Farida was excited when Monica mentioned Sam’s visit. She hoped change was at the corner. Monica insisted she suspected something happened to Francis. Finally, one morning, Monica banged at Farida’s door. When she came in, she told Farida she got a missed call from Francis.
“What did he say?”
“He left a voice message, listen”.
“Baby girl, your family didn’t want me. They threatened me so I had to disappear. I was making you feel good but your family wants you sad always. What was I to do? I took off to save my life. I was told how you looked for me that’s why I decided to contact me. You know your father is rich and powerful, he said he will find me anywhere in the world and kill me if I don’t leave you alone. He said I am beneath you and don’t deserve you. Stop looking for me. When I am settled, I will contact you. Don’t be sad, I have a plan. You need to work to make money for our plan to succeed. My Michelin, I hope you haven’t lost weight. Don’t let them deceive, fat sits very well on you. You know I love you just the way you are. Do not tell anyone I contacted you otherwise they will come after me” the recording ended.
“Farida my father was the one behind my ordeal all this while yet he made me feel he didn’t know what I was going through. I am leaving Nigeria. Papi has invited me over. I told him I needed a job and he said I could work with him. He is the only father I know. I have disowned my father.”
“Why are you quick to believe what Francis says? Why would your father do that to you? And what did Francis mean by he was making you feel good?”
“Leave Francis alone. I am leaving. Are you sure you won’t join? We can stay together”
“I am resuming officially after orientation in DPR in a month. This is an opportunity I can’t throw away. I have to work at least three years before I consider furthering my studies”
“That’s nice. Congratulations. I guess I am the only one not pulling my weight around. I lost out on CBN and now I have to work in a dairy farm and winery”
“You don’t have to. You can get another job”
“In CBN they called me fat. Francis loved me that way that’s why I maintained it but their words hurt me”
“Should I talk to you honestly?”
‘You know you can”
“Francis met you when you were slender and s*xy and turned you into this. Why? You are too fat Monica. This fat will affect your health. Why are you doing this to yourself? There are many guys better than Francis out there so why Francis who says the way you look now is s*xy to him. It is only a dishonest human that will say so”
“Farida, Francis loves me and I love him in return. That’s all to it”
“Francis loves your status and your money. He doesn’t like anything else. Wake up and smell the coffee. Since you’ve been off drugs can’t you see a difference? Aren’t you reasoning better?”
“Who told you about the drugs?”
“The walls have ears Monica.Do you know how many people knew about it in Abuja? When they asked Francis about it, he didn’t have anything nice to say. Please Monica, put yourself first. Take care of your health. If Francis has good intentions, he knows the right thing to do”.
Monica was silent. How did Farida know about the drugs? She never did drugs in the open so how did anyone find out? It was between Francis and her. The drugs did make her feel good and also gave her an appetite. Francis loved flesh and she was all the flesh he desired. He had asked her to keep their communication a secret. Could she trust Farida to keep the secret?
“I don’t want to talk about Francis anymore. I have to ask, if my secret safe with you?”
“Of course. I won’t tell anyone”.
“I am leaving next week for Germany. I wish you could come along; it will be like old days”.
“I have a big opportunity here. What about Sisterz Boutique?”
“Let’s sell off the one in Abuja and start here in Lagos”
“That’s fine by me. Remember one woman showed interest while you were there. Can you contact her and get it sorted?”
The woman was ready to buy the boutique off them. Unfortunately, she would only be available for signing off agreements after Monica had left. That would require Farida to travel to Abuja. Where she would stay was a problem. She didn’t want to stay at Monica’s father’s guest house without her being there. Wale offered his place for a three-night stay. He also bought her plane tickets to and fro. She was skeptical and he knew it. He assured her he would not do anything to her.
She travelled to Abuja on the same day Monica travelled to Germany. She saw her best friend off to the airport. Monica’s driver took her to the local airport for her flight to Abuja. She had told maami she was going to Abuja to sell off the boutique. Maami didn’t ask her further questions. Maami trusted her and she was determined never to betray that trust. She never wanted to disappoint her. She didn’t tell maami much about Monica’s issue and Sam’s proposal because she knew she might stop their friendship and she didn’t want that. She had to be there for her friend.
Wale was at the airport to pick her up. She went straight to the boutique to take inventory. They had commissioned an auditor and an amount of money was missing from the business all thanks to Monica. Farida had ensured that most of the backlog of the loan was paid off and the sale will help liquidate the balance. There was nothing left for a fresh start.
Wale picked her up at 9pm. She was really tired. She dozed off on the way home. He woke her up when they got to his house. He showed her the room she would be staying in. She took a shower. He knocked to let her know dinner was ready. She ate rice and chicken stew before rushing to bed.
The next morning, she was up by 5am. She had a bath and got ready. She knocked for Wale to inform him she was leaving for the boutique to take the last round of inventory before the lady came around. Wale answered her shirtless and in boxers. Farida turned away immediately. Wale was amused by her reaction.
“Don’t tell me you are leaving for the boutique this early?”
“I have to finish the inventory before I meet the lady”.
“Ok. Wait for me let me quickly take a shower and drop you off”.
“No, I will take a cab”.
“Wait for me. It is safer if I go with you”.
He took her to the boutique. He stayed with her there helping until 7:30am when he had to leave for work. She was grateful because he helped her which made her round up before 9:00am.
The woman came around and they had further discussions. She went through the boutique and all she was taking over. They negotiated throughout the day. Finally, they agreed on an amount. The agreement was to be drawn up by the buyer’s lawyer and the sign off the next day. Farida was very happy. She called Monica and shared the good news. Then she called Wale who asked her to join him in the filling station.
“How do we celebrate? Let’s go dancing. I would love to dance with you. I know you can dance”
“Can we go somewhere to just eat and talk? I’m not interested in dancing in the presence of others”.
“Would you dance with me at home? We will have fun together”.
“We can do that. But before then, I would love to cook for us tonight. I can cook soup or rice or pasta depends on what you like”
“We had rice yesterday. Let’s have pasta. What will you make it with”?
“Pasta and fish sauce”
“Let’s go then. They don’t need me in the station tonight”
They stopped by at the market to buy the items. After they both got refreshed, Wale joined Farida in the kitchen to help prepare the ingredients. They discussed while they cooked. They talked about Monica and her family. Wale talked about what Abuja guys were doing to babes. They discussed about everything.
When food was ready, they sat down together to eat. Wale was impressed by the food prepared by Farida. He hadn’t eaten anything prepared by her before but this was very delicious. When she was cutting up carrots, green pepper, red bell peppers, tomatoes etc to make the sauce, he wondered what she was making, but it came out impressive and delicious. He told her so.
‘You will make soup and stew for me tomorrow before you go back. I will get everything you need to make it”
“That will not be a problem. But won’t your girlfriend mind?”
“I don’t have a girlfriend. I have female friends. And you? Any boyfriends you are hiding?”
“Very funny. I don’t have.”
Wale helped to clear the dining table and tidy up the kitchen. They came to the sitting room and sat on the three seater together. They decided to wait until their meal digested before dancing. They watched a movie instead. Wale couldn’t believe he had Farida all alone in his house and she was comfortable. He had had ideas seeing her every morning but he knew it could destroy everything. As they sat together so closely, he felt his emotions rising. He wasn’t paying attention to the movie but was focused on Farida. He hadn’t seen her in four months. She was still as naturally beautiful as ever; she did not change at all. After the movie, he put on some music and dragged Farida , who claimed not to know how to dance, to her feet. They started dancing with Farida shying away. When they played one of her favourite songs, she lost it and began to dance. Wale had to step aside to watch her dance to the beat in amazement. The ease in which she rolled her waist gave him an instant hard on. He was transfixed where he stood watching her, mesmerized by each step she took. At the end of the song, she stopped.
“Come here” Wale ordered.
Farida saw something strange in Wale’s face. Why she obeyed him she could never tell but she did. He drew her into his arms and said to her,
“I don’t want to make any move right now that will jeopardise our friendship but I must confess, I really want you at this moment; it is taking all my will power not to do anything. Please Farida, let me kiss you. Just a kiss and I swear nothing more”
At that moment Farida looked up to him and realized what she beheld was lust. She stepped away from his embrace and walked swiftly towards her room. Wale stopped her.
‘I will never do what you don’t want me to do. I only asked for a kiss. All you have to say is no and I won’t ask again”.
Farida didn’t respond. She just struggled to be allowed to go and Wale let her go.
Farida was angry with herself for not challenging or stopping Wale when he pulled her into his arms. How dare he ask for a kiss? As she was pondering over everything, a message came into her phone. It was from Wale. It read
I have tried to control my desire for you but tonight, something got into me.
Please do not take this out on our friendship. I know what happened tonight and I promise you it won’t happen again.
Let’s shove this night’s experience from our memories. I don’t want to lose you ever. You are my best friend and gist partner.
Please forgive me.
Farida didn’t respond. Instead she called Monica and told her what happened.
“He asked permission to kiss you? He is an unserious person. Something he should have taken at that time he was asking for permission. Who does that? Wale is another breed completely. He still apologized on top. He is a ju-man. He is just a fine boy with no moves”
“What are you saying? Were you expecting him to r@pe me? I don’t understand”.
“R@pe you? Why would he r@pe you? Farida have you been blind to the fact Wale loves you? The guy is crazy about you to the extent he is willing to be friends with you as long as you are in his life”.
“In love with me? I don’t think so. We are just friends”.
‘Keep dreaming. Someone that has been in love with you for years. He will never harm you. It was just a spur of the moment occurance. You are beautiful and he acted on his emotions; a moment of weakness”.
“How do you know Wale loves me?”
“Because he told me so himself”.
Farida was silent. So many guys at their three months training course were running after her but she showed no interest. She didn’t see anyone she liked. She liked Wale but not in a romantic way. She didn’t know how to explain it. Her instinct told her not to answer his order but her heart pushed her to him. How would they face each other tomorrow?
The next morning, Wale knocked on her door and asked if she was ready to leave. She was ready but she stayed in the room because she didn’t want them to have an awkward moment. She came out and joined him. He talked to her normally and before long she felt comfortable again.
After signing the agreement and receipt of the payment, Farida called Wale to let him know she was through for the day. He picked her up. He was with a lady in the car. The lady, Ada, was very fair and beautiful. She had an impressive frontal and aerial view. She was what guys referred to as hot. They stopped by at the market. Wale asked Farida what she would like to cook and Farida gave him a list. Immediately, they separated themselves and went to purchase items. The closeness between Wale and Ada was evident. It made Farida uncomfortable. Was it because of last night he brought her? What was their relationship.
In the house, Farida changed into something more comfortable. She planned on cooking two pots of soup and two pots of stew. She entered the kitchen while Wale and Ada were in the bedroom. She cooked Afang and Okro soup. It was the aroma that brought them out of the room. Ada was wearing a bum shorts with a tshirt when she entered the kitchen. All her physical assets were on display. Farida was uncomfortable but Wale didn’t seem to mind. Ada helped Farida boil the tomatoes as she rounded up soups. Then Farida made the fish and chicken stew. Ada was amazed by her prowess in the kitchen.
“You are a wife material” she said while eating the okro soup. “This is so delicious. I wonder how the Afang tastes. Even the stews were awesome. I will take some home”
“You are taking nothing home. You are a woman like her; you should learn how to cook. I loved her spaghetti that was why I asked her to cook for me to store”, Wale replied.
“I am going back tomorrow. By the time I get there what will I eat? I will take small stew”.
“I don’t know what you are talking about. She is also leaving tomorrow and she didn’t ask to take anything”.
“Wally, why are you behaving like this? Is it because she’s your best friend?”
“Yes and more”.
Farida watched and listened to the exchange between them. Wale called her his best friend but wanted to be inappropriate with her. He had this girl here who stayed inside the room with him for almost two hours before they came out to help. Why did he bring her? Was he trying to rub it in her face he could get someone more beautiful and willing? She was offended by the girl’s presence and obviousness. After the meal, she went into her room and didn’t come out again. About an hour later, she heard a knock on her door. It was Wale.
“I came to check on you. Why are you in here? Come let’s watch a movie together”
“I am not interested. You can watch with your friend. I am fine here”.
Wale came into the room and sat on the bed. He looked at Farida and asked, “Are you offended I brought her home?”
“I am not offended. I am a guest here so I have no say”.
“She is travelling tomorrow and her place is far from the park so she asked if she could stay the night. She is a good friend”.
“Am I detecting some jealousy?”
“You are joking right?”
“We had something years ago but not anymore. I didn’t want to inconvenience you by asking her to put up with you. And, I didn’t want a repeat of last night when I would have begged you all night for a kiss. With a third party here, I will have self control. I’m sorry if I came on too strong last night. I promise it will never happen again”.
“I have forgotten about it. I have forgiven you. I believe you when you say it won’t happen again”.
He stayed there in her room and they talked for a long time. Ada knocked and joined them. They talked about everything. Farida felt relaxed in their company. She observed the way Ada touched Wale unconsciously. She couldn’t feel that free with a guy. The girl could talk and she had a lot of stories to tell.
Wale watched Farida as they talked. She was relaxed but observant. He intended to make her jealous by bringing Ada in and he knew he succeeded. But, his feelings for her was getting even deeper. Ada threw herself at him in the room but he refused just because Farida was around and to him, it would be a disrespect to her. He had flings and nothing more but as his relationship with Farida grew stronger, the flings became less. He knew it was about time he told her about his father’s decision for him to travel immediately for a Masters’ degree. With Monica in Germany and him in the UK it would be tough on her. If only she could wait for him for 18 months.
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