ǁǁǁ The continuous rhythmic buzz told me it was Uche. She calls before my alarm gets the honor of waking me up. It was Monday already and I was still on my bed at 7am. Opening my eyes, I felt Tessy rigorously wagging and fanning me with her white bushy tail. I pulled her close and she snuggled up to me with head first as if to say “pet me”. I did, gave her a peck and a frisk. She seemed contented as she ran off the bed to the kitchen.
“I’m coming” I said after her cute departing self. She was trained to take a piss out of the house and eat afterwards in the mornings. I took a moment to quietly stare at my image from the ceiling, I felt the phone buzz; again I ignored it. I have always wanted a mirror on my ceiling and I had that done that the instant I acquired this house a year ago. #Spoils from last expedition.
Mouthing a thank you to the universe, I stood up to get the back door opened for her before she ran back. I should have that door cut to accommodate her ins and outs but then, Adamu the handyman was NOT a fan of keeping track of Tessy and getting rid of her droppings. The image of his squeezed Fulani face with tribal marks muttering Kanuri under his breath got me chuckling. Adamu!
The screaming doorbell told me Uche was at my door. Gosh! That girl never gives up. Tessy was done and was standing by her pink customized plate for her breakfast. I went to open the door laughing as I peeped to have her eyes blocking the peep hole. Crazy girl.
“Open this door! You sleeper!” it was Uche.
“Hahahahaha! You no dey sleep for house?” I replied as the door opened to an already dressed Uche. I hate the corporate life.
“I sent you messages since last night and have been calling you. Where you keep your landline?” she asked, Tessy running up to her to be picked. Uche and Tessy, they were a pair. Scooping her into her hands, Tessy nuzzled as we went to my room.
“Landline dey bedside. You know I hate Mondays” I said picking up my “landline” as she fondly called my phone.
“You hate all workdays……You have a meeting by 9am remember?” she said rolling her beautifully lined eyes and giving me the mouth.
“Yups and I don’t feel like it” I said playfully with a child dance.
“Hahaha! You no serious sef. You are going to the office sha” she asked rhetorically.
“Nopes. Indoor today. I will reschedule the meeting with Akhmed and call Tunde to facilitate the legal search process for some of the properties. Idris just dey call me die; told him to be patient. All dis agents. Buying without valuing and checking no wise especially with all this 419ners wey dey parade town” I said as we walked to my spacy kitchen to get Tessy her food and have Uche browse through the pile of food and then decide on berries. She always did that; starving herself to lose weight. I knew what exactly makes her lose weight………..heartbreak; telling her that would make her give me the finger and it was a sore topic we both avoided like a plaque. She just had the unforgivable knack for picking the Sons of B*****.
“Player Player, You are good” she said picking the bowl of berries true to my prediction.
“You should have a full breakfast with lots of protein. You won’t fill hungry throughout the day” I could not resist. She looks good and losing weight did not make sense to me. She gave me the “eye” and I dropped it.
“So work in 30minutes?” I said dropping a filled plate of Nutro. Tessy dived in as if I had starved her for weeks.
“Yes”. Berries were being crush under her heavy jaw as she walked aimlessly round the kitchen. Uche worked with a bank she loathed but never had the nerve to quit. It seems every time she prepares a resignation letter, the next day comes with either a raise, bonus or boss just was nice. The letter never made it to Human Resource.
Felt like having a large breakfast but found myself taking out my packed special recipe of peppery carrot sauce comprising of carrots, peas, green beans, pepper, tomatoes, cabbage, smoked Titus, beef and diced pieces of “kpomo” to microwave. Yes, I eat before brushing. Sue me.
“Temptress” it was Uche.
“You are getting late o” I reminded her.
“You have not rescheduled o”. She retorted still mashing the berries.
“Let me do that now sef” I said picking up my phone; then my room to get my purse for his card.
Please I would like to reschedule meeting to Tuesday, 9am.
An unforeseen circumstance.
“So we settled for tomorrow?” Uche asked heading out. Tessy followed.
“I hope so” I said.
“You eh! Choi! Have a good day Boss” she said playfully as we hugged.
“No like work abeg” I said with a wave and dashed back to my breakfast.
9:30am, Tunde checked, Breakfast digesting, Bath checked. I went back to bed.
Hope you do not reschedule tomorrow.
We need to talk.
That was the message that greeted me at 3pm. I slept almost all day and got up to go take a long steam. Was tempted to send a reply but decided against it.
The ringing phone got me rushing out of the Jacuzzi an hour later. It was Tony.
“Hey buddy, where are you?” he asked breezily.
“At home. U”?
“Coming to pick you up by 6pm”.
“And we are going?”
“Party crashing” I chuckled and went to my wardrobe for an evening dress wondering whose party we were crashing.
10pm had me waving Tony a good night with shoes in hand. It was his friend’s party. Had a nice time.
Lights out 11:25pm
8:45am on Tuesday found me seated in an all glass and steel cold reception. The mixture of tinted glass and sliver-plated steel was breath-taking as it was intimidating. The receptionist keep glancing at me as if she had the premonition that I was soon running out and never coming back. I smiled politely at her every glance to which she returned one of hers pleasantly.
“Good Morning, I’d like to see Mr. Bricks please?” I had said earlier in a turquoise colored cotton jacket with an olive green chiffon camisole that did little to conceal the slight jiggle of my ample bosom at every step; accessorized with a long knitted black muffler and a pair of straight black pant that accentuated the curves I was blessed with on heels. How I love you Lord!
“Name please?” she asked
“Didi Trap” the name got her ears pricked and she looked up sharply to the unusual name. I always got that reaction.
“One minute please” and clicks later; I was told to wait.
Taking out “Losing my Virginity” by Richard Brandson had Akhmed coming out of an office with a calm demeanor that looked like relief mixed with confidence.
“Good Morning Didi” he said with a firm handshake. I stood to receive it.
“Good Morning” beaming with smiles. My lips parted to reveal my improved white teeth.
“Please, this way” he said taking the lead.
The imposing atmosphere of the office had me wondering if there were secret cameras. The use of glass and steel had extended to the inner office with an interior décor that had Blue-Mahogany written all over it. The cold room could preserve a “mummy” and had me wishing I wore heavier cotton.
“So, you made it” he said taking a single settee gesturing me to seat anywhere I liked. The ante-space was conservatively decorated with black leathery settees with simple touches of different colours of square throw-pillows facing an all glass wall overlooking the city centre. An interesting view. The framed pictures of the Bricks ancestors in the “family tree-format” and great pieces adorned the wall at angles while his daunting yet impressive work desk made of polished black wood sat heavily few meters away. I couldn’t help it; this space was approximately 500 square meters without adjoining rooms. Obviously this was the pent house.
The secretary came in with a tray. Of course! Tea and business talks. Just great.
“Tea?” he asked as she poured in a hot cup without asking what I wanted. Presumptuous I’d say.
“Please” I replied with culture. Hope it wasn’t drugged. I shared a smile with myself as I caught his eyes looking at me. I smiled the more.
“So, what can I do for you, Akhmed?” I asked minutes later after the secretary left and we both had taken a sip of the steamy black brew almost simultaneously.
“I need you to marry my Father” he said with all the seriousness in the world that had my eyes popping out of my socket. Thank God I had swallowed the tea. I dropped the tea cup as fast as I could and had my lips curving for a startling laugh.
“What?! Seriously? He needs a wife and he cannot get one for himself?” I asked finally laughing and shaking my head at the absurd request. Wetin I no go hear for this business.
“I mean it. Can you marry him for 10 million dollars?” he asked with all weightiness that for a moment I considered marriage. Shook my head, I had vowed to never get married.
Tip #3: Never ever consider the first offer. There is always room for negotiation and counter-offer.
“I can do anything for 10 million dollars but not marriage” I said matching his tone evenly. I needed to follow the conversation.
“So you can kill?” he asked again with a tone that told me he was all in for a serious talk but masked his face with a forced smile. The premonition that the game was taking a totally difference turn got me sitting up.
“Certainly I do not look like a killer, do I?” I asked raising a questioning brow.
“Never in the looks Didi dear” he said in a condescending manner.
“What exactly is this meeting about Mr. Bricks” I asked suddenly losing my patience.
“I need a bride for my father. You are perfect” he stated as a matter of fact staring right into my eyes.
“And you know this because?” I asked staring right back.
“Because you are a gold digger and I need your expertise” he completed quite distastefully with a satisfying smile as he visibly relaxed on the settee and took another sip. The steam was fast escaping. Thanks to the cold room. I centred on his dark brown pupils. I had two options: deny and walk out of here or find out how he came about this information. I choose the latter.
Tip #4: When you are caught at your game, the only honorable way out is to acknowledge your profession and hold your head up high.
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF.
“Indeed, I see he has put his private investigator to work.” I replied crossing my long legs and taking a large sip. There had to be a video camera somewhere or we were being taped I thought looking at him.
All plans for getting him interested in me for a quick mine digging evaporated at the mention of the word “marriage” but I was drawn to finding out exactly how he found out of my noble profession. It is not like I go about posting profiles. Surely an ex-Mine must have spilled.
Chuckling, he dropped the tea cup and sat up straight.
“This is a business proposition. Knowing your potential business partner is paramount” he said standing up and taking few aimless steps in his large office like a caged animal.
“I see no fault in that. I appreciate the offer but he should have told you I don’t dig in Mines with a ring” I said standing up too. This discussion was over.
“Oh! Sure. That was under the drawbacks section. However, I figured with the right incentive, it wouldn’t matter much. Unless they gave you more credit than you deserve, I think marriage should be another feather to the cap” he said trying humour.
I wasn’t buying it. who was they?
“Have a good day Mr. Bricks” I said taking my briefcase. I needed negotiations not insinuations.
“The name is Akhmed” he corrected and continued.
“Let me get this straight; you do not get “married” to old men or you don’t have plans of enrolling in the institution ever?” he asked squarely.
“I don’t think marriage should be given a priority and I certainly don’t want to be pressganged into an institution created to subject women into informed slavery” I said with bitterness.
“Issues from the home front” he concluded. He was right.
I felt the first vulnerability. Surely he didn’t go down the family lane, did he? I sat back down. He joined.
My mother was the slave who served her master aka my father under hardship, abuse and ridicule. She died by his hands still apologizing for his mistakes and letting me know that love conquers and forgives all. It sure conquered her destiny. Don’t know about forgiveness though, he was buried under the weight of reinforced concrete slab few days later on the building site he confiscated from my mother.
That was all he did. Waited for her to get anything and then forcefully take it from her. A good pay back I’d say. Did I have anything to do with it? Heaven has all the records. He made it clear that men are the “appointed guardian” of the world but clearly he must have missed the session of “the place of leadership, love and responsibility in marriage and destiny”. Sounds like a tag line for a seminar****winks*** How did I know all this? I Didi Trap understand by books.
“Let me guess, Background Study section” I said sarcastically referring to his investigation reports to which he chuckled surprisingly.
“I see you don’t get ruffled easily” he said almost in what sounded like an admiring tone. I simply smiled back.
“30 million dollars” he said after a while.
Something told me I wasn’t just going to marry his father and the chills I got after the thought had me doubting my ability for the first time in years.
This was the end of this expedition.
“No thanks. Find someone else” I said standing up swiftly; ready to step out of this office and forget about this Mine.
Standing up too, he shook my hand and saw me to the door silently.
Then came the stinker.
“I know you killed your father” he said darkly into my ears as he made to open the door. That stopped me in my tracks. The air froze. Tick… Tock… Tick…. Tock…………..the grand wall clock made the only audible sound in the quiet room. What was that I said about heaven having all the records? I take that back. Heaven on Earth wasn’t just a religious brouhaha after all.
I took moment to take a deep breath and steady my emotions before turning back with a devilish grin that meant more than the statement I made next. it was a threat in the affirmative.
“No, you do not” and I was gone. Akhmed wasn’t a goldmine. He was nemesis ǁǁǁ.
<<<< I was shocked. Akhmed was nemesis? What did she ever do? To think that he was here hours ago. Telling Akin to tell him there was no one he could talk to at the moment and that he could check back within the week was the right decision. I was not ready to face anyone just yet. Surely I would have been blindsided of some sort. It seemed the more I read, the more I got to know who Didi was and who these people were.
Iya Chef had set up my breakfast immediately Akin left to give the reply and I had finished the pot of coffee. I needed more. The honey-lemon covered waffles did not excite me today. They were cold already. I rang for more coffee. I had more diaries to read.
The old clock said it was 2:55pm already. I stretched. Climbing on the long bed-like couch, Iya chef brought a fresh pot. She knew better than to ask me for lunch. The coffee was an improvement.
Opening the next page, my eyes closed unexpectedly. Did Iya drug me? She knew I had trouble sleeping. I hope not. I tried in futility to keep my eyes open.
I gave up. Dropping the opened page on my chest, I decided to take a quick nap to clear my eyes and get back to it.
I wonder what happens next.>>>>>