It was three in the morning. He had not been able to sleep a wink. His thoughts were consumed with his intimate encounter with Misi. If he had not regained his senses, he would have slept with her and regretted it afterwards. He found pleasure in the fact that she was also attracted to him. He turned on his side. Was his heart ready to commit to another woman? He doesn’t know her well enough to trust her. He wasn’t looking forward to getting hurt again. If he took things slow and court her friendship, in time, he might be ready for a serious solid futuristic commitment. What if she couldn’t wait? The thought of seeing her with someone else made his blood boil. He lay on his tummy.
Oh God… I really, really like this girl.
He remembered the day he saw her singing and dancing in the kitchen. He raised the corners of his mouth in a smile. The house had seemed kind of quiet since the Phillips moved out. He missed the noise and coming home to an empty house had turned into a daily unpleasant experience. It was high time he settled down.
She opened the door and walked into the large office space. She sighted Eno seated in her cubicle and sighed with relief. She had been trying to see her all day, but, she had been tied up with one assignment or the other. She approached her desk and took the empty seat opposite her.
“Hey! Hi, hi,” Eno smiled at her.
“You have been scarce,” she eyed her.
Eno rested against her chair and sighed, “My madam has been on my neck.”
Misi crossed her legs and looked around her, “You are lucky.”
Eno rolled her eyes.
“Seriously, I work in an office with a bunch of guys who wear spectacles… at least, you have a better crowd.”
Eno let out a throaty laugh. She had been to the Accounts office a number of times. There were several unattractive bald guys who had their heads in their books and didn’t talk much.
“I thought there were three ladies in that office,” she grinned.
“Two of them to be precise,” Misi pouted.
“Plus you, that’s three.”
Misi folded her arms across her bosom and feigned sadness, “We need more women in that office.”
Eno reached out and patted her on the shoulder, “You will get used to it.”
Misi pressed her lips together and motioned at the pack of Pringles on the desk. Eno picked it up and passed it to her.
“Thanks,” she opened it and threw a few slices into her mouth, “Is your elder brother unavailable?”
Eno raised an eyebrow, “Which one of them?”
“The doctor,” she looked at her steadily.
Hazel eyes seized up curious brown ones, “Who wants to know?”
Eno’s interest increased, “Why do you want to know?”
“He is sort of indecisive,” her brown eyes darted away.
Eno drew her chair closer to the desk and focused her attention on her, “What do you mean?”
She sighed and closed the pack of Pringles, “He… he said it’s being a crazy period for him.”
Her eyes widened in surprise. Her brother rarely talked about his personal issues with people he hardly knew. Why did he open up to Misi?
“What does he mean?” she searched her face.
Eno looked away. She wouldn’t wish for a repeat of what her brother went through when the wedding was called off.
“I don’t quite get him,” she stressed.
“Why don’t you ask him?” Eno folded her arms against her chest.
Misi directed her gaze at the poster on the wall. She wasn’t ready to face him yet. The last time they met, things had gotten kind of heated.
Eno noticed the conflict in her brown eyes. Did something happen between them? “Do you like him?”
Misi turned her head her and met her eager gaze. She opened her mouth but no words came out. She closed it and turned away. Liking the doctor was an understatement. She was falling in love with him.
“You do like him, don’t you? I can see it in your eyes,” her hazel eyes brightened.
Misi didn’t respond. She shifted on the seat and cleared her throat.
“What exactly did he tell you?” Eno watched her. She could tell that something had transpired between her brother and her new friend.
Misi scratched a spot on her head, “He… we… I…” she bit at her lower lip. How does she explain the confusion she was immersed in?
“You can talk to me,” she tried to encourage her.
Misi bowed her head, clasped her hands and cleared her throat again, “I have been attracted to your brother since the day he rescued us from the angry crowd on his street.”
Eno listened attentively and observed her.
“My feelings grew each passing day. Initially, I thought it was because he helped us… but, later, I discovered that it was much stronger than
that,” she raised her head. She felt encouraged by the empathy in Eno’s eyes, “I know he likes me too, but, he… he is like… sort of restrained,
I don’t know.”
She nodded. Her brother had been hurt by his best friend and his ex. It would be hard to trust another with his heart.
“Some days ago, he visited us. The craziest thing happened,” Misi averted her eyes.
She narrowed her gaze, “What happened?”
Misi covered her face with a hand, “I kissed him.”
“Lord God Almighty!” Her eyes grew big in wonder.
Misi peeped through her hand, “He kissed me back and… and…”
“Aaaaaaah!” her scream attracted attention.
Misi looked around them. She became aware that some of her new friend’s colleagues were looking in their direction.
“Sorry…” Eno whispered.
Misi folded her arms across her chest and sighed.
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” Eno fanned her face with a hand.
“We… I… the next thing I knew, we were in the bedroom,” she felt the need to tell her everything that had been eating her up for the past few days.
Eno covered her mouth with a hand and stifled the shriek that erupted from within her.
“We came back to our senses before… you know,” she looked away.
“My God… that is some chemistry,” she whistled.
Misi returned her gaze to her excited face.
“Bassey must really like you. As far back as I can remember, he is very principled. He doesn’t touch anyone he isn’t committed to. He doesn’t
sleep with anyone he isn’t prepared to marry, though, he doesn’t believe in sex before marriage. You, you are not even dating him and… and he is all over you,” she gave a shake of head in amazement.
“I have the same ideology.”
“Good for you,” Eno watched her.
“I don’t make out with every Dick and Harry I meet either.”
She chuckled, “He must really, really like you to have thrown caution into the wind and… and ate you all up.”
“He said he isn’t ready. Why?” a pained look took over her face.
“Hmmm…” she darted her eyes left, then right, “Why don’t you ask him?”
She sighed and scratched a spot on her brow, “I don’t know if I can face him…face the truth.”
Eno shrugged, “But, it is better you know what you are up against.”
She covered her face with both hands, “I don’t know.”
“What are you afraid of?”
She peeped through her hands and sighed heavily.
“I trust my brother. He knows how to exercise his self-control, even at the last second. “
Misi wrapped her hands around her body. She wasn’t convinced. The man that kissed her back the other night was far from exercising
self-control. It didn’t bother her, what she was concerned about was that, she might not be able to stop him the next time he touched her.
Eno smiled to herself. She was happy that her brother was falling for someone else. They had been afraid that he might not think of getting marriage in another five years. God had answered their prayers by bringing the Philips into their lives. Misi had broken the spell of depression upon his life. It was only a matter of time. He would be ready to settle down sooner than they had thought.
…To be continued