On exhibition day, Tehilah dressed up in a pair of ripped jeans, matched with a red leather blazer, and finished the look with a pair of espadrilles. The exhibition Centre was crowded by the time Tehilah got there. She slipped on her identification card to avoid embarrassment from the security agents, and took her seat beside a dark skinned man, who seemed too engrossed in the program. He didn’t even acknowledge her when she sat down, but she didn’t mind. While people were called out to read from their books, Tehilah looked around the auditorium, counting the number of book agents that were present at the event. Her eyes bulged when she looked two rows down, and saw Koksy, a representative from a renowned publishing house that had birthed most of the A-list writers in the country.
Koksy was a successful book agent, with a lot of successful writers under her belt, and if Tehilah wanted to get her feet in the door of any notable publishing house, she needed koksy. However, Koksy was snobbish and only worked with already established writers. It would be a miracle if she looked her way. In checking out the book agents, she did not notice that the man sitting by her was watching her intently.
“Your eyes are like windows, and I can see you checking out the book agents. Are you a writer?” he asked.
“Yes I am” she replied with a shy smile.
“Where are from, do you reside in Lagos?” he asked
“No, I am from Port-Harcourt” Tehilah became impatient with the multiple questions, but she remained polite.
“Anyways, if you are going to be in Lagos for a while, please call me” the man thrust a card into her hand.
Tehilah wondered if this was the man’s way of asking her out. She also wondered why she was getting a lot of guys asking her out since she came to Lagos. Her introverted lifestyle hardly brought her in contact with good guys. After the breakup with her fiancée almost destroyed her, she had stayed off men. She was always locked up in her apartment, hammering at the keyboard of her laptop.
Her name blared out of the P.A system, shaking her out of her inner musings. She walked up to the podium on unsteady legs, smiling nervously. When she looked up at the sea of heads and faces peering at her, her palms became sweaty. Her thoughts became distorted and when she opened her mouth to speak, her voice faltered. Tehilah stopped and took a deep breath, and then started to speak, this time with more confidence.
“Hello everyone, I am Tehiilah Martins, I wrote this book titled ‘Fallen Angel’. It is the tale of a girl who faced sexual and physical abuse in the hands of a man she was forced to marry, and her journey into the life of a mistress. I am going to read the first three chapters…”
Tehilah went ahead and read the chapters from her first and only book. She held the audience in awe of what she was reading. When she was done, the crowd erupted into applause. It was better than any, anybody had read. She seized the opportunity to advertise herself.
“Thank you for listening. I have about twenty copies of the book for those interested in buying” she concluded her reading, and bowed before leaving the podium.
When she got to her seat, the man who gave her a card was gone, in his seat was Koksy. She looked intimidating up close, with eyes that bored into one, intensely, and the way her lips were held in a thin line. She exuded power and affluence from her clothes to the way she carried herself, even her natural kinky hair, spoke volumes of her personality.
“Hello” she said, without really opening her mouth.
“Ms. Koksy” Tehilah said passively, trying not to show her excitement at Koksy being interested in her.
“That was quite a reading. Which publishing house published this book?” she asked, gesticulating with her long, bony fingers.
“It was self-published” Tehilah pushed her hair behind her ear.
“I am interested in your book, and your work. I will like us to get together soon. I want us both to make money out of your writing” she said and pressed her card into Tehilah’s palm. “Call me, don’t keep me waiting”
fter leaving the national theatre, she took up a stand which she had paid for, to display the twenty copies of her book, which she had come with. Within a few minutes, the copies were exhausted, and she had made about forty thousand naira. That evening, she decided to celebrate her good fortune, so she went to a Karaoke bar on the Island, and took her place by the counter.
“Hello beautiful” the bar man said.
“Give me Heineken” she quipped.
“Wow, I like you all ready” the muscular bar man winked as he got her drink.
While she drank, she thought about the events of the day. Having Koksy interested in her was indeed a miracle, as it had not happened before. Koksy did not care for rookies.
“Chance meeting you here” a voice said behind her. Tehilah already knew who it was, that had spoken. She turned and smiled up into Wale’s face.
“Your drinks are on me” she signaled for the bar man, who sized Wale up, as he approached them.
“Oh, somebody got rich. I see the exhibition went well, can tell from the width of your smile”
“Sold all the books I came with, and also got an offer from Koksy, the book agent every writer wants”
“That is great. Bar man, service my guys with the usual. Tehilah, come join our table, will you? He took her hand and led her to a table where his buddies were seated.
“Everyone meet Tehilah, the woman that keeps me awake at night” Wale said, and his buddies high-fived him, one after the other.
“She is a 10” Osas said, while the others whistled.
“Hello guys” Tehilah smiled shyly.
Wale’s friends took to her immediately; they talked, laughed and even serenaded her with a song. They stayed drinking late into the night, and when everyone dispersed to their homes, Wale was not ready to let Tehilah go. So he drove her to the beach side, and bought barbecued fish and more drinks. Tehilah found out that, they vibed on so many levels and they also had almost the same value system.
Could it be that the man for her, had been hiding in Lagos?
It was already morning when Wale drove her back to her hotel. He took the elevator up to her room because he wanted to make sure she was safely tucked in her room, but Tehilah invited him in.
“Stay with me” she said, holding his hand as he turned to go.
“Are you sure?” he asked
“Yes, I am sure” Tehilah pulled him inside.
Wale was surprised when she undressed in front of him, and walked bare butt, to the bathroom. For someone who was used to her own company, and mostly introverted, Tehilah surprised herself. Wale took the initiative and joined her.
“You are just perfect” he said and kissed her neck, while his fingers kneaded her body.
“I have not had this in a long while” she whispered in between moans. He carried her from the shower to the bathroom, and laid her on the bed.
“I like you a lot, and I want us to date. I know we are cities apart, but we can work things out, if we are willing” Wale kissed the water beads on her body, trailing his path down her navel, to the V-shaped honey pot.
“We can talk about that later, for now, all I want is some release, which you can provide” Tehilah gasped when his mouth found her spot.
ehilah was awakened by the sound of her phone. She tried to get up and realized her body was entwined with Wale’s. She smiled when she remembered all that had gone down last night, and then nudged Wale aside, so she could extricate her body. But Wale opened his eyes and pushed her back down.
“I am not done with you, mami” he began to tease her lips with wet kisses.
“Oh Wale, as much as I enjoyed every bit of our lovemaking, my body aches, and I cannot afford another bout of sex” she said and Wale burst into a fit of laughter.
“Relax bae, I am not talking about sex. I meant the conversation we were meant to have. I am officially asking you to be my girlfriend, I want you, Tehilah” he said, stroking her hair. Tehilah peered into his eyes, looking for the truth, because she believed the eyes were the windows to a person’s soul. All she found in his eyes was adoration.
Tehilah accepted to date him, and they had another round of lovemaking. When Wale went to the bathroom to freshen up, his phone rang, drawing Tehilah’s attention to it. The caller ID read ‘My SKB’, and it got Tehilah started.