Miriam’s Tale E3

Featured

Miriam's Tale, Chinma Eke's blog

My very first interview; I was a bundle of nerves. I was older than all the other applicants in the waiting room, with no experience to boot. I hadn’t even ever attended an interview; Ken had wanted me to stay at home with the kids until they were older before I could start a career.

I wanted to laugh out loud. If only we could see the future, we would have seen the foolishness in that. Now, he was gone, and I was left all alone to cater for our kids. At the thought of our kids I remembered the other two kids he had with Ifeoma. No. I wasn’t going to let that thought weigh me down. Those children were not my problem, I had been magnanimous enough; the entitlements paid by Ken’s company I had shared on a 60/40 basis. When Ken’s family had come to me to concerning the entitlements, I had wanted to tell them all to go-to-hell. I was the only wife known by his employers and my kids were his only kids on record, and considering how Ken had hurt me I was well entitled to that money. I was the wife who packed him breakfast every morning, kept dinner warm late at night, and sorted out his laundry every weekend. I was the wife who smiled and attended company social events even when I didn’t want to. I was the wife who gave up a shot at a career for him and our kids so he could be free to work the oddest of hours, and take business trips at the drop of a hat, which earned him high flying promotions, bonuses and commendations.

I don’t know what made me change my mind, it wasn’t even pressure from my in-laws; they could go to blazes for all I cared. I think it was the thought of those innocent children; like it or not they weren’t to blame for their parents’ behaviour. Anyways, I split the money with them. Ifeoma could do with it what she pleased, I had put my kids share in a school fees trust for them, what she did with hers, I couldn’t care less, and now was the wrongest time to dwell on any unpleasantness. ‘Today, I will be great.’ I repeated to myself over and over again. I was going to go into the interview and I was going to wow!

The interview went in a blur. The panellists smiled a lot at me, and I think I impressed them. I had all my fingers, toes and limbs crossed lol, I was going to get a job, I could feel it, somebody say Amen.

So, I called Bunmi, my friend who worked in the bank and told me about the vacancy. She said she was aware the interview went well, and we should commit the result to God in prayers. That, I could do, so I went to God in prayers.

Four months down the line, I hadn’t gotten any feedback from the bank on the interview. I was getting desperate, no other interviews were coming forth, everyone was singing the same song; the economy was bad, and no one was hiring. I didn’t know what to do, I had some business ideas; I could either open a convenience store, or I could go into clothes and fabrics trading, I was very good at picking clothes and fabrics, when my husband was alive my friends bought clothes of my back. Like I would buy a dress and definitely someone would want it so bad she wouldn’t mind buying it off my back. I had some savings left but I was wary of committing money into a business. If it failed, what would my children and I eat? I was good at trading, I knew that from the little trading I had done in the past, but I had always had a safety net, I couldn’t gamble my kids welfare now. Besides, if I went into trading, wasn’t it the same people screaming about a rotten economy who were going to be my customers?

Hmmm! It is well.

So, back to the present, I needed to make some money quickly. With the most care and careful budgeting and spending, the cash I had available could only last me two months at the most. We were half-way through our house rent, and if I couldn’t get a job soon, I probably might not be able to make the next rent.

I had considered moving to a smaller apartment, but the extras on it billed by the lawyers and agents were probably going to come to the same as the old rent. I considered subletting; we lived in a three bedroom apartment, I could let out one. My family and friends kicked against it, regaling me with tales of flat-sharing gone wrong, that when they were done, I think I was sufficiently scared. But support me with rent money now? Everyone said ‘they would see what they could do.’

One of my ‘friends’ went further to tell me of a job opportunity, what she had described to me sounded like an escort role, and I was like; really? Was that what life had reduced me to? I told her off, but it hurt nonetheless. Anyways; I can’t be dwelling on negativity.

*****

As though our minds were working in sync, my friend Ijeoma called me. Remember Ijeoma, my friend whom I met Ken at her brother’s wedding all those years ago? She and her husband lived in the United States with their four lovely kids. Ken and I had been planning to go visit them when tragedy struck. Ijeoma called that she wanted to send a shipment down to Nigeria for sale, but didn’t want to send it through family who might not return her money. She called to enquire if I was interested.

I was like; is this an answer to my prayers or what? I almost screamed for joy.

“Offcourse I was interested.” I replied her immediately.

“Ok, I’m yet to ship the goods, I’m tagging them right now.” She said through the phone. “Miriam please, this is a business, and I know what people say about friends and money; please let it not be our story. I’m sending clothes; new ones, and I’m sending them at very competitive prices such that you’ll be able to make a good profit.” She went on. “I could send you pictures of the goods for you to have a view.”

I agreed, and made some suggestions on things I thought she could include in the shipment. We ended the call with sharing tales of our kids just as my doorbell rang.

I happily went to open the door, the kids were away at school, and I was done with the morning chores. I opened the door to Chief Pius mirroring the smile on my face. Chief Pius had been my husband’s mentor while he was alive. He was one of the people who hadn’t abandoned us since Ken’s death. He had a habit of dropping by unannounced, and always with treats for the kids.

“Good morning sir, please come in.” I welcomed him in.

He came in, his driver; Kunle behind him carrying two overflowing shopping bags.

“Please sit.” I ushered him to a seat. “Please drop it in that corner.” I pointed to the corner closest to the kitchen. “Is there anything in it that drips?”

“No ma.” Kunle replied.

“Then it’s fine there. Sir, what can I get you?” I asked Chief Pius.

“Nothing my dear.”

“Ahn ahn Chief! It’s not yet that bad.” I teased. He was probably refusing out of consideration for us.

“Ofcourse I know it’s not that bad, but I’m fine.”

“Ok sir. How’s your family?” I sat down facing him.

“We are fine, and yours?”

“We’re very well, thank God. The children have gone to school. They’ll be sad they missed you.”

He laughed. “ It’s ok, ofcourse I’ll come at another time when they’ll be at home, but today it’s you I’ve come to see.”

“Oh, ok. What’s it about?  I asked.

Chinma-Eke-Chinma-Ekes-blog.png

Second Chances E8

Ade and Simi were returning home from Ade’s colleague’s wedding, Ade was driving. It had been a beautiful wedding, and as women are known to, Simi was analyzing the wedding piece-by-piece.

“I don’t know why people fuss over the wedding ceremony. If the couple knew the work ahead of them, they would save their energy for the marriage, and not expend it on a wedding ceremony.

Simi laughed. “Spoken like a man.” She said.

“Yeah, us men aren’t concerned about our wedding being the talk of the town, or being feautured in, what’s that website again?”

“Bellnaija.”

“Yeah, and all those other things you ladies care about. It’s the marriage that matters, not the ceremony.”

“True, but the wedding ceremony is the foundation.”

He shrugged. “Speaking of weddings, how far with Kunle and Deola? When is theirs coming up?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know if there’s going to be a wedding. When I told mommy…..”

“You did what?’ Ade angrily cut her off. “You told your mom when I clearly told you to stay out of it?

second-chances- chinma eke's blog

Simi was surprised at the anger emanating from Ade. Really, what was his own in this whole issue? Kunle was her brother, her only brother, and she couldn’t be expected to sit back and do or say nothing, while that woman sinks her fangs into him.

“I’m sure you didn’t really expect me to just let it slide, mama deserved to know who she was getting for a daughter in-law.” She replied.

“To what end, what’s the benefit? You’ll just end up stirring up trouble and if Kunle insists on marrying her, he’ll be met with stiff opposition from the home front, and if he insists….. Seriously Simi, have you think of what this could do to your family?”

“I’m trying to keep that woman away from destroying my family. Her kind come with bad luck.”

“Her kind, what kind is that?”

“Why are you so defensive of Deola, is there something else going on I should know about?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, I just want Kunle to make his own choices devoid of any pressures.”

‘I don’t believe you, I’m beginning to think there’s more to this whole thing. Did you have an affair with her, is she blackmailing you, asking that you support her or she will tell?”  Simi accused.

‘Don’t be ridiculous Simi. That day at mama’s house was the first time I met her.” Ade replied defensively.

“I’m not being ridiculous; I know her kind, manipulative women. If she has anything on you, you need to tell me so we can…….”

“You mean manipulative like the way you manipulated me into marrying?” Lying that you were pregnant and conveniently miscarrying after the wedding?”

Simi stared at Ade open-mouthed, mid speech. She couldn’t believe this was the man she’d been married to for years. Ade had never confronted her on the issue of the pre-wedding pregnancy and she had believed he didn’t know had thought he had believed her story. She was so shamed, and her dislike for Deola burned into hatred. Deola was he reason her husband had just referred to her as manipulative. Simi sat staring straight ahead, fighting tears. Deola was yet to be married into the family, and she was already causing dis-harmony? In that moment of hurt, Simi vowed to fight Kunle’s marriage to Deola.

**********

Deola smiled tiredly as Kunle as he entered her workroom. She was bent over Chima’s dress, measuring, cutting and pinning. She was making Chima’s dress herself, she needed to get it right, she couldn’t afford for Chima to get back into the bridezilla mode.

“Hey K, how are you?” She welcomed him, her smile brightening. He looked her over from the top of her pony-tailed hair to her short and tank top, and her flat sandals. He almost laughed out loud. She was dressed exactly as he’d imagined she’d be. He had taken off his jacket and removed his tie at his car before coming in. he had known she would be very dressed down and didn’t want t look to dressed up. He hoped they could grab dinner together later on.

“Hey beautiful.” He enveloped her in a hug and kissed her on her forehead. “How are you?”

“I’m good, better now you’re here. How are you, how was your day?”

She let him gently pull her to a couch in the side of the room. They sat, with her still in his embrace.

“My day was good, I got a new client today.”

“That’s good, congratulations.” She hugged him closer.

“Thank love.”

“Anyone I know?”

“Yeah, Flourish Pharmaceuticals.”

“O, that’s a good one.”

“Yea, they’re rolling out a new drug, they want the full works.”

“That’s very good news.”

“Yeah. How was your day?”

“It went well, Chima’s dress is almost done, I also got a new client, a client brought in her cousin.”

“That’s nice, we both had new clients today.”

“Yes. K, I want to send Sister Simi too Chima and Dayo’s asoebi, I don’t know if I should make Iro and Buba, or I should request for her measurements, or I should just send her the fabric for her to make with her designer. What do you think?” Simi asked excitedly. She got up and ran to her office, she returned a while later with a plastic bag with the asoebi fabric in it.

While she was gone, Kunle thought of how best to tell Deola he wasn’t sure about sending Simi the fabric.

“I have it here already,” Deola continued, oblivious to Kunle’s inner struggle. “But I don’t know where to send it to, and in what form to send it. Are you ok?” She asked, he was looking troubled.

“Yeah I’m fine.” He cleared his throat. “Why don’t you chill on the fabric, let me ask her first.”

“No, I was thinking, why don’t I call her up myself.”

“The thing is, Deola……..”

“Oh my!” Deola was beginning to have a rotten suspicion Kunle was holding out on her. “Is there a problem?”

“No, not really.”

“Not really.” She perched on the edge of her work table. “Tell me.” She invited calmly.

He sighed deep and loud. “Simi probably won’t be attending the wedding.”

‘Why?”

“She’s having, she’s not, ……”

“She’s against our relationship right?” Deola asked calmly.

“Not really, she’s just….”

“Don’t lie to me Kunle.”

“Yes.” He responded tersely.

“Ok, that’s it, I’m out.”

Chinma-Eke-Chinma-Ekes-blog.png

Second Chances E5

………They made small talk through the meal, Simi and Kunle’s mom asking her more questions in an attempt to know her better.

“I thought its prospective husbands that are grilled this way, all these questions remind me of when I came to marry Simi. You all asked so many questions and I’m sure turned over every stone in my family before you allowed me to marry her.” They all laughed.

“Yes o, that’s how it’s done. It’s normal. We’ll investigate her family, and they in turn will investigate us.” Mrs. Philips replied.

And the delicious food turned to sawdust in Deola’s mouth. She didn’t want anyone looking too closely at her.

second-chances- chinma eke's blog

The rest of the afternoon passed pleasantly, they finished the meal and returned to the sitting room where Kunle’s mom regaled them with tales of Simi and Kunle’s antics.

Ade and Simi left soon after to pick their kids who had gone for a birthday party. Simi whispered to Kunle as he saw them out that she liked Deola.

Kunle returned to the living room and heard the tail end of Deola inviting his mother to her brother Dayo and Chima’s wedding, and his mother accepting to attend. He couldn’t be happier, things were going so well, his family loved Deola; he could tell, and Deola liked them to. He knew her, had seen her pretend to be pleasant to people, and he knew she wasn’t faking it now. They left in the early evening; he dropped her off at her home, and went on to his while she recounted her afternoon to her mother.

That night, they all went to bed happy; Kunle, Deola, and their mothers.

**********

Simisola Ade-Johnson was a career banker on a two-week leave. She loved working, and she loved her job. She found that unlike most people, when she was on leave she was bored listless. She had capable domestic help, and a loving but equally busy husband who was rarely home. So she had very little to occupy her when on leave. She and he husband; an engineer had planned to synchronize their leave but an emergency on a site that needed his expertise had necessitated Ade being called into work, and she was home alone and bored. She would gladly have foregone her leave days, but company policy was that all staff had to complete their annual leave days.

So, on the Monday after lunch at her mom’s with Kunle and Deola, after the kids had gone to school, and her maid had gone for her vocational training, she was bored, there wasn’t anything she found interesting on TV, so she decided to find out more about her soon-to-be, she expected sister in-law.

She entered the website address Deola gave her; she was impressed with what she saw on her official website. It was obvious Deola had talent, and she was a rarity too, a designer who could actually sew, and was actively involved in the creative process.

She googled her, hoping to find reviews of her designs on other websites. She was shocked at the hits she had. There had to be a mistake, she refined her search. Same; articles on Deola Lasisi and a married senator kidnapping saga. This couldn’t be. But the pictures she saw were of the Deola she had lunch with the day before. The same Deola had been a suspect in the kidnapping of her lover, a very married Senator Tom Briggs.

She couldn’t believe it! This was the same woman Kunle wanted to marry? No way. She was about to call her friend Lola, a gossip blogger to get more information when her doorbell rang. She hurried to the door, wandering who it was and was pleasantly surprised to find it was her husband.

She opened the door and hugged him, very excited that he was home.

“Welcome honey, what’s up, you’re home early.”

“Yeah, we made remarkable breakthrough on-site this morning, so I left the site engineer in charge, and came home to you, my dear.” He replied.

“That’s very good news. Come in and sit, let me get you something cold to drink.”

He sat down, while she went into the kitchen to get him so juice.

“Honey you won’t believe what I just found out.” She said as she returned to the living room with two glasses of juice on a tray.

“What is it?” Ade replied wearily.

“Apparently, Deola has this scandal involving her and one married senator who was kidnapped recently, she was his mistress,……”

“Senator Tom Briggs?” Ade asked.

“Yeah, I think, that’s him.” She pouted. “How come you know this things, and I don’t? I thought gossip was meant to be a women thing?”

“I don’t know about the gossip aspect, I just remember the senator was kidnapped sometime last year, and his mistress was a suspect. What does Deola have to do with all that?”

“Deola is that mistress!”

“Wow! Small world!”

“Small world indeed. I need to call Kunle and alert him to this fact and mama as well.”

“I don’t think you should do that.” Ade dropped the now empty glass on a side stool and turned to face his wife.

“Why? Kunle needs to know who he……”

“Do you honestly think Kunle doesn’t know? What the line of business he’s into?”

“Obviously he doesn’t or he won’t be serious about her. He won’t have introduced her to us, I mean, that’s an insult to mama, introducing such a woman to her.”

“I think you should stay out of Kunle’s business. He’s a grown man.”

‘He‘s also my brother, my only brother. I cannot fold my arms and watch him make a mistake.”

“Stay out of his business Simi.” Ade warned. “I forbid you to discuss this with him or mama.”

“But honey…….”

“Simi!” Ade warned sharply.

**********

Simi struggled with her husband’s warning that she was to stay out of Kunle and Deola’s relationship.  How could he expect her to sit back, do nothing, while her brother made a huge mistake?

She cringed as she drove into her parents’ compound later in the week; she had gone grocery shopping and picked up a few items for her mom. To think that Deola had fooled her as well, she had come across so innocent and nice, whereas the reality was different.

Anyway, her husband had made her promise, so she wasn’t going to say anything to her mom. But she believed her mom would find out herself sooner or later. This things had a way of coming out. A bad reputation couldn’t be covered.

*****

“Good evening mom.” She greeted her mom on entering the house going on her knees.

“Simisola, bawo ni?” Tinuke Phillips replied asking how Simi was doing in Yoruba.

“I’m fine ma.” Simi replied in English, rising to sit beside her mom on the sofa.

“Your husband and children, nko?”

“They are fine ma.”

Her mom’s maid; Alero came into the living room to greet Simi, and Simi gave her her car key asking her to get the groceries she bought from the car. She joined her mom in the movie she was watching on Africa Magic Yoruba. They were watching and discussing the movie, when her Mrs Philips pointed out that a fabric one of the actors was wearing in the movie was similar to the one Deola sent to her as the aso-ebi for her brother’s wedding.

Her mom came out with the fabric in a bag. “You won’t believe she didn’t measure me, she sent a finished iro and buba to me, and it’s my perfect size. Would you be free to attend the wedding with me, its next month?”

Simi had truly meant to keep the promise she made her husband, but if her mother and Deola were getting so familiar for her to plan on attending Deola’s brother’s wedding, she just had to speak up. She owed it to her family to tell what she knew.

Chinma-Eke-Chinma-Ekes-blog.png

Second Chances E4

…….”I tried your number countless times it was switched off, where were you?” Chima accused.

“She was hiding away from me.” Kunle replied from the doorway.

second-chances- chinma eke's blog

Kunle couldn’t have asked for a better opening, he couldn’t have had a better ally than Chima. As could be expected, Chima demanded to know why Deola was ‘hiding’ away from Kunle, and he told her. She joined forces with Kunle and they both attempted to convince Deola she was wrong to hide away from a relationship because of her past mistakes.

“You guys aren’t seeing this thing from my point of view.” Deola interrupted them. “Believe me; I have given this whole issue a lot of thought. Let me paint this two scenarios; on one hand; Kunle and I start dating, and it goes sour at some point. What next? I would have lost a very dear friend.”

“Who’s to say it will go sour?” Chima cut in.

“Please let me finish.”

Chima waved for her to continue.

“Okay, on the second hand, we date, we fall in love,…”

“I’m there already.” Kunle murmure dryly.”

Deola glared at him and went on. “As I was saying, we fall in love, we want to get married, and viola; there’s opposition from his family. What next? There’s no winning with this thing.”

“You forgot a third scenario, there’s no opposition and we all leave happily ever after.” Kunle said.

“Yeah right. Because your family has been living under a rock. Let’s be realistic, no African family will let their child get married without digging into the background of the spouse to be. In my case, when they dig, what would they find? Scandal. Do a simple Google search for goodness sake, what do you see when you Google me?”

“Honey, Kunle is a PR professional, if you want him to make you white as snow, he can.” Chima replied drily.

“Don’t be ridiculous, can you pull the articles off the net, can you,……?” Deola was overwhelmed by emotions, she sat in the nearest available chair and tried not to cry.

Kunle crouched beside her and took her hands in his. “I think you’re borrowing trouble where there isn’t any. At least not yet. You asked for realism, I’ll give you realism. I’m realistic enough to know it won’t be a smooth drive, no relationship ever is, but I’m sure of one thing; I’ll be there, no matter what. I love you Deola, I want you in my life, I was there before the scandal, I was there through the scandal, and I’m still here after the scandal. You talked about Google search, I went beyond Google, I knew all about you, and your relationship even before the scandal broke, and still I loved you.”

Deola began to cry softly, she was overcome by emotion.

“We all have pasts, some darker than others. If God can forgive us of our sins, who are we to judge? Take this step of faith with me Deola, I know you feel something for me, but if you want to tell me you feel nothing, you do not want me, tell me Deola. Tell me and we won’t ever talk about it again.”

“I don’t want to have my hopes raised and dashed. I don’t want to risk losing you.” Deola sobbed.

“You aren’t going to lose me, I’m not going anywhere. Take this step of faith with me babe.” He waited for he to respond, after a while, she nodded to her tears.

“Hallelujah!” Chima exclaimed, herself sniffing and fighting tears.

*********

Deola found that when Kunle said he wanted more, he meant more, and at full speed. He made no secret of the fact that he wanted to marry her and soon. He wanted her to meet his family, which comprised of his mom and his elder sister, as his father was late. His mom lived in Lagos, he had told his family about Deola and saw no sense in delaying their meeting.

Deola was apprehensive about meeting his family, and tried to delay it, but Kunle insisted, and a few weeks after they ‘officially’ began seeing each other, he arranged for her to visit at his mom’s house, his sister and her husband would also be in attendance.

She wore a simple gown made from Ankara fabric and sensible heels. Her aim was to look simple and not overly made-up. Kunle’s mom herself opened the door to them. She hugged Kunle who attempted to postrate in greeting as was customary.

Then she raised Deola who was on her kneels in greeting as was also customary.

“Get up my daughter, how are you?” She said to her. Mrs Tinuke Philips looked was a very beautiful woman, who looked surprisingly young, she looked more like Kunle’s sister than his mother. She stepped back into the house and led them into the house. “You’re all welcome. Come in. Simi and Ade are here already.” She led them into the living room, where Simi, Kunle’s sister and her husband; Ade were seated.

Simi and Ade got up in welcome, Deola could see the striking resemblance between his sister and their mom, perhaps Kunle favored his father. After they had all exchanged pleasantries, they sat to discuss while a maid served them cold drinks.

“So Deola, where are you from?” Mrs Philips asked Deola.

“My late father was from Odogbolu ma, in Ogun state, while my mom is from Ikorodu.” She replied.

“I guess you were born here in Lagos, and perhaps haven’t been to any of those places?” Tinuke asked.

Deola laughed. “You’re right ma.”

“I knew it. All of you.” She waved to encompass all of them. “All of you are; my parents say I’m Yoruba.”

They all laughed.

“Deola, Kunle tells us you’re a designer, what’s the name of your clothing line?”

“It’s Deola’s Signature, ma.”

“That’s nice, let me Google you and check out your line. Do you have a website, or a lookbook, what kinds of clothes do you design, ready to wear or haute couture?” Simi asked picking her phone up from the side stool.

Deola was getting uncomfortable, the words ‘google’ were now her enemy, and she didn’t want anyone googling her.

Ade, Simi’s husband came to her rescue. “Women and fashion. Why don’t you put your phone aside, I’m sure you’ll have enough time later to check-out Deola’s fashion line.”

“Abi o, children of the technology age.” Tinu added. “Let us eat first, before you people start googling and discussing fashion. Let us go to the table.” She got up and led them to the table.

They made small talk through the meal, Simi and Kunle’s mom asking her more questions in an attempt to know her better.

“I thought its prospective husbands that are grilled this way, all these questions remind me of when I came to marry Simi. You all asked so many questions and I’m sure turned over every stone in my family before you allowed me to marry her.” They all laughed.

“Yes o, that’s how it’s done. It’s normal. We’ll investigate her family, and they in turn will investigate us.” Mrs. Philips replied.

And the delicious food turned to sawdust in Deola’s mouth. She didn’t want anyone looking too closely at her.

Chinma-Eke-Chinma-Ekes-blog.png

Twists and Turns E8

twists-turns-chinma-ekes-blog2

“Hmmm. Interesting. So I can count on your support when I run for Governor’s office in the next election?”

“Off course you can count on my support.” Ike affirmed readily.

“That’s good to know.” Mark rubbed reclined in the chair. “You see, the bane of Nigerian politics is the ‘money politics’.”

Ike shrugged warily. “Politics cost money all over the world.”

“Yea, but……” he stroked his beard thoughtfully. “You know from the first day Ify mentioned you, I liked you. Sight unseen, I liked you.”

Ike shifted uncomfortably in his chair, wary of the direction this discussion was taking.

Mark laughed heartily at Ike’s evident discomfort. “I think that came out wrong.” He said between bursts of laughter. “or you interpreted it wrong.  What I meant is; from the moment she suggested you for the job, I knew you were the one for the job. Evidence of how much I trust you; since you began at GO, have I ever undermined you?“

“No.” Ike replied slowly.

“Yes and that’s the way I work. I believe in giving people the freedom to perform, and you have performed Ike, you have performed.  He emptied his glass and refilled it immediately.  “You should join a political party, the ruling party off course. Come in see how our dear nation is run. Vibrant young men like ourselves shouldn’t be sitting back while the old men run us into the ground. Take a stand, take an active role.”

Mark was on a roll, he sounded so convincing, like the politician which he was. Ike took a moment to think on Mark’s argument, he was still confused as to where this whole discussion was leading, he chose his response to continue on the path of caution. “You know better than most how impossible it is to run a business and a political career successfully; I mean, that’s why I’m here. For you to be able to concentrate on giving our people quality leadership.” He shrugged, smiling slightly. “if I allow myself to be convinced, and you do make a convincing argument, you might find yourself needing another me, who you’ll no doubt convince to politics and the cycle keeps going on and on.” Mark burst into uncontrollable laughter, Ike himself was having difficulty controlling his laughter. “You do need me to run GO, I feel like its my duty to resist the lure of politics.”

Mark laughed so hard tears rolled from his eyes, Ike couldn’t help but join in the laughter, both men laughed long and hard.

“I like you, I really like you. We’ll be such good friends.” Mark said when he could speak. “I can’t remember the last time I laughed this hard, I’ve worked up quite an appetite. Let’s have something to eat, the fish peppersoup here is lovely.” He signaled the waiter and ordered for both of them. “Ok. I’ll quit trying to convert you to the benefits of politics, for now. You are right, I do need you. Perhaps more at GO than the nation needs sharp minds such as yours. So tell me, we are from the same state, what do you think of me as Governor?”

“Depends on what you have in mind for our state.” Ike replied.

“I like that. I have such good plans for our state.” Mark went on to outline his agenda if elected governor of their home state. Many hours and many bottles of wine later, they both walked on unsteady legs to their cars and their drivers drove them home.

**********

Looking back, months later, Ike wished he hadn’t been hasty in promising his support. Mark dragged him to as many political meetings as he could, made his unofficial legal and financial advisor. While it was a new, not-altogether bad experience for Ike, he missed the day when he practiced law in shades of black and white. The business world introduced him to the shade- gray, and in politics; it was all muddy brown. He got to know a few of the intrigues that went behind the scenes, and was amazed at how a lot of the news which filtered out to the public was planned and stage-managed.

Like Mark had said; politics was capital intensive, and Mark’s governorship ambition was taking him to the cleaners and fast. Mark was bent on running his campaign without any financial input from anyone, so, according to him, when he got in, he won’t be accountable to anyone, except the voters.

Ike wondered where the money to fund the campaign would come from as they were still a few months away from the general election. Mark confidently dismissed his fears, promising there was still some more money for when it was needed.

**********

For Ada, renewing her friendship with Ify was like reconnecting with a long lost loved one. Well, it was more or less the same. Ada found Ify a counselor whom Ify said helped a lot. Ify said she was happier and more confident since she began seeing Dr. Jane Hamzat. She said her relationship with her husband had improved greatly, and Ada was happy for her. Their kids bonded and discovered the kind of friendship their mothers had during their childhood. Indeed, all seemed well until the day Ify came to her in tears again, saying she heard Mark’s mistress was campaigning with him and there were plans that she would be first lady when Mark won the election.

“What are you doing in Lagos?” Ada asked her seriously?

“How?” Ify asked, confused, stopping her wailing.

“I mean, why don’t you join your husband on the campaign trail?”

“You mean like I should go send her away or something?”

“No, I don’t mean that. I mean, go join his campaign team, support him. Let his team know you better and you in-turn get to know them. Honestly, you can’t sit in Lagos and complain on being sidelined. It’s easy for Mark and/or the woman to project her as his woman because you the legally married wife isn’t there. Go to your husband.” Ada advised.

Ify considered this for a few minutes. “But my kids?” she protested.

“Will be fine, you can leave them with me.”

“Really?” Ify asked earnestly, searching Ada’s face to confirm her intentions.

“Really. You can leave them with me.”  Ada affirmed.

“Thank you.” Ify ran to hug Ada. “Thank you so much, I appreciate. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. We’re family. Family supports each other.”

Ify returned to her seat, sniffling and wiping her tears.

“I thought Mark and I were on the mend. This latest news is just so devastating. To throw his wife and mother of his children over for one………..”

“Ify, forget it. Forget all that. What you should be concerned with is how to keep your man, keep your marriage, not with another woman. When can you leave for Abuja?”

“I don’t know.” Ify wailed.

“I say we start making plans immediately. The sooner, the better.” The ladies began making plans in earnest on how Ify was going to win back her husband and her position.

**********

So guys, I’m missing your input, y’all should keep the comments coming (even if its to tell me the story is getting boring). Thank you.

Chinma-Eke-Chinma-Ekes-blog.png

To Be Or Not? E7

To-be-or-not-Chinma-Ekes-blog-.jpeg.jpg

‘Mommy is asking for your email and bb pin, she said she wants to give it to her friend whose son just returned from the US.’ “Oh no!” Emily exclaimed aloud. Her mom was on the matchmaking path again.

The thing with mothers is that they remain eternally hopeful; Emily’s mom wasn’t an exception. In the past, she had introduced Emily to all her ‘friends’ sons, Emily began to wonder where her mom got all these ‘friends’ from, because the women weren’t the ones she knew as her mom’s friends growing up. She wondered if there was an association of mothers with unmarried children, and they just exchanged children contacts at random.

Rolling her eyes, Emily closed the message, she would deal with that later, she was almost becoming a pro at handling all the men her mom tried to hook her up with. Besides, she and Julia her sister had devised a plan to give out wrong contact details to the matchmaking party.

Emily was sceptical about people especially men who needed to be match-made. What was wrong with them that they couldn’t see all the beautiful wonderful ladies all around them? Emily had long concluded that these men had to be flawed, how else could their inability to begin a relationship for themselves be explained.

No doubt some of these hook-ups worked, but naa, Emily wasn’t the least bit interested.

“You want to get some ice-cream?” Obi asked, bringing her back to the present.

“Sure.” She accepted, smiling secretly as she remembered the last time she was went to an ice-cream parlour with a man. Obi pulled into the parking lot of a shopping complex, they  both alighted and to get some ice-cream.

At the ice-cream booth, it became obvious Obi was a regular; the attendants were familiar with him and gave him preferential treatment.

When they returned to the car, she teased him about it. “You seem to be a regular everywhere we go, is it the stardom or………..”

“Or…………” He echoed as he drove out of the lot into traffic.

“I was going to ask if you’re taking me to all the places you take your girlfriends.” She asked, somewhat embarrassed at her train of thoughts.

He was silent for a while before replying: “Couldn’t I just be taking you to all my favorite places?” He asked quietly.

“Off course.” She latched onto that. “My curiosity got the better part of me.” She explained. “This ice-cream is really nice.” She changed the topic. “I thought I’d discovered all the good ice-cream places in Lag.”

She was kinda pissed with herself, what was she doing asking such questions, she knew better. Now he would think she was one of the usual Naija desperadoes!!!

It was all Buchi’s fault; yes she was laying this squarely at Buchi’s doorstep. She had been content with just being friends with Obi, it was Buchi who kept insisting a guy and a girl couldn’t just be friends. Where did Buchi get that logic? Emily pursed her lips and focused on the road. The day started off very well, maybe too well, maybe that was why she started thinking off and wishing for things that aren’t possible. But then, nothing is impossible.

Obi parked in-front of her building; Emily hurriedly unbuckled her seatbelt and opened the door to alight. Obi placed a staying hand on her arm and said; “I know what you’re getting at, it isn’t a step I’m ready for now.”

“Ok.” She replied. She got down and waved as he drove off.

Whew!!!! The day had been a day and half.

Walking up the stairs, she dialled her sister’s number.

“Hello Emily.” Her sister answered almost immediately.

“Julia, I got your message.”

“Mom is at it again!” Julia said excitedly.

“I got that. Did you give out the wrong details as we agreed?”

“Yea, I did, but mom checked the number, and noticed it was wrong. She called me out on it, saying I didn’t know my sisters phone number.”

Emily sighed.

“It’s ok, if the person calls, I’ll handle it.” She had gotten to her door. She leaned against the wall to conclude her call, Linda must be in and she wasn’t in the mood to see her yet.

“Ok. Emily, how about that stuff I asked you for, you haven’t said anything.” Julia asked for some money to update her wardrobe, personally, Emily thought julia already had too many clothes, but Emily knew Julia wouldn’t desist till she gave in. So, rather than voice her opinion, she said instead; “I’ll see what I can do at the end of the month.”

Julia screamed for joy through the phone. “Thank you, thanks darling, you’re the bestest big sister in the whole wide world. Thank you!!!”

“You don’t have another sister to compare me with.” Emily replied, smiling as she ended the call.

She rung the bell, it took Linda forever to come to the door, when Emily could hear her laughter through the door. Obviously, she had a guest. Emily gritted her teeth and prayed for patience, they just had a month to go for Linda would finish her course and return to Abuja.

“Hey you, welcome.” Linda smiled brightly as she opened the door and ushered her in. “I have someone here to see you, I found this gentleman hanging around waiting for you when I returned. We’ve been chatting and he’s been telling me how much he loves you.”

Emily hissed out her frustration as she saw the ‘young man’ in question was none other than Korede.

Chinma-Eke-Chinma-Ekes-blog.png

Finding Happiness Episode Eleven

“Hello”
“Babe.”
Oh God. Thank God. Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. Nifemi was awake.
“My love. How are you?” I said through dry cotton mouth.
“I’ve been better. How are you? Daddy says you’ve been worried sick and if I didn’t speak with you, you won’t sleep a wink.” He sounded so weak, but no doubt my Nifemi.
“I’m fine. Better now I’ve heard your voice.”
“Are you crying?”
“No.” I wiped my tears.
“You should know I wouldn’t let a little thing like a bullet keep us apart. We are going to grow old together.”
I was nodding my head as though he could see me.
“Now we’ve spoken, we’re going to go to sleep. We’ve had a long, rough day.”
“Okay my love.”
“Goodnight babe.”
“Goodnight my love. Love you sooo much.”
“Same here.”
We ended the call. I cradled the phone to my chest and blessed God for saving Nifemi.

“We should get married.” Nifemi said as we relaxed in the living room at his apartment, watching TV.

It was a week later and we had just returned from the hospital. He had been transferred to his company’s hospital in Lagos two days after he regained consciousness at his request (or order). And in less than a week he made the doctor discharge him, declaring that if he wasn’t discharged, he would discharge himself.

It was a tremendous relief to me when he was transferred to Lagos, for I could be near him.

“We are getting married, as soon as we set a date.” I smiled at him and snuggled in, as close as I could be on the couch we were seated on.

“No, that would take like months. Lets have a civil service immediately, this week. I want you to move in with me, as my wife.”

I stared, wide eyed in mild surprise. “But the plans are already in motion, what about all the other plans….” The plans were for us to have the traditional engagement, court wedding, church marriage and reception in a week.

“Like….” He asked.

“The church wedding?”

“It will still go on as planned, when we fix it.” We hadn’t fixed a date with our pastor.
“You said we need a bigger apartment.” I reminded him.

“We do. You’ll search from here.”

“I don’t have anything to wear, and besides I heard court weddings take time to……”

“You have a few days to find something to wear, nothing fancy, the big wedding is still up ahead. This is just going to be us and family. As for court weddings taking time to arrange, I’m a lawyer remember? Any other questions or objections?”

“None at all.”

He squeezed my shoulders fondly and kissed me on the forehead.

My mind immediately went into overdrive. What to wear? I have to inform Dupe, aunt Mabel, his parents, because knowing Nifemi he’ll probably wake up tomorrow to say our wedding was that day.

“What’s the hurry?” I asked him.

“Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” He replied immediately.

“Were you expecting that question?”

He laughed. “I know you, I can practically see the wheels turning in your head.”

I eyed him without heat. That was the thing about Nifemi and I, we knew each other so well we could almost accurately tell what the other was thinking. But this rushed wedding he was springing on me…….

In a way though, it was still typical Nifemi. He loved to surprise me.

Later, I called MaryAnn of MAP designs and asked her if she could make me a dress in twenty-four hours, that was all the time I was confident I had. I notified our family. And true to his words, two days later, Nifemi and I were married at a simple registry wedding. The service was so beautiful; we exchanged our vows surrounded by friends and family. The simplicity of the event suited me, I was tempted to cancel the fanfare of a wedding aunt Mabel and his mom were planning, but I knew they’ll probably have a fit if I did.

MaryAnn came through for me, my dress was breathtaking, it was a blush-pink lace mermaid gown, and it fitted me like a glove. Nifemi looked dapper in a blue suit, and I can’t get over the joy of being Mrs Olatunji. Dupe was my maid of honor off course, and Ehis, MaryAnn’s husband was Nifemi’s best man. We had a lunch party at a dainty restaurant, after which Nifemi and I, no, my husband and I proceeded on our honeymoon. Nifemi surprised me with a trip to Seychelles Island.

We had the church marriage blessing two months later, with the gbogbo ero reception; despite that I was seriously showing by then, MaryAnn still worked wonders with my dress, this one was cream colored.

A few months later, I had my children; yes I had twins, a girl and a boy. I really blessed God. I remembered how my year began, how God had given me my heart desire. I had found happiness!

~

Its been an eventful eleven weeks with Keji’s story on her journey to Finding Happiness, her story is by no means finished because a true love story never ends, but we’ll stop here; where she married her prince. I also concluded MaryAnn and Ehis’ story from My Super Ex-Boyfriend series.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll publish a short story, I hope y’all look forward to it. After that, another series will begin.

Meanwhile as always, Beauty and Fashion editorials continue as well as Ms Psyche. Stick around.
I love to hear from you, please leave your thoughts as comments.

Read, enjoy, comment, share and subscribe to my blog for email updates.

Thank you! Once again; Happy New Month, Welcome to April!

XX

CE.

MOTIVE Episode Four

When Barrister Ateke’s rented car pulled up at the gate of the guest house, it was obvious to even the blind that something was up at the guest house. The gate was barricaded.
“Sir, I think the guest house is closed.” The driver said to him.
“Keep horning, the gate will be opened.” He instructed, dialling Peter’s no as he spoke, as usual, gsm network didn’t connect the call on the first dial. He re dialled as a security man walked up to the car.
“The guest house is closed temporarily. Nobody is allowed to enter.” The security man said to the driver.
Ateke wound down his glass and shouted to the security man. “My friend will you open that gate right now!” The call to Peter connected. “Peter.” Ateke began, not letting Peter say anything. “Will you ask this clowns to open the gate immediately!”
The guard on hearing Peter’s name snapped erect. “Let me open the gate sir.” He walked speedily to the gate house to mechanically open the gate.
“Look at this incompetent clown.” Ateke ranted at no one in particular. “How was he sure I was actually speaking to Peter. Such incompetence! Drive round to the cottages at the back.” He instructed the driver. “The last cottage.”
Peter and Rufus were waiting outside the cottage, and they walked up to the car as it parked.
Ateke alighted quickly. “What’s the situation?” He barked at them, ignoring their greetings.
Peter cleared his throat. “We’ve gone over every inch of this compound, the senator isn’t here. We’ve quizzed all the staff, no one saw anything. But, last night, a young couple checked into the guest house under the name of Mr and Mrs Davies, also, two men checked into another room. They both checked out this morning. We are working on tracing them. Aside that, all the registered guests are still here. Madam Deola is here as well.” He replied.
“Let’s go in.” Ateke said, and they walked towards the cottage. The hotel manager walked up to them.
“Good afternoon sir.” He greeted Ateke.
“You are…?” Ateke asked.
“Sir, this is the guest house manager.” Peter replied.
Ateke looked him over disdainfully, ignoring his outstretched hand. “What is good about the afternoon? With this mess you let happen because of your incompetence?” Ateke brushed past him and entered the cottage. He almost bumped into Deola, whom having heard his voice was coming out to join them.
“Barrister.” She said in lieu of greeting.
“Deola.” He steadied her and guide her to the nearest sofa.
The senator’s phone rang, Peter passed it to Ateke. “Sir, its the president. This is the second time he’s calling.”
Ateke took the phone and answered the call. “Hello Uche.” Ateke launched into their dialect explaining the situation to the president. After twenty long minutes, he ended the call, all in the room were looking at him expectantly.
“The president is calling the IG as we speak, he is to send his best men to us.” Ateke said.
Deola released her breath, not exactly what she wanted to hear, but an improvement nonetheless. What she wanted to hear was that her beloved Tom was hail and hearty and safe. And this was all a misunderstanding. Peter’s voice broke through her reverie.
“Sir, I called someone for information, and he demanded for 500k for starters.” Peter said.
“Who is this someone?”
“A colleague gone rouge. He should be able to point us in the right direction to look.”
“Do you trust him to deliver?”
“Yes sir. He knows this hood like no one else.”
“Are you sure he isn’t the kidnapper?”
“I don’t think so. We have a kind of rivalry, and as such, were he the kidnapper he would have called to gloat.”
Ateke thought for some seconds. “How does he want the money?” He asked.

John Johnson was angry, very angry. He had been ruling his hood for close to ten years, and in all that time not even a piece of sweet went missing without him knowing about it. Now a senator of the federal republic had been kidnapped in his hood without him knowing anything about it. He stared daggers at the men who were responsible for this lapse in intel. All three of them were going to be severely punished. Such errors might be pardonable in the civilised world, but in the crime world, it wasn’t. These men had to loose something. Had to have a reminder of their failure. And if he found out any of them was paid to look the other way while the senator was taken, the punishment was death.
“So, all of una dey, dey come from outside carry big fish from una, and una sey you no see or hear anything? Clear from my face. Maybe if I cut one ear, pluck one eyes una go take the one wey remain see well well. Clear out!” He barked.
Right then his phone rang, it was Peter.
“Any news for me?” Peter asked when John answered the call.
“It was an outside job. Snatchers aren’t local and they’ve gone underground. Not in this hood.” John replied.
“No one saw or heard?”
“For now nothing. I’m working on it. You keep my money on standby, soon as I have info, we trade.”
“Sure.”
They both disconnected the call.
Johnson was going to do all in his power to find the kidnappers. Even if it was just to prove he was in control of his hood.

“Hello, Ada?” HRM Preye Ahaba asked to confirm. The voice sounded like Ada’s and it was her phone he was calling, but the voice sounded, off.
“Yes baby brother.” Lady Ada replied. She was into her second bottle of wine and beginning to feel the effects.
“Are you okay, you sound weird?”
“Never been better baby bro, never.” She always called him baby brother to annoy him.
“Ada I heard your husband has been kidnapped is it true?”
Ada burst into laughter. “Murdered you mean?” She asked in between the laughter.
“Pull yourself together, I think you are drunk. This is not the way a lady behaves.” Preye chastised her.
“Don’t tell me how a lady behaves.” She snapped at him. “I wrote the handbook on being a lady. Now, if you are done consoling me on the death of my husband, I’d like to get back to my wine.”
“I heard he was kidnapped. He hasn’t been confirmed dead, or has he?”
“Kidnapped? Not confirmed dead? Let me call you back.” She ended the call, sobering up immediately.

“Hello!”
“Chief chief, the future senator!” Slow hailed his client.
“Why is the subject still alive?”
“Killing him at the scene would have attracted attention.”
“And now?”
“All in due time my chief. Relax, your wish will be carried out.”
“The Inspector general is sending a special squad. Leave Lagos now. Leave his body behind.”
“Yes my chief.” As Slow ended the call, he knew he wasn’t going to kill the senator, not yet.