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Kachi drove Teni’s car back to her house and she had a change of clothes. They had eaten breakfast back at the hotel so he waited for her to get a few things together before leaving. He observed the living room while she busied herself in her room and he smiled.
“Your place is always spotless. You no dey tire?”
Her laughter floated from the room.
“Kachi leave me jor. All you untidy people better take a cue from me and stop trying to make me feel odd.”
She showed up almost immediately.
“Let’s go. I hope I don’t look too casual.”
She had on a nice short dress that held her waist nicely but was free around her upper and lower body.
Kachi grinned mischieviously.
“Sweet! I like it”
She hit him playfully and they left the house together.
Charly was staying somewhere in Apo and she was impressed when they walked into the house. He gisted with Kachi for a while before calling her into his study for the interview. Kachi excused himself and she felt a little nervous.
“So tell me about yourself.”
Teni smiled and made conscious effort to not look how she felt.
She spoke for a few minutes and Charly kept interrupting her and asking random questions until he was satisfied.
“I like you. I think you’re smart, pretty confident and very expressive.”
Teni smiled and said thank you.
“Are you dating Kachi?”
The question took her by surprise.
“Uhh. No, I’m not.”
“Hmmn. I wonder why. You strike me as the type of lady that would interest him. He was scarred pretty bad by his ex-wife and we haven’t stopped hoping that he would re-marry.”
Teni smiled again.
“Naah. Kachi and I have a really great friendship. To convert it to a relationship would be a really big mistake.”
“Hmmn. You really think so?”
“I know so.”
“But you’re supposed to marry your best friend right? Isn’t that what everyone says?”
Teni was a little uneasy.
“Can we please stop talking about my friendship with Kachi? That’s really personal.”
Charly raised his hands up.
“Alright. I’m sorry. I’ll back off. Anyways, when can you resume?”
Teni tried to suppress the look of surprised excitement on her face but failed. Charly laughed.
“Are you serious?! Thank you so much! Really! Thanks.”
“What’s your notice period?”
“Umm, three weeks.”
“Alright. I can hold up till then. I was really going to shut down the hotel but Kachi hyped you much and I like you already. I hope you work a miracle for real.”
Teni thanked him again, they shook hands and then she got up to leave. She found Kachi waiting in the living room and all three walked out together. Kachi and Charly talked for a while before Kachi got into the driver’s seat and moved the car.
“So, are you happy?”
Teni was slightly distracted. She had never thought of getting married to Kachi before. Somehow, the idea had never occurred to her. Charly had to mention it now and her mind was running a thousand miles per minute, trying to figure out if it would work.
“Hmm? Sorry, I was a bit distracted.”
“No kidding! Remember to bring my share of the salary o. After you give God 10%, bring me my 30% commission.”
Teni smacked his arm.
“Tiff. No be only. But thanks Kachi, really. I appreciate this.”
Kachi threw her a kiss and grinned mischievously again.
“You’re welcome bebe.”
They were both silent for a while then Kachi asked
“What do you want to do? I’m pretty jobless today o. Do you want to go swimming?”
Teni’s eyes lit up
“Awesome! But first I have to go set Benjamin straight.”
She dialed Benjamin’s number and confirmed that he was already at the golf club in Maitama and she gave Kachi directions to the place.
Benjamin sat with his drink and watched her approach him. She wasn’t alone. He saw the lanky fair guy with her and he was irritated. The guy looked so random. He was dressed down in jeans and a polo shirt. Nothing about him looked special. Was he the best friend? Why was she bringing him along?
He got up and gave her a warm hug but she stiffened her body. Bad sign.
“This is my best friend Kachi. Kachi, this is Ben.”
Ben took the young man’s hand and said it was nice to meet him. The rich baritone that emanated from Kachi’s throat took Benjamin by surprise.
“Wow! Why do you sound like that?”
Kachi could not help himself; he burst into laughter.
“Uhh, I dunno. That’s how my voice is.”
Teni grinned and took a seat as Benjamin kept staring. He eventually took a seat as well and ordered for drinks for them. They made small talk for a while and Benjamin was impressed to know that regardless of his skinny frame, Kachi was a wealthy businessman and extremely intelligent too. They talked all sorts; music, art, business, the economy… Kachi had an intelligent opinion on everything. It was most annoying.
Finally, as though sensing his discomfort, Kachi excused himself, saying he wanted to take a walk around the premises. The moment he was gone, Benjamin turned fully to Teni. He was really upset but he was doing his best to contain it.
“Why did you bring him here?”
“You insisted on seeing me and he’s like my handbag for the weekend.”
She laughed for a while until she realized he wasn’t amused.
“Sorry. Kachi is my best friend. I haven’t seen him in a long time and so we’ve been catching up and making up for lost time.”
“His presence here made me uncomfortable. I don’t really like the idea of him around you.”
Teni looked amused.
Benjamin thought for a few seconds before responding.
“I think I’m in love with you…”
“Yes, I think. Because it’s still too early. But I’ve been out with you a few times and we get along so well and you already know a lot about me. You’re a really good listener. And for the first time, I can actually think of wanting to spend the rest of my life with one woman.”
Teni smiled and slowly put on a serious expression.
“Ben, I appreciate that you feel this way. I am deeply flattered actually. But two things you must know. 1. You’re not really in love with me. I can assure you that. The only reason you feel this way is because we’ve been out a few times and I have given you a listening ear. You know next to nothing about me so whatever you’re feeling, I’m certain it isn’t love. 2. I am emotionally unavailable. I think you’re a cool guy to be friends with but nothing more than that. I’m not looking to get married ever. So, me and you? No future together.”
Benjamin looked like he’d been knocked out cold by a heavyweight.
“You’re kidding me right?”
“No Ben, I am not. Getting to know you was fun but we really do not have any chemistry. And quite frankly, marriage does not interest me. Please, let’s keep the friendship and not try to push for a relationship or even marriage. It certainly won’t work.”
Benjamin did not know what to say. He tried to gather his scattered wits for a bit then finally spoke.
“I see. I’ve never had to beg a lady to be with me and I certainly don’t intend to start now. Your loss, not mine.”
Teni smiled as she saw Kachi approaching them.
“Thanks for understanding.”
She got up and pushed her chair behind her.
“Have a lovely Saturday.”
Kachi appeared beside her and bid him farewell too and he watched both of them leave the club together. He sighed and ordered another drink.
Teni grinned at Kachi
“Well, that went well.”
“Teniola Owoyemi, breaking hearts since she could walk.”
Teni laughed and smacked him.
“You know that’s not true. I’m the one who has always had her heart broken. A little payback doesn’t hurt.”
Kachi shook his head.
“That’s not true. You broke my heart first before yours started happening. It was just karma.”
Teni looked at him and saw he was serious.
“C’mon Kay! Don’t even go there. You wanted to leave. I couldn’t hold you back.”
“But you could have come with me or even waited for me but you didn’t.”
“Don’t be like that nau Kachi. We’ve been through this a gazillion times. You finished school, did your NYSC and decided to travel the world and do business. You weren’t even certain when you would return. I could not wait uncertainly nau. Haba!”
“Babe. Easy. I’m not blaming you or anything. I’m just saying. I thought you would have waited for me but you didn’t want to. You jumped at the break up.”
“Kachi, the break up was your idea and I didn’t ‘jump’ at it. You asked for it and you said you wanted to set me free. I wanted you to beg me to wait or even give me a short time frame within which you would be back but you did no such thing. Next thing you came back and said you were getting married.”
“Omo, girls can like to twist stories. Before I came and told you about Tejiri, you were dating someone and you didn’t even tell me. I heard from someone else.”
“You heard, but it wasn’t true. I was still getting to know him. I liked him but I was still in love with you. Yet you came back and said ‘oh, I heard you’re with Dunni now, good for you. I’m not even staying long.’ And you disappeared again. Next time you returned, you told me you were getting married.”
Kachi stopped walking and turned to stare at her.
“Okay, let’s just stop. This is getting awkward.”
“Yeah. I agree.”
He pulled her into a tight hug.
“You’re still my main Gee! Never forget that. Let’s go swimming. The weather’s really hot.”
Teni shoved down the pile of emotions that had welled up inside of her within the few minutes of that conversation and smiled brightly.
“Yes! I could do with some water right now. Of which, we should go to DMP afterwards. I need to do some shopping and I want fish.”
Kachi smiled and bowed mockingly.
“Your wish is my command my lady!”
Teni held Kachi’s hand as they walked around City Park. She thought back to their conversation from earlier in the day and discovered she had a lot of unanswered questions. Damn Kachi and his inability to let sleeping dogs lie. He would complicate things and then pretend like he hadn’t done anything. It had been 3 years since they last discussed their relationship. That topic was a no-go area and now Kachi had gone to unsettle the dust. She sighed.
“Kachi, let’s go and place an order for that fish o. Me I don’t want stories.”
They would have walked past but Teni’s eyes caught the twin girls that stood somewhere afar off talking to each other.
“Wait. See those two girls. Aren’t they cute? I wonder who they’re with.”
Kachi smiled and followed her eyes. The girls were indeed pretty. He saw a young man not too far from them. His back was turned to them and he was talking on his cell phone.
In the split second before it happened, Teni knew it would happen. She saw it coming but she just couldn’t stop it. One of the girls ran up the steps and beckoned to the other to do same. As the little girl tried to run as well, she tripped and came crashing to the floor, bumping her head along every step.
Teni screamed and she and Kachi ran to the girls. The young man who Teni assumed was with the girls turned when he heard the sound of the other girl screaming and he dropped his phone. He could see the blood even before he got to the girl’s side…