Love on the 25th. Episode 7

Read all episodes of Love on the 25th here.

Vince
The spicy taste of her succulent lips tormented me every waking moment and at night when I thought I was going to have some peace and quiet in the world beyond. Alas! She was there with her light brown eyes and rosy cheeks, frowning at me before breaking into happy giggles as I tickled her in my bed. Dressed in my white cotton shirt that seem to envelope her, we tumble continuously in my bed, her hair plastering her clean face and her dark lined eyes bleeding at the corners as she tries to get my sneaky fingers off her breasts.
Perhaps I was infatuated because of her endless legs or the impressive rise of her chest but I knew it was the challenge she posed that intrigued me, that and the need to kiss her again because I was parched and was looking forward to drinking from that Well for a long time. The air around her was charged to keep men away but I was drawn to that field. I was drawn to the high and mighty air she carried in every step, holding her head high as if she was better than the rest of us and indeed she was beginning to earn it.
It was Tuesday, exactly 13 days after the night I kissed her but it felt like forever. I couldn’t stand it anymore and walked around the office in hopes of seeing a new face that could distract me a little but the pretty faces batting long artificial eye lashes at me had me going back to my office a little disappointed and uninterested. When did they become this obvious?
Idris was obviously tired of me stopping by to casually ask when Miss Black and Mr. Jacob would be coming back. If anything, I ought to know that firsthand but I never failed to stop at her office every day just for the feel.
“On Friday” he had told me. That was last week and as I asked him now, a week later, he repeated the same thing barely looking at me for more than a minute before going back to his multiple screen. His phone rang.
“Good evening Ma….Miss Black. Yes. Yes. I will forward it immediately. I have it here. Yes. It is no problem Ma, sorry Miss Black. …. Debbie…You are welcome. See you soon” he was smiling dreamily as I cleared my throat.
“Mr. Vincent” he called officially and I felt like correcting him but didn’t.
“Was that Debbie?” I deliberately used her first name to gauge his reaction and he blinked, adjusting his glasses on his nose. Could it be that he was having a thing for his boss? The thought was inconceivable but then, the look on his face looked like he was caught with his hand in a cookie jar.
“Yes. She says they will be coming back this Friday” he said, repeating what he had told me earlier with a straight face. I smiled with a nod and went back to my office. On entering the reception area, Rita approached me hurriedly from her large desk to inform me that Mr. Bankole, First Homes M.D. was waiting for me in my office unattended to. She was going to leave soon. The old stingy man was beginning to annoy me but leaving the project now would give Dad the satisfaction that I was not ready to take more responsibility. I had to make sure the 500 condominium housing units for ‘Modern Families’ would be commissioned in eight months – on time, on budget with the promised uncompromised quality bullsh** and excellent workmanship he had vowed to.
“Next time you allow anyone into my office, we will be having you downstairs” I said forcefully in the tightest of tones partly irritated at her stupidity. Mr. Bankole could be looking at confidential files I left on my table and here she was in colorful outfit that would put peacocks to shame looking clueless. She looked a little surprise at the tone before apologizing.
The meeting was underway in no time and instead of the usual chitchat on his favorite line of affordable housing being a faux because there were no affordable housing materials, I told him in the clearest of terms. Zenith Group will not be funding the next phase of the project if the number of units was not increased to correlate with the disbursed funds and if the quarterly mortgage report of subscribed customers was not on my desk in a week. I dismissed him after a vague promise to be patient and small talks that was going nowhere. I was out of the office to go for an inspection of a new site proposed for acquisition in Karsana West. The 80 hectares fertile land was allocated for an industrial layout and Zenith Group was looking at the possibility of developing a mega industrialized city with rail transportation connecting to train stations across the country. This would be the future commerce hub for products and central export/import capital for the country.
I wondered what business models Debbie would come up with and I smiled as I remembered the welcoming look in her eyes 13 days ago when father had asked her and Jacob to take their team to the startup companies that were negatively affecting our bottom-lines and get the memo across in the strictest of terms. The message was clear – grow or get cut down. The two days that followed were fast with her and Jacob summoning their team for a brief and leaving Abuja on Thursday to Kaduna.
The unbelievable urge to volunteer was embarrassing mostly because I had work to do here and had no business resurrecting dead businesses. Moreover, it would be glaring that I was far interested in the woman and not the purpose plus I didn’t need Dad telling me to keep my boy in my pants again. The first time was humiliating enough.
My phone rang as John drove on high speed to the site and the caller ID revealed Ele. This was the third time since morning and I could not believe that I had seriously considered marrying her. After four weeks of silence, Ele was calling to demand I take the next flight to Port Harcourt. I could only imagine the look on her face when I confessed to being in a relationship with the ‘skank’ that accosted us at the restaurant. The necessary lie had come easily after series of insistent calls that threatened to drive me crazy. What would Debbie say if she knew I had just paraded her as my woman? The thought was exciting mostly because I knew she would disown me with a frown that was becoming sweet to remember.
“Bastard! You will so rot in hell Vince and this is not over! Ass!” and she had gone off to a chuckling me, wondering where the good girl had gone.
Like a pregnant Amazonian snail, it was thankfully Friday and I got off work just in time to catch Sandra climb out of the pool and come around the front at 4:40pm. The past week had us missing each other in the mornings and at night. She was actively looking for a space for her gallery and seeing other gallery owners. I had offered her Musa’s help but he wasn’t getting her the ‘Ace space’ as she jokingly rejected his offers. He had gotten tired and disappeared on her. The last I heard, she was seeing other properties and having fun.
Her chest barely filled out but seductively framed with her tiny stomach and slightly rounded hip with thin legs walked towards me confidently, her hair held up by a large pink eye glass that had her looking like some model from an impoverished African country. Okay, I take that back.
“So when are we going on a date?” she asked coming to stand before me in the skimpy halter neck bikini top that threatened to regurgitate her appreciative pagan offering and bottoms that got stuck in between her wet thighs. I barely could contain myself as the thought of Debbie in same getup flashed before my eyes.
“I thought Mr. Fatasho has that covered?” I said humorously as I followed her to their apartment, the little lips of her buttocks trying to escape her colorful pants.
“Mr. Fatasho is interested in Debbie not me. You should take me out sometime” she insinuated as she climbed to the kitchen and I lost a spring in my step. What did she mean by Mr. Fatasho was interested in Debbie? Dad had not been around for a week. Why wasn’t he picking my calls and why wasn’t Debbie doing same? They could not be together, could they?
“Like what you see?” Sandra teased as she gurgled on her bottle of water, thinking I had missed my step because of her back view.
“I think they sit nice” I flirted and she smiled brightly, soaking up the compliment like wild flower.
“So dinner?” she asked again.
“Naaah, not really in dinner mode. When are they due to return?” I asked, already disturbed by the thought that my father and Debbie were probably hooking up and I was here pining over her like some little school boy.
“Tonight. Says they will be taking the last flight” she returned the bottle.
“They?” I asked, my mind excluding the team and putting my father at the crime scene.
“I am in dinner mode and luckily, I have friends that actually want to eat!” she announced happily without answering me as I walked over to the double door standing fridge to get myself a drink. I was suddenly thirsty.
“I bet they must be really interesting” I added after a mouthful.
“But of course” she rolled her eyes and climbed up to her room.
“I need a little rest. See you when you come back” I shouted after her and was down the stairs trying to get my father on the phone. Debbie Black had better not be involved with my father. The thought was getting me hot under my collar and for the first time in my adult life I knew what jealousy meant.
I was literally panting with little chest contractions as I tried to call them both again.
“The number you are trying to call is switched off. You …” I cancelled on third redial.
“You are so going to be mine” I cursed under my breath as I settled in for a quick bath and fruit juice.
I didn’t need her smelling alcohol on my breath when I took her tonight, the thought consoling me greatly.

****

Debbie
The terrible taste of black coffee settled permanently in my mouth after consuming about a million of cups of the strong black liquid. I had been abusing my throat for the past two weeks and I was eager to go home and bury myself in my warm soft bed for 12 hours straight in thick darkness. My legs felt like I had lead implants and my toes looked like they were boiled in steam. It was official; I was tired and needed rest. So much work in 4 weeks and I was ready to take two days off to get my creative juices back.
We visited the companies and had series of meetings with their M.Ds and staff responsible for the new business plans we had in our bags. Some were welcoming and others totally intolerant of the changes the management was making. It was my job to point out the alternative. An early cut-out and it definitely would make my job easier.
It wasn’t hard to give Mr. Bongo, the hot-headed Haital Paper Company Director the muscle relaxant he was desperately in need of and the threat of writing off his shiny but outdated company was more than enough to get his bald head under the hammer. Jacob was very much available with his impressive 3-man team. Surprisingly fun and always throwing ideas around, we worked late nights and whipped up corporate tricks to get them dancing to the tune we were playing. While I was impressed, I was also tired and told Nitam, my new assistant to take note of the ideas that leaked from Jacob’s pores. Nitam seemed to be catching up really fast and although I would have preferred if he were a lady, he was always available at odd hours. I needed him.
The tour of companies which started from Kaduna through to Lagos ended in Calabar and after 2 weeks of gruesome late hours, impromptu presentations and market survey, I was going home. I was out of breath as we descended into the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport and I had Abdul waiting to whisk me away after sharing a group wave to the 6-man team.
It was 10:10pm. Sandra was out with Eva and I was so glad. Eva was in town for a little visit. Her new ‘guy’ had a show at The Dome and she was making sure that he had a female body to return to at night or so Sandra said. The empty house would do me good and help me sleep in for the next two days.
The drive to the house was fast and as I closed my eyes, I saw his face for the umpteenth time since that night. I knew it was probably nothing but I couldn’t stop thinking of what the kiss meant. He wanted a booty call? Lure me into an impossible relationship that would jeopardize my position at the Group or simply wanted something more – I dare to hope.
I knew having a physical relationship would be awkward but the thought of having a booty call was becoming more attractive as I relived the touch of his lips and the gentle probe of his tongue. It has been more than 14 years since I had another body touching mine and the temptation of knowing if my organs were still functioning and not some relics from the pyramids of Egypt was very much on my mind. But more importantly, I wanted to know my reaction after I succumbed to his advances. Men like Vince wanted one night stands and needed few minutes in between female legs to feel alive. Was I going to allow myself the pleasure or do I resist him? To what end? I shuddered to think of what would become of him if he tried to force me.
The last time I had murdered someone and the fear of having a man on top me was the beginning of the sweat that sprouted on my brows as we sped home in cold car space. I was brought back to the present as we slowed down and connected to Lumsar Street which opened to Nantal Igho Close where the impressive structure I called home stood brightly in the dark night. A horn later and the gateman waved excitedly as I wound down and I felt slightly guilty at not knowing his name but rewarded his eagerness with a warm smile.
“What is his name again?” I asked Abdul as we drove to my parking lot at the left hand side of the house.
“Gabriel Ma” he said quietly and I took note to get him a white envelope tomorrow ….if I made it out of bed.
The house stood quietly as if it was breathing and as I stepped out of the car, I came face to face with Vince standing in front of me. I jumped and a little gasp escaped me. He had materialized from nowhere and as I watched his face, I saw the muscle in his jaw twitch. I roamed his face with my tired eyes and found myself holding my breath. This was ridiculous!
“This is becoming a bad habit” I rebuked as I caught myself and stared back.
“Welcome home Debbie” he said under his breath as if he were trying to restrain himself from uttering another word.
“Thank you Vince” I said quietly, side-stepping him as Abdul carried my trolley from the car boot and wheeled it to the house.
“I waited up for you” he said casually as he held out his hand, mechanically reaching for mine.
“What exactly for?” I asked lightly, walking to the house, thankful that I had removed my heels and in a full polka dotted chic blouse that covered by back.
“I made dinner. We need to talk” he continued gently dropping his hand at the back of my neck when I refused to place my hands in his.
“I ate already and I am exhausted. Perhaps tomorrow” I told him, shaking him off as as I entered the house. I wished now that Sandra was home. The thought that I was alone with Vince did little to comfort me. Did he know she was out? I wondered as I watched him take the box he had since collected from Abdul up the stairs.
“So how is the office?” I asked.
He was silent and carried up my luggage like some heavy weight champion.
“Okay?” I said trying humor to lighten the mood but I was beginning to lose patience with myself. The mere fact that I was giddy in his presence made me roll my eyes in exasperation. Wetin sef!
“Thank y….” I was saying as he dropped my luggage before pulling me unexpectedly into his warm arms and planting an absolutely wet kiss on my dried lips as if he was hungry. I gasped as his lips came in contact with mine and felt myself move back to escape the onslaught of his lips but I was now backed against the wall, my Prada handbag dropping to the floor with a thump and my hands stilling by my side. The rush of hormones made me lightheaded with excitement and I was confused at my accepting stance of this rough maneuver.
His body pressed into mine and for a fleet second I felt his hard front press into mine, my face flushed at the realization that he was spotting a hard on. I struggled free, suddenly afraid of where this was leading. The buttons of my blouse already opened, exposing my chest to his roving eyes. Cladded in a black lacey bra, I turned to face the wall and buttoned up. My head crawling with images, questions and wondering when my buttons had come undone.
“What is wrong with you?!” I shouted, turning to face him, and licking him off my awaken lips. He was silent and watched me as I tried to regain control.
“I will not have you come into my house and….” I was saying but he didn’t allow me finish.
“And what Debbie? Kiss you?” he asked coming closer and I drew back, unfortunately hitting the wall again.
“Don’t come any closer” I warned as he stood watching me intently. I was perspiring and praying that Sandra or anyone walk in. My heart beating in my rib cage as images of the murder flashed before my eyes and closed my eyes to block out the scene. He used the opportunity to pull me gently into his hands once more and fanned me with his hot breath on my neck.
“I want you Debbie. Don’t deny me” he coaxed and I felt my resolve lessen. He placed small thrilling kisses on my neck, whispering sweet nothings into my ear and I felt my hands go up his shoulders on their own volition. Soon, our lips met again, slowly this time as the tempo built, my buttons opening to reveal my heaving chest and soon felt them dropped to the floor. I gasped when I felt his hand touch my flesh and tease them into hard peaks.
“This is not happening. Please God, let this not be happening” I prayed closing my eyes and giving in to the pleasure he was bent on orchestrating.
“This is happening Debbie. Open your eyes” his voice made me realize I had spoken out loud and I got red in the face. I refused to look at him.
Without warning, he picked me up and approached my bedroom before dropping me on the bed. I opened my eyes then and watched him remove his T-shirt before lowering his long muscled frame over me.
Then I lost it and broke out in a shocking shout as his body weighed me down. I panicked and was panting heavily as the images of men that had abused me reeled off my memory. I shut my eyes to block out the voices and images but it was impossible.
Opening my eyes again to see him stare at me strangely, I felt hot tears touch my ears. I choked back on the tears as I pushed a confused Vince off me and escaped upstairs to Sandra’s room, slamming the door heavily as I broke down on her bed and cried shamelessly, guilt and fear washing over me.
I had made a spectacle of myself. It was over even before it started. I never should have moved in here. I never should have allowed it go this far. I never should have been molested and I never should have killed that man but they were all never-should-have’s and I wept deeply for what I had become.
A living relic.

Love on the 25th is written by Uneñ Ameji. The author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger now selling on African Stories. Pdfs Available. She is @UnenAmeji on twitter.

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Sleeping men on our walls: Nigeria’s terror and What we call Democracy.

This is not the usual blame game. This is not about the gaping failure of the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces or is it about calling for his resignation although I am sorely tempted to make it all about him and with good reason too – a man afraid to wield his shield of power for the fear of being called a dictator, a man who trivializes brazen looting of public funds, simply waving aside huge chunk of missing funds on the excuse that “America-will-know” and legendary for setting up redundant committees while making promises we all know he can’t keep. Oh! How I am deeply tempted but I flee. I flee because I don’t want my articles hunting me like Reuben Abati to criticize is to talk cheap but to proffer unsolicited solution is well..…expensive (never minding that no one is probably going to use it) and more importantly to speak. We must be heard and we must matter.

And no, this is not about a critical evaluation of the State of the Nation nor is it in anyway linked to recommendations for winning the war against terrorism. This is about drowning in a blood flood, unholy hands raised to the heavens and hypocritical knees planted in supplication for Passover and preservation from the Boko Haram insurgency when what we should be doing is collectively shouldering the responsibility for making Nigeria what it once was – the giant of Africa.
This is about the abduction of the #Chibok girls, the cry to #BringBackOurGirls, the constant politicizing of terror by the PDP and APC, the increased hunger amidst impressive but intangible economic indices, the swift sweep of missing funds under bureaucratic carpets, the porous borders and seemingly foolish intelligent officers plagued with moles, the underpaid and unappreciated men in uniforms, the ticking time bomb in the middle of National unity and the acceptance of reality – that death lurks everywhere, his fangs dripping with blood ready to sink it into the next defenseless and faceless victim is what this is about.

And no, this is not just about terror and the collective failure of Northern leadership to curtail violence by empowering the region economically and developing educational systems, creating forums and providing platforms for youth engagement but about the flagrant negligence, impenitent selfishness and acquainted insincerity of Nigerians in their dealings at all levels. Yes, we are all to blame for not caring, for not speaking out, for not demanding accountability and most notably for being easily corruptible.

So what caused this prodigious epiphany you ask?

I wouldn’t take a bullet for no one, not even myself even if I was given $20 a billion dollars but we dare ask men on our walls to walk on bombs and get sprayed with live bullets without properly compensating their families before and after they are called to serve their fatherland. It is easy for us to ask where our men who have sworn to protect the lives of Nigerians and defend the country at all cost are in the face of death without a single thought to the orphans and widows they are leaving behind.

Where are our fallen soldiers? Where are the men on whose watch we have not been totally consumed? Where are their families? What is the fate of their families now that they are no more? The Nigeria we know it to be is poor in statistics, zero recognition of real heroes and unbelievably insensitive in adequate and prompt compensation of men and women who have sacrificed their lives on altar of service and belief – all for what? Definitely not the present day Nigeria.

Why exactly do we ask others to die for a country they probably do not believe in? I will shout from rooftops of my heritage but make no mistake; I am not jumping off to show the world of my dying devotion and belief in my country. Let’s face it. An unmotivated and not-well-protected man in uniform will not stand in line of fire. We may as well get a one month course in use of weaponry and go guard the porous borders ourselves instead of hiding in our cozy homes and offices tweeting and penning open letters to a dense government.

If I were in a uniform, I would be sleeping on our walls.

Democracy in Nigeria is simply having a civilian president. End of story. We have made a terrible caricature of a concept so powerful and so positive, a concept dedicated to ensuring that a man’s life is made worthy. A government for the people by the people is largely defunct in this part of the world and basically has resulted in frustrating impunity with which elected leaders shabbily carry out what they were elected to do but generally have a clear-cut modus operandi – occupying positions to loot funds, give embossed notes, acquire landed properties, live on the lap of Nigeria’s luxury and send their children abroad to escape the continuing rot in the education sector amongst others. Sadly, most in these sensitive positions are far from being qualified, shameful products of ‘godfatherism’(a word that does not exist in any English dictionary but in Nigeria, describes the puppetry relationship between kingmakers and their acolytes in powers) and sentiments – another definition of democracy.

You see, to succeed especially in a team, ball droppers are made to catch the ball, some forcibly replaced or risk having the entire team look incompetent and particularly the team led take the chide for it. The constant call for the skin of the president is not at all to be misunderstood. If his team fails, he fails. The onus rests squarely on his shoulders to bridge the gap between the unmotivated, the saboteurs and laggards. To put it aptly, if the unemployed dies in a stampede, it shows that the president did not provide enough jobs, if girls are kidnapped by the Boko Haram, the president is clueless and nonchalant of the safety of his citizens, if missing funds are unaccounted for or not clearly explained, he condones corruption and if militants continue to operate in the Niger Delta – looting oil and kidnapping, then he fails because we are long overdue for refineries. We are quick to condemn because that is how the system works. Moreover, the president is quick to advertise feats of the agricultural and finance minister as successes of his administration. Same should go for the failures.

It is a simple case of acute reflection of bad decisions and practices of those in his cabinet generally referred to as the ball droppers. The president is surrounded by ball droppers who get a tap in the back and get on with the next blunder without as much as a reprisal but have resource-drains as committees set up in their wake. Anyone still in touch with committee set up to investigate Stella Oduah? No? I thought so. And no, I am not absolving the president of having ball droppers but what are the local government chairmen, governors, principals and northern leaders doing in their communities? What are the elected doing in the name of democracy to make existence worthy? One would have thought that they would help humanity whether the president is available or not mostly because of the office they occupy but instead, they criticize like the rest of us and get heavily paid for doing nothing.

The unhealthy tussle for power and ethnicity is the reason why terror is staring at us in the face. Does it strike you odd that the average Nigeria can see the problem and offer plausible solutions but not the government? We have had cases of brilliant men and women proffer solutions outside the circle but have now become as clueless as the word the moment they become part of the circle. Could this be the case of the color of money? Perhaps the brilliance in these men and women disappear when mouths become full. With the loot of public funds.

‘A generation of egocentric social media activists’, they call us but they miss the one point that makes these all the more admirable – we are speaking. Demanding accountability and initiating a worldwide revolution. We are doing what our parents failed to do and not on our watch will missing funds and incompetence be rewarded with silence but with hard, loud, somewhat comical demand for accountability and results. We refuse to be quieted because ‘we were not in the picture when Nigeria was born’ and have no knowledge of our beloved fatherland. Where are our books of history? Where are the scrolls of knowledge?
I will not tell the history of a time, a country that once was and now, like the ruins of Egypt, have become. I will tell of a country that will be and like the flourishing of the cedar in Lebanon, we will stand strong. Like the sphinx, Nigeria will rise from her ashes. For posterity sake, we must speak and act for he who speaks and does nothing is worse than an infidel. We owe Nigeria. We owe ourselves.

Uneñ Ameji is a writer and Real Estate Valuer, the author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger and thoughtful provocative contributions on online magazines and blogs; questioning the rule of law and positive for a better Nigeria. Follow @UnenAmeji on twitter for insightful conversations.

**All opinions are of the writer’s and does not represent the opinions of African Stories.

All Fun and Games. Episode 6

ALL FUN AND GAMES – EPISODE 6

Read all previous episodes of All Fun and Games by Tomi Adesina here

EPISODE 6

If there was anything Moira knew how to sell perfectly, it was arguments like this. Aisha stared at her. “You can’t be serious.”
“Do I look like a clown to you?” Moira asked as she took her seat beside Aisha. “I know you might be freaked out about living with a guy, but I can assure you, it is nothing. There would be rules.”
Aisha nodded. “How do you expect me to move in with Craig? Did you see that house? It looks like a mad house. There is no way I’m going there.”
“We are trying to make this thing as believable as possible; Alhaji has to see the seriousness in you. He won’t mind. I promise.”
Aisha shook her head stubbornly. “Sweetheart, I think you should think up another idea. This one is not reasonable.”
“This is reasonable. I know you know it is. You are trying so hard not to believe it and I understand you, but the truth is, it will boost Alhaji’s belief. He’ll think you just fell in love.”
Aisha rolled her eyes. “It is not so easy to fall in love. My father won’t believe I just fell. At least not me.”
“What are you trying to say? Are you so amazon that you can’t fall in love? Look, if there is anything that a woman wants, and I mean even the toughest of women, it is to be loved. I can bet you, this is a golden chance.”
“So I am just supposed to show up at Craig’s doorstep and say, ‘I am moving in’.” Aisha asked.
Moira nodded. “Yes. Since when do we care how he feels about our decisions?”
“He has friends living there with him. I need to talk to him about it so that he could at least tell them to leave.” Aisha replied as she picked up her phone.
Moira yanked it from her hand. “No. Don’t give him any room to decide. You are the one who pays the piper; you will dictate which tune he plays.”
“What if this piper doesn’t want to play my tune? He seems the very independent type, Moira?” Aisha asked.
Moira shrugged. “We’ll make him. You know how you do these things, right?”
Aisha took a deep breath. “I just need my money.”

++++****++++
“I just need to make her pay.” Craig said as he threw his jacket on the seat.
Bolu stared at him. “How do you intend to do that? She doesn’t seem very easy and you know it.”
Craig nodded. “I just hate her guts. I tried to be nice to her but it didn’t work. I have bigger plans for her. I’ve been sketching them throughout my ride home.”
“What’s in that head of yours now?” Bolu asked raising an eyebrow. “You are up to no good and I know it.”
Craig nodded. “You are not going to like it, so I am going to apologize in advance. I am going to ask Aisha to move in with me and that means you have to move out.”
Bolu gasped. “No way, man. Daniel has kicked us out of his place too.”
“Nah. Just beg him, he’ll take you in.”
Bolu shook his head stubbornly. “You don’t get it, Daniel is pissed. He said we are done.”
Craig stared at him. “You are messing with me, right?”
“No, I am not.” Bolu replied. “I’ll have nowhere to go if you kick me out.”
Craig relaxed in the chair. “What do we do? I want Aisha to move in with me, I have plans for her. There’s no way you can live here with the both of us.”
Bolu nodded. “I get it. But, where do I go?”
“I will give you some money. I’ve started saving for the rainy days.” Craig replied as he swiped across his phone’s screen. “I have to see Daniel and know what’s up with that guy.”
Bolu sighed. “Maybe he would feel better if you help him win Vicky.”
“I don’t think this is about Vicky. Daniel is a bad loser, I think that’s where the problem is.”
“I might agree with you, but he is family, we can’t just let him hate us.”
Craig stretched his leg. “I don’t care how he feels right now. I have stopped caring.”
“I know you do. When are we going to see him?”
Craig shrugged. “Tomorrow?”
Bolu nodded in agreement. “Tomorrow is great.”

++++****++++
“Why are you telling me this?” Vicky asked as she stared at Daniel.
He took a deep breath and held her hand. “I just want to open your eyes. Craig is getting married soon and it is real.”
“Look Daniel, I find it hard to believe that Craig would just get married like that. I mean, why would a man just wake up and want to marry soon without anyone even seeing him around his fiancée? Or how long have they been dating?” she asked.
Daniel blinked as he tried to think. “I…I don’t know if I should be telling you this.”
“Look, Daniel, I love Craig. And, I won’t let you put ideas into my head, I think you should go away now.” Vicky said as she clutched her bag to her arm.
Daniel immediately stopped her. “Please Vicky. Just…Just give me a chance.”
“Daniel, I don’t love you and you know it. Quit trying.” She replied.
He rubbed his forehead. “But Craig won’t be with you either, he…he has bigger commitments.”
“Like marriage? How is it that you are just bringing up this marriage thing?” she asked.
“It is very recent and it is going to be rushed too. He’ll be married in no time.” He replied.
She stared at him. “You are being paranoid.”
“No, I am not. I…I just wish that you could really see what I am trying to tell you.”
She scoffed. “You have not said anything. Okay, who is he getting married to? Why is he marrying her? Is she pregnant? What’s the dirty secret?”
Daniel swallowed as he took a deep breath.
Vicky hissed. “Stop wasting your time. I won’t be yours.” She replied and turned to walk away.
“Aisha…Aisha Bello.” Daniel said. Vicky turned in his direction swiftly. He took a deep breath and continued. “Craig is marrying Aisha Bello.”
Vicky approached Daniel. “The closest glimpse of Aisha Bello that either you or Craig can have is through the television. How is he going to marry such a woman?” she asked with a smile. “I really think you need medical attention, and pretty fast too.”
“I am serious. He is marrying Aisha Bello and really soon too. If you want to believe me, fine. If you don’t want to, well, I have tried to open your eyes.” He replied.
She stared at him carefully. “And you think you are doing all these for love, right?”
He nodded. “I love you and I don’t want you to be in love with a man that clearly doesn’t deserve you.”
“No matter what you think you are doing, this is not the right way to love somebody, Daniel. It never works out this way.” She replied and walked away.

++++****++++
Craig hurled a dart pin into the board. “Bull’s-eye.” He said as he went over to collect the pins.
“So, you come to work every day to do nothing?” Bolu asked as he paced round Craig’s office.
Craig nodded. “Yeah, all I do here is act the figure head and sign documents for them.”
“I can see that she has everything all covered. She must be doing this for so much.”
“Yes, Bolu, I agree with you. But I have mega plans for her; she is not going to enjoy that kitty alone. She had got me, and I won’t leave until I get so much from her.”
Bolu smiled. “That’s my man. Exactly what I guessed your mission would be.”
“Who does she think she is? No one bosses me around.” He replied with a grin.
Bolu grinned. “When are we going to see Daniel?”
“We should leave by lunch; I want to see Aisha too. I have to ask her to move in with me today.”
“What if she turns you down?” Bolu asked.
Craig smiled. “I don’t think she will. She is really desperate now and I actually discovered there’s a guy in her life but she is not interested in his love…or maybe just for now, which means I have to act fast before she decides to discard me.”
“Are you planning to sleep with her?” Bolu asked.
Craig laughed. “Do you think I am going to let her gorgeous body go to waste?”
“My guy!!!” Bolu said as he shook Craig emphatically. “That’s what I am talking about!”
The intercom buzzed. “Yes?” Craig said as he lifted the receiver.
“There is a man coming upstairs to see you.” Craig’s secretary said.
He stared at Bolu. “Who is he?” he asked.
He didn’t have to get an answer from his secretary as the door opened allowing Alhaji Ibrahim in.
Craig replaced the receiver slowly. “Alhaji Ibrahim Bello.” He said, standing up.
“Hello Craig.” Alhaji replied.
Bolu stared at them and then bowed before Alhaji. “Good day, Sir.”
“Hello young man.” Alhaji replied.
Bolu stared at Craig. “I’ll be on my way, I’ll see you later.” He said and walked over towards the door, “Good bye, Sir.” He said and slipped out.

++++****++++
“So, when are you going to tell Craig?” Moira asked as she paced around Aisha’s office. She had a mug of coffee in her hand while Aisha stood by her large office window looking through some papers.
Aisha did not reply.
“Aisha?” Moira called.
Aisha still did not reply.
“When are you going over to Craig’s?” Moira yelled.
Aisha turned in her direction. “Moira, do you think I spend my time scheming on my next pseudo-marital plans? There is money to be made. I just discovered that a client might be playing funny and I need to sort that out.”
“Aisha, there are people that can deal with those investigations here. Why does it have to be you? I think this is more important because we need to secure all your money first before you start worrying about thieves.” Moira replied.
Aisha shook her head in disagreement. “You are very wrong, sweetheart. I won’t spend my time thinking of how to move into one of my properties even though the owner bears Craig. Right now, you should help me trace the irregularity in this document, not remind me of Craig.”
“You only think about work. You bore me.” Moira replied as she took a seat.
Aisha smiled faintly as she took her seat opposite Moira. “I know you are bored, but I am doing this for us all. If I don’t get the missing money back, it might affect my inheritance on the long run. I am not willing to take that chance.”
“Okay, where do we start looking?” Moira asked.
Aisha stared at the paper. “The first contract we signed will do us some good.” She said, handing the paper to Moira.
Moira took the paper and stared at it. “Most of these clients tend to play funny only if we let them. But, I am your fairy godmother and I won’t let anyone mess with your money.”
Aisha smiled as she stared at Moira who was now looking absorbed in looking through the documents. “I am having lunch with Craig.”
Moira smiled as she tossed the paper back at Aisha. “Great! Exactly what I wanted to hear!” Moira said delightfully. She stared at Aisha. “Not one of your nervy moments, else, he might just put up a resistance. You have to be firm, really firm.”
Aisha nodded in agreement. “You are right. I won’t let him dictate anything; I am the one who calls the shots here.”
Moira smiled. “That’s my girl.” She said.
A smile danced around Moira’s lips and Aisha stared at her suspiciously. She knew Moira must have started conceiving thoughts in her mind with that evil smirk on her face. “What is it, Moira?”
“It’s…It’s just that I think you and Craig are a match made in heaven. I am actually beginning to doubt the possibility of two gorgeous bodies under the same roof without any intensity. I don’t think you guys would last an hour alone without getting some action.” Moira said grinning.
Aisha turned on her laptop and started to type.
“Do you know why I love you, Aisha? You have a way of creating a distraction for every moment. I am serious about what I am saying to you, maybe we should consider Hakeem. In all honesty, he is not as cute as Craig, he won’t turn you on.”
Aisha shot at Moira. “Don’t you have any work to do in your office?”
Moira smiled and rose to her feet. “I want the feedback on your lunch with Craig. The full Goss! Don’t leave anything out.” Moira said grinning as she picked her digital tablet from the table.
“Leave, Moira! There is money to be made.” Aisha said.
Moira smiled at her and approached the door and then returned to her with a whisper. “Damn! I wish I was the one having Craig to myself right now. That dude has the body of a Greek god.”
“I take it as he is one of your numerous escapades?” Aisha asked without taking her eyes off the laptop.
Moira closed the laptop furiously. “Numerous escapades or not, you and I know that he is so attractive. I can’t wait for this weekend.”
“What’s happening this weekend?”
Moira grinned. “You are moving in with him and you’ll both be at the tennis club. The media won’t spare you guys. Front cover, baby!” she said as he walked out.

++++****++++
Bolu bit his nail as he thought of the kind of trouble that Craig might be in with Alhaji Ibrahim Bello. Maybe Alhaji had overhead them talk lousily about his daughter? Bolu fought back the thought of Alhaji knowing what they had said. He was so deep in thought that he didn’t hear Daniel drum on his desk.
“Hey!!!” Daniel said as he shoved Bolu roughly. “Wetin you dey think?” he asked in pidgin English.
Bolu adjusted his shirt from the rumple that Daniel’s handling had formed on it. “Guy, why you push me like that na? You no know say I iron this shirt before I comot for house?”
“No vex. Wetin dey happen na? Craig don chop your eye?” Daniel asked with a smile.
Bolu scoffed. “Why do you always see the bad in people?”
“I am not. I am only being realistic here. Okay, tell me, why were you so lost? Is it not because Craig has done something to you too?”
Bolu smiled. “Sorry to burst your bubble, Craig and I are good. You are the one who has decided to act like a woman and hold grudges for nothing. Our guy needs us now and not for you to start acting as if we haven’t been friends for a long time.”
Daniel took a deep breath. “So, where is he living now?”
“I’ll give you the address after work if you want it.” Bolu replied.
Daniel nodded. “Of course, I want it. I need to see him and apologize for everything.”
“You better do, man. Maybe, we’ll go there together after work.” Bolu replied.
Daniel nodded. “Thank you, Bolu. I…I am really sorry for everything.”
Bolu smiled. “It’s fine. What are friends for, right?”
“Yeah. How is it going with Aisha and Craig?” Daniel asked, taking a seat.
Bolu took a deep breath. “It gets complicated every day, but I trust our guy to come out tops.”
“Is it a competition?” Daniel asked laughing.
Bolu shrugged. “Not really. But when dealing with a woman with so much power at her disposal, one needs a backup plan. Who knows what she is planning for Craig? We have to be alert, just in case of any problem.”
“I don’t think she would want any problem for herself, she has a name to protect too.” Daniel replied.
Bolu nodded in agreement. “Yeah. You are right, man. I would tell Craig to keep records just in case she tries anything funny. He’ll be needing to play his games tight, especially now.”
“What’s going on now?” Daniel asked.
Bolu wiped some sweat from his brows. “Craig is going to ask Aisha to move in with him.”
Daniel swallowed hard. “Really?”
“Yes, man.” He replied with a smile. “Anyway, that means, I get to move back with you, right?” Bolu asked.
Daniel nodded. “Yeah. Of course.”

++++****++++
Craig cleared his throat as he offered Alhaji Bello a seat. “Please have your seat, sir.”
“I can’t sit with you…at least not yet.” He replied.
Craig swallowed as he stared at him. “Why is that, sir?”
“What plans do you have for my baby?” he asked.
Craig took a deep breath. “I…I don’t understand you.”
“Look, Craig, I’ll be straight with you. Aisha is all I have got. If you hurt her, I’ll kill you.” He said.
Craig stared at him and swallowed hard. “Well, sir, it means you’ll have to kill me several times, because when people are in love, they tend to hurt each other a lot. I guess youl know that.”
Alhaji smiled and took his seat. “Nice work here, your staffs are dutiful.”
Craig heaved a sigh of relief and took his seat. “Thank you, sir.”
“Aisha doesn’t know I am here, please do not tell her.” He said.
Craig nodded. “Your secret is safe with me, sir.”
“Good boy.” Alhaji replied. He stared at Craig. “Look, son, I don’t have much time, so I’ll be brief with you.”
Craig nodded. “I am all ears.”
“Aisha is a lovely girl, there’s so much beneath her perfection, I believe. I…I can’t say for sure because I haven’t had the opportunity of seeing that precious girl, but, I…I believe that you are special to her and even if she might not show it to you, you mean a lot. Aisha won’t just bring any man home.”
Craig nodded. He wasn’t just any man to Aisha. He is the man who is going to help her fool her poor father and get her inheritance from him.
Alhaji Ibrahim stared at Craig. “I’ll tell you something about Aisha, maybe this would help. She lost her mother to gunmen. I think she lost every ounce of humanity she had that day. I might be wrong, but, Aisha walked in soaked in blood with her friend Moira. Aisha wasn’t in tears.”
Craig stared at Alhaji curiously.
“Aisha did not cry, Moira ran to me and hugged me in tears. Aisha just went upstairs and played the piano. The doctors said she was depressed and needed to get out of it, I realised that all efforts to get her out of depression didn’t work except for when she went to work with me. She enjoyed being in boardrooms and I finally caved in to her pressure and sent her to business school. The office she currently occupies used to belong to her mother.”
Craig took a deep breath as he buried his head in his hands.
“I know it might be too much for you to take right now, son. I really love Aisha and I know that you would never hear a word of this from her and that is why I have decided to tell you. I have seen that you care so much about her even though we’ve only had dinner once, but I am ready to allow someone else heal the wounds in her heart. I am tired of trying, and seeing her bring you to me convinces me that she might just be letting someone in.”
Craig wiped his forehead. “Sir…I…I-”
“-I understand how it is for you, but, I love men who can honour their words, you strike me as one. I want you to help her find herself again. She was an adorable little girl, I guess most little girls were adorable. But, I never thought that my daughter would transform so fast since her mother’s demise. I want to see an Aisha that isn’t all about sealing business deals and making money. I want to see a real woman in her, someone capable of emotions. I want to see someone who can hurt, someone who can love, someone who protects, and someone who can be a mother.” Alhaji said as he took a deep breath.
Craig swallowed hard as Alhaji stared at him hard in the face. “Sir, Aisha is a strong woman.”
“I have always known that. Sometimes, I think she is too strong. She needs someone to lean on, she needs someone to cry on.” He replied.
Craig’s heart started to race fast. Alhaji’s visit was more than what he bargained for, but he was yet to hear the toughest thing Alhaji had to say until he said these words:
“Craig, are you going to love my little girl forever?”

All Fun and Games is written by Tomi Adesina, writer and Author of “Dear Future Husband”. PDFs available on African Stories or on the Okadabooks app.
Follow @tomi_adesina on twitter for updates on her books and interesting series.

Love on the 25th. Episode 6

Hey there!
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Read all previous episodes of Love on the 25th by Uneñ Ameji. Please share and comment.

****
Debbie
The move-in was swift; the sun breaking out of the clear blue skies immediately the last raindrop touched the windows. It was 11:21am by the time we checked out of the hotel and had Abdul drive us to the house in less than five minutes. Vince was seen with arms crossed leisurely as he leaned on the tall white columns in front of the terrace duplex as we drove into the compound, obviously waiting for us. I studied his expression briefly remembering last night and the look in his eyes when he had come in unannounced, bending over me with dark eyes and hot breath fanning my face.
“One would have thought you would be helping your neighbors move in” it was Sandra as we got down, giving him a hug. I simply acknowledged him with a nod and went straight to the man who looked like he was in-charge of the move. He was and he was happy to have the help in taking the items to the rooms designated.
“I was helping, just came out to welcome my new neighbors” he replied coyly as I turned to look at him. He threw daggers with his eyes as they followed behind and I redirected my eyes to the men bringing in my collections.
“Right this way” I gestured as we got to the first floor.
“I am glad you know your room” Sandra said going up the stairs to the second floor. I wasn’t one for height and I knew she was going to take the second floor.
Yeye” I said after in a laugh and got engrossed in having my furniture and paintings exactly where I wanted them; totaling ignoring Vince and his eyes.
The move was complete at 2pm and we were left to rearrange pieces and unpack boxes and bags. The house had its own decors already lining the walls and it felt as if I was over dressing the space with my favorite pieces but at the same time, I wanted familiar pieces and personal items in the rooms on my floor. I gave up after 2 more hours of hanging, removing and shifting new pieces that either congested the large walls or looked like I was forcing the walls to take more than their share. Vincent was helping Sandra put up her vanity mirror and wall shoe rack in her room on the second floor and every minute I was rewarded with laughter traveling down the walls.
I was still irritated that he had barged in on me in my backless camisole but briefly wondered if he had seen my scar or what I would have done if he had kissed me. Did he want to kiss me too? I banished the impure thought and focused on setting up my workspace, failing terribly. The thought of his lips touching mine was on a constant replay in my head and his voice resounding in delicious laughter filtered into my ears from the room above.
Frustrated, I dropped my old copy of ‘How They Succeeded’ by Orison Morgan on the book stand and walked to the kitchen to get scoops of ice cream from the bucket Sandra had insisted on. Resting my head on the fridge, I analyzed my reaction to him in annoyance. I was past having these reactions and it irritated me that he was evoking these inexcusable feelings. I actually wanted to have his arms around me and the stupid warmth spreading at the thought of having his strong long fingers tweaking my nubs was absolutely immature. One would think that after 16 years, Oestrogen hormones flooding my sexual organs would have dried up and I’d be free from having these betraying reactions.
“Tired are we?” his voice startling me, the ice cream bowl I held fell to the floor as I turned to face him, startled. I watched him approach and found myself studying his frame, the rippling muscles under his T-shirt. I comported myself and looked around for a mop.
“Hungry and indecisive” I answered lightly. My voice shrill and foreign while I cleaned up the spilled ice with a wipe.
“Are you always this jittery?” he asked coming to stand before me. I looked at him as I washed the towel; his strong pleasant smell seemed to be sipping from his muscled body underneath the black body hug he was wearing. I couldn’t breathe and found myself hurrying to scoop another plate and rushing out of the kitchen.
“It is not polite. Sneaking up on people” I answered as I walked past him in quick steps. He followed and I took a spoon to stop myself from groaning in exasperation. ‘Broda! Go Sandra side na!’ I shouted in Pidgin in my head.
“Where is Sandra?” I asked as he followed me to my room and turned to face him, his eyes boring into mine. I wondered what was going on in his head and I took another heavy scoop to keep me from talking. ‘Really Debbie, get a grip. Na you be senior’ the conversation still playing in my head.
“She should be in her room” he answered and continued to stare.
“I am waiting for you to stop staring and tell me what you want” I blurted out, irritated at his calmness.
“Depends. Will you give it to me?” he asked as he approached and I found my legs heading to Sandra’s room. He must have laughed at my sudden escape because I heard a low chuckle as I raced up the stairs. It was silly really but I just couldn’t take chances with this man. I had to make sure Sandra took him off my hands and soon too. I regretted the day I walked up to him in Secilles and blamed my girls for putting me in this position. ‘You sure say na dey only tin be dat?’ the loud mouth fool in my brain whispered and I sternly rebuked it.
“I think that little man hangs perfectly in that space” he said indicating that I hang the large painting I bought from Sandra’s last exhibition on the empty wall leading to Sandra’s floor. I nodded as I reached the landing.
“Miss!” I called.
“Inside” she replied and I followed her voice.
“Cool!” I exclaimed as I saw what Sandra had done with her shoes. She had turned her library space into her shoe room and had mounted the racks on the wall. Shoes in their corresponding heights lined the racks from top to bottom in their different colors. It was a work of art and I laughed as she danced excitedly in front of her handiwork.
“You like?” she asked and I nodded, sweet scoop of ice cream melting in my mouth. I noticed his eyes on me and I felt like I was being scrutinized. I hated his stares but decided on ignoring him for the rest of the day. Of course I couldn’t bring out my claws to shove him off seeing that he and Sandra had history and may even have some sort of romance sizzling between them. It would be wrong of me to think him interested in me.
“Thanks to Vince, I finally have my dream shoe palace” she said, taking him in a hug. I smiled openly then, it was decided. Sandra and Vince.
Just then, the doorbell rang.
“Are we expecting anyone?” I asked, wondering why we were already having visitors.
“I ordered lunch” Vince replied, going downstairs. I was hungry and decided to get my plate and head back to arranging my library. I followed him downstairs.
He had just opened the door when I stopped in my tracks and ran back upstairs, my heart beating frantically as I reached my room and ran to the window to see the delivery man reach his scooter before driving off.
Could this be Caleb? I wondered as I watched him disappear out of the gate.
“Hey, are you ok?” his voice startling me yet again as I was peeping outside the window and my plate of ice cream fell to the floor. I lost it.
“Oh! For Christ sakes! Stop sneaking up on people” I shouted on top of my voice, shaken and angry. I must have flamed up because when I looked at him, he knew what he had to do. Dropping a plate on the closest surface which was a box of unpacked shoes, he backed out. I matched to my door and slammed it firmly, muttering a curse under my breath as I went back to stand behind the window; looking at the gate where the man who had disappeared without a trace from my life had passed through. He looked so much like him – his walk, the slight slant of his shoulders and the distinctive missing hand.
It was Caleb, Caleb Hontal, my husband.
****

Vince
I waited around the house in pretense of helping out and catching up but I was waiting for Debbie to come out. Her reaction to the delivery man was strange and if I were inclined to digging deep, I’d be asking Harold for Caleb’s profile but I wasn’t. Perhaps she was affected by the fact that he was handicapped, although that was unlikely.
“You can go and knock on her door, you know” Sandra said after I had given up on the pretense and continuously asked if Debbie was coming out soon.
“Her number is switched off, think she is ok?” I said, ignoring the look Sandra was giving me. Just then, her phone rang.
“Hey Mr. Fatasho! Yes, of course. It is a lovely apartment. Really? Now? Sure, Yes. I’d love to. I will be ready. Thanks” she was all smiles.
“And you are going out” I said, rolling my eyes and she laughed going to a suitcase.
“Dinner with your Dad. He was trying to get to Debbie but seeing she is not available, I am going to have good expensive dinner. Hope you don’t mind” she said with a devious smile as she disappeared into the bathroom with a black gown she rescued from the box.
Sandra was ready in no time and father was already waiting in front of the house in less than 10 minutes. A long time ago, I would have thrown plates up in the air when Dad took young beautiful women to dinner but I had long come to understand he was never going to replace mother. Moreover, I was more interested in the woman downstairs and right now Dad was helping me out unless he had designs on her. I wasn’t going to allow that.
The look in her eyes when Sandra had hugged me meant she saw Sandra and I as an item. This was a perfect arrangement to make sure she didn’t have the wrong idea. I was pursuing her.
The house was quiet afterwards as I walked around the flat studying the new art pieces that hung on the corridors and rooms on her floor. I didn’t hear her door open but her small footsteps announced her as she approached the kitchen.
“What are you doing here? I mean still” she said going to drop the plate of food untouched. Her nose a little read and hair packed in a loose bun.
“Waiting for you” I said following her to the kitchen and stood behind her. She bumped into me as she turned. She avoided looking at me and was going back to her bedroom.
“Debbie, Debbie!” I called taking her elbow.
“You should go home. We can continue this to tomorrow”. She dismissed, removing her hand from my grip.
“You have not eaten. I am taking you out” I said calmly as she turned to look at me in long jeans and black T-shirt. Perhaps an assessment?
“I am not asking. Get dressed” I commanded as she looked at me, puzzled.
She disappeared into her room. Minutes later, she was out and I slowly released my breath. Until she came out, I wasn’t sure she had not locked herself in.
“Make it worth the effort” she said as a small smile appeared on her nude lips.
“I will” I said as she led the way, the gentle sway of full hips in loose white cotton trousers impressing me.
The drive to Doms&Mikes was quiet and I studied her stiff posture as she looked out of the car.
“Doesn’t feel like a good place for my mood. I heard of a suya place with excellent grills. Yasuha I think” she said refusing to look at me.
“Hmmm, I didn’t put you as a suya-eater and it’s Yahuza” I stressed and she smiled, finally looking at me.
The open fire grill produced sweet smelling aroma as we found a slot and parked in the garden. The Yahuza spot in the CBD was filled and had to wait after placing our order. She dug in immediately the Hausa man handed her the polythene bag and laughed at the horrid look on my face when she caught me looking at her. I looked around to find stares and finally got caught up in the moment, reeling in laughter.
“What did you do that for?” I asked as we got into the car.
“I was hungry” she laughed again as we drove off, my car now smelling grilled chicken and onions.
“You should eat yours” she encouraged, chewing seductively – the only thought was covering her mouth with mine. She saw the look in my eyes and chewed some more. Was she responding?
“So, what’s the deal with First Homes?” she asked as we drove past a developing estate.
“Projected sales per quarter is not meeting target. The company cannot afford to make second installment unless the marketing firm raises the figure” I answered her as I decided on a whim to take her sightseeing. The Residential Estate sitting on 2 hectares in the heart of Abuja, few kilometers to the White House and accessible through the Kubwa-Asokoro highway had her eagerly pumping the chicken in her forever moving mouth as we gave the Estate a tour.
A closer inspection of one of the completed prototype had her yawning and I knew she was tired after the attack on the chicken and the drive.
“Let’s take you home” I suggested and she nodded.
“I am so going to regret this” she said tapping her stomach as we drove back to the house.
“Sleep it off” I said and we laughed, the car growing quiet.
“So this new Davido, who is he?” she asked, making a conversation.
“How should I know?” I teased her and she laughed, her small sounds getting me excited.
“You should” she insisted as we drove into the compound and to her parking spot.
“Well, I don’t” I replied getting down from the car.
“Somehow I think you know” and she walked up the few steps to open the front door.
“Still sleepy?” I asked, wanting the evening to continue.
“Not really” she said as she unlocked her door.
“Can I come in?” I said and she turned to face me at the request. I was close to her now and towered above her.
“Sure” she replied, eyes staring into mine. I could see a little hesitation in her eyes, a little fear maybe?
“I am going to kiss you now” I voiced, looking at her eyes. I saw her blink.
“We are colleagues Vince” she said, trying to side step me but I moved in front of her.
“I know” and with that, I held her eyes as I placed a gentle kiss on her lips. She froze on contact with my lips, holding her breath and raising her shoulders rise up. I deepened the kiss when she opened her mouth to take in air and was rewarded with a small sigh as her hands came to rest on my shoulders in what felt like a little invitation before she pushed me back, her lips bearing my mark. She tasted of grilled chicken and something else. Fear? Regret? And why was she suddenly stiff?
“Goodnight Vince. Thanks for a wonderful evening” and with that she turned and escaped into the house. I chuckled at myself, her quivering lips still tingling on lips. If there was anything I wanted more was her lips and I was sure going to make them bear my mark for a long time.
****
Love on the 25th is written by Uneñ Ameji, the author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger. She is @UnenAmeji on twitter.

Have a good “economic” break.

Cheers.

All Fun and Games. Episode 5

New Episodes of All Fun and Games by Tomi Adesina. Read all previous episodes here

EPISODE 5

Aisha paced around Craig’s living room. “Give a mansion to a pig and he’ll still make it a sty. Why is this place a mess?” She asked. Craig rolled his eyes as he flung his shorts from a corner on the sofa to another corner in the living room in a bid to make space for Aisha and Moira to take their seats.
“It’s a big deal with the guys here.” He replied lazily as he slumped into a seat.
Aisha clenched her teeth in anger as she took a gaze at the living room. One would find it hard to believe that Craig emanated from such an environment once he stepped out of the house. He had dashing looks and well-ironed clothes like every other smart-looking man, but, his house??? Shirts lying around the parlour as though they owned it. Underwears and stockings graced the small passage to the room. Alcohol bottles and cans stashed in corners of the house. This made Aisha sick. She could not believe what Craig had made out of one of her best properties.
“This is just disgusting.” Aisha said.
Craig nodded. “I know. But you really should call next time you want to visit. I got a cleaner for the house, she only comes during the weekends.”
“Do you need a nanny too?! It’s been barely a week since you moved in here.” Aisha protested as she hurled a dangling shirt at him. “What are you trying to do, Craig?”
He took a deep breath. “Look, I am not the only one who lives here. I have friends here too, together we can take the credit for the mess, but you’ll just have to wait for them to arrive before you continue lashing me. Trust me, they are a bunch, about six or seven?”
“I am not marrying all your dumb friends, you are the one I have a business with. This is unacceptable.” She said, standing up.
Moira cleared her throat. “Aisha-”
“Don’t Aisha me! Have you seen what this guy has turned this place into? Suppose you are caught unawares by the press and they decide to see what your crib looks like, is this what you are going to show them?” Aisha asked.
Craig shrugged. “Yes, mom.”
“What?!” Aisha gasped.
Moira couldn’t hold it. She burst into an awkward laugh. It however took a cold eye from Aisha to curb her laugh.
“This is one big joke to you, right?” Aisha asked staring at Craig.
He nodded. “I mean what do you call being forced to marry a woman? It has to be a joke. Look Aisha, you can’t come here telling me how to lead my life, okay? I am going to marry you, you are going to accept me however I am.” He said smiling. “I mean, it’s all fun and games, right?”
Aisha took her seat slowly. “Wow. It’s all fun and games, right? Craig, I am getting you a P.A, you will have an agenda. You will follow the agenda. You will stick to my rules. Number one is, kick those friends out.”
“No, mom. I can’t do that.” He replied. “I mean, it is sick enough that I have to get married soon. Can’t I at least have friends while I wait for you to set the date?”
Aisha took a deep breath. “Rule number two: The next time you call me mom, you are going to regret it.”
“What’s the worst that can happen? Look Aisha, I get the drill. I know what you want. I am going to help you achieve it. I have my methods and I always win, so stop getting in my way.” He said as he grabbed the controller to the television. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to watch TV, or would you decide when I watch that too? Oh…you might as well set parental locks on the decoder.”
Aisha felt sweat trickle down her back. She was nervous. She had never been this nervous. She had never had it this tough with anyone. To take on Craig, she had to be well-fortified. She really needed plans. This might have looked like a simple agreement, but Craig appeared to going overboard, at least to her.
Aisha picked her bag, standing up and Moira immediately rose to her feet. “Take care of this mess, Craig. I mean it.”
“I will, mom.” He replied grinning.

++++****++++

Aisha kicked her car tyre hard as soon as they left Craig’s house. “I swear I could break that guy’s balls.”
“Good! I heard it right this time.” Moira said with a smile.
Aisha swallowed. “He has so much gut. Who is he to talk to me anyhow?”
“He is the man who is going to marry you so you can claim your inheritance before your father decides to will it to an orphanage.”
Aisha scoffed. “He dare not mess with me.”
“You know he can do it and that’s why you are so desperate.”
Aisha shook her head in disagreement. “I am desperate because I don’t want Hakeem to keep bothering me. If I can convince father of Craig and I, and we quickly pull that marriage stunt, dad would understand my decision to stay single. I mean, I would be a divorcee by then. He’ll feel sorry for me.”
“Don’t be too certain. Alhaji is well-respected, he won’t let you have a divorce that easily.” Moira said as she opened the door of the car. “We should get going.”
Aisha nodded. “Yeah, I need to plan that guy’s life; I won’t let him mess me up. For starters, this weekend, he is going with me to the Tennis club.”
“What if he can’t play tennis?” Moira asked.
“Oh well, that’s his luck! That will make the headline.” Aisha said starting the car.
Moira stared at her. “Aisha, I really think there is still time for you to fire this guy and open your heart to real love.”
“Moira, what have you been drinking?” Aisha asked. “It is too early to be drunk.”
Moira rolled her eyes. “You are always evasive of the truth, I just think that this guy might be too much to handle.”
Aisha smiled. “Good. I am not going easy either.” She said as she drove off.

++++****++++

Aisha picked up the TV controller and tuned away from Fashion TV. “Don’t you have anything to do with your life, Moira?” she asked.
“I was just doing something before you decided to ruin the moment for me.” Moira replied. “Ah, and you consider tuning to a Sport channel as something better?”
Aisha nodded as she stopped at a football game. “My brain is so tired of work that I need to unwind.”
“If you want to unwind, you should be sleeping, or go to a club, the night is still young, just seven pm.” Moira replied.
“I’ll pass on your offer.” She replied.
Moira hissed. “Do you have to subject me to this torture of watching grown men kicking balls into the net?”
“Look on the bright side, you can admire the players while I admire the sport.” Aisha replied.
Moira grinned. “Why do I get the feeling that you are actually doing that when you say you are watching football? I mean, some of these guys are actually cute, maybe that’s what you come here to view, not actually the game.”
“I don’t care what you think.” Aisha replied.
The doorbell chimed. “You have been saved by the bell, I am coming back for you.” Moira said as she walked over to the door. She returned to the living room with Craig. “Look who we have here, it is your dear future husband.”
Aisha turned off the TV. “What do you want? I don’t remember sending for you.” She said and paused to take a look at his dressing. “No one can guess the type of filth you’ve come out from when you are dressed like this.”
“Get dressed. We are going to see your father.” Craig said as he took his seat.
Aisha stared at Moira and then back at Craig. “Look here man-”
“-Get dressed woman. I have my methods, it is time we try my style.”
Moira grinned. “Of course, this is going to be fun.” She said as she dragged Aisha upstairs.

++++****++++

“I am begging you not to go overboard.” Aisha said as they drove into Alhaji’s compound. “He is very intelligent and he can spot a fake when he sees one, so you had better be careful.”
Craig turned off the engine and stared at her. “As long as you play the dutiful woman, we have no problem impressing him.”
“Try not to mention too many exotic places. I know you have goggled up places and towns, don’t go acting like you know them.” She added.
Craig nodded and stepped out of the car. He walked over to her side and opened the door for her. “Shall we?”
“I am going to kill you if this is messed up.” Aisha said as they walked into the house.
“Whoa!” Craig said as they walked through the hallway. “Is your father a king or something?”
Aisha shook her head. “You’ve started failing already. I know you’ve never seen anything as beautiful as this, please pretend as if you have.”
Alhaji Ibrahim met them in the hallway. “Aisha dear.” He said as he pecked her. “Craig, right?”
Craig nodded as he stretched out his hand. “Nice to meet you, sir.”
“So, where did she fish you from?” Alhaji asked as they walked into the house.
Craig stared at Aisha with a surprised look and then back at Alhaji. “Fish me?”
Alhaji nodded as he ushered them to their seats. “Aisha has never brought a man home and for reasons best known to Aisha and myself, it is a beauty to have you here.”
“I…I was the one who wanted to come.” Craig said.
Alhaji Ibrahim relaxed in his seat. “Really? And why is that?”
Craig smiled. “For obvious reasons. She’s always bragged about your home.”
Aisha gasped.
“Aisha? Brag? My Home? Does it sound like my girl?” Alhaji Ibrahim replied.
Aisha immediately grabbed a glass of champagne from the maid and started to drink. The maid set the remaining drinks and walked away.
“A lot of things about Aisha that you probably don’t know, sir. No offence.” Craig replied.
Alhaji Ibrahim nodded. “You may be right, son. So, did you guys attend university together?”
Craig nodded in agreement. “Yes sir, although we were not very good friends back then, but I said hi a lot. I did humiliate myself around her.”
“Finally! A good lie!” Aisha said almost inaudibly through her clenched teeth.
Alhaji nodded. “I won’t be surprised.”
“Nonetheless, she is really special and her love for you has made me really interested in knowing my competition.”
Aisha rolled her eyes. “Dad, Craig is a really troublesome man. He’s all about going out with me and he is troubled that I won’t go out with him, and that is the truth. He insisted that I bring him to see the man that has my heart and that’s why we are here.”
Alhaji Ibrahim smiled. “Am I that special to you?” he asked with a smile.
Aisha nodded. “Dad, can we keep our differences aside?” she asked with a smile. “This guy is a stranger and he is trying to take your place in my life.”
Alhaji Ibrahim nodded. “With all pleasure.”
Craig smiled as he stared at Aisha. “So, I’ll keep pestering you.”
Alhaji Ibrahim cleared his throat. “We should have dinner together. The three of us. Let’s go to the table.”

++++****++++

“Still staying locked up?” Bolu asked as he walked into Daniel’s room. “There’s space for you in Craig’s house.”
Daniel hissed. “I just don’t want to be around that guy anymore. Why does he always get the good things?”
“Are we still on this Vicky issue?” Bolu asked, taking a seat. “Guy, get over it. It is not Craig’s fault that the babe doesn’t like you.”
Daniel nodded. “I see. What about this Aisha’s case, it was my stand and she chose him.”
“GUY! Wetin you dey talk nau? (What are you saying?) You are acting crazy, man. It sucks to be Craig right now in case you don’t know.”
Daniel hissed as he downed his drink. “Money, Car, House, Clothes, and Aisha? Why won’t I want to be him?”
“Daniel, I can’t believe you are talking like this. Is this because of Vicky? Craig is not responsible for Vicky’s feelings. If you want to take it out on someone, talk to Vicky.”
Daniel nodded. “Easy for you to say, you are eating from his rich girlfriend’s plate now.”
Bolu shook his head. “Man, you are pathetic.”
“Get out! I am done with you guys!”
“For real?”
Daniel nodded. “For real.”

++++****++++

“You should come over to the tennis club this weekend.” Alhaji Ibrahim said as he walked Craig and Aisha over to the car.
Craig shrugged. “I think I have a less hectic weekend, I might make it.”
“Do you play tennis, Craig?” Aisha asked.
He smiled. “I’ll bring my racket.” He said as he walked over to the driver’s side.
Alhaji Ibrahim pulled Aisha aside gently. “I like him.” He said with a smile. “Very confident lad. You guys might do well together.”
“I don’t like him, Dad.” Aisha replied. “I brought him here so he’ll stop bugging me.” She added. The gate opened and Hakeem’s car rode in. “Hakeem?”
Alhaji Ibrahim nodded. “Yes. Good thing you haven’t left.”
Hakeem approached them. “Good evening, Alhaji.” He said.
Alhaji nodded with a smile. “How are you, Hakeem?”
“Very well, sir.” He replied and turned in Aisha’s direction. “Aisha, how are you?”
She smiled back. “Fine, thank you.”
Craig joined them. “Shall we, Aisha?”
Hakeem turned in his direction. “Hello?”
“Hakeem, meet my friend, Craig. Craig, meet Hakeem.”
Craig stretched out a hand to him. “Good evening.”
Hakeem stared at him and took the hand firmly. “Good evening.”
Craig turned in Alhaji Ibrahim’s direction. “Good night, sir. It’s been a real pleasure.”
“For me too. Have a good evening. Hakeem, you are here to see me, right?”
Hakeem swallowed as he watched Craig usher Aisha into the car. “Yes sir.” He replied and followed Alhaji Ibrahim.

++++****++++

“I don’t get it, Alhaji, how is he Aisha’s boyfriend?” Hakeem asked perturbed.
Alhaji took a deep breath. “I have not said that he is her boyfriend. All I am saying is that, they seem very intimate as friends.”
“Intimate? That means something is going on between them. Little wonder Aisha is softer these days.”
Alhaji stared at him. “What do you mean?”
Hakeem resisted the urge to tell Alhaji about the incident at his house. “It’s nothing, Alhaji. Sir, I really need your help to win her heart. She listens to you.”
Alhaji shook his head sadly. “You don’t get it, son. We have no right over some things, the only thing I can tell you is that Aisha told me that she doesn’t like him. Perhaps, you can use that in your favour and see if you might be able to win her over.”
Hakeem nodded. “I’ll do everything in my power to make her mine.”
“I advise you to just take it easy.” Alhaji replied. “So, what do I offer you?”
Hakeem waved it off. “I am fine, sir.”

++++****++++

“Seems you would need more action from me.” Craig said as he pulled up in Aisha’s garage.
Aisha took off the seat belt. “I don’t understand what you mean.”
“That guy back at your father’s. He seemed ruffled by me. Who is he?” he asked.
She rolled her eyes. “Hakeem means nothing.”
“I can guess he leads the line of your suitors.” Craig replied as he turned in her direction. “We should make this acting more intense.”
She stared at him. “What do you mean? My father already likes you, which wins it for me.”
“He might like me, but I am sure that he would not be very comfortable yet. Hakeem as you call him is Muslim and I am Christian.”
Aisha stared at him with shock all over her face. “Are you suggesting that my father is going to be judgemental?”
He shook his head in disagreement. “I am not saying that, but, it is a possibility.”
“I think you should keep it out of the picture for now.” She replied as she placed her hand on the lock trying to open the door. “What is wrong with the door?” she asked as she turned in his direction.
He stared at her. “You are beautiful. I should have said that earlier.”
She scoffed. “Is that part of the deal?”
“No. I…I just thought I should say it.” He replied.
She nodded. “Henceforth, I suggest that you keep such impulses to yourself, are we clear?”
He nodded. “Have a good night.”

++++****++++

“You don’t give up, do you?” Vicky asked as Daniel approached her.
He shook his head. “Vicky, I care a lot about you, Craig doesn’t.”
“If you cared so much, you won’t be telling me that Craig doesn’t care about me.”
He took a deep breath. “I am trying to be realistic here. Look, Vicky, when a man loves a woman, he’ll do anything to make her happy.”
“How’s it going for you? I am obviously not happy and you want to worsen it for me.”
“Are you ever going to love me?”
She shrugged. “I don’t think so, but, you can do me a favour by telling me where to find Craig, I have been searching for him? I’ll appreciate you for that.”
He swallowed. “I…I don’t know.”
She smiled. “Typical you! I didn’t expect you to be of help. Good luck loving me.”
He took a deep breath. “I am being honest. He’s moved out of the house.”
“Why?”
Daniel rubbed his palms against his pocket. “I…I don’t know why.”
“You are lying, Daniel. I have been to the mall, I haven’t seen him. He’s not been to the cafeteria or bar in days, no one has seen him around this hood. Where is he? Where is Bolu?”
Daniel stared at her. “I hate to tell you but Craig is getting married.”
Vicky stared at him confusingly. “Married?”
“Yes. Craig is getting married and pretty soon.”
Vicky took a seat and Daniel took his beside her. “Is this how desperate you are? Daniel, you are loser. You were a loser. You are a loser and you will always be a loser.” She replied.

++++****++++

“So, you think Alhaji is convinced?” Moira asked.
Aisha nodded. “He looked it, but Craig brought up an issue that has me slightly concerned.”
“What might that be? Religion?” Moira asked as she sipped her drink.
Aisha nodded. “Exactly. Do you think Alhaji will give us problems with that? I mean, I can’t even start looking for a Muslim right now.”
“Hakeem is not far away.” Moira replied. Aisha ignored her. “Look Aisha, I think we should look for a quick alternative.”
Aisha shot at her. “I am not investing in another man.”
“I totally understand you, but you have to do something about this, else, Alhaji might actually spring up the religion thing soon.”
Aisha smiled. “Or I could convert to a Christian, right? It’s not like I don’t attend more church services than I go to the mosque.”
“The right question is when last did you go to the mosque?” Moira retorted. Aisha shrugged in response. “I really don’t think that’s the solution. Alhaji won’t be buoyed. I think you should step this drama up.”
Aisha stared at her. “Like make it intense?”
“Exactly! That’s the word. Give it some intensity. Add some life to it.”
Aisha nodded. “Craig was saying the same thing too. But how?” Moira shrugged and continued drinking. “Hey!” Aisha shouted at her. “Think! You are the genius in things like this.”
“Really? For once, you actually concede that I am actually better than you at something.” Moira said with a smile.
Aisha rolled her eyes. “In this case, I’d love being second to you.”
“That’s subtle for saying I don’t think of smart things, right?”
Aisha smiled. “I never said so, but since you have implied it, I might as well agree with you.”
“Well, let’s see where being cocky gets you. I am not helping out anymore.” Moira replied as she turned her nose up.
Aisha smiled. “I am sorry, love. Please help me.”
“On one condition.”
Aisha nodded. “Ask.”
“You won’t make fun of my boyfriend again?”
Aisha smiled. “The one on the internet?”
“I have met him once.”
Aisha nodded. “Yes, via Skype of course.”
Moira ignored her.
“Okay, fine. I promise never to talk about him in such tone again. Would you now come up with an idea?”
Moira smiled. “Well, I have always had the idea and it just became clearer.”
“Spill!”
Moira nodded. “Your next line of action is to move in with Craig.”

All Fun and Games is written by Tomi Adesina, writer and Author of “Dear Future Husband”. PDFs available on African Stories or on the Okadabooks app.
Follow @tomi_adesina on twitter for updates on her books and interesting series.