Tamilore rolled her eyes; to her, there was something not right about the very perfect picture Pastor Mrs Ademola-Rogers had carefully painted about her and her family.
When she had met their son in the UK, he had been hormonal – hormonal and wild and rebellious. He had not acted like he had a preacher in his family in five generations.
When she had discovered him in Church a few Sundays ago, she had been stunned. He was the last person she had expected to find in Church.
And the more she knew about the pivotal role his immediate family played in the Church as a whole in Nigeria, the more the whole family’s righteousness became questionable to her.
She was not judging them, not even if she had been judged by many Christians in the past. She was just uncomfortable with the air around them.
Pastor Mrs Ademola-Rogers seemed like the type of woman who had a beautiful, righteous exterior but who was hiding the dirtiest secrets behind the whole facade.
After she had led the grace, the Church service was over. Tamilore stood, scanning the whole ministers’ area, her eyes searching for Jide. He had better have something for her about the call from the day before or she would walk up to his mother and ruin her perfectly laid world.
“I am going for a date.” Yetunde announced, straightening her midi pencil skirt and adjusting her jacket, “You can tell Timilehin that when you see him.” she added.
Jealousy date. The type secondary school students used to get back at their lovers, mainly people in Jss3 to SS2 and who were usually between the ages of 12-15.
That was the type of date her thirty-three year old elder sister was going on. She laughed, lightly at first and then when the ridiculousness of it won’t go away, she laughed harder.
“What’s funny?” Yetunde asked, blind to the stupidity of her own actions.
“You are trying to make Timi jealous.” Tamilore replied, knowing that was the reason behind the date. Yetunde eyed her, trying to hide the truth, but she knew better.
“Why won’t you just call him and talk to him? Instead of going on a date you are hoping I will tell him about but which I won’t.” Tamilore inquired, wanting to know why Yetunde had refused to grow up after all these years.
“That’s none of your business. Take a cab and find your way home.” she replied and walked out of the church.
Tamilore had returned to looking for Jide and had totally forgotten she did not have enough money for a cab. She glanced at the entrance and hurried towards it, hoping to catch up with Yetunde who was now making it out of the Church.
When she got there, she saw her just in time for her to get into his car.
Her legs gave way and she collapsed as she realized who her sister was going on a date with. It was the guy haunting her.
He was hovering over her, fretting like a mother whose only child was about to die, a look of deep concern etched on his face.
“Are you okay? Or do I have to call your sister?” he kept asking and she kept ignoring him.
She picked her phone and dialed Yetunde’s number, she was not picking. This made her nervous. What had he done with her? Was he going to hurt her? Should she be worried?
Jide was trying to feel her body temperature with his hand now; he had managed to pull her away from the little crowd that helped her when she fell earlier.
She slapped his hands off her. “Funny that you would be the first person to pick me when I fall but would not give me what I need so I won’t die.” she spat, moving away from him as she spoke.
“Tamilore, you know I don’t have this thing whatever it is.”
“The guy just went on a freaking date with my sister.” she said to him, she could not even keep the panic away from her voice. He tried to hold her but she did not let him.
“Please let me at least hold you, Tamilore. Please.”
She saw the sincerity in his eyes and let him. He held her hands, as if trying to restore calm to her. He squeezed it, smiled at her and she had to look away so he would not lose her in those eyes again.
His dimpled smile had always been a distraction, it was the first thing that captured her and drew her in when she first set eyes on him. It was what made her buy him a drink, made her suggest a game where the winner would kiss the loser. She won, she kissed him and he owned her from that very moment.
“I missed you”
She scoffed, refusing to take the words seriously.
“You don’t have to believe me but I do.”
She could see a few eyes on them now. Thankfully, she had chosen to wear a retro knee length dress and had covered the huge afro on her head. The whole church might have seen her as an outsider, taking their beloved Pastor’s son away from them.
He suddenly threw her hand away and when she looked at him, she noticed someone had his attention. It was his mother.
She made her way towards them like a wild animal aiming for a prey. She did not smile, did not look as warm as she looked on the altar and she did not look nice.
Tamilore told herself she was right about her, the woman was not who she was showing the world that she was.
“Olajide, the marriage committee is waiting for you.” she said to him, then raised her chin and faced her. The look of disapproval on her face was not mistaken; she did not try to hide it. “Are you busy?” she asked and then looked at him as if to say, you better not be.
Jide shook his head immediately, and then he took a place behind her like a little boy. Tamilore frowned; the picture did not cut to her as that of a mother and son. It cut across to her like a woman and her slave.
She decided right there and then that she did not like Pastor Mrs Ademola-Rogers.
Tamilore did not say a word of greeting to her, the woman seemed to be waiting so seriously for it and since Tamilore felt she was not used to being disappointed, she decided to disappoint her by not greeting her.
The atmosphere became awkward. Tamilore looked from mother to son, saying nothing.
“Meet me in the office now.” she said calmly but it was more like a threat, a subtle threat. She started to leave.
“You’re getting married.” Tamilore said, now that his mother was gone, she could feel the hurt and disappointment that had submerged her.
“I will see you later. Please be fine. Please.” he said to her.
Pastor Mrs Ademola-Rogers was waiting for him, impatiently. He hurried off to her and followed her into the office.
Tamilore picked her phone and dialed Timilehin, “Please I need you to come and get me out of here.” she said, trying to fight back the tears she could not even explain why they were there in the first place.
Jide wanted to stay longer with her. He knew she needed him, might not say it but really needed him. But he could not, his mother had summoned him and he had to go.
When they got to the entrance of the office, he saw that Alero was there waiting for him.
His mother faced him and said calmly but seriously, “I don’t like that girl’s spirit. Don’t let me see you talking to her again.” then she walked in.
He nodded even after she had gone. The last time his mother had told him that was when she met his best friend in secondary school, Sola. Sola had liberal parents who allowed him more freedom than Jide’s parents did.
He was fun, he was spirited and all the girls liked him. When his mother had met Sola, she had looked at him the way she stared at Tamilore earlier and then later told him, “I don’t like that boy’s spirit. Don’t let me see you talking to him again” and even though he had been angry, he had listened to her.
Sola never knew why they stopped being friends, he had severed communication immediately and without explanation.
As he stepped into the office ready for his marriage counseling session, he knew this one would be hard because he could never stop talking to Tamilore, not now that he constantly seemed drawn to her.