After two days of partial silent treatment and shared dinner, Kole had taken to going out at night just after dinner and coming back to sit in my room just before dawn like some possessed sleepwalker. The first time was scary, waking up to him looking at me intensely from the sofa where he sat unmoving. Kole wasn’t dying; he had simply conned me into signing papers which meant he was a lily-livered designer cum investor who couldn’t ask a woman to marry him the traditional way and I was the power monger who wanted the title. I had gotten myself in a tight corner and I thought I didn’t have much to lose but he had quickly corrected me of that notion. I was of the opinion that if he wanted to take an ‘invalid’ document to court to contest, he could go right ahead knowing the media sharks were always circling but then I came to realize that was a move he would not hesitate to initiate.
“There is no such thing as bad publicity” he said when I stressed contesting the validity of signed agreement in court, throwing smart words like duress, witness and stamping. He had laughed and enjoyed the one sided legal argument.
“Don’t sweat it love. You cheated few days to our wedding with your lover under my roof in my bed! There is no judge who would rule in your favour and trust I’d ask for the clean-out damages. I am Kole McGregor after all…I don’t do small cases” and he had fed me some more minced meat at dinner.
“You mean no judge you buy” I corrected.
“More like a judge who is an African” and he had licked the fork with my mouth on it. All hot talks of challenging the validity of that stupid agreement were gone. This had to be done out of the legal house especially not with a blind Lady Justice presiding. I had to find a loophole and fast.
Talks of pending nuptials and exclusive interview kept him excited and naturally egoistical. The sleeping picture of his ‘bride’ had made several blogs and soft sells as threatened – a flattering sleeping picture of me with hair slightly covering my eyes in nothing but a flimsy night wear at the first ray of natural light. Although not enough to figure out whose face it was, the picture generated lots of dirty, hurtful, unimpressive comments and I realized how jobless, judgmental and mean people actually were. Surprisingly unaffected, I didn’t care if a clearer picture made it online. It was time to come out of hiding and live a life without constantly looking over my shoulders. I wanted to be found.
Vince…I had a great time with Vince…mind blowing sex with Vince. Understating what had happened few nights ago was unbelievable and absolutely hot. I still had mini orgasms thinking of him and had a harder time stopping my hands from going downwards. He was constantly in my thoughts and they weren’t of purest form…was he thinking of me as much as I thought of him? I couldn’t bring myself to answer his calls, texts and emails…he wanted me alright but was he right for me? How long were we going to have mind-blowing sex? He was definitely going to watch the exclusive interview Kole was bent on having and I wondered briefly if he would have a reaction – perhaps jealousy. It was best to let the hormones cool off. He was probably with Sandra…she said they were getting comfortable with each other anyways. I surmised he was calling because he was a ‘gentleman’ and most probably wanted a repeat. I didn’t mind a repeat but I wanted more…more he couldn’t give. There was no point in a fruitless venture.
Staying with Kole despite his ‘blackmail’ was different for a change. No businesses to fuss over, no calls to make, no meetings to attend…, series of light-hearted discussions lined with thick sarcasms and small laughs at arguments. It was a friendship and it was good. Making the most out of the agreement was a constant thought but his secrecy on night outings and mixed signals in wanting me didn’t make it stick. I had the nagging feeling that something was amiss but what?
Without much to do after four days, I had opened a twitter account and barely able to ‘function’, Kole offered to ‘help’ me and mentioned me as his ‘bride’ for a follow back. In few hours, I had over a thousand followers. Congratulatory messages, hate messages and demands for follow backs flooded my phone. These people were ruthless and I feared for my sanity. A lady whose name (handle I later came to know) was @SexyFingers brutally defended my ‘leaked’ picture after someone called me a business wh*oe. I was sceptical on following her back but when I did, she was all about submitting her designs for a look by Kole. Kole without surprise had a @SexyFinger following him who ‘defended’ him but he never followed back. I promised to get back to her.
More checks on the subject of Kole McGregor’s wedding and Sandra’s BBM messages brought links to articles on Kole McGregor and his new ‘bride’ – Debbie Black. Terms like unknown, raunchy, recluse, shy, financial queen were used to describe me and while I enjoyed the facelessness of it all, I knew it wasn’t long before the interview which was in-house would erase the air of mystery. The traffic of humans preparing the house and my face for the ‘great’ interview was enough to drive me up the wall and when it was time, I barely could recognize myself. I looked like some foreign specimen and I had to commend the make-up artist who had transformed me into what could grace the cover of Vogue. She simply asked that I convert that to a mention on twitter! ‘Hia! dis twitter have turned holy grail’
The bright lights, the beautiful set, the brilliant smiles, the eager backstage attendants and the seemingly happy soon-to-be-groom sitting beside me as the padded host crossed and uncrossed her legs, looking for the perfect pose. It was the picture-perfect setting that made sure your past came knocking and I was ready to open my door. I had come a long way to the top and was beyond abuse but I wondered just how many people would watch me lie effortlessly on international Television and when the articles on the new ‘Business Bride’ would start making headlines. Will the murder of a faceless rapist make it to the tabloids? What of my evil step mother and my birth mother who abandoned me? My shameless father who couldn’t stand up for me? My first husband who works in a restaurant and had a missing hand? Or my abusers who kept at it until I had lost hope of salvation? A deep breath and with a long practiced smile plastering my made-up face, the signal came on and the questions as rehearsed came in repeat. Kole’s exclusive interview was underway and I’d be damned if I didn’t live a lasting impression.
I nodded to comments, smiled when spoken to and articulately answered questions with lies so oiled, I almost believed it myself. It was an easy story to tell. I was in love with Kole, he was such an amazing man. I met him at a business meeting some eight months back but since we have kept it out of the press because we wanted it to be special. We are getting married now because we are in love, absolutely sure we are meant for each other and life as a married woman would suit me perfectly working beside my husband – the love of my life.
“How would you deal with the women who find your husband irresistible?” it was stylish interviewer Eno with enough make-up to bury her humongous nose and flat thick lips. Make-up could do miracles I wanted to answer but stopped the wicked thought just in time. A onetime beauty queen, yes – a beauty queen, Eno Solomon was the host for NET’s lifestyle show; an exclusive for African celebrities I hear…I didn’t even know the name of the show but I knew the girls would have my ears the moment this made it on air.
“It is normal to have females, ladies coming around, checking for cracks….you know… but I know he loves me. There is really no competition” I said easily. When did love stop a man from having extra curriculum activities? But my answer, shallow as it was brought smiles and applause from the gullible backstage that appeared to believe in fidelity in marriage. There is no competition in indeed.
Kole who was well dressed in heavy black tuxedo and navy blue shirt contrasting his light skin, opening at the throat looked rather dashing and relaxed. He actually looked like he was in love; eyes never leaving mine, head dropping to my shoulders and little kisses on my exposed shoulders as his hands rounded my waist. His answers lined with humour had Eno nodding and smiling sheepishly as his hand found mine from time to time. He definitely knew how to manipulate the media and I could already imagine the varied interpretations of the attention.
Questions, rehearsed questions were answered with laughs and easy smiles but there was one question that needed immediate answer. What was I going to do with Kole McGregor? He was talking of a wedding photo session and arrangements for our honeymoon at breakfast. I had laughed at the plans he iterated with so much seriousness and he had slightly frowned as he confirmed the tickets to the Bahamas.
“Debbie?” it was Eno. I had trailed off in thoughts and my name brought my eyes to hers. Almost too eager to please and ecstatic about Kole on her show, she wore her smiles and directed most of the questions at Kole; perhaps she was the one that found Kole irresistible. She repeated her question.
“Who is Kole? Let us meet your husband….I can call him your husband right?” she joked.
“Well, technically…no. One needs the certificate from what I hear these days” this got a laugh from Kole and Eno as he planted a peck on my cheeks, interrupting me before I continued. “He is different from what the media portrays really. The first time I met him, he charmed the recluse out of me…” I was saying.
“Really?” she asked interrupting me.
“Yes,…I would never be in front of camera if Kole was not such a persistent man…a good persistent man” I said in a laugh and she joined in. Kole, who was playing the smitten villain pressed closer as a warning. I looked at him and he used that opportunity to press his lips on mine. The crowd in the room loved it and erupted in shouts and whistles. I became red in the face…it was unexpected and intimate. Was I wrong about Kole not wanting more than just a business relationship and coerced heir vessel? The rest of the recording went without much drama and I was exhausted as my chin ached from too much smiling and my head reeling from too much agitation.
“They loved you” Kole noted as we stood waving the last of the van with Eno as they drove out of the house. God knew how long it was going to be before the knocks start coming.
“I thought so too” I replied rather pleased with the interview and what I had discovered. Getting another interview wasn’t going to be hard with the overwhelming enthusiasm from Eno and the vicious ‘fans’.
“Glad we have that settled. I am thinking of bringing the wedding date forward, see your parents next week….” It was Kole immediately he closed the door behind us and the cleaning staff flooded the space.
“I was hoping for the same thing too…minus the parents though….I think I maybe orphaned by now” I said truthfully but with sarcasm.
“Really? I hear orphans are the best option for a wife” He laughed as he asked for drinks to be brought to the balcony.
“I suppose you are an orphan too? I know for sure they make the best husbands” I replied in good mood.
“Ever married an orphan before?” he asked playfully and I stopped short. Thankfully he wasn’t paying attention.
“Some say he was a free spirit” I answered finding my legs a seat.
“I didn’t know that” he said a little too serious and then laughed at the conversation.
“You didn’t ask” I chuckled.
“So what informed the change?” he sat beside me.
“You are eager as I am to get married. Suddenly in love with me and realized Vince was just playing you?” he asked. Kole was steaming with anger and I understood why but getting married at all cost was really irrational – a term that had gotten him red in the neck and a direct request never to use the word. The emotion at the word was strange and I knew it was a taboo word…only wish I knew what evoked such a reaction.
“No, no at all. Quite the contrary in fact” I said smiling.
“What do you mean?” he asked taking a small sip from his glass.
“They loved me and giving interviews is not so bad”
“Get to the point” he said tersely.
“I was wondering what an exclusive interview on our 7 days divorce based on infidelity would do to your personal image. Business maybe good but I bet there will be speculations on your sexuality when I give the ‘he can’t satisfy me as a man’ excuse” I said wickedly.
I was absolutely shocked when he dropped the glass with a thump and stood up so fast I had to move out of his way.
“You wouldn’t dare” he looked aghast at the suggestion.
“Oh Kole, I didn’t get this far without few indecent acts” I pushed.
“I won’t allow you and your lover under my roof! I forbid it” he said in a low undertone meant to frighten me.
“That is not what bothers you love…, you are more concerned about the speculation” I said with a straight face. He looked a little shaken but recovered slowly.
“You should not let the enemy know your cards darling” he warned.
“If I were playing a card game I won’t” I answered and he opened his mouth to reply but he swallowed the word and instead fixed me a dead-on stare.
“When is the new date for our wedding love?” I asked coyly and he stormed out, almost in a hurry.
I knew I had found my calling card and went to my room to get my tools. It was time to do some digging.
Somewhere in East Norway
“Oh my God! Oh my God!! My baby! My sweet baby!! Alama, my Alama” the sophisticated woman in her early fifties reached for the remote and turned up the volume. She was up on her feet in no time and was reaching for her phone. This was a miracle! Her baby was alive….she couldn’t be Debbie Black, no, they were mistaken and she was going to correct that.
“Paul? Get me a flight to Nigeria. Tomorrow morning” she said almost breathless. After a steady intake of cold air, she headed to her room to get her old box out. She would need some documents for this. Her baby was alive.
Somewhere in Benin, Nigeria
“Alama! It is Alama!” the old man in wheelchair shouted wheeling himself to the front of the Television as a young woman came out with a protruding stomach.
“What is it again?” she asked tired of the old man and his outbursts.
“It’s your sister” he answered eyes glued to the screen.
“I have a sister?” she asked finding a seat as her caught the beautiful woman on TV.
“Yes, yes…you have a sister” thick heavy glasses perched on his conceited nose aided his wretched eyesight as he watched the man planted a kiss on his daughter.
“Her name is not Debbie Black, it Alama Dickson” he said under his breath as he began making mental plans on going to Lagos to get her back.
She was alive! His Alama…