“I’m being blackmailed.” Titi blurted out as she entered Lara’s house.
Lara stared at her open mouthed, she quickly looked her over, the usually calm and collected Titi looked disturbed.
“Sit down, who is blackmailing you and why?” Both ladies sat on the same two seater sofa.
Titi exhaled loudly. “Some weeks ago, I ran into Olu.” she began. “Remember Olu from our university days?”
“Yes,” Lara urged her on.
“We bumped into each other at a bank, he insisted we go somewhere to chat, in the course of our discussion, I told him about my up coming wedding. We exchanged contacts and that was how it started.”
“How what started?”
“He called me the next day, insisted we see, when we saw, he started about how he has been searching for me, how I refused to accept his friend request on facebook, how he misses me, bla bla bla. Then came the shocker, he said what kept him going all this years is our videos.”
“Videos? What videos?”
“Remember how he was always fiddling with cameras back then, we made some videos. Intimate videos.”
“Titi! I have a feeling I know where this is going.”
“Yes, he is threatening to show the videos to Ik if I don’t resume our affair.” Titi slumped back, sobbing noisily.
“Oh my God!” Lara stared at Titi in disbelief. She pulled Titi into her arms in comfort.
Father and daughter had been hard at work setting up Ireti’s toys, and catching up.
“May I borrow your phone, I need to call mommy.” Ireti asked her father.
“Ok.” Femi handed Ireti his phone. She dialed her mom’s number, it rang out without Lara picking. Ireti tried again, Lara picked on the first ring.
“Mommy, are you ok? You sound ….”
“I’m ok. Aunt Titi is here.”
“Oh! Ok. I was just checking up on you.”
“How are you, are you having a good time?”
“Titi and I will eat soon.”
“Sweetie, lemme call you before bed.”
“Ok mommy. Love you lots.”
“Love you too.” Lara’s voice cracked, she ended the call.
Ireti handed the phone back to her father. “Thank you.”
“She got home ok?” He asked.
“Yes, aunt Titi is there.”
“Oh!” He smiled Secretly. “Does mommy have any male friends?” He asked.
“Sure, uncle Tunde.”
Femi’s smile widened. “So, the four of them are still close. What of Chichi?”
“She is fine, she and uncle Kay are having a baby.”
“Wow! She is married? To Kay? As in Kayode? Wonders won’t cease.”
“You know uncle Kay?”
“Yes. So, no other male friends?”
“There’s this new guy, Pastor Smith, he is her boyfriend.” She smiled mischievously.
“She has a boyfriend?” He was alarmed.
“She will deny it, but I can see they like each other.”
“Are you serious? She parades her boyfriends before you?”
“No o! This is mommy’s first boyfriend. Besides you that is. There just met, and he is very proper. He is a pastor.”
“A pastor.” He repeated thoughtfully. “What is his name again?”
“Pastor Smith, he is Ghanian. He likes mommy and I, and I like him too.”
“Hope not as much as you like me?”
“No o! You are my daddy, its different.”
“And your mommy, does she like me?”
“Dunno o! You, do u have a girlfriend?
Femi was speechless for some seconds before he could reply. “No, no I don’t.”
“Why?” Ireti probed further.
“Ehm…. I’m…. My job schedule is very hectic. Women and relationships take time.” He stammered out.
“None at all?”
“Oh! Ok o! Its 8:30, I need to get ready for bed. I’m always in bed by 9pm.”
“You can stay up tonight.”
“No o, tomorrow is school, early to bed. And mommy won’t like it.”
“You always please your mommy?”
“Yes, mommy knows best.”
“Ok, let’s pack up.”
Father and daughter put away the gifts and Ireti gets ready for bed.
‘Titi and I finally cried ourselves to sleep sometime around midnight. She crashed in Ireti’s room. This whole thing is ugly business. We both agree that Ik needs to be told but how do we tell him, and as humans we can’t predict each other’s reaction. We can only pray and hope for the best. Whew! What a day yesterday was. Seeing Femi after close to two years (he does look good by the way), I didn’t even have time to speak with Smith beyond replying his bbm asking how we were and how Femi’s visit was turning out. Sweet and understanding Smith. I should call him now, then I need to check on Titi before making breakfast. We didn’t get to eat dinner last night. thank God today is my free day because I’m so tired.’
Lara shut her diary, and went to check on Titi.
“Why didn’t you girls call me last night?” Chichi asked after Lara narrated the blackmail gist to her.
“We didn’t want you to worry that late at night.” Lara replied.
The girls were at the office at Chichi’s boutique. Titi was seated staring into space with silent tears running down her face. Chichi got up from behind the desk and joined Lara and Titi on the couch.
“Chic you need to stop crying, you will hurt yourself.” Chichi tried to soothe Titi.
“The one thing Ik hates is scandal, he even talks about having political aspirations, now these crops up!” Titi wailed. Both ladies put their arms around her in comfort as she sobs.
“I have a plan.” Lara said after a while.
The doorbell chimed, Lara glanced at the kitchen clock. Its 30 minutes before Ireti should be back from school, who could that be? She rinsed her hands at the sink and dried them with a napkin and went to the door. She peeped through the peep hole. Femi?
“Femi, how did you locate this place?” She asked as she opened the door.
“Hello to you too Lara.” He looked her over appreciating the tank top and shorts she had on.
“How did you locate this place.” Lara asked again. “You’ve never been here.”
“Mama gave me directions. Your home is beautiful. The living room that is, I’m yet to see the other parts.” He said stepping into the living room.
“May I?” He gestured towards a chair.
“Off course, sit.” Lara said while she remained standing. “How do you know I’ll be home?”
“Ireti said you are always home when the bus drops he off. She thinks the world of you. You are a good mother.”
Lara ignored the complement. “You can switch on the TV while I finish lunch.” She went back to the kitchen. Femi followed her.
“I stopped in to see your mom on my way. She looks as good as ever.”
“Hmmm” Was Lara’s only response as she resumed slicing the vegetables. “So, why are you here?” She asked when she was done.
“I came for us to talk.”
“Us. I want to know my daughter more. I don’t just want to be a voice on the phone and a face she sees briefly every other year.” He said passionately.
Lara struggled to calm herself. “And how do you intend to go about that?” She asked.