“When is your birthday?” I asked Luke, while popping a mint breath freshener in my mouth.
“October 12th, and I am going to be 31 then.” He answered me.
“What’s wrong with us?” He gave me a leveling gaze.
I shook my head and pretended to zip my mouth.
He ‘unzipped’ my mouth for me and made a ‘go ahead’ gesture for me. “Answer the question Donnie.”
“Well” I cleared my throat. “You’ve not met my friend Dolapo. He’s a Libra. And he’s a man whore.”
“The guy with the moaning lady.” He grinned, and it was suspicious.
I face-palmed myself when he reminded me of that mortifying moment. “I was hoping you had temporary amnesia in that category, but it’s obviously a lot to wish for.”
He chuckled, finally easing up on me. “Come on, give the guy a break. I’m sure he’s just trying to make the most of his bachelorhood before getting snagged up forever.”
I rolled my eyes at the ridiculous excuse he made for Dolapo. “But when women do the same thing, men slut-shame them. Double standards.”
He pinched the bridge of his nose as he looked embarrassed by what I said. “For what it’s worth, I’ve never slut-shamed a woman, and I don’t intend to ever do that.”
“that’s comforting. Anyway, I’m 26, and my birthday is October 9th.”
He looked at me quietly for a while before he started laughing all by his lonesome self.
“You mean to tell me that you’re a Libra too, but you were making fun of the rest of us?”
I shrugged and looked anywhere else but his face. “I like to think I’m a special breed of Libra.”
He snorted. “Yeah, believe that if it makes you feel better.”
I scowled at him and flipped him the bird. He pretended to catch it, kiss it, and pocket it. Weirdo original.
“So, Don Don. What are your hobbies?”
“Luke baby” I started in a saccharine sweet voice. “If you want to keep your baby making organ, drop that creepy nickname.”
He gulped, covered his parts with his hands, and looked at me with mock fright. “Okay ma’am.”
“I’m glad we could come to an understanding.” I gave him another sweet smile. “To answer your question, I love biking, playing video games, frustrating Peter, doing karaoke, and I actually love designing in my spare time.”
He looked impressed with me, and that made me feel warm deep inside for some reason. I had to silently chide myself. Down Donnie. Don’t go falling for the fake fiancé. This isn’t one of those sappy Harlequin romance novels. Fake Fiancés don’t become real ones in real life.
“So, video gamer. What are your favorite games?”
“COD obviously. Then I love me some PES, football manager, GTA, and God of War.” I ticked each finger, as I listed my favorite video games.
“Wow. No offense, but I’ve not met a lady that loves football games before.”
“Do I look like the poster lady for ladylike traits?”
He shook his head. “Not in the least bit.”
“Exactly.” I sat back in my chair and crossed my legs at the ankles. “I grew up being friends and being more comfortable with the guys. It only made sense that I should enjoy what they enjoy.”
“That’s really impressive.”
“Thank you sir Luke.” I giggled at his expression when I called him ‘Sir Luke’. “so, what are your own hobbies? Glowering at innocent women in your restaurant?”
He smiled at my teasing good naturedly. “I love reading actually. I love singing, especially in the shower. I’m pretty sure I’ve released 16 albums so far in my life inside my bathroom.”
I laughed out loud but motioned for him to continue.
“I love video games too, and I watch football whenever my club is playing. I support Liverpool by the way. I also love playing music, and listening to it.”
“So, will you sing me a song?” I clasped my hands in the begging gesture.
“No way mademoiselle.”
“Spoil sport” I muttered.
“Yeah, that’s me. My sister calls me the same thing.” He smiled as if remembering a fond memory.
“Tell me about your siblings Luke.”
He sighed and ran his hand through his carefully groomed hair. “We are three. Two boys and a girl. Michael is my brother, and he’s only two years younger than I am. Esmeralda is our little sister, and she’s six years younger than I am.”
“Esmeralda” I whispered. “That’s a beautiful name.”
“Yes, it is. Dad gave her the name. Those two were very close, and when he died six months ago, she took it the hardest.” His expression was so solemn, that I could feel the sadness radiating off him.
“I’m really sorry for your loss. It must have been tough for you.”
He nodded. “Yes, it was. I had to step up and be the man of the house all of a sudden, and the huge responsibilities and family business. You know, usually when people try to sympathize with me, I know they’re only trying to be polite. But with you, you’ve experienced loss before, so I know you meant it.”
I nodded solemnly. “I know I was very young, but I can still remember how devastated and shocked I was when I lost my mum. So, are you super close to your siblings?”
He smiled this time. “Very close. Michael is here in Ilupeju with us, but Esme is out of the country. She returned a month ago, but we FaceTime every day.”
“That’s really sweet.” I gushed.
“Thank you. What about your little brother?”
“Dotun is a troublesome kid. If Dotun does not kill me, nothing else can. Despite the eight year gap between us, that little rascal was my best friend while growing up. By the way, we’ll have to drive down to Lake Estate University tomorrow to pick him up. He’ll be going down with us.”
“Speaking of Tomorrow, how many people will I be meeting?” Luke actually looked genuinely scared, and it was endearing.
“We’ll be going to the Adegboyes Family resort. Owned by my Dad and his brother. So, you’ll be meeting my uncle, his wife, and three daughters. You’ll meet my dad, step mom, brother, and of course the lovely Anthonia. You’ll meet Femi, Peter, Nene, Dolapo, and Amira, my Step mom’s niece. So, basically, that’s all of us.”
He placed his hands on his head and sighed audibly. “I’m in trouble.”
I smacked him “Don’t be ridiculous Luke. You’ll do just fine.”
“If you say so.” He answered, but his phone started ringing before he could say more. He looked at me apologetically and I got the hint. “I’m sorry, I have to take this call, and it might be long.”
I stood up, picked my bag, and gave him a genuine smile. “That’s not a problem. I have to be on my way anyway. I made an appointment with my barber today.”
He looked at my hair, smiled and nodded. Wait, did I mention I was on low cut, all these while? That was a concession I refused to budge on. There was no way in hell that I would be caught dead wearing weaves, or torturing myself in the name of braids. No way.
We said our goodbyes, and I left his office as he was saying hello to whoever was calling him incessantly.
From what I’ve gleaned from Luke, it would seem that Luke is more important and richer than he was letting on.
I entered my apartment around 7pm that night. I needed to shower and wash all the hair particles from my visit to the barbing salon. I was now sporting a dark hair with reddish hue tint. The barber suggested Curls, and I agreed to it. I looked different and I loved it.
My phone pinged, notifying me of a new message. I kicked off my shoes and placed them on the aeration table by the door, switched on my lights, and rummaged in my bag for my phone. When I brought it out and swiped on the screen, I realized I had two unread messages.
One was from Anthonia and the other one was from Femi. Due to my mixed feelings for the two of them, I wasn’t sure which one to open first. I decided to go for the lesser evil first, by opening Femi’s own.
“Donnie, I’m really sorry for snapping at you last night. I’m also sorry for not telling you about Esther, and for what it’s worth, nothing happened. How can I be with her when another has my heart?”
I suddenly felt like I couldn’t breathe. Femi was just my friend, right? Right? So, why was I feeling like I was going to die when I read the last sentence. I placed my hand on the wall to stabilize myself when a bout of dizzyness suddenly hit me. I couldn’t believe it. Femi loved somebody else.
I decided to get ahold of myself. I shouldn’t be hurt or angry. We were just friends, nothing more. With that resolve, I read Anthonia’s text. One thing you have to know about Anthonia is how smart and cunning she could be.
She knew better than to send me mean text messages, because they can be incriminating. So, with subtlety, she would send the nicest text messages, with an underlying tone of threat, only visible to the one the text is meant for.
Her text read: “Hey Tella, tomorrow is tomorrow. I’ve always believed in you, and I’m sure you won’t want to disappoint the family. P.S. Ben sends his greetings.”
Tella! Ugh, I hated that nickname. P.S. I hate Ben, I hate my phone for receiving the text, and I hate Tonia for being so evil.
I need a shower!
Who else feels like smacking Donnie? I’m her creator, and I’m honestly fed up with her dumbness.
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