The day was over and the TOP building was getting scantier by the second and people left for their homes in their numbers.
Zainab was done directing the last show of the day, it was a fashion show so she actually did more of the directing than just standing back and watch as the director in charge of fashion shows did his work.
Zainab had always been a survivor and a strong lady who never let anyone push her around and thus her parents and siblings had long stopped worrying about her wellbeing because they knew she was just fine without them. As she wrote a report on how the day went, thoughts of her family crossed her mind and she instantly made a mental note on that spot to travel to Canada and see her family the first chance she got, she had no idea why they crossed her mind but she sure liked the fact that it did.
Finally, after thirty long minutes of transferring excerpts from her notes into the report sheet, she finally gave a sigh of relief as she tapped on the send button on her computer screen and waited for the “YOUR EMAIL HAS BEEN SENT” alert that came up immediately after the message had been delivered. Zainab wondered why she couldn’t just write the report down and on her way out, drop it at the management office rather than email it to them, but rules were rules and TOP sure had their ways of doing things.
Zainab stood up from her chair and with the speed of light, she picked up her handbag and stormed out of the building heading straight to the car park, by this time, the building was so empty that the little drops of water which came from the water dispenser which hadn’t been locked properly could be heard from someone like Zainab who was at a really considerable distance from it.
She had gotten to the car park and was about to enter her car when she was startled by a “hey! Zain” . She turned back, expecting to see E.A who was the only person who used to call her that but to her greatest surprise it wasn’t E.A but Henry.
“Henry!” She exclaimed in surprise, “What are you still doing here by this time of the day?”
Henry grinned, “I’m a grown man, I don’t have a curfew anymore and besides, I wanted to see the most beautiful lady on earth before she left.”
Zainab sighed, “Let me give you a tip, flattery annoys me, so please stop it.”
“Do you have a mirror?” Henry asked.
“What does that have to with what we are talking about now?” Zainab asked looking perplexed.
“Everything. I doubt you have a mirror because if you did, you would have seen yourself and know I’m not flattering you.”
Zainab hated flattery but that line got to her and she could feeling her cheeks get red, “aren’t you going home?” She quickly asked in an attempt to change the topic.
“Oh! Yeah, that brings me to the second reason why I was waiting for you. I was hoping you would give me a lift?” Henry asked.
Zainab smiled, “sure, no problem. Hop in!”
Henry gave her a charming smile and went round the car to the seat beside the driver’s seat to seat down, she entered the car and switched it on, before she zoomed off, she asked, “where do you stay?”
“Don’t worry, when we get to where I’ll stop, I’ll let you know.” Henry said, he still had the proud grin on his face and he was starting to look more like Boniface, or so Zainab thought.
She drove out of the car park.
* * * **
There is usually this period just before someone faints where he or she sees two stars and a red comical devil with horns and a garden fork.
As Jummy saw this abomination, she started seeing the stars and the Devil but before she could actually faint, the voice of John snapped her back to reality.
“Jummy! What are you doing here?!” He asked frantically. “I thought you are on your way to China?!”
A thousand possible responses ran through Jummy’s head but none of them seemed suitable for the occasion so she just stared at John and Samuel who had sat down on the bed still naked in silence.
“I… I…. didn’t want you to find out like this.” John added as he saw Jummy had no plans of saying anything.
Jummy was startled by that statement, “what do you mean?!” She asked. She knew what it meant but just had to ask.
John stared at Jummy for a few seconds before walking to the bed side table where a bottle of brandy and two glasses were, he filled one cup and turned to Samuel, “do you care for a drink?” Samuel shook his head to signify no so John took a sip from the glass cup. With the glass cup in his hand, he walked to the other side of the bed and picked up two boxers, he threw one to Samuel and wore the other, Samuel did the same and wore his boxers too.
John then went to sit beside Samuel and pecked him right in the presence of Jummy who was boiling with rage now.
“Well, as you can see, I’m bisexual.” John started. “I was born this way and I’ve gotten used to it, Samuel is purely homosexual though and he doesn’t mind me dating and screwing the opposite sex.”
Jummy stared at him with rage and if her eyes were guns, John would have been long dead. She couldn’t believe her eyes and ears. She had expected a lot of apologizes and John chasing her, literally rolling on the floor and begging her with a good explanation but here he was, speaking calmly like two guys being naked in a room is a normal thing.
“Please, don’t get it all twisted. I love you, I really do and would love to marry you someday, what I and John have is just a beneficial sexual relationship, I have urges that needs to be satisfied you know?”
“John, what’s wrong with you?” Jummy said sympathetically, something told her John was either high or possessed by some very powerful marine spirits.
“See, don’t take this to another level oh,” John said slightly raising his voice, “my mum is disturbing me over marriage and grandchildren issues and I plan on giving her what she want, I could have picked any girl on the street to marry but I didn’t want to live with someone I didn’t have anything for. So when you came around and l fell in love with you, I knew you were the one for me.” John stood up and poured some of the brandy into the second cup, he picked it up and went towards Jummy and offered it to her, she took it but didn’t drink it. “Jummy, I know you love me and I love you too, we can have a happy marriage, you won’t even have to work again because I’ll give you a weekly allowance that’s more than twice your monthly salary at GNP, and also I’ll be the best husband you’ve ever had, I was even going to propose to you when you come back from your trip.”
Jummy could hear the voice of her mum in her head, her mum was as usual, asking her for grand kids.
Jummy took a sip of the drink, “you have to promise to end whatever you have with Samuel or any other guy right now!” She said, she couldn’t believe she just said that but what other option did she have.
John suddenly started laughing, “That’s where we might have a problem. I can’t stop even if I wanted to. You’ll have to take me like this, as you might have seen, I’m pretty good in bed so you won’t even notice the difference between me and a straight guy. The only thing I can promise is, Samuel would be the only guy and just so you know, you can go ahead and date other guys even while we are married, I wouldn’t mind as long as you still remain my wife.”
Jummy took another sip of the drink and wanted to say something but instead, she felt her eyes get suddenly moist and she knew she was about to start crying.
* * * **
She tried to hold back the tears at first but couldn’t anymore as she burst out wailing. Her feet felt so weak and couldn’t carry the weight of her body any longer so she slumped with a loud thud and cried so violently with all her soul that if tears could change everything back to normal, her tears would have.
She was crying because she had just watched the best thing in her life turn into her worst nightmare all in a few minutes, she was crying because she had been fooled by John so easily, she was crying because no one had warned her, she was crying because she had been so blinded that she didn’t think of anything fishy when John said no to sex, she was crying because she saw nothing wrong with two fully grown men living in one house and only one did all the hustling, but most of all she was crying because she was ashamed of herself that she was even considering John’s offer.
It seemed like a good deal. She would finally give her nagging mum the grand child she wanted, she would be called a “MRS” and no longer “MISS,” she won’t have to keep up with the GNP drama anymore with Stephen and Mrs Ogbanaya playing with her like a toy. And to top it all, she would have more money than she could spend, it was indeed a great deal that most ladies would jump into without any hesitation.
John squatted close to her and said, “you don’t have to give me a reply now, go home and think about it but you have to reply me before the week runs out so I’ll know if I should still buy the engagement ring.” With that, John stood up and walked out of the room.
Samuel stood up and walked to the door, before he walked out of the room, he turned to Jummy, “you might have noticed I don’t really like you, I even told John to go after that your friend but he was more attracted to you, should I give you an advice?”
With her eyes clouded with tears, Jummy looked up at Samuel inquisitively, “take the deal, John can have the present Miss Nigeria if he wants with the snap of a finger, but he chose you which means you are truly special to him. As he said, what we both have is just a beneficial sexual relationship, nothing more.”
Samuel walked out of the room too leaving Jummy all alone, the deal seemed more attractive now.
She cried for an extra hour and with a huge effort, she called for a cab, she could risk driving in her situation.
The cab came some minutes later and she gave the driver Zainab’s address. She needed to talk to someone and Zainab was the only one that crossed her mind.
* * * **
As Zainab cruised pass the huge platform which had “WELCOME TO FESTAC” written above it, she began to wonder why Henry hadn’t dropped yet.
The journey hadn’t been so much fun as Henry hadn’t spoken much and Zainab wasn’t much of a talker neither, that was why she and Jummy made a good team because Jummy did all the talking for her.
She looked at Henry and then turned back to face the road, but then she glanced at Henry again and back at the road, she wasn’t to ask him why he hadn’t dropped but just didn’t.
Henry who had been silently observing her finally asked, “I’m I that cute?” He smiled.
“Huh?” Zainab exclaimed, who is deceiving this one? She thought.
“You have been staring at me for quite a long while now, am I that attractive to look at?”
Zainab laughed, “You don’t really want me to answer that.”
Henry joined her laughing, “You are a case. Anyway, how was your day by the way?”
“Hectic as usual, but I survived. How about yours, I read the report you wrote and I guess your day went pretty smooth, right?”
“Yes, but not entirely,” Henry replied and switched on a sober look. “What went wrong?” Zainab asked.
“I was kind of hoping we would hang around all through the day, but you barely spent a minute.”
“Oh! My work is basically to supervise and take notes. I still wonder why they call me a director since all sections has a sub-director already. So when I saw you had it all covered, I didn’t think it was necessary I hanged around.
“And at the end of the day, you take all the glory,” Henry sighed and added, “a typical case of monkey-work-baboon-chop.”
Zainab giggled, “And if things don’t go well, I take all the blame.” Henry just smiled and kept quiet.
Zainab sighted her bus stop just at the end of the road and became worried once more, “aren’t you going to drop? I’ve almost gotten home.”
“Yes, I am, don’t worry about me, I’ve got it all covered.” He grinned. “Okay oh, Mr I’ve-got-it-all-covered,” she teased and the both laughed.
As Zainab cruised into the road her house was on, her head lamp caught a glimpse of a figure at her gate, she had long fired the former security guard so she wondered who that could possibly be. She kept her thoughts to herself and cruised closer to the gate.
Just as she was about to drive pass the house before hers, Henry spoke, “I’ll drop here.”
“Sorry?” She asked like she didn’t hear what he said. “I said you should stop here.”
“Why? Do you live here?” She asked looking confused.
“Yeah, for now though. This is a TOP official house and since I’m now on their payroll, they gave it to me to live in. It’s a coincidence that we are now neighbours.” Henry winked.
Zainab just smiled and parked the car, she knew it was more than a mere coincidence, but she couldn’t complain, she knew all of this was just Henry’s way of getting her attention and she liked his method… Creative.
She drove to her gate and stepped out of her car to go and open the gate when she saw who had been standing at her gate all along, it was someone who she least expected, “Toafeek!” She exclaimed, “What are you doing here?”
Toafeek grinned, “Is that how you greet your elder brother you haven’t seen in years?”
Zainab felt something was wrong because experience had taught her that august visitors never really brought good news with them. Before Zainab could reply a cab pulled up beside her car at the front of her house and Jummy stepped out of it. Her eyes were swollen and she looked like a mess. Zainab knew something was wrong somewhere.
“Any problem here?” Henry asked as he had gotten closer to Zainab, he spotted Toafeek before he walked into his house and thought it might be trouble, so he decided to come and be Zainab’s knight in a shining armour.
Zainab looked at Jummy, then back at Toafeek before staring at Henry, she could sense a long night ahead.