“Hey guys! This is Nike. I hope you enjoyed reading about my come-back and getting my seat back on the board of Mybridge Ltd. I wonder how awkward it’ll be when I see Lanre face to face again. I don’t know if I have the strength though because of all the hurt…but you never know.
Do I still love him or have I really moved on? By the
way, do you think Tosan is worth a shot? Hmmm…let’s see what happens in this
EPIOSDE 9- SERIES FINALE
The time was 1.37am in the morning. The very early hours of the morning. She had gotten home by 11.16pm. She’d had a long day with series of meetings, most importantly the one with Ronke Phillips. It had been more of a girl chat than a business meeting because for Nike, she was having a good laugh as Ronke Phillips described Lanre’s reaction when she made her big announcement over and over again. Akpan had also not been able to get fuel for the car and she’d had to wait till he was able to finally buy black market at 210 Naira per litre. She didn’t mind. All she wanted was to get home and have a shower, some wine and left over birthday cake, and a good rest. She planned to visit her brother in Abuja for the weekend. She really did need a break especially as she had been working so hard of late. Success. It was something everyone wanted so badly but when the demands of success came knocking, only a few had the courage to pull through. She was pulling through, and fast too.
The sound of her ringtone woke her up. It was the signature apple ringtone. She put a pillow over her head and turned to the other side of the bed. But the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. She finally sat up and reached for it. It was Toju calling.
“Toju…wetin na?” Nike grumbled, yawning.
“I…I need you to come around please! I’m I’m so confused….” Toju said, sounding confused.
“Calm down. Are you okay? What’s the problem? Where are you?” Nike asked, concerned.
“I’m at Richfield hospital. He had a heart attack. He slumped and I had to drive him here myself. I was shaking...."
“Tosan. We were having a late chat at my house and I went to the bathroom to pee. I came back and then he stood up and then he slumped and fell. He’s passed out! Please come now, please Nike.” Toju cried.
“I’ll…I’ll be with you soon.” Nike said. “Just be calm. Everything will be fine.”
She reached for her bra and then wore a grey round neck tee over her pajama pants. She grabbed her purse and headed downstairs. Akpan had left so she had to drive herself. She didn’t like to drive at night. Her vision was a little blurry at nights and she had refused to get glasses for the fear of being called geeky. She had contact lens instead but this was an emergency and she didn't have time to meticulously put things in her eyes.
In about ten to fifteen minutes, she was at the hospital reception, Asking the nurse questions. She saw Toju almost immediately. She looked horrible. Nike reached out and hugged her.
“What are they saying? Is he responding?” Nike asked, panting.
“They did an ECG and an echocardiography test thing…Heart tests sha.”
Nike nodded, waiting for more news.
“The doctor says he won’t be needing surgery but he has to get some drugs. Plavix and something else and some aspirin. He’s responding to treatment but he’s asleep now.”
Nike sighed. “Okay. What really happened? Did he eat something?”
“We were just having wine at my apartment and catching up.”
“It’s well. Let’s hope for the best.” Nike said, holding her best friend’s hand.
By morning, Toju had left for the house to have a change of clothes and to bring him some food. Nike had insisted on salads although Toju laughed and told her that Tosan and salads were sworn enemies. Nike decided to wait till Toju returned so she could go back home and shower.
She was flipping through a magazine on the bedside stool when she heard Tosan’s voice. She looked up. He smiled, weakly.
“Good morning, Nike. I must be a lucky man. You’re the first thing I see when I open my eyes. It means God is saving my life.” He said.
Nike giggled, shaking her head.
“You’re impossible Tosan. Weak lines, man.” She laughed.
He laughed too.
“How do you feel?” She asked him.
He adjusted a little on the bed.
“I feel okay. I just have a headache.”
“Pele. Do you want me to call the doctor or a nurse?”
“You’re the nurse I want, bae.”
Nike giggled again.
“Where’s Toju? She dumped me so fast? I hope she didn’t bring me here in my G-wagon. I told her she’s not allowed to drive my car. She drives like a maniac.”
Nike laughed. He was so full of life even in the sick bed.
“Matter of fact, I wouldn’t tell you before you suffer another heart attack.” She said.
“Thanks a lot for coming. I appreciate it. But don’t you have to be at work? It’s already 6.40 a.m.”
“It’s fine. I have a few meetings today after which I head to Abuja.”
“So,” Nike sighed. “What did you eat? Last night.”
Tosan shut his eyes and feigned a snore.
“I will hit you, Tosan. Answer me right now.”
He opened his eyes and laughed.
“Okay. I had fried chicken wings and pizza…and a hamburger.” He said, looking away.
Nike stood akimbo, frowning.
“You look hot.” He said, looking at her from head to bottom.
“Tosan, I am serious. You need to watch it. You need to eat healthy. This is serious.”
“I am a bachelor and I can’t cook…and you won’t marry me.” He said.
“Well you can order healthy food for a start and not junk. Even if you eat junk, it shouldn’t be all the time. Please.” Nike said.
“Okay okay. I hear you.”
Toju walked in, looking a little refreshed. She was holding a food basket in one hand. She heaved a sigh of relief as she saw her cousin.
“Thank you Jesus!” She said as she moved closer to hug him. “How are you? You scared the rubbish out of me!”
“I’m still around, don’t fear. I’m hungry. What did you bring me?” He peeped into the food basket.
Toju looked at Nike and brought out a disposable plate and then set it on the hospital food table. He opened it. It was salad. Plain salad. Lettuce, Cucumber, Avocado, Carrots, Tomatoes and Cabbage.
“Now I want to die, really.” He said.
Lolade exhaled as she folded the reminder letter and tossed it on the kitchen table. It was from the estate agent. Her rent was due. She wanted to call Reuben but he was working that night. She didn’t want to distract him. A lot was going on in her head and if she didn’t get out of the house, she knew she was going to explode. She wore her shoes and walked towards the main road where she could get a bike. She couldn’t afford a taxi anymore.
She got off the bike as they got to the entrance of Karissa Lounge. All she wanted to do was drink and soak herself in liquor. She knew Reuben would never find her there and she didn’t want to hear anymore of his sermons and preaching. She was wanted to be free.
She was on her second green bottle and her point and kill. She looked at the time. It was 8.50p.m. She knew that she was still very conscious and aware of her surroundings. She didn’t know why she was at Karissa. She didn’t know what would happen after getting drunk. She hoped to get picked up by a man. A rich man. Lanre and her used to come to relax at Karissa a lot back then. She convinced herself that she wasn’t prostituting. She had been celibate since she left Lanre and maybe some sex would help ease all the tension, especially as she wasn’t getting some from brother Reuben. She was trying to live right, but she couldn’t fight these battles. Maybe she wasn’t a warrior anymore and maybe she wasn’t more than a conqueror afterall. The issues of life had conquered her.
Her phone rang. It was Reuben. She ignored it. When it continued to ring, she switched it off.
Wizkid’s In my bed was playing through the speakers and she moved her head and swayed her hips to the rhythm. She didn’t care who was watching. She just wanted to let loose.
She felt two hands grope her waist and slide down her hips. She turned to see who it was. It was some random boy, probably a university student.
“Get out. You dey mad?” She yelled, pushing off the fellow who had nothing to offer her.
“Baby take it easy…” The young boy said and held her waist forcefully. Lolade hit him wigh her elbow and struggled to set herself free.
“Leave the lady alone.” She heard a male voice say. She turned around and looked up. It was Lanre. Lanre Akingbile.
The boy laughed and then walked away to the next available girl.
Lolade’s heart started to beat fast. She was anxious. It was awkward. She didn’t know what to say to him. She hadn’t expected to see him.
Or maybe a part of her had wished he would show up. She
“You still look so beautiful.” Lanre said. She perceived a mix of his cologne and the alcohol from his breath.
She looked away.
“Hi, Lanre.” She said.
“Why don’t we go over to my table so no small boy comes to bother you again.”
She hesitated at first, but then followed him. He held her hand in his and she didn’t remove it.
They had more bottles and more nkwobi and peppered snails. On the fourth bottle, Lolade stopped.
“I need you back.” She said abruptly.
Lanre laughed, dragging on his cigarette.
“I knew you would find me and come back. I knew you couldn’t survive out there. I own you. I control you. You should know you can’t make it out there without me, Lolly.” He laughed.
Lolade tried to stop the tears that were forming in her eyes. She thought of Reuben. She had lost this battle and she didn't have a choice but to go back to her vomit.
“I have been out of a job for almost a year. Your wife happened to be my boss’ client and she told him what happened between us.” She said.
Lanre shook his head.
“Let’s get out of here. I’ve missed you. I have to admit no one beat me better than you in the bedroom.” He said seductively.
Lolade winced at the thought.
“On one condition. What’s in it for me?” She asked.
“Are you now a thot?” He raised a brow.
“Watch your language, Lanre.”
“I apologize, okay. You can have your car back and you can have the makeup studio back. And you can move back if you want.” He said.
They had kissed and he had undressed her. He was about to take off his trousers when his phone beeped. He ignored it at first as he continued to kiss her but the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. Then he answered it.
It was Nike. They had not spoken since the last board meeting three weeks ago. He had been so ashamed that he had excused himself at the meeting.
“Hello, Nike. What is it?” He yelled. He wondered why she was calling him.
“We need to talk. It’s Lade. Toun called me a few minutes ago.” Nike said. He could tell she was sobbing.
He got off the bed immediately and sat up straight.
“What’s wrong? Please don’t tell me he’s hurt himself too…please. I can’t…”
“He got suspended from school. He’s been hanging out with some bad kids. They beat up another kid. A white kid. Luckily his parents aren’t pressing charges. But the big part is…Toun found cigarettes in his room.” Nike cried.
He was silent.
“I’m coming over.” He said.
"I don't know....Let's meet somewhere..." Nike stuttered.
"I am coming to your house, Nike. This is important!" He yelled.
"I'll text the address to you." She said quietly.
"I know where you live already." He said and ended the call.
He grabbed a shirt and buttoned it and gaggled some Listerine. Lolade lay on the bed, looking confused.
“What’s the matter this time?” She said.
“You just wait. Or maybe you can go and come back later. I have family issues to attend to.” He said. He threw a bundle of ₦1,000 notes on the bed towards her. She counted the sum. It was twenty thousand Naira.
“I’ll wait.” She said.
Lanre looked at her with surprise and opened his mouth to speak but then he shut it.
“I’ll see you later.” He grabbed his keys and left.
It was about forty minutes after Lanre had been gone. She was bored so she wore his t-shirt and her shorts and went downstairs to find herself something mild to drink. She was beginning to have a headache. She sat in the living room, watching something on Fox when the doorbell rang. She peeped through the door-hole. It was his gate man. She didn’t recognize this one. Lanre had gotten a new security man.
“Madam, good evening.” The old man said.
Lolade nodded, wondering what he wanted.
“No vex o. Na oga doctor dey here. Him say oga forget to collect him medicine so him come bring am for oga. He wan drop am so I say make I tell you as oga don comot.”
Lolade nodded again.
“Let him in.” She said. It felt good to be in power again as the madam of the house. She wondered what drugs Lanre was taking again. Was he sick?
She heard the knock on the door again. She knew it was the doctor. She opened it.
Reuben’s eyes almost popped out of their sockets as he stared speechless at Lolade; at his girlfriend. At the woman whom he had been saving enough money to rent another apartment for. He was lost for words.
Lolade shook on her feet. She opened her mouth but no words proceeded. She saw a tear drop fall from Reuben’s eye.
Then he spoke.
“I brought Mr. Akingbile’s drugs. Dr. Okeke asked me to deliver them to him.”
He handed Lolade the brown paper bag.
“Please sign here.” He handed her a notebook.
Lolade took the pen from him, without looking away from his eyes. She shivered. Her hand shivered and she scribbled something that wouldn’t pass for a signature.
Reuben turned to leave. But then he turned around again.
“I hope he used a condom.” He said and walked away. She couldn't run after him and go on her knees. She wanted to but her legs wouldn't move an inch.
Lolade sank to the ground as the tears poured out of her eyes. She had just destroyed the good life she had only just begun to build. She didn’t know what to say or do. She grabbed the brown paper bag. It was sealed. She tried to tear it open but the seal was strong. She ran into the kitchen and grabbed a knife then she mutilated the bag. She held the drug plastics to her face and read through.
She was confused. Why did Reuben make that comment about a condom? She grabbed her phone hurriedly and googled the names of the drugs.
She started to shake as she read the full literature on the antiretroviral medicines.
…to be continued
*please read, enjoy, comment and share
*Episode 9 Series Finale Part 1