I lost track of how long Kachi and I stood there, in the car park of Voke and I’s new apartment, locked in the most heavenly kiss ever…neither of us able to let go…neither of us wanting to let go.
“Almost 20 years of dreaming about this…and it’s so much better than anything I could have ever imagined.” he whispered, as he traced his lips from mine, our noses rubbing.
My eyes remained shut in total and complete bliss. Kissing Kachi felt like the most natural thing in the world…the most beautiful, natural thing in the world.
But we knew we couldn’t stay out there forever.
“Can I take you out tomorrow?” he asked, looking at me with eyes full of longing. “Like on a proper date?”
I smiled at him. “I’d like that very much.”
“Can I pick you up after work?” he asked.
“I’ll be sure not to drive.” I answered, winking.
He kissed me again, and it took everything in me not to hop into his arms and beg him to take me home with him. By the time I returned to our apartment upstairs, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
“You were downstairs a long time. I didn’t know there was that much to clear up.” Voke remarked.
A part of me wanted to tell Voke what had happened with Kachi. Heck, almost all of me wanted to shout it from the rooftop. But I found myself not wanting to share any of it…at least, not just yet. I wanted to protect it and keep it special…for us.
“Yeah, the people that sat outside really made a mess!” I answered.
“Yet you’re grinning like the cat who got the cream!” Voke remarked, giving me a curious look.
“Just something funny Kachi said.” I said, with a casual shrug.
But lying in bed that night, there was nothing casual about the way I felt. I had so many butterflies fluttering in my body, I feared I would they would actually lift me right off the bed. I had kissed a number of men in my lifetime…but none of them had felt like this…beautiful, sweet and pure. Even Pere’s kisses had been sexually charged almost from the very beginning of our relationship. But with Kachi, it had just been beautiful. Sweet and beautiful.
I barely got a couple hours of sleep before my eyes opened at about 4am. After attending to the boys, I found myself in front of my closet, looking for the perfect outfit to wear…something that would be appropriate for work…but also sexy enough to blow Kachi’s mind. After almost another hour of deliberation, I eventually settled on a pink off-the-shoulder shirt and a red body-con skirt. Simple but oh-so-sexy!
“How come you’re not driving to work?” Voke asked, when I asked if I could ride with her. It was her 2nd week back at work after her long hiatus, and with the volume of work that had been waiting for her, it was almost as if she’d never left. “You know how late I close.”
“I’m actually meeting up some friends after work.” I answered, not able to look her in the eye, for fear that she’d suss me out. “So they’ll bring me home. Don’t worry.”
“Oh? And what’s going to happen to Gogo and Tubo? Will their Grandma agree to wait for you to get back? I don’t think your new Nanny is ready to handle things on her own.”
Hmmm. Now I hadn’t thought about that.
Luckily, Pere’s mother had been more than happy to stay a bit longer that night. She’d even gone further by offering to sleep over. Even though I knew it was a slippery slope, I agreed to it. I didn’t want to be under any pressure to rush home that evening. This was the first official date for Kachi and I. And I was prepared to see how far it would take us.
I could barely concentrate all day at work, and when he finally called at about 4pm, I literally almost flew out of my skin.
“Hello beautiful!” came his voice, sending the butterflies fluttering through my body again. I had never quite realised how comforting and soothing I’d always found his voice, and with the added emotions from our recent kiss, hearing it was sending electric waves down my spine.
“Hi.” was all I could manage.
“So…I’ve been thinking about you all day. I don’t think I’ve been able to get any work done.” he said, with a smile in his voice.
“Me neither.” I giggled, shocked by my own admission.
“Think you can get away from work a bit earlier?” he asked.
“How earlier?” I asked, still giggling.
I stole a glance at my watch, and even though it was a clear hour earlier than when I could officially close, I decided to go for it. “Sure!”
And true to his words, in less than 10 minutes, he called to let me know he was outside my office. As deftly as I could, I snuck out of the building, and when I saw him standing by his car, my heart soared.
It’s funny how someone could be under your nose for so long, but all of a sudden, one day, one very special day, you start to see them in a whole new light. Dressed in a crisp white shirt with light blue stripes, and black dress trousers, I couldn’t understand how come I’d never seen it before. I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t seen before just how handsome and sexy a man he was. And when he smiled as he saw me approach, I darned well almost melted to butter.
“Hey.” he said, when I stood before him.
“Hey.” I said, trying to appear calm even though my emotions were running riot.
“You look amazing!” he said.
“You don’t look too bad yourself.” I answered, with a sly smile.
He smiled, took my hand and led me to the door leading to the passenger’s seat, where he proceeded to help me in. He’d always been chivalrous, but that day, it just seemed extra special.
We drove to a new bar on the island, and over several rounds of non-alcoholic cocktails and many platters of stewed snails and asun, we talked as if we were just meeting each other for the first time. Even though we’d gotten closer in the weeks leading to my departure from Nigeria to have the boys, that day we r-e-a-l-l-y talked. He told me all about hus ex-girlfriend, Hajara, and pretty much confirmed what Voke had told me about her. I told him all the messy details that had led to my initial breakup from Pere, how I’d used Ejiro to get back my pound of flesh and ended up engaged to him…only to become a punching bag, how I’d almost compromised on my beliefs by agreeing to marry Abdul the aetheist, and how I’d had to let go of my fantasy of being reunited with Pere. We talked about families…and about our dreams and aspirations…We talked about our favourite kinds of books, movies, food…We talked about our quirks and nuances…
We didn’t even notice time fly.
By the time we realised how long we’d been at the bar, it was almost midnight…and I was happy I’d taken Pere’s mom up on her offer to sleep over that night.
“I had a wonderful time, Isio.” Kachi said, when we were parked in front of our apartment. “Can we do it again tomorrow?”
I nodded, and before I could even say a word in response, his lips claimed mine in another glorious kiss. I clung to him as we kissed, and I found myself hoping we could take it further. My entire body was yearning for him.
“Sleep tight, beautiful Isio.” he said, reluctantly pulling away. I was happy to see my desire mirrored in his own eyes, and used that as my consolation to wait till the time when we would eventually give in to our love…completely.
“Welcome oh!” Pere’s mother said, as she opened the door.
I was taken aback, as I’d expected Voke to have been the one to open the door.
“Thank you, Ma.” I said, hoping I didn’t look as flustered as I felt. “How are the boys?”
“Gogo slept about an hour ago, but I only just put Tubo down now.” she answered, before giving me a probing look. “How was your outing?”
“It was fine, Ma.” I answered, unable to look her in the eye. “Let me quickly take a shower. Good night, Ma.”
With that, I scurried off to the boys’ nursery, blew kisses at their sleeping forms, before heading off to my own bedroom to have a shower. And then lying on my bed, I smiled thinking about the day we’d spent…and also in anticipation of the coming day.
Thankfully, the following morning, Pere’s mother was still open to spending another night, opting to send our housekeeper to Pere’s house to get ‘a few of her things’…‘a few of her things’ which turned out to be a small suitcase. But if that was the price to pay for spending more time with Kachi, then so be it.
Also thankfully, Voke asked no questions about my decision to ride with her to work, and so began our new routine. She’d drop me at work, Kachi would pick me up, we’d go to a bar or restaurant, and we’d spend hours just enjoying each other’s company. Sometimes, I was lucky that the boys would still be awake when I got home, and other times I wasn’t. But I made sure that I was the one who attended to them when they awoke in the early hours of the morning, just so I could spend enough time with them…without feeling guilty. Pere’s mother asked no questions, but there was a look in her eyes that made me suspect she had a fair idea what I was up to.
But I was just too happy to be bothered.
“So…what are we doing today?” I asked him on the phone, early one Saturday morning.
“What do you want to do? We could see a movie or something?” Kachi answered.
“Actually, I’d like to come cook for you at home today.” I flirted.
“That sounds fantastic!” Kachi said, his voice belying his excitement. “Do you need me to go pick up what you’ll need?”
“No, I’ll get them on my way from a nearby market.” I answered.
“Do you want me to pick you up?” he asked.
I shook my head. I wasn’t quite ready to share him with the world yet. “Don’t worry, I’ll come in an Uber.”
By 11am, I was knocking on his door, dressed in shorts and a gypsy top, armed with bags of groceries and foodstuff. The look on his face when he saw me gave me immense satisfaction…showing me that he was just as attracted to me as I was to him…sexually.
Walking into his apartment, I was pleasantly surprised to see how clean and pristine it was. Though without any of the luxurious furnishing, electronics and gadgets that adorned Pere’s apartment, there was a sense of ‘home’ in Kachi’s place.
“You have a very lovely place.” I complimented.
“Thanks. I spent an extra hour cleaning it up just for you. It isn’t this tidy all the time.” he chuckled nervously.
Taking in the impressive artwork that adorned the flat, by way of paintings and sculptures, I found myself even more impressed. “You must have spent a fortune on these!”
An art lover and a beautiful soul. I found myself turned on even more.
I proceeded to let myself into his small kitchen, where I spent the next few hours cooking chicken stew, jollof rice, moi-moi and vegetable soup. As I dished his meal, I could feel his eyes roaming my body, and I smiled inwardly, convinced I was going to get my wish and have him take my body….completely.
“Isio, if I wasn’t already head over heels in love with you, I probably would have offered you my soul on a plate right now!” he remarked, after the hearty meal. “That was, hands down, the best meal I’ve had in my life.”
“Why are you exaggerating?!” I teased, as I cleared the table, deliberately brushing my breasts against him as I took his plate, and adding extra swing to my hips as I walked away.
I took extra time tidying up in the kitchen, to ensure a decent build-up, and when I returned to the living room, I could see nothing but desire in his eyes. Soon, we were kissing on his couch, and eager to get things rolling, I began to kiss his neck and made to slide my hands under his t-shirt. But he groaned and pulled away.
“Isio, you’re killing me.” he said, his breathing heavy. “We better stop before things get out of hand.”
“But I want them to get out of hand.” I said, wrapping my arms around him again and kissing him. “Let’s go to your bedroom.”
He shook his head and pulled away from me. “No, Isio. Not like this.”
“Isio…I want us to do things the right way…”
“And what’s so wrong with us making love? We’ve been dating a month…and you claim to love me…”
“It’s because I love you that I want us to wait!” Kachi exclaimed. “Please, Isio. Let’s enjoy each other’s company and get to know each other without adding the complication of sex to it just yet.”
Smarting from the rejection, I pulled back and adjusted my clothing. “I get it. You think I want to trap you with a pregnancy.”
He looked at me like I’d gone crazy. “Don’t be silly, Isio!”
I rose to my feet and grabbed my handbag. “I’m leaving. See you around!”
“Isio, don’t do this! Isio!” he called out, as I stormed out of his apartment and out of his compound. Before he could catch up with me, I’d flagged a taxi on his street and as we drove off, I kept my face straight, determined not to look at him. But even without looking at him, I couldn’t help but feel his pain and heartbreak. But my bruised ego outweighed any other emotion I had. When I got home, the first thing I did was to change into more comfortable clothing, after which I focused all my attention on my sons, knowing that at least, I knew they would not reject me.
I must have fallen asleep at some point, because I was suddenly jolted out of bed by a panic attack.
“Are you okay?” Voke asked in concern, sitting across from me in the living room.
I wanted to answer that I was fine…but the truth is, I wasn’t. I didn’t even know if I was still smarting from Kachi’s rejection, or the underlying sense of anxiety I’d had for a few days.
“I’m seeing Kachi.” I heard myself suddenly say to her. “Or maybe I should even change that to past tense.”
“Yes, I know you’re seeing Apache.” she answered, laughing. “You’re an awful liar, and ever since the day of the boys’ Christening, when the two spent forever ‘clearing up’ and you walked back into the house smiling like a fool, I kinda figured it out. But why do you say ‘was’?”
“The guy has refused to sleep with me!” I said in exasperation. “We’ve been seeing each other for a month, but apart from the best kisses ever, he has refused to take it any further. I don’t even know if he considers me a girlfriend or a friend! I went to his place dressed all sexy today, but he turned me down!”
“Ah I see. I was wondering how far with the bum shorts and tank top.” Voke giggled.
“It’s not funny, Voks.” I answered, feeling frustrated.
She shook her head and sighed. “Isio, have you become so jaded by life that you can’t recognize romance when it slaps you in the face? The guy is obviously trying to do it right and take things slowly. But now you’re blaming him for not getting into your pants the first chance he got?”
And I suddenly felt like a fool…a big fool.
“Apache isn’t that kind of person, Isio. Sometimes, I wonder how he and Obiora became such good friends, because they are so different. He was never the kind of person to sleep around. And if he’s choosing to take things slowly with you, then it must mean he loves you very much.” Voke continued.
“And that’s another thing…everything seems to be going too smoothly. Everything is so perfect, I almost feel like it‘s just too good to be true and that something bad is surely going to happen soon.” I admitted.
“Was that what startled you awake just now?” Voke asked.
I nodded. “I’ve just been feeling so nervous…like something is going to go wrong soon…like some chick will suddenly emerge from some place. Or he’ll suddenly start acting like a psycho!”
Voke reached for my hand. “Isio hun, not all relationships are dramatic or elevate your blood pressure. Just because you’ve only had rollercoaster relationships all your life doesn’t mean yours with Apache’s will be. Just relax and enjoy a good man.”
I muled over what she said for a while, and realised she was right. All my life, that’s what I’d been used to…high-drama relationships. But with Kachi…it was anything but.
“I’m sorry for not telling you about him earlier…” I apologized.
“I totally understand why you’d want to keep it to yourself for a little bit.” Voke said, before adding with a shy smile. “Because I’ve also been doing the same. Victor and I have been dating for a few months now.”
My eyes almost popped out of their sockets. Yes, I’d been suspicious of how interested he’d been with Voke’s itinerary but hadn’t thought anything of it after her return.
“Since when?!” I exclaimed.
“He started emailing me almost as soon as I left Nigeria, mainly to check on me. I replied one or two times, but it wasn’t until you and the boys left that we started emailing pretty much every day. Then we started talking on the phone…” a dreamy smile formed on her face. “He is such a good man, Isio. A very good man. He treats me so well. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy.” She looked me in the eye. “And like Apache, he doesn’t believe in sex before marriage. He also doesn’t have any of the drama Obiora had…but rather than worry and panic about it, I’m just happy to finally be in such a good place.”
“So why have you kept it quiet?” I asked.
“Why have you kept yours and Apache’s quiet?” she countered.
Now that got me thinking. “I just haven’t felt ready to answer to anyone…not to you, not to Pere’s mom, and definitely not to our own parents.” I answered.
“Same here.” Voke said. “It’s even worse for me, because people might be wondering how come I’m already dating after losing my fiancé less than a year ago. But, to be honest, I think I’m now ready to let the world know. I’m tired of the sneaking around. Let anyone think what they want to.”
I smiled as she spoke, so happy to see my sister back in a happy place again. And I also knew I was at that place with Kachi. I wanted the world to know we were a couple…that’s if he’d still take me back after how unreasonable I’d been.
For the first time in a very long while, I slept like a baby. By the time I awoke, Voke, Pere’s mom and the boys had already left for Church. I felt bad about missing it, and made a mental note to attend a later service…but not before I’d fixed things with my love.
I reached for my phone and was about to punch in his number, when the doorbell rang. Puzzled about who could be visiting on a Sunday morning, I went to open the door, and was surprised to see who it was.
“Hi Isio.” he said.
“Your mom took the boys to Church. I’m the only one home.” I said, standing firm by the doorway.
“I know. I spoke with her on the way to Church.” he said. “Can I at least come in?”
I hesitated for a moment, before reluctantly allowing him in.
“How have you been? You’ve been really scarce. Is it work that’s kept you busy? You’re never here when I come to see the boys.” he remarked, taking a seat.
“I’ve been very busy.” I answered. “Is there anything you want to discuss?”
He sighed deeply. “I leave for Port Harcourt tomorrow.”
I nodded. “Yeah, you did say April. That’s good. It will give you and Ogechi enough time to plan your wedding.”
“About that…” he rubbed his temple vigorously and for the first time, I saw how tired he looked. “I’ve been wondering if it’s the right thing to do.”
“If what’s the right thing to do? Moving to Port Harcourt?” I asked.
He looked me square in the eye. “No. Marrying Ogechi.”
I looked at him like he’d just grown a second head. Surely, he couldn’t be serious!
Catch up on Isio’s story here:
- Iya Beji 1: A Series of Unfortunate Events
- Iya Beji 2: Destiny Blocker
- Iya Beji 3: Daisy
- Iya Beji 4: Upgrade
- Iya Beji 5: Bleeding Love
- Iya Beji 6: The Beast
- Iya Beji 7: The Standby Guy
- Iya Beji 8: The Boss
- Iya Beji 9: The Deal Breaker
- Iya Beji 10: The Convert
- Iya Beji 11: Hiatus
- Iya Beji 12: Never Stopped
- Iya Beji 13: Jealousy
- Iya Beji 14: Pure Magic
- Iya Beji 15: Congratulations, Mrs. Clarke!
- Iya Beji 16: Blast from the Past
- Iya Beji 17: The Offer
- Iya Beji 18: Co-Parenting
- Iya Beji 19: The Baby Mama
- Iya Beji 20: Carried Away
- Iya Beji 21: The Return of Belinda
- Iya Beji 22: Gender Reveal
- Iya Beji 23: Bargaining Tool
- Iya Beji 24: The Wedding That Would Never Be
- Iya Beji 25: Voke versus Belinda
- Iya Beji 26: Somewhere Far Away
- Iya Beji 27: Damsel in Distress
- Iya Beji 28: Inconsequential
- Iya Beji 29: Something Beautiful
- Iya Beji 30: Yesterday’s Mistake
- Iya Beji 31: Miami Magic
- Iya Beji 32: Special Care
- Iya Beji 33: Winning the War
- Its Beji 34: Quicksand
- Iya Beji 35: Epic Easte of Time
- Iya Beji 36: Just Friends