Temptation: the Story, Part 2

If you were not able to read the first part of this story, here’s a link to it – Temptation: the Story → .

The second part begins now . . .

PART TWO

Before I got to Nneka’s house, it was almost 8:30pm. Nneka’s house would normally be a fifteen-minute trek and about 3 minutes of a traffic-less drive from where I was. However, some truck had spoilt a few hours back and the general impatience of workers returning home meant crossing the spoilt truck was a herculean task. Nneka had already called twice asking about my whereabouts. She was getting impatient but I assured her that I would make the wait worth it. I honked the car horn two times before an exasperated Nneka opened the gate to let me in.

‘What took you so long?’ Nneka said with both a hint of worry and suspicion.

‘Nothing, dear  . . . just some crazy traffic jam down the road’ I replied.

‘Are you ready for me?’ I asked.

‘Of course, I’ve been ready since I called you, come inside’ She said as a smile began to form on her pretty face.

Nneka was one of the nicest people I had met in my life. We met on a trip to a picnic that I was dragged to by Jeff, a friend who at the time, desperately wanted me to ‘get out of the house some more’. I wasn’t keen but there was nothing worth watching on TV that day and I was bored to death with the ‘Weeds’ series I was following at the time. I was still in the University back then and the picnic was an interdepartmental trip to a very popular mountain. The view was breathtaking, the air – serene and the intense smell of nature – simply exquisite. However, the passengers in the bus taking me there were the exact opposite. All the passengers except one. From the little interaction I had with a few of them before we took off, I could tell they were not people I really wanted to have discussions with. My phone battery had been dead for almost an hour, yet my ear piece was firmly stuck in my ear as a strategy to discourage potential ‘chat-ups’. The jokes they enjoyed were needlessly vulgar, in poor taste and mostly just ‘dry’. They spoke in unnecessarily loud tones and laughed odiously. I didn’t notice the dark, beautiful girl of average height who had blended in but who, as I later discovered, was similarly put off by the crowd’s weird sense of humour.

Four people had to seat in each row, meaning we were going to be very tight at the back row which seemed significantly smaller than the other rows. I got in first, stuck my earpiece in, pressed play and turned the volume to the highest. In about twenty minutes, the battery was dead and I was then subjected to the bus’s ‘banter’ that I so despised.

‘You don’t want to be here, do you?’ The dark girl sitting beside me asked, a tad rhetorically.

I pretended not to hear her since supposedly, an ear piece was stuck in my ear playing music. She tapped my shoulder lightly and I turned to her and removed an ear piece while making a show of being impatient and ready to stick my ear piece  back if what she said wasn’t worth my time.

With a charming smile and a lovable air of naiveté, she said;

‘I know your battery died a while back but you’ve been pretending to still enjoy your music and I know why’

I was impressed with both her confidence and the way she spoke, clearly enunciating every syllable of each word. I smiled and asked sarcastically;

‘So tell me, O dear psychic, tell me why . . .’

‘You’re an introvert’ she said, still smiling. ‘You’re too shy, you think I’m very beautiful, but you’re too shy to tell me so’ she added.

She was actually very beautiful but it was the way she said it that had me instantly charmed.

‘How could such a witty person be right beside me all through while I subjected myself to the inane ramblings of  these ‘dullards’, I thought to myself.

‘So what’s your name?’ She asked, interrupting my thoughts

‘Bruce Wayne, but you can call me Batman’ I replied. She burst into laughter. After she had collected herself, she said;

‘You’re funny, I think this picnic will be more fun than I expected’. ‘I’m Nneka’ she added. I smiled, removed the ear piece that was still stuck in my other ear and turned back to her. I told her my real name and from that day, we grew to become really good friends.

I held her hand as we walked into her self-contain apartment. A cool gust of breeze hit my face as I stepped in. It was a very neat and orderly apartment. Her bed sheet, curtains, rug and most other features of her room were the same shade of blue. The room had just one window beside the door and didn’t get enough air circulation. Nevertheless, she must have repaired her air conditioner recently as the contrast from the last time I visited was like that between day and night. The room was practically freezing.

‘Let me go change and freshen up a bit’ she said as she walked into her bathroom. ‘And don’t start without me’ she added with her trademark smile.

‘You know I won’t . . . at least, I hope I won’t’, I replied.

I looked around the room and then, out of the blue(see what I did there), she was back in my head. Jessica. The fair goddess, the beauty, perfection. Her eyes-deep enough for you to swim in-, her shape-with curves that a French curve would struggle to replicate, her complexion. Jessica was all I could think about. I brought out the sheet of paper I stuck into my pocket earlier. Those eleven digits stared back at me as I began to drift into her world.

I heard the lock of the bathroom door click and quickly stuck my phone back in my pocket and the sheet of paper into my other pocket. I wasn’t quick enough.

‘What was that?’ she asked.

‘Nothing’ I instinctively replied, ‘Just a sheet of paper, dear’. I know I didn’t sound convincing and she knew.

Her eyes pierced me for the truth for a moment more. Eventually, seemingly satisfied, she said;

‘Okay, we can start now . . . ‘

‘Where would you like me to begin?’ I inquired with a smile.

‘Anywhere, dear. I’m very tired. Let’s do this quickly, though. I have to get to work early tomorrow’ she replied.

‘Cool’ I said as I walked toward her. . ..

I walked past her, picked up the heavy Echolac box in the corner and carried it out of the room to my car.

Yes, she was moving out. Her current building, regardless of it’s nice location in the G.R.A was too far from her work place. She was spending too much money and time on transporting herself every day across the town.

No, she wasn’t moving into my house. She was moving to a new one-room apartment she had located some weeks earlier, very close to her office. I was there to help her pack and move smoothly. Our friendship was purely platonic but as much as possible, we tried to steer away from conversations about our relationships, as for whatever reason, it almost always led to awkward silences.

As I put the box in my car boot, I dug into my pocket to check the sheet of paper I had been looking at earlier. It wasn’t there. . .

‘Sh*t!!’ I exclaimed. She must have picked my pocket as I struggled to lift the box. I’m sure she wanted to see what it was that had me so uncharacteristically uncomfortable when she came out from the bathroom.

I rushed back to the room and slowed down just before getting to the door so she wouldn’t ask me why I was in a hurry. I now wish I had run all the way through.

I got into the room and nothing could have prepared me for what I saw next.

There on the floor, was the sheet of paper. Beside it, sprawled out, unmoving, was Nneka. Just lying there motionless.

‘Nneka!!!!!!!!’ I screamed

No reply . . . then blood started to flow from her mouth . . .

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

By Gareth Glover .  .  . A pseudonym

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Temptation: the Story

All my senses were alert. I sat there marveling at the truly stunning beauty standing not too far from the place I was seated. The sit-out wasn’t at full population so I had an unobstructed view of her. Her very curly black hair caressed her shoulders as it cascaded elegantly down her neck setting boundaries for the most gorgeous  face I had ever seen. The dark hair contrasted perfectly with her very fair complexion. The scorching sun didn’t seem to affect her at all, and rather than turning red as most others with her complexion would, she seemed to have picked up a glow. I had been trapped in my own little world, writing down my thoughts when I heard her melodious voice. There was something very emollient about her voice.

As I looked up to behold the source, I was first struck by her eyes-deep, beautiful, innocent eyes which seemed to keep you entranced from the moment you caught sight of them. Her face was like an exceptional painting. All her features blended together seamlessly in a sight that was pure perfection. As her hair began to sway a bit in the gentle wind that had just picked up a bit of speed, she directed her gaze squarely on me. Eyeball to eyeball for what seemed like forever. Like Medusa from Greek mythology, I was practically turned into stone on eye contact, paralyzed, unable to even exhale. A hint of a smile formed on her lips as she looked at me for another second before turning to speak to her friend who was standing beside her. I continued staring as she and her friend walked gracefully to a nearby retailer to buy airtime. Despite my body’s protests, I eventually tore my eyes away from her and tried to get my mind back on the topic of my writing.

I had been sitting at that table for almost twenty minutes focused solely on the sheet of paper in front of me, trying with little success to form a captivating introduction to my piece. It was an open area with seats and tables scattered around in no particular order. Each table had three seats, and was covered with a pink and white checkered table cloth. I assumed the tables were placed there by the owner of the restaurant about ten metres away as some form of annex in case customers were too many for the building or preferred to seat outside. The smell of freshly mowed grass  hung in the air. It was when I heard her voice that I looked up from that sheet for the first time since arriving at that table.

I  glanced at my watch, ‘4:24pm’ it read. The beauty and her friend were no longer in sight, so I  returned to the paper in front of me. Just as I was beginning to concentrate and put my thoughts together logically, my nostrils were treated to a lovely cologne which smelled like strawberries with a slight whiff of some other fruit. Before, I could turn to see the source, two soft palms slid across my face from behind covering my eyes as I heard gentle laughter  in the background. ‘Guess who?’ a female voice said from behind. ‘I hate guessing, wait, is that Nneka?’ I inquired. ‘No’, the voice said sounding a little disappointed, ‘It’s me, Chizzie’ the female said as she uncovered my eyes. I looked up to see the beautiful girl I was staring at earlier, standing in front of me as Chizzie strode from behind me to take her place at Perfection’s side. Apparently, Chizzie, a long-time acquaintance of mine who seemed to pop up whenever she was not wanted, was  the friend of the beauty I was staring at so unabashedly earlier on. ‘Hmmm, Guy! who’s Nneka?’ Chizzie inquired with a slight hint of playful interest in her voice while her beautiful friend smiled. ‘Just a friend of mine’ I casually replied. ‘Okay o, I hope you guys are just friends o’ she said placing particular emphasis on the ‘just friends’ part as she and the beauty sat on the two empty seats at my table facing me.

‘You look more handsome than before, what’s your secret?’ she asked. ‘Secret ke?!’ I exclaimed, ‘I’ve always been a fly guy o’ I added. ‘It’s not true joor’ she said, laughing. I was not really interested in continuing the annoying repartee with Chizzie but I needed her to introduce the work of art sitting beside her so I continued to indulge. However, Chizzie, a loquacious girl with very little discernible perception prattled on, asking for my opinions on all manner of topics ranging from the expected-her massive weight loss and new shapely figure to the bizarre-Lady Gaga’s gender. After Chizzie had chattered away for what seemed like five eternities, her friend eventually spoke up. ‘So what were you writing before we interrupted you?’ She inquired with that soothing voice, as a slightly quizzical look formed in her deep eyes. ‘An article . . .’ I replied, ‘I’m a writer’ I added. ‘Are you serious?’ she asked excitedly as her face lit up with enthusiasm, ‘I love writers, do you write poetry too?’. I’m not the biggest fan of poetry but there was only one answer on my lips ‘Yes, I love poetry and I try to jot down poems as often as my time allows’.

Now she was really interested. We began to talk about literature and popular writers.  I told her I didn’t like James Hadley Chase(there! I said it! sue me) and my heart skipped a beat when she said ‘Me too’. The more we talked the more we realized our interests seemed to coincide with uncanny precision. My best musicians were hers, her best movie was exactly mine-‘Inception’, she liked John Grisham and loathed Steven King and she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me(okay okay, she never exactly mentioned that last part).

From the corner of my eye, I could see Chizzie getting increasingly uncomfortable with being shut out of the conversation and I was a tad surprised she hadn’t found a way to butt in already. I turned to her and asked ‘So, how did you get to know . . .’ I stopped halfway and turned to the beauty smiling ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name’. She blushed, looked down at her fingers, seeming surprisingly reticent and muttered ‘Jessica’. Chizzie thought about it for a while before replying ‘A party . . . Mexy’s birthday party’. Mexy was a very good friend of ours, but I could not attend that party as I was stuck at my office that night doing some much needed book-keeping. ‘And you guys became friends immediately?’ I asked to neither of them in particular. ‘Yes, we did’ Jessica replied. ‘Interesting’ I said. ‘We’ve got to go now, it’s a pity we couldn’t stay longer’ Chizzie said as they both stood to leave.

I urgently wanted to say something to Jessica, anything at all, but as I opened my lips, I couldn’t form any words. ‘We’ll see later’ Chizzie said, ‘Yea, we will’ I said disappointedly. Just as I turned my gaze to the piece of paper in front of me, I heard Jessica ask ‘So, I’d love to continue this discussion some other time . . . we seem to have a lot in common’. My stomach fluttered back to life. It was as if she knew the words I was so desperately looking for. Before I could reply, she bent over, took my pen and wrote down her phone number on the sheet of paper in front of me. With a smile that would wake a dead man, a glint of mischief in her eyes, and while still bent over facing me, she whispered into my right ear, with her very sweet voice ‘Call me’ . She didn’t wait for a reply. She stood, turned and strode away. “What just happened?” I thought to myself. I looked down at the sheet of paper, eleven digits stared back at me. Excitement bubbled uncontrollably within me.

Then, my phone rang . . . it was Nneka . . . we exchanged pleasantries, caught up and talked for a short while before she asked me to come over.  I stood up and rather than saving the number on my phone, tucked the sheet of paper into my pocket. I walked down to my parked car, switched it on and drove to Nneka’s house with the image of Jessica firmly stuck in my head. . .

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

By Gareth Glover . . . A Pseudonym