It was Ehi’s twenty first birthday and she was having a small party with her kids, Mani, Christian and Trish. The twins had helped with baking the cake and there was no denying it because somehow their hand prints were all over the cake. They were all dressed in their pyjamas and sat on the floor eating the chinese food Mani had ordered earlier. Nessa sent her yet another gold wristwatch and she was wearing all five of them as she celebrated.
Christian moved to the centre of the room and clapped his hands to get everyone’s attention. “It’s time to cut the cake and just so you all know, Lik Lik and Dora with my humble self baked the cake together and I promise you that this will be the best thing you have ever tasted.” he said with a wink and carried the cake from the dining table and placed it in front of her. “Blow out your candles ma’am .”
“Lik Lik and Dora come help your momma blow her candles out. ” Mani said like the kids needed any encouragement since they were currently being held back from devouring the cake.
“Everybody is joining me to blow out the candles and we will do that in three, two, blow. ” They all joined forces and the three candles couldn’t stand a chance. The cake was quickly shared but it seemed not fast enough for the kids because they grabbed theirs from the plate and in five minutes had their whole body covered in cake.
“Ehi and Mani I hope that’s your last slice if not I’m going to have a whip tomorrow at the gym. ” Tristan said.
“Yes, yes, yes… We get it. We are on a diet but you have to admit that even if Ehi eats the entire cake it would do nothing to her figure.” Mani said between bites.
“Hey don’t blame me. It’s one of the few things I inherited from my father. My mom used to tell me how he looked like he was going to be blown away by a fan.” Everyone laughed at that.
Mani got up on her feet and addressed the kids. “It’s past your bedtime babies. Kiss your mom goodnight and let’s head to get y’all cleaned up and ready for bed.”
“No” replied Dora with a stubborn look on her face just like her daddy.
“Girl do you ever say yes to anything? Now get your arse up before you make aunty Mani mad and she don’t take you to the park tomorrow.” she said and they were up in a flash.
“So because aunty Mani offered to take y’all to the park you are now obedient huh? Come give me a kiss both of you and better be nice to Aunt Mani or else I won’t read to you guys that new book I bought yesterday.” Ehi kissed and hugged them before handing them over to Mani who took them inside to freshen up. “They are just fifteen months old yet there are so clever. I tried to trick Lik Lik yesterday but he wasn’t having it and then there is Dora with her no. Does that child another word, everything her response is no.” she said laughing.
“The only person she seem to agree with is Christian and I don’t know why. ” Trish said.
“Because I am the boss and all of y’all can’t do without me and just for the record –” His sentence was caught short as the phone began to ring. Ehi got up and answered the phone but no sooner had she answered when they heard a knock on the door. Everyone wondered who the person at the door was since no one else was invited. Christian went over to open the door and stepped back almost immediately “Ehi it seems your boo boo is here.” he said in a hoarse voice.
“Wait what… Who? ” She asked confusedly and Cicero walked in at that moment “Oh…right. Come on in and join us on the floor.” He walked over and sat down on the floor next to her. “Ci this is my manager Trish and Trish this is Cicero we lived next to each other back in Queens.
“Hello. ” He said with a wave.
“Hi. It’s a pleasure meeting you and just for the record I am a huge fan of yours. I always watch your games and congrats on winning the championship.” she replied.
“You are welcome. I think this is where I draw the curtains. Good night y’all.” Trish got up and went upstairs to Mani’s room where she will be spending the night.
“Goodnight.” They chorused after her. They was an awkward silence as they both didn’t say anything and were waiting for Christian to excuse them but he didn’t seem to get the memo because he sat in front of them with his legs crossed. He stared at them just as they were staring at him.
“Christian… some privacy please. ”
“OK” He replied nonchalantly and got up to his feet. He began to walk slowly as if competing in a snail race.
“Happy birthday Hilz. ” she heard from beside her and when she turned to face him he was holding up a wrapped present and before she could reply Christian ran back to their front.
“Hold on a minute. I’m not trying to get into your business or something but what’s Hilz? ”
“That’s her name from back in the days. ”
“Oh please you were the one that started calling me that. ” she said and rolled her eyes.
“Yeah I might have started but the whole block was feeling it and everyone started calling you by that name.” He countered.
“Yeah it’s whatever.” she replied.
“Hmm,i like the name. Lemme go upstairs and meditate. I guess I will see you some other time bro. And Hilz don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. ” He said and went away.
“See you too bro. ” and whispering to her “Is he always like that? ”
“Yeap that’s Christian for you. Commander in chief of light skinned Negros. ” she replied chuckling and began unwrapping the present he had given her.
“He is cool tho. I won’t be staying for long, I have a plane to catch. I thought I would have more time so I could them with you but I can’t. I’m speaking to a group of students in LA tomorrow and I have other projects coming up that I really need to attend to. ”
“Oh. Then why did you come? ” she enquired acidly “I mean what was the point exactly. I can’t remember inviting you so why did you even bother coming. You do this all the time, today is supposed to be about me but somehow you just had make it about yourself. Right? ”
“Here you go again looking for fights where there aren’t . I just left a ten hour shoot to come see you before I hop on a plane back to the west coast and all you can say is I am making it about myself. I flew in last night and have done countless interviews. I have covered a show that’s to air tomorrow before going for the shoot. I’m physically and mentally exhausted but I still came to celebrate with you even though you did not invite me. What more do you want from me? ”
” I think it’s time you leave. I will hate for you to be late for that plane.” She stood up and folded her hands in defiance.
He got up immediately and walked over to the door and turning to face her he asked “By telling me to leave. Do you mean to LA or out of your life?” He watched her as she her chest heaved with emotion but didn’t say anything. “Okay. Call me whenever you are ready. Goodnight.” He left.
She fell to the ground and started to weep and felt someone’s arms around her. She opened her eyes and saw it was Mani. They didn’t say anything but just la!d there.
The next two days were hectic there were shooting an editorial for Vogue. It was the first time they were working for the magazine. In the thick fog of euphoric replenishment she had forgotten what the day meant. It wasn’t until she was about to realise what the day was and she picked her cell and dialled Cicero’s number. The number kept going to voicemail so she left a message asking him to call her when he got it. She knew how close he was to his mum and she didn’t want him to feel alone on the anniversary of her death . She waited for a while and when he didn’t call her back she fell asleep.
“I have told you what I think about all this faux relationships. For goodness sake the last one was a disaster and now you want me to go down that path again. Hell no. ” It was two weeks later and she was in Trish’s office.
“Believe me I understand your fears and that’s why I have decided that this time around we get to call all the shots. I have learnt from my past mistake and I wouldn’t do that to you again.”
“And how sure are you it wouldn’t happen again?”
“For starters he is gay. ”
“Huh” Ehi blinked twice “Hold on come again what did you say?”
“I said he is gay. All he needs for you to do is be his beard. You guys will date from now till after the awards season in February. Trust me he wouldn’t mess this up. ”
“So who is this gay fella I’m supposed to be dating.” she asked with disdain.
“Hold on isn’t he that actor that just divorced that reality star and they have like four kids. I thought you said he is gay. How does he have kids then?” she asked naively.
“Sweetheart I don’t know if you have ever heard about that thing called science. If you haven’t then lemme just tell that it has now made a lot of things possible.” Trish replied sarcastically.
“Are you calling me a dummy? Just because I didn’t finish high school doesn’t mean poo. I’m always reading anything I can lay my hands and my vocabulary is on point.”
“Sorry I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful. It’s just that your question was really silly—” when she saw the look on Ehi’s face,she quickly changed what she was about to say “—You know what let’s just go back to the main topic of discussion. Yes he is gay and his wife was a beard and those kids are his own and I know this because I asked my friend who is rolls in their circle. Long story short here is his wife the former beard fell in love with some guy and filed for divorce and he has this incredible movie that just came out and everybody is saying its going to have lots of wins come the awards season and
our dear actor wants to make sure he nets those wins. Without a wife he needs someone on his arms so he could have that complete image and that’s where we step in. ”
“But who really cares whether he is single or not? ”
“It might not matter to you but it does to certain people and our actor doesn’t want to be found lacking in any department plus you being African American is even a plus because he is now going to make his way into urban news circle. Lets not forget the things we get to gain from this. He is an A-list actor who already have an academy award for a supporting role not to mention the golden globes,emmys,bafta just to mention a few of the awards he got. He is an upgrade from Zeke and we both know it. So what do you say,should I draw up the papers? ”
Taking a deep breath she stared at Trish and shrugged “You might as well. I have already been publicly dumped it’s not like anything could be worse than that but hold on why do you always pair me with white men,do I give a vibe that I don’t like brothers. Huh? ”
“The white dudes are just the ones that come knocking but when a brother comes best believe I will let you know. How do you think your baby daddy will react to this new development?”
“I dunno. I haven’t even spoken to him in two weeks. I called but he didn’t pick nor did he call me back. If that’s all then I should be on my way. I’m in charge of cooking today.”
“Yeah that’s all. Oh and before I forget you should know that Mannah’s personal assistant is his boyfriend and there are always together so mind what you say when we meet them.”
Frowning her face”Yuck. I’m out. Kisses.” She stood up from her seat and walked out.
Trish watched her leave and laughing to herself she whispered “crazy girl.”