“How do you know her?” Franklin asked, breaking the silence, “Weren’t you the one acting like you’d never seen the four walls of a strip club a few minutes ago?”
“She’s my wife’s younger sister” Jeff fired back, “you should be ashamed of yourself preying on innocent young girls like her instead of encouraging them to face their studies” he spat in disgust.
Lola stood watching in silence, she felt naked and ashamed of herself but she knew if she didn’t do something her sister might get to hear about it and that was the last thing she needed.
A friend had introduced her to the stripping job only a month ago when the strip club just opened and she convinced her that it’d be a good way to make extra cash; at first she had been reluctant but she assured her that none of their school mates would find out because the club was exclusively for older men, little did she know that she would bump into her brother-in-law after working for barely more than a month.
“You’re no better than your friend” she finally found the courage to say, “what are you doing here yourself? Aren’t you one of the greedy men patronising young girls like me?” she asked, “So this is what you’ve been doing in my sister’s absence? Going from strip club to strip club huh?” She probed further, she could tell she was getting the desired response from the troubled look on his face. “What nonsense are you trying to say?” Jeff retorted in his defense, “Franklin practically forced me to come with him” Jeff found himself explaining, “well it’s your word against mine,if you tell Lara what you just saw, then you’re going to have to also explain what you were doing receiving lap dances from strippers in the club” Lola said sliding the door open and storming out of the compartment.
“You’re such a party pooper, I should have listened to you and dumped you back at home instead of bringing you along” Franklin sulked as he watched his succulent strawberry walk away, “I’ve had enough” Jeff shouted angrily, “I’m going home.” he said leaving Franklin behind to continue sulking on the sofa.
The next morning Lola returned home to meet Jeff in the sitting room absent-mindedly watching tv, he was probably still worried about the previous night; she passed by him without saying a word and went upstairs to her room.
“Lola we need to talk” Jeff said chasing after her, she ignored him and continued walking up the stairs till she reached her room and kicked the door shut, slamming it in his face.
“It’s important we have this discussion” Jeff insisted banging on the door, “what discussion?” She shouted to him from behind the door, “let’s talk about yesterday and reach an agreement before Lara returns this evening” he said, Lola remained silent refusing to say a word, “please” Jeff pleaded still banging on the door, “it’s important”, Lola ignored him, remaining silent so Jeff sat on the floor in front of the door waiting patiently for her to come out; she finally came out of the room when she realised Jeff wasn’t going to go away, “what exactly do you want?” She asked,
“I already told you, I just want us to settle things before Lara gets back” Jeff replied, “okay” she said standing at the door with arms folded across her chest, “start talking”
“Is there anything you want that your sister doesn’t provide?” He asked, “no” Lola replied looking puzzled, “did she tell you at anytime that she was going to stop paying your tuition fees at school” Jeff probed further, “no, she didn’t. What’s with all the silly questions?” She asked rolling her eyes, “I thought by now you’d have gotten the point” Jeff began, “why have you chosen to sell yourself so cheap?” he asked, “since when did you become a stripper?”
“It’s none of your business what I do with my life” Lola barked, “I’m only looking out for you” Jeff replied gently, “maybe you should look out for yourself first” Lola interrupted, “what was a married man like you doing in a strip club?”
“I already told you before, my friend tricked me into going there; I had no idea that was where he was taking me” Jeff explained, “tell that to the birds” Lola replied heading back into her room, “I’m going to have to tell Lara about this” Jeff said stopping her in her tracks, “well wouldn’t you be digging a grave for yourself if you did that? How would you explain your presence at the strip club?” Lola asked, “I’m going to tell her the truth” Jeff replied, “I know she’d believe me” he said rubbing his head.
“Like I said before,it’s your word against mine. I’m going to make her believe you come to the strip club every week and I’ll get all the other strippers to testify to it” Lola threatened, “you know that’s not true, why would you want to do that?” Jeff asked, “I won’t do it unless you make me do it, the choice is yours” she said going into her room and locking the door behind her.
Much later in the evening that day, Lara returned home from her trip. Jeff had made sure to pick Jojo up from Aunty Fanny’s place before she arrived, he didn’t want her coming home to meet Jojo’s absence. Although he was happy to see her, he still felt a pang of guilt when he remembered the strip club episode with Lola; he wished there was a way he could tell Lara about it without implicating himself but there was no way so he had no choice than to keep quiet about it.
“How did your trip go?” He asked while they sat at the table eating dinner, “I don’t know what you said to Mr Benson” she began shaking her head, “but thanks to whatever it was you said, he was mad at me throughout the flight, he barely said a word to me.” She narrated, “Thankfully by the next day he had come around and it went well eventually” she replied.
“We’ve scaled through the first round so they’ve asked us to come for another presentation next week” she announced. “you’re traveling again next week?” Jeff asked spitting out his food, “this is ridiculous!” he exclaimed banging the table so hard that his hands hurt. “I understand how you feel” she replied calmly “but this deal is important for us; if it goes through, I’ll make enough money to start up your business. I’m doing this for us” she explained, “that’s nonsense!” Jeff shouted standing up, “you’ve barely stayed at home for 24 hours and you’re telling me you’re off to Enugu again next week, I’m totally sick of this” he said pushing his plate away and marching upstairs to the room.
Unfortunately, his shouting couldn’t change anything, by the same time the following week, Lara was off to Enugu again, this time she was going to be away for 2 weeks.
The cycle continued, Lola moved out of the house and Jeff had to drop Jojo at Aunty Fanny’s place.
One week night, Jeff had fallen asleep on the couch, only to be woken by a knock at the door. He was surprised to find Lola standing there dressed skimpily as usual. From the way she staggered into the house, it was obvious that she was a little tipsy, so without saying a word, he opened the door, let her in and guided her up the staircase to her room to lie on the bed; he was already to turning to leave when Lola pulled him back by his shirt, “thank you” she said looking up at him, “you’re welcome” Jeff said gently pulling his shirt from her grip, “please don’t go” she begged pulling his shirt again, this time by the collar and making him loose his balance and fall to the bed, “I don’t want to sleep alone tonight” she begged, “you don’t know what you’re saying. You’re drunk!” he shouted attempting to get up from the bed as she climbed on top of him and started to undress, “I’m not drunk, I’m only a little tipsy” she whispered, dangling her breasts in his face, and breaking down his defense, he felt weak all of a sudden, he could feel his little friend between his legs rise up to betray him; he suddenly realised that she wasn’t called “succulent strawberry” for nothing. He knew he should get up and run as fast as his legs could carry him but he couldn’t find the strength, it was almost a month since the last time his wife made love to him; his spirit was willing to resist the temptation, but his flesh was weak…