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Friday, January 08, 2016

The Millionaire's daughter (1)

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I turned the paper to the sports section and was reading a story about the Super Eagles when my four year old daughter, Cyndy entered the room. She had just woken up from a nap and her eyes looked swollen with sleep. 
"Daddy, I'm hungry! I want some food," she demanded, tugging impatiently at my hand. I glanced in the direction of her mother who was still chatting animatedly with Tracie.
"Sweetheart, why don't you meet Mummy? I'm sure she will prepare something nice for you to eat," I told her, caressing her plump cheeks fondly.
She skipped towards her mother and I returned to my paper in peace.

"Can't you see I'm busy? Go and meet Cook!" I heard my wife telling Cyndy in a sharp tone.
"But Mummy, she's not at home! And I'm hungry!" And she began to cry. Being Sunday, it was the Cook's day off. Usually one of the two maids we had did the cooking during the Cook's days off. 
But both were not around as well. 

So, why can't Mira, the Madam of the house do the cooking you might wonder. Truth is, she can't cook. That might seem strange to some people, that a grown woman, an African woman for that matter with a family can't cook but it's the truth. In our society, girls are trained from an early age to be able to cook and take care of their families when they grow up and marry. But that did not happen in my wife's case for a reason I will explain to you, dear reader later.

As I could not bear to see my daughter cry, I had to prepare lunch that day. After feeding her, I also made some food for Mira and her friend. 

"This is nice," Tracie stated as she ate the rice with stew and vegetables I had prepared. Turning to me, she added:
"You must be an exception, Tunji. Most men I know can't cook. My Dad does not even know where the kitchen in his own house is located! You seem to have so many talents. I envy you, Mira. You don't know how lucky you are to have a man like him."

Mira did not say anything but simply focused on her food. As I left the table, I could feel Tracie's eyes boring into my back, and even without looking at her, I knew what the expression in them would be. Lust. Desire. Longing.

My wife's friend had never hidden the fact that she wanted me. It didn't start recently. It all began from the early days when I first met Mira and our story began...

  The angry landlady
At the time we first met, I had just moved into a new apartment in a fairly expensive part of the city. Ordinarily, I would not have been able to afford it on the salary I earned as a computer/IT specialist in a private firm. It was my cousin, Nick who owned the apartment. He had lived abroad for many years and was  planning to relocate to the country.

"I'm thinking of a couple of businesses I can do back in Nigeria," he had stated one day when he had called me on phone. He said he planned staying for about six months while researching the business and since it would be expensive staying in a hotel, he instructed me to look for an apartment in a quiet part of town.

I got a nice apartment in an estate where fairly rich people lived. I left my old flat for two of my younger brothers who were living with me and moved into Nick's apartment. I had been there for about two months and preparing for Nick's arrival when I met Mira in a dramatic way.

  I arrived home from work one evening to see my usually quiet compound in commotion. A young lady I had not seen before was in a heated argument with one of the tenants who lived on the top floor of the building. They were in the open courtyard of the house; nearby were a couple of other men watching the scene.

She was practically screaming at the tenant, berating him for rent default. 

"I'm sick and tired of your excuses! My manager has written you so many letters, yet no action. You are owing over one year's rent and instead of paying up, it's one story or the other everyday. I'm fed up! If you can't afford to stay in a place like this, look for somewhere cheaper. I've given you enough time to pay the arrears."

Meanwhile, the tenant was pleading for more time to pay up. After considering that, the lady stated: "Three months! That's all I'm giving you!" She turned to one of the men standing besides her whom I recognised as the property manager, instructing him to ensure the man paid up then or 'he will have to be evicted.'

She then marched towards the gate where I stood with some onlookers. 

That was when a strange thing happened. As she passed by, she glanced casually at me, then did a double take.

"Michael!" she called out excitedly. I looked behind me, thinking she was addressing some one else. But she kept looking straight at me. I looked back, puzzled.
  
It was on coming closer that she said: "Oh, I'm sorry. You look like someone I used to know."

I smiled at her.
"That's ok," I said.
The manager then introduced us.

"You are the new tenant then. Nice to meet you. Hope you are settling in nicely," she said. We chatted for a while then she left.

As she walked away, she kept glancing back and I could hear her say to her manger:
"He looks so much like Michael. The same features and physique. Really weird..."

As I went up to my apartment, I thought about my landlady, wondering how someone of her age could own a big property in a choice area like that. It was much later, when I got to know more about her that I learnt she had inherited the building and some other properties and investments from her father who had died some years ago.

After that encounter, I didn't see Mira for months till one evening on my way home from a store not far from the house.

She stopped the car and beckoned to me.

"So, how's my new tenant doing?" she asked, smiling warmly at me through the car window.
"It's nearly six months now so I'm not so new anymore," I told her to which she laughed. She asked unexpectedly:

"Are you doing something special this weekend?"
"Why do you ask," I said.

"Well, it's my best friend, Tracie's birthday. And she's having this little bash this Saturday. As I don't have any one to go with me, I was wondering if you could be my date for the night," she stated.
  
It was the last thing I was expecting her to say and my surprise must have registered on my face for she added:

"I know you might be wondering why I'm asking you or to put it more bluntly, what about my boyfriend? I don't have one and I don't need one right now after my experience with my ex. So, are you game or not?"

The first thought that came to my mind was: "Wow, this lady doesn't beat around the bush. She goes for whatever she wants!
  But to her, I said; " I don't mind the idea. But give me till Friday and I'll let you know if I can make it or not."

"That's ok. Just give me a call then."
  We exchanged numbers and she left.

  "Men, I think she likes you," said Nick, when I narrated the incident to him at home. He had arrived Nigeria a month earlier in respect of his business.

I shook my head.

"That can't be possible. I mean, look at me! How can a lady like that- rich, beautiful, well-connected, from a wealthy background be interested in an ordinary guy like me?"

But Nick said: "You underrate yourself. You are quite good looking, you know. Besides, some of these posh girls like guys from the 'hood, with a touch of ghetto. They find it exciting."

"Wait a minute. Are you calling me a ghetto, a 'hood guy?" I queried.

"So? You weren't exactly born and bred in Ikoyi, were you?" he said. I made a face at him and went to the kitchen to prepare dinner.
That weekend, I attended the party with Mira. It was held in a niteclub which had been booked exclusively for the occasion. That party was a real eye opener...

  
What went down at the party? Watch out tomorrow for the details!


Note: Ikoyi is a very fashionable and expensive suburb in Lagos where the extremely wealthy live


Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.


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