Twelve years later, twenty-three-year-old Edua Imasogie sat in the black Lexus jeep while her lover made several calls on his iPhone. She looked out of the slightly opened window. Her well made up fair face had a resemblance with that of a Barbie doll. She brushed a strand of the brown and gold curly waist length Brazilian hair away from her line of sight.
“Where do I take you to for dinner?” Alhaji Bature ended his call and placed a hand on her lap.
She turned her head, then smiled at him, “I don’t know darling. I am not familiar with this area.”
He nodded with understanding. He had no knowledge of the area too. It was his Estate agent that brought them to the place. He needed plots of land to build a massive Shopping Complex.
“Let’s get back to the major road. I think we will be able to find a place to eat.”
She shrugged and looked out of the window, consumed by distant memories. She remembered leaving home at sixteen to the dismay of her mother, but, the inability to fend for herself made her return to the witch. She got admission into the University of Lagos at seventeen, lived a wild life, while she did one or two jobs for her mother once in a month. She ran her own games, pimping female students to the likes of Alhaji Musa and his cohorts. She made a lot of money. She rented a two-bedroom flat off campus, bought a car and lived large. She became known by the name ‘Beauty’ by her clients and the money bags she did business with. She graduated, served and returned to Lagos after her service year. She still worked for her mother once in a while, but, she was more than in control of her own life.
Alhaji Bature parked the car at the side of the road and alighted. He opened the bonnet and was soon covered up in smoke. He backed away from the vehicle, coughing and coughing. Edua opened the door and stepped out. She walked towards her lover, black high heeled sandals hitting the dusty road in smooth stride, light skinned glowing long legs favouring a white bum short with silver glittering beads all over the cotton material. The silver sequins black tube blouse barely covered her heavy creamy bosom.
Several car drivers honked as they drove past. Alhaji Bature grinned with relish. He liked the way his lover was causing a commotion on the highway. Although he hoped the distracted drivers won’t end up in a ghastly accident. He raised his head and noticed the huge green road sign-post a mile away. They were on Ikorodu road and very close to Anthony village. He stopped a few male passers-by he saw and paid them to push the car till they got to Anthony village.
He hailed a taxi and instructed the driver to head to the same area. He signaled to his lover, they climbed into the vehicle and he apologized for all the inconveniences. The taxi driver parked in front of the first mechanic shop he saw. Alhaji Bature climbed out and waited for the men pushing his car. They were far down the narrow road.
The owner of the mechanic shop hurried to meet the Alhaji. He summoned some of his apprentices and instructed them to assist in getting the car to the shop. Three of his boys ran off to join the men pushing the car. When the car arrived, they started work on it immediately.
Alhaji Bature and his lover were offered seats under the mango tree outside the mechanic shop. All eyes were on Edua.
“I have to go.”
She frowned and eyed him.
“I am needed at the bank. My loan has been approved. I need to take a cab back to the Island. I am so sorry. I will make it up to you.”
“Great,” she folded her arms across her chest.
“They will be done with the car soon. I will join you at home once I am done at the bank.”
“I am too tired and stressed up to drive,” she complained.
“Okay, I will ask the mechanic to drop you at home.”
“I have transferred some money to your account. See you soon,” he leaned over and brushed his lips against hers. He got up and began to walk towards the narrow road.
Edua hissed and glanced at her silver plated wrist watch. It was past three. She couldn’t believe she had wasted a whole day with Alhaji Bature. She brought out her Blackberry Passport from her silver hand bag and dialed a friend’s number.
“Hello, Bimbo, are you home?”
“Yea, what’s up?”
“Messy day. You won’t believe where I am.”
“Ehya… do you want to come over?”
“Okay, my crew and I are heading to the Galleria, why don’t you meet us there?”
“Sounds good. See you soon,” she dropped the phone in the bag and sighed heavily.
She was upset that her lover abandoned her at a motor mechanic shop. The place was disgustingly dirty and it oozed a foul smell.
She turned and lifted up her light brown eyes to meet gentle dark brown ones. They belonged to a tall brown skin apprentice in a khaki shorts and dirty black short sleeve tee-shirt. Despite his rugged appearance, he was easy on the eyes.
“My boss wants to know what you will like to drink.”
His clear grammatical accent surprised her. She thought all motor mechanics were illiterates.
“I am okay, thank you,” she smiled.
“We insist,” he smiled back at her.
She laughed lightly, “Okay, a cold drink will do.”
“Soft drink, malt or fruit juice?”
She bent her head sideways, “Hmmm… fruit juice.”
She rolled her eyes, “Funman.”
“Gotcha,” he winked at her and stepped away.
She chuckled and shook her head in wonder. He returned a few minutes later with a pack of Funman fruit juice and a small box of chocolate cupcakes.
“Thank you,” she was impressed.
She smiled and looked back at him. She noticed that he wasn’t ready to leave.
“My name is Edet Udeme. I am twenty-eight, a university drop out due to lack of funds. I have a diploma in Desktop Publishing and I work here as a motor mechanic. I used to be an apprentice, but, now, I am a staff.”
She blinked, amazed at his boldness.
“I have done my fair share of hunting for white collar jobs, but, I hope to establish a renowned Motor Mechanic Shop here in Lagos, a place where the money bags will feel comfortable to bring their cars. When that happens, I want you by my side as my wife and the mother of my children.”
She started to laugh. She had never been approached by a commoner before. His audacity was something else. She had dined with the high and mighty in the society, warmed the beds of Kings, dated Senators, Governors and dozens of money bags. The least amongst them owned a luxury house in every major city in the country. The mechanic was definitely out of his mind. She was out of his league. Maybe in another life, roles reversed, she might have found him attractive enough to go out with.
“I am also a born-again Christian. I believe that you are not beyond redemption. I will be praying for your salvation and deliverance. I will wait for as long as it takes, until you are mine,” he winked at her.
“My God, you are bold,” she sized him up.
“Traits of the King of Kings.”
“I see. You are at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to the kind of men I go out with.”
He smiled, eyes glowing with excitement, “The first few moments I laid my eyes on you when you arrived, I could tell that you are the one that I am going to spend the rest of my life with.”
She laughed loudly, “You do live in a dream world, don’t you?”
“This is not dream. This is reality.”
She opened the pack of fruit juice and took a sip. The sweet chilled drink soothed her dry throat.
“What’s the name?” he placed both hands on his hips.
“Yeah, I know that you are beautiful, breathtakingly so, but, what is your real name?”
She raised an eyebrow, “My name is Beauty.”
“Are you telling me that your mum and dad named you Beauty?”
She shrugged and opened the box of cakes.
“Do you mean that on your birth certificate, it says that your name is ‘Beauty’?”
She chuckled. “Fine, my name is Edua Imasogie.”
She laughed loudly.
“Nice to meet you Edua…”
She stared back at him. Their gazes locked and held. The light in his eyes seemed to flood every core of her being.
“Edet!” his boss roared, “Get back here and stop flirting with another man’s property.”
Everyone in the shop began to laugh hysterically.
“Got to go, see you soon,” he took a bow and backed away.
She smiled and began to eat the cakes, one after the other. About two hours later, the owner of the mechanic shop ushered her into the repaired vehicle. Edet came to stand by the window.
“I will be praying for you every single day.”
She eyed him, “Don’t waste your time.”
“I will be waiting for you. My love for you is endless.”
“Yes, Princess. We will meet again sooner than you think.”
The vehicle started to move. He stepped away and waved. Edua watched him through the window. The only person aside her mother who called her ‘Princess’ was her late father. She missed him immensely. Memories flooded her mind.
Standing outside, the Silverbird Galleria, Edua brought out her phone from her bag and called her friend.
“Hello Bimbo, where are you? I am outside.”
“We are at the ticket stand.”
“Okay. I am on my way up.”
She walked into the building and made her way to the elevator. She felt the vibration of her phone in the bag. She halted, brought it out and picked the call.
“Where are you?”
She recognized her mother’s voice. She hissed. “I am on the island.”
“Come home. We have a business transaction.”
Edua rolled her eyes. “I will come over tonight.”
“No, come now. This is very urgent.”
When it came to money, the woman didn’t care about any other thing. She had learnt that over the years. The woman she called mother had done quite well for herself. She lived in Victoria Garden City, controlled six butiks in different parts of Lagos and drove the best cars money could buy. She also had an underground business where she pimped out girls between the age of eight and eighteen to anyone who could afford to pay the exorbitant price tags. She no longer worked for her mother, although occasionally, she accepted deals, especially when the clients asked for her specifically.
“Eighty what?! Are you crazy or something? These are my clients.”
“Fine, get someone else.”
“I can’t. You are the one they want.”
She heard the irritation in her mother’s voice. “Seventy-thirty.”
“No way! Fifty-fifty.”
“Come on Beauty. I need the money more than you do.”
“Then do the job yourself.”
“Okay, okay, Sixty-forty.”
“Not acceptable, sixty-five, thirty-five.”
“Fine! Come over.”
“I will come after I have gotten the alert.”
“Why are you this difficult?!”
“Once bitten, twice shy.”
“Fine, I will send the money to your account right away.”
“Good,” she hung up and dropped the phone in her bag. Her relationship with her mother had died a natural death. She was unable to move past what the woman put her through all in the name of paying the bills. She might never forgive her, till death do them part.
Edua turned around and walked towards the exit. She wished she had insisted on driving her own car when her lover showed up at her place that morning. She stopped a taxi and got in. She dictated the address of her mother’s house to the driver and rested her aching head on the leather seat of the vehicle. She brought out her phone for her bag and discovered that she had an alert. The amount she had been sent was in six figures. She dropped the phone in her bag and closed her eyes.
Over years, several men had tried to make her their permanent mistress. She always turned them down. She didn’t want to be caged in an ivory tower, locked away like some animal, satisfying the pleasure of just one man, and most times, his friends too. She loved her freedom. It was one of the reasons why she dated the likes of Alhaji Bature. He worshipped the ground she worked on and gave her everything she ever wanted. He didn’t mind sharing her with other men. There was a time he wanted to make her his eight wife, but, she declined. If she ever wanted to settle down, it would be to one man and she would be his only wife.
She sighed heavily. She wasn’t looking forward to seeing her mother. She rarely visited her. She turned her head, opened her eyes and gazed through the closed window.