Hello Yarners – quick one – ‘Playing The Love Game and #LMD is back on the Tales At Night-Time with Jumoke your Midnight Mistress on Smooth 98.1, so feel free to tune in and listen to your favourite stories on Mondays through to Thursdays.
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Love is like a game of chess, one false move and you’re mated. ~ Player X
Enitan stared past the television as the Drake song, Hotline Bling, played on. The lyrics from the song jumped at her like verses of scripture and each time she heard the words, you used to call me on my cell phone, late night when you need my love, it felt like some John 3:16 moment, as she could hear Rinsola, who was not so into music sing along from the kitchen.
She had heard the song several times before, but this time she could feel an almost spiritual connection with the song as it reminded her about the sad state of her life.
‘You look lost,’ Rinsola said, holding a tray with two glasses of juice.
Enitan smiled. Lost was an underwhelming word to describe how she felt at the moment, but it could pass for an acceptable synonym, or how else could she describe going from receiving a bouquet of sweet smelling roses for the first time in her life, to waiting endlessly all day for just one call, all in less than a week.
‘It’s Ebuka right?’ Rinsola asked as she passed a glass of juice to her friend, settling close to her on the sofa.
Enitan sipped from her glass, letting the moments skip past, a subtle way of ignoring the question posed at her.
‘I know he’s not just a friend,’ Rinsola continued, reducing the volume of the television to ensure that she was the only voice in the room. ‘I see it in the way you respond anytime his name comes up in our discussion, you love him.’
Enitan stayed silent, giving her friend a sideways glance as she busied herself with the glass in her hand, studying the contents like she was about to go into the juice making business. Rinsola was not asking her if she loved Ebuka, she was telling her.
‘The Prophet can help.’
‘And how will he help?’ Enitan chuckled, ‘love potion?’
‘So it’s Ebuka afterall,’ Rinsola quipped, turning fully to face her friend, the curiosity in her eyes begging to be fed some gist.
Enitan nodded, staring back into her friend’s curious eyes. ‘I’m in love with him,’ she said quietly, but loud enough for her friend to hear.
Rinsola’s eyes popped up, not in surprise, but in mischief. ‘But I thought you said he was just a friend?’
Enitan stayed quiet.
‘What about his girlfriend you told me about?’
‘She’s still there,’ Enitan answered.
‘Have you guys… done…?’ Rinsola asked, making funny eye motions that seemed to complete her unfinished question.
‘Done what?’ Enitan replied, feigning ignorance.
‘Have you done… the do?’ Rinsola pushed on, refusing to buy into her friend’s display of cluelessness.
Enitan felt a huge urge to laugh watching Rinsola wink and gesticulate but she kept the blank expression on her face, staring at her friend with confused eyes. She was a good actress.
‘You… have… fucked him!’ Rinsola blurted out. ‘It’s in your eyes,’ she said excitedly.
‘No wonder you’re looking so fresh!’ Rinsola exclaimed, ‘did you fuck him here?’
‘Ahan!’ Enitan protested with a smile on her face. ‘What’s with all the fuck fuck fuck? What happened to your do the do?’
‘Since I was trying to do PG and you were pretending not to understand, won’t I revert to what I know you would understand? So tell me about it, was he that good that you want to snatch him from his girlfriend?’ Rinsola asked, shifting closer to her friend. ‘This was long time coming, cos’ truthfully, I never did understood for one second, how two, non-handicapped, chemically balanced adults will say they’re just friends in this testosterone driven world.’
Enitan watched on as Rinsola chatted excitedly and she knew she had to open up to her about her relationship with Ebuka, especially since she had confessed to her about being in love with him, but she also realized that her opening up had to be done within the borders of her previous lies.
Lies that were inevitable. Lies that were needed to maintain a semblance of sanity.
What if Rinsola knew that her first encounter with Ebuka was within the seven days that Prophet John had prophesied that she would meet someone new, and not the lie that it was during the planning of Onyinye’s wedding some seven months later?
That would surely take Rinsola’s Prophet worship to super ridiculous levels, especially as it was already on a ridiculous level.
Rinsola’s recourse to Prophet John on every issue was the reason why she couldn’t tell her the full truth about her relationship with Ebuka. Yes, Prophet John correctly prophesied her meeting with Ebuka, which could as well have been coincidence, but even if he got that right, what about the second part of the prophecy that the person would become her husband?
The last time she checked, Ebuka was not even a boyfriend, talk-less of becoming her husband.
‘What are you thinking about?’ Rinsola asked, peering into her friend’s eyes, ‘I’ve told you, the Prophet can handle it, if he can tame Jude, whom you know was nicknamed The Jagaban and Minister of Women Affairs for his philandering ways, who is Ebuka?’
‘I don’t want love potions that will turn my man into a mumu,’ Enitan said, her voice tone clearly expressing her reluctance to buy into the idea.
‘Who is talking about love potions? It’s strictly prayers,’ Rinsola countered. ‘He’s a man of God, not a juju priest, besides, does Jude look like a mumu to you?’
‘Why are you laughing?’ Rinsola asked, pushing her friend’s head playfully. ‘Okay, he’s my mumu and Ebuka can be yours too.’
‘Just prayers?’ Enitan asked sceptically.
‘Yes, just prayers,’ Rinsola answered. ‘And anointing. Anointing of your power points,’ she added quickly.
‘Anointing? Power points?’
‘Yes, the Prophet will pray for you and anoint your power points so that when Ebuka touches you again, since he has already started touching you, he’ll stay glued,’ Rinsola replied with a devious smile, her eyes stationed on her friend’s breasts.
Enitan smiled back. If only Rinsola knew that she and Ebuka did not just start touching themselves, she certainly would not be so excited. Infact, she would have been angry for being cut out of the news. ‘Anointing my power points? That sounds really off key,’ Enitan started, shaking her head in disapproval.
‘Stop talking like a small girl,’ Rinsola rebuked her friend, in a bid to convince her to consider the proposal.
‘Rinsola, if this makes me a small girl, then that’s fine, but no prophet is laying his filthy hands on me,’ Enitan fired back in a tone of finality. ‘Power points kor, Excel ni.’
The place bustled with activity as smartly dressed waiters, tucked behind a granite counter-top desk received orders from formally dressed customers lined out in queues in front of them. There were three queues in all.
Put shaki, round-about, fuku, an animated voice instructed. Fuku don finish? The voice asked in a tone laced with disappointment.
Stella glanced sideways at the direction of the voice. It was from a dark complexioned man, dressed in a grey suit complete with a red tie, and with an official crest, reminiscent of the type worn by bank staffs, stuck on the left side of his jacket’s lapel.
Oya put ponmo, no… not that one, e too flebe flebe… ehen… that one thick, he continued, pointing his fingers at his desired object, oblivious of the disapproving frowns from visibly impatient customers lined up behind him.
‘Next time I’ll like to make my order myself,’ Stella announced as her knife sliced through the gizzard on her plate.
‘Why?’ Daniel asked, his left hand turning the cork on the bottle of water in front of him, to close it. ‘You don’t like the gizzard?’
‘It’s not the gizzard,’ Stella replied as the fork travelled to her mouth with a piece of gizzard as its passenger.
‘Is it the food then?’ Daniel probed.
‘Relax,’ Stella answered soothingly, tapping Daniel’s right hand that was lying idly on the table, softly. ‘The food is great,’ she said, dabbing the sides of her mouth softly with a piece of serviette, ‘I just feel like I lost fifty percent of the experience with you having to make my order.’
Daniel let out a sigh, with a smile replacing the worry on his face. ‘You actually asked to eat exactly what I was eating, I didn’t force your food on you, you remember right?’
‘Of course you didn’t, I never said you did,’ Stella stated calmly. ‘And yes I asked to eat what you were eating but how was I to know that your option would be boring,’ Stella shot at him, flashing him a smile when she saw the shocked expression on his face. ‘I bet you know settling for just fish and gizzard is plain boring with the amount of choices that was set before us?’
‘Madam Choices, tell me, what would you have ordered for?’ Daniel asked with a smirk on his face. ‘Let’s hear it.’
Stella rolled her eyes dreamily, ‘for starters, the beans and dodo is classic, maybe I’ll like a repeat performance.’
‘Hmmn,’ Daniel grunted, making a face. ‘Looks like someone is ordering exactly the same…’
‘Relax,’ Stella cut in, ‘that’s where the similarities end. Where you are ordering for gizzard and fish, I’ll be getting me some fuku, round-about…’
‘Okay…’ Daniel said with a smile as he watched Stella’s lips make delicious twists as they pronounced the words, ‘I see you have increased your buka vocabulary.’
‘Borkot,’ she continued, her eyes closing dreamily.
‘What’s that?’ Daniel asked with a quizzical expression on his face.
‘Borkot…’ Stella repeated confidently, ‘the guy in front of you ordered it.’
‘Brokoto! Jesus!’ Daniel gasped with a face-palm. ‘It’s not some Turkish cuisine,’ he said laughing.
Stella’s lips pouted in a big smile, ‘Are you laughing at me?’ She asked giggling.
‘Me? Laugh at you? Nah!’ Daniel replied, trying hard to push back the laughter, even though his eyes still had the silvery glint in them. ‘So after the Borkot, what next will you order?’ he asked, with particular emphasis on Borkot.
Stella burst into laughter. ‘You’re making fun of me Daniel Bamidele? I will deal with you,’ she said, snapping her fingers playfully at him.
Daniel smiled. He could feel the envious glances from the other males in the room and he liked it. Stella Haastrup, you have my permission to deal with me, merci-lessly.
Danny stood a breath away from the microphone stand, cradling the microphone in his left hand like it was a lady he was about to kiss.
He turned his gaze to the part of the hall where he knew he would find the one face he had been yearning to see all week, but alas! She was not there, neither were the three pro Danny placards that usually helped identify her and her two friends.
His eyes swept the hall frantically as he searched for her face using the placards in the hall as his reference, but as hard as he peered into the faces in the audience, he couldn’t make out any face that resembled Teni’s.
This would be the first time that he would be performing a song in the competition, without being absolutely sure that she was somewhere in the audience cheering him on.
The spotlight came on as the guitar led the intro for the song, he could feel a slight trembling in his left hand. He tightened his grip around the microphone running a quick scan around the hall in a desperate last attempt to locate Teni, before letting his eyes rest on the judges who had their gaze fixed on him.
He took a deep breath as he listened to the full accompaniment that made up the intro to his verse. He could feel the butterflies in his stomach and as he heard the rapid kicks of the drum, he let himself go with the flow.
Standing here, looking out my window
Nights are long and my days are cold
cos’ I don’t have you
How can I be so damn demanding?
I know you said that it’s over now
but I can’t let go ooo…
Teni watched in rapt attention as Danny thrilled the audience. There was this sad, soulful feel about his performance that brought tears to her eyes.
She couldn’t explain if it was the strength of the performance that was moving her to tears or if it was the remembrance of the hurtful words he had spoken to her over the phone.
It was the reason she hadn’t attended the show, preferring instead to watch from home.
The audience erupted in loud cheers as Danny closed out another scintillating performance with an equally spectacular finish.
Teni smiled sadly to herself, not sure if she should be happy for him or if she should remain angry with him.
‘You made me cry,’ Emerald, one of the three judges said as she continued to dab her eyes with her handkerchief. ‘You embodied the attitude of the song, singing every line like you were really missing someone. I’m sure Case will be proud if he ever gets to see this performance. Thank you for blessing us with this,’ she said, in a very emotional voice.
Teni smiled, watching through tear-filled eyes as Danny muttered ‘thank you with a slight bow in appreciation for the Judge’s kind comment.
‘You… You’re a showstopper,’ Mr. Ade stuttered. ‘I’m impressed with the way your voice stayed strong despite the fact that you had tears rolling down your eyes. That’s a difficult stunt to pull off,’ he said, taking a pause to allow the screams of the audience subside. ‘I agree with Ms. Emerald, you actually performed like you were missing someone. Well-done.’
Teni sniffled as she watched Danny exit the stage to a standing ovation. Her eyes trailing him until the camera returned to the hosts of the show announcing a break before the next set of performances.
Teni cozied into the couch as she waited for the show to restart. She was doing a playback of Danny’s performance in her mind and the part where he took the bridge after the second verse was clearly her favourite part of the performance. She had felt goose pimples come on her body hearing the emotion in his voice like he was singing the lines to her.
Everyday I wanna pick up the phone…
and tell you that you everything I need and more …
If only I can find you…
Ebuka sat in the car with the engine running and the air-conditioning on, but he was not in a hurry to drive back to the office as his fingers drummed on the steering pad of his new 2016 Ford Edge Sport. It was one of two reasons he had not informed Stella that he was coming to take her out for lunch because he wanted to surprise her with his new acquisition.
The first reason being that he wanted to force her to have lunch with him by his presence in her office, seeing that she had always found an excuse to turn him down anytime he called to ask her out, since the unfortunate incident of the nude pictures.
He had dropped a box of chocolates and a bouquet of coral roses at the reception, he had also included a handwritten note with the words; I thought I’d drop by and take you out for lunch. Still can’t stop saying sorry boo. I love you so much, E-B.
It was the twelfth straight day he was sending her a gift but the first time he was delivering one personally. They were usually delivered by the online gift store where he made the purchase. Of course she had asked him to stop but he planned on keeping it up for twenty one days, where he intended to top it up with some really expensive jewelry.
He hoped he would have won her back hundred percent by then, cos’ right now, he felt like he was still hovering around the twenty five, thirty percent mark, even though it was worse about a week ago.
The purring sound of a car pulling up by his side roused him from his reverie. He had been lost in thought in the car park of his girlfriend’s office and it was time to go back to his. He peered into his side mirror as he placed the gear on reverse, and just then from the corner of his eyes, he saw a familiar figure in the car that just pulled up by his side.
It was his girlfriend- Stella.
He pushed the gear back to the park mode, and was about to wind down his tinted glass so she could see him, when his eyes caught her hands locked in another. It was just the way he had imagined it when Lanre called the last time about the mystery guy.
His face formed a frown as a boiling rage urged him to get out of his car and confront her but something stronger than his seatbelt kept him strapped to the seat.
She didn’t stay long in the car, laughing heartily to God knows what as she stepped out of the car; a Toyota Corolla 2002 or 2003 model. She seemed so happy.
Ebuka held his breath, something about the car made him realize that mystery guy couldn’t be Deji – the car was just too modest for such an arrogant fool, except of course Stella was going around town holding hands with different guys.
Ebuka blinked rapidly in disbelief as mystery guy emerged from the car, smiling and chatting with Stella as they walked towards the office. Something about the way they related with each other was certainly not platonic, they looked every inch a couple in love, even though they were not holding hands.
‘The fucking dreamer!’ He cursed, pounding on the steering pad to let out a shrill honking sound. ‘I’m going to fucking fix you,’ he snarled, his fingers knotting into a fist. ‘I’m going to fucking. Fix. You!’
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