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|The Gift by degelinglacis: 6:22pm On May 15|
The Girl in glasses 2021
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
|Re: The Gift by degelinglacis: 6:24pm On May 15|
I was eighteen. The official age my father can wrap up this nonsense of betrothing me to his political friend's son just so he would continue to support his illegal drug business that fund our wealthy lifestyle. With many restaurants, hotels and other stream of incomes keeping our family on the top spot, my father was too greedy that he wouldn't let go of his first source code. From South Africa to Mozambique and every cities in Africa, my father had his boys on the street selling hard drugs. But since the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari he had been finding it difficult to trade his drugs because ofthe different political party, not like we the females children were ever involved in the discussion of the family business, we were mostly ignored and thought of as being unintelligent, discarded to the side until the family duty calls. I was the first female child with one older brother and two younger half-sisters whom were too young to understood our world.
I knew most secret informations by eavesdropping on my father whenever he was locked up in his office having meetings with his stakeholders or his boys. I usually found out business was bad because of his bad temper, whenever he wasn't making money or lost his drugs to government he would hit the female staffs and we his children for little to nothing. We all lived in fear from his abusive hands. I learned by age twelve to avoid him whenever he was in his foul mood. I usually hid in the library pretending to read.
My younger sisters: Laila and Adiva were living with their mother in the city before she passed away six years ago and father brought them to live in the family estate where I and my brother, Javed reside. I was fourteen when dad came in with two young girls, age eight and six introducing them as my half-sisters. The girls looked exactly like our father, there was no doubt they were true Danladis. They had the chocolate skin color of our father, his wide lips and willowy stature. But Javed and I looked nothing like him physically. We were light skinned and had the face of our mother from the pictures I saw. I was petite with a full body just like her and very pretty.
I never knew my own mother, I was very little when she died leaving us in the hands of a monster. I fault her for many of my sufferings, she must have had a choice not to marry father, I thought. And I swore I wouldn't be like her. I wouldn't marry an evil man. I wouldn't bring children into the world with a monster. There were many I wouldn'ts I had as a child.
As each days passed, I dreamt of my own prince charming, usually a fictional character from one of the books I read in the library. The romance books were my escape from reality, it gave me unrealistic dreams. I was a child, and was ready to take the half-breads because they were better than none. I could pretend to be the heroine who was an independent woman and in love with a charming young man who treated her like a queen.
But in reality, I was never going to be an independent woman, my father raised me to always be at the mercy of a man. I was at the mercy of my father today, tomorrow it would be my husband. I had never stepped a foot in a school, all the English I knew was taught by hired teachers. I was taught other subjects like biology, mathematics, geography and history. Not tangible subjects like physics and chemistry, they probably thought I couldn't do well in them. Javed went to the topmost schools in big cities. He was being groomed to takeover father's business while I was being groomed to lack self-identity and esteem. I was to be a woman with only two purposes: wife and a birth channel. I was not expected to flourish in other aspects of life. Even the whole religious teaching was all about supressing my rights as a person. And I wondered if I was really being taught the right thing or just culture courses that reduced women to nothing. After all, I heard the Khadijah was one of the richest women in Makkah and she was a wife. I intentionally did not take the teachings to heart, I followed the ones that was sensible to me and decided to remained myself.
My father forbade me to use mobile phone, I wasn't allowed to live like many young girls my age. I had bodyguard following me everywhere, which wasn't frequent because I was hardly allowed to leave the estate. When I was sixteen I came upon an abandoned laptop in the store, I took it to my room, cleaned it and surprisingly enough it was working but I didn't know how to operate it. I saw many men that worked for father worked swiftly on the laptop, the sight was mesmerizing. I always longed for the day I could do about anything on it.
It was that year father called us the three daughters into his office. He was seated on the biggest chair just to show his authority to the people around, my brother was seated two seats away from him. Senator Sanni his new political friend sat closer to him with his son who looked older than Javed seated opposite me.
I had known about the meeting days earlier. Father had sent us all to the beauty salon to prepare us for the arrival of his important friends. I had no suspicion it would be the day of my doom because it wasn't the first time we were instructed to dress for show offs.
Laila who was ten was very excited to be having her first henna design and pamperring beamed at me from the couch.
"Sister Johara, see" she pointed to the red henna design excitedly.
Laila had overcame the grief of losing her mother. When they newly came, father abandoned them to the care of the housekeeper who was only paid for her services around the house which stopped at family bonding. We were not allowed to be friendly with workers and it was against their work ethics to be our friend. I tried befriending them as a child but they put a stop at every of my friendly gestures. I gave up eventually. I had no friends, except the imaginary ones in my head. I was glad to have Laila and Adiva, I dotted on them, ate together, read together even though they were many years younger than me, it was real nice to have females around me.
I nodded at her henna. She beamed more. She loved it whenever I praised her and I did that very often. If I had a female figure in my life that was what I would have loved her to do for me.
"Adiva" I called to my little sister, she was soaking herself with perfume
"Don't waste it" I warned her.
She ran over to me, spraying the whole bottle on me. I ran away from the couch but she kept chasing me. I laughed real hard. They brought out the best laughter out of me, every time.
We were measured for our dress. It was a pink expensive guinea brocade. It was sent to us by father with instructions that we were to wear it for the occasion.
We were dressed by the stylist. My cloth was an off-shoulder with black pearls embedded in them and black scarf with matching black silethos. Laila dressed in a similar fashion and when the make up artist applied a pink lipstick on her mouth I was pissed off. She was only a child and shouldn't be made up that much. I instructed her to remove the lipstick, Laila didn't mind anyway.
When it was time, father's man came to usher us in. Introductions was made around the table. Father gestured towards us and said.
"These are the gifts I have for you. All you have to do is choose one"
That words made me frozen on my seat. This is not happening. Lord please! This shouldn't happen to me.
Senator Sanni's eyes zeroed on me and I shivered with fear. I promised to slit my own wrist if father married me off to this old man. When he looked at Laila, she held my hand under the table. Her fingers were trembling. She was beginning to understand the evil of our world. The evil father was. Adiva was saved from Senator Sanni's leering. He didn't look at her twice. There was nothing to look really. She was only eight. But then Laila was ten and I was only sixteen, Senator Sanni was a shameless paedophille.
"What a wonderful gifts you've got" he praised
"I'm known to have many beautiful things" he gestured towards us and the beautiful inanimate objects in his office. Most of the artifacts were stolen items from the original owner and father shamefully show them off. I wasn't surprised he referred to us as things, he has never seen more to us. We were an inconvenient humans he had to feed till he need us as a parting gifts to his criminal friends.
"My future aspirations would be destroyed if I take a child as my wife. Nigerians are becoming sensitive in that area. I don't want any blemishes. My son will have her" Senator Sannni said. Before I could rejoice over his rejection he was giving me away to someone else. I stared at his son, his eyes made me feel more uncomfortable. I didn't want any of this but I had no choice.
"Yazid?" My father asked looking at Senator Sanni's son.
"No. My first son Saadat Sanni" Senator Danni's answered proudly.
Even Yazid was older than my brother, Javed. How old would Saadat be? For his father to be proud of him, he must be as ruthless has him.
I was still thinking when the two older men shook hands over it. Right there, my wedding date was chosen. It was fixed for April 11, five days after my eighteenth birthday.
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|Re: The Gift by ashatoda: 7:35pm On May 15|
Really interesting read more grace @op
|Re: The Gift by emmyN(m): 9:47pm On May 15|
Really where have you been?
|Re: The Gift by degelinglacis: 5:19pm On May 16|
It was my wedding. In the two years I had been engaged to Saadat Sanni, I only saw him twice. The first time was when he came to the house to give me an engagement ring. Father had warned me to be on my best behavior. He didn't have to warn me again, I knew what would happen if I didn't obey him after I had witnessed his first hand cruelness. After my betrothal was announced, I got it in my head to correct my fate. I wasn't much of a rebellious person, I had never been but I couldn't allow my father to keep pushing me around after denying me every good things in life. I was not ready to accept the new imprisonment termed marriage so I decided to run away. I wouldn't lay low like my mother and allowed this men to continue directing my life.
That day father had left Abuja for Kano to see one of his mistresses. That meant I had seventy two hours to disappear without being noticed. Most times our bodyguards sometimes let us be, I had never given them a reason to be worried about me nor my sisters have. That fateful day, I took some money from my father's safe. It was a hundred thousand naira. I stuffed them in my bra. I wore a big Abaya with a trouser and top hidden beneath it. I climbed the stairs ignoring the bodyguards around. When I got into the compound, I went through an hidden route. Father had escaped through that route when EFCC came into the house while myself and my sisters were locked in a safe house and instructed not to make a single noise. The safe house was located in father's office, there was an hidden button that led to the underground. When father received information that the EFCC were close by, he called my brother with an hidden cellphone and warned him to remained in Dubai. He phoned his other captains, and gave them instructions to lay low. Father rushed us into the safe house. It had two small beds, a kitchenette and a very small bathroom and toilet. Father checked the cabinets, it had food items that could last for few months. He nodded pleasantly.
"Now listen, I am leaving this house for awhile till I sort out my issues with the government. Take care of your sisters, no one knows you are here except me. Don't be bothered about the noise the EFCC are going to make, don't give yourselves away. If you are found, I will deny you. In the eyes of the law, Javed is the only child I have. You don't have any records not even birth certificate so take care of yourselves" with that speech he left us in our fear.
We heard shootings, smashing of things and heavy footsteps around the house. My sisters were crying everytime, I had to sometimes hold them and cover their mouths, put them on medication(I found Valium in the cabinets), it helped reduced their fear and anxiety and keep them asleep for hours. After a whole week, we heard nothing. Everywhere was eerie, just our breaths and light conversations were heard. By the third week, I was convinced that father would never come for us, I started reducing our food portion so we could survive on it for a long time. It went that way for eight weeks before father came for us. When he was telling my brother about his escape route, I was eavesdropping. So that route was were I took, it led to an outside gate, unknown to me I was being watched. I slipped out and jumped in the first taxi I saw. It wasn't even thirty minutes after I escaped that a Mercedes Benz was chasing us. I didn't realized what that meant until the driver drew my attention to the car that was racing behind us.
"Madam I don dey see this car since o" he said.
It was there I knew the driver life was at stake. They wouldn't let him live.
"Driver, just park and escape. Don't let them kill you" I warned
Luckily he was the listening type and that saved his life. He sped off, drove like a madman before he took a corner. I dipped my hand into my bra and gave him all the money I had.
"Run" I said. I would have love to run away with him, but we would eventually be caught. With my father and Senator Sanni's connection, there was no escape.
He escaped before my father's bodyguards found me. They searched every house within the area but couldn't find him. They probably didn't know what he looked like. His car was destroyed and set aflame. I watched all this in sadness. The only consolation I had was that he escaped death. I would never have forgiven myself if he was killed. I don't want anyone to lose their life because I wanted freedom. I was forcefully dragged home. When my Father came back from his trip, he had me beaten in the presence of my sisters, all this just to serve as a warning to them in case they decided to grow wings one day. I felt humiliated. Being treated like an animal had me feeling crazy. Afterwards I was locked in the safe house for a whole month until few days to the arrival of Saadat. Alone at the safehouse, I knew escaping was no longer an option. I would have to wait till I am married and see the options available to me.
When I came out of my prison, I saw my sisters looking thinner and very sad. Laila and Adiva hugged me, we cried. I regretted running away, I was too selfish I didn't considered how it would affect them. If I had been successful, Laila and Adiva life would have been hellish. Father would have kept them on the tightest leash.
"You've not been eating?" I asked them
"Cornflakes" Laila answered me.
We went to the sitting room, Adiva sat down on my legs, her thumb stick to her mouth. She had gotten back to that habit since the safehouse experience and it kept getting worse. It was her own way of dealing with fear and anxiety.
I removed it from her mouth, she stared at me with big sad eyes.
"Jojo, please don't leave me" her mouth trembled with fear. And I burst into tears. I was going to leave them when I get married. I couldn't help that. I had no choice and when I leave they would still be very young; Laila would be 12 and Adiva 10. One day they would be given to men who mostly would be old as our father. I wished I could protect them but I didn't know how. I was still in my thought when a brutal red mark on Laila's neck caught my attention.
"Who did that?"
"Father beat her on the neck with a knife because she refused to eat if you are still in the safehouse" Adiva explained.
"Did he hit you?" I asked Adiva looking her all over.
She looked down like she was disappointed in herself. "I ate"
The wound on Laila's neck was festering. She probably was thin from that.
"Don't ever cross father again" I warned them.
Father had no need for us, if we died it would never bother him.
I went in search of our bodyguard. He was an elderly man in his forties. I had known him as a child. And he was loyal to father.
"We need a doctor. Laila's sick" I told him.
After an hour, the family doctor came in to examine Laila's wound. She was placed on intravenous fluid and medication in my room. I and Adiva were her nurse. We helped her bath, mop her body when are temperature shoots up, gave her medication and changed her drip. On the fifth day, she was fine. The doctor taught me how to clean the wound and dressed them. It was that task I was performing on Laila when an unknown man appeared to us at the balcony. He didn't look like anyone I knew. He was very tall, dark skin and bearded. He had a slim figure that made him attractive with a dashing eyebrows, pointed nose and thin lips that demonstrated his elegance, overall he had a very handsome face. He didn't look less than thirty. I and my sisters were just staring at him without uttering a word. We hardly received visitors or come in close contact with them. Whenever father needed to host a party, it was usually done by his current mistress at fabulous hotels. We were always exempted from such parties.
"My name is Saadat Sanni" he finally said. His voice was cold and gave me a chill.
"Good morning sir" I greeted him. I didn't know what else to say to him. Nor did I want to say things that would make him report me to my father. I was just out of the prison and seeing how it had almost ruined my sisters lives, I never wanted to go back there.
He continued regarding me in his cold, arrogant manner that made me flinched unconsciously. I was already scared of the man I am to marry. I was still in this daze when my little sister rushed toward him, and bit his hand. My mouth formed a large "O". Saadat grabbed her shoulders and raised her to his eye level. For all of Adiva's bravery, she started crying.
"What a sweet welcome! And you are who?" He asked gently, but his face was still hard.
"She's my little sister, Adiva. She's just a little girl" I said, hoping he would have mercy.
"She still has her tongue, cat didn't bite it. Adiva, talk to me. What was that for?"
After thinking about what to say for a long time, Adiva finally pleaded in a small voice. "Please don't take Jojo away"
"You love Jojo?" Saadat asked while Adiva nodded.
"Why?" He asked her, his eyes roaming over me like I was unlovable.
"She takes care of me" she answered him. Saadat released her and I quickly dragged Adiva to my side. Laila wound had been left exposed to air since Saadat showed up and that was too long a time. I quickly dabbed it with the normal saline and covered it with a gauze.
"Who did that?" Saadat voice boomed. His face froze in an angry stare.
Adiva quickly mentioned father's name. She probably thought the newcomer would punished me since his eyes was directed at mine. Before Adiva could explain everything to him, I sealed her mouth mightily with my hand.
"Her name is Laila. She got hurt in a domestic accident" I lied.
Saadat, his father and mine belonged to the same group of men who preyed on the weak ones. I wouldn't want father to punish myself or any of my sisters for what he would termed as bad mouthing.
"I want to have a word with you" he announced.
I instructed Laila to rest on the couch and Adiva should get her water and fruits. I followed Saadat like he was the Lord of the house while I was just a lowly guest. He eventually stopped at the library, my favorite part of the house but I dread it because it was secluded. My bodyguard didn't bother to appear, I was to wed Saadat, even though it wasn't yet official, I was good as married in the eyes of everyone. My father already gave him permission to do as he pleased with his gift.
I sat down gently on the long couch.
"Why are you not dressed for the occasion?" He asked me.
I stared down at my clothing, it was one of my most casual clothes. I didn't know he was going to visit today, no one gave me a specific date. Even if I had known, I wouldn't be in the mood to dress.
"Nothing" I said.
"Go get dressed" he commanded.
"Why?" I asked before I could stop myself but the eyes that stared back at me was full of anger. I quickly left and ran into my room.
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|Re: The Gift by oyinella(f): 5:33pm On May 16|
The girl in glasses! Girl! I missed you...
damselposh, honourable356, queenitee, ann2012, adesina12 this is going to be a fabulous ride
|Re: The Gift by damselposh(f): 10:31pm On May 16|
I just landed.
Thanks for the mention @Oyinella.
Well done OP
|Re: The Gift by Adesina12: 10:12am On May 17|
Being a while I have been here to read
Thank you for the invitation
I assure you I will follow the story bumpa to bumpa
Any sweet babe to sit beside me on the front line? Damselposh come over!
Sweet popcorn on the way
|Re: The Gift by honourable356(m): 12:53pm On May 17|
Oyinella, Seem like you have read the story before or you knew what the writer is capable of with a pen or keyboard to the extent that you voucher to mention some readers..
I hope we all find it intriguing..
Now,Let's see what the writer have for us here then.
Good afternoon my dear.
|Re: The Gift by Ann2012(f): 3:41pm On May 17|
Thanks for the invite
|Re: The Gift by oyinella(f): 10:14pm On May 17|
honourable356:Dee Phil, trust your girl!
|Re: The Gift by degelinglacis: 5:24pm On May 19|
I appeared in the library after several minutes in an elegant wine chiffon gown with scarf. I had done my makeup lightly, when he saw me, his eyes lit with approval.
"Sir" I called, indicating towards my dress.
"Your husband name is Saadat not sir" he said, gnashing his teeth.
I swallowed a lump.
"Saadat" I repeated.
He nodded. He brought out a documents for me. "Sign them"
I didn't know what it was. But I knew whatever it was would never favor me. I was a woman, a woman in this wicked world.
"No" I shook my head.
Saadat rubbed between his eyebrows like he was stressed.
"Read the goddamn paper and sign them" he snapped.
I quickly picked up the papers. It was a prenuptial. I read each words that translated to no divorce for me. I could only request for a divorce after fifty years. At almost age seventy? He was crazy. I thought. It was ridiculous! He wanted four children and a full housewife (like there was any other option for me). As I read each words, I felt defeated. He was more possessive than my father was. The prenuptial made it seem like it was a typical marriage, like I had a choice which was hoax. My father would beat me to death if i refused to sign the papers. I borrowed his pen and put my signature, the same one I had practiced for years imagining myself as a future C.E.O and the first time I would use my signature was for a useless union I do not want to be part of.
He collected the papers from me and returned it to a file. He brought out another very small box, he opened it to exposed a goldband with a hard cut diamond.
"Will you marry me?" He asked me seriously, like my answered really matters.
I answered in affirmative and he slipped that little cage on my fourth finger.
He called someone on the phone, within minutes the man appeared with camera in hand. He was a lanky guy and looked very professional. Pictures were taking from different angles, despite my unfortunate situation, I smiled many times. After the photo session, was over he stood up to leave. I cleared my throat and said his name.
"What is it?" He asked with raised eyebrows
"Please do not tell my father what Adiva did" I pleaded. I didn't want father to descend on Adiva with his wrath.
"Why should I not?" He asked after a moment.
"Just asking for a favor"
"Haven't you heard that popular saying, "never ask for a favor?" He asked.
I just shook my head.
"I will do you that favor. I want something else in return"
"What's that?" I asked, already regretting this my new situation. I didn't want to be indebted to him.
After the whole episode was over, I planned to warn Adiva sternly.
"A kiss" he said.
I shook my head in negative.
"I thought as much" he said, heading towards the door.
I ran after him. "I agree"
He leaned forward and kissed me on my lips. His lips were cold, I wasn't surprised. His blood would definitely be cold. "Never ask for a favor again, the price might be too high for you to pay" he warned.
He left. And I was worried for Adiva. I hoped the kiss was enough to placate him.
The second time I saw Saadat was my seventeenth birthday. I have never had my birthday celebrated. The only Danladi that celebrated their birthdays were my father and brothers. When father called me two months before my birthday and informed me I would be having a party, I was shocked. I wondered what made him changed his mind about me having a party, i remembered begging him for one as a child but he refused. The planning was done by father's mistress, Chioma. She was a single mom and a university graduate. She was desperately gunning to be father's wife and that was funny to me. I would have loved to trade places with her; in my own case I wouldn't be anyone's mistress or wife, I would rather have a career than a man.
She mostly saw the wealth and not his dark side or maybe she didn't mind the dark ruthless side of father. Chioma was a talkative, my days with her became an undesirable chore. My sisters didn't like her either and we always avoid her except it was important.
When Javed was home last year, I decided to have a discussion with him. For the most part of my childhood, I resented him because father favored him over me. But then he was hardly around except some occasion, so I couldn't repair our fragmented blood ties. Javed was five years older than me, he had vivid memories of our late mother. A weapon I intended to use against him.
"Bro Javed" I called when I entered his office. He had his own personal office in our house. The Danladi heir.
"Johara, how are you?"
I couldn't remember the last time he asked about my well-being, not even after my imprisonment or the announcement of my upcoming marriage.
"I'm good. I want to talk"
"I'm listening" he shut down his laptop.
"Tell me about mom"
His face morphed into anger. "She was very beautiful, you are like her in every way".
I knew I look exactly like her from the portrait. But my resemblance to her never softened my father's attitudes towards me. He never loved her.
"Did she love us?"
"With everything in her. She cared. She had the most beautiful voice, she sang for us" his voice trailed off.
"How'd she die?"
"A car accident" he answered
"Was she running away?"
"No, she would never leave us. She was coming back from shopping" Javed sighed.
"Was she uneducated like me?"
"You are literate" he said
That was the opening I was waiting for and I took it, wielded it to my favor.
"Javed I am an illiterate. I don't have a SSCE, no BSC, not even a diploma. Was our Mama like that?"
He couldn't meet my eyes but he nodded.
"I can't even operate a laptop, I can't even use a mobile phone all because of my gender" My eyes were full of accusations.
"And you are out there mixing with de-creme-de la creme, the society ladies that have a mind of their own. It is unfair. My father gave me to a man, and you can't even speak up for me. Javed, I hate you. All of you" I stomped out of his office.
Two things would either come out of my confrontation; either he report me to my father or bend to my will. I didn't see Javed for all of two months, I assumed he chalked up my outburst as a child's tantrum. That wouldn't change anything for me. I was glad he didn't report me to father, that would have mean my death.
I saw Javed the third month, he sent his bodyguard to get me. I walked into his office, without any preamble, he said:
"If father found out about this, I will seriously deal with you"
He brought out a large envelope and handed it to me. I opened them and saw a G.C.E result with my name and passport. The feelings that coursed through me was inexplicable, I knelt down on the rug and cried, even though I didn't sat down for the exam, it felt like an achievement. My tears must have moved Javed, because he embraced me consoling me.
"Thank you" I said tearfully.
"That's not the end of it. What would you like to study at the university?" Javed asked
I thought about it. I always picture myself in a suit working in a bank or corporate organizations. But with the prenuptial I signed, there was no room for that.
I looked into his eyes. "I can't be a banker"
He nodded sadly. "What do you enjoy doing?"
I thought about that. I enjoyed cooking, but that was expected of me as a woman. I loved telling stories, the stories I told to my sisters at bedtimes always ease their minds and they enjoyed listening to me.
"I can tell stories" I said.
His face lit up with joy. "You're blessed with mom's talent. She was a good orator, she told me many stories. Let's get you a University that is offering Creative writing or something"
"You mean I will attend a university?" I was so excited
"Yes, online" he emphasized.
Javed switched on his laptop and kept pressing the keyboards. His face was pure excitement.
"I love what I found! There are different types of writers like biographers, novelists, screenwriters, journalists. With this, you can become self employed. You don't need to work for anyone and you can own a blog, anonymously of course"
I listened with rapt attention. I was really excited that I would be educated.
"Regent University has an online course in BA in English. I will set up your admission. Until then, my bodyguard will teach you how to use a laptop. Father must not find out" he warned me again.
"He won't, I promise. And I am very sorry for what I said the last time, I didn't mean them"
He just nodded at me. His facial expression revealed he wanted to say something, but at the same time decided it wasn't necessary.
I realized that Javed had his own loyal men and I also took advantage of that. My introduction to internet was a new world entirely, a world that held my happiness. I hardly worried about my impeding marriage, I became busy with studying. I usually study very late in the evening, sometimes that was impossible because of father's schedule or the presence of Chioma. She was always trying to be in my business. My little sisters were cooperative, I taught them how to type and I even enrolled them for free French courses I was also learning. Every day we studied French together, within few months we grasped the language. It was very easy because we had each other to learn from. Laila and Adiva practically worshipped me, I was their savior in a world that had no plans for them. I gave Laila the laptop I stole from the store and warned her to keep it away from father's eyes. I planned to enroll her for a diploma course in digital marketing once she clocks fifteen, hoping father would not marry her off before then.
On one of my bored days, I used Google to search for my fiance. Saadat Sanni came out with different pictures of him and some ladies at a party. Our engagement was not mentioned and I wondered the essence of the photos we took. I found out he was fifteen years older than me, old enough to father me. But I still prefer him than being bound to his father. I read from a blog that revealed he was a widower without children. I copied and pasted his late wife's name on the search machine, she was an elegant woman and the daughter of a wealthy southerner from Delta. Those pictures showed their affection for each other but a picture wasn't a true replica of feelings. It could all be for the gram. His wife died four years ago, during his wedded days, I didn't find any pictures of him with other women. Maybe they were in love. But the men in our world were not capable of that or was Saadat different? Was that why he was with his wife for four years even though they were without children? Our marriage would be about him having a child. I didn't want children, especially with a man who was likely to be more wicked than my father. If I was going to suffer in his hands, it was better I didn't add children to it. After searching on Google how to prevent pregnancy, the option that was suitable for me was birth control pills. I couldn't rely on the natural ways of preventing conception because once I became married, my body wouldn't be mine.
I went to Javed's bodyguard. His name was Mateen, I wrote down the medication and gave him. With one glance, he knew what it was. He threw the paper to the thrash behind me. Mateen had being catering to my wants since Javed revealed he was his personal man. Through him, I had gotten hardcopy textbooks I ordered from Amazon with the credit card Javed gave him. The pizzas I ordered for myself and my little sisters every weekend was with his help. The birthday cake I got for Adiva to mark her ninth year on Earth.The Netflix subscription, and my unlimited use of internet without father's knowledge was made possible by Mateen.
Maybe I had taken it too far, maybe I should never have asked him. All men were the same, they protect the interest of their fellow men. I went back to my room and thought of a way to help myself in a marriage forced on me. I didn't want to be emotionally tied down and that was what having children meant. I wouldn't leave my children behind because I wanted out of a marriage. It was something I could never stomach that. There was only one person that could help me but asking her would come with a price.
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|Re: The Gift by Thastie(f): 10:49am On May 20|
|Re: The Gift by degelinglacis: 7:31am On May 22|
okikioluwafemi, Embellished: skubido ukaface Lawsaite Ujunwa aprilwise Ven97 eyezik3 Khriztarl Herbiedeen enirock
Janet96 FairCrituc WueaSerano M7even apiski
Alennsar, smilingB1, susiivy, yorhmienerd, Queening, horlah1, hadduni, Tuham, Evaberry, Queetener, Missmossy, ladySuperb, Charytea, pncessadeola, Michelle55, seunlly, bejeria101, Halyma, Diamondwriter, bitingcool, Williamsesco, Lordshola, ibawon, sharliz, richiearmany14, sammyendowed, Abbydammy1, prisiliveth, FelicityLucita, Tori46, harsol, speezyWears, eitsei, rachealfst, Toppzy001, Opeoluwa99, Maryclaire1, haleemwale, yusufIbrahim, pepperoni55, alarmednigerian, BlizxydoDo, TosinBecca, Bensoate1, Twinkle004, Nmaglit, divatolaz, Ansasan, opybycar1, granely, pweetyz, specter, Eniqurl, Precial419, lettruthprevail, Oyinda8100, joyce21, crislyn, swanky47, jasmine4, damlaz24, Aloedamz, michaelunique, Hadampson,lovelydaisy, Ukez15, Bollie29, Bossy512, heemah, ashatoda, Abefe99, PrettyMizQdot, Queenakande, Diamondamsel, Evajael, IRALIFE, àkejujoe, hannie20, Shakyroh320, sulips, MissTega, shugaoftouch, Hashtagmoniker, Gynah33, ifecoded, rayos, BlissfulJeff, hammedroyabat, Queenitee, muzzafar, WHOcarex, iamozipatrick, Stevenbright, darwinbrown, Elpoche, Adefiery,tylesh,Olabantu, Ireneblush , Bibi294, dafil22, Nofuckgiven, namedonfinish, Lankyannie, jazmiynne,
Oyinda1242, OluwabuqqYOLO, xaviercasmier, Ellagold35, Eniolaewa, smomeydrinkey
y'all are invited
|Re: The Gift by Michelle55: 4:50pm On May 22|
Thanks for the invite.. Keep it coming dearie.
|Re: The Gift by queentener(f): 11:38pm On May 22|
degelinglacis:Thanks for inviting me, am at the front seat already.
|Re: The Gift by degelinglacis: 7:40pm On May 23|
Chioma was the lesser evil I had to choose to help me with the pregnancy pills.
When she came into the house asking me what gift I wanted for my coming seventeenth birthday. I swore her into silence and told her to get me a contraceptive pills. Her eyes glittered with greediness, I thought she was going to demand money from me. But she surprised me by requesting that I become her close friend. I thought about it, I still didn't like her but over the years I have learnt to protect myself. That was the way I kept surviving in the Danladi's world. And I had to protect myself from her. One wrong word in father's ears meant punishment and she was father's plaything that babbler a lot. I agreed to her request, I knew I would soon be out of her air once I was eighteen and married.
I was dressed in a long sleeveless blue gown with beaded lace on the bodice, and a silver cape with stones completed my outfit. Chioma helped me put my makeup on because I hadn't gotten the hang of it yet. My hands shook too much for an accurate eyebrows. I ended up looking like an Indian princess with the false nose ring. I loved the dress and I felt beautiful in it. My little sisters had a similar gown to mine without makeup on their faces. I had banned them from wearing one, I wanted their innocent childish faces to be a reminder to father that they were just little children.
My birthday was a house party. It happened in the large living room. The staffs had removed most of the furniture from the room and pushed the rest to a corner to make room for people and tables for a buffet. Beautiful flower arrangements in white and bold blue matching my gown decorated the table. It was Chioma's brilliant idea.
The moment I stepped into the room, with my little sisters, a hush descended over the small crowd. Chioma gave me an encouraging smile, when my gaze landed on Saadat, my perfect heels felt slippery and I almost did a face plant if not for Laila steadying hand. Saadat stood beside his father, his mother and Yazid. Saadat expression was unreadable. He stood there, cold and rigid. I could feel the lecherous gaze of Yazid but I kept walking to the direction of my family. When I got there, father received me with what he thought was a pleasant smile on his face but which made him looked old and scary. Father informed our bodyguard to sent my little sisters upstairs and that dropped my mood. When my imploring gaze shifted to Javed, he gave me a warning glance. He couldn't help our sisters. It was obviously a crime in our home for the heir to have any interaction with female members not to talk of speaking up for them because it would make him weak like us.
I did the cake cutting, Chioma played hostess perfectly, entertaining all the guests with small talks and hors d'oeuvres. I sat down alone wondering what activities would be next. This was my very first party, I didn't know what was expected of me. When Saadat stepped in front of me, my heart started pounding, my nerves must have shown on my face because he asked me if I was nervous. I shook my head. He extended his hand toward me. I put my hand in his avoiding his gaze. Saadat pulled me and tug me to his right side and his palm rested very lightly on my hip. Being this close to him made me feel uncomfortable, I didn't know when I removed his hand from my hip. That act surprised me and Saadat obviously because his eyes twitched in amusement before he grabbed my hand and kissed it not minding the presence of our guests. He took me to some people I didn't know. Aside from my parent, securities and his family, I have no idea what the names of the rest of the fifty plus people are. I was sure they would belong to some other crime families or some neutral people in power. But that doesn't make them innocent, as long as you're powerful you can never be innocent. Power intoxicate people, they carried out acts that destroyed others because they wanted to flex their strength and desire to be feared. Just like my father.
Saadat introduced me to his friends who offered congratulations for my new age. The rest of the guests swarmed around the buffet table. I smiled brightly at them but it was fake. You can't be a Danladi and not have mastered the art of fake smile right from an early age.
I followed him outside and we had another photo session at the beautiful garden. His arm tightened on my hip and I wondered what was the purpose of the photos if it wouldn't be on social media. I peeked up at Saadat, his face was contorted into a perfect gentleman he even smiled once. I stared into the camera with confused look, the next pictures would be the following year and that would be my wedding. The media would see a dream couple while it would be a start of another nightmare worse than the one I was born into. The moment was over, the photographer was done snapping pictures. I left Saadat there and kept walking very fast looking for a solitude. I found one at the far back. I was only seventeen, I shouldn't be thinking of marriage if I were born into a normal world. My birthday party should have been filled with girls and boys of my age not a fiancee older than me by fifteen years. I was tired and drained and I gave in to the tears hoping that it would set me free, free from the pains ahead. No matter how much I thought I could fight, set my self free from the horrible marriage life that awaits me, I could never match this man's intelligence. I was bound to him for life. He would kill my body and soul slowly, shred me into thousands of pieces of hurt and anguish.
"Johara" Saadat called me in that deep voice. He must have found me. And to think I'd hear him say my name for the rest of my life made my insides tightened with anxiety.
I looked up and all I saw was the fifteen years difference between us. Fine, he was a man in his prime. Tall, broad and dark, dressed in a dark blue native wear with a great artwork. His face was cold with well groomed beards. It all pointed to the fact that he was a grown up man with sophisticated education and I had no proper one. I just completed one year at the online university. What were we supposed to talk about?
I loved telling stories, I even had a few pages of a romance story I wrote. I doubted my storytelling would mean a thing to him. It would definitely sound stupid to him. I was just a gift meant for sex and a birth vessel. I was a liability to him. Money laundering, silencing his enemies was his forte and sleeping with runs girls was his favorite pastime. I can't even give him a proper business idea. I dreamt of love, a happy home but I would be having none of that with him. I was a mere gift, who knows maybe I was an unwanted gift. It was his father who wanted me before he quickly passed me to his son. In our world, a man could speak up for himself especially if he was the heir and in his prime age but Saadat did not refused me and I wondered why.
"What the hell!" He snarled seeing my teary face.
I had no mirror to tell me what I looked like but the expression on his face clearly showed that I must have looked like damnation. But it didn't bother me. There was nothing in me to be embarrassed or self-conscious about not being a pretty crier. I felt nothing but emptiness.
He bent down before me, cleaning my tears with his handkerchief.
"You didn't enjoy your birthday party?" He asked.
I groaned inwardly. He must be daft, I didn't give two hoot about a party or not. My life was messed up and that was good enough reason to cry.
"I thought you would enjoy it that was why I ordered that you must have a party" he murmured
I stared at him. Saadat ordered my birthday to be celebrated? Father never remembered my birthday and stop reminding him too. No one had ever wished me a happy birthday before but having an unknown people doing that today melt my heart. I was suddenly happy.
"So its not the birthday. What is it?" He asked again.
He couldn't fix it if I told him. He wouldn't cancel our marriage and even if he did I would end up being gifted to another man quadruple my age. I didn't want that.
"It's nothing" I pressed out.
"If you cried this much then its a great deal" he said not buying my words.
I looked away, my eyes burning with another round of tears. I'd never felt more stupid in my life. But deep down, beneath the hurt, a false truth showed up. I was overreacting. I knew what my fate had handed me, I shouldn't complain, I should live with it like the women before me. But I could never accept that. To know if delving in a particular career would be successful, check the men there and not the women. Just the same with career, if you want to know what a happy marriage was, check the women in the marriage, are they mostly happy or looking doomed like the women in my world? Because generally, it was a man's world and it would always be no matter how much times had change. And in my world, the rope was tightened.
"Johara you can tell me anything. Did anyone hurt you?"
What does hurt means to a man like Saadat? He wouldn't care if I was beaten by my father he would probably do that to me in our marriage. The only thing that could hurt his pride was if I were raped, that was the only thing he would avenged because it would hurt his pride that he wasn't the one who took my virginity. Telling him I was locked up by father wouldn't surprise him.
"No one did" I told him.
"Then I will have to talk to your father" he said.
That made my head shot up, my eyes widened in shock. I stood up and clutched his arm. "Don't tell my father anything. Please do not"
He moved closer and sank down on the bench, pulling me with him. If he told my father, I'd get into trouble for crying.
"You're my responsibility. I have to protect you from hurt. I thought you were happy at your party, then we had a photo session which went well. So what exactly happened? I don't understand this empty look on your face" He said
"I remembered my mother. I wish she was here today. And I was not happy because my sisters are not at the party with me" the lies flow perfectly from my mouth.
"I'm sorry about your mother" Saadat said, his eyes weren't cold but expressive for the first time since we met. It showed pity, concern and guilt.
We remained that way listening to the music that drifted from the party, and there was laughter and drunken talks. But it'd nothing to improve my ruined mood.
Just then the sight of my little sisters appeared in my vision, I quickly stood up from Saadat's lap like I was caught doing something wrong. Adiva jumped on me with her cake smeared hand. Laila was more reserved, she was eleven and in between childhood and adolescent. I embraced her too.
I ushered them to the seat but Saadat picked up Adiva and threw her up. She burst out laughing, excitedly. I was surprised to see him in such state. He suddenly became approachable and not the ruthless man he was.
"Jojo's fighter" Saadat teased.
"Who gave you cake?" I asked my sisters after we've all settled down.
"Aunty Chioma" Laila answered.
I noticed Laila had never said a word to Saadat before. They hardly exchanged greetings and I wondered what could be going on in Laila's head. As if he read my thought, Saadat smiled at Laila and extended his hand to her. She took it shyly and smiled back at him.
"How's your wound?" Saadat asked Laila. I was surprised he still remembered. The wound left a little scar on her neck after many months of applying honey.
"Its completely healed" Laila answered then her face shot to mine, she looked alarmed. "Sis Johara, did you cry?"
I shook my head. But my sisters accusing eyes landed on Saadat who looked suddenly angry.
"It's not him. I'm just sad father sent you to your room" I quickly said.
"But he will take you away next year and make us all cry," Adiva said, her eyes were shinning with unshed tears.
"I want to go with you" Laila said softly.
"Ladies, I promise I will allow you to visit your sisters from time to time" Saadat promised.
It was better than nothing. But I didn't believe him. Men in our world completely banned their wife's family from visiting. I didn't believe I would ever see Laila and Adiva once I got married.
|Re: The Gift by Ann2012(f): 9:25pm On May 23|
Well done OP
|Re: The Gift by Ven97: 6:10pm On May 24|
degelinglacis:Nice story man. Thanks for the mention
|Re: The Gift by queenitee(f): 4:58pm On May 25|
|Re: The Gift by queenitee(f): 5:17pm On May 25|
This is going to be a beautiful one
|Re: The Gift by rayvelez(m): 7:40pm On May 25|
It will be a crime if i dont comment on dis masterpiece meh its gonna be a long ride.
|Re: The Gift by Hadampson(m): 1:33pm On May 26|
Thanks for the invite
|Re: The Gift by AOOMS: 3:08pm On May 27|
How can I reach out to the writer??
|Re: The Gift by queentener(f): 4:55pm On May 27|
degelinglacis:Good evening please when will this story be on okada books, have checked and it's not there yet. Am not patient when it comes to your stories.
|Re: The Gift by Kiddogarcia(m): 5:05pm On May 27|
Just page 1, I knew I wanted more
|Re: The Gift by queentener(f): 11:47am On May 31|
degelinglacis:good morning, hope all is well?? Just checking on you.
|Re: The Gift by degelinglacis: 10:20pm On Jun 01|
|Re: The Gift by degelinglacis: 10:20pm On Jun 01|
When Chioma moved into the house as my father's live in girlfriend, few months after my birthday party, I had a feeling we wouldn't be that cozy friends we were before. Luckily for me I had two bottles of birth control pills and they wouldn't expired until two years time so I kept them in an unknown safe place. And watched the events that was about to unfold.
My sisters and I had relied on each other for a long time so her presence didn't matter to us. We have never had our meals with our father; he was hardly around for that. Even if he was, I would rather eat in a toilet. But Chioma wanted a big family, she began making changes starting from our eating pattern. It became a must to dine with father whenever he was around. And if he wasn't Chioma would still insisted we have meals at the dining table. It was really becoming annoying but we could hardly do anything. Chioma was the highest ranking family member after Javed, we dared not speak against her domestic changes.
It didn't stopped there, she disrupted my activities. I couldn't study in the evening except the middle of the night, my sisters could not continue with the Spanish class we just started, and I couldn't wake them up in the middle of the night to study because they were only children. Studying and submitting assignments became my pattern, as I didn't want Chioma to find out about the laptop. Not like she knew all the restrictions father placed on us but she could mention what she saw hence bursting my safe bubbles.
After another hectic reading and catching up with my missed classes, I was drained and my eyelids were gummy. I wore my long nightgown and headed to the kitchen. I hated moving around the house at night, I never had any reason to do that anyway. But what made me preferred my room was one night, almost four years ago when I was just thirteen, I had the urge to eat chocolate as I stepped out of my room, I heard a loud bang. It was deafening and scary. I have only heard gunshot in the movie. I assumed it was the police force and that excited me, naive me thought if the government clamped down on my father I would be adopted by the government, and be given good education but the reality of Nigeria was that no one cared. But naive thirteen year old me didn't know that. I tiptoed towards the living area, and I saw a man sprawled out in his own blood and on the floor with father standing over him and two of his soldiers. An earsplitting scream escaped from me, that was how my father discovered me that night. With two heavy slaps on my cheek, I went temporarily blind and deaf for some minutes. But my mind and brain was messed up by the image of the lifeless man, I was restless, screaming and thrashing about. Father screamed for someone to get him an injection and when that didn't come on time, he knocked me off with his gun. I lost consciousness and woke up with a banging headache and bandaged head. I survived that, but I was scared of moving around late at night for a long time. But that experience didn't cure my eavesdropping habit. I eavesdropped better than a rodent. But tonight, Father was out of town, it was safe to move around or so I thought.
I moved in the darkness and got into the kitchen, after drinking two cups of coffee. I switched off the kitchen light, I was almost at the entrance when I saw Chioma knocking gently at the closed door adjacent to the kitchen. I racked my brain trying to remember who occupied that room but couldn't come up with a name. A moment later, I saw a tall stature emerged, casting a brief look down the hall, they quickly linked mouths before Chioma pushed him inside. It was one of the guards and I was shocked that those two just chose a short live. If my father found out, they're dead. I tiptoed back into my room but I couldn't read. What was Chioma playing at? Cheating? Father would have her head. I couldn't sleep back, what I saw drifted me towards my impeding wedding night. Would Saadat kiss me with such eagerness? Will I like it? What was sex even like? With my mind raging with questions, I curiously searched the net for sex videos, and different videos popped out. I watched so many, some cruel but the actress were mostly moaning in pleasure. The one I loved surely was this ebony woman with large aerolas dressed in a blue panties and touching herself while the man watched lustfully. I slept with that image and was lost in my dream, writhing beneath my blanket with my fingers over my lower lips. I was awoken to the sound of Chioma's laughter and mewling sounds I couldn't comprehend.
"Oh wow" she said too loudly causing my head to have that sudden bang; the beginning of a headache.
I slowly opened my eyes and right in front of me was the laptop showing another sexual scene. God! The data I must have wasted on this as it was just six in the morning. I should have at least unplugged my system before I slept last night.
"When did we start watching Indecency?" Chioma asked me
I ignored her as I threw my blanket aside, my nightgown was thin and my pebble like nipples were visible.
"Hmm, eager for the wedding night already? Maybe I could tell your father to move the date forward" Chioma said, her eyes gleaming.
"Leave my room" I started
"This will make an interesting tale for dinner" she threatened as she moved to the exit.
When she opened the door, I called her. "The same way your illicit affair will be the highlight of the year"
Before she could react, I slammed the door on her face followed by a loud click. I was never in the habit of locking up my room because any of my sisters could walk in after a nightmare, my room was always their safe haven.
I thought about what transpired between myself and Chioma, she threatened me and I revealed my hands too quickly. I should have ignored her. What would father do about me watching Indecency? He would only asked about the laptop and that was the trouble I was avoiding. What now? I thought pacing up and down my room. The laptop must not be discovered, should I report to Javed? I can't possibly tell him everything, just some half-truths.
I was still musing when I heard noises and loud bang on my door. It was Laila and Adiva, I opened the door for them and Adiva jumped on me as usual.
"Morning" Adiva greeted.
"Ew, someone hasn't brushed her teeth. Straight to the bathroom" I said pushing her toward the bathroom door while she kept giggling.
Laila sat down in front of my mirror brushing her hair. She had been awfully quiet since long before my birthday. I could trace it back to when I was locked in the safe house. She had become a robot who automatically follows rules. I was certain if I told her to drop the comb she would without question. What was wrong with Laila?
"Laila" I called
She turned in her seat to answer me.
"Come here". I said again. She dropped the brush and walked towards me. She wasn't arguing, she wasn't sharing her opinions. She just follow commands like a zombie. Very different from the twelve year olds of the worlds.
"Sit. You're too quiet. What is the problem?" I asked her
"Nothing" she said simply.
"Why do you act like you've to survive each day? You're not happy" I was frustrated.
"Are you happy?" She asked me instead.
Was I happy? No. But I had hope which was better than happiness.
"Laila, try and be happy" I said not knowing what to say.
"For how long can I be happy before he gift me to someone?" Laila asked me.
God! This our world was bleeped up. Shouldn't Laila be worried about how to be the best in her class while I worried about the many boys disturbing me? How can I help us, how can I make us happy. If father died today, we would still be at the mercy of the many uncles who would try to take over Father's business. Javed would be killed or not. And our fate would still be the same thing. No single silver lining.
"Just keep hoping. Maybe fate will be so kind to you" I said softly.
Adiva entered the room wrapped in my towel, she had showered and probably brushed her teeth. She looked from me to Laila.
"What's wrong?" Adiva asked, her face was heavy with worry and concern.
I just shook my head.
"Laila?" Adiva asked and sighed when Laila said nothing. "She doesn't talk to me"
"She doesn't talk to anyone" I said.
"You know what Laila, don't give up yet. We'll find a way to exist in the grey" I said hugging her to me. She just sighed tiredly whispering that death to was the only escape.
For days I was bothered about my conversation with Laila, I was thinking of every solution that could change our lives and I realized two sad truths about me; I had given up since my birthday and there was no solution in sight except death. But I was too much of a coward to kill myself, I can't even as much as cut myself with a sharp blade not to talk of jumping down from the balcony. Was Laila thinking of suicide? I hope not. Hope was all I had, all I clung to. I can only hope things would get better and I can control whatever I could.
I and Chioma reached an impasse, she ignored me and I accorded her the same treatment. Father came back and was acting weird, he was shouting each of his words and flying into temper every minute. Adiva received a knock on her head for dropping her fork loudly. I knew businesses was going bad again and we had to tow carefully around the house. I rushed my meals wanting to leave the dining room.
"Where's your engagement ring?" His voice boomed.
"I kept it in my room" I said in a small voice.
"It's not meant for the shelf" he said and I nodded. I always forgot how much I feared him until he was close by.
I was about to stand up when Laila threw her mug of tea at father. We were all frozen for some seconds before I stared at Laila in shock and father who had sticky beverage on his face and cloth, the mug had landed on his smallest finger.
"Laila" I called but Father had stomped towards her in his livid rage. Many slaps on her face and there was no cry from her except from Adiva who was bawling and Chioma who had an entertained look on her face. I pulled on his shirt severely but he wouldn't stop, his bodyguards stood by watching him attack a twelve year old without as much as helping. Something snapped in me, and I swore they would all pay.
When he was done with his assault, Laila laid there with bloodied face and lose tooth unmoving except the pulse in her ears.
|Re: The Gift by Ven97: 8:13am On Jun 02|
What a heartless father. I pray nothing happens to Laila
|Re: The Gift by oyinella(f): 9:04am On Jun 02|
How can someone not feel love or at least sympathy for his child
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