Synopsis: Sassy, confident career girl, Lola meets cool, handsome, unpredictable hunk, Wole. He pushes all the right buttons for her, and sparks fly. Wole is also irresistibly drawn to Lola, and before long, they get together in a delightful romance. But Wole is not all that he seems, and he is holding back a lot of secrets.
Things start to unravel when Wole’s past starts to catch up with him and Lola has to decide if Wole is worth the trouble that threatens to overwhelm her. Will their relationship survive the trials of a murder investigation, a meddling relative and a trip across the world? Or will they give up and go their separate ways? Find out in this fantastic new book!
I retrieved the ball and bounced passed it to my team mate Kenechukwu. We were playing basketball with some of the other guys in the gym. I was drenched with sweat but feeling absolutely great. I had just recovered from a grim bout of flu and it felt great to be alive and fit again. I ran down the length of the court and threw the ball straight up into the other team’s net again.
‘Someone is on fire today,’ Mark grinned as he retrieved the ball. He was playing for the opposing team.
‘For sure!’ I called back.
We played for another ten minutes before the whistle went and our booked slot was over. I tossed the ball towards Kenechukwu and we started going towards the showers, clapping the guys on the back, muttering ‘good game guys, see you next week…’
Mark joined us a few moments later.
‘Well done Wole,’ he said. ‘Did you overdose on some high energy drink?’
‘Naa,’ I said. ‘Just full of beans today.’
‘So I see,’ Kenechukwu said. ‘What have you got planned for the rest of today?’
‘I’m going to see my girlfriend in Kent this evening.’ Mark said
‘Not much. I was thinking of catching up on some work.’ I said. ‘I slacked last week because of the flu.’
‘Keep the work till later, man. Since you’re buzzing with energy today, you can be my right-hand man.’
‘What are you up to?’
‘I’ve got an album launch and a birthday party. Plenty of opportunities to meet chicks.’
‘I’m not looking to meet anyone.’ I said. ‘But I don’t mind having some fun this weekend. I can do my extra work during the week.’
‘Great. Sorry you can’t come with us Mark.’
‘I’ll survive without you today. You’re becoming a bad influence on me anyway, Kene.’ Mark said.
‘Me? I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ Kene replied, raising one eyebrow.
‘Don’t worry Mark. I’ll do my best to keep him in check.’ I said.
‘Good luck with that.’ Kene said, and we all laughed.
I had to admit I was enjoying myself, and I was glad I made the choice to hang out with Kene this Saturday. We were just leaving the album launch. Kene had behaved outrageously, flirting with all the pretty girls, posing for every camera and drinking copious amounts of free alcohol. I stayed sober, just in case I would end up being the driver by the end of the night. We stepped out of the bar and got into Kene’s car that was parked just around the corner and started heading to the birthday party.
‘Who’s the celebrant?’ I asked. ‘Anyone I know?’
‘I don’t think you know her. Her name is Titi and I met her through another girl that joined our label recently.’
‘Is she also in music?’
‘I can’t remember. I don’t think so.’
When we arrived at the party, it was already in full swing. The house was full of people, standing around, eating, talking, and some people dancing in the open space living room. The smell of perfumes, food and drinks filled the air. It reminded me of the house parties Kene and our friends used to throw when we were at university. Parties that happened for no reason at all, except when we were in a good mood or Kene wanted to get some girl’s attention. And he was good at that; especially good at seducing a girl once he made up his mind to.
‘Let me find Titi,’ Kene said to me, above the music.
‘Sure,’ I replied.
Kene went through the house, greeting some of the guests while I went to the garden to wait for him. Within minutes, I was accosted by a lady wearing a dress that showed off her curvy body.
‘Hi,’ she said as she approached, smiling. ‘I’m the celebrant’s friend. Have you just arrived?’
‘Hello. Yes I’ve just come in with a friend.’
‘My name is Funmi. I’ll get you something to drink. There’s a buffet in the kitchen if you’re hungry, okay?’
She went off and a moment later another girl with the most striking eyes I’d seen in a long time approached me. I was immediately drawn to her and I concluded she must be a very confident person judging by the bold yellow dress she was wearing. I smiled when she spoke to me.
‘Funmi wasn’t sure what drink you wanted, so I came to give you the options.’ She said. ‘My name is Lola, by the way.’
‘Hi Lola.’ I said. ‘My name is Wole.’
‘We’ve got juice, white wine, beer, punch and –’
‘I’ll have the wine, please.’
‘Okay, I’ll be right back.’ She disappeared through the glass doors and Kene reappeared at that minute with a girl that looked vaguely familiar.
‘This is Titi,’ he said. ‘And Titi, this is my friend Wole, that I was telling you about.’
Titi smiled at me and said, ‘Thank you for coming. You look a little familiar.’
‘I think we may have met before.’ I agreed. ‘I can’t remember where though.’
‘Well, imagine that.’ Kene said, raising an eyebrow in surprise. ‘It is a small world.’
‘Yes it is,’ Titi said, giving me another quizzical look. ‘Well, enjoy the party guys, and I’ll catch up with you again before you leave, huh?’
‘Okay, we will.’ Kene said.
When she was out of earshot, Kene leaned closer to me and said, ‘Man, isn’t she something! Shame she’s got some dude hanging around her already.’
‘Hmm.’ I said, not really listening. I was trying to figure out how I knew Titi.
‘Well, maybe she can hook me up with one of her friends instead.’ Kene continued. ‘I’ve been seeing some interesting prospects.’
Lola reappeared with a glass of wine.
‘Here’s your drink Wole.’
‘Thank you. This is my friend, Kene.’
‘Hi Kene,’ she said.
‘Nice to meet you…?’
She went away again, and my eyes followed her into the house, the kitchen and back into the living room, where she started dancing. I was so focused on watching Lola that I didn’t hear what Kene said, until he tapped me.
‘Go get her, tiger.’
‘You’re captivated by that Lola chick. Go and talk to her, and let me find someone interesting to talk to.’
I laughed, but I didn’t hesitate. I left Kene in the garden and went into the living room to join Lola on the dance floor.
She seemed surprised but she didn’t object when I started dancing next to her. We found a rhythm and began to move in tandem. She was a great dancer, anticipating my moves and stepping to the music. I enjoyed the dance until the music changed and she wanted to get a drink. I followed her to the kitchen so that we could talk. We had to raise our voices to be heard above the music, but I didn’t mind. Eventually I got some finger food and we went to sit in the garden. I was fascinated with the way she smiled and gestured with her hands when she talked. We soon forgot about the rest of the party and chatted for a long time. Occasionally, Lola had to play hostess, but I followed her around and didn’t let her out of my sight. Usually, I’m the one that has to drag Kene out of functions, but by the time he wanted to leave, I was wondering where the time had flown to.
I got up to leave reluctantly.
‘It was nice meeting you, Lola,’ I said.
‘Same here,’ she replied.
‘I would love to continue this conversation.’ I said. ‘Can I have your number?’
‘Sure,’ she said, getting up from the garden bench. ‘Let me get my phone so that I can save yours.’
I watched her go upstairs. I loved the fact that she was direct, and didn’t do unnecessary shakara like many ladies.
She came back and said, ‘Let me have your number, so I can call you.’
I gave her my number and she called my phone.
‘There, now you have mine.’ She said. ‘The ball is firmly in your court.’
‘I’ll be in touch,’ I said, catching a glimpse of Kene looking for me. ‘Got to go now.’
‘Okay, let me go and re-join my friends inside. I expect we’ll start clearing up soon. Bye Wole.’
Kene gave me a raised eyebrow when I joined him in the car.
‘I thought you weren’t looking to meet anyone?’
‘You can’t plan these things. She was nice, so we’ll see.’
‘I see. Well I was on the prowl tonight and I met a tasty one.’
‘This guy, when will you change?’
Kene dropped me off at home around four in the morning. I was expecting to be tired and fall asleep immediately but thirty minutes later, I was still lying on my bed fully alert. I tossed and turned for a bit. When I still couldn’t sleep, I got up to search for a blue folder that I kept away from all the other documents in my home office. This one contained stuff that I didn’t want prying eyes to see.
I opened the folder and leafed through the contents: old family photographs, newspaper cuttings, personal letters, an official affidavit, and other materials. I kept searching until I found a letter, folded and held together with a paper clip. The letter was dated October 5th 1999 – the day I decided to turn my life around for good. The day I buried all the ghosts of the former person I used to be, and took an oath to stay on the straight and narrow. And it was working well for me, so far.
(c) Tolulope Popoola 2012
(This post is still a WIP so some things may change in the final book. Hope you enjoyed reading!)