As Sola drives to Tolu’s apartment, he rethinks his decision to see her while Kunbi lies critically injured in the hospital. The doctor had said she needed to rest but he still felt obligated to be by her side in her time of need. She was the reason why his relationship with Tolu was going smoothly. The visit to Tolu could wait. He is about to make a U-turn when he remembers that Wale would have left the hospital as well. He shrugs and decides to continue with his visit.
30 minutes later, Sola parks his car a few metres away from Tolu’s apartment. He walks to the door carrying a shopping bag and a bouquet in his hands. He attempts to knock on the door but then hesitates. On second thoughts, he places his hand on the door handle and the door opens. His surprise visit is working better than he planned and he goes in smiling.
The TV in the living room is switched on but no one is there. There is an opened bottle of wine and two glasses half-filled with wine in the living room. A shiver runs down his spine and he feels cold and hot at the same time. Sweat beads at his forehead and he pulls out a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe it. He drops the shopping bag and the bouquet on the floor as he hears laughter. He recognizes that laughter which has become distinguishable. He moves towards the direction from where he has heard the laughter. It gets louder as he moves closer to a room. It is obvious there are two people in there as he can hear a man talking.
As he gets to the door, he shuts his eyes afraid to imagine what is going on behind it. He breathes deeply as he places his hands on the door handle and opens it. He gasps at the sight before him. Tolu is shocked when she sees him. She stands up from the bed immediately and struggles to tie a wrapper over her chest. She runs to meet Sola but he turns back and leaves in anger.
“I don’t know how I got home. I still can’t believe it. I almost feel like this is a bad dream that I would wake up from. She has called me severally today but I have refused to pick her calls”. Sola says shaking his head.
“I’m at a loss for what to say. I guess I should say I’m sorry but I think you should have picked up her call at least to hear her out”.
Sola looks at Kunbi in shock. “What? How can you say that? What could she possibly have to say?”
“I mean, just maybe….”
“Just maybe what, Kunbi. Maybe what? Am I to listen to an explanation for being in bed with a man old enough to be her father or will she explain why I was fooled and led on all along? Please give me a break”. Sola says in anger.
“I’m sorry, Sola. I know you are hurt. I have no intentions of rubbing it in”.
Sola sighs as he moves towards Kunbi. “You don’t have to be. I’m sorry I yelled at you”.
He looks at his wrist watch. “It is late. I should leave now so you can rest.” He says as he lifts her up to re-adjust the pillow. “I won’t be able to come here with Wale tomorrow morning but I’ll definitely come home to see you. Is that okay?”
“That’s fine. Thank you”. Kunbi answers smiling.
“Take care of you”. He says as he touches her lightly on the cheeks.
Kunbi looks at him and is scared of what she sees in his eyes. She looks away as she replies; “I will, thanks”.
She refuses to look his way again until she hears the door shut firmly. She breathes deeply as she shakes her head and turns to look at the door through which Sola has just stepped out.
A week later, Wale is sitting in the living room reading a newspaper. The TV is switched on and a music video plays on mute. He suddenly remembers something and drops the newspaper on the settee.
“Kunbi, Kunbi”. He calls.
“Yes dear”. Kunbi answers from her room.
“Please come to the living room”.
She walks into the living room wearing a white tank top and lounge pants. “Yes, what’s wrong?” She asks as she sits down on the couch facing him.
“I’ll be traveling to Abuja to supervise one of our sites. I leave tomorrow evening”.
“Home alone again?” Kunbi asks.
“I can’t help it”. He shrugs. “I have informed Sola and he will pick you up from work in the evenings”.
“Thanks. That’s thoughtful of you”.
“Anything for my baby cuz”. He says smiling. “I would have asked him to pick you up in the mornings as well but I don’t want to push the favour”.
“No, that will be too much. I can take a taxi to work”.
“Sola is just a call away in case you need anything”.
“Okay, how long will you gone?”
“About a week. I pray it doesn’t take longer than that to conclude”.
“Okay”. She says nodding.
“So are you going to tell me who beat you up last week?” He asks; his tone serious.
“Wales, I thought you’ve forgotten about the issue. I’ve put it behind me”.
Wale looks at her with surprise. “What do you mean by forgotten? Someone barges into my house, beats up my sister and you say I should forget and put it behind me? Really?”
“Wales, please we have talked about this….” She is saying as Wale interrupts.
“Don’t patronize me. I have only given you time to recuperate. I need to know the culprit”.
“Please promise me you won’t go out this night”. Kunbi pleads.
“I can’t. Is it meant to be a trade by barter?”
“Why can’t you? Okay, I’m taking the car key”. She stands up to pick up the key.
“Do whatever you like, I’m not bothered. What I need to know is this person you have refused to name. Is it Ola?”
“Erm….” Kunbi stammers.
Wale looks at her as he searches her face. “Yes….”
“Speak up, Kunbi. You’re wasting my time”. He says with irritation.
“It’s….it’s Ola but he didn’t mean to….”
Wale stands up in anger. “Give me the key”.
“I’m not giving you the key. Wale, please listen to me”. She pleads trying to calm him down as she holds him by the hand.
Wale snatches his hand. “Leave me alone. If you are not giving me the key, then just leave me alone”.
He paces the room biting his finger in regret. Suddenly, the doorbell rings and startles Kunbi. She runs to the door, fidgeting as she opens it.
“Thank God, it’s you”. She says.
“What’s the problem?” Sola asks walking into the living room.
“Please could you talk to your friend? He wants to go to Ibadan this night”. She says shaking.
“Hey, take it easy. I’ll handle the situation”. He says patting her on the back. “My guy, what has come over you?” Sola asks as he sees Wale shaking his head in anger and regret.
“I told you Ola was responsible. Didn’t I? I was so sure about it”.
“Yes, you were right and I was wrong to underestimate him”. Sola says matter-of-factly.
“So, if the same was done to your sister, you would fold your arms and congratulate her, right? Tell her to hand over my car key”.
“Take it easy, man. You won’t be helping matters by beating up the guy”.
Wale laughs with mockery. “You think so”.
“Right now, you’re not thinking straight. What if something happens on the way to Ibadan at this time of the night? C’mon, no one is happy with this issue, but we have to let it go. Besides, we do not want you in prison with a murder charge hanging over your head”.
Wale sits down in anger and Sola jerks his head to signal to Kunbi to take over. Immediately, Kunbi kneels in front of Wale.
“Wales, I know how much you care about me and want the best for me. I couldn’t have asked God for a better and more loving big brother, but you should understand that I still need you”. She holds his hands. “Please forgive Ola and let it go. I’ve forgiven him already”.
“Please stand up. I have heard you. So easy for you to forgive the bastard”. He hisses.
“Please….” Kunbi stresses still on her knees.
“Get up please. You can reserve the kneeling down for your husband”. Wale says as Sola and Kunbi burst into laughter.
Photo Credit: http://www.pinkroma.it