Yvonne stepped out of her car the next day and walked towards the Pearl Beauty Haven salon which Tafida had suggested. She had come here hoping that he won’t know so that he wouldn’t gloat about it that not only had she followed his advice, she had also visited the salon he had suggested.
The salon looked great from the outside and she was hoping the inside won’t be disappointing. As she made her way towards the double doors, they automatically slide apart and closed after she had walked in. The inside looked large and beautiful and was occupied by several women who were getting their hair done. Three sat before the mirrors, having their hair made while five were under the dryer and apart from two who were busy with their phones, the others were flipping through magazines. To her left, two women were getting their finger nails and toes done, while to her right in a corner, four women had makeup artists busy on their faces. It was as if the salon had different sections all in one big room.
Yvonne was not surprised how busy the salon was, today was Saturday after all. She noticed that every employee in the salon had on the same tshirts bearing the name and logo of the salon. It was like a beautiful uniform worn on any colour of jean trousers. As Yvonne admired the place, a young woman who was not in uniform approached her and Yvonne gave her a curious look. The woman looked familiar but Yvonne couldn’t recall where she had seen her before.
“Good morning Madam.” The lady greeted her with a warm smile that partially showed her pearly white teeth. “You are welcome to Pearl’s Beauty Haven. My name is Tabitha and you are?”
“Yvonne.” Yvonne smiled back. “This place seems very busy this morning, will I get someone to attend to me immediately or will I have to wait till one of your employees is free?”
Tabitha glanced around and said, “You are in luck. One of our employees is not occupied yet. What will you like to do? Braids? Fixing? I can see that you have got such a beautiful long hair.”
Yvonne gently ran her fingers through the ends of her hair and answered: “Thank you but I actually came here to treat my hair. I think it’s breaking.”
“Oh, that’s no problem. I can also see that you have a mild dandruff problem.” Tabitha said, stretching on her toes to quickly glance at the top of Yvonne’s head.
“Really?” Yvonne asked in mild surprise then added: “Then I’ll like to be attended to right away.”
“Alright… Please come with me.” Tabitha gestured for her to follow then led her to a corner where there were several lounging seats made with a small sink at the top. “Please sit down.” Tabitha gestured nicely and when Yvonne sat down, Tabitha draped a neat towel over her shoulders and told her to lie backwards so that her head leaned into the gap that led into the sink. “Just sit still, my employee will join you shortly.” Tabitha stated and left.
Yvonne felt relaxed. The AC felt good on her skin and she had a good view of one of the televisions mounted on the wall in front of her. The music channel on the screen which was Hip Tv was playing a count down of music videos. Rema’s latest song had just ended and a new video of Fireboy’s ‘Scatter’ had come on. Yvonne liked the song and the clown theme made it so unique among other Nigerian music videos. As she tapped her foot to the rhythm of the song, she continued to enjoy the music video while wondering why she spent less time with her TV at home. Soon, she felt ten fingers slide smoothly into her hair and she sighed, relaxing the more as she concluded that whoever she had been waiting for, had finally come to attend to her.
“I have always wanted to run my fingers through them from day one.” She heard someone say above her.
Recognizing the voice, Yvonne gasped and jolted up to a straight sitting position. Turning around, her eyes widened now when she saw the least person she had expected to see today- it was Tafida. Yvonne rose to her feet now, keeping a safe distance between them as she said in a tone of surprise mixed with contempt. “You!”
“Yes, me.” He shrugged, smiling and leaning on the sink with his hands. “Surprised?” He flinched his brows at her.
“What are you doing here?” She asked, glancing around and wondering who had let him into a salon. “Are you stalking me?!”
Tafida glanced around with an amused expression. “Stalking you? Jeez, gimme a break, I actually work here.”
Yvonne frowned. Tafida had no uniform on but somehow she believed that he was telling the truth. “Now I get it! You recommended this place simply because you work here, didn’t you?”
“No.” He wagged a finger at her. “I actually recommended this place so that I could get to touch your hair and give it a good treat. And trust me when I say I am surprised to see you too. I was skeptical. I never thought you would come.”
“Well, I wouldn’t let that surprise last too long if I were you because I’m leaving right now!” Yvonne grabbed her handbag from the nearby shelf and was about to take a step when Tabitha approached with an inquiring look on her face.
“Madam, is there a problem?” Tabitha asked, glancing down at Yvonne’s handbag. “You are leaving already?”
“Yes, I’m leaving! I don’t want this man touching my hair!” Yvonne hissed, pointing at Tafida.
“Why?” Tabitha asked in surprise. “Tafida here is actually our best stylist and believe me when I say most of our customers fight or pay higher just to have him fix their hair.”
Yvonne turned to regard Tafida with a surprised and disgusted look. How could he possibly be the best stylist?! And to think some women could stoop so low as to fight over this little cocky bastard! Here, there it was again, that cocky smile; he was doing it again with his arms folded under his chest. She turned to Yvonne now. “If you’ll not find me a replacement, I’d rather leave!” She said bluntly but something seemed to catch her attention now when Tabitha smiled. She glanced from Tabitha to Tafida again and something struck her. “Wait a minute…” Her eyes narrowed now as she gestured at both of them with a finger. “Are you two siblings?”
“Yes madam. We are actually twins.”
“Now I get it…”Yvonne said, slowly nodding her head. “I really like your kind of person, Tabitha dear, but I’d rather be attended to by someone else who’s not your brother… No offense.”
“None taken, but…” Tabitha gave her a puzzled look now then turned to glance at her brother. “Um, hold on… Have you two met before now?” She asked Yvonne.
“Yes…” Tafida replied without taking his eyes off Yvonne. “She’s actually the H.O.D of my department.”
“Wow!” Tabitha exclaimed and before Yvonne could act, Tabitha had grabbed her hand in a handshake. “It’s a pleasure to meet you ma.”
“Pfft! Pleasure?” Tafida scoffed with a sly smile playing on the corner of his lips and Yvonne instantly shot him a glare.
“Ma, please do not leave without doing whatever you want to do concerning your hair, I can assure you that the bill is on the house.” Tabitha offered Yvonne, beaming.
“That’s really generous of you but I still do not want-” Yvonne started to say but she didn’t know when Tafida walked around, placed a hand on her shoulders and forcefully sat her down.
“No one else is touching your hair besides me.” He told Yvonne firmly. “I didn’t go through the stress of convincing you only to have someone else do it… And besides, trust me when I say that you’ll enjoy it. My fingers work wonders.” He winked at her, pushed her to relax once again then returned to his former position behind her.
Still glaring at him, Yvonne said: “You do know that you are using force and I could get you arrested for it.”
“Do what you want madam…” Tafida stated, returning to stand behind her. “But I’ll want you to astound the policemen when you get there.” He turned on the tap as he added: “But for now, stop being such a big fuss, shut up and enjoy this while it lasts.” As he began to wash her hair, she tried to rise but he quickly warned her. “If you move, I’ll make sure I spill some water down your back till it runs into your ass crack and leave a wet patch on your skirt!”
Tabitha gave her brother a surprised and amused look now. “Dude, is this what you say to all my customers when my back is turned?” She asked.
“Nah… Just this one.” Tafida replied his sister. “Please, put her handbag in the shelf.”
Tabitha obeyed and turned once again to say: “Well, since it’s obvious that you have this under control, I’ll leave you two alone while I attend to other things.” She winked at her brother and walked away.
As Tafida washed Yvonne’s hair, he stared down at her face and saw that it was all scrunched up and her eyes were squeezed shut. “What are you doing?” He asked, puzzled.
“I’m trying to pretend that you are not the one touching my hair right now and massaging my scalp too.” She replied without opening her eyes.
Tafida chuckled. “You had better not rupture a blood vessel while doing that because whether you like it or not, you’ll have to open your eyes at some point to see that I’m still here. I have all day and I intend to take all my time treating your hair.”
Yvonne fluttered her eyes open now. “You are so impossible.” She huffed, folding her arms under her chest.
“And so are you.”
As his hands continued to massage and wash her hair, Yvonne found it even more difficult to relax. She was restless mostly because of how Tafida’s fingers felt on her head. The way he massaged her wet scalp was beginning to make her nipples harden and she was glad that her padded bra would save her from any obvious embarrassment. She concluded that he was right after all; he indeed had magic fingers. Trying not to think of how sweet his fingers were massaging her head, she returned her attention to the TV where Beyonce’s ‘spirit’ featuring Lion King was playing now.”
“You are a fan of Beyonce?” She heard Tafida ask her and when she nodded in the affirmative, he told her: “I like Rihana and Cardi B better.”
“I’m not surprised that you go for the crazy ones.” She replied.
“Does that mean that you are also crazy?” He asked and when he saw her frown and refuse to respond, he smiled. He finished washing her hair and they moved over to the main part where he applied a batter of raw eggs and other ingredients to stop her hair from breaking.
After an hour and thirty minutes, Yvonne was done with her hair. Realizing that Tafida was no where in sight because he had gone into the staff room to fetch something, she quickly dropped some money on the drawer and hurried out. She didn’t want to talk to him and wanted to keep enough distance between them as much as possible. As she fumbled with her keys in a bid to unlock her car door, somebody suddenly shoved her on her upperarm. Yvonne staggered backward in surprise, dropping her keys but quickly regained her stamina before she could fall. She turned to see two feisty women angrily staring at her.
“Hello Yvonne.” One of them said to her with a sneer.
Yvonne stared at her for a moment, wondering where she had seen the woman before and it didn’t take long for it to hit. “Lara?”
“Yes, it’s I in flesh and blood and I have come here to deal with you in person!” Lara stated. “Since you have decided that you won’t leave Suleiman for me and you want to die there no matter what happens, you’ll definitely get a beating today if that would put some sense into you!”
Yvonne glared at the women now and scoffed. “Wonders shall never cease! Listen, Lara, I don’t know what rubbish you are up to this afternoon but I’ve got no time for your nonsense! If anyone should be angry about Suleiman, I should be the one because I’m his legally married wife! You are the one sleeping with my husband, infecting me with STIs and ruining my marriage!”
“Legally married wife indeed!” Lara scoffed. “You and I know very well that he’s tired of you and yet you won’t set him free! You simply want to die in the marriage as if your umbilical cord was tied to him! Is it by force for someone to love you?! Ehn?! Is it by force?!” She clapped her hands several at Yvonne’s face, making her flinch. “Japheth loves me and we already have a daughter together! I thought the pictures and messages I sent you yesterday would make you grow some sense and just pack up and leave, but it’s obvious that you are desperate enough to cling to him for dear life! Yvonne or whatever your name is, leave my husband alone! Leave him alone for me!” Lara yelled, gyrating.
Yvonne felt embarrassed. Passersby were beginning to look their way and Yvonne knew that this was not good for her reputation. “Lara, please you are making a scene and I don’t want any trouble. I have a lot of things to do with my time if you are so idle, so I’ll advise that you go home to your daughter and leave me alone.” Yvonne retorted but as she bent down to pick up her keys, the other woman who had come with Lara suddenly kicked it, sending it sliding under the car.
Yvonne straightened up now, really upset. “Are you mad?! Have you lost your mind! You women are-” before she could finish her words, a heavy slap from Lara caught her on the cheek, immediately stunning and silencing her.
With her hand placed on her cheek and with a look of disbelief on her face, Yvonne glared at Lara. “Lara, you slapped me?” She asked in a low, shocked voice.
Tabitha who had seen what had happened through the glass doors of her salon quickly rushed to the staffroom where she found Tafida fixing a wig on a dummy head. “Dude.” She called.
“What?” Tafida asked, gently placing a big needle between his lips as he adjusted the dummy head he was making the wig on.
“I think your H.O.D is in trouble; some women are harrassing her in the parking lot.” She told him.
Tafida removed the pin from his mouth in surprise. “What!”
“I would have gone to her rescue but I didn’t want to without informing you first.”
Tafida quickly set aside the needle and the dummy head then hurried out while his sister quickly followed behind. By the time he reached the parking lot, the two women already had Yvonne pinned against her car and were dishing her slaps and blows from every angle while Yvonne lowered her head and tried to blindly ward them off with her arms, while a small crowd of onlookers began to gather near the busy road to watch them. Tafida ran now, squeezed himself between the women and separated them with Yvonne standing behind him. His sister joined him a minute later, her hand wrapped around a bat.
All the women were panting and Lara quickly adjusted her blouse, still glaring at Yvonne with such hatred in her eyes. “What the fuck do you women think you are doing fighting in my parking lot?!” Tafida hissed.
“Tell that hoe to stay away from my husband!” Lara snapped, pointing a finger over Tafida’s shoulder at Yvonne. “Tell her to leave him alone already!”
Tafida glanced at Yvonne in confusion. Her hair was a mess now and her blouse was torn in places. “What the fuck do you mean? This woman here is married and has no business with any other man!”
“Exactly! She’s married to the wrong man who doesn’t love her! She’s depriving my daughter the joy of spending enough time with her father! If she does not leave Suleiman for me, I swear to God, I’ll make her run mad!” Suddenly, she tried to attack Yvonne again but Tafida shoved her back. Glaring at Tafida now and sizing him up, Lara hissed: “Oh, you are her Rambo abi? You want to defend her?! You want to beat me up abi? Oya beat me up na! Beat me up for the husband snatcher you are protecting!” Lara said, heaving her chest towards him in a daring manner.
“Hey bitch, I don’t hit women but if you push me, I’ve got a sister who would whoop your ass right now and leave you broken here on the parking lot!” Tafida threatened while Tabitha took an intimidating step forward to show that she was ready to break some bones. Lara glared at both of them now, fuming but unable to say anything else. “If you wanna attack a woman over her husband, why not come alone and make it fair instead of coming with this dunce you call a friend!”
Lara glared at both of them then returned her attention to Yvonne. “Thank your stars o, just thank your stars that he came to your rescue! But be rest assured that I’ll get you again! This is not over yet, Yvonne! Next time, you might not be so lucky because my next aside might be with acid!” She threatened then tapped her friend’s shoulder and said in Yoruba. “Ore me, je ka ma lo! (My friend, let’s leave!) Turning around, the two women stalked away, got into a car and drove off.
When they were gone, Yvonne was so embarrassed but she tried not to cry even though she was at the brink of it. Even though she would end up crying, she would rather drive away and do it in her car but definitely not in front of Tafida. She wouldn’t show him any form of weakness. She didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for her. Most especially, she didn’t want his pity.
Tafida sighed now when he saw that she had a cut on her lip and it was bleeding. Pulling a white handkerchief out of his pocket, he stretched it towards her. “Here.”
Avoiding meeting his gaze, she reached out reluctantly, snatched the handkerchief from his hand and pressed it against her cut lip. Tabitha went around the car, managed to fetch her keys then handed it to her. As Yvonne opened her door, she paused and said quietly to Tafida. “Next time, please stay out of my business.”
“But they were lynching you! It was two against one which was pretty unfair if you ask me!” He tried to defend his action.
“I had it under control! Just back off next time. No one asked for your help!” With this, she got into her car, closed the door and drove away.
As they watched her drive off and join the traffic, Tabitha who was standing beside her brother said: “She’s kinda mean.”
“No…” Tafida answered without taking his eyes off Yvonne’s car in the distance. “She’s just a sad helpless bitch afraid to let anyone past the walls she has built around herself.”
To Be Continued…
© Angela Okoduwa