Bode scanned the car park for a parking slot and sighed when he didn’t see any. His date with Nene was for 2pm and it was already five minutes past two.
He had sent Nene a WhatsApp message two weeks ago introducing himself and she teased him about being too shy to call her. So he called her and they spoke for over an hour. After that phone conversation, they chatted everyday.
Luckily, he saw a car pull out of a parking slot and he parked. Bode picked up his phone and dialled Nene’s number. She picked up on the second ring. “Hi Nene… I’m good…yes, I just got to the restaurant…okay then, I’ll just wait for you. Holla when your get here.”
Nene said she was ten minutes away. He looked at his face in the mirror and noticed he had gained back some of the weight he lost after his break up with Sope. He got down from his car and walked into the restaurant.
He was greeted by a waiter when he walked in. “Table for two please.” Bode said.
“Inside our outside?”
“Inside…actually, on a second thought, outside.” The weather wasn’t too hot for this time of the year, so it’ll be nice to sit on one of the tables outside overlooking the sea.
The waiter showed him to a table for two he sat. He had chosen this restaurant on recommendation by a colleague. It was a newly opened restaurant everyone was talking about in Lagos. He hoped the food lived up to the hype.
He recalled his phone call with Nene yesterday evening. They had been talking about their hobbies and passion.
“I think God has called me to working with teenagers, or should I say young people.” Nene said.
“Why do you think so?” Bode asked.
“ I don’t think so, I know so.
“I see. Just wondering-”
“I just have this passion or is it burden for teenagers going astray. I want to be their friend, I want to help them. I feel like they can confide in me and I can guide them. You know that’s why I work in the youth department in my church Bode. Those teenagers come up to and tell me stuff. They tell me a lot of things.” Nene said.
Bode was too stunned. This was exactly how he felt about young people. Hence why he worked in the teenagers unit in his church. He had felt led by the Holy Spirit to pick that department because he had a burden for young people.
“Hello…Bode? Are you there?”
“Yes I am. Yes Nene, I’m here.” He replied.
“You went quiet. I said we have a youth outing coming up next month. We are having a BBQ. Just wondering if you’ll be interested.”
“It sounds interesting. Please remind me closer to the date so I don’t forget.”
“Okay. So see you tomorrow?”
“Yes, see you tomorrow.”
“Bye Bode.”“Bye Nene. Have a good night rest.”
Bode ended the call and spoke to God immediately concerning Nene. They had a lot of things in common and also had the same burden.
Just then, he saw a lady who looked like Nene walking towards him and smiling. She was smaller in person and looked more beautiful than her profile picture on WhatsApp.
He got up and stretched out his hand to her. “Hi Nene, I’m Bode.”
She giggled. “Why so formal?” she teased. “ Hi Bode,” she shook his hand.
Ever since she spent the night with Yinka, Mosope noticed he had become distant. He didn’t call her everyday like he used to. His gifts were not as frequent as they used to. In fact, for the first time she didn’t get cupcakes delivered to her office last week. She picked up her phone and dialled his number.
“Hi Yinka. Thank God you picked my call today.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” He sounded irritated.
“Are we fighting?”
“So what’s the matter? Since, that night…you seem huh withdrawn?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about Sope. It’s all in your head.”
“Oh I see. All in my head.”
“Sope, you know work has been a bit busy lately and-”
She ended the call and hissed.
Her phone rang. Yinka was calling back. She was going to pick up. It was about time she stopped being available to him. He kept calling and she finally gave in.
“Yes? What do you want?”
“I’m sorry Sope.”
“I’ll make it up to you.” Yinka said.
“Yinka, can I ask you a question?”
“Yes, go on.”
“What are we doing?”
“I don’t understand.”
She rolled her eyes, forgetting he couldn’t see her. “What or who am I to you?”
She heard him breathe into his phone. After what seemed like a long time, he responded. “See about that, I was going to ask you out officially to become my girlfriend but since-”
“Yes!” Sope screamed into the phone.
“Okay? It’s not like I asked you to marry me.”
“I know Yinka, but you will eventually won’t you?”
“Lets just take things slow okay?”
“I’ll come and pick you up in the next hour or so. So we can hang out.”
“Yaaaaay! I’ll get dressed. I’ve been home all day and I’m really bored.”
She ended the call and went into the shower.
Church service had just ended and Bode was trying to catch up with Patrick and Adaobi in the carpark.
“Patrick!” he called.
They stopped and turned round. “ Bode, how far?”
“ I dey oh. Hi Mrs A, how are you?”
“ I’m very well Bode. How are you?”
“I’m fine oh.” They continued walking towards their car.
“So Nene and I have been talking.”
Patrick cleared his throat.
“Why are you clearing your throat?” He asked Patrick and they burst out laughing.
“Anyways, we finally met yesterday. I must say I really like her.” Adaobi gave him a look which said I told you so. “I feel really drawn to her, I can’t explain it.”
“Bode, I’m so happy to hear that. I have to leave you both, I want to catch up with Sister Uju before she leaves.” Adaobi said and left the two friends.
“So you really like her?” Patrick asked.
“ I do, Patrick. It’s funny because from the first day we spoke, I felt it in my spirit. I’ve been praying to God ever since.
“Nene is an amazing lady. But apart from that, you have to sure God is leading you bro.”
“True bro, very true.” They got to Patrick’s car and continued chatting whilst waiting for Adaobi.
Twenty minutes later and Adeobi still hadn’t come. “ I better call Adeobi, if not I’ll be here for a long time. And I’m hungry.”
“Okay bro. Have a blessed week. See you next Saturday.”
‘Thanks Bode, you too. And say hello to Nene.”
“ I will.”
Just then, Adaobi walked towards the car.”
“ Women and gist sha! I am hungry, biko let’s go home.” Patrick said.
“We were discussing the next Sister’s fellowship. Bode, have a wonderful week.”
“Thanks Mrs A, thank you.”
They got into their car and drove off while Bode headed back into the church.
Sope was driving home. She attended service with Yinka and they went to his house afterwards.
As soon as they got into his house, Yinka kissed her and took her up to his room. She didn’t put any resistance.
We are going to get married eventually, so having premarital sex can’t be too bad. She reasoned.
They had lunch afterwards and she left because he dad sent her a text saying he would like to talk to her.
Although they lived in the same house, they hardly spoke to each other. She greeted him before rushing off to work in the mornings and said hello in the evenings before going up her room.
At first, she felt a bit guilty because she thought he was lonely. But most evenings, he was on the phone to aunty Abi.
She opened the door of the house and walked into the sweet aroma of ofada stew, her father’s favourite. He was at the dinning table eating. He smiled when he saw her.
“Good evening Daddy.”
“Mosope, good evening. How are you?”
“I’m fine daddy. How are you?”
“I’m good. Come and join me.”
“I’m stuffed. I went to my…a friend’s place after church and had lunch there.”
“Okay. Abi gave me a huge bowl of ofada stew. So you can take some to work.”
“Ok dad. Thanks.”
She turned to go upstairs to her room.
“Sope, come downstairs in a little while, I want to talk to you. Or didn’t you get my text?”
“Yes I did daddy. I’ll just go upstairs to change and let you finish your food.”
Mosope came down the stairs twenty minutes later. Her dad had finished eating and was watching the news on TV.
He took his eyes off the screen when she walked in. Mosope sat on the sofa opposite him.
“Sope, come and sit beside me.” Tunji patted the space beside him. Sope got up and sat beside him.
He switched off the TV and turned to her. “Mosope mi, I miss the days when we used to sit down and gist.”
“I miss my daughter. I know your mum’s death was very difficult for you. It was difficult for all of us. It was so sudden.”
“I miss her daddy. I still do. Everyday.”
He pulled her close in an embrace and father and daughter stayed that way for a while.
Tunji pulled back. “I want to talk to you about something, which is very important to me. It would also have an impact on you.”
“Daddy are you okay?” Her eyes widened. “Are you ill?”
Tunji laughed. “I’ll ke? I’m as fit as a fiddle.”
“Okay good. You had me worried for a second.” She searched his eyes. “So what do you want to talk about?”
“I’ve asked Abimbola to marry me.”
Sope’s eyes flew open “You want to get married to aunty Abi?”
“Yes…Sope I’m sure you’ve noticed our friendship. I never knew I could love again…after your mother. But I’ve found love again.”
Sope got up. “Wow daddy! Wow.” She clapped. “Its not even up to two years since mummy passed and you are moving on already.”
“Sope, I’m lonely. I need a companion.”
“Then get a dog. Get a dog daddy!”
“Watch your tongue young lady! Do not use that tone on me.”
“And what does Gbenga think of this?”
“Gbenga is in full support.”
“Of course he is!”
“Look here Sope, I’m not asking for your permission. I’m only letting you know. So the earlier you come to terms with it, the better.”
“Can I go back to my room now.”
“If you want.”
She walked towards the door.
“One more thing daughter, our wedding has been fixed for December.”
Sope walked out of the room and slammed the door hard.