“You can’t keep lying to yourself o. Shey you know.”
Ese looked at her mother and shook her head. This woman was just a case. She would not stop bugging her over Bobby’s matter even when Ese had told her over a hundred times that there was no story where Bobby was concerned.
“Mum, you’re beginning to annoy me with this your talk o. Shebi it’s every time you’ll be talking to me about Bobby. I’ve told you. He’s nothing but a good friend who is six years younger than me. And do I also need to remind you that I just lost my husband? It’s not even three months since Gabe died but you’re already trying to replace him.”
“Which husband? The one that disrespected you all the time? The one that wasn’t there for you? I can see a young man that genuinely cares for you and you’re busy driving him away.”
Ese sighed. This woman would drive her crazy. It was only a matter of time.
“Mummy, I carry God beg you. Leave this boy matter, abeg. Just leave am. Shuo! Which kain thing kon be dis one na? if you raise this boy matter again, I go drive you comot from my house o. No be play. Abeg, stop am.”
The older woman looked like she was going to say something but she thought better of it and kept quiet. They were in the kitchen and Ese was trying to fix dinner. She walked to the fridge instead and picked up a bottle of water to drink. Ese was so stubborn! She uncapped the bottle and took one full gulp and in seconds, her face changed. She rushed to the sink and spat out the entire content. Ese was startled.
“Mum! What is it?”
The woman looked alarmed.
“Wetin you put for there?”
Ese collected the bottle from her, read what was written on the side and burst out laughing.
“This is not water nau. This is vinegar.”
She continued laughing unable to help herself but her mother hissed and walked out of the kitchen
“Na me you dey laugh abi? Yeye pikin.”
Anita walked into the kitchen a few minutes later and wrapped her hands around her right leg.
“What is it my darling? Are you hungry?”
Anita did not make a sound. Ese stirred the stew and then turned to her daughter.
“Sweetie, are you okay?”
Anita shook her head.
“What is it? What do you want?”
Ese felt the sharp pain in her chest but she ignored it. She’d been talking a lot to her pastor. She had been told to expect things like this, especially from Anita who was the more reserved one. She rinsed her hands under the tap, dried them on a napkin and then stooped to face the child.
“Daddy can’t be here sweetie. Daddy is in heaven. With Jesus and daddy doesn’t want you to be sad. He wants you to be happy. Okay?”
Anita shook her head.
“But I want to see him. I want him to buy me ice cream.”
“Don’t worry; you’ll get ice cream tonight. And chocolate cake. Will that make you happy?”
The child nodded and finally smiled.
Ese hugged her tight then drew back and pulled her cheeks.
“Who’s mummy’s brave little girl?”
Anita giggled. Ese tickled her and pulled her cheeks some more then plastered her tiny face with kisses until she laughed really hard. Anita tried to ward off her mother’s kisses with her tiny fingers as she continued laughing.
“Stop mommy. I’m fine.”
Ese chanced one last kiss on her forehead before she finally stopped.
“Where’s your sister?”
Anne appeared in the doorway like an apparition
“No I’m not.”
She walked past her mother and sister and tried to reach for the soup spoon that was on the table just above her head. Ese laughed. These children were light of her life.
“What are you doing?”
Anne had on a serious look that said ‘you people are not serious here so I want to go about the cooking business’.
“I want to turn the stew.”
Ese laughed. Annie was just a drama queen. She obliged the little girl and placed the spoon in her hands then lifted her so she could turn the stew. When she put her down, she drew both her daughters close and hugged them tight.
“Please go and get me my phone Annie.”
She turned off the gas cooker and proceeded to clean the table top. Annie returned seconds later and handed the phone to her. Without thinking twice and before she could change her mind, she hurriedly keyed in a text message and hit the send button.
Hi, you would be crowned hero in my home tonight if you could please show up with some ice cream and chocolate cake. Hard time with the girls, please oblige me. I’ll refund when you get here. It would mean a lot to me. Please. Thanks
She got a reply in two minutes.
I’ll be there in 30mins
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Teni was driving at 140km/h. She was anxious for Tejiri to not miss her flight and Kachi was waiting for her as well. The day had certainly been a busy one for her. She had rushed through all her tasks and had gotten home to freshen up before meeting up with Kachi but now she was running late. She had sent him a text to say she was helping a neighbour with an emergency and would be there as soon as she could. The yeye boy had not even shown up in town within the two weeks that he had said when he first called. It took him almost a month. She shook her head. Kachi was a workaholic; he redefined the term busy.
Her phone rang and she took her eyes off the road to see who was calling. It was Benjamin. They had gone out a few times and she had enjoyed herself. She picked the phone and wedged it to her ear, still focusing on the road.
“Hey you! What’s up?”
“I’m alright dear. I want us to go clubbing tonight. Where are you?”
Teni thought it was a bit odd but she kept her tone light.
“On my way to the airport. I’m dropping someone off.”
“Really? You didn’t mention that.”
“Yeah. It wasn’t planned.”
“Alright. No problem. When you get back then.”
“Oh no, that won’t be possible. I’m meeting up with my best friend tonight. We haven’t seen for ages and he just came into town.”
“You didn’t tell me that.”
Teni was a little surprised. Why did he sound annoyed?
“Uh, Ben, can we talk later? I’m driving now. Let me call you from the airport.”
Ben hung up and Teni looked utterly surprised.
“Ahan. Na wa for some people o.”
Tejiri turned to her and asked
“I think so. Just some guy I’ve been out with a few times that is suddenly sounding like I’m married to him.”
“Men! They’re so possessive!”
“That one is for his pocket o. I’m not anyone’s property to possess.”
They were at the airport in less than ten minutes and Teni parked and walked towards the Arik terminal. There was an ATM machine there. She withdrew sixty thousand naira, money she had been saving up for a rainy day, and handed it to Tejiri.
“This isn’t much, I’m sorry. But just hold on to it for the time being. And here’s my card. Call me if you ever need anything.”
Tejiri had tears in her eyes as she hugged her.
“Thank you! God bless you!”
Teni smiled. She walked over to where Austin stood by the pram with his baby sister. She took his hand
“Be a good boy dear. And make sure mummy doesn’t get into any trouble.” He nodded and smiled.
“I’ll see you sometime soon yeah?”
Teni felt a little emotional as she turned to leave.
“Please let me know when you land yeah.”
Tejiri nodded and Teni walked away. She got to her car and kicked the engine to life. she thought of Benjamin and decided to text instead. That one had issues.
We’re gonna have to talk later. Just dropped off my neighbour at the airport and I’m racing to meet up with my best friend. Cheers.
Whatever was eating him would have to wait. And if her suspicions of him trying to be possessive were right then he had a huge storm coming his way.