“I like this place, I think I would like to come here often.” Dapo commented half-way into his meal. Lara had chosen one of the most exotic restaurants on the island for lunch and though it was more of his sister’s taste and choice, he was pleased with it.
He pretended to roll his eyes at his sister. “You’re my bae now, didn’t you know?”
Lara punched him playfully and smiled. “It’s been so long we’ve been together like this. I’m so glad you were able to find time for me Dapo.” She reached to touch his arm and smiled into his eyes. “I really wish we could be the way we were as kids. We would hang around like we had no care in the world. Do you remember your first jeep? All the girls went crazy for you Dee and look at you being all shy and quiet around women.”
Dapo smiled shaking his head. He was already familiar with his sister’s match-making skills. It had gotten him into trouble in the past and he wasn’t going to allow such repeat itself.
Without warning, his past briefly flashed before his eyes.
She was crying by the side of the bed and he was begging her.
“But Dapo I love you…” She choked inbetween sobs when he reached to hug her. She clung to him desperately like her life depended on his to survive.
“I love you too baby and that’s why we have to do this, for me, for us.”
“I’m scared D.K, what if.., what if..”
“No ifs baby. You’ll come out fine, I promise.”
“Did one of your girlfriends put you up to this?” He asked bluntly.
She nudged him again. “C’mon! It’s Maxine and she thinks you’re awesome. I think you two should give it a try, who knows you might hit it off. That babe finished from Oxford. She runs her own company and is independent. Her father was part of our sponsor for last year’s fund raising program organized by the family’s company.”
He was bored already.
“Look if it’s about your past, you two are adults and nothing is going to happen.”
“Stop it Lara.” He scolded and suddenly regretted his actions when his sister cowered at his reproach. She wouldn’t know how it felt because she was still in the world. His current stand in Christ made him wonder why and how he could do something horrible in his past and his parents had readily covered up for him. He looked into his sister’s eyes and hoped she wasn’t capable of such.
He would do all he could to make sure she didn’t fall into the same trap he’d fallen into due to their family’s wealth and fame. No one could harm the Kitan’s or soil their name.
She rolled her eyes at him angrily snatching her hands away when he tried to reach for her.
“C’mon sweetheart, I’m sorry I yelled at you that way. I was just upset that you would bring up something so delicate at lunch.”
“It’s been 10 years Dapo, get a grip and move on. And if it’s this faith of yours that’s making it look like we’re all going to hell cos no one is righteous, better drop it like the garbage it is.”
Dapo was hurt that his sister was talking to him this way but for Christ sake he was going to take it in and apologize once again. 10 years wasn’t a joke, but anything for love.
“I’m sorry Lara, don’t be upset.”
“Let’s go upstairs and talk. The ambiance on the rooftops is much better than this. Money speaks for the VIPs” She smiled as if nothing had happened and reached for her phone to attend to something. Dropping it back into her bag, she reached for his hands, also ignoring the fact that he hadn’t finished his meal and they headed upstairs together.
“So, I’m not going to bring up your past since that seems to be a no go area for you at the moment. But I love you that’s why I’m concerned about you getting a wife and a home. Mum isn’t getting younger y’know and her talk about getting grandkids can wake up a dead man.” She laughed to herself and looked serious when her brother just managed a smile.
“At the right time.” was all he could say.
“So, you said you wanted to talk to me about something important…”
His mind flashed back to the way Lara had taken his scolding earlier and he thought better against it. “I don’t think I have anything to say that you’d like to listen.”
She was watching him intently and shaking her head, she walked up to meet him and slid her arms on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry Dapo. I didn’t mean to talk about your faith that way or bring up your past. Forgive me please, pretty please, I love you please.” She tried to tickle him and placed a sloppy kiss on his cheeks till he surrendered.
“Okay okay o, I’ve heard.” Laughing, he placed a hand on her shoulder to steady her when she would have tripped while she teased him. She wrapped her arms around him to pull him close to herself and they were like that for a while.
“It’s just my mood, it takes advantage of me sometimes.”
He stroked her hair. “Something is on your mind.”
She shook her head stubbornly. “Nothing.”
“Tell me, you know it’s only me you can tell all your precious secrets to.” He caressed her cheeks affectionately staring into her eyes. Something was definitely wrong with her, even if no one could see it, he could.
She could pretend to the whole world that she was happy but he knew she wasn’t. The way she could sense him pulling back after her outburst, so he could sense how she felt.
Though they believed in two different things, they still had one thing in common and that bond was still strong between them.
“Soji cheated on me Dapo.” She inhaled deeply as if she’d revealed something that could marr her for life. “I don’t know how long he and Aisha have been doing it behind me but I know it’s long enough to get people speculating that the wedding might not happen.”
“Aisha Waziri? The same Aisha your best friend?”
He shook his head. “Wow, I don’t know what to say. You two have been besties way back. Did you two have a fight or something? It’s ridiculous, why would she do that to you?”
She shrugged.”I don’t know. Envy, anger.., hatred, I don’t know what I’ve ever done to her to deserve this.” Her eyes stung and when she tried to reach for a tissue in her bag, her eyes pooled and Dapo could see how she was struggling to contain it within though she couldn’t hide it for long.
“Hey…, hey, don’t do this, don’t cry. C’mon this guy is so full of crap to have done this to you.” He hugged her and she clung tightly to him.
“I don’t know what to do Dapo, I honestly don’t.” She sobbed.
“It’s okay, don’t worry, everything will be fine.” He consoled.
“But I love Soji. Everything I have, I shared with him, I gave to him. I shared with Aisha too and they would do this to me. What did I do wrong?”
“They’re full of shit. Both of them.”
Lara looked up in the midst of her pooled eyes and laughed. “Did you just say shit?”
He shrugged. “I think I can break some rules for my kid sister.”
And she hugged him again. “I love you. Why can’t you be some guy who wasn’t my brother. I’d marry you ASAP.”
Though he was hurt, he laughed and she joined him. Lara didn’t understand that it wasn’t all about getting married and that was why she felt getting married to Soji was her all. A do or die affair that made her hurt this way. She deserved someone much better, much better than the scumbag who didn’t fear God and could go as far as cheating with his sister’s best friend. If he could do that while they were engaged, what would he do when they were married? Sleep with the whole town? Take all she had and run away with it, hurt her more?
“You know you don’t have to marry this guy Lara.” He decided to drop the bombshell. He knew she might resist and even hate him for bringing up such a suggestion when the guy in question was like her life.
She looked up into his eyes then. “And so I should leave Aisha to marry him?”
“What if she does? Do you lose anything, to me it’s good riddance to bad rubbish.”
“Oh Dee, you don’t know how much I love Soji. Aisha is just trying to come between us.”
“You and I know you’re only telling yourself that because you don’t want to be hurt more than you already are. Is this about your pride or a competition? If Soji is seeing you as an option, I see no reason why you need to stick by him any longer when all you’ll be doing is hurting yourself in the process.”
She released herself from his arms and looked away and Dapo knew he’d hurt her. Though she tried to show the world she was strong, he knew she hurt easily. He was the only one that could see through her heart. The only one she still allowed in and he grew scared that she might get to a stage where she didn’t allow him in anymore.
If she married Soji, it may end up happening. He would finally loose her. He could sense it already. He was already losing her and he knew he would have to keep praying for her.
He reached for her hands. “Let’s go someplace far away from this place, we can go for a vacation this weekend, stay away from work, your love life and everything else, just the two of us. The bill’s on me.”
“And where would we go?”
“Shangai maybe…” He grinned. “Look on the bright side, you get to eat Chinese food.”
She smiled softly. Her smile was so sincere this time.”I was thinking Qatar.”
“Anything you wish milady.” He pulled her closer to himself praying to God she would give in to his suggestion or even tell him she would think about it.
Just then her phone buzzed and she got distracted. He was tempted to ask her not to pick it but she had already placed it against her ear.
“Hey…” She raised a finger to explain she needed one minute away from him and excused herself. He suspected who it was but he wasn’t going to jump.
“Hey baby…, I’ve tried to reach you in all ways possible but you are not picking my call or responding to my texts. I told your P.A it was urgent as well.”
“I got busy.”
“You’re not still mad at me are you?”
“Of course not.” She managed. She knew she was still hurting but she tried to cover it up as usual.
“Where are you now, I need to see you. There’s something important I have to tell you. I’ve been through hell these few days we’ve been apart. Right now I can’t stop thinking of how much I want to touch you and love you.”
She sighed. It was always hard to resist him when he came on to her like that. Immediately thoughts of how she wanted to spend a weekend away from him and every other person vanished.
She suddenly wanted to be with him and him alone.
She wanted him to love her the way he used to. She felt so vulnerable right now and he was like her drug, the one she needed to survive.
“I’ve missed you too baby.” She replied throwing caution to the wind once more. “It’s been cold and lonely without you.”
“Look, I got us two tickets to Dubai. We’re flying first class in Emirates baby, this weekend and I’m not taking no for an answer. Just the two of us. If you say no I’m coming to your office to kidnap you.”
She bobbed her head, acting like a teenager in love and giggling at his statement of kidnapping her. She knew him, he could do it. She remembered the last time he’d come to whisk her from her office and carried her out like his princess.
Everybody had watched the duo, some clapping and some giggling.
Soji had the key to her heart and only he could turn it whatever way he wanted.
“Is that a yes?”
She sniffed, smiling. “You know with you it’s yes.”
“Are you okay baby? You’re not crying are you? Is something wrong, is someone hurting you?”
“No Soji, I’m just happy that’s all. Happy that you’re coming back to me.”
“Oh baby, I never left. Where are you, let me come and pick you and you’ll spend the night at my place.”
“I’m with my brother but I’ll be leaving soon. We just had lunch and we got talking.”
“Okay baby. So when you’re done you’ll buzz me so I can come pick you. Just tell your mum ahead that you’ll be spending the night at my place. Some of your things are still here though I’d love to see you snuggle up in my shirt as you always do.”
She smiled again, memories of them together coming back and breaking her walls of resistance further.
What was life without Soji?
“Can you come to my office by 5? I should be done by then.”
“Okay baby, later. Give your boo a kiss over the phone.”
She made a noisy kiss and giggled telling him she loved him before finally hanging up.
When she turned back to look at Dapo, he knew he had lost her and her answer would be no.
Soji had scored goals in her heart once again and anything he said at this time wouldn’t make any sense to her.
“I’ve got to go, it’s getting late by the way.” She managed and he could see she was trying not to reveal much. He’d heard every word they said that broke his heart and how she kept clinging to a guy full of garbage like Soji.
Dapo knew his kind. He was one of the top Lagos boys, eligible bachelor number one. He had nice words for the ladies and he could only see his sister dying of heartbreak in her marriage if they finally tied the knot.
He could suddenly see himself in Soji years ago and the guilt bit down hard coming back at him to taunt him and demand what rights he had to judge his sister’s fiance. He’d been the Kitan’s only son and there’d been many girls in his years of foolishness. Although he had received a stricter discipline than that of his younger sister, he still had his way around things and around girls and though something terrible had happened along the line which the Kitan’s position in society could well cover up, the memories still clung to him like nightmares flashing before his face whenever he looked at Lara.
He didn’t believe in nemesis or things relating to those, but his flesh couldn’t help but wonder if nature was trying to pay him back for what he’d done with his girlfriend years ago.
You’re in Christ Dapo, all things are new.
He sighed and reached for his sister’s hands trying one more time. “You know you don’t have to spend the night at Soji’s place Lara. Don’t you need time to think about all of this? My apartment is always open for you, you know that right?”
She smiled, her vulnerability suddenly gone and the Lara Kitan the world knew threw on her mask once more.
“When you finally meet the one you belong to, you’ll understand.” She squeezed his hands gently and pulled him closer. “C’mon let’s go back, I don’t want to be late.”
Much love. xo!