M.O.T.I.V.E.S Episode 5 – @UnenAmeji

Featured

10 days to public holiday! Swearing in a new government or not, a break is always welcomed.

And yes, we have got Episode 5 of M.O.T.I.V.E.S By @UnenAmeji

Read all Previous Episodes Here

Episode 5
*****

“The new faction, Al Sahaba al-Islami, the terrorist group has taken responsibility for the bomb blast that took the lives of 105 people, leaving 126 people critically injured. It has been confirmed that Mr. Tamiyu Samson, Minister of Information representing the President, ex-leaders and President Abdulrasak Abubakar, Gana Itunu Konamu and Shola Ige Adebowale are among the dead while businessman Wole Jim, Governor Tashimu Kolo and Reuben Yakubu are in critical condition. Minister of Power and Transport, Hauwa Babale and Abdulahi A. Abdulahi are said to be recovering in the National hospital. This tragedy has been firmly condemned by the presidency in the strongest of terms and the President has vowed to bring this deadly group to their knees. The new group said that their action was in line with their earlier message to the Government. In a video released last month, they had demanded that the Government change the constitution of the Federal Republic to recognize the Sharia law which in effect means the country becomes an Islamic State. They had threatened the execution of statesmen in and out of office should the Government pay no heed. The mastermind, Aminu Hussein Waziri is on the run but other members of the deadly gang are now in custody of the state security service. Investigations are ongoing and the special adviser to the President on security, Ramsey Igoh has assured Nigerians of the commitment of the administration to ensure security of lives and properties. ‘These attacks will be stopped and these killers will not escape justice’ he is quoted to have said at the briefing with security chiefs. Meanwhile, the Federal Government has begun compensation of living relatives of the victims. Analysts say this new faction is politically-oriented and controlled by organized body with ties to International terrorist group, ISAS. However, this has not been confirmed by the State Department of Security. My name is Gbenga Ololade, reporting for NNTA” the articulate reporter rounded up his report as Charity who sat at her desk in her lingerie took her remote control to reduce the volume of the television.
It has been three weeks since the incidence and two weeks after the last email from her client Naomi telling her to forestall actions as against earlier instruction. It has also been two weeks of constant chat and teasing. It started as a joke after he called to report that there had been a bomb blast and his intention to forget about getting the inheritance money he humorously referred to as JRS – Jumbo Retirement Savings. The intrusive WhatsApp messages followed after and then it turned erotic until she had stopped it and refused picking Victor’s insistent calls. He had sent couple of messages after to reinforce his decision to forgo the JRS and Charity understood his fear but he was not in the position to determine if he wanted it or not. Naomi had her by the balls and there was no escaping the soft spoken blackmailer. She simply couldn’t afford to lose her grandmother who was in the custody of the woman.
Mama J, as she fondly called her grandmother, had been diagnosed with acute case of renal tubular acidosis. Late detection had caused her kidney to fail and the expensive weekly dialysis took all of Charity’s savings. She began borrowing funds from her friends and almost gave up hope before the call came.
The job was simple – sort out inheritance issues. It was the ideal standard request Charity got every other day but this time, the fee was suspiciously too good to be true but she needed the money and she believed in a miraculous God. The money however wasn’t enough to cover the new cost of keeping her Mama J alive. Naomi offered to take Mama J to India for the surgery, all-expense paid. How Naomi knew about her ailing grandmother did not occur to Charity at the time for Charity would have sold her dignity to see her Mama J smile one more day; and was grateful for yet another wondrous act of God. It wasn’t until Mama J reached India before the job description was given. She was to go against the big icon, Badmus Bello. A firm of one? she had asked herself.
This was a feat that she knew was above her competence and told Naomi there was no way she could deliver. Naomi, after successful transplant, took Mama J from the hospital to a location that was kept away from her. It was old school kidnap, only Mama J didn’t know she was kidnapped or in danger. She was alive but in captivity. Another heartache for Charity.
“This was not the deal” she complained after she was told she could only talk to her grandmother once a day when an unknown number would call her.
“You should focus on getting the job done. Your grandmother is in good hands” the soft spoken blackmailer had stated firmly but calmly.
Mama J, 59, was indeed doing fine. She sounded excited all the time now, recounting stories of places she had been, continuously praising her caretakers and asking for a visit from her dear Charity. At the end of every call, Charity’s heart broke and she cried for the position she found herself. There was only one option, give Naomi what she wanted. So no, it was not in Victor’s place to accept or reject his inheritance. Her grandmother’s life was at stake and nothing was going to stop her from getting her back.
Just then her phone rang.
“Hello” she said into the phone with a small smile. It was her latest admirer, as he called himself.
“It is Victor” he announced almost in a growl.
“I know” she smiled imagining the look on his face, his thick brows in knots, eyes piercing and lips tight in annoyance. She had watched as her gate-man turned him back few days ago but she knew she couldn’t afford to let her feelings get in the way. She was thinking too much about him lately and that was not good for the focus his blackmailing mother asked her to have. Why would she even consider a younger man whose father murdered hers and whose mother was blackmailing her and holding her grandmother hostage? She needed an intervention.
“I suppose you have been busy” he said looking at his reflection in the wooden mirror hanging askew on his wall and rubbing his beard that needed shaving. He wanted to hear her voice, wanted to argue with her, watch her sharp mouth curve in a sardonic smile and her eyes light up with amusement. He was way too interested in her and he wondered why he found her attractive. His dead iconic father had killed hers, there was no way she would be interested in him.
“Yes, I have” she lied, she had been sitting around waiting for an email from his mother.
“I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be pushing for the inheritance” he said for a lack of what to say. He had called but didn’t expect that she’d pick up. He couldn’t tell her the reason he called was because he simply wanted to hear her voice or see her.
“It is not in your hands” she said tersely, hating herself for the position she found herself.
“What do you mean?” he asked, biting his lower lips in annoyance.
“I mean you don’t have a say in it”
“You do realize that Bello was blown up, even in death. Someone hates him more than you do” he tried a dry joke.
“Trust me, that is not the issue” she said, a sad smile playing on her lips.
“I would like to know what the issue is” he pressed imagining her in her bikini. He really should stop.
“I can’t say at the moment. You should stop by the office if you really want to know. We have to go over a new document from your mother” she lied, biting her tongue at the invite. She shouldn’t be inviting him to her house. She knew what was going to happen and she was going to let it.
“I will be there” he said, smiling before ending the call.
He would make her and his mother understand that he was not interested in stolen money. He wanted nothing to do with the man but wanted everything to do with feeling those legs wrapped around him in ecstasy, those eyes drowsy with need. He smiled deeply, scratched his beard and decided against shaving. A hawker didn’t have time for grooming.
Charity stared at her screen after the call and like timed bomb, the email she had been waiting for all week popped at her. She took a deep breath before opening the new mail from Naomi.
Reading of Will at The Castle, Date – 21st March, 2011. Be there with Udale.
Call 08138911937
it said.
She had been looking to find a way to be at the reading of the Will with Victor, as she preferred to call him, and Naomi had graciously provided a number.
She made the call.
It was 8:20pm.

*****
He stood, watching the doorway like a wild cat alert for his prey. In his ripped faded blue jeans and navy blue sweat shirt, Victor was tensed as he was calm. The nagging need to see her took him by surprise and at 9:45pm, he was standing in her living room. He knew there was no way he was going to sleep one more night without seeing her. He would have her and get her out of his system for good, he kept telling himself. He was not a teenager for God’s sake.
He waited.
Charity stood staring at herself in her bathroom mirror and shook her head at herself for the umpteenth time. She was hopeless. The moment her gate-man told her a Mr. Victor was here to see her, she sped into her shower and took a cold shower. Still, she felt her heart pound against her rib cage.
“For God’s sake! I am a grown woman” she scolded herself, tying her hair into a disheveled bun and dropping it on top of her head. Taking a deep breath, she walked out to the sitting room upstairs where she had told the gate-man to take him.
She walked out just as he imagined. In a bathrobe, her hair in an untidy bun and her eyes dancing with amusement. He also knew she was not wearing underwear. He knew these things.
“Some of us have curfew” she greeted, stopping to watch him stare at her calmly.
“Some of us don’t” he said, a little smile playing around his lips. Charity watched his pink succulent lips twitch and forced her eyes away from him. He looked terribly sexy standing there, his beards overgrown, teased her; his voice filling the room and she could swear she could feel his body warmth where she was standing.
“We will be traveling for the reading of the Will” she said, going over to the installed wall refrigerator where she stored her wine. Her throat suddenly felt dry.
“I won’t be going with you” he said coming around.
“You will” she smiled as she filled two glasses and handed him one.
“I missed you” he said raising a brow after he took the first sip.
“I know” she watched him over the rim of her glass and smiled. Gosh, she felt so stupid and reckless.
“Did you miss me?” he asked as he stepped into her space, collecting her glass and staring at her pale pink lips with longing.
“Tonight we are going to forget you are a client and we are never going to talk about this” she stated calmly while her heart pounded loudly.
“I want nothing more” he said almost in a whisper. She smelt like rose water, pale scent going up his nose.
“We are going to the Castle” she said softly as his hands wound round her waist.
“What are you wearing underneath your robe, little one” he teased, breathing hot air into her ear.
“Nothing. We are going to the reading of the Will” she caught her breath as he tickled her already poking nubs.
“I am not going to the reading of the Will” he countered, moving her slowly to the wall as she moved out of his reach.
“We are” she maintained as she left his arms and walked to the middle of the room; stood in a pose with her right leg raised slightly and began losing her robe. He swallowed painfully, his eyes following her hands, heart beating out of rhythm and his second half growing painfully hard in his trousers.
She took a deep breath to steady herself, running her hands all over her partially exposed body before dropping her robe, standing there in nothing but a golden body chain demarcating her breasts in an provocative manner and an untidy bun on top of her head. He swallowed loudly as he feasted his eyes on her fresh nakedness, the junction of her thighs beckoning, the lazy lightening above giving her a glow.
“Say yes” she said slowly, staring back at him with unabashed longing. He smiled, walking over to her before dropping his head to her lips.
“No” he said in a warm breath, taking her lips in a sweet kiss.
It would be a night they both would remember for a long time.

*****
21st March, 2011 – The Castle – Reading of the Will
Alhaja Kudirat Bello had done nothing but remained in her quarters all week after she had gone to the hospital to see her daughter-in-law, Martha, who was being prepared to be taken out of the country for a surgical operation and to commiserate with the affected staff and families of those who lost persons in the bomb blast that she facilitated. Kole was in hiding, she made sure the police dogs couldn’t get him. Soon, when she assumed office, she would make sure not one uniform personnel would intimidate her last son. Debola had little stitches across his forehead, his assistant – Pastor Tayo had died in the bomb blast and he was visibly shaken.
Kudirat was disgusted with the show of weakness in her first son and wondered how he got that crowd in London to believe in his God that allowed wickedness to triumph. Laide was another thorn that had been left unharmed. Without been told, Kudirat knew Laide was busy with her manservant, Kasimu when people had gone to her father’s burial. She chuckled at the thought – uncontrollable sexual urge saving her nymph of a daughter’s life. Kasimu must have been tired by now but how else could they keep her on the leash? Such a waste. She cared less for the wench that was now helping herself with her teenage adopted sons. Bello had been right to threaten to disinherit her. The little girl indeed thought her hired gun had been the one that killed her father. Such ignorance made her want to laugh.
Kudirat remained elusive and quiet, as a widow should; waiting for the reading of the Will that would make her the President of Funtua Group of Companies in name but much more in dark circles of power. She planned to eliminate the head of the seven-man committee and soon merge with former members of the cabal who were now without leaders. She, Josephine Ohiemi, would be in charge of ruling the country. The most powerful woman in the country. It was her ultimate mission, her life purpose – to head the cabal, to dictate, to determine the fate of the country. The thrill of power was exhilarating. Such power was the reason she existed.
She had everything she wanted but in few hours she would truly own the world. The empire that she had killed and fought for would be hers. She smiled and took a sip of her herbs, adjusting her veil. If only Florence was alive to see her, gave a little triumphant chuckle. As if that was possible.
She waited for the lawyers.
It was 7am.

*****
Victor Dakar, 21st March, 2011 – The Castle – Reading of the Will

The air was fresh, pure and cool yet it was suffocating him. Sitting behind the Lexus RX Hybrid with Charity beside him in a smart grey trouser suit and impeccable red lips. He closed his eyes as they sped past the Security Guards at the main entrance of the Estate to the venue of the reading of the Will. Charity met a group of lawyers the day before and the lawyers in their flashy cars drove ahead of them to the venue. Victor was uncomfortable with the secrecy seemed to be projecting but said nothing to her.
“You will be fine. I am here” Charity said sweetly as they watched from afar the sectioned grounds where the bomb had gone off.
“I would rather be in bed with you” he said without humor, looking into her eyes. He was serious about being in her bed but more serious about having her as his. The memorable night, if anything had made the attraction worse and all he thought about was when he was going to feel her against him. He hated the fact that he gave in to her demand that he come here. He was afraid of what his reaction would be, the reaction of Bello’s wife who he surprisingly had never seen, the legal battle that will follow, his safety, the press…it would be unending mess.
“We both want that” she said and gave him a peck. He smiled as he remembered their night together.
“Not fair” he groaned, giving a deep-throated chuckle.
“Life is not” she said and he nodded as they stared at themselves.
The large office complex sitting firmly on a large square foot was finished in glass walls and Victor remembered the building. It was the first green building project in the region and as a driver newly employed in Bello’s convoy, he had been privileged to be sent with some contractor to the site for evaluation few days before he had been detained for theft of some materials and anonymously bailed out. It was in the past now but what did they say about life as a circle? he asked himself as he got down from the car.
“Are you ok?” Charity asked, swallowing the tension that was threatening to leave her bowels as she joined him.
“Yes” he smiled confidently. She smiled and walked past him to the team from the firm handling the reading of the Will. How Naomi knew them was none of her business. It made her job easier.
The elderly man with impressive white hair stepped down from his car and walked past the team of his attorney into the building. Charity was tempted to go introduce herself to the legend Jimi Brown but she decided against and together with his team, entered the imposing structure.
She was ready as she could be.

*****
Josephine knew the exact moment the lawyers arrived and had called her driver to come around the entrance. She stood up from the black sofa in her waiting room to go to the office complex where she had fixed as venue for the reading of the Will. It felt right to seat on Bello’s chair as she took power.
“Good morning Ma, the lawyers are here” it was Bello’s personal assistant Sakinat, the little cheater Bello had been running around with. She would deal with her in due course, she thought with light-hearted malice.
“Is Debola there?” she asked, emptying the content of her small mug.
“Yes Ma, everyone is seated and waiting for you” she said simply, not mentioning the new faces that had been admitted into the boardroom.
“I will be there shortly” she said coolly, dismissing the flat-chested girl.
Josephine had since been in touch with Dele Adewole who confirmed that the Will that he was going to read was the one Badmus had made over a decade ago where he named her his sole heir.
Dele who escaped the bomb blast told newsmen who cared to listen that the only thing that saved his life was a phone call, an emergency at work that needed his attention and that staying behind in the executive mansion for few minutes to sort out the issue was the reason he had not been blown into pieces like some of his colleagues that had come to pay their final respect.
That wasn’t the truth. The truth was that Josephine had asked him to wait for her in Bello’s office but she had no intention of meeting him there. She had done that to save his life because she needed him to read the Will. She could only imagine what he thought would happen in Bello’s office. The first and last romp was to make sure he stayed a loyal dog. And so far, he was.

She arrived at the glass house, past the reception and walked majestically into the boardroom, barely glancing at the array of suited men at the table. The atmosphere was charged with expectation and she could feel it. She turned in time to see a man in black suit jacket and blue jeans stare blatantly at her with contempt. He looked like someone she knew from another life. The resemblance had her brain scrambling for recognition. She watched him and he looked like he was about to say something when Jimi Brown, Adewole’s partner came in her line of vision. She would ask the young man of his father when the reading of the Will was over, she thought. He looked vaguely familiar and in her line of business must have met his father.
“Where is Adewole?” she asked as she shook him, taking her seat.
“I am afraid Adewole had to go to London on an indictment charge” Jimi said with a small smile, walking over to the other end of the room to take his seat. Josephine had never really liked Jimi because of his upright stance and white hair that he thought was a mark of excellence and distinction.
The week before, offline and online media had been flooded with the news of bomb blast with various editors and column writers giving their views and analyzing polls supporting the act of terrorism against the executive arm of the Government. Opinions were that the new faction group was doing the country a favor by wiping out corrupt politicians. She couldn’t agree more. This week however, the front page featured the reading of Chief Badmus Bello’s Will. Josephine couldn’t wait to have her pictures splashed across newspapers, magazine and interviews.
Seating at the head of the dark brown mahogany conference table with a seating capacity of thirty people with Debola, Laide, Feyi – Bello’s sister, Sule – Bello’s step brother, the attorneys and two strangers she believed where necessary to capture this historic moment sat, she signaled that Jimi commence the read.
“I will be presiding over the reading of the Will” Jimi said quite loud for the occupants of the cold room to hear as he sat at the other end of the table with a speaker placed in his front.
The room was silent, belying the tension in the room. Sweat was pouring under Debola’s armpits, Laide sat with her legs crossed; the excitement in the building would be transferred to her manservant; Feyi, Badmus’s sister and thorn in Josephine’s side sat expecting a showdown and Sule, Bello’s step-brother sat uninterested. He was here because he wanted to be. He had his own empire to run.
“I would like to tell all in this room that this document is the last will and testament of Chief Badmus Bello. He has chosen us as the executioners. We will proceed if there are no objections” he continued, looking around the faces as the Will, sealed was brought out from a briefcase. He waved the document to show that the sealed was not broken.
“Go ahead” Sule waved quickly.
“Alright” Jimi said
“This is the last dying will of Chief Badmus Bello. I read” the lawyer said and began to read.
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Of
Chief Badmus Bello, FSV, OON

1. Declaration
I hereby declare that this is my last will and testament and that I hereby revoke, cancel and annul all wills and codicils previously made by me either jointly or severally. I declare that I am of legal age to make this will and of sound mind and that this last will and testament expresses my wishes without undue influence or duress.
2. Family Details
I am married to Alhaja Kudirat Sadika Bello hereinafter referred to as my spouse.
I have the following children from her:
Name: Adebola Olusegun Bello. Date of Birth 17th June, 1983
Name: Laide Yejide Bello. Date of Birth 30th March, 1984
Name: Kolawole Bankole Bello. Date of Birth 2nd June, 1986
However, these people have ceased to be my family as I have since known that my wife of 29 years have been unfaithful and heartlessly imposed her lover’s children on me. Her lover, George Ajero, is their father and I have supporting documents to this claim.
I state here that I have a son with Florence Ohiemi.
Name: Inale Ohiemi-Bello. Date of Birth 1st September, 1982. He is the only son I have.
3. Appointment of Executors
3.1. I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint Adewole & Jimi, Attorneys at Law as Executor or if this Executor is unable or unwilling to serve then I appoint Florence Ohiemi as alternate Executor.
3.2. I hereby give and grant the Executor all powers and authority as are required or allowed in law, and especially that of assumption.
3.3. I hereby direct that my Executors shall not be required to furnish security and shall serve without any bond.
3.4. Pending the distribution of my estate my Executors shall have authority to carry on any business, venture or partnership in which I may have any interest at the time of my death.
3.5. My Executors shall have full and absolute power in his/her discretion to insure, repair, improve or to sell all or any assets of my estate, whether by public auction or private sale and shall be entitled to let any property in my estate on such terms and conditions as will be in the best interest of my beneficiaries.
3.6. My Executors shall have authority to borrow money for any purpose connected with the liquidation and administration of my estate and to that end may encumber any of the assets of my estate.
3.7. My Executors shall have authority to engage the services of attorneys, accountants and other advisors as he/she may deem necessary to assist with the execution of this last will and testament and to pay reasonable compensation for their services from my estate.
4. Beneficiary
I bequeath the whole of my estate, property and effects, whether movable or immovable, wheresoever situated and of whatsoever nature to my son, my blood, Inale Ohiemi-Bello
5. Alternate Beneficiaries
5.1. Should my spouse, Alhaja Kadirat Sadika Bello disagree, I direct that her three children be subjected to paternity test in full glare of the media and results published in the National Daily. I have provided my DNA at The Trinity Hospital, Ikoyi and Dr. John Gagbena is commissioned to carry out the test.
5.3. I direct that the inheritance devolving upon any of her children under my last will and testament as well as the proceeds, the reinvestment of such proceeds and the income thereon be ignored.
5.4. If any of her children are proved to be indebted to me before my death by means of a legal instrument, then his / her debt shall not be paid from my estate.
5.5. I direct that my adopted grandsons be placed on monthly allowance of $1000 until their 25th birthday and actions be taken against their mother should she be unwilling to let them go as I have constantly instructed.
5.6. I direct that the 10 hectares of farmland in Kuje, Abuja be given to my step-sister Feyi Bello.
5.7. If my spouse and her children cannot reach agreement or publish paternity tests within one year of this will coming into effect, the Executor shall transfer the whole of my estate, property and effects, whether movable or immovable, wheresoever situated and of whatsoever nature to my son, Inale Ohiemi-Bello.
6. Special Requests
I direct that on my death my remains shall be buried at my Mausoleum located at my estate, The Castle, Ondo State and all funeral expenses shall be paid out of my estate.
7. General
7.2. Should any provision of this will be judged by an appropriate court of law as invalid it shall be subject to provision of proved paternity of spouse children.
Signed on this 10th day of February, 2011 at headquarters of Adewole & Jimi, Attorneys at Law, Lagos in the presence of the undersigned witnesses.
SIGNED: Chief Badmus Bello, FSV, OON

The quiet room erupted into a high pitched laugh and Victor, who held his breath throughout the reading turned to look at the source of the sound. It was Laide. The man who looked like a known pastor sat with a stunned look and suddenly Charity looked like a car ran over her, her eyes going from the girl laughing and the stunned pastor. The only person in the room who was unaffected was his mother, who sat poised with a small smile on her lips. Was this how she wanted to compensate him? His mother was Bello’s wife? Why did she send him away all those years? To cheat on her husband to have more children? Why would she cast him away and raise another man’s children in his father’s house? Did she have them before him or went back to him after she threw him out? What was the reason for the change in the Will? Didn’t Charity say they were to get $10 million each? And why was his mother not looking at him? Victor wondered, more confused than ever. There were no answers to his questions and he felt like standing up to demand answers. Just then his mother spoke.
“Have you finished?” Josephine Ohiemi asked as she fixed Jimi a cold stare.
“Yes” he said returning the stare squarely. Jimi Brown had never been happier than he was now. Finally, his friend was doing something he approved of and moreso because he had the honor of putting the little tick in her place. How he loathed her.
“There is no truth in this document. I must say that my husband may have lost it these past months. For one, my sister, Florence is dead and she never met my husband because she died over 30 years ago. There is no son anywhere. I believe you have cooked up this Will with an imaginary son perhaps to cause a sensation or perhaps you simply have the wrong Will. Get Dele to clear up the mix. You have wasted a greater part of my day. I expect that this embarrassment should not repeat itself anymore ” she waved nonchalantly as she made to stand up.
“The Will is valid Josephine” it was a voice Josephine Ohiemi taught she had silenced forever, it was the voice of the only one who could take her down.
“I am not dead” the voice was stronger now as the woman who had being waiting all her life for this moment walked across the room to where Josephine was standing, rooted to the spot, speechless.
It was Florence Ohiemi, in flesh and she was ready for her pound of flesh.
And this time, she would get more than a good slice.

*****

Till Next week!

M.O.T.I.V.E.S is written by Uneñ Ameji
Author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger on Amazon.com
See new book Love on the 25th on Okadabooks http://goo.gl/hmsKnv
W: http://bit.ly/1Il23U3
T: https://twitter.com/UnenAmeji

*****

Comment, Share….support!

Thank you to @GEzeogu and @IamTimayin for sending in their corrections of previous episodes.

P.S: Kindly make observations of your typos and structures and send to mailafricanstories@gmail.com.

Have a great week.

Advertisements

All Fun and Games. Episode 11

EPISODE 11

Read All Previous Episode Here
****

Aisha stared at Craig. This was one of the most difficult moments in her life. ‘In business, the main focus is on the player, not the consignment to be purchased’. She didn’t know where she had picked up that line from but it seemed like way back in business school. Her Professor had a knack for it. He’d say, ‘Number one rule of football, never take your eyes off the ball. Likewise in business, never take your eyes off the player’. This might not have seemed like business to the regular girl. This is a man on one knee with a diamond ring stretched at a girl. She should not be even having a sniff of business in her head. She ought to jump at the ring and scream. But for a split second, she had reminded herself of what this was – a game. It didn’t seem like a game though; this is a piano – her love and life. Craig had warmed into the deepest part of her heart. Why would this be a game? There were no pressmen around, this was just Craig and his ring… and maybe his heart lifted out to her. What was she waiting for? A smile warmed across her lips as she stared at him.
Craig was worried. Aisha was smiling. She still had to reach out for the ring for him to be convinced that she would marry him. For a woman like Aisha, you can’t trust a smile. A smile could either be in appreciation or in mockery. Right now, his poor soul couldn’t be mocked. Not after all he had done to get her to this stage. Mockery would open the door to a whole new world that neither of them could tolerate. He smiled faintly as he hoped that she would say something and spare them the ridicule that might loom if she said ‘No’. He smiled again as she seemed to be searching for answers in his eyes. The answers were not there, he knew.
Aisha nodded her head slowly with a smile. “I’ll marry you, Craig.”
He smiled as he slipped the ring onto her finger and drew her close for a kiss. He prayed that she wouldn’t hesitate. Any wrong move now on her part and it would all be a mess. Aisha was unsuspecting. She really wanted to kiss him. He saw it in her eyes. ‘Could she be in love with me?’ Craig thought within a second as he kissed her passionately. Her heart raced fast against his. She was like a child who yearned for love. She kissed back. He knew she felt something for him.
Flashes in their eyes and microphones dangling from covers, Aisha drew away from Craig. Her smile faded. It was all part of the game. For a second, she thought it was real. That it was just the both of them. The Press took pictures of them and she wore a smile for the camera, the cameo type that she always had on. Craig spoke briefly to the press on their behalf.
Aisha withdrew to the Piano as she watched Craig discuss with the pressmen. She ran her finger across her lips. She cursed herself for being vulnerable and kissing him back, but what could she have done. She was in love. She thought it was real. She didn’t think of the press, all she thought of was Craig. She actually did think of Craig. She could have sworn that he felt something for her too, after all, she felt his heart beat against hers. He was like a randy boy in love when he kissed her. But now, she knew better. He was the master of this game; he had put on an excellent show for the press. She knew she couldn’t wallow in self-pity forever; she shook off her pain and thanked her eyes for standing still and not getting all wet from regret and the pain she felt.
Craig joined her. “Smooth, right?”
She nodded in agreement. “I must say that almost caught me by surprise, but that was good. Great show for the media.”
“So, I think we should go over to your father tomorrow and give him the good news.” Craig said.
Aisha stared at him. “You think?”
He nodded in agreement. “Yes. Right now, we are looking great. We shouldn’t waste any more time.” He replied as he poured her glass.
“Why did you bring a piano?” she asked.
Craig shrugged as he handed her the glass.
“You know more than I think you do, right?” she asked as she placed the glass beside her. “Craig, you could have chosen something else. Why the piano?”
He took a deep breath. “I know you play the Piano. And very well too. Now that I think of it, we should have played a note for the press. I guess we would do that on the wedding day, right?”
“You do? How much of it do you know?” she asked. He raised an eyebrow. “I mean the assassination of my mother and my life afterwards?” she continued. “What did my Dad tell you?”
Craig stared at her. “What are you driving at, Aisha? Women.”
“Craig, I know this is a game, but, I love my mother. I love my piano. You could have chosen another instrument.”
He nodded. “I know all that, Aisha. I put up all this to make the proposal as perfect as it can be, you should be thanking me. This is going to be the talk of the town for years to come. Do you know how many folks will be talking about it before we are married, when we are married and even after the divorce? I am a genius, babe. I deserve lots of thanks for this. This video will hit YouTube and other networks, we would look so perfect. Just like you have always wanted it.” He replied as he sipped his drink.
“Thank you.” She replied and walked away.
Craig swallowed as he watched her walk away.

++++****++++
“Good thing you came.” Moira said shutting the door after Aisha. “Alhaji was here.”
Aisha took her seat. “Why? Do we have a deal to seal?”
“No. It is spooky, weird and I am a freaked out! What I have to tell you is big!”
Aisha raised a finger to halt her. “Be right back.” She said and disappeared into the kitchen. She returned with a glass of water. “Now speak”, she said as she sipped some water.
“Aisha, your father is nullifying your contract.”
“My contract? At work?”
Moira shook her head in disagreement. “No. Alhaji wants to cancel the deal that he had with you about getting married before you get the inheritance.”
“What? Why?” Aisha asked looking ruffled.
Moira shrugged. “According to him, he wants to show his support for you and Craig by removing the contract.”
“I don’t get.”
“Well, Alhaji thinks that the contract is unnecessary pressure and that he should stop putting pressure on you.”
Aisha finished the water and placed the glass by the table. “And you bought that crap?”
“Of course not, but what was I supposed to tell Alhaji? You paid Kola well, right?” Moira asked.
Aisha nodded. “Kola won’t bail on me. Even though he’s been Dad’s security guy for years, he still knows how to be loyal to me.”
“I think Alhaji knows about this game.”
Aisha laughed. “Never!”
“Then why would he bring up this news at this time?”
“Maybe his conscience bugged him too much.” Aisha replied as she picked up the remote.
Moira shook her head. “I don’t quite agree with you. If it was about his conscience, he could have waited till daybreak, he came here this midnight, Aisha, something is wrong. Even though Alhaji managed to wave it off, he did call Craig a ‘phoney’ when we started discussing.”
The remote dropped from Aisha’s hand. “Phoney?”
Moira nodded in agreement. “Yeah. Something is not right, Aisha.”
“God!” Aisha said as she dug her hand into her hair. “He must know something. Alhaji is very selective on his terms.”
Moira took a deep breath. “What are we gonna do?”
“I don’t know. But I am going to kill Kola if he betrayed me.”
Moira massaged her forehead. “I don’t know why Kola would snitch on us. I just think we should find a way to kill this whole thing before Alhaji confronts you.”
“Us! Confronts us, Moira!” Aisha corrected as she clasped her hands on her face.
“What???” Moira screamed.
Aisha jolted in fear. “What is it?”
“He proposed?” Moira said, staring at the ring.
Aisha took a deep breath. “Yes. That’s why I am more worried. By now, the press would be preparing to slam the news on their front covers. What would I do to stop the news?”
“Oh my…I thought we were to choose the date for the proposal.”
“He took me by surprise and he had the press as a backup. At first, I felt he was genuine and I had said yes to that.”
Moira stared at her. “Excuse me?”
Aisha nodded as teardrops rolled down her eyes. “Yes, Moira. I…I just thought something was there.”
“Oh no! This is not good.” She said as she joined Aisha in her seat and pulled her close for a hug.
“At first, there was no press. It was just us. I…I thought I actually did mean something to him.”
Moira rolled her eyes as she consoled a weak Aisha. One she had not seen before. She stroked Aisha’s hair tenderly as she heard her friend sob quietly. “Aisha?”
“Yeah?…” Aisha replied in a low tone.
“Are you in love with him?” Moira asked.
Aisha did not reply.
“You don’t have to be ashamed with me. You don’t have to be afraid to say how you feel. Love is not a weakness, Aisha. It’s strength.” Moira said as she swallowed painfully.
Aisha stared at Moira and chuckled. “Do you know what you sound like?”
“Your mother?”
“No way. You are nothing close to her.” Aisha replied as she wiped her eyes.
Moira smiled. “Stop being evasive, Aisha. Do you love him?”

++++****++++
Craig downed his next glass and tapped on the table to alert the barman. He felt as though he had fallen off a train. The evening had gone according to his plan B, and it hurt him so much to have to sway to the second side. He tapped on his phone to check the time. They were late into the night. He hoped Bolu got his message. He knew he couldn’t go home looking so torn. Aisha should not see him drunk.
Bolu joined him. “Hey Bro!”
“Mission accomplished!” Craig said as he raised another glass, smiling.
Bolu smiled. “You are the greatest player of all time.”
“When are you getting married?”
“We are seeing her father tomorrow. We would set the date then.”
Bolu shook his hand. “I am proud of you.”
Craig nodded. “I am not proud of who I am.”
“Why? You have officially signed into the richest Nigerian family, one of the richest families in the world and you say you are not proud? Man, I would kill to be in your shoes right now.” Bolu replied beckoning to the barman. “We need more drinks.”
“I can’t take anything.”
“Why man? You should be in cloud nine by now. Omo, you dey dull o! Wetin do you na?”
Craig didn’t feel okay. “I really wanted to propose to her.”
“Guy, I thought you said you did.” Bolu retorted looking confused.
Craig nodded. “I did, but, not the way a man should. I think she cares about me.”
Bolu laughed. “Dude, the fact that a duck plays with swans doesn’t make it a swan. You are not in Aisha’s class, this is the best you get from her. Money. Not feelings.
“Now I am a duck, right?” Craig asked.
Bolu smiled faintly. “I don’t mean it that way, but, I am just saying that you shouldn’t dream bigger than this. This is where it all comes down, take the money and run far away from here. She can’t love you. People like Aisha don’t love anyone except themselves and their money. She went as far as buying you to achieve her goal, that’s as hot as it gets for them in the upper class. Forget it, man. There is no love there. They just have houses, there is no home there. Believe me, you have won yourself something big, take it and run.”
Craig swallowed and finished his drink.

++++****++++
Bolu watched Daniel as he spoke to the Manager at work. Daniel handed the Manager an envelope and collected another. Bolu rushed after him as he saw him head for the exit. “Daniel!” he shouted as he pulled him back at the garage. “Where are you going? I have been to your house and it is so empty!”
Daniel adjusted the rumpled part of his shirt. “I am leaving. I can’t stand all of you.”
“Daniel, I don’t know why I keep coming back. I can’t just let go off our friendship.”
Daniel smiled. “Poor you. The person responsible for all the pain and hurt I feel doesn’t care, why is Craig not here? Why is he not trying to make amends?”
“Daniel, Craig hasn’t wronged you. You have always envied him. That’s the problem.”
Daniel hissed. “Envy? Look, I don’t envy him. I hate him. Right from when he lost his parents and his uncle beat him, we always took care of him. My family. How does he repay me? Once I like any girl, all he does is smile like a peacock and the girls are off to his side. Why? Why is he so wicked? Why does he get all the girls? Why did he have to get Aisha? It was my stand.”
“Bro, you were bored. Craig only took over for you and it just shows that it is merely coincidence. Craig didn’t mean to approach Aisha. You know what happened.”
Daniel shrugged. “He is a greedy dirty bastard.”
“And you are a jealous b*tch! Why are you so conceited? You are full of hate for someone who doesn’t hate you.”
“Well, that’s his problem. I hate him. And I will always hate him. I am going far away and I hope that he doesn’t come close to me before he snatches my wife from me in the nearest future. He is bad luck to me and he would soon be to you. Just wait and watch him ruin you.”
Bolu took a deep breath. “This time it really is goodbye. I wish we didn’t have to part ways like this.”
“How else would you like it? A party? Celebration for my tears?”
“You are pitiful.” Bolu replied. “Have a nice life.”
Daniel nodded with a smile. “I will. I know you won’t.” Bolu turned to walk away. “Oh, wait!”
Bolu stopped and stared at him. “What do you want?”
“Since you are Craig’s dog, you might as well tell your master that Alhaji Ibrahim is aware of this scam.”
Bolu gasped. “What?”
“Yeah! I hate that bastard so much. I have made his playboy task a little harder.”
Bolu held his head in fear.
Daniel laughed. “Perfect! That’s exactly how I wished to see Craig, it’s a shame you have taken up the look for him.”
“No, Daniel. Why?” Bolu asked.
Daniel shrugged with a smile. “I lost Vicky. He is not getting Aisha. Have a nice life.” He replied and walked away.
Bolu searched for his phone in his pocket but it wasn’t there. He dashed into the mall.

++++****++++
Alhaji stared at Craig and Aisha with a smile. He had practiced the smile for hours in his bathroom when he woke up and now he got it. “Congratulations.”
“Thank you, Sir.” Craig replied.
Alhaji smiled. “Errr…where are you taking her for the honeymoon?”
“We haven’t thought of it yet, Dad.” Aisha replied, cutting in.
Alhaji smiled. “Aisha, why are you so apprehensive? Why don’t you let your future husband speak?”
Craig smiled at her. “It’s okay, babe. We are family, now.” He said to her. He then turned in Alhaji’s direction. “Sir, we are yet to make a decision, but we would soon enough.”
“That’s great.” Alhaji replied. “There is something important that I have to share with you both. I would have had a private discussion with Aisha, but, seeing how far you guys have gone, it is better for you to know about it now.”
Aisha’s heart skipped a bit as Alhaji smiled in her direction. She smiled back and with a lot of confidence.
Craig’s phone rang. He stared at the caller ID. “BOLU”
Alhaji smiled at him. “This is a very important discussion.”
“Of course, Sir.” Craig replied and turned off his phone.
Alhaji nodded. “Thank you.”
“We are ready, Dad.” Aisha said.
Alhaji sat up. “I don’t think Aisha told you this, but I made an agreement with her that I would be releasing her inheritance to her when she got married.” Aisha swallowed hard. Craig took a deep breath and Alhaji smiled. “Well, you know how difficult it is for a man to have a daughter who has made herself her own man and has decided to go against everything that marriage stands for. I was desperate and so I decided that I would release her buck to her when she finally got married.” He blinked and continued. “I know it sounds really selfish and greedy of me but I hope you understand why I made that decision, I couldn’t have my daughter continue in that line. Do you understand me, Craig?”
Craig nodded. “Yes, Sir. I totally understand your reason.”
“Thank you. At least, we have cleared that part. But, I have decided to nullify those terms.” Alhaji said.
Craig stared at Aisha. Aisha’s face was stoned. She wasn’t surprised as Moira had given her the preamble. “Dad…”
“Hang on…Hang on….” Alhaji said, cutting in. “Actually, I believe that what you and Craig have is special and it shouldn’t be ruined. I mean, you are even getting married. This is beautiful, I am not going to ruin it with my stupid pressures on you both. Do you understand what I am saying, Craig?”
Craig nodded. “Yes, sir. It is good that you give us a huge room to love and all without pressure.”
“Exactly! That’s what I thought when I made that decision. Also, I feel that you both should be allowed to blossom in the best way ever and have a perfect life together without influences from Alhaji Ibrahim Bello.” Alhaji added smiling.
“Dad, what else?” Aisha asked.
Alhaji smiled. “Why do you think there is something else? You are very suspicious of people, Aisha. That is not good.”
“I know you well enough, Alhaji. There is something else.”
He nodded with a smile. “There is. I have decided to cut you out of my will, after all, it is my money.”
Aisha folded her arms. “Can we discuss this in private?”
“No. We shouldn’t be keeping things from your future husband. I am not done yet.” He replied. He then turned in Craig’s direction. “I am sorry, young man. Aisha and I fight a lot.” He said with a smile. “Anyway, in addition, I feel Craig is a wealthy and capable man and he should be able to take care of you in line with the money that you have, you can’t suffer. You don’t need the money.” He said. Turning to Craig, “Or what do you think, Son? You should be able to take care of your wife, right?”
Craig nodded slowly. “Of course, Sir. Aisha is my responsibility and I will take care of her.”
Alhaji clapped and sipped his drink. “Great. I love a real man. You have made a smart decision, Craig. Take the mantle. Lead the home. Be the father, husband and provider.”
Aisha stared at her father. “Thank you, Dad.”
Alhaji smiled. “That’s not all. I have amended my will and I willed everything in equal proportion to my grandchild or grandchildren.”
“Grandchild or Grandchildren?” Aisha asked.
Alhaji nodded with a smile. “Yes, I am expecting them to fill this house and run around and I am sure that you both will provide me with lovely grandchildren. That’s what couples in love do. Isn’t that right, Craig?”
Craig nodded with a smile. “Of course, sir.”

‘it’s All Fun And Games… until Alhaji gets involved’
****
All Fun and Games is written by Tomi Adesina, Writer and Author of “Dear Future Husband” available for free on African Stories. She is @tomi_adeshina on twitter. Get a copy. Read, Share and Sponsor next episode 😀

Crush or Love? Episode VIII

aspergers-love

Read Previous Episodes Here
Bassey Odiete
I poured myself a glass at the bar and prayed U.D would be too drunk to remember the slap. She couldn’t have slept with him, could she? Of course she had. How could she? I took a large gulp as the images of her red dress, her supple breasts, her scent and her pouted lips tormented me. I had to get over her. I knew I wasn’t going to. I had to have her again and again.
The night was the longest as I sat and schemed on how to get her attention once more. Surely she still wanted me between her curves and smooth patch. I felt myself growing hard at the thought and stood up to take a cold shower. I didn’t need two heads thinking for me today.

The first light of dawn had me going for groceries at SPAR. Dropping a bag at her house at 8am and tagging it anonymous, I waited patiently for her call. Of course the old Gateman promised to have it delivered immediately and had nodded with enthusiasm as I tipped him with high notes before leaving. U.D was walking out of the house as I drove in at few minutes past 9am.
“Hey early bird” I called partly hoping he didn’t remember the slap. He looked rested. He must have been too drunk I concluded.
“Hey bro” he shook my hand as he walked up to me as I stepped out from the car.
“Going out”? I returned the firm slap of his hand.
“Yes. I have got a date” he said and shone his teeth in bright smiles. I was green with envy but smiled too.
“With Funke I suppose?” I asked fishing.
“The very same” he said entering his Rover.
“Have fun” I called after him hoping he would not.
A plan began to form in my head.
****
Funke Dayo
Another knock sounded on the front door and I held my bathrobe tight to my chest. I mouthed a silent prayer against the forces of Emeka Douglass.
“Who is that?” I called rather loudly at few minutes past 9am.
“Na Musa Ma” it was the old Gateman and I felt relief rush through me as I opened the door.
“One man say make I give you” he said handing me a basket.
“Who?” my eyes suspicious of the gift.
“I no no Ma” he said
“And you collected it. Go away with it” I dismissed him and closed the door. It had to be Emeka. It just had to be him.

Another knock soon sounded again as I climbed back into bed. I let the person knock some more. My phone rang afterwards. I broke into smiles and went down to open the door.
“Okay?” it was U.D leaning against the door with raised eyebrows.
“Hey” I left the door opened and hurriedly brushed my hair with my hand thanking God I was dark skinned. The blood rushing to my face and tensed air leaving my body told me I was falling for him.
“So you are just waking up” he said as I turned to face him. All smiles and heart beating fast.
“Emm, nope” I said waiting for him to take me in his hands unconsciously. He approached me and I stood still. I stopped breathing the moment he bent to plant a kiss on my dry lips.
“Someone is yet to brush” he said as he bit my lower lips. I pushed him away totally embarrassed.
“Silly” I slapped his hand resting lightly on my hips.
“I have brushed na” he feigned seriousness as I walked back up to go brush.
“Haba! Come na, Oya na” he ran after me and in playful rush, I ran up. He pursued.
“Open this door” he said hitting the door of my bathroom. I rushed to my brush and minutes later poured out my mouth content. Rinsed my mouth and checked my reflection in the mirror before I opened the door to see him fold his arms across his broad chest.
“Are you done? Can I get my kiss now” he asked as I looked over his shoulder to nowhere in particular. I was giddy with excitement.
“Maybe” I said almost shy but holding my head straight. He shouldn’t know that he affected me this bad I thought.
“That is just enough for me” with that he brought his head down and my breath caught in my throat.
“Are you excited?” he asked in a whisper. My heart beating fast.
“Yes” I answered softly as his lips claimed mine. The minty flavor soon diluted as he deepened his kiss and pulled me close tugging my night robe at the waist. Unconsciously, I raised myself on my toes and pressed close to him; his hand positioning my head and brutally assaulting my lips just before sucking them into his. A moan escaped me as my hand traveled to his neck in abandon.
In a swift movement, he lifted me up and dropped me on the bed still kissing me.
“Your heart is beating so fast” I informed him quietly as he stretched his length against me.
“How you make me feel” he replied before planting his lips on mine again. His hands had found my belt and tugged my robe opened. Barely covered in flowery panties and white lacy bra, I studied his expression as his eyes traveled the length of my body. He seemed to be contemplating what to do with the offered sacrifice as he teased me by planting wet kisses directly on my nipples.
“Let’s get breakfast” he jumped off abruptly. I looked at him with pleading eyes but he looked everywhere else except my eyes. I knew deep within me why I wanted this. The moment I had him, I was simply going to lose interest. Perhaps I wanted this so bad because I was afraid of losing myself to him. I pushed the possibility of love aside. Surely I was incapable of love.
“What do you have in mind?” I asked getting out of bed and throwing my robe on the bed. He watched quietly, his throat clamping hard. I walked seductively to my wardrobe and took more time in finding a pair of leggings and provocative blouse. Wriggling my butt into them, I wished I could see the look on his face. Turning to face him, I saw him fix his stare on my back and smiled.
“You know you have got to stop wearing these” he said in thick voice before heading out. I followed him minutes later, wearing my blouse and combing my hair into a bun.
“Smells good” I said stepping into the kitchen. He had eggs frying while he grated carrots in the pan that revealed lots of onions and chili.
“I am a chef baby” he said lightly. The dark countenance gone.
“And what is chef baby making?” I joked coming to stand beside him.
“Breakfast baby?” he joked back.
“Need help?” I asked
“Yes, squeeze the oranges” he said as dropped the grater in the sink and squeezed my breasts.
“Hey! Stop that” I beat his hands away.
“I told you to stop dressing so sexy” he said without missing a beat and went back to the egg.
Minutes later, food down, we stretched lazily on the big couch.
“When are you going to the office?” I asked reminding him of the workload.
“Up for all night?” he asked as he brushed my hair.
“No” I replied.
“We go soon then” he replied turning down the volume of Rihanna’s Rude Boy.
“I am not ready” I made to collect the Remote.
“So you dance” it was a rhetorical question.
“I was in a good mood” I defended knowing he was referring to his welcome party. I couldn’t tell him Bassey was here before I came to pick him up plus the look on Bassey’s face when he barged in on us was disturbing. He looked hurt. I didn’t dwell on it though. It was done and it was past.
“Will you marry me?” he suddenly blurted out.
My body turned cold and jumped out of his arms like I was stung.
“No” I answered so fast my head spun.
“Why” he asked sitting so calm.
“Because I slept with your twin brother” I replied eyes blaring.
“And I told you it didn’t matter anymore”
“I am older than you” I found another reason
“You are not”
“I don’t know you well” I found yet another reason
“You are out of reasons. We will get married in two months”
“I am not and you are joking” I laughed yet afraid. Somehow, he looked so serious and determined.
“I am not going anywhere Funke. I am not going to have sex with you just so you can have me out of your system” he informed, eyes finally resting on me.
I caught my breath.
“Yes, Funke. You are that obvious”
“I think lives would be better if it we don’t complicate it”
“And you think having sex with every man is not complication?” he asked and it felt like a slap. I blinked.
“You need to leave now” I stood up.
“Don’t get all tensed up” he said
“I am not. I want to have sex with you and be done with it. Getting married to you is out of it” I stated evenly.
“I won’t have sex with you until you say yes” he insisted stubbornly.
“You will and very soon too” I challenged excitement coursing through me.
“We will see. Meet me when you have bathed at the office” with that he planted a hard kiss on my lips and took his leave.
Sitting down heavily after I heard his car drive out, I knew it was time to weigh my options.
****
U.D Odiete
“I can’t believe I just asked her to marry me. What was I thinking?” I asked myself aloud as I drove to the office. Was it just to spite Bassey? Did I really want to get married? To Funke? I know we were good together and the feel of her body against mine felt so good. Too good. I smiled as I remembered the butt wriggling and white lacy bra that had her pale nipples poking out. It was quite a sight and doubted if I was going to keep my hands off her for long.
The slap still rang in my head. Bassey must have been pissed but it felt good to be the one desired now. The pent up years of resentment; having him steal my women were over and it would seem Funke was the kind of challenge he needed to break his pride. I found myself enjoying the feel. Almighty Bassey panting after a woman that wanted me. How the tides change. It was petty but it felt so good.
If there was one thing I was sure of was this: Funke Dayo was one hell of a lady and I was going to get married to her in two months.
****
Bassey Odiete
I waited all day for U.D but he was nowhere in sight. The suspense killed me. Did she get my gift? She would have called me if she did by now. My phone buzzed just then and I picked it with alacrity. It was Susan. Another booty-call. I dropped the phone with distaste. She was spoiled goods. The images of what could be happening got me fired up and I drove to the house on surveillance.
I drove past the house and looked out for either of their cars. I didn’t see any. I parked a block down and walked to the house. The old guard broke out in smiles as he opened the gate just in time to see me.
“Oga, welcome” he smiled looking at my hands.
“Is she home?” I asked.
“Madam don komot” he answered still looking at my hand
“She komot with somebody?” I poked.
“No o” he answered walking away.
“The man wey come here unkor?” I asked some more.
“You know Oga, I no no you. I no fit dey tell you everything about my Madam. You know how ei go look” he looked at my hand again. I smiled. He needed notes.
I made out with some and he broke into smiles with his brown teeth showing his appreciation.
“But Oga, you know na”
“I know” I waited.
“One man come. The man look like you small. He komot then she too come komot later”
“So they didn’t go together” I asked
“No”
“Did you give her the basket?”
“Eheeeeen, I give her but she come give me” he scratched his head.
“She didn’t look inside?” I asked now furious with the corrupt old man.
“She just say make I take am. So I take am” he said opening his palms as he explained.
I had heard enough and went back to my car. Where did they go to? For how long were together. I was going crazy. I had to see her soon.
****
Funke Dayo
The quiet office had most of the staff finishing their designs. U.D and I worked oblivious of time. Yawning as I stretched at past 7pm, I suddenly remembered I had not eaten save breakfast.
“Hungry?” he spoke my mind.
“Famished”
“Dinner at my place?” he suggested finally looking at me through tired eyes.
“Sure” I answered.
“Just few minutes”
“I hope Bassey will not be be home” It was a question.
“Do you care?” it was harsh.
“Yes”
“You shouldn’t have slept with him then”
“Don’t speak to me in that tone”
“You are having dinner at home with me. If you have problems with it, deal with it before we get there” it was almost a command.
“Why doesn’t it bother you? It is weird to want me after knowing I slept with him” I wanted to annoy him.
“What is weird is getting married to you in two months. I am weird alright” he closed his work and got up.
I stood scanning my witty mind for a reply but came out empty.
“Ready?”
He didn’t need an answer. Few minutes later, we headed home.
****
Bassey Odiete
I waited at home to tell U.D that I knew what he was up to. Trying to make me jealous wasn’t going to work and I knew he wasn’t with Funke. That thought died the moment they both exited their cars and walked towards the entrance with U.D taking her hand in his. The old man must have fed me wrong information.
“Hey” it was U.D.
“Had fun?” I asked underlined with meaning.
“More like work” it was U.D. He looked like he was enjoying the charade. I winked at him and he winked back. Funke barely smiled and looked largely uncomfortable. I liked the fact that she was uncomfortable. It meant that she still remembered my worthwhile administrations.
“How are you?” I asked her squarely.
“I am good. You look good” she complimented. I smiled. Perhaps he didn’t satisfy her.
”Dinner” it was U.D and she followed him to the kitchen with hands on her waist. His voice was heard ordering the cook and followed the cook to his room with the food trolley. I sneaked to the kitchen. Her back to me, I dropped my hands on her waist and she turned to face me. Her eyes angry.
“Get your hands off me” she moved but backed into a corner instead. I blocked her path with my body.
“You look good Funke”
“Don’t touch me” she said and I moved to let her pass. She rushed out of the kitchen just as she bumped into U.D.
“Oh” she said relaxing as she saw him and I saw the look in her eyes. It looked like she really cared about what U.D thought of her.
“Was going to wait for Dad but I might as well as say it now” it was U.D holding her on her waist before stealing a kiss. I blinked.
“What?” I asked right before Funke looked at him momentarily confused. Then it hit her.
“No” she shook her head vehemently.
“Yes” he said rubbing her nose with his.
“What?” I asked wondering why she was so uncomfortable.
“We are getting married in August”
“The hell you are” I retorted hotly.
It was never going to happen.
Never!

CHAPTER SIX ⃝ UNFOLDING SECRETS…

ǁǁǁ……….As always, the dark evil force had me running for safety; closing in on me with an evil cackle that rang deep into my ears and my wildly beating heart. As always I keep running, panting with fear while he catches up with me as I try to jump a tall fence with grass wall filled with snakes I am unaware of. I am half way up the grass wall, they coil round my hands and body; I end up screaming out loud as he pulls my legs down to his grave.………..and as always I wake up sweating and breathing hard with blood running down my nose.

The same reoccurring nightmare.

Turning to look at my bedside ‘Barbie’ alarm clock she told me it was 3:30am. I won’t be sleeping back……….as always. Standing up from the bed with head raised up, I found the roll of tissue, wiped the blood off my nose and stuck a roll in to stop the bleeding. I was glad Tessy was with Uche. I made to pack a bag. I pushed in my favourite undies, toiletries, perfume and a shawl. I brought down my head, the bleeding had stopped. Cleared the bin around the house and arranged the displaced items.

4:39am had me going to the bathroom for a quick shave and a bath.

A quick dress up in faded ash jeans, a deep blue shimmering chiffon blouse, generous spray of Publication and a light touch of make-up, I sent a text to Uche as I locked the front door and stepped down the porch.

A quick trip.

Please take care of Tessy,

 Check the fridge for fresh meat packs. The car keys in the usual place.

Oh, that washed Kpomo and periwinkles still dey o.

 Carry am abeg before them transform

Call you when I get down.

Love to Tessy,

More Love to U.

Bye

 

“Madam, good morning, you dey travel ne?” It was Adamu with his Fulani intonation coming to the car. Eyes clear. He looked like he was awake all night just sitting in front of his post. He knew when I was leaving town. Maybe the “scream” gave him that.

“No, I’m not traveling. Take care of the house ok?” the usual reply. Getting into the Range Rover Sports, I saw his card. I picked it fondly and looked at it. It was simply done. His name nicely embossed in the front and his private number behind. No other detail. The events of last night brought smiles to my face. More than ever, I was determined to make him part of my life. If I was going to dig gold, I was going to dig this one. Akhmed? He will come around. I brushed his thoughts aside.

TIP #7: Never fall for sentiments. Be focused. Know what you what.

For me, it was the bigger Mine.

My ringing phone told me it was Uche.

“You no dey sleep?” it was few minutes to 6am.

“Komot jor” she said in a laugh.

“When you wake up sef?” I asked driving out of the gate.

“Dey dia dey ask me when farmer dey go farm. Come pick me for house jare” she said in another laugh.

“You sef” I shook my head as I took Femi Atoyebi’s Street to her house five minutes away. She was standing at the gate already.

“What are you doing up so early?” I asked as she got in already dressed for work.

“I got your text” she replied, her eyes dancing. Closing the door quite forcefully.

“So?” I asked looking at the rear mirror.

“So I go follow you go airport and collect the car cruise for today na” she looked surprised that I was asking. It was the drill. Whenever one of us was traveling, the other would bring the car back home.

“I did not ask you to come to airport with me. What if I took a taxi?” I asked as I drove to the Kubwa expressway; heading to the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport.

“You would have said that in your text” she said correctly.

“True”

“So where to?” she asked.

“Lagos” I was going to Calabar. Why did I lie? Just felt like it. Moreover, I needed to get away for few days. The dream always had me running to my little flat in Calabar.

“Akhmed aware?” she pried.

“Yes” I nodded. Another lie. I wasn’t up for answering questions this early.

“When you coming back?” she questioned.

“Why?” I asked passing the scene of the accident the night before. The memory giving me a thrill.

“So that I can tell Tessy when her mummy will be back” she gave a silly answer. I gave a silly laugh.

“Tell her soon” I replied with a smirk.

“I hear you”. She said with an attitude. I laughed.

“I’m getting married Didi” she blurted out. She couldn’t hold it any longer.

“What?! When did this happen?” I asked totally surprised; beaming with smiles.

“Last night” she said shyly showing me the rock on her index finger. I gave the legendary wedding shout.

“Oh my God! Uche! This is so huge” I said joyfully. Holding out the finger burdened with the ring.

“I thought I was dreaming when he proposed” she said studying the ring. Her face shone.

“It is not a dream o. You are getting locked” I said and she gave me a playful punch.

“You no well, I swear.” She was laughing at my demonstration of ‘locked’

“My dear, I’m so happy for you. When are you taking me to wash it?” I asked.

“Why do you think I was asking when you coming back?” she rolled her eyes.

“I know now o! I’m coming back this weekend” and we both laughed.

The wedding talks overflowed till we got to the airport.

“Alright Mrs Igwe, see you when I get back” I said teasing her.

I gave a hug.

As customary, I walked in to book the next flight to Calabar. Aero was next.

Seated beside the window and bringing out Thisday Arise magazine with a piece on Ali Bricks, my phone buzzed. It was Akhmed. What did he want now? The plan was to get his father interested in me in two weeks. That was before last night. Now I had no idea what this call was for.

The voice of the female flight hostess came on. The funny demonstrations and switching off gadget announcements followed. Sorry Akhmed. Obviously cannot pick now.

I switched off.

We took off minutes later.

It was 8:40am.

***************************************************************************

Good thing about hand luggage is going straight to check-out stand. The Margaret Ekpo international airport was busy as usual. An airport taxi and I was headed home. Home sweet home. Thinking of the little flat left to me by my mother in the old layout, I needed to stay incommunicado for the rest of the week.

I remembered the call to Ali.

“Hello, good morning. This is Didi” he picked on first ring.

“I know. I have been waiting for your call” the rich voice filled my ears and I found myself smiling.

“It feels good to know you waited” I said with a shy giggle.

“I waited all night. Where are you?” he asked in an accent.

“I am in Calabar” I said. My phone buzzing. I checked. It was Akhmed.

“Have dinner with me tonight Didi” he said almost in a plea. Abi na me dey hear dat one?

“Only if you are cooking” I said playfully.

“I will if you promise to eat and enjoy the excess salt and burnt meal” he said quite serious. I laughed.

“I will be honored to eat the burnt meal of Dr Bricks” I said in a tease.

“I will pick you up from your residence?” he asked.

“At The Mirage”. I couldn’t let him come to my house just yet. The Mirage was few minutes from my flat.

 “See you soon sweetheart” he was gone in an instant. Akhmed’s call came through next.

“Hello, Akhmed” I said in a sweet voice.

TIP #8: You have got to act like you got it all together. Always

“How are you sweetheart?” he asked in a calm voice too. He must have taken the course in anger management like me.

“I am doing alright” I stated plainly.

“I need to talk to you about last night”

“Yes?”

“I am deeply sorry for the outburst. I had no right” he said calmly.

“I apologise for the outburst too. I think it was over the top” I said modestly.

“Can we have dinner tonight?” he asked

“I will not be available tonight Akhmed”

“Still mad at me?”

“No” I said rolling my eyes.

“Alright. Tomorrow then?” He pressed.

“Sure Babe” I said reassuringly.

“I think I am getting too attached Didi” he said in thick voice filled with emotion and then he went off.

I don enter! Papa and Son.

“Please take me to The Mirage”. The driver nodded and took the next turn 

A detour.

***************************************************************************

Dropping me off, I sighed. I for the go house now o. This detour no be am at all. But the hotel experience will be good. I love The Mirage, the chilled cigar smell gives the vibe of ‘The Godfather’ living in the building.

The warm welcome at the reception and checking into Ambassadorial suite room 419 gave me a kick. How cliché. I wanted to reject the room but let it slide….was till dinner anyways.

Next I made a call to the office. It took less than five minutes. Tunde had everything under control. Getting out of my clothes, I headed to bathroom for a long soak.

**********************************************************************

The forceful buzz startled me from the deep sleep after the shower. It was raining now. The hot bath left me totally refreshed and drowsy. I slipped beneath the covers in the nude and slept the entire day. It was few minutes to 6pm now.

It was Ali. My mind skipped. I picked hoping he was calling to cancel or say he was on his way. I need to get dressed.

“Hello” I said in sleepy voice.

“Didi? You sleeping my dear?” he said sweetly. This man dey turn my flat stomach o.

“Just woke up. Where are you?” I asked holding my breath.

“I am at the reception. Are you coming down or do I come pick you up?” he said with so much care my heart did a flip.

“Emmm, come up? Room 419” I was confused. Maybe we just order dinner.

“See you in a minute”

I got up and ran to get the white bathrobe. Maybe I should wear my travel clothes. I rushed to the folded bunch for an examination. Ouch, not it.

A knock. No time to make up my mind.

Opening the door, Ali Bricks stood pleasantly in a black polo and deep blue jeans and flats. His glass perched on his nose. He looked airbrushed and I wanted to give him a hug. I stood shyly in my bathrobe with a big smile plastered across my dry lips. I gave it a quick lick.

“Can I come in?” he asked.

“Yes. Please come in” he entered quietly. The air was charged and I was suddenly aware of his sexuality. The feeling was intense. He turned to face me.

“So are you ready to go now? I have dinner ready” he said with a look that I found alluring. “Emmm, I don’t have anything to wear to dinner”

We stood in the middle of the room. Close but not touching.

“Let’s get you something to wear then” he said simply.

“Ok?” I eyed him suspiciously with a smile.

“Have another option?”

“Order in?” I rose playfully on my toes. He smiled at the gesture.

“No. I cooked dinner. We are having dinner at my place” he said holding out to me.

I gave him my hand.

“Let’s get you dressed in a cloth store” he said walking to the door.

I laughed.

“In my robe?” I asked eyes wide as he opened the door. I picked the card.

“Yes please” He smiled in a dare. I laughed. He excited me. I was up to it.

“Sure”

Hand in Hand, we left my room. I giggled all the way to the elevator like a child.

“You are feeling uncomfortable? Shy?” he said with a straight face.

“I’m with you, am I not?” I laughed.

A couple exited a room and looked surprised at my appearance. We entered the elevator.

“So what did you cook” I asked over his shoulder to his ears.

“Hmmm, burnt chicken ribs, carrots and peas. I didn’t cook the ketchup though” I gave a throaty snout.

“Very funny. I don’t think I like your food that much” we walked through the reception to the exit.

All eyes. Somehow I liked the looks. Steps improved. Dr Ali Bricks with a woman in robes hitting the headlines gave me a thrill.

Walking to the car park, I was surprised when he brought out his car keys.

“Where is your driver?” I asked

“I wanted to drive” he said simply as he opened the door for me.

“Thank you” I got in.

“So, we are going to get you a dress for dinner yes?” he asked as he powered the Black BMW. It came to life like a quiet bull that it was.

 “I think I want to eat now. I am hungry” I teased. I had other thoughts clouding my hunger pang.  

“Great. Home it is”

“So you were in Calabar?” I asked starting a conversation as drove out of the lot.

“No, I came in to have dinner with you” he said looking over at me.

“You flew in for dinner? That is sweet” I looked at him with dancing eyes. I was still in the robe and uncombed hair in a bun. Good genes helping me here. The long eye lashes and white eyes helped. Of course the whitened teeth with brilliant smile gave me confidence.

We took a turn and approached a lonely street. Never been to this side of Calabar. 

“My private hideout” he said as if reading my thoughts.

“Rather lonely”

“Yes” we drove on for few more minutes and then down the slope and drove up the gentle hill. There stood the private hideout proudly. It was no hideout, it was imposing.

“This is your definition of a hideout?” I asked in a disbelieving laugh.

“Yes” he said in a wink and we both laughed.

The gate opened electronically and we drove pass the ‘fountain’ to the car park with open coconut trees forming a drive way to the built-in garage that opened immediately he pressed a remote I didn’t notice till he was keeping it back.

I opened the door before he came round to do same.

He slipped his hand into mine again as we approached the quiet residence.

“Where are your staffs?” I asked noticing the quietness and absence of life.

“I sent them away for the night” he didn’t give it a thought.

He opened the door that was unlocked and we stepped into the wide empty space. Well, hall I’d say.

“You live in a hall?” I asked trying humour. He laughed. Simply walked on to another connecting door and turned the knob.

It was the patio overlooking a water body with cool night breeze and brilliant lights in the distant. He stood back while I went closer to take in the view.

“Nice view” I said simply. He came to stand behind me. I tensed with anticipation.

He took a deep breath of my hair and enveloped me in an embrace dropping little airy kisses on my neck. I enjoyed the feel. I welcomed it. I wanted more. Time to take it to the next level I thought with a smile. Akhmed will thank me later. I gave a knowing grin and made to turn.

“I have always wanted to do this” with that he enveloped me quivering lips in a kiss the moment I tilted my head to his face

The deal was sealed ǁǁǁ.

***************************************************************************

<<<<This was not happening. He was her father for Christ sakes. Or was he not? I was upset. Standing up to take a stretch, I peep out of the window to see Akhmed taking a walk on the premises. My heart went out to him. It really was all a mess. The man on the phone hours back reminded me that there was more to this. There was only one way to the unfolding secrets; read on and wait for the next 48 hours.

I took more ice cubes from the desktop fridge for the drinks and went back to reading>>>>>

ǁǁǁ The cool white sheets wrapped around me, I stretched lazily and studied his features. He was 50? I should ask him the secret and sell it I thought amusingly.  

“You okay?” he asked looking at me without his glasses. He looked differently and totally simple. I smiled.

“I am hungry now”

He laughed and jumped out of the bed. I remember how we got to his room; I just don’t want to share it with you.

He pushed a stainless steel trolley with his ‘burnt offering’ into the room and offered a fake bow. I shook my head at his display as he made me a plate.

“Thank you” I said as he joined me on the bed with the plate.

“Where is yours?” I asked collecting it and sitting up.

“That is mine” he said collecting the plate back.

A little drag………. I laughed silly at the playful tussle.

“Okay, wait now……..it is ours” he said for the first time sounding ‘Nigerian’.

I laughed and he joined in like a child.

The food didn’t taste so bad. In fact it was quite good except for the dried chicken, the peas and carrots in ketchup sauce saved it though.

“That wasn’t so bad” I said as I made to drop the plate over his head. Another playful tussle ensued and tickling that led to a quick bath and cuddling under the sheets. I was glad I left my phone in my suite. With head on his chest, I listened to his heartbeat and enjoyed the gentle stroke of his fingers on my hair.

Alas, it was not to last.

“Who are you Didi?” he asked quietly as I closed my eyes to welcome a deep sleep. My eyes popped open. An innocent question? I knew there was a catch. I didn’t give a reply. He stopped stroking my hair and waited for a reply that was never going to come.

“You awake?”  He shook my shoulder. I looked up at him. He had a strange tense look; like he was bursting to say something.

“Yes” I untangled from the warm embrace.

“Who are you?” he repeated the question while picking up his glass and perching them on his nose.

“Who do you think I am” I stared back blankly. He knew who I was.

“I prefer you tell me what your plans with Akhmed are” he said sitting up. I curled up as if I was stung. The reaction had me indicted.

 I should have denied? I couldn’t.

I sat up. I was quiet for a long while. He waited patiently.

“To get married to you” I said as a betrayer would.

I was no longer a gifted gold digger I thought I was and sadly had lost my touch. I should have listened to Akhmed. Could it be that he knew our little game was exposed and was trying to delude me from continuing? I felt bad now.

He picked his phone looking at me and spoke into it.

“You can go. She is clean” he said looking at me funny.

“Did you have your men standing by to have me killed?” I asked with suppressed anger.

“I considered it” he said unkindly. He rolled off the bed swiftly to wear shorts.

I stood up to get my bathrobe. I had all intention of going back to the hotel but without a wallet, in a bathrobe and at 2am in the morning; that wasn’t happening.

“What are you doing?” he asked looking at me roughly putting on my robe.

“Getting my robe back on?”

“Why?”

 “I feel better dressed than naked and vulnerable” I said sharply.

“I thought you wanted leaving” He said approaching me. I moved.

“Why? You have a guard to drive me back or you want to give me your car keys” I spat out.

TIP #7: Never give up without a fight. It is expected that when caught in the act, you should surrender. I DIDI TRAP do not subscribe to that.

“Don’t be feisty lady” he stood, towering above me.

I tied the robe tightly and took another step backward.

“We need to talk” he said calmly. As usual stretching his hands out for mine. I didn’t take it.

“Do you like me enough to marry me?” he asked noticing my countenance.

“Yes” I said boldly surprising myself. I looked down. Where did that come from? Considering marrying a man old enough to be my father? Or na dey bed-magic wey him perform dey cause dis nonsense talk? I shook my head as if to clear the web.

“But I won’t” I added. Walking away from the corner and heading out to the patio where I could think on my feet.

Going to stand in same position as before would be suggestive and was relieved on seeing armed padded straw chairs at the extreme end. I walked towards it. He followed.

We sat down almost at same time. We looked at each other and the stare turned to a smile.

“What do you want from me now?” I asked looking at him through my lashes and pouting lips.

“Why did you agree to his plans?” He asked. Because I wanted to dig your gold? I thought with a sly smile.

“What?” he asked noticing the ‘smile’.

“I wanted to. It sounded like fun. I liked you” I said trying to sugar coat.

“Not because you were getting paid to deceive me?”

I took a moment to answer.

“Plus that” I answered honestly looking into his deep searching eyes.

“I just really like you. I don’t regret my actions” I continued with seriousness.

“What happens next?” he asked.

“Go back home tomorrow. Pretend like it never happened” I looked at him.

“You can’t do that” he said standing up.

“Why not?” I asked sensing I was about to get my blind folds ripped off.

“Because you are being used Didi. And I am afraid you are going to be used some more. There is so much you don’t know about your life and it pains me I’d have to tell you tonight” he said harshly and stood up.

“What do you mean by that?” I panicked a little.

“Why do you think Akhmed picked you? You think it is just coincidence?” he gave a snort looking across the water body into the distance.

“Yes” I answered.

“Well it wasn’t. He saw my will.” He said turning to face me.

“So?” I asked totally clueless.

“He found you out because you were a beneficiary” he completed. I was still clueless.

“Why am I on your will?” I asked dumbfounded.

“Because I knew your Aunt” he said coming back to where I sat; perched on the straw chair.

“My Aunt?” I asked confused. I didn’t have an Aunt. My mother was an only child. What was he talking about?

“A long time ago. Before she married the man you think is your father” he looked sad and bitter at the same time.

“What are you talking about?” I asked looking up at him.

“Didi, the woman you thought was your mother was your aunt” he said authoritatively as one who knew all things. I stood up.

“That is a lie” I said deep under my breath.

“I told her several times to let you in on the truth, she wouldn’t listen to me” He said seriously; and for a minute I was tempted to agree to a possibility of that been the truth.

“I need to get out of here” I said as I matched right past him; going back to the room to check the bedside drawer for his car keys.

“Listen to me. I have what will convince you. I am telling you the truth” he held my upper arm. I looked at him and shook his hands off me. I stood still. My head hurting.

“Where is it?” I asked again with emotion. I wanted to prove him wrong.

“I will give you after you listen to all what I have to say” he said looking into my eyes without flinching. I was curious, I was afraid. My life, all I knew shattering before me.

I was rooted to the spot.

“She married him. Leaving me months to our wedding just because my father wouldn’t give his consent” he spewed continuing with the discussion. I noticed he couldn’t say my father or refer to him without grinding his teeth. He walked back into the room straight to the glass-top centre table turning a glass of liquor from the decanter. I followed him in.

 “You were in love with her” I summed. He was the lost love my mother always talked about whenever we escaped to Calabar from my abusive father. I remember the look in her eyes when the memories came flooding through her lips. I felt ashamed of myself. I stepped back and perched on the edge of the unmade bed that reminded me all that was done in it hours ago. I stood up.

He looked at me through the glass but didn’t answer the question. He didn’t have to. It was written on his face.

Could there be any truth to what he was saying or was he simply ‘using’ me again?

“Why did you bring me here? Why did you allow me disgrace her memories?” my chest heaving, my eyes watering.

“I am sorry Didi. I got carried away. I just couldn’t let the past go” he said as he poured the gulp in his throat. It hit the back of his throat. I prayed it choked him to death. I was vexed.

“You disgust me” I spat out.

“I disgust myself. You look so much like her, I wanted to have you. It was petty and wrong of me to use you but I’m sorry. However I do not regret it” he said obviously satisfied with himself. I fumed the more.

The tears flowed now. I had disgraced her; shaming her memories.

I took a seat and poured a glass for myself too.

There we sat quietly for an hour; the clock ticking while we were in thoughts.

“Why was my name in your will?” I asked after a clear head and readiness to continue.

“To protect Ummi’s interest if anything happens to me” he said.

“Who is Ummi?” I asked

“Your niece. She is autistic” he gave another blow.

“My niece?” I was now confused more than ever.

“Yes. When she left me, she found out she was pregnant” he took another mouthful of the content of his glass.

“Dropped her off when she had her” he took another gulp.

“How is Ummi my niece?” I asked sensing he was withholding information from me.

I wasn’t ready to belief that my mother was my aunt.

“When were you going to contact me?” I continued; asking him questions as they came to me.

“I was going to call you for a meet-up but was advised against it. Especially as it came to my notice that the office of my attorney was vandalised and some documents missing including the new will we prepared just days before. I had to be sure it was not planned. Now I know it was and who was behind it”

I was now the one in the middle, the one taken advantage off. How ironic. I almost laughed at myself for thinking I was smart.  I didn’t.

“Akhmed came after me” I said in a sniff. I was right all along but for the wrong reasons. This was more than just blackmail or greed. I sensed revenge of some sort.

“Didi, I found out months ago that Akhmed, my son for over 30 years is the son of my sworn enemy. I felt betrayed and I had to cut him off. I know it is rash but I will not have my heritage passed down to a man who has the blood of your foster father in his blood” he said waiting for the words to sink. It didn’t.

Alhaji Yerima Dotun is your sworn enemy I know that” I repeated what Akhmed had told me.

“No he is not. He was your father’s best friend. Ubah Francis is Akhmed’s father and he is the man that took your aunt away from me” he finally gave the blow.

My eyes opened, the scales falling to the ground.

“My father is your enemy? Akhmed is my brother?” I asked disbelieving him. It could not be.

“Oh Didi, where do I start from?” he looked at me with pity. It seemed I wasn’t getting the clear picture.

“Start from wherever you think I can understand” I was standing and shouted with frustration.

This was not what I came to Calabar for!

“You are not Akhmed’s sister. You are not your mother’s child. You are her niece”. I wasn’t still convinced.

He stood up abruptly, walked to his wardrope and pulled out an envelope.

“Here, I will see you in the morning” with that he left the room. I had no idea where he went.

Siting back down, my hand shook with the brown envelope wondering what truth or disaster awaited my eyes. I couldn’t bring myself to open it. It was sealed. I licked my dry lips nervously. This felt like a dream and I was living it.

I broke the seal.

Inside were pictures of people I had never seen with my mother with a baby. A man and a woman that looked like my mother holding a baby and smiling at the camera. The resemblance was striking and they looked like sisters. On the back, it was dated 13th May, 1977. The monochrome, almost sepia faded picture was threadbare and worn out on the side. Picking more pictures of the two women in smiles, standing side-by-side in uniforms, roses in their hair with bushy hairdos. The date was washed but one thing was clear. I had an aunt.

Looking into the envelope, I saw a sealed letter in a white envelope. It was scented. I saw my mother’s handwriting. It was addressed to me. My breath caught in my throat; my heart beating faster.

I held on to it. Somehow, I knew Ali was right before I tore it open. Tears falling from my eyes, heart aching and sniffing continuously as I read the sad stories, the regrets and plea for forgiveness. It was 3 page long and by the time I was done I was drained emotionally.

The woman I knew was my aunt. My Mother was dead and I had a niece Ummi. She should have told me. That would have helped. The abuse would have been understandable…..although I didn’t regret his end, I sure would have ended it sooner.

It was 5am before Ali woke me from the couch where I had fallen asleep after the emotions washed through me. He carried me to the bed and I didn’t struggle. I was spent and turned to face the patio and watched the sunrise.

The new day would be the first of many to  come.

I knew who I was, I knew what was mine and I had found a new calling.

Here is a copy of the letter.

If Akhmed wanted a game, I was going to oblige him.

This time my mind was made up.

I was going to win ǁǁǁ.

***************************************************************************

<<<<My eyes watered. It sure was sad. I felt so sorry for her. The history, the confusion, the mistakes…………..I was overwhelmed. Opening the next page, I saw what looked like a note that was ripped off forcefully. More like in a haste. I turned the next page hurriedly.

Where was the copy of the letter?

The next page started from ǁǁǁ now that you have read the letter that reveals all I am, you will understand why I do whatever it takes to protect my interest…….ǁǁǁ

I didn’t see a letter. I quickly flipped through the pages that followed but nothing. Dropped the volume and checked the trolley. It couldn’t have fallen out. Could it?

Then it hit me, someone was here. They must have taken some pages from the books.

This was not just a case of Didi being a gold digger, it was much more.

I should have known >>>>