……”My name is Smith Asante calling for Lara Mathews.”
“Oh! Pastor! Good day.”
“Good day and its Smith.”
“So, how are you?”
“I’m good, you?”
“Very good, praise God. I was hoping I could take you out, lunch or dinner, you pick.”
“Ehm,…. Lunch, but not today.”
“Thursday afternoon, tentatively. But can I confirm on thursday morning? I don’t have my diary with me now.”
“Ok, wonderful. I will call to confirm.”
“Have a blessed day.”
“Ehm, you too.”
They both end the call. She drives out of the compound heading towards the Island and Chichi’s boutique.
Lara walked through Chichi’s boutique towards the office at the back, acknowledging the greetings of the sales girls.
“I hope its good news.” She said as she entered the office, Titi was there already.
“Girls, I’m pregnant!” Chichi announced excitedly. All three shrieked excitedly, Lara and Titi hug Chichi.
“I’m so happy for you.”
“We are having a baby.”
“How far gone are you.”
“Have you told K?”
The girls all talk at once, the shrieks, and laughter continues.
‘When it rains, it pours.’ Lara wrote in her diary. All around me good things are happening. Ireti is doing good, Chichi is having a baby, Titi’s wedding is on track, I couldn’t be happier. I’m practically walking on sunshine like the Ovaltine advert. Then, there’s me, though I will be the first to say I’m not searching relationship wise, but some searching guys seem to be looking in my direction. There’s ‘baby boy’ Fabian, and there’s Smith, pastor Smith! See me see Pastor o! He seems like a nice person though. Solid, kind, spirit filled. This judgment is on the basis of two dates. But the pastor aspect sha!!!
‘Baby boy’ Fabian is ok, just that he is boyish and, been there, done that, have the child to prove. (Lara smiles to herself) where did that come from? ‘Been there, done that, have the child to prove’. Anyways, my child is going to be feeding on wise cracks if I don’t stop day dreaming and get to work translating the documents chilling on my work table. Who is calling me at this time? Femi sha!! He picks the worst moments.
“Its 10 o’clock here Femi.” She says coldly as she answers the call.
“Hello to you too, Lara. How are you. Femi sounds very chipper.
“I’m fine. You know Ireti is in bed already.”
“I guess. I just got the good news and I want to share it with you. I can come to Lagos next week!”
“Ok, congratulations.” Lara raises an eyebrow. “And, can I ask what the occasion is?”
“I want to see my daughter. She will be 10 very soon and it just hit me that I’ve missed out on ten years of my daughters life. I miss my family, and I miss you. Believe it or not.”
“Yeah right! Ok, I’m sure she will be very happy to see you as well. Just don’t try anything funny.”
“Relax Lara, I just want to see my girls.”
“I don’t know how many girls you have but….. If I tell Ireti you say you are coming to Nigeria and you do not, you and I are going to have serious problems o!”
“Relax babe, I will be in Lag next week. Will confirm my travel arrangements asap and get back to you.”
“Whatever. If that’s all, I have work to do.”
“Work? What’s a young beautiful lady doing working on a friday night? Lag guys are slacking!”
“Goodnight princess Lara.” He responds softly.
She hesitates, opens her mouth to say something, but ended the call instead.
‘Princess Lara’, stirred bittersweet memories.
“He called me princess Lara, Femi is up to something sneaky. I can feel it.” Lara paced the floor of her living room while Chichi and Titi watch her, amused.
“I think Femi is really maturing to take time off to come and see Ireti.” Chichi said.
“And you!” Titi adds, they both chuckle.
Lara stops pacing and faces them. “That’s the thing, its very unlike Femi. The man has no selfless trait in him. This trip has to work for him somehow.”
“Give the guy a break, he is now thirty years of age, I bet he has matured.” Titi said.
Lara shakes her head negatively. “I speak with the man at least once a week, the Femi I spoke with last night was, …… Different. He is planning something.” She resumes her pacing.
“You are not going to uncover any of his secrets by worrying. The best you can do is wait and see.” Chichi said.
“Yes, watch and pray. That’s why God brought a pastor into your life.” Titi joked. They all laugh, including Lara. She perches on an armrest.
“Whatever plans he has, if dey are negative, hmmm.”
“Back to sender!” Chichi and Lara say together and they all laugh. A call comes in on Titi’s phone and she leaves the room to take the call.
“Lara I’m hungry, what do you have in the house?” Chichi asks, rubbing her still relatively flat stomach.
“Let’s go to the kitchen and make lunch.” They both go to the kitchen and Titi joins them there after her phone call. “Titi if I were not your maid of honor, I would have offered to make small chops for the wedding reception.” Lara said as she digs through the deep freezer for soup.”
“And I volunteer to eat half of it, God help me not to eat myself fat.” Chichi clasps her hands in prayer.
“Seriously, I’ve been thinking of going into the catering business as another source of income. I have to start putting away money for Ireti’s university tuition.” Lara continues.
“When Femi comes back, you should discuss with him about picking up some of Ireti’s bills too.” Titi said as she filled a pan with water from the tap.
“So he can explain afresh to me how hard life in New york is? No thanks.” Lara replied.
“Why do you still let him play daddy then?” Chichi asked.
“Biologically he is her father, besides, its for his mother I do it, she lives for Ireti. You know she is her only grandchild.”
“1000 dollars every year is not fatherly o!” Chichi insisted.
“You girls should chill let me make this amala. You are distracting me.” Titi said sternly.
“Yes ma!” Chichi and Lara chorus.
“I invited Smith to sunday lunch, to meet Ireti.” Lara announces in the ensuing silence. Chichi and Titi both turn to Lara shocked.
Happy Easter holidays this weekend, enjoy the hols with the reason for the season.
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