His plan was to download the full season 5 of Power and watch throughout the day, until he got a call from Yusuf asking why he wasn’t at Babatunde’s mom’s 60th birthday party. Babatunde was a mutual friend of theirs, but since he moved out of his old neighborhood after getting a job, he had seen less and less of his old friends. He went from being a computer hacker for Yahoo boys to working in the IT department of a multinational company. His earnings quadrupled, and his circle of friends changed. He was more of a geek and never fit in with those guys anyway, and it was easier to move on when he started getting real legitimate money. He just hoped God could forgive him for all the bad things he had done in the past.
As much as he wanted to avoid reconnecting with his old friends, Babatunde’s mom had been like a mother to him at a time. She even always questioned what he was doing hanging around bad boys even though her son was one of those bad boys she was referring to.
After getting directions from Yusuf, he sat looking at the ceiling, thinking of what to wear. And then he got off the couch and said “And there goes my weekend” as he headed to his room.
He hadn’t seen most of his old squad in a while, and immediately one of them saw him, he shouted out and drew attention to the rest seated at the table. The place turned into a circus for a minute as people reached out to greet him. Even though he was being hailed for a bad thing, he felt like the freaking governor of the state with the reception he was receiving. Babatunde held him in a tight embrace and shouted out, “Brother, I miss you die!” Tayo got really emotional. He had lived a reclusive life for the past few years that the love he was currently receiving was so overwhelming.
Babatunde had to run off to attend to guests, and Yusuf walked Tayo over to the table next to where most of the boys were seated, “Bro, seat here first before I get space for you at our table.” He pulled out an empty chair and Tayo took his seat. “Bro, you still drink big stout, right?” Yusuf asked, not waiting for Tayo to answer before running off. There were mostly older people at his table, with two girls sitting opposite him; their heads were buried in their phones, but the one directly opposite him caught his attention. Her beauty left him in awe; he lusted after her at first sight. Just like him, she was in white; a satin lace, same material her friend had on. She looked so much like Lakeisha from his favorite TV series, Power. She was a beautiful caramel bombshell. He had always had a crush on Lala Anthony, and seeing someone that looked just like her left him in a trance. His stare must have been burning through her skin because she looked up at him all of a sudden. He looked away quickly, and just then Yusuf dropped two bottles of Guinness Stout in front of him. “It is two at a time for you bro.” Yusuf said and rushed off before he could pull him over and ask who the girls in front of him were. He looked at the two ice cold big brown bottles in front of him, and when his eyes went a bit higher, he saw the girls looking at him strangely. The one he liked smiled, and looked away.
He picked the crown opener from the table, opened a bottle, and poured himself a glass full of the rich dark beer. He took down half the content of his cup, and filled it up again. Being a very shy guy, he knew the only way he would have the nerve to approach the girl was to get a bit tipsy. He was about to pull out his phone when he heard a familiar voice behind him. Turning around, he concluded she was the one. “Oreoluwa!” He said out loud and the girl, who was having a discussion with one of the servers turned to wave at him casually before returning her attention to who she was talking to. Then, realizing who he was, she turned back to him and said, “Tayo!” He almost fell off his chair when she joyfully sat on his lap to hug him.
Oreoluwa was Babatunde’s younger sister. She was writing her WAEC the last time he saw her three years ago; now she had blossomed into a fine young woman. While catching up on old times with her, he saw a guy talking to the mystery girl. And then, she got off her seat looking pissed, and her friend followed suit. Oh poo! They are leaving. He thought to himself, but he couldn’t cut Oreoluwa off.
When Oreoluwa finally left his side five minutes later, he knew they would be long gone, but still decided to try his luck. He walked from the field where the party was being held, to the car park, and while scanning through for the girls, he saw someone waving at him by the trunk of a black Corolla. When he looked closer, he saw it was Peter, Babatunde’s old house help. “What the Bleep.” He cursed under his breath as he walked towards the car. Peter was a young boy from Cotonou that Babatunde’s mom had gotten as a house help back in the day. But being just a few years younger than Babatunde and the boys, he had become like family. Right now, he was family as he was wearing the ‘aso-ebi’ picked for the party. “Wow! Peter; na you be this?” Tayo said and gave Peter a dap.
“Na me o! Long time.”
“Yea.” Tayo acknowledged, still looking at how much Peter had grown into a fine young man. “You don almost big pass me o, Peter.”
“Ah, na lie o. Na you still be biggie number one.” Peter joked and they both laughed. “I just came to load some drinks into this cooler for boys.” He said but Tayo was no longer listening. A few meters away, just outside the gate were the two girls he was initially looking for. The one he liked looked back, and their eyes connected for a second before she looked away. His heart immediately started beating like a drum. He looked down at the cooler Peter was filling with ice and saw a small bottle of stout beneath. He dug deep into the cooler to pull out the drink, opened it with his teeth, took two long gulps, handed the bottle to Peter and said, “I dey come now.”
His heart beat regulated in the time it took for him to walk to where the girls were, and his confidence level went up a notch; at least enough for him to approach the girls. And just when he got to them, a yellow cab pulled up in front of them. “Hello.” He said, but they were already getting in the cab. They responded with a chorused Hi. The other girl had already gotten in the front seat of the car, and the girl he liked held open the car back seat door, waiting to hear what he had to say.
“Umm! Can I have a word with you?” Tayo said, standing a few inches away from her.
She looked undeceive as she stared at him with a straight face. The Taxi driver started going on and on about where he parked being an obstruction to traffic, and the girl looked apologetic as she said, “I’m so sorry… I have to go.”
“Okay.” Tayo said, and stood there looking awkward as she got in and the cab zoomed off.
After the uncomfortable interaction with the girls, he didn’t feel like going back into the party, and also didn’t feel like going home, so he drove to a bar called Banilux around Sabo area of Lagos. He usually went there when he knew he was going to be too tired to cook when he got home.
He was sitting by a table, all by himself, on a Thursday night, after finishing his plate of Noodles and egg. There was a bottle of stout in front of him. He was already drunk, but he didn’t know it at the time. He was drifting off to daydream world when, from the corner of his eye, he saw two figures approaching his table. Both of them sat in front of him and smiled. He didn’t remember them right away as they had changed into casual clothes; jeans and colorful crop tops. “Joy said there had to be a reason we are meeting here again.” The one he liked said with a smile.
Tayo didn’t say anything; he just pulled out his phone and started recording them. He rested his phone on his beer bottle as it captured the moment. “I have to make sure I didn’t dream this.” He said and the girls laughed. “My name is Tayo.”
“I’m Titi. And this is my friend, Joy.”
“Cool. So why did you guys leave the party all of a sudden?”
“Some as***ole dude…” Joy was saying, and then started shaking her head.
“One guy came over asking how much we would take for the night.”Titi said.
“I told the idiot boy 50k.” Joy said and Titi laughed. “He thinks every girl is a runs girl.”
“What an idiot.” Tayo said.
“Yea. A big idiot.” She said and focused on him before saying, “What about you? What’s your story? I noticed you knew practically everyone there, but you don’t seem like one of them.”
“Oh! Well. I must confess. I was like one of them a couple of years ago. But things changed.” Tayo said, looking into space.
There was silence for a while before Titi broke it with, “You know what’s funny? Joy wanted me to drop from the cab earlier because she said the universe was trying to set me up with you.”
“Yes. And I told her if the universe really wanted us to talk, then it would fix us up again. And here we are.”
“Wow! That’s interesting. Like something you would read in a romance novel.” Tayo said and the girls laughed. When they stopped laughing, he asked, “So, how did you girls end up at the party?”
“She is our lecturer.”
“Oh! That’s nice. You’re students of University of Lagos?”
“Yes.” They answered in unison.
They all went quiet again, and then Tayo reached for Titi’s hand on the table. “What?” She said with a laugh when he just held her hand and looked at her without saying anything.
“I’m speechless like Michael Jackson.” He said with a straight face and Titi laughed some more.
“You were approaching us like you were going to sweep Titi off her feet with your words earlier.” Joy said. “Is this all you got?”
“Come on. Let’s dance.” Tayo said all of a sudden with a bust of energy as he pulled Titi up from her seat. She looked at her friend, laughing as she reluctantly walked off with Tayo, not wanting to cause a scene. Simi’s Smile for Me was playing in the background as Tayo held her waist and they moved slowly to the music. Joy sat there, shaking her head. She picked up Tayo’s phone and continued recording them.
The song hadn’t ended when it started raining. It had been showing signs for a while, and came down hard. They all ran for cover under the tenth, laughing as they did so.
They were making it uncomfortable for the people already seated underneath the tent, and they were still getting wet, so Tayo suggested they go to his car. They made a dash for his SUV, laughing as they got in.
“Okay. It’s time for me to toast you. Joy, please start recording again.” Tayo said and cleared his throat.
“I think it’s time you drop us off before they lock us out.” Joy said, but still turned on the camera of Tayo’s phone.
“Joy, he definitely is too drunk to drive.” Titi said and turned to Tayo. “Where do you live?”
“I don’t remember.”
After laughing uncontrollably for a few seconds, Joy said, “Titi, I think we should just take him home.”
“Good idea. Move over; I’m driving.” Titi said.
“But I still haven’t toasted you.”
“You can tell me whatever you want to tell me when you are sober tomorrow.” She said.
Without warning, Tayo jumped out of the car, and ran over to her side of the car, all the while screaming in the rain. She moved to the driver’s seat, and he sat on the front passenger’s seat.
Titi looked at him with a smile as she started up the car.
The Current Time
Tayo finished watching the videos and shook his head. Yusuf was behind him, breathing down his neck and laughing all the while. “Bro, you Bleep up o! You lucky say they no go sell you.” He said in-between laughs. Tayo was silent for a few seconds, taking it all in, before going back to his phone and dialing her number. She picked up on the first ring.
“Titi. I’m very sorry. I blacked out.” He said but she didn’t say anything back. “Can I come over later? Let’s start this whole thing over.”
She was quiet for a while before replying with, “Okay.”
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