“Welcome home Bayo” they all shouted, it was Bayo’s welcoming party, the one his parents had arranged for him, the surprise party they organized to welcome him back to Lagos or so he thought. He opened his eyes to see a room full of familiar faces. Everyone was eager to either hug him or give him a peck on the cheek. In the midst of all the greetings, His father, Mr. Olaotan pulled him to a corner, “Bayo, I would like you to meet Roshana, she just got back from the UK. I felt you two would have lots of similar experiences to share”, his dad said with a twinkle in his eye, introducing a beautiful young lady who seemed to be in her mid-twenties to him. His dad a handsome man who aged gracefully, or as his family jokingly said,” he was a man who refused to get old”. “Oh hi, my name is Adebayo Olatoan Williams”, “Roshana Williams”, “Wow so we have the same surname” they both chorused in unison. They shook hands exchanging pleasantries.
“So when did you get back?” Bayo asked, “Well today would make it a week now, I’m still trying to get a hang of Lagos” Roshana replied, trying to avoid the handsome eyes paring down at her. “For me, I just got back too; I left a thriving job back at New York at my parents’ persistence to return to Lagos, even though it’s been 20years, I was last here”. “So please tell me about you”, he said completely blown away by her beauty. “What kind of name is Roshana?”
“OMG Bayo, you haven’t changed” Bayo turned to see who and where the interruption was coming from, Lo and behold it was Funmi his secondary school crush. He stood and gave Funmi a hug…a hug that lasted more than he would want, Funmi lingered; taking in the scent of him. With Funmi, he had done things he wasn’t proud of, and he didn’t want to relive the memories, so he had always stayed clear of her. When the opportunity came for him to leave for the US to continue high school, he took it with open hands and left without saying goodbye. Funmi had always tried to stay in touch, but he cut it off every chance he got. He was a changed man now and he was too ashamed to look Funmi in the eye, after all the rubbish they did together.
“Funmi! What a surprise, you’ve changed a little bit, you are now slimmer and more beautiful, how are you? It’s been ages” “Yeah. It’s your fault we haven’t been in touch; you refused to get in touch. I tried to keep communication open, but you cut me off every single time”, Funmi replied. “I’m sorry”, Bayo responded, “do forgive me”.
All this while Roshana was shifting uncomfortably in her seat, she was angry at the interruption and more angry with the interrupter. They obviously share history, she thought, looking at both Funmi and Bayo. The nerve, coming here to steal Bayo away, Roshana thought about Funmi, looking her over, “she’s beautiful, though. I must teach her a lesson. She’s not about to steal my man”, so she cleared her throat and stood, without forgetting to brush Bayo’s arm while she did so. Funmi did not fail to miss that.
“Roshana I’m so sorry, please meet Funmi my friend from secondary school”. “Friend from my secondary school, really? Is that all I am to you?” “Don’t mind him, he’s just been modest, I’m his ex; we dated before he decided to leave me and run off to the US”, Funmi said putting an arm on Bayo.
This was not a situation that was new to Bayo, ladies always fought over him, each one trying to mark their territory and so he maintained platonic relationships with all the ladies he met in the US. Right now he was in a dilemma; he didn’t know what to do. He actually wanted to run away; from this budding fight, from ladies who clearly didn’t know him. He actually did not like bumping into Funmi like that, he was enjoying his conversation with Roshana, and he was already taking a liking to her. She was beautiful, interesting, was well dressed and there was something about her that pulled him; he would like to discover what.
Segun, Bayo’s childhood friend had been watching all the drama and he knew Bayo needed to be saved and so he, “Hello ladies, I’m Segun, do you mind me stealing Funmi away for some minutes?” Segun said to the trio of Bayo, Roshan, and Funmi. “Of course” they all chorused; with he and Bayo exchanging glances, and Bayo muttering a thank you under his breath.
The party was already in full swing, people were milling about, food and drinks flowed, small chops, cake, and desserts were in abundance, “Wow, my parents did a damn good job” he muttered to himself. He was an only child and his parents had always made sure he lacked nothing, he had been spoilt but surprisingly was raised well and he was the pride of his parents. He knew they would spare nothing to give him the best.
He met a lot of familiar faces, and some he didn’t recognize; everyone trying to have a piece of him; a picture here and a picture there. The MC had just finished speaking, and he was hearing his name, “Can we put our hands together as we welcome on stage, the man of the hour: Mr. Adebayo Olaotan Williams”.
He went up the stage and almost felt like running away, for as long as he could remember, he was a shy man and avoided scenes where he would be in front of people. He knew he had to give a speech; a speech he was unprepared for. So he began, “My speech would be very short, this is all a surprise, I had no idea about this. So I want to thank everyone who out of their busy schedules were able to grace this occasion. Leaving New York was a difficult decision to make, but I did make it knowing that irrespective of place, power, position or money, the family is the most important of them all. Thank you to my parents for all the sacrifice, the money spent, the endless calls, chats, and visits they spent during my sojourn abroad. I look forward to memorable times here in Nigeria. Once again, thank you to you all. Please eat, drink and be merry. God bless you all”.
The ovation was thunderous and his parents came and hugged him, he caught his mum shedding a tear or two. He shook his head “Women and emotions”.
As he made his way down, he glanced throughout the room looking for Roshana, “Oh my God she’s gone” he thought in horror. He went throughout the house, calling out her name; no answer. He then checked outside and saw her, seating at the porch. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you, what are you doing here?” he asked her. Well I was bored and the only friend I met at the party had met his love and forgotten all about me, so I decided to wait out here for my parents”, she said glancing down at her feet.
“Well, I’m here now and if I had forgotten about you, I wouldn’t be looking for you. By the way, I had no idea your parents were here, you must introduce me to them before you leave”, Bayo replied. Taking her hands in his, he looked her in the eye and said “So where were we? Ahan I remember, you were about telling me about yourself”. “Not so fast Bayo”, Roshana replied, “why don’t we arrange to meet somewhere tomorrow?” “Like a date?”, Bayo said to her still looking her in the eye, she blushed, he had that effect on people and he liked the reaction. “Yes, Bayo like a date” Roshana answered. “That would be great, why don’t you give me your number, so I’ll let you know the time and place, and if given the honour, I’d drive by your house to pick you”. “Is that a stylish way of asking for my number Bayo? “Well, you could say that I’m smitten by you”. Bayo said to her, now looking at her intently.
“But since I still have you here with me, why don’t we take a stroll around the compound, so I can show you around?” Bayo asked Roshana, and before waiting for a reply from her, he took her hands in his and they both walked into the burgeoning night.
Read Part 3 HERE