Metropole Magazine

 
 
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17 Jan
Jamal is an Abuja-based billionaire bachelor and businessman who works hard and parties hard. Welcome to his world. 
 
Week 14
 
Monday

I left the restaurant last night without speaking again to Zainab. One of my drivers brought some marijuana to my house and I smoked whilst shooting a line of vases in my yard with my revolver, one by one until around 2am. I didn’t want to talk about my father or his murder to anyone. I’d kept all that locked up for years, and I saw no reason why I should talk about it now, despite what Dr Ferral says. If Zainab didn’t want to marry me because of it, fine. She texted saying “It’s OK. I love you.” But I knew it’ll only be a matter of time before she started asking questions. I found myself thinking about Tiwa for the first time in weeks.

Tuesday

Zainab came to see me at my office. “Jamal, I didn’t mean to offend you; I just wanted to find out what happened. I know it’s painful and you don’t want to talk about it.” I told her I was fine, but we both knew I wasn’t.  My driver picked up my uncle from the airport and brought him to my office, but I kept him waiting in reception for an hour on purpose before seeing him. At Tucano’s later with a few associates, someone mentioned that Tiwa was dating one businessman we all knew. I became jealous and took her phone number from one of them.

Wednesday

My uncle was staying at my Asokoro mansion with his wife, and I lent them my Bentley Continental and a driver. They persuaded me to bring Zainab to dinner, but I told them not to mention my parents to her. They liked her and she liked them, but I was cold and unresponsive throughout the meal. I need to go away somewhere, maybe Canada. At home tonight, I dialled Tiwa’s number, but hung up before she answered. I dreamt that I was at my childhood home in Kaduna and someone was chasing me with a knife, and as I ran into the kitchen I tripped over my father’s bleeding dead body.

Thursday

Aliyu returned from his honeymoon in the Bahamas today. “Congrats, I hear you’ve set a wedding date!” he said when we spoke on the phone. I was silent, before telling him about the newspaper clipping Zainab found. “I knew something like this will happen one day,” he said. I ignored two calls from Zainab, and picked up the third. “Jamal, you can’t stay annoyed when anyone mentions it...” I hung up. Her father’s business dealings was keeping me busy, otherwise I would have travelled.

Friday

I met with Aliyu, who looked fresher and more content. “So what will you do?” he asked. I shrugged and held my head in my hands. All the fear, shock, anger and confusion of 13 years ago was flooding back in sharp flashes, and the nightmares had returned. They stopped five years ago after I became a billionaire, but now Zainab had reopened the floodgates. “She didn’t mean any harm Jamal, you know that,” Aliyu said. I did. But I still resented her for the pain her inquisition was causing me. And our conversations had become lifeless: she timid, me detached. 

Saturday

A classmate from America, Carl Pendergrass, was in town doing a report for a newspaper he worked for. My driver picked him up in my Range Rover Evoque and Daniel prepared a good Pounded yam meal. We ate and reminisced in my oak-furnished, chandeliered dining room. That night, my driver brought him two statuesque, dark-skinned ladies, the kind he likes. He was surprised when I didn’t join the party. Instead I smoked, swam in the pool, shot down all my glasses and tumblers in my front lawn with an array of pellet guns and burnt Congolese bank notes throughout the night.

Sunday

I slept for an hour and woke up at 5am tired and angry about my nightmares.  I drove furiously to and from Kaduna in 4 hours in my Aston Martin, just to clear my head. My uncle wanted to see Zainab’s father but I told him not yet. “Don’t let what happened to your father spoil your relationship," he said. "She’s a sweet girl." I finally decided to tell Zainab everything tonight. When she came, I began to talk, and before I knew it I was crying with my head on her lap, and she was crying too.

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10 Jan

Jamal is an Abuja-based billionaire bachelor and businessman who works hard and parties hard. Welcome to his world.

 
Week 13

Monday

The sex scandal made the news in Liberia, and when I arrived a journalist for the financial pages of a national newspaper asked me about it during our business interview and I walked out. ZeeCG had several pending contracts in Monrovia which I finalised before cutting the ribbon to officially open our massive Quantas Estates, with 5,633 units, malls and hotels. It’s my first completed housing development outside Nigeria and I was proud. Publicity and speeches took up my day before dining at a nice Lebanese restaurant with some executives.  

Tuesday

After some early meetings at ZeeGC’s head office in Monrovia, I called my mother in Canada for the first time in six years. “Don’t you dare marry that girl! Her family did some terrible things to make their money, if you...” I hung up. After a teleconference with the rest of ZeeGC’s MDs around Africa, I agreed to go to a topless bar with the executives from yesterday, but left after one lap dance. Zainab wasn’t too happy, but I told her I needed to be strong enough to resist temptation rather than stay away, as a lot of deals are clinched in bars. I promised to imagine each temptress as Cynthia.

Wednesday

I returned to Nigeria via Lagos where my uncle lived. “You know your mother still hasn’t healed from all that happened. Just give her time...” “But it’s been six years!” I exclaimed. He calmed me down and promised to round up my other family members based in Nigeria so they can formally meet with Zainab’s dad. Zainab was concerned because she had never seen or spoken to my mother or any of my family. “You never talk about them, even Aliyu refuses to tell me about them, except that your father’s late and you’re not close to your mother.” I spent a restless night at my uncle’s house.

Thursday

I arrived in Abuja and Zainab met me for brunch cooked by my chef Daniel on my jet. I was still unable to discuss my family much to her annoyance, but I didn’t want to go back there in my mind. I was trying to heal. Dr Ferral told me, in one of our increasingly regular phone conversations, that it was important to confide in my wife-to-be about my past. I spent the day at my spa in Asokoro getting massages and doing yoga with my personal fitness instructor. I needed to rest after all my travelling. At dinner with Zainab’s father, Dr Bolagun and five others, we discussed a strategy for getting his business out of trouble. But I didn’t mention my plans with his daughter.

Friday

My uncle called me this morning, furious. “Why didn’t you tell me about the sex tape? They said you nearly killed the prostitute involved? What nonsense is this?” I explained it all to him and assured him Zainab’s family was fine with it. But my uncle wasn’t happy and said he’ll be in Abuja next week. I hate this interference in my life. If not because I needed his presence for the wedding, I would never have contacted him. My mother sounded tired when I called her again. “Will you come to my wedding?” I asked. I was not surprised by her reply: “No.”  

Saturday

The London-based woman that gossiped to the press about me at the height of the scandal had her visa revoked after I made some calls; she will be deported back to Nigeria next month. Revenge is sweet! I arranged a skiing trip for Zainab and I next week, and my personal shopper flew to London to get us designer ski wear from Harrods. At Tucano’s this evening, Stanley still couldn’t believe I’d stopped sleeping around. “All the girls I’d been with before wanted fun, money or marriage, and I always knew how to handle that” I told him. “But none had ever tried to spoil my name. I can’t risk that happening again.”

Sunday

I woke up late and spent the morning in bed, trying to both relax and figure out how to discuss my mother with Zainab. After a few hours at the office, I met her at Chases’ for dinner. “You remember my friend Vicky, the one that works for a newspaper?” I nodded. “Well I asked her to help me investigate, and she found this in their archives” Zainab slid the newspaper cutting towards me. The headline read ‘Businessman Knifed to Death in His Home.’ I froze, my heart beating. “It’s about your father isn’t it?” she asked. I nodded.

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