I drove around in and out of traffic for hours losing track of time. Thoughts were racing through my head till my mind was going numb. I had no plan where to go. After hours of driving with no destination, I turned into a lounge, still in the traditional buba and iro, attire I had worn for my failed introduction. I used the extra piece tied around my waist to wrap my head, covering my ears and removing all the pieces of jewellery I wore.
It was precarious to be here alone, no need to make the situation worse by drawing any attention to myself.
I had never been to a lounge. It was not my style of winding down, but tonight there was no home to go. I had sent myself on a self-exile. No friend to crash with – I did not want to add my burden to Peju’s difficult pregnancy.
Bode was not an option either. I needed to get used to having him out of my life as a fiancée. Although, he would always be in my life as a relation. Isn’t this crazy? I must have said that for the umpteenth time to myself, but there was no better word to describe what I was going through. Yeah, crazy!crappy!!creepy!!!!!
Standing at the entrance of the bar, I took a quick scan around while allowing my eyes time to adjust to the dim light. The place looked sane enough for me.
I slid into the nearest table I could find, fished for a book out of my handbag and put it on the chair, giving the appearance of having a partner. I settled to enjoy the jazz music provided by a life band.
An attendant came to take my order. I paid for a glass of Chapman making sure there was no form of alcohol in my drink. I knew from experience what a little alcohol could do to me.
I lost count of the hours that must have gone. The life band have stopped playing. I could feel the curious glances at my table, but I did not care.
Just when I was about to relax, a man staggered to my table, tried to seat and noticed the book.
“ I do not think your partner is coming tonight,” he slurred the words as he removed the book to place it on the table and dropped into the vacant seat He was drunk.
Terror gripped me. I knew I should be afraid yet I was indifferent. I was scared and not scared simultaneously. Scared, he might try to hurt me. Detached that whatever pain inflicted, would be a far cry to my bruised, broken and bleeding heart.
There were people around, but most were either half or dead drunk. I knew I should not have come here but this was the only opened place I could fit in at that time of the night, and I was not thinking.
Someone tapped the guy.
“Excuse me, gentleman, I am with the lady.”
I almost leapt and threw myself at Andrew.
The drunk was gentleman enough to stand up
“Sorry man,” he slurred and staggered away.
I looked curiously at Andrew. “What are you doing here?”
“I think that should be my cue, not yours.
I am shocked to see you here, and you came alone, he said as he scanned the place like an FBI agent.
“Bode?” I asked, and answered.
“He is not here, through no fault of his,” I said defensively.
“I am here alone, and that is a long story,” I concluded.
“We have the whole night,” he answered tightly.
I could see he was trying to calm his anger.
“Are you here to get hurt? Why would you come to a place like this alone and at night?”
I was not going on any guilt trip or allow someone send me there either.
I gestured to him to stop.
“Maybe I want to get hurt,” I muttered.
Andrew stared at me neither stunned nor upset at my words which heightened my suspicion.
“How did you know I was here?”
“Your uncle sent me,” he answered in his personal integrity.
“Uncle Segun, he knew I was here?” I whispered.
“Is my uncle in the Mafia or something or do I have a bodyguard I am not aware exists?”
I was getting furious. I needed space to process the development in my life and not interference.
“Do you want to talk?” Andrew asked.
“I do not know what I want,” I replied truthfully.
My head was beginning to hurt badly.
“Let me take you home,” Andrew offered.
“I am not going home,” I answered stubbornly.
Home was the last place I wanted to be now.
“You can’t stay here all night,” he said exasperatedly.
“What about Bode?”
“No,” I replied vehemently.
Whatever Uncle Segun had told Andrew, he did not seem to have the whole story.
“Peju?” He asked.
“She would have been my first call, but I suspect she has a difficult pregnancy. I don’t want to add to her burden.”
“You might be if I have to leave you here alone, Andrew said his jaws were tightening as I saw the lines harden around his mouth.
“I am not the one who asked you to come.
I can take care of myself, you know. I was not asking for help when you came.I could have handled that man on my own,” I argued.
“I could see that,” said Andrew nodding his head reminding me of the many fables of the agama lizard I heard as a child.
Standing up, he took the book on the table and my handbag,
“Let’s go,” he commanded in a voice I had never heard him use before, that did not welcome any argument.
We were barely outside when a part of the building came crashing down. There were rubble and dust everywhere. Screams and groans from men trapped inside the building
I was shaking all over to think that I could have been in that building had Andrew not taken me out. To think that I would have also gotten him killed.
How do you feel you do not want to live but when death comes calling you are not willing to answer and an escape puts your life in a perspective you have failed to notice.
I could hear the sirens from afar as the place became agog with lights and activity.People from neighbourhood were rushing out to the scene some to render help while others out of curiosity and a story to tell. The young men took over searching for people to help while we waited for more help from the government.
Andrew left me to join the rescue mission after making sure I was okay. And not before calling Bode to alert him what had happened.
Bode must have either flown or telepathed himself because it could not have been roughly fifteen minutes he showed up.
“Are you okay,” he asked, looking at me and then the rubble?
I knew what he was thinking.
How my foolishness would have caused pain to my family, my birth parents and friends.
“I am sorry,” was the only intelligible word I could utter while trying not to cry and be strong.