The Pomeranians must have sensed their mummy’s tension, because even though the lights were off they refused to settle down and sleep. Tumble, the girl, named so because she had a funny habit of falling over when she tried to run, was currently standing and trying to jump unto the bed where Lola was. Rumble, the louder of the two puppies, was making odd attempts at attracting her attention – he would run round in circles, then bark, then run around again.
She mostly ignored them. She lay in the darkness, and stared up at the ceiling though she could only make out shadows. She thought of calling Temi, but it was past 11 and he would probably be asleep…besides she had a fair idea of how the conversation would go:
“What are you up to?”
“At this time?”
“No time like the present.”
“Are you ok? You sound a bit strange?” at this point, she would undoubtedly pause, weighing her options, considering whether or not she could burden him with the knowledge of Dayo. Then she would shrink away from it. Partly because she may unknowingly hurt him and partly because Temi could never understand; the world was very simple for him, he would not be able to fathom why she would even still feel anything for Dayo. Even she could barely comprehend why she couldn’t walk away from him. He was like a bad pimple that she couldn’t touch. Meanwhile the bad dreams about him had ceased and all she had now were memories to haunt her.
“I’m ok. Just tired.”
“Maybe you should sleep then.”
“Maybe I should…Goodnight.”
So instead, she closed her eyes and willed for sleep to come. She counted sheep and then goats and then cows. But the image that kept floating into her mind was of Dayo. Dayo winking at her; Dayo carrying her the day she was hit by an okada; Dayo kissing her forehead, her eyelids, her nose, her lips; Dayo taking her innocence…
The knowledge that she would be alone with him in a couple of hours was what was keeping her awake. She was both petrified and exhilarated. She wondered what she would wear. Something classy and flirty. A little voice in her head was telling her that there were so many things wrong with encouraging Dayo’s presence in her life; but it was a very very little voice. She could barely hear it at all.
Her phone rang. She looked at the screen but she did not recognize the number.
“Dayo,” she breathed. Her heart was pulsating and her stomach clenched and unclenched. He had taken her number before he returned to the party, so he could call her when he was on his way or if something came up.
“You have some very noisy dogs there…”
“When did you get them?”
“Not very long ago…they were a gift.” Lola didn’t want him to know she had gotten the puppies on Valentine’s day. He would zero in on this and they would end up discussing Lanre. She didn’t want to discuss Lanre. She didn’t want to discuss anything. Just hearing the sound of Dayo’s voice set her back. His voice was gravelly, deep; a voice made for the night.
“What are their names?”
“Rumble…and Tumble.” He burst out laughing and she joined him. Then he stopped abruptly.
“You know I want you.” It wasn’t a question and she couldn’t deny it.
“Do you want me?”
“Don’t fuck with me Lola. Do you want me?” She stayed quiet for a moment. Her mind was racing. Temi’s image jumped into her head, but she pushed it aside before it could ruin the moment. Before her senses could return to normal. She wanted Dayo, badly. She craved him. All these years she had managed to pretend those feelings didn’t exist but she couldn’t deny them any longer.
It didn’t surprise her that he called her now, Dayo had always told her that a woman’s defenses were lowered after 9pm. This was the time that he liked to make his move. He was 20% more likely to get a yes than a no, 20% more likely to succeed in distracting the woman, 20% more likely to succeed. Which considering that he usually had an 80% success rate, meant he almost always got his way. Even knowing this, even knowing he was playing this exactly how he had always played it, she didn’t want to resist.
“I want you.”