Dapo didn’t expect Sharon to take everything he had just explained to her with great ease. He had just admitted to not knowing anything about architecture and using a man for his jobs while splitting the cut. Sharon had not said a word in the last ten minutes since he told her the truth about him. She had smiled and returned to the hotel room beaming smiles at the receptionists who would not grant her any favours the previous night while he followed her with a gloomy expression; the receptionists must have thought him to be a ‘mugu’ but he had more to worry about. He was desperate and needing all the help he could get so he couldn’t pretend. “Are you going to help me? I am giving you my room till Monday so the least you can do is to say something to me.”
Sharon took a deep breath and then managed a smile which was followed by a horrid laugh. “If I loved anything about architecture, I wouldn’t be in Lagos, so I am not sure I am your guy…or in this case, your girl.” She replied.
“What if God brought you here to help me?” Dapo said.
Sharon laughed. “Trust me; getting robbed was not God’s plan. I came to Lagos to find myself-”
“-and you found me.” He said, cutting in.
Sharon blinked. “Excuse me?”
“Don’t take it literarily. I mean God might have positioned you here to help me get this deal tied up.” He explained.
“God does not help frauds.” She retorted.
He nodded slowly. “I see. Did he make you judge over me? Plus it was convenient for you to tell me that maybe God positioned us to run into each other when you needed my help to sleep in my room. So, why can’t you see me in that light?” He probed.
“Because, one, what you are doing is a crime, and two, I genuinely needed your help.” She replied.
He scoffed. “And I do too! Look, all you need to do is help me with the designs; I am going to give you a cut. You don’t even have to pay for all the clothes we bought with my money.” He said, staring at the shopping bags on the bed. “That’s a lot of money I am taking off you with this deal.”
“The name is Sharon Amadi. Money is not my problem.” Sharon replied with a cocky smile.
Dapo exhaled as he tapped on his phone screen. “This idiot isn’t answering my calls.” He complained. “I paid him well the last time. What is wrong with people?”
“Maybe he is holding out for a better bargain. Try sending him a mail.” She replied. “I need to go and change into these new clothes so I could go and lodge a complaint at the police station.”
He stared at her and then laughed. “Do you think they will even believe you? Why didn’t you go there when the robbery happened…except if you were not actually robbed.”
She sighed. “Am I stupid? Did you expect me to go and lodge a complaint at that time of the night in a Nigerian Police station?”
“You must think very highly of our police system.” He replied. “What were you afraid of?”
She waved him off. “I am sure that you don’t even trust them so I don’t even want to have this argument with you.” She said. “Right now, I am going to walk in there, tell them who I am and tell them what happened, when I am done, they will catch those scumbags.”
He stared at her. “I am not sure you are ready to find yourself.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
He took a seat on the bed. “You claim you are here to find yourself but all I see is a lady who wants to ride on Daddy’s famous name to get the police to find her assailants. You have not stopped waving your name in my face and now I know why we were never friends in primary school back then in Abuja, you must have been really proud so I couldn’t stand you and I must have begged my parents to ship me to Lagos.”
Sharon laughed. “I am sure even you don’t believe that dry joke. If anything at all, you were a scared little thing that was only good for sitting behind me in class.”
He frowned. “Really?”
She nodded. “It’s a miracle how you have turned out to be a fine man. I mean, beards do change everything.” She said, staring at him. “You are quite good looking for someone I can’t really remember what he would have looked like.”
“You were too full of yourself, maybe.” Dapo argued.
Sharon smiled. “We were kids, I probably don’t remember anything from then but I have quite an amazing taste and if you were not in my range then, it could only mean that you didn’t leave any impression on me.”
Dapo swallowed. “You sure have not changed a bit. Still so saucy.”
“Put some spice on it. I’ll be right back.” She said and disappeared into the bathroom with the cloth bag.
Dapo’s phone buzzed. It was Jadesola. He took a deep breath and wore a plastered smile. She was going to rake to the ends of the earth. He knew that already. “Hey, Jade!” he said with a cool voice. He knew she enjoyed the abridged version of her name which sounded like something ‘cute’
“Hey, baby.” She cooed from the other end of the line.
Dapo smiled with some surprise. She had not rained brimstone on him yet. “How are you?” he asked, relaxing in the bed.
“Not fine, I miss you and I am sorry we got into a fight.” She replied.
He nodded. “It’s alright. I miss you too and I can’t wait to come back home.”
“And when would that be?” she asked.
He cleared his throat. “By Monday evening. You know I have a presentation on Monday so I have to get work done before coming home.”
“Are you calling me a distraction?”
Dapo could sense the agitation in her voice. “No, not at all. You know when I am with you, all I can think about is you and I would not be able to do anything else.”
“Hmmm…why do I find that hard to believe?” she asked.
He took a deep breath. “Because you doubt everything I say.”
“And with valid reasons too…anyway, if you are not home by Monday evening, you would give me reasons to be less polite the next time we talk.” She replied.
He nodded with a chuckle. “Aye Aye, Captain.”
“I love you, Dapo.” She said.
He smiled. “I love you, Jadesola.” He replied and hung up. Sharon stepped into the room in a darting black gown which did clad her skin perfectly. He swallowed and looked away quickly. See no evil…do no evil.
“How do I look?” Sharon asked. “You can say stunning because that’s the impression i hope to give those dense officers once I get into the station.”
He got off the bed. “Like I said, I don’t think you really want this discovery. I think you just want an adventure, you just want to blow Daddy’s money and not make a kobo for yourself.”
“Need I remind you, I was working in Abuja before I quit my job? I don’t like Architecture and you are not going to bully me into doing your dirty job for you because I know that’s what this entire sermon is about.” She replied. “I am going to need some money for a new phone.”
Dapo laughed. “They write mugu for my face? Or I look like your personal ATM? Madam, if you want the money, do my job. No more handouts from now.” He said. “This relationship has to be beneficial to the both of us.”
“I am going to pay you back on Monday!” she retorted.
He shrugged. “I don’t care anymore. I have a deadline for Monday. You need to make it through to Monday. The way I see it, we both need each other. Help me and you get a phone.”
Sharon exhaled. “This is coercion!” she protested. “You can’t force me into committing a crime. I don’t subscribe to that.”
“You can report me to the police too if it makes you happy.” He replied, taking a seat before his laptop. “But that’s only after my presentation.” He added with a grin. “I suggest you sit down and get to work. You can report to the police on Monday, after all, all you need to say is ‘I am Sharon Amadi.’” He said, cynically. “So much for finding yourself! Lose the Amadi and let’s see if anyone gives a jack about Sharon George.” He said and then turned to her. “I don’t mean it like my George as a last name.”
She clenched her teeth and looked away. Maybe he was right about her being a brat who wanted it done her way after all. She came to Lagos in the hopes of discovering who she really was, all she had done in the past twenty five years were the bidding of her parents and now she found it difficult to detach herself from her parents. Maybe it was time to break the rules. She walked over to Dapo. “What do you need?”
Mama didn’t know if it was time to call her son-in-law and report his lawless wife to her. She feared that he might have been in on the act too. Jane rarely did anything without her husband’s approval even though he was largely absent from their lives. Her daughter always found a way to seek Chike’s approval. Inasmuch as she loved Ifesinachi, she wasn’t her daughter. If her parents decided to kidnap her and ship her off to a faraway country, she had no say in that. She had been taught to stay out of matters that weren’t hers. She had slipped into a sour mood since Jane admitted to setting her daughter up for a robbery attack.
“Are you coming down for dinner?”
Mama turned to the door to see Jane standing by it. She had not heard her come into the room. She must have been lost in her thoughts. “Are you sure Ifesinachi is not sleeping under the bridge in Lagos?” she asked. “What you have done to her is just wrong and unacceptable.”
“Mama, Sharon is fine. She is in a hotel.” Jane replied. “She is doing great!”
Mama blinked. “How do you know that? You had her robbed, remember?”
Jane smiled. “I have my men watching her, Mom. I am not stupid.”
“You are stupid. You had your own daughter robbed. And why do you have men watching her?” Mama asked. “What’s your plan?”
Jane took a seat. “Simple. She gets pissed off with Lagos, she makes a phone call to me and she is back in Abuja.”
“I hope you know that Sharon is stronger than that?” Mama replied.
Jane laughed. “No, she isn’t and now she is a lady without a kobo to herself. That is enough reason for her to return home.”
Mama took a deep breath as she folded her arms staring at her daughter. “Does Chike know about this?” she asked.
“Of course, Mom.” Jane replied. “We really do need this mother and daughter moment, you know?” she added with a soft chuckle.
Mama stared at Jane. She was not holding her tab or busy with anything this time. It was as though she wanted this moment between them. “I am sorry for all the times I never got to spend with you but I loved you in my own way.”
Jane smiled. “Yes, Mama. And I love Sharon in my own way.”
“I was working several jobs so I could give you an education.” Mama groaned. “You know my story, Jane. You know I did my best for you.” She continued. “Don’t act as though I was never there.”
“Maybe it wasn’t enough, Mom.” Jane replied. “Now, I want your attention. Are you going to make up for all the lost time? No.”
Mama took a deep breath. “I am sorry for everything but you are going about this the wrong way. Sharon is a lady who wants to discover herself and if this is right for her; then who are we to get in the way?
“Mama, I am her mother and I promise you, she will be back in no time.” Jane replied with a smile. “That child wants nothing more than comfort and she is going to run back here looking for it.”
“What if she is weathering the storm?” Mama asked as a thought struck her.
Jane turned to her. “What do you mean?”
Mama blinked. “What if… what if she is waiting till Monday so she could carry on with her life, have you thought about it? What if she withdraws money over the counter and carries on instead of running back to us today or tomorrow?” She said with a smile. “Remember that she called me and she never reported any problem to me, so, it tells you one thing, Sharon is strong. You have to admit it and give her more credit.” She added and rose to her feet. “I think I want my dinner now. Monday is only a couple of days away.”
Jane swallowed as her mother’s words sank in. Maybe Mama was right after all. Sharon might actually have the courage to get through the weekend. “Are you saying that she might actually continue over there?”
“I believe so. She has got money and has got a brain. I don’t think she has any reason to run back to you and I hope she never finds out that you did what you did.” Mama said.
Jane blinked. “She wouldn’t if you don’t tell her.”
“She won’t be hearing it from me but if I find out that her safety is jeopardized because of what you did, you don’t have my loyalty.” She replied.
Jane swallowed. She had organized everything well and it was time to call her men in Lagos just to be sure that her daughter was indeed safe.
“Are you coming down for dinner?” Mama asked with a smug smile as she walked out of the room.
Sharon belched as she tossed the can of soda in her hand into the bin. “I need some rest.” She said to Dapo.
“But you are not done with the work yet.” He replied.
She shrugged. “I feel bored, tired and uninspired and if you keep working me like a horse you would have a terrible design for your presentation.”
He nodded. “Fine, how many hours would you need to sleep?”
“I don’t want to sleep. I want to see a movie.” She replied,
He scoffed. “You want me to take you to the movies?”
“It’s the least I deserve for all this stress.” She replied, rising to her feet. “I’ll continue the work when we are back from the movies.”
“Unbelievable! You are a spoilt brat!” He said.
Sharon couldn’t care about what he thought about her. She just needed some distraction from the design she had invested the last three hours into.
“What if I give you my car and some money? I don’t want to see a movie.” He replied. “Maybe I could spend the time looking at these designs.”
She scoffed. “No way! You are either coming with me or I am done with your work. I am not about to get missing. I already got robbed; I have had enough trouble for a lifetime in Lagos.”
Dapo chuckled. “Ordinary robbery?”
“Ordinary robbery? Have you been robbed before?” She asked.
He smiled. “I even shared a beer with the robbers sef!”
She hissed and made for the bathroom. “Get dressed.”
He stared at his shirt and jeans. “And what is wrong with what I am wearing?”
“Everything and your presentation rubs off on me.” She replied, lingering by the bathroom’s door. “I don’t want to be seen with someone who matches his colours and patterns wrongly.”
“It’s a good thing Jadesola has no problem with my fashion ideologies.” He replied.
She rolled her eyes. “Now who is Jadesola?”
“That’s my Queen.” He replied.
Sharon giggled slowly until she burst out into a horrid laugh.
“What is that?” Dapo asked, quite confused.
She smiled. “Oh it’s nothing. You just sound like a sentimental idiot in love.”
Dapo gaped. “That is not nothing!”
Sharon chuckled. “Love messes you up, pal. Don’t fall in love.”
“Oh now I am your pal? My friend, let’s go and see your movie so you can get back to my work.” He replied, heading towards the door.
Dapo turned away from the ticket stand as he heard his name.
“I knew it was you na! You this guy that has refused to pick my calls or even hangout. Na wa o. How you dey?”
He smiled as he saw Tobi Adebiyi. “Yoruba Demon. Heartbreaker.”
“You nko? Jadesola’s mumu.” Tobi replied as both men shook hands and then embraced briefly. He then turned to Sharon who was standing behind them all the while and smiled. “Ahan! Bad Guy, who be this?”
“I am standing right here, you know?” Sharon said. “Mr. Tobi Adebiyi.”
Dapo turned to her. “How do you know Tobi?”
“He is a sport journalist and I do see his face sometimes on TV.” Sharon replied.
Dapo scoffed as he watched Tobi brim helplessly with smiles. “I am shocked. I never thought anybody watched that show.”
“You dey craze?” Tobi asked before turning to Sharon. “Please, do not pay this idiot any attention. I am glad you watch my show and one day, I might just give you a shout out on it.”
“You have never given me a shout out, Tobi.” Dapo said.
Tobi ignored him as he smiled at Sharon. “I would love to know your name so that the shout out is accurate. So, what is your name, Darling?”
She stared at him. “Sharon.”
“That’s a lovely name for a lovely lady.” He replied, stretching out his hand. “Just so you know, he is in a relationship and I am single.”
Dapo shook his head. “Do you see why we don’t hang out much? You go just dey open that thing wey you call mouth dey mis-yarn.” He started. “Sharon here is a friend.”
Tobi smiled. “Friend? Just friends?”
“The movie would soon be on.” Sharon said, handing a ticket to Dapo. “I’ll see you in the hall.”
Dapo stopped Sharon with his hand before she could walk away. “Just hang on. We’ll go in together. Tobi is just leaving.”
“Really? Am I?” Tobi asked.
Dapo nodded. “I’ll see you around, my guy.”
Tobi smiled as he took Sharon’s hand and planted a kiss on it. “I hope you listen to my show next weekend. You’ll hear me call your name.”
“Goodbye.” Dapo said, urging Tobi on.
Sharon laughed as she watched Tobi walk away from them.
“I am sorry about that. He is quite a case.” Dapo said, apologizing. “Could we go and see the movie now?”
She nodded. “Of course.”
Sharon stared at him and smiled. “That’s your name, right? You are quite popular.”
Dapo froze as he heard his name again. But this time, he knew the only person who would spell out his name in full. He turned. Jadesola!