LIFE IS GREY

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 heart beats. ‘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 kind of stuffs.’
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, in fact.
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 if 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 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 4pm 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 duing their university days. As she let herself in, she immediately noticed his haircut. A
punk style. It suited it 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 a 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 threathened 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. Apparently 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 totally 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
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.

Oluwole Olusanya
Oluwole Olusanya is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and entertainment website in the country. He is a banker, writer, blogger, public affairs analyst and a tax consultant. He anchors Trending Topics on SHEFFA where he shares his thoughts and opinions on trending issues. He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He has diplomas in Banking and Finance, Investigative Journalism, Creative Writing, and Linguistics from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, Lagos, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.