False Pretenses 23
He didn’t care about them either, Kite was his concern, he loved that girl with his whole heart. Ever since the very first day he’d set eyes on her in Intro. to English class back in hundred level. She’d walked into the class and his breath had caught in his chest, he’d kept staring until she’d sat down beside him. He’d wanted to talk to her but a sudden shyness had overcome him and words had escaped his head, he’d settled on staring at her instead. Somehow, she’d also been drawn to him and after a few classes together where he always kept a free seat beside himself for her, she’d initiated conversation with him.
If she hadn’t, he doubted he’d have ever talked to her first, the girl was hot and really smart. He’d found out that their upbringings had been similar; they’d both been brought up by their mothers. His father had passed on when he’d been eleven, while hers had left their home when she’d been a kid. They were sort of cut from a cloth, both their mothers were struggling to see them through school and they were both were first kids. They’d bonded over their similarities.
Kite was really smart and sometimes he wondered what he’d done to deserve such a wonderful girl who would have been perfect but for her nasty temper. He’d been at the receiving end of her temper a few times himself but he knew how to get her to cam down when she got really angry with him. He just accepted everything she said, accepted he was the one in the wrong, apologising profusely and then he would take her in his arms and remind her that he loved her. Worked like magic, she calmed down and forgot about what had gotten her angry in the first place.
Like him she’d also been a hustler and was quite fast with her fingers, pick pocketing and shoplifting, but according to her, she only did it when she badly needed the money and only from people who had more than enough. He’d also resorted to hustling people to survive, he and his closest of friends picked on people who had money, came up with some story or business and at the end disappeared with their money.
He’d tried as much as he could to keep Kite away from those deals in case any of them went south like the last one had but she’d helped from time to time when he considered it harmless. The girl was always there to support him when he needed her, he loved her and still couldn’t fathom why he’d allowed himself mess up with Brenda.
Brenda had always had a thing for him, she’d been in the University along with them and they’d been friends before he’d met Kite. He guessed Brenda had hoped he’d ask her out and had been really jealous when he’d chosen Kite over her. She’d tried a few stunts back at school, starting fights and trying to embarrass Kite but Kite never backed out of a fight. She faced it head on, he so loved her for that. The girl was hot and at the same time could get really razz and fearless.
It had pained him to have to leave Kite after the last deal had gone sour but he’d had no other choice and without a word because he knew she’d be taken in for questioning and the less she knew, the better. The person they’d tried to defraud was a powerful senator and it had been a really close call for him. He’d also had to borrow money from some thugs who after they’d learnt the deal had gone sour had come after him for their money.
He’d needed to go into hiding where no one would have find him and that was where Brenda had come in. He and Brenda had loosely kept contact after University, she was now a big girl in Benin and Port Harcourt, sleeping with ‘big men’. He didn’t know what he’d been thinking going to stay in her place in Benin, he’d just been asking for trouble. He’d never planned it, one thing had led to another and they’d become lovers and now he was in deep shi’t.
Kite could never know about his trysts with Brenda, he couldn’t explain how angry she would be, he didn’t even want to think about it.
His phone buzzed, a text had come in.
Hi sugar, meet me at my place, 65, 7th Avenue, Gwarimpa.
Proposition for you, I advice you come if you don’t want to upset little miss perfect.
Miss you, Brenda. xoxo.
He hissed as he flung the phone down, he’d be damned if he would go there, that would be asking for trouble all over again. It was better avoiding her.
Looking out the window, he saw Kite approaching, with a travelling bag. Uh-Oh, didn’t look good.
She opened the back door, threw the bag in and then got into the front passenger seat, bursting into tears as she sat down.
“Sweety,” He placed a hand on her shoulder “It didn’t go down well, did it?”
She shook her head, he wasn’t surprised at all, her friends hated his guts.
“What did they say?”
“The usual, you’re a bad influence, and if I was getting back with you, I should move out and not come back crying to them when you disappeared again.” She said as the sobs wracked through her body.
He pulled her into his arms. “I’ll never leave you again, I promise.”
“I know, but I don’t know how to explain that to them. I just wish they could see you how I see you.” She said bursting into more tears.
“Its okay sweetie, its okay,” He patted her back “You’ve got me, that’s all you need. We’ve got each other, that’s all we need.”
“Yeah, I know but they are my best friends, my only friends and I don’t like….”
“It’s okay, they’ll probably come around after a while.” He said but he wouldn’t hold his breath for that “maybe you guys need some time off.”
She nodded as she wiped the tears off her eyes “maybe we do.”
He searched for his handkerchief offering it to her, she was calming down a bit.
“Its just that they’ve done a lot for me, you know? This isn’t right, I just wish you guys could get along.”
“I understand.” He told her. “will you be okay?”
She shrugged “I feel crappy now but I’ll be better or do I have a choice?” She offered a shaky smile for his benefit and he smiled back, hugging her one last time before giving her some space to put on their seat belts.
“So…you’re moving in with me, I guess?”
It was a sunny Saturday afternoon, and Ise was in his house lounging and talking with his good friend, Olamide when Jeje came in, looking made up like she was going somewhere.
“Hey big bro, mom needs your presence.” She told him .
Ise turned on her “have you forgotten how to greet?” He asked her pointing at Olamide “Didn’t you see Olamide here?”
She made a face as she looked from Olamide to him and hissed “Is it not Olamide again? Is he a stranger?”
Olamide smiled and Ise saw a look pass between them but wasn’t sure what it was. “Ise its okay. Jeje and I are not strangers nao.”
“He’s older than you by seven years, Jeje, you better start respecting him.” He directed, he didn’t care if they were friends or whatever, Olamide was a good friend of his and way older than her, he deserved her respect.
“mmh, I hear you, mum’s calling for you, get your butt down to her place.”
He couldn’t help but smile, the girl was so stubborn. “You can see how she talks to me, the girl doesn’t have an ounce of respect, one of these days you’ll receive a serious spanking.” Ise joked. “ Tell mom that I cant leave now, I have a visitor.”
“It’s okay,” Jeje chipped in quickly as she dropped on the sofa beside Ola “I’ll keep Ola company.”
Ise raised a brow, wondering when jeje started keeping Ola company, they were friends but he didn’t she have other things to do than talk to his friend. Anyway, whatever, the sooner he was at his mother’s place the sooner he could leave.
“ Its alright Ise, we’ll be fine.” His friend said.
Ise’s gaze went from one to the other, what were these two up to, he wondered. “Okay,” He got up “Let me go see mom then.”
Five minutes later he was walking into his parent’s residence which was presently being occupied by just his mom and Jeje. He told himself he wasn’t going to spend anymore than fifteen minutes with his mother because he had a friend waiting for him. He was glad to have an excuse to give her today so he didn’t have to sit and hear her talk about her friends daughters or his unmarried state.
He realised that he’d not seen her since the last episode in his office where she’d seen Kite and had been so quick to judge them on the spot. They’d talked over the phone though, she’d not mentioned the subject but knowing his mother he was quite sure she would bring it up now. The woman got an idea in her head and suddenly with proof or none she believed whatever she wanted to.
She was so wrong about kite, the girl definitely wasn’t at all what his mother painted her to be. He’d had a glimpse of just how fragile her heart was underneath the tough looking exterior. Her toughness was like a shield protecting her from any attack. Uunderneath it all, she was a shy, normal girl who could only take so much before lashing out.
He tried to promise himself that he’d move on and forget about her but their kiss kept popping into his head. He should never have kissed her, it just made letting her go more difficult. There was some force that kept drawing them together and was surprised she didn’t feel it too, or did she feel it but had chosen to ignore it? If she was ignoring it then she was really strong because he was finding it difficult doing so.
She wanted him just as much as he wanted her, her response to his kiss had said so but immediately she’d pulled away she’d brought up reasons they couldn’t be together. How could she claim she had a boyfriend but had let another man kiss her like that?
He’d told himself he wouldn’t think about it anymore but hadn’t been able to keep the thoughts from recurring. Ola’s presence had helped somewhat but now that his mind was free again, the thoughts had wandered in.
He heard voices as he approached the living room, he guessed his mother had visitors or rather a visitor. As he stepped into the large, tastefully furnished room, his gaze falling on the lady sitting just beside his mother on the sofa.
He checked her out while she turned and did the same to him too, she was an olive skinned beauty, obviously biracial, slender and tall.
“Ahh, Ise, you’re here,” His mother was all smiles “Victoria, meet my son, Iseolu. Ise, this is Victoria Sholanke, the surgeon I told you…”
“John Hopkins University, I remember mom.” He completed for her, his eyes still on Victoria.
She got up and stretched out a hand “Hi, I’ve heard so much about you.”
He accepted her soft but firm hand shake “Only the good stuff, I hope?” he joked and that got them laughing. The lady was fine, dressed in a chic white chiffon gown that stopped mid thigh, he couldn’t resist the urge to look at those olive skinned slender legs of hers.
‘hmmm’ he thought, this one might very well help him kick thoughts of Kite to the curb.
“You look much better in person than what I’ve seen on the magazines and papers.” She complimented as she resumed her seat beside his mother.
“Thank you,” he replied dropping down to seat on another available sofa. She had an oblong face, dark sultry eyes framed with dark velvety eyelashes, a straight nose and heart shaped lips which were painted dark red. Her long dark hair tinged with auburn highlights tumbled lusciously over her shoulders and he knew it was courtesy of her Caucasian parent. Her look was crowned with a radiant smile showing a perfectly white dentition.
Wow, she was indeed something to behold, he thought to himself.
“ How come I’ve never met you before when your parents live in the next estate to ours?” Ise found himself asking.
“I’m hardly ever in the country.” She replied “I’ve had such a busy schedule that I hardly ever visited.”
He nodded “So now you’re back for good? I heard about the plans to begin your own practice.”
“Yes,” She nodded “Its always been a dream of mine to come back home and establish something really great here. So yeah,
I have plans but it all seems overwhelming to me. Its not gonna be easy at all.”
“Well, in the beginning, from experience, I know that starting a project might seem overwhelming at first but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll begin to get a hang of it and it won’t seem so much anymore.” He said.
“That’s easy for you to say, you already run a multinational company, I’m sure there’s no project you cant face head on, I’m really new to all this stuff.”
He laughed “I also started from somewhere, I didn’t get here in a day.” He told her guessing her to be in her early thirties, her eyes told him she was really smart, the way they appeared thoughtful just before she replied him. “ What you need is a well constructed business plan that will guide you through all the needs of the business and the goals that you need to achieve.”
“Yes, I’ve done that, I’ve just about started sourcing for investors.”
“Hmmmm, already?” he raised a brow surprised.
“Yeah, having a hospital requires intensive planning and large capital. I’m planning for a well built establishment, a professional group of personnel in a strategic location so that it’s easily accessible to people especially during emergencies, to get all this started as soon as possible, I need investors.”
Ise nodded, she seemed to know what she wanted. “Do you plan on renting a building or constructing yours?”
“Renting would be cheaper but might not have all the requirements I need, I would prefer to build… ..Could we stop with all this business talk already? I need a break from all that, is it possible?”
“Sure.” He smiled as his eyes jammed his mom’s whom he’d forgotten for a while. She was all smiles and approval, Ise mentally shook his head, maybe this match up might work after all, he thought. He liked the surgeon.
“So what’s your specialization?”
“I’m a cardiothoracic surgeon, means I specialize in diseases that have to do with the chest area, heart and its blood vessels, lungs and others.”
“So you actually have the guts to open a person up?” He joked and she laughed, a lovely sound.
She shrugged “Its something I have to do, I’ve been well trained for it so I’m not scared, its routine now because I’ve done it a lot, although these days we try to be as less invasive as we can.”
He nodded as he listened, fascinated at hearing her talk. “How old were you when performed your first surgery?”
“25.” She replied.
“Wow, well I must say I admire what you do, it takes a lot ”
She shook her head “ Thank you but its really not that difficult, I usually have a few other specialists in the operating room and also machines that guide me. It’s you who should be admired.” She pointed.
“Me?” He was surprised.
“Yeah, you don’t see many guys your age who successfully run multinationals.”
“Well….Like you, I’ve also been well trained plus I have my dad breathing down my neck every once in a while, that keeps me on my toes.”
“ I can imagine, my parents aren’t in the country at the moment, they’re vacationing in the south France so I have some space.”
“Oh? So you mean your parents are over bearing?” That was his mother.
“umm….Not exactly like that ma, I know they care abut my well being, it’s just with them away, I can think and get some perspective because they’re not constantly asking me what’s next?”
Ise saw his mother smile “It’s because they care for you a lot, that’s why they do that.”
“Mom, sometimes we like to think clearly and make our decisions for ourselves, we are grown ups with our own brains. You guys butting in distorts our thinking.”
“So you want me to fold my hands and watch you while you make your decisions, even if I know you aren’t making the right ones?”His mother asked him.
“If I make a mistake, it’s my mistake and I’ll learn from it.” He told her.
“Exactly, it’s our mistake and we’ll learn from it.” Vicki stated backing him
“Wait, wait, you two haven’t even met for up to fifteen minutes and you’re already ganging up against me.” His mother said smiling “Well, Ise I’m still your mother and I will still ‘butt’ into your affairs whether you like it or not.”
“I know you will mom, I don’t expect you not to.” He joked and they laughed.
“Well guys, I really do have to take my leave now.” Vicki said suddenly, getting up.
“Now?” Ise asked as he also got up after her “but we were just starting to know each other.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry, I have to be somewhere but I’ll be here tomorrow for dinner.” She told him as she turned to his mother
“Your mother invited me.”
He turned to his mom who was nodding and smiling.
“Alright then, I guess we’ll see tomorrow evening.”
Mrs Omotunde Williams watched her son walk Victoria to her car, she was very happy at the moment. She had finally gotten her son interested in someone. She almost couldn’t believe it, finally Ise had found a match in Victoria. She would make him a perfect wife, pretty, from a wealthy family and ambitious. She was quite old but Omotunde could work with that, She herself had given birth to Jeje in her late thirties.
She’d seen the very interested look as he’d been speaking with her and the surprised look when Victoria had announced her departure, there was no doubt, he was hooked.