“Even the sun sets in paradise” – Maroon 5, Payphone
Chief Koko eyed Mercy warily, did she know the meaning of what she just said? Did she know what it took to smuggle drugs into a foreign country? Did she realise that she couldn’t just pull out of the deal midway? That once she signed a contract with him it was forever? Until she was dead and gone?
Mercy knew he didn’t believe she could do it so she braced herself, ready to convince him.
“Chief, I will do anything you want me to the way you want me to do it. I will not be foolish or careless, I will not…” she began to say.
Disagreeing by shaking his head, Chief Koko started to throw his clothes on. “You don’t know what you are saying my dear”
“But I do.” She insisted, rolled out of bed still in her bathing suit and helped him put on his buba. “See, chief I know you are thinking that what does this small girl know but I have the power to do anything. Let me prove it to you chief.”
Chief Koko was having none of that, to him, she was utterly clueless about the whole cocaine business. She might be ecstatic about the whole process and the huge cash that would follow,but she wasn’t aware of the risk that came with smuggling cocaine. Her life would constantly be on the line and sometimes the pressure would be too much for her to handle. He didn’t think she could handle the pressure, she didn’t seem like she could. He would rather she limited her job to pleasing him sexually and not dabble into the real shit. Girls like Mercy needed to stick to what they knew how to do well…sex.
He finished dressing up, grabbed his cap and handed her a cash of five thousand naira.
“I will call you the next time I want to see you. It might take long this time because of the mess my people just created.” He said, referring to the issue Kanu had reported to him earlier.
Mercy watched him walk out of the room as the door slammed shut behind him. She sighed and laid her buxom body on the bed, trying very hard to find ways she could convince him.
The waitress that had brought Nene and Jaiye’s orders had brought Nene carbonated water instead of the ‘normal water’ she had requested for. And while Nene was making that known, she realised she could get the poor waitress into trouble with Jaiye and so she decided to drink it. Now, as she sipped the carbonated water from the glass gently, it tasted like soda water to her and she loved the way it slapped on her tongue but was this all she’d get? This glass?
Jaiye chuckled as he watched her drink the water slowly from the glass, it was as if she worried it would finish and she won’t get more. “You know, you can get more glasses of water if you want” he said and Nene almost choked with embarrassment.
His chuckle turned into full blown laughter. “Come on Nene, just say it if you want more water. We don’t hoard it.”
Nene’s cheeks burned as she slammed the cup on the table, she was embarrassed and a bit slighted. Why was he laughing at her? What was so damn funny? She had never visited a Fowler Hotel or any other hotel of this standard and she had no idea if they sold water by the glass or if they even sold air.
“I didn’t know if I would get another one” she pouted.
“Of course you would” Jaiye replied as the laughter slowly faded into a smile. “That’s cute by the way”
“What?” She frowned.
“The pout. If you are always like that when you’re pissed, I would like to piss you off more often” He said and for a moment she wasn’t sure what response to give.They both stared at each other for a few seconds, saying nothing and eventually, she looked away.
Her eyes wandered to his plate as she recalled that when she had ordered a plate of jollof rice, fried plantain and goat meat earlier, he had ordered what she’d silently termed a funny looking dinner. It was pasta soaked in some golden sauce and it looked unappealing to her.
“You want some of my Rigatoni pasta with Mussels and saffron oil?” He asked her as he watched her staring hard at his plate.
She shook her head so vigorously, he burst into laughter again.
“Come on, it is not so bad. Here, have a taste” He picked pasta from his plate with a fork and tried to feed Nene with it.
Nene shook her head but he refused to relent, nudging her with his eyes, he added “trust me its not bad”
Nene dediced to trust him, she opened her mouth slightly but not wide enough for the fork bearing the pasta to enter.
Jaiye laughed, “come on Nene, you need to open up more”
Nene smiled despite herself and opened her mouth wider, letting his hand guide the fork bearing the food, into her mouth. When the warm food eventually landed in her mouth and she tasted it, she realised he was telling the truth, it really wasn’t that bad.
She nodded as she chewed and he fed her two more times until she gestured for him to stop.
“Small small biko.” She said with a mouth full of pasta and once again, he laughed.
Nene wondered if he laughed that easily about everything and with everyone. She liked that side of him, it was different from the angry one she’d seen at his house last night and the side that was visibly disappointed in her the day he had discovered her niece alone in the car at the event where they met.
“You speak igbo?” He asked her and she responded with a nod at first.
“Not seriously though, my dad was ebira and my mother is Igbo, my father died when I was very young so I can’t speak his language but I speak my mom’s language a bit and understand it very well” she further stated, washing down the pasta with some water.
Jaiye nodded and wondered what other sides there were to her. She seemed to be an interesting character but for some reason, he was almost convinced she had a lot of story behind that pretty face and big-titted body. He decided to enjoy the dinner with her and discuss other things later.
Reluctantly, he changed the topic back to food. and food they discussed through the remaining part of dinner.
“You have an expensive tongue” Nene said to him after he had given her a long list of his favourite dishes. They included different food from different tribes in the country and various countries in the world.
Jaiye laughed, “I wouldn’t call it expensive, I would call it international. I have an international tongue, one that has tasted almost every food on the planet.”
Nene shared in the laughter, “tell me, what’s the worst food you’ve ever tasted?”
He thought about that for a second, “that would be some food from Greece. I can’t remember the name now but it got me visiting the toilet every single minute of the day” he recalled the day and sat forward as he relived the moment with Nene. “You know, my elder brother Jide and I had gone to meet some of our business partners there and I kept excusing myself to use the toilet every second.”
“Really?” Nene’s eyes widened, her interest was piqued.
Jaiye nodded. “At a point ehn, some hostile old woman who heads the team we were meeting with, who has never cracked a joke and who never even laughs when a joke is cracked, asked me to just sit in the toilet and join the others through skype.”
Nene threw her head back and laughed.
“Everybody laughed just as you did. It was horrible”
“But it didn’t stop your tongue from being international”
“It didn’t. Nothing ever will. And I would love to share that experience with my wife when I meet her, it is a delicious way to live life”.
When they were done with dinner, he fulfilled his promise by taking her on a walk around the massive hotel and showing her the most beautiful rooms and places she had ever laid her ebira eyes on.
“And here is the Fowler suite, every member of my family has an access to this place. I don’t have the key here I would have shown you the magic inside.” He said to his companion. “Or maybe I can, let me get the key from the reception and show you the insides of the most magical Fowler suite in the world.”
Nene wanted to go with him to the reception to get the key into the suite, but her feet were beginning to ache, thanks to the heels she had been wearing all day.
“Can I just wait for you? My feet…” She pointed to her shoes and Jaiye got the picture. He nodded and sauntered off the floor, into the elevator to get the key to the very private and exquisite suite of the overwhelmingly rich Fowlers.
Jare Fowler was the fourth and last Fowler brother and at the moment, the biggest problem on the entire Fowler clan’s plate.
He had travelled out of the country for his University degree like his elder brothers but unlike the others, had gone to a school in the United Kingdom and not somewhere in the United states like his brothers.
There he had fallen in love with fashion more, he had always loved fashion even as a kid and his mother who was a top fashion designer herself, had encouraged it but had insisted he went to school, got a degree and then if he still wanted to pursue the dream,he could start a life as a designer.
The London fashion week and many other fashion events had made him fall even harder in love with fashion and he knew that was what he was going to live his life doing.
He had skipped school and spent a lot of time touring New York, France and Italy with top designers, while he met Jean Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfield and every other big name in the fashion industry. It was also during this time that he had fallen hard and fast for him.
Him being Antonio Suarez, a top model who had worked for many top shots in the fashion world.
Antonio showed him love, the type he had never knew existed and the type he never thought a man could show him. They had travelled the world together, visited Greece, Spain, Dubai and Paris in six months. Jare had spent so much money on those trips and on Antonio, and initially his parents didn’t mind because they had loads of it. But when it had become incessant, they started asking questions.
Jare told lie after lie because he knew he couldn’t tell them about his homosexuality. He tried not to communicate with them as often as he used to and spent more and more time with his lover, Antonio.
The first time they made love was magic for him, he had never thought it could be so sweet and that was when he knew he had fallen in love with Antonio and he was going to live his life for him. Actually, two things mattered to him from then; Fashion and Antonio Suarez.
He proposed to Antonio and the latter said yes. They were ecstatic, but the same couldn’t be said of the entire Fowler clan.
Adele Fowler had been at the hospital for days after she had learnt of her son’s madness. She hadn’t prayed in a long time but after learning about the perverse ways of her son, she prayed to God to change his heart. Her world had turned upside down, Jare wasn’t only quitting school, he wanted to marry another man.
Jide Fowler snr, had tried all he could to talk sense into his son’s head, but the more he did try, the more rebellious and insistent Jare got.
Antonio became his only family and he gradually turned his back on the entire Fowler clan, the only family he had known for twenty eight years.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back was when Antonio and Jare got married in a private ceremony in America. It was then the Fowler clan began to seriously crack under pressure and when they began to push away the press for the first time ever. They didn’t want the whole world to know about the evil that had befallen them.
Antonio kissed Jare’s forehead now as the two made it to the door of the Fowler suite where they had been secretly lodged for days.
Nobody knew they were there and Jare had picked it because after he had gotten into a fight with his parents the other day, he had needed somewhere to stay. And when the press didn’t stop bothering him everywhere he went, he had decided to pick somewhere they would not be able to gain access into. Somewhere like the Fowler hotel.
Initially, he didn’t think it was a great idea but after he realised it was either there or some other place where he won’t have his privacy, he chose to stay back. Besides after making calls to the manager of this hotel he had been told “nobody ever comes there these days anyway”.
And so it had become his hiding place for days.
“I love you babe” Antonio said to Jare and the latter flashed him a smile. Jare opened the door and shared a long passionate kiss with his lover.
Nene’s eyes popped in its socket as she watched in utter disgust, the two men that were sharing a deep kiss in front of her. Her stomach turned and the dinner she ate that night was threatening to come out through her mouth.
Jaiye joined Nene, he had been informed that the suite was being occupied by Jare.
He watched in horror as his younger brother kissed Antonio; the ‘demon’ the Fowler family had been trying to be rid of for years. They groped each other like hungry lions as the kiss got deeper and they went at it like they didn’t just step out of the bedroom together. Did they even realise they were at the door and they were being watched?
“What the heck is he doing here?” Jaiye muttered and Nene watched his frozen expression.
Nene finally succumbed to her stomach, as the food she ate that evening came pouring through her mouth on to the tiled floor.
As she calmed down, it slowly occurred to her what was happening, Jare Fowler’s homosexuality was the news the Fowler clan had been trying to shield for months.
She had stumbled on the big news and she could have her show back.