Shocked at the sudden pull of some kind of unknown weight from my heart to my belly button and pooling in one warm heap somewhere I would not name, I managed to pull my eyes away from the hold of his steady and intense gaze. I am not going to lie to you, I didn’t even understand what was happening to me. As I straightened my back away from him, I managed to croak (how pathetic), “You can let go of me now” I said to him.
His face was still too close for comfort. I didn’t understand why but his voice seemed to drop to a whisper and it seemed like the music, the noise around me had faded to some faraway land leaving only the imprint of his voice, “You let go of me” He accused.
My hands were still latched tightly to his biceps. Embarrassed, I let go and schooled my face into a mask. I nodded stiffly at him and turned to pick up my drink sipping it as fast as I could decently sip at a gathering. From the corner of my eye, I saw my stranger was still looking at me before he casually turned back to the gentleman he was talking with and resumed his conversation.
He wasn’t sure if Bode could tell but he could no longer follow whatever it was they had been talking about. From the moment he smelled her tuberose scent, he had known that he wanted to steal a look at her…see if she was as soft, strong and honeyed as she smelled.
When he turned to her and noticed she was struggling to sit, without thinking, he had just reached out for her waist- What he could do with that waist- so tiny in between his hands and hauled her up. When he stared at her and noticed she had been looking at his mouth, it took him all his years in training and at the field to muster enough self-control to stop from tipping her head backwards and pressing his lips to hers.
But it was her eyes that did him in. There was nothing special about the way they were shaped as musicians were prone to describe almond shaped and blue coloured eyes. Instead it seemed that she could see in him and through him, like she saw who he really was and the demons he fought, and it made him want to run from her yet inexplicably he was drawn to her. “Seer eyes” His Great Grandma used to call it. It had been a long time a girl had made him feel so vulnerable and he was not sure he wanted to know why.
She seemed pretty waif like with her frill sleeves …and he wanted to drown in her eyes and arms, if just for one night.
As he watched her face arrange itself into an inscrutable mask, he took the hint that she was not the type to warm his bed in the nearest future and he turned away to face his friend who was seeking his advice on the stock market, all the while thinking of the waif little lady that seemed to be the sun and storm clouds all at once.
“‘Deme, you should have come dance! We are ready to go” Kemi jumped in without protocol into my thoughts. Honestly, I was glad she did; I was not sure what I was thinking but I knew the part of my body besides the stranger was on fire. “We’ve been looking for you” She added, as she grabbed my drink and gulped it down thirstily. She rolled her eyes. “Ginger ale? Really? You can do better than that”
“So…” She leaned on the bar filling up the space between me and my stranger. I wondered why I called him my stranger. He was not mine. “Did any man catch your fancy?” She asked me loudly.
I groaned inwardly. Kemi was not one for niceties or decorum. The first time I met her, I had felt she was the most callous and most insensitive person I ever knew until I got to know her and found she was the most loyal and sensitive person I had ever met.
“No, no one” I reply. Did I just see the stranger’s back stiffen or I felt it? No, I did not imagine that because as Kemi responded to me, I saw that he turned to look at me, eyes smoldering almost like Dr. Xander Bravestone in the Jumanji movie. He seemed annoyed.
“Not even anybody here?” Kemi said as she turned to look at my stranger who was getting up from his stool. And just like that, she began to scream and jump up and down in her funny coif way like she had seen a long lost brother.
“Major!” Oh, my goodness. You are back?!” She squealed and jumped into his arms in an embrace almost knocking him back onto his stool. My Stranger smiled at her and I got the feeling it was quite rare. It was a beautiful smile with gleaming white teeth, and I wanted him to smile at me that way. While they exchanged niceties, I had a chance to look at him properly.
My God, he was tall. Kemi is a solid 5 ft 7 and the top of her head did not even reach up to her shoulders. And he was broad. He didn’t look like those guys who advertise protein shakes but in his white native attire, you could tell he was muscular and athletic underneath all that African attire. I wondered what kind of work out he was into and all at once, something began to creep up in my mind.
“And Deme seems pretty observant of her surroundings,” He interrupted my scrutiny and I realized he had caught me staring at his hands which he had casually clasped together as he leaned against the bar. I quickly grabbed my glass and took a swig. Oh darn, Kemi had finished my drink. So much for being pretty observant. If I was light skinned, I probably would have turned a deep shade of crimson. How did he know my name? Oh right, Kemi had screamed it. Now, who was being pretty observant?
Trust Kemi not to bother understand what he meant. “Oh my, where are my manners? Major this is ‘Deme; Deme, this is Major Uyiosa Damisa, brother to the Celebrant; our family and his go way way back to when…I don’t even know” She laughed.
“We’ve met” We both said.
I smiled a bit at him and took his extended hand. Now, I said I wasn’t romantic, right? I had expected to have sparks fly up my hand and into my heart, some kind of sizzling electricity but I didn’t get that. His hand was just nice and firm and a big hand. I felt better when that happened because what I began planning in my mind was going to be easier, but I had a few questions.
“Are you married?” I blurted out. I wanted to get that out of the way.
His short but sharp breath told me he was as surprised as I was to ask the question.
Kemi burst out in shock and she definitely was not one to be shocked often. “’Deme, ha! What did you drink?” She began to apologize profusely.
“It’s fine” He said then to me he said, “In a different lifetime”
And just like that, he shut down and I was afraid; he didn’t do anything that made him seem violent but the look he gave me before he became masked told me he was capable of great damage. “Kems, we should make out some time to see soon. Don’t forget to call” He hands her his card and slides one on the bar towards me, said his goodbyes to his friend, gave me a curt nod and walked away. God, he moved like a jaguar.
“’Deme, what is wrong with you? Haba, who asks that kind of question? I know we said you should go out more but that is not how to go about it” She chastised me then giggled. “That was freaking hot by the way, but you don’t want to cross this guy.”
‘Why?” My interest was piqued as my fingers glided over his card, feeling his slightly raised name which slightly raised my temperature.
“I’ll tell you on our way to the car. Tony will kill me for keeping him waiting” She pulled away from me then stopped. “Don’t look but He’s coming back and looking at you…he’s coming back.”
Impulsively, I swiveled round on my stool as he came up close to me, his face still unreadable but his eyes had so much heat in them, I felt I would burn.
“I forgot, I put you in there and you’d need to get down.” He said simply.
His hands snaked around my waist again and as he brought me down, my body in my silk jumpsuit glided against his sturdy and ripped chest until my feet touched the ground. For what seemed like minutes, I tried to steady myself because I seemed to have no knees and my legs were all like gelatin.
“You can let go now” He whispered. I didn’t even know my hands had gripped his thewy shoulders and I snatched them away as fast as I could.
“Have a good evening” He said to me, winked at Kemi and strode off again.
“WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED. HERE?” Kemi asked. I waited a few heart beasts to slow my racing pulse and shrugged.
“I have no idea. Let’s go”
Kemi kept up the chatter as we walked through the hall and towards the exit. “The attraction was so powerful, I was almost swept away but Major does not do relationships, darling. He doesn’t even do flings”
“Why? He was married?”
“Yeah, back when he was in the army or is it marines- a long time. I don’t know. I didn’t even know he was back”
“He seems intelligent”
“Ah, he is o. Top of his class, summa cum laude and the whole works.” As we came down the stairs she continued,
“Look, He is that guy parents warn you away from. Not because he isn’t good but Major is incapable of even an affair. He became something else after his divorce and that was maybe 10 or 15 years ago.”
I was startled. “He looks so young. How old is he?”
“He married young. He’s in his early forties, I think. His daughter is like a grown teenager”
As people swirled around us, I noticed Tony had driven up to us and we walked towards the car. Just before we got in, she grabbed my shoulder and I turned to face her.
“If you are considering this dude, forget it because he won’t give you what you want”
“But he will” I said confidently.
“Give you what? Love? A relationship? Marriage?” She looked at me like I was no longer the same person.
“No… He’s going to give me a baby.”
TO BE CONTINUED…
Image courtesy Braincharm