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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

DEAR FUTURE HUSBAND - EPISODE 2


DEAR FUTURE HUSBAND-EPISODE 2

 

 

EPISODE 2

                                “Ben…you are so gonna love this.” I said as I took my seat, excitedly.

                He stared at me. “So what’s this news that has you leaving my door open?” he said, and walked over to shut the door.

I smiled at him. “I am sorry, Ben.” I said, feigning seriousness. He shrugged and took his seat. “Okay, I am pregnant!”

                “What?” Ben said, staring at my stomach.

I scoffed. “Come of it Ben, I meant Pregnant with this huge idea to bring Millaroca up, you are so gonna love my plan.” He nodded. “I know it’s competitive here and there are old brains, but I have to bring it out.”

He sighed. “Kim…This organization abides by lots of traditions; you can’t just come in here and change things no matter how impressive the ideas are.”

Yeah yeah…here we go again with Traditions! “We don’t always have to go with traditions; it’s like flying around in circles. Millaroca has been down for years, no one is buying anymore.” I blurted. “The articles are not fascinating, no one is impressed.” I said, almost raising my voice.

He shook his head. “Kimberly, you know how things are here. Mr. Adeoye believes in classic. You met him some months ago, and you remember what he told you, he doesn’t like a change.”

I drummed my fingers on the table. “He’s got to be flexible. Ben, he believes in you, why not convince him?” Ben blinked. “Or maybe, you are also comfortable with the classic stuffs, right?”

Ben frowned. “Not everyone is Professor Bankole’s daughter who has a backup plan even when fired. Some of us have to live by this all our lives.” He said, raising his voice. My face fell and I clasped my bag to my arm. He sighed. “I am sorry Kim; I didn’t mean it that way.”

                “It’s okay. I have to be somewhere.” I said, and walked out.

                The streets really aren’t fun to walk. The sun was scorching and I had to catch the next bus at the BRT station, lucky me, it was only five minutes away. I sat down thinking about my idea; I wanted to write a new series for the Magazine. It would catch the youths especially the female gender and when you have ladies onto something, the men have no choice, at least, it would tell on their pockets.

                The best thing about being on the road around 11am is that you would easily get a seat in the bus, most of the working class people would be at work, and if anyone would be on the bus, they might just be visiting friends or running errands and on a working day, you hardly find them. I leaned against the glass as thoughts floated through my mind; I had just 6 months to go. I left home September last year after my First degree.

                I didn’t have enough personal money to publish a novel, even if I wanted to, I had to write, edit, and other formalities, a year would have been over and Dad would have the last laugh. With the way things were going, Dad might still be the winner, if I didn’t find a solution to this and make myself relevant, I would be in for Economics. I had to use part of my savings when I wanted to move into the Flat with Ini and Tola. We all had our share to pay for the Porsche Flat we had bought.

 

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

                Mr. Asolo, the founder of Asolo Real Estates drummed his pen on the table. “Ms. Matthew, I would love you to meet with a client today during lunch at this address.” He said, scribbling down details into a paper.

                Tola straightened up. “Sir, I have a lot to tidy up, can’t I send the other guys?” She already knew that it was Wole Briggs.

                He frowned. “This is very important to our Firm. We can’t afford to lose our much cherished clients. He asked specifically for you.” she sighed. “Don’t be tired of working hard, it has earned you this position. He needs a new house.”

                                “But Sir, Mr. Briggs has already gotten houses from us, what does he still want?”

                Mr. Asolo laughed. “His money never runs out, try to bring them all here.” He said, and turned on his laptop. He was directly telling Tola to leave. She got the message. She bowed and walked out.

                Tola hurried off to her office. “Kemi, please I would be out for lunch, if I have any messages, kindly take them down.”

                Kemi nodded. “Ma’am, you had a call when you went to see Mr. Asolo. It came from Mr. Scott.”

                Tola sighed. “I have told him never to call the office again.” She murmured and pushed her door open. She grabbed her phone and immediately dialed Tolu Scott. “Tolu, why did you call the office?”

                                “You weren’t answering your calls, Tola. I had no choice.”

                She took a deep breath. “What is it? I told you I would see you later after work.”

                                “Tola, I need money.”

                She snarled. “Of course, Money! Is that all I am good for? You always need Money!”

                Tolu raised his voice. “Is it my fault that I am unemployed? If it weren’t for my current state, would I call you to ask for money?”

Tola was really a softie. “Okay, how much?”

                                “Erm…#50,000 would do, it’s a bit urgent. So, maybe you should just wire it quickly.”

                Tola clenched her fists. “I am very busy. I would have someone do it later in the afternoon.”

                                “I want it today.” He said, and hung up.

                Tola held her head. “He always wants money! Like I am his money bag or something? Oh…God.”

                Tola and Tolu Scott had been dating for years. He is handsome, tall, fair skinned and well built. A very attractive man, but Tolu had a snag, he saw Tola as his personal purse. Her last boyfriend was a lot like him, he loved money to a fault and Tola was as ‘generous’ as ever. She had six zeros every month behind a solid number which increased gradually. He always had the need for money and Tola dished it out until she complained and he ran away, but she really did love Tolu and even when she felt like giving up, she just couldn’t quit. She really was unlucky.

                Tola pulled up at Soul Lounge and stepped in. She spoke to the attendant and he pointed to where Wole Briggs was seated.

                                “Good afternoon, Mr. Briggs.”

                He smiled. “Always on time, I like that.” He said, and helped her to a seat. “Thank you for having lunch with me.” The waiter came over and took their order. Tola ordered only a drink.

                                “Don’t make me feel bad, Tola. I just want to do business with you.”

                She nodded. “Business? Then why don’t we stick to business, and you deal with appropriate persons, if you had anything to do, you could have seen the other guys in the Firm, why me? And why do you always have to involve Mr. Asolo?”

                                “He is my father’s friend. I figured he could easily help me.”       

                She shrugged. “You have never had to work for anything, have you?”

                                “Yes. I have always worked to make sure that my life goes on just the way I want it.” He replied, with a sly grin.

                She scoffed. “You are so full of yourself, I may not have all the money in the world but I can’t be bought. If it is business you want, then let’s deal, I don’t like wasting time.”

                                “I admire your guts, Tola.” He said, and sipped his drink. “You are always throwing my love back in my face; most ladies would kill to have your opportunity.”

                Tola laughed mockingly. “Really? I had no idea that you knew so much about love. You are proud, stupid and rich, no one can love you. They only want your money, honey.” She replied.

                He blinked and turned his face away. “Am I stupid?”

                She nodded with a smile. “You are, my dear.”

                                “Thanks. We would talk later.” He said, dropped some money and walked out.

                Tola watched him walk out and smiled.

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

                I stopped at the grocery store. “Old Rodger!” I called as I walked in. Old Rodger ran the store. He had a smile for everyone and he had read some of my articles, he said he loved my work. I didn’t see him at the stand so I walked inside the store. “Old Rodger.” I called.

                                “Eh…where are you going to?”

                I turned round to see a young man staring at me. “Ya…where are you going to?”

                                “I want to see Old Rodger.” I said, dumbly.

                He smiled. “Here’s young Rodger.” I squeezed my eyeballs. “Dad is not around, he is a bit sick.”

                                “Really?” I stared at him. He was wearing an Apron.

“Come over here.” He said, and walked away.

                I followed him. “Are you Old Rodger’s son?” He turned at me with a grimace. “Of course…I am sorry, you said, ‘Dad’.”

                                “Ms., what can I help you with?” he asked. He stood in front of the Fruit stand. “They are fresh and I bet you would love them.”

                I nodded. “I would have some of these and some of that….” I said, pointing at the stand.

                                “Is that all?” he asked, packing them up.

                I shook my head. “No, maybe some potatoes and vegetables too”

                                “I don’t have all day, please try to be brisk.” He said, with a frown.

                I shot at him. “Hey, I am your customer, you asked a question and I responded. If you are not happy working, you should quit.”

                                “What do you know?” he replied, and walked away to get some potatoes. “Anything else?”

                I shook my head. “You are rude! Pack them up.” I said.

                He murmured as he put them into bags.

                                “Stop murmuring, will you?” I shouted, angrily.

                He stamped his foot. “I am not in the mood, okay?”

                                “Try not to rub your moods on others.” I said, as I grabbed the bag. “How much is my bill?”

                He ran his eyes through my body and I had to look at it myself. “#3,500” he said, hastily.

                I scoffed. “So you assess people before you bill them? You really have a horrid habit.” I said, fumbling with my purse. I handed him four clean #1,000 notes. I would have given Old Rodger the rest as a tip, but for his son, I would gladly collect the balance.

                He dashed into the tiny office and returned with the Balance. “Here” He said, stretching out a Five Hundred Naira note at me.

                I collected the change and bumped into Old Rodger as I attempted to leave. “Old Rodger!” I said, with some joy. “I thought you were sick.”

                He nodded and moved aside. He puffed his pipe carefully. “I couldn’t stay at home anymore, my customers are not pleased with this kid, he’s a pain.” He said, pointing towards the direction where his son was standing, but he had now disappeared into the tiny office. Old Rodger smiled. “Henry is really something else.” He said, and helped himself to his seat. He stretched his cane out and sighed. “Did he treat you right?”

                I wasn’t about to answer that and add to Henry’s troubles. I smiled in response.

                Rodger scoffed. “Kim, I know he has an effect on ladies with his cute face and masculine body and all, but you should report him when he errs.”

                I stared at Rodger. Now that he mentioned it, I had ignored Henry’s gorgeous looks due to his attitude. A bad attitude really takes you nowhere!  “I would be off now, Old Rodger. Do take care of yourself, you should probably get some more rest and stop smoking that thing.” I said, pointing at his pipe.

                                “I can’t stop.” He called back laughing.

                I smiled and pushed the door open. “See you later.”

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

                Old Rodger coughed. His cough had worsened and the Pipe wasn’t going to help, yet he won’t bulge. “Henry.” He called.

                Henry came out of the office. “Dad, she provoked me. She won’t make up her mind at once.”

                Old Rodger picked his cane and stroked Henry’s arm. “And the same with every other customer?” Henry shrugged. “No lectures today, right? You are in your finals. Try to take things more serious and maturely.”

                Henry nodded. “Aye Aye Captain!” he saluted. His father hissed. “Dad, I think you should go home, I am really capable of running this show you know.”

                                “What show? My shop isn’t a club. I make money from here to take care of you.”

                Henry rolled his eyes. “Technically, I didn’t mean it is a show, it is a short way of saying things, Dad. You really are out-dated, you won’t understand.”

                Rodger nodded and stroked him harder with the cane. Henry jumped back, rubbing his skin.  “Good for me. At least, my generation taught me to have manners. I respect everyone even Ms. Kim, not like you, who can’t respect anyone.”

                Henry scoffed. “Come on Dad!” he replied, fetching himself a seat. “That lady isn’t the reason for this attack, is she?” he asked.

                His father sighed. “Are you through with your special project work?”

                                “No Dad, I am taking aids from those Kim Banks Articles, I wish I could meet the lady someday. I need her to assist me on a lot of things, else I won’t be able to import some ideas and it would be a shame because those articles are rich.”

                Old Rodger burst into a mocking laugh. Henry stared at him. “What, Dad?”

Rodger continued laughing. He eventually stopped and poured himself some liquor. “You just met Kim Banks.” He replied.

 

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

                I emptied the groceries into baskets and stocked them in the kitchen. Ever since we started living together, it became a point of duty for me; I also had to handle the cooking, except for Saturdays when we cooked together and Sundays when we ate out. I enjoyed helping out, but I wished that I had a real job. I am the youngest of us, Tola Matthews is 27, Ini is 24, she would be 25 in a few weeks, and well you know my age, but I would be 22 in July, I was hoping that I would be settled in my field by then.

                My phone rang. I stared at the home screen, it was Ben. I ignored the call. As I washed in the sink, water dripped from the broken pipe. “Ah…” I sighed and left for the store. I fetched some plumbing tools and a new pipe, all I had to do was to change the pipe.

                The door bell rang. I checked the wall clock. “It’s just past noon. Who could that be?” I thought aloud as I adjusted my gloves. The door bell chimed again. “Who is it?”  I asked as I reached for the door.

                                “Rodger” came the response. ‘Old Rodger?’ I thought.

                I opened it and shook my head upon seeing Henry, Old Rodger’s son. “What do you want?” I asked.

                                “Thanks for not telling on me before my Dad.” He said.

                I nodded. “If that’s what you came here for, it’s fine.” I replied and tried shutting the door, but he stuck his leg. “What?” I asked.

                He smiled. “It’s not fine. If it was, you won’t be trying to get rid of me so easily.” He said, with a smile. He stared at my hand. “What are you doing in those gloves?”

                I smiled. “Trying to fix a broken pipe.” I replied, holding the Wrench.

                                “Can I help out?” he asked, stretching out his hand.

                I shook my head. “Nah…I can do it.”

                His face fell. “I would feel bad leaving you alone to do it” He said.

                                “Okay, come in.” I said, stepping out of the way. I shut the door gently behind him.

                He stared at the Apartment. “Nice place you have here.” He said. He looked at a Picture frame on the wall. It had a picture of Tola, Ini and I in it. “Your sisters?”

                I smiled and handed him the wrench. “More like it.” I pointed towards the kitchen. “Get to work.”

                Henry got to work immediately. He started with the wrench while I sat and watched. “You know, I could use some help here.” He said, taking out the old pipe. I smiled. I thought he was acting all ‘Mr. I can do it’.

                                “What do you need my help for?” I asked.

                He popped his head out. “My Special Research project.” He replied.

                I stared at him surprisingly. “Plumbing? I had no idea…” I said, with a smile.

                He wore a grimace. “Very funny, Ms.” He stretched.

                                “Kim…Kimberly” I replied, chuckling. “I just knew you needed me for something.”

                He put in the new pipe and screwed it tightly. “I need Kim Banks. She has this article that I intend to take a cue from.”

                I nodded. “I suppose you got it from Old Rodger.” I said, clasping my hand on my lap. “All you have to do is read it.”

                                “Kim, it’s not that easy to decipher why a lady would want to get her heart broken, every lady avoids that. So, tell me how you want me to present that to my faculty.”

                I smiled. “Oh…well, we might have to look into that on a free day for both of us. What university do you go to?”

                He cleared his throat as though he was about to present a speech. Well, he did it in style. “The University of Lagos.”

                                “Really?” I said, getting two glasses. “Do you care for some Juice?” I asked, getting the Juice from the Refrigerator. He nodded in the affirmative. “Here you go.”

                He smiled. “Thank you. In that case, I would love to request for an interview with you, just to make my work more standard.” He took his seat. “So, what do you do?” he asked. “What University?”

                                “I am a graduate of Economics from UNILAG (short form for University of Lagos)”

                He almost spilled his drink. “You are out of the University?” I nodded. “Unbelievable. You look so…young!”

                                “Well, I am young.” I replied.

                He smiled. “And beautiful too.” I stared at him, and he grinned. “Okay, I think you are good for age, but why Economics?” he asked.

                I shrugged. “It’s Profession, writing is Passion.” I lied. Economics is profession, Writing is passion!’ had become my favorite response when asked about my course preference. I couldn’t tell strangers about my parent’s influence. Only close friends knew. Henry took a deep breath and he dropped his empty glass on the kitchen table. “Want another?”

                                “Nah…I am just wowed by you.”

                My phone rang again. Ben…again. I ignored it. The call came in for the second time… still I ignored it.

                                “Boyfriend? You aren’t gonna answer?” he asked.

                I shook my head. “He’s not my boyfriend. He’s a friend, but I don’t want to talk to him.”

                He nodded. “I wonder how I would feel if I got that treatment from my girlfriend” he caught my expression. “I mean, my friend.”

                                “Ben isn’t my boyfriend.” I retorted. “So, tell me Henry, how’s UNILAG these days?”

                He smiled. “As good as ever, so how’s the job market?”

                I cleared my throat. “There are really no jobs out there, anyway, when do you think we could meet?” I asked. Henry was getting too comfortable, I had to usher him out.

                He took to his feet. “Probably next week, can I get your phone number?” he asked, bringing out his phone. I collected it and typed the number. “Thank you.” he said and walked out.

 

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

                Marcus rubbed his hand on his forehead and slid into the backseat of Ini’s Murano car. “Done! Are you sure about this?” she had packed the car behind the agency.

                She laughed out loud. “You just said done, it means that’s over. Where’s that cream anyway?” she asked, stretching out her hand. Marcus placed Shola’s cream on her hand. “She really does go for the best, this is French.”

                Marcus jumped into the front seat. “Let’s get out of here.” He suggested.

                She scoffed. “Don’t be a chicken, Marcus. Let’s wait till we hear a loud scream at least, then we are sure that Shola has killed her skin.”

                He hissed and shot at her. “The only reason why I got as close at the bathroom without being noticed is because I had to dress like a cleaner,” he started, throwing his face cap at her. “What if we are caught? Look Ini, we can always hear about this on the news or through friends in the agency, but we can’t risk being found out. Just start the car.”

                Ini hissed. “Marcus, there’s this satisfaction that I would get here and now if Shola Jones rubs that cream on her body now, hearing it later would be stale, let’s just be patient. She should be out of the bathroom by now.” She said, looking at her wristwatch.

                Marcus kept looking out of the car. “Ini, this agency is full of security men, we would be finished if we are found out.”

                Ini grew out of patience and yelled. “That’s it Marcus! It’s either you get out and run or you stay here and wait, but remember if you run, you are a suspect and I would deny you!”

                He fidgeted and took his hand off the car lock. “How did I ever get stuck with you?” he said, silently.

                She laughed and kissed his cheek. “Be a man, Marcus!”

                                “There’s no way we are going to hear Shola scream. The bathroom is not close to this place. We would find out eventually.

                Ini slammed her hand on the steering and drove off.
 
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

DEAR FUTURE HUSBAND - EPISODE 1


DEAR FUTURE HUSBAND – EPISODE 1


EPISODE 1
                First rule of a Monday morning, especially when you stay in Lagos, ‘DON’T WAKE UP LATE!’ Tola Matthews had never fallen short of this rule, except for today. She brushed her leg against the side table as she made for the front door. I giggled. Tola stopped to eyeball me.
                She rolled her eyes. “Kimberly, the only reason I am not going to talk back at you is that I feel pity for you.” she started. Tola had a knack for showing off her status as Broker. “You don’t have a job. All you do is sit and watch TV, I have no problems with that, but don’t you think you should look for a real job that takes you out early?” she said looking at the wall clock. She smiled at me. It had mock written all over it.
                I snickered. “You are not happy. And the money in the Firm isn’t yours, you work for Mr. Asolo. One day, they’ll take that Range Rover back.” I replied, with a grin.
                                “I bought that with my money!” she hissed and stepped out.
                I wasn’t done yet. “Kentucky on your way back, please.”
                                “Did I hear you right?” Tola replied, tucking her head back in.
                I smiled. “You are a salary earner, aren’t you?”
I focused my attention back on the Flat screen. It is a big deal when you have nothing to do in Lagos. I am Kimberly Bankole, popularly called Kim Banks by my friends, graduated with a First Class from the prestigious University of Lagos with a degree in Economics. So much for my First Class Degree! I had sought to live on my own and when my best friends, Tola and Ini presented the opportunity I jumped at it.
                Tola works in the Real Estate Business and due to her hard work, she was gaining heights every day, and she currently occupies a top position in Asolo Real Estate Firm. Tola paid her way through the University as she lost her father quite early. She indulged in business all through her stay on the Campus, and coupled with the monthly bursaries from the Government, she could fend for her academics.
                Ini Obong is a model. She recently just got herself a billboard job for beauty soap. Ini worked when the opportunity arose, and she earned fat for it. Her career was fast rising and her manager, Marcus, worked tirelessly to get her jobs. Ini cherished her beauty sleep and she was still having it. But with Kimberly in the house, who would get a beauty sleep?
                I drew the curtains and let the sun rays in. “Wake up!” Ini rolled over and covered her face with the pillow. “Ini, it’s almost 9 in the morning. The roads would be free, why are you still in bed?”
                Ini snarled. “I don’t have to look for Jobs, they hunt me! Now get out of here.” She said, punching the pillow.
                                “Really, Ini? You should be awake.” I said, pulling the duvet.
                Ini punched her pillow heavily and sat up. “I need my beauty sleep!” she emphasized. “The party lasted late into the night and I am tired. You should be the one on the road, go get a job.”
                I shot at her. “How many times do I have to tell you that I have a job? I am a freelance writer!”
                Ini chuckled. “Ah…yes, I remember, whatever that is, honey.” She said, and slumped back to bed.
                I rolled my eyes and left for the kitchen. I work as a freelance writer from home, I write articles on the internet and if a column job comes by, my friend, Ben passes it to me, Although, I haven’t gotten any yet. I have his promises to cling on to. I am from a popular Lagos family. I am Professor and Professor Mrs. Bankole’s only child. Wondering why I am not gainfully employed? I turned down several opportunities to work for my Father and his well established friends. Economics had never really been my dream; I lived it for my Parents who are successful Economists. After my first degree, I hurried out of the house so I could chase my dreams, to be a writer.
                                “How many successful writers can you find in this country?” Professor Bankole had shouted at me when I stood before him with my bags.
                I sighed. “Dad…there is Wole Soyinka and recently, Adichie. Dad, I can do this.”
                                “They are few, scanty and insignificant! I would give credit to Wole Soyinka and a few others, but the field is meaningless, you would be broke!”
                I took a deep breath. “Dad, please. I am tired of Economics. I don’t want to work in that Firm.” It had never been easy being Professor Bankole’s daughter, your life is all typed out like one of his Economics textbooks.
                Mother knelt down before her husband. “Tunji please let her go.” She begged. She is my silent advocate.
                                “What are you saying, woman? Kimberly is about to bring shame to our family. She is only 21, what does she know about wanting to live on her own? She even wants to be a writer, this is ridiculous!” he said, tapping his legs.
                Wura Bankole nodded. “I know how you feel, Tunji. But, we have to let this girl try, who knows? Please…” she begged. Men and their egos! I had to join mother on her knees. 
                                “Listen to me, young woman. I give you a year to make a nuisance of yourself in that field called ‘Writing’ after which, if you fail,” he shrugged. “Of course, when you fail, you are coming back home and would work in the Firm.”
                I stared at him as he spoke.  He couldn’t see any light at the end of my tunnel.
                                “And one more thing, I don’t have to remind you about not liking any man, you already have David Coker.” He said sternly.
                I nodded. “Dad, you don’t have to remind me. I have heard this all my life! I went through University without any man, so you have nothing to be scared of, I would become David Coker’s wife when he chooses.” I replied, spitefully.
                                “Young lady! Show some respect!” he shouted.
                I scoffed. “Of course Dad. I am the only one who is not allowed to fall in love freely because David Coker would marry me. Do you even care to know the last time David Coker and I spoke?” Dad sipped his drink. “Two months ago Dad, two months!” I argued.
                He placed his glass on the table. “David is a busy man. He is doing all that for you, he has to manage his father’s business and it’s all over the world. He would be back soon.”
I leaned against the sink and waited for the Kettle to whistle. I made a hot cup of coffee.
                                “Please make me a cup too.” Ini said, as she took her seat.
                I smiled. “You are finally up. Of course, I would make you coffee, I am good for something after all.”
                Ini scoffed. “Oh…sweetheart, Hasn’t ‘Ben Ten’ called you today?” I smiled. “Oh, he hasn’t. I think that guy is cute.” I stared at her. “Oh…I get it; you are not allowed to love.” I handed her the cup of coffee. “Thank you, sweetheart.” Ini sipped her mug carefully. “Kim, really, don’t you think Prof. Bankole is pushing you?”
                                “It’s for my own good.” I replied, taking a seat. “It has always been for my good.”
                Ini scoffed. “What good? Right from when we were at High school, your old man has always been on your neck with this issue, David Coker this…David Coker that. Wake up, girlfriend, David won’t marry you.”
                                “Ini, he will.” I replied. “Dad said so.” I said softly.
                Ini laughed with so much mockery in it. “Honey, I have always liked you since high school, I mean you were my school daughter, so I would tell you this, David won’t marry you. You guys barely speak.” Seeing my expression she tried cheering me up. “I don’t know how things run with you guys from wealthy homes, but maybe because my folks were broke while I was growing, they won’t dare betroth me, I mean it’s so outdated.” She said. “And to think your parents are professors.” She murmured.
                I snickered. “You can say that again.” I stared at the kitchen sink. “We’ve got to fix that pipe, the one beneath the sink.” Ini nodded and dropped her mug in the sink. “Ini, you are so going to wash that.”
                Ini stuck her tongue out. “Marcus is waiting.” She said, and left for her room. Ini had the habit of leaving the dishes. “Who would marry you?” I shouted.
                                “Someone who isn’t DAVID COKER.” she called back, laughing.
                I smiled.
                That was the daily routine. Since I have nothing real to do, I just sit by my Apple laptop all day and write down articles, short stories and poems. I would also get the groceries and stock every corner of the house. If Ben called, I would say hi to him at the Office, else I would see Mom at home, but I had to call first. Dad didn’t want to see me.
                                “Hi, Mom.” I said, as I turned on the Television.
                Wura Bankole closed the door to her study. “Hey…I told you never to call in the mornings.” She whispered. “Your Dad is still home.”
                                “I had no idea I had to sneak around to say hi to my mom because of I am on some sort of probation by the Almighty Professor Bankole. Mom, I just want to say hi.” I replied, turning off the TV.
                Mrs. Bankole sighed and took her seat. “It’s not like that, Kim. You know how your father is. Anyway, how is it out there?”
                                “Mom, it’s rough. Getting a Job is hard. But I am coping fine.”
                Mother sighed “Just come back home, Kim. You can work in the Firm and still get jobs as a writer; I would talk to some friends.”
                I rolled her eyes. “Mother, you know the terms. Dad has to see that I can make it without your help. Thanks Mom.”
                                “Have you heard from David this month?” Wura Bankole asked, changing the topic. Still not a friendly topic!
                I chuckled. “Not at all. He didn’t even reply my mails, he must be really busy.” Mom laughed on the other end. “Do you regret being married off to Dad?” There was a deep silence from the other end. “Mom?” I called. Silence means affirmation!
                                “Not at all, Honey. He provides me with everything I want and need. The society loves us, we are happy.”
                I scoffed. “Mom…”
                                “Oh…Kim, I have to go now. I have a presentation in about an hour.” She replied and hung up.
                I nodded as I held my phone to my chest. “Yes mom…‘you always have’ to go, you are not happy, yet you think it’s what best for me. David Coker would provide everything I want and need, I would be happy.”

**********************************************************************************************************************************************************
                Tola picked up the receiver. “Yes…”
                                “You are needed at the Boardroom now, ma’am.” Kemi said. Kemi is Tola’s secretary.
                Tola closed her laptop and wore her blazer. She stepped out elegantly as ever and flashed at Kemi. “Take down any message.” She said, as she walked briskly. As a manager, Tola Matthews had a lot on her hand. She had to be up and doing, she had never relented.
                She opened the door to the boardroom. “Good morning ladies and gentlemen.” she said as she walked into the empty Board room. She stared at the empty seats and chairs. What prank was Kemi playing? She turned to walk away.
                                “Not yet, Ms. Matthews.”
                She turned round to see one of her clients, their biggest client. “How did you get here?” she asked and stopped. “Of course, you are Wole Briggs, where can’t you be?”
                He nodded. “That’s correct. I am Wole Briggs, I can open any door. Please have lunch with me.”
                                “Money isn’t everything you know.” She started. “It is a shame that some people allow themselves to be bought as to let you into this place.” She stopped and stared at him. “Get out before I call security on you.”
                He scoffed. “Really, Tola? I am just trying to be friends with you.”
                                “Friends? I would say you are stalking me. That thing you did with my tyre the last time I came to your office, I still remember. If only I found out earlier that it was you who had pricked it, I would have had you picked up for acting like a street urchin.”
                Wole Briggs laughed. “Tola, come on. Did you think the Police would come as close as touching my hand not to talk of cuffing it?” He smiled revealing his perfect set of teeth. “I just want to be friends with you.”
                                “The answer is No. now get out, Wole.” She said, sternly.
                He nodded. “Of course, as you wish. But I would be back. I don’t give up.” He said and walked past her. He stopped and stared at her. “Loosen up a bit, you work too hard.” He said as he undid her top button.
                She smacked his hand. He smiled and walked out. “Stupid pervert!”
                Tola returned to her office. “Who put the call across for me at the Board room?” she asked.
                                “It was Mr. Asolo, ma.”
                Tola smiled. “Of course. Thank you.” she replied and walked into her office.
               
***********************************************************************************************************************************************************
                                “It’s really competitive out there for the billboard jobs.” Marcus said as he gave Ini a massage.
                Ini took off her earphones. “Marcus, I am hot and beautiful. It is not competitive for me. See, I just won a billboard job.” She flashed a smile.
                He smiled. “I admire your confidence, but remember Shola Jones beat you to the last job.”
                                “That’s because she slept with all the men in that agency.” She replied, with a grimace. “Disgusting.”
                Marcus smiled. “And you went ahead to put that on twitter. Ini, the men in the Agency are not our friends thanks to that.”
                                “But I have fans. At least they know that some models are modest.” She said, flipping her head over her shoulder.
                                “And loud mouthed.” He added, quickly. Ini grinned. “But really Ini, you have to take this job really serious, I pulled some strings to get you this billboard and I hope you don’t mess it up.”
                Ini snarled. “What could possibly go wrong, Marcus?” she whined. “You are scared for nothing, just relax. You know I think we should go to the Spa, I am tired of your rough hand, and I need a real massage.” She said, rising to her feet. “You should also get a massage. You worry too much, Marcus.” She said, and left for the bathroom.
                Marcus sighed. “Of course, I have to. You are my source of livelihood. As long as you work, I won’t be broke. I have a responsibility.”
                                “I heard you, Marcus.” Ini shouted from the bathroom.
                Marcus smiled. “As always.”

**********************************************************************************************************************************************************
                                “Thank you for having lunch with me.” Ben said, as he stared at me.
                Ben fell into deep thoughts. Kimberly, an epitome of beauty, was definitely any man’s desire. She was simple, brilliant and beautiful. Ben had admired her from the first day she walked into Millaroca looking for a job. She had greeted everyone respectfully. Ben had faked being the boss and stepped up to her. “Hey, what do you want here?” he asked, staring at her eyes.
                                “Sir, I would love to apply for a job.” She replied.
                Ben smiled. “Erm…we are totally occupied here. So many staffs and we won’t be needing another. But you can drop your CV behind.” She said, pointing at the attendant.
                                “Ben…Ben…” He turned around swiftly. “The Boss is here.” He flashed a smile at Kimberly. “You would meet the Boss soon.” He said, and dashed out through the back door.
                Millaroca Magazine is about 30 years but was now gradually being edged aside in the country. It was mostly purchased by the ‘older generation’ as it used to appeal to them, but they soon lost interest. The Magazine needed a push to come back to the forefront in the country, but the competition really was stiff.
I raised her head. “So, you said you wanted to see me.”
                                “It’s just for lunch.” He replied, with a smile. My face fell. “How’s the job hunt?” he asked.
                I shrugged. “Nothing has changed. They all said they would call back, and no one has. Isn’t there any column job at Millaroca? I would take stipends.”
                 He held my hand. “It’s not about stipends; there are so many old brains at Millaroca. And to be honest, the boss is not willing to change his ideas, he believes in classic and from our survey it turns out the classic women don’t even want classic again.” He said.
                I smiled. “Maybe they would pass it on to their kids when they stop liking classic.”
                                “Kim, I would keep trying to get you a chance to write. You just have to be patient with me.” he said, and sipped his coke.
                I nodded. “Of course Ben, It’s not like I have too many options.” I replied. And truthfully, time was also running out!
                                “So, I thought I could take you out this Thursday.” He asked.
                I raised one eyebrow. “Thursday, erm…I think I would be busy…maybe I should…”
                                “Kim Banks, you are never busy. You don’t want me to rub it in that you have no real job.” I frowned. “Okay, I am sorry, but it’s Valentine’s Day. I thought we could hang out when I close from work.”
                I rolled my eyes. “Really? Ben, you don’t think I would fall for you, do you?”
                He smiled. “A man must always try. I don’t give up.”
                                “Start learning to. Anyway, where are we going to?” I asked.
                He shrugged. “Let me keep that a secret.”
                                “Secret? I don’t like secrets. Maybe you are a serial killer. Are you?” I asked, pointing my Fork at him. We laughed.
                He raised his hand. “Okay, I meant surprise.”
                Ben had many qualities that any lady would fall for, but remember, I am ‘married to David Coker’, although Ben doesn’t really strike me as that man. I’d rather remain friends. “So, are we gonna have Thursday?” he asked, with a smile.
 It wasn’t as if I had anything doing, and of course, I didn’t want Ini and Tola throwing their day in my face. “Of course.” I replied, with a smile. Ini and Tola never spared me of their Valentine day’s gifts throughout our high school and university days. It wasn’t as if I didn’t get gifts, but they were from ‘Anonymous’ guys. I didn’t bother to keep them.
                “It won’t be at one of the expensive places that you might be used to.” He continued. I stared at him. Who cared about money? My Parents were the wealthy ones, not me!
I nodded. “Ben, I am penniless, why would I mind?”
                “You are Professor Bankole’s daughter, aren’t you? Sometimes I wonder why you are job hunting, he could just hook you.”
I stared at him. I had never told him about my family background. “How do you know about my father?”
                “I am a huge fan of Professor Bankole. I love his guts and everything about him, so I know everything about him.” He straightened in his seat. “That is of course, as far as Wikipedia would tell me. And the journals too.” He said, flashing his teeth at me. “But I won’t mind an extra lecture; I would love to meet him.”
I blinked. He smiled. “So, would you help me?”
                “I would think about it.” I replied, and tried to finish up my food.

************************************************************************************************************************************************************
                Marcus fumbled with his I-pad for a while; he stared at Ini who looked rather too calm for their current situation. Well, he hadn’t told her the bad news yet. He had to! “Ini, we have a situation.” Marcus said, scrolling through his I-Pad.
                She adjusted her bathrobe. “You worry too much, Marcus. What could it be this time?”
                He took a deep breath. “I just received a mail from the advert agency. They want to revoke your contract.”
                Ini nodded. “For the billboard, right?” she asked.
                                “Yes. My sources tell me that Shola Jones is behind it.”
                She smiled. “Of course, that skanky little thing has to be. She is trying to take her revenge on me after the twitter saga.”
                                “What are we going to do?” Marcus asked.
                Ini scoffed. “I should be asking you that. It turns out; I am even tougher than you are. Shola Jones would walk into our trap; her skin needs a little adjustment.” She said, with a grin.
                                “Ini…we could hurt her career.”
                She nodded in agreement. “She struck the match; she’s bound to feel the flame.”         
                Marcus sighed. This is not the first time Ini had fought Shola Jones back and when they did, it was really messy. Both of them never really got along well. The Fashion industry was fast rising and Models were out at each other. It was a matter of who would take the lead, and as far as Lagos was represented, the battle line was between Ini Obong and Shola Jones.
                


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