Written by: Victor Chinoo
Biola parked on the street, looked behind to make sure no vehicle was coming, alighted from his vehicle and crossed the road. He quickly climbed the stairs to Modupe’s office. A man watched him from a grey Toyota Corolla across the street. He had followed him since he left his office in Ikoyi all the way to Ikeja. He quickly took a shot of Biola on his phone as he entered the building. “Hi Modupe, how are you today?” Biola said, managing a smile as he walked in. “I am fine, Biola, thanks. How about you?” “Great.” “So, have you and Bimbo agreed on anything?” Biola shook his head sullenly as he sat down. “I am sorry to hear that.” “You don’t have to. I have called off the engagement. I…I…I mean; it is the right thing to do. We are not good for each other.”
“I am really sorry to hear that,” Modupe said avoiding his eyes. “I am pleased, really. I have this feeling inside that tells me that I did the right thing. With time, everything will take shape.” “I will keep you in my prayers, Biola…both of you.” “Thanks, Modupe. I am sure you would have been an excellent wedding planner. Anyway, I came to tell you that the wedding is off. If there is any cost we have already incurred for your time, please send me a bill as soon as possible. And, would you have time to…you know, have dinner or something anytime soon?”
“Actually, I am pretty busy. I am afraid; I can’t make it, Biola.” “You can’t or you don’t want to?” “I can’t, really.” “I don’t believe that, Modupe. Please have dinner with me sometime this week…next week?” “You have just called off a wedding engagement Biola. I think you need some time to yourself. I would not want to…No, I can’t go on a date with you.” “I did not say it was a date!” “Then, what is it?” “Just friends hanging out.” Modupe managed a stare at him, fixing her eyes on his face as she shook her head. Her heart was pounding like frenetic rain drops jangling ebulliently on the roof.
“I won’t go on a date with you, Biola. It does not matter what you call it. It would be easily misconstrued…people would say I stole you from Bimbo. I don’t want to be that girl…that wedding planner who wrecked someone else’s wedding, just to have the groom to herself.” “You wrecked nothing. Let’s place the cards on the table; yes I like you, Modupe. It is true, I find you to be very mature, smart, insightful, calm and kind.” “You know nothing about me. You cannot ascribe all those attributes to me just after meeting me a few times. You don’t know what I am like away from work. We should not even be having this discussion. Please, stop asking me out Biola. I can’t do it!!!” “You are a very decent girl. You know that Bimbo and I have nothing in common. You know you are not the reason I left her. Please, think about that. I care about you…and I know you have some feelings for me, even though you are trying very hard to smother and deny them.”
“Please go Biola. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. Please go now,” Modupe pleaded, fighting back tears that stalked the doors of her eyes, threatening to burst onto the scene. “Please Modupe…Please dont’ send me away! I know you are the one for me. I can’t stop thinking about you. Each time I set my eyes on you, I feel a flutter in my chest. I know you are the one.” “Please go now, Biola. Please leave me alone!” She maintained as specks of tears began to dot the lines around her eyes. She felt an emptiness inside watching him leave, but she could not help it. No, I can’t have anything to do with him, she thought painfully, urging herself to let him go.
With every step he took, Biola felt as though he was walking into hell on earth. He felt sharp pains stab at his heart and a sinking feeling in his stomach. At the door, he turned and took one last look at Modupe. For a moment, their eyes met as a cloud of tears began to form over her eyes. Their eyes begged for each other, but she maintained her discipline, despite the pain. Then, she lowered her head, rummaging through her purse for a handkerchief. Biola turned and walked into the lobby. As he headed for the stairs, he hoped and prayed that Modupe would call him back. She did not! The descent down the stairs was torturous. When he reached the ground floor, he too was fighting back tears. He quickly wiped his face with a handkerchief. The sun was peering down on mother earth with annoying vivacity. He labored over the short walk back to his car.
The man in the Toyota Corolla rang Bimbo. “Is he out of the building now?” Bimbo asked. “Yes! He looks very sad…really sad. Something must have happened in there,” the man explained. “Continue to follow him. You are certain that the building he went into is 123 Allen Avenue, Ikeja?” “Yes.” “It is a six, no, seven-storey building…white in color, with a red roof?” “I can’t see the color of the roof from my position ma, but I think you are right. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Yes, a white seven-storey building.” “Thank you very much. Now, follow him and report back to me.” “Okay ma.”
Modupe packed up her things, left the office and told her secretary that she was going home for the day. “I am not feeling very well. You can lock up and leave too, Monica. I will see you tomorrow.” “Thank you ma,” replied the younger girl. Modupe ran to her car, a Toyota Camry and zoomed off. She drove straight home and called Mary, who was over to her apartment in no time. “You sound as though you had just seen a ghost,” Mary remarked. “I wish I did,” replied Modupe. She went on to narrate what transpired between herself and Biola to her.” “I take it you showed him that you probably have feelings for him.” “How do you know these things?” Asked Modupe. “I can tell from the tone of your voice. I wish you did not, but when you like someone, perhaps love them, your chances of hiding it are extremely low. For now, stay away from work. Take some days off. You need a break. Do not…I repeat, do not take his call. At least, not now.” “I won’t.” “Good. I will be back tonight. We can strategize more by then. I did not realize that things would move this quickly.”
“Are you sure?” Fumilayo asked. “Yes, I am. I hired someone to follow him,” Bimbo explained. “Why would he just dump me like that if it wasn’t for another woman? There is no smoke without fire. He is sleeping with our wedding planner!” Bimbo’s voice resonated through the well furnished apartment on Ogunlana Drive in Surulere. Fumilayo’s new catch, Edmond, an engineer who held an important position at the Nigerian Ports Authority had secured the apartment for her – all expenses paid; including the cost of furnishing. “Maybe he went to tell her that she’d no longer be organizing the wedding, as he had chosen to call it off?” Fumilayo asked. “Why wouldn’t he just call her to tell her? Why make the trip to her office and stay long in there? Haven’t you noticed the way he stares at her sometimes?”
Fumilayo pondered Bimbo’s words for a moment. “Actually, I have to admit that I have noticed that…he seems to adore her; sort of,” she remarked. “Ehen!!! I thought I was the only one who spotted that. At first, I did not take it seriously, but when he chose to call off our engagement, it struck me that he had to be seeing someone else.” “What are you going to do now, Bimbo?” “I am going to confront that bitch, Modupe. No, I am going to smack her around. I can’t let her take my man from me, from right under my nose!” Bimbo said emphatically. Her rage was palpable.
“I am very stressed right now, Lara,” Biola said to his dear friend. He had gone over to Lara’s apartment in Ikeja a few hours after leaving Modupe’s office. He had returned to the office, but he could not concentrate on work with everything going on in his life. He and Lara had been good friends since their days at University of Lagos in Akoka. It was Lara that introduced Modupe to him. “Without your saying it, I can tell you are stressed. What is the problem,” Lara asked. “My father is throwing me out of his building. In fact, I have already paid for a new office in Ikoyi. A few hours ago, I lost two of my biggest clients, NNPC and Chevron. I have handled their audits for years, but out of the blues, they called to pull the contract from me. That is a big blow to my firm, and knowing that my own father is behind all these hurts!”
“Is he doing this to force you into marrying Bimbo?” Yes, just like I told you over the phone.” “You are sure that you don’t love Bimbo anymore?” “You have known Bimbo and I for quite some time, Lara. I am sure you agree with me that she and I are not in any way made for each other.” Lara said nothing, peering at him calmly. “Well, if you are no longer in love with Bimbo, you just have to stand your ground,” she said, moving across the room to sit beside him. She wore a rather skimpy dress that revealed her cleavage. She sat a few inches from him on the same couch, leaving the full glare of her figure in his face. “Eventually, your father will cave in. I am sure he will come to reason with you at some point. You can’t marry someone you don’t love,” she said encouragingly, studying his face.
“You are right, Lara and that is exactly what I intend to do. The other side to the story is that I think I am in love with Modupe.” “My friend, the wedding planner?” “Yes.” “Interesting; does she know about it?” “I told her today, but she would have none of it. She wants nothing to do with me. She is far too decent to latch onto the opportunity…at least, that is how I think she sees the whole thing, but I can’t stop thinking about her.” “I have known Modupe for quite some time now; she is not likely to date you, given the circumstance.” “I need you to talk to her, Lara. Please, I have never fallen for anyone like this before. I thought I knew what love was all about all these years, but now, I know. I can’t do without Modupe,” Biola explained. “I am not sure she will listen to me, Biola, but I will try,” Lara promised.
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