The call: Chapter 16

cover the call

“We are not taking corpers.”

Adanna stood mouth gaping, at the woman who sat in front of a computer typing away. She didn’t even get the opportunity to introduce herself or say what course she studied. The woman simply saw her in her uniform and turned her away.

“Ma… But ma, I was told…”

“Didn’t you hear me? We are not taking corpers.”

“Okay, sorry to disturb ma.” Adanna turned and wiped her forehead with her handkerchief. She didn’t even stay long enough for the air condition in the office to cool her hot body. How cruel could people be? Adanna eyed the water dispenser and contemplated if she should just ask for a glass only.

As she walked out of the building, the security man shouted “Ajuwaya! Did they help you out?”

“No! They said they are not taking corpers.”

“Eya…” The man sympathized. “But they took a corper yesterday.”

Adanna looked sad “Well, they didn’t take me.”

“You know most of these organizations, it all depends on who you know.”

She nodded and started to take her leave “Thank you sir.” She squinted and wiped more sweat off.

“Ajuwaya!” The security man called her again.

Adanna turned around and faced the man that hurried to meet her. “Let me just buy you water.”

That simple kindness almost made her cry. “Thank you sir.”

“No problem I understand how Corper life is not easy.”

She smiled has he purchased 20 naira pure water and handed one to her, while he tore the second and gulped it. Adanna received the water with gratitude. “God bless you sir.”

He waved her off and as Adanna wanted to go he stopped her again. “You can just give me your number so we can chat on whatsapp and get to know ourselves.” The man winked at her and smiled broadly revealing scattered set of teeth.

Adanna felt disgusted. Is this what she had been reduced to? Because she was a corper, every dick and harry assumed they could take advantage of her?

“Take your stupid pure water.” She pushed the water to his chest and hissed before storming off.

“Baby, it’s not like that na. Come, I can take care of you well.” He gloated and then laughed as he admired her backside. “Chai!!! See Gobe!!!” He looked some more before he opened the water Adanna had thrown back at him and drank it all.

Adanna was fuming as she matched down the street. What nonsense? What rubbish? She was mumbling under her breath, when a sleek car slowed beside her. The windows went down automatically and the driver smiled at her. It was a married man. “Corper!”

Adanna looked at him and wanted to immediately walk away when he stopped her again.
“Do you know where NNPC towers is?”

He only wanted direction. “Good afternoon sir. Sorry I don’t really know Abuja so I can’t help you with the description.”

“Okay. No problem.” Adanna was about to walk away when he stopped her again “So what is your name.”

Just be nice Adanna, she encouraged herself “Adanna.”

“Ow fine girl. Give me your number now, I will like to know you.”

Adanna looked at his hand on the steering wheel and saw a wedding band. So this fool was even married. “No thank you sir.”

She started walking away and he man drove slowly till he had caught up with her again. “Common, girl! Why all these shakara? Okay look, let me give you some money eh?”

Even if she knew she had only little money, the man infuriated her “With all due respect sir, I don’t want your money and I am not interested in knowing you. I will not help you destroy your marriage! I will not be your side chick and I will certainly not be a baby mama. So if you don’t mind, you can ask someone else for directions to NNPC towers. That is if you are really going there.” She continued walking and immediately she saw a cab, she waved it down. “Asokoro.”

“Enter 200 naira.”

“200 naira? It is 100 naira. Asokoro just here?” she knew that if you didn’t act like you knew where you were going, he cab drivers will exploit you. The NYSC uniform was both a curse and a blessing. Well, she had only seen the curse part. She could only hope for the blessings.

“Oya enter.”

Adanna quickly jumped into the front seat that was vacant and the cab zoomed off. The cab stopped several times to drop and pick up people but Adanna didn’t pay attention to what was happening. She thought about all she had done that day and all the places she had gone to. She pulled out a piece of paper from her bag, where she had scribbled the names of organizations to check out and started striking them out one after the other. Some had turned her down totally, while some asked her to drop her number in case something came up.

She sighed and looked at her reflection in the side mirror. She looked awful and sweaty but it was all part of the hustle. She wondered if the government or the president understood the struggles of corpers in the country. She wondered if they were aware that some people did not have accommodation, that some people did not have places to work. Where was the opportunity to showcase what you could do, if you didn’t even get the opportunity to introduce your name? She was deep in thought, completely unaware of the conversation going on in the cab, until she decided to pull her head out of her saddening thoughts.

“E be like say the sun dey sit over Abuja.” Everyone at the back seat of the cab laughed as another person spoke up.

“And this driver come squeeze us like sardine for back.”

“Oga no vex o! na change cause am. Before na 3 people dey for back, but now, boys gat to make moni. If we say make we increase the fare, nobody go enter again.”

“Abeg no increase am o.” A man spoke up and everyone laughed again.

“So na Buhari change cause this one abi?”

“Yes now.” The cab driver replied. “As he bring change come, na so we too change dey go. Man must survive o.”

“Even the heat? Is it Buhari’s change that caused the heat?”

“Yes!” A woman said. “The sins of Nigeria has made God angry.”

“Abeg madam no bring religiosity here.”

“Didn’t you hear that people have been dying of meningitis? Even my neighbor’s daughter just died.”

“I heard the vaccination is very expensive o.”

“Na so.”

Adanna was quiet, listening to the whole conversation and wondering why it was from one problem to another.
“Even the air blowing is hot air, why won’t people fall sick?”

“I wonder how hot places like Maiduguri will be.” The woman said.

“You fit go and check for us.” One of the men at the back replied and everyone laughed.

“Maybe the heat there will kill all the Boko haram.” The woman added and that made everyone laugh again including Adanna.

The cab stopped again and one of the men at the back dropped. He came to Adanna’s window to pay and gave the driver 200naira. “For me and the corper.”

Adanna wanted to protest but what the man said next was kind enough. “Because we are all suffering doesn’t mean we cannot help others.” He looked at her and smiled. “Corper don’t mind us o. you will enjoy Abuja.”

“Amen. Thank you sir.” And there was the blessing. 100 naira worth, but a blessing nonetheless.

The cab drove away and that simple kindness, with no strings attached touched Adanna and it brightened her day. If only people were that nice to others, they could forget about their suffering for a while and be happy.

On getting home, the house was dead silent as always, since she started living there 2 weeks ago. Adanna put on the Air conditioning so the room could get chilled before she locked the front door back and headed upstairs to her room. She stripped down and got into a very cold shower, then dressed in a light comfortable gown that stopped above her knee.

She went back downstairs to put on the television, before entering the immaculate kitchen. Since she was the only one that entered the kitchen, it was always clean and exactly the way she left it. She went back into the sitting room to scroll through the channels before leaving it on sound city. She turned the volume up and went back to the kitchen to get dinner ready.

This was her routine every day. The house was more or less hers because she was always the one at home. She and the gateman who was always at the gate. Julian was always out. She came back between 6pm-7pm. And when she returned all she did was to eat, watch television or use her laptop to browse for hours before she went to her room for the night. Julian was okay, she was not a bad host, neither was she extra nice. It was more like a professional relationship between Adanna and Julian. Julian spoke to her when necessary and it was only to give her instructions or compliment the food Adanna had cooked. One day, she told Adanna that she would love to learn how to prepare the pancakes Adanna had made for breakfast. But Julian never came around for Adanna to actually teach her. Adanna didn’t have a problem with Julian. She wasn’t expecting to make a best friend out of her employer, so it was cool.

Jude on the other hand, Adanna had not seen with her two eyes since the day she arrived. How was it possible to live in the same house with someone and never see that person? Well, it happened with Jude. He came back home very late at night and was out very early or very late after Adanna had left for her PPA hunting. She knew this because, she saw his car in the drive way but never the owner. Well, she wasn’t complaining, it made things a lot better for her.

Jude had just finished a meeting with his father. Or rather he had walked out on a meeting with his father. Why did his father think he could rule Jude’s life? It was a constant battle with those two. Jude’s father was one to wait for Jude to mess up so he could tell him ‘I told you so.’ Jude on the other hand was fighting desperately to avoid that from happening. He wanted to prove to his father that he could make it without his influence, without his input. But his father was always there, putting his input whether Jude liked it or not.

What caused the quarrel that faithful day, was when his dad pulled out his bank statement and began questioning him about every one of his transactions. Jude had voiced his resentments in a calm way. It was his money and his to spend not his dad’s so his dad had no right to do that. His father’s defense was that as a politician, your financial life style was under the scrutiny of the public.
As Jude drove back home, vexed at his father’s involvement in his life. He had totally forgotten why he avoided his own house all these while till he got to the gate.

“Is my sister around?” He asked the gateman.

“No sir, just Adanna.”

Jude ground his teeth together in anger. That girl!! How can she come to his house and make him, the owner sneak around? In order to completely avoid seeing or talking to her, he had been coming home really late but no more!
He used his key to let himself into the house and was bombarded with the loud music from the Television. Korede Bello’s song ‘Do like that’ was playing and as Jude followed the noise he heard in the kitchen, he heard Adanna’s off key voice singing along. At least now he knew she wasn’t perfect. That thought brought a smile to his lips but he quickly replaced it with his anger from the whole day, coupled with the loud music she was playing.

He stood at the kitchen door and stopped abruptly by what he saw.

“I like the way you dance for me, I like the way you dance
I like the way you dance like say you want to greet your mummy
You bend like say you want to pack your money
Just bend like say you want to kneel for daddy…” Adanna sang along, twisted her slim waist, whined and danced so low that the back of her gown became shorter.

Jude completely forgot why he was there and he just stared. What was this girl doing to him? His tie all of a sudden became tight and he loosened it and cleared his throat loudly. Adanna was startled and turned around to see Jude looking at her with that piercing eyes of his.

“Errr… goo..Good evening.” Adanna greeted and dried her hands nervously on the napkin. She didn’t expect to see anyone, especially not Jude.

“So this is what you do in my house when no one is in right? Turn it into a personal club?”

Adanna wondered what she had done wrong. “I am sorry I didn’t expect anyone back.”

“Exactly my point. So this is how you behave when we are not around? Dancing and shaking like a jellyfish?” jelly fish that turned him on.

“Very soon you will start inviting your boyfriends to my house.” He took quick steps towards her till he was towering over her. “Let this be the last time, such will ever happen!”

She wanted to argue, she wanted to defend herself and explain that no one is ever around, so she tried to keep herself company. She loved listening to music while working. Why was he just angry and wicked?

“Is that clear?” He asked as he walked out.

“Very clear.”

Jude stood, with his back to her “Sir! From now on you address me as sir.”

Adanna wanted to laugh, she wanted to smack her hands together and say ‘wonders shall never end…’ she wanted to tell him to his face that he was a womanizer, a liar. But instead she rolled her eyes and said “Whatever you say sir!”

She turned around and continued cutting the vegetables when she heard his next command “And don’t EVER! Wear that gown again.”

“What? You can’t tell me what to wear! This is not camp.”

“Even worse! It is my house and I said so.”

Adanna wanted to protest, and Jude knew it so he walked out before she had the chance to. That girl had too much fire in her for him. It infuriated him so much so, that all he wanted to do was shut her up with a kiss.

 

To be ccontinued…

The call: chapter 15

cover the call

Saturday came and with it came a terrible headache for Jude. Maybe it was due to his hangover.
As he sat up in bed and the bright rays of the sun hit his eyes, he regretted every drop of alchol he took Friday night.

It was fun while it lasted, but now it was so not worth it.
He rubbed his temples in a circular motion to ease the ache but it wouldn’t stop.
Jude let out a groan as he stumbled into his bathroom and opened his medication cabinet. He popped two tablets of Panadol and drank a glass of water.
Staring at his reflection in the mirror, he noticed that he looked aweful, so he quickly jumped into the shower.

“Where have you been?” Julian practically screamed at him as he stepped out of his room, dressed in a back baggy shorts and white T-shirt that outlined his defined abs.

Jude squinted his eyes and massaged his temples again.  “Jeezz Julian! Could you stop screaming ?”

“You locked yourself in your room for hours. I don’t understand you anymore.”

“It’s too early to hear your voice this loud Julian. I was sleeping. You know, that’s what normal people do on a Saturday morning.”

Julian looked at him awkwardly.  “Saturday Morning?” She laughed “it is 2:30pm genius.”

“What?”

“Yes that’s what happens when you come back dead drunk at 4am.”

“Please don’t remind me.”

Jude shut his Room door and decended down the stairs with his sister at his heels.

“What is going on with you?”

“Nothing ! I am just…” He used his right fingers to make an ‘ok’ sign. 👌

“Jude! It’s been a long time since you were drunk… I hope you have not starting doing…”

Jude stopped abruptly and faced his sister. “Drop it Julie. I said I am fine. It just got crazy last night that is all. Besides how will you know when last I got drunk? You have been away remember?” He turned back and continued down the stairs, till he reached the sitting room.

“I know you.” She paused and watched him sit on one of the couches “Just remember you are no longer that person.”

“Julian… don’t you have something better to do? Go out, clean the house or cook.”

“I can’t cook…”

“Then start by boiling water.”

“Ha-ha-ha.”

“Seriously go out and leave me in peace.”

“Nope! I want to spend time with you. Why should I go out? Annoying you is more fun.” She sat beside him and smiled brightly. “You should go out.”

“I am not going out today.”

“Okay. Then it’s just you and I.”

Jude groaned and flipped through the Channels. “Go and meet Halima.”

“Actually Halima is coming here.”

“What?”

Just then, the door bell rang and Julian jumped to her feet to get the door.

Jude was still grumbling under his breath when Julian entered the parlour with Halima behind her.

“Zambrag…” She greeted him.

“Halima… Ya ki ke?” Meaning ‘how are you’ in hausa.

“Lafiya.”

He finally looked at her and had to do a double take. She was looking hot in a dark blue skinny jeans that was folded stylishly at the ankle. Her fair feet was in a blue sandaled heels and she had a peach sleeveless blouse on.
Out of all the chairs in the house,  Halima sat beside him and crossed her legs so that her sandaled feet touched his legs subtly.

“So… what do you want to eat Halima? I am ordering. Does pizza sound nice.”

Halima smiled at her friend. “Sounds great.”

“Okay… do you care for a glass of juice or wine?”

“Water.” Halima replied.

“Argggh this is why I need a maid.” Julian went to the kitchen to get a glass of water.

“Big brother, what about the maid?”

Jude eyed his sister from the corner of his eyes “I don’t know Obinna is yet to get back to me.”

“Great!” She sat beside her friend and for a little while they chatted and laughed loudly, while Jude tried to completely ignore them.

“I have something to do inside.” Julian announced and went upstairs, leaving Jude and Halima.

“You are awfully quiet today, what’s wrong Zam?”

He tried to ignore the Nickname Halima had given him while they were dating. “Nothing.”

“Common tell me, you know I hate seeing you like this.”

“Halima…” he turned to face her inorder to tell her off but saw her pleading face.

“Just tell me.”

“Nothing. Just having a bad day.”

“Do you want to hang out? We can go somewhere nice. Somewhere you like…”

“We can go to sky bar rooftop lounge.”

Jude laughed despite how he was feeling. “Funny enough, I haven’t gone there since we went together while we…”

“Were still dating.”

“Yeah!”

“Me too.” Halima admitted.

“If you don’t mind me asking. Why haven’t you.”

“It won’t be the same without you there.”

Jude read her expression before he smiled and focused back on the TV.

“What about you?”

“Ow! I haven’t had the time.”

Ouch! His reply hurt her but Halima masked her hurt and smiled.

“We could still go there. You know for old time sake…”

“Well… I will prefer seeing some other places.”

‘”That’s a good idea let’s go.”

“Well…I didn’t plan on going with anyone.”

Ouch!!!! Halima couldn’t hide her hurt this time as it was glaring.
“Zam…  what is wrong?”

“Nothing”

“BETWEEN US!” she almost screamed.

“Halima see we dated for a year, we broke up and we moved on. ”

“I never moved on. That’s the problem.”

She sounded broken and Jude was short of words. He was no fool, he knew Halima never moved on. Even while they were dating, she was very possessive and a jealous lover. Her deep affection for him became her down fall. He couldnt stay in such a relationship were they fought over everything or every lady that spoke to him and called him.
Her love for him gave him a great advantage over her as he could make her do anything for him, espcially in the other room. Even now, as he watched her, she saw that same vulnerability in her and knew that he still had her wrapped around his finger.
The problem here was that he didn’t want her wrapped around his fingers. He wanted someone else. Someone who was an enigma to him. Who was both shy and confident, tongue tied sometimes and opinionated at the same time. Someone that was unpredictable like Adanna.
Jude was furious with himself for still thinking of her. That girl was something else and so infuriating. How dare she disobey his orders when he sent sergeants to her? Who did she think she was? It was his fault. He let his guards down and showed her a part of himself no one had and then she took it as an opportunity to disrespect him.

If only she had followed his sergeants he would have demanded for her number. And she would have given it to him. Would she have ? Adanna was also a stubborn girl, he needed to teach a lesson. That annoyed him more, that he let her play him. A whole him, Jude! Ignored by a girl?  A mere corper for that matter!
Why couldn’t she just be like Halima? Vulerable and in love with him. That way he would have figured out what exactly was so special about her that he couldn’t get her out of his mind. He couldnt even hook up at the club last night. What the hell was wrong with him? He needed to get his game back.

“Please Zam…” Halima begged. “I still love you.”

What the hell?  Jude, determined to get his mojo back leaned in and too Halima’s lush lips with his and kissed her with every passion that he could conjure at that moment. It was Julian that came and interrupted them.

“I can see the love birds are back. 20 minutes inside and you both are eating yourselves. Any way next time you are eating yourselves up, try and open the door when it is ringing okay?”

She walked past them as Halima laughed and leaned into Jude who looked so confused. He didn’t understand why it was Adanna he was seeing while kissing Halima. What did that corper witch do to him?

“It should be the pizza guy.” Julian added as she got to the door. “Or not!”

“Yeah how can I help you,” Julian asked the chubby bald man that stood before her with a lady about her height, although dark in complexion and a little bit rounder than her.

“We are here to see Jude. If he is around tell him Obinna. He will know who I am.”

Julian looked behind her at her brother still watching Tv with Halima leaning into him before she looked back at the visitors. Most especially her eyes were fixed on the girl who looked right back at her.

Adanna was taken back by the beauty of the house they got to at Asokoro. It was huge and beautiful. She all of a sudden felt small and dirty. Well, she had just arrived from a long journey and navigated thorough Abuja to this place under the hot sun. She was allowed to feel small and dirty. But even that didn’t help her self confidence as she saw the beautiful lady that opened the door. Light smooth skin with full dark brows that was carved nicely. She was wearing a simple see through pretty blouse and black bum shorts that accentuated her fair long legs.

‘You are the maid Adanna. No need to feel bad.’ She encouraged herself.

“Come in.” Julian said and led the way to the sitting room. She was quickly followed by Obinna and Adanna stood by the door as uncle obinna had instructed. “Give me time to discuss with him before you come in. ”

“It’s nice to see you again sir.” Obinna said immediately he got to the sitting room. Jude remained sitted with Halima still beside him acting like a wife. He was not ready to shake her off his arm in front of the visitor who he was surprised to see.

“To what do I owe this unannounced visit?”

“It’s is about the money My friend owes you and your offer.”

“So? Did he agree to it?”

“Not exactly. His daughter agreed to it to assist.”

“That’s great!” Jude said. “Where is she?”

“Before I call her there is something I want to add.”

“Okay?”

“She is a corper, serving here in Abuja. She will do all that is being asked of her but I plead with you, allow her time so she could still fulfils her NYSC obligations.”

Jude was quiet for a short while, accessing Obinna and what he just said. “Julian, you heard what he said. Is that okay by you ?”

“Yes. As long as she does what she has to do. I don’t have a problem with that.” Julian stood behind the couch her brother was sitting on with Halima.

“Fine. Where is she?”

“I will call her.” Obinna stood up and went to fetch Adanna who walked slowly behind him. She all of a sudden wanted to damn it all and go back home but this was her decision and she had already come too far to turn back.

“This is Adanna, Mr Nwankwo’s daughter. She is….”

Jude did not hear any thing that Obinna was saying again. It was as if his eyes were playing tricks on him. Was he imagining Adanna or was this really Adanna?

He could not tear his eyes off her, the same way Adanna could not tear her eyes off him. Out of all the houses she could have gone to as a maid, fate had to give her Jude. This lying cheating goat that had a beautiful lady hanging to his arm.
Adanna felt cold to her bones. Why why why why why? Why him, what kind of life was this. Why? Why? Oh why???? It didn’t even help that he looked so handsome in his dark glory. Pointed nose, defined jaw that seemed stiff as he looked at her and his light lips that was poised in a straight line.

Adanna schooled her features and made up her mind not to show any emotion towards him. She was here for her family, not this lying, cheating, lap dancing, hypocritical captain.

“Jude! Jude!!” Julian slapped her brothers shoulder and that snapped him from his trance like state.

“What is wrong? Do you know her?”
Jude looked at Adanna again and saw the anger in her eyes towards him. The stubborn witch he thought!

“Do you?” Halima sat up, eyeing him up and down suspiciously.
Everyone was watching him carefully. Waiting for his response. He looked at Adanna again and answered “No!”

With that he got of the couch abruptly and grabbed his phone and car key “I am going out.”

He matched out of the house and all they heard was the slam of the front door before the sound of his engine.

Julian turned back to face Adanna, giving her a suspicious look while Halima glared at her.

“What’s your name again?” Julian asked.

“Ada!” Adanna replied and raised up her chin.

“Good! let me show you to your room.” she started up the stairs before she tunred and face Obinna.

“That would be all. She is in safe hands, as long as she does what she is told and she doesn’t cause any trouble.”

But Adanna and Jude in the same house was recipe for trouble.

 

To be continued…

The call: Chapter 14

cover the call

The car rocked from side to side, throwing its passengers from left to right.

Just in front of her, a man hit his head on the glass window, as he slept and Adanna wondered why he didn’t wake up. It was 5:15pm and Adanna was on her way to Lokoja with the same travelling bag she left with. She imagined her journey back home would be more pleasant than when she was going to Abuja but she seemed heavier. She felt like a failure. Going for NYSC for her, was like a window to endless opportunities. Opportunities she could take advantage of and help her family, but it was the complete opposite. She had been very optimistic about her posting. It had been her number one prayer from Day one at the camp. She needed a job opportunity that was amazing enough to sustain her and her family. It was no news that some corpers were lucky enough to get high paying job opportunities with free accommodation, or little paying jobs with accommodation. Even if she got paid without accommodation or accommodation without pay, it would have been better. But she had no Primary place of Assignment (PPA).

Yes! She was elated when she collected her posting letter and saw ministry of Finance. All who had asked her where she was posted to, were happy with her. They paid corpers 50,000 naira per month and In addition to her allowee, she was a big girl. Good enough to help her family and get a good apartment to stay. Her joy was dashed when she got to the organization and was given a rejection letter. She wasn’t even given an opportunity to talk or explain herself. The woman she was told to speak to simply said “We are not taking corpers anymore.”
Then she proceeded to tear off the slip and signed a rejection there.

Adanna wondered how a simple signature on a slip could change everything. She had wandered the streets of Abuja in her full NYSC outfit- Khaki, jungle boot, crested vest, head dress… and her traveling bag. All the other organizations she entered to enquire turned her down faster than she could say ‘Jack.’

It was late afternoon with no PPA and no possible accommodation for her.

Was she supposed to sleep under a bridge? It was at that point Adanna asked around and got to the nearest park, where she boarded a bus to Lokoja. Instead of staying at a cheap hotel in Abuja, she’d rather go home and buy food stuffs for them to eat. Was there even a cheap hotel in Abuja? She wondered.

Life was just hard and cruel. Adanna felt miserable. It was not worth it at all. Not even the camp experience- The hot sun, the wicked drills, the tasteless food, the money she spent, her fainting incidence… Captain Jude. Her lips quivered with threatening tears. That moron!! She was a fool.

How did she ever think a man like him, rich, handsome, with such big ambition will settle for her? Who was she?

She didn’t even have is number to call and insult him. After the rubbish he did that night, he had the guts to send his sergeants to her. She still had her dignity, to stoop so low as going to see him after that. Her self-pity was replaced with hot rage.

“Arghhhh!” she groaned as the bus slowed to a stop. They had arrived Lokoja and immediately the driver opened the door, every one scampered out. In the process, several people pushed and hit others. As one man’s bag hit Adanna’s head, her accumulated frustration descended on him.

“Bros! Are you okay? Abi something they worry you! See as you just hit my head.”

The man looked at her shocked at her outburst but Adanna did not care. She hissed and got off the bus, brushing the man aside. She walked straight to those roadside sellers and purchased some things such as Yam tubers, pepper, tomatoes, onions, grounded ogbono and egusi, cray fish, garri, rice and of course bread. By the time she finished buying, her anger had diminished and in its stead was remorse.

Why had she shouted at that man like that? She was never one to let her emotions get the better of her. But that day she had.

“Adanna!!!” Oge shouted and ran towards her, dropping the tray of beans she had been picking. Adanna dropped her big leather bag of purchases and her traveling bag before enveloping her sister in a big hug.

“I Missed you so much.” Oge said.

“And I missed you too. Where is Daddy?”

“He went out again.”

“Okay, help me with this things.”

Oge collected the bag and peeked inside. “Ada! Where did you get money to buy all these things?”

“I used my Allowee.” She said simply with a smile.

“God bless you big sister. We really need these things.”

Adanna smiled as she walked behind her sister.

“Ada!” Oge called, still walking towards the house. “What will you tell daddy? You know if he hears that you used your allowee he will not be happy.”

“I know.

—————-********————

“My answer is still no!”

“But… but what other choice do you have? Where and how do you plan on raising the money?” Obinna asked.

“So I should make my daughter pay? I should make her pay for her fees I borrowed? Obinna I can’t! It is not a prestigious job. A maid!!! My first daughter? Never!”

“Oge can go instead of Adanna.” Obinna suggested.

“Oge is only 13 years! It’s not possible. What if the man starts sleeping with her? God forbid.”

Obinna stood up in frustration and almost topped the stool beside him. He had tried his best. He had begged on behalf of his friend for too long and he too was tired of the constant pleading and avoiding the captain’s phone calls. He even feared for his life. This military people were not one to be joked with and he was not ready for such problems.

“What do you want me to do Nwankwo?”

Mr Nwanko was quiet, his head bowed low “Obinna. I am confused. What can I do?” He lifted up his face to look at his friend, who caught the sheen of tears in his eyes.

Obinna felt bad for his friend but he too had a lot of responsibilities on his shoulder to take up his friend’s problem. He placed a gentle hand on his friend’s back “Let Adanna go…I think it is the best way out.”

“No!” He shook his head vigorously “N’mba! No! Not…” he swallowed the rising lump in his throat “Not Adanna, not Oge. Tell him I can’t give out my daughters as maids. I can do the work myself. Gardening, gateman… anything. Not my girls.” He gripped Obinna’s shirt “Not my girls you understand me?”

Obinna stared at his friend for a long time before he nodded. Mr Nwankwo let go of his friends shoulder and buried his face in his hands.

“Nwankwo, just keep holding on. It will be alright! Don’t do anything stupid.”

They were talking in hushed voices but Adanna heard everything through the kitchen curtain. She stood there, with her back pressed against the wall and heard everything! She put her right fingers in her mouth and bit hard on them, to keep her sobs from sounding, while silent tears ran down her cheek.

So it was that bad? Poverty had eaten so deep into her family that her father was given the option of giving them up as maids. What broke Adanna’s heart was the love and devotion in her father’s voice as he defended them. They were his treasures. His prized possessions, his wealth and he loved them so much that he didn’t mind being a gate man or driver or gardener as long as it made a way for them.

As uncle Obinna left, Adanna ran through the back door into the late afternoon sun, and it was until it was dark before she came in with Dinner.

She served her Dad his meal and watched as he and Oge ate.

“Ada! Why are you not eating?”

“I am not hungry Daddy.”

“Nonsense! Wash your hand and come eat with me.”

“Daddy, enjoy your meal, I am not hungry.”

Her father looked at her sternly before he pushed his food aside and began washing his hands.

“Daddy! Please eat your food.”

Mr Nwankwo ignored Adanna as he kept washing his hand.

“Daddy!” Adanna stood up and squatted beside her Dad. “Please you have not eaten anything today. Please!” she pleaded with shaky voice and looked at her dad with teary eyes “Please Dad!”

She watched her father’s eyes water instantly and Adanna spoke up “Oge, please can you go to the kitchen and eat there?”

Oge who had been watching the exchange stood up immediately and left the parlor, she knew that if there was anyone that could talk to their father and he would listen, it was Adanna.

Once Oge was out of sight Adanna looked back at her dad whose expression had become Stoney.

“Please Daddy you have not been eating. Please eat this meal.”

“Not until I see you eating. Wash your hand Adanna.”

Seeing the determination on her Dad’s face, Adanna washed her hand and cut out a small piece of eba before dipping it in the soup. It tasted like sand in her mouth. She really didn’t have the appetite to eat. Not with what she was about to tell her dad. Still, she took a few more hands and forced it down before she stopped. Her dad kept eating which only proved that he was indeed hungry.

The tears were threatening again but she held them in until her dad finished eating. She held the bowl for him as he washed his hand.

“What is on your mind my princess?” He asked her as he drank from his cup.

“Daddy, I have been home for two weeks now and I cannot continue staying here. I need to go back to Abuja and get a job. I need to finish my NYSC.”

Her father cleared his throat and sat up “How much do you need?”

“I still have money to take me back to Abuja. I don’t need any money just your permission to go.”

“Ada…” her father watched her carefully with a sad expression. “Something is bothering you. Say it!”

Her eyes filled up with tears instantly and this time she allowed them flow “Daddy I have decided to take the maid job.”

Her Dad stood up immediately “Who told you about that?”

“Nobody daddy. I heard you and uncle Obinna talking about it this afternoon.”

“Adanna…”

“Daddy I have thought it through. It is the best option. It was my school fees afterall.”

“It is not your responsibility to pay your school fees Ada! It is mine!” Her father shouted and began pacing.

Adanna stood up from the ground “And I can help! I have watched you go out every day to look for money, sometimes you don’t eat Dad! I can do this. I can help the family. Please let me.”

“Ada! I am your father! Never! I will rather die than see you work for your school fees.”

“Daddy! I have thought it through and I have made up my mind. This is the best option. Look at it this way. I don’t have a place to stay in Abuja. I have to feed myself too, transport myself everyday with 19,800 naira only. It is not possible Daddy. This opportunity settles all that. I won’t pay for accommodation, I will definitely be fed and I will be paying off our debt.”

Her father’s eyes misted “My Ada.”

“Please daddy, let me do this. Please! I have already told uncle Obinna to take me there tomorrow. I have also packed my bags. I will be leaving tomorrow.”

“Ada!” her father pulled her into his arms and hugged her. “Ada I am sorry, I have failed you as a father.” As he said those words, he broke down in tears. Adanna couldn’t stand her father crying and so she joined him.

“You haven’t daddy.” She pleaded. “You haven’t. Your love and sacrifice for Oge and I, has given us the courage to be better ladies. Daddy let us make you proud the way we are proud of you. Please!”

Oge was watching them from the kitchen door with tears of her own. The moment she entered the kitchen, she had covered her food and went to hear the conversation.

“We are so proud of you dad. We don’t need all the money in the world to know what kind of father you are. You are the best and we love you.” Adanna continued.

Oge left the kitchen door and ran to join them in an embrace too.
Mr Nwankwo looked down at his two daughters, saw how beautiful, brilliant and disciplined they were and he realized that with them, he was the richest man.

“My blessings will go with you.” And with that, he held his two treasures and blessed them with all his heart.

To be continued…

The call: Chapter 13

cover the call

Manchester united was leading Chelsea 2-1. That should have made Jude happy but it didn’t. He was watching the game, but wasn’t watching the game. So he didn’t shout at Julian when she took the remote and changed the channel.

“Ow my! I just missed keeping up with the Kardashian.” She groaned and flopped on the couch in such a way that her feet dangled over the hand and touched Jude.
When she noticed her brother wasn’t reacting to her antics, she poked him with her toe.

“What is it Julian?” He finally tore his eyes from the screen and looked at his sister.

“What is wrong with you? You have been sulking for days!”

“Nothing! I Just have a lot on my mind.”

“Like? “ She sat up and dropped her feet on the cold tiles.

“A lot Julian!”

“Tell me!”

“Don’t you think I would if I wanted to?”

“Argggg! You are unbelievable. I thought you would be happy that your assignment at the camp is over, but you seem upset!”
Of course he was upset! He didn’t know what he had done. If he knew then he would have known how to make amends. After the exhilarating kiss he shared with Adanna, Jude could say that truly she was special. He had never felt the way he did, with any other lady like he felt when he kissed Adanna. And he had kissed a lot of ladies to know that what he felt for Adanna was not something to joke with. But he couldn’t understand why Adanna refused to see him on the day the camp finally closed.
He had sent sergeants to call her for him but she never came. He even stayed back in camp looking for her until he was sure there were no more corpers on the camp site. So why didn’t she come? Why did she refuse to follow the sergeants? He didn’t understand what he did wrong. Did he scare her? Was he a terrible kisser? Hell no! It couldn’t be the kiss. He smirked to himself. He must have scared her. Yeah that was it. But how? The last night in Camp he even looked for her everywhere but didn’t find her until he was dragged by some guys to come celebrate with the winning platoon. At first it was just lots of drinks but later on, it got crazy and those desperate girls where lining up for a lap dance that didn’t stir up his libido. He had tried several times to leave but it was from on ass to another.
He frowned as he remembered. There was just one person he wanted that day, but he didn’t get her. Just one girl. Even now, he wanted her.

He picked up his phone to call Adanna when the reality of his stupidity hit him.
“SHIT!!!! SHOOT ME RIGHT NOW! SHIT!”

Julian looked at him awkwardly, like he had run mad or something “Are you okay brother?”

He waved her off and kept repeating shit! shit! shit!! He didn’t collect Adanna’s number. How stupid could he be? Never had he made such mistake. If that wasn’t a sign from the universe that he and Adanna wasn’t going to happen, then he didn’t know what it was. Oh yes! His stupidity.

“Put it back on my game now!” he barked at Julian.

“Hey! Don’t use that tone with me!”

“I am pissed Julian put it back!”

“No!”

“Fuck! Jul…” He didn’t get to finish his statement when a call came in. He picked his call on the first ring “It better be something positive Obinna!”

“Oga no vex! The man has not been able to raise the money. He said he just has 100,000 naira to pay back.”

“100, 000 Naira from 700,000?” He laughed viciously. “Is this man joking with me? Does he know who I am? I gave him 5 months to pay back and this is the 9th month. He is taking me for granted, because I haven’t sent my boys at Lokoja to pay him a visit.”

Obinna was quiet “Oga! Mr Nwankwo na my friend. I know say he never get the moni. The kind hustle wey e don hustle! Hmmm na this change. E don affect us finish.”

“Well, so what am I supposed to do?” Jude was angry and it was evident in his voice. Maybe he would have been lenient, but the call came at the wrong time for them and right time for Jude to vent his frustrations.

Obinna was quiet for a few seconds. “He is ready to work for you without pay in order to pay for his debt. As a driver or anything at all you want.”

That response took Jude by surprise and he took a few seconds of his own to process it. “I will get back to you Obinna.”

“As you wish sir.”

The call ended and left Jude still fuming.
“What was that about?” Julian asked, as she flipped through the channels on DSTV.

“Someone that is owing me money.” He placed his phone on the glass stool beside him and relaxed into the couch despite his tensed state.

“Ow!” Julian put it on trace channel for a short while, before changing the channel again “How much is the person owing?”

“700,000”

Julian opened her eyes wide at her brother and Jude gave her an ‘I-know-right’ look back.
“Well, even though you spent more than that amount just last week, you better collect your money back.”

Jude sighed. “He is a widower and he borrowed the money for his daughter’s fees. A First class student, according to him.”

“And so damn what? Are you a charity organization?”

Jude shrugged “No but, I just feel for the man, maybe I should give him more time or wave of the debt.”

“Hell no! If you don’t want the money, collect it and give it to me, I have lots to shop for.”

Jude narrowed his eyes at his sister “NO! I won’t waste my money on your shopping.”

“Okay, I will call dad for that. But seriously collect your money.”

“Julie, he doesn’t have it. He wants to work off the debt instead as a driver or anything. I don’t need a driver. And even if I wanted one, I don’t want someone that is almost Dad’s age driving me around.”

“Well, let his daughter come and work off the debt. I really cannot clean this whole house and still cook.”

“You never cook Julie. We eat out!” Jude spoke in a Duh tone.

“My point exactly, don’t you want a nice home cooked meal? Instead of eating out all the time. And I have a ton of laundry undone.”

“We have a washing machine.”

“So?”

Jude frowned “You know you will get married someday.”

“Yeah and I will get a maid and a cook too.”

“And your husband will fuck them both right under your nose.”

“God forbid!” Julian threw a throw pillow at Jude, which he caught effortlessly.

“That’s the truth!”

“Enough Jude. Just get me a maid.” And with that she dropped the remote and went back upstairs “I am going out to meet Halima.” She called back.

Jude ignored her and put it back on his game only to see that Chelsea had equalized ‘Could this day get any worse?’

He watched the match for a few minutes before he picked his phone and dialed Obinna.

“Helloo Sir.”

“Obinna, tell the man that I have another offer.”

“I need a maid to manage my house and meet my sister’s needs. So I want his daughter as repayment for the loan.”

Obinna was quiet, it was a deal he knew Mr Nwankwo would never take. His daughters worth more than the world to him, more than his own life. He was never going to accept this deal. Nevertheless, Obinna replied “Okay sir, I will discuss it with him.”

To be continued…

The Call: Chapter 12

cover the call
The line seemed to go on forever. People kept pushing and struggling to get ahead of the line. Others had secured their positions on the queue before going to God knows where.

Adanna remained quiet on the line, waiting patiently under the scorching sun. Well, her throat was parched so she couldn’t talk even if she wanted to and despite how desperate she was for water, she did not want to leave her spot on the queue. The most annoying thing about the queue was the fact that the NYSC officials were sitting in the office talking and laughing rather than attend to the corpers under the sun. The reason they were not attending to them was simply because Allowee collection started at 2pm and it was currently 1:48pm.

What was the difference? Adanna wondered. 12 minutes and it wasn’t as if the officials were busy. Despite all these, the queue kept getting longer and the area was generally rowdy.
“This is my spot.” A girl said to another girl, who was standing in front of Adanna.

“No it is not! I have been here since.”

“I was here!” the first girl insisted. “I was standing behind one tall and dark guy.”

“Where is the guy?” the second girl asked.

“I don’t know.”

“Okay now, it is not my business.  I am not moving for you. Everyone has been jumping this line with this very excuse. I will not allow anyone enter my front again.”

“Ahan! You don’t have to be rude about It.” the first girl said with an eye roll.

“I wasn’t rude, but I will be, if you don’t respect yourself and go to the back of this queue.”

Adanna watched the drama unfold right in front of her. It was quite entertaining considering how tired and thirsty she was. This was a welcomed distraction.
Immediately it was 2pm, it seemed as if the corpers in that area had doubled. The people that had marked a spot returned and similar arguments like the one Adanna had witnessed ensued everywhere. She stood her ground unwavering, while praying for the money distribution to start.

Just as other NYSC officials started their money distribution, the woman in charge of the line Adanna was, stood up and left. Unbelievable! Adanna clenched her fist in annoyance, thereby crumbling the 200 naira she was to give as change to collect 20, 000 naira. She was very certain that if one did not have change, then it was a different problem with the officials.

After about 10 minutes, the woman returned and sat down and the line finally started moving.

“If you are not with a pen to sign, just leave the line now! Don’t come and waste my time here.” The woman said arrogantly.

Several people left the line to look for pen and Adanna used the opportunity to advance on the queue till she was next.

“Good afternoon ma.” She greeted and handed over her document, Tag and the 200 naira change to the woman.  Without even looking at Adanna, the woman checked the documents, cross checked it with the tag and then pushed a register towards Adanna to sign. 20,000 naira was given to her while she was signing.

“Next!” The woman called out and snatched the register from Adanna before she could draw the last stroke over her name as was her signature.
The ‘thank you’ Adanna wanted to say got lost in her mouth as she walked away. It was no surprise the attitude of the woman. The NYSC staff acted as if they weren’t paid well, or like they hated their jobs. They were completely nonchalant about their work and acted disrespectfully to corpers. They were unnecessarily rude and generally seemed like they loved passing their frustrations on corpers.

Anyway, Adanna had collected her allowee, so she was free of them. For now.  She walked away and headed to mami market where she was supposed to meet up with Bukky for a little celebration of theirs.

It was the last day at the orientation camp after all and they needed to celebrate their survival of the crazy drills, sitting in the hot sun, washing white on white, early morning waking up, ruined khakis. Yeah! A lot of khaki’s tore at the butt area doing Man-o-war exercises… regardless of all the craziness, it was a fun time at the orientation camp. An experience Adanna was sure to never forget. To add to her lovely memory was Jude. She smiled to herself as she thought about him and their kiss last night. To say she slept at all was a big lie. How could she? She could not think of any other thing but his lips on hers and how he practically set her body on fire when he had her in his arms.

“What is making this one blush?” Bukky nudged her and that snapped her from her reverie.

“Nothing!” Adanna waved a hand but that smile was still stuck on her face.

Bukky eyed her suspiciously “Man has entered your head abi??”

“No jor!” that only made her blush harder.

“Oya! Tell me!” Bukky said and dropped the bottle of coke she was drinking on the table.

“I said nothing Bukky.”

“Really? After everything we have been through in camp, after all the gist I have given you.”

“Okay fine!” Adanna went on to tell Bukky all about the captain. She was smiling all through as she told the story because whether she admitted it to herself or not, the truth was that she was dying to tell someone all about it.

“OMG! While we were busy catching fishes, you went to the sea and caught a whale. Well done o!” Bukky said.

They sat in a shop at Mami market and gisted a lot, recounting both funny and annoying incidence that took place in camp.

Soon,  it was night and Bukky suggested they went to Nigerian breweries to see the party organized by the winning platoon.

“It is the last night right? Let’s go!” Adanna said and Bukky smirked.

“One kiss from the captain…”

“Two kisses from the captain” Adanna corrected.

“Whatever! Two kisses from the captain and someone is ready to attend a party. Hmmm take it easy there babe!”

Adanna only laughed as they kept walking. The whole Nigerian Breweries had been transformed. A lot of people were there, loud music was playing, people were dancing crazily, drinking a little too much and so many others were making out.

Adanna wasn’t sure she
was In Nigeria again but she was! She followed Bukky closely before shouting over the loud music!

“Are you seeing what I am seeing?”

“This one is even small, go to the parade ground and what you will see there will scar you for life.” Bukky laughed.

They kept walking, brushing against different people as they looked for a suitable place to sit. They eventually found seats at a nearby bar that faced the center of the party. Idly, they sat and watched the scene in front of them without participating, Bukky sang along to most of the Nigerian jamz playing and Adanna joined in the songs she really liked. Sometimes, they commented at the things other people were doing.

Bukky tapped Adanna and pointed to a guy sitting in the center of the party and a girl on his lap giving him a lap dance. “Hmmm this is serious o! The guy will never be the same again.”

Adanna laughed and pointed out another girl who took over from where the other girl stopped. “Seems like they are all taking turns to give the guy a lap dance.”
Adanna said to Bukky.

“Yeah I think so. But the guy doesn’t seem so into it.”

Adanna snorted “Yeah right. If he isn’t he should leave now, they didn’t tie him to the chair did they?”

“Good point!”

It was shortly after that Bukky nudged Adanna again. “He is leaving, I must see who he is.”

Adanna rolled her eyes at her friend. “It is not necessary!”

“If I hear! Don’t you want to see the face of the guy that got so many lap dances?”

“Fine!” Adanna stood up with her friend and they quickly found their way into the crowd till they got a better view of the guy!

Adanna stopped dead in her tracks and gawked “Bukky lets go.”

Bukky followed her friend’s line of vision “That goat! Common let’s go!”

Well your guess is as good as mine. It was no other than Captain Jude Zambrang Bagro

 

To be continued…

The call: Chapter 11

cover the call

Unlike the other events that took place in the multipurpose hall, the Miss NYSC and Mr Macho competition was organized outdoor.

There was a makeshift stage that was beautifully decorated with prominent colours and a red carpet that represented a run way. Giant speakers were mounted at each side of the stage and the DJ had setup his equipment behind one of the speakers. The turnout that evening was huge! The white plastic chairs were all filled up, and the people standing were double the number of those sitting.

Adanna was backstage helping out with the wardrobe and logistics for her platoon. It was amazing the things she could do when she was not in the hostel passing time like she had initially planned.

She called home again, to hear that things were not rosy and her father was fast sinking into depression. Adanna was down cast, but tried to practice her faith in God, that everything was going to be alright. Even then, she still felt emotionally weak. This was not the kind of news she needed to add to her Jude situation. So when Bukky came and dragged her out for the Miss NYSC/ Mr Macho competition, she was grateful for the distraction despite her initial resistance.

“Where is my shoe?” Imaobong, the beautiful Awka-ibom girl that was representing platoon 7 screamed.

Bukky eyed her “It’s in your bag.”

“Which bag?”

“Right there!” Bukky pointed to the brown bag that was just beside Imaobong.

“I can’t start searching for the shoe. I fixed my nails remember?” she waved her perfectly manicured nails at Bukky “You get it and fast, I will soon be going on stage.”

“Look Imaobong, because you were nominated to represent the platoon in this competition, does not make you a princess to come and be ordering me around okay? Don’t let this position get into your head. Ahan! Do I look like your slave?”

“Shoo… wettin dey worry this one?” Imaobong laughed and hit her palms together in a ‘wonders-shall- never-end’ way.

“I am done. I came to volunteer my help not to be someone’s maid.” Bukky said and stormed off into the chaos that was the back stage.

Adanna was watching from one corner, not really in the mood to participate in what was going on around her. She giggled to herself as she watched her friend give a piece of her mind and stormed off. Adanna looked back at Imaobong and watched her struggle with the straps of her heels for the competition and decided to help out.

“Thank you. That girl just pissed me off and walked away. She is such a pain…”
Adanna cut her short. “Hey that is my friend and I have been watching you.” She paused her task of helping the girl and looked at her. “She was only helping and you didn’t treat her well.”

Imaobong felt bad “I am sorry, I didn’t mean to. I am just nervous.”

“It is no excuse.”

“I am sorry.”

“No Problem.” Adanna rose to her feet and was about to walk away when Imaobong spoke up.

“Please will you help me out?”

Adanna wanted to say no, but since she was not doing anything “Sure!”

That was how she found herself working as the personal assistant to their Miss NYSC and cheering along with the crowd as each contestant modelled. She enjoyed the whole backstage drama, the chaos and how none of it showed upstage.

The show progressed gradually and eventfully, from one outfit to the other. The bold and beautiful ladies went upstage looking beautiful followed By the Mr Machos, with their briefs. Now, that caused a lot of ladies to scream their brains out. Adanna wasn’t an exception, she Cheered Harry on, as he represented their platoon in the Mr Macho competition.

As the Machos were upstage, Adanna helped Imaobong to get dressed in her final outfit, a dinner gown. Imaobong sat on a white chair back stage while Adanna stood by her, listening to the answers that they gave.

“What is the full meaning of SAED?”
A question was directed at one of the guys and he went totally blank on stage. The question was asked again and it was a surprise to everyone, because that was one of the easiest question that could ever be asked.

Adanna was very thirsty, so as the questions continued, she left Imabong in search of water or a drink to buy. It was about 10pm in the night and the only source of light was from the stage, so the farther she walked from the backstage, the darker it became. She idly kept walking in search of a drink till she was a little distance away from the gathering but still close to hear faintly, what was going on.

She finally saw a woman with a wheel barrow by the side of a path selling drinks and pure water. Adanna sighed in relief and hurried to the woman. As she approached, she saw a military van parked inconspicuously and two people talking. A soldier and a female corper. Adanna rolled her eyes. It was a norm for soldiers to hook up with female corpers so she wasn’t surprised. She bent her head and walked past them to buy her drink.
As the woman was looking for her change, Adanna stood idly again and eventually looked at the girl that was laughing too loudly at whatever the soldier was saying to her. ‘Girls’ she thought, as she collected her change and turned back to return to the event. She had almost passed the couple when she decided to just steal a glance up close. She was not ready for who she saw.

Was that captain Jude? Adanna slowed her steps to analyze what she was seeing. Broad chest and arms, the height, the posture and carriage…  it was definitely Captain Bagro. Adanna quickly turned her face and continued walking fast. What? To think that he liked her. Was it just her imagination? ‘What was she expecting?’ She scolded herself. ‘That the captain liked her?’ Even if he did, he was obviously a player looking for another booty call. Why did she think it was anything more? She chided herself all the way back. Even the drink she bought, did nothing to quench the sudden dryness of her throat. He walked out on her dance performance the other night and now he was with another female corper tickling her fancy.

She felt bad but tried her best to push it out of her mind as she focused on the competition. The final call was made and the ladies went upstage in their beautiful gowns. Adanna watched absentmindedly until Harry came from behind and wrapped his arms around her waist. She jumped a little, at the contact and turned to see Harry grinning. He was now wearing a suit that fitted him so well. If she wasn’t sulking over the captain, Adanna was sure that she would have given Harry a chance.

“I have finally got you.”

Adanna laughed and removed his arms from around her waist and turned to face Harry. “You look good in a suit.”

“Sure babe?”

Adanna laughed “Yes.” She adjusted his tie for him and smoothened his pocket square. “Perfect now.”

“Thank you.” Harry looked at her with admiration. “Why have you been avoiding me? Even the cultural night, I didn’t see you after the presentation.”

“I know, I was tired and just went to my room.”

“If you say so. I want to tell you somwething.” Harry held her right hand in his left and whispered something to her ears because of the noise around them. It looked like a very intimate position and that was how Jude saw Adanna.

The anger he felt immediately was overwhelming. What gave this corper the right to touch her or whisper to her?  He was so infuriated that all of a sudden, seeing her there with the guy, triggered an overwhelming sense of protection and desire for Adanna. He didn’t realise what he was doing till he walked up to them.

“Adanna!” his voice was so firm that it scared Adanna. “FOLLOW ME!” and with that, he turned and kept walking away without checking if she was following.  She had to follow!
Jude could not understand how it all happened. Since the dance, he had tried his best to avoid Adanna. It was the best for both of them. Even if he got involved with her, what next? What would happen after camp? And if his dad somehow found out about it, it would be an outrage. Not that he feared his dad! Not anymore. His plan to stay clear of her had to work. He was patrolling round the camp, when he saw another soldier and a female corper. He stopped to talk to the soldier and somewhere along the line, the soldier left him with the girl to take a piss. That was when he saw Adanna passing and all his resolve to stay away melted. He waited till the soldier returned before he went after Adanna. His Adanna!

“Who is that boy?” He turned and asked Adanna once they were in a secluded place.

“Excuse me? How does it concern you?”

“Don’t answer my question with a question of yours Adanna. Who was that boy?”

Adanna laughed humorlessly and folded her arms. She seemed angry with him and he wondered why. Her anger only fueled his, but even in his anger, he thought her frown was cute and she was a vixen he was completely attractive to.

“Is that how you go around allowing these small boys touch you?” He said the ‘touch’ with disgust.

“What? I won’t even take it from you today. I am sorry I won’t. The other time you practically called me a slut for nothing and now you are making reference to the same thing. I won’t take it. I know who I am. I have my dignity and principles, I would not have someone that doesn’t even know who I am to insult me.”

She was spitting fire and right there he found her even more sexy and mysterious. The shy tongue-tied girl, who had an inner godness when dancing and spoke her mind regardless of who she was talking to. He was intrigued.

“Listen to me carefully, I won’t share you with anyone else. Especially these small boys.”

“What?  Share me? I wasn’t yours in the first place.” Adanna fired back without processing the implication of his statement.

“Oh! You know nothing sweetheart.” He chuckled deeply “You became mine the moment I couldn’t get you out of my mind.”

“I would not fall for these lies. I am not yours.”

“Yes you are!”

“I am…” Captain Jude did not give her the opportunity to ague any further as he swallowed her next word with his lips on hers. His firm right hand glided easily around her soft body till it settled on her small waist while his left hand held the back of her head in place. His lips molded hers perfectly as his tongue tasted the sweetness of her mouth. Adanna did not know how she went from furious to melting in his arms, but all she wanted was to melt further into him till there was no separating her from him ever! The world around them faded till all they felt was the erratic pounding of their hearts against each other.

Jude broke the kiss and placed his forehead on hers “You are mine is that clear?” He asked huskily.

“Who was that girl?”

Jude laughed out loud and tightened his hold on her waist “She is nobody. Please Trust me Adanna.”

“Fine!Then it is very clear sir.” Adanna said and Jude tilted her chin for another toe curling kiss.

 

To be continued…

The Call: Chapter 10

cover the call

“Hey wait up Adanna.”

She stopped and turned around to face Harry who was hurrying over to her.

“Hey Harry!”

“Girl you have been so scarce or are you avoiding me?”

Adanna laughed lightly. “Why will I be avoiding you ? I have just been busy.”

“I think it is the latter… please come out with me today.”

Adanna’s smile faltered alittle. “Today is our cultural dance presentation.
I am on my way for our final rehearsals.”

“Adanna I think you are avoiding me.”

“I  am serious today is our cultural dance presentation. Platoon 7, platoon 3 and platoon 5. Which reminds me. Please mobilise our platoon guys so they can come and cheer us. This is the final dance round. ”

“Not a problem. Adanna, maybe today’s excuse is genuine but other times, ‘sorry I can’t, I have to go for NCCF prayer meeting, sorry I just had my bath and I am about to sleep,  shoot! I can’t, because I just washed my white and I don’t have what to wear. Not today, I am having cramps… Adanna your excuses are numerous.”

If Adanna was an ‘oyinbo’, she was certain her face would have been pink from embarrassment.

“Every one of those excuses are valid… Harry”

“Okay what about after the dance today?”

She looked at her wristwatch; she was running late for her rehearsals.

Harry took a wide step and closed the gap between them “Why are you treating  your boy like this? You are just using me to play ball o. Baby…”

Adanna’s eyes widened and she took a careful step backwards, putting space between them.

“Harry…”

“Please let me see you tonight.”

“Fine. But I am not leaving the multipurpose hall okay?”

“No problem.”

“Good..I have to run.”

She left him quickly and rushed for her rehearslas at their platoon officer’s house.

Her dance members were already there and Adanna apologised before she dropped her waist bag and fell into position.

Their hired dance Instructor was on the phone and once he finished, he faced them. “Everyone in place?”

“Yes sir!” The dancers responded and the drumers hit their instruments.

“Let’s go!”

———*******———

Captain Jude walked into the multipurpose hall that evening, dressed casually. He was wearing a simple blue jeans, black sneakers and black polo shirt.
As the entered into the hall, he was quickly ushered to the judges table and a brief recognition was given.
He recieved alot of cheers and he thought “wow! Okay?”

The evening progressed slowly. There were a lot of presentations, dry jokes shared by struggling comedians, boring rap presentation And someone presented a poetry, which he thought was nice.

Soon, the 1st platoon, platoon 3 was called out and their drummers came up stage first with their musically instruments.

The dancers emerged dressed in the fulani cultural attire and danced in rhythm with the Instrumentation. The beating rose in cresendo, as the tempo of their dance steps increased.
There were some chants and eulogies as well and that really excited the audience.

As the first dancers exited the stage, there were alot of cheers for them. Being the first to present, they had set the performance bar high for the other two groups to present.

More bad jokes were cracked and captain Jude pulled out his phone to check his messages. Other judges drank water from their bottles, waiting for the next platoon.

Soon enough the next platoon, platoon 5 came up stage. The dancers came out first and took a squatting position. Their drummers followed soon after and had a little technicality before starting their beats, which in his own view wasn’t coordinated.

Some dancers missed their steps and when they reached a part where the male dancers were suppose to carry the female, a pair fell in the process.

That was practically the end of their presentation, as the audience broke out in laughs, and negative cheers.

‘Oh well’, Jude thought. ‘That was quite entertaining.’

Two OBS members who were acting as MCs’ came up stage and tried to salavage the situation but only made it worse.

Finally the last platoon was called out platoon 7, for their presentaion.
There were shouts and cheering from the audience as everyone expected them to come up stage but no one did.
The judges whispered among themselves wondering what was happening, while Jude checked his wrist watch repeatedly.

An MC was about to go up stage again, when the lights in the multipurpose hall went off completely and came back on shortly after to reveal the dancers and their drummers on stage, fully endowned in their beautiful African costumes.

Three powerful hits of the drum, followed by a traditional drum roll caused the dancers to rise slowly, revaling their faces and that was when he saw Adanna, right there in the middle looking like an African Goddess.
———–*******———–
Adanna was a train wreck before she went on stage. So many terrible possibilities ran through her mind. What if they messed up? What if their drummers got the beats wrong, what if someone fell like the last platoon. She inhaled deeply through her nose and exhaled through her mouth.

“Adanna we are going to win this thing.”

She turned and met her partner eye to eye. “What If I fall?”

“No one will fall.”

“Ebuka, I am so scared.”

“Don’t worry! You are a great dancer I don’t know why you are even worried.”

He was still encouging her when the rest of the dancers and drummers assembled themselves in a circle along side other platoon supporters.

The head of their platoon Emeka entered into the circle and gave a very short pep talk ending it with “We’ve got this. Platoon 7!”

“Perfection!”

“Platoon 7!!!” He called again and everyone shouted “Perfection”

Their chants got louder and louder as they were called up stage.

Adanna had climbed the stage with shaky legs in the dark. She bumped into other dancers before she got her footing and bent down.
At the sound of the three drum hits, they stood up with the drum roll which looked more dramatic with the ecstatic cheers of the audience.

They had captured their audience and that was exactly what they were going for.

The African drums picked up and they ‘broke’ their waists in accordance to the smacking of the drums.
Adanna soon forgot her fears and just let the melody of the beat guide her through the song. She plastered a broad smile on her face as she swayed along perfectly, to the choreography of her dance members.
Not only were they just dancing to the beats but their dance told a story of pain, poverty and suffering of the people until a goddess, represented by her, came to turn things around.

Soon enough, it was time for her, the goddess to solo. A dance which will take away the pain of the people.

Adanna looked the part, danced the part well, and became the part. As she came to the front, swaying her waist delicately, she looked up and right before her on the judge’s seat was Jude. For a while, she kept her eyes on him, dancing for him. All of a sudden she wanted him to admire her, she wanted him to want her as much as she wanted him. She wanted to be his goddess.

Jude watched from his seat in complete admiration. He had always know Adanna was beautiful, but seeing her in her outfit and make up, with the sensual way she swayed… he was blown away.
It was like seeing her inner goddess. It was like looking at another part of her. The girl that looked shy and sometimes tongue tied in his presence was now owning her role, owning the stage and her audience. She had him under her spell. No! He was under her spell from the first day he spoke to her, now it was something else. Something more passionate.

He felt hot and couldn’t get the image of His body pressed on hers that night under the tree. But his time he didn’t walk away. This time around his mind painted vividly, a passionate kiss shared with her.

This wasn’t right! Jude scolded himself. He couldnt! He couldnt be with Adanna. They were completely different people. She was far from what he considered as his type. Maybe that was exactly why he was so attracted to her.
He took one bold look at her again and felt this blood circlation pull southwards. That was when he realised he could not sit there again.
Jude grabbed his phone which was on the table and quietly excused himself from the hall.
As soon as the fresh air hit him, he felt a little better but not quite. The farther he walked away from the hall, the better he felt physically but emotionally ? He was a ticking time bomb and Adanna was his detonator.

Just before her solo finished, she noticed that Jude had disappeared  from his seat and Adanna suddenly felt disappointed.
Their presentation ended beautifully well, but even then her spirit wasn’t lifted. She had put herself out there for him, she had danced for him and all he did was leave In the middle?

Adanna felt cheap and hurt. She had given a piece of herself, though small but a piece nonetheless. His reaction was like throwing it back in her face and that hurt her.
Her spirit was dampened and not even the fact that they won the competition cheered her up.

To be continued …