“So did you miss me?” he asked.
Dunni studied him for a moment and then thought; what the hell! She didn’t know why he was here at this point but she probably wouldn’t see him again after this.
“Yes, I missed you. So what are you going to do about it?”
He lifted her, and next thing she knew, she was seated on the priest’s table and he was standing between her lace-skirted thighs. It occurred to her that they hadn’t still been properly introduced and here they were getting over-familiar. He was kissing her again, but this time the niggling at the back of her mind refused to allow her to fully enjoy it. While her lips and her body melted into his, her brain went into overdrive. Folarin had called him Babs; but that would be a short form of his real name which could be Babajide, Babadele, Babawande, or…
Her eyes snapped open and Dunni pushed at him, feeling as if ice water had been poured on her. It couldn’t be! It just couldn’t be! Or maybe it was.
“Are you Babatunde?” she asked.
His attention appeared fixed on her lips but she could see he was not listening to her. He was coming in for another kiss. She pushed him away more strongly this time and jumped to her feet. Her whole family could not be in on this arranged marriage of a thing, could they? Could they have played on the respect they knew she’d show by agreeing to meet an older woman while they sent in the would-be husband? Was Toyin in on it too? They’d been in here for at least ten minutes and no other person had come in, not any potential mother-in-law, and not the accomplice Toyin was to have sent.
“What are you doing here? And who are you?”
God, let him not be the man her parents had planned for her because she was in trouble if he was. His handsome charm and sexiness were not enough reasons to throw her promises to herself out of the window, but could she resist?
‘Didn’t Folarin tell you who I was? I should be the one asking what you’re doing here.”
He folded his arms across his chest, his biceps flexing in the short sleeved brocade shirt he wore, and Dunni had to tear her gaze away. She didn’t know what to make of his question and glared at him while she got her equilibrium back.
“I don’t want to burst you bloated ego but I didn’t ask Folarin anything about you.”
“OK, no need to vex,” he soothed, “My name is Baba …”
Someone was pushing against the door and it was squealing again. They both turned towards it, and Babs, or whatever his name was, went to open it. A richly dressed and plump woman walked into the room drawing her Asha-oke around her with a smile.
“Ah, Babatunde my son. You’re here?”
He bent at the waist to greet the woman. “Yes, ma. Papa sent me.”
Pin-pricks of heat washed over her and Dunni died a million deaths where she stood. When Babs- Babatunde looked back at her with his trademark mischievous grin, she died all over again. All her worst fears had come true. She had fallen into her parent’s trap head first. Anger began to build in her as the woman walked further into the room.
“My daughter, you must be Dunni. Have you been waiting long? I’m sorry!” The woman, draped in jewelry and perfume, hugged Dunni and sat down in the nearest chair. “Ahhh…my feet are killing me. Some women waylaid me out there and would not stop talking.”
Dunni knew how many times that had happened to her and almost felt pity for the woman, but she hardened her heart. Babatunde stood by the door smirking, and she rolled her eyes at him, looking away when he smiled wider.
His mother looked up at him and Dunni was surprised when she frowned.
“Tunde, I want to talk to Dunni in private, please can you give us a few minutes?”
“Of course, Ma,” he replied, “let me just get this.” He bent down and picked up his cap which she vaguely remembered pushing off his head during their earlier clinch. He was still smiling but she refused to meet his gaze till he turned and left the office.
His mother sighed and Dunni turned to her, thinking of something vexing to say.
“I hope the priest’s son has not been disturbing you? He’s a very nice boy but we all know how much he loves women. I’ll tell his mother to warn him off if you want.”
“No…no, Ma.” In her mind, Dunni picked her jaw off the floor and shook her head blankly at the woman before her. What a comedy of errors! Babs was not this woman’s son nor was he her supposed to be intended husband. Thank God she hadn’t opened her big mouth and shoved her size tens in it. That could’ve been disastrous.
“So tell me about yourself, my dear. Your mother is a good friend, and it would be marvelous if our families could be joined in marriage. Your mother said you weren’t in the hall but with the organizers. That is very humble and hard-working of you. I like a girl who knows how to take care of people, in the same way she will cater to her husband and children…”
The woman was still talking when the door begun its now familiar noises again. It was her mother, and she was grinning from ear to ear. Dunni was confused, surely her mother didn’t know of her plans with Toyin? Or had she found out about Babs somehow? But her mother paid the least attention to her. She hugged the other woman and they begun chatting. Well, that was the end of her planned termagant character. Dunni excused herself and left the office.