty minutes later, the MC mounted and everyone had their seat. He read out my name to take the opening speech. I picked up my purse; it had turned out to be my companion for the night and mounted the podium, with radiant smiles. ‘You mustn’t forget to smile,’ Dora had warned. I went through the formalities, acknowledging the executives and board members, before I went ahead with the speech.
                The speech was clear and crisp. I tried my best to avoid stuttering, or ceasing, I also didn’t clear my throat, as I tried to sound vibrant and audible. I occasionally stopped to put a smile on my face. I swallowed while doing that, but not that it was obvious to the audience.
                As soon as I stepped down, there was a thunder of applause. I cast a quick glance at the Ade-Cole board just to ensure that I had their nod, and I wasn’t disappointed. They were all smiles. The claps continued until I had taken my seat beside Dare and the MC returned.
                Other important details followed, more guests were introduced and statements were read. Just like Dare, I soon started to feel hungry. I glanced at my wristwatch occasionally. The cameras would not permit me to ease my boredom by touching my phone, in addition that will just imply bad manners. There was a flat screen which had the visuals from the camera on. I couldn’t be caught ‘Pinging’ or even dozing. These functions made me weary.
                Dinner Time. Now we could have a less formal function. I glanced at my wristwatch; it was “10:45pm”
                                “You are with me, remember?” Dare said with a smile.
                Dare and I walked over to meet his father.
                                “Darlene, I want you to meet the head of Ade-Cole Law Firm, Mr Ayodeji Ade-Cole, my father.” Dare started. “Dad, meet Darlene Williams.”
                I smiled. “Good evening Sir.”
                                “Beautiful speech from a beautiful lady,” He started, staring at me. “You go for the best, son.” He said, turning to Dare, peering underneath his half mooned spectacles.
                Dare frowned slightly. “Thank you Sir.” His response was firm.
                Mr Ayodeji Ade-Cole cleared his throat. “You are Sir Williams’s daughter, right?” he asked.
                I nodded confidently. “Yes, I am.”
                He shot a quick glance at his companion and they exchanged a knowing look.
                                “Meet my brother, Dare’s uncle, Femi Ade-Cole.” He introduced quickly.
                We exchanged greetings.
                                “Why are you not working for your father?” he asked.
                Behold the much awaited question. It just had to be asked, but by Dare’s uncle? Didn’t know Ade-Cole was a family dynasty. I looked at Femi Ade-Cole with a slight grimace, didn’t want to appear rude. His question needed a very intelligent response. I didn’t want my father to appear weak before his biggest rivals. “It won’t hurt gathering a new experience, except if there’s nothing new to learn her Sirs.”
                                “Ahem!” Dare cleared his throat, standing closer to me. That could only mean one thing, ‘Shut up, D!’
                                “Of course, there are many things to learn from here.”Mr Ayodeji Ade-Cole replied, grinning.
                I frowned slightly. His grin put me off.
                                “Could you please excuse us Ms. Williams? I would like a word with this gentleman here,” he said patting Dare on the back.
                I nodded. “Yes, please…” I walked away briskly.
                I could bet my inheritance that Dare was about to hear the Why are you ‘sleeping with the enemy’ sermon? I joined Toni and Bola at their Table.
                                “Looking good tonight ladies,” I said, as I slid into a chair.
                                “You are beautiful.” Bola said.
                                “She’s always been. Tonight is just with a difference.” Toni added.
                I blushed. All through the night I had listened to compliments and had some heavy stares on me. Dora had made me ‘Simply Gorgeous’. I owe her a Chicken. ‘Will foil a drumstick for her’ I thought.
                                “Thanks ladies.” I appreciated.
                Bola smiled. “Beautiful speech, can’t say anything less about the giver.”
                                “Easy Bola, you are passing compliments like a man.” We all laughed.
                We joked about the Steaks that were being served and Toni bragged to cook them better.
                                “I’d make onions cry with a perfect steak.” She started. “You pay huge amount of money and steak still tastes like this.” She said, swallowing another spoon. “Fries, please.” She said to the attendant that passed our table. Bola and I exchanged quick glances.
                                “Mrs Small, you have complained all night about the food and yet your consumption rate is so high, how is that?” I asked.
                She smiled. “I am managing it. I can’t wait for the attendant to return with the Fries, and maybe, I could get some fish pepper soup too.” 
                                “I don’t know who’s going to carry you out of here, but certainly not me.” I replied.
                She rolled her eyes. “I don’t get why people with a size 8 frame still want to be size 0. You should eat well. Or, do you have an interest in modelling in the nearest future?”
                                “Good evening ladies.” Dare said, joining us at the table. He looked elegant in his tux. He shaved clean, and for the first time, I saw how perfectly rounded his lips well. ‘Wasn’t I in the car with him?’ he was also wearing a smart bow tie. Dare, sure knows how to look good. Debonair!
                                “Excuse us ladies, but Darlene and I will have to meet with the other guests now. We still have them pouring in, seems like they came for the food.” He joked. I smiled at Toni and Bola and left with Dare.
                They look so cute together, don’t they?’ ‘She’s beautiful, and I think he’s very handsome’ I couldn’t help but pick conversations as they littered around with people talking about Dare and I.
                                “You had a long talk with your Dad. Hope he’s impressed with the firm?”
                Dare smiled. “He couldn’t feel any better. He’s overwhelmed.” He replied, and shook hands with a couple that approached us.
                I stared at Mr Ade-Cole and his brother who seemed to have their reservations about me.
                                “Are they comfortable with me?” I asked.
                Dare swallowed. “Obviously.” Who was he trying to convince?
                                “If you say so,”
                He smiled. “I know so.”
                                “Darlene Williams?” I heard my name. Dare and I turned round.
                He widened his eyes. “Reina?”



                A Cool breeze blew from the South East as I rolled over on my bed. ‘Who wouldn’t respond well to mother nature?’ I thought as I stretched out. Mavis, our gardener had pleaded with Dad to have the Giant coconut tree opposite my room’s window cut down for security reasons, but I stood firm against it. I went Green! We should conserve nature, shouldn’t we? The leaves of the tree danced and its careless whisper buzzed in my ears. Welcome to the good life, Darlene.  I flung my window open and the heavy wind pushed my hair back. I spread my arms out as the tiny drops of rain trickled on my face. TGIF! I smiled.
                                “Stop this, Dad.” Dora yelled as Sir Williams pushed my door open.                               
                My splendid moment was short lived. “Whoever dubbed you with the ‘Sir’ tag should be here to witness your barging in on your daughter at 5 in the morning. Insomnia?” I asked. Sir Williams is such a ‘joy killer’. I thought.
The Oba of Lagos dubbed him ‘Sir’. The King deemed it fit to recognize Dad because of his numerous achievements and additions to the society.
                “You got a restraining order on Daniel, how could you?” Dad asked.
I widened my eyes in surprise.
                “Dad, I can’t believe you came all the way here to challenge me on a closed case.” I said with a grin.
                “Quit the Sarcasm, Darlene. That was pure injustice. Is it because the kid has no one to defend him?” he asked angrily.
                “I was defenseless when he attacked me that night.”
Dad hissed. “You should have awaited my orders.” He said, taking his seat.
I screamed so loud that Dad had to cover his eyes, yes, his eyes. “Can you hear yourself Sir Williams? I didn’t trust him, it was up to the judge to decide, and after hearing our sides, he granted it. That was the Judge’s decision, not mine.” I replied.
                “Oh come off it Darlene, the Judge decided based on your background.”
‘Background?!’ Sir Williams baffled me. “That should be your fault, not mine. I never requested to be born to you, God decided. Why are you so interested in this case? Is he also your son?” I asked, raising my voice.
                “I only want some justice for a young man who tried to get close to you and you used your status to kick him away.”
I groaned. “Stop sounding like this Dad. Everything I am and I have, I have earned. I don’t get my salary from you or your firm. I work. If you feel so attached to him, adopt him, or rather, acknowledge him. He could be your son and I could care less.” I said, glancing at Dora.
She swallowed. “I am sorry Dora. I didn’t mean it that way”
                “It’s Okay.” She replied.
Dad shook his head. “Darlene, you need to be a better person. The fact that you are in a position of advantage doesn’t mean you should lock up everyone against you.”
                “Sir, I didn’t lock up that truant, he is a stalker!”
Dad threw his hand back in anger and I missed been hit by an inch. I sunk into my bed.
                “What is it with you Dad?” Dora yelled.
He turned to her in anger. “Stay out of this.” He replied.
                “Why should I? I watched you yell at my sister for no genuine reason. Daniel is a stalker and he got restrained, so what?” she shouted.
                “You too?”
She rolled her eyes. “I think D is right. Who is Daniel to you? Alternatively, who is Daniel to us? Is he our brother?”
                “Daniel isn’t your brother. He is a young man with no one, he is good and he is my friend.”
Dora scoffed. “It turns out that you know little about your friend, he is not safe!”
I was shocked. I watched Dad and Dora talk and raise voices at each other while I nursed my cheek softly. If only Dad had hit me...
                “You,” Dad shouted pointing at me. “And you too,” he added, widening his eyes at Dora. “I won’t let any of my kids victimize innocent people because they can the shots.” He shouted.
I stared at him carefully. “Have you been drinking too much Vodka?” I asked.
                “Wow!” Dora burst into laughter.
Dad stared angrily. “What’s funny Dora? D...” he cursed silently and stormed out.
                “Never touch alcohol Dora.” I said, sprawling out on the bed.
She sat down on the bedside. “He is not drunk. At least, it is not as bad as you think.”
                “You think? How else can you explain a man of Dad’s age not being able to sleep and then he decided to visit an issue that had been closed since lunch time yesterday.” I said, rubbing my cheek.
Dora sighed. “Much ado about nada! He did not hit you!” I dropped my hand from my face and grimaced. “Dad couldn’t sleep. He read about Daniel’s case in the local feeds.”
                “I’ll say there’s more to Daniel and Dad than what meets the eye.”
She nodded. “There is, but I don’t know if he was completely honest with me when he said that Daniel is the son of a late close friend.”
I fetched my bathrobe. “So, it’s the traditional dying wish of ‘Please take of my son ’and your Dad must be trying to do just that, right? Isn’t Daniel too old for ‘babysitting’? I said, turning on the shower.
                “You don’t have your bath this early.” Dora said, closing the windows.
                “Dad has ruined my morning. So I’ll just have my bath, and surf the Internet for a while before heading out.” I replied. “I’ll be back by noon to prepare for the dinner.”
I slipped into my bathrobe. “Want to see my dress?”
                “Yes, please.” She replied.
I opened the closet and dropped the dress on the bed.
                “Wow!” she turned the dress to its back. “This is a statement. I’ll put your make up on.”
I stared at her.
                “Don’t be scared. I had my make-up classes at The House of Tara; you do know what it is to have Tara Durotoye take your make-up classes, right? She said, proudly.
I rolled my eyes. Undoubtedly, Tara Durotoye is a force to reckon with in the country when it came to events, she couldn’t get it wrong. Did Dora have to brag about going to her make-up school? Next thing, she will be telling me that she is dancing at Kaffy’s School.
                “I don’t want a make-over. The dress is good enough.” I warned.
She curtsied. “As your lordship pleases”
                “Thank you.” I dashed into the Bathroom to avoid my hot water bath going cold.
I was about shutting the elevator doors when Dare stepped in.
                “Morning Darlene,”
                “Morning Dare.”
He smiled. “Thanks for yesterday.”
                “For nothing, hope you feel a lot better?” I asked.
He nodded. “Couldn’t be any better. Big night ahead, you set?”
                “I am.” I replied. ‘It is just an opening speech’ I thought. Why so much fuss? Anyone could read an opening speech, well not anyone, especially at an event of huge magnitude.
Dare cleared his throat as the elevator door opened to the last floor.
                “Darlene, please be my date tonight.” He said, with a smile.

Sunday, July 15, 2012




                ‘Good morning Lagosians. Its 5am this morning and it is all about the early morning traffic in the Metropolis. Ring us up and let’s know how it is in your region.’  I turned the volume of the radio down as I slipped into my bathroom slippers. I had rung a taxi to pick me up to work and then Dare and I would go to the City Mall together. Shower would not take forever, and especially when trying to beat Lagos’s ever busy traffic. Things only got worse when the Lagos State Government ordered the closure of the Third Mainland Bridge that linked into the City’s busiest parts.

                                “We will be moving against the traffic.” The Taxi driver said, as I stepped in.

                That was a relief to me. I fetched my Phone from my bag and tweeted, I will be moving against Traffic. Third Mainland can’t stop me.’  The driver raced against the traffic as we delved into the road recklessly, shoving other road users aside. I kicked, screamed and fumed to no avail, but the driver could not be moved. He kept bumping into every pothole.

                                “Ade-Cole Firm…we don dey check,” he said in his broken English accent as we highlighted at work.

                I arrived at work for 6:47AM. That was a record! However, I had to pay for my early arrival. My head hurt! The security officers greeted me as I approached the building. I immediately left for my office. Arriving that early would mean that I would be the only one in the office, official duties starts by 8am. I turned on my office lights.

                                “Why are you here so early?”


                Dare shifted his weight from the swivel chair and leaned on the table. “Good morning.”

                                “What are you doing here?” I asked, staring at him.

                He stretched his body and his bones cracked violently. He must have slept in a position of discomfort. “This is my firm.”

                                “MY OFFICE! You broke into my office, which is punishable by the law. There’s a legal term for that, um…”

                He smiled and picked his Jacket from the table. “Trespassing, it is called trespassing. I had a lot to do in preparation for tomorrow’s event, when I was done, the city’s traffic held me up. Satisfied?”

                                “Are you going home now?”

                                “Yes. I will be heading home against the traffic so that we’ll make it in time for City Mall.”

                I nodded my head. “You have to be careful, because, if you get apprehended by the cops, you won’t go cheap.”

                                “It won’t be my first time in lock up, remember?”

                I nodded.

                                “What are you doing here this early anyways?” he asked, opening the door.

                                “I had to beat traffic.”

                He closed the door quietly after him. “Why not his office?” I thought aloud. I bent down and saw a Picture faced down. It was a picture of Dare and a little boy, probably around the age of four to five. ‘Who could this be?’ I thought. The door flung open as Dare rushed in. I stretched the picture to him. His eyes burned with fury. He took the picture from me without saying a word and walked out.

                                “Who could that be?” I asked myself.

                Dare seemed upset about me looking at the picture, so it had to be important to him. It was still early in the morning and Toni could not help me with any answers yet, so I turned on my laptop and searched Paul’s Facebook Account.

                                ‘Marital Status: Engaged to Marie Branson

`               I sighed as I went over his recent posts. Paul’s recent post read, ‘I’ll be happy with Marie.” I was not convinced with the post, but I became the 37th friend to LIKE the Post. Paul had posted several pictures of himself and Marie Branson. I had cold chills down my spine. At that moment, I had to admit to a slight jealousy. I logged off from the Internet and returned to thoughts about Dare’s picture. I got lost in the thought that I didn’t notice Toni before me.

                                “Darlene!” she yelled. “I have been here for almost five minutes.”

                I popped my eyes open. “I am sorry Toni. Please sit.”

                                “Why do you look so worried?” she asked, as she took her seat.

                I cleaned my brows. “It’s nothing Toni. I was lost in thoughts.” I replied, pouring myself a cup of coffee. “You care?”

                                “Yes please. Black, low fat.”

                I smiled. “You should try more slimming down techniques, coffee isn’t really the best.”

                She eyeballed me coldly. “Humans are so insatiable! You told me to try to work out, only last night, I saw an Indian movie ‘Anjaana Anjaani’ and Priyanka Chopra was going on about Black Coffee…Low fat. If I continue like that, I will be as fit and hot as Priyanka Chopra in a year.”

                                “Toni, you make me laugh. You will get there in five years, if you promise to reduce an intake on your Pepsi and burger.”

                She scoffed. “I won’t take hunger as a substitute for good living.” She sipped her coffee lightly. “That aside, why did you look very sad?”

                                “Paul is getting married.”

                She dropped the coffee on the table. “Paul?”

                                “Yes, and it will be soon. I don’t understand how it happened. He just decided to get married to some random girl I am sure he met while in the Bahamas.”

                Toni sighed. “I still find it hard to believe. That guy was so much in love with you.”

                                “Jake must have planted that idea in his head. I bet he made Paul think of something weird.”

                She shrugged. Toni finished the last bit of the coffee and passed the cup to me. “I think Paul is mature to take any decision he so wishes. Jake isn’t responsible for his actions.”

                                “If you say so, I have a question for you.”

                She adjusted her weight against the chair. “Go ahead.”

                                “Is Dare hurt emotionally?”

                She laughed. “I always knew that you care for him, why the question?”

                                “He slept in my office last night. He claimed that he had so much to do at work, so the traffic held him up, but I don’t believe it?”

                Toni shrugged carelessly.  “I don’t know if he is hurt. He is so over Reina, so I know that she’s not responsible for whatever shape he might be in. maybe, he’s having issues with his father.” She started. “Old Ade-Cole doesn’t miss a chance to take constant swipes at his son. He wants him to be HIM.”

                                “Almost every father wants that from his son. Do you think that’s the reason why he could be unstable?”

                She nodded in agreement. “At the moment, I think so. He is under a lot of pressure to deliver tomorrow. Top members of the state will be in attendance, so everything has to go on well.”

                                “Okay. Is there anything special or sensitive about Dare that you know?” I asked.

                Toni stared at me carefully. “Dare isn’t gay. He is a straight guy.”

                                “Shut up Toni. Who said a thing about Dare being gay?”

                                “Then why are you probing into his life without a destination? If you have something that needs to be cleared up, all you have to do is say what you know.” She replied with a bit of harshness in her tone.

                I stared at her. “So much attitude for a simple enquiry.”

                                “It’s not a simple enquiry Darlene; you are beating around the bush. I bet you found out something that you want me to confirm, all I need is for you to say what it is, and then I will ease your suspicions.”

                I was a bit skeptical about dropping the news. I am afraid of being seen as nosy by Dare and as impulsive by Toni. If I should mention it to Toni and she wasn’t aware of it previously, I would have leaked out something that I wasn’t sure of the import.

                                “Darlene, I have seen you as a close friend ever since you got here, you can try to see me as a friend. Dare means a lot to me, if there is something that should be known for his good, I’d rather you say.”

                My eyes blinked repeatedly. “I would like an honest answer to the question, and a very direct one.”

                                “Go ahead.”

                I took a deep breath. “Does Dare have a son?”

                                “Darlene, I have never refused you a question about Dare, but on this one, if Dare has anything to tell you, he will. You won’t hear it from me.”

                I sighed. “I just want a YES or NO”

                                “Sorry Darlene, you won’t get that from me.” She replied, standing up. She adjusted her grey jacket. “There are some matters that stay personal, and are rather not discussed for the good of us all. Don’t take it the wrong way.”

                I nodded. “I understand.”

                                “That word weighs, if you don’t understand, just shrug.” She replied with a smile as she headed for the door. “Later hun, and best of luck with the stalker’s case.” She added and left.

`               Bola came in. “Morning Darlene.”

                                “Hi Bola.”

                She handed me the Dailies. “Dare called in and said that you should meet him in the Car garage in five minutes. He’s parked at the executives.”

                                “Thank you Bola.” I replied. She smiled as she left.

                I flipped through the back pages and stumbled on a remembrance column that read:

                                “IN LOVING MEMORY OF TOBI ADE-COLE…It’s been 3 years since you’ve gone and I still miss you – Dad”