The Hunt – Part 1

She sat frozen, watching Gabriel watch her. He was being sentenced to ten years in prison for domestic violence and numerous sexual assaults. She tried to ignore his glare, the way in which she was aware of the fierce fire that burned behind his expressionless face. She knew what that look meant and even as the security guards began handcuffing him, she felt more vulnerable than ever.
At first he tried to defend himself. Tried to lie and claim that Marina had wanted it too. The beating, the abuse, the constant verbal insults, in his mind she had wanted it…asked for it even. According to Gabriel, it was a mental thing, that somehow sexually excited her. Being dominated and oppressed was something that apparently gave her thrills.

He even continued to state the their daughter was planned, that she had begged for child, to extend their family and that he was more than happy to give his woman what she desired. Marina shut her eyes, remembering how hard Gabriel had knocked her out that night, to awake the next morning naked on the floor beside her bed. She had almost left him then, she knew she had to get out before he had killed her. But, every time she was close to escaping, she realised the fear that wrapped itself around her was more than the one that was with her whilst she lived with Gabriel. She then knew leaving him scared her than being with him. It was that fear that had kept her grounded with Gabriel until Elina was born.
She was now bound to this man, he had not only tainted her, made her undesirable, but he had officially claimed her by giving her a child, whom she loved dearly. Two conflicting emotions with people who ran the same blood as each other, things as such was enough to confuse Marina and keep her with Gabriel. Through the abuse, the torment and the constant demeaning comments – this was what she knew, and that monster had given her a beautiful daughter, at times she found herself thanking him for Elina’s life.

She opened her eyes to see Gabriel walking away with the guards. But just before he disappeared from her sight, he turned and stared at Marina. No last words, or even a shift in his face, just a dead glare that Marina knew she wouldn’t forget anytime soon.
That was the last time Marina saw Gabriel, being handcuffed and taken away to serve ten years of his life behind bars…that was until now. Four years later and she had found herself just as tightly wound up as she was when Gabriel had first entered this place. She sat on the uncomfortable plastic chair that was nailed to the ground, unable to move as the nerves was all too much for her to bare. Why had she decided to see him again? He’d asked for her to bring Elina, which Marina wholeheartedly disagreed with when she first received his letter. But what made her still come? What was it that Gabriel had said to bring her to this confined room, under the tight surveillance of the guards – back to the man who she was more than grateful was behind bars?

A door opened and in walked the inmates. Marina’s breath caught in her lungs as she remembered the letter she received from Gabriel. Asking her for her forgiveness, for a chance for him to explain his actions. Four years was a lot of time for someone to go over their behaviour and he now knew where he went wrong, he simply wanted to apologise. At first she refused to even consider going to see him, but after some thought she thought he deserved to explain his actions, maybe he could change. And he certainly had.
He was far more built from the last time she saw him, his shoulders broad and square almost looked too big for his jumpsuit. His chest was clearly visibly through his clothes as it pressed tightly on the material, showing her the definition of how much muscle he had gained through his four years of being in prison. He was bigger and more threatening compared to the Gabriel she once knew. What had she done? And was she truly ready to hear what he had to say to her now, whilst he was walking slowly towards her?

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Her Secret – Part 1

Tala rolled up her sleeve, to check her watch for the third time that hour, 16:47. She knew Vince would eventually not show up, especially after the last public display they shared together. They hadn’t only embarrassed themselves, but had also highlighted their personal issues to their counselor and anyone who had close proximity to her office door. She looked at Dr Bailey, who had a stack of reports across her desk. Aware of her gaze, Bailey looked up and gave Tala a smile, aware that time was passing by and Vince had not yet showed up to their appointment.

Tala reached for her phone, which was wedged in her pocket and tried Vince’s cell phone for another time, cursing softly under her breath when she was directed to his voicemail again. With her annoyance rising, she began tapping her boots against the marble floor, trying to find a solution to what seemed to be a downward spiral that she had found herself to be apart of. Taking another sneak peek at her watch, she rolled her eyes knowing their appointment ended at five o’clock. She wasn’t even sure why she had waited for so long. She knew deep inside of herself that she should have taken her jacket and left as soon as Vince started playing hide ‘n’ seek. But she didn’t and it was because she was still scared of letting a relationship of nine years go to waste. She knew if she had walked out when she really wanted to, then she wouldn’t be returning. As soon as she stepped outside Bailey’s office, she would have finally given up on Vince and that wasn’t something she could do so easily after building a family with him; a family that she was bounded to. And for that reason alone, is what kept her sat in Bailey’s leather seats, constantly hoping Vince walked in.

She was never sure why she let Vince convince her in going to relationship counselling. She knew way before he did that their relationship had come to a sour end and all counselling did was make their issues more obvious. Instead of rebuilding their damaged bond, counselling in fact had strengthened Tala’s resentment towards Vince. Every night she’d found herself wondering what her life would have been like if she hadn’t met Vince that Friday night in the bar. If she hadn’t let his lies and façade paint false images of him for all those years. She probably won’t be sitting in a counselor’s office waiting for a stranger to help solve her personal problems.

Thoughts about Vince always caused her teeth to clench in anger. If only she was smarter she would have noticed the signs from early, but love had blinded her to the point that every indication of his actual self was disregarded. Then she had Deanne and things started to change. The arguing wasn’t as frequent and their focus was on their first child together, they didn’t have time to notice each other’s faults. But of course she knew it was only a matter of time before old habits slipped through the cracks of their act. It was the little things he did that caused problems, never wanting her to leave the house, making her feel like a maid instead of a mother. She hadn’t even realised when she’d stopped communicating with her friends and family. Must have been when she was still trying to please Vince and his unattainable needs. But it happened, and it meant that whenever things got too heavy for her, she had nowhere to run to apart from the bathroom, where she found herself frequently. In the same position every single time, crumpled to the ground next to the sink, crying until she felt better.

With things as bad as it was it surprised her when she found out she was pregnant again with Paige. She contemplated aborting Paige, shuddering as she feared her second baby would look at her with questions in her eyes, the same way Deanne’s had. But as soon as Vince found the pregnancy test in the bin, she was further constrained to him. So she’d brought another beautiful baby into a fragile and damaged home. There was no escape for her, because if she left she’d have to think about her daughters, think about them seeing their father, think about how they would feel, so for four years she sat, waiting till the moment was right. But it never was and here she was, sitting alone in Dr Bailey’s office.

The weight of the leather chair shifted slightly to the left side of Tala, pulling her out of her thoughts and back into reality. It was then she realised she was crying as Bailey held a box of Kleenex in her hands.

“Oh, excuse me Dr, I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be ridiculous Tala, you need no reason to apologise.”

Tala took a few tissues from the box and wiped the tears that had found their way down her face. It was bad enough that she sat here alone for so long but now she’d begun crying in front of Bailey, she took time to suppress her emotions before grabbing her jacket and leaving once and for all.

“I know you’re upset Tala, it’s obvious that there’s things you’re dealing with that you haven’t shared with anyone and it’s getting too much for you to handle by yourself.” Bailey moved closer to Tala, as Tala wrapped her arms around her body remembering how alien she was in her own family.

“I have no one to speak to…”

Her words trembled as they left her lips, feeling naked to her emotions she huddled more into herself. Taking note of her stance, Bailey moved close enough to Tala that she could embrace her, using her right arm as a belt, she gently held Tala as she remained hunched and pulled her softly towards herself. Allowing Tala to understand her presence was there for her.

“I’m here Tala. You can speak to me, you can tell me what’s truly bothering you, tell me the things you hide from the world. I’m here for you.”

It’s as though Bailey’s words were filled with a key that opened a door to Tala’s vulnerability. The more Bailey spoke, the more tears continued to fall from Tala’s face and into her laps. She hadn’t felt so naked before, she made sure she stayed strong in front of everyone, even if that meant she broke down almost every day privately, she was okay with that. But here she was, feeling like a child in her mother’s arms, just looking for some guidance.

Bailey moved the box of tissues to the table in front of them then faced Tala, feeling a wave of sadness rush through her own body seeing a grown woman cry uncontrollably because of her partner. She pulled Tala to sit up, unwrapped her arms and then held Tala’s hands. With tears still streaming down her cheeks, Tala felt embarrassed for letting Bailey witness her in such a state. She looked into Bailey’s eyes hoping for an answer, or an escape but saw nothing but big brown eyes stare right back at her.

“You don’t need to cry anymore Tala, things will get better for you, I promise that.” Tala closed her eyes, her eyelashes wet from all the water and nodded, hoping Bailey’s words held more than truth but reality. She looked back at Bailey who’d watched her in pain. She didn’t want anyone’s pity, hating the feeling of being helpless, Tala released one of her hands from Bailey’s grip and made sure all tears that may still be visible were gone with the back of her hand.

“I’m sorry Dr, I should go, but…thank you.” Bailey smiled and surprisingly gave Tala a light hug. Stunned, Tala stared blankly at Bailey’s embrace. Not knowing what to do, she sat waiting for Bailey to let go, unsure of how she should take Bailey’s action, but she didn’t move. Involuntarily she found herself resting her head on Bailey’s shoulder and for once allowing herself to be looked after. She couldn’t help but enjoy the feeling of someone truly caring for her, a feeling that had become so foreign to her. She hugged Bailey back, hoping that everything she was going through was a dream and that she’d wake up and everything would return to normal.

She felt Bailey’s chest rise and fall against her own, taking note of the amount of breaths she took, noticing how her fingers penetrated warmth on her spine and how her hair smelt fresh. Something about the way Bailey was, made Tala feel safe. She didn’t want to leave the microcosm she privately built with Bailey, because she wasn’t sure when she’d return. She hummed silently as her reality slipped away and she found herself lost in Bailey’s touch. Bailey’s fingers circulated against Tala’s spine leaving small flames everywhere she touched, causing Tala to draw closer to Bailey.

Bailey knew this was beyond what a normal counselor would do for her client, but seeing Tala wait for her husband and then surprisingly start crying had triggered something deep within Bailey. Tala deserved more, she definitely deserved better, and it pained Bailey to know she could do nothing but sing empty promises in her ear. After a few minutes, she loosened her embrace on Tala. It may have felt like the right thing to do, but she was not ready to lose her job over a woman who’s husband barely cared for her.

When their eyes locked Tala felt a surge run through her. She wanted to crawl back into Tala’s arms, she wanted to remain there until things had gotten better, Bailey seemed like a secure place to lay her nest and that was what she wanted to do. But she had never felt like that with anyone. She wasn’t even completely sure if it was a sexual emotion or just raw emotions getting placed in wrong categories. But after staring at each other for longer than necessary, Tala grabbed her jacket and rushed for the door – feeling so vulnerable and exposed, she knew the only place she wanted to be was in her bathroom.

Bailey watched as Tala rushed out, trying to ignore what she knew she felt, as it was beyond inappropriate. She closed her door behind Tala and sat back at her desk, her heart beating against her chest hard. She felt her chest, disbelieving the way in which her heart seemed to crash into her when she felt the pebble beneath her shirt. Looking down ever so slightly, she saw her nipples were erect. She never mixed her personal life with work, but that hug had overstepped the mark and now Bailey knew she was going to have to have the upmost restraint if she ever met Tala again. Because Bailey not only understood her pain and wanted to resolve it, but she wanted to be the reason why Tala smiled and the way Tala held onto her, she knew Tala wanted the same.

Toxic – Part 5

Josh hadn’t spoken to me for the rest of the time we were at the house. Avoiding my touch, my gaze and any interaction with me. It hurt, but I was aware of what I had done the night before and forced any type of pity deep within myself. We drove to his parent house in silence, not even the radio could drown out the awkward tension between us. I could tell Josh didn’t believe everything I had said to him back at the house, but the mere thought that his wife could have slept with her best friend or his brother was probably too much to bare, so silence was his only option.

He’d wore a nice grey snug knitted jumper, with dark black jeans and dessert boots. I’d worn a presentable dress, that came down to my calves and plain black ballerinas. My intention was not to stand out this evening, my plan was to be as invisible as possible. Say my ‘hi’s’ and remain quiet, I had already made a fool of myself today, there was no need for me to do anymore.
Josh had parked outside of his parents home and took a deep breath. He looked at me as if wanting to say something but thought better of it. He turned his gaze away from me and proceeded to get out of the car, without saying a word to me. Tears welled up in my eyes, but knowing I didn’t have the right or time to be emotional, I wiped the strayed tears that had fallen out of my eyes and composed myself.

I stepped out of the car and waited for Josh to lock it before following his lead. Before we’d gotten to the door, Josh had grabbed my hand with such force that it hurt. There was no affection in the way he took my hand, if anything the force of his hand crushed into my wedding ring finger, which pressed into my other fingers, squeezing them tightly till they rubbed on each other, rubbing onto the bone. With a little wince, he knocked on the door and before a second went by, the door swung open and there stood his sister, Anabelle.

“Joshie!”
Josh threw my hand backwards as he embraced his younger sister. Ana was only 23 and was one of my bridesmaid at our wedding. She always seemed to make me laugh and understand me in a way that always shrouded her true age – almost making her a chameleon to anyone she came into contact with.
“Anabelle, how you been?”
He swung her around lovingly.
“Great! Hi Sash!”
She jumped off of her older brother and gave me a tight squeeze. She stepped back and allowed us to enter. The house was modern. Wooden floor boards surrounded by cream walls with family photos hung chronologically on the wall gave the house the ambience of love and warmth. It was what defined it from a standard house to a loving home. We entered the living room, and out bursted a room full of people. Young and old, everyone sat mingling with each other.

“Josh how have you been?”
His mother kissed his cheek twice affectionately whilst his father made his way to me, giving me a bear hug.
“Good to see the lovely Mrs Fletcher again.”
With a tight lipped smile, I hug his mother who welcomes me just as warm as her husband. For a long time after our little greeting with Josh’s parents, I simply follow Josh. I watch him greet his family that he hasn’t seen in a long time and others he barely recognises. Soon it’s dinner and we’re all packed around his dining table that has been extended, so that everyone is able to have a seat. I sit between Josh and Anabelle, and find myself staring at the empty plate on the table in front of me because it seems Josh has, when possible, ignored me and placed all his attention on his family at each opportunity given to him. The door bell rings and Anabelle rushes to open the door. Moments later, we’re all welcomed by the sight of Mike, who has managed to find my gaze before anyone else’s.

Stood confidently at the doorway of the kitchen, wearing a plain white shirt, tight enough to show off his physique with smart black trousers, sends images of my hands trailing over his chest the night before. I looked back at the empty plate before me whilst Mike walked round greeting everyone. I tried to ignore the tingle I felt deep within myself, but the closer Mike was getting to me, the more I felt my heart race and my legs tightened shut together. I felt Josh’s chair scrape out as he rose to hug his brother. They both gave each other a firm pat on the back, which didn’t last enough for me to compose myself. So I decided staying seated was my best option. Mike bent down to hug me, wrapping his strong arm around my neck as our cheeks touched each other briefly – but enough to spark a flame within me. I made sure my face didn’t replicate the feelings I felt within me. The tension that was becoming almost too much for me to bare, the way in which my insides had tightened to a tight ball waiting for Mike’s touch to unravel it. I took a deep breath as his arm unwrapped from my neck and he moved to the next family relative.

“Oh Mike why don’t you sit next to mum!”
Anabelle offered as there was no other available seat apart from the one opposite my seat. Mike was going to decline, but when he realised he had no option, he gave Anabelle a small smile and pulled the seat beside his mother out and took his position. I looked back at the only place I seemed to have found solace today, wishing I was anywhere but here when Josh randomly reached for my hand and this time, with more care, started to caress my skin gently, ever so slightly rolling his finger across my wedding ring as he watched Mike greet his father.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

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 had 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 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 really not ideal or even part of the plan. This was going to be one extended day.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Toxic – Part 3

Throughout my journey home I can’t help but question who I really am, who’ve I become? It was bad enough that I had thought about cheating on my husband on multiple occasions, but the fact that I had actually committed the act almost left me bewildered. Who was the woman that sat in the black cab, wearing a body con on a early Saturday morning? Because I sure as hell knew it couldn’t have been myself… I risked my marriage for what? A night that I probably wouldn’t forget for the rest of my life. It sounds exciting when I think about it, but was it truly worth it?

I should have thought about my actions in more depth. Even though I’ve felt like this for a year, I’m not sure if I had truly contemplated the aftermath if I had went ahead and actually slept with Mike. I’m not even sure why now, sitting silently in the back seat of the cab driving me to where I thought was home, but now sounds weird to call home is where I contemplate my actions. I knew what I was doing yesterday – I could hardly blame it on the alcohol, I barely drank any. And even if I drank a glass or two…or the whole bottle, I knew what I wanted from the start. The way Mike had touched me in the club and even more so when our lips touched was enough to remind me that I knew exactly what I was doing.

My conscious was beyond clear at that point, maybe if I was intoxicated it would be a better pill to swallow, rather than having the guilt slowly choke and suffocate me silently in the back of the cab. Before I had even knew what I was doing, I asked the cab driver to stop and requested to walk the rest of the way. I paid him the fare and got out of the vehicle, clutching myself tightly as the cold London air blew wildly on my bare legs and in my short outfit, more suitable for 7PM than 7AM. I ignored the quizzical stares that Londoners couldn’t help but do and hugged my body as I walked home. Getting some air should help me think.

I needed to plan how I was going to approach Josh. What I was going to say, in which way would I say it and whether he would believe me or not. The lie Mike had told me to stick to sounded ridiculous. Far too close to the truth for me to remain settled, but the more I thought about other lies that could replace Mike’s one, the more I realised why Mike had wanted me to stick to his own lie. The guilt from cheating and the hint of truth would make it more believable to Josh and with Mike as a sturdy alibi – Josh would know I was telling the truth.

I cannot believe I have come to this. Thinking of ways to lie to my husband to get away with infidelity. Where was the determined and strong woman who knew exactly what she was doing the night before? Because if she could show herself now, then maybe confronting my husband wouldn’t feel as hard as it did now. I wasn’t strong enough for this, even as I think back to Mike, back to the night we shared, I can’t help but shudder. Thoughts of us constantly replaying in my head as I ponder when the next time will come…hoping it would be sooner rather than later.

But what was done was done, right? The damage has been created and it was now sealed. I was a fragile glass yesterday that shattered under Mike’s touch – my only hope now was that the cracks that were more than evident didn’t reveal themselves to Josh.
I was coming up to the house now. 17…15…13, the more steps I took the more my heart crashed into my chest. I have never feared my husband – never needed a reason to, but today the fear that resided in me, was wrapped around me like another layer of skin. It wasn’t welcoming, but I was aware I gave it room yesterday to take place in my body.

Sucking in my breathe, I open my white wooden gate, wishing I was returning with a clear mind. But after having spent the night with Mike, my mind was far from clear. Even now, when I remember how our lips touched in the club makes my libido dance in excitement. God even thoughts of him can spark me to life, even in such situations as the one I was in currently. Before I get to open the door, Josh has it opened. Rushing to me like a mother reunited with their abducted child. He hugs me tightly, too tight and very one sided. I think because I’m too stunned to move my arms let alone my body I am left in a one-sided embrace. He stands back to watch me and then draws me inside the house.

Walking in silence, my breath comes out shorter, he faces me again and embraces me once more. This time with less worry but with more love. It was then I realised I was a horrible human being, weak and selfish. My husband stood in front of me, me in his arms, his breaths coming out in short rapid spurts, and I can tell he is happy to see me safe. And there I stand, arms planted to the sides of my body, scared that if I touch Josh, I’d ruin him like I have done so with this marriage. I feared tainting him but was too emotional to pull away. That was when I found myself in tears, a flood of emotions rushing out of my chest before I could stop it.

What had I done? Was it truly worth it? Could I just erase such mistakes from reality and act as though none of it occurred – was that a possibility? Because if it was I was ready to do anything to undo my mistake and go back to the woman I was only just a few hours ago.

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Toxic – Part 2

The sun had crept through the bedroom curtains and had teased my eyes awake. At first I was still in a dream-like state. Enjoying the warmth of the bed and the sun both massaging my body, pulling me back to sleep. Until my phone vibrated and with each vibration I was taken away from this bliss and was forced awake. At first I thought I was at home, laying next to my husband – but when I begun to remember the events of last night, I was mistaken.

It wasn’t my husband that had thrown me against the wall and had ripped my clothes off once we were out of the cab. Neither was it my husband who had me open and craving for more. Images of my husbands face flashed in my mind as I arched my back in ecstasy and when I had reached my climax for the third time. Yet, the more I thought about the night before, the more my husbands face morphed into someone else. Someone who has invaded my dreams, my thoughts – my life.

At first it felt too much like I’m still in a dream. Like soon enough I’m going to awake and find my husband laying too close beside me. But after a few minutes, I don’t awake from what feels like a dream and when I dare to look at who is laying behind me, reality rushes back to me so hard my stomach begins to roll.

I’d cheated on my husband. It wasn’t as though I had forgotten, it was all in my face. The room I had woken up in was not mine. The dark curtains were key, yet I still chose to believe it was a dream. But now seeing Mike lay peacefully beside me, was enough to remind me of what I had done the night before. What was I to do? My phone vibrated for another time, stirring Mike awake.

It took him a while before he was awake enough to notice me. But once he did his arm slithered around my waist, pulling me closer to him. Even though I was aware of what I had done and guilt was starting to sing in my mind, my body tingled to his touch. Trembling in his embrace, my inner demons still having power to make me crave what I knew I shouldn’t, whilst my conscious was thinking about my husband at home. It must be him that was calling. Wondering where I have been throughout the night – if only he knew I was with someone he trusted, someone he thought would keep me safe.

Mike smelt me as I tried to decide what I was going to do next – stay and lay within this microcosm that seemed too good to be true or run back to my husband and act as though none of this occurred.
“I love your scent.”
Without thinking, my body leaned back into his touch, so our bodies were as one. I felt his hard-on, making a small smile creep onto my lips. I guess no matter the logic that seemed so obvious to me, my inner demons decided what I did when it came to Mike.
“Thank you.” He had slowly begun grinding his hips into mine, using his left knee to separate my legs, allowing his access to become more easier.
“I’ve dreamt about this for a long time Sasha.” He was now between my legs. My thighs trembled as I knew what was to come soon. His hand danced on my skin and then made its way to where it needed his touch the most, when my phone had begun vibrating again. My eyes shot open to where the vibration was coming from.
“Leave it.”

And I was sure that I would have left it, until it began vibrating again. I knew who was calling, and it was bad enough that I had cheated on him with his brother, but to make him worry was not something I intentionally wanted to do. Peeling myself away from Mike, I tried to find the phone that was still vibrating. Where was it? In my jacket pocket? Or did I take it out of my clutch bag? Before I had the chance to get off the bed, Mike had grabbed onto my hand, stopping me from moving.
“I need to get it Mike, we both know who it is.”
I made another attempt to get my phone, when Mike’s grip tightened.
“I know it’s him Sasha, but I don’t care. I just want you. Let’s enjoy this once more before we have to think about the consequences.”
It was stupid, I knew how dumb his suggestion was and how I know I had done more than enough damage, but I didn’t want to think. I just wanted to be in Mike’s arms again before I had to face reality. I had to choose between the vibrating phone or being taken to new heights once more.

I let Mike crawl towards me, and take me again. Take me away from everything. It’s crazy because it wasn’t as though my relationship…or marriage for that matter was in shambles. Josh and I were in a good place. It just was not as good as I wanted it to be. I wasn’t too sure what was missing, but when I laid my eyes of Mike at our wedding I hadn’t noticed it then. I was so drunk on love, I couldn’t see the way he held me too tight as we danced on the wedding night as a polite gesture from him to me. Neither did I see the other times he would linger around in my house for too long after guests had gone, a few months after me and Josh had moved in together. However, after three years I was no longer drunk on love – I was enjoying it with a more sober mind. But that opened my eyes to Mike. To how he watched me, how when we hugged his hand lingered very close to my bum. And instead of these things to make me feel awkward or at least tell my husband, I enjoyed it. Enjoyed the thrill, the feeling of having another mans hands over my body. And not just any man, my husbands brother.

That was when I realised that my marriage was not enough. Josh was an amazing man, great at sex, was romantic and treated me perfectly. Yes, we argued but that was normal. But he no longer had the hunger in his eyes when he saw me walk through the door and neither I for him. Instead, I kept losing my breath when Mike and I were left alone together, when he tried to kiss me when my husband had gone to get us glasses to drink wine in. Or when we had been celebrating their parents anniversary, and Mike had managed to touch me inappropriately in a crowded area. I was sure that Josh had seen, but he didn’t mention anything and I heard nothing of it – so I tried to ignore it. But with the more passes Mike made on me, the more I felt for him.

So here I was, laying on my back. My mouth in an ‘o’ shape as Mike had now thrusted himself inside me for another time. Penetrating me in time of the vibration of my phone. He grabbed a handful of my breast as my back arched in pleasure and as the strokes increased. With strength and speed, Mike continued to push me further and further to the edge. I knew it wasn’t long until I collapsed to his love, my eyes opened pleading with him to end it. He smiled as he continued to power through me, ignoring my plea and pushing himself to the brink before exploding. His whole body shaking in desire. Every muscle tensing as he tried to keep his body up above mine, whilst I crumbled below him. That was it, we had had our last fun in this world we had created for the night and now it was time to be true to ourselves.

I had a husband to confront and Mike had a brother he had just betrayed. After a few minutes of laying in silence, I sat up and went to hunt for my mobile. I didn’t put any clothes on as I had no need to hide something Mike had already seen more than enough in one night. I checked my jacket, yet couldn’t find anything. After looking for a few minutes, I found my clutch bag, which had my phone inside. I unlocked the phone and saw six missed calls from Josh and two from Clarissa. Then a few messages from both Clarissa and a few from a group conversation that I was in. I opened Josh’s message, which was frantic. He had called Clarissa and she claimed I was with her, but when failing to prove that I was there, he knew she was lying. He had started to get scared and also annoyed – the tone in his texts and voicemail had gotten a lot more serious. I needed to go home, before anything had gotten worse.

I turned back to Mike who was watching me.
“I have to go Mike.”
“I know, but I’ll see you again soon, just say you was with me when you speak to Mike. I found you a little too drunk and I took you here. I’ll come round later and explain it to him.”
“Are you crazy?”
“Trust me Sasha, say you are with me and I’ll handle everything.”
He stood up and came to me, pulling me close so that our naked bodies touched as he kissed me deeply. I was scared, but I wasn’t too sure what of. I don’t know if I was scared that Josh was going to wonder where I was, or whether this may be the last time I see Mike.
“God Sasha, if I had my way, you wouldn’t leave my side. But I know you have to go to Josh. Sasha…trust me, stick to what I said and we’ll be good.” I nodded nervously. He planted another kiss on my lips and helped me gather my things as I ran through the lie in my head. Well, it wasn’t even a lie, I did come home with Mike, but we did things I know Josh wouldn’t approve of. I just hoped my face didn’t have the events of yesterday night and this morning written all over it.

© 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 placed the small chalky white tablet in my mouth and then gulped 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.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Hayley’s Story -Part 2

I woke up in my bed the following morning. I had no recollection of how I got there or what happened to me when that woman drove me home, but I couldn’t help but be annoyed with myself. I acted irrationally and it could have ended completely different if that woman wasn’t as nice as she was. I took a deep breath and thought about telling Veronica, but after contemplating about that option for a minute or two, I realised telling Veronica was a bad idea. I already have a headache, I didn’t need her telling me off on top of that.

I looked at my watch and saw I was only 20 minutes late in waking up for work. If I rushed and drove fast, I’d probably still make it on time. But who was I kidding? I wasn’t going to work today. With the constant thumping in my head, and the nauseous feeling that began rolling in the pit of my stomach, going to work was just a mere dream. I laid my head back into my pillow and sighed – never will I drink on a weekday again…said the alcoholic. I blindly reached for my phone on the bedside table to call my boss telling him I won’t be able to come in today when my phone rang. I sat up again, groaning at the way my stomach felt from the fast movement and answered the phone.

“Hello?”
“Hayley! Are you awake? Wait what’s the time – you should be awake by now.” What was my boss doing calling me at 7 in the morning.
“Nick I was just about to call you.”
“No Hayley! Save it! I need you in today, there’s some clients that I need you to meet.”
“Nick, I feel like shit. I really don’t know any miracles that would help prepare me for any type of meeting today.”
“Hayley, I need you in.”
“But Nick, I’ve helped you with so many things!”
“Like what Hayley?”
“That time you needed me to write up those reports, the other time you begged me to take the Harrison Brothers out for dinner because they were investing loads of money into the company. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
He sighed. “Look Hayley, the meeting is at 1’oclock. Get in for 12 and I’ll let you leave after the meeting. That’s the best I can do.”

I rolled my eyes and sighed. Nick and I were a duo. I was almost his limbs and without me, sometimes he’d be lost. And without him, I wouldn’t have a job, that paid well. We understood each other very well, and he was eager to build me up through the company, which I appreciated. However, days like now, when I was hanging from my ass, I couldn’t be bothered. But because of what I knew Nick had and would do for me, caused me to have a soft spot for him.
“I’ll be there for 12:30PM.”
“Hayley!” He growled.
“Alright! I’ll be there for 12. Thanks Nick.”
“It’s fine. You owe me.” And with that the phone cut. I guess I wasn’t going to get a lay in like I would have liked, so I trudged slowly to the bathroom and ran a warm bath. I didn’t have to leave until 11Am. So I had time to shake this hangover off.

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

I had managed to shake off some of the hangover, not all of it, but most of it which was better than nothing. I’d worn my navy pencil skirt and white shirt with the matching blazer, knowing this meeting was a big deal if Nick decided to call me in the bloody AM for it. As I drove to work I couldn’t help but remember being slumped in the passenger seat the night before. I thought I’d slept, but images of me giggling and talking flashed in my mind. The memory was faint, but I do vaguely remember having some sort of conversation with that woman who drove me home. I remember dropping keys and her picking them up, but then everything faded.

I slammed my foot on the brakes as the lights turned red. With the way I was today, I couldn’t do anything but focus on one thing at a time. Which meant if I was driving, then that was all I could do. I couldn’t try to recollect of the events that happened the previous night, because that was way too much for my brain today.

Once Nick had briefed me on who was coming today, I finally understood why it meant so much for me to attend the meeting. It was the owners of Harriet&Co. One of the most popular upcoming businesses currently in the industry. And somehow, Nick had managed to get them interested in his future business plans and had let them know how much profit he could deliver to the company and how much they could save. Obviously after hearing profit and save, they were on board, so it was me that had to set up the meeting room, take notes and also explain our plans for the next 6 months.

It wasn’t a hard task as I’ve done this multiple times now, however, when I thought about how big of deal this was to Nick, I started to feel nervous. I wasn’t too sure whether it was still the alcohol in my system or the fact that I knew I couldn’t mess this up. Whichever one it was, it was messing me up and my stomach.
“Hayley, they’re on their way. Is everything ready?”
“Presentation is sorted, I’ve got my laptop to take notes, and the business structure for the next 6 months and previous 6 months are all printed and included in the slides.”
He smiled and nodded slightly. “That’s my girl.”

Just as we’d finished prepping, he received a call.
“Okay Hayley they’re here. Get Karen to bring some complimentary snacks in here and water and I’ll bring them up.”
I nodded and he was out before I finished nodding. I called Karen, asking for some food to be brought up here immediately and took a deep breath. It was time to get my game face on. I quickly put my phone on silent and threw it back in my bag when I noticed a white piece of paper neatly folded in my bag. I wasn’t too sure whether that was there before or maybe I just missed it earlier. I looked at the door and noticed no one was there yet. I reached for it and unfolded it.

Hi Stranger,

Is it bad that I didn’t catch your name? Sorry about that, but I do hope you’re feeling better. You was very friendly tonight, but that’s okay – it made me laugh. I hope you didn’t have to go into work, you looked shattered when you finally got home. 

I had to carry you to your bed which wasn’t easy. Carrying a drunk woman to her bed, whilst she’s undressing in your arms was really tough. I do hope you’re okay. I left my number below. Call me when you have a chance, you do kind of owe me now, right?

07473829574 – Melanie x

What in the world?! I must be dreaming, she left me a note. I am an absolute mess. I couldn’t even bare to read the note again. I couldn’t believe I was that much of a wreck that I couldn’t take myself to my own bed. This is beyond embarrassing. I guess I do owe her, but can I really see myself meeting up with her again? And live through that embarrassment, I’m not too sure.

A cough appeared from the doorway. I looked up and there stood Nick and the operational manager and CEO of Harriet@Co standing in the door way. Nick’s eyebrows were hunched with concern. I scrunched the paper into a ball and plastered a smile on my face. I walked towards the men, whilst throwing the paper in the bin on the way to them and outstretched my hand to the men.
“Pleasure to meet you, I’m Hayley.”
“Ah! Hello Hayley, I’m Simon and this is Conor, lovely to meet you.”
“Have a seat fellas, get comfortable.” Nick ushered them to their appointed seats as I walked to mine, noticing the food on the table. I must have been engrossed in that damn note that I didn’t even hear Lauren walk through the door and set up the table.
“Hayley, shall we begin?” Throwing the thoughts of the note that Melanie left in my bag out of my head, I returned my focus back onto the presentation and the meeting at hand.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

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 five 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 be thinking about. He opened his friends text and read it:           

                ‘U alive? I’ve called U and U haven’t picked up, I know y’day was boring, but I thought it would be good for U to get out… just call or reply, I’m going out tonight, properly and I think 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 dialed 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 the 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 silently, whilst 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.’  She said as 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 off of them, her moans and his groans echoed in the house. Synchronized 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 neighbors 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 swore to himself. He was so close to 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. There was always tonight she thought and once that pressure had slowly stopped beating hard within her chest she knew it’d take a while to come back. She’d have many more times to orgasm, she thought 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

Perfect Life [Part 1]

I could never put my finger on what was truly the itch in my life that I could never reach. I was successful; young as well which was the icing on the very sweet cake that I’d manage to make for myself. When I’d graduated from university, I somehow managed to land myself in a very good position for a business firm that needed an eager graduate, like myself, who was determined to make a name for themselves. The first year I was trained, getting the hang of talking to clients, building relationships etc. After the first year had passed I’d somehow managed to get the hang of the procedure of how the company ran, and I was building relationships and sealing deals before my boss even knew whom I was.

Of course, after I hit target after target and started bringing huge bucks home, my boss called me to his office. I wasn’t sure what he wanted with a newbie like me, but when I sat in the leather chair opposite him, he couldn’t help but congratulate me for my progress and then asked me how I was doing it. How I was expanding the business with only one year’s training. I shrugged, being polite – because what else could I say? They wanted an eager graduate and that was what I was. That wasn’t the last time I found myself in my boss’ office, if anything it started to become my office with the amount of times he called me. Asking me about business ideas, moves he wanted to proceed with but was unsure about. I gave him advice which fortunately for him and I actually worked for the company.

As you can imagine I climbed the ranks very fast. In my third year of working for J’J Company, I was a senior manager. And as cliché as this sounds, I guess with more power came more desire. I had ladies at work saying hello to me, some who I knew of, others who I had no idea who they were and was sure had no clue who I was. All they saw was the three-piece suit I wore and the fact that they knew I was senior management. But I wasn’t interested in liaising with co-workers; I made sure I kept work and pleasure separately. So even though I had a few passes with some colleagues, I simply ignored them.

Then one night out, when I was practically forced to attend the Christmas-do at work, I saw her. Beautiful ebony who was also drinking with her fellow colleagues at their own Christmas-do. At first I didn’t take much notice of her, I ordered cider and took a seat beside my boss, who was far too drunk after only being in the bar for an hour or two tops. It was after I had a few more drinks when I’d started to watch her. Her laugh at a joke made by her colleague, her screaming over the loud music the DJ was playing and then giving up when her colleagues couldn’t hear her for a third time.

All the ladies around her table all abruptly stood up, and began pulling at her arm. It took me a while to understand what was going on, but after watching harder than I had been for the last hour, I realised they were trying to persuade her to dance with them. It took a few tugs; a number of shakes of her head and many no’s, before she gave in and started making her way to the dance floor. It was bound to happen, when someone realised I was no longer involved with the group conversation or group in general. A male colleague sat beside me, who’s name kept slipping through my mind.

“Which one has made you all glass eyed?”

I looked at Mark (I think) and shrugged taking another swig of my half empty cider bottle. “None.”

He chuckled and rolled his eyes. “Sure, mate you haven’t spoken for at least a good hour. You’ve just sat there watching those ladies.” He whistled, as one walked towards the table, with her dress hiked further up her leg than it should be. I didn’t want to be affiliated with whatever his name was. I gave him a slight chuckle, drank the rest of my cider and stood up to get more drink, maybe something a little stronger. If I had to endure the company of people I had no interest with, then I guess a stronger drink was needed. I wasn’t much of a drinker, mum and dad never really had it around the house and after doing a little during university and remembering how wrecked I felt the next day, I stayed clear of it when I could.

I started to make my way towards the bar, when one female colleague of mine pulled my suit jacket, stopping me in my tracks.

“Don’t tell me you’re off so soon?” She said slurred, her glass cup tipping from left to right. I gently tugged my jacket out of her clutch and pointed towards the bar. She smiled and I continued with my journey, feeling not only her eyes, but the other drooling females eyes watch my back. I was definitely going to need something stronger to handle the company I was surrounded with tonight.

Squeezing through the groups of male and females, the roars and dancers I managed to make it to the bar. I waited patiently, watching the bartender almost dance around as she poured drinks for customers with ease. She’d probably had more than three years under her belt of serving drunk customers, whilst the obvious newbie stood with an empty cup to her left, not understanding which drink they should pour into the cup. Maybe I should simply stick to cider, I was more on the newbie’s side and I didn’t want to stand here for 20 minutes just for a Disaronno. The crowd surrounding the bar barely shuffles and I find myself wishing I hadn’t left to get up. Especially after I seemed to be getting bombarded by a group of women who were drunk and excited to get more alcohol into their system.

I shifted to the right to give them more space, when I noticed a head full of tight curls stop beside me. I turned to see the same woman who I watched practically all night, stand beside me as her colleagues managed to weave further into the crowd. I turn my gaze away from her quickly, not wanting her to actually catch me looking at her. She tries to get her colleagues attention, but they’re too busy flirting with men to realise they lost a member of the group. Eventually she notices me. At first it’s the suit that catches her eyes, but what has her blushing is that I’m staring right back at her when she finally reaches my face. She smiles and shy’s away, looking down whilst I start to feel a little hot. She was absolutely stunning, and even more desirable up close. We finally get to the bar and I let her order before me. She smiles and yells her order at the bartender. A Sambuca shot. Four to be precise. I wouldn’t have pegged her as a Sambuca type of woman, even though I could imagine her being just as sweet and fierce as a Sambuca shot is to the throat. She turns, probably looking for her group, when she realises she’s alone. When her drinks arrive, I knew my few moments of admiration were over. The bartender looked at me, to order. I told her Disaronno, she nodded and was gone with my order.

I hadn’t noticed the small ebony hadn’t left just yet. I looked at her drinks and assumed she wanted some help – so me being the gentleman, I offered her a hand.

“Thanks but it’s okay. I was going to take it back to my table, but there’s no point.”

For a few minutes we looked from the drinks to each other, then she lifted two glasses, one for herself and one hand outstretched to me.

“Me?”

“Yeah, I know you’re probably too manly for the shot, but I can’t do all four. Have it…with me.” She gave me a small smile, which made me react involuntarily. I took the shot glass and we clinked it before downing the shot. The shot sparked small flames as it slid down my throat, which were quickly distinguished once I’d finished swallowing the drink. Before I had time to even process my drink was prepared and the bartender was waiting for payment, she’d placed the second shot in my hand and we clinked once again and downed the second drink. More flames burned my throat as I handed my card to the bartender who simply touched it against the card reader and handed my card back to me.

After getting my drink, she stood smiling, eyes just a little glassy after her two shots.

“You here for a Christmas-do?”

“Yeah, I didn’t want to come, but I was forced.”

She giggled and waved her hand in the air. “It was the same with me. Well, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to come out, but I just didn’t see the big fuss. Everyone makes a fool of themselves and then regrets it the next time we’re all in at work.”

I smiled understanding what she meant. I knew more than one colleague who was going to regret this night.

“I’d rather just spend my night in front of the TV, having a chilled night.”

Her eyes opened wide, she looked me up and down and shook her head.

“I can’t believe you’d be that boring. Come on, you look…cool? Gosh it sounds ridiculous but you don’t look like a quiet-night-in kind of guy.”

I shrug and take a swig of drink, feeling very warm.

“I’m very focused, so I guess I am boring.” She giggled and shook my shoulders.

“Loosen up! We’re too young to be that focused on life. I bet I can bring the fun out of you.” I cocked up an eyebrow, intrigued that this beautiful stranger felt like they could bring the fun out of me. It wasn’t like I was a square who couldn’t have fun, but I just didn’t have fun, because everyone I knew wasn’t fun enough.

At first she tried a few jokes, which made me chuckle, just because she looked cute trying to make me laugh. Then she persisted I down the rest of my drink within five seconds. I did it in four, not only to impress her but to remind myself it was okay to let loose once in a while. I seemed to always be focused on a goal, but what I hadn’t considered was when I reached that goal, what did I do then? I was in a rush to reach this goal I’d set myself that I hadn’t thought of what I’d do after I’d accomplished my aims. So we got more drinks, it was time i was going to enjoy my success, and enjoy my company.  We didn’t return back to our tables for god knows how long. We were far drunker than when we left our tables, but what kept us away was our company. I didn’t want to go back to females ogling me from across the table, and she didn’t want to return back to bitching and being forced to do things she didn’t want to do.

“So Mr, what do you do? I don’t see anyone else here in a three-piece…not like I’ve looked.”

She bit her lip, muttering to herself as she just admitted having her eyes on me. I can’t help the small grin that forms on my lips and answer her.

“It’s just a suit. I work at J’J – the business firm not too far from here. Worked my way from a rookie to now.”

“It’s paid off I guess?”

“Yeah, but I don’t want to talk about me, what’s a beautiful woman like you doing here? Don’t you have anyone waiting for you at home?”

She giggles, putting her weight on one leg and watching me with her head tilting. “Well I work in the building opposite yours, The B50 building. I work in recruitment and do some consulting also. Why’d you care if anyone is waiting for me?”

She nudges me and run my hand through my hair feeling myself get hot in the cheeks this time. She starts laughing now, realising that I’m embarrassed and tiptoes to reach my ears and whispers.

“There isn’t anyone.”

We spoke more, laughed even more and exchanged numbers. We didn’t plan on departing from each other, but I didn’t want to miss my chance of being able to speak to her when we were more sober. She decided that she wanted to dance, so we danced. Initially it was her beauty that attracted me, it was like a magnet and it kept drawing me to her, it wouldn’t let me leave her. But watching on her on the dance floor was exotic. The way in which her hips moved, the way she never missed a beat, the way she had me in a trance was something no one had done to me before. She grabbed my hands and placed them around her waist as she led our dance. I wasn’t the greatest dancer, but she was such an expert she made me look like I knew what I was doing. Her waist grinding into mine as we danced to the music was a moment I wouldn’t forget.

Eventually we pulled ourselves from the dance floor and it was then I drew her close to me, my body vibrating with desire. I wanted to kiss her, wanted to devour her, but that wasn’t the man I was. And being intoxicated does a variety of things to your mind and body, normally i had self control, but right now everything was slipping. My fingers itched for her body, the way she looked back at me wanting, full of hunger and desire. I could just follow my instincts and kiss her, but what would that make me? I took a heavy sigh and brushed her cheek.

“I wish we were sober. That I met you on another occasion.”

“Why?” She spoke breathlessly.

“Because I don’t want to be something you regret tomorrow.” She looked down and I knew that I was doing the right thing. I peeled myself away from her and kissed her cheek. I went back to my table, grabbed my briefcase, ignoring the ‘where have you been?’ and ‘who was that girl you was with?’ and decided to leave. I’d had my fun and it was time to get home.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun