“Erm… mama, are you sure you don’t want to rest a little after your trip so we can talk tomorrow morning?” Senami said.
“Because of what?” Sam’s mother said. “You may not believe it but I still have enough energy in me. Besides, nothing invigorates me like hearing all you young people of these days talk about romance.”
Senami knew she had to think quick. She wasn’t prepared for this. She had been asked to do this in a rush that they had not had enough time to come up with an iron clad story for how they met. What should she do? She really wasn’t comfortable with the way the elderly lady was looking at her. She had to find a way to bluff her way out of this. Or better still, she could give the old lady a little to chew on then make a dash for it at the slightest pretext. This sure would be a great time for someone, anyone, anything, to knock on the door right now. But the knock didn’t come.
“The thing is, ma, I met Eddie sometime last year. Uh… I went shopping at one of the supermarkets around. I had just finished picking up all that i needed to get but when i got to the cashier to pay for all that I bought, I dipped my hand inside my bag and I realized that I forgot my purse at home in another bag.”
Senami knew that she was a lousy liar but she laboured on all the same. She had to. She was really trying to remember the scene from a Nollywood movie she had watched and really enjoyed a few months back where the lead actor played by Desmond Elliott had met the pretty lady (what’s that her name again?) that he met at the Supermarket and eventually married. She really loved watching Desmond Elliott. In fact, she had a huge crush on him. But she had to save her crush on Desmond for another time so she could focus on the situation she just found herself. She really prayed Sam’s mother hadn’t seen the same movie too because that would have been game up for them all.
She continued; “It was really embarrassing, ma. It would have meant returning all that I had bought and all that. It wasn’t funny at all because they were so many people there.”
She looked at the old lady to be sure she was following but all she met was a poker face as the lady kept eating her meal albeit slowly. Senami went on.
“So I was already debating what to do next when this guy just came to rescue me. He came to pay for all that I bought. He was like a shining knight that came to rescue the princess (She actually thought she should add some fairytale cliche to juice up the romance in her story). He told me his name was Eddie and he asked for my contact. He even drove me home that day. I was really so grateful for his help then. That’s how we met. He would find all manner of excuses to visit me, call me and take me out and that’s how one thing led to another.”
“Interesting.” Sam’s mother said. “So where does Eddie work?”
“He’s self employed.” Senami replied with some pride. “He’s into all these computer things and he’s doing quite well in his business.”
“Very impressive. So do you know the job Sam does?”
“Are you sure you don’t want to ask Sam that? He’ll be in the best position to answer that?”
“I know what he told me but because you guys are friends, I want to hear your thoughts on it.”
“He is a music producer. He helps some of these singers you hear around these days to produce their songs.”
“Hm mm… I guess I shouldn’t act like I know what you’re talking about but I’ve always known that Sam has a gift when it comes to music and all the songs I hear you children of these days sing is just utter rubbish and gutter songs. By the way, did you know that by the time Sam was fifteen, he could play the guitar, the piano and the flute.”
“Really?” Senami couldn’t hide her surprise. “But he never plays any musical instrument at home.”
“I don’t know why that is. I’m sure he has his reasons. So tell me, how’s his relationship with his wife? Are they happy together?”
“Of course they’re happy, ma.” Senami replied with what Sam’s mother interpreted as genuine shock.
“They are fine, ma. I can assure you of that.”
“Okay. I’ve heard you then.”
Senami decided she had to get away now.
“If you’ll excuse me, ma. I need to tidy up somethings in the kitchen.”
“No problem there.” Sam’s mother said. “You can just come back to help me clear up these dishes when I’m done.”
“Okay ma,” she said as she got to her feet.
Sam’s mother was quiet for a moment as Senami walked towards the door. Just as she was about to step out, she called out after her,
The young lady froze in her tracks. She turned back to face the older lady.
“So tell me, my dear,” the old lady said, “why do you have to be the one to clean up and all that? Can’t Andrea or whatever she calls herself clean up too?”
“Well ma, she can but I playfully keep her out of the kitchen as much as I can. I actually enjoy cleaning and all that.”
“What does she do for a living?”
What Sam’s mother thought to say was; “No, your twin sister I’m carrying on my back.” But what she said instead was, “You know it’s Andrea I’m talking about.”
“Well, she’s an interior decorator.”
“She helps people decorate their houses. She also helps decorate event venues.”
“Hmm. That’s good. And what about you? What do you do?”
“Actually ma, I’m not working now. I’m still looking for a job. I err… I quit the last one a while ago.”
“I see.” The elderly lady regarded her for a while. Senami was now sure Sam knew what he was saying when he warned her to be careful around the woman. The woman had intelligent eyes. The kind of eyes that never miss a thing.
“Okay, my dear,” Sam’s mother finally said. “You can go attend to what you need to do. Let me finish up on my meal.”
“Thank you, ma.” Senami replied, barely able to hide her relief. “I’ll come up to help you clear up when you’re done.”
The woman’s wahala was getting too much for her. She was out in a flash.
“… sitting together with her on my flight to Abuja?” Eddie considered that info for a while. “Honestly, Andrea, I like your story but I’m not sure meeting her on my flight or sitting with her on the plane is a story that can fly. Excuse the pun.”
“Why not, Eddie.” Andrea asked. “Do you have a better story?”
“The problem with guys like me is that we can’t concoct a story but we can tell when a story isn’t good.”
“Really. A critic and a pessimist all rolled into one.”
“Not that, babe. I’m not exactly a pessimist or something like that. But what I’m saying is that you have to tell a story that will appeal to all parties. You have to tell a story that both I and Senami would be able to relate with.” Andrea was silent in thought so this prompted Eddie to go on. “Has she been on a flight before? And i answer… No. Not to the best of my knowledge. Where are the places she frequents and will be comfortable talking about? The market, church, a few times when we forced her to go see a movie and just have fun, the times when you take her out to go help you with your decor jobs… We can play it around that. We could have met at the movies. It’s the safest bet for both of us.”
Andrea regarded Eddie with so much admiration. The truth is that she had always admired Eddie. He had the highest IQ of anyone she had ever met, save for her dad of course. He was so good at not only thinking on his feet, but he had a propensity for figuring out things that others couldn’t even see coming much less grasp. He might be a nerd but he was HER NERD and she loved him so much for it.
“I have to admit you’re right, Eddie. You’re real smart.”
“Come off it, Andrea. Anyone could have figured that out. It’s not exactly rocket science, you know?”
Andrea felt like tearing her hair out. This was one aspect of Eddie that exasperated her. He seemed to be so oblivious of how intelligent he really was. He just chalked off his smartness to what any twit out there could come up with. This was a guru that could do anything on his computer and even though he was still a young lad, he was already on his way to patenting three applications that would soon take the world by storm. He helped her develop a virtual home where she could get colors and decorate before getting to do it live. All she had to do was to upload the schematics for a place she had to decorate and practice it online. She knew exactly how a decor job would look like before buying the materials. She was always ahead of her game. It was the best gift anyone had given to her and she didn’t even ask for it. According to him, He just did it ‘just for the heck of it.’ When she thanked him and commented on how brilliant the application was, he had simply shrugged it off saying, “It’s nothing, babe. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to build that.”
“So, how do you propose we tell this story now?” She asked.
“I don’t know.” He replied with a yawn. “I can only give you the concept. I can’t think up how it happened. That’s where you come in. You’ll figure something out. I’m real tired now and i have an early day tomorrow. I need to hit the sheets.”
“Yeah, I guess. It’s Monday after all.”
“Hmm” Eddie replied as he got up to leave. “I guess you’ll have a story ready tomorrow by the time I get back home tomorrow evening, right?”
“Yes.” She responded with a smile. “I’ll sleep on it.”
“Don’t stay up too late, dear. Not good for your looks.”
Andrea smiled. “Copy that, love.” She whispered and winked at him. He winked back and walked towards the staircase just as Senami was dashing downstairs. He couldn’t miss the look of alarm on her face.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
She put her fore-finger to her lips as she led him back to the sitting room where Andrea was seated. When she got there she sat down in a tired heap while Eddie just stood.
“What’s up?” Andrea asked. “You look like you just escaped from Cerberus.”
“Who’s Seberus? Senami asked confused.
“Never mind.” Andrea said. “What happened?”
“Sam’s mother started asking me all manner of questions.” Andrea and Eddie looked at each other. It seemed like it was time to be worried.
“Go on.” Eddie said.
Senami did just that. She faced Eddie squarely and said “She asked me how we met.”
Andrea was suddenly pink in the face.
“And what did you tell her?” She blurted out.
“I was really confused cos I didn’t know what to say but I remembered this Nollywood movie Desmond Elliott acted that he…” Eddie cut her off impatiently.
“Now hold on a minute, Senami,” he said quickly, “we’ll get to that part of the movie but just skip that now and tell us what exactly you told her about how we met.”
“I told her we met in a Supermarket.” Andrea and Eddie exchanged looks again.”
Senami proceeded to tell the same story that she had told Sam’s mother and at the end of it, Eddie and Andrea simply sighed.
“I guess that puts a nail in the coffin of my ‘flight’ story.” Andrea said.
“Yeah. And at the same time rips to shred the ticket to the ‘movies’ story I wanted you to work on.” Eddie said.
“Congratulations, Andrea, looks like you’re gonna sleep early after all. Senami has helped you with that. Now I’ll be the one to have a long night trying to remember how I used to conduct myself in supermarkets when I used to go shopping. That was long before even her (he pointed to Senami) came into the picture to spoil all of us.”
Andrea burst into laughter at this. Senami too couldn’t help but join in.
“Let me rush to bed now so I can have an early start.” Eddie said. “While you’re fine tuning that story, I’d like you ladies to remember the supermarket we shopped. I tend to forget these things. And considering I need some money now, Senami would have to pay me back every kobo I helped bail her out of that bind she found herself back then in that supermarket. I’m certain she promised to pay me back. After all, that’s the same way all ladies act when a guy pays for their goods when they get stranded. Goodnight, ladies.”
He walked away and the ladies could barely respond as they were reeling in laughter. Senami really liked Eddie because he was a real funny dude. He could make people laugh without even trying. She had temporarily forgotten about her encounter with Sam’s mother as she wiped tears from her eyes. Andrea was wiping tears from her own eyes too from the laughter. She was glad that Eddie could even find some humor in the situation which was a sure sign he was taking things well. But it wasn’t time to celebrate yet. There was a lot that still needed to be done.
“Alright, dear. Let’s go to my room. We have a lot to discuss.” Andrea stood up and Senami did the same. “I’d like to hear everything you talked about and i mean every single word to the last alphabet and there’s also something I’ll need you to help me get done for Eddie tonight.”
The ladies went upstairs to Andrea’s room.
Eddie stepped into his room feeling very tired. His mind was numb but he had decided not to let anything bother him. He had a busy week ahead of him and all he could think of was to sleep. He had to tell himself that despite the nature of all that was going on now, there were still some fun to be had. So what if he had to play Senami’s fiance for a week or two. It’s a break from the norm and he kind of warmed to it. Besides, considering all he had to do that week and the next, the month could actually roll by without him noticing. He stood by the bed and debated whether to take off his clothes or sleep in them. There had to be a compromise. He didn’t feel like taking anything off and Andrea would have beaten the clothes off him had she found him in them. He took off his shirt and lay on the bed. That was as far as he was prepared to go. Sleep was coming and coming fast. Engulfing him in its warm embrace and he was ready to for it. He managed to tell himself that somehow, Senami was getting bolder. The way she led him to the sitting room, the way she sat down and spoke to them, the way she looked at him, her body language… he couldn’t miss it at all. There really was something sexual about her that he hadn’t realized until tonight. She was really growing into the role that was given her… Senami… Senami… Senami… And he was lost in the embrace…
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