Alex had grown to really like Phillip. He was a gentle man to the very word of it. Nora had said it was the usual first three months-good guy period when the man tries to impress the woman and she feels on top of the world, but five months had passed and Phillip was everything she could ask for in a man. They clicked on almost everything, and where they had differences, they fit just fine and were growing to understand each other.
Lisa Udeh never failed to give herself credit for choosing her daughter’s future husband. If only she had been blessed enough to choose a good man for her too, but she was done with men. She was too wealthy to succumb to any man, or to start cooking and worrying over in-laws. She was forty two years old, kicking forty three. Her time was gone, she believed.
On one of those days, Alex and Phillip had been chatting over Whatsapp. He had gone on one of his business trips to Italy. He had an order for a high class wedding next month. She had told him she missed him and she was very bored. Her boss also had been giving her a hard time at work, on securing some really big accounts.
“What can I do to make you happy, Love?” Phillip texted.
Alex smiled and punched the laughter smiley.
“Nothing o. Except you can fly in from Italy to Nigeria now now now. Lol.” She texted back.
“Very soon, Babe. Don’t fret.” He replied.
Phillip knew Alex was a lover of red velvet cake from the bakery at Adeola Hopewell. He called his friend that worked on that same street, and asked him to help buy a cake asap, and have it delivered to Alex’s office.
Alex had been surprised to see a delivery for her. She wondered who it was from. Probably one of her many unrelenting scopers.
The cake read in cream lettering: JUST TO CHEER UP MY ALEXANDRA.
She blushed, and being the emotional girl she was, tears had found their way to her eyes. She knew it was from Phillip. Only he called her Alexandra. If it had been Chiamaka, her native name, she would have known it was her mother.
Like as though he knew, he sent her a text just in time.
“Hope that cheers you up temporarily?”
What’s not to love about a man that’s a spontaneous romantic?
Nora screamed as Bankole Saheed said the words. Taju had brought them to somewhere at Sango-Tedo, in Ajah. As Taju parked, Bankole covered Nora’s eyes and led her as they walked.
It was a bungalow; painted cream and peach. As she opened her eyes, she looked at him, trying not to jump the gun. She already knew he promised her an apartment in Ajah, but this was a bungalow! She had thought it would be a flat.
“It’s yours.” He said.
She jumped on him, and kissed his bald ageing head.
“You’re my rock! You’re my everything! You’re my oga at the top!” She shrieked with laughter.
Bankole laughed, kissing her nose.
“Oh my God! I can’t believe this!” She screamed as she walked into the house, after Bankole handed her the keys. The ceiling was a beautiful POP. It even came furnished with brown chairs, and glass tables. All that was needed was for her to move in.
“I need to call my mother. She’ll be so eager to move in with me!”
Bankole shook his head.
“No, no. This place is ours. They can visit, yes, but I don’t want anyone living with you.” He said.
Nora didn’t know how to break the news to her mother that Bankole Saheed had given her a house, but didn’t want her family to move with her. So she lied that it was the company’s house and he allowed her stay there because it was more convenient to go to work from there.
She had spent only about five weeks at the new house, with Bankole coming almost every weekend, when one Sunday afternoon, someone had knocked on her door. She knew it wasn’t Bankole because he had told her he would be going to Ghana for a Business conference. She wore her flip flops, and headed for the door. She didn’t like this door and she had complained to Bankole to change it. She wanted a peephole so she could see who it was that was knocking, for more safety.
“Good afternoon…” Nora said, looking at the woman by her door. There were two women. One was dressed in a green kaftan with embellishments and embroidery around the neck and sleeves. She was a very beautiful light skinned woman. The other wore a shirt and a pair of jeans.
“You are Nora, aren’t you?” The woman in jeans said, raising her eyes.
Nora was about to say yes.
“No, I’m Mercy. Can I help you?”
The woman in jeans laughed, clapping her hands.
“Omo radarada. So you’re as smart as I heard. I have seen your pictures with my sister’s husband so I know you are the onirikurin Nora. Look, I have come to warn you. Stay away from Bankole Saheed. Go and look for your age mates. Do you know he has two kids that are older than you are?” She said in strong Yoruba intonation.
Nora looked around to be sure her gateman wasn’t listening.
“Little home wrecker!” The woman yelled continuously, then she slapped Nora.
“Please get out of my house I don’t know what you are talking about…” Nora hissed, holding her face.
“I am not here to exchange words with a low life like you. I know your type. Hungry child. That’s why you want to reap where you did not sow. I have children older than you are so I won’t even gratify my desire to insult you, and reduce myself to your standard.” The beautiful woman said calmly, but sending the message clearly.
“Stay away from Bankole if you want a good future.” She said, then they turned to leave. The woman in jeans was speaking Yoruba and she knew the words were directed at her.
She responded in Ibo and hissed at the women.
“Bankole got me this house. He finds me younger and more attractive. I will let him go when I am done with him. If you could satisfy your husband, why then does he keep coming to me?” Nora said.
The beautiful woman turned to look at her. The one in jeans was already shouting and putting her hands on her head.
“All your life, you will never find peace. It will never be well with you. You will never rise above where you are.” She said, and dragged the one in jeans with her.
Nora hissed. “Empty words.”
Phillip had returned from Italy, and had invited Nora to join him and Alex at lunch. He had not met Nora before, and wanted to meet this best friend that Alex always went on and on about.
Nora had been all smiles and extra nice to him, and Alex heaved a sigh a relief. Sometimes, Alex herself didn’t understand why she craved Nora’s approval. Maybe it was because Nora knew so much about guys.
Nora had asked for his number but Phillip lied that he had changed his sim.
“Phillipppp….haba!” Alex laughed, jabbing him.
“His number is 07011122111. He’s just being modest because he doesn’t want me to flare up,” She said to Nora. “Don’t worry she’s my best friend, baby.” She kissed Phillip, laughing.
Phillip dropped Alex off first, because she asked to be dropped.
Actually, Alex had told Nora that she wanted to know if Phillip was being faithful to her, since she didn’t know what went on in Italy, or whenever they were not together, especially as she had refused to sleep with him. Nora had suggested that they set him up to test him if he would fall for a woman’s seduction. Alex had suggested Vivian did it, but Nora had felt insulted. She didn’t want her sister to get involved. She decided to offer herself as the seductress and assured Alex that she could trust her, apart from any other woman, not to sleep with Phillip, and to give her appropriate feedback. Alex had thought it was weird at first, but later agreed to it.
Nora hugged him as he got to her house, then asked him to come in for some water but he refused.
“Are you sure? You’re driving all the way to Ikeja. You should have something to drink.” Nora said.
Phillip smiled, the started the engine of his car.
“I’ll buy a drink in traffic or stop by Alex’s house to drink some if I get thirsty, that is.”
Nora nodded, and walked inside.
She lay in bed, and began to think of the whole drama with Bankole’s wife. She was the first child, and she was almost twenty four. It was time for her to get into a serious relationship, and have a responsible man in her life. She hissed as she thought of Alex. Alex just had to get the good men all the time. She didn’t want Alex to chase Phillip away anyway. She actually started thinking of him as husband material; for herself, but then she discarded the thought. The guy was too soft for her liking, even if he had money. She laughed, as she remembered that Alex said he had asked for sex, but she didn’t give in. So he was a normal blooded man after all. She didn’t have a rich background or white blood like Alex, but she had sex as a tool.
As Phillip got out the shower, to get into bed and catch some sleep, his phone beeped. One was an email from his travel agent. The other was a text message from Nora.
“Thanks a lot for dropping me. I hope you don’t think I’m trying to be funny with you. Alex is my sister and I love her to bits. If anything at all, I just want to be friends with my future brother-in-law, that is if you are good enough for Alex. The buying water in traffic or stopping by Alex’s house was totally unnecessary. I am not that type and I don’t roll like that. Good night. Nora.”
Phillip sighed. Maybe he had judged her wrongly.
*Please read and COMMENT AND SHARE.