Dear reader, it’s another Friday again! Thank you for being here throughout this week.
The series continues on Monday, but until then please buy my books, share and recommend my work. You should also like my Facebook page if you haven’t already. The conversation over there is interesting!
I have to say a big thank you to my dear husband for giving me perspective on today’s episode. Thank you for always being there.
Remi was dozing off when her phone vibrated.
“Hello?” she answered.
“Hello Remi, this is Jumoke Oludare. I hope I haven’t called at a bad time?”
Remi immediately sat up straight. “No! No, it’s fine. How can I help you?”
“I’m actually trying to reach your brother. Would you please tell him to call me on this number?”
“You want to talk to Lanre?!” she said more to herself. “I’ll give him the message.”
“Thank you.” she replied.
She’d hung up.
Remi looked at her phone and wondered what this meant. Lanre was recently engaged, it seemed that he had forgotten about Jumoke and the past and it was just as well. Giving him Jumoke’s message would make him lose focus. The outcome of such a distraction would be her fault, again.
Should she give him the message?
Lanre decided not to fire Nnamdi, he had been a traitor but it didn’t take away the fact that he had been with the company for years and gathered useful experience. Nnamdi, as vile as he was, was an asset to the company and he didn’t want to risk getting rid of him just yet. He had thus decided to overlook his actions and focus on the company’s new structure. There was so much progress to look forward to.
After a long day of meetings, research and brainstorming, Lanre headed out of the office building anticipating his date with Toyin. He hadn’t felt this exhilarated about her in a long time.
He turned back to see Remi running towards him.
“Hey, what’s up?” He asked amused.
“You look excited…?” She observed.
“Yeah, Toyin and I have a date.”
“Oh…okay…” Remi debated within herself whether to tell him her news or not.
“What? What is it?” He asked suspiciously.
“Nothing,” she replied with false cheer.
“Okay… so what did you run out here to tell me?”
“Nothing, it’s nothing.”
“You ran down to the parking lot in your heels, to tell me nothing? What is going on?”
Remi sighed in exasperation. She would just tell him. “Jumoke called me.”
“I thought our contract with them was over…”
“Not about work.”
“Okay…” Lanre set his briefcase on the roof of his car. “What did she say?”
“She said you should give her a call.”
“I should give her a call?”
Lanre exhaled and pinched the bridge of his nose. What did this mean? Had she finally agreed to let him see his daughter?
“I took your advice Remi,” he said frustrated.
“I know. In fact, I debated telling you about this all day. She called me last night.”
He sighed. “Alright, will you give me her number?”
“I’ll send it to you.”
He nodded and got in his car.
Jumoke lay in bed with Hope, holding her in her arms.
“Tell me what he looks like.”
“I’ve told you already Hope.” Jumoke said wearily.
“Tell me again! Please…”
“He’s tall, he’s not dark or fair, he speaks well, he is the CEO of a manufacturing company, you have his eyes…”
“Is he handsome?”
“I don’t know,” Jumoke said sharply.
“How can you not know?” The girl cried in disbelief.
“You’ll determine that when you see him, please don’t bother me with that!”
Hope was silent.
“Do you hate him?” she asked.
Jumoke thought about her response. “I really don’t like him.”
“When will he call?”
“I don’t know Hope!” she answered, trying to contain her irritation. “Can we talk about something else?”
“So I’ve found a wedding planner. His name is Dare and I think he will do an awesome job!” Toyin said to Lanre as she got into bed.
“You hired a male wedding planner?” He asked incredulously.
“Yes, men can plan events too.”
“Okay,” he shrugged. “I just hope he’s as good as you say he is.”
She lay in his arms and stroked his chest. “I’m so glad that we’re finally doing this. I’ve wanted to get married for so long!”
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“I did eventually, and look where it got me!”
“C’mon Toyin, I’ve apologized!”
“Well, you’re the one who asked me!”
Lanre laughed and shook his head, he loved this woman.
“What do you think our kids would look like?” She asked unwittingly.
“Like us…?” Lanre said, wishing that she hadn’t reminded him of something he was trying to forget.
“Of course they would look like us, silly!” She smacked his chest playfully. “I’m saying, do you think they’ll be fair, dark, tall, short, handsome, beautiful…?”
Lanre laughed. “How can I possibly know that?”
“You’re such a spoilsport! Imagine! Just imagine with me!”
Lanre laughed softly and succumbed to the thoughts of his eleven year old daughter. “I think they’ll be beautiful. However they come, they’ll be beautiful.”
“I think so too. I want a girl first, girls are so precious. I can just imagine all the pink ribbons and frilly dresses I’ll order online! Oh Lanre, you better get ready to spend!”
Lanre forced a laughter and listened to his fiancée go on and on about the children they would have.
When Jumoke woke up, Hope was still in her arms. Her phone was ringing somewhere. Rising gently, she slipped her hand under the pillow and brought it out. It was an unknown number calling her at twelve am. Who could it be? She was going to dismiss the call, but she decided to answer it at the last minute.
“Hello?” she said cautiously.
“Hi Jumoke, it’s Lanre.”
Her heart immediately started to beat faster.
“Lanre, why are you calling me at this time of the day?”
“I’m sorry… it’s… it’s complicated.”
“How can I help you?”
“You asked me to call…?”
“Right! Sorry, I’m still drowsy.”
Hope was clinging to her and distracting her from the call.
“Can I call you right back? I need to get myself together.”
“Sure.” he replied.
She got out of bed and went to the sitting room, then she dialed his number.
“Yeah…” she replied. “So, I’ve been thinking about our conversation and I’ve decided to let you see her. You’ll meet in a public place…”
“A pubic place? C’mon Jumoke, this is the first time we’ll be seeing each other!”
“So you expect me to bring her over to your place?”
“No, not at all. But I can come over to yours…”
Jumoke thought about this. Was it really wise to let him in her house? But where else would they meet that would afford them the privacy they needed?
“You know what? Let me get back to you on this. My brain is foggy right now.”
“Okay, you’re not going to change your mind are you?”
“No, I’m not.”
“Thank you Jumoke.”
“Yeah.” She replied dully and hung up.
“Hmm!” Mr Oludare said. “So now he wants to see his daughter and you want to allow this?”
Jumoke was in Ibadan with her brother to discuss the situation with her father. And as she envisaged, it wasn’t going well.
“Daddy, like I explained, this is a difficult thing for me to do. I’m only doing this because of Hope…”
“That family is toxic! They are evil people! They will think of ways of turning this around for their own benefit.”
“Daddy, they can’t do anything. I will tell Lanre…”
“Don’t mention that name in my presence!” he yelled.
Jumoke pursed her lips. “Okay, I will tell him that he alone can see her. She can’t go and see him for any reason.”
“Hmm. You shouldn’t even meddle with this boy for any reason.”
Jumoke sighed in frustration, what else could she say? Korede squeezed her hand reassuringly and spoke up.
“Daddy, I can understand that you don’t want L… that guy, anywhere near Jummy or Hope but let’s focus on Hope. How would we explain that we prevented her from seeing her father? She will hate us for it…”
“Not if we let her know what kind of people they are…”
“We all know Hope Dad, that explanation won’t be enough. Besides, she already overhead us talking about it. She’s begging to meet him.”
Mr Oludare sat back in his chair and stared blankly, his mind going over the pain of what happened twelve years ago. He never wanted to set eyes upon anyone from that dreadful family. To think that he would have to shelve his anger aside and think of the best thing for his granddaughter was difficult.
Mrs Oludare was not consulted. She sat beside her husband and thought about the conversation. She wasn’t looking forward to seeing Lanre but she knew it was inevitable. Why not just get it over and done with?
“Alright,” Mr Oludare said. “He can come here and see her. Just him.”
“Hello Jumoke,” Lanre said enthusiastically, gripping his phone a little too hard.
“Hello,” She replied.
“So have you reached a decision?”
“Yes. You’ll see her in Ibadan this weekend.”
“In Ibadan?” Lanre said horrified.
“Yes, in my father’s house. And you’re to come alone, we don’t want to see any of your family members.”
Lanre almost choked. “You want us to meet in Ibadan? Jumoke can’t we…?”
“It’s the only option you have, if you want to see her.”
He opened his mouth to speak but couldn’t. This was unexpected, wasn’t a public place even better than this option of meeting in her parent’s house where only God knew what could happen to him? Still, he desired to see his daughter.
“Okay…” he said reluctantly.
“Bye,” Jumoke said.
“What is it?” Jumoke said.
“What’s her name?”
Jumoke hesitated for a while. “Hope, her name is Hope.”