” There, done” Sly said, straightening up. He dropped the brush he held on his painting table.” You’ve been such a darling. You may stand up now.”
I stood up from the chaise he asked me to sit on. He had sweat on his forehead, a faint touch of color was on his jaw. I couldn’t help thinking he looked so handsome despite the faded white shirt he wore with a black pant.
” Can I see it?” I asked.”The painting”
” No, not now.” He said, walking over to where I stood.” Let’s go”
” How about….”
” I can’t risk you sneaking a look at the painting”
He led me out of the studio.
” Do you mind if I made us something to eat?” I asked.
” I’d be so delighted.” He gave a mock bow,” I want to go freshen up now.”
” I will have something ready by the time you are done.”
” Alright Ma’am”
I went downstairs and rummaged through his pantry. There were loads of canned foods and some packs of spaghetti. I settled on Spaghetti and beef sauce. Sly hadn’t returned by the time the food was ready. I went back upstairs and knocked on his bedroom door. I thought he heard me so I entered just as he was coming out from the bathroom.
He had a towel tied around his lean waist, his hairy chest was damp and his packs was tauted as he s—-d in breath on seeing me. He looked like one of those athletic guys on the covers of western sport magazines. I stood rooted to the spot, in embarrassment. He looked momentarily stunned and he raked his fingers through his hair. The movement made his muscles to ripple.
” Sly….the….the…food is ready.” I stammered out, my gaze fixed on his chest. Uche isn’t this hairy, I thought.
” Alright, give me a minute.” He said and turned to go back into the bathroom.
My eyes caught a tattoo on his arm, where have I seen that before I thought?, I went back downstairs and waited for him.
After lunch, Sly took me to his pool and we sat beside it, our legs dipped in the water.
” Want to hear my story?” He asked.
I took a deep breath.” Yes.”
He started his story and before my eyes, he transformed into a little boy, re_ living his childhood journey all over again. I laughed at some part and I cried when he told me about his father and how his baby sister was raped. I took hold of his hand and gave it a squeeze just like Uche and I used to do. I squeezed it twice before Sly realized it was a way of comforting him without using words of the mouth.
He squeezed my hand in return, tilted my head backwards and kissed me on my lips. My breath ceased when his warm lips touched mine, I kissed him back with every fiber in my body. It was a friend, comforting a friend, kind of kiss. A warm liquid feeling settled in the pit of my stomach, I wasn’t feeling sorry for him. Pity is an emotion Sly will never accept, I was simply reassuring him that he wasn’t alone in his pain.
” Shark!” A feminine voice called and we broke apart. Annie had her hands on her hips, staring at the both of us.
I made to stand up but Sly pulled me closer to himself. His strong arm went around me, stopping my escape.
” Annie,” Sly acknowledged with a nod of his head.
” Hello Dupe,” She said.
” Hi Annie, ” I replied, my eyes were cast down in shame. I never thought of her and her feelings. This was her boyfriend I was messing with. I tried to stand up again but Sly’s arms around me tightened.
” I was at your office but I was informed you didn’t come in today, so I came to check up on you.” She said to Sly.
“Thank You Annie,” Sly said.
“I will be on my way now” She said.
” Annie, wait!” I said, scrambling to my feet.
” No, it’s okay Dupe.” She said, before walking away.
I felt tears slip down my cheeks, not only have I hurt Uche but I have also succeeded in hurting his friend too. I wiped my hands on my gown, wishing I could also wipe away the guilt in my heart. Sly wrapped his arms around my shoulders.
” You heard her Dupe, it’s okay. We are both single and we haven’t hurt anyone by sharing a simple kiss.”
” But….she was your girlfriend! Even if she’s now your ex, she’s bound to feel hurt.”
” I have never had a girlfriend” He replied.
I looked at him perplexed, ” Annie was….”
” No. We were never an item. We were FWB”
” FWB?” I asked.
His fingers brushed away the tear drops from my cheeks.” Don’t worry about that.”
” Please take me home,” I said, suddenly wishing the arm around my shoulders belonged to Uche. No matter what I tell myself everyday, my heart will always belong to him. I missed him.
” Alright.” Sly said.
I was about entering the elevator when Annie waved at me. The elevator car opened in front of me before it slided downwards. Annie’s short curly hair bounced as she walked towards me.
“I have been trying to catch you alone all day.” She said.
” Sorry, I didn’t notice.” I said.
” Shark has been sniffling around Dupe, as a matter of fact I caught them kissing.”
My face tightened as I felt an arrow pierce through my heart.” Annie?”
” I will never lie to you Uche, see the main reason I’m telling you is because I care about you. I knew Shark was going to dump me, he’s wild fire. He cannot be tamed and I’d hate to see her hurt.”
” Thank you,” I replied.
” What will you do?” She asked.
” She’s free to do whatever she likes with herself.”
” Oh Uche,” She said, touching my arm. ” Giving up already? ”
” How are you Annie?” I asked.
” I’m alright for a lady who’s just had her heart broken.”
” Be good.” I said.
” I will, see you tomorrow.” She replied, walking away.
I slipped out my phone and dialed Dupe’s number. It rang for some seconds before I heard her voice.
” Uche,” She said softly.
” Heard you are f*ucking Shark” I said, feeling a surge of anger sail through me. I felt like slamming the end of my fist into Shark’s pretty face.
” Please don’t.” She said.
” Please don’t what?” I asked, ” Does he kiss better? is that why you left me using my mother as a cover?”
” Uche, listen to me…”
” Why should I listen to you?” I asked, ” I don’t blame him tho, after all you handed me the cookie too now Shark wants a bite too. Hope he f* ucks good too.”
” Yes! Yes he f*ucks better than you!” She screamed, ” Is Cecilia not doing a good job as well?”
” She is doing a fantastic job! She’s also a pro! she doesn’t need guidiance on how to please a man!”
” Good! ” she said.
” Good” I replied.
” That’s very good!” She said and dropped the call.
I threw the phone at the wall and it crashed to the ground.I missed her, I missed her a lot. Just the thought of another man going down on her was enough to make me want to wrap my hands around that man’s neck.
I held my head between my hands, staggering from the bathroom into the bedroom. Tade was knotting his tie when he noticed something was wrong with me. He grabbed hold of my hands, before I could hit the ground. He carried me onto the bed, his hand went against my forehead, checking my tempature.
” Bell, what is wrong with you?” He asked with concern and worry written all over his face. ” I will put a call through to Dr. Mensah immediately.”
” No,” I moaned, tears slittering down my cheeks” I think I need to rest.”
” Are you sure? You fainted last night too. I’m getting worried by these fainting spells.”
” I will be fine my love, please kiss me and go to work.” I said.
He looked at me, indecisive if he should leave his sick wife and go to work or not. He kissed my forehead and walked out of the room. I hugged the pillow closer to my chest, rubbing my temple with two fingers. Funmi walked in with a tray of hot tea.
” Mabel, Please sit up. Your breakfast is ready.” She said.
” Please put the tray on the drawer, I need you to do something for me.”
She carried the tray to the drawer and walked back to the bed.
” I want you to do my laundry.” I said, pulling myself out of bed. I pointed to a huge pile of clothes beside my wardrobe.
” I should give the clothes to the laundry guy?” She asked.
” No, do it yourself. I don’t want yo to use the washine machine either, please use your hands. Make sure you scrub them very well, especially my panties.”
She looked like she wanted to argue but she kept her mouth clamped shut. This morning she wore a tank top with a short which barely covered her big a-s. She scooped the clothes into her arms and made to leave but I suddenly remembered something and I called her back.
” Funmi, wait.” I slipped off the painties I wore and threw it at her. ” Tade made passionate love to me last night, I feel so sore in my joints. So make sure you scrub that panties very well.”
” Yes Ma’am.” She mumbled.
” Wait, do we have a problem? You look so…”
” No we don’t have a problem Mabel.” She replied, ” I am only tired, You woke me up by 5.30 am to scrub the kitchen floor, afterwards I washed you and your husband’s cars. Then I had to make breakfast and also take Serwa to school.”
” I am paying you good money, I see no reason why you are complaining” I retorted.
” I am not complaining.” Came the sharp reply.
” Good. So get to work .” I said.
She walked out of the room and I laid my head back on the pillow as sleep stole me away.
” I want to talk to you Tade,” I said, blocking his path.
” What?” He glanced around nervously, ” Mabel is upstairs.”
“I know. What did you tell her?”
” I didn’t tell her anything, why do you ask?” He said.
” So why is she being nasty to me?” I snapped, ” I know you are behind her sudden change of attitude towards me. If you keep trying to get rid of me, I will make good on my promise. After all I have nothing to lose.”
” I don’t know what you are talking about Funmi, Mabel has not been anything but nice to you. She still sings praises of you. Don’t you have shame? you think if you keep bad mouthing my wife I’d leave her for you?” He asked.
He looked like he was telling the truth. So why was Mabel suddenly mean to me? She found one reason or the other to hack into me every now and then. She had even stopped me from cooking my own meals in her kitchen. She no longer smile at me or try to have a friendly conversation with me. Tade too had turned against me, the only ally I had left was Serwa.
” Look at my hands Tade,” I said, showing him my tired hands.” Mabel is overworking me. She’s…”
” Then go back to Nigeria.” He snapped. ” Get out of my way,”
” Tade, Tade please. What did I ever do to deserve this from you? I have been good to you and your daughter. I cooked your meals and took such good care of the both of you while Mabel was away. I listened to you when you wanted to get things off your chest. I was there for you Tade, why am I suddenly the enemy?”
” It takes two to tango. What we had was mutual and I was matured enough to take all the blames. I tried to remedy the situation so that nobody will get hurt but you choose to play the victim card! I am tired of hearing you whine about your so called ‘ pride’. I am tired of having to delete tons of messages which you send to my phone every second. I am tired of your presence! You have stolen my peace of mind!” He pushed me aside and walked out of the house.
A sob caught in my throat. How do I make him understand? I loved him. I had a burning need to see him every second and to know what he was up to. I ached to be with him all the time, I loved him so badly that it hurts. Sometimes I hate him, I hate him for sticking to Mabel. I hate him for making me love him, I hate him for ‘ spoling’ me for another man. No other man could take his place or measure up to him.
No other man could quench the fire he had lighted in me. I was going through a lot for him but he doesn’t appreciate it. I was putting up with his crazy wife and her antics all because of the love I had for him. At night, I would imagine him going down on her just like he did to me on that one night. I could see him giving her pleasure with the same mouth he used to pleasure me and my hatred for the both of them would intensify but in the morning I was back to loving Him.
To be continued..