The Men She Loved (12)

She stood in the driveway staring into space. That had gone very differently from what she had imagined. She had predicted that he would grumble, she would coax and they would have settled into their old routine.

But perhaps their old routine had been detrimental to Lanre’s self-esteem. She had always known he harboured some feelings for her but she had neither encouraged nor discouraged him. She had let him be all he could be to her for very little in return.

She groaned, then pointed her key at her car and unlocked it. She would let him cool off for a bit and then beg for his forgiveness.

Work was a 20 minute drive, when there was no traffic. But there was always traffic. She fiddled with the buttons on her radio until she found a channel that didn’t have people chatting too quickly and laughing too harshly. Or music that was loud but had no meaningful words. She closed her eyes momentarily. The traffic was standstill and so she was free to give her eyes a little rest.

She had hurt Ada and she had hurt Lanre and she still had Temi to talk to. She had no idea how he would react to the news of her kissing someone else and the thought of him breaking up with her made her feel cold inside. But if she didn’t want that relationship to be over, what did she want?

A car horned, bringing her out of her reverie. She released her foot from the brake and inched forwards. She tried to call her brother to wish him happy birthday. But the phone simply rang and rang.

Frustrated by her Bluetooth, she disconnected it and pressing the phone to her ear, tried again. From the corner of her eye, she observed a Lasma officer waving her down.

“Shit.”

She slowed obligingly and wound down her window by an inch.

“Oga, good morning,” she said, in as friendly a manner as she could muster. She flashed him her best smile. Ada was much better at this – her friend could run a red light and then have the officers, whose initial aim was to take as much money as they could, escort her to her destination. Lola was nowhere near as skilled.

“Good morning madam. Did you know you were using your phone?”

“Oga…”

“Let me see your license please.”

Lola tried to think quickly. If she gave him her license he would use it to trap her and she would be at his mercy. At the end of the day all he wanted to do was intimidate her so she would give him money. But, she had no idea how to bring up the topic of payment. Ada was a pro with this and a wave of emotion rushed through her.

“No tears abeg. Give me your license joh.”

“Oga I just lost my friend. And I was calling my family…” Lola hoped he would make his own assumptions from that.

“Sorry oh!”

“Please I am in a hurry to get to them.” She reached into her glove compartment and brought out a couple of N50 notes. He watched her hands greedily and she smiled at him “Ejo.” She placed the notes in his hand.

He nodded solemnly and waved her forward. By the time she got to work she felt exhausted. She wondered if Ada would be in her office but when she walked over to the third floor, Ada was nowhere to be seen.

She walked in to her own office and pulled off her top ready to change into her sportswear. She had a client coming in at 9:30 and she only had ten minutes left to get ready.

“Hey.” She spun around clutching her top to her chest.

“Dayo! What are you doing here?”

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