I hailed a cab. “Osborne.” I said to the driver hastily.
“#5000 naira, nothing less” he said, staring at my LV Handbag.
I hissed. “Just drive!”
I looked through the mirror and saw Dare give up the chase. I gasped and sent an SOS message to Dora. She called back almost immediately.
“Are you home?” I asked.
“Yes. Are you alright?”
I sobbed. “Please stay at home, I’ll be there soon.” I replied and hung up.
I handed the cab driver his fare and raced upstairs. Dora made herself available for a bear hug as soon as I ascended the stairs. We left for the kitchen; it seemed to be Dora’s office these days when she wasn’t taking pictures of the leaves and animals in the house.
“Tell me everything.” She said, as she handed me a glass of water.
I took a heavy gulp of the water. “Dare loves me.”
She stared at me for a while and then laughed. “Why then are you making it look as though you just had someone maimed? You can’t tell me that you didn’t see this coming.” She said, collecting the glass from me. “And to think I thought you just got fired.” She sipped the rest of the water.
I hissed. “You don’t understand, Dora. He can’t love me. I don’t want him to; I am already in love with him.”
“I am confused.” Dora said seriously.
A proud girl always has a lot going on in her life that she never lets anyone in on. For me, the case wasn’t any different. The day I ended things with Paul in the most ‘non-classy’ fashion ever paved way for a new beginning in my life. I felt disturbed about how I ended things with Paul, but it never got to me until Valentine’s Day when I met Paul at the central market.
Paul had said to me, “One day you will meet the man you will love, how would you feel if he treated you this way.”
The first day I stepped into Ade-Cole firm and met Dare, I had liked him. Well, it was just the ‘like’ factor. Then after the suicide threat by Paul, I was consumed with the idea of getting my heart broken. All through my high school days, I had been seen as the ‘Amazon’ lady. I found it hard to ‘love’ or care with the extra attention. I crushed like every normal girl, but it faded almost immediately. I understand that crushes are meant to fade especially when it was just for the natural attraction, but I never really saw a guy as special. No HOMO!
I really wanted to be in love. Dare Ade-Cole had all the features of my dream man-Athletic, Good physique, Handsome, and most of all, Classy! I would be well represented. That’s was what I saw him as initially, a good representation! Who wouldn’t want such a man? So it was easy to fall in love with him, but I only didn’t want it reciprocated. I wanted to feel hurt. Not normal for any girl, but absolutely perfect for Darlene Williams.
Dora shifted her weight against the sink. “Ezra Pound was so right when he said ‘we humans are the most complicated beings’. I can’t believe you have this wish.” She started. I inhaled deeply. She paused a bit and continued, “You are beautiful, smart, professional and everything a man would be proud to have as a wife. Why would you want something less than love? You deserve to be in love, it’s the most perfect feeling.” She stopped with a smile. I was about to speak and then she put her fingers on my mouth. “Just in case you care to counter me, even Modupe Ozolua says she’ll love if her object of affection loves her return.”
We both laughed. Modupe Ozolua is typically the envy of any Nigerian woman. I’ll take that back. She’s the envy of any woman who wants to go under the knife. She is also a true definition of class, so I could relate to Dora’s statement.
“I am not really Ozolua’s fan.” I said, cleaning a pear. “You care?” I asked, reaching for another. She nodded. “Here you go.”
I choked slightly on the pear. “All I wanted was for Dare to break my heart, is that too much to ask for?”
“It’s not going to happen the way you want it.” She replied. “Moreover, it’s a strange and complicated wish. You don’t expect that to happen so directly, it won’t come to you when you want.” She said, eating her Pear. “Oh my dear, you can’t be faster than life.”
I nodded. “I guess I always wanted to be.”
“Don’t be afraid of a little bit of pain, it won’t hurt to let down your guard a little. You are too serious for life.” She added.
The land phone rang. “Dad should move this thing to his room.” I said.
“I agree with you. The calls are always from the firm about one case or other. I say we don’t answer it.” She suggested, cleaning the dishes in the sink.
I nodded in agreement. The phone rang for the second time and then went to the answering machine.
“I know you girls are at the phone.” Dad breathed into the machine. Dora and I exchanged a look and chuckled softly. “I now know why some clients can’t get across, you choose to ignore calls. In any case, Darlene, I want you to meet me at the country club in thirty minutes. No excuses, no apologies.” He said and hung up.
Dora held my hand firmly. “You’ll be fine my dear. We’ll talk about Dare later.”
“Sir Williams is calling for my head.”
The Country club was roughly twenty minutes away from home. I was lucky to have a driver drop me off at the club. Dad had instructed him to change the car tyres so he helped me to the country club. Dad and I have been long standing members of the Ikoyi Country Club since I was a kid. Getting past the security was no hassle. I just had to say, “Darlene Williams.”
“Welcome ma’am. It’s been a while since you last visited.” The receptionist said as she clicked my name on the system.
I made my way to the bar looking for Dad but he wasn’t there. The other place where I could find him had to be the squash. He must have been playing squash with friends if he wasn’t at the bar. I stood outside the door and signaled to him. He dried his face and joined me outside with Mr. Tobi Shodipo.
“You are now a fine woman, Darlene.” Mr. Shodipo said, running his eyes through me.
I stared at Dad. He immediately cleared his throat. “You remember Tobi Shodipo, don’t you?” he asked.
“Yes, I do. Thank you.” I replied, staring at Mr. Shodipo
I had never liked the Shodipo family. His daughter, Wura, was best friends with Jumoke Bankole and they always tried to make life hell for me at high school, and Wura was once Jake’s girlfriend. His son wasn’t any better, Wole Shodipo, picked up fights with Jake. It has been around nine years since I last saw any member of the family.
“Tobi just returned to the country with Wole and Wura. I thought you guys might want to catch up on old times.”
I rolled my eyes. “I was never really friends with them.”
“It doesn’t seem that way with my kids, they speak highly of you.” Mr. Shodipo interrupted.
Dad smirked. “I was thinking that you might want to invite them for Dora’s coming out this weekend. It will help everyone to socialize. They are just returning to the country, probably, yourself and Jake could find some of your high school mates and you all could kick back old times.”
“Thanks Dad, but I’ll have to talk about this with Dora. The guest list for the event is full and is just a few days away; I can’t possibly cancel out on one of our guests.”
Dad shook his head. “Two of your guests” He corrected. “Wole and Wura” He added with a smile. “See who ever you have to eject from the list, but make room for Wole and Wura.”
“Thanks a lot Darlene, you are such an angel.” Mr. Shodipo said as he turned away.
I stared at Dad angrily. “What was that for? You didn’t have to call me here. You have already made up your mind.” I said in a fit.
“Mind your tone, young lady.”
I nodded. “I am a busy person. I have a high profile case in roughly a week; I won’t have you pulling me around the city to make room for some ghost friends. Dora doesn’t even know them.”
“I know. But you are to help Dora know them. I am good friends with Tobi Shodipo and you know I enjoy continuity.”
I nodded in agreement. “Of course, just like you are enemies with Ayodeji Ade-Cole and you won’t mind if I continue that with his son.”
“Darlene, I am not going over this issue with you. All I need is 2 spaces for Shodipo’s kids, make it happen, will you?” he concluded and joined his friend at the bar.
I immediately dialed Jake as soon as I stepped out of the club.
“SOS! Wole and Wura Shodipo to be added to Dora’s invite.”
I could feel Jake’s groan. “No!”
“Sir Williams made the rule; we have to stick to it.” I said, flagging down a cab.
I paused to give the driver the directions and then continued the call. Taxis are perfect for calls. “I really hate those guys.”
“Me too, Jane just seconded that.” He said, laughing. “Don’t worry; we’ll have them included in the list.”
I hissed. Jake just reacted momentarily to the news. I expected a fit, maybe that’s the difference with a guy and a girl. “Are you gonna be cool with them around?”
“I have no choice Darlene. It’s your Dad’s rule, and Dora’s party, not mine. Let me call you later babes, I have to wrap up the payments for the event planners.”
I nodded and handed the driver his money as he turned in front of the house. “Bye, we’ll talk later.” I hung up and stepped out of the taxi. I leaned on the giant coconut tree beside the gate and sighed deeply. Wole and Wura? Oh no…although I expect a mature showing from them, I couldn’t be relaxed.
I turned swiftly to see Dare.
…to be continued