The cold bed kept me awake for the better part of the night and well, Leke.
He came in at the exact time I needed him. The tight hug was more out of gratitude for coming as at when he did than actually loving his lean torso. I loved the look on Dan’s face.
Yes……he was jealous!!!
But it was short-lived. He still went home to her every night and was probably coiled up in her arms.
I turned at the thought and the cold sheets reminded me why I needed another body in my bed.
He was an alpha male……if there was anything as such. Definitely one that would make a warm blooded female to boil and the weak male cringe with self-consciousness. His intense look and firm lips relaxed after a while and his brilliant white teeth made him look desirable. I made a mental note to ask him if he had a teeth job done. He was desirable and I smiled at the thought of getting Dan jealous with Leke coming into the office more often.
Good thing he was refreshing alias ‘weird’.
Damian had called earlier.
‘Hello Baida’ he said in an accent that I was slowly getting under my skin.
‘Damian’ I called as I toweled myself getting under the covers.
‘How are you?’ he asked
‘I am alright’ I replied.
‘I am right outside your apartment’ he announced rather pleased with himself.
‘Great’ I said.
‘You coming out?’ he asked hopeful.
‘No dear. I am in bed already’ I said settling in.
‘Wow! You are not coming out?’ he persisted.
‘Yes’ I gave a yawn.
‘Please?’ he tried.
‘Good night Damian’ I gave a patronizing giggle and covered myself the more.
‘Alright Baida. Good night’ he said somewhat disappointed.
The last face I saw was Leke’s as I fell into a warm quiet sleep.
I woke up staring at the ceiling. Another day.
And why was I thinking of those lips!!!
I squeezed my eyes and got up. It was 6am. A quick work out in the gym had sweat running down my body and went to take a shower.
I dialed her number. It was switched off at 7:30 am.
I got dressed in a pair of black trousers and white shirt with golden cuffs.
The shoes were polished already. Andrew had laid out my attire for the day. I was almost at the door when Yomi called from the balcony up the stairs.
‘Looking good bro. Who is she?’
‘My wife’ I said with a wide smile and he laughed.
‘Wait! He jumped three steps at a time and landed heavily. He had been to the gym too and was sweating.
‘Are you serious? What of Wande?’ He asked eyes wide.
‘I am not marrying Wande’ I said simply.
‘I know you mean that. Have you considered mother?’ he asked quietly as we looked at ourselves.
‘Mother will come around. I am getting late’ I said taking my leave.
‘We don’t want to keep her waiting’ he was back to the teaser.
I shook my head and tried her number again. Still switched off.
She was waiting for me dressed in white ankle length pants and tucked in black turtle neck that accentuated her hips as she walked towards the car with her multicolored pumps. Her hair parked in a tight bond and dropping earrings matching her full red lips.
I wondered how my fingers would feel in her hair.
‘You are late’ she said as she opened the door. I snapped out of my mini fantasy
‘Good morning to you too’ I gave a small smile. She laughed.
‘We good to go?’ I asked as she belted herself in.
‘I am already locked in’ she eyed me playfully.
‘I thought you were kidnapped’ I started an easy conversation on our way to the office.
‘Why?’ she asked looking at me with a smile forming at the corners of her mouth.
I was going to have to kiss those lips soon. They were driving me crazy.
‘Your phone was switched off’ I looked at her waiting for an explanation.
‘Oh’ was all she offered. I didn’t press.
‘So what are we doing today?’ I asked.
‘Get ideas for new brief’ she said offhandedly.
‘I get to share your office?’ I teased. I was hoping she would say yes. I knew I was pushing and suddenly felt clingy. Leke go to work with a woman?
And why was I unprepared for the words that were flying out of my mouth.
I wanted to be with her.
‘Sure. You got any ideas on contemporary concept for designs. H, T & M wants an African-Modern base for their new headquarters scheduled for launching in August’ she said freely.
‘I would suggest alternating modernized African pieces and primitive backdrops for different departments. Say each department have identities of different African countries or a hybrid of arts across the Continent’ I said looking at her. she looked on and then broke into a brilliant smile.
‘Perfect. You are so hired Art director’ she said eyes shining like a girl with candy.
‘I love it. This is so brilliant’ she kept saying as we got to her office.
‘My spot’ she pointed and I parked.
‘So we would have to schedule a visit to the art shops and galleries. Get some orders out. I will schedule a visit to Dr. Mangu, get the departments head to a meeting and…… ’ she was spinning and I couldn’t stop her. She jumped down, walked round and was opening the door for me to come down when I held her hand.
‘Calm down’ she stopped and took a deep breath.
‘Sorry. It is so gooooood! Why didn’t I think of that!’ she said making a fun face. I laughed finally.
He laughed then. His white teeth was beautiful and the baritone laughter sounded so contained with his Adam apple appearing and then disappearing again. I became aware of the man standing before me. The crisp white shirt opened slightly to his frame and gold cuffs that held him at his wrist completed the simple-sophisticated look he was going for. His long fingers and neatly cut nails had me thinking of how good those hands would make me feel.
I forced my eyes back to his and found him studying me too.
I gave myself a mental shake.
‘Yes, we shall’ This time not shaking my behind. Good thing i waited for him to come pick me up. I was sure he’d come by the house if my phone was switched off. I was glad he did. My plan on getting Dan sweat was underway. I gave a devilish grin.
‘Good Morning Ma’ it was Deji. The ‘too-fine’ receptionist according to Leke.
‘Morning Morning’ I sang entering my office. He followed.
‘Really big desk’ He noted. I stopped momentarily at the statement and smiled.
‘Yes. I can make a mess of them sheets’ I said trying humor.
‘Ok’ he said standing firm and looking at me without an expression. He looked larger than the room and I felt self-conscious now.
This bobo big oh!
I smiled and went behind my desk.
‘This is impromptu. You would be sharing my office with me for a while. I will have your office ready next week’ I offered playfully.
‘I don’t mind’ he said and took the seat opposite me.
‘Good. I need you here anyways’ I laughed.
‘Tea? Breakfast?’ I offered again.
‘No. I think well when my intestines are biting me’ he said and I laughed out so loud it must have traveled to the reception. I hoped it got to Dan. I was soon to find out.
‘Alright then. Let’s get to work and we can present it to my partner after lunch’ I said after the loud laugh.
‘Your partner?’ he asked.
‘Yes. Dan Atiga’ I answered offhandedly.
‘You should meet him soon’ I said
‘Right’ he said looking at me as I took my seat finally.
The rest of the morning passed quickly. He kept the ideas coming and I kept soaking it up.
‘What do you do really?’ I asked dropping my pen.
‘Consulting’ he said with a bland look. He looked cute. But he looked like he was hiding something.
‘You are hiding your identity’ I pointed out and he looked at me sharply.
‘How would you know’ he asked sitting up.
‘I feel a vibe’ I smiled and got up to stretch. It was 2 pm already.
‘What you want for lunch? I asked
‘I will take us out’ he said coming around the desk. I stood warily.
‘Good. Let’s go eat then’ I said as he approached. I wanted to take a step but I stood.
‘I want to see your hair down’ he was standing so close now I could perceive his scent. He smelt good.
It must be my hormones and I went into a calendar-count overdrive.
Okay, it wasn’t my hormones. He had an unsettling effect and my heart beat had increased.
‘I like it up’ my voice creaked and I cleared my throat to sound firm.
‘I like it up’ I repeated.
‘I know. I want to see it down’ his hands snaked to my hair clip and expertly took it out. He looked at me and I stood still, my eyes not leaving his. He was so serious and intense as his fingers massaged the back of my neck and touched a nerve. I closed my eyes momentarily as I felt my tensed self relax slightly opening my lips at the unexpected release.
That was all it took. Her lips opened and her briefly closed eyes pushed me over. Tilting her head, I took her lips in mine and felt myself ease up. She was so soft and sweet I feared I might leave a bruise. The surprise as she opened her eyes and made to withdraw got my hands on her tiny waist pulling her close while I increased the gentle suction on her lower luscious lips.
These were my lips. They were made for me and I was going to enjoy kissing them. She was tensed and the gentle teasing got a response from her.
Just when I enveloped her tongue in mine for my signature tongue dance, her door opened to reveal a man standing there with a shocked look on his face. She tensed and I released her to look back. Something told me he was her partner…………Dan.
She blushed and left my embrace slowly, going to stand before him. I was not particularly happy.
‘Yes Dan?’ she asked
‘What are you doing?’ he asked in annoyance.
‘I was in the process of getting thoroughly kissed’
‘In the office’ he looked from me to her and back again.
‘What do you want Dan?’ she asked and I watched. I knew then that they had a history. I didn’t know how much.
‘Who is he? What is he doing in your office?’ he asked staring down at her. I was getting pissed. No one stares down at my woman.
‘He is Leke, the new Art Director and will be joining us. As for what he is doing in my office? That is PERSONAL business’ she stressed. She was up to it. I loved her energy and the darting fiery eyes.
‘Look Baida, I will not……’ she didn’t allow him finish.
‘You will take whatever I bring to the table. You have no choice. Please leave my office’
If I was hooked before, now I knew I was never letting go.
He stood there rooted to the spot and gave me a look that was intended to scare me away. I chuckled.
‘This is not over Baida’ he stormed out of the office. She stood there and refused to turn seconds after he slammed the door.
I walked over to where she stood, placing my hands on her shoulders. She relaxed her raised shoulders but stood still facing the door.
‘I am sorry you had to witness that’ she apologized in a small voice as if she had not just roared.
‘I am sorry you had to go through that’ I massaged.
‘Do we still go for lunch?’ she asked turning slowly at my pull.
‘Yes’ I looked at her holding her chin up.
‘I am still hungry’ I insinuated. She avoided my eyes and slowly moved to get her purse. She knew what I meant. I was still going to kiss her. But not so soon.
The drive to my house was quiet and she had no idea where we were headed. She asked just as I drove into my house. She sat up.
‘Your place?’ she asked unsure.
‘Yes’ I answered.
‘What are we doing here?’
‘Lunch’ I answered simply and got down. For the first time, I sensed fear as I came around to open her door.
‘Trust me’ I said simply and held out to her. She took it and stepped down gingerly. I was tempted to pick her up but that would have spooked her. She was so cute and sexy and I bet she didn’t know how much of it she oozed.
‘So we are having lunch in your house’ she summarized as she sighted Andrew coming towards us.
‘Good afternoon Sir’ he bowed. I smiled and gave a nod.
‘Good afternoon Ma’ he greeted her and the surprise that registered in her eyes gave Andrew the cause to smile.
‘Oh, Thank you’ she beamed as we went in. Wande never acknowledges Andrew. He must be surprised that she smiled at me.
Yomi stood with arms folded as I led her in. Her eyes taking snap shots of the house and taking in the art piece and arrangements. I knew she was gathering ideas for work.
‘You have got a lovely interior’ she noted and smiled the moment she saw Yomi.
‘Hello pretty’ it was Yomi.
‘Hello handsome’ she replied. She saw the resemblance.
‘Baida, Yomi……My youngest brother’ I introduced while I held her hand. She offered her hand for a shake but Yomi took her in an unprepared hug. She giggled as Yomi took her hand from mine and led her to the kitchen.
‘Don’t worry, I have prepared lunch for you’ he was saying as I entered the kitchen.
‘He didn’t’ I revealed and he made a face.
‘Okay, but I ordered it’ he confessed.
We laughed then.
‘He is the crazy one’ I informed quietly as we sat down to a meal of peppered fresh fish, evenly diced and sauced Irish potatoes in hot chilli, carrots and onions.
‘This is lovely’ she said afterwards as we moved to the open space on the deck.
‘It is’ I said taking the seat next to her.
‘Your brother is hilarious’ she continued as I took her hands. The sun was setting and I knew she was still ticked about the kiss or being walked in on. Moreover, it ate at me. I wanted to know. I needed to know.
I also wanted to continue from where we stopped.
‘Look at me’ I ordered silently pulling at her fingers.
‘What went wrong?’ I asked and her eyes watered. I still did not believe Good Interiors was hers or rather part owner.
‘I don’t want to talk about it please?’ she pleaded with her eyes. I nodded. She smiled.
‘Thank you’ she said and gave me a hug. I patted her hair and brushed her hair with my fingers.
It was not a good time to punish those lips for looking too good.
The moment his lips had touched mine, I was lost and succumbed to the sweet pressure he was mounting on my lower lips. Either I had forgotten how a kiss felt or he was the best kisser ever.
I placed my head on it as he stroked my hair. His heart was steady and pounded gently.
The confrontation with Dan kept coming back. I felt the hatred and revenge leaving me. I was tired of holding on but at same time I was not ready to let go.
How can I forgive him?
I had quietly gotten rid of my baby the day after I found out that Dan had gotten married behind my back. How did I not see the signs? How did I not know?
‘I thought you knew’ was all he said when I confronted him after his three weeks of honeymoon in Obudu-Calabar.
The feelings were still fresh as I lay on Leke’s chest and tried in vain to keep the tears off his shirt. I couldn’t. It escaped my closed eyes and touched him. He stroked me the more as gave me a peck on the head. He gave another one and then another.
It tickled and I started giggling.
‘Stop, Stop’ I said playfully disengaging and cleaning my eyes with the back of my right hand.
‘You are ticklish?’ he asked and gave a playfully rib tease. I jumped up with a high-pitched shout trying to get away from him. He dragged me back as I fell on his laps and we laughed.
I heard someone clearing her throat. We stopped and turned to look.
Obviously, he had his own drama and I smiled as I watched and waited.
‘So less than 24 hours and you bring her into our home’ she accused. I was shocked. Leke was married?
God help him if he was.
God help him if he was.
‘I did not bring her into OUR home. This is my house and she is mine….My guest’ he continued realizing his mistake in calling me “Mine” his like I was some property.
‘Go ahead. Lie’ she gave a shirk.
Yomi appeared then.
‘Hey Wande’ he called. She gave him a long bad stare.
‘Don’t hey me’ she shouted.
‘You should have called me or Mom the moment he brought her in here but I guess you all are the same’ she hissed and turned to face us. Leke sat up right and grabbed me tightly when he noticed I was slipping away.
I no need acid on my face biko. Film show over.
‘Can I talk to you?’ Yomi asked politely while she stood as if she wanted to swallow us both.
‘Take her out of here before I come back’ she hissed and followed Yomi out of the deck.
‘I am sorry you had to witness that’ he used my exact words and I was forced to smile.
‘I am sorry you had to go through that’ I replied and we both laughed.
‘Why didn’t you tell me you were married?’ I asked sitting up. I checked my phone and sent a text.
‘I am not. Just Mother wants me to marry her’ he said offhandedly as if it didn’t matter.
‘Seems you two need to work whatever needs to be …..well, worked out’ I said standing up and roughly putting my hair back into a bond. He noticed the change and stood up too.
‘It is not what you thinking’ he said looking at me.
‘I am not thinking’ I smiled and took my purse as I headed out of his apartment. Obviously I was not using my head this past days.
‘Where are you going?’ he asked totally surprised.
‘The office. I have got work to do. Thanks for lunch’ I said and matched with even paced steps.
I had to get away from here as soon as possible.
All this Yoruba babes no dey take man matter play at all
‘Don’t leave like this. Let me take you back to the office’ he offered. Perhaps the cool way I was leaving gave him the idea that I was never coming back to his apartment or ending things before they even started. It was neither.
I simply was not going to be the ‘other woman’. I knew firsthand the pain ‘other-women’ caused.
‘Naaa, no worries. Go talk to her’ I smiled and gave him a peck on the cheek like a fare well. It was a fare well.
‘I am taking you to the office’ he said stubbornly as Andrew approached.
Akin was there already. My freelance driver. I had sent him a text with the address the moment mommy-bride left with Yomi.
‘A man at the gate says he was called for a pick up’ Andrew looked from me to Leke.
‘You called a cab?’ he asked in disbelief.
‘I sent him a text’ I corrected as if it mattered.
‘What does it matter?’ he raised his voice and then brought it back down immediately.
‘It doesn’t. She is waiting. I will see you tomorrow at work’ I said raising my eyes to meet the chosen bride staring at us. I mouthed a thank you to Andrew who held the gate while I stepped out. Never looking back.
He was enjoying the milk.
He didn’t want the cow.
Dan was Leke.
I was done with milkers.
Or so I thought.