"Stephanie!!” her mother screamed her name from outside their one bedroom flat. “You better don’t keep me waiting! Whether you like it or not, we are going to see our pastor!”
Twenty-year-old Stephanie, slender and very pretty was already dressed in a long yellow gown grumbled in their living room. She was not in the mood to follow her mom to see their pastor, not now or forever. If she had a place to run to before this day, she would have but she had no choice but to follow her mother.
She went to the entrance door and opened it. “Mummy why are you shouting?” she asked. “Have you forgotten we are not the only one living in this compound?”
Her mother, Mrs. Nkem eyes turned angry. “You better shut up that your filthy mouth and follow me!!”
“Must we go to the church?”
“Yes we have to.” she replied. “The man of God is already waiting for us.”
“Today is not Sunday nah and you don’t have to tell him.”
“Let go!!” Stephanie stepped by the side of her mother and they walked out of the compound. The two of them looked for a bike man, they saw one and negotiated an amount for him to take them to their destination. Mother and daughter did not a say a word to each other until they reached the front of the church. They came down from the bike, mama Stephanie paid the fare.
As they were about to enter, Stephanie pleaded with her mother. “Mom you don’t have to tell the pastor.”
“I have every right!” she uttered. “He has to know what you did.”
“I thought you have forgiven me?”
“I have forgiven you my daughter,” she said. “But Pastor Nelson have to know. He has to preach to you personally for you to change.”
“But I have changed. I broke up with Kenneth like you advised me to.”’
“Having an abortion is a sin and I don’t want you to get pregnant again!”
“But Kenneth was the one helping us with money ever since papa died,” Stephanie said, almost in tears. “How much have pastor Nelson contributed since papa left us? He drives big cars, his wife wears the most expensive dresses and we his church members live like paupers.”
Her mother face fell as Stephanie reminded her of her late husband. “Kenneth said he wanted to help us, he never told me he was your boyfriend.”
“And I have left him!”
“Pastor Nelson must hear this! How can you get pregnant and have an abortion?”
“I am sorry it happened mama.”
“I have failed as a mother,” she said soberly. “If only your father was alive, maybe this won’t have happened.”
“It is not your fault and I have learnt my lesson.”
Mrs. Nkem did not say anything but dragged Stephanie’s hand and whisked her inside the compound of the church. Stephanie was not happy with her mother. She regretted telling her mother about the abortion she did a week ago. They met the secretary of the pastor, a young man who went in to inform the man of God they were around. He agreed for them to come in.
Fair complexion Pastor Nelson, a fifty-year-old man in a black suit welcomed them. His hair was black and curly. The women sat down and Mrs. Nkem went straight to the point and narrated everything to the pastor.
“I am disappointed in you Stephanie,” he said. “How could you get pregnant and commit a terrible sin?”
She looked down, trying not to make eye contact with him. She was ashamed of herself. “I am sorry sir.”
“Don’t you know you are very young to have a boyfriend? You should concentrate more on your studies.”
“I will sir.”
He shook his head and began to preach to her. He quoted verses in the bible against abortion and advised her never to commit such evil again. He called her a murderer. He told her to fast for three days and ask God for forgiveness.
Mrs. Nkem thanked him and she left with her daughter. Stephanie was still annoyed with her mother. She refused to eat dinner and lied to her mother that she would start the fasting the next day.
The following morning, Stephanie went to meet her mother in the kitchen.
“I will be going back to school tomorrow,” she said. “I need my school fees.”
Her mother was surprised. “I thought they have not started asking you for your fees.”
“They have started.” She said with a frown on her face. “The person paying my fees is no longer wanted in this house, you have to pay.”
She eyed her daughter. “But I don’t have the money now.”
“We will be starting our second semester exam soon. I don't want any carry over.”
“You have to be patient my daughter.”
“Please my daughter,” she said. “Give me time.”
Stephanie hissed and walked out. She went to her room to put on one of her outing clothes and informed her mother she was going to see her course mate. Mrs. Nkem agreed. Stephanie went to her best friend’s house Bidemi. When she got there, she was stunned when the gateman refused to let her enter. She called her friend on the phone who came out with her mother.
“Good afternoon ma.” She greeted her friend’s mother.
“What do you want from my daughter?” she asked in an angered tone.
“It is me Stephanie.” She said in a quiet voice.
“I know! Leave my daughter alone! Don’t corrupt my daughter you this abortionist! You are a killer! Leave my house!!”
Stephanie burst into tears. She could not believe her friend told her mother about having an abortion. Bidemi only stared at her without saying anything. The sound of a car drove towards them, it was her friend’s father. A sixty-one-year old man. He was good looking despite his age.
“What is going on?” he asked after he came out from his car.
Bidemi’s mother told her about Stephanie having an abortion.
“Is that why you don’t want her in?” he asked.
“I don’t want her near my daughter and this house again!!” She directed the gateman to open the gate for her husband and ordered him to throw Stephanie from the front of their house.
Stephanie with tears in her eyes walked away without opening her mouth to talk. If only Bidemi’s parents knew their daughter had committed five abortions. They didn’t even know it was their daughter that took her to the doctor that removed her pregnancy. If she had known in the past, she would have accepted to date Bidemi’s father when he asked her to date him. He promised to take good care of her and even make her his second wife but she refused because of her friendship with Bidemi and the respect she had for Bidemi’s mother.
As Stephanie sauntered away in pain and resentment, she thought of revenge.
Out of annoyance, she decided to visit a rich course mate who wanted to introduce her to wealthy men for runs.
“So now that they have showed you pepper,” Uwa said in her furnished living room. She was chewing gum. “You ran to me.”
Stephanie fell on her knees. “I am sorry. I seriously need your help! I need to pay my school fees and I have to be taking care of myself. I do not want to depend on my mother again.”
“Stand up.” She said softly. Stephanie rose and sat down opposite her. “Are you ready for the business?”
She nodded quickly. “Yes.”
“No problem,” she said. ‘I will help you but can you dance?”
“Yes I can.” She answered. “But I thought…”
“Let me finish madam. I will take you to special club tonight. I will give you a mask to wear.”
“Yes. The men who wants to sleep with us will choose according to how we roll our waist as we dance.”
“Must we wear mask?” Stephanie asked.
“Yes. Sometimes pretty girls are not the ones that are good in bed. They are not interested in the face but the sweetness down there. You know what I mean.”
She nodded repeatedly.
“Do you have a skimpy dress to wear?” Uwa asked.
“I will find something for you to wear,” she said. “The pay is one hundred and fifty thousand naira and I am entitled to fifty thousand for helping you.”
“One hundred thousand is enough for me.” she said eagerly.
“You can do it three times a week and that's three hundred thousand naira.”
“Thank you Uwa.”
Mrs. Nkem called her daughter to find out where she was. Stephanie lied she was visiting a sick friend at the hospital. She promised to return the next day.
“Pray before you sleep.” She said over the phone to her daughter.
“I will mother.”
At 9:30 pm, Stephanie dressed in a purple-cropped top, white short pants and red high heels. Uwa dressed in a short black dress and red heels. Uwa drove to the club where girls of different size, shape and height were ready to swing their waist.
It was a bit dark and noisy. A fat woman ordered the girls to dance and they began to shake their buttocks. As they dance, the men seated together, watching them began to point at the girls they wanted. A man choose Stephanie and a young lady took her to a room located inside the building of the club.
The lady left Stephanie and she was all alone in the room. She sat down on the bed, a bit nervous. She was still wearing her mask when the man opened the door and walked in.
She turned to look at the man she wanted to be have sex with and her heart dropped! She was taken aback!
“Pastor Nelson!!!” she yelled his name and removed her mask.
He could not speak but stood like a log of wood.
Stephanie rose on her feet and he could detect the anger written on her face. “Mr. Preacher! I don’t need to beat around the bush, kindly bring out your cheque book and write a huge amount of money if not, I won’t hesitate to tell my mother. And I know her, she would tell the congregation.”
“Ple. . ase. please d.. don’t do this.” He stammered.
“I will leave if you don’t give me what I want!!”
He rushed to the wardrobe and took out his bag. He brought out five bundles of money. “This is five hundred thousand, please don’t say a word to anyone or your mother.”
“I won’t.” she said and grabbed the money. “I need a bag to put this.”
He gave her his bag.
She put the money inside, carried it and walked to the door. She glared at him.
“I am disappointed in you pastor Nelson,” she said. “How can you be involved in this? You are committing a terrible sin. You need to pray and ask God for forgiveness. Fast for 21 days!! Shame on you!”
Stephanie walked out of the room. She had plans to use the money wisely and when the money finish, she would pay a visit to the pastor in his office. A gateway to free money.