Kathleen raised her head when she heard her name and noticed the sudden hush in the office. She was surprised to see Pete’s mother standing by the door. What was the lady doing here when Pete wasn’t around? Had someone reported her again? She wondered as she quic-kly stood up, “Good afternoon ma!”
To Kathleen’s surprise she smiled at her, “Good afternoon my dear, can you step outside with me for a moment? I want to talk to you pri-vately.”
“Yes ma.” Kathleen said, ignoring her other colleagues as she quic-kly left her seat and walked out of the office with Pete’s mother.
Like they did the last time, they both walked over to where her car was parked, and the driver excused them, “I’m sure you must be wondering why I’m here to see you again.” She started, “I hope you didn’t feel offended about anything I said during my last visit?”
“No I didn’t.” Kathleen rushed to @ssure her.
“Kunle kept ma-king it sound like I said something horrible to you, so I just wanted to clear the air if you’re going to end up becoming my daughter inlaw.” She said ma-king Kathleen blink at her. Daughter In-law? She wasn’t even [email protected]!ngPete yet so what was she talking about?
“Why do you look so surprised? You don’t think my son is just trying to have fun with you, do you?” She asked with a slightly raised brow.
“I… honestly don’t know.” Kathleen confessed. She knew without much doubt that Pete likes her, but thinking what he wants is to marry her would be jumping into conclusions.
Pete’s mother looked at her as though she wanted to say something, but then decided to keep it to herself, “Okay. But why did you lie about having a relationsh!pwith him?”
Although she wasn’t sure it was the lady’s business, but since she had come all the way to the office to meet with her, the best she could do was be polite and honest, “That’s because I’m not in a relationsh!pwith him yet. He only made his intention known to me two days ago.”
“So he said. Well, I’m not here to pry, I just wanted to apologise in case you felt [email protected] by my visit the last time. My son seemed to get that impression from what you must have told him, so I’m sorry. And I also want you to know I have no intention of interfering in your relationsh!pwith him, unless of course you give me reasons to. But so far, Chidi and Kemi seems to think you’re a very good person.” She said with a small smile.
So they had all discussed her? Wow! Kathleen thought as she returned the woman’s smile, “Thank you ma. That’s very [email protected] I actually thought you would be use having anything considering my background… I didn’t mean to make it look or sound like you [email protected] me.” She explained.
“It’s fine. I can un-derstand that. You can return to work, I have a meeting to attend in the next couple of minutes.” She said as she glanced at her gold wristwatch.
“Thank you very much for st©pping by ma.” Kathleen said before getting out of the car.
She stood there until the driver returned and drove off. Kathleen had to admit she felt very relieved. At least Pete’s family wasn’t going to be a problem for her.
She smiled when she thought of Pete. He had called her first thing in the morning before leaving for his conference. Although the phone call had been short, but it had gladdened her heart.
“Good morning beautiful lady! I said I should call and mark register for the day before leaving for my conference, I don’t want quarel.” He had said in a teasing tone.
“Good morning to you too. And I’m still going to go out with Chuka.” She had threatened.
“I’ve alre-ady told your head of [email protected] not to let you step out of the office, and Chidi is picking you up.” He had said ma-king her giggle.
“You’re not serious.”
“We will know whether I’m serious or not. You’re supposed to be using my abs£nce to think about my proposal not meeting other guys. By the way, in case you’ve forgotten, today is Tuesday so it’s Bible study in your church. I’ve asked Chidi to take you to church so you don’t call me Antichrist again.” He had added ma-king her smile.
“Yes. I need to get busy now. I’ll call you when I get back.” He had @ssured her before disconnecting the call.
She couldn’t help but wonder what he had told his mother, as she returned to her office. Now one week seemed like a very long time. She was slowly counting the days until his return.
“Isn’t that oga’s mother? What did she want?” Dave asked curiously immediately Kathleen returned to her seat.
“Yes. She just wants to know how things are going in with her grandchild since her son is away and I’m the caretaker.” Kathleen explained.
“Caretaker?” Dave asked in confusion, reminding Kathleen that she hadn’t told him she was actually Amanda’s nanny.
“Yes. Oga employed me to be his daughter’s nanny. It’s like a side job.” I explained ma-king hisl-ips form an ‘O’ like that explained everything now.
“No wonder.” Dave said, and then snickered at Rosy and the others who he knew could hear what they were discussing. They hadn’t even known what was going on yet they had opened their mouth to judge her.
“No wonder what?” Kathleen asked curiously.
“I mean your clos£ness with oga.” Dave explained.
“Oh! Yeah.” Kathleen said, and then thought about Dave’s loyalty thus far and decided to add, “But it might be more than that soon… We went out on a [email protected]£ this weekend and he asked me to be his girlfriend.” Kathleen whispered to Dave whose eyes wi-de-ned in surprise and then he gave her a broad smile.
“Really?” He asked, and then laughed out loud happily when she nodded, “I’m so happy for you. Now all the bad belle can officially bur-st.” He said loudly even though the others hadn’t heard what Kathleen had said.
Kathleen giggled, “Sha keep it to yourself. I’m just telling you since you’ve been always defending me. I didn’t want to take you unaware.” Kathleen explained.
“No wahala. You won’t hear it elsewhere. But wait, what about that guy that [email protected]£ the other day? The one that said he is your b©yfri£nd?”
“Chuka? Don’t mind him, he was just fooling around because he saw oga.” Kathleen @ssured Dave who nodded with a happy smile.
“I’m happy for you jare. I dey your back gidigba!” He @ssured her.
“What is wrong? What are you doing?” Prisca asked as she walked into Kimberly’s office and saw her re-ading something and sniffling.
“Nothing. I’m just re-ading the book Kathleen s£nt to me.” Kimberly said as she raised her head to look at Prisca. . She thought of Eric and what he would have said had he been the one to see her crying over a book. He definitely would have held her close to himself. It seemed to her like the only time he held her close was whenever she was crying. Maybe she was just going to try crying regularly now so he would always hold her. She loved his scent and the way his arms always felt around her, ma-king her feel safe and loved.
“That’s what’s ma-king you cry?” Prisca asked with a frown as she sat down on the seat opposite Kimberly.
Kimberly shook the thought off her head so she could focus on Prisca, “Yeah. I just feel like the book is speaking to me you know?” Kimberly said as she raised her hand to her eyes to wipe her tears
“What’s the title?” Prisca asked, feeling her eyes tear up as she looked at Kimberly.
“Beauty For Ashes: Receiving Emotional Healing by Joyce Meyer.” Kimberly said ma-king Prisca smile.
“I think it’s a good book.” Prisca said, liking the name alre-ady.
“It actually is.”
“That’s nice. Sha don’t cry too much. Your eyes are red alre-ady.” Prisca said before remember the reason she had come, “By the way, where is Eric’s house located?” She asked ma-king Kimberly frown.
“Why are you asking?”
“Because I want to know. So where is the place?” She asked again..
“Don’t tell me you want to go and investigate.” Kimberly said with disapproval.
“Yes I want to do that. What harm can come from that? You said you can’t go, so I’m offering to do it on your behalf. If Eric finds out you can say you knew nothing about it. So just tell me the address so I can do this and have rest of mind.” Prisca pleaded.
Kimberly looked at her as though she wanted to argue but then thought better of it. Whether or not she told Prisca, she knew Prisca was going to find a way to find out whatever she wanted to know. Prisca was a control freak after all, “Okay. Let me forward it to you on WhatsApp.” Kimberly said as she opened her WhatsApp and forwarded the address Eric has texted her a week ago to Prisca.
“Thanks baby. Don’t worry, I gat this.” Prisca @ssured her as she stood up to leave.
“Prisca…” Kimberly said nervously.
“Like I said, don’t worry. I will be careful. I will just order a bolt ride.” Prisca said as she walked out of the office.
Kimberly who was still watching the door with a frown minutes after Prisca had left, was startled by the sound of her ringtone. Her heart skipped a beat when she noticed it was a call from her father. What was it this time? She wondered as she accepted the call.
“Once again you’re on the news.” He said the moment she greeted him.
“It’s a good thing your husband was with you. I want to see you both in the house this evening. Inform your husband.” He said before hanging up. What kind of summon was this? Kimberly wondered with displea-sure as she dialed Eric’s line.
“Tell me you’re missing me.” Eric asked the moment he received the call ma-king her smile.
“I’m missing you.” She repeated.
“Really?” He asked with a broad smile which made Wumi roll her eyes at him.
“No. You just asked me to tell you that.” Kimberly reminded him ma-king him hiss, “Anyway I do miss you. I was crying a moment ago and I…”
“Crying? Why? Who made you cry?” Eric asked in a [email protected] worried and angry tone which made herl-ips curve in a smile, while Wumi who was driving Eric over to the Cinema gave him a questioning look.
“Why? You want to beat up the person?” She asked in amusement.
“You should know I would. So tell me, who is it? What did the person say?” Eric asked in a serious tone.
“Hold on, let me re-ad some out to you. One she said, ‘The more we focus on who we are in Christ, the less it matters who we were in the past, or even what happened to us.’, and she also said, ‘God’s love for me is perfect because it’s based on Him not on me. So even when I failed He kept loving me.’ and then she said ‘God wants you to be delivered from what you have done and from what has been done to you – Both are equally imporant to Him.’ should I go on? And oh! Her name is Joyce Meyer.” Kimberly said with a giggle which made Eric feel kind of relieved.
He couldn’t believe she was actually re-ading the book and it was ministering to her. Like he had thought she was just going to glance throu-gh it, but hearing her talk about it, he felt a bur-st of love in his heart for her. Eric cleared his throat, “I asked you not to cry when I’m not there to comfort you.” He reminded her.
“Yeah. That’s why I said I missed you. But if you were here to comfort me I wouldn’t focus much on the book.” She reminded him.
“That’s true. Just don’t let anyone else see you cry, okay? By the way, I hope you remember I’m picking you up soon for your thera-py session? Or is that why you called?” He asked.
She sighed when she remembered the reason she had called him, “No. My dad just called. He saw the cli-p.”
“And?” He asked, not liking her tone. He really didn’t like how she always seemed like she was scared of her father.
“He wants us to come over to the house this evening.” Kimberly said.
“No. We are not going.” Eric said with a shake of his head.
“You heard me. We are not going. Don’t worry, I’ll call him myself and tell him we are not coming. Whatever myself and my wife decide to do is our business. I don’t want him to keep thinking he can push you around.” Eric said ma-king Kimberly frown.
“Do you trust me and believe I only want what’s good for you?” Eric asked, cutting her off.
Kimberly couldn’t shake off the feeling of guilt that overwhelmed her at the question. If she trusted him she wouldn’t have allowed Prisca go over to his neighborhood, but then again she knew she de-ep down she kind of trusted him, “Yes I do.”
“Then relax. I’ll handle this. I’ll see you soon.” Eric said before hanging up.
Immediately Prisca got out of the car, she looked around the neighborhood with curiosity. Somehow this didn’t look like a place someone like Eric would be living. It just didn’t fit in with the picture of Eric she had in her mind’s eye. Yeah, she knew about the fake life of many Lagos big boys pretending to be what they were not, but definitely not Eric. From the start he had never pretended or [email protected] about being rich or anything, but he gave off the vibes naturally. She had been around many rich people to know how confident and authoritative they could be even without trying.
She walked over to the shop in front of the building which had the address Kimberly had given her. A dark colored middle-aged lady was seated on a bench in front of the shop plucking vegetables, “e Kaasan ma (Good afternoon ma).” She greeted, bending one knee forward as was typical with yorubas.
The lady looked at her, and gave a single nod to acknowledge her greeting, “What do you want to buy?” The lady asked in Yoruba.
One thing about living in Lagos was that everyone automatically @ssumes you are Yoruba or can speak Yoruba. Prisca was glad she had stayed here long enough to learn the language else things would have been difficult for her.
Prisca wasn’t here to buy anything, but from the unfriendly look on the woman’s face it was probably best she bought something before asking any questions so she looked around the shop, “plea-se I want a cold can of Malta Guinness.” Prisca said before sitting down on the empty space on the bench beside the lady.
The woman stood up and reached for the malt, after handing it to her with a straw she returned to her seat and started humming a tune as she continued plucking her vegetables.
Prisca opened the drink and after taking a long sip from it, she cleared her throat, “I wonder if I’m in the right address.” She murmured with a sigh and looked around her like she was trying to figure out something, before turning to look at the lady, “Aunty sorry o, you own this house, abi?” Prisca asked in yoruba ma-king the lady look at her with a slightly raised brow.
“Why are you asking? Is your father’s house missing?” The lady retorted with a disapproving expression on her face.
“No ma. Sorry ma. I’m only asking because I’m looking for my friend that lives here. I @ssumed if you own the house then you would know all your tenants. His name is Eric King.” Prisca explained quic-kly.
The woman paused to think about it, Eric King? “I own this house, but I don’t have any tenant by that name. Unless he is one of the guys squatting with their friends.” She said still with an unfriendly expression.
Squat? Eric was squatting here? No way! She paused to think about an easy way to describe him so the woman would know who she was talking about since it was possible the woman knew Eric by a different name, “No one lives here that owns a car? He drives at times.” Prisca pressed. Even though he had said the car belonged to his friend, she was very sure he must have brou-ght it home once or twice.
“Oh! Oh! Omo ibo. Chuka?” She asked ma-king Prisca frown.
Eric’s name was Chuka? He was an ibo man? She wondered, and then decided to [email protected] so she would better un-derstand what was going on, “That is what you call him? Yes. But I know him as Eric.” Prisca explained.
Before the lady could respond to that, a young girl dressed in school uniform who looked like she was sixteen walked in and greeted the lady, “You’re back? Welcome. Drop your school bag and come and carry this vegetable.” The woman instructed her daughter who obe-diently did as she was told and sat down on a little stool opposite her mother and Prisca.
“Eric?” The woman asked thoughtfully and then turned to her daughter, “Yinka what is the name of that omo ibo’s friend?” She asked her daughter.
“Uncle Eric?” She asked ma-king Prisca’s heart skip a beat.
“Eric?” Prisca asked excitedly.
“He is not my tenant. He just [email protected]£ here two weeks ago to squat with omo ibo. I don’t even know where they both went to.” The old lady said with displea-sure written all over her face.
“Uncle Chuka said he got a new job. I don’t know about Uncle Eric sha. Maybe he has gone back to his place.” The teenage girl said with a sad expression on her face.
“You were close to them?” Prisca asked her curiously.
“Close ke? They were always s£nding her on £[email protected] as if I gave birth to her for them.” Her mother said with a hiss before standing up, “Yinka stay here for a while, I’m coming. I need to go and take my money from mama Sikira. And take money from this aunty before she leaves.” She said and walked away, leaving her daughter with Prisca.
“So you know Eric?” Prisca asked the girl after a while and she nodded, “If this isn’t his house, where is he from?” Prisca asked curiously.
“I don’t know. I was returning from school the first time he [email protected]£ to look for a house to rent around here. I was the first person he met and asked if I knew anywhere, and then he saw Uncle Chuka. Uncle Chuka told me they have been friends since they were in University and that Uncle Eric helped him throu-ghout. He even said uncle Eric is very rich that is should always respect him and help him run £[email protected] when he is not around.” The girl confided in Prisca in a low voice.
‘I knew it!!!’ Prisca s¢r-amed in her head, “Really? So where is Uncle Chuka now?”
“He said he got a job somewhere so uncle Eric will stay in his house for sometime. But I don’t know where uncle Eric went to since the past how many days. He didn’t tell me he was going anywhere.” The girl said looking sad again. She had been hoping to ask them to get her a phone for her birthday but they had both disappeared after all the £[email protected]
“Do you know them? Are they your friends?” She asked Prisca curiously, but before Prisca could come up with a good response, a black Toyota Tundra drove in, and parked in front of the building and Chuka stepped out of it.
“Look at uncle Chuka!” The girl cried happily as she dropped her tray and ran over to the car, leaving Prisca who quic-kly took out her [email protected] from her handbag and put it on. She watched Chuka and the girl from the corner of her eyes as they talked and laughed before he gave the girl some naira notes and walked over to where some other guys were gathered at the other end of the building.
WATCHOUT FOR EPISODE 93