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Chapter Twelve

I’m here with someone. 

The words followed Ada around for the rest of the evening. Even after Eddie left, she kept on seeing his face, hearing those terrible words coming out of his mouth.

I’m here with someone.

The hall thinned out as people went home. Her friends left after congratulating her again and again. Mrs. Aina informed her that all her pictures had been sold, that she had been the highpoint of the exhibition, and that some of the guests had been from one of the oil companies. There had been tentative talks about a large order of pictures to hang in their offices nationwide, and for their New Year’s calendar. It would mean a lot of money. …. Read More

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© 2012 by Somi Ekhasomhi. All rights reserved

Chapter Eleven

Ada had never worked as hard as she did in the week that followed. It was the only way she could push the feelings of helplessness, desperation, and frustration that came with thoughts of Eddie to the back of her mind. He was all she thought about, she couldn’t eat or sleep, it was only while she worked that she could forget, if only for a little while, the sight of that woman in Eddie’s arms, kissing him. 

It must have been hell for Clive as she drove him like a slave master. She spent only a few hours in the office every day, driving from one end of Lagos to another for different projects – a two page spread they were doing of a new hotel, a charity event, a comedy show, the opening of an outdoor cinema- She was everywhere, she took pictures, wrote content, and even interviewed people. When Sophie called her into her office towards the end of the week, she didn’t know what to expect, she only hoped Eddie wouldn’t come up in their conversation. She knew that Sophie must have noticed that Eddie hadn’t spoken much to her at the awards. She hadn’t asked why, but it was only a matter of time. …. Read More
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© 2012 by Somi Ekhasomhi. All rights reserved

Chapter Ten

The whole office was buzzing with excitement about the TRANSCEND awards. Sophie printed every online article where either her name or Living Lagos was mentioned. She cut out more of the same from newspapers and magazines and pinned them on the notice board.

Ada tried to join in the excitement, but it was hard. She hadn’t heard from or seen Eddie since the night outside her apartment, she wanted to call and apologize, she had thought and thought about everything that happened and the more she thought about it, the more convinced she was that she had been wrong.

She missed him too, that was the hardest thing, how much she missed him. Many times, she almost dialed his number, in her mind she made up excuses to call him, but pride always stopped her. What would she say to him, after everything she had already said? Sophie advised her to call him. “Contrary to popular opinion guys have feelings too” She told Ada. “You hurt his feelings, you should call him.” …. Read More

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© 2012 by Somi Ekhasomhi. All rights reserved

Chapter Nine

The office should have felt a little cramped, with the addition of two new people, but it didn’t. A new desk had been added to the outer office for Clive and Fadeke to share, while Oliver, now Sophie’s assistant, retained his old desk. Lola Balogun, the new receptionist, sat at the desk by the door, the severity of her dark blue suit and smoothly braided hair belied by the good humored smile that never seemed to leave her face.

The space had been rearranged somewhat, so that Ada’s desk now occupied pride of place in a corner, confirming that she was the boss of the outer office. It was a jovial atmosphere that Monday morning, as everybody got to know each other. Lola had been a receptionist at a big multinational, before she resigned to have her kids, now that her last child was five years old she had decided to get a job again. The position Living Lagos had offered had been ideal for her.

Clive was just excited. Fresh from university, it was his first real job. He already had ideas for subsequent covers that Ada found interesting. In the few hours he had spent in the office, he had already become best friends with Oliver and Fadeke.

Ada forced herself to take part in the friendliness and the bonding, especially when Sophie was doing the formal introductions. Later, when Sophie had returned to her office, Ada went to her desk to sit quietly and think. She knew she ought to prepare her itinerary for the week, set tasks for Clive to do, do something herself to get her mind off the one thing that had been troubling her all weekend. Eddie Bakare!

But it was hard. She just wanted to lay down somewhere and close her eyes for as long as it too for her to completely forget that Eddie had ever existed. That he had ever kissed her, and made her want things that she didn’t want to want.

Her body still shuddered with pleasure whenever she thought of that kiss in his car. She had tried to convince herself that it was just physical, but the ache in her chest that came from the realization that it was probably really over with him, made it hard to believe. …. Read More

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© 2012 by Somi Ekhasomhi. All rights reserved

Chapter Eight – Preview

Ada started to miss him from the next morning, when he wasn’t waiting outside her gate to take her to the office, as he had done throughout the week before. She was also a little relieved, how could she face him after all the things she had said? After a sleepless night of thinking about their fight, she was no longer so sure that she hadn’t gone too far.

She wondered fretfully if the fight would somehow affect her job. She knew he wasn’t the type to put pressure on Sophie to fire her, even as Sophie wasn’t the type who would surrender to such pressure, but she fretted anyway.

Nothing happened throughout that day. The adverts for the new positions were sent out, Oliver and Fadeke did a little dance around the office when they were told of their promotions, while Sophie watched and laughed.

She had become so used to Eddie calling her, that the absence of any kind of communication from him was almost bewildering. She went through the motions of doing her work, but her mind replayed every single moment of the day before. She was still angry about the fact that he has spoken to Dele Solanke about her, but now she had enough presence of mind to direct most of her anger toward Dele and not Eddie….. Read More
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© 2012 by Somi Ekhasomhi. All rights reserved

Chapter Seven -Preview

Ada was on the phone with Eddie for most of the weekend. Granny couldn’t hide her surprise.

“Who is this person my Adanma cannot stop talking with?” She remarked again and again, in-between spoiling Ada silly with home cooked dishes. She was a slim, small woman, long past middle age, with numerous grey hairs adding character to the bun that was a permanent fixture on her head. She had been a schoolteacher, before she retired to run a provisions store. Like many women of her time, she prided herself on the fact that she had been educated during colonial times, before the corruption came and ruined the educational system, and like most of the women of that era, she carried herself with an inimitable elegance, that was obvious even when she was doing mundane things, like housework or cooking.

“I hope it is a man,” She teased Ada after every phone conversation, “and not just any one of those, the best of the best for my baby.” Her comments always caused Ada to roll her eyes and pretend not to hear. She didn’t bother to deny anything. There would have been no use anyway. Granny had always been able to see straight through her….. Read More

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© 2012 by Somi Ekhasomhi. All rights reserved

Chapter Six – Preview

Sophie was talking about profit margins, advert sales and other such things, Ada wasn’t really listening, she was thinking about Eddie.

She had done that almost nonstop since their date, almost a week ago. It was embarrassing. It was pleasurable. She couldn’t have stopped if she tried, and she didn’t want to try.

The morning after her date with Eddie, he had surprised her by calling at about six am, to ask when she would be leaving for work. Every day since then, whenever she came out of the house, his car was there, waiting to take her with him on the long drive to the Island.

His behavior was faultless. He was always amusing, nice, and friendly. There were no requests for dates and nothing that vaguely resembled an attempt at seduction. He would pick her up, engage her in friendly conversation throughout the drive, and drop her off at her office. She had gotten to know him a lot more than she did before, and she hadn’t found anything not to like. Spending time with him was getting very comfortable, too comfortable in fact. She had started to look forward to those morning drives with too much excitement, and he wasn’t even pursuing her. Now she understood why it was so easy for all those girls to succumb to his charm. He wasn’t even using it on her and yet, here she was, dying for him.

“What do you think?” It was Sophie’s voice, cutting into her thoughts. What do I think about what? Ada wondered, looking blankly into Sophie’s face.

Sophie sighed. “You weren’t listening, were you? Where does your mind always go these days? I wonder.” She gave Ada a quizzical look. “I was talking about… oh never mind.” She frowned.

“I am sorry.” Ada apologized. “I just seem to have a lot on my mind these days.”

“Yes you do.”Sophie replied, sitting back on her chair. “I would ask you if it was something I could help with, but I’m sure you’re just mooning over some guy. Your face tells the whole story.”

Ada felt her face heat up in embarrassment. Was it so obvious? She really had to get her feelings under control. She didn’t want to fall head over heels for Eddie just because he had taken her out to dinner…. Once! The thought was embarrassing. …. Read More

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© 2012 by Somi Ekhasomhi. All rights reserved

Chapter Five – Preview

“Ada! Where is your mind? I’ve been talking to you for almost one full minute!”

Ada looked up in surprise and saw Sophie standing over her desk, wearing a curious expression. “Don’t tell me that you’ve gone and fallen in love,” Sophie continued teasingly. “Or please tell me that, it would truly make my day. It’s about time you fell in love anyway.”

“I haven’t fallen in love!” Ada protested, straightening up from the daydreaming slouch in which Sophie had caught her. “I just have a lot on my mind.”

“Yeah I know!” Sophie scoffed. “That’s why you had that mooning expression on your face!”

Ada sighed. Of course, she had been thinking about Eddie and the ‘kiss’ they had shared. Had she really kissed Eddie Bakare? She wondered what Sophie would say if she told her.

It seemed so wrong now, in retrospect. She shouldn’t have let him do that, she should have protested, or at least showed some displeasure afterwards.

What displeasure though? It had felt incredibly good.

I’m becoming silly, Ada told herself, like all those girls in the movies.

“Eddie wanted your mobile number.” Sophie continued. “Not your office line, your personal mobile, and he wouldn’t tell me why.” She gave Ada a speculative look. “Does he have anything to do with that daydreaming expression you had on earlier on?”

“No!” Ada exclaimed, “And I don’t know what ‘daydreaming look’ you’re talking about.” It was a bold-faced lie and Sophie was obviously not buying it.

Sophie shrugged. “Okay, don’t tell, me, leave me in the dark.” She tripped back to her office in her high heels, the knowing smile still on her face. There is nothing to tell! Ada wanted to scream.

The day went by remarkably fast. Sometime the week before Sophie had interviewed Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Aligbe, the owner of a new clothing atelier, which was fast becoming popular among the society women. Ada’s task for the day was to do the photo shoot for the article.

It took the whole morning. By the time Ada got back to the office, she was exhausted. She spent some time working on fine-tuning the pictures and doing all the other work on her plate. At some point during the afternoon, Oliver and Fadeke started a lively conversation about movies. She didn’t participate, she honestly couldn’t hear them, she was thinking about Eddie, again. He had taken her number from Sophie, was he going to call or keep her waiting all day?

As if he could hear her thoughts, her phone started to ring, interrupting Fadeke and Oliver’s conversation.

It was a number that wasn’t saved on her phone, so it was probably him. She took a deep breath. Why was she so nervous? It was only a phone call.

“Hello.” She said into the phone.

“Hi Ada, This is Eddie.”

As if that voice could belong to anybody else, Ada thought. How was it possible that his voice could sound even better on the phone? It felt warm, husky and sweet, like chocolate, or cream, or…

“Hello?”

She snapped out of her wayward thoughts. “Hi.” She said.

“So I’ve been thinking about our date.”

Our date? It sounded so intimate and suggestive, coming from him. She wondered if she had made a mistake in agreeing to it.

“What about it?” She asked him.

“I know we haven’t decided on a day,” He said. “But how about tonight?”

Don’t say yes! An inner voice urged her, make him wait at least a week, make…

“Tonight is fine.” She heard herself telling him. How could she make him wait, when she could hardly wait herself? …. Read More

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© 2012 by Somi Ekhasomhi. All rights reserved

Chapter Four

“Tell you what?” Ada stammered, wondering if she had heard him right. There was no way he could have come all the way to her apartment just to ask about her personal feelings towards him!

He sighed. “I’m intruding, I know, and I’m sorry.” He paused as if waiting for her to say something to the contrary, perhaps that he wasn’t intruding. She stayed quiet.

“Look, I need to know.” He continued. “For some reason, even though I have never done anything bad to you that I know of, you dislike me.” There was an accusing note in his voice. Have I hurt his feelings, Ada wondered, or his pride?

“It’s not just that you said it today.” He stated accusingly. “It’s always been obvious.”

“I don’t know what you mean.” Ada said. If she had known that just that statement would affect him so much, she would have kept her mouth shut. There goes my desire to collapse on the bed and fall asleep, she thought.

“Come on!” He exclaimed. “At least you can’t deny that you admitted it today.”

She really should have kept her big mouth shut. “That was the wine talking.” She told him, it was half-true anyway.

“One glass.” He pointed out, shaking his head in disbelief. “Admit it. You don’t like me.” He gave her a challenging look. When she didn’t say anything, he continued. “Well for some reason, I find that I like you.” He paused, as Ada’s face drew into an expression of puzzlement. “Yes. I like you, a lot actually. So what I’d like to know is why our opinions of each other are so unfortunately out of balance.” Continue reading

Chapter Three

It was a society wedding. The type where there were a lot of high profile people, no celebrities or sports people, just a lot of old money, a few politicians with old names, and their highly indulged offspring.

It was noisy, but it was a refined sort of noise; well-modulated voices of society matrons in conversation, their exclamations as they met the children of their friends – potential spouses for their children, the deep laughter of men, not too loud, just self-possessed, the way rich men laughed, not the loud, self-conscious cackling often attributed to the obsequious poor. Above the din, the live band played, alternating between old classics and modern sounds.

They were beautiful, Ada thought, these people. The women, with their expensive laces, sweet smelling perfumes and beautiful jewelry, – not the loud, heavy jewels of the classless rich, but subdued pieces of gold, pearls and precious stones that didn’t need to scream to get your attention. The men, with their distinguished airs, deep voices and impeccable manners, and their children, young, beautiful and stylish, with musical voices adorned with the best of British and American private school accents.  Continue reading