My joyful scream brought my mother to the front door immediately.
“Kilode?” She asked as she approached.
“Mommy, my car!” Jumping excitedly, I pointed to the car.
“Good morning ma.” Lekan greeted my mom, bowing in the customary Yoruba form.
“Good morning.” She replied him, her gaze swung back to the car. “Your car?” She questioned.
“Yes mommy, Zach bought me a car.” I was excitedly running to the car when my father’s voice stopped me.
“Who is Zach and why did he buy you a car?” He asked quietly. That kind of quiet voice that sends shivers down your spine.
I turned to face him, the smile wiped off my face. “Daddy, Zach is my friend.” I replied cautiously. Not sure how to answer the second question, I ignored it.
“A friend I am yet to meet is buying you a car?”
I couldn’t reply, my heart was beating wildly.
He turned to Lekan, “Are you Zach?” He asked him.
“No sir.” Lekan replied, prostrating.
“He is Zach’s driver.” I said.
“This Zach fellow bought you a car, and cannot be bothered to deliver it himself.” He nods ominously. “My dear have you met Zach?” He asked my mother.
“Zach is the young man I told you about, the musician from last night.” She replied.
“The one who serenaded you?”
“Interesting. He serenades my wife at night, and buys my daughter a car the next day. This Zach I haven’t met or heard about. I am going to church, when I return, that car shouldn’t be in my driveway.”
Mom and I were frozen to the spot, watching him walk towards his car.
“Mommy?” I turned to her, the unspoken question was; what do I do?”
“Why did he buy you a car?” She asked me.
“I don’t know mommy, here’s the card attached.”
I passed the card with the note to her, after reading the note, she said.
“I’m uncomfortable about the whole thing, ask Zach to come and deliver the car himself, then he can answer any questions we have.”
“You ladies shouldn’t keep me waiting.” My father warned from the car.
“What do I do about the car?” I asked my mom as we locked up the house.
“You heard your father, unless Zach can be here by the time we return from church, the car shouldn’t be here.” She said with a note of finality as she went to join my dad in the car.
“You heard my parents.” I said to Lekan, my heart breaking. “You go back with the car, I’ll call Zach.” As I watched Lekan drive away in ‘my car’, I felt like screaming in frustration.
The drive to church was made in silence. I sent Clara and Susan messages, with the entire gist. We all attended the same church. Clara was also on her way to church, Susan was worshipping at her fiance’s church.
After the ‘ooh’s’ and ‘aaah’s’ over the car, they came to the same conclusion my mom did; Zach should come and deliver the car himself, meet my parents.
When we arrived at church, my parents and I dispersed. Them to adult church, me to youth church. Away from their sight, I veered into the toilet to call Zach.
“Mary Anne.” He answered tersely.
“Babe. How are you?”
“I could be better. Lekan is back.”
“Zach. First of all, thank you so much for the car, I love it. Thank you.”
“It was my pleasure.” He replied wearily. “Although I didn’t anticipate this problem.”
“Zach, my father just wants to see you.” I quickly replied. “Can you come?” I asked hopefully.
“Babe I’m swamped. I have a TV appearance in a couple of hours. After that; a meeting with my producers…..” He sighed.
“If you can spare some time, 30 minutes, max an hour…”
“MaryAnne, my schedule is tight.”
“I have an idea, can I call them on the phone, or skype? Between meetings.”
I was speechless, mouth open speechless. Did Zach just offer to meet with my father on skype?
“Hello? Babes, you still on?” He asked after a few minutes of silence.
“Yes. Yes I’m here.” I cleared my throat. “I don’t think the skype idea would fly, if you can find some time…” I saw my mom approaching. “I’ve got to go, my mom is coming, lemme call you back.” I ended the call.
“Morenikeji.” She called me by my native name. “Your purse was in my bag.” She extended my purse to me.”
I took it. “Thank you ma.” As I was about to enter the youth church, she called me again.
“Ma.” I moved closer to her.
“That young man has to come and see your father, unfailing.”
“Mommy it’s just a car, he hasn’t proposed to marry me.”
“Yes it’s just a car. But you say he is your boyfriend?”
“Minus the car issue, shouldn’t we meet your boyfriend?”
She had a point.
“The foreign trip was work related that was why I covered for you. However, no more cover ups. He has to come.” She walked away. A few steps on she stopped and turned back to me. “It’s not just about this car, this will tell on your relationship with him.” She walked away.
I have no idea what happened in church that day, Clara sat beside me and served to pull me up when I needed to stand, and nudge me to sit as well.
After lunch in our various houses, we converged at Clara’s parent’s house. She said she had ‘news’ that would take my mind off the car.
“So, today has been so eventful. First; a car gift, now you say you have news. What gives?” Susan asked as she entered Clara’s room.
We had been waiting for her, Clara was almost bursting in suppressed excitement.
“So,” Clara began excitedly. “I have this client, who told me about this empty studio space, in VI. I’ve seen it, it’s in a good location, really big, too big…..”
“Get to the point Clara.” Susan said.
Me, my mind was spinning along as Clara spoke.
“You found studio space? How much?” I asked.
“Very much.” She mentioned an amount that left Susan and I open mouthed, jaw on the floor.
“For how many years?” Susan asked.
“Girls its really big o! On a major road in VI. MaryAnne and I could share.”
“How big is it?” I asked.
“Warehouse size, out facing, with floor to ceiling glass walls. Both of us have display space. Ample display space, with office space, work space. You should see it, you’ll love it.”
“The price though… c’est tres beaucoup.”
“Is the landlord favourably disposed to you guys sharing?” Susan asked.
“The lawyer said the landlord wants to rent the space as one, so if we take it; we have to remain together, if one person leaves, the other does, that kinda thing.” Clara replied.
“I think I’m interested.” I said.
“Really? I hoped you will be. This is the step we need, to really put ourselves out there business wise.” Clara gushed.
“But I don’t have up to half of the asking price.”
“Neither do I. That’s where you come in Susan, I was hoping you could help us negotiate.”
“Is the price open for negotiation?”
“I think so. Why not, let’s all go there tomorrow, see the place, see the lawyer.”
“Yes, I’m so ready!” I squealed.
Susan rolled her eyes, and muttered. “Girls! So, tell me about the car again!”
I began the gist afresh. Halfway through, my phone beeped. A message from Zach.
I’m on my way to your house, Lekan tells me we are about thirty minutes away.