Simi knocked softly on the door to Deola’s office. She wanted to surprise her, take her unawares, see her unguarded response to her. That would inform her next line of action.
“Come in.” Deola called from inside the office without looking up. She was working intently on her laptop. It was the almost end of the month with its attendant paperwork. She had to go over the accounts of the past month, and payroll too. That day was the deadline she’d set for herself, she had to finish with the all paperwork and get back to designing. She had some huge orders, and a very short deadline. Chima and Dayo’s wedding was in a fortnight, and she had another wedding right on its heels, in which she was making the bridesmaids dresses, and a sizeable percentage of the aso-ebi ladies. She couldn’t complain, this meant business was picking up, and she sure could do with some cash inflow. Since cutting off ties with the Senator, the business had been limping from paying for itself. In the first few weeks after she had ended the relationship with Tom, she had been tempted to close down the business. She hadn’t wanted to move forward with anything that had ties to him, but for the thought of her staff, her loyal clients, and the fact that despite that the start-up cash had come from him, she had put in so much into it, so she had resolved to see the business succeed. She couldn’t change the past, but she could work towards a better future.
Simi pushed the door ajar and entered. “Hello Deola.” She greeted.
A combination of having gone hours without eating, and surprise, had Deola seeing a blurry image of Simi, as she stepped into her office. Deola stared disbelievingly at Simi, was she imagining her?
“Hi.” Deola hurried to her feet, hitting her foot against the desk in the process. She barely felt the pain. The surprise was overwhelming. “Please sit.” She gestured towards the chairs opposite her. “Ma, can I get you something to drink?” She remembered her manners, and tradition that required that everyone older than you be accorded utmost respect, especially when they had a certain power over you, such as being your in-laws, or prospective in-laws.
“No, I’m fine thank you.” Simi replied graciously, sitting down.
Deola returned to her seat, and flashed a hurried smile as she struggled for calm. Simi was in her office and she had no idea why. She looked calm, and just kept on smiling at her, hopefully she didn’t come to her spoiling for a fight. “Are you sure you don’t want anything? I have juice, iced tea, water, or I could send out for something.” She offered, attempting to fill the silence.
“I’m fine, really.” She laughed. “You are nervous, and I detect some hope too.”
Deola spread her hands expansively, as though saying; what do you expect.
“But its ok, I’m nervous too. Do you love my brother?” She asked.
Deola automatically answered; “Yes ma.” Before assimilating the question.
“That’s good enough for me.” She reclined in the chair. “You see, when I was young, I used to watch a lot of our local movies, I detested the wicked mother-in-law part, and I promised myself I was going to be a very cool mother-in-law, best friends with my daughter-in-law, bla bla bla. But you know fate has a weird sense of humor; sister-in-law level, I almost failed. Which brings me to the reason I’m here; I owe you an apology, my only excuse is; I wanted the best for my brother, and I forgot I don’t decide what’s best for him. I’m sorry I kicked against your relationship.”
Deola was so overwhelmed by emotions, she could barely speak. “Thank you ma.” She croaked out.
“My brother loves you. He was willing to take on opposition for you. I have a feeling you love him just as much.”
“That’s all I need to know.” Simi got up. “Also, I do apologize for barging in on you like this, I wanted to see your unguarded response to me. You passed excellently well.”
“Thank you ma.” Deola also rose to her feet.
“Please call me Simi, I’m not one to stand on the tradition of you being subservient to me. We’re going to be sisters; sisters don’t refer to each other as ‘ma’. You are going to marry Kunle aren’t you?”
“Uhm, I guess, I’m not, he hasn’t asked.” Deola stammered in response.
Simi laughed. “He will ask, Kunle loves you very much.” Simi went around the table and hugged Deola.
The tears which Deola had been holding in rolled silently down her face as she hugged Simi back.
“Take care.” Simi said, disengaging and leaving Deola’s office, she too wiping tears from her eyes.
Deola sank into the chair as her feet couldn’t hold her up any longer. Wow! Double wow! Did that just happen? “Thank you Jesus.” She said out loud, clasping her hands in thanks. A wide smile slowly spread on her face as she went through Simi’s visit in her mind.
She remembered the aso-ebi fabric she had wanted to give to Simi for her brother’s wedding, and ran to her work room to get it. She caught-up with Simi as she was about driving out of the complex and gave her the bag. Simi happily accepted it and promised to attend the wedding.
Later that week.
Deola was driving Kunle back to his office. She had shown-up at his office to whisk him off on a surprise lunch date. As was always the case with them, they had talked for so long, and lost track of time. Only when a client had called her with a wardrobe disaster, had they left the restaurant. Deola was going to drop him off, back at his office, and go on to hers.
Her phone rang.
“Sweet, please could you help me answer the phone and tell Madam Clara, I’ll be with her soon. Deola said, concentrating on the traffic.
He picked up her phone. “It isn’t Madam Clara’s number.”
“Who? Either way, please help me answer it.”
“Hello.” He said, answering the call.
“Hello. Ms Adeola Lasisi?” The voice at the other end enquired.
‘This isn’t Deola, she’s driving and asked me to take a message.” Kunle replied, believing it’s a customer. “Whom am I speaking with?” He asked to confirm.
“This is Diana, calling on behalf of Senator Tom Briggs, the senator would like to speak with her.” Senator Briggs assistant said, believing she was speaking with Deola’s assistant.