“Can you come out instead?” Nifemi asked.
“Sure.” I was grabbing a robe to wear on my sleep wear as I spoke. “I’m coming out.” I ended the call.
“Nifemi is outside.” I said to Dupe and Aunt Mabel by way of an explanation as I unlocked the front door.
“Are you going out in your robe?” Aunt Mabel as I stepped outside.
“We’re just outside.” I replied.
“Sha don’t tempt the man o!” Dupe called after me.
Smh. That girl and her thoughts.
Unknown to me, those were Nifemi’s thoughts as well as I walked to his car.
“Hi.” I said softly as I joined him in his car. This was a different Nifemi I had been seeing recently, coupled with Dupe’s suggestions I was kindoff uneasy. I wasn’t sure about the wisdom of seeing him in my sleep wear. But this was Nifemi, my bestie, my bro, he had seen me in my undies before, what had changed? I examined his face critically, the much I could make out from the light cast from the street light. He looked tired, and troubled.
“Are you ok, you look….?” I asked concerned.
He sighed. “It’s been a long day.”
“Pele.” I rubbed his back. “How was your date with Zara, you don’t look like it went well?”
He sighed again. “I don’t want to talk about it.” He replied.
“That bad?” I teased, trying to lighten the mood.
“Pretty bad.” He agreed. Leaning back, he shut his eyes.
Whatever happened must have been pretty bad, he was in his ‘wanting to talk, but not being able to talk’ mood, and whenever that mood was on, the onus fell on me to talk him out of it. But that night, I was stumped. I looked around the street, and my eyes fell on his parents house.
“When are your parents returning?” I asked him. They were in Paris, visiting his immediate elder sister, Shade.
“According to them, at the end of the month. But until they get on a Nigerian bound plane, I’m not holding them to it.” He smiled wryly.
“I bet they are having a good time?”
“I guess so. From the pictures Shade mails me, they are.”
“When do you want to travel?” He asked.
“Alice said she’ll get back to me on how soon she can book my flight, and all the other arrangements.” My face lit up at the thought of my trip. “I’m ready any day.”
A thought occurred to me. “Why don’t you come with me?” I asked him.
“I wish I could, work.” He turned to look at me and smiled slowly, his dimples very pronounced. “I love to see you happy.”
“Thank you. You spoil me.”
“I love to. How are Dupe and Aunt Mabel?”
“They are good. Watching a movie.”
“So I was thinking, after you left this afternoon, that you could shop for things to sell while on your trip.”
I stared at him in surprise, how could he have thought what I did? I’d thought that same thing on my drive home.
“I was thinking the same thing, but I’m not sure.” I hadn’t sold anything before and wasn’t so sure I could pull it off.
“Why? I think you should, put your MBA to practical use, run your own business.”
“I’ll give you some money, let’s see how it goes.” He said with lawyerly finality.
“Nifemi!” I protested. “I still have my parents money, I barely touch it, you keep giving me money!”
“Let’s do a trial run with my money.”
The gate man, Jubril came outside. Probably to check if we were still outside.
Nifemi glanced at the wristwatch. “It’s late, time to turn in.”
“Ok. I hope you’re better?” Funny enough I wasn’t sleepy, but Nifemi had to drive home and had work the next day.
“Yes.” He replied, sounding better.
As I made to open the door, he said…
“You ever think about us, together?”
I slowly turned in shock. “What?” I asked, not sure what I heard.
“Never mind. Just a thought.” He started the car engine. “Night Babe.”
I alighted and walked into the compound on rubbery legs. I heard him drive off as Jubril locked the gate.
Wow! Double wow! His last question kept ringing in my ears.
Nifemi didn’t mention his slip, and neither did I. But in my mind, things had changed. I was more aware of him as a man, not as a brother.
I left for my trip. I spent two wonderful weeks in Dubai, I shopped till I dropped. Gifts for everyone I knew, I bought so many things I had a feeling I could sell. Dubai was so beautiful, I could live there (with my family off course).
I missed them, and was very happy to return to Lagos. I had so much luggage, some had to be shipped separately. Nifemi and Dupe picked me up at the airport, Dupe filled me in on all the gist she omitted to tell me on the phone. Nifemi barely said a word, Dupe didn’t let him.
Aunt Mabel was standing at the door, waiting for us. I was engulfed in her embrace the moment I stepped out of the car. After the welcome, I went in for a bath. I missed home! No matter how lovely Dubai was, I was glad to be home.
After my bath, we sat down to dinner. I missed home made meals, I almost wept for joy as I ate. After, I was happy to see I got everyone’s sizes correctly, even Jubril’s.
A few days after I returned, Nifemi and I were back at the airport, this time to welcome his parents.
They looked so much younger and healthy, a mere glance will tell anyone they had a good time.
“So my daughter,” his mother said on the drive home. “I can see you’ve been taking good care of Nifemi.”
I laughed. “Thank you ma. You and Daddy are looking extremely good.” I returned the complement.
“Nifemi, when are you going to do the right thing and marry this young lady?” She probed further.
If Nifemi and I were light skinned, we would have turned red. Neither of us expected that question and as such couldn’t respond.
“My dear, allow the children.” Her husband came to our rescue. “They will tie the knot when they are good and ready.”
I almost screamed; Daddy you too?
The rest of the drive home was a blur to me. I gave automatic answers and contributions to the conversation.
My thoughts were on the question. Everyone was asking the same question. Even us, going by Nifemi’s words that night, but we couldn’t seem to find our footing.
At the house, I swung into action. I had cleaned and cooked, and the house was ready for them.
Later, when Nifemi was walking me home, he asked. “I don’t know how to say this, don’t know where to start. I know you see me as a brother, but lately…..”
I stopped, and turned around to face him. Causing him to stop as well. My heart in my mouth. “Lately….” I prompted him. I hoped he was about to say what I thought he was about to say.
“I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, you and me. I really don’t know what to say or how to say it, do you think we could try out the relationship thing?”
It’s two days to valentine, I hope we all have a love-filled day.
PS: Don’t forget to read, comment and share.
Lots of love.