Here’s my Christmas gift to the wonderful followers and readers of my blog. May the joy and blessings of Christmas rest with you and yours forever.

Amen!

Malcolm.
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As Wale sat in his car waiting for Emeka to call out this mysterious cousin of Veronica he had never had the pleasure of meeting, his hand shook with a mixture of fear and rage, so much so that he gripped the steering wheel tighter than necessary.

He thought he had just one problem now; to make up for his violent reaction last night but the calls he had received and the messages he had read on her Blackberry was straight up scandalous! None of them however, infuriated him more than the call he had received from Veronica’s phone a few minutes ago. It had totally floored him.

He thought she used to kid him when she told him she could always go back to her ex whenever he refused her what she wanted. Now he knew the threat of the ex was real.

Yesterday started of like an ordinary day. He had just come back into Lagos from Calabar on a business trip which had kept him out of Lagos for nearly three weeks and he couldn’t wait to see her. He had bought a lovely dress that was her perfect match. She was a difficult person to please but he could tell she loved it because she allowed him make love to her without making a fuss.

He was so sure that the time was right to pop the question again. She had put him on hold since the first time he did that in 2009. Her reason made sense; he’d had a son as a teenager and she didn’t want to get married to someone who already had a kid. That didn’t stop him though. He had upped the ante since then by putting her on a salary and buying all manner of expensive gifts each time he got the chance.

Two years after that, he was thinking now was the time. She had been out of school and though she didn’t really have a regular job, he believed she wouldn’t turn him down now seeing as he had invested so much. He had just moved out of from his flat in the family house in Surulere and had rented a flat far from home because she loved her privacy. He gave her whatever she needed to furnish the house thinking it would show how serious he was.

Apparently, she had still had other ideas.

The problem was that she was beautiful and she knew it. How do you tame a woman who obviously had the eyes of many men on her? The only way out was to marry her quickly but that hadn’t worked out so far but he was determined to try again. His only ally was time. She was three years shy of thirty and was aware that time was flying fast and most of her friends were married with kids now. He had no doubts that she would say yes.

Now however, he wasn’t so sure.

She wanted to meet up with some friends so he dropped her off still feeling a little disappointed that she wouldn’t stay the night. He deserved that much as the dress was ridiculously expensive but he knew better than to push.

So it was surprising when a few minutes to 9:30, a friend had called him saying he had just seen her at Protea Hotel in Ikeja with some other guy. He didn’t believe it because they had spoken a few minutes to 8pm that evening when she called him to say she was home. However, Lawrence was very insistent that it was Veronica he saw. He even sent a photo of her having dinner with some guy.

It was then he flew into uncontrollable rage. He left his half-empty bottle of Guiness Stout and his friends at the bar and drove carelessly from Surulere to Ikeja. Lawrence was waiting at the parking lot when he drove in and parked.

“She still still dey there?” He had asked almost breathlessly, anger and misery written all over his face.

“Yeah. If to say she see me, she for don move.” Lawrence said with concern on his face.

Lawrence had known Wale for years. They had attended the same primary and secondary school together until Wale dropped out when his father passed on to handle his family business. They hardly rolled in the same circle these days with Wale being an engineer but they remained close friends.

When Lawrence had first met Veronica a year ago at Wale’s mother’s 58th birthday party, he was concerned for his friend. This girl is too flashy for you, he had warned but Wale picked offense so he said no more. It was ironical that he was now the harbinger of bad tidings. He had wanted to mind his business and act like he never saw Veronica but his conscience wouldn’t let him. He made the call against his better judgment that warned him that someday, he would be the enemy.

Wale said nothing further and went straight into the hotel reception and headed for the restaurant. His eyes scanned the scanty tables and his first view of Veronica brought tears to his eyes. She was wearing the really short red dress he had just bought her and was laughing at something the handsome and casually dressed young man had said. He was holding her hands too!

His rage took over.

He strode purposefully to the table, deaf to Lawrence’s advice to be calm. As he got closer to the table, his hand began its violent shake. Always a sign that it was about to hit somebody or something. The only thing on his mind at that point was to smash his hands, which had become a fist into the handsome face of the young man.

Unfortunately, he got close to Veronica first as she had her back to him. The dress was meant to be for him, to be worn only when they went out together. The design exposed a generous portion of her light-skinned back.

His rage reach its apogee.
……………………………………

Markus met Veronica on his way to Dubai in 2007. They had shared the same seat on the plane and had struck up a conversation. He was handsome, charming and a spoiled, rich brat. His father owned an oil business empire that spanned the major cities in Nigeria and a few countries in West Africa. Being the only son, he was destined to take over when his father passed on; something he was waiting patiently to happen.

Since he finished his MBA from the London Business School, he had come back home hoping for a seat on the board of directors but his father had other ideas. He was to start as a low level executive in the company and despite his mother’s entreaties, he had refused the job and instead spent his time partying and womanizing.

He had decided to go to Dubai to shop before heading back to London and that was when he met her. Veronica was a goddess and there and then, he knew he had to have her. She proved however, to be a hard nut to crack. He had spent over £2000 on her that night shopping in Dubai Mall and was amazed when she coyly refused to accompany him to his hotel room. She had business to attend to she said and she left him with a piece of paper that had her phone number in Nigeria.

“Call me when you get back home.” She had said with a look that held so much promise. He had kept that paper till this night and when he showed it to her, she laughed with delight and touched his hands tenderly.

He was amused when he saw a baseball hat-wearing fellow walk towards them with a strange expression on his face.

“What kind of guy wears a face cap at night?” He whispered to Veronica, leaning forward towards her.

“What are you talking about?” Veronica giggled as she looked up to see the man in the face cap who had only just approached their table.

It happened so fast that Markus had problems believing if what he saw actually happened.

The back of the face-capped fellow’s right hand swung in a perfect, descending arc with such force and blistering speed that it made a resounding “TWACK” as it connected with Veronica’s face so hard that she fell off her seat. As she fell to the ground, her foot tipped the table that held a dinner of prawns, her Blackberry phone, plates and cutleries, two filled glasses and a near-empty bottle of Champagne to the floor with a loud crash that shook the large hall.

“What the fuck!” Markus exclaimed as he jumped from his seat to avoid any stains on his white shirt. His Gucci pants were not spared as the white sparkling liquid splashed on it as it fell to the ground.

By this time, some of the diners had alerted the waiters who sprang in from all directions. The face-capped man advanced towards a confused and horrified Markus as he stepped back cowardly, unsure of what was going on. His saving grace was the gentleman who held the face-capped man from behind with an equally horrifying expression on his face.

“Wale!!!! What is wrong with you?!” He screamed.

Veronica was on the floor, speechless and in shock as she looked up at all three men. Her face hurt so bad like she had just been stung by a thousand bees and slapped-punched by a Gorilla. She could taste blood on her lips but the skin around her right eye took the weight of the hit and was already tender and swollen when she covered them with her hands. Tears flowed.

“What are you doing with my wife!” The mad, face-capped man snarled as he struggled to break free from his friend who was now joined by the male waiters and security personnel who wrestled him to the floor.

Markus couldn’t hide his shock as a million pairs of eyes stared at him. The diners couldn’t believe their luck as they experienced this live Nollywood drama. They had abandoned their meals and formed clusters around the center stage.

“You’re married?! He asked in a whisper as his gazed turned to Veronica who lay on the floor whimpering. The million pairs of eyes followed suit.

Veronica took stock of the situation. Words would be useless here as she felt eternal judgment and damnation beam from the eyes of the spectators and participants alike. She scrambled to her feet and ran like mad out of the restaurant.

Nobody stopped her.

She left behind her bag and her Blackberry.

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