My heart sank a loud thud that only I could hear. Sounds of twin Nigerian hip hop singers dissolved from the loud speakers and faded away. Fear settled on my being with a coldness that brought goosebumps to my skin. What the f*%k was he doing here?
"I am sorry...I did not know you were coming." Moji was immediately at my side, her hand on my arm, her eyes a pool of apologies.
I tried to calm my breathing as I felt the walls around me begin to spin. She must have taken my expression to mean my upset was directed at her.
"But you said you were not coming now?" she whispered harshly, exasperation evident in her demeanor.
It was true that she had cajoled and cajoled for days that I come for her party and when that did not work, she resorted to threats and when she saw that I was not going to budge, she let me. She knew I was avoiding HIM. What she did not know was why.
I closed my eyes and took a breath.
"I am sorry. I am over reacting. Please, don't mind me. It must be the smoke."
Someone was indeed smoking.
Moji looked at me skeptically. I saw her steal a glance at him.
"You are sure?"
I nodded and gave her a weak smile.
"Sebi you told me there was going to be food. please don't tell me I burst out my payless shoes for nothing..." I joked.
She chuckled, "Payless ko, Payfull ni. there is food but me, I will not advise you to put it in your mouth."
"Haba," I laughed, "why?"
"Jide cooked it."
"Ewo". We both burst into laughter.Mine had alot of effort behind it even though what she had told me was hilarious. Her boyfriend was a great cook whose power ingredient was pepper.
"Se you are okay. Seriously he just showed up. How can I tell him to leave? He is Jide's friend. You guys need to talk to each other. Since you will not tell me what happened...ehn, please abeg. Why do the two of you hate each other so much?" Moji asked me, her smile disappearing.
"He said he hated me?" I was surprised.
"No, but the way you guys are always fighting. I mean, after that last time, I was afraid for the two of you. I suppose you go and pray over the issue what ever it is. How could you draw a knife on him? Omo, you are crazy o."
"No ooo," I sneered, "I will wait so he can rearrange my face with a slap abi. That useless waste of..."
"ehn, ehn, ehn..." she cut me off, "we are here to party. See," she made a wide gesture with her hands, "this place is big enough. If you don't want to see him or his ancestry, there are so many corners that you can hide yourself. he is over there, you can go upstairs. I will come and join you." she cocked her left brow at me, "you better not leave."
I really wanted to. It had taken all of me to get up and decide to come to her party. I had to. How could I not? After all she had helped me through. The least I could do was to drag my self, slap on some courage and come watch half drunk colleagues gyrate to raunchy dance numbers. After all, she had promised me over the phone that there would be no repeat of the last time I was at her face when he and I flew into each other's face. Granted I flew at him and most of what he was doingwas trying to deflect my blows and get me off him but the hostility that had been simmering between us for over two years just reached its peak. It had been a long time coming.
I sighed. I knew that even if I wanted to, I could not leave. He had seen me. Him freezing half way through taking a sip from his drink told me that he had. His nod of greeting had been cold and mocking. I had shuddered with disgust. I wanted to rip his eyes out so bad, I could taste it.
"No, I am not leaving." I promised her. I could not. I knew everyone was watching the two of us. If I left, it would only fuel the rumors even more.
When I was ready to let the world know, I would let them know. Until then, I needed to preserve my sanity by avoiding Jubril Keffi.
I made my way upstairs to the food. I made my way past some female making a spectacle of herself as she tried to execute the dutty wind; her drunken self grinning stupidly as even more drunken males cheered her on. Some couples were two inches from turning their dance moves into a possible opportunity for procreation. I smiled and shook my head. Some people were not going to like what ended up on youtube in the morning.
I got to the food. It was all there, displayed in all its excess. My guess was that the first people who had descended on the food had quickly spread the word that it was a no-go area. I had always had this theory that Jide secretly did not want anyone eating his food so he made it near poisonous. Fortunately for me, my mother and Jide had learned from the same culinary school so pepper was never an issue for mr. But I was not hungry. And I was not in the mood to dance. I went upstairs to the bedrooms in search of one that was empty and had not been recently used to exorcise the horniness of anyone at the party that night.
The Master bedroom was a mess. Moji's clothes were all over the place. And I knew it was not because she had been getting ready for her party. It was always like this. I did not know how she and her boyfriend could stand the disarray. I suddenly felt fatigued. All the bravado with which I had walked into the party was gone and I felt hollow and cold. So I began to clear the bed. Then I began to clear the floor. Then I moved to the dressing table. I was not in the mood to fold clothes so I just dumped the items in the closet and closed the door.
I lay down, my whole body sighing with exhaustion. I could feel the thud of music emanating from the surround sound pulsating through the walls and floors. I closed my eyes and silently questioned the wisdom of me coming. The sobs rose suddenly and before I could check them, I was weeping into the pillow.
I did not hear the door open nor hear the footsteps approach. Strong arms turned me over and lifted me into an embrace. Cologne and the scent of clean man enveloped my senses. I clutched at the fabric of the shirt encasing a hard chest and gave vent to my sorrows. It was a good cry. I felt as helpless as a baby and I cried like one.
Hiccupping as I expelled mucus into the handkerchief that was proferred to me, I pulled away and looked up,
"You know I hate you right?"
Jubrila's expression was blank. "Sure."
"And we are not going to be friends. Never."
I began to cry again. He let me. I crawled into his lap and curled there. He bore my weight and just held me. We said not a word.
"You know he does not deserve you. You are too good for all this shit." his voice rumbled through his chest to my ears. I sighed. Why wouldn't he just leave me alone.
"It's over." I said. More to myself than to him.
"Are you sure?"
I tilted my head back against his arm to look at him. His eyes were worried. sad even.
"He is no good." he said as he drew me close. " I should know. He is my father."