The events of the previous night threatened to crowd out his mind. He had to be done on the new deposition he was working on by tomorrow a vinculo matrimonii. That was the hook of the argument for the case he was going to be presenting before a tough magistrate judge. The case had all the potentialities of becoming really messy. But he hoped that his client’s husband will see reason and settle it quietly out of court. Against his better judgment and advice, his client had insisted on filing the papers and angling for as much ‘severance cut’ from the business mogul husband as possible.
His thoughts wandered back to last night, try as much as he did, he couldn’t stop himself. It had been wonderful being out with the brotherhood again. They’d had a nice time on the town and the finale at The Nest…that was something else. Tinu… the image slipped out of the screen he had tried to drape it with. With a determined effort he blocked it out.
Heaving a heavy sigh, he crossed out a few things on his notepad and wrote for a couple of minutes before his mind wandered again.
Finally deciding that there was nothing else he could do to stop his mind from wandering, he packed up his notes and his laptop, stuffed them both in his knapsack and removed his car keys from the keyhole behind his seat. If his mind wasn’t going to concentrate on the task at hand, he might as well engage his body in something that would force it to or something more productive.
If he left now he would be there in time, he thought as he stepped out of his office and nodded curtly to his secretary. It signified he was done for the day. He would leave her with his finished notes tomorrow for typing.
The traffic out of Ikeja was light and he made it out to Ikorodu road in twenty minutes. He drove at a sedate 50km/h, with his A.C on and Sade Adu booming ‘Sweetest Taboo’ out of the speakers. He should at this speed make it to the gym at Irese in another thirty minutes.
If his calculations proved right, he had two hours to engage in his weekly physically exercise and cut it back home before the evening traffic picks up in inner city Ikorodu town. If he was lucky, he should be home and dry by six. Since he moved into Ikorodu, he’d had to carefully plan his movements. It was akin to timing military operations – every minute and every second had to be accounted for; otherwise he’d find himself locked in traffic; and not just any kind of traffic. It is more often than not, likely to be the kind Wande Coal referred to in that popular song.
He made it to the gym in less than forty minutes, parked his car carefully (too many careless okada riders can wreak havoc in less time than it will take you to say Olopa o!), retrieved his bag from the trunk of the car and stepped into the cool interior of the gym. The place was scanty and it suited him fine. The peak attendance was on weekends, but he liked to come in weekdays when the place was less crowded.
He was back in his house three hours later, showered and smelling fresh, with a mug of coffee in one hand and his notes in the other he walked to the den where he hoped to finish the deposition before going to bed. The case was a simple one as far as he saw it; however, his client could lose out on getting a hefty alimony. He had tried to make her understand that the Nigerian legal system was not like the American. She was asking for her marriage to be dissolved and a hundred million quid for the upkeep of the children in the first instance, and two million quid every month after three years.
‘Madam, what you are asking for is a permanent dissolution of your marriage. I’d suggest you have a rethink and….”, her eyes flashed as she changed her posture on the seat opposite him.
“Reconsider? Did he consider me when he was going round town sticking his thing into every available hole he could find or buy?”
He tried another tactic, seeing as this one was not getting him anywhere. “What I am saying is, you can still get all you want if not more, but while still remaining within the legal framework of matrimony. What I am suggesting is that we file a case which allows you to still keep a certain legal hold on your husband’s properties. This way, we ask for temporary separation while still being able to ask for financial support for your children; and having legal access to parts of your husband’s assets when he dies. This way is better for the sake of your children.”
She had looked at him for a few minutes, then with a gesture of finality told him she wants divorce and was asking for those exact amounts as pay-offs. So, here he was at 2.06 a.m. still poring over his case files and trying to find the best way to present the woman’s case without making her look like an opportunist who was trying to take advantage of her husband’s misdemeanor for personal aggrandizement.
He was just rounding up when his phone began to ring. It was odd to receive calls this late. Maybe, it was a misplaced call he contemplated. He would have left it to ring and die off if the thought that it could be a distress call from one of the boys had not crossed his mind. He left his desk and went to pick up his phone from the wall socket where it was being charged. On checking the caller ID, his heart skipped when he saw who it was. The frown on his face betrayed deep contemplation for a few moments, then he returned the phone and went back to his desk.
What could she want at this time of the night and after what happened? He couldn’t remember collecting her number, but again he had been too plastered to remember much, other than that he had found her sliding into his bed at the hotel and giving him one of the most memorable sexual experiences he had ever had.
He had been flushed with remorse all day after, had tried to wipe away the memory of what happened, but now it all came flooding back. He struggled with himself to stave off the memory. He had disrespected the brotherhood code. And on the night he had made his peace with the boys.
He was in a spot. He was still trying to stave off Tinu’s image as she went to work on him from his mind’s eye, when he dozed off into a dreamless sleep.
The brotherhood code can wait. Everything can be fixed.
“I tell you what guys,” Lamu removed his glasses and placed them carefully in its case which he put on the table beside his glass of Heineken, “I tell you for a fact, that chap was fleeced by his ex-wife and mightily helped by our good friend Tunde.” He pointed directly at Tunde and smirked his lips.
The manner the accusation was delivered was comical, and they all tried to hold back their laughter. It was a lost battle, but they fought gallantly all the same. It was getting close to around 11 p.m and Tunde was already wondering what time he was going to get home.
“Look, the guy is a man. And men are configured this way – to try for varieties,” it was Chike who chipped in this time. He was having that have glazed look he has when he sinks his teeth into a really juicy topic header, which he hopes will lead to a very robust argument cum discussion. “The woman knew what she was doing. However, I blame the guy for getting married in the first place. Me, I am never getting married.”
They had had this kind of discussion for as long as Tunde could remember. They never seem to agree every time. And now, they are back to it. He had won his client a huge alimony earlier that day against her ‘unfaithful’ husband. Against his own considered professional opinion and expectation, the judge, who happened to be a woman, had decided the case in their favour and had ordered the dissolution of her marriage; to top it all, she awarded his client all her claims – and some more.
Now that they were back at Oasis in Ilupeju, the talk had somehow gravitated to the outcome of the case and his own role in it. As a man, the rest of the guys thought he sold out. But, considering the fees he was able charged he had no qualms at all for standing for the woman.
“Wait na, just wait till a woman does same to you or to Wole or Phillip,” Chike finished off with a smirk and mischievous smile on his face as he spotted the frown on the other guys’ faces. “Yes na, shebi you all will get married? And knowing your histories….”
They all burst out laughing again.
“As for me sha, no woman for me. I will be like that Sarkozy guy. Smart dude, men.”
Chike is that kind of guy. Of all members of the brotherhood, he is the most likely to put forward the most controversial position. They all knew him for being a very opinionated person, they also know he can be a real thorn in the flesh of women.
So, when he says he wasn’t going to marry no one argues with him.
This was the life with the brotherhood; they sat and talked and drank. Then, if the night called for it they hooked a few birds and had fun. Tunde’s mind drifted to the night at THE NEST. It was the least thing he wanted, but he couldn’t help himself. The feeling of guilt was high and he knew he had to say something to the rest of the boys about it. Put it all in the open and hope not much damage had being done. After all, Tinu was just a chic they met at the club. And she had come to him, not the other way round.
He didn’t think he had done anything wrong. But, he couldn’t be sure how Chike would react to him snagging his sidekick. He had not gone with one of his own, and he went and snacked on one hooked to a brother.
As if reading his mind, Chike pointed at him and asked “Tunde what did you do with Tinu?”
Suddenly, he felt like a golden fish in a fish-bowl as they all looked at him waiting for an answer.