“You and I babe, I think we should get together,” he had said it exactly like that eight years ago. They both knew she would say yes, she had been pining for him from the very first day she had met him. She had pined for him through three relationships with the most popular girls in their secondary school. She had endured watching him steal a kiss in corridors and bumped into him groping the girls and making them squeak in hidden corners. She had resigned herself to a life of unrequited love.
Then summer had come and gone and she had returned to school with breasts – the round, perky kind. Dayo and three quarters of her classmates had begun to pay her attention but she only had eyes for Dayo.
But that was eight years ago. Everything had been simpler then.
“Last time I checked, you had a girlfriend and I had a boyfriend,” she told him.
“Bunmi?” He shrugged, “She’s cute but she’s terribly dull.”
“Perhaps you shouldn’t be dating her then,”
“Well she is good in…”
He burst out laughing. It was a deep rumbling roar and it sent shivers down her back. She smiled and looked away. They didn’t say anything after that but she could sense him looking at her.
“Do you love him?” he asked her softly. She gave his question genuine thought. She had been dating Temi for three months and she still felt like she was little more than his favourite acquaintance. There was a time when he had called her every day but that had slowly dwindled to once a week. She rarely saw him, he was always at work or in meetings or running errands. But when she was with him, she felt an overwhelming sense of peace. His company was like being in a black hole where nothing and no one existed. It was a little like being drugged. He was sexy, smooth and silent and almost a complete stranger.
“I don’t feel comfortable talking about him with you.”
Her response was met with silence.
“You don’t keep secrets from me.”
“Times have changed.”
He shrugged, not bothered by her snapping. She didn’t want to talk about Temi, she didn’t acknowledge that what she was doing to him was very like what Dayo had done to her on several occasions. At least they hadn’t kissed yet…
…She must have blinked, for she felt Dayo’s lips pressed against hers. The weight of his lips upon hers felt foreign and familiar. He used his tongue to force her lips apart and wrapped it round her own. She heard herself moan and he stood pulling her up and against him.
She stopped thinking.
She could smell him – the scent of musk and sweat.
She could feel him – his tightening grip on her, drawing her closer to his solid frame.
She could hear the little sounds escaping from the both of them, the notification sounds from their blackberries, the whining from Rumble and Tumble, the engine of a car outside. She could even hear the faint buzzing of a hovering mosquito, but she was too far gone to care.
She could taste him – the ata rodo and tomato on his tongue.
She felt as though he were drinking her, holding on to her for dear life. She slipped her arms around his neck and allowed herself to be embraced tighter than she had ever been before.
Eventually, as though by mutual agreement, they pulled apart. She struggled to maintain eye contact with him but she soon gave up. It occurred to her that she could be living in a sort of loop. Living and reliving the past. Because that’s what Dayo was, the past. Right?
His phone rang and he walked over to it, looked at it and groaned. Picking it up he said, “Gotta go.”
She walked with him to the front door, as though she were in a kind of trance. At the door, he turned and gave her waist a quick squeeze before kissing her lips gently.
“I’ll call you. We’ll talk.”
She nodded absentmindedly and watched him as he walked towards his car. She wondered who had called him. As his car receded, she let a wave of jealousy wash over her. Their four year separation had not restored her faith in him.
She felt someone’s gaze on her and when she turned, her eyes met Lanre’s. He was looking at her curiously. Any moment now he would walk over to her with questions; she spun on her heels, walked into her house and closed the door gently behind her.
Alone now, she leant against the door and ran through the sequence of events in her head. Dayo was back in her life and he seemed determined to stay in it.