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“I just sent our address to him,” I said to Ella, my best friend and roommate.
“Good. Now, let’s plan your dress.”
“Dress?” I looked at her. “He said either formal or buka-type…something along that line.”
“Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately? Sade, there is no way that man is taking you to a buka. Even if he did that before, it was probably because he was struggling then. Now, he’s a CEO. A whole CEO, Sade!” Ella laughed. “Trust me, he is definitely not taking you to a buka.”
“Right. Now, let’s go to the wardrobe!” Ella shouted.
I laughed. “If I didn’t know better. I’d say you’re more excited about this date than I am.”
“Of course I’m excited. I want to see the guy that has my roommate up in knots. I always knew you were hung up on someone even when you were in a relationship with Dele and later Francis.”
“I was not hung up on anyone!”
“You were pining for him.”
“I wasn’t pining for anyone!” I refuted as I stood up and walked to the wardrobe.
“Ehen. Okay. I’ve heard you,” Ella hissed in disbelief and followed me.
“I was not pining. I haven’t been pining. I…”
“Tell that to the birds, Sade. Not me.” She opened my wardrobe and did a quick scan.
“How about this pink dress you wore for Olamide’s bridal train?”
“No,” I shook my head. “Too girly.”
“What about this red halter neck gown?” Ella ran her fingers through the material.
“The back is a bit too open for my liking. The only time I wore it was for that…”
“How about this black floor-length gown?” Ella continued as though I didn’t interject.
“Too…too,” I shook my head. “It’s too somehow jare.”
“Then, what are you going to wear, madam?” Ella raised her hands, exasperated.
I sat on the bed and stared at my wardrobe. “I don’t know,” I muttered. “I don’t know…but…”
“But, what?” Ella asked.
“When we were dating, Tunde used to like it when I wore white,” I shrugged. “He said it made me look like an angel.”
“Awwwnnnn…see who’s blushing like Barbie,” Ella laughed. “Okay. White. No be say you dey wed tomorrow before o.”
I jumped up and smacked her rump.
“Ouch!” Ella yelled. “You will pay for that, Sade. Let me help your life and look for something white for you first.”
I laughed and ran to the kitchen to get a glass of water.
Five minutes later, Ella came in with a white blouse. One sleeve was fitted while the other was a big puff.
“Ella, that’s just a top. Am I going to go naked underneath?”
“Of course not silly. I want you to pair it with one of my skirts that just came in.”
Ella worked at a real estate firm but also sold clothes online as a side business.
“The skirt is a white flay skirt. It’ll go perfectly with this top. You can go with red heels to make a statement. Add that red purse and you’re good to go!”
“Thanks babe. I like the idea.”
“I’m going to do your make-up.”
“Oh no. I don’t want that.”
“Yes, you do,” Ella retorted. “That CEO won’t know what hit him.”
I broke into a smile. Yes, the thought of surprising Tunde Ade-Peters and rendering him speechless seemed a bit exciting.
“Alright, let’s do it!” I jumped.
However, I was the one struck speechless at 7.05pm the next day when I walked out of my compound and spotted the sleek ride and the man resting in front of the car.
He was looking debonair in an ash-coloured suit with a light grey shirt, no tie. From what I could see, he had a brown belt on that matched with his brown shoes. He smiled when I appeared and walked towards me.
“Sade…beautiful as always.”
I would have remained there speechless, smiling at him if Ella who had come behind me had not spoken up.
“Nice to finally meet you, Mr…”
“Ade-Peters. Tunde Ade-Peters.”
‘Forgive my manners,” I regained the use of my tongue. “Tunde, this is my best friend and roommate, Ella Osideko. Ella, this is Tunde, my…”
“Dear friend,” Tunde cut in with a smile and stretched out his hand for a handshake. “A pleasure to meet you Ella.”
“Same here, Tunde. Take care of her.”
“I will,” he replied and turned to me. “Shall we?”
I nodded and with his hand on the small of my back, I walked to the door and slid into the passenger seat. He closed the door and walked round to enter the driver’s seat. He smiled at me before he started the car and drove away.
“Oh God, help my heart,” I muttered under my breath.
When Sade stepped out of her compound, I could have sworn that my heart stopped beating. I don’t know how I managed to stay calm and collected.
Seated inside Eko Sky Restaurant, I smiled as I perused the menu. I knew what I wanted to order but I took advantage of the opportunity to study Sade’s face up close without being caught. She was too busy trying to pick out what she wanted to eat. I smiled again as I saw the folds between her eyebrows. That was her thinking look.
She always looked so good in white and somehow ethereal. So angelic. And that makeup…boy oh boy. She looked up and caught me staring.
She smiled at me and my heart clutched tighter. That smile lit up my world.
“Hey, have you decided yet?” She asked.
“Uh huh. You?”
“No,” she shook her head. “It’s all too confusing. How about I have whatever you are having?”
“Really?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Of course. I trust you,” she replied.
I trust you. She had no idea what those words meant to me. Four years ago, she had, more or less, told me the exact opposite. She didn’t trust me. She didn’t trust us. She didn’t trust our future. Today, it was a different story. I placed my hands over hers on the table.
“Perhaps from dinner, we can take that trust to other areas.”
She blushed. “Perhaps.”
I signalled to the waiter and placed our order.
“So, social media management?” I smiled. “Those days in Unilag when you were slugging it out in Economics, no one would’ve thought you’d venture into social media stuff. How’d you do it?”
She smiled and her eyes seemed to brighten.
“Yeah, you know about my writing, right?”
“Of course, I remember your write-ups then and those little plays. I always knew you’d be a great writer.”
“Thank you Tunde.”
“Okay. So, after NYSC, there was no job anywhere.”
I laughed. “Tell me about it. This is Nigeria my dear.”
“Exactly,” She joined in the laughter. “So, I started content writing online. Later on, I focused on scriptwriting. One day, someone reached out to me on IG. She said she loved my content on social media and offered me a token to help manage hers. I agreed and that’s how I started. I took about three courses in social media management. Now, I manage for four firms and two individuals.”
“Wow. That’s impressive,” I replied. “You are doing really well for yourself and I’m sure Mum must be proud of you.”
She smiled. “She is.”
“How often do you see them?” I recalled that her parents stayed in Epe with her two younger sisters. She had an elder brother too. I had only seen her Mum once.
“I go there once in a month. Twice sometimes.”
“How about Bankole?”
I raised my eyebrows. “Really?”
“Yes. Last year. Just after the COVID-19 lockdown. In fact, I’m now a happy aunt to a wonderful baby boy.”
“Interesting,” I replied as our first course arrived.
I watched Sade devour the chicken pepper soup with relish. “God, I’ve missed this,” I muttered.
I recalled my prayer last night and how I decided after praying that I’d put out a fleece. I decided not to tell her to dress formally. I told God that if she dressed formally, I’d know I had been given another chance with her. If she didn’t, we’d go somewhere casual but I won’t initiate a relationship.
“So, how about you?” She spoke up.
‘You finally achieved your dream of being a CEO. How did that happen?”
I wiped my mouth with a serviette first before replying. “Well, I left Lagos for Abuja. I got a job with Access Bank. I stayed there for a year before joining Deloitte. I opened Tap Tunez Consult two years ago. I was featured in the Africa Magic show ’30 under 30 CEOs last year’.”
“Wow. I’m so proud of you.” She had no idea how much that sounded like music to my ears. I had received several accolades and heard several people sing of my achievements. But only few really mattered. Those of my parents and that of the only woman I had every loved. Sade.
“Thank you SEA,” I smiled as her face broke out in a smile.
“You are welcome TAP.”
I laughed. “Oh God, I miss those days at Akoka. You were this sweet, innocent girl who didn’t want her parents to know she had a boyfriend. In a way you still are, sweet, innocent and beautiful.” I could’ve sworn she blushed. If not for dark skins…
“What about your other dream?” She asked quietly.
“What other dream?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Beautiful wife? Three kids?” She played around with her food.
I smiled. “Still working on that?”
She looked up, surprised. “No girlfriend? Fiancee?”
I looked into her eyes. “Still. Looking for the one. What about you? Are you in a relationship?”
“What?” I exclaimed. “You mean to tell me that there are no guys beating down the door? Nah, I don’t believe you. Not with all this beauty.” She blushed again.
“Not at the moment. My last relationship ended four months ago. Like you, I’m still waiting for the one.”
She looked at me again and my heart leaped. Read the next episode: Another Chance To Love You (Episode 4)