Rita hissed and dropped her phone carelessly on the marble stool beside her. She was seated in the balcony, on the upper floor of her brother’s duplex in Victoria Garden City, Lekki. Since her breakup with Udena, after he discovered she was seeing two other men asides from him, she hadn’t found a new man to fill the void. Being Rita, this was very unusual, at any given moment, she had no less than three men she was dating. She couldn’t help feeling bored and lonely.
Chief Balogun Romeo had dumped her after her persistent refusal to marry him and be his fifth wife. All she wanted was to be his ‘sugar-baby’. After stalling for 2 years, he finally broke off the relationship. He was so convinced that all the money he had spent on her more than qualified for him to own her. Chike Smart, her hot actor bobo had also left her for fresher fish. This she didn’t mind really; the guy wasn’t all that generous with his money. She had only enjoyed the hype and glamour of dating a Nollywood celebrity.
…at any given moment, she had no less than three men she was dating
Rita looked at her phone and sighed. It had rung only twice today and both times had been her network provider calling to make unsolicited adverts – “one would think these guys would stop at texts”, she hissed. All those she had tried chatting up seemed too busy and disinterested. Out of desperation, she had sent chief Romeo a few ‘pictures’ the ones she knew he liked to see, yet nothing. The ‘old Buffon’ was online and had obviously received them but ignored her. “Nawa o”, she muttered. If only she hadn’t squandered all the funds chief used to lavish on her, but with her addiction to the latest beauty products, designer wears, accessories, and wild partying, it had taken less than one month for her account balance to hit 50k. If only she had known Udena would discover her runs and call off their engagement, she would have rented her own apartment in a choice location with some of those funds. Now she was stuck here in her brother’s house with his ‘Mary-Amaka’ saintly-witch of a wife.
She believed her sister-in-law didn’t like her, as she was always complaining that she didn’t go to church, she didn’t dress decently, and that she never did anything to keep the house clean, instead she made a mess of everything. Rita scoffed, why would anyone expect her to wash the dishes with these beautiful French tip nails she had on? They cost money, and she couldn’t afford for them to chip off. Rita looked up to the skies, “Baba God money don drain o, I need a refill asap. Bikonu, send bobo.”
…she saw the ‘sweet boy’ in the driver’s seat
Just then she saw a black Range Rover drive slowly into the street and park in front of the house opposite theirs. Her eyes popped! She wasn’t knowledgeable about cars, but she could tell this was a new model. Nobody got out for what seemed like minutes, so she strained her eyes to see through the tinted glass, “who is at the wheels?” She wondered. The driver’s side window slid down slowly, and Rita stopped breathing when she saw the ‘sweet boy’ in the driver’s seat. He was dark-complexioned, had pink lips, a cute nose, and well-trimmed beards. From the way the mint green polo shirt he wore hugged him snuggly she could tell he had a good muscle tone too. His hands, on the wheel, looked so strong and fresh. He looked right in her direction and Rita quickly adjusted her pose to accentuate her curves. When their eyes met and he held her gaze, she did the typical hair flip with just the right dose of attitude. She was going to leave an impression on this guy, whoever he was.
Mr. Range reached for something on the passenger seat, his iPad, and began typing away into it. He stayed there for a few more minutes before driving off. Rita scoffed; he didn’t even have the decency of looking her way again before driving off. She settled back into her seat and picked up her phone with irritation, perhaps Chief has responded.
A week later Rita was walking back home from her morning run when she sighted the same black vehicle. “It had to be the one”, she thought as she quickened her steps. It was parked in front of the fruits and vegetable Kiosk two streets from hers. “Eeeh! If it’s that bobo I saw the other day, he won’t pass me by today o”, She muttered to herself and began jogging till she got to the vehicle. The mallam who owned the kiosk was placing a paper bag full of vegetables in the back seat of the car. She came up through the driver’s side and knocked lightly against the window. The glass slid down, and Rita felt her legs wobble. If she were a cartoon character she’d be drooling! It was him and he was terribly handsome, though up close he looked younger than the last time, in fact, somewhat boyish. Bodily, his muscles were game! He sure spends a lot of time at the gym. Rita could picture them jogging and exercising together already. Perhaps this one can replace Udena!
“Hello”, he greeted with a smile, “what can I do for you?”.
“Errm…” Rita stuttered. “I went jogging and probably pushed myself too far, I don’t think I can manage the rest of the walk down the street to where I live. I’m hoping I can get a ride.” Rita asked sweetly.
The guy looked her over intently, up-down, down-up, and then smiled. “Okay, hop in.”
He stretched to open the passenger’s door beside him for her. As Rita walked around the front of the vehicle, she ensured her hips sways nicely and did her best to give her boobs some bounce. She settled in beside him and smiled. They began talking immediately he started the car, up until they turned into Rita’s street. He parked in front of her brother’s house, and they talked for another 20minutes. He clearly enjoyed Rita’s company. “So, we are seeing later tonight?” He asked Rita as he stroked her chin with his thumb. “Yeah, I’ll be ready at 6”, Rita replied excitedly. She got out and did ‘the walk’ again, and he gave a knowing wink before driving off. Rita was elated – she rocked at this game.
As she entered her room, she noticed it was tidy, too tidy. Bed laid, pillows neatly propped up, no clothes and underwear lying around, the wardrobes were shut, her standing mirror sparkled. Her shoes were all neatly stacked and there was a delicious fragrance in the air. She knew her sister-in-law, Laura, was responsible for it; she did it from time to time.
“How are you, Rita?” Laura asked, appearing behind her. “I cleaned your room; I hope you like it?”.
“Are you mocking me? I did not ask you to, I like it the way I left it” Rita retorted.
“I am not mocking you” Laura began. “I don’t believe I ever have, and I never would. You must believe that I truly care about you and love you. Not just because you’re Chidi’s sister, but because…”
With a dismissive wave of her hand, Rita cut her short and asked her to leave. It wasn’t the first time Laura would try preaching to her, it always started out with how she cared about her, and how much Jesus loves her and yearns for her to realize it. She wasn’t cut out for that crap. Jesus wasn’t paying her bills. She walked into her bathroom for a cold shower.
Rita and Chidi, were the only children of their late parents, and if not for the fact that Chidi was the only close relative she had left, he would have sent her out of his house a long time ago. Daily, Rita rode on the wings of his sentiments. At 27 she was unemployed and had no business of her own. Rita never stayed anywhere for more than 3 weeks before she’d pack up and leave. Chidi had given her capital several times to pursue her ludicrous business ideas, but the moment she made any money, she’d go on shopping sprees, and exhaust her income. She couldn’t keep her hands off anything she desired. Once, while she was a personal shopper, she borrowed the Gucci purse a client had ordered and paid for. It wasn’t due for delivery until Monday, so she used it to a wedding party on Saturday, only to stumble upon the client at the party. This client dragged her offline and online, the gist trended for a full week. Chidi had done his best and then left her to herself, it was only Laura that still tried.
It was the life she needed right now, and he was her ticket.
“See what Laura has caused now, she just spoiled my fine mood this morning”. Rita hissed. She picked up her phone and sent a WhatsApp chat to Anthony, her newfound friend, and potential ‘money-bag’ boyfriend “Thanks for the ride”. In their little time together in his car, she had gotten to know the things she needed to. He lives in Abuja where he owns and runs a multi-million-naira fashion outfit. He had plans to open a branch here in Lagos, and that was why he was around. He would be returning to Abuja in about a week, he’d head for Dubai two weeks after, and then stop over in Lagos, a good opportunity to see her again, before heading for Abuja. Rita began to fantasize about how rich she was going to be once she got into a relationship with him. She would change her entire wardrobe, buy new shoes and bags, go on trips to Dubai and perhaps Santorini, get new gadgets, and take intimidating pictures and videos for the ‘gram’ and Snapchat. It was the life she needed right now, and he was her ticket.
Her phone rang and she realized it was Anthony calling. She picked it up and sweetly cooed “Hello Anthony”. Anthony replied and they began talking and laughing.
Suddenly Rita heard some noise from Anthony’s end and a woman spoke loudly and harshly, “Tony you spend all your time on the phone. Is this how you want to spend your life here in Nigeria too? Your father has insisted you would not be returning to the UK until I confirm to him that you’re behaving better! Good Lord! Tony, I don’t even want you here either, you’re such a bad influence on my kids, but I am stuck with you. What on earth is your problem? The vegetables you bought, do you expect me to go to the car and fetch them? Are you nuts or something?”
“Chai! Rita, you are such a fool!”
Rita listened to the outburst with rude shock, the woman speaking must have snatched the phone from Anthony while he was talking to her. She ended the call, got into her bed, and pulled the duvet over her head. “Chai! Rita, you are such a fool!”, she said to herself. She heard her phone ring; she knew it was Anthony, and the effrontery he had to call her back filled her eyes with fresh hot tears.