Kunbi walks into the office complex of Wales Construction Company. The reception is beautifully furnished with artworks displayed strategically all around the office. The receptionist raises her head from her laptop and smiles. “Good afternoon, ma”.
“Good afternoon, dear. How are you today?” Kunbi responds with a smile in return.
“Fine, thank you, ma and you?”
“I’m good, thank you”. She says as she heads straight to the Managing Director’s office.
The Managing Director’s personal assistant is adjusting her blazer when Kunbi walks in. “Welcome, ma. M.D has been waiting for you”.
“Thank you”. Kunbi says. She opens the door to the M.D’s office without knocking.
“Hello cuz”. She says, her smile reaching her eyes. “Oh I’m sorry, I wasn’t told you had a visitor. I’ll wait….
A dark, tall and handsome guy stands up immediately and stretches his hand to her for a handshake.
“You don’t have to. I’m not really a visitor. I’m Sola and I presume you are Kunbi”. He smiles.
She notices his structured dentition. He probably wore braces when he was younger.
“Yes, I’m Kunbi, Wale’s cousin”. She says returning the handshake.
“It’s a pleasure meeting you. I’ve heard so much about how you have been taking good care of my friend”. He says laughing.
Kunbi is flustered and smiles sheepishly as she gives Wale a cursory glance. “Seriously? Is that what you’ve been telling your friend, Wales?”
Wale shrugs his shoulders.
“Please ignore him. The pleasure is all mine. She smiles as she drops her hand bag on Wale’s desk. “I won’t take your time”.
“Yes dear, how may I help you?” Wale asks.
“I need to get to the market before going home. So don’t bother picking me up this evening”.
“Okay, but you could have said that on phone instead of coming down here”.
“Actually, I’m on break and wanted to get to the eatery down the road, so I decided to stop by”.
“Okay. We’ll see in the evening, then. Don’t stay out too late”.
“I won’t”. She picks up her handbag.
“Let me drop you at the eatery”. Sola offers as he picks up his car keys from the desk.
“Oh no, you don’t have to bother”.
“Please, let me. Besides, my office is just adjacent the eatery”.
“Well, thanks. I really appreciate your kind gesture”.
“It’s my pleasure anytime”. He says smiling.
“So could you guys please leave so I can get back to work?” Wale says shooing them out of his office as the others laugh.
Later that evening, Kunbi is cooking in the kitchen, while Wale is busy reading the day’s newspaper in the living room.
“Wales, who’s that guy?”
“Which guy?” Wale asks without looking up from the newspaper.
“Sola, the guy I met in your office”.
“Oh Sola”. He says as he drops the newspaper and walks towards the kitchen. “He was my course mate in school. Can you imagine that we have worked on the same street for over a year now and our paths just crossed about a month ago?”
“Really? So where did you meet again?”
“The same eatery you went to earlier in the day” He laughs.
“Hmmm….that’s nice. Must have been a happy reunion”.
“You bet, it was. Are you travelling this weekend?”
“Of course, you know I have to see mummy. Besides, I have really missed Ola as well”.
Wale hisses. “You saw him last weekend, didn’t you? I reckon you have to see mumsie but that guy…” He shakes his head as he leaves the kitchen and walks towards the dining table.
Kunbi dishes their food, arranges the plates in a tray and walks into the living room without saying a word.
As she sets the plates on the table, she looks up at Wale who is already seated.
“Wales, what do you have against him? I wonder why you just can’t stand him”.
“Please don’t start”. Wale says raising his hands in surrender.
“Give me a reason why I shouldn’t? I have asked you several times if he has ever offended you but you have adamantly refused to answer.
“The guy is arrogant, proud and self-centered. He’s just not your type and above all he is so insecure”.
“Wales!” Kunbi yells. “He’s not as bad as you’re portraying him”.
“Well, I won’t marry you. In my opinion, Ola is not the man for you. But it is your choice to decide who you want to spend the rest of your life with. I only want the best for you and do not want you making a mistake that you will later regret”.
“Thanks cuz. That’s why you are my big brother”. She smiles and nudges him as they begin to eat.
A week later, Sola walks into Wale’s office after being ushered in by his assistant. They shake hands and Sola sits on the couch in the office.
“My guy, you did not tell me you had a goddess of beauty for a cousin. Mehn, she’s what I call pretty”.
“Don’t even think about it. She’s hooked already”.
“Why? How can such a beautiful babe be hooked so soon?”
“What do you mean by so soon? Wale laughed. “She’s been dating the guy since she was in school”.
“Really?” Sola asked concern written on his face.
“Yeah. Even though, I hate his guts, she really loves him or I think she does. The guy is in Ibadan. He works in an architectural firm there”.
“So, does she still see him?”
“Oh yes. In fact she travels to Ibadan every weekend to see him. She however uses her mum as a cover-up”.
“Anyway, I like her and would love to be her friend”.
“You should be talking to her, not me. But don’t hurt her. She’s very dear to me”. He said pointing a warning finger at his friend.
“Yes sir”. Sola responded as he saluted with a wide grin.
Kunbi slots a key into the door of an apartment and smiles as she walks in. The living room is sparse and simple in furnishing. She drops her weekend bag on the floor and heads straight to the bedroom.
“Hello, sleepy head”.
“Would I get a better good morning?” Ola smiles as he stretches.
She moves towards him and he gives her a long kiss.
She tries to tear herself from him. “I need to get breakfast done”.
“You can do that later. I am not hungry”.
“No, sir. I am hungry if you ain’t”. She smacks his hands off her.
“Kunbi, it is Saturday. You have been gone for a whole week”.
“Get up boyfriend”. She smiles as she walks out of the room.
After breakfast, they decide to watch a sitcom with a bowl of popcorn wedged between them. The commercials run and Ola faces Kunbi.
“Don’t you think I should get you an apartment now?
“I don’t see a reason why you should. I am perfectly fine with Wale”.
“But I am not comfortable with you living in his apartment”.
“Why? What’s on your mind?”
“I just don’t like the fact that you are living with another man”.
“Who happens to be my cousin?” She smirks.
“He is another man, regardless. You are not safe in the hands of another man”.
“Seriously? Do you think my cousin will attempt to sleep with me or what?” She says looking at him with concern.
“There is nothing new under the sun”. He says matter-of-factly.
Kunbi is shocked. “What? You are unbelievable”.
“That, my dear, is your opinion. I have made my point clear. If he dare lay a hand on you, I swear, you’ll bring his dead body back to Ibadan”.
The commercials are over and the sitcom continues but Kunbi sees only the moving images. Different thoughts run through her mind.
She had recently gotten a job in Lagos barely six weeks ago. All her life prior to her job had been in Ibadan. As a newcomer in Lagos, her mum had been skeptical about her getting an apartment of her own. Since her first cousin lived in Lagos, it had made perfect sense to move in with him. Even better; was that the organization she worked for had its office on the same street with Wale’s construction company. Everything was like an answer to her prayers. Wale took her to work and picked her up every day.
Ola had never acted like one given to jealousy. They had dated for two years in the university and currently counting four years into their relationship. She was however surprised that her move to Lagos triggered jealous feelings in him. She looked at him as he laughed at the programme on TV.
“Was he insecure as Wale had said? Was this how he felt about Wale? He was her cousin for Christ’s sake. He was probably just being over-protective just like Wale”. She concluded.