This episode is lengthy and it’s also the Christmas episode because I’m going on a trip and I’m not taking my laptop with me. So, take your time and enjoy and leave a comment. If you haven’t read Dugo before, you can follow the series on Twitter. Follow me @moskedapages and check my pinned tweet for the episodes.
This was it. This was the moment! It had to be engraved in her heart forever. Not that it was profound in the sense that it inspired deep thinking or left insightful bits that she could reflect on later. It was the shallowness of it. The indulgence. The excessiveness. The carefreeness and emotions that led up to this moment. Everything was summed up in this one crazy night, just to remind her that life was precious; to take her back to the past when she was crazy in love with Leonel.
She had James to thank for it. Early this morning, he called her as she and Leonel bathed the twins.
“I heard you got back into town yesterday?”
“Yeah,” she responded, smiling at Reginald who was smearing his father’s face with soap sods.
“Still abandoning us for Barbados?”
Kyenpia looked at Leonel. “Yeah.”
“But will you be available tonight?”
“It’s my birthday.”
“Oh!” Kyenpia exclaimed, startling Kane. “I forgot fa! I’m sorry.”
“Happy birthday, Oga Haliru! Should I sing for you?”
Leonel shook his head as well.
“So, where the party at?”
“Well, that’s why I’m calling. I heard the VIP rooms for Groove Inches and The Revision are booked for tonight. Just checking to see if I can have either of them for a private get-together…”
“Is that even a question? Getting you Groove Inches won’t be a problem at all. Consider it done.”
“Cool then. You’re invited. Party starts nine. Bring Yenkat and all the hot chicks you know.”
“But I hope I’m not asking too much of you to come partying…”
“No, it’s okay.”
“All right, then. Thanks, Kyen. See you tonight.”
Kyenpia hung up and lifted Kane out of the baby tub. The boy kicked his legs into the air as she tried to swath him with a towel. She took him into the bedroom he shared with his brother and laid him on the changing table. His legs still kicked into the air, causing her to laugh.
Leonel came in from the bathroom with Reginald who had begun to whimper. “Sunshine, who is this one I’m carrying?” Reginald burst into tears. “Ah-ahn! I only asked a question, Son. Of course, I know it’s you, Reggie. Who else would be angry like this early in the morning?”
“He doesn’t like being called this one,” Kyenpia said.
“Why is he always protesting against something?”
Kyenpia concentrated on Kane. When Leonel joined her, stooping over the table the way she did, to dress Reginald up, she pretended to ignore the sensuous vibes he gave out. He had been doing this since Jos. It was a typical Leonel thing to be seductive without meaning to. But in this case, he was deliberate in fingering the lust spots in her. Or maybe it was just her own horniness. God knew she wanted him badly. Underneath that desire lay a deeper layer of love that simply longed to be his woman as she had been before. And she wanted to talk to somebody about this, to let out her thoughts and feelings, since she wasn’t yet willing to find succor in his arms. Yesterday, when she visited Ishi to let him know about Leonel’s return, she hadn’t been able to talk about said feelings, even when Ishi asked her. She had told him, instead, that it was weird for him to ask that.
“As against bursting into tears and crying myself a river because my supposed competition is back from the dead?” Ishi asked in sarcasm.
“I didn’t mean that.”
“Kay, we’re done.”
“So, don’t worry about how I feel. I’m good. In fact, I already got myself a chick.”
Ishi laughed. “Gramps called me to the villa yesterday, sat me down and basically begged me to let you go. I told him it was unnecessary because we weren’t together anymore. He then asked if it was okay if he hooked me up with his friend’s granddaughter.”
“For real? What did you say?”
“I refused at first, but he and Mama Jams eventually persuaded me. This means that tomorrow evening, I’ll be in some fancy restaurant, seated with some chick, trying to fall in love.”
“How does that make you feel?”
“I’ll probably be bored and end the date before it gets anywhere.”
“You know this girl?”
“No. But she’s a pastor, apparently.”
“Gramps thinks she’ll be good for me.”
“What do you think?”
“Do you plan to date her if you end up liking her?”
“I’m open to anything. You, though, and this Leo thing… You’re so mad at him, but you so want him.” Ishi nudged her teasingly.
He looked at her adoringly. “I’m happy for you. I know you won’t believe me, but I’m happy you’re happy again. Afam and I may never ever get to be on good terms, and that’s okay. But I know he’s good for you.”
Kyenpia rested her head on Ishi’s shoulder. His office at Smithshack, the architectural firm he founded with Lanre, was quiet and airy. It used to be her favorite place to hideaway whenever she wanted to escape busy work hours. The place reminded her of a life she had lost that was piecing back together without her. Leonel’s return wasn’t going to reset things to the way they used to be. The dynamics had changed, and Kyenpia wasn’t sure what lay ahead, despite her plans for the future. Seeing Ishi comfortable in his office made her happy, although she preferred him at The Refuge. Maybe because The Refuge was now taken over by new management, replacing all of them and the life they once had there. But she was happy to see him back on his feet and connecting with the outside world after months of reclusion.
He took her hand. “I just want to let you know that what we had was special to me. I don’t regret one bit of it.”
Kyenpia smiled. It wasn’t entirely the same for her. Maybe regret was a word too strong. What she felt was shame. A mild but sweet form of it that stung her only when she recalled the nasty things she had done with Ishi.
“We’re still friends, right?” he asked.
“Yes, baby daddy…”
Leonel’s voice interrupted her thoughts nhow, pulling her back to him and their sons.
“First!” He had his fist in the air in victory. He was done with dressing Reginald up while she struggled to get socks over Kane’s restless feet. “See you downstairs. I’m hungry.”
He left with Reginald. Kyenpia followed him downstairs a short while after. Her breasts were hard and heavy and she set about expressing milk while he brewed himself a cup of coffee. The twins’ nanny came for them, leaving the couple alone in the kitchen.
“I want to meet Spirit,” Kyenpia said.
Leonel, now having his breakfast, lowered his coffee mug to the table to have a good look at her. She was aware that she had said the words so casually, dropping them into a conversation about Eliana’s upcoming playdate with David’s kids. Kyenpia was also aware that her Victoria’s Secret playsuit was a distraction to Leonel. He hadn’t been able to keep his eyes away since she wore the ensemble last night. He did not attempt to hide his lust. She had missed his thirst for her body. She was happy to know that their fiery chemistry hadn’t been quenched. Earlier, before the sun came up, she watched him take off his clothes and dress up in his jogging gear; and although, he had done this in the dark, her eyes had picked out every detail of him as he moved about. Sleeping beside him without any form of contact had been torturous. He had tried to hold her sometime in the night, but she pushed him away. She hadn’t been able to sleep since then.
“Did you hear me?” Kyenpia asked, filling a feeding bottle with expressed breast milk. Leonel bit into the chocolate croissant in a saucer before him. Kyenpia noted that he had returned to her with a bad eating habit. Her husband with the hearty appetite was replaced with this man who would rather drink coffee all day like his father and pick at his meals like his daughter. She wondered if this was Spirit.
“What do you want to do with Spirit?” he inquired.
“I want to know him.” Kyenpia covered the feeding bottle and placed it with the first one she had filled. She was proud that her body was returning to its maternal state. She didn’t want to believe it had something to do with Leonel’s return.
“You don’t want to know him.”
“But I do. He’s a part of you, not some stranger. I want to meet him.”
“It doesn’t work like that, Kay.” Leonel’s voice was gruff. “He’s gone. Long buried.”
“Because you buried him? You think I can’t handle him? I can’t handle the man you truly are? You don’t want to show me your bad boy side?”
“Kay, not now…”
“I’m not a psychologist, so forgive me if this triggers you, but I want you to look beyond you or beyond my so-called fragile state and let me in on your ugly side, Leonel. Don’t I mean that much to you?”
“You do.” His face softened. He pushed aside his half-eaten croissant and rested his elbows on the table. “It’s just that Spirit is a reminder of a past I am done with.”
“We all have pasts we are done with, but will we let them take control of us? Are you taking control of the situation right now or allowing Spirit play the stupid games he played with me in the past by hiding from me, only to be himself when I’m not there?”
Eliana barged into the kitchen, her poodle in tow. She came with a doll that had just a leg. The other leg was held out in her left hand. She thrusted both hands at Leonel. When he took the doll and its disjointed leg from her, she sat on the floor, legs crossed, looking up at him expectantly. Her dog sat with her.
“What’s the name of your dog, Em?”
“How did you guys allow this child name her dog Egg?” Leonel asked Kyenpia, laughing. She smiled. It was good to hear his laughter again. Same way she felt watching him walk around in their bedroom, in the space that had held his lingering essence. They hadn’t lived long enough as husband and wife before his disappearance, but he had left memories with her that had caused nightmares. Now that he was back, the darkness was gone. Everything about him was new. It felt like she was falling for him for the first time. And this was hard, considering that it was all happening within her. She didn’t want to show him, but she wanted to let the world know how happy she was.
Leonel handed a healed doll back to Eliana. She took it and started out, but he called her back and told her to say thank you. She didn’t. Instead, she stretched out her arms for a hug, catching him by surprise.
“Awwww.” He hugged her, kissing her forehead. “You’ve gotta learn how to say thank you, though.”
He watched his daughter and her dog leave the kitchen, and said, “So, back to Spirit.”
Kyenpia looked at him expectantly.
“I am at the stage where I’m in complete control, Kay. Letting you in on my other self would be allowing him have the power to be. And I don’t want that. However, I understand why you want this. I’ll see what I can do…”
“…if you let me kiss you anytime I want.”
“That’s all I ask. I know you’re still mad at me and you feel that if you allow your body do what it wants to do with me, your guard would be down. Understandable. I don’t want you to do what you’re not ready for. Just your lips. That’s all I want.”
“Okay.” Kyenpia smiled, biting her lips down to hide a blush. “It’s a deal.”
He got off his chair, picked his coffee and croissant and dumped them in the sink. She watched his tattooed arms as he washed his hands. Yesterday, he had driven home from the airport, with her seated beside him. She had kept her eyes on those arms in the same manner she did now. It wasn’t the tattoos that fascinated her. It was the many ways those arms had carried, protected and loved her in the past, and the way she had missed them in his absence.
Wiping them on a towel, he walked towards her.
“I’m going with you for James’ party tonight. Let’s surprise them a bit. I really want everyone to turn up.”
Typical Leonel. He was scarcely five minutes back from the dead and he was already controlling things.
His eyes dropped to her lips briefly. She anticipated a kiss, but he walked away, leaving her with a smile.
Nelly walked in, announcing that Peggy’s chauffeur had come to pick Eliana up.
“Tell Farida to go with her.”
Kyenpia then asked that the twins be brought upstairs to her. As Nelly began towards the exit, she stopped her.
“Would you like to be promoted?”
“Me?” Nelly touched her chest.
“How about taking on the job of my personal assistant?”
“If you ask me ‘me?’ one more time…”
“Yes, ma’am. It’s just that I don’t know anything about hotels…”
“The owner of the hotels is back, so I’m just a figurehead there. I have other businesses to run and I need a PA. Can you do it?”
“Sure, Ms. Kyenpia.”
“Your pay would be raised, of course. And you have to stop wearing black t-shirts and jeans like a bar waitress.”
“Get Eliana sorted and then dress up. We’re going to BFAM. Also call my salon and let them know I’m coming to fix a weave later today.”
Two hours later, Kyenpia was being ushered into Yenkat’s office by Thioro. Yenkat was asleep on her table when Kyenpia walked in. She shut the door quietly and tickled her arm. Yenkat shot up into a straight posture.
“Dash!” she exclaimed.
“Dreaming about your brother?”
Yenkat pushed aside her weave from her face and looked up at her cousin. She yawned.
“Jos was good on you, Kyen. You’re glowing. Must be the cold weather. Hope you brought some of it for us?”
Kyenpia gave her a hug that wasn’t returned.
“You have eye bags. Haven’t you been sleeping?”
Yenkat pushed her chair backwards. “Nope. And no, it’s not work. It’s a very disturbed baby.”
“Baby? Are we talking about Omar?”
“No, a real baby. Sit, let me gist you.”
Kyenpia sat on the table. Yenkat drew her chair forwards again and filled her in on Jenifer’s stunt of reappearing in her life and abandoning her with an infant.
“I swear. She said she was going to get his diaper bag, and that was it. She didn’t come back. My gateman told me that she didn’t even come with a car in the first place. And she used the estate shuttle when she was leaving.”
“See, I know I always wanted a baby, but Kyen, I can’t sleep. This boy cries all night. Or at least for most of the night. On and off. Two days and I’m tired. Is this what you suffer with the kids?”
“Sometimes. Not always. But where is this Dash baby? I want to see him.”
“Daycare. I can’t deal, abeg. I won’t die because of mommy duties. But this is not what is worrying me, Kay. What if Jenifer is kidnapped or she died as she left the house?”
“I’m sure she’s fine.” Kyenpia crossed her legs.
“I already reported to the police.”
“And did you do a DNA test?”
“DNA?” Yenkat got off her chair and walked towards a water dispenser in the corner of the office.
“Yes, DNA. What if he’s not related to you at all?”
“He looks like Dashe.” Yenkat filled a disposable cup with water and returned to the table. She showed Kyenpia photos on her phone that she had taken of Dash.
“Awww, he’s so cute.”
“Yeah.” Yenkat smiled. “I love him already, even with all his stress.”
“I see the resemblance with Dashe.”
“I know, right…”
“Still, you need the DNA as proof. Just in case the bitch comes back and wants him. You can then get a lawyer and demand custody.”
“I can do that?” Yenkat’s eyes brightened.
“You should do that.”
“You’re right.” Yenkat drank some water. “How long does it take before I get the DNA results?”
“At the hospital Bem works, it takes three days.”
“It’s 2015, Yen.”
“Okay. We’ll do it.”
Amaka burst in. “Today is my king’s birthday and we’re all turning up! Hi Kay. I fasted on Thursday, asking God not to take you away from us.”
“Don’t be silly this afternoon, Maxy.”
“And here you are!” She dashed to the table and hugged Kyenpia. “Don’t leave me again.”
Kyenpia hugged her back. “Your boobs are so comforting. James is enjoying.”
“Big boobs are overrated,” said Yenkat.
“Don’t start,” Amaka warned.
“They spill when you take off the bra, and half the time, you can’t find the nipples when you want to suck them.”
“Ehn?” Kyenpia and Amaka asked at the same time. Yenkat laughed.
“Trust me, I’ve never done that shit. I’m just reiterating what guys always say.”
Amaka let go of Kyenpia. “Not all big boobs fall and some of them have impressive nipples. You should see mine.”
“Yeah, you should see hers,” Kyenpia agreed.
“It’s a lie joor.”
Amaka lifted her t-shirt and the bra underneath, exposing her breasts. Yenkat looked impressed. She reached out and held them underneath her hands, as if weighing them.
“But didn’t you do surgery or something?”
“Breast reduction. But they always looked this way.”
“Yeah, lucky aboki.”
Kyenpia stared at her watch. “For fuck’s sake, where is Fiyin? Is she coming for this meeting or not?”
“Let me call her.” Amaka pulled out her phone from her jeans pocket, but was interrupted as Fiyin burst in.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” she muttered. Silence came from the ladies as they all fixed their eyes on her bandaged wrist. “It’s not what you think.”
“Let me guess.” Kyenpia rested her elbows on Amaka’s shoulders. “You slipped and fell on Jaiye’s dick.”
“More like he slipped and fell into her from behind, twisted her hand to the back and was like ‘will you slap me again? Answer me, you dirty whore!’”
Yenkat and Kyenpia burst into laughter. Fiyin smiled as well, but said, “You’re a fool, Maxy.”
“Am I lying?”
“Maxy, I don’t have your time, abeg. Leave me joor. Can we start this meeting already? I have to…”
“Go back and break the other wrist abi?”
“It’s not broken. Ah! Amaka, leave me.”
Yenkat went for the door. “Let’s use the conference room.”
Amaka followed her. “Anyways, Fi, you’re invited to Groove Inches tonight for Jamie’s birthday. You can come with your panel beater.”
“You have bad mouth.”
Amaka put an arm on her shoulder. “And come with a gift too. Iz not osho free party. James likes that your white Hilde Palladino handbag.”
They filed out of Yenkat’s office and into the conference room to sit with other management staff of BFAM that had been waiting. The meeting was a brief one, lasting less than an hour. After they were done, the ladies had lunch in a restaurant nearby, and then Kyenpia visited the salon to make her hair. It was almost dark by the time she was done. When she got into her car in the parking lot, she was greeted with the unexpected presence of Leonel in the backseat. Startled, she put a hand to her chest.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“I was worried that you were taking the whole day,” he explained with a puppy face, reaching for her hand. “I missed you.”
“You just enjoy being creepy.”
“No, I just want to kiss you so badly right now.” He moved towards her, but she put her face away. “How long would I be punished for my sins?”
“Leonel, let’s not get into that right now.”
Still leaning into her, he kissed the exposed part of her chest, and reached up to kiss her neck. “You’re one smell away from spreading your legs wide for me.”
Kyenpia pushed him away. Nelly got into the car, taking the front seat.
“Clarence, take us home,” Kyenpia instructed.
“Yes, Ms. Kyenpia.”
Leonel was quiet throughout the journey, but his eyes wouldn’t leave her. He was being creepy, as she had already noted. They got home and Kyenpia was welcomed with another surprise. She had gift bags waiting on the bed. Leonel walked in after her and stood by the door.
“A dress, a pair of shoes, jewelry and a handbag,” he said. “I want you to look like a dream tonight.”
“Thanks, Leonel, but I already have what I planned to wear.”
“Indulge me.” He began towards the bathroom. “I’m going for a shower.”
Kyenpia checked out the dress and shoes after he was gone. She loved them. The dress, in particular, was edgy. She couldn’t recall the last time she wore something so sensuous. It dredged up memories from her past life.
When Leonel came back to the bedroom, she thanked him. “They’re really pretty.”
“I know. That’s why I got them.”
Kyenpia’s phone rang. She reached for it.
It wasn’t strange to hear him call her by her name. She had insisted on it, and it had been difficult for him at first, but now, they were on a first name basis.
“Tell me you’re in Lagos.”
“I just got in.”
“Great. Thanks for doing this for her. She didn’t look so happy today.”
“I know. I’ll be at the party.”
Kyenpia beamed as Omar hung up. Yenkat hated surprises, but this was one she would love.
“That your Nelly girl, can she do makeup since she seems to be able to do everything?”
“You want your face beat?”
Leonel was going to say something in return, but he ended up in laughter. “Nice one, Kay. Nice one.”
Kyenpia was alluding to an incident that had occurred the previous morning, on their way home from the airport. A man and a woman, driving ahead of them on a double lane, collided into each other and it resulted in a small traffic congestion, because the duo had both alighted from their cars and gotten into an exchange of words. In minutes, it escalated to something physical, which led to the man hitting the woman in the face. Leonel, who had been behind the wheel, stepped down from the car and rushed to the scene to defend the woman, but he had his own face assaulted by the man. Furious, he retorted with blows of his own until Clarence and another bodyguard dashed in to stop him. Later at home, Nelly attended to him, assuring Kyenpia that there had been no fracture to his nose, which had bled from the assault.
“I want your face beat, instead,” Leonel said, responding to Kyenpia’s sarcasm.
“Wait, what’s your own with making me look good this evening?”
“Because pictures would hit the internet tomorrow.”
Kyenpia frowned. “It’s a private party. You know that James doesn’t like his shit out there. And why on earth would you announce your return that way? We already agreed to an exclusive interview and family photo shoot. What’s all this one?”
“Kay, I don’t want to speak to some on-air personality and lie to them that I was kidnapped. I’d rather not talk about what happened.”
“So, you’d rather people talk about it after your pictures show up on the web?”
“Yes. Then they get tired of talking and just accept that people rise from the dead.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“No, I am not. I’ve changed my mind about the interview. The shoot can be done, but no interviews.”
Kyenpia was almost annoyed, but she was in no mood for a fight. She dropped the topic and went into the bathroom for a refreshing shower. Afterwards, she took her time, glamming herself up. It was 11:00 p.m. by the time she was through. Amaka and Yenkat had called three times already. Omar had called as well, and she returned his call alone. He explained that he was held up in a little traffic situation, but would be at Groove Inches soon.
Leonel was waiting downstairs. When Kyenpia went down to meet him, she saw him seated in a brand new Ferrari. She stopped outside the front door of the house, her annoyance returning to her.
“Are you going to come in or not?” he asked, head strained towards her.
Kyenpia took a few steps forwards and got into the car.
“2015 Ferrari FF?”
“Yup,” he answered as he tried to connect his phone to the car’s Bluetooth system.
“Leonel, this car costs almost three hundred thousand dollars.”
“You know I wanted to get it, even before it came out.”
“And you just got back home and you went ahead and bought it.”
“Actually, I bought it before I came back home. They shipped it into the country last week.”
“Kay, let’s not do this, please. You sold all my luxury cars.”
“I gave some of the proceeds to charity and the rest is for the foundation I’m starting.”
“You knew I wouldn’t have sold those cars, and not even at the price you sold them.”
Kyenpia was miffed. “You were dead,” she answered, her voice raised. He looked away from the dashboard to stare at her.
“Can we not fight? Please? You look sweet, by the way.” He assessed her outfit. “Am I allowed to kiss you now?”
“Isn’t the whole idea for us to live a quiet life, away from the public eye and from those who tried to kill us? This car is flashy and it’s going to draw unwanted attention.”
“But I like it.”
“Leonel, be serious.”
“I like the car and I want to drive it, Kay. End of. Put on your seatbelt.”
“No, you don’t talk to me like that, son of Igwe. Not with that voice.”
Leonel sighed, leaning back. “What’s your problem?”
“You have no idea what it means to live in fear. I lived it in your absence. Look around you! Men with guns everywhere! This has become my life! My children’s lives! All because I married into this mafia situation! All because of you! And now, you come back and act like everything is normal, like we can just get up and live like everyone else?”
“Calm down, Kay.”
“Don’t tell me to calm down, Leonel! You’re insensitive and so spoilt, I want to slap you from here to commonsense!”
“Slap me if it makes you feel better, if it gets out all this tension and anger inside of you that you have been unleashing on me. Or would you prefer if we went back upstairs and I fucked it out of you?”
Kyenpia glared at him in full anger. She slammed her purse at him and jumped out of the car.
“Go to the party alone! I’m going with Clarence!”
She banged the door and marched back into the house. Cussing loudly, she went into the kitchen for a drink of water. She had scarcely filled a glass cup with water from the dispenser when she heard the sound of Ferrari’s engine.
He’s waiting for me to go out and meet him. I’m not going! He’ll come in and beg me!
But the sound of the car said otherwise. She stood in shock as she heard it drive away from the entrance of the house. Soon, it was gone and she was left with the silence of the kitchen and the loudness of her raging thoughts. She slammed the glass cup in the sink and marched back to the living room where she sat, fuming.
He didn’t just go and leave me. He didn’t just do that.
Minutes went by; long enough for her to accept that Leonel had called her bluff and wasn’t coming back. She picked up her pride and called for Clarence.
“Get the Lincoln. You’re taking me to Groove Inches.”
She waited outside for Clarence who drove up to the entrance and pulled up in front of her.
“Turn on some music,” she instructed once she entered the car.
Clarence sensed her mood and turned on soothing jazz music for her. It relaxed her somewhat. They got to Groove Inches a while after and he steered the car through a back entrance reserved for staff. The club was situated in a building with four floors. It used to be a hotel before Leonel bought the place and transformed it. The ground floor held the club, the VIP area was situated on the first floor, a strip club was on the second floor, and on the last were lodgings for the staff.
Kyenpia checked her reflection on the wall of the elevator as she rode up to the VIP floor with Clarence. She hoped that her state of mind wasn’t reflecting on her face. The last thing she wanted was her friends knowing that there was trouble in her little paradise.
Clarence led her into the VIP club and stepped away from the door as she made her way in. The party was already buzzing, with all of her favorite people in attendance. She also noted a few new faces around.
Amaka came to her first, hugging her in excitement.
“He’s back, Kay! He’s alive! He didn’t die!” she shouted above the sounds from the blaring speakers.
Kyenpia laughed. “You’re making him sound like he’s Jesus.” Her eyes were on Leonel who was seated with the guys. He was yet to acknowledge her presence.
“I’m soooo happy for you! Our Butter Babe is back! I couldn’t believe my eyes, Kay! I’m so happy!”
Amaka was in tears, face so red. Fiyin, holding a cocktail, walked over.
“How long did you know?” she asked. Kyenpia didn’t hear what she said. “Did you know all this time that he was alive?” Fiyin rephrased.
“No. Just on Wednesday. That whole Igwe summon to Jos was for me to find out.”
“Wow!” Fiyin hugged her, as did Amaka. They walked to where the other ladies sat. It was a grove of comfy couches with a table in their center. Gina introduced Kyenpia to two men who sat with them. The ladies all wanted to talk at once about Leonel’s shocking reappearance.
“I almost fainted,” Loretta said.
“Me too,” Amaka added. “I’m surprised I didn’t.”
“We’re all surprised you didn’t,” Gina stated. They laughed.
“How do you feel, though?” Yenkat questioned.
“Happy.” She looked at Leonel. “Very happy.”
She meant the words, despite her anger at him.
“Awww,” more than one lady cooed.
“So, have you guys…?”
“Fiyin!” Amaka scolded. “Is that all you think about? Hian!”
Kyenpia smiled. She wasn’t going to answer that question. “Let me go and say hi to James.”
She walked to the next table with Amaka and got a hearty welcome from the men. They complimented her looks, giving her hugs, one after the other. Leonel was silent, smoking from a shisha bong. She knew he didn’t do shisha; she was certain that he had asked the barman to replace it with weed.
Someone tapped her from behind. She turned. It was a bar waitress, wearing bum shorts and a bralette. She had come with a drink for Kyenpia.
“I don’t do alcohol,” Kyenpia said into her ear.
“It’s non-alcoholic.” She nodded at Leonel. “He ordered it for you.”
“Thank you.” Kyenpia took the drink.
“Kay?” Leonel called. She moved towards him and he drew her to his lap. Lanre asked her if she had let Leonel out of her sight since his reappearance.
“She hasn’t,” Leonel replied, looking up at her with a smile. She put her arm around his neck to get a better balance in her posture.
“Don’t mind him. He’s the one not letting me be.”
“Awww.” Amaka still had tears in her eyes. “I love you two. You won’t understand how happy I am to see you guys together again. God!”
She hugged them both and sat beside Leonel. The table was alive with gist. Sometimes, the ladies from the other table came over and sat with them. Gina, especially. On her third visit, she came with a stripper she had picked from the strip club upstairs. She introduced her and explained that she had come to entertain them.
“You, in particular, James.”
Everyone looked at Amaka.
“Why are you all looking at me? He should enjoy biko!”
But James shook his head at the stripper apologetically.
“It’s your birthday, dude!” Gina exclaimed.
“This one that didn’t allow stripper to dance for him on his bachelor’s eve?” Lanre said.
“For real?” Amaka blushed.
“He rejected the babe.”
“It’s not my thing. Gina, you know that.”
“My loyal husband!” Amaka went to his side and put her arms around him. “I will strip and twerk for you at home!”
“You know I will.”
He scoffed. Their banter brought laughter to the table.
“So, what do I do with her nau?” Gina asked.
“Take her to your table, please,” James said. “No offense. You’re beautiful, but every man here is snatched, and the people who snatched us are right here. So…”
The guys burst into laughter. Leonel reached behind and slipped a hundred dollar note through the stripper’s thong. She turned with a smile. He instructed her to leave with a nod.
“You guys are dulling me o,” Gina complained, taking her away. The table went back to its noisiness. In no time, Kyenpia began to feel lighthearted. It was a result of second hand smoke from Leonel, which she was sure he had deliberately made happen.
Clarence came by, requesting Kyenpia’s attention. She walked to a corner with him, away from the speakers.
“That boy is here,” he informed her.
“Yenkat’s sugar boy.”
Kyenpia eyed Clarence. He kept a straight face.
“Where is he?”
“Thanks. Hey, you want a drink or two?”
“No, ma’am. I don’t drink on duty.”
“It’s your boss first night out with his friends. He wouldn’t mind if you took something.”
“Thank you, Ms. Kyenpia.”
Kyenpia walked to Yenkat and drew her outside. “I have a surprise for you,” she told her.
“Please, I hope it’s not Dashe coming back to life. I’d rather have him dead.”
It wasn’t a joke to laugh at, but Kyenpia found it funny. She doubled over and laughed hard.
“Are you high?”
“I think so,” Kyenpia replied.
“How many drags?”
“Your eyes are tint sha.”
“Leonel kept blowing that nonsense in my face.”
“Do you realize how happy you are? Even your skin is fresher. God, Kay! This is a miracle, you know that? You mourned this man.”
“I’m so happy for you, babe.”
“Wait and see what I have for you.”
Kyenpia led her out and into the elevator she came through. They rode downstairs to where Omar was waiting, busy with his phone. Yenkat, who hadn’t spotted him yet, asked Kyenpia what the surprise was when they came out of the elevator. It wasn’t until she had walked a few steps that she realized that Omar was taking pictures of her with his phone. She rushed towards him unashamedly. Kyenpia let them be. She got into the elevator and went back to the VIP floor. Leonel caught her hand as she walked in and held her up against him.
“Where did you go?” he asked in her ear. She didn’t give him an answer. “Why are you so mad at me?”
She didn’t answer that either. He made her body get into slow movement, going against the fast-paced beat of the song presently playing. He continued to speak into her ear. “It’s just a car, sweetie.”
“It’s not about the car, and you know that.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll try not to be wasteful.”
He was being deliberately annoying. She could hear the tease in his voice. But she was no longer mad at him. Right now, she wanted him badly.
“I dreamt of holding you like this so many times, Kay. I missed you terribly.”
He put his face in her hair.
“I know you’re mad at me, but please, don’t be mad tonight. I desperately need you. Lend me your entire sexy self for a short while. Just this night.”
His words were music to her ears. He bent to kiss her, taking her lips one bit at a time. There was no urgency in his actions. He was slow and intentional, pulling Kyenpia in until her arms hung onto his neck. She didn’t mind when the flash of a camera went off on them. Amaka was probably taking all the pictures in the world to keep memories of what would end up being a wonderful night.
Leonel eventually let go of her lips and they got into the grove of things. Everywhere in the room, couples danced or necked or just sat and watched other couples. Those not paired up enjoyed the night as well. Everyone had a good time; some more than others. Kyenpia, in particular, couldn’t remember when last she let down her hair this way. Motherhood and responsibilities had sapped the partying spirit out of her. She danced, marveling at the supply of energy she still had in her when it was time to leave the club.
Goodbyes were said and everyone got into their cars. Leonel informed Clarence that he would chauffeur them; he confessed to being a little too high to drive. They used the Lincoln, leaving the Ferrari parked in a garage.
Leonel rested his hand on Kyenpia’s thigh as they sped out of Groove Inches. They went to the next street and stopped at an eatery. She had told him minutes earlier that she was hungry, and he ordered Clarence to drive to the joint. They made the juiciest burgers, fries and shawarma in Lagos. Kyenpia ordered a burger and a shake. Her tummy hurt like it had not had food all week.
As they waited for the orders to be ready, they sat outside the joint on a swing bench. Kyenpia laid her head on Leonel’s lap and watched a group of friends, probably in their twenties, smoking weed and dancing to music coming from an SUV with doors wide open. They entertained Kyenpia and Leonel, but not as much as the older man who was driving by that stopped, got out of his car and busted some moves, right in the middle of the street.
They hailed him with shouts of “Go papa! Go papa! Go papa!” And he danced until a car that had pulled up behind him began to honk its horn. He got back into his car, waved at them and drove away. A waitress walked up to Kyenpia and Leonel and handed them their orders. Leonel tipped her and they left the area.
“We’re going home now?” Kyenpia asked. She didn’t want to go home. Leonel always used to give her the best nights out back then. They’d go from one spot to another, returning home only when the sun began to crack through the sky.
“I’m taking you somewhere you’ll love.”
His hand was on her thigh as Clarence drove them towards Victoria Island. They stopped outside an artistic structure Kyenpia had driven past so many times but hadn’t cared about. Leonel parked the car outside the building and a security guard stepped out. Leonel let down the window. The guard looked at him and nodded in recognition before going back in and opening the gate to let them into a tight compound with barely enough space to park two cars.
Leonel grabbed Kyenpia’s hand and stepped down from the car, after leaving Clarence with instruction. The security guard led them to large double doors that had been locked from the outside. He unlocked the doors and invited them in.
“What happens here?” Kyenpia inquired.
Her ears were ringing from the effect of the loud music from Groove Inches. She wondered if the sounds at clubs had gotten louder these days or she was just too old.
The electricity came on, revealing that they were standing in the reception area of an art gallery.
“You own this place?” Kyenpia asked. Leonel chuckled.
“No. Ramsey did. Now, it belongs to David.”
Just then, Kyenpia’s eyes fell on a huge framed photo of Ramsey to her right. Pretty was the best way to describe his looks. He had been a beautiful man, taking most of his mother’s looks. He had had something effeminate about him. It was a wonder to Kyenpia that he had been in the army at all. Leonel told her that he had done it to please Captain, but got tired of being a soldier and asked the old man to let him leave. Captain would not accede to wish, so he came up with a brilliant plan to render him unfit for active service by firing a bullet into his thigh that caused him a great deal of time in the hospital. Hence, he was honorably discharged from the army.
“Do you miss him?” Kyenpia looked at Leonel who was staring at the photo with her.
“I’m so sorry.”
Kyenpia had met Ramsey a few times and had enjoyed being with him. He was happy mostly, always laughing and joking at every turn. He was a spoilt, rich kid too. Aunty Judith had been excess with her love and affection. Same way she spoilt Zia, who was her first child from a short affair with some man in Ghana.
Kyenpia tailed Leonel towards a door on their right. He turned the handle and let her into a dark but cool space. He came in after her, closed the door and tugged her into his arms. She didn’t get the opportunity to say anything in reply when he began to kiss her. His kiss was hungry and demanding.
She loved it. She missed being kissed this way. She found herself softening, her anger dissolving. She sank into Leonel’s body, seduced by the way he had the power to melt her with one touch.
“I’m angry at you, Leonel.”
“Don’t waste it. Use it to fuck me.”
He lifted her off the floor and she draped her legs around him as he carried her across the room. She didn’t even know where they were or what the space looked like. It was entirely dark and she couldn’t make out much from the shadows. She didn’t care though. It was hard to think right now, not with his lips between hers and his hands squeezing her butt cheeks, pulling her further into him.
He placed her on a hard but cushiony surface, going for the zipper of her dress. Her legs hung off the edge of what she would call a table in her head, even though she didn’t think it was a table. For now, she’d call it that.
Her shoes fell to the floor as Leonel tugged her dress down to her waist. Cold air brushed over her breasts, hardening further her already taut nipples. Leonel’s eyes rested on the breasts as if it was his first time seeing them. The hunger in his gaze made her shiver, and on her own, she tendered towards him. She hated how he could easily do nothing and still have her where he wanted her. She hated and loved that at the same time.
“God, Kyenpia…” he murmured. His voice was in his throat, raspy and full of lust. She thrust herself towards him as he moved to her breasts. He was greedy with them, cupping them with both hands, taking her nipples one after the other and together. He nibbled as he sucked them, bringing both pain and pleasure. He alone knew how to do that in a manner that drove her wild. Ishi had been too gentle and careful with her. Leonel knew how to love her body right. She gripped the soft, velvety material that cushioned the table underneath her with both hands to stay steady.
Leonel once told her that she was a guitar in his hands, finely adjusted. All he needed was to touch and play her in the manner only he knew how to, and she would make sweet music. She was making music now. Sweet, intense, raw. She hadn’t moaned like this in a while. And to think he was only just starting.
He pushed her down on the table and took off her dress entirely, leaving her only in just her thong. Fresh excitement, starting from her tummy, spread to her head and down again to her toes. When he removed the thong, he made sure to caress her wet folds.
He then took off his shirt. Kyenpia reached for his jeans, but he stopped her. She was aching to see his hardness, to hold it, to smell it, to taste it. But this was Leonel’s banquet and she was happy to be feasted on. She shook a little when he went down on his knees. There was some shyness as he spread her open and cupped her bum. His mouth came down on her, bringing heat, wetness and a shock of sensations that made her body jerk.
She moaned, almost crying out. Her feet rested on his shoulders and went down on the table again, closing in on his head. He sucked on her clit, flipping it crosswise one minute, and the next, making circles around it. Kyenpia went insane with pleasure.
“I don’t want to cum,” she begged. “Please, don’t make me cum. I want you.”
Normally, he wouldn’t listen, but he did tonight, rising up, taking off his jeans and boxer-shorts at the same time. Kyenpia sat up and grabbed his blatant, aggressive erection because she had been dying to do so since Wednesday. She reacquainted herself with its veins and ridges, bringing him towards her.
Looking into her eyes in the dark, he took away her hand, drew her to the edge of the table and pushed himself into her. He was slow but not gentle, not stopping even when she bit her trembling lower lip. She felt his entire length as he went in. She moaned when he was fully inside, and kept moaning as he bent and took one nipple between his lips. She felt him pulsing inside her.
“I’m going to nut in seconds if I’m not careful.”
“Fuck me…” Kyenpia begged. She drew him in deeper, but he stayed still and continued to suck her nipples. When he finally began to move, she thought she was going to break down and cry. Tears burned her eyes. He thrust deeper and harder. She leaned back to rest her palms behind her. His eyes were in hers as he fucked her at an increasing tempo. She could now make out objects in the room. There were framed photographs of different sizes all over the walls, images of nude women. It added to the eroticism of the moment.
Leonel leaned forward, drawing towards her, going deeper in his thrusts. Her body was riddled with pleasure, inside and outside.
He kissed her. “I missed this. I missed fucking you like this, you know that?”
“But you fucked other women.”
“Does that turn you on?”
Her answer came in a loud moan, not in response to his question, but to the first wave of tremor that alerted her of an oncoming orgasm. He leaned further into her until she was flat on her back and he was over her. She raised her legs; he bent them at the knees and lost his home training inside her. Kyenpia screamed out as he went wild. The thing beneath them, that she wasn’t sure was a table or not, squeaked against the floor each time Leonel thrust in. It complemented the wet sounds coming from her and the slapping rhythm of his groin against her fleshy bum.
She shut her eyes. This was so good. So hard-core. So fucking delicious. His dick filled every part of her, and she wished to feel it for longer, but her body was betraying her fast. The sparks and shivers were building up into something big. She held Leonel tighter as she felt it coming. It was like a wave, rolling up from the depths and rising so high. Understanding her body, he released her knees and allowed her legs flatten out, to give room to his body to fully cover hers. The bunching muscles of his shoulders and the warm, hardness of his chest conspired against her. She wanted to touch him all over as she climaxed, but the most she could do was to cling to his neck, biting his shoulder.
“It’s okay to scream,” he said, laughing. She continued to cling to him, to clench him in so tightly that he stopped moving. He managed to lift himself up to stare into her eyes, amusement on his face. “Your orgasms are so dramatic, Kay.”
He moved a little and she bit her lip in a shudder.
“This is a long one,” he said, resting his weight over her again. She kissed him, holding his face. “Do you love me or what?”
“I hate that I do.”
“That’s my girl.”
“Let’s not stop,” she whispered as her breath returned to normal.
“I think we should take a break.”
“You’re still hard.”
“I’m always hard for you.”
“Don’t you want to cum?”
“Cum? Something that lasts ten seconds, tops? Nope, I’d rather turn you over and have you on all fours, fucking you all night.”
“So, let’s go on.”
“What’s the rush?” He pulled out of her slowly. She felt empty when he was fully out. She knew he was going to use sex to bribe his way back into the warmth of her heart and she didn’t care. She was a shameless whore for his body and affection.
He got on his feet, pressing a hand down on his dick as he walked away from her.
Leonel switched on soft, hazy lights and Kyenpia felt an immediate spread of goosebumps over her body over what met her eyes. She sat up and looked around. The room held a collection of intimate boudoir photos she had taken almost three years ago. The shoot had been done to celebrate her recovery from her ovary removal surgeries and health issues. It had been a depressing moment in her life then, leaving her emaciated and weak. But it was also her strongest, psychologically, and she had thought a photo shoot was the best way to portray the woman she had become.
“I wanted to let you have a private viewing of this before the attack came,” Leonel explained. “Ramsey thought they were masterpieces. He wanted us to sell them off.”
Kyenpia left the table, which was actually a sofa bed, and walked around, looking at each photo, remembering the pain in her heart on the day they were taken. None of them showed her face. They all depicted sensuality and femininity. Staring at them now, she fell in love with herself again.
“David had this room sealed off after Ramsey passed. I had them open it up yesterday and clean out the entire place.”
“How much is this one worth?” Kyenpia asked, caressing the jagged edge of a frame that held a photo of her seated on a window ledge, looking out sadly. It was sensuous still, showing the silhouette of her nipples.
“I have no idea,” Leonel answered.
“I want this in our bedroom. And that, and the other one.”
Kyenpia turned. “Why did you bring me here?”
“I just wanted you to see these, and spend some time with you here before the sun comes up. It’s a sun room, actually.”
Kyenpia looked up to find that they were covered by a glass ceiling. The stars above were sparse. A half-moon illuminated the sky.
“I didn’t even notice it.” She giggled and moved away from him to admire the room. It was designed like a bedroom, to fit the theme of the boudoir photography. The sofa bed behind Leonel seemed to appeal to her once again. She suddenly felt all the excitement of the night give way to a feeling of relaxation. She took his hand and drew him to the bed. They lay down together on their backs, looking up.
“How long are you going to be mad at me for?” he asked in a defenseless voice.
“I don’t know. It comes and goes. I still feel betrayed.”
He turned to his side in a flash and snatched her waist, bringing her towards him. “My ride or die… I’m not sure you understand how much of an obsession you are to me, Kyenpia.”
She licked his lower lip. When she tried it again, he stole a kiss.
“Sit on me. Grind on my dick.”
Kyenpia didn’t hesitate. She was on top of him in a flash and began grinding on him.
“You no get shame.”
“Shut up.” She bent over him and their lips locked. He pushed her hair behind her ears and ran his fingers all the way to her breasts. She smiled and purred.
“You like that?”
She nodded and looked up. Daylight was slowly stealing in, but they didn’t mind. Soon their nude bodies were entwined. They went on for more than an hour, stopping only when Leonel finally let go and gave a harsh groan of satisfaction. He pulled Kyenpia towards him. They were both stretched out on their backs, looking up.
“We need to go home to the boys. My boobs are leaking.”
Leonel rose to his feet and picked a bag from behind a large photo frame leaning on a wall. In it were fresh clothes for both of them. They changed and left the art gallery. Clarence had already called to say he was on his way, but Leonel wasn’t impressed with his tardiness.
“I think I convinced him to drink last night,” Kyenpia explained. “He’s never late.”
Leonel drew her towards a four-tier staircase outside the gallery and made her sit in front of him. The morning air was a little breezy and chilly with harmattan air. He enfolded her in his arms, even though she wasn’t cold.
“I have a confession to make,” he told her.
“I may never be able to get rid of Spirit, and I’ve come to accept that. What I have been able to do, however, is to keep him under control. I am not proud of the person he is and I would rather that you never met him.”
“But if he ever shows up, please, don’t throw him away. Bear with me. I’ll come back to you.”
“You have my support, Leonel.”
He put his face in her hair and kissed her.
“I have been doing some digging into your past. Or rather, your mother’s past.”
“And I found someone that meant a lot to her.”
“I found your dad, Kay.”
Kyenpia went stiff.
“He’s alive and he’s dying to meet you.”
Kyenpia pulled away from Leonel and looked at him.
“Yes, Kay. You have a father and you look just like him.”
Kyenpia’s words were stuck in her throat. She mumbled something.
“He’s coming to spend the Christmas with us, by the way. I hope you don’t mind?”
®Sally Kenneth Dadzie @moskedapages