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Fierce - Season 1 - Episode 6
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Ehi has always known that her mother hated her but what she still could not understand was why. She went out of her way to be the best daughter anyone could ask for but her mother never seemed to notice. It felt like the more she tried, the more she hated her.

She has been ignored all her life by her mother and even when she tried to act like she didn’t care, it hurt her deeply inside. She tried to act like she wasn’t bothered by her mother’s action but she failed woefully.

The only time her mother acknowledged her presence was whenever she did something wrong, which she always used as an excused to hit her. For four years now, her mother has not la!d a finger on her.

The last time was on her twelfth birthday when she had made the mistake of asking her mother for a present. Her mother in turn had given her slaps, kicks and punches and had pushed her down the stairs. She had been found unconscious with her hair matted in blood by her mother’s friend Nessa who rushed her to a hospital where they discovered in addition to the bruises all over her body that she also had broken ribs, concussion amongst other things.

Nessa had given a false story that she was attacked by burglars but it was obvious the doctor didn’t buy it. Even Nessa had been shocked when she saw the number of injuries on Ehi’s body.

She stayed in the hospital for a week before being discharged, her mother never bothered to check in on her and it was Nessa who paid the bills and took her home.

When they got home, she found her mother in front of the TV watching a movie. As usual her mum ignored them both. Nessa helped her upstairs to her room and once she la!d her down on the bed, she marched down and gave her mother a piece of her mind.

Ehi couldn’t hear much of the argument that was going on downstairs but she heard when Nessa told her mother that if she ever raised a finger on her again, she was going to call the police to come arrest her. Her mother seem to believe Nessa’s threat because since that day, she had not raised a finger on her but that only made her more cruel to Ehi.

There were nights where she chased Ehi to bed without dinner while they were also days when she went out and left nothing for her to eat.
She stayed with her mother in a storey building apartment her mother had inherited from her ex-husband. It turned out the man was terminally ill and somehow her mother had convinced him marry her. He died within two years of the marriage. Now her mother rented the other rooms to prostitutes just like herself.

Ehi was tasked with cleaning the entire house and whenever she wasn’t thorough with her job, it meant she wouldn’t eat that day or her mother would not buy her whatever it was she was asking for at that period of time. She didn’t have friends because she had chores round the clock whenever she was back from school. The only person who she could call a friend was Nessa. She had taken Ehi under her wings from the moment she was born, she was the only person who remembered her birthday and got her presents and on occasions took her out.

Whenever her mother had to be away for days, she sent Ehi to Nessa’s place which also housed prostitutes like theirs. It was always a blessing for her anytime her mother was away because it meant she could do fun things like other kids her age.

She had always been bullied in school because she was too tall and even now at 16 her chest was as flat as that of a boy. The boys in her class teased her for her height while the girls hated her for her beauty.

She had pronounced cheekbones and almond shaped honey-brown eyes. She had thick wavy hair that reached her midriff. That seemed to piss the other girls off the most. She was also very skinny. Her mother during one of her outbursts had told her she was skinny just like her dad. She was happy when she heard this because it meant it was genetics and not malnutrition. Her skin was naturally tanned and a lot of women envied her for it. There had been some occasions where strangers walked up to her to know where she got her tan done.

Nessa always teased her that she would someday become a famous model but she never took her seriously. It was one afternoon when she went to a saloon with Nessa and one of the hairdressers asked if she was a model.
She laughed and told the lady no but the woman continued that she was wasting her looks if she was not trying to get into the modeling industry. The other women in the saloon also agreed with the lady and Nessa gave her an I-told-you-so look.

That day, when she got home, she spent hours staring at her reflection in the mirror and at that moment she decided to try the modeling thing. If everyone felt she could excel in it then she would be a fool not to give it a shot. The next couple of weeks, she spent them reading everything and anything about modeling. She checked for casting calls around the area.

When that didn’t seem productive, she started skipping schools and going to places she felt a scout could see her.

She went to the malls, museums, parks, hotels and the university. She even went to the airport and roamed around for hours but to no avail. She was about giving up when she overhead some girls in her class talking about a casting call that was to be held the next day. That night she washed and ironed her only good pair of jeans, she scrubbed her sneakers clean also tried on the new shirt Nessa had given her some weeks ago. The next day, she hid the clothes in her bag as she pretended to go to school but once she was at a safe distance she switch clothes and headed for the casting venue.

She arrived ten minutes before the appointed time but there were already dozens of girls there. The casting directors came in a short while and the process began. When it was her turn, she proceeded into the small room and cheerfully greeted and introduced herself to the judges which consisted of two white males and a black female. She was so nervous. She couldn’t make out their words when they ask her to walk for them. The female director had to repeat herself twice before Ehi could understand.

She nervously walked for them and when she was done, the judges seem to consult amongst themselves and then a male judge addressed her.

“That was real good miss E-hi—”
he looked across to confirm if he got the name right.

“No, its Air-he”
she corrected.

“Okay, nice walk and you look the part but to proceed to the next level, you need to pay three hundred dollars to this lady”
he pointed at the woman sitting beside him “and then you fill out the form she gives to you and drop in the basket by the door before you leave” he said looking straight into her eyes.

“Sir I did not bring any money with me”
she said.

“Then I’m sorry, we can’t help you.”

“How bout I bring the money tomorrow”
she said looking at the judges beseechingly.

The man at the middle exchanged glances with the other judges who nodded in agreement.

“Okay, I guess.”
“Thank you.”

“You are welcome.”
She left.

As she walked out of the building, she had tears in her eyes. She kept wondering how she could come up with the money. She didn’t want to tell Nessa until she was sure it was going to work out. She knew she couldn’t ask her mother. She just stood on the pavement with her hands on her head oblivious to everything going on around her.

She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned around to see a man she had never seen before. He was black and he was also very short or maybe she was just too tall. He seemed to be speaking to her though she could not make out his words.

“Sorry, what did you say?”
“You are crying.”

She felt her cheeks with her palm and realized it was wet. She quickly wiped the tears off and smiled at the stranger.

“Thank you. I act silly like this sometimes.”

He gave her a look that showed he didn’t believe her, he shrugged.

“I can’t help but wonder, do you have any interest in modeling?”

“Yes, I came her for a casting call.”
She said and pointed at the building behind her.

The young man laughed at her for a while. “Let me guess, they asked you to pay some money?”

“Yes, I’m supposed to pay three hundred dollars for a form.”

The young man laughed some more before he continued. “Did you?”

“No and that’s only because I don’t have the money and what’s so funny that you keep laughing at?”
She glared at the stranger.

“I don’t know, maybe it’s the fact that you are so naive you can’t see that those are fraudsters you are dealing with.”
He said.
She looked back at the building.

“Are you sure? They really felt legit.”
“And you know this how?”
“But they had flyers.”
She argued.

“Anyone can have flyers my dear.”

“Well I guess it’s my luck that I didn’t have any money on me then.”
She shrugged and was about moving away when the stranger held her arm.

“What do you want?”
She asked angrily.

“Keep cool miss. My name is Simeon and I actually own a modeling agency.”

She looked at him like he was crazy. “Really? So you think I will escape from one set of fraudsters and fall into the hands of another right? Nice try.”
She brushed his hands off.

“Fine, don’t believe me but take my card —”

He handed her his business card.

“— my cell phone number is behind. I’m only in town for two more days before I return to New York. So make sure you call me before then”
He said.

“Yeah, whatever.”
She replied and walked away.

That night she pondered on her conversation with Simeon. She took the card he gave her and read it thoroughly. She didn’t want to be scammed but then again she had no money so he couldn’t possibly gain anything from her she thought.

The next morning on her way to school, she used a phone booth and called Simeon.

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