I AM HAVING TROUBLE WITH GETTING A NAME FOR THIS PIECE, ANY IDEAS WELCOMED. QUANDARY IS QUITE VAGUE
“You work here?” he asked.
“Something like that,” I answered, thinking of a way I could ask him if he was Philip’s Reginald, or if this was just coincidence. I did not want to ask him directly in case he was really not alright in the head, and there was something actually going on between the two of them.
And just then, my mother’s voice boomed through the megaphone.
“CYNTHIA, IN MY OFFICE IMMEDIATELY.”
Shit, I had totally forgotten there were cameras and she could see me wherever I was. I pretended not to hear her, even as Reginald said, “Who is that?” and kept on a smile, and continued talking about the products.
“Okay I think this one is…”
“CYNTHIA ARE YOU DEAF?”
I turned towards the camera, the one pointing directly at the diary section, and shook my head angrily.
“You’re Cynthia then,” Reginald said. “And I’m guessing that’s your mum calling. You guys own this place, cool.”
“You’re smart,” I said to him, and he smirked, as though he wanted to say, “See this little girl.” “But.”
And my mother’s voice boomed once more. By this time some of the workers had come to the aisle, looking around everywhere but me, because they did not want my trouble.
“We can leave here if you don’t want to answer her,” he said to me, and again the voice boomed and I shouted.
“I AM COMING.” and I left him there, wondering if I would ever see him again, wishing that I would see him again.
I shut the door, and my mother got up from her chair and pointed at the far right corner of her TV screen where footage from the shop was recorded.
“Who is that boy?” she asked.
“Customer,” I said. “He wanted to know which milk was better.”
“Okay, I thought…”
“He was talking to me, trying to be my boyfriend,” I completed for her angrily. “Mummy I am seventeen, I’m old enough to…”
“Be quiet,” my mother said to me. “Seventeen, what do you know?”
“But you let sister go out with a stranger.”
She raised her eyes at me, and then continued reading the register on the desk. “Are you and Lilly mates?”
I was about to shout at her, about to tell her that she’s the reason Lilly hasn’t found a great guy yet, because she was so over protective of her for way too long, but then I saw the top right cornet of the television screen where Reginald was still standing on the milk aisle. He was scribbling down something on one of the milk cartons.
My mum, wondering why I was suddenly silent, looked up at me, and then turned to see where I was looking, but I quickly said.
“I am sorry mum.”
She turned back to me, allowing Reginald to do what I hoped he was doing. And just as my mum accepted my apology and sat down, Reginald dropped the milk carton, looked directly at the camera, and winked.
“As you should be,” my mum said. “Maybe you should start going home. Have you called your sister, his is the date going?”
“I was about calling her,” I lied, as I got up, took my bag and made to leave. “Are we cooking anything new tonight or are we microwaving leftovers?”
“Take some spaghetti,” my mother said, her eyes on the register she was reading.
“And some milk too,” I added, thinking about what Reginald had scribbled on the cartons. “The milk at home is almost finished.”
Instinctively, my mother looked up at the TV, her eyes on the top right corner. When she saw nobody there, she turned to me, nodding. “Okay.”
I walked out of the office, slowly at first, and just when I was out of her hearing reach, I dashed off towards the milk section. I searched for the cartons, and just there on the third carton were numbers written in black pen. Whipping out my phone, I punched the numbers in, and then dashed to the pasta section where I took some packets of spaghetti. Then as an afterthought, I rushed to the kitchen utensil section, and bagged a knife.
I made for the exit, even ignored the beep, beep, beep of the theft detector and got outside. The security men did not bother to chase me, and then I dialed the number. I waited a while and then it rang.
“Yeah,” he said, his deep voice feeling my ears. “Who be this?”
“Like you don’t know,” I said sharply. “Who else did you leave the number on the milk carton for, as if you get so many calls?”
I wanted to pinch myself for being so lousy.
“Oh Cynthia,” he said, but before he could say even more, I interrupted him.
“Were you not afraid writing on company products?” I asked him. “Security could have caught you, my mother could have gotten you arrested.”
“All I was thinking of was how I could get to you again,” he said, laughing. There was something evil about the laugh, which made my skin crawl in the best way. “Besides how much is it, I will buy the whole security men if I have to.”
“Thank God you said just security men,” I told him, smiling, even though he could not see me.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because you can’t afford to buy my mum,” I answered. “Or me for that matter. Are you still around?”
“Oh you want to see me?” he replied.
“Obviously,” I answered. “But only because I want you to pay for the milk you ruined.”
He laughed, and I laughed too.
“Turn around,” he said, and I automatically straightened myself, thanking God that I had not been eating anything, or maybe scratching an odd part of my body. I turned around, and there he was, in-between an SUV and a Formatica. He was leaning on a G-Wagon.
Of course I didn’t know it was a G-wagon then, or that it cost lots and lots of millions of naira, all I just saw it for, was a car, a stupidly shaped car in my opinion.
“Your mates are driving Ferrari’s and Lamborghinis,” I said, recalling the expensive popular cars I had seen on TV. “And you’re driving this box.” I knocked on the bonnet of the car. “What’s up?”
“You’re crazy,” he said, grinning devilishly. “And I like it. So are you entering my box, or your mum is going to beat you up for entering a stranger’s car.”
I laughed, he was funny, and I liked it. Very much. Suddenly I found myself wishing he was not the Reginald that had called Philip. I think it would have been weird if I started dating him only to realize later on that he was indeed the Reginald, and I know my sister, she would take it the wrong way especially if things end up not working out for her and Philip. She would think that that’s the reason I wanted to investigate, not to help her, but to help myself, she would say that it’s the name “Reginald,” that attracted me. My sister could be very naive at times, especially when she was angry.
“My mother is not the boss of me,” I said, walking towards the car door.
“Let me get that for you,” he said, walking over to open the door for me, but I stopped him.
“I am not handicapped,” I said, and I immediately hated myself for doing that.
But he did not seem to care. He clicked something in his key, and then I opened the door myself. As I got in, I watched him laugh all the way till he got into the car.
“So where are we going?” I asked him.
“To my house,” he said calmly. “And no need to be scared, it’s only to get some money. SO I can take you to somewhere chill, somewhere where people can appreciate this box.” he tapped the dashboard.
“Okay,” I said to him. “But I am warning you, if you try anything stupid.” I rubbed my bag, imagining what part of his body I could stab him without necessarily killing him.
“I’ll just pretend I didn’t hear that,” he said to me shaking his head. “Put on your seat belt, and I hope you like Beyonce?”
So we got to his house yet again, and as usual, my heart was beating fast and dancing at every possible scenario that could go down in this house, today. He opened the door for me, and I got out, he closed the door, clicked something with his key and then we both walked to his apartment.
He pinched me playfully as he opened the door.
“Would you like to watch TV,” he asked me. He wasted no time in unbuttoning his shirt as he got inside, and walked straight to the room.
“Yeah.” I shouted.
“In my room or in the parlor?” he called back.
My heart lurched at the question. “In my room or in the parlor.” I looked at the flat screen in the parlor; it seemed perfectly okay, was there a difference I watching it here or in his room, was that a subtle invitation. I decided I was going to decline the invitation, you know, play hard to get.
“In the parlor,” I said to him, and almost immediately I wished I had not. What if I never get to see him naked because I was in the parlor or the very least see him in his towel? But I felt it was too late to change my mind.
“Ok then the remote is on the couch,” he said, and then I heard the shower come on, and water dropping. “I’d be out in a minute.”
A minute? I thought to myself, taken the words literarily. I had to act fast. I needed an excuse to go into his room, but it had to be at the right moment, when he was about getting dressed. I wasn’t sure if the bathroom was in his room, or there was a corridor there, with different doors, maybe one for his bathroom, and another for his room, and another if there were any other. I inched closer, the sound of the shower seemed louder now, and then it stopped. Then I heard the faint sound of soap rubbing against his body.
I crouched and listened, straining my ears, and then I heard the soap drop, heard him pick it up, and then turn on the shower. I am not sure how much time past and if you asked me I would say it was eternity and a few minutes, and then to my glee, the shower went off, and I heard a door slide open.
This was my chance, anywhere between now and the next five minutes, give or take, depending of how fast he got dressed or how slow. I heard the whipping sound as he pulled the towel from wherever it must have been hanging, I imagined him tying it around his waist, and then I heard his footsteps as he probably worked into his room.
“I’ll be out soon,” he called out startling me, and then I heard his door open and then close.
I needed a lie, I thought to myself, looking around for something that was complicated and would warrant me asking him for help. I saw nothing, and time was going. My brain was on overdrive, thinking quickly of what excuse to give; nothing came through, and I was sure ten minutes had gone by already. For all I knew he could have just finished drying up himself, and getting ready to put on his boxer shorts. Oh my God, think.
Nothing came to my mind, and so with my heart beating, and my brain quite heavy, I took a deep breath and walked straight to his room, hopefully something of a lie would come up as I got there. I was right about the doors, there were three, I guessed the one in-between should be his, plus there was slow music coming from it. I opened it.
His towel was tied tightly around his mid-tie exposing the well defined V of his pelvis. He turned around and barely flinched as I stood there, staring at him. He was just as I had dreamt, if not better. His chest, his abs, down to his legs which were slim and slightly veiny, were all on point.
“You changed your mind,” he said, turning back to apply cream on his head. He took the remote control from his bed and put on the television for me.
I wanted to cry for want of this man, but I looked away, and instead focused on the room itself.
“Your rooms nice,” I said to him.
“Come on in,” he said to me, for I had been standing at the doorway since, my hand on the door handle. “I promise, I don’t bite.”
His room was cool, literarily. The walls were covered in blue wall paper, with Orange, brown and yellow circles drawn into each other. On one side of the room, was a three door cupboard taller than me, with the middle door, a sliding one, that overlapped the other two. Opposite that, near the window was a black glass table with an I-Mac propped quietly on it. There were a few medical books opened on it, and a pen and a jotter. In the middle of the room, was his bed, king size, and beside it, on the floor, were arranged, sets of dumbbells of different weights, a yoga mat and an expander.
I went over to his bed, and sat down. His bed sheet had the Avengers characters drawn on it, and in the middle was the green drawing of hulk, about to pounce and smash something.
“You like the bed sheet,” he asked me, probably because I was staring at it for too long. “Most girls love it.”
“Just as I thought,” I said to him, an immediately an imaginary metal cage formed around my heart. I pushed away all childish thoughts of the prospect of love. He was definitely a player; I won’t be one of his games.
“What?” he replied.
“I am imagining how many girls you’ve brought here,” I said to him, looking everywhere but at him. “You did not even flinch when I opened the door.” I hoped he would not sense the hurt that was in my voice, and the lump forming in my throat. I suddenly started regretting agreeing to this date.
He applied deodorant to his armpits which by the way had no hair on them.
“Does that make you angry?” He asked, and I found myself wondering what the hell was wrong with him. Like he did not know that I was in love or in lust with him, whichever one, it was the same kind of pain.
“Is it not obvious?” I asked, deciding to play along though, albeit playing along by telling the truth about how I felt.
I managed to look at him, he turned to me, and them came close to me, and stood in front of me. He looked down on me, and I looked up at him, my face doleful. He was still very handsome, I noticed he had just shaved, leaving a small patch of goatee, just enough to make it visible, but not too much that it seemed irresponsible for a doctor.
“What?” I asked him. By the time the lump forming in my throat was threatening to block the oxygen from going through. Any minute now, and I was sure I would choke to death.
He pulled me up, slowly at first, perhaps he did not want to upset me, and then I got the rest of the way up by myself. We now stared face to face at each other, though I had to raise my face because he was taller. I was thankful that I had brushed twenty times before coming out because I could feel and smell his minty breath, and I was sure he could feel and smell mine as well.
He moved his face closer, a quarter or so of a centimeter closer, but I noticed it, and then I moved all the way, till our lips were touching, and kissed him. He responded, and I imagined the metal cage surrounding my heart melt like butter when heated up.
We were kissing for a minute when I grabbed his hips and pulled him closer. It was a wonder his towel did not fall at this point, and then I felt something. Faintly at first, but as we continued kissing it became harder till it was hard not to notice the member trying to push free from the tightly tied towel.
I tried to pull him even closer though it was impossible because we were already basically glued to each other, he did not object, he even lowered his hands down and grabbed my buttocks. I became aware of how strong his hands were, and he cupped and squeezed at them. I pressed him even closer, and this time backed up towards the bed, so we could fall on it, my back on the bed, and he on top of me. This was where I met resistance.