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Sunday, October 30, 2016

This Loving Heart Of Mine (4)

                                                                           
He was a bit taller than me, leaner and lighter-skinned. He stepped out of our bathroom butt-naked and laughing about something. He was rubbing my towel vigorously through his shaggy dreads and walking towards the bed with my wife in it.

 He caught the sick expression on Bella’s face and stopped.


 He dropped his arm and following Bella’s eyes, turned to face me where I stood. The guilt and blatant terror in his eyes said all I already knew.
I didn’t spare him a second glance; I had eyes only for my wife but I ‘felt’ him gather his clothes one after the other. Then he slipped past me. I just stared at Isabella. I waited for her to explain, to tell me that he was the plumber come to fix the tap, had gotten his clothes wet in the process and she had helped put them out to dry.
Or that he was a long-missing relative who had turned up at our house butt naked and in desperate need of a bath. I needed her to say something, anything. But she just sat, clutching the sheets tighter to her chest and sobbing.
My face felt very hot, like someone held a burning candle just below my chin. The heat was strong, choking. I turned to walk out of the bedroom. As if struck by lightning, Bella bolted up and gathering the sheets around her, scrambled across the bed to me and held on to my shirt.
She was incoherent, sobbing and shaking her head, holding on to me as if her life hung on it. I desperately needed air so I slowly but firmly disentangled her fingers, then walked out to the balcony.
I held on to the rails, took in a couple of deep breaths to clear my head but to no avail. I felt the beginnings of a little pain in the left side of my chest; slowly but steadily, the pain built up and soon, my tummy hurt too. It felt like someone had all the muscles in the left side of my torso strung out hard and tight. I stumbled over to one of the upholstered seats and sat down.

Friday, October 28, 2016

This Loving Heart Of Mine (3)


 The next month saw no communication between Bella and I. A couple of other potential wells came up and we worked harder but all we had were two small deposits and a host of empty ‘holes’.

  No big scores.
I had spent 9 months at the camp when I decided to pack it up and go home. My superiors had estimated 6 months for the Okirika project so I wouldn’t have been disappointing anyone except myself and my team who had worked so hard. Just as I settled down to put together my report, Edet burst in. He was one of my best drilling engineers – a stocky middle-aged Ibibio man who dated only Igbo ladies and always had a tooth pick in his mouth.

  The look in his eyes said it even before he opened his mouth. We had it! I grabbed my PPE and ran out the door. My team spent the better part of the next month and a half on site, taking and testing samples, sending and receiving orders and specifications, analyzing, graphing and plotting. When the Gas specs had been reviewed and our find confirmed, we returned to base camp and I sent my team home.

I had to stay back for an extra two weeks with a team of Company lawyers and economists to seal the deal with the government and leaders of the area. It shouldn’t have taken that long but everybody – from the disgustingly obese State Commissioner of Internal revenue generation to the traditional rulers of the area with their kolanut-stained teeth – wanted to grab a share of the Okirika ‘national cake’.

Monday, October 24, 2016

This Loving Heart Of Mine (2)



About a month after my 27th birthday, I was listed along with some other colleagues for advanced courses abroad. Isabella would have come along but she was making a mark in her work place, rapidly boosting the industry that had been drowning before she came along. 

 For the first time in a long time, we had to stay apart for over a year, almost two. Those times were the hardest up to that point in my life. It was worse for her though.

See, Bella had always been needy. She lost her dad to a weak heart during her second year in the university. With her brother so far away, I was all she had and gladly, I took on the ‘man’ roles in her life. She was a very proud lady, resolute and strong-willed but very needy of emotional attachments and reassurances. I was the embodiment of all that for her – her rock. 

So the months we spent apart were very hard. But thank God for ICT, we survived. Eventually, it was over and I raced home. In my hurry, I left my luggage behind at the airport. It was two months before the airline found and returned it.

About six months later, the news all over the country was about the discovery of natural gas in Okirika. All the companies in the country that were even the least bit interested in energy assembled and sent teams down to Okirika.

Friday, October 21, 2016

This Loving Heart Of Mine (1)




I  can’t really remember but I think my first words to her were ‘It will fall’.
I had just tidied up the Chemistry laboratory which the Students’ Representative Council had used as venue for one of our sittings. I was hungry and in a hurry to get home but every ‘need for speed’ drained out of me at the sight of her. 
 She was at the main entrance, just under the eaves of the school building. The weather outside was stormy with dark angry clouds and billowing winds. She stood in the blue A-line skirt, white shapeless shirt, blue tie and baggy striped jacket that made the school uniform. Her white canvas shoes were Oceania and looked well worn, one stringy lace loose and trailing on the dusty floor. 
Her stockings stopped low, just beneath her ankles. And they had lacy frills lapping over the trimming. Those stockings were not allowed in school but they looked good on her – the only concession to her femininity in the intentionally sexless school attire.
 Her school bag was a shade of light brown and hung loosely from her right shoulder as she hovered at the entrance, visibly torn between waiting out the storm and making a dash for it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

His Little Black Book (2)


 That night, as I doubled as kitchen assistant, I watched him shamelessly creep into her without her even noticing it. 

  He turned the humor on and had her ROTFL like they were old friends. I caught the occasional casual hand on his thigh each time she wanted to emphasize a point and the manner in which her voice husked into bedroom tones each time she resumed tutoring as if food was supposed to be sexual. 

 The chemistry was way over the roof and I felt they were going to do it right on the kitchen counter once I walked out but halfway, with no prior warning, he apologized and told her he had to run. 

 When he left, she asked me if he was coming back and I shook my head. My guess was he was up in his suite watching football. I informed her I was also leaving and she asked where she could find him so she could send the food up to him afterward. I told her. 

 Two hours later, 12 am exactly, while doing my random strolling thing around the hotel, I spotted her pushing a trolley into the elevator, heading for the penthouse. Ten minutes after that, she returned. He was not in, she told me but I knew he was rolled up in his bed, snoring away.

 Deliberately, he made himself scarce the next day and after work when she finally caught up with him in the elevator at about 7 pm, he apologized with an unexpected kiss.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

His Little Black Book (1)



 Every unmarried man who loves women has a little black book where he keeps a catalog of the females he has had and desires to have.

  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not really a book-book; it’s just a repertoire of doable daughters of Eve. 

 Could be stored in his head or his phone as just contacts or his Facebook friends but never a book. If you meet a guy with a literal black book, run! He’s a manwhore!

 In the case of my boss, I am his little black book but he has no idea. I never really wanted to be a personal assistant to a hotel mogul; it just sort of happened as I sat down lost amongst a throng of sexy girls viable for the position in his secretary’s office.

  I had come for the systems analyst job because computers are my thing. Physically, I am geeky-looking and very, very uninviting but he picked me. 

 I tried to explain that I wasn’t there for the position he was offering me and he said he didn’t really need a personal assistant, that he just wanted somebody he wouldn’t jump right into bed with.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Secret Games (7) flight in the night





  "That Tobi! I feel like wringing his neck. He's such a creep!" said Koko. She was lying on the couch in the living room of Chuks two bedroom apartment.

 Her head rested on his lap while one of her jean clad legs dangled on the floor. 

 He gazed down at her and laughed.

 "That'll take some effort as he has such a thick neck!" he quipped, laughing again.

 She sat up abruptly, a scowl on her smooth face.

 "You find it funny abi? Didn't you see the text message he sent me giving me two weeks max to get Chief to give him the money or he sends the pictures? The little punk!" she said viciously.

 "I know," he conceded. Then he drew her to him, her head resting on his shoulder. "But look at the bright side. It made us fast track our travel plans. In a week or so, we'll be out of this country."

 She relaxed in his arms and raising up her head, kissed his cheek. "I can't wait for that day! We'll be free to be together as a couple, no more sneaking around and hiding from prying eyes."

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Secret Games (Finale) Promo





  "That Tobi! I feel like wringing his neck. He's such a creep!" said Koko. She was lying on the couch in the living room of Chuks two bedroom apartment.

 Her head rested on his lap while one of her jean clad legs dangled on the floor. 

 He gazed down at her and laughed.

 "That'll take some effort as he has such a thick neck!" he quipped, laughing again.

 She sat up abruptly, a scowl on her smooth face.

 "You find it funny abi? Didn't you see the text message he sent me giving me two weeks max to get Chief to give him the money or he sends the pictures? The little punk!" she said viciously.

 "I know," he conceded. Then he drew her to him, her head resting on his shoulder. "But look at the bright side. It made us fast track our travel plans. In a week or so, we'll be out of this country."

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Secret Games (6)



The faint light of dawn was just streaking across the sky when Koko left her room for the gym downstairs. She had had a very rough night with sleep eluding her.

 Feeling tensed and stressed, she decided to work out to relieve some of the pent up energy inside her.

 She jogged for a few minutes in the courtyard to warm up before heading for the gym at the backyard of the compound. As she worked on the treadmill, her mind was full of the same thoughts that had kept her awake all night.

 What was she going to do about Tobi and his difficult request? 

 'Request? It's more like blackmail,' she thought as she slowed down her pace, her mouth twisted in disgust.

 His words kept ricocheting in her head like an echo.

 "I've asked my Dad for money to start my own business. I've been on it for sometime now and I'm not making any headway with him. You know how stubborn he can be. That's where you come in: convince him to give me the money and these pictures will be destroyed," he had said.

 "Are you blackmailing me, Tobi?" she had asked. She could not believe he would do that to her; she thought he was different from his siblings, more friendly and kind. But how wrong she was!

 He had smirked. "Call it whatever you want. I want money and you're going to help me get it. Then I give you the pictures and we are even. It's a simple deal."

Secret Games (6) preview


 


    ***


 His words kept ricocheting in her head like an echo.

 "I've asked my Dad for money to start my own business. I've been on it for sometime now and I'm not making any headway. That's where you come in: convince him to give me the money and these pictures will be destroyed," he had said.

 "Are you blackmailing me, Tobi?" she had asked. She could not believe he would do that to her; she thought he was different from his siblings. But how wrong she was!

 He had smirked. "Call it whatever you want. I want money and you're going to help me get it. Then I give you the pictures and we are even. It's a simple deal."

 "Simple? You call getting N250 million Naira from your father a simple affair? Do you think he will dole out that huge sum of money just like that?" she had queried.

 "Why not? He's a wealthy man and can afford it. Besides, I see it as getting part of my inheritance before he dies..."

 She could not believe what she was hearing.

 "Look here, Tobi. This is..."



  Watch out for the rest of the story later tonight. Wishing you all a great weekend! 

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Secret Games (5) Badagry blues



They sat in the hotel lounge, a chilled bottle of beer in front of him. Koko eyed him warily, wondering what he was thinking. She could not tell as his eyes were hidden behind dark glasses.

 Since her marriage to his father, Tobi like his older siblings had never hidden their dislike of her. They mostly ignored her when they came over to the house for family gatherings or to visit their father.

 While the rest barely acknowledged her greetings, at least Tobi had made some effort to be friendly, often chatting with her whenever he was over at the house usually to harass his father for money.

 He had been given a couple of jobs in one of his father's companies after he left school but he did not last long in either of them. He lacked the discipline and dedication needed to work successfully in a corporate organisation and often talked of starting his own company where he could do his own thing without 'all these dark suited men breathing down my neck, bossing me around' as he put it.

 Koko had been shocked to see him at the hotel car park earlier. She had been holding Chuks hand and laughing at something he said. To a casual onlooker, their 'body language' showed closeness and intimacy.

 She hoped he would not read any meaning into the encounter. 
 "I came to see a friend in this hotel and we ran into each other," she tried to explain.

 He had stared keenly at her, then at Chuks and nodded. "Is that so? Quite a coincidence!" Then taking her hand, he had led her towards the hotel entrance with a peremptory: "Let's talk!"

Secret Games (5) preview


                                    
                              
                                                                             ***

 She hoped he would not read any meaning into the encounter. 
 "I came to see a friend in this hotel and we ran into each other," she tried to explain.

 He had stared at her, then at Chuks and nodded. "Is that so? Quite a coincidence!" Then taking her hand, he had led her towards the hotel entrance with a peremptory: "Let's talk!"

 Now, he removed his glasses and grinned crookedly at her. "I understand everything. See, Aunty Koko," he said, leaning towards her across the small table. "We are both adults. You might be my stepmum but I don't see you as one. To me, you are more like a sister- afterall, you are just a few months older than me. Anyway, we can be open with each other..."



  Watch out for the rest of the story later tonight! Do enjoy the rest of your day!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Secret Games (4)



She sat besides Chief on the couch, massaging his hand. He had been having pains in it, he said so she was applying a balm to it.

 "Hmm. That feels good," he said as she worked on his wrist. When she was done, he flexed his hand and fingers.

 "Is it still stiff?" she asked.

 "It's much better now. Thanks, my dear," he said. Then looking searchingly at her face, he added: "Good to have you back. You must have enjoyed your stay though, for you are glowing!"

 She gave a little laugh. "Maybe it's all the delicious food, Anna's sister-in-law, Debbie sent over from her house. That woman can cook, especially her vegetable soup. Yummy!"

 "I can see you had fun." He paused. "That reminds me, Koko dear. I think it's time we took a holiday. We've not travelled for quite some time."

 "That will be nice. But is it ok for you to travel now? You know because of your health and all..." 

 "I'm fine."

 "But will Dr Adu be in support?" asked Koko. The doctor was their family doctor; there was also a physiotherapist apart from the nurse, who attended to him regularly at home.

 He shrugged. "I'm only an invalid not a prisoner. He can't stop me from going anywhere I want," he said firmly.

 In her room later, Koko prayed and hoped the doctor would advise against such a trip for health reasons. Since the accident over two years before that affected Chief's spinal cord and left him unable to walk, there had been talk about taking him to a specialist abroad for further treatment.

 But Dr Adu had said it was better they waited until his health stabilized.

 "Your blood pressure is still too high, Chief. Besides, you're taking treatment for your heart condition. A long flight is not advisable at this time," the man had said sometime ago.

 Koko hoped his opinion had not changed. She did not want to travel anywhere soon as it would mean separation from Chuks. 

 She had desired and schemed to have him for so long, now that they were together, she was not ready to part from him. Being with him was wonderful. It made up for her situation, being married to a man stuck in a wheelchair, incapable of doing anything for himself; as helpless as a baby.

 This was not what she bargained for when she married him about four years before. They had met one afternoon at Opebi, Ikeja when she had gone to visit her friend Osas in her office. She was standing close to the bus-stop when he gave her a lift...

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