I was caught red-handed, hand in the cookie jar, pants down, fowl ynash blown open. I was in deep trouble and the only way I knew was to run. But before I did, I allowed Doyin kiss me one more time.
“You’re going to tell them you found love,” he whispered or sang or cooed or whatever but I could have taken off my clothes for him right there. Amaka didn’t sleep with him? Ever? Then she dulled herself. Silly prude.
“There’s going to be hell let loose on you but you’re a big girl and you’re no longer in the arms of a man who abuses you. You’re with me now and you are going to be loved the way you ought to be.”
Gbam! That was all I wanted to hear. I needed love and lots of it and since it was clear that my cousin, Lanre, and my friends were never going to let me go back to DJ, then Doyin was going to take over the love business.
He was kissing me again and this time, it was me that led him on. His lips were cold and soft and tasted of the wine he had drunk, killing the sweetness of the apple cider I had taken.
“I have to go and face the panel of judgment,” I mumbled.
“Stay a little. Allow Amaka cool off.”
So I stayed awhile and kissed him some more and had even started running my hands all over his chest when from nowhere, Lanre appeared.
“Fiyinfoluwa, is this a joke or what?” he growled.
I moved away from Doyin immediately and avoided Lanre’s angry gaze.
“No, I just had to come see this for myself. Adedoyin, right?” Lanre assumed his big brother role. “Please, leave before it gets really nasty.”
Doyin tried to be stubborn but I begged him to leave. Lanre was a black belt in Karate and Taekwondo and though he didn’t use his skills on anyone, he was never to be toyed with.
“I’ll see you at the wedding tomorrow.” I gave Doyin a peck and he left.
“Are you drunk?” Lanre asked.
“No.” I straightened my tank top. “So I can’t kiss a man again, I have to be drunk to do that?”
“When I convinced you to leave DJ, it wasn’t so that you will start chasing your friend’s ex!” he almost shouted.
“Nobody’s chasing anybody. We’re just kissing is all and that’s not your business.”
Lanre released a lopsided, humorless smile that made me uneasy. With no more words, he walked ahead and I followed him. I took my mind away from my impending scolding and busied it with other thoughts like what I was going to do to my hair for the white wedding on Sunday.
We got off the hotel’s elevator and on to our floor and Lanre led the way to the suite I was sharing with my girls. He opened the door and let me in first. I put no spring in my steps as I walked into the lounge to face an upset party of four, all waiting for me. Lanre closed the door behind us and Kyenpia offered me a chair they had already prepared for me. I looked at them one after the other, starting from the least menacing. Pastor Ishi was on a couch, legs spread out, head bent over his phone; his glasses were off and he reminded me of a picture someone sent me of an albino peering into his phone. James was seated on a smaller couch, his eyes were tired but fixed on Amaka; two of them always had that subliminal messaging thing and I could tell he was passing calming thoughts to her but she was refusing to take them in. Kyenpia was next, with her bum perched on the edge of Pastor Ishi’s couch as she stared at me in disappointment. Finally, the almighty Amaka, who refused to sit, stood facing me, arms crossed and laser beams fired in my direction.
“What is wrong with you, Fiyin?” someone finally asked and I sighed in relief that it wasn’t Amaka. It was Kyenpia. She asked a legitimate question. Unfortunately, I had no answer for it.
“Fi, didn’t I just ask you a question? What is wrong with you? Is it a spiritual problem or is it psychological or what? As in, I’m confused, walai. What will make you go after Maxy’s ex because in case a witch from your village blocked your brain, this is the fact: Maxy is your friend! You don’t go after your friend’s ex!”
“Is there a written girls’ code?” I crossed my hands.
“I beg your pardon?” Amaka butt in.
“Is there a rule that stops me from dating any of your exes?”
For the first time in their lives, my friends were speechless, both of them staring at each other in stunned silence.
“Fiyin,” James called in his usual gentle tone “I really don’t care about any girl code or anything of the sort but like everyone here, I’m perplexed. As in, how did you get from crying in this suite to kissing Doyin four hours later? I thought you were heartbroken over losing DJ. Please, explain to us this new found romance for your friend’s ex-boyfriend.”
“Romance keh!” Amaka threw out. “She just wants to sleep with him or worst still, string him along! That’s what she does and she’s good at it!”
“Let me just explain…” I begged but Amaka shut me down.
“I am your friend, Fi!” she said with painful tears in her eyes. “Your friend! I’m not one of those girls out there! Your friend!”
“Listen nau, lemme talk.”
“Talk what? What do you want to explain, Fi? That the fact that Doyin still wants me turns you on? Is that the rubbish explanation you have? You’re fast becoming a psychotic nympho oh! You better check yourself, my dear! Check yourself!”
I sighed and looked at James. “Can I explain?”
“We’re all waiting.”
“Well…I have no explanation other than I like Doyin and I’m sticking with him no matter what you people say or do. So go ahead, ostracize me or something, I don’t care. Doyin makes me happy.”
They all were shocked. Amaka withdrew into the bathroom and I knew she was going to have a good cry but I didn’t give a damn. It was my life and I had every right to make the best of it.
“You’re serious?” Pastor Ishi asked.
“She isn’t!” Kyenpia fired.
“Fiyin, just tell me you’re joking,” Lanre said gently, all his anger numbed by shock.
“I’m not joking.”
Pastor Ishi spoke next. “If you at least like the guy and he likes you equally, then I don’t see the big deal…”
“Eresoyen!” Kyenpia scolded him.
“Allow me land, madam. I was saying that I don’t see the big deal if both your consciences are cleared. You’ve gone as far as kissing him so I’m guessing it’s serious. Now, all you have to do is find a way to make Amaka understand that you’re together for good. But if it’s some sort of game to piss her off, you have to stop.”
“She is not to go near Doyin! Period!” Kyenpia gave her final verdict.
“This girl you people are seeing is a whore!” Amaka stepped out of the bathroom with a wet face and a towel in her hand, pointed at me. “She goes after other people’s men!”
“Doyin is not your man!” I screamed back at her. “You dumped him seven years ago! He is not your man anymore! He’s mine now! Why is it a big deal to you?”
“Because you don’t like him! You’re just going after him because he has no feelings for you! It’s the same way you went after Kyenpia’s Butter Babe!”
“Butter Babe?” Pastor Ishi and Lanre asked simultaneously.
“Who is that?” Ishi added and Kyenpia sighed. “You have a boyfriend?”
“She does,” I replied, to divert their thoughts from me.
“But you went after him.” Kyenpia steered them back.
“Who is he?” Pastor Ishi pressed.
“Eresoyen, this isn’t about me. It’s about Fiyin. You guys should speak some sense into her! This thing with Doyin is going to destroy her!”
Amaka wiped her face and walked to me. She looked into my eyes and I saw that I had betrayed her deeply.
“I’m sorry, Maxy, but I really like him. Please, understand.”
“There’s nothing to under…” she choked and sighed and collected herself. “If you insist on seeing him, you can kiss our friendship goodbye.”
With that, she walked into the adjoining room and shut the door.
“I’m supposed to be neutral in this,” Kyenpia said, “but I can’t, Fi. If you stick with Doyin, I’ll have to side Amaka. Good night guys.”
She followed Amaka in and I broke down in tears. Lanre came to me and stooped down, looking into my face.
“You really like this guy?”
“I always did,” I lied, working a new angle. “He and I have been in contact with each other for over five years. I just couldn’t mention it to Maxy because I knew how she’d react.”
“But this same guy appeared on the scene less than a week ago with a Porsche for Maxy and not for you,” James stated. “How do you add that up, Fi? Doesn’t it strike you as odd?”
“No. It was just a birthday gift…”
“Which was not even good enough,” James murmured.
“No, his mechanic duped him by exchanging the engine.”
“My point is that car should have been yours and not hers, going by what you said.”
“Amaka tweeted that she wanted it and he gave her as a friend, and there was nothing to it. He’s just a nice guy like that.”
I knew I was talking trash but all three men in the room were proper gentlemen and knew not to dispute a lady in love, so they let me be.
“I want to sit and talk with this Doyin guy, get to know him one-on-one,” Lanre said.
“Yeah, I think we should do that,” James agreed.
“Arrange a meeting tomorrow after the court wedding,” Lanre instructed.
I nodded. “Thank you, Dada.”
“Don’t thank me yet,” Lanre replied.
“But Fiyin,” Pastor Ishi began and I looked at him, “you will go into that room and if possible, go on your knees and beg Amaka to forgive you for not asking her permission first…”
“But they won’t hear me.”
“Try. Make them see reason, though none of us can. But seriously, Fiyin, you just want to sleep with that boy, right? It’s all about the sex. Just tell me the truth and I will understand. Trust me; I know there are people on this earth that rub off on us like that.”
I almost burst out laughing. No wonder they called him Pastor Scandalous behind his back. But I was not admitting to anything he was implying. “No, I like Doyin. I know it’s not love yet but I really like him.”
“But you just left DJ nah,” Lanre lamented. “Ehn, Fi? Haba.”
“Dada, I left DJ a long time ago. I was just too hooked and too scared to walk away.”
That much was true.
“Okay…” Pastor Ishi sighed. “Just go in and talk to your friends and no matter how much they shout, don’t reply. Remember that a gentle answer drives away wrath. And please, try not to sleep with Doyin, ehn? Because the way you were kissing him was…” He stopped there, shaking his head. I stood up and thanked them but as I turned to leave, Pastor Ishi stopped me again.
“Who is this Butter Babe person?” he asked and I sensed his jealousy.
“You sef, you no go bone that yarns?” James reprimanded him lightheartedly. “If she hid it from you, it’s for good reason.”
“Good fire! Wetin she dey hide? My dear, who is he? What does he do?”
“He’s a psychologist but he owns the chain of León Hotels.”
All three guys looked at each other, their faces turning serious.
“What’s his name?” Lanre asked but I suspected they already knew who Butter Babe was.
“His name is Leonel Igwe, the grandson of the former military Head of State.”
Pastor Ishi released a deep sigh and started laughing drily. “Ah! Kyenpia don kill me. Of all the guys in Naija!”
“Is anything wrong with him?” I asked.
“No,” Lanre answered with a straight face.
“No, he’s cool,” James added.
“Okay. Good night.”
I left them and slowly walked into the second room. Kyenpia and Amaka were seated on the bed and Kyenpia had her arms wrapped around Amaka who was visibly shaken. I had hurt my friend badly and there was nothing I could have done or said at that moment that would have changed anything. I stood there awkwardly for a long time but I was given the silent treatment. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I packed a few of my things and walked out.
The court wedding was a brief and hushed affair. Only friends from the groom’s alumni were invited; the bride also had some of her friends present. The atmosphere was dull and even the bride whom I was told was ever lively seemed in a foul mood or as Doyin put it, was still wasted after the previous night’s party. Amaka hid behind dark sunshades and so did Doyin whose hand rested on my waist possessively throughout the whole proceedings. We had consummated our relationship the night before and hardly had a wink, yet he insisted on being at the registry. Loretta and Bem had showed up too and as everything came to a wrap, Butter Babe made an entrance. Kyenpia conspicuously stayed away from him and stuck to Lanre. Pastor Ishi showed no signs of being affected by his presence and the rest of the morning went smoothly without event.
Amaka totally avoided us but Kyenpia stopped by to say hello and advised me to apologize to Amaka. Later on, while I found a good salon to make my hair, Doyin followed them back to the hotel to answer for his actions. We were not to meet each other until four in the evening.
“I spoke with them and explained everything,” Doyin said, using the tip of his middle finger over my skin, causing goosebumps on my hand. “I told them we’ve had the hots for each other for years.”
“What did they say?” I pushed his hand away.
“Amaka and Lanre didn’t buy it.”
“She wasn’t there.”
“So, what’s the conclusion?”
“They gave their consent but Amaka walked out on everyone.”
My face fell.
“Come on, Fi, you can’t carry around that type of face with this beautiful hair. You look stunning by the way.”
“I think we should go and talk to Amaka personally.”
“Are you attending the bachelor’s party or the bachelorette?”
“Where do I know the bride from?”
“I just wanted to know what party Amaka would be attending. Maybe we could meet her there?”
“She’s a girly girl. She won’t go where the guys are. Let’s just go and look for her now.”
Doyin sighed. “I wanted us to go back to my friend’s place and…”
“That one comes up later nau.” I pushed away his hand which was presently travelling up my skirt. “Stop it. Let’s go upstairs and talk to her. I can’t rest until everything is settled.”
I dragged him away from the pool bar and into the hotel. We got to the suite and found the lounge empty but the door to the bedroom was open and I could hear voices coming from within. I motioned to Doyin to wait while I walked forward. As I neared the room, I heard Amaka screaming.
“Everybody wants me to be big about it but I can’t! Letting Fiyin go out with Doyin is accepting him into my circle of friends and I will never do that!”
“Why?” James asked her, his voice calm.
“Because it is unethical! Will you let Pastor Ishi or Lanre date watzhername?”
“If the feelings are genuine, why not? I didn’t bring anyone into this world and I cannot dictate whom they should or shouldn’t date. Maxy, you’re just wiring yourself up for nothing. Your friend is happy with the guy. Let her be.”
“No! It is wrong!”
“How? How is it wrong? The only thing wrong I see here is you going on and on about this thing. Even Kyenpia is cool with it.”
“That’s because not even Kyenpia knows Doyin like I do!”
“Really? What’s about this Doyin that only you know? Hmm? tell me. What is special about him?”
“What’s that tone in your voice?”
“That tone in my voice means I suspect you still have feelings for him. In short, I think you never stopped loving him; you just left him. You still love him.”
“Take it back.”
“Take back your words, James.”
“No, Maxy. I’ll take them back when you allow your friend the happiness she deserves. Then I’ll know Doyin doesn’t have a hold on you anymore.”
I moved away from the door as I heard James leaving the room. He mumbled something to me and Doyin and walked out of the suite.
“Maxy?” I slowly walked into the room and found her looking out the window.
“I don’t still love him,” she said to me.
“But he still loves me.” She looked at me. “And I don’t want that for you, Fi. The only reason he’s in your life is so that he can enter mine again.”
“And did I tell you I don’t know that? Maxy… he kissed me and I felt loved. My world moved!”
“Yes, he knows how to do that.”
“I just want a little of what you and James share and what Kay has with Butter Babe. Please, even if it lasts just one more day, let me have him.”
Amaka faced the window again. “Fi, it’s my guilt that’s eating me. Doyin was a good guy when I left him and he never hurt me, not even once. You know when you leave someone, you expect them to curl up and die or something. But then you see them, happy, with no care in the world and they’re doing well…and it starts to eat you inside.”
I walked to her and blocked her view so she was forced to look at me.
“Just let us be,” I begged.
“In front of James, I’m cool with you and Doyin but when he’s not there, don’t even come near me.”
She ignored me and walked out of the room. I followed her and stopped at the door, watching as she said something to Doyin. He smiled at her with a smile I had never seen before. His eyes were burning in deep intensity that was not even spared for me in our intimate moments the night before. Then I watched him adore her as she walked away and I ached inside. I knew right there that as much as I was going to possess Doyin, I was never going to own him. And that realization alone made me want him even more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sally loves to write and has written so many stories and short plays. She lives in Lagos with her husband and daughter. Check out her works on www.moskeda.wordpress.com