…….”I tried your number countless times it was switched off, where were you?” Chima accused.
“She was hiding away from me.” Kunle replied from the doorway.
Kunle couldn’t have asked for a better opening, he couldn’t have had a better ally than Chima. As could be expected, Chima demanded to know why Deola was ‘hiding’ away from Kunle, and he told her. She joined forces with Kunle and they both attempted to convince Deola she was wrong to hide away from a relationship because of her past mistakes.
“You guys aren’t seeing this thing from my point of view.” Deola interrupted them. “Believe me; I have given this whole issue a lot of thought. Let me paint this two scenarios; on one hand; Kunle and I start dating, and it goes sour at some point. What next? I would have lost a very dear friend.”
“Who’s to say it will go sour?” Chima cut in.
“Please let me finish.”
Chima waved for her to continue.
“Okay, on the second hand, we date, we fall in love,…”
“I’m there already.” Kunle murmure dryly.”
Deola glared at him and went on. “As I was saying, we fall in love, we want to get married, and viola; there’s opposition from his family. What next? There’s no winning with this thing.”
“You forgot a third scenario, there’s no opposition and we all leave happily ever after.” Kunle said.
“Yeah right. Because your family has been living under a rock. Let’s be realistic, no African family will let their child get married without digging into the background of the spouse to be. In my case, when they dig, what would they find? Scandal. Do a simple Google search for goodness sake, what do you see when you Google me?”
“Honey, Kunle is a PR professional, if you want him to make you white as snow, he can.” Chima replied drily.
“Don’t be ridiculous, can you pull the articles off the net, can you,……?” Deola was overwhelmed by emotions, she sat in the nearest available chair and tried not to cry.
Kunle crouched beside her and took her hands in his. “I think you’re borrowing trouble where there isn’t any. At least not yet. You asked for realism, I’ll give you realism. I’m realistic enough to know it won’t be a smooth drive, no relationship ever is, but I’m sure of one thing; I’ll be there, no matter what. I love you Deola, I want you in my life, I was there before the scandal, I was there through the scandal, and I’m still here after the scandal. You talked about Google search, I went beyond Google, I knew all about you, and your relationship even before the scandal broke, and still I loved you.”
Deola began to cry softly, she was overcome by emotion.
“We all have pasts, some darker than others. If God can forgive us of our sins, who are we to judge? Take this step of faith with me Deola, I know you feel something for me, but if you want to tell me you feel nothing, you do not want me, tell me Deola. Tell me and we won’t ever talk about it again.”
“I don’t want to have my hopes raised and dashed. I don’t want to risk losing you.” Deola sobbed.
“You aren’t going to lose me, I’m not going anywhere. Take this step of faith with me babe.” He waited for he to respond, after a while, she nodded to her tears.
“Hallelujah!” Chima exclaimed, herself sniffing and fighting tears.
Deola found that when Kunle said he wanted more, he meant more, and at full speed. He made no secret of the fact that he wanted to marry her and soon. He wanted her to meet his family, which comprised of his mom and his elder sister, as his father was late. His mom lived in Lagos, he had told his family about Deola and saw no sense in delaying their meeting.
Deola was apprehensive about meeting his family, and tried to delay it, but Kunle insisted, and a few weeks after they ‘officially’ began seeing each other, he arranged for her to visit at his mom’s house, his sister and her husband would also be in attendance.
She wore a simple gown made from Ankara fabric and sensible heels. Her aim was to look simple and not overly made-up. Kunle’s mom herself opened the door to them. She hugged Kunle who attempted to postrate in greeting as was customary.
Then she raised Deola who was on her kneels in greeting as was also customary.
“Get up my daughter, how are you?” She said to her. Mrs Tinuke Philips looked was a very beautiful woman, who looked surprisingly young, she looked more like Kunle’s sister than his mother. She stepped back into the house and led them into the house. “You’re all welcome. Come in. Simi and Ade are here already.” She led them into the living room, where Simi, Kunle’s sister and her husband; Ade were seated.
Simi and Ade got up in welcome, Deola could see the striking resemblance between his sister and their mom, perhaps Kunle favored his father. After they had all exchanged pleasantries, they sat to discuss while a maid served them cold drinks.
“So Deola, where are you from?” Mrs Philips asked Deola.
“My late father was from Odogbolu ma, in Ogun state, while my mom is from Ikorodu.” She replied.
“I guess you were born here in Lagos, and perhaps haven’t been to any of those places?” Tinuke asked.
Deola laughed. “You’re right ma.”
“I knew it. All of you.” She waved to encompass all of them. “All of you are; my parents say I’m Yoruba.”
They all laughed.
“Deola, Kunle tells us you’re a designer, what’s the name of your clothing line?”
“It’s Deola’s Signature, ma.”
“That’s nice, let me Google you and check out your line. Do you have a website, or a lookbook, what kinds of clothes do you design, ready to wear or haute couture?” Simi asked picking her phone up from the side stool.
Deola was getting uncomfortable, the words ‘google’ were now her enemy, and she didn’t want anyone googling her.
Ade, Simi’s husband came to her rescue. “Women and fashion. Why don’t you put your phone aside, I’m sure you’ll have enough time later to check-out Deola’s fashion line.”
“Abi o, children of the technology age.” Tinu added. “Let us eat first, before you people start googling and discussing fashion. Let us go to the table.” She got up and led them to the table.
They made small talk through the meal, Simi and Kunle’s mom asking her more questions in an attempt to know her better.
“I thought its prospective husbands that are grilled this way, all these questions remind me of when I came to marry Simi. You all asked so many questions and I’m sure turned over every stone in my family before you allowed me to marry her.” They all laughed.
“Yes o, that’s how it’s done. It’s normal. We’ll investigate her family, and they in turn will investigate us.” Mrs. Philips replied.
And the delicious food turned to sawdust in Deola’s mouth. She didn’t want anyone looking too closely at her.