#5DaysToVals Contest Entry submitted by Anomuogharan Tanrose
Its valentine’s night. I reserved the best suite in my hotel to make it a memorable one for me and Nkiru. The touch of red and white decoration complemented my white suit and red trouser which I completed with a red long sleeve shirt, white shoe and white bow tie. Off course, the table for two, soft music, her favourite red wine and a chef to serve us food was ready in place. I intend proposing to Nkiru with a diamond ring customised in her name. Then, I discovered two of my best friends have slept with her. It came to my notice when I used her picture which I snapped with my phone while she was still asleep one beautiful morning after a nice time together at my house, as my BBM and WHATSAPP dp.
Girls keep the best picture folders. A day hardly goes by without them taking selfies. Some even snap themselves while brushing their teeth and upload it on social media. Not Nkiru. You won’t see a single photo of her in her phone. Just her friends. You will not even find her in their group photos. Its same thing in her social media profiles. She never snap or get in any with people. I am not much of the photo type myself so I wasn’t troubled by her not having a single photo of herself.
“Why bother about the picture when the live figure is all here and yours?”
She will joke whenever I suggested she use her picture at least in one of her social media accounts, if not her messengers.
“Super, I thought you said you don’t need her.”
“Super Joe, you ehnn. So you go our back go hit her after you told us you don’t want her. I always knew your bad guy is still alive.”
“Finally, Joe got a woman, and she is a queen. This one bad oh. When are we meeting her?”
Rasheed, Uche, and Kelvin, my best friends, pings. After the red LED light of my blackberry phone caught my attention.
“I don’t understand you. Meet me at boyz 2 Men”
“What are you talking about? Boyz 2 Men. Kelvinband Uche are also Online”
” Boyz 2 men.”
I responded to their pings.
“That girl on your dp. That’s Paula nau. The girl I wanted to hook you up with, for your big clients.”
“Yeah. That’s Paula, the one we Boyz 2 Men about
Las time we were suggesting you start pimping your big clients to keep them coming for more and spending all their cash, whenever they visit.”
“Make una leave Joe alone. The boy is in love.”
“Father, you too no remember the discussion? na the girl na. Super don go colloby her for our
back. No offence cha, na our man. We no go collect consultation fee.”
“Consultation fee where, Rasheed? Be serious in your life for once. That’s Nkiru the girl I intend
getting married to. She is everything different from your kind. She doesn’t even snap pictures, not to talk of stripping for those fat belly useless clients of yours.”
“Super I say that na Paula. Abi my eyes dey deceive me again? I never kush, I for say you dey right small.”
“Uche maybe you don kush you forget.”
“Super, Uche know that girl like he knows a fake Kush. That na girl we don chop but no gree clean mouth many times na. She sabi work die. Our clients dey confirm am. She dey roll With three girls right?
“Yeah. Anyone can be rolling with three girls. Girls are known to walk in group of two or three.”
“Their names na chidinma, Lauretta, and Sonya.”
“I only know Chidinma, Bola, and … What’s that her Edo name again… Okay, Esohe.”
“Those ones na carpet names. Their real names na Paula, Lauretta, and Chidinma. This one na Paula.”
“You guyz are not making sense here. Any evidence to show this girl you are talking about is the same one Joe intend to marry?”
“Hmmmm… She no dey snap picture. Nobody get her pin or know her social media ID. She is strictly business.”
“Uche is right. These girls are strictly business. But we know what we are saying. Super we know this girl.”
“People look alike, you know. The girl you know is not my Nkiru.”
“I say I know this girl! This can’t be her look alike na!
“You know what guyz, I even want to meet this girl myself. Let’s us meet this weekend. All bills on Joe.”
I said, to end the group chat that was about spoiling my valentine. Then, Nkiru showed up looking like Cinderella immediately She put on that fairy shoe in front of the prince.
“Sorry am a little bit late.”
“No complain provided you use the time to look this gorgeous.”
I responded as I pull the chair beside me for her to sit. She giggled. I smiled. Then, the red LED light of my phone caught my attention again. So I decided to end the group chat and concentrate on the beautiful night ahead.
“Check your mail. CCTV video.”
“CCTV no dey lie. I. Mail you my own self.”
Without wasting time. I checked my Gmail. And quickly downloaded the videos. Uche’s own downloaded faster than that of Rasheed so I played it first. I thought it was a sex tape of them with her. It was a five minutes video of Uche, my Nkiru and her three friends at the pool side of his hotel. All of them dancing in front of him to Wizkids ‘show you the money.’ My countenance changed immediately. I didn’t want to play that of Rasheed but I couldn’t help my curiosity so I played it. It was a ten minutes video of her and her friends sitting on the laps of four of Rasheeds clients I know very well. They were also. At the pool side. They say men don’t cry. I couldn’t help dropping tears. Noticing my mood had changed, Nkiru left her seat to mine trying to comfort me.
“Take your stinking hands off me, you whore!”
I hit her hands off me and passed the phone to her. Nkiru put her hands on her mouth like ladies do when they see a shocking picture and burst into tears. I saw in her tears she wanted to explain but her guilt shut her up. Next, she headed for the door of the suite. Still heart broken, I managed to ask the chef to take the table and do whatever please him with the food and the wine, then headed to bed. That night, I took two bottles of red wine before I could sleep. The next day, I woke up on my bathing tub still on my shoes, bow tie and suit. I walked to the room of the suit and saw a big red teddy bear holding a white heart with this red inscription ‘Happy Valentine’s Day My Love”. I intended giving that teddy bear to Nkiru as her valentine special.
Seeing the teddy bear brought memories of the previous night but I fought my mind to forget it. Memories don’t go that easy I would have forgotten I ever met Nkiru. My body begged for a shower so I took my clothing and shoes. Then head to the bathroom again for a cool shower. At the entrance of the bathing room, I saw the casing of the diamond ring, picked it up and smiled. Something suggested I take the ring out and flush it since its customised, another suggested I keep it a little while before disposing it. Somehow, the second voice won. After my bath I went for my phone which I have not checked. Since the previous night and saw updates from Uche, Rasheed, Kelvin, and Nkiru. I didn’t know why I took Nkiru’s message first. Maybe I still love her. She was kneeling in a public place that looks like a market. Of course its a market. Her eyes red from tears. She sent me the photo several times on what’s app and used it as her dp on BBM.
“This girl don mad oh. Who does this for someone they lie to?”
I said to myself after downloading the photo. Curiosity led me to read the whatsapp message that followed.
“I don’t deserve your audience. Thanks for giving me this time, if you read. If you don’t, I am still okay. I don’t deserve a second chance I would have asked. But please find it in your heart to at least forgive me.
It was never my intention to become a whore as you called me. No one wish to. It is the situation we find ourselves that forced us to become what we are. I was a normal responsible girl as the wife you crave. Born to parents who couldn’t see me pass my secondary education so they decided to secure my future by marrying me off to rich men from our village who were only interested in marrying me for my mathematical skills. I graduated from secondary school the best student from my village. They all wanted a capable wife who will be able handle their business credibly, which is why they come for my hand in marriage. I agreed to marry any of them that will sponsor my education at least to university level. None of them obliged. My parents collected bride price from one of them and tried to force me to marry him. That was what led me to run away from the village to Lagos to come live with Chidinma who was in 100 level then at Unilag. I first turned her down when she asked me to join in their affairs with married men and got a job in a filling station as a fuel attendant.
Sorry am boring you with my life Story. I don’t intend it. I just feel I owe you this.”
I was doing good and okay with the little salary and tips I was getting which I intended saving up to sponsor myself to school until one night I got raped by two unknown guys while returning late from work. My body became nothing to me anymore for I lost my virginity to rapists. It was after then I joined them and started using my body to achieve my dreams hoping to stop when I make enough money. I made enough money but didn’t stop until I met you. Yes! You. You remember the day we met at your hotel? That day I was supposed to meet up with a client. My meeting you changed everything. The life I hoped to live before my romance with the harsh reality of life, surfaced again. You made life meaningful to me again. Thanks.”
I felt a calm I have only felt once in my life time, after reading her WHATSAPP message. The last time I felt that calm, a gun was pointed to my head. The holder of the gun gave me a minute to say my last prayer. I said the shortest and most meaningful prayer I have ever said in my life:
“GOD forgive me.”
Then the sound of the empty pistol barrel.
Everywhere was dark. It felt like I was in another world. As I opened my eyes. I saw a man on agbada smile. He handed me a cheque of two hundred million naira.
“Stay away from my wife. I won’t warn you again.”
He returned to the black range rover car and drove away. The car that picked me from the hotel where I was supposed to meet his wife before I was blind folded, followed him.
“I am no saint myself.”
I typed and sent to her. As if she was by her phone waiting for my reply, she responded with a BIG SMILE emoji.
“My friends too. We have all experienced the harsh reality of life. I grew up without my father. My mother told me his family members chased her out of our house in Warri after my dad died in a fatal road accident involving his car and a trailer. After his burial, his people chased my mum out of the house on excuse that they went some where to find out the cause of my dad’s death. They said the so called oracle told them my mum was behind it and she will take more blood if they don’t chase her out of the house. My mum left with no other option, moved to Lagos where she stayed with her younger sister until she could no longer tolerate her disrespectful attitude and left to start life on her own living in a one room apartment. There, she started doing menial jobs to feed and send me to school until secondary school level where I joined her at the hotel she was working as a cleaner and house keeper. The hotel became our home. It was there I learned how to run an hotel successfully and also saved up money for my national diploma certificate in business administration. After my national Diploma, I got employed in the hotel again as an assistant supervisor. My mum had already started an hair dressing saloon by this time. It was at the hotel, you might know it. Peak International hotel that I met Uche and Kelvin. Rasheed was my course mate in school.”
“Hope am not boring you with my life story?”
“Ok. Uche you know was also from a struggling family. His parents were ready to sell their plots of lands in the Village for him to complete his education. His eyes for a more luxurious life, one he knew he won’t get from a 7 to 5 job made him choose serving a rich man who imports spare parts from outside country for twenty years after which he will be settled to become his own boss. When Uche got to the city, he discovered twenty years was too long to get settled, so he devised a way to travel out of the country with some friends who deceived him and duped him off his boss ten million naira. His boss found out and jailed him for six months, then released him after much plea from family members. Not wanting to return to the village, he turned to me for assistance. I was able to get him a job as an house keeper at the hotel. Before he was duped, uche was one of our best customers. He always come to the hotel with different girls every weekend and blow money. His boss money. That was how we became friends.”
“Rasheed is the thirteenth child of his father who married four wives. Rasheed’s mum, the fourth has two children for him ( Rasheed and his younger sister Fatima). The struggle for their dad’s attention caused the wives to live separately on their own raising their children independent of their father. His mum a food seller, did her best to see him through school to polytechnic level, after which he joined me at the hotel as an assistant barman.”
“Kelvin grew up in a Catholic orphanage home where he depended on the church’s contribution for survival until he left secondary school and was scheduled to join the seminary where he would become a reverend father. His dreams of living a normal life of being happily wedded to a woman he loves and raising kids that will carry his name to generations yet unborn, and his knowing he does not want to become a reverend father made him flee from the orphanage home to start hustling for himself in Lagos with his old time pal Uche, after he was told he had no other choice of showing his gratefulness to the orphanage home, by the matron. He started working as a waiter at the hotel after Uche introduced him to me and told me his story.”
“Surprise emoji. Crying emoji.”
“The money started coming when Uche met one sugar mummy that came to lodge at the hotel. Uche was assigned to take care of her room. There, they got acquainted and started talking. Uche became her Pboy (pleasure Boy). What we call it. When she discovered she wasn’t getting enough of Uche due to his work, she asked him to quit his job and name his price. Uche started with a flat at Ikeja. Then a range rover sport. Before six months, Uche started travelling around the world with her on her business trips. A year later, Uche started living the life of his dreams. Rasheed didn’t waste time to join him. Myself and Kelvin with a little religious background kept to our hustle until the hotel got sold to a manner less fellow that doesn’t appreciate efforts. We made sure we gave him our reservation on his attitude towards employees of the hotel before we left. Off course. He fired us and sent us back to the street for being truthful with him. That was how we joined the sugar mummy runs and became Pboys to women old enough to be our mother’s age. We became a clique that the women bid to have. The highest bidders got us. We became young millionaires. It didn’t occur to me that we were all on the wrong path until that day I almost lost my life. If the gun was loaded I would have lost all the millions I own then to the bank. Though I put my mum as my next of kin, I don’t think they would have contacted her. She did not know I was a millionaire until after that day. To her, I was doing menial jobs abroad living under my friend’s roof, unknown to her that I was in Nigeria making money from sleeping with women her age. I saw that incident as GODS way of giving me a second chance to do the right thing so I decided to establish an hotel here in Lagos. That was ‘J Luxury Hotel and Events Place,’. Following Kelvin who was the first to establish his ‘K Gardens and Hotel’, at Enugu where himself and Uche grew up, after losing his sugar mummy to cancer. She willed all her property to him for she had no family members. She also grew up in an orphanage home like Kelvin so she saw him as a brother. Her disvirgining Kelvin made their relationship stronger. She saw Kelvins virginity as the best gift a dying woman could receive. Uche and Rasheed continued with the Pboy hustle. They started sharing clients which was their new way of amassing funds until one bad day Uche was shot three times on his chest. He stayed in coma for three months before opening his eyes. When he was able to speak, he narrated to us how he was asked by one of his jealous sugar mummy to come pick up a cheque. There, he got shot on his chest three times and left to die. Had it not been for one of the lady’s body guard that Uche once helped while he was in a financial mess, Uche would have died before he got rushed to the hospital. One of my big Police client intervened so the bullet wound could be dealt with on time before it could cause more serious damage. You must have seen the tattoos all over his chest. They are there to cover the bullet scars. His ‘U Exclusive Hotels and Towers, Abuja’ came after that incident. Rasheeds, ‘R Palace Hotel, Jos’ followed. You see, none of us are qualified to judge you.”
“I am not saying this to get you back in my life. I stopped seeing men for money the day I met you. You can ask your friends. Our relationship is three months plus making you the only man I have had during this period.”
Without replying her. I called Uche to confirm what she just told me.
“Super I think say you don jan oh. You still dey Naija hy you no dey reply your guys ping na? Abi you no see our calls?
“Not why I called. When last you give Paula job?”
“He don tay cha. The babe say she no dey game again. I don miss her die. All those her friends no Sabi like her. My client’s dey even complain self.”
“Uche he don reach three months?”
“Be like he don pass self. I no know but he don tay she leave game. Why you dey ask?
“Doesn’t matter. Thanks.”
I dropped the call, then got my car keys from my desk. I was about going out when I remember the diamond ring and the teddy bear. Quickly, I went for them and left the suit to my car. It didn’t take much time to get to her house. I rang her door bell after placing the teddy bear and the diamond ring at her door post with a note, ‘Be My Wife Paula’, then hid myself somewhere not too far from the door. I watched her come out, pick the teddy bear, examine the diamond ring with a smile, then go back into the house. Not too long, my phone rang, I checked it was Nkiru. I smiled. The red LED light on my phone caught my attention. I checked the WHATSAPP and BBM messages both from her. They read:
“YES! LOVE THE DIAMOND RING AND TEDDY BEAR. I KNOW YOU ARE AROUND. THE DOOR IS OPEN. WAITING TO GIVE YOU WHAT YOU MISSED YESTERDAY. YOUR VALENTINE FOREVER.”