Christiana woke up to soft caressing movement to and fro the length of her arm. She frowned. Didn’t Ovi say she didn’t want smooching? She turned around slowly, a question already forming in her head. The question, however, got stuck on her lips as her eyes settled on Stanley.
She frowned. As much as she was relieved to see him, she couldn’t help but wonder why he was caressing her in his girlfriend’s room. On her bed too. She wanted to question him. She wanted to ask why he left. She wanted to know if he was back for her or Ovi. But he spoke before she did.
“I’m sorry I didn’t come back last night. It was never my intention to leave you unprotected”, his expression was of guilt. And Christiana didn’t know if to wipe it off, or just pretend she didn’t see it. It wasn’t until he touched her left cheek that she understood why he looked like he was about to cry. The cut on her cheek was still there and blood had dried on it.
“It is a small cut”, she swallowed, now feeling uncomfortable with his closeness, “It will heal”
Stanley nodded, a little relieved at her courage. He moved to peck her cheeks, but she pulled away, rolled on her side and got out of bed.
“Where is Ovi?” she asked, folding her blanket
Stanley sighed, evidently disappointed, “She’s outside”, he got off the bed and moved to dress it. “What happened?” He asked after he was done.
“What?” Christiana asked, wondering what he meant.
“The cut on your face and arm. What happened? How did he get you?”
“Oh”, Christiana sighed, remembering her nightmare and the swiftness with which her attacker tries to kill her, ‘It was in the dream”, she said, taking the empty seat by the dressing mirror. Of course, she couldn’t understand why a tomboy had a dressing table
“A cut in the dream caused this?” Stanley looked stunned.
“Yes. He cut me in the dream. I woke up bleeding”, she looked away, “So what exactly kept you away last night?” She couldn’t help but ask. She needed to know exactly what was going on.
Stanley inhaled deeply and exhaled, before moving to rest on the dressing table. “I was actually supposed to meet someone yesterday. He promised to help us fight the people that are after you. But it wasn’t easy getting to him. And when we eventually did, he made us follow him on a rescue mission. Apparently, his brother is actually the one with the information we need and we had to break him out of an underground cell. It took a lot of calculations, so as not to be caught and taken hostage”.
“The people that want me dead”, Christiana scoffed. It was all she picked from everything he said, ‘Who wants me dead, Stanly? You seem to know so much about these people. Why not tell me about them, how they operate? So I know how to take care of myself?”
“It is not as simple as that?”
“Which part? The telling me about them? Or the part where I actually want to protect myself?
“Both”, he shifted, “These People are vicious and can come in any form. You can never really be single-handedly well prepared to meet them”.
“Well, you’ll have to try me. I’m never going to seat around helplessly, again. So in case you decide to keep going missing, or branch into this room to keep Ovi moaning through the night, I’ll be able to protect myself and still keep the nightmares away”.
“What in God’s name are you talking about, Christy?” Stanley looked perplexed.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m tired of being kept in the dark. Having amnesia only took out memories of my past life. Not my reasoning faculty, or my speech. I still know what it means to have a hunch and right now, my hunch says you’re dating Ovi and trying to play me by the side. My hunch says you cannot be relied on or trusted and so I need to take care of myself”.
“Christiana, where are you getting all these from? Would I risk my neck if I didn’t want to protect you? Would I go where I went yesterday if not for your protection?”
“I really don’t know. And I really don’t care”, Christiana got to her feet, “All I know is that I had it up to my neck yesterday. Thank goodness your girlfriend let me share her bed even after our fight”, she went to the door, pulled it open and walked out.
Stanley remained in his spot, staring at the open door long after she was gone. A million and one thoughts raced through his head, the major ones being, what Ovi could have said to Christiana to make her this angry. And a fight? Ovi fought Christiana even in her condition?
Yes, Christiana was paranoid the previous morning before he left. He was even angry at everything she said about Ovi. Knowing Ovi was not the type to take nonsense, he reasoned, was it possible Christiana went insulting Ovi? And to her face?
He’d have loved to go after her to ease the tension between them all, even if it meant begging. But he knew his ex-girlfriend was in a foul mood. All pleas will be ignored and she might even get irritated with him. Amnesia or not, his ex-girlfriend was definitely still herself, based on the traits he was seeing.
After his messy break up with Christiana all in a bid to save her life, he was sad about the situation and when Ovi offered herself for comfort, he had taken advantage of the offer. Not once. Not even twice. But he had made it abundantly clear to her, they were not a couple. He still loved Christiana and he still intended to get back with her.
However, he never expected that his intimate relationship with Ovi would get to Christiana’s ears so fast. He had thought Ovi was the discreet type. Now he was wrong and he had a major problem on his hands.
But he couldn’t just kick Ovi out. She had been his support, his eye, and his major help in getting Christiana to safety. No matter what, he knew he couldn’t just kick her out. He’d have to calm down, talk things over with her and find a way to fix the issue.
The love he had for Christiana and the visions of his unborn son was his driving force to ensure Christiana’s safety. Besides, he knew the boy was needed to help end the cult but how? Plus with the way things were going with Christiana, he was sure if she didn’t learn the entire truth from him, she’d get it from somewhere else and that somewhere else may be part of the reason she would never accept him again, because their tale of the truth will reek of lies and deceit.
If he didn’t makeup with Christiana, then how would their son be born?
If mama had not dragged him to that rescue mission, he would have been with Christiana the night before. There would have been no room for whatever transpired between the ladies, neither would the sucker chasing her at night come near enough to inflict injuries.
He’d have to clear things up with Ovi. As much as he valued her friendship and efforts in keeping Christiana safe, especially in his absence, he was not in love with her.
This would be his first step in straitening things up between him and Christiana. He’d tell her the truth but he had to gather some courage first, especially as he had not exactly been a saint all the while.
In her room, Christiana looked at her lonely bed and sighed. If anyone had told her she’d be able to resist Stanley’s advances and manly dominance, she’d have thought the person just felt like talking.
But here she was, after walking out on him. The person who invented the quote, “Hell has no fury like a woman’s scorn, knew what he or she was talking about. If Stanley and Ovi were really an item, then she wonders what guts he had to act like he loved her. Amnesia or not, she was not going to allow anyone mess her up.
“Every day for the thief”, she mouthed, “one day for the owner”.
Dropping her blanket on the bed, she made her way out of the room again. She could as well make herself useful in the house.
Ovi was not in the kitchen. Mama was, in the same outfit she had on the day she and Stanley arrived from the hospital.
“Good morning ma”, she bent a knee.
Mama turned slightly away from the pot of akamu she was stirring to look at her. It took a while, but the reply finally came, “Good morning my dear. How are you this morning?”
“At least better than last night”, Christiana moved to stand at the kitchen table.
She tried to relax and feel comfortable with the elderly woman, but that was before she noticed the woman’s eyes were fixed on her. She didn’t wonder why for long. Mama spoke, “Ovi wasn’t lying when she said your nightmare turned real”.
Christiana’s hands went to the cut on her cheeks, “No. she wasn’t”, she confirmed.
Mama’s attention returned to her already cooked akamu. She stirred some more before lifting it out of the fire. She closed it quickly to keep the heat, then turned around and move to stand before Christiana.
Her hands went to work instantly, as she examined the cuts. “Whatever weapon he used brushed you” she concluded.
“Yes. But how did you know?”
‘I have my gifts, dear, especially on spiritual matters. And from what I’ve seen, the cut on you was not poisonous and definitely wouldn’t cause any harm. But it should be treated. Sometimes these things can be tricky”.
She moved to the west wing of the kitchen. In one of the cupboards emerged a first aid kit. And mama went to work, robbing ointment and anti-bacterial substances on it. But instincts told Christiana, these were not ordinary first aid treatments.
“Now, if you don’t mind, come and help me serve breakfast,” Mama said after she was done.
And so the duo spent the rest of their time together serving breakfast and gisting like mother and daughter. A development Christiana couldn’t understand. Mama, two nights ago, looked like someone who wasn’t interested in having guests. Not like she was rude. But she didn’t say much and quickly dismissed her.
Christiana liked the new development. But at the same time, she was careful not to expect too much or overstep boundaries.
Breakfast was quiet. As it was only Mama, Ovi and Christiana at the table. Ovi didn’t seem like she had anything to say and Mama looked like she just wanted to be done with breakfast so she could go in and rest.
The security men ate outside, so Christiana didn’t bother wondering why they didn’t join them at the table. After all, she was the one who took food to them at the security post, and the few others occupying the second building.
Before that morning, Christiana had never really given much thought to the occupants of the second building. Not until she took food in and saw it was used as a gym and Stanley had men in there, training. Although some looked like they were just coming in.
To Christiana, it seemed they came and went through a back entrance so as to avoid suspicion.
But suspicion from who? She wasn’t sure. At least she remembered what the outside environment looked like the day Stanley brought her. There were few houses and the area was mostly bushy.
Christiana noticed though, some of the men checking her out. One, in particular, striking features, dark-skinned, freshly shaved beards and having the body of Dwayne Johnson, kept stirring at her like she was the best thing he had seen in a long while.
She can’t deny her heart didn’t skip a bit. Or, did she blush? But Christiana quickly waved off the feeling. She was sure she wasn’t in the house to fall in love with anyone. She was only there to serve food. Besides, the little she remembered about her relationship with Stanley was enough to make her feel she wasn’t ready for another heartbreak.
She had only taken her fifth step into the house when the guy that had been staring unflinchingly at her walked over.
“Is that breakfast?” He asked, reaching for one of the warmers housing their food.
“Yes. Where should I put them?” She tried not to swallow at his nearness.
“Over here”, he led her to the far left. It seemed to be a sort of dining corner for the men. Her escort took the other warmer from her and dropped it on the table.
From his look, she was sure he wanted to start a conversation but she avoided that by quickly saying her thanks and walking away. Stanley chose that moment to come in. He paused in his tracks as his eyes rested on her. But she didn’t respond to his unasked question. She simply walked out.
Now here she was, eating breakfast with women who didn’t, at that moment, seem to notice that there was someone else at the table with them. She’d have loved Stanley to be at the table, but she remembered brushing him off and acting like she didn’t need him. All thanks to her rival and she acting all good about the situation.
One eye moved from her plate and stylishly rested on Ovi. Whether she liked it or not, and as much as she wanted Stanley, as much she missed him doting over her, she could not ignore that her rival had everything needed to win over any of the men in the house, including the dark-skinned hunk at the gym house earlier.
Ovi looked like she cared less about make-up and all those things ladies loved to do. She was mostly involved in the security of the house, as well as whatever assignments Stanley gave her.
After being to the gym house that morning, Christiana was sure Ovi spent time there too, training for fieldwork. That explained her muscular stature. Besides, she did see Ovi emerging from the house the day before. She just didn’t give it a second thought. Now she was sure, she would never be a strong rival. At least not to Ovi.
Breakfast ended faster than it started. Ovi was first to get up. She explained to mama she needed to go into town for something. Her tone was low, making it impossible for Christiana to make out what she was saying. But Mama nodded. Ovi headed out quickly without acknowledging Christiana. A few minutes later, Christiana was sure Ovi was the one driving out.
Fifteen minutes later met mama getting to her feet. “Please help to clear the table and wash up when you’re done”, she instructed.
Christiana nodded, “yes ma’, she watched as mama made her way to the deep freezer, took out a pack of Chivita juice and then made her way to the bedroom.
Long after she had left, Christiana was still staring at her food. She just didn’t feel like eating anymore. She got to her feet, cleared the table and started to wash the dishes in the sink when footsteps came into the kitchen.
She wondered what mama forgot. “Mama did you forget something?” she asked, turning around. Her heart skipped, again, and the rest of her questions froze on her lips.
“I didn’t forget anything”, the baritone smiled. Same attractive, dark-skinned man from the gym. He wasn’t wearing his training outfit. Only a white fitted t-shirt with blue jeans shorts that reached his knees.
“Arrrmm… yes?” despite insisting within she wasn’t attracted to him, she found herself trying not to look stupid, “is there something you want?”
‘I brought this back”, he lifted the huge warmers that once contained breakfast for the men.
“Oh. Thanks so much. I had actually forgotten”, she moved to take it from him.
“No problem Miss… we men sometimes can do some of these things. You sure you don’t need help washing up?” he volunteered, stepping forward.
“Oh no. Don’t worry. I can handle it”.
“But I don’t mind. You wash. I’ll rinse. I used to do that a lot with my sister back then”, He maintained a charming smile.
Christiana thought, well, since it didn’t seem like anyone wanted to talk to her and yet this stranger was doing everything to erase that feeling of loneliness in her, she could as well just let him. After all, she deserved a right to be happy too.
“Oh”, Christiana smiled back, “ok. I’ll appreciate the help”, she smiled back.
Just before they started, he introduced himself as Keno. Of course, she made him know she was Christiana.
Dishwashing was spent gisting about anything and everything. Christiana did her best to not let him know she had amnesia. She played along with almost every topic, but she had knowledge of some of them. Thanks to Mama’s radio. She didn’t need his sympathy or pity. His friendship was enough.
They had just finished with the last plate when Stanley’s voice made them turn around sharply.
“I thought you had gone to rest”, he had said, eyes moving from Keno to Christiana.
“Actually, I thought I’ll lend a hand here first”, Keno explained, drying his hands with a towel Christiana offered, “now, I’ll take that needed rest”, he turned to Christiana, “Thanks for the time. I enjoyed our talk. We see later?”
“Maybe”, she smiled, well aware Stanley was looking at her. He was surely going to ask questions after Keno leaves. And she was going to ensure she told him to mind his own business. After all, he had Ovi.
To be continued…
©️Karo Oforofuo. January 2018. All rights reserved
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