© Ajiboye Ayobami Tomilayo
THE TENANT Episode 3
She should have allowed the other lady drive the car now’, another woman who saw the scene said coming towards the Igbo woman’s shop.
‘ Na so we see am o,’ the Igbo woman said again spreading her two palms at the other woman.
‘I am so sorry’, she managed to apologize before a middle aged man walked up to them.
‘Are you guys okay? That was sort of crazy earlier’, the man said, his eyes perusing them one after the other as though trying to find if there was an itch on their body.
‘Oh-yeah’, Van mumbled rubbing her hair.
‘Yes sir, thank you. Are you the owner of the Jeep?’, Nike managed to ask pointing at the black Jeep.
‘No, actually that is my car over there. I was the one driving behind you earlier before I noticed the reckless driving’, the man said pointing at a black colored Porsche with tinted glasses and both ladies turned to look at the sleek car mouth dropping in awe.
‘Hey! What is going on here?’ a very handsome and tall guy said and the trio turned back to the direction of the voice.
‘Wow! The owner of the Jeep, I guess’, Niks whispered into Van’s ear ‘He is damn cute’.
‘Er-actually, we almost ran into your car’, Niks explained with looks uncertain of what the guy would say.
‘Oh! Is that right?’, the guy asked with raised eyebrows- he had an American accent, and the man quickly cut in.
‘It wasn’t intentional Mr., I guess she wasn’t in her right frame of mind earlier’, the middle aged man explained covering up for Van.
‘That is fine- really’, the guy replied them with assurance smiling as though he was enjoying the conversation.
‘Wow! He is really cute’, Niks repeated in the same quiet tone and Van gently squeezed her arm to bring her back to reality.
‘I am Francis by name’, the cute guy said offering the middle aged man his hand for a shake.
Taking the hand with warmth, the middle aged man replied, ‘I am Adewale’.
‘Francis? I hate that name! I hate every Francis on this earth planet!’, Van suddenly spat out with rage evident in her eyes and tone leaving the two guys dumbfounded and making Francis more embarrassed- it was no joke. Van ran to the owner’s seat, Niks previous position fuming, she knew her friend would apologize to the guys, she waited patiently for her so she could drive because she couldn’t risk her life the second time, though she wanted very much to commit suicide but not anymore- she had to see her enemies go down first.
Niks looked at two guys apologetically seeing the shock on their faces. ‘I am really sorry for her outburst, she had been going through a lot recently- I am really sorry.’
‘That’s fine’, Adewale responded first feeling a little sympathy. Nike nodded in acknowledgement and looked at Francis with raised eye balls expecting him to say something since he was the one embarrassed here.
‘Well, I think I am interested in her’, Francis finally spoke grinning. Niks and Adewale cast a questioning glance at him.
‘Er- I mean in her case’, he quickly added smiling sensing their mischief.
‘Okay, I am Adenike;, giving out her hand to both guys for a shake. They exchanged phone numbers.
The trio later went back to their various cars.
Van sat down in the car, ‘Francis? All the Francis are bad’, she muttered, ‘Yes they are and I hate them’.
She looked out through the wounded glasses with the car keys in her hand, ’what was he grinning at? She asked herself and hissed.
Niks entered the car not long after smiling all over and this irritated Van the more.
‘And what is so funny?’ Van managed to ask.
‘What do you think about that guy, Francis?’ Niks asked ignoring her question.
‘Hey! Don’t even go there, I told you I don’t like him, he is Francis, Van replied feeling more irritated.
‘Well- to me, he is a very cute guy and he seems humble too’, Niks said grinning from ear to ear.
Van didn’t reply but pursed her lips. ‘Look here, because your brother Francis, is mean does not mean all the Francis on earth planet like you said are also wicked’, Niks continued with lots of seriousness.
‘Are you taking sides with him?’, Van asked with pained voice.
‘No darling! I am not taking sides with him- all I am telling you is to free your mind, let out all your bottled up emotions’, Niks explained calmly.
;’Turn left! The house is the fourth on the street’, Van said ignoring Nike again.
‘I know you won’t listen to me’, Niks said and shrugged. In another five minutes, Nike found herself hooting in front of a giant black gate with a high fence painted lemon with flowers planted round the house. The gate swung open almost immediately and Niks drove past the light complexioned young gateman into the compound. The compound was a very big and beautiful one. The landlord probably has a good job or has successful children who built him the house. But whichever it was- the house was beautiful, There were four flats in the compound and all was painted Lemon. The floor was interlocks with flowers planted round the fence where fluorescent lights hung and the gardener was pruning the flowers with the secateurs
Niks parked the car at the designated place and both alighted and Van led the way to a duplex, the biggest building in the compound- obviously the landlord was the occup-nt of the apartment. Niks followed suit after waving at the gateman who bowed in greeting. Van rang the doorbell and a young lady of about 17 years opened the door. The girl was light complexioned and chubby- a perfect description of a well fed child.
‘Hi’, Van said smiling at the young girl
‘Hello Ma’am, please come in’, the young girl said with courtesy.
Thank you ma dear, is Prof. Bello in?’, Van asked.
‘That’s my dad and he is in, please
have your seats while I call him’. The young girl replied.
have your seats while I call him’. The young girl replied.
‘Thank you my dear’. Van said and the girl ran up the stairs to call her dad.
Few minutes later, an elderly man appeared walking down the stairs. He was tall with little grey hairs on his head and beard and he smiled immediately he saw Van.
All this while, Niks was worried because she was still in the dark- Van had refused telling her what they were doing here.
‘Good day Sir! Both ladies chorused as they stood on their feet to greet the Prof.
‘Oh- Vanessa! How have you been?’, the man asked really pleased to see the young lady.
‘Have been good sir and I hope the apartment is still available’, Van asked with hopes high.
‘Of course my dear, I reserved it for you seeing you will need it soon and when you called this morning, I called someone to clean up the place ’. Are you ready to move in?’.
‘Oh thank you sir, I will move in right away’. Van replied elated.
‘Alright then, let me get the keys. Prof. Bello said and went back up stairs.
‘Let us go’, he said as he re-entered the living room,
The two girls stood up and Niks carried her fuchsia pink handbag which matched her deep blue gown with fuchsia pink blazer and her sandals matched the handbag, while Van straightened the black top she wore on a black jean trousers and on her feet were black snickers.
The old Prof. led the way and stopped in front of another lemon colored building, then he ins**ted the key and the door opened, then the three stepped into the spacious but empty room-it was very neat.
The man gave her the keys and left but not after Van showed gratitude.
‘Really- You got this place and I have no idea about this?’, Niks finally blurted out after the man left.
‘I am sorry love but I know you would kick against idea’, Van explained apologetically.
‘Okay o, so what are you going to fix into this house?’,Niks asked.
‘well- I gave a company to handle the furniture and they would be here anytime from now and I also brought some important equipment and utensils I bought a week ago at the mall’, Van said beaming and Niks only nodded feeling sad that her friend had done a lot of the things without her knowledge.
The ladies later went out to unpack Van’s luggage. They arranged what is needed to be arranged. She hung the pictures and picture quote frames on the wall and after about two hours of arrangement, the furniture company arrived. The brought in they brought in the sofas, centre table and low stools and the mattress she brought the previous day fit into the bed perfectly. At 6pm, the room has been given a new and tasteful look.
Niks finally left at 8pm.
Later in the night, Van laid on her bed replaying all her experiences, she ended up soaking her pillow with bitter tears. Tomorrow was Sunday and Niks had told her to go to Church- she hasn’t been there for quite sometime now and she can bet she can’t remember how to pray anymore. She finally resolved not to attend mass.
She remembered Francis too- Igbo people are just bad and the Francis too but he is kinda cute. She thought and slapped herself to bring her back to reality. She shouldn’t love him- here she was at 23, she had no man to call hers not that no guy liked her but she just hate them. Now, what does she hate- she hates men, all the Francis on the earth planet and the Igbo people. Goddamn!. She finally drifted into a fretful sleep as she had nightmares.
To be continued…
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