” Bell, We are home” Tade said, nugging me awake. I blinked my eyes and realized we were already in the Afolabis house. We would have arrived much earlier but our flight was delayed.
I was slightly piqued that he referred to the house he grew up in as home. I pushed back the thoughts as quickly as it came. Tade was also an only child and he lost his father to an auto accident at a tender age. It was a surprise to me that he wasn’t the clingy mummy’s boy kind of man because his mother was all he had while growing up.
” Welcome, welcome” Abosede, a lovely woman in her sixties walked out of the house.
She gave me a fierce hug before kissing me on both cheeks.” Tade! My boy” she drew him into her arms.
” Mom, its good to see you. You look so beautiful ” he said.
” Really?” She said, twirling around with laughter.” Where is my beautiful grand child? ”
Tade lifted Serwa out of the cab into his arms, his mother stretched out her hands and he transferred the sleeping child to her. He paid the cabbie and we both took our bags into the grand two storey building.
” Mom, where are your other workers?” Tade asked.” that security man is a bit old” he said referring to the old man who was manning the gate.
” Oh i fired them all….incompetent fools the whole lot of them. Now i have someone who comes to clean up the house on weekend. I eat out and i also cook occasionally.As for the security man, he’s OK”
” Don’t you get lonely all by yourself mother in_ law?” I asked.”You should move to Ghana”
” My dear, as long as you two make out time to visit me here i will be alright” She said, ” by the way, i have redecorated Shewa’s bedroom. She will so love the new look of her room ”
” Its Serwa” Tade corrected.
” You have started o, what is the difference?” She said, ” Oya bring your bags upstairs ”
We took our bags into the rooms prepared for us, we both showered and i came downstairs while Tade was still dressing up. My mother in law was setting up the dinner table when i walked in.
” You shouldn’t be doing this things on your own. You need a live in maid”
” My dear i had maids and cooks and gardeners but they were just eating my food and impregnating themselves.”
I laughed, and started setting out plates on the table. ” You should at least get a better and well trained security personnel. ”
” Oh i do. Papa love, is very good at his job ”
” He’s too old,”
” He’s young at heart. He’s a member of my church. I joined a new church about a year ago and i tell you the experience has been so wonderful. We are one big family there.” She said cheerfully.” Mabel, i am so happy you are all here, this easter celebration will be the best one ever”
” Dupe!” My dad called, ” there’s someone at the gate.
” OK sir, ” i dropped the novel i was reading and walked out of my room.” Where is mom?”
” She went to the market ”
I went out into the compound and unlocked the gate. He grinned at me before planting a kiss on my lips playfully. I quickly shut the gate behind us.
” What are you doing here? ” I asked,” my dad is home”
” I came to ask for your hand in marriage ” he joked, flashing his set of white teeth.
I tried so hard to be angry at him but that grin melted my heart. He looked so handsome in a loose shirt and pant. ” Why are you here?”
” I am sorry. I shouldn’t have spoken to you the way i did. ” he said.
” It’s Alright. You could have called. ”
” I wanted to give you this,” he handed me a fancy carrier bag ” don’t i get a kiss?”
” Uche please, my dad is at home”
He sighed heavily, ” Alright. I will be on my way now,”
I watched him walk down the street until i could no longer see him. I took a peek inside the bag and a smile came on my lips. In it was a tiny white teddy bear clutching a single rose to it’s chest..
The house had been unusually quiet since Chidubem ran off, the twins kept to themselves and Mama chanelled her energy into her food stuffs business. There was little else for me to do other than to sleep and surf the net being an unemployed graduate. I felt lucky to have a loving and caring girlfriend. She was the only bright spot in my life and sometimes i found myself awake at night, staring into the darkness, wondering when someone would scream ‘ Cut!’ and i would realize it was all an illusion. I wish i could lay the world at her feet because a woman who is not demanding but is supportive deserves the world. She was too good and almost too perfect to be true. She made me feel emotions i thought only happens in foreign movies. She makes me to want to go all the yard, marriage, baby and all and lord knows a fat ring would have already been on her finger if it wasn’t for my financial status.
” Baby, the food is ready” She walked out of the kitchen, She looked so delectable in a black,short gown with a low neck line. ” Are you ready to eat?”
” There’s something in your hair” i said, ” Move closer so i can remove it for you. ” She moved closer and i pulled her onto my laps.
She laughed and gave me a playful jab on my shoulder.” I knew you had something naughty up your sleeves”.
My phone beeped and i slipped it out of my pocket. Dupe stood up and went back into the kitchen. My heart pounded heavily as i saw the email notification from Dominique Petroleum International. l clicked on the message and the phone slipped out of my hand as Dupe walked in with a plate of rice.
” Are you trying to break the phone or what?” She said, placing the plate of food on the dining table.
I picked up the phone and read the email again to be certain it was truly addressed to me. ”
Dupe, come and take a look at this”
She collected the phone, read the email and jumped into my arms happily. ” Oh my God! which Dominique Petroleum? the one and only? ”
” Yes” i replied breathlessly. ” Let’s not get our hopes up tho, they only want to have an assessment chat with me.”
” It’s tomorrow!” She squealed,reading the message again.” You have to look your best, it’s a good thing the assessment is at their Lagos branch in Victoria Island. Do you have a good suit?”
I exhaled sharply, i didn’t want to get my hopes up but she was making it too d–n hard for me not to. I don’t want her to be disappointed in me if it turns out as another disappointment. She had a big smile on her face and she was clutching the phone like it was a prized gift.
” I don’t even own a suit”
” Stand up,” she said
” Stand up, please”
I stood up and she assessed me from my head down to my toe.” Your highness, may i take my sit now?”
” How tall are you?” she asked
” Hmmn,” she said, ” I will be right back, ”
Before i could stop her she was already out of the room. I picked up the food and started eating when she didn’t return after fifteen minutes. I was tidying up the kitchen when i heard her voice.
” Dupe, where did you….?” I paused when i saw what she held up.” Where did you get that from?” I pointed at the suit she held, it was on a cloth hanger and covered with a white nylon.
She laughed.” Let’s just say i borrowed it.
Try it on”
” No take it back. Who did you even borrow it from?”
” Come on, try it on” She insisted.
I collected it from her and walked into my room to wear it. The waist of the trouser was a bit big and it came short to my ankle. The shirt and suit jacket was a perfect size. I walked back into the living room feeling a little ridiculous.
She burst into laughter when she saw me.
” It could be worse” She said, laughing.” You look like a Micheal Jackson wannabe only without the jerry curls”
I couldn’t help laughing too.” Where did you get it?”
” My dad is officiating a wedding this Saturday. He wouldn’t miss it until then ”
We both laughed.” Seriously you are a crazy girl, please take it back ”
” Let me be the first to congratulate you on your new job, Dominique Petroleum has just gotten a genius ”
” Dupe, ” I cautioned.” Let’s not get our…”
” Congratulations my love” She said.