EMPIRE HIGH SCHOOL Episode 16
I woke up to someone tweaking my nose. I opened my eyes slowly only to find a pair of small cute eyes staring at me.
“Good Morning Uncle Jeff!” She cupped my face in her small hands
“Oh Semi..” I pushed myself up and yawned loudly.
“My mommy is calling you” she rushed to the door and said again
Semi moved out of the room. I hopped out of bed and headed towards the bathroom to rinse my face.
“Aunty Ekaaro Ma” I greeted in Yoruba
(Good Morning Ma) Aunty Joke was all dressed up..like she was going out.
“How was your night?” Aunty Joke asked
“It was fine” I answered
She passed a bowl of cornflakes to Semilore. Deji, my 10 years old cousin was busy playing games on her phone.
“Mr Man drop that phone and eat your food”
She said giving him a stern look.
“Good Morning Bro” he greeted
“How are you Deji?”
“And you are answering him” she said
I looked at my Aunt. It’s polite to answer a greeting.
“And you Deji, is that the proper way to greet an elderly one?” She questioned Deji with a frown.
“I’m sorry Mom”
“Good Morning Uncle Jeff” he corrected
And I hummed a response
I see nothing bad in him greeting me with a “Bro” but you know these Yoruba people are respectful and tgey have so many rules. They believe you have to respect someone who is older than you even if it two months difference. My cousin Bola, Aunty Lara fourth child, We’re of the same age but she was 8 months older. My mom made it compulsory that I call her Aunty Bola and I did. Bola never liked the idea of me calling her Aunty so we agreed that I call Aunty whenever our Aunts are around and keep Aunty away when they are not around.
“We are not going to shop today” Aunty Joke announced. I glanced up from the cup of tea I was sipping on.
I felt a tinge of happiness within me but I wanted to know more about it.
“You know Iya Kojo?” she asked
“Yes” I replied
Iya Kojo own a canteen,not far to our store.
“She died last night”
My forehead creased
“I saw her yesterday” i said
I was shocked!
“Same here.. Jaye said she slipped and fell in the bathroom”
Jaye was the lady running a POS shop close to Iya Kojo’s Shop.
“What a pity”
No wonder! Aunty Joke was dressing on black outfit.
“So are you going to her place?”
“May her soul rest in peace” I said
I was sad about Iya Kojo’s death but I was happy we won’t open shop today. Now I don’t have to work on my plan.
“I’ll be going to the hospital after dropping at Iya Kojo’s place”
“Mommy, are you sick?” Semilore asked
Ngozi, their nanny and housemaid was ill.
“Then why do you have to go to the hospital?!” She asked again
“Baby, have you forgotten Ngozi is ill”
“Oh! That’s true!”
“So I asked Sola to drive her to the hospital this morning”
“So who will take care of us while you are away?” Semi asked
“Your Uncle will take care of you”
What?! Taking care of these kids! When I have plans!
“Mom you promised to take us to the mall” Deji said with a sad tone
“Your uncle will take you..”
“Today?” Semi asked
I exchanged glances with her.
“Will you help me?” She asked me
I nodded slowly
“Thank You” she opened her purse and gave me money.
“Manage this #7,000,I’ll transfer #10,000 to your account in case they want to buy more items. And help me get these items too” she gave me a piece of paper. And she started pressing her phone to make the transfer.
“You can drive the new car in the garage, the key is in the drawer in my room”
“Mommy can i get my superhero comic book?”
“Get anything.. Your uncle will but alot of things for you”
“Can I sit here with you?” Deji asked if he could sit in the front seat with me.
“No.. Just stay with your sister”
“Ok.. Ay” he said in a low tone
My initial plan was to feign sickness so she could allow me stay at home.
Should I say am lucky? Maybe.. But I didn’t plan to be a babysitter today. I’d planned to walk around the estate to see if I would be lucky enough to find Kate’s house. Now I can’t execute my plans because I have to take care of my cousins and help my aunt to buy the items she needs.
“Abeg.. Oga Jeff shey you go reach that place wey madam dey always go every Sunday?” Dauda the gateman asked
I thought of what he was trying to say.
“He’s talking about the mall” Deji said
Dauda shook hands with Deji.
“Yes.. You be good child” he said
“Do you need anything?” I asked
Dauda showed off his brown teeth.
“Deji.. Wetin be that thing again?” Dauda asked
“He wants you to buy him popcorn” Deji said again
“Oh you want me to buy popcorn?”
“Yes oga” Dauda searched his pocket and brought out a rough #500 note.
“Abeg help me buy the thing.. I wan give Ngozi because I don promise her say I go buy it for her” he explained
“Okay.. But don’t worry about the money. I’ll get it for you”
“Koi! Oga! Thank you”
Dauda rushed to open the gate
“Bye bye o” he waved at us as I drove out of the compound.
“He likes Ngozi and mom’s suspecting something is going on between them” Deji said
What?! Dauda and Ngozi having an affair?!
It wasn’t a thing to discuss with my 11 years old cousin so he didn’t bother to ask him more details.
“Uncle Jeffrey can i play game on your phone?.. Like Subway Surf”
And I gave it to her.
“Deji, perhaps have you heard of a girl named Kate living in this Estate?” I asked him as I was checking out houses.
“Kate? I only know of one Kate” he said
“Who is she?”
“My classmate” he replied
I rolled my eyes
“The one am talking about is my classmate and I’ve seen her coming into this estate”
“I don’t know her”
I focused on the road ahead. After a minute drive, My eyes caught a fair skinned figure coming out of an enormous brown gate. There was no way I could be hallucinating!
Kate was there! She started walking away, I knew she was heading to the estate gate to take a cab.
I should give her a ride!
And without thinking I pressed the car horn to gain her attention. She stopped to see who was in the car. I packed the car.
“I’ll be right back Deji”
I got out of the car.
Kate was beautiful. She was dressed in fitted black jeans which showed off her curves. She matched it with a yellow off shouldered top which revealed her bright skin on a pair of white sneakers. Her hair was pulled up in a simple bun. She didn’t wear any make up but she was Gorgeous!
I could see the surprise look on her face when I came out of the car.
I came out of the gate to start the long trek to the main estate gate. I plugged in my earpiece to listen to music but soon I heard a loud horn before I could search through my playlist. I thought I was obstructing the driver’s passage but I recalled the road was wide enough to take cars on seperate lanes. I didn’t want to stop but my instinct instructed me to stop and see. It could be someone who wanted to ask about my parents. I stopped and turned to see who it was only to see Jeffrey coming out of the car. I was stunned! Like.. Jeffrey was in our estate! Driving a car and now he was right in front of me!
He was damn Handsome in a dark Jeans and flannel top that revealed his muscles and sculpted chest and broad shoulders.
I thought I was dreaming! And I need someone to wake me up.
No I don’t want to wake up from this dream!
I realized that I wasn’t dreaming when he came over to me and said
He didn’t smile,just the usual expression. Suddenly I became nervous, my palms was sweaty. .
Kate! Pull yourself together! You wanted to see him and he’s here now.
Perhaps was Jeffrey staying in this Estate too? I wondered
Say something to him or else he will leave again!
I opened my mouth to greet him but my words failed me again! And I couldn’t look at him as I toyed with my cellphone. Why won’t they come out? Just a Hi would do the job!
I thought of running back into our house.. No! I won’t repeat the same mistake!
I closed my eyes and exhaled deeply. You can do this Kate!
I reopened my eyes and looked at him. And my heartbeat accelerated.
“Hi” I said in a low tone
Jeffrey stared at me. No.. No.. Please don’t stare at me.
And slowly he tucked his hands into his front jean pocket.
“Its nice to see you again” he said in a husky voice
What should be my response? Likewise? Same here?
“Do you live around?” He asked
“Yes” I answered without looking into his eyes. I fixed my eyes on his Adams apple. It was better that way.
“That’s my house” I pointed to my gate. He twisted to look at it and he nodded.
“You look good” he said
What?! I look good!
I felt the heat rising on my cheeks. I couldn’t believe i was blushing because Jeffrey said I looked good.
He wasn’t supposed to see me blushing!
“You.. You.. Look good too” I said without meeting his gaze.
“Where are you going?” He asked
“I.. I.. Need to get to the bank”
I said in a rush so I won’t stammer.
“Well..I’m going to the mall with my cousins, if you don’t mind I can give you a ride” he said in a soft voice
Then I looked at him
“Uhmm..You don’t have to bother..” He interrupted me
“I want to feel bothered” he replied
The bank route was totally different from the Mall.. Completely far from each other.
Go with him!
A voice screamed at the back of my mind.
“I’ll drop you at the bank and then head to the mall” he explained
“Uncle Jeffrey what are You doing?” A Tiny voice Said
He turned to his car and I caught a glimpse of a child. She popped her head out of the car.
“I’m coming baby”
he answered and faced me again.
“So what do you say?” He asked
And without thinking I heard myself say to him.
I thought I saw a faint smile on his lips but it faded quickly. I guess I only imagined him smiling at me. I followed him to the car.
“Uncle Jeffrey I can’t unlock your phone” The tiny voice hissed
I looked back and saw two kids, a boy and a girl. They are Jeffrey’s cousins!
“Hey, are you Kate?” The boy asked
Jeffrey whistled before I could say anything.
How did he know my name?
“I guess..I shouldn’t have spilled it out” the boy said
“Unlock for me!” The girl cried
Jeffrey collected the phone from her.
“Who are you?” She asked
“Come on, don’t be rude baby” Jeffrey cautioned her and gave her the phone.
“Meet my Cousins, Deji and Semilore” Jeffrey said as he started the car.
“Hi Kids” I waved
“What’s your name?” Semilore asked
“Katherine but call me Kate”
“Are you his girlfriend? ” she blurted
Where did she get that from?!
I was taken aback by her question!
“Don’t..please don’t Pay attention to her” Jeffrey said
“But I heard you talking about her with Deji before -“
I looked back at her, Deji’s hand was on her mouth.
“Le.. Let.. Go…” she struggled
“Deji.. That’s enough” Jeff said
“I’ll pluck out your eyes if you say anything again” Deji threatened
Was Jeffrey really talking about me with his cousin before he saw me?!
We moved out of the Estate and hit the highway. Everywhere was silent.
My phone beeped. I took it out of my bag.
It was my mom!
“Hi mom” I said
“Hello Kate.. Where are you?”
“On my way to the bank”
“I don’t think its a good idea to go to the bank today” she said
“A customer told me that GTbank was crowded and she couldn’t make the payment into my account” she explained
“What should I do?”
“How much do you want to save In the bank?”
“Dad gave me #25,000 plus the #8,000 you gave me too”
I paused to look at Jeffrey.
He was focused on the road ahead.
“That’s #33,000.. So how much do you intend to save? All?”
“No I need to buy some stuffs out of it”
“Ehn, save that #25,000 and keep the #8000 with you to buy whatever you need. Try to find a Paga center, it easier that way instead of going through the stress of queuing at the bank”
“Yeah.. Your dad is saying Hi”
“Extend my greetings to him”
The line dropped
“Ahmm sorry.. I’m not going to the bank anymore. You can just drop me here so I can take a taxi to a Paga Center” I said to Jeffrey
Our gaze locked immediately
“Do you know any Paga Center?”
“No I don’t know anywhere but I plan to find one with the help of a taxi driver” I said sincerely.
“I can help you” he said
“I used to see one along this side” he added
I couldn’t say No again
“Thank You” I said
“You’re welcome”he replied
I thought of what to say to him and how to start a long conversation but nothing occurred to me so I just let the idea slide.
Some minutes later, Jeffrey broke the silence.
“A Paga Center is over there” he pointed
Jeffrey packed his car by the roadside.
“Are you heading back home after making the transaction?” He asked
“Okay.. Go ahead.. I’m waiting”
My forehead creased
“I’ll drive you to your next destination”
“Ahmm..There’s no need.. I can take a taxi to the cinema”
“You want to Watch a movie?!” Deji exclaimed
“Yes” I replied
“Uncle Jeff.. Let’s go and watch a movie too” Deji said
“The Incredibles or Isle of Dogs” Semilore added
“Okay baby” Jeffrey answered with a shrug.
“So let’s go to the Cinema” He said to me
“Go ahead..We’re waiting” Deji added
I came out of the car. I didn’t turn to look back at Jeffrey because I was smiling. I couldn’t hide it anymore!
I was so happy! I would be watching a movie with Jeffrey! Another moment with him! I should think of something to say to him when I get back in the car.
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EMPIRE HIGH SCHOOL Episode 16