September 15th | Games Village
“I owe you one, Ifeanyi. A big one.” Esohe breathed down the ‘phone line.
What a difference a week could make!
Seven days ago on this same day, she was one miserable, weeping woman ensconced in her apartment, reliving good times with Eddie via a batch of photos. Today, things were looking up. Still in bed at her mum’s on another slow, Saturday morning, she was a totally different creature – aglow, alert, many degrees happier even if she still mourned her lost love. Now, that was the part of this whole debacle that had gotten zilch attention so far, except to keep it in the desolated place she’d relegated it to two weeks ago.
“For nothing, Esohe.” She could hear him smiling down the line. “It was my pleasure.”
“Lunch.” She stated. “Let me take you to lunch next week. When is a good day and time for you?”
“Esohe, honestly, there’s no need for any of this. I’m just glad that this albatross is off your neck. You can move on with your life now.”
“But you just forfeited you friendship with Folarin for my sake!”
“And got quite an earful for it last night when he called to rant and rave like a mad man.”
“I’m sorry, Ifeanyi. This is all my fault.”
“I wouldn’t exactly agree with you. If after all these years of being best buddies, Folarin couldn’t change, then why on earth are we friends? Aren’t we supposed to rub off on each other?” He reasoned. “I’m just sorry it ended the way it did last night with him calling me some unprintable names. Renegade was one of them.”
“I expect him to storm my mum’s too.” She told him. “Surprised that he’s yet to show up. Not looking forward to it.”
“You can be rest assured that the extent of his power will be to fume.” Ifeanyi’s tone was confident. “His bosses read him the riot act after we finished our conversation with you yesterday. He knows what will happen if any complaint comes from you.” He continued. “Now we must start legal proceedings for Osayu, Esohe. This measure is temporary.”
She exhaled. “I know. I know, and you have my permission to file the papers. At least I know he’ll be safe throughout the process. Don’t have to worry that Folarin will spirit him away without my knowledge.”
“Roger that. First thing Monday morning then.”
“And our lunch will be…?”
“Are we still on that?”
“When, mister?!” With mock seriousness.
“Wednesday.” He chuckled out his response. “I’m free on Wednesday afternoon since you insist.”
“I do. I can’t pay you back enough for coming up with such an effective way to curtail Folarin’s excesses.”
“I can’t take credit for that idea.”
“What do you mean?”
“It was Eddie’s. He thought it up and told me what to do. I just followed his instructions.”
Silence for a while on the other end.
“Esohe?” Ifeanyi prompted.
“He knew?” When she finally spoke, her tones were noticeably low.
“I don’t know for sure. He wouldn’t tell me. He called me just before Folarin did to find out what was going on with you. But by the time I got back to him with the information, he was already in the know but wouldn’t divulge his source.”
He knew. All the time he sent flowers, called her, texted her, ran into her and pleaded that she talk to him. He knew. What a colossal fool she’d been! “How…how is he?”
“Upset with you, Esohe, and that’s putting it mildly.
“I didn’t mean to hurt him. I had to think of Osayu. I’m so sorry.”
“Then let him know. Call him and ask that he hears you out. Get your man back before it’s too late!”
“What if he doesn’t want to talk to me? Doesn’t want to have anything to do with me?”
“Well, you won’t know until you give it a try now, would you?”
Once she put Osayu to bed at night, Esohe set about dialling Eddie’s number. Unsure of what to say or how to say it, she hoped to find the right words once he answered.
A number which had been on speed dial for more than a month had suddenly become completely ignored for almost 14 days straight. Could she expect that they’d just pick up from where she’d left the relationship dangling, citing Folarin as all her reasons?
She cleared her throat nervously as a sound indicated the connection going through, then silence.
She brought the screen directly beneath her gaze; the call had ended even before it had begun.
Frowning slightly, she tried the number once more, staring at the screen with the loudspeaker function activated, and several times over. The result was the same. No connecting with his from hers.
Did he block her number? She wondered wildly. Hardly something he’d do. She was more likely to engage in such juvenile behavior. So why couldn’t she reach him? Or was something wrong with his cell phone, his line? Wasn’t it the very one which had consistently called her last week and just as consistently gone unanswered from her side?
She double checked it with the one in her contacts’ list; there was no difference. So what was going on?
She swung by his WhatsApp page and noticed no activity since yesterday at 4pm.
Now, it was her turn to worry about him.