Reckless: /adj/ Utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution;
I’m driving through Alausa, making my way towards the Lagos-Ibadan express way to join the Third Mainland Bridge. It’s a nice Saturday morning and I’m smiling at the fact that I got through my chores pretty quickly today. I still remember the slightly incredulous look on my mum’s face when she came downstairs to find me scrubbing away on the kitchen floor and singing at the top of my voice. Usually, it’s the other way round – I’d wake up ‘late’ (because ‘late’ is any time after my mum gets up. It doesn’t matter if it’s the wee hours of the morning) and by the time I got downstairs, she’d be done with her morning prayers (which last an hour at the least) and would be puttering around in the kitchen trying to figure out breakfast for her husband.
But today is a fine day. I got up early so I could be done early and make it to Danladi’s house with plenty of time left in the day to spend with him. I’m cooking for him today and I don’t know what I’m going to cook, because he’s bought the ingredients and has refused to tell me what it is, until I get to him. So I’m in really high spirits, like I’ve been all morning, excited that I’ll get some quiet, quality time with him, no interruptions, no people milling about, just me and him, alone. A frisson of excitement runs through my body. I know it’s not just the food and conversation I’m looking forward to. I haven’t been in his bed for almost a month now – the result of a combination of the drama with his wife and my body’s monthly clock. I’m literally buzzing and my mind is filled with images of him grabbing me as soon as I walk in the door and taking me right there on his living room floor.
I negotiate the exit onto the express way and make my way into the farthest left lane. Some stupid guy behind me seems to be using the same tactics as I am, except he’s pissing off a lot of the other drivers. I catch a glimpse through my rear view mirror of a woman in a little car narrowly avoiding a collision with said stupid driver. He’s obviously in a bit of a hurry. I continue on my way and go back to daydreaming about Danladi ripping off my clothes when he sees me – no, scratch that. I won’t be able to go back home in torn clothes. So he’ll just take off my clothes hurriedly, grab the back of my head and kiss me like his whole world depends on it, and then proceed to make me his own in the most primitive of ways.
Now approaching the Lekki toll. I join the queue that’s closest to me and tap my fingers on my steering wheel along with what’s playing on the radio. Danladi asked me to call him once I cleared the toll, so he could alert his security guard to be ready to open the gates when I arrive. I reach for my phone to unlock it so I can speed dial him as soon as I’m through and I catch the eyes of the driver in a black SUV that’s next to me. Wait a minute, that’s the crazy driver I had spotted earlier. Come to think of it, he looks quite mean. And why is he looking at me that way? I look away and unlock my phone, then drive through the toll and call Danladi. He assures me that his gateman is on standby and then I hang up.
As I negotiate my next left turn, I notice that the black SUV is not too far behind and is also indicating left. We are going in the same direction it seems. I turn off to Danladi’s street and for some reason, I look in the rear-view mirror and there it is again, the black SUV. I approach Danladi’s gate and start to wonder if I’m actually being followed. I beep once and the gates fly open. Should I drive in or wait to see if he goes past? I’m still debating that point when the SUV drives past, going further down the street. I drive into Danladi’s compound, laughing nervously at myself. I can’t believe I was getting paranoid. The story about his wife’s uncle was obviously getting to me.
Danladi is standing at the entrance to his apartment, waiting for me with a huge grin on his face. I see him and forget all about Mr. Black SUV. There are more exciting things to think about right now. I steal a quick look at my face in the mirror, making sure I still look as pretty as I thought I looked when I left home this morning. Everything seems to be in place. I’m wearing a sheer white maxi dress that’s billowing about my body as I step into the Lekki breeze. I know he can’t resist me when I ‘cover up’. According to him, it just makes him want to see what I’m ‘hiding’ underneath. I’m hoping he’s just as curious today, cos this young lady is eager to be discovered. I’ll have to work very hard to show some decorum and not throw myself at him the minute we get inside.
“You look very nice.” He says as I lean in for a customary hug and kiss on the cheek. His hand settles on the small of my back and I can feel my pulse quicken. I’m thinking that he just needs to move his hand a few inches lower and he can grab my butt. But I still find the presence of mind to say thank you in response to his compliment. We get into the house and he watches me as I put my bag on the sofa in the living room and begin to lower myself to sit.
“Err, young lady, that’s not the kitchen.” He says with a straight face. “The kitchen is that way, and you’ll find the menu taped to the fridge.”
I straighten up, feeling a bit embarrassed and a little confused. I’m not sure if he’s joking or not. He’s always been very good at toying with me in this way but I don’t know if I should attempt to call his bluff. I make my way towards the kitchen and stop in front of him because he’s in the way. He makes no move for what seems like minutes and I’m starting to get uncomfortable just standing there. I can’t even look him in the eyes, for fear that he’ll see in mine the desire and longing I’m feeling. I try to move past him and he moves with me, and then I look at him and see his lopsided smile – he’s laughing at me again.
“Are you going to let me through?” I ask in mock exasperation. “I need to get to my kitchen duties.”
“Yes, you do. This man here hasn’t had breakfast and is hungry. Veerrry hungry.” His voice drops an octave on those last two syllables and he moves aside holding my gaze the whole time.
“Well let’s go get you something to eat then.” I whisper. And I brush past him, making sure that he gets a good feel of my soft lady parts. Two can play, I’m thinking when I feel a smack on my bottom that makes me jump. I hear him laugh behind me and I try not to rub the spot he’s just slapped though it’s really tough not to cos I can feel it smarting. I walk into the kitchen and go straight to the fridge. He’s written out an actual menu in his neat hand from starter to dessert. I’m making fresh fish pepper soup for starters, Jollof rice, plantain and a peppered shrimp sauce for the main course, and a fruit parfait for dessert.
I proceed to do an inventory, first of the fridge and freezer and then of the pantry. I’m impressed to find that not a single ingredient is missing. I go to the spice rack and that’s fully stocked too. Then I remember his housekeeper. She must have helped him with the shopping. It’s way too comprehensive for him to have done it without help. I get to work, starting with the fish. I figure I should be done in an hour and a half, just in time for us to have an early lunch. Danladi puts some music on in the living room and then he comes into the kitchen, leaning his sexy tush on the counter somewhere out of my way. He has an odd look on his face as he watches me move around. I avoid his eyes and I’m trying unsuccessfully to think up a line of conversation because his silent presence is a bit unnerving.
I reflect on the fact that the situation feels quite ‘homely’, me the little wife sorting food and him, the present husband, being there to keep me company. I let myself dream for a few seconds before I remember his wife. I would do well to always remember that incident if I was a smart girl. Which reminds me;
“A funny thing happened on my way here.” I say, breaking the silence. “I thought I was being followed. And I almost did not drive into the compound when your gateman opened the gates”
Danladi shifts his position on the counter, an eyebrow raised.
“Really?” he asked. “Where did you see this person, I assume it was one person?”
“Yeah, it was one person. Had seen him first on the expressway, and then at the toll gate and then he took the same turns as I did up until your street. I could have sworn he was looking at me as he drove past but I’m probably just being paranoid. Huge coincidence.”
“Hmm, probably just a coincidence. He might live in the area or just be visiting someone.”
“Yeah, most likely. How hot do you want your pepper soup?” I ask, holding a bottle of chilli powder over the pot.
“Definitely not as hot as you or I won’t be able to eat it.”
“Well, that doesn’t really give me an indication of how much pepper to add now, does it?”
He shrugs nonchalantly and folds his arms.
“Come on love, give me something to work with. I can’t afford to fail this cooking test you’ve set out for me today.”
“I’m an Hausa man. What do you think?”
I roll my eyes in frustration and shake my head. “I’ll make it very mild then. Just don’t complain if it’s not to your taste.”
“If it’s not to my taste, I’ll find something else that is.”
“Yeah. Maybe the rice would work.” I turn back towards the pot. “And if it doesn’t, then you can have the fruit parfait for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
“How about if I just had you instead?” I hadn’t heard him move so I was caught off guard by the sound of his voice so close to my right ear. Then his palm was on my waist and he bit my earlobe ever so gently. I try to turn around to face him, but he holds me fast with his body and runs his hands down my hips.
“I’m looking forward to dessert.” He whispers in my ear. “Make sure it’s good.” He finally grabs my butt cheeks.
My heart is racing and all I want to do is melt into him and forget about the food. But I put my game face on (not that he can see it since he’s behind me) and I say “Oh yeah. It’ll be good. It’ll be so good, you’ll ask for more.”
He moves back and puts a mock expression of concern on his face, his palms spread out in a gesture of confusion. “I was talking about the fruit. What do you think I was talking about?”
“The fruit of course! What do you think I was talking about?” I retort, feigning innocence.
He smiles at me knowingly and then saunters out of the kitchen wordlessly…