Barrister Babs came out of her office, followed by a friend and her driver who was carrying her green hand bag and a box filled up with filed documents. She threw a glance at her personal assistant and halted half-way across the room.
She lifted her tired light brown eyes to meet her boss’ dark ones. “Yes, ma.”
“I need you to be here on or before seven tomorrow morning. There is going to be a general meeting at twelve noon, but, the senior staff members are meeting in the morning. There are some things I need you to do before the meeting starts.”
She nodded, absorbing the instruction and brooding on how she was going to make it to work the next day before seven.
“Good night,” she joined her friend who was already standing by the opened doorway.
“Good night ma.”
Barrister Babs’ driver hurried after her and shut the door.
“Oh lord…” she sighed heavily and leaned against the leather chair. Every bone in her body ached terribly.
She remembered how she used to frequent the spa every weekend. She would give anything to get a good massage that evening, but she had no funds for such luxury. She just been paid her first salary and she had a thousand things to do with the money. Thoughts of Kolawole clouded her mind. It’s being a while since they had spoken. Since the incident that Sunday afternoon, he didn’t bother to call her, not even a text. The few times she had seen him that week in the office, he ignored her and she made no attempt to reach out to him. She hoped that in time, he would reason with her and agree to her terms.
She scratched a spot on her itchy scalp and thought of creating time to go to the saloon to make her hair. She contemplated re-fixing the 16-inch gold and wine weave-on. If she re-touched her hair, she would be able to make the ‘all-back’ style. She always looked sensational in that particular style. A happy smile spread over her lips. Gone were the days she used to spend close to half a million to purchase any type of weave-on she desired, be it Brazilian, Peruvian, Human or Synthetic hair. Spending that kind of money on her hair in her present condition, was like inviting starvation and lack to dine with her.
The door to the office swung open. She sat up straight, as the person walked in. It turned out to be Barrister Kolawole. She blinked several times in surprise. He walked over to her desk, pulled out one of the leather seats at the table, and sat down. She stared back at him, observing his calm expression.
“Amongst all the women I have dated over the years, you are the only one who has come up with an impossible rule about sex,” his eyes scanned her slightly made-up face, and ran down her slender neck adorned with a gold chain, till it settled on her full chest. He liked the way the cream tube blouse blended with her coffee brown jacket.
She found it hard to believe that she was the only one that had refused to sleep with him. Nevertheless, she was pleased that he was talking to her again. His silence in the past few days had made her to assume the worst. There were moments when she thought and feared that he might break up with her eventually.
“I do not totally agree with your decision, but, I believe that we can work through it,” his gaze returned to her face, her lips spread in a half-smile.
She sighed in relief. “We will definitely work through it,” she sounded sure. She was happy that he was willing to work things out.
He eyed her, noticing her enthusiasm. He still liked the girl. She was different from the women he had been with in the past and he was willing to give the relationship a chance to grow. He reasoned that he might be able to convince her in the near future and lure her into making changes to her impossible rule. If he was willing to compromise in that aspect, she must also be willing to do the same.
“Call me when you are done for the day. Let’s grab a bite somewhere nice.”
“Okay,” she smiled at him.
“Later then,” he smiled back at her and got to his feet.
“Okay,” she watched him leave, then sighed heavily. She felt at peace. Everything was going to work out for her good.
He stood by the door and turned around to look at her. “I have missed you.”
“I have missed you too,” she felt a lump in her throat.
“Come here,” he beckoned at her.
She pushed her chair backwards, got up and walked up to him.
“Let’s don’t fight ever again,” he drew her into his arms.
“I concur,” she closed her eyes and basked in the warmth of his arms.
Kolawole drove into his father’s compound, parked the car behind six other exotic cars and climbed out. He walked briskly towards the blue and white painted seven-bedroom mansion, clad in a pair of white shorts and short-sleeve red and brown Hacket tee-shirt. The housekeeper let him into the building and asked if she should make him something to eat. He declined and informed her that he wasn’t staying for more than a few minutes. He found his parents in the sitting room, reclining on a large cushion in front of the curved 80inch television.
“Hello stranger,” Alice beamed when she saw her youngest son walking in.
Her husband followed her gaze and smiled when he saw his favourite son. “The Barrister, it’s being a while.”
Kolawole prostrated before his parents and got up immediately. “I just thought I should check up on both of you.”
The couple exchanged glances and laughed quietly.
“What brings you here? It’s Saturday noon. Don’t you have some party or event to attend?” Gbenga eyed his son. He had a feeling that the visit wasn’t a casual one.
“If I don’t visit, you complain. Now that I am here, you are still complaining,” he settled on the settee adjacent to theirs.
His mother laughed out loud. “Your father and I know that your weekends are like your Sabbath days.”
“The untouchable days,” Gbenga added and began to laugh too.
He looked from one to the other and eyed them. It wasn’t comforting that they knew him quite well. At twenty-eight, they still treated him like a child, mainly because he was their youngest child, their second son. It was one of the reasons he seldom came to see them. The other reason was because his elder brother and sister were both happily married with beautiful and handsome children, whilst he was still single. His parents were in the habit of nagging him about his bachelor status. He didn’t want to be forced or cajoled into getting married. He wanted it to happen on his own terms.
“Seriously, what brings you here?” Gbenga cleared his throat and made eye contact with the young man.
The thought of Edua clouded his mind. He smiled and glanced back at his father. “I have found the girl I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
Alice held her breath, completely shocked and pleased at the same time. God had finally answered her prayers.
“Beautiful, who is she?” Gbenga left his wife’s side and moved to the edge of cushion.
“Edua Imasogie,” he leaned against the seat and crossed his legs. It was obvious that he had their attention.
“Edua Imasogie?” Alice pondered on the name, sifting through the mental list of all the wealthy families she knew in the country.
“Imasogie? I know one Imasogie. He is late now. I don’t know what happened to his wife and only daughter.”
Alice moved closer to her husband. “Is it the Abuja business mogul? That Imasogie that passed away two decades or so ago?”
He met her anxious gaze. “Yes. But, I don’t know if this Edua is actually his daughter.”
“My Edua’s father passed away a long time ago,” he informed them. He was happy that it might be possible that they knew his heartthrobs late father.
They turned to look at him immediately, the excitement on their faces was contagious.
“The late Imasogie was an expert in business, very diligent, wealthy and friendly. He was also a crazy giver. It doesn’t matter if he knew you or not,” Gbenga spoke quickly as memories flooded his mind.
Alice nodded in agreement. “Why don’t you bring her to see us this evening? Let’s talk over dinner. I met Imasogie’s wife once, very pretty woman. It is a good thing that our families are coming together again.”
Kolawole began to shake his head. “Tonight is not a good idea.”
Gbenga frowned, “Why not? Do you want to start procrastinating? Bring her home for dinner.”
He groaned and scratched a spot on his scalp. “I have not even proposed.”
His parents began to laugh again. He folded his arms across his chest, wondering what was so funny.
“Waste no time son. Go and buy a ring, propose and bring her home tonight,” his father ordered.
“Up, up… no time to waste. It is past two already. I will tell the cook to prepare for our August guest,” his mother jumped to her feet, despite her age, she dashed out of the room with the gait of a youth.
“Go on, what are you waiting for?”
Kolawole groaned again and got to his feet. He already had the proposal planned out in his mind. Now his parents were going to ruin everything. Why did he even bother to tell them in the first place?
“Later dad,” he drew out his phone from his pocket and dialed the number of his most effective goldsmith and hurried out of the room.
Edua sat on a stool at the back of her flat, bent over a big basin of clothes soaked in detergent and water. She hummed one of her favourite songs as she washed the clothes. She sensed that she wasn’t alone then raised her head. She sighted her neigbour, the lady who had just moved into the flat next to hers, standing by the clothing lines, hanging her washed, wet clothes. She cursed under her breath, hoping that the remaining space would be enough for her own clothes. Gone were the days she had the compound to herself. Now she had to share everything with a total stranger. Once, she tried to play the friendly card, but, the lady who looked like she was in her late thirties fenced her off.
“So, this is where you have been hiding?”
She glanced back and saw her boyfriend walking towards her, clad in a pair of white shorts and a short-sleeve red and brown shirt. Relief flooded her. She had given up hope that she would be seeing him that day. He was supposed to have been at her place since morning, but, every attempt she made to call or text him met a dead end. He didn’t pick her calls nor return her text messages. She assumed that he might have been called at the office or had an emergency to attend to.
He pulled her to her feet and swept her into his arms. “Why are you slaving away like this?”
She chuckled. “I don’t have a choice.”
“You need to buy a washing machine pronto. I can get it for you by Monday evening. Call my dry cleaner now and ask him to come pick your clothes. I will foot the bill.”
“Yes, sir. My knight in shining armour,” she grinned sheepishly.
“And you are my damsel in distress,” he leaned forward and claimed her lips.
She placed her hands around his neck and kissed him back.
“Foolish people. Instead of them to get a room, they are out here deceiving themselves,” her neighbor said out loud and hissed.
Kolawole let her go and began to laugh. Edua couldn’t hold back the bubbling laughter rushing out of her.
The lady eyed them, hissed again and walked off with her empty bucket dangling sideways.
“She is grumpy,” he wrapped his arms around her.
Edua rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it.”
“Will you marry me?” his dark eyes penetrated her shocked light brown ones.
“What was that?” she looked up at him, trembling slightly.
“Marry me Edua Imasogie,” his lips spread in a teasing smile.
She blinked and stared back at him. How long have they been dating? It was not even up to four months.
“Isn’t it too soon?”
The fear in her eyes made him to smile widely. “I am completely sure about this. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“This is crazy…” her heart beat accelerated.
“The crazier thing is that my parents want to meet you tonight.”
Her jaw dropped.
“Don’t worry. They won’t bite.”
She looked away and tried to think, but, her mind had gone mushy.
“I love you babe. You are my fairy princess.”
She turned to meet his loving gaze.
“Marry me. Make me the happiest man on planet earth,” he cupped her face in his palms.
“Yes…” she whispered, heart pounding wildly against her chest.
“Yes?” his eyes grew wide with joy.
“Yes,” she breathed out loudly.
“That’s my girl. Let’s get you dressed. We are going to meet the parents,” he held her by the hand and led her towards her apartment.
Several thoughts ran through her mawkish mind. She was happy and scared at the same thing. She said a silent prayer, asking God to take control of everything.