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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

DEAR FUTURE HUSBAND - EPISODE 13


DEAR FUTURE HUSBAND – EPISODE 13


EPISODE 13
Wole took a deep breath and stepped away from Tola. “Why are you doing this?”
“I don’t know.” She replied, quite dumbly.
He shook his head. “Tola, I don’t need this right now.” He started. “I don’t want you building my hopes and then dashing it the next second because you are undecided.”
She clasped her hands into her lap and took a seat. “Wole, I don’t know why I am saying all these, but I am scared of losing you.”
He took his seat beside her. “Tola, how true is that? I fear you still care about Tolu and even if he is a douche bag, I want to respect that.” He replied. “I’ll always be here for you till I can’t wait anymore.”
She held his tie. “Wole, I want you now.”
He shook his head in disagreement. “You don’t know what you want. I don’t want to cry over you anymore, so I want you to make a real decision.”
“Wole, I am doing that.” She replied, quietly.
He lifted her chin to his face. “Tola, I love you, but I don’t know if you love me, or if you just want me as a consolation prize till you can straighten Tolu into the man you want him to be.” He said. “I don’t know why I am crazy about you, but I am scared that this isn’t real.”
She sighed. “I don’t know why I am saying this now, but Wole, just take this part of me, I may never be able to do this again.”
“I’ll wait till you can be really sure of what you want and of course, let me know that it’s real.”
She nodded. “I understand.” She replied, standing up.
He pulled her back towards him. “Tola, I am not pushing you away. I just want a woman that is mine and that sees me as hers.” He said as he stroked her hair. “I just want you to really want me, and then we would be happy. I want to know that I can be your man anytime, any day and that we are going to love each other.”
“I don’t know about love for now.” She said, turning away. “Tolu is in my head, I need to get him out, and it’s been years.”
He nodded. “I understand and that’s why I don’t want you to jump based on the impulse of what you feel right now, especially when he hurts you. You need to really decide.”
“Wole, can we try?”
His eyes blinked. “Are you serious about it?”
She nodded. “I want to start with you, I want to see where we can go from here, together.” He took a deep breath and rubbed his forehead. “Wole, I want to love you just as you love me and maybe do better. I want to be there for you.”
“Can you do it?”
She nodded. “Wole, I want to. And I want to love you with everything I am and I have.” She paused and then looked into his eyes. “But Wole, please don’t hurt me.”
He pulled her close and hugged her. “I won’t let you down.”
***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************                Oyinkan stepped out of the car. “I think you shocked Henry when you said you are Kim’s fiancé.”
David carried the gift bags out of the trunk. “I think so too, but I can’t care less. I hope for his sake that he doesn’t like Kimberly a little too much, else, I’ll kill him.”
“Whaooo… talking like Kim’s man already, what has gotten into you?” she asked, laughing as they stepped into the house.
He shrugged. “I am not acting like her man, I am only wondering why she has so many men around her. Can you believe that one of her numerous ‘suitors’ showed up this morning when I was meant to take her to work?”
“Really?” Oyinkan probed as she sank into his bed.
He nodded. “That’s right and when I told the idiot that he could take her to work; he had the effrontery to jump at it, knowing I am her fiancé.”
“Why did you give him the opportunity?”
He shrugged. “I didn’t know what else to do. But I don’t think he and Kimberly are on good terms.”
She smiled. “And that must gladden your heart, right?”
“Not exactly, but in a way, yes.”
She nodded. “Of course you are happy, cousin.”
He brought out his diary and started to write. “Erm…Oyinkan, I have a question to ask you?”
“Okay…” she said, trying to see what he was writing.
He shoved it in her face. “It’s personal!” he said, keeping the diary away. “Do you think Kimberly could love me?”
She nodded. “I think so. You are adorable, even with all your irritable nature, ladies really adore you.”
“Kimberly is not just any lady.”
She smiled. “I know that, but I feel that she’s a very thoughtful woman who would find a reason to adapt or cope with you when you guys eventually get married.”
“So, she may not love me?”
She snapped. “David! What is it with the ‘love’ question? You guys are not in love; I think you’ll cope maturely, at least better than your parents.”
He mumbled over a few words and hissed. “How’s the dude you have been seeing of recent?”
“He is doing fine. He’s really heartbroken, so I have been talking him through it; he stands taller than a lot of guys I have met in the past few years.”
David hissed. “A guy only gets heartbroken if he wants to, no girl can hurt me.”
“How would you feel if the woman you love had another man that she loved and was to marry and hid it from you?” She shot back. “I think the girl was being unfair and she played on his love and that has made him a sad man.”
He nodded. “Yes ma, I won’t pretend that I feel sorry for your friend. He is a fool! Only a fool would let a girl do that to him, and I suggest you stop hanging around his shallow brain before it infiltrates your knowledge.”
Oyinkan screamed. “David!!! Where is all this coming from? You are sounding so harsh.”
He shrugged. “That’s typical of me, isn’t it?” he asked. “And of course, how would you say Kim would never love me.” he murmured.
She covered her mouth with her hand and jumped on David. “OMG!!! You like Kimberly!”

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

Prof Bankole adjusted his cap as he picked his golf ball from the hole. “I still hit better than you, Bolu.” He said, returning to the seat.
Bolu Coker sneered. “That’s because I always let things slide.”
“You dirty liar! What have you ever let slide?” Prof. Bankole retorted.
Bolu shrugged. “How’s the bride to be? I think those guys are stalling too much, we should make swift interference.” He suggested, puffing his cigar.
Tunji Bankole nodded. “You know, my problem is that Kimberly is really bull headed, she looks soft but she has this stupid arrogance on the inside and a strong resolve, I think she’s even trying to edge out of the marriage.”
“SHE CAN’T! There’s no way back for them.” He barked, angrily.
Tunji laughed. “Bolu, you should calm down. You are taking this too seriously.”
“You think we shouldn’t? Don’t be too soft on Kimberly; remember she’s your daughter, not your mother! And even your mother couldn’t make decisions for you.”
Tunji nodded. “Relax Bolu, I have pending issues on Kimberly to worry about than the marriage. It’s certain she’ll marry your son, I won’t betray you my friend, you’ve been helpful in time past and it’s time I return the favor.”
Bolu Coker nodded. “So what are the other issues?”
“You know Kimberly loves to write. She has decided to chase that dream and she just got a head way.”
Bolu scoffed. “What sort of lame thing is that? You do know that Elizabeth was into painting. The stupid woman littered my house and son’s life with paints and papers. Fool!”
Tunji nodded. “That reminds me, where’s Elizabeth? The society has forgotten about her since you started going around with different models.”
Bolu smiled. “I change the models when I want. Younger ladies are actually a lot interesting.” He replied. “I have Elizabeth in a facility far away. I haven’t even been there since I kept her away from David. She was softening my boy.”
“But, don’t you think that’s too harsh?”
Bolu scoffed. “Tunji, I would have suggested you did the same with Wura, but you are just being a jelly, anyway it’s been 12 years since I kept her away, thankfully, she isn’t missed.”
“Not even by David?” Tunji asked, concerned.
Bolu nodded. “He doesn’t even want to know about her.”
Tunji blinked. “Bolu, you have created a decent monster in that boy.” He replied. “I don’t know if I want my Kimberly with him.”
Bolu hissed. “Stop being a sissy, Tunji Bankole! It’s not as if you and Wura are living happily, yet you win Mom and Dad of the year award constantly, there’s always a way around things.”
Tunji helped himself to a seat. “Anyway, when is the next takeover?”
“In the next two months. How about your personal project? How is it going?”
Tunji smiled. “It should be next month, but some situations have pushed my adrenalin, I think I’ll start tomorrow.”
“Tunji, you sly devil! You are not so innocent, are you?”
Tunji laughed. “I hope you are preparing for Niran Briggs Charity event on Friday?”
“I have some money arranged for it. David would be representing the family. I have other important issues to attend to. David has been instigating me on that his friend that died and so I have to know where the mess is coming from?”
Tunji nodded. “Biola, right? The girl that had Cancer?”
Bolu nodded in agreement. “David has been all over me and I want to contain the situation quickly.” He said, standing up.
“You should do that immediately. It’s your mess to clean up.”
He smiled. “Tunji, get a grip on your daughter, we can’t have anyone of those kids spoiling our plans at this stage. I’ll talk to David about hastening the wedding preparations.”

**********************************************************************************************************************************************************************
I poured Ini a glass of wine. “So, what’s new in your life?!” she asked.
“Nothing.”
Ini smiled. “Kim, David sent you a gift just a while before you came in.”
“Really? Let me see it.” I replied.
She dashed into the house and returned with a gift bag. “Here you go.” She said.
I opened the gift back and brought out a gown and smiled. “What kind of a guy is David?” I asked.
Ini snatched the bag and brought out two pairs of shoes and a tiffany box. “It’s not over, sweetheart.” She said, passing the shoes and the other accessories. There’s a note here for you.” she said and gave it to me.
‘Kimberly Bankole, I’d love if you could wear this to the charity event on Friday. David’
I smiled. “He’s asked politely.” Ini hissed. “What?!”
“What if he didn’t ask politely? Did he have to beg you to whisk you away on Valentine’s Day?”
I nodded. “Whatever, Ini Obong! How’s Marcus?”
“He’s doing fine. We have a job for next week.”
I smiled. “You are one lucky lady, earning so much for your laziness.”
Durr…I am not lazy, I work hard for my money.” The clouds clattered and thunder struck. “Weather for three…” Ini said, as she stood up. “I can’t wait for Tola to return, we’ll snuggle up together, the three of us, I’ll make coffee when she comes.” Ini said, delightfully.
I hissed as the rain poured. “You meant to say, I’ll make the coffee, ‘coz you know you don’t know how to do anything.”
She smiled. “I actually do try, you know. What do you think is going on with Tola and Tolu?”
“I thought they had broken up.” I replied.
She nodded. “I thought so too, but when she returned yesterday or so, she spoke with him on the phone.”
“Maybe she wants to get her stuffs from him.”
Ini shook her head in disagreement. “I don’t think so. She took almost everything when we went to pack.”
I took a deep breath. “It would be a disgrace if she got back with that man.” I replied, and left for the kitchen. “I’ll make prawn crackers, are you in?”
“Most definitely.” Ini replied.
I turned on the gas and in no time, we had something to munch on while we waited up for Tola.
“Why is she taking so long?” Ini asked, as she ate the last cracker.
I rolled my eyes. “The rain is really heavy. You don’t expect her to make it through the storm, there may be one and it’s not really safe for her.” I replied, as I sipped my cup of chocolate.
She nodded in agreement. “You are right.” She replied and wriggled in her puffy pajamas. “It’s really cold tonight. I need a new boyfriend.”
“What happened to your ex? You walked him out, remember?”
She smiled. “That dude had nothing to offer, and I would have jumped at Michael from the agency, but with the way Marcus beat him up, I now see him as a whim.”
I laughed. “Have you thought about Marcus? I think he likes you.”
“Eewww!”
I popped my eyes out. “What??? Marcus is a fine man, he’s caring, he can cook and that suits your lazy self. You should be grateful for him in your life.”
“I don’t like men like him, he lacks wits. I like someone else.”
I frowned. “But he’s been doing better in these past few days, so who do you have your sights on?” I asked, downing the rest of my drink.
“Wole Briggs!”
I spilled the drink from my mouth. “Ini! He likes Tola!”
“So? She’s into Tolu, and that says more than enough, doesn’t it?”
I shook my head in disagreement. “That’s just stupid of you, Ini. Don’t do this to Tola.”
“Chill…it’s not like I am going to jump into his bed without his notice.”
I slammed the table. “Just stop! So you have it in mind to date Wole Briggs?”
She nodded with a smile. “He is an eligible bachelor and he meets my requirement, so if he comes around, I most definitely won’t decline.”
I wore a frown. “Don’t let Tola even know that you have these stupid thoughts in you.”
“What would she do? Wole is a free man.”
The door knob turned and Tola came in laughing. “Hello ladies…” she said, excitedly.
“Hi sweetheart.” I replied. “How did you make it through the rain?” I asked, standing up.
She stood in front of the door. “I am okay, and I’d like to introduce someone to you guys.” She said, as she stepped aside. “Ta-da!!! Meet my new boyfriend!”
Wole Briggs smiled as he waved at us. I flashed a grin at Ini who grinned back.
“Really??? Boyfriend?” Ini asked, with a smile that I could bet a fortune on wasn’t genuine.
Tola nodded as they came in all soaked from the rain. “I’ll be right back.” She said, and left for the room.
Wole stood shyly at the door and tried to avoid our stare. Ini and I kept on looking at him. I knew he was uncomfortable so I stopped. “Okay, I am sorry.” I said, as I helped him to a seat.
“I’d rather stand. I am all soaked.” He replied.
Ini hissed. “Why bother? A chair is to be sat on, there are no rules.” She said and forced him into the chair. I watched Ini as she delicately forced him into a chair. My God! Ini is so full of it!
Tola returned with a towel. “So, Wole, the bathroom is down the hallway, I’ll just lead you there and get you a bathrobe while I dry yours.” She said.
He collected the towel and followed her to the guest room.
“Damn, that boy has got good packs! They were all revealing from his wet shirt.” Ini said.
I shot at Ini. “Ini, I beg you not to try anything foolish. You are beginning to show the side of you that Tola feared when she first introduced Tolu to you.”
“Babe, relax. I won’t jump at Wole, more so, now that they might have something serious. I love my girlfriend, won’t hurt her.” She replied.
I took a deep breath and took my seat. “Ini, I hope this is true.” I replied.
She nodded. “It is true, be not afraid.” She said, laughing.

************************************************************************************************************************************************************
“I’d love to welcome us all to tonight’s Charity ball and events. I am your host, Niran Briggs and this year, we the elite families in Nigeria have decided to raise the sum of 5 million dollars for the African children living in penury.” Niran Briggs started.
David Coker looked sharp in his Black tuxedo and Bow tie and I could spot Wole and Tola afar off, she was chatting with Mrs. Briggs. I wore the gown David had bought me and tried to keep my positioning and light smile as the cameras came flashing in our faces.
“I’d love to recognize the presence of our distinguished guests here. From the families of Bolu Coker and Professor Tunji Bankole, we have their children David Coker and Kimberly Bankole who are also an engaged couple.” Mr. Briggs said.
The crowd clapped as the camera came over to David and I. David took my hand and we rose up for acknowledgement.
“Thank you very much, David and Kimberly.”Mr. Briggs continued. “We expect the date for your wedding soonest, and probably we’ll be using the finest resorts home and abroad for the function. On behalf of my family, I promise to be actively involved in the wedding.”
The crowd cheered as the cameras came over us again. David smiled at me and whispered into my ears. “show-off.” I smiled back. “Have I told you that you are beautiful?” David asked, staring at me.
“You said that when we left the house, and then in the car and when we stepped in and now, so, you have said several times today.” I replied, with a smile.
He smiled. “You are beautiful, Kimberly.” He said, staring at me.
I felt really uneasy as heat flushed across my face. “Thank you.” I replied. “You are also admirable, you have ladies turning heads.” I added, trying to shift the uneasy feeling from me.
He smiled as he looked around flashing a ‘playboy’ smile to some ladies on a table. “I am already taken.” He whispered to me.
“Ah…I see…so who’s she?” I asked.
He raised an eyebrow and pursed his lips, revealing his dimple. “She’s beautiful, smart, and she’s you.” he replied.
“Whaooo…” I said, quietly. “That’s flattering, David.” I replied.
He nodded. “One of my many qualities.” I smiled.
Niran Briggs continued. “I presume the donation baskets are going round now, so I’ll take this opportunity to introduce my son and his beautiful girlfriend. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you Wole Briggs and Tola Matthews.”
I smiled as I watched Wole and Tola stand up to take their acknowledgements.
“Never knew Tola was dating Wole Briggs.” David said.
I smiled. “Now you know.”
“Maybe they can pick us our home. I want to get a house next week.” He said with a smile. I smiled faintly. “Don’t worry; it’s just for me to move away from my father’s house. Our wedding would be on your terms, you have to be ready.”
I stared at him. “My terms?”
He nodded. “What do I have to lose?” he asked. I smiled and looked away. I liked him more.
The donation basket was dropped on our table and David dropped his father’s cheque and I dropped my Dad’s. He then brought out his own cheque and enveloped it. ‘David & Kim’
“Very thoughtful of you. I’ll pay you back from first salary.”
He smiled. “I don’t need your money.”
I nodded. “I know. But I’ll pay you.”
“Now, we may have the couples dance.” Niran Briggs announced.
Katharine McPhee’s ‘beautiful stranger’ played and David stood up, stretching his hand out at me. “May I?”
“David, I don’t dance…” I whispered.
He smiled like a debonair; he had maintained that smile and same stare. He must have been too used to functions like this. “I’ll cover you.” he said, and took me to the dance floor.
“Stay glued to me, and your head close to my shoulder, I’ll take the lead and you’ll follow. Try not to step on my suede.” He said, with a smile.
“I’ll try.”
The dance appeared successful but his shoe took a lot of pain which he pretended not to feel. We stepped outside after the dance and hurried over to the car as the rain started.
“It’s been raining these days.” He said, as he opened the door for me.
I nodded. “You are right.”
He opened the door and took his seat as he rubbed his hand for warmth. He turned on the heater. “I am sorry, I don’t do well under these conditions.” He said as his teeth clattered.
I laughed. “Oh well, at least, you are not so macho after all, you took all the pain from the shoe, but the rain is bullying you.” I said as I laughed.
“Maybe you could return the favor by hugging me, I am really cold.” He said, with a sensual smile.
I rolled my eyes. “You are a pervert.”
“Really?” he said, as he struggled to keep his eyes open, they fell together carelessly. He titled over towards me and kept on staring at me, for the first time, I felt the impulse to draw closer to him, and I didn’t hesitate as he firmed his lips against mine and we kissed.


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Saturday, May 25, 2013

DEAR FUTURE HUSBAND - EPISODE 12


DEAR FUTURE HUSBAND – EPISODE 12

 

 

EPISODE 12

Ben leaned against the door as he stared at David. “Good morning, fighter!”

David smiled. “I clearly don’t regret that punch.” He replied.

I cleared my throat. “Why are you here, Ben?”

He mumbled over a few inaudible words. “Erm…I came to take you to work.”

“Clearly…” David replied.

I pursed my lips. “I would be going with my fiancé.” I said, looking at David.

Ben nodded and stepped back. “Okay.”

David cut in. “No…you can take her.” He said. I stared at him. “Of course, I mean…there’s no problem.”

“But David…” I stressed.

He shrugged with a smile and handed the laptop bag to Ben who didn’t hesitate to collect it. “Its okay, Kim. We’ll see some other time.” He replied.

“David?” I called. I couldn’t understand the reason for his action and it scared me. David was acting too easy.

He came closer to me showing the dashing height difference between us. He tilted his head forward and kissed my forehead. “Take care, Kimberly.” He said and walked off to his car.

I was mute, speechless, and confused. For a minute I was blank. I kept on staring at him and eventually at the direction in which his car went. At that moment, I wished Ben didn’t show up. I felt different. Something was different with me.

Ben cleared his throat. “Can we go?”

I nodded and followed like a stooge into his Car. Memories of David kissing my forehead flowed through my mind as Ben drove. I pushed my weight against the arm rest as my thought and heart strayed. ‘Could David be in love with me?’ I thought. A rueful smile rocked my lip as the thought of being in love was almost evident. I had never had anyone kiss my forehead except my Mom, and David just did. I felt another person apart from my Mom genuinely loved me.

“Ouch!” I screamed as my head hit the mirror. I shot a glance at Ben.

“I am sorry. There was a pot hole.” He replied.

I nodded. “Yeah right! The kind of pothole that a man engineers himself to gain attention!” I replied angrily.

He cleared his throat. “I didn’t do that on purpose even though I had been calling your name for the last five minutes and you didn’t respond.”

I felt embarrassed. “I am sorry.”

“You must love David.” He said. I stared at him. He blinked his eyes and continued. “Clearly he doesn’t love you.”

I felt irritated. “What do you know?”

“A man who loves you would never release you to another man.”

I scoffed. “That’s a lame theory.” I replied. ‘Why was I acting all defensive? It’s not as if David and I were in love. It was just a kiss, just a kiss! Simple!’ I reprimanded myself in my heart and snapped out of my fantasies.

Ben pulled up at the office. “Kimberly, I am sorry about not telling Mr. Adeoye about you.” he started. I rolled my eyes. “I get it, I was stupid, angry and disappointed.”

“So, you decided to get back at me?” I asked. “Look Ben, I really like you, you are a good guy, but you lying to your boss because you want to hurt me just shows how low you are.” I replied. “It’s just unbelievable that a man like you, with so much character would do such.”

He nodded. “I get it! But what was I to do? I am in love with you, Kimberly! Right from the day you stepped at Millaroca, you left an effect on me and you are everything I want, I couldn’t come to terms with it that you are engaged.”

“Ben, a man who loves a woman can leave her with another man because he trusts her, but a man who loves a woman, even if she doesn’t love him would NEVER hurt her.” I stressed. “You hurt me, Ben. That’s not love.” I replied and stepped out of the car.

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

Wole raised his head as soon as Tola stepped into his office. “Good morning.” He said.

“Morning, Wole.” She replied and walked over to the coffee pot and poured herself some coffee. “Aren’t you overdoing it for wanting to be around me?”

He took off his glasses. “Overdoing what?”

She scoffed. “You...working all hard, trying to impress…I mean, you got this job because of me. You don’t need it.”

He smiled. “Tola, I am not a foolish man. I agree to have come here because of you, but I am also willing to learn new things every day. We may not always get what we want but it doesn’t mean we throw everything we can get away.” He replied. “And stop feeling too important, I am not working hard because of you, I am working hard for my future, either with you or someone else.”

Tola swallowed hard. His last word hurt her deeply. “Erm…we’ll have to be on the mainland soon…Chief Ajose wants a house.” She said.

Wole nodded. “Of course ma’am.” He replied.

She dropped the cup and walked out. As she approached the office, she met Tolu. “Why are you here, Tolu?”

“Tola, I want you to move back to the house. It’s not the same without you.” he said.

Tola stared around. “What are you saying? It’s not like I ‘live’ there.”

He nodded. “I know. But I want to make it our home.”

“Our home?” she asked.

He nodded and got down on one knee bringing out a ring from his jacket. “Please marry me, Tola.”

She smiled and then laughed. “A joke, right?”

“No. I want you in my life. I can’t go on without you.”

Wole approached without the notice of Tola or Tolu. He saw Tolu on one knee with a ring stretched out and he stepped back behind the nearest door. He stared at them as a hot tear rolled down his left eye. He immediately wiped it and watched on as Tola stretched her hand and collected the ring. He immediately disappeared into the toilet.

Tola smiled. “This is expensive. How much did you get it?”

“What does it matter, my love?” Tolu asked, with a smile. “You are worth every treasure.”

She nodded with a smile. “Tolu, do you know what’s more hurting than you hitting me?”

“I don’t understand.” He replied.

She took a deep breath. “The fact that you think I am foolish sucks a lot!”

“What are you saying? I love you, Tola.”

She nodded. “You love my Bank account!” she replied. “So, you wanna marry me so I can legally start paying for everything as your wife, playing your role?”

“What are you saying???” he replied, standing up.

She hissed. “You bought this ring with my money! What have you got on your own? All you want is me, my money and that’s all. Before you marry, get a job and get a life!” she replied hurling the ring at him.

“Tola! This is unfair! Why are you doing this? Are you breaking up with me? We only just made up.” He replied, panting heavily.

She scoffed. “Why are you tensed? You are afraid your money bag is all gone, right. Just chill, chill till I take everything I got you and burn it right in your face then you can die.” She replied and walked away.

He dragged her hand back. “You can’t do this to me.” he said.

“You do realize this is a top firm and you are manhandling a top executive here, I might have you locked up.”

He held her face. “What is all this??? WHERE IS THIS COMING FROM???” he yelled.

“I just realized a real man loves me and you are always in my face, just leave me alone, and let me be with this man! Get away from my life!” she said, and forced herself away from his grip. “Now get out!” she shouted.

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

Marcus sipped his malt gently. “So, where do we go from here?” he asked.

Ini took a deep breath. “I don’t know, Marcus. 60% to Shola Jones from next week’s job is crazy.”

He nodded. “That’s a whooping 1.2 million Naira.”

“And we’ll just be left with 800,000. We should kill that girl.” She replied laughing. Marcus face was stone. Ini laughed. “Just kidding, baby. I already regret what we did.”

He sighed. “We’ll be broke soon.”

“Don’t worry; I won’t hurt your manager fee. You’ll get ten percent of that balance.” She said, laughing.

He frowned. “That’s 80,000…too small. My fee used to be 20%”

“Hello sweetheart, you see wetin dey happen or not?” she asked in pidgin. “Abeg o…babe don broke too.”

He nodded. “Of course. Make it 100,000. I have bills to pay, Ini.”

“Fine.” She replied. “You better find a way to get us out of this mess, else, we’ll be cash strapped with that b*tch around.”

He sighed. “I don’t know what we’ll do.”

“Helloooooo…………..” Shola said, joining them in the cafeteria. “So, I hear there’s a job next week. When were you going to tell me?” she asked, taking a seat.

Ini hissed. “What don’t you know? Sooner or later, you would have found out after all, you sleep with everyone here.”

“Ini Obong, I don’t like people playing smart with me, keep to your end of the deal. Naija prison no dey smile o…” she replied. “Here’s my account number. I expect my 1.2 million as soon as the money lands.” She said, passing the paper to Marcus. “Cheer up, Marcus, you would be broke forever.”

Marcus smiled. “Don’t be so sure, Shola Jones. This will stop sooner than you think.” He replied.

“Talking tough, Marcus? You don chop lion heart o…anyway, we’ll see about that.” She replied and walked away.

He frowned. “Ini, you didn’t say anything when she attacked me.”

Ini smiled. “You were the one who went tearing at her.”

“Really?! I am doing this for us, we need to destabilize her.”

She nodded. “I have a plan.”

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

I pressed the doorbell of Victoria’s Homes firmly. There was no response, so I pressed the bell a second time.

The door opened up and a young ‘sister’ opened it. ‘No offence, but is she allowed to fall in love, or feel at least a little of what I felt this morning when David kissed my forehead?’ I thought as soon as I saw her. “Peace be unto you.” she said, with a smile.

“Good afternoon, I want to see Mother Francesca.” I said, with a smile.

She smiled. “Kimberly Bankole, right?”

I nodded. “Yes.”

She led the way into Victoria’s Home. It was my first time in her vicinity. The facility was really large and ‘mothers’ and ‘sisters’ flocked the compound helping elderly people in scrubs to the garden for relaxation. I smiled as I saw a few of the parents gather together.

She stopped in front of Mother Francesca’s office and let me in. I stepped in and stood before Mother Francesca. “Good afternoon Mother.”

“Kimberly…you are true to your words, I love that. Welcome, please take a seat.”

I took my seat. “Thank you, ma. How’s Mrs. Elizabeth?”

She smiled. “She’s okay. Just a little sad, she’s been asking about you all day.”

“I had to go to work.”

Mother Francesca nodded. “I understand. Before I let you run off to her, I have to talk to you about something.”

I nodded. “I am all ears.”

“Elizabeth was brought here under special circumstances, and as you might have noticed, she’s not in the same age range as the other women or people here.” She started. “She is a special patient and she’s never been visited in the past 12 years. She was literally dumped here and receives allowance every month which we have saved up for her.” She continued. “She is a woman who needs love and I don’t want you coming into her life if you are going to run away soon. I don’t want her to be hurt.”

I nodded. “I’d never hurt her. I want to help her.” I replied.

Mother Francesca smiled. “Okay then, please drop your details in this book.” She said, passing a register to me. “I am signing you in as her only family.” She announced. “Prepare to meet her soon. You can visit as you wish, you will have a visit card made for you before you leave.”

I filled the register quickly and with so much joy. I proceeded to have my picture taken for my visitor’s card and then we left for Elizabeth’s room. “Hello Elizabeth.” Mother Francesca said as she opened the door.

“Kim!!!” she said, excitedly and rushed towards to me. She then stopped. “Can I hug you? I haven’t had a wash from my last exercise.”

I smiled and hugged her with so much gusto. “I love you already.” I said, as we took a seat.

“Liz, don’t forget your drugs by 4…” Mother Francesca started.

“…and don’t forget to sleep…” Elizabeth completed with enthusiasm. “Don’t worry Mother, I know the routine, I have been hearing this for 12 years.” She replied.

Mother Francesca smiled. “Before I leave you both, what relationship status do you want me to fill in your booklet?”

Elizabeth stared at me and smiled. “Daughter.” She said. I felt a sharp sting in my heart and I wiped the tear that rolled from her eyes. Mother Francesca nodded and left. “How are you, dear?” she asked.

“I am doing fine, and you?”

She shrugged. “I am okay.” She said, with a smile. “I have always been okay.”

I reached for my bag. “I got you something.” I said, as I handed her a branch of sunflower.

She smiled as she collected it. “Thank you, Kimberly.” She said, and kissed my forehead. “I love you.”

My smile didn’t fade and I blushed carelessly thinking that David had kissed my forehead. Today had to be my best day!

She kept the sunflower in a vase. “I’ll keep it forever…at least, till I die.”

“Do you have any child?” Her face fell. Oops! I must have upset her!. “I am sorry, Mom.”

Her face lit up. “You are a charmer. I would have loved you to marry my son, but he died 12 years ago. My son, my baby died 12 years ago.”

“I am so sorry.” I said, as I hugged her. “I would be here for you.”

She nodded. “So, tell me what do you do?”

“I am a writer.” I replied.

She smiled. “Wow! That’s beautiful. I used to paint, so I am in natural awe of creative people.”

“Why did you stop?”

She sighed. “I have been through a lot, one question at a time, dear.” She replied. “My spirit was broken so I lost the talent.”

I smiled. “Okay, let’s do the positive thoughts now!!!” I said, excitedly. “Do they let you go out at all?”

“No. but others are allowed to visit places with their loved ones, but to me, I don’t think they love them at all. I mean the so called ‘loved ones’. If you love your parents at all, why lock them up here?” she started. “This place is depressing. If you love your parents, even if they are old, rugged and smelly, you should hug them.” She said, with a smile. “Before my son died, my husband never let him hug me when I hadn’t showered. My baby used to cry so much until he got used to not hugging me when I hadn’t showered. He even used to yell at me.” she said, with a tear.

I felt my heart break. How could a child not love his mother? This kind of a mother? I thought. “Do you want to dance?” I asked, as tears rolled down my eyes.

“What are we dancing to?” she asked, standing up.

I fetched my phone and scrolled to ‘Dance the pain away by John Legend’. “Dance the pain away by John Legend.” I replied. “You just have to dance, roll your head and laugh. I do that a lot when I am sad.” I replied, playing the music.

We danced and laughed as the song played. We nodded our heads in excitement and danced to the music. Elizabeth smiled a lot as she danced and she eventually started to cry and then we cried and laughed and danced again and laughed again and on and on we went until she had to take her drugs and sleep and I left.

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David picked out a gown. “Do you think she’ll like this?” he asked, Oyinkan.

“Kimberly is too simple, she’ll appreciate it, but will never wear it after the fund raiser.”

He scoffed and picked out another. “What about this?” he asked.

“I think it’s too bright.” She replied. “Anyway, why are you so interested in her now?”

He smiled. “You told me to try, and I am doing just that, she’s smart and I think I should make her happy. Every time I remember how mom’s life was, I just don’t want to hurt another woman.”

“So, you don’t love her?”

He scoffed. “Love? What are you saying? I can’t love anyone. I am a beast; I should at least make her happy.”

“David, you have to forgive yourself about your Mom.”

He shook his head. “I never will, I am a wicked man.”

“You were a boy.”

He scoffed. “If I was like that as a boy, it means I never had a heart, if I try to love Kim, I might hurt her and she doesn’t need it.”

`               Oyinkan rubbed his head. “It’s okay, it’s a gradual process, you would learn to love again.” She said and took a deep breath. “I think I like that dress over there.” She said, and they walked over to the second section.

David bumped into Henry. “Hey…watch it.”

Henry laughed. “Fly guy! How are you, man?” he asked, stretching out his hand. David stared at the hand. Henry forcefully shook him. “Try to make new friends, son!”

“Whoa! That’s some nerve!” Oyinkan said, with a smile.

Henry stared at her. “You are rolling with some really fine girls.”

“Beat it, Kid!” David replied, harshly. “Learn some refined terms.”

Henry nodded. “Aye Aye!!! Hi Madam.” He said, stretching out his hand at Oyinkan. She took it graciously.

“Hi…I am Oyinkan, are you friends with David?” she asked.

David cut in. “Of course, not!”

“But, we’ll soon be…” Henry added.

David sighed. “Let’s go, Oyinkan.”

Henry sighed. “Won’t you introduce me?”

Oyinkan smiled. “I am Oyinkan, and this is my cousin, David.” She said, excitedly.

“Oyinkan, can we go??? You are already familiarizing with this lad.”

Henry smiled. “You guys would give me a ride, right?”

“OMG!!! I LOVE THIS BOY!” Oyinkan exclaimed.

David rolled his eyes. “Let’s get the gown now.”

“That gown is cool, Kimberly would love it.”

David paused and snarled. “Henry, are you really like this??? You won’t get a wife being this troublesome.”

“Love doctor…teach me. What’s your relationship with MY Kimberly?” Henry asked.

David stared at him. “Her fiancé.”

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Wole Briggs walked downstairs. “Sir, as you’ve seen, there’s a state of the art living room, the master bedroom is exquisite and there’s also a conference room, you can bring your meetings home.” He started.

“What’s your name, son?” Chief Ajose asked. “Tola, you are about to be shaved out of business.” He said, smiling at Tola who just stood by the door and watched Wole have his show.

Wole smiled. “Wole Briggs.”

He nodded his head. “Good boy.” He then paused. “Are you related to Niran Briggs?”

Wole tried to hide his face. “He is my father.”

“Wow! Nice to meet you boy! I have always asked Niran about you, but that sly man won’t tell me that his boy is doing well in the business world for himself. I will have the house.” He said and stared at Tola. “Don’t be scared, Tola. You are good at what you do, but this man is pretty convincing too…” he said, and opened his briefcase. “I’ll tie up this deal tomorrow over lunch, please see me, you both, in my hotel.” He said, handing his business card to Wole.

Wole collected it. “Thank you, sir.”

“Very much welcome.” He replied, and they all shook hands, Tola inclusive.

Wole closed the door after him. “So how did I cope?” he asked.

“Is that a question?” Tola replied, indifferently.

Wole smiled. “I think they’ll love me in this business.”

She scoffed. “They’ll love your surname. I brought you here as an understudy and I guess you are a pro already.” She said, walking around.

“I am my own man, Tola.”

She nodded. “I know.”

He smiled. “Congratulations on your engagement.”

“What are you saying?” she asked.

He shrugged. “It’s okay if you play dumb, but I saw you getting engaged today.”

She smiled and then laughed sarcastically. “For the first time ever I am happy to get you in the wrong.”

“What do you mean?”

She stopped laughing. “Tolu came to engage me, but I couldn’t.”

Wole stared at her and came closer, he lifted her hand for confirmation. “And why didn’t you??” he asked.

She rolled her eyes. “Apart from the fact that I think Tolu is a loser…” she said, clenching her teeth. “I didn’t know if I would be…” she paused and stared at his eyes. “if I could be without you…”
 
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