She stands up to leave. Yawning, sighing. But she sees him walk in. She inadvertently sits down, holding her breath.
“Hey V!” He sounds cheerful. She greets him back.
“Come proofread this for me, will you please?”
He sits down next to her. She muffles her breath. Hopes he’ll see right through the lines and react to it. He sighs deeply. She can tell he gets the message. He, in fact, seems affected by it. But as usual, he keeps his cool. Can’t let her see his weakness. She feels angry, like she should squeeze it out of him. Suddenly, she drops her hand to his lap and smooths it upwards. He sighs, laughs lightly, then whispers loudly, “Don’t do that, V…”
She laughs lightly. He ups to leave and she lets him. “Ow, you are a good writer, you should have studied literature.”
“Am thinking of doing that as my second degree.”
“You should do Law, that’s what I intend to do for my second degree.”
“Why Law?” The correct response should have been ‘why do you always tell me what i should do?’ But she is in no mood for another argument. Not this time.
“You’d be good at it. And besides, its fun battling without rules.”
“Lawyers might be liars, but they do have rules.” This might turn into an argument, she knows she should writhe out of it. “Did you bring the book?” He has her book. Hollywood Divorces by Jackie Collins. A good read lent to her by Angela. He did remember to bring it.
He left the room, to say hi to his friends. She sat there, she no longer had to leave and attend to duty calls. When he came back into the room, he had his phone in his hands. He was staring at it and laughing. She smiled. She had grown accustomed to his dry laughter. She found it fleshy, somehow. She didn’t ask for the phone. She grabbed it to check the jokes and clips. He had no problem with that, it wasn’t the first time she’d done that. He took the seat next to hers. She looked at him, with a cheeky smile of course, then grabbed his hand and placed it on her thigh. He didn’t withdraw it like she expected. He didn’t move it either. She put her hand on his and caressed it. In so doing, his hand moved along the thigh. It was warm, the hand. Actually, it was close to hot. She looked him in the eye. He returned the stare. It felt like a moment. But none of them could do anything about it. She realized it, and let go of his hand. She knew he would leave. It was his daily reaction. He didn’t. To her surprise, he pulled her chair in his direction, bringing them closer to each other. This was a first, and she wasn’t planning on messing it up. She pretended not to notice, and continued staring at the blank screen of his phone. In the mean time, she was holding her breath. And somewhere in her mind, she knew that allowing him to read the things she’d written that morning had been a great idea. She could sense a difference in his attitude.
One of the other occupants in the room indulged him in a conversation and she knew she had to let it go, she knew that holding her breath any longer would be suicidal. She handed back his phone and took hers to text him.
I feel freaky today, to be honest. And I feel like misbehaving… He took his time to respond. But he finally did.
Get a room.
A room sounds naughty. I don’t intend to take things that far.
He smiled and turned to look at her. She was still seated next to him. Only her sitting style had changed. She had her right leg well rested on her left knee. he was sitting on her left, his left leg crossed on his right. she hadn’t noticed the happy coincidence.
“Put your leg down ,V!”
It was almost a desperate plea. She looked up at him. They didn’t even look like they’d been texting.
“Y?” She looked at his lifted leg. He didn’t respond immediately. She insisted, and he gave it up.
“Your legs are open…”
It wasn’t hard to tell that it had taken him a lot of gut to say it. She threw him a naughty wink. She thought of protesting, but saw no point in it. She felt like complying, just this once.
“How about you and I go for a walk.” she looked up. Was she hearing right? Was he really asking her to go for a walk… with him? But she knew she had to keep her calm. She didn’t want to seem overenthusiastic.
“That’s far. Do you have business there?”
“Uumm… well, I don’t want to go. Maybe some other day.”
“Are you sure?”
In his defense, his question was well founded, yet she was sure as hell that she wasn’t going to escort a guy she wanted to kiss so badly, to get his business done. She wasn’t so sure that she was that girl. Yet again, she wanted to go for a walk with him. It was around 12.46 pm. Lunch hour was only a few minutes away.
“So, how about we go for a walk to nowhere, see where the road takes us.”
“But that’s what I suggested and you said no”
“It’s not. This time we’re going nowhere and everywhere.”
They left. On the other side of the road, they bought a fruit each. She had a watermelon and he chose a pineapple. Then they walked and talked and walked. Stopping wasn’t an option. Not for her. She had happy feet and stopping only reminded her of how alone they were on that deserted path. She wanted to grab him and kiss him right there but they were both scared. So they chose to walk on. Sometimes in silence and sometimes talking about anything and everything.
They had a lot to talk about. They were both surprised at how much they barely knew each other.
“V, I think you are amazing. You are so confident and original, it’s rare to find these days.”
“Yeah, well, I’m just me.”
“If that’s what you want to call it. I still think you’re amazing.” She was silent. Eating at her melon ever so thirstily. “So, melons shut you up, huh?”
“Not just melons…”
“How about you find that out on your own?”
“A man’s touch?”
She almost peed her pants. She could almost feel his touch. She craved him, his every little piece. She showed some of it, and the rest, she kept hidden for her own safety. “Just say the word and I’ll take you right here, right now, on that surface.”
“That’s got dust on it. It will dirty my pants.” They both laughed. They walked on. Soon they were on the main road. They looked happy and they got a few heads turned. Girls looked at her murderously, and the boys whistled as they went by.
She was in black pants, a sleeveless golden silk blouse with a blazer on top. He was in a blue stripped cotton shirt and official pants. They were both in formal outfits. His sleeves were folded to his elbows. She always found that sexy. His hair was in a trimmed quiff. Hers was braided and beaded. They didn’t just look happy, they were happy. The sun was too hot, but not even that could get either of them down.
“I say we cross from here.”
“There is a zebra crossing right there, V”
“How about, just this once, you do something without following the rules and without caring if its the right thing to do?”
“I told you before, I have OCD. I still wake up in the middle of the night to check if I locked all doors, even when I know I did.”
“Just this once, please?”
“I’d love to. But I can’t. Am not exactly spontaneous”
“I’ll teach you spontaneity. As long as you’re here with me.”
By this time, they were at Pangani, crossing the footbridge to the left side of the road. They talked, they laughed, but most importantly they walked. A few meters away, they saw a path that disappeared into a thicket. They looked at each other, he seemed uncertain. Her adventurous self was not going to allow this chance to pass them by. She tagged his hand and gave him a sly nudge. He budged. Fortunately for her, he was a sucker for nature trails, just like she was. She ran down to the entry point. He untucked his shirt and followed suit. She felt young. She felt alive. She felt ecstatic.
A few meters in, the path got narrower then wider, then narrower. She didn’t notice, she was floating. The heat she felt was beginning to bother her. She removed her coat and tied it round her waist like a little girl. This only exaggerated the sway of her waist. She knew he liked it, and she had no inhibitions. She threw a glance at him every once in a while. He was happy too, she could tell. He admitted that he would never have found out about the place had it not been for her. The path was not entirely deserted. There were people passing by every once in a while.
“V, if anything happens to us here, the whole world will think we were lovers.”
“So let them! ‘Cause in this moment we are!” She blushed at her own sentiment. She threw a quick glance at the stream passing by, then at him. “I wish this place was cleaner and more deserted than this.”
The urge to kiss him came rushing back to her. She was going to go for it, but her sixth sense told her to look behind them. Someone was coming from behind. A guy. Looked something like 23. He was sipping on his juice from a bottle. He seemed to be lost in a world of his own, watching their every move and enjoying every bit of it. She turned a couple of times, and each time she caught him staring at them. It was almost the kind of stare that screams, I know you two are going to do it!
The path led to a bridge, he was going to continue going on, but she couldn’t let him. She was devising a way to lose their tail. So she chose to deviate from the path and create a new trail. As a matter of fact, he complained. Said he’d wanted to go to the other side of the bridge. She had lots of naughty responses to that, but she chose to ignore it. Soon the juice sipper was on the other side of the bridge and the lovers were in the clear. They were now alone. In a more deserted part of the thicket. But they could still hear people walk by. To her it was the distant sound of the crowd, the lulls of nature. She was in a different world. Separate from this world in all aspects.
Then he placed his arm around her in the form of an embrace. Almost simultaneously, she wrapped her arm around his sexy waist. It felt perfect. Nothing else mattered. And suddenly she couldn’t take it any more. She stopped in her tracks, pulled him close and stared into his eyes. He was staring right at her with half closed eyes. His glasses, dark as they were, couldn’t hide the heat in his eyes.
“Will you kiss me today, love?”
“Not today, V.”
It sounded like a joke. She struggled hard to laugh. It finally came out as a dry chuckle. Her lips were dry, her tongue moist. The kind of sensation she got when she was just about to kiss.
“And I could give you head, right here, right now.”
“Are you seducing me?”
“We are beyond that now. And so what if I am?”
She pulled him into a tight hug. Her breasts squeezed on his chest. Her breath fast and loud. He stood still. She didn’t care. She had him and that’s all that mattered. In the moment, she planted her lips on his collarbone. His heart began to race even faster. She could feel it. She kept her lips on him. She never wanted to let go.
“Your heart is beating fast.”
“Yours too…!” He went silent again. Then, “Stop!.. Wait!.. Hold on!..”
She detached her lips. They had left a tiny moist impression. She stroked it dry. He was pulling her away from him, and she couldn’t understand why. Suddenly she felt angry. He had come all the way with her. He had been sweet all along and he had placed his arm around her first. Why was he changing his mind? She didn’t want to find out the answer. She wanted to cry. She wanted to run and run till there was nowhere to run to anymore. But she didn’t. She walked away from him slowly. She put her coat back on. He was saying something, she didn’t listen. He was trying to explain himself. He had wanted them to move further into the thicket, where no one was likely to see them. Why was he so scared? What was he battling? What were his ghosts? Were they catching up to him? What was wrong with a few people walking by two lovers having a moment? Hadn’t that been established? That in that moment they were lovers? Was it her ghosts putting him off? Could he see the uncertainty behind her confidence?
These thoughts and more crowded her mind. Tears clouded her vision. She couldn’t walk any more; her feet felt weak. She stopped and leaned against a tree. She had no intentions of looking back, though she couldn’t hear him come. What was he up to. He’d called after her and she’d refused to look at him. Who was he to think he could play about with her feelings like a ball. She was heaving with emotion, desire and fury.
She couldn’t stand. So she sat by the stream, staring vaguely into it, listening to it hiss as its waters fell over rocks. She watched a stalk drink from it, stared at it for a while. Then she heard him creep up behind her.
“What do you want me to do, V?”
“Just leave me alone.” She didn’t look at him. She couldn’t.
He walked a few paces away and stopped. She stole a glance his direction before turning to look at the stalk just in time for its flight. She then looked up at the trees and how beautiful the rays looked, peeping through the leaves and the branches. The stream hissed on. The breeze soothed her. It felt like a scene from a movie for her. Then he came back and crossed the stream with the aid of stepping stones. Now he was standing in front of her on the other side. She didn’t want to look at him. It was so embarrassing for her. She ignored him and carried on, looking at the trees, then the stream, then the sun’s rays. Everything else and anything else that made the moment perfect. He was not one of those things. He looked sad. He made her feel sad. She didn’t want to feel sad. He must have noticed that he wasn’t helping his case. He crossed back to her side. Paced up and down around her till he couldn’t put up with the silence.
“V, you know I can’t leave you here?”
“You’re going to have to.” She still wasn’t looking at him.
“Are you sure you’ll be OK?” She felt enraged. She flashed him the look. He didn’t need more convincing so he left.
As he walked away, she stared at him. She hoped he’d look back. She wanted him to come back, for her. He didn’t. Then suddenly, to her surprise, she broke into loud sobs. She had never heard herself cry so loud, not since she was a young girl back when she still had a mother she could cry loudly to. She stopped. Tears continued streaming down her cheeks though. Everything was blurry, and her short-time lover was gone, so was the dalliance. She knew she had to leave. Lunch hour would soon be over and she had to have recollected her self by the time she got back to join their colleagues. She stood up and wiped her tears then started to walk. She kept hoping she’d see him. That he’d stopped somewhere to wait for her. He hadn’t. He had left. He didn’t go back to work that afternoon, he went home. He remembered to text her that.