Ben woke up and looked around, it was in the wee hours of
the morning and Princess was standing infront of the bed, putting on her
clothes.
“Hey….” He said.
“Good morning…” Princess said, not turning around to face
him.
“It’s…it’s five o’clock in the morning…where are you headed?”
Ben asked, looking at the time.
They had spent the night together in one of the lodges at
the beach hangout, he could heard the loud waves of the sea roaring at the distance.
“Home…” She said.

“C’mon….just like that? Lemme…let me give you something
atleast for transport…” He said.
Princess turned to stare at him, her eyes flashed in anger.
“Money? Do I look like a whore?”
“No…no…that’s not what I meant…I meant that you might need
some money for a taxi…or do you drive a car?” He asked, uncertain if he had
angered her or not.
“Thank you…I’ll be fine…” She said with a smile, banishing
all thoughts of anger from his head.
“No…I insist….” Ben said, getting up from the bed and
walking to pick up his jeans from the tiled floor. Taking out his wallet from
the back pocket, he counted ten thousand naira and handed it over to her.
“Thanks…” She said as she accepted it and held on to it.
“So I’ll see you soon?” He asked.
“Yea…I’ll be here next weekend…” She said.
“Can I have your number?” He asked.
“I don’t own a phone.” She said.
“Seriously? Are you kidding me? How can a pretty lady like
you, have no phone?” He asked.
“Don’t worry I’ll err…keep in touch.” She said.
“How? I need to reach you…can you give me any number? Even
if it’s the number of your mother…” He said trying to sound humorous.
Princess threw back her head and a deep throated laughter
escaped her lips, when she was done laughing, she looked at him and asked.
“You really want the number of my mother?
Hahahahahahahahaha….”
“Well…yes, is there anything funny about it?” He asked.
“Don’t you dare ask me such question again.” She warned and
glancing at the clock, she said. “I have to leave now, I’ll keep in touch.” She
said and hurried out of the room.
Ben was stunned at her attitude, he shrugged and quickly
went to the bathroom to wash his face after which, he wore his clothes and left
the lodge.
*********
Amanda was so happy, she had dressed to perfection in her
four inch heels and a smart yellow blazer which she paired with a white bodycon
dress, her make-up too was flawless. Her brother had smiled when she joined him
in the car.
“Seems like you’re not only going for an interview but a killer
party as well…” He had chucked.
“Stop it bro…I’m trying to look my best…” She had said.
And indeed, Amanda looked very beautiful in her lovely
outfit and as soon as she stopped off at the interview venue, all eyes were on
her. There were fifty French tutors waiting to be interviewed and she was
number twenty on the queue. By the time it was her turn, she walked into the
hall smartly and held a rapid French session with her interviewers.
Amanda had never lived in any French speaking country before
except for the time she had to go to Cameroun briefly for three months as her
training required. Asides that, she had learnt the French language from
scratch. From childhood, she had a unique gift of grasping languages quickly
and from Yoruba to Hausa which she had learnt from their gateman as a child and
later on to French, she was quick when it came to learning languages.
As soon as the interview was over, she was given a red tag
to pin on her blazer and directed to a room opposite the hall. After the
interview session was over, she and the other interviewees with the red tag
were moved back to the hall and were told that they had been successful. They
were nine successful applicants in number and she was one of the nine.
Amanda was so grateful to be a part of the team, she kept smiling
throughout and as soon as they mentioned the amount that they were going to pay
them after the program, she nearly fainted. It was five times more than what
she earned from her private tutor classes in a year and she almost broke into a
song of praise but decided to do it later when she had a private time to herself.
They were asked to return the next day as a short training Programme had been
scheduled for three days. The idea of the French Speaking project was to groom
young teenagers in government schools and some private schools across the
country in the French language for thirty-five days. During the course of this,
the young ones who had already been chosen from their respective schools were
to be camped in a secure environment, face a rigorous French training and
inorder not to miss out on school work, would have other subject teachers on
hand to coach them so that they do not miss out on school work.  
Amanda readied herself for home, noting that training
commences at nine am the next day. She quickly removed her heels and placed
them in her bag, replacing them with her flat shoes as she couldn’t wait for
her brother who closed at six pm for a ride home. By the time Amanda boarded
the BRT bus enroute home, she was so overwhelmed. She pulled out her phone from
her bag, plugged her earphones to it and listened to gospel songs throughout
the ride.
*********
Sharon stood at the assembly and listened to the principal
call out the names of the students chosen for the New French Camp, she had been
listed in the first list of about thirty students who topped the French class
but now, the list had been narrowed down to twelve as many schools were bringing
in students as well.
“Adekunle Thomas, Steve Akpan, Matthew Kanayo, Moses
Francis, Sharon Ekanem…” The principal called out.
Sharon heaved a sigh of relief as soon as she heard her
name, she stepped out of the assembly of students to the podium where she went
to receive her letter of invitation to the ‘New French Camp’. By the time the
assembly ended, she and the eleven others walked to the principal’s office, for
briefing after which they went back to their classes for the day.
********
Ben was working out at the gym in his building complex when
his phone rang.
“Hello…Ayomide…” Ben said into the receiver.
“Hey Ben…what’s up?”
“I’m good…just working out…” Ben said.
“I need a quick favour…” Ayomide asked.
“Sure…what’s it?”
“My brain-child, ‘Ayo-Myde Corporation’ is in charge of
operations for a new initiative of the French embassy but the thing is, my
father is critically ill and at the hospital in London. The bad news is, I have
no replacement as I speak and I’ll be out of town for about two weeks, and
since it’s my company, I wouldn’t like to leave and have no one supervising on
my behalf. I have thought of everyone I know and your name keeps popping up.
Please tell me you are less busy and can help me out. Could you kindly be in
charge of the project till I return?” Ayomide asked.
“Well…you’re in luck! I am actually on day two of my annual
leave from work and I am so bored. Sure I’ll help you out…” Ben said.
“Thank you so much Ben…I’ll discuss payment when we see.” He
said.
“Sure…no problem…can I know what the program’s about and in
what capacity am I expected to work?” Ben asked.
“I’ll send you the files and run down to your place this
evening to give you a brief because I should be at the airport first thing
tomorrow. Thank you Ben, you are a life saver!” Ayomide said.
“Anytime bro…” Ben said.
As soon as he hung up the call, Ben was relived. He wasn’t a
workaholic but the fact that he hadn’t planned a getaway somewhere in the world
was making his vacation as boring as ever! Now, his friend was giving him the
chance to get out of boredom and do something atleast till his vacation was
over and he was pleased.
Ayomide and Ben had come a long way, they were roomies while
studying at the University of Leicester and back then, had tried forming their
games company on their own. By the time they returned to Nigeria, Ben had been
sucked up by the corporate world while Ayomide pursued his dreams of being an entrepreneur
and an outsource expert. He understood Ayomide quite well and knew that he didn’t
want to place just anyone on the job but someone reliable like himself.
Ben’s thoughts quickly switched to Princess. Who was she?
Why was she playing a cat and mouse game with him? He wondered if Princess had
followed him home, he might be planning a new vacation for the both of them,
perhaps a trip to the Maldives. He was getting a bit tired of his games he
thought, he needed to settle down like his brother and maybe pop some kids for
his parents who were hungry for grand babies.

“Who’s the lucky girl going to be?” He asked himself aloud,
chuckling as soon as he caught his reflection in the mirror and his well-toned
abs, six-pack and muscled body. “Is there any girl in the world who deserves
all this to herself alone? Naaaaa…”

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