Nothing would have made me think that Andrew was a scammer. He didn’t fit the typical stereotype of a scammer. He wasn’t West African and I didn’t meet him through Tinder. On the contrary, he was a Kenyan from Coast with a legit business. In fact, that’s how we met. I went to his electronics shop to buy a laptop and he was there. We exchanged numbers and he somehow convinced me to give him a chance. Now, looking back at it, I’m not even sure if that was his business.
However, I wasn’t suspicious of anything for the time that we dated. I would describe our relationship as a dream come true. It was the kind that you only saw in movies and never thought would actually happen. He always called or texted me throughout the day to check how I was doing. If I needed anything, he didn’t hesitate to help. Within a month of dating, he was already paying my bills.
Apart from paying bills, Andrew was also extremely loving. He always made time every day to come and see me. He’d pick me up from work, take me out for a cup of coffee then drop me home and go back to his business.
“Why don’t you stay over tonight?” I asked.
“I have to go close up the business. You know I can’t leave those incompetent people alone for too long.” He replied and laughed.
After bidding him goodbye, he sped off and the next time I saw him was the following day. Although brief, the moments we spent together were more special than anything else. They were usually the highlight of my day and I looked forward to them.
One day, Andrew came to pick me up and instead of going for our usual coffee dates, he took me to his place. We entered this mega mansion that had two armed guards standing on opposite ends of the gate.
“Is this where you live?” I asked in disbelief and he nodded. “Business must be good.”
“It is. You should start one.” He answered as we came to a stop in the four-car garage.
We were then greeted by the loud barking of three huge German Shepherd dogs. Andrew ushered them away then opened the door for me and we went into his house. It was well furnished with a lot of gold details. To be honest, it looked more like a drug dealer’s house than an electronics seller’s house. Nonetheless, I didn’t think much of it.
I knew Andrew was a little flamboyant and eccentric so the house wasn’t much of a surprise. It suited him.
“This is your home now.” He said and I laughed thinking he was joking.
Most guys wouldn’t even welcome a girl in their Kasarani apartment yet Andrew was more than welcoming me in his lavish mansion. I looked around admiring the decor and furniture.
“I could get used to this,” I said to him and we both laughed.
He then went to the kitchen to ask the house manager to prepare dinner for us and I wandered off to other parts of the house. Everything looked so good but it was the view from the rooftop that sealed the deal for me. All I could see were acres of greenery and a river at the bottom of the hill.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Andrew asked as he approached me from behind and held my waist.
“It is. You must be really proud of yourself.”
I knew he was because Andrew didn’t grow up in a rich family. However, his goal was to give his children everything that he didn’t have. Now that he was rich enough, he wanted to start a family and he was adamant about it. All our conversations lately revolved around getting pregnant and starting a family.
I spent a whole week at his place until I had mastered every room in the house. However, there was one room that always remained closed.
“What’s in this room?” I asked one of the cleaners.
“I don’t know. The boss says it’s his storage.”
“Do you have a key?”
“We can look but he says we shouldn’t enter.”
“Don’t worry, Diana. This is my house too and if I want to go in there, I will. Look for the key then bring it to me.”
After an hour, she came back with a bunch of keys in her hand. She handed them to me then dashed out of the room. I tried a couple of them with no success and just when I was about to give up, the key worked. I unlocked the door without thinking much of it and then entered the room. It was dark and I could smell the dust which was causing my sinuses to flare up. I walked around the dark room trying to see what was in it but everything was in large plastic bags or packed in boxes. They looked like old furniture and belongings from his old apartment.
I locked the door and returned the keys to the cleaner confirming that there was nothing out of the ordinary in that room.
“We’ll clean that room tomorrow. It’s too dusty.” I said to her and she simply nodded in agreement.
When Andrew came back from work, I told him that I wanted to clean the room and the reception I got was nothing like I expected.
“I told you to leave that room alone!” He yelled.
“But it’s just full of junk. We need to clean it or we’ll have rats running around here.”
“I’ll clean it when I need it. Leave it alone!”
Just like that, I never spoke of or entered that room again. The next time it was opened was when a team of heavily armed policemen raided the house.
I had been living there for about two months now and was feeling like the queen I was. I used to go swimming every day and even the dogs had grown to love me. Suddenly, my world came crashing down when a fleet of police vehicles stopped at the entrance of the house and over 15 policemen made their way into the house.
“Where is Abubakar?” One of the men asked aggressively.
I shook my head and then looked at the workers thinking that it might be one of them but they were all silent.
“I won’t ask again, where is this man?” He asked holding a picture of Andrew.
“Who is Andrew? This is Abubakar Suleiman and he’s wanted for fraud. Now, where is he?”
“I don’t know where he is. I’m just a guest here.”
I watched as they tore the house apart and carried all kinds of documents. When they opened the room that Andrew had told us not to go in, they smiled at each other.
“We’ve found it.” One of them yelled then came out carrying what I thought was a computer.
“Madam, if you don’t tell us where he is, you’re all coming with us for being accomplices to a scammer.”
Then, Andrew called.
“Hey babe, where are you?” I asked.
“I’m at work. Why?”
“I just miss you. I need to talk to you. Can we meet at the usual coffee shop?”
“Of course, I’ll be there in 15 minutes.”
Just like that, Andrew was arrested. The arrest made national news and he was described as a “prominent businessman who had been scamming innocent people for years”.
My knees felt weak as I thought about how unsuspecting I was of him. Sometimes, I wonder whether our relationship was a long con or whether it was genuine. I will never know since Andrew swears that he loved me and he still does. However, I’d be a fool to believe the words of a scammer.
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