I tilted this one “Aｂｕｊａ Ｔｏ Ｌａｇｏs”
Adaora is a “call girl” who takes on a client named Clifford. He wants her to accompany him to a convention in Lagos. While both of them were away, they learned about each other and themselves.
Can a high-priced hooker fall in love?
Aｂｕｊａ Ｔｏ Ｌａｇｏs
“Hello, Mr. Clifford?” she said as the door opened.
The man at the door was in his mid-thirties. Attractive, a little average-looking.
“Yes,” he replied in a kind voice. “You must be Adaora. Please come in.”
“Thank you,” she said. He led her through the large house to the kitchen area. It looked like he had been reading the paper.
He motioned to one of the chairs at the table. “Can I get you something to drink? Coke? Orange juice?”
“No, thank you,” she replied, wondering why he would be hiring a call girl. The house had a warm feeling to it.
Topping off his wine glass, the man sat at the table opposite her.
“Has Omalicha explained the situation to you?” he asked casually.
“Not really, Mr. Clifford. She—”
“Please,” he waved his hand. “Call me Clifford.”
“Thank you, Clifford. She just said you were going out of town next week and needed someone to go with you.” Adaora shifted uncomfortably. She didn’t like taking on long-term clients because they sometimes wanted a relationship she didn’t. Adaora was in it for the money; nothing more, nothing less. And she liked one-night stands. At first, she had thought to turn this job down, too, but Omalicha promised that she’d make too much to pass it up.
“That’s essentially correct,” he said. Adaora looked him over again. He was obviously well-to-do, but not in an arrogant, opulent way. The way he spoke to her wasn’t condescending, unlike most of her other clients. He was treating her as if she were his equal. In a sense, she was; they were both business people, and this was just another business relationship for each of them.
“I’ve got a conference next week in Lagos and I’d like for you to come with me.” He reached into the briefcase under the table and pulled out a legal pad with some notes on it.
“We’ll be gone on Sunday through Sunday. The conference has several social and business functions. You will accompany me to all of them, although there will also be plenty of time for you to spend on your own while I’m in meetings.”
He reached into the briefcase again and brought out an envelope. He counted out some naira notes (One thousand) and pushed them across the table.
“This is for your time today. If you would like to go to Lagos with me, there are a couple of errands I would like for you to run with me.” Clifford paused for a moment and then flashed Adaora an embarrassed smile. “I’m not really sure how this works, so you might want to take over from here.”
“What do you expect from me while we’re on this trip?” she asked, slipping the money into her billfold. She always liked to get everything on the table from the start. Omalicha maintained a stable of good-looking and sexually adept call girls but was very discriminating with her clientele. She screened all prospective clients and did not tolerate any abuse of her girls. Omalicha had an interview with Clifford before sending Adaora out to meet him, and she was generally a pretty good judge of character. Adaora got the feeling that Clifford was going to be one of her better jobs.
“I need someone to accompany me to all of the social activities. We’ll come up with something to explain our … relationship. After the meetings, there is usually a meet-and-greet each night. I will pay for you to register with the conference as a guest which will get you into all the functions. I will also pay for your food while we’re there and any activities we do together,” he said. “Anything you do on your own—like shopping or gambling—comes out of your pocket.”
Clifford shifted uncomfortably. “In addition, you will be available for me sexually all week.”
Adaora smiled inwardly but kept her expression carefully neutral. This was definitely his first time with a “working girl”.
“Let’s talk pay,” Adaora said, a typical Igbo girl who loved money.
“Omalicha should have told you that my rate is 100k (Hundred thousand naira) per day.”
“I don’t do anything kinky,” she said and rattled off a list of acts she would not perform or take part in, “And you must wear a condom for anything involving penetration.”
“I was going to ask you about that … I really don’t like using condoms,” Clifford’s voice trailed off. Omalicha had told him about this provision that she demanded of all her girls, but he had learned in life that everything is negotiable. He watched Adaora’s expression carefully, bracing himself for the rejection of his proposal.
“What if we both go in for STD tests—which I will pay for—and if I paid for the birth control method of your choice?”
Adaora thought for a second.
“If you see something you don’t like on the tests, you can back out at any time,” he continued, watching her eyes.
“I’ve had Norplant for three years now,” Adaora said, her face unreadable. “Birth control isn’t the problem.”
Clifford thought she would probably go for it, but that the businesswoman in her wanted something in return.
He must really hate condoms, Adaora thought. She wavered for a second, but when she added up in her head how much money she would be passing up if she said no, she gave in.
“Okay,” she said. “But if anything shows up on your tests, the whole deal is off.”
“Excellent,” Clifford smiled, and Adaora was immediately taken aback. There was something about him. His smile was very disarming and sincere. In her line of work, cynicism was the rule, not the exception. “If you don’t mind, let’s get running on our errands.”
He finished off the last few bites of his bagel, grabbed his half-empty wine glass, and then retreated into his bedroom.
Adaora took the time to look around his kitchen and living room. He had not decorated it; that much was clear. In a couple of places, there were piles of papers: notes, bills, unopened letters, and the like. Not dirty or messy. Everything was organized in some kind of system, and Clifford surely knew where things were, but it appeared to be a lot of clutter.
By comparison, the rest of the house was filled with antiques and knickknacks.
The furniture matched the paint on the walls which matched the borders which matched the pillows on the couch. There was artwork on the walls that no single straight man would have ever bought or arranged. It was as if someone with good taste and an eye for detail had decorated the house for Clifford, then left, and he had never changed a thing.
After a couple of minutes, Clifford led Adaora out to his car and they ran their errands. Along the way, they talked. Of course, he didn’t want any of his professional colleagues to know he had brought a call girl to a conference, so they got to know one another. His complete and utter lack of pretense soon had Adaora forgetting that he was paying her to be with him, even if there was no sex involved. He asked about her interests, and while he never asked about her work, he seemed genuinely interested in her personally.
Their first stop was a doctor’s office. After signing in, the two were taken back for a physical examination and blood screenings. The process was fast and mostly painless.
Next, the two went to a Lasik clinic, where it seemed like they were ready to take her on the spot. Their eagerness put Adaora off, but when Clifford told her that he had his own laser eye surgery there, she felt a little better. She made an appointment for a day when a friend could pick her up but before their trip.
After a quick bite to eat, their final stop was a tailor shop. Soon, Adaora was up on a stand as a young woman quickly took her measurements. Clifford did not explain, but throughout the day, he was polite and kind.
With their errands complete, Clifford drove back to his house.
“It was nice to meet you,” he said with a warm smile. She found that she had very much enjoyed the other’s company. It had been a long time since she had spent time with a man who did not want to just do his business and then be done with her.
“It was my pleasure,” Adaora replied with a matching smile.
Clifford handed her one final packet. Inside the envelope were five more naira notes and a list.
“There are some things you will need for the trip. It is business, after all, and you should be dressed appropriately. If you don’t have something, there should be more than enough money there to go get it. If you spend more than that, you’re on your own.”
Adaora stared at him for a second, a flash of disbelief in her eyes. None of her clients had ever offered her even a fraction of the consideration, generosity, or respect Adaora had shown her.
“If you have any problems with the Lasik place, give me a call.” He handed her a business card with his home phone and his cell phone number on it.
“Our test results should be back by Thursday. Can you meet me at the doctor’s then?”
Nothing came back on either of their tests and Sunday morning the pair was on a plane to Lagos. It was the first time she had ever flown first-class, and she had 350K in cash in her purse, an advance on her services for the week. Also in her purse was a big bottle of saline drops to keep her eyes moist, but otherwise, her surgically-enhanced vision was a perfect 20/20.
The two concocted a story claiming to be business partners with something of a romantic interest between them. The show they were attending was a food and beverage expo, specifically for entrepreneurs opening and running non-franchise restaurants. Clifford had inherited a fair amount of money from his parents and went to University. After graduating from a private University in Abuja, he earned a Ph.D. in history from the United Kingdom and had written a couple of reasonably successful books.
Although he did fairly well for himself as an author and as a University professor, he also wanted to try his hand at business. He had saved up some money and was about to invest it all in an Italian restaurant. Adaora wondered if he was going to write off her involvement in this trip as a business expense.
He asked a lot of questions about her, which she answered. Sometimes evasively, usually honestly. Because of his easygoing manner, she never even considered lying to him. However, when she tried to probe him about his personal life, he said virtually nothing.
Their plane landed at Murtala Muhammed International Airport and soon the two were at the rental car counter, picking up a Toyota Corolla. He then drove to their hotel, Lagos Intercontinental Hotel. Even though it was spring, it was still warm out, so they were glad that they would be spending the majority of their stay indoors.
After dropping the car off with the valet and checking into the hotel, they went up to their room. Adaora was surprised that Clifford had not laid a hand on her throughout the entire trip. He was in business mode. They got settled in and began unpacking a few things.
It was a one-bedroom suite, located in the heart of Lagos. There was a sitting room with a table, desk, and hookup for a laptop computer. A cabinet hid the television. Through a doorway, there was a bedroom with a large bathroom that featured a stand-up shower and jacuzzi tub.
Adaora checked the clock. It was 2:00 pm
“Let’s go get registered,” Clifford said, pulling a folder out of his briefcase. “Would you like to be a guest or a conferee?”
“What’s the difference?”
“About a hundred thousand naira,” he smiled. “A conferee gets to attend lots of boring seminars. Of course, you could probably go to the seminars anyway. I doubt they’ll be checking name badges at the doors. Want to open a restaurant?”
Adaora smiled back. “No, but thanks for the offer.”
The pair went down to the conference center, which was bustling with activity. Both were dressed casually and by all appearances, they were just another pair of entrepreneurs.
He registered her as a conferee anyway, just to get an extra packet with all the free stuff, which included a conference schedule, name badges, a big cache of goodies from some vendors attending the conference, meal tickets for the luncheons, and a sturdy backpack to hold everything.
Along the way, Clifford was quick to meet as many folks as he could and began networking with a vengeance. Adaora stood quietly at his side, making polite conversation, appearing interested, and letting him do all the talking.
After a while, the pair headed back up to their room. Clifford went into the bathroom and washed up. Adaora waited for him, not really knowing what to expect. She was a call girl, but this was turning out to be the most unusual job she had ever taken. She checked her watch; some of her other clients would have banged her three times by now.
“There’s a lounge down on the first floor,” he said to her. “Freshen up and we’ll go get something to eat.”
Then he was gone.
A little while later, she found him sitting at the bar. He was wearing a polo shirt and khakis. A drink sat on the counter, but it was nearly full as if he had only sipped at it. Adaora sat down next to him. He must not have heard her because he continued to stare off, his eyes blankly fixed on some point well outside the floor that was in front of him.
The soft touch of her hand on his arm brought Clifford back to the present.
“I’m sorry,” he stammered. “I didn’t see you come in. You look great.”
Unconsciously, Adaora blushed. She had never been complimented like that by a client. If they said anything at all about her appearance, it was usually that she was hot or sexy. And then it was off to third base.
“Thank you,” she managed to reply. She didn’t think much about what she had on, a simple blouse and skirt. Her hair was pulled back and she had put on a little make-up, but she otherwise felt rather plain.
“Are you hungry?” Clifford asked.
“I’m starved, to tell the truth.”
“Where would you like to go?”
Adaora had to pause for a moment. This job was getting weirder by the minute. No client had ever asked her what she liked, and he was ready to let her pick the restaurant. She was half-tempted to mention the very pricey steak house in the hotel just to see if he would take her there but decided against pushing her luck.
“I don’t know. I’ve never been to this place before.”
To be continued..
Frank The Writer