The Meridian was a classy establishment that catered to the needs of those who prefer a quiet exclusive place to relax without the hustle and bustle of Lagos intruding on them. It catered to the rich and privileged up to a certain age. You could not find a boy or girl of 23 years and below. The Meridian was strict on that rule. They loved money and they loved class but maturity was a key part of their criteria for admittance. At The Meridian, age is not just a number.
Jude’s black Escalade drove to the front of the Meridian and stopped. His driver-cum-bodyguard-manservant, Samuel, stepped out and helped him into his wheelchair then went round to open up for Jessica. A porter came and took the car keys from the burly driver and drove the car to the parking space at the back. The driver rolled Jude inside the meridian to their reserved seat with Jessica walking by his side.
Jessica’s entry was noted as she was a face most high society ladies in Lagos knew. Her business catered for all their beauty needs. She was not known to be a social person, so several ladies at the restaurant were surprised to see her out, looking resplendent in her black dinner gown that shimmered in the light and set out her fair skin and curvaceous figure perfectly. They even wondered at the handsome looking man in a wheel chair by her side. Nobody knew him but he must be well to do, to afford such a perfect specimen of a man as a body guard. The old dowagers eyed Jude’s bodyguard beneath false eyelashes and fantasized on what they could do with a body like that on their bed at any given day.
Jessica: “this place looks lovely. I have heard about it but I have never been here before.” She said, settling into her seat.
Jude: “well am glad you like it.” He replied smiling. He snapped his fingers and a waiter came to him.
As the waiter moved where they were seated, another man rushed forward, waving the waiter away. He was obviously the manager.
Manager: “ha…Mr. Jude, you have graced us with your presence this lovely Saturday. It is so good to see you. And your beautiful friend, if not the beautiful Miss Jessica Otite. So good to see you madam. Welcome to The Meridian.” He said, beaming.
Jessica: “you know me?” she asked surprised.
Manager: “of course my dear. Mr. Jude will tell you I have a mind for faces and names. I welcome you to the Meridian. Go through our menu and make your order except you want my recommendations?” He asked.
He made his recommendations and Jude and Jessica were soon dining on an excellent plate of fresh fish pepper stew with rice with goat meat pepper soup to follow and white wine to accompany the meal. They ate and they got to know one another.
Pa Okolie sat on his recliner, his hand folded under his head as a cushion. He was deep in thought.
“So Obinna died and left everything to women? I always knew that Enugu woman had a hold over him but I never knew it was this strong. She confused him to the extent that he forgot his kin, his blood. I have never heard or seen where a woman inherited property when they were men around. To even threaten us, his Ummunna. Ha! This world is indeed deep. Women! Women! My brothers have weakened. If it were back in the day, we would have dealt with that woman, her slut of a daughter and that bastard, she calls her son and that stupid lawyer with his face like a crossed eyed antelope. Chineke is not asleep.” He sighed deeply.
A shadow fell across his face, rousing him from his deep reverie. He opened his eyes and looked up. It was one of his sons, Onyedikachi.
Onyedikachi: “papa this one you seated under this tree, sighing like a pregnant woman so, I hope all his well o?” he asked, concern on his face.
Pa Okolie: My brothers are weak. They have failed me.” He replied sadly.
Onyedikachi: “failed you how? What happened?” he asked, drawing a stool close to his father.
Pa Okolie: “your uncle left his wealth to women and they could not do a thing. A small boy from Lagos threatened them and they all took to their heels.” He replied, searching the sky for wisdom.
Onyedikachi: “they are old and feeble. Don’t blame them. When you want something done and done well, you need young blood.” He replied smugly.
Pa Okolie looked at his son speculatively. “what he says is true. I need strong arms and legs.” He thought then he smiled.
Pa Okolie: “get ready, there is something I need done as soon as possible.” He said, looking back at the sky.
Onyedikachi: “what is it papa?” he asked.
Pa okolie told him and both of them laughed.
Pa Okolie: “since they have deemed it fit to remove food from our mouth, we shall remove the crown off their heads. Yes?” he said looking at his son. Onyedikachi nodded and smiled.
Chidera dialed Sabine’s number and after three rings, she picked up.
Chidera: “child what are you doing?” she asked in annoyance.
Sabine: “making dinner, why?” she replied.
Chidera: “what are you doing in that big house all alone and why did you leave your mother and your son back in the village. What is so important in Lagos?” she asked, her voice increasing in volume.
Sabine: “there are some things that I need to sort out. I don’t want Tochi under feet tripping me up. And no, I am not telling you about it.” She replied quietly.
Chidera: “hmm…I hope you are not going to do something stupid, dear child.” She replied sadly.
Sabine: “I hope not too. But if it gets to that, know it will be messy and I will really be aware of what is going on this time.” She replied smiling.
Chidera: “leave that boy alone, Sabine. He is married.” She pleaded.
Sabine: “wait, you think I want Brume? Oh I do want him but not the way you think and I want them all.” She muttered.
Chidera: “who? Who are these people?” she asked, curiosity lacing her voice.
Sabine: “Auntie, I have to go. My food is burning.” She ended the call.
Chidera sighed and walked out into her kitchen and started working on the Ogbono soup simmering on the fire.
Jessica: “I had a great time. I have not had such a great time in a while.” She said shyly, standing by the car, looking down at Jude as Samuel arranged the seat before taking him in.
Jude; “yeah me too. Let’s do it again.” He said, smiling back at her.
Samuel came and moved him close to the car door and he moved in. As Samuel adjusted his legs, they heard a gasp. They turned and saw a man dragging Jessica away.
Jude: “go after her.” He said in a panic. Samuel moved after her with unbelievable speed.
Jessica turned screaming, to look back and to see Samuel running towards her really fast. She turned back to the person that grabbed her.
Jessica: “you’d better let me go. That man is going to beat you so hard you will wish you had just passed me.” She said, trying to drag her hand from the man’s strong grip.
Tunde: “Femi, she is here o. I am going home. I don’t want to be beat up.” He let Jessica go then ran across the street and soon disappeared.
Femi stepped out of the shadows, smiling. He had been surprised to see Jessica coming out of the Meridian looking really posh and classy. “Probably she’s selling that body to get that paid. Always loved money. Good pawn, really.” He thought as he looked her over.
Femi: “Hello Jessica my love, it’s been a while. You look good.” He walked close to her and placed his hands around her waist.
Jessica stared at him shock. “Femi! Femi is here. Jesus! This is bad, God!” she turned and saw that Samuel had stopped and was watching them. She waved at him.
Jessica: “Femi, how..where, what are you doing here?” she asked, stuttering, confusion on her face.
Femi: “I was wondering that myself. I tell you. I was enjoying my shots and suddenly a voice told me ‘step out Femi and surprise yourself.’ I did and I can tell you that i am overwhelmingly surprised. Is that your sugar daddy’s man?” he asked, nodding at the retreating back of Samuel, Jude’s bodyguard.
Jessica looked at the direction of the bodyguard then turned back to Femi.
Jessica: “you lied to me Femi. You told me you wanted to talk to my friend. You got her raped and pregnant. You will pay for this. It is good that you are back in Lagos. I will be seeing you soon. Please try not to leave Lagos in a rush.” She said quietly then she turned and walked away.
Femi stared at her quietly, “That did not go as planned. Well she’s just a whore. Who needs her anyway. She looked good though. I wonder if her sugar daddy will be willing to part with a bundle on her behalf?” he smirked and walked close to where he could see the number plates of the car as the car zoomed off. He typed it in and smiled, “not bad for one day. Not bad at all.” He thought, flushed with excitement.
Question: Pa Okolie is up to no good; do you think his plans will succeed? Do you think Jude will mind Jessica’s chat with Femi?
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