The Exclusive, a restaurant located in a quiet part of Lagos, was cozy and less populated. Wulu Wulu, by Bongos Ikwue & Double X, emanated from the speakers, as waiters and waitresses walked around, serving orders.
Valerie sat at a corner, wondering where she was, as well as observing her surrounding.
The setting was no different from a 1960’s restaurant. Men in the restaurant wore bogus trousers and kept Afro’s. Some wore a not-so-low hair cut with a straight path by the side.
The ladies, however, wore heavy makeup and light jewelries on beautiful gowns and two pieces clothings.
However, what caught Valerie’s attention was a gorgeous, fair complexioned young lady, who sat at the far right of the restaurant, quietly reading a magazine. Unlike few of the ladies present who wore afro wigs, or carried threaded hairs, her hair, natural, was woven in separate pairs, and each pair were joined together. About five of such pairs stuck out. Giving her a proper African look.
Her pink lips were full. And her brows formed an arc. She was the same woman Valerie had seen in her dream earlier. The one murdered by her husband during what seemed to be their marriage anniversary.
One couldn’t really make out her outfit. But it looked like an off shoulder gold dress that extended to her ankle. A slit by the side.
She read her magazine, obviously unaware of the stares a few men sitting at nearby tables, sent her way.
One summoned courage. He got up from his seat and approached the lady, introducing himself as a member of the band group, Oriental Brothers.
He went on and on about his performance with the band and how they were planning to wax an album. But the lady only stared and smiled, half heartedly. It was obvious she didn’t give two cents about his band group, but all the same, she was just trying to be nice.
The young man was still talking about himself, when another young man, probably in his early thirties, walked into the restaurant. He wore an afro, on black suit.
Valerie recognized him as the man from her earlier dream. The one the witch has turned into a monster. The one that killed his wife.
And she noticed, that upon sighting him, the lady’s smile broadened. And she totally lost interest in her musician companion.
The new arrival approached the table, went over to the lady’s side, and bent over to give her a very wet and passionate kiss. He was, in his own way, telling the musician ‘this lady is taken’.
The musician got the memo. He rose, and left the still kissing duo. Valerie chuckled. And as if in queue, the kiss ended and the couple chuckled too.
“You know how to get them running”, the Lady grinned, as the man took the now empty seat.
“Yes”, he sat, grinning too, “why tell him to back off, when I can simply prove my ownership?”
“You’re a bad boy”, she teased.
“We’ll see about how bad I am tonight”, he winked. She blushed. Valerie’s brows shot up.
The next few minutes met them eating their meals and drinking red wine. They chatted and laughed heartily, not giving a damn about those staring at them.
The Oriental Brothers guy eyed the couple. Jealousy evident in his expression. But he soon left the bar, knowing the heart of the woman he wanted to woo, belonged to another.
Several other couples came in and went out of the bar at intervals. The once scanty bar gradually became full. More music blasted from the stereo. It truly seemed to be a couple’s evening out.
Valerie watched the door at intervals, watching who came in and who went out.
But even then, she seemed to be engulfed in the discussion of the man and woman of interest, mostly centered around the state of the country’s economy and why the English men, even after independence, still had access to some of the country’s resources.
It was a while later they moved to other topics like music, business, wedding ceremonies and everything that made a society lively.
In fact, Valerie seemed to know so much about most of what they were talking about. Weird. But she did.
Time was far spent, and for reasons she couldn’t explained, Valerie looked out the window. Darkness stared back. Night had come.
She looked back in time to see the couple getting to their feet. The man signaled a waiter over and paid the bill. Then hand in hand, he led the woman out of the restaurant.
Valerie got up to follow them. But the scene around her suddenly changed. A bed appeared here, a dressing mirror there, a wardrobe, and so on.
She was no longer in the bar, but in a room, richly furnished to the taste of an elite lady.
The windows were wide open, and the cold night breeze rushed in, caressing her skin where it was exposed, and leaving goose bumps at its wake.
The big bed, covered in white bedsheet, stood at the right corner of the room. An open wardrobe stood by its side.
Opposite the bed was a dressing mirror. Valerie looked in it. First she was scared. Then she frowned, feeling the fabric of he clothes. She was suddenly dressed in the gold gown the lady from the bar was dressed in. Her hair was the same style as the lady’s too.
She moved closer to the mirror, trying to assess herself some more. But she was not given the chance
“Are you ready to know how bad I am?” A male voice asked from over her right shoulder. And before she could turn around, the man who was with the lady at the restaurant, was behind her. His hands wrapped her waist, caressing her soft body, gently, in a provocative manner.
Stop. I never asked to know how bad you are. Valerie wanted to say. Instead, she heard herself encouraging his actions, giggling like a spoilt brat, sighing and leading his hands all over her body, to places that were sacred to her.
He held her closer, nibbling at her right ear and sending chills all over her body.
He turned her around to face him, and his lips descended on hers, kissing, sucking and licking. His hands found their way to her zip and undid it. The cold breeze hit her bare skin. Its chilly sensation mixed with the pleasure already coursing through her body. A moan escaped her lips.
“Aaron”, she heard herself call his name.
“I’m here with you, love”, he replied.
Valerie didn’t know how. But the man quickly undressed her and carried her to the big bed. He undressed too. And joined her on the bed.
“My love”, he said, taking her lips again. His hands roamed freely, cupping her bare breast and rubbing his thumb against hard nipples.
His lips soon replaced his thumb, licking and sucking. Pleasure shot through her body. She wrapped her arms around his shoulder, then his head, pulling him closer and planting kisses all over his head.
He raised himself slightly, to look at her, passion filled his eyes. “My love”, he called, sliding his hands between her thighs, rubbing it gently. She was wet. He slid one long finger into her wetness. She gasped, excited at the same time.
Her left hand found his chest, then slid down to find the hard length of his phallus. She massaged it, gently, going back and forth. He groaned.
It wasn’t long afterwards he slid into her, maintaining a slow temple at first, then gradually thrusting faster.
Their moans filled the room. And when they reached orgasm, they exploded into a joy and satisfaction that strengthened their bond, and love for each other.
The man collapsed on top of her, panting. Valerie placed both hands on his head and raised it up to look at her. A light kiss to his lips followed.
“Rodah”, he called her name, “my love”.
For unknown reasons, his face started to change. And after it did, Valerie realized she was looking into the eyes of her employer. Her mouth opened. She wanted to ask why? How? But the only word she whispered was,
She was sweating when she woke up. Despite the fact the windows were wide open and cold breeze blew in.
The excitement from the dream she had awoken from, was evident between her legs. Transparent liquid flowed out of her womanliness, on to her night robe.
“Oh God”, she cried. Scared, as she got out of bed. She reached for the tissue paper on her table, rolled out some of it and cleaned her wetness. What happened, was it a dream? Or was it real? Did Mr. Okis really come to me? Did he really make love to me? These questions, and even more, raced through her head.
She closed her eyes, replaying the dream scenario in her head. How did she suddenly become the beautiful lady? Rodah. That was her name. At least that was the name the man called her.
Rodah. She repeated the name in her head. And Aaron. She called him Aaron in return. But nothing was making sense to her.
One day in the house, and she had experienced things she never thought possible. Why did she have another dream about the couple? Why were their lives so important, she had to dream about them again. Why did the man have to make love to her? Or was her experience a trick? Was someone playing games with her? But who? Witches? But what witches? The only witch she had seen was in a dream.
She was convinced now, Mr. Okis obviously knew what he was talking about when he told her the secrets of the mansion will reveal themselves to her. Unfortunately, if her dreams were part of the secrets, then she wasn’t understanding them at all, nor why they tormented her so much.
She only knew she was in a strange mansion and lived with people she never thought possible to understand.
Valerie moved back to sit on her bed, reflecting on everything she had experienced since coming to the house.
There was the gatekeeper, probably still looking for an opportunity to snap her neck. Then there was Omo, who posed as a friend first, then suddenly the opposite, because she insist Mr. Okis is her man.
Ms. Grace hated her. That she was sure of. But since Mr. Okis whispered to her, she calmed down a bit. Maybe they’d become close friends. Maybe not.
Then there was Okis himself. Her rape experience had made her see men as nothing but monsters. They turned her off. And she never thought she’ll find herself in love with a man. Ever. But here she was, always acting like a dumb struck idiot whenever she came face to face with her employer.
She found herself attracted to him. And although he seemed nice, she couldn’t forget the events that happened in his study. Neither could she understand why he really asked that they discuss later in the evening. And she couldn’t understand why she agreed either.
She had gone on to take her measurement after he came to her room earlier. The tailor, a kind elderly man, took his time to do a proper measurement, before showing her some materials to choose from. She picked four different materials and from his fashion magazine, four different styles.
The rest of her clothes were going to be casuals – English skirts, jeans trousers, and some tops, to be delivered in a week’s time.
Valerie had said her thanks, before going to wash the dishes used for lunch.
At her free time, she looked everywhere for Omo. She wanted them to hang out together and also use the opportunity to meet little Ansa. But they were nowhere to be found. Ms. Grace had said something about them taking a stroll out of the compound.
Time progressed fast. The sun soon began to set, leaving a golden glow in the sky. Valerie returned to the kitchen to assist Ms. Grace prepare dinner. And after everyone had eaten, she washed up and retired to her room.
All the while, she thought about Mr. Okis’ invitation for an evening talk. She didn’t know what time would be best, as he seemed busy in his study. Besides, if he wanted her presence, he always sent Ms. Grace to fetch her. And so she had thought it wise to wait. But she fell asleep, exhausted from the day’s chores, only to find herself in such a weird dream.
Valerie sighed, playing the scene in her head again. “The secrets locked within these walls. Or is it mansion, she pouted, “will drive me mad, if I don’t find a way to escape them”. She said, getting off her bed
Valerie remembered there were several packs of juice in the fridge. Ms. Grace had said she could have some whenever she wanted. As long as she left some for the others to drink as well.
“A glass of juice should do me some good”, she said, reaching for the door knob. She opened the door gently, trying not to make so much noise, and stepped into the passage, barefooted.
As usual, little Ansa’s toys littered the passage, including some of his shoes. Valerie wondered if Omo knew anything about keeping a home tidy or taking proper care of a child’s personal effects.
She took time out to arrange the toys on little Ansa’s reading table, and the shoes by the side of it.
“Ansa”, she said his name, “I hope we can meet soon”.
Done with arranging the passage, she was heading straight for the kitchen when she heard noise coming from the sitting room. Curious enough, she headed there, pulled the curtain aside and peeped in. Her breath caught. She swallowed, as images from the dream she just had, came rushing back.
The main lights were switched off, but with the aid of the electric lamp on the shelf, she could make out his form, properly.
Okis didn’t realize he was no longer alone. He paced the sitting room, bare chested, and only a short covering his loins.
Yes, he was deep in thoughts. Several times he sighed, and Valerie knew that whatever bothered him, was no joke.
“Mr. Okis”, she called, stepping into the sitting room.
He paused, turning around to look at her. His eyes lingered on her ruffled hair for a while, and then to her bare feet. It made her look very homely and sexy in a way even he couldn’t understand. “Miss. Valerie” he swallowed, “I thought you were asleep”, he said.
“I was”, she replied. He nodded
“I waited for you, for our evening discussion”, he said, going straight to the point, “but you didn’t show up. Perhaps you didn’t feel like talking”.
“You seemed busy”, Valerie defended, “and besides, you normally send Ms. Grace to get me, when you want me. I waited for her. And when she didn’t come, I just assumed you were still very busy”.
“Assumptions”, he chuckled, “I guess we’re both guilty of that.
Valerie found herself smiling, “yes. But you don’t seem to be able to sleep”, she pointed out.
Okis sighed, “that’s no news. I haven’t had a good sleep in a very long time, Valerie. And I really can’t say, if I’ll have it again”.
“But why?”, she took two steps closer, searching his face for answers to her own silent questions.
“It isn’t something I can just say to you. It is more than that”, he replied, “what about you? Couldn’t continue your sleep?”
“Oh”, she looked away. She didn’t expect his question. And she didn’t know how to reply. As in, seriously, How does she go about telling him of her erotic dream? And that he was the one making love to her? “I had an unpleasant dream”, she said instead, “so I thought a glass of juice should help calm me down. I was initially heading for the kitchen”.
He nodded in agreement, “a glass of juice should do us both some good”.
He led the way to the kitchen, took out two tumblers and one pack of Chivita juice. They sat at the kitchen dinning, and he poured juice on both tumblers.
“Here”, he offered one to Valerie. She took it with thanks, “so what are we going to toast to?” He asked, noticing Valerie couldn’t seem to take her eyes off him, or was it his broad chest. If she knew half of what she did to him, just staring, she’d wonder at his self restraint.
“I don’t know”, she took a while to answer. She had been observing his features, closely, and she could almost swear she was starting to see similarities between him and the man in her dream. Aaron.
“What if we toast to our new friendship?”, he said, lifting his glass.
“Are we friends now?”, her brows shot up.
“Well, I do see you… as a friend. I don’t know if you see me as one, or ever will”.
“Okay then. To our friendship”, she raised her glass.
He raised his too, “to us”, their glasses clinked. And they drank.
“So, you care to share with me what your nightmare was about?” Okis asked.
“Noooooo”, she shook her head, chuckling, “it was terrible. I shouldn’t bore you with such things”. No way. She just couldn’t tell him.
“Believe me, Miss Valerie, I have witnessed enough weird stuffs in my life. I can take another weird”.
“It is weirder than you can handle”, she remained reluctant.
“Please”, he persuaded, “I only want to share your worries with you. And I believe this dream worried you, else you wouldn’t have come after a drink to relax your nerves”.
He spent the next 10 minutes persuading her, until she finally gave in. But because she wanted him to understand why it was weird, she told him of the first dream, and then the experience she had in the kitchen, after Omo told her Okis had killed his wife.
Okis’s brows shut up at the revelation. But he said nothing. He let her keep going.
Then she told him of the recent dream, and although she had wanted to lie about the love making part, she found herself telling it, just as it happened.
“Weir. Right?” She asked, sipping juice from her glass. She had noticed the different expressions that took over Okis’ face as she narrated her dream. And she was sure he understood the dream better than she did. He frowned at first, but then, like realization hit him, he smiled. He smiled at almost every part of the dream, and especially at the love making part.
“Not at all. It isn’t weird”, he finally spoke. But Valerie could tell he knew more than he was saying.
“That’s not going to work”, she objected, “you made me tell you my dream. And from your expression, I can tell you understand my dream better than I do. Why not tell me what it means? Please”.
“Its not that simple, my dear”, he said. She swallowed.
My dear? Miss Valerie, that’s what he always called her. Since when did it become ‘my dear?’
“Well, I’m not buying that”, she raised her hand in protest, “We had a deal. I tell you my experience, you tell me yours”
“Yes”, he sighed, “but you haven’t told me what we bargained on. What happened to you before you came here? Tell me, and I’ll try my best to answer your questions”.
Valerie sighed. She sat back on her chair. He was right. It was her past experience they bargained on. Nothing more. “I had a family”, she started, “I loved them so much. And they loved me so much. But life is mean. It took them away from me, starting with my parents…”
By the time she was done telling her story, tears had taken over her eyes and stained her cheeks. She didn’t realize she was crying, until she felt warm hands wrapping themselves around her shoulders and pulling her into a warm embrace.
“It’s OK. You’re safe now”, Okis was saying, stroking her hair.
Okis felt bad about the terrible position he found himself. He felt bad he couldn’t help her the way he’d have loved to. If only he could tell her he knew her. If only he could tell her who she was, that her dreams were real events that actually took place. If only he could tell her who he was, and the events that have led them to this very moment.
What if he could tell her why she lost every member of her family? What if he could tell her she got lost in the forest, just so she could locate him? And to think he almost labelled her a thief. He silently cursed himself.
She was the one person in the world who could save him and Ansa, not to talk about Ms Grace and Andrew, But how was he going to be set free, if the person who was to help him, didn’t even know he needed to be saved?
Valerie had not seen him leave his seat. But she was glad he did. She felt so comfortable and warm in his embrace. She hugged him back, and buried her face into his shoulders.
It was not clear to her why her heart longed so much for this stranger, in whose home and arms she had found comfort. But why question appearances anymore, when her feelings for him seemed to be awakened with every encounter and every touch?
The duo remained like that for a while longer. Then Okis pulled back, like something suddenly occurred to him. Cleaning the tears from her eyes, he spoke, “there is something I need to show you”.
“OK”, she agreed, cleaning what was left of her tears.
Okis took her hand and led her upstairs to his library. He shut the door gently behind her, and then led her further to the second roll of book shelves. There, he picked out a diary. It was the normal type of diary Valerie was accustomed to. But from the way Okis held it, she was sure it held more meaning to him than most books in his library.
“We had a deal, that I’ll tell you everything you want to know about me. And I wish to keep my end of it”, he held the diary out to her, “this will answer all your questions”,
“All?” She doubted, looking at the hard covered diary.
“All”, he nodded, “you will understand why you have suffered as you did. You will understand why your footsteps were led to me. And you’ll understand why you have the kinds of dreams and visions you’ve had since you came here”,
“Wow!” She was sincerely surprised. A diary that could tell her everything about her life, even before she came to his mansion? “Are you a wizard, or what?” She couldn’t help but ask. He chuckled.
“Maybe. But I really believe this will help. There are things I’d love to tell you myself. But I can’t”.
“Because someone is watching, Valerie. And the minute I speak, we will all cease to exist. It sounds stupid. I know. But after reading this, you’ll understand. I promise”, he stretched the diary to her. And she took it, wondering what secrets were contained in it.
“There’s one thing though”, his eyes pleaded with her’s. “Don’t let Omo, or anyone else in this house, not even Ms Grace, know that I gave you a diary”.
“You don’t trust Ms Grace?”, Valerie looked shocked.
“I do. But she wouldn’t keep quiet, if she knew certain things”.
Valerie nodded, even though she wasn’t really getting his point.
He moved closer then, and hugged her to himself. Relief washed over him, but his actions surprised Valerie. In as much as warning sparks went off in her head, she couldn’t bring herself to pull away from him. Neither could she refuse him when he pulled back slightly, lifted her chin with one hand, and claimed her lips.
She kissed him back, matching his passion. Swiftly, he carried her on to a nearby reading table. His lips traveled to her chin, then her neck, shoulder, and the flesh just above the mold of her breast.
His hands quickly undid the belt of her night robe. They slipped inside to cup her breasts, squeezing gently, as his lips found the nipple of the other breast.
She patted his head with one hand, and slid the other down to cup his hard length. Okis gave a low groan, taking his hands down to cup the v of her thighs.
As expected, she was wet. He massaged her clitoris, gently, with his thumb, while one finger slipped inside, thrusting.
Valerie moaned, throwing her head back and spreading her legs wider. Okis went for her robe, lifting it up. He couldn’t wait any longer. He had to take her. She was his after all. And if this night was all he’d ever have of her again, then so be it.
He pushed down his shorts, allowing his very aroused phallus snake out. Valerie reached for it, stroking gently. It was Okis’ turn to throw his head back briefly in ecstasy.
Spreading her legs wider, she helped guide him to the entrance of her core. Their breathing came in short pants.
“Tell me to stop, if you don’t want this”, he whispered.
She didn’t say anything. Instead, she led him into her core, gently. She gasped, as he filled her tunnel. He groaned, thrusting gently, at first, then increasing his tempo.
She hugged him closer, enjoying his ride. He kissed her, all over, whispering erotic words in her ear. And she kissed him too.
“Oh, Aaron”, she moaned, as the tempo got faster, “Aaron. Yes”.
“Rodah, my love”, he replied
They reached orgasm at the same time, collapsing into each other. Their panting was in unison, and their bodies were covered in sweat.
It took a while for Valerie to get herself back. This was no dream. It was real. She had been intimate with her employer. An employer that called her Rodah. And she remembered caling him Aaron.
“Oh God!” She pulled back from Okis, covering her mouth with one hand, “what… what did we just do?”
To be continued…
©Karo Oforofuo. July 2017. All rights reserved
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