This wasn’t supposed to go up today, but I published earlier, trying to figure something out and then deleted it. But that was not before people saw it and cos everyone has been asking, here it is.
No episode tomorrow sha o.
PS: If you are not following the blog by Email, please do. You don’t want to miss out on a day I am feeling generous. Hehe.
He could have chosen to rise early in the morning, go guard her house as he sometimes did, wait for her to emerge and then place her on house arrest – barring her from leaving the house. But he did not.
Rather, he had decided to borrow one of his friend’s car, promised to return it in a few hours because his friend who he had borrowed it from was a mechanic and the car belonged to a client and then, he’d hurriedly cleaned the car with a wet towel dipped in Water and Kerosene and then tailed the Range that came to Apete to carry her.
When she stepped out of the house some minutes before, she had been unrecognizable.
Fitted into a knee -length black peplum dress and a pair of violet flats, she had looked beautiful and different, very different.
Panic rose inside of him as he thought of what could happen to his darling Ife if she eventually got transformed.
She would leave him, definitely. Because then, she would suddenly realize he was not good for her, then she would change her friends, guard herself with new people and distance herself from the only world they’d both known.
He barred the thoughts from his mind. She was going nowhere. He had a plan for them both, the plan included him and her getting married, him setting her up with a petty business and her carrying his three or four children.
She could dream but she couldn’t dream and get caught up in fantasies.
He cussed as a car shot into a space in front of him. He had purposely let two cars separate the Range from Jinadu’s car which he borrowed but now, the third car that took its place in front of him made it quite difficult to tail them closely.
He honked when the car moved slowly and then yelled in frustration when the Range sped past just in time for the traffic lights to stop him.
“You be motherfucker!” He yelled at the driver, a woman in her late sixties when some seconds later he overtook her and sped towards the Range.
Detoun had seen the movie she was watching again a thousand times over. It was a movie she had seen numerous times with Ayo in the past.
The first time they had seen it was the first time they made love. It had been quite emotional for her and she had somehow, poured her heart and soul into the intimacy they shared that night.
When he had asked her to be his girlfriend while he was inside her, she’d grabbed his neck, kissed him deeply and softly whispered, “Yes. Forever.”
Although their forever had been interrupted by his refusal to truly fall for her, they had shared the most amazing time together.
She laid on her sofa now, her remote in hand, her speakers transmitting the sound as she watched Cassablanca again.
She had woken up sick that morning. During the night, she’d spent time in and out of the toilet and when she woke, she’d felt weak.
She had placed a call to her Doctor and he’d suggested a few drugs. He had asked her to use it and sleep but if she did not feel any better, she should come over.
Her mind drifted to Ayo and his sudden decision to sign the newest act on the label. And according to the most recent news from Abiola, he had driven her himself to the slum the night before.
That made her slightly uncomfortable. For the first time in such a long time, she admitted she did not know him enough.
What could spur such abnormal behavior from him? Why did he feel the need to protect the girl and gift her a life she did nothing to deserve?
It was almost as if he felt guilty for something and was trying his best to right a wrong.
She pondered on his unusual behavior and a thought slowly formed in her head, she would speak to his mother.
The woman liked her and she was the only person Ayo was known to listen to.
Lanre had to confess he had never seen a building that magnificent in his life. Because he was a cultist and he and his gang constantly met with Politicians and powerful wealthy men to do their dirty deeds, he had been in different houses.
Houses that had left him speechless and astounded on many occasions.
But as he stopped a few spaces away from the Penthouse the car that was carrying Ife drove into, he realized he had never seen one like this.
This one was out of the ordinary, it was prettier than a picture, it was surreal.
He wanted to go in and check it out but he decided against it. He would just sit here for a while and then decide what to to do with Ife and her dream.
“The main reason I wanted us to spend yesterday together was because I wanted you to honestly tell me why you are skeptical about being signed on to this Label but then the day took a different turn. But I insisted on us seeing again today because I want to know your doubts, why you have them and what I can do to erase them.”
She had his undivided attention. He was sitting near her on one of the two couches in his personal office.
Ife scanned the whole room, her eyes settling on different pictures he had taken with superstars in the past.
The pictures were endless and so were the number of stars he’d met.
She could spot one with Sunny Ade, another with the late Brenda Fassi, yet another with Onyeka Owenu.
She wondered how long he had been around for him to have pictures with people like Brenda Fassi and now that she looked closely, Fela.
The picture with Fela was old, because she could see from where she sat that his face was younger and devoid of the strong features it seemed to possess now.
Ayo watched as she ignored him and dedicated herself to feeding her eyes. He wished he could explain why that simple action made him stifle a chuckle.
He knew she was avoiding the conversation but she had to realize she could not avoid it for too long. Maybe that was why he found her current conscious effort to delay, amusing.
“You knew Fela.” She said to him. It was not posed as a question, it was posed as a statement but he replied anyway.
“Yes. My father was good friends with him.” He answered.
She faced him, her eyebrows creased as she asked, “Who is your father?”
“You don’t know him.” He responded
“How do you know?”
“True, I don’t know who you know.”
She wanted to tell him he knew one person she knew but she ignored the nagging thought prodding at her, making her want to ask if he knew the things Abiola had done to her in the past.
“My father was a wealthy businessman who kept many entertainers as friends.” He said to her as her eyes rested on the framed photograph that held him and Sir Shina Peters.
“Fela was hardly an entertainer.” she said the words so confidently and with so much sassiness that she wondered herself where it had come from.
Ayo smiled, he liked this one.
Most of the artistes or any woman he met at all wanted to agree with him. They were always quick to agree, quick to do his bid, quick to please.
And to be honest, that got boring quickly.
Detoun was the only woman who had the nerve to disagree and it was one of the reasons she was still close to him.
“He was a rebel.” She said to him, then smiled brightly as if trying to explain with a smile why she’d given so much attitude for something so simple.
“I agree with you.”
Then there was a long stretch of silence. The silence wore on like a long fabric that soon she began to feel slightly uncomfortable.
“I believe in you, Ife. Take this chance and you won’t regret it.”
She looked at him, hesitant. He could see the fears in her eyes again and that urged him to pull her close.
He tried to resist the urge to protect her with his arms, the urge to lay her head on his chest like he’d done once before but the more those scared brown eyes stared back at him, the harder it was to fight the urge.
He sighed, muttered a cuss for suddenly feeling so protective of someone and then, he pulled her close.
“It gets better.” He said to her and found himself stroking her hair.
A thought slowly occurred to him as he held her and tried to assure her, he would set up a meeting with one of his good friends and protege – Jamal Bello.
Jamal had a background similar to hers and would know exactly what to do.
Lanre ignored the constant ring of his phone from Jinadu. He had overstayed and broken his promise but he would have to worry about apologizing to Jinadu later.
Right now, he was getting impatient while he sat outside Gidi Music premises, wondering why his girlfriend was still in there.
A car sped by, catching his attention. When the car stopped at the gate of Gidi Music and Jamal Bello’s head stuck out, Lanre got down.
He loved Jamal’s music, the fuji infused in that Afro pop tune that guaranteed you a heart racing experience was worth stepping out to go look foolish in front of one of his favorite artistes.
Jamal had however escaped into the building before he got to where he was. Lanre cussed his luck and lurked around. He was sure to return soon.
When Jamal entered his office and greeted him, Ayo immediately introduced him to Ife.
He watched as Jamal flirted with her, talked to her in a manner he only used with women he was attracted to and complimented her on everything, even the way she blinked.
Ayo laughed inside of him, the way Jamal was with her made him assured that she would identify with him and loosen up before they took things further.
However, it also made him slightly uncomfortable. He did not want her getting attracted to Jamal and Jamal hurting her. That way she would not want to stay.
And he desperately wanted her to.
“I have an event in an hour, do you want to come?”
Ife looked to him for approval and he nodded.
“I’ll see you later, boss” Jamal said and held Ife’s hands in his as if they had always belonged there.
Ife looked at Ayo and asked, “Am I okay like this?”
Her innocent way of asking questions and making statements was going to be the undoing of him.
What made it more interesting was the fact that she clearly wasn’t faking it. It was who she was.
He wondered what lay beneath the exterior, if she was that naive in every aspect of her life.
He banished his mind from prodding further, he was supposed to be her boss and possibly mentor, nothing more.
He was not supposed to be wondering if she was innocent in every area of her life.
“I will call Anita.” He said, “She would meet you both downstairs or anywhere you choose to wait.”
“We would wait in my car.” Jamal replied and whisked her out of the office before he could say anything.
But if Jamal thought he was not warning him, he had to have another thing coming. He sent a quick text to Jamal as soon as they left and told him to be careful and not do anything silly.
Ronke Balogun was good to look at even though she was on the heavy side and was in her late sixties.
She had bulky arms that she always hid under her stylish boubous and she usually walked slowly because she was too heavy to walk any faster.
She was Ayo’s step mother but not so many people knew that.
When Ayo was two, his parents had been involved in a ghastly auto crash and his mother had died on the spot. His father had however survived with visible scars and had raised him alone for two years.
Until he fell in love with his secretary, Ronke, and married her.
Ronke had no kids of her own but she had loved and raised Ayo like she had carried him in her Uterus.
She adored him, loved him and lived her life for him. Even after his father died, she still doted on him like he was a little boy.
And Ayo loved her back in return, he loved her fiercely and listened to just her.
She made her way to Detoun’s sitting room and slumped into a seat. “When you called, I was with my friend somewhere around this place. I kuku said I should drop by and eat lunch.” she eyed her the way she did everytime she saw her and then asked, “Iwo omode yi, se o n jeun bayi?”
Detoun understood Yoruba but couldn’t speak it and she knew the woman had just asked her if she was feeding because like she constantly said, Detoun was not chubby enough.
Detoun laughed, “Yes ma, I am eating.”
Ronke did not believe her, “You better o. Me I don’t want any woman around my son that will not feed him.”
“He is the reason I called you.”
“Long story ma, you will need lunch to listen to this.”
And so she dashed into the kitchen to make her a meal of semo and efo riro.
Ronke did not joke with Ayo, especially not when she thought he was going to make a huge mistake.
But when she listened to Detoun and heard her worry, she had laughed it off and dismissed it, telling Detoun she was just slightly jealous he was too occupied with someone else.
“He would come home to you. A man always goes back to where his heart is and where he considers home.” She had concluded, believing it was all jealousy that made Detoun worried over nothing.
She had then finished her lunch, jumped in the backseat of her car and gone over to see Ayo immediately.
She mentioned seeing Detoun, her worry and then proceeded to ask what exactly was the problem.
“But tell me the truth, is there something really serious that I should know?” She asked him, worry etching on her face as it usually did whenever she thought something was wrong with him.
He did not want to tell her but she was going to get worried more and she already knew half the story.
He withdrew the small piece of newspaper he’d always carried with him and was still carrying. Then he handed it over to his mother.
“What is this?” She asked him without glancing at it.
“Look at it, mom.” He said and then, she picked it and scanned through it.
“She is the one.” Ronke muttered.
“Now I understand.”
“But she is being stubborn and I don’t know how else to keep her close.”
“There is always one way to keep your enemies close, Ayo. You know that.”
He did not know what she was suggesting so he asked, “How?”
“Make them friends.”
“But that is not working. Clearly she is wary. As she should be.”
Ronke nodded, “How is she?”
“Beautiful” It was the first and only thing that popped up in his mind.
“Shy. Innocent. Smart. I think she has a sharp wit she does not realize she possesses yet.”
He did not show any emotion because he assumed she was joking.
The suggestion had come up once, in the recent past, when they had discussed the situation but he had waved it aside.
The situation was serious, but it was not serious enough to marry the girl for.
“If your enemies are not close enough as friends, then convince them to make a lifelong commitment with you. She won’t hurt you when she eventually finds out the truth if you are her husband.”
She was right.
It was a silly, unrealistic and downright ridiculous thing to do, but she was right. Sometimes, the way to get rid of a problem was by doing the most ridiculous thing.
It seemed unreasonable and unrealistic but truth was life in itself was unrealistic and now it had placed him in a place where his only weapon to win a battle was lifelong commitment.
“Okay.” He would marry her so he could bury the guilt he was carrying forever and so he could keep a closer eye on her.
And also so the morning she woke up to the cold truth, she would not want to do the first thing that would come to her mind – harm him.
GUYS, LET’S DISCUSS. HOW DO YOU THINK DETOUN, ABIOLA AND LANRE WOULD REACT TO THIS NEWS WHEN THEY FIND OUT?
ME I THINK LANRE WOULD TRY TO MURDER AYO, ABI?