Phillip had just delivered the wedding clothes and shoes of Chief Ajibade Okeowo’s son, and that of the groomsmen. His signature was to attach a gift to the order, so he dropped a Polo Ralph Lauren perfume and body wash set, with his business card. He had been invited for the bachelor eve, and much to his amazement, the groom had gushed on and on about his bride to be. His friends had brought half naked girls for a 'last-time parole', but the groom laughed and declined the offer.
Phillip had teased him and asked him why he didn’t want the lap dances and every other item in the bachelor eve package but he said he had disciplined himself from cheating on his woman for three years, and he didn’t want to start on the night before he was to commit totally to her in Holy matrimony. Besides, it was his brother who had secretly forced the girls into the programme for the night.
It got him thinking. He knew he was ready to settle down, and he knew he wanted to be with none other than Alex. Plus…he was getting tired of her constantly turning down his sexual pleas. It was just best to marry her and do it legally and rightly, and save everybody the tension.
The next day, after the wedding, he dialed Nora’s number.
“Hi…” Nora said, surprised that Phillip was calling her.
“Hello Nora. I hope you’re not surprised. You sound like it.” He laughed.
She laughed too. “Okay, okay. I am surprised. What does Mr. Perfect want?”
“Can we get to see? I want to discuss something with you.”
Nora said she would be home, and asked him to come over.
He got to her place in about forty five minutes, with the Ajah traffic, since the wedding reception held at Oniru.
Nora had changed from her maxi dress to her distressed bum shorts, and a v-neck low cut blouse, then she applied light make up and gaggled some Listerine for fresh breath. She had told the gate man to open the gate for Phillip already so when he knocked on her door, she took her time a little, before she opened it.
“Hi brother-in-law,” Nora said, standing on tip toe to hug him. She leaned into him as she hugged tightly. Phillip felt uncomfortable but tried not to make another fuss over nothing.
“I’m sorry I’m wearing this. I was sleeping before you came and didn’t have time to change into something else.” She said, waving her hands over her body. Phillip saw the cleavage. She had a cleavage that was very generous to the male eye. Thoughts began to run in his mind, and it occurred to him that it had been long he was with a woman. Nora noticed he was staring at her. She swayed her hips into the kitchen and came back with small chops and a glass of cold apple juice.
Phillip hesitated at first, but then, he sat and ate.
“This is so nice. Where did you order the small chops from?” He asked.
Nora laughed, bending consciously and flipping her weave to reveal more cleavage.
“Order ke? I made them.” She said.
“This is super! Do you run a small chops business?”
“No I don’t. Where is the time now? Work work all the time.”
Nora knew how to study people, and the minute she saw Phillip’s facial expression change, she knew he was thinking about Alex. She knew her best friend wasn’t a good cook at all. The maids did all the cooking, and all she was good at was Noddles.
“Are you hungry? Do you want something solid to eat?” She asked.
Phillip shook his head. He knew it wasn’t right to smell what he didn’t want to eat.
“I came to ask you something. I want to propose to Alex very soon.”
Nora was thrown off balance. It struck her like a blow. She let out a Wow! After about ten seconds.
“I know, right. ” Phillip smiled. “But I don’t know how to get the ring. So I want you to help me get something very classy and beautiful for her. You know what she likes. And I want us to plan the surprise for her together.”
Nora cleared her throat.
“Oh, yeah. Definitely.” She smiled.
“K! I should get going now. Need to stop by Alex’s house. Please not a word of this to her. I can trust you, right?”
“Let me get you more of those small chops. You seem to really like them.” She said and went into the kitchen. She wrapped some in foil paper, put the wrap in a carrier bag, and went to the living room.
“Here you go, brother-in-law,” She smiled, bending directly before him such that her cleavage was about a foot from his face. Phillip tried to pretend not to notice, but then, by mistake, she tripped and fell on him. He held her waist, trying to support her, then she kissed him and held him close.
Phillip kissed her back, but then, almost immediately, he realized what he was doing. He jumped, and walked to the door.
“This is crazy! You are crazy!” He cursed.
“But you kissed me back.”
He shook his head and walked out of the house.
Nora hissed. She actually was attracted to Phillip, and she wanted a young man, for a change, but he had walked out before she could seduce him more than she had.
Alex saw Nora’s call. She dropped the DSTV remote control, and picked up her phone.
“Hi babes. What’s up?” She said. She grabbed the remote to turn down the volume of the TV.
“Look, Phillip fell. I’m shocked. Thank God I screamed for help. I have learnt my lesson. I’ll never offer myself as a seductress.” Nora said.
Alex was so shocked that she staggered a bit.
“What?!” She shouted.
“I tried to seduce him a bit. But then he grabbed me and almost tore my clothes! Thank God for my gate man. You have really starved that man.”
“Wasn’t your mom home?”
Nora had lied to Alex that her mom had been paid by the school where she taught, so she had contributed some money to finish the bungalow her father had started building before he died.
“They are not around. I was the only one home.” Nora said.
Her phone beeped. Phillip’s call was waiting.
“The dog is calling me. Let me call you back.” Alex said, ended Nora’s call and picked Phillip’s.
Phillip didn’t know how to tell Alex but from the first day he met Nora, he knew she was no good and that was why he hadn’t wanted to give her his digits, but she was the only friend he knew that Alex had. It was better he spoke before Nora told Alex a different version of the story.
“Babe we need to talk. It’s urgent. Are you home?” Phillip spoke anxiously.
“If you as much as come near my gate, you will regret the day you met me, Phillip Tetsola.” Alex hissed angrily.
“Huh? What’s going on?”
Then it clicked. Nora might have said something.
“What did Nora tell you?” He asked immediately.
“So you admit it. It’s true.”
“What’s true? What lies did she tell you?”
“You know what, Phillip. I can’t deal right now. I just knew you were too good to be true. Why did I ever think you were any different?”
“I’m coming to your house. We need to talk.”
Alex knew if she let him come, and listened to what he had to say, she might change her mind. She didn’t want to be taken for granted. If nothing at all, she had learnt from her mother’s experience that men were not to be trusted one bit.
“I don’t have anything to say to you. How could you try to sneak and sleep with Nora? Because you’re not getting any from me, right? You know what, just get lost. It’s over. I’m done with this relationship.”
Phillip was stunned. Wasn’t this the easy going Alex he wanted to spend the rest of his life with?
“Alex you don’t trust me after all this time?”
“I trusted you. You betrayed my trust. A simple test and you failed it. Never call my number again.” She hung up.
Alex parked her Honda in Joan Okeke’s drive way, pulled the handbrake, then climbed out of the car. She felt uncomfortable in the Loubs she was wearing but she had to wear them anyways. What was the point of wearing hot shoes if you would end up stuffing them up in your closet? Beauty equals pain.
Joan had requested to see her, and she had been postponing the visit. She finally decided to honour the invite, and also check up on Rhoda, Joan’s daughter. They weren’t friends exactly, but they said hello and hi once in a while.
Rhoda hugged her and went to get some Pineapple juice from the fridge. She served it in a tray, with a small bowl of ice cubes and a small tea spoon.
“So, what’s up with you? How is the law firm and going to court and all that?”
Alex tried to make conversation.
“I don’t actually do litigation. More like commercial paper work.” Rhoda replied.
“Oh. That’s nice to hear.” Alex said. She didn’t really have anything else to say.
Joan joined them in a few minutes, with the usual “How is your mother?”
Rhoda got up to leave, and Joan laughed.
“She’s always so shy. I want you to help me take her out. She never goes anywhere. I doubt if she even has a boyfriend.” Joan said.
Alex smiled. “Aunty, free her now.”
“So how are things with you? How’s the bank you jilted us for?”
“I didn’t jilt you now. I just enjoy the bank job although it’s stressful. Is that why you didn’t employ my friend, Nora?” Alex said.
Joan shook her head.
“My spirit just doesn’t agree with that your friend. I actually want to warn you about her. I don’t think you should stick so close. I have a really strong feeling she’s danger.”
“Aunty Joan, I have known her for years. She is my best friend. And she has a really good heart too.”
“I don’t give my consent to that friendship though. But you know her better. Just be very prayerful.”
“I will,” Alex laughed. “How is Uncle Ejike?”
“He’s fine. He’s traveled out of the country to see Rhoda’s elder ones.”
Alex sipped her juice. Her phone rang. It was Phillip. She hissed and cut the call continuously.
“Is that your boyfriend? Your mother told me you’re seeing someone and it’s getting serious.” Joan said.
“I’m not seeing him anymore. We didn’t work out.”
“You children of nowadays, eh.” Joan clapped her hands in disapproval.
When Alex got home, her mother came to meet her in her bedroom almost immediately.
“You chased Phillip away? Are you out of your mind?” Lisa Udeh yelled.
Alex rolled her eyes. She couldn’t believe Phillip had come to see her mother.
“What did he say to you?” Alex snapped.
“It doesn’t matter. No man is perfect. He said Nora tried to seduce him and he tried to explain to you but you wouldn’t listen.”
“And you believe someone you just met over Nora you’ve known for years?”
“Phillip is your husband o. Mama Fadeke at church took me to her prophet and they have checked it o. Phillip is your husband. Don’t throw your future away o.”
Alex was surprised.
“Checked what, Mummy? You took my name to a prophet?”
“Don’t talk back when I’m talking. You will make up with Phillip or…”
“Or what Mummy?”
“You are so stubborn. Maybe this is even how your father’s white people are. You are so heady. You never listen to me.”
“Why did you mention my father in this matter now, eh?!” Alex yelled, angrily.
Lisa Udeh knew she shouldn’t have brought up her father’s issue. It always made Alex feel like a bastard.
“I don’t want you to stay friends with Nora anymore. What good is she to you by the way?”
“Mummy, I’m not going to say anything, okay. When you finish, please leave my room.”
Lisa charged at Alex angrily and slapped her face so hard it turned red. She wasn't having any of that rudeness.
“That’s it. I can’t take this rubbish anymore. I’m leaving this house. You will stay here and be alone.” Alex said, and started to pack some of her things into a small travel bag. She grabbed her car keys and drove down to Sango-Tedo.
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