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“Men! Why are the cute ones either jerks or gay? Nothing left for women. Nothing! I can’t deal!” Tola says and hits the steering in her outburst.
I wince in reply and touch my forehead.
“Do you have a fever? Sorry we are almost home.”
“I don’t have a fever. My head is banging.” I reply cooly.
She glances at me. “I’m sorry.” She shakes her head. “Blame Hans and Rene for not having a branch elsewhere. Like in Lekki!” She bangs her steering again. I so don’t want to be her steering.
“I’m not blaming anyone for anything. Why would I be blaming anyone?”
“Well… I dunno…” She flounders. “Your mood seems to have worsen.”
“Blame the second guy, then.” I say and shrug more comfortably into my seat. I inhale the scent from the leather upholstery and relax a bit.
“Yeah! That’s exactly what I’m doing. The whole male existence.”
A man driving a grey Nissan sentra try to maneuver his way into the space in front of her and she cusses him out. Let’s just say he chose a wrong day. When we get to her house, she gets down and rushes to open the side of my door. The gateman tries to hail at her like he does every single time she drives in but she yells at him that she is not in the mood. I get down from her car and hold her by her shoulders. “Tola, you don’t have to do this.”
“Do what?” She asks, looking away.
“This.” I draw a circle with my index finger, trying to drive my point home.
She sighs. I drape my arm around her as we walk into her apartment. “I’m not doing anything.” She says, adamantly and drops plastic bag if ice cream on the sofa.
I smile at her fondly. Tola is in a beautiful nine year relationship. She wouldn’t understand that men can be jerks even if it bit her in the ass. Obafemi has been nothing but sweet to her. They have been dating since they were fifteen. So, I know all what she had been doing for almost an hour was for me. To make me feel better. “Just stop it.” I say, equally adamantly albeit genially.
“Oh alright.” She stretches like she is being magnanimous. I roll my eyes. “Who is the Yanju guy though if he isn’t Jefferson’s friend? Why does he have that much effect on you?” She asks as she walks to the kitchen. I remain in the sitting room.
I try to ignore the comment about ‘effect’. “He was the one that dropped me off at your place earlier. You remember?”
She turns to me at the entrance of the kitchen and raises her eyebrow. “The one that let me use his phone.” I try again trying to jug her memory. Honestly. How hard is it? It was just few hours ago though it feels like a lifetime.
She gasps and covers her mouth with her hand. “You are kidding! Oh my God.” She starts to laugh hard, her body actually wracking with laughter.
“Why are you laughing?” I ask, amused.
She walks back to me and hits me. “Simi! You are such an imbecile. You made me do deer-to-headlights to an innocent man.” She grabs the bags of ice cream, walks to the kitchen -actually making it this time- and shoves them in the refrigerator.
I rub my offended arm and frown in pain. “He mud sprayed me in the first instance!” I call.
She walks back to the sitting room. “Well maybe I won’t feel so guilty anymore. I’m sure the house of DVN supports me. He totally ruined that dress.”
“Hugh!” I groan. “Don’t remind me.” I sit down on her thick lilac carpet and switch on her tv with its remote control. “I need a movie!”
She flops down beside me. “Cause I can’t do this all by myself.” We sing in reply and laugh. I have missed this terribly. It has been so long we did this. What with my parents’ death to me taking over the company, to meeting Jeff, to this. I sigh.
“Do you want the ice cream now?” She asks as she surfs through the channels.
“No. I’m okay.” I say with double entendre.
She glances at me. “Okay.”
We curl up together as we watch a movie titled something borrowed.
“That was amazing.” Tola yawns out as the credits roll.
“Very true.” I agree.
“Are you okay?” She asks again.
I look at her and nod firmly. I know she wants to probe me further but she realizes it is a fresh wound and should not be probed lest she wants it to bleed out.
“Okay.” She concedes. “I’m going to bed.” She goes into the bedroom and I hear her jump into bed. Soon, I could tell she was asleep. I sigh and join her but can’t sleep. I check the time from her bedside kadio clock. 11:07pm. I close my eyes but can’t seem to get to sleep. I open them back and look at Tola. She was snoring softly. I think I stare into space for three hours cause when I come to, and check the time, it is 2:38am. I stand up from the bed and walk into the kitchen. I grab different flavors of ice cream. Even the agbalumo flavored one and carry them to the dinette. The night was silent- the only noise coming from me, the occasional judder from the refrigerator and from the low hum of the tv. I dip my spoon into the big tub of ice cream and really cry for the first time since I realized I was being used by Jeff. Not the loud weeping done at funerals but the silent hot tears pouring from my eyes were more than enough. I guess Tola must have noticed I am not in bed cause she walks in, rubbing her eyes. “Simi, what are you doing?”
“I’m eating ice cream.” I reply.
“I see that.” She rolls her eyes.
She grabs a chair and pulls it closer to mine. I smile at her through my tears. She grabs my right hand with her left. More hot tears rush down. She doesn’t say a word. We stay like that for about thirty minutes then I break the silence. “I don’t like this person I have become because of Jefferson.”
“Trust me, you are being strong about all of this.”
“You don’t know the half of it. The girl is his fiancée and she is pregnant.”
“What?” Tola looked righteously angry. She knows about my lost pregnancy and his reaction to it.
“Yeah.” I nod. I wince inwardly as I try to imagine what would happen if I told her that I gave him full access to my account and he had wiped it clean. No. I’m not telling her that.
“That bastard.” She shakes her head oblivious to the thoughts running through my mind. “Simi, you can’t let this asshole bring you down. I have known you since first year of high school and I know how strong you are. You just have to put your strength into play. Dust your ass and move on. Forget the SOB.”
“Yeah.” I manage weakly. I would have, if it were only my emotions that were involved. I have invested a lot in this guy. I don’t know how to start. I will eventually have to tell Tola cause I’m going to be needing her help a lot for the next few months. I still had a house.- my parents’- but I still needed money to keep it going. I don’t have money neither do I have a company. I need a job.
“What did he say when you approached him? Did you ask him what I told you to? Verbatim?” She asked.
Oh yeah. I smile as much as my emotions would allow me as I recall her words for him exactly. Are you cheating on me or is this all in my head?
That was what she told me to ask him when I saw him after I called her to tell her I was starting to believe her about Jeff cheating. That was after I got an alert informing me that I had zero balance.
“I didn’t meet him at the house. I only met his fiancée.” The word fiancée getting more bitter in my mouth.
“Oh that lucky SOB.” She takes a spoon and jab it into my tub of ice cream.
“Hey!” I cry but she ignores me and simply continues on. “I just hope that I don’t see you again. For the sake of three of us.” She points her spoon at an unseen Jeff then puts it in her mouth.
“It’s all over. I was stupid and naive. I just have to regroup.”
She uses her left arm to hug me awkwardly as she dips her spoon into my tub again. I make a face. “That’s the strong girl I have been looking for!” She says, grinning widely. “Now, you know you can stay here as long as you want.”
“Can I have my ice cream back now? Thank you.” I say and and shrug out of the awkward embrace. I pull the tub in between my laps as I fold my legs on the seat of the chair.
She makes a face and flicks the remnant of ice cream in her spoon at me and walks off.
“Ew!” I yell.
“See you in the morn, duck-face!” She yells back.
“It’s 5:30am, hare-brained!” I riposte.
Yeah I’m on a roll! ❤