Those Awkward Moments (Episode 14)

Those Awkward Moments (Episode 14)

“Okay, Kevin, just calm down…calm down…” I said to myself over and over again, as I first tiptoed and then firmly walked away from the broom closet, where I’d just glimpsed Demoniker getting it on with Ryan Bassey. How could she? How could she be such a cliché?!

Between this and finding out from my eldest sister Amaka about my parents’ separation, I didn’t know exactly how to react.

The shock of what I’d just witnessed made me physically ill. It seemed as though a great sledgehammer had struck me on the chest, and my heartbeat jumped erratically. I wasn’t even sure what made me sicker to my stomach – finding a woman I admired so much grinding up lustfully against a man she wasn’t supposed to have or discovering that my mother hadn’t told me the truth about her return to Nigeria.

Quickly, I found my way back to the studio where Isaac was waiting for me to return with Demoniker. I saw him glance behind me, and when he didn’t see anyone come in after me, an expression that mixed irritation with disappointment flashed across his face.

“What happened? Is she coming?”

“Umm, I don’t know.” I dropped into a couch.

“You didn’t find her?”

Oh I did. I found her moaning dirty things to our boss – you know, the happily-married father of our other boss.

“No, I didn’t,” I replied.

Isaac gave a sigh of frustration. I understood how he was probably feeling. It was just a few hours of him getting into this working relationship, and Demoniker’s fractured attention wasn’t creating the best of impressions on him. And if he were anyone else, at this stage, I would gladly pop open a couple of drinks with him and engage him in some major bitching about the insufferable superstar who seems to be lacking professionalism.

But Isaac was who he was, and I still hated his guts.

Just then, without warning, my breathing began to accelerate, and I found myself struggling to each snatch of air. I clutched at my chest and my breath wheezed through my nose. Oh my God, am I having a panic attack?

“Kevin…”

I took deep lungfuls of air, while willing my heart to stop racing.

“Kevin, are you okay?”

I heard Isaac’s chair scrape back on the floor as he stood forcefully, and his footfalls alerted me to his approach.

“What’s going on? Are you alright?”

I perceived his cologne, and my hackles stood on end at his nearness. He was reaching out his hand to touch my shoulder. I flinched from him. He froze and withdrew his hand.

“I’m okay,” I replied curtly.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“You didn’t look okay a couple of seconds ago.”

“What’s it to you?” I snapped.

Just then, the studio door clicked open and Demoniker breezed in. her hair was artfully tousled and her make-up was perfect; everything was just as well put-together as it was on her when she stepped out of the studio earlier on.

“Finally!” Isaac exclaimed. “Where have you been, Demoniker?” he said as he made for his producer’s seat. “You know we have much work to do.”

“I know, I know,” Demoniker singsonged, waving her phone in the air. “I had lots of stuff to attend to.”

And was one of those stuff Chief Bassey’s dick?

“Oh, and what might that have been?”

“Oh, you know, label contract and stuff like that,” she said, as she made her way to her side of the couch.

“Of course,” I said simply, with a small smile.

She caught the smile and glanced at me, as she sat down. Our stares clashed and held, and she arched penciled brows at me.

“Why are you staring at me like that?” she questioned warily.

“Oh nothing.” I shrugged as I reached for my notebook on the table. “I just wrote the chorus for a new song, and I think you’re going to like it.” I turned to the page where I’d penned the lyrics and handed it to her.

She was smiling as she looked at the page, waving a hand at me as a signal for me to give life to the words.

I did. I began signing.

“Say you love me / But you don’t mean it

And it’s okay / Cos I don’t need it

Say you want me / But you’re just kidding

And it’s fine / For you, I’m leaving

Don’t need your pity love / I can make it on my own

I know it takes two / But I’m safer flying solo…”

And then I was done, letting my voice peter out as I turned to see the other two people observing me with wide-eyed expressions.

“Wow!” Isaac exclaimed.

“I know, right!” Demoniker rejoined.

“It’s incredible,” Isaac said.

“Well, what are we waiting for?” Demoniker screamed. “Let’s record this hit!”

***

About three hours of intense recording passed. But for some reason, the session felt like nine hours. The feeling of protractedness came from knowing that I was in the same room with two people I didn’t feel comfortable being in close proximity with at the moment. Isaac was an ugly blast from the past. And Demoniker… It just didn’t help with my presence of mind that every time I watched her belt out a high note or make a silly dance move, I imagined Chief Bassey moaning close to her ear “That’s right, baby!” over and over again.

By the time both producer and singer concertedly agreed on a recess at the end of the solid three hours of making music, I was exhausted. Before their headphones were properly off, I beat a hasty retreat from the studio, anxious to get a different kind of air from a different environment.

As I walked down the hallway, I spotted the Basseys headed toward me from straight ahead. Both father and son seemed engrossed in their conversation as they walked briskly down the hallway in my direction. The hallway was had a fair traffic of people traipsing this way and that in it, and I was certain they wouldn’t see me. But the startle I felt at seeing them, especially Chief Bassey, so soon after spying his illicit affair, sent me darting for cover through the first entrance I could find.

The entrance however opened up into the ladies room.

And the Fates delivered me to the woman I’d rather not see, not in that moment, not ever.

At my hasty entry into the convenience, Ngozi looked around from the business of repairing her make-up before the mirror. I blew out an exasperated breath when I saw her, and a frown furrowed her smooth brow, when she recognized me.

“What do you think you’re doing inside here?” she asked in a shrill tone.

“Sorry, I thought –”

“You thought what? There’s the figure of a woman drawn on the door! How retarded could you be!”

“Yes, I know –”

“You don’t know anything. If you did, you wouldn’t still be standing here when you know you’re just inches away from a sexual harassment law suit.”

“Jeez, I’m going already. You sure you don’t want to get back into the toilet and get rid of that stick that’s clearly up your ass?” I delivered the parting shot over my shoulder, before exiting the room.

Outside, with no Ryan or Josh Bassey in sight, I proceeded for the elevators, with the intention of going to the office cafeteria for some lunch. I hadn’t had anything to eat all day, and I was sure the unknowing deprivation was one of the reasons I didn’t feel like myself today.

I got into the lift. Just before the door slid close, someone else slipped inside. I looked up at him in surprise. He noticed me and also gave a small start.

“We really have to stop meeting like this,” he joked.

I smiled. No reply. I just smiled.

Perhaps it was my lackluster reaction to his presence, a stark contrast of our earlier meeting, or maybe he truly felt some remorse, but the rapper piped up after a few seconds, “Yo look, I’m sorry about earlier.”

“Huh?” I stared blankly at him, acting like I had no idea what he was talking about. I did! He had wished me a dismissive and sarcastic good luck when I told him I was working for Demoniker.

“I’m apologizing for my reaction when you told me you are Demoniker’s songwriter.”

“Oh, that,” I said, making a production of only just recalling. “Don’t worry about that! I’d be lying if I said that didn’t happen a lot.” Switching gears at once, I said, “But I just have to ask.”

“Ask what?”

“What happened between the two of you.” I doubted the rapper would reply, but it was worth the shot.

Just then, the elevator got to the ground floor and the door opened to admit a small crowd of people wanting to go back up. Mike and I got out, still conversing.

“Why? Did she say anything?” he asked, rather curious.

“No, she didn’t.”

“Okay. Well, it’s nothing.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I was just wondering how you could work with someone like her. But then I thought, ‘It’s probably because she’s not the same person she was ten years ago.’”

“Ten years ago?” I reiterated. “That was when she won the music contest. How–”

“Yeah,” he said, while smiling, both word and expression signifying the end of the topic. “So we cool?”

I could tell that was his code for ‘I’m not saying anything more’, and so I replied, “Yeah, we cool!”

The rapper smiled and nodded, before swaggering on out of the building, toward a small posse of fans and bodyguards.

Although I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to finagle the dirt on Mula Mike and Demoniker from the rapper, my incessant hunger was more of a worry to me, so I continued on my way to the staff cafeteria to solve that problem.

But that quickly took a backseat to a new worry when I got into the cafeteria.

“Sorry, no ID, no lunch!” hollered the lady attendant as the famished workforce of Highland Records strolled about her work station, placing their orders and drifting away with plastic trays loaded with their meals.

No ID, no lunch… I wanted to scream I wanted to break something. I wanted to tear at my head. Instead, I took a deep calming breath and walked to the attendant, trying to get close enough to her, so that I could speak my business to her in a low tone.

“Please, Sara,” I said, reading her name tag. “I forgot my ID at home, can I just –”

“Sir, its company policy,” she cut in with an insistent tone. “We don’t serve anyone without an ID card. There are imposters everywhere!”

“Imposters?! Come on, you have seen me regularly around here. You know I work here!”

“NEXT!” she yelled deliberately in my face this time.

“Did you just open your mouth in my face?” I said, feeling my temper ignite.

I was hungry, exasperated, all out of sorts, and I was just on the verge of giving this insolent woman a piece of my mind, when a hand fell on my shoulder and a voice I thought I’d escaped away from said behind me, “Calm down, Kevin!”

My body tightened under his touch.

“Sarah, go ahead and dish his orders out,” he continued, addressing the attendant this time. He handed her the plastic card of his staff membership.

Her eyes skimmed over the face and information on the ID card; she looked up to make sure that Isaac’s actual identity tallied with what she’d just gone through. Satisfied, she gave a nod and took our orders.

“Thanks,” I muttered coldly at Isaac as I turned away from the counter. I swept a quick look around the room in search of an unoccupied seat. I found one; actually two seats facing each other over a table.

With a sinking feeling, I knew we’d be sharing the table. I settled down. He took the second chair opposite me. We began eating. He kept up a running monologue, with me interjecting with a response every here and done.

“Seriously it was amazing.” He was now talking about the song I penned down. “I didn’t know you were that good!”

“Thanks,” I answered woodenly. “It’s God.”

A few moments of awkward silence, as the both of us focused on our meal, passed.

Then he said, “I remember.”

I almost choked on the spoonful of food already getting swallowed down my oesophagus. I hastily reached for my glass of water and took a deep swig.

“What do you mean ‘you remember’?” I said, when I set down the water glass. I had to be sure. “Remember what?”

“You know what I’m talking about.”

I did. He was the fourteen-year-old sonofabitch who lied to his parents that I planned to steal their money when he was the culprit. And he was now the twenty-something-year-old sonofabitch who apparently had lied right from the first moment I met him again.

“So you remember?” I said silkily. “Then why didn’t you say anything?”

“Because, Kevin, it happened ten years ago and I don’t see why I should bring it up –”

He was cut off when I slammed an open palm down on the table’s surface, a sound that caused those lunching closest to us to turn around and stare at us with some curiosity. “You didn’t see why you should bring it up?” I said, my voice still low, but now acquiring heat. “So you just thought we’d work together and never bring it up?”

“It happened years ago,” he reiterated. “I didn’t think dwelling on it will help either if us.”

“You didn’t think, did you?” I gave a short bark of humorless laughter. And in a voice that progressively got louder, I continued, “So, let me get this straight. You accuse your best friend of trying to steal your parents’ money, a lie which causes me a lot of trouble at home. And you see him years later and don’t think that past deserved an apology?”

“I just don’t see what the big deal is,” he countered. His words kept increasing the anger cooking inside me. “It’s just something that happened when we were kids.”

“Easy for you to say! You were not the one whose father used a piece of metal to strike in the head.”

“Look, I’m sorry your father abused you, but we have to be mature about –”

“Mature?! Mature?!” I yelled. Now my rage towered inside me, and I rose jerkily from my seat, stabbing my fury at him with eyes that disliked him so thoroughly. I didn’t care that everyone in the cafeteria was now observing us. I was too angry to care. “You want to talk to me about being mature?”

“Kevin, please –”

“Let me tell you something about being mature, you fucker! Being mature is taking responsibility for the things you do! Being mature is not sitting here and acting like you’re the better person, simply because you’ve forgiven yourself for what you did! Being mature is overgrowing the selfish prick you were ten years ago and owning your mistakes! Being mature is…”

I suddenly stopped. I had grown acutely aware of the rapt attention of the other diners in the room. For a full second, I glared hatefully at Isaac, before turning and stomping out of the cafeteria.

I couldn’t believe that guy. Isaac had become even worse than a mere liar; he’d become a pathological one, the type that lied so much, they began to believe their lies and see them as reality.

As I stalked into the main and expansive vestibule of the Highland building, I began reprimanding myself for letting him get to me, for letting my guard down. After what just happened and his revelation, I didn’t know how I was going to get back to working with him.

I was making my way toward the entrance when I heard then saw some kind of commotion going on at the entrance. It seemed serious, with agitated cries and sharp utterances rending the atmosphere. I moved closer. First I saw, at the centre of the commotion, the security man who had attempted to stop me from getting past him into the building. He was doing the exact same thing to someone else.

Someone else who was acting just as adamant as I was, even more so, to be let in.

“I have to get in! Let me in!” Frustration marinated the voice I instantly recognized even before I saw his face.

Samuel caught sight of me just then and screamed, “Kevin! Kevin!”

“Samuel…?” I said as I hurried forward. “What are you doing here?”

“Is this guy your friend?” the security man questioned in a rather unfriendly tone. He seemed to be appreciating the déjà vu nature of the situation.

“Yes?” I questioned back in an even unfriendlier tone.

He got the message and let Samuel walk in past him.

“Kevin!” Samuel exclaimed again, but in a more emotional tone this time, and I began to get alarmed when I saw tears forming in his eyes.

“Samuel, what is it? What happened?” This was the one friend whose tears I’d never seen, and here he was, on the verge of crying. “Sam…what happened…”

A dreadful thought swept through my being, causing a great trembling to seize my body. Oh my God, no! I prayed silently as the horror of the thought constricted my heart. My voice was husky when I asked, “Samuel, is Jude okay?”

Written by Reverend Hot

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13 Comments

  1. pete
    September 22, 06:06 Reply

    Nice one, Rev. King

  2. King Mufasa
    September 22, 06:09 Reply

    Reverend Hot ?? …
    Thanks for the early morning telenovela in bed ?, that was a good read.

  3. Mandy
    September 22, 06:24 Reply

    And while Declan is getting nearly-raped, Kevin is losing his shit over Isaac. Nice. lol. That Isaac tried it though. Imagine the self-satisfied reasoning. Mscheeewww

  4. Jamie
    September 22, 06:26 Reply

    Isaac is being such a jerk!!!

  5. Kaytee
    September 22, 07:13 Reply

    wow…..kudos…. lol@ it’s God

  6. KryxxX
    September 22, 08:36 Reply

    Nice read Rev!

    Tried imagining a face that came with the “it’s God????” nd it wasn’t pretty cha cha!

  7. sinnex
    September 22, 10:57 Reply

    I guess Jude has woken up.

  8. JustJames
    September 22, 11:25 Reply

    Well talk about a shitty day.

    I don’t think mine is going any better.

    This sucks.

    • Teflondon
      September 22, 12:18 Reply

      **giggles**
      Jemima doing a ‘Teflondon’

  9. McGray
    September 23, 13:43 Reply

    And then Kevin start noticing that Isaac has Full Lips and his lean muscle ws second to none, and he started fighting off the feeling and then Isaac Kiss him. #OkBye

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