#Torera’s Tales 1
The sun rose and the rays settled on her face, piercing through the opened blinds. It was 7.30 in the morning. She was on a compulsory leave period from work. The boss had forced her to take a month off. And she knew that his benevolence was beyond his sudden care for her well-being or because she was over working herself especially as she worked 8-11.30pm for an eight to four thirty job. And she had been consistent for the past three years since she joined the firm.
Torera hated being idle. Idleness was her allergy. She had convinced herself the night before that she would get a proper dose of good sleep but by six in the morning, she had woken up and had somehow forced herself to go back to bed. By 7.15, she was up again. She stretched and headed to her bathroom, splashed some water on her face and had a quick teeth brushing. She looked at herself in the bathroom mirror. It was a Monday. What was she supposed to be doing all day? It didn’t help that her sister did not live in the country and she had very few friends in Lagos since she moved back three years ago.
She walked out of her bedroom, down the hall way to the wooden staircase. Her father’s home office turned major office was downstairs. Her father was definitely out of bed. He was also an early riser. He never took his morning jogs for granted. If he wasn’t back from his fitness routine, then he was probably already reading up something or writing letters in his office.
“Morning Madam.” One of the cooks said as she passed by Torera. She was holding a tray with a glass of pineapple and banana smoothie and heading towards her dad’s office.
“Good morning Mabel.” Torera replied, smiling. “Is he back or still out?”
“He is around ma.” The cook replied.
Torera saw him seated and reclining in his brown leather chair, his clear lenses held by the thick tan brown Ray Ban frames resting on the bridge of his nose and some Beethoven’s Fur Elise playing in the background. He had a document in his hand, and a red fountain pen in the other.
“Morning Dad.” Torera said, walking over to him and kissing his cheek.
He smiled, delighted to see her like he hadn’t just seen her some twelve hours ago.
“My pom pom princess. How was your sleep?” Otunba Tafa said. She could see his eyes light up through the glasses.
“I slept good. How was yours?” Torera replied.
“Good my dear.” He said. He took the glass of smoothie that the cook had placed on his table.
“What are you reviewing? What report is that?” She asked, looking at the document in his hand.
“Financial statements sent in by the auditors.” Otunba Tafa said.
Torera attempted to take it from him but he lifted his hand away from her reach. She shook her head, confused at his gesture.
“No work for you, Torera. I told you already and I mean it.” He said.
“This was supposed to get to my table. I need to be sure it’s fine and approve it before it got to you, dad.”
“I know. You should learn to trust your team. They looked through it before I asked for it.”
“Okay. But I want to still have a look.”
She shook her head.
“Dad, so what exactly am I supposed to be doing all day?”
He raised a brow.
“Are you really asking me that question?” He said.
“Yes. I am. Since you are the one who wants me to be idle.”
He was about speaking when his phone rang. He picked it up immediately and answered.
“Good morning dear how are you…” He said.
Torera wondered who he was speaking to. He wasn’t exactly the closest person to her sister. They did not have that kind of relationship yet.
“I slept well, oshe dear. I hope your sleep was beautiful too…”
She looked puzzled. Who was her father speaking to?
“I’m yet to have breakfast. Taking my usual morning smoothie…you ate what? I want to try some of that…Hmm…Um…yes. Okay. I’ll be so delighted! Okay dear. I’ll see you soon. Yeah…okay…take care of yourself and stay beautiful. …I mean it. Yes. Alright dear.”
He finally ended the call and set his eyes on the report in his hand, even though he could feel the boring eyes of his daughter on him.
“You can review the report if you want to. I am going out now.” He finally said, standing up.
Torera let out a small laugh.
“Father, please who was that on the phone?” She said.
“Is that not called snooping?” He replied.
“Dad.” She said.
He shook his head, raising his hands in the air.
“A friend.” He said.
“That did not sound like friendship.” She said.
“Look, Torera,” He held her chin in his hand.
“I am not a young man but I am a man. It gets lonely sometimes. I have not had any woman in my life. Maybe a few dates yes, but nobody serious.”
“Serious? What do you mean serious? You want to get married?”
“Wh..what?! You are not saying no?”
“I am not saying I am getting married, Princess. But I am also not saying that I am not going to get married.”
“Dad, what are you saying? You’re confusing me.”
“I really like this one. I haven’t felt this with any of my other ladies. Yes I know I’m old but I want the companionship, you know. You are going to leave this house eventually someday. If I am still alive, I wouldn’t want to keep being alone and trying different women from time to time.” He said.
“Dad, I don’t know what to say. How long has this been for? I mean this relationship.” She said.
“Some time. She is really nice. I want you to meet her.” He said.
“Let me process this, okay? I don’t know how to react to the idea of a step mom shortly after my mom passes.”
“Your mother and I have been divorced since….”
“Dad, I know.” She yelled.
He kept quiet.
“I need to go take a bath. She is coming over.” He said, picking his words.
Torera turned to look at him. She opened her mouth in shock.
“Is that why you asked me to start my leave period today?”
“No darling. I didn’t know she was coming over before the phone call.” He said.
She looked at him.
“I think you are too old to get married, dad.” She said.
“Then we are both old. The way things are going between me and her, I hope I don’t get married before you. And maybe that is part of why you have this free period…bring a man home. It’s no longer forbidden, princess. You are how old again? Twenty seven?”
“Twenty eight, dad.” She said, her face as plain as her voice.
“You spend all day at work. I am practically the only man in your life. Since that boy…Ayo…I really thought you two would end up together but as it is, he is married. Does he love his wife?” Otunba Tafa teased.
Torera couldn’t help but laugh.
“Yes. Very much. And that reminds me, he invited me for his son’s birthday party.” She said.
“Why is he inviting you to children’s parties? Are you supposed to hook up with kids?”
“Dad, let it go, okay?”
“Please give it a thought. People are beginning to whisper at the office.”
“What is this pressure now, eh? Can’t I live my life the way I please? Marriage is really not a do or die affair. The rate of divorce these days, it’s even making me think twice, not to speak of the domestic violence…how many marriages last? Heck, yours and mom did not even make it!” She yelled.
Otunba Tafa did not say a word. He heaved a sigh and headed for the staircase.
“Dad I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that…” She said.
“Get a life, honey.” He called back, as he begun to hum, increasing his pace.
Torera sunk into the sofa in the living room. She knew her dad was right. Plus it didn’t help that everyone around her – cousins, family friends, colleagues were all getting hitched. She didn’t really see the need to rush. But she had to admit it was getting lonely of late. She hadn’t been in a relationship with anyone. She had high hopes for Ayo…even if she knew her hopes were based on a wrong foundation. He was married. Very married. She couldn’t help how she couldn’t help herself when she was around him. She still liked him. A lot. But she knew it was a dead end. She would forever be in his friend zone…especially with his wife, Muna whom he loved so much. She had tried to keep her distance. She did not want to be a home wrecker. Two weeks ago, she had bumped into Ayo and Muna at a grocery store at Lekki and he had asked if she would be free for the 15th. She knew she had no plans but she had said she would have to check. She didn’t want him thinking she had nothing else doing. It was his son’s birthday party. Muna had gotten pregnant after the twins with another boy and this one was a splitting image of Ayo Williams.
Muna had also begged her to come for the party, even though Torera could almost guess from her grim expression that she would rather not have her at her child’s party. Torera didn’t have a choice.
The doorbell chimed. Torera jumped from the couch. She had lost track of time. She had even fallen into a small nap. The couch had that effect on her. The cup of coffee had gone lukewarm. She stood up and wore her slippers.
“Torera…” Her father said. He was descending the staircase, dressed in a t shirt and jeans. She had to admit her dad looked really good for his age.
“Sir, Miss Nike Ajayi-Cresley is here to see you.” The house keeper said, rushing over.
“You decided to meet her in your pajamas?” He looked at Torera.
She hurried upstairs.
“Give me a few minutes!” She called out.
Otunba shook his head as he walked towards the door. He dismissed the house keeper and opened it like a gentle man that he was for his guest to come in.
She smiled, revealing her immaculate white thirty two; none missing, none broken.
“Hey, pretty woman.” He kissed her hand.
Nike giggled like a young school girl.
“May I come in?” She said.
“Of course, Madam.” He led her into the house.
It wasn’t the first time she had visited him. They didn’t visit each other too often. She was still trying to take her time too, even if it had been four years since she lost Lanre. She was learning to love again…the kind of love that would make her happy this time around. She still grieved for the death of her ex-husband. He hadn’t died from HIV. He had died from suicide and she blamed herself for a very long time. She knew her son blamed her. But she understood that he was lashing out. He had lost his brother and his dad within few years. Lade was a teenager now and she knew he would have those over the top emotions.
“My daughter is around. I want you to meet her.” Otunba Tafa said, holding her waist from behind.
Nike turned around immediately.
“What? Adenekan you didn’t tell me! I am not prepared!” She gasped.
“What are you scared of?” He said in his husky baritone.
She rolled her eyes.
“I don’t know…”
“She’s twenty eight. The age gap isn’t that little.”
Nike shook her head.
“Thanks. Not helping.”
She was in her late thirties. It was bad enough she was dating a sixty three year old man.
He moved closer and kissed her head. She looked into his eyes, surprised at how this old man could make her blush. No one had made her blush since Lanre. Not even Tosan.
“Ahem…” Torera coughed out loud, calling their attention.
Nike turned around immediately. She had to admit that Adenekan’s daughter was a very beautiful woman…figuring she would be around the same age as the Lolade girl who had taken Lanre from her. She said a quick prayer. She was nervous. It was like meeting the man’s mother.
“Hi! You must be Torera. Your dad has told me a lot about you,” She smiled, disguising her jitteriness.
Torera shook her head.
“He hasn’t told me your name yet.” She said. She was shocked. She had expected to see a much older woman.
“And he didn’t tell me he was into young chics now.” She said. “Are you here for the money? This old guy’s still gonna be around for a long time so don’t bank on it, hun…”
Nike shook her head and grabbed her purse.
“I’ll see you later, Nekan. I can’t take this.” She said and stormed out of the house.
Otunba looked at Torera and wanted to speak but he didn’t find the words to utter.
He hurried after his woman, leaving Torera alone in her loneliness.
*please read, enjoy, drop a comment and share.
I have brought in characters from my other stories so if you haven’t read those, you gotta!