New Woman – Chapter 2

I barely slept last night. The constant images of Vicky’s lips on my own replayed in my head disobediently whilst I tried to erase the memory. What was I doing? This was not the way I behaved with a man let alone a woman. The first time Jonathan and I were intimate, I had done intense research in the way to kiss and how a man would like to be touched – ridiculous as it seems, he was my first boyfriend and with no siblings, I had to depend on a number of articles to be my guide. However, I’ve just moved to New York and here I am acting out of character, way out of character! So many thoughts were running through my mind, reminding me of the previous night, that I could barely concentrate on anything. I could barely allow one emotion to run through me because I started to think about things like Vicky’s lips on mine, remembering how soft they were on my own, how my body vibrated in unexplainable excitement and warmth, and instantly I regret even doing it in the first place and wish I could bury myself under the sheets so that I didn’t have to come out until I forgot about last night.

It didn’t help that my head felt as though two mine workers were hammering at my brain trying to find gold. I found myself wincing at the pain amongst a number of other memories which I tried to forget. I knew that I had to get up soon for work, but the thought of even raising my head felt impossible and facing Vicky today, did nothing to encourage me to leave my white silk sheets. I closed my eyes, trying to focus on eradicating one problem in hope that would make any future plans easier to organise in my head. Firstly, I needed to locate some paracetamols. There was no way I was going to have an internal war with myself when I had a splitting headache. Slowly I sat up, instantly gripping my head when the throbbing intensified due to my elevation. Taking deep breaths, I slid out of bed and carefully made my way to the bathroom, remembering the floor pattern as rising my head to look directly in front of me, would have only made everything worse. After making my way to the bathroom safely, I opened the mirror cabinet and grabbed the only tablets in there.  Feeling far too awful to make another journey to the kitchen for a glass of water, I popped two pills into my mouth and gulped the water from the taps of the sink. Once the bitter pills made their way down my throat, the image of Vicky arose in my mind. What was I meant to do? How was I meant to act with her now? Did she ever consider that before throwing her lips on mine?

My forehead tightened as I remembered another detail from last night, I’m sure she mentioned she had felt attracted to me for a long time hence why she was unsure of how to behave with me? If I took what she said into consideration that would mean, from when I first arrived in the office she had started having feelings for me? It all seemed to surreal to believe. I could imagine telling Jonathan what had gone on yesterday and him turning around and blaming me for my boss kissing me. I scoffed thinking about Jonathan and instantly regretted it as the mine workers bounced around in my head, causing me to wince. Bloody Jonathan, how could we be in a steady relationship for a few years and the time when I start to progress in life, that is when he decides to give me an ultimatum? I looked at myself in the mirror, looking at the way my brows furrowed in annoyance and the way my mouth frowned as I thought about the way in which Jonathan failed to get in contact with me after I left for the job. After staring at myself for a few minutes, I realised that I had transferred my anger, shame and guilt to Jonathan. If he had been caring, if he had stuck by my side, maybe I wouldn’t have found myself here, clutching onto the rim of the porcelain sink, my head pounding and my heart racing after every thought of Vicky. I had no right to blame Jonathan, if anything he would laugh and say the infamous, ‘what did I tell you’ line – but who else could I blame?

I dragged my feet as I walked back to bed and gently sat on my bed. I grabbed my phone and noticed that soon enough if I didn’t start to make a move towards the shower, then I would have to call into work and let them know that I won’t be showing up. And even though every muscle in my body craved for me to get back underneath those sheets and get lost in my unconscious, something within me stopped me from doing so. I had to remain professional. Maybe because I was one of the youngest of the bunch at work (bearing in mind the team was all nearing the same age), but I felt I had more to prove. I was the one with the least experience, yet still managed to find myself in a position where someone who had years under their belt should have been. I had to prove not only to myself (and the imaginary Jonathan in my mind) but also to Vicky. I needed to show her that no matter the curveballs thrown my way, my head was still in the game and I would fulfil any promises I made.

With very slow movements, I made my way back to the bathroom and ran the hot water in the shower. Watching the water spray out of the mouth of the shower hose relaxed the miners in my head. I stripped out of my pyjamas and stepped into the shower slowly, enjoying the hot water beat against my skin. Breathing slowly, I thought about nothing apart from the water being sprayed against my skin – it was much needed. The silence, the calm because I knew after I left my apartment, I would have to face the storm I wasn’t prepared for.

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

It took longer than normal to get to work, but as I stepped through the glass doors of Building 59, and swiped my ID on the barrier sensor I knew that I had to put on a brave face. Even though I couldn’t think of anything better than hauling a taxi and returning home. Instead I put on a bright smile and walked out of the elevator meeting Kirsty, the receptionist by the welcome desk.
“Bloody hell, how do you do it?”
Paranoia claimed me as I tried to decipher what Kirsty had meant. Do what? Had Vicky gone around and told everyone we had shared a kiss yesterday night and now Kirsty was wondering how I could show my face in the office the next day? Too stunned to speak and too scared to hear what her next line was I stood in front of her in utter silence, bracing myself for her next words.
“I mean, we all drank so much yesterday, yet here you are looking like you never went out and got the best sleep ever.”
A nervous chuckle escaped my lips as I remembered that she too was there yesterday, dancing the hardest on the dance floor. I shrugged my shoulders whilst signing in.
“Trust me, I don’t feel as good as I look.”
“I wouldn’t have guessed that you felt like shit.” She said taking a long gulp of water, whilst taking a tablet. I waved her goodbye and made my way to my desk, dreading seeing Vicky as my desk was the closest to her office. I couldn’t face any awkward situation and didn’t think I had the energy to. Once I got to my desk, Eileen was first to greet me with a disgruntled face.
“I feel bloody terrible Rebecca…you know when you think to yourself ‘was it really worth it?’ – yeah that’s my thoughts now.” She said slightly perching on my desk.
“Yeah, I seriously contemplated coming into work today – I feel like absolute crap.” Eileen looked at me deeply and then shook her head.
“Would have never thought you have a hangover, you look too good to be feeling as crap and you say you feel.”
I chuckled slightly, booting up my computer. “Don’t us females try harder when we know we look even more worse than usual?”
“No honey, that is you only. How did get home anyway? I should have texted you, but I had to share a cab with the girls because I could barely stand once I left.”
“Just a taxi.” I said avoiding any eye contact, hoping she could notice the lie.
“Did you see Vicky, she left shortly after you and I thought she may have caught up to you?”
“Nope, didn’t see her. I got a taxi quickly lucky for me. Anyone get lucky yesterday?” I asked her hoping to get her to switch topics and talk more about herself and her experience yesterday night.
“Nah,” She said shaking her head and getting up from my desk, slowly making her way back to her desk. “sadly, I was banking on someone to get lucky…even a cheeky kiss would have been exciting!”

She turned from me and walked to her desk as I looked back at my monitor. If only she knew that a ‘cheeky kiss’ was shared last night, but between the two people she would have least thought would have shared an intimate meeting.

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

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Toxic – Part 4

“What’s wrong baby, did someone hurt you?”
Why did men think all signs of emotion from women meant we were hurt? It was me who has caused pain, if only Josh knew, I’m sure his anger would dissipate. I shake my head, throwing tears left and right.
“Then why are you crying?”

I took a deep breath, in attempt to inhale the overflowing emotions that threatened to show itself.
“I just…I’m sorry.” Sorry for going out yesterday, sorry for making him scared and definitely sorry for being intimate with his brother – all the things I wanted to say but kept it trapped within the deepest depths within myself.
“Sasha…what happened last night? Where were you?”
God, here it comes. The fabricated truth, the story smeared with hazy lies. I fear to look him in the eyes, so I keep my gaze to our feet and take a deep breath in.

“I drank too much,” Lie. “Then I saw Mike,” Truth. “I’m not sure how, but he was worried…I think.” More lies. “So he took me home and then I woke up this morning embarrassed and left to go home.” It was more or less what had happened. The bare outlines of yesterdays events. I look at Josh through my wet eyelashes and see the concern in his facial expression.
“Why didn’t you go home with Clarissa?” It was then I remembered Clarissa had lied I was with her. I needed to explain why Clarissa would have lied without mentioning that I was aware I knew she tried to make an excuse for me.
“I think I wondered away from the group a little…”
“WHAT THE FUCK WAS YOU THINKING?!”
His outburst made me jump. I didn’t expect this from Josh. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that I had said that had caused his reaction.
“Sasha you’re acting stupid! I knew Clarissa was bad influence – what if Mike wasn’t there to help you?”
My lip trembled as I couldn’t quite fathom a response. I had been more than stupid – in fact I had been out right brain dead. But I was prepared to take stupid over him knowing how the truth.
“Never, you’re never going out with her again!” Something bubbled in me, who was Josh to tell me who I could and couldn’t see.
“She’s my best friend!” I said through tears, from both sadness and a slight hint of anger.
“I don’t care Sasha! What if something happened to you?”
“Nothing –”
“Wait,” He interrupted me, looking at me like something didn’t add up. “When did you drink that you’re that out of your mind that you can’t even get yourself home?”

I shrugged, not having the brain power to think of a response. I wiped my tears with the back of my hand and internally told myself to control my emotions. Stop the tears that continued to be rebellious and show itself even though I fought so hard to keep them at bay. Stop trying to defend Clarissa, there was a time and place that I would be able to bring justice to Clarissa’s name and today was not the day. For now, I just needed to accept that I was wrong and then clear the grey areas at a later stage.

“Something’s not right Sasha, why didn’t Mike let me know you were with him?” Because we were fucking on the floor and then on his couch and then literally on every appliance until we reached his bedroom. My insides flare up with small voices reminding me how good it was with Mike. How he made me scream, how I grabbed him with passion leaving scratch marks on his body as he plunged deeper and deeper. God, the thoughts were so real, I could feel myself tensing up. My core tightening and slowly getting moist as I thought about our passion.
“I was scared you’d be upset, I was a mess.”
My voice came out huskier than necessary – thicker almost with Mike still on my tongue. Just as Josh was about to say more, his phone rang, pausing him in his tracks. He gave me another glare and reached for his phone.
“Mike…” My eyes dropped to the ground, what if our lies hadn’t matched? We didn’t thoroughly think this through. I looked back at Josh who had me under strict scrutiny whilst speaking to Mike. “Yeah she’s home safe…thanks for your help Mike…fuck I forgot about that. We’ll see you at mums.”

The phone was off. He gave me one last look and then left. But before he was out of ear reach he shouted, “It’s my grandfathers anniversary, we’re going to my parents. Get cleaned up.”
I rushed to the shower and took a long bath. I thought things were already difficult, but now we had to play happy family in front of his actual family was not ideal or even part of the plan. This was going to be one extended evening.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Toxic – Part 1

Do you ever get that feeling when you know what is wrong, and you try so hard to stay away from that – but everything in life is pulling you closer to the wrong? No matter how many times I turn away from the temptation, or ignore the constant opportunities, the more I’ve faced with it, the more I feel myself growing weak. With each opportunity I pass, I feel myself opening up to the idea more and more.

I am a loyal woman, never been swayed by temptation (baring in mind I don’t get many temptations). But then he presented himself to me, and after all the pushing I did, it seemed as though I couldn’t push him no more. I knew in every part of my body that he was wrong, toxic for me. No one has ever made me question my marriage, no one has ever made me want more. Yet, here I was watching him, watch me from across the room whilst he sat with his friends.

It was a girls night out, I felt I needed the space – with my head clogged up with all this confusion, getting out and forgetting for one night didn’t seem like a bad plan. But here I was, thinking about him again. I didn’t know he’d be here. If I did, I sure as hell wouldn’t have come here, but he was and my girls were already ordering drinks. We located a table close to where he sat amongst his friends and drank.

It wasn’t as though I could drink, I needed a sober mind if I was going to be in the same room as him. I didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardise my marriage. My girls had started to take off their jackets and began dancing to the music of the club – me on the other hand sat still, battling with my inner demons. A quiet voice screaming at me to leave, but the demons caressing my muscles telling me to stay, no harm in watching and enticing yourself with something you’d never had and never will. My best friend Clarissa tugged on my shoulder, pulling me out of my deep thoughts and forced a glass of drink in my hand.

“Oi! Stop being so boring and drink!”

I hadn’t told Clarissa about Mike. There was nothing proud about my feelings about him to share, so I made sure I kept him hidden, like a dark secret you didn’t want anyone knowing about, yet was always in everyone’s face. I gave her a small smile and put the cup on the table.

“Sasha what are you doing! It is your night off for once, enjoy it – why are you sitting there like a prune?” She shouted over the music. I gave her another shrug and looked away from Mike who was watching our every move. She lifted the glass off of the table and forced them near my lips.
“You will drink Sasha! You are not going to be like this through the night – not on my watch.”

Before I could protest, she’d found an opening with my mouth and began pouring the drink, as I tried to lean away from her offer. She almost climbed on top of me to ensure the liquid went all the way down my throat. By now, not only was Mike, but his friends also had started to watch the show. The liquid burnt my throat as it intruded its way inside my body. As it slid it way to the bottom, small flames ignited on the inside of my body causing me to feel warmer than I had a few minutes ago. Clarissa was laughing now as my face grew tense with the burn that came with the drink. Her hand fell behind her and before I knew it, she was pressing another glass cup to my lips.

I shook my head furiously, trying to push her off of me, but failed as she had now taken seat on my laps and was begging me to drink.
“For me Sasha, please drink one more and then we can have some fun.”
I looked at her and then thought of Josh, my husband. He was never too fond of Clarissa, felt as though she was always pushing me to do things I never wanted to do. And he was never too sure what her sexuality was and for that fact, he never liked to leave me alone with her for too long. He always said he saw a look in her eyes that I never seemed to notice. But I could never vouch for that – me and Clarissa had been best friends for almost ten years, and within those years I had never thought she swung for the same team.

But as she pouted and came closer to me to make me drink, I saw a flash of who Josh had been seeing all those times ago. I opened my mouth to not only receive the drink but to drown the many voices in my head that were screaming far too many things at me. After the drink had disappeared, she wiped a drop that had escaped my lips and licked her finger. Smiling, she got off and walked to where our other friends were dancing.

Too embarrassed to look at Mike, I took my jacket off to busy my hands and stared directly at the table. He was still watching me – this time I’m sure he had a look of hunger in his eyes. It had only been a second that I looked at him, but I knew how this night was going to end. I had lost the will to fight against what my body craved for, what it thought would heal it. I took a deep breath and hoped he didn’t make his way to me, but I knew sooner or later there would be nothing stopping him, and he’d come and get what he truly wanted.

After a while, the girls returned from dancing and were all hyped. I had managed to drink a glass or two more and then watched them all chatter. Then one of Mike’s friend had approached us.
“Hello ladies.”
“OOOOooooOOOO, what can we do for you today?” Sasha said, giving him what I was sure was her most alluring face.
“Well me and my friends were getting a little bored and saw how much fun you were having and wanted to see if we could come and join you?”
“NO!” Was the voice that screamed in my head, yet my lips didn’t move in reality, instead, I watched as the girls eyed up the guys and invited them over. My heart thumped so hard in my chest, I wasn’t too sure if it was drink or the fear I had of knowing Mike was walking straight towards me – either way, I knew my heart could not slow down.

All the guys had paired themselves with a lady, others making a triplet as the women were more in numbers that the men. Mike sat close, too close to me. I tried to ignore the heat that radiated off of him as our skin brushed, but all it did was make me tingle – inside and out. Everyone chatted whilst me and Mike sat silently watching the party in front of us. Then before I was aware, Mike had grabbed my waist and pulled me closer to him. The minor touch did wonders too my body, I tried to block out what it made me feel, but who was I to fight something that seemed so inevitable.

“You smell beautiful tonight Sasha.” His face pressed against my neck, so close that as he spoke his lips gently slid across my skin. I bit my lip and prayed for something to intervene, even if it was a funny look from Clarissa, anything to make me know this was a bad idea. Yet, everyone was far too enticed with their own guy to notice me. I nodded my head in thanks and felt his breath on my neck. I tried not to lean into his touch, into his warmth, into what felt like home, but before I knew it, my eyes were closed and I had leaned my head on his to feel his hair caress my cheek. He chuckled and moved to my left ear.

“You’re not fighting me off no more?”
I looked at him, watched his face analyse mine and couldn’t help but touch him. His eyes closed as my fingers trailed little touches of flames onto his skin. He opened his eyes and stared at me waiting for an answer, waiting for me to allow him to have me. Somehow, I always thought it would be him that would take me as soon as he had the chance, but here he was giving me the power, asking me whether he had permission to have me. I tried to find ‘No’ in my mind, but all I could see was ‘Yes’ and there was still a little voice within me that was telling me not to do what I wanted to do so much. I took a deep breath and came close to his lips.
“I should be fighting you off, you’re no good for me.”
A wicked smile grew on his lips and he came closer to my lips that were parted ready for him to enter inside.
“I’m no good for you now?”
“No,” I said smiling. Who had I become? Entertaining the devils dance? Knowing what was right and what was wrong. Whoever told you you’re conscious drowns out when you’re tempted was lying. The closer our lips got together, the clearer I could hear my mind scream ‘no!’ – yet it was me now that had chosen it to shut up. I forced the rebellious screams deep inside a room within my head and locked the door, leaving just my desire and Mike alone. “You are no good, but I can’t fight you off anymore.”

As the words came out my mouth in a rush, his lips met mine in a hurry. His hunger seeped through his lips and onto my own. His arm that was wrapped around my waist, had now moved towards my bum, squeezing what he could, whilst my arms found their way around his neck. I heard screams and laughter, but I couldn’t seem to pull myself away from Mike. I slipped my hands between his legs, trying to get a feel of what I was sure to come later on tonight. He moved to my neck and growled at me.
“Don’t Sasha.”
Once I had found the bulge that I had dreamt about for nearly every night for a year, I couldn’t stop myself. Rubbing on it, trying to imagine the whole length, his hand stopped mine abruptly. He pulled away from me and looked at my face. My lips now plump from the kissing, my body now scorching hot from our intimacy, now sat vibrating waiting for him to make the next move. The voice that had been screaming no in my head, was now whispering no, whilst hoping he kissed me again. If my conscious wouldn’t fight against him, what chance did I have. My inner logic had now crumpled onto the floor clutching her legs shut whilst saying no, but wanting more.

He grabbed my hand and led me outside. It was only by a second that I had managed to grab my jacket and bag and left with Mike. No one was entirely sure where we were off too, I signalled the smoking area, but neither I or Mike smoked. But who was to question when they all probably witnessed their married friend kiss another man.

Once we were outside, Mike hauled a cab and gave them an address and before I knew it, we were inside sitting in silence, but our bodies screaming for so much more. I dared to look at Mike and see that look he had on his face that showed he was going to devour every inch of my body. His hand still clutched onto mine, with a pain that oozed with ecstasy. I knew he was hanging on by a thread and if the cab man hadn’t got us to where we needed to be, Mike would take me right here.

I looked at him slowly, and was taken back when our eyes met. There was no stopping us anymore. Even if I was starting to doubt my actions, there was no way Mike would let me go. I was about to cheat on my husband with his brother and no voice of reasoning was going to stop us.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

The Big Apple – Part 1

I stumbled into the cab, vision blurred and stability definitely gone. I wasn’t too sure whether Dara gave the driver my home address or her own, but all I was aware of was that she’d gotten in with me and the cabman was driving to our destination. I was beyond embarrassed, I’d only been working with Dara for two months and already she’s seeing a side that I wasn’t even aware lived within me. She pulled my lifeless body against her own and began stroking my hair. It soothed my spinning vision and mind, I didn’t know how I was going to make it up to her, but I knew the treatment she was giving me was going to cost me a week of late nights in the office, but at that precise moment I didn’t care.

I’d embarrassed myself in front of my co-workers and my boss, all I wanted was to bury my head dead within my pillows and let this nightmare be forgotten. I closed my eyes, feeling like a little girl again and remembering the last words my mother told me before I moved out to New York ‘make sure you look after yourself.’ And here I was, a shambles. The cab stopped after a few minutes, which seemed like hours to me. Dara and the driver exchanged some words and before I knew it, she was helping me out the cab.

“Mind your left leg, the curb is close.”

I clasped her hands tight, afraid my footing would fail me and I’d land face first into the ground. Once I was upright and out of the cab, she began walking me towards some stairs that led towards a tall building. It didn’t look anything like the apartment I was staying at, but I wasn’t confident enough to believe my own eyes, so I fumbled carelessly towards the entrance, with her grip firm on my waist. I opened my pouch, in attempt to find my keys when Dara stopped me.

“What are you doing?”

“We can’t get into my place without my keys Vic!” The last words came out as a burp, causing me to cover my mouth.

“Katy, we’re at my place.”

She opened the doors with her keys and walked me through the lobby and towards the elevator. I stumbled after every few seconds, only highlighting how drunk I seemed to have been. She pressed the elevator button, causing the doors to open. We walked in, waiting for the lift to take us to her place. I wonder why she took me here? Why didn’t she just drop me home and leave me there and what floor does she live on? I leaned on Dara, feeling tired and looked up to her.

“Why’d you take me here?”

She looked at me with what seemed like a confused stare, “what do you mean ‘here’?”

I threw my arms in the air and signalled the building she lives in, instead of the building I live in.

“I wasn’t going to leave you all drunk by yourself.”

The elevator doors opened just as she answered. She guided me to her door, unlocking it with her keys, revealing a dark corridor. She led me through the darkness to what seemed like the living room. She forced me to sit on the sofa and then left me. I couldn’t believe I was drunk and in my boss’ apartment. I closed my eyes and felt the soft velvet sofa under my fingertips. The tiny hairs soothed my skin, calling me to sleep. I kicked off my heels and curled up like a ball on the sofa, ready to get lost in the call of this velvet masterpiece, when the lights flickered on. I groaned in annoyance and sat back up, confused with why it’d suddenly gotten bright.

“Before you even dare to sleep, take this tablet and drink this water.”

I obeyed her command, not thinking twice to answer back. I place the small chalky white tablet in my mouth and then gulp the water, that I hadn’t know I’d been craving.

“Do you feel better?” She asked walking back to what I can only assume was the kitchen area.

“Why am I here Dara?” I said, looking at the light that shone opposite from where I sat.

“I told you that already Katy.”

I looked down trying to remember when she told me, but failed to remember anything passed the lights turning on and waking up from a blissful sleep I was sure to have.

“Oh sorry. Is this your place?”

The light in the kitchen turned off, turning the intensity of the light within the room down. She came out with a plate in her hand. She laid the plate on the table and sat beside me. I looked at the sandwich and my stomach flipped twice, I shut my eyes, trying to burn the image out of my head as it began making me sick.

“Yes, it is my place.”

“It’s beautiful.” She sat besides me and chuckled.

“Are you tired honey?”

I nodded, too tired to speak anymore, just wanting a bed and sheets to cover myself with. She helped me up and walked towards the bedroom. It was dark, but with the light from the living room, I was able to make out shapes from the silhouettes casted by the objects. There was a huge bed in the middle of the room, must have been double, maybe even king sized, with a few cabinets and wardrobes resting against the walls. What caught my attention was the huge window that oversaw the busy roads and buildings of New York. Little lights danced across the roads, whilst buildings stood affirm in the midst of the party of lights, like security guards. The lights started to blur ever so slightly the longer I looked at it, making my head feel dizzy. Dara must have been aware, because she pulled me towards the bed, but it was too late. The drink had finally settled and my limbs had gone to sleep, causing me to fall to the ground. She sighed and crouched down, so that we were face to face.

“You alright?” Another nod, replaced speech. She lifted me up for another time tonight and managed to get me into her bed. At first she tried to undress me, and I tried to fight her off. I was drunk, probably more than drunk. But I still had enough sense that this wasn’t a good look at all, rolling around intoxicated in her bed was bad enough, but having her unzip my dress and try and pull it off was another. What was worse was that even though I felt I was putting up a good fight in attempt to stop her, it was all futile. All she had to do was move my defensive hands with force and they never lifted again. This was definitely something I was going to regret in the morning. Once I was down to just my undies, I closed my eyes, letting the silk sheets caress my skin and drag me further into the sleep abyss that had been calling my name.

As I slowly drifted deeper into sleep, it was as though I felt Dara hover above me and watch me. I’m sure she even muttered a few indistinctive words, but after I groaned and kept saying sleep, I felt the duvet fall over my shoulders and two soft lips touch my forehead. Then I was gone.

The Explanation

He looked for his phone and noticed it was on the counter. He didn’t want to interrupt their meal together, but when he looked at her and realised how engulfed she was in her meal, he knew taking a quick second to text Max would be fine. Taking one last sip of his Koppaberg he pushed his chair out, making Kaitlin look up from her food in confusion.

‘I’ve just got someone to quickly contact.’ She smiled and he went on his business. She never questioned whether he had a girlfriend, not once had it come into her mind until now. She didn’t know much about this man, she didn’t know whether he was capable of cheating on a girlfriend, or a wife…however she didn’t notice a ring so she assumed if he had a partner, they were just at the first stages of their relationship. Things like this was what had her questioning what she truly wanted from this man, what was it exactly that she wanted from him? Did she just want the amazing sex? Because the sex was amazing, there was no lie about that; everything about that man (that she knew) was amazing. But, was it only the sex, or did she want more? Did she want a relationship…? All these questions had her frowning; it was too early to think about it. He suppressed those questions down again, he’d think about their future together when there was time, but right now he focused on getting a text to Max, before it would be he, that’d ruin he and Kaitlin’s erotic session. He turned on his phone and saw notifications pop up. Another text from Max, a text from her and another phone call from her. He focused on Max’s text and read it.

 

M8! I’m worried, u haven’t replied all day! R u okay? Jus text me back!’

 

He held his head and smiled. Max was a good friend, they weren’t as close as he was with his ‘ex-best friend’ but Max had been there and was still there. In all honesty he was surprised Max hadn’t come already – with his frantic texts it seems as though Max was on his way to his house to check if he hadn’t been kidnapped or killed.

 

Yes im alive. I haven’t picked up becos ive been busy. Don’t worry, I’d rather not go out tonite. & don’t worry – yes I have company…’

 

He thought about whether he should tell Max that he had company, and then thought the better of it – it was too soon, he didn’t even know what they were, before he had to start explaining to people what they were. He erased the last part and re-read the message.

 

‘Yes im alive. I haven’t picked up becos ive been busy. Don’t worry, I’d rather not go out tonite.’

 

He sent the message and then made his way back to the table, watching Kaitlin as he took his seat. He noticed the slight frown in her face; she hadn’t watched him take his seat, she’d remained focused on her Beef Chow Mein shifting the noodles from left to right.

‘What’s wrong?’ His voice startled her, all she’d thought about was what she was doing. What was she doing at his house? What was she doing sleeping with a man she barely knew? She shouldn’t have slept with him yesterday – that was bad enough. But what was bad was the fact that she’d continued this escapade with him. She needed to leave, after this make shift dinner she’d gather her clothes, which were balled up somewhere on the floor and leave…leave this façade.

‘Nothing.’ She stopped messing with the food and ran her fingers through her hair, he knew she had already began doubting herself but he didn’t know it’ll take this toll on her. He pushed his chair out and walked to her side. She still didn’t look at him as he bent down beside her, she couldn’t believe what she was doing, nothing he could say right now could change the way she felt.

‘You’re lying to me.’ He tried to grab her hand but she slowly drew into herself. He knew if he didn’t bring her out of this mood, she’d pick up her clothes and leave without any intention of coming back. He sighed and tried again. There was something about this woman that had him trying, never did he try this much, apart from his last girlfriend, but this woman was different. He knew that if he didn’t try, he could possibly lose this woman and that was something he didn’t want. ‘Kaitlin, look at me.’ She wasn’t going to look at him until he pulled her chin, so she could face him. She was confused, she didn’t want to leave this feeling this man gave to her, but she doubted whether this was a smart decision she was doing.

‘I…I just don’t know whether this,’ She motioned the two of them with her hands. ‘Is smart, for you and me. Like…what if you have a girlfriend, I don’t know if you’d cheat on her, I don’t know what type of man you are, I just know what type of lover you are.’ He looked down and then stood up. She thought he would cheat on his girlfriend for her. She believed he was a cheater. Something he despised wholeheartedly, she assumed was he – he thought of replying to her, but all of a sudden didn’t have the energy. The thoughts of his girlfriend sleeping with his best friend came flashing back into his mind, ladies he thought. They were stress, work and too much to handle – he turned and walked into his room trying to forget what his girlfriend had done to him, and what Kaitlin had assumed of him.

 

She’d insulted him, he hadn’t even replied to her, he just walked to his room and didn’t turn around. She knew she shouldn’t have said what was truly on her mind, but his stare demanded so much truth she just came out with it. She sighed and thought about getting her stuff and leaving, but something stopped her leg from functioning, at least make things right before leaving she thought. She stood up, fastened the towel around her and walked to his room. There he sat, on the edge of his bed, eyes closed and face pained, something was up – and it was her statement that had triggered those feelings. She slowly approached him and sat beside him thinking of the right words to say, but couldn’t think of anything. She took a deep breath and looked at him, trying to find the words to formulate, but when his eyes were still closed she decided to stay quiet. She didn’t want to worsen the situation, so instead she chose to remain silent, until he was ready to talk, she swore to herself she’d be there until he was ready.

 

He knew she was beside him, but he wasn’t too sure what she was doing, he wasn’t sure whether she was gathering her clothes or whether she was going to speak. But what he did know was that she hadn’t moved, she’d sat beside him in silence, waiting for what, was something he wasn’t sure of yet. He wasn’t a cheater, and the coincidence of being called a cheater so recently after his girlfriend cheated on him had taken him back. Brought memories back into his mind that had taken weeks and many ladies to suppress, but one comment had the wounds fresh as the first day it was made. He slowly opened his eyes and looked at Kaitlin who’d sat there watching him, in silence, taking in his facial features, his jaw line, his nose, his eyelashes…he was a handsome man, she couldn’t deny that fact.

‘I don’t have a girlfriend…anymore. I’m single, and I wouldn’t cheat on any of my partners. I’m a loyal man, and cheating is for those who are greedy and unsure of what they want in life.’ He’d been hurt, that was evident, it was written all over his face as he spoke, she didn’t mean to insinuate that he wasn’t a faithful man, she just didn’t know much about him, which was something she planned to do – know more of him.

‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to insinuate that you weren’t faithful, I just didn’t know what kind of man you were, I’m sorry – I shouldn’t have assumed.’ He looked at her and smiled, he knew their lack of knowledge of each other would have them assuming things, it just would take time, it’s just a shame her first assumption brought up dark memories.

‘I understand, you don’t know much about me, and likewise with you. But I’m willing to know more about Kaitlin, and I’m happy for you to know more about me.’

 

He stroked her face making her smile, she was prepared to get to know him, even though it wasn’t in the normal way others got to know each other – but who was normal nowadays? She stared into his eyes and bit her lips; he’d become so sensual in a matter of seconds. Compared to yesterday where he was more sexual and took a more predator persona, today he was loving, trying to please her in every way, and that was another thing about this man that she loved. He brought her face close to him and laid his lips onto hers. Her breath came out ragged as he continued to kiss her, making her lips plump. He bit her bottom lip and pulled her closer to him, she smiled and moved closer. He knew how to turn her on she thought, every little thing had her body tingling, her body slowly surrendering to his touch – this was the reason why she’d keep coming back even though nothing might have made sense, this was the one thing that did. She pulled away from him and sat on top of him, so that she sat facing him. He smiled and grab a handful of hair and kissed her hard. Each kiss had her moaning, his lips danced with hers, opening up her body ever so slowly. She took off her towel and threw it to the ground, where her clothes and underwear lay. The sight of her bare-naked had him hard instantly, he ripped of his towel almost growling as he took her into his arms and in a rush put her on his bed. He climbed on top of her and gave her his wolfish grin and put his manhood inside her. She moaned his name of her lips and grabbed his neck and he continued to ride her.

 

The feel of him move inside her had her almost at her climax. The way his hips moved in perfect rhythm to her own, giving him full access to her most private and intimate place had her walls contract around him. She was surprised, Lyle had only ventured within the depths of her three times, yet it seemed that he knew his way around her body. The feeling of him slamming himself into her, then almost pulling himself out, teasing her, to then again slam back into her had her womanhood dripping. Her legs began quivering, it was happening – the same pleasure she experienced during their bathroom encounter began surging through her body. From her toes to her chest, the growing pleasure continued to ripple through her slender body, the sensation almost too much for her to bare as her back arched to suppress the feeling. As she took each breath she felt the pleasure build, it had her core drip of ecstasy and had her lips parted for some sort of release. He could feel her walls convulse around his manhood. She was close to her eruption and so was he. Each motioned had him close to his goal, the way her lips parted and her body began trembling under his control had him shaking to his climax. The view of her body under his made his mouth water – her erected nipples standing on point, and the small sweat beads on her forehead told him that the way he was devouring her body was exactly what he needed to do in order to never haver her doubting him again. She could feel his hips stiffen, and her pleasure was at its peak, it was time for them to both climax. She began moving her hips on him, timing herself so that their hips came together simultaneously and then parted at the same time. Each movement she made had him clinging onto the edge of his sanity. ‘She’s trying to kill me…’ Lyle tried to compose himself but she was forcing him to cum, no matter how much he tried to hold himself back, she brought herself closer to him, so that their bodies danced together. She moved faster and faster, until the indulgence within her chest broke, making her shudder and crumble under his touch. As she shook in pleasure, he came, his back hunching as he poured his love juices into her – he couldn’t help but swear, this eruption was powerful, so powerful it had begun to take his energy. He moaned and gently collapsed on top of her, then slowly rolled beside her.

The room was silent, the only noise was their heavy breathing, he looked at her and realised she was still shaking from her climax. It was just as powerful for her as it was for him. She swore she couldn’t feel her legs, they felt numb, and her arms were heavy. She smiled and took a deep breath, feeling herself sleep into a peaceful slumber.

The Microcosm Between Them

He woke up and almost forgot what had occurred that morning, but the sight of Kaitlin lying in his arms was enough to remind him that it wasn’t a dream. He gently rolled her off him and wrapped his duvet over her slender body and walked to the kitchen to get himself some water. It was only four in the afternoon, it seemed later, but maybe that was because his morning was filled with passion and sex. He grinned to himself and saw his phone buzz, he was so engulfed in the microcosm he had built with this woman that he’d forgotten that people still wanted to communicate with him. He grabbed his phone and saw a text message from his friend from yesterday, and another which he knew he wouldn’t be opening, let alone thinking about. He opened his friends text and read it:           

                ‘U alive? I’ve called U and U haven’t pickd up, I kno y’day was boring, bt I fort it wud be gd for U to get out…Jus call or reply, I’m goin out tonight, properly and I fink U’ll enjoy this one way better.’ 

He looked at his bedroom door and imagined himself leaving to go out tonight, and the thought alone made him laugh, he was fine where he was and with whom he was with. He put his phone down, and took another gulp of water, he was thirsty and hungry, he picked up his phone and dialled his regular Chinese store and ordered a bunch of food hoping he ordered something she liked. Once that was done he walked back to his room when he heard her on the phone.

She’d woken up as soon as he’d moved her, but she decided to remain still, then he left and hadn’t returned. During his absence her phone had rung twice, so she decided to get out of her fake sleep and answer her phone. Once she got up and had found her phone she almost regretted her attempt in trying to answer it as it was her boss.

‘Hi?’

‘Kaitlin, how are you? I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for some time.’

‘Oh, sorry, I’ve been…’ Busy? That was a huge understatement; she couldn’t help the smile that had crept onto her lips, whilst she replied. ‘Occupied.’

‘Well, how did you find yesterday night then? You shot off really quickly, I thought maybe we could get some drinks afterwards, just a thank you for accompanying me to the event.’ She rolled her eyes and tried to block out the poorly hidden attempt of trying to get some alone time with her and focused on his first question.

‘The event was okay. It was good to build contacts.’

‘Well, tonight there’s another and I was just thinking whether you wanted to join me again?’ Just as she was about to decline she felt strong arms embrace her from behind. She turned around and he smiled shaking his head, he gave her a small kiss and then whispered to her.

‘You’re mine tonight.’ Her stomach instantly had butterflies and her toes began tingling, she began blushing whilst looking at him.

‘I’m afraid I’ve made plans.’

‘Oh, and you can’t postpone them just for one night?’ He grabbed her tighter attempting to not get irritated by whoever was on the other end of the line. He had finally got her to himself; he wasn’t about to let that go just yet. He began kissing her neck making her grasp, she hummed slightly holding him with a firmer embrace.

‘I’m sorry I can’t.’

‘Fine, see you at work this Saturday.’ And with that he cut the phone, he was a punk, and Lyle didn’t care if he was annoyed because Lyle wanted Kaitlin to himself, and he wanted her throughout the whole night.

‘My boss.’ He picked her up, then threw her phone on the bed whilst walking them to his bathroom. He put her in the bath and then climbed in afterwards, she knew what was coming next and she couldn’t help but smile. He grabbed the shampoo and poured it onto her hair whilst running the water. She giggled as he massaged her scalp; he took a small peak at her and smiled.

‘What’s so funny huh?’ She held his chest and the water cascaded down her back and through her hair.

‘Nobody has done this for me before, it feels different, but nice.’ He chuckled and continued massaging her head.

‘Keep your eyes closed.’ She nodded, and before she could finish a nod he’d wrapped a handful of her hair in his hands and pulled her head backwards, letting the water pour all over her face as he kissed her neck. She let her mouth open, allowing water to flow into her mouth; he pulled her head back up then kissed her whilst still washing her hair. He nibbled her ear, then gently pulled her hair back into the water to rinse off the shampoo.

‘That feels good.’ She smiled, whilst the water removed all the foam from her head, he pulled her forward and then kissed her on the lips. Her eyes flew open as she watched this man, take her breath away over and over again. This was something she didn’t want to lose, not yet. She pulled him under the water and allowed the water to touch them both, in an instant he looked like a model, the water moving down his body, caressing every muscle and feature on him. She lifted her leg, signalling him to lift her; he looked at her and smiled picking her up. She wriggled on top of his manhood and he groaned not understanding how many times in a day he’d have to have sex with this woman to be fully satisfied.

 He entered the place he felt most contained and began pumping into her fast. The speed of his movement had their bodies clapping the water of them, her moans and his groans echoed in the house, synchronised moans bounced off the walls in the bathroom. She didn’t know how many times he could make her cum in one day, but she was willing to find out. He continuously entered her, fast and slow, hard then soft, her nails scratching his back in ecstasy. She was waiting for that moment, the moment every woman desired during sex, the moment when the pleasure built so much that she’d feel it within her chest. Then once the pleasure had grown to the point she could no longer take it, no longer bare the amount of indulgence she was experiencing, she’d release her juices on his manhood. And she was nearly there. The more he groaned and slammed into her, the more the feeling she waited for grew in her chest. Every connection, every touch, every sigh, groan, grasp had her coming closer to her climax.

She knew it was coming, she couldn’t help smile, she loved this feeling, the feeling of being complete, the feeling of being fully satisfied, but just as she was about to erupt the main door began knocking.  

In that moment they both looked at each other and froze, they both were close to climax, and now was the time for someone to decide to come and ruin their moment? Kaitlin quickly thought about how much noise she was truly making, maybe it was the neighbours asking them to keep it down…or maybe it was Max, Lyle thought, would he really come to check up on him if he didn’t reply to any of his texts? He looked at the bathroom door and then himself and nearly swore. He was so close in cumming, then this had to happen. Kaitlin wanted him to answer the door, but she wanted him to stay more. He kissed her lips, then whispered in her ear, ‘After I find out who this is, I’ll be back for you.’ She smiled and watched him as he came out of her, put her down gently, grabbed a towel then left to find out who it was to mess up their moment. Whoever this was, had better have a good reason to interrupt him and her during their time of bonding, he opened the door and saw his local Chinese deliveryman. He’d forgotten that he’d ordered Chinese, it seems like so long ago from now. The man watched him, acknowledged the lack of clothes he wore and either believed he’d just finished having a bath or he wasn’t alone, and the face Lyle wore made him know he hadn’t just interrupted a bath.

 ‘Your food sir.’ Lyle, who was still thinking about the woman he left dripping with water in his bath, quickly gathered some change, which was probably more than the actual price and handed it to the man.

‘Thanks.’ He began closing the door, until the delivery man’s voice had him pausing.

‘Oh, what about your change?’ Lyle looked at the man and shrugged, he’d rather not lose his hard-on talking about the specifics of change with the guy, when he could be putting his hard-on to good use with the only woman he wanted to spend today with. He closed the door and put the food on the table. During his small conversation with the guy Kaitlin decided to get out of the bath, their was always tonight she thought, once that pressure had slowly stopped beating within her chest she knew it’d take a while to come back, she’d have many more times to orgasm, and with Lyle she knew that was a promise. She wrapped a spare towel around herself and left the bathroom, watching him try to cut the conversation between him and the deliveryman short. Once the door was closed, she snuck up behind him, then hugged him as he was placing the food on the table. She didn’t know if he was expecting people as it looked like he’d ordered for five, not two. He turned to look at her and smiled.

‘Didn’t I tell you to wait for me in the bath?’

‘Yes you did, but I thought we could wait for tonight…unless you have people coming over?’ He looked at her properly and wondered why she’d think anyone else was coming over. Unless she’d seen his phone…and seen the text he’d never read.

‘Why’d you think that?’ She smiled and touched the lines between his eyebrows.

‘Don’t frown; it’ll ruin that handsome face of yours. And it looks like you’ve ordered for five people.’ He couldn’t help but burst out into laughter. He’d panicked, never had he done that before, it was just the quantity of the food that had her questioning. He had to laugh at his stupidity, after composing himself he smiled and kissed her nose.

‘I wasn’t too sure with what you liked, so I got a range of things. I was just thinking about you.’ She looked down blushing, this man was smooth, everything just seemed too unreal, too superficial, he seemed too good to be true.

‘Do you enjoy making me blush?’ He chuckled, a low rumble in his throat, almost music to her ears, he lifted her chin and smiled down at her.

‘A little bit, I hope you don’t mind.’ She smiled and shook her head, then her head turned to the food. She’d been at it for so long with him she’d forgotten she was hungry, but just smelling the food once made her remember how much she wanted food.

‘It smells good.’

‘You want to eat?’ She nodded. He grabbed her hand and walked her over to the table, once she’d sat down; he grabbed two plates and a couple cutleries then laid them on the table.

‘So what would you like?’ Before she could control herself, her mouth moved before she could stop them.

‘Beef Chow Mein.’ He smiled and thought of the coincidence, the dish she chose was the dish he actually ordered for himself, he dished some out into her plate and then dished some out into his own. He grabbed some water, cider and juice from the fridge and laid it on the table, not completely sure which she preferred. She looked at the selection of liquids and wondered what he was going to chose. She loved her Kopperberg, but during Chinese? It might be acceptable in her own household but everyone was different, she was going to grab the water, but water wasn’t what she wanted, she grabbed the Koppaberg and watched his reaction. He loved how she chose with precision, he knew she wanted to be ‘respectable’, but he truly didn’t care, he loved a woman who was herself, and had no shame about it. He also took a Koppaberg, knowing that was the beverage he was going to get from the start.

‘Are you just copying me now?’ She said with a smile not too far from her lips, he smiled and shook his head.

‘Hey, I like my cider too.’

‘I was contemplating drinking water, but I like my Koppaberg far too much to let it pass.’ He chuckled and she smiled digging into her meal. They both ate, having small talk in-between, mostly they smiled at each other, or just focused on their meal. He thought about Max knocking on his door to see if he was okay, and decided a text back wouldn’t hurt.

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Grendel’s Mother & Beowulf

He was here. And she wasn’t wasting anymore time. She’d watched her son crawl into their home, bleeding and in agony – barely able to conduct coherent sentences. He’d clutched onto his shoulder that was saturated in blood. She knew something wasn’t right, however due to her state of mind, she had no time to wonder what was missing.

She rushed over to Grendel’s side, in tears, mortified at the image that was before her. There he lay, her son, without his left arm, crying in pain. It was an educated guess that he had already began dying on his way to their abode, but it seemed as though now he was at his final breaths. She cried in anger and in discomfort, who would have taken her only son? She held him close to her, with only one question on her lips, who? He clutched his wound, and took sharp breaths in, attempting to reveal the name, but visibly struggling. He closed his eyes, using the last energy that dwelled within him, whilst she clasped his hand. Hoping for anything, but knowing reality was a cruel mistress. Beo…Beowulf…Beowulf was his name, and Beowulf was whom she was going to slay. To avenge her now dead son. She was going to slaughter him brutally, so that he felt every bone in his minuscule body tighten and crumble as she killed him. She descended her son into the murky lake that flowed between her legs, and stood looking at the crescent moon in the sky – she’d be patient, she told herself. Sooner or later, this Beowulf would come looking for her, and once he did, she’d destroy him. Destroy him along with any hopes and legacies that came along with the name Beowulf.

 

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

The wait was finally over. He was here and she was prepared. He crept through the cave, eyes alert and sword drawn. Slaying Grendel was not a task that Beowulf couldn’t handle, however he wasn’t going to assume the same for his mother. He knew the anger that ran through her veins and pulsated around her body was because of him – because he killed her only son. He’d come across a lake, but to proceed with his journey, he’d have to swim through the lake to enter her chamber. The path before him reminded him of his swimming contest with Breca, many moons ago. Even though he failed to win the match with Breca, he was sure he’d defeat any sea monsters that would cross his path. Just like he had during that contest. He placed the knife between his teeth, bit down and then dived into the lake.

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

Stupid human, she thought. She was the queen of her domain and now she was going to show him why he should have never trespassed her land. She saw his body swimming through the lake, without warning, her body lunged towards him, pulling him out of the water. As she held him, other sea monsters came to her side, attacking this outsider, clinging onto his armour and pulling at his weapon. However, this man was stronger than what she had anticipated. He summoned power from above and loosened Grendel’s mothers grip from around his waist, whilst pulling the sea creatures off of him.

Beowulf then proceeded to swim to the surface, revealing a golden aura within the cave. He drew his sword and faced Grendel’s mother, who was stalking her prey ready to strike. He turned to face her and for once was stunned; never had he imagined such beauty or elegance from such a monstrous creature like her. She managed to hold an unimaginable picturesque appearance that he physically couldn’t raise his arm to strike her.

But it wasn’t only he that was shocked, her son’s murderer was beyond any regular human, he was a god. A god with such features that any creature would bow to him under any command. She came close, not believing what she was seeing, she wanted to touch, wanted to feel, smell him even. The finest Gods from above made him. He was enchanted by her beauty, nobody had capsulated such exquisiteness like she did, he threw his sword to the ground and stripped himself of his armour. Not fearing the other sea creatures that lurked closely around him, instead he solemnly focused on Grendel’s mother and how a monster could hold such a beauty that would disarm a man without any words.

Countdown [Part 2]

Last night was difficult for Anna and the cycling had only done so little to settle her nerves, which left her too restless to sleep. All night she stayed awake, remembering that night seven years ago. The memories fresh in her mind, reminding her who she used to be and who she is now after what had occurred. Her life was no longer the same. She was no longer the same. She was eroding away in front of her own eyes and there was nothing she could do to stop what seemed to be the inevitable. Dammit, she muttered to herself in her bed. One night was all it took to have her clutching onto her sheets again for dear life, when she was in no apparent harm. She thought about the letter again and the photo and shock inwardly. It was stressful enough to not know whether this was a just someone with sardonic humour, but something in the back of her mind screamed alarms.
The same voice that screamed alarms seven years ago, but she ignored. Anna had learnt her lesson and she learnt the hard way. She’d find herself rummaging through her memories to see if she knew the man in the photo, but nothing came to mind. Instead she’d try to remember the man laying dead in the picture and then remember Detective Sutherland.
There was something about Sutherland that made Anna feel protected. And that alone was what was scaring her. She barely knew the man, let alone spoke to him. But the aura that fed off him was something she treasured, a feeling she had no awareness that she desired, but had wanted so deeply. Anna wasn’t prepared to teach today, with her mind still wandering back and forth between Sutherland and the photo, she wasn’t focused enough to prepared students for upcoming exams. But she was sure as hell she wasn’t going to stay at home, where there was definitely no escape of the events of last night and Sutherland. She began to clear her mind and focus on the paperwork that was stacked on her desk as her students were reading, when the door knocked. She looked up to see Mike standing in her doorway, with that grin that made her skin want to turn inside out.

“Miss Phillips can I have a word outside please?” Anna excused herself from the class and made her way outside, hoping Mike wasn’t trying to ask her on yet another date, because she didn’t know what other excuse to give him to avoid his proposal. It was bad enough he kept asking knowing she wasn’t interested in him, but being her boss made everything more difficult. Mike didn’t know when to take the hint, especially when it came to Anna, and he didn’t seem to read expression very well too. Because if he looked closely for just a second, he would realise every time he spoke to Anna, she’d recoil within herself. Every time he stepped just a little too close to her, she made sure the gap between them was more than big enough to give her the space she needed. So whatever Mike thought he was seeing between himself and Anna was far from reality.
“What’s the issue?” Anna asked looking at Mike. He shrugged, directing her towards a figure that was behind her with his gaze. She turned around to see Detective Sutherland, standing just as large and confident as he did in her living room the night before.
“I have no idea, but I do hope you’re not starting trouble Miss Phillips – you’re too much of an asset to lose.”
She cringed at his comment, knowing what he meant and faced the detective.

 

Sutherland, who had caught every meaning to that slimy principals comment, clenched his jaw, watching Anna attentively to see if she’d received his subliminal meaning. When he saw her slightly flinch and turn away from him, he decided to react the same, there was no need to fight this woman’s battles just yet – even though he wanted to. No matter how much he tried to fight it, it was the first time in a long time he wanted to protect any woman who wasn’t family or his partner. The world was a cruel place, it gave when it wanted to give and took when it wanted to take. He thought of his life only just a few years ago and grew stiff at the sour memories. He needed to pull himself together, this was no time to reminisce on the past and the ‘what could have’s’, instead he focused on the now, and that was finding out more about Anna Phillips and who would send her a picture of a dead man.
“I have a few questions to ask you Miss Phillips, is there somewhere private we can talk?”
Kane wanted privacy, with the principal still lingering around like an unwanted smell, he didn’t want to ask anything that could possibly cause complications to the investigation. Anna looked towards the class and Kane.
“I hope you don’t mind sparing 30 minutes, I’m in the middle of teaching. But after, I’ll be free to answer any of your questions.” Kane nodded then faced the principal.

“Is there a place I can wait until Miss Phillips is finished?” He nodded and began walking down the corridor. Kane could destroy this weasel who thought he was a man in a second if he truly wanted to. Not only did Kane tower over him, but is was clear enough that physically, Kane weighed and worked out more than this principal did. As the man continued down the corridor, leading Kane further away from Anna, Kane dared to turn around to catch one more glimpse of Anna and did he catch an eyeful. Not only did her pencil skirt accentuate her curvaceous body figure, but the shirt she wore grew tighter around her breasts, almost making Kane salivate. Like a dog, because I’m behaving like one. Kane shook his head, trying to focus on the matter at hand. But when Anna hadn’t entered the classroom, he realised she too was watching him. When he caught her eyes staring at him, she disappeared in the classroom without giving him a chance to react. The principal led him to the waiting room outside of his office.

“Sorry,” Kane spoke. “Does Miss Phillips have many friends here?”
“A few,” the principal replied nonchalantly.”She does her job and leaves. I’d consider myself one of those few she classifies as a friend. I’ll always look out for Miss Phillips.”
Kane’s body tensed, this man was more than interested in Anna. It seemed he would do more that the average to get her attention, which made Kane dislike him even more.
Through gritted teeth Kane spoke, “what about teaching?”
“Oh, Anna always goes that extra mile for her students, there’s no doubt in that. She is definitely an asset to this school and losing her would be a major loss for me.”
How much more could Kane take before his primal instincts took the better of him. He took a deep breath and continued.
“So you’d say she’s a good colleague?”
“She’s amazing. Just very quiet.” A woman spoke from behind Kane. He turned around and was met by a tall, slim ebony beauty. She greeted him with a smile and stuck her hand out for a shake.
“I’m Toni, Mike you have a call on line one.”
In a flash Mike the principal disappeared into his office, leaving Kane standing alone with Toni.
“I’m –” Kane wasn’t sure what to address himself as. He didn’t want Anna’s business spreading like wildfire, and he wasn’t sure what the repercussions would be if he told Toni who he was. “I’m an old school friend.”
Toni smiled whilst looking towards Mike, who was now behind his desk, chatting away on the phone.
“Mike’s odd, don’t mind him. We’ve all guessed he has a crush on Anna, but if she’s going to ignore it, then so will we.” Kane looked at Mike then shook his head.
“A little unprofessional, don’t you think?”
“Hell, when it comes to Anna, the man acts like he’s never seen a woman before.” She huffed and continued. “Chasing like a dog without a leash, it’s embarrassing. The man just doesn’t know when to stop.” Kane made a mental note of Mike, and thought to conduct a background check on him when he got back to the office.

“Does he behave like that all the time?” Kane asked, partly to keep the conversation going, whilst wanting to know more about Anna.
“It went up a notch when Anna’s ex split with her…that was years ago now. But ever since then, Mike never stopped trying.”
There was an ex, Kane made another mental note and decided to ask Anna when he saw her. His phone vibrated in his pocket, whilst he was just about to continue his conversation with Toni. He grabbed it, seeing the caller ID and decided that the conversation could wait.
“Sorry excuse me.” He left the building, praying his partner Charlie had some good news about the case.

Runaway Girl

We hadn’t known what hell was until our mother had brought him to our doorstep. Mark. Mark was the devil’s name and would forever be burnt into my mind after everything he had put us through. Even as I lay here, I know deep down he cannot take the blame for the torture both my baby sister and I were enduring. I had somehow dragged her into this mess and allowed this devil to clasps his arms around her without a fight.

To even think we had experienced the worst. The men mother had brought around the house before Mark was beyond lower than low. But Mark was a new breed of bad. Completely different in all aspects and this was what had started the pain we now suffer. He wasn’t verbally abusive to us like how Kenny was. Neither was he as physical as Dean had been with my mother after a drink or two. It may seem surprising, but Mark was more of a father than I had ever had. Things turn into a blur when I try to remember how everything truly began.

 

  • May 2012

It was late in the night and the last time me and Belle had saw mother was when she had stood just in front of the door claiming she’d be back in a few minutes. That was at 12’noon, it was now almost 9’oclock and she still hadn’t returned home. It wasn’t as though Belle and I weren’t used to it. It was normal for her to leave at early hours and return home late at night, smelling of alcohol and other things that always made my nose scrunch up whenever I got close enough to her to take her to bed.

Belle sat on the couch coloring Velma from her Scooby-Doo coloring book, whilst I began cooking lunch. Which normally meant anything that could be cooked and worked well was what I normally prepared.

At the age of sixteen I was a mother to my baby sister Belle. I had realized depending on my mother was wasted energy. She’d either be too intoxicated to care for either of us, or be too preoccupied with company to even remember she had daughters. Belle was only eight, so she wasn’t fully aware of how she was being neglected by our mother, but I was attentive to the way she failed to be a mother to us and I knew it wasn’t an epiphany I wanted Belle to go through just yet. So by any means I was trying to prolong this realization by shielding her like a protective older sister.

After rustling up and eating our ‘make-shift’ dinner, I tucked Belle into bed, not wanting her to see mother stumble into the house around midnight like she usually did. I didn’t want Belle to witness her older sister stripping her mother and taking her to bed, so when she woke up she was in her bed and not blacked out on the corridor floor. Belle looked up to me as I tucked her blanket around her.

“Dara where’s mum?”

Half of me wanted to shrug, because I truly didn’t know where she was and it was exhausting thinking about where she could be. But instead I gave her one of the many lies I told her during our childhood.

“She’s at a friends house, then she’s going to grab some groceries for us.”

Belle looked at me, long enough for me to wonder if she realized I was lying, then looked towards the ceiling. She grabbed a handful of her blanket and spoke without giving me eye contact.

“But she’s been gone for so long!” I gave her a gentle kiss on her forehead and moved stray hairs away that fell onto her face.

“Belle don’t you worry, she’ll be here soon. I’ll tell her to give you a kiss goodnight when she comes in, deal?”

Belle nodded, obviously not convinced with my explanation, but I hadn’t given her room to voice her doubt. I turned on her lamp and turned off the room light, blowing her a kiss before shutting her bedroom door. With a sigh, I trudged back downstairs, awaiting my mother’s arrival. Knowing eventually she’ll stroll in. It was only once when she’d left the house and hadn’t returned until the next day. I can vividly remember the way I worried, thinking she was face down in a ditch, or that she’d actually forgotten she had kids. It was always a dark joke between myself that mother had forgotten she had children. But during her absence that night, I remember thinking how she could have actually forgotten about Belle and me and if only I knew those personal jokes could have actually been a reality. She eventually stumbled in the following morning, claiming she wasn’t aware of the time. No apology, no sign of worry that her kids were alone for more than 24 hours. Instead she walked in the house nonchalantly and headed straight to bed. The anger that boiled within me that day was uncontrollable. She hadn’t even cared for our wellbeing. I was sure to take Belle and myself to a care home that day. However when she awoke, she’d given Belle a fluffy toy that Belle, till this very day, clings onto and had gotten me earrings. It was her way of apologizing and I had accepted it. It was rare for us to receive any gifts from our mother, so when one came around, I was sure not to throw it away.

 

But sitting here, watching the time go by reminds me that no matter how many small gifts she throws our way, will not excuse her lack of maternal skills. Midnight was around the corner and there was no sign of her return. I’d somehow dozed off a few times, awaking to the sound of the television and looking straight at the clock, sighing when I realized it was later than when I initially slept and that she still wasn’t back. Just as my patience began to wear thin, the locks on the door began to unlock slowly. A few giggles were heard on the other side of the door. I stood waiting to catch my drunken mother, when the door opened and a tall man had his arm around her waist. Frozen, we both stood watching each other. My mother’s head swung left to right as she grew limp. The man watched me stand before him in what seemed like horror, then gave me a small smile and closed the door behind him.

“Could you help me with her, she’s drank a little too much tonight.”

I ran to my mother’s side, putting her left arm around my neck as the man started walking towards the living room.

“It’s okay, I can handle it from here. Thanks mister for bringing her home.” With a startled look, he watched as I took my mother into the living room. I sat her down on the couch and pulled her shoes off. It must have startled him how a sixteen year old was caring for a more than able thirty eight year old woman, because even after her shoes were off, he still stood in the corridor with awe written all over his face.

“I said thanks mister, but you can leave now.”

“You’re a special girl to take care of your mum like this.”

“Well, I have to do what I have to do.”

“Hmm.” He nodded his head and watched as I did the routine check on mother. I made sure I didn’t remove any clothing off of her, as I couldn’t really understand why the man still hadn’t left.

“I respect what you’re doing for your mother. She’s a good lady, under all the drink and addictions. She wanted me to stay the night, but I wouldn’t want to intrude. Let her know she got home safe because of Mark and she got to bed in one piece because of you.”

With that he left my mother and me alone in the living room. The front door opened and then shut soon after. This was the first time I’d met Mark.

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Sister Abigail’s Unfaithfulness

Questions. All I’ve received these last few months are questions. ‘But father, if what you have been preaching about is true, then why would other people go searching for answers that the Bible should have provided?’ How many times must I explain to them that those who search for answers that the Bible has already given to them are unwilling to see the truth that is brought to them by Christ?

But none of my responses ease their mind. It’s almost as though, the more time I spend answering their questions and giving them reasons for other people’s actions, I fuel them with more enquiries. Father what more can I do for your people? I am only human and for that reason myself, I cannot deliver the answers they all search and plead to hear. I try to teach your people in the way you’ve instructed me, but nothing seems to work. Instead, more questions arise.

A few weeks ago, Sister Abigail came to me after Sunday service with a look I knew far too well. She had wanted to confide in me, which was a regular thing for people to do. She stood in front of me as everyone had begun to speak in small groups after service, shifting her weight onto each leg, fiddling with her fingers and looking down towards the ground. Noticing her tense posture, I rested my hands gently on her shoulders and reassured her things would be okay. No matter what she told me it’d be in confidence and I would be willing to advise her the best way I could, with the help of you.

She sighed and proceeded, “Father, now that the niggers are claiming for civil rights, it’s made me wonder why we, as the church haven’t accepted them earlier. They are human, just like you and I, and today you preached saying ‘God made everything in his own image’. If that’s the case then the niggers should have been allowed to worship with us, right?” I wasn’t too sure how to answer her question, let alone process it. I don’t get asked regularly whether niggers should be allowed to worship with us, because everyone knows that niggers and us folk are two completely different beings. But here before me stood Sister Abigail, asking me why I haven’t let niggers into the house of God to pray with us… was the preaching I performed today all in vain?

I wasn’t angry, more disappointed. She should know how the world functions, and the world only functions in the way it does because of you Lord, so why would she question such things when this is way life is meant to be? I tried to give her an uplifting smile and explained to her, ‘You see Sister Abigail, the way the world spins is because of God, the way food grows is because of God, the reason why you and I are here is because of God. And the reason why niggers aren’t accepted into the world is because of God. It is just the way God made things. You see, they are examples for us, parables even. The way they are and the way they behave are ways us folk shouldn’t. We must deter from their behaviour and remain in the path of God. Did God not create the Devil?’ She gave me a small nod, still looking down at her feet. ‘And the Devil is nothing but wicked and disobedient, hence why he was abolished from the Kingdom of Heaven. Niggers are like the Devil in this case and we are like God. The niggers are disobedient, destructive and downright bad, so we must cast them out of society and out of our lives, like what God did to the Devil. You must understand Sister Abigail, everything in this world happens for a reason, because of the one and only.”

She seemed to understand everything I was saying. She listened attentively, nodded when I asked a question and then thanked me when I was finished and left. I knew I had done my job to answer her question and give you justice to the best of my ability. But this Sunday after service I heard rumours, and you know me God I don’t indulge myself in idle talk. But what was being said was that Sister Abigail had left the church. I thought about it and realised she hadn’t been to church ever since she confided in me and now she’s left. Of course I felt like her choice of action was my fault. Was it what I told her? Or was it something else that had bothered her? She’d been a member for almost twelve years now. I would consider her one of the most devoted and reliable members of this church.

That was until today. I needed to understand the reason behind her leaving, just in case if I was the cause, because at least then I could pray for forgiveness for losing a member of the church. So I asked the committee, who found, through word of mouth, that she had left to join a religious organisation, one that was very unknown, but was apparently known (told by Sister Agnes) to express equality. Equality between black folks and white folks, I shook my head after hearing this. No church that was built in that way was a church of Christ.

If that was the church Sister Abigail’s heart desired to go to, then I wasn’t going to stop her. It was obvious from her actions that she was the minority of white folk who seemed to believe niggers and us folk were meant to live together. There was nothing I could do for her anymore, no amount of prayer could save her from the clutch the Devil had upon her. All I can do is pray that nobody associates her abnormal behaviour with this church, because this church is strictly for whites and God fearing people only.

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun