“You want that separate bedroom, or…?” Saz asked, once he’d taken care of turning on the generator and making sure their dinner was underway.
“I’m sure yours will do just fine,” Anya said with a smile.
“Great.” Relieved that was her choice, Saz took the small bag she’d packed. “I know you will want to clean up, change into something else, and all that. So, go ahead while I finish up with dinner.”
“I can help with dinner.”
“No, I’ve got it. But you can help me with this.” Drawing her to him, he lowered his head into her neck to breathe in her scent before he captured her mouth, kissing her with slow, deliberate passion.
“I’m glad you’re here,” he murmured when he was able to break up the kiss.
She licked her lips, a gesture that speared him with fresh longing, and smiled. “I’m glad to be here.”
Saz dropped his hands from her body, knowing if he held on, he would kiss her again. And if he kissed her again, they wouldn’t have dinner any time soon. Or at all. “Join me downstairs when you’re done.”
“I’ll do that,” Anya promised, watching him make for the stairs before she turned to stroll into his bedroom.
Which would be her bedroom for the next two days. A prospect she was going to let herself enjoy, and not over think.
He didn’t have much personal things in the room, she noted, studying the large enough space, not that this was the first time she was looking at it. Just the first time she was taking her time to look at it.
It was nice, as bedrooms went. Tidy, with everything where it should be. But she caught no sense of him, or his personal touch, anywhere in the room. He hadn’t made this room, or the house in itself, his own. Both belonged to his father–in his thinking.
Mulling over how she was going to touch the subject of that thinking, Anya strolled to the wardrobe, opened one side of it and gave the inside another quick study, approving the organised, tidy look.
With only a few clothes stuck on the hangers and others neatly folded and stacked, it was clear his return home was a test-drive thing. Which she considered a sensible approach as he couldn’t tell how reopening the store would turn out. Now it was doing well, no doubt he would go back for the rest of his things.
Maybe she would offer to travel with him and help him pack. That, of course, would be if she could spare the time, Anya mused, and chuckled because she was probably going ahead of herself. She should wait for an invitation before making plans for a trip together. Right now, if she wanted to be helpful, she should go help him with dinner.
Anya quickly cancelled the thought, as he most likely had it under control as he’d said. That, therefore, left her with following his suggestion of getting herself cleaned up for dinner, and after-dinner activities. Her favourite song humming in her head, she set her bag on an empty shelf, opened it to take out the night wear she’d brought along.
Well, it wasn’t exactly what she’d call a night wear. But she’d had a moment’s inspiration, and right now it brought back the giddy feeling of knowing tonight was going to be…an interesting first time experience, she decided, taking off her clothes and folding them into the bag before she strolled into the bathroom.
By the time she joined him downstairs, he had dinner all set in the living room.
“I see dinner is ready,” she said, giving an appreciative sniff at the delicious aroma hanging in the air. “Smells nice.”
“Thank you. I hope you…” he cut off the rest of his sentence when he turned, and stared at her. “That should be an old, over-size shirt, except that on you, it looks like a sexy get-up, and I’m wondering if…actually, hoping you have nothing under it.”
“Well, there is nothing under it other than my body parts.” Enjoying the reaction she’d hoped for, Anya drew close to him to plant a kiss on his lips. “I had the fancy inspiration of watching you take your time unbuttoning the shirt. An odd desire of having you do that for me, instead of me for you.”
“A brilliant inspiration.” His hands gripped her waist, tugged her closer. “I can start right now.”
“I’d prefer later. We’ll have dinner, maybe talk, and then you will go for the buttons.” She allowed herself one more kiss before sliding on the sofa. “This not only smells delicious, it looks it. I’m not a fan of Pasta, but I can’t wait to have a taste of this one.”
“Then you should dig in. Well, after we say the grace,” he said, dropping down beside her. “You do the honours.”
She said the short prayer and picked up her fork, taking a tentative bite before she gave an approving nod and took another. “Just as I thought, delicious.”
“Thank you,” he said, and reached for the remote control. “TV on or off?”
“Either way suits me. I’m only a TV person on occasions when I’m in the mood to be lazy and relaxed.”
“You require a mood to be lazy and relaxed?”
He sounded amused, and Anya grinned. “My mother says I don’t know how to not be busy, and in a way, she’s right. I like to keep my hands, and mind, working as much of the time as I can. So, I’m either handling one chore or the other, or I’m on the move to go someplace where duty calls.”
“No idle moments for you, then.”
“No. Just staying idle is tough for me. But I’ve found reading, instead of TV makes it bearable.”
“Hmm, reading. And what kind of reading do you indulge in?”
“The fun kind. Mostly Romance. Or it could be Mystery, since Ifedinma likes reading those and spends her pocket money buying them.” She paused to take a sip of water, cast him a glance as she did so. “I don’t see you much as a TV person either, except maybe if it’s to watch sports channels.”
“That is true. But even there, I don’t care much for lounging around, staring at TV screens.”
“You’re not a football addict?”
Saz laughed at her incredulous stare. “Not all men are, you know.”
“You look like the sort who should be. I mean with all that broad and muscly frame.”
“The frame is mostly the result of nature and hard work,” Saz said, amused. “I enjoy football; would, of course, watch the Premier League matches and be completely invested when it’s the World Cup. But sitting, weekend after weekend, just to watch matches on TV is not my regular kind of thing.”
“Well, that’s interesting. I didn’t see you as the hanging out with friends kind of person. You’re not seen as the open and friendly sort around here.”
“So, they’ve been talking.”
She shrugged. “People talk.”
Saz refrained from saying they talk more here. He wasn’t going to delve into that prejudice. “I guess. Anyway, I’m not the hanging out with the boys kind either. I do have friends…in Benin. And we do hang out, but not so that that’s all I do. Or would regularly do.”
“In that case, what do you do for fun and relaxation?”
“Anything that pokes my interest at the moment. No hard and fast rule there.” Because she was watching him in a studying manner, Saz shrugged. “I think I’m much more focused on work rather than leisure activities. I have goals, and I keep my focus on them.”
“What are your goals? If you don’t mind me asking.”
Saz didn’t share his goals with anyone. Not anyone who wasn’t his grandmother. But the warm and sincere interest in her eyes had him saying, “I want to own a business that is successful. I’m not overly interested in it being big, or spread across the country. But I want it to be a success, to be something I achieved all on my own. Something I will be proud of.”
He thought of his store before it literally went up in flames. “I’d thought I was well on my way there with the electrical appliances and lighting shop. But I lost it.” That was a huge loss, which still hurt terribly. “Still, I will make it happen: the successful business, a good home for me and a family.”
“Yes, you will. You’re strong-willed and determined enough to make it all happen.”
She said it so softly that Saz had to blink and focus again on her. “I guess I am,” he said lightly. Then he gestured to her empty plate. “Want more?”
“No, I’m full. But thank you, this was really good. You’re one heck of a good cook.”
“All thanks to the dear woman who brought me up.” Rising, he picked up his plate and reached for hers, snatched it when she tried to shift it away. “Like I said earlier, I’ve got this. You can handle breakfast tomorrow, if you’re in the mood to be domesticated.”
“All right, I will take care of tomorrow’s meals and dishes,” Anya agreed. But she followed him into the kitchen to get a cloth to wipe the table.
Then hung by the kitchen door while he took care of the dishes. “You’re quite at home in the kitchen,” she remarked.
“Like I said, I have my grandmother to thank for that.” Done with the dishes, he took a cloth to wipe dry the sink and kitchen counter. “Even before I had to move in with my father, she had me well trained in kitchen duties.”
“How old were you when you had to move in with your father?”
“Um, nine. Come on, let’s see if we can find something to entertain us briefly on TV.” He hung the cloth on a line above the sink and walked over to slip his arm around her. “Or we could altogether forget the TV and head to the bedroom where I can begin work on these buttons.”
Seeing through the tactic to evade the subject, Anya held off his fingers from her buttons. “Let’s be lazy in front of the TV a little longer. I want to enjoy more of your company like this.”
“Like how?” Instead of the sofa, or any other seat, he stretched out on the plush rug, grabbing the remote control to settle the TV on a movie channel.
“Like us talking. I do enjoy talking with you.” Following his lead, Anya joined him on the floor, using his body as pillow. “Or to be more honest, I am curious about you. I want to know you more.”
“Yes. But no pressure on that, as I also enjoy just listening to you,” Anya added to ease off the slight tenseness she felt under her cheek. “You do have the kind of voice I don’t mind hearing over and over again.”
“Thank you, I think.” There was a pause, then he continued, “So, how come Banwuzia likes to be called by his name? I’m supposing that’s his name.”
“It is.” As she wasn’t at all interested in watching the movie on TV, it was no hardship to close her eyes and listen to his heartbeats. “Some people call him Baa; at least that’s what his children and grandchildren call him. But mostly he asks to be called by his name, and I guess that’s just the way he likes it.”
“Hmm.” His fingers had found their way to her back, and stroked lazily up and down her spine. “How did he die?”
That he has once again changed the subject was no surprise. But that he would ask about him was a huge one. Another huge surprise, like him offering to assist her with her old people.
He must have misread her silence because he said in a soft rueful voice, “I don’t mean to be intrusive. I don’t quite know why I asked, but you don’t have to talk about this, if you don’t want to.”
“Blood disease,” Anya said. “Leukaemia.”
It was said simply, and from the heart, Anya sensed. “No one knew he had the disease. It’s been inside him for some time, likely before I met him, but none of us knew. Then he started having coughs, losing weight and constantly claiming fatigue.”
Anya opened her eyes now. She didn’t want the images that played behind her eyes. “I wanted us to go to FMC straightaway, but he wouldn’t. He had a phobia for hospitals, sicknesses and any form of weakness. If he didn’t know he had some illness, then it wasn’t there.
“At the end, it didn’t matter if he knew or not, the disease was eating at him, and we had to get him to the hospital. It was too late. I don’t know if they could ever have been able to do anything, but they said it was too late. And he just stayed sick and got weaker and weaker, and finally died.”
Saz moved his hands to hold her. There was no grief in her voice, but her body shivered slightly against his. “And they accused you of killing him, didn’t they?”
“Not his family. I mean, not the immediate family. They are not like that, and they knew of his disease. But others talked. I must have been unfaithful. He had been healthy, as far as they could see, until a few months after our marriage. So, it had to be something I did.”
“Narrow-minded fools,” Saz echoed Mama Ashie’s words.
Anya let out a muffled chuckle. “It’s the belief here: a woman’s infidelity kills her husband. They demanded I take an oath, to prove I wasn’t guilty. Nna-Oyibo would have none of it. His sister insisted on the oath though, and they had fights over it. At the end, he was the head of the family, and his word was law over his son’s wife. I didn’t take the oath.”
“You didn’t take the oath, but you walked away with the stigma. With their scorn digging deeper the wound of your grief.”
“True. But their scorn, gossips and judgments didn’t matter. I had the love and support of the people who mattered, and more than that, I’d just lost the man I’d thought I would be with for a long, long time. So, I wasn’t really thinking of them.”
Saz said nothing. Instead, he nudged her up from his chest, his fingers bushing tenderly her face as he bent his head and kissed her.
He wanted to soothe her, but her arms looped around his neck, her body pressing into his, and Saz found himself shifting the angle of the kiss, giving in to the desire pulsing inside him.
Anya didn’t want comfort. She wanted him. She wanted his memory filling her body, her mind, and not what was gone.
“Make love to me,” she murmured, nibbling his lips. “I want to feel you, on me. Inside me. Only you.”
“I want to feel you, too. Only you.” He pushed slightly back from her, and simply stared at her. Then slowly, and deliberately, he framed her face between his palms, dipped his head again and fused their mouths.
It wasn’t just a kiss. It was slow seduction. And it wasn’t just his mouth seducing her. His hands moved over her body in the same slow, deliberate pace, stroking her sides, her thighs, her back, and then dipping low to cup her backside.
Anya sighed deeply and arched into the tight squeeze. “Gosh, I love the feel of your hands.”
“They love the feel of your body,” he said, his mouth brushing tenderly against hers, hands coming around to her front. “May I go for the buttons now?”
Her body trembled at the trail of his fingers along her stomach and just underneath her breasts. “Yes. Go for them.”
“Okay.” Stroking fingers moved from her skin to the tough, cotton shirt. “The shirt yours, or…?”
“Mine.” Anya felt the rush of heat over her body, as if he was touching her, not staring steadily into her eyes with those dark, intense eyes. “It’s a man’s shirt, I know. But I bought it last year when I thought I was ready to become intimate with a man again.
“It turned out I wasn’t, so I started wearing it around the house on cold days. This evening, I found myself wanting to wear it for you.”
“I’m glad you’re wearing it, and for me.” His fingers caught the first button, set it lose. “I’m glad you chose me to be first intimate with.” He loosened another button, and another. “I have this odd desire to be the only man you will always choose.”
“Oh, Saz.” She wanted him to be the only one now. Anya wondered if she should want it. If she should tell him she wanted it.
“I keep wanting things I have no right to be wanting with you.” He pushed the shirt off her shoulders, then let out a sigh as he looked at her. “But you are beautiful.”
That was all he said before dipping his head and pressing his mouth into her neck.
“Oh, dear heaven,” Was all Anya could mutter, all she could think, and then there was nothing more, because his hands were back at seducing her, skimming along her skin in delicious, tantalising strokes.
Then it wasn’t just his hands. It was his mouth and tongue, soft, tender, unhurried as they found new and varied ways to pleasure her.
She was quivering. More than she’d ever quivered in a man’s arms before, Anya thought, her mind hazy with the thought that he was steeping her into an unending pool of intense pleasure as he slowly…oh very slowly made love to her.
There is progress in their relationship
I just love the way they are both feeling for each other. Thanks Tm
Love about to be planted deeply rooted
Slowly …. Yes slowly, we are getting somewhere.