WARNING: S/L (18+)
She woke up gasping for air. A wheezing sound escaped her mouth as she groped around blindly, unable to breathe properly.
The cold hands of her nightmare wound themselves around her throat and squeezed hard with each hastening second. She screamed but no sound came out, she called out to Dominic but her voice remained stuck in her throat.
Death stared her square in the face. It was black and formless and was gaining access into her soul.
She fought but she was not a worthy adversary. Life rejected her and made its exit after replaying every moment she lived in quick flashes, starting from her childhood up to the present.
She saw Dominic standing before her; he was so close she could practically touch him. He was calling out to her but the more he called, the farther he seemed even though he never moved an inch. Her hands reached out to him but met the wind and ultimately she was snatched away from him and sucked into a vortex that rang with the cry of her tortured soul.
Her pain, her fear, her sorrow, found voices of their own and cried out as her fading spirit gave out.
Deep darkness welcomed her and she surrendered herself to its abyss.
It’s going to be alright now, my darling, she heard a familiar voice say. Embrace death, dear. It is your fate…
Genesis woke up. Her bedroom was dark and cold and a gentle wind was doing a dance with her curtains. Her eyes tried to adjust to reality as images from her nightmare vanished into nothingness before her.
After her sight attuned to the familiar, her sense of smell came alive and she picked out Dominic’s signature scent in the darkness of her room. She hadn’t realized he was sitting in a corner, blended in with the dark. When she saw him, her face became disfigured by a frown.
“What are you doing here?” she questioned.
He pretended not to have heard as he threw his own question. “Is it true that you hired a moving company to come pack your things?”
She got off the bed, aware of how completely nude she was. A see-through night coat was carelessly hanging off a chair beside her bed and she picked it. Tying it around her body, she faced Dominic.
“I’ll be gone by tomorrow…”
“Come on, Genesis, it was just a fight, nothing more.”
“No, it was more than that, Nick and I’m afraid I can’t be in any form of relationship where I’m not sure of my footing.”
“Mofe didn’t say goodbye properly before she left. When she visited from Germany, I wanted to be sure that we were cool…”
“Or to see if she had any feelings left for you so you can take her back and dump me?”
Dominic’s eyes couldn’t cook up a lie fast enough and Genesis hurt to see the truth in them.
“I wish I could explain it to you, Gen; wish you could understand.”
“No, I don’t and that’s why, as you can see, I’m all packed to go. But I do understand that my body was used for your pleasure and I don’t take any offence to that because I willingly offered myself to you. I played the whore…”
“Genesis, don’t talk like that.”
He was standing before her in a flash.
“I never saw you that way.”
“Then why was it so easy for you to go back to her?”
“I didn’t go back to her. We only had lunch and talked about some issues from her past and then I saw her off to the airport later that evening.”
“So if I had not found the text on your phone from her I wouldn’t have known she came into town?”
“Let’s not go into this argument again, baby. We did it the last time and look where it got us.”
“That was because you got mad at me for invading your privacy. You could have just admitted your guilt and we wouldn’t be here today but no, the arrogant, larger-than-life Dominic Ditorusin would never ever admit that he is wrong.”
He put his hands on her waist. “Okay, I was wrong and I’m sorry for what I did then and for now. Just don’t go away, Gen.”
She put up a resistance against him until he stepped back and gave her space. Carefully avoiding packed boxes that littered her bedroom floor, Genesis found her way to her dresser and handed him a small gift box that had her name written in gold letters over its lid.
“Keep the car. I can afford two of it if I wanted. You don’t have to bribe me with it.”
It was painful to let the car of her dreams go, being more so that it was brand new and had just come in that morning. But all her adult life she had tried not to put a price on her head, not even now that the price was coming from the man she was undoubtedly in love with.
She opened her door and gestured Dominic out. He exhaled with forced emphasis. Watching him take his walk of shame didn’t make her feel any good. She observed as his pride was made to nothing with each slow, humbling step. There was a struggle to call him back and end their fight but all she had was her own pride, having given him every other thing that she was. She couldn’t throw that last piece away; it was going to keep her together during the weeks to come.
“Okay Genesis, At least you’ll be at the dinner party tonight and still retain your job?”
“Dominic, I can be professional and mature in situations like this. I don’t know about you, though. Just promise you won’t make working with you difficult.”
He looked like he might smile but the expression he offered her was laden with weak confidence.
“See you later.”
Dinner was light, he had made sure of that. He didn’t want anyone overfed and sleepy. He had invited a few old friends, Seyi inclusive, and even some business associates. The quiet house welcomed in guests and accommodated them accordingly with its owner playing the perfect host. By 10pm the guests began to take their leave and before the clock struck twelve they were all gone, save for the usual suspects whom Dominic invited to his private living room upstairs. There, they were served barbecued chicken and drinks, and had a karaoke system set up for them as promised by him. Excusing himself for a few minutes he walked out to the balcony to talk business with Seyi while the rest entertained themselves.
Chichi opened the floor as she started out with a reggae song. Just as she was hitting the last lines, Eva made a grand entrance. From the balcony, Dominic saw her walk in and wished briefly that he had not invited her. Judging by the strange swagger that accompanied her steps, he could tell that she was tipsy and feared she was there to cause a scene. But when she went round and greeted everyone in a cordial and composed manner, his fears were laid to rest. Eva was also known to be really nice under the influence of alcohol. He prayed she remained that way.
She stepped out to the balcony. Seyi hugged her and blew kisses in the air beside her cheeks. Dominic shook his head at them both. He had never really understood why people greeted in that manner.
“Someone’s in a happy mood today.”
Eva grinned at Dominic’s comment.
“Love your hair.”
Actually the hair was terrible. Low-trimmed hairstyles did not suit her but she was Eva and she didn’t need to try so much to be gorgeous. Dominic loved her dress, however. It was white and simple and was held at the waist by a tiny belt.
“Heard from Bashorun lately?” Seyi asked and Eva shrugged.
“Whether I hear from him or not, I’m going ahead with the case and calling his bluff over that sex tape. He won’t release it. Besides if he does, it won’t be anything new. I mean, Halle Berry flashed her boobs in Monster’s Ball and got an Oscar.” Eva chuckled. “Who knows what I’ll get when everyone sees me nude. By the way, I watched the video and it wasn’t bad. I was in good form –full boobs, creamy skin, four packs and all.”
Dominic and Seyi laughed and as if planned, all three of them turned heads in the direction of the living room where Chris was doing a song for Lexus who was seated on his laps.
“How’s our new boyfriend?” Eva enquired.
“I like the guy,” Dominic answered. “Please, do make sure he gets famous in Nollywood. I’d hate to see him disappear into the blue after this.”
“Ooooh, look at Kasiobi’s eyes,” Eva snickered. “He’s so jealous. So it’s working, yeah, out plan?”
“You two are the worst parents on earth,” Seyi commented.
Eva smiled at him. “We try… oh my God! He’s going to kiss her!”
They all watched as Chris delivered a sizzling kiss to Lexus after doing his song.
Eva fanned herself. “Oh boy… That was…”
“Inappropriate for you to get hot over,” remarked Dominic.
“No man has ever kissed me like that before.” Eva sipped from her champagne glass. “Now that boy loves our Tonbra and there’s going to be trouble because Kasi definitely looks like he can kill for her time.”
“I hate love triangles.”
“Speaking of which,” Eva turned fully to Dominic, “where is your deeper life chick? I heard she was in town a couple of days back. How are you managing, joggling both women?”
“You’re still seeing Jibo’s widow?” Seyi questioned Dominic.
Eva didn’t believe him. “Then why were you seen about town with her?”
“You’re following me around now?”
“No. Just heard gist.”
“I’m not seeing her.”
Dominic had his eyes on Genesis. She was in a corner, alone, adorned in a little black dress. Her expression was pensive and he hoped he wasn’t responsible for it. She caught him staring and he turned his eyes to his empty glass of liquor.
“I need a refill,” he murmured.
“Yeah, I think we should go in,” Seyi suggested.
The three of them walked back inside and Dominic intentionally took a seat that was at the other end of the room where he could have Genesis in his view. He wanted to be free to ogle her as much as he desired.
“Hi.” Wura called everyone’s attention as she took the microphone. “I have an announcement to make. Uhm… I want to thank Mr. Dominic for organizing this party and for also letting me have somewhere to stay and a job to sustain me. It’s very generous of you, sir. God bless you.”
Dominic tipped his empty glass at her. They all toasted to him and he found himself uncomfortable with the attention. One of them had even been gracious enough to fill his glass with white wine. He smiled in gratitude and thanked Wura for her kind words.
“Okay, here’s to the big announcement,” she continued. “Uhm…. I am…pregnant… and I thought you guys should be the first to know because I consider you family. Mahmud’s not here this evening; he’s held at work, so… uhm… he’s responsible for the baby. It wasn’t one of those planned things but…”
“You don’t need to explain, Woowoo,” Lexus stated. “No one’s on your case here.”
“I just want to let you poeple know that I’m not that irresponsible like that but I’m happy the baby is here and I think it’s a good thing but…”
Tears moistened her eyes.
“I’ve tried to be strong but I’m scared to death of all I’ll lose when this blows open…”
Her broadcast left them all, except for Genesis, stunned. She was known to be a private person. They were also sympathetic with her, apart from Chichi who threw out a thoughtless question.
“But you’re a Christian and Mahmud’s a Muslim. How’s that even going to work?”
“Perfectly,” Genesis replied. She cut Chichi with a reprimanding stare and smiled at Wura warmly. “Congratulations, darling. Like Lexus said, no one’s judging you here.
“Yeah. Anyone gives you problem, just a phone call and I’ll fix it,” Dominic assured her.
“To Wura and Mahmud!” Lexus raised her glass and they echoed her salutation. Bizarrely, Eva’s toast lasted longer than everyone else’s and she added a prayer that had them all staring at her weirdly.
“What? Why are you guys staring at me like that?” she asked as she topped her glass with more champagne. “I love Wura and I love babies.”
“Yeah right,” Lexus muttered.
“Wura used to be my baby until… well, never mind. Congratulations, baby. Invite me for the wedding.”
“Okay.” Wura chuckled and consulted with Kasi in his corner behind a table where he had a laptop from which he ran the karaoke software.
“So I have this song dedicated to my boss, Genesis. Someone placed a special order and Kasi and I are serving it to you, boss lady, straight from the heart of that said someone. Enjoy.”
Everybody in the room knew how beautifully Wura sang. For those who didn’t, they were curious to find out what she had coming. But she shocked them when she kicked off with a flawless rap intro as done by Talib Kweli, and had them all hooting and cheering. Next she flowed into the first verse of the song and Chichi who could manage a few notes in harmony picked an extra mic and joined her. Together they brought down the house. Genesis initially had fought a smile that begged to be let out but when Chris also took the spotlight and complemented Wura in the second rap, she released herself and enjoyed the song that was no doubt, a gift from Dominic. Chris’ rap wasn’t as good as Wura’s but he was a perfect accompaniment to the song and their audience asked for an encore even before they ended.
In her excitement over the song, she had stained a white t-shirt she had on with some red wine. She dashed out and hurried down the hallway to her bedroom for a change of clothes. Not caring to shut her door, she took off the t-shirt, picked another and dashed back to the door only to be accosted by Kasi who appeared from nowhere and blocked her exit.
She knew why he was there and straightaway ran calculations in her mind.
Wura and her band of merry singers would be done with their song in three minutes. The Karaoke software was programmed on continuous play, meaning it would pick another song. That also mean it could spoil the partiers’ flow and they would notice Kasi’s absence; especially Chichi, who would notice her absence as well and would come looking for them. And they would be caught pants down and all hell would break loose…
Was it worth the risk?
Lexus looked at Kasi. This was the only guy she wanted. He had everything she needed, especially that which she hungered for presently. Having felt it once, she wanted it again and it didn’t matter who got hurt in-between.
So was it worth the risk?
She pulled him in, shut her door and turned the key. The bed was too far for them as they crushed into each other at the door with ravenous kisses. Kasi had a condom on hold and he let her do the honors before he pushed her back to the door, took off her G-string, spread open her legs and went into her. She cried out and felt her knees go weak instantly but she was light-weighted and he wrapped her legs around him rather easily.
Their movements had no rhythm, neither were they hushed. The banging sounds her back made on the door were loud and could have drawn anyone’s attention. Yet they went on mindlessly until they both got what they wanted off each other. Kasi held her afterwards and kissed her softly.
“So was this better than the last time?”
“Kas, you lasted four minutes, tops.”
“It’s called a quickie. If you’ve not had one before, you’ve not lived life.”
“Oh, I’ve had plenty, player. And this was off the hook.”
“Yeah…” he bit his lower lip and kissed her. “You know I want to do this again, right? And again and again… but we have Chichi and Chris to think about…”
“Shh…you like complicating things, Kas. So you can’t cheat on Chichi?”
“Aww you’re such a good boy.” She teased him with a pinch of his nose. “But chill first. don’t tell her yet.”
“Chichi is crazy. She’ll do something really fucked up like the last time. So chill, player. We’ll figure out a way to break the news.”
“He doesn’t have to know either.”
“Look, I’m sorry about what happened earlier. You know I don’t fight over pussy. It’s just that he got on my nerves and it wasn’t even about Chichi.”
Lexus raised her brows. “What was it about then?”
“Forget it but just know I can’t fight over a girl.”
He helped her into her G-string, running his hands caressingly all the way up until he stopped on her butt cheeks and gave them a squeeze.
They exchanged playful kisses before they both stepped out and joined the party again. No one noticed their absence except Chris. As Lexus settled in beside him on a two-sitter, he gave her a quick onceover and stared at Kasi.
“I guess my job is done then?”
“What?” Lexus answered in distraction. Her eyes were on Eva. The drunken Diva was presently making her way to where Genesis was seated and Lexus wondered what on earth she had to say to her.
“You and Kasi just had sex, right?”
“Sex?” Lexus gave Chris her full attention. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
“You left here, he followed you and you came back in a different t-shirt, oozing of a quickie.”
Lexus snorted. “How does a quickie smell like? Chris, you’re chocked full of shit.”
“Yeah. I spilled wine on the other t-shirt I was wearing. I went to change and I have no idea that Kas even left here or where he went to.”
“You know you don’t have to lie to me, Lexi. Your secret is safe with me.”
She gave his words a quick deliberation but preferred to stick with her lie. The idea of sneaking behind her make-believe boyfriend excited her.
“I didn’t fuck Kasi. I’m still your devoted girlfriend.”
She held his hand but turned her head to Kasi and gave him a secret wink.
“And Chris, your job is over only when I say it is. Kiss me. Kasi is watching.”
“I don’t want a fight, Eva. Please, go away. The last time we spoke, you called me names that I wouldn’t even call my enemy’s dog. So please, just step. I’m not in a good mood.”
Eva was left standing with her glass of champagne. She made a slight movement like she was leaving but she shook her head and pulled a side stool to sit before Genesis.
“I really don’t like you, Genesis.”
“I thought I told you to step, Eva.”
Genesis crossed a leg over the other and presented one of her bitchy poses. She had fire in her eyes as well. The memory of the song sang to her by Wura still lingered but the fact that Dominic was yet to seek her audience left her boiling within.
“Dominic likes you.”
Genesis spun her head slowly to glare at Eva. “Where is this conversation headed?”
Eva inclined herself forward after throwing a quick glance at Dominic. “I think he’s in love with you but he’ll never tell you unless you bully it out of him. If you let him treat you the way he’s treating you now by throwing subtle expressions of his feelings like he did with telling Wura to sing for you, that’s where it will all end. The dude is afraid to death of commitment. Look how long it took for him to let Lexus in. Twenty-five years, Genesis, and that’s his own daughter. The first eight years he wasn’t even in her life.”
“And what’s your point, Eva?”
Eva pushed her stool forward. Her voice came to a low. “A man like Dominic can only be domesticated by an equally dominating woman, a woman who demands her place in his life and roots her feet there and refuses to shake no matter what he does. Every now and then he’ll do stuff to threaten your place but sit him down like the little boy he is and put him straight.” She burped.
“Why didn’t you do all of this when you were with him? Because I know you’re still in love with him, Eva.”
Eva quaffed down the remnant of her champagne and tried to steady her eyes on Genesis. “Well I did, I tried but it didn’t work.”
“He… didn’t have feelings for me but you… I think you’re the one, Genesis, and he’s fighting really hard not to let you in.”
“Why are we having this talk? Did he send you?”
Eva shook her head slowly.
Eva got up and ironed out her dress with a little too much exaggeration. “Well, I’m drunk and I can do or say things I’ll normally not do or say. Capisce?”
“No.” Genesis stood up. “Thanks but I still don’t like you.”
“If there was any justice in the world I’d be in your place and you’d be serving cocktails in the club I used my sweat to build.”
“Good night, Eva.”
Genesis picked her purse and left the living room. She was going straight to bed.
She woke up quite early despite the fact that she had turned in really late after a long talk with Mahmud on the phone. They finally discussed about their future and the baby’s and both agreed that marriage was out of the picture at the present until they were absolutely sure it was the best option for them. Sex was also thrown out the window and though Mahmud asked for the occasional romp in the sheets, his requests were turned down. They were to open a joint account for the baby whom they both agreed was not going to be born in the country. The plan was to get Wura a school somewhere outside the shores of Nigeria where she could take care of the baby and fulfill her dream of furthering her education.
The decisions made at the end of their conversation left them both satisfied. Mahmud bade her a good night and told her to open her eyes only at the sound of his voice. She hadn’t taken him seriously until she woke up the next morning and saw him beside her with a smile.
“You should go back to sleep, Woo. I only dropped by because I left my phone charger here yesterday.”
Wura didn’t say a word. She held her mouth and rushed to the bathroom to throw out spittle before she returned with her breath all freshened up. She found her phone ringing; a client was calling. When she took the call, she was confronted by an angry woman who was demanding to know why Genesis wouldn’t answer her calls.
“I’m so sorry, ma. I’ll get her on the line now. Give me five minutes, please.”
She endured a long tongue-bashing from the disgruntled client and had to keep apologizing for every line of anger she received from the other end. Yet the woman wasn’t appeased by her apologies; she wanted to speak with Genesis alone.
Wura wore something decent and hurried out of the house through the connecting staircase that led to Genesis’ apartment. She knocked at the backdoor once and went in.
“Miss Genesis?” she called. “Boss Lady! It’s Wura! You have an important phone call!”
Wura approached the master bedroom, noting that there were packed boxes littered about the house. Genesis hadn’t mentioned to her that she was moving out but she had suspected something was off with her after noticing her being withdrawn over the past couple of days. Wura never gave it much thought as Genesis had her moments where she shut everyone away. But moving out entirely meant there was a major turn of events in her life and Wura was curious to know what it was.
“Miss Genesis, I’m coming into your room o!”
As she neared Genesis’ bedroom she heard the familiar ringtone of an iPhone. It was probably the upset client still trying Genesis’ line.
Wura pushed open the door which she discovered slightly ajar, and bumped into a box. The box hit another box that hit something else that crashed to the floor.
She sidestepped the mess on the floor after trying futilely to arrange them. Her phone began to vibrate in her hold and she hurried towards Genesis’ bed.
“It’s that troublesome Mrs. Akintola. She wants to speak with you. She’s been…”
Wura froze the moment her eyes fell on Genesis’ bed. Her sentence was cut off instantly as her mouth fell open and her hand hung in the air, holding out her phone.
There was no response from the woman that was lying on the bed. Wura’s brand new phone slipped from her hold and the moment it hit the floor her brain registered that she was actually staring at the lifeless body of the woman that used to be her boss.
It was then she let out a piercing scream.