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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…

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 #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…

Say You Will Stay #5

*** *** *** Isio had been on her bed for a while before she heard a quiet knock on her door. She had been sat, ears pricked up, unable to go in the kitchen or the bathroom for a shower. Biba came in, smiling a forced smile. “Do you want me to bring in your food?” “Is your boyfriend still here?” Isio folded her arms across her chest when her friend didn’t respond. “I thought you didn’t like him? Issy?” She faced the small, wall mirror, picked up a clunky hairbrush and started on her blonde extensions as if she didn’t have a concerned expression on her face. “I like him. I really like him. I know he prefers you because you are the beautiful, sweet one…” “You are beautiful too,” Isio interrupted. Her friend’s self-esteem issues surfaced every so often. It didn’t baffle her anymore. Biba was worse…

Say You Will Stay #4

*** It took a while to open the bottle of Supermalt she offered him. The bottle opener slipped out of her hand twice. She did not smile when she caught him staring at her from where he was sat. It felt like he was next to her, his hands around her. It was hard to carry on as normal. His striking face, his dark-brown eyes, the baritone voice that sounded as if it came from a bigger man were all working against her. The open plan kitchen suddenly did not appeal to her. It had been the first thing that she liked when Biba brought her here. The open plan. Ease of access. The modern architectural design. Biba was the one that rented the apartment as Isio could not come up with half the deposit on time. But her friend insisted on adding her name to the lease. Biba…

Say You Will Stay #3

Read previous episodes of Say You Will Stay here *** He was quick. Too quick for her. She was thinking of getting off the rug when he lowered himself next to her and kissed her. Or something that could be described as such. His reeking mouth closing over half of her face and slobbering all over it. He was touching her, trying to climb on top of her when she slapped him. “What is wrong with you? Get off me.” “Issy, you can slap me.” He slurred, grabbed the hand she slapped him with and sniggered.  “You can bite me. That will only make me wanna fuck you … more.” His eyes were bloodshot and he smelt of the strong Harp drink her aunt’s husband reeked of whenever he came home all those years ago. When she tried to push him off her, she found him surprisingly heavy. He moaned…

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