Seun stood at the door of his friend’s house, looking dejected and morose.
‘Hello’ his friend’s wife smiled as she opened the door to welcome him.
‘You’d have some cold juice while you wait?’ she asked as Seun sat on a sofa.
‘Don’t worry’ Seun began to respond, but as she saw her face squeeze in rejection, he deferred to asking for hot coffee instead.
‘Darling, I think Seun is bothered’ the young woman spoke to her husband as she entered their bedroom.
‘Seun ke? Where did you see him?’ her young husband replied in confusion.
‘Oh! I didn’t put the sentence well’ she regretted. ‘Seun is here, looking troubled and asking for hot coffee in this heat, which is strange’ she rephrased. The husband shrugged, put a shirt on his body, and headed out of the room.
‘The Barrister himself!’ he hailed Seun as they briefly hugged.
‘What’s up?’ he asked, sitting on another sofa adjacent to Seun’s.
‘We dey try’ Seun smiled.
‘Here you go’ the man’s wife interrupted, dropping a small serving coffee pot and a mug on a stool beside Seun.
‘Thanks ma’am’ Seun smiled up at her as she left again.
‘All is well?’ the man slowly asked Seun as he sipped out of his mug.
‘Hopefully’ Seun replied as he dropped his mug.
‘Work is intact? They’re not relieving you of your duties any moment from now?’ he gently inquired.
‘Impossible’ Seun dully laughed.
‘Then what’s disturbing you?’ the man asked.
‘Is it that obvious?’ Seun asked.
‘What is it?’ the man repeated.
‘Lara’ Seun sighed, scratching his head, looking at his friend as though the mention of Lara’s name explained everything that was needed to know. Fortunately, his friend understood and laughed gaily.
‘If she’s bumping into your heart like that, then, I think it’s time to step up the relationship’ his friend responded.
‘I don’t know o, she could say “No”’ Seun stammered, scratching his head again.
‘Which is a good answer as well’ his friend replied and started to laugh when he saw traces of panic on Seun’s face in response to his statement.
‘You think say na beans before?’ the man laughed louder.
‘But really, you’ve got to tell her as it is…’ he started to say but Seun interrupted him.
‘How? She doesn’t even give me the opportunity to… she even acts like I’m the cause of all her problems. Is that not a “No” in advance?’ Seun gestured.
‘Bros, you no go know until you talk o. Do your part and leave the rest to God jo’ his friend finalized with a shrug.
‘Mami, nawa o. How can you tell Seun that kind of thing? How can you even be jumping into peoples’ lives like that?’ Lara spoke as she tidied up in her kitchen.
‘Shut up and stop whining. I’m trying to help you’ her mother reprimanded, helping her tidy up.
‘By soiling my reputation?’ Lara barked.
‘I doubt Seun took it that way’ her mother defended, but Lara didn’t stop nagging.
‘This could be why Seun hasn’t taken your relationship further’ her mother screamed at her.
‘What? Lara shuddered.
‘You nag a lot. No man wants that’ her mother explained and left the kitchen.
‘What?’ Lara asked herself in shock as her mother shut the door.
‘It’s time to leave’ Bola said, barging into Lara’s kitchen, but stopped halfway when she found Lara cuddled up at a corner, weeping, and ran to her.
‘What is it?’ Bola asked, sitting beside her sister on the floor.
‘Am I a bad person? Lara cried out, confusing Bola.
‘Do I nag a lot?’ she continued, but Bola gave her a handkerchief to dry her tears instead.
‘You stamp your feet on the ground for…’ Bola tried to explain but Lara cut her off.
‘Do I do it too much?’ Lara asked.
‘You’re a wonderful person Lara, that’s all that matters’ Bola replied, hugging her.
‘Seun thinks I nag’ Lara mistakenly slipped.
‘Seun?’ Bola asked in shock.
‘Sorry, mami!’ Lara laughed, realizing her error.
‘It’s fine. It’s allowed to be in love’ Bola teased.
‘You know it’s a mistake’ Lara sighed.
‘It’s a very good mistake. I even like this type of mistake’ Bola continued teasing.
‘You won’t even ask what mami said’ Lara hissed.
‘I only care when Seun will say it’ Bola replied matter-of-factly.
‘What? You think Seun wants to propose?’ Lara shuddered.
‘I think he knows that you love him’ Bola smiled.
‘Of course I love him as an ordinary friend’ Lara denied, shoving her sister aside, but Bola will have none of her flimsy excuse.
‘Ordinary friends don’t whine or cry over each other’ Bola insisted.
‘I wasn’t crying over Seun’ Lara defended.
‘Really? Then tell me that mami didn’t mention Seun’s name in whatever she harassed you with’ Bola continued, and Lara kept quiet.
‘Oh, wow! And again, ordinary friends save each others’ number on their phones so that their sisters can also get to call’ Bola accused, shocking Lara.
‘How do you know I don’t have Seun’s number saved on my phone’ Lara shrieked.
‘How about I tell you after you accept that you’re in love with him?’ Bola smiled.
‘This acceptance, what is it to you?’ Lara asked.
‘It’s to help you send the right message across… to him’ Bola explained, but Lara waved her away.
‘Save your explanation jo. And you can also keep your reason for trying to steal Seun’s number from my phone’ Lara gestured.
‘That’s right, because I could call him right now and explain that my sister has been crying because of him’ Bola replied, showing Lara her phone with Seun’s number on the screen.
‘What?’ Lara screamed in shock, snatching the phone from her.
‘Mami has it too, just in case’ Bola defended.
‘Yes, he gave it to us’ their mother spoke as she entered through the kitchen door, and seeing the shock on their faces, she quickly explained that the door was slightly open, so she was forced to listen to their conversations. Bola started to laugh, but Lara wasn’t even smiling.
‘So you guys will tell him what now?’ Lara shrugged.
‘Nothing. We’re telling him nothing’ their mother replied. ‘But how do you really feel about him in your heart’ she asked, joining them on the floor.
‘I don’t know… before now, I felt nothing for Seun, like he was just an ordinary friend that I could even barely stand’ Lara shrugged, then continued, staring into thin air.
‘I’m confused now though. I feel that Seun may not be into me like you guys think, which means that I need to be strong for myself’ she said and stood up.
‘And I could accept right now that I love him, and risk him being maneuvered by you to do what is not coming from his heart’ she accused.
‘But now you know, you are automatically sworn to secrecy. Nobody tells him anything, even if I say “No”’ Lara slyly grinned, continuing her monologue.
‘No? Are you kidding me?’ Bola shuddered as she stood up to challenge Lara.
‘Come jo, let me drop you off at your bus stop’ Lara laughed, dragging her sister away.
‘I doubt you’ll say “No”’ their mother spoke as they left the door.
‘Seun?’ Mrs Faloye shuddered in shock to find her son standing at the door of her friend’s house where she had been staying for some time.
‘What are you doing here by this time?’ his mother’s friend asked as he walked into the house.
‘Good evening ma’ Seun greeted his mother’s friend and the woman laughed away his greeting, pointing at the clock that showed 12:15am on her living room wall.
‘I was in the neighbourhood and decided to stop over’ he shrugged.
‘Abi you’re missing your mother’ the woman teased and left the room for mother and child.
‘Whats’s bothering you?’ Mrs Faloye whispered.
‘Is it that obvious?’ Seun sighed.
‘To me it is.’ she replied.
‘So, what can I do for you?’ she asked, knowing that her son hadn’t just come because he was in the neighbourhood.
‘Tell me how daddy went about proposing to you’ he stammered.
‘Lara is coming back home o’ Mrs Faloye jumped up and danced in glee, and Seun quietly waited for his mother to be done with her gimmicks and start a long story of her love life with her husband.