Victor noticed she seemed down. Vivian hadn’t given him a sincere smile since she stepped in and he was worried. Was she angry with him for pulling her away from work? Or was she forcing herself to be at his place? Ever since he opened the front door and saw her standing there, her smile had not reached her eyes, let alone light it up. That aside, she followed his conversations half-heartedly and said very little. She seemed worried and mostly deep in thoughts.
“Vivian, what’s wrong?” He finally asked
“Nothing.” She lied, trying to get the disappointment out of her expression.
“It is something and it is something serious. What happened?”
“Did you still prepare the sauce? She changed the topic.
“Yes, I did. But that doesn’t explain why you’re like this. Are you forced to be here with me? Or did I do or say something wrong?”
Vivian smiled at him. “You did nothing, Victor. It’s just a sad phone call I received before leaving the restaurant.”
“Jide.” She looked away. “We planned to finally meet this weekend. He was to come over but he wouldn’t anymore. I’m wondering if he is playing with me. I mean, it’s over a year since us.”
Victor relaxed a bit. At least he wasn’t the one making her sad. “Did he say why he won’t be making the trip?” He asked, pouring himself another glass of chivita juice.
“Does it matter? There’s always one excuse after the other. When there are public holidays, cash becomes the issue. When there are no public holidays, his boss does not grant his application for leave. Other times he has one appointment after the other. For how long will I wait for him to show up? If he’s thinking I will pack my bags and go over to meet him, he’s on a very long wait.”
Victor drank his juice and said nothing. Silence enveloped them as they were both deep in thoughts. A few minutes passed before Vivian looked at him again.
“You’re unusually quiet. You have nothing to say about this?” She asked.
“I have a million and one things to say, but will you accept it? That’s the real issue.”
“I’m all ears. Try me. At this point, I think I’ll consider anything that puts Jide off my mind.”
Victor eyed at her closely before dropping his glass on the table and moving to sit next to her on the long couch.
“Why not try me, Vivian? I have been in front of you. Scrap it. You have been in front of me all these years, but I went out chasing skirts that weren’t worth it. And if I remember clearly, you did like me a lot more than just a friend then. But I didn’t take you seriously and for reasons best known to you, you didn’t push the issue. Now its the same thing with me. I’m right in front of you. I’m the one who wants to love you and make you happy. I’m the one who wants to place the world at your feet. And unlike you, I’m willing to keep pushing my luck. But why won’t you accept me, Vivian? Why do I sound or look like a clown to you? And why have you chosen to suffer over a guy who develops cold feet just at the thought of meeting you face to face, so as to spell out what you really have going?”
Vivian sighed. Not just because Victor had talked, but because he was right. So much so that she had even been avoiding him.
“I love you, Vivian,” He moved a bit closer. “But I’m tired of seeing you suffer because of another man who doesn’t even know what he has. And I’m tired of you avoiding me.”
He stood up and started in the opposite direction.
“Where are you going?” She asked, startled that he’d just up and go.
“To the kitchen.” He replied. “I can’t allow our rice get burnt, can I?”
“No.” She relaxed. He left.
Once alone, her mind flashed to over two years back; the time Victor had talked about. It was the time when she considered him more than a friend. It was a really trying period for her as she was head over heels in love with him. Just his touch got her shivering and erotic images filled her head, making her yearn for him. She obeyed his every wish and looked for excuses of different kinds to hang out with him.
The interesting part was that he knew. Victor knew about her feelings, but he kept telling her he couldn’t see her as anything more than a bestie and besides, he didn’t want anything to spoil the wonderful friendship they had. To buttress his point, he got into different relationships with other girls he thought he liked. But as the relationships lingered, he came to understand that the girls were not what he wanted in his dream woman. What he wanted was before him. She had always been there. But before he realized it, Vivian had moved on. She had put him out of her mind as anything more than just friends. She was first in a relationship with a guy who couldn’t hide his continuous lust for women with big backside and bosoms. She had none of those. Her curves were just normal, nothing excess. She knew that she couldn’t stand and win a competition with the other ladies and nothing she did was going to make her boyfriend leave such women. So she left him instead.
Just when she as about giving up on the idea of a serious relationship, Jide showed up. He was like an angel sent at the right time. At the beginning of their relationship, they couldn’t get off the phone. Phone calls were often followed by several hours chatting away on Whatsapp, Facebook messenger and video calls on Imo.
During their countless conversations, Vivian made it clear that she wouldn’t go over to see him. He had to come see her first. He agreed. Unfortunately, it was exactly a year and eight months. Still, Jide had not shown up.
However, Victor was in front of her. He had professed his love. He had begged her. What she looked for in Jide, she had in Victor, and even more because he was available, within reach and willing to always stand up for her.
So why were her eyes in Jos? When what she wanted was next to her?
“Lunch is ready,” Victor announced, cutting into her thoughts.
And there, he even makes me lunch. She thought, watching him set the table. A slight smile curved the right side of her lips. She wouldn’t say anything to him. She’d just go home and brood over everything. Whatever decision she arrived at, she would stick to.
The duo, after eating, spent time watching a Telemundo movie. It was well into the night and the rain had started to drizzle when Vivian got up to leave. As if in response to her getting up to leave, thunder took over the sky, announcing the possibility of a heavy rain.
“Spend the night, please,” Victor begged, taking her hand. “I promise to be a good boy and not bother you.” He planted soft kisses on the back of her hand.
She smiled lightly and accepted. Victor took her to the guest room.
He gave her one of his T-shirts and boxers, as well as everything she needed to clean up for the night.
“I’ll be in the sitting room.” He said, opening the bedroom door to leave. “If you need anything, don’t hesitate to tell me.”
He left and she found her way into the bathroom. About 20 minutes later, she was clean and wearing his shirt and boxer. She looked down at herself and smiled. There was a time she had wished for this; the kind of treatment she was getting now. But no, there were other unworthy girlfriends spending the nights and wearing his clothes. She had wanted that special place, but she didn’t get it. Now that she had tried moving on, she was getting it, in twos and threes. How weird life can be.
“Hello from the other side
I must have called a thousand times.
To tell you I’m sorry for e everything that I’ve…”
She was distracted by the ringing of her phone. Vivian picked up the xperia and looked at the caller ID. It was Jide. She ignored the call and instead of cutting it, she hit the mute button. The last thing she wanted was to talk to him and listen to his plea. She didn’t want to forgive him. She wasn’t interested in that.
Switching off the light, she got out of the room and headed towards the sitting room. Vivian had only gotten to the door and peeped at the movie Victor was watching when the bang of a very loud thunder greeted their ears and took the electricity with it.
Victor cursed, getting up to switch off and disconnect his appliances. Vivian moved into the sitting room, hands out stretched, waving here and there to ensure there was nothing on the way.
It was a few seconds later that her hands came in contact with a tall hard structure. She froze.
“Vivian?” Victor called.
“Yes.” She sighed. “I was just coming to watch the movie with you when that terrible thunder blasted my ears and took away electricity.”
Victor chuckled. “My laptop is charged. We could still watch a movie in it if you want.”
“I want. I don’t feel like sleeping yet”.
Victor led her to a couch. Putting on his phone torch light, he found his laptop under the spot the TV hung from.
“Which movie would you like?”
“Any cool movie will do”.
Victor chose a movie about two best friends that fell in love but couldn’t accept their feelings for each other until a near death experience made them see reasons to enjoy their life together, while they still had it.
It was a movie Vivian had watched before. But because it somehow addressed the situation with Victor, she watched it again, keenly.
Victor didn’t watch the movie. He watched Vivian with the aid of the light reflecting from the computer screen. She seemed truly focused on the movie and it gave him ample time to observe her. Her face was just as he had always known it, beautiful. But at the moment, all her expressions belonged to the movie she was focused on. Her neck was slightly full at the hollow. The T-shirt she wore hugged her frame well and from the way her nipples where pushing against the material, he could tell she was without bra. The thought made him hard a bit. He dragged his eyes away. There was just no point getting all excited since she hadn’t accepted him.
But he was not to be free from excitement yet. His attention had only just returned to the screen when he felt her snuggle up against his side.
“Are you cold?” He asked.
“A little.” She replied. “The rain is heavy, so is the wind.”
“True. Come here.” He put his hands round her waist and pulled her close. She appreciated his gesture and moved even closer.
With her head resting against his chest and beneath his chin, they continued with the movie, but not without Victor’s hand roaming the length of her side, keeping her warm.
Her nearness, the scent of her hair and powder, were part of what intoxicated him. He felt himself harden some more, but he covered the bulge between his legs with the throw pillow that was once resting on the couch. At some point, he wasn’t able to take it anymore. To prevent himself from doing something stupid, he made to get up and leave, but Vivian’s phone chose that moment to ring.
Victor paused the movie while Vivian picked her phone from the table. She looked at the caller ID. It was Jide again.
“I don’t want to talk to him.” She frowned.
“You want me to help you talk to him?” He offered.
“And what will you tell him?”
“I will tell him to leave my angel alone. He has hurt her enough.”
Vivian smiled at him, then looked back at the ringing phone. She didn’t want to talk to him, but all the same, she picked the call.
“Vivian what’s up?” Jide’s voice emanated from the speaker. “I’ve sent you a series of text messages and even what’sapp and imo messages, you haven’t read them or replied. I called once but you did not pick up. What’s the problem?”
“Do you need a medicine priest to tell you what the problem is?” She was cold.
“You’re angry at me.”
“No. Not angry. Disappointed.”
“I don’t know why you’re talking like that. What wrong have I done? It is not my fault my leave request was denied.”
“When we fix another date, what will be your excuse for not making it, Jide?”
“You’re sounding childish this night.”
“No, you’re the one who is acting childish. You’re the one who can’t come over. What? Is it possible the pictures you sent me are not yours? That means whoever you borrowed them from helped you with imo video calls too.”
“What has gotten into your head?” Jide was surprised by her sudden outburst. “I want you. And I’ll find a way to see you. Stop being a big baby.”
Victor couldn’t take it anymore. He had listened to them enough. Without warning, he grabbed the phone from Vivian and ignoring her protest, placed it to his ears.
“Look here Jide or whatever you call yourself. Find women in your state to toy around with and leave Vivian alone. She doesn’t need your tantrums. If anyone should be throwing one its her, not you.”
“Who are you?” Jide asked, anger evident in his voice. “Better stay away from my wife to be. Why are you with her phone? Why is she with you?”
“Because I’m doing what you ought to have done, keeping her company. Just know this, tonight is the last time you call her.”
“You have no right to give me such orders you fool!”
They quarrelled over the phone and Vivian, reluctant to stop Victor from defending her, sat back and listened to all he said. She heard Jide demand, over and over, that he gave the phone back to Vivian. It was Vivian he wanted to speak with, not some wife snatcher.
“She is not and never would be your wife!” Victor cleared him.
“If she’s not mine, she will never be for anyone else.” He countered.
15 minutes later, the call was over. But Victor was still pissed and Vivian knew it, because of the way he looked at her while returning the phone.
“Victor, please don’t look at me like that.”
“How do you do it? How can you be in a relationship with someone who has refused to accept his fault for standing you up several times? How can yo…”
“Victor please, we don’t need this.”
“I will rather pluck out my eyes than use them to watch you run back to that guy.”
“And who says I’m going to run back to him? After everything he just said?”
“No I won’t. Ok? Besides, I’ve been thinking a lot about what you said earlier. And you are right.” She got up and moved to stand a few inches from him. So close, their lips almost touched “What I truly want is right in front of me. And I want to keep looking in front of me. I don’t want to look else where anymore.”
“You’re not saying this just to please me, are you?”
“No. I’m saying it because its all that has been in my head since after we talked earlier.”
“Vivian” he whispered her name. “Are you sure? I want you. I do. But I need to know you’re sure.”
“I am. I want a partner I can see and touch.”
His hands found their way around her waist and pulled her into his embrace. Victor was so happy, he planted kisses on her forehead, then her nose and her lips. A brief kiss soon became a passionate kiss. It took a lot of strong will on both their parts to not get naked and eat of the forbidden fruit. They managed to keep their hands to themselves while discussing happily their new relationship and the plans they had for it.
It was not until an hour later that they lay side by side on the sitting room rug, hands around each other and fast asleep. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship; one that marked the end of any other person coming into their lives.
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