Wetin we go do now? How we go do am? You fit talk to your boyfriend? maybe e go fit help. Nne, talk na!
The words echoed in her head as she tried to bury her head in work. She had not felt like coming to work, she had not felt like getting up from the bed and she had not felt like waking up.
The Fowlers were responsible for Mercy’s incarceration, who had snitched Nene was yet to find out but one thing she knew was that Jaiye must have known about it. He must have known they were ready to strike because the Fowler clan was a close knit family, yet he had watched them make the move, he had watched them hurt her. So much for the girlfriend title he gave to her.
Biko talk to your boyfriend, e fit help us.
Godwin’s words were still echoing in her head, she remembered her response to him while she got dressed for work.
He is not my boyfriend.
The words had made her heart sink, the man she loved had delivered her foolish sister into the uncompromising hands of the NDLEA. It served Mercy right, now she would learn not to act on impulse and shut her reasoning down while she embarked on unsafe adventures.
Nene abandoned the pen in her hands and leaned her head on the chair she was sitting on, she could not lie to herself anymore, burying her head in work was doing scarce nothing to erase Jaiye from her mind and to stop her from worrying about her little sister.
She contemplated going to Jaiye, to plead with him to pull whatever strings he could to save her sister and then walk away from their relationship forever. Her ego held her back but her common sense told her to go.
And so when it was lunch time, she picked her bag and headed to his office.
He had been in a meeting when she arrived and his new Personal Assistant; a long legged curvaceous beauty, had poked her head out of the office to inform her that Jaiye would be with her shortly.
Nene instantly hated the Personal assistant, she was chocolate skinned and had full breasts, large hips and a big buttocks to go with it. Her smile was bright and it lit her face, she was the type who got all the attention at parties and in a room full of men. Nene wondered if Jaiye thought about her that way.
He emerged through the door some fifteen minutes later, shaking hands with the people he had just had a meeting with and saying his goodbye. His personal assistant smiled through every word and giggled like a school girl even when all he did was nod.
Jaiye had the effect he had on her on his personal Assistant, Nene noted and it unnerved her to know that this beauty was working as his assistant and probably went everywhere with him. Nene allowed herself a full minute of assessing the new assistant, she was wearing a figure hugging, knee length peach dress and black heels and even though her hair was kept short, it did not stop her from being so attractive.
Nene watched Jaiye say to her, “Ese, drop the minutes of that meeting on my table before you leave tonight and send a mail to Mazi, informing him of the meeting, how it went and copy me in the mail please.”
Ese giggled like Jaiye had just asked her on a date with him, not give her work and Nene decided right there and then that she was going to dislike Ese for a very long time to come.
“come on in Nene” Jaiye said to her, as if just finally noticing she had been sitting there all the while. And that was when it occurred to her that he had not been acting like he knew her, he had on the same look he had when she had first walked in through the elevators, into the office, like she was someone he gave an appointment.
She wondered what that was about, if she remembered well, he had been the one whose family had dealt her a blow the night before and who should be feeling very sorry right now.
Nevertheless, she followed him into his office and when he shut the door behind her, she faced him. “Looks like I would be needing your help after all” she said to him and even then, he didn’t soften towards her like he had done many times in the last two weeks.
“Please sit” he said to her, offering her a seat opposite his own seat while he stuck his hands in his pockets. Nene shook her head, she did not want to sit, something was going on with him and she wanted to find out but she knew that as much as she wanted to know, the overwhelming urge to stay mad at him and his entire clan was more important. It was what would get her through this moment; the moment during which she would beg for a favour. Something she had never done in her life, despite her humble background.
He was wearing a maroon coloured shirt, his sleeves rolled to his elbows, with black pants that she knew he must have bought from some very popular designer in far away Italy for a price big enough to feed an entire community.
“You are not saying anything” He said and glanced at his wristwatch. If Nene had not sensed the coldness before now, she had an opportunity to, because the words were hurled at her impatiently. All the smile and sweetness he had for Ese seemed to have been exhausted and he looked like he was tolerating her, his face bore no expression, typical Jaiye Fowler.
Nene felt like she had overstayed her welcome and she would have stormed through the doors out of the Fowler empire and probably even dropped her resignation if Mercy had not been in so much trouble.
“Nene?” His brows creased, as if he would ask her to leave if she did not speak any minute.
“I am here because of my sister, you know, Mercy. The one you locked up” the sarcasm was heavy and it hit him squarely in the face.
He felt like crap, the moment he had learned about Jo and his father’s involvement with Mercy’s detention, he had felt like crap.
Daddy why did you do this?
His old man’s response had been a disbelieving look and an answer that said, you need another reason apart from the evident one? She killed your mother! She killed my wife!
And Jaiye had launched into an explanation of how Nene was innocent and also mentioned the pen, except that he had broken the pen and tossed it out of the window somewhere in Dubai and he had no other proof.
After pleading for hours, his father had finally conceded and had stated firmly that he ended whatever relationship he had with Nene because he had found out and he wasn’t going to watch his son mess around with the woman who killed his wife. According to him, One son had already killed his wife, he did not need another to bury her further than she already was.
And Jaiye had made his decision right there and then, Mercy’s freedom meant the world to Nene and their relationship was still at its early stages, he would let her have her sister and nip their relationship in the bud.
It was the best decision and the only thing that could guarantee Nene’s safety and her family’s safety.
“She is free” He said to Nene and the latter was almost sure she did not hear him well. “She should be on her way home by now”
Nene nodded and felt like an instant idiot, Mercy had not called her yet, she made a mental note to check with her mother if Mercy had reached home.
“I’m sorry for bothering you” Nene said and headed towards the door. Jaiye watched her walk towards the door and he knew he wouldn’t be seeing her for a very long time, he wouldn’t be kissing those lips and wouldn’t be feeling the warmth of that body against his. Not until his family relaxed a bit and he could take actions without hurting anybody.
He pulled her back and his mouth found hers, Nene wanted to pull back at first, because she was angry and hurt, because she did not know why he was acting like that towards her when she should be the angry one. Because he was acting like a fucking millionaire who shouldn’t be getting involved with her and because he was a fucking millionaire who shouldn’t be getting involved with her.
But she let him. after a few seconds the parted her lips and let him kiss her. She enjoyed the moment and did not say anything when he led her to his table, placed her on it, gently parted her legs and made love to her. She had moaned his name softly through it and poured her whole heart into it as usual, the man owned her, he owned her heart and he owned her body.
When they were done, he pulled up his trousers and adjusted his clothes. She wore her pant and adjusted her dress.
“What’s wrong with you?” She finally asked him.
“ehn?” He inquired, frowing.
“You are different, what is wrong with you?” She asked again.
And silence ensued between them. Nene nodded and muttered thank you. He nodded in response and somehow she felt foolish for allowing him take her on his table, for allowing him take her at all because she realized that whatever was wrong was really bad.
She dashed out of his office.
Jaiye sighed as he watched her leave, his conscience pricked him, but he had to do what he had to do.
“Sister Nene, at least talk to me”
Mercy had been trying to get through to her sister for a week, since she returned from detention and Nene had done anything but pay attention to her. She wasn’t talking much to everyone but she wasn’t talking to Mercy at all.
“Sister Nene, I am sorry”
But Nene said nothing more to her. She just bade her mother goodbye and left home with Godwin who was helping the woman he met at Adele Fowler’s funeral with her interior decoration.
He had picked an instant interest in interior décor and so far, he had been doing well. Nene had suggested to him to stay back in Lagos and make money and settle down with his long term girlfriend and to her surprise, he had agreed.
He had gotten two other clients introduced to him through the woman he met at Adele’s funeral and they were rewarding him handsomely for his hardwork and skill.
“Mercy fuck up big time but you suppose talk to am” Godwin said as they rode alone in the back seat of a marwa taking them to the bus stop where they would both take separate buses taking them to their various destinations.
“Brother Godwin, you no see wetin she do?” Nene asked, it still pained her that Mercy had made such a silly decision.
“I know say she fuck up, but your boyfriend don help and every don settle. But dis one na torture wey you dey give am and you know say Mercy no use you play” He said calmly and Nene nodded, she knew that. she knew Mercy was fond of her and respected her even more than Godwin and their other elder brothers and that was why it hurt more that she took such a step without informing her.
Nene never told Godwin “her boyfriend” had been the one who set Mercy up in the first place, it was her own secret that she would go to the grave with.
“Try forgive am” Godwin said as they both parted at the bus stop and Nene nodded. She had not spoken to Jaiye in a week and even though he worked in the same building as her, he had not bothered to reach out to her.
Now as she walked through the crowd that thronged the bus stop, she wondered why he was acting like she did not exist. The man had made love to her on his office table the last time they saw and had acted like he didn’t call her his girlfriend on many occasions. She was worried, worried about him and about them. Even though she had slept with a multitude of men, she had never dated anybody and Jaiye was her first in a way, so it hurt to see him distance himself, it hurt to see what they had end before it even began.
Someone stepped on her shoes and she muttered a curse, they were all gathered around a newsstand, buying magazines and some reading the newspapers for free. She hissed under her breath as she got into the front seat of an empty bus that was going to her destination.
She was joined seconds later by a young girl who was probably around Mercy’s age. The girl had in her hands an entertainment magazine, Nene’s eyes caught the picture in the front page, it was a picture of Jaiye with Ese and the headline read: Jaiye Fowler finally finds love?
Jaiye had been informed by Jo, the headlines most of the entertainment magazines and blogs bore that morning and he had browsed one of the blogs to find out, he stared with shock now as he read 360nobs and realized she had not been lying.
He had attended a few events the week before with Jo as his assistant and date because it had been purely work for him and he had only gone to meet potential business partners and yes, he had been protective of Ese because she was Jo’s best friend and he had known her all his life and because he felt responsible for her.
And even though he knew Ese was attracted to him, he had not encouraged her. Yes, she had thrown her hands around him while she was tipsy at one of the events and kissed him, he had waited for the kiss to end and driven her home afterwards.
He wondered if Nene had seen this and how she felt. He did not put an end to their short lived romance and he knew he had acted like a jerk all through the past week by not bothering about her but he did not want her seeing things like this one. He hoped to God she hadn’t.
When Nene got to Ese’s desk that morning, she had ignored everything she said, ignored the secretary and walked past them into Jaiye’s office.
“You could have at least been mature enough to say I got tired of your pussy and decided to hop on the next available one” Nene said to him as soon as she stepped in. Jaiye had dismissed Ese and his secretary and was now walking towards Nene. “I asked you not to give it a name, I pleaded with you not to call me your girlfriend if you did not mean it, yet you did, fuck me everywhere you felt like, whenever you felt like and walked away?”
He made to speak but she didn’t let him
“I should probably be grateful I was taken to Dubai and flew privately with you even though it meant nothing to you!” she was hurt, Jaiye could see that and it broke him. “How dare your Jaiyejeje Fowler? How dare you seduce me, get me into your bed and get me to fall in love only to act like I never existed?”
“Nene I am sorry” he muttered and the apology sounded foolish even to him.
“Sorry for what? For calling me your girlfriend when you didn’t mean it or for tossing my emotions back in my face?”
He didn’t say anything for a while, then he finally spoke, “We were moving too fast, we leapt into the relationship phase too early”
Nene felt her throat go dry and her heart break, “we leapt into the relationship phase too early” she echoed his words, her voice barely louder than a whisper.
Jaiye nodded, this was killing him but he had no choice. He was doing it for her.
“I’m sorry Nene…”
She didn’t say anything, tears fell down her face and he wanted to hold her tight and never let her go, but he couldn’t. he had to see this through.
“I love you” She said, turned back and ran out of his office.
“Shit!” Jaiye muttered, picked his favourite mug and threw it at the wall, it came shattering into pieces on the floor.