“You have to leave!”
Her stance was the same as when he had first suggested to her to leave the country for her safety, she was unmoved, stubborn and she wasn’t ready to run to safety while she had seven girls depending on her for help.
She folded her hands firmly under her breasts, pushing the round breasts a bit further up her chest and momentarily distracting him. She was fire that engulfed him, fire that set him off and she only had the key to his head and heart.
He looked away from her and focused his eyes on her face, she stared back at him, defiant, clearly not ready to agree with him. He sighed, if only she knew the more she stayed in the country, the more danger she was in. and that the more danger she was in, the more he worried for her. The last thing he wanted was for her to be killed by some sick moron who abused his own biological daughter.
He tried a softer approach, “Dede do you know you will be killed if you don’t leave the country?” his voice had gone considerably lower than before and the tone was softer, he reached for her hands, set them free from the position she had set them and he held them firmly. He was really scared about the entire situation, who could go against the number one man of the state if he wanted her dead? At least not in a country like Nigeria.
“If those animals get you, they would kill you and those girls in Iseyin would be in more trouble, more trouble than you have worked so hard to prevent. What is the sense in it, if you die and they are once again being abused by their parents?”
Everything he said to her made a lot of sense, he was closer now, so close she could feel his steady breathing, her body had responded to his touch immediately he placed his hands on hers.
No, this is wrong Dede. Don’t do this. She muttered to herself but the voice was lost in the fire that was burning faster for this man every second, she couldn’t explain her feelings for him, his mere touch sent her thinking things and his eyes alone made her melt like hot butter.
“I cannot watch you make a mistake that would kill you Dede. Please let us be sensible about this, please”.
She nodded, finally acquiescing.
“Thank you” he said and sighed. He was relieved.
SHE ABANDONED HER DINNER, POURED HERSELF A GLASS OF COLD WATER AND LOOKED AT HER EX HUSBAND. She couldn’t believe what he was asking of her.
“You want me to help you get your mistress out of the country? Interesting. What other rubbish is coming my way Toni? I mean you dumped me, hooked up with your mistress and now you want me to call my guys at Immigration to get her out of the country as soon as possible?”
The look on her face showed she was not impressed with him and he could also see disgust written all over her as well. He wished he didn’t have to turn to her for help because he knew where she was coming from, but the truth was she was the only one who could help. She had her father’s connections and if she helped them, Dede would be safe soon.
“I am sorry I cannot help you Toni.”
He knew he could plead with her to change her mind but he knew better than to do that, her mind was made up, he knew her enough to see that from the look on her face.
“She is your friend Funlola” he tried to push further. It was dangerous grounds but hey, he was trying. He had to try.
Funlola scoffed, “My friend who runs out of my house into my husband’s house the first opportunity she gets”
Toni understood that, but still…
“See, this woman has always loved attention. Maybe she staged all this nonsense. Maybe nobody is after her and she is just doing this so we can all pity her”
Toni couldn’t allow her think like that, Funlola hated Dede which was very understandable but to say that she planned the whole chaos around her was just plain silly.
“Funmi, she couldn’t have done that” he said calmly
“Of course you will support her, what was I expecting?” she hissed
“I am not supporting her, how can you say she planned for her to be murdered?”
Funlola shrugged, “She has planned worse things in her life for attention, this might be one of them.”
“Attention for what? For who?” he asked, clearly his ex wife still held grudges against dede but she was going too far with her assumptions.
“I don’t know. For you, my father…” her voice trailed off and she stood immediately, clearing her plates and walking towards the kitchen.
“Your father” Toni was confused. “Why would she want attention from your father?”
Dede turned and looked at Toni, “I cannot help you Toni. Dede has hurt me in so many ways and I just cant think clearly at the moment. Please call me tomorrow, maybe I would have been able to think clearly by then”
When she emptied her plates in the sink, she realized the real reason she wanted Toni out of her house that morning was because she had mentioned something she wasn’t supposed to say. It had hurt her but it was not in her place to say.
When she had discovered Dede and her father were sleeping together some years back, it had shocked her, made her hate Dede and eventually severed the bond between them. And then, her father had gone ahead to will her some of the shares in his Hospital. She wasn’t even a medical doctor, didn’t know a thing about saving anybody’s lives and couldn’t even safely carry out a first aid treatment for anybody.
It had been the first reason she had to speak to Dede in years, she just wanted her to leave the shares for the family and vanish forever. It had killed her mother to find out about Funlola and Chief Williams and had certainly killed her more to discover that Funlola had been so important, the Chief left her shares in his Hospital.
It had been the first time her mother had ever turn to her for support, the first time she had ever really spoken to her about anything important and Funlola had been grateful for it, it was like her mother suddenly remembered she was there. It was what she had always been looking for, what she had always wanted and she had promised her mother to get the shares back. The shares Dede had told her in clear terms so many times she wasn’t going to relinquish.
Toni had silently joined her in the kitchen and he watched her quietly from where he stood at the door. He knew Funlola was dealing with a lot and asking her to help Dede wasn’t really fair at the moment, but she was the one with the links that could get them out soonest, if they wanted to.
“She was your friend Funmi, please remember that and help her. Her life is in danger” he said gently, hoping the words would mean something, hoping it would make sense to her.
“She is not my friend” Funlola replied in the same calm manner with which Toni had spoken to her, he was surprised. He had expected her to shout the words. Her hands held on to the sink and her back was still turned to him, it was as if she was scared to turn and face him. which he would have preferred, because he would at least be able to view her expression and emotions.
“I know she hurt you…”Toni knew the kiss he had shared with Dede when he was a teenager had hurt Funlola when she found out, but he was only being a teenager in love. Dede was his first love and the kiss had meant the world to him, it was what he had dreamt of since he first laid his eyes on her and it was a fantasy that became a reality. He was absolutely in love with Dede, had been and still was and that was why the kiss was more than what anybody could understand, even Funlola. But now, he wondered why Funlola had still not let go of the anger or the hurt. Even when they were married, Dede’s name was an abomination in their home and he wondered why. Because he had kissed Dede but he had married Funlola.
“But you should have let go of that Funmi”
That was enough reason for her to whirl around and face him, a manicured finger pointing at him, “You have no idea what she did to me, to us! That is why you think I should have let go of it!”
Toni was lost, was the kiss which was over a decade old the reason she was this mad? He couldn’t understand it.
“Just get out Toni. Come back later or tomorrow or something” she spat and once again turned away from him.
“Funmi she could be dead by then” he said, hoping Funlola would change her mind.
“Hopefully she wont. Just go away and give me time.”
“Now!” she thundered, her words echoing in the kitchen. Toni nodded and quietly found his way out.
He knew the two women well because somehow they had both being a part of his life while he grew up and he knew that there was something more than that kiss that he thought drew them apart. There was something both of them weren’t letting out and he hoped to find out from Dede.
DEDE HAD BEEN SITTING IN THE TUB FOR THIRTY MINUTES, immediately she woke up she had heated water and had been sitting in the tub in the room she was as if the water would wash away her sins and guilt and get her out of trouble. Twice she had considered drowning in the tub, but she remembered her beautiful secrets and decided against it. She needed to be strong for them, needed to fight for them. Even though Toni thought fighting for them while she was in the country was impossible.
If only he knew she was ready to fight with her life, she didn’t care if the president was chasing her around the country with assassins, she needed to save those girls before they thought it was okay to be abused, before they accepted it like she did.
She closed her eyes and immersed herself in the now lukewarm water, lying still for a moment.
She had not been expecting company and so the voice shocked her and made her sit up in fright. Toni had walked into the bathroom and was handing her a towel.
“Come out now, we need to talk” he said sternly. She rubbed her eyes trying to get over the shock, hadn’t she locked the front door when he left? For a woman who was being chased around my assassins, she was being too careless about her safety.
“Up now!” he said and threw the towel at her, she stood and wrapped it around her wet body. Toni walked out of the bathroom and she wondered why he was like that with her.
He certainly wasn’t the young Toni she remembered and liked to think of, he was a Toni who now barked orders, acted like he didn’t care about her as long as she didn’t die and who didn’t seem to be in love with her anymore. That shouldn’t be a problem but it somehow bothered her.
Toni was the only one whom she knew truly cared about her, if he didn’t care it meant she was all she had.
Toni was sitting on the bed, waiting for her to emerge. Seeing her in that bathtub meant one thing to him, lovemaking. He wanted to carry her out, lay her on the bed, run his hands all over her wet body, tease her nipples with his tongue and make love to her while she gently moaned his name.
The water in the tub couldn’t quench the fire of his desires, the woman simply drove him crazy, whether he was looking out for her or he was missing her, or he was seeing her naked in a tub in his house, he just simply couldn’t stay sane with her.
Dede had always owned him, probably always will.
She walked into the room, wrapped in a towel which did nothing to make his desire for her go away. her hair was wet, dripping water on her shoulders and she still looked flustered from the way he had stomped into the bathroom, yelled at her and asked her to come out. He decided to start talking before his hands roamed to places that would leave her naked under him and between the sheets.
“What exactly is between you and Funlola that wont make her help you even when you are in serious danger? And please don’t refer to that kiss that happened years ago and that I know has nothing whatsoever to do with this!”
Dede said nothing and he could swear he saw her shiver. She held the towel firmly as if it was a lifeline and looked at her toes, refusing to face him.
“Dede, what did you do to her? You need to say something, she is the only one who can help us out of this fast. I don’t have enough links to help us. Talk to me, maybe I can talk to her and it can help”
She looked at him and he realized a sad smile had appeared, replacing the flustered look on her face. “No you can’t. You can’t help because you would hate me if you knew”
“I can never hate you Dede” if only she knew that. if only she knew the only time he had been truly happy in his life was now that he had her close even though the circumstances didn’t seem okay. Even though it might be for a short time. He covered the distance between them and held her face in his palms, he realized it was a bad idea immediately because the urge to make love to her had increased and standing so close to her had made it overwhelming. His eyes held hers and he pleaded with them, hoping she would tell him what it was that had ruined the only real friendship her and Funlola ever had and that was standing in the way of saving her life. But the more he stared into those brown eyes, the more he wanted to kiss her lips, the more he wanted to touch her bare body, the more he wanted the whole of her.
“Damn it Dede, the things you make me feel” he said in her rough voice which was thick with emotions and desire.
Dede couldn’t miss the desire in his eyes, she knew it when she saw it and with Toni, she knew this look very well. It was the look he had in his eyes the first time they kissed and the first time they made love. The desire that somehow always managed to transfer itself to her and make her defenses go weak.
She closed her eyes because she knew what was going to happen next and because she knew she was never going to stop him.
She released the towel and it fell at her feet, revealing her body and giving him undeniable access.
Toni invaded her mouth with his tongue while his hands found their way to her breasts, her nipples were alert and ready for him, that made his erection ache and want her more.
He carried her and took her to the bed, his tongue finding the nipples and causing pleasure to course through her body. She moaned his name as his mouth found hers again, her arms held on to his neck, as if afraid that if she left him alone, he would run away.
He discarded his shirt and trousers and balanced himself between her. He kissed her head and nose and stopped at her mouth.
“You are my weakness” he whispered while his hands trailed her body. Then he gently spread her legs, folded them till her knees reached her breasts, allowing him full access to her beautiful body. His eyes didn’t miss the scars he saw on her body and he promised to ask her about them when they were done.
He got rid of the last piece of clothing on him, which was his boxers and allowed his erection gently slide in and out of her ready self while she moaned his name.
“Dede” he called, “Open your eyes. I want you to see me do this. I want you to remember me doing this” because he knew they might never do it again once she was gone and because he wanted it to mean something to her.
She opened her eyes and they stared at each other while he gently entered into her again, she held her knees while he thrust in and out of her slowly, making her want more and more of him as he filled her with himself and making her love every moment of it.
DEDE HAD NOT ENJOYED LOVEMAKING THAT WAY IN YEARS, her husband had raped her and treated her like a slave. All her husbands had never treated her like she meant something to them. The last time she was made to feel special while she enjoyed every bit of the lovemaking was when Toni had made love to her five years before. And he was the one making her feel alive again.
They laid side by side now, his hands on her body while he placed kisses all over her. She wanted him inside of her again, but first, she had to tell him the truth and give him an answer to the question he asked earlier.
“We need to talk” she said and sat up.
“hmm…okay” he muttered, refusing to let go of her body even when she sat up in bed.
“Toni, I am serious. We need to talk”
“I’m listening” he said, still lying without looking at her.
“I told you before that I was abused as a child…”
“I had been abused by my Older cousin at my grandmother’s. and it continued while he gave me sweets and small money and told me to enjoy it…” it was hard for her to say but she continued, trusting this man that laid by her side, the man that had made her feel things when he touched her. The one that was selfless when he made love to her, allowing her to reach heights other men had not allowed her to reach.
“When I started working in Funlola’s house, I…i…” she paused. He looked at her
“Go on” he said.
“Her father raped me.”
He removed his hand from her body.
“He raped me and gave me money right from when I was thirteen”
It was around the time he fell in love with her. Anger and jealousy welled up in him.
“I began to enjoy it, because I thought it was the only way I could be loved. Rape was the only form of sex I had known up until that point. I allowed him and consented to it and we began an affair of some sort. He gave me money, he bought me my MBGN form and he supported me, he was probably the reason I won because there were better looking girls who were smarter. He made me Toni and he willed shares in his company to me when he died. Funlola and her mother have always wanted the shares but I never gave them up.”
Toni had totally separated himself from her. He got up picked his clothes and faced her.
“Get dressed we are going to apologize to Funlola for the stupid things you did in your life.” He said coldly and walked out of the room.
Dede felt she had lost him. he was never going to care about her again and he would see her as a bitch. He was going to hate her forever and maybe go back to Funlola now that he knew she was no saint. And that broke her.