Read all episodes of Love on the 25th here.
The spicy taste of her succulent lips tormented me every waking moment and at night when I thought I was going to have some peace and quiet in the world beyond. Alas! She was there with her light brown eyes and rosy cheeks, frowning at me before breaking into happy giggles as I tickled her in my bed. Dressed in my white cotton shirt that seem to envelope her, we tumble continuously in my bed, her hair plastering her clean face and her dark lined eyes bleeding at the corners as she tries to get my sneaky fingers off her breasts.
Perhaps I was infatuated because of her endless legs or the impressive rise of her chest but I knew it was the challenge she posed that intrigued me, that and the need to kiss her again because I was parched and was looking forward to drinking from that Well for a long time. The air around her was charged to keep men away but I was drawn to that field. I was drawn to the high and mighty air she carried in every step, holding her head high as if she was better than the rest of us and indeed she was beginning to earn it.
It was Tuesday, exactly 13 days after the night I kissed her but it felt like forever. I couldn’t stand it anymore and walked around the office in hopes of seeing a new face that could distract me a little but the pretty faces batting long artificial eye lashes at me had me going back to my office a little disappointed and uninterested. When did they become this obvious?
Idris was obviously tired of me stopping by to casually ask when Miss Black and Mr. Jacob would be coming back. If anything, I ought to know that firsthand but I never failed to stop at her office every day just for the feel.
“On Friday” he had told me. That was last week and as I asked him now, a week later, he repeated the same thing barely looking at me for more than a minute before going back to his multiple screen. His phone rang.
“Good evening Ma….Miss Black. Yes. Yes. I will forward it immediately. I have it here. Yes. It is no problem Ma, sorry Miss Black. …. Debbie…You are welcome. See you soon” he was smiling dreamily as I cleared my throat.
“Mr. Vincent” he called officially and I felt like correcting him but didn’t.
“Was that Debbie?” I deliberately used her first name to gauge his reaction and he blinked, adjusting his glasses on his nose. Could it be that he was having a thing for his boss? The thought was inconceivable but then, the look on his face looked like he was caught with his hand in a cookie jar.
“Yes. She says they will be coming back this Friday” he said, repeating what he had told me earlier with a straight face. I smiled with a nod and went back to my office. On entering the reception area, Rita approached me hurriedly from her large desk to inform me that Mr. Bankole, First Homes M.D. was waiting for me in my office unattended to. She was going to leave soon. The old stingy man was beginning to annoy me but leaving the project now would give Dad the satisfaction that I was not ready to take more responsibility. I had to make sure the 500 condominium housing units for ‘Modern Families’ would be commissioned in eight months – on time, on budget with the promised uncompromised quality bullsh** and excellent workmanship he had vowed to.
“Next time you allow anyone into my office, we will be having you downstairs” I said forcefully in the tightest of tones partly irritated at her stupidity. Mr. Bankole could be looking at confidential files I left on my table and here she was in colorful outfit that would put peacocks to shame looking clueless. She looked a little surprise at the tone before apologizing.
The meeting was underway in no time and instead of the usual chitchat on his favorite line of affordable housing being a faux because there were no affordable housing materials, I told him in the clearest of terms. Zenith Group will not be funding the next phase of the project if the number of units was not increased to correlate with the disbursed funds and if the quarterly mortgage report of subscribed customers was not on my desk in a week. I dismissed him after a vague promise to be patient and small talks that was going nowhere. I was out of the office to go for an inspection of a new site proposed for acquisition in Karsana West. The 80 hectares fertile land was allocated for an industrial layout and Zenith Group was looking at the possibility of developing a mega industrialized city with rail transportation connecting to train stations across the country. This would be the future commerce hub for products and central export/import capital for the country.
I wondered what business models Debbie would come up with and I smiled as I remembered the welcoming look in her eyes 13 days ago when father had asked her and Jacob to take their team to the startup companies that were negatively affecting our bottom-lines and get the memo across in the strictest of terms. The message was clear – grow or get cut down. The two days that followed were fast with her and Jacob summoning their team for a brief and leaving Abuja on Thursday to Kaduna.
The unbelievable urge to volunteer was embarrassing mostly because I had work to do here and had no business resurrecting dead businesses. Moreover, it would be glaring that I was far interested in the woman and not the purpose plus I didn’t need Dad telling me to keep my boy in my pants again. The first time was humiliating enough.
My phone rang as John drove on high speed to the site and the caller ID revealed Ele. This was the third time since morning and I could not believe that I had seriously considered marrying her. After four weeks of silence, Ele was calling to demand I take the next flight to Port Harcourt. I could only imagine the look on her face when I confessed to being in a relationship with the ‘skank’ that accosted us at the restaurant. The necessary lie had come easily after series of insistent calls that threatened to drive me crazy. What would Debbie say if she knew I had just paraded her as my woman? The thought was exciting mostly because I knew she would disown me with a frown that was becoming sweet to remember.
“Bastard! You will so rot in hell Vince and this is not over! Ass!” and she had gone off to a chuckling me, wondering where the good girl had gone.
Like a pregnant Amazonian snail, it was thankfully Friday and I got off work just in time to catch Sandra climb out of the pool and come around the front at 4:40pm. The past week had us missing each other in the mornings and at night. She was actively looking for a space for her gallery and seeing other gallery owners. I had offered her Musa’s help but he wasn’t getting her the ‘Ace space’ as she jokingly rejected his offers. He had gotten tired and disappeared on her. The last I heard, she was seeing other properties and having fun.
Her chest barely filled out but seductively framed with her tiny stomach and slightly rounded hip with thin legs walked towards me confidently, her hair held up by a large pink eye glass that had her looking like some model from an impoverished African country. Okay, I take that back.
“So when are we going on a date?” she asked coming to stand before me in the skimpy halter neck bikini top that threatened to regurgitate her appreciative pagan offering and bottoms that got stuck in between her wet thighs. I barely could contain myself as the thought of Debbie in same getup flashed before my eyes.
“I thought Mr. Fatasho has that covered?” I said humorously as I followed her to their apartment, the little lips of her buttocks trying to escape her colorful pants.
“Mr. Fatasho is interested in Debbie not me. You should take me out sometime” she insinuated as she climbed to the kitchen and I lost a spring in my step. What did she mean by Mr. Fatasho was interested in Debbie? Dad had not been around for a week. Why wasn’t he picking my calls and why wasn’t Debbie doing same? They could not be together, could they?
“Like what you see?” Sandra teased as she gurgled on her bottle of water, thinking I had missed my step because of her back view.
“I think they sit nice” I flirted and she smiled brightly, soaking up the compliment like wild flower.
“So dinner?” she asked again.
“Naaah, not really in dinner mode. When are they due to return?” I asked, already disturbed by the thought that my father and Debbie were probably hooking up and I was here pining over her like some little school boy.
“Tonight. Says they will be taking the last flight” she returned the bottle.
“They?” I asked, my mind excluding the team and putting my father at the crime scene.
“I am in dinner mode and luckily, I have friends that actually want to eat!” she announced happily without answering me as I walked over to the double door standing fridge to get myself a drink. I was suddenly thirsty.
“I bet they must be really interesting” I added after a mouthful.
“But of course” she rolled her eyes and climbed up to her room.
“I need a little rest. See you when you come back” I shouted after her and was down the stairs trying to get my father on the phone. Debbie Black had better not be involved with my father. The thought was getting me hot under my collar and for the first time in my adult life I knew what jealousy meant.
I was literally panting with little chest contractions as I tried to call them both again.
“The number you are trying to call is switched off. You …” I cancelled on third redial.
“You are so going to be mine” I cursed under my breath as I settled in for a quick bath and fruit juice.
I didn’t need her smelling alcohol on my breath when I took her tonight, the thought consoling me greatly.
The terrible taste of black coffee settled permanently in my mouth after consuming about a million of cups of the strong black liquid. I had been abusing my throat for the past two weeks and I was eager to go home and bury myself in my warm soft bed for 12 hours straight in thick darkness. My legs felt like I had lead implants and my toes looked like they were boiled in steam. It was official; I was tired and needed rest. So much work in 4 weeks and I was ready to take two days off to get my creative juices back.
We visited the companies and had series of meetings with their M.Ds and staff responsible for the new business plans we had in our bags. Some were welcoming and others totally intolerant of the changes the management was making. It was my job to point out the alternative. An early cut-out and it definitely would make my job easier.
It wasn’t hard to give Mr. Bongo, the hot-headed Haital Paper Company Director the muscle relaxant he was desperately in need of and the threat of writing off his shiny but outdated company was more than enough to get his bald head under the hammer. Jacob was very much available with his impressive 3-man team. Surprisingly fun and always throwing ideas around, we worked late nights and whipped up corporate tricks to get them dancing to the tune we were playing. While I was impressed, I was also tired and told Nitam, my new assistant to take note of the ideas that leaked from Jacob’s pores. Nitam seemed to be catching up really fast and although I would have preferred if he were a lady, he was always available at odd hours. I needed him.
The tour of companies which started from Kaduna through to Lagos ended in Calabar and after 2 weeks of gruesome late hours, impromptu presentations and market survey, I was going home. I was out of breath as we descended into the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport and I had Abdul waiting to whisk me away after sharing a group wave to the 6-man team.
It was 10:10pm. Sandra was out with Eva and I was so glad. Eva was in town for a little visit. Her new ‘guy’ had a show at The Dome and she was making sure that he had a female body to return to at night or so Sandra said. The empty house would do me good and help me sleep in for the next two days.
The drive to the house was fast and as I closed my eyes, I saw his face for the umpteenth time since that night. I knew it was probably nothing but I couldn’t stop thinking of what the kiss meant. He wanted a booty call? Lure me into an impossible relationship that would jeopardize my position at the Group or simply wanted something more – I dare to hope.
I knew having a physical relationship would be awkward but the thought of having a booty call was becoming more attractive as I relived the touch of his lips and the gentle probe of his tongue. It has been more than 14 years since I had another body touching mine and the temptation of knowing if my organs were still functioning and not some relics from the pyramids of Egypt was very much on my mind. But more importantly, I wanted to know my reaction after I succumbed to his advances. Men like Vince wanted one night stands and needed few minutes in between female legs to feel alive. Was I going to allow myself the pleasure or do I resist him? To what end? I shuddered to think of what would become of him if he tried to force me.
The last time I had murdered someone and the fear of having a man on top me was the beginning of the sweat that sprouted on my brows as we sped home in cold car space. I was brought back to the present as we slowed down and connected to Lumsar Street which opened to Nantal Igho Close where the impressive structure I called home stood brightly in the dark night. A horn later and the gateman waved excitedly as I wound down and I felt slightly guilty at not knowing his name but rewarded his eagerness with a warm smile.
“What is his name again?” I asked Abdul as we drove to my parking lot at the left hand side of the house.
“Gabriel Ma” he said quietly and I took note to get him a white envelope tomorrow ….if I made it out of bed.
The house stood quietly as if it was breathing and as I stepped out of the car, I came face to face with Vince standing in front of me. I jumped and a little gasp escaped me. He had materialized from nowhere and as I watched his face, I saw the muscle in his jaw twitch. I roamed his face with my tired eyes and found myself holding my breath. This was ridiculous!
“This is becoming a bad habit” I rebuked as I caught myself and stared back.
“Welcome home Debbie” he said under his breath as if he were trying to restrain himself from uttering another word.
“Thank you Vince” I said quietly, side-stepping him as Abdul carried my trolley from the car boot and wheeled it to the house.
“I waited up for you” he said casually as he held out his hand, mechanically reaching for mine.
“What exactly for?” I asked lightly, walking to the house, thankful that I had removed my heels and in a full polka dotted chic blouse that covered by back.
“I made dinner. We need to talk” he continued gently dropping his hand at the back of my neck when I refused to place my hands in his.
“I ate already and I am exhausted. Perhaps tomorrow” I told him, shaking him off as as I entered the house. I wished now that Sandra was home. The thought that I was alone with Vince did little to comfort me. Did he know she was out? I wondered as I watched him take the box he had since collected from Abdul up the stairs.
“So how is the office?” I asked.
He was silent and carried up my luggage like some heavy weight champion.
“Okay?” I said trying humor to lighten the mood but I was beginning to lose patience with myself. The mere fact that I was giddy in his presence made me roll my eyes in exasperation. Wetin sef!
“Thank y….” I was saying as he dropped my luggage before pulling me unexpectedly into his warm arms and planting an absolutely wet kiss on my dried lips as if he was hungry. I gasped as his lips came in contact with mine and felt myself move back to escape the onslaught of his lips but I was now backed against the wall, my Prada handbag dropping to the floor with a thump and my hands stilling by my side. The rush of hormones made me lightheaded with excitement and I was confused at my accepting stance of this rough maneuver.
His body pressed into mine and for a fleet second I felt his hard front press into mine, my face flushed at the realization that he was spotting a hard on. I struggled free, suddenly afraid of where this was leading. The buttons of my blouse already opened, exposing my chest to his roving eyes. Cladded in a black lacey bra, I turned to face the wall and buttoned up. My head crawling with images, questions and wondering when my buttons had come undone.
“What is wrong with you?!” I shouted, turning to face him, and licking him off my awaken lips. He was silent and watched me as I tried to regain control.
“I will not have you come into my house and….” I was saying but he didn’t allow me finish.
“And what Debbie? Kiss you?” he asked coming closer and I drew back, unfortunately hitting the wall again.
“Don’t come any closer” I warned as he stood watching me intently. I was perspiring and praying that Sandra or anyone walk in. My heart beating in my rib cage as images of the murder flashed before my eyes and closed my eyes to block out the scene. He used the opportunity to pull me gently into his hands once more and fanned me with his hot breath on my neck.
“I want you Debbie. Don’t deny me” he coaxed and I felt my resolve lessen. He placed small thrilling kisses on my neck, whispering sweet nothings into my ear and I felt my hands go up his shoulders on their own volition. Soon, our lips met again, slowly this time as the tempo built, my buttons opening to reveal my heaving chest and soon felt them dropped to the floor. I gasped when I felt his hand touch my flesh and tease them into hard peaks.
“This is not happening. Please God, let this not be happening” I prayed closing my eyes and giving in to the pleasure he was bent on orchestrating.
“This is happening Debbie. Open your eyes” his voice made me realize I had spoken out loud and I got red in the face. I refused to look at him.
Without warning, he picked me up and approached my bedroom before dropping me on the bed. I opened my eyes then and watched him remove his T-shirt before lowering his long muscled frame over me.
Then I lost it and broke out in a shocking shout as his body weighed me down. I panicked and was panting heavily as the images of men that had abused me reeled off my memory. I shut my eyes to block out the voices and images but it was impossible.
Opening my eyes again to see him stare at me strangely, I felt hot tears touch my ears. I choked back on the tears as I pushed a confused Vince off me and escaped upstairs to Sandra’s room, slamming the door heavily as I broke down on her bed and cried shamelessly, guilt and fear washing over me.
I had made a spectacle of myself. It was over even before it started. I never should have moved in here. I never should have allowed it go this far. I never should have been molested and I never should have killed that man but they were all never-should-have’s and I wept deeply for what I had become.
A living relic.
Love on the 25th is written by Uneñ Ameji. The author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger now selling on African Stories. Pdfs Available. She is @UnenAmeji on twitter.