Gbemiga sprayed perfume under his armpits. He noticed his parents’ and sisters approving stares. He grinned. He had already seen his reflection in the mirror. He looked very handsome.
“Are you going to the birthday party alone?” Remi asked out of curiousity. The last time she went to his hostel to visit him, she found him in the company of another girl. She was different from the previous one she had been introduced to. It gladdened her heart that girls from educated and respectable families were interested in her son.
“Who are you taking along?”
He turned to his mother. Her eyes were full of questions. “I am going to the party with my girlfriend.”
Lola and Kemi exchanged glances and giggled. It was good to know that their brother was dating.
“Is she the girl you were dancing with during your birthday party?” her eyes twinkled with delight. She liked that particular girl. She heard that her father had a bakery on the island.
He shook his head and glanced at the wall clock. It was almost six o’clock.
“So, who?” she pressed.
Remi blinked. She didn’t remember if any of the girls she had seen with him bear that name. She turned to look at her husband. Baba shrugged. She returned her curious gaze to her son’s smiling face.
“Do we know her?”
“Yes,” he nodded his head.
Remi raised an eyebrow.
“Oluwabukola,” his father repeated the name and glanced at his daughters.
Lola had a frown on her face, “Don’t tell me you are talking about Bukky,” she looked her brother up and down.
“Which Bukky?” Kemi tugged at her sister’s shoulder.
“Aunty Kike’s niece,” Lola’s disapproving eyes were fixed on her brother’s undaunted ones.
Kemi blinked and shot her brother a shocked glare.
“Kike? Which Kike?” Remi raised her voice. She hoped that they were not talking about their neighbour.
“Aunty Kike now, our neighbour who lives in the fourth room on your right.”
Baba glanced at his son, “Don’t tell me that you are associating with those illiterates.”
Remi jumped to her feet, “God forbid! What happened to all the educated girls in your school?” she vented.
Gbemiga heaved a tired sigh. He knew his family would react that way. It was one of the reasons he had been holding off on telling them. “I have to leave now, time is not on my side,” he looked at his brown leather wrist-watch.
“Go where? With that girl? You must be out of your mind!” his mother’s voice hit the roof.
His frown deepened, “Mum, Bukky is like every other girl out there…”
“You are wrong. She is not in our level at all,” she was upset that her elder brother was dating a nobody.
He glanced at Lola and eyed her.
“Alakara for that matter. She is not in our class,” Kemi chimed in.
“Bukky is a born-again Christian. She is a good girl running her own business. She is her own madam,” he stated as a matter of fact.
Remi laughed scornfully, “You call selling bean cake business, oh Gbemiga, you disappoint me.”
He didn’t like what they were saying about his girlfriend.
“You must break up with her at once and find yourself a suitable girl from a good family,” his father said as a matter of fact.
“I love her dad,” he looked at him.
Kemi and Lola burst out in laughter.
“Dad, I am sure that she has given him love portion to eat,” Kemi clapped her hands.
“Love Portion mixed in akara,” Lola added. She and her younger sister started to laugh again.
“I am twenty-one. I am old enough to decide who I go out with,” he looked from one parent to the other.
“We know, but, we are only looking out for you,” Baba reasoned with him.
He eyed his father, “I will be home before or after ten,” he headed to the door and let himself out.
“Eh! Eledumare ooooo! Oluwa gba mi ooooo!” Remi went on her knees, lamenting.
“He has no choice. He must break up with that girl,” Baba gritted his teeth.
The knocks on the door got her attention. She turned down the volume of the television and looked towards the door.
“Who is it?”
Kike blinked in surprise. What does the woman want? It was the first time she would come and knock on her door. Since she moved into the compound, the woman rarely spoke to her. She carried herself as if she was better off than everyone else.
The door opened. Remi marched into the room and closed the door behind her. She looked around until her eyes fell on Kike who was seated on the settee in front of the television.
“Evening,” her curious eyes remained on the woman’s firm ones.
“Is Bukky home?”
“No. She went out with Gbemiga.”
Remi frowned, “Please, please, please tell your niece to leave my son alone.”
Kike looked her up and down.
”She is not in his level at all. Oil and water can never mix.”
Kike blinked in disbelief, “What are you talking about?”
Remi eyed her, “You do not need to pretend. You and I know that your niece is running after my son like a cow on heat.”
Kike got to her feet, feeling infuriated, “You’ve got the wrong picture. It is your son that is chasing Bukky like a Cock after a Hen.”
“God forbid!” she raised her voice.
“God has already accepted their relationship. Stop fighting it.”
Her eyes flashed with anger, “Which God?” She eyed her, “You must be high on something!”
“Look here, you cannot come into my room and start to insult me.”
Remi clapped her hands together, “Insult you, abi? I have not even started. I am warning you, tell Bukky to stay away from my son, or else, she won’t be able to comprehend what her eyes will see.” She hissed and marched out.
Kike looked to the ceiling. Gbemiga and Bukky were not babies. No one had the right to define their relationship. She sighed heavily and settled back on the settee. She would have a heart to heart talk with her niece when she returned home that night. If the Phillips doesn’t want her to date their son, she should allow them to eat him. He wasn’t the only man on planet earth. Bukky was pretty and industrious. Her Prince Charming would come for her in good time.
Since she moved into the house, she had no record of fighting with anyone. She hoped to keep it that way till she moved out. Bukky had been setting aside money so that they could live the house and rent a better place. The girl was tired of sharing kitchen, bathroom and toilet with more than a dozen of people. She was also at her wits end, but what choice do they have? She prayed that God would expand the girl’s business so that they could relocate sooner than planned.
Watch Out for Chapter Twenty-four…