By Tomi Adesina
“Did Prince Charming forget to pick up Cinderella?” Dad asked as he turned on the lights.
I cursed softly. I had tried to tip-toe into the house so he won’t see me when I walked in. “Morning Dad.”
“Dare didn’t drop you off, why?” he asked.
I sighed. “I told him not to.” Dad stared at me with a knowing look. “I insisted.” I said, firmly.
“And he just left you to yourself in the dark? He is less than a man; I think he’s erm…a veggie.” He replied, dropping his wine glass.
I stared at him with disgust.
“You look sad, D?” he chuckled. “There is something you must know dear, Dare is just as weak as his Dad.”
I groaned. “Dad!” he stared at me and laughed. “This is the result of taking excess Vodka.”
“This is Irish Cream.” He corrected, caressing the bottle.
I was put off. I headed for the stairs. “Stop coming to my house late.” I hissed dryly and ascended the stairs. “Darlene, I am flying Daniel out of the country, I am taking the money from you.”
“This is serious Dad. I think you should resume your counseling classes in London. You have relapsed greatly.”
He hurled the bottle at me. “Get back here.” I stuck my tongue out and raced upstairs.
“How did it go?” Dora asked, as she turned on the light.
I was startled. “What are you doing here?”
“Waiting for you,” She replied. “So gist me, how did it go?”
I sunk into the bed. “There was a shocker. If not for that, I’ll say, it went fine.” I replied, taking off my wrist watch.
“Jake showed up?”
I grimaced. “It would have been a disaster. Reina Martins made her grand return to Lagos today.”
“Who’s Reina Martins?” she asked.
I picked my bath robe and left for the shower. “Reina used to be Dare’s ex, and the mother of his child.” I said, as I turned on the shower.
“Are you kidding me?” Dora shouted.
I laughed. “Come on Dora, nothing should surprise you in Lagos. You are the wonderful sorceress who understands Lagos’s men, why then are you stunned?”
“So a father took you out today?” she asked.
My face fell. I came out of the bathroom and wrapped a towel around my head. “His son is late.”
“I am sorry about that.” She replied as she took her seat. “Was he ill?”
I shook my head. “Moment of irresponsibility from Dare and Reina cost the kid.” I sighed. “Got time?” I asked.
“Always.” She replied, and took her seat.
She clapped her hand into her laps like my grandmother used to when I was living with her. She had to said to me when I was 5 and asked for my mother:
“Yo Momma is me.” She said in her broken African American accent.
“You are too old to be my mama.” I replied.
She frowned, clapping her hands into her laps. “You are one real smarty, so I might as well tell you the truth, yo momma is never gonna be with you. She died!”
“Granma, but she isn’t old.”
Grandma had told me all about death that day. I cried and sought solace in my grandma’s arm. She was always a listener and at this moment, Dora seemed just like her.
“Dare and Reina got into an argument, so he refused to pick their son up from school.” I started, as I sat besides Dora. “She had to pick him up and she was just learning to drive. You know the rest.”
Dora’s eyes shot angrily. “What’s a kid got to do with their problems?”
“It’s all history anyways,” I replied.
Dora smiled. “So, Reina showed up at the meeting. Was she invited?”
“I don’t think so. Dare was surprised to see her. She’s been out of town for over a year.”
Dora grinned. “Ghost returns to town and chooses the perfect way to announce her arrival.”
Dora hugged me tightly.
“What was that for?” I asked, releasing myself.
She smiled. “Evil step sister stole Prince Charming.”
I grimaced and threw a pillow at her. She threw it back, and I engaged in my first pillow fight in almost 15 years. I had my last pillow fight with Grandma.
Today is Saturday, not my favourite day of the week anyways. I slipped into my slippers. Dora was still sleeping. I left for the kitchen; I saw it as my perfect opportunity to make breakfast and show my skills in the kitchen. I can cook!
“What’s for breakfast Dora?” Dad asked as he stepped into the kitchen
“Poison for you.” I replied.
Dad laughed. “You are such a pain D. sorry about yesterday.” He said, opening the fridge. He poured some milk. “You care?” he asked.
He sipped. “Still watching your weight? You are a size 8.”
I smiled. “I am fine Dad; you know I don’t want to blow up.” I turned on the gas cooker.
“What’s for breakfast? BLT?”
I laughed. “Potatoes and scrambled eggs. I could add some broccoli for you; Dora bought them from the grocery yesterday.”
“Broccoli will do. Are you going for your driving lessons today?” he asked.
I nodded. “Yes, Dad. I’ll call to schedule for noon.” I replied, not taking my eyes off the Frying Pan.
“Do you want Daniel to take you?” he asked.
I smiled. “He’s restrained from me, Dad.” I replied. “I don’t want us to argue this morning because of Daniel, so let’s just forget it.”
“If you say so.” He replied and returned the Milk Jar to the fridge. “I’ll be in the garden. Have to talk to Mavis about the Tulips; they are growing faster these days.” He added and left through the back door.
I stared at him as he walked out. I am so sure that Sir Williams would soon return with a plea for Daniel.
“Morning Sis,” Dora said as she opened the fridge and fetched the milk jar.
I smiled. “I like the love between you and Dad. He also likes Milk”
I shook my head. “Not a fan.”
“You are not missing anything. So, did you tell Jake why you turned him down?”
I widened my eyes. “Oh no! I ought to have called him. Please watch over the Potatoes, I’ll just get my phone.”
I left for my room to get my phone. I had to come up with something as to why I didn’t reply Jake. It was still early in the morning, Jake isn’t the early riser, but it’s not so bad to call at 6:45AM, Is it? I rung Jake’s phone to avail and I finally sent a text. “Sorry Jake, I was booked.”
I returned to the kitchen, but Dora wasn’t there. I heard her voice down the hall way and I was sure that Dad must be saying something to her, maybe about Daniel. I left for the hallway.
“Hi Darlene,” Dare said.
I was surprised. Dare was in my house so early. He wore a grey V-necked sweater, Denim and a Supra Hi-top. For a moment, I thought I was seeing Jake.
“I’ll leave you two. The Potatoes are calling.” Dora said and disappeared into the hallway.
I sighed. “So, what do you want?”
“Aren’t you gonna let me in? I am still standing in the doorway.” He replied, with a smile dancing around the corner of his lips.
I shrugged and shut the half opened door. “This way please,” I said, leading him into the guest living room. Dad would have a fit if he saw Dare in his luxury living room. Dad would rant about the 1908 Chandelier ball and all the antiques that his house posed.
“Make yourself comfortable.” I said and left for the bar.
Dare stared round the living room. “Nice Guest waiting room.” I ignored his comments. Dad had me put the wallpapers for the guest living room and I chose the other designs. I returned with a glass of water.
“Here you go.” I said, handing him the glass.
Dare stared at me and sipped the water cautiously.
“It’s alright, drink up. You must be tired.” I said carelessly and sank a chair. “What do you want here, Dare?”
He dropped the glass and smiled. “I want to apologize for last night.”
“What happened last night?” I asked, pretending not to care. “Please Dare, forget whatever you came here to apologize for, because to me, there was no sin.” I said.
Dare sighed. “That aside, I came to take you to the movies.”
“You are kidding me, right?” I asked, as I folded my arms. “What responsible lady goes to the movie early in the morning?” I asked, glancing at the clock.
Dare raised his eyebrows in a teenager’s way. “It’s Saturday.”
“I am occupied for the day. I have to take my driving lessons, and I have to be home in time because I must go to church tomorrow.”
“I thought I already apologized.” He said, pulling a sad face.
I smiled. Dare had turned ‘babyish’. “I have to take my lessons, its important.” I replied.
“Make an exception please, I’ll teach you.” He begged, holding on to my cloth.
He was acting like a baby who waned something from his mom.
“Not sure.” I replied.
“Morning D…” Jake said, clearing his throat.
Jake stared at us for a while. There was this awkward silence among us, and for a while, it seemed as though no one was interested in saying a word. Jake then broke the silence.
“I could just go.” He said, pointing at the door.
I rolled my eyes. This is a situation where I would not want to be, but at this moment, I could not help it. “I am sorry I didn’t reply your message last night, Jake.” I said dumbly.
He smiled. “You mind introducing us.” He said staring at Dare.
I immediately rose to my feet. “Jake, meet my boss, Dare Ade-Cole, and Dare, meet Jake, my friend.”
Jake nodded with a smile. “Boss?” he extended his hand to Dare and they shook firmly. “Why are you here so early Sir, did you forget some documents with Darlene?” he asked.
“I don’t think I have to answer that question.” Dare replied, withdrawing from the handshake.
“Break it off guys, will you?” I immediately cut in.
Jake clutched his I-Pod to his sweatpants. “I can’t recall us starting a fight. You just lack a complete sense of humour D.,” he said, grinning.
“Jacob, why are you here?” I asked.
He smiled. “You never used to ask me that.”
“Well, she is now.” Dare interrupted.
Jake’s eyes shot blood red in anger. “Hey Tough guy, I wasn’t talking to you.”
“Someone’s getting touchy, Darlene, you seem to have a lot of Pauls in your life.” Dare replied, casting a quick glance at me. I froze as all I could think of was Jake’s fist landing in Dare’s face, but to my surprise, Jake smiled and walked out.
“Jake, Jacob…Jake” I yelled, as I headed after him. “Security, Please stop him.” I alerted. He was in no mood to listen as he shoved the security man out of his way. He got into his car and immediately drove off.
I stared at the dusts that Jake’s car pushed at me as he left. “Jake…Jake…Jake…” I murmured softly, as I held on to my Pyjamas.
“Don’t make yourself a dummy for dusts.” Dare said as he touched my shoulder.
I turned to him angrily. “It seems as though you have a talent for disgusting people, you successfully pissed Paul off, and you have just done that with Jake.”
“It turned out well with Paul; at least he is out of your life.”
I rolled my eyes. “Really? At what expense? He is married to a woman he hooked up with at the Bahamas.” I replied.
“That makes it safe,” he said, smiling.
I hissed. “You think this is funny. It isn’t!”
“He started it, turns out he wasn’t man enough to take the heat.”
I laughed so hard that Dare had to stand back.
“What’s funny?” he asked.
I stopped laughing and smiled. “Jake would have smashed you to bits if he had waited one extra second.”
He bit his lips. “So, are we still going out?”
“I never agreed to go out with you. Moreover, even if I did, you have done an awful lot this morning. So, please leave.”
Dad rubbed his chin. “That’s a bit too hard to swallow. Are you kicking me out?” he asked.
“You are already outside my house; I’ll just shut the gate after you.” I replied.
Dare adjusted his shirt. “You are on weird girl. Ok…Bye.” he said and left.
“You have a lot of mess to clean up.” Dora said, as soon as I returned into the house.
I rubbed my forehead. “You bet.” I leaned on the sink for support. I have always said that I am not a huge fan of Saturdays and today just show why. Jake and Dare showing up at my house unannounced, I would have made an exception for Jake on a normal situation.
“I’ll say your boss is rude and offensive.” Dora said, dishing breakfast into the Chinas. I smiled. I knew better. “How do you cope with him? Well, it’s obvious he likes you, so he may be a bit nicer with you.”
I had a hurried breakfast and left for Jakes. ‘Ding-Dong’ the doorbell to Jake’s apartment chimed softly. He co-shared a flat in his father’s estate with his sister, but now, she is out of town, so Jake practically owns the flat. A real Porsche flat, if you ask me.
“Hey D.” Jake said, opening the door.
I frowned at his niceness. ‘Jake could be up to no good.’ I thought. Jake shut the door quietly after me. “Do I get you some Ice Cream? I am treating myself to some.”
He winked. “Never mind, you will like it.” He said and dashed into the kitchen.
‘This is the Jake that I hate to see.’ He could just act as though everything was normal, or maybe, everything is normal. He returned with two cups of Ice Cream and handed me one with a spoon. I sniffed the edges of the cup. Jake chuckled.
“You are safe with me, you have always been.” He said.
I dropped the cup on the side table. “Jake…” I stressed. “I am sorry, love.”
“Why are you sorry?” he asked, scooping his Ice cream coolly.
I frowned. “Come on Jacob, I am sorry about what Dare did?”
“Dare? I was not offended by his actions. He did the same to Paul; he should bag a degree in dehumanizing people.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Are you going to deny it?”
“He didn’t dehumanize Paul. Paul was trying to kill us.” I protested.
Jake scoffed. “Who are you trying to convince? We both know that Paul couldn’t hurt you.”
“Can you hear yourself Jake? Paul was with a rifle, a loaded one. I was lucky to have Dare around me.” I replied.
Jake hissed dryly. “I hate that guy.”
“So why did you act all nice like nothing had happened when I walked in here?” I asked, grabbing my bag.
Jake rubbed his forehead. “D, you fired up this discussion. It ended the minute I left your house.”
“I apologize for that Jacob.” I replied.
Jake finished his Ice cream and rose to his feet. “Darlene, I am sorry. I should have told you that I would be visiting, but I went for an early morning spin and decided to check on you.”
“Jacob, you can always check on me.”
He smiled. “No D, we are adults, not 6 anymore. I have to respect that.” He replied and left for the kitchen. Jake’s words sent cold chills down my spine. I left his house before he returned from the kitchen. I headed for my driving lessons.
I spent two extra hours at the driving school; I wanted to be on the wheels by the end of the month. I stopped at the grocery to get some apples; I intend to make some apple juice.
“How did your day go?” Dora asked as soon I walked into the kitchen.
I sighed and dropped the apples. “Not too well. Jake has so much on his mind, and I guess I will not be able to take them when he starts pouring them. I don’t want to lose Jacob.” I said, and hugged Dora.
“I’ll call this the Plight of women. Do you know what you want, honey? You want Jake to stick around forever; I’ll say you should marry him.”
I released myself from the hug and stared at her. “Could we have a serious conversation for five minutes without your insensitive jokes interfering?”
“The point with keeping best friends especially of the opposite sex is that you don’t realise that you live a life together. You should just make out and get married.”
I stared at her. “Is that your idea of having a best friend?”
“Naturally, opposite sex don’t do fantastically well as best friends, the attraction still come. Maybe you are blind, but it’s obvious that Jake can see what is coming ahead.”
Dora held my hand like a mother. “Stop living a lie. Define your friendship with Jacob.”
“That’s it Dora. I need to rest.” I replied and left for my room.
I inhaled deeply as I closed my door. I clasped my hand on my head and sat by the door. I could not stop the tears that flowed down my cheeks afterwards. ‘Welcome to my moment of strength.’
“We can always talk about this Darlene.” Dora said from the other side.
“Just go away.” I replied, amidst my tears.
She tapped on the door lightly. “You don’t have to face this alone.”
“Let me be Dora. I’ll be fine. I always have.”
…to be continued