Akin knew he shouldn’t complicate things more than they already were but damn his body when he was near that woman Malika because it just always betrayed him.
He’d liked her from the very first time he’d spotted her at the 360bar and thinking of it now, he wasn’t sure he’d have slept with any other woman at the bar that night. He’d connected with her, wanted her and for some unexplainable reason he’d gone for it.
And now it would never go away.
He tried his brother in law’s number again and this time he picked it up.
“Korede, can we have drinks tonight? The bill is on me”, he asked
“Sure” Korede replied.
He ended the call and blamed himself for the third time that morning for not bolting the door the previous night. He’d been so worried about Malika that he’d just shut the door and had forgotten to lock it.
He turned on his laptop and started to type a mail that was long overdue. He was glad he was his own boss at his furniture company and he didn’t have anyone to respond to because if he did, he was sure he’d have been queried many times in the past week.
His phone rang. It was his mother. His eyebrows creased, that was an unusual one. His mother seldom called. At least not since the fight that had seriously severed their relationship a few years back.
“Where are you?” She asked and he could sense immediately he heard her voice that something was amiss.
“I’m at the office” he responded, wishing he could lay his hand on the problem.
“I’m coming now” she said and hung up.
Malika tried to push the thoughts lingering on her mind aside, since she had moved into Zest ville, her life had been filled with so much drama that she had begun to wonder what it felt like to be without it.
A few months ago, all she was to the public was a celebrity photographer who rarely attended social gatherings/events and who didn’t have enough red carpet clothes and pictures for fashion face off. Presently, she had included husband snatcher and first class bitch to her resume. Nice one Malika, now the world would remember you for good when you’re gone, she told herself.
She honestly felt guilty for causing the Bucknors so much trouble but if only that woman Kofo would calm down and hear her out.
She’d not spoken to Bade in two weeks because the latter had been very busy with school work at her film school and she missed their conversations terribly. She needed someone to talk to – Someone who was in her own camp, someone who knew her and truly cared about her.
Her manager sauntered into her office where she was busy putting finishing touches to the just edited soft copy photographs of world acclaimed writer Tomilola Adeyemo.
“Hey you” he called out and made himself comfortable on the only couch in the office.
“Ishaya” she called his name in response, her attention still fixed on her work. She couldn’t go wrong with Ms Adeyemo’s pictures, she always wanted the best.
“You’ve gone through your schedule for the week yeah?” Ishaya began and she smiled. Like she had time for that. Between becoming a first class bitch and a drama magnet, her hands have been too full the past week.
Ishaya assuming her silence meant she’d gone through the mail continued, “The girls would be here soon. They would be needing a tour around the studio and you might be mentoring one of them”
She turned to face him at that point “what girls?” She inquired.
“You didn’t read the mail did you?” He asked and after she shook her head in response he added “students from May Gilbert High would be having their annual mentorship programme which begins today. Some of the students would like a tour around your studio but only one of them would like to be mentored by you for two months.”
She nodded as she took in the details. She was the wrongest choice to be anybody’s mentor.
“What do you mean the marriage has run its course? Where in the bible did you read that?” Mrs Bucknor asked her eldest son, the latter stared at her without any response and she hoped that he wasn’t being serious about ending his sixteen-year-old marriage. “Do you even think about your daughter at all?”
“I have plans for Mariam…”
“Plans that include being raised in a broken home?” Mrs Bucknor queried angrily.
“Mother, this isn’t as easy as you think. We have been having problems for years and….”
“Then fix it!” His mother interjected.
There was silence for a few seconds. Akin finally got up from behind his desk and strolled to his fridge. He pushed aside the three bowls of soup from Negho African dishes that had recently been his life saving option since Kofo couldn’t care less about him and pulled out a can of drink and poured his mother a glass.
“Where are your Christian virtues?” She asked
“It disappeared sixteen years ago when you arm wrestled me into marrying an unbeliever” he spat and leaned on the wall where he could watch his mother without the confinement of a table and chair.
“Oh you already lost it when you had premarital sex. What was the big deal in making you see reasons in taking up your responsibility by marrying the mother of your child?”
There was an on-going war between the duo, albeit silent but very much obvious. However, one thing Akin knew was, she’d prevailed upon him sixteen years ago and every other time since then but she wouldn’t have her way this time.
Malika sent the mail containing Tomilola Adeyemo’s pictures and stood by her door watching the students of May Gilbert file out of their fine school bus and towards her studio. She remembered, as a child when all she dreamt about was to be a student at the prestigious May Gilbert, but her mother had told her it wasn’t possible. Not because she couldn’t afford it but because the women whom she slept with their husbands had kids there and Malika’s mother had been scared they would bully her.
When they walked into her studio, she took a closer look at each one of them, they were impeccably dressed and each one carried herself with class. She knew each one of them had wealthy parents. That was one of the things May Gilbert students were known for.
“Hi Ms Aliu. I finally get to meet you”
She watched the pretty teenager in front of her, she was prettier than the rest, her skin a chocolate shade that glowed like she bathed in milk every morning and her somewhat brown hair albeit held in a tight bun had a few strands loose. And for some reason Malika wanted to touch them and fix them into place. But it still complimented her beautiful face as her zesty eyes shone in eagerness. She looked confident as she stared at Malika, her hands held a small purse and a camera while a bright smile spread on her face. She was happy to meet Malika, she could see that. And for some reason Malika loved the girl already, she instantly felt a need to be there for her.
The girl added, “My name is Mariam Akin-Bucknor and you will be mentoring me”
Malika’s jaw dropped.
“You knew she was a Muslim when you met her and slept with her. Why should I be blamed for making you responsible for taking care of your own child!” Mrs Bucknor asked her son. They had been really strict Christians and when Akin had gotten a Muslim girl pregnant they had weighed the pros and cons and eventually agreed to let him marry her.
“It wasn’t about the child alone mother and you know it.” Akin said to her and Mrs Bucknor deciding she’d had enough, stood up and stepped closer to her son.
“Tell me, what else was it about?”
“The money mother! The wealth. You didn’t mind how we felt about each other or the religion which I know you had a problem with because her parents were wealthy and you wanted that…”
A hot slap landed on his face, silencing him.
Korede had been expecting his sister’s call considering how disastrous the dinner the day before went. Nobody had expected Malika’s reaction and he wasn’t sure how Kofo would be handling it either. Nobody had ever “shown” her and he wasn’t in the know of how she’d handle being “shown”.
She sat opposite him now at his office, promising himself he wouldn’t mention what he discovered earlier at Malika’s apartment.
“I need your help Korede” she started
“What about?” He asked.
Kofo smiled sweetly and began to explain.
“I do not know the type of man you have become but it is a shameful one. Fix your marriage and your life! That girl sacrificed a lot for you! And what If I wanted my son to have wealthy in laws so he can have a better life? I mean considering the fact that he made that difficult for himself by getting a girl pregnant at twenty” Mrs Bucknor grabbed her bag and stormed out of the office after saying that.
Akin watched her leave. Getting away from his marriage just became harder.
“You want me to date Malika?” Korede asked, refusing to believe what his sister just asked of him. She wanted him to occupy Malika’s time while she worked on getting her husband back. Wasn’t that a bit…silly?
“Korede, you won’t be doing anything bad. Just spend time with her while I work on my marriage please.” She pleaded. He looked at her and saw how badly she wanted it. Maybe he could help her considering the fact that Malika posed a serious threat to the marriage and he cared about his sister even though she was a drama queen.
“Okay.” He conceded and Kofo smiled.
Malika was gone, only she didn’t know it. Now on to her next plan.