Thursday, 7 June 2018


"A party for my new employee, how did I get invited to that?"
Robert gave doctor ken a stern look, tonight his frame looked exactly like his age with grey hairs that seemed to outnumber the brown
''Probably because you are her employer, that's poetic justice'' Robert said ''after all you are the reason she's here''
Ken ran his fingers through his head then continued his complaint ''and it would have to be at Ella's restaurant, you know that old lady doesn't allow smoking in her restaurant''
''She's not that old'' Chris pointed out.
As if in preparation for the party, Robert took a swallow of his drink then fixed his blue eyes on ken ''if you don't smoke for a single night, it wouldn't hurt'' Robert told ken ''besides you need to be there, I can't suffer alone, and u can also get a woman for yourself there too''
''You think that's what Ella has in mind? Hooking Amanda up?" Ken asked hopefully
Robert smiled and stared at Chris who nodded and said ''that's how women are, always thinking about marriage''
''I can't imagine who'd want to marry'' ken looked from Chris to Robert and back to Chris again ''maybe one of you''
They both laughed loudly, if only Dr. Ken knew the reason for their laughter I bet he would have laughed even more than both of them
''She might not be that bad looking'' Robert said ''after all Chris said she was the most beautiful girl in Africa
Ken joined in the laughter ''most beautiful girl indeed
''I will conclude when I meet her, because left to Chris alone he can exaggerate for Hollywood''
The laughter was louder this time as the three men drank from a bottle of whisky at the garden behind Robert's living house. Robert and Dr. Ken smoked cigarettes as they emptied their glass, but Chris had long stopped smoking ever since he started practicing law
Chris glared, he was not about to admit to anyone just how often he thought about marriage, Robert was right, it was to,e he settled down and plan on how to raise a family. But the problem was living with just one woman all his life seemed to be a very difficult task.
By the time Amanda came downstairs, the hall was already filled with guests, she had earlier protested, telling Ella she wanted to help with the last minute arrangement, but Ella had been adamant ''you're the celebrant, I want you to make a special entrance'' Ella had said, so Amanda lingered in her room, putting final touches on her hair and face.
She wore a fitted gown, not too tight, but tight enough to reveal all her curves and edges ''Seductive'' was Ella's compliment when she saw her in the gown, the comment almost made her change the dress, she was celebrating her birthday, not looking for a husband, but the truth was she needed to look her best and that was the best gown she came to Isshangbo with.
Amanda walked down the stairs and stopped at the entrance of the restaurant, tonight the whole place has been rearranged to ,make room for dancing or whatever Ella had in mind for moving all the seats and tables to the edge, it was a small party and only the rich class ruling the town was invited ''that way you'll get tho know the people that shakes the town'' Ella had explained
A Dj was busy dancing and filling the room with good but soft music, the guests sat in small groups, drinks on their tables, their foots tapping the floor in rhythm to the good music.
As Amanda entered the room, all conversation stopped.
''Ladies and gentlemen, permit me to introduce to you our celebrant Doctor Amanda Owelle.
Amanda looked around the room, she had an impression on colourful expensive gowns, dark suits and colourful shirts of smiling faces and curious glances.
Her eyes moved from face to face smiling back until she reached him.
The man dominated the room, taller than the other men, he had a broader shoulders and muscular features. He held his head high, his shoulders squared, it was not an arrogant stance, merely the pose of a man who was supremely comfortable with himself
Though he smiled like every other man in the room, there was nothing ordinary about this man. His confidence ensured that he would stand out in any crowd.
Amanda was staring directly at this man, even though her mother had told her it was rude to stare at a man, this man's mother evidently neglected that particular lesson, because he was staring directly back at her, she couldn't help it, she stared back, mesmerized, her eyes detailing his features, his bright blue eyes, the faint shadow under his oval face....
''Amanda, I'll like you to meet Christopher Aladdin''
With an effort Amanda pulled her gaze from the big man and looked at the one whom Ella led towards her, the man whose name Ella mentioned frequently like she had a hidden agenda.
''Am both looking for a husband'' she had assured Ella to no avail
''But when am married to frank, you'll need somewhere to live'' Ella had protested ''and besides I think you and Chris will have a lot in common''
What Ella hadn't told her was how handsome he was, Chris was a tall man with a slender build and n aristocratic features that seemed out of place in this land, where men earned their living by physical labour, the glasses he wore did nothing to hide the intelligence in his grey eyes and when he smiled, his dimples deepened.
Chris was neatly dressed and as he stretched out his hand for a handshake in acknowledgement off the introduction, Amanda thought he was going to kiss her hand, instead he took it in his longer than courtesy demanded.
''The pleasure is mine'' he said in a well modulated voice whose accent left no doubt that he well educated.
''Ella told me you're a lawyer'' Amanda said, from the corner of her eyes, she saw the big man turn his back. It was obvious Chris had player another fast one, but first to talk to a woman literarily won't be the first to bed her -Robert thought to himself
''Guilty as charged'' as Chris smiled the tiny lines that radiated from his grey eyes made Amanda guess he was definitely in his mid thirties
''So tell me, what's a lawyer doing in a remote village like this?"
''Probably the same thing a doctor is doing here, practicing. Actually I have a law firm in port Harcourt, but my connection to this village won't let me base in port Harcourt'' as he spoke Amanda was listening to his voice rather than his words as she glanced through the faces guests
''How long have you been here?"
Chris shrugged as he collected a glass of wine from Ella's waitress ''more like a lifetime''
''Chris, simply because you are a smart talker, doesn't give you the right to monopolize our celebrant'' the man who interrupted was of average height with full beards ''my wives want to meet you also'' he told Amanda introducing himself as chief Ikedi, the traditional head of the community. As Amanda walked to the table where the chief's wives were seated, the big eye kept following her 'Chika' the first wife to the chief was actually saying something, Amanda was certain of that, but she didn't get the question, because as the older lady phrased her question, he turned and her eyes met his.
He was not handsome, Chris was the more handsome man, but Robert had that raw magnetism that made physical beauty irrelevant. Amanda stared at the man, her blue eyes meeting his. The man smiled, but Amanda could not, for her heart was racing and she could barely breath, much less form a smile, she heard nothing but the rhythmical pounding of her own heart.
It wa absurd, her sister Amaka had described the sensation a dozen time, telling Amanda that eventually, one day she'll meet a man who would turn her belly to juice and her brain to sauce, Amanda had always laughed at the 'too much juice, too much sauce' explanation by her sister to be mere exaggerations, but now she wished Amaka had described the sensation more adequately.
It was meter lust. Amanda thought. She also knew that it was something she needed to avoid, since it could only lead to a mishap.
With difficulty she turned to chief's wives as the conversation continued until it was time for her to cut her cake.
Ella made the announcement for the men to bid on who was going to cut the cake with her, the highest bidder was to cut the cake alongside Amanda.
All the single men in the house except Robert started calling out prices starting from fifty thousand naira till Chris shouted
''four hundred and fifty thousand naira'' and that was when the big man spoke, as I'd everyone was expecting him to say something other was absolute decorum as he said
''That piece of cake is not worth all that money'' his voice wasn't loud and sweet like Chris' but it was compelling, underscoring the way he dominated the party, without raising his voice above normal speaking level, like he was talking to just the people around his table but he captured the attention of everyone at the party.
Grandpa had told Amanda that some men were like that 'Born leaders'
''Am not saying the cake is not beautiful'' he conceded ''too many colourful icing, its beautiful like its owner, but its not worth all that hundreds of thousands of naira''
Amanda gasped. Was he just seeking for attention? Oh, definitely he just got one
''Mr. Robert please'' Ella rushed to stand next to her friend ''you don't mean that''
''Oh sorry dear, I do, I will rather go home with the cake and distribute it to my maids for any price than let this young men spend unnecessary money on it''
A bully. That was what he was, and the only way to deal with bullies was to face them-- brushing off Ella's restraining hands, she faced him, her sapphire eyes glittering dangerously
''You're brave enough to say that to my face?"
''Sure'' Robert slipped his two hands into his trouser pocket as though ready for whatever ''I can pay any price for it''
''I will rather cut my cake here with the least five hundred naira than let you take it home'' she fired at him
''That's where you got it wrong, once the cake has gone into the auction market, the highest bidder determines what happens to it, and I stand on going home with the cake for double of the price the highest bidder mentioned''
A female voice from chief Ikedi's table whispered ''that should be nine hundred thousand naira''
Another female voice echoed '''waoow, am loving this party now''
''You can't decide what happens to my cake Mister.'' She tried to hide the fact that she was nervous
''Oh, you can ask your friend about the tradition of birthday parties around here'' as Amanda turned to Ella, Ella quickly looked away to avoid eye contact with her and she felt devastated that was when she heard his voice
''That's enough Rob. For Gods sake this is a party'' Amanda heard his voice and realized Chris had moved to stand behind her
''Stay out of this Chris, this is between her'' he twisted his lips as he added '' and me, except you want to add a bid''
''In that case, I will cut the cake with her right here, with the sum of one million naira'' Chris said boldly and brought out his cheque book as the crowd cheered in applause.
Before Robert could say anything Ella said ''and with that we have our man for the night''
''But am just about to...''
''Sorry Mr. Robert am your host'' Ella said ''so I decide when its over''.
Everyone was expecting to see a stern look on Robert's face but instead he was smiling widely, he knew what he was doing, so he didn't look defeated one bit.
Amanda was marveled as Chris handed the cheque to her, how can a stranger let out such amount of just to save her the disgrace from that bully, all she could do was smile and thank him, they held hands in cutting the beautifully decorated cake and the party continued.
Amanda occasionally spotted Robert laughing, drinking and eating like nothing ever happened earlier, she was baffled at his optimistic reactions.
The party was glorious, first time her birthday cake was unveiled with 1million naira, just four days after she arrived in a strange land, sign of success, yes, coming to Isshangbo wasn't a mistake at all.
Ella told her what she just witnessed is called 'battle of the rich' If she hadn't interrupted they might have taken it to another level.

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