Extract: Day 1
‘Have you ever been on a private jet?’
Chief Adio Douglas stretched his hand over Titi’s shoulder in the back of the Mercedes S-Class. Titi shook her head. ‘You will experience it today,’ he said.
Titi curled her feet up underneath her, careful not to scratch the black leather with the heels of her Manolo Blahnik sandals, and she folded her body into his arms. She looked up at his face. ‘Is that the surprise?’
‘No. I’ve got an even bigger surprise for you.’
‘Where are we going? Should I have brought my passport?’
‘We’re going to Abuja. To the Villa.’
Titi unfurled herself. ‘To Aso Rock?’
‘Yes. I am meeting with Mr. President himself.’
‘Wow. I will meet the president?’
Douglas laughed. ‘No, my dear, I will meet the president. You will wait for me in the presidential suite of Transcorp Hilton.’
‘Is that the surprise?’
‘No, baby.’ He pulled her back onto his chest and stroked her arm. ‘It’s a big surprise.’
Extract: Day 2
Police officers at the gate stood aside and saluted as the limousine drove past them onto the Execujet secluded ramp close to the private wing of Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
Agents of the Department of State Services, who had been riding ahead in a Ford Explorer SUV, jogged alongside the Mercedes holding their Israeli TAR-21 assault rifles in both hands, buttstock to the shoulder and muzzle tilted to the ground. The limousine stopped close to the upturned wing tip of an Embraer Phenom 300. An agent scanned the shimmering the tarmac littered with private jets before opening the chief’s door.
Douglas’s white agbada billowed in the kerosene-laden wind as he pulled it over his head. Titi, in her black tunic dress, walked around the armoured car to join him. The boot of the Mercedes opened and DSS agents fetched Douglas’s briefcase and Titi’s weekend bag.
Just behind the cockpit, the aircraft’s door began to open downward. Through her sunglasses, Titi watched as the door stopped its descent a few inches from the ground. She looked at Douglas.
‘Can I take a picture?’ He smiled. ‘Sure. So long as I’m not in it.’
She turned her back to the aircraft, held her phone high in front of her and pouted. On the screen she saw the pilot climbing down the steps.
‘Didn’t you say your ex-boyfriend is a pilot?’ Douglas said.
Titi’s hand dropped to her side as she turned to look back at the pilot.
The young man was standing by the steps with his hands held behind his back, his eyes hidden behind his Aviators and his head slightly tipped upwards. He stood still like a soldier.
Douglas placed his hand on Titi’s back. ‘Let’s go,’ he said.
Her body resisted his push. ‘Is anything the matter?’ he asked.
Titi turned away from the pilot and looked up at Douglas.
‘Is anything wrong?’ he asked again.
She slowly shook her head.
‘OK then, let’s go. I don’t want to keep the president waiting.’
Douglas and Titi waited for a DSS agent who had carried their luggage onto the plane to descend the steps, then with his hand on her back, he ushered her in front. The pilot remained still.
‘Wait,’ Douglas said.
Titi stopped, her hand on the cold handrail.
‘Titi, meet our pilot for today: Captain Olusegun Majekodunmi. Did I get that right?’
The pilot nodded.
‘Olusegun, meet my girlfriend, Titi.’ Titi did not look at the pilot. The pilot nodded but did not look at Titi.