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She stood there. Looking at us. I could see the controlled chaos in her eyes. Dangerously poised to snake in and burn us without thinking twice about it. As a bad sharp guy known for my prowess at maneuvering and switching guilt, I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. To be caught red handed. All but naked except for the silk cotton pants I had on. Omo, see yawa as e gas. I struggled to pick the words to say but to no avail. I just reclined in the bathtub, feeble and stripped of all the zest some minutes ago.
“Men! You guys are just a sick bunch of perverts.” She found her words eventually and I thought I heard a hint of bitter frustration in those words.
“Professor fuckaholic.. first of his name. The one who winks and breasts of all tribe, shape and size start crying with milk. The chief of the Konji jungle. Hear…hear! Continue, officer. I am sorry that I badged in without clearance from your Secretary. Forgive me.” She turned then and headed for the door. I saw Jael leave , brushing past Jazz by the door, in a fit of unbridled anger.
Hanging thick in the air was tension spiced with uncertainty. The three of us caught in the forbidden game of lust and the ultimate compromise of shame. Baddest player ever liveth. But not this time. I was in no mood to feel myself .
Ufuoma sat there, motionless. The effect of the just concluded drama tautly etched on her face. If only I could read her mind and offer her explanations but I knew better. I just kicked my last good chance of winning a good woman over. The thought surprised me. I really wouldn’t have cared a hoot, in the past about being ratted out this way. My eyes scanned the bathroom. Jazz was out now and I know she would be in the guest room. I could strangle her right now if needed.
“I would need to bathe now. Alone.” Those words sounded like a death knell. An expected reaction from a woman who needed so much more than getting entangled with a playboy.
“I can’t understand how you feel,” I finally found myself saying. “But if you let me I will prove to you that this isn’t what it seems.”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself. You owe me no explanations. We ain’t in a relationship. I just wanna freshen up and go home. I have had enough drama for the weekend.”
Could this ship have sailed away only a few minutes ago? The thought was distressing but the best I could do was respect her wishes and give her space. I toweled up my tousled hair and slipped into my tight-fitting sports pants and headed out of the bathroom..
I headed down, my thoughts heading in the same direction. This was the second time Jael had a reason to end our situation. I had expertly wriggled out of the first and denied her occasional accusations but not this. This was it. I have been caught and Jass had some explaining to do. I stepped into she kitchen to get me a bottle of Lemon spritz. I needed to clear my head just as much as I needed answers. Jael never comes over without calling. But that could wait. My need to unleash my rage was never solving this. I had to act in a way that belies the need for instant angst.
Outside, the day was slowly dragging into darkness. My mind was a blur , racing through faces and events in frantic motion. A nightmare. Even the cold booze that I was restlessly drinking now couldn’t do enough to calm me down. I picked up my phone to call. I needed to talk to her ….and maybe try to tell her what she saw wasn’t what it looked like. I suppressed a laugh now. Never seen a more prideful joker than my humble self. Well, I gotta try anyway and I dialed Jael. It rang but she didn’t pick. But she eventually did at the 4th try and I couldn’t believe my luck.
“Hey baby….I – I was calling to check up on you. Erm…I — also wanted to know if you are home now. My Love, ” I felt a lump then in my throat. This wasn’t easy. This was awkward but a nigga gotta try. “…I know I don’t deserve to be the one you Love anymore but I still — I still feel strongly about you. We should talk. For the sake of all we have ever had.” Jael listened all through. Her silence louder than the rumblings of bargaining between customers and traders at Onitsha market . I waited for a reply. It seemed like eternity.
“Save your pretence and please don’t call my number again.” She clicked off and cut the one last thread at reconciliation.
Ufuoma was out now. Her beauty filling the air. She looked ever so radiant. And ever so ready to go home.
She had her head in her hands. A cold chill rushing through her. She was here and so alone. In the mix of friendship and inordinate desires. When she made that call, she wanted nothing to do with anything but now, everything was under threat. Her whole world seemed like one distant uninhabited castle threatening to implode. It was a reality she wouldn’t love to see in her dreams.