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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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

Mr Winters [Part 1]

It wasn’t the first time the police had pulled Hugo Winters into their interrogation room and played good cop bad cop with him when he refused to cooperate. But just as usual, he always found himself walking out of the precinct with a smug smile on his face, as the police had once again missed something vital that his attorney, Sarah Rayne, had picked up and used against them.

He and Sarah had become a team. An unstoppable force that even the police couldn’t handle. No matter what evidence they may have gathered against Hugo, whether that being legitimate evidence or fabricated (which he was sure had happened on a number of occasions), Sarah always found loopholes in their accusations that left him a free man.

Now standing at the top of the stairs of the precinct, feeling untouchable, a swarm of bottom-feeders gathered around him. Shoving microphones in his face, asking for a response after being taken to the precinct for the third time this month. He forced his annoyance away and began walking to his car that was already awaiting his arrival. With tape recorders, cameras and phones floating around him, he had to contain his anger before losing his composure. He despised reporters. All they did was feed off of others fame and success, and knowing the trials and tribulations Hugo had to cross to get to where he was, being the CEO of his own firm, he was not interested in giving people freebies. Especially if none were handed to him in his time of dire need.

Nearing his car, a female stood in front of him blocking him from entering his vehicle.

“Mr Winters, do you have any comments following the third arrest being made to you this month?” Hugo’s mouth opened to dismiss the woman’s question, when Sarah came from beside him.

“Mr Winters would not be answering yours,” she then looked at the rest of the other eager reporters who were waiting for any sort of information that could give them a story. “…or any of your questions. Good day.”

And with that, Sarah swiftly moved the bottom-feeder out of his way, giving him access to his vehicle. He sat in the passengers seat at the back, whilst Sarah got in with him. Closing the door, Sarah instructed Ainsworth to drive them to Hugo’s second property.

“Second?”

“Hugo, if those many assholes can gather at your release, imagine how many are lurking at your house. The second property is best, just for privacy. Until I can get a court order for all of them.”

Hugo smiled at her. He didn’t only hire Sarah because he knew her for most of his life, but because the way her brain functioned was beyond unique. She was fast on her feet and more in her brain. She thought of outcomes and solutions before problems even rose. That along with her on-going loyalty to him had deserved her the position of his right hand man, well woman.

“Well, someone’s a little tense.”

She shot him an angry look and he returned her glare with a cheeky grin. Shuffling his body closer to her as she returned her attention back into her briefcase.

“I’m not tense Hugo, I’m just doing my job,” She looked at him with frustrated eyes “far more often than I would like, if I’m quite frank. Can’t you stay out of the police eye for a second?”

He rolled his eyes and slid back into his original position, knowing she was going to talk his ear off about reducing his illegal activities and staying clean for a couple of months. She ordered Ainsworth to give them some privacy, whilst facing Hugo as the partition began rising.

“Not now Sarah, we’ve got more important things to deal with.”

“And this isn’t important? Hugo, I’ve only given you the best of my ability, but soon they may not stumble, the police might actually do their jobs right and there won’t be no way I could pull you out of it.”

He looked at her and gave her another one of his cheeky grins, making her roll her eyes. She pulled sheets of paper out of her briefcase and shook them towards him, not giving him eye contact. He grabbed her hand surprising her and then pulled her towards him, dropping her briefcase in the process and other loose sheets of paper. He grabbed her neck and pulled her towards him, making sure both their eyes were locked onto each other.

“Mm, I wonder if you still taste sweet?”

Her cheeks flushed whilst he continued to admire her beauty. Sarah had not only been Hugo’s attorney and friend, but on rare occasions the reason as to why they connected became blurred and more than just what the public were aware of. A connection Hugo knew far too well how to ignite and awaken, but also shut down. She held a strong persona in front of the cops, but when it came to Hugo, he knew what buttons to press to keep her silent and turn that stern face into something worth watching for a lifetime.

“Not now Hugo.” She said breathlessly.

“I haven’t even started yet,” He said kissing her jawline, slowly moving towards her neck, where her neck beat visibly due to her excitement. “Besides, you seemed tense and you know you work better when you’re more relaxed.”

With her hands still clenched around the papers, he used his free hand to caress her chest through her shirt as he began kissing her neck. Her throat worked to keep her moans quiet. Dropping the papers she clutched to on the floor, she used her free hand to caress his head as he planted soft kisses on her. He moved from her neck to her lips, which were parted slightly, teasing her by biting down on her bottom lip enough to cause her to grow impatient and pull his head closer to her to embrace the kiss fully. Feeling more and more hungry with each kiss they shared, Hugo began reaching for the buttons on her shirt, finding his mind stilled, as all he did was focus on Sarah and releasing his steady building desire. Until Ainsworth’s voice cut through the speakers, tearing them apart, but only by a fraction as reality came crashing back into Hugo’s mind.

“Sorry to disturb you Mr Winters, but I’ve noticed we have a tail. What would you like me to do about it?”

Sarah turned in her seat in attempt to catch any type of detail of the tail, but Hugo gently tugged her to face the front as he calmly thought of a way to deal with the issue.

“Leave them to tail us, however take note of the drivers license plate number and then give it to me when we reach the hills.”

“Very well.”

Hugo knew he hadn’t needed to worry with whom ever was following him, because he made sure he surrounded himself with able people. If he really wanted the tail gone, he knew Ainsworth would have done things a chauffeur didn’t need to do, to make sure the job was done. Especially with Ainsworth once having been in the army, he knew that his eyesight was more than capable of driving safely whilst still getting the license plate of the tail. Focusing back on Sarah, who was still tangled in his embrace, he smiled giving her a light kiss on the lips.

“Mr Winters, you know you play far too much?” She smiled whilst analysing his face.

“Only with you Miss Rayne. However currently, all I request from you is to make the charges go away.”

She pulled away from his embrace and grabbed the paper she’d let go of, during their heated moment of passion.

“I nearly forgot since you pulled me,” Still focusing on the scattered paper laid near their feet. “I sorted two of the charges.”

“How’d you manage to do that?” He said letting go off of her slightly, so she had easier access in picking up her papers.

“Me? Apart from working my magic, like I always do, I had a quick talk with you’re accountant and she let me know you had loose change hanging around, so I paid most of them. However, others are demanding a lot more.”

“How much more?”

“Enough that I’d need you to confirm the amount they are suggesting. It’s a lot, but we have other ways of making those charges go…” Hugo lightly chuckled and faced Sarah.

“And I thought you said I should cut down on the illegal activities huh?”

She shrugged her shoulders and returned her focus back on gathering the papers. Hugo kept quiet thinking about what Sarah was suggesting. Getting rid of some of those pestering people seemed very ideal to Hugo. However, being under tight observation by the police, he was sure that wasn’t the best way to get rid of some of the people who had been bothering him. Knowing the police would be eager to arrest him if they were under the suspicion he was doing anything illegal, Hugo thought better of just simply ‘getting rid’ of those other people. He stared at Sarah, who was now analysing some of the claims she spoke of. They were a powerful pair. He never mixed business with pleasure, but Sarah was far too sweet to let slip passed his fingers. He knew there was a chance this romance could be the end of their business, but Hugo was a smart man and knew when it was time to depart from a person before it got sticky.

 

Even though they’d driven to his second property, reporters still gathered by his house. Making it difficult for him to reach his property. Sarah had known they would be waiting for him, Hugo was aware of this too. But he didn’t know they’d somehow find themselves at his second property, the one that was meant to be far more private than his first one. He knew he had a few phone calls to make before he settled and put this day behind him. Someone was either tipping these reporters off, which meant the team that he thought was loyal, had a snake. Or the cops had a close eye on him, closer than he initially believed. He clenched his fists, remembering the tail that had been following him earlier and took note to ask Ainsworth immediately for the plate number. Sarah sighed and straightened out her suit as she closed her briefcase. She face Hugo as the car slowed nearing his home.

“Don’t say a word, I’ll handle this Hugo.”

Before Hugo could respond, Sarah had already opened her car door, to flashing lights and microphones in her face. She shut the door behind her, not allowing anyone to get any pictures of Hugo. As Sarah spoke with the reporters, Ainsworth shifted in his seat.

“Sir?” Ainsworth’s voice broke through the speakers, reminding Hugo he wasn’t alone.

“Yes?”

“Would you like me to get you into your property without them following?”

Hugo contemplated the offer, knowing Ainsworth would manoeuvre with ease in the crowded area of reporters. But Hugo didn’t want to ruin the strategy Sarah was creating for him, so he sat still and awaited for her.

“No, that’d be okay. But please email me the plate number of the tail we had earlier.”

“Yes sir.”

He smiled, again satisfied with the amount of trust he placed in Ainsworth and watched as the group of bottom feeders began to disperse and move back into their vehicles. He didn’t know what Sarah had said to the crowd, but she had somehow managed to get his once packed driveway free of reporters. She deserves a raise, he thought.

She walked to his door and knocked on the window, signalling for him to come out. Smoothing his three-piece suit, he stepped out his car and walked towards his house, grateful Sarah handled the reporters.

Hugo was a wealthy man and each and every one of his three properties replicated that wealth. The second property was in a private location far from the city of New York and had security surrounding the house 24/7. It was obvious he had to have some words with the security manager. If a hoard of reporters had the ability to cluster in his driveway, someone hadn’t done the job Hugo was paying them to do. But at least that was one problem solved. Thanks to the lady standing beside him. As soon as they were out of the public eye, Hugo grabbed Sarah’s waist, pulling her towards him. Their bodies crashed as he kissed her, trying to channel his annoyance and irritation into passion.

A small cough coming from his living room caused Hugo to stop his affection for Sarah. He looked at Sarah, wondering whether she had heard the cough. He hadn’t invited anyone and he surely didn’t expect any visitors, so who had just loudly coughed to make their presence known? Her expression mirrored his own, causing him to act based on instincts. He silently made his way into the living room, with Sarah close behind him, tapping silently on her phone contacting Ainsworth. Aware if anything happened with Hugo, she was to provide support until Ainsworth showed up. Rounding the corner that was the entrance to the living room, Sarah waited for Hugo to pounce on the intruder. But when she saw his body stiffen, she circled around him to see whom he was staring at.

“Hello Mr Winters, it seems as though you’ve been in trouble again.”

“What are you doing here Penèlope?”

The young lady stood, allowing a river of blonde hair to cascade down her shoulders. Her red lipstick was a strong contrast against the white fur coat and the black silk fitted dress she wore.

“Oh, we have unfinished business Mr Winters.”

 

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

The Predator

No one knew me here, and that’s the way I liked it. I could easily mold into a crowd  and no one would acknowledge me. It wasn’t as though I caused attention to myself, but even if I tried, people never had the time to pay any attention. It was a blessing and a curse at the same time. A curse because it brought me to be the man I was today and a blessing because I’d now knew how to utilise this feature to my advantage. It was the only way I fished out my prey without being detected.

Easy was an understatement. It was almost unrealistic the amount of times I’d managed to get away with the things I’d committed, to the point I’d become sceptical of the authorities. Maybe they did know what I was up to and was waiting to capture me during my activities? Ha. I overestimate the authorities. If they had known what I was up to, they was sure to have arrested me years ago, but they hadn’t because they knew nothing of me and never would because I was never a suspect.

I had the face that many would see and double take a few times, before never looking again. My face reflected the work I’d done over the years. However, my eyes always captivated those who truly looked at my profile. When I was young it was the only compliment I’d received. I knew from young my eyes held power beyond the average blue eyes that most held. They revealed love that was never there, sympathy to a heart that was hardened and affection – all emotions that never resided within me. That’s what had made them plead. When all hope was lost, they’d look into my eyes and hope I’d release them. But that was what I enjoyed most, the fact that people never knew that it was what kept me killing, kept me collecting prey. The look in their eyes when they realised that there was no hope and that their life was now my own.

Thanks Mother.

The memories now vivid in my mind, bring a smile to my lips. How I love what I do. There was no amount of money that could be offered to me, that would deliver the same satisfaction as the one I got whilst I’d watch my victims die in my hands. My body vibrated of excitement. Just the thought of seeing my next victim limp in my hands almost made me hard in delight. And it was only about to get better when I had felt someone from afar watching me. I was rarely watched, so when a few eyes managed to linger on my face longer than need be, I knew. To the left of me, by the furthest exit of the train station, stood a female in a trench coat, with her bag in her hand and her eyes glued to my face. A man like me shouldn’t smile – my aunt once said. How I hated my aunt, I was glad those were one of her last words.

I concentrated on the woman in the trench coat, now ready to let her know that I had acknowledged her glare. As predicted she had noticed, averting her eyes swiftly away from me, clearly fighting the urge to turn around to stare once again. Usually nobody stared, however sometimes the business costume and briefcase didn’t do the trick and that’s when I had unwanted stares.

I fully turned towards her and began walking. Picking up my stride, until I’d gotten behind her. Feeling my presence, she spun around, fumbling on her feet not aware of how close I was towards her. The fast action caused her to fall to the ground, so with my premeditated hand, I reached for her waist, gripping her lightly, but firm enough for her to know that I was now in control. She visibly winced, which only made me inwardly smile and shudder in excitement.

She throws a smile, an attempt to veil the raw panic that had probably began to creep along her spine. I didn’t move my arms from her waist, asserting the power I had over her. She tried to wiggle free, but that didn’t do anything but strengthen my hold on her.

“Thank you.” I smiled, causing the colour to drain from her cheeks. I pull her close to me whilst I notice tears forming in her eyes. I began taking her towards the exit of the station, and without any struggle she willing followed. I enjoyed victims that didn’t fight, the more willing the more fun I had with them. Some may say the more they fight the more enticing the victim become, but that rule never applied to me. I liked when my victims knew their fate, because that meant that they knew all attempts of escaping were futile, which meant they compiled to everyone of my demands, praying I’d release them. Which never happened. Even as we walked towards the exit of the station, she’d had moments of courage and attempt to fight against me, but a firm tug against her hip, settled any thoughts of calling for help.

It was snowing, so it wasn’t dark – but that did little to my motives. Whilst walking past a homeless man, I dropped the briefcase. Knowing there was no use of the façade anymore. I had come out to play and when I came out to play, I needed a playground. The irony when I spotted a nearby park, filled with children and mothers surrounded the area. I took her to the far end of the park and pressed her up against a tree, facing away from the crowd. Once she had realised that she was completely powerless, the pleading began. She explained that no one would ever know what happened, stated she didn’t even know my name. Keith. I lied, but she cries, saying she didn’t hear the name. Keith. I repeat once more, only causing more tears to cascade down her cheeks. Looking into my eyes, I see the hope every victim sees when they meet my stare. The moment everyone thought they had a chance of escaping.

Please. Don’t. Please. You’re not a bad person. All these meaningless words, I smiled silencing her words, as her small perfect mouth shut in utter despair. And there was the look that had my body trembling again in excitement, the look of realisation. The moment you know whatever you do, the ending will only end one way.

With screams, sex and a death.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Past Love (1st Extract)

It was getting late and I didn’t want to leave, but I knew I had to. Even though he didn’t ask me to, I knew my stay was coming to an end and as much as I was enjoying his company, I wasn’t going to overstay my welcome. We laughed and spoke all evening, even now as he repeats a story from our school memories, I find myself weary of the time. It must have began to show on my face, because he stopped speaking and raised his eyebrow. A thing he did when he knew I was zoning out.

“I’m sorry Julian, it’s just I realised it was getting late and I’ve got to be going.”
“You’ve got to go already?”
I looked down at my phone which lay on a small table just in front of the couch and saw the actual time: 22:36. Yeah, it was definitely about time I left. “I’m afraid so, you know if I could stay, I would.”
I began standing up from the couch, stretching my legs whilst grabbing my phone, checking if I had all my belongings, when Julian stood up with me.
“Are you sure you have to go Deanne? I can drop you home if it gets too late for you to be walking the streets?”
“I’m sure you would, but it’s best if I leave now.” He started pouting, making me giggle. “Hey! There’s always next week.”
“Yeah I know Dee, but I just wish you could stay a while longer.”

Julian and I had only recently rekindled our friendship of five years after bumping into each other at an event. We exchanged numbers and it was almost as though the six years of not seeing each other hadn’t even occurred. Nothing had changed between us apart from the fact we grew up and were adults, but we were exactly the same as we were back when we went to school together. Of course we’d grown mentally but also physically. Julian was never unattractive back in school. He was one of those boys who were spoken about in whispers, because he seemed so focused on his education, all thoughts of having a girlfriend was constantly thrown out of the window. Especially when he was asked to prom and he confessed he wasn’t attending; it was only then when everyone knew he wasn’t the average teenage boy and images of being his girlfriend was shattered. But that didn’t stop females from talking about the ‘what if’s’. It was only when we were paired for an assignment was when our friendship grew and built into a beautiful picture.
For years we were close, but with our career paths being so different it was no surprise when we lost communication. So, when I saw him suited and booted, I was more than shocked. Ever since that moment, we’ve been catching up as much as possible. The time we spent was never enough, but we always knew there was another day.

“I wish I could too, but don’t worry I’ll be back.”
I gave him a smile and then went to go and get my coat, trying to be discreetly quick so I didn’t delay anymore time than I had already done. He followed me to where my coat was hung and sighed.
“Dee can’t you just stay for another hour, I promise you I’ll drop you home?”
I gave him a hug, resting my head on his well-built chest and gave him a light squeeze.
“I promise I’ll see you soon, just text me okay?”
He wrapped his arms around me, and grumbled making me laugh again. His arms weren’t big, but for someone of my frame, I was drowned in his embrace. Knowing time was of the essence, I began loosening my grip signalling to leave, but instead Julian tightened his. I lifted my head to look up at him; surprised at the look he was giving me. His hazel eyes were dark and his body grew rigid in an instant. My breath got caught in my throat under his gaze. If what I thought was going to happen, actually happened, leaving was something I had to do and fast.
“I really don’t want you to go…”
His voice was deep and husky, full of desire and hunger. This only became apparent to me when his hands began moving towards my hips and lower back. Were there signs that I had missed previously? Or did I see them but ignore them? Because I was finding it hard understanding how we went from two friends rekindling their friendship over a meal, to me trapped in his embrace and not even finding the voice of reason in my head to tell him to stop. Even now as I stand looking into his eyes, I find myself tempted to see how deep his desire ran for me. There were enough reasons for me to reject his affection, and walk out on him. Yet, none ever significant enough for me to do so, and that’s why I found myself slowly unwinding under his gaze, each latch unlocking itself allowing snippets of desire to seep through my body.
My heartbeat had intensified, every beat stronger than the previous one, making me conscious that he could feel it as we were chest to chest. A wave of tingling heat ran through my body once, but once was enough. Every sense awoke with a roar, all sending the same request to my mind.

“Julian-”
He held my chin in his hand, using his thumb to gently stroke my skin that had grown sensitive, all the while lifting my head to his, closing the gap between the both of us. “Don’t go.”
His eyes burned through me, shutting down every command of sense, leaving me vulnerable and open to his needs. Another wave ran through my body, but this time only waking up the one thing I feared. My core awoke aroused, aching for some attention and affection, causing my whole body to clench and tighten. He slowly came close to me, bringing our bodies together, allowing me to fully appreciate his body and build and also the hard bulge that had appeared in his trousers. In a flash, my body had gone into flight mode. My legs began moving involuntarily towards the door, in a last poor attempt to take myself out of the situation I’d found myself in.
“Julian, I can’t.”
But nothing seemed to work, in fact the more I tried to protest against it, the more he clung onto me, allowing myself to understand what I’d done to his body. I managed to make my way to the door, in hope I could gather my thoughts and leave before things got further than I could handle. I used my left hand to feel for the doorknob and slightly turned it, with my face still in his hands, his breath so close to me at this point. The door began opening, when a slight force pushed it back, closing it. It was then I knew all attempts of leaving were clearly non-existent. The importance of time had slipped my mind and I seemed to have lost myself in the moment with Julian. Something I’m sure I’d regret eventually, but for now, my body was eager for his touch, hungry for someone to take some of the pressure off, and the only candidate worthy of doing so was Julian.
“Just once Deanne.”
I bit my lip and looked back at him. Noticing how his hunger had grown into a carnal desire. Nobody had looked at me like that for so long, or had even begged for my presence that I found myself nodding at his request. His chest rose and fell with steadily increasing speed, as he got closer to my lips. I closed my eyes, waiting…waiting for something to give me reason towards my irrational actions. And it was only when his lips touched mine, was when everything went clear. My body had stopped screaming demands and my mind had no longer wondered about my actions, in that moment I just wanted more. A little bit more. I wanted to taste his lips and find out what more they could do to me. The kiss started off as small pecks, but grew as our passion began to overflow. I hadn’t noticed when my back was against the door, but being stuck between the door and his body, gave me little to no room to move around freely and whenever I did move, I seemed to brush passed his bulge. Every slight shift I made caused a quiet groan to escape his lips.  But it still wasn’t enough. I needed more. Needed to know what it was about Julian that made me behave in a way that was foreign to me. So I went on my toes to receive his kiss in full, but by doing so meant his bulge was pressed hard between my legs, teasing my centre.

If I had any sort of thought about leaving, it had definitely disappeared, as he began moving back and forth between my legs. A whimper fell off my lips with each thrust, causing him to deepen each movement. He raised his left hand into my hair and softly tugged at it, revealing my bare neck, whilst his right hand held my behind. He used his teeth to pull on my bottom lip tenderly, then once he was far enough, he let go and moved to my neck, nibbling, licking and kissing his way through each of my barriers and right to my core.
“God, Dee you’re so sweet.”
He continued kissing my neck, nibbling just a little harder than before, showing me his patience was beginning to wear thin. His grasp on my behind had tightened, almost lifting me off of my feet, giving him a better feel. My hands struggled to stay in one place. One moment they were flat against his back and the next they were under his shirt. His lips sent sparks of ecstasy through my skin, causing me to push my body against his own, again teasing him and myself. He groaned, pulling himself away from me and looked down at me, with eyes dark craving eyes. I looked back at him, not completely sure how to process what we were doing. I had a home to get to and I’m sure time was far later than what it was when I last checked, but it didn’t seem as though I’d be able to get home anytime soon. A little voice spoke quietly enough for me to hear, letting me know problems will only get worse if I go through with this escapade with Julian. But how much more worse could things get? I’d already opened up to him, given him the opportunity to explore my emotions, my body and my mouth; what was the point of shying away now?

“Dee I won’t stop if I start…” He spoke tightly, evident that his control was close to snapping and needed my approval before he could take it as far as he pleased. This was the time. If I wanted to leave (which I should), this would be the perfect time to push him away, apologise for leading him this far and go home. But I stood still, knowing I wasn’t going to leave. I was too turned on to rationalise my thoughts.
“Then don’t stop.”
It was like those words flicked a switch in his mind. The thin barrier that I had held up against him, stopping him from pursuing his feelings broke effortlessly. In a somewhat growl, he dropped his hand from my hair to my behind. Using both hands, he lifted me up, like I weighed nothing and sat me firmly on his hips. In silence, he walked me towards what I assumed was his bedroom and kicked open the door, breathing heavily. Once we got inside of his room, he used his feet to close the door and then laid me on his bed, crawling over me, getting a full view of my face.
“You ready Dee?”

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

I awoke when I felt arms wrap around my naked body. The sheets beneath me were silk and smooth, which was my first alarm that I wasn’t in my own bed. Then images flooded back into my mind and the voice that was so quiet the night before was screaming loudly this morning. I messed up, so badly. It wasn’t Marcus’ hands that were draped around me, it was Julian’s. We’d had sex multiple times, until I couldn’t take no more. He kept whispering sweet things in my ear, letting me know that we should be together, not Marcus and I. How he would do everything in his power to prove to me that I should stay with him and at the time it all made sense. Marcus and I hadn’t been on good terms, especially when I realised he had cheated on me with Bernice, a female he met one night and had accidentally ended up in her bed. But I was as bad as he was.
And even though I knew I shouldn’t be kissing Julian, I found myself screaming his name in his pillow for a third time when he’d made me reach my climax. Even as I blissfully fell back to earth, he was there waiting for me. Ready to take me away once again, until it was something I couldn’t live without. Just before I’d slept, my head laid lazily on his sweaty chest, his fingers ran through my hair that had gotten clammy during our intimacy and our bodies lay closely to each other.

“Don’t go back to him Dee, I need you. I’ve needed you for a while, but I just couldn’t find where you were. I never wanted to lose contact with you, my life just got busy and before I was aware, your number wasn’t in my phone.”
I nodded, too tired to speak but not tired enough to fall asleep yet.
“I always wanted you, I was just waiting for the right time, but there never was one and that’s because I never made one available. Then I saw you and knew everything might actually fall back into place, but you were with Marcus. And I knew he was treating you badly because of the way he barely paid attention to you that night. It was then I knew my chance hadn’t completely gone, because I was going to do everything in my power to take you from him and treat you how you are meant to be treated.”
I didn’t respond, but I heard everything he’d said. That night Marcus was more occupied with friends and females than me and I’d just smiled pushing my hurt far from my mind. Then I saw Julian and everything changed. Marcus had suddenly placed his arm over my waist, stopping me from embracing Julian. He made himself known and then was quick to pull me from Julian. But when he’d gone toilet was when Julian had caught me and we’d managed to speak and exchange numbers.
Marcus caught us mid-way through a discussion and wasn’t happy, but I didn’t care, Julian was a friend of mine, a close friend…well I wasn’t sure what he was now, but then he was a friend not a threat.

“Jay…” The words slipped out of my mouth but nothing else followed through, my body had grown tired and I was through with the mental battle that was already occurring within myself. My eyes closed and my chest softly rose and fell, succumbing to the sleep that was about to take over.
“Promise me one thing Dee?” I nodded and he continued, “Don’t go back to him.” And then the sleep took me.
But now I was wide-awake and I wasn’t sure what I was doing with myself. Would I stay here with Julian or return back to Marcus, who most probably burned my phone with calls and messages. I tried to look around the room for my phone with my eyes, so I didn’t wake up Julian, but that didn’t work. He pulled me close to him, so close that I felt his breath blow the little hairs on the back of my neck. His lips soon replaced his breath; kissing my neck, causing me to involuntarily smile.

“Morning Dee.”
“Jay…”
“Mm?”
“I think I need to go.” He tightened his hold on me and shook his head, not wanting me to leave.
“Don’t Dee.”
“I have to, I need to sort myself out. I need things to fix and solve – you know I have to.”
He sighed and loosened his hold on my body. “Just because I know, doesn’t mean I want you to.”
I sat up, using the sheets to cover my body whilst I looked for my clothes that were scattered around his bedroom floor. This was not me, I didn’t do flings or one night stands. But Julian made sure if things went the way he wanted them to be, it wouldn’t be for one night, this was what was in store for me for the rest of my life. There was far too much to think about, would I leave a relationship of three years over a mistake and run to the next guy who seemed to make everything feel good in that moment, or would I try and work through things with Marcus? I most definitely needed to go.
“I’ll call you when things get clearer.”
I saw my underwear scrunched on the ground and took the opportunity to grab it, whilst getting the rest of my other clothes on. He sat up as I dressed and watched me pick up my clothes and belongings, almost like I was a prostitute gathering their items after a client had finished their hour with them.
“You know I don’t want you to leave Deanne?”
“I know Julian,” I said exasperated, this was too much for me to handle and it probably wasn’t even 8AM yet. “I don’t even know what I’m doing. My body just wants to get back in bed with you, my heart is confused and my head is telling me to go and sort everything out before I act. I don’t know what to do anymore Julian, but I do know I can’t do what I did last night again.”

He threw the sheets off of him and got up, walking towards me. I held my hand out to stop him from getting any closer, but that didn’t stop him. Instead he grabbed my arm and pulled me towards his naked body.
“I’m sorry for putting you through this situation Dee, and I understand it isn’t easy. So I will let you go, I can’t stop you from going back home to him, but I just want you to remember what’s here waiting for you.”
He moved my hand down towards his shaft, which was hard and pulsating already. My eyes followed my arm and watched as it came alive and twitched in my grip. My hand clasped his shaft tightly, causing him to inhale a sharp breath. Here was my body working  before my mind had time to tell it to stop and be sensible. I looked back up at him and watched his face flex in pleasure, eyes shut and throat gulping large balls of desire. I released him and stepped back, scared of what more he could make me do without my knowledge. His eyes opened and back was the stare filled with hunger and greed.

“Julian stop doing that.”
“Doing what?” He was about to take a step close to me, and as he did I simultaneously took a step back.
“Julian you aren’t being fair, you aren’t giving me a chance to think.”
“I don’t want you to think.” He stepped forward, causing me to step back.
“But I need to think. If you really care about me like you’ve said, then you’ll respect that and let me leave.” He stopped moving and sighed. Rock hard and tense, he looked at me, then himself and then took a few steps back, giving me space to breath.
“Fine.”
He began helping me gather my clothes, whilst putting his own on. Once we were more composed, I wore my coat and opened the door, ready to leave. I turned around one last time and watched Julian watch me, still hard, still tense but with a slight look of worry. I gave him a small smile and then left, ready to face Marcus and his anger.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun