Lola sat in her comfy chair wearing her university sweater and beach shorts, sucking the remaining pepper soup from the bowl. Her doorbell rang and then rang again. She wasn’t expecting anyone and was tempted to just ignore it
“Lola, I know you’re in there. Open up,” the bell rang again. She unfurled herself from the couch and walked to the door to let Lanre in “Don’t you look a sight,” she stared at him. He was holding a bouquet of flowers, a teddy, chocolate, more chocolate, a card, a shoebox with what she supposed contained shoes. She remembered it was Valentine’s day “Happy Valentine’s day. I wasn’t doing anything and I thought I should take part in the festivities,” Lola gulped and stared at him “Can I come in?” she stepped aside and followed him, closing the door behind her. He handed her the gifts, all but the shoebox.
“Thank you,” she struggled to carry them as he sat down, “But this really wasn’t necessary,”
“Of course it was; you’re the best girl I know and I couldn’t really decide on what to get you. So….” She laid the gifts on her coffee table and sat beside him
“Wait, I saved the best for last,” he leaned forward and opened the lid of the shoe box before passing it to her. Inside were two puppies curled side by side, sleeping. She felt her breath escape. They were beautiful and all of a sudden she felt warm inside. “They are both Pomeranians. They won’t grow very big. I know you said you had always wanted a dog…do you like it?” she looked up at Lanre and gave him the biggest smile she could muster and then she leaned forwards to give him a hug but he misinterpreted her action and she could see his lips moving towards her. She ceased her movement and cleared her throat, he opened his eyes.
“Would you like something to drink?”
He looked away from her
“What would you like?”
“What do you have?” he was looking at her intently again. He had this way of looking at her, like he was trying to read her soul. She turned away from him
“Water, apple juice, cranberry juice, that’s it.”
“Water please,” she left him on the couch and went to get him the water; she returned with water and a bowl of milk for the puppies but they were still asleep. Lanre took a sip of his drink. “You seem a little sadder than usual,”
“You never really seem happy; it’s as though there is something sad that’s always at the back of your mind,”
“Perhaps, I was born a little sad,”
The doorbell rang, she sighed and excused herself. As soon as she opened the door, Ada burst through with her ever-evolving stomach leading the way.
“I have been calling your phone all freaking day. They call it a mobile phone for a reason,”
“I’m sorry; I must have dropped it somewhere. I haven’t seen it,”
“I bet you haven’t even looked,” Lola said nothing. She really hadn’t wanted to talk to anyone. Ada walked right through to the living room and practically stumbled over Lanre.
“Oh! I didn’t realise you had a guest!”
“Ada, Lanre; Lanre, Ada,” Lanre stood to shake Ada’s hand but her attention was already elsewhere
“Omolola! Are those dogs??? I leave you for one day and you get dogs!”
“Actually, I got them for her,”
“She needs a man, not another excuse to stay at home. But we appreciate the gesture,” Lola could see that Lanre wasn’t warming to her friend’s brash ways; she hoped he would excuse himself but he sat back down.
“I thought she had a man,”
“Well she does in theory but she is way too caught up with the past,”
“The past?” Lanre asked. Lola gave up and sat down; there was nothing Ada loved more than a story. She gave Lola her If you don’t tell him I will look. Lola sighed. Ada’s version of the story would sound so much worse than it needed to.
“When I was younger, in secondary school, I fell for this guy. His name was Dayo. I wasn’t the only one though; every girl wanted him. He was tall, handsome, charming, smart. He was head of the basketball team and the football team. I never imagined he would look my way, but he did. And suddenly, it all seemed to make sense,”
“What did?” Lanre asked