THE LAST SMILE
Tinuke was busy glaring at Luciana as anger bubbled up in her. Deolu look from an obviously angry Tinuke to a stunned and frozen Luciana and laughed softly. “This must be a mixup. This is not Brenda, this is Luciana. Luciana Jones to be precise, the woman I told you about”.
“Oooohhh… I hate it when you doubt me. Ask her if she does not know me, or has she become deaf and dumb?” Tinuke yelled.
Luciana swallowed and faced Deolu. “Is she your sister?”
“Who else would I be? Oh… you thought you could take what belongs to me and still have my brother? You have failed. Bro Deolu, you have not seen your bride ooo” she ranted on top of her voice.
A confused Deolu faced Lucy. “The Raymond you have been talking about is not James Ray, right?”
Lucy breathed. “He is the one. He was the one that found me and took care of me” her voice was low.
Deolu swallowed. He remembered when Tinuke had introduced Raymond to him as her fiancé. He had instantly known why Tinuke would fall for him. He was drop-dead gorgeous and could sweep any girl off her feet without even trying. “I am sure you are mistaken Tinu. Raymond saved Lucy after she had been stabbed. I am sure you misjudged whatever you saw”.
Tinuke laughed. “Misjudged” she repeated, her face bringing up a look of scorn. “Immediately she was discharged from the hospital, Ray brought her to the house. Immediately she entered, he drove me out. That same day!” she exclaimed. “They were there alone. A man and a woman, alone in that big house Deolu” she laughed slightly. “And you tell me that I misjudged them. Wonderful”
“Point of correction miss, we were not alone in that house. Yes, immediately you left, I was alone in the house with him that day but the following day, his sister arrived. Besides, I did not make him drive you out of the house, on the contrary, your bad character drove you out.”
Tinuke’s palm swung with speed and connected with Luciana’s cheek.
“What the hell!” Deolu exclaimed and grabbed Tinuke’s hand with force. “Apologise to her this minute. Now” he yelled as Lucy stood with fire burning in her eyes.
“Apologize my foot” Tinuke dropped. “Let me tell you witch, you can’t take Raymond from me. We are back together and we would remain together forever” she contemplated saying something and decided against it. “So, if you know what is best for you, you would stay away from my man.”
Deolu gripped her arm with force but she did not agree to apologize.
Lucy advanced towards her slowly, keeping her eyes glued to her. She stood br£@st to br£@st with her as they glared at each other. Deolu could not even do anything anymore because none of them seemed to notice him.
“Let me give you some advice: sit yourself down and tell yourself the truth. You don’t love Raymond. You are only after his money and fame” Tinuke laughed but Lucy ignored it. “You also need to tame your tongue woman. I heard all your arguments with Ray before you left and I wondered how he could cope with you. He is a very wonderful guy and he deserves a woman who loves him wholeheartedly.”
Tinuke sneered. “And you are the woman right?”
Lucy kept a straight face and walked away from her. “Deolu, it was nice meeting your sister” she walked out of the house.
Deolu turned his rage on Tinuke.
Deolu met Lucy at the garden some minutes later, staring into space. He touched her shoulder and she jerked slightly. “Lucy” he called softly. “I am so sorry”
Lucy smiled faintly as he glanced at her cheeks to see if there was any bruise on it. “I wonder why you are apologizing. You did nothing wrong. I am at fault here”.
“No. I have always known Tinu to be saucy and abusive, I should not have invited her over”
“It is not your fault she is like that, you invited her because you felt it was right” she responded then turned to face him. “Do you think I cheated on you?”
“What? How would you think that? I can’t believe my sister over you; I trust you” he stated fiercely.
“I trust you too, and with that trust, I want to ask you something. Before we became erm… we were friends before we moved on to this next stage” she paused, knowing how awkward she just sounded. Deolu noticed it but kept quiet. “I want you to @ssume us friends again, just friends, and answer this question honestly. What is going on between you and T.J?”
Deolu became as white as snow and started stammering. “Lu…Lucy… Lucy what…”
“I thought I told you to be honest with me. I know T.J and I know you very well. I know my best friend would never ever do something against me knowingly. The same goes for you. Confide in me like you once did as a friend, please. I am begging” her eyes pleaded.
Deolu swallowed h@rd. “Erm…” he stared at the ground. “While we were in Abuja, we… I…” he inhaled. “I was asking about her fiancé and she got emotional and I…”
“You klzzed her” Lucy completed.
“I am sorry. I did not know what came over me, it was just due to the emotional atmosphere. Teju is not to blame at all, I am totally at fault. It would never repeat itself. Please” he rushed, holding Lucy’s hand.
“You love her” Lucy said, surprised that she did not feel bad about the realisation. He shook his head vigorously. “I have seen the way you look at her Deolu, there is this tender look in your eyes whenever you gaze at her, especially since you both returned from Abuja. You never looked at me that way Deolu, accept it”
“Don’t talk like that Lucy, it was just one klzz. One klzz when we were not thinking”.
“What if I told you that I am not in love with you? What if we were just friends? Would your response still be the same?”
Startled, Deolu frowned deeply. “What the hell are you talking about?”
Lucy moved towards him. “Deolu, I love Teju so much. She is the sister I never had and I want her to be very very happy. Nothing would make me happier than seeing her smile again. Tunde has wrecked her heart and she is no longer glowing like she once was. I want you to be sure of your feelings. No matter what you decide, you would always be my close friend. If you love Teju, go for her; it would make me very happy. Denying your feelings would not be right”. Lucy took a deep breath and walked away, leaving Deolu stunned and confused.
Two days later, Lucy entered Teju’s apartment with a cool smile on her face. “Hey sweetie, I can smell chicken here, where is it?”
“Oh… it is knorr chicken” Teju responded and they both laughed. Lucy glanced at the table and saw loads of books there.
“Hmmmm… barrister” she hailed.
“That’s me” Teju laughed. All she had been doing lately was working.
“How is Fred’s case coming?” Lucy sat down.
“Well, we have the first hearing in three weeks but we need to get our proof. Remember our little drama?”
“Yeah, definitely. He won’t have a prayer when he sees me” Lucy said with hate in her voice.
Teju swallowed. “Lucia” she called. “I know you. There is more to this issue and you are hiding it from me. Apart from stabbing you, what else did Fred do to you to make you hate him so much?”
“He raped me” Teju g@sped. “He raped me Teju” Tears rolled down Lucy’s cheeks.
“Oh my God!”
“When I was in my third year in UI, Fred was the closest male friend I had. He asked me out several times but I refused. I had just returned to school for my second semester in 300 level when the unexpected happened. My room mate was yet to arrive and I was the only one in the room. A masked man entered and pushed me h@rd on the bed. Then, I used to sleep with a short loose gown because we rarely had light and I hated the heat. He was stronger than me and I could not do much to help myself. Hitting him was like hitting a rock because it had almost no effect on him” Lucy cried uncontrollably as Teju held her with her eyes burning with anger. “That day, he took my v!rg!nity from me and shattered my life. I never knew it was the same person whom I saw as my friend. The night he stabbed me, he said all these, thinking I was dead. He probably said everything out of fright; he also blamed everyone for making him stab me that day. Said he was going to get even with Deolu and everyone that surrounded me” she leaned against Teju. “Do you know just how much I hate him?” she yelled.
Teju swore loudly. “That b****** would pay dearly, I promise you!!!”
Raymond drove furiously. He had finished muttering all the curses he knew of and was busy repeating them. He could not believe that his so called step-brother would have the effrontery to call him after all he had done. Because of him, his parents were no more, because of him, their united family had drifted apart. Now, he got himself into a mess and he suddenly thought that he had a family? Ray shook his head. Never in his life would he raise a f!ng£r to help a miserable b******. He had prayed for a time when he would be able set his eyes on his mistake of a brother to give him a piece of his mind.
He parked and entered the police station.
He turned like an automatic car at the sound of that voice. “Lucy” he g@sped. Sighting her, his heartbeat accelerated. “Oh my God! Lucy”
Lucy rushed into his arms as he hugged her tightly. He inhaled deeply as he put his nose in her hair, allowing the scent of her to awaken his s£nses. His heart pounded wildly as he held her, unable to let her go. Lucy could not believe what was happening. She felt the strange desire to klzz him there in public.
“I have missed you a lot sugar” he whispered, finally pulling back.
Lucy cleared her throat. “I missed you too”
“Never did a day p@ss without me thinking about you” he said softly, gazing into her eyes.
Lucy was so overwhelmed, she did not know what to do or say. “Me too… I mean… erm”
Ray brushed his hand, slowly and lightly across her cheek, making her catch her breath. “You are crying?” he looked deeply worried.
“Crying?” she also looked puzzled. She rubbed her face vigorously. “Of course not. Perhaps something entered my-”
He bent his head and klzzed her silent but as his l!ps touched hers, he could not break away. He pulled her into his hands and klzzed her deeply, forgetting that they were in police station. They both forgot everything around them and held on to each other, without letting go. It took a police officer’s tap on raymond’s shoulders to separate them.
“Oga abeg, this place na station, no be hotel wey you go dey romance woman” the policeman stated flatly as the other policemen laughed.
Lucy righted herself, feeling stupid and terribly breathless. What am I doing? She wondered.
“Hey babe, did I …” Teju’s face reddened as her eyes widened. “James Ray” she muttered as she took in the person before her.
“Raymond, meet Teju my best friend, T.J, meet Raymond” Lucy introduced still feeling terribly uncomfortable.
It took Teju’s barrister instincts to stop her from screaming and fussing like a kid.
“It is a pleasure, I heard a lot about you” Ray said, delighted to meet the Teju that Lucy always talked about. She was as beautiful as Lucy said.
“I am honoured. I have always prayed for a day like this; I am a huge fan. But more importantly, thank you for what you did for my little baby here, I am eternally grateful”
“I did what anyone would have done. Besides, how could I resist saving such a beautiful lady? I have been trained to be a gentleman” he grinned.
“You surely are” Teju said, heard her name and smiled. “I would be back” she pinched Lucy and ran off.
“Ouch” Lucy said softly and Ray smiled. Lucy felt uncomfortable, being left alone with him, it was as if the policemen at the counter had vanished even though they were still there. She shifted uncomfortably. “What brought you here?”
“God” he gazed into her eyes. She looked away, too shy to respond to the taunt and he smiled, knowing that it was that shy attitude that amused him most about her. “Actually, I am here, though unwillingly, to see my mistake of a brother. Step-brother actually. Fred”
“Who?” Lucy blanched.
“Fred. He called for me and I came to give him a piece of my mind” his anger returned slightly.
“Fred? Your brother”
“Stepbrother actually. I wish he wasn’t. I know I never told you about him, he is like a prodigal son.”
Lucy fumbled with her phone and Ray became worried. “Is it this person?”
He stared at the picture on his phone and frowned deeply. “Yes. How do..”
“Oh my God” Lucy g@sped as she stared at Raymond with tears coming rapidly.
“What is it sugar?” she backed away when he tried to touch her. He was instantly alarmed.
“No! That is the guy that stabbed me”
Raymond froze as he stared at her.
“He stabbed me” she exclaimed.
“Ray”. They both turned and faced Tinuke who approached with anger in her stride.
The day couldn’t have been more worse, Raymond thought. “What the hell are you doing here Tinu? Are you trailing me now?”
“No. I came to visit a friend nearby and I saw your car and knew you were here.” She faced Lucy. “Have I not warned you to stay away from my man? You are trying to tie him up with crocodile tears right?” Lucy was too shocked and stunned to pay Tinuke any attention. “Accept defeat my dear. Guess what? I am pregnant. I am carrying Raymond’s baby”.
Lucy froze, wondering if she had heard correctly. She shifted her gaze to Raymond but he did not look shocked, he had obviously been informed. She held her head and ran out in tears, not hearing teju who was busy calling her.
Teju held back Raymond when he tried to pursue Lucy. Tinuke saw her and g@sped. “Raymond, I do not intend to meddle in your private affair but I suggest you find out if that child she is carrying is truly yours. She stole my fiancé from me six weeks ago by offering him her body, don’t get saddled with a b******” she fixed Tinuke a cold glare and ran off to catch up with Lucy.
WATCH OUT FOR EPISODE 31
The last smile Episode 30
THE LAST SMILE