Shade felt the warm rays of the sun caress her face and her eyes flickered open. She turned her head away from the sun and saw the picture of Kola her fiancé smiling at her. Next to that picture was the picture they took on a boat in Dubai with the Burj Khalifa in the background. She had fond memories of that weekend in Dubai. She tried to smile but was rewarded with a headache.
She sat up in bed and noticed that she was still wearing the clothes from yesterday. One thing she never did was wear her work clothes to bed. She got out of the clothes, rushed into the bathroom and took a shower. Minutes later she emerged from the bathroom, did her beauty routine and put on some new clothes.
She entered the kitchen and made herself a cup of mint tea. The heat of the brew helped to clear her head. The clock on the microwave oven read 9:23am. A frown creased her face as she looked at the time. She never slept this late on a Saturday. She was supposed to be at the gym at 7:00 am, but she had missed today’s session by two hours. She pushed aside the cup of tea as concern rose up in her mind. She remembered going to Uche’s apartment. She couldn’t remember leaving it or what happened afterwards. As hard as she tried she couldn’t remember where she had been last night.
Her phone beeped and rescued her from the agony of trying to figure out where the last eight hours of her life went. It was a text from Kola, her fiancé. He was on his way to her apartment and wanted to know if she was back from the gym. She evaded the question. Yes, she was in, she ended the conversation. He had requested for a key to her apartment but she had refused. They were not yet married and until then he had no right to barge into her apartment whenever he wanted. She needed her own space where she could think her own thoughts, process freely and do as she pleased. She felt some sadness as she looked around her apartment. She would miss this apartment when she moved into Kola’s house in Magodo after they returned from their honeymoon. She had so many fond memories, secrets locked in the walls of this house. After living here for seven years, the environment, the people, sights of Surulere had become a part of her life. She wished she could keep the apartment and return to it when she needed some alone time. But society wouldn’t allow her do that. It would be regarded as an act of rebellion for a young bride to retain her former apartment. Her mother would see it as resistance to marriage or the fear of moving into an uncertain future with her husband. She stood up and touched the leaves of the plant that grew in a pot by the window. She liked the scent of the flowers when they blossomed. There were other flowers pots on the balcony but this one was special. She even gave it a name. Cher. Its flamboyant colours reminded her of the ageless, iconic rock artist.
‘Where were you last night?’ Kola asked her as he drove.
‘I was at Uche’s place then I came back home to sleep,’ Shade avoided his eyes.
Kola gave her a curious look. ‘I called your phone over ten times but it was switched off. When did you start turning off your phone? We had an agreement that our phones should always be on in case of an emergency.’
‘I must have forgotten,’ Shade said without conviction.
Suddenly Kola veered off the road and entered a gas station. He found a spot and parked the car. Shade looked at his face and feared for what was about to happen. This could very well be the end of her intended marriage to him.
Kola held the steering wheel tightly. Shade watched him.
He turned to her. ‘Shade, I am going to ask you one more time. Tell me the truth. I know you weren’t with Uche last night. I called her at 11:25pm. She said you had left her apartment and you said you were going to your mother’s place. I called your mother and she said you were not at her place.’ Kola paused and rubbed his palms together. Shade said nothing.
He continued. ‘I was tempted to call your pastor and let him know what was going on but it crossed my mind that if I brought him into the matter, there were questions I wouldn’t be able to answer. He could also tell us to call off our wedding. I didn’t want that to happen, so I didn’t call him. but if you don’t start talking to me, I will call your pastor and tell him what is going on.’
Tears came to Shade’s eyes as she listened to Kola. She saw the end of her relationship with him. She saw the wedding cancelled. She saw herself shamed out of the church. She saw herself mocked by fake and false friends who would rejoice about her break-up with Kola Owolabi. Her face would be splattered on social media platforms and people would call her mean names. Continue reading
‘This looks so good on you,’ Uche said admiring the necklace on her friend’s neck.
Shade smiled. ‘And it is real gold,’ she said with some pride.
Uche examined the pendant that swung from the chain. She had a concerned look on her face. ‘Shade, this looks like a mermaid. Why are you wearing it?’
Shade caressed the pendant. ‘This was a Christmas gift from deacon Soleye in church. It came with a matching bracelet.’
Uche sat back in her chair. ‘Deacon Soleye gave you a necklace and bracelet as a Christmas gift? That doesn’t sound right. Why would he give you such a gift when he knows that you are already taken by another man? What did Kola your fiancé say about this?’
Shade’s eyes fell like a child who was caught lying. ‘I didn’t tell him about this.’ She lifted her head. ‘And I will really appreciate it if you kept this between us.’
Uche regarded her friend with suspicion. ‘You mean a man gave you such an expensive gift and you didn’t tell the man you are going to marry? What is going on here?’
Shade was silent for a moment, then she turned to Uche. ‘Kola is my fiancé and not my husband. We are not yet married. Should I tell him everything that goes on in my life? Shouldn’t I have some privacy?’ she asked.
Uche’s mouth hung open as she regarded her friend in shock. ‘I don’t understand. Are you telling me that the introduction and wine carrying ceremony you did in Osogbo counted for nothing? Remember that Kola was ready to go ahead with the whole wedding formalities but you said he should wait until April. Why you did that I have no idea. That guy was ready to marry you but you said he should wait and now you are saying that you want some privacy in your life? Are you really sure you want to get married? Uche asked her friend.
‘This is not what you think it is. You are taking everything out of context,’ Shade said.
‘What context? Isn’t Kola your fiancé anymore?’
‘He is but this gift has nothing to do with our…’ Shade stopped talking mid-sentence. She tilted her head away from Uche as if she was trying hard to hear something. Uche noticed the far away look she had in her eyes.
‘Shade, are you okay?’ Uche asked her.
Shade dropped the glass of orange juice she was drinking on the table. ‘I have to leave.’ She began to look around to put her things inside her bag.
Uche gave her a look. ‘Why are you leaving? You haven’t spent thirty minutes in this house.’ Shade said nothing. She was still looking around her to make sure she took all her items with her.
Uche regarded her closely. ‘Where are you going at this hour of the night? This was supposed to be a sleep over. Is it your mother?’
Shade nodded, her eyes not really focused on anything. ‘Yes, it is my mother. She needs me now,’ she stood up. Uche got up with her and held her hand.
‘Shade,’ Uche looked into her eyes. ‘It is almost 11pm at night. You told Kola you would sleep over at my place. Why are you changing your mind? It seems so sudden.’ Uche noticed that Shade’s hand was growing cold. She dropped it and stepped back. ‘Shade, I don’t think you should go anywhere tonight. Wait until tomorrow morning and I promise you that I will go with you to go see your mother.’
‘It will be too late by then. I have to leave now.’ She reached for the door and opened it.
Uche watched her leave with trepidation. Continue reading
The Enemy Within 3
“Get out! All of you! Out!”
Delilah hit a tray of red grapes off the trembling hands of a female servant and sent it crashing to the floor. The liberated grapes rolled on the floor and hid in dark corners.
Servants and bodyguards scurried out with heads bowed.
“Not you Aselah. You stay.”
A blond Swede played a harp in a room decorated in blue. She played skilfully.
Two eunuchs remained motionless in their positions.
“How dare that Jew treat me like a commoner. Treated me like a whore!”
Dinner was set on a large table in the centre of the room. It had been prepared for the seduction of Samson, but unfortunately he wasn’t going to be around tonight. Delilah picked up a plate of kebabs from the table and threw it at a mirror. Pieces of broken glass flew in different directions.
“A Jew. Defied by a Jew!”
She walked among the statues of pagan deities which had incense burning before them. She stood before the statue of Isis, the Egyptian goddess.
“How could this have happened to me? I am feared and respected by friends and foe. People pay me a lot of money to bring men to their knees!” She pushed down a flower vase.
Aselah hastily followed her enraged mistress around the apartment, picking up and arranging after her.
Delilah sat down before Kali, the sex goddess of the Phoenicians.
“I tried to seduce Samson but he resisted me. How could that be? What is wrong with me?” She looked pleadingly at Kali as if expecting an answer from the dumb idol. She stood up, walked past a wall with a display of deadly weapons, threw herself on a recliner and cuddled a red pillow.
“I Seduce kings. Powerful politicians are reduced to nothing before my beauty. The rich beg to get into my bed. I am irresistible. I am Delilah!” She screamed.
“Since your beauty has failed you, perhaps you should consider other options.” Lizah Chan walked into her bedroom. She was the only one who dared. Her steps were silenced by the Persian rug which covered the entire floor. Her bodyguards remained at the door.
Delilah ended her insane rant, raised her head and looked at her friend.
Lizah was born of a Syrian father and a Chinese mother. She inherited her mom’s oriental features and her dad’s light brown skin and height. She sat beside Delilah on the recliner, her slanted eyes full of uncanny oriental wisdom.
“So you heard?” Delilah asked.
“The news is all over Gaza. It is no longer a secret that your charms could not seduce Samson the Jew. If you don’t fix this, things could go really bad.”
“Nothing can taint my reputation. It took me several years to build this. No one can take it away from me.” Delilah stood up.
“You are wrong my friend. If you don’t do some damage control now, your business of seduction could become a thing of the past. Your reputation will be irreparably damaged. Your rich clients will dump you. You will go broke. You may end up standing on street corners soliciting clients.”
“Surely you must be kidding,” Delilah said.
“Do you see me laughing?” Lizah asked. Continue reading