Book title: Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger
Publish link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DTV57RI
Author: Uneñ Ameji
Blurb: Didi Trap is the ace Gold Digger. She detects Mines worth digging, following tested laid down principles and self-crafted tools to hit jackpot every single time…..until she meets Akhmed Kyari Bricks. Her nemesis.
Akhmed is the richest and youngest entrepreneur in Africa. The only heir to the Bricks Empire with just one purpose: Destroy Didi Trap.
In a twist, Didi finds out who she is, what she is worth and takes back what is rightfully hers-The Bricks Empire.
……..and she falls in love with her enemy’s father.
IT STARTS WITH MEMORIES
The quiet household, the crispness of cold clean air forcing its ways into my nostrils, the shiny and echoing marble floor reflecting images, the sweet smelling lemon waffles made by the Mama Segun; ‘Iya-chef’ as I fondly called her and Lacrimosa of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart playing from the library all brought sad smiles.
The breath-taking scenery and perfect architecture drew me to the mansion two years ago. It had such a pull, it was alive and I fell in love with the magnificent structure on first sight.
“Hello, how can I help you?” it was a male voice replying the old bell I rang two years ago for a quick peep. I was taken aback by the coarse voice streaming through the intercom I hadn’t noticed until the blasting voice got me looking for it.
“Emm, I want to ask for an opening?” momentarily at lost for words. That was a top-of-the-hat lie. Gosh, what if I’m kidnapped? It was a random thought. Curious and afraid, I stood expectantly.
“There is no opening. Have a nice day” the voice went off abruptly as it came.
I walked away with backward glances and made up mind. I would get inside the premises.
I went to the gate every day for the next one week to fake a number of different ways of getting in ranging from deliveries to impersonating a journalist from Ghana.
Alas, I was to meet the owner of the mansion the evening of my departure from Obudu holiday inn in Calabar, Nigeria. I was on a self-finding vacation to think about the proposed marriage to a man who was assigned to me by my overbearing father. I did not want to return and had cut off all communications.
But I had to.
There was no escaping my father’s wishes.
Taking what I thought would be my last evening walk turned out to be a life encounter. I remember noticing the walk of a graceful woman on the premises in breeches!!! Increasing my pace, I made haste to the side of the fence where my voice could be heard.
“Good Evening Ma’am, My name is Unen Ameji and I’m totally in love with this house. It is so alive and captivating. I have been here every day for the past week and I will be leaving Calabar tomorrow but I do so want a tour. It would make my vacation complete. Who can I talk to please?” I asked earnestly with a wide shy smile. The depressing thoughts of going back to my former life flew away at the possibility of seeing the inside of this magnificent structure. This was a must-see.
The awe and smile on her face was pure. She was considering the outspokenness and pleas just for a tour. Later, she would tell me that she liked me that instant.
A bond was formed.
On getting closer to take a look at the “old” woman, I was surprised to see a young woman in her early thirties that reeked of class and absolute simplicity. In a pair of riding breeches and tucked in sleeveless wool shirt, she walked toward me with such carriage and energy. I liked her instantly too.
“So why weren’t you allowed in?” she asked as we stood face to face with the fence between us. An electric fence I came to know. Thank God I did not hold it.
“Well, I guess the electronic man knew my voice on the third day and I was always confused on the right thing to say” I replied sheepishly referring to the unfriendly male voice. The sound of her rich laughter filled the evening air and I found myself laughing with her like an old friend.
“The voice is Chidi’s. Come in through the gate, I will show you round” and she walked into the house. I took a short run to the main gate. I heard the beep minutes later.
I walked into the premises totally at peace. The tour left me with inspirations for new constructions and remodeling for new jobs.
Her name was Didi Trap.
I would later call to ask for a time-out in her magical castle. Yes, Didi Trap was the owner of my magical castle and I had found a friend.
“Can I come spend a week in your magical castle” I asked after weeks of my return to the hustle and bustle of Eko city. I could not stand one more traffic jam, the crawling humans, the rowdiness and the ugly face of urbanization.
And most of all Idowu, the persistent lily-livered suitor.
Coming unannounced to my house every other night, I lost my cool on a cold night and told him never to come back after opening the door to his puppy love face. He wasn’t ready to handle marriage and it was written all over him.
His habit of running to his Dad every single time before taking decisions and threatening to frustrate Father’s business if I do not succumb was the last straw. It got the whole family sending emotional blackmail messages especially my luxurious mother. I was PISSED and made a resolution. I will not get married because my father wants to use me as “concrete” to cement his long friendship and business bond with Chief Doman. If he was that desperate he could give Dangote a call.
I disappeared again to Obudu.
“Of course you can, dear. I will be out when you come though” she said simply in a laugh. Referring to her house as a magical castle always got her laughing.
“Aww, I was hoping for riding lessons” I cooed.
“Chidi will help you with that” she teased.
“Noooo way!!! Hahahaha!” I laughed.
I went for a week, then two weeks, then a month and on my next visit, Didi gave me a job-managing her estates. I had become a dear friend and trusted guardian. I relocated to Calabar.
Dad contacted Dangote for his “cement”. I.D got married to a long childhood friend of his. My magical castle gave me new life.
Walking into the imposing library, I felt her presence and for a moment saw her already seated in her favorite chair with a book. How she loved the books. We would read and compare writers. Criticize some ideologies and vehemently defend others. We sure got a kick out of some hilarious piece and we evaluated ourselves. I came to know she had a sharp sense of identifying business opportunities and how best to harness resources. She had an eye for the deep. I on the other hand……well what can I say?
You are reading this, aren’t you?
I moved around the library, tears stinging my eyes as her thoughts washed through me, the pictures, the memories, the laughter and the tricks. The tears rushed down my eyes. I could still not come to terms that she was gone.
“Don’t cry when you miss a person, write the feelings down” she used to say. The thought got me walking to her room for her big dairies. I often wondered why she carried it always.
“One day, you are going to write about me, this will help you” That was something she always said when she was holding a pen and was scribbling. I knew what I had to do.
I found the neatly labelled trolley in her wardrobe. It was locked and partly dusty. I tried her birthday numbers and it opened effortlessly to reveal stacks of suede covered diaries. This could take a whole day I thought. I was mistaken.
Opening the first page, I could not believe the first sentence that greeted my wet eyes.
I quickly closed the diary and took a deep breath. It was dated 27th November, 2008. I should have put those journals back but like Eve I had to eat the apple, this time without the serpent urging me on.
I opened it once more. It was not long before I knew that these were her Memoirs.
And she had left them for me.
THE GOLD DIGGER
¶My name is Didi Trap and I am a certified gold digger. I remember introducing myself to my first Mine as that. Of course he laughed heartily and found me extremely interesting. He did not smile that much when I called from the Bahamas telling him it was over and that his old cream-enhanced mother was right about me all along. The part about his mother got me a name I would rather not share with anyone. Ever!
In Ebi’s case, it was a long distance call from Andros Island and in all fairness; I told him who I was. He should have laughed less and be more cautious. Of course I kept the “keep-your-filthy-hands-off-my-son” pay-off money from his mother. Don’t blame me; she did what she had to do. I was just as happy to negotiate higher fees and oblige her.
“So you are the new thing my son pants after now” It was Ebi’s mother in her plush all-glass office in the penthouse of one of the exquisite City malls in the Capital city. Her secretary had called to inform me of Mrs Igwe’s urgent need to see me in her office. I came in after twenty-four hours.
She was pissed. Speaking with an acid tone, Mrs Igwe was known in the crème de la crème circles as the stalwart of her family and as such, ruled with an iron fist. Obviously, her human-fist had long being cut off!
“I do not know about Ebi panting after me, but yes Ma’am, we are a couple” I said with an unflinching stare while bubbling with laughter. If all worked according to plan, the buy-out offer should be coming soon. After series of subtle messages at family dinners and lunches, Mrs Igwe was about to let me have it in the open. I could see her itching to close my chapter-so was I. I had sweat leaking from my pores but thanks to the chilling air conditioner and black tweed jacket, I stayed aloof.
This irritated her and she measured me with her ‘eye-scale’ as I sat with my practiced bland innocent look. What if she didn’t buy me out, I thought momentarily? I needed the money so bad I had considered kidnaping him but the logistics wasn’t reasonable. I had my heart beating so hard and loud that I consciously held my breath at intervals to even out the rhythm.
“Oh really? She is so sure they are a couple” she said sarcastically with a smirk after a while. She took another moment to look at me, gently spun on her chair and blurted out.
The buy-offer. I looked on as if without a clue. I was an actress.
“How much do you want?” she barked again, eyes piercing through my soul.
“How much for what?” Still genuinely astonished on her choice of words. I had played this scene more than a thousand times in my head but never did I imagine how I’d react if the question was ever put forward.
“How much do I pay you to get your tiny claws off my son?” she asked calling her secretary to bring her cheque book. It was too good to be true. NollyWood gets the script right sometimes, I thought as I watched the scene play out before me. This was a good movie and I played Genevieve Nnaji.
“With all due respect Ma’am, Ebi and I have something good going for us right now. Why don’t you just give me a chance to prove that I am good for him? I understand your concerns to an extent but he is man enough to choose who he wants to be with” I said eloquently. That, I had rehearsed.
“You do not tell me about Ebi being man enough or you being good enough for my son” she stressed, waving her delicately long red painted nails in the air.
“I know your ilk and I know what you want” she continued. She snatched her cheque from Salome, the timid secretary and took to writing.
It took few seconds and the sound of tearing cheque leaf filled the office.
“Here, that is ten million naira. Break whatever flimsy bond you have with Ebi or you will be sorry you ever crossed his path” she said already dismissing me. Just like that, I was ten million naira richer.
“I cannot take this Ma’am. Ebi will be disappointed in me. Moreover, Ebi is very persistent and he will look for me everywhere. I do not think I have the willpower to say no to him. I love him and will agree to whatever means of forcing your hand that he devises: either eloping or putting me in the family way. I also know what you are capable of and will never dream of crossing you. I need to leave the country till he gets me off his mind or gets married to the woman you want for him” I said sensibly with a helpless look that bordered on self-pity, sacrifice and heroism.
She took several steady looks at me, the woman sitting across the large mahogany desk, before she opened another cheque and wrote out, what in my books, was a whooping sum. It was heavy and that was my seed money. I was on my way out of Nigeria in 24hours, Ebi’s chapter was closed and I wished the future daughter-in-law good luck. Wasn’t he heartbroken, you ask? He got married in less than two months. I heard the news on T.V.
You do the maths.
¶My “Mines” are a certain stereotype. Male, Rich and Handsome preferably between Thirty to Forty years of age and must be Mama’s boys. Weaned ones are just more technical and ‘wise’. You would have to apply creativity and skills to get fair loot.
I did not care much for my Mine’s character or beliefs in the early days until I got a scar on my collar bone and my favorite picture was pinned to his wardrobe with cowries. Updated my preference list afterward and took off.
Well, I kept the pre-expedition loots.
A little religion won’t hurt anybody……especially me. And oh! Once I dug in a younger Mine, he wasn’t strong enough to support the carved walls. It took an intervention to get him off my space.
I got him a wife.
Don’t ask me how I did it. It was sheer genius and I am now a godmother.
Would love to give a fancy background gist but that would do nothing than to increase the myth that women from certain parts of the country are either good in the bedroom, chefs or ‘virtuous’.
It has been six months since my last expedition and I needed a new Mine. I found him soon enough.
I knew he was the one the moment I saw him on Moments with Mo for the first time as I flipped through channels. I went to work. After two months of careful research and contacts, I was ready.
It started by taking a glance longer, maybe four seconds longer. He knew he was being watched. He looked back and caught my bright eyes. Thanks to either good genes or lots of pure palm oil from the eastern part of the country.
With the lighting in the bar illuminating my long-practiced ace smile and skillfully applied red Revlon on my full heart-shaped lips, I waited to catch his eyes again. This time, he smiled back. I gave a wink and he gave one back. I shook my head with a triumphant deep chuckle as he looked at me steadily over his glass with a seductive smile, took the last sip of my glass and got up from the bar stool. I walked out into the cool night air throwing my hands up in the air.
The ball was set in motion.
It was two weeks before I took an early drive to the Cubana again. It was a Friday and I needed the time out. Moreover, my little bird Tony told me he had been coming for drinks every day. I was ready to meet Akhmed Danjuma Bricks; the sole heir to the Bricks Group of companies which had an accumulation so huge it could purchase a country. With eyes so intense and playful dancing smile, he oozed an aura of one who was ready to play games from his pictures plastered across magazines and personal website. I was playing to win but losing was an option I was willing and ready to take as at the time.
Having an enviable wealthy ancestral history, he sat top on the board of companies and was named the richest and youngest entrepreneur in Africa because of projects across Nigeria and West African countries. His net worth gave me the shivers and ideas.
Thanks to the new issue of The Entrepreneur of which I am devoted subscriber, I had updates on targets and research materials. Surprisingly, he was free of encumbrances.
He was single, handsome and of an extremely impressive pedigree. At Thirty-Four, he had used old money to build his empire of oil and gas, real estate, luxurious cars and jewelries.
He had just signed a 500 million dollar REITS deal for the development of African’s largest green city proposed to be world’s largest man-made city. That was why he was on Moments with Mo.
Smiling at Tony as I picked my favorite lonely corner, he brought a bottle of Massimo, glasses and ice minutes later.
“On the house” he smiled sweetly as he took a seat and opened the bottle.
“Thanks Love” I took a quick look at my phone.
“Busy day?” he asked pouring a glass.
“Yeah, need this and a cold bath” I replied as I took a mouthful of my glass content with dancing ice.
“So DJ comes around every night for few minutes at 8pm. Sup with the lookout Di?” Tony asked referring to Akhmed. I had called him the night after casting the net to check on the ‘catch’.
“I’d like to meet him. He seems like an interesting one” I said as I replied a message Uche dropped earlier about what my plans were for the weekend.
“Of course he qualifies”. Rolling his eyes, he took a gulp reclining on his seat. Looking at him, I knew he was miffed.
“Yes he does”. I looked at him.
“So, you are taking him on?” he asked with an insinuating smile. That was Tony; he didn’t dwell on disappointments that long. Always knew he had a little pay check coming at settlement.
“He is taking me on” I said with a wink.
“Tony!” it was a face I had seen at the bar waving at him from the rear. A friend of Tony’s I presumed.
“I have been called” he said signalling the man with the voice that he was coming. Giving me a light peck, he was gone.
Humans kept taking seats and ordering drinks as the night steadily progressed. Massimo poured slowly. I was waiting for my new ‘catch’. Beautiful women and nicely dressed ladies flooded the bar with well-dressed gentlemen as trophies. One or two Miss-independents were sighted. It was fun deciding who was here to dig gold or simply to enjoy the evening. It was few minutes to 8.00pm before he entered the bar. I knew because the atmosphere had a different calm.
A quick scan told me he was alone and simply dressed for a quick check up. I smiled to myself. Tony was right about him showing up consistently this past weeks. His eyes fell on me seconds later. A straight look then a smile followed. Returning the smile, I went back to messaging Uche. She loved the stories but was too lily-livered to try digging gold. She was waiting for true love.
“So he just walked in” I typed lazily smiling to myself. I slowly became apprehensive doubting if he would come over.
“Hehe……he don bite the hook. Carry go” she replied almost immediately.
Uche knew of the expeditions and she found it amusing that I dug Mines professionally when I had a good real estate firm set up. The corporate life wasn’t interesting.
“I hope so”. I took another sip and hit the send button.
“He has jor, if not him for no come see weda you dey dia na” Uche said with so much Warri confidence in pidgin. I had to chuckle.
“Abi, I hope say you correct o” I replied in pidgin.
“Of course I am” another beep. On cue I raised my eyes to see him standing over me. Damn, the man was fine. Uche’s wise words of quitting gold digging didn’t make an iota of sense and momentarily wondered why I even considered it the last time we put the topic up for discussion.
Akhmed had that effect. He had it. He brought it.
“So, you made it” he said as he took the seat that Tony had left vacant an hour ago; sitting casually as an old friend would.
“And we are not alone” he observed noticing Tony’s empty glass.
“Good evening to you too” I said pleasantly. I blessed my mother for the good genes. With little practice and mannerism I am constantly told mesmerizes, he was drawn to me as moth to flames. He took a minute to take me in before speaking again.
“What do you do?” he asked making a conversation. Few heads turned to look at us. I was able to point out few infuriated gold diggers. Dem Babes no happy at all.
“Real Estate” I replied offhandedly looking at my glass and taking a look at my phone.
“That’s vague” he said with a raised eyebrow. He looked cute with his pink lips moist surrounded by a clean chin. He was not a beards man.
“Your question does not specify” a reply to which he chuckled taking another minute to stare rudely. The eye dance? I invented it.
Finally after long minutes of silence and intense eye match, he laughed out loud. It sounded controlled and endearing.
“Are you going to have a drink?” I asked with a genuine smile dancing on my lips.
“No. I have a proposition for you” he sounded serious all of a sudden. Obviously he had the ‘monologue’ too.
“Sounds like business” I said totally relaxed and unruffled.
“Business unusual more like” he said with his well-manicured hands slipping me a card from gold-plate cardholder.
“Here, I’d love to discuss this in my office Monday morning. 9am would be good?” He said handing me what looked like his business card. I leaned forward to collect it and almost immediately, his phone rang.
“Sam, I said I will be with you in ten minutes” and he was off.
“We have a meeting?” he asked eyes begging me to say yes. He did not have to.
“We sure do, Mr Bricks” I said with eyes roaming his card and back on his face with a smile thanking my good fortune. It was much easy when the Mine takes the first step. I was going to see that there was an exception to the rule.
“Thank you. It is a great honor to meet with you…” He waited for my name while extending a hand.
“Didi” I completed returning the shake
“Thank you for your consideration” to which he nodded and was gone in an instant. Eyes followed him out and I saw the desperate eyes follow him out. 10:16pm found me parking my black Mustang V6 outside my three bedroom apartment with Boys quarters that I have never seen the inside at Plot 77, Idris Fatokun Crescent, Maitama. You guessed right. A spoil from expedition. The love for ugly American cars was the beginning of my collections. I only had one occupant and it was Tessy, my Terrier for five years. She was so white and cute.
Opening the door to an excited Tessy made most of my days. I picked her up as soon as I entered the quiet house and walked to the Thermocool refrigerator I bought out of sheer advert pressure to get her favorite drink of cold milk and nuts. I slept hours later on the pages of The Entrepreneur.
¶The continuous rhythmic phone buzz told me it was Uche. She always called before my alarm had the honor of waking me up. It was Monday already and I was on my bed at 7am. I opened my eyes to Tessy rigorously wagging and fanning me with her white bushy tail. I pulled her close and she snuggled up to me with head first demanding a hair ruffle. I did and gave her a peck. She seemed contented as she ran off the bed toward the kitchen.
“I’m coming” I shouted after her. I took a moment to quietly stare at my image in the mirror I had fixed in the ceiling. I felt the phone vibrate again and I ignored it.
Mouthed a thank you to the universe and stood up to get the back door opened for her before she ran back. I should have that door cut to accommodate her ins and outs I thought but then Adamu the gateman was NOT a fan of keeping track of Tessy and getting rid of her droppings. The image of his squeezed Fulani face with tribal marks muttering Kanuri under his breath got me chuckling. Adamu hated dogs!
The screaming doorbell told me Uche was at my door. That girl never gives up. Tessy finished emptying her bowels and stood by her pink customized plate for her breakfast. I went to open the door and used the peep hole. Her eyeballs blocked the peep hole.
“Open this door! You sleeper!” Uche pounded the door.
“Hahaha! You no dey sleep for house?” I laughed as I opened the door to an already dressed Uche.
“I sent you messages since last night and have been calling you. Wia you kip your landline?” she retorted as Tessy ran up to her to be picked. Uche and Tessy, they were a pair. Scooping her, Tessy nuzzled as we went to my room.
“Landline dey bedside. You know I hate Mondays” getting the ‘landline’ as she called my phone.
“You hate all workdays. You have a meeting by 9am remember?” she said rolling her beautifully lined eyes and giving me the mouth.
“Yes I do. I don’t feel like it” I said playfully with a child’s face.
“You no serious sef. You are going to the office sha” she asked rhetorically.
“Nopes. Indoor today. I will reschedule the meeting with Akhmed and call Tunde to facilitate the legal search process for some of the properties. Buying without checking and valuing no wise especially with all this 419ners wey dey parade town” I said in pidgin as we walked to my spacy kitchen to get Tessy her food and have Uche browse through the pile of food and then decide on berries. She always starved herself to lose weight. I knew what exactly makes her lose weight-heartbreak.
Telling her that would get me the finger and it was a sore topic we both avoided like a plaque. She just had the unforgiveable knack for picking the Sons of B*****.
“Player Player, You are good” she said picking the bowl of berries true to my prediction.
“You should have a full breakfast with lots of protein. You won’t feel hungry throughout the day” I could not resist. She looked good and losing weight did not make sense to me. She gave me the ‘eye’ and I dropped it.
“So work in 30minutes?” I said as I dropped a filled plate of Nutro. Tessy dived in as if I had her starved for weeks. Glad she wasn’t watching her weight like mine truly.
“Yes”. Berries were being crush under her heavy jaw as she walked aimlessly round the kitchen. Uche worked with a bank she loathed but never had the nerve to quit. Every time she prepared a resignation letter, the next day came an increase in salary, a bonus or the boss was just nice. The letter never makes it to Human Resource.
I felt like having a large breakfast but found myself taking out my packed special recipe of peppery carrot sauce comprising of carrots, peas, green beans, pepper, tomatoes, cabbage, smoked titus, beef and diced piece of kpomó to microwave. Yes, I eat before brushing. Sue me.
“Temptress” it was Uche coming around the plate I got ready for warming.
“You are getting late o” I reminded her licking the spoon and running tap water over it.
“You have not rescheduled too”. She challenged still mashing the berries.
“Let me do that now sef”. Got my phone, his card and sent a message.
‘Please I would like to reschedule meeting to Tuesday,
An unforeseen circumstance.
“So we settled for tomorrow?” it was Uche heading out. Tessy followed.
“I hope so” I said with a roll of the eyes.
“You eh! Choi! Have a good day Boss” she said playfully as we hugged.
“I no like work abeg. That’s why I get extra office for my house” I said with a wave and dashed back to my steaming breakfast before going back to bed hours later.
‘Hope you do not reschedule tomorrow.
We need to talk.
¶8:45am on Tuesday found me seated in an all glass and steel cold reception. The mixture of tinted glass and sliver-plated steel was breath-taking as it was intimidating. The receptionist kept glancing at me as if she had the premonition that I was soon running out and never coming back. I smiled politely at her every glance to which she returned one of hers pleasantly with a nod.
“Good Morning, I’d like to see Mr. Bricks please?” I had said earlier in a turquoise colored cotton jacket with an olive green chiffon camisole that did little to conceal the slight jiggle of my ample bosom at every step accessorized with a long knitted black muffler and a pair of straight black pant that accentuated the curves I was blessed with on killer heels.
“Name please?” she asked eyes on my earrings.
“Didi Trap” her ears shot up and she looked up sharply to the unusual name. I always got that reaction.
“One minute please” clicks later, I was told to wait.
Taking out “Losing my Virginity” by Richard Brandson had Akhmed coming out of an office with a calm demeanour that looked like relief mixed with self-assuredness.
“Good Morning Didi” he said with a firm handshake. I stood to receive it.
“Good Morning” all beaming with smiles my lips parted to reveal my improved white teeth.
“Please, this way” he said taking the lead.
The imposing atmosphere in his office had me wondering if there were secret cameras. The use of glass and steel had extended to the inner office with an interior décor that had Blue Mahogany written all over it. The cold room could preserve a ‘mummy’ and had me wishing I wore heavier cotton.
“So, you made it” he said taking a single settee with a gesture to seat anywhere I liked. The ante-space was conservatively decorated with black leathery settees and simple touches of white square throw pillows facing an all glass wall overlooking the city center. An impressive view. The framed pictures of the Bricks ancestors in the “family tree-format” and great art pieces adorned the walls at angles while his daunting yet impressive work desk made of polished black wood sat heavily few meters away. The space was approximately 250 square meters without adjoining rooms I unconsciously calculated.
The secretary came in with a tray. Tea and business talks. Just great.
“Tea?” he gestured as she poured in a hot cup without asking what I wanted. Presumptuous I’d say.
“Please” I produced a forced smile. She returned one of her.
I shared a smile with myself as I caught his eyes looking at me as I considered the possibility of a drugged tea.
“So, what can I do for you, Akhmed?” I asked minutes later after the secretary was out and we both had taken a sip of the steamy black brew almost simultaneously.
“I need you to marry my Father” he said with all the seriousness in the world that had my eyes popping out of my socket.
Thank God I had swallowed the tea. I dropped the tea cup as fast as I could and had my lips curving for a startling laugh.
“What?! He needs a wife and cannot get one for himself?” I asked laughing and shaking my head at the absurd request. I had no idea who his father was. It was a dent in the plan. Wetin I no go hear for this business I thought. Bad market as my people would say.
“I mean it. Will you marry him for 100 million Naira?” he reiterated.
I considered marriage for the first time in my adult life. I had vowed never to get married but for that much money? I considered it.
My resolve staggered.
“I can do anything for 100 million Naira but not marriage” I said matching his tone evenly. I needed to follow the conversation with negotiation skills.
“So you can kill?” he asked with a tone that told me he was going in for a kill but masked his face with a forced smile and the premonition that the game was taking a totally different course got me sitting up.
“Certainly I do not look like a killer, do I?” I asked raising a questioning brow.
“Never in the looks Didi dear” he supplied in a condescending manner.
“What exactly is this meeting about Mr. Bricks” I asked suddenly losing my patience.
“I need a bride for my father. You are perfect” he stated as a matter of fact and stared right into my unblinking eyes.
“And you know this because?”
“Because you are a gold digger” he completed quite distastefully with a satisfying smile as he visibly relaxed on the settee and took another sip. The steam was fast escaping.
The cold stare as I centered on his dark brown pupils had him satisfied. He knew who I was and I thought of two options: deny and walk out without looking back and end the expedition even before it started or find out how he came about that information. I choose the latter.
“And you know this because?” I asked totally confident.
“Let’s say I have reliable sources and enough evidence” he relaxed visibly on the settee.
“Indeed” I scoffed crossing my long legs and taking a mouthful. All plans for getting him interested in me for an expedition had evaporated at the mention of the word marriage but I was drawn to finding out exactly what he knew.
Chuckling, he dropped his tea cup and sat up straight.
“This is a business proposition. Knowing your potential business partner is paramount” he said standing up and taking few aimless steps in his large office like a caged animal.
“I appreciate the offer but your reliable sources should have told you I don’t dig in Mines with a ring” I said sarcastically confirming the title and then stood up. The discussion was over.
“Sure. That was under the Drawback Section. However, I figured with the right incentive, it wouldn’t matter much unless they gave you more credit than you deserved” he said trying humor. I wasn’t buying it.
I needed negotiations not insinuations.
“Let me get this straight. You do not get married to old men or you don’t have plans of enrolling in the institution ever?” he asked squarely and looked somewhat genuinely interested in what my answer would be.
“I don’t think marriage should be given the priority that it is accorded and I certainly don’t want to be pressganged into an institution created to subject women into informed slavery” I said with bitterness.
“Issues from the home front” he concluded. He was right.
I felt the first vulnerability. Surely he didn’t dig into the family grave. Did he? I was cautious now. My mother was the slave who served her master-my father under hardship, abuse and ridicule. She died by his hands still apologizing for his mistakes and letting me know that love conquers and forgives all. If she was on any other bed except her deathbed, I would have told her she was spewing rubbish.
It sure conquered her destiny. Don’t know about forgiveness though, he was buried under the weight of reinforced concrete slab few days later on the building site he confiscated from my mother.
A good pay back I’d say. Did I have anything to do with it? Heaven has all the records.
Father made it clear that men were the appointed guardian of the world but he clearly missed the session on the role of the man in leadership, love and responsibility in marriage and destiny. Sounds like a tag line for a seminar. I, Didi Trap understand by books.
“Let me guess, Background Study Section” I said sarcastically referring to his investigative reports to which he chuckled surprisingly.
“I see you don’t get ruffled easily” he said almost in what sounded like an admiring tone. I simply smiled back.
“200 million Naira” he said after a while.
Something told me I wasn’t just going to marry his father and the chills I got after the thought had me doubting my ability for the first time in years.
“No thanks. Find someone else” I was already on my feet. He stood up for a shake and saw me to the door.
The next words would change my life forever.
“I know you killed your father” he said darkly into my ears as he made to open the door. That stopped me dead in my tracks. The air froze and only the loud grand wall clock made the only audible sound in the quiet room.
What was that I said about heaven having all the records? Heaven on Earth wasn’t just a religious brouhaha after all.
I took a moment to take a deep breath and steady my emotions before turning back with a devilish grin that meant more than the statement I made next.
“No, you do not” and I was gone. Akhmed wasn’t a goldmine. He was nemesis.
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