The blackmail

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Ifeoma’s mouth hung open in utter shock as she stared at her phone screen. She swiped through the five photos to a video clip. With sweaty palms, she waited for it to download and watched tearfully as the three minute clip played. She gasped for air, pressing her free hand to her chest, she could barely breath. Rivulets of tears ran down her cheeks. She had to call Chidinma, she had to know. She minimized the app and went to her call log, with shaky hands she dialled Chidinma’s number, she rose to her feet and began pacing the floor, waiting for her best friend to pick up. She picked at the third ring.

“Why are you not picking your calls” Ifeoma queried impatiently.

“Sorry dear, I left it in the room to charge and I’m in__”

“Teddy is blackmailing me.” She couldn’t wait for her to finish.

“What? Which Teddy?”

“Teddy na, the guy we hung out with that day at Play Lounge” Ifeoma’s sweat was getting fulsome by the moment in spite of the air conditioner in the bedroom.

“I don’t understand, why would he blackmail you?” Chidinma sounded genuinely confused.

Ifeoma sat down but that felt uncomfortable so she rose up and continued pacing the floor. “I messed up Chidinma, I messed up real big”

“Messed up how? What are you talking about?” she sounded frantic at this point.

“I had sex with him”

“What?!”

“Oral sex, he didn’t penetrate me though, I didn’t let him.”

“Wait, you slept with Teddy that night?” she dragged the words in a bid to make sure she heard her right.

“Yes, no, it wasn’t actual sex_” Ifeoma defended hastily. “But that’s not the point. He made a video of the whole thing and now he is asking me for 500k”

“Ehn?! He is mad, all these Abuja gigolo’s, for what na?!”

“He said if I don’t give, that he will send the video to my husband.” She collapsed to the floor, spread out her legs powerlessly and flung her free hand over her head “Chidinma I am finished”

“James is calling me, wait, I will call you right back” Chidinma said then hung up.

Ifeoma threw her head back on the couch and let her mind go back to that Friday night.

*****

She had left the office that day feeling over the moon! She playedDavido’s “Mind” on the car stereo, turned up the volume and wiggled her body in the chair as she drove. She won her first case ever. It was a case over a land worth twenty million. The Judge had ruled in her Client’s favor, awarding an extra five million naira for damages and granted all appurtenances to the land. She needed to celebrate her victory.

She turned down the volume of the stereo and dialed Joe’s number.

“Someone is still basking in the euphoria of her win” he said delightfully. She had texted him earlier, as soon as she left the courtroom.

Ifeoma laughed. “I’m so happy ehn! I really wish you were here right now, sex, movies, wine!, I’m in the mood for all of it! Would have literally pounced on you”

“Easy grasshopper” he cautioned gleefully. “Two more months and I’ll be home”

“Yeah”, she said dryly, taking a swerve into her street. “I miss you”

“Me more baby, me more. You should call Chidinma though, you ladies can go celebrate.”

“You think?”

“I’m positive! Don’t let my absence cramp your style, go out with your friend, celebrate! I’m giving you permission. The kids would be fine with Angelica”

“Thank you so much babe! I will call her right away”

“Okay. we’ll have our celebration when I get back, then you can pounce on me all you want”

“I can’t wait” she chuckled. “I’m pulling up at the gate now”

“Okay. Talk to you later”

“Okay baby, bye for now”.

She called Chidinma immediately and she sounded up for it, agreeing on 7 pm. Ifeoma drove into her compound, it was 6.pm on the dot, leaving her an hour to spend with the kids before her night out.

*****

Chidinma and Ifeoma walked into Play lounge, the chill atmosphere with the smell of alcohol and cigarettes welcomed them as they stepped into the playful place. Ifeoma felt weird but in a good way, it had been a long time since she went into any club. Chidinma had succeeded in convincing her to do something different from cinema’s and parks. They made their way amongst the people scattered on the dance floor to the VIP section and paid for a table.

“See that cute guy at the bar has been checking you out since we walked in” Chidinma said over the loud music.

“Which guy?” Ifeoma yelled back.

“Take a look” she turned her in the direction of the guy. Their eyes met, he raised a glass to her in acknowledgment and she turned around with a blush on her face.

Ifeoma moved her gaze around the small space. Chidinma was right, she liked it. The environment was cosy with such a lovely ambiance.

The barman approached them with drinks. “Courtesy of the man at the bar” he said.

Ifeoma glanced in the man’s direction with a smile acknowledging his kind gesture.

“Eh oooh, someone is still in hot demand after 2 children” Chidinma teased. “Sexy mama!”.

“Abeg stop it jor” Ifeoma said helping herself to a glass of Martini. “I just came here to celebrate biko”

She laughed, picking up a drink for herself. They had a few more glasses, soon, they got loose and began dancing to the rhythm of the resonating music, they were having such a good time when he came to join us. “Hi, I am Teddy” he said with a voice that sounded so confident and sure of himself.

He was tall with dark glowing skin. His beard sat so well trimmed on his oval face, he had well sculptured arm’s that looked so strong in his blue T-shirt. She thought he looked so appealing. He wasted no time in joining them on the dance floor, focusing his attention on her, together, they grooved to the sound of the music. He started to whisper compliments into her ears, he told her she was pretty and that she danced so well. She laughed, feeling flattered that such a handsome young man found her attractive, she didn’t think she still had it. It felt nice, really nice. They kept on dancing and he didn’t stop whispering sweet nothings into her ear either.

Over an hour later,  she decided she had enough. She pulled Chidinma to the side and informed her that she needed to leave. Teddy offered to give them a ride back as it was clear they were not in the best state to be left on their own, they had one too many drinks. They trailed behind Teddy as he led them out of the club to his red Venza parked amongst other cars. He held the front door open for Ifeoma and she hopped in, staggering a little. Chidinma got into the back seat and Teddy started the car. He played a Michael Bolton CD as if his looks, the Martini in Ifeoma’s system and the excitement of her win was not enough torture for the day. She felt really horny, it had been six months since Joe made love to her. She was really ready to just get home and wash it off.

He inquired of Chidinma’s address and decided he would drop her off first.

They pulled up at her gate and bade her goodbye, she winked a smile at Ifeoma, suggesting that she enjoys the rest of the night. Ifeoma laughed her off.

“Can I make a quick stop at my hotel? siad Teddy. I just want to get some extra cash for petrol, I’m low”

“Okay” Ifeoma agreed, enjoying Michael Bolton’s husky voice playing on the stereo.

They got to his hotel and he pulled up outside the gate. He insisted he was not comfortable leaving her alone in the car, so she followed him into the building, feeling too tired to argue.

He collected his key from the reception and led Ifeoma to his room. He poured her a drink but she had enough at the club, she wasn’t going to take anymore. “C’mon!” Teddy urged. “One more drink won’t hurt”.

Ifeoma shook her head smiling. He shrugged and turned around in search of his wallet. The way he moved was so precise, he was so fine!

“You know what? I’ll have that drink”

“Changed your mind?” he smirked and she laughed “Yeah”.

She took the drink from him and drank in spare sips, feeling nervous being with him alone but he was nice. He engaged her in conversations and they talked like they had known each other before. He was interesting, he was sweet, he was smart.

She began to drop her defenses blocking out every sense of morality she knew of.  When he leaned in to kiss her, she didn’t object. He trailed her neck with kisses, her chest, all the way down to her thighs. She let him push up her dress and kneel in between her legs. He kissed her inner thighs and her eyes rolled back into the back of her head in pleasure, she felt so good. It wasn’t long before she was shuddering in an orgasm__

*****

Ifeoma’s ringtone jolted her out of her absorption, it was Chidinma, she was calling her back.

“Hello” Ifeoma said shaken up.

“Sorry, James needed me to help him with something, no vex. So what are you going to do now?”

“I don’t know Chidinma, I am so confused I swear”

“How much is he asking for?”

“500k”

“Hmmmm. My dear, at this point I just feel you should give him the money, just to make this go away”

“What if he doesn’t stop. I think I need to go to the police__”

“Ifeoma this is your marriage we are talking about o, I don’t think you should use your status as a Lawyer here, even if you report to the police and they get him arrested, he could still get someone else to release it, just pay him the money, Joe is rich, you even have on your own, pay him off, let’s end this. I’m just feeling so terrible that I left you on your own with him after the kind of drunken night we had. I feel so bad”

“What did James say? what does he think?”

“You want me to tell my fiance that you made out with another man?” Chidinma said with wide eyes

“No!, sorry, I’m not thinking straight. I will wire the money, I just don’t want Joe to hear of this”

“Okay, so sorry dear. In fact I’m coming over to your place now. Don’t send until I get there”

“Okay”

Ifeoma waited for Chidinma, as soon as she got to her house, she made the transfer in her presence. Teddy called immediately but she didn’t want to talk to the scum of a person. Chidinma answered the call and put it on speaker phone, she scolded him, warning him to stay away from her and Teddy agreed. He started to apologise saying that he did it because he needed money to take care of things but Ifeoma wasn’t buying it. He promised to send her all the copies of the video, immediately she got them on WhatsApp, she deleted the entire thing off her phone, she couldn’t let Joe see anything, not even by mistake.

****

Joe got home two months after and Ifeoma was really happy to see him. She felt terrible on the inside but she tried to hide her guilt as much as possible but it was hard, she couldn’t even let him touch her, she felt unworthy. When he started to complain, wondering why she was reluctant to let him make love to her when it had been so long, she had to brace up and let him have his way. She struggled with her conscience everyday, thanking God for Chidinma, who stood by her every step of the way.

Three weeks after Joe’s return, Ifeoma drove to Jenivik restaurant for lunch, she was sitting and enjoying a plate of fried rice when she got a notification from WhatsApp, she opened it and amongst the other six unread messages lay Teddy’s message, she almost choked on her food. He was asking her for the sum of one million naira else he said, he would have no choice but to expose her. Ifeoma couldn’t believe her eyes! She had thought she was done with him. Immediately her phone rang and it was him.

“Teddy! what is this? You told me you would let me be, you gave me your word!” she lashed out.

“Oh baby___”

“I’m not your baby! Don’t you dare call me that”

“Well, It’s just one million, I promise I would let you be this time”

“That is what you said the last time! Why are you doing this?”

“One million” he said sternly. “You have one week to make the transfer otherwise your husband would get the video and I promise I would upload it on xvideos website, would not forget to send you a link.” He hung up.

She was angry. She was scared. She dialed Chidinma and Chidinma asked her to drop by her house. Ifeoma looked at her wrist watch, she still had one hour before her break ended, Chidinma’s house was a twenty minutes drive from where she was, she beckoned to the waiter, paid her off quickly and briskly walked to her car.

She got to her apartment twenty minutes later, storming her way through the door. Chidinma was in the kitchen. Ifeoma helped herself to a chair. She was trembling in anger.

“What happened?”

“It’s Teddy, he is asking me to pay him another money”

Chidinma’s eyes shot out in shock. “But he gave us his word”

Ifeoma was tapping her feet on the ground. “I swear I am confused”

She drew a chair close to her and sat on it. “Are you sure he is not just messing with you? He gave us the copies of the videos”

“What he gave us does not mean anything. I’m sure he retained his copies, this only shows that he was not completely honest, he gave us the videos and pictures but did not delete his”

“My God! This guy is evil. And see the way he was looking so nice and calm that day, who could have known he had such in him”

“I’m not giving him anything” Ifeoma said adamantly.

“What?”

She got up from the chair, Chidinma stood up too. “He’s not going to stop” Ifeoma said. “First it was five hundred thousand, now it’s one million, tomorrow it may be more. Eventually, he’s gonna release it anyway, I mean, if he won’t even listen to you” she indicated with her hands. “Then it can only get worse. I’m going to tell Joe, after which I would get the police involved.”

Ifeoma turned around and began to make her way out of the kitchen.

“No wait” Chidinma called after her. She stopped and turned to her.

“Your marriage” she said. “Men don’t forgive things like these, it would ruin your home.”

“It’s gonna ruin my home eventually anyway but I would rather Frank hears it from me. He loves me, hopefully his love is strong enough to forgive me or maybe not, I don’t know, let me just try.”

“My dear,” Chidinma took her hands tenderly. “I don’t want this one mistake to ruin your life and marriage. You and Joe have such a wonderful thing going on, don’t let small money that you can pay with your eyes closed affect this”

Ifeoma thought about it for a while. Chidinma was right. How could she ever face Joe with such shameless truth. He had been so good to her, this information would kill him.  She lowered herself into the couch.

“Chidinma, I think you are right. I will just pay him off after all I can afford it, but I promise if this foolish guy blackmails me again I am going to the police.

“I think that’s the best thing to do. Infact I have a few connections with the police and we can take it from there”.

Ifeoma made the transfer and threatened Teddy with involving the police if he ever contacted her again.

She hugged Chidinma, feeling very grateful for her support, and discreetness.

***

Chidinma’s phone vibrated. She glanced at the screen then excused herself from James’s presence into the bedroom. She took the call and Teddy’s voice filled her ears.

“Hi Chidinma. The mugu don pay o”

“Na you be the real mumu. I tell you say person husband grab, she sef don hammer big money and all you could ask for was one million”

“Haba, Chidinma I thought she was your best friend why are you doing this”

“Abeg leave that matter jare. You had a simple job to do and you could not even do it. ”

“But Chidinma what do you need all this money for sef?”

“Look, Teddy I need the money to plan my wedding, James is broke and I need to get married. Destination wedding does not come cheap these days.”

“I am not sure I can ask again o, she has threatened me with police”

“Don’t worry she won’t, infact she can’t and make sure the next demand is 2 million…”

 

Written by  OGBUGOH TERUNDU JOY ESQ.

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