ROULETTE OF THE DAMNED 2: Perfect Imperfections

ROULETTE OF THE DAMNED 2: Perfect Imperfections

Andrew sat in his chair for a good half hour without so much as moving a muscle. After closing Jiro’s door, he had walked to his office like a zombie, oblivious to the ‘good-morning’ greetings that were called out to him by co-workers. He had simply opened the door to his office, told his Personal Assistant over the intercom that he was not to be disturbed even if the building was on fire, and slumped in his chair. He had expressly ordered his PA to make up any excuse if Jiro called asking about him. Why he felt the need to do that had everything to do with what Abbey had said to him.

“Quick, without thinking, who is the person you love the most? Who is the person you want to be with for the rest of your life? Don’t say anything. Just think it,” she had said.

That was easy. Jiro. But then he did think about it. He thought about how she’d worded her questions. The person he loved the most? There was nothing wrong with admitting that he loved his best friend. Hell, they were like brothers. Brothers loved each other, right? It was not a big deal, he figured. But then her second question hit him between the eyes: the person he wanted to be with for the rest of his life!

The second answer had also been Jiro. He also knew that he hadn’t answered the question with the same mindset that Abbey or any other person would have used to answer the same question. But that was just it…as cliché as it sounded, his manner of thinking wasn’t ‘normal’…literally! He didn’t see life in black and white. He saw life in various shades of grey. Hell, he could wear grey from Monday to Friday and everyone would still think he wore different colours for each day of the damn week! The amount of shades of grey that existed where he was concerned was mind-blowing.

What am I thinking? If anyone could hear my thoughts right now, they’d think I was thinking about the book, Fifty Shades of Grey, he thought.

But that was exactly his point. His way of thinking and reasoning was very different from the way other people reasoned. Why did everything have to mean something sexual to everybody except him? He grunted and focused his mind on Abbey’s second question again.

Ok, I need to think this through rationally, he decided. She had asked him who he wanted to be with for the rest of his life. He figured that to answer that question, other questions had to be duly considered. So, he began to think… Who did he go to whenever he had a problem? Jiro. Who knew him better than anyone else? Jiro. Who did he spend most of his time with and who did he make sure he visited first thing every day in his office? Jiro!

All of that felt perfectly normal and anyone in his position would have thought exactly the same thing; but then Abbey had expounded on her claims. She’d asked him who he thought of in the morning when he woke up, and who was the last person on his mind at night. Even when he had been dating Shade, Tola, Oyinda, and Kimorah in the three years since his return from the UK, and Jiro had still been dating Abbey for four years in a row, it had remained customary that Andrew and Jiro ended their days – every single night – talking to each other. In truth, it was Andrew who always initiated each of those calls to his best friend. If anything, it only proved the reason why he felt he needed Jiro in his life forever. He was a brother, friend, and confidant. One time when he was going for lunch outside the company premises and his car wasn’t where he had parked it in the company parking lot, he hadn’t been worried. Even when he had found his car parked in another spot a short distance away and he got in, he had instantaneously known what had happened: Jiro had borrowed his car. Andrew had easily picked up on Jiro’s scent. Besides, Jiro was the only one who had a spare key to his car!

He gritted his teeth as he wiped the beads of sweat forming on his forehead despite the well air-conditioned office. The swapping of keys had been a necessity because Andrew knew he was famous for misplacing his keys. Andrew had given Jiro a set of keys to his car and his apartment in the unlikely event that he lost any of them. Jiro had done the same after he had been served with a query at work for not bringing along an important file to a vital meeting with a client who had very deep pockets and very little patience…a file he had gone home to work on, and had left on the dressing table beside the land line after he had fallen asleep talking to Andrew. Looking back, Andrew was surprised that he knew Jiro so well. As the full impact of his knowledge of Jiro hit him alongside Abbey’s questions, he could understand why she had over-reacted.

She’s wrong though. She’s just being a woman! he fumed silently. She’s looking at the picture all wrong because she’s angry. Her over-dramatic nature is what is confusing her! Damn it! Even happily married couples often keep secrets from each other.

Granted, Andrew had a few dark secrets hidden from Jiro, but that was normal. His secrets were irrelevant in this case. After all, everyone had secrets, even Abbey!

“But this” – he couldn’t find the right word – “this thing that Abbey is insinuating is absurd,” he said out loud.

Andrew put his head in his hands and knew he was in big trouble. He had thought nothing could ever disrupt his friendship with Jiro; but after seeing the look on Jiro’s face and hearing the disappointment in his voice when he had asked if the guy’s night was still on, Andrew knew within himself that  Abbey had opened a Pandora’s box.

“This is not happening! This is not happening! This is not happening!” Andrew kept repeating to himself.

The sound of the office phone shocked him back to the here and now. After two rings, he picked it up and yelled into the receiver, “What?”

“Is there something wrong with you? What’s with the yelling?” the man said.

The voice on the other end of the line sounded angry and out to draw blood. Andrew recoiled immediately. Today was just not his day.

“I’m sorry, sir,” he muttered.

“You had better be. Now, back to my reason for calling you. I am still waiting to get a copy of the creative brief you were meant to have sent to Mr. Durojaiye first thing this morning.”

“I sent it to him via email on Friday after it was approved, sir. I also blind-copied you in the email.”

“I am yet to receive it and I just got a call from a very angry Mr. Durojaiye asking me how I have managed not to run the damn company into the ground. Seeing as you are in charge of his accounts, surely you can explain to me why I am getting calls from him at this time of the morning with nothing but complaints. I might be lenient with people, but I am no fool. Explain yourself, Andrew!” The man’s tone progressively sharpened.

“But I sent it to him…” Andrew swallowed twice. His throat suddenly felt parched.

“He says he didn’t get it. Who do I believe? Him or you?” the other man continued, his voice and countenance still on a dangerously explosive edge.

“Sir –”

“How do I back your claims up in front of the client when I am yet to see the blind-copy of the email you claim to have sent to the client?”

“But sir –” Andrew said yet again.

Cutting him short, the man on the other line continued, “A client – mind you – that insists he hasn’t gotten any email from you! Andrew, do you take me to be a fool?”

Andrew cleared his throat. Just because company policy allowed staff of his pay grade to address upper management staff by their first names didn’t mean that the Master-Servant mentality didn’t still exist in most Nigerian companies. The company he worked for was no exception. At the moment, the CEO sounded like he was ready to tear him apart. Andrew could only wonder what the client had said to make Daniel so worked up. “I am sorry, Daniel. I will resend it immediately, sir.”

“See that you do,” Daniel said curtly. “Oh – and Andrew, when you are done with that, report to my office.”

“Yes, sir.” Andrew sighed heavily as he dropped the phone receiver. Being summoned into the CEO’s office was never a good thing. Daniel was a stifler of his time, but he had the annoying tendency to waste the time of others whenever they were summoned into his office.

The office landline rang again and Andrew answered it with caution this time. “Hello, Andrew speaking.”

“Mr. Andrew,” his PA began, “I know you said not to disturb you but Mr. Jiro is calling for you. He says it’s extremely urgent and he insists on speaking with you.”

“Rachel, what did I tell you about phone calls from Jiro?” Andrew asked irritably. “Why can’t you just do as you are told?”

“But sir, I told him you were in a meeting and he said I should let you know he was on the phone or else I’d regret the day I became your PA. He said you’d want to hear what he has to say. With all due respect sir, I thought maybe you’d want to at least want to hear him out.”

“Are you mad, Rachel? Who should you be more worried about getting into trouble with – him or me?” Andrew flared.

“But sir –” Rachel stuttered.

“And where on God’s green earth do you go off telling me what to do?”

“I’m sorry, sir. I was only trying to help,” Rachel said meekly.

Andrew angrily slammed his hand hard on his desk and yelled, “I don’t care –!” Then, clearing his throat, he reined in his anger and schooled his voice into a lethal shrapnel. “I don’t care what your intentions were or what you tell him, Rachel. Find another excuse and tell him I promised you I’d call him back as soon as possible. Better yet, tell him I was just called into the CEO’s office.”

At least that part was true, he thought cynically.

“Okay, sir,” Rachel said in a small mouse-like voice.

Andrew dropped the receiver and closed his eyes. The sound of tears in Rachel’s voice before he dropped the receiver was not lost on him. He had never spoken to her like that before. He knew she was the best at what she did because he, unlike other superiors, never yelled at his subordinates. Until now. He’d have to find a way to apologise and make it up to her.

He glanced at his watch. He still hadn’t sent that blasted email. The day was just getting worse by the millisecond and it wasn’t even 10am yet. Andrew groaned as he put his head in his hands. All he really wanted to do was find the largest hole leading straight to hell and crawl into the fiery pit happily without looking back.

Mondays sucked!

***

After the phone call, Andrew managed to steer clear of having any one-on-one time with his best friend; keeping his head down and feigning five different kinds of busy every time Jiro called. After lashing out at Rachel and apologising to her later on by buying her lunch, she had become rather creative with the excuses she gave Jiro as to why Andrew wasn’t available to pick his calls.

So far, Andrew had survived Monday and was breezing through the rest of the week. As a proactive measure, he had made damn sure he didn’t visit Jiro’s office or call Jiro at nights throughout that week. Instead of calls, he sent Jiro a text every night making sure Jiro was okay, apologising for not being able to see him, and insist that he had to go to bed early. ‘Swamped with work,’ the text had said all week. Better to lie than to keep quiet, Andrew had decided. He knew Jiro would see straight through the lie, but he wasn’t sure what Abbey had said to Jiro after he had spoken to her over the phone on Monday morning; and he was too much of a mess to consider facing Jiro. All conversations would eventually lead right back to Abbey and the last thing Andrew wanted to talk about was Abbey and her misconstrued notions about himself and Jiro.

He had never been so miserable in his whole life! Andrew hated lying to Jiro but he wasn’t quite ready to talk to him either.

After working hours on Friday, Andrew knew there was nowhere else he could run to or hide. The guys’ marathon weekend was going to start around 9pm and he was going to have to face his best friend.

I really should call Jiro and cancel. Surely I can come up with another lie, Andrew debated within himself.

Even as he considered making up another excuse, he knew within himself that he wouldn’t. Loyalty and reverence for the friendship he shared with Jiro made it impossible for him to opt out at the last minute. Besides, just because he had successfully avoided Jiro all week didn’t mean that he could avoid Jiro forever. He quickly cleared his desk, rounded off all loose ends in the office and made his way to his car. He loved Fridays because it meant he could dress casually. Checking to make sure the duffel bag in his boot had everything he was going to need for the weekend at Jiro’s, Andrew got into his car, put Waje’s new album into the CD player, and pulled out of the company premises.

All through the drive to Jiro’s place, Andrew contemplated his options. Maybe I should just brave the odds and face Jiro. Maybe I should just hear him out. Maybe I should just turn back and drive home. Maybe I should just not show up. Maybe he’d just die before I get there. He sighed.  The only way he’d ever be able to avoid Jiro completely was if he cut his best friend out of his life permanently: zero communication, zero hangouts, zero friendship! Period!

As he parked his car outside Jiro’s apartment, Andrew knew he was drawing at straws. Jiro had been there for him through the best and worst of times. He knew deep down that there was no way in hell he was going to walk away from Jiro now. He’d rather eat a dozen shards of broken glass and walk through hot coals bare feet than turn his back on Jiro just because he was caught in the middle of a tiff between his best friend and his best friend’s girlfriend. He checked his wristwatch to see what time it was – it was a little after 9pm.

Andrew decided he’d get the duffel bag from the boot after a few hours of drinking. If anyone needed alcohol this very minute, it was him. As he walked up the stairs of Jiro’s apartment, he told himself, “I need to face this head on. I need to step up and help Jiro and Abbey through this. That’s what best friends are for!”

Out of habit, he pulled out the spare key to Jiro’s house from his pocket and unlocked the door. Shifting the collection of movies he had purchased – all war and manly movies – into one hand so they don’t fall, he pressed his full weight into the door in an effort to open it. The instant he did so, the door gave way easily from the inside without any help from his body mass. Knowing he had devoted too much of his weight to opening the door, Andrew knew he was going to fall to the floor inside the flat, and he was helpless to break his fall. He hadn’t rung the doorbell, so he hadn’t expected anyone to open the door from the inside.

***

“Hey Abbey!” the pleasant voice on the other line was melodious.

The sound of loud music playing in the background on the other line deafened Abbey temporarily. She moved the phone away from her ear and shouted into the receiver, “Edirin, for the love of God, turn the music down.” As her friend complied, Abbey placed the receiver back to her ear and said, “What are you trying to do, Edirin – make me deaf?”

“Oh please, if that was my intention, Abbey, you’d be deaf already,” Edirin said.

Abbey laughed. “How far na?”

“I dey o. What are you doing this evening?” Edirin inquired.

“Staying at home as usual,” Abbey replied

“No way!” Edirin said immediately. “You are going out with me and BK tonight. No more moping around waiting for Jiro to call.”

“He’s been calling,” Abbey said grimly.

“And?”

“And I have been ignoring his calls.”

“Why? I thought you’ve been pining for him to call you all week long.”

“I’m still mad at him, Edirin. He’s left a lot of voice and text messages apologising, and he says he wants to meet to talk, but I don’t know. I find it hard to let myself pick his calls or reply his messages. I get the feeling that if I do, I would be selling myself short and letting him off the hook too easy. I just feel like I should make him suffer one more day before I see him. “

“Way to go, girl,” Edirin said while laughing. “I feel you jaré. Let him pine over you a little more. There’s no hurry. After all, what can possibly happen between now and tomorrow? “

“Well…” Abbey hesitated as she pondered on the question.

“Absolutely nothing, that’s what,” Edirin said firmly.

“I guess you are right.”

“Of course, I am right. The world wouldn’t be the same if I wasn’t right.” Edirin’s playfulness made it impossible for Abbey to keep herself from laughing out loud. “Good. You are finally laughing. I haven’t heard you laugh all week. Now, back to my earlier question: What are you doing tonight?”

“Like I answered before, I’m staying indoors. I’ll probably watch a movie or something,” Abbey said.

“And like I said before, young lady, you are not allowed to be gloomy, no matter the situation. Consider this an intervention.”

“But –”

“No buts, Abbey. You deserve a fun night out. Now, I want you to walk over to your closet, pick out that freakum black dress I bought for you last Christmas, and get dressed. You are going out with me and BK tonight, even if I have to drag you to the club in your underwear.”

“No, Edirin. I really don’t feel like partying tonight,” Abbey said insistently.

“Why? You need to stop hiding out in your room just because your fiancé – sorry, ex-fiancé – messed up. You are a strong independent woman and you need to let him know that you can live without him. Trust me, he’ll come back begging. They always do.”

“I hear you loud and clear, but I’m just not up for the party scene tonight. You guys can have fun without me.”

“Oh come on, Abbey. Please!” Edirin whined. “You need to do this for all the ladies out there whose men keep treating them like they are options and not priorities. Please Abbey…Pleeeease!”

Abbey groaned. She had never been able to say no to her friend when she got like this. Maybe I should just say yes. Maybe it’ll help to get out of the house and let my hair down for one night. After all, it’s just one night, she thought. She might have told Edirin that she’d take Jiro’s calls tomorrow, but maybe it was wiser to take his calls after the weekend was over. Knowing Jiro, he’d be with Andrew this weekend, having fun with video games or talking about her. And what was she doing? Moping around like an old woman. She had watched enough movies to know that any guy in Jiro’s position would be seeking advice from his friends at this stage. She needed to do the same. Edirin was right: what was the worst that could happen? Besides, if she insisted on not going, she knew Edirin would be in front of her house within the hour, pounding at the front door until she got Abbey to say yes.

She sighed. “Okay. I’ll come out. But I’m only going to come out because of the girl-power crap you just pulled on me,” she teased.

Edirin shrieked with excitement. “Awesome. Girl-power rocks! I’ll be there to pick you up by 11pm. It’s a little after 9pm now, so you have less than two hours to get ready. Make sure you wear the black dress, Abbey. It’s absolutely breath-taking and that’s exactly what you need to be tonight…breath-taking!”

Abbey laughed and said goodbye to her best friend. She walked over to her wardrobe and got out the black dress. All I need now are the shoes to match. After contemplating for five minutes on whether to wear the black, red, or brown shoes she had bought recently, she opted for the red ones.

Excited for the first time since her fight with Jiro, she ran to the bathroom to shower. Edirin would be here soon. A night out with the girls would be fun. Time to paint the proverbial town red! Everything else can wait. Edirin was right. What was the worst that could happen?

Written by The Controvert

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11 Comments

  1. Kester
    August 08, 07:31 Reply

    Oh no! You just did not leave me hanging! Do you have any idea what this is doing to my blood pressure? I can’t even begin to imagine what is going to happen next. My heart is racing and my brain roller coasting with the possibilities. Very great writing very interesting story! I am in love with this series aaaaaaaaa!!!!!!! (and possibly with the author)

  2. fabby
    August 08, 08:19 Reply

    the part where andrew tried to push d door open n stumbled inside without anybody unlocking d door for him left me in suspense… What could have happened to jiro..

  3. KryxxX
    August 08, 08:20 Reply

    What was worst that could happen abi? Hmmn! Lemme see…….. The worst that could happen would be that this certain thunder with small lightening nd electricity that I’m his personal trainer @ d gym would so fire you if you dont stop these CLIFFHANGERS!!!!! AH AH! ITS NOT FAIR! Am sure u learnt from d best! Pinky!!! Nd no sneak peek into next weeks episode! You r not a good listener joor! Lol!

    Awesome read as always! Thumbs up!

    Lemme help with a worst case scenario @ d club.

    Catches a drunk Jiro nd Andrew grinding or making out @ d club! Or worst, having sex in the male toilet stall………………biko dont ask me how she got in! I dont know!

    • Pink Panther
      August 08, 08:48 Reply

      Ehen! By the way, Chizzie came out of hibernation yesterday specially to shade you. 😀

  4. JOJOARMANI
    August 08, 08:21 Reply

    Oh! Till next Saturday? Nah! don’t tell me I would have to wait that long! Nah…

  5. rev hot
    August 08, 12:53 Reply

    this kito diaries would be really loaded as a TV show sha

  6. phemmi
    August 10, 19:49 Reply

    Am still trying to get a grip…a bit confusing I must say…but awesome job.

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