“I am not your maid” Mona rolled her eyes as she spat out those words.
James was perplexed.
“I didn’t say you were my maid.” He said quietly.
“You indirectly said it.” She accused him.
“How?” He asked.
“Why would you ask me to wash your clothes and tidy your apartment and worse of all, cook for you? Really? ” She said.
“But it’s not bad if you do these things for me. It shows me you are committed and you love me.” He said.
“I do love you quite alright, although I am having a rethink about this thing called love.” She said.
The room was so quiet that if a pin dropped one could hear it. Both were engrossed in their thoughts.
“This relationship is becoming too demanding, I need to quit soon.” Mona thought.
“She is so young and pretty, she has not been exposed to life. I still like her innocence. I need to make her my wife so that she will know I truly love her. At least that would make her committed.” James thought.
“I do love you too and I will prove it to you.” He said.
“How? ” Mona was getting excited.
Maybe he was going to transfer some money to her account. If it’s N150,000, I will just buy the bone straight weave 22 inches right away. No time to waste time. I must slay this period. She thought to herself.
A smile formed around her rosy lips. She had a unique fair complexion that earned her the nickname oyibo pepper while in primary and secondary school. Her mates always chanted it when she walked past them. This made her shy and all through her secondary school she had no friends because of the fear of being mocked, ridiculed and made fun of.
Mona had a curvy body. She was not exactly fat because the fats settled in the right places. A massive breast, big hips, tiny waist and a big butt. She was the exact definition of the perfect body.
She knew it and she flaunted it at every slightest opportunity. Being fair came with a lot of perks and opened all doors of opportunities and at times, unknown men just gifted her money because they liked the way she looked.
She saw flaunting her curves as a career path and as such never took house affairs seriously. Her mom always scolded her for this behaviour but her father will hear none of it. To him, Mona was his jewel, his prized treasure. He was ready to milk whoever comes for her hand in marriage. He had always educated her to be money conscious and as a rule, he forbade her from bringing a poor man home.
James was living just fine. At 35 he owned his duplex and 3 exotic cars. But he wasn’t one to spend recklessly. But he was crazy about Mona. She was his life. She could do no wrong in his sight. He always found it difficult to compose his thoughts when she was around him.
He wanted a woman who would marry him for him so he hid his wealth from Mona. She thought he was an employee in the company he owned.
She also thought he lived in a two-bedroom apartment. The two-bedroom apartment was his as well. He decided to stay there until he was ready to start a family.
The house was moderately furnished but Mona was indifferent about the furniture. That was one thing he liked about her, although she always expected him to share his salary with her.
“Will you marry me?” He said.
“What? Really?” She said.
“Marry me, let’s live together,” James said.
He had an attractive smile. It was irresistible.
Then he touched her for a fleeting moment… Mona melted in his arms like butter being dangled by the fire.
“I would love to… but..” She paused.
“Am I not up to your spec? Why are we dating? ” James asked. He was curious. He wanted to know her better, he wanted to know if she only loved his ebony skin and towering height or his dazzling smile and foreign accent. Mona was that blunt, she had mentioned all the things that attracted her to him on their second date. He was pleasantly amused.
“We started dating seriously 2 months ago, that’s not enough time to get married.” Mona cautioned.
“Besides we don’t know each other well,” Mona said.
She was desperately looking for a way out of this awkward situation. What will she tell her Dad? But she liked James and like was not enough to sustain a marriage.
“Ok, what do you want to know about me?” James asked.
His words jolted her from her thoughts.
“What’s your net worth? ” Mona asked.
“What has that got to do with marriage? ” James asked. He was genuinely perplexed. He thought she wasn’t interested in him being wealthy.
“Everything.” She said.
“Why?” He asked. After all, she was not different from the rest, all women want money, he thought. The dazzling smile was replaced with a stern look, the type he usually puts on in a board meeting.
“As a girlfriend, you expect me to wash, clean and cook for you. As a wife, I wonder what you would like me to do. I am not your maid. So if we must marry, you should be wealthy enough to employ a maid.” She said.
Maybe, she should just marry Chief Okafor who treats her like a prized possession and sometimes like an antique. He never bothered her with these tiny house chores. He rather she dressed and looked pretty for him.
“My baby, come here. Sit on Daddy’s leg.” She swore she heard him in her head. However, she couldn’t bear his eastern accent. That was a deal-breaker for her.
Oh, that’s the problem. James thought.
“I see. Who washes your clothes? ” James asked.
“I do and at my own time, I schedule it before I fix my next set of nails and if it’s that urgent, the dry cleaners.” She said. She was proud of herself for answering the question with ease.
“Let me ask you another question, who cleans and cooks in your home?” James asked.
“My mother does the cooking and my younger sister cleans. As the Ada, I supervise to make sure she cleans well.” She said.
She was proud again for another landmark response. In her head, she could imagine little angels giving her a standing ovation. Bravo. Bravo.
“So this means you do nothing? ” He asked.
“I supervise.” She said proudly.
“Ok. Do you expect me to clean and cook and wash while you supervise when we are married ?” He asked.
“Oh No. You are not my maid. That’s the exact reason why we need a maid.” She said.
“So will you marry me? ” James asked again.
“As long as we can afford a maid, yes I will.” She said in a hesitant tone.
Mona had thoughts of her own, how will she convince her Dad to accept James? Chief Okafor would not hear any of this. Her Dad loves Chief Okafor because he was a billionaire. No one was bothered by the fact that she would be his 10th wife.
“At least all the other wives are dead. Poor Chief, he has gone through a lot. Each of his wives died during childbirth and each time he found love it was short-lived. I know you will live long my daughter. I have prayed about that omen and I know it is not your portion.” Her mother once told her.
“You know Chief had one wife at a time, it was the omen that made him a widower over and over. Your Daddy would not allow his Ada to die for anything. You are safe because you won’t be having children for Chief.” Her mother continued.
Mona always listened to her mother with rapt attention.
She was already called Nwunye Chief around the house.
She was jolted to reality by the gentle tug on her elbows.
“You don’t look happy, don’t I make you happy?” James asked.
She smiled at him. She liked him a lot. But she needed to make lots of money before the wedding so that her dad would think James was wealthy. How will she tell James that her dad will only accept a rich man as his son in law?
She looked more worried than before.
“What’s wrong?” James asked.
“It’s my dad…” I don’t know if he would give us his blessings.” She said.
“Let me worry about that,” James said.
2 months after the wedding, one bright sunny afternoon, James was getting ready to go for a business event, he stood by the mirror while putting on his clothes. Mona spread lazily on the bed. They had just made love. She felt so much pleasure that she was reliving the lovemaking in her head.
“Sweets, pass me my necktie,” James said.
Mona was annoyed that she was being jolted from her midday fantasy.
She stared blankly at James.
“The tie is by the bedside. Part of your body is on it.” James said while he tucked his shirt into his trousers.
“Why can’t you get it yourself.” She muttered in a low tone.
“I heard you, I would have but you are closer to it. Besides, you are lying on it. Just pick it and give it to me. My hands are stretched. He said.
“Come get it yourself.” She said.
“Seriously?” James shook his head and picked up his tie.
Three months after the wedding. The fairytale of being married had worn off, both mona and James had gone back to their normal lives. James worked so hard to ensure his company remained successful, while Mona worked at retaining her beauty. She had a strict routine, workouts in the morning and evening and a well-planned diet. She was bent on having extra smooth skin, so vegetables made up the majority of her meals. She liked it that way, as she did not get to cook for herself while the cook cooked for James until one evening.
“Madam, abeg I no well, e dey do me like say I wan faint.” The cook said.
“Have you made dinner for my husband and his friends? Did I not tell you that there was a mini-dinner party today? ” Mona quizzed.
“No, I no fit.. I don buy everything sha.” The cook said, her mouth was twisted in pain.
“You are a joker, who will make dinner? ” Mona clapped her palms. She was agitated.
The cook writhed in pain, she had spittle in her mouth and was about vomiting.
Mona looked at her in shock.
“Are you? .. are… Leave here” Mona screamed.
Mona walked into the ktichen. She was trying to figure out the meal to cook.
Maybe, she should just give them chicken salad, after all that was what she was having for dinner. She said out loudly.
Then she remembered, James does not like salad.
How about jollof rice, she could buy some from the fast-food. Oh! James does not eat fast food meals. She was getting frustrated when the cook peeped in and shouted.
“Madam na pounded yam and egusi soup oga wan chop o!”
“Shut up” Mona screamed but before she could turn around, the cook had disappeared.
Mona had a plan.
“Hello Darling, how are you doing this fine evening?” Mona quipped
“I am well, what’s up?” James asked. He knew Mona wouldn’t call him out of the blues if there wasn’t something she wanted.
“Erm… I am just checking up on you. Erm… will you still be coming with your guests?” She asked.
“Sure.” He said.
“Ok.” She said in a low tone.
Mona bought fast food jollof rice and chicken for them. But James was not fooled. He couldn’t eat the meal, he starred at it like a spoilt brat who had been asked to apologise for his naughtiness to an elderly rich Aunt.
Later that night, he asked.
“Why didn’t you cook the pounded yam and egusi soup? I had promised the guests that was the meal they should expect.”
Mona raised her head with pride and announced
“I am not your maid.”
“But you are my wife, you can also cook my meals.” James said. He was perplexed.
“I already told you before and I will say this for the last time, I am not your maid.” Mona said with a tone of finality.