Lanre had barged into Noah’s office when he was sure Lara was off duty.
He stood before the fair skinned young man sitting behind a desk surrounded by shelves crammed with various drugs and who was frantically scribbling on a piece of paper.
The freckles on Noah’s fingers which clutched a ball pen slithering over the small piece of paper upon which he wrote, were the testimony of how narrowly he escaped albinism. Lanre couldn’t help but wish he hadn’t escaped. If he was an albino, perhaps Lara wouldn’t be head over heels with him, he thought.
His hair was shaved into a mohawk and he had a globe for a nose.
Lanre rapped his knuckles on the table to get his attention.
“You’re welcome. Please do have your seat.” Noah said the words automatically obviously because they were rote words. His head was still bent and he was still scrawling.
“I’m not here to sit!” Lanre stated gruffly. The intensity of the his voice made Noah look up.
“Okay sir, may I have your prescription please?” Noah requested politely though he was getting irritated.
“I’m not here for that either!”
He reclined in his chair and he fiddled with the pen in his hands. A frown creased on his forehead.
“Then what are you here for?” Noah asked almost angrily as his patience was been exhausted. He peered into Lanre’s stern face and wondered what the problem was.
“I am Martins Olanrewaju and I know you are Mr. Madueke Noah..”
“Okay?” Noah said in an ‘and-so-what?’ manner.
“Good, I’m just here to tell you to stop confusing Omolara.” Lanre declared flatly. “I’m her fiance and we’d soon get married so stop standing in the way! You are messing with her emotions and I want you to stop that.” He emphasized fiance and we’d soon get married.
Noah said nothing, he just kept tapping his lips with the butt of his pen and rocking his chair. As far as he was concerned Lanre was simply a noise maker and he wasn’t ready to throw any tantrum. He would play the mature man.
Lanre ranted on to Noah’s indifference. His behavior irked Lanre badly.
“I hope you heard all I said?”
A nut flew out of Lanre’s head. He walked out of Noah’s office more annoyed than he had come.
“Lanre, what did you do?” Lara asked hotly.
Lanre knew how stupefying it was for him to rant angrily while Noah remained silent and so he decided to give Lara of taste of it.
“Lanre can’t you hear me?!” She raised her voice.
“For chrissakes I told you he didn’t know about you! You knew! So why did you have to embarrass me like that?”
“Lanre!” She shouted.
“Can’t you hear me?” She was now seething in rage, sweat beading her brows.
“If you like sit there like you’re deaf and dumb or something. The truth remains that what you did was barbaric! Civilised people talk coherently and not barge in on others like some hoodlums! If you had anything at all to say you should have told me!” She blurted furiously.
Lanre picked his ear lobe with his index finger in a way that showed his lethargy. That made Lara grow madder.
“I mean.” She whispered throwing her hands in the air and then she hissed loudly. Lanre smiled wryly. She quickly picked her bag and turned to leave.
Lanre was patiently waiting for her to exhaust the lines of her script so that he could take up the theatrics mantle and add his own plots to the drama.
He rose in a fit.
“What do you think you doing?”
“Lanre why for goodness sake are you doing all these to me? Why. Why treat me this way?”
Lanre looked around in an exaggerated surprise.
“I think I should be the one asking you that. Omolara why are you treating me like this?” Lanre asked, turning her question back on her. Lara sank into a single sofa settee in frustration.
“Omolara, I’m not proud of what I did, I know myself that it was unseemly of-”
“Exactly! It was a very wrong thing to do, you have to apologize to him.”
“Apologize?” His eyebrows flickered up. “Omolara you pushed to this point.”
“How?” She drawled in self defense, splaying her hands.
“The other day we had an otherwise nice time during the bible study. You and I know that was remarkably the worst study in the eight months of our courtship, just like we know what caused it,” Lanre paused for effect and Lara pulse raced. What did he know?
Lanre made the silence stretch tautly before continuing.
“After our rough meeting in the garden that day, the next thing you could think of was to hang out with Noah.” He couldn’t hide the edge of bitterness in his voice.
Aghast, her lips parted. She felt naked, like a child caught with hands in the cookie jar.
“Oh, you’re surprised. You didn’t expect me to know, huh?” He asked tauntingly and Lara could say nothing.
“The following morning Vanessa came to my office to mock me with a photo of you two.”
“Lanre, I’m very sorry.” Lara apologised as she could no longer hold back her tears.
“And you know Vanessa, she was ready to make the most of that slit in the wall.”
“I hope nothing happened?” He could palpate her curiosity.
“What if something happened?” Lanre asked with an affront.
Lara buried her face in her palms as she wept. She felt ashamed of herself.
“A wise woman builds her home but the foolish woman brings it down herself!” The barb of his words stung.
“Omolara, judge yourself that you may not be judged. Which category do you belong? Ask yourself. Have you been building this relationship or doing otherwise?” Lara wept more, but somehow she had a primeval feeling that nothing happened between Vanessa and Lanre, that relieved her.
“Lanre I’m sorry.” She said brokenly.
“Truthfully, sorry wouldn’t change a thing. We need to understand each other, we need to work on our communication and be more considerate. Omolara we need to talk about this and come to a consensus.” He was now sitting beside her. She smiled weakly, she admired his wisdom, how he always seemed to have every situation under control.
“In that light I want to ask you a question, so that I know what we are dealing with exactly. Before that, just so you know nothing happened between Nessa and I the other day, although it almost did but let’s just say God saved me.” He paused, she nodded. “Now to my question, do you have feelings for Noah?”
The question hit her unexpectedly, stunning her briefly.
“I- I don’t know.” Her response was terse and awkward.
“How can you say you don’t know now?” His shoulders sagged.
“What sort of question is that?”
“The type of question I want you- scratch that, need you to answer.” He insisted.
“You don’t trust me?” She pointed at her chest.
“What has this got to do with trust? And you make it sound like trust just happens. Omolara, trust isn’t just another phenomenon, trust is built. And how would we be able to build it if you don’t answer this question?” He paused, he knew his hackles were already rising and he didn’t want the talk to end up as another brawl. He knew also that if he continued raving with a raised voice, the conversation would end up as an unfruitful argument, so he drew a deep breath and calmed down.
“Look, liking him is not the problem, how it’s handled is what could turn out to be a problem. And if we must fight through this and overcome, we have to face the truth first.”
She jerked her chin up by a fraction of an inch as she crossed her legs, a move Lanre had come to know as her defenses heightening.
“Trust is very important every relationship, and especially one like ours, we need to face reality to bui-”
“I don’t want to talk about this.” She avoided his gaze and maintained a deadpan expression. To say he was exasperated, was an understatement. He was so fraustrated that all he wanted to do was crash into tears, grab her by the shoulders and shake her violently till sense returned to her head. But looking at the steely mask she was now wearing, Lanre wondered if their relationship will ever be able to see the other end of this tunnel.
He walked past her, into his room.
Upon hearing the click of his room door, she burst into tears.
“Why am I like this?” She mumbled rhetorically. She couldn’t answer Lanre. The question he asked was one her mind had asked severally, and she could never provide an answer. If she wasn’t sincere to herself how then could she be to someone else?
She picked up her bag and trudged out of his house.
Lanre raised himself up against the bed. He straightened his back as he heard the sound of the entrance door creak. Lara was leaving.
He was exhausted, completely. He couldn’t think of any other way to help Lara and their relationship. He had tried everything he could; prayers, he just spoke his mind to her and he even went as far as doing risible things like confronting Noah. Nothing seemed to be of help. He was befuddled and at his wits end.
It was obvious that things were going bonkers in their relationship and that he needed urgent help. He knew with certitude that the needed help could only be found in good counsel and from his parents. They had been his tested and trusted confidants, they had been the hands discipling him. Moreover they were also Lara’s spiritual parents.
He narrated his ordeal in details to his listening parents. The Yorubas would say a corpse wouldn’t hide from those trying to wash it.
To his greatest shock they simultaneously gave the same instruction and with that they closed the meeting. What was more surprising than that was the witness he felt deep down his soul to what they instructed.
It all seemed illogical and Lanre was left to wallow deeply in confusion.