Please note that this series contains some sexually explicit content, violence and offensive language. It is not appropriate for children nor an immature and sensitive audience.
A SMALL WORLD - SEASON THREE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
It was the sound of the television that woke Kemi up from her slumber. She stirred to discover that she’d been drooling on her plush cushion, which she’d subconsciously used as a pillow when sleep had taken over her senses. She sat up slowly on the sofa and resisted the urge to rub her eyes, remembering that she’d already done her make-up. She had been waiting for Oyinda to show up. What time was it?
10:59 pm. Her locked phone screen confirmed the time when she checked. Wow, that was late! So, Oyinda hadn’t come and she’d slept off. She still felt sleepy but was now a little worried too. She unlocked her phone to see if he’d sent her a message. Her heart beat a little faster on discovering that he had left her two messages. She quickly went to their chat to read them.
“Hey, babe,” he’d written. “So sorry that I can’t make it tonight. Temi is not feeling fine at all, and she needed me. I hope you understand. I’ll make it up to you. I promise.”
A little smile tickled the sides of Kemi’s lips, despite a part of her saying that he was playing her for a fool. She chose to ignore it. He could have just ignored me. He didn’t have to write and explain nor apologise, but he’d chosen to because he really cared about her. If his wife is sick, and he chose to be there for her, it means that he’s a good guy. He’s trying, and that’s what matters, she told herself.
“Okay. Get well soon to her,” she chose to write in response. She’d hesitated over adding the second sentence, but she also didn’t want to appear cruel. Sure, the woman was her competition, but the sooner Temi got better, the sooner Oyinda could get back to her – with his full attention. She smiled and decided to add, “Call me when you’re free.”
Kemi sighed and rose up from the sofa. She picked up the remote and switched off the television. She was still so sleepy. She strolled up lazily to her bedroom and got under the covers when she’d managed to change into her nightie.
Cindy sat nervously in the lounge area, as she waited to be called in for her interview with the banker. She’d dropped her application for a loan with the bank two weeks earlier and had received a mail, inviting her for an interview today, last Friday. She’d been so thrilled at the opportunity to appeal for the loan and used the weekend to prepare. But now that she sat waiting, all her anxieties were rising to the fore.
She’d applied at two other banks, and one of them had responded within a week with “No,” stating that she didn’t have an account with the bank and had a ‘thin file’ where credit was concerned. She had known that her lack of credit history might pose a challenge for her securing a loan, but she also knew that she would never get one if she never tried.
She had a solid business plan and a budding business, and the only challenge to growth and expansion was capital. She’d been banking with Solomon Investment Bank for the last three years, even though she had only started saving six months ago, at Ope’s advice. Still, she was hopeful that they would take that into account when considering her application.
“Ms Ovo,” the banker stepped out and called to Cindy.
She looked up from the brochure she had been looking through and put on her most confident smile. The young banker didn’t seem to take notice, as he turned quickly to return to his desk. Cindy rose up and followed after him.
“So, madam, we’ve looked through your plan…” he started, then looked at her with a small cheeky smile. “A bit optimistic don’t you think?”
“Well, I am optimistic. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have come to you. I have a good plan and the experience and skills needed, and I’m positive I can even double those estimates if you will grant me the loan.”
“You mentioned that you had worked at your last place as the head caterer for less than three months. Prior to that, you were just a baker and not really earning much at all. So, we don’t really know the experience you are referring to.”
Cindy swallowed. “Hmmm… But in the last three months, I’ve made this much,” she pointed at the figure on the sheet in front of him, feeling proud of herself. “From five different clients. Without having an office or staff. It was my experience and skill that caused them to entrust me with their events, and even refer me to their friends. I’m not in doubt about my ability, I just know that for the kind of growth I seek, I need more capital. There are also some appliances and equipment I need, which I mentioned in my proposal, as well as rental money for a small office and kitchen.”
“Hmmm…” The banker continued to study the sheets. He asked her a few more questions, which she answered satisfactorily. “Unfortunately, Ms Ovo, we can’t approve you for this loan at this time, but...”
Cindy held her breath. There was a ‘but,’ and how she wished he’d hurry up and spill the beans.
“We have a new product we launched last month that we believe would benefit you and might just be what you need. It’s a special loan for women in business, at 0% equity. The maximum you can borrow is N5,000,000 naira though. Does that sound good to you?”
Cindy smiled and nodded. “Yes, thanks. What’s involved in that?”
“You can just fill in this application form, and your request will be processed now.”
Cindy took the form and filled it before handing it back to the banker. He left the room for a short while and returned with a smile on his face.
“The Women in Business Loan has now been approved for you, ma’am.”
Cindy let out an excited breath. “Praise God!”
The banker beamed. “Yes, well. Provided that you meet your repayment deadlines, you should be able to apply next year for the low interest plan you wanted, which offers a higher threshold.”
Cindy was beaming. She’d gotten her first loan! It had been a very slim chance. She didn’t know why she was so favoured, but she thanked God.
“This will be just fine. Thank you so much!” she said, her hands clasped together in front of her mouth.
The banker nodded and smiled. “Congratulations, Ms Ovo. Thank you for banking with SIB.”
“I’m sorry. Your card has been declined.”
“Excuse me?” Amaka replied to the cashier at the supermarket. She had to be mistaken.
The woman looked bored as she handed the card back to Amaka. “It’s declined. Do you have another card?”
“Please, just try it again,” Amaka said, waving the card away. She looked about, feeling rather embarrassed. It was just a simple purchase. Not even up to N10,000!
The cashier tried again. “I’m sorry, ma’am. Do you have another card or can you pay with cash instead?”
Amaka snatched the card back and slipped it into her wallet. She pulled out another one. After putting in her pin, the transaction was successful. Embarrassed, Amaka gathered her provisions and hurried out of the supermarket.
This was unbelievable! How did she run out of money and not realise? She knew she was running low, but she was sure she still had a couple hundred thousand in that account. She’d have to check with the bank.
She got to her car, opened it, and threw her shopping in the back seat. Her phone began to ring, and she dipped her hand in her handbag to retrieve it, sliding her finger across the screen impatiently when she saw that it was an unknown number. “Hello?!”
“Good afternoon, ma. I am Tracy from Trojan Studios.”
“Oh, hi…” Amaka amended her tone. Lord, she’d been waiting for this call. Hopefully, she got the part. Oh, God, please! “Sorry, just a little stressed.”
“It’s okay, ma. Is this a good time?”
“Yes, sure. What is it?”
“Mr Ekanem has requested for you to attend his office tomorrow afternoon at 1 pm, to discuss your part in the show.”
“Oh, wow. Sure! I’ll be there,” Amaka replied eagerly. “Do I need to bring anything?”
“No, ma’am. Thank you.”
“Oh, thank you!” Amaka rejoiced. She screamed with glee when she cut the call. “Thank You, God!!!”
“Wow, good news?”
Amaka turned around at the unexpected greeting. His voice sounded familiar, but she didn’t know him well enough to put voice to face. When she saw him, his name came slowly to her remembrance. Chuk…
“Chuka.” Chuka could see that she still didn’t know him yet, despite their many previous interactions. But he didn’t take it personal. “How are you, Ms Nkechi?”
“I’m fine. And yes, just got some great news. How are you, Chuka?”
Chuka nodded and smiled. “Doing good.”
“And your wife?”
“She’s great! She just started on a new business.”
“Cool. Alright…” Amaka said awkwardly as she got into her car.
“So, what’s the news?” Chuka stood by her car.
Amaka leaned out of her car window as she said, “I got the part in a show I auditioned for. Well, they called me to discuss… So, I’m guessing I got it!”
“Awww, that’s great! Congratulations!”
“Thanks,” she beamed. “Alright, see you later…”
“Yeah, see you around…” Chuka said, moving towards the supermarket so as not to appear like a stalker. He resisted the urge to turn for a final wave when her car withdrew from its position, and she drove out of the parking lot.
He shook his head, off limits. Besides, things were good between him and Ijeoma. Amaka was hot but there was definitely never going to be anything between them. His attraction had probably been borne from a moment of weakness. She was beautiful, but she was definitely resistible. He smiled as he walked into the supermarket, feeling free.
Michael’s flight to Los Angeles landed at the international airport in the early afternoon on Monday, and he headed straight to the hospital to see Linda and Lisa. He’d only packed a hand luggage, so he wasn’t needlessly delayed. He’d called Lisa as soon as his plane touched down, and she’d confirmed that Linda was doing okay, having been started on chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) yesterday. As he rode the taxi to the hospital, he called Temi. When he thought she wasn’t going to pick the call, it connected.
“Hey… I’m in LA now,” he said, happy that she’d picked his call.
“Hey… Thank God for journey mercies…” she said pleasantly.
“Yeah, thank God. So, are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine. Why shouldn’t I be?”
“Well… You didn’t sound like yourself the last time we chatted. And I couldn’t reach you on phone last night. You sure everything’s cool?”
“Hm hmm,” she muttered. “Maybe we can talk when you get back…”
“You’re scaring me, babe,” Michael said, feeling his chest constrict. “What’s going on?”
“Michael… I love you, but what if I’m wrong?”
Michael felt his heart burst open and several birds fly free from its cage. He closed his eyes as he responded. “You know that’s the first time you’re telling me you love me… Temi, don’t overthink this. I love you; you love me. That’s what matters.”
“I’ll get a call card, and we’ll talk later. Please…wait for me.”
Temi nodded and then smiled, realising that he couldn’t see. “Okay,” she replied feebly.
“I’m missing you already. Talk to you later, babe,” Michael said before ending the call. He let out a deep sigh. She loves me… Oh, Michael… Don’t mess this up!
Mary had received a call from Sola about 3 pm that afternoon, informing her that he was now the proud father of a baby boy! Dami was exhausted as she’d been in labour since yesterday evening when they’d left home for the hospital. She was asleep and would probably be for a few hours. Mary had promised to visit in the evening with Ifeanyi.
Dami’s labour room was crowded when Mary and Ifeanyi arrived at about 7 pm. They came with flowers, a teddy bear for the baby, and a bag of provisions too. Dami lit up upon sighting her friend.
“Hey, babe! Congratulations!!!” Mary greeted.
“Congrats, man,” Ifeanyi greeted Sola by slapping palms and pulling him in for an embrace.
Sola was emotional. “Thank you. It was…quite something. I’m just glad she and the baby are both healthy.”
“Yeah, we thank God for everything,” Ifeanyi replied before going to greet the new mother. “Congrats, Dami!”
“Thanks, Ifeanyi!” She smiled from her reclined position on the bed. “Thanks for the gifts too!”
“Oh, it’s only a little. But we’ve got a few more things at home for you. You’ll need to come around later for them, or I can drop them off. Whichever,” Mary shrugged.
Dami’s mouth dropped open. “You’re serious?!”
“Yes, nau! Have you forgotten we had twins?! They’ve got lots of clothes they aren’t wearing anymore. Some of them were never even opened. You don’t mind, do you?”
The tears broke free on Dami’s face as she cried. “Oh, wow, Mary. I don’t mind at all. I mean, our place is small, so we probably won’t take it all at once.”
“Sure,” Mary smiled. “Whenever you’re ready.”
“So, where’s the precious one?” Ifeanyi asked.
Just then, Mrs Ogunyemi returned to the room carrying the bouncy baby boy. When she saw Mary, she instinctively placed the baby in her arms. “The godmother,” she pronounced on her, and Mary beamed. She looked at her friend, who looked almost apologetic. Mary winked and gushed at the baby boy. She carried him over to her husband.
Ifeanyi wrapped his arm around Mary as he too admired the babe. He kissed her temple, as though it was her who had just given birth. She turned to him, feeling flutters in her tummy. “Does this make you want to…?”
“Sssshhh, Mary. We’re done.”
She giggled happily. “Dami, he’s gorgeous!”
“Thank you, dear,” Dami replied.
“What’s his name?” Ifeanyi asked.
“Tope Olatunji,” his father answered.
Sola went to his wife and hugged her. He held on to her hand, and she squeezed his. “Sorry, if I’ve been grumpy,” she said.
“Baby… I’ve already forgotten it. I don’t know how you did it… Thank you for giving me a son.”
Dami beamed up at her husband and felt warm all over when his lips came down on hers.
To be continued...
Photo credit: www.canva.com
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