I was getting ready to leave for work when Fiolla called. The first thought that came to my mind as I held the phone was that she was calling to tell me that she wouldn’t be coming to work.
“Good morning Ma?” I greeted questionably.
“Since you were too proud to ask for a ride SIR, I’m asking if you need one?” she said with a serious tone.
“Hey!! It’s not like that, I …..” I started before she interrupted.
“I’m parked at the entrance to your street.” She said and dropped the call.
I smiled and hurried off after locking my door, better to be asked than to ask. I hurried my steps till I got to where she parked waiting. I could see her staring at her phone through her glass. Bending over, I knocked on the glass drawing her attention off the phone. She waved her hand directing me to come around to the passenger side but I stood still grinning. I bet she got confused and decided to roll down the glass.
“Just for the record,” I started as the glass came down, “It wasn’t pride that made me not ask for a ride.”I said smiling.
“Yea I know, it’s was being a man and the little I know men equals to pride and…” she started and trail off.
“If you don’t get in in the next five seconds, I will issue you a query for delaying me.” She said with mock seriousness.
I laughed and walked slowly around the car making sure to count to ten before I opened the passenger side. She was giving me a look when I dropped myself beside her on the car with the naughty grin I had on.
“And you want to know what I will do right?” she asked hitting me hard on the shoulder. “Id*iot.” she cursed turning the ignition.
“Thank you ma’am.” I replied, bursting into a fist of laughter which she joined after she couldn’t hold it back.
“You think I’m laughing with? Just wait till we get to the office.” She said amidst laughter.
“Sorry na, person no fit follow you play again.” I apologized still laughing.
“Oh!! So you now play with your superior?”
“Ah! Ah!! Na, I’m sorry Ma, it was a mistake won’t happen again.” I persisted with the apology trying to hold back the laughter.
“Any ways, you look good.” She complimented looking away through the side glass with a smile on her face.
“And you look breathtaking as I always.” I complimented throwing my face away too.
“As always?” she asked turning to me smiling. I kept looking out not turning to her.
“Hey look here,” she started pulling my shoulder, “ as always? So you have been ………” she started before I cut through her words.
“No, I haven’t.” I said turning to face her as we both busted out laughing again.
“I forgive you Toby. How was night jor?”
“Was fine, how about yours?”
“Was good.” She replied blaring her horn at the careless motorist in front.
“How is Hope, not going to school today?” I asked.
“He is fine. They are on midterm break so he will be at my sisters through the week.”
“I bet that’s a bit of relieve.”
“You can say that again.”
We made other small talks till we got to work. As we got into the building we wished each other a good day heading our separate ways to our different office.
After I settled and was about to go for morning supervision, A call came through my phone and guess who decided to call…
“Hello welcome to XYZ shopping mall, how can we help you?” I said as the line connected.
“And that is supposed to be funny?” she spat sounding uptight
“Not if your problems are bigger than the joke.” I replied with a low laugh.
“And this is supposed to be the apology I get for your uncaring attitude?” she said.
“Hariet, I apologized and you threw it back to my face, called you and you didn’t care to pick what was I supposed to do?” I retorted.
“Call again or send a message, wouldn’t have killed you.” She barked showing that she was still pissed with me.
“Hariet I’m sorry about Friday night ok.”
“Leave me alone please.” She replied abruptly. I know she just wanted for me to apologize again.
“And what can I do to make it up to you?”
“Nothing, just let me be.”
“Ok, if you insist. How was your weekend?”
“None of your business.” She retorted.
“Aint you at work yet?” I continued ignoring her attitude.
“None of your business too, just called to check up on you. Have a nice day.” She said and dropped the call. Slipping my phone back to my pocket, I headed off to supervise the mall.
I was busy reviewing some documents when I got a credit alert on my phone; first salary. I felt so happy like I have never before as I stared at my phone. Truth is, I have been checking my phone constantly for the alert since Friday. Before I started work, I already had in mind of what to do with my first salary.
Scrolling through my contact, I dialed my mum and requested for her account number and also did same for my dad. I know that if I told them the real reason why I was requesting for it they wouldn’t play so I made up a lie and sold it to them which made them send it.
I transferred some amount to them each and also did same for my sister. After transferring the money, I called each of them and told them the real reason for the transfer. After so much talks of ‘why did I do it? How I wasn’t supposed to do it, and all.’ They calmed down after all and prayed for me.
My sister had insisted on sending hers back insisting that she was supposed to be the one giving me and not the other way round. I joking threatened her that if she transferred it back that I wasn’t going to visit her ever again and that settled it; she took it.
The next was a visit to the orphanage home, but, the problem was that I didn’t know of any around. I decided that I was going to ask around or probably ask Hariet if she comes around after been pissed with me.
Above all, I was going to give myself a treat that night.
My desk phone rang distraction my attention from the document I was looking through.
“Sir, someone is here to see you; a lady” Janet said as I took the call.
“What’s her name?” I asked.
The line went quiet for a moment before her voice came through.
“Ok, walk her in.” I said and dropped the phone back to it’s cradle.
She walked into my office with a long face clad in a fitted jean trouser and a polo which hugged her displaying her curves.
“And her majesty decided to pay me a visit, hope I’m safe.” I said standing to usher her in.
“Shoot yourself Toby and stop acting like a gentle man.” She replied nonchalantly pulling out a sit.
“C’mon, why are you still pissed with me, I have apologized already, watcha want me to do again?”
“And who said your apology was accepted? Just leave me be. By the way, nice office.”
“And by that I guess you are trying to make fun of me.” I retorted.
“Whatever.” She replied and threw away her gaze.
I stood up and walked around to where she sat and pulled out the second seat. I turned hers around so that she could face me.
“Hariet I’m sorry. Believe me work was the reason why I didn’t call. Worked till around 4am. I was writing monthly reports. Though it’s still not an excuse enough but I’m sorry.” I delivered in the coolest way I could. She stared at me with smile touching the corners of her lips. I knew I just got her.
“And it had to take you this long to say it.” She said feigning a serious look.
“Come on already na.”
“Ok, ok good, forgiven.” She said smiling.
“So why aint you at work?” I asked returning to my former position.
“Because I’m on work leave; one week.”
“Oh! That’s cool, enough time for you to rest and have a little fun. How is Tolu?” I asked hoping that she has some idea where she was.
“Huh? Shouldn’t I be asking you that? You guys fighting?” she asked raising her eyes.
“Nah, haven’t seen her for some days now. Tried her number but she wasn’t picking.”
“Buh I talked with her this morning because she didn’t come over for weekend.”
I shrugged in resignation. “At least she is fine.”
She gave a little sly smile reaching for her phone.
“Hope you aint trying to call her?” I asked looking squarely at her.
“Nah, just want to reply some chats,” she started, punching some keys on her keypad. “There is something I have been meaning to ask you.” She said dropping the phone back on the table.
“You gon tell me the truth right?” she said raising her eyes pleadingly.
“What is it?” I repeated inquisitively.
“Bunmi, do you guys know each other?”
“And who is Bunmi?” I retorted feigning ignorance of the name.
“Seriously? Don’t play jokes with me.”
“Who is she?” I repeated with a serious expression.
“Bunmi is my eldest sister, the one you met in the house the other day.” She explained with a weird expression.
“Oh!!, I remember . Sorry jare, forgive my forgetfulness.” I apologized. “But, if by ‘do we know each other’ you mean running into each other for the first time in your house, then yes, but if not, I’m not sure if I can still remember her if we run into each other again.”
“Are you for real? I can’t believe you, in-law indeed.”
“Hey cut me some slack, it wasn’t like we even had five minutes together. How am I supposed to know her?” I said smiling.
“But the reaction between you two seemed like you have known each other for a while or probably had something together.”
“Wouldn’t that be a dream come true? The much I can remember, she is a beauty.”
“And me? Tolu nko? So we aint beautiful? Thank you for the subtle truth.” She said feigning annoyed.
“Hey !! don’t put words into my mouth o. By the way, do you know of any orphanage home around?” I asked changing the direction of the conversation.
She looked at me surprisingly, “And what is happening in an orphanage home?”
“Nothing much, just want to go visit them, we can go together if you don’t mind or have any schedule.” I replied.
“I know of one not too far from here.” She said taking a look at her gold wrist watch. “Are we going now?” she asked.
“If you don’t have a schedule.” I replied.
“Ok, I’m game.”
I tidied up the work on my table and left for Fiolla’s office to get permission. After I got the permission, I went out to make some withdrawal through the ATM after which I came back and picked my bag. We went to the mall and got all I needed to visit the orphanage home with.
Hariet was quiet throughout our stay at the orphanage home. I guess it was a moment for her to remember. We took pictures with the babies; both the new ‘borns’ and the toddlers amongst them. I felt fulfilled as we drove out.
“What are you celebrating?” she asked breaking the silence.
“Nothing, I got my first salary today that’s all.” I replied typing away on my keypad.
That’s nice.” She murmured.
“Nothing. So where to next, dropping you at your work place?” she asked.
“Nah, let’s go catch some fun, at least, let me make up for not been a gentle man.” I replied smiling while she turned and eyed me smiling through her eyes.
Hanging out with Hariet was just soo much fun which I enjoyed every bit of. By the end of the day as we drove home, it was just like the day shouldn’t end. As she dropped me at the junction, she made me promise that we were going to hang out again on Sunday which I did. She had this look that didn’t allow me to turn down her request.
It is not rocket science knowing when somebody has feelings for you and I think Hariet does. The long stares, light touches, hands holding and to cap it all, we nearly kissed. At first I thought it was just her playful nature but after the kiss incident, I knew it was beyond it.
As I walked to my house, I couldn’t help but remise about the moment I spent with her but on getting to my compound, my mind switched to Tolu. Her car which was parked before I left for work wasn’t there anymore. I couldn’t just understand what was going on. I’m going to tell her my mind and get things cleared once I see her I concluded heading up the stairs.
After I showered, I relaxed on the couch on my boxer to make series of call. First was to Hariet, after we talked and said the good nights, I called Uche. We talked at length catching up on everything till I got a warning from my network provider before I dropped. I was happy for Uche as he was enjoying his life; he got himself an American girlfriend. I so much wanted to tell him about the complicated thing going on between Tolu and I but decided against it till I sorted things out and know where I stood with her.
Clicking open my WhatsApp, I scrolled down to Tolu’s profile to bare my mind to her. I met her online when I clicked on her profile. I sent her few pleasantries which she read but didn’t reply. I was pissed by her attitude and lost the urge to talk to her immediately. I couldn’t understand what was wrong with her. It wasn’t like we had any issue.
If it was someone else, I wouldn’t have blinked an eye, but I think I’m in-love with her. The feelings I nursed for her was just so hurting. How could she just change? Even if I did something wrong, wouldn’t it be better she told me. Beyond the worries, I was just hurting silently but, pretending not to.
I decided to retire for the night but just as I stood from the couch, I heard a knock at my door. I waited as the knock sounded again before walking to the door. Peeping through the peephole, I made out a female figure but couldn’t get to see her face as the person was so close to the door.
“Who is there?” I asked holding the door knob.
“Tessy, open up.” Came the reply.