Happy sixth year wedding anniversary, Oluwakemmy. I know you asked for two episodes, but I can’t deliver that today. However, you will get at least three in the coming week.
Happy Valentines Day everyone. Love is you guys taking your time to read this rubbish that comes from my small head and I love you right back.
PS: All of you that I am owing shirt, how na? How do I offload these things to you?
She was used to deaths – tragic passing, passing away at old age and waking up to hear someone unexpected had lost their lives suddenly.
Death was not new to her, not when it was her friends, close or distant relatives.
But even at that, she never got used to the announcement of yet another fallen human being.
She usually blanked out for a while, then slowly recover, trying to assimilate what she had been told and trying to live with the new development.
When her father had died, she had taken it like that. Same with her sister.
But now, standing in the reception of the private Hospital Lanre had been rushed to earlier, the shocking news of his death being delivered to her by a young Doctor, she felt numb.
Her world seemed to pause, dragging every thought, feeling, action to an abrupt halt.
She suddenly felt hazy, the room starting to spin, her knees threatening to go weak. She swayed.
She felt Amanda’s hands on her. She was slowly dragging her to a seat.
“Ife, are you okay?”
The words were audible enough for her to hear but they morphed into a distant echo as her mind wandered far away to the beginning when she met Lanre.
He was a rough, shy teenager who had hidden beneath a pair of baggy jeans and an oversized T-Shirt with Notorious BIG’s face splashed across it. He had tried to talk tough so she would be impressed.
She had been impressed, he’d won her over from then.
He had been her best friend, her lover, her brother and everything else that mattered.
“Sshhh. Don’t say anything. Don’t say anything” She looked like she would cry but she did not, she just leaned on Amanda’s shoulders and continued to stare into blank space as the night slowly passed into day.
He knocked and waited like he had in the past two days.
And as it has happened after, Amanda emerged, stood by the door, stepped aside after greeting him and informed him Ife still did not want to see anyone.
But unlike the last two times he showed up and eventually left, he actually walked past Amanda into the house.
“I want to see her.” Ayo announced immediately the door shut behind him. Amanda was hesitant, her head moving in a slow nod.
He saw that but was unperturbed by it. “Amanda, go in and tell Ife that I want to see her now. She has a contract to honour and as much as I understand she lost her teenage love, life has to move on.”
The curt way with which he spoke the words jolted her.
She had expected him to empathize, be bothered, show concern, not act unruffled about the situation.
“Now, Amanda. I have a life to return to.”
Amanda nodded and hurried off into the bedroom. She returned minutes later with Ife.
His heart sank when he saw her, her huge afro was tied by a black band, her eyes were swollen from too many tears and her face was ashen.
The urge to cross over to where she was, drag her close and cradle her in his arms was overwhelming.
But he stood where he was, a stern look in his eyes.
“I am sorry about the loss of your boyfriend.” He began, “But you have to get back to work. Seyi Shay has been trying to get you in the Studio with her for days now and we cannot continue to give her excuses.”
“I would speak to my manager.” Ife replied blandly and then turned to leave.
He was shocked that she would not say more and that she had behaved like it was not her boss that was standing right in front of her.
The death must have hit her bad and that immediately submerged him in guilt. Lanre had died because of the assignment he gave him, clearly.
He had not found out what happened yet but he was on it.
He was going to get on it when he could stop feeling so much guilt for what he did.
“Ayo, I don’t know the reason you have been showing up at my door for two days now. But with all due respect you are my boss, the man who owns the label I am signed on, the man I am not supposed to be having this conversation with in my house right now.” She was facing him now, her eyes revealing a little anger. Anger he knew she was fighting hard to reveal but which she was not doing a good job at. “So like I said, Boss, I will speak to my manager.” she stressed every word in the last statement, then left.
Guilt was not a good feeling. He would take any other torturous feeling even falling in love, which he was certain he never wanted, over guilt.
But in the past few years, he had found himself placed in the situation where whatever action he took left him feeling guilty.
He signed a document, handed it over to Jen and instructed her to scan and mail it to someone important.
When she left, he poured himself a glass of scotch and slowly sipped on it.
Lanre had gone and gotten himself hurt. He wondered if he ever finished the assignment given him and what exactly happened to Gbenro.
The door to his office opened, Gbenro stormed in, closely followed by security.
“Please let him in.” Ayo said gently, watched the security leave and faced Gbenro. “I see you made it back here alive.”
Gbenro scoffed, “You thought that small boy was a match for me?”
“No. And that is why I did not send him to kill you. If I wanted you killed, trust me, I know who to send.” He was not flinching, he looked surprisingly calm despite the way Gbenro glared at him, his jaw clenched, his fists tightened.
“Ayo Balogun, I will not stop until you’re dealt with! Blood will flow!”Gbenro roared. He slammed his fists on Ayo’s table, hoping to drive home his point with that loud action but still, Ayo sat there, unmoved.
That irked him and caused him to increase his voice, “You will not go scot free, Balogun!”
Abiola sauntered into the Office and watched the unfolding drama in astonishment, “What’s going on here?” he asked.
“Blood will flow, Balogun and it would be your blood!” Then he brushed past Abiola, shoving him aside as he made his way to the door.
“Who is that one?” Abiola asked when he was gone.
Ayo shrugged, “Someone of no importance.”
“And they let him past security?” Abiola asked, incredulous.
“He burst in here and I asked them to leave him alone.” Ayo responded.
Abiola hissed and took a seat, “And he was now yelling here as if his father laid the foundation of this place. Ode.” then he dropped his Tab on the table and added, “Abeg, I am here for something more important.”
And just like that, Gbenro was forgotten for the day.
Ife refused to work with any artiste.
She had dragged herself out of the bed, thrown on a black crop top and midi pencil skirt and ordered her driver to take her to the Studio.
There she had worked with Mac for two days straight.
By the time they finished at the studio on the second day, her first single as a signed act on Gidi Music was ready and like Mac said, “Hot, deep and soulful.”
It was a song she had written about Lanre, the love they shared and the tragedy that took him away from her.
And as she sat in Tobi’s office, opposite Detoun, Abiola and Ayo, listening to the new music, tears threatened to fall, memories tried to invade.
“Not bad.” Abiola said to Ife’s surprise.
“Tobi when is this going on radio?” Ayo asked
“I already put a call through to Toolz and mailed the song to her, she would be airing it first on her show today.”
And Ife eased into the background while they discussed her career and the next move.
“It hit her bad, Ayo. That is why she is like that. She really loved him.”
He nodded, urging Amanda to go on.
“Lanre occupied a space in her heart nobody else has been able to and that is why…” she paused, looked at him. “Maybe you should talk to her. She has not been talking to me so maybe if you try…”
Ayo wanted to hesitate and tell Amanda that Ife would come round when she felt better but the more he tried to walk away from the Studio, where Amanda was and where Ife was recording, the more he couldn’t.
He wanted to be there for her, wanted to always hold her through everything she felt.
It was the way he had felt since he first laid eyes on her and it was the way he was still feeling.
So when Ife emerged from the Studio later, he asked her to dinner in his house.
She sat in his wide kitchen, watching him as he made Turkey stew after he had discarded his Chef.
“I know why you are like this but you do not have to take care of me because you feel guilty. I am not going to think better of you in a long time to come, so quit this pretence and let me be. After tonight, I do not want to have anything to do with you unless it is very important. Henceforth, speak to me through Tobi.”
He turned and faced her sharply, a look of horror in his eyes. So she knew. That was why she had been very cold to him.
He had managed to tell her something before he died.
“I’m sorry, Ife. I did not intend to get him killed he was supposed to just abandon your Uncle in that location and return to Lagos. It was the only way I could get rid of your Uncle without…” He suddenly paused, realizing he had said too much and that if he had not been blinded by the guilt, he would have seen she did not understand him.
“You had something to do with Lanre’s death.” She said slowly. “No wonder he mentioned your name and Uncle Gbenro’s name before he died.”
Ayo knew he was done for. He knew she knew half of the truth and he could not hide anymore.
And he also knew, that if she asked anything, he would be hundred percent truthful with her.
“You killed Lanre.”
“I did not. Your Uncle did.”
“You Son of a bitch!” She yelled. “Who are you?” She had left where she was sitting and was standing by the door now, “I knew all of these was too good to be true. You are as evil as your best friend who got me pregnant!”
It was Ayo’s turn to be shocked, “Wait… what???”
They both fell silent, each looking at each other in shock and utmost puzzlement.
“Abbey slept with you and…”
He tried to understand for a full minute but the more he tried, the harder it became for him.
Abiola had run his hands through Ife’s body, he had made love to the woman he was attracted to, he had gotten her pregnant.
It all did not make sense to him.
All of a sudden, the realization hit him, he had not been the only one hiding a secret.
Everyone had something to hide and he was a fool to have been the only one trying to right a wrong.
“This isn’t happening again” He muttered.
“I am going to have you arrested, Ayo. If I were you, I would be talking to my Lawyers!” Ife shouted and stormed out of the Kitchen.
Ayo leaned on the table for a long time. For once, he was admitting that things were just about to get messy, so messy nobody would be able to make it right in a long time to come. And for that, he did not envy himself.