Looking back, things seemed to be falling in place for Hetty. This year’s lovers’ day was the best so far for her.
Bolu was godsend. When she made the ‘cheat’ arrangement of gifting herself a non existent man to pamper her with gifts on Valentine’s day, she was just trying to create a flitting joy that wouldn’t last for more than twenty-four hours.
Everything was supposed to have started and ended in her head. She never imagined that a man would materialize just in the nick of time for her to give the credit of getting her the thoughtful, beautiful gifts.
Well, since things got pleasantly out of her control, she let herself flow with the tide and bask in the joy of the happenstance.
The image of Lola watching as Bolu brought out more gifts from his vehicle when he arrived that Sunday would remain indelible in Hetty’s mind.
She could see the surprise and what looked like sadness dancing around her eyes. She knew Lola wished to be in her shoes that moment. Well, it wasn’t exactly bliss for her, if only Lola knew!
Her neighbours were wowed. Bolu cut the perfect picture of a gentleman -well dressed, well spoken, well mannered and seemed to have enough money.
Hetty couldn’t have asked for more. Lola wouldn’t stop telling her how lucky she was to have such a man.
The funny thing was that she knew so little about Bolu, hence could not really feed Lola’s curiosity. She laughed away most of her questions that bordered on him.
When Lola’s questions became too many and disconcerting, she had to make her call their other neighbours who were waiting for the lunch. Lola could have called one of them on the phone, but she sensed that Hetty wanted to be alone with her man.
Of course, she understood. It was lovers’ day and three would certainly be a crowd. She told Hetty she would dash into her flat to pick her second phone before getting their neighbours.
Her wink told Hetty that she was just trying to leave them alone for sometime.
They laughed as she closed the door gently behind her. Of course, Hetty needed a moment with Bolu.
She needed to know basic things about him. For instance, she didn’t know why he was always travelling out of town. Could it be that he had a family somewhere? She shivered. She wanted to know why he chose to see her on such a day.
However, immediately Lola was out of her flat, she became her shy self again. She could hardly ask him anything.
Moreover, the though that he could have a family somewhere out of town made her feverish. She shivered. “Are you feeling cold? Bolu asked her. “No. I’m okay,” she told him. “So why are you shivering?” he asked.
He was seated on the two-seater couch facing the television. She smiled and made to go to the kitchen but he stood up, covered the space between them in few strides and scooped her into his arms.
She made a show of resisting him but inside of her, she was melting with passion. “What’s the matter? You don’t like me?” He asked, his mouth inches away from hers.
As she opened her mouth to say something, he covered her mouth with his and she went limp. As she was yielding to him, she remembered that COVID-19 was still ravaging the world and that NAFDAC just okayed the AstraZeneca vaccine for Nigeria on Thursday. She stiffened.
This closeness to a total stranger whose status she didn’t know was dangerous. What if while kissing she coughed? She clamped her teeth together and Bolu pulled off. “What’s the matter,” he asked, exasperated.
“I’m sorry. Please give me more time. It’s too sudden. I… I…I need to get myself together,” she said incoherently and ran into her room.
Bolu stared at her back until she disappeared behind a door. What did he do wrong? One minute, she was all over him, the next she was running away from him. He was so sure that she was happy to have him around. So, what could be the problem?
Could it be that she remembered her man? Women! He wondered how many men she was dating presently. Inside her room, Hetty felt like beating herself.
At almost 40 years and desperately searching for a hubby, she was behaving like a barelyweaned baby. She swore for coronavirus! But what if he was married?
Well, she wouldn’t know unless she asked, but would he tell her the truth?
Of course, Bolu wouldn’t know why she was so happy to see him that Sunday. She had seen the surprise in his eyes, but wouldn’t have told him that his coming was akin to solving a jigsaw puzzle. When she set out with her plan, she didn’t think of the questions that it would throw up later.
She didn’t think of the fact that the ‘Bobo Nice’ she created with her self-acquired Val gifts wouldn’t ghost forever, that at a point, he must appear in person or her neigbhours would see through her lies.
Another problem though, Bolu, from their little interactions before Sunday’s visit, knew her to be the reserved, hardly given to much words kinda person.
Once they had discussed her social media activities, she had made him understand that her ‘noisome’ online pose was a trade gimmick to sell her products, that she was a quiet, reserved being, which to an extent, was true anyway.
But the Hetty he met on his arrival was an opposite of what she claimed. Bolu met a noisy, boisterous lady who was almost shamelessly all over him, behaving like they had been dating forever.
She made up her mind, checked her face in the mirror and went back to the living room. Bolu was watching the television. She went and knelt in front of him. Bolu stared at her, surprised.
“I’m sorry. It was too sudden. I wasn’t expecting it,” she apologised. Bolu looked at her a tad long and smiled. “I thought my breath was horrible,” he said. “Aaaah no! Not at all,” she said and made to reach out for him.
But the door opened at that point and Lola lead four men into the living room. “Oh sorry, bad manners. I should have knocked.
It’s not right to sneak up on lovers,” Lola said to ease the awkward moment. Of course even the blind would have known that they had disrupted an enjoyable moment for Bolu and Hetty.
They all laughed and made the introductions. The men were surprised to see Bolu in Hetty’s flat. But men would be men as after the introductions, they started gisting like they had known one another for long. Hetty noticed Ken throwing her furtive glances and ignored him.
Men, they would admire a woman but wouldn’t make the move until they noticed that another person had shown interest. It turned out to be an interesting and entertaining Valentine’s day celebration for them all.
There was enough to eat and drink and there was good music. Lola was gracious enough to help in cleaning up after.
They all left around 10pm. Bolu left about half an hour after them…after some harmless kisses and more talks.
One week after, Bolu was still trying to understand what Lola meant by ‘batches of Val gifts’. She also said something about the second set of wine being better than the first.
At a point, she had asked Hetty why she took away the first set of gifts. Was she mistaking him for someone else?
One thing though, it was obvious that Hetty was very happy to see him. It was written all over her. One disturbing thing though, Lola found a way to slip a piece of paper into his palm with a straight face.
He slipped it into his pocket and forgot about it. It was few days later he remembered and checked it: in the paper was written ‘LOLA’ and a phone number he presumed to be hers and a plea, ‘Pls call me’. He kept the pape.r That was on Thursday.
Today Sunday, he had a date with Hetty. He was to pick her at home and it was almost time….
Let’s continue this journey on Sunday!
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