‘Tori???’ The statement came out more like he was confirming if it was really her.
‘You didn’t see me here?’ Tori asked a bit annoyed.
‘I’m so sorry. My mind was totally somewhere else. I was thinking about some stuff…’ The surprise seemed to have disappeared and he was speaking rather freely with a cute smile on his lips which didn’t disappear from his face even as he talked.
‘Wow! You look different. When did you get to Lagos anyways?’ He said slowly.
Why don’t you just say terrible instead of different? Tori thought
‘Yesterday. I had to stay at James’. He gave me your address since I was unable to reach you on phone.’ Tori explained ignoring his question.
‘Actually, my phone got stolen…’ He said as he fiddled with the bunch of keys in his hand.
That’s not an excuse. Why did she have this feeling he was going to say that?
If you really want to reach me. You would have tried getting my number from James or made other efforts. Looking at you right now, it doesn’t look like you even thought about it talk more of giving it a shot.
She kept it all in though. She wasn’t here to start an argument.
‘… Well let’s forget about that. How have you been?’ He asked. He wasn’t faking the concern on his face. She had always thought their relationship already crumbled the moment his number wouldn’t go through anymore. But here he was stirring up the hope she was going to bury.
‘Fine….’ She robotically replied.
‘I missed you.’ Her heart did some flip flops at that statement of his.
He was still her boyfriend. Why was she acting like she was just getting wooed by him?
‘Hmmm Richard, we really need to talk. Can we step in? Talking outside is uncomfortable. You were going to open the gate anyways.’ She started hurriedly as though if she hadn’t hurriedly let it out, he would sense her excitement.
‘Oh that… I just dropped by… I should be going somewhere now You should get inside the car and let’s talk on the way.’ He also hurriedly replied.
He didn’t even wait for her reply before he pulled and walked her to the car. He opened the door for her and waited for her to hop in before closing the door. Then he was at the driver’s in a minute.
‘Where are you taking m…. ?? Her words got caught up in her mouth when his phone started ringing. She was quick to see the caller’s I.D. It was some Dr. Eme. He excused himself then picked up the call.
‘Yes Doctor…. What!’ Richard sounded alarmed and he really looked startled. ‘…. I?d be on my way right now.’ He said then hung up.
Great, they are never going to talk.
‘Something wrong?’ Tori asked hiding her disappointment.
‘Tori… I’m really sorry; I really need to get to the hospital. We’d do our talk some other day… I’d give you my new number and you can let me know whenever you are going to be available.’
She didn’t want to push it since it doesn’t look like he was faking it. She meant to ask him what was it he had to do in the hospital but she changed her mind when she saw his state. He looked shaken and sweat has started forming on his forehead. She would be taking it too far if she asks him about the accommodation and other stuffs they needed to talk about in this state. There would always be a next time.
He dictated his number to her which she hurriedly typed into her phone. After they exchanged numbers, he volunteered to drop her off somewhere close to her place since their destination coincides to a point.
James was obviously getting a bit roasted by the elderly man. Tori was just a few meters away from the duo and she could clearly hear the ruthless words the man lashed out on James who just kept looking at him without uttering a word. Why would James allow himself be bullied like that? She won’t call that being introverted; she would simply call it stupidity. Tori kept walking towards them. She would say something if James won’t.
‘James, what’s happening here?’ She turned to James completely ignoring the man.
‘He is the landlord….’ James half whispered.
Does that give him the right to say those stuffs to you? Cos he is your landlord? Tori wondered.
‘Okay, so this is supposed to be the lady who stays with you now. Your girlfriend, I presume? You couldn’t pay for a 2-month rent yet you have the gut to bring in another person… Do you take me for some fool or what? I am promising you, the next time I come here; I’d be throwing your stuffs out….’ The so called landlord thundered and with that he furiously went to the rickety car he parked few distances away, then zoomed off.
‘You never told me you were having rent issues? I feel like a burden coming here having absolutely nothing to offer yet depend on you. You should have told me about this, I would have looked for some other way…’ Tori voiced out immediately they stepped inside.
‘You are no burden and stop saying that. I’d be leaving this place soon anyway. My brother said he would send for me anytime soon and I’d leave for PH. I think he got me a job there. I’m only worried about you… Forget about what the man said and let’s talk about something else. Did you happen to meet Richard?’ Jo stammered out, careful to avoid eye contact with her.
‘I did and we didn’t really get to talk. He had some stuffs to attend to. He gave me his new number though so I won’t have trouble meeting up with him again.’
‘I pray he gets you accommodation like he promised. I don’t know what this man.. The landlord could do and I might not be here then…’
‘You shouldn’t worry about me. I’m no baby. I can take care of myself. Thanks for everything you’ve done for me.’ Tori said urging him with a forced smile on her lips.
‘It’s absolutely nothing. I want to get somewhere before the landlord came by. May I go now?’
‘Do you really have to ask for my permission when I’m the one staying in your place?’ Tori couldn’t believe he just did that
‘For goodness sake, I have no idea what you are talking about.’ Tobi sighed. His mum has started her drama once again. He thought she had already dropped the topic about girlfriends but why is she really bringing it up all of a sudden.
‘But a lady picked the call up this morning. I was talking to her when all of a sudden, the call got terminated I wasn’t able to reach her again.’ His mum said. ‘I thought you instructed her to hang up and switch the phone off as well.’
‘You know I don’t let anyone touch my phone. So why are you saying all these…’ She was probably talking about Tife’s phone. Oopsie!
‘I am talking about Tife’s phone. I called her number…’
I figured that out.
‘Oh…. That…’ He stammered.
‘You had better not lie. Just go ahead and tell me who she is….’ Tobi could tell his mum was probably smirking now.
‘Mum, it’s nothing like what you are thinking…’ Tobi wasn’t allowed to finish that before his mum interjected.
‘Or did you lose the pho….’
‘No… Of course not…. What are you even saying? Lose the phone? No. Absolutely not. you know I’m not careless…’ He could tell his mum was probably rolling her eyes at his last statement.
He was right.
She was seriously rolling her eyes.
‘Then tell me who the lady is…’
No lie was coming to his mind. He would rather tell his mum he lost phone or have her stick to the fact that he was keeping a girlfriend or…
‘The lady was Jo.’
‘Johanna??? She doesn’t sound like her.’ His mum paused for a while like she was reflecting on his statements. ‘You are not fooling me. Why would Johanna even talk to me like I’m some stranger…. Why don’t you just come out and tell me who she really is. I won’t do anything.’
By I won’t do ANYTHING, Tobi knew she meant to say she would invite the girl in question to breakfast, lunch and dinner then introduce her to all her friends after which she would discuss the type of Aso-ebi that would be most suitable for his wedding and probably call a wedding planner and tell her to prepare for her son’s unfixed wedding and she would definitely use ‘my son’s getting married’ by anybody as her caller’s tune.
He knows his mum so well; he won’t risk that.
‘Mum. It was Jo. I have stuffs to do now, bye…’ He quickly said and hung up.
That was a close one. He heaved a sigh of relief then fetched himself a cup of water which he took a few sips before laying back on his bed and started pressing his phone. He opened his WhatsApp app and strolled through his contacts after replying the few important messages leaving the rest pending.
Bighead had been added to his Whatsapp contacts.
The more he looked at the name, the more he felt and knew he had acted a bit immature. He tapped on her profile icon to view her picture but she only had a meme as her display picture.
The picture had ‘when non medics say medical school is easy…’ And down the text was the picture of a lion, falling on his side, as he held a middle finger.
She was last seen yesterday.
He felt the need to call her and apologize for his attitude but something told him there is no need to. After summoning up courage, he finally called her and she picked up after a few rings.
‘Were you waiting so bad for me to call? You didn’t even let the phone ring…’ Before he could say another word, he realized she already hung up.
She really has no chill.
He dialed her number once again. She picked up after several rings this time. A smile crossed his lips.
‘Missed me?’ And the line was dead again.
He called again and she didn’t pick up. Then he called again and the second time she did pick up.
‘Are you really going to do this all day?’ She was the one talking this time around.
‘Okay fine. I’m going to be serious this time around. I’m just calling to…’ He cleared his throat and he smirked at what he was about to say. ‘….. To let you know how mad I am that you didn?t call to apologize.’
‘OMG! I can’t believe I picked this call!’ The hissing that followed the statement, Tobi knew she was going to hang up and it was more than likely she wouldn’t pick up again.
‘Wait… Don’t hang up. I am sorry. I was in a bad mood yesterday and took it out all on you. I was a jerk and I am sorry and I promise it won’t happen again.’ He ?rapped? his apology rather too quickly that he closed his eyes. He hates apologizing!
The other end was so silent he thought she hung up but when he checked, she was still on.
‘Forgiven?’ He added
‘It’s alright. I accept your apology.’ She said after being mute for a while.
‘So… How did you get a hold of the phone?’ He was starting a conversation with a complete stranger? Yeah, He needs to get on her good side so that his lies to his mum won’t be figured out.
‘I thought we already talked about it. You forgot it in a cab and the driver thought it was mine. Before I knew it, I was with a lost phone my first time in Lagos.’
‘So, it is your first time in Lagos. Where are you from?’
‘Kwara. I stay with my grandma.’
I didn’t ask that.
‘Well, what are you doing here anyways? Searching for Job opportunities?’
‘Actually, I’m here for my internship. LUTH actually.’ She replied.
‘Wait a minute. Are you a medical student?’ Tobi asked.
‘Was.’ She replied after a second pause or so.
‘Oh… Right…’ Should he probably introduce her to Jo since it was her first time here in Lagos as a medical intern? And she would also be working in LUTH too.
‘Enough about me. What made you forget such an expensive phone in a cab? It was like you weren’t thinking straight.’ Tori started when the line was silent for too long.
‘Let’s just say I had something extra urgent to attend to.’ Tobi already said it before he realized Jo was more than worthy of being qualified with that adjective.
‘So, tell me, when is your internship starting?’ He added
‘In a couple a months or so.’ Tori replied.
‘I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m currently attending a 3-day medical conference which is totally not my thing. Today would be the second day as I wasn’t really present the first day because of something very great I had to do. Well, the thing is the topic itself has a lot of consonants in it that when I actually pronounce it, it sounded so much like a Wi-Fi password…’
‘So?’ Tori paused before asking that.
‘So, what I’m saying in essence is, I might have to call you tonight or text you and ask you for the meaning of some words so I won’t look like a dummy when I have to talk about it.’
‘The summary is you are indirectly asking me to help you.’ It was more like a question on Tori’s part.
‘I would rather call it being an interpreter to someone as great as me, isn’t that an honour?’
‘Are you always this cocky or you are on weed tonight? Call me back when you have something important to say.’ It was like she was going to hang up.
‘Should I stick with your name being Bighead or Miss lousy is more attractive?’
She hung up.