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Saturday, September 03, 2016

The Old Flame (7)




                                                                              ***

   His fingers caressed my face in a slow, sensual manner and for a moment I luxuriated in the old familiar tingling feeling whenever he touched me. His hand moved down to my mouth and...

  I saw the look of longing in his eyes and that brought me abruptly back to reality.

 I flung his hand away and took a quick step back.

  "What do you think you're doing Eric?" I asked hotly.

  "What does it look like?" His voice was soft and caressing. "Looking at you, Oluchi, being so close brings back memories of when we were together, how things were between us..."

 I took a deep breath and said in a determined manner:

 "As I said, it's all in the past now. I've put everything behind me and..." I wanted to sound convincing and I hoped he would believe me. But in my heart, I knew I was not being truthful to myself.

  "But I can't!" "he said. "Seeing you again has made me realise what a fool I was to let you go. 
Thing is, Oluchi," he said, taking a step towards me. "I want you back! I still love you and I want you in my life again!"
 The words hung heavy in the air like a thick fog.

 "I know you're joking Eric 'cos you can't be serious."

 "I mean every word, Oluchi. Can't you give me another chance? This time around, things will be different. I'm a changed person, not the Eric of the past. Please, Oluchi," he pleaded, an earnest look in his eyes that nearly weakened my resolve.

 But I checked myself in time.

 "I can't Eric. You hurt me too much in the past. I can't trust you with my heart again." And I began to walk away.

 "Wait, Oluchi! We need to resolve this!" 

 But I left him and returned to my office. I tried focusing on my work but thoughts of Eric kept butting in, distracting me.

 'He wants me back! After the way he treated me all those years ago! It can't happen,' I muttered, picking up my phone to read a text message that just came in.

 "What are you mumbling to yourself about?" asked Lola, coming to stand by my desk.

 "Nothing," I said. 

 "If you say so. Anyway, I met that your guy Eric on my way from the Accounts Department. We chatted for a while. He seems a nice person and he's really handsome. What really happened to make you dump a guy like that? 
 If I had someone like that, I would hold on to him like a leech. I would never let him go," she declared.

 I sighed.

 "For one thing, he's not my guy. He's my ex. And whatever happened between us is none of your bloody business!" 

 "Alright. No need to get all worked up. I was just curious," she said. "Grace and I and a few others will be hanging out at that new bar at Lekki Phase 1. You coming?" she asked. Most Friday evenings, our group of friends often had a girls' night out after work.

 I declined, stating I wanted to work late to finish some assignments my boss had given me.

  ***

 It was past 8 pm. when I finally shut down my computer and left the office. I had to take a cab home as my car had developed a fault that morning and it was at the mechanic's.

 I was walking down the road towards a taxi park close to the office when a car horned and stopped by me. 

 I turned curiously to see Eric at the wheel, beckoning on me.

 "Heading home?" he asked.

 "I just want to take a cab from the park down the road," I said, pointing.

 "No need. I'll take you home."

 "You don't have to. I can..."

 "It's no bother, Oluchi. So, get in ok?"

 "You didn't leave with your friends today," he said as we went along.

 "I had a few things to tidy up in the office."

  Traffic on Lagos Island was relatively light that evening and soon, we were cruising along the Eko bridge towards my home in Surulere.

 We got to the quiet street where I lived and I made to get down. 

 "Thanks for the ride."

 "Wait, Oluchi." He turned to me in the car. "I'll like to take you out tomorrow. Somewhere quiet where we can talk."

 "What's there to talk about? There's nothing more to say," I said, reaching for the door.

  "I think there is. You and I know that," he said, his eyes boring into mine in a way that I could not look away. Nor move my head when his face drew close and his mouth closed on mine. 

 My hands instinctively raised to press against his chest, to push him away but instead circled his neck to bring him closer to me, to hold him in my arms again like it was back in the day when we had been together...

To be continued...


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