“Come on in.” He said reaching for the door knob. “It really is good seeing you again after all this time Yemisi.”
“It feels good too.” She replied.
Chris led the way into the living room, silently thanking his stars that he had kept the place in tiptop shape. It also helped that the look of the place didn’t go unnoticed by Yemisi who let out a slow whistle.
“When did you become so domesticated?” Yemisi asked settling into the only piece of seating furniture in the living room – a couch.
“I’ve always been a neat person. Come on you remember that.” Chris replied.
“That’s true but you’re a guy and you live alone. Shit happens. Besides, your mom isn’t here to force you to clean up the place” Yemisi said and shrugged.
“Well . . . that’s not entirely true. Yes, I live alone but I have a girlfriend that comes from time to time and she spends the occasional night here. I have to keep here spick and span for the most part and if she finds anything out of place, she helps put it back where it belongs.”
“Yeah. That’s true. How’s she doing? The husband snatcher.” Yemisi asked and then chuckled.
“I was just with her. I was on my way back from seeing her when you called” Chris said omitting the fact that Lola was in reality on a hospital bed “and she didn’t snatch anything. You’re the one that left me to travel abroad.” He added.
Laughing, Yemisi said “I thought that you would wait for me.”
“Look at you. Joseph the dreamer. You don’t know that a man’s got needs abi?” Chris said flippantly.
“Yeah, yeah. Tell me something I don’t know” Yemisi said.
“How about you? How is that your boyfriend?”
“We broke up. We just wanted different things. I wasn’t ready for any of that heavy, long suffering bullshit.”
“Oh. So he cheated on you.”
“You’re still such a bitch.” Yemisi said laughing without humor. “How did you even come to such a conclusion?” She added still chuckling mirthlessly.
“Have you forgotten how easy it for me to read you?” Chris asked.
Laughing she said “you always thought you had that power.”
“Are you trying to tell me that I am wrong?” Chris said.
“I’m not going to confirm or deny anything, but you have been wrong a couple of times.”
“Oh really?” Chris said, sarcasm dropping from his lips.
“I intend to still believe that I can read you like a good book”
“Okay. Whatever floats your boat dear”
“Alright. Alright. So are you gonna tell me about the guy that cheated on you?”
“Maybe” She replied mysteriously.
Slapping his forehead Chris said “Oh shoot! Where are my manners?” Turning his gaze to Yemisi he said “What would you like? A drink, some food? Anything?”
“Am I the person you want to be treating like a visitor?” Lola asked.
“Well . . . technically, you are.” Chris replied.
“Screw technicality. When I’m hungry, I’ll go fix us both something to eat.” She replied. “That’s assuming you carry this domesticity to the kitchen.”
“Meaning what exactly?”
“Meaning do you have foodstuff?”
“Yes of course. So you want to make something to eat just like old times huh?”
“Yeah. Just like old times.”
“Let me get you something to drink then.” Chris said.
“I’ll have some water for now. Show me where to go get it.”
“Okay. Come with me.”
Chris held out his hand so she can hold on to it. He supported her weight as she stood on her feet and then they both started walking to the kitchen.
Over his shoulder Chris said “why was it that the two times I came visiting to the UK I didn’t see you?”
“The first time you came around and you didn’t see me wasn’t my fault and you know that. You didn’t tell me you were coming. I wouldn’t have gone on that useless trip with my friends. Heck, I wouldn’t have even listened when they brought it up. I would have shut them down immediately it was suggested. We had two months on our hands and if the first two weeks was any indication of how the rest was gonna be, the trip seemed like a welcomed distraction. It sounded like a really good idea at the time. Who knew a trip to Turkey was gonna be so stressful?”
“And the second time? I made a point of telling you when the trip was still in the planning stage self. I kept you up to date with all the information. So what happened that time?” Chris prompted.
“The second time, I agree that I could have been available on time, but I was trying to get my relationship working. You know, see if I could spice it up and reignite the sparks. Joke’s on me I guess.” Yemisi said and sighed.
“Oh wow. I never thought about it like that. I’m so sorry”, Chris said.
“Don’t worry about it. It’s water under the bridge.” Yemisi said reaching for a cup to use the water dispenser with.
“So, Yemisi, what exactly brings you to Lagos?” Chris asked trying to lighten the mood that was getting pretty heavy and somewhat sad.
“I’m here for a wedding and I’m here in your apartment to ask you to go with me.”
“Whoa! Whoa! Let’s break it down. You flew all the way from England to Nigeria just for a wedding that you’re gonna see the pictures on Facebook in the comfort of your own bed?” Chris asked slightly bewildered.
“First off, they paid for my trip – to and fro. Secondly, I’m the maid of honor or chief bridesmaid, ergo I cannot blow off the wedding and look at the pictures from the comfort of my bed like you aptly put it.”
“Maid of honor?” Chris asked. “Whose wedding is it? Is it someone I know?”
“Yup! I told her not to tell you and that I’d take the responsibility of personally dragging you to the venue if necessary.” Yemisi said laughing.
Chris chuckled. “So whose wedding is it?” He asked.
“Guess”, Yemisi said.
“Tell me joor. I don’t even know where to begin guessing from.”
Giggling, Yemisi said “It’s Ronke’s”
“Really? Same Ronke? Ronke’s getting married? Wow. I never did see her as the marrying type though”
“How do you mean?”
“She was always more interested in furthering her education or starting a business or something. She always said she didn’t like the idea of some guy tying her down.”
“People change, you know?”
“I know. I know. She just didn’t seem like she was getting married anytime soon.”
“I will tell you something I read a long time ago. ‘There’s no such thing as a woman that doesn’t want to get married. The ones who aren’t, haven’t been asked.’ Personally I think it’s true.” Yemisi said.
Laughing, Chris said “I know plenty people that will disagree with you. Anyways, when’s the wedding?”
“And you’re just telling me now? What if I have plans?” Chris asked.
“I know you. You never make plans weeks in advance. So stop the bitching and let’s go and check your closet for what you’re gonna wear. It’s not as if you’re gonna have to go and make new clothes.” Yemisi said.
Laughing, Chris said “I guess the book reading goes both ways, huh?”
“Yes. It does. Oya lead the way”, Yemisi said trying her utmost best to sound Nigerian.
He led her out of the kitchen and into the hall that bore doors leading to the living room, the guest bathroom and his bedroom. Walking down, he turned the knob on the first door on the right.
“et voila! Welcome to my abode. This is where all the magic happens.”
Yemisi chuckled and said “That’s exactly what you said to the first time I came into room at your family house back in high school.”
“Yes, I remember and that’s why I said it again.”
Walking over to the closet, he threw open the doors, then he said “How am I gonna tell my girlfriend that I’m going to an old friend’s wedding with my ex on my arm?”
“I don’t know. You figure it out. Whatever you do, you’re my plus one.”
“Yes really. You can tell her that the wife is back that she can take a hike.” She said her eyes daring him to protest.
Ignoring the battle right in front of him, he said “what do you think I should wear?”
Walking up to stand right beside him she said, “The colors are lavender and white. I think you just need to buy a lavender shirt and you’re good to go.”
Turning to look at her he said “Just go and buy a lavender shirt? You do know I’m a student right? Are you gonna pay for it?”
“Do you want me to pay for it?”
He had almost forgotten how direct Yemisi could be. “No. I just thought I should make a point.”
“Okay then. If you want me to buy it anyways all you have to do is ask.” She said looking into his eyes.
Looking back at her, all the memories started flooding back. That first night at Jameel’s house. All the nookies and all the unplanned hookups and that night before she left for the UK for school where they’d promised to wait for each other. He didn’t even realise his breathing had become labored as well as hers.
Their faces were almost touching when he realised that they’d been staring at each other for seemed like an eternity. The memories and the moment swept them up in an overwhelming emotional tidal wave and then without warning their lips became intertwined and their hand followed suit feeling up each other’s bodies with the calm and speed of studying something very familiar.
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