He ran his car through the highways like its tyres were the paws of a cheetah and was in Alapere, Ketu in record time. In Levi’s opinion.

He called her when he parked along her street and kept his fingers crossed that she would have gotten over her mad since she sounded less clipped on the phone when she told him she was coming out.

It looked that way when she walked through her gate and towards him five minutes or so later. Levi watched her because he was a man who enjoyed looking at women, and women who looked a certain kind of way. Curves on a woman was the most perfect definition of a woman, in his thinking, and it left you in no doubt that you were looking at a woman.

Zikora had curves and she had a round face that was as cherubic as it was pretty. She knew how to put together that face so you found it hard to blink your gaze from it and she knew how to garb those curves so her body set off an instant hum of lust inside you.

He strapped in the lust though and put on his mournful face. “I am sincerely sorry, Zik.” He made sure he sounded sorry too.

“Good evening.” Good manners always made her greet before anything else. “You forgot we had a date this evening, didn’t you?”

“Guilty. And again, I am sorry.”

Zikora stared at the contrite face he was wearing. Something in her told her he wasn’t as contrite as he looked, but she didn’t let herself dwell on that thought. He was so handsome. It was always a first thought whenever she saw him. So much like the kind of man she’d always wanted for herself. Maybe he was a little older than what she’d always anticipated, but what did age matter when other factors checked their boxes? And the one box that didn’t check will do so soon, she told herself.

“Don’t do it again. If you do, I’d be really mad at you.” She made the warning with a pout.

“And God knows I don’t want you mad at me.” Levi flashed his charming grin, relieved she’d put aside her sulking. “Ready to go?”

Zikora nodded. “Yeah, let’s go.”

She went around the SUV and climbed in beside him, fastened on her seatbelt before she settled back. “How was your day today? Were you very busy at the pharmacy? That the reason our date slipped your mind?”

“Actually didn’t go in today. Was mostly home playing house. Made myself a late breakfast—potful of boiled plantain and fish stew.” He shot her a grin. “Was so overfed, I slumped in the parlour and blanked out. Didn’t surface again until something after four.”

“The rare moments you cook, you always overfeed.” She knew this because he’d told her stories like this before. “You ought to learn how to make a little and not…”

The bark, or maybe it was more of a growl, interrupted her. Startled, Zikora angled around on her seat and peered at the back of the car.

“You have your dog in your boot?” She gaped at the brown eyes that stared back at her as the tongue hung out the mouth and the dog, well, puppy panted. “Why do you have your dog in your boot when we are going on a date?”

Levi sighed. He’d forgotten about Frodo. “Actually, it’s a puppy…”

“I know it’s a puppy and it makes no damn difference.” She swung her hot eyes on him. “Why would you bring him along on our date? Where are you going to keep him while we’re inside the restaurant?”

“I wasn’t planning on bringing him on our date. I forgot the date, remember?” He tried to keep impatience out of his voice. It wasn’t her fault. It was his. “After I woke up from my long nap, I did the dishes, cleaned up the kitchen and then decided to go see my mum. Since Frodo hadn’t met her yet, I figured it was a fine opportunity to introduce them. Was over at hers when you called and not wanting to keep you waiting any longer, I drove straight over from there, Frodo naturally in tow.”

“What…” Zikora cut off the sharp tone and tried again on a calmer voice. “What are we going to do with him now? Is it safe to leave him locked in the car while we eat inside?”

“I don’t know if that’s safe. Have never tried it.” He sent her an apologetic stare. “I’m sorry, Zik. Been somewhat muddle-headed all day.”

“Fine. But that doesn’t still solve the problem of what we’re going to do about him.” She stared moodily at the expressway. “Why didn’t you leave him with your mum? I’m sure he would have been safe there until tomorrow.”

“No doubt he would have been. But Frodo’s not my mother’s responsibility. He’s mine.” He cut into the Alausa routes. “Maybe we shouldn’t stay long at the restaurant?”

She didn’t like that. She wanted to spend time with him this evening. “No. We should just get takeaways and go on home, your home, to dine.”

“You don’t mind us doing takeaways?” He glanced at her. “You dressed up nice to dine out.”

“Well, I’ll have to dress up nice again another day, won’t I?” She sighed, angled and glanced at the puppy. He was chewing on the carpet that covered the floor of the boot. “Let’s just get our dinner and head home. If he doesn’t come to harm while we’re dining, your car likely will. So, better not risk it.”

“Thanks, Zik.” He gave her thigh a rub. “I’ll make it up to you. Promise.”

“Sure you will. I’m counting on it.” She covered his hand with her own, started playing with his neat nails. “So, you ever mention me to your mum? Like tell her that you have this amazing new girlfriend who’s pretty thoughtful and amenable?”

“Ah, not yet.” He retrieved his hand, placed it back on the steering. “Mama still considers me very much married and wouldn’t appreciate such a discussion.”

“But you and your estranged wife have been separated for nearly two years now, haven’t you?” She would prefer to say ex-wife, but estranged sufficed—for now. “You two are not getting back together. She left you and I’m sure she must have moved on with her life, so you are expected to do the same.”

Levi didn’t like to discuss Kristi with her. He never did before with any of the ladies he’d been with. But he’d had to with Zikora and simply because he’d felt something a little more than sexual attraction for her.

“Maybe she has, maybe she hasn’t. I don’t know. I don’t know what goes on in her life anymore.” And he didn’t want to know, he lied to himself. Recognised the lie and ignored it. “I’d rather not get you involved in this until our divorce is through. I wouldn’t want anyone to slip into the easy habit of blaming you for how things end between her and me.”

“Has she filed for the divorce then?”

“No.”

The answer, without anymore said, irritated Zikora. The meaning of it ticked off her worry nerves. “Why don’t you, since she’s obviously unwilling to? Your relationship with her is over, is it not?”

Was it? “I guess I’ll have to. Soon.” He ignored the clutch against his heart. “Let’s not mar the evening with depressing talks. Tell me about your day instead. What did you do with your day off?”

She would have preferred to pursue the matter. She would have preferred that he sounded definite about initiating the divorce. She would have preferred that he wasn’t married at all. Probably, hadn’t ever been. But the facts were what the facts were and she should deal with them as they were. Tonight, they would enjoy a good time together. Another night, or day, they would pursue again this one thorn in their relationship.

So, she talked to him about her day. And she kept the conversation light and easy throughout their dinner on his living room floor and didn’t protest, when after he cleared their dishes, he switched on his TV.

“You do have feelings for me, don’t you?” She turned her head on his laps and looked up at him.

Levi sensed she wanted reassurance. It wasn’t something she’d sought before. But she did now, and possibly because of the reminder that he was yet married. “Of course, I do. I have feelings for you, Zik.” He couldn’t yet qualify the feelings; didn’t know if he wanted to. “You’re important to me.”

It wasn’t the answer she wanted. But Zikora let it be enough for tonight. “You’re important to me too.” She lifted off his laps, curled one arm around his neck and kissed him. “I think of you all the time. I was thinking of you all through today, even when I was shopping with the girls. I can’t say it’s the first time that’s happening. But you seem to possess this secret power to eliminate every other thought from my head.”

She covered his mouth, allowed herself to enjoy the firm suppleness and then parted his lips to fully kiss him.

Desire sprung to life inside Levi. She was a sensual woman, one who wasn’t ashamed to express her sensuality and to give it free rein. She kissed him like she always did, as if searching for something on his mouth, inside of it. He kissed her back, matched the fervour of her lips, her tongue, even her teeth.

When she reared up, tore off her top and skirt, pushed him backward and clamped her mouth over his again, he surrendered to the onslaught of her love making. She took, and oh yes, it was her taking him, on his rug, her eyes locked in his as she rode them both to satisfaction.

Zikora rolled off him and onto the floor, her breath came in soft gasps. “A drink, please.” She muttered, moistened her parched throat with her saliva.

“Okay. In a minute ” Levi struggled up to his feet, lumbered to the visitors’ restroom and disposed of the condom and then slid on his boxer shorts and went in search of a drink.

He returned with two glasses of wine, passed her one and watched as she downed it, set down the glass and heaved to her feet. Then naked, she headed to the visitors’ restroom, taking her clothes with her.

“I’ve got to head home.” She announced as she strolled back in minutes later. Zikora found her sandals and slipped them on. “I’m on tomorrow evening but I promised Nelly I’ll escort her to the dentist’s in the morning. She’s terrified of dentists.” She rolled her eyes, grabbed her purse.

“She’s not alone. Dentists terrify me too.” He finished his drink and reached for his clothes. “So, you’re working nights the next couple of days?”

“Until Wednesday.” She was always tempted to stay; to spend the night. But her personal principles would never permit it, especially when she wasn’t yet certain of the man.

“So, we can see Friday evening?” He could spare the time to see her during the day when she’d be free, but he hasn’t yet come to the place where he wanted to be with her that regularly.

“It’s possible. You call me during the week let’s work it work out.” When he crossed over to her, she lifted her head for his kiss.

The man knew how to make a woman go weak on her knees with just his lips, she thought and resisted succumbing to the flood of pleasure that purred through her. Once was always enough for one evening.

“Let’s hit the road.” She said, stepped back and linked her hand through his. “You know, I don’t think you should keep that puppy. You’re barely at home and he’ll be lonely without anyone or any other dog to play with. Besides, dogs can be so much trouble.”

“I don’t know. I’m starting to get used to him. I’ll see how it goes.”

He was back in the house an hour and half, or so, later. Levi groaned when he thought of the dishes in the sink. No, he’d face that tomorrow. He got food for Frodo, settled the puppy in his cage and then turned out the lights before heading to his bedroom.

Sometimes, he still felt her presence inside there. Still felt her presence everywhere in the house. It was the number one reason he never invited any woman to stay, and was always grateful that Zikora never made a move to.

Should he initiate the divorce?

Levi frowned as he tugged off his clothes and aimed for the bathroom. He would think on that another time. Tonight, he will just tune out and let his mind enjoy the pleasure still swirling through him.

***

ALL BUSINESS, #1 of the Workplace Romance Trilogy, HERE.

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