The next day, while Jumoke was deep conditioning Hope’s hair, there was a knock on the door. She covered the hair with a plastic cap and rinsed her hands quickly.
“That must be your uncle. I’ll be right back.” She said to her daughter.
At the door, she hugged her brother tightly.
“Someone’s happy to see me!” he noted.
Jumoke didn’t respond, she simply held on to him.
“Okay… let’s talk about it.” he said, pulling her away gently.
“Uncle Korede!” Hope said excitedly, coming into the sitting room and flying into his arms.
“I missed you!”
“Obviously,” he chuckled. “You guys are doing your natural hair thing right?” He turned her head this way and that.
“It’s called a deep conditioning treatment.”
“Right. Well, I have something for you.” he handed her a gift bag and she hugged him again.
“Wow, I wish I was your niece.” Gloria said coming into the room.
“You can be so much more than that.” He replied, winking at her.
“Please! I’m not your mate.” She rolled her eyes.
“Age ain’t nothing but a number Gloria.”
“Ehn? Sis Gloria to you!” she said in mock reprimand.
The others laughed.
“Hope, why don’t you go inside with Aunt Gloria? Your uncle and I want to talk.”
“Okay. Don’t leave Uncle Korede.”
“So what’s up?” he asked when they were alone.
“I saw Remi.”
Korede took a few seconds to process her news. “So what did you say? What did she say?”
“We didn’t get to talk.”
“What do you mean?”
She explained the situation and he sighed when she was done.
“So what do you want to do?”
“I don’t know, that’s why I asked you to come.”
“Hmm… I think you just do your job as quickly as you can and keep your head down.”
“How can I do that? What happens when I see Lanre? How do I know that she hasn’t even already told him about me?”
“There’s no way you won’t eventually see him, it’s just a matter of time. When you do, just do your job. I agree with your boss, don’t let him see you as a weakling. Be professional and avoid any emotional attachments.”
“It’s easier said than done Korede.” She replied wearily.
“I know, but are you going to allow yourself to be emotional with him? Make up your mind before you see him to be professional.”
“What if he asks about Hope?”
“Why would you even tell him about her?”
“You’re saying I should say nothing?”
“Of course! If he really wanted to know about her, he wouldn’t wait for you to accidentally show up in his office twelve years later!”
Jumoke took a deep breath and thought about all that her brother was saying.
“You need to be firm with him Jummy, make up your mind before you see him. You can’t allow yourself to be distracted by him again.”
“I have no such intentions.”
“Good, so there shouldn’t be a problem.”
“I think I prefer the previous option. Goodwill is important, in spite of the tough decisions we have to make, I’d like to leave as much goodwill as we can.” Jumoke said, she was in a brainstorming session with her team on the Wilpac project.
“I think goodwill is overrated.” Joseph, one of the team members said. “We’re going to fire people, there’s no goodwill that can erase that.”
“I’m not talking about erasing our actions, I’m saying we should cushion the effect.”
“There’s nothing we can do to make a person feel better about being fired.” He countered. “Let’s just do what we have to do.”
“Well, I’m deciding that we come up with better palliative measures.”
“It’s going to cost the client!” Joseph countered.
“Have they told you that they can’t afford it?”
Joseph shook his head, he thought that Jumoke was too soft. How had she managed to rise so fast in her career with this softness?
Jumoke opened the door of her SUV and promptly took off her shoes
“Ah… that’s better.” She muttered, rubbing her feet and making a mental note to soak them in warm water when she got home.
Even before she looked up, she knew who had spoken.
“What are you doing here?” She asked looking up at Remi.
“Can we talk?”
Jumoke looked away and forced herself to calm down. “There’s nothing to talk about, your company is in good hands. You can rest assured that we’ll do a good job.”
“I’m not here about Wilpac.”
“You know we have to talk. We can’t just pretend that we don’t have a history.”
“We can’t? Isn’t that what you’ve been doing for the last twelve years?”
“No Jumoke, I’ve never forgotten about you.”
“How sweet! Look, feel free to say whatever makes you feel better but I have to go.”
“Please Jumoke, I have so much to say!”
“I don’t want to hear whatever you have to say and I don’t appreciate you stalking me. Let’s just stay out of each other’s way while we work together, alright?”
With that, she firmly closed the door and drove off leaving Remi staring forlornly at her.
Lanre adjusted his pajamas around his waist and flushed the toilet, then turned around towards the door when he saw a pregnancy kit on the slab. He picked it up and opened the box, it was empty. He dropped it and dashed into the bedroom where Toyin was rubbing some hand lotion on her palms.
“Why do you have a pregnancy kit in the bathroom? Are you pregnant?” he blurted.
“Oh!” She gasped. “I left that there!”
“Are you pregnant?”
“No, I’m not. I thought I was, I was so relieved when I saw the result.”
Lanre exhaled, unaware that he had been holding his breath. “So am I.”
Toyin looked oddly at him. “What’s that supposed to mean? You don’t want to have a kid with me?”
“No it’s not that.”
“So what is it?”
“I’m just not ready to be a father…”
“So you would have been unhappy if the result had been positive?”
Lanre got up and turned off the lamp on his side of the bed. “Let’s just say that I would have been happy under different circumstances.”
Lanre didn’t know how to tell her that he didn’t want another illegitimate pregnancy, he had no idea how the previous one had ended or where the girl in question was now. It was a part of his life that he had no closure about.
“Can we go to bed please? I don’t want to talk about this.”
“No we can’t. I’m trying to get over the fact that you don’t want to have a child with me, that the very thought of it mortifies you.”
“I didn’t say that I don’t want to have a child with you.”
“So what are you saying?”
“I’m saying let’s go to bed! Please babe, I don’t need this right now.”
Toyin was not done. “What are we doing Lanre? If you can’t imagine having a baby with me, I have to ask you what we’re then doing.”
He sighed. “Babe, it’s just not a good night for me to talk about this please. Don’t make a big deal out of this! I love you okay?”
Toyin laughed nervously. “Okay Lanre, whatever you say.”
Please share this link if you enjoyed today's episode.