Luke and I sat in the car in silence; the non-awkward kind, as we waited for Dotun to finally get his reluctant butt out of his campus. We were parked right in front of the Lake Estate university campus, because my little brother was taking his sweet time getting ready. He’s never really been a fan of the annual family gathering, and he always tried to wiggle his way out of each one, but Aunty Teju would never let him.
“I’m going to kill Dotun with my bare hands, then turn myself in for murder.” I muttered after seeing the time on the dashboard. It was almost three pm and we were still waiting at the University.
Luke chuckled beside me. Looking sinfully delicious in his three-quarter shorts and white polo shirt, he turned to me, gave me a smile, and covered my hand with his.
“Come on, just call his number again.”
I sighed and nodded. I reluctantly removed my hand from its position beneath is, seeing as his hand was so warm and encompassing. I used the now free hand to unlock my phone with the index finger fingerprint, and dialed the rascals phone number.
It rang for a few seconds and started directing me to voicemail. “That tyke isn’t picking up.” I grumbled and tried again.
After four rings, he picked up the call.
“Dotun I swear to God, if you don’t get out of that school in the next three minutes, I will march inside there and disgrace your existence.”
“Calm down Aunty Deola, I can see your car already. It’s the black Cherokee, right?”
He grew up calling me by my Yoruba name, and we never changed the tradition. “Yes.”
I ended the call, popped the car trunk, and stepped out of the car. I saw Dotun waving to a couple of guys and girls, before approaching our car. Maybe I was just being biased, but he looked taller and older than the last time I saw him. My eighteen year old rascal was turning into a grown man.
He finally got to me, and slightly bent his back in the guyish form of prostrating. “Good afternoon sis”
I patted his back awkwardly, seeing as he was now taller than me. “Good afternoon D. How are you and how has school been treating you?”
He smiled and dropped his duffel back in the trunk, along with Luke and mine’s luggage. “Could have been better. Being a Computer scientist is not as easy as it looks on TV.”
“I know baby. Come and say hi to Luke.”
“Ha, the fake fiancé. You still owe me a brand new laptop since I’m going to be covering for you both.” He gave me a self assured smile that only succeeded in annoying me.
I hissed. “Keep this up and you’ll be lucky to return to your school without getting disembodied by me.”
“Oh come on, I’ll get the big man a laptop. Hi, I’m Luke Rawlings. It’s great to finally meet you Dotun.” Luke suddenly appeared beside me to offer Dotun a handshake.
When did he get out of the car?
Dotun took his hand with a side smirk. “I like you already. I’m sorry I kept you and aunty Deola waiting for long. I had to find a trustworthy fella that’ll help me keep absolute watch over my stuff while I’m away.”
“Don’t you guys have personal lockers or stuff?” Luke asked him while gesturing for us to enter the jeep.
We all piled inside the car, with Dotun taking the rear seats.
“Of course we do, but they burgle it all the time. Typical boys’ hostel stuff.” Dotun answered while clipping his seat belt in place.
Luke trafficated for a while, allowed the oncoming vehicle to pass, before venturing into the road. Our journey just began.
“Typical? I never experienced that.” Luke said quietly.
I snorted. “What? Did you attend a private school or did you stay off campus?”
“I didn’t school in Nigeria.” He answered simply.
Dotun and I were silent for a while, as we stared at him with a gawky expression on our faces. We didn’t come from a poor home, on the contrary we were well to do, but not super rich obviously. I shouldn’t have been surprised by Luke’s admission, seeing as he’s connected to the Ebhojies, but that piece of information eluded me most of the time.
“So, are you an Oxford graduate?”
“Princeton actually. First and second degree in Business management. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but my parents wanted the best for me, so I didn’t complain.”
I gawked like a fish, opening my mouth and closing it. “You’re an Ivy League graduate? Holy Shit.”
“Aunty Deola please don’t swear. And since when did shit become holy?” Dotun piped from the backseat.
Luke laughed out loud with his dimples doing wondrous things for me. I ignored Dotun and faced Luke instead.
“Why didn’t you mention this when we were getting to know each other?”
He simply shrugged. “You did not ask.”
“Are you kidding me right now?”
“Come on, you didn’t tell me your middle name was Deola either.”
I was silent at first. “Technically, Deola is my first name, but being an Adeola will defeat the purpose of having a D name, so my second name stuck instead. Dotun didn’t grow up with us until he was around four, because he was raised by Dad’s older sister. She on the other hand stuck with calling me Deola, so Dotun adopted the name. We lost her to breast cancer five years ago.”
“I’m sorry.” It was a simple phrase but the tone carried more feeling than a whole paragraph.
“It’s fine. So, do you have a middle name?” I asked him.
“Aaaaand?” I drew out.
He smirked gently without taking his eyes off the road. “Let’s just say it starts with an I.”
I rolled my eyes. “Wow, genius. Since you won’t tell me, you’ll have to make do with any name I give to you. How about Innocent?”
He grimaced visibly while Dotun raised his head from his phone to laugh at him.
“Please any other name but that.”
“The only other available name in my repertoire other than Innocent is Idibia. It’s your choice.” I gave him a wicked smile that I hoped conveyed my wicked thoughts.
He sighed. “You’re a force to reckon with.”
I ruffled his wavy hair with a huge smile. “That I am.”
Somebody scoffed behind us. “You two are so sweet, the sugar will give me diabetes.”
“Don’t be an idiot Dotun.”
Dotun ignored me and decided to lean forward towards Luke instead. “So, bro-in-law, what’s your Favourite game to play? Cuz I need to tell the family that you and I have been hanging out a lot.”
“I love FIFA. You can always tell them that I beat….” His ringing phone interrupted the conversation.
He swiped the screen, but he probably forgot he was connected to the car sound system, so we could hear the voice of the caller.
“Hey bro. Sorry to interrupt your family bonding trip with the fiancée but there’s fire on the mountain.” A deep voice, almost similar to Luke’s own came through the car stereo speakers.
Luke looked uncomfortable with the public call, but he couldn’t disable it without having to take his eyes off the road, and my nosey self wasn’t ready to offer to help.
“Calm down Michael, what is the problem?” His voice was exceptionally calm.
“It’s Serena. She gave me back the plans like I told you, but she never told me she made a copy of the whole thing. Now, our insider in their company is telling me she and her father called an emergency board meeting with the stakeholders today. It’s going to start by 4:30, less than an hour. I’m guessing you know what that means.”
Luke hissed and suddenly stepped on the brake, making the car come to a screeching halt. “She wants to present it to their board members. If she gets an approval to continue, then we will be done for.”
“I’m sorry Imade. I shouldn’t have let Serena into our lives.”
My blood suddenly ran cold. I turned to look at Luke, and he had guilt, sadness, and regret written across his face all at once. He is the heir of the African Oasis. Why would he lie to me? Why was he saying he is own cousin? It made no sense.
“It’s alright Mike. I’ll meet you at the Royal Palm Main office in a bit.”
The call disconnected and we were plunged into silence
We started talking at the same time. We both kept quiet and he finally signaled for me to go ahead.
I was going to accuse him of being the heir and lying, but I felt he had his reasons and he owed me nothing. So, I changed my mind to talk about the more pressing matter instead.
He sighed and looked down. “I’m sorry but I have to go. It’s really unavoidable and urgent. Look, I promise you, I’ll be back tomorrow morning.”
I shook my head. “You owe me nothing Luke. Go take care of your conglomerate. I’ll manage.”
He took my face in his hands and stared at me deeply. “No darling. I owe you a lot more than this. Please, I’ll be back. Look, take the car, take my bag in the boot as proof for your family. I promise you I’ll return to you tomorrow morning.”
I nodded quietly. He looked at me for a second more, finally satisfied with what he saw, he kissed my forehead and let me go. He picked up his phone and wallet, said his goodbye to Dotun and he stepped out of the car.
I cleared my throat and faced my brother. “Hey D, come to the front please.”
Dotun’s face was solemn. He might be young and annoying, but Dotun could be very perceptive.
“Let me drive sis.”
I looked at him for a while and finally nodded. Heaven knows I had a lot going through my head at that moment and driving in that state would be a road hazard.
Time to face the family!
So….. I’m pretty sure a lot of us saw this coming. Luke is Imade, Imade is Luke. Anyway, the plot is thickening and I hope you will all stick around long enough for you to see what’s cooking.
I assure you we’ll all be meeting the lovely princess Anthonia, Queen Teju, and brother Ben in the next episode. So, stay tuned, share, and drop your comments. You know I love interacting and reading your opinions.