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A Story written by Afroditte…

A few hours later, I had Joe, Richard’s security aide Pour driver drop me off at the Fashion Academy. I didn’t have classes but Vivian had requested I meet her there, as she couldn’t wait to hear the gist.

We’d been course mates for over two years now but had only gotten close six months back, when I’d been at my lowest point.

I’d been going through a tough time with my ex, who I’d been living with at the time. Anthony was the man I’d followed to Abuja. I’d kind of eloped with him from the people I’d been living with back in the slums of Lagos. There had been not much future in my life back there, I’d been treated like a slave. I’d seen an opportunity to leave and had done so without so much as a glance back.

Anthony was a small time businessman and he’d had a thing for me. He’d urged me to leave my bleak and miserable life and come over to Abuja, where things would be better.

Back In Lagos, I’d been managing as a dressmaker’s assistant amongst a load of other chores, but Anthony had assured me life would be better in Abuja.

I should have known he’d just wanted a free f.u.ck mate who would cook and clean up after him but I’d not minded as it had been better than my miserable life in Lagos.

He lived in a one bedroom apartment in some village in the FCT but it was far above the Ajegunle slum back in Lagos.

I’d tried to please him, I’d even tried earning my own little money by getting a job in a spa as a masseuse after a crash training they had given. I’d also made clothes for women with a manual sewing machine I had bought, as I had experience with dress making. I’d been making some money but it hadn’t been enough. Abuja was an expensive city, aside my family back in the village who I sent my proceeds to, Anthony hardly ever gave me anything for feeding and upkeep of the house.

Whenever I complained, he told me to go back to the slums where he’d picked me from. I’d realised that I had to empower myself and get off from under his roof. I’d saved up and enrolled into Bloomsbury two and a half years back and would be done in a few months to come.

I’d managed for two years with just dressmaking to make up my fees. I’d resigned from the masseuse job as schooling took most of my time, so i relied on dressmaking where i made a tidy sum until Anthony had become unbearable. His business hadn’t been doing well and he’d had to resort to other means of making an income, which he felt was too low for him.

He did odd jobs and got frustrated as sometimes he wasn’t paid and was owed for a while. He returned home, always taking out his frustration on me and I decided it was time I moved on.

It hadn’t been hard deciding to move on as there was no future with me and Anthony. I would be doing us both a favour.

I’d always lived a hard life but I’d made a vow to live better. Fashion school was my ticket to a better life and there was no place for Anthony in that world.

So I knew I had to leave Anthony but the problem had been where would I move to? My savings had all gone into the fees for the final session in the academy. I had no one to squat with and I’d cancelled all men from the picture at that time, because I didn’t think I could stand the male folk.

I’d become quite depressed and unable to concentrate in classes. I had never been close to Vivian but she was quite friendly with me. Many of my classmates were friendly as I was the best in our set due to my background in dress making.

She approached me one day asking why I wasn’t exactly myself anymore, moping all about and I’d poured it all on her. She had listened and then invited me to squat in her one bedroom apartment and I’d been grateful.

I’d quietly moved out without giving Anthony any notice. He’d tried contacting me and I’d told him it was over. I guess he was okay with it because he hadn’t complained much.

From the first day I’d moved into Viv’s apartment, I was in awe. The place might have been little but furnished quite well and I had wondered where she made her money as she had no job.

She had been truthful and told me about the agency and what they did. I’d been very interested. Judge me all you want but really I’d been a plaything to the men folk for years without much compensation. So why not do the same for a fee?

I’d joined six months back and the rest is history. I hadn’t regretted a day since I did.

“Hey, Tishé!”

I turned to see Greg, my course mate. He was coming up behind me.
“Hi Greg, what you doing here, today?” I asked him. As today was Saturday, we didn’t have classes.

“I need to submit the computer illustration assignment.” He replied with a triumphant grin.

I raised a brow in surprise. That was one course I found quite tedious as I had only been introduced to computers when I began fashion school. “You’re done with that already?”

“Yeah, of course” he scoffed. “Piece of cake. Who dropped you off?”

“I’m sorry, what?” I asked, not exactly understanding his question.

“The big SUV with dark windows and everything that you go down from just now, who was that?”

“Oh….” He had seen Joe drop me off. I wasn’t sure what to say as I hadn’t been prepared for this line of questioning. “Ummm,… Just a free ride I got on the way here.”

“Really? You got into a ride with all those dark windows? You were not scared?”

“Scared of what, abeg Greg, unlike you, I grew up hard. I saw the driver’s face and knew he was harmless.”

He shook his head, and I knew a lecture was coming. “You have to be careful, Tishé, I’ve told you to call me up anytime you are coming over and I’ll come pick you up but you never do.”

I couldn’t resist a roll of my eyes. I purposely kept my distance from Greg as I knew he had a thing for me and I had a pact with myself to stay away men for a few years till I was established. Besides he wasn’t really my type, he was so young, emotional and if he knew what I’d been through in my short lifetime, his feelings for me would evaporate.

He couldn’t handle me and the sort of baggage I came along with. Unlike him, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon.

He was done with his lecture which I hadn’t listened to.

“Will you be here for a while? After I submit my assignment, we could hang out.” He said.

“Err….” I shook my head, “I’m quite busy today,Greg. I just came in briefly to see Viv before I head out to another appointment.” I said, my appointment at the agency where I would sign my contract.

His face fell and I saw the disappointment. “I don’t know why I bother, you always blow me off.”

“Greg..” I called as he turned about to walk away.

“No, it’s fine. I guess Vivian is more of a friend to you than I am. It’s fine, but beware of her, there’s more to her than meets the eye. It’s not the first time I’ve told you, so just becareful.”

“Greg,” I tried again but he continued, cutting me off.

“I’ll see you around,” he said turning around and making his way toward the staff offices. 

With a last look at his retreating back, I turned and went to the lecture rooms feeling quite bad but I knew better than to encourage him.
*******

To Be Continued…

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