She rubbed her eyes with her hands as if trying to remove specs preventing her from seeing what's in front of her. She pinched herself to see if she'd wake up from this nightmare but alas, she realized that she was fully awake and aware of her surroundings. She lost her balance and almost hit the floor but was caught by one of her models who obviously was in awe of what they were seeing. All her designs, replicas of her designs to the very last detail is what House of Gold was displaying.
The black and white theme, the office and casuals, she didn't leave anything out; everything was from Touch Couture.
"But how did she do it?" Titi asked aloud, not talking to anyone in particular. "How on earth did she get her hands on my designs?" She asked again. She couldn't believe this was happening to her.
She looked at her friends and saw the bug eyed expression they wore. Oreva was more surprised because she was the first to see the designs in Titi's office, she remembered vividly the day she came to tell her about Jide. Had Titi sold her designs to Miss Gold? It seemed unlikely, "she doesn't sell her designs na" Oreva thought to herself.
Mary walked closer to Titi who was already shaken by the sudden and unexpected twist of events, she never imagined it would be like this. She had been filled with so much disdain for Titi that she didn't think about what she did. She felt terrible about the whole thing and she didn't know how to make amends. Titi has been everything but bad to her, she has always treated her like a sister rather than an employee. Mary felt the sting of pain and remorse in her heart, she was sorry that she did it, sorry that she was not patient enough, sorry that she's putting Titi through all this pain.
"Aunty" She stuttered. Titi turned back and Mary saw the look in her eyes, pain, sadness and betrayal was what she saw. She saw tears flowing down Titi's cheeks, she could also see the heartbreak she caused. Before Mary could open her mouth to speak Titi let out a heavy sigh, as if she was finding it hard to breathe "Why! Why!! Why!!!" Titi asked slowly with eyes filled with tears and her hands shaking. "Why did you do this? Now I know why you were crying just now" Mary felt as if the whole world had just collapsed on her shoulders. This is too much for her to take and she was sorry about everything, about what she had done. "Aunty I'm sorry, I'm so so sorry" She said crying profusely. "Aunty I was mad at you, I thought you didn't care about my modeling career. I felt you should have assisted me earlier, you told Miss Oreva to assist me but for many months nothing happened. I thought you just wanted me to remain a sales rep and not achieve my dream. Anty I'm sorry" She said as her voice steadied but she continued to cry uncontrollably.
Titi looked at her in disbelief. She just couldn't fathom why Mary would think such.
"Have I ever given you cause to doubt me? Have I promised you something in the past that I didn't fulfill? Have I ever treated you bad?" These questions burned Mary's heart like molten lava. The answer to the questions were obvious and she couldn't bring herself to answer them; all she could muster was "I'm sorry Aunty" that she kept saying repeatedly.
All of a sudden Titi had a flashback, she remembered Mary's unannounced visits to her apartment, the way she acted whenever she came around, the time she brought the sketches of this particular design to her office and claimed she saw them somewhere and most recently the one that happened just a few days ago when she showed up uninvited to the house again and tried to take a peek at what she was doing. Titi remembered everything clearly. "I won't bother asking how you got your hands on the designs because I know already. How could you do this to me Mary? How could you? God knows I only have good intentions towards you." Titi said, trying to regain her composure.
"So what is the nature of the deal you had with Miss Gold?
Mary was ashamed to talk, she kept her gaze on the floor, tears still flowing down her cheeks. "Talk now before I lose it" Titi told her in a soft but dangerous tone, Mary had never heard Titi speak in such a frightening tone. Mary mumbled something but Titi didn't get and she told her to repeat what she said. "A few thousand naira and a chance to model for her in this event and others" Mary said. Titi now calm and collected, looked at Mary and smiled, she told her to look at the runway, Mary didn't hesitate.
After she had done that, she looked at Titi and was puzzled by the broad smile on her face but she didn't dare ask the reason why. Titi touched Mary's shoulders and said "You betrayed me for a few thousand naira and a chance to model for her in this event. Are those not my designs" Titi asked, Mary nodded. "Are those not her models?" Titi asked again and Mary answered in the affirmative. "But here you are, backstage watching the event instead of you to be out there strutting your thing in fulfilment of the deal you made with her. Seems to me that you've been played my dear" and at moment it hit her, she had indeed been deceived by the unscrupulous Miss Gold.