Omotola (Working Title) Part 2
Over the next few days, I’ll post excerpts from the novel I wrote in November. This is part 2. To read part 1, click here.
As always, I welcome your feedback.
The first couple of weeks after the phone call with her mum, Tola had been on edge. She hadn’t been sure whether or not her mum would actually respect her wishes not to set her up. So every time her phone rang, she half-expected it would be some guy her mum had given her number.
When a whole month passed without any strange men calling her, she’d started to relax. And now three months later, the whole episode was a distant memory. Whenever she called, her mum never mentioned her friend’s nephew or any other man. Tola was only too glad at this turn of events. She ruefully acknowledged that if she’d known all it would take to get her mum off her back was getting angry, she would have done it much sooner.
It wasn’t like she didn’t want to meet someone and ‘settle down’ as her mum would say. It was just that none of the men her mother had sent her way even came close to meeting her mental list of what she wanted in the man with whom she would spend the rest of her life.
She’d had an on-off boyfriend while at university but they’d eventually parted ways when he’d graduated a year before her. Since leaving uni, she had casually dated a few guys but none of them had led to anything serious. After trying to humour her mother a few times by going out with some of the men she’d chosen with sometimes rather disastrous consequences, Tola had decided she’d had enough and stopped.
There had to be a much less painful way of meeting men. She was a romantic at heart and strongly believed she would meet the man of her dreams in the not-too-distant future. Was it too much to ask not to have to kiss countless frogs before she found her prince? She wasn’t interested in getting married for getting married sake. Some of her friends had done that and were stuck in a loveless relationship. Having her parents’ happy marriage of over thirty years as an example, she wasn’t willing to settle for less.
Her mum’s favourite refrain ‘you’re not getting any younger’ only magnified the tick-tocking of her biological clock. But thirty was the new twenty-one. She had heard of women in their fifties getting pregnant, so surely there was hope for her.
With a deep sigh, Tola brought her mind back to the present. Work was much less stressful, thanks in no small part to her line manager ensuring all the accounting procedures and processes were followed strictly. Thankfully, she’d hardly had to work late the last month end. Things were definitely looking up.
She couldn’t wait for the end of the day. Two of her closest friends, Shade and Tomi, were in Port Harcourt for the weekend. It had been a while since they’d all been able to meet up. Shade, was a medical doctor who’d only recently completed her residency in a private hospital in Abuja. Tomi’s job as a freelance travel journalist took her to different parts of the globe so she was hardly ever in one place for very long.
As she gathered up her stuff, to head out of the office, her phone rang. She answered it without looking. “Hello”
“Hello, may I please speak with Tola Ayeni?”
“Yes, speaking.” Tola wondered to whom the deep bass voice belonged.
“Your mum gave me your number and—”
“Who is this?” she asked, a bit irritated. The caller knew who she was but she had no idea who he was. She frowned and pulled the handset away from her ear to peer at the display screen. It wasn’t a number she was familiar with. She usually didn’t pick up calls from numbers she didn’t recognise after a bad experience of being stalked, but she’d been distracted so she’d answered this call without checking to see who it was.
She put the phone back to her ear to hear a deep throaty chuckle.
“Sorry, I should have introduced myself. My name is Yemi Cole. Your mother gave me a parcel for you about three months ago. I should have called sooner but I’ve been inundated with work since I arrived and have barely had the time to do anything else.”
Damn her mother! Tola couldn’t believe she’d completely ignored everything her daughter had said to her and had gone ahead with her matchmaking scheme. Well if Yemi Cole thought she would fall into his lap at her mother’s say-so, he was sorely mistaken.
“I was calling to ask when’s a good time for you so I can drop off your parcel.”
“Well if you give me your address, I’ll send a driver to get it. You don’t need to trouble yourself coming out to me especially when you are so busy,” Tola replied coldly. She really wasn’t in the mood to play games.
“Oh no! It’s no trouble at all. Things aren’t as hectic at work anymore. Besides, I haven’t seen anything of the town since I got here and your mum did say you’d be happy to share a few tips on finding my way around. We could meet somewhere for drinks or a meal if you’d rather I didn’t come to your place,” he replied.
Hmm! He was smart. He’d sussed she didn’t want him coming to her place but she still wasn’t buying the gentlemanly act. She wasn’t stupid enough to be lured into meeting him on the pretext of a meal or drinks.
“I’m sorry, I really don’t have time to discuss this now. I’ve got an appointment tonight and was just on my way out of the office when you called. If you text me your address, I will send a driver to pick up the parcel.”
“Come on, you’ve got to eat at some point. I promise I don’t bite, I don’t have body or mouth odour. Ask your mum.” She could hear the smile in his voice and started to smile herself until he said ‘Ask your mum’. It reminded her that this wasn’t just any old guy but one her mother was desperately trying to set her up with. It made her see red.
“Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear, Mr Cole. I’m not interested. If you don’t want to have the parcel picked up, you can return it to sender or keep it. I couldn’t care less either way. I have to go now.” She pressed the disconnect button on the handset with such force, her thumb throbbed.
She picked up her laptop and handbag and stalked out of the office, kissing her teeth as she recalled the audacity of the man.