When a man thought about sex on a regular basis, Saz figured that was a natural thing. But when he thought about it until he could think of nothing else, and he found it difficult to sleep and dreamed of it when he managed to do so, it became something unnatural. And in great, worrying proportions.
In his case, it was even more worrying because he thought of sex only with her.
So, he’d never been the loose and promiscuous type, but he’d always had a healthy, and sensible, ability to keep his mind sealed off from over-dwelling on a woman. He was a man who focused more on his goals than what it’d felt like to look in a woman’s eyes while he took her and gave her absolute satisfaction.
She’d looked like it was the most astonishing thing to happen to her. Her eyes had been empty of their usual fun and laughter, and instead had dazzled, in dark, fiery lights, with sensual awe and unbridled pleasure.
He wanted to put that look again in her eyes. He wanted to stare in her eyes and watch it come on.
“Good Christ!” Saz muttered into the hand he dragged over his face. He was losing his mind. It was just sex, for heaven’s sake. And she shouldn’t matter, not this much.
Not when he had every intention to leave and go back to where he belonged.
“Oga, Papa Obichie is asking for you outside.”
It took a couple of seconds to properly register Ekezie’s words, and Saz lifted his head to stare at him with a baffled frown. “Who is Papa Obichie?”
“He was Papa’s friend…your father, I mean.” Ekezie looked like he thought Saz should know that. “But apart from that, he used to be a regular customer here.”
“I see.” While his frown remained, it wasn’t baffled anymore. “Is there a problem? Is that why he’s asking to see me?”
Ekezie frowned slightly before he gave a shrug. “There’s no problem. I think he just wants to speak with you. Possibly only to greet you.”
Then he should have come in, not stand outside and demand he come out, Saz thought. But since he recognised his small annoyance was because he felt a little uneasy having to deal with anyone who used to be a friend of his father’s, he made himself push it off carefully and rose to his feet.
“I’ll see him,” he said, and strode outside.
It took less than a minute to place the old man’s face and realise that he too knew him. He used to be a builder. As a matter of fact, Eze had started out apprenticing under him, although they were still in school at the time.
Yes, the old man had been a friend of his father’s. A friendship, Saz suspected, had been borne out of the fact that he’d indeed been a regular customer at the store. He’d aged well, he mused. Like his father had done.
As it often did, the more personal thought of his father ticked off strong emotions he didn’t want to name, so he quickly pushed up a wall against them and offered the old man a pleasant smile along with polite greetings, adding, “You should have come in, not stood out here.”
“My son will be driving by soon to pick me up and I don’t want to delay him. Oh, but you’ve become a true image of your father.” There was something of an affection on the man’s face. “It is almost like looking at a young version of him. A more masculine version of him, because of your broader frame,” he added with a quick laugh.
“Uh…thank you.” What else was he to say to that particularly unwanted comparison?
The man nodded. “He would be happy with what you’re doing, coming home to reopen the store. And I see that you’re going to do better than he did in business, which is just as it should be. Our children must do better than us.”
He wanted to correct the misconception that he’d come home, but it wasn’t really anyone’s business, so Saz let it be. “And how are your children and family?” he asked, as polite manners demanded it.
“They are all well, thank God.” There was a short pause before the man said in a more quiet tone, “Sometimes, as fathers, we don’t do enough for our children. Then we live the rest of our lives wishing we did better; wishing we had not failed them.
“I know that your father had a few regrets where you are concerned. The last couple of years of his life, especially after I retired from my work, we would sit together and reminisce about the life we have lived, and he would talk about not having done enough for you. He never really said much, but it was always clear he wished he’d done more. I don’t know if he ever had a chance to speak to you about these things.”
He’d never done so, and Saz hated that memories pushed against the wall he’d erected. “It is all in the past,” he said, wanting to leave it there, in a faraway past. “He’s gone, and I am now a man who can do what is needed for myself.”
“So you are.” For a moment, the old man’s smile was sad, and then it turned kindly. “You are doing something good here. I like to think you were always meant to.” When a car honked twice, he tossed a glance to the road, and gave a wave.
“That’s my son now. Thank you for coming out to chat with an old man. If you ever feel like you want to listen to some ancient wisdom, or just share a drink with an old man, ask around for Papa Obichie’s house and you will get directions to it.”
“I will do that when that desire comes.” Which, of course, would be never. Respectfully, Saz offered him a hand, “Thank you for stopping by, sir.”
“It was good to see the son of my old friend,” the man said with a smile before walking with surprisingly brisk steps to the Golf which had pulled up on the sidewalk.
Saz returned his wave before retreating into the store. And to be sure, he wouldn’t think about his father, and no longer about Anya as that was courting trouble, he called for Lucy to come with the sales ledger.
Good work was bound to keep his mind busy.
It did, until he was heading home and went well out of his way and in the direction of the pastry shop. Saz told himself he only wanted a snack, but he knew his appetite was more focused on the baker who owned the shop.
She wasn’t behind the counter, and he considered it his bad luck that it was Nkechi there, scowling now at him.
It wasn’t that the woman didn’t like him, Saz was certain of that. It was that she didn’t trust him, which probably, in a way, amounted to the same thing.
“The display glass is empty and that can only mean it was a good business day, so what’s with the sour look?” As he was in an amicable mood, Saz decided to tease.
“You’re the reason for it,” Nkechi told him, and with a glare. “We’ve actually run out of goods for today, so you will have to come back another day, if it’s snacks you’re after.”
“Well, that’s unfortunate, as I was in the mood for something sweet.” Her dark glower made him smile, and to goad her more, he asked, “Where’s Anya? In the absence of snacks, I think I will make do with her sweet smiles.”
“She’s not here,” Nkechi said, then she muttered as if she was cursing herself, or most likely him. “She’s in the kitchen. But what do you want with her? No, seriously, what do you want with her?
“She’s not the kind of woman you should play with. She’s needs a serious-minded man in her life, not a…Well, I don’t know exactly what kind of a man you are, but I doubt you’re serious about her.”
He might be in an amicable mood, but Saz never tolerated people interfering in his business without invitation, or presuming to know him. “You don’t know me well enough to know what I’m serious about, or not.”
“Are you saying you’re serious about her?”
“I am saying it’s none of your business.”
Of course, the cool rebuff didn’t deter Nkechi. Instead her scowl turned into a thoughtful frown. “It is in a way, because she’s my friend and I worry about her. Maybe I don’t know you enough to judge you, but you’re not going to tell me that what is between you goes deeper than the flesh, are you?”
“No, I’m not. I’m not going to tell you anything because what’s between us is between us, in spite of you being her friend.” But he understood friends looking out for each other, so he added, “It’s not just about satisfying my flesh for me. Or even for her. We share a likeness for each other. You should know that.”
Nkechi stared at him few seconds, before letting out a sigh. “I don’t want her to get hurt.”
“I wish I can promise you that I won’t hurt her, but I can’t. But I like her, she likes me, and we enjoy being with each other. And,” he pushed back from the counter. “I think I should sneak into the kitchen and see if she will want to enjoy some time with me this evening.”
“It’s a kitchen, so don’t start anything you shouldn’t be doing there,” Nkechi said, the sour note back in her voice.
Grinning, Saz shot a glance over his shoulder. “Anything like what?”
“Like what I caught you doing the other morning.”
“Kissing, you mean?” And when she glared, Saz laughed and went through the door. Then he wanted to do way more than kissing when he saw Anya swaying her waist to the music coming from the phone she kept on her kitchen table. “God, you make me want things I shouldn’t be wanting.”
She jolted slightly before turning to face him. “Saz, you are here.”
She was smiling, her dimples showing, her eyes full of laughter, and Saz felt a definite clench of hunger in his belly. “I am. And I want you. Tell me again why I made love to you only once on Sunday?”
“Because I said once was enough.” She pressed against him when his arms came around her, broadening her smile as she let out a soft sigh. “Hey, Saz. How are you this fine evening?”
“Hungry. And not for food, but for you.” Wanting a taste of her, Saz lowered his head and nibbled her chin. “I stayed away three whole days, but it appears hearing your voice over the phone is not enough. I want to see you, to taste you, to have you, again.”
“I always find attractive your ability to be honest and direct.” And because she too wanted all he’d mentioned, Anya kissed him, slowly to please herself, and then hungrily because she couldn’t help it. “I’m glad to see you this evening.”
“Come home with me.”
As she wanted to, it made it easy to agree. “Only for a few hours though. Lucky for us, this is not an evening I have to deliver dinner to my people.”
“Good.” He kissed her, sliding into her mouth as if he couldn’t hold back. Then he shifted his lips into her neck, inhaling deeply. “You have a combination of aromatic and some sort of sexy scent right on this spot. I love it, the smell of your body, especially your neck.”
“Perfume and baking, I’m glad you like it, because one or two of them will always be on me.” Anya stared up at his face, and realised she’d missed him. Much more than she’d let herself acknowledge. “I’m glad you came over this evening,” she repeated. “It’s so nice to see you.”
“It will get nicer before the evening’s over.”
Her insides quivered at the sensual promise in his hot eyes. “I’m counting on it. How about you give me a taste to hold me before you go?”
“I’ll wait for you. But I can give you a taste all the same.”
His mouth took when it crushed over hers, almost stopping her breath with the force of the ravenous plunder. He wanted to be sate his hunger and he fed that need with wet, hungry kisses.
Oh, but she loved his lips, Anya thought, allowing her teeth the pleasure to nibble. Firm, where hers were soft, and full against her smaller and more feminine ones. A perfect merge with her own. A perfect feel against hers.
“Oh God! Didn’t I tell you not to do that?”
Nkechi’s complaining words sounded as if it came from a far distance, and it pleased Anya that Saz didn’t jolt away. Oh no, he took his time brushing one last kiss on her lips before slowly raising his head.
“I will wait for you outside,” he murmured to her. And then pasted on a grin as he turned to face Nkechi, who of course was glaring at both of them. “You did, but I couldn’t resist. I didn’t try hard enough to, I have to confess,” he added with a quick laugh.
“I’m sure you didn’t. Out.” Nkechi jerked a finger at the door. “This is a kitchen, not a bedroom. Go now, you troublemaker.”
“I am going.” Chuckling good-naturedly, Saz strode out, just as quietly as he’d come in.
“Really? Is this what you have become, staring after a man like you want to eat him up?”
Laughing, because she was too happy to do anything else, Anya looked at Nkechi. “I thought it’s me kissing him in the kitchen that bothers you.”
“That, too,” Nkechi said, grumbling. “And do you call what I just saw, kissing? It looked like he wanted to pull you up on the work table and have you right there on it.”
“Oh, Nkechi, I’m in a fragile state, so go easy with the erotic visuals.” Anya pressed a hand to her sensitive tummy and let out a lusty sigh. “Lord, I’ve missed this potent feeling.”
“I’m sure the Lord doesn’t want to hear about you missing sex,” Nkechi said with a snort.
“Oh, I’m sure He does, as He must know I’ve recovered my healthy appetite for it.” As Nkechi snorted again, Anya shot her grin and turned to go back to her cleaning up. “Let’s hurry, I’ve got a hot man waiting outside to take me home.”
Anya chose to cut off the worried tone. “Let me enjoy this, Nke. I deserve to.”
There was silence for at least a minute, then Nkechi said, “Yes, you deserve to enjoy this.”
And giving her rare affectionate smile, she joined Anya in cleaning up.