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Say You Will Stay #12

The bed was warm. Warmer than it had ever been. Sleep inducing. Comforting. She wanted to stay like this forever. In this picture-perfect moment with him. She wanted to turn to him and kiss him until his eyes fluttered open. Until the gleam she saw in his eyes occupied them again and he stopped being aware of everything else but her. The way he was last night when she asked him if he would call his mother to tell her he wouldn’t be home. And he told her he had never forgotten to call his mother and daughter to say goodnight before. In fact, he had never stayed out at night except when it was for work. He was right, when during the night, lips on her stomach, he told her they were not going too fast. That they were meant to be. That was his argument after she questioned…

Say You Will Stay #11

*** *** *** His mother was in the kitchen when he came back from work. Balanced on one of the dining chairs, the white, laundry basket on the table beside her. “Nno, my son,” she greeted and placed the kitchen rolls she was folding on the pile of folded beddings and towels on the table. “Did you go to see Isio?” “I went to Aspire, Mama.” He dropped his bag on the table, walked over to the fridge and picked up a bottle of Lucozade from it. “I have to work.” “So, you could not go and see her from your office.” His mother was not letting go. She held on sometimes with such stubborn rigidness. “Chibuzor said she lives near your office.” “Did Chibuzor also tell you I went to see her last night. And her flatmate, Habiba threatened to pour dirty water on my head from the…

Say You Will Stay #10

*** *** *** He found her in his bedroom, clutching the bedsheet she had taken off the bed. She was on the floor, face wet. Chest rising and falling like someone who had been running.      She didn’t look at him and he was glad. The glare of her eyes when Kelly finished talking could have easily struck him down. As if the shock of seeing Kelly in London was not enough. “I came to change the sheets.” She dumped the bedsheets and held her hands in front of her. “Then I realised I can’t just walk past your wife and daughter in the kitchen to the washing machine …” “She is not my wife.” “Don’t.” “No. She isn’t.” He felt like going back downstairs and ordering Kelly to leave. He would have, when she walked in, if his daughter had not looked at him with pleading eyes. He was…

Biyankavitch #15

I had an appealing proposition for Kashimu. I wanted him to trade off his arms business to Captain. I was to be the go-between. It was hard to say no to my offer when he was appreciating the suppleness of my body. There was no sex, just good old making out, and he was losing his mind. The shipping company he formerly used for the import of his weapons had now gone clean. He no longer smuggled arms. The business disappeared into the blue like it never existed. Well, on the outside, it had never really existed. For those of us who knew, we considered it the work of a mastermind to make it vanish that way. That was how genius Kashimu was. He had told me he would do this, and he did it. No weapons, no trace. Nothing. And yet, the business was up for bid in the…

Say You Will Stay #9

*** *** *** Biba had gone out by the time they woke up. When they heard voices downstairs, Isio and Kanyin piled at the top. The first-floor balcony’s thick railings made it easy to stay up there unnoticed. Another grand feature of the house, it opened into metallic spiral stairs. Spiral stairs that were curved like stacked up rings. Damian and Biba were hugging in the living room whilst their son chased his toy car about. The car veered underneath the bottom of the stairs. Pete looked up, saw Isio and squealed. She met him at the bottom of the stairs, picked him up and embraced him. “Peaches.” “Issy! I miss you.” “I have missed you too.” Pete kissed her cheek. His cheeks were flushed red from running around. He looked more like his South African, Dutch descended father this morning. His affectionate, lively personality, he inherited from his…

Say You Will Stay #8

*** *** *** Isio was finally able to take a breath when Funmi Lawal ended the phone call. It happened after Isio told the older woman. “I can tell his brother, Obinna for you. He is a nice man. The Okadigbos are nice.” The woman was quiet after that. She heard her scream for Biba. A frantic scream that sounded desperate. Then the call ended without any preambles. “You have to ring his brother.” Kanyin said after Isio explained about how they thought Chib and Biba were siblings. “I have to warn him this woman knows who they are now.” “Issy. You have to tell him how your friend nearly died because of his brother.” Kanyin’s voice rose. “I’m so done with that Chib. He is a monster. Telling Biba they are related just so he could break up with her, who does that?” “I don’t know how Obinna…

Biyankavitch #14

Lanre was angry. Justifiably so. I had defied his orders not to go solo by hunting down Shiloh’s men and finishing them off in a three-day job. It wasn’t that I was being directly stubborn; it was that I followed my gut instinct. And it wanted blood, so I did what it asked me to do. “What’s the point bringing my friends together to help you when you just want to do things on your own?” Lanre’s voice was quiet. His anger was presented only in his eyes. “Lanre, you know the plan.” “There was no definitive plan. Just a floating idea, a suggestion I threw into the air.” “You said, ‘it would be nice to clear her crew’ and I did just that. I also baited her.” “And where is she now?” “She’ll come to me.” “How do you know that?” “She will come, Dada. I know.” “You only…

Say You Will Stay #7

*** *** *** Obinna did not let his back rest fully on the armchair. He sat almost on its edge, phone in hand. Going through his messages with a purposeful, occupied look on his face. She was busy buttering wholemeal toasts in the kitchen for him. Toasts, he didn’t really want. But it had been easier to say yes. She had seemed so uncomfortable. So he said yes to toasts and he had been glad he did. As much as he loved these moments with her, there were times where he felt suffocated by it all. The attention she gave him. Her beauty. Her politeness. They all seemed like gongs, brass and bells – parts working together in a grand clock. Strategies to make him fall for her. It reminded him too much of Kelly. Although Kelly didn’t have the gentle manners of Isio, she wasn’t the Kelly she…

Say You Will Stay #6

*** *** *** Obinna ended his call after she whispered his mother needed him. She had gone to get his mother’s flavoured water, insulin injection and honey jar from the fridge. He said goodnight to their last lot of guests: Idriss and family, a Scottish man and Miles who came on his own. Then he joined her on the way upstairs. Whilst Isio fed his mother a spoon of honey, Obinna fired questions her way. He didn’t let her answer. He sat on the bed next to his mother and peeled off her wig. Her blouse and face were drenched in sweat. She was telling her son her discovery in Igbo. Chibuzor’s name, Biba’s and a phrase with Chineke in it told her as much. Tufiakwa followed twice. “Mama, calm down.” Obinna held one of her hands in his. “Please.” “I’m calm my son.” She was moving her head…

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