Aisha woke up Sunday morning feeling unusually tired. She tried to lift herself from the bed but couldn’t. Her mind was foggy and she felt drained. She groped around her bed for her phone but could not find it. She tried to remember where she might have kept it last night but she could not immediately remember.
A gentle knock sounded on her door. She could barely raise her voice to answer. Her mother walked in and looked at her.
“It’s 7:30, aren’t you coming to church?”
She shook her head. It hurt and she instinctively reached out and held it.
“No mum. I feel like crap.”
“I’ve always told you not to go out drinking on Saturday nights. You can’t continue skipping church like this.”
“Mummy, I have a headache, please don’t make it worse. I didn’t intend to go drinking last night. Khalid caused it. I don’t even feel well.”
Her mother ignored her, walked towards the bedroom window and pulled the drapes apart. The sunlight came pouring in and Aisha shrunk underneath her sheets.
“You better grow up. This is not how women behave. You’re about to be married. If you and Khalid have a fight, you sit down and talk about it like mature adults, not go on a drinking spree.”
Her mother sat on the edge of the bed. A solid woman with a set face that had the ability to make Aisha shrink in fear or glower with pride. She gently lifted the sheets and checked Aisha’s temperature.
“Your temperature seems normal to me. But make sure you eat something and take some panadol afterwards.
I’ll be coming home late. The Women’s Guild and Mothers Union are going to an orphanage after service today.”
Aisha did not reply. She just raised her right thumb in the air and dropped it again. Even that took too much of an effort. What exactly had she done last night?
“Don’t worry, we’ll talk when I get back from church. I need to know what exactly is going on with you and Khalid.”
Aisha wanted to respond but even the thought of opening her mouth made her even more lethargic so she kept silent. Her mother eventually got up and left. She cast her mind back to Saturday and tried to remember what exactly had happened.
After consenting to lunch with Bode at 1:00pm, she proceeded to clean up her room. Her mum was attending the wedding of a colleague’s daughter and would likely be out the whole day. Convenient that Khalid wasn’t coming over. She sighed. If he was coming, her mum would have come home earlier. Her mum really liked him. She was still angry and very resentful. Khalid was being sneaky and it made her utterly uncomfortable.
She remembered when they first started dating and she was getting vibes that he might be cheating on her, she called him and told him point blank.
“You cheat on me, we’re through. I will do any and everything you want in this relationship, I will cut my excesses, I will be humble, loving and attentive, I will do my best to not give you a reason to look outside but if you ever cheat on me, we’re done. And don’t say you will hide it from me because I have a way of finding these things out. Don’t give me cause to suspect you.”
Khalid had felt slighted by what she said, they had fought over the issue and a week later, they made up. He had gotten her point. She was not the kind of girl that believed men would always cheat and she would not tolerate it. They had a pretty smooth sailing after that with the occasional issues that couples had but trust had never been an issue between them. So why this? And why now?
At noon, she was about to shower and get set for her lunch with Bode when her phone rang. It was her Supervisor.
“I’m sending you an e-mail right away. There’s a report I need you to edit and mail back to me right away. I can’t reach Elizabeth. This is urgent.”
Aisha opened her laptop and downloaded the document attached to the mail as soon as it came in. She almost screamed when she opened the word document. It was 80 pages. What kind of report was 80 pages long? She went back to the mail and noticed a second attachment. Aisha groaned. She opened the second attachment. It was a power point presentation with 20 slides. Her phone rang again.
“Have you seen it?”
“Yes ma, I have. The report is 80 pages. I’m not sure I can finish it today.”
“You can and please hurry up. That report is to be presented at a Civil Society Organization’s meeting on Monday alongside the power point presentation. Go over the slides, you’re making the presentation. I’ll be waiting for your feedback.”
Aisha heard the phone click and she was angry. She let out a frustrated scream and set her phone down. Why had she taken the call the first time? Why had she not simply ignored it? This was payback for being away from the office, she was certain. Had the woman no heart? She was supposed to be mourning the death of her grandmother! Why was she now being saddled with work? And during the weekend for that matter! If she had not come in, wouldn’t someone else have done the presentation? Wouldn’t someone else have edited the report?
She picked up her phone and quickly scrolled through her contacts. In seconds she was dialling a number.
“My one and only sweetheart, how you dey?”
She laughed and responded
“Stop clowning jor. I’m really really mad right now”
“Ahh, what happened? Who’s vexing my princess? I hope it’s not oga o.”
She paused. Bode was being flirtatious but the endearments were soothing to her ears.
“Omo, it’s that my mumu Supervisor o. The woman has just worked my last nerves, I want to quit! Imagine her slamming me with an 80 paged report to edit and send back to her today. What am i? A miracle worker? I can’t finish that thing that fast and she added a presentation I’m supposed to make on Monday…”
“Calm down dear, take it easy. Just breathe”
Aisha found herself doing as she was told. She breathed in and out and gradually became calm.
“Bode, I’ll be honest. I’m not in the best of moods. I’m stressing out over a lot of things right now and I wanted to just come, do lunch and come home and crash, but thanks to the witch, I’m not sure I’ll be seeing you today.”
“What’s the report about?”
“It’s a report covering all the activities of my office from the beginning of the year till now. All the departments submitted theirs and it’s been compiled into one. It’s just ridiculous.”
“So what exactly do you mean by edit?”
“I’m supposed to check the grammar, make sure it’s coherent I guess”
“Email it to me. We’ll split it in two, you handle the first part, I’ll handle the second. We’ll get it done before you know it and then we could go out. I’ll take you round some nice spots, you tell me what else is stressing you, you enjoy lots of fresh air, then I take you back home. How’s that as a reward for all your hardwork?”
She laughed and before she could reply, he quickly added
“Hoping oga doesn’t mind o.”
She gave Khalid a brief thought and shrugged. She was not going to bother about him. If he was off on some mysterious trip to Port Harcourt to visit some strange woman, she would as well stay here and enjoy the attention Bode was willing to shower her with.
“Naah. It would not be a problem at all. And I really appreciate your offering to help. I’ll split the document and send yours to you right away.”
“Alright dear, I’ll be expecting it. Don’t mind your supervisor. She go know say God pass devil today.”
Aisha laughed again and something tugged at her heart. Bode was really sweet.
By 3:00pm, they were done with the report and he encouraged her to go over the slides. She did and kept complaining to him about how badly they were done.
“I don’t know who prepared these slides but that person is such a donkey. Too much information is crammed into each slide and so if someone is looking at the projector, they’ll keep squinting to make out what is written.”
“Just highlight the major points and share the details during your presentation.” He said.
“Ha. Of course. That’s how I always do my presentations. I wonder who did this thing sef. It’s just a whole loada crap.”
Bode laughed again.
Eventually, she was done. Bode suggested he come pick her up so she did not have to bother driving back and she agreed. She gave him directions to her house in Wuse 2. He got there just before 6:00pm. She was taken aback by how great he looked. In the past week that they hadn’t seen, she had forgotten what he looked like, how really attractive he was.
She smiled as she held open the door to her home.
“Great to see you.”
Bode smiled back as he walked in. She shut the door behind him and for a few seconds, they stood staring at each other.
“No vex o, but is it because I’m not oga that you will not hug me?”
She laughed and opened her arms.
“Come here jor, mumu!”
He laughed and walked towards her and they hugged. She felt the heat in her cheeks instantly and the churn in her tummy. Being in his arms felt too comfortable, she had to remind herself she was Khalid’s fiancée. She pulled back and watched him. Something wasn’t right in his eyes.
“Are you okay?”
Even his laughter seemed nervous
“Yeah, I’m fine. Why?”
“I dunno, I thought I saw something in your eyes.”
He laughed again and this time it was genuine
“Shrink of life! I’m fine jor. My day was a little busy but I’m fine. I just want to be here for you. As an assistant boyfriend that I am”
She heard the tease in his voice and laughed.
“Right! Do me a favour, let’s talk everything but relationships tonight. Can we handle that?”
“Sure thing ma’am. You look lovely by the way.” She had on a floral sleeveless, knee-length dress. Pretty simple but very pretty, She smiled and let herself get lost in his compliment.
They walked out of the house together. Thoughts of Khalid gnawed at her insides but she ignored them. He had only sent a text upon his arrival at Port Harcourt and she had not heard from him again. She was not going to stay home and brood. She would go out and have fun. Whenever he came back, he would explain to her who Dr. Olivia was and if she wasn’t satisfied, they were going to have major issues.
Bode had music on all through the drive. It didn’t take too long to arrive at KFC. They bought the bucket chicken with some icecream and walked out within a few minutes. In the car, they sat and talked, Bode supplying several funny stories that left her laughing and laughing. She had turned off all alerts on her phone and tossed the phone into some corner in her bag. After almost an hour, Bode suggested they go to Beer Barn. She shook her head.
“Naah. Don’t like the sound of the place.” He looked at her and laughed.
“Wait, what? You’ve never been there?” She giggled and shook her head.
“Nope. Never liked the sound of it. It sounds like a place where a bunch of guys gather to drink beer and I hate beer.” Bode burst into deep laughter.
“You’re a clown o. Shut that door. I’m taking to you to Beer barn. They don’t serve just beer there. Actually, they’ve got good drinks you might like. They mix stuff up pretty nice.”
“Okay o. But if I don’t like it, I’ll have your head” She shut the door and he started the car. Davido’s “Skelewu” came through the speakers seconds later and Aisha rolled her eyes.
“I watched that video twice and I didn’t see the dance that everyone was going gaga about o.”
“How would you see it? Do you have eyes? Besides do you even know how to dance?” Aisha punched him and he laughed.
“You no sabi dance jor. Just admit it”
“I can dance silly. Don’t try me o.”
“Right! You’ll have to prove it to me.”
“Give me good music and you’ll see me in action.”
“I hear you. Don’t worry, let’s go to Beer Barn, you get a little something to drink and I’ll take you some place where you can dance.
Aisha remembered taking a drink at Beer Barn. The crowded bar smelled of cigarettes and alcohol. She remembered feeling inexplicably happy afterwards. Bode laughed and told her she just had a buzz. She laughed too but she wasn’t sure why. He asked if she’d like another drink and she nodded. She excused herself to visit the ladies’ before the drink came and upon her return, the glass sat there waiting for her. She finished the drink in quick gulps that left Bode laughing. They left at about 9:00 and he was driving to City Park when she told him she felt sleepy. He looked at her and smiled.
“Alright featherweight, I’ll take you home.”
She couldn’t remember much afterwards. She had slept off. She couldn’t even remember getting home and into her own room. She looked around her and sighed. Something did not feel right. Her body felt really weird. Moments later, she was drifting off to sleep.
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Tayo was worried. Really worried. It was unlike Khalid to go that long without getting in touch with him. He had not called to say he’d gotten to PH or that he had seen Dr. Olivia. It was Sunday morning and there was still no word from him. He tried his number yet again but it was switched off. If only he had Dr. Olivia’s number or her email address. He sighed. This was truly worrisome.
He was still wondering what to do two hours later when he noticed the red light blinking on his phone. He picked it up and read Khalid’s message.
-Guy, how far? Was in an accident. How you dey?
-What?!! How? What happened?
-Trailer ran into my cab on my way back from the airport. Driver died on the spot. My injuries are minor though.
-Wow! Man! That’s some scary shii. Really scary.
-Lol. Tell me about it. I’m okay sha. I was taken to the hospital yesterday. Treated for shock and minor bruises. Then I’ve got this mad persistent headache. Other than that, I’m fine.
-Omo. Sorry o. I was worried. Tried to call you severally yesterday, your number wasn’t going through, then it was switched off. Pings no gree deliver. I bin dey wonder whether dem kidnap you.
-Lol. Mumu. I be Jonathan brother?
-Lol. E no follow. How did Aisha react? Is she alright?
-That’s the weird part. I haven’t been able to reach her. I texted her when I landed and she didn’t reply. At the hospital last night, I got someone to help call her but she didn’t pick up. I’ve called twice with my phone this morning and she’s still not picking up.
-Ahan. That’s not cool. Is she still angry?
-I’m not sure what to think. But if that’s the case then I’ll be really disappointed.
-Wow. Have you seen Dr. Olivia?
-Not yet. She’s coming to the hotel in a few minutes. I just wanted to let you know what happened. Please help me find Aisha and get her to call me.
Khalid looked at his watch. The time was 10:00am
-Alright man. No wahala. I’ll do that.
-You dey go church?
-Since when I begin go church for Abuja?
-You be mumu. Sha find Aisha. Call her or check her up at home but help me find her. I doubt that I’ll return today.
-Okay o. Take care. I’ll let you know as soon as I find something.
Khalid dropped the phone on the bed and made himself more comfortable. The accident had frightened him terribly, seeing the trailer coming at them at that speed, he was sure he was going to die. His last thoughts before he passed out were of Aisha. He felt really bad that things were not smooth with them and guilt weighed heavy over him.
Now he began to wonder. What exactly was going on with her? Why had she not gotten in touch with him yet?