Wole took a deep breath and stepped away from Tola. “Why are you doing this?”
“I don’t know.” She replied, quite dumbly.
He shook his head. “Tola, I don’t need this right now.” He started. “I don’t want you building my hopes and then dashing it the next second because you are undecided.”
She clasped her hands into her lap and took a seat. “Wole, I don’t know why I am saying all these, but I am scared of losing you.”
He took his seat beside her. “Tola, how true is that? I fear you still care about Tolu and even if he is a douche bag, I want to respect that.” He replied. “I’ll always be here for you till I can’t wait anymore.”
He held his tie. “Wole, I want you now.”
He shook his head in disagreement. “You don’t know what you want. I don’t want to cry over you anymore, so I want you to make a real decision.”
“Wole, I am doing that.” She replied, quietly.
He lifted her chin to his face. “Tola, I love you, but I don’t know if you love me, or if you just want me as a consolation prize till you can straighten Tolu into the man you want him to be.” He said. “I don’t know why I am crazy about you, but I am scared that this isn’t real.”
She sighed. “I don’t know why I am saying this now, but Wole, just take this part of me, I may never be able to do this again.”
“I’ll wait till you can be really sure of what you want and of course, let me know that it’s real.”
She nodded. “I understand.” She replied, standing up.
He pulled her back towards him. “Tola, I am not pushing you away. I just want a woman that is mine and that sees me as hers.” He said as he stroked her hair. “I just want you to really want me, and then we would be happy. I want to know that I can be your man anytime, any day and that we are going to love each other.”
“I don’t know about love for now.” She said, turning away. “Tolu is in my head, I need to get him out, and it’s been years.”
He nodded. “I understand and that’s why I don’t want you to jump based on the impulse of what you feel right now, especially when he hurts you. You need to really decide.”
“Wole, can we try?”
His eyes blinked. “Are you serious about it?”
She nodded. “I want to start with you, I want to see where we can go from here, together.” He took a deep breath and rubbed his forehead. “Wole, I want to love you just as you love me and maybe do better. I want to be there for you.”
“Can you do it?”
She nodded. “Wole, I want to. And I want to love you with everything I am and I have.” She paused and then looked into his eyes. “But Wole, please don’t hurt me.”
He pulled her close and hugged her. “I won’t let you down.”
*************************************************************************************************************Oyinkan stepped out of the car. “I think you shocked Henry when you said you are Kim’s fiancé.”
David carried the gift bags out of the trunk. “I think so too, but I can’t care less. I hope for his sake that he doesn’t like Kimberly a little too much, else, I’ll kill him.”
“Whaooo… talking like Kim’s man already, what has gotten into you?” she asked, laughing as they stepped into the house.
He shrugged. “I am not acting like her man, I am only wondering why she has so many men around her. Can you believe that one of her numerous ‘suitors’ showed up this morning when I was meant to take her to work?”
“Really?” Oyinkan probed as she sank into his bed.
He nodded. “That’s right and when I told the idiot that he could take her to work; he had to effrontery to jump at it, knowing I am her fiancé.”
“Why did you give him the opportunity?”
He shrugged. “I didn’t know what else to do. But I don’t think he and Kimberly are on good terms.”
She smiled. “And that must gladden your heart, right?”
“Not exactly, but in a way, yes.”
She nodded. “Of course you are happy, cousin.”
He brought out his diary and started to write. “Erm…Oyinkan, I have a question to ask you?”
“Okay…” she said, trying to see what he was writing.
He shoved it in her face. “It’s personal!” he said, keeping the diary away. “Do you think Kimberly could love me?”
She nodded. “I think so. You are adorable, even with all your irritable nature, ladies really adore you.”
“Kimberly is not just any lady.”
She smiled. “I know that, but I feel that she’s a very thoughtful woman who would find a reason to adapt or cope with you when you guys eventually get married.”
“So, she may not love me?”
She snapped. “David! What is it with the ‘love’ question? You guys are not in love; I think you’ll cope maturely, at least better than your parents.”
He mumbled over a few words and hissed. “How’s the dude you have been seeing of recent?”
“He is doing fine. He’s really heartbroken, so I have been talking him through it; he stands taller than a lot of guys I have met in the past few years.”
David hissed. “A guy only gets heartbroken if he wants to, no girl can hurt me.”
“How would you feel if the woman you love had another man that she loved and was to marry and hid it from you?” She shot back. “I think the girl was being unfair and she played on his love and that has made him a sad man.”
He nodded. “Yes ma, I won’t pretend that I feel sorry for your friend. He is a fool! Only a fool would let a girl do that to him, and I suggest you stop hanging around his shallow brain before it infiltrates your knowledge.”
Oyinkan screamed. “David!!! Where is all this coming from? You are sounding so harsh.”
He shrugged. “That’s typical of me, isn’t it?” he asked. “And of course, how would you say Kim would never love me.” he murmured.
She covered her mouth with her hand and jumped on David. “OMG!!! You like Kimberly!”
Prof Bankole adjusted his cap as he picked his golf ball from the hole. “I still hit better than you, Bolu.” He said, returning to the seat.
Bolu Coker sneered. “That’s because I always let things slide.”
“You dirty liar! What have you ever let slide?” Prof. Bankole retorted.
Bolu shrugged. “How’s the bride to be? I think those guys are stalling too much, we should make swift interference.” He suggested, puffing his cigar.
Tunji Bankole nodded. “You know, my problem is that Kimberly is really bull headed, she looks soft but she has this stupid arrogance on the inside and a strong resolve, I think she’s even trying to edge out of the marriage.”
“SHE CAN’T! There’s no way back for them.” He barked, angrily.
Tunji laughed. “Bolu, you should calm down. You are taking this too seriously.”
“You think we shouldn’t? Don’t be too soft on Kimberly; remember she’s your daughter, not your mother! And even your mother couldn’t make decisions for you.”
Tunji nodded. “Relax Bolu, I have pending issues on Kimberly to worry about than the marriage. It’s certain she’ll marry your son, I won’t betray you my friend, you’ve been helpful in time past and it’s time I return the favour.”
Bolu Coker nodded. “So what are the other issues?”
“You know Kimberly loves to write. She has decided to chase that dream and she just got a head way.”
Bolu scoffed. “What sort of lame thing is that? You do know that Elizabeth was into painting. The stupid woman littered my house and son’s life with paints and papers. Fool!”
Tunji nodded. “That reminds me, where’s Elizabeth? The society has forgotten about her since you started going around with different models.”
Bolu smiled. “I change the models when I want. Younger ladies are actually a lot interesting.” He replied. “I have Elizabeth in a facility far away. I haven’t even been there since I kept her away from David. She was softening my boy.”
“But, don’t you think that’s too harsh?”
Bolu scoffed. “Tunji, I would have suggested you did the same with Wura, but you are just being a jelly, anyway it’s been 12 years since I kept her away, thankfully, she isn’t missed.”
“Not even by David?” Tunji asked, concerned.
Bolu nodded. “He doesn’t even want to know about her.”
Tunji blinked. “Bolu, you have created a decent monster in that boy.” He replied. “I don’t know if I want my Kimberly with him.”
Bolu hissed. “Stop being a sissy, Tunji Bankole! It’s not as if you and Wura are living happily, yet you win Mom and Dad of the year award constantly, there’s always a way around things.”
Tunji helped himself to a seat. “Anyway, when is the next takeover?”
“In the next two months. How about your personal project? How is it going?”
Tunji smiled. “It should be next month, but some situations have pushed my adrenalin, I think I’ll start tomorrow.”
“Tunji, you sly devil! You are not so innocent, are you?”
Tunji laughed. “I hope you are preparing for Niran Briggs Charity event on Friday?”
“I have some money arranged for it. David would be representing the family. I have other important issues to attend to. David has been instigating me on that his friend that died and so I have to know where the mess is coming from?”
Tunji nodded. “Biola, right? The girl that had Cancer?”
Bolu nodded in agreement. “David has been all over me and I want to contain the situation quickly.” He said, standing up.
“You should do that immediately. It’s your mess to clean up.”
He smiled. “Tunji, get a grip on your daughter, we can’t have anyone of those kids spoiling our plans at this stage. I’ll talk to David about hastening the wedding preparations.”
I poured Ini a glass of wine. “So, what’s new in your life?!” she asked.
Ini smiled. “Kim, David sent you a gift just a while before you came in.”
“Really? Let me see it.” I replied.
She dashed into the house and returned with a gift bag. “Here you go.” She said.
I opened the gift back and brought out a gown and smiled. “What kind of a guy is David?” I asked.
Ini snatched the bag and brought out two pairs of shoes and a tiffany box. “It’s not over, sweetheart.” She said, passing the shoes and the other accessories. There’s a note here for you.” she said and gave it to me.
‘Kimberly Bankole, I’d love if you could wear this to the charity event on Friday. David’
I smiled. “He’s asked politely.” Ini hissed. “What?!”
“What if he didn’t ask politely? Did he have to beg you to whisk you away on Valentine’s Day?”
I nodded. “Whatever, Ini Obong! How’s Marcus?”
“He’s doing fine. We have a job for next week.”
I smiled. “You are one lucky lady, earning so much for your laziness.”
“Durr…I am not lazy, I work hard for my money.” The clouds clattered and thunder struck. “Weather for three…” Ini said, as she stood up. “I can’t wait for Tola to return, we’ll snuggle up together, the three of us, I’ll make coffee when she comes.” Ini said, delightfully.
I hissed as the rain poured. “You meant to say, I’ll make the coffee, ‘coz you know you don’t know how to do anything.”
She smiled. “I actually do try, you know. What do you think is going on with Tola and Tolu?”
“I thought they had broken up.” I replied.
She nodded. “I thought so too, but when she returned yesterday or so, she spoke with him on the phone.”
“Maybe she wants to get her stuffs from him.”
Ini shook her head in disagreement. “I don’t think so. She took almost everything when we went to pack.”
I took a deep breath. “It would be a disgrace if she got back with that man.” I replied, and left for the kitchen. “I’ll make prawn crackers, are you in?”
“Most definitely.” Ini replied.
I turned on the gas and in no time, we had something to munch on while we waited up for Tola.
“Why is she taking so long?” Ini asked, as she ate the last cracker.
I rolled my eyes. “The rain is really heavy. You don’t expect her to make it through the storm, there may be one and it’s not really safe for her.” I replied, as I sipped my cup of chocolate.
She nodded in agreement. “You are right.” She replied and wriggled in her puffy pajamas. “It’s really cold tonight. I need a new boyfriend.”
“What happened to your ex? You walked him out, remember?”
She smiled. “That dude had nothing to offer, and I would have jumped at Michael from the agency, but with the way Marcus beat him up, I know see him as a whim.”
I laughed. “Have you thought about Marcus? I think he likes you.”
I popped my eyes out. “What??? Marcus is a fine man, he’s caring, he can cook and that suits your lazy self. You should be grateful for him in your life.”
“I don’t like men like him, he lacks wits. I like someone else.”
I frowned. “But he’s been doing better in these past few days, so who do you have your sights on?” I asked, downing the rest of my drink.
I spilled the drink from my mouth. “Ini! He likes Tola!”
“So? She’s into Tolu, and that says more than enough, doesn’t it?”
I shook my head in disagreement. “That’s just stupid of you, Ini. Don’t do this to Tola.”
“Chill…it’s not like I am going to jump into his bed without his notice.”
I slammed the table. “Just stop! So you have it in mind to date Wole Briggs?”
She nodded with a smile. “He is an eligible bachelor and he meets my requirement, so if he comes around, I most definitely won’t decline.”
I wore a frown. “Don’t let Tola even know that you have these stupid thoughts in you.”
“What would she do? Wole is a free man.”
The door knob turned and Tola came in laughing. “Hello ladies…” she said, excitedly.
“Hi sweetheart.” I replied. “How did you make it through the rain?” I asked, standing up.
She stood in front of the door. “I am okay, and I’d like to introduce someone to you guys.” She said, as she stepped aside. “Ta-da!!! Meet my new boyfriend!”
Wole Briggs smiled as he waved at us. I flashed a grin at Ini who grinned back.
“Really??? Boyfriend?” Ini asked, with a smile that I could bet a fortune on wasn’t genuine.
Tola nodded as they came in all soaked from the rain. “I’ll be right back.” She said, and left for the room.
Wole stood shyly at the door and tried to avoid our stare. Ini and I kept on looking at him. I knew he was uncomfortable so I stopped. “Okay, I am sorry.” I said, as I helped him to a seat.
“I’d rather stand. I am all soaked.” He replied.
Ini hissed. “Why bother? A chair is to be sat on, there are no rules.” She said and forced him into the chair. I watched Ini as she delicately forced him into a chair. My God! Ini is so full of it!
Tola returned with a towel. “So, Wole, the bathroom is down the hallway, I’ll just lead you there and get you a bathrobe while I dry yours.” She said.
He collected the towel and followed her to the guest room.
“Damn, that boy has got good packs! They were all revealing from his wet shirt.” Ini said.
I shot at Ini. “Ini, I beg you not to try anything foolish. You are beginning to show the side of you that Tola feared when she first introduced Tolu to you.”
“Babe, relax. I won’t jump at Wole, more so, now that they might have something serious. I love my girlfriend, won’t hurt her.” She replied.
I took a deep breath and took my seat. “Ini, I hope this is true.” I replied.
She nodded. “It is true, be not afraid.” She said, laughing.
“I’d love to welcome us all to tonight’s Charity ball and events. I am your host, Niran Briggs and this year, we the elite families in Nigeria have decided to raise the sum of 5 million dollars for the African children living in penury.” Niran Briggs started.
David Coker looked sharp in his Black tuxedo and Bow tie and I could spot Wole and Tola afar off, she was chatting with Mrs. Briggs. I wore the gown David had bought me and tried to keep my positioning and light smile as the cameras came flashing in our faces.
“I’d love to recognize the presence of our distinguished guests here. From the families of Bolu Coker and Professor Tunji Bankole, we have their children David Coker and Kimberly Bankole who are also an engaged couple.” Mr. Briggs said.
The crowd clapped as the camera came over to David and I. David took my hand and we rose up for acknowledgement.
“Thank you very much, David and Kimberly.”Mr. Briggs continued. “We expect the date for your wedding soonest, and probably we’ll be using the finest resorts home and abroad for the function. On behalf of my family, I promise to be actively involved in the wedding.”
The crowd cheered as the cameras came over us again. David smiled at me and whispered into my ears. “show-off.” I smiled back. “Have I told you that you are beautiful?” David asked, staring at me.
“You said that when we left the house, and then in the car and when we stepped in and now, so, you have said several times today.” I replied, with a smile.
He smiled. “You are beautiful, Kimberly.” He said, staring at me.
I felt really uneasy as heat flushed across my face. “Thank you.” I replied. “You are also admirable, you have ladies turning heads.” I added, trying to shift the uneasy feeling from me.
He smiled as he looked around flashing a ‘playboy’ smile to some ladies on a table. “I am already taken.” He whispered to me.
“Ah…I see…so who’s she?” I asked.
He raised an eyebrow and pursed his lips, revealing his dimple. “She’s beautiful, smart, and she’s you.” he replied.
“Whaooo…” I said, quietly. “That’s flattering, David.” I replied.
He nodded. “One of my many qualities.” I smiled.
Niran Briggs continued. “I presume the donation baskets are going round now, so I’ll take this opportunity to introduce my son and his beautiful girlfriend. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you Wole Briggs and Tola Matthews.”
I smiled as I watched Wole and Tola stand up to take their acknowledgements.
“Never knew Tola was dating Wole Briggs.” David said.
I smiled. “Now you know.”
“Maybe they can pick us our home. I want to get a house next week.” He said with a smile. I smiled faintly. “Don’t worry; it’s just for me to move away from my father’s house. Our wedding would be on your terms, you have to be ready.”
I stared at him. “My terms?”
He nodded. “What do I have to lose?” he asked. I smiled and looked away. I liked him more.
The donation basket was dropped on our table and David dropped his father’s cheque and I dropped my Dad’s. He then brought out his own cheque and enveloped it. ‘David & Kim’
“Very thoughtful of you. I’ll pay you back from first salary.”
He smiled. “I don’t need your money.”
I nodded. “I know. But I’ll pay you.”
“Now, we may have the couples dance.” Niran Briggs announced.
Katharine McPhee’s ‘beautiful stranger’ played and David stood up, stretching his hand out at me. “May I?”
“David, I don’t dance…” I whispered.
He smiled like a debonair; he had maintained that smile and same stare. He must have been too used to functions like this. “I’ll cover you.” he said, and took me to the dance floor.
“Stay glued to me, and your head close to my shoulder, I’ll take the lead and you’ll follow. Try not to step on my suede.” He said, with a smile.
The dance appeared successful but his shoe took a lot of pain which he pretended not to feel. We stepped outside after the dance and hurried over to the car as the rain started.
“It’s been raining these days.” He said, as he opened the door for me.
I nodded. “You are right.”
He opened the door and took his seat as he rubbed his hand for warmth. He turned on the heater. “I am sorry, I don’t do well under these conditions.” He said as his teeth clattered.
I laughed. “Oh well, at least, you are not so macho after all, you took all the pain from the shoe, but the rain is bullying you.” I said as I laughed.
“Maybe you could pay me back now by hugging me, I am really cold.” He said, with a sensual smile.
I rolled my eyes. “You are a pervert.”
“Really?” he said, as he struggled to keep his eyes open, they fell together carelessly. He titled over towards me and kept on staring at me, for the first time, I felt the impulse to draw closer to him, and I didn’t hesitate as he firmed his lips against mine and we kissed.