“Aaaaaaaaaaah GIRL!!!” Maryam screamed immediately jumping off her seat and running towards Kevwe, Priscilla closely behind her.
“Why didn’t you tell us you were visiting?” Maryam shot at her.
“When did you come?” Priscilla asked.
“When are you going back? Hope not soon oh?” Maryam questioned again.
“Wetin you carry come?” The questions kept flying as the three friends embraced amidst tears of joy. The guys dare not interfere in this feminine reunion, they were contented smiling from where they were.
“Kevwe right?” Teju whispered to Tokunbo for confirmation. He nodded still smiling. This was a pleasant surprise he thought, what made her visit? Matthew just kept laughing at the commotion the girls were causing. He would cherish the stunned look Haruna had on his face.
“It is okay now, let us welcome her too” Justin finally shouted as he stood up. The girls laughed as they walked back to where they had been sitting.
“Awww Elder has taken over my duty” Kevwe walked up to him and hugged him.
“How now Kevwe, I have missed this kind of crazy” Matthew smiled at her. Kevwe laughed and turned to Tokunbo and Teju.
“She don finally come house oh” Kevwe exclaimed doing an animated traditional dance and everyone including Teju herself laughed. “Toks she fine oh, but come young lady nor dey give this boy stress, him sensitive die” Kevwe said and gave Tokunbo a peck.
“So your own now na to fall my hand abi? Dey give her expo abi?” Tokunbo smiled at Kevwe “welcome dear” he added.
“Nice to meet you” Teju said cutely.
“Awww she is so polite. Hope say you sabi pidgin because English dey give me head ache from time to time” Kevwe said and laughed. She turned to Justin.
“You” she said. Deep down, she had waited for this moment. It had seemed like years since she saw that boyish grin, but now it seemed weird.
“Boss lady” Justin grinned even more. He wished he could do everything he was imagining now but with all that had gone down and all these people, he opted to hug her.
“You didn’t say goodbye now you are welcoming me” she whispered.
“I suck at goodbyes” he replied in a whisper too. She smiled and pulled away. They both turned to notice everyone watching them carefully.
“Thunder fire Una, wetin Una dey look?” Kevwe shot at them and they all laughed. “Damn it is good to be back”.
Everyone sat down, Kevwe making a conscious effort to sit as far from Justin as possible as she poured herself a drink. Matthew handed her a plate of steak and sauce.
“Pris, your handwork?” Kevwe pointed at the sauce, Priscilla nodded “make sense” Kevwe smiled.
“Oya talk now, why the surprise?” Maryam’s curiosity refused to stay inward.
“Yeah, did you come for report?” Tokunbo asked. Kevwe smiled happily.
“No. Better sef, I’m back for good” she smiled even more at their shocked expressions.
“Hope you no go quit oh you this crazy girl” Maryam exclaimed.
“No now” Kevwe laughed “the heir-apparent just came back from the UK. Gist is that oga has been begging him to come help run the company. I think he finally bulged. So Oga asked me to come manage Abuja while his son manages Lagos and he can focus on the new one in Enugu” she ended.
” Are you serious? That’s a promotion now. You are no longer assisting your boss but running the show yourself” Matthew said. “Congratulations are in order” he said smiling. Everyone congratulated Kevwe.
“I should have come since Wednesday but our husband ….” She looked at Maryam who gave her the ‘waka’ sign “said for my kind works he would pay my flight ticket back so I should fly down with them. Na him driver drop me sef. His brother fine shaa” Kevwe winked at Maryam who chuckled.
“Speaking of Ayomide he said he wants to see you oh, driver dey wait” Kevwe said to Maryam. In the excitement she had totally forgot.
“Are you serious? You no well oh” Maryam got up rushing to the house.
“My friend come here. No be ‘meet the parents’ you dey go do, you are okay joh” Kevwe shouted at her. Priscilla and Teju nodded in agreement.
“Abeg come make we go” Maryam said excitedly. Kevwe wasted no time, she picked a freshly done steak and placed it on her plate as she winked at Matthew in humor.
“Pris nor sleep oh, gist dey. We will be back. Toks I will deal with you when I come back” Kevwe said and ran off to join Maryam.
“What did I do now?” Tokunbo looked confused.
“If my guess is right it has something to do with you hiring Haruna” Matthew said and they all started laughing.
………. ………. ……….
The driver was good at his job. Most probably was paid very well too from the looks of it. He was very polite, showed no signs of irritation for time wastage and he drove them swiftly to the hospital and didn’t even act like he was hearing the gossip going on between the two girls.
“… So as of now he is single pray Otims who is trying to hook him up with everything in a skirt” Maryam said with a sigh.
“Hmmm” Kevwe said “he asked me out before I left” she said avoiding Maryam’s eyes.
“I know, or let me say I guessed as much” Maryam said smiling at her friend.
“I couldn’t accept. It was when it seemed he was loosing me he made a move? Besides who still does long distance?” Kevwe defended her rejection to Justin.
“I am not judging you don’t get defensive” Maryam smiled again “and for your information people still do long distance it is just harder and the way you and Justin are I doubt it will work”.
“Exactly, thank you. He then tried again while I was in Lag. Talking about moving down so we could give it a try, I couldn’t allow that now” Kevwe exclaimed looking at Maryam for understanding.
“Wow that is a big step” Maryam agreed.
“If something goes wrong now ….” Kevwe left the sentence unfinished. “Anyways I doubt there is anything again” she finally said.
“Hmmm this life and relationships and all. Momsi was so up and about with this tribe thing. I thought it was happiness, two people growing together and having a life together” Maryam said.
“He likes you shey you know? As in like seriously. I suspect love sef” Kevwe said.
“Really? I don’t know oh Kevwe, the war we will start though” Maryam said thoughtfully.
“And since when was Maryam Bello afraid of war?” Kevwe said in her most supportive voice. The car came to a stop and they looked up. They had been so engrossed in gossip they didn’t realize they had arrived. And just at the hospital’s entrance stood Ayomide, tall, handsome and waiting.
“If you really think it is worth it I advise you give it your all. To hell with what the world thinks” Kevwe said hugging Maryam’ “I’ll wait here”. Maryam smiled and stepped out of the car heading towards Ayomide. She could over hear Kevwe harassing the driver as expected.
“…. so no amount can take you from you boss, is that what ….” Maryam ignored Kevwe and focused on Ayomide.
“Hey beautiful” He said smiling. She didn’t reply, she just walked up to him and buried her head in his chest. He hugged her back.
“I’ve missed you” she whispered.
“Me too darling, me too” Ayomide said feeling gratitude.
“Momsi and popsi are inside with my big brother and Wunmi. You had said you wanted space but I needed to see you, so I decided to wait outside. Save you the stress of coming in” Ayomide said.
“Isn’t he so thoughtful” Maryam teased. Ayomide smiled. That was it, she was going to go for it. Third try is a charm they say, she would give it her all. She leaned upwards and kissed him. He was obviously shocked.
“Go girl!!!” Kevwe who had been watching shouted from the car window. Maryam and Ayomide busted out laughing.
“Please don’t mind her” Maryam said.
“Kevwe has done worse in Lagos” Ayomide replied. That put Maryam at ease.
“So I need to come see your place now that … errr… you know” Maryam said shyly.
“Wait that kiss was you saying let’s get serious?” Ayomide said excitedly.
“Oh please don’t make me change my mind Ayo” Maryam said forming. He picked her up happily.
“Then I will use every single day to try to make you change it back” he said. She leaned in and kissed him again. This time it lingered and Kevwe didn’t interrupt.
“Wunmi getting better, a deal from Kano about to pull through and now you bring this news? I am the happiest man right now” Ayomide exclaimed. Maryam giggled. It wasn’t time to let him know what laid ahead but something told her they would pull through.
Just then an elderly man walked towards them and addressed Ayomide.
“Ayomide, carrying woman up and down in front of hospital? Is this who you won’t stop talking about?” His father teased.
“Ah daddy it is not like that” Ayomide turned to face his dad embarrassed. Maryam covered her face also embarrassed. This was what she wanted to avoid. She was going to kill The girls for her dressing.
“Why is she hiding? Young lady I won’t bite” Chief Balogun said pleasantly. Maryam moved from Ayomide’s back and knelt down to greet him when she saw him.
“Omo dáa dáa, stand up, nooooo now not on this rough floor” he said and she got up. He turned to Ayomide “she has manners”, he looked impresed. Ayomide smiled.
“I wanted to give you an update on the Kano deal but I will let you two be. We can talk later” Chief Balogun said and turning to Maryam “goodnight my dear. I hope this isn’t the last I see of you”. With that he walked away.
“You just met my funky dad. The man doesn’t want to agree he is old” Ayomide said jokingly.
“Hmmm he is nice. Unlike mine” Maryam joked back.
“I doubt that” Ayomide said confidently. Maryam looked at him. This guy’s optimism will kill him oh.
“You haven’t met my father that is why” Maryam said.
“Actually” Ayomide pulled her to himself and looked at her, “I have”. Maryam was shocked.
………. ………. ……….
“So Kevwe is back fully” Tokunbo said as he sat across from Justin. They had been outside for a while, Matthew and Priscilla had gone into the house, Teju had driven home, Otims had left. For some reason they both didn’t feel like moving.
“Yeah she is” Justin said absent-mindedly as he sipped his drink. For some reason he hadn’t taken any alcohol and was as sharp as an owl.
“So?” Tokunbo said sitting up. They had discussed many topics but finally he had got the chance to bring it up and Justin wasn’t giving him anything, he wouldn’t drop it without a fight.
“So what bro? I loved and I lost abi no be so the saying goes?” Justin said.
“Dude what are you talking about?” Tokunbo looked confused.
“I no gist you how she bounce me before she left?” Justin said irritated. Kevwe’s topic wasn’t one he wanted to indulge in.
“That one still no mean now. She most probably refused because she was afraid of long distance commitment, everyone is” Tokunbo tried to encourage him.
“Well I foolishly tried again while she was in Lagos” Justin said. That surprised Tokunbo.
“Offered to move over there sef, I could have worked out a transfer in 2 months. Me and the guy for HR be padis and they know I’m good” Justin explained, “the girl shut me down on that front too. Guy just leave it”. Tokunbo couldn’t believe this. Justin really went all out.
“But dude you explain all this to her?” He asked.
“For what now?” Justin retorted.
“Guy you cast now, the girl fit go dey reason say you wan leave job for her. Nobody will want that now” Tokunbo explained. Justin looked at him. No he thought, he wouldn’t let Tokunbo talk him into having some flimsy hope.
“Guy leave matter abeg” Justin said and Tokunbo knew that tone. He finished his drink and staggering he got up.
“Okay then, me am heading up, need to sleep off this alcohol. I really hope I wake up in time for church, Teju will kill me otherwise” Tokunbo said.
“I go soon come up” Justin said.
“Okay na” Tokunbo walked quietly to the house.
Justin sat there thinking of what Tokunbo had just said. Against his better judgment he brooded on the whole thing. Maybe if he had explained…. Maybe now she was around…. No he couldn’t go through all that he thought. But what if…..
He looked at his wrist watch and it was almost 11.00pm. It was time to call it a night. He looked around at the mess and shook his head, Haruna or Musa would deal with this tomorrow, and he wasn’t cleaning up.
He entered the living room which was dark as the lights were turned off. He locked the door and proceeded to head for the stairs when he saw the kitchen light on.
“These girls are still gossiping up till now?” He thought as he waked to eavesdrop on their conversation. It was quiet so he pushed the door open.
He immediately slapped himself.
“Wow what did you do that for?” Kevwe exclaimed rushing towards him. She was the only one in the kitchen, a cup of coffee before her and the pans and trays they used stacked neatly. She had just finished cleaning.
“Are you okay” she turned the side of his face where he had hit to check.
“Yeah I am fine” Justin said sure he was in the present.
“Why would you do that?” Kevwe asked walking away from him to get her cup of coffee. He loved the way she walked, the way her hips swayed.
“It felt like déjà vu. Like I was dreaming. Just wanted to make sure” Justin said.
“Huh” Kevwe looked confused.
“This has happened before and I never saw the ending. Last two times this happened I was interrupted” he had a look that Kevwe felt funny about.
“But this time…” he locked the kitchen door. She put down her cup, she knew what he was talking about now, “…. this time there will be no interruptions” he walked to her.
“I don’t know how but we are going to make it work” Justin said with a tone that called for no argument. Kevwe pulled him close.
“Okay” was all she said and she kissed him.