LOVE AND SEX IN THE CITY (Episode 54)

LOVE AND SEX IN THE CITY (Episode 54)

“Declan,” Biola said my name with a remarkable absence of any tension. “Dee, tell me again what he said – the policeman, what did he say exactly?”

I remained seated on his sofa and moaned in response, a low exhalation of air that carried fear. My face reflected a shifting gamut of emotions, but I couldn’t say anything. I just clasped my hands in my lap and breathed deeply. It was almost ten hours since I got the call that devastated my world this morning, and I was still reeling from the shock of its implication.

“Dee…” Ekene said, shifting closer to me on the seat and placing a hand over my shoulder. “You can’t let yourself freak out now. Talk to us.”

“What did the policeman say?” Biola reiterated.

“He’s a detective,” I rasped, looking at him. “The policeman who called – he identified himself as a detective…Detective Lanre Badmus.”

“Yea? So?”

“So he’s not just a common desk sergeant or something. He must have studied detective work in the police academy. Maybe even studied abroad before relocating to Nigeria to serve his country. I hear they do that.”

“Look, Dee,” Biola said, raising his hands in an indulgent gesture at me, “whatever he may be, detective or chief of police, we are here to put our wits together to get you out of this situation.”

“If by ‘we are here’ you mean us compounding this mess with another mistake, then count me out,” Martin interjected from where he was seated. “If you remember correctly, I didn’t approve of the way we handled the situation that night.”

“Yes, Martin, your displeasure is now on the record,” Biola shot tersely at him. returning his attention to me, he urged, “Dee, talk nau.”

I drew in a shaky inhalation, making an effort to get a hold of myself. It was much easier to pull myself together now; this morning, when I called Biola immediately after terminating my call with Detective Badmus, I’d been near-hysterical, the frenzy of my shock rendering me incoherent over the phone. Biola had finally cut my off by firmly saying, “You’re in no frame of mind to work. See if you can get the day off and go straight to my place. You still have my key. Let yourself in and rest. Try to take your mind off this until I get back. I’ll see if I can get the rest of the gang to meet us at home.”

Considering the harried state of my emotions, it hadn’t been hard to convince my supervisor, Estelle, of my sudden incapacitation for work. I was granted the day off. On my way out of the office, I typed a BBM message to Kizito: Suddenly wasn’t feeling well, so I got the day off. I’ll be going to recuperate at Biola’s. See you later?

I was crossing the busy thoroughfare of Herbert Macaulay Way when he pinged back. Just confirmed that my brother and his wife are travelling to Asaba this afternoon for a wedding tomorrow. Maybe you could come over at the close of work, and I can nurse you back to health?

The small smile that curved my lips as I read the text came from the lift my spirits got at the thought of seeing him again this evening. I was suddenly overtaken by a wave of vulnerability, a yearning that made me want to lean on him, even if it was just virtually. I wanted to tell him what was going on with me, how afraid and miserable I was over a situation I couldn’t help. My fingers began flying over my keypad.

Not now, not like this, the Voice cautioned. You can’t upset his entire day by laying your mess on him. Wait for tonight, wait for his arms and scents around you.

Presently I lifted my hands to clasp them around me, wishing I was at Kizito’s already, ensconced in the reassuring warmth of his hold. Clearing my throat, I said to Biola, “He said they’d like to question me because my phone number was on the dead man’s phone.”

“That’s it?”

I shrugged. “And that I am a person of interest.”

“Evidently,” Martin said.

“And that’s all?” Biola wanted to know.

“Yes. I mumbled something about being busy and how I needed to get back to work, and then hung up, before calling you.”

“Well, it doesn’t seem like they have much to go on,” Biola said.

“Yea, sure, because the detective is going to spill all the aspects of an ongoing investigation to someone needed for questioning,” Martin quipped sarcastically.

“Speaking of that,” Ekene said, “you said when he called you, he mentioned your name. how is that even possible?” Ekene and Martin were the only ones who’d responded to Biola’s call for congregation at his house. Because he was still unemployed, Ekene had come by much earlier and spent the better part of the day with me.

“It’s simple,” Biola answered. “They obviously went to the service provider with a warrant for the details of Declan’s number.”

“And the service provider just relinquished the details to them? They can do that?”

“It’s the police and this is a murder investigation. Of course they can do that.” Turning to me, Biola continued, “Anyway, I don’t think you should mind this policeman –”

“What!” Martin snapped to attention.

“He shouldn’t go to any police station to answer any questions.”

“Are you out of your mind, Biola? Why would you even suggest that? You’re a lawyer.”

“And when the time comes for the law to be put in place, I’ll be a lawyer. Right now, I’m being a friend. We can’t trust the police.”

“For crying out loud, to them, Declan is just a person of interest –”

“Who may very well quickly become the main suspect.”

“That’s absurd.”

“Is it?” I bit out suddenly, drawing the attention of the room. “Is it really? We debriefed Kennedy about that night with Tony Drake, attempting to learn all we could about what went wrong. You heard him, Martin. He said that the only call Tony Drake made was when Tony called him with directions to where he was waiting with his car to take them to his place. Every other call Tony entertained thereafter were received calls. Received, Martin! Which means the next call that was made from that phone was to my number – a call that was made very late in the night! A time of death will no doubt be ascertained, and it will become apparent to the police that the call was made either just before or right after Tony Drake died.” I paused to glare, my chest heaving with the strength of my lengthy outburst. “See how rapidly I can make the switch from person of interest to murder suspect?”

Martin opened his mouth to say something, no doubt to offer up a rebuttal, but he thought better of it and shut his mouth, settling instead for a disgruntled look.

“Look,” Biola began, raising his hands in a gesture that mixed placation with encouragement for concord, “this is a no-brainer. If this detective’s plan is to call Declan enough times to pressure him into showing up at the station, Declan should screen his calls. Eventually, he’ll be frustrated into giving up.”

“Or Declan could simply tell him that he’s abroad and can’t be available, and that the reason they can communicate is because he’s roaming his line,” Ekene supplied. “That ought to dampen the man’s zeal.”

“Or,” Martin intoned, “he could just show up at Declan’s address and arrest him.” Three looks sharpened on him, and he added, “You know, since his sim registration details are in the possession of the police.”

“Did you –” Ekene began to say to me.

“No,” I interrupted. “I was in school when I registered my sim, and I used my off-campus lodge address for the registration. I’ve been meaning to modify that information since I graduated, but I’ve just been procrastinating over the matter of locating a service centre.”

Biola chuckled. “Great. They can go to the university lodge in the East and investigate for Declan Odum all they want. All they’ll get is a dead-end.”

“Unless they somehow manage to trace Declan’s scent to his former faculty,” Martin said.

“Jeezuz, Martin, you’re determined to fit into this your devil’s advocate uniform, aren’t you?” Ekene sniped.

Before Martin could utter a rejoinder, I blew out a harsh breath and got to my feet. “I have to go now.”

“Are you sure?” Biola queried. “You could stay here for the night, you know.”

“I know. But…”

“But it’s Kizito you’d rather be with, right?” Ekene intuited.

I turned to him and saw behind his eyes the wealth of time a man had spent loving and sharing a life with his lover. There was a knowing in his expression that reassured me of the rightness of the things I was feeling.

I nodded at him. “Yes, I need to be with him.”

Biola was groaning with mock exasperation as Ekene asked, “Does he know about this?”

“I plan on telling him when I get to his place. I know telling him probably won’t solve anything any better than discussing this with you guys have. But there’s an anticipation I feel that when I’m with him, when I unburden myself to him –”

“Please don’t say ‘that everything will be alright’,” Biola interjected, contorting his face into an expression of abject misery. “Please, please, please don’t say that.”

I gave a weak chuckle, feeling a flicker of amusement. “That everything will be alright,” I finished, as I made my way to the door.

“Oh you poor sucker, you’ve gone and fallen in love with him, haven’t you?”

“Good night, Biola. Ekene, are you coming?”

“Yes, see me o. I’ve forgotten I also have to go home.”

“I can drop you guys off part of the way.” That came from Martin as he too languidly got to his feet.

In the bustle and chatter that characterized the next few minutes of our departure from Biola’s house, I was able to put my terror at bay. However, amidst the new leather smells of Martin’s car, as the banter between him and Ekene surged around me, I sat in the back, feeling the return of the terror as it reached out to engulf my insides. On the heels of its arrival came snippets of the talk we’d just had back at Biola’s place.

Aspects of an ongoing investigation to someone needed for questioning…

It’s the police and this is a murder investigation…

Declan is just a person of interest…

Who may very well quickly become the main suspect…

It’s Kizito you’d rather be with, right…

Oh you poor sucker, you’ve gone and fallen in love with him, haven’t you…

The words whirled around my head in unrelenting silent echoes. Suddenly, the fear I felt became rampant, scattered, foraging through my consciousness for emotions to feed on, its darkness creeping across the molecular structures of my mind like a virus across blood cells. It suddenly wasn’t just about the threat of getting harangued by a police case. It became about everything else I’d ever nursed doubts for. The loss of the love of my life. Getting abandoned and misunderstood. The uncharted territory of the world beyond my closet. The foggy swirls of an uncertain future.

I sat there breathing hollowly, loose forms of colour purling before my eyes. Silently, I fought the emotional avalanche, an effort that was remarkably feeble. Ekene said something to Martin just then, a quip that elicited a gale of laughter from him. But I heard none of it. Someone had just frozen the moment. Someone had suspended me above a dark hole, giving me plenty of time to stare down at the nothingness, until suddenly, the same someone let go. I found myself plunging down into the black, my hands windmilling, my body turning, waiting, almost hoping to smash against the bottom.

“Hey, earth to Declan!” Martin’s voice cut into my subconscious plummet, the clarity of his voice pulling me abruptly out of my reverie.

I blinked at him. “Um, sorry, I was just thinking…”

“Really, we’d never have guessed,” he said, smiling to take the sting from his sarcasm.

Ekene gestured at the bustling district of Jibowu. “We’re at your stop. Or have you changed your mind? Do you want to go on home?”

“No.” I opened the car door and began climbing out. “Thanks, guys. See you later.”

“Dee…” Ekene called softly, and I turned to see him stare his concern at me through the car window. “You’ll be fine. Don’t worry too much about this, okay?”

I forced a lump down my throat when I swallowed. “Sure. Thanks,” I said, attempting a smile.

He nodded at me, and moments later, Martin engaged the gear and was navigating his way back into the stream of traffic.

I darted across the highway and briskly made my way to the place I wanted to be more than anywhere else in the world. The darkness nipped at the heels of my mind with an urgency, as though it knew it was about to get dispelled.

Several minutes later, nothing else mattered; certainly not now, when he opened the door, saw me standing there and smiled around the word, “Hey.” There was something about the way he smiled; the way butterflies seemed to escape from the pit of my stomach, and the way the setting sun had somehow toppled down from the sky and made a home right in my heart. Kizito had the kind of smile that made suddenly happy to be alive. And the lips that were stretched by the smile beckoned me with a faint hint of tension, of moist heat.

“Is anyone home?” I said as I walked into the sedately-furnished interior of his elder brother’s home.

“No, my brother and sister-in-law have already travelled,” he said.

I was keenly aware of him as he shut the door behind me and moved to come stand before me, taking my hand in the process.

“So we’re alone?”

“Yes, we’re alone.”

“Good, because right now, there’s just one thing I need to make me feel better.”

His mouth lifted into a full grin that dimpled his cheeks again. “I know just the thing.”

I was already in motion as he gathered me into his arms, already arching my neck as he lowered his lips to catch mine in a warm, strong kiss. It was undemanding yet enticing, exactly like the man himself.

With a small smile, I gave myself up to the headiness of him, savoring the increasing force of his kiss. His slanting lips were hungry, and mine were as eager to please. In the heat of the excitement, I opened mindlessly to him, welcoming the invasion of his tongue as it drove my responses higher. I was stunned afresh by the force of my response to him, to the desire that pounded through me for him, raw and overwhelming.

When Kizito dragged his mouth from mine, I felt the loss instantly. It was a throbbing disappointment to my state of arousal, this withdrawal of a luxury I’d been enjoying to the fullest. It seemed no different for Kizito, if the unsteadiness of his breathing was proof. Holding me back, he looked at my face. Then, as though sensing my emotion in its entirety, he brought me against him, into the fullness of his embrace, wrapping his arms around me and sinking his chin against my shoulder. There was something symbolic about the gesture and I lapped up the closeness without analysis, burrowing into his warmth with a desperation that brought a pin-prick of tears to my eyes.

A truth that wasn’t all that sudden was dawning on me. And inwardly, I whispered my answer to my friend’s earlier question: Yes, Biola, I’ve gone and fallen in love with him.

Written by Pink Panther

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9 Comments

  1. shuga chocolata
    January 21, 07:13 Reply

    one man kizito.
    Dee shouldn’t go anywhere near that station ooo, pp make this dude life less difficult biko nah.

    • Pink Panther
      January 21, 08:34 Reply

      Beht, what I do? He’s not suffering now, is he? 🙂 At least he has the love of his life by his side. Some of us don’t.

  2. #TeamKizito
    January 21, 07:34 Reply

    Yes, Dee, you have.

    *
    Is it murder really? How did it become murder? Wasn’t it like a heart attack of something..

  3. ambivalentone
    January 21, 08:40 Reply

    I still shake with amusement at how the man died. “Lord. Oh Lord!!! I’m coming. I’m Coming. I’m COMING. I’M COMEEEEEEEEEEN!!!!” and he went to his maker

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