Kite couldn’t believe she was actually moving into Ise’s house. Taking a break from putting up her things in the wardrobe, she sat down on the bed and stared at the opened up bags that contained her clothes which lay open on the bed and the half hazard mess of unarranged stuff that cluttered the room.
Things had moved so fast it was unbelievable, her life had turned upside down all of a sudden in the twinkling of an eye. It was just a few days shy of a month since she’d met Williams and now she was moving into his magnificent house. It still seemed so unreal to her.
She also had the thirty million Naira blackmail debt she had to pay in three weeks hanging over her head and Izu had been dead serious about it. He’d been so angry when she’d thrown it in his face that she’d slept with Ise, but going so far as to blackmail her? Really? She would never have believed it, ever! The girls might have been right after all, Izu had never really loved her, she could still recall the hate she’d seen in his eyes.
She sighed, almost eight years of dating, wasted!
There was a knock on her door jarring her from her thoughts, she turned to see Ise’s sister Jeje in the doorway.
“Uh oh!’ She thought, they’d not been formally introduced before. The girl stood there, staring at her and Kite returned the favour, each sizing up the other for a few seconds, Kite took her time to study as the girl was doing the same to her. She had the same eyes her brother did, those narrow eyes that seemed to be reading your mind.
“Hey.” Kite finally ventured first.
“Hi” She returned, stepping into the room, and making her way to the couch directly opposite where Kite sat at the bed, she sat down. “So you’re Ise’s new girlfriend?” She asked still checking her out.
Kite nodded to her question, placing her to be about twenty or twenty one, quite young but she suspected just as smart as her brother was. She knew she had to thread carefully here, it was obvious the girl was trying to know what she was about, she was giving Kite a chance to show she was with her brother for the right reasons.
Now that Kite had the chance to really look at her face, She seemed really familiar, she had a feeling she’d seen her somewhere else apart from the office but couldn’t place it. Kite didn’t have the words to reply her last question, she wasn’t even sure she was supposed to answer but before she could figure out what to say, Jeje asked her the dreaded question.
“Do you even like my brother at all?”
Wow, not blunt at all, Kite thought. “Is that so hard to believe?”Kite asked back quietly.
She smiled “Answering a question with another, nice. Look, I really care about my brother, he’s a wonderful guy, one of his kind and I don’t want my his heart broken. When he gives his heart, he gives everything, he might look big and tough on the outside but he’s really ….”
“I know.” Kite cut her off, it was obvious to see that the girl cared so much about her brother and Kite almost felt sorry for her. She liked Ise but she wasn’t planning on being with him for too long, she would try to allay the girl’s fears as best as she could. “He’s a real sweetheart, theres nothing I can say that would make you think more of me, I am who I am, a girl whom you have no idea about. I wont bother with defending myself, I’d rather ask you to trust your brother’s intuition. Besides we’re just seeing where this would lead, its not like we’re planning our marriage.” Kite pointed “If I turn out to be a thieving, gold digger, I’m sure your brother would be the first to notice? He’s quite smart, you know?”
Jeje smiled and Kite could see she idolized her big brother.
“He’s very smart.” Jeje replied “and I guess you’re right. It’s just that it’s hard to believe… you know, someone who’s not from our usual circles isn’t after our money. I don’t care about the money, I just don’t want my brother used.”
Kite resisted the urge to swallow guiltily. “I understand.” She said instead.
Jeje smiled suddenly “I can see why he likes you, you’re really pretty.”
“Thanks.” Kite said graciously as she smiled at the compliment.
“I’m Jeje, by the way.” She said extending her hand which Kite took in hers.
“Kite,” she replied.
“Hey, what are you girls up to?”
Both of them turned to see Ise by the door, he was just returning from work and to Kite, he looked stressed.
“I was just getting to know your room mate.” Jeje said as she got up from the couch.
“Oh?” Ise asked “and how did that go?”
“Very well.” Jeje replied “She’s really pretty, I can see why you’re smitten.”
“Hey,” Ise pointed at her “I’m not smitten”
“Oh please, its all over you, you don’t need to deny it.” She made her way to the door, saying without bothering to look back at them as she left. “You two love birds be good, okay? And don’t forget my birthday is this weekend.”
Kite shook her head “She’s really something.”
Ise sighed “You cant even begin to imagine.”
Kite walked the short distance toward him, there was something wrong, he looked so tired. “Are you okay?”
“I just finished having a face off with my mother.”
Kite’s eyes widened “Because of me?”
“Yeah,” He replied pulling her to him “but its okay now, she wont be disturbing you.”
“Why? What did you tell her?”
He smiled “That if she so much as says a word to you, I’m out of here for good. I don’t even want to stay here, I’m in this estate because of her, I’d rather have a cool bachelor pad somewhere else where I can do whatever, without her bursting into my business all the time. The woman is just drama personified.”
“I really don’t like coming between the two of you.” Kite said sincerely, she hated being somewhere she wasn’t wanted and causing a rift between son and mother.
“No, its okay really, have you had dinner?” smiling, he pulled her closer to him, she smiled back as she went in willingly. For her it was pure lust for him, she was indeed attracted to him, he was great guy, if only things could be different between them?
“Yeah I have but you must be famished.”
“I had a dinner with Kenny before coming back, you’re aware you report to his office from next week?”
“Yeah,” she replied not liking the idea of working with that pervert, she wasn’t looking forward to it.
“Have you been settling in? I can see you still have quite a lot more stuff you need to sort out.” He glanced at the bed
“Yeah,” She looked back at the not so tidy pile of clothes she needed to sort out. “I’m settling in fine.” She said knowing she wouldn’t be done with sorting those things out that night.
“It doesn’t look like you’ll be done anytime soon, my room is always available for you to sleep in till you’re done arranging yours.”
“Nice try, Williams!” She told him laughing.
“What, its just an innocent invitation.” He said with mock seriousness. “From the bottom of my very charitable heart.”
She laughed “Yes, I’m sure.” Drawing closer into his warmth, she wrapped her arms around him, he smelt of a some male
musky fragrance and leather. She knew she really shouldn’t develop feelings for him because she was only going to be with him for just a while but she couldn’t seem able to stop this attraction that was getting stronger by the minute.
“We have an invitation to our first function together.” He told her, his own arms going around her.
“Function?” ‘uh oh!’ She didn’t like this.
“Yeah, I’m being awarded young entrepreneur of the year award at the OPAL awards in two weeks, I want you to grace the event with me, let me show you off to…” His voice trailed as he saw the look on her face “What is it?”
She thought of the way to tell him public outings where other rich and influential people would be wasn’t really her thing. “I can’t be there with you?”
“What? why?” He asked
She shook her head as she released herself from his grip. “I’ll be out of place there, I’m not comfortable in crowds like that.”
“What do you mean crowds like that? They are just people, its not like they are diseased or something.”
She shook her head “ No, no, no.” she gave them some distance going on to sit on the bed.
“ You’re suffering from an inferiority complex, do you know that?” He told her staring at her.
“Maybe I am,” She agreed. “But you can’t blame me, those people look down on people like me.”
“Who, Kite? You don’t even know the people who’ll be there, you’re just lumping everyone together. Maybe you shouldn’t
generalise so much, maybe you should at least give people a chance,” he came to sit beside her and took her hand in his “Like how you’re giving me.”
She looked away from those probing eyes of his, if only he knew why she was really with him. “ I know them well enough, I know how they all are, its always the same thing. I grew up around them, my mother was a cleaner, she cleaned rich people’s houses for a living and I have a first hand experience of how they treat people like me, so don’t tell me differently, I’ve seen it for myself. As for you, you’re a rare one, not like them.”
Ise sighed, placing a hand under her chin, tipping it up so she looked him directly in his eyes “You need to let go of that cleaner’s daughter image of yourself which you still carry around, you’re a grown, intelligent young lady, a beautiful woman who hasn’t even begun to explore her numerous potentials yet.” He told her “Holding on to past hurts will not make you progress, you need to let it go, Kite! As for this, you’re coming along, like it or not, even if I have to drug you in other to take you there.”
She couldn’t help the laughter that came up at the thought of being drugged.
She really did wish it was so easy to let it all go, the insults and harsh words she’d gotten from people, the old hand me down clothes she’d had to manage all through growing up which were usually too short since she’d been tall and then patched and re patched after being torn from fights she proudly engaged in, it hadn’t been fun and wasn’t going to be forgotten so easily.
“How’s your mother doing?” He asked her
She smiled “She’s good, actually.” Pushing those hard memories from her mind “She’s scheduled for surgery this Friday, I spoke to her doctor and he assured me everything would go fine, the problem isn’t the surgery, it’s in knowing if the growth is cancerous, so fingers crossed.”
He put his hand around her shoulder and pulled her close. “You know you could always take some time off work to be with her.”
“The woman doesn’t even want me there, she is so damn proud, she believes she’s strong. Anyway it’s not like my being there would help her get any better. She’s really tough, even when her body is seriously protesting, she never takes time off work. According to her, there’s plenty time to rest after death.”
“You love your mom so much.” He mused, smiling at her.
“Are you kidding? I worship her, she’s awesome. I’m so grateful to have had a mother like her, we never had money but we were always loved and taken care of, I think she’s the best mother ever.”
“You’re indeed lucky to have had her. You know if you need anything, medical bills, time off or even just someone to talk to, I’m right here to help, right?”
Turning to look at him, thinking she really didn’t deserve this wonderful guy, she replied “I know.”
He kissed her on the fore head. “ How about your father?”
“hmmm” She sighed “I never really knew him, mom hardly ever talked about him but the little I could gather was he is from Edo state, very much alive although now with another family. He left my mother when I was about four years, Stanley, my immediate younger brother was two and my mom had been pregnant with Odafe. I don’t remember much of how he looks anymore and the only time I tried getting my mother to talk about him, it was obviously very painful for her, so I never asked anymore. When she’s ready, she’ll let me know what really went wrong, I guess.
Growing up without a male figure was tough, even though my mother did what she could, it wasn’t enough. She had to work all the time so we could eat, most of the times when she was away, I would be left to take care of my brothers. I had to grow up fast, protect myself and my brothers from unruly kids who seemed to have a problem with us because my mother was a single parent. Even the adults in the small compound where we managed a room treated my mother and us like we were outcasts; I wonder why people are just so judgemental.” She said as thoughts of her childhood flitted through her mind, she really didn’t like going down memory lane, it brought back bitter memories she wanted to stay squashed.
“Anyway, I learnt to fight, and steal and other wrong things a kid shouldn’t do. My mom tried her best to instil some discipline in me but still, she’s a real softy and most of the times just talked to me, she couldn’t bring herself to really flog any of us.” She smiled as she recalled “Even when she did, it wasn’t painful. I became so unruly, even got her fired from some jobs, but it wasn’t my fault.” She hastily said.
“It never is.” Ise added and that earned him a punch from her.
“Seriously, those rich kids whose parents she worked for were fond of provoking me, telling me my clothes were old, I was a pauper, a cleaner’s child, when I couldn’t take it anymore I always launched an attack. Was that my fault? If you don’t want to get beaten then don’t start a fight, I did it to protect myself.”
“Protect yourself, how? It was those other kids that needed protection against you.”
“Protect myself from getting insulted anymore, hey, whose side are you on here?” She asked looking up at him.
He raised a hand in his defence “Yours, please I don’t think I want to get beaten for going with the opposition.” He joked.
Kite laughed shaking her head “ Now you’re mocking me. Okay, its all good, that’s what I get for baring my not so smooth childhood to you. I’m sure you had it really smooth growing up, Ise Williams, wonder boy, really smart and good looking, heir to the WOLCORP empire.”
“Now you’re mocking me.” He said as he smiled at her.
“Me?” She faked innocence “Mocking you? Why would I do that?”
“For your information I didn’t have it easy growing up also but that’s story for another day, I got you something.” He said and suddenly flashed a huge smile that she was suspicious about.
She frowned “What?”
“That’s not the look I expected to see, I thought you’d be excited.”
“I think I’ll get excited after I see what it is.”
He shook his head, getting up and pulling her up too “ You’re such a spoil sport.”
“Whatever.” She replied, following him into the living room area where she noticed a white packaged box lying on the coffee stool.
He picked it up and handed it to her, “for you,” he said still smiling like he knew something she didn’t..
Still looking at him in a not too trusting way she accepted it, wondering what the hell was in the pack. She really wanted to rip it to shreds but had to hold herself back and calmly open it up.
When she did, she was greeted with the sight of the most beautiful wrist watch she’d ever seen, on it was written boldly written CARTIER. “Oh! My! Word! Shut the front door!” she looked back at him, he was obviously enjoying the look on her face.
Kite thought she would faint at the thought that she was actually holding a Cartier wrist watch, it was magnificent. On the case was written, ‘Cartier Delices de Cartier model WG800018’
The next words she saw made her almost scream ‘18 karat white gold set with diamonds’ “No way, Ise!” She turned to him “This is too much for me, I can’t take it.” She was handing it back.
“Hey” he said stepping back from her like the thing was a bomb “It’s for you.”
She shook her head, “No, it’s too much for me.” She replied
“No, its not, it’s perfect for you.” He reassured her, closing his hand over hers and pushing it back to her “I saw it online one night when I was working late while at Tel Aviv and thought of you so I ordered it and it just arrived today.”
“Tel Aviv?” She asked, he’d bought it even before they had begun dating. “ What if we weren’t together?”
He shrugged still smiling “I don’t know, maybe Jeje would have added it to her collection. Anyway somehow, I knew we’d get together, fate remember?”
Kite didn’t want to accept the gift but the greedy side of her didn’t want to part with it either and then she thought about Izu and knew she had to keep it. Smiling, she closed the short distance between them and pulled him into her placing a kiss on his lips. “I’m so grateful.” She said and then added quickly, “how much does it go for?”
Ise frowned “I’m not sure….”
“Williams, if you don’t want the beating of your life right here, right now, you had better let me know the amount of the wrist watch I’m going to be wearing.”
He laughed “Okay, Okay, its valued at about twenty two thousand dollars, roughly three and a half million Naira…….”
“What?” She shrieked pulling away from him “Okay, you have got to put a tracker on it in case it gets stolen or I misplace it.” She handed it back to him
Ise frowned “A tracker would marr…”
“I don’t care, find a way to do it or I’m not wearing it.” She said seriously.
“Okay, Okay, I guess something can be done about it, wow….you really should calm down, its just a wrist watch.”
“A three point five million naira watch, “ she corrected “That’s way too much money.”
He sighed “Okay, whatever. I got you something else too.”
Kite’s eyes went wide again as she shook her head, if he handed her something else worth millions she was sure she would faint “No, whatever it is, I don’t want it.”
He laughed “Calm down, its not what you think,” he said turning back to the coffee stool and picking up another package, quite flat and rectangular in shape. It was obvious what it was.
She laughed “Chocolates.”
He smiled back “Not just any chocolates, its Lindt, it doesn’t get any better than Lindt.” He told her.
“Yeah, I’m sure.” She said grabbing him into another hug. “Thanks so much.”
“Its okay.” He replied “I’m very tempted to spoil you.” He told her.
“you really do not have to…”
“I want to.” He replied looking into her eyes, but she looked away laying her head on his chest instead, she couldn’t
bear those eyes looking at her like that. She was scared they would really see her for who she was.
It was bad leading him on like this when she wasn’t going to be with him for too long. Rounding up all her thoughts and misgivings in a sigh, she pulled away from him and mustered the courage to look back at him. “Alright, I’ve detained you enough for one night, you need to get out of your clothes.”
He raised a brow “Is that a coded invititation for….”
“No! Ofcourse not, you rotten minded individual.” She joked “ Just get on upstairs and change your clothes and then we’ll indulge in chocolates together.”
“Yes ma’am.” He said laughing as he went up the stairs.
Kite heard her phone ringing in the room and ran off to it, the darn cheap phone rang so loudly, it was quite embarrassing. She got to it in time, managing to glance at the number on the screen which she didn’t know “Yeah?”
“Hello Kite.” The voice on the other end said, it was Izu. Kite felt a cold feeling creep over her. “Avoiding my calls, have you?”
“What do you want?” She asked.
“I’d advice you don’t do that anymore, I might get really angry and decide to send the pictures to your boyfriend, just for the fun of it.”
Kite raised a brow “ No, you wouldn’t, I know how much you need that money, so you wouldn’t.”
“hmmm, it seems you don’t know me as well as I thought.” He calmly said “the thought of you being with him angers me so much that I have to hold myself back from sending them just to spite you.”
“You are the one making me do this, remember?”
“I didn’t force you into his bed the first time, did I? You did that yourself because you already entertained feelings for the guy while you were still with me, why are we even talking about this again? Look, I called to let you know your first pay check comes in by Monday.”
“What?” She almost screamed “ Are you crazy? You really expect me to come up with ten million by Monday? How in the world can that be possible?”
“I trust you to figure that out. Six days is more than enough time to get it together, you’re a smart girl. Monday by noon or I swear to God those pictures will be on his desk.”
“But-“ She tried again but he’d already hung up. “damn it” She muttered.
“What’s that?” that was Ise’s voice at her door, as he peeked in. Wow, the guy changed clothes so fast.
“Nothing,” she replied flashing teeth in a fake smile “lets go dig into chocolates!” She said leading him back to the living room, pushing thoughts of Izu from her mind, she would have time for them later.
Vicki slammed the front door of the house with all the strength in her hoping the act would channel the anger she was feeling. Who was Ise frigging Williams to talk to her that way? So embarrassing! Like she was some piece of trash that was hanging on to him like she needed him to survive. She was so angry she wanted to break something. If only she didn’t need his money she knew what she would have done to the guy to make him regret the way he’d treated her.
“Vicki!” Moss, her boyfriend of five long years came into the room switching on the lights “Where the hell have you been, do you know what time it is? You also didn’t pick up your calls…..wait, are you drunk?”
Vicki didn’t need a babysitter right now, what she needed was to get wasted “I need a sniff.” She said pushing Moss aside and feeling her way to the bedroom on unsteady feet.
She needed to get to her stash but that wasn’t possible, Moss grabbed her by the arm “No way, not when you’re wasted on alcohol.”
“Moss, can you just mind your business and let me have my….” She screamed at him.
“Hey, hey,” he took hold of her shoulders saying quietly “Vicki, there’s no way I’m letting you sniff coke, not when you’re this drunk, do your want to end up in the hospital again?” He told her and it finally got to her.
She agreed that she didn’t want to end up in the hospital here in Nigeria; it would drastically spoil her plans if word got out that she was a drug and substance abuser. It would open up the Pandora’s box she was struggling to keep closed. She come back home, hoping to make one last hit with a wealthy guy before disappearing with everything he had.
“Okay, at least get me a cigarette, will you?” She ordered finding her way into the living room. Ise Williams would pay for making her look so foolish, he would pay. Imagine him cavorting with one cheap LovePeddler right there in his office and then talking to her that way, accusing her of lying.
She’d intentionally kept the information that she’d been married twice from him and it had been shocking that he’d found out. She suspected he didn’t know much about all she’d been up to back in the United States or he would never have let her in through his door.
She needed to get married to a rich guy, do away with him like the other two, inherit his money, pay off outstanding debts back in the united states and then live a quiet secluded life with her boyfriend Moss, anywhere in the world. Moss was a big time coke dealer who never touched the stuff. They’d met over five years ago at a club, been drawn to each other and their romance had begun. He’d been with her all through her two husbands, helping orchestrate her plans and going with them, receiving a share of the money when the plans fell through. Money he always lost to gambling.
Where Vicki was a substance addict, White Moss was a gambling addict. He was African American and had followed her back home hoping they would make one last hit before they took off somewhere, he’d promised her he was done with gambling, she hoped it was true.
She’d been so sure she’d had that Williams guy hooked until she’d gone into his office and seen the shock of her life. Was it because of that tramp he’d been making out with, that he’d addressed her that way? Vicki had never felt so disrespected in all her life.
“Here,” Moss said handing her a cigarette stick, which she took hurriedly, holding it out for him to light before taking a deep drag.
“So, whats the problem?” Moss asked taking the seat opposite hers.
“Its that Williams guy, he’s not going with the plan, he found out about Rob and Dean, only goodness knows how, accused me of lying and then all but walked me out of his office. Can you imagine me being treated like that?”
Moss sighed. “Vicki, you’re the one who came up with this crazy idea again, it didn’t work well the first two times, what makes you think it would work now?”
“It worked, I got the money, both times.”
“Yeah, and got into huge debt afterwards and even more addicted to drugs.”
“I’ll get into rehab again and…..”
“Save it, Vic, you’ve been into rehab how many times now? Besides don’t you think the police will finally confirm their suspicions, if you loose yet another husband?”
“We’re in Nigeria, they piece it together, the Nigerian police force is dumb.”
“Not when a well known guy like that Williams is involved.”
“So what are you saying, Moss? You got me into this remember? You introduced me into this cursed cocaine thing and the gambling, I lost my job, my license, I lost everything, even my parents cut me off and now you’re telling me my plans are going to fail?” She was screaming but she didn’t care, this was all Moss’s fault. “I curse the day I met you, Moss. You’re the one who’s got me into this deep poo.”
“Hey, hey, babe. You need to chill out! I didn’t get you into anything, you chose to become a junkie, and yes I did gamble foolishly but I promise its never happening again but you never listened to me or we wouldn’t be where we are now, dead broke! I should have left long ago, goodness knows I’m only here because I love you.”
“You don’t love me, Moss. If you did, you would support me or at least come up with a plan for us to get back on our feet.”
“Babe, I do love you and as for a plan, I do have one, you’ll just have to listen to me for once and it will all work out right.” He said. “If we do it my way, no one would need to be killed, we would get away with our clean money. I’ve been to prison already babe, and I swore to myself I’m never going back there.
What did Williams say about the hospital business plan?” Moss asked.
Moss had paid a huge amount of money to an expert to draft a very impressive plan, Williams had no choice but to love it. It seemed like the hospital would make a lot of returns for it’s investors. “He likes it but has to talk to his board about it before giving back a definite answer but fvck the hospital plan, I need all his money, not some measly little sum. I need serious money, Moss, we need serious money.”
“Babe, we’ve got to thread real carefully, take what we can get here because I can assure you, if one more man dies while married to you, the cops will definitely be on our tail. We’ve got to cut our losses, take what we can, move to South Africa or wherever and live our lives. We’re like to get at least five hundred thousand dollars from them to commence work and that’s more than enough money to live on.”
Vicki took another long drag of the cigarette, letting the smoke out slowly, Moss was making some sense but she still wanted to do something to hurt Williams, no guy could treat her that way and get away with it.
“ I’ll go with your plan for now, babe. It seems a more tidy than mine.” She told him dropping the cigarette in the ashtray on the coffee stool near her. “This poo does nothing for me, if only I could just have a little sniff.”
“No Sniffs and that’s final.” Moss stated and the case was closed.