By Tomi Adesina
The Airegin Mafias starts today by 3pm, don’t miss it.
I Stared at Sir Williams as he ate his lunch. Jake had joined Dora in the Kitchen. Dad ate his food with joy and couldn’t care that I was eyeballing his meal hoping he could choke slightly on it.
“I thought I was going to choke.” Dad said, smiling at me.
I sighed. “Are you serious about getting married?” I asked.
Dad chewed his chicken triumphantly. “Yes. You and Dora could use a mother.”
“Really? I grew up without a mother. You whisked me off to Grandma, if I ever needed a mother, it was then.” I said, angrily.
Dad smiled and sipped his wine carefully. It was as if he wanted to hurt me. “I am sorry you feel bad about my decision.” He started as he wiped his mouth carefully with the napkin. “I have a right to be happy. Sooner or later, Dora will marry KP, and you will settle with either Jake or Ade-Cole’s son…”
“What is that supposed to mean, Dad?” I asked. This time, I was livid with rage.
Dad sipped his wine. “You should really watch your temper, young lady.” He sighed and pulled his chair back. “You and I know that it is either of those men.” He added with a grin. The grin could only mean one thing. Dad was about to say something that could fire me up again. “Or do you have interest in Daniel?” he asked, laughing.
“Easy does it…” I muttered under my breath and cursed softly in Spanish. I was lucky to have enrolled in Spanish lessons while living with Grandma; I know Dad could never guess what I had just said. It all boils down to the advantage of knowing another language.
Dad laughed. “Darlene, your Spanish is still as weak as the last time.” I opened my mouth in shock. “It’s a shame there are no flies in the house for you to swallow.” He added and left for the stairs.
“Make sure she is as old as you are…I don’t want another sister.” I yelled after him.
Dad laughed wickedly and blew me a kiss. He laughed all the way to his room. It was a relief when I heard his door shut.
“Can you guys imagine?” I asked, joining Jake and Dora in the kitchen.
Jake and Dora seemed to care less. They were drinking Apple juice and having some toast bread. I stared at them with so much anger rushing through me.
“You are too serious for life D, the old man must be lacking comfort in his bed and I don’t see you or Dora giving that to him.” Jake said, eating his toast bread.
Dora chuckled softly. “I am trying not to laugh too much Darlene, but what is the problem with Dad wanting a wife?”
“Oh, really? It seems as though I am the only one who can’t see the big picture. Of what use is his wife to us?” I asked.
Jake smirked. “You are being selfish D, someday; you and Dora will go away. He will be all alone in this house with maybe the maids, drivers, gardeners, security and the dogs. No family. He deserves a companion.”
“And what type of woman is going to fall in love with my dad?” I asked, trying to flush disappointment off my face from Jake’s accusation. Maybe he is right about my being selfish.
Dora smiled. “Any woman will fall for him. Sir Williams has got class; he is cuter than George Clooney and has a greater dress sense than him. Sir Williams still makes the top 20 best dressed men in the country. He will fit any available lady.” Dora just exaggerated the George Clooney factor. I could still date George Clooney; my dad can’t stand near George.
“You are forgetting the cash factor; I think that’s what speaks for him.” I said, sounding defiant.
Dora and Jake exchanged glances. “What?” I asked. They shrugged and laughed.
“You are jealous D, Dad will always love us.” Dora replied.
I looked up to force the tears that were slowly gathering up in my eyes. “I am not Jealous.” I said.
“Are those tears I see in your eyes?” Jake said and nudged me in the waist.
I hugged him tightly as the tears flowed freely.
“You are a real façade, Darlene.” Dora said, wiping my tears. “And to think that the society sees you as Amazon, you are a baby.”
I stuck my tongue out at Dora. She winked at me and took her seat. “So, who is our dad getting married to?”
“I can’t even guess. Maybe your mom.” I replied, taking a seat.
She shook her head in disagreement. “Nah, I don’t think so. She would have told me. They really didn’t have a relationship, except for me.”
“Would you love to see them married?” I asked.
She shrugged. “I am indifferent, it’s their life. This is not a stage in my life when I need a mommy.”
“You always need a mom.” I replied. I could speak from experience. Dora always had her mom, but not me.
She nodded. “Not the way you see it, at this stage, it’s more about Dad and his future partner.” She started. “She has to be a woman that will make him happy. He must miss your mom a lot.”
“So where is he getting his wife from?”
Jake sighed. “Why don’t you wait for the bonny bride and save yourselves the guessing game?”
“Thanks.” Dora replied.
Jake dropped his cup of juice and clapped his hands together. “Okay ladies, I have to prepare for a very important event. I’ll see you later in the week.” He said, rising to his feet.
“I’ll walk you outside.” Dora and I said almost together.
I smiled. “Its okay, Dora you can walk him out.”
Jake laughed. “It’s not your fault, I have a serious effect on ladies.” He said as he approached the door with Dora.
I watched Jake and Dora walk out and chatter about something. I felt some heat flush through my body and I leaned against the chair for support.
“You should define your friendship with Jacob.” Dad said, joining me in the hallway. “That lad is free-spirited and might just flow into Dora’s hand. I don’t want sisters at logger heads over a man.” He added.
I sighed. “Jacob and I are friends. Nothing more, Dad.”
“If you say so.” He replied and walked out.
Dad had just set me off into thinking again. I fetched my swim suit and left for the pool. The pool had served as a refuge for me, I found it convenient to drown myself there, especially when my head and heart was all muddled up.
I swam across the pool furiously. I am so sure that if the pool could react, it would throw me out. We just had the water changed, and here I was fluttering across it. I couldn’t stay in the pool any longer. I decided to take a nap. Monday is another monster looming
I stepped out of the elevator. I flashed a huge smile at Bola as I walked towards my office door.
“Not now please,” she said, standing before my door.
I wore a frown. “And why is that?” I asked, trying to grab the door handle.
“I suggest you get a cup of coffee before you walk in.” Bola said, trembling with fear.
I swallowed and stood straight. “This is my office, Bola. Let me through now.” I ordered.
Bola wore a worried look as she hesitated stepping aside.
“Let me through.” I ordered. This time, my voice was more firm.
Bola sighed and stepped aside. I stared at her cautiously. I was now feeling uncomfortable trying to open the door. Nevertheless, I turned the handle and stepped in.
“Didn’t you get orders from Bola not to come in?”
I stared at Reina with some fury and dropped my bag on the table. “What are you doing here?” I asked, calmly.
“I have been taking a good look at my office; I see you changed the wallpapers. I love Turquoise.” She said, with a smile.
I inhaled deeply and counted from one to ten in my heart. I smiled lavishly at Reina. “It is now my office.” I replied.
“I am aware. The only problem is that I think I would want this office back. I am returning to work and I still like the view from this window. It’s a delight into the city at night, I know right?”
I was rattled by Reina Martins to be honest, but I tried to appear calm. “Until I receive an official order from above, I think you are trespassing, and if you don’t take your leave, I will have security whisk you out of here.”
She smiled mischievously. “You think you can have me thrown out of my office.” She scoffed. “Let me see you try.”
‘Talk is cheap’ they say. It was time for me to put my threat into action. I picked up the intercom and dialled the Security unit. “They will be here for you in no time. Leave honourably.” I said, dropping the phone.
She laughed. “I want to see you try, honey. You seem to be exercising your rights in no time. You haven’t been here for long, and I don’t think you will be here for too long.”
Two security men walked in. “Yes ma’am. Where is the intruder?” he asked.
“I met this lady here in my office.” I replied, pointing at Reina,
The security man stepped up to Reina. “You were found trespassing in this office. Please leave.” He said, courteously.
“Are you a fool?” she asked. “I am Reina Martins, and this is my office. The intruder here is Ms. Williams”
The second security man seemed to be the impatient type. He grabbed Reina in a not gentlemanly fashion by the arm and whisked her out of the office. She screamed and yelled all the way.
“Be gentle with her.” I said to the security officer and shut my door.
There was so much noise outside. Reina was resisting the security officers and she was screaming at the top of her voice. I became uncomfortable and so I stepped out to the incident. She was struggling with them in front of the elevator.
“This is an office, Reina. It’s not like you are being arrested, just co-operate with the security guys and you’ll be outside in no time.”
Reina snarled. “You think you are funny, right? I was here before you, and I know how it is here. You won’t survive here.”
“Why all these noise?” Dare yelled furiously popping his head from his office door. “Why is Ms. Martins making so much noise?” he asked.
Reina straightened her ruffled hair. “Ms. Williams had me kicked out of her office.” She replied.
Dare stared at us. “Both of you in my office, NOW!” he ordered.
Reina and I sat before Dare like two high school girls before the principal. Dare kept quiet waiting for one of us to speak. I was never going to be the first to speak and Reina made it very easy.
“You know I am not one to start troubles.” She started. I rolled my eyes. “She threatened to throw me out of her office. I thought it was all a joke until she made good of them.”
Dare took his gaze to me excepting me to speak. “She was found in my office. I can’t believe I didn’t call the cops”
“You had me dragged out of the office and erm…um” she bumbled over a few words and then hissed. “She humiliated me, Dare.”
Dare relaxed in his seat. “When you told me that you were going to look around, you never said it included sneaking into people’s offices. I can’t blame Darlene for being hard on you.”
“That is my office, Dare. You said it will always be mine.”
‘Never believe a man’s promise while in bed’. I stared at Dare waiting for his response. “That office belongs to Darlene. You no longer work here, remember?”
“I think I have embarrassed myself enough. See you at home, Dare.” She said, and grabbed her bag. “Have a nice day, Darlene.”
Reina Martins smiled at me. “Ever since I lost my son, I have been going through a lot. I’ll see my psychiatrist on my way home.”
“I am so sorry, Reina.” I said as I sprung to my feet.
Her face had fallen. I couldn’t tell who she was again. She had gone from arrogant to humble and now I felt like the bad person.
“Never mind, Darlene. That office brings back memories, I guess it got me all fired up in the wrong direction.” She added, reaching for the door.
I held her back feeling very confused. “Do you want to talk about it?” I asked.
“This is an office.” Dare sounded.
Reina smiled. “Duty calls. We’ll see some other time.”
“How about lunch?” I offered.
Reina nodded in agreement. “I’ll pick you up for lunch.” She said, and walked out. I closed my eyes and leaned against the door.
“I don’t understand you, Darlene.” Dare started. “You are going out with Reina for lunch. You don’t even know her, she just tripped you with our late son and you are getting all Mother Theresa over it.”
I stared at him. At this moment, I didn’t know who confused me more. Dare seemed indifferent about Reina, and Reina just performed a world class play which I have fallen for and I am not sure that I want to believe Dare over a grieving mother.
“There could be no harm.” I replied.
He smiled and grabbed his grey jackets. “Of course not, I have a meeting now. When I get back, I’ll send for you.” He replied and walked out.
“‘When I get back, I’ll send for you’ Who does he think he is?” I mimicked, and returned to my office.
I was eager for lunch. I was so delighted when the clocked ticked 1pm. I rushed downstairs. Reina leaned in front of a Porsche car. She was dressed in a cream top, brown leather shorts and a black tip toe heels, her hair was now made and loosely around her shoulder. To cap up her impressive show-off, she wore dark sunshades. For the first time, I felt out-classed. REINA MARTINS IS SMASHING! There was this smile lurking around her lips as she approached me. She looked nothing like a lawyer, more of a model.
“Hi Darlene,” she said, taking off the sunglasses.
I smiled back. “Hi Reina.”
We headed for ‘Harbour Point’. Craig David’s ‘officially yours’ pulsed slowly beneath the stereo as Reina drove. I stole glances at her as she maintained a steady smile. Rather too calm for this current situation, she smiled back. I was relieved as soon as we got to Harbour’s Point. We took our seat near the ocean.
“Isn’t it lovely from here?” she heaved a sigh of relief as she removed her sunglasses.
The waiter approached us. “I think it’s a nice view.” I replied, cautiously.
“Martinis please,” she said to the waiter. “What would you have Darlene?”
I was having a tough time picking my drink, so I opted for Lemon.
“Are you really going to drink Lemon?” she asked. “Please bring two glasses of Martinis.” Reina said, dismissing the waiter.
I smiled. “I don’t take alcohol.”
“Really? What part of this earth are you from?” she asked. Seeing that my countenance was still stern, she continued. “I’ll have him get you the Lemon.”
I nodded. “Thank you.” Reina didn’t look to me like the lady who wanted me out of the office earlier, and she also didn’t appear like one who had lost her son. I was beginning to think that coming out with her was a mistake.
“You might think that it was a mistake for you to be here with me because I haven’t been wailing about my kid, but all I want is a calm atmosphere before we talk.” She said, flipping her hair back. “Sometimes, it just gets into my mouth.” She said, and laughed.
I didn’t know if I was to laugh with her, because it didn’t seem funny. Or maybe I just totally lacked a sense of humour like Dora and Jake had said. I did manage a smirk. I finally got my lemon. Reina and I were about to have our conversation.
“Dare killed my son.” She said, bluntly.
I had to act to surprised. It would have seemed out of place if I was aware of her son’s death before now. “How do you mean?” I asked.
“Dare never liked our son. He was very mean to the little boy.”
I had to stop her there. “Reina, why would he hate his own son?”
She sighed. “Dare is a troubled man. I stood by him because of love, after his parents got separated; he took out his anger on everyone including that balloon, Toni. You can ask her.”
“I take exceptions to my friends being called names.” I said, cutting her off again.
I smiled. “I am sorry.” She adjusted her hair. “Tobi came to us under very weird circumstances, I gave birth to him in Paris because Dare didn’t want the news out.” She paused to sip her drink. “When I decided to return to Nigeria, he kicked against it, but I refused and with his father’s help, I was able to return to the country with our kid.”
Her face was now stern and I guessed that we had gotten to the real discussion. “Tobi died because Dare refused to pick his son from school. I was just learning to drive and then my teacher said I couldn’t go on the express yet. Dare claimed to be too tired of the boy and made me do it.”
“If Dare had done so much harm to you, why not let go? You seem to me a desperate woman for his love.” I said, bluntly.
She stared at me carefully and smiled. She adjusted my hair from my face. “You remind me of the passion I had for Dare.” She then straightened up. “As funny as it might sound, Dare is mine.”
Reina sounded like a possessive house wife. ‘Why would she call Dare hers?’ “I don’t understand you. Why would you want to be with him so badly?”
She sighed. “He is my bad habit. I can never let go.”
“Reina, I don’t see where this discussion is going. What do you want from me?” I asked.
She smiled. “You are as smart as I thought. Probably, even smarter,” she said, searching through her hand bag. My face was now stern. Woman to woman, I could match Reina. She could be sophisticated and classy, but my simplicity would pass for the ultimate form of sophistication.
She dropped a paper before me and a pen. “I’d like you to hand in your resignation from Ade-Cole Law Firm.”
…to be continued