Tomisin and Tofunmi sat at the dining with their daughter. They were having breakfast at twelve noon. They woke up late that morning and realized that they were alone in the house. It had been a long time since they had slept that well.
“Do you know if the doctor is still around?” Tofunmi glanced at her daughter.
She met her mother’s gaze and shook her head.
“I think he has gone to work,” Tomisin munched at the toast in his hand.
Misi sipped at her chocolate drink. She could still remember when he caught her singing and dancing in the kitchen. She hoped he had forgotten. The door bell rang. They looked towards the front door and wondered who it was. She placed her mug on the table and pushed back the chair. She got to her feet and strode to the front door. She unlocked and opened it slightly. A tall young girl stood at the doorway. She looked a bit familiar, but, couldn’t place where she had seen her.
“What are you still doing here?” the girl asked her.
Misi was taken aback by her attitude. Recognition hit her. She had seen the girl talking to the doctor the day he took them home. She probably lived in the building too.
“Can I help you?”
“No!” the girl eyed her.
Misi looked up at her and shook her head. She could discern that the teenager was a trouble maker, “Doctor Bassey is not home. Come back when he returns.”
“I know that he isn’t home,” she snarled.
Misi folded her arms, “So, what are you doing here?”
“You and your family should go back to wherever you came from. You are not wanted here.”
She was beginning to feel provoked, “Shouldn’t you be in school or something?”
Chinyere hissed and pointed a finger at her, “I know your type. Your charms won’t work on him. He is mine.”
“Oh… I see…” Misi started to laugh. Now she understood the girl. She probably felt threatened by her presence. She definitely had a crush on the doctor.
“What is so funny?”
“You… little girl.”
Chinyere’s nose flared.
“You are too young for the dating game. You better face your books. In five or six years, you might be ready. Right now, you will only get hurt.”
She backed away, “I don’t need advice from people like you,” she turned away and ran down the stairs.
Misi stepped back into the flat and closed the door.
Misi lay on the three-settee and dozed off while watching movies on African Magic Urban channel on the television. She opened her eyes and heard the door bell ringing. She blinked and stretched out. A loud yawn escaped her. She sat up and felt worn-out all of a sudden. She yawned again and pushed her weight up. She dragged her lazy self towards the front door and hoped it wasn’t the nosy infatuated teenager again. She peeped through the hole at the center of the wooden door and saw the doctor and someone else standing beside him. She turned the key and pulled the doorknob.
“Welcome doctor, good afternoon ma,” she smiled at the creamy brown skinned lady beside him. If she wasn’t mistaken, she was unquestionably her age mate.
“Hi, Misi, right?” the lady smiled at her.
“I am Enobong Etim.”
She threw a glance at him, then back at her. Were they related? Come to think of it, there was a slight resemblance between them.
“Please help us with these bags,” Bassey motioned at the Ghana-must-go bags by the door way.
“Okay,” Misi reached out for one of the bags and pulled. It was very heavy. What was in it?
Bassey and Eno pulled the two other bags into the flat.
“Where are your parents?” he asked.
“In the guest room, sleeping,” she responded.
“Okay…” he regarded her, “The clothes, shoes, jewelry, everything in these bags are for you and your parents.”
Misi looked at the big bags, and then stared at him in bewilderment.
Eno observed her. She was delighted that they were able to help the Phillips family.
“Thank you,” she whispered. Her throat tightened and her eyes smarted with tears.
“My sister and my parents donated everything,” he directed his gaze at his younger sister.
“Thank you,” Misi turned towards her, “Please thank your parents for me.”
Eno let out a chortle, “I will.”
“Great, I am going back to work,” Bassey turned around and walked out of the apartment.
“See you later,” Eno shut the door and turned to met Misi’s uncertain stare, “Let’s get these bags to the guest rooms, then, make something to eat. I am famished.”
“I think these bags have sucked every iota of the food I ate this morning,” Eno rubbed her tummy.
Misi started to laugh.
“I am serious; I think I have also lost weight.”
She laughed harder and reached out for one of the bags.
Sikemi hurried after her boss the moment he walked into his office.
“Please let Dr. Sylvester know that I am back. He must be exhausted by now,” Bassey instructed her.
“Yes sir, all right sir,” she stood adjacent to the desk.
“You can go,” he took a seat.
Sikemi nodded and turned around. Her high heeled shoes made click sounds on the tiled floor.
Bassey watched her leave the room and leaned against the chair. A relaxed smile lit his face. He felt fulfilled after dropping the bags for Misi and her parents. it was a good thing that his family had helped out. They had also donated furniture and electronics for the two bedrooms flat he paid for down the street. They would be able to move into the place the next day. He was at peace. Her dancing figure flashed through his mind’s eye. He had not been able to delete the image from his memory. Whether he was asleep or awake, she seemed to linger in his thoughts. It was the first time in two years that he had thought of someone else other than his ex, Lovejoy. His chest tightened with pains.
Although he had gotten over her, her lack of trust and his friend’s betrayal gnawed at him like an old wound. He doubted if he was ready to trust another. Maybe in another year or two, he would be able to give his heart away again. He was already thirty-five and his parents were not pleased with his single status. It wasn’t his fault. He would have been married if not that his ex called off the wedding. He pushed the unpleasant thoughts away and scanned through the files on his table.
He got out of his car and saw Chinyere and the ladies living opposite his flat standing a few feet away. Were they waiting for him?
What do they want now?
He was exhausted and peckish. He trusted his sister to have prepared something. She doesn’t play with her tummy. He locked the car and headed for the one storey building.
“Good evening doctor,” they followed him.
“Evening ladies,” he tried to smile, but it didn’t reach his eyes.
“Doctor, Chinyere told us that you are accommodating those riff raffs who used to live in that uncompleted building down the street,” Halima snorted.
He sighed and moved his head from side to side.
This girl needs to be spanked with a very long, thick, and… and…
“You don’t know what they are capable of, it is very risky,” Simisola chimed in.
He remained mum and climbed the stairs. They scrambled after him, trying to get noticed.
“Some of these people use charms on men and enslave them.”
“You are a nice person. Don’t let them take you for granted.”
He halted at his door and faced them, “Thank you for your concern. Have a good night ladies.”
“Good night doctor,” they sighed heavily and returned to their flat.
Chinyere looked him up and down, folded her arms across her chest and stood in front of him like a stumbling block.
“Chinyere, Chinyere, Chinyere!” he waved a pointed finger at her.
She pursed her lips, “I am only looking out for you.”
“Who made you my guardian angel or my bodyguard?” his tone of voice rose a notch.
She grimaced. She didn’t like the fact that he didn’t appreciate her gesture of care.
He looked up at her, “I am old enough to be your father.”
“You are not my father,” she hissed and stepped backwards.
He heaved a sigh of distress, “Regardless… look young woman; I know you like me…”
She lowered her gaze. She had fallen for him since he moved into the compound but, he had always related with her like a child. She had hoped that he would see her like a grown woman and learn to love her the way she loved him.
“Look… you are a good girl… but, I cannot go out with you,” he searched her pale face.
She bit at her lower lip. His words wounded her pining heart.
“I am not a pedophile,” he hoped he would be able to get through to her that night.
She looked into his honey coloured eyes, “I know that. It doesn’t matter what people might think… it is ‘you’ and ‘me’ that matters,” her eyes pleaded for understanding.
He raised his head and looked upwards. Why do teenagers have such thick skulls? Nothing ever got through to them.
Lord Jesus help me out here. She is not listening to me.
“Listen to me,” he gave her a long steady look, “I don’t love you, I cannot love you and I will never ever love you the way you want me to.”
Colour drained from her face. Wet dark eyes probed honey coloured firm ones. She gulped spittle, turned around and fled.
“Chinyere!” he took some steps forward, and then exhaled loudly. He ran his fingers through his brown cropped curly hair and stifled a yawn. He backed up and pressed the door bell.