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 a 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 cellphone. She reluctantly stretched out her hand to pick up and then answer the call. She immediately sat up right when she heard what the 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 ourselves. 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.”
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 undress 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 pretense 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 had 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 platinum 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 a 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, there 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. They 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 platinum.
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 they 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 they 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. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz