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//Love Is …//
Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own. ~ Robert Heinlein
Adam Levine’s voice pierced through the charged atmosphere in the room as R City’s Locked Away played out from Ebuka’s phone. It was his ringtone.
Enitan held his wrist, stopping the progression of his hand as she felt his fingers trace the lines of his pocket to fetch the ringing phone.
Her lips were still locked in his, as her right hand arched his head closer to hers.
‘Let me see who’s calling me please,’ Ebuka breathed, biting Enitan’s ear lobes softly.
He drew her closely to himself with his left hand wrapped around her waistline, crushing her breasts against the hardness of his chest and peppering her shoulders with hot kisses.
Enitan could feel titillating sensations course through her body as Ebuka’s lips journeyed through her left shoulder area, alternating the kisses on her neck with soft bites on her collarbone.
She drew out the ringing phone from his pocket, took a cursory glance at the screen and stretched her hand to place the device on the table while pushing him gently towards the bed, far away from the phone.
‘Gold, who was that?’ Ebuka asked as he landed with a soft thud on the bed, his voice husky with desire, as the woman in front of him expertly undressed him, leaving him with only his briefs on and with the clinking of his belt head the only reminder that he had been wearing a trouser, some seconds ago.
‘Lanre,’ Enitan replied, biting his nipples, like it was his punishment for asking.
Ebuka winced in pain, and almost immediately let out a soft moan in direct contrast as he felt her tongue tickle his nipples after the bite. ‘Looks to me like you’re on a mission,’ he groaned in pleasure, his gaze locked on the full jiggling breasts hovering over him. He licked his lips hungrily.
‘I’m on a mission to please,’ Enitan whispered in his ears. ‘Let me atone for all the troubles I’ve caused you with the picture I sent.’
She saw the smile spread across his face like butter on bread and straddled him like a predator would do her prey as he dragged his full frame onto the bed.
She watched as he licked his lips hungrily and decided to tease him just a little bit more by lowering her body and letting her jiggling breasts brush against his chin. She could feel his muscles tense as he tried to turn her over on the bed, but she pinned his hands harder on the bed.
It was her most fertile period of the month – her deep green day by her Ladytimer application and it was the day she had meticulously planned out to have him grace her bed and she was determined to carry out her plan with ruthless execution.
Her eyes roamed to the head of the bed where she had hidden the handcuffs as she felt Ebuka grasp for her breasts with his lips. It was time for the next stage of the plan, which was to put him on a leash as she was sure he was going to attempt to turn her over a second time and she knew she wasn’t close to being strong enough to stop him at the next attempt. He always liked to be in charge, but tonight was going to be very different.
She locked the loose end of the cuffs around his left wrist arching her back slightly and drawing her body even closer to him; grazing her breasts against his lips, and just as explosions of pleasure rocked her body whilst Ebuka’s lips was working its magic on her nipples, she turned off the light.
Teni groped around in the darkness for her phone, her sleep-filled eyes too heavy to stay open but using the back-light from the phone to locate the position of the device. It was snuggling just under the pillow on the bed.
‘Hello,’ she mumbled into the receiver in a sleepy voice, her eye lids still fighting to stay up.
‘Wassup,’ Danny replied from the other end, ‘don’t tell me you’re already sleeping, it’s just fifteen minutes past eight.’
‘Yes I was, but I’m up now,’ she replied, letting out a big yawn. ‘I came back home very tired, actually dozed off in my clothes.’
‘Yea,’ Teni cooed, letting out a yawn and stretching out on the bed. ‘Wait, where are you calling me from? Are you allowed to make calls from The House?’ She asked, her eyebrows arching curiously and her voice sounding much brighter. It seemed like a switch had just been turned on in her head as it occurred to her that Danny was not supposed to have access to a phone, and the number with which he was calling, was one that was not registered in her phone address book.
‘Relax babe, I’ve not been kicked out of the house just yet,’ Danny chuckled, sensing the worry in her voice. ‘We are all just being rewarded for a great performance this past weekend, they gave us ten minutes of call time to any number of our choice. I hear last weekend raked in the best ratings of the show so far, second only to last year’s finale.’
‘I’m not surprised, you guys were simply awesome last weekend. Twitter went crazy with your performances, I think the seven of you remaining in the house are just too good,’ Teni said excitedly, ‘your girlfriend, Orode, killed it with her performance of Adelle’s Hello, it was classic.’
‘And who says she’s my girlfriend?’ Danny asked, enjoying every bit of Teni’s chattering.
‘That’s the vibe we’ve been getting ever since both of you did that duet in week two or is it week three?’ Teni giggled. She liked that she was making him uncomfortable. His defensive response and pained voice assured her that nothing was happening just yet between him and Orode. She wondered why she cared, seeing that nothing could ever happen between herself and him.
‘Week three,’ Danny helped out. ‘And she’s just a friend, nothing more. What’s happening with the L.I.N.E Initiative?‘ he asked, changing the topic.
Teni smiled. She knew he was trying to change the topic by asking after her sickle cell themed NGO, Love Is Not Enough Initiative, but she was not in the mood to let him go so easily. ‘Both of you really look good as a couple though, especially since you’re almost always together when I watch the highlights of the day. The singing couple,’ she said dreamily into the phone, taunting him.
‘Are you mocking me?’ Danny asked, ‘No, wait, maybe the question should be, are you jealous?’
‘Jealous?’ Teni asked, sounding like she had just tasted sour grapes. ‘I’m just happy for you,’ she continued, laughing into the receiver. It was a throaty fake laugh. She was actually jealous.
‘So tell me, what’s happening with L.I.N.E?’ Danny asked again, eager to talk about something different. He was not ready to spend the whole of ten minutes talking about Orode who was guaranteed to be in the house with him for another week, when all he’d been dreaming about since the day he walked into the house was what he’d say the next time he spoke with the woman who made his heart beat to the rhythm of love.
‘It’s still going great,’ she answered, her voice losing the edgy feel that was present some seconds ago. ‘I spoke with the state office of the NYSC, and I’ve been granted permission to come around with the team when the orientation camp is in operation.’
‘Wow! That’s cool, but how do you expect to fund free genotype tests for that number of Corpers?’
Teni could feel the excitement in his voice and his genuine concern thrilled her. ‘We’re working out both corporate and technical partnerships,’ she replied, ‘plus we’re hoping to put a cap at the first hundred volunteers, if that’s what our funding would allow. We’re still working things out.’
‘Hmmn,’ Danny sighed. ‘You guys are really working hard. So… so proud of you,’ he said, highlighting every word in the sentence for emphasis, ‘and I’m sure your brother would have been too.’
Teni stayed silent on the phone, listening to him shower her with praises. Every word he uttered made her realize how much she had missed him, and hearing him mention her brother, Tobi, it made sense to let him know now that Tobi was not the only sickler in the family.
She had kept the information from him because there had been no reason to tell him, and she didn’t want him to treat her special because she was living with SCD like most people are wont to do, but with the many questions popping up in her head, it suddenly felt like the right time to let him know about her condition.
‘Teni?’ Danny called softly.
‘Yea,’ she replied, the word coming out from her mouth like a soft moan. She felt tempted to interrupt him and just spill the thoughts running around in her mind, but she restrained herself. She would let him finish and then tell him about her condition; the reason why they could never be more than just friends.
‘I don’t want you to be my friend,’ Danny started, before taking a calculated pause to let the words sink in, ‘and I don’t want you to be my girlfriend,’ he continued, his voice sounding strangely formal with an unmistakable tone of finality.
Teni pressed the phone to her right ear as she waited to hear Danny’s next words, the length of the pause clearly discomfiting her. She took a quick glance at her phone as the impatience of waiting became unbearable, and to her utter shock and surprise, Danny had hung up.
Teni felt a gasp like sound escape from her mouth unconsciously as she gazed at her phone screen, slack-jawed.
She was in shock not because of the words she had just heard, but more because of the tone with which he had spoken them. She couldn’t believe what just happened and the expression on her face was riddled with the tales of disbelief as her mind processed the event.
‘I don’t want you to be my friend,’ Danny said, taking a calculated pause as he listened to the quiet sound of Teni’s breathing over the phone.
He smiled, even though he kept his voice cold and formal. ‘And I don’t want you to be my girlfriend,’ he continued, his voice tone carrying a note of finality with it, and like a well-rehearsed poet, the tone of his voice switched in an instant to the melodic tone used for reciting love ballads. ‘I want you to be my soul-mate, the love of my life, the lone star that brightens up my dark skies,’ he purred, his voice dripping with emotion. ‘I’m in love with you Teni,’ he whispered into the phone, waiting to hear something other than the silence that greeted him from the other end.
‘Hello?’ He called into the receiver, after the sound of silence refused to abate, but the line was dead. He stared at the phone screen, tapping on its menu button with his left index finger and scrolling to check the duration of his call and the numbers 10:01 stared back at me.
He had overrun his time.
‘Damn!’ He cursed, hammering his fist on his lap in frustration. He had been talking with himself all this while. He had been so engrossed in his speech that he didn’t notice that the quiet sound of Teni’s breathing had ceased. He wondered what part of his message he had been able to pass across. ‘Sshit‘.
‘Oh shit!’ Ebuka cursed as he fell back on the chair, his fingers scratching on his cleanly shaved chin repeatedly, with his eyes staring blankly at the ceiling. They carried a hollowness that betrayed the pain in his heart.
He could deal with Stella ignoring him because of what happened at Raheem’s birthday party but imagining her holding hands with another guy, was way more than he could accept.
Lanre had been very categorical about what he had seen; Stella, holding hands with a strange guy whom he could only sparsely describe.
‘Are you sure,’ he had growled disbelievingly as he listened to Lanre describe the scenes to him over the phone.
‘Of course,’ Lanre had replied, ‘ don’t I know Stella anymore?’ He queried. ‘I even called you to let you know wassup but you didn’t pick up your phone and you didn’t call back, plus I’m the one still calling you now.’
Ebuka sighed. He remembered the call, he had been very busy with Gold at the time, and had totally forgotten to return the call. ‘I’m sorry,’ He apologized.
Lanre’s revelation made sense as to why it had been so easy for Stella to ignore him for a record breaking five days when the longest she had previously ever gone on any of these shakara trips was two days. She was not one to stay angry for too long.
Yes, this was the most serious case of cheating he had ever been in, seeing that she had Gold’s nude pictures as evidence whilst previous accusations were usually based on hunches and signs that he could so easily sweet talk himself out of.
She finally picked his call two days ago, exactly five days after she had stormed out of Raheem’s birthday party, but the formality with which she had spoken to him on the phone was one reserved only for strangers.
He had to cross check the number on the name of his last dialed to be sure he had just spoken with his girlfriend, and not another girl registered with same name even though her voice had been unmistakable.
She had displayed no hate, no love, and absolutely no emotions for the one minute, two seconds that the call had lasted.
He wished she had screamed and hurled insults at him, that way he would have been able to read from the script that he had prepared in his head, but her nonchalance was a plot twist he was completely unprepared for.
He had called her six times since, with the conversation getting better with every call even though it still felt like the cold war.
‘Baby, it’s Friday,’ he cooed sweetly into the phone like he had melting chocolates in his mouth as soon as he heard the very curt Hello from the other end.
‘I know,’ she replied. I have a calendar.’
Ebuka smiled. The sexy voice magic was obviously not working. It was no surprise, as nothing seemed to be working anymore, even his usual story that it was the women on his case and not vice versa did not work this time, and his jokes that would usually make her belly ache with laughter fell flat each time he opened his mouth to utter one. Her response usually left him feeling like someone with a terrible mouth odour, one bad enough to be transmitted as radio wave through a phone call.
‘Let’s do dinner tonight.’
‘Not in the mood for it,’ Stella breathed from the other end, like she had anticipated the question.
‘Lunch, please. We need to talk about us,’ Ebuka begged, his voice breaking with every word he uttered.
‘There’s nothing to talk about,’ Stella replied, somewhat irritated. ‘Besides, I’ve got a lot of work on my table so I can’t possibly do lunch now, maybe some other time. I’m sorry.’
‘It’s okay,’ He exhaled. ‘Some other time then, I love you.’
‘Thank you. Bye.’
Ebuka grinned to himself as he stared at the phone in his hand, hearing her respond to his ‘I love you’ call was a step up from the silence that usually greeted those words. He knew it was just a matter of time before he would hear her whisper the words, ‘I love you too baby.’
He liked the chase of getting her back anytime they had a fight, and even though this was the first time he had to deal with a mystery guy in the equation, he knew his biggest competition was no one but himself.
Stella was his wife in waiting, and nothing, and nobody could change that fact, but as he swiveled his chair in his expansive office, a couple of faces ran through his mind, faces whose heads fit the cap of Lanre’s strange guy.
One face stuck out like a sore thumb from the rest faces; Deji, the one guy who would never give up chasing his girlfriend. He was ninety nine percent sure that Deji was the mystery guy, but as sure as he was, he still couldn’t stop asking himself the one percent question; who the heck is mystery guy?
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