Naija Love (Episode 4): Night Crawlers

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We kissed like starved animals, and I heard his muffled voice from cloud 9.

“Cassandra, I want to be a better man”

He drank of my mouth like I was going out of fashion, his right palm pressed against my puckering nipple, just then I heard my mother’s shocked gasp. I turned to see her standing with Mirabel behind us. The looks on their faces were priceless, my mum’s voice dripped rage.
“Cassandra I think we should leave now.”

Muna let go of me instantly, looking like a little boy who was caught stealing biscuits, he mumbled an apology and went after Mirabel who grabbed the hem of her gown and stomped out. My Mum’s face was burning with anger and mine with shame. She held my elbow and guided me towards the exit where our car was packed. I felt like a petulant child, why did I allow myself to be caught in Muna’s scandalous mess?

When we got into the car, Mum drove off without a word. You could actually slice the tension in the car with a table knife; I couldn’t take the cold silence much longer.
“Mum, I know I blew it back there, look I’m sorry”

“You blew it? You blew it? Heeeehh!! Oh yeah you blew it alright. Mirabel is one of my most ardent insanely rich clients; didn’t you see him with her? Was there no other male there that you could lock tongues with? Haba Cassandra, Nsi do enyem?”

I felt so bad, I had just found my Mum and I didn’t want some two timing, scheming sonofabitch to come between us.

“Mum that was the guy that helped me from the airport, the one that dropped the note at the reception. I’m sorry, there was already something between us and the rest just happened.”
My Mum’s shock showed on her face and her mouth framed just one word.

“Oh”

Then her simmering rage overflowed, I could believe that my perfect mother had gone gangster.

“Oloshi, God will punish that two timing bastard, heeehh!! Can you imagine the fool? So its my daughter that he is forming Jack and Rose for Titanic? Listen to me Cassandra, forget that stupid boy, there are lots of them in this Abuja, he doesn’t deserve you. Hah! Imagine the guts”

My eyes were as round as saucers, my prim and proper Mum was ghetto. Seemed every Nigerian had street credibility, even the very polished ones. It was so exciting, seeing my Mum all claws. I couldn’t help imaging her dig them into my step Mum. I mentally jotted down not to tick my Mum the wrong way.
We got home and watched her favorite soap opera together and talked more about Muna. Mum had calmed down but was still acidic with her tongue. My mind was made up. No more Muna in my life.

************************************
I looked at my completely made over look in the mirror and sighed with satisfaction. I had been massaged, exfoliated, manicured etc. and my fair skin glowed. I had on a clinging tiny black dress that accentuated my waist and round hips, Funmi had invited me to ‘Club vanity’ in the heart of the city. My first time of exploring the Abuja night life but she warned me that she would likely stop over at other clubs before the night was over. Funmi was my Mum’s dermatologist and a typical Naija girl. She was tall with big bones, with big hair, big laugh and big sassy personality. She was aggressive and sarcastic, constantly teasing everyone around her; they seemed to like it though because they laughed at all her jokes. Over there in US, I would have branded her a bully or bitch but here I had shortage of friends anyway, so I overlooked her overbearing attitude. Hopping clubs was perfectly okay by me, I was young, wild and free.

I chuckled in spite of myself, I didn’t see myself as wild at all but that was my own deeply rooted issue, no one had to know. I teased and fluffed my hair into unruly curls that cascaded down my back. I had long hair but this was artificially enhanced in a way that was not obvious. I heard a light knock on my door and opened it to admit Funmi who was looking very colorful and sophisticated. She took one look at me and burst into raucous laughter, then she tapped me playfully on my butt and said

“See this babe ooh, you wan try? who you wan go kill for club today? Mehn you too badt!! You hot no be small.”

I was happy she approved and we went downstairs to her Honda CRV jeep. Funmi was a crazy driver; it was like she was constantly high on life. She played her music too loud, sang along so vehemently that making conversation with her was near impossible except she stopped to comment on the singer’s flawless delivery. She was playing from the album of some Nigerian highlife big deal, Flavour N’abania. Who she claimed was too badt. It seemed everything was either badt or hot to her.

At the club, it was all sexiness, debauchery and Naija dancehall music. Nigerian girls sure knew how to dress. We found a table and settled down to order some drinks. Funmi rushed over to the next table were some guys were lounging idly; it seemed they were her friends because she hugged them and dragged them over to our table. They came over with their drinks and women and Funmi made the introductions.

“Guys meet Cassandra, Madam’s daughter from USA.”

They were really nice and warm, one of the guys she introduced as Aliyu took the seat beside me. He was the only one without a woman and was acting oddly familiar. His voice was also seductive; did all Nigerian guys have seductive voices? He whispered in my ear

“My love how are you finding Naija? I hope say Funmi dey take care of my love for me ooh. Do you want to bite something? They have some small chops.”

Then he grabbed my hand and pulled me to my feet.

“My baby do you wanna dance?”

Everyone at the table laughed and I almost died with embarrassment, why the hell was this guy acting as if he was renting me for the night? A complete stranger, he had said he was a medical doctor, why was he acting like a crude pimp? I decided to let it pass, to try and be nice at least to avoid spoiling Funmi’s night.

I followed him to the dance floor and in no time, we were gyrating to ‘Your waist’ by Inyanya that saturated the atmosphere. Aliyu dropped his hands to my waist and then in an unbelievable moment squeezed and pressed me to himself. I slapped him twice and backed away, he was shocked for a second before he angrily twisted my arm, turning me around to face him. Funmi came over and slapped him too. That was when we saw the punch that hit Aliyu from the back; it sent him flying across the room. It was Muna, his angry voice boomed over the music.

“Guy! If you ever lay your filthy hand on my wife again, I will castrate you. Na my wife be this, you hear me?”

Bouncers were everywhere and ordered us to leave; Muna linked his hand with mine and gently led me outside to his car. Inside the car, he took both of my hands and looked into my eyes as he said.

“Babe, I’ve ended whatever it was that was between me and Mirabel or any other girl, yeah there were lots of them. I had to stalk you on face book, saved your pictures and have been using them as my DP on Blackberry; even though you stayed angry with me.

That sent a strong message and all the girls I was messing around with majority of them deleted me from their contacts, nothing else matters because I want to be with you…”
I pressed my lips to his and kissed him, I had suppressed this hunger for days.

Just then Mirabel walked up to the car, she was looking very young and elegant in jeans and chiffon top, she glared at me and turned toward Muna.

“Muna, can I see you for a moment in my car?”

Muna held me protectively and made to close the car door but Mirabel held it.”

“This is ridiculous Mirabel, we talked about this. I told you I need to move on with my life, I nor get time for all these drama now.”

He forced the door close but the window was still rolled down and that was when it happened, a guy in a hooded sweatshirt walked by. His two hands were buried deep in his pocket; he stopped briefly like he wanted to intervene between Muna and Mirabel. Suddenly his hand flew from his pocket like lightening, a black pistol pointed and fired at Muna ‘point blank’; then he took to his heels. Muna swerved and slumped in my arms. I screamed as my heart exploded into a million fragments, I pressed my hand to the rosette of blood gushing from the gaping wound on Muna neck.
When I looked up, Mirabel was gone, so were the Nomadic looking Northerners who every one called ‘Aboki’ who sold roasted meat (suya) by the roadside.

Later someone said I never stopped screaming, begging Muna not to die that I loved him. All I remember was trying to dial my Mum’s number with my iphone that was sticky and slippery with Muna’s blood. Blood was everywhere, on my face, hands, cloths, the metallic taste of blood was in my mouth.

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