It’s a rainy day.
One of those days I function best under the covers with a glass of hot Milo in one hand, a book in the other.
But times are not what I’d like them to be – rather; they are what they are.
So I do the routine. And reluctantly; get out of the house.
I’m on a bus. Headed to the fourth meeting in 24 hours.
I have my earphones on. I’m listening to Ibiyemi.
As is usual, my mind is all over the place. And before I realize it, I have removed my earphones. My mind has gone into one those places where music is poison, not panacea.
Sounds within the bus begin to filter into my consciousness. Beside me, a couple are discussing. He’s trying to convince her that a woman is incomplete without a man’s love. She says a woman who’s waiting for a man’s attention to validate her will wait forever.
He backtracks. He says that’s not what he meant. He says he’s simply talking in a romantic capacity. He says it’s his belief that men were created for women and vice versa. That a man cannot reach maximum capacity without a woman’s influence and vice versa. He begins to postulate some Maxwell/Machiavelli/Trubetovsky theories – which actually intrigues me.
I haven’t listened to a conversation like that since my university days. I am intrigued in spite of me.
Before I know it, I find myself following the conversation quite closely.
What interests me most is the girl’s reactions. There’s a shine in her eyes. She’s smiling – she’s practically dancing on her seat. She flips her weave. Rolls her eyes coquettishly. Touches his elbow. His wrist. His shoulder.
She listens patiently, waiting for him to get his point in before coming up with hers. She acknowledges EVERY PART of his point, and then agrees/disagrees with it as she feels.
For a bit, I wonder if she’s one of those people who like to argue for the sake of it.
And then it hits me. It’s not the argument. Not in the least.
It’s the guy.
That hits me like a jab between the eyes.
It’s the guy!
With that realization comes a feeling of resentment. And some anger.
I feel that way because it’s obvious the guy’s oblivious to her display. He’s busy trying to make her see his point – make her see his point so she can be more susceptible to his wiles. But the battle’s already won.
He is missing the point. Because he’s looking for signs that are not there.
He’s looking for typical signs.
I sit on both my hands and bite my tongue to resist shouting at him; What is more important; winning the argument or winning the girl?
But I bite my tongue harder. And listen to the byplay. And hope; against all hope that the argument does not get personal.
Hope that he doesn’t annoy her. Such that she starts to see a particular part of him that will mar what she’s liked from the start.
And then he turns to me. “Bros, I’d like to ask your opinion about something.”
I laugh hysterically.
I cannot control the urge. Laughter spills out of me like a high-pressure pipe suddenly bursting. He draws back, offense settling on his features like a curtain.
“Excuse me,” he mutters. And turns towards his conquest.
I lean towards him. “Oga calm down,” I whisper in conspiratory tones. “Is she your girlfriend?”
Offense dissipates; turns into joyful hope. “Not yet, but I’m hoping she would say yes when I ask her.”
I resist pulling his ear and instead punch his arm. “So what is the argument about? What are you trying to prove? She’s all but said yes – don’t you know haranguing her is only going to make her tired of you in a hurry?”
He looks startled. Obviously, that never occurred to him.
“She doesn’t have to always agree with you. She has a mind of her own, and she’s given you space in it. Don’t chase yourself out o. Soft pedal.”
He smiles. He gets it.
He turns away. “Thanks, boss.”
I plug in my earphones again, feeling like a veteran of many wars. The weight of a particular battle rests heavy on my heart; a battle too often fought, too many times lost. I trudge up the slippery slope, trying to find balance. Wade through rivers and forests to find plains. Endure the valley to find the mountains on either side.
I have been there. And that puts me in a place where I can share from.
That’s some consolation; I think.
The couple beside me are whispering now. She giggles, and I cannot help the smile that appears on my face. They’re holding hands – and by the time I get off the bus and into the rain again; her head is on his shoulder.
The rain reminds me that I’d rather be at home. Under the covers.
With steaming cup of Milo in one hand, a book in the other.
But there’s a warmth in a formerly-frozen region of my heart – a warmth Milo could not have put there. A warmth put there by a man willing to listen and a woman willing to try.
Maybe tomorrow, hot Milo would help.
But today, this is just fine.
I’m just fine.
Two hours later.
I was on my way back from The Place; I had gone there to buy coffee. I wonder why a hospital would not have coffee on the premises; but that’s not my problem.
Not at the moment anyways.
I’m carrying a thick nylon bag, walking along the silent hospital halls as though on eggs. Inside the bag are two cups of steaming-hot coffee; coffee I need as much as she does.
By ‘she’, I mean my ex-wife.
I keep my mind on her; using thoughts of her as my defense against the last image of my little girl I saw; IV stuck in her arm, eyes closed, skin white like a sheet from Onward Exercise Books. I think about her little mouth and how it kept opening, how she was gasping for air –
I switch off that image and hurry, trying not to inhale too much of the anti-septic stink that is a fixture in places like this – which is a joke in itself because I’m still not leaving yet – and try not to think about the little girl lying on her back, struggling for life.
I am afraid – and it does not shame me to admit it.
Not in the least.
“Hey,” she greets from the door of my girl’s ward as I come round the corner. “She’s better – her temperature is lower and she’s sleeping quietly now.” I look at her – my ex wife – particularly at the fresh red that leaves its footprints all over her eyes.
She’s been crying. Again.
“Thank God,” I mumble, somewhat tiredly.
She smiles bravely at me. “Thank you,” she whispers, as she takes the bag from me and walks towards the sofa set against the far wall facing our girl’s ward. She sets the bag on the small glass table and set herself on the sofa.
Reaching slowly into the nylon, she brings out the first one. “Still black, right?”
I nod, oddly touched that she remembers my coffee preference.
Black. Plenty sugar.
She opens the cup, takes a sip of the contents – steams wrapping itself around the lower part of her face and making her look as though she’s smoking – nods softly to herself before handing it to me.
“It’s perfect – just how you like it.”
I reach out and take the coffee from her – but I’m not looking at it. It’s a miracle I didn’t drop the cup sef, the way I was staring and caressing her face with my eyes. She turns away, reaching into the bag and bringing out the second cup. And then she opens it, inhaling the scent of freshly-brewed coffee.
There’s something insanely erotic about the way she throws her head back and hunches her shoulders – as though it’s a lot more than the aroma of coffee. She leans forward – and still, with eyes closed, takes a soft sip from the cup. I sit there, forgetting for a moment the heat slowly making itself known via my left hand and watch my ex-wife as she manages to make something as simple as drinking coffee the sexiest thing I have seen in a while.
Or maybe it’s just me.
She smacks her lips softly – and then opens her eyes and looks at me.
And notices my stare.
“What?” she asks, averting her eyes.
“Nothing.” I look away, taking a sip of the coffee. It scalds me and I yelp and jump off the sofa – almost flinging the cup away in my agitation. She starts up, concern making her face look like a hastily squeezed Shoprite nylon bag – and then she smiles.
“Sorry,” she says, smile still in place.
“What’s so funny?” I growl – or I try to – which; I don’t doubt you would find difficult too if you were trying to talk and suck in air to cool your tongue at the same time. She leans back, wriggling with pleasure at the softness of the sofa and grins at me. “Asides from coffee burns and high blood pressure, how have you been?”
“I’ve been very good,” I respond automatically – as I lower myself onto the sofa in a way opposite how I had left the same place some moments ago. I place the coffee cup on a glass table beside the sofa and turn slightly to the left, facing her. “Very good,” I say again.
She takes a long pull at the coffee – and I hate myself for almost wishing it would burn her mouth while remembering she had a huge tolerance for hot things. Her grin proclaimed loudly to me ‘I know what you’re thinking!’ and a few moments later, her words followed suit.
“You wish it would burn me, abi?”
I shrug and look away, smile teasing the corners of my mouth. I used to yab her about her imperviousness to heat; I would say there must have been eleven kids in their house and they would just place one steaming bowl of eba for all of them to eat from. I would say the quantity of their feeding depended on the speed with which a child could swallow hot eba. She would just look at me and laugh, knowing I know nothing could be farther from the truth.
I feel nails gently scrape the back of my hand and I come back to now. I take her in; take in her softly curling eyelashes; absorbing the possessive way they protect her eyes – as though she’s thinking something they don’t want you seeing – as though they know better than her how revealing her eyes are, and I start to feel that hollow feeling again.
You know, that feeling of the bottom dropping out of your world; or at least your stomach – that feeling you felt the first time you got on an elevator – that hollowed out scraping that never quite goes away.
I still am not used to that.
“I wonder though; why do you never come by the house anymore?”
I take a gentle swallow of the rapidly-cooling coffee and try to think of a suitable answer, an answer that would mean something more than just an ‘I’m always busy’ line.
But then, honesty is not always the best policy. Sometimes, telling the truth means shattering a carefully-constructed illusion – a defensive measure that has taken on a life by itself.
I sit there, staring in my Nescafe cup as though the answer is buried in there somewhere…while these words chase themselves up and down my cerebrum.
The nails stopped scratching a while ago – now they form a hand that clasps mine in warmth. I swallow saliva down a suddenly-dry throat – saliva and the lie I was about to tell; and simply say, “Because it still hurts to look at you.”
I turned slightly to look at her – she was struggling to say something, but between her confusion about what I’d said and trying to figure out what to say – her face made her look like a bus conductor trying to call passengers and control the driver at the same time.
A very beautiful conductor. But a confused one.
“Things haven’t really changed much, Ibi. Accepting that you’re gone; that you’re no longer mine is not the easiest thing – hasn’t been the easiest thing.” I drink some coffee and continue. “Yes, I know I let you go and not a day goes by I don’t wish things were different. But I messed up and – “
I sense rather than actually see her set the coffee cup down, but when her hands made their way to either side of my face, I knew what was coming.
She always did that when she kissed me, you see.
Her mouth tastes of coffee; obviously – but in the gentle, unsure probing of her tongue is another sweetness, like the juice from a really sweet orange when you bite into it. A sugary syrupness that seems to say; I’m here o, if you want. Just take.
She holds my head still and has her way with my mouth, making the edges of my sight blur and my head really light. It had always been like this with her – but maybe something about a six-year absence makes it extra-sensory crazy.
I have no idea.
As my eyes start to close and her mouth becomes the only thing I am conscious of, it occurs to me that she is the second woman I would be kissing within a three-hour period.
Of course, I don’t tell her that.
Good morning. I have been away for a bit.
I missed you.
There’s something I’d like to share with you – the next chapter in the ‘Saving Dapo’ story.
So I got in the studio with some amazing friends of mine and we went to work for some days. What we came up with is what I want to share with you – a track from the soundtrack to the Saving Dapo novel.
It would be easier to just share the song here – but to be able to do that I have to be a premium wordpress user. I have however embedded a link via which you can listen to and download the track.
I would really love to hear what you think.
Thank you so much.
“You know what I think – do you want to know what I think?”
Something told me it would be pointless to answer the question, so I didn’t. She went ahead anyway.
“I think you’re emotionally frigid. I think you’ve been tossed back and forth so many times – I think you’ve done some back and forth yourself – ”
I don’t know. I think I got upset at this point. “All due respect Mina, you’re my boss not my therapist. Can we…?”
I let my words linger but the hand I wave completes the sentence. Her face composes itself into a look of indifference. She nods.
“You’re right. So – as your boss I’m informing you of a meeting you have with a client – one you’re quite familiar with – in about…” she eyes the wall clock. “…twenty two minutes. Get ready.”
I nod and make my way out of my oga’s office, all sorts of thoughts going on in my head. I’m not sure I’m ready to face her…not yet.
So we about to PARTEYYYYYYY!!!!!!!
That’s right – as party as you can right here right now!! The beautiful Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku whose novel Kiss My Lips landed here last month is back and she is the host of this party, with the release of Kiss My Lips, she’s raring to go!!!!
Title: Kiss My Lips
Author: +Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku
Series: Holiday Series, #2
ISBN: 978-1502776549 (Paperback)
Publication Date: Wednesday 29th October 2014
Cover Artist: Love Bites And Silk
Kiss My Lips (Holiday Series Book 2) is a sequel to
Stolen Valentine Kiss (Holiday Series Book 1).
Add to Goodreads
Will one kiss seal their love?
Accepting Logan’s marriage proposal was the most exciting event of Lorna’s life. But deciding in what country to marry her fiancé proved to be more than a tearful ordeal. When Lorna’s dad announced unexpected news, the wedding wheels spun in a different direction.
With other family members stirring conflict, would there be a wedding? Or would their shared kiss deepen their desire?
The dining table was already set with Auntie’s orchard crockery.
At first, her father nodded in understanding. Out of the corner of her eyes she saw him approach from the opposite end of the dining table. “I travelled across the Atlantic to speak with my daughter who is getting married to a man I haven’t met, at a venue I don’t know about,” he all but shouted.
Bile rose to her throat. “Oh, my wedding venue is suddenly a bother to you, dear dad?”
He lifted his hands and swore under his breath. “Your aunt mentioned you had fancy ideas about getting married here in Jersey City. Let me tell you upfront, that’s impossible. As your father, I say you’ll get married in Nigeria, in Owerri where the entire Ibe clan holds sway. That’s the way it is done.”
Her fingers strained against the table knife she picked up as her father ranted. “Give me one reason why you think you should have a say on where I get married.” Her father glared at her as if she was mad.
“What kind of a stupid question is that? You’re my daughter and that’s why you do as you’re told. Or do you want the man and his family to think you fell from the sky? He should know where you hail from.”
“Lorna, please put that knife down,” her aunt warned. Lorna looked at the weapon in her clenched fist. She hadn’t realized she was pointing it in her dad’s direction.
“I have no intention whatsoever to oblige your wish. I’ll not travel to Nigeria to get married. That’s out of the question.” Fury turned her voice icy.
Her aunt cleared her throat to stop her brother from replying. “Lorna, if you rule out Nigeria because you have no friends there, what about tying the knot in London?” Then she faced to her brother. “If travelling to Nigeria sounds a bit far-fetched, why don’t you have the wedding in London where Lorna grew up? If we decide on having it in London, we have a middle ground.”
“I see both of you have conspired to deny me the joy of giving out my only child in front of my family and the elders in the village. No child of mine is getting married in London or America. I’ll not be a party to it.”
Stella’s a fun loving mother of two, married to her very own gorgeous alpha male who sates her every romantic appetite.
Writing romance novels is now her full time passion. In 2010, Stella created Flirty & Feisty Romance Novels laced with the right cocktail of blazing passion, intrigue & toe-curling romance set in fascinating Africa, enticing Europe and America. There are seven contemporary romance novels in the basket; Loitering Shadows, Stormy Defense, Beyond the Lady, The Gardener’s Ice Maiden, Sparkling Dawn, Husband to Rent, Stolen Valentine Kiss (Holiday Series #1).
Stella’s first historical romance is on her writing desk at the moment. In her leisure, she goes swimming, reads romance novels, go to the Cinema and watch TV.
Flirty & Feisty Romance wishes you an amazing holiday season!
Our promise…is to deliver an intensely emotional experience you’ll never forget.
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“Good night,” I say as I lean in slowly to kiss my date on the left cheek.
Crazy girl. Her rings dig in my chest as she puts her hands up, a barrier between me and her. Thinking I had presumed too much, I start to lean away – at the same time mumbling ‘sorry’ – but she pushes her mouth against mine and then, takes her hands away.
Her lips capture mine in a full kiss.
I make a sound deep in my throat – I don’t even know what sound it is; but it is one of excitement. I cup her neck in my hand and meet her eagerly, sighing as she pushes a small and excited probe into my mouth.
Her tongue. Hot and wet.
I push her against the wall and kiss her – as though I want to shrug off eighteen months of celibacy in a moment. She grabs my head and bites my lower lip – and almost in the same move sucks it into her oven of a mouth.
My. Good. Lord.
A miniature earthquake starts in my lower back – starts; and my legs begin to act like I’m riding a really fast okada down a slippery slope. I feel an urgent need to sit down; I feel as though my head, torso and legs are in three different places. I grab her shoulders; I grab and hold onto them for dear life else I slip away in this surreal moment of feeling.
She bites my tongue and unplugs her mouth from mine – and then she kisses me softly. “Good night, hot shot,” she smiles at me with her eyes, presses my hand and turns away into her doorway. I wait till she opens the door and then turn and float towards the exit, lighter than air. I frown at the grinning gateman and step past him – past the gate he is holding open and into the brightly-lit street where the cab that brought me is still waiting. I open the back door – inhale the fresh smell of not-too-long-ago ‘Tokunbo’ vehicle – before I duck inside and sprawl on the back seat.
“Take me home, Sunny.”
The cab starting is the response I get. My muscles – neck and back relax and I try not to think about the pepper-sting in my tongue and how it got there. My lips keep sticking together, and I smirk as I remember what I’d thought about her lipstick first time I saw her mouth that evening.
Whoa. What; there’s no mirror in your house?
Of course, I’d only thought it.
I look out the window as we go, but my mind is far – way far away from the Surulere lights and noise. I think what my little angel would think when I finally introduced them.
It comes to me slowly that she might not be happy as I expect – after all, she still nurses the idea her mum and I would end up together. But she’s also been pestering me to move on.
That does not mean she would like it though.
Some other active part of my mind tells me I haven’t looked at my phone since sometime after two – over eight hours ago. I prompt that part to reach for my phone and look at what I may have missed – while the bulk of the mind continues to think about her.
My little girl.
A hand – mine, actually – holds the phone in front of my face and I realize it’s off. I hold down the power button and I’m rewarded with a tiny vibration. I avert my eyes from the brightness of the screen, looking outside at the hurrying-past scenery while I wait patiently for the tone that announces that I can now use my phone.
It isn’t long in coming.
I flip my thumb across the screen, bypass the screensaver and open the lock screen. I rapidly enter the code, blink and my phone opens.
Almost instantly my hand starts to tremble from multiple vibrations. I look at the notifications icon and see text messages, WhatsApp messages, Twitter messages.
I open the text messages first of all. The bulk of them are from my network service provider – telling me I had several calls from my ex – wife.
Why has she been calling?
The remainder of the texts is from her. I am nervous as I open the first one – and my hand starts to shake as all thoughts of romance are driven from my head with the impact of a Mike Tyson punch.
It isn’t good. Not in the least.
I have to swallow twice before I can tell Sunny; “Eko Hospital, Now!”
The nurse behind the desk looks at me with the expression all goalkeepers have on their faces when Lionel Messi is charging towards them and there’s no defendant in sight.
“Please…where is emergency?” I ask in between gasps.
She points mutely to her left and I continue my charge. At some other time, I would laugh at the way people hurry out of the way at my approach. Some other time.
My eyes dart left and right, scanning and processing faces and bodies as I look for her – the person whose messages had me running to Ikeja at almost midnight…
I slow down as I see her back; standing as she is beside a man who looked like he was consulting an oracle between his feet. I hurry up to her and touch her shoulder lightly, jerking it away as she flinches. “It’s me,” I say softly. “
She turns and falls onto my shoulder, taking in huge draughts of air as tears roll down her face rapidly. I hold her around the shoulders, trying to still the trembling in my stomach and behind my legs. The lump is back in my throat and I have to swallow twice before I can speak.
“Is she…is…” my voice disappears again, and I am just mouthing words. She stays as she is, head on my shoulder, her shaking as though she was cold.
“She’s been vomiting and stooling – and her temperature is fluctuating. One moment she’s incredibly hot, the next she’s really cold. They don’t even know what’s wrong with her!”
The thought creeps up on me unbidden – but I keep a lid on it and hold my ex closer. She wraps her hands around my neck, relaxes against my body and I close my eyes as that familiar sweet-pain reaches out and massages my heart with fiery-hot fingers.
My eyes are closed – but I couldn’t see her any more clearer if they were open.
Warmth from her mouth tickles my ear as she starts to speak. “It’s not Ebola – first thing they asserted. They still don’t know what it is – but at least we know some things it isn’t. But it’s really bad.” She raises her head from my shoulder and I open my eyes to look into her tear-red and terrified ones.
“She’s dying. Our baby is dying.”