What it takes to fool this town
I’ll do it till the sun goes down
And all through the night time
I’ll tell you what you wanna hear
Put my sunglasses on while I shed a tear
But now is the right time.
Tori got home drenched by the rain which refused to stop even after she got home. She was cold and she shivered from the impact of the rain which terribly battered her. It wasn’t easy getting a cab while it rained and when she finally did, the driver dropped her off a few miles away from home. She had no choice but to cover the remaining distance by trekking.
Tobi’s mum was waiting for her by the door of the main building. She looked worried and kept glancing at the gate at intervals. She was relieved when she finally saw Tori stagger towards her. She ran to her draping a large towel around her and helping her into the house and right into her room. She wiped Tori’s dress with the towel while Tori just shivered and her lips quivered partly from the cold and partly from trying to suppress the urge to cry at the affections being showered on her by this woman who was a total stranger a few months ago.
How she wished she knew her mum.
‘How did you do it? Tobi just got home a while ago. How come you two didn’t come home together?’ It appeared she was scolding her. Scolding her because she was worried about her. Tori could barely look her in the face.
When she saw Tori wasn’t going to reply, she let the scolding slide.
‘Get those wet clothe off you and go have a hot shower. I’ll make tea while you are it. Okay?’ She said and Tori only nodded her reply afraid her eyes might betray her if she tried to utter a word.
Tori threw her head back and let the water from the shower run from her face, down to neck….
She couldn’t even concentrate on showering. All that had been on her mind was Tobi. She was even thinking about him while she walked.
What he did at the hospital felt like betrayal. It felt like he stabbed her so hard in the back.
She splattered water on her face like that could wash away the rage she felt inside. She felt like confronting him, asking him about why he did that but the sanest part of her brain did the answering.
Tobi did nothing wrong. She was the one who said he shouldn’t worry about coming to get her at the hospital.
And that was only because she was being thoughtful!
Thoughtful that he was busy and she would be a distraction. If she had known he wasn’t busy as she thought, she would have called him and he would have come for her.
Or would he? Was she really comparing herself with Dr. Jo? She knows he wasn’t going to come for her if he was asked to choose between Dr Jo and her. It’s pretty obvious he would go for his beautiful, ten or eleven year old crush, who appeared to be from a wealthy family as well and not a random, pitiful, nobody girl like her who even depends on him for shelter and…
Tori slapped a handful of water on her face after realizing how pitiful her condition really is. She needs to get her acts together and get her own place as soon as possible.
‘Toriola, be strong. You have to get out of this place ASAP. You have to stop acting like a wimp so that others won’t think you really are one.’ She recited in her head determinedly as she bit her lips decisively.
‘Are you hungry?’Tobi’s mum asked her as Tori lifted the cup of hot tea, from its saucer to her lips. Tori was sitting on her bed, wearing a pale yellow sweatshirt whose hood rested on her back. Tobi’s mum was sitting at the edge of the bed just beside her. She could tell at the corner of her eyes that someone was lurking behind her opened door. And she really doesn’t need to investigate before knowing it was Tobi.
‘No. I’m not hungry. I’m fine. I took something right before coming home.’ She lied and sipped her tea gently. When she looked at the door again, he was gone.
Oh you are not fine!
You didn’t even have lunch!
Would you just swallow your pride for tonight and just think nobody is seeing you as a burden if you eat here?
It was her stomach, literarily doing the scolding.
Even if she had said she was hungry? What would she be having? Or did Tobi’s mum cook today?
‘That’s relieving. I had been so worried you won’t be able to eat the spagg I made. It ended up being too soft.’ Tobi’s mum wasn’t really happy getting the cooking wrong with the frown that enveloped her face.
‘It’s fine. You’ll get better at it.’ Tori consoled smiling at her and she also smiled back in return. Tori was done with her tea but that didn’t really help sufficing the hunger she felt.
‘Alright. It’s getting late. I should leave you to rest now.’ Tobi’s mum seemed to lock gaze with Tori for a while before she finally looked away. ‘Goodnight.’ Tobi’s mum patted her on her leg, taking the cup and the saucer with her as she left Tori to herself.
Tori lay on her bed, staring at the ceiling as hunger literarily flogged her right at the spot but she was determined to endure it. If she was going to be strong, she would start somewhere.
Just when she was deciding on going to the kitchen to take water. Just water, her phone beeped to SMS alert her. She picked her phone up and it was a bank alert. She couldn’t remember the last time she got a bank alert aside a withdrawal alert and she couldn’t remember making a withdrawal today. She tapped the message and read it.
A hundred thousand naira transfer from Olakunle Richard had been made into her account.
What was Richard trying to do? Trying to show her how really pitiful she was or was he paying her off somehow? She was still thinking about that when a message came in from, of course! Richard.
That’s a refund of your money. I’m sorry about how all this turned out.
That was the simple text he sent.
Firstly, her refund was supposed to be forty thousand naira and him sending more than that still baffles her as she didn’t want to think he was looking down on her.
Secondly, how come he still has her account number when he claimed his phone was stolen?
Tori copied his account number from her contacts and transfered sixty thousand naira back to him. After which she deleted his phone number, his account number and the message he sent off her phone.
She lay back on her bed and did some thinking. It’s a good thing Richard returned her money. She has saved up some money and with this money he just transfered, she was just a few cash away from getting her own place.
Her stomach grumbled in jubilation…
Okay it’s not jubilation.
The grumbling was just to bring her back to reality. Reminding her she needs to feed on something.
Having no choice but to sneak and tiptoe downstairs and into the kitchen (which was exactly what she did) to quickly eat something. She wasn’t expecting what she saw when she got to the kitchen. She was shocked to see Tobi in the kitchen and so was he surprised to see her.
The duos were only shocked for a minute or so before both acted like nothing happened and purposely ignored one another Tobi searching for God knows what in the cupboard and Tori sipping a cup of water slowly like an expensive wine.
‘So, How is Marcus? Your boyfriend?’ Tobi accused but he was replied by a shower of water from Tori’s mouth onto his face. She couldn’t hold back how shocked she was at what he asked that she had spat out all the water she had refused to swallow onto his face. She covered her mouth at her mistake.
She grabbed a blue napkin and wiped his face with it.
‘What are you doing?’ Tobi asked ‘That’s the kitchen napkin and it’s dirty!’
Tori realised her second mistake and dropped the napkin while Tobi just wiped off the water with his palm.
Tori, seeing that he was doing fine by himself, resumed her water sipping.
‘Why are you acting surprised? Is he not your boyfriend?’ Tobi asked again and she had repeated the face shower again. She wasn’t expecting him to repeat that.
‘Seriously? Do you really have to do this again?’ He asked, spreading out his arms.
‘But do you really have to repeat that? Marcus is not my boyfriend. I was just as surprised as anyone who witnessed what happened in the hospital earlier today. I wasn’t expecting the hug. I didn’t even know what came over him. We are not dating!’ Tori laid emphasis on every word and it was hard not believing her.
So those two aren’t dating. Tobi thought as he looked away from her to smile then look back at her with an expressionless face.
‘It doesn’t look like you two aren’t. He was acting all cozy back there.’ He added folding his arm across his chest. ‘And your water sipping is taking forever. If you are hungry, just make something and stop sipping water.’ Tobi said irritated at her water sipping spree.
‘I’m not hungry!’ She weakly argued.
‘Yes you are.’ Then he slowly added ‘and so am I.’
Tori picked three big plantains from the basket on the cupboard reluctantly and peeled the skin off
She sliced the plantain carefully then placed a frypan on the gas cooker before adding groundnut oil .
‘I saw you at the hospital in the evening. You came to get Dr Johanna.’ Tori said not looking at him but placing a number of sliced plantain in the hot oil.
‘Oh, You saw that.’ He said that in a low voice. ‘Her car broke down and she would be stranded if I handn’t.’ He explained not trusting his own explanation.
Tori didn’t know why she wasn’t interested in his explanation when she was the one that asked. She bit her lower lip like that could hold back the question she wanted to ask but she later asked anyway.
‘Do you still like her?’ She said that almost whispering but Tobi heard her. Tori waited for his reply which he seemed to think about.
‘I guess I still do.’ He said. Tori was expecting that but she still struggled to keep her stare on the sizzling plantain.
‘Richard sent a refund of my money. If I add that to the money I saved up, I should be getting my own place soon.’ She announced after minutes of silence.
‘Oh, that. Does that mean, I won’t have to see your annoying face everyday.’ Tobi said dipping his hand inside the plate where Tori placed the fried slices and throwing two inside his mouth. ‘It’s hot!’ He was barely audible as he carefully chewed.
Tori shook her head at his greediness.
‘Before I go, shouldn’t I get to know more about you?’ Tori asked, acting all serious.
‘What else do you want to know about me aside being the greatest guy in the history of the world and the handsomest guy you’ve possibly ever come by?’ He smirked and Tori just had to do the face palm thing.
‘Can you just be serious for a minute and you can go back to being ‘you’ after then?’ Tori literarily pleaded.
He shut his mouth and looked at her. A playful smile Tori had to ignore on his lips.
‘What is that thing you have always wanted to do?’ She finally asked after thinking for a second about what to ask.
‘Would it be weird if I say wear wristwatches again?’ He said giving her a ‘what do you think’ look. Tori thought he was playing with her again but he seemed serious and she noticed too, he really doesn’t wear wristwatches.
‘Well, when you said it now. It is.’ Tori replied not believing her ears. ‘Like, you can buy a million watches if you want to. Why is that a problem?’ She was done with frying now and was switching the gas cooker off.
‘I can but I won’t.’ Was the reply he gave her. Seeing Tori’s confused look, he proceeded to explain further. ‘I liked wristwatches and I used to wear them because my Dad did too. Whenever he gets himself wristwatches, he gets mine as well. But when I found out about his betrayal, I stopped wearing wristwatches.’
Tori thought about what he said. Talking about his dad always ended awkwardly.
‘So, can I ask you my own question too?’ He asked smirking and Tori hoped he wasn’t going to ask something stewpid.
‘Go ahead but make it sensible.’ She replied as she served the plantain into two different dishes.
‘What’s your favorite song? You can make this place lively by singing it.’ He finally asked
Oh. It wasn’t that bad.
‘I don’t have a favorite song.’ She batted her eyelids shyly.
‘Just go ahead and sing any horrible song you like.’ Tobi said stealing another plantain.
‘I like Love me like you do.’
‘Is that the title of a song or a Harlequin novel? Who the hell sang that?’ Tobi asked as he threw another plantain in his mouth.
‘You were abducted from another planet so I’m not really surprised you don’t know the song.’ Tori said.
‘Just go ahead and sing’
Tori cleared her throat then picked a table spoon and held it to her mouth like a microphone.
‘You the light…’ She threw all her heart into singing it. She had a lovely voice but he wasn’t going to admit it.
‘You need to work on your voice. Nobody would believe you haven’t been doing crack!’ Tobi shouted while she sang ignoring him.
She looked cute doing that little dance as she sang. He couldn’t help smiling at that.
He doesn’t know who he’d do all this with if she leaves.
He doesn’t know what he’d do if she leaves.