“Hello” Olaronke said with a big grin on her face even though she was greeted with the caller tune. She was nearly dancing in excitement with the news she was about to share with the number one on her VIPs.
She was getting married to him despite all the odds against her. She could remember his mother telling her without mincing words that she would never accept her as her daughter in-law. She had broke up with him that day. She could recall her words to him.
“I will never marry into a family where I am not accepted. Especially by a significant person”
But he had persuaded her to look on the bright side. His father and his siblings were pleased with their relationship. He loved her beyond words and that was a good reason for them to get married. She had accepted.
Her second adversary was Bonuade. The shameless girl had boldly pursued her boy friend. The text messages professing her love for him, her display pictures on her WhatsApp and customized T-shirts had drove her crazy. She had told Oluwaniyi it made her feel in secured because Bonuade was waiting for them to go wrong so she could entered the picture. But he calmly dismissed it. And she knew men. She knew they hardly resist a dangling tempting meat before them. Nor a challenge. Before he would see Bonuade as a tempting meat, she must disarm her by following the old adage that says “keep your enemy closer”.
She pretended that everything was fine and never mentioned her name to Oluwaniyi again nor disclosed her fears. Men love confident woman who knew her worth, and that was the mask she was putting on: confidence. She called Bonuade almost everyday while subtly plotting against her. She took her time studying her likes and dislikes. The girl was barely twenty and was hung on her facial look especially her natural hair.
It was few weeks to her birthday when Olaronke launched the first war. She sent an anonymous hair kit to her. The poor girl used it and almost all her hair fell off. She had laughed gleefully when she saw her wearing a wig and looking dejected. She would have launched the second war but her pursuit of her boyfriend had declined. She no longer dropped by in his office or his house. They only met at family function. Now that she was wearing his ring, Bonuade was forever insignificant.
” Adunni hi, talk now” Aina spoke from the other end
Olaronke dragged herself out from the trance she was in. She checked the screen. It was thirty seconds and still reading.
“Girlfriend! Oluwaniyi proposed this morning” She was expecting her best friend to squeaked with excitement but her news was met with dead silence.
Was she still in love with Oluwaniyi?
After they left Oluwaniyi’s place. Olaronke had wanted to call him and thank him for saving her life but Aina had stopped her.
“Adunni please. I am pleading with you. Don’t call this guy. I have a feeling for him” Aina said
Olaronke had burst out laughing before she stopped seeing her friend narrowed eyes
“Aina courtesy dictates I call this guy again. Because of me his plans was disrupted” she explained they were in a bus travelling back to school.
“Olaronke, I will call him on your behalf. Your friendship has cost me a lot. You are more beautiful than i. I have never met a guy in your company that wants me. They are always after you at most they solicit my help to talk you. Please” she pleaded.
She was shocked by her confession. Aina was everything she admired: graceful, compassionate and beautiful. She never thought she intimidated her in anyway.
“I promise you. I will never call him” she promised her.
True to her words, she never did. She pushed him away from her mind.
Life moved on, and they never talked about him. Olaronke reduced her outings with her. She was no longer comfortable with her and it strained their friendship. Precisely seven months later, Aina came to her room and started apologising.
“Adunni, I am sorry for what I said that day. I was being stupid” she said dejected
“Aina I am not annoyed. I gave you space so you could think things through. I have known many men vying for your hand but you never wants them. That doctor who came with a ring ……..” Olaronke stopped in mid sentence. Aina hated it whenever she mentioned that guy and right now her face was rigid in anger. She hated him because he was not handsome. If only Aina would listen to her advice.
“How about Oluwaniyi?” she asked her now seating beside her on the bed.
“He only wants me as a friend. He is stuck on you. I have known this for a month. He asked me to tell you. it’s not fair to deprive you of a relationship that might be yours. What if he is meant for you?” Aina said.
That was when her relationship begun with him.
“Of course I am happy for you. I can’t wait to see the ring” Aina sounded excited
She sighed with relief.
“Join me on Twitter” she said.
Glorious night was the coded name men gave to the exclusive hotel located at Olomoore Abeokuta. It was a beautifully built bungalow painted in earthy green and silver color. Looking at it from the outside world one would see a lonely and abandoned residential house but inside it was fun beyond the present century. Wande remembered his earliest source of income, glorious night was the foundation of his wealth. He was only twenty years old when he approached the owner of the house. The man had a family of five and just won a visa lottery. He was relocating to the land of opportunity leaving his ten bedrooms behind and boys quarters. He bought the bungalow from him with millions of naira he was able to raise from his sold car and his parents properties.
Being an only child had its advantage. His father did not bat a single eyelash when he pronounced the sum to him. He promised to get him the money and he did. Wande had initially felt guilty that his parents love for him made them sacrifice their properties for his sake. But he consoled himself with the thought that he would spoiled them with his wealth years to come. But that never happened.
One thing that sold well was secrecy: Wande had learnt that from his younger days which was what he applied to his businesses and stood out from multitudes. A hotel was supposed to open everyday? Was it not?. But Glorious night only opened 9pm on Friday and closed at 12am on Saturday morning dishing out unbelievable fun. With the few staffs he employed and the creative design of glorious night gate ticket, he was able to make half a million naira the first Friday the hotel was launched.
He was mad with joy. The hotel thrived on secrecy and lies. Some students claimed a popular politician owned it while the others said it belonged to a controversial pastor. The second lie was well believed: people were thrilled to see the hell on earth hotel owned by a pastor. Within a year the gate ticket became rarer than a good economy in Nigeria. From Akoka to Ago iwoye to Ogbomosho to Nssuka the gate fee was sold at outrageous prizes. Only a student in a university was given the right to sell the tickets. And such student paid a large sum of money to have the right. Tomorrow the student might found out his access to tickets denied. It was simply because someone else was willing to pay more.
It was the ticket business he introduced to Bolarinwa; the latter had made a huge amount from it that resulted into the house he built at Ikorodu. It was not easy on Wande having his life monitored by a future brother-in-law, he couldn’t participate in the fun he created without having another battle of words with Bolarinwa. His no string attached girlfriends were ladies outside the hotel. Ladies he hid from his friend.
“You should not be smooching that lady” he had said one of those nights at the hotel were unclad ladies with mask and make up to hide their identities out numbered the men in boxers. Yes! Men entered the hotels only in their underpants. It was different rule for different week. Sometimes the ladies were given school students costume, secretary costumes and sometimes strippers while their male counterpart dressed like a school teachers in the 70s, Doctors and male models. And that was the beyond the century fun Wande created. Some other night he paid musician to perform for the clubbers. But the only exception to the insanities was hard drugs; he never allowed that.
Wande eyeballs almost detached itself from its sockets at Bolarinwa’ s remark. He was merely holding a beaded waist not smooching.
“Stop being a hypocrite! You are having fun with that lady in your lap, why shouldn’t I do the same?” he retorted.
“Because you are my in-law” Bolarinwa replied moaning, the lady on his lap was squeezing his balls.
Wande only shook his head, and whispered to the Lady in his arm to meet him outside. Giving a stupid excuse to his friend who was already in another planet that he wanted to check if no one was gate crashing which they both knew was impossible with the tight security. The mad rush to the gate was incredulous every Friday night. Some students would have hung around since five in the evening just to be the first to enter. And the traffic on the road was busiest than China highway.
He stepped outside and waited in a secluded angle awaiting his pleasure.
He ran the business for good eight years before he stopped. Now the house was truly abandoned at Oloomore and the tales sounded like a mystery to those who never experienced the fun. He had done a great renovation to the house it was now a storey building painted in orange. He ventured into property development and hotel businesses and had never for a few minutes work as an employee for anyone else but himself.
Wande looked at his wife seated next to him in his car, he was driving them on another journey in their lives.
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The house looked bigger than it was and his long strides was in no match for the compound that seemed to drag long. His intuition warned him he would not get out of this unscathed. And his brain gave him a one million dollar advice”Get into your car and leave”. But he was too stubborn to listen. it was only a week ago he made a vow never to allow anyone to control his life. Not those three old men. No one would dare.
He met his father’s cronies entertaining themselves with wine. They seem happy with whatever they might have planned. They might be older but he was just a man like them. A thirty year old man.
“Babawande, we came here because your father here….”
Wande almost rolled his eyeballs out at the word “your father”
“came to report you that you refused to marry his daughter promised to you” his uncle said
“Uncle Ladipo. Yes I am aware that my Father wanted me to marry Adunni but the betrothal was informal and she has gone ahead to marry someone else” he calmly explained
“She’s not married but only attempted to get married” Mr Olaonipekun corrected
Wande could not remember the last time he cried. But he could cry now, Mr Olaonipekun was driving him into frustration with his baseless argument.
“I called you when she was twenty one that you should come with your family so you can fixed the wedding date. Did I not?” Mr Olaonipekun asked him
“I should marry a girl that barely had an admission” he replied screaming
“Are you a b******? Shouting at your father in-law? I will slap that your dirty mouth” his other uncle threatened
“I am sorry sir” he apologized while prostrating.
“Prostration doesn’t necessarily translate to morals. Minutes ago he was threatening to knock me down with his car. Shior (Rubbish)” Mr Olaonipekun said hissing.
At this point, Wande was tired. His brows were drenched with sweat. He wished he was somewhere far where he wouldn’t have to humor some old men out of culture or respect. He studied their old faces, age was already telling on them with few wrinkles here and there. His supposed father in-law looked tired and drawn. He could imagine what he must have been through for the past seventy two hours. His cousin had told him the wedding had ended in tears for the bride and her guests. The hall was destroyed by the fighting Alaga iduros, the guests present had tried to intervene but the women were fighting out their five year old grudge. One was accusing the other of spreading lies about her and calling her a husband snatcher. The security man phoned the police and they came to arrest everyone present.
It was the worst wedding of the century, guests bailing themselves from the police cell.
“When she was graduating, I called you to come for the wedding. But you refused” Mr Olaonipekun started with his line of argument again.
“I informed you to come for your wife last year but you refused”
“And you allowed her to marry someone else” Wande reminded him.
“Do I have a choice? the girl will be 27 this April and you have rejected her many times. What should I have done when someone else wanted to marry her?” Mr Olaonipekun turned to his cronies. out of this.
His uncles nodded in agreement.
“Babawande, you have to honor your promise and marry her. It was your father’s wish. Who knows maybe it was his spirit that disrupted the wedding. Listen to us” uncle Ladipo pleaded with him as if they expected him to refuse. There was no getting out of this unmarried. He entered the union from the moment he saw his uncles Yoruba families pulled more influences and power than any other.
With a deep sigh, he spoke from the manner ingrained in him. He thanked them for their concern and for being with him since his father died. To be honest those three had visited him many times in Lagos.
“I will marry Adunni” he said
His reply was met with smiling faces while he cringed inside.
“When is the wedding?” he asked them
“Today, there is no need to delay it any longer. The Yoruba’s says ” if one stays too long in the toilet, one will attract bad flies “. The bad fly is Oluwaniyi. She should have been your wife ages ago if you had not been dragging your feet”
They were not aware it was his father’s advice he took. Advice or instruction?
“You should not worry we already bought the”eru iyawo”. After that scandal we don’t need a big weeding. She will marry you here in the sitting room and move to Lagos with you” uncle said.
Wande sighed as he watched his wife to be led into the sitting room by her brother.
…to be continued