Before my lips could reach hers, something made me stop.
She blinked and gazed fixedly up at me.
“What’s the matter?”she asked.
“Nothing. It’s just…I don’t want you to think I’m taking advantage of you, of the situation.”
“Ha! Take advantage? Of me?” she scoffed. “What am I? 14? I’m 26 years old! I know what I want!”
Her arms encircled my neck and she drew my face down to hers.”It’s you, Tobi. I want you! I’ve been waiting for you to make the first move all this while. But you’re kinda slow. So…”
And she kissed me, a soft, light kiss like a teaser. I sighed and held her closer to me, my lips crushing hers in a kiss that deepened with each passing minute- till we were totally so engrossed in each other, the noises from the party seemed like a faint echo in the background. ..
Being with Ruby was great especially at the beginning. We spent a lot of time together mostly at weekends when I was off duty and she did not have any music engagement.
She no longer sang at the club regularly after her debut- just a few times a month.
Then, as her music gained wider acceptance and her popularity grew, things changed gradually.
There were times we would plan to go on a date, at the last minute, she would call to cancel, citing work commitments.
“So sorry Tobi! This just came up. I need to go to Abuja to perform at a wedding. I’ll make it up to you, I promise, darling!”
“You said that last month when the same thing happened,” I grumbled over the phone.
“I know, honey. But I mean it this time,” she said earnestly “You know what? When I return from Abuja, let’s go away for a couple of days. Just you and I. There’s this new resort near Epe- it’s owned by Eazzy’s friend. He said I could come stay anytime I want. So, please Tobi…”
Whenever she pleaded with me in that angelic voice of hers, I just could not stay angry with her for too long. So, I gave in.
Besides, despite all my grumbling, I was very proud of her success, her growing fame- within a short time, her debut single ‘Memories of you’ had become a big hit. She was sought after for interviews by the media and and was in demand by show promoters to perform at their shows and events both within and outside the country.
She was also working hard on her debut album so she was very busy. As her boyfriend, I tried to understand but it was difficult.
I loved Ruby very much and what guy in love would not want to spend time with his girl?
Escaping From It All…
I tipped the hotel staff that had carried our luggage to our chalet and after he had gone, I closed the door and turned round to see Ruby stretched out on the bed.
“Hmmm. So comfortable. I feel like sleeping right away,” she said, her eyes closed.
I glanced at my watch. “It’s early yet, not yet 6 pm,” I sat on the edge of the bed and pulled off my shoes. “Why don’t you take a shower, then we go look for something to eat.”
“I’m too tired, Tobi to even breath! Let me just rest a bit, ok. You go bathe- I just need a little nap and I’ll be fine,” she said, turning on her side on the bed.
She must have been really tired for I could soon hear her soft snores as I undressed.
I stood gazing down at her, noting how relaxed her face looked in sleep. I bent down to smoothen her hair off her face then unbuttoned her top so she could be more comfortable.
Then I pulled off my boxers and went to the bathroom.
We were at the Ocean View Resort near Epe, some distance away from the city. I had picked Ruby up from the airport on arrival from Abuja and we had driven straight there. It was just the two of us, to chill, with no work commitments, engagements or other stuff to disturb us.
Apart from her manager, Tega, Ruby had not told anyone where she was going.
“I told Tega, I would kill him if he told Eazzy where I was,” she had said on the drive down. “If he knows I’m back in Lagos, he would have one or two engagements lined up for me this weekend. I’m too tired to even sing a single note right now!”
I thought of all the fun things we would do during the three days we planned to stay and I smiled, whistling softly as I let the cool water flow over my head down my body.
I knew we had to make the most of this break as we might not have another chance like this in a long while. Ruby’s album was due for launching in a couple of months or so and she would be extremely busy with the rounds of interviews, TV appearances and other forms of promotional activities for the album.
The time I had spent with her had opened my eyes to the other side of the entertainment industry- that behind all the glitz, glamour and fame that the fans saw, was a lot of hard work, commitment, intrigues that went with the job.
I sighed and reaching for the soap and sponge, began to scrub my body…
The sky was getting dark and sprinkled with a few stars when I stepped out on the small verandah of the chalet.
I sat on one of the two cane chairs there and opened my laptop.
I wanted to do a bit of work on the presentation my firm was making for the construction of an office complex on Victoria Island the following week before Ruby woke up.
I must have been so engrossed in my work that I did not hear the door open.
“I thought you said no work on this trip,” said Ruby.
I turned round and smiled up at her.
“You’re finally up. I thought you were going to sleep for the next two days.”
She laughed and came to stand by me, her hand on my shoulder.
I placed the laptop on a small side table and drew her on my lap.
“Hmmm. You smell good, babe,” I said, my face buried in her neck.
She laughed again.
“I took a quick shower after I woke up.”
“You should have called me to join you. It’s been a while since we showered together.”
“You’ve already taken your bathe,” she reminded me.
“I know. But we’ve not had time for so many things lately.”
“Like?” she asked, her brows raised.
I cupped her face in my hands.
“Like this,” I said huskily as I kissed her.
Her lips parted under mine and my hand caressed her smooth thighs, then slipped inside her T shirt.
“Someone could see us,” she whispered.
“No one will. Our chalet is a bit secluded from the others,” I said. “Let’s go inside anyway.”
I lifted her in my arms and carried her inside the chalet, closing the door behind me with my foot.
I woke up early the next morning at about 6 am to find myself alone in the big, double bed.
I sat up, yawned and looked round the room, wondering where Ruby was.
I pulled on my boxers and was about going to search for her when the bedroom door opened and she stepped in.
“Where did you go?” I asked, getting back on the bed.
“I took a walk to breath some fresh air and clear my head,” she said. “The air here is so cool and fresh.”
“It should be…we’re in the countryside afterall.”
She slipped into the bed and lay besides me. “And it makes one hungry. I feel like having breakfast already. Let’s order for some food.”
“We can do that later. Right now, I’ve a different kind of ‘breakfast’ in mind,” I said, turning to draw her to me.
“Tobi,” she said, laughing. She tried to move to the far end of the bed but I caught her and pinned her arms on the bed.
“The ‘big wolf’ is hungry and needs some delicious food,” I said with a smirk. I kissed her sweet lips then buried my face in her warm bosom.
She raised my face up to gaze intently at me.
“I love you Tobi. You know that, don’t you? ”
I nodded. “I’m crazy about you, too.”
“I’m so glad I have you in my life. Being a successful artiste is great. But without someone like you to share my life with, my success will be meaningless. So, don’t you ever think of leaving me.”
I smiled at her. “Nothing can ever keep me away from you, Ruby.”
“Promise?” she said earnestly.
I nodded again. I kissed her eyes then dropped light kisses on her neck as I caressed her body.
Her moans increased as my fingers skimmed over her tummy, down to her thighs …
Three Weeks Later…
It was past nine o’clock in the morning but Ruby was still in bed, sound asleep. She did not have any engagement that day so she was sleeping in, taking things easy.
Then a persistent knocking on her bedroom door woke her up.
She groaned, rolled on her back and yawned.
“Who’s it?” she asked irritably as she removed the black eye mask on her face.
The door opened to admit Rume, her younger sister who lived with her in her new home in Lekki. In her hand was a mobile phone.
“Sister, good morning.”
Ruby sat up and glared at her. “I thought I said I did not want to be disturbed till at least 11 o’clock… unless the house was on fire or something, ” she grumbled.
“Sorry sister. But you have an urgent call from Eazzy.” she said. “I told him you were asleep but he insisted I should wake you up. He said you should come over to the office as soon as possible.”
“What’s so urgent that can’t wait? Tell him I’ll call back later,” she said, lying down on the bed.
“Ok.” she conceded, turning towards the door. “He didn’t say much but I think it has to do with a story about you in the paper.”
“Not again!” she grumbled. “So, who am I dating this week?” she said sarcastically.
“I don’t know. I haven’t seen the story. It’s in ‘City People’,” Rume said, shrugging.
“Ok. Will be up soon,” she said, turning her face to the wall.
She was not worried about the latest story because she knew it would be the usual speculative reports about her especially her love life and relationships with men.
Since her debut and the popularity of her single which had even reached No.1 on the music charts, she had become quite famous. With fame had come a loss of privacy and increased media interest in her personal life which she often found intrusive.
Nearly every week, there would be a report on her latest romance with all kinds of people including fellow artistes some of whom she had never met.
She had even been linked with a popular musician who was also on Eazzy’s label. And all because she had appeared on a musical video with him and he was doing a collabo with her on her new album!
She had learnt to ignore most of the stories on her and had told Tobi to do the same.
“They need to sell their newspapers and magazines so they create these fake ‘scandals’ to boost sales,” she often told him. “Ignore them.”
The only consolation was that the media was not aware of her relationship with Tobi as she had kept that part of her life strictly private. She did not want all aspects of her life in the public domain, she needed to keep some part of her life from media scrutiny.
But she often wondered how long before some nosy reporter got wind of the story and splashed it all over the papers.
“Hope not soon,” she mumbled to herself as she closed her eyes…
When Ruby arrived the studio later that evening, she went straight to Eazzy’s office.
“What was so important that you had to drag me all the way from Lekki to Ikeja on a day I should be resting?” she asked as soon as she stepped into his office.
“Hello, Ruby,” he greeted, smiling at her. “Didn’t your parents teach you how to greet your elders?” he added wryly.
“Elders ke?” she scoffed at him. “Anyone hearing you would think you were 65 instead of 30!”
He grinned. “How’s my beautiful star doing today?”
She walked up to his large desk and perched on a corner of it.
He studied her face briefly. She was not wearing any make up and he noted the dark circles under her eyes.
“You look like crap. You sick?”
She leaned on the desk, close to his face.
“It’s called overwork, Eazzy! You throw so many engagements at me, sometimes I don’t even remember to eat!”
“Sorry about that, Ruby. Things will ease up a bit once the album is out. I’ll arrange a vacation for you once we’re through with promoting it. You can go anywhere you wish- Ghana, London, South Africa- just say it and it’s done!”
“As you wish, ” she said. “Anyway, what’s this all about? I know you didn’t call me here to enquire about my wellbeing!”
He waved at a chair by the desk. “Why don’t you sit down so we can talk?”
“How’s Tobi?” he asked.
He looked surprised. “He is? That means he hasn’t seen the story.”
He picked up a copy of ‘City People’ magazine and waved it at her. “I suppose you’ve seen this?”
“Rume mentioned a story they carried about me. But I haven’t had time to read it. Who has time for junk like that?”
“You should read it Ruby. It’s not too good. Not good at all!”
Ruby eyed the magazine, a look of irritation on her face.
“What’s it about anyway? ” she said, snatching the magazine from him. She gazed at her picture on the cover and frowned. “They couldn’t even use a good photo of me,” she said grumpily, as she opened the magazine and quickly read the story.
The report was about a lady named Folake who claimed to be a former fiance of Tobi; she said Tobi and her were planning to get married until Ruby appeared on the scene and ‘stole her man from her’. “Ruby presents the image of a sweet, innocent lady to the public. But it’s all fake! She’s nothing but a scheming bitch, a husband – snatcher who took my man away!” she was quoted as saying, along with other allegations that made Ruby’s blood boil as she read the story.
“You see what I mean?” said Eazzy.
“So?” Ruby retorted. “It’s a bunch of lies and you know it! The woman’s lying!”
“But the public doesn’t think so! They believe whatever they read.”
“Too bad! The truth is she and Tobi dated sometime in the past- they broke up over a year before Tobi and I even met! If the public wants to believe her lies, so be it. There’s nothing I can do about it!”
“Of course there is!” Eazzy said. “Your album will soon drop. We don’t need a scandal now. So, we have to look for a way to avoid anything that will tarnish your image. So, ” he said, wagging a finger in her face. “You’ll have to do exactly as I say!”
“Says who? What am I supposed to do?” she said defiantly, glaring at him.
“You can’t possibly be serious, Eazzy,” Ruby said, a deep frown creasing her smooth brow on hearing his solution to the problem- ending her relationship with Tobi. She could not believe he would even suggest such a thing.
“I mean every word, Ruby! What ever you have with that man must stop! At least for the time being until this ‘scandal’ blows over…”
“But Eazzy, that’s my private life…or am I not entitled to one?” she argued.
“Not when it’s interfering with your career.”
“And how’s my love life interfering with my career?” she said in a sarcastic tone.
“Firstly, you are caught up in a love triangle. Then you…”
“What love triangle? It only exists in that woman’s head! She is just seeking relevance, publicity. The best thing is to ignore her!”
“Look Ruby,” Eazzy said in a conciliatory manner. “I see your point. But as I said, this is a sensitive time for you- we are launching your first album soon. The last thing we need now is negative publicity. Or a ‘man – snatcher’ tag attached to you so early in your career. It won’t be good for your reputation at all. You know how conventional, judgemental our society can be; and the way they regard female entertainers especially singers and actresses, as ‘loose women,” he said and paused.
“All I’m saying is for you to take a break from this relationship, distance yourself from everything and focus solely on your album.”
Ruby shook her head.
“You had better look for another solution to this matter- like issuing a press statement debunking her allegations against me. Telling me to leave Tobi won’t work. I love him, he means the world to me and my life will be empty without him.”
With that, she picked up her bag, mouthed ‘Bye’ at him and left.
“Wait Ruby! ” he called out to her. “I’ve not finished. You had best listen to me, girl- it’s for your own good, your future; don’t let a silly thing like love mess up your promising career!”
Shaking his head, he mumbled to himself: “This girl is so stubborn, she won’t listen to my advice that’s for her own good.”
To read the rest of the series, please log on to http://www.truelifestoriesng.com/2017/12/blues-for-ruby-4.html