Natasha drove into the designated parking lot for parents inside the premises of Best Brains Academy. One of the best elementary schools in Lagos state and the South west in general. A school where excellence is the watchword and laziness is considered abominable. Both the students and teachers are up to the task of what is expected of them, punctuality, being attentive in class, taking time out to meticulously bring every student up to speed with whatever is being taught. Preparing the students for various competitions outside the school and the students taking first position everytime they compete. The parents are not left out either as they also have a role to play. Timely payment of school fee, ensuring their wards do homeworks, punctual and regular at school and reporting any misbehavior as soon as they notice.
Natasha stepped down as she made her way up towards the principal’s office located on the top floor of the administrative block.
“Good morning Madam.” The secretary to the principal greeted with a smile.
“Good morning, how are you?” Natasha asked.
“I’m fine ma.” The young lady replied.
“How is family?”
As if she was waiting for her to be asked about family. The lady reached for her drawer and pulled out an envelope.
“I am specially inviting you to my wedding.” She said with a huge grin.
Natasha smiled. “Oh! Who is the lucky guy?”
“His name is David, he works at the House of assembly.” The excited young lady replied.
Natasha still doesn’t understand the reason behind the joy and happiness people feel when they are getting married. Maybe she needs someone to propose to her to understand the feeling.
“Is the Principal on seat?” She asked.
“Yes ma’am.” Enough of the pleasantries and playing around.
“Okay.” With this, Natasha walked into the principal office which she has become so familiar with.
Forty minutes later, she re-emerged with a sad face like she does everytime she visits the principal.
“Alright Madam, have a nice day.” The secretary said.
“Thank you. And happy married life in advance.” Natasha replied as she exited the block.
She slowly walked down to the parking lot, got into her car and backed out of the school compound.
Just before she could join the main road, her ringing phone caught her attention. It was Raymond.
“Hello Darling.” His husky voice came through.
“Hello, good morning.” She replied.
“How many times are you going to say good morning?” He joked in reference having called her earlier in the day. “How did it go with the principal?” He asked.
“As usual. Philip causing trouble everywhere. Yesterday he set a pin on one of his classmates seat. Thank God the others quickly reported, I don’t know what case we will be fighting now.” She explained as a tear dropped. “I’m tired of Philip, seriously.” This time she couldn’t hold the tears.
“Shhhhh! Don’t say that. He is your son. It is your duty to make him realize his actions are not making you happy.” Raymond replied.
“It’s like you don’t get it? The principal threatened to expel him the next time he misbehaves.” Natasha explained.
“Is it that bad?” Raymond asked.
“It is more than you think.”
The line fe silent from the other end for a little over ten seconds before Raymond spoke up.
“I don’t believe that Principal. The boy is only five years old and he is too small to do the things they are accusing him of. Personally from experience, I had the same problem with my teachers, but the moment dad started sending them bribes every week, they let me off and I became a good boy. They always paint rich kids as bad cos they know the parent will want to stay away from scandals. ” He explained.
“Are you sure?”She asked.
If there is one thing she needed at the moment, it is someone telling her her son is not as notorious as people think. And the person must be an important part of her. A category Raymond fits in perfectly, because all things being equal, he may end up being her son’s step-dad.
“I am very sure.” He replied. “Okay, let me ask you. Is Philip a bad boy at home? Does he cause troubles at home?”
“No. But I think that’s because there are no small children he could do that to.”
“When you are a troublemaker, you make trouble anywhere even when you are alone.” Raymond replied. “Don’t mind those teachers. And if things continue this way we will change his school at the end of the session.”
After the call Natasha heaved a sigh of relief. Afterall, her son is not as bad as his teachers paint him. She switched on the ignition of the car, engaged the gear into a ‘D’ as she drove off. But not without hissing in disgust at the school.
She had to rush down from work to see the principal on a Monday morning. What a way to start a new week. Even though she thinks the day will not be any better, she now has a reason to smile because Raymond has invited her to dinner with his parents. How much she loved meeting his Parents, especially his mum.
THE TIME IS 4:30PM and Natasha just shut down her computer preparing to head home to prepare for her dinner with the former first family of Lagos state. She is a Deputy director at a leading advertising agency in Lagos. From billboard adverts to posters and social media, the agency is on the front foot in all. Political campaign, wedding invitation, product advertising and many more are the areas of specialization. Government parastatals, corporate bodies, individuals and NGOs make up the list of their clients and their take home at the close of business everyday is running into millions. A publicly traded company, and the only advertising agency that is publicly traded in the whole of Africa.
“Goodnight Madam.” The security man greeted.
As usual she tipped him with five hundred naira as the man excitedly raced towards the gate.
The sight of a man in his fifties running amused her as she chuckled loudly. As she rummaged her bag for the car key, her phone started ringing.
Who is calling again? Can’t I have peace? She thought aloud.
“Hello bestie.” Her best friend’s voice came on.
“The latest bride in town.” Natasha replied, by now she has gotten into her car.
“Na me be that o.”
“Don’t tell me you are in Lagos?” Natasha asked.
“Tasha baby, I arrived two hours ago.” Her best friend replied. “And did you even check the date at all?”
“We are shopping this evening?” She asked.
“Yes o. And you know I can’t drive in Lagos. So we will be using your car.” Her friend replied.
“Well, you will buy me fuel.” Tasha joked.
“Mumu! My fiancé works at Shells petroleum.”
“Olodo! I thought he works at Forte oil. Pump attendant.” Natasha replied laughing.
“You are mad. Just drive your big ass down here immediately.”
Natasha smiled as she drove out of the compound. She is happy because her bestie is in town ahead of her wedding in a month’s time. Giving her the opportunity to have fun with the other girls.
The time is 7pm and the Williams have all converged at the dining area awaiting the arrival of Raymond Williams, the only son of the family. Seated already at the table was High Chief Tubi Williams, a one time governor of Lagos state, a sixty five year old former senator of the Federal Republic, his wife Chief Mrs Williams, a sixty year old National president of the women wing of the ruling political party and their daughter, Agnes, a twenty six year old mother of one married to the son of a former President. The Williams are a political family with every aspect of their lives involving a political script or move. Agnes’ marriage to her husband is just Chief Williams way of showing appreciation to the President for supporting his candidacy. The Williams are a family who hace the Nigerian politics to thank for everything they have achieved especially in terms of wealth.
“Good evening Mum, dad.” Raymond greeted as he walked into the living room. He proceeded into the dunning room where he hugged his mother and shook hands with his father. “Hey Aggy.” He said to his younger sister.
“Wadup Ray?” She replied.
“I’m cool, how’s your husband and my nephew?” Raymond asked.
“They are both fine.” Agnes replied. “And when will Natasha be here, I really want to meet her.”
“How did you know her name?” Raymond asked as he settled down beside his father.
“How did I know your girlfriend’s name? In a family where we are not more than four. Have you forgotten we don’t keep secrets around here?”
Fifteen minutes later,
“Son, call your woman, she is keeping us waiting.” High Chief Williams who has been unusually quiet spoke up.
As if waiting for his father’s command, Raymond grabbed his phone and excused himself. He came back few minutes later wearing a disappointed look.
“She is not going to make it.” He announced.
“Why? Is she okay?” His mother in her usual manner asked.
“She left work late plus the traffic.” He explained.
“Well, let’s not feel disappointed. There is always a second time.” Chief Williams spoke up. “We can still have a successful dinner here within ourselves.”
Agnes stood up immediately and started serving the meal for everybody. “Just give me water.” Chief Williams said.
Ten minutes into the meal, he cleared his throat and began.
“The reason for calling this dinner initially is to make some announcements concerning our about to be big family. We all know Agnes remains a member of this family regardless of her married status. She has a new surname but she is still my daughter and so is her husband and her son the children they will be having. My prince, Raymond is the legacy of this family and his family is a continuation of what I started. “He paused to know if he has their attention.” For some reasons, I have decided not to recontest for a seat in the Senate next year or any political office, but the ticket still fell in my caucus and a lot of my political friends suggested that I support Raymond to become the next senator representing our district. I have spoken with your mother about it and she seems cool with it. But we all know one person doesn’t make a family. So I want to hear from Agnes and of course the man himself. Unfortunately your wife to be will not be able make an input, but I believe you will speak her mind. “
Venue: Tori’s place
“Welcome to Tori’s place. I hope you have a nice time.” The security at the door said with a smile as Natasha and her friends walked in.
They have come to shop for their friend; Audrey’s wedding and together with three other girls who make up the bridal train, Natasha had drove them to the leading bridal supermarket.
“Look at those shoes.” Aminah one of the girls called the attention of the other girls to a beautiful pair of shoes displaying on a giant HD screen. “It’ll so much fit the bride.”
“No Aminah, we are shopping for lingeries and some wedding night swoop poosh first. We are coming back for the shoes.” Leticia, another of the girls replied. And this earned her a ‘hi-five’ from Audrey.
“Which is the way? There should be a guide or something here.” Audrey complained.
“Follow my lead.” Tasha replied as she led the pack into each of the sections and departments. Shoes, bags, underwears, perfumes were bought. And three hours later, they decided to call it a day.
Natasha led the girls to the counter where everything was assembled and priced.
“I hope you have a working POS machine?” Audrey asked, remembering her last experience at a Nigerian eatery. She had finished having breakfast at a small eatery in her estate and decided to pay with her debit card only for the Point of sales machine to stop working at that instant. It was so embarrassing that she had to walk a long distance to an ATM where she made cash withdrawals.
“Nigeria has really advanced beyond that.” Aminah replied. They all knew about the story.
“Wait girls, how many Michael Kors bag did you buy?” It was Natasha’s turn to ask.
“Four for all of you in the bridal train.” Audrey replied.
“Right. But what about Rachel? That she won’t be in the country early enough to join the bridal train doesn’t mean we shouldn’t include her.” Natasha explained.
“You have a point.” Leticia said. “I suggest we go get her stuffs too.”
“Tasha, you stay here and settle the bills.” Audrey handed her card to her bestfriend.
“The usual four digits?” Natasha asked.
“Yup.” Audrey replied in affirmation.
“Let me see if I can steal a little something from your account.” She joked as her friends went back to get a few more things.
“Savings or current account ma?” The female attendant in charge of the point of sale machine asked.
“Savings.” Tasha replied.
Just then she caught a sight of her. The CEO of the shopping mall.
“Your pin?” The machine was turned to face her and slowly she typed in the four digits pin.
Victoria Alex is a twenty seven year old successful business woman. Her main source of income is the Tori’s place, a go to place for every would be bride and groom to get the best of wedding rings, clothes,shoes and jeweleries. And being an event planner on the side, only the crème of the society have the clout to employ the services of Tori’s events planing. The sane way only the well to do are the only patronizers of her huge shop.
Tasha had met her once, though on a professional level. Then, she had cone to renegotiate her shop’s advertising plan with the agency where Tasha worked. And even though the meeting was formal, Tasha managed to get her personal phone line as well as a promise to shop for her wedding things as well as that of all her friends.
“Good evening.” Tasha greeted.
“Good evening.” Tori merely acknowledged as she walked past her.
Tasha who had left the counter just to meet the young lady turned back embarrassed.
“I spoke with the reps at Givenchy and Michael Kors, there will be new arrivals during the week.” She told the attendant. “And by the way, where are the others?” She asked referring to the other staffs.
“With the accountant.”
“All of them?” Tori asked.
“Yes ma’am,something came up.” The girl replied.
“I’m taking it out of your salaries.” She threatened using her usual line. “Guess I’ll see you when I return?” It was more like a statement than a question.
“Have a safe trip ma.” The young girl replied her boss who carried her handbag and made to leave.
Tasha on the other hand has been completely ignored ,such that she started to feel invincible.
“Thank you for coming to Tori’s place.” Tori said with a smile.
Maybe she is not rude after all. Tasha thought.
She decided to have a chat with her. “Do you remember me?” Natasha asked.
“Sorry, but I meet a lot of people everyday.” And with this, she walked away.