5 Things Every Smart Woman Must Possess/Own

It feels like forever since I was last on the blogosphere. I want to try a short remedy this morning as my active academic focus is hitting a mental block. This is to decompress #sohelpmeGod.

 

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So, as a woman/lady/girl, you hear all the time what other people think you should do, shouldn’t do, act or should not act like, speak or not speak like, become or not become. The question keeps floating around your head #TobeOrnotTobe.

I’d say, #BE. Be everything you want to be and more, be yourself, be your depressed self, be your unhappy self, be your impulsive self, then be your best self. #BeYou. #BeWhoeverYouWannaBe. Own it. It’s all you and you don’t owe anyone any apologies for being you.

So, 5 things I feel every woman/lady/female should own/possess/have at every point in her adult life are these….

  1. Her own Man: Yes honey, I know all the feminists be ready to burst my head because I say every female should have her own man. But hey, hear me out first. Own your man. Be it in the capacity of that great friend, a fuckboi, a tease, a flirt, a handy-man, a main-squeeze, a booty-call, a husband, a prince-charming, a rescuer, and for my girls on the hustle, an ATM. Okay. whatever that man represents in your life, make sure you be owning him because you want to, because he fits into your plan. Don’t let anyone walk/talk/push you into something you don’t want.
  2. Her Own Money: Yes Lady, you need to have a lil’money of your own put away for emergencies. Be it ‘hike money’, or ‘vex money’ for when you are on a date and he is being a total a**hole. But importantly, you need some money of your own that can tide you over for a few months, at least three for when you have to quit a bad relationship or for emergencies we all can’t imagine right now.
  3. Her Own Mind: Girl, you need to have a mind of your own. You should be able to take your own decisions. When you are all alone and everything seems meh, take a minute, close your eyes, be still and listen to that lil voice inside of you. we all have that voice. No, not the one that says call Eric for a quick booty-call on your day off from work scheduled for your girls. No, not that voice. The other calm lil voice that sometimes tells you ‘girl, don’t even look at his face. This dude is bad news’ as soon as that cute guy said ‘hey’ and you said ‘hello’. Even though he looked alright. Listen to that voice, take your decision and stick with it regardless.
  4. Her Own Place: If you are not married or in a committed relationship, girl, get your own place. There’s no point living in a tenement or living with 20 other people when you are an adult. Don’t live in borrowed space. You need to practice for the real world. To be honest, living by yourself limits the amount of friction with other people especially if you have OCD or just plain like your things a particular way. Live by yourself, grow your own mind.
  5. Her Go-to bag/purse: Well, what can I tell you ladies. If you do not already own this item, you should get to it immediately. Your go-to bag is that bag/purse that has the magic qualities of transforming you. How? It holds that one make-up accessory that you can’t do without because it lights up your face – mascara, glam gloss, brow filler or glam lipstick. This bag/purse also holds all you need for an overnight trip to wherever you need to be. This bag/purse is also cute enough to act as a day purse for when you empty things out on a short trip and need a purse to use on a date or an job appointment.

There you go. The 5 things every female needs.

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LIES WOMEN TELL #15 : FINALE

Episode #15 – The Finale

Sitting morosely at lunch with some of her colleagues, Lara’s phone was directly before her on the table. She kept glancing at it after every few minutes willing it to ring. It was over two weeks now. Malik hadn’t bothered to call since he left her apartment that Saturday morning. She had analyzed the whole episode and decided it was on him to call her so, she wasn’t going to call but was willing to pick his calls within the next few days. Otherwise, it is ‘bye-bye baby boo’.
If he didn’t call in the next couple of days, it is over. I won’t bother picking his calls until I am safely married to someone else…..if only to spite him. That ought to show him how mad I am at him for not at least calling so we can talk about it. Men can be such jerks sometimes. If I were to marry someone else right now, who would it even be?
The following week went by without any sign of Malik’s name flashing across her screen. At this point, Lara was beyond mad at the man. She had re-saved his number as ‘never answer’ effectively closing that chapter of her life. She was glad she had not fallen stupidly in love with Malik before their first and only fight ended a relationship before it had a chance to begin. She decided to redirect her energies towards Dele in the meanwhile after all, he made her blood sing every time he touched her.

Picking up her phone, she dialed a number.
“Hey baby!” crooning
“Hey! You remember me today?” came Sandra’s voice
“Not really” came Lara’s hiss “I just wanted to inform you that Malik is officially history. You won’t believe he has not called in the last three weeks. Just because I panicked for a minute.”
“Or it could be because you finally gave him some sugar” came Sandra’s contribution
“Yea……that is also a possibility. Men are so terrible. You won’t believe he stopped calling my name and would only call me ‘ife mi’. He begged several times for me to stay with him only for him to disappear at a slight display of trouble”
“Hmmmmn” drawn out encouragingly
“I’m totally fed up with these men. In fact, I give up. I will just stay with my Dele jejely” Lara complained bitterly to her friend
“Don’t give up so easily. Did you try calling him to find out what happened? He may have lost his phone or maybe his mother had another attack and died sef. You don’t know”
“Lost his phone how naa? Malik can not lose his phone. He is always very careful and he doesn’t take public transport”
“Listen to yourself. So, because someone is careful or does not take public transport, that gives his phone immunity in Nigeria eh? Better wake up and smell the thieving economy” Sandra advised
“Me, I am not going to call him. He should have called by now. If he thinks this will be like the last time in Abuja, he is dreaming. I will not call him” Lara emphasizes
“It is well dear. Maybe it is for the best”
“Yea. Anyway, let me allow you return to whatever you are doing. I will soon close for the day”
“Be safe girl”
“You too” disconnects call
Letting the phone drop into her bag, she climbs the staircase back to her work station. It is well and over she repeated firmly as she climbed.

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At the close of work, she checks her phone for missed calls, unconsciously hoping to see something from ‘never answer’. Nothing. Another sigh deep inside her.

When the heart badly wants something, it sometimes doesn’t happen; but just when you give up on it and let go, it comes back at you with force. Lara contemplated her budding relationship with Malik and how a single moment of panic seem to have nipped it in the bud. She regretted not going with him to Abuja for another full minute. All the could-have-beens.
Remembering a T.D. Jakes message she had listened to over the radio not so long ago where a young woman wanting so bad to marry a man, she cried, prayed and fasted for weeks when the young man broke up with her. So, she said to her pastor “Pastor, you have to pray this into reality. You have to pray for him to come back. I can’t live without him. I love him and can’t marry anyone else” the pastor was heartbroken for her.
Many years later, she returned to the church to visit. She was smiling this time when she said to him,
“Pastor, remember the young man I cried, fasted and prayed over years ago?”
“Yes, I do” answered the pastor “Well, I didn’t get married to him praise Jesus. I’m married to someone else and I love him completely. We have two kids, a house and God has been so good to us.”
“So, what about the other man” asked the pastor
“He has been through two divorces already and the third one is in court. I thank God everyday for not answering my prayers. I can’t help but shudder when I think that could have been me married to him and divorced already.” she informed him
Thinking on this whimsically, Lara decided it was time to let go. Of all the answered prayers….

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Unfortunately for Lara, today was not one of her driving days therefore, she thronged with the multitude of her co-workers going to the junction to catch a bus home. Sprinting with a couple of guys towards the taxi as it coasted towards them, at the last minute, she decides to let it go and wait for the next one. Somehow, she felt her chances were better with the next taxi.

Finally in a taxi, sandwiched between two plump women, she felt like chicken breast in a mini-oven. The woman on her right wore a short-sleeved dress and appeared to have figured out a new way to make only the sweat pores on her arms work. She was sweating seemingly only on her arms and it felt nothing like sweat, very sticky, squishy and annoying liquid that threatened to soak entirely through the sleeves of Lara’s shirt. Slightly annoyed to say the least. Gravitating towards the woman on her left to avoid the bollocks of sweat to her right threatening to drench her shirtsleeve.

Moving closer to the other lady, she almost choked to a stop. This one stank all kinds of stale. What was she carrying on her person? She probably took her bath this morning with last night’s washwater. Dang! Deciding to vacillate between her handkerchief or behind the driver’s seat until either of them got off so she could hug the window to death, she patiently endured. None of the women got off until Lara did. She quickly alighted, took a gulp of air and hurried towards her junction. I need to scrub this Ebola-like sweat off as a someone with OCD would shuddering as she walked down her street.

Approaching her gate, Dele calls.
“Hey babe!”
“Hey Hey! Did you see the message I left you on Facebook?” cautiously
“I did. That’s why I’m calling”
“So why are you so chirpy?” heightened caution
“Because it confirms to me that even my baby cannot be trusted as much as I imagined in my head that she is beyond such temptations” he said in that annoyingly chirpy voice
She hung up. Three seconds later.
“Did you hang up on me?”
“No. It must be the network. Those your girlfriends in MTN do not want you talking to me” she jibed
“This is serious shit. Why are you trying to trivialize it?” he accused
“I’m sorry babe”
“So, you kissed a guy over there?” he said “Are you sure that’s all that happened?”
“Yes. That’s all that happened. He kissed me. I didn’t kiss him first and I didn’t kiss him back….technically”
“Are you trying to panasharp what you did?” sarcastically “Are you trying to tell me you were just walking on the street minding your own business and a random guy stumbled across your lips where you were minding your business and somehow your lips was open and his too and they met in midair?” more sarcasm in a grim voice.
She started laughing.
“Oh! I see. You think this is funny”
“I’m sorry babe. I do not. It was just the way you painted the scene” she apologized
Sigh “So, tell me what happened exactly” he said
“Errr, I’m sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking. I just felt so bad within myself but with this ‘no-holds-barred’ thing we agreed to, I decided to just come clean with you so my conscience can allow me sleep” trying to assuage him
“Just tell me what happened. Tell me how he stumbled on your open lips when you were gently walking down your street because that must have been what happened eh?” fresh sarcasm
“Baby, I just said I was sorry. Are you going to be like this about just a kiss?”
“Oh! ‘Just a kiss eh”? You imagine I believe only a kiss happened between you both? You are kidding right?”
“Baby, I swear I won’t lie to you. After deciding to tell you what happened, why would I lie to you?”
“Well, you are yet to tell me how it happened. I still await your side of the story. Unfortunately, I will be hearing only your narration. The poor bastard that stumbled across your open lips on the street will not have the privilege of telling his”
“Baby, please you have to stop saying it like that”
“How else do you want me to say it when you won’t tell me what really happened?”
“That’s what I have been trying to do.” hotly
“I’m all ears” simply “first, what is his name?” he queried
“Malik”
“Aha!” recollecting this was the name he had seen flashing across her phone screen that night in his house. So they did hook up and had been hooking up behind his back since then! Let’s hear the pretty liar out first.
“He came to visit me on Saturday morning. I assumed it was just an innocent visit since we work together and it was morning. I woke up late, remember you called and I told you I just woke up and was rushing to get ready for work? Remember?”
“Continue” came the response
“So, I felt he came over to give me a lift to work. My car has issues with the alignment and I don’t want to have an incident when I’m driving by myself. I told you that too. Remember?” accusingly
“This is not about fixing your car babe. Don’t start accusing” he returned
“So, I was rushing around the place trying to get set while he sat watching some soccer re-runs. Then, I came out of the room and he complimented my dress which I thought nothing of since we all do it at work all the time. I said ‘thank you. Ready to go?’ Are you with me babe?”
“I wouldn’t miss this for anything” he seemed to have found a new lease on sarcasm this evening
“Then, as I approached the door, about to say something to him, he just kissed me. I swear I don’t know how it happened but it was him that kissed me. I was too shocked to respond or anything” she concluded
“Oh! You were panning to respond to him before abi?”
“No. That’s not what I meant. I mean, I totally did not see any of those things he did coming so I didn’t know how to react immediately.” trying to explaining
“The things he did? You mean there were other things he did? You are trying to tell me right now, babe that he still did other things beyond stumbling upon your lips?” he asked incredulously
Hastily “Baby, allow me to explain myself. I meant, him coming up to my house and kissing me and being nice. I just assumed because we worked together and because I was rushing for work, I didn’t analyze them properly before the kiss happened. I’m sorry”
“You are sorry? You invite a strange guy into your home, this and whatever else you have decided to not tell me happens and you say sorry!” close to raging now
“What else do you want me to say? He isn’t a stranger. We work together. Are you ever around? Do you ever have time for me? Do I see you unless I come visiting? Do you ever just surprise me and fly down here with chocolates and wine and rose flowers? Do you? Do you?” yelling into the phone as she sobbed now. This was turning out to be a real bad day for her. First, Sandra had warned her against confessing anything to Dele.
“Babe, you don’t go confessing anything to your man. They do worse but you will never hear it from them. Even when you catch them, you better be sure to catch them good and say right there to them ‘I see you o. We will talk about this’ else, they will deny it totally even if you have a picture! They will just tell you ‘na photoshop’. Don’t do it babe. He will never forgive you”
“I just want complete closure on this Malik’s thing. Dele won’t hold it against me. He totally loves me.”
“Love eh? Wait till you tell a guy another man kissed you then you can watch him redefine love in your relationship. Don’t do it Lara. Why am I even telling you not to do something you already made up your mind to do? I’ll be here waiting. Lemme know how it goes”
She should have listened to Sandra. Apparently, you do not confess your sins to your man. Mistake no.2 in the women’s handbook for men now experienced firsthand. She was worried. Would Dele be able to let this go? They had both gone silent in the meanwhile but both remained on the line.

“So that was what he did? Wine, chocs and roses? That’s all he had to do to get you?” He accused bitterly in a low voice “So, I’m up here working every day of the week and most weekends so I can take care of you, treat you like a woman should be treated, provide everything you can desire, trying to build a life for us that we both can be proud of yet you can complain about wine and chocs Lara. Have you ever said to me ‘baby, I miss you and I want you to come over this weekend’ that I refused? Have you ever invited me to your place Lara? After I paid for the place, furnished it and came to see if it was comfortable for you, did you ever asked me over since then? Let me also ask you this since we are on the topics of chocs and wines, when did you ever say to me, ‘baby, I’m coming over today or this weekend and you got here and wanted chocs, roses, wines or whatever that I said ‘NO’ to you?”

She was crying again. “No Lara. Don’t cry. This isn’t the time for you to cry” she cried harder. He had called her Lara instead of the usual endearment. No matter how mad he had been at her in the past, he never used her name. This must signal the end of them she surmised. Dear Lord! What have I confessed to!
“Don’t cry yet. Allow me to finish. You must think because I work so much and do not seem to have a social life that I am a recluse impervious to other women eh? You think I cannot recognize a beautiful woman besides you right? I disciplined myself for your sake Lara not because I can’t be like other men but now………..” he let his statement hang threateningly

She was still crying. “So, just chocs, roses and wine Lara? Things you can get for yourself with your own money is what this Malik guy got you with! I’m thoroughly disappointed”
“I’m sorry baby. I’m sorry. I was distracted” pleading
“Oh! Now, it is distraction? Not because I did not bring you wine and chocolates?” twisting the knife in

Pulling herself together, recognizing this as the relationship one-up ‘having one over your partner’. Rarely, would a partner let stuff like this go if then can use it to make you do something in their favor. This was the part where she had to offer him a blank cheque to write whatever figure he desired. He had the upper hand now. Taking another deep breath to clear her head.

“I’ll do anything you say Dele” deliberately using his name to let him know she was serious
“Hmmm. Fine then, come to Abuja tomorrow” calmly
“Tomorrow? I have to go to work!” exclaiming
“You said you would do anything” he reminded her
“But tomorrow, tomorrow? Please can it be Friday instead?” pleading
“No. You can come Thursday however” relenting
Sigh. “Okay. Thursday. You will pick me up?” hesitantly
“You can take a taxi…..” hearing her resigned sigh “Of course I will pick you up. We don’t want fresh strangers giving you a lift” he couldn’t resist
Another sigh was her only response.
“Thank you babes. You forgive me?” she wanted to know she was in the clear
“When you come over, we’ll talk about that” he said and hung up
She was left with an empty dial tone and wondering what did I just do to myself?

Dialing, Sandra was not picking up. She dialed again. She should be home by now. She picked up on the third ring.
“Tell me” the first thing out of her mouth
“Hmmn I should have listened to you” came Lara’s sad voice
“I know you should have listened to me girl. I should listen to me all the time too but I never do” Sandra soothed
“I just handed him big time leverage and he is already using it.”
“How?”
“He wants me to come to Abuja on Thursday to show how repentant I am and whatever else he has planned, I have no idea at this point” Lara informed
“Well, you already got into it, might as well ride it through. If you do everything he says, it will soon blow over but you gotta go along with all he says tho” cautioning
“What if he says something ridiculous like ‘marry me so something similar does not happen again”?
“Simple: you marry the man!” came Sandra’s rejoinder
“What?” Lara exclaims
“What is what? Ehn Lara? what is what? Why have you been wasting your time dating him all these three years if you had not the slightest desire to marry him? Why couldn’t you do like other women and just shut up about Malik instead of allowing your conscience beat you to death till you confessed?” allowing her muse briefly, she continued “You know what, I think on a subconscious level, you wanted to be found out by Dele. You wanted a way out of the relationship so you can be free to chase that unserious Malik guy that goes on and off like PHCN. Too bad Dele loves you too much to give up that easily. If he says ‘marry me Lara’ that’s exactly what you are going to do”
“But….but” stuttering
“no buts. I admit I encouraged you about Malik. I was wrong. This time, no more mistakes. If that’s what Dele wants, that’s what Dele is going to get. He has tried more than most of the weyreys you keep dating anyways. If that’s what he wants after your stupid confession which any man can tell is a half confession, then you are going to say ‘yes’ to the man or ain’t you tired of counting calendar?” pausing meaningfully. ‘counting calendar’ referred to single girls always counting their cycle on calendars to determine their safe days so as to avoid unwanted pregnancies with their boyfriends.
A deep sigh. “Alright. I hear you and I’m somewhat relieved you have helped me put it all in perspective. Malik is a no-show and if Dele still wants me after what I told him, then, I’ll gladly marry him. His mum barely has a say in what he does these days ever since he got this great position and became the financier of the family. Thank you Sandy” she said fondly
“You are welcome anytime girl. See you Thursday?”
“Ah! I don’t think so. Dele said he will pick me up and I guess that means we would be gong straight to his place or his office depending on the time I get in”
“nawa o. Just now now wey we talk something, you don quick grab am dey act like Ruth abokoku! Diariz Godu o” They both laugh “No P. Just keep me posted. Love you girl”
“Love you too. Thanks for this Sandra”
“Anytime”

Now, for that OCD scrub and a relaxing cup of white wine and fish afterwards. This was shaping up to be a great great week and a promising weekend ahead. Just then, her phone begins ringing ‘Never answer’ was flashing across the screen for the first time in three weeks. What does this devilish maniac want just after she thought she had closed his chapter and settled her head on Dele! Oh well!, that’s why his name was now stored as ‘never answer’. He will tire and go away she told herself as she sailed into the bathroom peeling off her clothes as she went.

LIES WOMEN TELL Episode #14

She opened her eyes and Malik was still here. After last night, she had half expected he would have snuck off her bed and returned to Abuja in the wee hours of the morning. Isn’t that what they all do? Bed the girl and board the train! Mother of surprises, he was still here. What does he really want? Are we friends or is this something more than being ‘just friends?’ she asked herself again for the hundredth time since last night when he had told his mother she was just a friend.

She glanced across at him as he lay peacefully with an arm flung above his head, resting on the flowered pillowcase. He looked so adorable in his sleep. She wondered if he was dreaming of their night together as a brief smile played across his features teasing his lips into a half-smile. Should she wake him up? It was a Saturday and she could choose not to go to work today. It would only get deducted from her paycheck. She was used to taking a cut at the cost of having a social life besides working six days a week.

She would stay if he wakes up and act right. She would leave by 9am if he wakes up and acts like a pig. That decided, she crawls over to him, placing a kiss on his upturned nose, his eyes flutter open. Those clear dreamy eyes that always seek to drown her. Presently, they appeared to be deep pools of darkness trying to drown her soul.

“Good morning Ife mi. Slept well?”
“I should be the one asking if you slept well. Hope the bed bugs didn’t bite?” she teased
“Ah! My back!” on an octave
“Oh dear! Are you alright? Did something prick you?” she asked before catching the gleam in his eyes and realizing he was only pulling her legs considering he wasn’t even lying on his back anymore
“Stop teasing!” she said batting one of the pillows at him
“I couldn’t help it. You were the one worried I didn’t sleep well. I wanted to give you something to fuss about. Too bad you found me out” he laughed pulling her into his embrace and rolling her underneath himself on the big bed before kissing her properly.
“Good morning my love. I did sleep well. Did you too?” he repeated
“Yes Malik. I did sleep just fine.” eyeing his face suspiciously, she continued “I noticed you were snoring loud enough to wake the neighbors so I decided to wake you up first before they come to break my doors down” it was her turn to tease him
“I do not snore!” he announced indignantly “However, I heard you snore a bit”
“That is so untrue! Ladies do not snore”
“Oh really! But do they breathe? Do they have noses? Do they use their noses or does the air just pass through their pores and go out someplace else?” sarcastically
“You are incorrigible” she said laughing hard “Yes, we use our nose but we do not snore” she maintained
“Well, you at least, do not. I can’t say about the many others that do” he conceded
“I have to leave today and I want you to come with me. I want my mother to meet you properly”
“I met her already. Was that improper?” snidely
“You know what I’m talking about Lara. I want to go and introduce you to her as my fiancee. I am sure this is what I want to do” he said to forestall her asking that question just as her lips parted
“I know what you are thinking but contrary to your belief, I am not taking you to her just because of what happened last night…” at her raised brow “Alright. What happened several times last night and which I thoroughly enjoyed” he stopped to poke her so she giggled

Seeing her giggle, he pushed the question again “Do we have an agreement?”
“What?” she said on a drawn out breath “You just informed me now. Allow me think about it for a bit” she added when he made a sad face
“Please…………..” he was making puppy faces now “Please……”
“You are not even going to allow me think!” she accused
“Alright. Think. I will be in the bathroom. By the time I am out of the bath……” he allowed it to hang threateningly
She poked out her tongue in response.

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Retreating into her thoughts,she was playing a few unpleasant scenarios in her head containing Malik’s mother.
Arriving Nnamdi Azikwe Int’l Airport, Malik’s driver is already waiting.
“Is this a new guy?” she inquires
“Not really. He was on leave the last time you were in town. So, yes he is new to you”
“What is his name?”
“Isa” came the response
“Nice. So long as he drives you safely” with a side hug as he smiled at her
On approaching the house, Malik begins a strange ritual – checked his face in the mirror, wiped it down with a gray handkerchief, folded it neatly, placing it into his jacket pocket before bringing out a little vial of oil, dabbed some on his fingers, rubbing in between his fingers. Next, he takes out a narrow toothed comb made of bone and ran it through his full hair. It was like watching someone preen for an audition and she was curious what the performance was about. Still watching him curiously, she was finally about to say something.

“I do this little ritual when I visit my mother. It is something of a habit left over from when we used to live together in my high school days and my mother was always particular about my grooming.” seeing the questioning look on her face, he decided to elaborate “She wanted me to appear well taken care of. You see, after my father’s death, his relatives wanted to take me away from my mother but she held on to me and refused to let me go. Their condition to leave me with her was that she would not re-marry. An utterly harsh condition but she readily agreed to it instead of giving me up.”

Lara looked utterly surprised at this new piece of information.
“That is a really huge sacrifice she made”
“I realized that in the last year of my senior high school. Initially, when she made such requests about my grooming, I would rebel and she would cry for hours. After a while, I sat, thought about her life, how she always did her best to give me every single thing I wanted and how I never saw her with any man.”
“wow!” was all she could say
“Yes. She is a pretty amazing woman and she is all I have. She fought for me and she was there through all the hard times. That is why I am always scared to lose her or offend her. I am used to pleasing her and find it difficult to disagree with her sometimes” he seemed to be forewarning her
“I can understand how that can be like” she soothed him patting his hand as it lay in between them on the seat. “I totally understand how that can be”

She could imagine the hard times, social pressure and financial struggle his mother must have been through to train a young boy all by herself. She also imagined how terrible in-laws would be to impose such a life sentence on a young woman because they wanted to take the last thing her husband left her away from her.
Such heartlessness in this country! North, South, West, East, she was sure she could not bequeath the award to just any of the demographics in the four zones in Nigeria. They all had their excesses but all could be hard on a woman who just lost her husband and had no kid for him, or just one child. Even those that had three or four kids were not treated any better. A deep sigh a minute later, she absently rubbed the back of his hand again as it lay limply in the same spot.

He was glad she could empathize with his story unlike that brash Igbira girl he had tried telling and who had immediately let him know that was ‘past tense and should not be relevant to their present or future plans’. That one had not even made it to his mother’s house for any introductions. He quickly discarded her like she was hot potatoes. What she had failed to realize was that his mother was his present and he intended for her to be part of his future. He was not ready to compromise that. This one seemed to get that unspoken truth already and he believed everything would sail smoothly from here on.

They finally pull into a huge driveway, the house is up in front with an open space to house just one car. Isa pulled in there and the huge double doors flew open in welcome. His mother was standing in the doorway with her maid hovering a few feet behind to help collect their luggage.

Malik Immediately stepped out of the car to fold his mother in a warm embrace. Lara took her sweet time getting out of the vehicle unsure of what reception she would get. Mothers seemed to pick an instant dislike for her. It was like instant coffee – commensurate with the degree of affection their son show her. She sighed again in trepidation as Malik called out to her and his mother looked curiously towards where she appeared to be struggling to put her shoes on.

“Lara come over let mother see you properly” Malik urged
Not so much as a peep from Lara until she walked up to the huge double doors with his mother counting her every step appraisingly. She seemed to be weighing in the girl her son brought home, jewelry, cut of her dress, shoe and hair. She finally brought her appraising eyes back to Lara’s face and affected a smile. Immediately Lara saw that smile, followed by a superficial “Aah! How are you my daughter? Welcome. How was your trip?” a question she had not even bothered to ask her son, she knew there was trouble.
This meet-the-mother was not going to be any different from the rest of the other meets. She sighed again

“Thank you ma. How are you doing now? I hope you health has improved greatly since the last time I saw you?” trying for civility and also to remind the bitch ‘Yes, we have met. Yes, I brought you flowers when you laid in that hospital bed looking on the verge of becoming a ghost and yes, you didn’t look so judgy then either. You were glad for the company and for the flowers. Bitch!’

Smiling again as the woman seemed to recognize something about her before turning aside to allow the maid finally step out.

“Come! Come! Come in please. Lara watch your step. There is a slippery tile just somewhere inside the door as I can see you are wearing heels. I have been meaning to ask Isa to bring in the tiler to change that” she kept up a monologue as she walked towards the sitting room, past it, into a huge kitchen that almost made Lara gape. She quickly caught herself as his mother turned again as if on cue to see what her reaction to the kitchen would be. Malik seemed oblivious to the undercurrents. In his opinion, everything was sailing smoothly.

“Your kitchen is very lovely ma. I like what you have done with the space and instead of clumsy cupboards all over the place, I like how you fitted everything into the wall including the stove. Your stove is big and shiny. I envy this space” she allowed herself say thinking ‘Now, if that doesn’t do it, I might as well just leave right now’.
“Hmm Thank you. I designed this place over the years after my husband passed away. This project and my baby….” pausing to smile fondly at Malik “kept me going. The house distracted me while Malik always brought me back to reality with his willful nature. Looking at him now, you wouldn’t believe if I told you some stories”

“Really?” she turned a considering look at Malik “Please you have to tell me some of those stories because as an adult, he appears to have always been so well-behaved, it is hard to imagine anything else. You did a wonderful job on him” buttering her up won’t hurt one tiny bit Lara told herself

“Thank you Lara. You are so sensitive and kind”

Alarm bells were going off in different directions “baby! did she really call a grown- ass man ‘her baby’? Dang! There will definitely be some trouble here” What was it with women that couldn’t let go of their grown kids? It wasn’t like they could marry each other no matter the amount of I-can-die-for-you love between the both. These mothers are ridiculous sometimes! Baby! Snort*

“Did you say something?” his mother asked
“oh! Not at all. I was simply taking in the colors you combined here appreciating all the work and attention you put into creating this lovely space” she embellished neatly
“Thank you my dear. I am glad my son finally found a woman with similar taste as me” came the reply

All the while, Malik merely stood watching both faces trying to figure out if something was wrong or if he could leave them together and go do something else. He was sure Lara would be civil but knowing his mother with being overbearingly protective of her relationship with him, he wasn’t entirely sure yet if he could leave them together so he decided to stay for a bit to watch some more.

He had not even told his mother to Lara’s hearing that she was his affianced but that was taken for granted already. He had never seen his mother interact for any interval longer than two minutes with any of the women he brought home which usually signaled her disapproval. She would merely say ‘hello’, appraise the lady as she had done Lara earlier, hear the first two sentences out of the girl’s mouth and decide she did not approve. He was always so in tune with her that no words needed to be exchanged between them. The said lady would simply find that they had to leave almost immediately as something usually came up at the office.

“Is there something I can help with?” politely
“Oh no! Nothing at all. Seyi already fixed dinner. She set the place too. I will just go freshen up and meet you both back downstairs in thirty minutes. Malik show Lara to the guest room. Seyi prepared the one to the right of my room” with that, she walked out of the kitchen.
‘his mother doesn’t approve of me’ Lara thought to herself ‘even with all the banter and thank-you-Lara, I can feel her disapproval’. Deciding not to say anything to Malik about her doubts, she smiled at his questioning look.
“Your mother is an amazing woman. Strong and a lady too.” watching as her words took effect on him. He was distracted enough to forget what he wanted to ask her. “Come show me to the guest room” she said tugging on his arms.

**********************************************************************************

They stayed up late that night but she was up by 6.30am to help with some house chores. Going into the siting room, everywhere was dark, drapes were drawn shut, electric bulbs still switched off. With no idea where anything was and not knowing where the maid’s room is, Lara returned to wait in her room until she heard some movement. She fell back into a light sleep. Suddenly, something startled her into wakefulness. Opening the door, she found Malik’s mother sitting in a cross-legged position.
“Good morning ma.” Lara greeted kneeling down
“Hmm Is this how you wake up late in your father’s house?” came the reply “Is this the time you wake up at home young woman? Don’t you do anything in your house in the morning?”
“I’m sorry ma. I woke up earlier but nobody was up and I didn’t know where Seyi’s room is so I can ask her what to do” shakily
A hiss.
Quickly getting off the floor, Lara stepped into the kitchen where Seyi was making breakfast. Asking after Malik, she was told he was still asleep and there was nothing or her to do in the kitchen so she should go take a rest.
“Ha! You want mommy to have my head for breakfast!” Lara exclaimed
Seyi simply smiled. A door opens, footsteps are heard approaching.
“Good morning my son. Hope you slept well? Breakfast is almost ready. Lara is in the kitchen too”

Soon, arms snake around her waist to pull her into a sleep warmed body. She didn’t realize she was so tense until he held her that way. She was grateful someone was on her team. Letting him hold her for a bit, she tried to disentangle herself before his mother walked in and saw them. He refused to let go.
“Come to my room. I want to show you something” he said loudly enough for his mother to hear from the sitting room then he dragged Lara right past his mother where she still sat. Lara carefully averted her eyes to avoid the disapproving glare she was sure was directed at her.

Back in his room, she was struck at the simplicity of the huge room. The only concession to beauty and luxury was his huge bed which he subsequently told her was his mother’s choice. Beyond that, everything in the room was functional. The room she had slept in boasted of more luxury that his. A slight shift of perspective for her about Malik as a spoilt, pampered child.
“What do you want to show me?” she asked a little out of breath
“Nothing. I just missed you and wanted you to myself so I can hold and kiss you without mother looking at us” he confessed
“What? Do you want to put me in trouble? I have to get back to the kitchen right away to help with the plates and breakfast”
“That is Seyi’s job not yours”
“But, I’m here now. Do you want your mother to say I lack home training?” protesting
“She would say no such thing. Before you came to visit, it was Seyi’s duty. After you leave, it will still be her duty so let her do her job” he argued as he pulled her into his embrace to kiss her throughly
“I missed you all through the night” he announced after kissing her to his satisfaction “You will sleep here with me tonight. I cant bear to be separated from you for another night”
“ha! I can’t. This is your mother’s house. She already prepared the guest room for me. She will be furious and would think I’m a slut” more protests
“I do not care what she thinks. I want you here in the same bed as me and I will tell her if that will make you feel better”
“Malik I don’t want trouble o. Already this morning she complained I didn’t wake up early enough to help clean the house. I don’t want to give her more to complain about.”
“She complained? Did she say anything to you specifically?
“well, she only asked if this was how I wake up late in my father’s house” she informed him
“The more reason for you to sleep in the same room with me. I will see if anyone will come wake you in the morning if you are here with me. Stop arguing with me. I want you here in my bed so I can hold you at night then I can sleep well”
Sigh“Alright” sagging against him in relief, she let him hold her quietly while she drew some much needed strength.
“Are we cool now? Hope your first night wasn’t so bad? Don’t say anything to her. Just leave it to me” he told her
“Okay” nodding in affirmation

Opening the door, Seyi was just raising her hand to knock.
“Mama says to tell you breakfast is ready”
“Thank you Seyi” Malik replied

**********************************************************************************
It was the second night. Malik bade his mother goodnight holding his hand out to Lara.
“let’s go to sleep”

Lara looked askance, hesitating before placing her hands in his and saying ‘good night’ to his mother. A grudging ‘sleep well’ was the response she received.
True to his words, Malik held her close all night, kissing her half the night and nuzzling her warm breasts. He kept saying ‘I missed you….so bad”. She was only too glad she was in his arms getting some comfort. This whole meet-the-family thing wasn’t really her forte. She just hoped it all goes well and she could return to her awesome regular life devoid of preying mother-hawks watching her every move.

They soon drifted to sleep spooning and the first she knew of daybreak was Malik nudging her folds apart from behind her. She smiled parting her thighs slightly to allow him in. Short, sweet and silent, It was soon over. She got up to leave the room quickly donning a t-shirt over the skirt she was wearing.
“Where are you going?”
“To the kitchen to see what needs to be done”
“Come back here to bed. No kitchen for you today. You are a guest not a maid”
She reluctantly grumbled back to bed but was secretly glad he had stopped her. She wasn’t really the early morning house chore person. She preferred to cook and clean at her own hours. Crawling back into bed with him, she planted a kiss on his lips before he folded her back into his embrace with a husky ‘go back to sleep. It is still very early’.

Finally leaving the bed at a quarter to 8am. Lara was sure Malik’s mother would be furious already. Cracking open the door, the coast seem clear so she tiptoed past the living room relieved his mother was not in her usual spot. Unknown to her, she was seated on the other side of the room and as Lara made to sneak by, she cleared her throat. Lara stopped in her tracks.
Turning towards the sound, she went on her knees to appease her.
“You woke up late again today. Is this how you behave in your father’s house? I ask you again.”
“I’m sorry ma. Malik said there was no need for me to come to the kitchen so early that there was nothing for me to do”
“So, because he said that, you too stayed in the room eh?Tell me, is it Malik you will listen to or me?”
“I’m sorry ma” appealing
“Look, if you want to my approval, you will do as I say. Malik is my son, but you and I know men do not always think straight in the morning and you can’t always listen to what they say in such situations. It will be better for you if you listen to me and do as I say. Hmm” She ended abruptly

Properly confused by now, Lara fled back into Malik’s bedroom. The fact that his mother had not even mentioned her sleeping in the same room with Malik was enough to terrify Lara. She knew it was only a matter of time before his mother finally told them both to their faces that she did not approve but before that happened, she was going to leave their big house for them.
“what happened? Where did you go?” Malik asked
“Never mind. I think I will go back to Lagos tomorrow”
“No. you are not”
“What do you mean ‘No’ you can’t keep me here against my will” beginning to tremble and raise her voice “What is this? A hostage situation? I’m returning to Lagos and that is the end of it” she informed him
“I said No because we didn’t discuss this earlier and I am not ready to let you leave like this.” trying to be reasonable
“But I have to go back. I did not plan to stay beyond two nights.” she pleaded
“If it is clothes you are worried about, we will get some for you”
“No. I have to go to work” trying another tact
“Call your team lead, I will speak to him myself and get you three more days off”
“No. I have to leave” she insisted
“What is it ife mi? Don’t you want to stay with me anymore?”
Sigh. “I want to but this is not your house and your mother doesn’t approve of me” there! it was out
He laughed. “Of course she approves of you else she won’t have let you stay or let you sleep in my room. She approves but she just doesn’t show it”
“She doesn’t Malik. I’m a woman and I can tell when another woman doesn’t like me” she replied
“I won’t argue with you. Just stay two more days so we can work this out. Let us call your team lead first” he said passing her phone to her

*********************************************************************************
Stepping back into the sitting room where Lara reclined deep in thought, Malik stood there for a full five minutes watching her think and wondering what was preying so heavily on her mind that she failed to hear him approach. After waiting a few more seconds for her to notice him, he tapped her on the shoulder. His luggage sat by the door.

“I am ready to leave when you are”
“Malik, I can’t go to Abuja with you” close to tears, she fled the sitting room
“Ife mi what is wrong? I thought we agreed to this before I went to take a bath. What is the problem?”
“I have to get to work. My team leader just called me that most of my team are absent today and he needs me to come in to make up the numbers. I’m sorry Malik. You go ahead before me. I’ll come next weekend” She called from the bathroom.
“Lara please don’t change the plan. Just come with me. Everything will be fine. I promise”
“I’m sorry Malik. I can’t go with you.”
“Could you at least drop me at the airport then?” he tried another tact to bring her out of the room
“No. I’m sorry. I’m running late. Just take a taxi. This is still Ikeja” she replied

After another ten minutes, the front door opens then closes shut. She sagged with relief then gingerly steps out of the bedroom to find that Malik had really left without her. At first, she thought he simply opened the door and closed it so she would think he had left and come out but she realized his little luggage was really gone and he with it. Then she collapsed on the sofa and bawled her eyes out.
This could really have turned out into something more than ‘staying-with-Malik’ but her phobia for his mother, made her drive him away before it actually had a chance to start. How could she have explained to him that the only reason she would not go to Abuja with him was because she painted some deep scenarios in her head about his mother while he was in the bathroom.

LIES WOMEN TELL #13

Hello faithful readers and subbies, I was really excited writing this episode. I hope some of my enthusiasm in writing it would transfer as you read and enjoy.
Enjoy and leave a comment. Thank you for following thus far. And for all those that complained about length, I hope this is lengthy enough for your weekend. ha-ha.

This week’s episode is dedicated to love, to loving and to all those who hope for love. Two more to go….
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Returning to her apartment, Malik surprises Lara by pulling her close, kissing her long and deep before letting her catch her breathe “I have wanted to do that since our first lunch date in Abuja” he said to a dazed Lara. For the second time in a fortnight, a guy had made her speechless.
She could only stare at him in silence watching as his head descended again for another taste of her lips. He sure took some kiss lessons she thought to herself
“What do you want to eat?” she asked finally able to remove herself from his firm embrace
“You!” he said simply from somewhere close behind her ears
Why was she feeling this way around Malik. It wasn’t like she had not already had a couple of wet dreams with him as the subject so why did she suddenly feel like a high school girl on her first kiss trip! She should pull herself together she said to herself firmly.
“Oh! Really? And how is me going to fill your empty stomach because you only get one choice of what to eat” she teased him back
“Never mind that. I am a man so allow me worry about what will fill my stomach and what won’t.” he replies still from somewhere too close for comfort behind her ears.
It appeared he had somehow figured out her sensitive spot somewhere between the back of her neck and ear, so that he just kept his words directed towards that spot. The air leaving his mouth as he spoke softly was beginning to do things to her body so much that she was goose pimpling slowly from her neck down. She had to flip this back to safer grounds she thought as she turned to face him on their way to her snug kitchen.
“You know we could go to the Pizza place just at the end of my street” wrinkling her nose at the way it sounded, she tried again “Okay, I heard how that sounded even to myself considering this is your first time visiting me and considering you were on a flight that does not serve anything serious beyond colored cake and plenty of sugary drinks!” Even to her own ears, it sounded like she was blabbing. Malik kept staring at her mouth like he recently stumbled across it on Discovery Channel.
Please don’t kiss me again else I won’t be able to pull back Lara was mumbling to herself absently as she stood rooted before Malik undecided what to say or do next. She had expected their relationship would progress beyond friendship naturally but she had assumed with the Fulani blood running in Malik’s veins, that she would need to do the seducing and come-hither moves before he would make catch on. This wasn’t the way she had expected it to happen and definitely not within the first thirty minutes of his getting into her apartment. In all the three weeks she had known Malik, he had been the perfect gentleman, with good control of his hands, his language and did not make her feel their relationship was about just the physical. Right now though, she wasn’t sure he had not just been playing the gentleman to get her to trust him and allow him into her apartment without reservations. If anything seriously physical had happened between them before now, she would have suggested he lodged in a hotel with a standard lie of “having a roommate”. It seemed too late right now. He was here and he wanted ‘her’ for dinner.
“Are you done contemplating how I am suddenly a pig and how I plan to take advantage of you” he asked when it looked like she had reached the end of her idle contemplation.
Gasping lightly, she looked sharply at him to see what else he had deduced from her transparent face. She had forgotten that unlike Dele, Malik appeared to know what she was thinking at every point.
“Why would you say that?” hesitantly
“Because I can read your face like a visual aid” he said simply
“Well…..I wasn’t exactly thinking…..err…you know…” she stammered
“You don’t have to feel guilty for your thoughts. Besides, I have behaved like the pig you rightly thought since I got here. I apologize. However, I feel a really strong pull towards you so do not totally blame me. Fortunately, my mother did a good job on me and I can control myself. I will practice some control for now but I warm you that after we have had dinner, I may not be so good with my self-discipline on a full tummy” he smiled at her managing to get a smile from her too.
Relieved, she turned back towards the kitchen “So, what would you like to have? I can make stir-fried greens with elbow macaroni and chopped chicken breast”
“Sounds good to me. You always know what to suggest so my tummy would approve. Just hear it growl, it suddenly remembers it is empty” making her laugh this time with pleasure at the flattery
“Fortunately, I also brought a bottle of wine which I believe would complement the meal nicely. Let me remove it from my box so it can sit and breathe” he told her as he turned back the way they had come. She waited to hear him unzip his bag. The sound was a while in coming but just as she straightened to open the cupboard a bit above her head, she heard the sound.
***********************************************************************************
Removing the widest heavy pan hanging on the rack, she prepared to make a meal Malik would remember. Reaching for the refrigerator door, Lara absently scanned her kitchen shelves for things she would need to make the meal work – fresh carrots, chilli, onions, ground parsley, some garlic, some ground black pepper…..at this point she was hoping Malik’s tummy would approve of all the spices she planned to use in the meal as she did not imagine she could make a bowl of even noodles without using some garlic and parsley in it. Finally pulling the refrigerator open, she takes the chicken breast she bought two days ago. It was skinless. That was usually a good sign. It meant the fat attached to the skin was off and she could just fillet away and saute the filleted pieces in the olive oil heating in the pan.
Absently humming while she worked, she was so lost in what she was doing that she did not realize Malik had been standing inside the door watching her. Briefly startled, she smiled at him.
“How long have you been standing there?” she inquired
“Not too long. Just as you were about to blind yourself with the chilli and onions as you poured it into the chicken” he chuckled
“That’s almost from the beginning. Naughty you! You should have said something so I would know you were here”
“Why? So that you could give me something to chop too? Lailai” he laughed
“Lazy man! You all want to eat but not do the work eh?”
“With pleasure. Was it not you begging me to eat some minutes ago? So, we just do you people a favor by eating” he pursued the banter in an effort to relieve some tension.
“Oh! A favor eh? In that case, Please don’t eat o. I don’t need the favor anymore. Please don’t eat”
“Ah! But now I have to. You don’t have a ‘Bingo’ to eat your leftovers so I have to do my best and save you also from ‘spoilage’ and ‘wastage’” laughing harder at her
She had turned away from the stove and was looking at him with mirth contained in her eyes as she shook her head.
“Never mind the ‘spoilage and wastage’. I will save the leftovers in my refrigerator. Please don’t eat o”
“Okay I surrender. With all the nice aroma coming from that pan. I have to eat this food till my tummy screams ‘stop!’”
They both laugh as she turns back to continue stirring the contents of the pan. She had just added a sieve full of steamed elbow macaroni.
“Dinner would soon be served sir” adding a mock curtsy “You should go fold yourself into a chair while I bring you a tray” she added
“Alright ma’am. I would take the wine from the makeshift ice bucket to the coffee table while I wait for you” turning to leave, he stops to add “I love your place. Nothing is excessive. It is all so comfy and functional”
“Thank you sir” preening
***********************************************************************************
After dinner, Malik’s phone started to ring. Picking it up on the second ring
“Hello, Mama. Good evening. I’m sorry I did not call you as soon as I got to my friend’s place. I told you I would be staying with Lara.”
“Did you forget? Yes, she was the one that brought you the lilac flowers at the hospital. Yes, she is fine. She just made me dinner” he informed his mother reaching out to rub Lara’s neck affectionately
Friend? Friend? Did he just tell his mother I am ‘his friend’! I thought he said he wanted us to try a relationship and see how it works? I thought he was just trying to get into my pants some few minutes after he entered my apartment? And we are just friends eh? Oh! We will see about that she promised herself rolling smoothly to her feet simultaneously clearing the coffee table of the remnants from dinner.
Watching her go, Malik knew he had some explaining to do. He needed to wrap up fast with his mother before Lara had more time to dwell on whatever it was that had annoyed her in his conversation. That ass was too tight to sleep untouched tonight! He mused randomly.
**********************************************************************************
“Do you want to shower now or before you sleep?” she asked politely
“Now would be fine. Thank you” came his response
“Do you need hot water or would you be fine the Gidi way” she asked again
“What is the Gidi way?” he almost snorted
“Straight from the shower or tap”
“I see. I will try the Gidi way and if I can’t survive it, be ready with a tub of sauna-tempered water to immerse me in” he tried to make her smile. It didn’t work
“What’s the matter ife mi?” he inquired making her look sharply at him. Why was he calling her ‘ife mi’? Didn’t he just inform his mother that they were just friends? What game is this man playing now?
“ What did you say?”
“When?”
“What did you just call me?” she pushed
“Ife mi” simply
“Yes? Why would you say that? Ain’t we just friends? Isn’t that what you just told your mother?” she spat out angrily
Oh Finally! So, that was what this was about.
“My mother is old and would not understand if I told her I was staying with my girlfriend. Would you have preferred I told her you are my girlfriend and not my friend and let her begin to think terrible things about you?” Taking the two steps that separated them, he held her shoulders forcing her to turn towards him.
“Look at me Lara. I told her you were my friend for your sake. I was trying to protect you from her prejudice. In my mother’s age, girlfriends were sneered upon as sluts. No one wanted to be a girlfriend. Only betrothed and affianced. I want to be able to introduce you to her as my fiancee not girlfriend. Do you understand?” he cajoled
She was still playing mute trying to weigh his words to see if she should believe him or if he was just a joke. Then he did it again. Holding her in his embrace and speaking to the back of her neck.
“I’m sorry ife mi. Forgive me. I’m sorry” he kept muttering on a refrain unaware that he was making her skin tingle and if had been a man, a part of her anatomy may have been the only warning he would get.
She felt weird. Trying to be angry with a man and then turning to liquid cheese because he inadvertently keeps stumbling upon her sensitive spot. She needed to put some space between them. Trying to step out of his embrace, Malik interpreted it as her still being mad at him, so he tightens his hold almost crushing her as he resumed repeating his new mantra “I’m sorry Ife mi. I’m sorry. Please say you forgive me”
“I’m not angry anymore” she managed to croak in a very husky voice
Hearing the emotion in her voice, Malik was startled. He looked down at her face, noticed the dark heavy look in her eyes and instinctively realized what had happened. He didn’t pause long enough to analyze his luck, he mustered another ‘I’m sorry’ before claiming her lips. The response was spontaneous.
She found herself responding without holding back, easily sinking into him. She was giving all of herself to his kiss without meaning to. Was this a release from all the pent up wet-Malik-dreams or was this as a result of his making her tingle. It could also just be curiosity on his part, wanting to figure out what she would taste like for dessert. She did not care anymore. Shutting out the niggling voice, she allowed herself float into his taste with a sigh. Dang! He even tasted better in the flesh than he had in her dreams she thought to herself.
“I should take that bath now” he said breaking away abruptly, shaking slightly. He had not expected her complicit response. Her response was like a sedative. He needed to take a shower to calm down first. He hadn’t hoped for so much.
“Okay” she agreed calculating immediately that she would call Dele while Malik was in the shower so he doesn’t call her at an inconvenient time e.g when Malik was getting her thong off or something. Which thong do I even have on today? Is it the flowery one Dele got me for Easter? She wondered before going to look for her phone. Six missed calls. Five from Dele. Ol boy! Dele is gonna bite my head off now. Waiting to hear the shower run before hitting call back.
**********************************************************************************
“Hey baby!” she croons prepared to lie through her teeth if need be to placate her big baby.
He wasn’t saying anything which meant he was probably listening for background noise to figure out where she was or he was really angry. Thankfully, the shower sounds did not filter into the kitchen where she went to place the call.
“Baby, you are not answering me? I’m sorry I missed your calls. I left my phone in my bag all the way in traffic and when I got indoors, I just dumped the bag in the bedroom and rushed to the kitchen trying to fix dinner and my tomorrow’s lunch for work”
“I’m sorry naa. I just remembered I should call you before you sleep and then I saw your missed calls. Talk to me plsssss”
“Baby, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. What else do you want me to say? Okay, I love you baby, sleep tight and dream of me. Goodnight since you won’t speak to me” she said and when he still didn’t say anything after two seconds, she hung up feeling weird. Dele was weird, sulky and unpredictable. He picked her call but did not say anything for the duration. Why ever did he pick up! She was slightly pissed. Just then her phone vibrates in her palm. She turns it over to read the text that just came in.
“LOL. You sounded real contrite and convincing. Sleep tight baby. I just wanted to hear your voice. It was enough for me. *smile*”
Sometimes, Dele was just a sweetooth. She began to smile as she turned off her phone for the night listening to Malik rummaging in his box. She tacitly stayed where she was pretending to be busy with the dinner dishes and cleaning imaginary dust motes off the counter-top.
**********************************************************************************
Hands crept round her waist pulling her against his firm chest. Her breathe escaped in a soft whoosh as she dropped the pretend dusting cloth in her hands to savor the moment. He was nibbling on her ears. She had figured out by this time that Malik was one of those guys that wanted to feel in control of the seduction. He needed to feel like the initiator and the abuser. He could not handle if the woman has a strong response or met him stroke for stroke. She had concluded that if she was going to finally get some piece of Malik outside dreamland, she better start playing like a Hausa girl would – docile, surprised, with the right dash of receptive. She allowed him nibble some more because she knew the 5 ft air conditioners in her office and the one in her car did not allow her enough room to sweat so she still smelled fresh from the day’s work. He began with her shoulder, moving her blouse aside to graze lightly on the soft skin underneath.
“ I should go take a shower too” she said to determine if he thought she needed a shower or smelt clean enough by his standards
“Not right now, you don’t. I like the way your skin tastes” he told her making her eyes pop. Hmmn. This ‘malo’ boy has some flow in him. Deciding she would just let him have his wicked way with her while she laid back, enjoyed and pretend to be docile. Ha-ha! This is gonna be fun she promised her naughty side.
“So, when will I take my shower?” she teased
“Hmm? Oh that! When I’m done with what I have in mind he said scooping her up immediately. Ignoring her yelp of surprise, he carried her back to the bedroom. She was surprised. He had straightened out the bedspread and flung some pale rose petals on the sheet with pieces of Hershey chocolate on the bed spelling “STAY WITH ME PLS”. She was speechless for the second time that night by the same man. When he had said earlier “when I’m done with what I have in mind”, she had automatically assumed it was just plain old sex but it seemed Malik had managed to exceed her imagination twice in the same night and impress her throughly. She was so surprised, she had not even noticed her feet were back on the floor.
“What do you think?” he asked her when she didn’t say anything for a long time and just kept staring at the bed like she just saw a snake forking its tongue out at her.
“I’m speechless Malik. I never expected any man would do this for me. What do you expect me to say?” she had a film of tears in her eyes
“Say you will stay ife mi. I am falling hard for you and I want you to be by me always….not literarily anyway. You know what I mean”
“Yes, I do. I’ll stay” she leans into him to kiss him “Thank you for asking so nicely” she adds as his body begins to respond particularly a part of his anatomy was all the warning she got before she found herself tumbling onto the sheets, Hershey flying all over and one wayward rose petal straying into her mouth. They were both laughing.
“But tell me, how did you bring all this with you on the plane?” she stopped him long enough to ask
“Well, The petals were wrapped. I bought a dozen roses from the flower shop at Maitama and had my mother’s house help pick each petal from its thorny cocoon then pack it in a Ziploc bag to keep fresh. The Hersheys were easier. I just walked into a supermarket and there they were sitting, smiling and singing “bring me to Lara” so I brought them along Ha-ha” he kissed her briefly again
“Everything was well sealed so the airline didn’t have any issues with it being inside the plane” he told her.
“Thank you”. She said again shoving one of the Hershey she had just unwrapped into his open mouth as he paused to say something else. Laughing at his surprised face as he chewed the chocolate, then tried to kiss her with the gooey mess while she clamped her lips together swinging her head from side to side. He laughed at her finally kissing her with half of the original mess in his mouth.
“I love you Lara”
She stopped laughing and stared at him in shock. Now, this was the third rude shock he was giving her tonight. Was the man all about shocking a girl continuously till she was carried off to the E.R? He didn’t even allow her enough time to digest the choc and rose petals. Number two on her bucket list. Even Dele had never done half as much in all their dating history. Should she say something about the “I Love you Lara” thing or not?
“What did you really come to do in Lagos?” she said instead. Something kept telling her there was nothing in his box and he had made the trip solely to see her.
“If I told you I came just because of you, would you believe me?” he said
Okay. I only imagined it. I didn’t say I wanted for it to be true now did I? Please don’t let his box be empty she prayed as he got off the bed to get his box.
Pulling open his box, she found it was empty as empty. Just an extra shirt and folded shorts nestled inside the box.
This man had truly come all the way from Abuja with a bottle of wine for dinner, chocolates and mutilated rose petals to ask me to “pls stay with him?”. There has got to be more to this than just ‘staying with each other’ business. Now, this was one of those rare times a man was allowed to say “I came to town just to see you” she said to herself.

LIES WOMEN TELL #12

Driving through the Ikeja traffic and strategising the rest of the week in her head, a car cuts in front of her with the driver weaving badly. Pumping her brakes lightly, she cursed loudly into the confines of her car like any seasoned Lagos driver “Were! Oloriburuku sombori!”.

The young man in the car next to hers was smiling at her. She smiled back glad he hadn’t heard her vituperative. He waves, she waved back wondering what the wave was about as she continued down Mobolaji Bank Anthony. Getting to Abule Onigbagbo Busstop, she noticed the same brown Camry ahead of her, catching a glimpse of the driver in a white Tee that had waved at her minutes earlier. Idly wondering how he had gotten ahead of her, she swerved to avoid a pedestrain who chose that exact time to cross the road in moving traffic. Lagosians were always in a hurry – walking or driving, everyone is in a hurry to go nowehere – why else would someone cross the road while traffic was moving!

Just after she drove past Sheraton hotel on her left, she noticed the brown Camry had managed to fall behind. She smiled. Then, the Camry seemed to be chasing her through traffic for a bit until another crazy driver cuts into its path forcing the young man in the white Tee to step on his brakes and ease forward slowly. They were soon halted by the traffic light at the junction allowing hawkers walk between the immobilised cars to peddle steering-wheel covers, music cds, plantain chips, cashew nuts, footmats and every sort of product they imagine you would never find in the market or why else would they hawk these? Lara wondered to herself

Looking at the traffic light and lightly humming to the radio, she noticed a honk behind her and looked up to see if the light changed without her noticing. It was the brown Camry. Soon, one of the hawkers comes barrelling down her side of the car with a paper. The honk comes again from behind. It registers in her head, so rolling down as fast as she could, she collects the piece of paper from the man and says ‘nagode’ as he appeared to be an ‘aboki’. Almost outta breath, he merely gives her a second look, nods and steps back as traffic resumes moving at that moment.

Lara looks at the paper in her hands before dropping it into her open bag. The paper felt like it was hurriedly torn from a carton holding a phone or something. Bayo was scrawled on it with eleven numbers beneath the name. This better be fun, Lara told herself.

Turning the corner into her friend’s office, she slowed down for the oncoming vehicle to rush past as she pulled into the complex. Whistling, she turns off the ignition, grabs her bag and laptop. There was free wifi inside the building.

Throwing a casual greeting at one of the many security guards policing the building, she hits the 2nd floor button and waits for the elevator to stop. The secretary was seated in her usual spot behind the counter. Their eyes meet, she smiles back.

“He is in the conference room” the secretary informs Lara

“Thank you. How have you been? How was your weekend and the family?” Lara enquires politely

“They are all fine. Thank you” came the reply

“Hello. Long time” She calls out as she enters the conference room

“Haa! It is you. How have you been? Have you been in Lagos or you are just coming in?”

“Yesso. It is I. No, I travelled. I was in Abuja. I just came in this morning” Lara says “Where is Tope?” she enquires

“He went to court this morning with one of our colleagues. I also just returned from a deposition in Abuja last night”

“Oh really! How did your trip go?”

“Well, stressful but needful. Here I am again this morning after a long trip” He rejoins

“Pele. Where is everybody else?”

“Tope went to court with Titi. Fela is in the other office, Kike is having an early lunch and Bode went to court on the island”

“Great! And you are writing another brief with Lekan”

“Exactly” he chimes

“Anyway, I just stopped by to say ‘hi’. I won’t be staying so long. I’ll be resuming work tomorrow and wont have time to come in like I used to so am spending my last day of vacation with you guys.”

“How sweet!” sarcastically

She chuckled swatting his broad shoulders lightly. Remembering the piece of paper stuck into her bag, she brings it out to dial and confirm the number on it. If he was confident enough to ask the hawker to bring me his number, this has gotta be good stuff. She said to herself for the third time that morning.

“Hello. Is this Bayo?” she breathes throatily into the mouthpiece reading the name from the paper she held.

“My name is Lara. You asked the guy selling on the road to give me your number in traffic at Sheraton…..”

“Yes. Nice to meet you too Bayo” she paused to listen again

“No. I am still at Sheraton side. Yes, I am in an office”

“No. I dont work here. It is a friend’s office”

“I don’t know when I will leave here yet. I may be here till evening.”

“I don’t think we can see tomorrow. I will be travelling to Ibadan. I won’t be back until weekend” lying smoothly

“Yea. Too bad. No, I don’t work in Ibadan. I’m just going to visit”

“Visit friends naa.” beginning to get slightly irritated at the judge and jury pattern of questioning.

“Yea sure. I’ll call you when I get back this weekend. Bye” hanging up, she saves the number as ‘Bayo traffik’

Two hours later, engrossed with her laptop, her phone rings again and she absently reaches for it clicking the green button automatically before glancing at the screen. It was Bayo again. What’s the matter with this guy! Didn’t we just speak and agree to ‘see’ on the weekend?” she asked herself before mumbling a greeting into the mouthpiece.

“Yes. I am still there” she grumbled “I’m working”

“Just working on personal stuff. I work in a call center” she replied deciding he did not specifically need the correct info

“I’ll be here for a bit. Oh! You work with Dangote. Nice.” rolling her eyes in a Do-I-look- stupid-you work-in-Dangote motion

“So, what do you do at Dangote?”

“No. I know the company deals in Sugar, rice, cement, flour, spagghetti and all that. I meant, you as an employee, what is your job description with Dangote?” English can be harding some young men she thought to herself

“Oh! Nice. So, you are the one counting all the money for them eh? I should come and visit you in the office o” she laughs sofetening a little

“Ha! So now, you don’t have money eh? After telling me you work with Dangote cement, you now don’t have money abi?”

“Ok o. I hear you” she replies apparently more receptive to him now he seems to be more than casually employed. An accountant with Dangote. The only thing left would be to see if he can put his money where his mouth just went.

After three more hours of laboring over the laptop and browsing the internet for all the things she missed during her two weeks stay in Abuja, she was ready to shut the laptop and go grab lunch. Her phone rings again. Dele

“I thought you were meant to call me back after you alighted from the taxi and settled down at home” came the accusation

“Was I?” she flung back as carelessly “You hung up on me. So, why was I the one supposed to call you back? You HUNG UP on me” really getting pissed with every passing minute he kept breathing into the phone oozing possessiveness. ‘You dont own me mister’ she almost yelled into the open line. He was so presumptous, so much, it was beginning to border on arrogance. Why on earth would she have called him back when she had told him to hold on so she could get into a taxi! He hung up so it was on him to dial back not her.

“Ok. I’m sorry” he finally says “Someone walked into my office and I had to hang up but I said for you to call me after you got home. I didn’t realise you didn’t hear me say it” he explained

“Of course I didn’t hear you say it because my ear was away from the earpiece since I was negotiating with the cabbie” she responded.

It was ridiculous how their misunderstandings always started from really minor things such as this but managed to ballon into huge issues involving their friends by which time they had forgotten what started the conflict in the first place.They both sigh

“You know we should commuicate better eh?”

“And you know I always tell you to be patient and calm when you feel like attacking me” she retorted

“I’m sorry” he apologises again

“I’m sorry too. I could actually have called you but I was mad that you hung up. I’m sorry” she apologises too

“I was just missing you and wanted to see how your day was going plus preparations for work tomorrow”

“You know how it is…..work is always work. I am on morning shift tomorrow and they said we can’t bring our phones into the call area”

“Really? How many hours is your shift? What if I am trying to reach you?”

“Shift is 9 hours with an hour break in between. I guess i’ll check the phone at intervals or during lunch or bathroom break”she assured him “I’ll call you back if I miss your call”

“Ok. I’ll talk to you later” he rings off with his trademark abruptness leaving her holding an empty dialtone to her ears. Sighing, she replaced the phone in her bag retreating into her thoughts before remembering she was headed to the kitchen for lunch.

Returning to her seat after a 30 minutes break, she hurried forward as she heard her phone ringing again. What is Dele calling back for?

It wasn’t Dele.

“Oh! Hi Malik” she crooned

“You were not expecting my call……”

“Not that. I simply thought I would beat you to it” she cajoled Why on earth would I be expecting your call when we just spoke this morning and we are not officially dating yet! Oops! I forgot! He asked me to give him a chance after our weekend date and I agreed. I guess this is what it means eh. She quickly re-calibrated deciding to switch gears.

“Of course, I expected you to even call me since abi you did not miss me already?” she teased again

“Hmmmmn scope!” laughing gaily so that Lekan at the end of the conference table glanced briefly at her. She batted her eyes at him and continued flirting shamelessly with Malik

“Really? That would be great! Oh! I wished you were here already”

“Fantastic! What time will your flight get here? Seems you been coming to Gidi a lot before we met sef”

“Oh! You didn’t? You are coming because of me eh? You could have sent someone else right?”

“Ha-ha indeed! see scope o!” she laughed heartily and wondered why she didn’t laugh this way with Dele, why it always seemed to be angry words and raised voices with him. She returned to the conversation to hear him ask what he should bring for her. She gave her standard response “anything” which she knew guaranteed something good because that way, men couldn’t go cheap. Only an Indian guy ever broke her “anything” as a gift rule and brought her a very miniature stature of Shiva that could fit even into her wallet. That was one cheap ‘anything’ she didn’t want repeated anytime soon.

“Alright. See you soon sweets. Hugs” she dropped her phone for the umpteenth time that morning wondering if she was going to get any work done in between all the calls.

“Yes. I’ll be waiting to pick you from the airport. Text me your airline and flight time”

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Driving to the airport to pick Malik and wondering if his mother will like her when she finally gets. Lara is in a good mood humming along to the song on radio. She realises she will be arriving just about the same time as the aircraft. She had not been able to leave the office as fast as she envisioned.

Someone wearing jeans was waving to her. Recognizing Malik, she waved back quickly opening her door to step out and help him with his single luggage. He must have taken it into the aircraft as Carry-on. That would explain his quick check-out to bypass baggage claim. Exchanging a quick hug, he unceremoniously drops his portable carry-on in the back seat so they could pull out immediately. Cars were beginning to honk impatiently behind them.

LIES WOMEN TELL Episode #11

I apologize for an error in number from last week. The last episode was #10 and this is the new #11. Apologies to everyone who noticed………….

This week on Lies Women Tell

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After waiting a few more minutes, she walks to the almost empty queue, presents her driver’s license, gets a nod and walks down the stairs to the waiting bus. It was a short distance to the aircraft. Other passengers were identifying their luggage beside the plane before it was loaded onto the conveyor and sent into the belly of the bird.

She identified her pink carryon with the cute bow she had allowed Dele tie on it last night when he had said ‘You will be shocked when you get to baggage claim and see five similar boxes like yours and you cant be sure which one of to pick’. Climbing the short stairwell into the plane, again she presented her boarding pass to the air hostess at the door and was told ‘Welcome to Arik air. Do have a pleasant flight. 13A on your right. Window seat”

“Thank you” came her automatic response. She just wanted to sit and reminisce on the past week especially, about Malik.

Luckily, nobody was in her window seat. Tapping the Lebanese young man with full hair to let her through, she finally settles down, belts herself in and proceeds to look casually around at other passengers. Her gaze returns to the Lebanese. He was reading the dailies – The Punch. She was not really interested unless it had a Lifestyle section. Trailing her gaze to his head, she wondered how he had managed to hold onto all his hair as most of the Lebanese she came across lose half of their hair by the time they had stayed in the country over a four year period. Perhaps, this was his first year in Nigeria she concludes.

Continuing her survey exercise, her eyes came to rest with envy on a young couple standing in the aisle – although they both looked Nigerian, the man was carrying the baby strapped to his front in a baby carrier. He also held his partner’s handbag while she just held an almost empty water-bottle. Lara smiled again explaining it to herself as a long sojourn in America or London which caused them to hold onto such quaint practices.

A couple more minutes, the last passengers straggled onto the plane and sat themselves in the Business-class section. The door hummed shut. Speakers cackled from somewhere in the cockpit as the pilot welcomed everyone aboard. Soon, safety emergency procedures were dramatized by the hostesses which never failed to amuse her. Smiling, she focused attentively on the short drama scene.

When it was over, “Please turn off all electronic devices and phones” a hostess was walking up and down the aisle making sure mobile phones were turned off. It reminded her slightly of her trip coming to Abuja and how she had met Malik. Settling back into her seat, Lara sighs, allowing herself to finally dwell on her date with Malik.

They had headed to a nameless hang-out which Malik swore was worth more than it’s weight in thatch. The place was almost totally designed with thatch making her wonder how it looked in the rainy seasons.

Simple. They re-thatch” he replied like it was that simple

The place was dubbed ‘Hide-out’ by people for want of a name. Those who couldn’t find it on their own only need tell a taxi or Okada to take them to ‘Hide-out’ and ‘Viola!’. Anyway, they were there already so she decided to enjoy whatever magic Malik promised the place held. Soon enough, a waitress in Hawaiian styled extra short skirt comes up to their table to take their orders.She fancied if the waitress dropped something and bent to pick it, she could see her spanks…..if she was able to wear any under such a short skirt! She chuckled to herself with her shoulders shaking and Malik glanced at her questioningly. ‘Nothing’ she mouthed back over the slow jazz playing in the background. Once the waitress left though, he turned to her smiling “out with it. I know something really funny must have crossed your mind and am curious”

It is nothing really. I just imagined if I bent pretending to pick something, I would be able to see under her short, short skirt and I couldn’t help but wonder if she was wearing spanks or something less comfortable” she told him making him throw his head back and laugh with abandon.

You know, the first time I came here with my friends, I could not help but think the same thing and my silly friend actually dropped his phone on the floor expecting the girl would attempt to pick it up” his face lit up remembering

Did she?”

Guess” he teased

Oh! Tell me already. Did she bend to pick it for him?”

Nope” at her look of surprise, he laughed again “she just walked away. Don’t tell me you actually expect one of them to fall for such a trick! Look at these girls properly…..”pausing to allow her take a second look at the girls walking between tables

You think they have not been in plenty ugly situations already, that they would actually fall for such a juvenile trick!” he shrugs following her gaze “Unless she fancies the guy and just wants to play flirt. Perhaps”

Within her, Lara had to agree with him. She now noticed the hard looks, pursed lips and blank stares of some of the waitresses then she began to wonder why there were only waitresses and no waiters. Same way she had wondered when they stopped at Jeveniks in Maitama the first day, there had only been waiters, no waitresses.Was ‘single-sex-workplace’ system the hot new trend in Abuja! Life hasn’t been fair to most of these ladies.

Remembering something her dad always told her when she travelled in his company ‘Anybody could be on the streets. Don’t look down on them because you are only lucky, not privileged to not be in their shoes. If you had been born into their situation, would you have hitched a ride to heaven to sue God’ he added when she was going to launch into an argument on the topic. She had gone silent afterwards thinking hard on his words. This subsequently formed part of her worldview because each time she saw someone in a less privileged position, her dad’s words would ring in her head again like it was just yesterday.

As always, her time with Malik had not been boring even for a minute. He was attentive, funny and chatty. He made her laugh a lot trying to make her sample the cow-leg because she had said it looked silly eating an animal’s leg when other parts of the body hadn’t disappeared.

I notice most men love cow leg like it is a delicacy. Cow tail, I can understand a bit but the leg, that is like fighting a war and it isn’t even meaty! What’s the point?” she attacked him which only made him try harder to feed her the cow-leg he was eating until she begged him to stop.

They suddenly stopped laughing, staring across the tiny table at each other as if they were meeting for the first time and didn’t know what to say. She was lost in his eyes. They looked unnaturally white.

Usually, when she sat across from a guy, his eyes looked a funny bloodshot color or brownish and she came to believe it was the normal eye color for young men. Malik’s eyes looked healthy, his teeth were neatly arranged in his mouth. They were even and white making his lips more inviting. He had the kind of lips that always made her cut out those perfume models from GQ. Unconsciously, she leaned forward, a phone rang somewhere between them. The magic was dispelled. Wondering what the jarring sound was, Lara reaches into her bag to retrieve her phone, while Malik raises his phone to his ear, simultaneously pushing his chair back to move to a less noisy place.

He soon returned “I have to leave Lara. My mum just woke up and she is asking after me” he told her looking distraught

“Mommy’s boy! I understand. I’m jealous she sees more of you but you should go now” she teased

“Thank you for being so sweet” he sounded relieved

“Oh! You can count on me being your sweet-tooth. Ha-ha” patting him on the back, he pulls her into a tight embrace squeezing like his life depended on it before whispering something in her ears that made her eyes pop. Then he released her.

“Do you really mean that?” she asked going very still

“I do” he replied simply

“Then, I guess i’ll see more of you the next time I visit Abuja”

“When will that be? Do you know?” he asked eagerly

“Nope. Not yet but hopefully, it will be soon”

“Not to worry though. If I miss you too much, I’ll buy a roundtrip ticket” he laughs

“You will be welcome anytime you wanna visit” she assures him as they walk back to his car

“You really mean what you said though?” she asked again

“Why is it such a surprise Lara? You think I make a habit of spending most of my time with ladies I meet on aircrafts?” he threw back at her

“Pardon my surprise. I just didn’t see that one coming and usually, I like to think I see everything that is coming to me” she informs him

“I like you a lot already and every time I spend with you reinforces it for me. I suppose I could assume the same of you?” he pauses

At her vigorous nod, he continues “So, I would like to see you whenever you are in town or when am in Lagos if your boyfriend don’t mind” waiting for her assurance that she was a single lady

“Boyfriend? What boyfriend? If I had a boyfriend, would I have so much time to spend with you?” she sidesteps neatly “I should be the one worried about all your girlfriends instead”

“Girlfriends? What girlfriends? I only have one right now….”deliberately letting the pause lengthen until her brow kept climbing higher and he couldn’t hold the tease any longer “…..and she is you” he finishes making Lara sigh with relief.

The speaker burst into life somewhere in the cabin announcing their aproach and subsequent descent into Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos. The Lebanese beside her brought his chair to an upright position as the hostess walked through the aisle to ensure everyone was in the right position for the descent.

Walking through the corridor to find baggage claim, she smiled again to herself wishing something would make her see Malik again very soon promising herself something better change the next time they met. Soon, her pink box with the ridiculous pink bow tied conspicously to the handle comes floating down the rotating platform.

“Hey girl! I’m in Lagos and you are the first person am calling”

“Yea. Thank God for a safe flight. Ok, get off my phone now so I can talk to other people too”

“LOL Sandra, do you ever think of anything else? No. Malik did not come with me. Neither did Mofe. Although I won’t have minded if one of them was waiting here right now to pick me up” laughing as she walks out into the humid Lagos weather.

“Yea. I’ll talk to you later. Bye” they both hang up as her phone begins to ring again

“I called you thrice already” the voice accuses “Didn’t you see my call? You put me on call waiting”

Rolling her eyes elaborately, “Yes, I had a safe flight thank you. Hope your day has been going smoothly too.?” she replies instead

A deep sigh. “I’m sorry. I suppose you were on another call. I was merely anxious”

“Well, don’t be anxious father-hen. I’m fine. I just left baggage claim. I was speaking to Sandra to let her know I arrived and you know how she likes to hug calls” Lara finally explains

“What! Sandra beat me to it? She called?” mock incredulity

“Ha-ha! Mind yourself o. What do you mean she called me? My friend actually uses her credit to call other people o contrary to your belief and yes, she was the one that called me that was why the call was even that short” covering her friend

“Hmmn! You both wish! Sandra, uses her credit to actually call! She’ll flash instead” he laughs

“Are you getting a taxi?” he inquires

“Well, I don’t see your driver here to pick me. I suppose I have to stoop to taking a taxi” she drawled

“Yea. All that stooping will end very soon” he promises

“I can’t wait. Hold on baby lemme talk to the taxi man” she says to him “Isaac John. No. 5. How much?”

“3,500” the taxi driver spits out

“Why? 2 k” she bites back

“2,500” he returns

“Okay” opening the back door, she dumps her handbag while he pops the trunk open for her to leave her luggage “let’s go” she tells him after settling in the backseat.

“Hello? Dele? Hello?” she said into the empty line. He had hung up. Sometimes, Dele was so unpredictable she mused angrily. If she had told him to hang-up and call back when she wanted to hail a taxi, he may have misconstrued it and said something they may both regret and now she had told him to hang-on so she could get a taxi, he had hung up. It had taken all of 3 minutes to complete the bargain! She decided she wasn’t going to call him back. Let him call when he wanted to.

Bringing out her phone this time, she smiled when she saw the name flashing across the screen.

“Hey! I know I said I was going to call you but I just got into a taxi to take me home. I was just going to dial your number as a matter of fact” she appeased

“Phew! Yes, I know. It will be too soon to forget you already.”

“I won’t forget. Yes, I miss you too Malik. Alright. Talk to you soon.”

“Bye” she replied

Then her phone rings again. Oh dear! This one is gonna be a sulk party she thought to herself.

“Hi Mofe. Am so sorry I have not called you yet. No. I am just stepping out of the airport doors trying to get a taxi. I was going to dial you as soon as I sat down in the taxi.”

“I’m sorry naa. Ok. I’m sorry. Yea, I’ll call you when I get home”

“Oh! You miss me already? Am flattered”

“ha-ha! What do you want me to say naa? Alright, I miss you too……..small”

“Okay. Later” she hangs up for the fourth time that morning, drops the device, finally able to breathe and look around at familiar sights as the taxi sped towards LASUTH junction under the Ikeja bridge.

She made a mental note to come visit her friend that works at LASUTH next week…perhaps. The last time she visited him, he had lifted up her dress even though he had just announced his wedding was a fortnight away. Perhaps, she wasn’t going to visit him afterall.

LIES WOMEN TELL EPISODE #10

Welcome to the weekend. This episode is dedicated to my lovely Friend Motunrayo who is convocating today from the University of Ibadan. More scholarly hats to you dear friend.

PS: For everyone that has been enjoying this series but do not drop comment, please repent from ghost-reading, do leave a comment to encourage the writer and the story may just develop along lines you suggest. Thank you all for reading. Once again, the comment box is open to all of you. God Bless

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She was barely out of her freshly rumpled blouse when another horn blares out in front of their gate.

“I swear, if I hear another horn in front of this gate again today…….” Sandra scowls

“perhaps, it is for you this time” Lara teases

A darker scowl meets her comment. A short snort.

“As if that is possible” Sandra replies “Go check”

“Oh! It is Dele and I have not finished packing yet” Lara wails

“Well, throw everything into the box and go sort it at his place. The guy sef dey try. If na me ehn, all this time you dey get to waka and see Mofe and Malik no go dey for you at all. Na him no sabi tie you keep for one place” Sandra opines

“For una two mind” tongue out, Lara sashays towards the gate to let Dele inside. “Wait o! Wetin Mofe tell you?” she turns back to ask Sandra

“hmummn! Na you know. You better go open gate for am before he start dey think something else”

“You ehn! You must tell me later o” Lara threatens as she steps out wondering what Sandra knew about this morning’s episode at Mofe’s.

“Later when? You are leaving soon and Dele is here. We will chat on phone” Sandra assures her as she opens the door

Lara walks towards the gate wondering how much Sandra really knows compared to what she lets on. It seems something had happened between Sandra and Mofe before she returned from the bedroom that morning.

“Hey Love!” leaning through the open window to plant a quick kiss on his mouth “Come inside. I am almost done throwing things into my carry-on. You can have breakfast while you wait” she cajoles

“You are not done packing? It is almost 10am!” Dele accuses “I don’t want breakfast. I want you”

“And you will have all of me as soon as am done packing. The sooner am done, the sooner we can leave eh?” she reasons

“Ok. What’s for breakfast?” he inquires

“Pancakes and omelette” she throws back as she leads the way back inside “You can syrup with it or just plain with tea or coffee” she adds

“Syrup please” he says to her back as they step inside Sandra’s living room.

Sandra had disappeared into the bedroom to help Lara throw her things inside her box. Lara heads to the kitchen to serve Dele her breakfast pretending it was his and she had anticipated his arrival when preparing breakfast that morning.

“Thank you” he intones before she disappears into the bedroom to finish with her luggage

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“You served him breakfast?” Sandra whispers

“Yes”

“Did you put the TV on for him?” she whispers again

“No. Didn’t occur to me” Lara whispers back

“Well, if you had, we won’t be whispering and he won’t feel irritable waiting for you and I can tell you what I know about Mofe and this morning” she concluded

“Right away!” Lara jumps off the bed and out the door. She was that curious to hear what Sandra had to say “Ok. Done. Now, tell me” imperatively

“Well, when you were in the bedroom getting dressed, I asked Mofe if he had got a new place and he said ‘not exactly as I knew the place already but you didn’t so it was ‘new’ for you”

“Oh!”

“Yes. Then I began to wonder what he had planned that he wanted to show you his ‘place’? I figured he was trying to get into your pants. I also figured that part was your business and you would figure that out fast enough to decide if you wanna or not.” she finishes again

“Oh! Thank you for telling me” Lara says sarcastically

“Is that all you are going to say? ‘oh thank you?’” Incredulously

“What do you want me to say when you didn’t think to warn me before I stepped into the Tiger’s den?”
“Sorry. I assumed you knew already and was just playing along” Sandra apologises

“Play along ke? With Mofe? The guy kisses like a butcher for godsakes, why would I play along with that!” she almost screams at her friend

“Sorry again. I wasn’t privy to that info. Like a butcher you say……How do butchers kiss if I may ask” Curious now

“Oh! You know…..just the way they cut their meat. They kiss the same way”

“Really! I had no idea” Sandra says again

“Well, now you know. You should have warned me” Lara gives her a hurt look

“Am sorry naa. If I had known he was clueless about kissing and that he would try to eat up your mouth, I would have feigned a cardiac or something and stop you from going there. Honestly, I assumed you knew his game and you were just playing along. Am sorry” she apologizes again

“Alright. It’s fine really. Nothing happened past the butcher’s kiss so it is fine.”

“For real?” Sandra asks surprised “The way he was shaking in the sitting room looked like he was going to swallow you and leave only your bones”

Lara gave her a ‘yet-you-let-me-walk-into-it-look’ before shaking her head. Sandra gives her a wide harmless smile.

“Again, I hate to disappoint you. Nothing happened past the butcher’s kiss and am glad. Dele’s call saved me from more butchery.” Lara intones

“Thank God” came Sandra’s rejoinder

“Yea” she says as they close the lid together and pull the carry-on off the bed where it had sat during the packing conversation.

“All set” she announces as she walks into the sitting room ahead of Sandra who hangs back in the room hoping Dele would leave and she won’t have to say ‘hello’ to him. She always felt a twinge of guilt at not being able to relate with Lara’s boyfriend. Unfortunately, Dele being a gentleman that he is, asked for her so she had to come out of hiding.

“Hello Sandra”

“Hellooooooooo” she dragged out in an attempt to appear friendly

“Thank you for breakfast” he says politely “Thanks also for keeping Lara. I appreciate it realizing it is my job. Thanks”

“Oh! It’s nothing at all” Sandra replies in friendly banter “After all, she is my friend too”

Seeing them out of her apartment, Sandra helps Lara carry her handbag allowing Dele take the heavier luggage. They hang back and engage in random chit-chat delaying the moment when they have to hug and say ‘goodbye’. The moment finally came and it wasn’t so bad. Dele was relieved when Lara finally buckles her seat belt. They wave to Sandra while he promised to call her soon knowing even as he said it that he never would.

**********************************************************************************

“How did it go with your uncle?” he inquired

“Oh yea! That went fine. You know, I actually thought he had gotten a great job for me in Abuja and that was why he wanted to see me. Can you imagine what he called he to talk about?” she says to him

“No. What?”
“Guess!” she replies

“You know am horrible at guessing. Just tell me what”

“Well, would you believe he wanted to talk to me about marriage! Asking me when I was bringing the man and all that talk!” she lies smoothly

“Oh really! Did he now!” says Dele secretly warming up to his current favorite topic as he had been begging Lara to introduce him to her uncle as her a-fianced but she keeps stalling.

“So, what did you say to him? Did you remember to tell him that the man is ready but you are the one stalling to make the introductions?” he asked her brightly

“You know I can’t do that. I simpy told him he will soon meet the lucky man” she had brought up the topic to put Dele in an edgy position where he can realize the topic does come up in her family, she is yet to acknowledge him to them, and he was still in the running as ‘the man’. It always works with Dele. Everytime.

“And why can’t you do that? Do you have other plans besides me, other options? Are you weighing your options? Is that what all this stalling is about?” he was almost angry

“No baby. I just want everything to be perfect. You will meet them once we get our wedding money back and have fixed all our plans. We will just go get a date from our parents and surprise everybody. That’s why I keep stalling. That’s what I want – to surprise them all” She tries to soothe him

“Everytime! Each time we have this discussion, you always have an angle you are coming at it from. I am tired of all these excuses. Are you going to introduce me to your family as ‘the man’ or not?” he says

She stares at him openmouthed. The game had suddenly taken a hard twist and she wasn’t prepared at all. Opening her mouth to reply, she blurts the first thing that forms on her tongue.

“I will”

“Good. When?” he pushes

“One step at a time” quickly recovering and beating herself ‘dear lord! What have I gone and done this time!”

“I’m a patient man. It is just a matter of time before I recoup from Dapo’s expenses” he assures her smiling.

She turns to stare out the window, alone with her thoughts and kept beating herself mentally for using the ‘marriage’ topic today. Of all the inane things to say! Why couldn’t she have picked a harmless lie like he wanted her to speak to her niece that was about applying to University of Abuja or something equally mundane he would have absolutely no interest in hearing. But, No. I had to go pick a very dicey topic and now the dice has tumbled with me on it. What am I going to do now? As a friend would say, ‘Lies don’t finish on earth that we need to go to heaven to find new ones’, something has gotta give. Comforting herself with this, she turns away from the window to say something to Dele just as they pulled into his building.

**********************************************************************************

Leaving for the airport, Lara’s phone rings in her lap. Seeing who the caller was, she didn’t want to pick the call because she was not sure what Mofe was going to say.

“Pick your call” he states flatly

“Hello” hesitantly

“Good morning. I just wanted to wish you a safe trip” Mofe says

“How sweet of you!” seeing Dele’s brow go up at the word ‘sweet’, she changes tact ‘It’s really thoughtful of you. It’s sweet you remembered I am traveling today Mofe. Thank you”

“How could I forget? I still saw you yesterday when you were warm and responsive in my arms and…..”

“Yes. I will let you know when I arrive Lagos. Thanks for calling. Bye” she cuts him off and hangs up before her response could betray the conversation. Obviously, Mofe assumed he was a hit with her with his maniac kissing and thought she struggling for air in his arms was her responding to him. Eew! She should have bit his lips like her friend always do. That should have cleared up all his assumptions nicely. Crazy men!

Dele was trying to read her face, then gave up when she held her face so carefully that it gave nothing away. “Was that Mofe?” when she nodded in the affirmative, he continued “you should have let me say ‘hi to him”

“I didn’t realize you wanted to say ‘hi’. Besides, you are driving” she points out

“Doesn’t matter. He is your old friend, we are getting married soon, I should say ‘hi’ sometimes” he argues

“Yes. On your own time, with your own credit, when you are not driving” she retorts

“Oh! It was him calling not you. Why are you suddenly touchy about me speaking to Dele? I thought you wanted me to be ‘friendly’ and ‘accepting’ of all your male friends as you are of my ‘female acquaintances’ to use your own words” he continues

“I was. I mean, I am” she replies distractedly. She was still thinking about Mofe and how she should have disabused his mind of any thoughts of being a good kisser. Seeing her withdraw into her thoughts, Dele turns on the car radio to allow her think.

Pulling into the Abuja International Airport, Dele drives to the domestic wing where Arik airline is located to allow Lara check-in while he brings up the rear with her luggage.

“Call me when you arrive Lagos” he repeats

“You know I will” came her reply as they hug briefly. Disengaging, she heads upstairs to the waiting area for her plane to be called. He walks out into the early morning sun to go to his office.

***********************************************************************************

“Hello. How are you doing today?”

“Your mum will be discharged today eh?”

“Yes. I just checked-in. Am waiting for my flight to be announced.”

“No. I took a taxi. No, I didn’t want to bother you. The taxi was okay”

“Yes, I’ll call you as soon as we touchdown in Lagos”

“Will miss you too. Bye. Say ‘hello’ to your mum” she terminates the call

***********************************************************************************

“Hello Sandra. How you doing girl?”

“You are just waking up? No? So, why do you sound like Alex ran a marathon all over you?” she teased sure of the response it will bring

“Ha-ha-ha Okay. I have shut my mouth. I am at the airport already.”
“Yes, Dele brought me but he has left. Rushed to the office. You know Dele and work”

“Sure, I just called Malik”

“Yes naa. Why won’t I call him when I have been thinking about him since Saturday night”

“No. We didn’t decide on that. I wonder when next I’ll get to see him”

“Alright girl. Have a fun day. Yea, I know some of you have to work. Ha-ha. Bye” she ends the call feeling pleased

This is the boarding announcement for Arik air 3421JH to Lagos from Abuja. Your flight has arrived from Kaduna and will be boarding at 10:00 hours

Again, this is the boarding call for Arik Air flight 3421JH to Lagos. Boarding is at gate 5 for 10:00 hours.

The speaker above her blared noisily. She had not noticed it before she sat and would have chosen a different place to sit. She glared at it willing it to silence. She knew that was her boarding call but so many people had rushed to gate 5 she was willing to wait till the queue thinned out so she could walk onto the plane without waiting on the long queue. She already had her seating selected. If someone else was in it, all she needed to say was ‘you are in my seat and I prefer to sit there. Thank you’. It had never failed her.

LIES WOMEN TELL #9

Dapo knocks on the double door before him.

“Come in” a voice calls from within.

“Good evening Dele. This is past 5pm. I assume you are less busy now?”

“Yes, yes. Do come in. I was just waiting for you. Lara is returning to Lagos tomorrow or the day after and I want to spend as much time with her as possible” Dele supplies

A grunt meets his announcement. Trying to contain his disapproval, Dele continues.

“I have carefully read everything in your school’s package and feel it is reasonable”

“Really?” Dapo asks surprised

“Yes, really. You will find this check covers your immediate needs – application fee, visa application and interview and registration fees to secure your place in class”

“Oh really!” very surprised

“Yes really. Why do you keep saying ‘really’ as if you expected otherwise?” Dele wondered

“Maybe because the last time I was at your house, you didn’t sound so agreeable.”

“Don’t be ridiculous! What did you expect me to do? Hang my boxers on my head and dance ‘Shoki’! I had to read through everything and be sure it wasn’t that mischievous friend of yours hatchng a hare-brained scheme.

“Ha-ha-ha not ‘shoki’ exactly, probably sekem. Lol” Dapo retorts

“Did you drive? I could drop you off if you want…”

“I drove. I will soon leave my car behind anyway so I might as well drive while am still here” Dapo says

“Yes. That’s right. I would be so glad to cruise your baby all over town, however I want without your pigeon eyes double-checking for scrapes” Dele suggests

“That’s funny because you are a more meticulous driver than I am” he replies as Dele starts to shut down his laptop in a familiar going-home ritual.

“Dele, please don’t tell me you are still using this laptop! I have changed my laptop twice already! You are so old skool” Dapo accuses

“I agree. How else do you think I have maintained a relationship so well? I prefer to describe it as ‘being a staying guy’”

“Err if you say so. You are the boss”

**********************************************************************************

“Hello. Are you on your way already or you want me to come pick you at Sandra’s?”

“Oh! I’ll come myself. Don’t worry about it”

“How about your luggage? Won’t that be a hassle?”

“Don’t worry about it. I will call a taxi. Besides, it is just one piece of luggage and my handbag” Lara replies

“Alright. What time will you get here so I can be expecting you?” Dele asks

“12ish?”

“12? I said I wanted to spend the whole of today with you not half the day! You are leaving tomorrow. I want you to myself the whole of today. In fact, am coming over to pick you right now. End of discussion” he hangs up

“Oh shit! I have to leave now. Can you take me back to Sandra’s place like right now please Mofe?” Lara pleads

“Right now? But, I just got you here like 5 minutes ago”
“5 minutes? Nope. More like 30 minutes” Lara replies

“Well, to me, it is like 5 minutes. I barely even started” Mofe sulks

“Not exactly. You started just fine…..remember?” she teases

“hmmn” a deep sigh

“Can we leave now please? I don’t want Dele to get there before me.” she cajoles

“Why are you suddenly in a hurry? You can just tell him you were coming from your Uncle’s place or something. He does know you have an Uncle in Abuja, right?” Mofe pokes at her

“Not now Mofe. Please, let’s just leave” she begins gathering her scattered lipgloss and compact mirror that had spilled when Mofe tackled her immediately she stepped into his sitting room earlier.

She had not been exactly surprised when he did that but she had to pretend that she hadn’t seen it coming. *snort* what real woman is ever taken completely unawares by a man that has the hot pants for her? *snort again* she had only agreed to come here this morning to confirm her suspicions. A naturally curious person, always wanting to be sure her instincts had divined correctly each time. Yup! She had been right again this time but she couldn’t help wondering when this habit would finally put her in trouble. Mofe had called her phone this morning and she was surprised to hear the device ring somewhere in her sleep. Obviously, she had forgot to turn it off last night. Picking his call had just been to humor him because she just had another splendid ‘Malik dream’ which she didn’t want anything to erase just yet.

“Hello?” she breathed into the mouthpiece

“Hey girl! Did I wake you up?” he had asked

“No. The mouse in my pillow did. Whatyathink?” she had bit out

“ha-ha you know you shouldn’t use sarcasm when you are just waking up. It’s actually sexy in my head”

“Mofe, did you call me just to tell me how sexy my sarcasm is?” she retorted

“No. Sorry. I wanted to see if you were not too busy this morning.”

“Why?” wide awake now

“I wanted to come pick you up and show you my new place. You have not been in town since I moved”

“Oh really! Okay. Lemme wear something. Come over in 20” she says

“Great! See you soon”

“Yea. See ya” she chirps rolling out of bed and whistling off-key. She steps into the jacuzzi at the corner of the room, hurriedly washing with the liquid Olay Sandra keeps for guests. She was just toweling dry when she hears Mofe’s trademark long horn.

“Don’t worry, it’s Mofe. I got it” She calls out to Sandra fixing breakfast as she walks out of the room in a terry bathrobe, to open the door for Mofe.

“You seeing Mofe this morning?” Sandra calls from the kitchen

“Funny right?” he smiles crookedly “He just calls me like 15minutes ago inviting me to come and see his new place”

“New place? What new place? Mofe never told me he moved houses!” Sandra returns

“Really?”

“Yes. Really. I’ll ask him when he comes inside”

“Come in. Door is open for you” Lara calls out “Please give me 5 minutes to put something on. Sandra is busy in the kitchen” Lara informs him as soon as he steps through the door. Not waiting for much but a nod from him, she rushes back into the room.

“You got a new place Mofe.” Sandra asks coming into the sitting area

“Oh! Hi Sandra. Good morning” he manages

“You got a new place?” she repeats with a straight face

“Well, you see, it is not exactly a new place per-se, err I think Lara has not been there but you have. So, it is a new place for Lara.” he tries

Scrunching her brows in thought, “So, this your new place is the same place just outside Kubwa?”

“Yes.” pleading with his eyes

“Hmmn. Now, am beginning to get where this is going!” laughing really hard, she makes to return to the kitchen then turns back “You owe me if I keep quiet” waving the wooden spoon in her hand at him

“Yea, yea, sure. Big time. Please just don’t say anything” he begs again

“How much are we talking?” she persists just as the door cracks open and Lara steps outta the door

“What are you two talking about?” she asks looking from one to the other

“I was just asking Mofe to stay for breakfast but it seems he is in a hurry to go and show you his NEW Place. Isn’t it Mofe?” Sandra says

“Yea. We will come back for breakfast” he attempts a flat smile

“Okay. Sandra please leave mine in the microwave. I’ll wolve it when I get back. Shouldn’t take long. Let’s go” turning to catch Mofe staring appreciatively at her short flouncy skirt and sleeves silk shirt.

“What?” she asks

“Nothing. You look good is all” he replies with a smile “can’t I appreciate a fine girl again even if she is my friend?”

“Bring something back o. Preferably, Money” Sandra calls out from the kitchen

“Don’t mind Sandra.” Mofe says pulling Lara towards the door when she tries to ask Sandra what she meant.

**********************************************************************************

Getting to his place, taking in the environment, commenting on the fact that the house seems to have just two other occupants in the compound making a total of three which in her estimate was pretty cool – less people to fraternize with, the better.

“This place looks pretty cool. Just you and two neighbors. Nice!”

“Thank you”

“Does your landlord stay here?” she inquires

“No. He has another house in Asokoro. This is just one of his money-generating investments”

“I like the color and the fact that the flats are not connected to each other and there is still plenty of space for sit outs and small parties”

He laughs “Do you ever see past parties?” he asks amazed “Every space you see, you already see a party going on there and you are not even an Ijebu lady”
“Oh well! You can’t blame me” shrugs “C’mon. Come and show me the inside of your apartment. Am curious” she opens the door to step out of the dry Abuja sun.

That was when he opened the front door, allowed her go in first and while she was ooh-ing and aah-ing over his super-fine drapes, coffee table and chairs, he turned, locked the door, turned her towards him with her mouth open for the next ‘ooh’, he kissed her hard and long as if he was going to suck the ‘aah’ out of her before she gathered enough composure to respond.

“Waaaait! What was that?” she asked

“I was just….”

“I know what you just was. It was a rhetorical question.” she snapped “what I’d like to know however, is why it happened. Why did you kiss me Mofe” he had her full attention now and although she had a good guess already of what his response was going to be, the question begged to be asked. She was not going to be an easy! Waiting for his response, she folded her arms and affected a borderline angry stance.

“I…..I…errr..I like you” he stutters

“*snort obviously or you won’t be kissing me” derisively

“Well, I have just been thinking about you a lot lately and was wondering if you think about me too” he stops waiting to see if she would take the bait

“Continue. Am listening. Don’t come any closer until you finish” she warns when he takes a step forward with his arms making to pull her towards him.

“Lara what do you want me to say! I like you, ok? I’m attracted to you. I was jealous when you said you were going on a date last night and I told myself I had to see you and tell you before you returned to Lagos tomorrow” he finishes

“I see. But why would you be jealous naa?” she teased gently “I have met many of your girls and I don’t complain besides, we have been friends since high school. Why are you suddenly attracted to me?” looking at his face, she realizes he was too far gone in his emotions he won’t be able to give a coherent answer, she decides to let it go for now. She would find those time slices where his guard was down and she could tease him mercilessly with this she told herself

“it’s alright though. We are still cool” she told him rubbing his arms in a soothing gesture while telling herself that was a first and last time not because they were old friends, but because he kissed like an Ibadan boy – like he was going to suck all the sexiness out of her.

He looked at her as she came closer, steeled himself against her dainty touch. He was not sure why he was suddenly reacting to Lara like this. He had been through high school with her when she was a tomboy and had almost no friends because she was self-conscious about her closely cropped hair. He had also been there in University when she had gone wild dating a new guy every fortnight – her criteria had been ‘the guy had to be hot’. He remembered being disgusted at her wildness back then and wondering why she wouldn’t pretend to be a virgin like the other girls instead of flaunting her conquests around campus. It was their second year before they held a conversation after years of waving and only saying ‘hello’ whenever they met on campus. That day, she had come to watch a movie by herself and he had been surprised to see her alone. Usually, she would have a guy there to buy the ticket, the popcorn and drinks while she sat on the side waiting. He would go get her and shoulder the way for her to get into the theatre. That night she had been alone and he was also alone because his date had cancelled on him. Unfortunately, he had gotten the tickets earlier in the day and decided he would watch the movie even if he had to go alone. Jet Li was one of his favorites. She was there for the same movie, he had an extra ticket, why not! He had enjoyed the movie with her company and he was surprised she made such a good movie companion, squirming, gripping his hands and burying her face in his shirt at the right time. He was glad his date had cancelled. Subsequently, he had seen Lara in a different light and would stop for occasional chats when their paths crossed on campus. He never forgot that night.

They were in the kitchen and she was saying how much she liked the way he had managed the space by putting in high shelves since the kitchen was just a few meters across. He moved to open the guest toilet which was off the kitchen before crossing the room to open another door and invited her to look.

“Ohh! This is soooo pretty and cool. Is this your bedroom or a girl’s room?” she teases

“It is mine. Does it look like a girl’s room?” he asked surprised

“Well, the cream and lavender drapes with the lavender rug and bedspread…..” she trails off when he begins to laugh uproariously “What?”

“You think Lavender is feminine only”
“Well…..isn’t it supposed to be?”

“I hate to disillusion you my dear, but when I went to make these purchases, there was no ‘girl’s only’ tucked above the shelf where the fabrics and rug sat. Besides, women do not have absolute monopoly on colors” He announced. Proud she had liked his room

“Do you remember that night we watched that movie together in school?” trying to distract her from an argument on feminism

“Do you remember that was the first time we truly had a conversation on campus?” he was trying to re-introduce the mood

“Errrr I don’t remember” she says screwing up her face in an attempt to recall the memory

“You don’t!” amazed “How can you not? It was the most beautiful movie”

“meh! It was Jet Li” she states flatly

“You don’t like Jet li?”

“Errr Let’s just say I prefer Chow Yun-Fat but that’s not important. Why should I remember that day? Anything special happened?”

“Nothing” disappointed

“Nothing?” looking at him with raised brows “so, why do you look disappointed if it was nothing?”

“Forget it. It’s nothing”

“You keep saying it is nothing but your face and tone contradicts your words. Talk to me. What is it?” she insists coming closer to stand beside him but still surveying the intricate pattern of the drapes “What is it? Tell me” she turns to search his face as if the answer would be there somewhere

Allowing her come an inch closer, he folds her into an embrace as his mouth descends on hers for the second time that morning while he slowly walks her back towards the King-sized bed. He didn’t stop until the back of her calves bumped the bed frame and she stopped trying feebly to push his chest away. Allowing her come up briefly for air and also to decide if she prefers her back sinking into the bed.

“You are choking me” she gasps as soon as he lets her up for air. Looking at him with a sly smile, she told herself ‘and this is why we won’t be repeating this. He does kiss like a butcher’ I need to leave this place she thinks as her phone begins to ring from the sitting room. ‘Thank God’ she thought ‘saved by the phone’.

Mofe continues standing in front of her undecided. This had not gone exactly as he envisaged. He had played it many times in his head and in every scenario, her back had chosen the bed when he allowed her come up for air and now his head keeps ringing repeatedly. ‘What changed?’

“That’s my phone Mofe. I need to see who is calling” she says as she makes to slide past him to the sitting room. He turns and goes with her.

LIES WOMEN TELL #8

“PING!” her phone had been vibrating silently in her lap while she dreamt. She looked down at it willing it to ‘shut-up’ so she could replay her dream experience– Did I just dream about Malik? Lara thought. Was that supposed to be Malik or Dele in the dream? Oh well! Who is this idiot pinging me incessantly! Could they have picked a less appropriate time! Oh! Tis Sandra, what now?

“I hear you moan and I know that was not a pain-moan” It persisted

“Answer me jooor. I know you are awake now”

“*sigh* sigh* sigh* Sandra, why dost thou persecute me?” Lara replied

“what did you dream about?”

“That you bought a new car and took me for a ride *tongue out*”

“Hmmmmn this is far from over”

“LOL. Amebo tins”

Their driver was pulling into a paved driveway with music coming from the other end. Alex was out in front, waiting. He waved at them just incase they hadn’t spotted his bulky frame and protruding stomach. Lara always asked him when he was going to have the baby and he would laugh right back and say when she has hers. He was easy-going.

“Hey Alex!” Lara calls out while Sandra begins a pout in the back seat throwing in a deep scowl at Alex. He feigns a cardiac at her scowl, staggering backwards playfully clutching his heart as Lara climbs out of the front seat to hug him tightly.

“What’s the matter with Sandra?” he asks her “What have I done this time? Y’all just barely got here. Wouldn’t that break the world record if I have done something to make her face look like that in less than 2 minutes?

Lara bursts into a throaty laugh.

“Don’t mind her jare. She is just angry about last time”
“I heard that” Sandra joins getting out of the car while Mofe parks the car properly

“What last time?” turning towards Sandra “What did I do last time? I thought we all had fun” he affected a hurt tone

“Hmn! One of us thinks so!” Sandra retorts, walking ahead towards the door then realizing she was probably giving him a great view of her behind. She quickly turns around and finds him ogling her just like she predicted.

“Arrrgh! You are incorrigible Alex.” swatting his chest with her purse “This is the same thing you did last time we met! Well, you included my front view too. Could you drool less, perhaps?”

“Perhaps” he says unrepentantly

Chuckling behind them, Mofe walks up to the door ahead of them since Sandra was stuck like a statue to a spot so Alex wouldn’t get a view.

“You both have started again” was his only comment as he goes inside the dimly lit place

“Lara are you coming or you want to be the referee?” he calls from inside

“Am coming” extracting her self from Alex’s arms, she walks inside too

“You see, why cant you just be less stingy like Lara and allow me unrestricted view?”
“Do I look like ONTV?” came her hiss “Alex mind yourself o before I lose my temper today”
“Ha-ha Alright, I’ll let you be this time. No tease. I promise. Shall we?” giving a mock bow

“After you” she says

**********************************************************************************

Walking to the bar, they found Lara and Mofe safely ensconced directly opposite the spigot of beer.

“Nice. We can order now. You guys finally finished” piped Lara

“Your friend stingy sha. She say she no be ONTV”

“What?” Lara looked amused wondering what ‘being ONTV’ referred to in the context

“Alex!” a stern look

“Okay o. I don shut-up my mouth” he says

“What are we having? I want a virgin cocktail drink am meeting someone later this evening”

“By meeting someone, you actually mean a guy?” Mofe asks

“No. A hermaphrodite! Whatchuthink?” came her sharp retort

“Don’t bite please. Just idle question” Mofe raises his palms in mock surrender

“Don’t mind Lara. It is a guy. One cute tall guy that behaves himself and controls his eyes unlike some people I know” Sandra supplies

“Na you dey find trouble now o. Trouble siddon jeje yanga waka go wake am” Alex rejoins

“Did I mention any names? Guilty conscience”

“Ok naa. I will continue with what I was having before Mofe brought me trouble” grinning widely

“Heineken?” Lara asks

“Nope”

“Star?” Mofe suggests

“Naaaaah”

“Stout” Sandra offers

“Ahhhhh! A woman that knows my heart. You are almost right though. Ha-ha”

“Barman, please give me two big Odeku, one virgin Pina colada for the lady in green, a legend extra stout for my guy here and for this most exquisite goddess……darling, what are you gonna have? He seemed pleased with himself to make Sandra smile at the ‘goddess’ title. He actually was attracted to her and all the clowning and horsing around was to mask his doubts. He felt he didn’t stand a chance if he asked her out on a date. She would simply turn him down and he couldn’t live with that.

“Thank you Alex. I will have same thing as Lara. Who knew you could be such a gentleman” she teased back

“Alex, why Odeku naa?” Lara asks

“Have you seen their new advert?”

“yes” doubtful where this was going

“Did you hear the dude’s voice?”

“Yes” hesitantly

“Well, if that don’t make you wanna drink it, I wonder what else will” Alex states simply and they all laugh

“That’s true though” Mofe agrees

“Yesso. I always wondered where they got the guy with such a voice and I ask myself is this how a real man should sound ni or is it that when you drink it, you start sounding like that?” Lara says

“This is Gulder the ultimate” Sandra imitates a baritone and they laugh some more

A phone rings, Lara picks up trying to hush the group but the music from the speakers would still have interfered so she moved towards the ladies to pick her call. It was Dele.

“Where are you?” he repeated again. She had not answered the first time. She probably had not heard with the loud music playing in her background.

“Hello. What. I cant really hear you?” she feigns

“How will you hear me when you are in somewhere noisy! Where are you?” he repeats a third time almost losing his temper now. If he knew the little liar, her brain would be working furiously to cop-out the most inane lie.

“Oh! I went with Sandra to one of her friend’s house. Her son has a birthday party.”

“I see. How old is the son that you all are dancing at a child’s birthday?”

“He is 4 today”
“Ahh! So they now play Olamide’s Story for the gods at a four year old’s party! What kind of mother does he have?”

“Ohhhhhh Dele please don’t start. You should know everybody likes Olamide. Even kids. Besides, the song part is sort of for us adults. The kids had their cartoon characters come play games and dance with them earlier already. Please don’t start o”
“Alright. I hear you. I was just checking to see how you were doing”
“Am fine” curtly. She was beginning to lose her temper in this fine game she was playing with Dele. She couldn’t let that happen. She should have called him before they got into the bar so he wouldn’t have had to check up on her. Dang! Falling asleep, dreaming about Malik had made her forget. Careful girl, you don’t wanna mess up the grand plan now, do you?

“Am sorry. You know how I hate going for parties but I had to come with Sandra since you were busy. She insisted and I couldn’t think of a way to get out of it. I miss you baby” she soothed

He wasn’t sure what she was trying to sneak past his head his time. He decided to let it slide.

“I was tidying up in the office and realized I had not heard from you since you got back to Sandra’s this morning so I decided to call.”

“Thanks love. Am fine. Have you seen Dapo yet? Has he called you?” neatly shifting gears

“He hasn’t called. I assume my brusque manner with him yesterday may have caused it. I went through the school package he left for me and I think it is something do-able”

“How do you mean?” she probed when he stopped there

“Well, for one, they would help him secure a part-time job on his student visa where he will work just 25 hours max a week. I feel this will help him develop a sense of responsibility including gaining work experience”

“Oh! I see. Yes, it does sound like a good idea. You should call him though. You know how he is. He may be sulking and misunderstanding your silence already. Call him”

“Okay. I will. Before I leave the office” he assures her

“I miss you baby”

“I miss you more”

“Are you coming over tonight?” he asks

“No dear. I’ll come tomorrow. My uncle at Bwari asked me to see him. I called him this afternoon to let him know I was in town before we will stumble into each other and he would yell like last time. So, when I called, he said he had been wanting to ask when I was coming into town so we could discuss something urgent”

“Okay” in a small voice

“Am sorry dear. I didn’t realize you would want to see me again today”

“You know I always want to see you. What kind of talk is that?” a bit sharply “It’s fine though. I’ll see you tomorrow then? Tomorrow is Sunday, no Uncles or aunts to see eh and if there is, cancel it. I want to see you. Tell them your husband said so”
“Yinmu. You will have to marry me first to claim the title” she retorts

“Don’t worry. Very soon.” he smiles into the phone

Two short raps on the door.

“Lara! Are you in there?”

“Am coming Sandra”

“Sandra is calling me. I have to get off the phone”

“Wait! Where are you in the house?”

“In the bathroom”
“Why in the bathroom? Couldn’t you stay in the bedroom or something?”

“You said you couldn’t hear me and the bathroom looked empty with no music coming in. Are you complaining on my behalf? It is me in the bathroom not you” She returned a bit sharply

“Sorry. Got to go”
“Alright. Call me when you girls get home”
“Will do.”

**********************************************************************************

Sandra was eyeing her suspiciously.

“Who was on the phone that took you so long? All the ice in your drink has melted down. You drink looks like a cheap man’s swimming pool already” continues to eye her looking for something to pounce on

“Twas Dele. I should have called him before we came inside”

“Mscheew! Maybe you should have. Anyway, the guys are waiting for you wondering what ate you up in the ladies”

“I’ll be right out. I need to just call Malik before he calls me too. I told him we were going for a housewarming” At Sandra’s raised brow “Wetin? Isn’t this a housewarming? Oh dear! You didn’t warn me” she feigns and they both chuckle as her phone hits Malik’s dial tone

“Sshhhhh” at Sandra as the connection is made on the other end “Malik, hi. How is your day going?”

“I just wanted to check up on you and ask how your mum is faring”

“Yea, sure. We still on for tonight. I may even have a surprise for you” she laughs

“Alright. See you later baby. Mwuah!” she ends the call

“Flirting with the dream now eh?” Sandra teases

“You know how it is”
“Yea, I know he was the one you dreamt about in the car”

Lara merely laughed and refused to say anything. Standing side by side, touching their faces in the mirror, Sandra shakes her head in bewilderment.

“I just don’t get it.”

“What don’t you get?”

“How it is that you seem to attract all these men who fall deeply for you, yet you can’t seem to commit to one! It’s baffling”

“Hey! Don’t say that. Am committed to Dele ain’t I?”
“hmmn You call that commitment? I won’t even touch that with a comment” snorting

“What can I say! I try but none seems like the right one” in a more subdued tone

“Ha! The illusory right one eh?” Dropping her lipgloss, she turns Lara bodily towards her “Tell me, does that illusion really exist? Is there a right one for every person or is it just a wish like a unicorn?

“I wish I knew the answer Sandra. I wish I knew”

**********************************************************************************

They were barely indoors before a horn blares in front of their gate. If Mofe had not pulled away immediately he dropped them off, she could have sworn it was him again. Looking through the drapes, she saw the black range rover jeep – Lara’s cup of tea!

“Lara…..”

“ugh” she groans “Already? He is so on time. Couldn’t he be like other men and be late” she groans again as she rushes into the room to change into a dress suited for an evening with her dream.

She chose a pale tortoise-shell knee length dress that had playful pleats which swirled when she moved. She clutched her tiny purse that carried nothing more than face towels and vex money.

Babe, you gats carry vex money. If you follow guy go somewhere and he start dey do anyhow; maybe he wan keep you hostage overnight or he asking for ‘the goodies’ because he carry you go shopping-shopping, just carry your vex money comot and call a cab. If no cab, FLY OKADA. Better to reach home than be sorry afterwards.” she couldn’t remember which of her many street-savvy friends had said so, but she never forgot it and it had saved her many times.

“Laraaaa!” Sandra yells from the sitting room

“Am coming” she replies

“You better don’t be coming” came the rejoinder

“I’ll soon be there”

“Ah! Worse” as she goes into peals of laughter

Lara’s phone rings. It was Mofe. What now?

“Hello.”

“Oh great! You got home already. Nice”

“Yea sure. Will tell her. Thanks again. We both had a great time hanging out with you guys”

“Alright. Goodnight” She ended the call with a weird feeling that Mofe was camped outside her window, watching her through high powered binoculars. She shrugs, smiling as she realizes what was happening in Mofe’s head.

“Good! You are all dressed up. Malik says he wants to cook for us tonight.” Sandra informs her as soon as she steps out

“What!?” her face drops “I mean, fantastic!” she attempts a fake muster

“If you don’t like the idea, we can go somewhere else. I just assumed you would want to stay indoors with your friend after being out all day” he says

They stare at each other with warring emotions flitting across their face before Sandra saves them by chuckling and shooing them out the door.

“Malik, please take my girl someplace nice. I doubt indoors is what she had in mind when she put on this pretty dress. You are welcome to fix us breakfast some other time or the other way round but tonight, I’d rather be a couch potato in my Pjs while I Telemundo myself to sleep.”

“Are you sure?” they both inquire simultaneously

“Shoo shoo. Off with the two of you so I can get my Telemundo on” came her reply

“Thank you Sandra. Goodnight”

“Goodnight Malik.”

As they walked towards the gates, she pulls the drapes aside “hey! Bring her back tonight Young man!”

“Yes ma’am. I will” he chuckles linking his fingers through hers as they shut the gate behind them.

“I like your friend” he says

“Me too” she replies and smiles

LIES WOMEN TELL #6

Episode #6

arrrrrrrrrgh! I want to scream endlessly. What am I going to write this week! aarrgh!

Entwined in each other’s arms, spent. Dele caressed a hip while she reflected.

“Sit down. Daddy we are waiting for you”, she called.

“You see, Dele cannot marry before I say so. He is not ready and I cannot feed him, feed his wife and feed a baby too. What if you get pregnant immediately. No, he is not ready”

Smiling wistfully, she glances at Dele willing him to counter his mother. He stared blankly.

“Dele won’t you say something?”

“No! I have nothing to say”, came the response.

“Really?”

“There is nothing to say now. What do you want me to say?”

“Alright”, he said, turning to his parents, “Thank you. I have heard all you said”, she added, seething inside because it appeared his dad was just there as a prop. His mother had taken the unanimous decision and nothing it seemed would change it.

Returning to the present, she wondered if Dele was in limbo when his mother made that announcement which had rocked her entire being. She wondered if he thought his mum saw him as ‘ready’ now and would give her consent. She had cried bitterly for days, trying to make him man up and convince his mum but he would not listen to her arguments only to suddenly feel in his head that they were going to get married. She would clear his doubts. She had chalked it up to a bad investment of time, body, emotions and money and decided to look somewhere else for ‘marriage’. However, the sex was great, she was holding on like a little monkey.

******************************************************************************************

Somewhere back in Maitama, Malik was pacing a narrow, white corridor worrying if his mother was going to survive this attack. She was asthmatic. He had tried to tell her countless times to always carry her inhaler with her. She had never been able to determine what triggers her episodes. It appeared everything and nothing could bring on an attack. Fortunately, God compensates people in different ways. Her episodes although very severe, sometimes necessitating hospitalization, were few and far in between. She had been in the bathroom when this particular episode came on. The maid had been waiting for her to give her money for some errand. When she had failed to make a timely exit from the bathroom, the maid had wandered closer and heard the strange wheezing sound. That, coupled with Malik’s arrival for his every Friday visit was the saving grace for the old woman. His mother was all he had and he always made it known to all that cared that she was his ‘alpha and omega’.

His mind began to wander to the day’s activities, and Lara, when the door opened and he spotted the white lab coat.

“You are still here? Incredulous!”. He blinked, trying to gather himself some comportment.

I told you she would be fine. Its not as bad as her last episode. We have placed her on oxygen and some medication. She will stay for a couple of days and we will discharge her” the doctor informed

“Oxygen! and you say she is fine. Doctor, please tell me truly how she is. Is she awake? Has she said anything yet?” he was anxious

“Be calm Mr. Abdullahi. Your mother will be fine. You brought her just in time. The oxygen is just so she does not stress her lungs. So that she can rest easily. She will be fine. You should go home and get some sleep”

“No. I will stay at the reception. If by morning she opens her mouth and says something, I will agree she will be fine and go home”

“Aren’t you working tomorrow? How would your business fare?

“Haba Doc! That’s not going anywhere fa. I can’t put business ahead of my mother o”,h e replied, trying to be as cheery as possible.

If he was correctly reading her, Lara would presume he had rushed home to be with his wife. He had not bothered explaining to her because his heart had been in his throat. It was all he could do not to have screamed in frustration at the time it would take him in the traffic to get to her side. He was relieved she was going to be okay as he headed to the reception to wait till morning. The maid was stretched across one of the arm chairs drooling saliva from the corner of her mouth. “The poor girl got a fright today“, he thought as he made to sit. He didn’t blame her if she passed out so ungraciously. He was thankful she had enough sense to take the initiative and call him immediately instead of trying to play heroine with his mother’s life. He would not have forgiven her despite the intention.

******************************************************************************************

Drifting off into sleep, the last thing on her mind was Malik. Wondering if he would call her in the morning or if she should call him first. Debating the merits of waiting for his call, she fell into a deep sleep.

‘What wonderful melodies were this in dreamland today she thought as she dreamt of Usher’s Good kisser. It ceased abruptly and she continued walking down an unfamiliar street”

Dele looked at the phone ringing, noticed it was stored as ‘Malik plane’ and turned away

*****************************************************************************************

She didn’t pick up. Was she asleep already? Wanting to apologize for his attitude in the afternoon, he had not considered that she may be asleep already. It was 11pm. He would just drive straight to her friend’s place in the morning when he goes home for a change of clothes and apologize in person he told himself as he settled for the night.

******************************************************************************************

“Baby why are you awake? Are you worrying about something again?” Lara queried.

“No”, he replied and added a sigh.

“What’s the time?”

Three a.m”

“So why are you awake at three in the morning if you are not worrying? What is it?”, she managed to sit up and hold him.

He responed with another deep sigh.

“What do I say to this little liar of mine? Should I tell her Malik called and watch her eyes glaze over in search of a defensive lie or should I tell her about Dapo going for study in Malaysia to toy with her temper or should I just tell her what I’m really worrying about – getting married to her?”

He smiled at her and pulled her into a tight embrace. For all her lies, he could not fault that she was a caring, giving person. She would sit up with him during his black spells. No, he could not fault her totally.

If I’m going to marry this girl though, we better have a talk about these ‘cute’ little lies she keeps telling under the impression that I’m ignorant of the true happenings. But where do I start addressing the issue?…”

Realizing she was still waiting for him to tell her what was bothering him, he wasn’t sure where to begin

“I love you”

“I love you too but what’s bothering you this time?” she persists

“Dapo wants to go to Malaysia”

“And donate his kidney or what?”

He looks at her sideways. “No, na to donate his liver”, he hisses and they both laugh. She knew how to help his anxiety and he could laugh with her no matter what was bothering him.

“He wants to go for a Masters degree in Business Accounting. I wanted to talk to you about it first before signing the check”

“Me? talk to me first, why?”

“Because I want to know how you feel about it”

“Seriously, is this what kept you awake at three in the morning?, she exclaimed“He is your brother and it is your money. What did you think I would say about this? If you think it is a good idea, of course he should go then. You would know what is best”

Studying her face quietly.

“I didn’t stay awake to ask you because I couldn’t decide if it was a good idea. You won’t allow me finish before you start speaking”, he said, trying hard to hide his irritation. He paused and faced her squarely,

“I told you about it because I was thinking we should do our wedding by November this year but if I sign the check, I would be short of cash and November won’t happen. So, I’m asking you to know if November is what you want or you can wait till early next year” . He went quiet, waiting for her to speak.

This was her chance and she grabbed it without stalling-“Oh! Baby, you should let your brother go to school. I can wait till next year. I’m not going anywhere” she said, rubbing his back.

“You will tell me all about it in the morning on your way to work. let’s sleep now” she suggested. Spooning as close as possible, he finally lets himself go to sleep chased by $650 checks.