Aduke sat in the office with her chin in her hands, staring into space. It had been nearly ten days since she and Tessy had agreed to talk to Peter and yet nothing had happened. Perhaps all Tessy had was a little bit of bravado. She barely saw Tessy at the flat these days although they had met at all the hang outs Simi and Anita arranged.
Aduke wondered what to do. She knew this was no way to leave things because that spelt big trouble. Aunty Tokunboh would be home in a few weeks. She began to think aloud ‘This night crawling business cannot continue. I have had to keep buying new clothes and shoes and it is as if I would soon run out of cash’. She decided to call Tessy and plan how to get the money off Peter.
Just as the taxi was turning into Fola Osibo Street in Lekki Phase 1, Tessy’s phone rang. She looked around furtively just to be certain no one had seen her seated at the back of the taxi and she readjusted her huge sunglasses and cap before she picked up the phone ‘Hello’ she said
‘Hey Tessy, its Aduke’
‘Addy of Life, what’s up? What number are you calling with? I don’t have it’ asked Tessy
‘Oh, its the Spa’s line. I sent someone to get me a recharge card but he’s not back yet’ replied Aduke
‘Recharge cards? You still use those things? Addy you really should go on a post paid plan. Does anyone even scratch cards anymore? Big up Addy, step up!’ said Tessy
‘I have heard you. That’s not why I called. Please how far with the Peter thing?’ Aduke’s voice reduced to a whisper because she didn’t want the nosey staff in her business.
‘Oh that. Didn’t I tell you I called him?’ asked Tessy
You did? When? what did he say? Where are you now, Shall we meet up? Aduke was excited. How could Tessy have forgotten to tell her this big news?
‘Chill Addy, its not that serious. I’m in a car, on my way to a friend’s Light Store on Fola Osibo. Where are you?’ she responded
‘I told you before, I’m at the Spa. Can you swing by? Its not far from where you are.’ asked Aduke
‘Consider this a favour Aduke. That your ratchet Spa is not a place that I would like to be seen at, its Simi that loves the place and we both know why’ said Tessy
‘You are not serious,’ laughed Aduke ‘our Spa is world class and you know it. It’s not my fault that you do not recognise real class when you see it’
‘Ouch! The kitten’s claws are out today and I like it’ teased Tessy.
A few minutes later, a taxi pulled up in front of Plush Spa. Aduke could see the taxi from her vantage point in the Spa office and did a double take when she saw Tessy emerge from the taxi. ‘Perhaps, her car has developed a fault’ she thought to herself as she descended the staircase.
She met Tessy in the reception doing a ‘Tessy’ by being imperious as she asked for the owner of the place in a rude way.
‘Hey Tessy, whats up? greeted Aduke
‘See, I knew what I meant when I said this Spa is nonsense. Your staff do not even know the owner of the place. Rubbish’ said Tessy
‘Na you sabi, let’s go upstairs’ said Aduke. She could already feel the attendants eyes on them She knew they were getting ready for gossip and Aduke had no plans of being the news item for the day
‘Tess, you spoke with him? asked Aduke the moment they got into the office
‘Yes o, he spent about five minutes insulting the both of us, calling us prostitutes and all that nonsense but when I gave him a piece of my mind, he said we should come over for the money.’ boasted Tessy
‘He said we should come? Addy’s eyes were huge like saucers. The joy that welled up in her was indescribable. Aunty Toks’ money would be paid. She hoped she would have some change so she could also send something home to her mum. She would figure the rest out later. She was doing mental cartwheels already.
‘I told him he was a fool. If he had taken care of you, you would not have had to sort yourself out like this. The idiot just kept yarning nonsense. But when I dropped details of the people I knew in their office, he shut up and asked us to come and get the money. I knew that was what he would do, the silly fellow. I’m sure the thief wanted to keep the money for himself. I really do not know how you could have dated that kind of a human being’ said Tessy with disgust on her face.
‘You told him that? How could you say that? But you know what happened was a mistake, Tess. I didn’t go and have S£x-for-pay on purpose. I’m not a LovePeddler’ Addy was really hurt
‘Sorry. i just wanted to get at him. We all know it was a mistake. But, this is a fortunate mistake. At least we are making some money out of it’ said Tessy in her usual abrasive manner
Aduke was still hurt. She hoped her new friends did not really think she was a dodgy character who would willingly have S£x for money. This whole thing had obviously blown out of proportions. She needed to get away from it all and think clearly. But first, let her get the money from Peter.
‘So, should we go now. Will you call him?’ asked Addy
‘Err, before we go, there is one little thing we should discuss’ said Tessy, ‘What’s my commission in all of this?’ asked Tessy
‘Commission? I dont understand’ asked a confused Aduke
‘Yea, that little percentage charge for facilitating this transaction. Oh, you didn’t think this was free or did you? So what will it be, what is my cut? asked Tessy
Aduke was too surprised to speak for she had thought Tessy was doing this out of the kindness of her heart. So, what was that little speech on hating cheating about? and more importantly, what manner of friendship is this? thought Aduke
‘Don’t be so shocked Addy, this is real life. Every one needs to hustle and we all do it’ said Tessy, hoping to reassure Aduke
‘Ok, let’s do 10%. I dont even know how much the money is. I’m just hoping that the briefcase Peter was carrying that day was full of money meant for me. This is a blind negotiation’ said a distraught Aduke
‘Ok. 10% just cause we are friends’ responded Tessy. Tessy suspected that 10% would be a sizeable sum because Bode, Alhaji’s P.A who was in charge of ladies, had given her a huge commission for supplying Aduke the morning after the private party. Tessy had heard that the Alhaji was very pleased with Aduke’s performance and had even dropped much more money than he used to. This Alhaji was one generous man who paid for quality service and Tessy knew she had to stylishly make Addy see this as a viable option. The potential sums on Pimp Charges for Aduke’s services were mouth watering. Heaven only knew what had gone on in that house that night and what this Bytch had done differently from all the others.
Yeah right, friends indeed. thought Aduke to herself. ‘So when do we go, Tessy. Are you ready now?’ asked Addy
‘Oh I didn’t come with a car, a friend dropped me here. Do you have a car?’ asked Tess
Aduke was confused. Did Tessy not come in a taxi? Could this same Tessy be friends with a Taxi driver? Suddenly, it hit Aduke. Tessy was lying. She was trying to keep up appearances by forming! Aduke could see it so clearly and decided to call Tessy out.
‘Oh? that must be very humble of you Tessy.’ said Addy snidely
‘How do you mean? asked a straight face Tessy
‘Befriending a Taxi Driver’ responded Addy
‘Uh? Tessy wondered what Aduke was on about. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Cut the crap, girl. You came here in a taxi and I know it. No need to form. You know I do not have a car, so we will take another taxi to Peter’s office. You are on my payroll now and will come with me in the taxi. Period.’ Aduke figured out that since she was paying, there was no time for nonsense
‘Call Peter and let him know we are on our way, Tessy’ Addy was in boss mode now, suddenly issuing orders.
Tessy gritted her teeth for she was smart, she knew she had been nabbed. She hated to be caught out in a lie. ‘Ok. Can you show me the bathroom, I need to touch up my powder.’ said
Tessy quickly rang Alhaji’s P.A. She needed him to move things along for them when they got to Peter’s office.
‘Hello Bode, we are coming to your office. Remember, I need you on my side to shake Peter up. Yeah, you will get 5%. I will make her drop it. Do you know how much the money is? No. Hmm ok. Can you get the specific sum from Davis? Oh he will want a cut too? Ok, no problems. Bye, we would talk later. Let me call Peter’ she quickly terminated the call
‘Hello Peter, we are coming to your office now’ before Peter could say anything, Tessy had terminated the call.
The new Ikoyi Link Bridge served its purpose and before they knew what was happening, they were standing in front of a building on a quiet residential street in Ikoyi. For the uninformed passers by, it was just another home with a lot of security guards.
A quick pop through the pedestrian gate into the first reception and they were let into the main building.
Aduke marvelled at the size of the compound, at the lush lawns and the beautiful trees, It was hard to imagine that this was in the heart of Lagos. She knew the owner of this property must be very wealthy. She wondered if she had had intercourse with the owner of this place too. She was still too shy to really try to place the faces that kept floating about in her mind any time she tried to think about that night.
They were ushered into another huge reception and just as they sunk into the plush leather sofas, Aduke saw the portraits behind the receptionist’s desk. There were three of them, one of the President – Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the other one was of the popular and much loved Governor Babatunde Fashola. It was the third that kept her attention. She knew his face but not his name. Those dark eyes, fringed by long curly lashes, his curly beard and well shaped lips, his aristocratic nose and fair skin. She knew this man for she had been with him. He was certainly one of them.
Just as she was pondering, she realised that Peter had materialised out of nowhere and was suddenly standing in front of them. The disgust on his face did not stop her heart from thudding a little faster. She still loved her Peter though it did not seem reciprocated.
‘We would need to go to my house. I think I left the case there’ Peter issued the terse order without an hello.
He immediately turned around and headed to the car park.
Tessy looked at Aduke and silently asked if she was willing to go. Aduke nodded and they both got up. Tessy was determined to follow because she would not allow Aduke cheat her. She was determined that they would open the case together. After all, fair is fair.
The drive to Ajah was a short one as traffic was in their favour. Aduke looked at her former surroundings with new eyes. In a few short weeks, everything seemed a lot more scattered and disarranged. The area seemed unglamorous.
Peter walked into the bedroom and let out a sharp expletive. He quickly came out and quickly moved from room to room, slamming every door in sight. After a few short minutes, he re-emerged to the living room and spoke the words that ended Aduke’s day.
‘Ladies, I cannot find the suitcase. I think I have been robbed’ said Peter in a dull voice
‘Peter, no bring that one come you hear? Which robbing? Dem break you door abi dem break your window? Leave that matter abeg! Enter and bring the money comot!’ This came from Tessy.
In her shocked state, Aduke was surprised that Tessy could speak pidgin english so fluently. What had happened to the Queen’s English?
In a daze state, Aduke got up and went into all the rooms, checked all the cupboards but there was no briefcase, not even in the kitchen or in the guest toilet. She re-emerged and found Peter seating on the floor almost in tears.
‘Ladies, please let me sort this out. I have a key suspect in this. I think it could be Eno. She asked for the key to the house to pack some of her things that she had left here over the holiday break and she has not resumed at work since then. She only dropped the key off with the office aboki. I would never have thought she would snoop around my flat’ said a broken Peter
Aduke’s heart nearly gave way. First, no money and to worsen it, Eno has moved in. Peter had moved on so fast. It was a real relationship he had with Eno. She had thought it was just rebound S£x.
Aduke looked at Tessy’s face and immediately read the look in Tessy eyes. Could Tessy be right? Could Peter be lying? Did Eno really steal the money or was this a ruse?
To Be Continued…