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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Blues For Ruby (6)



Some days after the outing with Kingsley, I decided to call Ruby.

Truth was, I missed her too much. Being apart from her was torture and I wanted her back. In my life and in my arms.

That was the reason I had gone to the airport on the day of her trip to the UK for her tour.

I had wanted to see her and talk to her but I had lost my nerve at the last minute.

So, late at night, I decided to call when I felt she would be done with her show for the day. I was a bit worried she might not pick my call as I had refused to talk to her when she called me several times after our break- up...

***

I listened to the phone ring then as I was about to hang up, to dial again, someone answered. At first, I thought it was her manager who often had her phone especially when she was busy. But it was...

 Eazzy!

What was Ruby's producer doing with her phone? Where was she anyway?

"Hello?"

"Can I speak with Ruby?" I said shortly.

"Who's this?"

What kind of dumb question is that, I thought angrily. Did he not see the caller ID or had she deleted my number already? Kingsley had told me she would be roaming while abroad so...

''Tobi, right?'' he said.

''Yes. I want to speak with Ruby.''

 ''She can't speak right now.'' he said. ''She's taking her bath. Call back later.''

 And the line went dead.

 I stared at the phone with irritation, unable to believe what I had just heard. 

What was Eazzy doing in my Ruby's hotel room, at past 10 pm at night anyway. Were they...?

I shook my head, quickly dismissing the terrible thought that had just sneaked into it. No. Not Ruby.

She would not do that to me. Or would she? Afterall, I had walked out on her, told her it was over between us...

***

I called again the following morning and this time, she picked the call.

She sounded surprised to hear my voice.

"I can't believe this! I thought I'll never hear from you again."

"I called last night. Eazzy picked the call," I said.

"Eazzy? He didn't tell me about the call."

"I wanted to ask her what Eazzy was doing in her room so late at night but felt it was not the right time. I could always do that later. First, I had to win her back.

"How are you doing?" I asked.

"Stressed!" she said, with a short laugh. She talked about the shows she had had so far and the response from her fans.

"It's been amazing! So much love from my fans here! It's been stressful but worth all the trouble."

I did not want to hear about her fans. I wanted to talk us.

"I miss you, Ruby!" I said abruptly, tired of pretending that all was well when I was going crazy with longing for her.

She was silent for a moment and I thought she had hung up on me.

Then: "I miss you too, Tobi!" I thought she would be cold and indifferent to me, so her words warmed my heart. I smiled to myself when she added:
"Not having you here to share in my success has been...difficult, Tobi."

"So, do you want me to come over?" I asked quickly. I could call a friend of mine who worked in an airline who could book me on the next available flight to the UK.

"No need Tobi. I'm almost done here. We should be back in Nigeria in about ten days."

Ok, then. I'll be counting the days till your return," I said.

After that day, we spoke nearly everyday for the rest of her tour.

We kind of made up, with me apologising for the things I had said to her, blaming it on anger.

"It's ok," she said. "You know, I've been thinking a lot about what happened and I think you have a point. I got so immersed in the music, every other other almost became unimportant. I shouldn't have neglected you the way I did."

I was glad she was being so understanding about it and even ready to talk to straighten out our differences.

"I'm happy to hear that, Ruby. We have a lot to talk about when you come back home."

I waited impatiently for the day of her arrival back to Nigeria.
   
On the morning she and her entourage were to return, I was at the airport to pick her, though her management had arranged transportation from the airport for the group.

She looked excited to see me and it was like the break up had never happened.

From the international airport,  I drove straight to my home in Maryland,  where she would spend the next few days with me.
***

I grabbed her from behind as soon as we stepped through my front door.

She laughed and tried to wriggle out of my embrace.

"Stop it, Tobi! I need to clean up, take a shower..." Ruby protested.

"You can shower later. I've missed you, babe," I said, my lips nuzzling her neck, inhaling her scent.

But she managed to escape from me and laughing, ran to my bedroom.

"Ruby, come here!" I called after her, my hands raised in frustration.

By the time, I got to the room, she was already in the shower.

I stood by the bathroom door, watching her.
 Her head was turned up to the shower head to receive the spray of water on her face.

Her back was turned towards me so she did see me when I stepped inside.

I slipped my arms round her waist and drew her to me.

"Tobi!" she said, clearly startled.

I took the bar of soap from the soap case and said:

"Let me soap your body."

"I can do that, Tobi. I'm not a baby."

"But you are," I rejoined. "You're my baby!" I said, beginning to soap her back. Then, I turned her round to face me, her eyes gazing steadily at me. I soaped her neck and arms, which foamed as the warm water cascaded over her body.

I cupped her breasts, caressing them gently, my thumbs rubbing her nipples till they hardened and her breath quickened.

"Tobi," she said softly, drawing my face down to hers and kissing me. The water poured over us as our bodies merged, it's sound muting the gasps and groans that escaped from us...

***

Soft light filtered in through the curtains on the windows in the room.

I turned to see Ruby curled up by my side, breathing softly. I smiled, thinking of the previous day.

We had been so 'busy' trying to make up for the time we were apart, we had not thought about anything else, including food.

Feeling a bit hungry, I decided to see if I could put something together in the kitchen for our breakfast. I got up and pulled on my boxers.

"Where are you going?"

Her eyes were looking drowsily up at me, her braided hair, a dishevelled brown wavy mass on the pillow.

She had never looked sexier to me. Her hand snaked out and drew me on the bed.

"Don't go, Tobi. Stay with me," she said, cradling my head in her arms.

"I want to get some breakfast. Won't stay long."

"I don't want you to ever leave me again," she said softly. "I couldn't bear it if we were separated again."

"We won't, babe. I promise. I'll always be here for you."

I could feel her hands caressing my body, from my chest down to my waist and below.

"Hey, babe! If you go any further, we won't be able to leave this bed today," I said teasingly.

She laughed shortly. "That's the idea. I've missed you so much, I just want to be with you like this all day," she stated, kissing me.

"Ok, sweetie. Let's get something to eat first. Then...."

I straightened up and made for the door.

"Get me some orange juice. And some toast..."

"Ok, madam," I said, giving a mock salute which made her laugh...


To be continued


 Preview of 'Blues For Ruby' (7)


I sat alone at a small table, sipping a cold glass of stout and watching the action around me. My eyes kept wandering to a table a short distance away by the poolside.

Ruby was sitting there with some friends and staff from her management company. She looked particularly radiant that night , her luminous eyes sparkling as she chatted animatedly with her group.

"Lovely, isn't she?" a voice said close to me.

I turned round to see Eazzy, a drink in his right hand, standing by me. I had not seen him walk up.

I knew who he was referring to so I shrugged and said:

"She is."

"I hear you two are back together." he said, sitting by me.

"Something like that," I said, wondering what he was driving at.

"Lucky you, to have such a passionate woman like her."

"Thank you," I said, my eyes seeking her out again. She saw me then and gave a little wave. I smiled at her and we gazed at each other for a minute before something Eazzy said drew my attention.

"And so sweet. Very,  very sweet," he said, smacking his lips like one licking some delicious ice cream.

Something in the way he spoke made me look at him sharply.

"What are you talking about, Eazzy? Sweet as in...?"

"Well, how do you describe a woman you've tasted and found delicious?" He must have seen the stunned look on my face for he got up, picked his drink and said:

"Oh, my bad! I forgot that what happens in Rome stays in Rome! Ha! Ha!"

He walked away, laughing to himself, leaving me boiling with anger...


 The rest of the story will be published later this week. Don't miss it! Hope you all had a wonderful Xmas holiday! Remember to drink responsibly though!












Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Blues For Ruby (6) Preview



            Next on 'Blues For Ruby'


I listened to the phone ring then as I was about to hang up, someone answered. At first, I thought it was her manager who often had her phone especially when she was busy. But it was...

 Eazzy!

What was Ruby's producer doing with her phone? Where was she anyway?

"Hello?"

"Can I speak with Ruby?" I said shortly.

"Who's this?"

What kind of dumb question is that, I thought angrily. Did he not see the caller ID or had she deleted my number already? Kingsley had told me she would be roaming while abroad so...

''Tobi, right?'' he said.

''Yes. I want to speak with Ruby.''

 ''She can't speak right now.'' he said. ''She's taking her bath. Call back later.''

 And the line went dead.

 I stared at the phone with irritation, unable to believe what I had just heard.

What was Eazzy doing in my Ruby's hotel room, at past 10 pm at night anyway. Were they...?

I shook my head, quickly dismissing the terrible thought that had just sneaked into it. No. Not Ruby.

She would not do that to me. Or would she? Afterall, I had walked out on her, told her it was over between us...

   -

 The rest of the story will be published soon. Thanks to everyone for your patience in waiting for new posts. Things will improve soon, I promise! Cheers!

 -Patience   










Blues For Ruby (5)




One Friday evening, about a week after I had angrily walked out on Ruby, I met up with Kingsley at our old 'joint' Coconut Grove. Going there brought back painful memories of Ruby but I just could not stay away.

The live band had just finished a number and were taking a break when I strolled in around 9pm.

Kingsley, who was already seated, waiting for me, was as blunt as ever.

"What's this I'm hearing? " he asked before I could even sit down comfortably.

"What?" I said. I knew where he was going but I feigned ignorance.

"You and Ruby- that you guys broke up. What happened? "

I shrugged and said:

"Things just happened."

"How?" he said, glancing up from the menu he had been checking to order some food. "You two were so into each other. I was expecting wedding invitations soon- not this!"

"Well, as they say, man proposes, God disposes," I cracked, trying to make light of the situation, even though the last thing I wanted to do was laugh. What was there to laugh about anyway when I had lost one of the most precious things in my life.

"What God?" he snickered at me. "He had nothing to do with this. I heard you were the one who ended the relationship."

"Didn't your mother tell you not to listen to gossip?" I said. I took the menu from him and checked out the bar's special for the day.

It was spicy catfish pepper soup with other dishes. The waiter came over and I placed my order for the pepper soup and beer, took Kingsley' s order as well then left.

I looked up to see Kingsley staring curiously at me.
"Are you sure you're ok, man?" he said.

"Why do you ask?"

He waved his right hand at me, a newly lit cigarette clenched between his fingers.

"There must be something wrong with you! Because what sane man would dump a girl like Ruby?" he said, his voice raised a little. "Do you have an idea how popular she's right now? Her music is all over the place, she's sought after everywhere for shows, companies plead for her to endorse their products. And you dump her?" He shook his head in wonder as if I had lost my mind or something.

"You see Kingsley, that's the problem!" I said heatedly. "Her popularity, her music and career. It overshadowed everything- our love, hopes and dreams. Infact, the whole relationship was getting buried under it all!"

He gazed at me in a quizzical manner.

"What are you talking about? As her man, you should be proud of her success and be happy for her."

"Of course I was," I insisted.

"So, what went wrong? Or is it jealousy? Of her success?''

I glared at him.

"What do you mean?"

"The male ego thing- some men don't like their wives/partners becoming more successful, popular or famous than them. So, did you feel threatened by her fame? Felt insecure?"

"It's not that," I said, shaking my head. "It's just..." I said and paused.

How do I put in words how I was beginning to feel being with Ruby in recent times? Especially since she found fame? The sense of being overwhelmed by it all? Being 'swallowed' up by all the hype that went with being a celebrity?

Don't get me wrong. When her music career initially took off and she started becoming successful, God knows I was proud and happy for her. It felt good that the little push I gave her at the beginning had brought great results in a short time.

But in the end, it all got too much. We lost ourselves. So, I had to take a step back so I could 'breath.'

Was that it or was Kingsley right? Was I feeling insecure at her increasing fame? Of all the male attention? Adulation?

Whatever it was, the deed had been done. It was the after effects that was the problem.

We had broken up but she was still deeply embedded in my heart. I see her face everywhere not just when I turn on the TV and one of her videos is playing but even in my dreams...

 And her voice! I hear it in my head like a CD on repeated play.

Especially our last time together at her house: her sad voice pleading with me not to leave her would haunt me for years to come.

"I love you, Tobi! Don't go! Please stay, baby! I'll do whatever you want. I''ll even tell Eazzy to cancel the planned tour. We can go on vacation to anywhere you want!Just stay with me! Let's talk and sort things out."

 By this time, I had hurriedly dressed and was marching angrily towards the door. She rushed after me and falling on her knees, grabbed my legs.

 "Don't leave me Tobi! I need you here with me!" she cried.

  For a moment, I hesitated, wondering if I should listen to her. But I knew it would not change anything.

  I stooped and pushed her hands away.

"Its too late Ruby. Bye!"

  And I had walked away from the house without a backward glance.

  How right she was! I never knew being apart from her would be so difficult or that my life would become so dull, drab, colorless without her  bright smiles and sultry voice to brighten it up.

Öh, Ruby! How am I going to go on without you?" I thought as I stared gloomily into my glass of beer.

"From the look on your face, I can see you could be regretting your actions already," said Kingsley. "It's  not too late man. She's just a phone call away. And you better be fast about it before she leaves for her tour next week.

The waiter returned with our orders of food and Kingsley called for more drinks.

"For my friend here," he said with a nod at me. "So he can get seriously drunk and forget his troubles!"

***

I stood behind the barriers and watched closely as the small group made its way towards the entrance. She was walking besides another lady who on closer look turned out to be Rume, her sister.

There was also her manager, Tega who was chatting with her as they walked and a few others in her entourage I didn't recognise.

Just looking at her made me realise how much I missed her. I almost called out to her but remained silent, simply watching as the group stepped in through the entrance of the airport departure lounge.

'I can't do this anymore,' I thought as I walked away from the barrier towards the car park. Suddenly, I knew what I had to do- Kingsley had been right- and thinking about it made me feel much better than I had felt in days....


***

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Blues For Ruby (a recap)




 Blues For Ruby: The story so far


 ***

The story centres round Ruby, an aspiring musician with the dream to become a successful artiste one day.

One day, she meets Tobi, who's captivated by her voice and in a bid to help her with her dream, hooks her up with a producer and record label owner named Eazzy K.

Her first single, a hit, propels her to stardom. With time, they get closer and a relationship develops between them.

 But problems and conflicts arise later mostly due to Ruby's busy schedule which takes a toll on the relationship.

Besides, there's pressure from Eazzy for Ruby to leave Tobi, believing he's a distraction to her and her career.

Will the lovers break up or resolve their problems?  Stay tuned for more of their story coming soon!

Monday, December 04, 2017

Blues For Ruby ( 4 )




    Ruby

(Six weeks later)

***

She gazed down at the sheet of paper on the desk and glanced up at Eazzy.

"Seven cities?" she asked, an incredulous look on her face. "Is this a mistake or what, Eazzy?"

He shook his head.

"It's real, baby. Five shows in the UK, one in Dublin. Then over to Amsterdam to play at an international music festival."

"The schedule looks really packed," admitted Tega, Ruby's manager who sat on her left. They were in Eazzy's spacious office, discussing her upcoming UK tour. Her first album, released a few weeks before had been well received, leading to offers from different promoters for shows in the country and abroad.

"I trust her; she's tough and can cope with the schedule, " said Eazzy, smiling at Ruby, who frowned back at him.

"It's her first major tour outside the country,  remember?  So, it might not be that easy for her," Tega said.

"Hello, I'm still here!" said Ruby, waving her hand in their faces. "Stop talking as if I'm a ghost or something, " she said sarcastically, making Eazzy laugh.

"The schedule is not the issue here," she continued. "It's the length of time I'll be away from home that's the problem. How long are we staying? " she said, turning to her manager.

"Should be about three weeks."

Eazzy was looking at her quizzically.

"Are you worried about lover boy? That you'll be separated from him for almost a month?" he asked.

"And what if I am?" Ruby said defiantly.

"You see what I'm talking about? Why I said you should break up with that guy? He will only distract you! Disturb your career.."

"Lay off Eazzy!"she said. "It's my private business;  I'll handle it in my own way."

She glared at him for a moment, then he shrugged and moved on to the next item on the meeting agenda.

It was a video shoot for one of the popular songs on her newly released album that was scheduled for later that night.

"Hope all the arrangements are in place for the shoot?" said Eazzy to Tega.

"Yes. We start shooting the night scenes from 11pm tonight."

"Good. Be there on time because the director hates
artistes coming late for shoots! He's a difficult guy to work with; but he always shoots fantastic videos. That's why I use him for my artistes..."

***

She was sitting alone on a high stool by the bar of the niteclub, sipping her second drink of the night. Then a guy walks up to her and she turns to size him up, and:

 'CUT!'

The video director Rex T, walked from the TV monitor and stood in front of Ruby. He frowned as he glanced at the white blouse she wore over a mini skirt that barely covered her smooth thighs.

"Is anything the matter?" asked Ruby, looking at him in a perplexed manner.

He ignored her and turned to his assistant.

"Where's the stylist?" he asked loudly.

A tall, young lady with her hair in long, brown braids emerged from the small group of cast and crew standing nearby on the set, situated in a large warehouse in the Oregun area of Ikeja.

"Yes?" she said to the director.

"What's this?" he demanded. "Are we shooting a video about nuns in a convent or a niteclub scene? She's supposed to look sexy, hot and desirable- the one all the guys in the club are hot for. So, what's with the bottomed up look?" he said in an exasperated tone. "Fix it! And her face too! It's too shiny!"

He marched back to his seat while the stylist and the make up girl bustled around Ruby.

"Don't lower the buttons too much so my boobs don't spill all over the place!" Ruby whispered to the stylist, adding jocularly: "My parents watch my videos, you know. And my Dad is always threatening to disown me if they get too raunchy!"

The stylist gave a tired little smile as she made the necessary adjustments on the top...

***
Ruby relaxed back in a chair during a 30 minute break the director ordered while the next set was being prepared.

Tega soon came over with a bottle of water and her phone.

"You have a call," he said as he handed the phone to her.

"It's nearly 2 am. Who could be calling so late?" she wondered.

"Who else?" he said wryly as he walked away.

"Hey baby," she said, the phone clamped to her ear as she sipped the water. "What are you doing up so late?"

""You too! You should be in bed yourself."

"You're right," she said laughing. "But I'm working right now, so sleep has to wait..."

"I woke up and couldn't sleep. Was thinking of you, so I called to hear your sweet voice. How's the shoot going?"

"Tough. The director is very thorough and is never satisfied with a shot. Can you believe we had to shoot a scene nearly ten times before he was ok with it?"

"Sounds stressful. When will you be done?" he said.

"It's an all night shoot. We should wrap up by 5 or so."

"Can I come pick you?" he said. "I've missed you, babe."

"Missed you more. Tega will take me home after we're done. We're not shooting tomorrow so I guess I'll rest all day at home."

"Ok. I'll come over then."

"Cool. See ya!"

***

 Tobi...

I arrived her house at around 2 pm, thinking she would be up and about then after sleeping all morning.

Her sister, Rume, who let me in, nodded towards the staircase when I asked after her

"She's still in bed," she stated. "And she said I should not wake her..."

..." Unless the house was on fire!" I concluded for her, grinning.

She laughed and waved me to a seat.

"Let me get you a drink. Beer, whisky?"

I told her beer and picked up a magazine from the centre table.

"What took you so long to arrive? I've been waiting all day!"

I turned towards the voice and smiled. I watched as she walked slowly down the stairs in a white sleep Tshirt with 'Hot Chocolate' imprinted on it in bold red colour.

"Isn't it a bit late in the day to be wearing that?" I said teasingly.

She stood still a few steps to the foot of the staircase and struck a pose.

"I was waiting for you to come take it off but you were so slow in coming. So..."

"Well, here I am now!"

With a few quick strides, I was on the stairs and she swayed into my arms and I held her tight to me then kissed her.

A cough behind us made us pull apart.

"I see you don't need the drink anymore," Rume said drily, turning away to head back to the kitchen.

"He never said so," said Ruby. "And I need one too. Bring it up to my room. Let's go, baby." She took my hand and we walked hand in hand up the stairs. ..

***

Seven hours later...

They sat, cuddled up on the couch in Ruby's living room,  watching a movie and eating pop corn Rume had made.

"Honey, can you get me some water?" Ruby asked.

Tobi went to the fridge by the dining table and took a bottle of water and handed it to her.

"So, how long are you staying in the UK? "he asked her, sitting by her.

She drank some of the water, then said:

"Two weeks. Three weeks tops."

"So long?" he exclaimed. "What am I supposed to do while you are away?"

"What you've always done- work, eat, sleep, play. And wait for me!"she said half- jokingly.

He was not amused.

"You see, Ruby, that's the problem. All I seem to do these days is wait! For you to finish with one engagement or the other, before we can see."

"But Tobi, it's my job, it's work."

"What about me? Or us?"

"What's wrong with us? We're doing ok, as far as I'm concerned."

"That's where you're wrong," he said vehemently. "Since we returned from the resort at Epe, how many times have we spent quality time together? Today's the first time we've been together like this in over a month! A relationship can't work well when the people involved hardly see each other!"

She shrugged.

"Well, you know I've been busy with so much stuff; the new album, shows here and there, promos. You've always been very understanding, Tobi about my tight schedule. Why the complaints now?" she wondered.

"Because, I'm getting sick and tired of having to beg to spend time with my own girlfriend!"

"What?"she said, a shocked expression on her face as she stared at him. "I know you don't mean It,  Tobi!"

He shook his head. "I mean every word," he said and stood up to gaze down at her. "I can't go on this way, Ruby. You really need to create more time for us."

"You know I can't do that, Tobi. My schedule is beyond my control. Eazzy handles everything and..."

"In that case, since you can't make a little sacrifice for our relationship, maybe we should do as Eazzy suggested."

"What are you talking about, Tobi?" she said, a scared look in the eyes she turned up to him.

"You told me Eazzy has been pestering you to break up with me; that I'm nothing but a distraction to you, to your career...."

"I told him that's impossible because I love you and..." she cut in.

He took a deep breath and said: "Maybe he's right. Because sometimes, I feel you don't need me anymore, that I'm the one hanging on to this relationship,  holding, clinging onto you. And a time may come in the near future,  as your fame grows when you'll see me as a nothing but a nuisance, who's too needy, clingy. Before, we reach that stage, I think it's best we end things cleanly here," he said and turned away from her. "I'm going upstairs to dress up and leave."

Ruby jumped up from the couch, her right hand stretched towards him as he headed towards the staircase.

"Wait, Tobi! You can't leave me! I can't live without you, baby! Come back let's talk things over! Please,  listen to me, baby. I beg you!" she pleaded as she ran up the stairs after him...


 To be continued











Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Blues For Ruby (4) Promo




Next on 'Blues For Ruby (4)


Tobi took out a bottle of water from the fridge and handed it to her.

"So, how long are you staying in the UK? "he asked her.

"Two weeks. Three weeks tops."

"So long?" he exclaimed. "What am I supposed to do while you are away?"

"What you've always done- work, eat, sleep, play. And wait for me!"she said half- jokingly.

He was not amused.

"You see, Ruby, that's the problem. All I seem to do these days is wait! For you to finish with one engagement or the other, before we can see."

"But Tobi, it's my job, it's work."

"What about me? Or us?"

"What's wrong with us? We're doing ok, as far as I'm concerned."

"That's where you're wrong," he said. "Since we returned from the resort at Epe, how many times have we spent quality time together?"

She shrugged.

"Well, you know I've been busy with so much stuff; the new album, shows here and there, promos. You've always been very understanding, Tobi about my tight schedule. Why the complaints now?" she wondered.

"Because, I'm getting sick and tired of having to beg to spend time with my own girlfriend!"

"What?"she said, a shocked expression on her face...

***

 The rest of the story will be published soon.







Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Blues For Ruby (3)




 ***

Before my lips could reach hers,  something made me stop.

She blinked and gazed fixedly up at me.

"What's the matter?"she asked.

"Nothing. It's just...I don't want you to think I'm taking advantage of you, of the situation."

"Ha! Take advantage?  Of me?" she scoffed. "What am I? 14? I'm 26 years old! I know what I want!"

Her arms encircled my neck and she drew my face down to hers."It's you, Tobi. I want you! I've been waiting for you to make the first move all this while. But you're kinda slow. So..."

And she kissed me, a soft, light kiss like a teaser. I sighed and held her closer to me, my lips crushing hers in a kiss that deepened with each passing minute- till we were totally so engrossed in each other, the noises from the party seemed like a faint echo in the background. ..

 ****
Being with Ruby was great especially at the beginning. We spent a lot of time together mostly at weekends when I was off duty and she did not have  any music engagement.

She no longer sang at the club regularly after her debut- just a few times a month.

Then, as her music gained wider acceptance and her popularity grew, things changed gradually.

There were times we would plan to go on a date, at the last minute, she would call to cancel, citing work commitments.

"So sorry Tobi! This just came up. I need to go to Abuja to perform at a wedding. I'll make it up to you, I promise, darling!"

"You said that last month when the same thing happened," I grumbled over the phone.

"I know, honey. But I mean it this time," she said earnestly  "You know what? When I return from Abuja, let's go away for a couple of days. Just you and I. There's this new resort near Epe- it's owned by Eazzy's friend. He said I could come stay anytime I want. So, please Tobi..."

Whenever she pleaded with me in that angelic voice of hers, I just could not stay angry with her for too long. So, I gave in.

Besides,  despite all my grumbling, I was very proud of her success, her growing fame- within a short time, her debut single 'Memories of you' had become a big hit. She was sought after for interviews by the media and and was in demand  by show promoters to perform at their shows and events both within and outside the country.

She was also working hard on her debut album so she was very busy. As her boyfriend, I tried to understand but it was difficult.

I loved Ruby very much and what guy in love would not want to spend time with his girl?

 ***

Escaping From It All...

I tipped the hotel staff that had carried our luggage to our chalet and after he had gone, I closed the door and turned round to see Ruby stretched out on the bed.

"Hmmm. So comfortable. I feel like sleeping right away," she said, her eyes closed.

I glanced at my watch. "It's early yet, not yet 6 pm," I sat on the edge of the bed and pulled off my shoes. "Why don't you take a shower, then we go look for something to eat."

"I'm too tired, Tobi to even breath! Let me just rest a bit, ok. You go bathe- I just need a little nap and I'll be fine," she said, turning on her side on the bed.
She must have been really knackered for I could soon hear her soft snores as I undressed.

I stood gazing down at her, noting how relaxed her face looked in sleep. I bent down to smoothen her hair off her face then unbuttoned her top so she could be more comfortable.

Then I pulled off my boxers and went to the bathroom.

We were at the Ocean View Resort near Epe, some distance away from the city. I had picked Ruby up from the airport on arrival from Abuja and we had driven straight there. It was just the two of us, to chill, with no work commitments, engagements or other stuff to disturb us.

Apart from her manager, Tega, Ruby had not told anyone where she was going.

"I told Tega, I would kill him if he told Eazzy where I was," she had said on the drive down. "If he knows I'm back in Lagos, he would have one or two engagements lined up for me this weekend. I'm too tired to even sing a single note right now!"

I thought of all the fun things we would do during the three days we planned to stay and I smiled, whistling softly as I let the cool water flow over my head down my body.

I knew we had to make the most of this break as we might not have another chance like this in a long while. Ruby's album was due for launching in a couple of months or so and she would be extremely busy with the rounds of interviews, TV appearances and other forms of promotional activities for the album.

 The time I had spent with her had opened my eyes to the other side of the entertainment industry- that behind all the glitz, glamour and fame that the fans saw, was a lot of hard work, commitment, intrigues that went with the job.

I sighed and reaching for the soap and sponge, began to scrub my body...

 ****

The sky was getting dark and sprinkled with a few stars when I stepped out on the small verandah of the chalet.

I sat on one of the two cane chairs there and opened my laptop.

I wanted to do a bit of work on the presentation my firm was making for the construction of an office complex on Victoria Island the following week before Ruby woke up.

I must have been so engrossed in my work that I did not hear the door open.

"I thought you said no work on this trip," said Ruby.

I turned round and smiled up at her.

"You're finally up. I thought you were going to sleep for the next two days."
.
She laughed and came to stand by me, her hand on my shoulder.

I placed the laptop on a small side table and drew her on my lap.

"Hmmm. You smell good, babe," I said, my face buried in her neck.

She laughed again.

"I took a quick shower after I woke up."

"You should have called me to join you. It's been a whole since we showered together."

"You've already taken your bathe," she reminded me.

"I know.  But we've not had time for so many things lately."

"Like?" she asked, her brows raised.

I cupped her face in my hands.

"Like this," I said huskily as I kissed her.

Her lips parted under mine and my hand caressed her smooth thighs, then slipped inside her T shirt.

"Someone could see us," she whispered.

"No one will. Our chalet is a bit secluded from the others," I said. "Let's go inside anyway."

I lifted her in my arms and carried her inside the chalet, closing the door behind me with my foot.

***

I woke up early the next morning at about 6 am to find myself alone in the big, double bed.

I sat up, yawned and looked round the room, wondering where Ruby was.

I pulled on my boxers and was about going to search for her when the bedroom door opened and she stepped in.

"Where did you go?" I asked, getting back on the bed.

"I took a walk to breath some fresh air and clear my head," she said. "The air here is so cool and fresh."

"It should be...we're in the countryside afterall."

She slipped into the bed and lay besides me. "And it makes one hungry. I feel like having breakfast already. Let's order for some food."

"We can do that later. Right now, I've a different kind of 'breakfast' in mind," I said, turning to draw her to me.

"Tobi," she said, laughing. She tried to move to the far end of the bed but I caught her and pinned her arms on the bed.

"The 'big wolf' is hungry and needs some delicious food," I said with a smirk. I kissed her sweet lips then buried my face in her warm bosom.

She raised my face up to gaze intently at me.

"I love you Tobi. You know that, don't you? "

I nodded. "I'm crazy about you, too."

"I'm so glad I have you in my life. Being a successful artiste is great. But without someone like you to share my life with, my success will be meaningless. So, don't you ever think of leaving me."

I smiled at her. "Nothing can ever keep me away from you, Ruby."

"Promise?" she said earnestly.

I nodded again. I kissed her eyes then dropped light kisses on her neck as I caressed her body.

Her moans increased as my fingers skimmed over her tummy, down to her thighs ...

***

         Ruby

Three Weeks Later...

It was past nine o'clock in the morning but Ruby was still in bed, sound asleep. She did not have any engagement that day so she was sleeping in, taking things easy.

Then a persistent knocking on her bedroom door woke her up.

She groaned, rolled on her back and yawned.

"Who's it?" she asked irritably as she removed the black eye mask on her face.

The door opened to admit Rume, her younger sister who lived with her in her new home in Lekki. In her hand was a mobile phone.

"Sister, good morning."

Ruby sat up and glared at her. "I thought I said I did not want to be disturbed till at least 11 o'clock... unless the house was on fire or something, " she grumbled.

 "Sorry sister. But you have an urgent call from Eazzy." she said. "I told him you were asleep but he insisted I should wake you up. He said you should come over to the office as soon as possible."

"What's so urgent that can't wait? Tell him I'll call back later," she said, lying down on the bed.

"Ok." she conceded, turning towards the door. "He didn't say much but I think it has to do with a story about you in the paper."

"Not again!" she grumbled. "So, who am I dating  this week?" she said sarcastically.

Rume laughed.

"I don't know. I haven't seen the story. It's in 'City People'," Rume said, shrugging.

"Ok. Will be up soon," she said, turning her face to the wall.

She was not worried about the latest story because she knew it would be the usual speculative reports about her especially her love life and relationships with men.

Since her debut and the popularity of her single which had even reached No.1 on the music charts, she had become quite famous. With fame had come a loss of privacy and increased media interest in her personal life which she often found intrusive.

Nearly every week, there would be a report on her latest romance with all kinds of people including fellow artistes some of whom she had never met.

She had even been linked with a popular musician who was also on Eazzy's label. And all because she had appeared on a musical video with him and he was doing a collabo with her on her new album!

She had learnt to ignore most of the stories on her and had told Tobi to do the same.

"They need to sell their newspapers and magazines so they create these fake 'scandals' to boost sales," she often told him. "Ignore them."

The only consolation was that the media was not aware of her relationship with Tobi as she had kept that part of her life strictly private. She did not want all aspects of her life in the public domain, she needed to keep some part of her life from media scrutiny.

But she often wondered how long before some nosy reporter got wind of the story and splashed it all over the papers.

"Hope not soon," she mumbled to herself as she closed her eyes...

***

When Ruby arrived the studio later that evening,  she went straight to Eazzy's office.

"What was so important that you had to drag me all the way from Lekki to Ikeja on a day I should be resting?" she asked as soon as she stepped into his office.

"Hello, Ruby," he greeted, smiling at her. "Didn't your parents teach you how to greet your elders?" he added wryly.

"Elders ke?" she scoffed at him. "Anyone hearing you would think you were 65 instead of 30!"

 He grinned. "How's my beautiful star doing today?"

She walked up to his large desk and perched on a corner of it.

"Not good."

He studied her face briefly. She was not wearing any make up and he noted the dark circles under her eyes.

"You look like crap. You sick?"

She leaned on the desk, close to his face.

"It's called overwork, Eazzy! You throw so many engagements at me, sometimes I don't even remember to eat!"

He laughed.

"Sorry about that, Ruby. Things will ease up a bit once the album is out. I'll arrange a vacation for you once we're through with promoting it. You can go anywhere you wish- Ghana, London, South Africa- just say it and it's done!"

"As you wish, " she said. "Anyway, what's this all about? I know you didn't call me here to enquire about my wellbeing!"

He waved at a chair by the desk. "Why don't you sit down so we can talk?"

"How's Tobi?" he asked.

"He's ok"

He looked surprised. "He is? That means he hasn't seen the story."

He picked up a copy of 'City People' magazine and waved it at her. "I suppose you've seen this?"

"Rume mentioned a story they carried about me. But I haven't had time to read it. Who has time for junk like that?"

"You should read it Ruby. It's not too good. Not good at all!"

Ruby eyed the magazine, a look of irritation on her face.

"What's it about anyway? " she said, snatching the magazine from him. She gazed at her picture on the cover and frowned. "They couldn't even use s good photo of me," she said grumpily, as she opened the magazine and quickly read the story.

The report was about a lady named Folake who claimed to be a former fiance of Tobi; she said Tobi and her were planning to get married until Ruby appeared on the scene and 'stole her man from her'. "Ruby presents the image of a sweet, innocent lady to the public. But it's all fake! She's nothing but a scheming bitch, a husband - snatcher who took my man away!" she was quoted as saying, along with other allegations that made Ruby's blood boil as she read the story.

"You see what I mean?" said Eazzy.

"So?" Ruby retorted. "It's a bunch of lies and you know it! The woman's lying!"

"But the public doesn't think so! They believe whatever they read."

"Too bad! The truth is she and Tobi dated sometime in the past- they broke up over a year before Tobi and I even met! If the public wants to believe her lies, so be it. There's nothing I can do about it!"

"Of course there is!" Eazzy said. "Your album will soon drop. We don't need a scandal now. So, we have to look for a way to avoid anything that will tarnish your image. So, " he  said, wagging a finger in her face. "You'll have to do exactly as I say!"

"Says who? What am I supposed to do?" she said defiantly, glaring at him.

"You can't possibly be serious, Eazzy," Ruby said, a deep frown creasing her smooth brow on hearing his solution to the problem- ending her relationship with Tobi. She could not believe he would even suggest such a thing.

"I mean every word, Ruby!  What ever you have with that man must stop! At least for the time being until this 'scandal' blows over..."

"But Eazzy, that's my private life...or am I not entitled to one?" she argued.

"Not when it's interfering with your career."

"And how's my love life interfering with my career?" she said in a sarcastic tone.

"Firstly, you are caught up in a love triangle. Then you..."

"What love triangle? It only exists in that woman's head! She is just seeking relevance, publicity. The best thing is to ignore her!"

"Look Ruby," Eazzy said in a conciliatory manner. "I see your point. But as I said, this is a sensitive time for you- we are launching your first album soon. The last thing we need now is negative publicity. Or a 'man - snatcher' tag attached to you so early in your career. It won"t be good for your reputation at all. You know how conventional, judgemental our society can be; and the way they regard female entertainers especially singers and actresses, as 'loose women," he said and paused.
 "All I'm saying is for you to take a break from this relationship, distance yourself from everything and focus solely on your album."

Ruby shook her head.

"You had better look for another solution to this matter- like issuing a press statement debunking her allegations against me. Telling me to leave Tobi won't work. I love him, he means the world to me and my life will be empty without him."

With that, she picked up her bag, mouthed 'Bye' at him and left.

"Wait Ruby! " he called out to her. "I've not finished.  You had best listen to me, girl- it's for your own good, your future; don't let a silly thing like love mess up your promising career!"

Shaking his head, he mumbled to himself: "This girl is so stubborn, she won't listen to my advice that's for her own good."


To be continued


Will Ruby bow to pressure from Eazzy and break up with Tobi for the sake of her burgeoning career?Details coming soon!

***
So sorry for posting this a bit late. Am out of town on official duties so I've been kinda very busy. Please bear with me. Do have a wonderful week ahead!    -Patience -Blog Author









Thursday, November 16, 2017

Blues For Ruby (3) Preview



  Next on 'Blues For Ruby'


***
"You can't possibly be serious, Eazzy," Ruby said, a deep frown creasing her smooth brow.

He looked up at her from the laptop where he was working on his desk and said shortly.:

"I mean every word, Ruby!  What ever you have with that man must stop!"

"But Eazzy, that's my private life...or am I not entitled to one?" she argued.

"Not when it's interfering with your career."

"And how's my love life interfering with my career?" she said in a sarcastic tone.

He brought out a soft sell magazine, 'City People' and waved it at her.

"I suppose you've seen this?"

Ruby eyed the magazine, a look of irritation on her face.

"So?" she retorted. "It's a bunch of lies and you know it!"

"But the public doesn't think so! They believe whatever they read."

"Too bad! There's nothing I can do about it!"

"Of course there is! And you'll do exactly as I say!"

"Says who?" she said defiantly, glaring at him...



 Watch out for the rest of the story coming soon!



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Blues For Ruby (2)



I had been frequenting the bar for several weeks when I finally had the chance to meet Ruby.

One Saturday, I was there on my own as my 'gang' had gone to hang out at another place at Ikeja.

I was at a table with two other guys I did not know that well though I had seen them a couple of times at the bar.

We all sat drinking and listening to the music. Then after Ruby finished her song, she stepped down from the stage and to my surprise walked towards our table.

It turned out she knew one of the guys at my table- he was an old school mate of hers.

I watched her closely as she sat chatting animatedly with the guy named Joe. She must have noticed the way I was staring for at a point, she turned to me, smiled and said.

"Hope you've been enjoying the show."

"Thanks to you, I have. You have a great voice," I said.

She smiled again.

"Thanks."

"Your fan base is increasing daily Ruby," her friend noted. "I think it's time to come out with that album like I've been telling you to do."

"Ah, Joe, you know how tough it is getting a record deal in this city."

"If you're serious about making an album, I could help with that," I said. I don't know why I said that since I was not a record producer or music label owner. I was an architect who knew little about the entertainment industry apart from my love of music.
 But I saw that as a chance of getting close to her, to hear that voice as often as I wanted and I grabbed it.

"Really? " said Ruby, a excited look on her face.

"Are you a producer?" Joe asked, looking at me speculatively.

I shook my head. "Nope. But I know a few people in the industry."

 Actually,  it was Kingsley, my friend, an entertainment reporter with a newspaper in town who knew such people. He was even friends with music stars like 2Face Idibia, the twin brothers Psquare, Wizkid, D'banj and some top Nollywood actors and actresses as well. So, when I said I knew people in the industry, it was Kingsley I had in mind.

That night, Ruby and I exchanged contacts, with the promise to help her scout for a record producer who could help her in her career.


***

"Hold on, Tobi. What did you just say?" Kingsley asked, an incredulous look on his face. We were sitting in my car parked in front of his office. I had driven there after I closed from work to see him as I could not wait till we met up over the weekend.

"You heard me. I really need your help man," I pleaded.

"But why are you doing this? You barely know the girl!"

"That's not the issue now," I said. "Do whatever you can to help. Call your contacts in the industry. Just do something!"

"I'll see what I can do. I have an interview with Wizkid's producer later this week. I'll discuss it with him."

That will be great!" I said, punching him playfully on the arm.

He gave me a quizzical look then said:

"Wow! I've never seen you this passionate about anything before, Tobi. What's up with you?"

"It's that voice, Kingsley. Anytime I hear it, I feel her talent is being wasted singing in a bar. She should be out there captivating a wider audience...like she has done to me."

He nodded. "I see. Now, I understand what has happened to you."

"And what's that?" I queried.

He placed his hand on his chest.

"You've fallen in love. With her."

I laughed at his words.

"What are you talking about, Kingsley? What has love got to do with this? You know me, I don't have time for stuff like that."

"Then why are you so concerned about her and her career?  You are neither her brother nor husband!"

I shrugged. "I told you- I don't want her talent to go to waste."

"If you say so," he said, opening the car door. "I need to get back to work before that devilish editor of mine starts looking for me. Today is my production day and we're behind schedule. I'll give you feedback in a few days."

He got down from the car and stuck his head through the window.

"And give my regards to the girl with the golden voice that has captured a heart of stone like yours!" he said, laughing.

I made a face at him as I watched him leave, then I started the car and drove home.

***

Kingsley kept to his words. The following week, he arranged for Ruby to meet with the Producer at his studio in Ikeja. The evening before the appointment, she called to express her gratitude for my support to her.

"It's nothing," I said graciously. "It will be 'criminal' to allow a talented singer like you go to waste."

That weekend, I was at the bar to unwind as well as see Ruby. With me were Kingsley and Mark.

Later, she came over to our table after her performance.

"So, how did it go?" I asked eagerly.

"It was ok. He liked my voice and the song I wrote, " she said. "He has agreed to work with me."

"Wow! That's cool," said Kingsley. "You must have really impressed him because he's very picky. He doesn't work with just anybody."

"Congrats," I said.

"Thanks," she smiled at me. Then she added: "There's only one problem though."

"What's it?" I asked.

"His fees. He wants N500k."

"What?" Mark said. "Half a million Naira just for a single? How much will he charge for a full album then?"

"He's one of the best producers in the country today that's why his fee is high. Most of the hit songs you hear on radio are his handwork. He works with mostly top artistes in the industry," Kingsley explained.

"You are right," Ruby said. "Wizkid was just leaving the studio when I got there. Seemed they had been working all night as he looked very tired." She paused before saying with a sigh: "It's been my dream to work with a producer like that. But I might have to give up on that as I don't have that kind of money."

"Stay strong, girl! Don't give up too easily on your dreams," Mark said.

"He's right, you know," I put in. "I'm sure things will work out well in the end."

Kingsley then suggested she met up with another producer he knew. "Eazzy K is equally good and the bonus is, he has a record label. I'll arrange a meeting for you."

" Thanks, Kingsley. I appreciate, " she said.

***

THREE MONTHS LATER...

***
I was at home taking a nap one Sunday evening on the living room couch when my phone rang.

It was Ruby.

"Were you asleep? Sorry for waking you up."

I sat up and yawned. " It's ok. It was time I got up anyway," I said. "What's up?"

" Guess what Tobi?  We are dropping my single this week!" she announced excitedly.

" That's great news! Congrats!"

" Thanks! I can't believe it myself! Sometimes, I feel I'm dreaming and I'll wake up and it will all fade away. "

"It's real, babe."

A lot had happened since she met with Eazzy K some months back. Luckily, he had liked her voice  and work enough to sign her on on his label. She had immediately started work on her first album; the single she was releasing was part of the album.

" I'm worried though," she said in a doubtful tone.

"About what?"

"Whether people will like the song, if it will do well and..."

" Don't worry about that,  Ruby. You will do just fine," I reassured her.

" You think so?"

" Trust me. You'll knock them out with that voice of yours."

Like you did to me, I thought to myself with a smile.

"By the way, Eazzy is throwing a launch party Friday night. He has booked the bar for it. Hope you can make it."

"Of course I'll be there. Nothing will keep me away from all that free booze!" I said and she laughed.

***

The party was warming up nicely when I arrived at about 8pm. My ' gang ' was also there in full force.

"What took you so long? " Kingsley asked as I sat down besides him. He blew a ring of cigarette smoke in my face and I turned my face away before I got suffocated by the noxious fumes.

" Traffic," I said. I picked up his glass of beer, drained it and wiped my lips.

"Where's Ruby?" asked Chidi.

" I saw her a short while ago with her manager," Mark said.

"She already has a manager?" Chidi exclaimed. "Na wa o! Her levels don change!"

"It should," Kingsley said. "Her single is doing very well since it dropped a few days ago- it's getting a lot of airplay and the reviews are great. It's going to be a hit especially if the video is as good as the song."

A short while later, Ruby came over to our table to chat with the guys. She beamed happily as they congratulated her on the launch.

" I wish you many years of success ahead!" said Mark.

"Don't forget us o when you become as big as Wizkid and Davido!" Chidi chipped in.

"Thanks guys for your support and encouragement. I appreciate.," she said, shaking hands and backslapping round the table.

Then she drew close to me and whispered in my ear.

"Can I see you for a minute?"

We walked towards the rear of the bar to the expansive car park.

I leaned against a car and watched curiously as she opened her handbag and brought out a gift wrapped case.

She offered it to me.

 " I know this isn't much, Tobi but it's my small token of appreciation for all you've done for me."

I opened the case and smiled at its contents- a couple of ties and cufflinks.

" There was no need for this, " I said.

She shook her head.

" There is," she insisted. "You were one of the few people who believed in me and made an effort to help me. It's rare in our society today because many people don't want to help unless they are getting something in return. "

"It was your voice that did it. I loved it right from the first time I heard you sing."

She held my hand and gazed up at me.

"Is that all you like about me, Tobi? Just my voice?"

From the faint light from a nearby streetlamp, I could see an earnest, eager look on her face as if a lot depended on my answer.

I placed the gift on the car bonnet and held her by the shoulders.

" It was... at the beginning, " I said then added quickly: " But now..."

" Yes? " she prompted.

"I like other things about you, Ruby. Your eyes,  your lips, " I said,  my finger tracing the outline of her full lips as my head lowered and drew closer and closer. ..


To be continued

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Blues For Ruby (1)



Linda was being her usual bitchy self.

"I asked for a chapman and you brought me this? Are you deaf or something?" she practically screamed at the waitress.

She was not called a drama queen for nothing.

The poor girl tried to apologise and even offered to change the drink but Linda was having none of it.
She went on a tirade about waitresses who never listened to one's order but brought whatever 'they fancied as if they know better than the customer! And don't get me started on how slow they can be in their service. Chidi, " she said, to her boyfriend on her right. "Why did you bring me to such a useless place?" she fumed.

He shrugged.  "I didn't bring you here. You insisted on tagging along, remember?"

"I wonder how he copes with her," Kingsley, a friend in our group whispered to me.

I shook my head, wondering the same thing. I would go nuts if I had to spend a whole day with her, I thought grimly as I took a sip of my chilled .beer.

It was Saturday night and the four of us, who often hung out together most weekends, had ended up at the Coconut Grove, an open air bar at Lekki. It was my first time there though Kingsley and Mark had been there before. It was by the lagoon front with cool sea breeze blowing in. A live band even performed some nights to spice things up.

Usually, we four, all friends went out together for our weekend fun but that evening, Linda, for reasons best known to her had insisted on coming with us.

"I don't trust you guys once you've had a few drinks, " she said, eyeing her boyfriend in a suspicious manner.

All entreaties by Chidi for her to stay back home fell on deaf ears. So, here she was with us, spoiling the mood for us, of what should have been a great Saturday night outing.

"Is the band not playing tonight?" Mark asked.

"Is it the band you want to see or the lead singer?" Kingsley said teasingly.

Mark made a face at him as I turned to Kingsley.

"Are they that good?" I asked him.

"You wait and see for yourself," he said in a mysterious manner.

He had hardly finished speaking when a man walked on the stage at the far end of the bar and introduced the band.

I watched with some curiosity as the band members took their places and began to play.

Then the lead singer, a slim lady dressed in an all black outfit- a Tshirt and black jeans- started to sing and I sat up straight in my chair.

You see, I love music; my vast collection of songs in CDs, laptop, phones and other devices, attest to that.

I have heard some great songs and voices in my time. But nothing prepared me for that voice that night.

I don't know how to describe it...you know the kind of song/voice you hear that transports you from the mundane to a place of peace, harmony...and love? Where you don't feel any pain? Where you are at peace with the world?

That was how I felt. I forgot everything else but that voice. I did not know where I was or who was with me till I felt a tap on my shoulder.

"Tobi! Tobi! Wake up!"

I turned round to stare at Kingsley who had a mocking look on his face.

"I see Ruby has cast her 'spell' on you," he said with a smirk.

Ruby.

 So, that was her name, I thought as my eyes wandered back to the stage. I watched transfixed as she moved sensuously to the music, wondering how such a powerful, captivating voice could come out of such a small, slight body.

"She has a wonderful voice. She should go professional with a voice like that," Mark, who seemed to be as enchanted as I was with the singer, remarked.

"What's so special about her voice?" Linda scoffed. "Her singing is annoying. Sounds like noise to me."

"It sounds like noise because you're tone deaf," Chidi said.

"What?" Linda exclaimed, angry eyes turned on her boyfriend. "Are you calling me a deaf person?"

Chidi shrugged nonchalantly. "If you say so."

"Honey, how could you say that to me? You have to apologise for that!" she said.

"Why should I? It's the truth," he insisted.

Linda looked as if she was about to go into one of her screaming fits.

"Chidi, how dare you? I won't. .."

"Hey! Hey! You guys should chill with the marital squabbles!" Kingsley interrupted them. "We are here to catch fun, remember?  Wait till you get before you tear each other to pieces!"

That got him a furious look from Linda while Mark laughed.

"What's funny?" she glared at him.

I turned my attention back to the stage, to get more of the magic that was Ruby's voice...

****

After that night, the Coconut Grove became my regular haunt. While my friends often liked to sample other bars on the Island, for me it was that bar or nothing.

It was that voice, which kept pulling me back....



To be continued

Monday, November 06, 2017

Blues For Ruby (Promo)



Our next series 'Blues For Ruby' begins this week. It's the story of Ruby, a young, aspiring musician and Tobi, the man who loved and wanted her more than anything else in the world.

But in the end, life happens and his dreams for her fade like dew under the morning sun....


In the usual tradition of series on this blog, it  promises to be captivating and explosive so don't miss it!

Friday, November 03, 2017

Delilah Calling (2)



"But I don’t want to take them all off,” he complained, even as the irony of role reversal struck him.
Hazel eyes dimmed a bit and she paused with her jeans around her waist, power and command mirroring in her pretty face.

“You have to take everything off, even your boxers.”

“But I feel cold!” he said, not wanting her to know the truth; he did not like sex with the lights on, his body was so imperfect for that.

“Okay,” she said, conceding a bit, “you can keep you shirt on but take every other stuff off.”

He got the idea that the ‘taking off’ clothes was not just a ritual before the act but a safety measure, probably brings one to bed without any hidden weapons that may cause harm. He was about to ask her but she silenced him with her imploring eyes and glanced at her wristwatch. Time must be of an essence, he thought.

“Put this on,” she told him offhandedly, pushing a condom into his shaky hands while laying back into the meagre mattress.
He knew desire had already left him but he did not expect the extent of it. Looking down his member with the condom in his hands, he felt drained.

It hung, not just limp, but devoid of character, showing half its normal size.

She smiled at him as she took the limp member in her hands and proceeded to bring it to life. She must have stroked it for a while before he realized that it was a fruitless effort, as the offending member hung limper than ever.

Taking it from her cool hands, he proceeded to coax it alive with an increasing up and down motion while projecting his mind to more successful tumbles in the past.

When several minutes of this did not work and her earlier soft encouragements was turning to murmured complaints of time’s money and unproductive sessions, he completely tuned off and looked at her with a smile on his face.

“Why the smile?” she asked, frowning slightly.

“Nothing,” he replied, “it’s just that I expected this.”

“Expected this?” she inquired, mixture of fear and confusion playing across her face.

“ Yes, the truth is that I’ve not been able to do this with a prostitute,” he informed her, trying not to sound abusive or degenerate. “ This is my second attempt with the same result.”

“And you say you are not impotent?” she asked, suspicion clouding her prettily painted face.

“No I am not,” he countered. “I had an erection walking up the stairs behind you a few minutes ago, it just happened when we got into the room.”

“So what do you want me to do now?” she challenged, her doe eyes blazing, “You mean you wasted my time for nothing?” by now her voice had lost its previous conspiratorial whisper and had picked up a sharp edge he felt she uses for situations like this.

“I am not asking for my money back,” he murmured, knowing her heart and its direction.

“And what are you asking?” she asked, sounding hurt.

He looked at her, tongue tied, wondering how to tell a prostitute with this much pride in her abilities that he was sorry he couldn’t tumble with her and that it was no fault of hers.

She stood before him arms akimbo, challenge in her hazel doe eyes. He was reminded sourly of the fact the couple in the next room, divided from this by a thin board of plywood, will be party to any raised voice communion. “Nothing, really, keep the money,”

She looked at him with what appears to be pity, "OK, she said. "But know that I would have given you a good time."
“Thanks.” he said, collecting his shoe from her, he stepped out into the corridor, turned and saw her still looking at him.

“Sorry,” he mouthed again, before escaping down the corridor, passing several girls and their customers emerging or entering rooms identical to the one he just left.

As he left the building, loud laughter seemed to follow him into the street. He cringed at the thought that the joke was on him and quickened his pace.

He had gotten to the bus stop and was in the process of hailing a bike when his phone rang.
He stared for some seconds at the caller ID ‘baby’ before picking the call.

“Hello babes.” he said, trying to sound better than he felt.” How are you?”

“Fine,” she responded. “Just calling to know if you are doing something crazy in my absence.”

“No,” he said with all sincerity as he signaled a commercial motorcycle. “No, sweetheart. I haven’t done anything crazy and I doubt if I will be doing anything crazy until you get back.” he smiled into the phone as relief washed over him like a thousand rivers...


Concluded

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Delilah Calling (1)


His heartbeat increased to a heightened tempo; deep in its cradle, his chest, its thump like a giant’s footstep trudging across a broken landscape. 

Leaning on the door frame for support, he prayed for strength to his shaking legs, which appeared unable to carry him the few meters to where she stood, amongst her colleagues of like callings, looking directly at him like he was the one she had been waiting for.

Picking boldness, he forced his eyes to meet hers and marveled at the passion she conveyed at the blink of those sensual eyes. He wanted to call her, perhaps give her a hint of invitation. It would be easy, he was sure, knowing what she was there for, but his strength failed him and his legs refused to carry him those few meters.

He signaled a bar man, who hurried to his side, all smirk and servitude, his face a study of conflicting emotions.

‘Give me a bottle of Gordon sparks.’ He said, trying to convey confidence he did not feel.

Taking a seat, he prepared to await the order.
In his mind, he did a silent survey of the scene. Apart from the twenty or so patrons who were all keen on being as inconspicuous as possible – bowed heads and intense necking of whatever brands they were drinking marking that sign – and two or three serving girls whose mode of dressing and carriage set them apart from the girls outside, the immediate scene was bereft of any interest.

Plastic chairs and table did not tell much tales neither did the two company-issue deep freezers or the 14-inch television set tuned to a local station that was then showing the westernized antics of a homegrown music star.
In all, one could have been at any regular bar in town.

The order came sooner than expected and the chill down his throat eased off his tension a bit, or so he thought.

He caressed the bottle of Gordon sparks and looked out the large louvered windows in between sips. It was after a couple of sips that he discovered the silent code in use. The girls, who were dressed (or undressed) in varying stages of sensuality, took turns coming to the window to peer in through the double louver glass window and pose briefly for the benefit of the men seating within. 

The main idea appeared to be holding a man’s gaze long enough for a silent message to pass, a message that always without fail says, “I am available.”

While he was still pondering his inability to rise to the occasion, a young man whose attitude showed him an old hand at the game walked out and over to claim the very girl that had caught his fancy earlier and walked with her toward the back where the girls apparently had rooms.

Smarting from that missed chance and taking strength from the youth's boldness, he sampled what was left and found one he thought will cool his adore for that lost looker. Walking over to her was easy as well as discussion of terms – which she assured him would be better done within the confines of her room.

She led the way to the back, up two flights of stairs, both strangely well light, and into a room partitioned into two. To his surprise, her price, when they got to it, was way higher than what he thought was usual. The African in him flared and he haggled and got a third of it, hoping for a service she assured him would be his best ever.

“Now,” she said, smiling gently, while caressing him softly on the back. “Take off your clothes. All of it.”


To be continued

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Yimika (2)



After about thirty minutes I got scared; he was not picking my calls and he had not shown up. The clock kept ticking and after I had waited for three hours, I paid off the waiters and decided to go look for him in his office before they closed for the day.

 However he was not there! I was told he did not show up. I tried to get his address but nobody had it and I was confused and close to tears. 

The receptionist must have felt sorry for me, because she got a hold of his employee data form and gave me his address. 

I didn’t know what to expect, but I had to see my Yimika, even if his family would throw me out. A glimpse of his face and the knowledge that he’s okay will do.

 I got to his house located in a posh area of Ikeja, the massive gate was intimidating, but I pressed the bell continually, undaunted.

 If Yimika was behind them, then I had to go in. The gate man asked me to wait while he got clearance for me to enter. But immediately I saw him retreat, I followed closely. 

Then I saw an older female version of my Yimika and I knew immediately she was his mum. As I hurried up to her, I immediately went down on both knees in greeting and politely asked to see Yimika. She looked really sad, like she had been crying.

Before I could finish my question fresh tears came to her eyes, and my heart almost skipped a beat.

What must have happened to my Yimika? On our first anniversary, I wondered.

“Lord please, don’t let this be. Let me wake up from this bad dream!” I prayed silently.

“You must be Ruby?” she asked “Any time he opens his eyes, he calls your name.”

“Yes, I am Ruby. Please what is wrong with Yimika? He was fine when I saw him yesterday.”

“He didn’t tell you?" she asked

“Tell me what?”

“Come into the house.”

 As I followed her into the house, all sorts of thoughts flashed through my mind, “what could he be keeping from me?”

Then I looked up and saw my darling, even lovelier in sleep; he had lots of IV tubes poking in and out of his body, for what I could not tell. Did he have typhoid? Or tuberculosis? What could it be? He looked very pale, yet so peaceful in his sleep. 

His mother’s voice, however, jolted me back to the present.

“He’s dying. He has leukaemia.”

“No! He couldn’t be!! He loves me!!!” I screamed.

“What is leukaemia? No! No! No! You are mistaken!”

She embraced me then, held unto me till all my tears subsided. I thought my heart would break. He looked so helpless, so frail; all I wanted to do was hold him in my arms till he woke up. 

His mother told me that he had battled with it for most of his life and maybe he did not tell me because he wanted to lead a normal life. He fought to be normal.

 “I love him Lord. Please don’t take him away now!”

I stayed by his bed side till he stirred, and truly my name was the first thing on his lips.

“Ruby!”

“I am here.”

“I am so sorry; I couldn’t bear for you to feel sorry for me.”

“Hush baby, I understand and I love you."

 He went right back to sleep. I could not let go of his hand. I disturbed the host of heaven with my prayers. I implored God with every breath in me, but those were my Yimika’s last days. 

He would not be taken to any hospital, he did not want that, said he will die anyway and he wanted to do it surrounded by the people he loved.

 I held him close to my heart when he breathed his last, and for a split second our hearts beat as one. Yimika my love, my life died in my arms.

Here I am in the rain without the love of my life. Will I be able to find this love again? Will I be able to love any man like I did my Yimika? People can stare, people can whisper but till I am done soaking up heavens tears for my Yimika, I will not leave this place.


Concluded

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Yimika (1)




As the rain came pelting down, I just stood there soaking it all up. I could feel people staring at me as they hurried past to the safety of shelters. I could only imagine the thoughts going through their minds,

“Is this one mad?”

“Must be in the early stages, she still has clean clothes on and shoes too!”

“Where is her family? They had better come and pick her up before she degenerates!”

“What a wicked world this is, such a beautiful lady!”

And so on they must be thinking. But I cared less as I just stood there with outstretched arms, willing the rain to wash me clean. Why did I go there? I saw the signs, why didn’t I stop, but like the proverbial stubborn dog bound to get lost, I ignored the hunter’s whistle...

***
Yimika was the most handsome man I had ever set my eyes on; I still wonder how he noticed me. That was not one of my best days, as I had hurried out of the house without making my face up.

 I did not want to miss the bus, but I did eventually and that’s how he came into my life. Why did I not leave the house early? Now as I look back, I realize my tardiness brought him my way. I felt too lazy to wake up to the sound of my alarm, hence my getting to the bus stop late, and my meeting Yimika.

As I stood at the bus stop lamenting my fate, a light blue BMW 3 series pulled up to me. My first instinct was to step back, but as I did, the person in the car wound down the glass and I came face to face with the most charming smile on the most handsome face I had ever come across. 

All my resistance fell at that moment; my legs felt like jelly, and the only thing I remember after that was getting out of the car outside my office with his card in my hand and a promise to call him.

 I could not recall giving him my number until I got a call from him later that evening. He asked if he could take me to see a movie – thankfully, the cinema was not far from both our offices. Warning signals started blaring, but I completely ignored them thinking to myself: “What could possibly happen in a cinema full of other people?”

It was quite an enjoyable date; apart from the movie, which was very interesting, Yimika was great company. I did not even notice time fly past and like the gracious gentleman he seemed to be, he offered to drop me off at home, which further endeared him to me.

We met several times after that, and our lunch dates became a ritual we had to observe each day. On days when I could not see him for lunch because he was too busy, I always felt uneasy, like a part of me was missing. 

I knew I was falling in love with a man I knew next to nothing about, but I loved it. He was gracious, nice to a fault and really good to look at. I allowed myself a free fall into love, and it seemed it was mutual so I did not give a second thought to it. 

Trouble started when I asked to know where he lived. He hesitated and then tried to change the subject. It was all strange to me but since he did not wear a wedding band, I was sure he was not married and he always talked about his mother, so I knew he still lived at home with her. I concluded his family must not like me but he had assured me that was not the case.

Since I had fallen hopelessly in love with him by now, I did not bother asking to be taken to his house again. I was content with him knowing my family and they loved him too. Each time my mum brought up the subject of his family, I always tactfully avoided giving her a straight answer.

On this day I got to work as usual, longing for lunch break and my Yimika to show up. I was especially excited since it was our first year anniversary and I could not wait to celebrate it with him.

 He was my prince in every way, the defender of my virtue; never demanded for sex, so different from the other guys I had dated who did not understand my stranglehold on my virginity, or my decision to save sex for marriage. 

He was the yang to my yin, my knight in shining armour, my love, my life. The wait was killing me. My boss even noticed and decided to put me out of my misery by allowing me leave way before lunch, giving me the rest of the day off (she thought I was coming down with something). I almost ran to our usual meeting point. I had a surprise for Yimika, so I made sure I got there before him, instructed the waiters on how to present my surprise, then settled down with a drink to await my love’s arrival....


By Mercy Ilevbare (courtesy naijastories. com)

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