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
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 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 disapprovingly 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.