Kite couldn’t believe she was actually moving into Ise’s house. Taking a break from putting up her things in the wardrobe, she sat down on the bed and stared at the opened up bags that contained her clothes which lay open on the bed and the half hazard mess of unarranged stuff that cluttered the room.
Things had moved so fast it was unbelievable, her life had turned upside down all of a sudden in the twinkling of an eye. It was just a few days shy of a month since she’d met Williams and now she was moving into his magnificent house. It still seemed so unreal to her.
She also had the thirty million Naira blackmail debt she had to pay in three weeks hanging over her head and Izu had been dead serious about it. He’d been so angry when she’d thrown it in his face that she’d slept with Ise, but going so far as to blackmail her? Really? She would never have believed it, ever!
The girls might have been right after all, Izu had never really loved her, she could still recall the hate she’d seen in his eyes. She sighed, almost eight years of dating, wasted! There was a knock on her door jarring her from her thoughts, she turned to see Ise’s sister Jeje in the doorway.
“Uh oh!’ She thought, they’d not been formally introduced before. The girl stood there, staring at her and Kite returned the favour, each sizing up the other for a few seconds, Kite took her time to study as the girl was doing the same to her. She had the same eyes her brother did, those narrow eyes that seemed to be reading your mind.
“Hey.” Kite finally ventured first.
“Hi” She returned, stepping into the room, and making her way to the couch directly opposite where Kite sat at the bed, she sat down.
“So you’re Ise’s new girlfriend?” She asked still checking her out.
Kite nodded to her question, placing her to be about twenty or twenty one, quite young but she suspected just as smart as her brother was. She knew she had to thread carefully here, it was obvious the girl was trying to know what she was about, she was giving Kite a chance to show she was with her brother for the right reasons. Now that Kite had the chance to really look at her face, She seemed really familiar, she had a feeling she’d seen her somewhere else apart from the office but couldn’t place it.
Kite didn’t have the words to reply her last question, she wasn’t even sure she was supposed to answer but before she could figure out what to say, Jeje asked her the dreaded question.
“Do you even like my brother at all?” Wow, not blunt at all, Kite thought.
“Is that so hard to believe?”Kite asked back quietly. She smiled
“Answering a question with another, nice. Look, I really care about my brother, he’s a wonderful guy, one of his kind and I don’t want his heart broken. When he gives his heart, he gives everything, he might look big and tough on the outside but he’s really ….”
“I know.” Kite cut her off, it was obvious to see that the girl cared so much about her brother and Kite almost felt sorry for her. She liked Ise but she wasn’t planning on being with him for too long, she would try to allay the girl’s fears as best as she could.
“He’s a real sweetheart, theres nothing I can say that would make you think more of me, I am who I am, a girl whom you have no idea about. I won’t bother with defending myself, I’d rather ask you to trust your brother’s intuition. Besides we’re just seeing where this would lead, it’s not like we’re planning our marriage.” Kite pointed
“If I turn out to be a thieving, gold digger, I’m sure your brother would be the first to notice? He’s quite smart, you know?” Jeje smiled and Kite could see she idolized her big brother.
“He’s very smart.” Jeje replied “and I guess you’re right. it’s just that it’s hard to believe… you know, someone who’s not from our usual circles isn’t after our money. I don’t care about the money, I just don’t want my brother used.” Kite resisted the urge to swallow guiltily.
“I understand.” She said instead. Jeje smiled suddenly
“I can see why he likes you, you’re really pretty.”
“Thanks.” Kite said graciously as she smiled at the compliment.
“I’m Jeje, by the way.” She said extending her hand which Kite took in hers.
“Kite,” she replied.
“Hey, what are you girls up to?” Both of them turned to see Ise by the door, he was just returning from work and to Kite, he looked stressed.
“I was just getting to know your room mate.” Jeje said as she got up from the couch.
“Oh?” Ise asked “and how did that go?”
“Very well.” Jeje replied “She’s really pretty, I can see why you’re smitten.”
“Hey,” Ise pointed at her “I’m not smitten”
“Oh please, it’s all over you, you don’t need to deny it.” She made her way to the door, saying without bothering to look back at them as she left.
“You two love birds be good, okay? And don’t forget my birthday is this weekend.” Kite shook her head
“She’s really something.” Ise sighed
“You can’t even begin to imagine.”
Kite walked the short distance toward him, there was something wrong, he looked so tired.
“Are you okay?”
“I just finished having a face off with my mother.” Kite’s eyes widened
“Because of me?”
“Yeah,” He replied pulling her to him “but it’s okay now, she won’t be disturbing you.”
“Why? What did you tell her?” He smiled
“That if she so much as says a word to you, I’m out of here for good. I don’t even want to stay here, I’m in this estate because of her, I’d rather have a cool bachelor pad somewhere else where I can do whatever, without her bursting into my business all the time. The woman is just drama personified.”
“I really don’t like coming between the two of you.” Kite said sincerely, she hated being somewhere she wasn’t wanted and causing a rift between son and mother.
“No, it’s okay really, have you had dinner?” smiling, he pulled her closer to him, she smiled back as she went in willingly. For her it was pure lust for him, she was indeed attracted to him, he was a great guy, if only things could be different between them?
“Yeah I have but you must be famished.”
“I had a dinner with Kenny before coming back, you’re aware you report to his office from next week?”
“Yeah,” she replied not liking the idea of working with that pervert, she wasn’t looking forward to it.
“Have you been settling in? I can see you still have quite a lot more stuff you need to sort out.” He glanced at the bed
“Yeah,” She looked back at the not so tidy pile of clothes she needed to sort out.
“I’m settling in fine.” She said knowing she wouldn’t be done with sorting those things out that night.
“It doesn’t look like you’ll be done anytime soon, my room is always available for you to sleep in till you’re done arranging yours.”
“Nice try, Williams!” She told him laughing.
“What, it’s just an innocent invitation.” He said with mock seriousness. “From the bottom of my very charitable heart.” She laughed
“Yes, I’m sure.” Drawing closer into his warmth, she wrapped her arms around him, he smelt of a some male musky fragrance and leather. She knew she really shouldn’t develop feelings for him because she was only going to be with him for just a while but she couldn’t seem able to stop this attraction that was getting stronger by the minute.
“We have an invitation to our first function together.” He told her, his own arms going around her.
“Function?” ‘uh oh!’ She didn’t like this.
“Yeah, I’m being awarded young entrepreneur of the year award at the OPAL awards in two weeks, I want you to grace the event with me, let me show you off to…” His voice trailed as he saw the look on her face
“What is it?” She thought of the way to tell him public outings where other rich and influential people would be wasn’t really her thing.
“I can’t be there with you”
“What? why?” He asked She shook her head as she released herself from his grip.
“I’ll be out of place there, I’m not comfortable in crowds like that.”
“What do you mean crowds like that? They are just people, it’s not like they are diseased or something.” She shook her head
“ No, no, no.” she gave some distance going on to sit on the bed.
“ You’re suffering from an inferiority complex, do you know that?” He told her staring at her.
“Maybe I am,” She agreed. “But you can’t blame me, those people look down on people like me.”
“Who, Kite? You don’t even know the people who’ll be there, you’re just lumping everyone together. Maybe you shouldn’t generalise so much, maybe you should at least give people a chance,” he came to sit beside her and took her hand in his
“Like how you’re giving me?” She looked away from those probing eyes of his, if only he knew why she was really with him.
“ I know them well enough, I know how they all are, it’s always the same thing. I grew up around them, my mother was a cleaner, she cleaned rich people’s houses for a living and I have a first hand experience of how they treat people like me, so don’t tell me differently, I’ve seen it for myself. As for you, you’re a rare one, not like them.” Ise sighed, placing a hand under her chin, tipping it up so she looked him directly in his eyes
“You need to let go of that cleaner’s daughter image of yourself which you still carry around, you’re a grown, intelligent young lady, a beautiful woman who hasn’t even begun to explore her numerous potentials yet.” He told her
“Holding on to past hurts will not make you progress, you need to let it go, Kite! As for this, you’re coming along, like it or not, even if I have to drug you in other to take you there.”
She couldn’t help the laughter that came up at the thought of being drugged. She really did wish it was so easy to let it all go, the insults and harsh words she’d gotten from people, the old hand me down clothes she’d had to manage all through growing up which were usually too short since she’d been tall and then patched and re patched after being torn from fights she proudly engaged in, it hadn’t been fun and wasn’t going to be forgotten so easily.
“How’s your mother doing?” He asked her She smiled
“She’s good, actually.” Pushing those hard memories from her mind “She’s scheduled for surgery this Friday, I spoke to her doctor and he assured me everything would go fine, the problem isn’t the surgery, it’s in knowing if the growth is cancerous, so fingers crossed.” He put his hand around her shoulder and pulled her close.
“You know you could always take some time off work to be with her.”
“The woman doesn’t even want me there, she is so damn proud, she believes she’s strong. Anyway it’s not like my being there would help her get any better. She’s really tough, even when her body is seriously protesting, she never takes time off work. According to her, there’s plenty time to rest after death.”
“You love your mom so much.” He mused, smiling at her.
“Are you kidding? I worship her, she’s awesome. I’m so grateful to have had a mother like her, we never had money but we were always loved and taken care of, I think she’s the best mother ever.”
“You’re indeed lucky to have had her. You know if you need anything, medical bills, time off or even just someone to talk to, I’m right here to help, right?” Turning to look at him, thinking she really didn’t deserve this wonderful guy, she replied
“I know.” He kissed her on the fore head.
“ How about your father?”
“hmmm” She sighed
“I never really knew him, mom hardly ever talked about him but the little I could gather was he is from Edo state, very much alive although now with another family. He left my mother when I was about four years, Stanley, my immediate younger brother was two and my mom had been pregnant with Odafe. I don’t remember much of how he looks anymore and the only time I tried getting my mother to talk about him, it was obviously very painful for her, so I never asked anymore. When she’s ready, she’ll let me know what really went wrong, I guess.
Growing up without a male figure was tough, even though my mother did what she could, it wasn’t enough. She had to work all the time so we could eat, most of the times when she was away, I would be left to take care of my brothers. I had to grow up fast, protect myself and my brothers from unruly kids who seemed to have a problem with us because my mother was a single parent.
Even the adults in the small compound where we managed a room treated my mother and us like we were outcasts; I wonder why people are just so judgemental.” She said as thoughts of her childhood flitted through her mind, she really didn’t like going down memory lane, it brought back bitter memories she wanted to stay squashed.
“Anyway, I learnt to fight, and steal and other wrong things a kid shouldn’t do. My mom tried her best to instil some discipline in me but still, she’s a real softy and most of the times just talked to me, she couldn’t bring herself to really flog any of us.” She smiled as she recalled “Even when she did, it wasn’t painful. I became so unruly, even got her fired from some jobs, but it wasn’t my fault.” She hastily said.
“It never is.” Ise added and that earned him a punch from her.
“Seriously, those rich kids whose parents she worked for were fond of provoking me, telling me my clothes were old, I was a pauper, a cleaner’s child, when I couldn’t take it anymore I always launched an attack. Was that my fault? If you don’t want to get beaten then don’t start a fight, I did it to protect myself.”
“Protect yourself, how? It was those other kids that needed protection against you.”
“Protect myself from getting insulted anymore, hey, whose side are you on here?” She asked looking up at him. He raised a hand in his defence
“Yours, please I don’t think I want to get beaten for going with the opposition.” He joked.