The Choir had just finished ministering their special number in church. It was He’s able. She loved the song so much that she stood and sang along.
“Exceedingly, abundantly, above, all you can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in you…God is able to do, just what He says He will do…”
The Pastor came on the pulpit after, said a short prayer, and then preached the sermon about the need to stand, having done all.
As Alex drove home after the service, she thought of her life and where she stood. She knew she wasn’t going to be handed an award for being the best Christian out there, but she had her virtues, and that ought to have counted for something. She obeyed the Ten Commandments, and she knew Jesus was her personal Lord and Saviour. She wasn’t promiscuous. In fact, she had never slept with a man before. She paused as she thought about that. It wasn’t actually because she wanted to obey God that she had saved herself. She was actually scared of getting pregnant. That was the story her mom had practically brought her up with. She didn’t want Alex to end up like her, a knocked-up young woman with a run-away baby daddy. She knew sexual immorality was wrong, but the real reason behind her decision was her mother’s story. For a minute, she feared that she esteemed her mother above God.
Lisa Udeh was back from her church service too. She attended the Catholic church by the end of the road.
“Hi, Mom. How was church?” Alex said, filling her glass with cold water from the water dispenser.
“It went well o. In fact, God directed my steps there today specifically for you.” Lisa Udeh said, smiling. Alex looked at her mom.
Lisa sat on the couch and asked Alex to join her.
“You’re twenty three. You’re not a child anymore. You are through with two degrees, and you have a good job, even if you should still consider taking the job at my office.”
Alex rolled her eyes.
“Where are you going with this exactly o, Mama Alex?” She said.
“I gave birth to you when I was nineteen…”
Alex laughed. More like, you got knocked-up at nineteen.
“Don’t you think you should be considering marriage?”
Alex was surprised. So the day for this talk had finally come. It wasn’t boyfriend matter anymore. It was now marriage. She laughed as she remembered some years ago when a boy from school had come by the house to visit her and Lisa had unleashed the Rottweiler on him.
“Mom, I’m twenty three years old. Marriage isn’t on my mind right now. I’m thinking of building a career.”
“What career? Women are like flowers o! Your beauty and fertility reduces as you grow older.”
“Do you know some of my mates are still in University, first year? Some haven’t even passed JAMB!” Alex had begun to raise her voice.
“That is the more reason you should be grateful to God for giving you a good life. You finished school early and everything is going fine for you. Please, Alex. Don’t make the mistakes I made. I had you, focused on career, and started thinking of men when I was close to thirty. And you know my story. It’s easier to find a man at this age, not when you are older. Most men want fresh blood…”
“Okay, okay!” Alex waved her hand. “I’ll think about it.”
“Do you…do you have a man in mind?”
Alex flashed her a look.
“No, I don’t! I said I’ll start thinking about it.”
“You’re a beautiful girl. And I know someone you might be interested in.” Lisa smiled.
“You know my old friend from the University, Mrs Tetsola? We re-united at morning mass today o. I was just minding my business and talking with his mother when she mentioned that her son was in the country and is trying to settle down…”
“Oh, so she has a son…” Alex said sarcastically.
“I gave him your phone number. Please just listen to him and see if you like him.”
Alex shook her head and went upstairs.
Phillip Tetsola typed her name on Google. Something was sure to pop up. He remembered little Alex from back in the day. They had met at his younger sister’s fourth birthday party. The memory was faint. All he knew was that Lisa Udeh had dressed Alex up in a pretty pink Cinderella dress.
Google didn’t give him any answers. He typed Alex Udeh again, not knowing she was Alex Milton. He just assumed that her surname had to be Udeh, but nothing showed up. Instead the suggestions that came up were guys. He opened his Instagram account on his iPad and searched for Alex Udeh, yet nothing came out. He should have known she would have used something different on Instagram like Alex baby, Alex chic etc. He finally decided to dial her digits.
Her voice was easy, and classy. Her command of English was impressive. As expected, she had fronted, especially when he said he was Phillip Tetsola and had met her mom at church. He had wanted to ask her out on a small date, but he didn’t want to be too forward.
He couldn’t help himself though. He sent a text telling her he would like to meet her in person and if she didn’t mind he could come pick her from home in the evening.
Alex smiled as she saw the text message. Maybe it was a good idea after all. She hadn’t really picked interest in any guy since Kolade that she’d met at the airport.
The date had gone well. He took her to somewhere on the Island and they had Sharwarma, Suya, and Chapman.
He told her he was a business man. He usually traveled to Italy to buy Men’s shoes and suits, and sold to high class business men and executives. He also handled Grooms’ and Groomsmen apparel. She was impressed. She liked a man that was on his toes and was doing well for himself at a young age.
“What bank handles your business account? And what package do they offer you for loans or overdraft?”
Phillip laughed. She just had to bring work into this.
“Are you trying to get me to open a business account with your bank?”
She smiled. She had no idea what her smile did to him. He kept staring into her face.
“It’s not a bad idea, is it?” She replied, picking her Suya.
“Why don’t we leave work out, and talk about…you becoming my fiancé.”
She laughed. Fiancé?
“Are you going to propose to me on the first day you meet me?”
“Okay, that was forward of me.” He smiled.
He dropped her home by Ten, because the next day was Monday, and he knew how important work was to her.
She checked her phone when she got home. Nora hadn’t replied her messages. She was beginning to worry about her best friend. She seemed distant of late. Had she offended her? She noticed Nora’s attitude had started to change since she didn’t get the job at the oil company. Perhaps she needed to have a proper talk with Nora.
Nora saw Alex’s text message. She wanted them to meet up after work and just catch up. Nora admitted it had been a while since she saw Alex. It wasn’t as though she didn’t love her friend. Nora had risen high, with Bankole’s benevolence, but she just still felt oppressed, whenever she was with Alex. Maybe it was because she knew in her heart that Alex didn’t have to go all the mile she was going, to make money and stay rich.
They met at The Palms, Lekki. Alex smiled as she sighted her, then hugged her.
“I’ve missed you o. You’re so scarce these days.” Alex said.
“I’m sorry dear. It’s been work.” Office work and hotel work.
“It’s fine. I hope you’re not in a hurry.”
“Not really,” Today was Bankole-off day. He had gone to see his family in London.
“Do you want us to see a movie?” Nora said.
“Naah. Not movie. More like, we need to talk.” Alex said, dragging her to the food court. They bought Ice cream from Coldstone, and sat to talk.
“First, I want to apologize on behalf of Mrs Joan Okeke. I know you really wanted that job, and part of me just thinks maybe you hate me for it, because the job was offered to me initially…maybe you’re thinking you didn’t get it because Joan wanted me.”
Nora sighed. Who did Alex think she was? Nora didn’t even want Alex’s hand-me-downs anymore.
“Haba…habatically.” Nora laughed. “I’m waaaay beyond that. I have a good job, and hey, I just bought a car. I’ll soon be moving into my apartment.” Nora said…more like, bragged.
“Wow!” Alex held Nora’s hand. “Girl, you’re doing so well for yourself these days! I’m so happy for you.”
“Thanks dear. It’s all about knowing the ropes in this game.”
Alex smiled. “God is faithful. I told you He never leaves the fatherless.”
Nora laughed. Indeed. Where was God when she had been looking for a job? In fact, where had God been from day one of her life? Why was God partial? How come He never favoured her? The favour she got was perhaps her natural endowment.
Alex started to gist Nora about Phillip.
“Is he rich? What does he do?” That was Nora’s first question.
“Nora! You will never change. You know this is what you did that Kolade ran away.” Alex replied.
Nora brought out her phone, and played Davido’s Aye for Alex to listen to it.
“She no want designer, she no want Ferrari…” Alex sang along, smiling.
“Exactly! Clap for yourself. This song was released for mugu babes like you. Better get all the designers and Ferrari from this Phillip dude o.” Nora said.
“You’re just a foolish child.” Alex burst out laughing.
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