As expected, the house was empty when Oma opened the front door and let herself in with the key Daniel had given her. He was not back from work and Mama Rukevwe, his cook and housekeeper had closed for the day.
Glancing at the clock on the wall, she saw it was past nine o’clock, the usual time he returned from work unless he went somewhere else after leaving the office. She got a drink from the kitchen and sat down in the living room to wait for him. Oma smiled, imagining the look on his face when he saw her in his home.
Though she had been at the house several times, she had never slept over despite Daniel’s pleading.
“Why, Oma? If you love me, you’ll want to be with me. What’s the problem?” he asked in an exasperated tone. This was about a month after their return from Ibeshe Sea Beach Village. They had been seeing regularly since then and had grown very close.
For the first time in years, Oma was in love; her feelings for Daniel had become so strong that there were times she was afraid of the intensity. It was something out of her control, made her feel helpless and vulnerable and she hated that.
She worried about many things including the future. What if things did not work out between them? Could she trust Daniel with her heart? What if he broke her heart, hurt her; could she handle the pain of heartbreak, of rejection? What if…?
Especially with the somewhat ‘playa’ reputation he had in the city’s social circles where he was well known according to some of the stuff she had read up about him in gossip magazines.
He had been linked with some society ladies in town including a very popular Nollywood actress who had a penchant for dating mostly wealthy businessmen and top people in society.
Oma had asked him about the actress, if they had been in a relationship but he had denied it.
“She needed a sponsor for a movie she wanted to produce and someone introduced us,” he had revealed. “We had dinner a couple of times to discuss the production and the society magazines, gossip rag sheets and bloggers went gaga over us with screaming headlines such as “Sexy Nollywood actress in sizzling romance with Lagos Big Boy!” he added, laughing.
“If you believe everything you read in these papers then you’ll believe anything.” Despite his explanation, she still nursed the fear that what was happening to them, their feelings and love for each other could all go wrong anytime.
Like what had happened in her past relationship. It was this fear that prevented her from committing fully to him as he desired.
Daniel had assured her, her fears were unnecessary.
“You worry too much, Oma! I love you and will never do anything to hurt you.” He had said it so many times since their relationship started that she began to believe him.
So, here she was, in his home. She was about to spring a surprise on him as he was not aware she was coming.
Her lips curved in a smile as she thought of his reaction on seeing her. But where was he, she wondered as she went into the kitchen to get a glass of water.
She was about calling him to find out his whereabouts when she heard the sound of the key in the door.
She dropped the glass and quickly walked to the living room, only to stop dead in her tracks at the sight before her.
Entering through the door was Daniel, closing followed by a lady. It was not his sister Gina whom she had met a couple of times in the house.
So who was she, this strange lady who was holding onto Daniel’s arm as if she owned him?
A surprised look came on Daniel’s face on seeing her.
“Oma! What a surprise! When did you arrive? I had no idea you were coming,” he said as he moved quickly to stand by her. She gazed at the lady then up at him.
“I can see that,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. The young lady, who had dropped her bag on the couch, walked up to them, giving Daniel a curious look. “Danny, who’s she?”
He did the introductions. “Letty, this is Oma, my girlfriend, the lady I told you about. Oma, this is Letty, a friend.”
A friend, he said. What kind of female friend barges into a man’s home at nine o’clock at night? Must be a girlfriend, she thought. And here she was ready and willing to commit fully to him! How could he do this to her, she thought with some bitterness, as her eyes examined Letty.
She was of average height, slim with a nice trim figure which she showed off in snug fitting leggings and a tight top.
Her hair was in long braids which framed her pretty face. Oma turned to go in search of her bag and leave as she was beginning to feel like an intruder.
But Daniel held her hand and led her down the corridor towards his den.
“I need to go.”
“What’s the rush?” he queried. “You came to see me and here I am! So, why do you want to rush off now?” Then drawing closer to her, he added, his mouth twisted in a little smile: “Is it because of Letty? Don’t tell me you’re jealous! Ha ha! Women and jealousy!” There was an amused tone in his voice.
Oma was not amused. “What has jealousy got to do with it?” she retorted. “I come to your house to surprise you, you show up with a lady and you expect me to be happy? Someone you claim is a friend but is acting otherwise!”
“Ok, ok! Calm down, babe! We don’t have to fight over this,” said Daniel placatingly. He sat on the edge of his desk and held her hands, drawing her close.
“Alright,” she conceded grudgingly. “You say she’s a friend but the vibes from her show otherwise. Daniel, who’s she?” She wanted the truth and nothing more.
“Actually, Letty and I dated for a while some years back. But we broke up two years ago and we stayed friends. She’s even engaged to someone else now,” he explained.
She arrived Lagos a few days ago for a visit from her base in Calabar and came over to the office to see him earlier in the day. She wanted us to chat, catch up on old times, so followed me home,” he said.
“Well, I need to leave then, so you can do all the catching up you want!” she said in a sarcastic manner.
“Wait, Oma!” he implored as she turned towards the door. “Don’t go! I want you to stay. Please! Give me a minute ok? Will be back soon.”
Oma was admiring a painting on the wall, of a group of fishermen casting their nets in the water when he returned sometime later.
He stood behind her, his hands on her shoulders. “You like it?” he asked, gazing at the painting.
It reminds me of somewhere…”
“Ibeshe. The scene looks similar to that at the village when the fishermen are out at sea,” he noted. She turned round and looked at him keenly.
“What about your guest? Aren’t you neglecting her?”
He had showered and changed from his work clothes into more casual wear- shorts and a T shirt.
“Letty? She’s gone.”
“Oh!” she said, feeling pleased at the news.
“Hope my presence didn’t chase her away,” she said, moving away to stand at the window that overlooked the garden at the backyard of the house.
“Well, as they say, there can’t be two captains in a boat or it will sink.”
“So, I’m now a captain?” she queried.
She could feel him close at her back, then his hands held her by the waist and drew her to him.
She closed her eyes and inhaled the slightly musky scent of his perfume, the warmth of his body making her feel relaxed…
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