The blanket was tightly wrapped around her folded body, head rested on her knees, Shade wept.
A deep wrenching pain filled sound escaped from her throat but she tried to stifle it, she didn’t want her poke nosing mother to start drilling her with unnecessary questions.
Of course, she had been dating Leroy for more than three years, so everyone in the family knew him including her little nephews and nieces. Leroy was a charmer, he would buy candies for the kids when necessary, always called her Mum in the name of checking up on her, and would go as far as buying gift for her busy body Aunties. He was well-loved by her family and friends. Every time there was a family gathering and she went without him she was sure to answer a thousand and one questions about why Leroy was not present, as if she didn’t have life beyond a relationship with him.
She heard the sound of footsteps draw close, so she quickly wiped her faced, dashed to the bathroom to properly wash out the stain of the tears on her face. She guessed it was her mum coming, so she sat on her feet, picked up her bible and pretended to pray.
“Shade Shade” She heard her mum call from a distance. But she maintained her posture, tightly closing her eyes in concentration.
“Shade didn’t you hear me call you?”Her mum was saying before fully opening the door to see a Shade moving her head from left to right like a pendulum clock all in the sake of prayer.
“Oh, sorry didn’t know you were praying. Olorun a gbadura wa oooo”.
When she was sure her mum was out of the room, she locked the door and slowly walked to the bathroom to have a proper cry.
“Why are you crying”. Her mind ask.Even with the chaos going on in her head, she heard it clearly.
She paused for a second, consulting her brain for an answer. When she didn’t get one she hissed loudly and angrily got out of the shower. After taking some pain killers, she put on her headphones ,turned on her music player and the first song to hit her ear drum was just the right song at the right time for the right moment. It was a song by ‘Mandisa.
‘Come and rest here Come and lay your burdens down Come and rest here There is refuge for you now
[Pre-Chorus:] You’ll find His peace And know you’re not alone anymore He is near You’ll find His healing Your heart isn’t shattered anymore He is here.
She put it in on repeat absorbing the lyrics of the song into her heart and she felt herself whole again. It was the perfect song for her confused and angry heart.It reminded her of Christ constant love even when she misbehaved, that re-assurance boosted her morale and she found her spirit float in delight.
She woke hours later to the sound of her mum’s persistent knocking on the door.
“Mum, what’s the matter? is the house on fire?” She asked with a sigh. Slowly dragging herself off the bed she opened the door.
“You got me worried, I’ve been knocking for hours and no response from you”. Her mum scolded.
“Even Leroy is worried”.
“Huh, Leroy?” She asked in surprise, glancing around.
“You are not serious at all” Her mum hissed.
“Make sure you call him, he has called me up to hundred times just to ask after you. The poor boy is worried sick about you. I’m sure he must have called you when you were…” Her mum paused, scrutinizing her.
What were you even doing by the way?”
“Oh mum, don’t worry.I’ll call him now”.
“I am your mother, if there’s anything at all let me know OK?”
“Ok mum. Can I go in now?” she asked impatiently.
“Are you sure you are OK. cos’ it’s very strange to see you pray for hours”
“hahahaaa mum, you’re not always with me to know if I pray at all or for hours”.
“Motigbo”. Her mum replied walking away when she suddenly stopped.
“Have you called him?” She turned to ask.
“But mum! didn’t you just tell me he called you few seconds ago? l’ll call him haba ! She replied stamping her feet.
“Ok, I believe you just make sure you call him ooo “
“Yes I will mum, just back off already”. She replied shutting the door.
Shade laid on the bed, now listening to Lecrea’s “Say I won’t” song when she heard a knock on her door again. She was pissed by the intrusion .She angrily opened door, almost pulling it off from its hinges.
“Mum can I get some privacy please”. She said through gritted teeth.
“I don’t know what’s biting you but here you go, Leroy wants to speak with you”. She said pointing a phone towards her.
Now she was trapped, she had been ignoring his calls ,her mum had just messed her up and for the first time she regretted giving Leroy her mum’s number. She found her mum icy stare and she quickly averted her gaze. Her mum wasn’t even joking, her body language passing a message . “I am not leaving here until you finish speaking with Leroy”.
She hesitated for a while before she put the phone to her ears.
“Hello” She said, clearing her throat
She laughed in her head. ‘ joker, am I supposed to call you Prince”.
No way was she going to allow her mum listen to this conversation so she decided to act a bit. “Helloooo, I am sorry I cannot hear you properly,Hello….” She drawled and disconnected the phone line.
“Bring the phone”. She heard her mum say.
She gladly returned the phone, eager to escape into her room. And she was about doing so when she realized her mum had re-dialled Leroy.
“Shit” She cussed in her head.
“My dear, she should hear you now the phone is on speaker”
“Oh God” She groaned .
“Baby, you know I love you right? Can I sing for you please? She heard Leroy ask through the speakers of the phone and found her mum’s mean eyes. She interpreted it again “You better say YES“
“OK” She replied in a small voice .
And in a perfect note, with the perfect pitch and in his sweet and unique voice he sang ‘I need you now’ by Matt Redman
Just like the desert needs the blessing of the rain Just like the winter, waiting for the sun again I need you now Just like a river as it reaches for the sea Just like a song, it needs the sound of melody I need you now.
I need You now If I ever needed You I need You now.
It was the taste of salt on her tongue that her brought back to reality. She hadn’t realized she was crying. She looked up to see her mum smiling at her.
She was so embarrassed. “Oh mum, what re’ you smiling for?”
“Let me leave you to have your privacy”. Her mum responded finally going away.
“Really mum ???”
She couldn’t understand how her mum could sometimes be so annoying and at times sweet. She wondered if she should or cut the phone or carry on the conversation . She obeyed the latter.
“Hello Leroy I can hear you and NO my mum can’t hear you”.
“Shade love,do you know how much I love you? I need you more than life itself”. He stated emphatically.
“Really?” She responded sarcastically even though she was turning to jello on the inside.
“Please don’t do this to me. Even though the sun sometimes burn us, we can’t exist without it. I cannot exist without you.
“Oh Leroy, will you still need me just like the desert needs the blessing of the rain or just like the winter waiting for the sun again if you found out that I cheated on you or are these mere words of adulation?”
“Baby please give me a response” She heard the turmoil in his voice
She was confused.”What response what he waiting for?”She asked.
“Please let me come and see you, it’s been pure torture not having you around”. She heard him say.
It took a while for her to actually realize that she had been speaking to herself and not Leroy.
“Shit”. She cussed. Just when she thought she had confessed her sins and was now free of her guilt. Instead, she was confessing herself as if that did any good.
“Is there a problem?”. He asked, his voiced laced with concern.
“Nothing at all”. She stammered.
“I’ll come over tomorrow night”.
“Really?”. He screamed joyously.
She smiled to herself. She felt happy bubbles floating in her system and an idea hit her
“Got to go Boo, I’ll speak to you later.
“I love you so much, never ever get that out of your head”. He said in a gentle whisper .
“awwww that’s so sweet, bye”. She quickly replied ending the call. She was eager to implement the plan in her head…
She had been busy all day dealing with Gorilla jobs, companies whose FR’s and FS were in mess. She had not been able to unglue her eyes from her laptop. It was now 4pm in the evening and she hadn’t eaten anything all day. She felt the familiar hunger pangs but she ignored it. An hour later and she found herself submitting to the excruciating pain from her stomach, she bent in pain, hand wrapped round her belly, she moaned. Knowing the solution to her problem, she dashed to the office canteen. She had already started noticing curious glances from her colleagues and she didn’t want that, even though she was sometimes crazy she hated to be the center of attention.
“Please what do you have on the menu?”. She gasped, hands still wrapped on her belly.
“I am sorry, we’re sold out for the day”.
“Ehn, sold out ?”. She felt dizzy. She had chronic ulcer and her doctor had warned her several times not to skip meals and to snack in between meals, now she was facing the consequences of disobedience.
She was so hungry and the worms in her stomach were not taking it lightly with her , they gladly ate her stomach walls while she suffered. She looked round the restaurant wishing there was manna from heaven.She perceived food somewhere, the sound from her stomach acquiesced to her thinking. She was not definitely not hallucinating .
She cried in victory when she finally cited the Crab cakes and some other things on a table. She was sure the worms in her stomach could see because at the sight of the food, the hunger pangs hit her in full force and she doubled over in pain. she would have fallen but for a pair of strong hands that grabbed her.
“Are you OK”. she heard a masculine voice ask.
“Are you blind ? does it look like I’m OK” She screamed in her head but in reality she only nodded.
“Why don’t you seat here for a minute”.
“I can’t sit, I have to get my medication from my car”. She replied in a muffled voice. Her head rested on her knees.
“What medication would that be by the way?”. He asked.
Even with the pain, she admitted that he had a nice voice. The sound of it, calmed her down.
“Gestid, Gaviscol…..I don’t remember the name is exactly but I know its an antacid”. She replied
“Ok”. He chuckled.
“You know what? Let’s have lunch together. When we’re done I can help you pick up your med from the car”.
“There’s no more food here, they’re sold out”. She replied trying to hide her disappointment.
“In that case let’s share mine. That’s my sit right there”. He pointed.
Apparently, the crab cakes and the other food thingy was for to him.
“Thanks a lot. She replied in a small voice,head slightly bowed.
They ate in companionable silence. Getting up almost at the same time when they were done, they walked out of the restaurant to the car still in the same silence as if staged. In the car, she opened the cabinet, popped open the medicine, head bent backwards she shewed and then swallowed.
“Do you feel better now?”. He asked, concern written all over his face.
She felt herself melt, glad to know someone at least someone cared unlike those client she had to deal with and their unreasonable deadlines.
“I still feel a bit of pain, it will take a while before the pain subsides,thanks a lot”.
“Where do you feel the pain exactly?” He asked.
“Here” She said.
“Can I?” He asked.
“Yes” she replied nodding her head.
He touched different part of her stomach asking at her every point if she felt pain. He had just applied pressure on her upper abdomen when she yelped in pain.Pain from the sore in her stomach and the electric jolt that ran through her body system when the side of his thumb mistakenly brushed underneath her tender breast.
“Oh I see. Hold on, am almost done”. He replied still examining her.
“You have ulcer don’t you?” He asked, eyebrow shot up questioningly.
“Yes I do” She replied in a small voice, as if waiting to be scolded. When she didn’t hear anything from him, with a shy gaze she looked up to see a small smile lingering on his lips.
“Hey don’t shy away from me, look up” He said in a seductive voice, his hand guiding her head up.
His searching gaze ran over her face and then settled on her lips for a moment, causing her to swallow. He must have noticed the movement in her throat because he smiled. He turned away from her,facing the door. She was just scolding herself when she suddenly saw him turn towards her , his lips connecting to hers, before she could say JACK she heard the door of the car close. Stunned, she watched him walk away. He didn’t even give her brain enough time to analyse the kiss. She was confused and she looked round the car park hoping no one had seen her. She didn’t even know his name.
“Why did I even allow him to touch my stomach”. She thought in annoyance.
She was still dealing with a complicated Amir, now she had to deal with another complicated Mr.X. She shook her head in defeat, she wondered when she will eventually meet Mr. Right or Mr. Less complicated.
Dejectedly, she got out of the car and was walking into the office building when the gate man stopped her.
‘Madam, weldone ooo”. He said in his usual pidgin English.
“Akpan how’s work”. She asked as she walked.
She thought he wanted the usual tip and was just about to tell him she would see him a later when he extended a small white envelope towards her smiling. A wide smile it was!
She was forced to look into his mouth. Black gum adorned with brown and cream teeth, scattered in no particular order. She quickly averted her gaze out of irritation.
“What’s this?” She questioned. Instead he just laughed opening his mouth even wider, to reveal his poor dentition.
She squeezed her face in irritation,collected the envelope and quickly walked away to avoid further assault to her eyes.
She would do the rest of her work at home, she concluded packing up her things.
“I’m leaving , see y’all tomorrow”. She greeted her colleagues.
“Just as she was about leaving, she cited the small envelope Akpan had given her earlier. The picture of his mouth invaded her mind , and out of impulse she shredded the envelope in anger.
She was hoping to get Amir’s affection but he denied her that, she had just enjoyed a brief kiss with a stranger but he didn’t ask for her contact, she had been speaking to a client a month ago and had thought he had a nice voice and was very nice but when she saw him for the first time last week she was disappointed, he not only had a poor dress sense, he had a massive nose and to top it all his breathe was killing, and Akpan the gate man was hitting on her.”I must be under a spell”. She thought shaking her head.
She had gotten to her car when she cited Akpan running towards her, she was ready to lambaste him.
“Yes! what is it?” She said in a stern voice
“Oga me and you dey fight ?” . he replied still opening his teeth.
“I don’t have time please, what is it ?” She asked again
“I just remember the oga name” He stated.
“What Oga?”. She asked confused.
“The oga with the Unvlope”. He replied.
“What’s Unvlope”. She asked quizzically.
“That thing that I give you” . He replied.
“Oh! do you mean ‘Envelope’ ?”
“Correct. Na that doctor wey follow you enter motto that time for afternoon say make I give you”. He replied excited to have finally gotten the message through to her.
“What doctor” she thought and then it hit her .
“Bloody hell”. She cussed loudly. It means Akpan must have witnessed the kiss in the car earlier and Mr.X was actually Dr.X.
“Hope no problem madam?, na im’ say make I give you the unvlope and one red flower but i siddon on top am by mistake, e come spoil” She heard Akpan say.
“What the hell are you saying” She shouted.
“No vex” .He pleaded.
“It’s OK just go”.
She sat in her car trying to understand the situation when it hit her in full force.
“Oh shit! the envelope was from Dr.X and not Akpan the gateman” She thought aloud.
With careless abandon she ran to the office with the speed of Usain Bolt, she prayed and hoped to see the shredded envelope.
“Patience is a virtue“
“Shut up ! This is not the time for lecture“. She replied angrily shutting up her thoughts.
“In My arms In my mind all the time I wanna keep you right by my side till I die im gonna hold you down and make sure everything is right wit you “You can never go wrong if you “LET ME HOLD YOU “Down like a real friends supposed to i’m trying to show you the life of somebody like you should be living “OOOooHHhh Baby Baby “You could never go wrong If you let me hold you
Shade moved around the room dancing and singing loudly to Bow Wow’s song. She was floating on bubbles as she envisaged the night to come. Clad in nothing but a gold exquisite body lace lingerie, tautly stretched over her voluptuous body, long bouncy curled dark hair resting softly on her shoulder ,she was truly a sight to behold. Her skin glowed, her eyes sparkled and her heart sang. She was inundated by Leroy’s love.
Putting up on a chiffon shirt dress over her sexy number, she picked her bag and headed out of the house. She was going to surprise Leroy. He deserved an award for persistence . She thought.
She had ignored him for several weeks but each day he never failed to call to plead,proving his love for her. She was supposed to meet him tomorrow but she was going to surprise him today.
She called the hotel to confirm the reservations before getting out of the car. She had a surprise for her baby!
Still walking on bubbles, she went to the back door, gently opened the door with her key and tiptoed into Leroy’s house . She closed the door inhaling his familiar masculine smell.She was now standing by the kitchen area and from there she was opportune to clearly see the love of her life, the one that always made her heart skip a beat, her honey suckle bunny love, the one who had said he couldn’t leave without her and had proved it by his constant loving presence in the three years plus of their relationship on another woman.
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Olorun a gbadure wa ooo : May God answer our prayer .
Motigbo: I hear you
FR: Financial report
FS: Financial Statement