“I actually didn’t want for it to be revealed to you this way Ite…” Timi started within mumbles and stammers, trying to struggle out of Ite’s grip.
Ite wasn’t listening to what Timi was saying. Then Timi noticed that she was crying.
“Ite?” Timi said, trying to understand what was going on.
Ite hugged her, holding on to her best friend. Her tears streamed down her face, even beginning to wet Timi’s shoulder.
“I have been waiting here for you. I’m so frustrated right now! I…” Ite sobbed.
Timi’s heart softened. She sighed and held her friend in her arms.
“Let’s go inside. Its getting late and its not safe out here.” She said, leading the way into her apartment.
Ite held the glass of orange juice that Timi had poured her. She had tried to take as sip but her mouth did not seem to be interested in same. Timi finally joined her in the small living room after she had started to boil some rice and heat the left over chicken stew.
“Timi, I went with my boss to a client’s office. We went for a meeting to close on an oil and gas transaction. I was giving a speech on his directive and then the client’s secretary brought in coffee and small chops. I think it was the smell of the small chops or something funny. I couldn’t hold my reaction and I had to puke! I was trying to hold it in and finish my speech at least but I was so nauseated!”
Timi listened with absolute attention, widening her eyes.
“Your morning sickness?” She asked.
Ite threw her hands in the air, standing up and walking from one end of the cosy room to the other.
“I threw up on my hand and spilled on the papers before me! The documents the parties were to sign off on!” She said, tears forming in her eyes again.
Timi placed her hand over her mouth. She laughed but tried to hide it because Ite was still yelling in anger as she recounted the event that had happened.
“What did your boss say? What happened next? I hope you had backup for the documents?”
“Yeah. I had the file on my tab so we had to reprint at their office. But can you imagine the embarrassment I caused not just myself but my boss! I am aiming for Partner for heaven’s sake!” She said.
Timi paused to think for some seconds.
“Did you tell Damola?” She asked.
“No! I can’t. I lied to him tonight and told him I’m working till late and would probably sleep in in a hotel near the office and come back home in the morning to change. I can’t go back home tonight so I have to sleep here.” Ite said. Now, she had started to sip her glass of juice.
“Sleep here?” She said.
“Yeah. I had to take tomorrow off at work. Thankfully that spans into the weekend.”
“So we can go ahead with the abortion tomorrow?” Timi said almost immediately.
Ite stopped for a second, searching her best friend’s face.
“Timi, I must say I’m quite surprised at your reaction concerning this abortion. I really thought you would get angry at me for even thinking of doing this.”
Timi looked away,shrugging.
“I mean, I just think it’s better to do it now before you start showing and it’s too late to hide it from Damola or your boss.” She said.
Ite sighed, relaxing into the couch.
“You’re right. I got pretty scared though. Everything is scaring me right now. I need to find a way to plead with my boss on the one hand. I also need to get rid of the pregnancy. But the thought of the operation on me freaks me out! I have never been under the knife. What if something goes wrong? What if they rupture something, you know? And when I’m finally ready to have babies, we have problems? Maybe I should just keep the baby…but they need me at my job. I’m so confused, God.” Ite laid out her fears.
“I know somewhere I can take you to. And he is a professional.” Timi said.
Ite shot her that flabbergasted look one more time.
She did appreciate Timi’s help, but she couldn’t deny that there was some level of weirdness and awkwardness about it.
“Babe are you okay?” Ite asked.
“Don’t I look okay?”
“I don’t know…this just doesn’t really seem like you, you know. How do you even have such a person’s contact details?”
“I told you he is a professional doctor. He’s a friend I met sometime ago through Rotimi.” She said.
Ite nodded, looking away.
“I should give him a call. Hold on for a bit.” Timi hurried to get her phone which was connected to her laptop.
In less than a minute, the doctor’s phone had started to ring. Timi put the phone on speaker so that Ite could hear the conversation.
“Hi, Timi. Good evening. It’s been a while. How is everything?” The voice at the other end of the line said.
“Dr. Michael, I’m fine. I’m sorry I have been so busy and occupied with work that’s why.” Timi responded.
“Okay. I just got off work. I’m driving now.” Dr. Michael said.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Do you prefer I call you back?”
“No, no, please go on.”
“Okay. So um…I kind of need you to carry out a pregnancy evacuation on my cousin. She’s about three weeks and her husband doesn’t want the child yet because they are still trying to stabilize with their finances…” Timi said, the words proceeding from her mouth without hesitation.
“Hmmm. This isn’t really something I support you know? I only do this for people who want to evacuate health challenged or sickle cell babies. So I don’t really know…”
Timi sighed. Ite felt some peace from the doctor’s response. But when Timi started to plead and the doctor finally scheduled an appointment for 11a.m the next day, she felt a fire; probably invisible…burn her flesh with pangs of fear.
Timi was the one who started to perceive the burning food in the kitchen. She ended the call with the doctor and rushed out to save what was last of the rice.
As she had dinner, even with no appetite, not necessarily because the better part of the rice was burnt…she couldn’t help but feel the same burn in her body. Though unpalatable but she knew she had to do what she had to do.
Tomorrow. By 11a.m. With Dr. Michael.
It was a Monday morning and her alarm went off. She looked at the calendar on her bed side table through her blurred early morning vision. Yes, there was fog outside, but there was also one in her eyes. She finally sat up straight, stretched out and rubbed her eyes.
She was glad to be going back to work. She couldn’t believe two weeks was over already. She hummed as she got dressed and flat ironed her hair. She put a little makeup on, then she admired herself in the mirror. She felt it wasn’t enough so she applied some more. By 7 a.m, she was ready to leave the house.
She parked her car at the open space at her office car park and picked her burgundy patent hand bag from Phyfashion, her favourite retailer, swaying her hips happily as she climbed the stairs into the entrance of her office building.
“Good morning Ma!”
“Welcome back Ma!”
Different staff called out to her as she walked past them, headed for her office upstairs. She smiled at them, her smile rendering the gratitude for their compliments.
Her colleague, Rita rushed to her as soon as she sighted her.
“It’s just your hand bag I want!” Rita said.
Timi laughed, shaking her head.
“Is that all you can see?” Timi said.
Rita squeezed her face, searching her colleague from head to toe. But it was Timi’s Assistant that spotted it.
“Oh my God! Let me ask first before I conclude. Is this an engagement ring?” He asked.
Then Rita saw it and screamed. Other colleagues’ attention got called and they came closer to peep, view, and have more details for when the gossip started to go round the office.
Timi smiled, then raised her left hand in the air, waving it.
“Oya come and tell me how it happened! I didn’t even know you were dating!” Rita said, dragging Timi to her office corner.
Timi sat in the chair while Rita bent over her, still admiring the glittering diamond princess cut.
“Well, he surprised me during the weekend. We had dinner and he came over to my house and then the next morning I woke up to breakfast in bed and this beautiful ring staring me right in the face. And then he played Michael Jackson’s Speechless and went on his knees. It was so romantic! Coming from me who isn’t a romantic…” Timi gushed.
Rita was awed.
“I need to take a picture of this! I have to. Oh my God it’s gorgeous!” She said, bringing out her phone and taking a snap shot of it.
“What’s his name!” Rita said. "What does he do?"
Timi smiled, although hesitating.
“Damola. He’s an oil and gas guy.” She said.
Rita continued smiling and grinning till Timi finally had to leave and get to work.
She sat in her chair and brought out the frame she had carefully placed in her bag the night before. She unwrapped the cloth she had packaged it in then she smiled and set the frame on her work table.
“Handsome man you have there.” She heard her boss’ voice. She sat up straight, smiling.
“Good morning, sir.” She smiled.
“How was your leave? I don’t even have to ask. The office gist is going round. So when is the wedding date? When are we coming to Akure?”
Timi laughed again, thinking of the words to say.
“We will let you know in due time sir.”
Her boss nodded, patting her back, then he left for his office.
Ify was getting bored already at her store. Business had been slow in the past couple of days. Well, there was a nation-wide economic tsunami and with the rate at which the value of the Naira was fast crashing, her business could not escape being affected. She ran a furniture and décor business and it mostly involved her importing from Italy and China.
She had just gotten off a call with one of her agents that worked with Customs. She decided to scroll through her phone and updates. Her sales boy had gone to the petrol station at the other end of the road to get fuel for the generator.
She saw her cousin’s update. She decided to send her a message immediately.
‘Wow! When did you get engaged? This ring is so beautiful!”
Her cousin replied almost immediately. Sometimes Ify wondered if she ever did any work at her office because she was always active on BBM and Instagram, uploading photos.
‘Me ke? I wish. I haven’t met my man. It’s my friend’s ring. Check my pm. I wrote congrats dearie.’
‘It’s beautiful. All the men in Lagos keep proposing yet I am not finding any. Is it a family curse? You and I are still single. Biko I need ring too o.’
‘Lol! Lwkmd! She just got engaged during the weekend. Let me send you her photo. Very nice lady.’
Ify looked again at the photo that Rita just sent her. The person in the photo looked like Timilehin that she knew. She wanted to ask Rita for the name of her colleague and when Rita said her name was Timi, Ify was so surprised. She still couldn’t believe it. It had been a while she saw Timi last. Infact she hadn’t seen her since her birthday get-together when she turned down Rotimi’s proposal. She was so happy for her and she wanted to reach out to her but Timi wasn’t on her Bbm anymore. Ify had lost her phone earlier in the year so she also didn’t have Timi’s phone number. And generally, they had kind of drifted apart.
‘I might know her! What’s the name of her fiancé? Rotimi’ Ify texted.
‘No. She said Damola. Who be Rotimi again? Let me send you his photo. She forwarded it to me.’
Ify stared at the photo in shock! And she nearly fell off her chair. That was Damola! Damola Damisi. The man she knew as Ite’s husband. Ite was still on her Bbm but they rarely spoke as much as before. Everyone had gotten busy with their lives. The only person she was still close with was Ayo. She dialed Ayo’s number immediately.
“Babe how far?” Ayo said as soon as she answered the call.
“Ayo! Abeg help me confirm. I sent a photo to you now on Bbm. Is that Ite’s husband?”
“Wait let me check….Oh wait…yes now. What’s up?” Ayo replied.
“Ewo o! I am confused. My cousin happens to work at Timi’s office. I didn’t even know. She put up a picture of a ring and she said her colleague just got engaged. The colleague is Timi! And she says the fiancé is Damola! Did they get divorced? We still saw them last year, right?”
Ayo burst out laughing.
“Nawa o. Are you serious? I am not surprised sha. I will find out. But I know for sure that Timi liked him. I noticed! I just didn’t want to cause any bad bele.” She said.
Ify sighed amidst her hmmmns and nawas.
“So what should we do? Should I send Ite a message?”
“No…let’s wait and see. I don’t think you should get yourself involved in this situation.” Ayo said.
“Okay. If you say so.” Ify replied.
Damola parked his car and climbed out, then joined her at the roof top. She sighted him first and walked up to him, and they shared a hug before they took their seats.
“You look well. I hear you’re doing very well for yourself.” He said as they waited for the waitress.
Damola laughed too.
“So what’s up? You said you had to see me urgently.”
Ify sighed again, then she brought out her phone and showed him the picture of himself. He smiled, remembering when Ite had taken the shot at the beach. He had updated it on his Instagram a while ago.
“That’s me.” He said, laughing although his face was puzzled.
“I know.” Ify said. Then she began telling him everything she couldn’t hold back. As she spoke, supporting her claim with photographic evidence of the ring, Damola’s eyes widened in shock.
“I had to get your number from Ite. I told her I needed to speak to you about a job opening at your office so she doesn’t know about this. From my conversation with her, you two are not divorced. So what’s going on?”
Damola opened his mouth but no words proceeded. He was hot despite the chilly wind that caressed their frames at the roof top.
He started to gesticulate when his speech failed him. Still unsuccessful, he started to run his hand over his bald head.
“Ify…this girl…this Timilehin…she is... I don’t understand this! She did like me, yes. I told her I couldn’t go through with her. I didn’t even know she liked me till she told me on the night I proposed to Ite. I have been trying to help her because she really hasn’t moved on. I think that’s also why she didn’t get married to Rotimi. Oh my!” He panicked.
“Has Ite seen this? Did Timi put this on Bbm? I didn’t see it on her profile…”
“Calm down.” Ify said.
He shut his eyes, thinking.
“I need to go see her and help her. I need to talk to her and help her out of this situation. I feel like it’s my fault this is happening to her. She says she has a vision from God but I can’t leave my wife!”
Ify laughed this time.
“Damola in my opinion, if you go over to her place or try to get any closer to her, you will get yourself deeper in this crazy world she is living in. I don’t think you’re the right person to help her or talk her out of this craziness. If at all you do, be stern about it and not accommodating or being pitiful towards her. She will take your concern for affection.”
“So what should I do?” Damola asked.
“In my honest opinion, I think you should inform your wife first. And then I think you should tell her straightforward to quit this. Because your image is involved here. Your integrity. I was shocked when I heard. I thought it was true. Just don’t be nice about it.”
He nodded, although within him, he couldn't bring himself into telling Ite this. She had been so worked up and angry lately and he had started to feel like he was on walking on coals in his home. Coals, not of fire, but of silence and of a certain fear of the uncertain.
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*Rollercoaster Episode 6