False Pretenses (Episode Three). By Peju Amadi

Lucky shook her head vehemently, not happy that her friend had gone back to her old ways “Okiemute!”
Kite rolled her eyes, she hated her full name but Ovo loved calling her that whenever she was in disagreement with her, like the name would drive her point home into Kite’s head.

“Lucky,” Kite tried again “ This guy had the money, he won't miss it.”

“That doesn’t make it right!” Di, her other friend seated across from her added “ Kite, you promised you’d left that life behind.”

“Oh please girls, just because I played a fast one on a rich guy who I’m sure wouldn’t mind, doesn’t mean I’m reverting back to what I was before. Trust me, I’m done with the old me.”

“Kite, there’s no one who wouldn’t mind being stolen from, so stop saying that to make yourself feel
better. What you did was very wrong.” Di told her matter of factly “You have to return it to the store.”
“What? Are you crazy? I’ll get arrested for attempted fraud or something. No good deed goes  unpunished girls, there’s no way in hell I’m returning it besides I need the money badly. I just sent the very last of my savings to my brother today. I owe you guys so much for rent and feeding and was hoping to chip in for next month’s rent. I need the money.”

“We are not complaining about the rent, Kite!” Lucky told her “We don’t mind paying your share, what we don’t like is you stealing. You are going to get yourself in trouble with this.”

“Oh please, I got away, didn’t I? You guys should please relax and order whatever you want on me.” She  told them relaxing in her chair. They were seated at Jevinik, a top restaurant that made very good  Nigerian dishes. She was in the mood for semolina with Afang soup.

“No way,” Lucky said “I’m not partaking of stolen money” She turned to Diamond “You?” Diamond always went along with whatever Lucky decided and this was no different.

“Same here.” Di said crossing her hands over her chest.

“Come on girls!” Kite sat up seeing they were really serious about this.“You’re here already, just….”

Lucky shook her head, she seemed to be doing that a lot tonight. “We’re not happy with you, Okiemute.
I would advise you to start thinking of how you’ll do the right thing. Till then we aren’t talking to you, we
expected better of you.” She got up and Di followed.

“Come on guys, it's not as bad as you’re making it.” Kite could see the girls were really not happy with
her. Without another word, they left.

“Shit!” She’d messed up but somehow she wasn’t remorseful. She was good at what she did, she had a
talent and she had used it and now she had money which she needed really badly. She wasn’t the type that liked depending on others for hand me downs and charity, not when she could easily make money off people who had a lot of it that it was wasting. The girls might be angry now, but she was sure they would come around eventually, they had no choice anyway! She would go ahead and order jare! She was hungry for good food that evening. It had definitely been a while.

Ise had been seated for about fifteen minutes now, waiting for his friend Kenny to show up. He was hungry, all he wanted to do was eat pounded yam and Egusi soup, his favourite meal. He was known for it at the restaurant, so much that they didn’t even take his order anymore. He’d had to instruct them to hold off on the order because he had been waiting for his pal, but knowing Kenny, the guy could have been distracted by something else and wouldn’t bother with calling. He decided to call him. “Kenny, are you aware that I have been waiting a while here at Jevinik for you?”

“Guy, sorry abeg. Something just came up.”

“What? You still at work?” Ise asked.

“No o, na one chick I pick for road, mehn, the chick fine die! She stop use ATM for Wuse 2, I wan go drop am for Area 8. Guy abeg, I’m so sorry, rain check abeg.”

“Kenny! If you had a change of plans why didn’t you call, or do you want me to die from hunger?”

“Sorry abeg, abeg I forget, you suppose see this chick then you go understand. Guy, I swear I’m in love
this time.”

“Please, later tonight you’ll see some other one that will catch your eye and chase that one also.” Ise toldhis friend knowing Kenny was such a womaniser.

Kenny laughed “Guy free me abeg, I’m just enjoying myself.”

Ise couldn’t help the hiss that escaped him as he hung up. Kenny had a problem, the way he followed after females wasn’t normal but that was not his business since he did his job well. Kenny was the finance director for the group and for the past few years he’d held the position, he’d been doing a really good job. His father hadn’t been sure when Ise had appointed him, he had felt Kenny was young, lacked the experience and slightly irresponsible but Ise had brushed it off. He’d believed in his friend who he knew was really intelligent, hardworking and smart. They’d been friends since secondary school where Kenny had been on scholarship up until College in the United states. They’d been in separate states but had kept in touch, Kenny had finished and worked for a few years in the States until Ise had called him back home to take up the director position and he’d done a fine job since. For all his intelligence, it was hard to fathom why he chased skirts the way he did.

Calling on a waiter, he signaled he was ready for his meal, to which the waiter hurriedly went about preparing. No one kept Ise Williams waiting! No one except for Kenny perhaps.

To be continued…