She powdered her face and stared at her reflection in the hand mirror. Her dark skin looked flawless. Her big dark eyes were similar to that of the ancient Egyptian women, darkened above and below the eyelashes. Her full luscious lips were coated in red. She flashed herself a smile. Her eyes twinkled with pleasure. She liked what she saw.
�Make-up guru,� one of the nurses approached her. She kept the mirror in one of the drawers attached to the desk.
�One needs to look good,� she looked up at the brown skin, tall and plump lady.
�Hmm� I hear you,� the nurse leaned on the high semi-circle desk.
�You know I am the face of this clinic.�
�Face of clinic ko, face of Africa ni,� the newly employed nurse walked up to them.
�I am the one every customer sees before both of you attend to them and transfer them to the doctors.�
Adanne clapped her hands and began to laugh.
�Is Oga around?� Ibinabo stood beside the semi-circle desk.
Sikemi shook her head. Her curly shoulder length braids danced around her face.
�The first time I came here, I thought Doctor Sylvester was the owner of the clinic,� Ibinabo glanced at her colleague.
Adanne shook her head, �He is not. He assists Oga to run the clinic.�
�He is like the second in command,� Sikemi added.
Ibinabo smiled to herself, �Oga is so cute. He is short for a man though.�
�He is not short! I am five feet seven and he is exactly my height,� Adanne eyed her.
�Ehn� okay, fine, he is not short,� Ibinabo looked back at the nurse, wondering while she was upset.
�I am five feet nine inches, I am taller than you,� she pointed at Ibinabo, �But, I don�t mind dating someone like Oga,� her big dark eyes had a dreamy look.
The nurses turned to look at the receptionist.
�He is too slim for my liking,� Ibinabo blinked and turned her head towards the flat screen television on the wall.
Sikemi chuckled, �I like him that way, at least, he has six packs and his cropped curly brown hair makes him look sexy.�
Ibinabo frowned, �You are not his type. You are too tall for him.�
Sikemi eyed her, �Who are you to determine what his type is?�
Adanne grinned, �I am more like his type. I am his height and I am almost as fair as he is.�
They glared at her.
�Doctor Bassey is oyinbo, you are not even close,� Ibinabo hissed.
�Presently, he is single and available,� Sikemi played with a strand of her hair.
Adanne leaned closer to the desk, �I thought he was dating that oyinbo babe, what�s her name now?�
�Lovejoy,� Sikemi chuckled.
�Yes, Lovejoy,� she nodded.
Ibinabo glanced from one to the other.
�The mumu babe called off the wedding,� Sikemi hissed.
�Ah!� Adanne placed a hand over her opened mouth.
�Do you remember those six months that oga didn�t show up at work?� Sikemi tilted her head.
�Yes, doctor Sylvester almost died of frustration,� Adanne looked towards the doctor�s office.
�Exactly! Oga was nursing a broken heart that period,� she hissed again.
�Aww� I wish I knew,� Adanne rubbed her jaw with her fingers.
�I just found out. Anyways, he is back in the market and I am definitely for sale,� Sikemi batted her eyes.
Adanne sighed; she had a lost look on her creamy brown face.
Ibinabo absorbed all the information she had gathered. She drummed her fingers on the desk.
�Good morning nurses,� Bassey walked past them, �Sikemi�� he beckoned at the receptionist.
They froze with shock. The nurses exchanged glances. They didn�t notice when he walked. They hurried to their office and hoped he
wouldn�t query them for gossiping during office hours.
Sikemi sprang to her feet and ran after him. Her high heels made click sounds on the tiled floor.
�Do I have appointments this morning?� he walked into his office and settled behind the mahogany desk.
�No sir,� she followed him in and stood by the large desk, �Doctor Sylvester is attending to the patients that came in this morning.�
�Okay,� he leaned against the chair and pressed his knuckles.
�Can I get you anything sir, tea, coffee, beverage?�
He closed his honey coloured eyes and opened it, �No, thank you.�
She nodded, turned around and walked out. She closed the door behind her and sighed with relief. She had thought he would scold her.
She noticed that the nurses were peeping through the slightly opened office door.
�How far?� Adanne whispered.
�We live to see another day,� she winked at them and cat-walked back to the reception area.
Bassey shut his eyes and opened it. Was he dreamy? Did he just drive past his ex-fianc�e? Was that Lovejoy? It had been almost a year, eleven months to be precise, since she called off the wedding. He could still remember the day he went with his family to see her parents and find out why the wedding preparations were stopped. They received the embarrassment of their lives that day. They were driven out with no explanations. He checked the in-coming traffic and reversed the car. He stopped at the bus-stop and looked out of the window. A fair lady in her late twenties stood among the crowd. He was right. She was the one. He smiled and honked several times. Someone standing beside her tapped her on the shoulder and pointed at his car.
She looked in his direction and a surprised look took over her face. She approached him with steady steps. Her jeans clung to her like a second skin, show-casing a round eye-bulging backside. The white and blue stripe fitted short-sleeve blouse complimented her fair skin and revealed a considerable amount of cleavage. He swallowed hard, she had not changed one bit.
�Hi,� she leaned towards the window.
�Hi� where are you headed?�
�Can I drop you?�
�Yes,� she had been standing at the bus-stop for over thirty minutes. She was on the verge of calling her fianc� and asking him to
come and pick her up.
She opened the door and climbed in. He joined the traffic and changed the direction in which he was headed. She stole a glance at him.
He looked cute as always. She missed playing with his short curly brown hair. She remembered why she broke up with him and frowned. He turned his head when he sensed that she was staring at him. Why was she frowning? He returned his attention to the road and noticed the stand-still ahead. His facial expression indicated anger. He hated been stuck in traffic.
She opened her bag and brought out an invitation card. She threw it on his laps and looked out of the window. He picked it up and glanced at her. He opened it and saw her full name, Lovejoy Idiongho Akpan. He directed his gaze at her again. She was getting married? She had the right to move on, he reasoned.
�Who is the lucky man?� he scanned the invitation card again. His heart stopped beating when he saw the man�s name. Stephen Akpos Edet, his childhood friend, his best friend.
She caught a glimpse of him and smiled, �We hooked up months after we� we broke up.�
He glared at her, �You called off our wedding and went after my best friend.�
�It wasn�t like that,� she eyed him up and down.
�Or have you two been� were you cheating on me with him?�
�No!� she felt infuriated by his accusation.
He clicked on the air-conditioner button. The temperature in the car had gone up all of a sudden.
�Stephen and I started dating three months after we broke up,� she tried to clarify his misconception.
�How convenient,� he wished the car in front of him would develop wings and fly.
She folded her arms across her bosom. He could think whatever he wanted. She wasn�t the one at fault.
�Why did you call off our wedding?� the emotion in his voice tugged at her heart.
She darted her gaze towards him and noticed the way his eyes glistered with tears. Hasn�t he gotten over her yet?
�Why didn�t you tell me that you couldn�t father a child?� she confronted him.
He blinked. What was she talking about? �I don�t understand.�
�Your sperms are weak and there is a ninety percent chance that you might not be able to father a child.�
He stared back at her, open-mouthed.
For the love of God, this girl is driving me nuts. This is a plot. This is a plan hatched out from an evil mind. This is wickedness of the highest order.
�You know what I am talking about. You were going to marry me in deceit.�
He shook his head, �Brilliant, this is just brilliant. Is this what you told your parents? So this is what you told everybody��
�Stephen confirmed it!� she erupted.
�What?!� a million thoughts ran through his mind. What rubbish did his best friend fill her up with?
�He showed me a medical doctor�s report. He spared me a life time of pain and shame,� she eyed him. She was glad that she found out the truth before he ruined her life. She thought he loved her. If he had confided in her in the first place, they might have worked things out.
�And you believed him?� he stared at her in disbelief.
She took her eyes off him and faced the window. She wasn�t in the mood for an argument. She wished she had not gotten into his car.
�You didn�t even bother to ask me� why� why didn�t you ask me first before cancelling our wedding?�
She didn�t respond. He placed a hand on his forehead. He was beginning to feel a headache. It was impossible. His best friend wouldn�t
do such a thing. It was a lie. A doctor�s report? Where did he get that from? Did he really? Could he really? He had known the guy most of his life. What would have been the motive for such an outrageous act?
�You can come to the wedding if you like. I will take a bike home,� she opened the door and got down from the car before he could say
His heart rate quickened. If what she said was true, his best friend had a lot of explanations to give.
…To be continued