Hey, friends! So sorry I stayed away for so long. It wasn’t intentional. I got caught up in a lot of things. I hope you missed me. I’m back on my journey with Ken, Nimi, Laye and Tenisha. Hey, fire up your interest again. Yours truly, peace!
Laye chose a table at the private lounge in Bliss Taste and Bite. She ordered a glass of orange juice while she waited for Tenisha. The dimly-lit room suited her mood. She was scheming for her victory, and her plans had just taken off. Tenisha’s call was the beginning. She had expected her to call and she had not been disappointed. All she needed to do was to hear Tenisha out and plan accordingly.
Her drink arrived. She awarded the waiter a smile as she took the glass off the tray.
“Would that be all, ma’am?” The waiter asked.
“Yes, for now.” She replied.
He gave a little bow and walked briskly away to attend to other customers. If she hadn’t been so hung on Ken she would have liked someone like the tall and muscular waiter. His dressing – a crisp white shirt on a pair of blue trousers and a blue bowtie –accentuated his handsomeness. He could really pass for a fine fiancé. But that was not what she wanted. She wanted Ken, and she would do all within her power to destroy all obstacles blocking her way to him. That was the reason why she was seated in a private lounge and sipping a drink that cost about three times the price in a general lounge. She couldn’t risk anyone seeing her there and she had to send the right message to Tenisha about her class and status.
She took a sip of her drink and checked the time on her phone. It was twenty full minutes since she received Tenisha’s call. She frowned a little. What was taking so long? If she had changed her mind, then she could have told her instead of keeping her waiting? She couldn’t sit in the private lounge sipping a glass of juice for long. The waiters would start giving her weird looks. She would have to make another order or leave. Another order would eat deep into the money she had come with. She might just end up trekking home. She would not think of the amount of time it would take her to get home.
Just as she was about to empty her glass, her phone chirped. She quickly picked it up when she saw Tenisha’s name flashed across the screen.
“Where are you?” She asked, trying hard to keep her desperation off her voice. It would do her no good to show Tenisha how her long wait had kept her on the edge. She would leave the desperation to Tenisha so that she could capitalize on it and launch a successful attack.
“I’m inside Bliss.” She replied.
Laye let out a sigh of relief. “Come to the private lounge.” She told her.
The phone clicked off. Tenisha swept into the room in a cloud of some elegant scent. Laye had to give it to her. The girl knew had to make a grand entrance.
Heads turned towards her as she cat-walked in a red pantsuit with a wide black belt that emphasized her trim waistline. The music playing in the background didn’t block out the click sound of her high heel against the exquisite tiles. Laye was glad she had taken time to appear in one of her best looks too. She had ditched her suit for an evening gown –a straight blue gown pleated at the hem that accentuated the figure she was proud of. Her neck was adorned in a single strand of choker neck bead. She smiled up at Tenisha when she approached the table. Tenisha forced a smile through her tight lips, settling into the seat opposite her.
“You kept me waiting,” Laye said in an accusatory tone.
“Sorry,” Tenisha answered. She didn’t look up at Laye neither did she offer an explanation. She just arranged her purse on the table as if her life depended on it.
The waiter that had attended to Laye earlier came to the table again. He asked what they wanted.
Tenisha looked up at him and her eyes widened but she immediately hid it. She ordered a bottle of sprite and two plates of fried snails. Laye smiled her thanks, glad that Tenisha was not immune to the waiter’s looks too. They were like kindred spirits and so would definitely do well together. Laye ordered another glass of orange juice.
“So, why did you call?” Laye asked when the snails on her plate were all gone. It didn’t matter that Tenisha had only eaten one out of the seven big snails that she was served. She had to get on with the matter on the ground.
Tenisha wiped her fingers on the serviette that had come with their food. She took a long swig of her drink before speaking. “I don’t want to share Ken with anyone else.” She said bluntly, her eyes intense like burning coals.
Laye gave a nod of understanding. “I understand you.” She said leaning back in her chair. She had taken time to study Tenisha while they ate. Despite the heavy make-up that covered all spots and wrinkles, Laye had seen the troubled look in her eyes and the bags below them.
Something was wrong. Something had pushed Tenisha to call her. Something was pushing her still and she would do anything to get what she wanted. Laye wanted to exploit that ‘something’ and use it to her own advantage.
“What do you want me to do?” She asked coolly.
Tenisha sat up straighter. “Please, help me. I need Ken now more than ever.”
Was that tears Laye heard in her voice? She couldn’t tell. She was only certain of Tenisha’s desperation. She wanted Ken at all cost now. It was unfortunate she couldn’t have him. She gave a pitiful shake of her head.
“Tell me about you and Ken.” Laye urged.
And Tenisha did.
She told Laye everything, withholding nothing. She didn’t even spare the tiniest detail. Laye listened with intrigue and jealousy. She was intrigued because of the kind of affair Ken had with Tenisha, and jealous because Tenisha had all of him. She loathed Tenisha. But then, she smiled, Tenisha had just given her one of her strongest weapons against Ken and she would use it well.
While she assured Tenisha of all she would do to help her out, hope filled her heart like rainwater in a ditch. The meeting had given her a solid beginning. She would win. She was sure of it.
Sinivie was waiting outside their apartment when Tenisha arrived that night. The light on the porch rested on her where she sat with her back against the wall and her hand moving through her phone. Tenisha drew a deep breath and pushed open the small gate in front of the veranda causing Sinivie to look up. She straightened and waited for her to come in.
“How did it go?” She asked in a small voice when Tenisha had locked the gate behind her.
Tenisha gave a shrug. “Let’s go inside.” She replied in a withdrawn tone.
Sinivie got up and followed her into the apartment. Tenisha leaned against the wall and slowly dropped down to the floor. Her eyes brimmed with tears. Sinivie looked over her with deep concern.
“How did it go, Tenisha?” She asked again.
“I had to beg… I had to beg Laye like she held the key to my life.” She shut her eyes tightly to fight the tears that had pooled in her eyes.
Sinivie came to sit beside her on the floor. “You don’t have to, Tenisha. You have a lot going for you. You can do very well without Ken.” She advised.
Tenisha shook her head lightly. “I want Ken, Sini. I want him. You know he’s not like the others.”
“But what you are doing now could land you in trouble later on. What would you do then? Would you be able to stand Ken’s hatred because of your lies? Just let it go.” Sinivie placed a comforting hand around her shoulders.
Tenisha shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t want to. Ken is the one I want.” She insisted, her voice hardening a little. The tears from earlier seemed to be drying up.
“Don’t do this to yourself, Tenisha.” Sinivie pleaded. “You’re more than this.”
Tenisha pushed away from her and looked into her eyes. “No, I’m not more than this, Sinivie. I’m not you who has it all together. I am not any of my siblings either. I am Tenisha who has to fight for every little thing I have. Now, I see my lone struggle coming to an end with Ken in my life; I won’t give him up.”
Sinivie sighed. “It doesn’t have to be like this you know. You can quit now and make something out of your life.”
“It’s too late.” Tenisha leaned back against the wall, eyes closed. Her posture told Sinivie she didn’t want to discuss the issue anymore but Sinivie would not give up.
“You know there is a way.” She said in a near whisper.
Tenisha’s eyes fluttered open. “A way? Really?”
Sinivie kept her eyes straight. “Some time ago, one of my salesgirls dropped a Christian tract with me.” She explained silently. “I didn’t see the need to read it, but something pushed me to pick it. Since then I’ve been giving Jesus a lot of thought. I’ll tell you honestly that I knew nothing about having a relationship with Him, but from the day I read the tract, my feelings changed. Now I yearn to know him and my salesgirl has been helping me.”
Tenisha stared at her with wide eyes. “Are you for real?” She quizzed, a bewildered look on her face.
Slowly Sinivie turned to her and smiled. She gave a nod. “Jesus is the only way I can think of.”
Tenisha kept quiet for a few heartbeats. She kept regarding Sinivie with a weird look. When Sinivie said nothing, she jumped up to her feet. “Tell me something better, Sinivie. If you know you’re tired of being around me just let me know. Don’t give me some religious bullshit ‘I’m-born-again-praise-the-Lord’ story. You can do better than that.” She hissed loudly and stalked out of the room. What she needed was fresh air and not Sinivie’s righteousness.
Laye found her way to the Ladies when Tenisha left. She brought out her make-up purse and hummed as she refreshed her makeup. She wore a happy smile and felt truly beautiful as she looked at her reflection in the large mirror in front of her. She could perceive her victory; it was so real she felt if she stretched her hand she could hold it. She lifted her head in confidence. She had finally gotten the power she needed. Nimi? Nah, Ken won’t look at her twice when she got her plans rolling.
And that was what she was about doing. Ken would receive a surprise visitor; one he didn’t know knew his house or his love life. He would receive the visitor that would be his wife in the nearest future.
Laye threw her head back in a confident laugh. She picked out a comb and dragged it through the part of her weave-on that had become tangled. Next, she brought out a small bottle of perfume and applied it generously all over her. She sniffed the air and gave a satisfactory smile, then she adjusted her dress. When she was satisfied with everything, she walked out of the Ladies with a graceful sway, twisting from one side to the other.
She heard a low whistle as she walked through the private lounge out the door. She laughed again, power whizzing through her. She had it now. What Nimi had, she had, and even more than that. It felt good.
She stood by the roadside and took a drop. The taxi dropped her right in front of Ken’s house. She stood outside the black gate and breathed in and out.
This is it, she said to herself. I’m finally walking towards my dreams –a handsome and well to do husband, a beautiful home, and a bright future. Let’s get this started.
She rang the bell on the wall beside the gate.
“Who be dat?” A gruff tone called from the other side. A small compartment on the gate came up, revealing the face of the security man who had answered her. The dim security light made it impossible to see the man’s face clearly, but Laye knew he could see her clearly from where he stood. She placed a hand on her neck and fingered the bead on it.
“I’m here to see Mr. Ken,” she answered.
“From where?” He queried.
“Tell him it’s Tenisha. He’ll understand.” She winked at him.
He nodded, closed the compartment and disappeared behind the closed gate. A few minutes later, a bewildered Ken rushed out and threw the gate open casting wild eyes about. When his eyes fell on Laye, he drew back in shock as if he was hit.
He said nothing and just kept looking at her. Laye’s mouth turned up in a wry smile.
“Hi, Ken. Expecting someone?” She commented, breaking the silence.
Taut lines drew across Ken’s face. “What are you doing here?” His mouth was set in a hard line.
Laye would have been deceived if not that he kept looking over her head, expecting someone –maybe Nimi, to jump out at him. His constant wary glance betrayed his show of anger. He was as nervous as a rat trapped in between a cat and a wall with no way of escape. That was to her own advantage.
She drew close to him and placed a hand on his chest. He stepped back immediately as if she had a transferable virus. She let out a sardonic laugh. “Oh, Ken, we have a very long way to go. I don’t want us to start out here. How about inviting me in?”
He crossed his arms across his chest. “Tell me right here what brought you to my house at this late hour.”
“You wouldn’t like it, Ken, believe me; you wouldn’t like people to know the real you.” She said in a voice dripping with honey. “Just imagine the security man getting the information I have and seeing Nimi tomorrow. I can just imagine him sharing all the juicy parts of your past with her. Oh, there he is.” She cast a look around him.
He turned swiftly and the security man jumped out of sight. Ken pulled the gate closed and drew closer to her, then in an almost whisper said, “What exactly are you talking about?” He clenched and unclenched his jaw.
“Oh, Ken, you know what I’m talking about.” She let out a giggle.
“I don’t know,” Ken said feelingly.
“Let’s go in and talk.” She suggested again.
After what seemed like an eternity with Ken rubbing his head with his palm, he finally asked her in. The moment they stepped into Ken’s living room, Laye hugged him from behind. Ken tried to free himself from her grasp but she held on tight.
“What are you doing, Laye?”
“Ken, I know about Tenisha.” She let out the bombshell.
Ken’s hands went limb beside him. Laye released him and came to stand in front of him. The colour drained out of his face as he stared at Laye with a look of horror. “How… wha… what…” Ken stuttered.
Laye placed a hand on his chest. He flinched but made no move to shake it off. She hid a satisfactory smile. Now the victory, she said within excitedly. “I know everything, Ken, and I don’t judge you. You’re a man after all, and you were in love. I totally understand. I also know it’s over now. Let me heal your broken heart; let me be the one for you. I would love you like no one ever has or ever could.” She said in a pleading tone. She held him in a hug.
Ken pushed her off. “Stop this right now, Laye. You know nothing, especially about Tenisha and me. Move away.” He charged at her in a thunderous voice.
Laye didn’t as much as flinch as anger poured into his face. She had the upper hand. “I wanted to be a lady for you, Ken, but you just proved to me that you don’t want a lady.” She balled her fist and faced him. “What you don’t want gently, you will get by force. Just wait until I let your precious Nimi know all about your colourful past. Oh, how she would love you.” She told him in a sarcastic tone.
“You have just two weeks to think about my proposal. Two weeks, or…” She left the threat hanging as she eyeballed him, then with head held high and shoulders squared, she walked out of his apartment.
Minutes after she had gone, her words kept playing in Ken’s head. How did things get so bad? He wondered, hands folded across his chest as he paced his living room floor. Yes, the secret would come out someday but he didn’t expect it to come out this way. He wanted to take a special time to tell Nimi, but if Laye told her everything, her trust would be destroyed and their relationship would end. Why didn’t he just tell her that day long ago? He rubbed his forehead as he felt the beginning of a headache.
“Oh, Lord, help me.” He cried. “Two weeks? No, something must be done before then.”
What would be done was his next line of action: he either told Nimi or handle it his own way.