Once he walked through the gates of Aunty Wemimo's house, he knew he was in for it.
"Ah, Ọ́mọ́ Adetunji, howa you? You have just grown fat, eh, orobokibo, you just went to hAmerikah to be eating?"
That was his typical African aunty telling him that he had gone overseas and enjoyed his life therefore added weight and thereby forgotten her in his merriment.
Apparently, his aunty couldn't decipher South Africa from America. Last year, when he'd actually gone to the US, she'd asked him if he finally found a wife in London.
"I'm fine ma," he smiled dryly and rolled his box into the large ante room before the main house, the driver following behind.
Aunty Wemimo was filthy rich. Filthy, stinking, reeking, anything you could name it like that. Just put in the words certified grammarians.
She invested in all the investables possible. Owned a fuel station in Lekki, a mall in Victoria Island, a boutique in Abuja, a seven story apartment in London, a boutique in India, a shoe shop in Soho...Oh God.
And don't you even doubt the truth in this because if you know the kind of legal-not-so-legal wealth Nigerian elites amass you would understand that this isn't the height of it.
Ade wanted to ask her what exactly she was using all that money to do. It was pointless anyway, what would he even get from it? Nothing more than what he would from asking all the politicians in this country what exactly they were doing with triple the country's GDP.
"Ehen, my son," she smiled, flashing whitened teeth.
Ade was sure it was her children that'd forced her to visit a dentist.Very sure.
He continued rolling the box, through the stupidly large and empty halls in the stupidly large and empty mansion.
Ade had concluded that rich people had no taste. A small AKT bulb hung each five minutes walk from the ceiling, a slightly irritating gold chandelier complimenting it in the middle. Real gold.
He wanted to cry. Oh, what a waste of precious money. Couldn't they have at least given him half of it so he could fulfil his dreams of marrying a woman from every country he'd pinned on his list? Lets see: England, Russia, Jamaica, two from South Africa: ladies there were just fire; South Sudan; the tall, dark and beautiful, maybe three here in Nigeria; no descriptions, America; two at least...
"Toyo! Toyosi! Coman meet Oga Tunji's son!" Aunty Wemimo shouted.
Her voice echoed through the walls of the madly spacious house.
Ade sighed, was it too much to ask?
Toyo's figure came running out of an elevator, wearing a loose, short pink dress. A laze at home kind of outfit. Her stubborn backside refused to be hidden under the light, loose cloth.
She wore no make up spare a shiny lipgloss that smothered her voluptuous lips.
"Brother Ade," she beamed, "Welcome"
Oh no no no, call me husband.
He was annoyed at the formality of the greeting, she didn't have to call him brother, they were not even related.
He took her hand with twelve-years-of-professional-flirting ease and tenderness.
Electricity ran through Toyo's body. For some reason, she felt the need to tug her dress.
Aunty Wemimo smiled, "Mhm, Toyo go and bring food for him, Òmò Adetunji, come and go to the dining so you can eat."
He wondered why she insisted on calling him Òmò Adetunji, 'Child of Adetunji', instead of just calling him by his own-
You know what? Forget it. There is absolutely nothing you can say to enlighten these old and fairly old women. They said what they said.
Ade strolled into the equally large dining room that was, this time, overly decorated. It was adjoined to the living room, which more or less looked like a conference hall.
He took a glance at the green armchair in the middle; the President had probably sat himself there to watch some economical, world Bank sports.
"Here...is...your...food," Toyo gingerly swayed toward him.at the table, holding a tray with a glass cup, a covered plate and wide thermos.
He was in glee. Finally, some core food.
Toyo set the table in front of him, swaying left and right and making sure ever part of her body was very much involved in this movement.
Ade didn't know whether to look at her, or the delicious mound of pounded yam and ewedu soup settled patiently in front of him.
No distractions. Food first.
He dipped his hands into the bowl of water set beside him and washed, then flashed some pearly whited thirty two at her with a, 'Thank you', and a highly unnecessary attractive wink.
Toyo pinched herself and said, 'you're welcome,' in that calm, soft voice that would never be present on a conversation with a 'gurlfriend'; barking and shouting like demented Rottweilers would be the case.
Toyo sashayed away, making sure her already protruding backside danced along with the dress.
Ade didn't even catch it. He was too busy saying the opening prayers for the ceremony that would be the eating of the first local meal he'll have since SA.
He began to devour ball after ball of pounded yam dipped in peppery ewedu. Very much glad to be back home.
Aunty Wemimo's was where he stayed whenever he was back in the country. And quite frankly, where he would definitely continue staying. Good gracious, why did nobody tell him this crazy woman had such an angel for a daughter?
Toyo came back minutes later to clear the table, sashaying again. And we all know why she won't even let the man signify that he's done with the food before she swoops in like a monitoring Aphrodite.
"Toyo will show you to your room," Aunty Wemimo said as Ade steadily got up from the green, leather chair. He felt like an ant in the extremely large dining with an extremely high up ceiling, like the rest of the house. He wished so badly that his room would not be like that.
If that was the case, he'd solicit much more comfort in dwelling under the bed with the night monsters.
Toyo came out of the kitchen for the third time, and she had definitely done some touching up to that bob weave-on.
He winked at her.
"Brother Ade, your room is in the second floor," she said, gently placing her tiger claws, what the world has termed 'fix-on nails' on the drawn out handle of his box, rolling it down the runway as she catwalked, Ade trailing behind.
Aunty Wemimo grinned from ear to ear, her dentures would pop out any further stretch.
This was her ultimate plan. What she had been cooking up. Her daughter Toyo, and Ade must fall in love and marry. Ah ah, why not? Why skip the opportunity of her own daughter wedding the Ọ́ba of Ekiti North. She swirled and took a good look at her self in the huge mirror at the end of the hall.
Yes, Wemimo, mother of the soon to be Queen of Ekiti North.
"Hei!" She clapped her hands and began to dance like a mad woman.
Ade was looking for what to say. This was very shameful. How could he of all people, not know how to begin in the dignified course of flirting? He that held a master's degree in Sweet mouthing sciences and a PhD in Advancement education.
He needed to remember his lectures. There was no panic though, it was quite obvious that Toyo was very much interested in this game; she was still more or less dancing the salsa, because her bottom continued to sway in every which way.
Ade had very much time to win her heart. A lot of time.
They strolled until they paused in front of an elevator. A very stupid and unnecessary compliment to the equally unnecessary house. Who in their right mind would even consider building one in his or her own house in a country where electricity was like teenage American relationships. On. Off. On. Off...
Where, if that useless governmental institution they call PHCN, Power Holding Company of Nigeria; aka Please Hold Candles at Night; ever decide to even grant Nigerians the pleasure if electricity, everybody would scream, "UP NEPA!"
That was probably why they changed the name, formerly called NEPA, National Electric Power Authority; aka Never Expect Power Anytime was changed to PHCN because it was not very convenient for Nigerians to shout, "UP Pee hech see ehn," whenever there was power.
Aunty Wemimo just knew how to waste money. Very certified in the arts. And she wasn't even living in the elitist towns like the Lekki Phases or the Victoria Island, this woman resided in such a rowdy, market area as Argungi, and not even in an estate.
Toyo distracted him. She turned and smiled at him, he returned it.
They were waiting for whatever it was that was still in that elevator, to come out. Ade wanted to suggest that they just take the stairs. Thankfully, Aunty Wemimo was sensible enough to at least build stairs.
He wanted to make conversation, but where would he start?
The elevator finally pinged and then slid apart. The second driver stepped out, greeting them both in Creole and then walking away.
There was one more person standing gracefully in the elevator; an average height, young woman who was wearing an apron.
Ade registered the number. There couldn't be less than ten maids in this house. Talk about waste of money.
Their salaries was enough for him to marry three of his chosen wives. The thought of working as a maid struck him.
Toyo turned around to check if he was still there before she catwalked into the elevator.
The doors closed and she punched in the floor number, then the three of them stood; a supposedly calm humming song playing.
Ade was wondering if he should say something, Toyo hoped that this thing in the checkered cloth and hairnet would not stop at their same floor, and the maid was just uncomfortable.
The three stood and shifted and itched, tugged and breathed and- - - JIM!
The elevator jerked and stopped. It was dark inside now.
Toyo called out, "They've taken the light! Peter should go and put in the generator!"
The generator, of course. A must have for every Nigerian family.
Unless of course, you're living in the upper class estates of the high, mighty, tycoons, politicians, businessmen, entrepreneurs, regional and zonal pastors, kings of villages, self made teens, fraudsters, my-grandfather-was-a-rich-man-that-I-inherited-my-wealth-from, thieves, upper middle class, just-came-back-from-london, stuck up rich people; other than that the other option was solar energy, which is very convenient. But of course, Aunty Wemimo wasn't capable of having such sense.
Nobody responded to Toyo. She shouted again but no one answered her. Disadvantages of living in a bogus building.
"We'll have to wait a bit," Toyo said, trying to be the 'handler of the situation' but not doing a very good job if it, pacing and tapping her feet all around.
"Toyo calm down,"
Finally, he said something. The best thing he could even say. Thank God for circumstance. Now if she wasn't so restless and if the elevator hadn't stopped, Ade would still be on flirter's block.
She immediately released herself and smiled at him, making sure her brown weave-on flipped to the other side somehow.
"Someone probably heard us and is going to get the gateman,"
Toyo spread her lips, "Of course", and she rested her back on the elevator in the middle of Ade and Maid #1.
There was a long, uneasy silence and Toyo shouted again, "Mummy! You guys should put on the gen, we're still in the elevator!"
Ade felt a familiarity in this issue.
Ah, yes, stuck in an elevator. A very typical movie trope. Usually, the characters either ran mad or got up to something very naughty.
If there was something he learned from Americans, it would be: crazy is cool and also hazardously dangerous both physically, emotionally, scientifically, spiritually and all the -allys.
But he'd give it a go. Not all the time that you wind up in such a Hollywood famous cliché.
"So...where are you from?",
"Eh?!" The 'the thing in the checkered apron' and Toyo turned their surprised faces to Ade. Toyo's bewilderment was priceless.
Ade shrugged his shoulders and mustered up daring confidence.
"Yeah, where are you from?"
The discomfort was vivid in Maid#1, aka 'thing in the checkered apron'. She scratched her arm and pressed herself to the edge if the elevator, her face uneasy.
"You can relax, I just wanted to know where you came from," Ade said, emotionally suffocating Toyosi, who was still in the middle, speechless and unnoticed.
"I... I'm from Kogi state,"
Ade grinned politely, as if he were familiar with the place.
"Ah, Kogi, that's nice, so what are you; Caba or Igala or...?" His neck was stretched over Toyo's so he could have a close up look at the thing in the .... You know what.
"Caba," she said, loosening up a little, and very delighted and ultimately surprised that Toyo was being shut up, still definitely catching the I-will-kill-you-today stares the green eyed monster was giving her. Ade wanted to tell her to adjust those contacts; right now she was looking like the devil himself.
"That's wonderful, so what's your na-"
"Mercy did you clean Brother Ade's room?" Toyo waved a hand as if to shut the both of them up, rage clear in her witch eyes.
"Yes ma," she curtsied.
Ade leaned back and wished Toyo would close that her bio hazardous mouth and let him practice.
Didn't she know he had to get his skills straight by trying it on someone else so he wouldn't embarrass the both of them?
"Mercy, such a lovely name," he pushed. Fortunately, this made #1 blush.
Toyo was mad. She walked up and banged the elevator door.
This gave Ade space to move closer to #1.
"Mummy! Please call Peter!"
"Anyways are you still a student?" Ade crossed his legs comfortably in Toyo's spot next to the maid.
Toyo pretended not to hear him and continued banging the door.
"Yeah, I have this as a holiday job, I'll leave when it's over," the maid was blushing and trying not to let her own skin touch his whereas Ade had other plans.
"Well, that's very nice. Do you know that you're-"
"Ah!" Toyo screamed and fell with a thud to the elevator floor, holding her head and panting.
They both moved forward to see what was wrong.
She was gasping.
"What is it Toyo?" He asked, crouching to her level.
She held her head and panted still.
"I dunno, I think it's the temperature of the elevator," she said, acting helpless.
Temperature? The elevator was the perfect temperature at that time, we've only been in here five minutes!
Maid #1 crouched down beside him and they both began fanning Toyo with their hands, very much annoyed that their acquaintance was disturbed.
"No," Toyo panted once #1 crouched, "Your hands are too frail, go" she waved her hand from the floor where she was and #1 stood up and went back to the corner of the elevator where she was before.
Ade rolled his eyes, he definitely knew she was okay.
She still lay there in her state if fake helplessness as Ade fanned her, the maid watching from behind; he couldn't take it.
"So Mercy, do you like sports?"
Toyo's eyes widened.
"Yes, but I don't do much if it," the maid blushed again, loosening up.
"Well, I play football, a pro at it actually," he grinned.
Toyo sat up from the floor and glared at the maid.
"Are you okay?" Ade asked with mock-concern.
"Yeah, I think I'm fine now," she sat straight and made the thing in the checkered cloth look like she was about to whimper.
"I'm a cheerleader, did you know that Ade?" Toyo twirled the hair behind her ears.
Ade almost hissed.
"No, I didn't know that," he said.
She beamed and walked to his front, then sat there, blocking his view of the maid.
"I started in the fourth grade. Now I'm the leader of the university squad," she rolled her eyes with pride.
"Y.. yeah," he shifted to the side so the maid was in view again.
"So, what do you like to do?," He asked her, smirking.
She didn't answer for fear of death-by-Toyo.
"I asked what you liked doing, like your hobby." Ade voiced again.
He didn't know Toyo was giving her cut-throat charade threats beside him.
There was silent tension for less that a minute.
"Ade how was SA?" Toyo shifted back into his face and smiled.
"Good," he said, irritated.
"I have a friend there, Tolabi, did you see Tolabi?" She asked.
Ade gave her a very meaningful look.
How would he just 'see Tolabi'?Did he even know the person? Look, Toyo, you must not be at the centre of his attention.
On second thoughts, Ade would not have Toyo for his first wife, certainly not. Not with this attitude.
He got up and walked to Maid #1 and just stayed there beside her, in protest.
He studied the 'thing in the checkered apron'. Very beautiful lady with a small, round face. She would cook lovely, considering she applied as a maid, and she was very well educated and bright-
"I'll take it!" He startled the two women and the elevator immediately began working again.
The humming sounds resumed.
"Take what?" Toyo asked, surprised.
The elevator doors slid open and Ade grabbed his bags from Toyo and looked at the checkered aproned maid romantically, she blushed and they both smiled at each other. Ah, such love at first cliché.