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Spending Mommy's Money

Spending Mommy’s Money #5

CHAPTER FIVE – A Wedding and A Past

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Rain was curious about many things this morning. First, it was about the incest thing with Noah and Naomi. How did it start? Who initiated it? For how long had it been going on? Were they in love with each other? And for heaven’s sake, why?

She realized that she was just beginning to digest what had happened—and she wasn’t ready for it.

So, she sought answers to the other thing she was curious about.

“How did they meet?” She was standing by Dora’s bedroom door. Dora was in the middle of a yoga session. Doing this twice every day, in combination with a lean diet, was Dora’s secret to a fit form. Sadly, she was struggling with weak knees.

“Your parents?” Dora looked at her through the space between her legs. She was in the downward-facing-dog pose.

“Yes.”

She didn’t answer immediately. She completed her routine before she stopped and responded to Rain.

“In my house.” She picked a towel from her bed to mop the sweat off her face. There was a smile when she lowered the towel. “That morning, thirty-six years ago, Habib sat in a corner of my living room, legs crossed, watching Kofo as she fed your brother, Xavier. Habib was just twenty then, but he made her uneasy. So, when she had had enough of his ogling, she asked if he wasn’t taught that it was rude to stare at women.”

Rain stopped herself from smiling.

“Habib was the black sheep of the family, and it was the reason I loved him more than I did our other siblings, even though we had different mothers.” Dora sat on her bed. “That night, he wouldn’t let Kofo rest. Without shame, he told her that he liked her and didn’t care that she was married. She was older and found him amusing at first. But by the end of the week, she became drawn to him in a way she had not anticipated. She told him everything about her background.”

Rain entered the bedroom and sat on the bed. “I want to know.”

“Her father died when she was a little kid, leaving her mom to raise eight children alone. Unlike her sisters, Kofo had insisted on finishing her secondary school, but her mom married her off to Ituah at the age of seventeen when she was in Form Four. The following year, she had Xavier. The year, after that, Ituah left for the UK.”

“How did you meet her?”

“We met in Kano in 1984. I found her walking down the street one hot afternoon, dragging Xavier along. She had just finished selling kunu at a construction site and she was heading home. I asked my driver to stop and give them a ride. We talked in the car and she told me how she hadn’t heard from her husband in three years and she was doing everything to get by. Her landlord was pressuring her for sex and her husband’s family wouldn’t help her financially. I asked her if she wanted to be a salesgirl in my jewelry store and move in with me. She was more than elated to.

“She started working for me, and it felt like God had sent her to bless me. We went from one shop to two big shops in two years. Kofo was born a businesswoman. She only needed the right environment to flourish and I offered that to her. Now, back to her and Habib. They met in 1986. By then, Kofo was managing my business all on her own. She was financially stable and could afford to walk away from Ituah since she hadn’t heard from him. But she was religious too, held down by society’s constraints. Yet she was infatuated with Habib, as he was with her. During his first visit, nothing happened between them. But when he returned for the Christmas holiday, things went down so fast. Kofo tried to hide it from me, but Habib told me everything.”

“Was she ashamed?”

“Oh, a lot. On the night before he left, she made him promise that nothing would happen between them again. He did, reluctantly. A couple of months later, she was pregnant with you.”

“Why didn’t she have an abortion?”

“Weirdly, religious reasons. Plus, I didn’t encourage her. I wanted them to be together. I was so certain that Ituah was dead.”

“But he wasn’t.”

“No, and his family knew. When she was five months gone, Ituah’s brother showed up from nowhere. He has been a thorn in Kofo’s flesh since then.”

“How?”

Dora was about to speak, but her phone rang.

“Jola is calling,” she said. “I must take this.”

Rain sat for a bit, waiting for Dora to be done with the call, but it was a long one. Also, the makeup artist who was to get them set for the wedding had arrived. Rain hurried off to her bedroom take a shower. When she picked her phone from her bed, she discovered that she had missed a call from Naomi. Annoyed, she blocked her, as she did with her brother.

xoxoxo

Tari had two things on his mind. Trying his hands on a new banana bread recipe and going out for drinks with friends. But he was stuck in the wedding party of someone he didn’t know, to please Innocent and Sunny. The wedding invitation had been for Sunny and his plus-one, but he asked Innocent and Tari to go in his stead.

“I particularly want you to be there, Atari,” Sunny told him a couple of days ago. “There’s someone I would love you to meet.”

“Who?”

“Inno will show you who she is.”

Although Tari was curious about this mystery person, he didn’t say anything about her to Innocent. Presently, the man was going around in his cheaply-sewn agbada, making himself look like he was important. Tari felt secondhand embarrassment for him and hoped that someone would put him in his place. Nonetheless, he was grateful to him for ensuring that his sitting arrangement got changed to something better. Initially, he had been given a table at one of the entrances where the food servers would have bumped into his chair whenever they walked past. It was also close to the largest loudspeaker and was laid with cheap bottles of wine and no champagne. Now, he was seated at a table with people he saw on TV and read about on the web.

The wedding was boring but the food was fantastic. So far, he had had goat pepper soup and jollof rice with plantain and peppered chicken. A server had come by some minutes ago to see if he wanted anything more. Tari wanted to try their grilled fish but one glance at the Nollywood veteran on his right had him shaking his head at the server with a smile.

“Dessert, then?” the server asked.

“That’s fine.”

Dessert was laid before him. It looked chocolatey and inviting, but his eyes were at the entrance as the deputy governor’s wife and her daughter walked in. It was a star-studded wedding, graced by the outrageously rich and famous; and Tari felt like a pauper amongst them. He wasn’t sure he could see himself become part of their world.

His phone buzzed and he fished it out of his pocket to find that an important international business client was calling. He had forgotten that he had scheduled a call with the man at four o’clock.

Tari got on his feet. He took his dessert and hurried out of the canopied hall to a sprawling compound that stretched over an acre. The makeshift parking lot for the wedding was to his left and he made toward it, taking his client’s call. Unfortunately, the call was interrupted by poor signal that altogether disappeared, cutting off the connection.

“Seriously?”

Tari continued toward his car, eyes on his phone. He neither heard nor saw the SUV that was coming to his left until it blared its horn at him. Tari froze for a second before turning his head toward the SUV. The windshield was a little tinted, so he couldn’t see who was behind the wheel. He waved an apology and kept on his journey. When he got to his car, he had a bite of his chocolate dessert and found it to be a cake.

“Nice.”

The network was still down. He restarted his phone to fix the issue and went for another taste of the cake. Just then, he heard laughter and turned. He spotted two women stepping out of the SUV that had almost run into him. The vehicle was now parked a few feet from him, so close that he could hear the women speak.

“I’m not going to move a muscle if you get a leg cramp on the dancefloor, Mommy.”

“Watermelon, I’m fine. Aboniki still does wonders.”

“If I hear!”

The one called ‘Mommy’, whose face Tari could see, was a gorgeous older woman, slim and bedecked with jewelry. She was dressed in the aso-ebi of the bride’s family. One look at her and Tari could see that she was soaking in wealth.

“I think Ahmed should take a photo of us, Watermelon. Ehn?”

“You’ll soon tell me if Ahmed is a driver or a photographer.”

“He has only taken eight good pictures of me this morning.”

“Asides the ones we took inside the house?”

“Those were selfies.”

“Mommy, you’re so vain.”

“Aww, thank you.”

The ‘Watermelon’ person laughed, and Tari thought her laughter sounded pleasant for him to want to hear again. The only problem was that her back was to him. He had ogled her already, finding the view interesting. She was almost as tall as her mom but not as slim. It showed in the roundness of her bum and curve from hips that jutted to the sides.

Then, she turned and caught him staring—and for a second, they held each other’s eyes before her mom looked his way and blessed him with an unfriendly stare.

His phone rang and he answered it, turning away. He unlocked his car at the same time. He then sat in, leaving the door open. By the time he lifted his head, he saw the women walking off. The older woman looked over her shoulder and in his direction. Her stare was still unfriendly.

xoxoxo

“Look at that girl over there?”

Tari’s eyes followed his uncle’s pointed finger and it landed on Watermelon. She was seated at one of the important tables, in the company of her mom and the bride’s mom. She had been Tari’s distraction for more than ten minutes, since returning from his business call. He found her interesting to stare at. She had misty eyes, like she had cried for a bit. Weirdly, they didn’t look weak or puffy. Just dark, lash-fringed, and lustrous like a gazelle’s. Or maybe it was the eye makeup, he wasn’t sure.

But he was not carried away by her beauty, curves or glowing dark skin. He had never been that type of man—not that he could tell you what exactly attracted him to women. It was all in his head. He could meet a woman and have an entire version of her in his imagination that would find her attractive. In this case, though, his eyes had already verified that this woman had the looks that most men would consider irresistible. Yet, it wasn’t about that. Watermelon, though not doing anything but sitting between both mothers, gave him a good feeling.

“I can see her,” he said to his uncle.

“I need you to introduce yourself to her.”

“Why?”

“Her father is Habib Kareem, the owner of Alma Networks. It would do you some good to hook up with someone of her caliber.”

“Hook up?”

“Is that term now outdated? What do you guys say these days?”

“Uncle, I get you.”

“Great. It’s time for you to climb up the social ladder.”

Tari didn’t need Innocent telling him what to do with Watermelon, as he already had plans of his own. He only needed an opportunity to do it without her mom’s hostile eyes, which kept darting in his direction now and then.

His moment came when the master of ceremony called on the mother of the day to dance with her closest friends. The older women left their seats, and Watermelon, looking like she was relieved to be free of them, picked her purse and hurried out of the hall. Tari slipped out too, following her.

“Excuse me?” he called, but she didn’t hear him. She was hastening toward the parking lot. “Hi!”

Again, his voice winged past her, until he said, “Watermelon!”

She stopped and turned, her forehead creasing into a frown as she looked at him. Tari almost laughed. He had not believed that her name was watermelon. What sort of person named their child after the worst fruit?

“Oh, you,” she said. Then, she added with a curious face, “Did you just call me watermelon?”

“Yeah… I heard your mom call you that earlier.”

“That’s not my name, though. What do you want?”

“Your real name.”

Her frown disappeared but she still had her guard up.

“Why do you want to know my name?”

“Because I think I want to do the thing of asking you out for a drink and seeing where it goes from there.”

She regarded him as if deciding if he was genuine or not.

“So, what do I call you, if your name’s not watermelon?”

“Any other fruit.”

“Okay.” Tari smiled and took a bold step closer to her. She smelled of something expensive and floral. “How about mango?”

“Mango? Why?”

“I like it.”

“You like it?”

“I think there are enough reasons it’s called the king of fruits.”

“Nobody calls it that.”

“I do.”

“Why?”

Making up stuff was the easiest thing for Tari to do, as he was a marketer and salesman at heart.

“Firstly, you get to see a mango once a year, twice if you’re lucky. This makes it premium and bougie. Secondly, it’s packed with everything needed for good health. And the taste? Perfect mix of sweet and tangy, awesome in smoothies and dishes. Then, don’t get me started on its texture. Whether hard or soft, it’s smooth on your hands and mouth—”

“Okay, that’s enough.” Hiding a smile, she said, “Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you my real name.”

Two hours later, they were in a lounge, enjoying their second round of cocktails and laughing over a story Tari shared about his workplace.

She told him that her name was Rain. A short form of Raindrop. Christened so by her mom because she had been born on a rainy night.

Rain was in a complicated place with her man, so she was available as Tari was, but she wasn’t looking for a partner. Tari wasn’t searching either; he didn’t tell her that, though. Rather he told her how he would like to kiss her or maybe hold her hand all evening. He had said this when they both went quiet for a bit, not for lack of what to say but because a shared look passed between them that came with meaning. Tari didn’t know anything about Rain, but he knew that something would happen between them. Interestingly, she was thinking the same thing. He already liked that she wasn’t scared to share her thoughts, crazy as they were.

“I came to that wedding to find a man and get laid, Tari. Are you the one?”

There was a time in his life that he would have been turned off by a woman asking him for sex, but he knew that Rain had more to her than her horniness. He was curious to know what lay underneath.

“Like I said,” he told her, “I want to kiss you or hold your hand.”

She reached for his hand first. He leaned forward and stared at her lips before finding her eyes. Her face was close to his, so close that he could smell the sweet mix of the cocktail she had been drinking. He had wanted to feel her lips all evening, and the desire had heightened when the chicken wings and hot sauce she had eaten a while ago rubbed off her lipstick, exposing the nudity of her lips. They were dark brown and fleshy, and he couldn’t look away.

“What are you waiting for Tari?”

He took the offer, parting her lips slightly because he didn’t want to rush it. Then, he went in deeper, guiding her face to his as his hand reached for the back of her neck. He went slow but his mouth showed that he wanted to do more than just taste her. When he let go and his eyes naturally fell into hers again, he smiled.

“Do you want us to go somewhere?” he asked.

“Yes.” Her voice was a little breathless, and it made him feel good that he was responsible for that.

He called over a server and asked for their bill. Minutes later, they were on their way to his house. They listened to the radio as he drove, her hand caressing the nape of his neck. When they got to his house, they ended up on a couch with hungry kisses and restless hands. They would have ripped each other’s clothes off had Oscar not shown up and given them a snooping stare that had Rain jumping to her feet in fear.

Tari laughed at her, ordered the canine out, and yanked her off the couch, making her squeal again. He was taller than she was, and he wouldn’t consider himself buff, but he liked that he could easily lift her. Before her, he had had a taste for bigger and curvier women.

Rain’s squeals turned to laughter as he carried her to his bedroom where he let her down on the bed and kissed her slowly. Then, he undressed and helped her out of her outfit, peeling off each clothing item without haste. When he finally had her in the nude, he was fascinated with what he saw.

He dove for her lips again, this time, allowing his body rest on hers. Like a mango, she was smooth and soft, and he longed to taste every part. But Rain wanted to cut straight to business, as she had confessed to him earlier that she needed to be laid to forget certain things that threatened to bring her pain.

She spread out her legs, inviting him in with eyes that burned with lust. He followed her but not before reaching for a condom in his bedside drawer. As he wore it, he gazed at her, at her nude beauty that was almost perfect and at eyes that had found companionship in his quite easily.

He saw a glimpse of their future together. She was somewhere with him, a place that did not exist because everything had to fade for them to become. It felt like he was looking through a crystal glass—and it was the strangest thing because he could not explain the feeling.

“Where are you?” Rain asked, drawing him closer.

He returned to her with a smile in his eyes.

“I’m here.”

xoxoxo

Kofo couldn’t understand why Jola was mad at her for not attending her daughter’s traditional wedding. She had promised to make an appearance at the white wedding in a big way. Why all the fuss?

“Just show your face, Kofo,” Dora pleaded. “She’s called me already this morning to whine.”

“About what nau? Pandora, I am exhausted, and I have a flight to catch at seven tonight. Send my love to Jola, since she won’t take my calls.”

“Okay o. I will.”

Kofo was halfway out her door when she hung up. She wasn’t lying about being exhausted. Dora had suggested that they go away for two weeks, but Hara Telecoms needed her to make some major decisions. Right now, the company was doing badly in the stock market, the worst they had done in years.

The co-CEO and head over the board of directors had passed away two weeks ago, and he was yet to be replaced. There were worthy candidates, as put forward by board members, but Kofo didn’t want any of them. She had stalled the board long enough and she feared that they would soon use their veto power to get a replacement. She had someone perfect for the position, but it would mean soiling her hands with aggressive power play and getting in bed with people she considered her adversaries.

A second thing she planned to do was to purchase another tech company that was struggling to maintain relevance in an age of readily available telecommunication services via smartphones. The company was founded in 2009 to offer broadband internet services in the major cities of Nigeria. They had also spread their services across the states, becoming one of the chief players in the industry. But growth and advancements from the top four telecoms giants soon saw them struggling to keep up with their consumers. Although they had retained their highest-paying clients along the years, they were fighting to stay afloat.  

A year ago, Kofo got insider information that Alma Network planned to sell the company, and she had leapt right in. But she had done this without the knowledge of the board at Hara Telecoms. Her principal reason for keeping her moves secret was that there were certain people who would have kicked against the acquisition, especially her late partner.

Right now, she alone had the power to make the moves; and today was a good day to visit the CEO of the company she wanted to acquire. He lived in an apartment at one of the Eko Pearl Towers. He was a bachelor in his late fifties, a recluse, and a dilettante in all sorts of occupations that didn’t involve the outdoors.

Standing outside his front door, Kofo straightened her necklace.

The door opened. A young man, dressed like a butler, stood in front of her.

“Good afternoon, madam.”

“Good afternoon.”

“Please come in, madam.”

He opened the door wider to let her through.

“Thank you.”

“My boss is praying. He will be with you shortly. You may sit.”

He pointed at a couch and Kofo moved toward it.

“Would you mind a drink?”

“I’m fine without one, thank you.”

The man bowed his head and disappeared through a door.

Before Kofo sat, she allowed her eyes the freedom to admire the room. It was a representation of class in simplicity. Asides two large paintings on opposite walls, there was nothing much in the place of art. It was more of a comfy space for someone looking to not be disturbed. There was a door leading to a balcony on which fresh plants thrived in handmade clay pots, sharing space with a sofa bed.

Inside the living room, the whiteness of the walls and ceilings were strangely soothing. Even with the balcony door and windows opened, the brightness wasn’t jarring. Each piece of furniture was designed differently from the other but they were all connected. Kofo looked for signs of peeling paints on the walls or scratches on surfaces but found none. The room was a lesson in perfection.

She sat and let her hand caress a velvety blanket on the armrest. She heard a sound behind her and turned to see a cat sauntering through a door that was left ajar. Her eyes caught the man she had come to see observing his noon prayers. She stared down at his mat and took her eyes upward, following the form of his body. A t-shirt worn over a pair of jeans covered his slim frame but not the tattoos on his arms. She lifted her eyes to his face, to his gray beardedness, that almost shielded lips moving in prayer, as his hands rested on his chest.

She took her eyes away and went for her phone. She had just gotten a text from Lanumi that made her sit up.

Lanumi: Yes, I will go to Bahamas with you

Kofo sighed in gratitude.

Lanumi: But can my husbands come along?

Kofo didn’t care. Lanumi could bring every breathing thing she wanted.

Kofo: Yes, baby

Kofo mourned the relationship they never had. Even while she was with her children, she was either too busy or mentally handicapped to be a mother. None of them had experienced her love. But from afar, while she was in the US, she had watched them via Sunny’s eyes.

Lanumi reminded her of Rain in many ways. They both loved the soft life and knew how to enjoy their money. The only difference was that Rain was ambitious and brilliant. Lanumi had no plans for her life and was unapologetically self-indulgent. Her husbands were no different from her. Kofo had heard gossip of them having threesomes, but she had blocked her ear to any negative information about her children. If Lanumi wanted ten husbands and to have a gangbang with them every night, it was her prerogative.

The door behind Kofo creaked open and she turned to find a warm smile from her host.

“Kofo Aboderin,” he called and shut the door. “The last time we spoke was in some cold restaurant, in the presence of lawyers.”

“Yes.”

“Having you here is much better,” he said in a heavy American accent tinged with a Hausa drawl.

He was now standing in front of her.

“Won’t you give me a hug, young woman?”

He offered a hand and drew her up. When his body touched hers, Kofo felt like her heart was going to skip several beats for a long time.

She rested into the hug, her body adjusting to his. She placed her ear on his chest and inhaled, recalling the last time he held her this way. It had been their final intimate moment together. That morning, she had cried like she was going to lose her soul.

“You’re still so small in my arms,” he said, chuckling. The deeper version of his voice coming from his chest was soothing in her ear, but she pulled away first.

He held on to her, trapping her face in his hands, holding her eyes too. “I should be mad at you, Kofo. My calls, texts and emails…unanswered all these years. The silence on your end killed me. But it’s all in the past now.”

She let his hands down. “Habib, we should talk.”

He placed a peck on her cheek and lingered, letting her feel the caress of his beard on her face. On the night of their first kiss, there had been no beard. Just skin against skin; and his lips had touched her cheek in the manner he had done now before they found her mouth. She remembered the voice in her head being so loud, asking her what she was doing, reminding her that he was her friend’s younger brother and she was married.

Everything about that night was so wrong, yet it felt right to be kissed by a man who spent his waking hours staring at her as if she were an angel fallen from the sky.

Kofo sat and he walked to a chair, facing hers.

“My housekeeper didn’t get you something to drink?”

“No, I’m fine.”

Habib crossed a leg over the other and rested his elbow on it. He had a look in his eyes like the one he had on the first day they met. She was taken by him that morning and the fire continued to burn, even after they ended things. His letters came to her every two weeks, and he would tell her how she was the sun to him and everything else he needed to breathe. But it was even better to hear him say these things to her in person when she left her life behind in Nigeria and moved to the US years later. She was a broken woman then, and Habib had healed her. For six years, the fire of their love burned like it was never going out. But Kofo had bigger plans than being the love interest of a man. Her dreams consumed her, and she followed them back to Nigerian, abandoning Habib and the thing they shared.

Habib had refused to marry through the years. He had had a string of women, but he chose to remain a bachelor. According to him, he could not love anyone else asides Kofo.

 “I came here with a different offer from what Hara proposed initially,” Kofo said to Habib, taking out a folder from her handbag. She handed it to him and he flipped the pages quickly but slowed at a particular page, narrowing his eyes on it. He reached for his eyeglasses in a case on a stool beside him. After he slipped them on and refocused on the page, he looked up at her with enquiring eyes.

“Yes, I’m offering five times more than we did earlier.”

“Why?”

“We were bidding at market value, based on what we believed Alma Network should be worth, if it were doing well in the market. We all know it’s a dying company—”

“Dying?” Habib chuckled. “My clients are federal and state government ministries and parastatals. They also use my services in Aso Villa.”

“I know, but you have lost your small clients. All the little people that take their phones along with them and do not need to shut them down at 4pm because a working day has ended. Unfortunately, you can’t get them back, so buying Alma at this point, is not really a smart business idea—”

“Yet, here you are.”

Kofo straightened her posture, ignoring the pain in her lower back. “Habib, you were the one who first came up with the idea of Hara Telecoms.”

Habib smiled. It was a rascally smile. “If I recall—”

“That night…you came up with the idea and told me about the future of communications. You painted a Nigeria that had everyone using a computer. I remember how hard I laughed, asking if people were going to be carrying around those huge box screens, and you said, ‘maybe they’ll make them smaller.’ You foresaw today, and when I eventually bought into that dream and told you I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have the funds, you asked Aisha to lend me money on your behalf. Habib, you were just twenty-one, but you laid the foundation for the woman I became today. I would buy Alma a hundred times what it’s worth, just to thank you.”

Habib closed the folder. He also took off his glasses. He squinted his eyes for a bit, emphasizing the wrinkles around them. “My answer is no. Hara has been doing badly at the stock market, anyway.”

“Habib—”

“My answer is still no. Seeing you socially, though, is a yes. If you wouldn’t mind.”

Time and distance might have changed many things about him, but he was still audacious, still bearing that blithe manner in which he handled life.

“Tell me you’ll think about it, at least,” Kofo appealed.

“No. Alma is not for sale to you. Well, unless you’d want to get married to me, so that I can make it yours.”

Kofo lowered her head, took a long breath, and played her final card. “I’m trying to secure our daughter’s future,” she said, breathing out.

The cocky smile on his face slowly receded. “Sorry?”

She lifted her eyes and saw him staring at her with a questioning expression.

“We have a daughter, Habib.”

“No, we don’t.”

“I…was pregnant after you left.”

Habib looked confused, then a smile came on and he laughed. “No, you were not. If you had been, I would have known. Dora would have told me.”

“I got pregnant, but I was too scared to take it out each time I tried to have an abortion. So, I kept it and had a girl.”

Habib was shocked. He pressed his palms against each other as if in prayer and rested them over his mouth, glaring at her. Then, he got up and pushed both hands into the pockets of his jeans.

“You’re lying to me, Kofo. You have to be.”

“No, you have a daughter—”

“If she exists, where is she?” he asked.

“She’s… You already know her. She’s…Rain, the girl that Dora allegedly adopted. Your niece.”

Habib removed his hands from his jeans and slowly sat on the armrest of the couch. “Rain is mine?”

“Yes. I was about five months gone when Sunny showed up at Dora’s door, unannounced. I opened the door, and he caught me, all pregnant. He was going to tell Ituah, who was still nowhere to be found then… So, I begged him not to tell on me. He was adamant but he finally agreed, under certain conditions, which I am still paying for today. After he left, Dora asked that we move to Lagos, since she was expanding her jewelry business there.

“Lagos was good to us. And God knows that I wanted to damn every consequence and just live my life the way I wanted, but Ituah eventually turned up from nowhere. Apparently, as you already know, he had committed fraud in the UK and had been deported and was doing time in Kirikiri. He was released, but he came back sick and I had to care for him.”

“So, you let go of my daughter for that bastard?” Habib asked.

“Habib, I had to. Ituah still had a hold on me. I was so scared of him, scared of what people would say—”

“He abandoned you, Alma.”

“I know, but then, I was not the woman I am today. I was weak—”

“Just go on with your story.”

“Dora was mad at me for not walking away from him. So mad, that she fired me. However, she gave me money to start my own business, which I did. I went into textiles, and it grew rapidly, even though my heart burning for tech. I was watching how the communications industry was expanding… I saw all you had predicted. I really wanted to escape my life and do what we talked about—”

“But…?”

“I got pregnant and pregnant and pregnant. My business was blessed and I got three more stores, but I was reduced to a wife and baby factory while Ituah and his brothers and sister took over what I built. I can’t go into the details of my scary marriage or how I left it, but I eventually did and left everything behind. You remember how I came to you nau. You got me a therapist, you helped me get into school—”

“And still you felt that the best way to repay my kindness was to keep my child away from me?”

Kofo sighed. “There were only three people in this world that knew of Rain’s existence, and I wanted it to remain that way. Dora was the best mother she could have. I didn’t even want her to know who I was to her or be stained by my past.”

“She is my daughter, Alma!”

“Yes, but it was best that neither of you knew. Sunny was blackmailing me and Dora on one hand. On the other, you were choking me with demands of marriage and asking me to remain permanently in the US—”

“Excuse you?”

“Yes, Habib. Let’s not act like you didn’t become possessive at that time. It was scary.”

“You’re blaming me for your duplicity?” He laughed. “Unbelievable, Kofoworola.”

“I didn’t want to be anybody’s wife or…mother. I wanted to become something for myself. That was why I left to start Hara.”

“And you collected money from me to start it.”

“Because I needed it then.”

“You used me, Alma!”

“I know, and I am sorry, but I didn’t have a choice. The same way you upped and left your family without a word because it was the best thing for you then. Please, understand.”

Kofo sought Habib’s eyes. He looked away.

“I have known wealth and power, but I lost my happiness when I left you, Habib. Nothing could replace you or Rain. Rain was my glimmer of hope. Each time I wanted to give up, I remembered that I had her. I’d pay her and Dora a visit, just to see her smile and see your face in hers.”

“How could you do this to me, Alma?” Habib’s voice was thin. “You kept a whole child a secret. An entire human being. My daughter?”

“I’m sorry.”

“NO, YOU ARE NOT!” He was up on his feet again. “You were with me in the states, and not a word slipped? Yes, we were stupid in love and I was becoming this terrible person with my possessive attitude, but I would been an awesome father. I would have understood that you needed to go hard after your dreams and not be distracted. But you never gave me a chance, and now, I’ve lost thirty-five years of being a father to one of the most amazing women out there. How could you and Aisha do this to me, Alma? How do I get those years back that I lost?”

Kofo had no words in her defense.

“Then, you walk in here and use our child as a bargaining chip to get me into your company?”

“I—”

“Get out, Alma. Leave my house.”

Kofo exhaled and got up, straightening her jacket. “At least, think about my offer.”

Habib walked her to the door and they both stopped there.

“I spent years in heartbreak, Kofoworola. Then, I got clean… But now, you toss me back into that pain?”

“I’m sorry.”

He opened the door and she stepped out. The elevator ride down and the walk to her car was torturous. Before she got in, the tears began to spill. She asked her chauffeur to wait outside.

Habib had been like a cancerous cell in her life since she left him—sometimes benign, other times eating away everything that was supposed to bring her joy. She had not felt whole since they parted. Rain was the one thing that could complete her, but she had wanted her untainted, isolated from anything Olumese. If Rain had somehow spent the rest of her days, not knowing who she really was, Kofo would have been fine with that. But she had also prepared her for this moment, to bring her into her inheritance. Like a deity who controlled the events of a mortal’s life, she had stayed behind the scenes and steered her life to become her ace card.

Hara Telecoms belonged to Rain. Kofo was now ready to share that world with her.

She wiped her tears and called her chauffeur in. Just then, a call came in from Sunny. Kofo dithered on answering it.

“Yeah?”

“We need to meet and talk,” he said.

“I’ll be out of the country for a week. Can this wait?”

“No, actually. A lot of time has been wasted. I will be attending the emergency board meeting on Monday.”

Kofo’s face came to a scowl. “Why would you do that, Sunny? You’re a silent partner.”

“Not anymore. I’m coming out as partner and I’ll present myself for the job of co-CEO. Actually, as lone CEO. You’ve done a great job for seventeen years. It’s time you retired. Sixty is a good year.”

“Are you mad, Sunny?”

“Shorten your trip, Kofo, or join us via Zoom. Either ways, shit is going down. It would be nice for you to do the honor of introducing me since you alone have known of my existence as your partner.”

“What is wrong with you, Ogiso?”

“As you already said, I’m a mad man.”

He ended the call. Kofo bit hard on her tongue to keep from screaming, but it didn’t work. She sent her chauffeur out again. Once he was gone, she let out a scream.

©Sally Kenneth Dadzie @moskedapages

Sally

Author. Screenwriter. Blogger

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16 Comments

  1. Sylvia says:

    I hope Kofo comes up with something to frustrate that Sunny guy once and for all!

    Sad that Rain and Tari’s relationship is about to see shege!

    Thank you for sharing, Sally.

  2. Omowumi says:

    Interesting read for a quiet Saturday afternoon.

    1. Eluanza says:

      Omo!!!!!!!!!!! Can I call Sunny and Ituah bastards? Tari is just a tool right now in their hands and poor Rain and Tari are about to see shege.

      I pray Habib takes Kofo up on her offer and Rain too.

  3. It’s getting exciting. Love it!

  4. Modupe says:

    This is my second read and it’s no wonder Kofo doesn’t want to staun the white of Rain

    The Olumese are a messed up people, from Ituah, Sunny, Inno and the next generation too.

    But I expect Kofo will put everyone in their place soon .

    Well done Sal

  5. Adewunmi says:

    Dearest Sally…

    Please treat Sunny Madness with a nice and cold Habib.
    Every Blackmailer deserves a place in hell.

    T for Thanks.

  6. Adeola Adeluola says:

    Interesting, the Olumuses are impossible people

  7. Etoya says:

    Some people are about to see Shege!!!

  8. Interesting…. Life… The price we have to pay … Good or bad…

  9. Favy says:

    Who TF is this sunny. I feel like I like Habib.

  10. Marion says:

    I like Habib, i think he is a good person. As for Sunny, make wait karma is a bitch that loves paying back when it’s the right time. That been said I am rooting for Tari and Rain #tarain . Thanks sugar mama

  11. Datoks says:

    Wow, this Sunny guy sha. I hope Kofo gives him his size. Thanks Sally

  12. Wendy says:

    Awww I really want kofo and Habib together again, their story is so cute and sad😭 They’ve both been through hell and high water. This Sunny dude😒, on the bright side, Rain won’t get pregnant by Tari so hopefully they’ll both move on when they realize they’re half siblings. The irony of it all, 😂 Rain is doing the same thing she broke up with her fiancé for

  13. So blackmail is how Sunny was able to retain his wealth. What a family! I’m so excited by all the ongoing events. I like the chaos. I like interwoven situations.He is a MAD man but Kofo is madder. Dora is even dealier. Didi must move mad towards Rain too. Let the chaos begin!!
    My omo is omo’ed!
    Thanks Sally

  14. Rikitava says:

    The balls on Sunny, thinking he can take over Kofo’s business. He should know that this is not the scared Kofo again now. Ole!

  15. Dami says:

    Dont let Sunny do Kofo strong thing abeg. Whaaat !!

    Habib our Habibi, forgive us dakun

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