By Tomi Adesina
I returned to the office with Dare. We agreed that we won’t have anyone watch over Dare’s house so as not to draw attention to him. Probably, Tom and Sameer would be safe. Dare turned off the car’s engine.
“Let me take you to lunch.” He offered.
Lunch? What ‘role’ is Dare trying to play in my life? I thought. “Dare, you don’t have to.”
“But I want to.” He said, taking off his seat belt. “I just want us to talk; we really haven’t been able to talk about us.”
US??? “Dare, you are boring.” I said, laughing. He smiled faintly. “I have never enjoyed an outing with you. It’s like routine, too business like. So, I can guess what ‘talking about us’ would sound like over lunch. The typical Dare Ade-Cole, right?”
“I’ll try to be spontaneous.” He said.
I grinned. “I’ll pass. Some other time.” I said, and left for my office. I met Jake standing at Bola’s desk.
“Hey beautiful.” He said, as I approached.
I smiled. “Hi Jacob, what are you doing here?”
“I came to check out your castle. I have never seen this new office of yours,” he said as we stepped in. “Wow! This is so cool.” He said, taking a seat.
I took my seat and stared at him. “Why are you here?”
He pulled a face, one of those faces that a spoilt kid would do. “I am here to take you for lunch.”
I laughed. “Are you for real?”
“Of course. I am starving.”
I stared at my desk. “I am busy, Jacob.”
“Oh no…that’s not gonna work with me.” He said and pulled me, practically almost dragging me out of my office.
I struggled to close the door as he forced me out. Jake bumped into Dare.
“Sorry Boss, but I am taking your staff here for lunch. Lunch time, right? Thank you…thank you.” He said and shoved Dare aside kindly.
I managed to avoid Dare’s glare, but it was impossible not to notice his face when he heard that I was going out with Jake for lunch. Jake and I stepped into the elevator. He tickled me so hard that it was impossible not to giggle.
“This is an office!” Dare shouted after us.
Jake pulled up in front of the water parks. “You do know that I have an hour break, right?” I asked.
“Of course.” He nodded, excitedly. “Let’s make it memorable.”
I scoffed, but not with any form of disdain. “Jacob, I don’t know, but I don’t think I should be found here.”
“And why is that? D, you have to loosen it up a bit. Life is to be enjoyed, why make it so stoic?”
I nodded. “I agree, but everything has its time. And this is for lunch and not for fun. I have a court case around the corner.”
“Okay ma’am.” He said and jumped down from the car.
Jake was out of sight. I looked out of the car but he was nowhere to be found. Jake, don’t play with me. I strolled into the park in search of Jake. Mothers and kids were having fun in the sun. For any adult who experienced a proper growing up unlike me, it would bring back memories.
My childhood was spent in the libraries as I had no mom to play with me or braid my hair. I experienced a little fun when Dad moved me to my granny. My teachers at school said I was overstressing my brain and knew too much.
Dad had argued, “How is that a syndrome?” he yelled. “If a kid is dull, you have a problem with it, and here you have a genie, and you say she has a syndrome! Human beings are of insatiable wants!” He hissed and dragged me out of class. That was my last class in junior high. After much persuasion, I was shipped off to granny for some fun. Oh what an experience. My grandma I checked behind the trees, but I didn’t see Jake. Someone pulled my cloth and I turned round swiftly. “Jake?” A little boy stared at me with a paper in his hand. “Now what did he send you to give me?” I asked, collecting the paper.
“DARLENE, WHEN LAST DID YOU VISIT THIS PARK WITH ME? IF YOU GET IT, FIND ME, IF NOT, BYE!”
I leaned against a giant tree and racked my brain. What was so special about the last time I came to this park? And with Jake to be precise? I hissed effortlessly and returned to the car. ‘Jake had better return here in five minutes else I’ll be going to the Firm by myself.’ I thought. To ease the boredom of waiting for ‘5 minutes’, I fetched my phone from my purse. A reminder buzzed on my phone from my Facebook profile. ‘JAKE’S BIRTHDAY’
“JESUS!!!!” I yelled and jumped out of the car. I raced into the park. “Jake, Jake, Jacob!!!” I yelled. “I am so sorry love. Jake!!!” The last time I came to the water parks with Jacob was on his birthday, this time last year. “Jake!!!” I yelled.
Suddenly he jumped out of the bush at me. “Darlene. This is the first time you forget my birthday.” He shouted.
I dropped to my knees. “Forgive me Jake. There’s been so much on my mind. The court case and all, you know how it is.”
“Of course, I know how it is.” He replied and gave me a cone of ice cream.
Jake is so sweet! We strolled into the park. “So how are we gonna celebrate this day?” I asked.
“Really?” he asked, with a smile. “You really want to see some fun in it. That’s un-Darlene.”
I smirked. “I choose to have fun when I want to.” I stressed. Jake made the ‘who are you trying to convince?’ type of face and stopped in front of a tuck shop. “Tuck Shop? Jake, please don’t ‘go Dare on me’, I want some real fun!”
He laughed. “Isn’t ‘Mr. Sophisticated’ fun?”
I rolled my eyes “He is, in his own way. But I want the ‘Jake’ way.”
Jake grinned happily. “You do know what that means, right? Booze might be involved.” He suggested.
“I don’t do alcohol.” I replied.
He nodded. “I have the perfect substitute for alcohol. I know you adore Fayrouz, so I have it.” He said, as we approached a chair.
“Jake, aren’t you bored? I mean your birthday is practically gonna be a drag if we don’t make it spontaneous.”
Jake laughed. I could guess why he did. “What do you know about being spontaneous? D, its lunch time so we can’t really catch much fun, but if you are up to it, weekend would be a great one.”
“If I beat Subomi in two days.” I replied.
He shrugged. “Don’t they adjourn cases? This case might drag. It’s oil money, my dear.”
That’s true. I had never really thought of the possibility of dragging the case against Chidi Obi. “Okay, how are you spending this night?
He raised an eyebrow. “I baked a cake, so I guess I’ll be eating it alone.”
“Are you trying to make me feel bad?” I asked, as I tossed the cone into the bin.
He shrugged. “It’s your choice senorita. But the doors of my house will be open. I will invite Dora, I hope she will come.”
Ya, Dora! Exactly the name I needed to hear.“What is it with you and Dora, anyways?” First Official Confrontation!
He scoffed. “I don’t understand. Dora is your sister, and we are just hanging out.”
I frowned. “My step-sister” I corrected.
“Jeez!!! Where is that coming from, Darlene?”
What a question! It was coming from the ‘human’ part of me. I rolled my eyes. “We better get going. It’s past my lunch time.” I replied, and started to walk away.
“What has Dora done to you?” he asked pulling my hand back. His eyes burned.
I yanked my hand away. “Let go!” I eyeballed him. “She’s done nothing. What’s wrong with the obvious reality?”
“The fact is that you sounded cold about her.” He said putting his hand in his pockets.
I feigned a smile. “We are good. The point is, I am a little bit unimpressed with her relationship with Kolapo and I think it’s suffering thanks to you.”
He scoffed. “How’s that my fault? Kolapo is a stupid guy. He just needs to calm down, Dora is always there.”
“You think? How would you feel if someone was always hanging out with your girlfriend?”
He took a deep breath. “Do you think Dora and I are doing anything that is not proper?”
“Of course you are!” I blurted.
Jake stepped back. “What are you saying, Darlene? Dora loves you, I can’t believe you are saying this, even if you don’t trust me, you should try to trust her.”
I rolled my eyes. “I just think you and Darlene might want to be a little bit less ‘lovey-dovey’, she has a boyfriend.”
“You do know how to make people feel bad, don’t you? Especially on their birthdays.” He stressed and walked away. “I’ll be in the car!” he shouted.
Jake didn’t say a word to me in the car as he drove back to the firm. He dropped me off and sped off. The effect of his screeching off blew some dust into my face. I watched until the car disappeared into thin space. Was I harsh on Jake? My jealousy had overridden my objectiveness; hence I had spoken in a bad manner to Jacob. I felt bad.
I hurried into the elevator to the top floor. It was two hours past my lunch time. As soon as I highlighted from the elevator, I met Dare standing in the hallway. “TO MY OFFICE NOW.” He ordered and turned into his office. I sighed and followed him.
I closed the door after us and took my seat. “Now what?” I asked.
“Darlene, this is no proper way to act. You left the office for lunch hours ago, and you are returning at this time?” he asked pulling up his sleeves to confirm the time. “Ah…it’s past three.”
I sighed. “Just take it out of my pay.” I replied. I was too sad about offending Jake than to allow Dare start me on his mood.
“You think this is a circus?” he said, hitting the table. “I am not your payroll manager and it isn’t my work to take your cash. You have done something which is against office rules.”
I put my hands up in surrender. “Dare, please don’t start with me this afternoon. It won’t happen again.” I said, standing up.
“Ms. Williams!” he shouted. “This is an office and we have rules here. When you err, you apologize to the appropriate persons.”
I stared at him and managed a smile. “I am sorry, Mr. Ade-Cole.”
He buttoned his jacket and took his seat. “Don’t take advantage of the fact that I love you, Darlene.” He said and turned on his laptop. “You may go.”
Was I taking advantage of Dare? I fumbled with the door handle and then paused. Here comes the part where you practically ‘turn the tables’. “How did you find out about Tobi?” I asked.
I returned into the office and took my seat. “When did you get to know that you weren’t Tobi’s legit Dad?” I asked.
He shook his head and closed his Mac book. “She told me when she got pregnant. She didn’t even hide it.”
I probed him with my look. He then walked over to the fridge. “A drink?”
I nodded humbly. He then smiled and brought out a can of Coke. I frowned slightly. “Fayrouz, please.”
“I don’t have Fayrouz here, but there’s Valentino Grape.” He said, showing the grape juice. I nodded and he passed me a bottle.
We opened the bottles and then he continued. “Reina was in love with modeling, but because of family ties, Dad put her in Ade-Cole.” He started. “I was in support of her dreams to be a Model and so when a runway opportunity came up. I encouraged her to go for it. She made her way through the pageant that year and was selected for a fashion week in Paris.” He paused and took a deep breath.
He raised his head and walked towards the Window Blinds. “After Paris, She came to my house and told me that she wanted to end the relationship.” He continued. “At first, I thought that she wanted to pursue her career in modeling and maybe she won’t have time for me anymore.” He returned to his seat. “She was quick to tell me that she wanted to start a new life with her baby. I was so disappointed, especially when she told me that the father won’t have the baby.”
“So, you just took up the responsibility?”
He nodded with a smile. “We do stupid things when we are in love. But, I don’t regret it. I loved Tobi.” He returned to the window.
“I am sorry.”
“The kid really was adorable. I agreed with Reina to be his father, the only person apart from Reina and I who knew about Tobi was Toni, she knows almost everything.” He sniffed a bit; I could guess he was trying not to feel bad. “I am responsible for Reina’s problems.”
I stood up and joined him at the window.
“If I had picked Tobi up, that accident would never have happened. Reina won’t be this psychologically damaged.”
Did he think Reina was damaged because of Tobi? I’ll say the woman was totally obsessed with him. “Don’t beat yourself over Reina. I’ll say she should just see a psychologist. Probably a rehab for body and soul. ” I thought about the facility that Paul and Jake attended. “Maybe she’ll come back married.”
Dare smiled. The statement was meant to make him smile, which he did. “Thanks Darlene.”
“You are welcome.” I replied, and stretched out my hand to hug him. There was this sensual smile on his face as we hugged.
Cheers to the man I love!
…to be continued