twist_of_fateJoseph Coker opened the door to the one room and parlor apartment he shared with his mother and let himself into the darkness as quietly as possible. He locked the door and turned round to see his mother framed in the door between the room and the parlor. He released a heavy sigh and flopped unto the only sofa in the sitting room that also doubled as his bed every night. His mother moved quietly across the room to pull a stool and sat in front of him. “What is the problem, Joe? Why are you looking so defeated?” She asked worriedly in concern and he released another sigh. “I’m fed up, mum. What is the essence of being a graduate when you don’t even have the opportunity to use that certificate?” He asked wearily, staring up at the ceiling and his mother gave an inaudible sigh too. “Love, Please wait for your time. You and I both know that it is not for lack of trying and when it is the right time; your own opportunity will come. At least you should be thanking God that you are doing something for the time being which is better than staying at home and doing nothing. “She said quietly. “Doing what? Working as a driver for a spoilt bitch and her parent? Please cut it out, mum.” He said with a bitter laugh and stretched out on the tattered sofa. “Worrying will take you no-where, it will only earn you a headache. Should I warm your dinner for you?” She got to her feet and moved to the make-shift kitchen in the corner of the room. “I’m not hungry. We have had dinner before I dropped my boss off at home.” He said with a shrug and swung his legs down again. “Mum, don’t you think it is right time I contact my biological father? He has no right leaving the sole responsibility of bringing me up to you. It is unfair! ”He said heatedly and she stiffened visibly before turning to face him. “What are you insinuating, my boy? What else do you want me to do for you? You want to go and look for your father because you can’t get a job on your own? How manly is that?” She glared at him with her hand on her hips. “I’m sorry, mum but I just think…….”She cut him off abruptly. “I’m not interested in what you think. Please go and sleep before we both said what we will both regret.” She turned sharply on her heels and walked into the room, slamming the door  behind her.

“How is Lagos, Elizabeth? Are you enjoying yourself? “Rebecca asked her sister with a giggle from the other end. “I’m bored silly. I wish Dad will allow me come back.” Lizzy said sulkily as she stretched out luxuriously on the chaise longue by the side of the pool. She was the second child and daughter of her business tycoon father and full house-wife mother who devoted her time raising her two daughters both in their Lagos based mansion and their furnished apartment in London Central which was currently occupied by her elder sister, Rebecca. She was a young girl of eighteen, chocolate in color with a curvy figure and a very pretty face. She was gleaming wet and looking alluring in a skimpy backless bikini pant and bra. “No parties? No men? I can’t believe that. Nigeria is not so remote.” Rebecca said with obvious disbelieve. “It is not remote, I’m just not used to the kind of parties they throw here but I have been catching my fun anyway, albeit secretly because Dad will kill me if he knows.” She cringed inwardly and her sister chuckled to herself. “How about the men you have met so far? Don’t tell me none of them has caught your fancy because I won’t believe it.” Rebecca said with obvious amusement. “Hmn…….I have my sight set on one.” She pursed her lips thoughtfully as she rolled unto her stomach and closed her eyes. “Who is he? This sound serious, baby sister.” Rebecca tried not to let her smile reflect in her voice: her baby sister was having a big crush on somebody! “He is the family driver, Becky. If you see that guy, Becky, you will bow. He is hot! Tall, fair in complexion without a single black on his gorgeous body except for his jet black hair.” She whistled softly under her breath and her sister frowned to herself at the other end. “He just drives me crazy every time he walked past.” Elizabeth continued dreamily. “Snap out of your fantasy, baby sister. Are you so sex starved you can’t think of a better man to sleep with except a driver?” Rebecca asked scathingly. “Becky, I don’t care about what he does .If he can just look at me once, I will dance on the moon for him but he just doesn’t see me. “She said mournfully and her sister snorted in disgust at the other end. “He is not worth your attention then. Forget about him and find someone else to play with.” Rebecca said in obvious relieve. “That man that can resist me has not yet been born.” She said with a determined glint in her eyes and continued before her sister could comment. “How is your boring boyfriend?” “He is my fiancé, not my boyfriend and he is not boring. How dare you criticize my boyfriend?” She said in an annoyed voice. “Come off it, Becky. Ramsey is your first boyfriend and you are just twenty-two .Lighten up a bit, big sister and catch your fun before settling down.” Elizabeth said in one of her rare moments of seriousness and her sister laughed at her. “Thanks for the sermon but I’m okay with just one man. I don’t need to spread my tentacle around before I decide who I want to settle down with. Tell mum I will talk to her later and Dad too.” Rebecca told her sister. “No problem. I will tell them if I remember because ………….”Her voice trailed off as Joseph strolled towards her   in his chinos trouser and shirt that was his uniform whenever he was on duty and she sighed inaudibly. “Are you there, Lizzy?” Rebecca asked in a puzzled voice at the other end. “I will talk to you later.” Elizabeth whispered and ended the call before her sister could respond.

“Hi Lizzy, your mother has been trying your number for the past thirty minutes. Can you go in and see her now?” Joseph said quietly as his disinterested gaze roamed her body from head to toes and back to her face and he couldn’t help admiring what he saw. “Thanks. I will see her very soon.” She got to her feet, stretched and dived neatly into the pool. Joseph’s lips twitched in a smile and he turned to stroll away from the pool arena. “Hi Joe, what are you doing tonight?” Her voice cut through the hot afternoon and stopped him in his track but he didn’t turn around. “I’m either working which depends on your father’s schedule or I will be on my way home. Why are you asking?” He asked curiously but he was already guessing. The spoilt kid has a big crush on him, he thought with amusement. “I’m wondering if we could hang out together in town and just catch our fun. What do you think, handsome?” She asked in a sultry voice and he turned around to see her hanging by the edge of the pool with her arms on the cool tiles. He came to a stop in front of her and bent down to eye level with her. “Why don’t you find someone of your age to play with? I’m too old for you.” He asked with a seriousness which belied the amusement he was feeling. “I am an adult and I am old enough to know what I want. You are just perfect for me .What do you say? Can we hang out tonight?” She held his gaze with a boldness he couldn’t help admiring. “I can’t hang out with you because I don’t engage in child abuse. Get out of that pool, your mum is waiting for you.” He got to his feet and strolled out of the pool arena. “I am not giving up on you.” She shouted after him and he could have sworn she stuck out her tongue at his back before he heard her splashing around in the water. He laughed heartily as he made his way to the Car park to wait for his boss. “What is so funny, my boy?” Benedict Badmus, fondly referred to as B.B by his friends and relative asked as he came out of the house, closely followed by his wife. “Nothing sir. Are you ready to leave now? We have quite some distance to cover.” Joseph glanced at his leather wrist watch that had seen better days. “I’m ready. It is this woman that has been wasting my time. They always want something or the other whenever you want to leave the house.” B.B grumbled good-naturedly. “Do have a safe trip. Joe, did you see Lizzy?” Ruth Badmus brushed an invisible speck off her husband’s T-shirt before turning to their driver with a questioning eye. “I saw her and I have told her you are waiting for her.” Joseph paused for just a moment to answer her question before turning on his heels and moving to the driver’s side of the car. Few minutes later, they drove out of the compound and Ruth went in search of her prodigal daughter.

Joseph was strolling along the road, looking for a cab or bike to take home when a silver jaguar cruised slowly to his side. “Hi, Joe, Care for a ride?” A female voice called to him as the driver’s window slowly wind down and he didn’t have to look in before he knew who it was. “I don’t have your time, little girl.” He told her without slowing his pace. “Why don’t you give me a chance before judging me with my age? I can offer you better than your babe, whoever she is.” She said, undaunted as she kept pace with him and he stopped to address her. “You can’t measure up to my babe because she is old enough to be your older sister and I think you should go home before you catch cold in that skimpy thing you are wearing.” He nodded to the blood red halter-neck she wore that left nothing to the imagination and stepped away. “You are the biggest idiot I have ever come across and you don’t even know it “She spat at him as she stepped on the accelerator and drove away at a neck –breaking speed. Joseph jumped back in time as she nearly breaks his leg in her haste to get away and burst into hearty laughter.

The sound of the ringing phone penetrated through the pillow into Elizabeth’s mind and she willed it away as she burrowed deeper into her pillow but the phone kept ringing until she flung the pillow away and snatched her phone up. “Who is it?” She barked into the phone as she propped the second pillow against the bed post and sat against it. “Common, Lizzy, don’t tell me you are still in bed at this hour. You ought to be in school by now.” Her sister’s disapproving voice lashed at her over the line and she rubbed at her eyes. “I don’t have lecture today. “She lied instantly, even as she remembered she had a test in school that day. “Really?” It was obvious her sister didn’t believe her and she tried to change the subject. “When are you coming down finally, Becky? I have missed you. “She said and realized she actually meant it. “I should be through with my houseman ship in next two weeks and we will be down in Nigeria latest by next month.” Rebecca said casually and Elizabeth winced as she realized her sister was referring to her fiancée once again. “I can’t wait to see you guys. “She yawned loudly and her sister burst into laughter. “Did you go to bed late? How is your hunting with Joe, the driver? Any luck yet?” Elizabeth could almost see her sister grinning and she couldn’t prevent grinning herself. “Dad and his friend came back from Abuja on a late night flight yesterday and he went to pick them at the airport. The flight was delayed, so by the time they got home last night, it was quite late and dad asked him to stay in the spare room while his friend stayed in the guest room. Mum asked me to prepare the room while he had dinner.” She paused dramatically. “You waited in his bed for him?” Rebecca guessed quite right because she knew her sister so well and Elizabeth burst into helpless giggle. “How did you know? He came straight to bed and was actually in bed before he realized I was there. Oh! You need to see him in his boxers’ shorts. He is so magnificent!” Elizabeth said dreamily. “Did he sleep with you?”  She asked stiffly and heard her sister sighed loudly. “He carried me bodily and threw me out of his room but not after I tasted those soft pink lips.” She said with a smile as she stretched her body. “Lizzy!” Rebecca said at the end of a long-suffering sigh and thanked God that the harassed man was at least decent enough not to take advantage of her. “I know! I’m a bad girl but I just love this guy. Don’t you understand?” Elizabeth said with a pout and her sister sighed again. “You just have a big crush for him, Lizzy. You don’t know the meaning of love and you can’t till you are a bit older .I will talk to you later, sweetheart, Roseline is here now.” Roseline was Rebecca’s best friend since her days at the Oxford College of medicine and she was an American. “Give my regards to her and her little sister. Love you!” Elizabeth was relieved to be spared the sermon and put a stop to the call before her sister could comment.

It was Joseph’s day off but he was asked to drop off his boss’s friend at home before heading home himself. Joseph had washed the car and warmed up the engine before his boss’s friend, Salmon came out of the house. “Thank you, Joe.” He opened the front seat car and sat down beside him to his surprise. “Why don’t you have your seat at the back? I think it has more leg’s space and it is more convenient.” He suggested as he kicked the car to life and the car purred contentedly under his expert hands. “There is nothing wrong with this seat, is there?” The elderly man teased and he smiled as he faced the road.  “How are you? Where are your parent?” He asked curiously as he fastened his safety belt when Joseph pointed discreetly at it. “They are here in this town.” He stared straight ahead and Salmon waited for him to elaborate but he didn’t. “You are a reserved one, Joe. Did you attend any higher institution?” He asked undaunted by the tight-lipped response from his companion. “I am a university graduate.” He said simply with a faint smile and salmon had to admit he had been put in his place: properly! He took a long look at the young handsome profile and burst into a long hearty laughter. “I wish I have a son like you. I must admit I admire you greatly and would love to know you better than this.” He said a bit wistfully. “Thank you sir.” Joseph said quietly with a deep curtsey and they launched into a companionable silence that lasted the rest of the journey.

“VS 651 WOULD BE LANDING IN THE NEXT TEN MINUTES!” The announcer’s voice boomed over and over in the arrival’s lodge of Muritala international airport and Joseph glanced at his wrist-watch. It was to six in the morning and the Badmus were eagerly waiting for their first daughter to appear. Rebecca Badmus, he heard had been away from home for the past five years to study abroad and was finally coming back home with her fiancée whom she had met during her days at the college of medicine. Joseph was not eager to meet another spoilt brat but he was eager to get this over with and return home to his mother. Their luggage arrived first and salmon went to claim it while Joseph took it to the black limo waiting for the Badmus in the parking lot. He straightened up in time to see them filed out of the lounge, chatting excitedly and he recognized her instantly. She wore a flowery mini sundress that barely touched her knee and he had a feeling it was her rounded, curvy backside that made it shorter at the back. She was fair, tall and generously endowed at the right place without being fat.  Joseph looked at her with reluctant admiration and noted the fact that Elizabeth’s alluring beauty paled in comparison to this dangerous vision walking towards him. He stared away and leaned lazily against the car.

“That is Joe standing beside the car.” Elizabeth whispered into her sister’s ear and Rebecca looked ahead. Her steps almost faltered in shock as he realized her sister’s description of their family driver was a complete understatement. Despite her own exceptional height as a woman, she realized he must be taller than she was by good two or three inches and he was so fair, his jet black hair stood out attractively on him. He still looked elegant in his chinos trouser and shirt that had seen better days and she had to admit grudgingly that her sister was right this time around. She slipped her hand protectively into Ramsey’s and the latter smiled as he pulled her closer by the waist possessively.

“Joseph, meet my first daughter, Doctor Rebecca Badmus and her fiancée, Ramsey Williams, Justice Daniel Williams’ son.” B.B introduced them proudly. “It is good to meet you finally, Miss Badmus.” He held out his hand and she shook it in a surprisingly firm grim. “It is my pleasure, Joseph.” She said politely and withdrew her hand instantly. “You are welcome, Mr.  Williams.” Joseph greeted her man with a nod and got behind the wheel.   Rebecca sat at the back of the car with her man while her family sat in the middle and Joseph was behind the wheel as usual. “I don’t like your family driver. He looks like someone that is going to be very arrogant.” Ramsey told Rebecca in a quiet tone but the disdain in his voice was quite clear and she winced invisibly. “Don’t say that to his hearing or else he will drive us into the ditch.” She said in a stage whisper and they both burst into laughter. “I will keep my opinion to myself then because I don’t want to die now. I still want to enjoy being with you.” He hugged her to himself and kissed the side of her neck. “The same goes here, love.” She said fervently as she looked ahead and her gaze clashed with Joseph’s in the back view mirror. He held hers with cold expressionless eyes for few seconds before looking away and concentrated on the road. She cuddled closer to her man and dropped her head on his shoulder fondly.

“Any luck yet with your job hunting, Andrew?” Joseph asked in resignation as he stretched out on his make-shift bed. Andrew was his childhood and best friend and they had grown up in the same neighborhood, practically brought up by his own mother after his own mother’s death when he was just twelve. Andrew’s father was a roadside mechanic and he had gotten married to another woman shortly after his mother’s death who had turned his life into a living hell. Despite the hardship and years of suffering, Andrew and Joseph were among the top five percent in their classes throughout their school days. Andrew was a casual worker at Lubcon group of companies and worked in shifts. “I heard that Guarantee trust bank is recruiting again, so I went to the cybercafé after work today and went to submit our C.V.” Andrew said with a shrug and sipped from a can of beer in front of him, then glanced guiltily towards the bedroom door. “Is mum in?” He whispered as he leaned towards him from where he sat on the stool. “I don’t think so. She would have come out if she is there. Throw me a can please.” Andrew obliged him and he caught it neatly in his hand, then popped it open and drank to his satisfaction. “How is the hot babe chasing you? Give the girl a break and let her have what she wants.” Andrew said with a grin. “I don’t do child abuse. She is young enough to be my younger sister.” He said with a grimace. “But she is not your younger sister and you don’t even have one. When was the last time you shag a woman?” Andrew asked with a silly grin and he scowled at his friend. “I don’t have the time and money to spend on a woman.” He said defensively. “We both know you need neither before you can sleep with any woman you want, so why did you remain celibate all this time?” Andrew asked seriously and he shrugged again. “I have had enough of women, Andy. Moreover, once you start shagging them, they want to hook you permanently and I don’t have that kind of patience for any woman. I just want to get a better way to earn a living and move on.” Joseph said wistfully and his friend raised an eyebrow. “I know you are tired of your work at the Bemus’s place but your complaint these days is getting on my nerves. Is there a particular reason for that?  Don’t tell me it is because of Lizzy because I know you are not even seeing her.” Andrew said observingly as he stared at his friend and he scowled into his drink before draining the remaining cold beer. “I’m just bored and tired of driving spoilt bitches around town.” He said with feeling. “Are you sure it is the bitches or just one bitch that is driving you up the wall?” Andrew asked quietly, studying him with a steady gaze and he sighed audibly. “She is even worse than her sister, Andy .She is very saucy and bossy and tries my patience every time I drive her. I think it is right time I move on or don’t you think so?” Joseph said with a troubled gaze that actually tore at his friend’s heart. “I think it is a good sign that she is getting to you, Joe because I’m getting scared that no woman would ever be able to get under your skin this way. It is just a pity that she is engaged to another man.” Andrew said frankly as he leaned against the wall.

“You are right and that is the only reason I will forgive you for drinking beer in my sitting room.” Naomi, joseph’s mother said as she came out of the bedroom and laughed at the shocked expression on the young men’s face. Joseph stuffed the pack of cheap cigarette he just brought out of his pocket into a hole in the chair and shifted to sit on it. “Good evening ma.” They chorused as they exchanged glances and made a face at each other. “Evening young men. As I was saying, I was getting pretty scared myself.” She said solemnly and sat beside her son. “Don’t get your hopes up, mum. I won’t have anything to do with another man’s fiancée, albeit someone as saucy as Becky Badmus.”He said in a flat voice. “Does anybody believe in destiny here? I do. “She answered her question and smiled in a mysterious way. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed.” she said and Andrew silently agreed on it.

“Hey, Coker. Can you get that red city Honda ready for me?” Rebecca ordered from behind and he turned round very slowly. “I don’t work for you, Miss Rebecca. I work for your father.” He asked coldly, resting his arm on the car he was cleaning. “You have to follow the order of anybody that bears the name “Badmus”.” She answered, coming to a stop a few steps from him and had to tilt back her head to see his face. “I don’t have your time. I have a job to do.” He turned his back on her and she gripped his arm to stop his movement. “This is part of your job, Coker. I don’t blame you for being saucy since you have sleeping with one of us.” She said rudely. He stared at her for a moment in disbelieve and burst into a long hearty laughter that suddenly sent her over the roof. Her calm demeanor went through the roof and she hit his face in a resounding slap. He stared at her in shock as he lifted a hand to his stinging flesh and she watched in horror as her finger-prints turned fiery red on his cheek. She turned sharply on her heels to head back to the house and he pulled her back abruptly by her wrist. She stumbled against him. He shook her hard until her teeth rattled and she struggled to get away.  “If you try that rubbish again next time, you will be amazed at what I will do to you, Spoilt brat.” He said with obvious disdain and released her abruptly. “Becky, Ramsey is here to see you.” Elizabeth shouted from the front of the house. “Your lover boy is waiting for you. Get out of my sight.” He jeered at her with a cold smile. “I will show you real pepper in this house, you imbecile “She snapped her fingers and walked away in anger.

Joseph was sent on an errand to salmon’s office by his boss and he met the latter in a bad mood. “What is the problem sir? Why are you looking so worried?” He stood in front of his desk and watched the man poured a shot of whiskey into the glass. “I just came back from the police station “He murmured sadly and poured the drink down his throat in a gulp. “What business do you have with the police?” He asked with a puzzled frown and gently pulled the bottle away from his hand before he could pour another shot. Salmon dropped the glass cup on the table and sat back with a heavy sigh. “My youngest daughter, Aliya went to a party and there was a fight, then the police went to arrest them at the venue of the party.” He explained quietly. “How old is she?” Joseph asked casually. “She‘s just fifteen and she lives in a boarding school. She is not even supposed to be out of that school premises in the first place. I paid thousands to educate these girls but it is just so worthless!” He said with feelings. “Educating a child is different from disciplining him or her. Maybe it is right time you start disciplining them in a proper way and stop thinking money can buy or do everything. Try and be a daddy and not just a father to your guys and it will go a long way in getting you to know them but don’t let it bother you too much. It is not too late.” He said with a smile and watched the man struggled with his mood before he gave a weary smile. “Thank you very much, Joe.” He took a deep breath and released it. “Your father must be very proud of you, Joseph and I envy him without even knowing him.” Salmon added in a sincere voice and watched a side of his lips lifted in a parody of a smile. “I was once a boy too and despite all the discipline in the world, I was not a saint either. My boss said I should give you these.” Joseph brought out an envelope and held it out to him. “Thanks. I owe you.” Salmon told him as he collected the sealed envelope from him. “I need to get back to work. Bye sir.” He said with deep curtsey and turned on his heel without another word.

Joseph’s mind had been wondering for the past few days and he was at lose of what to do about his present predicament. His mother had stomach ulcers and it was getting worse but he didn’t know what to do because he doesn’t even have the money to maintain the kind of lifestyle she needed to heal up quickly, not when he just paid a year’s rent for their accommodation. A petrol tanker was approaching him, blaring its horn but Joseph was almost driving into it before he saw the big vehicle and swerved away in the nick of time but not before Rebecca screamed and her fiancée shouted at him. “Are you sleeping? What is the problem with you? If you are tired of your job, we can easily get you replaced.” Ramsey said in a very cold voice that disguised the fear that clutched at his heart. “I’m sorry sir. I wasn’t my usual self. I promised it won’t happen again.” Joseph said apologetically and Rebecca watched his hands shook as he tried to balances the car again. They were on their way to a family friend’s wedding ceremony. “What kind of rubbish is this for crying out loud, Becky?” Ramsey turned to Rebecca in outrage. “It is okay. Let’s just thank God for everything.” She put a comforting hand on his arm and he hissed viciously. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” Joseph apologized again as he tried to hold their gaze in the back view mirror for a moment before facing the road again. “Please feel sorry for yourself, you disgraceful idiot.” Ramsey told him angrily and stared out of the car. Rebecca sighed inaudibly.


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