The sounds of Mr Eazy’s Skintight filled the small overcrowded room. The smell of shisha, sweat and overpriced perfumes permeated the air prompting one to either inhale through their mouths or pinch their noses.
Nights at Lotus were like reunions. Music. Cliques. Noise. The odds of running into someone you went to school with home or abroad were about 7 to 1. Someone connected their iPhone to the speaker dock and the music switched to Timmy Turner by Desiigner.
It was one of the things Kitan loved about the popular lounge. They let you play your own music.
In a corner of the lounge, Kitan downed his fifth shot of Patron. His companions glanced worriedly between the rapidly emptying bottle and his face. Shile, who had always been the talkative of the lot since their high school days, was the first to voice his worries.
“Guy, do you wanna slow down a bit?” he said warily.
“Nope,” Kitan said slurping his drink.
Dimeji rolled his eyes. “Dude, whatever the problem is, suck it up like a man”.
Kitan gave a slightly maniacal laugh as he turned to glance at Dimeji.
“You’re one to talk” he mumbled raising his drink in mock salute to Dimeji.
Dimeji froze midway through pouring himself a fresh glass of Hennessy XO. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” he growled.
A voluptuous girl sat beside him. She had hung out with them before so Kitan only assumed that she was the latest girlfriend and not his usual floozies. She had squeezed into a white tube dress that left nothing to the imagination. Her name was either Shelly or Shally. Kitan had not bothered with committing it to memory.
She was leaning against Dimeji’s arm and her bountiful chest threatened to spill over his arm.
Kitan laughed again. He had nearly finished a bottle of Patron XO Café so he was feeling confrontational.
“I am talking about…” he paused when his eyes landed on someone who had just walked into the lounge. “Crap!” he muttered under his breath.
Kitan tried to look away quickly but they had already seen him. Gulping the contents of his glass quickly, he poured himself another one. He could feel them behind him even before he saw the look of surprise on Dimeji’s face.
He almost felt sorry for the guy. His close friendship with Kitan had not only been a source of tension for the Bankoles but for the Adegbesolas as well.
Dimeji could have been friends with any of the legitimate sons but he had to befriend the scourge of the family, the illegitimate one.
Niran and Tayo shook hands with everyone at the table, excluding the ladies – Shile and their other guy, Jide had brought babes as well. Young-looking babes who looked like they were still in law school.
Their eyes turned to him finally and Kitan could feel the tension heighten at their table. His relationship with his stepbrothers – if he could call them that – had been anything but rosy. He had tried to avoid running into them since his return to Nigeria. However, Lagos was a small city and their social circles were even smaller.
Tayo was the same age as Kitan but Niran was a year older. The last time he had run into Tayo just outside a club in South London, he’d ended up planting a fist in the guy’s face. From the look on Tayo’s face he definitely remembered that night. To his surprise, they simply glared at him and walked away.
He stared after them perplexed until he heard Shile’s sigh of relief.
“That’s the nicest I’ve ever seen your brothers” Shile said with a small laugh.
Kitan shrugged and turned his attention back to Dimeji, whose head was already buried in the neck of Shally or Shelly. Their eyes met over her head and Dimeji winked devilishly, his wedding band glistening in the light.
Kitan scoffed, wondering how his friend was incapable of being serious about anything. Or anyone. Friend. The word left an acerbic aftertaste in his mouth.
He really wanted to stay with the guys and drown his worries in Patron but there was some place else he would rather be.
“Guys, I’m out” he said rising to his feet. He was slightly disappointed to find out that he was still very much sober. He made a mental note to himself to only drink tequila. Patron was a lousy companion for the heart broken.
“No now!” Jide exclaimed. “The night is still young”
Kitan forced a laugh. “Not for me, man. Us, entrepreneurs have to rise early and work late”.
“Boo hoo! Rub it in, why don’t you?” Shile groaned. “Come and take my place at AMCON. My resignation letter is saved in my drafts folder”
The laugh that erupted from Kitan this time was genuine. Shile was always a riot to be around.
They exchanged handshakes and he started towards the exit quickly before they had the chance to stop him. On his way out, he ran into two girls he knew from school and exchanged numbers with them mindlessly.
He dialed Trust’s number as he walked to his Land Rover only to get the busy signal for the umpteenth time. No she wasn’t busy. She had blocked his number like she said she would.
He had almost reached his car parked in front of the Access Bank which was nestled between Lotus and 411, when he heard his name.
He turned and saw Dimeji sauntering towards him.
“Guy just leave me alone” he mumbled, his brogue thickening as a result of the alcohol. He wanted to go home to his bed and a bottle of twelve year old Glenffidich he’d been saving for no particular occasion.
He fumbled with his car keys until he heard a satisfying click alerting him that it was now open.
“What the fuck is your problem?” Dimeji asked. “You’ve just been sulking all night. Is this about work or Trustie baby?”
“Don’t…” Kitan warned.
“Holy Hell. It IS about the lying gold-digger with the killer arse. Is she pinning her ‘pregnancy’ on you too?” Dimeji continued sardonically.
“She was really pregnant” Kitan deadpanned.
Dimeji hesitated. “Well, I hope for her sake she did the right thing. Ain’t no way my mother is welcoming a bastard baby”, he said laughingly. “Oh shit! Did I hit a nerve?”
Kitan gritted his teeth as his hands balled into fists. Dimeji’s insensitivity was not new. He himself could be quite the dickhead sometimes. It however pained him this time because it was directed at Iyabo – sorry, Trust.
“What exactly is the right thing, Dimeji?” Kitan asked taking a step towards Dimeji.
Dimeji took a step forward as well, snickering. “Kitan my friend, always so sensitive” he said punching Kitan playfully in the chest. “You don’t want to annoy a Bankole, trust me.”
Kitan blinked at him. He was right. The Bankoles were as powerful as Dimeji was petty. It would not do to get on Dimeji’s bad side. He watched Dimeji take a step back with a smug smile on his face.
“57 this Friday. Let me know if you’re game” Dimeji yelled as he walked away.
“Kitan, what are you doing here?” Trust asked as soon as she walked into the reception to find Kitan waiting for her.
“Well, you weren’t picking up my calls” he began. “Are you okay?” he asked, worry etched into his face.
She glanced back at Grace, the receptionist who was staring at Dimeji with unabashed interest.
Women were always reacting to him, she thought to herself. She let her eyes take in his crisp white shirt, navy blue suit and dark brown shoes. He must have had a meeting today, she told herself.
The shirt fit him perfectly, stretching across taut muscles when he reached out to hug her. The gesture shocked her momentarily, as one who was not used to displays of affection. She buried her nose in his neck and inhaled his new perfume, Versace Eros.
“Iyabo, stop doing that” he groaned as he pulled away, a flirty smile on a face so like Olivier Rousteing’s.
She could not help the small smile that crept onto her face.
“Can we talk?” he said as his hand ran lazily down her arm causing goosebumps.
Trust looked back at Grace and some of her colleagues who were staring through the glass partitions, and nodded. Kitan led her outside the office building towards his car.
“Chairman” the security guard hailed, walking towards them.
“I never comot” Kitan said to the guard who smiled warmly and returned to his post. He then turned to Trust with his worried frown back in place. “Are you okay? Any dizziness or other side effects? Has the bleeding stopped?”
Trust groaned. “I am fine” .
He let out an exasperated sigh. “This not picking my calls is becoming a habit. Should I be worried?”
She looked uncomfortable as she shifted from one foot to another. “Umm, Kit. I think we should stop seeing each other”.
He frowned at her. “Wait! We’re seeing each other?” he said in an incredulous tone earning a frown from her.
“You know what I mean” she said with frustrated groan.
“I know. I was kidding” he said laughing. “Why?” he asked as his laughter faded replaced by a puzzled frown.
She could not seem to stop wringing her hands. “There’s just too much between us already. Dimeji. Me. The abortion. I don’t want you to feel bound to me because of everything.”
“Are you fucking kidding me right now?” he exclaimed.
“Kitan!” she warned. Her eyes darted around the compound to ensure that none of her colleagues were witnessing his explosion.
He ran his hands through his hair. “Sorry” he mumbled. “But how do you come up with this shit?. Can’t you just let things take their natural course?. I like you. You like me too. Don’t even deny it because I know you want to. Stop holding on to unnecessary baggage and let’s just vibe”
Trust huffed. “It’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one who had to go through what I had to. What are you going to think every time you look at me? Every time you try to touch me.”
“Iyabo, you’re dramatizing this thing. I don’t give a rat’s arse how many abortions you’ve had.” he cried.
Trust could have sworn she saw the security guard staring at them. Just perfect she thought to herself. Now everyone thought she was a serial killer.
“That’s what you’ll say now. Three months down the line, we have unprotected sex and I get pregnant. You won’t think twice of asking me to ‘do the right thing’ again” she said through gritted teeth.
Kitan shook his head in disbelief. “Wow! You thought of all that just now?” . He stared at her in silence and shook his head again. “Sounds to me like you’re just looking for excuses for why we shouldn’t even try to see each other”
She could not meet his stare so she stared at the ground instead. She noticed that the interlocking stones were uneven. How had she never noticed that?
“Okay, then. I’ll let you be” he said with a heavy sigh.
“Don’t call me, please” Trust said in a small voice.
“I won’t” Kitan said, his jaw set.
“I’m serious. I will block you” she said her voice shaking with the weight of her unshed tears.
“I don’t give a fuck, Iyabo.” With that, he got into his car and reversed out of the compound at an alarming speed.
“Chairman! Chairman!!” the security guard called out, hoping to still get a tip.
Trust walked back to the office, wondering why she felt like bursting into tears. She had done the right thing, she told herself.
Author’s Note: Thank you for following me through this journey and for all the comments, likes and views. The support means a lot to me. A new People Series starts soon. Follow for updates. X