PROMISE TOMORROW (Eiba Family Saga Book 2)

promise-cover-for-blogCHAPTER 28

 

Buki continued the press-ups even after hundred. His muscles screamed and the pain in his left foot escalated. His doctor had warned him not to go more than hundred at a stretch but who cared. He counted days. Fourteen more days to go to his wedding. What could he do about that?

He slumped, and remained still on his face. Muscles rippled and heavy beads of sweat fell. His parents had called that morning and asked when Modele’s parents would invite them over. They were concerned about the continued disregard for tradition and marriage rites by all the concerned parties. He’d sent the invitation cards to them two weeks earlier, two weeks after he returned to Abuja, and then kept them in the dark, again. What could he do about this also? Would they be meeting their in-laws for the first time on the traditional wedding day, they had argued. But what could he say?

“I’ll ask again today,” he had said.

They didn’t even know he was back in Abuja. And he’d been there for a month now. He knew their plans continued. Even his friends continued with the plans. He was sure Modele’s family should have announced the annulment. Ever since, he got back he had avoided junk magazines like a plague. His agent had called about Roxanne a week earlier.

“Confirmed, she’s the one. Should we pick her up?”

“Pick her up.” He had ordered. Let everyone suffer, he thought bitterly.

Ever since he got back, he had laid low. He was sports teacher again. Sports teacher in the multi-million Abuja Fitness Centre and Gymnasium, owned by Buki George. He had always tried to run away from his success. Maybe that was why he continued to be more successful. The typical phlegm, his parents often told him.

He took a deep breath and shuddered.

“They told me I could find you here!”

Buki caught sight of the feet first. Italian leather stood inches away from his face. He had not heard anyone approach. He had been in his private gym all day just exercising. “Working yourself to death,” his sports master had come in to tell him a few hours earlier.

He heaved slowly to his knee and looked up, from the well-polished shoes to designer black jeans that hugged strong legs and thighs. He leaned his hands on his shins and looked up at the intruder, past a crisply laundered white shirt.

He gasped. “Kade.”

“One of your officers said I should hurry before you committed suicide.”

He pulled himself up and limped heavily. He leaned hard on his exercise bike, and caught his breath. “Let’s go to my office,” he said and led the way, his advance hampered by the gruesome pain in his bad leg.

His heart pounded in his chest. Was he dreaming? What did Kade want? Good or bad news? How was Modele? He wouldn’t dare ask.

They walked past several gym classes. Some were occupied with students learning different arts and styles of sports. Few people knew him around. He’d set up his businesses using professionals. He preferred to live under a guise. It was the only way he could survive. That was why he’d fought his feelings for Modele at first. She was too much in the eye of the public.

“You spend your life on that your face?”

Buki looked sideways at him. “What?”

“You do nothing but build your muscles? Press-ups.”

“I try to keep fit…”

“You lost weight.”

There were offices in a long row when they went up the stairs to the next floor. Work sounds filled the air, printers, copiers, and the hush-hush of people making and answering enquiries. All the offices had name tags. Buki stopped in front of one with the tag ‘store’, and opened it with a card key.

Kade sneered. “You’re the store keeper?”

Buki stepped aside and allowed him to step in. “My office is inside.”

The store was an extensive hall with several doors opening to offices at the far end. Kade whistled in appreciation. Several kinds of large fitness and gym equipment lined rows against the wall.

Kade grunted. “How big is this place?”

“A thousand square metres.”

“The gymnasium.”

Buki walked to the far end of the hall and used the card to open another door. Cold air escaped like a caged bird. Kade stepped in. “As a whole?”

“The whole facility.”

“A hundred thousand minus classes and shops, offices.”

Kade looked round Buki’s well equipped office. It was state of art. Obviously the office of a sports-freak. He had a small collection of body-building and toning gadgets in the larger part of the office. A small section had a table, swivel chair, and the usual office equipment, and three visitors’ seats.

Buki waved Kade to a seat. “Please.” He drew back curtains to show a beautiful view of the tracks. “Would you like a drink?”

“No, thanks.”

Buki leaned against a computerised treadmill and studied Modele’s brother. “Did you come for your pound of flesh?”

Kade ignore the offer of a seat and walked over to the window showing a view of the stadium, and particularly the tracks. Several athletes trained.

“I’m glad you know you owe me!” He turned to look at Buki. “Joyce won the world title…beauty title.”

“Congratulations!”

Kade arched an eyebrow. “She flies in from Johannesburg this evening. I’m meeting her.”

“That’s why you’re here.”

Both men analysed one another, refusing to give away any emotions.

Kade turned back to the tracks. “And to take my pound!”

“I sent you a message…”

“I got it.” Kade turned away from the glass and walked over to the seat he’d been offered, but he didn’t take it. “You broke your promise to me.”

“That MacJones girl caused it.”

Kade’s eyes flashed with a storm ready to explode. “Playing blame-game?”

Buki clenched his fist. “I had my plans. She messed it up. Everything messed it up.”

Kade turned again and headed for the door. Buki stumbled to catch him and stopped, blocking the door. “I love her…”

“Get out of my face, Buki George!”

“I don’t have a life without her…”

“Excuse me.”

He stepped aside and hid the tears that sprung to his eyes. “You haven’t seen the last of me in your family!”

Kade jerked the door open. “Give me reason to believe so.” He looked at the averted stance of Buki George. “I’m throwing a party for Joyce tomorrow night. At the Waldorf in Lagos.” Buki looked up at him just as the tear drop. “It’s all-night.” He stepped through the door without looking back.

Buki heard the soft ring of his leather shoes all the way out of the store. Or probably it was just mind-tricks. He couldn’t move any part of his body. He felt as though he’d been hit by a passing train.

Crushed. Miserable. Sad.

 

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MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – FOR LOVE OF CLARENCE – INTIMATE MOMENTS #IYKESREVENGE

mountain-lion-1143576_1280He couldn’t take his eyes off her. She was a master at her job, and his desire mixed with admiration seemed to take all of his energy. How could such a woman exist on earth? He never imagined he would fall so hard for one.

When the training session ended, Clarence knew he had to make his move. His cub had arrived the previous day, and Sofi wanted to leave the next.

“Have you finally thought of a name to give him?”

He arched his eyebrow. Staring at her was awkward. She should be used to him by now but he guessed things didn’t work that way.

He cleared his voice because he couldn’t find it. “I want you to give him a name.”

She laughed. “Me? I don’t qualify.”

The two handlers from the Argentine authorities found the humour and laughed too. Clarence hated it. He hated the two men at first sight, and the mere fact that their presence marked an end to Sofi’s week-long stay in his house. The conversation she started about “getting help” several days earlier had died abruptly. He wanted to have it now.

“Can we walk?” He looked at one of the men. “Alone. You two can go freshen up before dinner,” he said with clipped tones.

The handlers smiled, and turned toward the house.

Clarence watched Sofi watch the men walk away. He battled with how to tell her.

“I’d always wanted to name a cub.” She smiled. “Thanks for the privilege.”

“Pleasure is mine.”

He’d asked to walk but he didn’t take a step.

“Call him Refiner.” She giggled. “An absurd name.”

“I like it.”

“You do.” She shook her head. “You’ve not thought about it. I’m sure you’ll find a better one.”

He took her hand without thinking. “I want you, Sofi. Stay with me.”

He couldn’t look at her face or bear her rejection. He wrapped his hands around hers and took it to his lips. If she stiffened, he didn’t notice.

“You know my reply to that,” she whispered.

“You can live anywhere in the world. I told you before. I will come to you.” He sighed. “I can’t let you go.”

Then he summoned the courage and looked at her. The tenderness in her eyes did him in.

“You want to stay. Why fight it?”

She looked away, and around. “You have a beautiful house, and lovely things surround you. Even the wild animals.” She giggled but it ended in a sob.

“Don’t say no, please.” He drew her into him. “Please. At your terms.”

“How can I say no?”

His lips covered hers hungrily.

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/mountain-lion-cub-portrait-cat-1143576/

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PROMISE TOMORROW (Eiba Family Saga Book 2)

promise-cover-for-blogCHAPTER 27

 

Kade stopped the car in front of the Eiba house and Toro helped Modele out. The family had not had the courage to announce the wedding was off and Modele had been moody since the ordeal. She ate little and slept even less and her family, out of worry forced her to move back in. They had particularly taken the decision when Toro called to inform Ronke the outfits ordered had been delivered.

Obviously, Buki must have informed his family because the Eibas had not heard from them.

It was one of those early days in December when the harmattan weather attempted to establish its arrival. The air was crisp, causing nose and mouth to be extraordinarily dry. Modele, who had started growing back her hair, had it threaded into baby puffs.

Her mother, on seeing her, had cried, “What have these men done to my baby?”

They had received the news about Buki with shock and reacted just as Modele did -with hysteria. But it did no one any good to display this in Modele’s presence, so they’d all kept their cool.

When Modele arrived, Toro helped her to her old room. It had been aired and cleaned and prepared for her return. Ronke redecorated the room with soft yellow and fuschia. Two maids took in Modele’s bags and arranged her stuff in her walk-in wardrobe.

She was weak and had lost considerable weight. Sometimes she would just sit by the window and cry. Allowing her to stay alone for so long after Buki left was an obvious mistake.

Toro helped her to undress and wear a simple cotton dress. “Do you want anything?”

Modele half-smiled and shook her head.

Kade walked in. “How’s she?” He looked at Toro.

“Okay. I feel she should sleep. She didn’t get much in the night.”

“Leave us.”

“Yes sir.” Toro lifted Modele’s legs on to the bed and propped two pillows behind her head, and then left. The other maids followed her.

Kade walked over to the bed and sat on the edge of the bed. He rubbed Modele’s slim feet gently. “It’s good to have you back home, lil’ sis.”

“Me too.”

“You’ll be alright,” he said. Modele nodded. “Promise me.”

“I’ll be alright.”

“Whatever happens, you have a beautiful life ahead of you.”

“You said you’d kill him if he hurt me. Will you?”

Kade heaved a heavy sigh. “I don’t want to talk about him, Modele. I want you to try not to, as well.”

She let out a screechy laughter. “Ok. I won’t.”

He stood abruptly. “Dinner will soon be served. I want you to dress up for it. Look very beautiful.”

Her voice was painfully feeble. “Are we having guests? I can’t see anyone just yet. Please.”

“No. Just us.” He walked to the door and opened it. “Buki will not get away with this. I assure you,” he mumbled.

She jerked up. “Don’t hurt him, please.”

He glared at her. The tears in her eyes floored him.

“Please,” she whispered.

Kade yanked the door open and walked out slamming the door after him. Modele startled and then rested back, the tears now streamed down her face.

Over dinner, just Kola, his wife and their four children present, they tried to chat. It was impossible. After the main course, Kade dropped his cutlery and looked round. Everyone seemed just as depressed as Modele. They were all dressed for dinner. The men wore black suits and ties. The ladies wore gorgeous dinner gowns, with dazzling jewellery and well-made up faces.

“Let’s face this. We can’t continue to pretend!” he said stiffly. “Rumour already has it that the wedding has been cancelled and I think we have told enough lies to our friends. The wedding is off and it’s better we let the whole world know.”

His outburst met with tense silence. No one had had the courage to broach the topic since they all heard what happened. Everyone walked on eggshells around Modele and talked about every other thing except her life.

“The youths in church showed me samples of what they want to wear yesterday,” Modele whispered.

“Kade is right. It’s high time people know the truth,” Kola Eiba said with a strangely strained voice. “We start by making calls. One or two calls and the news will go round.”

“What puzzles me is how he could have acted so perfectly. God!” Banji gasped. “A world record breaker.”

Ronke snapped. “Oh spare us details.”

“Oh. I just wish I could die.” It was Bambo. She sniffed and her twin passed her a handkerchief. “He was such a bloke. He wanted to know what I was doing with my part of the mall, and all.”

“And he had such fantastic and creative ideas for Bambo and I,” Banji said, a plea in his eyes as he looked around at the rest of his family.

There was another moment of silence.

“Apparently, I knew about him alright,” Kade said quietly and everyone exclaimed at once.

Ronke half-jumped out of her seat. “You what?”

“I met him in Texas early last year at a Trade Fair. He was very… remarkable.” Kade gazed into space as though in a trance.

Ronke looked frantic. “How could you let him…? How could…?”

“Darling…” Kola touched her gently and she slumped back into her seat.

“Very humble, and friendly.” He looked at Modele and sighed. “I’m sorry, sis. I thought I should let him tell you himself since he had his reasons for doing what he did.”

“Kade, how could you?” Ronke said in a low, trembling voice. “What then is the difference between the two of you?” She restrained a sob. “And you kept this from us, after all this time? After all Modele has been through…”

“It’s okay, dear, calm down,” Kola said.

“How could he?” Ronke looked at her husband, tears fell off pained eyes. Modele sobbed quietly.

“I never knew he wouldn’t tell her. I’m sorry,” Kade whispered.

Bambo cried, her tears unbidden. “If he’s such a nice man and Sis Modele still loves him, she should go and find him.”

They all looked at her and gasped.

Modele blinked dumbly. “Go and find him?” She looked round the table. “What if he doesn’t want me?”

“Well, do you still love him? Does he still love you?” Kola asked. “Eibas go after what they want.”

“What if he doesn’t want her anymore? He left didn’t he?” Ronke sighed. “That very day, he was on the flight to Abuja.”

“She drove him away.” Bambo sniffed. “You know what your daughter can be like when she is angry! He was the only one who could tame her!”

They continued to argue above Modele’s head.

 

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PROMISE TOMORROW (Eiba Family Saga Book 2)

promise-cover-for-blogCHAPTER 26

 

Modele sat clutching a throw pillow to her chest. Almost fifteen junk magazines surrounded her, old and new, foreign and local. She had cried so hard, she could not cry again. She had flung things around her room and had not allowed Toro to enter to stop her.

When they arrived from the camp in the morning, she had been told Buki went to church. Then Titi came in and dropped those magazines, laughing hysterically. At first, she had disputed the claims but seeing Buki’s face had been too much for her to take.

“He’s an impostor.” Titi had said. “Well, not the usual kind. He doesn’t want you to know the real heir so that he can take from you and add to his without you having any claims to his!” Titi’s shrill voice rang in her ears.

She cried. “It’s not true.”

“Then why the secrecy?”

Modele also asked herself, why the secrecy. Fear drove me to secrecy, she remembered Buki saying. What did he fear? That she would take from him. For crying out loud, how much could one take from him? Didn’t she have more than enough? She felt humiliated.

When Buki came back, he was met in the lobby by a distraught Toro.

“Titi MacJones was here…” she started. Buki turned and ran in. “Wait! Listen!” Toro ran after him. “She is in a very bad state. She is in her room. The door was locked from inside…”

He knocked softly. “Mo, it’s me. Let me in.”

To his surprise, Modele opened the door and allowed him in. The room was a mess. She had emptied her wardrobe and flung the contents all over. The magazines were scattered on the bed.

Buki took in the sight slowly, breathing hard. He walked straight to one of the magazines. He did not touch it. He didn’t need to. It was one of the old ones, a foreign one too. He remembered the magazine. It carried the news when he broke the world record. His photograph was on the cover. It had been taken as he crossed the finishing line. His face was filled with strain and anguish, sweat dripped down to his chest, his fists clenched. The muscles on his face were taut and his mouth was open, his teeth clenched.

Olympics 2000 when at the age of seventeen, he broke the Olympics record and the world record in 200m hurdles. He had held that record until he had the accident, once breaking his own record.

He calmly bent and picked the magazine, dropped it, and picked another, and another and another and then he saw the financial times and his heart sank. One of the magazines even had pictures of him with Roxanne. They had taken the picture shortly before the accident. Roxanne. Roxanne with her wild blond hair, and sea-blue eyes and pale skin. He dropped the magazine and turned to face Modele. She slapped him, once, before he could talk.

“It’s over between us,” she said quietly.

He swallowed hard. “Let me explain, please.”

“I give you one chance.” She went to sit on the bed. “Undisputed world record holder. Fastest sprinter in the world. You seemed to have collected all the gold medals in all your competitions from 2000 until 2010. Am I right?” She asked with so much spite he could almost taste it in the air.

“My career came to an abrupt end…”

“The sports career not the business career! UCLA. You were an alumnus of University of California, Los Angeles. How come I never knew all these and I’m supposed to marry you in less than two months…?” She picked up the financial times.

What could he tell her?

“You own Achilles.” It was a statement of fact.

Achilles manufactured sports’ footwear. It competed heatedly with Nike, and was listed on NYSE. “Last year, it says here.” She looked at the newspaper. “Achilles grossed ten billion USD.” She gasped. “And you own this company? Am I dreaming? If I am a millionaire in dollars, you are… a billionaire in dollars?! Are you on Forbes’ list?” She flung the paper at him and screamed. “Are you?”

“I guess.” The paper hit him in the face. He allowed it to fall to the floor. “A friend of mine asked me to buy shares in the company. Four of them initially owned it,” he said rapidly. One chance, she had said. “The business was not doing well and they needed a financial boost so I bought in ten years ago. After a year, one of the partners died. His wife did not think the business was worth anything and she needed the cash. I bought the shares from her.

“Two others saw another business opportunity and I just bought them over. By now, I had over 80% shares. The last partner moved out of the states to Canada. I bought him out. I had a lot of money to play around with and the share was almost worthless. Well, I employed experts paid them double what they had earned before and the business came up. Mo, success came upon me suddenly.

“Before my days in UCLA, I was just any other Nigerian. I love sports nothing more. My coach discovered me in high school and started working on me. When I broke the world records, I was just a teen. It was sudden! Then all the complications of fame came. Women, friends, and business associates. I told you I bought stocks and bonds…”

“After the accident?!”

“Yes. But I had Achilles before then but I still invested in rival companies!”

“So why didn’t you tell me all this?”

She picked the latest Star Life magazine, the current edition, which hit the newsstands just that morning. POWER PASS POWER! The headlines read with Modele and Buki’s pictures taken together BILLONAIRE GARDENER MARRIES MILLIONAIRE HEIRESS! The junk magazine never referred to her as a millionaire previously but the story made it clear he had deceived her into believing she was richer and she was doing him a favour. In addition, the piece about him purposely hiding his wealth had been elaborated on.

“When I got into limelight, I had a lot of challenges. Especially women. I was not born-again and somehow one woman or the other came and went. Then I started dating Roxanne. She asked for marriage. Her sister, Helene, was a divorcee, Roxanne was a college dropout. I do not know how I could have gotten myself involved with them but I did.

“They played a lot of tricks on me. I got to start sponsoring everyone in the family. Once, I stumbled upon a plot to have some of my property signed over to Roxanne. I challenged her but she denied it…”

Modele snapped. “Get to your point!”

“The point is Roxanne did not die in that accident. She was in the car with me before but I slept off on the steering. By the time the rescue team came, they found ashes believed may have belonged to a human but I was a star. I was badly injured, Helene was hysterical, and a burial was arranged. So they gathered the ashes and put in a coffin and buried Roxanne. But Roxanne never died. After the burial, the family sued me for wrongful death, in a civil suit. They claimed five million dollars for causing them pain. In the end, we settled out of court. I gave Helene five hundred thousand dollars and the rest of the family seven…”

“So how did you know Roxanne is alive?”

“My investigators traced her to the Bahamas. She lives there under the name Annabel Dossier. They set me up, Mo, can you see? I came back home really broken and started this fitness school and it succeeded so much the ladies started coming round again…”

“What fitness school?”

He faltered. “I—I have a fitness school in Abuja.”

Modele laughed. “This is amazing! How many more things am I going to discover that you have?”

“… But I gave my life to Christ. I did that during therapy and I thought, well, I will marry a Christian but all the Christian girls who came round me were so scary. I just needed to get away under a disguise. Mo, I’m sorry you had to find out like this. I tried to stop Titi. Hoped to tell you when you called last night…” He moved close to her and knelt down.

She straightened and looked down at him. “Well, now I’ve heard what you have to say, you may leave. Pack your things and go catch the evening flight to Abuja. It’s over between us.” She walked to the door and calmly opened it for him.

“Modele.” He followed her with his gaze. “Please. Please. We can work things out. I have no more secrets…I love you, Mo. I want you to be my wife!”

“My mother said you were an actor and my father dislikes you. I can’t believe I’ve been so blind to their intuition. Just get out.”

“I beg you, Modele. Let me…”

She stomped over and kicked his face. “Get out!”

Toro rushed to the room when Modele began banging the door and chanted at the top of her voice. “Get out. Get out. Get out!”

Buki hesitated, and she stomped out of the house to his room, and began throwing his things out, piece by piece. Toro and Buki followed her, helplessly.

“Leave, please,” Toro told Buki, tears streaming down her face. “You can go and sleep somewhere and come back tomorrow when she has calmed down.”

“Ema! Get this man out of my life.” Modele yelled at an approaching, shocked Ema.

“I didn’t mean to hurt her.” Buki tried to explain to Toro. “When you told me that MacJones girl wanted to see me, I knew it was going to be trouble!”

“I know. Just leave,” Toro said.

“Help her to the house. Help her to calm down. Please. I’ll come tomorrow,” Buki’s gruff voice was pained.

He picked his clothes one by one as Toro led a dumbfounded Modele away. Ema quietly assisted him to pack.

 

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PROMISE TOMORROW (Eiba Family Saga Book 2)

promise-cover-for-blogCHAPTER 25

 

Modele called him the first night from Camp Young, Ede, where the youths went camping a few days later.

“They allow one hour calls every night. Therefore, I called Mom, Daddy, and Kade. Two minutes each for them and now you. How are you?”

“Missing you like air,” he said. “I finally got through to my parents today. Told them about the wedding.”

“And? What do they think?”

“Guess. My mama is elated. She was busy screaming on the phone when Dad collected the phone from her, congratulated me, and hung up.” He laughed.

“Mom told me they’ve started telling everyone. Kade just came in from Abuja today and he’s happy for us too.”

“I’m glad your big brother agrees. When are you getting back?”

“Sunday evening. I told you before we left.”

He groaned. “I miss you, baby. It’s as though you’ve been gone for a month. It’s as if one half of me is missing.”

“I feel the same. Were you able to send the orders for your suit and my dress?”

“I’ll do that on…”

“Oh Buki, delivery takes four weeks! Maybe we’ll just have to travel and…”

He laughed. “I placed the orders this morning.”

She sighed. “Oh, you’re such a tease.”

They talked on and on about everything, and finally hung up almost an hour later. Buki slept fitfully that night and woke up from a dream about the accident. He had seen the accident just as it had happened again but it was Modele sitting beside him. Modele was burnt in the car. He woke up with a scream, sweating.

After his press-ups and devotion, he called her. Her phone was switched off. He remembered she had told him they were allowed just a call once a day, and in the evening. He gave up. He would just have to wait until evening to talk to her. He wondered why he would have that dream again. He had those nightmares, reliving the accident the first few months after it happened. Then his agent and lawyers had hired investigators. There had been Roxanne’s burial. She was just twenty. Her family had pounced on him for being careless…

Buki had a light lunch and was in the study sending mails online when Toro knocked once and entered.

“Miss MacJones is here to see you,” she said.

“To see me? That is not possible. Tell her Modele has travelled. She can come and see her on Monday.” He dismissed, and continued with what he was doing.

Toro was back within the minute with three junk magazines, two of them foreign.

“She gave me these for you,” she said dropping them on the table beside the mouse.

Buki picked one of the foreign magazines and jumped up. “Where is she?” he barked, halting Toro’s retreating form. “I’ll see her now!”

“She’s in the guest parlour.” A surprised Toro blurted.

Buki limped as fast as he could, almost pushing the shocked Toro out of the way to the cosy guest parlour.

Titi MacJones stood in front of an artist impression of Modele. Her mother had done the full portrait painting of her when she turned twenty-one. Buki had thought it was the most beautiful painting he’d ever seen. Modele wore a simple white gown with pasty designs on the bodice. Her mother had designed the dress for her and the Decoy Fashion tailors had made it. She looked like an angel. The artist had gotten the impression so well you would think it was a picture and not a painting.

“What is the meaning of this?” Buki yelled, flinging the magazines on the centrepiece.

“Is that a form of greeting for a beautiful afternoon such as this, Mr. George?” Titi purred, turning away from the painting to face him.

He gasped at the indecent see-through blouse she wore over white jeggings. “I see you approve.” She looked at the blouse.

He snapped. “Answer my question. I don’t think this is an afternoon for pleasantries.”

“Very well. It is exactly what you see it to be. Truth will out, as they say.” She giggled and walked to him, swaying her hips outrageously.

“What do you want?”

“What do you think I want?” She laughed. “You, of course.” She stood right in front of him and spread her hands on his chest. “You are such a handsome man,” she whispered, “and with this,” she looked down at the magazines, “you’re—”

Buki pushed her away with such force, she stumbled and fell into the wrought iron sofa behind her.

“I can’t believe you will come here and try to blackmail me with yourself. You have nothing I desire. You are just a piece of trash and I know how to deal with a woman like you.”

She remained slouched on the sofa. “Insults? You’re a fool, Buki George!”

It afforded an unbridled view of her female anatomy. Her short see-through blouse had shifted to reveal voluptuous and smooth skin. “Do you know what this information will do to Modele? It will destroy her.”

“Not if I get to her before you.” He picked the magazines and headed for the door. He was driving to Ede immediately.

“You really do love her, don’t you?” It was the tone of her voice that stopped him.

“I do!”

She sighed and stood. “What a shame then. Because, unfortunately, I knew you would not cooperate with me, anyway.”

Her eyes danced, and she stood arms akimbo. Buki faced her fully, his body rigid with anger…and fear. “What did you do?”

“I knew you would be the male that you are. You would be stubborn and think you could get around this…”

Buki took a long stride to her and shook her. “What did you do?!”

“Star Life.”

Blood drained from Buki’s face and he thought he would faint.

“The whole story will be all over the country by tomorrow morning. Even if you get to her before me, it will be too late. For goodness’ sake, she does not know who you are.” She threw up her hands triumphantly. “You are a fake.”

“I beg you, don’t do this. Call the magazine. Stop them from publishing this news.” He raised the magazines to her with trembling hands, as though they were a sacred offering.

She flung round and turned to leave. “Call them yourself.”

“Please.” He groaned. “I will do whatever you want. I’ll give whatever you ask.”

She turned to face him. “I want you.”

“Do you know what that will do to Modele?”

She pouted. “It will destroy her.” She snickered. “As though she is a china doll! All her life she has had things easy. Her first ever trial in life was Jude’s disappointment…” She threw her hands in the air. “As though that is such a big deal.”

“Two in the same year, is that fair?” Buki tried to bargain. “Please, ask for anything else.”

“I don’t want anything else. Anyway, by the time, she sees this, she will be too disappointed. I can bet you, she wouldn’t want you anymore.”

His voice cracked. “Don’t do this.”

“I promised Modele I will get even over Jude. This is my revenge.”

“Jude left her. Aren’t you satisfied? She still hurts over him.”

“Two hurts are better than four,” she said spitefully. “Better than what her likes have done to the likes of me.”

“Don’t do this thing. As a child of God…”

“Don’t preach to me!” She shrieked. “You are worse than me. You are a liar, a deceiver. You have no right to point fingers.” She poked his chest.

“I know. Please. Whatever she has done to hurt you, take it out on me leave her out, please.”

“You are wasting my time. Sleep with me, just once, tonight, in this house and…”

“That’s not possible!”

“Are you being stubborn? I’ll call the Star Life editor right now and…”

“Get out!” he barked. “Go and do your worst.”

He swung round and left her in the guest parlour, his whole body shaking with anger. Roxanne’s sister had brought this height of anger out in him too. What was he going to do? He could drive to Ede. He had to. He would fall on his face and tell Modele everything. She would be mad at him, but he could convince her to forgive.

He told Toro he had to travel. It was urgent and he would be back later in the evening.

The trip to Ede was smooth. He was directed to Camp Young where the youths were lodged but to his disappointment, there was no one there. The youths had gone to a mountain to hold a night vigil. The caretaker at the camp had no idea which mountain they went, but was sure the youths would leave from their back to Lagos! Modele had not told him of any such plan.

Later in the evening when Modele called, the reception was so bad they could hardly hear themselves. He kept shouting over the phone: “We need to talk. Something came up.”

He hardly slept throughout the night.

 

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PROMISE TOMORROW (Eiba Family Saga Book 2)

promise-cover-for-blogCHAPTER 24

 

Steven Morgan called at the house a few weeks later to invite Modele to a special retreat. They had earlier decided in the youth executive council meeting to shift the get-together to another time and go for the weekend retreat instead.

Modele was reluctant to accept the invitation but Buki encouraged her to.

“I think it’s a good time for you to mix with other members of the church,” he told her after Steven left. “Besides, Steven will feel I am the one stopping you. Did you notice he invited only you?”

“That alone is enough reason to refuse him,” she said sulkily.

“I’ve wanted to tell you to be more dedicated to your youth programs. They all seem to look at you like a snob.”

“That’s because everyone seems to talk only about what I hate…whose father is what!” She hissed. “Titi MacJones used to be in that exco and goodness! It was horrible. She was the public relations officer and she did just that and more,” Modele said in disgust and Buki chuckled. “So she made it her business to know every secret about everyone and once she knows, be sure to see the news in Star Life the following week and then some other junk mags. You know, I really started to believe they must have been paying her.”

“Oh, Mo. It can’t be that bad?”

“Buki believe me, it was worse. Do you know I put her to a test? I called her in confidence and told her I was in love with another person. I told her I could not tell her the name yet but I was really getting set to call it quits with Jude. The following week, three junk magazines carried the news! REVEALED! MODELE EIBA IN SECRET LOVE AFFAIR!”

Buki gasped. “You don’t mean it.”

“The story said it was a source close to me that reliably informed them. Jude almost went crazy. It took me weeks to convince him it was a lie. There was no one nowhere. That’s why I warned you off her the other day. Even then, see all the stories those magazines have carried about us. MODELE EIBA SAYS YES A SECOND TIME. BILLIONAIRE HEIRESS MAD OVER GARDENER. ROMEO AND JUIET PART TWO…”

“Oh, spare me.” Buki doubled over in laughter. “But I know people like her. Roxanne’s sister was just as potent,” he said.

“So you understand where I’m coming from.”

“But she’s not in the executive any more, is she?”

“One year of her was more than anyone could take. She is not even in the church anymore. Only God knows which church she is attending now. That girl! Do you know she published my story just to spite me, and to take Jude from me? It was terrible.”

“You could have let Jude in on it before going ahead…” She waved that off with her hand. “Anyways, she’s not there now. I want you to attend the retreat and receive a date for our wedding.” He cupped her face.

She leaned into him. “Buki!”

He took possession of her mouth and kissed her passionately. “I want to marry you this year. I don’t think I can wait any longer.” He kissed her face and neck.

“You’re something, Buki George. I thought you said next year.”

“Never. I might have said we may wait but there really is no need. And I don’t think I can hold myself much longer,” he said hoarsely.

She pulled at his shirt collar playfully. “I’d better start avoiding you. We’ve known ourselves barely six months…”

“And six months is long enough to take a woman to the altar,” he said huskily.

“Six months into my relationship with Jude, and he had taken me to his bed. No talk of marriage till six years later…” She hid her face in his chest.

“You can’t seem to forgive yourself for allowing him deflower you,” he mumbled.

“I can’t.” She nodded. “I never allowed him again but then, the deed was done. Not that he didn’t ask again but…”

He gripped the sides of her face and brought her face up to him. “Shah! We will not talk about Jude again. Please the pain you still feel is too much. To me, you’re worth a million virgins.”

She clung to him. “I love you, Buki.”

“Now, let’s start planning our wedding. You need to get those catalogues with wedding dresses and suits.” He stepped back and looked into her eyes. “Do you know where we can buy them from?”

She laughed. “Are you joking? You forgot I was planning my wedding just a few months ago. Besides, we are a fashion family!”

He laughed. “Oh! Me monkey.”

“I have five of those magazines. I have a French one, a German one, and a British one and two American ones so my problem now is to choose. Jude wanted all British…”

“And that leaves British out.” He exclaimed, and she laughed.

“Well, if you say so. And the French…well, the suits are really nice but the dresses are mostly too exposing…”

“That leaves French out.”

“Oh Buki.” She laughed. “Wait till you see them.” She moved out of his arms and rushed to her study where she kept the catalogues.

“How about a Christmas wedding?” he said when she returned.

Her mouth dropped open and her face brightened up. “Christmas is less than two months away!”

“So?” he feigned.” Is it money that will delay us, billionaire?!”

She laughed. “Money answers all things.”

“I was just checking the calendar now, Christmas day is a Saturday.”

“Are you serious? Oh my darling.”

“I’ve never been more serious in my life.”

“Really? Perfect!”

“So you agree?”

“Let’s just say you’re contagious.”

They pawed over the catalogues for hours and before they knew it, were already putting a solid plan on ground for their Christmas-day wedding.

 

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MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – FOR LOVE OF CLARENCE – SHAMEFUL HOPE

Sofi had gone through the first session and was chatting with two of her trainees during the lunch break she called for, when Clarence came out to the “zoo” area. It was well after noon, and the November sun was high up, which informed the dark Persol sunglasses he wore.

In actual fact, he’d been awake all of eight hours and wondering how he was going to face her after the horrible experience of the night. He never slept through the night if he didn’t drink and Sofi had arrived in the middle of his drinking ritual. Only a bottle of brandy was gone when she arrived.

He’d prayed one bottle would suffice but that was long ago. Now he went two at least. His doctor had warned him his offal would pack up soon but he cared nothing.

“Ah, here comes our executive student,” Sofi said.

The two learners walked away as though a deadly plague had occupied their air space.

Clarence read the openness of her face, the warmth in her eyes, and the teasing smile about her lips, and his high walls crashed. She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever encountered, inside out. Could such a woman ever love a man like him?

Guilt tore his insides. He was not worthy. She was so young, maybe ten or more years younger than him. Definitely. So full of life. Why would a woman like her want to be with him, condemned to a forever without sexual pleasure or the joy of motherhood?

One moment he wanted to pull off his disguise, and let her see the hopeful desire in his eyes, but he held back. He couldn’t risk it a second time.

He knew she had been decent, and taken caution not to expose him…

“Your staff are so enthusiastic. Fast learners too.”

“They have a beautiful teacher,” he said gruffly.

She chuckled. “I hope that helps.” She sighed. “I expected you at breakfast so you could introduce me to your employees but anyway, we got through and started with the training.”

“The night was…difficult.”

She turned toward the cub’s pen. “Your facility is quite impressive. Your pets are blessed.”

“Thank you.” He followed her gaze. “I appreciate your professionalism.”

“Have you had lunch?”

“No.” She strolled toward the house, and he followed. “I believe you made good progress with the training today?”

“You should see a doctor, you know. It’s none of my business—”

Tension built as he realized she meant to talk about the previous night.

“I appreciate your concern.” He turned to her. “I could have hurt you, yet you didn’t run.”

She arched an eyebrow. “You forget I work with wild animals.”

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/mountain-lion-cub-portrait-cat-1143576/

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