ROULETTE OF THE DAMNED 20: Make My Heart

ROULETTE OF THE DAMNED 20: Make My Heart

Tari tried to get to Abbey, but the intruder grabbed her hair and yanked her hard, making her fall to her knees. The cutlass danced through the air towards Tari, slicing through skin and causing a surge of her blood and her pained screech as she dropped to the ground.

Forcing her body to move despite the lacerations on her arms and body, Abbey scrambled across the carpet towards where her mother lay on the floor. Blood was splattered all around. Her mother moaned as she moved her head in her Abbey’s direction. Seeing Abbey crawling towards her, Tari weakly called out for her to run.

Her mother’s pained voice awoke the demon within Abbey. Every iota of her being went into kill mode. She began a quick crawl to the kitchen as their attacker continued to slash at Tari. Barely managing to stand up once she got into the kitchen, Abbey frantically searched the drawers for knives or anything large and sharp that she could use to protect herself and her mother.

A torturous scream from the living room sent a cold shiver down Abbey’s spine. Her stomach turned and she tasted the ascent of vomit. She whirled around to return to the sitting room and gasped when she saw the man standing menacingly by the door. Obviously her noisy clattering of kitchen utensils had drawn him to her.

“If you are considering using anything in this kitchen against me, forget it. I am only meant to deliver you and your mother dead or alive. But if you piss me off, I will do things to you first that will make you wish I simply killed you.” His voice was muffled beneath the mask.

Fear and adrenaline invaded Abbey’s body and she reacted purely out of her survival instinct. Without thinking, she yanked the drawer out and heaved it at the man’s face. He easily sidestepped the drawer and it fell to the floor beside him. Unfazed, the man strode toward Abbey. Panicked, she started throwing whatever she could grab at him – the toaster, the kettle, cups and spoons. Her hands left a trail of liquid red on the kitchen cabinet as she scrambled for anything worthwhile. A moment later, Abbey was cornered holding a tea spoon, stuck between the wall and Saheed’s bloody cutlass.

“STOP!”

Tari stood in the doorway behind him, holding a gun she had stolen from Jafar’s drawer before she had run away from her matrimonial home. Her blouse was torn and drenched in blood. She was bleeding and droplets of blood fell to the floor around her.

The intruder half turned. Time froze as he stood there, the cutlass inches from Abbey’s face, his gaze fixed on Tari. Taking advantage of his aversion of concentration on her mother, Abbey dropped to the floor out of the way of her mother’s aim. Tari smiled then, an act that caused Saheed some confusion as he stared at her through his balaclava. Then from the corner of his eye, he saw Abbey crouched on the floor, holding her ears tightly. Realization dawned on Saheed. Snarling, he whirled around, his armed hand upraised to strike at Abbey. Before his hand could finish the upward trajectory, four gun shots rang out.

And then, there was silence.

***

Mofe had gotten home ten minutes ago and he was tired. He had seen the news about Jafar’s death on TV this morning and had called Abbey to know if she was alright. He had wanted to leave work and come home to be with her but she had insisted that he stayed put at work. She had told him she was going to go to spend the day with her mum at Tunde’s place. Mofe had willingly agreed. Even though he didn’t know where Tunde’s place was, he knew Abbey was safe as long as she was with her mum. Besides, her father was dead now, and he couldn’t harm her from the grave.

Mofe wanted badly to call Abbey but he decided not to. I’m sure Abbey and her mother are going through a bottle of wine now, toasting their freedom from Jafar, he told himself. I have nothing to worry about.

Wanting to feel closer to his fiancée, Mofe walked over to her work space in his house and sat down on her makeshift work-chair. He could still smell her perfume all around her workspace. He tilted his head back and smiled.

I’ll see her soon, he thought. We’ll celebrate her freedom from her father’s tyranny in grand style when she returns.

***

Abbey slowly raised her head. The intruder’s body was sprawled across the kitchen floor. His blood had splattered everywhere. Wet sticky goo clung to her face.

Abbey rose on shaky legs. “Mum…”

Her mother had slumped by the kitchen doorway. She clutched the gun in her hand. A river of blood pooled beside her still body.

“Mum!” Abbey stumbled across to the kitchen door, falling to her knees as she reached her mother. “Mum, can you hear me?”

Still smiling contentedly, Tari’s eyes stared blankly into space.

Abbey raced to the living room, snatched her phone and dialed the only number she knew by heart. “Mofe…please help me. Something terrible just happened…”

She gave him the highlights and the details of how to get to Tunde’s place. As Mofe asked Abbey more questions over the phone, Tari’s weak voice called out limply to Abbey. “Abbey, it’s no use. I’m not going to make it.”

“Don’t talk like that mum!” Abbey hollered back.

“I…I love you…” Tari croaked.

Disbelief crawled into Abbey’s eyes as she watched her mother’s hand let go of the gun.

“Mum? Mum!!!” she screamed. Abbey abandoned her phone and sped to her mother, lifting Tari’s head on to her lap and holding her limp hand in her own. “Mum, please wake up. Mum please! Mummy, please wake up now!”

As she cried her grief, she prayed frantically. For the intruder to be well and truly dead and be on his way to hell. For help to arrive. For her mother to live through this.

***

As Abbey spoke, the walls closed in around him. The minute he heard her voice in panic, Mofe had already grabbed his keys and was out the door. He wasted no time. He was already firing up the ignition when he heard Abbey scream for her mother. His tires screeched as he pulled out of his driveway. Clutching the steering with one hand and his phone with the other, Mofe stayed on the phone and tried to keep Abbey talking to him. It didn’t take long for him to realise she had abandoned her phone. All he could hear was Abbey crying out for Tari to wake up.

Mofe cut off the call and drove madly all the way to Tunde’s house, using the directions Abbey had given him. Abbey’s anguished screams resounded in his head as he drove. And Mofe did the only thing he could do in the heat of the moment as fear invaded his thoughts.

He cursed at himself for ignoring his instincts when he had wanted to call Abbey earlier on, at the sonofabitch who dared harm Abbey and Tari, and at every motorist on the road who drove slowly and tried to hinder his speedy progress to get to Abbey.

When Mofe got to the address Abbey had directed him to, something about the house seemed vaguely familiar to him but he couldn’t place his finger on the why. He didn’t really care about trying to rack his brain to remember. All he wanted to do was to get to Abbey and help out however he could.

The first thing he saw when he got to the house was that the main gate was open. He moved cautiously into the house. Then he was inside and his heart broke. He stared for a moment, as his heart crowded with instant pain, at Abbey holding her mother’s limp body and seated on blood. Then he snapped out of his shock and swung into action. He grabbed Tari’s body off his fiancée’s embrace and into the backseat of his car. Moving swiftly, he rushed back into the house and lifted Abbey from where she still sat on the floor as if she was still holding her mum in her arms. Aware of the need for quick action but knowing Abbey was in shock, Mofe helped her gently and determinedly into the car. In fifteen minutes, Mofe had broken over seven traffic laws to get to the front entrance of the General Hospital.

Without regard for his car, Mofe carried both women into the hospital one after the other and got them admitted. It was only after he had seen the medical staff quickly wheel both women into the emergency ward that Mofe went back to re-park his car in the parking lot. On entering into the hospital, Mofe finally sank into a chair, and allowed his mind process what he’d just been a part of.

The adrenaline that had carried him from his house to the hospital was slowly fading away and he was glad he was sitting. He didn’t trust his knees could have held him up much longer. He buried his face in his hands, and his mind began replaying the depiction of Abbey sitting in a pool of blood like a broken and bloodied doll. On their way to the hospital, Mofe had tried to get Abbey to fill him in on what had transpired before he got there. The details didn’t totally register in his brain. All he could make out from her ramblings was that Abbey and her mother had been attacked by a man with a cutlass. She had told him the man that had attacked them was dead but Mofe still wanted to go back and kill the man all over again.

She is going to be okay, he muttered to himself. She has to be.

As he lifted his face from his hands, the doctor attending to both women walked up to Mofe. “Are you the man that brought in those two women?”

Mofe got to his feet. He was nodding as the doctor spoke.

“Are you alright?” The doctor flicked a quick probing look over him. “You don’t look too good. Maybe you should get a quick check-up just to be sure you are fine.”

“Doctor, how bad are they?” Mofe asked, ignoring the doctor’s concern. He tried to steel himself for whatever news the other man had brought.

For a few moments, he listened to the doctor talk about Abbey. She was alive and but completely disorientated. She had fought the doctors, calling them strangers and requesting to see Mofe before they could touch her. “But you can’t go in now,” the doctor said. “Her injuries are extensive and she had to be sedated to reduce her blood pressure level. So far, we cannot determine the extent of her psychological balance but we are hopeful that in the next few –”

Mofe couldn’t take it anymore. He was done listening. He side-stepped the doctor and started walking towards where he had come out from. He could hear the doctor trying to stop him from going any further but he didn’t care. He didn’t know where he was going but he knew he had to see Abbey…to hold her and never leave her side again. The doctor must have noticed his determination, because somewhere far behind him, Mofe heard him holler that he should go to the fourth room on his left.  He spotted the room. Mofe got there and hesitated before the door. Then, taking in a deep breath, he turned the doorknob and walked in.

He saw her on the hospital bed. Her eyes were closed. Two bags of drip hung beside her bed, pumping blood and fluids into her body.

Mofe stood there by the door. Tears bit fiercely at the back of his eyes as he took in his fiancée’s broken body, at the sheets and hospital clothes that seemed to swallow her frailness. And then, the tears began to fall. He blinked hard, trying to stem the flow, but the effort was futile. Fighting to stay calm, he moved forward to take her hand in his. He stared with all the love in his heart at the woman on the bed.

She is going to be okay, he said to himself. She has to be.

***

Clad only in his boxers, Andrew had woken up early that morning to make plantain as breakfast for himself and Jiro.

After his apology two days ago, they had both called in sick at work and had taken their time to rekindle their affection for one another and make up for lost time. Andrew had just finished making breakfast and he was cleaning the kitchen. As he worked, his mind replayed the night before.

Andrew’s hands had been hesitant at first, as they rubbed Jiro’s back and playing with his shirt. It had been a while since they had touched each other. Slowly but surely, Andrew’s nerves had calmed and his fingers had slowed, creating a pathway on Jiro’s body with his hands. He had found a small gap between Jiro’s shirt and jeans, and his fingertips had idly played with a soft patch of pubic hair on Jiro’s skin there. Jiro’s breathing had slowed too, settling into a gentle rhythm of relaxation. Andrew could feel the broad muscles of Jiro’s back soften and relax, unknotting in his embrace.

Three hours later, they had learnt, touched, and tasted every inch of each other. Exhausted but relaxed, Andrew had wrapped himself around his best friend and lover and listened to him sleep. He smiled and gently covered their naked bodies with the duvet.

Presently, he smiled as he finished cleaning the kitchen. Carrying the tray of plantains, he moved to Jiro’s room and stood by the doorway, love and joy filling his chest as he watched Jiro sleep on his stomach, naked, regal, and breathtaking without even trying.

“Hey, cupcake,” he called out softly. “Wake up that your sexy self.”

Jiro leisurely lifted his head toward Andrew and smiled when he saw the plate of food coming his way. “My oga at the top,” he murmured, “good morning. Normally, I’d complain that you left me alone in bed but that plantain smells so good, I’m inclined to let you off the hook with just a warning.”

“Consider the warning duly noted,” Andrew said smiling. “Besides, I owe you a decent meal. You haven’t eaten anything proper in thirty-six hours straight…except chocolates, biscuits and Pringles.” He tsk-tsked.

Jiro sat up in bed. “I have eaten exactly what I needed in the past thirty-six hours, thank you very much.” He grinned. “Besides, I have been preoccupied with other types of meals.” He dragged Andrew back into bed the minute Andrew dropped the tray and ran his tongue over his lips before kissing him.

Andrew said in a husky tone, “How did I get so lucky to land an awesome man like you?”

“I’ll have to get back to you on that,” Jiro said, making a face at him. “Besides, the jury is still out on how you will make it up to me for being a dick three weeks ago in your office when you broke up with me.”

“I know. And that is why I want to give you something to prove just how much you mean to me.” He sat down on the side of the bed, reached into the pockets of the trouser he had worn the day before and brought out a small black box. “Jiro, would you –”

Jiro’s eyes sunk in immediately. “No,” he said at once.

“What?” Andrew asked with a perplexed expression. “I haven’t even said anything yet.”

“It’s a ‘no’, Drew. I’m not going to marry you. You cannot just bring a ring and think it will solve all our problems. And that’s not even talking about the issue of homosexual marriages in Nigeria. What would we tell everyone? What would I tell anyone? I’m not sure I’m ready for that step, Andrew. The cultures and traditions in Nigeria don’t even accept same-sex unions. And don’t think giving me a ring will make me love you more than I do right now, because I already love you beyond what I thought possible. But marriage? It’s just not something I want to do just yet with anyone…not after what Abbey put me through. I wasn’t even ready to be married to her. I only proposed to her because she kept pestering me and I thought it was the right thing to do to shut her up and get my parents off my case. And that’s another thing…my parents! And what would I tell them? And where on earth would we find a pastor that would even consider joining two men in holy matrimony in this Nigeria? How would we –”

Andrew shut him up with a peck on his lips that quickly turned into a full tongue onslaught. The kiss made Andrew all too aware that he was only wearing a thin layer of fabric and Jiro was still butt naked. When Andrew came up for air, Jiro looked sufficiently shut up.

“I’m the talker in this relationship remember?” Andrew said. “I have started having an effect on you, it seems.” He smiled. “And I was not going to ask you to marry me –”

“Oh thank God,” Jiro breathed.

“Yet!” Andrew added quickly. “I’m not asking you to marry me yet!” His smile waned as he continued. “Don’t think I won’t ask you to marry me eventually. I know what I want and I know who I want to spend my life with. I would send the rest of the world to hell to have you by my side for a lifetime if I have to. But we’ll have that conversation at a later date. Right now” – he opened the little black box he held in his hands – “I want to give you a ring as a sign of my love and fidelity to you. Consider it a commitment ring.” Andrew took the ring out of the box and slid it on the wedding finger of Jiro’s right hand. “I want you to always have a piece of me with you even when I’m not there.”

“Drew…” Jiro began in a breathless tone, “it’s beautiful. I love it because it’s coming from you, but I didn’t get you anything. I can’t accept it. Not yet. When I get you a ring, you can give this one to me.”

“Baby,” Andrew cut in, “you are still basically new to the being-in-love-with-the-same-sex dynamic, so I’ll be an awesome best friend and lover and explain.” Jiro swatted him playfully on the arm and they both laughed, before Andrew continued, “Commitment rings come in pairs. I have one of the same kind, babe.” He retrieved another ring from the box and handed it to Jiro.

Jiro promptly slid it on to Andrew’s finger.

“I love you, Jiro,” Andrew said, his voice laced with emotion.

“I love you more, Andrew,” Jiro replied. After a beat, he added, “And I know eventually, your parents will love you too.”

Andrew smiled wryly. “You are so optimistic. As much as I love that about you, I cannot let myself fall into that delusion anymore. My parents will never accept who I am. They can’t see past my attraction to men to look at anything else. They aren’t interested in all the other things I am or could become. And I’m done. I’m done chasing after the love they can’t bring themselves to give me.”

It wasn’t until Jiro leaned forward, kissed a tear from the corner of his eye, and hugged him tight that Andrew realized he’d been crying.

What the hell? he thought. I prepared myself for this. I had my emotions under control…now I’m a mess!

“Do you know why I started liking you and why I came into your room all those many nights ago?” Jiro said softly as they cuddled each other.

“No.”

“It’s because you say what you mean and you mean what you say. That’s just you. That’s the way you are. That’s the real Andrew…the same one that wasn’t scared to tell me that he was attracted to me that night and the same one that warned me that he’d kiss me till my knees went weak if I kept tempting him. You are blunt, yes. But that’s strength, not weakness. Never forget that.”

Andrew lay in his arms and digested what he’d just said, feeling his heart get too filled with a gamut of emotions to respond.

“You shouldn’t beat yourself up forever for not being their version of the perfect son, or feel guilty for somehow failing them,” Jiro continued. “And yeah, I’m here and I’m not going anywhere. Your parents should be proud of you. They should be bragging to everyone either earshot about how great their son is.” Winding a hand around the back of Andrew’s neck and fitting himself even closer, Jiro kissed him. “If no one else says it, I want you to know that I’m infinitely proud of you.”

A lump formed in Andrew’s throat and he found himself overwhelmed with Jiro’s frankness. Feeling the need to lighten the mood, he asked in a playful tone, “So I am officially your one and only, right?”

“Absolutely,” Jiro answered without pause. “Same question goes for you as well, Drew. The night we were stuck in the elevator, you mentioned something about you ex in the UK still wanting you back. Will you ever go back to him if he came begging? Am I your one and only?” Jiro’s voice had a tinge of jealousy in it as he asked the question.

Andrew thought of all the other hot women and men out there, and he considered all the conquests he would miss out on if he said yes to Jiro. There was no contest. He knew that he would rather talk to Jiro, experience that feeling of pride every time he made Jiro laugh, hold his strong yet delicate hand through movies, and keep him warm at night. There wasn’t anything a casual encounter could offer that could compare to the absolute sense of completeness he felt with Jiro.

“No,” he answered. “I won’t ever go back to him. And yes, you are my one and only.”

Beaming, Jiro kissed him lightly. “Now that that’s straightened out, I think I’ll have some plantain. I’m starving. I need to brush my mouth first though.” Rising from the bed, he Jiro grabbed the duvet and started walking away from Andrew. But Andrew pulled him down hard on the bed.

“I was thinking about eating as well but I’ve heard food is overrated,” he said, letting the duvet slide down Jiro’s muscled chest as he licked his lips.

Jiro laughed but his eyes were beginning to heat up. “Well, when you put it all sexy like that,” he drawled as his hands went downward to pull Andrew’s boxers off. “I’m hard to please though. You’d have to sell a far brilliant idea than food to me. What did you have in mind?”

Andrew gave his lover a wicked smile. “I’m sure we can negotiate something.”

Jiro shook his head, even though he was already pulling Andrew’s boxers off his legs completely. “I don’t know. When I negotiate with you naked, I get very distracted.”

Andrew reached out and grabbed Jiro’s arm as his boxers fell away. “Good thing I never get distracted then. I’ll help you stay focused.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Hell yeah!”

Jiro let Andrew pull him in. They kissed softly, like they had all the time in the world. Jiro lay back to give Andrew ample space for nibbling on his nipples. As Andrew moved in to suck on the teats, his phone rang. Jiro groaned. Andrew ignored it. The ringing persisted.

“Aren’t you going to answer your phone?” Jiro asked with a gasp as a bolt of pleasure shot through his nerve endings at Andrew’s assault of his nipples.

“Let it ring, babe,” Andrew choked out as he worked his wicked lips and tongue all over Jiro’s pebbly nipples.

The phone rang again. Fighting to keep his physical need at bay and be the logical one, Jiro said, “Pick it up, Drew. It might be important. I’m not going anywhere.”

Andrew groaned exasperatedly. “Only because you want me to,” he said before sliding over to the phone. He checked the caller ID. “Mofe, this had better be good,” he groused before answering. “Hey, cuz,” he began in a jaunty tone. “Thanks for the other day. I know I promised to call you with details but –” He stopped mid-sentence and his face turned from a smile to a concerned frown in an instant.

Jiro noticed the change in his expression and sat up. What’s wrong, he mouthed.

Andrew didn’t respond as he kept on listening to what Mofe was saying from the other end. After a minute of listening, he said, “I know where that is. We’ll be right there.” Then he cut the call.

“What’s going on?” Jiro asked again.

Andrew was moving out from the bed and reaching for his boxers as he replied, “Abbey and her mother were attacked –”

“Attacked?!” Jiro sounded uncomprehending. “By what – who? I don’t understand.”

“They are at the General hospital,” Andrew continued as he sought for other items of clothing. “Mofe got them there, and he’s losing his mind with worry. If I know my cousin as well as I do, he’s going to blame himself, lose control, and probably have a manic episode. I have to be there with him.”

“No,” Jiro said as he too rose from the bed. Andrew turned to him as he added, “We have to be there with them.”

Written by The Controvert

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ROULETTE OF THE DAMNED 21: Make My Heart II

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13 Comments

  1. Mandy
    February 06, 07:46 Reply

    Kai! This JiDrew (yes, I portmanteaued their names) and their love makes me yearning for a relationship. A loving relationship. Are those obtainable in this Nigeria sef?

    • Pink Panther
      February 06, 07:55 Reply

      Sometimes you get so close. And then it’s no longer there. 🙁

  2. #Chestnut
    February 06, 07:53 Reply

    Awwww; “commitment rings”…*wipes tear*

      • #Chestnut
        February 06, 08:42 Reply

        @PP: the only one I’ve ever seen,ended up in a gutter, after an inflamed argument (not mine o; I was playing the role of mediator btwn the warring lovers…apparently,I wasn’t a very effective mediator,lol)

  3. segs
    February 06, 09:23 Reply

    Aww so touching, at the beginning of the story I was kinda shocked and bored, I was like no gay stuff but when I saw jiro lol I knew it would be amazing awww so sweet but why do I have this stupid mentality that Andrew is the top and jiro is bottom or is it because Andrew is the one giving the ring or preparing breakfast for jiro?

  4. z
    February 06, 13:12 Reply

    Don’t mean to be a party pooper, but I can’t help getting over the part, that saheed, who’s supposed to be a well trained, highly paid sophisticated assassin went to kill two women using. …a cutlass!

    • ambivalentone
      February 06, 16:14 Reply

      Guess its because of his ‘Versatility with weapons, over confidence at the ‘weakness’ of the potential victims AND over-sabi mentality. Oga-don-die-still-carry-matter-for-head attitude’. Meanwhile, watch Naked Weapon again.

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