Grace Ademola-Rogers sashayed into the private room in her office where she only met with guests like this.
She walked comfortably in her six-inch heels and perched on a seat opposite her future in-law. Then she flashed the sweet smile she usually faked for this woman whenever they were to meet.
“Agnes” She called sweetly, “You did not tell me you were coming o. You were the last person I was expecting to see.”
Agnes smiled back. They both knew the smiles weren’t real, it was just a facade, a lie, a lie they both lived both to the outside world and to each other when they were alone.
“I did not know I had to inform my future in law before coming to see her. Shey o ti wa di bayen ni?”
“Of course not, Agnes. I was just saying I did not expect to see you.” What she really wanted to say was that she did not want to see her but she couldn’t and dared not say that. Agnes called the shots in their friendship and she dared not do what she wanted.
“I just left my daughter’s office…”
“Hold that thought, Agnes darling. Let me get you something to drink.” Grace said, dialed her secretary and spoke to her through her cellphone, “Amaka, please bring me fruit juice and a clean glass right away.” then she ended the call and directed her attention to Agnes.
The room was quite small; it was big enough to accommodate two vintage chairs that Grace’s mother in law had brought in from England several years before and a coffee table also from England.
Grace had kept the room strictly for important and private meetings. When Agnes had strode into the office earlier, the look on her face had announced the reason for her visit and Grace had known this room was the best location for their discussion.
“Alero and I were supposed to meet later today to discuss what wedding gown she would like…” The orange juice and the glass had arrived. “Thanks Amaka.” Grace said as her secretary poured Agnes a glass. “She mentioned something about going to America to pick one…”
Agnes almost choked on the orange juice she was drinking, “No way. Lailai ko possible. She is not going to America. Anything she wants, I will have it ordered here by myself. Money is not a problem and thanks to technology, we can now download anything including wedding gowns.” She placed the glass on the table.
“So back to the reason I am here.” she began to say when they were alone, “Alero said Jide’s wife came from England and was saying orisirisi. Grace, may I remind you that this wedding must hold? That any nonsense cannot happen before, during and after the wedding?”
Grace nodded, she remembered the agreement clearly.
“So what is the meaning of this one ehn? Which yeye wife appeared from England and why?”
“Agnes, I will handle it. You should trust me now.”
“Handle it o, handle it. Because me I don’t want any wahala… if I start now they would say Agnes has started.”
Grace smiled at her future in law, “There won’t be reason for you to start anything.”
“O better bayen.” Agnes said and stood, “I have to go. I have a meeting with the First Lady in thirty minutes. Good day.” then she left.
Grace sighed and leaned on the chair after her visitor had left. There was no way she was letting anything go wrong with the upcoming wedding. She would die first before she crossed Agnes’ path and she loved life too much to go with the former.
Grace Ademola-Rogers had inherited her clothes business from her late mother, who in turn inherited it from her own mother.
She had been born in Ibadan. When her mother and her father separated, her mother had taken her and the business to Lagos.
It had been hard initially, moving a thriving clothing business from Gbagi, a place renowned for clothing business (especially lace, ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive) to Balogun market on the Island.
Grace’s mother who was a dedicated hard worker had however done magic with the business in a few years and before they knew it, she had branches all over the South West.
When Grace became of age, her mother had shown her the ropes and Grace had eventually inherited the business.
She was young, vivacious and strong. She made more money than her mother and Grandmother ever did and soon became a force to reckon with. Grace had money, lots of it and soon began to have secrets too, lots of it.
She picked at the greens in her plate that night and watched as her son sat opposite her in the sitting room. She had told him to see her because she wanted to discuss something important with him.
“Olajide, I don’t care what you and that girl had when you were in the UK. What happened will remain in the past and you will focus on your future which includes Alero.”
He nodded dutifully like a little boy.
“Go and talk to her and ask her what she wants. I’m sure its money because she cannot marry you, not while I am alive. You’re getting a divorce to dissolve whatever legal arrangement binds you together and you’re going to marry Alero and make all of us happy.”
That saddened him more than he would have thought. He was making “all of us happy”. All that did not include him, the one person he should be bothered about, the one person whose happiness should truly matter.
He suddenly wanted to leave his mother’s presence and leave the house. He stood and walked out of the sitting room.
His mother let him go without questioning because she assumed he was going to handle the situation on ground.
She picked her phone and dialed Agnes, “Agnes, I told you it would be handled. It has been handled.”
Agnes was standing by her daughter’s door when she received the call from Grace, she smiled satisfactorily. It was always a relief when things went her way.
She looked at her daughter who was just stepping out of the bathroom and was listening to her before the call.
“Lucky for you, your husband has had sense talked into his head. Now nothing is stopping you.” She said to her, “But let me ask you the question that brought me here, what were you going to do in America?”
Alero said nothing, her heartbeat had increased its pace and she was scared. Her mother had found out and now her one chance of seeing her lover again had dissipated before she could even dare to hope.
“Hmm… you wanted to go and see that oloriburuku abi? You wanted to go there and do your lesbian action and then refuse to come back here abi? I am always one step ahead of you, you kuku know and whatever reason you had for going is not going to happen. Emi ni mo sobe.” then she stormed out of the room leaving her daughter devastated.
He sped through the distance that separated them and arrived at her house in record time.
She opened the door for him and collapsed into his arms, crying while her body violently vibrated as the sobs escaped her.
He held her tight, afraid to let her go and grateful at the same time that she was not mad at him or asking him to leave.
“My sister is dead. The only person who accepted me, who loved me and who truly knew me is dead. She’s dead, Jide. She’s dead.”
He held on to her as she poured the tears and wet his shirt. He wanted to be there for her, wanted to hold her and wanted to go through the pain and the hurt with her.
His own sorrows and pain vanished in that instant and he realized he wanted to help her through hers. She was what mattered that moment.
Timilehin had gone to get her a glass of water from the kitchen. She had not been eating anything but he’d convinced her to drink water so she could stay hydrated while he ordered food for her online.
When he stepped out of the kitchen he had not expected to see him in the house. But there he was, holding her, being her savior and rocking her.
He was jealous and pained. She had not shown any sign of emotions since Lamide passed but the moment Jide walked into the house, she cried, pouring out her heart and crying buckets.
And that hurt him. It drove daggers through his heart. He was slowly falling for her and she didn’t even see it.