MAGICAL MONDAYS WITH KREATE

Episode 5: Feelings Stir

Chinwe

The flowered pink blinds breathed to the light humming chill from the air conditioner. The rhythm was wild, thumping and in sync. The bed squeaked, complimenting the dance of sensual horses above; palm lightly connected with round flesh, fingernails scratched and moans communicated mounting satisfaction. Climax. He rolled off her, breathing heavily.

‘Yummy,’ Chinwe said in between thumping heartbeats. ‘You have an immensely satisfying little one.’

‘Grand one, you mean.’ He winked and reached for the bottle of water by the bed stool. ‘Virginia is satisfyingly adaptable and receptive as well.’  

Chinwe couldn’t hold a chuckle down. ‘Is that what they call her these days?’

‘What realm do you exist? Haven’t you been following the trend?’

‘Trend according to Tom. Listen to the data analyst. I get paid for doing these kinds of stuff.’

He must have said something rabidly wrong because a serious frown overcame Chinwe’s face. She picked up the remote, switched on the TV, flicked through channels, considering her next words. Her personality barely gave her space to think twice before blurting out her mind but somehow she felt the need to choose her words carefully. ‘I thought we agreed not to get personal?’

Thomas was confused for a bit before realization dawned. He could have apologized but he was certain about what he wanted. He had been certain for a while.

It was time to cast Judas out of his emotional fellowship.  ‘Change is inevitable, Chinwe. I can no longer help how I feel about you. I have this desire to tell you all about me; about what I do, where I come from, my family and friends, my aspirations, my fears. I also want to know you, beyond all the peripheral that you have made available to me’

She sat up and looked down at him. Her fear had been confirmed: he was beginning to fall for her. Damn it. This wasn’t the agreement. Albeit her rules, she liked him. Heck, that was why he wasn’t a client. And it was beyond the sexual, masochistic satisfaction their relationship provided. But it couldn’t be more than this. Happiness was a chicken fattened for an inevitable slaughter. She couldn’t do this.

‘Do I get a response?’ Thomas asked.

‘I think you should leave.’ Thomas sighed, got off the bed, got dressed, picked up his belongings, and the door shut behind him.

Ashley

She was running as hard as she could and yet she was slower than ever. Her assailants were behind her. They were invisible, but she could hear their racing footsteps; they were as loud as the neighborhood thunder. Their voices were like hammer connecting with brick, their laughter as maniacal as a psychotic hyena. ‘Honey, we just want to talk!’ One said. ‘And fuck too!’ Another screamed and laughter filled the air again.

Everywhere was eerily dark but she had to keep on going. And then she bumped into metal, or at least it felt like one. She lost her balance and would have been on the floor if strong hands hadn’t grabbed her. She looked up and for some reason the face of her savior or captor slowly illuminated. It was Tayo and he was smiling.

‘Tayo! Let’s get out of here!’ She tried to run but he held her still.

His eyes were wild like he was under some evil spell. When he opened his mouth it was like a sirene. ‘Where are you going? We just want to fuck!’

Ashley screamed. And screamed. And screamed.

Someone pounded her door. It sounded vague, distant as she awoke to reality. The door pounded again and this time she knew it was her door. This time the knock was accompanied by an audible, worried voice. Chinwe’s voice. ‘Ashley…Ashley. Are you alright?’

 Ashley reluctantly rolled off the bed and opened the door for Chinwe. She managed a smile. ‘Bad dream.’

Chinwe returned the smile. ‘The Boogeyman comes for us all. Are you alright now?’

‘I’ll be fine. I think it’s almost time for work. I should get dressed. Thanks for checking up on me.’

It was still 4 pm so getting dressed at that time would be unusual. But Chinwe got the message. Truth be told, she wasn’t interested in getting to know Ashley’s business. ‘My pleasure.’

Three and a half hours later and Ashley had gotten to work. Routine be routine, her first place of call was Dotun’s office.

‘Ah, Ashley! Just the lady I was looking for.’ Dotun, looking up, announced comically.

‘Good morning Dotun,’ Ashley chimed.

‘Mr. Aderanti called. I wonder why he didn’t reach you directly. A peculiar guy, indeed. Anyways, he requests a meet-up today. 9am. Seal the deal this time, will you?’

Ashley didn’t feel up to a meeting with Tayo just yet but she couldn’t explain why to Dotun. She had to find a way to suppress her emotions and be professional. ‘I will be there.’

‘Please come in.’ The confident voice of Tayo ushered Ashley in. It would take a while before she got accustomed to this improved version of him, a far-cry from the shy wreck he used to be during their university days. As she let herself in, she immediately noticed his haircut. A punk style. It suited him.

‘Good morning,’ Ashley said, exuding her most professional smile. She had decided to relinquish whatever influence the past had on her for the sake of sealing a potential multi-million naira deal. He returned the smile. ‘Please, have a seat, Ashley. Let’s talk business.’ Tell me what you are offering.’

The conversation went on for about an hour. Intermittently, he asked intelligent questions, negotiated, and asked for deadlines. It was clear that he was an astute businessman considering a business relationship with her firm. She quickly realized that the meeting wasn’t a ploy to get them to hash out their past lives. Or at least, it wasn’t the only reason. Amidst the conversation, she couldn’t help but wonder what had brought about the improvement in him.

‘Well,’ he said, holding her gaze in a calm, contemplating manner, ‘this does sound interesting. This is Wednesday; give me till the end of this week. You will have an answer, by then.’

The humor and charm that was typical to her style of closing deals reared its head. She raised an eye and a taunting smile settled on her lips. ‘Research or comparison?’ A chuckle from Tayo. ‘They are quite alike, the two of them.’

So confident with an air of calm certainty. What happened to him? She was impressed. ‘Would that be all, Mr. Aderanti?’

‘We should talk, Ashley.’

For some reason her heart started thumping and the resentment she had successfully kept in at the beginning of this conversation began teasing her. She knew exactly what he meant. She wasn’t quite up to it. Heck, she wasn’t sure she’d ever get to that place. ‘Does this conversation have the potential of influencing your decision regarding this business relationship?’ He frowned. ‘Business and personal lives should be kept separate. Best practice.’ She frowned. ‘An ideal style. Have a lovely day.’ She turned to leave but he held her wrist.

‘Ashley?’

The look in his eyes couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than genuine sadness. An involuntary sigh escaped Ashley. She decided to be truthful about how she felt at the moment. A little. ‘You broke me Tayo….’ She said without looking back. Tears stung and threatened to roll off the ledge. Now that she had started she struggled not to continue.’ …I was raped that night.’ Without turning to see the effect of her statement, she left, shutting the door to Tayo’s office.

An hour and a half later, she was at Colonel Johnson’s apartment, trying to seal off the pain with her moans, his grunts, their climax.

The effect was satisfying but disappointly fleeting.

Ashley & Chinwe

The kitchen smelt delightful as she came in through the door. Her eyes found a steaming pot of pasta garnished with spices, prawns, and chopped pomo pieces. Her unabashed belly growled. Suddenly, she realized she hadn’t had a meal all day. ‘Didn’t know you could cook?’ Ashley asked.

Chinwe laughed. ‘You don’t know a lot about me.’ She turned the plantains in the frying pan.

The plantains gave off a ripe, tempting aroma. ‘Apparently,’ Ashley said settling her bag on the kitchen top. ‘A pleasant surprise though.’

‘I made a little extra. Want a plate once I’m done?’ Ashley pondered. The meal was enticing and she was hungry. ‘I’d love to, on one condition. We share a bottle of white wine. I hope you take alcohol though; it’s 14% destructive.’

Chinwe thought on the matter a bit while she emptied the contents of the frying pan into a plate. Sharing a bottle suggested that they’d eat together, have a few more chit-chats. Bond a little. She wasn’t keen on getting close to anyone but she had boxed herself into a corner by offering the meal. Ashley had never shown signs of wanting to be friends. She had simply been polite in a roommate kind of way, keeping a polite distance. Tonight had to be an exception. We all have exceptions. In the spirit of exceptions, she made her decision. ‘I accept your condition.’

In another 20 minutes, a table was set and cutleries conveyed pasta and plantains into willing mouths. Ashley filled two glasses of white wine and handed one to Chinwe.

Chinwe couldn’t hold back the laughter tickling her throat. ‘Last time I checked, wine glasses should only be half-full.’

‘Have you ever asked why?’ Ashley asked, sipping some wine.

‘Good question.’ Chinwe replied. ‘Hold on, Google is a friend.’ She searched, found her answer, and hummed while soaking in the information. ‘Hmmm. It’s all about the experience. Looking at the bubbles, tilting the glass to look at the color, and a bunch of other rubbish. The only bit that makes sense is keeping the wine from tipping off the glass.’

‘Why should anyone fill the wine to a tipping point? I tell you there are a lot of things we do based on some western culture we know nothing about.’

‘I agree,’ Chinwe said. ‘Follow-follow business is our work o’.

‘Soft work.’

The wine reached the bottom of the bottle as the ladies did judicious business to it whilst discussing a variety of trivia. 

‘I wonder why people want to get close and ruin the bliss of no commitment?’ Chinwe asked.

‘Love, loneliness, both. Feelings are stupid, as far as I am concerned. They find a way to dredge up the past and make a mess of the present.’

‘I agree. The past should be left where it is. It takes more and gives remarkably less in return.’

‘This wine tastes pretty good,’ Chinwe blurted.

‘That’s because it isn’t half full.’ They both laughed like high school girls that had just found out a secret.

‘I have another bottle and it tastes just as divine.’

‘Bring it on!’

 
KREATE
Kreate is a budding Nigerian writer with a flair for fiction. Writing for him began sometime in secondary school where he dabbled in poetry and plays. He has authored two self-published short novels. He is a banker and lives in Surulere. Read more interesting pieces at KREATEATALE