Yemisi did as she was bade and as Chris stretched his hand to collect it, he saw the plastic sprig of mistletoe that Lola had glued to his headboard last Christmas, and he became so suffused with guilt that his member became flaccid almost immediately.
Noticing the drawn look on his face, Yemisi asked “Chris, what’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry Missie”, Chris said calling her the endearing name he had given to her when they were dating, “I can’t do it. I can’t cheat on my girlfriend.”
“Baby, baby, you can’t stop now.” Yemisi said her breathing labored.
“I’m sorry Missie. But I really can’t. I’m really sorry. But I can’t.” Chris replied.
“Just once baby. No one will ever find out.”
“Yemisi please. Let’s just go back to the living room and forget this happened. Please.” Chris heard himself saying; and as the words were leaving his mouth, he couldn’t believe he was actually capable of turning a willing female down and more so, his very own old flame. One he had actually promised to wait for so they could get married.
“Wow. This is a whole new side of you I’d never seen before.” Yemisi said.
“I’m so sorry for leading you on.”
Raising her hand with her palm and all her fingers straightened facing him, she said “Enough. I understand. Can I have some privacy while I get dressed?” Yemisi said.
Chris opened his mouth as if to say something then bit back the words, keeping silent.
“Yes I get the hypocrisy too. But I need some privacy to get dressed.” Yemisi said, pronouncing ‘pree-vay-see’. It seemed as if her little anger mixed with a touch of disappointment, a dab of shattered expectation and a tablespoonful of her almost sexual fulfilment brought out the accent she had been trying to mask all day with her Nigerian intonations in its true colors and full glory.
Chris egressed from the room to give her the privacy she seemed to suddenly crave and went straight to the kitchen to find himself some water to drink to calm his fraying nerves. The cold water from the bottle in the refrigerator did little to calm him. He reached for the trusty bottle of Vodka he always kept on the kitchen countertop. Pouring himself a glass, he downed it in one easy gulp. Feeling the burn down his throat and the almost immediate cooling effect that the burn from the alcohol leaves in its wake, his frayed nerves cooled as he began to feel the rush from the alcohol.
Feeling better, he walked over to the living room and laid down on the only piece of sitting furniture and then turned on the television. Absent-mindedly flipping the channels, patiently waiting for Yemisi to make her way to the living room.
It took quite a while before Yemisi came back out to the living room. From the looks of it she had touched up her make-up and was back to her stunning self – to the untrained eye. In Chris’ eyes however, she her eyes seemed slightly puffy, like someone who had been crying and was trying her utmost best to conceal it.
“Missie, what’s wrong?” Chris asked the moment she came to the living room and announced she was taking her leave.
“Nothing”, was the curt reply.
“Missie, please talk to me”, Chris cajoled.
“Nothing. I’m leaving.” Yemisi said, making her way to the door.
Racing after her and grabbing her by the waist before she gets to the door, he said “I’m sorry Missie. Please don’t leave here angry at me.”
Chuckling drily, she said “You think I’m mad at you?”
“Yeah”, Chris replied.
Sighing she said, “I’m not mad at you. I’m just wondering why I’m good enough for you.”
“Missie, please don’t be like that”, Chris said “There’s just a lot of things that that would lead to. I just don’t wanna complicate things.”
“So now I’m a complication?” Yemisi asked, her eyes welling up with tears.
“Missie please I need you to understand. It’s not you. I just gotta be faithful to her. I’d rather break up with her and hurt her once and for all than cheat on her again”, Chris said exasperated and as the words left his mouth, he immediately regretted allowing himself to slip so easily.
“Again?” Yemisi asked and for the first time since she had come out of the room, her eyes were twinkling and sparkling like they normally did. The dour and somber look she had was gradually being replaed by one of wonder and fascination.
Chris sighed and shrugged and then said “it was just once with one of her friends and we were so stoned out of our freaking minds.”
Scoffing, Yemisi said “As if that’s an excuse.”
“I know it isn’t, but that’s the long and short of it.” Chris replied.
“No. That’s just the short of it. I want to hear the long of it. Besides, I still find it hard to believe you got so drunk – or is it stoned that you called it – that you went and slept with someone else. You that’s the ultimate control freak”
“What can I say? People change. But it really is a long story and I don’t even know where to begin”, Chris said, refusing to talk about his recently fleeting fidelity with her and trying to discourage her from pulling a story he didn’t want to tell from him.
“Start anywhere”, Yemisi prompted and then settled into the sofa, making a show as if to tell him that she was not going anywhere without hearing the rest of the story and that she was not having any of his antics to make her forget about the story.
Reluctantly, Chris began telling the story. He started from the time he had helped Camille back to her hostel, how she had laid bare her feelings for him and how he had gently rebuffed her without appearing rude or uncaring. He then went on to tell her how he and Camille had gone on to start preparations for Lola’s birthday party and how the planning had led them to having the last planning discussion in that very apartment and how it had been too late for two girls and one in an already inebriated state to wander the streets and about how he had been the perfect gentleman and offered that they stay there that night and most importantly, that he had no sinister thoughts in his mind because they were there.
Yemisi kept listening as Chris told her about the games that led to everything. Chris told her how the whole shebang had started off so harmless and full of fun. He then proceeded to tell her about how the fun had escalated when the inhibitor suppressants had been introduced and how common sense had been giving a timeout and how he had found himself hours later in bed with two naked young ladies and how he had gotten them a cab to convey them back to their hostel and how it had been a close call because Lola was on her way to his place and how everything had blown up in their faces at Lola’s birthday party and how everything led to the present.
Chris had forgotten how good a listener Yemisi could be. She was silent for the most part when he was telling the story and only interrupted him to ask for clarifications. She also made all the correct gestures like nod her head intermittently also making some sounds to prompted him to go on. When he was done telling the story, he had expected judgment from her and to his utmost surprise all she had said was “shit happens”
“You’re coming with me to that wedding. Figure out whatever you’d tell your girlfriend.” Yemisi said as she got up to leave, ever direct.
“Yes ma’am” Chris replied, thankful that the heavy emotional cloud seemed to have lifted. Going for the wedding was the least that he could do.
Walking her to the door and down the street so he could hail her a cab, they said their goodbyes and promised to call each other and Yemisi reminded him to not forget the wedding. When the cab driver drove off, he started heading back to his apartment.
As soon as he got to the gate of his apartment building, his phone rang.
“Hello.” He answered.
“Hey you. How are you?” The person on the phone said.
“Where are you?”
“I’m almost home”
“Good. I’m on my way.”
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