Story: Three Women

Three Women


    Dapo was staring at the television, but his mind was elsewhere. He was thinking of how his recent move to sell his car was a bad one. A flash of lightning bolt reflected off the window into his eyes, and he blinked. He jumped in his sit when the thunder sound came seconds later.
    At thirty-two, most of his peers were young bank managers, or heading departments of big corporation, but he was still waiting for his big break. His I.T Company had no office, and he took all his business calls on his personal cell phone. If he got the job he was meant to go out for today, then he would be sure of long time residual income.
    A scene from the movie he was watching caught his attention and brought him back to the present. In the movie, a man stabbed another man in the eye with a pen without flinching. He wondered how American’s seemed to make their movies look so real. The cry from the victim in the movie got on his nerves and he held up the remote to change the channel. His hand was frozen in mid-air for a couple of seconds, as he tried to concentrate and listen if the intensity of the rain had dropped. After a while, he switched off the TV, got his briefcase and rushed out of the house.


    Elsewhere, his wife, Lola, was heading home in her silver colored 1989 Toyota Camry. Her mind was fixed on what she would make for Dapo tonight. It wasn’t his birthday or anything, but he had been a very good and supportive husband so far. She could remember how most of her friends kept trying to talk her out of marrying him. They said he wasn’t ready; they said he didn’t have the financial capacity to take care of her; they said all other sorts of things, but she didn’t listen to any of it. And right now, thinking back, she was glad she didn’t listen to them.
    She made a stop at MR BIGGS, a famous junk food joint that was spread all over the 31 states of the country. She wanted to get just one thing; ice cream. Dapo had always been a big fan of ice cream, and he never hesitated to state all the other alternative uses a bucket of ice cream had. The thought of ice cream sent chills down her spine and she smiled.
    “Lola” A voice called out as she made it back to her Car. She dropped the paper bag in her hand on the driver’s seat of the car before turning around. In the split second it took for her to do that, her brain had recognized the voice, but she didn’t want to believe it was who she thought it was. As she made the 180 degrees spin around, she came face to face with her father.
    “Daddy!” She shouted out and hurriedly walked up to meet the tall man that was standing about 10 paces away from her. The man smiled as he opened up his arms with a welcoming hug. “What are you doing here?” She asked her father as they disentangled.
    “Oh!” He exclaimed and laughed as he looked back at the building. “I had a meeting with some of my clients, and was just too hungry after wards. You know it can be hard to find good food sometimes, and I would always trust MR BIGGS with that.”
    “How is Mom?” She asked as she scanned the car park for the car her father had come in. She saw the old Mercedes Benz S600, at a far end, and smiled.
    “She’s good. It’s been a while since…”
    “Oh, Dad, I am so sorry we haven’t come to see you guys in a while, it’s just…we were actually planning to come this weekend, so it is good I saw you today.” She said as she waved at her Dad’s driver, standing by the car; he bowed his head with a smile on his face.
    “You were already leaving?” Her Dad asked, adjusting the knot of his tie.
    “Yeah, but I could…”
    “No you don’t have to; you know how slow I can be at eating.”
    “Dad, it is no big deal. I can stick around.” She said and dusted off dirt from his shoulder. While she engaged small talk with her Father, she noticed a man staring at her as he made his way into the building. He look familiar, but she couldn’t place the face. Her father joked about her ice cream melting and urged her to go.
    “Okay Dad, we’d be at your place on Sunday.” She said with a smile, and her right hand made into the shape of a gun, pointed at her Father.
    “Good by me, I’ll inform your Mom.” He said and they hugged one last time before saying the last goodbyes.
    Her father was a furniture mogul; old money at its finest. Even though he had all that money, he didn’t object to her marrying someone with an average background and no job at the time. ‘I see the prospects in the boy, and since you say you really love him, we would give you all the support you need.’ Her father had said.
    As she walked the length to her car, she tried to remember where she had known the guy that had been staring at her earlier; probably an old school mate, she thought to herself. She moved the grocery bags to the back seat, and was about to drive off, but something made her stop and just stare ahead. Seeing her Dad in an awkward place like this just made her think of the past, and how things change when you get married. When you get married, you start your own family unit, and no matter how much you love your old family, your new family comes first.
    Lola picked up a box that was lying on the floor in the back seat; something one of her students had given her earlier in the day. She walked to the back of the car and just as she was opening up her trunk to get the box in, a motorcycle rode past her and splashed some muddy water unto her. Lola shouted loud curse words at the rider, and then she stood there looking at her once lovely looking blue gown and she felt like getting out of it as fast as possible.
    She quickly ran to her car for cover, and just as she was about to drive out, the guy she saw earlier came into view. Memories came flashing back as he approached her. Just as Lola was about to slam the door of the Camry and drive off’ he called out her name.
    “Lola Odumosu.” He shouted out and she stopped to look up at him. “Wow! What a surprise. I wasn’t sure at first, until I got a closer look” The guy said as he stood by the driver’s side of her car, tilting his head a bit so he could be in her visual space.
    “Yeah!” Lola exclaimed and made a face like she didn’t remember the guy.
    “I guessed as much; you don’t remember me, right? Anyway…” The guy was saying, and Lola cut him off.
    “No! No! No! I do remember you; Femi Balogun, right? English teacher always picked on you back then.”
    “Yeah, you do remember.” He said and laughed at her comment “Let him try that now, and…” He said with the pose of a boxer. Lola was getting out of the car, and he took a few steps back. She stretched out her hand for a proper greeting, and he shook it, as his eyes stayed glued to her dress. “Nice pattern on the gown.” He said and they both laughed.
    “Some bike rider…” She said and used her hand to gesture at what had happened.
    “It’s Lagos; crazy as always. So what’s up with you?”
    “I’m doing cool.” She said as she used her handkerchief to dab at the stain on her dress. She caught him laughing when she looked up. “And what’s so funny?” She asked
    “Nothing really, it’s just that I can’t imagine I am actually standing here talking to you.”
    “Back in school, you were like…like the prom queen; I wouldn’t have lasted 5 seconds talking to you.”
    “So, are you trying to say I have lost it?” She said, with a serious look on her face.
    “No, don’t get me wrong. We all grow, and things…forget about that, so what do you do for a living these days?”
    “I’m teacher at a primary school.”
    “That’s cool; are you married?”
    “Yeah, I am.”
    “That’s great: really great. It’s cool I ran into you; I’m actually getting married pretty soon myself, and I was trying to gather all the old friends I could.”
    “Good for you, I wish you the best.”
    “So, I would really love for you and your husband to be present.”
    “Oh! Cool, we’ll definitely like to come.” Lola said, still feeling embarrassed in her mud stained gown, standing next to him in his nicely fitted suit.
    “Give me a second.” He said and walked off to a Range Rover SUV parked opposite Lola’s Camry. He picked out something from the glove compartment and was back within seconds.
    “So… what is your new last name?” He asked, as he placed the invitation card on the roof of her car.
    “Just address it to Mr. and Mrs. Dapo Oduwole.”
    “Okay.” He got through with it and handed it over to her.
    “It’s still in about 5 months, but do have me in mind.”
    “Don’t worry; I’ll add it as a reminder on my phone.”
    “Okay. Have a nice day.” He said with a smile and was off. Lola waved at him as he retreated.


    Their apartment was dark inside, as there was power outage. He dropped his laptop in the parlor, and was about to go and look for Lola when she appeared from a room, wearing just panties and bra.
    “Hey, how did the day go?” She asked as she approached him.
    “It was cool; how was yours?” They had locked lips before she could answer. He was 6ft tall, towering over her 5ft 4 inches frame. They disentangled for a while and Lola looked up at Dapo in a funny way.
    “Nothing; I’m just checking out my husband.”
    “Hey, I got to fix dinner, I’ll be right back.” She pushed him off with her right palm and disappeared into the room she had earlier emerged from. She re-appeared wearing a long t-shirt that came down to her bear knees. She smiled at Dapo on her way to the kitchen.
    “Hey, I saw my Dad today. He accused us of not coming around to see them.” She shouted out from the kitchen. Dapo was heading to the room, and retraced his steps as he heard her voice.
    “We should probably go there this weekend. I hope I would have gotten a head-start on something before then.” He said as he took a sit in the parlor. “I don’t want to look like an irresponsible in-law.” He said that in a low tone.
    “I didn’t get you.” Lola shouted out.
    “It’s nothing important.” He replied and got off the couch. He stood still, in one position for a couple of seconds, trying to think of what he had to do next, and then he headed for the door.
    The noise coming from the generator set was less audible after he shot the entrance door. He walked into the kitchen on tip toes and sneaked up on Lola from behind. She jumped at first, and then relaxed as his arms went around her waist. He kissed her on the neck and she moaned gently, and turned her head around. She smiled up at him before their lips locked.


    The thought of getting a private office outside his home had been playing on Dapo’s mind for a while now, so he decided to take this day out to check around for a suitable location. It was always more professional when you had a location where people could actually meet with you when they want to; it always brought in the element of trust.
    The shops he had seen so far weren’t bad at all. He figured he wouldn’t need so much space, since it was just going to be him a secretary. There was a particular double shop with a very good rest room he saw and liked, so he stopped to discuss with the shopkeeper.
    “Light is good; good security and we have cleaners that clean up three times a week. All would be covered by your one-time payment; no extra charges.” The man in charge was saying. He didn’t sound like a fraud, and Dapo decided to take his word for it.
    “How much is the rent?” Dapo asked.
    “Five thousand Naira, monthly; and you’d have to pay for two years. Agent fees and agreement fees will be twenty-five thousand. That would make it a total of…”
    “Sir, why do I have to pay that much for agent fees?” Dapo asked and the man smiled at him. “Haven’t you rented a shop before? That’s how it works; I would never try to rip off a young man like you.” The man said and paused for a while before continuing “The other shop keepers would have charged you almost double of what I’m charging you for agent fee.”
    Dapo looked into space for a while before speaking “Umm…today is Monday, right? I’ll come back before the end of the week to make the payment.”
    “It’s a very good location for whatever business you have in mind, don’t waste any more time.”
    “Okay. I have your number.” Dapo said and left the place thinking of the last thing the man had said, ‘don’t waste anymore time’, like he knew that Dapo had been fighting indecision to get a shop for a while now.
    While walking out of the complex, he was deep in thoughts, and accidentally collided with a girl coming from the opposite direction. “Ouch!” The girl exclaimed clutching her head with both her hands. Dapo also felt a jolt of pain, but he was more concerned about how the girl was.
    “Hey, I’m sorry.” He said and tried to check if the girl had sustained any injuries.
    “Don’t worry, I am alright.” She said. Dapo saw her face as she let her hands fall to the side, and his heart skipped a beat.
    “What?” She said and tried to feel for any bump or cut on her face. “What? Do I have a cut on my face or something?”
    “No, it’s just that…nothing really. Take care.” He said and left the girl confused.
    It is amazing how fast the brain can dig up data; the girl’s resemblance to someone in his past brought back a lot of memories; memories so fresh, it felt like the incidence had taken place yesterday.
    JULY 1998
    After he had taken just enough bottles that he could handle, he told the guys he wanted to take a leak, and went in search of Kike. She had said she was going to get some stuff from the store across the road. He saw her coming out with two paper bags as he made his way out of the bar. She crossed over to him, and gave him a hug.
    “Let’s get out of here.” He said and dragged her in the direction of where his car was parked.
    “Hey, what about Chuks and them…?” She said. There was a frown on her face now.
    “You know I hate goodbyes. Besides, they would never let me leave this early.” He said and walked on, she followed right behind.
    While in the car, there was silence, like they both were deep in thought. Four years in the university was over, and even though it felt good to be through, the thought of departing the life and people he had known for the last four years of his life was a bit sad.
    “I wonder when we’d get to gather like that again.” Dapo said with a smile on his face.
    “Hey, it is not that bad; even if it takes 9 years for you guys to see again, you’d catch up like you never left.”
    “That’s why I like having you around, you always know what to say at all times.” He gave her a side glance before continuing “I’m going to miss you.”
    “I told you I’d be there before you even settle down, don’t worry, you won’t miss me for too long.”
    “So you are going to be in the London in…?
    “My Dad wants us in the Caribbeans from next week, but Mom and I would leave him after we get to America.” She said as she adjusted the front passengers’ seat to go flat, so that she was lying on her back. “So, I would be in London in about… three weeks.”
    “Hmm! I think I can stay alive till then.” He said and they both laughed.
    Dapo was going to spend some time in Britain with his cousins, and his flight was already booked for next week. He was so excited about it, but worried at the same time. It was hard for him to imagine his life without Kike, even if it was for a couple of weeks.
    He was parked in front of her house now, and he felt her lean forward for a kiss; he responded, more in autopilot than with the heart. The liquor was clearing off now, and he felt a bit tired, physically and emotionally. “Hey, dude! Wake up.” Lola shouted into his ear. He smiled at her, and they kissed again. She stared at him with a concerned look on her face. “Do you want to come in? You could take a nap in Kunle’s room, you look really tired.’
    “Nah! I’d just be on my way.” He said and adjusted in his seat.
    “Okay. I love you.” She said and planted a kiss on his cheek before getting out of the car.
    “I love you too.
    Hrh King Adura1


    Dapo knew something was wrong when he got the call from Kike, asking him to come over. ‘What could be the matter’, he thought to himself. He had noticed her voice didn’t have that normal sweetness to it. As he drove up to her house, he could not imagine what could be wrong.
    He sighted her before he got up-close. She was walking in his direction, probably going to buy something from the store. The white t-shirt clung to her body, showing off the curves of her upper half.
    “What’s up girl?” He shouted out as he tried to park the car on the side of the road. He had caught her by surprise and she jumped. She wasn’t looking too happy, and the fact that she didn’t recognize the car before he got up-close only meant something was really wrong.
    “You got here really fast.” She said with a smile on her face that disappeared almost immediately. She crossed over to where Dapo was parked, and held up her right hand; signaling for him to remain in the car as he was about to get out. She gave him a quick peck on the cheek before walking over to the passengers’ side.
    “So what’s on your mind? You want us to get married before you leave? The last time I checked, you were scheduled to travel tomorrow, and I thought you would be…”
    “Dapo stop, I need to focus”. She said, stopping Dapo in mid sentence.
    “Focus on what? You are acting really weird. It is like you tuned all your energy into school work, and now that you’ve graduated, you don’t know where to channel your energy.”
    “It’s not that.” She said and laughed.
    “What’s wrong?” Dapo got serious and took her in his arms. “Is Daddy okay?”
    “Dapo, I am pregnant.” She looked ahead after dropping the bombshell on him. His facial expression went from worry to confusion. He didn’t talk for a while; his heart started beating fast like it was going to explode.
    “I don’t understand, we always…we always used protection. I never had s-x with you without a condom.” Dapo said, with a confused look on his face. She turned and looked at him, and he almost could not recognize who he saw. There was fury in her eyes.
    “So what are you saying? That I got impregnated by someone else?” Tears were flowing freely down her face now. She was hyper-ventilating and fidgeting all over. She pushed off Dapo’s hands as he tried to calm her down. “You…you know I didn’t ever want to…want to do the s-x thing. I did whatever would make you happy.”
    “But…But…I don’t understand how it happened.” Dapo said, looking very confused and dazed.
    “I should be asking you that; you are the expert.” She said and let out a sarcastic laugh, and then started fidgeting again. “Dapo, you assured me that I would never get pregnant if…” She burst into tears before she could complete her sentence. She was crying now, and mumbling up words Dapo could not make anything out of.
    “Kike calm down, people are watching us.” He said and tried to hold her again, but she hit his hands off.
    “Let them see, there is no use hiding anything, my life is finished.” She said and burst into heavier sobs and Dapo tried to stop her from crying out loud by holding her head to his chest. She gave in this time, and her sobs declined slowly, and they became low sniffs after a couple of minutes.
    “It can’t be more than probably a few weeks; must likely under a month. We can still fix the problem.” Dapo said and it made Kike stop the sniffs and look up.
    “Fix the problem? How do you mean?”
    “We could…we could see a doctor.”
    “See a doctor and do what, Dapo?” Kike said. Her voice was on a very high pitch now. “You want me to…to have an abortion?” She shouted out and people started taking side glances at them and it made Dapo very uneasy.
    “Calm down, what do you want me to do? I’m just twenty-three for Christ sake. I can’t be a father yet.” Dapo said, raising his voice to her for the first time since they started the argument. Kike quietly sobbed for a little while longer with her head down, not saying a word. It was like she was disappointed. Then she looked up at Dapo. “I knew it.”
    “Knew what?”
    “You don’t love me; you’ve just been using me all this while.”
    “Kike what are you talking about? Of course I do love you. I love you Kike, but let’s be…”
    “No you don’t.” She said, cutting him off. The expression on her face was very sinister now, and Dapo was praying that she wouldn’t do anything stupid.
    “Kike, stop talking like that.” He said and tried to cuddle her up, but she hit his hands away.
    “Don’t touch me.” She said and burst into tears again. Dapo just let her be. His mind was racing and wondering what he would have to do, and how this situation could change his life forever. He noticed that she had stopped crying and he was waiting for her to say something, and then she looked up at him with no expression on her face. It left Dapo dumbfounded. He didn’t know if this was the part where she would pull out a knife from her pocket and stab him, or bath him with a bottle of acid.
    After a long stare, she just reached for the door handle and got out of the car. Dapo attempted to stop her, but she held up a hand, and he just lay back.
    “Let’s resolve this; we can work something out.” He said, but she was walking away from the car as fast as she could.
    Dapo had never been this miserable in his life, and he felt so out of control of the whole situation. He felt like he had just killed someone who didn’t deserve to die. His brain was working like it had never worked before, but he couldn’t come up with any solution.
    After sitting in the car for like twenty minutes, he drove off. He couldn’t even think of telling anyone, his mom would kill him. “Oh God, how did it get to this?” He said out loud.
    “Dapo, is anything the matter?” His cousin, Tosin asked him. He titled his head to an angle, and looked up from where he was on the bed. She was standing by the entrance to his room, looking down at him. Tosin had been like the sister he never had, and he always told her everything, but he didn’t think she had the ability to handle this one.
    “Hey Tosin, don’t be sneaking up on me like that, I don’t like it.” He said and rolled over, so his face was on the other side of the bed. The concern on her face turned to a frown, and then it went back to concern.
    “Is everything okay? You look like something is bothering you.”
    “Yes, you are the one bothering me. Just go, I’m not in a good mood right now.”
    “Hey, are you sure?”
    “Tosin, I said I don’t…” He was saying and turned over to catch a full glimpse of her. She was sitting by the tip of his bed now. “…please, just go.”
    “Okay.” She got up and left reluctantly.
    ‘This one is way over your head, Tosin.’ He thought to himself as he got off the bed to lock his room door. His thoughts went back to his earlier conversation with Kike. ‘Do I really love her? If I did, I would do anything for her. I would do the right thing by accepting the baby.’ He sat up in bed and thought to himself. ‘But I do love her, I just didn’t bargain for this.’


    “Dapo! Dapo!” Tosin called out, banging on Dapo’s room door. He felt a slight headache as he rolled in bed. He sat up for a while, not really knowing what woke him, till Tosin’s rambling at the door continued.
    His left foot was caught in the sheets, as he tried to get off the bed, and he had to hold on to the door handle to keep from falling.
    “Hey, are you okay in there? Dapo!” She called out, reacting to the loud noise she heard. The door finally swung open, and Dapo sluggishly went back to lie on the bed. It was like he had not fully gained consciousness. Tosin stared at him for a while, trying to read the expression on his face. Then her face went from no expression to amusement.
    “Hey, don’t tell me you slept in your out clothes from yesterday?” She said as she walked into the room, still examining him. He was lying on his side, with his eyes half opened. She sat beside him and chuckled at his sight. Then she hit the bed, to shake him up, and his eyes came wide open. “Hey, Mom said you are meant to go to the store this morning, I thought you could drop me off at school on your way.”
    He could see her mouth move, but his brain did not comprehend what she was saying. He looked at her, and her beauty reminded him of Kike and the conversation he had had with her yesterday. ‘Yesterday.’ He thought to himself, and everything came back in a flood of memory. It had almost seemed like a dream when he first woke up, but the more he focused, the more he realized it was no dream. ‘Oh s--t! She is leaving for the U.S this morning.’ He thought and ran for the bathroom, grabbing his towel as he dashed out.
    “What?” She said, astonished at his sudden movements. “Dude, are you…did you even hear a word I said?”
    “I’ll be out in a minute.”
    “Whatever; just make sure you don’t slip and fall.” She said as she walked away, shaking her head in dismay.
    Twelve minutes later, they were driving out the house.”
    “You want to tell me what is going on?” Tosin asked.
    “What?” He said, and took a side glance at her, not exactly making eye contact. And his face was screwed up like he was trying to concentrate on something. “I’m taking you to school, that is what’s up. And I…”
    “Dude, you have been behaving funny since last night.” She said and looked at her wrist watch. “And I’m sure you are not in a hurry to get me to school; this is just a quarter past 7a.m.” Dapo had gone into a sort of Trans now; it was like he was driving on auto pilot. She just kept on talking; her mouth kept moving but he didn’t hear a thing she said. He started thinking of what he would tell Kike. He thought of what her parents would think of the whole matter. He was thinking of the first thing he would tell her when he saw her. “I love you.” The words, intended as a whisper, came out quite audible.
    “What?” You love me?” Tosin asked, with confusion on her face. He heard her and turned his face side-ways.
    “What? Oh! I wasn’t talking to you.”
    “Ha-ha! Thank God. You were starting to freak me out. So where are we going?” She said and lifted up her wrist. “By my watch, it is 7:20a.m I don’t…”
    “Don’t tell me the time.” Dapo lashed out. She looked at Dapo for a while, and then looked straight ahead. She couldn’t just imagine what was going on in his head.
    Tosin had gone with Dapo a couple of times to his Kike’s house, so she knew where they were headed, but she didn’t know what the hurry was all about. Dapo didn’t bother to park properly when he got to Kike’s house; he just stopped the car right in front of her gate and jumped out the car in a hurry. Tosin didn’t plan saying anything to him again since he shot her up the last time, so she just sat there. After he had disappeared into the house, she started feeling restless, so she turned on the radio. She changed stations until she heard the kind of music she liked. 5 minutes had not gone before Dapo returned looking downcast. He looked like someone that went for an A.I.D.S test and had found out that he was positive. He sat in the car but didn’t turn on the engine. After a couple of minutes, he spoke. “She is pregnant, and now she is gone”.


    SEPTEMBER 2007
    Dapo sat down on the couch in his living room with the sound system on full blast. Funny as it may seem, it always helped him to think better. His thoughts went back to Kike, and he couldn’t believe that it had been nine years since she disappeared. He had initially spent about three years trying to track her down, especially considering the fact that she was meant to have been carrying his child at the time, but his effort was to no avail.
    Before the argument they had in his car, they were originally meant to meet in London, but she never showed up. He would walk around places tourists liked to hang out; major stores; parks, even clubs at night, but he guessed she probably decided not to come over again.
    He got back to Nigeria and continued his search. He would always drive by her house every night; even though they had informed him that she was not in the country. After three years of an obsessive search, he decided to move on. Then he traveled back to London and just kept a low profile; not really doing anything with his life. The thought that he may have a child in some part of the world, with a girl he loved disturbed him. He would have nightmares and wake up in cold sweat. His life continued in a reckless abandon, living everyday with no enthusiast, and making no plans for the future, until he finally returned to Nigeria about 2 years ago and met his wife.
    His thoughts came back to the present as she walked into the room. She held him from behind and planted a kiss on his neck. She said she wanted to get something from the store. He volunteered to go with her, but she said she wouldn’t be long. He turned around and kissed her, and she walked off.
    ‘What happened in the past should stay in the past’, he thought to himself. And he promised himself not to ever bring up thoughts of his old girlfriend again.
    He turned off the hi-fi system, and turned on the television. There was news about the lady speaker of the House of Assembly who had embezzled hundreds of millions of Naira. Dapo thought it was because of stories like this that he never really followed Nigerian politics; it was all dirty crooked people trying to stuff their pockets with public funds. Nigeria had a problem of inequitable distribution of wealth, which is why the margin between the rich and the poor kept getting wider. You would find all the latest luxury cars in Nigeria immediately they hit the market; the Range Rovers; the Bentleys; Rolls Royces Phantom; Maybachs; and in the midst of all that, there were plenty that couldn’t afford the basic necessities of life; food, shelter and clothing. That is so sad for a country with all the potentials to be in the top 10 list of the most economically stable countries in the world.
    Since Lola informed him last week that she was pregnant, he had been thinking differently. He knew he had to start preparing for the kid, and the responsibilities that would come with it. He heard the door open and she shouted out that she was back. He heard some sounds in the kitchen, and guessed she was making food. It was a Saturday afternoon, and he thought of going out, maybe he would just ask Lola if she would like to go out for an early dinner or something. His watch said 5p.m; they could be ready in about 45 minutes. He got off the couch and headed for the kitchen. She was using the dish washer, her back to the door, and he tip-toed till he got inches behind her. He just stood there and took in the scent coming from her body; she sensed his presence and turned around. Lola stood on her tip toes to kiss him, and then pushed him away with her left hand. “I got to get dinner ready.” She said, getting the dishes out of the machine.
    “Forget that, let’s go out. You need a treat. I want to take you to this new restaurant…”
    “Oh, honey, I already made plans for dinner.” She said and walked up to him to put her arms around his neck.
    “You haven’t started cooking, have you? Let’s just do something different today.” He said and she just stared at him, then a smile slowly formed at the end of her lips.
    “That’s not a bad idea.”
    “Good; now run off and change.” He said and slapped her butt as she walked away. He went out to check out the car, and he bumped into Florence, their neighbor’s daughter. She greeted him shyly and walked off. Lola always teased that the girl had a crush on him; the idea of that was really funny to him.
    He turned the rear view mirror to an angle so that he could see his wife, and he smiled. There was no baby bump yet, and no one even knew she was pregnant. She had on a red satin gown that stuck to her skin, just the way she knew that Dapo liked her. His mind started wondering, and he was thinking of how she would be in about 6 months time, and the smile started clearing off his face, then he looked at her again, and he was overwhelmed with joy. He turned to the side and kissed her as she settled down in the front passengers’ seat. “We need to have as much fun as we can before the baby comes.”
    “Hey, you make it seem like the baby is going to be a distraction.” Lola said.
    “The baby is going to be a distraction, let’s be honest. That aside, I just thought we should spend some quality time together.”
    “Aww, that is so sweet.” She said and planted a kiss on his cheek.


    Dapo stepped out the car and watched the meter run as the attendant sold the fuel. He had heard a lot of stories of people getting ripped off, and not getting the amount of fuel they paid for, so he watched with rapt attention. He got distracted as Lola got out of the car. She came to stand in front of him, with a smile on her face, and blocked off his vision. He wanted to push her aside, but he just stood there, trying to figure out what she had in mind. “What’s up?” He said, and the smile on her face got wider.
    “Nothing, just felt like checking out my husband.”
    “Very funny, but seriously, why did you get out of the car.”
    “As I said, I just came to check out…” She didn’t finish her sentence, as she stood on her toes and planted a kiss on his lips. She pulled back, looked at him and laughed at how embarrassed he felt, then she went in again, and tongue kissed him. The attendant that was filling up the car stared at them in disbelief. Just then, Lola pulled away and looked into Dapo’s eyes. “I will always love you baby.” She said to Dapo, who was still in awe and didn’t notice that the attendant was through with the re-fill.
    The honking of horn from the car behind them got his attention, and he raised his hand in apology. Lola tapped his butt as she made her way over to her side of the car, and he lost concentration, and had to start counting the money all of over again. The driver of the black C-Class Mercedes Benz honked his horn a few more times, but Dapo ignored him as he got into the car.
    “What was that for?” He asked Lola with a smile on his face as he got into the car. She smiled and told him that she just felt like doing something daring for once, and that she felt good after doing it. He laughed and said he didn’t believe she could pull that off in public. Then as he was getting ready to drive off, the man from the car behind came to the driver’s side of the car and started shouting at Dapo for wasting his time.
    “Hey, relax; I was just on my way.” Dapo said with a little laugh. The laugh wasn’t meant to be offensive, just a laugh to ease off tension, but the man took it otherwise, and mumbled some curse words as he made his way back. He was half way to his car when Dapo hit him with a blow from behind. A shove came after the blow, and caused the man to stagger backwards. Lola was beside Dapo in seconds. “I’m very sorry sir, my husband…” Lola was saying, as she pulled Dapo back. The man just held his left cheek and stared at Dapo in disbelief. Dapo was hyper-ventilating, and couldn’t say anything. Another man came out of the car, in a hurry to get to the man that was hit. He tapped the man, motioned him towards the direction of the Mercedes, where a hand was waving him over. He looked at Dapo one last time before he reluctantly walked off.
    Dapo got into the car, and before he could move out of the way for the car behind him to get fuel, they drove out of the gas station. Dapo and Lola silently stared at the car as it made its way out of the station, slowly.


    They had driven for about 10 minutes now, and still no words had been spoken between them. Dapo was taking quick glance at her, every now and then. He thought he saw a smile on her face from the last glance he took. After he took the turn that led to the restaurant, he looked over again, and he was right; she was smiling. He switched gears, and then turned to her again, this time their eyes connected, and they both laughed.
    “Next time you want to impress me, don’t do it with guys that look like they have all kinds of guns in their trunk.” Lola said and they laughed some more. She laughed so much that she had her hands on the dash board for support. “For a second there, I thought they were going back to their car to get guns or something.” Lola continued as tears rolled down her eyes.
    Lola was playing with the cutlery while they waited for their meal.
    “Why are you jittery? Is it the baby?” Dapo asked and reached out to hold her hands.
    “Umm! Nothing.”
    “There must be something on your mind; I hope it is not about what happened earlier?” Dapo joked. “Don’t worry, they can’t harm you, I have an A.K 47 riffle in the car.”
    “Very funny; it’s not that.”
    “So there is something on your mind?”
    “Well…” Lola started and paused for a while before she continued. “I’ve been thinking of getting another car; like a minivan.”
    “That’s cool; it doesn’t seem like something to get moody over.”
    “I want to get it because I want to get into the sale of wears…I told you about it before; remember?”
    “Yeah, I remember. You want to sell the Camry?”
    “No. No.”
    “You need some money?”
    “No, I’m good. I just…I want you to…you know…keep the Camry…use the Camry.” She said, looking nervous.
    “Hey, I don’t want your ego to come in or anything like that.” She said and tightened her grip on his hand. “This marriage is about us, what “Lola” and “Dapo” are cool with. You get me?”
    “I’m not really bothered about what people would say, but I was already planning to get a car next month.”
    “You can put it on hold and channel the money…” She was saying and saw the look on Dapo’s face “I just think we should work together here. I am your wife, and your friend. I love you unconditionally, and I would love you, no matter what, till the day I die.” She said, dramatizing everything she said with her eyes.
    Dapo squeezed her hand and leaned over to kiss her. “I love you too.” That was all what Dapo said and then he smiled; she smiled back and shook his hand.
    “So, about the minivan, I want to get the new Toyota sienna. I saw it at a dealership and just fell in love with it.” She said as she giggled in her seat. “I have really been thinking about it for a while now.” She said and smoothened out the table cloth on her side. There was a mischievous look on her face as she looked at Dapo. Then she leaned forward and whispered into his ear. “We can even get busy in it.” She said and winked at him. He laughed a nervous laugh and looked around; checking if anyone could hear their conversation. He could have sworn he saw someone familiar standing a few feet away from their table and wanted to take a second look, but brushed off the thought. He leaned over to whisper something to Lola. “Hmm! I think I like this new attitude of yours.”
    “I think it comes with being pregnant.”
    “Then I’d like for you to be pregnant for life.”
    “You better take that back; I’m just a few weeks in, you don’t know how I would get when I’m a couple months heavy.”
    “I heard…” Dapo was saying but stopped himself when a waiter approached their table with a bottle of champagne. “It is courtesy the gentleman at table 6.” The waiter said trying to use an Italian accent. He placed the champagne on the table, and started opening it, as Dapo and Lola looked in shock. Their eyes traveled in the direction the waiter had pointed and a man in traditional clothing raised a glass at them in greeting, in the midst of their confusion, they nodded at him. A note came with the drink that read ‘Have a drink with me and enjoy your youth.’ Within seconds, the waiter had opened the bottle and was filling up their glasses. Dapo took a sip from his cup and raised it at the man. The man did the same, with a smile on his face.
    “What do we do now? Are we meant to go over there and greet him properly?” Lola said, under her breath.
    “No; maybe when we are leaving.”
    “Do you know the man?”
    “Hmm! This does not happen often.” She said and took a sip of the champagne.
    After a couple of minutes, the man got up from his seat and started walking over to their table.
    “Why do you think he sent us the bottle?” Lola asked.
    “I don’t know, but you can ask him yourself, he is heading this way.” Dapo said and it made Lola jump in her chair. But what shocked her most was when the man came into sight and she saw the two guys they had had an encounter with at the gas station beside him.
    “Good evening. I am bored sitting all by myself, and you guys really fascinate me. I…” The man was saying, still standing, but with his hand on the chair, waiting for them to give him the go ahead. Dapo waved him to sit, bowing his head in the process. Lola was still in shock.
    “I can see that my boys are making her uncomfortable.” The mysterious man said as he signaled for one of the men to bend over. Lola put up a fake smile as the man whispered something in to one of his bodyguard’s ear, and the two of them retreated to their former position. “I’m sure by now you would have figured out that I was the man in the car behind you at the gas station.” The man said and smiled. Lola and Dapo smiled back at the man, but didn’t say anything. “It’s funny that we ended up heading the same direction. Anyway, I really just came over to apologize for the way my boys behaved.” He said, as his fingers made a drumming sound on the table; from his pinkie to his index finger.
    “I think we should be the ones apologizing.” Dapo said with a shy smile.
    “No matter what you had done back there…” The man paused to look in Lola’s direction, and she giggled and partly covered her face with her palm. “…my boys had no right to have behaved the way they did.”
    “Well, thank you for redeeming our dignity, sir.” Lola said.
    “But, I must admit, I’ve not seen what you guys pulled off there in a while; Kissing in public, and doing it so freely.” The man said, and they all laughed.
    “So you sent us a bottle to appreciate the show we put up for you?” Lola said, in-between laughs.
    “Yes, you can say that.” The man said, still laughing.
    “Now, that’s compensation, considering what your boys would have done to me.” Dapo said with a poker face. Lola looked from the man, to Dapo, then back to the man.
    “So what would your boys have done, Mr…?” Lola asked.
    “Mr Cole. And about what they would have done, let us save that for another day, when we know ourselves better.”
    “I think it would be worth the wait.” Dapo said with a smile.
    “But, seriously, what arrested my attention towards you guys was the electricity between you two.” The man said, looking really amused as he said so. “The fire of love between both of you makes me wish I could go back in time.”
    “That’s a big compliment.” Lola said and squeezed Dapo’s hand.
    “You two should make sure you stay this way. So what are your names?”
    “I’m Dapo, and my wife’s name is Lola.”
    “Oh! You are married? That is even better. He said and moved back a bit as the waiter poured champagne into a new glass cup for him. “Lola. What a beautiful name” The man said, and kept his eyes on her, as if trying to deduce something, then he turned to face Dapo. “Hey Dapo, I hope you don’t think I am flirting with your wife?”
    “Right in front of me? That would be impossible.”
    “You need to see my wife; she is one hell of a beauty too” The man said, as he rose up his glass to Dapo, and Dapo did the same. “By the way, you guys can call me Dotun; calling me Mr Cole just makes me feel like I am at one of my company’s board meetings or something.” The man said and took one quick sip from his cup. “And my guys over there are mike and jerry.” He said.
    “Tom and Jerry?” Lola asked.
    “Yeah, try calling them that and you would be sorry you did.” Dapo said and laughed.
    “They’re really cool guys; they just do what they have to do. That is what they are paid for. So dapo, if I may ask, what do you do for a living?”
    “I’m an I.T expert. I work for myself, in a little office in Ikeja”
    “Well we all start small. It would surprise you what these billionaires started with. Now, I.T, that’s one sector that is rising fast in the country.”
    “Yeah, I guess so.”
    “They say, if you are not getting better you’re getting worse. I might be needing your services in some upcoming projects of mine soon.”
    “So what do you do?” Lola interjected.
    “What do I do?” The man said, and slowly titled his head to one side.
    “If you would like to keep that to yourself, we’d have no problem with it.” Dapo said with a stern look at Lola.
    “No, it’s just that I don’t really know how to put it in one sentence.” He said and looked up at the ceiling for a while before continuing. “Let me put it this way, I’m into any legitimate business that betters the life of the masses and makes me money in return.”
    “Okay.” Lola nodded, trying to understand where the man was coming from.
    “So with that said, I am into manufacturing; food processing; advertisement; furniture business, and the list goes on.”
    “That sounds really interesting.” Dapo said.
    “You know, a lot of people think it’s just my drink that brings in the money.”
    “What drink?” Lola asked, sounding very anxious to know.
    “Flow? Are you serious? That is like my best soft drink in the whole world.”
    “I think I would take that as a complement.”
    “So that is what your students have turned you into; a “flow” addict?” Dapo said. Then he turned from Lola and faced the man. “No offence to you Mr. Cole.”
    “None taken; but as I said earlier, call me Dotun.”
    “So you mentioned students, does it mean Lola here is a teacher?”
    “Yes; guilty as charged.” Lola said, waving her hand in the air.
    “Lovely.” The man said and smiled up at Lola, and then just like he realized something, he looked at his watch. “Wow! Time does fly when you are having fun.”
    “It sure does.” Lola said.
    “I wish I could spend the whole evening with you guys, but I have to rush off.”
    “No problem; it has been a pleasure.” Dapo said as he stood up to have a handshake with the man. Lola just waved at the mystery man with a smile on her face.
    Dapo turned to face Lola and was about to start a conversation with her when the man turned around and walked back to their table. “Before I leave, I would need your phone numbers. I just might be calling Dapo really soon.” He said and they exchanged phone numbers.
    “What a nice man.” Lola said after the man had left.
    “Yeah; if only all rich men were that humble and friendly, the world would be a better place.”
    “Nah, it would be boring. There has to be a balance, I guess.”
    “I get you, but on second thought, there is something really weird about how we met.”
    “Weird as in…how do you mean?”
    “I don’t know…it is nothing, let’s get out of here.” Dapo said and signaled the waiter over.

    EPISODE 10

    Time passed; Lola got her minivan, Dapo got the call from Mr. Cole and a meeting was scheduled. The meeting led to Dapo handling all the I.T jobs at the man’s Finance company. That led to other jobs from some other of the man’s companies and companies owned by friends of the man. Jobs were coming in so fast that Dapo didn’t even have enough time to count the money he was making.
    Once in a while, he and Lola would go over to visit Mr. Cole at his home, and then he started inviting them over every other weekend. His wife was away in the United States, but he had a charming little daughter; a loving little girl that Dapo and Lola grew fond of.
    It was barely three months since their first meeting and they were already like family. Dapo got busier by the moment, even taking up contracts that were out of his field of expertise. He found out how easy it was to make money if you were hard working and moved with the right set of people. In his case, Mr. Cole was like his guardian angel.
    Dapo got a 2008 model Camry towards the end of the year. It cost him 3.2million Naira and he paid in cash. He was making more money than he ever dreamed of. But it was like a gift and a curse. While he was out making the money, his wife was home alone, and feeling lonely.
    He had a staff of 3, working with him now, but he was hardly at his office. Most of the jobs he had to do were inner circle jobs that brought him big money.
    Lola sat on Dapo’s laps with her arms around him as they engaged in light conversation. The jazz music coming out of their sound system was just right for the mood. Dapo had blocked off all possible light from entering the room, and it was dark in a romantic way. Lola was about 4 months pregnant, and she had the baby bump, but it wasn’t obvious yet.
    “I just remembered I had to take Anu out today.” Lola jumped up from her husband’s laps and started pacing. “What time is it?”
    “Any plans, or you going to be impulsive about it like the last time?”
    “Very funny; the thing is I got anti-natal today.”
    “Rule number one; never promise a little girl that you are going to take her out only to stand her up, she’ll never forgive you.”
    “Aw, you’re making me feel bad. I really thought it would be possible to run the two.”
    “Run the two?”
    “I mean, go for anti-natal and also take her out, but I don’t think that would be possible now.”
    “Why is that?”
    “Because, by my watch, it is 2p.m already, and I still have to make it to the hospital.”
    Dapo stared at her as she stood there in front of him and thought about how much he loved her, and it frightened him. The thought of ever cheating on her and the effect it would have on her, scared him.
    “Okay, I’ll take her.”
    “I’ll take Anu out…I know that is where this conversation is going anyway.” Dapo said and it made Lola smile. She leaned over and gave him a kiss.
    “You’re a life saver.” She said and he just raised his eye brow at her. She rubbed her fore head for a while, like she was thinking of what next to do. “So do you have an idea of where to take her?”
    “Yeah; I’ll take her to see a movie.”
    “Great idea; then you can get some ice cream afterwards.”
    “Hmm! That’s exactly what I had in mind.”

    EPISODE 11

    Before long, Dapo was driving into the Cole’s mansion. He was recognized by all the staffs at the house, so he didn’t have to identify himself at the gate. He admired the landscaping as he parked his car beside a 2007 Lamborghini Murcielago. A maid greeted him on the way into the main house and let him know that Mr. Cole was having a meeting with his club members.
    “Sir, I was given instructions that you wife was coming to pick up Anu.” The maid said, smiling all the time.
    “Yeah, but some things came up, so I am taking her place now.” Dapo said as they walked into the living room.
    “Just a moment sir, I’ll have her ready to go very quickly.”
    “Thank you.” Dapo said to the maid before she disappeared. The T.V was on CNN, and he watched as Barack Obama, the Democratic Party presidential candidate delivered a breath taking speech. The man had so much self confidence, and Dapo thought he could actually be the first black American president.
    “Hey! Uncle D!” Anu called out as she came into the living room. She was swinging her head from left to right as she walked to where Dapo was seated. “So where is Aunt Lola?” She asked as she gave Dapo a ‘high-five’.
    “She had to go and handle some things; is it cool that I take you out instead?”
    “Okay. Can we go to the cinema? Please!” She said with her hands clasped together.
    “Yes, that was where I actually had in mind.”
    “That is so great; I’ll be right back.” She said and ran off. Dapo sat there waiting for her and just as he was about to get inpatient and ask the maid to go get her, she appeared. Instead of the free flowing ‘Cinderella type’ gown she had on earlier, she was in a pair of blue pencil jeans, flat soled shoes and a red Chinese styled top. She looked so happy and pretty and he could tell that the Mom would be a real beauty.
    They talked all through their drive, and he wondered how she knew so much. She talked about her Mom and how she had been gone for 4 months.
    The movie Anu finally decided to see, RATATOUILE, was an animated movie about a rat that could cook. Dapo thought it was disgusting and couldn’t make himself go in and watch ‘the number one domestic pest’ in the world, cook meals.
    “Come one uncle’ D’, I don’t want to go in alone.” Anu said; trying to convince Dapo, but he thought he wouldn’t be caught dead in there.
    “Anu, it is all about you having fun, don’t worry about me.” He said and he assured her that he would be right there waiting for her when she got out. She finally agreed to go in alone and they went off to get the ticket.

    EPISODE 12

    They were seated at a restaurant, just a floor above the cinema; the movie wasn’t coming on till like 30 minutes, and they were killing time.
    “I saw a book I’d like to buy for my mom.” Anu said with a mouth full of chicken.
    “Where was that?”
    “At the book store, downstairs.”
    “Hmm! So what is the book about?”
    “I don’t know; the cover is just really pretty.” She said and started laughing. Some grains of rice flew out of her mouth in different directions.
    “So…why do you want to buy a book for your mom anyway?”
    “I don’t know, because she likes to read books.”
    “Okay, we’ll check out the book later, after the movie.”
    They sat there for a few more minutes. Dapo listened to her talk about her mom all the while, and how she missed her. Even though he wasn’t used to having long conversations with kids, he found his time with her very refreshing.
    “It’s time.” Anu said and jumped off her seat. “And you don’t have to go with me to the door.” She continued when she saw that Dapo was getting off his seat. “I have the ticket; you can stay and finish your food.”
    “Okay, I will be waiting; I will be right here when you come out.”
    “Okay.” She said and gave him a hug. Dapo watched her run off with the little knapsack she had behind her bouncing up and down.
    He had been through with his meal, but wanted to stay a little while longer. There was a girl sitting adjacent from him, on another table, and he noticed she was looking in his direction. She had dark shades on and Dapo couldn’t tell if she was looking into space or really staring at him.
    He looked in her direction again, and he thought he saw her lips move, but he wasn’t sure she was saying something because of the Ipod earphones in his ears. And just as he was removing the earpiece, he saw her proceeding towards his table, with her tray of food in hand.
    ‘No!!!’ Dapo thought.
    “I was commenting on how beautiful your daughter is.” The girl said. She was standing in front of Dapo now. “I hope you don’t mind me joining you.”
    “Oops! Sorry, I will just take my leave.” The girl said and was turning around.
    “No! No! That’s not what I was implying.” Dapo said and waved his hand for her to take the seat opposite from him. From her voice, he could tell she would be in her late teens or early twenties.
    “What I was trying to say is that the girl you saw with me earlier is not my daughter.”
    “Yeah, she is actually a friend’s child.”
    “Hmm! That’s funny, because you guys are so…I don’t know the word. Whatever, I apologize for being presumptuous.”
    “Apology accepted.” Dapo said and was wondering why the girl came to sit with him. There was a little silence, and she had gone on with her meal. He thought he had no obligation to start up any more conversations, so he just tried to forget she was there.
    “I’m sure you are wondering why I came over?”
    “If I am to be truthful, I can say yes.”
    “I can’t seem to get private time alone when I’m eating in public. People, boys…” She said and paused for a while and then took off the shades she had on. The girl was beautiful and he understood why she would say boys were always bugging her.
    “So I thought, since you are a father with a little kid, I would be safe with you.”
    She said and smiled, showing very fine set off teeth that amplified her beauty.
    “Point of correction, I am not a father; At least not yet.”
    “Or sorry; but you are married, right?”
    “My name is Dupe.” She said.
    “Pleased to meet you; I am Dapo.” They shook hands like they were doing business, but Dapo still felt a bit uneasy. Even though the girl was really young, he felt bad sitting alone with someone of the opposite s-x. He looked up and saw that she was looking at him, like she was expecting him to say something, then she laughed.
    “Why are you laughing?”
    “It’s nothing” She said with a smile on her face. “It is just funny, that’s all.”
    “Well, I don’t get it, but anyway…so did you come to see a movie?”
    “Nope. I actually came here to hang out.”
    “I was meant to meet some friends here, but I guess they stood me up.”
    “Sorry about that.”
    “I hope I’m not being a pest or anything?” She said and smiled.”
    “No, you are not.”
    “So how long before you leave?” She said, and Dapo checked his watch.
    “Till the movie my girl is seeing ends; that’d be in like…an hour.” Dapo said and looked at her taking scoops from an ice cream bowl; she was young, more beautiful than his wife, and very classy. He wondered what his wife would think if she just happened to walk into the restaurant right now.
    “Okay, I got to go.” The girl said and put the frames back on.
    “It was nice talking to you; thanks for the company.” Dapo said and felt awkward as she packed up her things to go. He didn’t know if he should request her number, just to be polite.
    “Say hi to the little girl for me.”
    “I will. I guess we might just run into one another sometime in the future.” Dapo said, from not knowing what to say. She removed her shades again and focused on Dapo. “Trust me; you’d be seeing a lot of me.” She was smiling as she said it, and then she waved before turning around to walk off. Dapo wondered what she meant by the last statement. She must think he was a regular here, and maybe she visited here a lot. He shoved the thought aside and plugged up his earphones.
    Later on, he and Anu picked a book for her mom before living the cinema. She was asleep by the time he dropped her off.

    EPISODE 13

    It was a Saturday morning, exactly one week from when Dapo had taken Anu to the cinema and he was wondering what he would do with his day. Most of his friends were heavy drinkers, and he had been trying to cut down on his drinking since he got married. Just then, Lola walked into the room. He winked at her; she winked like 5 times at him and then sat on his back.
    “Ouch!” Dapo exclaimed. “Do you want to break my back?” She started tickling him playfully. And then he wrestled her until he was on top of her. After a while of struggling, Lola surrendered, and they just stayed still, staring into each other’s eyes until their lips locked. They ended up making love.
    Lola hit the showers some minutes afterwards. Dapo stayed in bed, naked, thinking of how great his life was. He never wanted anything to disrupt what he had right now. He switched on the TV, and a Nigerian movie was on. He wasn’t a big fan, but, once in while he liked seeing the beautiful actresses on screen; plus, his wife couldn’t seem to get enough of them.
    Lola came in from the bath, rubbing water off her body with a pink towel.
    “I think we should pay the Cole’s a visit; Mrs. Cole has been back for 3 days now, and I really want to meet her.”
    “Yeah, that is a good idea.” Dapo said and was about to change the channel when something caught his eye. The girl onscreen looked so familiar; like someone he had gone to school with. But she was too young to have gone to school with him. He pulled at Lola’s towel. “What’s that girl’s name?” He said, pointing the remote at the TV.
    “Don’t tell me you don’t know who that is.” Lola said after taking one quick look at the screen.
    “I guess I do, but I can’t remember right now.”
    Lola threw the towel at Dapo’s face. “That is Blessing Balogun; winner of the 2010 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria contest; actress, model, and I think she also sings.”
    “Hmm! The name still does not ring a bell. I just know I have seen her someplace recently.”
    “She is everywhere; she is the golden child right now.”
    There was another scene from the movie where she was talking to a man in a parking lot, and then she smiled. It hit Dapo immediately.
    “Blessing Dupe Balogun; that’s her full name.” Lola said as she got dressed.
    It finally hit him. He now understood what she meant by the ‘you’ll be seeing a lot of me’ statement. It’s funny how the Universe seems to throw things at you when you are focusing on them. He wanted to tell dupe about their meeting, but he thought it might not come out right. It was not like he was going to run into her again anyway, so there would not really be any use telling dupe, unless he wanted her to feel jealous.
    “What’s on your mind honey?”
    “Nothing.” He said as he sat up in bed. “Maybe we should stay home today; we would see the Cole’s tomorrow.”
    “I was thinking the same thing; I’d probably go and shop for house things today. My mood seems to be swinging in different directions, fast these days.”
    Lola left for the market a few minutes later. Bored in the house alone, Dapo decided to go and see Ayo, his oldest friend he still kept in touch with.
    He hadn’t even driven far when he had a flat tire and had to stop on the side of the road. Dapo’s worries escalated when he found out that the extra tire in the boot had also gone flat. He hadn’t changed tires since buying the car, 6 months ago. He stood by the car for a while, not knowing exactly how to go about his predicament. Then he decided he would change to the extra, since it was in better shape, and manage to drive it to the nearest Vulcanizer.
    Getting the tire removed was hard because it was on the side facing the road. Passer-byes bumped into him while they tried to avoid oncoming vehicles, and he also had to be careful and watch for cars approaching.
    As he was making some progress, he saw a black Hyundai Accent, 2011 model, slow down, like the driver was trying to get a good look at him. ‘Oh no, it’s probably one of my customers.’ He thought to himself, feeling bad.
    The car parked a couple of blocks from his on the other side of the road. When the driver came down and was walking in his direction, he still didn’t know who it was. It was until she had crossed to his side of the road that he knew who it was.
    “Hello. Having problems?” She said with a smile. She had on a white linen mini gown with navy blue pattern at the edges; and white and blue high-heels to match.
    “How are you doing miss…I forgot your name.” he said as he wiped off sweat from his brow. “So why didn’t you tell me who you were?”
    “Well…I liked the fact that someone didn’t know who I was for a change.” She said as she squatted beside Dapo. He made one last turn of the spanner, and the last bolt came off. He nearly fell from the move, and she quickly held him up. Dupe laughed sheepishly as they disentangled.
    “This is so embarrassing; are you sure you really want to be here?” He said as he checked the tire for what had punctured it.
    “It’s okay.” Dupe said and stood there, waiting for his next move.
    “Well, the thing is my extra is not in good shape either, and…”
    “What were you planning on doing?” Dupe asked, looking puzzled. Dapo just stood there, lost for words. “Hmm! You know what; we can take the two tires in my car and find a Vulcanizer” She said, already walking towards her car.
    “Thank you.” Dapo said and listened to her high heels make a rhythmic sound as she walked off.
    She parked her car right behind Dapo’s Camry when she got back. He loaded the two tires into her trunk, and they drove off.
    “You stay around?” He asked.
    “Yes. I stay a couple of streets from here; and you?”
    “No. I was actually in the neighborhood to see a friend.”
    They hadn’t driven long before they found a Mechanic shed.
    “You know, this would probably take a while. I can always catch a bike back to where my car is.” Dapo said as he picked up the tires from the trunk of her car.
    “Are you dismissing me?”
    “No. I was just considering you; I don’t want you to feel guilty…I mean, it’s okay if you want to leave.”
    “Don’t worry, I am in no rush. I couldn’t just leave you here.”
    “Hmm! Okay.” He said and rushed off to get the tires out of her car boot. He said some things to the Vulcanizer before entering back into her car.
    “So how is your daughter?” She asked as he settled in front passenger seat.
    “Sorry? You know first impressions are hard to erase from the memory.”
    “She is doing okay. So how did you know it was me? I mean when you saw me on the side of the road.”
    “Because you are the one person I’ve met in a long while that didn’t know who I was.”
    Dapo laughed a little before speaking. “That’s funny, right? My wife was so surprised that I didn’t know who you were.” The Vulcanizer called Dapo’s attention and he went over to see the progress with the tires. He found out that a nail had been the cause of the puncture. They negotiated price and the man went back to work.
    “So…how is the acting?” Dapo said as an ice breaker.
    “Hmm! Well I’m not really an actor, or actress as the case maybe. I just get cameos in movies from the popularity that I got from modeling.”
    “And from being a former must beautiful girl in Nigeria?” Dapo said and it made her smile.
    “Interesting…You are really an ambitious one”
    “Thank you.”
    “So what do your parents think?”
    “They have always been very liberal people. I stay alone with my brother now; both my parents are in U.K.”
    “I really miss them sometimes; if I didn’t have big dreams like I do, I would probably be there with them.”
    They talked for a while on dreams and achieving them. And on how, sometimes sacrifices have to be made in life to get what you want. Just when Dapo was starting to feel uneasy, the Vulcanizer knocked on the boot of the car to signal that he was through. He got out, and she popped the trunk for him to get the tires back in. She was going through her glove compartment when Dapo was about to re-enter the car, so he had to wait for a while before getting in. Right at that moment, it dawned on him that what he was doing was very dangerous. Having the girl as a friend was really a risk. He’d have to introduce her to Lola very soon, or else, it wouldn’t be a good scene if she found out on her on, he thought to himself. After she got out something from the glove compartment, he got back into the car and she drove off.
    “You know what?”
    “What?” Dapo asked.
    “I’ve been driving for like four years now, and I have never had to change a tire.” She said as she laughed lightly.
    “Really; how old are you?”
    She took a quick look at him before answering. “21.”
    “Are you serious? I thought you were like 18 or something.” He said and she looked at him with a light frown that later became a smile. They were by his car now, and she parked in front of it.
    He got out, got the tires out of her car boot, and rolled them to his car. She followed. He was about to start fixing the tire to his car when he stopped and looked up at her.
    “I’m really grateful for all you have done, I appreciate it. I don’t want to keep you any longer. You probably have to meet a boyfriend somewhere or something.”
    “Don’t have one”
    “A beautiful girl like you, with all the achievements you have made?”
    “Hmm! That is probably the reason why I don’t have one.”
    “I must introduce you to some of my younger cousins.”
    “Very funny, D. But on second thought, I’d like to meet them; that is if they don’t know who I am.”
    “I doubt that; they watch a lot of TV.” He said, and she smiled.
    “I’m really tired of meeting fans; I guess that Is why I had fun talking to you the first time we met.”
    There was silence after a while and she was hovering around Dapo, who was busy fixing the tire. Then she started walking off to her car.
    “Okay, I guess I’d see you around some other time.” She said as she headed to her car.
    “Maybe.” He said and waved at her. She waved back at him and got into her car. He was about to go back to what he was doing when he heard the car door open and she emerged like she had forgotten something.
    “Can I call you sometime?” She said. And her eyes looked everywhere but at Dapo. He stood up, collected her phone and typed his number in it. She dialed the number and cut the line when his phone started to ring.
    “I’d really like to meet your wife someday soon.”
    “Yeah, that’d be good. You have my number, call me.”
    “Okay. It was really nice running into.” She said and Dapo nodded and smiled at her. She got in and Dapo watched her car zoom off before he went back to work.

    EPISODE 14

    Dapo and Lola were seated in church the next day, and Dapo remembered how he used to really like coming to this particular church. But now, it was like the whole congregation was more concerned about what they had on than the pastor’s sermon. They had become so fashion conscious.
    Lola was an interpreter for the Yoruba language section of the church, so they never sat together. He noticed a lady staring at him, and he wondered if what people said about the church was true. He pondered on the thought if it was true that most of the ladies came to church with one intention; to find a life partner. The girl must think he was still single, because he was at the youth section. It was hard for him to break his over 5 year ritual of sitting at this section, and since he never got to sit with his wife during the service, he thought there was no use sitting at the married peoples section.
    The pastor was saying something about the year being a year of transformation. Dapo thought about all the transformation he had gone through in the last couple of months, and he couldn’t agree more with the pastor.
    After the service, he walked off to the car alone. His ritual had always been to sit in the car and listen to some Hip Hop music while waiting for Lola, but today he had decided to sit on the car. The moment he saw the lady approaching the him, he knew he had made a grave mistake by making himself look so available. He felt like getting into the car in a hurry, but that would seem very immature.
    “You’re Dapo, right?” The lady said as she approached. ‘Oh, she even knows my name already.’ Dapo thought.
    “Yes.” Dapo answered with a quizzical look on.
    “I knew I couldn’t be wrong.” The lady said with a smile. She stretched out her hand. “I’m Jane.”
    “It’s nice to meet you.”
    “Don’t bother trying to remember if you know me, you don’t.” She said and laughed lightly as she read the expression on Dapo’s face. “I used to stay across the street from Kike’s house.”
    “Kike Thomas.”
    “Oh! Yeah!” Memories came back in a rush. The image of the last day he had seen Kike was as fresh as ever in his mind now.
    “I think we met once back then…or rather, you saw me one time. You probably wouldn’t remember.” The lady said looking at Dapo, knowing that he was lost in thoughts. “You are married now, right?”
    “It is funny how things always end up; anybody that knew you two back then would have thought you would end up together.”
    “Yeah, but s--t happens.” Dapo answered after getting himself together again. “So…you and Kike used to be friends?” Dapo said, finally giving in to the urge to get some information on his ex-girlfriend’s where-about.
    “Yeah, we were; that is until she travelled and cut off all communications from her friends.” The lady said and looked into space like she was reminiscing on the good old days. “She is back in the country though; I saw her last week.”
    “You actually saw her?” Dapo said as his eyes popped out in shook.
    “Yes. But we couldn’t talk much…she was in her car and I was in mine. I think she made it really big.”
    “Why did you say that?”
    “She was in a real fancy car.”
    “That’s your wife, right?” The lady said, pointing at Lola. Dapo looked behind him and saw Lola approaching them.
    “I guess you weren’t meant to be with Kike after all.”
    “Why did you say that?”
    “Your wife is wonderful. I guess God saves the best for last.”
    “Thank you.”
    “Keep a tight grip on her.” She said with a smile and a goodbye wave.
    Lola winked at Dapo as she approached the car. It was funny, because he would think she would react differently after seeing another lady with her man.
    “Who was that?” Lola asked as she came up to the car.
    “She used to…she used to stay around my area from back in the day.”
    “So why are you looking like…”
    “Your mind is miles away Dapo…what’s up?” Lola said as she got into the car; obviously tired from standing for too long.
    “Nothing.” Dapo shrugged and walked over to the drivers’ side. They had agreed to go see the Cole’s today because Mrs. Cole had specifically called up Lola and ask that they come over. The journey to the house was a very quiet one, as Dapo’s mind started wondering what was up with Kike, and the fact that he could accidentally run into her one of these days. He didn’t even know why he was thinking of running into her; they had no course to see; he was a married man now.
    Lola de-railed his train of thoughts. “I wonder if Anu’s mom would be the receptive type, or just an arrogant rich man’s wife. What do you think?”
    “Come on…give her the benefit of the doubt. I feel, judging the rest of the family, she’d be a great person to meet.”
    “Hmm! We would get to know that pretty soon.”
    Dapo’s thoughts went to his unborn child; he didn’t know if he wanted a boy or a girl. He was just so overjoyed that they were expecting their first child.
    As they drove into the Cole’s mansion, he noticed the whole family was under a small canopy in the garden. The lady that seemed to be Mr. Cole’s wife got up from her chair as Anu ran towards their car. They got out of the car and greeted Anu warmly as they started walking towards the rest of the family.
    As they got closer to the canopy, Dapo’s heartbeat quickened. He remembered what Mr. Cole had said about his wife being a beauty; although he couldn’t see the face yet, because she had shades on, he could only imagine a beautiful face going with the figure he saw in front of him; her dressing was very stylish too.
    The lady took off her shades and Dapo’s heart skipped a beat; he thought he was going to pass out. She looked him straight in the eye and smiled. “I’ve been dying to meet the couple that my husband and kid have grown so fond of.” She extended a hand to Dapo; he shook it. She walked closer to Lola, and held her in a tight embrace. “I feel like I already know you guys.”

    EPISODE 15

    “So how was church today Dapo?” Mr. Cole asked.
    “It was great.” Dapo answered, still trying to recover from the shocker he had just received. He was looking at his ex-girlfriend, who he didn’t even formerly break-up with, so he could actually call her his “lost and found” girlfriend. What he didn’t understand was why she wasn’t even surprised to see him. It was like she was expecting him, or else, she wouldn’t have been as composed as she was.
    “So what can I get you guys?” She said as they took sits under the canopy.
    “I’m good with anything cold, thank you. It gets really hot these days.” Lola said.
    “Yeah, it is the global warming. Sometimes when I am in Florida, it is almost like I am back home; the heat is just as squashing.” Mrs. Cole sat there with a smile on her face as she checked Lola out.
    “So Dapo, how are the Indians treating you?” Mr. Cole asked.
    “Not too bad I guess.”
    “Don’t let them get at you. They can be very tricky people.”
    “I’ll remember that.”
    “So what would you take?” Kike asked Dapo.
    “Hmm! Stout; if it’s available.”
    “Sure, but you’ll have to help me out with a little something.”
    “No problem.”
    “Lola, I hope you don’t mind if I borrow your husband for a little while? There are some things I want to get from the store.”
    “No problem, as long as you bring him back in one piece.” Lola said and laughed.
    “I’ll try my best.” Kike said and walked off, with Dapo tailing behind. Anu ran passed them laughing and a full grown Alsatian dog came after her. Dapo jumped out of the way as the dog ran by and it made Kike laugh.
    As they got into the house, Dapo walked up beside her. “So…do you have any maids in the house?” He asked.
    “Nope; they all went home for the weekend.”
    “Kike, what is this? What is going on here?” Dapo said as he pulled her aside.
    Mrs. Cole’s eyes grew bigger like she was shocked. “How do you mean?”
    “Did you plan all this? You knew I was coming here today; how’s that?” Dapo’s voice had climbed up a notch and Kike was nervously looking around. “What happened to you? Where have you been?”
    Slowly, Mrs. Cole lost her composure, and a worried look came on her face. She brushed Dapo’s hands off her, and walked over to the wall. “I needed to get my life right.” Kike said, trying to avoid eye contact with him.
    “Our life, Kike; I would have been there for you. I tried all my best to contact you.”
    “Please lower your voice and get a grip of yourself. My husband could walk in any minute.”
    “Your husband? How did you end up marrying someone old enough to be your Father?”
    “You’re pathetic; let’s get the drinks and go back out there.”
    “Why what?”
    “Why did you choose now to come back into my life? I’m happily married.”
    “Well, the last time I checked, I’m also happily married.” She opened the refrigerator, got two drinks out, and started heading towards the door.
    “What happened to the baby?” Dapo asked, pulling her back into the house.
    “Hmm! So now you are concerned. You didn’t give a care in the world back then.”
    “Don’t be difficult, I spent half of my most productive years trying to find you. Yeah, I agree I reacted badly when you first told me; that was because I was not thinking straight.”
    “You got that right.” She said and walked out to a back door veranda that had a small refrigerator. She pulled out an ice pack and headed back towards the door.
    “So what happened?” Dapo asked, looking like a desperate kid asking for ice cream.
    “What do you mean what happened; I had the baby. And because of that I couldn’t come back to the country.”
    “So where is he now?”
    “Who said anything about a ‘he’?” They locked eyes for a while and there was an exchange of unspoken words.
    “My God!” Dapo exclaimed as the facts sank in.
    “Let’s get back out there.” She said. Dapo stood dumbfounded as she made her way out the door. “Are you coming or what?”
    He ran up to catch up with her. “Does he know?”
    “I mean does he know I am the father of…does he know I am Anu’s father?”
    As they walked out into the garden, they found out that Lola and Mr. Cole had gone for a walk towards the dog kernel.
    “My husband likes dogs; He just got in a rare breed; a Great Dane from England.” She said as they took their seats. Dapo looked confused as he stared ahead. He looked at her and noticed she hadn’t changed much. She had grown, but the beauty he had fallen for years back was still very evident.
    “I don’t know what to say; you are telling me Anu is my daughter?” Dapo said as he shook his head.
    “Yes; as funny as it may seem to you, she is your daughter.” She said and handed Dapo his drink.
    “Can I go in and see her?”
    “What is wrong with you? Get a grip of yourself.” She said with a frown on her face. “You…you have been spending time with her…it is not like you are going to be seeing her for the first time.”
    “Yes, but I didn’t know she was my daughter then. I really need to see…”
    “Keep quiet. They are on their way back.”
    Dapo slouched in his chair and took two quick gulps of his drink.
    The table was full again, and they got talking. The general conversation was mostly on the state of the country. Dapo did all he could to take his mind off what he just heard and stay in the conversation, but it was a hard task.
    When it was time to go, Kike once again asked for Dapo’s help back in the kitchen.
    “He’s dying.” She blurted out, when they were alone in the kitchen. “He really wanted the girl’s father to be around for her. He really loves her.”
    “He’s dying?”
    “Cancer; the doctor said he hasn’t got much time left.”
    “Wait a minute. Slow down a minute here, this is starting to sound like a Nigerian Movie.”
    “I’m not joking here.” She said as tears rolled down her eyes.
    “I’m sorry.”
    “He was a friend of my uncle’s. We met when Anu was about 9 months.” She said and wiped off the tears from her face. “He had come for the summer from Nigeria. He obviously knew I had a baby because I took Anu everywhere. We became good friends and one day he asked me to marry him.” She looked at Dapo as he looked sorry for what he had put her through. “He must have heard about the cowardice father.”
    “I’m not a coward.” Dapo retorted.
    Kike smiled and laughed lightly “You’re still so charming. Can I…can I hug you.”
    He had her in an embrace before she even finished the sentence. He had been holding back the urge to do so for a while. He held her in his arms as she sobbed and said some things in his ears that weren’t audible. Dapo pulled away when reality dawned on him; the fact that he was married and his wife was right outside waiting for him.
    They walked out and tried to act normal; like nothing had happened. Lola’s eyes were on Dapo; it was obvious she knew something was wrong and she was trying to figure it out.
    The conversation went on for a while, before Dapo announced that they had to leave.

    EPISODE 16

    Dapo woke up in the middle of the night with a headache. He was turning in bed, thinking of all what had been revealed to him in the last couple of hours.
    “What’s the matter?” Lola said as she snuggled up to him in bed.
    “Nothing; I didn’t know you were awake.”
    “You’ve twisting and turning all night; something must be wrong.” She said and rolled over Dapo, to get to the other side of the bed. “Did you know Mrs. Cole in the past?” The question hit Dapo like a bolt of lightning, but he tried his best to hide it. She was going to have to hear about it sooner or later, but he wasn’t ready to tell her yet. “You know her, right?” Lola kept at it.
    “Yes. I knew her.”
    “Who was she to you?” Lola asked, and just then there was a knock at the door. Dapo checked his watch. It was 5:00a.m; he didn’t know why anybody would be knocking on their door this early. Then a loud voice came with the next series of knocks. “Good morning o!” The voice was loud and shaky and Lola and Dapo jumped off the bed.
    “What’s the matter?” Dapo asked his neighbor, Mrs. Nwaneri as he opened the door to find her close to tears.
    “It is Florence; she’s really sick and my husband is not around.” She said as she broke down in tears. Lola had thrown on shorts and a t-shirt as she came up to the door.
    “I don’t know if you can help us to the hospital?” The woman said, still with a very shaky voice. Lola quickly moved up beside her, holding her shoulder, trying to calm her down.
    “Just give me a minute.” Dapo said and disappeared back into the house.
    He was out within a minute with the car keys and a shirt hanging around his neck. Lola had already followed Mrs. Nwaneri’s back to her flat to see how her daughter was doing. He got to the apartment and saw them trying to make Florence walk, as she struggled to even stand upright. He walked up to them and carried her with one swift movement and headed out.
    The hospital was two streets away, and he was there in less than 5 minutes. Lola had wanted to come along, but he convinced her to stay and inform anybody that cared to know on their where-about.
    The nurses took charge as he carried the girl into the hospital, and he had to do the work of re-assuring the mom that the daughter would be alright.
    Dapo left the hospital when everything was under control and his help was no longer needed. The lady thanked him and said some prayers.
    He looked in the rear view mirror as he got back into his car; he needed a shave badly, but that would have to wait. There were some questions he needed answers too. He sparked up the car, and drove off.
    He wondered what would be going through Lola’s mind after the revelation she had just heard. And the fact that he left her hanging worsened the case. He had spoken to her after he got to the hospital and he could hear it in her voice that she wanted to ask him some more questions, but couldn’t do so because of the sick girl.
    “Good morning sir.” The maid greeted him as he came out of the car.
    “Good morning. Do you know if madam is awake?”
    “I’ll go and check sir.” As she said it, Kike emerged from the front door. “Good morning ma.” The maid greeted Kike and stopped dead in her tracks like she was shocked to see her madam.
    “Kate, good morning; Go and check on the dogs, I heard them barking this morning.”
    The maid headed towards the garden and Kike walked up to meet Dapo. “You are here early; business with my husband?” She asked as she stood inches from him, face to face.
    “I came for answers. I want to hear the whole story.”
    “I thought I told you that yesterday.” She said and walked off from where he was standing. “Have you been inside the new 2012 BENZ S 600? You need to check it out.”
    “Whatever.” Dapo said and followed her reluctantly. They got into the car and she started the engine and let the a/c cool the car
    “I have to get some things from the store; we’ll talk on the way there.” She said and steered the car towards the gate.
    “So did you guys plan this whole thing?”
    “How do you mean?”
    “How I met your husband. I think I can start with that. Did he orchestrate the meeting?”
    “He knew about you, but the incidence at the gas station was a coincidence.”
    “So you knew about that?”
    “He tells me everything. He is a very understanding person.”
    “So…what exactly do you want me to do now? You do know I’m married, right?”
    “Are you saying if you weren’t married you would consider letting me back into your life.”
    “I love my wife; I just feel…I feel I owe you. Anu is my responsibility.” Tears rolled down her eyes as he spoke, but she wasn’t sobbing or anything, they just rolled down freely. “You know I tried my best. You disappeared with no trace…I just got married last year, after about 9 years waiting for you to show up.”
    “You don’t have to defend yourself.”
    “I’m not trying to; I just want you to be reasonable.”
    She took a quick side glance at him and smiled. “You know…I was always checking on you. I never knew you got married until lately.”
    “It was a quiet one.”
    “And she’s pregnant, right?”
    “Yes, four months in.”
    “That’s good news.” Kike said and put up a smile.
    They didn’t talk much while in the store. Dapo eventually left her side and did a little shopping of his own. He was at the liquor section when he saw Dupe with two other girls. “Wow! Are you meant to be my guardian angel or what?” She said as she approached Dapo. “And why do you look like you just got out of bed?” She was inches away from him now, fidgeting, not knowing whether to shake him or hug him. He gave her a quick hug.
    “Well…I did just get out of bed.”
    “D, meet my friends, Nneka and Pat” The two shook Dapo and wondered off. “So what’s up? I saw you with a lady earlier; was that your wife?”
    “Are you serious? You know, sometimes I think you are lying to me. First, the girl that looks so much like you, that you claim isn’t your daughter. Then this lady…this must be your friend’s wife or something?”
    “There is something not right though. You are a very mysterious guy, but you look like a good person, so I would take your word for it.” She said, looking up at Dapo like he was Santa Claus and he was about to give her a gift.
    Kike appeared out of nowhere with a bag of groceries in hand. “I’m done; let’s go.” She said to Dapo and she walked off, ignoring Dupe.
    Dapo turned and faced Dupe. “I got to go. Umm…I’ll call you.” He had a little smile on his face that was meant to be an apology for Kike’s bad behavior. He ran up to catch up with his estranged ex-girlfriend.
    “What was that all about?”
    “So you are keeping girlfriends now, right?” Kike said with fire in her eyes.
    “You are cheating on your wife?”
    “She’s just my friend; is that why you acted so rudely towards her?”
    “Why are you taking her side?”
    “Because she is just a little girl and you are making such…”
    “Point of correction, that chic is not a little girl.”
    “Okay, let’s change the subject.”
    “Fine, let’s talk about how you abandoned your child.” She said and Dapo pulled her back in anger.
    “Don’t you ever say that again.”
    “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” She said and started sobbing right there in front of the store. “I’m sorry; I’m just dealing with a lot right now.”
    Dapo held her by the shoulder and walked her to the car. They sat in silence for a while.
    “So how can we fix this?” Dapo broke the silence.
    “I don’t know.”
    “You said your husband wanted me to take care of Anu?”
    “Yes, he has always been a considerate person.”
    “So what did he want for you?” Dapo didn’t get an answer from her. “Listen, it is hard enough for me to find a way to tell my wife about Anu, please don’t make it any harder.”
    “I’ll probably travel back to America; I’ll be out of the way. Anu can be spending a lot of time with you.
    “How will she understand that I’m her real father?”
    “I don’t know; she at least already likes you, so that wouldn’t be too much a problem.”
    They drove back into the Cole’s mansion and stayed in the car for a while. Both of them were obviously busying away on thoughts about what would happen next.
    “Would it be okay if I called you?” Kike said.
    “Let’s not make this any more complicated than it already is; I come here regularly, what would you want to be calling me for?” He thought he was a little harsh on her, but he felt that was the best way to the deal with the matter. They got out of the car, and said goodbyes.

    EPISODE 17

    It was a Saturday, December 22, three days to Christmas; Dapo was at home, trying to clean up the house. He had been avoiding telling Lola about the whole thing for days now. He was cleaning the inside of the car when she came and sat beside him.
    “Dapo, what’s up?”
    “Nothing much.”
    “You know what I’m talking about.” She said and moved closer to him.
    He kept silent for a while not knowing what to say. He guessed he had come to the end of the road, and he couldn’t keep her in the dark any longer. He had to tell her.
    “Let’s go inside.” They walked sluggishly into the house. Lola got a yogurt drink out the fridge and Dapo declined her offer for one.
    “Mrs. Cole and I…we dated back in the days.” Lola was curled up on the couch right next to him now, and he was sure she could feel the vibration of the couch which was caused by his heart beat.
    “I’m not dumb; I already figured that part out. I just want to know if there is going to be any problem in the present…I mean with us right now.”
    “Okay. I wouldn’t say…”
    “Dapo, let me re-phrase; is there anything Mrs. Cole can do now, or her presence around can cause, that would do us any harm?”
    “Lola…it is a long story.”
    “I have all the time in the world.”
    “I really don’t know where to start.”
    “Start from the very beginning and please don’t leave out anything. Remember that I’m your wife; for better for worse.”
    Dapo told her every detail of the story, but left out the part about Anu being his biological daughter. Lola looked down and played with the bottle in her hand al the while.
    “So what happened to the baby?” She asked when he got to the end of the story.
    “I don’t know how to tell you…”
    “Just give it to me straight.”
    “She had the child, but she never contacted me. Lola…the child…that child is Anu.”
    The truth sank in, and it was like all the color had been drained from Lola’s face. Dapo almost couldn’t recognize his wife again. Without saying a word, she walked out of the room. He didn’t make any attempt to follow her; all the energy in him was gone.
    After lying in one spot for about two hours; watching his wife go and come into the room more than a dozen times in silence, he got up and went out to the living room. He saw her standing by the curtain and walked over to meet her. As he embraced her from behind, she burst into tears. All the 3 years he had known her, he had never seen her cry before, and it hurt him that he had to be the cause of it.
    He lifted her off the ground, after she had fallen asleep on his shoulder, and carried her to the bedroom. All of a sudden, he realized he was hungry and went off to the kitchen. There was a pot of spaghetti that was still warm and he took a bowl full.
    He was half way through it when his phone rang; it was Mr. Cole.
    “Good day M.D.” That was the way he usually referred to Mr. Cole.
    “Can you come over; I really need to talk to you.”
    “You mean right now?”
    “If you are not too busy, it is important.”
    “I’ll be expecting you.”
    He got to the Cole’s mansion about an hour after they had spoken on the phone. The gardener was trimming the flowers, and the other parts of the garden had some Christmas decorations. Kate, the maid appeared and ushered Dapo into the living room. He saw Mr. Cole with a TV remote control in hand flipping through cable channels.
    “Am I interrupting?” Dapo asked and Mr. Cole looked up and smiled.
    “I knew I could count on you.” He said and the two men shook hands. “So how is Lola?”
    “She’s fine.”
    “I really wouldn’t want to waste your time, so I would get straight to the point.” The man said and took a deep breath before continuing. “We just made up our minds to spend the Christmas in America; we are living tomorrow.”
    “Yes. Wow!”
    “Well…You guys would have fun.”
    “I hope so. So…the thing is I haven’t talked about this whole thing with my wife and you, and I wouldn’t have a nice time if it was hanging on my shoulder.”
    “Another place, another time, I’d still like to have known you; so it is funny that we had to get to know each other through this predicament.”
    “Maybe it is a blessing in disguise.”
    “Nicely said; thanks for putting it that way.” Mr. Cole said and looked into space for a while.
    There was a little silence, then he continued. “If I can fool everybody, I can’t fool myself. I’m dying; I feel it every day. I feel death coming closer.” There was silence again. “Whatever happens, take care of Anu.”
    “I will do that.”
    “I can’t ask too much; I really don’t know what to say on Kike’s case, but please keep an eye on her for me.”
    “I’ll try.”
    “How does Lola feel about the situation?”
    “To be straight with you, she is broken hearted.”
    “I understand why she would feel that way.” After that being said, he got up from the couch “Yep! I got to go; I don’t want this to get any more emotional than it already is. I have a meeting in about an hour, thanks for coming again.” He said and the two men shook hands.
    “No problem.”
    “Kike and Anu went out shopping, they would have kept you company.”
    “Say hi to Lola for me.”
    “I will.”
    He drove out of the house behind Mr. Cole’s Mercedes Benz S 600, and they took different turns at the end of the street.
    Lola was awake when he got back; he met her watching cartoons. He held her from behind. “Are you okay?”
    “Yeah, I’m fine. Where have you been?” She said, turning her head to get a better look at him.
    “I had to go to the Cole’s” Her disposition changed as he completed the sentence. It was now like a nightmare anytime Lola heard the Cole’s name mentioned around her.
    “How are they?” She said, after about a minutes of silence.
    “They are fine. I actually went to see Mr. Cole. The whole family made a late decision to travel to America for the remaining part of the holidays.”
    “Yeah, and he thought we should know.”
    “Hmm! Good for them.”
    Dapo sat beside her on the edge of the couch. “Lola, I need you to walk with me through the whole nine yard on this one.”
    “Okay.” She said, but there was no sound of emotions in her voice. It was more like she said it because she knew that was what he wanted to hear, but never really meaning it.
    “Okay. Okay.” She said with a forced smile on her face
    “So how is junior doing?” He asked as he rubbed her belly.
    “Why are you concluding that it is going to be a boy?”
    “Am I concluding? I don’t know…I’m just so excited.”
    “Me too.”
    They stayed indoors throughout the day, and talked very little of the cloud that come over their house-hold in the last couple of days.

    EPISODE 18

    January eleven, 2012 would be a day that Dapo wouldn’t forget in a hurry. He was just recovering from all the festivities of the yuletide season. Lola had been cold since he broke the news to her, even though she tried her best to act otherwise. He knew the whole thing still disturbed her, and he was trying to deal with it, but he didn’t expect what happened next.
    That morning he was awoken by Kike’s phone call, only to be told that Mr. Cole had passed on. As Kike said, the man had died in his sleep the night before, and she was already making arrangements on how to get his body back into the country. She cried all through the phone conversation, and he had to say re-assuring words to make her feel better.
    Dapo sat on the couch, feeling really restless. Lola had gone over to her parents’ house to spend the weekend, saying she had to make up for not spending Christmas with them. He felt alone and troubled, not knowing what to do with the day. And then his phone vibrated on the dining table; he ran over to stop it from sliding off. The caller ID showed that it was Dupe. It took a while before his brain could re-collect who Dupe was.
    “Hello?” Dapo said into the receiver.
    “Hey! How’s the day going? I just realized I hadn’t called you since I got your number.”
    “Happy New Year!”
    “Why do you sound so…is something the matter?”
    “Are you sure?”
    “How’s your wife? I was thinking you would introduce me to her soon. I’d really love to meet her.” She said and when Dapo didn’t say anything back, and she continued. “And I’d really love to meet your little girl too…your friend’s daughter, I mean.”
    “Okay. Can I see you?” Dapo didn’t know when the words came out of his mouth.
    “Great…I’m bored to death. And I can do with a little home cooked meal; some Amala and Ewedu soup, that I am hopping your wife would cook.” They both laughed at that.
    “Very funny.”
    “I’m just kidding.”
    “Anyway, my wife is not home right now and I just want to get your opinion on a matter that’s bothering me. So where are you?”
    “Umm! I’m at Sweet Sensation; the one on Opebi road. I’ve actually been here for about an hour now, waiting on my publisher.”
    “Okay, I’ll be there in like 30 minutes.”
    “Alright. I’ll be expecting you.”
    Dapo threw the phone on the couch and went off to shower. He was all dressed up in less than 15 minutes, and ready to go. He had three missed calls on his phone when he picked it up from where he had left it. All the calls were from Lola. He dialed her number.
    “What’s up honey?”
    “I’m doing well.”
    “Where were you?”
    “I was in the bath.”
    “Mum and Dad begged me to go with them to Abeokuta for the weekend; they have a friend that is celebrating her 60th birthday. I just wanted you to know.”
    “Okay, make sure you have fun.”
    “Dapo…I love you.” She said in a very low tone.
    “I love you too.” He said and he couldn’t hold back the tears that flowed down his face. The line got disconnected after that but he still held it to his ear for a while longer.
    On his way out of the house, he ran into Florence, the kid he had taken to the hospital the other day. A very shy kid she was; so shy she kept her face down as she said “Thank You” to Dapo. He replied her and asked about her health. She said she was feeling really better now.
    Traffic was light, probably because a lot of people usually travelled to their villages for the Christmas holiday. Dapo got to his destination within 10 minutes. He saw her as he walked into the building. She was talking to a man that was dressed in black suit that looked too cheap for someone she should be doing business with. She smiled as she looked up and saw him and then whispered something to the man before walking up to meet Dapo.
    “Hey! That was quick.” She said, as she gave him a hug. “I didn’t know the guy would still make it, I’ll be done in…” She said and looked at her wristwatch. “…like half an hour.”
    “Okay. I’ll just be right there.” Dapo said, pointing at one end of the eatery. Dupe walked back to her table and he went off to get something to eat.
    His mind wondered off to Mr Cole as he nibbled on his snack. He knew he owed it to the man, but he didn’t want to take up any responsibilities that would affect his marriage. He kept imagining different scenarios; playing them out in his head, as to how he thought the whole situation would turn out. Minutes went by and it felt like seconds, till dupe walked up to his table and brought him back to earth.
    “Sorry for taking so long.”
    “No problem.”
    “So what’s up?”
    “Nothing much.”
    “Helllooo! You said you wanted to get my opinion on something.” Dupe’s eyes looked comical as they bulged out and it made Dapo laugh.
    “Did I say that? If I did, I can’t remember.” Dapo said.
    “You’re trying to be funny, right?” She said and smiled; Dapo smiled back but didn’t say anything. She didn’t say anything either, and there was a long silence at the table. Dupe started playing with the crown c--k that was on the table. After a couple of minutes had gone by, Dapo broke the silence.
    “I…I don’t know where to start.”
    “Start form anywhere…anywhere you feel comfortable starting from.” Dupe said and tried to look as serious as possible; because she was sure it must really be a serious case for him to find it hard to explain.
    “I had a girlfriend a couple of years ago; about 8 or 9 years ago…can’t really place it.”
    “And she popped back into my life recently.”
    “So, what exactly is the problem? Are you still in love with her?”
    “That’s not the problem. The problem we had back then was a pregnancy.”
    “Wow! Let me guess, she’s back with the kid.” Dupe said, with the look of a little girl who was being told a bedtime story. Dapo just smiled at her guess. And when it seemed Dapo’s silence was killing the pace in which she wanted the story to flow, she decided to keep filling in the blanks. “So she’s back with the kid? Did you know she had the kid all those years you lost contact?”
    “No. I never heard anything from her until like three weeks ago.”
    “Hmm! Is she married?”
    “So what exactly does she want?” Dupe enquired.
    “That is exactly where it gets complicated.” Dapo said
    “Complicated? Wait, was she the one I saw you with at the mall the other day?”
    Dapo took a deep breath before answering. “Yes.”
    “Hmm! It really is complicated.”
    “Why would you say that?” He said and sat up from his former slouching position.
    “I’m a girl, I can tell you things from a female angle, and the way I see it, she still wants you.”
    “That’s not the complicated part.”
    “You’re not following me; I haven’t heard all your story, but I can tell you the only problem you would have would be with the lady.”
    Dapo smiled, amused by her assumptions. “The kid…the kid you saw me with at the cinema the other day…”
    “The kid? Oh! The kid…your friend’s kid…what’s up with her?”
    “That’s our kid. That is the child she had for me.”
    “Hmm! Now I get it. So why did you lie to me?”
    “I never lied to you.”
    “You lied. You told me she was a friend’s kid, remember?”
    “That was what I thought back then.”
    “Back-up a little; now your story is getting complicated.” Dapo laughed, more to ease the stress than at what she said.
    “She wasn’t around when I met the husband, and I didn’t know she was the kid’s mother.”
    “What sort of a coincidence is that?”
    “Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence.”
    “Hmm!” Dupe looked puzzled, and was rubbing her chin, and then her face lit up. “About the kid…I knew I couldn’t be wrong when I saw you with her. From the first look, I knew she was yours.”
    “Well…even if I had thought she looked a little like me, how in the world would I have thought she belonged to me.”
    “Well, that’s a point.”
    “So, that’s my story. I really don’t know what to do right now.” He said and went back to his slouching posture on the chair.
    “How does your wife feel about the whole situation?”
    “Down; she said she would stick by me, but she has been acting funny lately.”
    “Well, you can’t blame her. Maybe she needs time.”
    “I guess so.”
    “So what exactly does the other lady want?” Dapo was quiet for a while, like He was thinking of what Kike really wanted.
    “I think I should add that her husband just died.”
    “And now, she is heartbroken.”
    “Hmm! I wouldn’t count on that. But lets’ leave that for now, what do you want?”
    “Well…what she wants is for the kid to know the father.”
    “And probably spend her holidays with us.”
    “I don’t think that should be a problem. But I think you need to draw the line.”
    “How do you mean?”
    “As I said earlier, the chic still digs you. And a girl in love can do anything to get who she wants.”
    “She wouldn’t be around much; must of her businesses are in the states.”
    “Well, it better be like that if you don’t want more trouble.”
    “It won’t get to that.”
    “My advice is that you take the kid; take care of Her. Give her all your love, she’s a sweet kid, and your wife would understand, but don’t for one second think of having anything to do with the mother again.”
    “Thanks.” Dapo said and smiled at her last sentence. “I’m glad you could see me. I’m feeling better already.”

    EPISODE 19

    After a little chit chat on other subjects, they decided to leave the eatery. On the way to her car, after they had said the goodbyes, Dupe turned around and walked back towards Dapo. He was just about getting into his car when she got to him. “You know what? Maybe I’ll drive behind you to know where you live, since we stay in the same neighborhood.”
    “No problem. So where is your car? I don’t see it anywhere.” She just raised her eye brows and walked off.
    “Just drive out and I’ll be behind you.” She said.
    He drove out his Camry and parked on the side of the road, waiting for her. He saw through the rear view mirror as she got into a silver colored Range Rover. She flashed her headlights at him when she got behind his car; signaling that she was ready.
    They drove at a low speed, even though there was little traffic on the road. His mind kept going back to what his life had turned into, and he was more or less driving on auto-pilot. He sped up after a while, when Dupe flashed her head lights at him again, this time trying to tell him to move faster, as they had been causing a whole lot of cars behind them to hunk their horns.
    His mind came back to the present, and he looked into his rear-view mirror again and wondered how the girl had enough money to buy a Range Rover. ‘Hmm! No wonder none of her peers wanted to date her.’ He thought.
    He parked right in front of the gate when they got to his house, and she drove pass him, signaling to him through wound up glass that she was driving down the street to make a turn. She came around and parked right behind him. He got out from his car and walked over to hers.
    “So that’s my apartment; the first flat downstairs.” Dapo said, pointing in the direction of his yellow colored building.
    “Nice ride, by the way.”
    “Thank you.” She said, sounding a bit embarrassed. “So…I wish your wife was around so I could go in; and probably make her cook for me.” Dapo got a good look at the ride, and confirmed it was a Land Rover 3 and not a Range Rover. He looked up, and remembered her saying something; he reversed his memory, and got what she said.
    “Are you that hungry? I can fix you something.”
    “You cook?”
    “I can make you Amala and Ewedu soup in a flash.”
    “You’re kidding, right?” She said and laughed.
    “Yeah, I’m kidding.” He said and laughed lightly. “But I know where you can get freshly prepared and hygienic Amala and Ewedu soup.”
    “The place is very nice; it’s just around the corner. But you would have to let me drive.” Dapo said and it made Dupe laugh.
    “I have a feeling you’ve developed feelings for my new car.”
    “You guessed right.”
    “Of course you can drive it, but you know I don’t like public places; I might be recognized.” She said and Dapo looked at what she was wearing; jeans; a white t-shirt concealed by a leather jacket and converse snickers. He asked her to give him a second and he disappeared into his house. He re-emerged with a Yankee cap in hand.
    “Wear this; it would cover your face.”
    “Very funny.” She said and laughed.
    “Seriously; just put it real low, like this.” He said as he demonstrated what he meant with the cap on his own head.
    “It would mess up my hair.”
    “Come on…why are you being difficult? It wouldn’t do that much damage.”
    She kept quiet for a while, like she was considering the offer, then she collected the cap from Dapo and tried it on. “That’s my girl.” He said and it made her smile.
    She got out of the car and walked over to the passenger’s side. He had a grin on his face as he got into the car. It was like he left all his worries outside on the streets, and the moment he stepped into the car, he was a new man. He didn’t even care what the nosey neighbors would say about him having a female visitor while his wife was out of town. He would definitely have to introduce her to Lola sooner than later.
    “Are you going to drive it or what?” Dupe asked, staring at Dapo as he was trying to get accustomed to all the buttons that were all over the dashboard.
    “Sorry, it’s like an airplane’s cockpit in here.” He said and they both laughed.
    He started the car and drove off. He felt really good driving the SUV, and he still couldn’t believe that the girl actually owned it. He must have underestimated her capabilities. He remembered what Kike said in the shopping mall ‘Dapo, that aint no little girl.’ He was thinking maybe Kike was right after all.
    “So how come your wife isn’t home?” She asked him as she reached into the glove compartment for something.
    “She went to spend some time with her parents.”
    “She left you all alone? I think you need to tackle that issue…” She was saying and Dapo caught her off by raising a hand.
    “I don’t want to remember any of that for now.”
    “Okay.” She said and slipped in the “Tuface” CD she had gotten from the glove compartment. “This feels funny.”
    “Me being on this side of the car; I am usually the one driving.”
    “You’re not comfortable?”
    “No! No! It’s just that I can’t remember being on this side of the car…it just feels weird, that’s all.”
    “You know…like you have to be in another person’s car to be on this side.” She said and noticed that Dapo wasn’t paying any attention to what she was saying. The newer the car, the more complex it is. Dapo was trying to get used to all the car functions. “Or…you have to give your friend the car to drive to be at the passenger’s side, and I don’t think I have any friends.”
    “You don’t have any friends? You really need…” Dapo stopped himself from saying what would have been a bit offensive. “What about the people you said you were waiting for at the cinema the other day?”
    “I lied.”
    “You lied? You just met me and you were already lying?”
    “I didn’t want to look like a looser. I didn’t want to look like I was all by myself.”
    Who says money solves all problems? I believe ‘more money more problems’, Dapo thought. “Trust me, you’re not a loser.” Dapo said as he came to a halt on a street that had a lot of cars parked on both sides of the road.
    As dupe was getting out of the car, a butterfly flew in her face, and she tried to wave it off and the face cap got accidentally knocked off her head. She quickly picked it up and put it back in place. She looked around as Dapo got to her side, and it seemed the people looking in their direction were more interested in the car than them.
    Dupe and Dapo had a local meal of Amala and Ewedu soup. They didn’t talk at all during the meal, and anybody that didn’t know better wouldn’t have guessed that they came together.
    They spent about 20 minutes at the local food joint, and they were back in the car.
    “Wow! That’s the best meal I have had in a long while.” She said and threw the face cap at the back seat. Realizing she wasn’t the owner, she stretched back and got it and placed it on Dapo’s head. He pulled it down before talking.
    “I’m happy you feel it was good.” Dapo’s phone started to ring and it startled him. It was almost like if he picked it up, the person would know what he was doing. He picked up, and the conversation lasted for about a minute. “I’m sorry; I got to go see one of my clients.” He said to Dupe after getting off the phone.
    Dupe took a quick look at her wrist watch before saying “This late?”
    “What do you do anyway?”
    “That’s a long story; definitely not for today.” He said and switched off the engine. He focused like he was thinking. “I’ll just take a cab from here.” He said and was getting out of the car. She pulled him back by the arm.
    “Are you trying to set me up? I don’t know my way around this neighborhood.” She said and smiled. “I’m just kidding, but I can drop you off if you want me to.”
    “We are meant to meet at The Paradise; it is just around the corner.”
    “The paradise? That’s a bar, right?”
    “Yeah, it is not like a formal meeting. We just want to have a discussion over a couple of bottles.”
    “That sounds like fun; can I come?”
    “Very funny; and I thought you didn’t like public places?”
    “Well, I’ll just wear this.” She said as she took the cap off Dapo’s head and wore it on hers’. Dapo got out the car and walked over to the passenger’s side.
    “You can drop me off, and then call it a day.” He said, handing her the car keys.
    “Please, let me stay. I won’t intrude, I promise.” She said and came down from the car. She wasn’t wearing high hills today and Dapo’s 6ft2 frame towered over her. He looked at her, begging him, and she looked so much like a kid.
    “Why don’t you go home; go and cook for your brother or something.”
    The expression on her face changed, and Dapo knew he had struck a nerve. He just didn’t want her around longer than she had already stayed; he was beginning to feel guilty. “I’m just thinking you would get bored.”
    “Please let me stay, I won’t find it boring. I will chat with my friends on my Black Berry.”
    “Friends? I thought you said you didn’t have friends.” Dapo said.
    She smiled before saying. “Okay, you caught me there; I guess I will just update my fans on twitter or something.” He looked at her, and didn’t know what to say. “My brother travelled to the states for the holidays, and I am all alone at home.”
    “Okay. You can stay.” He said and she raised her eyebrows twice at him, before walking over to the driver’s seat.
    “You know the directions?”
    “Yeah, I think I know that place. I have been there a couple of times.”
    Celebrities always lived the wild life, so whatever time they left the bar wouldn’t be new to her, he thought to himself.
    The inside of the bar was dark with a little illumination from lights on a stage. A local band was playing the tunes of an old Bob Marley song, “No Woman No Cry” as they walked in.
    The man Dapo came to see stood up to greet them even though he looked like he could father them both. Dapo introduced dupe as his friend, and the man paid little attention to her after the initial greeting. He had a half empty bottle of beer in front of him, and he placed an order when Dapo and Dupe were making theirs.
    Dupe crossed her arms to warm herself; the room temperature was really cold, sort of like the air conditioner was set for when the bar housed its capacity of customers, and right now, there were just few people in the bar.
    An hour had gone by and the man had not brought her into any conversation; she understood what Dapo was talking about. He probably couldn’t remember she was beside him, as he was on his third bottle of Guinness stout. She just focused on the band, determined not to get bored. She watched as the lead singer of the band threw his dread-lock here and there; he had switched from mellow reggae to raggae.
    Another thirty minutes passed before it looked like Dapo was rounding up, and getting ready to live.
    “You guys should stay. The night is young and the music is good.”
    “I think…” Dapo was saying then he leaned over to where Dupe was and she nodded her head before he even asked. Dapo walked the man to the door and Dupe felt a relief. He returned after about 5 minutes and he turned his seat around to face Hers’.
    “I think we should get chicken or Suya, I’m hungry again.”
    “That’s a good idea.” She replied and Dapo waved the closest waiter over to their table. Another round of drinks came in a flash, but the fried chicken came after about 20 minutes.

    EPISODE 20

    Dapo woke up with a slight head ache. He had that feeling he normally had when he over drank and woke up afterwards trying to remember the last couple of things that happened before he passed out. He jumped up from where he was all of a sudden when he discovered he wasn’t on his bed. There was a pink Apple laptop on a table that faced the bed he was on, and it had a twitter page opened. Two large size panda bears were by the head of the bed, and he guessed he must have been using one of them as a pillow as he saw a pillow on the flow. He noticed he didn’t have a shirt on, and when he looked below, he noticed he had nothing on there too; it was only the sheets that covered his nakedness. “S--t!” He exclaimed under his breath as he rubbed his forehead.
    He wrapped the bed sheet properly around his waist, and just as he was about to get up from the bed, his phone started to ring. He looked around, but didn’t find any of his clothing’s. Then he noticed the ringing was coming from under the bed. When he bent to look, he saw his jeans trousers and boxers short under the bed. He pulled the phone out of the pocket before it stopped ringing.
    “Thank God! I thought something had happened to you. I have been calling you since yesterday.” Lola said.
    “Oh!” Dapo said, and tried to buy himself some time.
    “Dapo, you are sounding funny. Are you okay?”
    “Yea… I just have a slight headache.” He said as the door to the room opened, and Dupe walked in with a white towel wrapped around her body, and a pink one wrapped around her head.
    “So, where did you leave your phone? I was really worried.”
    “I just got it out of the car; I was really tired after I got back from a meeting I had yesterday.” He said, and he thought at least he didn’t lie about that. He kept his eyes on Dupe for any sign of what had happened last night.
    “Okay; I got to go, we just stopped at a Petrol station. We are on our way back to Lagos.”
    “Bye! See you in a bit.”
    “Hey!” Dapo exclaimed. Dupe was just about to remove the towel that covered her body, and he didn’t know when he shouted.
    “Dapo! What’s the matter?” Lola shouted into the receiver.
    “Sorry…I think a soldier ant just bit me.” He said, and Dupe tightened the knot of the towel before turning around and giggling.
    Lola also laughed at the other end of the receiver. “Dapo, please don’t kill me. See you in a bit. Love you!”
    “I love you too.” After He got off the phone, only the sound of Dupe applying cream on her body was audible. The silence was unbearable for Dapo after a while, and he broke the ice. “So…yesterday, we…” He couldn’t complete it, but Dupe was already nodding her head at him. He bowed his head in shame. “How? Why? I mean, how did it happen?”
    Dupe had turned her chair around to face him now. “What do you mean how?” She said with a little frown on her face. “You came unto me, and I couldn’t resist you. Don’t tell me you can’t remember?” She said, with a puzzled look on her face.
    “This wasn’t meant to happen; I am in a lot of s--t already.” Dapo said, running his hands through his nappy hair as he leaned his back on the wall from where he sat on the bed.
    “Don’t beat yourself up like that; it’s not like I am going to tell your wife.”
    “You don’t get it; this wasn’t meant to get this far, I should have…I should have…”
    “Wait! Don’t complete that.” She said with her hand in the air and a stern look on. Then the look turned into a smile. “And cut!” She said, and laughed. “I swear; you are a natural.” Dapo looked at her puzzled. “I was playing around; nothing happened last night. Come on! I’m not that cheap.” She sad and laughed. Dapo had his head bowed now, laughing lightly. Then he looked up.
    “This s--t isn’t funny at all. But, you got me men! You got me.” He said, and laughed till phlegm flew out his nose; an evidence that he was on the verge of breaking into a tears before Dupe told him the truth. But then he looked at her with a puzzled look. “What happened then?”
    “You got drunk and I couldn’t allow you go home like that.” She said, and headed towards a wardrobe by the bed Dapo was sitting on. She pulled out a black Caftan.
    “I mean, why am I naked?”
    “Oh!” She exclaimed and laughed a little as she threw the Caftan over her head. It flowed to her ankles and she wiggled till the towel fell to the floor from beneath the dress. “Don’t get too comfy now; you did try to sleep with me last night, but you were too drunk.”
    “Aww!” Dapo hit himself in the face with his palm. Dupe laughed a little more. “It ain’t funny. Why do you keep laughing?”
    “I don’t know, maybe because it was just funny seeing you act like that. One minute you were in control, and the next minute you were no longer making sense.”
    Dapo looked at her standing in front of him and a thought crossed his mind. “And why are you so comfortable around me.” He said. “I mean, you are so comfortable changing around me.” He said and pointed at the towel on the floor.
    “Sorry about that, sometimes I lose myself and think I am on a movie set or something.” She said and walked to her dressing table.
    “Weren’t you scared? I mean, weren’t you scared I would force you to…”
    “No, you were too drunk.
    “S--t!” Dapo exclaimed “Lola said she was at Sagamu. She should almost be in Lagos by now.” Dapo sand jumped off the bed. “Where is my shirt?”
    “It’s in the parlor…downstairs.” She said as Dapo ran into her bathroom with his jeans and boxers shorts in hand. He re-emerged seconds later, and ran out the room. “Relax!” Dupe said and laughed a little.
    She offered to drop him off, but he declined, saying he would rather take a cab. They said their goodbyes, with Dupe in-between laughs all the while.

    EPISODE 21

    After Dapo told Lola about the death of Mr Cole, he saw genuine tears roll down her eyes. He wasn’t sure if it was 100% because the man was dead, or how the man’s death would affect things with him and Mrs. Cole.
    He had waited till the next day after she got back from her holidays, so he wouldn’t spoil her mood. Now, she just wondered around the house; going from one room to the other with no real aim.
    Kike had called Dapo to keep him updated on things; the body would be flown in from the states in a couple of days. She also told him that his assistance would be appreciated in the planning of the funeral.
    Mr. Cole didn’t have any other family members, except from his wife and her kid. His siblingS had died in a car crash along with his parents when he was a little boy, and he had grown up staying with his father’s younger sister, who was also dead now. So, right now, all the responsibility rested upon Mrs. Cole, and Dapo.
    “So what happens now?” Lola asked. She came over and sat on the edge of the seat Dapo was on.
    “Nothing; we just help out with a couple of arrangements. And after the funeral, Kike would travel back to the states.”
    “Sorry, that is Mrs. Cole’s first name.”
    “So what happens to Anu?”
    “She would be at their house; Kike’s sister would be there with her. It had already been planned that way before Mr. Cole died.”
    “And we are free to see her anytime we want.” Dapo concluded and watched the reaction of his wife. He never thought they would get to this point, where he would feel like he had done something to change everything they had planned and believed in. The fact remains that you can’t change the past. It was just so unfortunate that his past had to come back and haunt him. “So when do you resume work?”
    “Next week; the holidays were extended for most schools because of the Muslim festivities.”
    “You know, I still find it hard to believe that Mr. Cole is actually dead.”
    “Yeah. Me too.”
    “He had so much energy.”
    “S--t happens; he was fighting death all along. I don’t know, I guess something just made him give up.” Lola got up from her squatting position and started pacing the length of the room.
    “I remember what my mom always said; no matter how much material things you had on earth, when you die, you can’t take any of it with you.” Lola said.
    “I hope all he worked hard to build, doesn’t crumble after this.”
    “He was a smart man, he would definitely have made some plans for that; he knew he was dying.”
    They spent the rest of the day cleaning up the house and Dapo went out briefly to get things from the store. He still felt a little tension around the house, and as much as he would like to deny it, Lola was not the same again.
    The Cole’s arrived exactly one week from the death day of Mr. Cole. The funeral was planned in top speed and before long; the body was properly put to rest.
    A couple of weeks after the funeral, Dapo got a call from Mrs. Cole, asking him to come over for official reasons concerning her husband. He went over and was surprised when he found out that the man’s lawyer was there and it was about his will.
    Mr. Cole had instructed his lawyer to have Dapo present at the reading of his will. Dapo was more shocked when he found out that the man had willed all his businesses to him; his greatest fear had come to life. If he took the offer; then, one way or the other, he would have to take up the family too. It was like the dead man was playing a game of chess with him in his grave.
    When he told Lola about it, she was dumbfounded; and there was silence for a couple of minutes, then she asked. “Are you going to take it?”
    “I don’t know, I should…or what do you think?” She went silent again. He knew it was really tough for her to handle; it seemed more and more like the Cole’s were going to take her husband away. He looked at her, the baby bump was very evident now, but she still walked around the house swiftly like it was no load.
    “I was just thinking, you know…like I shouldn’t turn it down. I would let the man down if I did so.”
    “Just do what you feel is best.” Lola finally said, and it was like she threw a blank check his way. He didn’t say anything more on the matter. He knew he needed time to weigh his options and he thought he would sleep on it, and make his decision in the morning.

    EPISODE 22

    He finally decided to take up the offer, and he made Lola understand that he felt it was the only way he could pay the man back for what he had done for him.
    After a few talks with the lawyers, and a few paper works here and there, he resumed as the C.E.O of all the company’s that the man had owned. And within a week, meetings had been organized for him to get familiar with all the board of directors of the companies. All this got Dapo so busy that he wondered how the man handled all the work. He was home fewer hours and Lola despised his new position with every passing day.
    After a couple of weeks as the new boss he had become, he re-assured Lola that it was only a matter of time before he would eventually have to give up the job, but that he had to find the right person to transfer the responsibilities to.
    Dapo dropped by the Cole’s house one day after work, with the intension of seeing Anu. She had been informed that he was her real father, and had started avoiding him, because she found it hard to understand.
    He met her in the garden as he made his way to the front door, and she walked over to greet him. Their conversation went well, but not as warm as before.
    Mrs. Cole was on the couch watching TV with a bowl of some sort of food in her hand. She smiled as he walked in. “Hmm! What a surprise.”
    “Sorry, I should have called, but I made up my mind while driving home. I just wanted to see how you guys were doing.”
    “Thank you.” She said and got off the couch. “Juice…wine? What can I get you?”
    “Orange juice would do.” She disappeared into the kitchen as Dapo took a seat opposite from where she had been sitting. A glass jar of juice and two cups were on the tray she brought back into the room. It was odd seeing her carry it; he thought she would have gotten a maid to do that for her.
    “I’ll be leaving for the states this weekend.” She said as she poured a full glass of juice for him.
    “How long would you be gone?”
    “I don’t know; weeks, months, it depends.”
    “Months; how can you leave Anu alone for that long?”
    “She would probably come and join me soon; for her holidays, that is.”
    “That does not explain why you would leave for that long; after all she has been through lately.”
    Mrs. Cole looked at Dapo for a while before responding. “I don’t have to travel, you know.” She kept staring at him, and passed an unspoken message to him. Then when he didn’t say anything, she got up and walked over to where he was. She went down on her knees; then, she got Dapo’s attention.
    “What?” He asked and sat upright in the chair. She didn’t say anything, but just kept staring at him. And then when she saw that Dapo was letting his guard down, she went in with a kiss. He was surprised that he actually felt good about the kiss for a while, before he gently pushed her away.
    “Stop!” he shouted and got up from the couch.
    “Please Dapo, come back. We can be a family. I still love you, and I have your kid; let’s start over.” She said, still on her knees.
    “What are you talking about? I have a wife and a kid on the way.” He fired back at her.
    “Dapo, she can’t love you the way I would love you. I can’t stop loving you.”
    “Why are you making this difficult for me? I have a wife; a legally married wife that I love.”
    “I have your Anu; we have the house; the money, and everything we would need to be happy together.” She was in tears now, as she walked over to where he was standing. He took some few steps back in repulsion as she got to him, and she stopped advancing and just stood there crying.
    “I’m expecting my child in about 3 months.” he said, trying to make her see reason.
    “You can…you can take care of her baby and be with us.”
    “Kike, are you insane? Don’t you have a heart? How can you be talking like this?”
    “You took my heart; you took my youth away from me. You took away the life I was meant to have”
    “Hey, don’t play it that way. Trying to make me feel guilty won’t work.”
    “I waited a long time for you, and I had to move on, okay! I think I am justified.”
    “I…” Dapo came to a halt when he saw Anu at The door. It was hard to say how long the little girl had been there because they had been too engrossed in their argument. Mrs. Cole walked up to her and whispered something into her ear and she turned around and headed out of the living room. She turned around for a second to wave at Dapo, with a smile, and then she was off.
    Dapo picked his car keys from the table and headed out. “I’ll be seeing you.” he said without looking her way.
    Dupe had been trying to call him all week, but he was always in the middle of something and couldn’t pick her calls. And he always forgot to return her calls. She had been calling while he was having the argument with Kike and he could not pick up then too. He dialed her number as he drove out of the Cole’s mansion, and then disconnected as the line connected. He was in too bad a mood to talk to her and he was not ready to tell her all that just went down.
    He remembered that his landlord had asked him to represent the house at the emergency neighborhood meeting. The gathering was scheduled for 7.30p.m, it was 6.30; he had about an hour before then. He sent Lola a text as he was at driving in, but when he got to the door, it was opened alright, but there was no Lola in sight. She usually greeted him with a kiss and a hug. He saw her sitting at the dinning section as he made his way into the house. She had a paper spread out on the table, and there was a angry look on her face.
    “Dapo, what is this?” She asked and pushed the paper forward so that it was clear for Dapo to see. The magazine was opened at the centre page and Dapo thought he was going to faint. This only happened in the movies, he thought to himself.
    There were all sorts of pictures of him and dupe taken in more than two locations.
    “Dapo, what is happening?” Lola said and then started crying all of a sudden, like she couldn’t believe something of this nature would happen to her.
    The caption on the paper read; BEAUTY QUEEN AND SECRET LOVER.
    “There is nothing going on Lola; it is a big misunderstanding,” He said and was thinking why he hadn’t told her about Dupe all along. If he had, then he would have had a chance with explaining all that was happening. He took one more look at the pictures, and they looked so intimate, and he couldn’t think of when the pictures could have been taking. He closed in on Lola to hold her but she moved away.
    “You have to trust me on this one; I would never do anything like this to you. Not now, not ever.”
    “What were you doing coming out of her house?”
    “I can’t explain everything right now, but trust me, I didn’t and do not have an affair with her.”
    They were interrupted by a knock at the door, and Lola went to see who it was. Dapo caught a glimpse of the paper again, and saw a picture of where he was holding on to Dupe, d--n! That must have been when he was tipsy.
    “You have a visitor.” Lola said as she walked back into the dinning, followed behind by Dupe.”
    “D--n! Could it get any worse?” Dapo muttered under his breath. He had always thought of how he would react in such a situation as this, and now that it was in his face he was dumbfounded. He was just happy Lola didn’t start slapping Dupe from the door.
    “Hi, D? I guess this is a very bad time to ask for an introduction.” Dupe said as she walked up beside Dapo.
    “I saw the paper a couple of days ago, and had been trying to reach you since then.”
    “I didn’t know there were paparazzi in Nigeria.” Dapo said with a tired voice.
    Lola coughed from where she was at the corner of the room, like she wanted to remind them that she was still in the room. She looked furious and confused at the same time.
    “I must say, it’d be tough work for me to convince you that there is nothing going on between me and your husband, I really don’t know what I would say.”
    Lola kept quiet for a while before talking.
    “Dapo, what will I find out tomorrow?”
    “Lola, don’t talk like this.”
    “Talk like how? And you; you this brat, this…”
    “Lola, don’t talk to her like that.”
    “So you are now on her side, right?”
    Dupe just kept quiet and retreated towards the door.
    “Dapo, is it because I am pregnant that you are…I’m less attractive, right? That’s why you…” she was breathing heavily now as she pointed at Dupe with anger in her eyes. At that point, Dupe dropped her head and started crying. Her youthfulness was brought to life. She cried like a teenager in distress.
    Lola stopped talking for a while and focused on the kid. She couldn’t understand why the girl was still around, or why she even came in the first place. It was more like walking into the lion’s den. And now, she was crying like a baby.
    Dapo didn’t move from his position at the dining table to comfort dupe. He was lost in his own world. All this in one day, he thought to himself. He looked up and saw Lola still staring at Dupe, dumbfounded.
    “I’m sorry…if I caused any problems…I.” then she opened the door and started walking out.
    “Wait.” Lola shouted out and moved towards her. Her expression had changed now; she was more confused than anything else. “I don’t know what to say…I don’t know if…s--t!” She paused for a while and covered her face like she was trying to gain control of her speech. “I’m sorry I called you a brat. Umm! I don’t know why, but I believe you.”
    “Thanks for believing me.” Dupe said with a smile.
    “But, I’ll still need an explanation for these.” She said, pointing at the paper on the table.
    “I was going to tell you about her, but it always skipped my mind. We…we are just friends. We met by chance at the cinema, sometime ago when I took Anu on an outing.”
    “The pictures still look so…”
    “”Lola, those pictures were probably taken on the day I got the news of Mr. Cole’s death. I needed someone to talk to.”
    “So…I get all that, but how did you end up in her house?”
    “I think I have to answer that; he got a little drunk and I couldn’t let him go home like that.”
    “Trust me Mrs.…Oh s--t, I don’t even know your name. Anyway, I took him to my place because it was pretty late.”
    “I slept in my brother’s room”
    “I’m sorry for all these…I’m sorry Lola.” Dapo said.
    “I don’t know if this would do any good, but I don’t date married men.”
    “Well, I guess I have to take your words for it.” Lola said and lifted up her hands in surrender. “By the way, I’m Lola.”
    Dupe shook her hand “And I’m Dupe, as you already know.” Lola held the hand shake for a little while longer, and stared straight into Dupe’s eyes, like she was trying to detect if the girl was lying. And as if she got her answer, she hugged her briefly and then let go.
    “I got to go; with your permission, I would really like to come and visit you guys again; a proper visit this time” She said, directing the question at Lola.
    “Anytime; you are welcome.” Lola answered with a smile. Dupe waved at them and disappeared out the door.
    “Hey! I think you should walk her to her car.” Lola said to Dapo. He nodded and walked out the door after Dupe. He saw that the Land Rover was parked right outside their gate, but there was someone in the driver’s seat. He caught up with her before she got to the car. “Hey! Wait up; sorry for all the mess I got you into.” He said and she turned around to look at him, before she continued her slow walk to the car.
    “How did I do in there?” she said and Dapo looked at her puzzled.
    “Wait one second; don’t tell me all that was acting?”
    “What do you think?” She said and laughed a little.
    Dapo smiled at her as he shook his head. “I got to give you credit for that.” He said and clapped a couple of times.
    “But, seriously, what was I supposed to do? I don’t think she would have believed a word I said if I didn’t fake the crying.”
    “Thanks for that.”
    “Hey! Really, why didn’t you tell your wife about me?”
    “As I said, I never really got a chance.” They were by the car now, and rap music was bumping out of the car deck. “So, you brought your boyfriend along?” Dapo said, looking in the direction of the car.
    “No; it’s my brother. I didn’t know if I’d live here in one piece, so I brought back up.”
    “Very funny.”
    “Come and meet him.” She said and pulled Dapo towards the car. The guy came out of the car before they got to him. He was above six feet with a heavy set figure.
    “D, meet Kole, my brother.”
    “D as in dayo?” the gentleman asked.
    “No, D as in Dapo. Your little sis started calling me that all of a sudden.”
    “Okay, I heard the whole story. I hope there was not much drama?”
    “I think Dupe handled it well; it’s a wrap.” Dapo said and they all laughed.
    “”You guys should come over sometime, you know, maybe a weekend or something.”
    “Cool, dupe what do you feel?” Kole asked his sister.
    “It’s not a bad idea, considering the reputation I already have.” She said sarcastically. And they laughed again.
    “But Dupe that is the point; If you come along with your brother a couple of times, it would re-write the story in the minds of a lot of people.”
    “Well, it does make sense.” Dupe said and slowly nodded her head.
    “Great then; next week Saturday, how is that for a start?”
    “Well… I’ll have to check if I don’t have anything for that day, then I would get back at you.”
    “Good; see you guys. I think I need to get back to the wife.” He said and winked at Dupe. He gave Dupe’s brother a ‘thumbs up’ and turned around to walk to the house. He turned around just before he went into the house and waved at them.

    EPISODE 23

    The next day, Dapo went straight to the Cole’s mansion after work. He knew he couldn’t keep up with all the responsibilities that had been handed over to him, and he had to do something about it. Kike didn’t look too surprised when he told her he was resigning from the C.E.O status of all her dead husbands company’s.
    “I knew you wouldn’t last; it’s a full time job.”
    “I tried my best.”
    “I know you did.”
    “Your husband had good management in all his companies; I don’t think you would have too much problem. You Just have to go for board meetings, make a couple of calls, ‘okay’ decisions that the board reaches, stuff like that.”
    “Don’t worry about all that, I don’t even care about the company’s”
    “What do you mean?”
    “My husband’s death has revealed to me that I’m still in love with you.” She said looking at him with sorrow filled eyes.
    “Aww! Kike, please don’t start.”
    “The more I see you, the more it is clear to me.”
    “I’ve told you what I came to say, I’m living now.”
    “Please wait.”
    “For what?” Dapo lashed out angrily. She just stared at him, and the sorrowful eyes turned into resentment for a while, then a little scorn appeared on her face.
    “I read about your…your little escapade.”
    “That’s just the press blowing s--t out of proportion.” He quickly replied her and she just smiled at his answer.
    “Are you sure? Isn’t that the same chick I saw you talking to at the mall?”
    “So what if she was the one?”
    “I knew you had something to do with that b---h. I could…”
    “Hey! Don’t call her that. She was just in the wrong place at the right time.”
    “What does that mean? You’re losing your senses.”
    “You know you’ve really changed. You didn’t use to be like this.”
    “It’s your fault then; you took what human feelings that were left in me.”
    “I didn’t do anything to you; you made yourself the way you are.”
    “How can you say that?”
    “How can you say that to me, Dapo?”
    “I’m sorry, okay. Kike, I will not deny that part of me just wants to go back to when it was me and you.”
    “I can’t leave my wife. I have learnt to love her, and I cannot jeopardize that for anything in the world right now.”
    There was silence for a while, and then when Dapo got a little uncomfortable with it he spoke up. “Kike, please, I beg of you, isn’t there any other way we can work this out?” He concluded, but she didn’t utter a word. “You can try and understand all what I am going through and understand what is at stake. Please, do it for Anu, I know you can.”
    “I’m sorry, I guess I’ve been selfish. You’re a good man; I’ll just have to try my best to forget you.” She said, with a shaky voice.
    “I’ll always be your friend, but you know nothing can happen between us again.”
    “I’ll try and live with that.”
    Dapo got up from his seat after a prolonged silence “I got to go.”
    “Okay. You know, maybe Anu should hang out with you guys this weekend.” Kike said as she wiped the tears off her face.
    “That’d be cool. So will you drop her off or…?”
    “I’ll drop her off on Saturday…in the morning. Maybe by 10.00a.m?”
    “That’s alright with me.”
    Dapo gave her a hug before leaving.

    EPISODE 24

    A passer-by was staring at her as she crossed the street to Dapo’s house. She was thinking; it could be the car, it could be the beauty, it could be anything. Dupe just didn’t want it to be that the man recognized her.
    She waited for her brother to catch up with her after she had gone through the gates of Dapo’s house.
    “Relax; the shades are doing a great job, I hardly even recognize you.”
    “Very funny.”
    “But you do look different in an elegant way.”
    “Thank you; just be a sweetheart and knock on the door for me. I’m a bit nervous.”
    Kole hesitated for a while before obliging. Dupe got a phone call and retreated a few steps away from the door to answer it.
    Lola opened the door and stood ‘jaws dropped’ as she stared at the guy in front of her.
    “Kole; don’t tell me…”
    “Lola. Wow! This is a very funny coincidence.”
    “Wait a minute, you two know each other?” Dupe asked as she came from behind.
    “Yes.” Kole answered with a shocked smile on his face.
    “So you’re Dupe’s brother? That is really…oh, sorry.” She said when she realized that she was keeping them at the door for too long. “You guys should come in.” Lola said and led them in “By the way Dupe, your brother and I went to secondary school together.”
    “No kidding; now I understand the shock.”
    “Yea! And the funny thing is that I ran into her a couple of months ago, after like ten years, and now I find myself in her house.”
    “Thanks to your sister here” She said with a smile. “You guys should have a seat; I’ll go and get Dapo.” Lola added, as she ushered them into the living room. “And by the way, that is Anu.” Anu’s face lit up with a smile, and then a little bow of the head.
    “I remember you; of course you didn’t get to meet me the other day at the cinema but I saw you and…whatever, so how are you doing?” Dupe couldn’t complete her sentence because she didn’t know what to refer Dapo as. The little girl was filled with smiles as Dupe sat beside her on the sofa and held her in an embrace.
    “And I know you too; you an actress.” Anu said. Kole took a quick look at her. He thought she sounded older than her age.
    “Who told you that?” Dupe retorted with a comical look on her face.
    “I know; I’ve seen you on TV a bunch of times.”
    “Well, from now on, you refer to me as your friend, alright?”
    “Okay.” The girl answered, smiling all the time. Dupe looked around the living room; not bad, she thought. All the essentials were available; plasma, DSTV decoder, home theatre system, and good leather furnishing. It would all look better in a duplex, and not a flat, she thought to herself.
    “Hey guys; what’s popping?” Dapo said, buttoning his shirt as he approached the living room. Dupe was by the door checking out a painting on the wall when he came in. She playfully nudged him with her shoulder, knocking him off balance.
    “Watch it, lady.” He said facing Dupe, before turning his attention to Kole. “So, I guess you have met little Anu here? She’ll be accompanying us on the outing.” He said as he shook Kole.
    “No problem with me.” Kole said.
    “So where should we head to?” All the while he was talking, Dupe had been poking him in the back with her finger; offended by him not acknowledging her. He turned around and lifted his hands in the air as a sign of exclamation, and then later smiled at her and went over to join Kole on the couch
    “I think we should head out to the island and decide from there.” Dapo said.
    “Good idea.” Lola boomed as she entered the room, wearing a gown that did little to hide her bulging belly.
    “Dapo, do you know that I and Dupe’s brother attended the same secondary school, from back in the day.”
    “Tell me she’s kidding.” Dapo said and Kole just shook his head and smiled. “What? Things just keep getting weirder and weirder around me.” Dapo concluded.
    “So, have we decided on where to go yet?” Dupe asked, obviously tired of all the re-union going on.
    “Let’s just hit the island and we’d decide…”
    “Maybe we should drive down to the Galleria, and then we can conclude on where to go from there.” Dupe suggested; Cutting Dapo off.
    The little girl just sat there, her eyes moving from one adult to the other, depending on who was talking at the time. She was thinking of how she just lost the man she had called father all her life, and she got to know that he was not even her real dad.
    The adults were still debating on where to go, and she focused her eyes on Dupe. ‘Wait till I tell my friends back in school who I spent my weekend with.’ she thought.

    EPISODE 25

    It was Sunday morning and Dapo laid in bed all dressed up and ready for church. Lola appeared from the bathroom, naked, apart from a shower cap on her head and a towel hanging from her shoulders, which she used in drying herself as she walked into the room. She headed straight for the dressing table.
    Dapo looked at her bulging tummy ‘How many months now? 5? 6?’ He thought and wondered how his wife would be at 8 to 9 months of pregnancy.
    Lola playfully threw her towel at him. “Hey! Where is your mind?” Dapo didn’t answer her; he just looked at her as she applied cream to her body. He remembered her holding Kole, Dupe’s brother’s hand and was sympathizing with him after she had heard that his ‘wife to be’ had left him months to their wedding.
    He had never really known anybody from Lola’s past and now he felt threatened. The way she laughed and talked about people that only she and Kole knew; how she was so free with him got Dapo feeling jealous.
    “You know what? Just go without me. I really don’t feel like going anywhere today.” Lola said and dropped the comb she had been using on her hair.
    “What’s the matter?” Dapo asked her, looking concerned. He walked up to where she was sitting and held her in an embrace from behind.
    “Nothing, I just don’t feel right. You know how pregnant women can get…” she was saying then just stopped and smiled.
    “Are you sure you want me to go? I could stay here with you.”
    “No. Go! Go! You staying here would just make me feel worse. I just need to be alone for a while.” she said and Dapo poked his face in front of her to get a pretty look at her, and his eyes showed concern. “It’s not you, it is me. Please, just understand.” Lola concluded.
    “Okay.” Dapo said and started living the room
    “Wait.” Lola said and got up from the dresser. “Drop by Dupe’s house and give her this.” Lola picked a little purse from the table and walked over to hand it to Dapo. “She must have left it by accident in the car yesterday. Tell her I said hi?”
    The pregnancy is really getting to Lola, he thought to himself as he drove. He was at an intersection now, either take a right turn to church or a left to Dupe’s house; he took the left.
    Maybe it wasn’t just the pregnancy; maybe she saw something or someone lately that got her thinking. He looked at his watch; it was 8.45a.m, which was 45minutes before church was supposed to start. The drive from Lola’s house and back wouldn’t take him more than 30 minutes he thought.
    Someone ran up to the gate as he was about to park his car outside Dupe’s house. It was the guard’s son, and he let Dapo in without much questioning. The door to the house was unlocked, so he just let himself in. He heard some humming coming from the kitchen and moved in that direction. He stopped at the dinning section and waited for the person to emerge.
    “What? How did you get in here?” Dupe asked, shocked to see Dapo in her home. She was holding a bowl of ice cream, and wearing just a t-shirt, that stopped at her knees.
    “Sorry, I should have called; your guard let me in.” Dapo took a critical look at Dupe and it was like she was a different person. She had no make-up on, but she had that kind of beauty that was eminent, regardless of make-up. And she kind of looked older to him today, but he didn’t know why that was so. Her hair was scattered here and there; for the first time, Dapo saw her as a woman. He noticed her full b----t for the first time; her hips were ever so evidently outlined as the lower part of the t-shirt rested on them. There was an uncomfortable silence in the room.
    “What? Are you actually checking me out?” Dupe said, with a mischievous smile on her face.
    “No.” Dapo answered, very composed, but not taking his eyes off her.
    “I better go and put something else on.” she said and started heading for the stairs.
    “Wait, I just came over to give you this.” he said and held up her purse. Dupe turned around and her face lit up at the sight of the purse “I hope you have not been looking through that.” she said and started running towards Dapo. “Give me that.” she tried to snatch it but Dapo raised it a bit higher. “Hey! Stop. Just give it to me.”
    “Calm down. What’s the big deal with the purse anyway?”
    “Just let me have It.” all the while, Dupe was face to face with Dapo, her body pressed up against his. Then she stopped and looked him straight in the eyes; after a couple of seconds of staring she stood on her toes and was going to kiss him on the mouth, and then deviated and kissed his neck instead. The purse dropped to the fall. Just then, Dupe retreated and picked it up. “That is how you disarm a man.” She said with a little sexy cat walk to a corner of the room. She quickly went through the content of her purse. “Are you sure you didn’t go through this?”
    “Why would I?” Dapo said, with his face to the floor, embarrassed and feeling guilty that he had been thinking of Dupe in ways he shouldn’t have.
    He saw her walking towards him from the corner of his eyes, and then she stopped just a few inches from him. She held his face up and kissed him passionately on the mouth. He kissed her back for a while, and then realizing what he was doing, he withdrew.
    “Hey! I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.” Dupe said, feeling guilty. She walked back to the corner of the room, like a naughty girl that had done something bad.
    There was silence for a while, and Dapo just felt uncomfortable with what had just happened. The message alert from Dapo’s phone broke the silence. He read it, and appeared to be taken aback from what he was reading.
    “Can I use your phone? I got to make this really important call.” he talked liked nothing just happened between them.
    “One second.” she said and disappeared into the kitchen. She re-appeared a couple of seconds later with a phone in her hand.
    “Thanks” he said, and held the phone in his left hand, and his own in his right. He located the number he was going to call, and typed it on hers. His eyes got bigger at what he saw. He looked up at her, and then rubbed sweat off his face, and copied the number from his phone again, thinking maybe he had made a mistake the first time. Then he looked at her again, this time with disdain.
    “What?” Dupe exclaimed.
    “Why didn’t you tell me you knew Kike?”
    “What? Who is Kike?”
    “I don’t get it. We saw her together at the mall…” he stopped himself, looking really confused.
    “Who are you talking about?”
    “Her number is stored right here on your phone; Mrs Cole.” he said as she walked towards him in a fast pace.
    “Oh!” she exclaimed, and took her phone from him.
    “Oh! What? You’ve known her all this while?”
    “It’s not like that.”
    “While I told you all my problems with her, you knew her all along?”
    “Dapo, do you trust me?”
    “What are you…” his phone rang and stopped him in mid-sentence. He looked at the screen for a while before picking up. “Hello Kike, I was just about to call you.” he said into the phone. He kept quiet as it seemed the person on the other line had a lot to tell him. “Okay, I’ll be there.” he said, after about a minute and hung up. He stared at Dupe for a while, and from his eyes, she could tell what was on his mind was more about what he just heard on the phone. He walked out of the house without another word.
    “Dapo! Dapo! I have to tell you something.” she rushed to the door, but he was already gone. She wanted to chase after him and tell him the truth, but with what she was wearing, her neighbors would just read the wrong meaning to the whole situation.

    EPISODE 26

    Dapo got to the shopping mall that Kike had asked that they meet in less than 10 minutes. She flagged him down as he approach. “Park behind my car, I want you to see something.” Dapo’s heart skipped a beat. She had told him it was something urgent about his wife, and he wondered what it could be about.
    He got out, lost of words from all that had happened so far today. She looked at him for a while, and then turned him to look in the opposite direction. There he saw his lovely wife, Lola, with another man in the front seat of a BENZ 200. And when he looked hard enough, he found out that the man wasn’t just any man, but was Dupe’s brother, Kole. He couldn’t tell if she was laughing or crying. He quickly looked away, because he couldn’t take it anymore.
    “You’ve been neglecting her, now she has a lover. If you had not been running around with that girl, then…”
    Dapo’s eyes lit up and his expression made her stop herself in mid-sentence. “Yes, about the girl; how come she has your number on her phone?”
    “So she has my number on her phone? She must be a fool. Anyway, she came to meet me some time ago…”
    “About what?” Dapo barked out; obviously angry that it seemed like the two ladies had been playing him all the while.
    “She said she needed to get you away from your wife, and that she needed my help.”
    “Yes. You probably told her all about me, because I wondered how she got to know about my position in your life.”
    “No. No.” Dapo said and kept shaking his head. He looked towards where Lola was and saw that they were no longer in the Benz. His eyes wondered and saw that they were standing by Lola’s space wagon now. A closer look showed him that Lola had been crying.
    Kike noticed his divided attention and raised her voice. “She was at my place all the time; begging me and telling me how in love she was.”
    “And what did you tell her?” Dapo demanded, with a stern look on his face.
    “I told her I couldn’t help her. At first, I thought she just wanted a fling with you, but she kept persisting.”
    “And why didn’t you tell me?”
    “That’s very funny.” Kike said with a little laugh to go with it. “I kept warning you every chance I got, all you would do was to defend her.” she laughed a sinister laugh. “You wouldn’t have believed me if I told you. I’m sure you would have thought I had gone crazy or something.”
    “She looks so innocent and young.” Dapo said, with his face to the floor.
    “Young? I bet she isn’t as young as she claims to be. So, how old did she say was?”
    “That does not really matter right now. I just want to know all she has been up to; every little detail.”
    “Okay, let me see. She planned for those photographs to be taken.”
    “She thought she had my trust, so she told me everything to get my own opinion. I had to make her believe she could trust me, so that I could get more information from her.”
    “Are you sure of all what you are saying? You wanted my matrimonial home broken as much as you claim she did, so how am I supposed to believe you?”
    “I never wanted your home broken; I was just still in love with my lost boyfriend, and…Whatever, I never wanted your home broken, I would never wish that on anybody.”
    “So, why didn’t you come direct and tell me what she was up to?”
    “As I said earlier, which I guess you didn’t hear, you wouldn’t have believed me. And when I saw the girl was going too far and wanted to inform you, my husband died.”
    “So she planned with a photographer?”
    “Of course; what did you think? We do not have paparazzi here, just writers that live off rumors. And she isn’t even that big a star in the first place; she was just looking for some cheap publicity.”
    “It just doesn’t sound right.”
    “There you go again. You so much want her side of the story to be true. Do you even love your wife at all?”
    “What are you insinuating?”
    “Don’t kid yourself, you don’t sound like a happily married man and you are sure not living like one.”
    “I got to go; you’ve started your talk again.” Dapo said and headed to his car.
    “Wait.” Kike said and ran after him. She held his hand and looked into his eyes; her facial expression changed from that of a woman in charge to that of a disturbed woman. “Dapo, this is a sign; a sign that we should get back together. We finally have our second chance. You can’t trust anybody around you right now, except me.”
    “Please.” he said and wiggled his arm free. He took a despiteful look at her before entering the car.
    “No one of these girls can give you the kind of love that I can give you.” she said, leaning on the door of his car. He ignored her and fired up the engine. “I love you; always have, and always will. None of them know you like I do. And we have Anu to cement that love.”
    “There you go again, always using your bait to get at me. It won’t work. I’ll give Anu all my love and care, but that is where it stops. Don’t ever dream that I will leave my wife for you.” Dapo said and raved up the engine as he drove off.

    EPISODE 27

    Dapo kept driving around town with no direction or destination. He didn’t want to go home to his wife because of what he had just seen. What had he seen? He thought to himself. There might just be a logical explanation for it. He wanted there to be an explanation because he loved his wife so much. ‘At least I didn’t see her kissing a guy’ he thought to himself.
    His phone rang and he didn’t even want to attend to it, because he didn’t want to talk to all the people that he felt might want to call him right now; his wife; his old girlfriend; and Dupe. Then as an afterthought, he decided to answer the call. He looked at the caller ID and it was an unfamiliar number.
    “Hello?” he said into the phone.
    “Hey! Hi? What’s up?” The person on the other end said. The voice sounded so familiar, but in the midst of all the drama, he couldn’t make himself remember who it was.
    “Sorry, who is this?”
    “Dapo, you don’t recognize my voice? This is really disappointing. Anyway, it’s me.”
    “It’s me, Tosin.”
    “Hey! Tosin, what’s going on? You…hey! Are you in Nigeria?”
    “No, I’m not. I just got this line that shows Nigerian numbers on the phone screen of the people I call in Nigeria. Of course I am.” Tosin said and laughed.
    Tosin had been out of the country for the last 7 years, and Dapo was happy she chose now to return.
    “Wow! That’s incredible. Boy do I need someone to talk to right now. Where are you?”
    “Okay, that is why I called. I wanted to surprise you and pop up at your place, but my plans messed up. So right now, I’m stranded at the airport.”
    “I’m on Badagry Express-Way; I should be there in like 20 minutes or less.”
    “You are a life saver; thanks.”
    Dapo’s mood changed; at least he had someone neutral to talk to. He got to the airport in fifteen minutes, parked and hurriedly headed to the arrival terminal. He didn’t even think of how he would contact her or how he was going to locate where she was. The phone she used in calling him couldn’t have been hers because she just got in.
    He saw her as he approached the arrival gates. She had changed a little; complexion, weight, but the face was still the same. Tosin had practically grown up under his care, and seeing her as an adult gave him a funny feeling. She had on jeans and a white t-shirt, and was talking to another lady. She screamed as she saw Dapo.
    “Ahhh! Big man; you’re looking good.” she said and gave him a hug.
    “You’re not looking bad yourself.”
    “Yeah, this is Chioma.” Tosin introduced the girl she had been talking to. “Chioma and I were in the same work place before I travelled.”
    “Okay and where was that again? Wait, I think I can remember; you were working with that advert company.”
    “Yeah. ADFAD.”
    “So are you still there?” Dapo directed the question to the yellow beauty that had been staring at him.
    “No! I left there a long time ago.” she said shyly
    “It was her phone I used in calling you. I was just lucky to run into her” Tosin said.
    “So where are you headed?” Dapo asked the girl as he walked up to pick up Tosin’s luggage.
    “No problem with me. I’m here with my brothers. I would have given Tosin a lift, but she insisted on seeing you first.”
    “Okay.” Dapo said and turned to Tosin. “You look good; I mean really good.”
    “Thanks. It’s really been a while. So how is your wife? I hope she is cool?”
    “Yeah, she’s cool.”
    “Cool, I can’t wait to meet her.”
    “So what brings you to Nigeria on such short notice? Or should I say, no notice at all”
    “Well…Bambam’s dad is dying; cancer.”
    “Oh! Sorry about that.”
    “Poor man; He has less than a month to go; at least according to the doctors.”
    “So what’s up with ba…”
    “What is his real name anyway?”
    “Okay. Yeah, I remember now.”
    “Silly you; how could you forget? You where there when I first met him.”
    Yes. And…Wait, what’s with you? There is something wrong.”
    “Well…Nothing really. So as I was saying, why isn’t Bambam here?”
    “Oh! He’s coming in next week. He couldn’t get a leave so soon.”
    “So you would be staying with us, right?”
    “Umm! No. I got to be by his pops side, so I’ll be staying at their family house. The driver was actually meant to pick me up, but there was a mix up. They thought I wouldn’t be here till tomorrow.”
    “Dapo checked his watch, it was 2.30p.m, just then his phone rang. It was his wife; he put the phone on silent mode and kept walking.
    “Why didn’t you pick that call?”
    “It is somebody I don’t want to talk to right now. So…do you want to get something to eat?”
    “Oh! Yes. Lord, I am starving. I hate eating on planes.”
    “Okay, we’ll get to an eatery real quick.” Dapo said and stopped at the rear of his Camry.
    “Is this your car? What a coincidence. I drive the same car, but not the same color though.”
    Dapo loaded the luggage into the trunk and went over to the windshield to remove a hand bill that was on the wiper. He didn’t bother to read what was on it before crushing it and throwing it away. Tosin was standing in the middle of the car park drive way, looking around like a tourist. “Something has changed here.” she said.
    “Yes. The car park used to be on the other side of the road.” Dapo pointed at where the car park used to be. “Now get out of the way before that car runs you over.” There was a black Chrysler 300CC driving up. Tosin got off the drive-way and walked to the passengers’ side of the Camry.
    The Chrysler came to a sudden halt as it got in front of their car. The driver said something to the person in the passenger’s seat then got out.

    EPISODE 28

    “Hey D!” Dupe said, as she headed towards Dapo.
    Dapo looked up as Tosin tapped his arm. “Isn’t that that actress?”
    “Yes it is.” Dapo answered. “I do not need you in my life right now, just go.” Dapo said to Dupe and moved to enter his car. She stood in front of him, not saying anything. “Okay, I didn’t mean it like that, but after I heard all that you have been up to…”
    “Heard what I’ve been up to?”
    “Mrs. Cole told me all that you have been doing.”
    “That lying…wait, did she tell you how she came to me?”
    “Don’t start; I don’t want to hear. Dupe, I got to go.”
    “Just hear me out.”
    “No. I don’t want to.” Dapo said and started getting to his car. She moved up to his door, determined to tell her side of the story. “Just listen to me.”
    Just as Dapo was about to lose his composure and shout on her, his eyes caught the figure of someone coming out of the car Dupe had been driving, and he stopped. It was an elderly man; surely royalty, with beads hanging from his neck. He called out to Dupe. “What is happening there, Dupe?”
    “Sorry dad, I’m just trying to set something right with him.” She said, as she hyperventilated.
    “Young man, please listen to what she has to say, and let’s be out of here.”
    Dupe and Dapo locked eyes and Dapo spoke. “Okay, you got two minutes.” He said and got out of the car.
    “Before I start, do you trust me?”
    “Just talk.”
    “Okay. I didn’t tell you I knew Mrs. Cole because I thought it was a woman thing and I had to handle it my own way. I actually got to know her before I knew you. Her husband and my pop used to be members of the same country club and I met her one day at the club.” she said and paused to catch her breath.
    “I didn’t even recognize her when I saw her at the mall, but she called me afterwards and reminded me that we had actually met before.” Dupe stopped again, wanting Dapo to sink it in. “Then she called me over to her house; saying she had something important to discuss with me. When I got there, she told me she needed me to mess up your life. She told me all about how you guys used to date and how you ruined her life.” A frown appeared on Dapo’s face from Dupe’s last sentence. “Well, that is how she put it.” Dupe said
    “So what exactly did she want you to do?” Dapo asked.
    “She wanted me to get pregnant for you.”
    “Yes, that is when I kept telling that you had to worry about her. She said she was still in love with you, that she was ready to go to any length to get you back.”
    “So what happened?”
    “I told her I couldn’t do any of the things she wanted done. I left there angry, feeling insulted. She actually wanted me to get pregnant, and then abort the baby after the scandal had successfully broken your home.”
    “Your story sounds so clumsy; I don’t know what to believe.”
    “I’m serious D, she even had some guys follow me around, that’s how she got those pictures of me and you, and she’s crazy over you. She even encouraged my brother to try and get your wife away from you.”
    “Yes, she kept coming to our place trying to parley us. And after she found out that my brother used to have a crush on your wife back in high school, she encouraged him to go after her.”
    “Are you serious?”
    “Yes. But, there is a little more to the story, which makes all her actions understandable.”
    “Dupe we have to go.” her father called from the car.
    “Just a second Dad.” dupe shouted back and faced dapo. “She’s schizo.”
    “After she kept persisting on me ruining your life, I did a little digging…I asked people at the Country Club.” Dupe was saying and paused for a minute to look in the direction of where her car was. “I found out Mrs. Cole actually suffered from Schizophrenia after she got pregnant for her boyfriend in 1998” Dupe looked up at Dapo waiting for what she had revealed to sink in.
    “She had mental issues?”
    “Yes. That’s the main reason why she never came back all those years.”
    “Oh my God!”
    “She is still on drugs till this day, and she blurs between sanity and insanity anytime she forgets to take them.”
    “That explains a lot.”
    “I got to go now.” She said and started running towards her car.
    “Wait, so what is happening now with my wife and your brother?”
    “He is not heartless. He actually made Mrs. Cole believe he was following through with her strategy. But we had a long talk last night after the outing, and we concluded that he was the only one that could make your wife change her mind.”
    “Change her mind on what?”
    “Your wife still believes…She thinks there is really something going on between us. So all she had been doing, getting close to me and all that was all a strategy. So my brother decided to meet her today, alone, so they could talk in private.”
    “About what?”
    “About me and you being just friends, and all Mrs. Coles devices.”
    “You seem so sincere; so sure.” Dapo looked around before pulling her aside. “You kissed me today, remember? What was that about?”
    “I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.” she said covered her face with her palm. “I don’t know why I did it. It won’t happen again. Not to bruise your ego or anything, but I didn’t feel anything.”
    “I’m glad I got that out of the way.” she said with a smile and hit him on the arm playfully. “Now, go and get your wife back and show her all the love and care she deserves.”
    “Thanks.” Dapo said and stood there as she ran off.
    “That was an Episode back there, I’m still looking for the cameras, where are they hidden?” Tosin said as they got into Dapo’s car.
    “That’s very funny.”
    “So what’s the story?”
    “It’s a long story.”
    “It’s a long drive; just start at the very beginning.”

    EPISODE 29

    “That’s one hell of a story. I think I really feel for Kike, probably because she is the only one of your girlfriends that I really got to know. Hell, I don’t even know your wife.”
    “You’ll get to meet her soon. I think we should make that this weekend.” He said and there was silence the rest of the journey.
    People were already outside waiting for Tosin when Dapo dropped her off at her in-law’s place.
    “What you need to do right now is head on straight to your wife.” Tosin said after they got the last box out of Dapo’s car.
    “No; thank you! Now, go on home…” she stopped and got close enough to whisper “…make some good loving to her.”
    Dapo just smiled and got in his car.
    “I’ll call to see how you are doing, and if you need anything, don’t hesitate to call me.” Dapo said before firing up the engine.
    “You’ve done enough, just go home.” she said and winked at him.
    Lola was on a wooden chair outside the house as he entered the compound. She smiled when she saw him. Without a word, she got off the chair and led him into the house.
    “I’m sorry I’ve not been as supportive and understanding as I’m meant to be. Maybe it’s all this hormones.” she said as tears rolled down her eyes. “I love you.” she said and he held her in a tight embrace. She sobbed for a while, and Dapo just let her exercise that right.
    “I heard the whole story from Dupe’s brother; so what do we do now? She’s never going to let you go. I think we should re-locate to another country.”
    “No, we are not running away for any reason. As long as you understand everything now, it will be easier to fend her off.”
    Dapo spent the rest of the day in-door with his wife and was awoken around 5.00a.m the next day by a familiar voice on the phone.
    “My mom…” the sobbing voice was saying.
    “What is wrong with your mom?”
    “Uncle D, you need to come over. Please, my mom is very sick.”
    “Sick? What exactly is wrong?” Dapo said and started getting out of bed. He knew it had to be serious for Anu to have called at this time of the day, but he wanted to sound re-assuring on the phone, so he asked her a few out of the way questions to cool her down.
    “Please come; hurry.”
    “Okay, I’m on my way.” He hurried off the bed after the line was disconnected. Lola rolled over with sleepy eyes, wondering what was going on.
    “I’m sorry darling, but I have to go this one time. I think there is some sort of emergency at the Cole’s.”
    Lola sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes. “I hope it’s not that serious? Just drive carefully.” Lola said with sleepy eyes.
    “Thanks, I’ll call you when I get there.” he kissed her on the fore-head before rushing out.
    The Cole’s home was so silent when he got there that he wondered if it had been a joke; but he knew Anu couldn’t have been pretending. The gate was wide open like a car drove out and there had not been time to close it. He drove in, and still nobody approached him. He got out of his car and walked fast to the main entrance of the house, his heart was beating fast all the while. Kate, the maid was squatted at the corner of the living room as he entered. She got up in a hurry when she saw him.
    “Uncle D!” Anu shouted and ran up to Dapo. “I don’t want my mother to die.” she said, in tears.
    “What are you talking about? She’s going to be alright.” he said, still trying to re-assure her. He searched the maid’s eyes for some answers, and he didn’t like what he saw.
    “Madam don go hospital…oga! kai!” she said in broken English and started to cry.
    “What happened?” Dapo asked.
    “I no know; Jimoh don take am go hospital.”
    Anu held Dapo so tight like her life depended on that hold. After a while, he noticed that she had fallen asleep, and he carried her as he headed for the stairs. He dropped her off in a room he believed to be hers’. He was heading towards the stairs till he noticed an opened door, and decided to check it out. The first thing that caught his eye was a glass cup on the dressing table. There was a note underneath it; he walked into the room, and picked it up. Kike’s hand writing had not changed all this years, so he knew she had written it. Tears rolled down his eyes as he read the content of the note.
    To Whom It May Concern, I have taken an overdose of sleeping pills, and would be dead in a matter of minutes. I feel there is no life worth more for me to live. I do not want to live a miserable life which would in turn affect my daughter, Anu.
    I know Anu’s father and his wife would take good care of her. And since I would be an obstacle in their lives, I decided to end mine.
    Dapo, I loved you till death.
    He lay on her bed for some minutes, and genuine tears rolled down his eyes. In a flash, all the memories he had shared with Kike while in college came back in bits. He sprang up all of a sudden thinking maybe she could still be alive. He ran down the stairs and went in search of the maid.
    “Which hospital did they go?” he asked her.
    “Saint Michael.”
    “Saint Michael?” Dapo repeated to confirm, and she nodded.
    It was already dawn by the time he drove out of the Cole’s mansion.
    Dapo got the bad news from the doctor that she was B.I.D, which meant Brought In Dead. He had to sign some papers because he was the only one close to family that was around. He called the Cole’s lawyer and explained everything to him.
    His drive home was dreadful, and it was like he was doing so on auto pilot. His mind was not on the road. He felt what happened was partially his fault and he kept thinking maybe if he had treated her a little less harshly the last time they saw, maybe she would still be alive now.
    Lola cried when she heard the news, and it was sincere tears. Even though Kike had been in the way, she would never wish death on anybody.
    Anu came to stay with them for the times that the funeral was being planned. Kike’s relatives wanted to take her, but the lawyer said the legitimate person to have her should be her biological father. The funeral was delayed a month because her family in the states wanted to be around for it.
    The day Dapo planned to spend with his cousin, Tosin was spent at a new fun centre along the road to Ikorodu. Tosin was all over Anu, and they bounded so quickly.
    “So how is the father in-law?” Lola asked Tosin.
    “I won’t lie to you, the situation isn’t improving.”
    “Yeah, it’s like we are just waiting for him to die.”
    “It’s that bad?” Dapo cut in.
    “”Well, he’s 79; that is old enough.
    Dapo’s phone rang and Caller Id read- ‘Dupe.’ He excused himself to pick it up.”Hey! How are you doing?”
    “I’m great, D.”
    “What’s that sound…like…”
    “I am actually at the Airport.”
    “At the airport?”
    “Yea, I am travelling to the America with my Dad.”
    “Hmm!” There was silence for a couple of seconds. “For how long will you be away.”
    “I don’t know…maybe 5 years…maybe forever.”
    “Interesting.” There was silence again.”Dapo…I wanted to confess to you before leaving.”

    EPISODE 30

    There was heavy breathing on the line but neither of them spoke. Dapo looked around and caught Lola staring at him, trying to guess who he was speaking with.
    “Dapo…” more heavy breathing. “I…I am ashamed to admit this.”
    “Look…There is nothing you can tell me that would shock me right now, so just spit it out.”
    “Okay. I…I kinda stalked you for a while.”
    “You stalked me?”
    “Yeah…I…When I saw you fixing your car on the side of the road, it wasn’t a coincidence.” She stopped to breathe and continued.”I had actually been tailing you.”
    “I tried to control how I felt about you. I tried my best. But when you came to my house the other day, I couldn’t hold the feeling anymore.”
    “Umm! The night I slept at your house…The night I was drunk, did anything happen?”
    “No. I just…I just stared at you as you slept for most part of the night.”
    “Umm…What else do you think I need to know?”
    “Umm! I didn’t do anything crazy, other than stalk you…and probably go through all your Facebook posts.” She said and laughed lightly. There was silence again. “I guess this ain’t my fairy-tale where I live happily ever after with my prince charming.”
    “I guess not.” Dapo said and looked back at Lola. She was laughing at a joke Tosin cracked.”Maybe in another life.”
    “Yea…maybe in an alternate universe, where all men are single.” There was heavy breathing again. “I am going to break this Sim Card after this call.”
    “So…So you are really leaving the country?”
    “Yea…I have been a big fish in a small pond for far too long.” More heavy breathing. “Bye, Dapo.”
    “Bye.” Dapo said and the line went dead. He waited a couple of seconds, and then dialed her number; he heard the automated Airtel voice say ‘the number you are trying to call has been switched off.’ He put his phone in his pocket and turned around. Lola was waving him over to hear something Tosin had said. Dapo smiled as he walked towards his wife.
    2 Months Later, It happened that Kike had willed almost everything she had in Dapo’s name. She had inherited all the chief’s real estate’s all over the country, so now they were all transferred to Dapo. The lawyer was calling him now to inform on the proceedings of the will, but that was the last thing he wanted to discuss, because he was driving home with a new member of the family. Lola was in the back seat holding the new born baby, and he took quick glances at the baby from time to time. Anu was waiting outside for them as they drove in. She ran over and gave Lola a hug; she probably was so happy to see Lola alive. The little kid had seen so much death in her tender age, that she had become paranoid. While in the house, Anu walked over to Dapo’s side and whispered in his ear “is it a boy or a girl?” He answered her and she smiled, staring at the baby court like they had just bought her a new toy. The baby boy stared straight ahead, not focusing his look on anybody.”So what would you call him?”
    “That is so long; what does it mean?”
    “God has brought joy. And for short, you can call him Kay.”
    “That’s a good name.” Anu said and excitement spread all over her face. Dapo thought it would be okay if she stayed home from school today. He was thinking how the baby had brought joy to them all. What an Episode the last 6 months had been for him; but this baby had brought joy and sanity back into his life.

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