AN EMOTIONAL AFFAIR – VOLUME ONE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
At about 5:30pm, Bolu got a call from the other woman in his life whom he had been neglecting of late. The other Mrs Adetayo, his aging mother, Bimbo. He instantly felt guilty for not having called her in over a month, and wondered what she could be calling about. He hoped all was well, as he slid his finger across his phone screen to pick the call.
“Mommy, eku irole,” he greeted in his Yoruba dialect.
“So, this is how you will go one whole month, and not call your mother? Do you even care that I am alive at all?”
Oh, he had forgotten how confrontational his mother could get. “I’m sorry Mommy, I’ve been quite pre-occupied.”
“Ummm, what is new?” Bimbo scoffed. “Anyway, it was you I was concerned about. Is everything okay at home?”
“Yes Mommy, everything is fine. Why do you ask?”
“You know how I am a spiritual woman. I can sense these things. Something was not right tonight when I was praying,” Bimbo replied. “How is Lola?”
“She is fine, Mom. You know you like to worry. But we’re fine,” Bolu said dismissively. “Are you okay, Mom? How is your health?”
“I am strong in the Lord. Thank God your brother hasn’t left me alone,” Bimbo said accusingly. “When can I come and visit you?”
“Ah, Mommy, we are very busy oh. Now is not a good time.”
“Akinbolu, is this how you are? You’re too busy for your own mother? What about your wife? Do you have her time? Life is more than money oh. Do you think your father went to his grave wishing he had more money?”
Some would have been nice, Bolu thought to himself. “I just don’t want you to come and be lonely. Lola will be traveling a lot this month, and I have a big case on my hands. And you know how much we lost to my recent accident,” Bolu said defensively. “Look, Mommy, let me discuss it with Lola, and I’ll get back to you.”
“Ok oh. If you like, call me. If you like, don’t call me. I pray I see you in Heaven,” Bimbo said before she dropped the call.
Bolu shook his head as he stared at his phone. His mother was skillful with her guilt trips, the mark of a true Catholic. What does she want now with a visit? And what did she mean by something not feeling right? Maybe he should check on Lola. He decided to send her a quick message on WhatsApp, before resuming his research for the new case.
Meanwhile, Lola had just dropped off the company car, and was just getting into Danny’s Benz, when she got the alert from Bolu. “Hey babe, is everything okay? Are you done with work?” it read.
She strapped herself in the passenger seat, and Danny drove away. “Yes dear, thanks for checking on me. I just checked out one of the estates for the new job. I’ve got one more property in Lekki to see before I go home. How’s work?” she replied.
Danny fiddled with his stereo, looking for something chilled he could play. He settled for an old Toni Braxton CD. The first track “Come On Over Here” boomed through his speakers, and he turned it down to a more mellow level.
Lola snapped her head to look at him in surprise. “You like Toni Braxton?”
“Who doesn’t?” he asked, with a grin. She returned his smile.
“She’s my favourite, actually. But I haven’t listened to this album in ages,” Lola said, beginning to sway to the track, not paying much attention to the lyrics.
Umm, good call. Danny gave himself a mental pat on the back. “So where do you live?”
“Agungi,” she replied. She gave her phone another glance to see if Bolu had responded, but he hadn’t even read her message yet. She figured he was busy, and put her phone away.
“Ok, well, we’re going to Ikate side, so we won’t be too far from home.”
“Cool. Where are the other properties you want decorated?”
“I’ve got two houses in Ikoyi, and another apartment complex in Ikeja with eight properties.”
Lola did a mental calculation. “That’s already 30. Is this hotel one of the properties you wanted decorated?”
“It wasn’t part of the original number. It’s not that urgent, because it is already furnished. I just want to do a make-over, and wanted your thoughts on it too,” he said, turning to look at her. Her dress had ridden up above her knee, and he could see a glimpse of her fair thighs. He averted his eyes.
“Oh, ok. Do you have other hotels in need of furnishing?”
“No, the others are fully furnished. I’ve got three, one in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. So, when you visit, you can stay at my hotels,” Danny said.
Lola didn’t say anything. She sat back in her seat and enjoyed the music. As she listened, she thought of her marriage. Toni was singing “There’s No Me Without You”. It had been a long time since she’d felt that way about Bolu. In fact, she was quite sure they could live much happier without each other in their lives. They shared little or no connection these days.
Danny noticed that Lola had become lost in her thoughts. She looked sad. He didn’t want to disturb her, so they continued on in silence until they got to the hotel.
“I know this place,” Lola said in amazement, as she looked at the five storey building before them. “You own this?”
“I do now,” Danny said, feeling chuffed with himself. “I just bought it. Hence, I want to put my own touch on it. It will be my second hotel in Lagos.”
“Business must be going very well for you!”
“I have a good team, and a good strategy,” Danny smiled and lead the way to the entrance of the hotel, where he was formally greeted by the stewards.
After taking in the space, Lola knew why he wanted a make-over. The hotel was quite run down inside, with old peeling furnishings and out dated designs. She took out her camera and started taking photos.
“How many rooms do you have here?” Lola asked.
“Twenty. Six standards suites on three floors, and two executive suites on the fourth floor, plus a restaurant,” Danny said, as he took her around the ground floor.
There was a spacious lounge and cafe area, a gym, some office spaces and a hall for rental. It had incredible potential, and there was no place like it in Ikate.
“Will you change the name?” she asked.
“I’m playing around with a few. Do you have any suggestions?”
“No… Well, I’ve always thought if I had a hotel, I’d call it “Lily’s Dream”.”
“Ummm… Who’s Lily?” Danny asked, passing her a side glance. They were at the elevators, waiting to go up to the first floor rooms.
“That’s my English name.”
“I love it. Mind if I call you that?”
Lola blushed. Nobody ever called her Lily, except her mother. Oh, how she missed her mother. She would have been the only one she would have confided in about her marital issues. No one understood her like her mother, she thought, as she remembered the day she had passed on, months after her wedding. She had been ill for a while, but everyone thought she was getting better, until she was not.
“Are you ok?” Danny asked, thinking he just saw a tear roll from her eye. “Did I say something wrong?”
Lola shook her head. “I was just thinking about my mother. She’s late now. She was the only one who ever called me Lily”.
“Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you,” Danny said, reaching out for her hand as they stepped out of the elevator. Surprisingly, she took it, not knowing why he had offered his hand. They awkwardly separated hands in the hallway. “When did she pass?”
“The end of this month will make it three years. April 30th”.
“I’m sorry for your loss. May her soul rest in peace,” Danny said. He opened the door to enter the first suite. “I sometimes forget how fortunate I am, to still have both parents alive.”
“Yes, you are very fortunate. Especially if you are close to them.”
“Oh, we’re very close. Still have monthly get-togethers. We’re a big family,” Danny said, smiling. He was enjoying their connection, even though their lives were very different. He also really liked the name “Lily’s Dream”. Maybe she would be happy if he borrowed it. He would call it “Lily’s Dream Hotel & Suites”.
Lola took in the rooms and noted what needed to go. She suggested some art-work for the walls above the bed, and changing the curtains. The last two rooms on each floor were laid out differently to the other four, because of the curve of the building. The executive suites where heavenly, filled with light, and unique architectural impressions. She had some great ideas for the hotel’s make-over, some of which she communicated as they made their way through the rooms.
It was now 6:30pm, and they’d made their way back down to the ground floor. Lola had used her phone to take some pictures, when her camera battery had been spent. Now, her phone was almost devoid of charge. She sighed deeply, feeling happy with herself. It had been a profitable day after all!
Danny was pleased with Lola’s ideas. She was more than a beauty, she had a beautiful mind too. And he really enjoyed showing her around his hotel. He didn’t want the evening to end.
“Care for some dinner?” Danny asked.
“Oh thanks, that’s so kind of you,” Lola said. “But I have to be getting home now.”
“I’m starving. I haven’t stopped to eat all day. I know you’re hungry too, because I heard your tummy growling in the elevator!”
Lola giggled, shyly. “I’ll be fine until I get home. I have some leftovers.”
“Enough to share? Because, if you make me drive through this traffic, with a hungry belly, you better be ready to feed me when we get to yours!” Danny joked. “Come on, there’s plenty of food here. And it’s fresh and free too!”
Oh, she had forgotten about the traffic. It wouldn’t die down until about 8pm, and she really was hungry. But no, she thought. You can’t have dinner with him! It’s too much like cheating, she thought.
As if reading her mind, Danny said “You’re thinking your husband won’t approve of you eating with me? Well, there’s a solution to that…”
Lola looked at him expectantly.
“You can eat in the lounge, and I can go up to the restaurant. Problem solved?” Danny asked, looking at her intently.
Ummm, Lola thought. It would look better. But was she making a big deal out of nothing? There was no need to offend her client, because of an innocent meal. It would look really silly for her to dine in the lounge, just to avoid dining with him. It would give the impression that there was something to run away from, when in fact, there was nothing. Get over yourself, she shouted in her head.
“Ok, I guess we can wait out the traffic and get something to eat upstairs,” she finally responded.
“Great!” Danny didn’t hide his joy, as he beamed at Lola. He led the way back to the elevators and eagerly pressed the button. His anticipation was building up.
Bolu looked up from his work, remembering that he hadn’t checked his phone in about an hour. Surely, Lola had left him a message. He wondered if she was home by now. He sent her another message. “Hey babe, you home yet?” but it didn’t show that it had delivered.
He decided it would be faster to call her, so he did. Her line went to voicemail. That’s odd. If she was home, it would have rang, because she would be charging it. He tried again, and it said it was switched off.
Ummm… he thought. I hope everything is okay, he wondered to himself. He decided not to worry too much, that she was probably stuck in the traffic, seeing as she didn’t leave work in time today. He would leave a little earlier, and check up on her.
Before long, he was consumed again with work.
To be continued…
Copyright © Ufuomaee
Photo credit: http://www.eharmony.com
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