I wish I could tell you that the single life is glamorous, but it really isn’t. Sure! You are free from relationship drama and wahala, but it also leaves you with a lot of personal time. To cover up this chasm, I poured myself into work and post graduate studies.
I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but I am pretty smart and hardworking, and I am a senior staff at the architectural firm I worked for. I was always taking on jobs from the most difficult clients, the misers, and the I cannot be pleased clients. It wasn’t a surprise when I was picked to be one of the team leaders for a very big job that newly came in.
It was a contract work for a big family company – African Oasis, owned by the Ebhojies. The patriarch of their family died a year back and his eldest son newly took over. He was trying to expand their hospitality business by building small, affordable, roadside motels, instead of their usual fancy hotels and restaurants.
This was how my firm entered the picture; we were to design all 10 motels to be built all over the Country. Each building had to reflect the culture of its respective location, so I was deep into research and barely had time for breaks.
“Hey Donnie, it’s time for lunch break, so get your butt up.” Peter waltzed into my room with a doughnut stuffed in his mouth.
Typical Peter! Always eating. Peter went from being my secretary to being my best friend, and finally a fellow successful architect. I adore Peter and his girlfriend so much that Dad and Teju know them too.
I stopped what I was doing and folded my arms on my very flat chest. “If it’s about lunch Peter, I am not hungry.”
“First, you have to be hungry. Second, your stepmother wan kill me with messages for you. She talk say both your personal line and office landline no dey connect. Say make you call whenever you receive my message.”
I groaned and banged my head on my desk multiple times. I knew what she wanted to talk to me about and i no just dey the mood. I stood up and grabbed my wallet, while Peter perused my outfit of the day.
Seeing as we weren’t allowed to wear jeans or polo shirts until Fridays, I was stuck with corporate wears. But I wasn’t going to be caught dead in gowns or skirts. So, I wore pants and slacks with plain corporate shirts. My loafers always completed each look seeing as I couldn’t walk in heels, neither would I wear them.
“I want to postpone that call as far as possible. So, let’s go for lunch, I’ll call her after eating.” I linked our arms as we walked out of my tiny office together.
We walked the short distance between our office building and our favorite fast food restaurant; a tiny sublet of African Oasis restaurant. Ehis, the manager, is an old man, and he was our friend. That afternoon though, Ehis wasn’t at the order counter with the other waiters, in his place was a very good looking and attractive young man. I semi-swooned inside (a reminder that I was still a girl after all.)
“Welcome to African Oasis. What can I offer you this afternoon?” His really cold voice welcomed us.
“The least you can do is smile.” I didn’t know when that came out of me. In my defense though, the guy had a face that reminded me of Squidward’s everlasting sneer in Spongebob Squarepants.
He chuckled but there was nothing endearing about the chuckle. “Do you want to order something or not?”
“Wow, such terrific customer service. The dumbass heir of African Oasis must be proud of your endearing quality.”
“Donnie!” Peter warned quietly but I was too far gone. Damn me and my stubborn streak.
“Dumbass? You’re calling him a dumbass? Takes one to know one.” He retorted sardonically.
“Did you just call me a dumbass? I will have you know that I am a lady of…..”
“hahahahaha” His derisive laughter cut me off my tirade.
“You. Did you just call yourself a lady?” He asked while his gaze looked at my attire with a mocking smile gracing his attractive lips.
His gaze and expression hurt my feelings and I didn’t know why. I was used to guys seeing me as one of them, but when this strange guy did it, it actually got to me. For that fleeting moment, I wish I was more feminine.
“I’ll have a cup of coffee alone please.” My tone was flat and I was sure my expression mirrored my hurt feelings.
He noticed my changed demeanor and he looked genuinely confused for a moment. He opened his mouth to speak, but Ehis came out at that moment and smiled at me.
“Ha Donatella my dear. Good to see you.” Ehis never called me Donnie. Said he chose to see me as a girl, even if I wasn’t identifying as one.
I smiled sadly but my hurt feelings wouldn’t let me give him my usual sassy retorts. “Hi Ehis, good to see you too.”
‘Say, have you met my nephew?” He gestured at the insufferable cute waiter, who looked genuinely confused about the familiarity between Ehis and I.
I shook my head, even though I just finished an oral war with his so called nephew.
“Well, this is Luke E…..”
“Just Luke will be alright uncle.” The idiot cut in.
Did he think I would stalk him or declare my undying love for him once I knew his surname? Well, I would probably do that in my sleep, but he didn’t need to know or assume that.
“Alright then, just Luke, meet one of the best customers and best architect I know. Miss Donatella Adegboye.”
“Donnie Please.” I corrected. I was also grumbling because Ehis gave my surname when the little cad wouldn’t give his.
He smiled, more like grimaced, at me while Ehis introduced Peter. His reception of Peter was way better than mine and I was slightly jealous, okay very jealous, about that. I asked Ehis to give me a cup of coffee while I called my stepmother. He wanted to know if that would be all, and I told him something in the restaurant killed my appetite.
The dial tone didn’t have to ring too long before Teju picked the call almost immediately. “Donatella tori Olorun, nibo lo so phone e si?”
“I’ve been so worried sick, and you know how your Father and I can get when you’re unreachable. Anyway, how are you and how is work? Are you eating and is Peter treating you well? Wo, Olorun mi ma wa pelu e.”
“Aunty I am…..”
“In fact, the preparations for the family weekend is getting me tired, I would have driven down there to check on you myself. We will be expecting you by Thursday evening. Anthonia is so excited because she feels Ben is going to be proposing to her during the family weekend.”
“Oh” I managed to let out miserably.
Yes, you heard right. Ben is Anthonia’s boyfriend and she’s bringing him to the annual family weekend get together. No, they haven’t been together for years. They have been on and off since secondary school and I guess he’s finally ready to place a big fat rock on her finger.
“Oh dear Donnie. I wish you would not only date your career, you need a man too.”
And this was the moment that my stupidity finally broke through. I didn’t know what pushed the coming sentence out of my mouth or why I felt so pressured to ease that disappointed tone from her voice.
“Actually Aunty, I’m engaged.”
There was silence on the other end for a while until …… “Oh my God! Oh my God!! Oh my God!!! Donnie, how is that even possible?” She exclaimed.
“Jeez, no need to let your utter believe in me show forth.”
“Oh, I am sorry. It’s not like I don’t believe you, but you’ve never mentioned a boyfriend, let alone a fiancé. I’m sure your father isn’t aware either, if not he would have mentioned something to me.”
I didn’t know why I didn’t just call off the lie right there and then, but I was just so stupid and tired of Tonia always seeming like the perfect child. For once, I wanted to be the center of attention, and if I had to lie to make that happen, I guess I would have to bear my cross. It was at this moment that Peter joined me at the table, while looking at me strangely.
“You know how fickle relationships can be nowadays. I wasn’t sure it would last, and before I knew what was happening, he was proposing and I was saying yes. Luke is a very romantic man Aunty, I really didn’t mean to keep it away from you.”
“Wow, I am so happy for you sweetheart. You know what this means? He’s family. So, he has to be at the get together.”
Oh no! This was not going the way I wanted it to.
“Oh, Luke is a very busy man. He’s a chef and his restaurant needs his serious attention.”
Peter spat his drink out and sprayed me with mouth juice immediately I said this to my stepmother. I gave him the middle finger while trying to bed God to help me.
“Too busy to come and show the proper respect to the family of the woman he wants to marry? This is unbelievable.” Teju’s voice was getting shriller by the second. That woman was an expert when it came to shouting on top of one’s lungs.
I wasn’t ready to have my ears bleeding out. “Oh now Aunty. Fine, I’ll tell him and I’m sure he’ll find a way round his busy schedule to take a break.”
She was happy and she assured me that he would be well taken care of if he shows up. I finally ended the call and sighed so loudly, Peter chuckled.
After a few seconds of staring at me like the idiot that he was, Peter finally spoke. “So, let me guess… your stepmother probably mentioned something about Tonia and that idiot guy she’s dating, and because you didn’t want to lose face, you told her you had a fiancé too. Am I on the right track?”
I nodded miserably.
“And because Luke the chef was the last guy you had an encounter with, it became the first name to pop into your head. Now you have to produce a Luke the chef for the Adegboye’s family weekend get together. Wow!”
He got the tale right but I was annoyed when I saw the amused smirk on his face. I never ceased to amuse him and it was becoming very annoying to be so predictable.
At least, this was the first time I would be doing something that stupid. That was a slight consolation.
Oh Donnie is in trouble now… Lol. Don’t forget to share and comment. 😘