FOREWORD: This was written to commemorate my birthday, and that of a very good friend, Tobi, whose day has passed but who is constantly celebrated to him. It is also dedicated to two women – Alexandria, who tells me I need to write more on sex (lol) and to Yvonne, whose name and beauty inspired parts of the story.
Read, enjoy and do not forget to share your thoughts in the comments section ooo! 🙂
It was his birthday party.
And there was so much beauty around him. His friends and their friends, richly decorated guests who wore bespoke tuxedos and designer dresses and dripped with jewelry. There was so many good-looking people in the room, and they’d all gathered to celebrate him.
“Oh Walter darling,” the upscale fashion designer cooed as she bussed his cheek, “I wish you everything that you wish yourself.”
“And if I were feeling somewhat suicidal?” he asked wryly with a smile.
“Like I said, everything you wish yourself,” she deadpanned.
They’d had a not-so amicable break-up last year. So her barbed attitude was understandable.
“For a man whose every wish has come true, what else can one wish for you,” the film producer said as they shook hands with gusto.
“For another lamp, a genie, and a chance at three more wishes?” he returned with a grin.
The film producer threw his head back in a laugh.
He worked the party well. There wasn’t much to it, because these were his friends and their friends. The same faces. The same conversations. The same laughter.
He’d hoped to have different tonight. He was actually starting to resign himself to all the sameness surrounding him, when he saw her.
She was standing on her own. She’d just reached for a flute of champagne from a passing tray and was moving her head in that way women did when they wanted to get the long tresses of their hair to behave. A quick shake of her head, and the layers of her dark hair shimmied in obiesance.
Walter was instantly mesmerized. His heart did an odd little somersault and landed back in place with a thud that sent seismic vibrations thrumming over his nerve endings and down south. Propelled by his sudden desire, he made a beeline for her.
“Hi,” he began with his characteristic self-assured grin, as he drew up to her. “You look very familiar.” She truly did. But when, in the ten seconds it took him to get to her, he wasn’t able to figure out if he’d known her before, he put it down to the fact that she was a beautiful woman. He was too acquainted with beautiful women.
“Oh my God,” she said with a mock-groan. “Does that line really work on every woman you meet?”
“Well, it always gets them to talk to me,” he replied, his grin still in place.
“Smooth,” she said, arching an impressed brow. Her eyes narrowed intently on him for a second, before she said,
“Must be the reason why my sister fell for you.”
“Your sister and I were an item?” he said, feeling a deflation begin inside him.
“Yes. Her name is Tina. She was very crazy about you.”
Tina… Tina… Short? Tall? Dark? Fair? Walter stood there, smiling, and trying to remember. There had been so many.
“Tina also wanted to marry you,” she said.
That was no help. So did a lot of others. “Well,” he began, “your sister was very nice. We just didn’t seem to be -”
She gave him a sardonic look. “Save it. You don’t remember her.”
He tried not to look too embarrassed. “Well, I -”
“It’s alright. I attended her wedding last week.”
“Ah. So, Tina is married.”
“Yes, she is.” There was a pause. “But I’m not.”
His grin returned. “So am I.”
“I’m Walter. And you are?”
“One who’s so nicely wrapped too,” he said, sweeping his gaze blatantly over her, from the top of her hair to her stilettoed feet. The curvy terrain in between made him light-headed with lust.
“Well, you know what they say about gift boxes,” she said, looking coy.
“What do they say?”
“It gets better as you unwrap them.”
His mouth turned dry, and he had to swallow hard to smoothen out the friction that held his voice hostage. “Well, Gift” – he cleared his throat – “why don’t we go over to my place and so some unwrapping.”
“And leave your party early? Won’t your guests mind?”
“They’re technically not here for me. They’re here to compare notes on how fabulous their lives have been since the last time they gathered to do it last.”
Gift laughed. The sound was sultry, like a soft chorus of bells. And it drew Walter’s attention to the lipsticked curve of her lips, and kept it there. He had to have her. He placed a gentlemanly hand on her upper arm and said with restrained haste, “Shall we?”
The ride to his Lekki home was short. But for Walter, it felt like a ride to eternity, as he sat next to Gift, striving to maintain a conversation with her, whilst fighting down the fires that surged within him. He kept a constant eye on her, taking in her sinuous form which seemed to flash and incandesce with every streetlight and be-lit billboard they drove past. He wanted her, and she appeared to feel the same way, because when he unlocked his front door, and the reached for her, she went into his arms with all the fervor of a firecracker. Their mouths snatched at each other, and their hands groped at their bodies as they staggered and shuffled in the general direction of the bedroom. They fumbled with buttons and zippers and snaps, shedding their clothes frantically to make way for pleasure.
They made it to the bedroom, and tumbled into the bed. His hand grabbed at her breast, and he took the nipple into his mouth. She arched her back with a gasp and dug her fingers into his head. First he teased the nipple, then he sucked hard at it. She groaned and lifted her body closer to his heat. His hands moved over her body, caressing her, her breasts, her belly, her thighs, her centre, and she writhed with abandon under the onslaught of his ministrations.
And then, she was flipping him to his back, rising above him so that her hair fell like a dark curtain over her face.
“My turn,” she husked.
Then she slithered down over him. Her tongue slipped and slid over his body, tracing small, erotic patterns on his skin, and causing an increase in his breathing the lower she went. She got to his erection and nibbled at the head, snaking her tongue down its sides and back up, before plunging the entire shaft into the warm moistness of her mouth. Walter gave a guttural groan as every pulse and every nerve-ending in his body came to singing life, as she began to bob her head over his erection.
As her tempo built, so did his impatience. He pulled away from her and moved atop her. He was shaking as he crushed her into the bed, his penis probing the entrance of her body. “Gift…I…”
“Do it,” she commanded in a moan. “Now.”
In one hard thrust, he was all the way in, and the world seemed to stop for one exquisite, unbearable moment. Walter made a harsh, inarticulate sound, gritting his teeth, while Gift wrapped her arms around his back, as though to keep him where he was.
And then, he began to move, filling her with each thrust. Her nails dug into his back, and he felt her orgasm building, tightening inside her. He withdrew, then pushed back inside, but slowly, caressing her inside and out as he felt her body coiling tighter and tighter around his.
She climaxed in a rush, the sensation so powerful, she gasped for breath. She convulsed again and again, her spasms milking every inch of Walter’ds already straining erection. And then, his last semblance of control snapped. Gripping Gift’s hips, he pulled out, and then plunged back in, coming even as he did. He matched her contractions with his own, getting into her and grinding out her name from between clenched teeth.
He collapsed on top of her, his face buried in her neck, and Gift sank into the bed. Real time resumed, the ticking of a clock somewhere in the apartment mingling with the faint hum of traffic from the street below. Still, neither of them moved, the harsh breaths shuddering through them requiring all the energy they had left.
Walter made the first discernible sound, as he moved off Gift. It was a long drawn-out groan.
Gift responded with a wisp of laughter. “Are you alright?”
“No, sweetheart, I’m not alright. I think I might have been struck with lightning. I’m not quite sure I’m alive.”
“Oh you’re alive,” she said. “You have to be to experience what’s soon coming next.”
He shook his head. “Honey, I know admitting this doesn’t win me any points, but ‘soon’ won’t be enough time for me to reacquire energy for Round Two.”
“You’ll be ready, trust me,” she said with a small, enigmatic smile.
“I’m sure I will,” Walter said, sitting up to plant a kiss on her lips. “For now, I’ve got to pee.”
“Ladies first,” she said, getting up and slipping off the bed in a quick, fluid motion.
As she moved toward the adjoining bathroom, Walter watched her nude figure and felt a sharp upwelling of pleasure at the sight – her smoothly rounded shoulders, the ripple of her spine from the top of her rounded derriere and the straight pistons that were her legs. Something stirred below.
Oh yes, he thought. He would be ready.
Moments later, Gift was back inside the bedroom. “Your turn,” she said as she moved away from the bathroom door.
Walter walked into the bathroom, shut the door behind him and stopped before the toilet bowl. He was already getting on with his business, when his languid gaze traveled to the vast vanity mirror mounted against the wall over the sink. He gave a small start and his eyes widened on the scrawl spread over the mirror’s surface. A writing done crudely with the red paste of his toothpaste.
‘You want to know why hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?
Because hell does not have the patience of the woman scorned
The woman loved, then spurned, rejected, treated like dirt
The woman put with child, then turned away, an inconvenience
The woman who walked away, shamed and bitter
The woman who is back to destroy you.
You still don’t know her?
What’s the Gift of the gods to an Igbo man?’
The name slammed into Walter with a horror that had him staggering back. the beautiful woman had looked very familiar. The arch of her cheekbones. The pout that was her lips. The almond shape of her doe-dark eyes.
The young girl he denied and dumped in the university years ago after she came sobbing to him with the story of his impregnation of her had been gangly, just barely attractive and quiet-mannered. The woman he’d just shared his bed with was grown, vivacious and devastating. That girl had become this woman. Gift was Onyinye. Same female. Same face. Same spirit.
Horror washed over him in a deluge as he whirled around and dashed to the door. He turned the knob and pulled. The door remained shut. He jerked the door handle. It’d been locked.
“Gift!” he screamed. “Open this door!” He slammed an open palm at the door. “Open this door, goddamnit!” He hit the door and wrenched vigorously at the handle. But the door was too sturdily built to budge. “Gift! Onyinye, what are you playing at!”
He found out soon enough. First, he heard the sound of repeated splashing on the other side of the door, followed immediately by the strong, distinctive smell that seeped through the door and hit his nostrils with an impact that dialed up his panic. Both smell and liquid inched through the door jamb into the bathroom.
“Onyinye, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?!” he yelled, banging again and again on the door. “Let me out of here right now! RIGHT NOW!”
He paused and placed his ear against the door, trying to listen for any response over the wild triphammering of his heart. That was when he heard. The dry scratch of one thing against the other. It was the unmistakable sound of a matchstick striking across a matchbox. Three seconds later, Walter heard a whoosh and sprang back from the door, far enough to see the bright flames that had sprung to life on the other side.
“ONYINYE!” he screamed, fear and panic swelling like vomit up his throat. “Gift – Onyinye! STOP! What do you think you’re doing! Let me out of here – What are you doing! YOU CAN’T DO THIS!”
He darted to the door again and grabbed at the knob. A microsecond later, with a sharp hiss, he withdrew his hand, flinching away from the door. The metallic door handle was already transmitting the heat of the fire.
“ONYINYE! I AM SORRY! DON’T DO THIS!” His voice broke with his increasing despair. “LET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!”
The only response he got was the wild crackle of the fire as it tried to force its way through the door, hungrily following after the scent of its accelerant, the petrol. Fear spasmed in Walter’s belly as he stared at the menace trying to reach inside. He shot a quick look at the window, and dismissed the idea he’d had with the sight of how minuscule the opening was.
“ONYINYE!” he choked out again.
He grabbed a hand towel, took a bracing inhalation and darted to the door. Using the towel as a buffer, he pulled at the door handle again. This time, the door gave. It jerked open, and the momentum had Walter staggering back, in time to escape the plume of fire that exploded in through the open doorway. The flames rolled inward like the smoke of a mushroom cloud. The smoke billowed black across the room, filling Walter’s lungs. The coughing was instant, as were the tears that pressed at his eyes.
He moved swiftly for the shower stall, yanking the metallic coil loose and turning it on. He turned the nozzle at the fire, spraying bathwater at it. Hissing angrily, the fire fought back, crackling, leaping this way and that, and devouring what it could. The heat was intense, it threatened to burn his lungs, cooking him from the inside.
Walter was coughing wildly now, and his eyes stung incessantly, as he turned the nozzle this way and that. The flames leaped and hissed, always reaching feverishly out for him, trying desperately to grab and hold on to him.
This was not just fire. It was death. It was a giant wave, a fire storm, advancing, undulating like some grotesquerie from hell, determined to take him.
Walter began to weaken. He was wracked by a coughing fit and a burning that was searing him both inside and out. His combative efforts turned feeble, and he staggered back to the furthest wall, dropping slowly to the floor and staring blearily at the righteous fury swelling toward him.
“Onyinye…” he wheezed one more time, and then closed his eyes and waited.
The headlines on the newspapers the next morning jockeyed for eye-catching prominence on their first and second pages.
Playboy Writer Roasted Alive In Bathroom!
The Birthday That Came To A Fiery End!
Celebrated Writer Dies In Birthday From Hell!
The woman who was skimming her gaze over the well-stacked newspapers liked the Vanguard’s healine. The caption read: Here’s The Man Who Celebrated Life And Death On The Same Day!
“Lengthy but appropriate,” she murmured with a grim smile.
The vendor, who was still stacking his wares, heard her speak and looked at her, with a hopeful expression. “Which one you wan buy, madam?”
“That one.” She picked out the Vanguard newspaper, paid the vendor and walked away with her purchase.
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