True to his words, John appeared in front of Jummy’s house by nine PM. He did the sign of the cross and murmured a silent prayer before pressing the doorbell. He waited for a few seconds and when he got no response, he pressed the bell once again… The door swung open just as he was about to press it the third time.
Jummy stood before John, looking the hottest she had ever been or well, that’s what John thought. She had on a custom made black Louis Vuitton dress that looked like it had been sown on her body because it fitted her perfectly. And just to complement her blue Gucci shoe, she held a small Prada purse of the same colour as the shoe. In the purse was a few N1000 notes which she didn’t plan on spending unless the date goes totally wrong, in other words, it was her “Vex-Money”, meaning the money she would use to settle her bills and go home if John somehow got her vexed. Typical Jummy.
John stared at Jummy totally spell bound for over a whole minute, it took Jummy’s statement snapped him back to reality, “Are we going to stand here all day”.
“No… No… Pardon my manners. I was just…” John cleared his throat thinking of the right word to describe what just happened to him. “I was just wondering how I’ll protect myself tonight.” He concluded.
Jummy looked confused. “Protect yourself?”
“Yeah! With your current dazzling looks, I’m sure people would stare at you all night long and get jealous and I don’t want that because the next thing they would plan is how to get rid of me so that they can take over.” John kept quiet afterwards and turned on his best smile hoping Jummy would get his point. She did.
“Well the first step is getting me into your car quickly, so the neighbours won’t see me.” Jummy replied grinning.
“Oh! That’s true.” John replied and led the way to beat-up FORMERLY red Beetle or Tortoise Car as commonly called. The car had terrible scratches and needed a thorough body work, it looked like something that had just been picked from the dumpster. John opened a door and ushered Jummy inside.
“What is this?” Jummy asked. Not really sure if she should be annoyed or confused. “What?” John asked, trying to look sincerely confused.
“Where is your car?”
“This is it na,” John replied, grinning widely and pointing at the car at his front.
“No! Asin where is your car, because if this is a joke, it ain’t funny anymore.” Jummy was clearly irritated at this point.
“Why don’t you enter first and I’ll tell you the whole story on our way to the restaurant.”
Jummy contemplated on his suggestion and even though she hated the whole idea, she decided to just give him the benefit of doubt. She entered the horrible looking car.
John quickly went over to the driver’s seat and they were on the road within seconds, Jummy was surprised the car could even start.
“So what’s your story?” Jummy asked coldly.
John sighed. “Well, it’s a long story and it might sound stupid to you but the first thing you should know is, I’m sort of broke at the moment.”
Jummy laughed uncontrollably, with John’s family wealth and chain of companies, it was literally impossible for him to be broke. “What do you mean?”
“After our little situation. I kind of decided to make some changes in my life to prove to you that I’m a changed man.”
“I’m listening,” Jummy said.
“For starters, it was difficult but as I’ve stated before, I chased Samuel out of my place, then I moved out of the place too because I could afford to maintain it anymore.” John suddenly hit the brakes to avoid a reckless “Keke Marowa” (a tricycle) driver who obviously didn’t horn before trying to overtake the Beatle.
Normally, in such situation, Jummy would have cursed the living hell out of the driver but she was in a different world of hers, trying to understand what John was talking about. “What do you mean?” She asked, to urge him to continue his story.
“Well, I read on one gossip blog about how Zainab’s brother, Toafeek, left his palace at Canada to come and hustle in Nigeria all in the name of independence, and I was touched.”
Jummy sighed. She had no fucking idea how the blogs got to know about that even though only she and Zainab were meant to know. It was shocking and she made a mental note not to downgrade the quality of Nigerian Blog news anymore.
“Touched?” She finally asked.
“Yes. I mean, it was very stupid and unrealistic of the guy to do that and a fully breed Nigerian would never do such but I guess Toafeek isn’t really a Nigerian considering he had spent his whole life abroad so I guess that explains that.”
“You haven’t told me how or why you are broke yet.” Jummy said.
“Well I did something similar to him. I felt that all my life, I’ve been under my dad’s umbrella and I too, just like Taofeek want to be independent.”
Jummy opened her mouth in shock. “So you just dropped everything and …”
“Drop everything? No oh! I’m not as dumb as Taofeek. I took enough money to start a new business or so I thought. I wanted to invest in what I know how to do best which is Clothing and Textile so I literally stole a ridiculous amount from the family’s account and invested it in the company but I guess I undermined the cost of starting a company on my own. So I had to take loans and sell my car to balance the costs, that’s why I’m riding this thing now.”
Jummy was speechless. She was wondering what’s wrong with all these men who were going solo and leaving the family business without proper consultations. Is that the new trend? She wondered.
“Why didn’t you just go back to the family’s account and take more money?” She asked.
“My dad was mad at me so to make sure I don’t do what you just suggested, he made a few calls to the bank and I’m sure you know what that means.”
Jummy looked at John and somehow, she could see his sincerity and determination to impress her, although she didn’t quite get how he expected being broke to look impressive.
“I don’t care if you are broke or not. You are still going to pay for this dinner!” Jummy said and they both burst out in laughter.
SPLASH!!! Was all Taofeek needed to wake up. He could feel something liquid on his face and entire body as a whole.
With his eyes closed, he started pondering what the hell was going on around him but he seemed to have forgotten everything, even his name so he had to focus on himself and started murmuring words to himself.
What’s my name? Tayo? No, Picnic? No, Trojan? Hell no! Jim Iyke? No! He smiled. It starts with a T, he thought and then it suddenly popped into his head. Toafeek!
Okay, good, so where the hell am I? He asked himself once again but before he could think about it… SPLASH!!! And bucket of water was poured on his face.
He instinctively attempted to open his eyes and it took a while for his sight to get accustomed to the dark room which only source of light was a 60 watts yellow bulb which seemed to be powered by a low current power source.
With a failed attempt at trying to see who was pouring water at him, he decided to at least look at his environment, sadly, there wasn’t much to see. All that was in the room was the chair he sat on, the bulb and a fan that made a loud squealing sound and was spinning at an annoyingly slow speed… He wondered why they even bothered to switch on the fan.
“Hello Taofeek.” He heard a voice say and for a moment, he thought it was just his imagination.
“How are you doing?” The voice said again, this time, Toafeek was sure it wasn’t his imagination.
“Where am I? Who are you?” Toafeek asked, he intended to yell, but didn’t have enough energy to do so.
“Straight to the point hun? I like that. Anyway, I’m Mr Dayo, like I stated a few hours ago and I can’t tell you exactly where you are because that would spoil the fun.”
“What am I doing here?”
“I thought you were smart? You have been kidnapped but don’t to worry, I’ll make sure you aren’t harmed… Well, that’s if you cooperate with us. And firstly, you have to tell me your phone password so we can make contact with your celebrity sister so she can send the ransom and we can let you go.”
Suddenly, Taofeek recalled everything, starting from when he was seeking a job to him walking into a suppose Ginger Net and then a Mr Dayo placing a handkerchief on his nose… That was all he could remember. The last words of Mr Dayo rang in his head “welcome to hell” so he tried to stand up from the chair, it was only then he realized he was tied down to the chair. He struggled and struggled but the rope seemed to be getting tighter.
It was clear he had no other option. “The password is 3210.”
The day ended pretty well for Zainab. She and Henry had spent almost the whole day together at work and she had enjoyed his company, he had a good sense of humour so she ended up laughing till tears rolled down her cheeks.
As she stepped into her car, Henry had reminded her of their date later on that night and she tried asking him for the details but he had refused to tell her, saying it was a surprise and she should dress simple.
She sighed and drove home in anticipation of what Henry had planned.
She got home by 6PM which only meant she had less than two hours to prepare for the date. She walked into the bathroom and took a long thirty minutes shower, making sure she scrubbed every sweat pore properly, then she went to the kitchen and fixed herself a cereal, she didn’t take anything heavy just in case Henry’s surprise plan involved eating dinner.
She was ready for the date within the next hour and by 8:00PM sharp she was already with her purse and waiting for the bell to ring, signifying Henry’s arrival.
By 8:05PM the doorbell went life and Zainab ran to the door and unlocked the door. “You are late!” She said.
“Yeah, I was at your door post by 7:50PM, I didn’t want to seem too desperate so I decided to wait a few minutes before I pressed the bell.” Henry winked.
Zainab couldn’t help but smile, the date was just starting and Henry was already cracking jokes. She had a good feeling about the date.
“Well, now that you’ve told me your intentions, you look pretty desperate. So I guess your plan didn’t work.” Zainab replied grinning.
“You make it sound like you aren’t in my shoes too.” “How?” Zainab asked.
“Look at you! I didn’t have to even press the bell twice before you opened the door. It was as if you were standing at the door waiting for me to arrive.”
Zainab cheeks went red in embarrassment. “May we proceed?” She said to change the topic.
“No!” Henry replied abruptly. “Why?”
“You are over dressed for where I’m taking you to. I told you to dress simple and by simple, I meant just a jean and a top not a fancy Made-In-Tokyo dinner dress.” Henry replied looking serious.
“You know you are a pain in the butt right?” Zainab said as she walked back into the house and let Henry through.
“Yes, I know I am. Now, can you do me a favour and go and change into a simple jean and top?”
Zainab didn’t bother replying. She just did as told, obviously pissed. Normally she would have cancelled the date on that spot, but there was just something about Henry she couldn’t resist and then she was really curious about what he had planned for the night.
Few minutes later, Zainab materialized before Henry wearing a jean and top. “Shall we?” She asked.
“How do you do it?” Henry asked. “Do what?”
“I told you to wear a jean and top thinking you would look less fabulous but here you are, looking more fabulous than ever. Can you do me a small favour?” He asked.
Zainab was now over blushing, her cheeks were fiery red and she could literally feel her head swelling… Like literally.
“What favour?” She asked, hoping Henry didn’t notice her blushing. “Can you change back into the gown?”
Zainab couldn’t hold it anymore, she burst into an uncontrollable laughter and Henry joined her.
“Just kidding,” he said. “Now can we start going?” “Sure… Of course.” She replied in laughter.
They both left the house and entered Henry’s car. He switched on the car and did something very strange. He drove for a few seconds and pressed the horn at the front of his home gate. The security guard came out almost immediately and opened the gate for him to drive in.
Zainab couldn’t help but stare in confusion. “Are we changing cars or what?” She asked.
“Nope… I have just one car na. What gave you that impression?”
“Err… Shouldn’t we be heading to wherever you are taking me to and not parking your car in you compound?”
“This is ‘wherever I’m taking you to’. Just follow my lead.” He said.
Zainab wanted to protest but didn’t. This date just got quite interesting she thought.
The both walked into the house and Henry took her to the kitchen. She sat on a chair staring at him as he filled a pot with water and placed it on the fire.
“What are you doing?” She asked.
“I’m boiling the pot.” He said sarcastically.
“No, seriously? Shouldn’t we be on our date by now?”
“This is the date,” Henry said. “I’m going to cook for you now then we would go to the dining table and eat.” Henry replied grinning.
“This is what you had planned!” Zainab exclaimed. “Yup.”
“Can you even cook?” Zainab asked.
“I’m not entirely sure but I plan on finding out now…” “What do you want to cook?”
“Promise me you won’t laugh and I’ll tell you.” Henry replied with a wink. “I promise.”
“Well, I’m cooking Indomie Noodles and Egg.”
For the second time that night, Zainab burst out into an uncontrollable laughter. “And you filled the pot with water? Do you plan on cooking one carton?” She asked between laughter.
Henry scratched his head in response. “I thought that…”
“Get away from there let me teach you how to cook Indomie.” Zainab cut in as she stood up and walked towards the gas cooker.
She emptied half of the water from the pot into the sink and place it back on the fire. “Where is the Indomie?”
“Wait… Wait… Wait oh! I plan on cooking for you and I plan on doing that, you can tell me how to cook it but you ain’t cooking it. So tell me what to do next.” Henry said with a false serious face, trying his best not to smile.
“You know you are a clown right?” Zainab replied.
Before Henry could think of a reply, Zainab phone went life as it rang. She went to purse and brought out her phone.
“Hello?” She asked and listened to caller.
Henry watched as the smile on her face faded.
Immediately as she dropped the phone she slumped to the floor. “What happened?” He asked.
“My brother… My brother… My brother…” Was all she kept on repeating as if in shock.