Always One More Time #1 By Temitope Ogunyinka
Meet Tope. She begins a new series here every Thursday. Please, read and comment. She’ll love some feedback.
Apologies on The Immortals’ Code. It will continue tomorrow with a long and steamy episode. Emphasis on steamy.
Have a great day!
A choice between something dangerously bad and sexy, and something confidently innocent and good . . .
Two years ago . . .
She was ready to lose her virginity. Ready to become the woman he wanted/needed. She knew it was a stupid idea . . . But being with him, alone in the house with no one else around, made her daring and willing to do anything. Daniel had never been hers but she had always been his; just that he never knew it. She stared at herself in the mirror. The little curves she had. She wasn’t as voluptuous as the other woman who held Daniel’s heart. She was chubby with a sizeable bum and almost flat-chested. What did she have to offer him? Only her love in the purest form . . .
She took a deep, shaky breath. Closing her eyes she willed herself that she could go through with it and opened her eyes again. She wanted him. Nervously, she tucked a strand of her black hair behind her ear and licked her dry lips. Indecision was playing games with her heart. Was it love or a crush she felt for her childhood friend? Her father’s godson. A part of her told her it was wrong, another made the idea of being with him so alluring that she could hardly wait. Tonight was the night. The cool weather added to the romance in her head. The clouds dark. She swallowed hard. Nervousness building up tempo. She knew He was watching them no matter how dark it was. Nothing could be hidden. Knowing that did she want to go ahead? Yes . . .
A serious mistake could turn the course of some-one’s life upside down. This mistake did just that. It wasn’t something he had planned. Heck! No one ever planned to make a mistake, but when it did happen you look back, if you are courageous enough, and see the little things that led to them. And it was something Daniel regretted even though almost two years had passed.
His slip had happened long before that. It happened because of his pressing need to live his life free of any restrictions. He was a Christian, but he knew he hardly took God as serious as he should. It wasn’t a decision he had been ready to make even when he kept asking for another chance. At a point in his life he probably had, but he had relapsed back to when he wasn’t born-again. Every-time he found himself begging God for forgiveness and then going back to commit the same sin. With the new-year, he was determined to stick to his decision to find God again.
A while back he had always been so sure of himself and what he could and couldn’t do. He sighed and rubbed his eyes. It was too late to cry over spilt milk. He had begged for forgiveness from those he hurt. He had tried to make amends, but he had encountered so many closed doors on their end. Most especially he had offended God and he had no way of turning back. He didn’t know how . . .
Daniel looked up at his mother as she held Ulunma in her arms. Ulunma stared at her father with a smile on her face. He smiled back at her. He was sad in his heart ‘cause he wished he had a child with the woman he loved. The woman that took his breath away whenever he was with her. The woman that had him wanting more in life, her demanding personality made him push for more. He looked away from his daughter and got on his socks.
“Good morning mum.”
“Why do you have that wistful look on your face? What were you thinking about?” His mother asked.
He heaved a sigh and pushed his thoughts away. “I’m just reminiscing. It’s nothing important.” At least to you. He rose up from his bed and walked over to his ward-robe to pull out one of his designer black suit jackets. Fortunately, from his balcony he could view the streets so he could check how the traffic was. Hearing the sounds of horns, it was Friday morning and he guessed the morning traffic was already building up. He couldn’t afford to be late to work.
“Don’t tell me nothing when there’s something. Nwa m, Talk to me. You have been so moody these days.”
“Mum I’m telling you nothing ‘cause there’s really nothing. I have to get to work early. I have another presentation today and I didn’t sleep well last night.”
Daniel could feel his mother’s dark eyes piercing his back as he searched out a tie to match his navy-blue TM shirt; he should have done that the night before but he was putting last minute touches to his presentation. His mother wasn’t someone he could fool or tell lies to, more reason why he couldn’t look her in the eye even as he lied. She could figure him out smoothly. But today he hoped she would let it go.
“Hmm, I hear you. If you say nothing I will take it as that. Have a great day at work. I’ll be taking Ulunma home with me this afternoon so you can get some rest tonight.”
Daniel turned to look at her and smiled. “Thanks mum. You know I appreciate you a lot.”
He saw her hesitate but she finally ended up saying it, “Your father would come around soon, okay?”
At the mention of his father Daniel frowned.
“Just give him some time. I know he doesn’t like it when I come over here to help you out with Ulunma, but deep within him he understands. He loves his grand-daughter even though he doesn’t show it. He only wants you to make the right decision this time around. You know what you did really hurt him and made him look bad to his best-friend.”
How many times have I apologized? Yet he’s been holding a grudge for over one year. Daniel said within himself. In order to avoid getting worked-up early in the morning, he simply nodded. “I understand. Please I need to get dressed. Time is going.”
His mother nodded. “Okay.” She walked out of the room with Ulunma after he planted a kiss on his daughter’s forehead, then he went about getting ready for work.
Later at work . . .
“Kong man!” Ebuka, one of his best-friends, called him up during his break in the afternoon and came over to his office. He dropped by to see Daniel when he was less busy. They were both media personnels who worked at Flash-on Media, a top advertising firm in the country.
Daniel rubbed his eyes tiredly and dropped his hand to look at his friend. “I dey jere.”
Ebuka pulled out a chair opposite him and sat down. “How do you think the presentation went?”
“It was went well. I’m definitely going to get that contract. Mr. Popoola definitely looked pleased.”
“But you on the other-hand look like shit man. You need to get some rest. How’s Ulunma?”
“She’s great. Mum took her home.”
“And your old man? He’s still pissed?”
Daniel nodded. “Why you dey ask dat kin question when you sef sabi the answer. Abeg, let’s not talk about it. I’m really tired.”
Ebuka held up his hands. “Okay. No vex. You up for lunch? Has Shiny called you yet?”
Daniel shook his head. “What for?”
Dele, nicknamed shiny, was one of their friends. He completed their trio group. He was into photography and had the opportunity of travelling to different countries to do jobs amongst meeting up with different ‘exotic’ women as he put it. But he was in town now and they were all hanging out later on in the week. Daniel was glad his daughter would be with her grand-mother so he could chill-out.
“He has been saying he has big news to tell us ever since he got back from Dubai. Thought he would have hinted you on it.”
“Nah . . . Knowing Shiny he likes to deliver all those kind of information in person.”
“Shey? That guy sef . . .”
Daniel rose up and patted his pant pocket for his wallet. “Shall we head out for lunch?”
Ebuka rose to his feet. “I’m game mhen. Before I forget, how’s Efe?”
“Fine. Let’s go.”
His friend didn’t mention anything about Efe again, knowing fully well he didn’t want to broach the topic. It just reminded him of all his problems and what he had lost.
I have heard You calling my name. I have heard the song of love that You sing. So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore. Into Your grace . . . Your grace. Efe sang along to the song as it played on her phone. She closed her eyes and allowed herself bask in the beauty of the song and feel so heavily the presence of God. She felt tears roll down her cheeks. She loved the song by Amanda cook and Bethel Music, You make me brave. She had been listening to it for a couple of weeks now and she never tired of it. She already knew the lyrics by heart.
In all her life she had never needed so much bravery as now. A lot had happened in her life in the last year and a half. A lot that had changed the course of her life. She had learned to lean on God and rely on Him so much. She had discovered things about herself that she never knew were there. She had found strength she never knew she had. Maybe I had it all this while but never knew. . . If I had exercised it the other night . . . She wiped the tears away and sat up on her bed. Her room-mate was most likely in the library preparing for her upcoming test. Her lecturer had decided to surprise everyone with a test in the first few weeks of their resumption.
“The ye-ye lecturer says he wants to test our brains and see if we actually have anything up there. Can you imagine?” Chinyere had said, clearly pissed off.
Efe chuckled. “Sorry. I’m sure he’s just trying to help you guys out. Bring out the best in you.”
Chinyere snorted and said an insult in Igbo which caused Efe to laugh. “Wor-wor lecturer! He’s just a very wicked man. Just dey wund pesin. I’m going to make sure I ace that test and show him he can’t be picking on his students just ‘cause he has a doctorate degree and is a lecturer! With all the peanuts they are paying him he still has the balls to be so cocky.”
Efe had laughed. She knew Chinyere was set to make a first-class and make her parents proud. From the little Efe knew, Chinyere was the first daughter in her father’s house to make it that far in school. The others had dropped out due to lack of funds or gotten married ‘cause of having children out of wedlock or any other stumbling block that happened to come their way. When she had asked Chinyere why hers was different she had said, “I’m determined to succeed. They chose their own path and it’s up to me to choose mine. We may be blood related but we are not the same; obviously our thinking faculties differ.”
That was something her room-mate had said that she held on to. They all chose their own paths . . . Turning off the music, Efe dropped her legs to the floor and got up. She made her bed and walked to the bathroom to have her bath and get ready for her first class in the new session; her last session as an undergraduate. As was her custom, she made sure she placed a call to know how her daughter was doing. She had an hour to get ready and she didn’t want to be late on her first day back. The lecture was starting at one o’clock that Friday afternoon.
Efe was seated at the second row and flipping through a book when the lecturer walked in. She looked up, not expecting to see who she saw. He was fair and tall. He had a nice ‘fro. There was no disputing that he was handsome. He dropped his backpack on the table close to the dirty white board and faced them. Looking around the room, his eyes lingered on Efe’s a little longer and she raised her brow at that. He looked away.
“Good morning everyone.”
“Good morning sir,” Efe chorused with the others.
He chuckled and slid both hands into his pockets and shook his head. “Sir sounds too old for me. I’m Chukwuemeka Benson. I’m more or less like your mate, if not a little older, so you could just call me Chuks. Is that okay?”
Most of the girls smiled and nodded, while the others were uninterested. On the other-hand, the guys were still watching him closely. Probably wondering what kind of lecturer he was. He was obviously a new lecturer to the school.
“Alright so you guys are in your final year and ready for the advance class. I would be taking you on Modern Poetry and Modern Fiction. So you would have to see my face at-least twice on different occasions.” He smiled. “You would get to see both the passionate and crazy side of me.”
He walked back to his bag and brought out a white sheet of paper. “So I want you to pen down your names, and the best novel and poetry you have ever read beside it. That way it lets me have an idea of the people I’m working with. Let’s get that done quickly.”
He turned back to his bag and started bringing out notes. Efe watched him absent-mindedly as she thought of what her best novel and poetry was. She tossed around different books in her head until she finally chose one. Leo Tolstoy’s works and Robert Frost’s poem on ‘The Road Not Taken’. Having selected those two she relaxed on her seat and waited for the sheet of paper to get to her.
Daniel . . . His name flashed in her mind again. She sighed. “Be brave Efe. Be brave.” She didn’t know what was going to be happen. She didn’t know if her wedding plans would still hold, but she had a feeling the New Year was going to be very interesting.
John did his usual press-ups in the morning after doing his devotion and praying. He got off the floor and grabbed his bottle of water from the dressing table. He gulped down the whole bottle. Sweat trickling down his chest and he was itchy all over. He dropped the bottle back on the table and checked the time on his wall-clock. His eyes widened, I’m behind schedule. He hurried off to the adjoining bathroom to have a quick shower.
His favourite parking space in the compound was already taken since he didn’t leave the house on time, but it wasn’t a problem. It wasn’t like the space had been dedicated solely to him. He picked up his I-pad and wallet from the passenger seat and locked the door. He headed straight to the entrance of the church.
He stopped in his tracks and looked back at the female calling him. He smiled at her.
“Hi Stephanie. Good morning.”
He waited for her so they could go in together.
“Good morning. How are you?” She was close to him now and he could smell her fruity perfume. She was dressed in a pink and white gown barely reaching her knees and did well to show off her calves, of which John had appreciated on different occasions.
“I’m great.” He raised his brow in amusement. “Isn’t that obvious?”
They walked into the church together and took the proffered offering envelopes from the ushers.
She laughed, her eyes sparkling. “Of-course nau! You always look great. By the way, I love your jacket.”
“Thanks. You look lovely.”
She smiled wider. “Thank you.”
He excused himself, promising to see her at the end of the service, and walked to the front of the church where the ministers sat. He took his seat. His cousin Daniel was seated at the choir-section and John bowed his head in greeting to him when he caught his eye. John’s phone buzzed then. He brought it out and went straight to the BBM icon.
Daniel: You ready for the ministration?
J.N: I’m not sure. A little nervous, but I’m relying on God.
Daniel: Continue doing that and you would do well. *thumbs up*
J.N: Thanks bro
John put his phone back in his pocket. He made a mental note to pay his sister a visit later on in the evening. He said a silent prayer to God, asking Him to take absolute control of the service.
The fast-food restaurant was cool and a little crowded. The air tinged with food, perfume, body odour and air-freshener. She had placed her order and quickly grabbed a seat close to the large window that gifted her with a beautiful view of outside. Most especially, it allowed her see her Red Range Rover sports. Her latest acquisition.
Adesewa smiled to herself. It was good to have money. Even more so to spend your money without waiting on a man to meet your every need. It wasn’t like she didn’t appreciate men, but she was proudly independent and felt no shame for it. A song by Davido, a Nigerian Artiste, suddenly blasted on the stereos and Adesewa rolled her eyes. It was ten days into the new year and they had decided to play love songs. What’s wrong with this people? Don’t they have any other sensible thing on their mind asides love? She gave a low hiss. She couldn’t wait to leave the place.
Adesewa picked up her phone and tapped on the BBM icon. She pinged one of her best-friends, Zainab.
Babe what you up to?
Hot Chocolate: Aaaarrrrggghhhh. What nau? I’m just getting some beauty sleep!
Ade: At this time of the day? You better get your ass off the bed.
Hot Chocolate: *tongue out* Had a late night at Purple Lake. What can I do for you?
Ade: Purple lake? Forgot ‘bout that. Sorry. They are playing these useless love songs again.
Can’t they just play Christmas songs?
Hot Chocolate: LMPAO!!! (laughing My Pretty Ass Out)
What’s wrong with a lil’ romance?
Christmas is over. 2016 is here. More hope for our love lives.
It’s a good sign.
Love songs are sooooo wo-mantic *wink*
Wai are you thinking about him again?
Adesewa raised her eyebrow at the phone. Hope she isn’t referring to that cheat of a man. She didn’t reply immediately. Her friend started typing out a message and Adesewa received a new ping from her.
Hot Chocolate: Since you refuse to answer me, I guess my assumption is correct. You need to forget him. It’s been two years already dah-ling. He isn’t worth it. Never was worth it. You’re a fine girl, think of conquering the world and let me SLEEP!
She sighed. She knew Zainab wasn’t wrong with her assumption.
Ade: Oya go to bed. Ping me when you’re up?
Hot Chocolate: Errmmm . . . Maybe after I.K leaves. *Covers face*
Hot Chocolate: You too babe! Love you.
Ade: Lol. Love you too.
Adesewa dropped her phone in her red hand-bag and looked up at her car. It was still there. No one was tampering with it. All was well. But it had not been like that a couple of years ago, and that was how she had met the man she had not been able to get out of her mind. . .
She raised the selfie-stick up in the air and took a picture of herself with her phone. She took three shots with her pouting, sticking her tongue out a little and another winking at the camera.
“You and pictures. You don’t get fed up with it?”
“Leave me alone jor.”
He chuckled, “Am I holding you?”
Funlola winked at him. “But I know you want to hold me. Be forming you’re not attracted.”
Swiftly, she put up the picture of her pouting on Instagram and typed out, Always be true to yourself, and dropped the phone and stick on her lap.
John let out a sigh. “Please, Funlola don’t tempt me. Don’t think I haven’t noticed what you’ve been trying to do these days. Besides, I don’t want boyfriend wahala.”
She began to laugh, glad that he was getting the message. Maybe he isn’t gay after-all. “You mean my fiancé? Don’t worry he doesn’t bite. I can let you touch me a little.” She teased him. Dele was just annoyingly possessive. He couldn’t harm anyone.
He leaned forward on the couch he sat on. “Are you serious? Since when did you become his fiancée?”
“Since yesterday. But I haven’t said yes sha. I’m still considering if I want to be with him. He’s a great lover, but I’m not so sure we would do good together as a couple.”
“Care to explain?”
“So that you can counsel me? No, thank-you. It’s not up for discussion.” She knew Dele travelled a lot and she was sure he slept with different girls in those places. But the fortunate thing for him was she hadn’t bothered accosting him. She knew wasn’t in love with him, but she couldn’t say the same thing about him.
“You don’t want to marry him . . .” He said knowingly.
“I haven’t made up my mind yet P.J.” She dropped the stick and phone on the couch and uncrossed her legs; her gown going up her thighs. “Tell me, why are you so afraid of being with a woman?”
He raised his brow, his eyes fixed on her face. “Who said I was?”
“Dunno . . . You just behave weird.” She asked the question that had been on her mind lately. “Are you gay?”
He chuckled. “Trust me I’m not.”
Funlola rose from the couch and made an attempt to pull down her short gown which exposed an ample of her chest and thighs. Her caramel skin was an instant attraction to men, but what kept their eyes coming back was her curvaceous body and pretty face. She looked up and smiled when she caught John ogling her.
“Are you sure you don’t want to kiss me a little?”
John coughed and let out an exasperated sigh. He rose from his seat and grabbed his phone and car-keys on the dinning table. “Please tell Audrey I stopped by. Take care.” He hurried out of the room before she could offer to see him off. Funlola laughed out-loud and went to her bedroom to change into something more comfortable; a bum-short and a white tee. He had come to see his younger/twin sister, Audrey, but she had stepped out of the house to see her boyfriend. It was just unfortunate that John didn’t know how to have a nice time like his sister . . .
“You’re joking right? Did you just say he’s a virgin?”
Funlola laughed out-loud and even farted in the process.
“Eeewww! Fu-fu stop that nau.” She pressed her thumb and fore-finger to the tip of her nose. “That beans you ate in the afternoon is working wonders.”
Funlola hated the nick-name and had told her severally to stop it. It was like she did it to spite her. “Sorry dear. It’s just too funny. Which man keeps himself as a virgin in this time and day? Don’t you tell him he’s missing out in life?”
Audrey released her nose from the pressure and sprayed a bottle of expensive perfume in the air to drown out the odour in her room. She was giving Funlola what she bought her on her trip to London. Funlola felt like slapping her for wasting such expensive perfume on something that would fizzle out in a matter on time.
“I’ve told him to go out more. He said he’s not interested so I have left him alone. You can’t force a man to do what he doesn’t want to do. When he’s ready he would pop his cherry.”
Ever since that time Funlola had been taunting John Nwgube so he could finally be a man. How can anyone be that fine and so dumb? Funlola chuckled; his sister was like that. She knew John wouldn’t be able to do it with her but it was fun for her to watch him get uncomfortable any-time she teased him.
The Ngwube’s came from politics and oil money, as well as multiple businesses that brought in a lot of money. The type of money Funlola wished she had so she wouldn’t have to keep her job as a marketer in a bank and carrying around a degree in law that she never planed to use. Why then had she read law? Peer-pressure. And every day she hated herself for it. If she had the money she would be travelling the world and investing in a lot of businesses while the money did the work. All her life she had worked her way up lying on her back and pleasing men that now . . . it didn’t matter to her any-more if it was bad or good. According to her, life was meant to be enjoyed and lived to the fullest. She was having fun and that was all that mattered . . .