As with all stories of misfortunes, descendants of Adam and Eve were at the forefront.
* * *
“I just got back from Texas yesterday. As I speak to you, I’m in the restaurant of the hotel I lodged in. I needed to view the scenery and see… If there is a premium man to talk to.” the lady chuckled.
T-Jay stopped mid-motion and dropped his spoon. He was a premium man. A Yoruba demon who ticks women off his checklist. He must be dreaming, he thought and stretched his neck to see the lady.
She was still on the phone, giggling like women do when talking to their girlfriends. Her back was turned to him. But from the bone straight he saw, he knew that she was loaded. So T-Jay gobbled his food, paid his bills and strolled to her table.
As he appeared in front of the lady, he paused and watched her with a smile. He knew his smile was enchanting, a piece of him girls can’t get enough of. The lady looked up and sparks appeared in her eyes.
She was balm to sore eyes. Her face was like a sculpture straight from God. T-jay made a mental note to tell her she’d make angels hide. The grace she possessed was clear.
He motioned with his hand to sit and she nodded. It took a few seconds for her to end the call and concentrate on him.
T-Jay clears his throat. Rubbed his chest and introduced himself.
“My name is Tijani but almost everyone calls me T-Jay. I’m an IT expert, I teach Tech, sell and breath Tech. May I meet you?”
She flipped her hair, plopped her elbows on the table and used them to support her jaw. Her gaze was unflinching. He could tell somehow that he struck a chord.
“My name is Elizabeth. Though most people call me Lizzy. I run a drop-shipping business. Germany, America and Africa are my forte.”
T-Jay smiled again. He hadn’t expected lines to fall for him in pleasant places. And so he brought his conversational skills on. He watched in awe at how she composed herself, seemed to be vast and the confidence she exhumed. They were in the middle of this hot conversation when T-jay dropped the question.
“And who is the lucky man holding you ransom?”
It was supposed to be a sarcastic comment but something about how T-jay said it warmed her heart. He saw her fingers—no rings— and still went on to take a stance.
“Am I a property that somebody would hold me ransom?”
“No! Not really but I can’t help but wonder what pair of eyes would see you and not want to stake a claim.”
“In your mind, you’re staking a claim?”
“If your majesty pleases,” he said.
Lizzy laughed and told him he couldn’t carry her burden. She told him of her relationships, three of which ended in heartbreaks. The last is more gruesome because she took the guy abroad and he jilted her. But T-Jay was adamant, he knew what he wanted and had promised to carry her burden and more.
That evening after dinner, T-Jay led her home. His apartment. They talked, hands entwined, eyes locked like companions who had known each other for eons. T-jay was a smooth operator. He made her dinner, and while they ate T-jay asked how frequent her tours were.
“At least ten times a year.”
T-Jay eyes grew wide and somehow they found themselves entangled in his bed. He drove her back to the hotel. They exchanged contact. On the morrow, he told Deji, his friend who came around about the angel he met. He even showed him pictures.
“The way your eyes roll when you talk about her gives me the player attitude. Are you in this for travel or Love?” Deji asked.
“Love? Did I tell you I’m ready to settle down? I’m in for the travel first, then if love comes fine! If it doesn’t…”
“Stop being a Gigolo, T-jay. This girl may be your angel. If you don’t love her. Don’t play her. Be plain with her.”
“I have heard you, DJ. Relationship counsellor, how many have you been able to keep? Abeg clear. Give me space. I mean, when did you begin to give me advice sef?”
Deji shook his head and they went to the gym. That afternoon, Deji met Lizzy and was captivated by her. Yet something nagged at him. He couldn’t place it. That day, T-jay and Lizzy became a thing.
T-jay didn’t push it but Lizzy seemed to have trusted him. On the third day, as they ate lunch, she asked for his account number and credited him half a million naira. T-jay was stunned. He has dated people in the past and had initiated the giving but Lizzy was different. She altered his belief and he loved her for it.
That night in T-jay’s room, enclosed in a blanket, she made a promise to take him abroad. So in the morning while they were having breakfast. Her phone rang. T-Jay got the phone and passed it to her. Briefly, before he did, he saw the caller’s ID. Mr Muller. A smile crept across his face.
Lizzy took the call and panicked. When she dropped the call, T-jay wanted to know what happened. And she told him. In batches. An emergency and she needed little cash to rectify it. She didn’t come with her debit card, so she asked T-jay. T-jay flinched but her persuasive dexterities and the fact that she left her bag and Rolex wristwatch made T-jay give in.
In his account was a token of ten thousand naira plus the five hundred thousand Lizzy sent him. And because the money in there was something he could afford to lose, he gave in. And told her his pin. She rushed out, kissed him and promised to be back in a few hours. She was going to Ikeja, she had said.
T-Jay knew he was expecting a huge sum for a contract he did earlier in the month but his client had said “End of the month” and the date was 15th. It wasn’t up to ten minutes after Lizzy left that his phone beeped with alert. At first, he was reluctant to see how much Lizzy withdrew, it was her money after all.
But he did.
“Your account has been credited with 500,000 naira from Bloom consult and co.”
He jerked back and screamed, Yes! Then he remembered and goosebumps spread out on his body. Not today. Not now, he muttered. I trust Lizzy. She trusts me. She can’t betray me. He didn’t believe his words but he was hoping “confession brings possession”
Another text accompanied the first one. It was Karl, his client. He apologized and promised to pay the remainder of the money soon.
T-jay hissed and deleted the message. He wanted to call Lizzy but he guilt-tripped himself and never did. He dropped the phone and walked into the bathroom with shaky feet.
When he came out dripping, his phone beeped. He lounged for it and saw four unread messages. All from his bank. His heart sank as he read through them. He didn’t check the amount that was deducted. He just checked his balance and saw #10, 008.35. Lizzy had killed him.
He gripped his phone, hard that the screen nearly crashed.
“God, no! God, no!” He kept screaming and found himself on the floor.
He’d wake to a damp towel on his face.
Deji was tending to him.
“What happened?” Deji asked.
“Lizzy… That daughter of Jezebel has fooled me.”
He handed out his phone and Deji sighed. They called her six times… no answers.
They searched for her on social media. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. LinkedIn. And found no face that matched hers. Deji scoured the room and saw her watch and bag. Unfortunately, aside from the watch, nothing else was worth looking at. Was it tissue paper? Red handkerchief? Two pens? Makeup kit? Perfume? Or a packet of pins?
They agreed that a Rolex watch was worth at least half a million. So Deji called his friend Abubakar. A man who deals with gold and accessories. He came in twenty minutes and when they tossed the watch to him. He examined it and shook his head.
“This watch no be Rolex. Na counterfeit.”
“Wetin you dey talk?”
“Oga I talk say na fake!”
Deji looked at his friend. And for all of T-jay’s mental strength and an act of bravery, he burst into tears.
“Ah! This girl don bobo me.”
© Stephen Toochi.