Author’s Note: This is dedicated to Febi and Tunj for the ginger. Especially to Tunj because he gave me a deadline and he knows I love/hate deadlines.
They were reclining on deck chairs overlooking the pool, sipping Coronas like they used to back in their college days in Bristol. The air was humid despite the slight drizzle of rain earlier in the day.
The buzzing of mosquitoes filled their ears momentarily before being silenced by the effective insect repellent light bulbs scattered around the gardens.
The barbecue party had been a tradition at the Bankoles since Dimeji was in diapers and his return to Nigeria was the perfect excuse to resurrect the long-dead tradition.
Not far way, Dimeji’s gorgeous younger sister, Yeni was conversing with a group of young men. She was dressed in a bikini top and cutoff jeans which held the rapt attention of her audience. She had just turned twenty-three and fancied herself a fashion blogger.
A group of twenty-somethings, family friends of the Bankoles were playing a game of chicken fight in the pool. One of the guys, carrying a skinny girl on his shoulders lost causing himself and his partner to careen into the pool.
Not far away, a uniformed chef turned over beef sirloin on an open fire. He drizzled some white wine over the meat causing the grill to flare up. The ladies hovering over the grill jerked back, shrieking.
Kitan glanced back and heard someone mutter “Great! Now my hair is gonna smell like smoke”
He chuckled to himself, looking away only to lock gazes with Aramide, Dimeji’s bride through the glass doors of the kitchen which overlooked the pool. She was chatting with Dimeji’s mom. Her smile faltered as she stared at him. Dimeji’s mom followed the direction of her gaze and her face contorted into a scowl when she spotted him too. He looked away hastily.
Dimeji’s mom had never liked him. She was polite enough to him in public, after all, she was a proper English-bred lady through and through. However, he knew she did not approve of their friendship. She thought him a poor companion for her son.
He knew his father’s name was the only thing that made him acceptable in these circles. But even the Adegbesola name could not wipe out his illegitimacy.
His mother had used him to get child support from his father for eighteen years. His existence and purpose in life were seeming to be a cash cow.
“Guy! Where’s your head?” Dimeji teased.
He had been plenty relaxed since his return from Mauritius. It would seem that married life agreed with him.
Kitan sighed, simply shaking his head.
Dimeji took a sip of his beer. “I hear you’ve been hanging out with that Trust babe a lot”
Kitan exhaled. He’d known it was only a matter of time before the Lagos rumormongers talked their way to Dimeji’s ears.
“A couple of hang outs is hardly a lot” Kitan replied “Any problem?” he added gruffly.
“Please tell me this is all for fucks,” Dimeji asked giving him a searching look and Kitan wondered how his friend could be so crude sometimes.
“Maybe” Kitan replied.
“Maybe?” Dimeji exclaimed, staring at him oddly. “You can’t tell me you don’t know she’s a gold digger,” he said in an incredulous tone.
“Anyway in your case it’s not like there’s much gold to dig” he added under his breath.
“Guy wetin you talk?” Kitan growled turning to him slowly.
“Guy pipe down jare. You know my mom hates it when we speak pidgin”
“Says the twenty-nine-year-old married mummy’s boy” Kitan huffed.
Dimeji fumed.”Okay, I deserved that.” he said through gritted teeth. “I’m only watching your back, man. That babe is like a Venus fly-trap. She’s clingy as fuck!”
Dimeji paused to sip his beer and Kitan remained quiet, content to let him continue.
He could not tell what exactly his fascination was with Trust. Her desperation to fit in hung off her like her cheap body spray. But it only reminded him of the reason for the start of his company. His need to fit in, to live up to the last name he’d been bestowed with but often felt undeserving of.
He had to give her A for effort, though. She was about as polished as a rough diamond and he knew she would make some pot-bellied man a beautiful trophy wife if he let her. A finishing school would work wonders with her. He was going to suggest it to her tactfully of course because he knew she was proud as hell. If she would only pick his calls.
He had thought they’d had an enjoyable time at the Hole in the Wall. He’d taken her there hoping she’d let her guard down but she was committed to this ‘forming’ of hers. The real her would be such a beauty to witness, he thought to himself before he remembered what his original intention was. It was not to behold her beauty.
“Kitan! Kitan!! Are you even listening to me?” Dimeji snapped at him.
“What? What were you saying?” he asked turning to his friend.
“You were thinking about her weren’t you?” Dimeji sneered. “Damn! you’re screwed”
Kitan didn’t bother correcting him. Let him think what he wants, he thought to himself.
“I wasn’t going to tell you but Trust has been calling me..”
Kitan turned to him, his expression hovering between cynicism and anger. She was calling Dimeji yet she wasn’t picking his calls.
“So what did she want?” he asked feigning disinterest.
Dimeji laughed raucously. “Imagine this, the babe is claiming to be pregnant o and trying to pin it on me”
Perfect. Kitan thought to himself bitterly. Just pretty damn perfect.
(To be continued)