There were mixed feelings when I relayed my misadventure with Wale to my new office besties, Wonu and Barong.
“I don’t know, Fola…” Wonu said hesitantly, “Wale does know a lot of celebs. I’ve been for a few of his parties in London, and there were honestly a lot of famous people there.”
“I know right! Wasn’t that where you said you saw Lily Collins?” Barong chipped in.
“And Alesha Dixon…to name only a few!” Wonu nodded, happy to have someone confirm her story.
“You girls are missing the point!” I said tersely. “The guy is a jerk! Can you imagine him telling a 12 year old boy the price of his Gucci shoes?!”
“Yeah, that wasn’t cool at all.” the two of them had to agree.
“But you know that Tessa person was just a booty call, right?” Barong said, after a while. “He was obviously upset about how things were going with you, so called a booty call. I’ll bet it’s nothing serious at all.”
I looked at Barong in total disbelief that something like that could have come out of her mouth. But then again, why was I surprised? The girl obviously had a brain the size of a groundnut seed.
Later in the day, Wonu walked by my table. From the way she sat down and looked around her, it was apparent she had something important to say.
“I couldn’t tell you this before, since it was obvious you liked Wale…but there was someone else who saw you at the party that night. He’s my older brother’s friend, and he’s been asking after you. I told him you were unavailable before, but now that you and Wale are over…”
I smiled, as I saw the ray of sunshine in what she was saying. Yes, the Wale door had closed, but was this another one opening?
“Who’s the guy?” I asked.
She squealed, happy that I was interested, and pulled her chair closer to mine. Apparently, his name was Kojo, and he was from a popular Nigerian banking family dynasty. Hearing his surname, I rolled my eyes at the thought of being with yet another wannabe.
“No, no, no! He’s nothing like Wale! I promise!” Wonu said desperately, noticing my apprehension. “All due respect to Wale, but his is new money…which is probably why he brags as much as he does. Kojo is absolutely nothing like that!”
Shrugging, I agreed to her request to give the guy my phone number. What did I have to lose anyway?
I was driving home, when I got a call from Dolly.
“Yes, Dolapo.” I said, wondering what she was calling me about.
“I just wanted to let you know I’m off to Miami tonight. A friend invited me over, and after all the drama with Jimi, I figured I could do with a break.” she said, her voice whiny.
“Miami? Tonight? Is that how people just drop everything and travel? And what happened to the 100k you borrowed from me?! The one you said you were going to pay back?!” I demanded, getting very annoyed.
“Wait, you want that back?” she actually had the nerve to ask. “But Fola, you know I don’t have a job. Where would I get 100k to repay you? I was even hoping you’d give me some money to add to what I have for my trip!”
I took a deep breath, followed by an even deeper one. Honest to God, all I wanted to do was to wrap my hands around my sister’s neck and strangle her.
“Dolapo, enjoy your trip. Try not to get yourself into any trouble. And you can forget about getting any money from me!”
“But where else am I going to get some money? You know neither Adun nor Niyi will…”
I didn’t let her finish, as I terminated the call. One more second on the phone with her might have driven me into the kind of rage that would steer my car off the road. The nerve of that woman!
Barely a minute later, my phone rang again, and I answered it ready to scream like a banshee at my recalcitrant sister, who clearly didn’t give up.
“Dolapo, I swear, if you let me say the things I want to say to you…” I yelled.
“Oh pray tell, I’d love to hear these things!” came an unfamiliar, deep baritone voice.
I covered my mouth with hand, as realization hit me.
“Hi, my name is Kojo. I got your phone number from Wonu.” he said, confirming my thoughts.
“I’m so sorry. I don’t usually yell like a crazy person…” I said, embarrassed.
He laughed, a sound that made the butterflies in my stomach flutter. “You don’t have to apologize. I like a woman with a little spunk.”
I smiled, and as we chatted, all memories of Wale were thrown to the back of my mind. We spoke non-stop all the way to my house, as I changed clothes, and even as I drove to my in-law’s to pick Rire up. Our conversation flowed effortlessly. By the time I got to my in-law’s house, and had to end the conversation, we’d made a date to meet up after work the next day.
Walking into their house, I was literally floating on air, happy about the prospect of a new romance brewing. My happiness was ramped up a notch at the sight of Seyi, whom I hadn’t seen in a few weeks.
“Hellooo stranger!” I exclaimed, giving my brother-in-law a hug. “Where have you been?”
Seyi smiled and shrugged. “Just working real hard. We’ve had a few intense projects at work, meaning earlier days and later nights.”
“Well, it’s not showing on you! You look so good!” I patted his face, smiling in genuine affection. With all the drama over the years, I had grown to love Seyi as deeply as any of my own blood siblings.
“You two look quite chummy!” came Jimi’s voice, as he walked into the living room.
“Fola is my girl! My ride or die any day! After everything we’ve gone through together, I can kill for this girl!” Seyi answered, not taking his eyes off me.
Jimi’s brow arched. “Is that so?” he more said than asked.
“Yes. I tried to take it further, but the girl shot me down!” Seyi chuckled, before casting his brother a glance, “If not, you would have been the brother-in-law now.”
In the silence that followed, I had to cough to diffuse the tense situation, as both brothers were staring at each other as if ready for a showdown.
“We should catch up soon, Seyi. I have a few young ladies you might like to meet.” I added, with a sly wink.
Seyi laughed. “You know…that might not be a bad idea. I haven’t told my folks yet, but I just paid for my own place. I’ll be moving out before the end of the month.”
I squealed with delight, hugging him yet again. “That’s wonderful, Seyi! Where?”
“I got a nice 2-bedroom apartment in Gbagada. I wanted somewhere I could afford myself…pay for myself, but still central enough. From my street, I can hit the bridge in less than 3 minutes.” he answered, proudly.
“I’m so happy for you, Seyi. And proud too!” I beamed.
“And you don’t have to worry about anything.” he said, looking straight into my eyes, answering the question I was too scared to ask. “I’m clean. I’m good. I’m never going back to that life.” and then casting a look at his brother. “It’s just too bad when a grown man chooses to stay at home with mom and dad!”
And with that, he walked away, leaving me with an enraged Jimi.
“So is that what you also think? Do you think I’m a loser because I live at home with my parents?” Jimi demanded.
Before I could even answer, he went on, “Because you know everything I have has gone into setting up my business. I’m trying to grow my company, and that has been pretty much taken everything I have. And not to mention that I am now the one fully responsible for you and Rire!”
It was my turn to feel affronted. “So are you saying it’s our fault?” I retorted. “Jimi, nobody is asking you to do anything. I have no idea why you’re all on the defensive! Let’s just be happy for Seyi, instead of trying to measure whose junk is bigger!”
He said nothing, but didn’t take his eyes off me. “So is it true? Did Seyi ever make a pass at you?”
“Jimi, good night!” I said, turning away.
“Why didn’t you say yes? I’ll bet my folks would have been happy? That would have been a guaranteed way to keep you in the family?” he said, his voice deadpan.
I spun around and glared at him. What answer did he want from me? That yes, his mother was all for it? And yes, it would have been so convenient for us all? But that I couldn’t do it because I found it preposterous? That I couldn’t do it because I was still pining for him then? That I was still in love with him? Then?
“I’m going to need you to watch Rire tomorrow night.” I heard myself saying. “I have a date.”
Jimi’s brows raised again. “Another one? That’s like the fourth in 2 weeks!”
“The third actually. The first one was a party…so doesn’t quite count.”
“Same guy? The same one Rire thinks is a weirdo?”
I smiled smugly. “No. Someone new.”
Jimi nodded. “Well then. Good for you. Have fun!”
“I sure will!” I said as gayly as I could, gliding out of the room in search of Rire.
But driving home, I found my earlier excitement over my date for the next day dampened by the exchange with Jimi. How was it that he was still able to crawl right under my skin, every single time?! As I recalled our conversation, I wish I’d asked him why he was giving me the third degree about Seyi…or my date…when he was engaged to another woman! Why was it okay for him to live his own life like it was golden, and expect me to remain a statue?! I clenched my fists in anger as I drove, furious over the missed opportunity to really give Jimi a piece of my mind.
Thankfully, after a good night’s rest, I woke up the next day all pumped for my date later on. I dressed up to the nines, and by the time work was over, I was ready to meet the man who could potentially be my next love. We agreed to meet at a bar nearby, and when I walked into the place, I said a silent prayer for it not to be a Wale-type of guy.
“Hi beautiful!” came the deep baritone voice, and I spun around to finally get a face to the voice. He had the advantage, as he already knew what I looked like. I, on the other hand, was shooting blind.
Facing him, I smiled as we shook hands. He was just a few inches taller than me, so not as tall as the kind of guys I generally went for. But he was good looking, in a way that was more comfortable than in-your-face. And from his mannerisms, he was definitely more refined and classy than Mr. Gucci Shoes!
As we ordered our drinks, we found our conversation flowing just as fluidly as it had over the phone. He was extremely intelligent, and I found myself taken by his depth of knowledge…of just about everything; from current affairs, to general knowledge, to entertainment, to sports…he was an aficionado in just about everything. And I was extremely turned on by it! He was a Director in his family bank, and was being primed for the MD position. But best of all, he was impressed by my bold move to start my career all over again, doing something I loved this time.
“That was an extremely bold move, Fola! A bold and fearless one! Don’t worry about starting from the bottom. At the end of the day, you’ll be the better for it!” he had assured me, making me desire him even more! Of all my friends and family, he was the first person to ever give me that reassurance!
“Thank you for a wonderful evening!” I said, when we were done with our 3rd round of drinks. “Because I had so fun, let me pay for the drinks! It’s my treat!”
“Okay.” he answered, without missing a beat.
I looked at him, shocked momentarily, before recovering myself, and smiling as I swiped my card to pay for N22K worth of drinks! Just like that sha, 22k!
“He was probably happy that someone was offering to pay for once!” Bimbo giggled, as I gave her the gist later that night. “Or maybe it was a test, you never know!”
I hissed. Yeye test that had left a 22k hole in my pocket! If only I’d known, I would have just had soda instead of those expensive cocktails.
“But hang on. Kojo, the banker. Isn’t that the guy who dated Jumoke? Jumoke in Law?” Bimbo asked.
Thinking about it, the lines suddenly fell into place. Of course, it was him! Jumoke had been a few sets above me, but pretty much the whole school knew she was dating some guy called Kojo, who came from a rich banking family. They had met at a party she’d attended as a Jambite, and had dated all through her stay in Unilag, and even afterwards, if the gossip mill was anything to go by.
“So you mean after all those years together, he didn’t marry that girl?” I mused loudly, shocked by my realization.
“But he clearly has a type!” Bimbo said, voicing what I was trying to avoid saying.
The reason I knew Jumoke so well was because everyone thought we looked alike. In my first month on campus, one night, she’d strolled to our room with her friends, and had asked to see the famous Fola everyone thought looked like her.
“I know you! You’re Niyi’s sister, right?” she asked, smiling and revealing her deep dimples. “Cute! I don’t mind having a cute lookalike like you. For a second, I’d thought you’d be one fat, ugly girl!”
As we all giggled, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beautiful girl standing in front of me, baffed up in a crisp white shirt, tucked into sky blue jeans, and telling me I looked like her! If I looked anything like this girl, then I was drop dead gorgeous!
And now, years later, the love of her life was trying to be…the love of mine?
“I don’t know if I should see him again.” I mumbled to Bimbo.
“Nonsense! You’re definitely going to see him again. I’m sure the Jumoke herself is even married by now, so why deprive yourself of possibly a great relationship?!” Bimbo answered defiantly.
“And what about making me pay for drinks?”
“He didn’t make you pay. You offered, and he took you up on it!” she answered.
I guess she was right. I did offer.
Which is why when he called later that night, I decided to relax, and just go with the flow…hoping for the best!
You can catch up on Fola’s story here:
- Sister, Sister 1: Calling Me Mrs.
- Sister, Sister 2: The Odd Family
- Sister, Sister 3: Floating On Air
- Sister, Sister 4: The Many Wives of Jimi
- Sister, Sister 5: Russian Roulette
- Sister, Sister 6: So Much In Common
- Sister, Sister 7: An Unlikely Pair
- Sister, Sister 8: Longing For Her
- Sister, Sister 9: The Return
- Sister, Sister 10: The Catastrophe
- Sister, Sister 11: Not Working
- Sister, Sister 12: Sham of a Marriage
- Sister, Sister 13: Invisible Strings
- Sister, Sister 14: Rehab
- Sister, Sister 15: Fall From Grace
- Sister, Sister 16: Reset Button
- Sister, Sister 17: Available…Unavailable
- Sister, Sister 18: Paradigm Shift
- Sister, Sister 19: Living a Lie
- Sister, Sister 20: Not That Kind of Girl
- Sister, Sister 21: Name Dropping