“Oh, Azuka. Put that down” Lanre groaned making a grab for Azuka’s videocam.
She ducked, a playful smile on her face. That was Azuka Mbari, always the playful one. And light on her feet.
Titi came into the living room just then,a tray balanced on one hip and a bowl of popcorn in one hand. Sweat trickled down the side of her face as a result of being enclosed in Lanre’s minuscule kitchen
Azuka spun on one heel bringing the camera towards Titi.
“And here comes our iyawo, wouldn’t she make a great housewife?” She said into the camera.
“Yes she would” Dipo, Lanre’s friend yelled from the background earning himself a dark look from Titi.
Dipo laughed and held his hand out for a drink.
“Azuka put the camera down and help me hand out the drinks na!” Titi snapped at her friend.
Azuka moaned. “Someone needs to document this day jor. It’s your one year anniversary with Mr. Hotshot medical student over there and the day we officially wash his new apartment”
“I’ll drink to that” Dipo who had been Lanre’s roomie said cheerily. “No more sexturbance from these two”
“Sexturbance? Which one is that again, Dipo? Word inventor!” Titi said playfully sprinkling some popcorn in Dipo’s face on her way to sit beside Lanre.
She sunk into the couch beside him and his arm came around her protectively.
“We can still come over and sexturb you” Lanre threatened.
“Oh my God! That is just wrong” Azuka cried.
The quartet burst out in raucous laughter and helped themselves to the tray of fried chicken and popcorn Titi had placed on the table moments before.
“Wait! Azuka, are you getting all this on camera?” Titi asked, an alarmed expression on her face. “I don’t want my kids knowing their parents had “
Lanre and Titi exchanged looks.
“That place we watch soccer na. The one close to UNILAG second gate” Lanre said to Titi.
Lanre chuckled. “The babe was taking the match too personal. The guy she came with sef looked embarassed.” He said. “I knew her before then sha. She used to come around LUTH a lot. Probably dating all them doctors”
Titi hit him in the end with a cushion.
“Dipo, shey me and you will ever find this kind love?”
Dipo grinned. “Zuka baby, I’ve been in love with you since na. Just say the word and I’ll dump my two girlfriends and four friends with benefits”
“Titi! Titi! ”
Titi stopped the video and wiped the tears running down her cheeks hastily with the back of her palm.
“Are you okay?”Sister Dayo called out.
She took short quick breaths to calm her nerves and yelled, “I’m fine, Sis ” hoping her voice didn’t sound shaky.
“I brought some food for you. It’s in the kitchen.” Her elder sister said.
“Okay. Thank you”
“How was your walk? Are you feeling okay?” Dayo asked.
Titi rolled her eyes,knowing she had to be convincing before Dayo would leave.
“It was a bit tiring. I just need to rest” she said.
“You must have overdone yourself again. You trekked towards the church again, didn’t you?”Dayo said and Titi could hear her the disapproval in her voice. “We’ll be in the main house if you want to join us for dinner okay?. At least, let’s see your face small”
“Okay sis” Titi responded and waited for a few heartbeats till she could hear the retreating footsteps of her sister.
She heaved a sigh of relief and pushed herself off the couch. She was five months along and she felt like a semi-detached house already. Dr. Chuma said it might be twins but Titi really didn’t want to know. She had refused to check the baby’s sex even. She took out the video tape and silently prayed that Dayo had gone back to the main house. Dayo had insisted she move into the boys quarters of her house when she discovered Titi was pregnant. She was the closest and warmest of Titi’s siblings. She was four years older with three kids, the first of whom was turning thirteen soon.
She would move me into the main house if I let her sef. Titi thought to herself.
The clattering of plates in the kitchen alerted Titi that Dayo was still around. And was briefly interrupted by the door bell. The clattering stopped. She could hear Dayo wading to the door.
“Titi, you have a visitor!” She trilled.
Titi sighed in exasperation and opened the bedroom door only to see Lanre Adepitan standing in the doorway of the little apartment.
Dayo looked almost shocked as Titi had been earlier that evening. Her eyes darted between them and Titi could hear Dayo’s questions in her head already.
Is this Lanre, as in Lanre your first and only boyfriend? As in Lanre who dated you for eight years with no inclination to marry you?. As in Lanre who left you to go fight HIV in ?. As in Lanre the father of your unborn child?. As in Lanre whom you hate?.
And the possible questions were endless.
“Goodnight sister Dayo” Titi mumbled and Dayo taking that as her cue to leave, sighed heavily and left the house albeit reluctantly.
“Titi” Lanre breathed.
He made a move to hug her then he thought better of it and tucked his hands into the pocket.of his slacks. Titi tried to take in his appearance as casually as she could. He looked fit like he’d started running or something. He also seemed taller somehow but maybe that was because the apartment was so small.
She had thought about seeing him again but never rehearsed for it. It had seemed too far into the future, not like something that could show up say at the entrance of your estate gate, driving around with your old high school junior beside him.
Her nails dug into her palm. She would not cry, she told herself, hormones be damned.
“How are you?” She said coolly.
“Fine” he answered.
“Sit, please,” she said lowering herself onto an armchair and forcing him to take the sofa facing her.
He rubbed his forehead, a familiar gesture and tugged at his ear, a new one.
“I, um, I am just so shocked to see you like this. Pregnant.”
“I am just so shocked to see you at all. Does Heather know you’re here?” She said spitefully.
“Yes, I mean, no. I dropped her at her house.” He said, sounding harried. “Titi, we need to talk…”
“We’re talking, Lanre. You’re supposed to be in Fiji, saving the world.” She said tightly. “Your dreams were bigger than the both of us remember?”.
She blinked fast to stop the tears.
“I didn’t go”
“Obviously!! You’re sitting here aren’t you?” She snapped.
She took a deep breath to calm her nerves and winced as she felt a kick.
“What is it? Titilayo, are you okay?” Lanre asked, his voice dripping with concern.
“I’m fine. I just, I, um, I felt a kick” she said with a small shaky laugh.
“Oh!” Lanre said and a smile crept onto his lips.
He gave her a quick perusal. The pregnancy didn’t look easy. She looked pale especially her lips and nails. Anemia. She’d lost weight too and her left hand….he glanced at her left hand again. She wasn’t married.
“Who’s the father,Titi?” He asked.
She frowned at him. “You can’t just waltz into my life and ask me that kind of question. You left!”
“I had to!”
“You didn’t have to do anything. In fact, you didn’t do anything. You never went and I didn’t even get a call, an email. Nothing. I thought you were in Fiji all this time.” She shouted as she rose to her feet.
“It’s not all black and white,Titi. There’s an explanation”
“You’re marrying Heather,that’s as black and white as it’ll ever get” she yelled.
“Because she’s the one” Lanre yelled back rising to his feet.
“Oh, I was keeping her spot warm for eight years, waiting for her to ripen abi?”
He looked away at a point above her head. He could not, would not give her an answer, instead he paced the length of the room.
The tears came now, fast and free-flowing.
To be told in silence that you were never good enough to be the ‘wife’. Wow! That stung.
“So what was I to be? The kept woman?. Go marry you perfect Stepford wife. Why did you come here anyway?” She turned away from him as much to salvage her dignity as well as to blow her nose.
Lanre seized the opportunity and wrapped her in a hug. There was some comfort from hugging her. It did not, however, assuage his guilt.
“Titi, you are about five months along. I’m not stupid and it helps that I’m a doctor. Who is the father of your baby?”
Titi remained silent.
“Is it mine?”
“Does it matter?”
“I, um, I don’t know” he answered.
“Then it isn’t yours,” she said coolly.
She refused to help lift his guilt. She refused to.
“Goodnight Lanre. You can leave now”
He pulled back and looked into her eyes.
They stared back at him with part-defiance, part-icy coldness.
“Titi, don’t be like this. We haven’t finished talking. I need to kn…”
“I said you can leave now. I need to rest” she said walking towards the door.
Lanre’s gaze flickered from the door to Titi’s stomach and then her face and then quietly he walked towards her.
“We’ll finish talking,” he said matter-of-factly and then he left.
He just disappeared into the night like he was never there.
Titi closed the door with a soft click and gave a resigned sigh. The idiot didn’t even apologize. She thought to herself.
Sigh! Here I go again.
Author’s Note: Happy Fool’s Day!. Thanks for all the support guys. It’s very inspiring.