Underlying Love – Episode 5
By Kayode Odusanya
The car was quiet as Stephen processed what Adunni had just told him. A skinny teenage girl dressed in brown Ankara attire with glasses on was putting handbills on the windshield of all the cars in the parking lot. When she got to his car, she smiled and handed him the small white paper. He collected it without looking at her and placed it on the dashboard. The girl said thank you and left.
“What exactly are you saying?” Stephen finally blurted out.
“I’m saying Modupe hooked me up with you so she could at some point have sex with you.”
“That’s preposterous.” Stephen said with a shocked look on his face. “Did she tell you that?” He added.
Adunni rolled her eyes before responding with, “No. Ann told me.”
“And you would take Ann’s word for it?”
“I called Modupe right after my run in with Ann, and she couldn’t give me a direct answer when I asked her about it.”
“There has to be a logical explanation for this.” Stephen said looked lost in thought for a few seconds before adding, “Please call her right now, I don’t have a phone.”
“Stephen, this is definitely not the right way to handle this.” She said.
He agreed with her. He knew he had to see Modupe in person, but the whole story still sounded really absurd to him and he needed to make sense out of it someway.
“At first I thought you were also in on it, that’s why I stopped responding to your messages.”
“What?” He said and sat up. “Why would you think that?”
“I don’t know. Writers do weird poo, I thought you were…I thought you were playing out a character in your book or something.”
“So what made you change your mind?”
She looked ahead like she was thinking of something, and then said, “I found out something else.”
“Stephen. I can’t. She needs to tell you herself.” She said, cutting him off. She leaned forward and looked out the windscreen. “I think it is about to rain. I need to get to my car.”
“To be honest with you, I’m still confused about this whole thing. Just talk to Modupe, alright.” She said and sighed. After a few seconds of silence, she got out of the car and leaned in the car door window. “Call me when you speak with her, okay?” She said and started walking towards the direction she had initial been headed.
He watched her through the rearview mirror as she cat-walked away, wondering if she ever felt anything for him. He remembered her singing the old Mariah Carey song to him and the make-out that ensured afterwards on her couch. Why is she so calm about it all, he thought to himself.
His phone was all battered up, but he could still make calls on it. The only problem was that he had left it in his apartment and he didn’t want to go back there just yet. After thinking of his next move for a few minutes, he decided to go get something to eat first and then make up his mind on his next line of action.
After eating at his favorite African food restaurant, he had watched a movie to kill time, now He was seated on the bench close to the mall’s exit, waiting for the rain to stop. His plan was to drive down to Modupe’s house, but right now, he was feeding his eyes with all the beauties that wondered around the mall, stranded like him. Tall, short, slim, big, light skinned, dark skinned, they all looked beautiful to him. They were all the beautiful to him because each and everyone of them had a story to tell, and trying to guess what was running through their minds fascinated him. One girl caught him staring and whispered something to her friend. He quickly looked away, and shifted his attention to the movie brochure in his hand.
“Hello.” He heard a soft spoken voice say and he looked up. It was the girl that had caught him staring. He was wondering why she and her chubby friend were giggling, till the girl asked, “Please are you Stephen Iloya.”
He wondered what was going on. How did these girls know my name, he thought to himself.
“Yes.” He answered with a quizzical look on his face. Their innocent teanage faces lit up and they asked if they could seat beside him, he said yes, still wondering what was going on. When the girls told him they had read all his books, he thought it was a prank till they brought out their phones and showed him his books on their iPhones. He had always sold a lot more books on Apple’s iBooks store, but he had never really met a fan in person before. This was totally new to him, and even though he didn’t like the attention the girls brought to him as they started posing to take pictures with him, he was glad he could make their day.
Stephen was about driving into Modupe’s street when he noticed he had a flat. Now he was parked by the roadside, waiting for the rain to go down a bit before he would either change his tire, or just walk over to her place. He sat there, listening to smooth r&b music as he used his writer intuition to come up with possible outcomes of the whole Modupe controversy.
A black saden car parked on the other side of the road from him, and after a few seconds, it drove off, revealing a slim lady in grey skirt suit, holding up a yellow umbrella. She looked to the left, and to the right, and then to the left one more time before crossing the road. She recognized the car immediately and a smile appeared on her face as she walked over to the drivers side of the car. He tried to put up a stern look, but he just couldn’t. He had underestimated her power over him. She knocked on the window, and he turned the key in the ignition to lower it. “Is this some sort of stakeout?” She said with a puzzled look on her face, which was quickly replaced with a smile. He couldn’t help but smile too.
She walked over to the passengers’ side of the car, closed her umbrella and got in. “Don’t tell me you don’t have an extra tire?” She said as she clasped the umbrella and put it in the little space between the car seat and the car door.
“I do.” He said and stared at her with eyes filled with questions.
She sighed and shifted in her seat so that she was facing him before saying, “Okay. Where do i start?”
To be continued