M.O.T.I.V.E.S – Series Finale

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Like they say, all things come to an end. M.O.T.I.V.E.S by Unen Ameji’s is finally at its end.
We would like to thank our readers, new audience and fans for reaching out, liking our pages and helping out in sharing the story as it unfolded. Thank you.

M.O.T.I.V.E.S, a story set in old and modern day Nigeria, is a riveting, stimulating, suspense-filled tale of a myriad of absorbing characters with Unen Ameji’s fluid style of delivering engaging stories of greed, love, lust and power that leaves her audience on the edge of their seats, guessing and usually clamoring for more.

The story features Nigerian Tycoon and powerhouse Bello Badmus. A man who gave power as he willed, a man who controlled Presidents, a man who put men and monsters in seats of power; Florence Ohiemi aka Naomi Mambutu and her identical evil twin Josephine Ohiemi aka KudiraT Sadika Bello who are ever in battle of wills – good and evil, where evil prevails.

In a thrilling twist, the events likened to a classic game of chess sees each piece on the board take power and lose it and take it all over again. An illusion of power, an illusion of control.

The last episode will be posted next week! until then, enjoy the preview.

Read all Episodes here

*****

30th August, 2011 – Eid el Fitr Day

The man in sparkling black suit from Bello Badmus bomb blast stood anonymously in the large excited crowd. He smiled at the thought of how much his life had changed over the years. From an innocent Almajiri boy begging for his next meal to international eye for the underworld. Of course he was not just an eye to the highest bidder but one did not take pleasure in referring to oneself as a hired killer. No. One left such dark titles to those who thrived on giving unnecessary titles.
He smiled again as a young boy in his white kaftan and brown embroidered cap ran past him, shouting to his friends in a small group to wait for him. Ganbo found the brightly colored women, heavily made-up girls in kohl and animated boys running around the large mosque interesting and for a second remembered what it felt like to be part of the community.
Standing, he watched the scene play out before him. The crowd flooding into the mosque for prayers, the market filled with morning activities as big trucks offloaded clothing and fresh tomatoes to stalls along the street and vehicles entering the petrol station slowly, attendants fighting and shouting at a man who had parked his car strategically to shunt the moment the low metal gate of the petrol station opens. It was a familiar sight, the long queues during scarcity; the day being Sallah regardless.
If anyone was paying attention, they would have noticed the awkwardly tall man with the bad shoulder blade trudge past them. They would have noticed he walked briskly, stopping momentarily to ask for directions before continuing on his way, making haste as he moved from street to street, store to store asking for Gyaran Kashi, the town’s renowned bone setter; his Hausa language since failing him.
He had less than two hours to find the man he knew too well to be resourceful enough to connect him to who he needed to contact.
He had to find his father and time was ticking.
But even Ganbo, a hired eye, did not notice as men and women with extra clothing took positions in various spots, whispering into a local radio.

*****
Mubi – Adamawa State: 30th August 2011 – Eid el Fitr Day

The blazing stores, the burning human flesh, the exploding sounds of gas cylinders and stored petrol and the suffocating smell of burning petrol tanker. The thick black smoke hovering over the community moved heavily and slowly, lazily going up into the clouds, the only place it knew it could find redemption.
The roads and streets around the old large community mosque, new Pentecostal church few meters away, the busy car park adjacent to the church, the old fruit market and petrol station opposite the mosque had a new layer. Littered with dead and burning flesh; human flesh mangled with animal flesh almost in artistic depravity. A headless man had the head of a goat nestled on the severed throat in measured precision as if it were aligned. A disemboweled woman had a tuber of yam for large intestines with mashed red tomatoes for color and an amputated large bird with two right-legged limbs and male organ sprawled across the burning animal in a comical fashion.
Sounds of helicopter could be heard faintly approaching the burning community from the North and the fearless group in black hoods stood over the destruction, chanting loudly as they fired into already dead bodies, waiting for the helicopter with mounted PT-91 Twardy Battle Tank and a RPG-32 anti-tank grenade launcher. It was a fight to the finish and nothing was going to stop them.
The approaching military air vessels met their Waterloo the moment they became visible. Launch after launch, the men and vessels were blown apart. Hot dark flames falling from the skies as roar of jubilation filled the air in flagrant triumph. It was after all the fight for supremacy and the shredded bodies that lay on the streets and hanging on shrubs was evident that the end for the Nigeria State had come. The terrorists jumped into their trucks afterwards and drove away on human flesh flying their flags high while their cameraman filmed on.

*****

It was a black Tuesday as Nigerians sat across the country in front of their Televisions and watched as their country fell under siege. The live feeds coming from Adamawa and Borno states was nothing like they had seen as they saw lifeless bodies of men, women, children and animals littered callously in different communities so much that the citizens lost count of communities that had been captured, frightened and irked at the ruthlessly of the group. The live feeds looked the same in Gombi, Hong, Maiha and Demsa communities in Adamawa state. They watched as the terrorists butchered and beheaded, as the men in hoods summarily executed persons by shooting them straight in the head; they watched as the group destroyed abandoned military stations and took over their weapons and combat tanks, they watched as these men gunned down men who slept on walls, men who vowed to keep Nigeria safe, men in uniforms.
In what was the biggest terrorist attack in history of the country, the Boko Haram had staged series of suicidal bombings in different states in North East while engaging in full combat with foot soldiers and blowing up helicopters in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States as soon as they were sighted.
It was a show of barbaric dominance and it was clear what needed to be done.
The need to show force, a change in Government.

*****

Jafal swirled the cold drink in his glass, the ice cubes connecting with the glass to give a faint clinking sound. He held the remote control in his hand and raised it to increase the volume the moment the face of his puppet filled his large screen.
“We have taken over your country, your community, your government and your military. Yes, you said we could not, I say to you, you underestimated the power of Allah. Allah gives victory and He has given us victory because we fight, we fight a just cause to free our land from sin, the sin of the West. Today we tell you there is no hiding place for you. We shall fight and we shall win. We have taken over Gwoza, Biu, Chibok….we are winning. It is just the beginning. President Obama, you underestimated us. Come and stop us. We are coming for you. Yes, we shall come for your daughters, your wives and your sons. We are coming to you now. Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!! It was a hooded Yakubu who was known as Abu Bakr al-Shafik to the populace. The country had woken up to celebrate the end of the 30 days fasting but now it lay burning.
Jafal changed the channel and the flood of headlines and calls for resignation of the President took over international and local airways.
Nigeria terror: Boko Haram takes over government – CNN
Over 10,000 persons massacred in Nigeria, Boko Haram is the new government – Al Jazeera
War declared in Nigeria, Nigeria state falls to Boko Haram, casualty rising – BBC
Resignation call: President Jang to resign – NNTA
“I would say this was our biggest victory yet” Jafal said dropping the remote control and smiling wickedly to the man who sat beside him anxiously biting on a cigar.
“I would say” Bello answered, distracted. He knew something was wrong but for the first time, he had no idea what possibly could go wrong. He casually picked up his phone and sent a text. A reply came in almost immediately. Lazily, he nodded to himself and relaxed. He was Bello Badmus after all, nothing could go wrong.
But it was all coming to an end, even for Bello Badmus.

*****
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

All Episodes here. Share, Comment, Enjoy.

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Enjoy your weekend.

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Countdown of Ex-Boyfriend’s Gifts

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Hey guys!
Had a nice weekend? Stressful morning? Thought to post funny article for your lunch break….
Do not hesitate to comment or add your list…

Countdown of Ex-Boyfriend’s Gifts by @UnenAmeji

So it is a Sunday and I am going through my wardrobe. Music playing in background, clothes all around and I am tripping on shoes, brushes, books and toiletries. Definitely chaos in my room and this dude down here – Leo is responsible for most of it. He makes sure I have more work to do than necessary.

Leonardo in his element

Leonardo in his element


Sidebar: If you are in a relationship and have issues giving gifts, you should not be in one. Needless to say you won’t be remembered when it ends (trust me it ends with me sooner than later) or rather you’d be remembered for the measly rat that you are. #AkaGum
Without much ado, here are gifts received in no particular order;
1. House Still pending
2. Car Still pending
3. Diamonds Still pending
4. Exotic Trip Still pending
5. Spa session Still pending
6. Brazilian Hair Still pending (I will sell it and buy more shoes since I don dey eye dreadlocks)
7. Cash – millions Hundreds of thousands
8. Books e.g Monster by Frank Peretti _ never going to read it. (I am willing to trade it for book on Nigerian Slavery though- contact me at @UnenAmeji on twitter)
9. Sony Camera (Had an artistic phase and he suffered the consequences – sorry)
10. Mobile phones (Nokia, Blackberries – change phones a lot)
11. Part of Laptop (We saved for it – cute no?)
12. Bottles of Perfumes (Seems like I’m cursed with this one)
13. Hand bags (Had some ugly matured ones though..kai)
14. Shoes (Kitten heels – Maka Why! And ah, the cute twin slippers family members decided it was for public use – beefing)
15. Biggest pant (knickers) I have – Mr. I.I
16. Smallest pant (knickers) I have – Mr. I.I
17. Smallest bra I have – Mr. I.I ….(Don’t know what he was thinking)
18. Wristwatches (constant K)
19. Blouses, T-Shirts and Tank Tops (some hideous blouses – it’s a challenge to wear)
20. Jean trousers (Faded – don’t know how new)
21. Night wear (There is one I have worn to shreds…damn too comfy and makes me feel really sexy…hehehe)
22. Running shoes – (I would rather have a personal trainer)
23. Jewelry – (Leo found the box and had a little session with some, sis-moi swept the most recent one into the bin – she denies this allegation with straight face)
24. 1 no. fresh Rose flower (I hated the thought, I loved the gesture – it was romantic *kissed and I tried to preserve it _ No such luck )
25. Ah! Boxers (I steal borrow and don’t return – wearing one as I type)
26. Traditional outfits and Ankara fabrics (traditional outfit looked too serious – like a married woman with 8 children – nah)
27. Eye glasses (Looked like I was trying too hard to be hip and young – gave it out)
28. Weed – admirer (to treat glaucoma for a close relative – I SWEAR I didn’t take it)
29. Chess board – admirer (can’t find it but can play it _ thanks Mr. U)
30. Vintage piece of furniture – bribe from informal recruiter (long story)
31. Sweater (more appropriate name should be furnace)
32. Towel (lovely until you want to wash it – wet blanket is lighter)
P.S – The above list excludes lunches, dinners, cinema dates, air time and driving lessons from my two and a half boyfriends. Items in plural indicate gifts were given on numerous occasions. I may have left out some gifts…perhaps an updated list? If I am jobless again.
Unsolicited advice: Give good gifts _ I do……..it keeps the memory alive. I see some of these things now and remember these men and wonder what life would have been like with them and then again I remember why it was never going to work. Lessons learnt, growing days and forging ahead. I don’t remember measly men as a rule. And while we are still at giving gifts, be wary of men who don’t give gifts because they feel and tell you “you are a rich and independent woman”. Most often than not, they are just there to feel vacuum, waste your time and get what they can from you. Even a rich “independent” woman deserves a real man who will impress and give her meaningful gifts.

While I would like to continue making the list, ‘travel down memory lane’ and give unsolicited advice, I have got to clean and get back to writing the Gentlemen’s Club series. So….drop your comments, your lists and unsolicited advice.

Gentlemen's Club ....Anonymous.Front page

Get the first of the series Here if you haven’t.…consider it as a gift or helping a determined writer raise funds to publish her big book….

I am off to continue cleaning….

Nice week!

Read Gentlemen’s Club Excerpts Here 18+ #Erotica #Suspense #Fiction

Love on the 25th. Episode 14

Read Previous Episodes of Love on the 25th by Uneñ Ameji Here

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Debbie

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

****
Love on the 25th is written by Uneñ Ameji; Author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger. Get a copy. She is @UnenAmeji

All Fun and Games. Series Finale

Happy Holidays! All Fun and Games by award winning writer Tomi Adesina comes to an end today….but the story does not end just yet… Get the eBook All-Fun-And-Games-The-eBook-Tomi-Adesina to complete engaging love story.

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ALL FUN AND GAMES – EPISODE 13

“Except if a grown man has become too tiny to find, I suggest we stop wasting our time.” Moira said as she shot a glance at a busy Aisha. Aisha wouldn’t budge as she looked behind the couch. “Aisha….” Moira stressed as she watched her friend search hopelessly.
Aisha pushed the couch aside and made for the inner house. She had to find something. Anything. She needed to find something that would assure her that the game was still on and far from over. She needed to be sure that Craig had not walked out of her life forever. The apartment was as clean as new. Even the plates in the kitchen were washed and stacked! Behind her façade, she had hoped that something meaningful might come out of this relationship and that moment when she ‘thought’ that Craig actually proposed to her seemed to be the turning point. He had captured her heart behind the piles of their lies and deceit. However, she was alone in those fantasies and dreams. Craig had been the real player all along. There was a game plan and he stuck to it. She took her seat on the edge of Craig’s bed as she stared at the hollow room. She took a deep breath as she cast her mind to the few moments she had shared with Craig. They were moments that she knew she had to cherish forever, they had gone and were gone forever.
Her heart pulsed at almost the same rate as the day that she had crashed into Craig’s arm in tears. She closed her eyes as she relived the moments of his heart close to hers. She knew his heart did beat that day. She knew that for that moment they were locked in an embrace, there was no game player among them. There was no leader. It was just two helpless people in the room in an embrace, needing each other.
She wiped a tear drop from her face as she thought of her best moment with Craig. A moment she thought marked the end of their folly. A moment that she had believed was the turning point for them. He had proposed to her. Craig’s victory was not in his ring or in his suit. She had seen it in his eyes that day. For sure, she had seen the wrong thing. The man she fell for was a first class con artist. The combination of a thief, liar and a loner. He had all the attributes to sway any woman. She acknowledged his physical attributes but wasn’t totally smitten by them. The moments that welled in her was when he reached to her loneliness and sealed them. For that, she was grateful. But then, she couldn’t believe he was gone, that he couldn’t even stay and make what was a lie seem real and be real. Her intention was to tell Craig how she felt about him. There would be no need for that now, at least, she now knew how he felt about her. Not everyone could really find true love. For women like her, there was no true love. She had tried it and it went wrong. How did she ever fall in love? Aisha’s heart was filled with questions that needed to be answered. A song lyric had spelt love to be ‘a beautiful thing’. There was nothing beautiful about how she felt. She felt defeated, sad and most of all, weak. She had been too weak with Craig, she had let him creep in effortlessly to her heart and the mighty amazon without love did finally beat for another.
She wept.
Moira took a deep breath as she watched her best friend cry without holds. Aisha wasn’t fighting back tears or wiping them off classically. She was bleeding out her emotions the only way her eyes could. She was in tears and Moira knew this was the Aisha that she might have been proud to have under another circumstances, but right now, her friend was hurting and hurting badly. Moira joined Aisha on the bed. As she reached out to Aisha, she turned away and buried herself in the pillow. Aisha wanted to cry. Maybe it was best to let her cry at this moment. Moira could only watch as her friend cried.
Crying had never been Aisha’s style. She would just sit at the piano and let it all out with hard strokings of the chords until she had started to sweat. Crying seemed good and Moira wasn’t about to ruin one of their best moments. For Moira, she had found a new angle to taunt Aisha from. For Aisha, she had learned how to heal. Moira drew the sheets over Aisha as the loud tears declined gradually to the sob phase and eventually she couldn’t hear anything. Aisha was asleep. She had cried for over an hour. Moira stared at the dried marks from the tears that had formed on Aisha face and shook her head sadly.

++++****++++
Bolu stared outside the window and let out a huge roar. He smiled as his voice echoed into the distance. He paused again and let out another roar and he continued until the fifth time. He smiled at Craig. “You might want to try it, it’s refreshing.”
“Keep that up and they are going to be sending Security up here in no time.” Craig replied as he sipped his drink.
Bolu smiled as he took his seat beside Craig. “How do you feel? You own so much money right now. Aisha was good business.”
Craig dropped his glass and walked over to the window. “I am ashamed.”
“Ashamed? Bro! No one would be ashamed to have the money you have right now.” Bolu replied as he joined Craig at the window. “Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Poverty is gone forever!” he shouted.
“I am not proud of it.” Craig replied.
Bolu tapped him. “Guy! Why you dey do like this na? Money is money o! You worked for this one! After all, you’ve gone everywhere with her, appeared on papers, at least, she won’t be tagged as a woman who never had any man and it is all thanks to you.”
“I stole this money. I didn’t work for it.” He replied as he bent over the window. “Besides, Aisha doesn’t need to beg for a man. She is a woman who needed real love. The best she could find.”
Bolu chuckled. “Well, she chose the wrong guy for the job. Dude, I think we can hire some men to look for Vicky for you, now that you have some cash to spare, I mean, she is a good girl and maybe you can actually care about her too.”
“Never.”
“Why not? She loves you. You just have to love her back. Simple.”
Craig shook his head. “Never happening.”
“Are you feeling remorseful about this Aisha thing? That babe isn’t bothered, you dey kill yourself. Her money flows.”
Craig ignored him and took a seat.
“When you hype prices for people in the mall and make some profit, what do you call it?”
Craig stared at him. “Business.”
Bolu nodded. “Do you feel sorry afterwards?”
“No. Why should I?” Craig replied.
Bolu smiled. “Well, this is business, bro. You shouldn’t feel bad.” He said grinning. “Business, bro! Good business!”
“Aisha might have been business, but she stopped being business for me.” Craig replied almost inaudibly but loud enough for Bolu to hear.
Bolu’s smile faded as he stared at Craig’s face. Craig wasn’t looking like the guy who pinned down his feminine conquest for fun and without remorse. He was looking far from the guy who was on a mission to get the best out of Aisha Bello and run. It was typical for most guys to change their minds once deep into such relationships, but Craig didn’t – not even when a father pleaded. He might have felt pity for Aisha, but he still had his intent straight. Bolu took a deep breath. “What’s going on, Craig?”
“I care about Aisha. I want to be there for her, I want to fight for her. I want to protect her. I want to love her. I want to be her friend, confidant and lover. I want to be the man she wakes up and sees, the man who kisses her to sleep, I want to be everything in her life. I just want to be the one in her life.” Craig blurted. Bolu’s jaw was agape as he listened to Craig. Craig took a deep breath as he stared at Bolu. “I love her.”
“Oh no…” Bolu said as he slumped into the chair.
Craig wiped his forehead. “I don’t know what happened to me. I swear. It just happened. I can’t explain how I feel about Aisha.”
“Then why did you take the money?” Bolu asked.
Craig stared at him confusingly. “You told me to.”
Bolu stuttered. “Clearly, I didn’t know you felt this strong about her. Why didn’t you just come clean?”
“Come clean? Aisha Bello? How do you come clean before a woman that is almost perfect? What kind of love do I have to offer her?”
Bolu shrugged. “Your imperfection.”
“Imperfection?”
Bolu nodded. “Beautiful imperfections.”
“Oh God…” Craig said as he buried his head in his hands.
“I am sorry I pushed you, but I thought you got this covered.”
“Love happened.”
Bolu smiled as he took a seat. He watched Craig as he stroked his forehead. Bolu started to snicker. Craig stared at him as Bolu had now exploded into what seemed like a mocking laugh.
“What is it?” Craig asked.
Bolu struggled to catch his breath. “Look at you, man. I can’t recognize you. ‘I want to love her, I want to be her friend, confidant, and lover…I want to be the man she wakes up and sees and blah blah blah. You sound like a sixteen year old boy. Have you been watching those Mexican soaps?”
Craig smiled faintly as he tried to turn his face from Bolu.
“Oh my gosh! You love her!” Bolu shouted.

++++****++++
“Here’s some water.” Moira said as she handed Aisha a glass of water.
Aisha stared at the glass. “What is the water supposed to do for me?”
“Err…Water regulates Homeostasis.” Moira said proudly. “I am your fairy godmother.”
Aisha nodded. “Turns out that’s the only thing you must remember from school.” She replied as she set the glass on the side table. “Since you are playing fairy godmother, you might as well serve me something real to eat.”
“Water is the appetizer.”
Aisha rolled her eyes. “Water? Appetizer? Where did you learn that from? Moira’s special cookery book for idiots?”
Moira pinched her. “Easy on me. I am being nice to you.”
Aisha smiled. “Thank you. But, what I need now is my money.”
“What money?”
Aisha stared at her. “The money that Craig-fine-faced-robber stole from me.”
Moira smiled as she took her seat beside Aisha. “What did you dream about when you slept?”
“Nothing.”
Moira raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure? This is a plan for you to see Craig again, right?”
“Why would I want to see a thief again? For your information, I am over him.”
Moira smiled. “It doesn’t take a genie to know that you can’t fall out of love in a day. So, keep that lie to yourself, darling.”
“I don’t care what you say, right now. I am going to work this out.” Aisha replied, getting off the bed.
Moira nodded. “What plans do you have to recover your money?”
“I have none yet. But I want you to think of it.”
Moira shook her head. “No, I am not very proud of playing a part in that sham we did. Even though Alhaji hasn’t directly confronted me, I know he is really disappointed in me, so, I don’t want to have to think of anything now.”
“What are you afraid of? Is your mind so full of filth that you can’t birth a clean plan?” Aisha asked with a smile.
Moira smiled back. She had a light Aisha with her. “I know you still want to see Craig.”
“A part of me wants to see him and ask him lots of questions and afterwards slap him.” Aisha replied.
Moira nodded. “That’s all? You forgot something. After the slap…”
“Then kiss him.” Aisha replied.
Moira smiled. “Okay, so do we set our dogs on his trail? I assure you they’ll comb him out from wherever he is hiding on the surface of the earth.”
“Why don’t we declare him wanting by reporting him to the police?” Aisha asked with a grin.
Moira frowned. “Aisha? Do you know what that means?”
Aisha shrugged. “He becomes more popular by gracing newspapers and magazines.”
“No, ma. You, my friend, become the ridicule of the town for having a scammer as a fiancée. I am assuming you forgot the society knows about the both of you. We are going private on this one.” Moira replied.
Aisha nodded. “But what if they can’t find him? There are no numbers to call or places to go, he’s disappeared into the thin air.”
“Well, we just have to trust our guys to find him for us. I believe they will.”
Aisha wanted to see Craig again. She knew she might not have the words to say if they eventually did meet again and she might feel low of herself realizing that she had wasted her time loving a man that only wanted her for the game, but, she would take her chances. She would want to see him again, even if it is before…she throws him in jail.
“Any word from Alhaji yet?” Moira asked, jolting Aisha out of her thoughts.
Aisha shook her head. “I apologized to him and I really hope that he could forgive me.”
“I know he will. I believe he doesn’t hold it too much to heart.” Moira replied.
Aisha rolled her eyes. “Why did he will all my fortune to my child?”
“Be grateful, at least, he didn’t will it to an outsider.” Moira replied with a smile.
“Dad is pissed at me. I worked hard to earn all what the family has. Why did he have to that to me?”
Moira smiled. “He is only securing the future of your baby. I would do anything to be born of you right now.” Moira added with a grin. “Where’s Hakeem?”
“Why are you asking me?”
“Maybe because I think he would have tried to contact you?”
Aisha fetched her phone from her purse. “He hasn’t and I haven’t either. Do you want to speak to him?”
“No. But, I have a feeling that Hakeem might just be…you know?” Moira added with a grin.
Aisha rolled her eyes. “Where are you heading with this, Moira?”
“I am only suggesting something that might be a possibility, the reality of which, we have closed our eyes.”
Aisha smiled. “No, we haven’t closed our eyes. I have closed my eyes to it, you still have your eyes open and you are still very much ‘legally’ single. So, who knows?” Aisha asked as she walked away.

++++****++++
Bolu joined Craig in the living room. “What have you decided?”
“I don’t know. I can’t keep running like a coward.”
Bolu nodded. “But you can’t act like a fool either. Right now, you have bruised one of the most powerful families and I am sure that they will have their guns blazing for you.”
Craig took a deep breath. “I need to talk to Aisha.”
“It won’t be easy to go and see her. Why don’t you call her? Maybe you both can arrange to meet somewhere and clear this up.”
Craig shrugged. “That might be an option, but I can’t call her. I want to do things well and do them right.”
“I just think that going to her is like walking into a trap riht now. There would be police everywhere looking for you. We stole…I mean, you stole!” Bolu said with a smile.
Craig sighed. “Well, let them pick me up. I am going to her and I am going to tell her how sorry I am and how I feel about her.”
“She is not going to believe you and you know why?”
“Why? Because I stole some money?”
Bolu smiled. “It is not only about the money. Her father just willed to his grandchild, right? Do you think they are going to trust you with that?”
“You might have a point, but we all make mistakes and I have made mine and I am terribly sorry about it. Is that so hard?”
Bolu smiled. “It isn’t. Except that you are directing it to the wrong person. I am not Aisha.”
“What if she doesn’t want me?”
Bolu shrugged. “That’s a huge possibility and you have to understand the fact that she is not obligated to forgive you. So, whatever you do, try not to be your usual self.”
“And what is that?”
Bolu smiled. “Cocky. False humility is the new cool.”
“I care about her, nothing here is false.” Craig retorted, feeling offended.
Bolu nodded. “It’s a line I picked up, don’t take it personal.”
Craig took a deep breath and approached the door. “Wish me luck and if I don’t return.”
“Go and win the woman you love, don’t come back if you don’t win her heart.”
Craig stared at him.
“Well, the possibility of that is high, so, maybe don’t come back at all, I can enjoy some of your acquired riches.” Bolu said with a smile.
Craig showed him two cards. “I have them with me.” He replied and walked out.

++++****++++
Aisha handed some files to Alhaji Ibrahim. “We have good returns here, Sir.”
“I’ll look at them after lunch. Do you want to go to lunch with me?”
Aisha smiled. “Thank you, Dad. But, I am going with Moira.”
“That’s okay by me, I’ll just see you after lunch then before the next meeting.”
She nodded. “Okay, sir.”
“When are we discussing the details of your break up to the press?”
“Details?” Aisha asked, looking stunned.
He smiled. “At least, we have to let them know that there won’t be any wedding again…at least, not yet.”
“Dad, we’ll discuss after lunch. Bye.” Aisha replied and hurried out.
Alhaji took his seat and stared at Aisha’s picture on his table. The door opened after a few minutes and Craig stood before him. “What??? Why are you here?”
Craig blinked as he approached Alhaji. “Sir, I am deeply sorry for disappointing you.” He said.

****

Tomi Adesina is a fiction writer and also a screenwriter.
She blogs weekly at https://tomiadesina.wordpress.com & http://tommyslav-island.blogspot.com. She has previously completed “PLEASE BREAK MY HEART” and “DEAR FUTURE HUSBAND” (which also has an eBook adaptation), “BROKEN…OR NOT?” And recently, “ALL FUN AND GAMES”
Her Fiction blog, Tommyslav’s Island, was nominated under the Best Writing Blog of the Nigerian Blog Awards in 2012. She went on to win the Best Writing Blog Award (Judges’ choice) in 2013.
As a Screenwriter, she wrote the first season for the hit TV series, DEADLINE which aired on DSTV’s cable network Ebony Life TV. She also co-wrote episodes for a Ghanaian TV series, BROADWAY. She hopes to have her works adapted for film and Television in the nearest future.
Twitter: @tomi_adesina @tommyslavisland
Blog: http://tommyslav-island.blogspot.com http://tomiadesina.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moradeadesina

Love on the 25th. Episode 13

Read Previous Episodes of Love on the 25th by Uneñ Ameji Here

Episode 13

****
Vince

The cold marble floor as I paced the dimly lit room in my socks
had me reaching for the A.C remote as I waited for the man that had mysteriously disappeared for two weeks. Two long weeks! And then he had magically reappeared last night and John, Harold’s manager at the lounge had contacted me immediately as demanded. Debbie and Kole had suddenly gone off the radar after a shocking interview a day after our glorious tryst – both looking at each other with adoring eyes and radiant smiles. Debbie looked flawless and a masked countenance that I knew too well was her poker face or was it me hoping she was under duress? Kole seemingly ecstatic at the ‘love’ questions caressed her as much as possible and even had the balls to kiss her! I wanted to hit the roof.
Series of calls and emails to Debbie were left unanswered and Sandra worked tirelessly on her seduction plan. I moved into my private quarters in Asokoro after I found her waiting for me in bed naked. I wasn’t interested and the fact that she would think I wanted sex as payment for good deeds done in the past was appalling. Restless and doubtful, I knew something was wrong – had gone wrong. Debbie was not going to marry Kole after what we had, was she? The possibility distracted me from work and the first executive meeting was the fastest in the history of the Group.
Now waiting for his arrival, I moved around the large room wondering what was taking him so long. A Saturday morning with less traffic, I had expected him sooner. Just then the sound of the gate opening and motorcycle filled the quiet compound as I walked out to the balcony of the 2 bedroom condo on the 3rd floor and waved him up. I made to it door in split second and stood with the door opened.
“Good Morning Sir” it was Caleb, a little slant of shoulders, he gave my breakfast with his right hand as he struggled to catch his breath from the climb up.
“Come in. Close the door behind you” I said leaving the door open for him to come in. Momentarily suspicious, I caught him looking inside the room before stepping in.
“Your package Sir” he said extending the sweet smelling pancakes.
“You can leave it on the table. I have a couple of questions I need to ask you” I said rather impatient, my eyes fixed on him. He looked a bit alarmed and then the look was gone.
“Yes sir” he said meekly going to the 2-seater dinning table, turning his head to look at me as he went. I took a seat and I motioned him to do the same as he returned.
“Do you know her?” I asked after he finally found the courage to sit and I passed him a picture of Debbie on my iPhone gotten from Sandra’s Facebook account. The picture taken probably at a party had Debbie laughing out loud at a joke with the girls. She looked refreshingly happy and I found myself glancing at it as often times as I could.
“No sir” he said barely looking at the photo. It was almost as if he was expecting the question.
“Have a second look” I pressed, zooming on her face. He didn’t miss a beat…he simply stared at me and shook his head. He knew without looking who I was referring to out of the five faces.
“I have never seen her” his eyes staring right at me but his Adam’s apple told a different story.
“I asked if you know her, not seen her” I corrected firmly.
“If I have never seen her, how can I know her Sir” he was playing smart and annoyingly so.
“Of course” I nodded, eyes resting heavily on him.
“I don’t suppose you would like to chat with some of my uniformed friends” I said easily.
“No Sir” he was looking around the flat helplessly now.
“I ask you again. Do you know her?”
“Alama” he said almost in a whisper.
“What?”
“She was my wife”
“..Was your wife” I repeated, disbelieving.
“My wife, she is…was my wife Sir” he looked restless, a bit fearful.
“How is that possible?” heat rising up my neck.
“No, we married, like that, it was in registry” he sounded confused and incorrect.
“Of course you were married!” what was this clown saying? He was speaking but not communicating. It looked like he had a lot to say and couldn’t compose himself because he was afraid. Afraid of what? I had to find out and fast too. I didn’t like where this was going.
“Yes. We were but she died” his eyes avoided mine.
“She died” I chuckled with a grunt. This man was either clueless or there was more to the story.
“No sir, Yes sir, Sir, I really don’t know what happened to her Sir” he was speaking louder now. I nodded. He definitely knew more than he was letting.
“And what did you call her?”
“Alama, Alama” he repeated looking at me.
“Alama” I called slowly, tasting the name on my tongue.
“Please Sir, I am begging you. I am sorry…it was the devil’s work and it was my past” he was soon on his knees and I was at a loss for words.
A simple question had turned to a full blown confession – however scanty and I was hardly prepared for it.
I dialed Umar.

****
Caleb Hontal – 1998

You don pay the money wey you dey owe Baba D?” It was Taiwo in between thick puffs. It was a cold Saturday and I was free to go about my business since Oga Fred was out of town. My Oga Fred was married to an Edo woman who didn’t like life in her state but would rather stay in Lagos with the children. She was indirectly encouraging her husband to bring University girls home because Oga Fred didn’t look like he could keep it zipped and I wondered what possessed her to trust him especially since she called the house often to keep tabs on her husband. I liked Madam Joyful because she was nice to have around and food was always in abundance but I was indebted to Oga Fred. He was after all my employer, benefactor and gave me the go ahead to have his women after he finished with them. Other days, he brought untouched ones for my pleasure if he was particularly pleased with my chores or for being discreet. My Oga was the best Oga and nothing Madam gave me or bribed me with could loosen my tongue. Oga Fred’s women were non-existent as far as I was concerned.
Madam, Oga no be dat kine man” I’d swear on the phone or in person when she came for holidays touching the earth and raising my guilty fingers to the heavens.
In all the drama, I had a large family and as the first boy, I had the sole responsibility of sending money to my mother who didn’t care how I got it. Taking loan from Baba D was only natural after I was introduced to the “peacemaker’s club”. The club was a den of borrowers and a dark mean lord known as Baba D ruled with fear. I had borrowed a time too many and now the richest old man as popularly called was looking for me like lice for his Fifty Thousand Naira. Oga Fred wasn’t going to give me any extra money because I had exhausted my credit limit with him and lately, he wasn’t so pleased with my chores. Madam had nearly caught him just last week when she came in unannounced and I had taken off my clothes and joined the naked girl just in time.
What was I going to do now? I kept the talks loud and raps solid about having some ‘big’ money soon – a lie I kept telling to buy time before I was roasted alive like the Ofure who had disappeared to Kano but was found out and dealt with. With Baba D, there was no hiding place.
Mehn, na so I see am o” I said as I took a little puff from his cigarette and handed it back. The second son of my poor father, I had left the house when I was 17 because I had 13 direct siblings and father was taking a third wife. With just eight years of schooling, I headed to my Uncle’s place in Benin City and he had found me a cleaner’s job at Oga Fred’s office. Soon, he brought me home as his house keeper and I had been living with him for 8 years.
“You have to settle the old man. I hear say he dey kill him debtors o. Suggest say make you get him some cash before your call up” Taiwo advised as we rounded up on the cigarette.
He had come around for breakfast knowing I was home alone.
I go pay” I said scratching my head as I went to get some boiled yam.
Hours later, Taiwo and I headed to the market with a whole tuber of yam laid to rest in our bulging bellies and there she was, standing across the street in a long black gown that seemed to flow endlessly, giving her the illusion of a matured woman ready to be plucked. Taiwo caught me staring and laughed.
“That is Alama, and if your P dey scratch you, better find Chichi o because I hear say she sharp pass razor” he sneered. Taiwo, the general adviser said again following my eyes. She was sweet and innocent, eyes darting and avoiding mine as she noticed she had become the subject of my slow appraisal. Quickly moving through the deserted street, she entered a house I came to know as hers 9 blocks away from mine. If there was girl who I wanted more than anything, it was Alama. I was in love.
I took to strolling by her house when Oga Fred was out or traveled, I waited to see her as she walked by and called her to corners for talks, offered to help her carry her baskets but she would not give me the time of day – evasive and rude, brushing me off before I took two steps close. The break came one cold Sunday night. Oga Fred was due to come back Monday and so I stayed out late with the boys at Mama Bose’s joint drinking on my heavy account. I had no idea when I was going to pay – if I was going to pay. I knew she was simply going to embarrass me one day and throw me out but until she did, I was a customer and enjoyed the benefits.
Stumbling down the eerily lit street a little drunk but conscious, I stopped to take a leak at her gate just for fun. As I held my trousers and made to unzip my fly, I suddenly noticed movement in the dry gutter and a face came into my blurry view. Alama.
She was sitting up with legs spread in front of her in the dark empty gutter at 1am and if not because I had stopped at the gate to take a leak, I’d have missed her frame.
“There is someone here” she said and I jerked, turning back to quickly zip my trousers.
“What! What are you doing there?” I asked turning around to face her.
“Going to bed obviously” she said in crisp English lying down back.
“In the gutter? At this time of the night?”
She didn’t give a reply.Forgetting I had full bladder to empty, I stood wondering what she was doing in the gutter in front of her house at that time in the night.
“Is everything ok? Were you locked out?” I finally found a reason. She still didn’t answer.
“Let me knock so that you can go in” I said after another minute of silence.
“Can you just go away?” She said in a whisper. I didn’t. Too tired to continue standing, I decided to seat on the tarred road with her but she shot up so fast with a cutlass I had not noticed, I moved backed.
“Hey!!! Be careful” I raised my hands in surrender and for the first time I saw fear in her eyes.
“What do you want? Don’t come near me” She was backing away and I saw a bag when she moved out of the gutter.
“Where are you going? What is wrong?” I asked, suddenly afraid for her. Something was wrong but a proud chin, pressed forward declared she was traveling out of town.
“Running away looks more like it” I said under my voice.
“Don’t say anything to anyone” she raised a little finger to warn me.
“And what if I do?” I said going to knock on her gate. She was out of my sight with her bag and down the street in long strides. There was one option I followed in hot pursuit.
Catching up with her, she fought for her bag and I fought for control.
“Stop! Stop!” I said, struggling with her. She stopped, breathing high and looking around as if someone had seen her.
“Please let me go” she begged trying to dislodge my fingers from her bag.
“I will. First tell me what is wrong” and then she broke down in tears. Crying and trying unsuccessfully to stop, she let me hold her while she cried, sniffing and trying to keep the tears from falling. Without a word, I picked her bag and helped her to the 1bedroom Boys Quarter I was staying.
She was quiet as we reached and had assumed a position I knew as suspicious.
“Don’t worry. I won’t take advantage of you” I said in good English, trying to impress her.
“Ok” she sniffed as I moved around the space without aim.
“How old are you?” I asked as I took a seat far from her. She was standing by the door with hands folded and eyes alert.
“16” she voiced and stared at me in a challenge.
“16? Wow” I couldn’t believe it. She had the body of a 20 year old – her flawless skin, perky bosom and evident curves even in the long gown. She always wore gowns.
“Please don’t tell anyone you saw me” she said after a while, looking uncertain.
“I won’t” and she nodded. We stared at each other for a while.
“What is your name?” She asked dropping her hands.
“Caleb”
“Ok. My name is …..”
“Alama. I know” a little surprised, she looked around the room.
“It is late. You can sleep in here. I am going to …. ” I looked around and she watched me.
“I will go and sleep in the main house. My Oga is not around. Please lock the door” I said and was out before she decided to go sprinting again. I was dizzy now and needed a bed to sleep off the exotic liquid in my stomach. I reached the main house soon enough but decided against going to check if she decided to run away. If anything, I knew was running away and I had to earn her trust.
The next days were quiet but definitely worth it. She lived in my room, not stepping out but watching my movements with eyes wide whenever I came in and eating only after I had taken a spoonful of food.
“You know I am not going to bite right?” I asked putting on my English tongue. With her, I was a different person and wanted to be proper.
“Yes” she answered and for the first time in 3 days she smiled.
“Are you not supposed to be in school?” I asked sitting in the kitchen. She was a little relaxed now and didn’t mind having me around.
“No” was a short reply and she went back into her shell.
A week later, we had turned to ‘friends’ and talked about movies we had watched and places we had traveled to. She kept asking if her parents were looking for her and I said no mostly because I had an agenda. I wanted her and was beginning to fall for her or so I thought. But the truth was that the street was filled with her picture and her ‘white’ mother had come from ‘Overseas’ and was seen for the first time asking for her daughter. We were told her father had a new African wife who didn’t want Alama in the house and so the girl had either committed suicide because she was rejected or ran away. I didn’t offer the truth even when the white sad woman had placed her picture in my hand and asked if I had seen her daughter. I shook my head. Two days later, we heard the white woman had shot her husband and new wife dead and was on the run. Telling Alama that her mother had committed murder was hard and if she came out now, the police would pick her up. It was best she remained missing.
Another week and we were sleeping on the same bed, talking about nothing but dreams and aspirations. She didn’t tell me why she was running or where she was going to. Few days later, we ended up naked and I was surprised at the tears dripping from the corners of her eyes as I pumped away without a sheath, too late to stop.
We were back to strangers after that and then Baba D happened. A broken nose and few body cuts from his boys, I was left with her to heal and a 7 day ultimatum to payback. I was at the end of my rope and had to act. I waited for Oga Fred to travel the weekend after the attack, sold couple of his belongings, settled a larger part of the debt and kept the balance for myself and new responsibility – Alama.
She knew what I was doing but she didn’t say a word; looking as I moved around and sold Oga Fred’s belongings without thought. My life was better than all his belongings put together and I was willing to keep it.
“I am leaving Benin” I had told her Saturday night knowing Oga Fred was returning in the morning.
“I will follow you” she had declared and we were off in the middle of the night a month after I had found her in the gutter. A stop at the Registry had us our changing names, declaring age and out of character decided to get married. Ecstatic and happy, we moved from town to town until we reached Ugeli…a ghostlike town and settled down in a slum after exhausting the remaining money from Oga Fred’s sales. We both wanted to be lost and we were weeks that followed were blissful, days of insistent sex even when she wasn’t up to it, I’d say it was her duty as a wife and she’d submit quietly then ignore me for few days and we will continue from where we stopped – the bedroom. And then she got pregnant.
That changed everything. I couldn’t believe she would allow herself get pregnant? I blamed her for carelessness and chastised myself for not taking more precaution. Why didn’t she tell me she was now menstruating? How could she? Knowing our condition? I was angry. I had to get the unfortunate being out, keep her to myself and had to do it without her knowing because she was excited at having a baby.
That was the beginning of spiking her food and drinks with diclofenac and ibuprofen with the hope of an early miscarriage but she progressed. What was I going to do with a child? I started a cocktail of Accutane and Mycophenolate after I told the sad tale to Dr. Ifeanyi – a pharmacist who had access to drugs at the General hospital in town but stayed in Ugeli. Known as the doctor from ‘Obodo-Oyinbo’, Dr. Ifeanyi soon became my friend and gave me what I needed to help his ‘new couple’. It was that or I’d have to start borrowing again. Nothing I gave her terminated the pregnancy and desperate for escape, I had gone back to drinking, waiting for the inevitable – a baby I didn’t want. Nights after nights, I stayed at the bar and found a new love interest – Bisi. Then I ran into a long friend of Taiwo from Benin. Needless to say, the next day, I was discovered by Baba D’s boys and was beaten mercilessly. Only a promise to give up Alama as a sex worker in his establishment had set me free because I was penniless at this point.
That afternoon as I walked back with pains all over my body ready to take my bags and run with Alama to a new town, I met a crowd at the red hut we called home. Alama was in labor and hours later had a still birth with Dr. Ifeanyi at the helm of affairs. I was more than relieved. The drugs worked but now she was too weak to run. I was torn between leaving her in that state or simply waiting it out. I decided to wait. Perhaps, they wouldn’t want a woman who had just given birth. The thought was comforting. She soon slept off out of exhaustion from the tears and injection Dr. Ifeanyi gave her and I snuck out to the joint shortly after.
They didn’t show up at the bar as agreed that night and so I went with Bisi – my new love interest to her room at the back of the joint. I drank all the beer I could possibly drink and slept off almost immediately. Bisi hated Alama because Alama was the only thing standing between us and made comments of making her go away so she’d have me to herself. I laughed it off and made good on the threat by pounding her sore in her little room where she serviced other of her sister’s customers.
Then my world came crashing down the very next day. The place where my hut was meant to be was burnt to the ground and red earth mixed with black ash was the only evidence of existence. What had happened? Did the neighbors see anything? Mama Goina said Alama may have died in the fire because they all came out and met an empty hut. I was relieved when I heard that because I was convinced Baba D had her but then ‘Collector’, Baba D’s first son had been found dead in the little stream down the house. Alama was not in Baba D’s custody and I was blamed for the death of Collector. Alama was either burnt to ashes or was simply gone.
Baba D had my left hand for the remaining part payment and I was handed me over to Oga Fred who was looking for me. I was left with the police for couple of weeks until Madam had come to my rescue. She promised to help only if I told her everything she needed to know about Oga Fred’s activities. Apparently, she had contracted HIV from her husband and she wanted to know who he had been sleeping with because he accused her of bringing the killer disease into their home. A deal was struck and I told her what she wanted to hear without mentioning I had sloppy seconds. She pulled some strings and I was out barely two months later. Without a hand and the clothes on my back, I was headed to Abuja – no man’s land. This time determined never to get caught again until I had seen her on TV. My Alama. She was older definitely but she still looked as she did at 16 years. And now, here I was kneeling before this man who held out her picture asking me if I knew her. Of course I did but she was my past and Pastor Biola said our past did not matter.
I had given my life to Christ and all things were now new.

*****
Love on the 25th is written by Uneñ Ameji; Author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger. Get a copy. She is @UnenAmeji

Love on the 25th. Episode 10

Read All Previous Episodes Here

Kole

The air stilled almost dramatically.
“And I thought the birthright exchange was farfetched”, she said calmly wiping the corners of her mouth; her cutlery resting like old African logs on the fine china. I knew dinner was over and I found myself drinking more of the content of my glass. I meant to let the evening slide without any drama, but the more I stared at her; her delicate hands, excellent frame, witty retorts: I was convinced she was exactly the kind of woman I needed for a wife and a business manager.
Debbie Black, a name in the Nigerian business world had come up last week at lunch with Goge Lawal….my Jewish friend with a Fulani mother and Irish Grandmother. We sure made a good team of mixed-blood men but Goge was going back to Israel and I needed a new manager for the African market. There was no picture of her on the internet, no social links and less than 200 words on the Zenith Group website.
“You sure about her?” I asked, skeptical.
“She is the only one I am going to give my job to”. A meeting with Mr. Fatasho, father’s bunk-mate in secondary school was set.
The moment she had stepped into his office with her strong sweet perfume and confident steps, I was sure Goge was unto something; and then she smiled, unapologetic of her sarcastic comments; I was suddenly in need of a wife.
I looked at her now and wondered if she was going to bite the bait. “I apologize for springing this on you. I didn’t mean to let it slip” I said taking in her calm demeanor.
“Of course” she said taking a sip of her glass, studying me over the rim.
“I take dinner is over?” I asked after a minute of awkward silence, distinct buzz of live electronics surrounding us.
“Not quite” she was looking at me intently.
“Not quite?” I drank some more.
“Why would you propose marriage to a total stranger? I know you are all about showmanship but getting married as a publicity stunt for your new collection and show is rather expensive, desperate” disapproval lacing her voice.
“I am surprised you know about my new collection. And no, this is not a publicity stunt. It is about managing my affairs. Putting my house in order” I stood up and went for some whiskey. Pouring a large glass, I took a hard gulp. It was time to spin a tale. She wasn’t biting.
“Listening” she said as I walked back to the dining table.
“I have 6 months to live. Lung Cancer. Impresario, the Farms, St.Gor….all you know of me is dying and I am afraid of losing it to the vultures I have as family” I said drawing out a chair to seat in front of her.
“Oh my God, are you serious?” she was sitting up now. I knew it was probably below the belt but I needed her on my team and as my wife. I didn’t need to marry her to have her take Goge’s place but she looked so good and was such a delight. I couldn’t pass her up. Moreover, I could use a divorce if it didn’t go as planned. Either way, it was a win-win.
“I need you to be my wife. That way you have a stake and I’d be sure you won’t betray me. I trust your professional judgment, you have an impressive résumé, a beautiful recluse, it won’t be difficult to take over my affairs, keep away my family and convince the press – of course – of your capacity” I said almost in a whisper.
“Take over your affairs? Don’t you have business partners? Friends?” she asked still looking at me with kind eyes.
“I am a man of one. I do not trust friends…moreover, I need a wife too” I supplied with a small painful smile.
“How long have you known?” her eyes misting. I hated to see her tears and stood up.
“Four months. It is the real deal Debbie. I’m done” I sounded pathetic but I didn’t care.
The room was quiet for a while.
“You need to think about this some more” her voice strained and low.
“I don’t have the luxury of time. You are the one”
“I don’t know what to say”
“Say yes?” I turned to face her as I emptied my glass and headed to bar for a refill.
“I can’t marry you” it was a bold statement.
I nodded.
“I have to go” she said, the sound of the bottle hitting the marble top between us.
I nodded.
“Try sucking on lemon after this glass” she said as she came to stand beside me, taking a healthy sip of my glass. I gave a sad chuckle.
“Thanks for dinner” our eyes fixed, I gave another sad smile, exhaling loudly.
“He will take you home” I said taking her hand as we walked out of the house.
Silently waiting for the driver to bring the car around, I tightened my grip on her hand and she held me back; her eyes rising to meet mine.
“Good night Debbie” little intimate caressing of her flawless cheek as my eyes roamed her face before depositing a dry peck on her opened lips. I couldn’t help myself. She jerked on contact.
I opened the door for her as the car came around and she was gone few minutes later. As if on cue, my phone rang. It was Goge.
“Did she say yes?” his voice edged with pain.
“She will”
“I don’t have time” he croaked
“I am wearing a wristwatch. Don’t die on me” and I cut the call before it got more emotional. Goge was dying of lung cancer and there was nothing neither of us could do about it.

****
Debbie

The unusual request left me stunned and emotionally drained as his ‘black’ driver took me home. I couldn’t believe a man – Kole McGregor was dying and in need of a wife to keep his family off his fortune. The fact that I didn’t like his guts before now didn’t matter anymore and it seemed as if the universe was putting me in position to ‘save’ the life I had taken.
Was this a chance to make things right or simply a test? Was accepting to marry the specie I so detested some kind of sign that I was healed of Androphobia or just a mockery of my existence – all I have fought against. Will he want an heir? Want to have sex with me? A contract maybe? I didn’t ask why he was bent on making sure his family got nothing but the thought of marrying him was unthinkable as it was appealing. What was his business empire like? And why did he pick me? What if his family were flesh eaters? I wasn’t going to be part of a snake fest. Was I? Questions swirling in my head.
‘Marry Kole. Lung cancer. Marry Kole. Lung cancer. Marry Kole. Lung cancer’…the continuous repeat had me hugging myself as her memories washed over me. Mrs. Thomas had died of lung cancer…I was thrown out of the house that night after three years of feeling safe..…I closed my eyes tighter to block out the memory; stopping my misting eyes. ‘Lung cancer, Lung cancer, Lung cancer’…the repeat was back on and I let it play out as I stared out of the window helplessly. Somehow, I knew the time had come for me to stop running and the thought of stopping was terrifying.
The house was quiet and imposing as usual as I got down from the car, hugging myself and walking slowly to the door. The unholy image of Vince on Sandra flashed before my eyes as I looked at his apartment. I wasn’t sure what I felt for him but he gave pretty good kisses and I was always putty in his hands but if he wanted Sandra, he could have her. I was tired of the conflicting emotions he brought into the room every single time and the last thing I needed was a love triangle and aching body parts.
The climb to my room was slow and exhausting. Undressing slowly with my door wide opened, I thought of Kole, Vince, Caleb…my impromptu marriage proposal…..
“Shouldn’t you be undressing with a closed door?” the voice I had gotten used to said almost in a drawl and I found my body responding shamelessly. An increased heartbeat, constricting nubs, tightening stomach muscles….this was absurd! I turned around. He stood at the door with hands in cotton pants and eyebrows burrowed in concentration as I approached him in nothing but my bra and panties. I must have looked like some star from the adult movies. I felt his eyes all over my body as I came to stand in front of him in white lace bra and black lace panties. “Shouldn’t you be in your house?” I retorted, engaging him in a stare match before closing my door firmly in his face. It was a while before I heard the front door slam close.
Climbing into bed and staring at the ceiling with shoes on, I finally decided. I was ready to step into the light.
I was going to marry Kole McGregor.

****

(4 weeks later)
****
Vince
At first, the news didn’t sound just about right. It was headline gossip and had the ladies scrolling their phones at the reception.‘Kole McGregor, confirmed billionaire bachelor weds childhood sweetheart’. I laughed at the superficial headline making prints in traffic, emails and pings. A search on his social pages confirmed the news but I was far from getting dragged into the circus. Kole wasn’t getting married; ever! That much I knew. As a family friend and longtime pal, I laughed at the absurdity. Kole McGregor was gay for Christ sakes. This, definitely was a publicity stunt. A man has got to respect his play of the press. Keturah – a mistake of a one night stand – joined me on the third floor as I rode up the elevator.
“So when are you going to propose?” she was breathing down my neck in the elevator. Perpetually looking surprised with her thick Nike eyebrows and lips looking like live coals, I remembered the night she held over me – at Jacob’s housewarming party. I had too much to drink and had hated myself the moment I realized I was way too deep in her bushy valley. I still cannot explain how I ended up in her house butt naked but listening to her crappy voice drone out nonsensical off-putting words as she clamped my hipbones with her metallic thighs all in the name of an orgasm, I knew my missionary days were over and firing her would translate to hot news on LindaIkeji’s blog. She made sure I knew she was a relative as soon as I had my release.
“Not anytime soon” I said with a fake grin and walked out the moment the door opened on the next floor. I would wait for another to continue to my office.
“Good Morning Sir” it was my sloppy secretary thankfully in long trousers.
“Good morning Rita” I greeted. She had the glassy eyes and I was sure she was itching to say something about the news. She confirmed it.
“Sir, have you heard?” she said, following me into my office.
“No Rita, heard what?” I said exasperated at the excitement. I was tired but had to submit a four weeks report on the impromptu trip to London, China and Texas that had me aching all over. The industrial estate proposal had picked the interest of a few of our partners and board of directors. Dad had insisted I made rounds but practically dragged me down last night for a ‘little’ debriefing.
“Mr Kole McGregor, the international mogul is getting married” she said almost breathless.
“yes, that. I heard” already dismissing her as I sat down.
“Miss Debbie is so lucky” she said heading out with her iPad. “What did you say?” I asked, my ears tingling at the mention of a name I was in love with.
“He is getting married to Ms Debbie Black. The new….” I was out of my seat in record time and was headed to her office. There was no way in hell that was happening. Was that the reason she didn’t return all of my calls? The house had been empty last night when I came from the airport and the doors were locked this morning. The guard had not seen them in a week.
It couldn’t be. It just could not be. The look on Idris’s face as I stepped out of the elevator told me I wasn’t the only one who was not comfortable with the news.
“Is she in?” I asked walking to her office.
“She took a leave of absence on Friday. She won’t be coming back till after the wedding” he said as if he was the latest minion, swiveling on his chair to face his screens. I headed to Dad’s office.
“Look who comes in just in time” it was Dad coming around for a hug. This was another first.
“Good Morning Dad” I greeted as he patted me.
“Morning Son! A good day today is” he said, indicating I sit. “Why are we celebrating? Did I do that good?” I asked sarcastically, sitting up.
“You, my son get the job you nearly had my neck for” he chuckled.
“Isn’t it too early to let her go?” I asked no longer interested in Debbie’s job….well, mostly her office and private elevator.
“Let who go?” he asked
“Ms Black?” I answered in a question, waiting for some information.
“She resigned and I am talking about taking my chair for real. It is yours son” he said with a white wide smile. Dad was retiring? How untrue.
“Are you serious?” the question was more on Debbie resigning.
“Of course” he was in high spirits.
“Why did she resign?” I asked, my chest beating too fast for comfort.
“Seems she is getting married to Kole and wants to manage his businesses here” he said studying me.
“When was this?” I asked, totally devastated.
“Last month I suppose. Kole was here some weeks back – something about his new TV show and having Debbie on it. I called Debbie to take care of it and now I hear they are getting married. You should be thinking of getting married too” he said, looking at me.
I was quiet.
“It seems you liked her” it was a question.
“I am in love with her Dad” I answered looking at him dead in the eye. I wasn’t going to let her get married to another man while I was alive.
“You do know she is with Kole” he cautioned knowing what was going on in my head. God forbid history repeated itself. It was no secret that my father married his best friend’s woman and the two men had hated each other’s gut for years.…Bassey Mbre mostly did the hating.
“Well, your mother and I think it is time you take over” he said with a small smile taking me back to why he had called me back. “When was this decision made?” I asked, wiping the loser look off my face.
“Last week. She is dying to see Joshua” her grandnephew, mum had the habit of visiting new babies.
“Great! I will mail in the report and you should get the board together” I said, jumping to my feet.
“Modupe” he called my first name in full. It was a warning.
“I am good Dad. Thanks for letting me wear your shoes. I won’t disappoint you” I tried a real smile this time.
“Then I say congratulations are in order C.E.O” he smiled and I rewarded him with another.
I was out of his office and out of the imposing structure in less than a minute. I was going to stop that wedding. I had to find her and find her fast. I dialed the one person I knew for sure would know where she was.
“Omo” she picked on first ring.
“Hey darling”
“Where is Debbie Black?” I cut to the chase.
“You know I shouldn’t be selling my news for free” she laughed.
“I am serious”
“How much?” she demanded as she always did.
“Enough to get you a land in Abuja” she gasped.
“She is in Lagos. McGregor Estate somewhere in Ikoyi. I really don’t know the street name and house number but will get it asap” Omo had ears to the ground and I knew I count work on her information.
“Thanks” I heaved in relief. She was still in Nigeria.
“What about my land?” she cried.
“When I get back…..and Omo? I don’t want to hear this in the news” I warned.
“When you get back” her lips were sealed. A land in Abuja could do that.
I was headed to the Airport.

****
Love on the 25th is written by Unen Ameji; Author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger. Get a copy. She is @UnenAmeji

Love on the 25th. Episode 7

Read all episodes of Love on the 25th here.

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

****

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

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