SO NOT LOVE
Tanya was persistent and she was the kind of a lady who got whatever she wanted anytime she put her heart to it. She was also had an overbearing attitude which I couldn’t stand some times. Kehinde on the other hand was the exact opposite of Tanya. She fell in love too easily and was a pushover but she had a lovely character and a charisma to be admired not to mention that she was very beautiful. Tanya pushed me on a small stool in front of my dressing mirror then ordered Kehinde who had come with her makeup kit to give me a make over. I was forced to dress up and after several group selfies by Kehinde who was also a selfie addict, our Uber arrived and soon we were on our way to the club.
After joining the queue outside, we were finally let into the club. As soon as we entered, heads began to turn in our direction and I tried not to meet any gazes, all I wanted was to go back home and I had made up my mind that I wasn’t going to dance or give any guy an audience, I was just going to sit in a corner and while away time till my friends grew
I turned to ask for another drink when I felt a hand on my back. When I turned to see who it was, I realized that it was a man grinning at me and dressed in an agbada. Jeez! Who wore agbada to a club?
“Hello baby.” He said, still grinning. Not only was his yoruba accent strong, his perfume was almost choking.
“Kindly remove your hand from my back, sir.” I told him, not pleased with such a bold attitude at all.
He removed his hand, pulled the sleeves of his agbada up to his shoulders and then came around and sat down on Tanya’s stool in front of me. “Baby, how are you?” He asked, chuckling and ogling me. “I was just sitting in that corner there when I saw an angel. So I said, let me not miss this heaven…” Then tapped the country with his palm. “Bar man, give the lady extra drink.”
“Thank you sir but I can pretty well handle my own.” I stated.
“Okay…” He said, adjusting the arms of his agbada again. “What’s this beautiful angel’s name?”
“Victoria.” I said reluctantly.
“Victoria!” He exclaimed
I hesitated. I was really in no mood and this kind of man’s company was the very last thing I needed but I didn’t want to be impolite. “Like I’ve said, the name is Victoria. I’m from Imo state and I work in Oasis Firm.”
“Ha! Omo ibo ni yen… (Ha! That means that you are an Igbo girl) He gave one of his annoying laughter. “I like igbo girls… Ha! Beni!” He nodded, adjusting the sleeves again and I wondered if he was ever going to stop adjusting them. It was annoying the way he kept lifting his arms. “Igbo girls are not only beautiful, they can cook very well. Edikaikong soup, Afang soup, just mention it and they are number one!”
“I’m sure that you meant Calabar girls.” I corrected.
“Ehen…” He paused to think then indifferently said. “Ehn, it does not matter, as long as they both know how to cook. “Ermmm… My name is Chief Gabriel Owonikoko Ifajaiye 1, I’m a business man and have companies scattered all around Nigeria. I have five wives, three concubines and twenty six children.”
I was taken aback. “That’s a large family. Wait a minute… Didn’t you say that your name is Gabriel?”
“Yes, my very close friends call me Gabo.”
“I see… That name shows that you are a Christian, how come you have five wives? Isn’t it supposed to be one man to one wife?”
A small frown creased his features now. “Ehn… And so? Why would I have the kind of wealth I have and stick to one woman? Don’t you even know that there are more women in the world than men? If I marry only one, who will marry the rest? Since God has blessed me with wealth and told me to go into the world and multiply, that’s exactly what I’m doing!” He chuckled.
“I don’t get it. How did a priest or pastor wed you to your other wives despite knowing that you are married?” I asked.
“Shioorrr!” He flinched his mouth at me then said, “traditional marriage has no limit for wives. White wedding is not our thing, it was the white men that brought that here to Africa. Even if I marry extra wives, who’s a pastor to stop me? Not when my large tithe is helping his church grow! See, my dear, let me tell you my dear, things are very easy in this country as long as you have money. If you just give some pastors some change, they will do as you want. Me I’m still borrowing some parts of the old testament. After all, I’m even innocent compared to uncle Solomon in the Bible. How that man did not die from high blood pressure still baffles me till today o. If my second and fifth wife should start their madness like this, I just quickly sneak out of my house to enjoy myself with one of my concubines in my guest house.”
I was finally finding him interesting, although not attractive. The bulge of his paunch was very visible through his agbada and besides his numerous wives, strong accent and mentality, I could deduce that he was only a secondary school leaver and had not really furthered his studies but somehow, he had ended up rich. Since he was a talkative, I decided that he would be a good way to while away the night.
“So tell me, did you come with any of your wives or Concubines to the club?” I asked.
“Haha!” He laughed deeply, his hands on his paunch. “That’s like shooting myself in the leg. Mi o le koba ara mi…( I can’t implicate myself).” He said. “I came here to entertain myself and catch a new fish. See, all my wives are no longer attractive, no matter how much make up they put on. Child birth has turned them upside down. The stretch marks are unbearable. The only person who’s still very manageable is my third wife… She goes to the gym and her flat stomach has returned a bit. The others, shioorrr! It’s only to sit at home, eat, watch zeeworld and finish my money. Their stomachs are big as if they are pregnant and me I can’t have this big belle and also have wives that have big belle. Two captains cannot be in charge of a ship o.”
For the first time, I laughed hard. I had never met anyone this funny. “Chief, but what more could you want. If you could have five wives and still be this discontented, then nobody can help you.” I told him.
“If I can make seven women very happy, I can make more very happy noni.” He answered
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I want to go and see your family.” He said flatly.
I frowned now. “Pardon?”
He adjusted his sleeves once again. “Eh, I have checked you out very well and I can see that you won’t end up like my wives. Besides, I like working class ladies like you, just that once I marry you, you’ll have to stop working for that your boss and I’ll open up your own business for you wherever you want it in Lagos.”
I smiled a bit and shook my head. “Chief, thank you but I don’t want to get married now, especially not to a pologamous man. I’m not ready to die yet.”
He stared at me in surprise. “Ahan, are you serious? How will you say that you don’t want to get married? When there are millions of girls out there praying for a man to come and marry them and here you are doing shakara.” He said.
“Chief, I’m not the millions of girls, I’m me. I am not interested in your marriage proposal.”
“O ma ga o.” He said in wonder. “Wa na, how old are you sef?”
I sipped my drink through the straw. “Chief, what has age got to do with it?”
“I’m just surprised na that you’ll turn me down. Do you know how many women flirt with me on daily basis. Even my secretary Shade that is married will be wearing short short skirt and shaking her buttocks when leaving my office so that I will notice her.”
“Ehn chief, go and marry Shade then.”
“Never! Her backyard is too big! When she sits down, the sides of her buttocks sag because they can’t contain her bazuka! Do you know how many chairs that girl has broken in my office?”
“But chief, I thought men like it big.”
“Not me o… I can not come and kill myself by myself. What’s so special about big buttocks? Iso lo wa n be, nothing else! (It’s full of fart, nothing else!)” He said and I laughed again.
I was really enjoying his company and I began to feel light now. No longer did I regret letting my friends force me to the club. I was still enjoying the short moment of silence when chief finally broke it by clearing his throat.
“Eh, do you know that you have totally changed my perception, iwo omo yi? (You this girl)”
“About what?” I curiously asked.
He glanced at the dancefloor at other girls dancing with a look of disgust on his face and said, “I used to think that any girl you find in a club was wayward and only looking for attention, or more, a man to spend the night with. But, from just being with you for these few minutes, I have studied you gidigan (very well), and I can see that you are not after a man’s money or looking for someone to take you to bed… If it’s most girls that I have met, many would have been giving me all those pepeye (duck) eye and smile, praising me so ori mi ma wu (so my head could swell from the praises), some will even be caressing my big stomach and be telling me just how sexy it is whereas I know that she’s only fooling me.”
I chuckled. “So what made you concluded so quickly about me?”
“You did not even let me buy you a drink, neither did you ask for my complimentary card. Even after telling you that I want to marry you, you still refused.”
“Well, that’s just me.” I shrugged a shoulder. “Let’s just say that I have had my fair share of unhappiness in life and I’m not looking forward to going back to it anytime soon.”
“Well said!” He agreed and then glanced over my shoulder to look at someone as he said, “Eh my dear, pardon my question o, but do you know that man over there? He has been staring at us since.”
“Who?” I asked, turning my head.
“That one on white t-shirt.” He pointed and when my eyes fell upon the person he had described, my heart almost jumped into my mouth as I realized that it was Chris and he was seated on a couch several feet away with his eyes fixed on me. I quickly turned away now, trying to compose myself or probably flee.
Chief noticed and asked, “Is something wrong?”
“Not at all… I’m just….” I stuttered then began to fan at my face with my hand as I blew air through my mouth. “…this place is just too stuffy.”
“Pele dear, do you want to go outside for some fresh air?” He asked but before I could answer, I felt someone stand behind me.
“No sir, thank you but that won’t be necessary.” I heard Chris say from behind me and I swallowed hard.
“Who are you, young man?” Chief asked, adjusting his agbada intentionally as if to look intimidated. “Weren’t you taught not to interrupt when two people are talking?”
“Chief…” I quickly intervened, forcing a smile. “Please, he’s a friend.”
“Ehen…” Chief said skeptically as he scrutinized Chris for a moment.
“Chief, please I’m sorry but I’ll have to ask you to excuse us.” I said.
“Are you sure?” He asked, eyeing Chris in an unfriendly way. “If this young man is here to bother you, just tell me and I’ll get my body guards to deal with him gidigan! (Very well)”
“No no chief, that won’t be necessary.” I quickly said and added a reassuring smile.
“Okay then…” He finally but reluctantly agreed, then he started to rise. “Well, if you insist that I should excuse you too, I’ll…” He said. “It was very nice talking to you.” He told me, eyed Chris again then left.
As soon as he was gone, Chris replaced him on his seat. He took a serious look at me for a moment then finally broke the awkward silence between us by saying, “Hi.”
I swallowed hard and replied. “Hi.” I didn’t know that I would meet him here. I felt so guilty seeing him and I surely didn’t want to go down the memory lane of why I had left.
What he did next surprised and puzzled me. He stuck his hand towards me and said, “I’m Chris.”
I hesitated as I stared at him in confusion before I hesitantly shook his hand and muttered, “Victoria.”
“First time here?” He gestured around with his hand.
“Yes…” I reluctantly decided to play along. Since I didn’t know why he was doing this, I wanted to see how it would turn out. “You?”
“No but second.” He answered.
“Okay…” I simply nodded. Since we were playing the stranger thing, then maybe it would be easier to just say goodnight and get away.
“I must say that you clean up good.’ he gestured with a hand at me, indicating that I had changed in a great way since the last time we saw.
“Thanks.” I murmured under my breath, briefly casting my eyes down.
“I’ve been staring at you for half an hour, trying to be sure if it was really you or not and as luck would have it, you looked back.” He said.
“Only because Chief mentioned that I had a starer.” I defended.
“Right…” He pursed his lips then asked, obviously tired of the pretence. “Why did you leave?”
I stared at him for a moment and was about to reply when someone suddenly said “Obim… I’ve been looking for you.” She came into view from behind me and possessively placed her arm on his shoulder and just the sight of her completely killed my zeal to reconcile.
“Great! You brought her!” I said with an exasperated sigh.
At the sound of my voice, she turned her head to look at me and her eyes grew round with surprise. “Ha! Aunty Victoria, na you be this? Chai! You don change o. You don even fine pass before, kon even add weight. (Ha! Aunty Victoria, is this you? Chai! You have changed o. You are now even more beautiful than before and you have also added some weight.)”
“Hi, Uju, how are you doing?” I reluctantly said, reaching for my drink. Right now, I preferred the company or chief than these two.
“Chris don dey find you so tey he don lose hope. (Chris has searched for you to the extent that he has lost hope.)” She said then added. “He dey relocate go America next month sef. (He’s even relocating to the U.S. next month)”
I stared at him in surprise now. “Are you serious?”
He shrugged a shoulder. “There’s nothing left for me in this country any more.”
I swallowed hard as I forced myself to ask the next question. “Are you going with her?” I cast my eyes at Uju but she quickly beat him to answering the question.
“This one ke? This one wey no fit even touch me na him go carry me go abroad? No o, he dey go alone. Once he commot, sell the house, I dey find my level. All I know say na Uju no go return to village o. This Lagos dey sweet me die. (This one? This one that cannot even touch me will take me abroad with me? No o, he’s going alone. Once he leaves and sells the house, I’ll find my way. All I know is that Uju is not going back to the village o. I have found this Lagos to be very interesting.)
I stared at her in surprise, then asked in disbelief. “He didn’t sleep with you?”
She gave me a perplexed frown. “Sleep with me how? You no hear wetin I tell you before? This guy na impotent. He no be man. He dey only get erection but he no dey use am at all. Me sef don tire for him matter.(Sleep with me? Didn’t you hear what I told you earlier? This guy is an impotent. He is not a man. He only has erections but he never uses it.) She explained. “Since you commot from that house, he no wan even use eye see me at all. He go just carry car key woka commot from house come back in the night wey I don already sleep so I no go disturb am. (Ever since you left the house, he can’t even stand my presence at all. He would just grab his car key and leave the house then come back at night so that I wouldn’t even disturb him.)”
It was too good to believe and I gaped at Chris now. “…b..but I… That… Night…”
He sighed and said, “Yea, I know I f—-d up big time but honestly, I couldn’t do it.” He said honestly. “I couldn’t just bring myself to do it, V.”
Tears welled up in my eyes now and I asked in a hoarse voice. “Then why are you still with her? You even brought her to a club.”
“It was her idea.” He replied. “She wanted to go out and have fun and I just tagged along.”
I was about to speak when a sturdy guy with a bald head and a beard appeared and wrapped his arms around Uju’s waist from behind. At first she was startled and quickly snapped as she started to turn. “Na who be this?” When she recognized the man, she smiled and said, “Oh, na you… You don find me come.”
“Let’s go to the dancefloor na babe.” The guy said to her. He was huge and I wondered how she would be able to handle such a guy.
“Hold on.” She told him then turned to Chris. “You, I know that now that you have seen Victoria, na to vanish be that. Sha no worry, you see this Bobo here? (I know that you’ll vanish now that you have seen Victoria but do not worry much. Do you see this guy here?)” She pointed with her thumb over her shoulder at the guy. “Me and am dey go him place after we club finish, so no expect me for house until tomorrow morning. (He and I are going over to his place when we are done clubbing, so don’t expect me at home until tomorrow morning.)” She said and they both returned to the dancefloor.
I watched them go and then asked in surprise. “What happened to you two? You give her this much liberty?”
“What am I supposed to do? I’ve made it clear to her that I’m not interested in her in that way. Besides, she’s a young lady and she can have as much fun as she wants.” Chris answered.
“And since when did you discover that she has accepted that fact?” I asked.
“When she started bringing in men to screw her on my couch.”
I chuckled. “Fair enough.” As I sipped my drink which had gone a bit warm, an uncomfortable silence ensued between us before he broke it and asked,
“How about we start all over, just you and I?”
I stared at him for some seconds and said skeptically. “I don’t know, Chris. I have moved on and I’m so not going back to my past.”
“Well, fix me in the present. Let’s start afresh, V, please…” He implored.
“I’ll need some time to think about it. This is too sudden, I don’t want to rush into anything anymore.” I told him.
“She will not be thinking about anything. You can take her home if you want.” Someone suddenly cut in and I turned to see Tanya approaching. She was sweating a bit from all the dancing she had done. Soon, Kehinde joined us.
“Hey!” She beamed at Chris as she scrutinized him quickly. “From the description Vickie had given us, you must be Chris.”
“Really? She talked about me?” I saw him glance at me and I looked away to avoid his gaze. My friends were not just good at keeping some secrets.
“Yes.” Tanya said after ordering for a drink. “If there’s anything she mentions about her past, it’s you.”
“I see…” Chris said, fixing a knowing look at me now.
“What did she say again, Tanya?” Kehinde asked then they both chuckled as they chorused.
I blushed now and lowered my head. I was really going to kill my friends. This was so embarrassing.
“Take her home with you please. Tomorrow is Saturday. You can keep her with you until Sunday evening.” Kehinde said.
I suddenly shot her a glare as she pulled away but I was not surprised. I had such crazy and blunt friends and they were like sisters to me.
Chris got off his stool now and stretched an open hand towards me. “Shall we?” He asked and I stared into his eyes but didn’t reach for his hand.
To Be Continued