That morning, I woke up extremely happy. I did my chores as fast as I could and when my aunt woke up, she met the floors mopped, the dishes done and I had started doing the laundry too.
“Today must be a good day o, Madam Efe”
“Ah, Mummy, Lagiesan, I intend to finish all the activities early enough so I can go to the saloon” I replied focusing on the clothes. I hated to lie, infact, I was not a good liar so I dodged any form of eye contact with her
“Thank God! You have decided to wash your hair?” she asked hands akimbo
“Ah, mummy, I have had this hair for two weeks, it’s not that old” I chuckled
“Look at this one. You made this hair when eromon was leaving this house.” Eromon was my in-law. Our daddy’s little niece. She also lived with us
“Oh, that’s true, but she left three weeks ago”
“Liar! She left 5 weeks ago” Rose joined in
“Better advise your sister o, advise her. At this rate, she will not find a husband” my aunty left to the kitchen to make breakfast for daddy. Their marriage was so enviable, despite being married for over 20 years, and with several girls in the house, she took it on herself to make his meals. My uncle never ate out. As a matter of fact, he always complained about people’s meal. His wife was the best cook and he was right, my aunt was a very good cook.
“Do you have a dress ready for today?” Rose winked
“Shhhhh, you’re shouting aunty” I observed wearily
“Relax. Daddy is still in his room. Mummy is on a call with aunty oduwa- aunty oduwa was mummy’s younger sister and my cousin who lived in the UK”
“We are alone” she pushed.
“Okay help me rinse those ones,” I beckoned
She joined me to wash but Rose would never be quiet she went on to talk about her friends in school and how they were expecting her while my head was filled with thoughts of him. Lanre…
“You know he likes short dresses” her voice alerted me
“He does?” I asked squeezing the very thick towel I had been scrubbing for the past 3 minutes
“Yes, plus you’re fair, flaunt the skin, let him see what he would be enjoying later on”
I swallowed hard
“Wait o, you are not ready to sleep with him?” She asked in a whisper
“Well, I… still have a boyfriend” I stammered
“Break up now. This guy is very good for you” she pressed on
“Yes true, even though I am not going to date Lanre, I have to break up with him”
“Exactly, that guy is a broke ass and he is not even ready for life.” She hissed
“Ah no o Rose, he has really tried for me, remember he gives me from the little he has, He supports me in school”
“Well, he has tried, now let him leave you for your husband” she eyed
That dazzled my stomach “husband” I sighed
“See, your wedding would be the talk of the town” she went on
“So when I marry, how do I see you?” I asked
“Well, I’ll come visit, stay a few days with you and then you’ll have plenty money to give me whenever I come around”
“True” I smiled.
Rihanna barked. Rihanna was one of our dogs, she was the home pet while the other two monster stayed locked till midnight.
“I think daddy’s close by. Rihanna only barks when she hears or smell daddy” I said
“Efe!” Daddy screamed
“Sir!” I rushed off to do his bidding
Good luck rose chuckled.
Lanre had been waiting for me at the restaurant for more an hour. Well, even though I started my chores earlier, I had to finish daddy’s bid before leaving the house. He had called me to wash his bathroom when I was done from washing and after I was done with chores, I spent another 15 minutes talking to him about the news. He liked intelligent minds. While every other person never liked to engage in a conversation with him, you will always find daddy and I seated talking about politics, the weather and my career. My aunty often had this funny smirk over her face and would sometimes say- “what do you enjoy talking with this old man?” He was about 20 years older than her. She too had to marry early to save her family from poverty luckily she married a good man. My uncle was kind to a fault. Ready to see others succeed and very principled.
By the time I was done talking with him about pharmacognosis, I was already 35 minutes late for the date.
I waltzed into the restaurant wearing a faded blue jean and a polo top.
The jean clung to my sides and my hips were being showcased. The polo top was light and swayed with the wind. I held my hair in a bun- I had also stopped to wash and relax my hair.
“Fine girl” he smiled
“I should be angry but I’m not. Rose called earlier to tell me you’d be running late; why didn’t you?”
“Urrm, I… I’m sorry.” How do I tell him I didn’t have call credit and I also didn’t want to take from the money with me because I had to have enough for transport?
“Who wouldn’t accept your apology? You’re a pure soul” he said looking into my eyes. His stares could strip me off my soul
I cleared my throat
“Sorry, what would you like to eat?”
“It’s a Chinese restaurant, you need to be more explicit” he replied
“I have never been to any” I said calmly
“He stared at me for a while, this place is the best place in town. You mean no one has brought you here?”
“Daddy doesn’t eat out, so no.”
“I do not mean daddy. I mean any one, like…”
“A boyfriend?” I cut him halfway
“Yes, a boyfriend”
“Well, sorry to disappoint you, no”
“You do have a boyfriend right?”
“Well, yes.” I looked up and smiled
“You’re pretty. Damn!” he bit his lips. That made me uneasy in a good way
“You don’t have a girlfriend? I’m sure you do.” I answered my self
“What’s funny, I asked. The waiter had brought our food. Chinese friend rice with something that simmered in a pot. I eyed the pot
“Well, I do not. I just broke up with my girlfriend”
“Hmmm” I replied mouthing my meal
See, I like you and I’m going to be straight about it. I want you to be my girlfriend”
“But I have a boyfriend.” I said
“Well, he is about to be girlfriendless” he swallowed his meal
“Let’s enjoy our meal baby.” He winked
My stomach clenched. ‘Baby’ I bit harder on my chicken to erase what I felt down there
We had our meal in silence and when we were done, he drove me home with a big hamper
“I really don’t know why you got these, I don’t know how I’ll take them inside the house”
He paused to look at me “are you sure you have a boyfriend?”
“What do you mean?”
“This shouldn’t be new”
“Well, it’s not like that…” I scratched my hair
He smiled and shook his head, he brought out his phone and dialed Rose’s number- “where you dey small head?” he teased
“Okay come outside, your sister needs your help with something”
Rose came with a big grin
“Thank you Larry.” She took the big shopping bag from me and walked towards the gate
“Wait, daddy?” I asked
“Uncle Tam dey outside, he will help me pass it through our window while I go through the main house” she winked
I sighed, “thank you!” I said
“Anything for you sisi” she replied and walked away
“Efe,” Larry’s voice filtered in
“I think I’m head over heels in love with you, you’re different.”
Hian was that how this worked, I thought to myself rolling my eyes.
“I know you think this is too fast, he continued. But I have never met a woman so pure and refined like you are. Please consider this, you will not regret this” he begged
“I leave for school in three days. UNILAG is far, how do we see?”
“Benin to Lagos is about 4 hours by road, besides, I could book your flight ticket every week”
“Like fly in a plane?” I asked
“Yes” he was shocked
“Sorry, I haven’t also flown before”
“Ahhh… this girl is going to be my wife” he laughed
“Why do you like my naivety?”
“It thrills me. In my line of work, I see the good, bad and ugly; all kinds. But you’re unique, rare. Different”
“So can I take you to the park at least?” he asked
“Alright call me when you’re alone”
“Errm, I might not be able to”
“Don’t worry, I just credited your line” he laughed
“How did you know?”
“I just figured” he laughed again
I opened the door to alight, but he held me by my elbow. “I love you Efe.”
“Larry, I’m not your kind of girl. I’ve never…” I sighed
“I know you’re not used to my kind of life, and the kind of guy I am but I’m willing to make a change” he said
“I can’t give you what you want” I said
“What do you think I want? I want to marry you. Every girl must want that right?”
“I’m a virgin!” I blurted
“Shut the door”
“You’re a virgin?”
“There was nothing like that between us” I fiddled with the edge of my top
“Wow!” He wiped his face. “For this Benin?” He laughed
“You’re 24 and still a virgin In Benin City? I must be dreaming”
“I don’t understand” I replied calmly
“I just knew it. I knew there was something about you… I…” he grabbed my hand.
“Efe, I’ll do anything for you, anything. I will not even touch you till we get married but please, be mine”
“That sounded really great to hear… I’ll sort that out and get back to you tomorrow.”
“I can still talk to you later right?”
“Yes you can”
I got down from the car and again, I could feel his eyes prying down my skin. My phone beeped, it was a notification that my line had been credited with N2000 worth of credit. I ran back to the car, he hadn’t driven off.
He wound down when he saw me coming back
“What’s wrong babe?”
“Errm, I just saw the credit. Thank you so much I said excitedly”
He laughed. “I just told you I’d do anything for you right?”
“One more thing” I said
“Please my chastity should be between us. Not even my cousin should know about this conversation”
He laughed again. I had soon recorded the sound of his voice in my head
“I knew you were trying to be like her- street smart, I might not have known you were a virgin, but I knew you wanted to blend in. Do not blend in baby. You’re unique and yes, everything from now onwards stays between the both of us.”
“Okay Larry” I waved
“Bye baby”. He made an effort to reverse his car
Pimmm! It was daddy’s honk… he was about to go out. I rushed in to use the smaller gate before the security opened the main gate where the vehicle would pass.
I walked briskly into the house to find Rose by the door
“See that glow mehn, you guys kissed, damn you kissed him!” she rolled out bouts of laughter
“I didn’t.” I smiled sheepishly even though I wished I did
“Oh! So what did you do then, Make out?”
I eyed her. “Let’s go to the room joor!”
“Eh! See this one o. Oya call your boyfriend”
I knew this would be a huge job. Breaking up with him would be difficult. “I’ll do that later”. I replied pushing the clothes off the bed. Our room was in a mess- Rose’s trademark
“No, do it now unless you want to cheat” she insisted
“I’m not even dating Larry yet”
“I pray o.” she laughed again
“Okay!” I took out my phone and called him the several minutes we spoke made me realize I couldn’t do this anymore. I was bored. I saw him more like a brother and what I hadn’t told you guys was that he abused me. He had hit me twice and wasn’t scared to do it again; was obsessed and a freak too. I knew the only way was to tell him my genotype was AS, he was AS too.
“We should take a repeat test tomorrow” he replied
“Okay” I responded
“You’re a mumu oh” Rose said when I hung up. “Why beat around the bush? Tell him it’s over na”
“This guy is my first boyfriend o babe, and he has really tried for me”
“But would you marry him?” she asked
“Exactly, so why keep him hanging. You’re helping yourselves by letting him go besides the guy looks like a freak. Calls you like 50 times to find out where you are and stuff”
“But it’s called love”
I nodded in agreement
“That’s not love sis, that’s manipulation, abuse. Let it go, embrace this good start”
I nodded again in agreement
She came closer held me and hugged me tightly. “You’ll be fine. Soon we will tell mummy you’ve found a husband. You’ll marry and help big mummy and everyone at home” she smiled
I held her tightly. She was right. I needed saving, my entire nuclear family needed Larry’s money.
To be continued next week....
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