“Do we get married?”
We hadn’t even returned home before he blurted it. I turned to him. The effect of the kiss hadn’t even wiped out yet from my system and then this? I was shaking so badly. He just spared me a look and when he saw I was properly disoriented, he kept driving. We got back into the apartment some minutes after three o clock. It was quiet on my street now and the security guard was taking a while before opening the gate. In that time, he looked at me again, and then our eyes connected. He hadn’t been joking. He wanted marriage. Now?
I got out first. I couldn’t wait to alight actually.
“I expect response Fifi.”
“Go to bed Onimisi. I’m sure you’ll feel differently tomorrow.”
“Stop coming into my office during work hours. You distract me, Onimisi.”
“It’s two weeks already and you haven’t given me a decent answer. What do you want? What do you want from me? I asked if you wanted to be my mistress, you said…”
“Don’t you even dare repeat that.”
“You said you wanted better. That you deserved better. Now you don’t want to get married?”
He should leave. He should just go. Do they push people to gaan marry by force?
“I don’t have an answer to that.”
He was standing. He was hovering and it was making the decision making process scary for me. He was pushing too hard. He was losing his temper. He was pacing. He was making me dizzy.
“Do you think you will ever have an answer to that? How long will it take? Tomorrow? A few weeks, months. Will it ever come? Will you ever have an answer?”
“Get out of my office. If you are not going to rein your temper in, leave!”
“You don’t know what you want. It’s Edward. You’re still in love?”
Shock left my mouth open. I couldn’t even shut it.
“Yeah, you think I wouldn’t notice?”
I wanted to push him out. The mere thought of even going back to Edward chilled my bones.
My intercom buzzed. I tore my eyes off his before picking the call. “Dooshima? Who… Oh… okay. Yes please.” I dropped the receiver and turned to him. “Excuse me. I have guest.”
“It’s him again. He comes here?” he raked his hand through his head. “Do you want him to kill you? Do you want to die?” Then he pulled one of the opposite chairs and sat into it.
There has to be something wrong with him. When did he suddenly begin to get so jealous? So insecure. And I was enjoying the old him. I was enjoying it when we were stealing kisses and just fooling around. But now? Marriage? I didn’t even know him like that?
My mother came in smiling. She hadn’t seen me after the incident and she had begged me only last night to allow her come. She thought I was still angry. Actually I was. But I had forgiven her. She stood at the door and just looked at me.
“Akwaaba mama, come in and sit.”
If you see the way Onimisi got up, like the chair suddenly caught fire. I just didn’t want to laugh.
“Abena, mepa w’akye. I’m so sorry.”
“Come in mum.” I went to her and pulled her in one sweet hug. I inhaled that beautiful fragrance she always wore. She held me so tightly until we broke apart. Then she started doing her scrutiny, checking me everywhere.
“Hello.” She smiled politely at Onimisi. “I remember you. You are her landlord.”
Kai! I wanted to laugh.
“Yes ma.” He agreed quickly
“Thank you very much for taking care of her.” She took her time to check him out this time around and she smiled.
“Let me wrap this things quickly Ma, so I can drop you home. You must be very tired by now.”
“Please hurry. It was such an uncomfortable flight.”
“Oh! I’m headed towards home. Let me drop mum home instead.” He was smiling at mum and sending me that devilish grin.
“That’d be very nice of you. Fifi?”
“Oh sure.” He picked up mum’s bag and held it to himself.
“When will you be home? Do you want me to call Emem?”
“I’ll handle everything myself. Don’t be long, though. Etsere”
“Bye.” I nodded. She went out first, Onimisi following shortly after her. Then he turned to me sharply.
“This is not the end of that conversation.”
“Don’t breathe a single word of it to her, else I’ll kill you.”
He scoffed then turned to go.
I pulled his shirt back. “Not one word.”
“I’m keeping my mother-in-law waiting.” He whispered and then left.
I got home sixish and was surprised to meet Onimisi on the dinner table with my mother. I didn’t like the coziness. There was no way I was going to buy into the act.
“Hey Fifi. Please come join us. You didn’t say your mum was such a wonderful woman. She’s funny too. She’s got pictures of you when you were…”
“Hi. Ma, are you okay? You cooked?” I kissed her on the cheek.
“Onimisi…” she was having problems pronouncing his name “…was just telling me about…”
I turned to him frowning.
“He says you have been very helpful to the company.”
So I joined them and we ate. He tried not to make it anymore awkward. I couldn’t even eat. After dinner, he apologised for going to see a friend and then left. It was only then I was relieved.
Mum stayed for just a few days but she had fun. Onimisi had properly laid out plans. He gave her the complete Abuja treatment. First he got her an escort and together they toured the town for the one week she was visiting. Sometimes I even got home before her. She returned happy and excited and I was truly grateful because it was a long time I saw my mother’s face light with so much colour. It was a different side to her and she totally loved it. He drove us to the airport on Saturday and after mum got checked in, I sighed. He had done an exaggerated shopping for her and she was so pleased.
“Thank you very much, Onimisi. She’s not felt so good in a long time.”
He was frowning. “It was nothing really.”
“It’s not the money. It’s the time you spent with her. Your company, making her happy and all.”
“It was nothing Fifi. She’s such a lovely woman. I like her… A lot!”
Which one is ‘a lot’?
“I like you Fifi. I’m not giving up on you. I’m going to woo the hell out of you until you love me back. Until you can kiss me without feeling guilty, until you confess your love for me while I make love to you.”
There was something I loved about Onimisi. It was how he expressed himself. The tautness of his face when he spoke. It was as if he was suffering some pain. His eyes always gave him away.
“Move the car.” I indicated. The light had turned green.
He just dropped me home and drove out.
He started the habit of checking on me more than expected. He would buy me lunch; take me out to dinner or for just a drive around. He was enjoying the time together and I loved his company. We went for a dinner party one Saturday and I was surprised not to see any of the babes. It was another of his businesses, he explained. It was a mix and blend of just a few couples and I noticed the intimacy at which he held and touched me at every opportunity. Even when he had to leave my side, he couldn’t stop looking at me from every corner of the room. Looking at me with so much affection. I felt loved. I felt wanted. but I wasn’t sure. The space at which he had met, fallen in love and asked to be married to him was short. I didn’t want any more surprises. I didn’t want another relationship that wasn’t going to work; else it would only be normal for people to heap the blame on me. I was concerned about what people say.
When the night was over and we got home, he didn’t come in with me like I thought. There had been so much tension between us, so many pauses in which I thought he was going to kiss me but which he didn’t. I feared we might be pulling at each other’s clothes when we got home but we weren’t. He just smiled.
“Don’t lock the door.” He advised.
That was all he said and so I didn’t. He went into his apartment and I took the opportunity to shower and see a movie. I was snuggled beneath the blanket on the sofa when the light knock came. Emem was still awake so she went for it.
“Oga landlord.” She announced and returned to her room.
I sat up.
“Is she ever going to stop calling me that?” He was smiling. He looked so sexy smiling at me like that. He wore a plain blue cotton pyjama trouser and wore one of these cotton t-shirts over it.
“Come sit.” I patted the chair. He smiled, his dimples deepening. He had taken a shower too. he smelt of soap, after shave, cologne and something musky. He was looking at me and damn that his M-shaped upper lip. I leaned over and kissed him. I know he had been dreaming of doing it too all night. Maybe I just got there faster.
He was slow, he was soft in responding, he was delicious. He teased me with his mouth, his lips and tongue and I was struggling not to just wrap all of me around him. I held on to his nape, loving the soft and sweet smell of him. I threw my head way back when he kissed my throat, when he sucked my earlobes. Then he pulled me up slowly before he sealed his lips with mine. I just wanted to remain in his arms.
“Look at me. Open your eyes when I kiss you. Open your eyes while I love you.”
And so I opened my eyes and there was the hard look on his face. It was as if he was asking ‘why then won’t you marry me?’ and so the magical moment ended.
“How long sweetie?”
I looked away. Huge turn-off
The attention didn’t stop, however. In fact living together made it worse. This morning, he was at my doorstep when I was about leaving for work.
“Hi darling.” He cooed
“Now we sound like married couples.” I rolled my eyes
“Yes. The ones who don’t share the same bed and still manage to steal a few kisses.” He kissed me. And again. And again.
“Go ahead with that tone and that might be the end of that fine blouse. It’s a bit transparent.”
“Get your wandering eyes away. I have a jacket here.”
“I’m off to Dubai. You need anything?”
I shook my head no and he smiled. Then he kissed me again. “Have a beautiful day.”
“You have a safe trip dear.”
Oiza had come to me at work and had asked if I could help organise a birthday party for him. She said he never celebrated and that he always tried to let the day go. He was going to be thirty-four, nothing fancy. Just a small get-together. Yes I was good at organising but this one was a bit impromptu. This was more like Sisi and so I called her for help. We had sorted the catering. Oiza had said she didn’t want an outdoor or an event thing else he’ll suspect. Of course her brother was smart. So I had to use his house. Yes, same one. His key was with us and I just knew that should he go to any place first, it will be here. My house. He kept calling but I managed to still keep everything under wraps. He didn’t mention anything so we just spoke. He was doing a lot of missing me, a lot of calls at night, a lot of just staying on the line saying nothing really.
On the day he was to return, which was his birthday, everything was set. We had begged everyone to keep it really quiet and the guys were excited to be able to get him. His house was the way it should be, except that Emem had locked us all in. when he drove in, I heard him shout a ‘hello’ filled with excitement and Emem dutifully came out. I had practised with the silly girl on how not to smile.
“Where’s she?” he asked
“She go out”.
Went! When will dis girl learn? I saw her give him the keys
I saw him stand by his car, contemplating on whether to actually stay or get back into the car.
“She’ll soon come. She go see her friend.”
“Oh okay.” So I heard the key turn in the lock and I was joyous. We had practiced on it like teenagers and it was a good thing Tanzeelah- Mimi’s daughter and Sudais were already asleep.
So he came in. first he stopped and while his hands went for the switch, lights came on. Then there were the shouts of Happy Birthday!!! And there was the hung look on his face. And there was Toye laughing at him.
“Wow!!! Nice one. Nice one.” He clapped
Everyone took turns hugging him. He ignored me until there was no one left. “Happy birthday dear.”
“How did you…”
“Thank Oiza when you’re done.” For the next hour, there was soft music, and so much refreshments and everyone talked. When Tanzeelah woke and was crying, Onimisi was upstairs and so he had brought her down. Seeing him carry her swelled my heart. Even before he gave her to Mimi, he rocked her, making funny faces at her while she wrapped her hands round one of his finger. Then when Mimi had asked to feed her, he collected the bottle, strapped her bib and fed her. I smiled at him and he smiled too. It was such a sweet sight. Later on, one by one, they announced their leave.
After everyone had left, it was just me, him and Oiza. She was passing the night. He and I were up at the balcony. We took a bottle up with two flutes and we sat on the cane chairs, sipping.
“Thanks Fifi. It wasn’t such a bad idea. I’m considering celebrating next year’s.”
“Cool.” I smiled uneasily.
“Will you be with me? Or would it have all ended?”
“Tell me Fifi. Give me an answer. Where do you see us? What do you want from me?” His voice was soft yet fierce.
I told him the first thing that came to mind. “Get me pregnant Onimisi. I don’t want to get married. I just want a baby. I want a baby from you.”
As for his look………….
© Oyster Finney