“Hi, I’m Korede, mind if I join you?” Korede snagged a chair from the next table and sat uninvited.
Both Dayo and Emily were staring at him in surprise. Emily’s heartbeat running a marathon, she was both shocked and surprised, and would gladly have fled the scene unfolding before her if she could.
Dayo’s eyes narrowed in suspicion, glancing from Korede to Emily, a picture was forming in his head, one he didn’t want to accept. Emily looked very uncomfortable, and guilty. Could it be;……
“What’s the meaning of this?” Emily asked Korede stiffly. “What are you doing here?”
Korede grinned mischievously. “I was on my way to your place, and I stopped to get you some ice-cream; your favorite flavor. But seeing as you’re here already, that plan has been slightly modified. We’ll just have the ice-cream here.” He signaled a waiter.
Emily wanted to scream, what was Korede doing? She and Dayo just stopped at the ice-cream parlor to talk; it usually had a low patronage this time of the day. What ill-wind had blown in Korede? Already, she could feel the curious gazes of the staff and the few patrons. Damn! Emily would have given a lot to be able to disappear from the scene.
The waiter arrived, and Korede smoothly placed their orders; two servings of her favorite flavor.
“What would you be having?” Korede asked Dayo in false courtesy.
“And you are?” Dayo asked, struggling to rein in his anger.
“Korede Peters, her fiancée.” Korede extended his hand for a handshake, Dayo ignored it. Korede withdrew his hand, shrugged and dismissed the waiter. “That will be all.”
“Emily?” Dayo asked. “What?…….”
“I can explain that, but first, Korede you need to go.” Emily said desperately.
“Why, I just got here, I haven’t had my ice-cream…….”
“Korede!!!!!” Emily snapped.
“I’m not going and leaving you with a man I don’t know. That would be wrong of me as your fiancé.” Korede replied sweetly. He was kind off enjoying himself, now the shoe was on the other foot. He could guess Emily also had some explanations of her own as regards this cozy little tete-a-tete, and this could work greatly to his advantage. Hopefully, this will cancel out his transgression of not telling her about his son.
Eyeing Emily and Korede with such anger and hate, Dayo got up and walked away without a word.
At this point, Emily was very angry, at herself most especially for letting this happen, and at Korede for the fiasco he just pulled. She had planned to end it with Dayo, and believed she had ended it with Korede, but she guessed this was what she got for leaving her ends untied. She wanted to blast at Korede, to tell him off in a way that would leave no doubts as to her intentions. But patrons had begun trickling in, and she was never one for public spectacles. She settled for taking a calming breath and walking away, leaving a surprised Korede staring at her open mouthed.
Korede jumped up and made to follow her, but the waiter processing his order called to him, informing him that his order was ready. He paid quickly, and ran out after Emily, but she was nowhere to be seen. He climbed into his car in frustration and tried her number; it rang out twice. He dropped the phone and drove off towards her house. He hoped she didn’t leave with that guy she had been with. This whole thing was turning into more work than he was prepared for. All he wanted was to marry Emily, his parents wanted him to get married right? And he had chosen Emily, she had the looks, education and drive to be the perfect wife for a hustler like himself. It was supposed to be simple; who wouldn’t want to be his wife with his looks, career and pedigree? He knew for sure; Tunde’s mom and a number of women he knew would jump at the opportunity he was giving Emily and she was proving difficult. So what if he hadn’t been totally honest with her? Judging by the scene he’d just witnessed, she wasn’t honest with him as well. Was total honesty even possible in a relationship?
He was startled out of his thinking by a man waving at him. He looked around surprised to see that he had driven all the way to Emily’s and would have driven on had her gate man not waved at him. He sighed loudly, shaking his head. If his parents should see how much this whole issue was affecting him, they won’t ever say he was irresponsible.
He parked the car on the roadside and beckoned to the gate man. “Aunty dey?” He asked him in pidgin English.
“No oga, she no dey.” The gate man smiled at him, he liked Korede, he tipped well.
“Haba oga, I no fit lie for you. She no dey. Na since morning she comot.”
“Yes, na only her.”
“Nobody come pick her?” he probed further.
“Aunty Buchi nko?” He asked, if Buchi were at home, maybe he could speak with her to make his case for him.
“Aunty Buchi travel since yesterday.”
“Ok, I go come back.”
Korede gave the gate man all the change given to him at the ice cream palour.
The gate man’s grin widened. “My oga!” He hailed him. “Thank-you.”
As Korede was about to drive off, he remembered the ice cream, there was no telling when he would see Emily, and he wasn’t much of an ice-cream fan. He honked his horn to draw the departing gate man’s attention. He returned and Korede gave him the ice-cream; all of it. “For you and your Yarinya.”
The gate man was filled with so much joy, he rained down praises on Korede as he drove off in both Hausa and Pidgin English.
Emily stretched as her cup filled at the dispenser. Her eyes felt gritty, the food she had just eaten felt like rocks in her stomach. The day was shaping up to be one of those days when she wished she could use her lunch hour to sleep. She was dead tired and it was just past twelve on a Wednesday, there was still two and a half days ahead before the weekend. She yawned tiredly as she made her way back to her desk, in her job as a customer care agent for one of the leading national banks, she barely had a lunch break, but for the fact that it was against regulations to eat at your desk, she bet she would be required to attend to customers even while she was eating.
She saw that a customer was already seated at her desk waiting for her, and she could see some others waiting. She felt such resentment for the clients. Couldn’t they just give her five minutes to settle in post-lunch?
On second thought, she quickly banished those thoughts, the customers were the reason she had a job, and she couldn’t afford to be ungracious to them.
Dredging up a polite smile as she sat at her desk, she gave the customer seated opposite her a quick glance and a standard; “Good afternoon sir.” He looked familiar; he must be a regular customer although she couldn’t immediately place his face.
“Good afternoon.” He replied in a voice that sounded so familiar her gaze quickly returned to his face.
She stared as recognition dawned. “Obi Thompson?” This was Obi Thompson, her favorite radio show host. She would know that voice anywhere, she listened to him every day on her way to work. Such was her crush on him that she even goggled him to see what he looked like.
He smiled, and said in that deep voice she had come to love so much; “Lady you have me at a disadvantage for I don’t know you, yet.”