Ehi bought a duplex penthouse on fifth avenue at sixty-third street while Mani got an apartment some blocks away. Christian moved back in with his parents although he said it was temporary until he got a new place. Even when they had requested that he stayed with either of them, he had turned down the offer.
They had been no casualty when the building had burnt down and the police told them it was caused by a gas leak.
The first few weeks were difficult for both the kids because that was the first time they wouldn’t be living in the same house as Mani and Christian. Even though Ehi felt their pain too she had to put on a brave frontier and helped them to settle into their new home.
She hired two nannies to help with looking after the kids. She also got a cook Steve. She had a housekeeper that lived with them. Celeste was an elderly woman in her sixties, she had shown up one morning and told Ehi she wasn’t leaving until she got a job. Even though Ehi wasn’t trying to employ anyone at that time, she made Celeste the housekeeper after seeing the determination in her eyes. It was later Ehi discovered that Celeste had lost her only child in a car accident almost the same time their building had burnt down. The twins warmed up to Celeste like a long lost grandmother. Ehi also hired two cleaning ladies,who came in everyday to cleanup.
Her cook Steve was an African American man in his early twenties. He never went to culinary school but hopes to own a restaurant. His cooking was fantastic and the twins loved him.
In the early hours of a Sunday morning in March , Ehi was woken up by a call to her cell. She reluctantly stretched out her hand to pick up and then answer the call. She immediately sat up right when she heard what caller had to say. She quickly dashed out of the room and after getting her car keys from the dining table where she had forgotten it earlier. It was when she was at the door, she realized she wasn’t putting on shoes. Luckily for her, she found one of Celeste’s slippers by the side of the door and wore it. As she stepped out, she wondered how it got there. Chuckling, she knew if she investigated the matter further, the twins would be the culprits.
She pulled up in an alley but remained in the car until she saw Steve. She walked over to him nervously and kept looking around her.
“where is she? ” she asked as she reached him. He pointed at the house behind them and led the way.
They entered a building with a narrow staircase and climbed to the second floor. The hallway was quiet and he led her to the last door on the right. He knocked discretely and someone opened the door.
As soon as she stepped in, she saw Mani on the sofa, she quickly looked at Steve and he nodded back at her.
“Damn, those billboards don’t do you no justice sis, you look like a snack girl. I mean all these years I have envisioned seeing you in person but I never thought you would be in my house in your nighties. This is a dream come through. Damn.”
It was at that moment she took notice of the other person in the room. She turned to Steve “Who is he? ”
Before Steve could reply the stranger began “Yo, they call me Mystery but you can call me daddy. ” he rubbed his palms together like someone who was cold. He exchanged looks with Steve before continuing “Your homie over here is okay. Like I was doing some rounds, you know minding my business and trying to get paid when one of my homies told me about the new stuff Z got in his oven and so we decided to head over there and see for our selves. When we got there and we were served,she walk out from the inner room and sat beside us. I must admit home girl is really cool. We were doing shots and well you know—” he looked at Steve and after he got a nod of approval he continued ” well you know, we were getting high and all and then she told us she was a model and that’s when it hit me that’s where I have seen her before. You know she is on that billboard just opposite the restaurant Sammie works. Well we continued getting high because I must admit that stuff is good. When me and my homie was about to leave some other niggas walked in
and they had this really rough look and we thought she was safer with us than them. So we took her with us. By then she had passed out. When we got to my place, I called Steve cos word on the street is that he works for you. ”
Ehi was tongue-tied,she looked at Steve and then back to Mystery before regaining her composure “Thank you very much for contacting me. If I could I would give you a thousand kisses right now. ”
“I’m not opposed to that, you can get started right now of you want. ” he replied with a smirk.
She laughed “Very funny. Now I need to know one thing. Did anyone take pictures? ”
He shook his head “Nope. I mean I don’t know if people took pictures before me and my buddy got there but while we were there, we were all busy trying to get high. We didn’t even think about pictures.”
“That’s real good. I came here in a hurry and I didn’t have the chance to bring anything with me. How about I give Steve some money to give you later in the week and we keep this little business between us? ”
“I don’t want your money. I’m a hustler. I run this street.”
“I know and that’s why I’m just contributing to your hustle. So what do you say to 7 grand? ”
” Dollars? ” he asked.
“Yeah .” she replied.
“That’s tempting but I didn’t do it for the money so how about you stop disrespecting me and let’s get her in the car. ”
“Okay Mystery. ”
Steve and Mystery helped carried Mani to her car and after exchanging farewells with Mystery, she got into the car with Steve and they drove back to her house.
Once she got home, she helped Mani UnCloth and bath her and then placed her on the bed to sleep. The next morning, she called Trish and Christian over to her house. That same day, Trish checked Mani into rehab and then released a statement to the press that Mani was suffering from appendicitis and needed surgery and would require some private time.
Like always the media feed the fans and foes the false statements and the phones in the house were blowing up. People who never cared about them called in the pretence of checking in meanwhile all they wanted was more information. Somehow the press got wind of her number and numerous journalists were calling to get exclusive information. It took a week before things went back to normal.
Even though Ehi has stated in the past that she wasn’t going to take any part in any false relationship again, somehow Trish has gotten her to sign up for another one. This time around it was an African American Singer named Ecovoc.
Ecovoc was a very private person and very little was known about him. His debut album was an instant hit and has over five plantinum and gold singles. His sophomore album even though a very good album in terms of content and production didn’t sell as much as its predecessor and at such his team was going all out to make sure his new album was a monster hit. His cousin who was also his manager was very good friends with Trish and was the brain behind the idea.
She was currently having lunch with Ecovoc so as to ascertain if this was something she wanted to commit to. With the last relationships she had let Trish handled everything and she had regretted it and she wasn’t ready to take any chance with this one.
They were seating across from each other at a restaurant.
“Why pick me? I know your cousin Matilda feels a relationship will help sell more. I want to know why you picked me in particular.” she asked.
He stared at her and when she had given hope that he would respond he said “When I was promoting my debut album, there was this party I attended and you were also there. The DJ played my song and you stood up and was dancing even though it wasn’t something you can dance to. You said you love my sound because it felt like I was writing a love letter to a crush and you liked the way it made you feel. Well even though that sound was the reason I got popular, the label thought it would be better if I go pop with my last album and that was a disaster as we all know. So for my new album I wanted to go back to the drawing board and I decided to do music the way I used to before mainstream media caught me although there is pop in my new album. It’s like a fusion of RnB with Pop. So when I was brainstorming on the topic the album would focus on and somehow the thought of you just came back to me. And that’s how I started writing. I checked up on you on the internet and I kind of follow your relationship so by the time I was done writing. It was as if I had written a love letter to you. When Maltida talked about dating, your name was the first to pop up in my mind. I mean even if this deal didn’t come up I was going to use you in the video for my lead single.
She smiled “I remember the party but all we really did was exchange pleasantries, we haven’t even spoken since then. ”
He laughed “That’s true but what you
said that night really stuck in my heart. So what are you saying about our deal? ”
She swallowed hard before continuing “Why don’t you just have a girlfriend. I mean like a real girlfriend where you both share feelings and all. ”
He laughed so hard it was as if he was going to fall down “Look I am not going to lie to you. I’m not a one woman kinda man. I’m polygamous in nature and I’m not about to tie myself down with a female that’s going to nag me to death. So that’s why I’m single. I get all the female companies I want with no strings attached. You should try it sometime.”
“Wait, don’t you want to start you own family someday? ”
“Hopefully I will do that someday but I can tell you this it won’t be any time soon. You don’t have to worry about the other ladies in my life. I promise to be as discreet as possible. You won’t have to deal with the press on any case of infidelity. ”
“I guess I will have to hold you on that one. If there is ever a case of infidelity on the media then the contract is over. I’m agreeing to this because I am a fan of your music and I am also tired of people insinuating that I am still in love with Mannah and can’t seem to move on. ” she took a deep breath “I guess it’s time to call Trish. She will send you the contract with my terms. ” She stood up at that point “I guess I will see you another time. ”
“I guess so too. And I promise you won’t regret this, once our contract is over I will be out of your life. ”
“I will hold you to those words. Goodbye. ” she walked out.
The album Ehi dropped on the first of July which coincidentally was also her 25th birthday to wide acclaim. It was a visual album and she appeared in every video. Her face was even used as the cover for the album.
Before the album release, they had been a lot of teasing from them. He attended her shows and she was also around for his concerts. Trish and Maltida discreetly leaked pictures and videos of them.
The relationship even caught more media attention when Zeke realized a song called ex and talked about a certain model he dated before any other person in the industry and how he had to dump her because she was too clingy. He even went further to say she was only with her current guy so as to have access into the music world and keep tabs on him. The media ate that up. There even went as far speculating on a love triangle. Neither Ehi nor Ecovoc replied publicly but their teams sent things discreetly to the media trying to add fuel to the fire. Three days before the album dropped there was a leaked exclusive that Ecovoc replied Mannah on a track on the album. Of course that was a big fat lie, it was only released as a means of publicity for the album.
A lot of bloggers rushed to get the album so as to write a review but since there was no diss track,they resulted into building stories where there were none. They might pick a certain line and decide that it was aimed at someone.
With all the media attention, the album sold one point three million copies in its first week alone and by the end of the month it was already certified 3x platnium.
There was already plans for a World Tour and since she would be busy with her own schedule it was decided that they should do multiple photo-ops so there can leak the pictures online at different times of the tour so as make it look like they were flying out to be with each other amidst their busy schedule.
In October, her Vogue cover was released. This was her first time being on the cover of the magazine and Ecovoc threw a little party for her. Christian, Mani and Mystery who were currently dating were in attendance.
In the early hours of the morning when they were living the club,they had to struggle pass a lot of paparazzi. As soon as the stepped out, the cameras were flashing, they were being asked thousands of questions at the same time. She used her purse to shield her eyes from the flashlights and once Ecovoc’s car was brought out, she quickly got in. It took a lot of caution to drive away from the hungry paparazzi seeing as they wouldn’t step out of the way to let him drive out.
As soon as they were out from the chaos she released a deep breath she had not realized she was holding. He laughed at her and joked about how no matter how long someone was in the spotlight they never got used to the cameras. They talked about the party and how odd Mani and Mystery looked as a couple. They wished them well though and we’re busy arguing about which radio station they should stick to when a driver from the other lane lost control and was heading towards them. Ecovoc swerved in order to avoid a collision and their car went off the road and somersaulted a couple of times at the side of the road.
Ecovoc had been knocked into coma while Ehi surprisingly had come out without a scratch.
In less than an hour after the crash the news was on every media outlet as a breaking story. There were a lot of speculations floating around and some even went as far as claiming to have an inside source that was feeding them information.
She spent the night in the hospital because the doctors insisted on monitoring her. The next morning Trish had someone take her out back since the front was filled with reporters and fans. She drove her to Mani’s house since her house was swamped with reporters.
As soon as she was settled, she called her house and the housekeeper picked and she instructed her to pack the kids clothing because they will all be spending the next ten days in Mani’s house.
Trish cancelled all of Ehi’s appearances for two weeks on the grounds that she needed time to heal.
She spent the her morning sleeping and even when she woke up, she didn’t get up from the bed because she didn’t want to deal with the people outside. She knew they were worried about her but she didn’t want to talk to anyone. She kept replaying the moments that led to the accident in her head,wondering if maybe they had done something different then he would probably be okay at the moment. Even though their relationship wasn’t real somehow they had formed a kind of friendship and he was a really nice person that didn’t deserve this. She thought about all the plans he had told her about and wondered if he would wake up and complete them. His tour that was supposed to begin next month would undoubtedly be pushed back pending when he gets better. She thought about her children and how close she came to leaving them motherless in this world. She wondered if she had died, if they would remember her and if any of her friends who have looked after them properly. She wondered if it would be a bad idea to tell Cicero about their children. This accident just opened her eyes on how life could be snatched at anytime. If anything was to happen to her, she knew she would only rest in peace if she had made plans so her children will stay with their dad.
Mani and Christian were amazing people and she had no doubt that they would step in to look after the twins but nothing could be compared to having one’s parent in charge. She sat up and dragging the phone by the bedside table towards her and dialed the number she had saved in her memory. She dialled the number and waited nervously before someone picked up after the third ring.
“Hello. ” she heard a female say.
“Hi, is Cicero close by? ” she asked.
“No. He is in the shower. Who am I speaking to? ” the lady on the other end asked.
Ehi contemplated calling her name but thought against it. “I’m Katrina and we went to school together. I was just checking in.
“Well Katrina thanks for calling. My husband and I appreciate your care. I will tell him… ” Ehi didn’t hear the rest of what she was saying because she ended the call. The only thing that was ringing in her head was husband. She couldn’t remember anything about him being married. She immediately got up and went down stairs to ask Mani. Before she could speak, she was ambushed by the twins who just got back from school. They knocked her off the ground and Trish had to lift them off her. They were happily chattering about something she had no idea of.
Once they saw Christian, they screamed and ran over to meet him, they hugged Mani too and got money from her. For some reason Mani was always giving them money and Ehi wasn’t too happy with it but she knew that even if she said anything they wouldn’t listen to her. They will probably start receiving the money behind her back, so she monitored them closely. She had earlier made a piggy bank for them to save their cash.
“Okay babies, go upstairs and store your cash and when you are done, lunch would be served. ” She heard herself say. They didn’t need any further encouragement as they both ran up the stairs with their nanny trailing behind. “Oh my gosh, sometimes I wonder where I get the energy to handle those two at times. ” she said laughing.
“They are a handful I must admit but there is also this saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. ” Mani said in a funny voice.
“I second that. ” Christian added.
“I’m not going to fall for your tricks. I’m too tired to argue with y’all today.” she laid down on the floor and had her legs on the arms of the chair next to her.
Trish who had stepped away from them to receive a call, returned with tears in her eyes. “I have some bad news, I just spoke to his manager and she told me Ecovoc is dead. ” She paused so as to hold back the tears that were threatening to spill. “She told me that he always wanted to be cremated and that’s what they are going to do and there will be a memorial service for him in three days time at his residence.” Every tears she had been holding back spilled at that moment. The room was quiet except for her sobs. Everyone was lost in their thoughts.
Ehi said a quiet prayer for him and got up to get the twins lunch.
The memorial service had been a private one and only family and the closest of friends were invited.
No one could really pinpoint who but somehow someone had snuck a camera into the place and there were videos and pictures from the event the next day on blogs.
A picture that was circulating more was that of Ehi and his mother hugging each other while crying.
Ecovoc never told his mum that their relationship was fake and she didn’t have it in her to tell the woman the truth now especially how they have become friends this past few months. She had stood next to his mum all evening and as a mother herself, she had felt every pain with her.
Ever since his death, his music was topping the charts. His albums were all in the top ten region with his latest at number one.
The pictures they had secretly taken together in order to release them as his tour progressed was leaked online and it caused a frenzy with many outlet speculating that she was finding it difficult to come to terms with his death. One blog alleged that she had attempted suicide and another stated that she was popping pills to help her deal.
Ehi felt bad about such stories and wanted to sue but she also felt guilty deep down because she it was partially her fault that people would think such. If only she hadn’t signed that damn contract, maybe she wouldn’t have been caught up in the middle of this was what she always told herself.
Trish told her the speculations would only get worse if she keeps hiding herself indoors so she set up a dinner date for all of them and she tipped off some paps on her payroll.
The plan worked because minutes after they stepped foot in the restaurant, there were pictures and videos of them everywhere.
The first runway she walked after the accident was the Victoria Secret fashion show. She had earlier on be made an angel but the media didn’t care about that part. They were more interested in seeing her come out of hiding.
She refused interviews during that period and the only thing the media had was hearsay.
In February at the Grammy’s Ecovoc had the most wins of the night which was for six awards including record of the year,song of the year and album of the year.
She had attended the award show with his mother and his cousin Matilda, who had been his manager while he was alive.
The next five years were quiet and wonderful for her. There was no more faux relationships,all she did was work and be the best mum she could be to her children. When the twins had turned ten in April, she had thrown a thrown a superhero themed party and had invited friends. Nessa couldn’t attend the party because of some engagement she had at home but she was there for Ehi’s thirtieth birthday party.
For her thirty first birthday, Ehi didn’t throw a party. She spent the day with her kids. They talked, baked, played around like they used to and they ordered Chinese food for dinner and watched TV until the early hours of the morning.
It was the next morning when she finally switched on her phone that she saw numerous messages pouring in. She read and replied them, because she knew if she didn’t do that now, she won’t do it ever.
It was sometime in the afternoon that it hit her that not only had she not gotten a call or a text from Nessa, she also didn’t get the gold wristwatch she had become accustomed to. She had spoken to Nessa some days ago and everything seemed okay.
She dialled Nessa’s number and it rang but no one answered. After several attempts, she decided to try the house line and it rang twice before someone picked up
“Hello” a strange voice said.
“Hi, I’m Ehi and I will like to speak with Nessa please.” The other person at the end of the call broke down in tears. “Hello, can you hear me? ” she asked.
“I’m so sorry. ” the stranger replied between sobs. “I’m really sorry. I’m just a little bit emotional right now… I’m sorry you won’t be able to speak to Nessa because she got knocked down by a vehicle some days ago and today her body was cremated… Can you imagine that? ” she broke down in tears again.
Ehi had no idea when her phone slipped from her hands and fell to the ground. She fell to the ground and wrapped her arms round her knees. The last conversation she had with Nessa kept playing in her head. She remembered her childhood and how Nessa had practically raised her.
She laid on the ground for hours just reminiscing on all the good times they shared. She wondered how she was going to break this down to the kids, since they regarded her as their grandmother.
She felt someone tap her from behind and when she turned around, it was one of her cleaners.
“Sorry to disturb you miss Ehi but I will be leaving now. Is there anything I can do for you before I leave? ”
“No I am okay Gloria. Those clothes on the dresser is for your kids by the way. I promised to get them the new Black Pyramid gear. Some were already sold-out so I got the ones I could. Tell them to take pictures so I could see how good they fit. ”
“Thanks a lot ma. I will personally take those shots. I guess I will see you next week. ”
“Thanks. Have a nice day ahead. ”
” You too ma” Gloria replied and walked away. Not too long after that Ehi heard the front door open and close.
She stayed on the floor for a while before forcing herself up to tidy up before the kids got home from school.
That evening she took the kids to their favorite spot so they could have dinner. While they were eating, she told them about Nessa’s death and they spoke a bit about her. She quickly switched topic and asked about their school and friends.
They were still talking about a funny teacher they have when someone walked over to them.
“Hello Ehi” The person said with a voice that sounded familiar.
She looked up and locked eyes with Simeon. She hadn’t seen him since that time he threw her out of his apartment.
She looked him up and down before replying “Hello to you Simeon. It’s nice to see you again. ”
“Yes it is. I was at the corner having a drink with my friends when I spotted you and decided to come over.”
She wanted to ignore him, but her kids were watching and she didn’t want to set a bad example. “Wow, that was really nice of you. ” She forced herself to say. He didn’t reply her and that made her turn her head towards him again and found himself starring at Theodora and Malik.
“How old are you?” He said to Malik.
“How about your sister? ”
“She is my twin. ”
“Okay…sorry my bad” He turned to Ehi “Hmm, eleven years… Eleven years… Wow, does that mean that you didn’t…? ” he smiled mischievously “It was nice meeting you ” he mumbled and walked away.
“What a strange man. ” Theodora said.
“Mum,how on earth do you know that mad man? ”
“That’s Simeon. That’s the person who introduced me to the modelling world and when we fell out was when I moved in with Christian and Mani. ”
“What did y’all fight about? ” Theodora asked.
“Stop being so Inquisitive Dora. Are y’all done eating? Let’s leave this place before I run into more people I will rather forget. ” She dropped enough money on the table that will cover the bill and at the same time leave a sizeable tip.
As she walked out, she felt someone watching her and when she looked behind, she locked eyes with Simeon who had a silly grin on his face. She ignored him and led the way out of the restaurant.
A month later,
News broke out early in the morning that Cicero Smalls and wife split. By afternoon, it has been added that the couple share two children, a boy aged five and a girl aged three.
By evening, it was added that even though Rebecca had changed her last name to Smalls that she wasn’t legally married to Cicero. Although she told everyone who asked that they were married.
Some hours later, it was added that the split was caused by infidelity.
The next morning, a well known website released a blind item stating that the cause of the split was a female celebrity. The same website updating in the afternoon with pictures of her and Cicero. Somehow they had gotten their hands on some of their old pictures together and also pictures of them when they had become famous.
By evening, there were pictures of her and the twins on every media outlet. The story being ran by the media was that her and Cicero were still an item and we’re secretly raising the kids behind the back of Rebecca and it was after she found out about it that she called it quits with Cicero.
Other websites went as far as stating that Cicero and Rebecca were supposed to get married the next month but once she found out about the affair behind her back, she called off the wedding.
On social media people started comparing both women. Some felt Ehi was a stunner and was wealthy enough in her own right, seeing as she was worth over a hundred million dollars. Some argued that even though Rebecca wasn’t as beautiful as Ehi, she was more intelligent. They back their arguments with the fact that Rebecca was an assistant professor at a university whereas Ehi was a high school dropout. Some people called Ehi a home wrecker while others came to her defense saying she isn’t the one to blame rather it was Cicero who couldn’t make up his mind on who he wanted.
Cicero’s team released a press release to debunk all the media theories and stated that the separation between him and Rebecca had nothing to do with his kids with Ehi, rather it was because they both had irreconcilable differences but are still amicable to one another. It further went on to say that all the party involved would appreciate some privacy at the moment.
While his press release had sounded calm and in control, the behind the scenes were the opposite. There were a lot of shouting and screaming at each other.
Cicero’s lawyer had contacted her camp that they will like to have DNA test done on the twins to ascertain paternity and would prefer if they do it quietly rather than going through the court. She had agreed to this.
Ehi was having the worst days of her life ever since the news broke. While she wasn’t concerned about what the media had to say because she knew people will always have something to say. She was more concerned about her children.
Unluckily for her, she had underestimated how far this story would go and had left her kids in the dark only for them to find out about their father in school. Both of them refuse to speak to her at the moment. She knew it was worse for Malik because just like his daddy he also wanted to play in the NBA someday and Cicero has been his idol since childhood. He was mad at her for not telling him who his father was all this time.
When she had tried explaining to them her side of the story, they had rebuked her and she had decided reluctantly to let the news sink in for the night and then tomorrow she would talk to them.
The next morning she woke up to an interview of Simeon. He talked about how he scouted her and brought her to New York and how she had met Cicero because he lived next door. He further went on to say Ehi dumped him as her agent when she started getting famous. He even added that he didn’t make any money from her and how he had to borrow from people to make sure she had everything that was necessary to make life better for her.
If the last three days didn’t rock her world, well the interview did just that because Simeon painted himself as an angel and her like the devil
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