“Ini would love to hear this news.” I said to Tola as we watched the news.
She nodded in agreement. “She has always hated Shola Jones.”
Shola Jones was shown been stretchered out of the National Modeling Agency with an Ambulance waiting. There was an oxygen mask attached to her nose.
“In the early hours of today, Top Nigerian Model, Shola Jones suffered a horrible accident to her skin due to a cream. Dermatologists are yet to report the extent of its damage, but due to this, Arab Millionaires, Etilahad have called off their deal with her, reports suggests that, Ini Obong might just be awarded the deal. More reports to follow. I am Moji Ola, reporting for TMV worldwide”
The TV went off. Tola and I turned back. “What did you do that for?” we shouted.
“The news is over, isn’t it?” Ini asked, taking her seat. There was a wry smile lurking around her lip. “But I think her accident is exaggerated.” She said, placing the Remote controller beside her.
I nodded. “It’s true, because I wonder where they came about the oxygen and heavy security in taking her out of the Agency. But I am a bit concerned because Shola Jones was said to have been using that cream for ages, so it is a big deal now that it has brought adverse. The company is definitely going to be sued by her lawyers.”
Ini shrugged. “I could care less; all I need now is a phone call from Marcus to say that I have been selected. Who cares if she burns her head?” she added and returned to her room.
“Ini is so cold.” Tola said.
I nodded. “She’s always been like that. Me, Myself and I.” Tola sighed. “Anyway, how are things with you and Tolu?”
Her face fell. “He keeps asking for Money, Clothes. I don’t know what to do.”
“Tola, that guy is a jerk. He just wants what you have worked for all your life.”
She sighed. “He supported me back in UNILAG. He loves me, things would be better if he had some money.”
“YOU ARE A FOOL, TOLA!” Ini shouted from inside the house.
I stared at Tola. The lady was hopelessly in love with Tolu Scott. Sometimes, I wished I was in love too, but for me, I already had a man that I would marry, other times, I think she’s a slave to Tolu and he was taking advantage of the fact that she had a good job.
“You think I am a fool too, right?” she asked. I didn’t know what to say. “It’s okay. I think I am, but I rather be a fool for him.”
I sighed and hugged her. “You would be fine, Tola. I just wish he could show you some love.”
“He does show me love, he cares for me. it’s just the money and material stuffs.”
I rolled my eyes. She just lied to me. “He doesn’t love you and you know it.” I whispered.
She sobbed. “He would still love me. I love him so much.” I wiped her face with a tissue paper. “Would he still love me?”
I sighed. “I hope so.” I had to switch the topic. “How’s Wole Briggs?”
She hissed and sniffled. “Jerk! He keeps flashing his money in my face. He thinks money can buy love, no one loves him, they only love his pocket.”
I chuckled. “How ironic! That’s ‘rich’ coming from you.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
I raised my hands up with a smile. “Nothing.” She nudged me in the waist. “But seriously, is Wole Briggs that bad?”
She nodded. “He is that bad! He even rubs shoulder with Mr. Asolo and that one helps him to force me on a date.” She said, sounding indifferent.
She stared at me. “What do you know about being ‘romantic’? You are tied to a stranger that doesn’t even really know you.”
I snarled. “That’s my cross, I am carrying it willingly.”
She scoffed. “Don’t lie!” she replied. “You are so unhappy.”
I was raged. “You know if you can put in this effort into knowing if Tolu loves you, things would be better for you!” I shouted. Her face fell and she turned away. Oh…no, did I say something wrong? But, she just mocked me too… “I am sorry, Tola. I didn’t mean it that way.”
We hugged ourselves. My phone rang again. BEN
“You have ignored Ben all day, what happened?” she asked, as she released me from the hug. I stared at my phone as the back light went off. “Pick it up.”
I shook my head. “Ben won’t help me at Millaroca because he thinks he can get fired, and also, he thinks that because my father is Prof. Bankole, I won’t have to suffer at all.” I started. Tola straightened up in her seat. “The truth is this, I know Ben also likes me, and even though I am ‘not allowed to love’, according to my parents, I don’t like him too much.”
“Really? I thought you like him?” she asked.
I shook my head. “I have always seen him as a good man, but not the type that I could fall in love with.” I shrugged. “It’s not as if I have a preference, but you just know when something isn’t there, you know. I just don’t see anything more to him.”
“Wow! That’s deep then. For once I thought someone would be able to whisk you out of Prof. Bankole’s cage, turns out it won’t be Ben after all.”
I smiled. “Maybe someone else would come my way, and even if it doesn’t happen, I would try to make my marriage work, at least for the society’s sake.” I said, wiping a tear drop from my eyes. “My mom is holding up well, so that she’s constantly the ‘Mom of the Year’ and Dad too doesn’t lose the Award.”
Tola sighed. “I am so sorry; it must have been hard for you growing up.”
I shrugged. “It was full of demands; I had to meet up to standards and fight to surpass them.” Tola listened. “Do you know how my father chose David Coker for me? I had never really been able to tell anyone how.” Tola nodded and I started,
Prof. Bankole had adjusted in his chair as Mr. Coker walked into the study. “Sorry for the wait, Tunji.” Mr. Coker said, apologetically. Tunji Bankole shrugged. “I had to give instructions to my son; he is accompanying my P.A to Istanbul to tie up a deal.”
“Your son? David is a kid.” He replied.
Bolu Coker scoffed. “David Coker is not a kid. He is my son, he has my blood and he operates like me. Moreover he is seventeen.”
“17? Come on…I won’t let my daughter out of my sight even when she’s 17.”
Bolu scoffed and called out. “David! David Coker!”
“Do you have to call him with your surname?”
He smiled. “It reminds him of duty.”
A Handsome young boy walked into the study. He was in a black suit and looked very firm. “Yes Father.” He saw Prof. Tunji and bowed courteously. “Good afternoon sir.”
“Do you remember my friend, Prof. Bankole?” Bolu asked his son. David nodded in the affirmative. “He has a daughter about your age.”
Prof. Bankole corrected. “No, Kimberly is just 12.”
“It’s a double digit range sir.” David said. “Although you are right, she’s still a kid, I am a teenager. I think I met her once or twice.”
Prof. Bankole smiled. He was impressed; he was impressed with David’s guts. “What school do you attend now? You should be through with high school.”
Bolu Coker took over. “It’s a school for business men, he had been taking the lessons for a while now, he would merge it with College in U.K after the Istanbul deal is over.” He turned towards his son. “Now, go on, you would delay the pilot.”
David nodded and turned towards Prof. Bankole. “It’s a pleasure seeing you again sir, my kind wishes to your wife and daughter.” He said and walked out.
Prof. Bankole was wowed. He clapped in excitement. “I love that boy! You have raised a fine man, Bolu.”
Bolu smiled. “Kimberly is a very bright girl. I think if she and David get married, they would make a fantastic couple!” he said, sipping his drink.
“Really? Is it possible? I mean how would we still merge children in his generation?”
Bolu smiled. “Look at David Coker, he is a fine young man, do you think I would allow him to end up with someone who hasn’t been raised with such class too?”
Prof. Bankole nodded in agreement. “So, how are you to convince his mother about this?”
Bolu hissed. “That’s not a problem, she has never had a say, and she can’t have now.” Tunji blinked. “Are you scared of Wura?”
“Of course not, I just think we should seek their consents.”
Bolu had never been a man to take to advice. “Look here Tunji; we know what’s best for these children, these women only want, we know!”
Tola was raged. “That’s nonsense. You don’t just decide people’s future like that.” She blurted. I giggled. “It isn’t funny. You have to stand up to your dad.” She argued.
I stared at her as if she were talking in gibberish. “I have been Prof. Bankole’s daughter and I have learnt to live with it. David isn’t complaining, I see no reason why I should.” Tola stared at me. “I know it sounds insane, but I am comfortable with it. At least, my mom is okay.”
“Really?” she took to her feet. “Good night!” she said, and stormed in.
Marcus tried to avoid glances with the Representatives from Etilahad group. Ini grew uncomfortable. Marcus was almost very transparent. The representatives whispered to themselves. Ini clenched her fists in fear, Marcus would ruin everything.
“Marcus! You didn’t have to come here, if I knew your diarrhoea was this bad, I would have made you stay back!” she shouted.
The Chairman peered. “Excuse me?”
Ini sighed. “I am so sorry sir, My Manager here has very bad diarrhoea and he’s been uncomfortable since, I fear he might even do the business in his pants if he is not allowed out of here.” She lied.
The Chairman smiled. “I feared something was weird with him too. He has been acting strange ever since he got here, erm…it’s okay Marcus, we would take care of Ini, although it’s obvious she’s capable.”
Marcus nodded in fear and took to his feet. “I would be in the gents.” He said and hurried out.
Marcus shut the toilet door and flushed the empty W.C. He sighed and took a deep breath. “I should never have changed Shola’s cream; she’s in so much pain.” He thought. ‘What if I just go out there and tell the truth?’ he thought. ‘Ini would go to jail…I can’t let that happen.’
Marcus battled with his conscience and thoughts for minutes as he remained in the Toilet, Ini had saved them with a lie. Who knew how many more evils they would do?
Ini drummed on the toilet door. “Marcus!!!”
He opened it fearfully. “I am sorry, I was so nervous.”
She batted her eyelashes. “Done deal now, let’s get out!” she said, and pulled him out.
“Marcus! You are gonna have to man up. You are so full of fear.” She said, as she drove.
He stared at her. “Did you watch the news? She was taken out with oxygen mask.”
Ini laughed wickedly. “Marcus, did you believe any of that charades? It was put up so that she could gain some sympathy at the end of the day, look, it was just a cream change, she should consider this an ultra-toning aid.” She said, with a smile. “So, what would it be for you? Kentucky? TFC? We have to celebrate this deal.”
“I just want to go home.” He said, still very uncomfortable.
She hissed. “Not when you are with me, you sissy!”
Mr. Asolo cleared his throat. “From now, you would personally handle Mr. Briggs interests in this Firm. Looks like he would needing houses regularly”
“But Sir, I have so much work to do already. Why do I have to handle Mr. Briggs affairs too?”
He sighed. “Because you are the best for the job, you know, the Briggs family is very important to this city, and having their son put so much interest in our Firm means we can’t let go easily. And I have searched high and low and it is obvious that you are the only one who can help out.”
Tola took a deep breath. “Mr. Asolo, this is going to cause a huge distraction to my normal duty.”
“I have that all sorted out, you would have an assistant resuming tomorrow. She is very efficient, and you can be sure that your work won’t suffer.”
She nodded and rose to her feet. “Okay sir.” She said and walked out. Her phone rang immediately. TOLU “Hi, Tolu.”
“Tola, stop being irresponsible!” he barked. “Tomorrow is Val’s day, and I don’t have a new Red shirt. I thought you said you bought me that.”
She closed her office door. “If you weren’t so hasty last night, you would have heard me say that I didn’t get a red shirt and I got a pink instead.”
“PINK??? Do you think I am gay? I saw the stupid shirt, I burnt it already. I want a Red shirt.”
Tola slammed her table. “You burnt it? I bought that shirt for 12,000 Naira. Do you know how many people would kill to have a shirt worth that amount?”
He hissed. “How much is #12,000? If things weren’t horrible for me, would I need that miserly amount?” he shouted.
Tola sighed out of tiredness. “You want a red shirt, right?”
“Of course. I helped you when you were nothing, never forget that!” he said, and hung up.
Tola rubbed her forehead and dialled her secretary ordering her to get a Red Shirt.
Henry walked into his supervisor’s office. “Sir, I have the killer topic for my special project.” He announced.
“Henry, you have two weeks to submit and now you want to change your topic, I hope you know you are doomed to an extra year.”
Henry smiled. “Sir, I can assure you that with this, I would rock this campus. Everyone would want to read, they would want to listen and they would want to understand.”
Dr. Kalu nodded. “Henry, you make me laugh. Everyone is wrapping up their special projects and you are confident of bringing me a ‘killer project’.” He shook his head despicably. “Henry, I can’t stop you, it’s your vision.”
“Of course, you can’t stop me.”
He nodded. “But, I can tell you one thing for sure, I regret having you as a student. Forget about bringing whatever rubbish you have to me, go ahead with it.” He said and pointed at the door. “Leave, I am a busy man.”
Henry scoffed and walked out. He bumped into John. “Hey John…how far, how you dey?” They exchanged pleasantries in Pidgin English.
John smiled. “I dey… Just returning from my supervisor, he says he thinks my work is good, so it’s just a matter of me putting some finishing touches to it.”
“Good for you, man.”
John stared at Henry’s hand. “What’s that in your hand?”
“Oh…this is my project, I was trying to get an approval from Dr. Kalu to work, but he won’t even have a look.”
John stared at him. “Henry? Approval? Guy, Everyone is wrapping up already!”
“I know, but that topic he gave me before is so wacked and no one would be interested in applauding me for it.”
John shrugged. “So what? He is a Doctor; he has said you should do it, why would you think you know better?”
Henry smiled. “That’s the difference between you and I, I am not a Robot.” He said, and patted him and walked away.
Immediately Henry got home, he started to compile the write up from Kim’s Articles; he would do interviews after speaking with Kim Banks.
Wura Bankole sipped her juice. “Tunji, I think I am not too comfortable with this thing with David Coker. To be honest, he hasn’t spoken to our daughter in a while; she’s worth more than that.”
“That’s the problem Woman, you only think.” Tunji replied, laughing.
Her face fell. Her husband was right. “Tunji, you hardly let me have a say in this house especially when it deals with our daughter. It’s not fair.”
He smiled. “You don’t understand. I am securing Kim’s future, happily, she’s smart enough to recognize my intentions.”
“She doesn’t have a choice. The poor girl has always adored you, you making this decision for her is not right.”
Tunji stood up. “Where is all this coming from? Our daughter isn’t complaining, why are you?”
“I am her mother!” she shouted. “I know she’s unhappy.”
He nodded. “When you were married off to me, you were unhappy, but see, we are used to each other and moreover, as long as I can provide you with everything you want and need, you should be happy, and that includes Money, Cars, and Trips. What else could you want?”
“Tunji, this is the reason why I didn’t want another child with you after Kimberly, and I am glad we didn’t have another! A child should be born out of love.”
Tunji Bankole slammed his glass against the wall. “What else do you want from me, Wura? It’s not my fault that our parents wanted us together, but I have tried to be responsible.” He paused and scoffed. “So that’s why you never wanted another child.” She turned her face away. “How shameful.”
“It’s not my fault, Tunji. You have never made me happy, I have only been comfortable.”
He stared at her angrily. “What’s the difference? When you are comfortable, you are happy!” Wura burst into laughter almost falling off the chair. “What’s funny, Woman?”
“I can’t believe that you don’t know that there’s a difference in being happy and comfortable. Unfortunately, our daughter would suffer the same fate. She has been unhappy ever since she started to study Economics.”
He eyeballed her. “She’s a First Class.”
“Of course, Kim is just determined to succeed. That’s why she got a First Class.” She took to her feet. “If you keep pushing her, you would turn her into what you have made me, a woman without confidence.” She walked away.
Professor Bankole was left with his thoughts, but fury consumed most of it.
Tolu wiped some mayonnaise from his mouth. “So where are we going to tomorrow?” he asked. Tola dropped her Fork. “What?”
“Can I survive this dinner first? It’s not like you are paying for the outing.” She blurted furiously.
He stared at her. “How dare you?” he started as he pushed his chair back. “Are you trying to rub it in that I am without a job? I would have handled that.”
She sighed and grabbed her Jacket. “Tolu, I am not ready for this. We would go to Soul Lounge or Harbour’s point. You decide.” She said, picking her keys.
“Tola, this is not fair! You are treating me like your puppy and I can’t stand it.”
She nodded. “T OLU!!! Give me a break! You always want this or that! Do I need to kill myself for you to be happy?” “Kilode?” she stressed in Yoruba. (Kilode-What is it?)
Reverse Psychology needed. He turned away and faced the window. “I was there when you had no one, your uncles kicked you out, I took you in.” he said softly, taking his seat. “I am sorry.”
She shook her head and stormed out. She sat in the Range Rover and buried her head. Tolu really had been there when she had no one, but she was really unhappy, now. Then they used to be so happy when she had nothing. They would run across the streets for cheap meals and go to Local Pubs, but ever since she got that mouth-watering Job at Asolo Real Estate, Tolu changed. He wanted more.
The door bell chimed. Prof. Bankole was reluctant to get it. It was already 9pm. ‘You should stay in your house!’ he thought. The bell rang for a second time and then a third. He grunted and forced himself to the door. The security man would pay for allowing anyone in at this time, and of course the visitor would get his own share of the spoils. He pushed the door open and his jaw dropped slightly.
“Sorry I am here unannounced, Good evening Sir.”
He smiled as he admired David Coker’s dressing. “Good evening, Son. I didn’t know you were in town.” He said, stepping out of the way.
David was all suited up. The man just knows how to look good, apart from the obvious fact that he is good looking. He had the height, appearance, and carriage. Magazine Material! “I came in few hours ago. Father thought I should visit.”
“Ah…Bolu, he should have let you rest. How was your flight?” he asked. David motioned towards a chair. “Please sit.”
He adjusted his jacket. “It was okay. Is Kimberly in?” he asked.
Prof. Bankole blinked. How would he tell his in-law that his wife-to-be wasn’t in? “Erm…Kimberly is currently staying with her friends. Her work takes her away most times.”
“Really? What does she do?”
He poured himself a glass of wine. “She’s a writer.”
“Writer?” he probed with a form of slight grimace.
David Coker looked a bit disappointed and Prof. Bankole knew he had to up the rhythm. He sipped carefully. “She’s not really a writer, but she has this project for my Firm on Economics. She’s an Economist.” He said. David rose to his feet and adjusted his button. “She graduated with a First Class.” He cleared his throat. “There’s a lot going on these days in the business world.” David nodded.
David stared at Tunji Bankole carefully. “Please sir, do tell Kimberly that I would be going out with her tomorrow for the Valentine’s Day.” He said with a smile. “Do extend my kind greetings to your wife, would have loved to see her. Good night.” He said and walked out.