#WhatTheHeckMan · African Stories · Fiction · Nigerian Writers · Stories · TheRantsShow

Bastards 4

PART 4

Everything was in slow motion.
It was as if we moved through the scenes in the movie Inception.
My mouth went dry.
My heart was racing.
My eyes began to water as my palms got sweaty.
I was angry, very angry.
Lost in my head trying to make sense of this but I couldn’t believe what I was staring at.
My father’s coffin in his home?
How?
I was still trying to process when I heard a sharp wail from my left hand side.

My mother dropped to her knees as she was crying uncontrollably.
“Ta ni mo se”
“Who did I offend?”

She continued to repeat as the twins tried to console her.
Inconsolable as you can imagine.
My older sister snapped into action and she said

“Dejo, how did this get here?”

Genuinely confused and fearfully of being blamed, Dejo began to shake as he responded.

“Madam, I swear to you, I no know”

“You don’t know?”

She followed.
Dejo tried his best to explain.

“Madam, I dey that side dey wash the cars when I hear wetin be like truck for outside.
I just think sey na delivery people dem dey drop something. Na when I finish come open gate, na him I see am”

As he wrapped up a small gathering of neighbors was forming.
I could see everything playing out but it was like I was and just watching everything play out and I was still.

“Oya, help us bring it inside the gate and close the gate before the whole estate knows what is happening”

My sister instructed.
Dejo, the drivers of the lawyer and my brother were joined by a few other men from the neighborhood.
The coffin was lifted into the compound and the gate closed.
My sister said

“Do we know if the body in there?”

No one answered. No one was certain.
Then she said

“Open it up”

She said.
My mother who was still on the floor crying suddenly sprung up and said

“Don’t you dare!”

Huffing and puffing, she looked enraged and possessed.
She said

“That our family name has been dragged through the mud is not enough? You want to dishonor the memory of your father?
NO WAY! That coffin stays closed and you all go about figuring out who in the hell would do such a despicable thing”

She turned around and began walking inside when I snapped out of the trance and I headed for Ivie and Kunle.
They were standing apart as you can probably imagine that the things he heard inside had rocked his world a bit.

“You did this”

I said to Ivie with conviction.
I could tell she was scared.

“You fucking did this with your diabolical ass. You did this shit like you planned all this other shit”

She froze.
I yelled

“ANSWER ME”

Kunle stepped in and put his hand across my chest
I turned and looked directly at him

“Kunle if you do not remove your hand from my body, I swear to God who made this earth, I will fucking pound in your face till you bleed to death.
Get the fuck out of my way”

He stepped back but not too far, he seemed a bit concerned about what I could do to Ivie.

“Ivie, tell us how you are months away from a wedding with me but carrying my brother’s child.
Tell us how you planned with Adesuwa to get me killed and then killed her yourself?
Or just tell us why you dug up our father’s coffin and brought it into our home?
Start anywhere”

Kehinde sprung and said

“Ivie is that true?
Please tell us it’s not true”

Ivie in tears, said

“I had nothing to do with this”

Pointing to the coffin laying in front of us all.

“And the other things?”

I asked.
She said

“I can explain honestly”

Sobbing she began to explain.

“I am sorry for lying to you Tomiwa, I really am. You did not deserve this.
I was misled but my father…”

My mother jumped in

“Chief Akpo???”

Ivie nodded.

“I was instructed to get information on Tomiwa and the family by my father. I would often listen to business conversations with Tomiwa and funnel the information to my father.
He told me to marry Tomiwa and that Chief Fehintola and he had come to an agreement to merge our families.
But I was also told to not have sex with Tomiwa. Under any circumstances.
The plan was to marry Tomiwa and ultimately get as much money from the family.
Kunle and I met before I was introduced to Tomiwa. The day we met at your family Christmas party a few years back, I actually came with Kunle.
We even had sex upstairs in the twins room while everyone was downstairs because it was the only free room.
Kunle and I had been seeing each other. He knew nothing about the rest of the plan.
And initially, all I wanted was Kunle.
But once I knew I could choose to not sleep with Tomiwa and continue having Kunle, I was fine with that. I made peace with it.
I would have the man I wanted.”

Teary eyed and flushed with tears, she rubbed her belly and said

“Kunle, your son or daughter is inside of me and I love you. And I will love this child with all of my heart.
I completely understand if after all I have done, you no longer want to be involved in our lives but I love you and I will love this child”

Kunle looked down and away. Clearly the words got to him but he was conflicted and then he said

“Did you try to get my brother killed?”

Ivie sobbed harder and looked away.

“Yes. Yes, I did
My dad told me I had to. Something had come out that would affect our plans and frankly, it seemed like a better deal to go that route and we could have just married without issues”

I was shocked.

“You wanted me out of the way. So you decided the best way was to kill me?
When you could have just asked me to leave? When you knew it was Adesuwa that I wanted to marry and she was the woman I loved???
You are evil”

I was fuming.
Kunle asked

“How can I be sure the baby is mine, with all these lies?”

Those words broke her. I could tell.
She sobbed harder and said

“Kunle, I have never been with any man but you from day one.
Only you”

He shook his head and turned away and I spoke.

“You had everything. A family that loves you, the big wedding you wanted, the houses, cars, trips around the world. All of it.
Yet you wanted me dead, as if my family had not been through enough…”

There was a honk at the gate.
All our eyes immediately shifted, who was it?


The gate swung open and a black tinted Mercedes AMG drove in.
The driver rushed out and ran around the car to open to the owner’s corner.
Out came a man that I was familiar with.
A friend of the family and someone I had watched my father spend time with as we grew up.
He was someone you could consider a true pillar of our family.
Chief Akpo. Ivie’s father.

As he stepped out of the car, I had every intention of jumping him.
But I had to contain my rage.
He smiled big as he fixed his Agbada and he said

“I know you have many questions. Let us all go inside and we can clear things up”

We all sat down in the living room. Chief glee as ever while the glum faces of all of us waited to find out what was going on.
Chief spoke first.

“I had hoped we would not get to this point but in life, some things just need to be done.
That is the truth”

He smiled as he continued speaking

“Before all of you came about, way back in the day, Chief approached me with a proposition.
He wanted me to father all of you.
I agreed out of love for the man and I wanted to make sure that he had the joy of being a father too.
But then, midway through the testing process, the Chief told me that he went with someone else.
He never said who for years.
And I could not prove who it was. I knew that if the DNA was run, it would show Chief was not the father but as far as showing who actually was, I was sure that we wouldn’t really get that luxury.
Chief asked me to join the board as one of his closest friends and when we knew international investors were coming.
I agreed but this time, because I did not trust his word, I demanded security.
I got him to commit in writing that my daughter if I had one, would marry his son.
And as you can see, God gave us what we wanted.
The deal was done.
Then you…”

He pointed at me and frowned a bit

“…You started making noise about not wanting my beautiful daughter.
Something about wanting to marry who you loved. Well who you loved gave you up pretty easily to protect her parents.
I bought out Adesuwa’s parents and simply threatened to run them into the ground. It was difficult but eventually we were able to convince her to take you out of the picture.”

I was stunned. The whole room was dead silent.

“This was simple.
If the Chief held his end of the bargain, I got a couple of legitimate grandchildren in one of the wealthiest families and life would go on smoothly.
When you started your drama, I approached Chief and reminded him that I knew his secret and it could be damaging if word got out.
At first he appeared to listen and then he did not.
I had to take matters into my own hands. I had my team working tirelessly to get the information I needed to make a move on him at the board level and take over the company.
But before I could put my plan in action, he passed away.
Around that same time, he told me that he was going to tell you all the truth after his trip.
I guess he never made it to that.
I knew that Chief was the type to not be blackmailed, so I sensed that he may have included the true identity of your fathers in the will.
Well, everyone except you.”

He pointed at me again.
Everyone sat up.
My mother who had now stopped crying looked on inquisitively as he spoke.

“What do you mean?”

She asked.

He leaned forward in his chair and said

“Everyone knows that Kunle is not yours. No surprise.
But Tomiwa is the one legitimate child of you and Chief.”

The entire room gasped.
The lawyer looked away.

Chief smiled and said

“Lawyer Williams knew.
Chief knew.
On our trip he told us about how his health was deteriorating and he might need a marrow transplant or something of the sort.
Tomiwa, remember the set of tests you went to do with your father?
I was able to acquire those from the hospital. It was in those results I found out that you were his only legitimate child. The results of the others showed what we already knew.
Again, I planned to release the information for the takeover but your father elected to die before the news could get out.

He stood up. Flashed a fake smile at most of the room as he smoothed out his clothes.
He said

“Look, I have no ill towards Chief nor will I speak ill of the dead but he chose to try and outsmart me instead of keeping his end of the agreement we had many years ago.
For that, he will not rest.
Digging up his coffin is only the start…”

Enraged I snapped up and yelled

“Say another word about my father and I will finish you here”

Lawyer Williams quickly jumped up and put his hand across my chest to stop me.
Chief Akpo chuckled mischievously and said

“Now wouldn’t that be so beautiful? To see our new CEO beating up a board member.
I dare you to do it, do it, so I can bury this family once and for all.
It’s admirable to see you have the fight chief had in him though, maybe that’s why his swimmers were able to conquer out of the many failures. He chuckled”

He smiled mischievously and waved his finger in the direction of his daughter and said

“Ivie, let’s go”

She sheepishly got up, sobbing profusely and followed him out of the room.
As the door shut.
My mother looked at Lawyer Williams and said

“You knew?”

He leaned back in the seat, almost tired and replied

“Yes but the Chief wanted to confirm. And you know I was bound by confidentiality laws”

She looked back at my siblings and said

“We are not letting any of those Bastards take what your father built.”

And she stormed out of the room.


My father was re-buried and about 6months had passed by.
The vote for reorganizing the board and the company was coming up fast.
Most of the family had settled into their routines.
Life in our new normal was going along.
My siblings returned to their various homes and lives while I prepared to officially take over for my dad. My days were strictly guarded by the security team. My mother and I were basically in an enforced lockdown.
Kunle had been mostly ostracized by the family but his impact was still being felt.
We simply were not the same family.

Two nights before the vote, I called Kunle and told him to meet with me the following night.
He asked me where and I called him to give him the address.
It was a property a friend of ours was developing.
I told him I wanted a fresh set of eyes on the property as I was considering buying it.

I was standing in the middle of the uncompleted building as night covered Ibeju-Lekki.
The building was huge and was clearly going to make a very nice home once completed.
I heard a car pull into the lot and footsteps get closer.

Kunle called out

“T, you in here?”

I replied

“Yeah, just come through the front opening here”

He walked up to me and I greeted him.

“How are you holding up bro?”

I asked him.

“I guess you can say I’ve had better days”

I shook my head and said

“I totally understand bro. Hopefully things settle soon.
So I wanted you to see this place because I was thinking of buying it and using it for corporate housing for visiting executives.
We fully operate the space with cleaning crews, a maid, a driver and the full home experience.
It saves us the millions we spend on hotels putting them up in expensive hotels when they come to town. What do you think?”

He nodded as we walked up the stairs to the second level

“Yeah this is really nice.
And we can truly curate the type of experience they have when they are here. I love the idea.
Maybe we get that interior design firm to design it for…”

He paused.
We both looked at each other.
There was a sound. It came from the first floor.
I looked at him and asked

“Did you come here with someone?”

He nodded and said

“Yeah, Ivie is in the car.
We are coming back from dinner”

He called out

“Ivy?”

She replied

“Yes”

We both headed back downstairs.
As we hit the landing area, I greeted her

“Hi Ivie, long time. How are you?”

“Fine, thank you”

She replied

“And the baby?”

“She’s doing well too”

“That’s really good”

I responded.

Bang.
Bang.
Bang.

White noise.
I could hear a loud ringing in my ears.
The shock hit me like I was drowning.
I felt my back hit the floor hard.
Staring up at the uncompleted ceiling and gasping for air, the pain coursed through my body.
I was sure I was going to die.
The pain was in my lower abdomen. I placed my hand on the source of the pain and I could feel my hand wet.
I was bleeding.
Gasping for air, I was praying that I didn’t die and I was trying to pray but the words weren’t coming.
Then a familiar voice came through.
I felt someone squat next to me and say

“Breathe baby. You are going to live”

I turned my head to my right side and through the darkness, I made out her face.
She smiled at me and said

“The police will be here soon and an ambulance.
You will be fine”

I closed my eyes and the next time I would open them, I was in the hospital.
It was also there I found out that Tunde and Ivie were dead.


It was a bright and sweltering day.
The skies were clear.
It felt like one of those good days for a perfect hike or lemonade on your backyard porch.
The day was mostly perfect. With a gentle breeze occasionally reminding you to enjoy life.
You could imagine yourself in any tropical location and it would make sense.
It was the type of day for your skin and self care routine without doing much.
The summer was announcing itself in style.
The bell rang and the space flooded.

Stepping out, I opened the door with my right hand.
They hopped in.
Sitting back down in the driver’s seat and starting the car, my friend asked

“Oya finish now. Who shot them?”

I smiled and said

“Let’s just say, mother’s know everything”

“I knew it! I knew it!”

He exclaimed.

“How did she know where you were???”

I smiled and replied

“She followed me”

“Wow”

He exclaimed again

“Do you know if she pulled the trigger herself?”

I shook my head and said

“Fam, I don’t know and in many ways, I am grateful I don’t know anything about that night. I am just grateful for my family and continuing to grow the family business from here”

I pulled out of the school parking lot as another car sped past me almost hitting my car.
I yelled out

“Bastards!”

My twin boys in the backseat both yelled out

“Daddy language!”

I looked at my friend and then at the kids in the back and said

“Sorry kids. Bad habits”

We all chuckled as I turned onto the highway and drove right into Los Angeles traffic.
The cars were backed up for miles. Traffic was notorious and ever present, not like the “forgotten” events in another overcrowded metropolis thousands of miles away.
My friend visiting from Belgium said

“What The Heck Man, is this always how bad traffic is in LA?”

I nodded and said

“Everyday.”

He looked over to me and said

“But I bet you are glad you are far away from all that drama huh?”

Feeling the twinge from the nerve damage in my abdomen from the gunshot would I suffered that night, I looked out the window and then into the rearview mirror at my kids on their iPads and I replied

“Every. Single. Day bro
Every. Single. Day”

The End.

End of the Bastards series.
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Thank you for reading and commenting. You are highly appreciated.

#SanmiSaturdays

© 2020 #WhatTheHeckMan

Fiction

Memory Heart, Storage Cards

Young Adewus in 2014. Naive, in love, and just not anywhere near ready.

I don’t have a title for this post, maybe I have a theme but I don’t know.
I will like to point out that I am writing and posting this because I am committed to consistency. I also want to take this moment to apologize to everyone reading my current series “Bastards” – you are in for a shocker on Saturday.
Whew! I am so excited.

While trying to set up a computer for my best friend a few months ago, I accidentally wiped my external hard drive. All my files – pictures, documents, music and videos from almost 10years were just gone like that.
My friends call me a picture or memory hoarder.
More on that in a bit.

I bought the EaseUS Recovery software and it did a deep scan of my hard drive. I got back almost everything.
Granted things are not properly tagged and I have been spending hours trying sort through them but the fact is, I got my memories back.
But there is a thing about memories, they elicit contrasting emotions from us in many ways.
Going through the files, I saw pictures and videos of exes, ex friends, acquaintances turned family and everything else.
I laughed some and cried some.
It was truly insane.
And that is the beauty of keeping these memories, they make you feel – good or bad.

They also show growth. A unique journey to the present.
I love having memories of the past because they color our present and inform our future.
Going through the pictures, I was reminded of places where I fucked up, stood up and even places where I ran.
Unintentionally, they reminded me to be a better man today and help inform the type of man I want to be tomorrow.
It is important to feel all of it.

I have never been one to go back and read text messages but I tried that recently and I was washed with regret and sadness. Never let looking back make you feel bad for your past, even if you were lost then, you sure found your way to where you are now.
Be proud of that.
Question: have you ever viewed/read/watched/heard something from your past that made you feel or do stupid things? Let me know in the comments below.

Till Saturday y’all,

Stay Up, Stay Safe & Stay Strong.
I LOVE YOU!

Yours always,

The Wordsmith
Master of Cliffhangers

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Please comment, retweet and share. Thank you for your continued support.
You are highly appreciated.

WordsOfWednesday

© 2020 #WhatTheHeckMan

Fiction

Bastards 3

Even bastards hate other bastards.

“What the fuck do you mean my brother?”

I snarled as the car had just pulled up on the side of the road.

“I am sorry to say this sir, but from my findings it appears that your brother and your fiancée have been in a sexual relationship for sometime now.”

Lawyer Williams replied.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Findings???
What do you mean by findings?”

I queried.
My mother jumped in and said,

“Since I had known that your father was going to pass, I made sure to look into every individual joining our family.
Since you two were going to get married, I had her looked into. There wasn’t a lot on her; seems like she is an orphan, but she has been supported by a family that we know.”

Still in absolute shock, I said,

“Wow, this is crazy.
So in all the research, they couldn’t find out that we hadn’t been having sex?”

My mom chuckled and said,

“Adetomiwa, do you expect us to not assume that you two were doing all sorts of things? From all the traveling and posting pictures, I frankly assumed that you both were very in love with each other –
…okay maybe not love but at least deeply attracted to each other.”

I sighed and turned my head to the left, looking out the window.
This was just too much.

“How sure are you that it belongs to my brother?”

He responded,

“With 99% certainty, sir.”

My head dropped and my mother put her left hand around my back.

“I am sorry, son.”

I started to cry. Maybe it lasted a few minutes or maybe longer but I was so tired.
Exhausted really.
This was too much in a short span. I just wished I was in bed acting like the last few months had never even happened.
In that moment, I became annoyed with my father. His death, his insistence that I marry Ivie and my love for making him proud had all contributed to this unfortunate situation that I couldn’t figure a way out of.
As I battled the sniffles and gathered myself, I asked,

“Where is Adesuwa’s body?”

Lawyer Williams turned around to look at me and said,

“Taken care of.”

I glanced at my mom and then at him.

“Taken care of?”

I asked.
He nodded slowly and looked at my mom.
I continued,

“What are you guys up to?”

My mother spoke,

“We have notified her parents and made arrangements for a funeral.
My team of investigators and the police will get to the bottom of it. Don’t worry yourself and none of it will blow back on you.”

I was dumbfounded.
My mom told the driver to start driving and then I spoke.

“What is there to investigate? Ivie pulled the trigger.
She should be arrested and find out what the hell is going on here.”

My mom smiled and then got serious,

“Her father just motioned for a board vote. Along with all of this happening, it is safe to say that we are playing a bigger game here. And I won’t lose. Nor will I let us lose.
Let us handle it and watch me work… driver take us home. Let me call the house, so they can prepare you some food.”

It was the first time I tasted my spit. It was thick and bitter.
My appetite for food was gone; for revenge though, palpable.

________

All of my siblings had made it to Lagos by the next morning. Except my brother, obviously.
I had just come from a run down the street. My mom had the gateman run behind me just to make sure another set of eyes were present.
The run cleared my head and I felt a little bit lighter.

“Dejo, when dem build the house across the street there?”

I asked him as we stretched in front of the gate.

“Ah, oga maybe like 4 months now. I hear say them even import all the furniture from abroad.”

He said.
He laughed as he saw me laugh.

“Dejo, how you know say na from abroad?”

I teased him.
He flashed his big smile and replied,

“Me and their gateman dey watch ball together. Both of us be Chelsea fans, so we dey watch game together.”

I remember teasing him that Chelsea was not that good, as we entered the compound.
Cars were lined up.
My sisters were around.

As I entered the living room, I gave hugs and greeted everyone.
It was clear that what was troubling us was very different.
They were there for answers.
I was too, but to very different questions.

I went upstairs to take a shower while everyone got ready for breakfast.
I could smell the eggs as I returned some minutes later.
The table was set with yam and eggs with tea, juice and wine. There was also bread because Kehinde somehow didn’t like yam; weird because she ate so much of it as a child.

We all sat down and started eating.
The elephant in the room was waiting to be addressed, especially with our father’s pictures hanging from every corner of the house.
But unlike when we were kids, and couldn’t talk while eating at the table, everyone seemed to yap away including my mom.
As the table was cleared after the meal, my mom began to speak.

“So I know there was a lot that was said during the will reading. I know you all probably have questions, but let me assure you that I will do my best to answer truthfully and to the best of my knowledge.”

As she paused, my older sister Yewande asked,

“I think I speak for all of us here when I ask, was all the information from the will reading true?
Was Daddy not our father?”

My mother sipped from her coffee, placed the mug down, locked both sets of her fingers into each other and placed them on her lap. She looked up and said,

“Biologically, no.”

It was as if the whole room let out a sigh of relief.
Not at the news exactly but at the truth being spoken.

“Years ago, your father found out he was unable to have his own kids after a checkup. He had gotten very ill and we thought we were going to lose him.
We had just gotten married and everything seemed bleak. We went to a doctor in Amsterdam and it was there we found out his count was too low and he may never be able to have children.
Your father took it hard but it was no real fault of his. It was genetic.
Talking to his mother, he found out that your grandfather had the same issues, but turned to traditional medicine and some dark magic stuff.
Your father was never that type of man. He was…”

Taiwo’s phone began ringing out and my mother temporarily paused as we all gave her the stink eye.
My mother smiled and gracefully continued,

“He was never going to go that route. He believed that everything he did came from God and he had worked hard to become who he was. He was confident that he deserved whatever he got from God.
Even I in my naive mind, I tried to convince him to let us try “alternatives”
He refused.

He knew that I wanted children and I knew he did too, despite the fact that he could not have his own.
One day, after almost 5 years of being married, he came to me with a proposition.
Your father had spoken to him on one of their boys trips and he offered to father the children.
I remember cursing out your father and even leaving the house for weeks.
I was so disappointed.
I never even allowed him to explain that the eggs would be artificially inseminated. When he finally told me, I battled with it for months before I finally agreed.
We went to see a consultant in Germany and then the team that did the job was in Italy.
Seamless process.
No real questions asked.
Once I had you Inumidun, your father was the happiest man in the world. The way he loved on you was amazing.
I had never seen a man show that much love before, even though I was confident that he loved me.
When I had you Tomiwa…”

She paused and smiled hard.
Then continued,

“Anuoluwatomiwa, that was the name we chose. Your father’s family would ultimately pressure him into Adetomiwa but we knew what we chose and what it stood for.
But once we had you, the man was even more in love. He was crazy about you and your sister. No one could touch you anyhow. People had to wash their hands and if he felt their energy was off, he wouldn’t even let them near you.
It was so beautiful.

That summer, he went on his boys’ trip and came back with your brother. Knowing his situation, I was sure he didn’t get some woman pregnant but I couldn’t explain where the child was from.
He claimed to have seen him at an orphanage on a business trip and then brought him home. We named him Ayokunle because in all honesty, he brought more joy to the house.
The way Inumidun and Tomiwa took to him, it was perfect. We had the money, too much of it; who was I to stop us from taking in more children and blessing them.
We thought about having one more kid. I wanted a girl to balance the equation. Miraculously, after the eggs were inserted, we found out we were having twins.
I was overjoyed and so grateful we had kept Kunle. 3 girls, 2 boys – all from this womb.
I was grateful to God. “

She sipped her coffee before continuing,

“About 10 years after the twins were born, your ‘biological father’ passed away. He never wanted the limelight or money; despite that, your father ensured that he was an honorary member of the company and his family still gets payouts yearly. They are disguised as dividends from the company.
Telling you who he was was now moot.
However, your father planned to tell you this year. Late last year, he was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer.
It deteriorated fast, even though outwardly he was our warrior.
He never got the chance to explain, but that is the story. You all know how much he loved you.
If you will be upset with him, take it up with me as well. We are one team and we made every decision together.
You are OUR children.”

The twins started crying once my mom finished.
As you can imagine, it was a lot.
But I felt such great relief.
He never lied to us, he just never got to telling us the truth as we would understand it.
I respected him for it.

We all got up and hugged my mom.
We didn’t need the follow up questions. We knew who our father was and that was enough for us.
As we broke away, my older sister said,

“Where is Kunle?”

Teary eyed, my mother went into strategist mode.

“He’ll be with us soon. He was handling some important family business for me.”

I left and went up to the room I was staying in.
Laying on the bed and facing the ceiling with my arms spread wide on the bed, I kept thinking.
What exactly I was thinking about, I am still not sure.
Suddenly, it clicked.
I needed to get to the bottom of the Ivie and Kunle thing. Plus, why did Adesuwa pull a weapon on me?

I got up and headed to the reading table.
Adesuwa’s phone was dead. I plugged it in and waited for a few minutes. Soon enough, it lit up.

Password.
Fuck!
I played with a few variations and then I tried her card PIN number which she had shared with me many years ago.
It worked.
Oh my luck.
What I was about to see would show me that luck was nothing compared to the grace that saved my life.

_____________

IVIE: “The man will bring it to you.”

ADESUWA: I have never used one before, outside of a shooting range.

IVIE: It’s totally fine. Cook. Have sex with him. Once he is sleeping, you do it. We will come and pick up the body.

ADESUWA: Ok. But when will the money be transferred?

IVIE: A quarter has been moved. Half within 24 hours of completion and the remaining quarter after 30 days to avoid any suspicions.

ADESUWA: And you are sure this won’t come back to either of us?

IVIE: Yes.

My mouth was completely ajar as I read this full exchange between Adesuwa and Ivie.
I couldn’t even believe it.
My heart was shattered.
I couldn’t imagine what Ivie could possibly have said or offered Adesuwa that would make her willing to kill me.
My head was hurting and the betrayal was unlike anything I had ever experienced.
I was in so much pain, I never came out of my room for the rest of the day. I spent most of my time crying and sleeping.

The next morning, I got woken up by a call from a long time friend.
I didn’t know the number and I must have answered while half asleep. He just called to check in, but it was good to connect with someone from my regular life and remind me of some normalcy that I once had.
As I lay there, there was a knock on the door.

“Who is it?”

I grumbled.
It was my older sister.

“Mom wants you downstairs now.”

It felt like a school morning. I tossed for a few minutes before coming down.
As I walked down the stairs, the living room went quiet.
Emerging from the stairway, I noticed Kunle and Ivie sitting next to each other.

“What the fuck are they doing here?”

I asked broadly while almost charging at them.
Kunle stood up. Ready for whatever, he was the type.
My mother and lawyer Williams tried to calm me down.
They led me to sit down.
I stared at them for a minute and then I said,

“Ivie, I just want to know why.
Why?”

She looked down at her hands and then said,

“I am sorry. I really am.
I didn’t mean any harm.”

I was boiling

“No harm?
You didn’t mean any harm by sleeping with my brother and getting pregnant for him?
No harm????”

My sisters gasped.
Shocked.
I continued,

“Oh you guys didn’t know?
Well I just found out too and not even from you! So please tell us how you meant no harm?”

Kunle jumped in and said,

“Let me explain.”

I stood up and snapped,

“Shut up.
Don’t you say a fucking word ‘cos I swear, I will rip you apart with my bare hands.
Let her explain to us. You were supposed to be family, but I guess you are just useless and stupid.”

He postured but he knew I could probably take him.
I pressured,

“Come on Ivie, tell us why you decided to fuck my brother for YEARSSSS and then try to have me killed?”

Kunle was shocked.
He turned to her in shock and said,

“Ivie tell me he’s making this up.”

My mother was standing and reading to charge.
The whole house felt like it was about to collapse.

“Fucking tell us!!!!”

I yelled at her.

She was beginning to sob. Kunle was shocked to his core.
My guess is that he never knew the extent of her plans.
Before she could talk, Dejo ran into the house and said in the direction of my mother,

“Madam, madam!
Come see something for gate.”

“Dejo, what is it?”

She asked like he was being a nuisance.
He, panting, said,

“Madam, na wetin I never see in my life.
Please come.”

We saw the concern in his eyes and reluctantly we all followed.
We got to the gate and he pressed the controls to get it opened.

As it peeled open, what stood on the other side was unlike anything I had ever seen in my life.
I looked around as mouths and jaws were on the floor.
The WhatTheHeckMan couldn’t even be said.
All that stood on the paved concrete of Lagos was my father’s coffin.
Yes, you read that right.
The coffin my old man was buried with in Ibadan was right in front of our home in Ikoyi.

My mother was right. This was war.
But this was never the type of blow we expected.
What the actual fuck, man?

End of Part 3.
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Thank you for reading and commenting. You are highly appreciated.

#SanmiSaturdays

© 2020 #WhatTheHeckMan

Fiction

The Dumb Writer

#JusticeForToyin

I often get criticized by some of my friends that I don’t “talk enough” or readily/easily “open up”.
It bothers me and frankly, I don’t even know when it started.
On one hand, I think I picked it up late in high school when I noticed that I was talking too much and sometimes finding myself in a lie.
Not the blatant ones, but an embellishment here or extra jara there; it was starting to trouble my spirit.
So I turned it down.
On the other hand, it could’ve been growing up with a mom that believes that your best friends are your parents and siblings. I just always kept things within.
Frankly, it doesn’t matter.
One reason it actually bothers me is, the uncertainty of what would happen if I start falling in love with someone and I am unable to truly express myself – like my deepest, darkest, scariest, and most awkward feelings.
I don’t know to be honest, I don’t know.
I pray I can work through it.

This post today may seem scattered, or not.
You may see yourself in my words, or not. Hell, you may even be here just to be an alabosi, but it’s all good.
Today, I started a walking challenge. I had planned to walk about 2.5 miles or so but I ended up walking 4 miles.
It felt great to start the morning outside and just walk.
One thing I realized that COVID19 took away from me is my morning routine.
I used to wake up around 6:45am-7:00am, hit the gym, shower there and then take the ferry to work in San Francisco.
While working out, I would listen to tons of gospel music, pray and commit the day and my loved ones to God.

Now, I am awake at odd times. Consumed by weird things like joblessness, trying to not be depressed, sex, masturbation, staying creative, trying not to be fat and so much more.
That morning routine is gone.
And who knows if I’ll ever get it back. I hope so (Alameda county, please open the gyms back up).

Back to my walk today; as I walked, I started listening to praise and worship.
See my gospel playlist here and the lineup of today, here.
I have a friend that strongly believes that God has a calling for me in the music ministry. Maybe He does, I don’t know or maybe I know and I am trying to ignore it.
IDK.
But every so often, they will say “Sanmi just submit and let God use you o. He will use you well o.”
I have a weird relationship with that type of service with God.
My parents have been pastors for most of my life; noble jobs but they come with tremendous pressure and dedication – things I am not sure I am ready for yet.
However, I know He uses me, no doubt.
If you are ever wondering, just peep me leading praise and worship like in the video below.
I legit turn into someone else.

I have always envied people with beautiful voices. Like those that you know God straight made them to sing.
See Mali Music, Jonathan McReynolds, Dunsin Oyekan, Tope Alabi – once you hear their voices, you feel “connected” to the heavens.
I don’t think I have the best voice. Matter of fact, listening to those people, I think I suck.
Yet somehow, God uses this voice and what he has put in me, to bless people.
And I thank Him for it.

Anyway, as I was walking, a few things consumed my heart and I started crying.
I have a very unique relationship with praise and worship.
Especially when I am “alone” with God. Here I was walking down the barely awakened neighborhood, in my noise cancelling headphones, singing melodies to God while trying not to get run over because I couldn’t hear anything outside the music.

Depression.
The pressure of being with the right person.
Being jobless.
My right knee still not being healed.
Being out of a job that cost me my insurance, that cost me rehab of the knee I wanted to get right by this summer.
Praying for a friend who lost a family member to COVID and an aunty who underwent major surgery.
Praying for my siblings, parents, friends and acquaintances.
Missing praise and worship in the actual church.

O V E R W H E L M E D

Tears as people walked their dogs, ran and walked past me.
But I felt safe there.
Now all the things I just wrote, some would read and say “why didn’t you tell me”.
It’s the reason I titled this “The Dumb Writer”.
Once I sit on the toilet or in the bathtub or in the car or by the water, the words come.
In private, I go dumb.

Today, as I got about halfway through the workout, the song “Man of Your Word” by Chandler Moore & KJ Scriven for Maverick City Music came on.
That song had been speaking to me for a short minute but never like today.
The part that stands out first is the chorus where they say

[Verse 1: Chandler Moore]
All things are possible
When we believe
Old chains are breakable
When we receive
Yahweh
You keep Your promises

[Chorus: Chandler Moore]
If You said it, we believe it
If You said it, hey!
If You said it, we believe it
If You said it, we believe it
‘Cause You’re a man of Your word
If You said it, we believe it
If You said it, we believe it
You’re a man of Your word

Then later it says

[Bridge: Chandler Moore]
We have this confidence
You’ll finish what You started
God, You have never failed
You won’t start with me
You’re present in every step
Patient in every heartache
God, You have never failed
You won’t start with me

The second part is just as powerful as the first.
It is a confirmation that God is great, never fails and fam, He won’t start failing on top my own matter.
N O P E.
You should have seen me jamming to that part of the song. If you follow me on Instagram, you would have noticed me just jamming in my story.

I loved the reassurance gently tucked in the song.
It is a bop that I know you’ll add to your gospel playlist and damn, it sure makes you feel comfort.
In these times, we need so much of that.
There is a lot that is uncertain in many facets of our lives and it is truly refreshing to know that He got us.
There is so much I can say about the confidence, I am not sure where or how to start but man I love being in that lonely room with the One that knows what I want to say before I say it.

So to my best friends, confidants and gbeborunssssss, I am sorry that I don’t always have the words.
I promise it is not because I love you less.
But trust me when I say my heart speaks. Loud and in many tones.
And these words you read here are true to my every bone.
So, thank you for listening here and feel free to “speak” back if you see me.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention is how scary the world is today.
I really considered not going for that walk today because black men die doing the randomest things.
As I was walking today,
I was so lost in the music that I turned around suddenly and there was a cop on a bike.
I freaked out.
He caught it and put his hand out to show he wasn’t a threat but damn, it took me a minute to regroup.
We are not S A F E.
And it is scary AF.

All in all, here are my Words Of Wednesday,.
My apologies for missing the post last Wednesday.
I hope you felt something reading this today and I promise, you will feel something reading Bastards 3 this Saturday.
I promise you that, so brace yourself.
Haven’t read my current series – BASTARDS?
Start here

Till very soon y’all,

Stay Up, Stay Safe & Stay Strong.
I LOVE YOU!

Yours always,

The Wordsmith
Master of Cliffhangers

Please leave a comment Below!

Please comment, retweet and share. Thank you for your continued support.
You are highly appreciated.

WordsOfWednesday

© 2020 #WhatTheHeckMan

#WhatTheHeckMan · African Stories · Fiction · Stories

Bastards 2

Blood is thicker than water but only one bleeds when the heart is cut.

In.
Out.
In.
Out.
In.
Wow.
I couldn’t see the light. Was I even supposed to see the light being that I died in sin?
Has anyone figured out how that whole thing works?
I obviously had not.
The room was dark and everything was moving slow.
I was trying to figure out what was going to happen next. Slowly opening my eyes trying to see what just happened…
As I opened my eyes I looked around my body to make sure that I had not been shot.
I couldn’t find any bullet wounds, so I looked over to where Adesuwa was standing.
Slammed to the floor with a gun in her hand.
I looked over to the door of the room and that is where I saw her standing with a gun in her hand. I was shocked. After all, she wasn’t supposed to be here till tomorrow. “How did you get here so fast?”, I thought.

“Ivie, what the fuck?
What are you doing here?”

I said as I got off the bed.
I slowly got up and walked over to her. As I approached, she lowered the weapon.
None of it made sense.
Shaking to my bones, I slowly approached Ivie.

“Ivie, let me explain.”

I opened with. I was trying to calm her down and not let her shoot me because I was cheating on her.
As I approached her, I knelt down and pleaded.

“Ivie, I am sorry.”

She didn’t even look at me. Her eyes were fixed on Adesuwa’s lifeless body on the ground.
A whole minute that felt like an eternity must have passed, but she eventually handed the gun to me.
I took it in my hand and stood up.
As I backed away from her, she said,

“We need to get rid of the body.”

My eyes grew big and I couldn’t understand why.
I asked.

“Why?”

It was as if then she finally snapped out of a trance and she said,

“Your mistress is dead on your bedroom floor and you’re asking me why?”

“But I didn’t shoot her.”

I replied.
Cold and firm, she walked over to me and said,

“Your prints are all over that gun in your hand, your semen is probably inside of her and your soon to be wife was about to walk in on you two, what do you think they would believe Tomiwa?”

I stared at the gun in my hand and then at Adesuwa’s body.
Fuck!
She was right.

She helped me put the body in the carpet from the living room on the second floor; we hauled the body down and outside the house.
As I lifted the body into my trunk, she asked me,

“Are you going to dump it in the water?”

I shook my head and said,

“No, the body could float. I have to find an incinerator or dump it on the way to Lagos.”

She didn’t argue.
I ran back into the house and got all of her things. I vividly remember putting her cellphone in my pocket.
As I got into the car, I asked Ivie,

“Are you coming with me?”

She sharply said

“No.”

Then she continued and said,

“I have to drive my car to Lagos. Obviously cannot leave it here.
I’ll meet you at the house in Lagos”

————

The drive to Lagos felt like the longest in my life.
I kept trying to drive fast but I was worried that if I drove too fast it would raise suspicion.

Mowe-Ibafo, Berger, and I was making my way to Oshodi.
Sweating profusely, my throat was dry. I was just trying to get to the incinerator at my friend’s waste management company.
It was already midday as I pulled into the parking lot, I hadn’t called him ahead of time.
How would I have explained needing a professional torching chamber?

As I parked, one of the employees came up to me just as I was stepping out of the car.
She curtsied as she came closer.

“Good afternoon sir.”

She said.

“Good afternoon, is your oga around?”

I asked her in response.

“No sir.”

She replied with some disappointment.

“Will he be in today?”

I asked. She shook her her head and said,

“I don’t think so sir. Today and tomorrow, we are doing maintenance around the whole facility. So I don’t think anybody from the office side will be here. Till Thursday sir.

Do you need me to call him sir?”

I raised my hand to discourage her against that.

“No need my dear.”

I got back into the car and started it as I tried to drive off. I was turned around, trying to back out of the parking spot when I heard a light tap on the window.
I turned back to my left and she was standing there. As I wound down, she said,

“Oga, it’s like blood is dripping on the floor from your boot (trunk).”

I smiled and said,

“Oh, don’t worry about it, mo se se tan lodo awon eleran ni.”
“Don’t worry about it, I just left the meat sellers/meat packing.”

“Oh okay, sir.
Ke ni nice day”
“Have a nice day.”

As I drove out of the facility, I started to panic.
The body in the trunk was dripping and it was the high of the afternoon.
That meant I had to keep the body in there till night came before disposing of it.
Fuck.

As I pulled up to my house, I was trying to get in and park the car without anyone noticing me.
Audu, my gateman, opened up the gate and I immediately sent him on an errand that required him to leave the house.
Nkechi, the maid, was more than likely inside, preparing dinner. I quickly parked the car and I was walking to the gate when I heard sirens and the police swarmed my compound.
Immediately, I was reprimanded, handcuffed and thrown in the back of a police car.

The head arresting officer marched into the compound, walked to my car, stopped and then walked back to the car I was in .
He opened the door and said,

“Where are the car keys?”

“In my pocket.”

I replied.
He reached into my pocket and pulled it out.

“Take him to the station.”

He said as he closed the door.
And within seconds, the car was leaving.
All I could think of was WhatTheHeckMan.


Sanmi here popping in to say hi! If you’re new to WhatTheHeckMan, welcome!
I am not sorry for the cliffhangers and the suspense but I am thrilled to have you here. I hope you enjoy my stories – most of which I create in my head. My #WordsOfWednesday pieces are unfiltered and the purest me.
Thank you for reading all of it.
Please, if you are reading this, let me know how you feel about the story. Don’t assume that I don’t see it or that other people are doing it, so you don’t need to. Your support is EVERYTHING.


Here are my last three posts. Enjoy!
How are you doing, Sanmi?
Bastards
Too Faithful to Fail Me

Missed the last series? Start here! Scar Tissue
Now back to Bastards 2! Brace yourself. 😎


Sitting in that dark and cold cell, I kept thinking about how I got there.
How did they know the body was in the car?
I had only left Ibadan a few hours before. Did the girl from my friend’s business call him and he called the police?
How did the police know where to go immediately?
No fuss, no “detective” work, they just knew.

For the longest time, it never even crossed my mind that the person that helped me put the body in the trunk, may have snitched on me.
It felt like an eternity sitting there trying to piece together what had happened.
It had been an incredible 36 hours.
No one ever thinks that you would find out that your beloved father was not your father, your childhood love would die in front of you and you would be arrested for murder, all before another moon.

There was a man wailing in the cell next to me.
I could tell that he had been beaten and he was crying out for his family – essentially saying that he didn’t do whatever he was arrested for and he couldn’t breathe in that tight cell.
I was thinking about what I would say.
What would happen officially?
Would people at the company start looking at my siblings and I differently?
A wedding was in the works, but I was about to be outed as a cheat. And what would Ivie think of me?
What was she thinking of me?
Did she make it to Lagos safely? Did she know that I was taken?
Did she know I was taken by the police and not robbed or kidnapped?

I wasn’t sure what time it was but I was starting to get sleepy.
It was a weird feeling because my heart was racing like crazy but my body was tired.
I started crying.
As quietly as possible, all of the tears and sobs I tried to contain in the dark cell started to seep out.
My asthma was starting to act up and I was begging my body to behave but my heart was shattering.
It felt like my chest was closing in on my heart.
I stopped crying and began trying to control my breaths.
Slowly, in and out.
In.
Out.
In.
Out.
I closed my eyes and tried to wiggle my toes –
a grounding technique I learned back in college. As I was starting to calm down, an officer came to the cell door and shook the bars while saying,

“Tomiwa Fehintola”

I opened my eyes and sprung up.

“Yes, that’s me.”

“Your people dey here to see you.”

He said.

“My people?”

I asked to clarify.

“You no hear wetin I just talk?”

He replied rudely as he opened up the cell door.
I quickly rose and headed out of the cell. The hallway was dark and tight but I just followed him towards the end of the hallway.

As I came into the waiting area, I noticed my mother, our family lawyer and the DPO (Divisional Police Officer)
They appeared to have been in conversation before I appeared.
As soon as my mother saw me, you could see the relief on her face.

“Oko mi, are you alright?”

She asked concernedly while throwing her arms around me.
I nodded while fighting back those tears I was just shedding.
I knew I would leave there deep down, but with Nigerian police, what can you really trust or guarantee?

My mother and I walked out of the police station and towards the car as she rubbed my back.
We got into the car and waited as the lawyer spoke to the police.
I sat behind the driver and my mother sat next to me.
She asked again,

“Are you okay?”

I nodded again and said,

“Yes ma.”

A few seconds after, the lawyer got into the passenger seat.
The driver started the car and we drove out of the station.
As we got onto the main road, the lawyer turned around and said,

“Tomiwa, I have to ask you a few questions.
I know the last few hours have been hard but I need to know so we can start working.”

I nodded.

“Did you shoot that young woman?”

He asked.
I shook my head and said,

“No.”

He continued,

“Did you have any intentions of killing her or having her killed?”

I shook my head again and said,

“Absolutely not. I loved her.”

My mother looked at me when those words left my mouth.
She knew I did.
Everyone knew I did.
But it was not what my father wanted, so it never happened. It appeared that having his own children was the only thing my father didn’t have his own way.

The lawyer asked next,

“Do you have the gun or know where it is?”

I replied,

“Yes, I do. It’s in the locked glove compartment of my car.”

“Good. Good.”

He replied.

My mother said,

“We are going to stop by my house first before we take you to yours.”

I wasn’t sure why but I replied.

“Okay.”

A few seconds of silence and then I thought to ask,

“How did you even know where I was?”

“Tobe came back and noticed the gate was open and your car abandoned. He watched the CCTV recording and contacted me. I called around and located where you were being held.
Mr. Williams and I drove down from Ibadan to get you.”

She explained.
That damn CCTV finally came to use. And then it clicked.
I had the same system installed in my Ibadan home. Hell, my father had us install security systems everywhere.
That meant I could prove that Ivie came in when she did and murdered Adesuwa.

In a weird sequence of events, I felt quick relief and then sadness at realizing that Adesuwa was still gone.
I asked my mother,

“Where is her body?”

“Don’t worry about that son. Her family has been notified and we have explained that more details will follow as the investigation develops. Like I said, it’s being handled.”

She replied with calm and confidence. I had only ever seen my mother like this once in my life – when my father had knee surgery and she had to run the business for a few months.
She didn’t always flex this side of her but I always knew there was a cold blooded schemer in her. I knew there was more command, especially with the news about my father not being my father.
But I was willing to wait to learn those truths.

“Tomiwa, I am sorry about Adesuwa. I am well aware that you loved her and wished you could marry her but as you will continue to find out, in life, we do not always get what we want or deserve.
You will have your time to mourn her loss, but for now, I need you to be strong because we are about to be at war.”

She trailed on and I interrupted,

“War?”

She looked at me and echoed,

“War.
Yes, a full blown war against some bastards trying to ruin us. So brace yourself.
You and your sisters need to be at full attention and stay vigilant.”

She paused and said,

“Does Ivie know about Adesuwa?”

I nodded.
She sighed and said,

“Hmmm. How is she handling that with the baby?”

She tilted her head to the left as she looked at me.

“Baby?
What baby?”

My mom pulled down her glasses.

“You weren’t planning on telling me that Ivie was pregnant?”

She asked almost in betrayal.

“Pregnant?!”

I was shocked.

“Ivie and I have never had sex. Never.”

I explained to her.

“You and Ivie have never been intimate?
In all these yearsssss???”

She exclaimed.

“Yes mother. She always told me that she was waiting for marriage.
And I agreed because frankly I didn’t love her anyways so having sex with her was not something that I particularly wanted.”

My mom stared straight ahead with her right hand on her chin and muttered,

“You didn’t know?”

I then asked.

“How did you know?”

She said.

“Ivie came by the house early this morning in Ibadan and told me herself. I was wondering where you were but she said you rushed to Lagos.
It made no sense to me but I just assumed she was eager to share with me as she missed the funeral and all.
You know…to give me good news in these dark times.”

I laughed and said.

“Ivie came to you this morning?”

She nodded.

“In Ibadan?”

I continued.
She replied,

“Yes.”

I laughed and shook my head before planting them in my hands.
My head was spinning.
I was out of my depth and completely confused.
This woman was cheating on me as I was cheating on her but why would she try to pass off the child as mine?

My mother asked,

“So if the child is not yours and you didn’t know, then who is the father?”

Mr Williams in the front of the car responded without looking back,

“It’s his brother’s.”

I raised my head out of my hands as my mother and I screamed,

“What?!”

End of Part 2. I know you want part 3 ASAP but to get it, you have to comment! Go ahead and drop it below!
Share with your friends and family to get us to 20!

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Thank you for reading and commenting. You are highly appreciated.

#SanmiSaturdays

© 2020 #WhatTheHeckMan

#WordsofWednesday

HOW YOU DOING, Sanmi?

This is for everyone…feeling right now.

WordsOfWednesday

2:54am
I was talking to a friend about a month into the lockdown and I brought up the fact that our parents had similar and very different battles as they grew up. My mother was born during the civil rights movement. My father watched civil wars, coups, dictatorships, polio, HIV, and Trump.
I know it seemed like a huge jump to Trump but truly think about everything we have gone through as a race and a global community since he came into office. Fuck.

From our conversation, he mentioned the fact that we have to document these times.
The societal issues are largely accounted for in hashtags and op-ed’s but we need our own account.
As a writer, I am very guilty of not really liking to read back my work. 
Idk why but once I create it and put it out, it belongs to YOU. Somehow, I kind of detach from the content and I just hope it’s impactful.

So for this piece, I have decided to write it like a journal/diary entry and I hope you find something here or just enjoy how I write if that’s all you need.
I had such high hopes for 2020, and honestly, it could still turn out fucking amazing but at this exact moment – FUCK.

  • WW3 scares
  • Australian Wildfire
  • Covid-19
  • Cancellation of Sporting Events
  • Confirmed UFO Sightings
  • Murder Hornets
  • Evidence of Parallel Universes
  • Murders of Black people + Riots across America
  • Return of #Anonymous

And it’s just June.

I remember telling someone that I didn’t think that the lockdown for this long. I was sure that the capitalist world that is America would force them to send us back to work as soon as they could.
I was wrong.
I think 2020 so far has shown us that the saying “we have seen it all” is nonsense because we have not seen this shit.
At least not at this rate. I feel largely conflicted on most days. The lockdown has reactivated my creative talents through @TheRantsShow and this blog. I am back to writing more and sharing it.
Key part: sharing it.
The best days on my blog (thanks to people like you for being here to read this) since 2017 have all come while the whole world is protesting the murders of #GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArbery #BreonnaTaylor and the brutal raping of Tina & Uwa. #JusticeForTina #JusticeForUwa
So while personally, I have finally found some joy, I am still immensely consumed by sadness and dread.

Getting laid off in March, I struggled to keep my head afloat for about a month. Then I got to the final stages of a company I thought I wanted to work for and I was passed over.
Enter depression, doubt, and dejection.
So as I turned to my creative outlets like I know how I was so happy to be finally in the groove again.
And even that feels unfair. It feels unfair to be happy.
To have things that make you smile when my people are dying and the world is reeling.

Being unemployed in the middle of a pandemic, while worrying about your health and life is a different level of crazy.
Then the overwhelming news of pain and sadness everywhere you turn feels like being in a toxic relationship that you know you need to leave but you can’t seem to figure out how.
Everywhere I turn, I feel stuck.
For many of the reasons listed above, I have questioned God. Why this or why that?
Yet, I have somehow found some peace in God still.
It’s weird.

I can’t seem to think of much than getting a new job.
I know we should not be defined by our jobs but I feel like not being an active contributor in life truly bothers me.
I tend to feel inadequate AF.
I want to be doing things, being impactful, and truly touching lives. I keep thinking about @TheRantsShow’s Annual Give Back – will I be able to touch the lives of these kids this year due to the pandemic and being out of a job?
Sigh.

I was taking the trash out earlier tonight and my heart started racing. I stopped on the stairs to process for a second and I realized that it was because there is a county-wide curfew at the moment. So from 9pm-5am, everyone needs to be in their homes.
But I started thinking, what if a police officer saw me and I got shot or something bad happened.
I know in your mind, like in a mind, a quick thought came in about how I could potentially be thinking irrationally but just look at most of the recent killings of black men and women.
Nothing seems irrational or impossible anymore.

I worry about my blood brothers



and all my friends, acquaintances, and just random people.
Who got us?
Every time they call my phone, I panic. Is one calling me because something happened to the other one?
Did someone assault or abuse my sister?
Is everything okay?
I worry about walking to the 7/11, driving, being in the workplace, being around a certain group of people (yes, those people), or just fucking existing and it being a crime to be alive and black.
I worry.
A lot.
And that is weird for me. I hate worrying. I am team, worry about what you can control, change it, or allow it.
This sucks.
I feel like I’m constantly watching my back, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It’s mad.

We need to train our boy child.
All over the world but especially in Nigeria and the broader Africa.
Men need to stop raping women/girls.
It has to stop.
It doesn’t matter where they go. Women are not safe.
And what is mad is that through everything, they stay protecting us. How?!
We need to take the time to teach self-awareness, consent, and have firm consequences for people that violate other people on any level.
I wish I lived in Nigeria and I could have those conversations with young boys.
Consent is attractive. Consent is peace of mind. Consent is to be given, respected and can be revoked.
I pray for the families of the young women abused by animalistic men.

My heart is heavy.
My soul is weary.
My body is achy.
We all need peace.
Please do not give up the fight. We can and we will pull through.
I believe in us.
Please stay safe out there, we are fighting two wars – a global pandemic and racism.
Stay safe and sane.
Catch part two of Bastards next Saturday. Did you miss part one? Read it here

So how are you doing, Sanmi? You may ask…

HURTING. Really HURTING.

How are YOU feeling?
Leave your answers in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading as always! 💕
Till next time, stay up!

Please leave a comment Below!

Please comment, retweet and share. Thank you for your continued support.
You are highly appreciated.

WordsOfWednesday

© 2020 #WhatTheHeckMan

Fiction

Bastards

PART 1

This series is dedicated to the lives taken from us and the entire #BlackLivesMatter Movement. You matter to me.

There was a crisp tinge to the air that summer afternoon.
The Ibadan heat felt like a stranglehold. The only breeze that day was the ceremony.
We had gotten to the priest earlier in the week to make sure things moved quickly and efficiently.
The whole week was a shit show.
Family had flown in from all over the world on a whim. But the events of that day and the following weeks would leave a lasting impression.
Money talks, but greed uses a megaphone.

It had been exactly 72 days since my father passed away in his sleep while vacationing with his friends in Kenya. He was 65 years old and for the last twenty-five or so years, our family had a routine – we travelled the world for two weeks as a family and Daddy went to link up with his boys.
Friends from their high school days at Wesley College, Ibadan, the six of them would manage to do well for themselves in varying fields – from politicians to lawyers, doctors and businessmen.
My father was a medical doctor in England for two decades before moving back to Nigeria; he would then teach at the University of Ife, go into politics and then fully into business, supplying medical equipment to the government.
A great family man but clearly a man not without his flaws and demons, as you will soon find out.

This year, we swapped the order of our vacation because one of our cousins was due to get married three weeks after this vacation to Kenya.
We decided as a family to start our vacation after Daddy got back from his boys’ trip and end it in Venice, where the wedding was going to be held.
At least that was the plan.

I was surprised when I got a call from his lawyer and confidant that he had passed. I was even more surprised at how well my older sister was giving this eulogy.

“…a dad is someone to look up to, someone to follow, someone to admire, someone to be proud of and someone to brag about, someone to hold and someone to cry with, someone to learn from and someone to respect, someone to listen to and someone to talk to, someone to try and impress – sometimes rebel against – and, someone, most of all, with whom to share everything this wonderful life has to offer.
I am so incredibly grateful and happy that I can stand here today and tell you that I have had all this and much, much more with my dad Chief Ayodele. I am blessed to have had Fehintola as my dad.
To say I loved my dad would be an understatement – and to say I’m going to miss him would be an even greater understatement.

My dad was one of a kind to me, my siblings, my mom, extended family, his friends and the entire community.
Thank you for loving us so deeply daddy – we will never forget you.”

She stepped away and came to stand next to me. She flanked me on my left while my twin younger sisters stood to my right.
My brother stood at the end of the line, next to one of the twins.
My sisters and I were close – very close actually – but my brother, well he was an acquired taste.
Smart and super funny, but dealing with demons that dwarfed even that of my dad.
It quickly put members of the family off.

As the casket was lowered, my mom, who had been crying for most of the service, began wailing even more.

“Ah Fehintola, afi gba to se mi pa. Se eleyi to se yi da?
Ah Fehintola, until you ruined me. Is what you have done fair?”

They restrained her as dirt was poured on the coffin and we began heading to the celebration of life.
It was a big party because of how popular my father was but at 65, it just felt like there was more to his life and it got cut short.

We danced in the streets as traditional drummers played our family oriki. We arrived to a packed stadium and the ceremony began. My mother would eventually join us about 30 minutes later, presumably after she got her makeup retouched.

I don’t really remember the celebration if I am being completely honest. It felt like a bunch of formalities and a lot of ass kissing from those my father gave money to and those that hoped my mother would give to them.
Different organizations with the same story of how my father blessed them with his resources and his kindness.
Blah, blah, blah.

When we got to the house later that afternoon, it was more of the same. Governors and dignitaries from Nigerian states, international guests, business partners, and so on.
A lot of hand shaking and more ass kissing. Some only came to make sure their stream of benefits continued, some came to make sure their business deals were intact. Only a handful really came out of care and concern for my family.
Around 8pm, I had shaken enough hands and I was ready to leave.
My mother was staying in the main house and all the kids had our own homes in the estate. These were gifts my father gave each of us upon graduating college.
I would alternate between my house and the family house where my parents stayed depending on the occasion or the number of people in the 9 bedroom house.
Like the Christmas Taiwo was telling my dad that she was dropping out of medical school, I stayed in my own house because I knew it was going to be a madness.
Shoes and insults were thrown that night.
There was a very different type of tension in the air tonight. I said my goodbyes and got in my car.
I FaceTimed my fiancé Ivie on my way home. She couldn’t make it to the funeral because of a missed connection at Heathrow.
In many ways, I was glad that she didn’t come, nobody needed the extra family drama.
Let’s just say getting ready to marry an Edo woman was already proving difficult with the family.
Who knew what type of wailing my mother would have put on if she saw her.


Sunday morning was low-key. We went to church and sat together like they do in my parent’s Anglican Church.
The Vicar prayed for our family towards the end of the service. More condolences, hugs, and handshakes.
Some of our family members went back to Lagos and other places.
I spent most of the day at the family house, cleaning out my father’s room and organizing his study.
My father and I shared a love for shoes. We would travel to cities and have them custom made or hit the shops to pick out pairs we wanted to use to tension people back in Nigeria.

I remember truly realizing that he was gone as I turned off his TV screen that broadcasted the global stock markets.
He watched them every morning after family prayers and as he took his tea.
The man was gone.
I cried as I drove home that evening.
If I felt like my father was gone, nothing prepared me for what Monday would bring.

When we arrived for the reading of the will, I expected it to be a formality.
Over the years, my father made it clear that things were aligned and clearly shared. The only things we were not clear on were cash and splits.
Stocks in his companies and his portfolios had been given to us and we had account managers handling those for us. Each person had their house and undeveloped land in Ibadan, Lagos and along the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway.
The properties in New York and Los Angeles were to stay with my mom.
I was already running my father’s business with my brother as co-executives. My older sister lived in San Diego and was a software engineer and had her own family.
Taiwo worked in media for a top soccer team in England and Kehinde was a practicing lawyer in Washington DC.
Basically, we were good.
We grew up rich and comfortable thanks to our parents so we did not expect any issues with sharing things

The will reading had the following parties:

My mother
My siblings and I
Three lawyers
Two representatives for the company’s board of directors
And my older sister’s husband

The lead lawyer opened a sealed envelope and began reading the will.
Money was split, the home went to my mom along with most of the physical properties around the world.
Nobody really cared for the things like the cars and his boat in Lagos.
I got a 40% stake in the company while my brother got 15%; all my sisters got 5% each, bringing the total family ownership to 70%. My sisters also got a higher split on the cash in hand which ran deep into the millions of dollars.
I actually appreciated his rationale around this company ownership. I had worked for him since I was in college and my brother joined the company about 6 years later. So at his time of death, I had invested 10 years of my life into the company.
The bombshell was not even that all of what was split would not go into effect or get to us for 6 months.

As the lawyer wrapped up, he picked up his suitcase and pulled out another sealed envelope.
The moment he pulled it out,
my mother became very uneasy.
He held it in his hands while he said

“Chief Ayodele wanted this to be read after all the assets have been distributed.”

I sat up straight and anticipated the news. He pulled out a paper and began reading,

“I, Fehintola Ayodele, swear that this document is being drafted while I am able bodied and of sound mind. No part of this document is drafted under duress.
Over my life, I have had the privilege of doing some amazing things and building greatness. Without a shadow of doubt, my greatest achievement in my life is being your father.
If this is being read to you then it means that life got to me before I got the chance to tell you this by myself.
It has eaten at me for years and while I know you may be disappointed, I hope that you eventually understand that I did it for your own good.

So here it goes, I am not your biological father. None of you are biologically mine.
A few months after your mother and I got married, I had a terrible accident that completely ruptured my testicles. After many rounds of corrective surgery, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It ballooned fast and may have been what took me away from you.
Your mother and I had an agreement, we chose someone to reproduce with and I would take full ownership as your father.
I have loved you all as my own and I truly hope that it came out in every interaction we had. You bear my name, you are filled with my love and you are the best gift that God ever gave to me.
I know you will have questions, I expect tons of them especially from those last two. Your mom is the strongest and most loving woman I know. Please give her time and she will answer all your questions as we discussed.
I love you all always.
This family has made my life worth living”

The whole room was stunned to silence.
Dead silence.

My mother was sobbing but ever so quietly.
There weren’t many other reactions beyond shock. Disbelief maybe, but mostly shock.
“What The Heck Man” was all I could think of.

————————
Are you enjoying this series so far? You pictured the funeral, imagined the home? If you are liking what you are reading, welcome to the WhatTheHeckMan family.
In case you missed my most recent series “Scar Tissue”, please read them at the links below.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
Don’t forget to leave me a comment at the end and answer the poll + please re-share this to your social media platforms. Let’s continue growing the family! Thank you!

Sanmi
————————

I was sitting in my car in the driveway.
My legs had no power to walk. I am not even sure how I drove home with tears in my eyes.
Everything in my life felt rocked. Everything felt like a lie.

My head was resting on the steering wheel when I heard a knock on the window.
I turned to my left and it was my childhood friend Adesuwa.
She was the daughter of one of my father’s closest friends and former business partner.

I wound down the window and said,

“Suwa, what are you doing here?”

She smiled and replied,

“I came to check on you. I just heard what happened. Was on my way back to Lagos and I had to stop by and check on you. Are you okay?”

I wasn’t even sure if I was okay.
I nodded.
She said,

“Are you sure?”

“I mean, I guess. I just have so many questions and I am not even sure where to begin getting answers or if I really want those answers.”

She nodded and said,

“I can only imagine”

“Yeah.”

I replied.
She then said,

“Come inside, let me make you something to eat and we can talk and take your mind off this.”

We headed inside and I was sitting on the couch while she was in the kitchen.
I actually dozed off while she was in the kitchen.
There wasn’t much talking that actually happened.
When she came out, she had made some rice and stew with plantains. We sat and ate together.

As we ate and watched TV, she went to the wine cabinet and picked out a Red that we opened.
About 35 minutes after we were done eating, I opened another bottle.
Adesuwa and I were always close.
We actually lost our virginity to each other way back in SS2, way before our parents knew anything of us.
Then we dated briefly when I first returned to Nigerian from getting my Masters in Chicago.
We stopped being as close when I started dating Ivie.
Just to avoid drama and issues.
But that night, something in me wanted to be reckless. It wasn’t the alcohol, that’s cowardly.
It was me.

As we started talking, I said to her,

“Come here.”

She smiled sheepishly and said,

“Where?”

I tapped my lap and motioned to her.
She came over, placed her glass on the coffee table and turned to me with a smile on her face.
I immediately kissed her.
Passionately.
Kissing my way down her body, I laid her on the couch as I slid up her dress.
Finding my way to her pink, her wet immediately covered my lips.
She let out a gasp of relief.
It was like our lips were meeting for the first time.
They tasted like a homemade white chocolate candy. Super sweet.
I delved deeper.
My tongue parted ways as I searched her inner walls.
As she dripped down my lips and on to my beard, my tongue flipped into overdrive as I tried to get it all.
Nothing was to be wasted.
As I slurped and my tongue went from left to right at uncontrollable speed, she clutched the pillows.
She placed her legs on my shoulders and gripped them around my neck, it only sent me further into pleasure.
I dug deeper.
Licking faster; nibbling on her clit.
Then she went silent as I vibrated on her clit; I knew what was coming.
So, faster my tongue went.
And then faster, covering every inch of her pulsing pink.
I was working like I was auditioning for a position.
I missed her. I missed sex. It was completely non existent in my relationship.
She squeezed her legs tighter around my neck and let out her squeal!
Her sharp moan kissed my ears like a nip on your bottom lip.
She came.
I rose to take off my pants and released my throbbing member.

As we walked into the room, she asked me to lay down.
Flat on my back I lay, as she climbed on top of me.
The heat and warmth was insane. Her wet dripped down my throbbing shaft.
She placed both hands on my nipples and stroked them as she rolled her hips on me.
No words, just eye contact.
She was driving me insane. I closed my eyes and I knew.

I quickly turned her over.
Her face went straight into the bed and her ass perfectly served up to me.
I slid in behind her and thrust in slowly.
Quickly, the pace picked up. Her cheeks bounced as I slid in and out of her.
I could feel the base of my balls slamming into her wet clit and splattering all over me.
She reached under and tickled my balls as I thrust into her.
I grabbed a handful of her braids as I exploded and pumped her full.

We slumped next to each other stark naked with most of her clothes downstairs and mine too.
After a few minutes, she got up and went to get her clothes. As she walked out of the room, she said,

“Can I get a shirt to sleep in please?”

I ruffled through the closet and found one.
Tossing it on the bed, I headed into the bathroom to wash up.
About 5 minutes later, I returned while she was putting on the shirt and tucking her things into the corner of the room.
As she hopped into the bed with me, she said,

“So Plan B tomorrow?”

I smiled and said,

“You know the drill.”

She replied,

“Jk, I’m on birth control”

I laughed and replied,

“Even better.”

I think we chatted for a few more minutes but I remember the very last thing was that she leaned over and kissed me on my forehead.

It must have been 4am in the morning when I heard my name out of my sleep.

“Tomiwa, wake the fuck up.”

As I opened my eyes, I noticed Adesuwa was pointing a gun at me.
Not sure what was going on, I put my hands up and asked,

“Adesuwa, what is going on?”

She said,

“Please don’t talk. Just don’t say anything.”

Still confused and half naked, I asked again,

“Suwa, did I do something? IS this a joke?
What is going on?”

She said

“I am sorry.”

“Sorry about what?”

I chimed back.
She said,

“Close your eyes.”

I was taking too long. So she yelled again,

“Close your eyes Tomiwa!”

I closed my eyes and that was when it happened.
I heard the shots.

Bang bang!
My body went limp.

End of Part 1. Please like this story, leave a comment below, and share social media!
~Release part 2 early? 20 comments and we have a deal~ Share with your friends and family to get us to 20!

Follow @adewus4real

Thank you for reading and commenting. You are highly appreciated.

#SanmiSaturdays

© 2020 #WhatTheHeckMan

#WhatTheHeckMan · #WordsofWednesday

Too Faithful to Fail Me

When your Offering Changes…

At a church in Lagos, Nigeria during offering time: https://www ...
Picture taken at the offering station in one of Nigeria’s leading churches.

About a month ago, I stumbled on this song.
I won’t even lie to you, my first reaction was slight jealousy of how beautiful his voice was.

Too Faithful by Moses Bliss

The lyrics of the song speak so distinctly to my life.
As I write this on the ferry home from work, I had to give in to the tears.

A couple of Sundays ago, I was at church. It was offering time and as we walked up to give our offering, I noticed that I was giving a denomination much higher than I was used to.
Not only that, it was now a norm for me.
I asked myself, when did your offering change?

I grew up listening to pastors that preached giving. They would tell you that you had to give where it hurts and you could feel it. This space felt weird to me.
Not because I was giving a crazy amount but because I had enough.
More than enough.

For many, the barometer of how great God is usually gauged by financial success or wealth.
And while it is not the only measurement I use, it sure is a telling one in today’s society.
Being able to “financially” do more in God’s household is such a blessing.

I am grateful for my offering changing. I remembered the days where I would pray that God accepted my $1 and now I can give 10 times that without feeling like I wouldn’t see the next week. He listens. But you cannot stop giving once he gives you. That is what makes the blessings flow, even more, continuing to make God proud so he continues to give you more.

Referencing times that I didn’t have enough or realizing that my offering has changed, is a reminder that God is too faithful to fail me.
At various points, I put my trust in him and when I didn’t have enough at MY time, I questioned him.
I remember one year that a Pastor asked us to sow a seed at the beginning of the year. I dropped $250 for me and another $250 on behalf of my siblings.
Later that year, I was out of a job.
Shocked and sad, I wasn’t sure how to begin or where to begin.
I kept saying “you asked me to trust you” and this happened?
And then I realize something, as I tag off the ferry, there is so much I have been able to do out of this “not having enough” that reminds me that God is too faithful to fail me.

_______________________
UPDATE:
It’s amazing that I wrote the piece above the line between February and March. At the end of March, I lost my job due to the effects of COVID19.
Part of my offering changing and God’s faithfulness is how I have been able to stay afloat through all of this.
It has been truly amazing how God has shown himself and a firm reminder that he has bigger plans for us.
I wrote that without knowing a pandemic would take away my source of income and overall happiness.
But God has been working hard on me as a man to not place my worth and belief in material things. God is too faithful to fail me.
Also if you have not read my just-concluded series “Scar Tissue”. You can read part 4 here.
________________________

What does your growth look like to you?
What are those blessings that still shock you? How is your offering different now from what it used to be?
Leave your answers in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading as always! 💕
Till next time, stay up!

Please Leave a Comment Below!

Please comment, retweet and share. Thank you for your continued support.
You are highly appreciated.

WordsOfWednesday

© 2020 #WhatTheHeckMan

#WhatTheHeckMan · African Stories · Stories

Scar Tissue 4

THE CLEAR PICTURE
#TeamLeila & #TeamDenzel – who will be standing at the end?


I watched your video today
The one we made on our fifth date
When you looked into the camera and tried to pronounce my middle name
The way your smile warmed my heart
More than the French toast from brunch
We were by the waterside
All I could see were white sands and you, in a similarly beautiful dress
Getting ahead of myself?
I know
Always my mistake
But as I stored the video away that day
I didn’t have to worry about storage space

The annoying reminders
“Upload to your iCloud account”
A telling reminder that I had no more space
Useful space
So I started to delete things
Memories, moments, mornings
Trying to find space
Like those reminders, you became a nag
I initially tried to make it stop
But eventually, I gave in and deleted things
Slowly
But the reminders kept coming
“Purchase extra storage space”
And so I did
I bit the apple as I paid and you were gone

I stumbled on that video
The one that started it all
Your smile, still so beautiful
But this time I watched it with no sound
No promises remembered
I missed you for a second
I reached out and dialed
Then it went straight to voicemail
You blocked me

When the heart feels empty, home has no warmth.

Written on October 19th, 2017 when I realized they had moved out.

I couldn’t stop looking out the window.
Taking it all in, I couldn’t understand why this was happening. Denny’s was busy per usual.
And my brain was trying to organize all the open tabs.
Why would he send me flowers? Did he even send the flowers?
Phone in hand, I crossed my arms and stared at them. I had moved the flowers to my table next to the window. The flowers deserved light.
They were a beautiful and colorful rose bouquet.

I wanted to call again but my pride wouldn’t let me.
I eventually took a picture of the bouquet and posted it on my instagram with the caption,
“Thank you secret admirer for the flowers, I appreciate them.”

The back half of my workout was pretty weak and I think it’s because I was distracted.
But thankfully I pushed through – I was taking necessary steps towards getting back to full fitness.
I tell you this though, them hip thrusts? Not easy!

Later that afternoon, I would braid my hair into three big all-back cornrows and do a chemical peel and Manuka Honey mask.
Ezi came over later with some wine, apple pie and ice cream.
We started catching up and I told her about the fight with Denzel. She said,

“Babes, you fucked up.
Like how would he tell you that and within 48hours you were using it against him?
All he asked for was space!”

I chimed in,

“But honestly, you should have seen him. He went from like 0 to 200.”

“Yes! People are allowed to do that when you tell them you had an abortion for a married man!
You cannot police his feelings, love. And it’s not like he called you out your name or something, man just said he needed space and you flipped.”

She clapped back at me.
I froze, and without having a clean comeback, I picked up my phone and pretended to text someone.
Ezi saw right through it.

“Girl, put that phone down.”

As she smacked it out of my hand.

“What are you going to do? From what you told me, he sounds like a great guy, so are you actively trying to get him back or what?”

I couldn’t contain it. It felt like the emotions of the last few weeks poured out in one as I said,

“Ezi, I have called him, multiple times. He is ignoring me.
I know I fucked up. I panicked.
Telling him felt very risky and made me vulnerable. I guess I did not play for a very real reaction from him.
I wish I could take it back.
He is such a great guy and I wish I didn’t mess this up, but I am starting to think that it’s beyond repair.
Those flowers came today and I thought he sent them but there is no note. I called, and I was blocked.”

Ezi came closer and hugged me.

“It’s gonna be okay.”
She said.

As I pulled away from her, she said,

“How do you know that he blocked you for sure?”

I replied,

“I have called a few times and it just goes to voicemail.”

Ezi reached for her phone and said,

“Let me try calling. Let’s see if he really blocked you.”

I called out the number and she began dialing.
A few buzzes and I heard his voice over the phone,

“Hello?”

Fuck!
This man blatantly blocked me.
I was shook.

Ezi had an apologetic look on her.
She tried to make me feel better when she said,

“It’s okay love. Just give him some space. He’ll come around.”

Ezi would stay for a few more hours before leaving for the night.
As soon as she left, the sadness set back in.
I desperately wanted to sleep but I couldn’t.
My mind was racing and I kept trying to figure things out. A part of me felt pride, that I was a good person and I deserved to be fought for – and the other was incredibly critical and bashing me for messing up a great opportunity at a happy future.
Those thoughts filled my head for hours, until Denny’s became busy that night.
But there it was, the familiar loneliness and the background noise of unassuming people living their best lives, one pancake and one sausage at a time.


I was waiting for the doctor to come back with the results of my checkup.
My heart was racing for some reason. Initially, I couldn’t figure it out.
It felt like I was waiting for bad news.
Almost like when you get the “babe we need to talk” text in the morning, but y’all can’t talk till nighttime.
I was praying for good news.

I was feeling good, it was a month after the surgery.
My diet had been good, I was lightly back to working out, and even started working from home on a few cases.
The wait was taking a bit longer than I expected. I pulled out my phone and I went onInstagram.
I am not sure if it was the universe or something but the first profile to show up was Denzel’s.
I had already tapped into it too fast that I couldn’t back out anymore.
The first snap was his meal from the night before, at dinner. First, his plate and then a boomerang of his group of friends taking shots.
The next snap was the crew walking down Oxford street.
Yes, in London!

I closed the app quickly and tried to control my breathing.
A part of me felt very weak because I had been doing a good job over the past few days.
I had a moment a few days before where I had to tell myself to get it right.
I am still not sure why him being in London was annoying to me.
But I felt cheated.
I felt like I wanted him to just call me;
tell me he was annoyed, tell me we could work things out.
But I guess that is one of the things you want to know about someone before getting deep with them.
It is important to understand how they are when happy and how they navigate conflict.
The doctor interrupted my thoughts and said,

“Ms Leila, how are you?
Sorry for the wait.”

I smiled and replied,

“It’s fine, doctor. I’m okay.”

He smiled and said,

“Well, I have good news for you.
All your test results came back great. You are definitely trending in the right direction post surgery. I will say to continue doing what you are doing – taking it easy and not stressing yourself.
In a couple of weeks, you can resume light travel and the likes. But as much as you can get people to help with things, feel free to let them do that for you.
How is that young man that was by your side during surgery?”

I smiled and said,

“We broke up.”

“Oh, that’s a bummer.
Well, still take it easy and try not to over exert yourself.”

I nodded.

“How are the meds working?”

“Everything is working well. I think it’s because I haven’t been doing too much; the side effects like dizziness have been mild. So, I would say pretty good actually.”

I responded.

“That’s good to hear.”

He replied and then continued,

“Well, if anything changes or you are feeling anything, please contact me and we can alter some things.
Okay?”

I replied,

“Okay.”

“Well, great. I’ll get out of your hair. You can change back to your clothes and I’ll see you at your next check-in.
Have a great rest of the day.”

He said as he shook my hand and exited the room.
I sat there for a few seconds before I started putting my clothes on.
The results of my checkup made me happy but I was still sad inside.
That was the story of my life at that point.


I was starting to forget about Denzel.
Okay, that was a lie.
It’s better to say that I was not being regularly triggered by thoughts of him.
It had been two months since he walked out of my apartment.

I felt like I had finally moved on. After all, I had a date later that night!
It was a friend of a friend that had been on my case for almost a year. He reached out to me and asked me out again, I needed to get back in the game so I said ‘yes’.

I told him that I would meet him there.
It was a nice Thai restaurant that had opened about 6months prior. The ambience was really lovely and I was excited for the food if not the date.
I was pleasantly surprised at how things went at dinner – the food was so good and he was actually a really good conversationalist.
I didn’t realize that we were pushing almost two hours. He had an early day the next day and I had to catch up on some work.
So we decided to end the night a bit earlier than I usually would like to end a date.

As we headed out of the restaurant, he asked,

“Did you drive?”

I replied,

“Yeah, I parked in the garage a couple blocks down.”

“Okay, I’ll walk you to your car.”

He replied.

We kept talking as we walked down the street.

As we neared the end of the walkway, we walked right past a BevMo.
I just happened to glance into the store and I saw him.
Yes, Denzel.
I stopped for a quick second and then I continued walking.
Chad asked me,

“Everything okay?”

I said,

“Yes.”

and kept on walking. As we got to the end of the street, I could feel my heart racing.
I said to Chad,

“Hey, I saw someone back there that I should probably say hello to. If it’s okay, we can say goodbye here and I’ll let you know when I get in?”

He seemed a bit confused and maybe disappointed but he replied,

“Sure thing.
Have a good rest of the night.”
He leaned down, gave me a hug and disappeared into the night.

Till this day, I am not even sure where the courage came from but I stormed into the BevMo and looked through two aisles before I found Denzel.

“So you just decided to not pick my calls, reply to my texts and block me?”

He was startled.
His first words were,

“Hey, let me call you back.”

He glanced at his phone to make sure the call had ended and I said,

“Are you going to answer me Denzel?”

He replied and said,

“Leila, I simply asked for time.”

I snarled back and said,

“And two months is not enough time? Can you confidently say that what I said deserved that?”

He looked embarrassed as he said,

“Leila, do we really have to do this here?”

I didn’t care, I truly didn’t. I was very angry.

“Yes, Denzel. I don’t care about these people.
Why are you pretending like you had any intention of contacting me? If I didn’t see you today, you would not have reached out to me. So please, just answer my question.”

He paused and then he said,

“Leila, everything was just moving really fast. Not really your fault to be honest but even with what you told me, I felt like I needed time to process – which I asked for and you snapped at me.
You didn’t just snap at me, you decided to use something I told you in confidence against me. Something I don’t even think you know enough about to speak on.
So yes, it has taken me awhile to come around to the idea of engaging you in conversation.”

I understood what he was saying despite my ego being bruised.

“So what now?”

I asked,

“We’re just done? No closure, no discussion. Nothing?”

I added.
He stood straight and said,

“I had every intention of calling you, but with your reaction, I just felt I needed to protect myself first.
These past few weeks have not been easy for me either.
But I needed to take care of myself first.”

There wasn’t really much else to say.
I turned and said,

“Well, thanks for saying that.”

“How has your recovery been?”

He asked.

“Fine.”

I snarled back as I walked away.

As I got home some 15 minutes later, I got a text message from Denzel saying,

“I am sorry about how that went. I am glad to know you are doing well.
It was good seeing you and I hope you liked your flowers.”

I hissed and put the phone down.
My heart melted but I was also very annoyed by the whole exchange.
It was only a few seconds. and the tears came flowing down.
WhatTheHeckMan.


I would spend days thinking about the entire Denzel situation.
Not the fight or coming from a place of regret but more trying to understand myself and why I reacted the way I did.
It was not lost on me that my relationship with my mother and past let downs with men scarred me.
But, I needed to take ownership of my life.
It took me a few days, but I began to see the exchange with Denzel as a learning experience.

The situation put my insecurities in full focus. The level of vulnerability that Denzel saw me in, frightened me.
Because of my health situation and how things happened, we accelerated what would have normally taken months to uncover. The level of vulnerability that Denzel and I had gotten to would have come from repeated opportunities to flex the muscles of trust and safety.

I got back from a grocery run and I was putting the items away in the kitchen when my phone began to ring.
I reached for it and it was Denzel.

“Hello?”

I said with caution, not fully understanding why he was calling me.
I could tell he was smiling on the other side of the line as he said,

“I’ve been wondering…”

He paused.

“I’ve been wondering…how different things would have been if I had just let you win that race on our first and only date?
Or how you never gave me my trophy for crushing you at that race.
I’ve been wondering how many things we’ve left unasked or words unsaid. I have been thinking about how sorry I am that it’s taken this long to say I miss you.
And I want to see you. I’ve been wondering if you would want to see me too.”

I didn’t even realize that I was already smiling and then I said,

“Well, technically if I didn’t pass out. I would have won but yes, I have been thinking of things as well and how it could have been different.
And yes, I would like to see you.”

He asked,

“Would you like to see me right now?”

“Huh?”

I quickly replied.
He asked again,

“Will you like to see me right now?”

“Where are you?”

I responded.
I could almost picture his smile as he said,

“Look outside the window.”

It was one of the few times my blinds were actually covering the window but I walked over and I slowly pulled them up with my left hand.
There he was.
As the blinds went up, he waved at me and on the phone, he said,

“Pancakes or waffles?”

I ugly laughed like a baby and told him I would be down in a few.
Mouthwash, a spritz of perfume and I fixed my wig before I darted out of the house.

The way we hugged each other was different; more different than when we hugged before my surgery and even after. It felt so intentional and I felt safe.

“You look really good.”

He said.

“Thanks. So do you.”

I replied.

We sat down and started talking after we ordered our food.
I spoke first,

“Denzel, I want to start by apologizing for my reactions when I shared what I shared with you. It was immature and unnecessary. You have displayed the highest level of respect and responsibility through everything, my outburst was unfair to you and I am truly sorry.”

His head dropped down, then went back up as he said,

“I am sorry too. I wasn’t expecting what you told me and I pride myself in controlling how I react to things.
I have spent years in therapy and medicating to ensure that I remain present and engaged in conversations and in my relationships. That day caught me off guard and I think your approach to my feelings made me uncomfortable as well, so I chose to leave.
I am sorry it has taken us this long to see each other and to talk through this.”

I was so grateful for his poise and his calmness in apologizing.
I made a joke saying,

“It doesn’t look like you’ve lost any sleep since that day. Looking fine as hell.”

He chuckled and said,

“Trust me, the heart has taken a beating missing you and trying to figure out what you want going forward.”

“What do you want going forward, Denzel?”

I asked.
He looked me straight in the face and said,

“You.”

I felt chills run down my spine.
I gathered myself and asked

“Are you sure?”

He smiled and said,

“Yes, I am.”

I looked at him with some seriousness and said,

“Even after the ‘beating’ I have given you emotionally?”

He smiled again and said,

“When you fell, I felt so many things. I worried about your life and health but something in me made me stay.
Sometimes you love but you aren’t in love, and sometimes you fight the one you love, to fight for your entire idea of love.”

I started tearing and he said,

“Don’t cry.”

As he reached over to wipe my tears.
He said,

“We have both taken a beating and through all we have seen together, the only way now is up.
I would love to get to know you better and deeper.
We will be stronger for all that we have been through.
The beautiful thing about scar tissue is that it’s always stronger on the comeback.”

I had a few tears streaming down my face and I said,

“If you weren’t sitting so far away, I would come and kiss you.”

He smiled, got up and came over to my side.
Holding my face, he planted the warmest kiss on my lips. My breathing turned slow, my muscles relaxed and I almost melted in his arms.
Midway through the kiss, our waitress came and said,

“Here’s your water.”

Embarrassed, we both giggled as we moved the cups.
He placed his hand on my inner thigh as I leaned on his shoulder. Then he said,

“So tell me something about you. Something simple o.”

We both laughed so hard!
Then I replied and said,

“This is my first time ever in a Denny’s. It has always given me ghetto vibes.”

He looked surprised as he looked at me and said,

“Why didn’t you tell me, so we could go somewhere else?!”

I smiled and said,

“It’s okay. I just wanted to see you.”

He kissed me again, and this time, as we were kissing we heard people arguing behind us.
As we turned around, it was a couple in the middle of a huge argument. From what we overheard, he was not taking care of her and he might also have been sleeping with her cousin.

We both burst out laughing so hard and lost it as he said – say it with me people…

WhatTheHeckMa……. Please leave me a comment below. Here are two questions for you. Rate the series from 1-10 and rate how likely Leila and Denzel will be successful together 1-10 (10 being happy and growing). Leave your answers in the comments below!

Thank you for coming on this ride with me. I hope you enjoyed it!

END OF THE MONTH LONG SERIES – SCAR TISSUE.

New series, next Saturday!

Fiction

Scar Tissue 3

PART 3.

Leila and Denzel explore truths and depths, who knows what they might find…


TRAINWRECK.

The nurse read the awkwardness in the room. She slowly left the room and shut the door behind her.
I could see through the blinds that the nurses in the hallway were eavesdropping. I’ve had pretty decent relationships with my care team during my time here; but at that moment, I wished they were all gone.

I slowly began to sit up and I looked at Denzel. He looked uneasy, sad.

“What do you mean that you don’t want to have kids Denzel?”

I asked first.
It was as if my question brought relief to him and then anger, he quickly replied and said,

“That’s what you’re more concerned about?”

It took me aback for a second. I repositioned and said,

“Well, no. But I guess it was so unexpected that I wondered how to even proceed. Sorry if that seemed insensitive. I just wondered if that’s something I should have known”

He seemed even more annoyed as he said,

“Leila, we have known each other for less than two months. The current state you are in spiraled from literally our first date. I am not sure when you expected me to slide in the fact that I don’t see children in my near future”

It was a sound point. Heck, I was the one who chose to nearly die on the night of probably my best date in half a decade.
I desperately wanted to understand him but also not be insensitive or rude. I was processing his words as he came up to me, pulled his chair close and sat down.
He took my left hand and said,

“Look Leila, I really like you. I understand feeling blindsided by this, but think about it; we are sitting here under circumstances that neither of us expected to be in.
I am more than willing to talk through anything. I am a pretty open book.”

“Why don’t you want to have kids?”

I asked immediately.
He smiled and then got serious again,

“For years, I stumbled through school tagged as the kid with behavioral problems. My family members said I had an evil spirit inside of me. I saw priests, imams, and even an online voodoo doctor.
It wasn’t until I wanted to join the army out of high school that I got a psych eval and found out that I had a bipolar disorder.
For a long time I hated myself, and I truly do not want to pass that on to my kids – genetics and such. The world is cruel and I guess the best chance I can give them is to not have them experience it at all.”

I froze.
His eyes were watery. He was holding back the tears.
I got it. It made sense.
So why did I still want to say more? Ask more?
I wouldn’t need to, as he spoke again,

“I always considered adopting but I just felt that most women would want their own.
However, I decided that in the meantime, I would try to make sure the lives around me felt love and support. That is why I convinced my firm to partner with me and give hope to veterans and other people dealing with mental health issues.”

“So, you would like to adopt?”

I asked.
He nodded and said,

“With the right woman.
Yes”

I squeezed his hand tighter and said,

“Kiss me”

He stood up and planted the longest kiss we had ever shared on my lips.
A tear streamed down the right side of his face. I wiped it off and said,

“You chose to be here for me when you didn’t have to. I gotchu.”

———————————

Two days later, I was getting discharged.
My father came with Denzel to take me home.
Denzel drove and my dad was in the passenger seat. As we headed to my apartment, I couldn’t help but be thankful for life and the opportunity to live.
The surgery being abandoned still weighed on me. I kept feeling like there was a plot twist and something else would go wrong.
I guess that’s what happens when you reach the brink of life and get pulled back in.

When we got to my apartment, the place was clean.
Spotless.
It smelled so nice. Remember that I hadn’t seen the insides of my place since I stepped out for that date.
It was beautiful.
I was in love with the place. There was a bouquet of flowers on the kitchen island from my father’s wife with a “Get Well” card signed by Denzel and most of my friends.
My heart was so warm.

The first thing I did when I walked in was walk to the window. I looked outside, and there was a line outside the Denny’s.
Sunday brunch time.
Somehow, that sight truly warmed my heart.
I loved the way people just kept living their lives.
In a very weird way, it made me realize that I needed to keep living mine.
If I had died, beyond my clients and family, the world would have kept on moving for everybody.

Walking back towards the kitchen, Denzel had already put some food on fire.
Rice and stew with goat meat. My mouth was watering. I came up behind him and brushed his shoulder.
He laughed, and continued cheffing it up.
My dad had poured himself a glass of wine from my rack and was watching the Utah Jazz vs. Miami Heat game.
I opened up my fridge and it was perfectly arranged with water, gatorade and food. Lots of it.
I turned to Denzel and said,

“Did you cook all this?”

He turned and said with a smile,

“Most of it. Your dad got the water”

We both laughed and I just felt so grateful.
I walked into my room, closed the door behind me, and did a happy dance.
I knew he was a great man but seeing him in my home – felt A M A Z I N G!
The man just had a way!
It was a beautiful way and how naturally my dad took to him was a huge selling point.
And let’s not forget his cooking skills.
That alone had me considering feeding him. If you know what I mean!

I changed and took a shower.
The shower was everything. It felt so good to be home.
My water, perfect temperature, my own soap, and just my own everything. I hopped out of the shower and changed into an oversized shirt that my dad had given me and some comfortable silk shorts.
I wanted to show off my legs but I realized that I hadn’t shaved in a bit.
Too lazy to run back, I braved the living room.
I could hear my dad and Denzel going at it.
They were arguing and laughing about the game.
The previous game had ended. The 76ers and Bucks were playing now.
Denzel looked at me and asked,

“Would you like me to dish your food now?”

I nodded and said,

“Yes, please.”

He got up and kept talking to my dad,

“Mark my words, Giannis is going to be a multiple season MVP winner – before Embid wins anything. He has no heart”

My dad wanted to clap back but he got distracted by my shirt.
He said,

“You still have this???
How many years has it been?”

I laughed shyly and said,

“7 years.”

He scoffed and said,

“Well, you know I always told you my style was timeless.”

We both laughed as I sat on the couch. He was sitting on the single recliner to my right and backing the window.
Denzel brought our plates to us with drinks and water.
Rice, goat meat stew and plantains. After weeks of hospital food, this felt like heaven.
Denzel sat next to me while we ate and watched the game.
I don’t remember falling asleep, but all I heard was my dad laughing and teasing Denzel.
The 76ers won.

Giannis had a great game but it appeared my dad was vindicated.
He got up and took all our plates to the kitchen.
He placed them in the sink and began putting on his coat. Denzel said,

“Sir, you’re leaving? I can drop you off.”

My dad said,

“No, don’t worry about it. I’ll Uber.
Let me leave you two; keep her company while she rests. It’s good for her.”

He reluctantly agreed. My dad came over to the couch, kissed my forehead and shook Denzel’s hand.
The door shut behind him a few moments later.

I looked over to him and said,

“Thank you for today and thank you for everything – this was really nice, and the food was so good!
You need to give me all your recipes.”

He laughed and said,

“Nope! I need to have something that makes you keep coming back to me.”

Laughing I said,

“Oh wow, so you are trying to trap me with food?”

“Is it working?”

He asked.
I smiled and replied,

“Let’s just say you keep going like this and I’m the one that will be proposing to you.”

We both laughed.
I was laying next to him on the other side of the couch.
He picked my feet up and began to massage them.
Gently caressing and loving on them, I was drifting away.
He did that for a little while before he stopped.
He poured himself some more wine and we picked a movie – The Highwaymen on Netflix.

I got up and snuggled on him.
My head was on his lap as we watched the movie. He stroked my hair and minutes later, I was sleeping again.
Frankly, I think it was the medication I was on.
There was a shooting scene in the movie that woke me up. I looked up at Denzel.
He was wide awake and thoroughly enjoying the movie.
He looked down at me and said,

“What?”

I replied,

“Nothing.”

He reached for the remote control, paused the movie and said,

“Can I ask you something?”

I wasn’t sure where this was going but I said,

“Yes, of course.”

“Will you be my girlfriend?”

The words sounded like they came from a megaphone.
I don’t think I have heard anything louder. Not even Jesus.
I sat up straight and looked at him.

“Are you serious?”

I asked.
He smiled and replied,

“Yes.”

I was blushing but I forced the words out and said,

“I would love to.”

He smiled and said,

“Whew! I’m glad you said yes ‘cos I wasn’t sure how I would follow up if you didn’t.”

We both laughed and I said,

“Technically, you knew I was going to say yes.
I mean you fried me plantain and gave me a foot massage. I stand by the fact that you set me up.”

He unpaused the movie and it continued playing.
I didn’t lay back down. I just stared at him.
The room was dark but also perfectly lit with the Denny’s sign across the street and the television.
I did not wait for him to turn.
I grabbed his face and kissed him hard.
I hadn’t felt butterflies like these in forever.
My soul cherished it, my heart liked it, my pussy loved it.

As we broke away, he looked at me.
He was searching for confirmation but I could sense his hesitation.
I pulled him and said,

“It’s okay.”

He leaned in and kissed me.
And then kissed me again. Our lips locked as our tongues communicated what our hearts felt.
The he abruptly stopped and said,

“Wait, are you sure about this? You are still healing.”

I said to him,

“I feel fine.
Just be gentle.”

Minutes later, my shorts were on the floor and I was trying to take his off.
He helped me pull them down and I leaned back onto the couch.
He kissed on me a bit more but my body yearned for him to fill me up.
I could feel my wet dripping down my thigh and towards my ass, and then he slid in.
I gasped.
My eyes closed as I felt every vein on his hard member as he filled my walls.
His thrusts were shallow but intentional. I knew what he was doing and I loved how gentle he was being.

Our eyes opened and he looked me dead in mine.
In and out, slow and controlled without missing a beat.
We were like dance partners at the Rodeo. It was as if our bodies had done this before.
There wasn’t much noise.
It wasn’t like a porn clip on Twitter. Nothing dramatic.
Just simple, sensual and sexy love making.
I think I orgasmed on the feels alone that night. He pulled out and spurted his seed on my inner right thigh.
We both giggled as he wiped me clean with the paper towel I didn’t use from dinner.
He slumped next to me and we slept.
I would get up later in the middle of the night to pee and that was when I put my shorts back on and pulled him to the bedroom.
He held onto me like a prize.
But I was the one who felt like the winner.

——————————————

PSA:
THANK YOU for your comments, engagement and support so far. If you enjoy my writing, please share it with your friends and family. Let’s grow the WhatTheHeckMan family together!
Post it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and tag @adewus4real & @sanmisaturdays. I appreciate YOU!

Love,

Sanmi

…now back to this masterpiece. Please comment when done and VOTE!

——————————————

I woke up early.
A little before my beside alarm that never failed to go off at the unforgiving 6:30am.
As we lay there with his hands across my chest as he quietly snored, my heart was racing.
I woke up that morning with an incredible conviction – tell him.

I knew exactly why. I may never had gotten to that point in the natural progression of things but frankly, there we were.
As he woke up some twelve to fifteen minutes later, he said,

“Good morning beautiful.”

With my head turned away from his face, I smiled and said,

“Good morning handsome.”

He was not getting a whiff of this morning breath so early in our relationship.
Relationship.
There it was. Eating at me.
I had always been the blunt type and with my performance at the hospital, it was only right.
I said,

“Denzel, I have something to tell you.”

He immediately moved back and sat straight.
Before I could speak, he said,

“If it was because of last night, I am sorry. I wanted to take it slow, I didn’t want you to feel pressured.”

I smiled and said,

“Sshhhh. No Denzel, yesterday was perfect. You are perfect. This feels perfect and that’s why I have to tell you this.”

There was a pensive look across his face as I said,

“You trusted me with so much over the last few days, and your dedication to standing by me, a woman you hardly knew is a true reflection of the man you are. So, I have something to tell you.”

I paused and then said,

“A few years back, about 4 years ago to be exact, I had an abortion.”

His eyes grew big – he jumped in his skin.
I continued,

“I was dating a man, an older man. He lived in Houston. We were together for over a year and he promised to marry me.
I got pregnant and told him; he asked me to keep it and he was hoping we would have a boy.
A few weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I was contacted by a woman who said she was his wife of 3years.
She told me he had a habit of leading women on and since they have three girls already, he was basically out searching for a boy.
I couldn’t believe it and I was so heartbroken, so I told my dad and we decided not to keep the pregnancy.
I was not going to raise a child by myself, yet alone a child born out of lies and deceit.
I know it is a lot but I felt you should know.”

He froze.
Minutes that felt like forever passed, and then he said,

“I am going to leave if that’s okay.”

I replied,

“What?
You’re leaving? Just like that?”

He said,

“Just like that? Did you hear all you dumped on me?
It’s a lot. I need to process things.”

“Dumped on you?”

I snarled back, then said,

“I just felt you should know”

He replied,

“…and I appreciate that but it’s just a lot. A lot has happened so fast.
I need to think and breathe.”

It was as if my insecurities kicked in as the next set of words left my mouth; I would regret and still regret till this day.

“So you’re just going to leave?
Is that what you do when you have problems? You run???”

I could tell he felt disrespected. I could see the anger in his eyes.
He said,

“RUN?
I have stayed with you through so much, what many would have run from.
Literally most people would have just dropped you at the ER and dipped.
How dare you say that to me?
Man, fuck this.”

“Denzel, why are you yelling at me?”

I chimed back.
He snarled back,

“Because I am upset. Okay?!
I am allowed to be fucking upset! What the fuck?”

And then I said it, I don’t know why but I did,

“You sound really angry. Maybe you should take some time, take your meds and think.”

He stopped.
Flat.
His face dropped.
All the rage disappeared and seemed to be replaced with regret.
He didn’t say a single word.
He turned and headed out of the room and I heard the front door slam.
Just like that, he was gone.

———————————————

I cried so much for weeks.
Every single time I remembered him. I would feel a sinking pain in my belly.
I fucked up.

I left so many voicemails, called so many times.
I had never been to his place, so I couldn’t show up even though I wanted to. So badly.

Three weeks went by, not a single word.
It was Saturday morning and I was in my living room. The first time since the night before I saw him last.
I was playing Snoh Alegra’s album and working out on my yoga mat with the windows open when I heard a knock.
I wasn’t sure I heard it right at first, so I turned off the music and walked to the door.
Looking through the peephole, I couldn’t see anyone.
I twisted open the door lock and swung the door open.

At the foot of the door was a bouquet of flowers.
I bent down and picked up the flowers with the base. I looked down the hallways to see if anyone was there.
No one, so I turned back in and placed them on the kitchen counter.
I searched inside for a note. It was tucked in the corner.
I pulled it out and opened it up. It said,

“I hope you are feeling better. Thinking of you.”

No name.
No signature.
A part of me thought it was Denzel.
I really wanted it to be Denzel. I walked over to the coffee table and picked up my phone.
I went to his name and began the call.

It didn’t even ring.
It went straight to voicemail. I was blocked.
Fuck.
WhatTheHeckMan!

~We almost made it to 20 comments last week, let’s see if we can do that this week and drop Part 4 early!~

End of Part 3. Please leave a comment below or on social media!

 

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