If there was anything Moira knew how to sell perfectly, it was arguments like this. Aisha stared at her. “You can’t be serious.”
“Do I look like a clown to you?” Moira asked as she took her seat beside Aisha. “I know you might be freaked out about living with a guy, but I can assure you, it is nothing. There would be rules.”
Aisha nodded. “How do you expect me to move in with Craig? Did you see that house? It looks like a mad house. There is no way I’m going there.”
“We are trying to make this thing as believable as possible; Alhaji has to see the seriousness in you. He won’t mind. I promise.”
Aisha shook her head stubbornly. “Sweetheart, I think you should think up another idea. This one is not reasonable.”
“This is reasonable. I know you know it is. You are trying so hard not to believe it and I understand you, but the truth is, it will boost Alhaji’s belief. He’ll think you just fell in love.”
Aisha rolled her eyes. “It is not so easy to fall in love. My father won’t believe I just fell. At least not me.”
“What are you trying to say? Are you so amazon that you can’t fall in love? Look, if there is anything that a woman wants, and I mean even the toughest of women, it is to be loved. I can bet you, this is a golden chance.”
“So I am just supposed to show up at Craig’s doorstep and say, ‘I am moving in’.” Aisha asked.
Moira nodded. “Yes. Since when do we care how he feels about our decisions?”
“He has friends living there with him. I need to talk to him about it so that he could at least tell them to leave.” Aisha replied as she picked up her phone.
Moira yanked it from her hand. “No. Don’t give him any room to decide. You are the one who pays the piper; you will dictate which tune he plays.”
“What if this piper doesn’t want to play my tune? He seems the very independent type, Moira?” Aisha asked.
Moira shrugged. “We’ll make him. You know how you do these things, right?”
Aisha took a deep breath. “I just need my money.”
“I just need to make her pay.” Craig said as he threw his jacket on the seat.
Bolu stared at him. “How do you intend to do that? She doesn’t seem very easy and you know it.”
Craig nodded. “I just hate her guts. I tried to be nice to her but it didn’t work. I have bigger plans for her. I’ve been sketching them throughout my ride home.”
“What’s in that head of yours now?” Bolu asked raising an eyebrow. “You are up to no good and I know it.”
Craig nodded. “You are not going to like it, so I am going to apologize in advance. I am going to ask Aisha to move in with me and that means you have to move out.”
Bolu gasped. “No way, man. Daniel has kicked us out of his place too.”
“Nah. Just beg him, he’ll take you in.”
Bolu shook his head stubbornly. “You don’t get it, Daniel is pissed. He said we are done.”
Craig stared at him. “You are messing with me, right?”
“No, I am not.” Bolu replied. “I’ll have nowhere to go if you kick me out.”
Craig relaxed in the chair. “What do we do? I want Aisha to move in with me, I have plans for her. There’s no way you can live here with the both of us.”
Bolu nodded. “I get it. But, where do I go?”
“I will give you some money. I’ve started saving for the rainy days.” Craig replied as he swiped across his phone’s screen. “I have to see Daniel and know what’s up with that guy.”
Bolu sighed. “Maybe he would feel better if you help him win Vicky.”
“I don’t think this is about Vicky. Daniel is a bad loser, I think that’s where the problem is.”
“I might agree with you, but he is family, we can’t just let him hate us.”
Craig stretched his leg. “I don’t care how he feels right now. I have stopped caring.”
“I know you do. When are we going to see him?”
Craig shrugged. “Tomorrow?”
Bolu nodded in agreement. “Tomorrow is great.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Vicky asked as she stared at Daniel.
He took a deep breath and held her hand. “I just want to open your eyes. Craig is getting married soon and it is real.”
“Look Daniel, I find it hard to believe that Craig would just get married like that. I mean, why would a man just wake up and want to marry soon without anyone even seeing him around his fiancée? Or how long have they been dating?” she asked.
Daniel blinked as he tried to think. “I…I don’t know if I should be telling you this.”
“Look, Daniel, I love Craig. And, I won’t let you put ideas into my head, I think you should go away now.” Vicky said as she clutched her bag to her arm.
Daniel immediately stopped her. “Please Vicky. Just…Just give me a chance.”
“Daniel, I don’t love you and you know it. Quit trying.” She replied.
He rubbed his forehead. “But Craig won’t be with you either, he…he has bigger commitments.”
“Like marriage? How is it that you are just bringing up this marriage thing?” she asked.
“It is very recent and it is going to be rushed too. He’ll be married in no time.” He replied.
She stared at him. “You are being paranoid.”
“No, I am not. I…I just wish that you could really see what I am trying to tell you.”
She scoffed. “You have not said anything. Okay, who is he getting married to? Why is he marrying her? Is she pregnant? What’s the dirty secret?”
Daniel swallowed as he took a deep breath.
Vicky hissed. “Stop wasting your time. I won’t be yours.” She replied and turned to walk away.
“Aisha…Aisha Bello.” Daniel said. Vicky turned in his direction swiftly. He took a deep breath and continued. “Craig is marrying Aisha Bello.”
Vicky approached Daniel. “The closest glimpse of Aisha Bello that either you or Craig can have is through the television. How is he going to marry such a woman?” she asked with a smile. “I really think you need medical attention, and pretty fast too.”
“I am serious. He is marrying Aisha Bello and really soon too. If you want to believe me, fine. If you don’t want to, well, I have tried to open your eyes.” He replied.
She stared at him carefully. “And you think you are doing all these for love, right?”
He nodded. “I love you and I don’t want you to be in love with a man that clearly doesn’t deserve you.”
“No matter what you think you are doing, this is not the right way to love somebody, Daniel. It never works out this way.” She replied and walked away.
Craig hurled a dart pin into the board. “Bull’s-eye.” He said as he went over to collect the pins.
“So, you come to work every day to do nothing?” Bolu asked as he paced round Craig’s office.
Craig nodded. “Yeah, all I do here is act the figure head and sign documents for them.”
“I can see that she has everything all covered. She must be doing this for so much.”
“Yes, Bolu, I agree with you. But I have mega plans for her; she is not going to enjoy that kitty alone. She had got me, and I won’t leave until I get so much from her.”
Bolu smiled. “That’s my man. Exactly what I guessed your mission would be.”
“Who does she think she is? No one bosses me around.” He replied with a grin.
Bolu grinned. “When are we going to see Daniel?”
“We should leave by lunch; I want to see Aisha too. I have to ask her to move in with me today.”
“What if she turns you down?” Bolu asked.
Craig smiled. “I don’t think she will. She is really desperate now and I actually discovered there’s a guy in her life but she is not interested in his love…or maybe just for now, which means I have to act fast before she decides to discard me.”
“Are you planning to sleep with her?” Bolu asked.
Craig laughed. “Do you think I am going to let her gorgeous body go to waste?”
“My guy!!!” Bolu said as he shook Craig emphatically. “That’s what I am talking about!”
The intercom buzzed. “Yes?” Craig said as he lifted the receiver.
“There is a man coming upstairs to see you.” Craig’s secretary said.
He stared at Bolu. “Who is he?” he asked.
He didn’t have to get an answer from his secretary as the door opened allowing Alhaji Ibrahim in.
Craig replaced the receiver slowly. “Alhaji Ibrahim Bello.” He said, standing up.
“Hello Craig.” Alhaji replied.
Bolu stared at them and then bowed before Alhaji. “Good day, Sir.”
“Hello young man.” Alhaji replied.
Bolu stared at Craig. “I’ll be on my way, I’ll see you later.” He said and walked over towards the door, “Good bye, Sir.” He said and slipped out.
“So, when are you going to tell Craig?” Moira asked as she paced around Aisha’s office. She had a mug of coffee in her hand while Aisha stood by her large office window looking through some papers.
Aisha did not reply.
“Aisha?” Moira called.
Aisha still did not reply.
“When are you going over to Craig’s?” Moira yelled.
Aisha turned in her direction. “Moira, do you think I spend my time scheming on my next pseudo-marital plans? There is money to be made. I just discovered that a client might be playing funny and I need to sort that out.”
“Aisha, there are people that can deal with those investigations here. Why does it have to be you? I think this is more important because we need to secure all your money first before you start worrying about thieves.” Moira replied.
Aisha shook her head in disagreement. “You are very wrong, sweetheart. I won’t spend my time thinking of how to move into one of my properties even though the owner bears Craig. Right now, you should help me trace the irregularity in this document, not remind me of Craig.”
“You only think about work. You bore me.” Moira replied as she took a seat.
Aisha smiled faintly as she took her seat opposite Moira. “I know you are bored, but I am doing this for us all. If I don’t get the missing money back, it might affect my inheritance on the long run. I am not willing to take that chance.”
“Okay, where do we start looking?” Moira asked.
Aisha stared at the paper. “The first contract we signed will do us some good.” She said, handing the paper to Moira.
Moira took the paper and stared at it. “Most of these clients tend to play funny only if we let them. But, I am your fairy godmother and I won’t let anyone mess with your money.”
Aisha smiled as she stared at Moira who was now looking absorbed in looking through the documents. “I am having lunch with Craig.”
Moira smiled as she tossed the paper back at Aisha. “Great! Exactly what I wanted to hear!” Moira said delightfully. She stared at Aisha. “Not one of your nervy moments, else, he might just put up a resistance. You have to be firm, really firm.”
Aisha nodded in agreement. “You are right. I won’t let him dictate anything; I am the one who calls the shots here.”
Moira smiled. “That’s my girl.” She said.
A smile danced around Moira’s lips and Aisha stared at her suspiciously. She knew Moira must have started conceiving thoughts in her mind with that evil smirk on her face. “What is it, Moira?”
“It’s…It’s just that I think you and Craig are a match made in heaven. I am actually beginning to doubt the possibility of two gorgeous bodies under the same roof without any intensity. I don’t think you guys would last an hour alone without getting some action.” Moira said grinning.
Aisha turned on her laptop and started to type.
“Do you know why I love you, Aisha? You have a way of creating a distraction for every moment. I am serious about what I am saying to you, maybe we should consider Hakeem. In all honesty, he is not as cute as Craig, he won’t turn you on.”
Aisha shot at Moira. “Don’t you have any work to do in your office?”
Moira smiled and rose to her feet. “I want the feedback on your lunch with Craig. The full Goss! Don’t leave anything out.” Moira said grinning as she picked her digital tablet from the table.
“Leave, Moira! There is money to be made.” Aisha said.
Moira smiled at her and approached the door and then returned to her with a whisper. “Damn! I wish I was the one having Craig to myself right now. That dude has the body of a Greek god.”
“I take it as he is one of your numerous escapades?” Aisha asked without taking her eyes off the laptop.
Moira closed the laptop furiously. “Numerous escapades or not, you and I know that he is so attractive. I can’t wait for this weekend.”
“What’s happening this weekend?”
Moira grinned. “You are moving in with him and you’ll both be at the tennis club. The media won’t spare you guys. Front cover, baby!” she said as he walked out.
Bolu bit his nail as he thought of the kind of trouble that Craig might be in with Alhaji Ibrahim Bello. Maybe Alhaji had overhead them talk lousily about his daughter? Bolu fought back the thought of Alhaji knowing what they had said. He was so deep in thought that he didn’t hear Daniel drum on his desk.
“Hey!!!” Daniel said as he shoved Bolu roughly. “Wetin you dey think?” he asked in pidgin English.
Bolu adjusted his shirt from the rumple that Daniel’s handling had formed on it. “Guy, why you push me like that na? You no know say I iron this shirt before I comot for house?”
“No vex. Wetin dey happen na? Craig don chop your eye?” Daniel asked with a smile.
Bolu scoffed. “Why do you always see the bad in people?”
“I am not. I am only being realistic here. Okay, tell me, why were you so lost? Is it not because Craig has done something to you too?”
Bolu smiled. “Sorry to burst your bubble, Craig and I are good. You are the one who has decided to act like a woman and hold grudges for nothing. Our guy needs us now and not for you to start acting as if we haven’t been friends for a long time.”
Daniel took a deep breath. “So, where is he living now?”
“I’ll give you the address after work if you want it.” Bolu replied.
Daniel nodded. “Of course, I want it. I need to see him and apologize for everything.”
“You better do, man. Maybe, we’ll go there together after work.” Bolu replied.
Daniel nodded. “Thank you, Bolu. I…I am really sorry for everything.”
Bolu smiled. “It’s fine. What are friends for, right?”
“Yeah. How is it going with Aisha and Craig?” Daniel asked, taking a seat.
Bolu took a deep breath. “It gets complicated every day, but I trust our guy to come out tops.”
“Is it a competition?” Daniel asked laughing.
Bolu shrugged. “Not really. But when dealing with a woman with so much power at her disposal, one needs a backup plan. Who knows what she is planning for Craig? We have to be alert, just in case of any problem.”
“I don’t think she would want any problem for herself, she has a name to protect too.” Daniel replied.
Bolu nodded in agreement. “Yeah. You are right, man. I would tell Craig to keep records just in case she tries anything funny. He’ll be needing to play his games tight, especially now.”
“What’s going on now?” Daniel asked.
Bolu wiped some sweat from his brows. “Craig is going to ask Aisha to move in with him.”
Daniel swallowed hard. “Really?”
“Yes, man.” He replied with a smile. “Anyway, that means, I get to move back with you, right?” Bolu asked.
Daniel nodded. “Yeah. Of course.”
Craig cleared his throat as he offered Alhaji Bello a seat. “Please have your seat, sir.”
“I can’t sit with you…at least not yet.” He replied.
Craig swallowed as he stared at him. “Why is that, sir?”
“What plans do you have for my baby?” he asked.
Craig took a deep breath. “I…I don’t understand you.”
“Look, Craig, I’ll be straight with you. Aisha is all I have got. If you hurt her, I’ll kill you.” He said.
Craig stared at him and swallowed hard. “Well, sir, it means you’ll have to kill me several times, because when people are in love, they tend to hurt each other a lot. I guess youl know that.”
Alhaji smiled and took his seat. “Nice work here, your staffs are dutiful.”
Craig heaved a sigh of relief and took his seat. “Thank you, sir.”
“Aisha doesn’t know I am here, please do not tell her.” He said.
Craig nodded. “Your secret is safe with me, sir.”
“Good boy.” Alhaji replied. He stared at Craig. “Look, son, I don’t have much time, so I’ll be brief with you.”
Craig nodded. “I am all ears.”
“Aisha is a lovely girl, there’s so much beneath her perfection, I believe. I…I can’t say for sure because I haven’t had the opportunity of seeing that precious girl, but, I…I believe that you are special to her and even if she might not show it to you, you mean a lot. Aisha won’t just bring any man home.”
Craig nodded. He wasn’t just any man to Aisha. He is the man who is going to help her fool her poor father and get her inheritance from him.
Alhaji Ibrahim stared at Craig. “I’ll tell you something about Aisha, maybe this would help. She lost her mother to gunmen. I think she lost every ounce of humanity she had that day. I might be wrong, but, Aisha walked in soaked in blood with her friend Moira. Aisha wasn’t in tears.”
Craig stared at Alhaji curiously.
“Aisha did not cry, Moira ran to me and hugged me in tears. Aisha just went upstairs and played the piano. The doctors said she was depressed and needed to get out of it, I realised that all efforts to get her out of depression didn’t work except for when she went to work with me. She enjoyed being in boardrooms and I finally caved in to her pressure and sent her to business school. The office she currently occupies used to belong to her mother.”
Craig took a deep breath as he buried his head in his hands.
“I know it might be too much for you to take right now, son. I really love Aisha and I know that you would never hear a word of this from her and that is why I have decided to tell you. I have seen that you care so much about her even though we’ve only had dinner once, but I am ready to allow someone else heal the wounds in her heart. I am tired of trying, and seeing her bring you to me convinces me that she might just be letting someone in.”
Craig wiped his forehead. “Sir…I…I-”
“-I understand how it is for you, but, I love men who can honour their words, you strike me as one. I want you to help her find herself again. She was an adorable little girl, I guess most little girls were adorable. But, I never thought that my daughter would transform so fast since her mother’s demise. I want to see an Aisha that isn’t all about sealing business deals and making money. I want to see a real woman in her, someone capable of emotions. I want to see someone who can hurt, someone who can love, someone who protects, and someone who can be a mother.” Alhaji said as he took a deep breath.
Craig swallowed hard as Alhaji stared at him hard in the face. “Sir, Aisha is a strong woman.”
“I have always known that. Sometimes, I think she is too strong. She needs someone to lean on, she needs someone to cry on.” He replied.
Craig’s heart started to race fast. Alhaji’s visit was more than what he bargained for, but he was yet to hear the toughest thing Alhaji had to say until he said these words:
“Craig, are you going to love my little girl forever?”