COURTING BAIDA II

The morning was wet and cold. It had rained the whole night and the skies were of my best color. I drove to Garki II with one purpose in mind. Meet the girl that kept me awake for most of the night. The drive took less than ten minutes and I found myself parked at same spot the ‘man dancer’ had dropped her off.
I waited.
****
I did not feel like going to work today. I never feel like going to work these days. Going to see my married ex and business partner behind his desk with littered photos of his ugly wife staring at me every time I had the misfortune of going into his office gave me weak stomach and severe headache.
By the way, this misfortune happened very other day.
‘Resign already’ was Tope’s advice.
That wasn’t an option. He would win the last round too? He didn’t even know he had erred. And I didn’t tell him he had.
I was the ‘liberal’ soul. It was killing me and I was dying in silence. We started the interior décor company together and had such great plans to get married, make it a family conglomerate yada yada yada….. It was a dream I was rudely awakened from.
Stepping out, I noticed a strange car parked outside my gate. Wondering who would park out of my house this early and intentionally blocking my drive way darkened my morning mood the more. The hot coffee did not drive it away.
I approached the low fenced gate and I saw a man step down from his car.
‘Hey!’ I called thinking he was leaving his car parked there but was surprised to see him approach me.
And when he got close, I was looking into the eyes of the man at the bar. He looked better this morning. I stopped.
A stalker?
He looked good and unruffled as if he had the world at his feet as he approached. His steps were calculated and he sprang.
He didn’t walk.
‘Good Morning’ he said coming to stop at the gate expressionless. His eyes fixed on mine.
‘Good Morning’ I was alert. How did he know where I live?
‘You ready for work?’ he asked as if that was the most natural thing in the world.
‘Yes and you are in my drive way’ I stated with a known look. He knew I recognized him then.
‘I came to take you to work and bring you back’ he continued as if he didn’t hear me.
His self-confidence was annoying and admirable at same time. The firm lips spoke the words mechanically as if he were a robot without an atom of emotion.
‘What is your name?’ I asked after I studied him. He didn’t look dangerous and I wasn’t bothered about being kidnapped. I stayed alone in a 3bedroom terrace duplex with low fenced gate and no security guard. I took risks.
‘Leke’ he said simply.
‘Alright. Let’s get to work’ I announced and smiled secretly as I turned to get my keys and bag from my car. This was a weirdo. Should be fun I mused as I made to get my bag.
He turned and went back to the car.
He brought it alive the moment I opened the ‘Madam’s corner’ door and got in. I thought I saw him smile but it quickly disappeared as I settled in at the back.
‘Where to Ma’am?’ he asked with clear sarcasm.
‘Metro Plaza’ I answered with a smile.
‘Alright’ and off he drove.
‘So what do you do?’ I asked starting a conversation with the ‘Leke’ man. He was manly handsome and had the chest that God made for the head of a woman. Solid and comforting.
Yes……..I noticed.
‘I stay at home’ he answered simply as he powered the steering.
‘What do you do?’ he asked looking at me through the rear mirror.
‘I make things beautiful’ I answered as we looked at each other through the mirror.
‘I bet you do’ he said with another piercing look before taking his eyes off the mirror.
‘How did you know where I live?’ I asked taking my phone out. Tope left series of messages asking for my thoughts on Damian. He was cute of course but I didn’t want to dash his puppy love. I wasn’t interested in him or any other man for that matter. The man I wanted worked with me and yet he didn’t exist for me.
Damian had left a couple too. Lunch date when I had not digested breakfast? I declined politely.
He didn’t have to know it was a cup of coffee.
This was what I avoided-continuity.
A nice time and everybody to your tents but no, they had to push.
‘I followed you home’ he spoke after few seconds past.
‘Of course you did’ I made a call.
‘Debbie, get the cheque to the bank’ I had received confirmation for presenting the postdated cheque to the bank. Lately, I have been diverting company funds into my personal account. This was not the agreement when we started the company but right now, they were no ground rules. If I brought in an independent account, I got paid independently.
They were my customers, it was my money.
Dating me and marrying an ugly woman from his village behind my back had its silver lining after all.
Piece of black shit….I take that back. I was slowly sinking into depression again especially as Adele’s ‘Someone like you’ played round the clock in and off my head.
Like my sister Homna would say
‘Ei don become your worship song abi?’ I missed her. I should go visit soon.
Obviously he was rooting for me on leaving the company to him. He got it wrong. I may have been ‘stupid in love’ but affliction shall not rise the second time so says Pastor Biodun of COZA. He must have meant a totally different thing but this was what I got. I was working on received Word.
I was going to run him out and run him down. I was scorned and he was going to get scorched.
‘Yes ma’ Debbie said. I knew I could count on her discretion.
We were at Metro plaza already.
‘So I close anytime I feel like. I will need you to come pick me up when I call you yea?’ I said as I made to get down. The look on his face was delicious. He frowned and raised an eyebrow. I chose to maintain a straight face when I was dying of laughter inside.
‘Yes Ma’am’ it was forced.
‘Your number’ I waited for him to call it but instead he collected my phone and typed his number in seconds.
‘Thank you Leke’ I smiled then and got down.
I walked to the entrance and felt his eyes behind me. It took the last of self-control not to turn and see if he was staring. I hope he was because the walk was aimed at entertaining him with my backside alias la‘hot!
Naughty me.
****
I watched her walk away and broke into grin. She was more interesting than I had expected. Fearless and quick-witted. I didn’t expect her to get into my car without an explanation on who I was, how I came about knowing her house or producing an identity card for which I was prepared for. Her voice was calm and polished-incapable of nagging. Her eyes were engaging and found myself stopping there. Staring at her chest would have been rude.
And her lips….
……I still could not get past that. The slim belt that held her waist in a delicate hold pronounced her hips that moved seductively as she walked. I didn’t see more.
I drove out and went to work.
‘I stay home indeed’ I said out driving to Alvan Ikoku Street, Asokoro. The company had its headquarters there.
****
‘I didn’t see your car in your spot’ it was Tope. Lunch time at 1:15pm and she was here with lunch for me.
She knew I wasn’t going to get lunch.
‘I have a driver now’ I said with a wink.
‘Oh ok? Spill?’ she dropped the neat food packs on the glass center table in my office and rushed to take a seat in front of my large desk. I got it because I was hoping Dan and I would make love on it after marriage. You know office romance? Keeping the love alive? Ok, you do not. I was a fool and well……‘kinky’.
I should get rid of it. Everything reminded me of him. And he was sitting at the extreme end of the floor in his own office.
God help me. The hatred ate at me and any moment I’d go bath him with acid. I jumped out of my killer thoughts when Tope gave a table tap. They were frequent these days especially since I overheard the ‘good’ news-His wife was pregnant.
I thought I was over him but the news got me back to the beginning. I pushed his thoughts aside.
‘There is this strange guy that followed us home last night and today showed up offering to drive me to and from work’ I said standing up to go check the food parks that leaked delicious smell of grilled fish. Tope had an eatery and she had the best food in town.
‘What? Babe abeg’ she came to join me in the sitting area.
‘I dey tell you o’ I said taking out a pack of noodles stuffed with shrimps and carrots instead.
‘Where you for know am from?’ she was the pidgin voice of caution.
‘I do not’ I opened it and took a forkful.
‘So you just enter man car like that’ she looked afraid on my behalf.
‘Babe, relax. He is cute’ I joked.
‘What if him na kidnapper?’ she wailed totally disturbed that I wasn’t taking it serious. Tope was only serious when she speaks pidgin.
‘He is not. I need the distraction’ I played the jilted card. It always got her to agree to anything I wanted.
She fell for it and gave a sad knowing look.
‘Okay, please be careful abeg. All this kidnappers gist dey real’ she said and we ate amidst laughter. Damian was in love with me she informed over lunch.
‘And he told you this?’ I asked smiling but not finding it admirable.
‘Yes’ she said happily.
‘He never done for pot’ I said dismissing him with a wave. Telling my friend he was in love with me without telling me first was a total no no. Not like I needed any reason.
‘I know you don’t like him again’ she sensed.
‘You know me too well’ I smiled as we hugged after lunch. It was time to pick my god son from school.
‘Well, at least one man dey picture now’ she gave a playful tickle and I pushed her away.
Opening the door to the pregnant wife of Dan leaving his office got my bile level up. Tope looked at me and I smiled through clenched teeth as we waved them.
‘Don’t’ I said before she opened her mouth.
‘When is our driver coming to pick you?’ she swallowed her thoughts.
‘Now’ and I made the call.
‘Hello Leke. I’m done for the day. Come take me home’ I said rudely into the phone and then went off.
‘Wow! Better go get a take taxi or let’s go pick Severin from school’ she teased and I pushed her playfully as we laughed down the stairs
‘He will come’ I said totally sure.
‘Alright o’ she was gone minutes later.
****
All day I waited for her call. It was 3pm and she calls finally.
‘Come take me home’ I chuckled to myself as I picked my keys and made my way to the Central Business District. ‘She actually thinks I am her driver’ I mused but was cut short. Wande was waiting for me beside my car. She was sober looking and had her ‘forgive me love’ face.
That was what it was………just a face.
‘Leke’ she called. I didn’t miss a beat as I opened my car.
‘Don’t go’ she held on to my left arm and I shook it off. I hated hands on my shirt. It creases and I must always look sharp. Vain? Whatever.
‘I am going out now. We will talk when I call you’ I told her firmly. Gave a straight look and drove off.
Saw her stand there for few seconds before heading to her car. I knew she was going to mother.
She loved drama and I did not want to be the John Dulome or something. Titi rolled her eyes every time I mixed up the names of her favorite Nollywood characters…..actors. She would have my ears if I called them characters.
I smiled as I sighted the Metro plaza. The need to see her was peaceful as was disturbing. I didn’t even know her name and she affected me this much. I must say I had never reacted this way to a female before.
She was nowhere to be seen. I made a call.
‘I am downstairs Ma’am’ I kept the smile out of my voice
‘Come right up to M16’ she ordered. I had to smile.
I made my way to M16 after few turns and stairs. M16 was boldly written on the glass door that opened to the large chilled reception. I walked up to the receptionist to ask for no one in particular when she stepped out of her office with her jacket off. The tucked in chiffon sleeveless top revealed her long hands and full breasts that gave slight jiggles as she walked towards me. I maintained a straight face and admired her frame.
Her globes were perfect and full. They were hidden this morning. Now more than ever, I wanted her. Her smile told me she was up to something as I noticed the eyes of a man at the other end of the reception on us.
‘Good Interiors’ engraved on the wall length glass with silver-plated nuts hung at the back of the receptionist.
This was the famous interior décor outfit that had Titi requesting for new throw pillows and arrangement after every ad. They had a brand and I was impressed.
‘Ready?’ she smiled like we were conspiring and I looked around. We were on the spot light. I switched roles.
‘Yes dear’ I said pulling her into my arms and pressing my length against her delicate frame. Her slender arms rounded my neck as I took in her scent and ran my hands down her back. She relaxed and whispered a thank you.
‘Thank you too’ I whispered back and that got me a playfully tap as she stepped out of my arms and took my hand. Hand in hand we walked out.
‘See you tomorrow Deji’ she said to the receptionist.
‘Good night Ma’ he replied looking interested in the display.
‘Your receptionist is too cute’ I complained and she let her out signature laugh.
‘How was your day?’ I asked as we walked down the stairs.
My hands left hers and we both walked separately to the car. I felt disconnected somehow.
‘Good day’ she said as she made her way to the front this time.
‘The back seat is free’ I teased and she smiled.
‘Why don’t I drive you to the house? You can seat at the back this time’ she said stretching out her hand for my keys.
‘I don’t want you to drive me’ I stated with a straight face. It was going to be difficult maintaining the aloof status for long if she continued like this.
‘I think you do’ she collected the keys before I could make up my mind and held the door for me. I laughed then.
‘Seriously?’ I asked amazed at her boldness.
‘Never joke about stuffs like this’ she made a face. Her lips pouting.
‘Okay. Let’s take you home’ and I entered. Dropping her bag on the front seat, she got in behind the wheel and powered her on like she was long acquitted with Range.
‘What is your name?’ I asked now that I sat at the back totally clueless on what next to expect. She wasn’t the norm.
‘Baida’ she replied with her eyes finding mine through the rear mirror.
‘What does it mean?’ I asked. I like the way it sounded on her tongue in her voice. It was special. She was special.
‘Means Driver’ she said and broke into a laugh.
‘Light. It means Light’ she said seriously as she sped pass a red light.
‘In a hurry to get home?’ I asked.
‘Yes’
‘I am not’. That got her to look at me.
‘Haha! I will slow down’ she said. She didn’t.
Making calculated and skillful reverse, she had the Range facing the road in fewer minutes than I would have. She was a rough driver.
‘Make it easy for you’ she winked as she got down. I got down too and helped carry her bags.
‘Thank you dear’ she said as I followed her with her work bag that was heavy.
‘Nice house’ I stated as she opened the front door and we stepped into the quiet clean house. The smell was sharp and cold. Too airy I must say. The two-piece white cushion in front of her large screen was all the content in the sitting room with heavy embroidered curtains. The walls were adorned with large paintings. Her dining area was in simple Arabian rug and very low surfaced dark wooden table. It had the Chinese vibe. I don’t think I will be having lunch here. My large legs would never fold the way the Asians sat cross-legged for hours. Same reason yoga was a total no no.
‘Thank you’ she said collecting her bags from me.
‘Glad to help’ I stood suddenly tongue tied. I didn’t want to go just yet and I had no idea what to say.
‘No drinks though. I would have invited you in for some’ she was dismissing me.
‘I don’t want a drink’ I said looking at her quietly.
‘What do you want then?’ she asked looking at me with a blank expression.
‘I want to watch a movie’ I came up with the lamest excuse ever. I mentally kicked myself.
She laughed then.
‘I don’t have movies. This is no cinema’ she shook her head as she headed to the stair case.
‘I will be right down’ she said and she climbed up.
I waited and she came back down almost immediately in a pair of blue jeans and black t-shirt with her flats. Her hair was still in a bond but she had touched up on her make-up.
‘Where to?’ I asked taken aback by her quick change.
‘You are taking me for movies and you are driving’ she said handing me my keys.
‘With pleasure’ I followed her out and the rest of the evening was great. Her energy was infectious and I felt myself smiling as often as she did-which was like every minute.
‘So who was the man with you last night?’ I couldn’t get the nagging question from my mind.
‘Damian’ she said simply as we walked hand in hand like a couple out of the Silverbird Cinema. We had seen a movie with a title I couldn’t remember. The smiles and closeness was all I needed.
I felt like running my hands up her cheeks trailing her lips and planting them firmly with mine. This was lust. I didn’t care.
I do not believe love exist. Well, not until now anyways.
‘Who is Damian?’ I couldn’t resist pressing.
‘A friend’ she said without further explanation.
‘Your special friend?’ I pushed. I needed to know. I wanted her to myself only.
I paused mentally at the thought. Mine only?
‘Not yet. He may become one soon’ she answered looking into my eyes as we approached the Range.
‘He won’t’ I stated calmly taking her hands she had long detached from mine.
‘You don’t know that’ she gave a smile
‘I do. I am the man that is going to make you mine. And mine you shall be’ I declared playfully with a hand tug. As everything with me, once I made statements like this, I followed it through.
She didn’t know then but I had proposed to her.
‘Hahahahhahaha! Very funny’ she said throwing her head back.
‘We will see about that’ I stated with a slight smile.
It was 9 pm already.
‘Home yes?’ I asked.
‘Yes please’ she yawned.
‘Hungry or sleepy?’ I asked holding the door opened for her.
‘Tired’ she yawned again into my face.
The effrontery. She was daring and was not afraid of me. It fascinated me. Everyone was scared of me. Tip toeing around me and doing exactly what I told them to do. She didn’t look like one that could take an order and the mere thought of making her mine alone was exhilarating.
‘Great. Now I know how your mouth smells’ I made a face and she cracked up.
‘You is one funny dude’ she said with her small voice.
‘Are you hungry?’
‘God, no!’ she rolled her eyes with flashing lashes.
‘Good. Let’s get Baida to bed’.
She nodded.
‘You stay alone Baida?’ I asked suddenly afraid that something might happen to her as we approached her crescent.
‘Yes. You have no place to live?’ she asked resting peacefully almost sleepy.
‘I do. I am not comfortable with leaving you all alone in that house’ I stated as an old friend would.
‘You should be’ she said quietly.
‘I heard that’ I said few minutes later. She gave a weak smile and we fell into silence as I drove her home.
‘Thank you for a good time out’ she said coming down from the car before I had killed the car and walked away without looking back.
She was a weird one. I watched her open her door and disappear from my sight. I was jealous. She didn’t give me a hug like Damian. I wanted that!!!
The drive home took less than ten minutes and my phone buzzed immediately Andrew opened the gate for me. It was Wande.
‘Do you want to see me now?’ she asked the moment I picked.
‘No’ I answered more truthfully than I thought possible.
‘Well, speak to Mummy’ she said and I could hear the smirk in her voice.
‘Good evening Mom’ this was the drill. Report me to Mom and have me on speaker. This wasn’t going to work this time.
‘Leke dear, How are you?’ she asked sweetly buttering me up for her 11th commandment. ‘Thou shall marry Wande only and give me grandkids after 9 months’
‘I am good Mother’ I answered sternly acknowledging Andrew’s greeting with a nod.
‘So Wande tells me you are not being nice to her’ trust Mom to pour oil on troubled waters and use her diplomatic experience on me. Mother was diplomat and we travelled wherever her work took her. Dad was absent. He simply was not interested in having a family.
‘Mother, I will be coming in this weekend. We would talk about this then’ I pronounced. She was quiet. This wasn’t business as usual.
‘Alright Son. I will be expecting you’ she said after few seconds of silence.
‘Good Night’ and I was off.
‘Sir, Yomi came in today’ Andrew informed as I got down from the car. Yomi-the flamboyant-was my last brother. He was naturally high.
‘Great! Now I won’t find you when I need you’ I smiled at Andrew who looked at his toes. Yomi was his favorite of the brothers because he got to hang out and party. He was my errand boy but somehow he was family. He was good fellow.
‘Not going to disappear Sir’ he said shyly. He remembered last time.
I roared when he was missing for couple of hours straight. He got the message or I hope he did.
‘You had better not’ surprisingly I wasn’t ticked. I was in a good mood.
And out came Yomi.
‘Hey Big Bro!’ he called giving a slight bow with his forever slanted showers before I enveloped him in a tight hug.
‘Nice surprise. Didn’t tell me you were coming in’
‘Yup! I decided at 4pm I wanted to come in for the weekend’ he stated.
‘Good. Stay outta trouble fast boy’ I ruffled his bushy head and in we went.
I was going to listen to tales of Lagos Babes over glasses of good stuff in the snooker room.
The tales kept coming but my mind was on her. I wondered what she was doing now. Was she asleep yet? Did she sleep with her hair in a bond? In pjs or gown or nude…..
‘………….so she is coming on Saturday’ Yomi was saying.
‘Who is coming?’ I asked.
‘Sandra’ he looked surprised.
‘I am sleepy. We talk some more tomorrow’ I gave him a firm grip on his shoulder blade and went up.
I needed a clear head for tomorrow.

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