My fake lifestyle cost me the love of my life (2)

'Narrow escape,' I thought with relief as we got in the car and drove away. I could not imagine what would have happened if the injured woman had looked up and seen me. All my carefully laid out plans would have been ruined and what would have happened to me then?
"Is our date this weekend still on?" asked Teddy when we got to my house.
"Of course, darling! Or do you have something else lined up?" I asked, turning to him in the car. We were parked in front of the gate of the house where I lived with two friends of mine, Diane and Stephanie.

He shook his head: "Nothing I can't give up just to be with you, sweetheart."
Just then, Stephanie came through the open gate towards where we were parked.
After greeting Teddy, she turned to me.
"Are you not getting down from the car or you want to go back home with him?" she queried. I made a face at her before both of us came down and made for the booth of the car.
She got really excited on seeing all the stuff I had bought at the boutique.
"So, you went shopping and you didn't invite me? You're so selfish!" With her help, I packed all the shopping bags and after giving Teddy a peck, went up to our apartment.

"What? You mean it was your mother that you saw? She was the one involved in the 'okada' accident?" Diane asked me some time later. We were alone in our two bedroom flat. Stephanie, after taking some of the clothes and shoes I had bought, had left to see a friend down our street.

"Yes! It was terrible, Diane. I was really confused, unsure of what to do. My instinct was to rush to her aid. But what could I do? Teddy was with me! There was no way I could tell him who the woman was. Remember I had already told him my parents were dead," I said.
"Hmm. I can imagine the look on his face if he had found out the truth. But what was she doing there anyway? She's supposed to be in the village. Did she tell you she was coming to town?"Diane enquired.

"No. We spoke some days ago and she didn't tell me she was coming."
"So, what do you want to do now? I think the first thing is find out where she is," she suggested.
I had an idea of where my mother must have been heading to before the accident. She had a younger sister Aunty Florence who lived with her husband and children at Egbeda, a suburb of the city; that was where my mother often stayed on the rare occasions she was in town.
Picking up my phone, I decided to call the woman to make some subtle enquiries. But her number was not going through after several times of trying. Even my mother's number, when I tried it, was switched off.

Later, I sat in the living room to watch a movie on the cable channel. But I could not concentrate. Continuously going through my mind was the picture of my mother lying there by the roadside, in a pool of her own blood. And due to certain circumstances, I was unable to come to her aid when she needed me most.

What kind of situation would justify my action, you might wonder. What child would see a parent in such distress and not run to assist? It's only a wicked and evil child who would do that, you might be tempted to say. Ok. You can call me any name you like but I had to do what I did for self-preservation and survival.

This world is a very bad and terrible place and one needs all kinds of survival tactics just to cope. Especially for young ladies like us who don't have wealthy parents, godfathers and others to make our way through life easier. We have to hustle to survive in this hard country and that means using every means available to us including living a false life...

Creating a facade
My name as you can see is Tanya and I'm 26 years old. That is not the name my parents gave me at birth. I have a traditional name, Buki which my family, childhood friends and former school mates know me with. When I moved to Lagos about four years ago, I discovered it was not posh and high class enough. So, I adopted the name Tanya which I had seen in a book and the name has stuck ever since.

To go with the new name, I also changed my family history. To most of my new friends in the city- besides Diane and Stephanie who know my background- I come from a wealthy family. When asked where my parents were, I always stated they had died tragically in a plane crash when I was a little girl. It was all to create a facade, a fake life just to belong to the posh set in the city.

It was also to enable me get into the class of the rich and well-to-do men in the society who were our main 'targets' in our line of work. The work my friends and I do is not the type where you dress up in the morning and go to an office or other workplaces to put in an honest day's job. Ours is hustling for men especially rich ones who can take care of our numerous needs. We give them what they want- our bodies- and they reward us handsomely.
I have been doing this 'job' since my arrival in the city and I have made a lot of money from it. Part of the money, I send home to my parents for their upkeep and that of my siblings while I spend the rest on taking good care of myself so I can always look good to my 'clients'.

One desire of mine, though is meeting a decent guy one day, preferably a well-to-do one whom I can marry and settle down with. So, when Teddy came into my life some months ago, I knew I had found the one. He was everything I wanted in a man- and to top it all, he is very rich from a wealthy background.

Teddy, from what I told him about myself, believes I'm the only child of my parents who died leaving me at the mercy of my wicked uncles who stole my inheritance.
He felt very bad for me the first day I told him the story and even vowed to do all he can to help me retrieve what was rightfully mine.
"Those your uncles are very heartless people! How could they do that to their own niece?" he had fumed then.
What will he say when he found out it was all lies, that my parents are both alive and well and lived in my home town. That instead of being rich, they are very poor and survival was a daily struggle especially after my father's accident. You see, he was a palmwine tapper, whose wine was much sought after in our community and even outside it. One day, he had gone to check on his trees and had fallen down and broken his spine. He had been bedridden since then and had to be taken care of by my poor mother...

Who is the mystery woman and why was Tanya so upset at seeing her? Keep a date with us later today!

To be continued... (08-04-16)

Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.

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