“Did you actually come to sign up at the gym or you came to sign up on me?” Enitan looked up at Bami.
Bami smiled. He had dimples. Enitan liked to look at them.
“Both.” He said.
Bami was the guy she had met at Abuja at the Women Business Conference. He ran one of the organizations that put together the programme. He had walked up to her after she came down the podium and started conversation.
Bami had a type. His preference was usually the more conventional kind of girls---simple, pretty, and calm. Enitan seemed his exact opposite. She had four ear piercings. Her hair was dyed a rusty gold and she was quite loquacious. He honestly could not explain the attraction he felt for her.
It had been a couple of months after the Abuja connection. The moment he landed in Lagos, he followed up with his pursuit. Bami wasn’t exactly sure why he was doing what he was but he knew there had to be something that kept drawing him close to her. They had gone out only twice. And in those two times, she had dominated the entire conversation, talking about herself and her job and how much she was never going to practice as a lawyer whether her parents approved of it or not. He liked her. She was an open book.
“Well, sign up first. Registration is Sixty Thousand Naira. For VIP Platinum card members, registration is a Hundred and Fifty Thousand. And I hope you know you are VIP Platinum.” She raised a brow.
Bami clapped, laughing.
“Now I understand you are a business woman.” He said.
“They say don’t mix business and pleasure.” She said.
“Hmm…so I am in your pleasure list.”
She rolled her eyes. He caught her there. Yes, she did like the man. They were still in the stage of getting to know each other. For Enitan, she never waited for an official “will you go out with me?” It was just dating. It was not a proposal. With her past relationships, she just knew she was in it when they shared a kiss or started having sex, or when she started feeling the need to ask why he was talking to another woman. Maybe that was why breaking up was not the hardest thing for her to do.
She knew Bami liked her. He had insinuated it a number of times that he was interested in doing long term with her if she would let him. She always laughed it off. Bami was good looking and smart and handsome, but he was not exactly her type. Perhaps the phrase was he was not exactly in her league. She did bad boys. Phenomenal men. Men that sparked up the drama in her. Because she liked the kind of freakiness those men exhibited and the drama in the relationship. Bami was different. He was…the wrong kind of right man.
“Maybe, maybe not.” She said.
He laughed again.
They walked into the Sea Food restaurant at Tiamiyu Savage and Bami pulled her chair for her to sit. Emeka only did that on their first two dates. On the night of the second date, he stopped pulling seats and started pulling clothes.
“Do you come here often?” Enitan asked him. She sipped some lemonade from her glass.
“Well, let’s say I own the business. I am a shareholder. I run it with a cousin.” He said.
Enitan smacked her lips in appreciation. She nodded slowly, looking at him.
“I like you. You should know it’s because of your money. I am materialistic like that.” She said.
Bami laughed, shaking his head. She said all the wrong things yet he didn’t know why he wanted her.
“I like you too. You should know it’s because I find you fascinating.” He said.
“What? Your ex-girlfriend was boring?”
“Well, not exactly. She moved to Canada and stopped contacting me. She met someone else.”
“Then you have to be the boring one.” She said.
Bami smiled. Dimple moment one more time.
“What do you do for fun? Apart from organizing seminars and running businesses. And gyming.” She asked.
He shrugged. He had to think of what he did for fun. Enitan shook her head.
“You really have to think about it?” She laughed.
He laughed too.
“I write. I also teach at the teenagers’ church at my church. I also do a bit of charity work. I run an NGO…”
“How many things do you run, Bami Michaels?”
“So what do you write about?”
“Anything. Let’s say things that inspire people to want to achieve their purpose in life.” He said.
“What does that mean?”
“Well, you understand that no man was born without purpose. There is something you are here to fulfill. There are so many distractions which obstruct us from doing just that. So many things that steal our time. And things you should have done at twenty one, you find yourself still struggling at age thirty five.”
“True.” She said.
“What is your purpose on earth? Do you know?”
She choked a little.
“I hope I haven’t put you on the spot.” He laughed.
“Erm…Bami to be honest I don’t really know what to say. I guess I am fulfilling it already. I always had a passion for fitness. And that’s what I am doing.”
“Yes. That is your passion. But what is your purpose? Your passion is there to push your purpose and bring it to execution.”
She rolled her eyes.
Which kind of date is this?
“I…er…to help people be sexy and fit?” She smiled.
Bami laughed too.
“Okay. I don’t want to put you on the spot. Let’s talk about other things.” He said.
She heaved a sigh of relief.
They were still dipping in on their salad and crabs when Enitan spotted him sitting at the table adjacent to theirs. She brought out her phone immediately.
“Hello!” Enitan said as soon as Torera answered the call.
The back ground was a bit noisy.
“Where are you? I can hardly hear you.” Enitan said.
“I’m in church.” Torera said.
“Today is Thursday….” Enitan said.
“Yes. We have a programme. Finding Your Missing Rib. It’s a singles summit.”
Enitan burst out laughing. She couldn’t help herself.
“Eeya!” Enitan laughed.
“Look, if you don’t have anything to say just get off my phone. I don’t want to miss out on these prayer points.” Torera hissed.
Enitan calmed herself down.
“Guess who I just saw at this restaurant.”
“Who?” Torera said.
“Don’t even bring his name up. I want to start afresh and I don’t need all these negative men from my past.”
“No wahala. Continue to pray. I am going to deal with him right now.”
“Enitan…Enitan what? Don’t do anything stupid please. I didn’t ask you to…”
Enitan hissed and ended the call.
“I’m sorry but that was very important.” She looked at Bami.
“It’s okay. That was Torera, yeah?”
“See that guy.” Enitan looked in Wale’s direction. Bami looked too but he wasn’t sure of who she was speaking.
“My four o’clock.” She said.
Bami looked immediately and nodded.
“Guy on the blue shirt and jeans with the light skinned lady?” He asked.
“He hurt Torera. He also cost her a potential boo. I really want to confront him.” She said.
Bami shook his head.
“Naah. Just let him be.”
“It’s so annoying. He is such a crook! I wonder what he is saying to this girl too.” Enitan looked at Wale’s table. He was holding his date’s hand and looking into her eyes.
“Let’s get going. It’s getting a bit late.” He looked at his watch. “I have to be in church for eight. I have a meeting with someone.”
“Okay.” She replied.
She picked up her bag and Bami held her hand. They got to the stairs that would lead them downstairs.
“I forgot something please.” Enitan said. “Give me a second.”
She hurried back to their table and took her bottle of water then she walked to Wale’s table. Bami shook his head. Enitan was a handful.
“Hi Wale.” Enitan smiled.
Wale looked up. His date looked up too.
“Enitan?” Wale said. He knew her. Torera’s cousin.
“Babe…I have been calling you endlessly. You stopped picking my calls. Is this fair? You brought me to this same restaurant and then you took me home and you had sex with me even after I told you I wasn’t ready.” Enitan sulked.
Wale had a puzzled expression on his face. His date snatched her hand from Wale’s grip and frowned. Enitan could tell the girl was becoming irritated.
“What are you talking about?” Wale stammered.
“I am pregnant. I told your mother. You need to claim this pregnancy. I am not having an abortion.” Enitan said.
The girl opened her mouth in shock.
“What?!” The girl raised her voice.
“Baby…I don’t know what she is on about!” Wale screamed, very confused.
They started to draw attention. A young group of friends started to bring out their phones to take pictures.
Enitan opened the bottle of water and emptied its content on Wale’s head then she hurried out and joined Bami who was already heading towards her to pull her away.
“Enitan! My God!” Bami raised his voice. “I told you to let it go.”
Enitan held her stomach as she climbed into his car. She was still laughing from her stunt back there.
“Relax, Bami. It was fun. He deserved it.” She chuckled.
Bami turned off then engine and looked at her.
“I know it was fun. But I told you not to. You never take me seriously.” He said.
“Are you serious? What does this have to do with taking you seriously?”
“You just don’t get it. I want you and its little things like this that count. I need you to grow up sometimes.” He said.
“I am not your wife.” She yelled.
She grabbed her purse and opened the door of his car. She started to walk down the road. Bami hurried after her.
“What’s wrong with you? What’s all this drama for?” He yelled.
Enitan stopped an empty cab immediately and hopped into it, trying to hold back the tears that were tugging at her tear ducts. She watched Bami from the side mirror as he stared at the cab zooming away. She picked up her phone and dialed Emeka’s number.
“Hey.” He answered.
“Are you home?” She sniffed.
“Yeah. Are you okay?”
“I’m on my way.” She said.
The cab driver dropped her at 1004 and she came down immediately, opened her purse and paid him with an extra tip. She hurried into Emeka’s block and climbed the stairs. She had a key. She was about picking the key from her bunch when he opened it.
“Hey.” He said. She could tell he had been drinking. His breath was strong with alcohol.
She knew this was the wrong place to be. She knew she had run from the right arms. But she wanted to be with Emeka. It was what she was used to. She hugged him.
“When did you get back from Dubai?” She asked.
“Ermm…yesterday. I called you.” He said.
She nodded. She knew he came back five days before. She knew he had traveled with his personal assistant and she knew that his personal assistant had assisted him very personally. But she did not mind. She just wanted to let it all out in the manner she was accustomed to. She pulled him closer and started to kiss him at the same time undress herself.
Emeka held her and started to respond but then he stopped half way.
“We can’t…we can’t do this.” He said.
“What?” Enitan said, looking at him.
“Nkiru is pregnant for me. I’m sorry. I wanted to tell you…”
Nkiru was his personal assistant.
Enitan sighed. She couldn’t stop her battle of tears. She clasped her bra together and grabbed her unbuttoned shirt then she hurried out of his apartment. She searched on her phone for a Uber taxi. She regretted not driving. The taxi dropped her in front of her gate and she got down. It was chilly. All she wanted to do was go into her bathroom and soak herself in a warm bath.
The next morning, she went back to her gym. She was not the kind that stayed in bed all day and fed on ice cream and break up songs. She needed to distract her mind. She needed to get going.
She climbed out of her car and locked the door with the remote. Bami blocked her. She staggered a bit.
“Bami! What are you doing here?” She asked. She was sorry. But she was ashamed.
“I love you. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have pushed you too hard. I’m sorry.” He said.
“I…I’m sorry. Bami I can’t do this. I can’t go out with you.” She said and walked towards the gym.
He followed her into her office. She dropped her back pack and sighed.
“I’m sorry. Please.” He said.
She shook her head.
“It can’t work. It’s too complicated. My life is too complicated.” She said.
“I love it that way.” He said softly.
“You don’t understand. I am not like you. I am not all churchy and religious. I can’t…”
“Enitan as long as you are born again I don’t care about your past. If God does not remember your past then who am I to remember your past?”
“I don’t care. Seriously. I want to start afresh with you.” He said.
“I left you yesterday and went to my boyfriend’s ...my ex boyfriend's place and almost had sex with him. Is that the kind of girl you want?”
Bami cringed. He opened his eyes wide.
“I thought so too.” Enitan smiled. “I have some training to do. Please excuse me.” She said.
“I won’t say this is a good pill to swallow. But Enitan I love you.” He said.
She turned to look at him.
“You love me. What is love?” She laughed sarcastically.
“Love is the recognition, acknowledgement and appreciation of the true worth and value of a person.” He said.
“And what am I worth?”
“You’re worth the blood of Jesus. That was the value for the redemption and salvation of your soul…and mine.”
Enitan did not know what to say. She only stared at this man who from nowhere wanted to turn her life around.
Toju caught the bouquet. Otunba and Nike got married in a small registry ceremony and had a big reception in Oriental Hotel after signing at the Ikoyi registry. She was a beautiful bride---a forty year old gorgeous bride. The engagement ceremony held the day before and had a lot more crowd than the registry reception.
Nike was happy again. And she hoped it would last for the rest of her life. She had been so sad in her previous marriage. Her parents prayed for her. Her pastor prayed for her. Toju prayed for her.
She had planned all along with Otunba in picking the perfect wedding gift for Nike. Otunba wanted it to be a secret and each time Nike mentioned that she needed to speak with Toju, he flinched. He wasn’t sure if she would keep it a surprise, knowing that she was best friends with Nike, and women talked a lot.
Nike had been blown away. With Toju’s help, Otunba had bought her three sets of Allnatt diamond jewelry for her wedding present. He also made reservations for their honey moon destination in Cape Town, South Africa at the same Mount Nelson hotel. This time, they would be together in the same Superior suite as man and wife.
“Thank you so much!” Otunba hugged Toju. She was a good friend. “She really seems very happy. That’s all I want. I just want her to be happy.” He said.
Nike was at the other end of the hall, saying hello to her guests and taking photos with them.
“It’s my pleasure. Just make sure you treat her rightly. She has been through a lot.” Toju said.
“I don’t have a choice.” He said.
Toju sighed and walked outside of the hall. She wanted some fresh air. She wanted to clear her head a bit. She shut her eyes as the breeze caressed her skin, making her hair fly in her face. She wanted the wind to blow the guilt in her heart away.
She felt someone hold her hand. She didn’t have to open her eyes. She knew who it was.
“You look handsome.” She said, turning to face him.
Lade smiled. The few times he smiled were when he was with Toju. He was wearing a bespoke tux and a bold red bow tie. His hair cut gave him a more mature look. The boy was seventeen. Eighteen in a few months.
“You’re hot.” He said.
She smiled, looking away. She did not understand how a boy young enough to be her son could make her blush.
“Its here. Now I have a step dad.” He sighed.
She ran her hand over his head.
“I want you to try to be nice. He loves your mom. She is happy.” Toju said.
“I need to be happy too.” He said.
He drew her closer and kissed her. Toju retreated immediately, looking around.
“Someone might see us.” She said.
“I don’t care. I love you.”
Toju sighed again. She longed to hear those words. She wanted him to hold her. Yes he was young, but he made her feel loved and wanted again. She hadn’t felt that in very many years.
Rotimi hugged her as he opened the door to his apartment. He was wearing a faded t shirt and jeans. A pencil was tucked behind his ear. She could tell he had been working.
“Sweetheart.” Rotimi smiled.
It was the third month of their new relationship. She had met Rotimi in church. He was an usher. In fact, it was a miracle. She had been looking in the wrong places all along. After that singles summit she attended, she started attending church more often, although with a keen eagle eye searching for any available young man. She joined the choir department although she couldn’t sing to save her life. She just needed a sub group where she would be seen and heard.
You do not light a candle and put it under a bushel!
Rotimi was an architecture consultant. He worked with Yelson Limited, a consulting firm in Lagos Island. They had met at the car park in church after one Sunday service. Her car had blocked his and the lord had taken it up from there.
She felt like she knew everything about him. He was making ends meet. He was comfortable. She knew she earned a lot more than he did but she was determined to keep this one. She wouldn't lose him like she had lost Tunde. Her father had beaten her to it in the race. He had gotten married before her. But she did not mind. She would wait on God and see where the relationship with Rotimi would take her to. She could only have faith and hope and love.
He told her about his past. He had dated his ex girlfriend for three years and six months. He had even proposed marriage to her. But he loved her more than she loved him. She had been obsessed with her best friend’s husband for a long time because she believed she had a vision from God that they would be married. Her obsession caused serious challenges to her mental health. Rotimi had tried to help her through therapy and she had eventually started to recover. She accepted him and they started a relationship. He was willing to do anything for her. Out of the blue, Timi said she needed space and wanted to clear her head for some time. He had waited for her but she was not forth coming. He had to move on.
“Happy birthday baby.” Torera hugged him. She handed him the wrapped gift box and headed to the dining table to drop the box of cake in her hand. "Don't tell me you are working today."
Rotimi blushed a little.
“I need to finish up some work. Thank you so much.” He said.
“What do you want for your birthday? Where do you want to go? My treat.” She smiled.
Rotimi raised a brow.
“Yeah.” She said.
“Okay. Um...I want you to cook for me.” He said.
“Oh.” She smiled. Her smile started to fade out a little.
“What do you want me to cook?”
“Pounded yam and okra soup. It's my best meal. My mom always made that on my birthdays but she’s late now…It would make me really happy.” He said.
Torera nodded. She swallowed. She was not the best cook in the books but she had to approach this like a boss and handle the situation.
She turned into his kitchen. There were a few pots and cutlery on the kitchen table. She sighed. At least he wasn’t cooking for her like Wale. And he was a church guy. So she was safe. She picked up her phone immediately.
“Hello, Mabel, I need your help!” She said to her father’s cook as soon as she answered the call.
Another call came through while she spoke on the phone with Mabel. It was Enitan. She ended the call with Mabel and answered Enitan’s call.
“Sweety what’s up.” Torera answered.
“I am engaged!!!!!!! Bami proposed!” Enitan screamed and shrieked at the top of her lungs.
"Love is the recognition, acknowledgement and appreciation of the true worth and value of a thing." - 'Kunle Oke.
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