It was over a month since Kayode arrived from the States. Settling in was much easier than he had expected. His parents were truly happy about his decision to remain in Nigeria and start a business. Tayo, on the other hand, was happy to have his elder brother around. He finally had someone to always confide in without being scolded.
Nora was enjoying Kayode’s company. Ever since the afternoon he invited her to eat with him, they had gotten closer and become good friends in the house. They were so close; so much so that whenever Kay had time in his hands, he helped Nora in the kitchen and when it was time for meals, he ate with her in the kitchen.
“I’m beginning to suspect you two,” Tayo said one evening; eyeing the duo from across the kitchen dining where he sat. He had purposely refused to eat on the table with his parents because he wanted to see what his elder brother and the housemaid were up to. They had become too close and too secretive.
“Ok. So what do you suspect us of?” Nora asked, smiling. She really didn’t care about what Tayo thought, after all, he had done worse and she didn’t tell on him. By the way, it wasn’t like she was doing anything bad.
“If you suspect we poisoned your food, relax,” Kayode teased while putting a piece of moi moi in his mouth. “I assure you the food is a hundred percent clean.”
Nora laughed then and Kayode followed shortly afterwards.
“I’m not a baby,” Tayo protested; his brows creasing. “I can see that you two are now so close. When was the last time you ate at the dining table?” He asked Kay.
“Today,” Kay replied, amused.
“Today?” Tayo asked with raised brows.
“That’s a lie, you and I know it.”
“Look around you, TY,” Nora said. “This is a mini dining table.”
“Yes, it is,” He admitted, watching the smiles on both their faces. “But I was talking about the main dining table. Phew. Ok, I’ll go straight to the point. Are you guys screwing each other?”
“What?” Nora was the first to raise an eyebrow.
Kay on the other hand just laughed and leaned back on his chair. “Are you angry I beat you to it?” He asked instead.
“Beat? Wh… what are you talking about, Kay? What sort of impression are you giving him?” Nora demanded.
“None,” Kay admitted. “I’m only watching to see what his reaction will be.”
“Forget my reaction, bro. All these pretences I see now, it will disappear one day and the truth will unveil itself.”
To avoid further suspicions, Nora decided it was best to avoid Kay; especially since he didn’t seem to care about what the others thought. If Tayo had started suspecting them; even when there was nothing going on, then Mr and Mrs Adepoju could also be suspecting them of having an affair. From that day henceforth, she turned her conversations with him, to formal ones. She kept her distance and only regarded him as her boss, not a friend.
Kay was bothered and couldn’t stand the treatment any longer. Nora was his friend and he wondered why she was suddenly pulling back. He complained about her new attitude toward him but she made him understand that she couldn’t let everyone keep thinking they were doing something she knew nothing about.
“That shouldn’t bother you,” Kay said, trying to ease her fears. “I for one, I don’t care what they say.”
How could he care when she had her claws buried deep in his neck? She might not know he fancied her or that he wanted nothing more than to taste her skin and bury himself deep inside her. He wanted to work his way into her heart, first. Only then could his plan see the light of day. All the same, he couldn’t let their friendship die. She was just the kind of woman he needed to help him move on. His ex had done a number on him and although he had forgotten about her, he needed a woman to help him totally clear his head and Nora was that woman. Right from the moment, he set eyes on her, he knew she was what he needed. After everything, he’d simply apologize for using her and then go on with his life. He couldn’t let his plan fail just because Tayo asked some stupid questions. He had to find a way to shake her off her decision to stay away from him. He had to find a way to keep being close to her, at least, until he could make his move.”
“Look, Nora.” He said. “I have come to accept you as a friend. So are you just going to turn your back on me because Tayo asked a stupid question? Even if he suspects us, we both know there is nothing intimate going on between us. You obviously don’t see me as the type of guy you want and I don’t see you as the type of woman I want. So all we have is friendship.”
“I don’t see you as the type of woman I want.” His voice lingered in her head long after their discussion was over and she was in the comfort of her bedroom. The quiet of the night made issues even worse; allowing the voice dominate her thoughts. His words were not supposed to hurt her, but they did. They cut through her like a knife through butter. If he didn’t see her as the kind of woman he wanted, then all she would be is a friend. A distant friend who couldn’t care less about him or what he wanted.
“Oh, Nora! What’s wrong with you?” She thought, biting her lips. “Even if you were his type, what is the guarantee that he will treat you well? You shouldn’t be thinking of being with men who are way out of your league. That aside, your friendship was innocent. Nothing more. You will do well to get him out of your mind.” Curled up under the thick blanket, she closed her eyes; begging sleep to come.
It wasn’t till around 3:55 AM that she finally slept, only to be woken up 2 hours later to a loud knock at the door.
“Yes?” She mumbled, getting out of bed. She checked the time then and winced. Oh, God. She thought. She was supposed to be up earlier. What excuse was she going to give for waking up late?
She quickly got to the door, ignoring the fact that she was only in her skimpy nightdress, and opened it. Kay stood before her in a white t-shirt and white shorts. There were dark circles under his bulging eyes, a sign that he too didn’t get enough sleep.
“Good morning, sir.” She greeted, trying to ignore the nagging sensation in her tummy and the fact that her nightdress barely covered her body.
“Wow!” Kay said, his voice soft. “So we are back to sir? What happened to Kay?”
“Sir, I’m sorry I overslept. It was…. it was a mistake. One that won’t repeat itself.” She finished, ignoring his question.
“Ok,” Kay said. If she wanted to act all distant and damn annoying, he could as well make her do it well. “I have some clothes that need to be washed, other’s that need to be ironed and most importantly, my parents and I, we need to have breakfast before going to work.” He instructed.
“Yes, sir. I’ll prepare something very fast.”
“Good.” He said and walked away like he didn’t care. He too had not slept well. He knew Nora was angry about something he said the day before, although he didn’t know exactly what. He had thought all night, trying to know what. But since he couldn’t come up with anything, he had decided to see her first thing in the morning and give her a necklace from his sales collection as a peace offering. Now he had barely talked and she was already acting all childish. If that was how she wanted to play it, so be it. She’d come back begging him to be her friend again and then, he would not.
“Maybe I should find another woman to clear my head.” He thought as he entered his room and slammed the door shut.
“Nora will have to remain a house girl, nothing more.”