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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Gina's Cross (4) finding loot

  Beatrice shook her head.

"This business is better than a brothel. It's a clean business, with no hassles and a lot to gain," she said and went on to state some of the cons of the crazy idea she had just put to me.

After she had spoken, I gazed at her for a while, then said:
"Bea, I know you love money but not to this extent! If you want to make money through such means, then I advise you to open your own joint," I advised her. 

I thought that was the end of the discussion, but I had reckoned without my friend's persistent nature. She kept at me over the matter till I got sick of her nagging. 

Besides, a part of me, maybe the greedy part was beginning to think about what such a deal could do to my finances. 

Though my business was doing quite well and I was making money, I also had a lot of expenses.

I had my daughters to take care of as well as my late husband's aged parents and his older sister. The lady was married to a lazy, no-good layabout who did nothing but drink and get into fights all day.

I was responsible for the upkeep of the four children they had including their school fees and other expenses. I did all this because of the love Marcus had for me which made me have a soft spot for his family. 

All these cost money and most of my income went towards that.

"A clean business with a lot to gain," were Beatrice's words. But could it really be true? As she said, I had always been strict with my girls when it came to the male customers in my restaurant. 

They often flirted and made jokes with the girls but I never allowed them to cross the line. I always warned them not to get involved with them in anyway except for business of the restaurant.

That was until one evening when Endy, one of the girls came to inform me that a customer had invited her to a birthday party of a friend that weekend and wanted to know if she could attend. When I gave her permission to go, she looked surprised, a wondering look in her clear, bright eyes.

"It's alright. I don't have any problem with you attending the party with Mr Theo. He has been our customer for a long time and is a responsible person. But don't allow him to do anything 'funny' with you- you are a big girl and you should understand what I'm saying," I said.

She returned a few days later and handed an envelope to me. Inside was a large sum of money which she said the customer had given her.

 "All that money just to attend a party? Are you sure he did not sleep with her?" asked Beatrice when I told her about the incident.

 "Ndy said nothing happened and I believe her. She's not the lying type," I stated.
 "You see what I told you! Imagine what you can make if you agree to my idea!" said my friend excitedly.

 I think it was from that point that I finally conceded and I entered a new phase in my business dealings, a very lucrative one at that!

  New business
Beatrice was right. Within six months of starting my new business which we termed 'Client Services', I made so much money that I wondered why I did not start it earlier. 

 My girls were all very pretty, fresh and hot and the customers loved them so much. I got a percentage of whatever they made whenever a customer took them out on an outing or 'date' and the money poured in.

  I began to live big like all those Lagos and Abuja society women who cruise around in expensive cars and wear the latest fashion in town.

 I invested some of the money in real estate and some other sources as my plans for a 'rainy day.' My two children were thriving and doing well at school and life was good. 

Little did I know that what I was doing now would cause a lot of problems for me and my children in the future. Perhaps, I would have stopped then. 

But my greed for more money and a good life made me go on...

To Be Continued...

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Gina's Cross (3) dreams die

Marcus had been gone for about three months when he visited me in the village. I was so happy to see him and realized how much I missed him on seeing him again. He told me that since I refused to come to the city to visit him, he had to come himself.

"You have been on my mind since I returned to the city. So, the first opportunity I got, I had to come see you," he stated as he handed over some bags he had brought with him.

They contained gifts he had brought for me which included clothes, shoes and some things for Una as well.

"Thanks, Mark for all these. But are they not too much?" I stated as I admired the items.
 "Nothing is too much for you, my darling Gina," he said, hugging me.

 He spent over a week on this visit and we were together for most of it. Infact, he spent more time at our house than in his own parents house which was at the other end of the village. 

Even his mother who was Nene, my grandmother's friend noticed his frequent visits and remarked on it when we saw her one market day.

"I don't know what you people gave to my son that made him abandon his father's house for your place! Since he came, I hardly see him! At least, allow me see him a little before he returns to the city," she said.

We could tell she was joking as she was smiling as she spoke.

My grandma replied: "I know your problem. You have become so old and forgotten what it is like to be young and in love!" That elicited laughter from Marcus mother and Nene joined in. 

 I stood there listening as they chatted about their youthful days when courting between young men and women was done differently, 'they could not even hug themselves while courting unlike now when many young couples even live together before marriage!'

One morning, I was getting ready to go to the stream to do some washing when Marcus came over. Nene had gone out and Una was in school. I had enrolled her in a play school owned by a retired teacher in the primary school who had taught my mother as a child. 

Marcus offered to escort me to the stream so I packed the clothes in a large plastic basin and we set off.

There were few people there at that time of the day; just two young boys bathing and an elderly woman who was fetching water. As I started washing, Marcis offered to help.
 "Let me help with the washing as the clothes are so many," he stated.

"Thanks. Don't bother, I can cope. Just sit over there under that tree and keep me company," I said. 

As I worked, we chatted about different things; life in the village, his business, my desire to further my education and hopes to gain admission again and have the means to sponsor myself...

After that visit, our relationship waxed stronger. Mark wanted us to be together; indeed on his next trip to the village, he told my Grandma that he loved me and wanted me as his wife. I liked him very much too and I knew I would be happy with him. 

What I loved most about him was his fatherly attitude towards my child, Una. I had told him what happened to me as a young girl and how Una was born. He felt touched at what I had passed through at such a tender age.

"It's all in the past now, dear; what matters is the future. And I hope to play a great part in that," he stated reassuringly.

Things moved fast after that. With Grandma's support, Marcus, accompanied by two of his uncles went to see my father about his intentions to marry me. My Dad was not against the marriage, stating if that was what I wanted, then I could go ahead. 

Marcus and I made our plans and soon after, we got married; we had a traditional as well as a church wedding. Thereafter I left the village to join my husband in the city. My daughter remained with my Grandma for a while until I was able to get a good school for her. 
Life with Marcus was like that of somebody who had been living in a desert and suddenly found water. It was as if God sent him to make up for all I had gone through in my short life. 

He was so loving and could not seem to do enough for me. Shortly after our marriage, he got admission for me to do a diploma course in a polytechnic while awaiting entrance to the university.

I got pregnant with my second daughter while doing the programme. We named her Ruby as she looked like a little jewel.

Marcus was so happy at the birth of our daughter, he threw a big party during her naming ceremony and dedication. His business was thriving and we lived quite well. For the first time in a long while, I was truly happy. I had a husband who loved me so much and was ready to do anything for me and two lovely and healthy children.

For the next five years, Mark and I lived happy and contented lives. Who knows, we could have lived 'happily thereafter' according to the fairytale if the accident had not happened. 

Mark had gone on a business trip out of town and was on his way back when the vehicle he was traveling in was involved in an accident. 

His death was kept away from me for days. It was his elder brother who lived in the city that finally broke the news to me. As you can imagine, I was devastated and inconsolable. 

How could this have happened to my dear husband who had promised to be there for me forever, to love and cherish me for the rest of his life? How could death do this to me, I kept wondering. 

Our dream of growing old together had died just like that and I was left all alone so young, at just 25! What was I going to do without my beloved husband by my side?

"You will have to move on, at least for the sake of your children," was what everyone who came to commiserate with me said. It was easy for them to say, what did they know about losing a loved one, I thought with some resentment.

My mother was of the same view as the sympathisers.

 She had come to see us about ten months after my husband's death and burial. She could see that I was still mourning him and she had a long talk with me over the matter. 

 "I know his death is painful. It was a big shock to your Dad and I- he was a good son-in-law and we all miss him. But you can't go on like this. Look at you! You've lost so much weight; you no longer take care of yourself, much less the children. 

 You are still very young and life has to go on. You have to pick up the pieces and start all over again. A strong person doesn't stay down when he falls; he tries his best to bounce back. It's time you did that," she advised.

 She stayed with us for sometime and with her support, I began to recover from the shock of losing my husband. There were practical reasons why I had to. I had to start thinking of ways of surviving without Marcus financial support. 

 Throughout our marriage, I never worked as he provided all our needs. He had substantial savings which I had access to after his death but it would not last forever. I had to look for ways of making money so I could take care of my children.
 Starting a business
I did not want an office job; I wanted something that will give me enough time for my family so I decided to open a small restaurant.

  I picked a good location not too far from the street where we lived. Customers seemed to like the food we prepared for within a short time, the place became very popular. Many office workers in the area often took their lunch there. I began to make money and I was able to employ more staff to help with running the place. 

 Later, I paid for the shop next door to the restaurant and opened a branch which specialised in 'pepper soup' and drinks. That too was popular with clientele. Money was rolling in and I was happy at my success in the business in less than three years of starting off. 

  I would have continued with the business of simply cooking and serving food to my customers if a friend of mine, Beatrice had not come up with the idea of making more money from my customers through another means. 

 I had known her since the early days of my marriage with Marcus. We lived in the same compound until she moved away to another location due to a problem she had with our landlord.

 Anyway, Beatrice who was single, had come to see me in the restaurant one day. She had been there before and had been impressed by what she saw the first time she came. On this visit, she had pointed out something to me.

 "These your serving girls are so fine! Where did you get them from? And their uniforms too, simply cute!" she had enthused. "But what a waste!" she added.
 "Waste? What's that supposed to mean?" I inqueried.

 "Gina, be smart! You have a gold mine right under your nose and you are allowing it to waste!" she said. 

 Then drawing close to me, she said quietly: "With such pretty girls parading around, is it any wonder that many male customers flock here to eat? Do you think it's only your food that's drawing them here? I bet you, many come just because of the girls."

 "So? If its good for the business, what's the problem then?" I asked.

 "The problem is that you are not mining this 'gold mine'. Don't be too strict, allow the girls to go out with the men who want them and you will be amazed at the amount of money you will make," she said.
 "What? How can you suggest such a thing? You want me to start running a brothel or what? You want to turn me to a Madam?"I stated.

 She shook her head.
 "This business is better than a brothel. It's a clean business, with no hassle and a lot to gain," she said and went on to state some of the cons of the crazy idea she had just put to me...

Will Gina accept her friend's idea? Details coming soon!

To Be Continued...

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Gina's Cross (2) new love

 On getting to the village, I tried to acclimatize as much as possible. It was not easy having been born and bred in the city and used to a certain way of life.

Now I had to learn village ways such as fetching water from a well, going to the farm with my Grandma (who was a widow) and my cousins who lived with her, walking long distances carrying heavy loads of farm produce on my head, going into the forest for firewood and so many other activities the villagers engaged in.

My two cousins teased and called me names like 'softie', 'ajebo' and others but I did not mind them. With the resilience of the young, I learnt quickly and began to adapt to my new life. I enrolled in a school in the nearest town to our village which was about three miles away. We walked to and from the school as there was no car to take us down.

My little girl Una who was growing very fast, was in the care of my Grandma or one of my aunties while I was in school. 

She was a happy, bubbly baby who did not cry much. Despite the circumstances under which she was born, I loved my baby and was very protective of her.

Once in a while, my mother would come from the city to see us. I always looked forward to her visits as she brought things for the baby and I.

About a year when I had been living in the village, she came one day and said my father wanted me to return home but on one condition: I had to leave Una in the village with my grand mother. Truth was I wanted to return to the city as I missed my younger sister Gladys and two brothers. But I could not bear to be separated from my baby.

"Mum, I miss home but leaving my baby here is not possible. I can't leave her here, who will look after her?" I argued.

"Your grandmother will do that. I've discussed the matter with her and she says it's ok as long as we send money regularly for her upkeep," my mother said.

But I was still not convinced. I was just 16 then, little more than a baby myself but I had grown so attached to my daughter that the thought of being away from her for so long was too painful to contemplate. 
I told my mother to plead with my father to let me remain with the baby till she was at least older and had started school.

"I'm not sure he will support that- I think he misses you and wants you home. The last time he was home, he kept talking about you, asking how you were doing. Sometimes, when he wants to call Gladys, he will call your name instead. That says a lot," she said. 

My mother was right. Dad was not happy with my decision to stay with my baby, stating that it was my future I was toying with. Anyway, I chose my baby over returning home and I did not regret my decision even though I paid a very heavy price for it later.

 I continued with my education and finally sat for my final exams. Despite all the challenges I passed through, I did well in most of my papers. My result was good enough to attend a higher institution which was my ambition. 

 I wanted to study Law; I had always had the dream as a young girl to be a lawyer. It started when I was in Primary school- every morning on the way to school, we used to pass by the courts and I would see the lawyers in their gowns and wigs looking very smart. 

 I used to admire them so much and wanted to be like them when I grew up. So, when I sat for the university entrance exams, I chose Law as my first course.

 As they say, things never turn out the way one plans. To my joy, I passed the exams and secured the admission. But I could not take up the admission because of my Dad. He bluntly refused to sponsor my education with the excuse that I disobeyed his earlier instructions to come back when he told me to! 

  My mother, Grandma and other family members pleaded with him to reconsider so I would not miss the golden opportunity that had come my way. But he did not budge and maintained his stand. That was how I missed attending school that year. Or the year after that.

 I felt very bad about the situation especially when my younger sister Gladys got her admission to study Banking and Finance. Here was I with good results yet unable to go to school because of my father's refusal to sponsor me. 

Later, I put the disappointment behind me and focused on taking care of my baby and helping my Grandma with her farm work and little business.

 Una was about four years old when I met Marcus. He was a young businessman who had come from the city to visit his family in the village. 

 It was a market day and Grandma and I were returning from there one evening when he gave us a ride. His mother and Grandma were very good friends and the woman often visited us at home.

 Two days after that first meeting, he came to our house to give her some gifts he had brought from the city.
 "Thank you so much, my son. May God continue to bless and protect you," Grandma prayed as she admired the various items.

 "Amen," he intoned.
  Later, we sat on the verandah of Grandma's house and chatted for sometime. He felt bad when I told him about my truncated educational career.

 "You shouldn't give up on your dream. You are still very young, time is still on your side so hang in there," he advised me.
 For the rest of his stay in the village, Marcus would visit me in the evenings usually after we returned from the farm. He seemed to like me and he confirmed it one evening when we sat talking.

 "I have to return to town in a few days because of some business commitments. But I don't feel like going," he stated.

 "Why?" I enquired, turning to gaze at him.
 "It's your fault. I feel so relaxed and happy whenever I'm with you."

 I smiled at that. It was the same feeling with me. He was the first guy I had allowed to come close to me after the rape incident. That experience made me develop a kind of phobia for guys; all the boys who chased me while I was in school got nothing but curses and abuse for their effort and after a while, they left me alone. 

 Marcus was the only one whom I felt comfortable enough with to come close to me.

 Even my Grandma noticed the blossoming romance between us and began to call him my husband whenever she spoke about him.

 "Gina, I've not seen your husband today. Has he gone back to the city without letting us know?" she asked one evening. We had just finished eating dinner and were relaxing in the 

 "Ah! Nene! He's not my husband o! When did we get married?" I protested.
 "Don't worry. It will happen. Soon," she stated emphatically.

   Some days later, Marcus travelled to his base. Before leaving, he gave me his address in the city and said I could visit him anytime I wanted. He wrote regularly, professing his love for me and how much he missed me...

Join us tomorrow for more of Gina and Marcus love story and the aftermath!

To Be Continued...

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Gina's Cross (1)

 I was born into an average family. My father worked in the construction industry as a Supervisor. He worked for several years with a foreign firm and made enough money to take care of my three siblings and I.

Due to the nature of his job, he travelled a lot and was hardly at home. When we were much younger, my mother used to take us with her to stay with him for a while wherever his job took him. 

But as we grew older, she stopped moving us around, saying we needed more 'stability' especially when we started attending school.

My mother did not work, she was a housewife who did a little business of buying and selling of fabrics like 'ankara' wax print to make a little extra money to supplement the allowance she got from my Dad. I had a normal, happy childhood and my future looked bright. 

I had just turned fifteen when the incident happened that changed the course of my life, turning me to what I am today. 

 It was late evening and I was returning from an errand my mother sent me on. I remember I was passing through a short cut to our house; it was a narrow path near our street with a lot of bushes and a few uncompleted buildings.

  It was often deserted at that time of the day and our mother had warned us not to pass that road at that late hour. But I was in a hurry to get home and watch a favourite programme of mine on TV that aired in the evening so I ignored her warning and took the path. 

 I was walking quickly and was nearly half way down the path when two men suddenly appeared as if from nowhere. They grabbed me and dragged me into the bush. 

 I was screaming and struggling but they overpowered me; I was just 15, what could I do against two strong men in a lonely spot where no one could hear my screams for help.

 Those 'animals' raped, defiled me and when they were done, left me half dead in the bush. I managed to muster the strength to drag myself home. My mother wept bitterly when she heard what happened. 

 My Dad was at his base in another town- it was an uncle of ours who lived with us that organised a group of young men to search for the two thugs that had raped me. But of course they had long gone and could not be found.

 My father when he came home wanted to report the incident to the Police but our relatives advised him against it. Their argument was that it would cause embarrassment to the family 
and also put a stigma on me.

 "This child will grow up one day and marry. What suitor will be happy to hear that his bride was a victim of rape?" they pointed out. So, based on that, the matter was buried. 

 But that incident left me with a lot of emotional and psychological scars which I believe never healed. 

 Worse still, the rape resulted in pregnancy which caused more problems in our family. My father started blaming my Mum for what happened to me, that she abandoned her responsibilities as a mother to face her 'stupid business' as he put it.

 "I try to make enough money so you won't have to work, so you can stay home and look after these children. But what do you do? The minute my back is turned, you start running all over town selling your stupid fabrics, neglecting my children! 

 See the result now! Gina is now pregnant at her age! 15 years old and she's already going to be a mother, when she's not married!" he stated, fuming.

 "But dear, it's wrong for you to blame me for what happened to her! I only sent her on a simple errand and she took the wrong road.." my mother said, defending herself.
 But my Dad was not in the mood to listen to her, insisting that my pregnancy was her problem and she should look for a solution.

 "You caused all this mess. So, clean it up!" he stated before marching out of the house in anger.

 What my mother did was what any caring mother in a similar situation would do- she took good care of me, assuring me that as long as she lived, the unborn child and I would not suffer. 

 "Gina, my child, what has happened can't be undone. We just have to move on and cope the best we can," she said philosophically.

And she kept to her words. When the pregnancy started showing, I had to drop out of school and remained at home. She took me to the hospital for antenatal care, ensured I ate the right foods, took my drugs and had enough rest. 

 She was wonderful. Unlike my father who made it clear I was no longer welcome in his house and wanted me out. 

 His attitude got worse after the baby, a girl was born. Whenever he was home and the baby cried, he would complain of the noise or some other thing. 

It got to a stage that he gave my mother an ultimatum: it was either I left the house with the 'little brat' as he called my daughter or he would no longer visit home to see the family from his base.

 My mother ignored his words and I remained in the house. That was until one day, he came on one of his visits a few weeks later when my baby was a few months old. I was in the sitting room feeding the baby when he arrived.

  I greeted him but he ignored me and went straight to his bedroom. Shortly after, he came out and seeing my mother said:

 "So, this girl and her brat are still here, in my house! I thought I left specific instructions that they should both leave before my return! So, what are they still doing here?"

 "Of course, she's still here! Where do you want her to go? She's just 16 for God's sake!" my mother countered.
 "Thank God, you remember her age. Ask yourself this: how many young girls of her age do you see around having babies? While her mates are in school studying to better their lives, she's here playing baby nurse! This is what your negligence has caused," said my Dad.

 "Dear, this is not the time for that now. Whatever has happened, she's still our daughter. We can't throw her out because of something that was not her fault," my mother stated.

 "Ok. It's now my fault. Instead of owning up to your mistakes, that you did not play your motherly role properly, you are here sprouting rubbish. 

 "Anyway, I don't have time for all this. Since you have bluntly refused to obey my orders in this house, I will leave the house for you so you can enjoy your new born 'brat'," he stated before leaving."

 My father refused to return home for nearly six months after that. To avoid the situation deteriorating further and affecting my parents' marriage, my maternal grandmother suggested I should come to stay with her until things calmed down. 

 So, that was how I ended up moving to the village to live with my Grandma. It was while there that I completed my secondary school education and also met the man who will become my first husband...

To Be Continued...

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Story Promo

I was walking quickly and was nearly half way down the path when two men suddenly appeared as if from nowhere. They grabbed me and dragged me into the bush. I was screaming and struggling but they overpowered me; I was just 15, what could I do against two strong men in a lonely spot where no one...

You need to log in tomorrow for the continuation of this story. It's an excerpt from our new series titled  'Gina's Cross'.

 Don't miss it! And thanks for stopping by today. Do enjoy the rest of your day!

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Monday, May 23, 2016

The Chief's Pride (6) seeds

"Why, Isi? Do you have an idea of the mess you've created? Do you? How are you going to sort this out?" Reg demanded angrily.

 He had been pacing restlessly round the living room of his apartment for sometime since their return from the hospital. 

Isi sat crying quietly, her head buried in her hands.

He stopped pacing and stood in front of her.

He gazed down at her for a moment, a mixture of anger, anguish and despair etched on his handsome face.

Then he lifted her up and shaking her by the shoulder stated:

"Tell me, how are you going to clean up this mess? How, Isi? How am I going to break this news to my parents? That the girl I want to marry barren? That you can't bear children? My God!"

He let her go and she fell by his feet, weeping bitterly.

"I'm so sorry, Reg! So sorry!" she stated as tears flowed profusely down her face. 

He went and stood by the window, gazing at the large hibiscus plant by the side of the house. It had begun to blossom, red lovely flowers sprouting from its different parts, creating a riot of colour.

 All that beauty was wasted on him for his mind was in a turmoil, trying to come to grips with the doctor's revelations...
 "The tests show that an abortion Isi had some time in the past has caused such severe damage to her womb, it has weakened it badly, making it impossible for her to conceive and carry a pregnancy. Infact, her chances of getting pregnant are next to nil as it has affected other parts of her reproductive system..."

 Any other doctor and he would have doubted the diagnosis. But Dr Patrick had been the family doctor since he was a child and could be trusted.

 'God, how could this have happened? What are we going to do now?' he thought glumly. He could imagine his parents' reaction on hearing the news.

 They would be disappointed. The whole family had been looking forward to the wedding just a month away. Now this. He could see disaster looming and was unsure on how to avert it.

 If only Isi had opened up to him, perhaps the situation would have been saved. But she had kept it a secret from him. 

 Who knew what else she was hiding from him, he thought as he turned to stare at her still sprawled on the floor, crying.

 "Why didn't you tell me? That you had this kind of problem?" he asked shortly.

  She looked up at him, her eyes red rimmed from all the weeping. She was still in a state of shock over what the doctor said about her condition, and the implications for her and her future with Reg.

  She shook her head then stated:

 "I didn't know, Reg. that's the truth. After the abortion, there were some complications and I had to be treated at another hospital. But I didn't know it had resulted in this- that I've become barren. No one told me.

 "Please forgive me, Reg," she pleaded earnestly. Then, taking a deep breath, she added: "As things stand, we have to call off the wedding. For your parents' sake as I'm certain they won't want someone like me to marry their son."

 "Says who?" he retorted. He walked quickly up to her and lifted her up.

 He placed her on the couch and sat besides her.

 "Look, Isi, it won't come to that. Wait," he said, as she wanted to interrupt him. "I'm angry with you because you kept such a serious thing from me. But you said you were unaware of your condition. I won't condemn you because everyone has a past, including me.

 "I still love you. My love for you won't change because of what has happened. We'll look for a way to weather this storm and forge ahead, ok? That means, going ahead with the wedding. I'll find a way of convincing my parents. It won't be easy because of my position as their heir but we have to try. Our love will see us through. So, stop crying, love," he said. 

 He brought out a hankie from his pocket and began to wipe her face. But his kind words just made her cry more. He gathered her in his arms and patted her back, murmuring consoling words to her...

 Two days later...

 Isi stood in the middle of the living room. By her feet was her travelling bag, packed with everything she owned in Reg's house. 

 Everything except for her engagement ring. It lay on the centre table, where she had left it. It was her last connection with Reg; now severed so he could be free.

 Though he had sworn to stick with her, despite everything, she knew it would be impossible considering his position. He was a Prince and heir to his father's throne so marrying someone like her would be a hindrance to him. Cause problems for him with his parents, create tension and unnecessary conflict in his family.

 She could not allow him to go through that because of her, his love of her.

 So that morning, when he had left to his parents to tell them about her condition and plead understanding so the wedding can go on, she had stated:

 "Ok, honey. Thanks so much for being so supportive. I'll be here, waiting. So, come back to me soon."

 She held him close, kissing him, clinging to him, unwilling to let go.

  By the ring was a short note she had left for him, telling him her reason for ending things between them and canceling the wedding.

 "Please don't look for me as I won't change my mind. I love you, Reg and will always do. Stay well, my love..."

 She glanced round the room for the last time, and as she remembered all the happy moments she and Reg had shared there, tears filled her eyes.

 She wiped the tears away, then picking up her bag, headed for the door. And out of his life for good...
  I had no one to blame but myself for the way things ended up with Reg. He deserved better. I was damaged goods, an empty shell, not fit for someone like him- decent, loving, caring. A Prince who needed someone clean, pure not a messed up person like me. 

 I was paying for my sins, for the horrible lifestyle I lived back in school. I could not feel sorry for myself or indulge in self pity as I had no one to blame for how my life turned out. 

 I was reaping the bitter fruits of the seeds I had sown...

The End!

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Friday, May 20, 2016

The Chief's Pride (5) wedding bells

"I told you didn't I? That you should not worry, my parents will love you. As I do!" said Reg. It was a day after our visit to his parents and we were at his apartment. 

 He was right. His family had been welcoming and seemed to like me. Except for his mother who was a bit cool towards me.

 When I pointed it out to Reg, he simply laughed.

 "It's not that she doesn't like you. It's the fact that I picked my own bride that's the issue," he said. 

 He added that his mother had been trying to matchmake him with another lady, the daughter of a family friend.

"Someone she believes will suit my status as a Prince and their heir. But I told her that was in the past. That the days when parents picked partners for their children was over," said Reg.

Then holding me by the shoulder, he stated:

"You are my choice, Isi. I've made that clear to my people and they have no choice but accept you. So, rest your mind, Sweet."

 I was reassured by his words and his obvious love for me.

 Besides his parents, we had mine to contend with too. This is Nigeria afterall where parents still have a big say in whom their children marry. A girl might have a guy she's crazy about but if her parents don't like the look of him, then she is in trouble.

 My mother first met Reg when she came for a work related programme in Port Harcourt. While she liked him, she thought I was too young to be thinking of getting married.

 "You are not yet 21, Isi. So, what's the hurry?" she wondered. "You have your whole life ahead of you with so much you can do with it. You can go back to school for a Masters degree, see the world before settling down. Enjoy your youth while you still have it my dear," she advised me.

 What else is there to see of the world, I thought to myself. Unknown to her, her little Isi had seen much of the world. I had travelled with Chief T for instance to many countries, had been to all the continents and seen so much. 

 So, as far as I was concerned, I had seen it all. But she did not know all these as my 'runs' lifestyle on campus was a secret I never wanted them to ever know about.

 So, I told her I could always see 'the world' after marriage.
 "It's not as if Reg will put me in purdah after we marry. His job takes him around and I'm sure he'll take me along on some of his trips," I argued.

 "Alright, dear," she conceded. "But you have to wait till you are at least 22 before marrying him. Marriage is a serious business; there's more to it than just falling in love and having a lovely wedding. 

 "You need to be mature enough, mentally and psychologically to be able to cope with the rigors of marital life. I've been in it for over twenty years so I know what I'm talking about."

 "Ok, Mum," I agreed. "But, I'm not sure, Reg will want to wait that long. Infact, he wants us to have our wedding as soon as I finish my service."

 "If he loves you, he'll wait for you," she said.

 Then, giving me a searching look, she noted:

 "You love him vey much, don't you?"

 I nodded.

 "I do, Mum. He's my world," I stated simply. 

 "Oh my! My baby girl is all grown up!" she exclaimed, smiling. "You're a woman now!"

 "Mum! I'm not a baby anymore o! I'll soon be a married woman!" I rejoined.

 She laughed heartily.
 "I can see that. But to me, your mother, you'll always be my little girl! Come and give Mama a big hug!" she said, her arms spread wide.
  Over a year later...
 Isi stood in front of the large mirror and examined the gown. She did not want anything complicated so had opted for a simple style. It was a cap sleeve design with lace bodice. It was cinched in at the waist and flared out over her hips to the floor.

 This was her second fitting for the gown and it seemed to be taking shape.

 "Looking good," she said, turning to get a view of the back.

  Later, she sat to confer with the designer on a few adjustments to be made especially on the bodice of the gown.

 As Isi stepped out of the showroom, her mobile rang.

 It was Reg.

 "How's my baby doing today?" he asked.

 She stood by her car for a moment to chat with him. He wanted to know when she was coming over to PH from Lagos.

 "I miss you, Isi. Hope you can still come over this weekend?" he said. They had not seen each other for nearly a month and he had begun to complain about her absence.

 The plan was for her to do some of the shopping and arrangements for the wedding coming up in less than six weeks before joining him in Port- Harcourt to spend some time together before their big day.

 But that no longer seemed possible as she still had so much to do.

 "So sorry, Reg. I want to be with you too. But my mother and I need to sort out the catering and hall arrangements and other stuff. So..."

 She could hear his sigh of annoyance at the other end.

 "Alright! But don't stay away for too long," he stated grumpily.

  The following week, she had some free time so she flew down to PH to be with Reg.

 The following day, Reg got a call from Dr Patrick, his family doctor to see him with Isi in respect of some tests she had done some weeks before.

Actually, it was Reg's parents that had made her do the tests.

Reg had explained the reason behind it.

"As the first son of the family and heir to my ancestors throne, they want to ensure the succession line is secured. So, any woman I marry has to be able to bear children. There's nothing to it; it's just a formality. I know you are ok, sweetheart so you have nothing to worry about," he had said back then.

At the hospital, they were shown to the doctor's office.

"Sit down," he said. They sat opposite him, waiting for him to speak.

He glanced at both of them then looked down at a file on his desk.

"Reg, can you excuse us for a minute? I'll like to talk to Miss Isi alone," he stated.

Reg and Isi exchanged glances.

"Why, doctor? Is there any problem?" asked Reg.
"We are going to be married soon, Doctor. So, we are one. Whatever it is, we'll hear it together," Isi insisted.

"Alright," Dr Patrick stated. "Well, its like this..."

What does the test result say? The final part of this story comes up on Sunday. Don't miss it!

Do enjoy your weekend!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Chief's Pride (4) shadows

My prayers did not seem to work. Chief died about two weeks after he fell ill. I was in a state of shock over his death. How could he just die like that, I kept thinking. It was a big blow to me.

I remembered all he had done for me and I wept as if I had lost a member of my family.

After mourning Chief for a while, I recovered myself and started going out again. I dated a few older men, because by this time, I found most of the young men interested in me, immature. I was not attracted to them at all.

Because of Chief T and the way he pampered me, I had got used to a certain lifestyle which very few young men could afford.

Later, I began to date Chief Etah, another business magnate who reminded me a bit of Chief T. 

While my new 'sugar daddy' treated me fairly well, he was not as generous as Chief T who spoilt me with money, gifts and attention. I was not the only mistress Chief Ettah kept for he had several others. 

I even knew one of my 'rivals' as she was in my school though a year my junior.

I stayed with Chief Ettah for a purpose; I wanted him to bankroll the business I plan setting up when I left school.

 I had no intention of working for anyone after graduation but to be my own boss and an entrepreneur. I wanted to open a top class boutique with a spa, beauty centre and other services.

 I had discussed it earlier with Chief T when he was alive and he had promised to set it up for me. But with his death, my new sugar daddy had to pick up the bill, I reasoned.

 I had been with Chief Ettah for about five months when I got pregnant. It had happened twice before with Chief T and I had had to have a D and C.

 He had been against my having an abortion.

 "I want you to have this baby, Isi. I love you and want to marry you. So keep it. Please."
 But I argued that since I was still in school, it was not possible as it would affect my studies.
  Now, here I was again with another pregnancy, this time a few months before my graduation.

  I had no option but to have another operation. While doing it, something went wrong and I had to be rushed to a specialist hospital where I was treated for severe blood loss and other issues. 

 Luckily, I survived.

 But at great cost to my future happiness and fulfillment as a woman as you will find out from my story...

  Young lover
 Finally school was over and it was time to serve my country. I was posted to Port Harcourt for the mandatory NYSC programme and it was while serving there that I met Reg.

 We met at a party held in town and right from the start, we kind of hit it off. Reg was the first young guy since Frankie, my former boyfriend that dumped me back at school, that I was attracted to.

 He made me break my unspoken rule: no dating of young men at least until I was ready for marriage.

 What was it about Reg that made me break my rule? Ok, he was very attractive. He was quite rich too and from a good family background as the son of a traditional ruler in the state. Thus he was royalty.

 But it was not these qualities alone that drew me to him. Maybe, he reminded me of Chief T, like he was a younger version of my late sugar daddy...

 Whatever it was, I found myself being entangled with Reg more and more. As for him, he fell madly in love with me within a short period of our meeting.

 One day, we were hanging out at a fun spot in town when he said:

 "Isi, I hope you like living in PH."

 "What do you mean?" I queried, looking at him curiously.

  He took my hand in his before saying:

 "Because if I have my way, you won't be returning to Lagos!"

  "But my family, all my friends are there! I've my roots there," I noted.

  "You can start a new family here. Beginning with me," he said, pointing his thumb at his chest.

 I smiled, guessing at what he meant: making our relationship more permanent.

 By then, I was in love with him and I did not really mind taking our love to another level. I had nothing to lose, I reasoned. All I had to do was get rid of Chief Ettah and one other sugar daddy I saw occasionally and focus on Reg.

 I already had a few properties and lots of money from my 'runs' activities. Perhaps, I thought it was time I 'retired' and thought about my future

 Reg had the qualities my parents would love as their future son-in-law. I knew they would approve of him instead of the 'oldies' I had dated throughout my campus days.

 So, when some months after we met, he suggested I met his parents for formal introduction, I readily agreed.

 As we drove to his parents house that evening, I was in high spirits and looked forward to meeting his family.

 As things turned out, my life was about to take a twist I never dreamed or imagined. All thanks to my past...
 To be continued. The rest of Isi's story will be posted soon. Don't miss it!
  Hope your day is going well as mine has been despite all the threats of workers' strike and all other stuff going on in the country. Cheers, everyone!

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