Perfect Life – Part 2

The next morning, I awoke with a small headache. It seemed years ago since I’d had my last hangover. I run my fingers through my hair and take a deep breath in, luckily, I took paracetamol before heading to bed as I could only imagine how worse the throbbing in my head if I hadn’t done so. I slowly get up recalling the events of the night before in my mind. The enchanted ebony that I’d had the pleasure of speaking with. I try to recall the last time my body felt so energised and smile remembering her in my arms. Just the thought of having her all night, rolling around in my sheets awakens my entire being. I try to convince myself that leaving her was the right thing to do – but struggle to find the sense behind my actions.

I get up feeling tense. The gym would be sure to help loosen me with all this pent-up energy I had built within. I start my morning regime, stepping into the shower and allowing the water to pour over my body. It was my own choice to turn her away, I think. She would have been willing (probably just like every other female I was with). And maybe the fact that I know she would have freely given herself to me, is what keeps the blood rushing straight towards my shaft. Why was I overthinking about a woman that I barely knew? It wasn’t like me to pine over a woman. By the afternoon, I’d be over my brief encounter with this unknown woman and I’d be back to my usual self.

***************

I sat leaned back in my office chair, an email opened, a response half written and all I can focus on is the number typed in my phone as ‘M’. As I rotate the phone in my hand, I let my mind wander over to the night before. The colleagues that were far too drunk, the way the women of J’J sat watching me, waiting for me to let loose. Who’d have thought it’d be a stranger that’d get me to enjoy myself? Throwing my phone behind me and onto my bed, I focus on answering some emails when my phone rings. Maybe she decided she was over waiting and thought to call me. I did save my number in her phone, right? I lift the phone to see Kurtis’ name flashing. Feeling surprisingly deflated, I answer.

“Kurtis, how’s it going?”

“Tanner – I feel like shit.”
Kurtis was my direct manager and the operational manager of J’J Business. He worked closely with the CEO of the company and was the reason I excelled faster than others, as it was him who I’d impressed so heavily. We’d managed to build a solid relationship together and have only gotten closer as colleagues and friends ever since.

I chuckle slightly, “Well you did knock back more than a few drinks yesterday.”

“I’m not even sure how much I drank and I woke up on my couch this morning! Honestly my head feels like it’s about to explode.” Kurtis moaned, groaning slightly as he inhaled deeply.

“Well, if you’re calling about the presentation and the brief – I’m typing them up as we speak. So, you can just recover today.”

“You’re a godsend! In fact, the reason why I called is because I’ll be off to Barcelona for a business summit next week, meaning I won’t be accessing my emails as frequently as I usually do. And seeing as I can completely trust you with my everything, I’ll be leaving you to oversee a few things I do. Give you the training to get you to that next step.”

“You know me Kurtis, I’m always ready for the next step.”

“That’s what I admire about you. Well you’ll be meeting with Jace Brennan on the 20th December.” I look at the calendar on my laptop – next week Monday. “He already knows you by name, but it’ll be good for you and him to meet face to face.”

Jace Brennan, the CEO of the entire company. This was definitely a big move for me, and I couldn’t mess this up as it could affect my entire career.

“Is it just an informal meeting?”

“Exactly that. Just a quick meeting, explaining what you’re currently working on and then lunch with him.”

As he runs through the meeting, I make a calendar entry on my phone as a reminder, ‘MEETING WITH JACE B’.

“I guess this is in the morning?”

“No, I think he’s got a family thing in the AM, so he’s asked for you to pop through around 1? Oh, and I didn’t mention the family thing.” I chuckle and make a mental note.

“Cool – I’ve got that all down.”

“Oh, and Tanna (!), I owe you.”

“You most definitely do!”

We both laugh and end the call. With M out of my mind (well not entirely), and Jace’s meeting taking the forefront of my thoughts, I complete my email and start working on the presentation and drafts for Kurtis.

Its hours after the call when I finally finish everything my phone begins to vibrate for another time today. I reach for it, lowering the volume of the television.

“Tantan!”

It was my older sister, we were five years apart, yet I felt I was ten years ahead of her. She was a ball of energy and followed her heart passionately. Which meant if her heart called her to a spontaneous visit in India, she’d go. The only downside was that she’d find her short of cash more often than so and would crash at my house until she was back on her feet.

“Emilia what’s up?”

“Nothing, I was hoping to ask you for a major favour?”

Everyone seemed to need something from me today. “Yes, you can crash here-”

“No that’s not it! It’s Christmas next weekend and I need you to make time to come through to dads.”

I rub my eyes and throw my head back. It’s not as though I don’t want to go my father’s for Christmas, it’s just we end up sharing memories of our mother and before you know it Emilia’s in tears and my father is on the verge of breaking down. It’s happened every year since her death and I was hoping to bypass the mourning party and send my wishes from a far.

“Em, we all know how it gets when we gather at dad’s for Christmas.”

“Oh, have a heart for crying out loud. It still hurts for some of us…”

Her voice trailed off making me feel guilty. It wasn’t as though I didn’t care or feel anything towards my mother’s passing. It was just… I wasn’t surrounded by tough people and who could I honestly rely on to share my grief without them unloading onto me? Losing my mother was the hardest thing I’d ever experienced. It broke me more than I let on and maybe that’s what made me stick to myself… I sigh feeling a wave of uninvited emotions rise to the surface.

“I know Em…”

“I’m sorry Tan, I shouldn’t have made it seem as though-”

“It’s fine.” I say interrupting her. She remains quiet for a while and then continues with her speech.

“Well… if you could come over and spend Christmas with dad and I, that’d be really great.”

“I’ll be there.”

Instantly the mood feels lighter as I feel her smile through the phone.

“Yay! Right, I’ll be in touch with times and what not – see you soon. Love you.”

I cringe but can’t help but smile. Emilia had made sure her love was evident whenever she had the chance since our mother passed. She denies all the emotions as a direct effect from the death of our mother, but I know she wished she confessed her love to our mother more often and now she didn’t have the chance, she made sure she never wasted the opportunity to her living family members. I look at my phone for what seems like the hundredth time today and think about M. Maybe I should leave her be, it was a good night, but maybe that’s all it was.

********************

All weekend I anticipate today’s meeting with Jace. Not as though I was worried, but it was a big career push if I impressed Jace himself. It was all good shining bright among other stars of the company, but if I shined big enough for the moon to notice me, who could tell what could happen?

I had put on the best navy suit I had in my wardrobe, selecting my cleanest brown brogues to accompany the look and a black trench coat. This wasn’t much of a different look to my everyday appearance. However, my step was with more reason that last week. I set my laptop on my desk and prepare for the working day, pushing my meeting with Jace to the back of my mind.

The time flies by quicker than I expect and I’m finding myself walking towards Jace’s office for our scheduled meeting. Kurtis had already called me twice with things he needed actioned before midday, so I didn’t have much time to fuss over the meeting, until now. I reach Jace’s office door and look at his name plaque on the door. The curtains to his office were drawn causing me to look at my watch to check on the time. 12:59 … I knocked on the door, despite the feeling that he didn’t want to be disturbed and waited.

“Come in!”

Turning the doorknob slowly, I enter confidently. Opposite me sat Jace, face hidden behind his laptop. He didn’t bother looking up from his screen until he heard the door close. He assessed me briefly then gestured for me to sit in the vacant leather seat opposite from him. I took a seat, waiting for him to finish whatever had his attention and found myself looking around his office. His curtains were drawn creating a dark atmosphere in his office. His table was almost spotless, apart from the laptop, a few pens and notebooks that lay on the desk.

Behind him was a small family portrait of what it seemed to be like him, his wife and a daughter laughing at an exotic holiday. My eyes drift towards the cabinets lined against the wall, all sealed and locked for confidential reasons. His sigh brought my attention back towards him. He rolled his eyes and then closed the laptop, folding his arms on top of the machine. He beamed a smile at me and spoke.

“Sorry about that Tanna, women eh?” Taken back, I smile – women? “Right, Kurtis was keen we meet up, speaks very highly of you.”

“I do what I can to impress Mr ­–”

“Jace… Jace is fine.” He said smiling again. “So, here’s the deal, Kurtis is away this week at a summit and before I consider doing anything, regarding your position, I need to see how you work.”

I nod, going over his words in my head. Kurtis made it seem as though we were just having a brief informal conversation, but this seems to be a discussion about my career at J’J and potentially receiving a promotion. I suppress my shock and decide acting surprised would only raise doubt.

“Totally understandable.”

“Great! With that in mind, I’ve got a task for you. I know it’s nearly Christmas but the amount of internal matters we go through would shock you.”

He slides back in his chair towards a small draw near the family photo and retrieves a folder. He returns to his position opposite me and gives me the folder.

“This is an account that have major potential of growing but just aren’t… I need you to work on them. Three weeks sound about reasonable?”

I open the folder and scan through the details. ‘Nexus Elite’, a media company that had been partnered with J’J since 2014, little to no revenue spent with us, yet continuously offered the best status as they have the “potential to grow”. Key contact assigned to this account was a woman called, Wynter Blaire. I look back at Jace and smile.

“Should be no problem!”

“Hey,” Jace says through chuckles. “Don’t think your good looks will get you past Wynter, she’s a tough woman. Gone through… how many has it been?” He says looking towards the ceiling. “Four account managers.” We laugh together and he shakes his head in disbelief.

“Four?”

“Yeah, she’s a wolf. But I have faith you’ll sweeten her.”

I smile, reviewing the account when there’s a soft knock at the door. I lift my eyes to Jace who’s quickly checked his watch and then the door.

“Apologies Tanna, I think I know who this is. This’ll only be brief… Come in!”

I return my gaze to the documents within the folder, not trying to intrude on any personal or business affairs. Nexus was worth 3.5 million and was predicted to make another profit in the new financial year. It seems like Miss Blaire was one of the main reasons for the uplift in profit for this media company. A challenge set by Jace himself, I thought. I was prepared to show him what I was capable of.

“Sorry to interrupt dad.” Dad? I stare at the papers before me, my attention slightly shifting to the voice behind me. Why did the voice seem familiar to my ears?

“No worries Maxine. Seeing as you’re here, Tanna meet my daughter, Maxine. Maxine meet Tanna.”

As I stood to turn to greet Maxine, my mouth instantly felt dry. It was her. My ebony enchantress from Friday. I stand in shock for a few seconds and she does the same. She looks different from the club. Her tight curls were pulled back into a low bun, bringing out the features of her face. Her eyes were kinder than when I last looked at them. She’d switched her body-hugging black dress, for a black leather trouser and a white shirt. Her once red lips were now a soft peachy colour. Noticing our awkward stare, I stretch my hand out to her, not sure whether now was the time to bring up our encounter from Friday night.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

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The Life of Kiana Young

“Morning Miss Young, how are you today?”
I watched the doctor take his usual seat in front of me. His pad of notes under his left arm and his glasses in his right hand. His white coat down to his shins, with his white shirt and black skinny tie underneath neatly pressed and ironed completing the doctor look that I’d grown so well to hate.
“The same as every day doctor.”
“Oh Miss Young,” He said sitting down whilst opening his pad on the table. “I told you that you could call me Lucas.” I looked at the doctor, watching him closely as he clicked his pen ready to start the 9’o’clock session.
“I prefer doctor.”
“Then doctor it is.”

He flicked through the pages of notes, skimming through what he’d written about me in the last few encounters we had. Trying to seem as though he was reminding himself where he left off, doing the occasional scratch on his chin or silent approval when he came across a key note. When in actual fact, he remembers exactly what we last spoke about and what he wanted to speak about this session.
He falls onto his most recent notes on myself and nods, then flicks onto a new sheet of white paper.
“Where did we finish last time?”
“I thought that was what you were doing just now?”
“What do you mean Miss Young?”
“All the flicking through your notes, nodding and humming to yourself – weren’t you doing all of that so we could skip all these niceties and get straight to the point?”

“Hmm, you seem a little tense today Miss Young?”
I look towards the two guards standing by the door, then at the two plain clothed guards that were acting as though they were watching the television when really, they were waiting for me to out of character so they could pin me down and sedate me. I rolled my eyes, trying to hide my annoyance, but failing to do so.
Ever since they put me here, classified me as crazy, I continuously failed to suppress my inner emotions. Maybe it’s due to the number of times I’ve been drugged, sometimes I don’t even know how I feel or think. But all I am aware of is that the more they pump these drugs into my system, the more I can feel my self-control slip.
“Doctor, how can one not be tense when they are in a stray jacket?”

I chuckled ever so lightly, trying to keep the sane image solid, even though I knew the doctor could see through it as clear as day.
“Well that is true, but I heard you got a little physical last night?”
“Doctor, I requested for different colour bed sheets. They bought me white… I refused to use it and here I sit today. With white bed sheets and strapped in a white stray jacket.” “Hmm,” He wrote a few notes in his now less empty pad and then looked back at me. “I want to talk about how you got here Miss Young, where this all started.”
With no response, he continued on with his plan of the day. “I want to know how Miss Young got in this seat, opposite me in a stray jacket – what triggered all of this?”

“Well I told you about how I’m in a stray jacket.”
“Miss Young…”
The doctor looked at me sternly, the two guards by the door turned their focus to me and the two plain guards had moved closer to my seat without my knowing. I swallowed my sarcasm and looked back at the doctor. I knew how this went, if I didn’t comply then I’d find myself laying in the room which was now my home. The four white walls taunting me, letting me know that no matter how much I tried, I was getting nowhere they didn’t want me to go.
Refocusing my attention back to the doctor, I sighed. “What do you want to know doctor?”
“I want to know what caused you to react the way you did that day. What went through your mind as you decided to change your life and commit that crime you did?”
With a sigh I look at the table. Where was I meant to begin? It’s clear to say the beginning, but every time I thought of the beginning I realised that the change happened within me long before I was aware. I looked at the doctor and then closed my eyes.
“I was sixteen and I’d just woken up to some tragic news.”

[Continuation of Kiana’s story next week- stay tuned]

Elliot & I [Part 2]

I hadn’t seen Elliot since our intimate moment on the balcony where we found ourselves confessing our love for each other one moment and then where I found myself being pulled away from him the next. I wasn’t sure what mother planned to do with me as she dragged me closer to the hall that evening. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I wasn’t even sure if she could do anything more to increase the pain I had begun feeling. But when she abruptly stopped near the rotating doors that led into the ceremonial hall and faced me and said,

“Love? You think you love him Alexandra? You no nothing of love, so get that out of your head.” It was then I realised that mother could actually somehow make this already bad situation worse. Even now as I lay on the bed thinking about that evening, I wouldn’t forget how she felt no sympathy towards my emotions. Instead she sent me to the toilet to get cleaned up (as she stood guard outside) and then told me to not utter a word throughout the rest of the night. Not as though I was planning to talk someone’s ear off anyway. It didn’t help that once we did return back to our seats, Elliot and his family had left. I couldn’t even have another chance to see Elliot and explain my love for him, explain to him how important his love is to me.

And here I lay, two weeks since I’d shared that passionate moment with him, I can’t help but find myself grow impatient. Every day grew more harder without speaking with him or seeing him. Not as though we saw each other frequently, but at least we had the opportunity to text. But ever since mother caught us, she made sure my phone was confiscated. Not only that she made it a necessity that anywhere I went I was to be guarded. I wasn’t under any threat, well – she’d say Elliot was enough to be a threat. But because of her lack of trust in me (I could only presume), the security men followed me wherever I went. I could barely leave my room without one of the guards trailing behind me, like an unwanted shadow. What still puzzled me was the fact my father hadn’t sat me down to discuss what had occurred. I was sure my mother would have instantly told my father as soon as we got into settled into the limo on our way home that night. But after he continuously spoke about business deals and future movements with other companies, I realised he knew nothing of my venture with Elliot on the balcony. Which surprised me as to why my mother would spare me? It’s almost to impossible to believe she would do anything to protect me, especially when it came to Elliot. But I knew she hadn’t told father, so I made sure I didn’t bring it up.

There was many times I thought about sneaking away from the guard that was allocated to watch over me. Last week I tried to lose Mr O’Neil in the hustle and bustle of the London streets. But after I believed to have gotten away, he showed up in front of me a few minutes later. These men were trained to follow orders and it was then I knew no amount of plotting or sneaking away would actually be successful. I sat up, tired of being caged away in my room with nothing other than my thoughts to keep me company. I was exhausted of thinking about how Elliot was or what he was getting up to. I didn’t want to think about how only two weeks ago did he confess his love to me and my mother and now I no nothing of how he currently feels. I had to do something to ease my anxiety. I slipped my feet into some casual slippers that were laid just near my wardrobe and opened my room door. I was done laying waiting for something to happen. I was going to make sure I saw Elliot today.

As I opened the door Fredrick stood firm, his gaze looking straight ahead, whilst his body remained upright and ready to defend. When he saw me walk out, he looked at me.
“Fredrick there’s somewhere I need you to drive me.”
“Miss Alexandra, I’ve received orders that you should remain at home whilst your mother and father attend their meal tonight.”
“Fredrick I understand you’ve taken orders, but there is somewhere I must desperately go. If you fail to take me, I will find my own way there. And there is nothing you can do to stop me.”
I looked at Fredrick’s build and slightly chuckled in my head. If Fredrick wanted me back in my room, there were more than ten ways he could do so without breaking a sweat. But I was determined to see Elliot today. Especially with my parents out having dinner, there wasn’t going to be an opportunity like this anytime soon. I had to seize the opportunity.
“And where would you be going Miss Alexandra?”
I hadn’t decided on the lie I was to tell Fredrick, but if I hesitated for just a second, he would know that I was planning on meeting Elliot.
“I’d prefer to direct you myself. It’s private.”

The guards had no right to intervene with our personal lives. They were there for a job and that job purpose only. Fredrick understood he had no right to question my privacy, which pained me to see him disobey his orders. But I had to start doing things for myself or else I’d never find happiness. He gave me a stern nod and walked me out of the house to the family car, ready for his directions. It took a while for us to arrive at Elliot’s house. I made sure the directions I gave Fredrick were beyond complicated so he couldn’t trace where exactly I was going. But as soon as he saw the road name, he parked the car and turned off the engine.
“Miss Alexandra –”
“Fredrick I won’t be a second. Please remain here whilst I just go and return something to someone.” Without another word, I left the car before he could stop me. My heart pounded against my chest as I grew excited knowing soon I’d see Elliot. Soon I’d be with him, in his embrace, digesting our newfound love for each other. I walked passed a few cars before getting to his property. Normally two or three cars would be parked in his driveway, however tonight, a row of cars were lined up, and even spilling to the street where other cars were parked. I quietly snuck passed the entrance and begun making my way to the back of his house, where a vine which clasped on tightly to the bricks of his home would be awaiting me to climb right into the window of his room. The vines were beside the kitchen window, where it seemed the event that must have been occurring at Elliot’s house was taking place. Different voices emerged from the kitchen, whilst cutleries were being played with constantly. Elliot could be amongst them and probably was, but I was willing to wait for him in his room, rather than check if he sat with the cluster that seemed to be going on in his kitchen.

After testing a vine or two, I started to climb up when a voice from the kitchen stopped me in my tracks.
“That fucking Harold Bennett, you know what if I had the choice to build my business or kill him…I’d kill him.” The kitchen burst out into laughter, as the male voice choked on his own laughter and continued. “No that man is a bastard. I still don’t understand how a nigger has managed to get what he’s got. Can you imagine Clifford is till this very day struggling on receiving clients for his upcoming technology program he’s starting. And there’s Harold Bennett, not even giving a fucking damn. I told him about Clifford and he said he’ll ‘sort something out’,” He huffed and continued. “Sort something out, the cheek like we need help from him, from people like him.”
“It’s ridiculous how things have changed.” A feminine voice spoke after the room had settled to listen to the mans story. Quickly climbing down from the vines, I slowly creep up to the window, just to see who was talking so poorly of my father. But recognised no one, just a room full of people in suits and dresses, eating a meal and bad mouthing my father.
“Don’t worry Jo, they always seem to fuck themselves up one way or the other. Am I right?”
The room fell into laughter again as these strangers mocked my family and my race. Stunned, I couldn’t find the energy to stop watching, to leave and tell Fredrick to drive me home. No, instead I looked around. Hoping to not see anyone I recognised, it was bad enough these people I knew nothing of was praying for my father to face a downfall, but if it was people I recognised I wouldn’t know what I’d do. But then I saw him. Elliot, sitting down with a plate full of food, chuckling with them. Finding the words that cut so deep to me amusing. I wasn’t sure I was seeing accurately. But the more I stared at him, the clearer everything became. He agreed with what they were saying. I shouldn’t be shocked, my father always made it obvious to him that he didn’t like Elliot. But I never assumed this would have had an affect on how he saw the rest of us. The scene that was before me was far too much for my brain and heart to comprehend. Who was Elliot? Elliot, the same man that I just recently confessed my love too, was the same man that sat amongst racists and found their disrespectful words amusing. Even as I stood there in what I can only assume was shock, I couldn’t help but remember my parents. Remember their own narrow mindset and how discriminating it was at times. They never truly gave me a reason why they disliked Elliot so passionately, but it was obvious his skin colour was a factor. So did that mean I had a right to be angry? My parents were just as bad as the strangers in suits and dresses that sat around the table hoping for my father to fail and belittling my race?

With the pain, hurt and confusion slowly slipping its way into my muscles, I found the energy to turn away. Not aware of Elliot’s mum who stood a few steps away from me, watching me watch them talk about my father. With a pained look in her eye, she followed my previous gaze onto Elliot and then returned her gaze back to me. With no words to say that could possibly explain or reduce the shock I received, I walked passed her and back to Fredrick. Wishing I stayed in bed.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Elliot & I [Part 1]

I think I loved him. No – I knew I loved him. The way he gazed at me like I was worth more than any soul to have walked this earth. The way he caressed my body when we were alone, and the way he stole precious touches when we weren’t alone was what had my heart racing. There was something about him that kept drawing me closer to him. Even though he was a flame that was sure to burn me, I couldn’t help but keep walking towards the light, almost like a moth that couldn’t pull itself from the bright light that teased it. The closer I moved towards him, I knew my life would spin out of control. But I was sure once I got to him, he’d centre me.

Even now as I stare at him from across the ceremonial dinner hall, I can see the small smile that crept onto his lips as he feels my gaze glide across his body. I didn’t even want to be here. These events were not to my interest, not like I was against charity events or events that gave recognition to people who had made such an impact within the community. But tonight was not the night I wanted to be out. Smiling at people I didn’t like. Sitting amongst strangers who my parents forced down my throat and engaging in conversation that bored me more than enticed me. They discussed subjects such as politics and plans for the community, as I sat amongst a number of community leaders. But none of what they had discussed reached my heart, let alone my ears.

After graduating I knew that joining a career that allowed me to explore my creativity was where I needed to be. But once my parents had caught wind of this idea, there had been an agonising two-hour argument about my life, which I obviously had no control of.

“Alexandra Bennett, you will not talk back to your mother. We have decided you will join a political program that offers you many opportunities and that is final!”

My dad shouted over my complaints. And even as tears pricked the sides of my eyes, he ignored them and shoved clothes in my face, reminding me the limo would be picking us up in 20minutes. It broke my heart that my parents knew so little about me, and still wanted to pull me away from things that I enjoyed. But the one thing they couldn’t pull me from, was him. They tried on many occasions to stop us from seeing each other. But, there is only so much a parent can do.

My mother followed my gaze and audibly sighed, nudging me slightly to wake me out of my trance.

“Harold, I didn’t know he would be here.” My father followed her gazed and caught Elliot’s eyes. Elliot ignored his stare and kept his eyes on me, whilst I bit my lip, nerves and excitement playing in my stomach.

“Neither did I. If I had known that was the case, I would have told Alexandra to stay at home.”

My father coughed pulling me out of Elliot’s trance again, causing me to stare at my parents, who were more than angry that I was entertaining this little staring battle I had with Elliot. My mother shifted in her seat as my father leaned closer to me.

“Alexandra, we will not have anymore of this behaviour tonight. You will behave and if I catch you looking over in that direction, you will have me to answer to.”

Father rarely threatened me, until Elliot came into my life. I wasn’t sure what they hated about Elliot most. Whether the fact that he didn’t fear them as powerful beings or the fact that he was white. Either way, my parents had never admitted to what it was that brought so much distaste to their mouths at the mention of Elliot, but I knew it was to do with whom he was. My parents weren’t racists, or so I would like to think. They were people who cared more about image than they did of their own child’s happiness. And if communal leader and powerful businessman, Harold Bennett, let his only daughter fall in love with a white boy, it would be a shame to him and his parental skills. I’m sure it was this that had pushed my parents into keeping me away from Elliot. But they couldn’t stop the strong pull we shared, no matter how many times they tried to lock me away from him.

“Did you hear your father Alexandra?” My mother whispered in a sharp tone. I nodded my head slightly, looking at the table not trusting my eyes to not wonder towards Elliot’s direction. I heard my father whisper a ‘good’ and resumed his chatter with other businessmen he planned to make future plans with.

I hadn’t analysed a table as much as I did tonight. I told myself not to look up, as I knew Elliot would still be looking at me. But as time passed it grew harder to fight the urge to stare at him, knowing what my heart wanted but couldn’t have. My father had excused himself as he and a few other men wanted to continue business discussion away from the ladies. My mother smiled and took a sip of her wine, sliding into conversation with the other wives who had nothing better to do with their lives other than be false with each other. I lifted my head and not to my surprise Elliot was watching me. He wore a pained look, knowing something was wrong, but I gave him a small smile, an attempt to reassure him things weren’t as bad as they may have looked. He smiled back and gave me a quick wink, making me feel like a little schoolgirl who was sneaking around with her boyfriend.

“Alexandra?”

“Yes!” My head spun quickly in her direction.

“Did you hear Mrs Monroe?”

“No sorry, I was lost in thought.” My mother eyed me, before ignoring her suspicion and repeated what Mrs Monroe had told her.

“Mrs Monroe just let me know her son is single. He just recently graduated too, from what course again?”

“Law, he’s a smart boy my Kevin is. You both should meet up, I hear you’re single too?”

I couldn’t mask the horror that crept on my face as I watched my mother smile in delight. So she not only wanted to control my life, but now she was playing cupid with it too? I sat numb for a few seconds, before anger bubbled in my chest. Was not taking my life enough? What more did my family want that would make them happy enough to leave me be? It was bad enough I studied a course in university that I loathed, but I thought after I graduated the hassle would ease. But they hadn’t bargained on me meeting Elliot and instead everything got worse. I pushed my chair out, trying to keep my anger at bay, before excusing myself from the table.

“Where are you going?” My mother questioned.

“Toilet mother, unless you wish to escort me there?”

She kept quiet and with that, I took my leave desperate for air and space. They were crowding me so much I thought I was going to suffocate in their presence. I made my way to a deserted balcony, that wasn’t too far from the dinner party and took a deep breath. The air burned my lungs as I inhaled. I clutched the edge of the balcony and let the cold air brush pass the little skin that I showed in my expensive designer dress. It did little to show the beauty of my figure, and the only revealing part of my dress was the fact that it was sleeveless and had a slit running up my right leg. My parents had decided what dress I wore tonight. Making sure the family image was up to everyone’s expectations. Taking another deep breath, I sighed wondering how different my life would be if I weren’t born under the known and respected leader, Harold Bennett.

A hint of cologne teased my nose, and I knew instantly who had joined my microcosm. My body instantly relaxed as his arms embraced me softly. In sync, my body melted into his, whilst my heart thundered in my chest. I hadn’t been able to touch him in so long since my parents had done everything they could to keep us apart. Now with his hands possessively holding my hips and my back against his chest, my stomach rolled in excitement. He bent down slightly, coming close to my ears so only I could hear him as he graced me with light kisses.

“I’ve missed you Alex.” He nibbled on my earlobe, making me sigh in pleasure, as his hands held me more firmly.

“I’ve missed you too Elliot.” He chuckled and shook his head, slightly grinding his hips into me, so that I could understand how much he had truly missed me. My breath found itself caught in my throat as I felt the hardened flesh poke me softly in my back. He fully wrapped his arms around me, like a snake claiming his meal. With his hips grinding into me a little harder than the previous time.

“They’ve been keeping you from me, haven’t they?” It almost came out as a growl as he kissed my neck. I tilted my head towards the right, giving him more access to the flesh that blazed by his touch. His hands caressed my body. His left hand slowly moved towards my breasts, whilst his right hand moved towards the core that screamed his name. My breathing increased, with my heart thudding in my chest. I knew what the repercussions were if we were caught, but I couldn’t seem to find the voice of reason. Instead, I pushed myself more into his erection, hoping my need and desire was being known. He chuckled and stilled his hands. I surprised myself when a groan of frustration escaped my lips. He turned me to face him and turned around, checking if we were still alone. When he was clear we wouldn’t be interrupted, he pulled me towards the shadowed area of the balcony, with a look of ecstasy in his eyes.

Once we had reached the furthest wall, far from the windows that led us to the balcony, he pulled my body towards his. Making my body crash into his in an instant. I looked up at him as he ran his hands through my hair, still with desire laced in his eyes. He brought his lips to mine, allowing the need and hunger we had for each other to take control. The kiss had begun with passion, but once we had received a taste of each other, the kiss had turned dark. Almost as though the time we stood kissing, would never amount to the time we were apart. Pulling away slightly for air, he crushed our lips together again for another passionate kiss. My hands roamed his body, not fulfilling my desire. Nothing was going to be enough. He was my drug and the only way I’d keep going is if I had him. And with my parents depriving me of his love, I knew I had to get as much of him as I could. He pulled away again, giving me air to breath. My chest rose and fell in quick breaths, as I felt drunk with his passion.

“They’re hiding you from me Alex.” He held my body again, this time in fear of losing me. I returned the embrace with the same fear eating away in my mind.

“I love you Elliot.” His body stiffened and then he pulled away to look me in the face. After staring in my eyes for what felt like eternity, a cocky smile played on his lips as he traced my figure with his finger.

“You love me huh?” I nodded, nervous of his reaction. I hadn’t told him I loved him before, but I knew in my heart what I felt. And after what my parents had made him endure, I felt he deserved to know.

“Love… Oh my Alex, if only I could show you how much I loved you. All night I would show you why I loved you. Why I loved your lips,” his fingers lightly touched my plump lips “your beautiful body,” his hands caressed my frame, making me shudder uncontrollably as his touch sent vibrations straight through me to my core. “and then I’d roam the whole of you. Joining us as one. That’s how I want to show my love to you Alex.”

His hands moved closer to the core that ached for some attention. He stroked the thigh that was revealed due to the slit in the dress and crept his hands higher to the lace thongs I wore. A groan escaped his lips as he felt how fragile the material was. In an instant reaction, I ran my hands through his hair, enjoying the dark look that veiled his eyes as his hands crept closer to the damp area of the lace material. As his hands slowly made its way between my thighs, my core clenched, knowing soon the tension that ran through my body would soon be released by the touch of my lover. His touch left small flames of desire in its wake, making me ache with pleasure.

“God Alex I could take you here right now…” I pulled him down for another deep kiss when I heard a small shriek coming from the entrance of the balcony. Our heads whipped to the sound, when I noticed my mother holding her mouth with one hand, whilst the other clutched onto her chest. I jumped away from Elliot, not aware of what to say or what to do. Elliot stood still in obvious shock with his shirt creased from my touch and his hands in the position of where they were when our bodies were united. My mother looked between the two of us, unable to grasp anything to say, whilst my whole body trembled in fear. If my father knew, I was sure to be sent away, or receive a punishment that would ensure I never sure Elliot again. All three of us stood frozen in our places. My dress still hiked up past the respectable length where Elliot had touched me. My mouth opened to speak, yet when I tried to conjure up something, nothing came out. I took a step closer to mother, but that only made her retreat away from me. I took a deep breath and spoke.

“Mother–“

“No! Don’t you dare say a word Alexandra Bennett!” Her words silenced my pleas, whilst she turned her attention to Elliot. “And you! Don’t you dare come near my daughter again!”

“But I love her.”

I looked at Elliot, my heart squeezing at his confession and love that he has for me. Knowing that by confessing his love would do nothing but anger my mother, I couldn’t help but feel proud that Elliot had the confidence to still proclaim his love after being casted away. His words made her stumble backwards. Shocked to hear his confession, but then she stood upright, remembering who she was and grabbed my hand with so much force I almost fell.

“You will stay away from my daughter.” She turned on her heel, trying to walk back to the hall. But I needed to speak with Elliot, needed to say something, to explain what was going on and how I could make things better. Yet, the grip she had on my wrist was far stronger than I would have guessed. Pulling me towards the hall, I tried to resist, knowing Elliot would be left in the dark if I didn’t do something to save our relationship.

“Mother, please!”

“Alexandra!”

“But Elliot­–“ She span round, standing right in my face as her face twisted in anger.

“You ever say that name again and I promise you Alexandra Bennett, you will never step a foot outside of your room let alone the house.”

With that she continued to drag me back to the hall. I turned around, tears now falling from my eyes as Elliot turned into a mere shadowed figure standing alone at the balcony. I wanted to scream for help, wanted him to rush over and rescue me from the clutches of my family. But, we both knew anything else he would have done would only cause more trouble. I loved Elliot and he loved me, but there was nothing we could do about it. And I thought my family couldn’t take me away from Elliot, who was I kidding.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun