Your Brief Bio:
Adenike Adekoya is a Nigerian writer fondly called Adufe. With a Bachelor’s degree in English Language, she is an incurably obsessed writer. She has a soft spot for awe-inspiring quotes, poems and flash fiction. Her Instagram page, @i.am.adufe and an Online Magazine oyamag.com.ng have housed some of her writings.
Tweet-Style Story Summary:
"Right next to her", an English fictional story gives an insight to the things done for the sake of love. Also, It breathes air for lovers of pure sarcasm.
As it thundered continuously, the rain threatened from a far distance. Driveway street probably would host it soon. Irrespective of that, most people hurriedly tried to shield themselves. The Elegant Eat-4-Two restaurant welcomed many “rain” customers. Past the incoming customers, Christine made her way out of the restaurant slowly. She needed to get home first. She craved for something hot to soothe her soreness. At least, that was what she thought would help. Her apartment was just down the street. The rain didn't mean anything to her now, even seconds after it became heavy. It destroyed her perfect makeup and it didn’t bother her a bit. She placed one foot in front of the other, as she numbered her steps incoherently.
"Are you trying to get yourself killed?" yelled the cab driver who’d almost hit her.
She had left the sidewalk for the road unknowingly.
"I'm sorry". She said as she walked back to the sidewalk.
“Watch where you are going to, young woman” She heard as a man rushed past her, almost knocking her off. That didn’t stop her though, she kept on walking.
By the time she got to her apartment, she fumbled a little with the door handle, then pushed her way in when she realized the door wasn’t locked.
“Imagine… I rushed out this evening and didn’t even lock the door… stupid me!” She said as she dropped her bag on the chair closer to the door and squatted to remove her shoes. She left for the kitchen afterwards. After minutes of rumblings and humming incoherent sounds, she came out with a disposable plate of rice and a drink. She staggered to the chair, then settled at the edge of the chair. She thought of pulling off the wet clothes first but she decided against it.
“Tinuke” She called out to her flat mate. There was no response. On the third call, she stopped midway.
“She could have at least kept a piece of meat for me… what’s wrong with that stupid girl?”. Having eaten to her fill, Christine left for the bedroom. She heard someone entered the house as soon as she crawled into the bed. She tried to sleep but her thoughts kept drifting to Michael, her boyfriend of six years. The source of her soreness. With just few days to their Introduction, she would never be able to face the reality he forcefully exposed her to. She thought of how the words were spilled like soured milk.
"I'm getting married" He told her at the restaurant. Nothing was able to stop the tears that accompanied the thought.
The persistent knock on the door woke Adegoke up. He checked the time, it was just five minutes past five in the morning. He rose gently from the chair where he had slept all night…
“Tinuke…” He moved aside to allow his neighbour in.
“Thank you for calling… I would have come home last night but it was very late…” She said as she was about settling on the chair but Adegoke motioned for her to follow him. They went to his bedroom to see his unsolicited guest. She seemed quite calm unlike the night before. Her cries almost drove him to check on her but he knew better. She wasn’t going to let him have a peaceful night even in her drunken state. He felt pity for her. Now, he watched as Tinuke stroked her hair gently and walked out of the room, seeing that she was still sound asleep.
“It’s okay… I accompanied a couple of friends out last night and I got back to see my home invaded” He emphasized the last sentence and they both laughed.
“It must have been a sore sight to see… I’m very sorry you’d to go through that…”
“To tell the truth, hmm… it was nice seeing Miss. Prim and Proper in an awkward situation again” He laughed uncontrollably.
“She is going to kill you if she ever hears that…”
“Who is going to save her again if she kills me?”
“You deserve an award with the tag Christine’s six times savior”
“TSH… What are you doing here?” They both turned to see Christine at the doorway. She seemed raged. She moved towards Adegoke.
“Christine!” Tinuke rose to meet her.
“Answer me” She said still facing Adegoke.
“You promised to buy me lunch on the sixth time, if I saved your little self again…”
“What!” Christine interrupted.
“Christine, this is Goke’s flat and you’ve just stepped out of his room”.
He almost did not know what to do. On seeing Christine, his beautiful neighbour so embarrassed and raged at the same time drove him crazy. He’d watched as she scooped her things up from where she had left them, then raced to the bedroom and came out within seconds. His heart melted towards her, he knew it was more than just having pity on her yet he dare not acknowledge the thoughts that came after that. Since that very day, Christine had made it a point to avoid him whenever the chance came. About a month after, he caught her almost evading him.
“Who would have thought the gracious Miss Prim and Proper, could get so drunk because of a man, slept in her neigbour’s apartment all night, then have the guts to send her neighbour out of his own apartment the following morning? Adegoke teased her. She seemed startled as she held onto the door handle.
“Don’t you write for a newspaper?, You might as well write a story about that, since your kind heart welcomed me at your place the other night” Ignoring his question, she left the doorknob as soon as she saw him moving towards her. She readjusted herself.
“That’s rather rude of you, you know?”
“And that’s supposed to take me aback, right?”, She was now face to face with him.
“I wasn’t expecting it to…since you are the only one I know who breathes sarcasm so well”. He smiled the moment he realized her face was lifted up a bit just to show how raged she was. She was doing it perfectly…The practiced show of anger of his short neighbour.
“What dragon wouldn’t breathe fire, seeing that she lives close to an uncultured being like you?”
“Seriously?”, He moved to touch her gently but he retracted his hands as soon as it moved.
“You are that bad”
“That’s good news…if I were that good, you would have found a way for me to maintain the status quo, good woman”.
“How dare you throw nonsense at me?” She stood akimbo.
“What I am implying is that I can’t be what you want me to be…besides that must have been the reason you’ve never liked me…”, He lifted her chin up a bit to get a better view of the impact of his words but she was quick to jerk his hands off.
“Get yourself something to do…you seem jobless”, She moved back a little.
“You should get me something to do, since you said I seem jobless…”
“You never give up, do you?”, She turned away from him.
“Tell me what dragon gives up at the call of his dragon lord?”, He said as his mouth twitched. He caught her smiling, before she turned back to him with a frown.
“That’s not funny”
“It wasn’t meant to be funny”, He walked towards her, then stopped abruptly midway.
“What do you want?” That sounded more like a whisper, but he heard it clearly.
“You are yet to get my lunch for saving you for the sixth time”
“Are you kidding me? So all this was for just a lunch?”
“Yes, just a lunch… in addition, since you ate my food the other night…please bring me a well home cooked meal by evening”
“What!”, Her face flushed with bewilderment.
“You see, Miss Christine Williams, I wouldn’t have asked for it if I hadn’t washed the plate myself the following morning...I found it under my chair.”
“No wonder I’ve never liked him” She muttered. She watched him leave for his apartment.
“I heard that”. She heard him say that over his shoulders.
His lateness was beginning to make her skin crawl. She would turn around to check on any one who was been led into the restaurant. What was more of a concern were the group of men seated close to stairs leading to the kitchen taking glances at her and talking indistinctively amongst themselves. They seem drunk for a moment and the next moment like one who has had fill, too much that it was beginning to affect them. Christine regretted accepting the changes from having lunch to having dinner together.
“Just two more minutes, if he is not here by then I’m leaving”, She growled. Then she beckoned one of the waitresses and ordered for a new drink. She’d stared at the menu for too long and was now not sure of what exactly she wanted. The waitress was quick with the drink. As she held tightly onto the wine glass, she felt a strong palm on her shoulder. She almost spilled out the drink in her mouth, that caused her to shiver a little.
“Young man, how can I help you?”, She questioned, the moment she turned around to see who it was.
“You’ve been seated here all by yourself all day…”, The fairly handsome man said as he moved to have his seat.
“It hasn’t been all day… it has just been for awhile”, Christine interrupted him.
“What difference does it make, you are getting stood up anyway. That been said, I decided to keep you company”, He grinned devilishly.
“I haven’t asked you to make yourself comfortable yet. That been said, I was about leaving when you came”, She rose to leave but stopped when she saw her neighbour standing behind her, smiling.
“You finally showed up… how great of you”, Sarcasm spilled out of her mouth.
“Can I have my woman back now?”, Adegoke said facing the other man. He wasn’t smiling now. The other man gracefully excused himself. Adegoke motioned for her to sit.
“I’m very sorry I got here late, my driver has an irksome habit of hitting other cars so I had to settle the issue before coming here… see, my battery is drained already I would have called to inform you earlier”, He said as he displayed his phone and then kept it back into his pockets.
“I’m supposed to smile and act like everything was okay, right?”, She knotted her brows in anger.
“I’m very sorry, besides you had a good company not quite long”, He teased.
“Good company?”, She snorted with laughter.
“That man was just out to keep you company, you shouldn’t take it that personal”. He imitated the other man’s way of talking effortlessly.
“Do you know him or you got in early enough to imitate him that well?”, She looked puzzled.
“I thought it was okay to take my time a little to get to know the man in front you first before acting out… he could be the president’s son, you know”
“What’s the relevance?”
“Do I look like one to wrestle with anyone…” He said with his fingers pointed at himself.
“That doesn’t mean anything…that wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t late. Besides, a minute late is bad not to talk of more half an hour, that was really irritating”
“I thought we were just getting past that… I’m very sorry”
“I would have left if not that I just want to be done with whatever you think I owe you”
“Let me make it up to you”, He purred.
“That’s not necessary”, Christine rose.
“Where are you heading to?”
“Ladies’ room… what? You think I want to leave?”, She smiled. As she walked towards the toilet, a male waiter bumped into her unknowingly. She’d almost evaded him but it was already late. He bent slightly to clean off her gown. She hurriedly adjusted herself, on seeing those men who were glancing at her earlier. The three men smiled. They must have noticed her displeasure.
“It’s okay. Thank you”, She returned her gaze to the waiter.
“I’m really sorry”
“Apology accepted”, Christine had a feeling that something was wrong when she got to the ladies’ room. Little did she know that she has just been bugged.
Following the incident that happened just right before she got into the ladies’ room, Christine had a feeling that she has got to be careful. She hasn’t enjoyed herself since she got to the restaurant. It has been one issue after the other. She almost cursed Adegoke for putting her through all the troubles. Her phone beeped. It was her flat mate, Tinuke. Christine thought it was quite unusual for Tinuke to call her whenever she went on a date. She tilted her head a little to the left and stared persistently at herself as she thought of reasons why her flat mate called her. She kept her phone aside. The mirror seemed a bit blurry as she cleaned her hands.
“Pick up young woman”, She said as she dialed her number. The response came shortly after it had had ringed. Tinuke’s number was switched off. Christine decided to leave her a message before heading out.
“I thought you’d left”, Adegoke said as she settled down.
“That’s what is like when you keep someone waiting… I had that feeling when I thought you weren’t coming too”, She scowled.
“Do you ever let go at all?”, He searched her face with difficulty for an answer she wasn’t willing to give.
As soon as they were done with the dinner, she bent slightly to fix her shoes and then noticed a paper-taped note on her sole. Now, she was certain that something was definitely wrong. She swiftly removed the note and kept it in her shoes. She frowned when she looked towards the tables far opposite hers and saw the man who had earlier offered his unsolicited company smiling. Adegoke looked towards the direction in search of caused her to frown and emitted a short, high-pitched sound.
“He likes you more than I thought”, He returned his gaze to her.
“Let’s leave here, please”, She said as she rose. Adegoke laughed as he teased her while they walked out of the restaurant.
Christine knew Tinuke wouldn’t be at home, so she made him drop her off at one of their friends’ place. That was against Adegoke’s pleas to take her home, he had almost convinced her but the urge to read the note as soon as possible privately superseded. The content of the note shook her to the core. She shivered. Her friend, Martha was quick to notice her mood. She paused the movie she was watching.
“What’s wrong dear?, Martha moved towards her. Too stunned to speak, Christine handed her the note. Then she rose to leave.
“Where do you think you are going this night?”, Martha questioned, then moved to block her while she struggled to read the content of the note.
“To confront him, of course”, She was face to face with Martha now, really raged.
“Are you kidding me? And you think I’ll let you do that?”, Martha yelled.
“Do I look like I care?”, Christine shot back.
“That would work for Tinuke and not me, you’d better sit here and let’s think of something better to do before you make rash decisions”, She managed to pull Christine back to the chair. Christine’s phone rang and she left Christine to get it. Christine recognized the voice on the other line. It was Tinuke’s boyfriend, Johnson that called. She watched as Martha hummed all through the call and she felt an unpleasant emotion instantly. Johnson being a detective, she feared that something must have happened.
“What happened?”, Christine said immediately Martha dropped the call.
“Tinuke just narrowly escaped a kidnap…Johnson called to inform us, he said Tinuke tried to reach you but she’d lost her phone before she got to his place…”, Martha pulled a face.
“He must have kidnapped her before coming to join me at the restaurant, no wonder he was late…to think Tinuke jokingly warned me about going out with him this morning…”, She let out a soft cry.
“Where is Tinuke now?”, She continued.
“In the hospital close to Johnson’s place”, Martha squatted close to her.
“Imagine… I hope it’s not that bad”
“Tinuke should have sent a message…”, The knock on the door interrupted Martha. As she opened the door, four men walked in, armed. Martha almost fell off, but Christine recognized them. They were from the restaurant earlier; The waiter who bumped into her and the three drunk men who wouldn’t take their eyes off her.
“What are you all doing here?” Christine plunged toward the men. She’d picked Martha’s phone on the table and held it out as though it was a weapon. The men laughed. Martha was shocked.
“We work for Johnson but Michael paid for our services…”, The waiter was saying.
“What are you? Police officers?”, Christine interrupted. She had not listened to what he was saying.
“He had a feeling your neighbour, the gentleman you went on a date with was full of shit… he asked us to monitor you”, He ignored her questions and walked past her, then settled on the chair. The rest did the same. Christine couldn’t believe it. She couldn’t believe Adegoke had threatened her boyfriend, Michael so much that he had to kidnap his sister until Michael surrendered. That explained why Michael broke up with her without any reason few days before their introduction. She paced around for awhile and then picked the note to read again. The note said it all in the most concised way. She knew Adegoke's love for her would choke her and everyone around her. Christine left at dawn to check on her friend at the hospital. On seeing Michael and Johnson together, she knew something had happened. Little did she know that they had worked diligently on Adegoke all through the night before he was arrested. Something to let him know about not messing with people’s lives and their lovers.