Just wanted to surprise you with this episode this evening but before you read, here’s a short announcement
Please tune in this Friday. I’ll be here to remind you again on Friday and to bring you a new series from @Ibukunwrites
Have a cool evening.
This episode is dedicated to Seye who recently walked down the aisle with his sweetheart. I wish you a happy married life, Seye.
He looks into his bag. He has packed light. Nothing more than the basics. A few shirts, a few pants, a pair of shoes, underwear and toiletries. He knows he is missing important items but his head cannot just figure out what needs to be added. Genesis usually does his packing for him. She would include all he needs and extra things that never cross his mind. Sometimes she tosses in little surprises like handwritten notes, her thong or one of the children’s stuffed animals. He always looks forward to discovering what new item she leaves in his bags.
Today, however, she’s in a mood. She blames it on the housekeeper’s illness which has left her handling the bulk of the house chores. But Dominic knows she’s upset because of his trip. She tries to be a big girl about it, having just told him a few days ago that she is done getting upset over his trips.
“Fly to Jupiter, I don’t care. I don’t need you to make me happy.”
Since then her moods have fluctuated a great deal. He hates that she hurts over his absences. He lives for the moments when he makes her happy but she has always been an outrageously-difficult woman to please. Gifts and elaborate romantic gestures have no effects on her. She simply wants the little things – love, family, and waking up beside him every morning.
“Just a little longer,” he would tell her, but her response would be a brushing away of his words. She stopped believing him when he had started to sound like a chant. He however, means to keep his promise. Soon she wouldn’t have to worry about him being away. Business is good, despite the recession. Four years ago, the BSD Group invested in foreign currency, partnering with European financiers to spread the BSD chain of malls across Africa and in some parts of Asia. The returns have been unprecedented, pushing all partners involved into unimaginable wealth. It has been four years of sleepless nights and dedication. Soon, he would go on the much needed break and give Genesis all she desires.
Dominic takes another peep into his bag and decides he would abandon the idea of packing and have breakfast with Genesis instead. She had slipped out of bed as early as 5am and is yet to return to their bedroom.
He grabs his phone and a t-shirt on his way out. The sound of the twins playing draws him to their bedroom where he finds them in the company of Iya Idaya who is seated, watching them. Just recovering from a brief illness, she looks worse for wear but upon sighting Dominic, she manages a smile and a greeting.
“How are you feeling?” he enquires. She tells him that she is doing better. He wants to know if she is taking her drugs. She replies that she is.
He stops for some playtime with the twins but they barely acknowledge his presence. They are already so attached to each other that they do fine entertaining themselves. After a few minutes of being ignored, Dominic rises up and asks Iya Idaya if she knows where Genesis is. The old woman shakes her head.
He exits the room and makes his way out of the house to the next building. The apartment upstairs, once belonging to Genesis, is still very much hers. When she wants to get away from the stress of work or if they get into one of their intense fights, she would leave the main house and hide out there. The fact that Eva passed away on her bed does little to bother her.
Dominic comes to the building and takes a door that leads to stairs going up to the second floor. But just as the top of the first flight of stairs he spots Genesis engaged in her fitness routine, which to him is a collection of sexual poses that turn him on. She doesn’t have a regular schedule for them but does them quite often to keep in shape. Dominic’s best pose is when she splits, either with her legs up in the air or flat on the floor. It always amazes him how someone who is plus size can have so much control of her body and make it do impossible things. He is most impressed by her discipline and dedication to her fitness goals. It is this same manner of mind she employs in Novocaine Knights that has kept them at the top.
Dominic stops for a moment to watch her. She has her entire weight on her hands alone and her feet up on the wall.
She turns her head in his direction and turns it back. He is ignored for the next couple of minutes in which he sits and waits. She eventually lets down her legs and straightens up.
“Packed yet?” she asks, wiping perspiration off her forehead.
“More or less.”
“I’ve always told you never to bother doing it. I’ll come help.”
She picks a towel hanging off the bannister, slings it around her neck and comes down the stairs to meet him. When he rises up, his hand takes her waist and pulls her close for a kiss but she pushes him away.
“You know we don’t do this, Nick.”
“I’m sorry,” he apologizes, grabbing her again. “But I need you. I feel so drained and I’m not looking forward to this trip at all. You’ll give me the strength I need.”
“Domi, no. You’ll make love to me and leave me in an emotional mess for days. Don’t ask for what I can’t give. Just do your usual disappearing so that I can adjust to being single for two months.”
“Two months? Who says I’ll be gone two months?”
Dominic laughs. “You shouldn’t be listening to him.”
“Aren’t you guys traveling together?”
“We are but I’m not staying two months.”
She looks at him with something of an expectant expression. “So when will you be back then?”
“I don’t know.”
The expression vanishes. She starts out. He goes after her and forces his arms around her. In that manner they walk into the main house through the backdoor and end up in their favorite sitting room where she had left her phone charging.
“You want coffee?” he asks as she stretches out. The day has just begun for her. Her phone starts to buzz and she lazily stretches to the extension cord it is plugged in to take the call. An angry voice meets her ear and for a minute or so she has to endure whatever it is the person on the line is saying, throwing in apologies every now and then. Someone in the décor department has just messed up a bridezilla’s wedding decoration, substituting a shade of red for a deeper one.
“Maroon! Not burgundy!” The bride screams on. “Now my wedding is ruined!”
Genesis rubs an eye with the heel of her palm, feeling sore in the ear from all the shouting. Somehow she manages to bring the bride to calm and assures her that she’ll fix the situation in good time.
“Email a photo sample of the original color you asked for and a picture of what was done. I’ll look at it and if your complaints are legit, I’ll have it fixed in record time.”
“Isn’t your reception six hours away? Have no worries. I’ll make you happy. All I want is for you to relax and smile. It’s your day. Don’t let anything spoil it for you. Your husband and the cameras need that beautiful smile.”
Genesis knows nothing about her, if she has a beautiful smile or not. Like many of the weddings and events that are handled by her staff, she is hardly aware. She takes on the big jobs for the big names and leaves the minor ones for her capable staff to attend to. She hates to be called in to repair someone else’s screw-ups.
Genesis rambles out her email to the woman and dumps the phone just as Dominic walks in with a pair of mugs containing coffee. She hadn’t known for how long she had been on the phone.
“Angry bride,” she explains, taking an offered mug. “I don’t even know how she got my number.”
“I hope you didn’t tell her you’ll fix whatever she’s calling you to fix.”
Genesis stretches out her legs on Dominic’s laps after he sits. “I did.”
“Remind me again why you hired people?”
“If they’re not doing their jobs, fire them.”
“That’s why people call you heartless.”
Dominic slips his hand underneath her top and leaves it resting on her tummy.
“But I’m sure it’s nothing. Just a normal bridezilla fit. I’ll handle it.”
They sip their coffees in silence until her phone rings again. Dominic passes it to her. It’s the same bride calling. She wants to know if Genesis got her email.
“Ah. I sent it almost ten minutes ago.”
“I’ll check my spam folder to see if it’s there. Please don’t call again as I’m busy right now and will not take your calls. I’ll call you if I need you to resend the email. Besides that, relax. I’ll fix everything that needs fixing.”
“Thank you, ma.”
The woman hangs up and Genesis consults her phone to get the said email but discovers she is out of internet service.
“Can I use your phone, Nick?”
Dominic dips his hand into his pocket, pulls out his phone and hands it to her. She types in the password. The screen brightens up as a text message pops into view.
“You have a text,” she informs him.
“Read it. I’m expecting some money.”
“You’re always expecting some money.”
“Abeg read it.”
Genesis taps on the SMS icon and it opens up to a short message from an unknown number which she reads out loud.
I’ve done all you asked for. I hope you’re happy. I’m on my way out of the country now. I’ll be expecting the rest of the money in 24 hours.
“Shit,” Dominic mutters. “Let me have that.”
Genesis passes the phone over to him and he returns it to her shortly.
“Something you care to share with me?” she asks.
“It’s not nothing, obviously, and I don’t want to pester but I’m curious and a little worried. My guts feel uncomfortable with that text.”
“Gen, let it go. Just do whatever it is you want to do with the phone.”
Genesis taps on the message icon and discovers that the message is no longer there.
“You deleted it.”
“Genesis Raymond, can you please let that text go?”
“No, Nick. You tell me everything. Why are you hiding this one?”
Dominic throws his head back and rests it on the couch. “Fine…” He sighs. “I paid Chichi off to leave Kasiobi and disappear for good.”
“I don’t understand, Nick.”
“I’m giving her ten million bucks to get the hell out of Kasiobi’s life so he can go back to Tonbra. She left the baby behind.”
“Nick?” Genesis sits up. “Why would you do that?”
He straightens his posture. “Because Tonbra deserves to have the man she loves but with Chichi in the picture there’s no way in hell that’s going to happen.”
Genesis gives a dazed wobble of her head. “You scare me all the time, Dominic.”
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m simply nudging the lovebirds towards each other.”
“They are eventually going to end up together. Nothing can tear love apart.”
Dominic laughs. “Sometimes you’re so naïve. Nothing can tear love apart?”
“If they’re meant to be…”
“Genesis, please. You’re sounding like a cheesy romance novel. Love has never been enough to keep two people together. You have to give it a little nudge sometimes and that’s exactly what I did. I don’t want my daughter spending her youth being lonely and seeking for love in the wrong places. Soon, she’ll get over Kasiobi and start settling for less. As a father, I can’t watch that happen. She will not become Eva and end up being murdered by some man who can’t control her. So I’m doing everything to see her happy, and no one will give me the third degree over it. I’ll do it for Zach and Zoe if they fall into the same situation. This is who I am, Gen. I have the money and I’ll use it to fulfill selfish needs. Get used to it.”
Genesis lays a hand on his lap. “I understand, Nick. Relax.”
“I made Chichi sign a non-disclosure. If she ever comes back for her child, I’ll expose the documents to Kasiobi so he’ll know she gave up her child for money.”
“But what if Kasiobi has his sights on someone else?” Genesis asks, recalling the couple of times she had watched him flirt with Didi at the office.
“As long as the girl is not carrying his child, there’s no reason to worry. Chichi was the biggest threat.”
“I pray she never returns.”
Dominic pushes his hand into Genesis’ top once more as the mood mellows. “I pray you let me touch you before I go.”
Genesis ignores him as she signs into her email account and handles her client’s issues. The case takes her over fifteen minutes to sort out, during which Dominic graduates from just touching her to fondling her breasts. After she is through, he takes the phone off her hand, pins her down on the couch and starts to kiss her. She feels weak to stop him. His stunt with Chichi is a huge turn on. She has always had a weakness for his darker side.
“I’ll miss you,” he says into her ear, tickling it with his breath, and at the same time, pushing his hand into her pants to find the lushness of her bum.
She encloses her arms around him. “I never get used to you being away, Nick. It always hurts. Please, don’t stay too long.”
Her last word is caught in his lips. He kisses her lavishly but stops to look into her eyes.
“Just a little longer, Ms. Raymond.”
∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞
So I’m lying on this blue couch, doing my décor thing in my head and trying to take a selfie at the same time when my roomie steps into my sunlight and goes, “Is my ass big in this dress?”
Annoyed for losing a perfect shot that captures my eyes, I retort, “What ass?”
A pair of bespectacled eyes lands me an unpleasant stare. I return a smile. The person who has just spoken to me is a cute, petite Edo girl we call Ehizogie or Ehi for short. She is my housemate and also my colleague. We don’t particularly like each other but somehow we manage. Work and accommodation lumps us together. It’s only wise that we get along. Good thing I get to spend only weekends with her; during the week, I stay with my elder brother and his wife.
“If you want to see what they call ass, check this out.”
I get up, turn around and give Ehi a good view of my heavily-endowed behind. It is African in every sense, the type that gets fellow females jealous and males drooling.
“You’re just fat,” she claps back. “Nothing sexy about it. Go and lose weight.”
To infuriate her further, I lower myself and give a twerk. There’s music coming from my bedroom, something that sounds like what Patoranking will sing. And I don’t only twerk to the beats, I give my booty a slow grind as though I am doing it for the viewing pleasure of a dude. And well, what do you know! A dude walks in unannounced, catching me in my moment.
He stops and focuses on me with a frown. I don’t stop. I’m not specifically doing it for him but if he chooses to be entertained, then he should by all means knock himself out.
By the way, while he watches, let me introduce myself. My name is Ndidi but people call me Didi or Chubby Di. I don’t mind, though. I’m fat, curvy, thick, voluptuous, plus sized and full of myself. You’ll never find me feeling sorry over how I look. Naa. I love my body and I am comfortable in my skin. There’s a huge market for my type, especially on this side of Nigeria. God bless the day I packed my belongings and moved from the east to the land flowing with men that appreciate booty. I have a long list of thirsters and blessers, already and I’m not even a ho. Just wild, sexy and more entertaining than your average girlfriend.
“Hello Kasi.” I stop tormenting my male spectator with my behind and face him.
Gosh! Kasiobi’s voice is to die for! It’s deep but not in a baritone way. Just deep and smooth like he should be whispering sweet nothings in your ear all night. And don’t even start me on his looks. He’s fine, with Will Smith kind of ears and pink, kissable lips. He is tall and (the best part) thin. Just the way I love my men. I can’t be plus size and go after fatsos like me. How do we enjoy sex? By bumping into each other’s cellulites? No, thank you. Skinny boys are best. They know how to love a big woman.
So, I’m thinking Kasi has a thing for me but he hides it well. Same way I hide mine. Dude’s got me feeling some kind of way but he’s never going to know I’m crushing on him. We’ve met on four different occasions but it has all been work-related. I’ve heard gist of his pathetic love life with the boss lady’s stepdaughter, Lexus, and how she dumped him. It’s not clear if he has recovered from the heartbreak but he’s yet to replace her. I’d have offered myself as a rebound girlfriend but not yet. I am watching the tides. I am barely three weeks old in these environs. It’s best to keep my head in what brought me here – and that is to work as an events planner at Novocaine Knights and to build a relationship with the family I never had.
I am an only child of a mother who was branded an ogbanje and rejected by her people. My grandmother died giving birth to her after losing four babies. My grandfather alone was left with the burden of caring for her but he remarried and had children by his new wife who maltreated my mom endlessly. Eventually, she ran away from the village and moved to Aba where she survived by selling food during the day and attending school at night.
According to her, one day, this rich man in his luxurious car drove up to her food stall to buy lunch and she fell in love with him. He was a married man with three sons but she didn’t care. A short affair culminated and I came to be. Sadly, the only thing mommy knew about my dad was his name – Lawrence Onuora. It took her five years before she bumped into him again. At that time, her hard work had paid off and she was able to secure an admission into University of Lagos, her dream school. And while I was left in the care of my maternal great-grandmother, mommy got herself educated, paying her fees with money she got from selling food in a canteen on campus.
She met daddy again at the school gates and they resumed their affair, meeting in hotels, until one unfortunate incident when his second son ran into them. The affair ended and left mommy heartbroken. She had told daddy about me but he made it clear that I was to remain in the shadows for the sake of his family. This didn’t stop him from being responsible for me. I was taken away from the village to Onitsha for a better life. Mommy eventually graduated but dropped all prospects of getting a decent job and returned to the east. She opened a beer parlor, faced her life and forgot all about my dad. Each time I asked, I was told he was dead. I only discovered he was alive when she was on her deathbed. She told me the entire story of how I came to be and gave me his phone number. Right in her presence, I called him. They spoke in Yoruba, a language I didn’t understand. When they were done, she asked me to put the phone on speaker. Her last words to us were, “Lawrence, your daughter, Ndidiamaka. Take care of her as your own. Ndi, your father. Go and be with him. God bless two of you.”
And then she breathed her last. It is barely three months since she passed. Daddy gave her a grand burial in the same village where she was treated as an outcaste. He took her shame away. He gave her a royal farewell and left tongues wagging for a long time. After my mourning period, he put me on a flight to Lagos. I was introduced to his wife, my brothers and their wives on a quiet night. Not all of them welcomed me with open arms. Nne, especially, doesn’t like me but I don’t take it personally. She lost her only daughter a short while after her birth. I understand her angst.
Wait, did I just deviate to talk about my family and forget about Kasi who is still standing in front of me in all his male hotness?
“Please, Ehi, I need your help desperately,” he says to Ehi.
“Anything, Kas,” she replies with a smile I never saw on her before.
I watch two of them leave the house and return shortly with a baby that looks every inch like Kasiobi. I take two, slump back into my seat and gape at the scene. He has a child?! How on earth did I not know this whole time?! And who the hell is her mother?!
“I’ll just change into something real quick and we’ll be out of here,” Ehi says and disappears into her room, leaving Kasiobi and I. And of course the baby whose cheek is enjoying the touch of his lips.
“Is she yours?” I ask.
“Yeah. Her name is Trinity.”
“Cool. So you’re married?”
He laughs. “No. Single dad.”
“Where’s her mom?”
“Oh, she’s out of town for a bit.”
“And left her all alone with you?”
“I’m capable.” He looks at his daughter. “Am I not, Trini? Is daddy not capable?”
Awww, how cute. But why would a mother leave a baby so little and travel? And why on earth did Kasiobi go and get a girl pregnant? Well, the whole thing now has K-leg. Who wants to be loving up a guy that has a baby under his care? I can’t be doing nanny abeg.
Ehi returns. “Let’s go.”
“Bye, Didi,” Kasiobi tells me. “See you later this evening at the concert.”
They walk to the door and then Ehi turns back. “I forgot my phone.”
She runs to her bedroom while Kasiobi makes his exit. I become moody over the latest development as I sit staring after him. Ehi comes back again but stops and blocks my sunlight once more.
“Stop wasting your time fantasizing about him, Ndi,” the silly thing speaks without permission. “His soul is tied to Lexus.”
“Plizz! Fantasizing is for teenagers like you,” I snap. “Speak for yourself.”
I flip my braids backwards, barge into my bedroom and begin fixing my scattered bed. My phone rings while I’m in the middle of it. The boss lady is calling. I pick the call in excitement. It’s not always she needs me for something outside office hours. I’m still a rookie in the business and apart from doing my job, I always aim to please her. Today of all days is a good opportunity to prove myself with the love concert. I had been assigned to do only a few things but I want more responsibility.
I don’t get an answer.
“Hello? Good morning.”
I meet more silence.
I bring the phone to my face and put it back on my ear.
I hear some sounds but not a word. I conclude that the network is bad and go offline. My thumb is about to tap on a button to return the call but a better idea pops into mind. I hurry out of my bedroom and find my way out of the apartment. There’s a small fence separating the bosses’ house from ours. In-between both houses stands a tree and beneath it a swing bench I enjoy spending spare time on.
I follow a small gate and come out to the massive mansion that is probably the most beautiful house I have seen in Lagos so far. At my entrance, guard dogs begin to bark fiercely. I ignore them because I know they have been caged. I follow a path that takes me straight to the kitchen via a backdoor. Upon entry I expect to see Iya Idaya, the housekeeper but I find no one present.
I leave the kitchen, finally having my opportunity to take a good look at the house. I have only been here once and it was on a brief visit. Now, I get the chance to absorb the elegance and beauty all at once, which blows me away at second glance.
Now, mind you, I’m standing in what seems like an anteroom which opens up to a stairway that leads up. If I guess correctly, the sitting room is to my left. It is where I plan to end up after I call the boss lady and tell her I am waiting for her. Before then, I decide to take a small tour.
Facing me, some feet away, is a door. My curiosity tells me to find out what is behind it. Since the door is ajar, it won’t be bad to take a peep.
I walk towards it and when I get there, I push the door open and come upon a beautiful sight of the boss and boss lady making out. The room is a mini-parlor with diffuse lighting and bright colors. It is not meant for any type of entertainment but somehow this beautiful couple has found it worthy enough to make out in.
The boss, lying between his wife’s legs which are spread apart, kisses her like he is born to kiss women. He stops and lowers his head to kiss her breast which is in full glare of my eyes. He does this as his hand goes between her legs. When he touches her ‘there’. She moans.
And I think I moan alongside her or something, because they stop abruptly and turn in my direction. My chest tightens, I step back, and find to my relief that they had not seen me. They have been startled by the stupid family cat that has just slipped past my leg and into the room. I had been too engrossed to feel its fur over my skin.
I withdraw and end up in the living room, trying not to keep the image of what I had just witnessed. It doesn’t help me. Who will quench the fires when I’m all alone? My bae-lessness, which has carried on for a long time is becoming something of a headache. I have dated just two boys in my life and both relationships didn’t have happy endings. Every other guy I met after them just wanted to be there for the nacks, something I wasn’t giving. It’s not like I’m looking for love, either. I simply want a reasonable guy that I can grow into loving, someone who is not all about sex. I might ooze it and talk so much about it but the fact is that I’m a novice. Literally, a virgin. Never known a man before, although, I have known men enough to understand the workings of their third legs. When people see me they automatically assume I have a PhD in men and sex. But I’m just a neophyte. A wild one, though.
Ehi has this theory that I’m wild because I’ve not been popped.
“When you have your first, you’ll calm down. I was like you – wild and wanting – and then I got disvirgined and became sane.”
I had rolled my eyes and almost snored to her unsolicited speech.
“In my opinion, the penis is overrated, and I’ll advice that you keep your body for marriage and use sex just for babies. That is what God would want of you.”
I had smiled. She wasn’t aware that I knew about her failed marriage to an old man her father’s age, which barely lasted four months after the man caught her engaged in lesbian sex with an unnamed chick. Now, she was using the religious angle on me. Bitch, please.
I pick my phone and plug in my earphones to listen to music. Boss Lady is moaning very quietly but I can pick out the sound. Well, they need it as a couple, with the boss always out of the country and his wife swamped with work– as I’ve heard.
I wait much longer than I thought I would and finally, I hear words and not moans. I also hear a door close. Only then do I choose to make my presence known. When I step out, the boss lady shows some surprise.
“You’ve been in there?” she asks.
“Yes, ma. Good morning, ma.”
“What happened to you calling me Genesis? How many times will I correct you?”
“I’m sorry Ms. Genesis.”
She smiles. A dimple shows on her cheek.
“Hello.” Her husband steps out of the mini-parlor. He shows no signs of what had just occurred between them, unlike her whose hair is in disarray.
“Good morning, sir,” I reply to his greeting.
He grabs his wife by the bum for a kiss and whispers into her ear. I look elsewhere.
“Oh, please, go away,” she tells him as he walks off. She turns to me. “So, Didi, why are you here?”
“You called me, actually. I answered the call and you weren’t saying anything, so I thought you needed me. Here I am.”
She gives me a guarded look. “How long have you been here?”
“I just got in.”
She suddenly becomes conscious of her hair. She shakes the expensive locks and they fall back into place. I wonder how much they cost.
“I think my phone dialed you on its own. It has a mind these days.”
I giggle. Not like what she said was funny but because she’s Genesis, the most beautiful woman I have ever come across that has a huge heart, and is an inspiration not to plus size women alone but to all women. I think I can fittingly call her a goddess. Let me digress a little and tell you how I almost ran mad on the day my elder brother’s wife, Honey, brought me to this house to meet her for the first time.
My dream had always been to work for Novocaine Knights. They were and still are that much of a big deal. Apart from the fact that they organized the best parties, weddings and events, they were rumored to pay their staff well. So on that Saturday when Aunty Honey brought me to the house and the door opened and I saw Ms. Genesis standing before me, I went blank for some seconds. I told myself she wasn’t the one. I said, ‘Didi, you have only seen her pictures online and videos of her. This can’t be her. Naa! This is a prank.’
But Aunty Honey hugged and greeted her, calling her name, and that was when I knew that it was her for real.
I fainted. Not literally. Just fainted out of my old life and into my new one with Genesis Ditorusin. So now you understand why I giggle when she says certain things even though there is nothing to giggle about. She is quite used to me doing that, though.
“Anyways, it’s good you’re here. Iya Idaya is not feeling so well, so I’d be glad if you step in and help me babysit the twins today. I have another event I’ve been planning which I have to attend briefly.”
She touches my arm. “I know this is last minute and I hate to do this to you but I need them out of my hair today. Can you handle them?”
This is not what I have planned. I want to be part of the décor team putting things together for the concert. I have dreamed about this. Why is Ms. Genesis doing this to me?
“Iya Idaya will put you through. Can you help out?”
“Sure,” I answer. I feel sad but anything for Ms. Genesis.
“Thank you, Didi. I owe you one.”
It better be an Hermes Birkin. You have four of them you aren’t using or so they say.
“But does that mean I’ll miss the love concert?” I ask.
“No, dear. You’ll be there with them. I’m sure by then your colleagues would have some free time on their hands to help you out.”
Great. I’ll be the fat one carrying babies around while my mates are fishing for men. I see Ehi laughing at me right now.
“You’re such an angel.”
Ms. Genesis pats my cheek and leaves me standing alone.
Permit me to swear…..
∞∞∞ ∞∞∞ ∞∞∞
“That’s the last of her friends I know. If she’s not here, she can’t be anywhere else.”
Kasiobi fixes his eyes on the glass door of a beauty salon that has designs of beauty and fashion accessories etched on it. Ehi has just emerged from the place, having gone to ask a onetime mutual friend of Chichi if she has any knowledge of her whereabouts.
“None of them have seen her since she left for South Africa last year.” Ehi pushes her glasses upwards to scratch her nose. “They didn’t even know she came into town.”
“Ehi, we’ve been to four different places. Definitely somebody is lying. One of them must know where Chichi is.”
Ehi shrugs. Kasibi rubs his eyes in frustration. “Three hours of nothing.”
Ehi throws her head back to stare at Trinity who is fast asleep in her seat. “At least, someone’s not stressed out or stressing you right now.”
“Are you hungry?” Kasiobi enquires.
“Let’s stop at the mall to eat and buy some baby formula.” He starts the car. “I swear, I’m so frustrated right now.”
“Everything’ll be fine.”
He puts the SUV into gear and connects with a busy street.
“I could offer my services for free.” Ehi faces him, playing with her braids. “I’ll gladly take care of Trini and in return you get to be my boyfriend.”
Kasiobi laughs despite his exhaustion. “Who spoilt you like this for me, Ehi? You used to be such a good girl.”
“Life showed me pepper jare.”
“I so badly wanted you at some point but your forming put me off and then you went and allowed Chisom to disvirgin you.”
“Can we not talk about that phase of my life right now?”
“The lesbian phase?”
“Chichi is bad influence and that’s why I don’t understand why you want her back. Trinity doesn’t need a mother like her.”
“And who’ll be the best mother?”
“I’m not crazy about you like that, Kas. Besides, I’m smart not to come between you and Lex.”
“We’re not together. I have a babe.”
“Shakira is a ho. Everyone knows that.”
“So you’re not getting back with Lex?”
Kasibi’s hand stiffens around the steering. “No.”
“But Kasi, I’m very sure you guys are meant to be together and no matter how hard you try to fight it, you’ll end up with her.”
“You’re making it sound like there’s some power out there that controls these things.”
“He doesn’t have time for our love lives.”
“Are you serious?”
“I believe in love, and I think you guys have it but if it never works out, I’m right here waiting.” She waves her hand. Kasiobi takes it and kisses it.
“You’re such a lowkey flirt, Kas.”
“I’m just trying to be nice in case I’ll ever need you to babysit Trini. But on a good side, though, that baby behind is going to score me enough booty. Watch what happens at the mall, but then you’ll have to give me some distance so that they don’t think we’re together.”
“You’re not well.”
Kasibio tries to smile but a yawn stops him. The drive to the mall is an uphill task and when they get there, he leaves Ehi with the chore of sourcing for food while he embarks on finding the best formula for Trinity. As he browses the stacks of different brands of baby foods in the kids section the last thing on his mind is the attention he is getting from female shoppers.
“Don’t go for that one,” a familiar voice stops him as his hand stretches to pick a can of milk amongst many off the shelf.
He turns around and Lexus’ smiling face meets his.
“Hi Kas. Hey, Trini.”
The naturally-unsmiling tot gives Lexus a grin.
“Weird,” Kasi mutters.
“We have a thing. Can I…?” She stretches her hands out and Trinity inclines towards her.
“She remembers you?”
“Not really. She fell in love with me from the first day. I think I have something she loves. Must be my piercings.” She kisses Trinity’s forehead. “How are you, bae? Did you miss me?”
Kasiobi watches both of them bond with Trinity trying to go for one of Lexus’ earrings. He notices other things too – like Lexus’ body con top tucked into a ripped jean that shows off her petite butt. He picks out faint signs of makeup on her face but the best part of her look is the pair of ankle strap heels she has on. He had never imagined she could comfortably go about in any footwear other than sneakers. He had hated Russell for a long time but at the moment, he is grateful he came into Lexus’ life and changed her style.
“So where’s Chichi?”
“Um…she’s out of town for a couple of days,” Kasiobi replies. “She’ll be back on Monday.”
“Okay.” Lexus faces the shelf. “Pick the SMA. That’s what she takes.”
Kasiobi glares at his daughter. “She takes formula?”
“But Chichi told me she has been exclusively breastfed from day one.”
“No offence but Chichi is a liar.” Lexus looks at Kasiobi. “And you too.”
“I’m a liar?”
“You’re lying about where Chichi is.”
“Still lying. It’s in your eyes. Something’s wrong. You look fucked, rings around your eyes, you smell of sweat and metallic stuff and you’re here buying baby food. Where the hell is Chichi? You guys fight or something?”
Kasibio shuts his eyes. “I hate you.”
“Or you caught her with your girlfriend on your couch?”
“Then where the fuck is she? Why is Trini having soiled diapers?”
“Yes, she is, daddy. And she’s about to start crying over it.”
Kasiobi rolls his eyes in exasperation. “Chichi left, okay? I came home this morning and saw a note. Says she’s tired of the arrangement and she’s not coming back… She left.”
“Awww, poor Trini.”
“She took all her stuff…and…left. I’m still traumatized.”
“I don’t particularly give a fuck about you. I’m worried about this angel here. Has she eaten?”
“What did you give her?”
“Refrigerated breast milk and then custard twice.”
Lexus frowns at him. “Grab a ready to eat formula, a bottle, and a bib while I get diapers and go and change her.”
“I’m not doing it for you.”
She begins to walk away from him.
“I’ll be at the food court,” he announces. “Jollof and peppered chicken?”
“Yeah. Always with ice-cream.”
She disappears to the next isle while Kasiobi remains standing until someone passing by nudges him. He begins to toss baby food into his shopping cart, going back to Ehi’s words about a force out there that wants him and Lexus back together. Thirty minutes ago, he would have fought against it but here he is, already coming up with a million ways on how to play nice with Lexus. Getting back with her doesn’t seem like a bad idea right now.
Anything for Trinity, he tells himself.