Happy new year, fam!
We’re here again—alive, blessed, and loved by God. I do hope this new year brings us closer to our dreams than we ever imagined.
This blog has been running for eleven years now. It’s been quite a journey, and I honestly thought that I wouldn’t make it this far, but here we are! I’ve watched many blogs I used to follow get shut down, and this made me feel like I was being left behind, doing something that wasn’t relevant anymore.
But like I’ve always told you, this isn’t just about me. It’s about you too and how you enjoy reading from me—whether it’s blog series or my books.
So, thank you for eleven years. Thanks for being here! I couldn’t have done it without you. This blog, right now, feels so vintage because there are a handful of authors sharing their works on blogs like this. That is why I’m feeling special with myself. I want you to share in that feeling too.
A lot of you have asked when Season 3 of Little Black Book will be out. Well, I have some not-so pleasant news as to that regard. There will be no more seasons of the series, produced by TNC Africa. It was a decision we took, which I believe is for our mutual benefit.
Sometimes, business affairs, just like human bonds, are not permanent. And that’s fine, especially if they bring peace. I enjoyed both seasons of Little Black Book and I have learned a lot from the process of seeing it come to pass.
Another thing I’ve learned is that some art forms are best kept as they are. Drastically changing my work to fit another form of art, especially for the sake of commerciality is not something I’m comfortable with—particularly when that commerciality doesn’t translate to money in my account and leaves a stain on my writing résumé. No be me, abeg 😕
To me, nothing beats the written word.
Presently, Seasons 1 & 2 of Little Black Book are not available on any platform. I am not in the position to tell you when they would go online again. On the chance that I get any credible piece of information on that, I would share it with you guys.
2021 and 2022 were both challenging years for me and my family. So much that I had to take a long break from my blog. Trust me, many times I tried to resume, but I had to work to eat. Now, I simply want to write because I love to—and I’m finally happy to say that I’m back writing on those terms.
Cheers to this year and for doing what we love to do most. And please, don’t worry about how Little Black Book turned out. I am glad it’s ended and even happier that you got to see my work on screen. One day, I will tell my full story.
In the spirit of the new year, I am bringing you a new series. I wanted to share the first two chapters with you during the marathon, but High Falling got low views and comments and I figured that everyone was busy with the holidays. So, I decided not to bombard you with goodness. Let’s wait until I have your attention. (If you missed the last two episodes, click HERE)
Side note: Pssst! You know I love the comments. So, keep them coming!
So, I’ll be presenting you with Spending Mommy’s Money soon and High Falling resumes next week Sunday. Until then, here are excerpts from Spending Mommy’s Money…
Nzamo showed up at her apartment unexpectedly.
He invited her for dinner at her favorite Thai restaurant, and although she wanted to decline his request, she sought to have closure from him. Six years ago, he walked out of her life without any explanation, after she suffered a miscarriage. Rain needed answers, even though she had known that he had rekindled his relationship with his estranged wife before they lost their baby.
“I didn’t mean to break your heart, Rain. Heck, I still love you,” he explained during dinner.
“Rain, stop doing that. Grow out of your passive-aggressiveness.”
“And become the bigger person that throws a fit to show I’m angry or heartbroken?” She laughed. “Nzamo, you were dead to me a long time ago. In fact, I did tell the few people that knew about us that you were dead.”
“Rain…” He gave her a tender look, laden with regret.
He was an incredibly distracting man. Although fifty-four and already gray-haired, he was sexy. But it wasn’t his sexiness that had attracted Rain when they met at the Tambo International Airport six years ago. It was his age. He was with his sons and she was drawn to his fatherliness. She stared at him shamelessly as she waited for her flight to Lagos. He was heading to London with his boys, and when it was time for them to board, he walked over to her and gave her a complimentary card.
“Instead of staring, talk to me,” he said and left the lounge.
Rain called him days later and they spoke for hours. He was married but separated from his wife who lived in South Africa with their daughter while he stayed in the UK with the boys. He was an engineer, working with a European company that was responsible for some of the massive structures in Africa. He sometimes visited Nigeria to work, and he hoped to come across Rain during one of his visits. But until then, he wondered if she would like to come over to London to see him.
“I don’t have a visa,” Rain lied.
“We’ll get you one. Just say yes.”
Rain confessed that she was turned off by the fact that he was married.
“My wife is almost out the door. She walked out on us, and I’m afraid that we can’t save what we lost.”
Nzamo convinced Rain to come over and she took a flight to London. Nzamo was waiting at the airport that cold morning. When she tugged her little pink suitcase toward him, he smiled at her as if she were all he needed to make him happy. He also kissed her as she stood in front of him, unsure of what to do.
He took her to his house, which was impressive in its architecture. He and his housekeeper lived there alone. His sons were in a boarding school somewhere in Bristol.
“I’ve lived like a bachelor for years now,” he said, taking her suitcase to the guestroom. “My boys are supposed to be here with me during school term, but they are stuck in a boarding school, which their mother picked. Then, during the holidays, they spend the time with her. I don’t have a hand in these things.”
The moment they entered the guestroom, Nzamo let Rain know his intentions. He wanted her sexually. He was honest about not being emotionally connected to her yet.
“It’s just sex. Maybe a sugar daddy thing, I don’t know,” he said, looking hungrily into her eyes. “But I so want to fuck you, Rain. Right now.”
She granted his wish, even without a condom. She was aware of her foolishness, but she did nothing to stop herself. What was supposed to be just sex turned out to be more. They soon got entangled in an emotional relationship. He told his estranged wife and family about Rain after four months of being together. His wife was indifferent, as they were still in the process of divorce. Things would have gone faster, but she was fighting for certain assets that Nzamo had refused to hand over to her. All the same, he kept on with Rain, begging her to bear his child and marry him. She said yes to both but refused to wear his ring until he was through with his wife.
Unfortunately, he lost his daughter in a car crash and it put a hold on the progress of their relationship, as mutual grief drew him to his wife. Rain was forced to bear with his partial presence in her life for months. She eventually got pregnant, but that was after she discovered that he had been having sex with his wife during their grieving period. Soon after the heartbreaking discovery, Rain suffered a miscarriage. Nzamo was there with her for a month, but one evening, he disappeared from her life with no reason offered.
In the past five years, he had had two more daughters with his wife—an act that Rain considered a slap on her face. He had been aware of her desire to have the kind of life and family that she had grown without. She considered Nzamo an unfeeling man, even though he was back now, telling her that his heart still beat for her.
After dinner, he followed her home and she poured them both some rum and coke. They stood in the kitchen, sipping in silence.
“How’s your fiancé?” Nzamo asked. He followed her on social media, and she was certain that he was keeping up with her life.
“I don’t want to talk about that.”
Rain finished her drink and let the glass slip off her hand. It fell to the floor and shattered.
“I think you should leave.” She started toward her bedroom, but Nzamo caught her hand, tugging her body to his.
“I’m so sorry. It wasn’t supposed to end that way. Even my decision to come here is fucked up, I know that, but I am utterly sorry, baby.” He freed her hand and held her face with both hands. “I love you so much. I miss you. I miss us.”
He brought her face to his, resting his forehead on hers.
“Let me go, Holland.”
“Let. Me. Go.”
Nzamo acceded to her wish.
“Get out,” she said, walking off to her bedroom.
Didi walked Tari through the narrow path they had followed earlier and continued the journey back to his car. On his way home, he thought about his history with her. He had met her at a friend’s party and had been attracted to her at first sight. She hadn’t been hard to notice as she was inarguably the prettiest on the dance floor. The only problem was that she was dancing with some guy whose hands wouldn’t leave her body. Still, Tari was determined to know her; and when he finally got the chance to talk to her, he realized that she was even more beautiful up-close.
“How can you not be taken already?” he asked, responding to a statement she made about not having a boyfriend.
“Men suck. Didn’t they tell you?”
Tari laughed, and she did seconds later, as if she had just grasped that she said something funny. But Tari realized that she had been staring at him why he laughed—and he understood why because a lot of women had told him that there was something cute about the way he did it.
They bonded over cocktails and loud music. Didi told him that she was an orphan, having lost both parents as a child. She was raised by relatives that believed she was an ogbanje.
“I was born after six children.”
“You had siblings?”
“But I never met them. They never met each other either. My mom would have them and they would die. I was the only one that stayed.”
“Oh. An abiku! Hausas call it danwabi. But do you believe that crap?”
“I don’t know. It’s been like an identity to me, all my life. If anything bad happened to the people I lived with, they would say that I was responsible. They kept taking me to church for deliverance. Then, when they got tired, they’d pass me to the next relative.”
“And they kept saying I’ll die soon, that my people will come for me. But here I am, twenty-two years strong.”
That night, Didi showed Tari the ogbanje scars on her back, marked by a dibia when she was a child. Tari ran his fingers over the scars and kissed them as they lay in his bed after going at each other all night. They didn’t start dating immediately because Tari wasn’t sure that she wanted to be exclusive with him. She had a good number of men that tended to her needs, men that were older and richer. But she wouldn’t let him go. Her reason, asides her feelings for him, was that Tari kept her grounded. He was focused on his future, intentional in his ambition. Each time they were together, he pushed her to be productive. She got her first serious job because of him. He also made sure she attended makeup classes at his friend’s salon every weekend. This left Didi with little time to see other men. Tari occupied her free moments, which were mostly at nights. Every weekend, they either attended a party or went clubbing. On week nights, they stayed in, having sex and watching series.
By the time the relationship became serious, Tari was sure that he had exorcised every form of competition that could knock him off his place in her life. And for a while, things were glorious between them. Didi made him dream and work harder toward his goals. The plan was to leave the country on a work visa. He had already gotten an MBA via scholarship at Cairo University, and he looked forward to becoming a marketing expert in a foreign company.
But the rumors about Didi and other men soon reached his ears. They had just celebrated their one-year anniversary and the fire between them had begun to wane. This was largely Tari’s fault as he was immersed in his job, a side hustle, and actively seeking job opportunities in the UK and Europe. Didi, on the other hand, like a child that was quickly bored by a new toy, sought attention elsewhere. Tari was quick to believe the rumors, as he was aware that he had never been enough for her. He couldn’t afford the type of lifestyle she wanted, which was something they often fought over.
His relocation plans worsened their fights. Didi believed that once he traveled, he would forget about her. She was also mad at him for not making any effort to help her leave Nigeria with him.
The relationship managed to stretch on for three more months before Tari saw the messages on her phone from another man one evening. He confronted her, and while she admitted that she had been cheating, she blamed him for it. Afterward, she walked out of the relationship and his life. He didn’t realize how much he loved her until she was gone. At that point, his mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. His life took a downhill trajectory from then on.
His job at The Insured Place was another opportunity from life to build his dreams from the ground up, but things were slow. The pay was terrible and the commission was a joke, though it was better than nothing. He was depressed and had little motivation left to seek a better life.
He also suffered from loneliness. His mom had been his closest companion while she was alive. He had a dog, gifted to him by the friend with whom he had plan to leave Nigeria. His other friends were available, but Tari had been distant with everyone, as they were a reminder that life went on while everything around him burned.
There was one woman in his life, but she was there only for the transactional relationship they had. The sex and money weren’t great, but he didn’t know how to break out of the affair, as she was the wife to the owner of The Insured Place. He had gotten the job and car through her. Walking away would mean that he had to let go of the little comfort he had, even though the arrangement was a quiet sort, unfussy and undemanding. Sometimes, they met twice a month, in an apartment on the island, which she had begged him to move into. She hated that he didn’t demand of her; she enjoyed when her boys begged her. Tari knew that the only reason she retained him was because of the sex. The moment she got something better, he would be history. Even now, she was beginning to hint at dumping him.
Approaching his house, he received a call from her. She wanted to know if he would be free this weekend. Her husband was out of town, and she wanted to take him to a resort at Bonny Island for three days.
“I…have a wedding to attend,” he lied.
“Yeah. My friend. He’s getting married in Akure.”
“Why are you lying, Tari?”
“How do you know I’m lying?”
“Because it’s always one thing or another. You won’t let me spoil you, and I want to spoil you so bad.”
“I’ve told you before that there’s no man in this relationship. So, leave your male ego at the door and let me take care of you.”
Yes, it was his ego, but it wasn’t because it was male. It had taken a beating from life, and he was still trying to mend it.
“I have to go for this wedding, Jessi. I’m sorry.”
She hissed and hung up. Tari pulled the car into his compound. He shared the space with three other flats. Two were above him while the other was downstairs, beside him. His neighbor above was always kind to dog-sit his dog whenever he was out. She was a single mom whose child he enjoyed babysitting each time she was on a date.
Presently, she was standing at her balcony with her toddler in her arms and Oscar seated beside her.
“Did you bring something for us?” she asked, eyeing the food pack he took out from the car. He had forgotten how much she loved begging.
“Um…yes, actually. It’s for Jay.”
She smiled and disappeared from the balcony with Oscar. Seconds later, they were downstairs.
“Thanks for looking out for Oscar, as usual.”
He handed her the meal and took Oscar’s leash.
“Jay, say goodnight to Uncle Tari.”
The little boy waved as Tari made his way to his apartment. Once he got in, Oscar whined to remind him that he hadn’t eaten. Tari served him a snack and they sat together in the living room to watch something on Netflix. Tari settled for bread and peanut butter with a beer.
He got a text from Didi, asking if he had gotten home safely.
Yeah, just got in.
Okay. See you tomorrow.
Tari drank his beer in contemplation. Tomorrow, he would sit with Didi during lunch and ask her to move in with him. He had an entire room in his apartment that was empty, filled with his mom’s stuff. He would clean it out, and if Didi accepted his offer, he would help her move in during the weekend.
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, just to please an uncle he didn’t like.
Said uncle was now 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.
Dessert was laid before him. It looked chocolatey and inviting, but his eyes were fixed 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. This wedding had been a last-minute thing, having been imposed on him by his uncle a few days ago.
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.
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.
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 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.
“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 sandwiched 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.”
“Her father is Habib Kareem, the owner of Alma Networks. It would do you some good to hook up with someone of her caliber.”
“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 his uncle 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?”
“I like it.”
“You like it?”
“I think there are enough reasons it’s called the king of fruits.”
“Nobody calls it that.”
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.
Her name was Rain, by the way. 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.