He pulled a chair and sat down. Looking at her, it was difficult to tell what was going on in her mind. Her face was expressionless. Her eyes were set on him, but he could tell she wasn’t really looking at him. He opened his mouth to speak but before he could utter a single word, his phone, still lying on top of the table, rang again. ‘Fiancee’ seemed to have run out of patience and so she was not waiting for Danny to return her earlier call. Now both their eyes stared at the ringing phone, at the explicitly displayed Fiancee’s smile than now looked cynical. Like ‘Fiancee’ knew of the demons she had awakened with her calls and she was loving every moment of it.
“Why don’t you answer your phone?” Those were Clair’s first words of the night since the first call. Her tone and voice were void of any bitterness and anger. They were plain, giving Danny every reason to be more worried. Out of experience, he understood that, as a man, the last thing you want from your woman when you have given her every reason to be mad is for her to be calm. That is never a good sign. You will want her to yell at your face, her saliva flying to your face and dripping from your nose. You will want her to use the magic only women have to give objects such as cups and remotes and phones wings so that they can fly towards you. You will want her to pour water, preferably cold water, on you. But for her to be calm? No brother, NO. Calm in place of upset, in this situation, is more dangerous.
But he summoned all the energy and confidence still holding on to him and mumbled, “I don’t want to.”
“I have nothing to say to her.”
“She is the one calling, so I assume she is the one with something to tell you.”
“Still, I don’t want to talk to her. I want to talk to you.”
She stared at him, wondering what he wanted to talk to her about. He was no doubt a smart guy and she had to be smart if she was to outplay him in this game. She was sure he had already come up with words to assure her that it was not what she thought it was. He was a writer anyway. He sold words for a living. And so she was ready to swear on her unborn baby that for him, talking his way out of any trouble was as easy rolling off a log. But even then, she was surprised with her own reaction. She wasn’t really writhing in pain. She didn’t have this consuming desire to grab him and choke the lying words out of him. She didn’t feel betrayal knocking and opening the door to her soul, and coming in without her consent anyway. Somehow, it was like her own way of admitting that this was simply the universe paying her back for what she did to her sister. Payback, they say, is a bitch.
She made as if to stand up but he quickly reached out and grabbed her hand, holding on to it just tight enough to stop her from breaking free. She did not move. Or even tried to fight him. Her eyes, which occasionally sparkled with fierceness, lingered on him as if he was some biological species to be studied. He gazed at her for a while in silence before he finally said, “Look, I am sorry. I really Am.”
“Sorry for what? For lying to me about breaking up with your fiancee who, by the look of things, you are still so much together?”
“We are not together.”
“Of course, you are not. This is all but my imagination playing games on me and there is actually no fiancee calling you on your phone, right? Do you think I am stupid?”
“No, I think you are a beautiful woman who simply needs to relax and allow me time to defend myself.”
“Defend yourself, you say? Against what? Against a woman who was naive enough to believe that a man was just going to show out of nowhere, get her pregnant, disappear, and then reappear singing love songs to her?”
“To be fair, I didn’t know you were pregnant until recently.”
“What difference does it make, really. You slept with me, didn’t you? Then what? Assumed it was just a normal thing to sleep with women you have no plans for and then go back to your fiancee?”
Her voice was now raised. All the calmness engulfing her earlier on had disappeared like politicians’ conscious. Danny looked around and everyone was looking at them. He turned back to Clair, unperturbed by the onlookers and determined to prove his innocence.
“I am not proud of what I did. Which is why I want to do what is right by being with you. Not just because you are carrying my baby, but because I want to be with you.”
“Then why is Anita still calling you?” her voice was slightly trembling.
“I don’t know.”
“And yet when you had the chance to find out, you refused to answer her call,” she chuckled, shook her head and freed her hand from his hold. She then grabbed her handbag lying on the table and squeezed past him and made for the door.
He grabbed his keys and phone and quickly followed her. The other gentlemen who were ogling at Clair earlier on sensed there was a storm over paradise. And they gave Danny that sympathetic look that said, “We wouldn’t mind having a piece of your woman, that’s for sure, but we are certainly not happy seeing you in this situation. In the end, we are all men and we’ve got each other’s back. Bro code thingy.” Clair was half walking half running, so he caught up with her outside. She walked past his car and he had to quickly run after her.
“Where are you going? The car is parked right there,” he said pointing towards the car. She did not stop and he had to grab her by the shoulder before she spun around, tempted to hit him with her handbag. But she did not. Instead, she inched closer to him and asked, almost in a whisper, “Remember your speech about real men and how they don’t exist? You were right. What we have is a bunch of boys who will only grow up in their death, because then they won’t have an option of advancing their cheating ways and foolishness.”
“Those are quite strong words there, Clair. And my believe about this misguided real men phenomenon still stands. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is, you cannot go home alone at this time of the night.”
“Because I won’t let you,” he said with such authority it shook her. The statement came out like an order. One that wasn’t going to be disregarded, come Heaven or Hell.
“Look, I am not going with you to your place, so I am going home, okay?”
“What do you want, Danny? Haven’t you done enough?”
“What I want is for you to go home with me. But if you are so reckless and determined to go home, that is to your father’s house, at this time of the night, then at least let me take you there.” He then added in a much lower tone, “I know you hate me right now but believe me, I truly love you. I don’t want anything to happen to you and that cannot be if I were to leave you alone. Danger lurks in the night, sweetheart, let me take you home so that we can both live to fight another day.”
God, this guy is good, Clair thought. She was finding it hard to stay mad at him but she tried not to smile when she said, “It’s not like I was planning to walk all the way home. I was going to take a cub.”
“I may not be a real man, if I were to use this your misguided phrase but trust me, I am not a man who runs away from my responsibility. And right now, my responsibility is to make sure the mother-to-be of my child reaches home safely. He moved forward, took her arm to his and walked her back to the car. She didn’t resist. She couldn’t resist. This Danny, with his authority, was not easy to resist.
They drove in silence. Both of them eyes fixed on the road. Occasionally, Danny would look at her and smile. She pretended not to notice but she was watching him from the corner of her eyes. Though they were not talking, the silence wasn’t too loud. It simply felt great being around each other, a feeling she was trying to ignore but was unable to. In the end, she decided to speak.
“But just tell me the truth, what do you want from me?”
“What about Anita?”
“Look, she and I have never spoken since we broke up, I am surprised she even called.”
“I know you think you are making sense but you are not. The issue here is not that she called, but that she is still saved as ‘fiancee’, complete with a contact photo on your phone.”
“You know, after I broke up with her, I simply forgot she and I ever happened. I even forgot I have her number on my phone otherwise, I would have deleted it or at least changed her contact name, and photo,” he said with a grin.
“I thought the first thing you do when you break up with someone is you get rid of their number, even if it’s just out of anger and to convince yourself that you are really done with them?”
“That’s what other people do. People who believe in Real Men & Real Women rubbish. According to me, if I have your number on my phone, and you are my Ex, and I have never felt the need or urge to dial that number, then I have really moved on.”
She hated to agree with him but he was making a lot of sense.
“If you think I am lying,” he continued, “Check my phone. Go through my dialled numbers and see if ‘Fiancee’ will feature anywhere other than today when she called.”
“So you are truly done with her?”
“Let me put it this way, I am truly into you so I have no space or time for another woman in my life. Other than my mother and sisters, of course. And aunties and cousins and . . . you catch the drift,” they both laughed.
“You truly expect me to believe you, don’t you?”
“I a not expecting anything. I am just telling you the truth as it is. However, I do expect myself to offer you a serious apology because of this error of judgment and oversight on my side.” He pulled over and turned to look at Clair, his eyes melting with desire and passion. Leaning over to her, he whispered, “I truly love you, Clair, and there is nothing I want more than to be with you, believe me.” She wanted to shout that she believed him. But she only smiled. And then suddenly he reached out for his phone and called Fiancee. When she answered she put her on loudspeakers and they both listened in as she said, “Danny, I am glad you called back. Listen, I want to apologise for what I did to you. It was wrong. I have realised I am still in love with you and I would love you to forgive me so that we can get back together because . . .”
He hung up and whispered, “Do you believe me now?”
Clair could only smile. He went ahead to delete Anita’s number as Clair watched and then said, “Now that we are clear on that, I can take you home and we can both sleep without either of us dreaming of killing the other.”
When he drove back to the road, she leaned in and whispered in his ear, “I have changed my mind. Take me home with you.”
He smiled and replied, “I knew this night will, after all, have a happy ending.” He then bit a U-turn, right away!
So guys, submissions for this year’s BAKE (Bloggers Association Of Kenya) Awards is open and I was thinking why not give it a shot? If you would love for this blog to be nominated for the Best Creative Writing Blog, simply follow this link and submit it. Counting on your support, guys.
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