“Of absolutely delicious perversions; the thrill of the first taste of sin and the high of giving in to beautiful temptations.” – Efun
My eyes fly open as I lay still in bed, gazing at the old asbestos ceiling. My heart increases its pace at the upcoming event of the day.
I woke up two hours ago at 4 am. I got up, wore a newly tailored iro and buba that I brought with me from Lagos, then laid back in bed near my husband. Now, I can hear his steady breathing near me. I know he’s awake, and I hate that I can sense his irritation and his reluctance to be here.
I slowly move my hand closer, briefly shutting my eyes as I hope for the sort of spark I felt with Laja when I held his hand last night. It was electrifying and elevating, and I felt as if I was levitating, held in place by the strength of the charge between us. With Laja, it didn’t also feel ephemeral. It was the sort of feeling that charged you but still promised to be around for much longer. I hoped to recreate that with my husband because, so far, I know I have crossed a line. I can’t lie to myself and say how I felt when I was with Laja wasn’t exciting, sweet, and tempting, but maybe I can transfer the emotions to Segun.
He’s been with other women. I know that. There have been conversations that end abruptly as I stroll into our room, and intimate gifts that didn’t come from me. And while Segun is the only man I have been with my entire life, I know cheating also isn’t limited to sex. The sort of emotions that charged Laja and me is also a form of cheating. When our hands touched, I reached for Segun’s pinky with mine, but he shifts it, detaching himself even further from me. I remained on my back, eyes on the ceiling even as he finally gets on his feet.
“Drugs could have cured this,” he says.
“You know I tried. Years later, there are still no results.”
A pause. “We leave immediately once this thing is over,” he mutters.
“Why can’t we just be like other people? Or at least, how we used to be?” I ask, sitting up, facing him.
“We were never lovey-dovey,” he responds.
“I know. But at least you acted as if you could tolerate me.”
He lowers his gaze. “Do you know what it feels like to not be able to feel like the man in the home?” His voice is low, firm, and genuine. His tone chips away at the disconcertment his words bring.
I see him better now, and my worst fears about him have been confirmed. He feels less of a man because he’s not the direct provider. But I can’t take credit for his insecurities. That’s on him.
On the bed I pull up my knees, watching him get ready for the day. “I try so hard to make sure you don’t feel emasculated.”
“That’s the problem, I can tell that you’re patronizing me.”
Even though I don’t say the words, I silently vow never to make any man feel ‘manly’ or apologize for being myself again. Because as I face Segun, a man I have invested so many years in and whom I have tried to build up at the expense of my career and my growth, it hits me that it makes no sense to lose oneself so much just to invest it in another person. Even if they’re your spouse. It’s an investment with no return.
He sighs, and a distinctive tenderness edges his tone, “I’m so sorry, Nicole. I know you try but I can’t take this thing where you can always say you give me all the opportunities that I have. I need to provide. I feel useless without it. A man provides for his family, not the other way round.”
I look at him, a man who has never risen above the child that he was. It is not Segun’s fault that he had the type of childhood where he had to take up manly responsibilities before he hit puberty. But it’s his fault that as an adult, he’s done nothing to fix himself. And now, looking at him, sensing the reluctance he feels to give me the one thing I have asked for in our ten years of marriage, I realize that I am better off without him.
“If your heart isn’t right with me it will affect what we are about to do.” My heart breaks little by little. I swallow the lump that forms in my throat. I’ve gambled and I have lost in these ten years.
“My heart is as right as it has always been with you, Nicole.” I believe him because I hear the honesty in his voice, and it is that honesty that causes what’s left of my trust in us to finally crumble.
“I will be outside,” he says as he gets dressed.
When he leaves, I regain my previous position, this time my hands are clasped on my chest as I gaze at the ceiling. Even when his heart is at its rightest with me, he remains the wrong man for me. With him, it goes beyond our emotions, the opportunities he hates me for, the sex. It’s in how we can’t even be friends at our core. How what we share can never be true or pure.
I don’t stop the lone tear that rolls down my left cheek. But I resist the thought I have always carried with me since we got married – that Segun is my fate. My fate isn’t an imbalance in love, spirituality, and sensuality. My fate isn’t Segun.
We are told to pray by the banks of freshwater and to ask for what we want. I don’t hold back in asking for everything that’s eluded me for years. Success. Love. Wealth. An abundance of children. The latter, is my biggest desire, since the expensive drugs won’t work. When we wash our faces and our feet, we join my aunt and Aunty Anike a few minutes’ walk from the river.
“One last thing,” my aunt says. “Anike thinks you both need to know yourself before you leave.”
“We have known each other more than a few times,” I say, unwilling to deal with Segun’s petulance. “We can continue when we get to Lagos,” I add. I am aware that I will rather count beach sand than have sex with Segun again, but it’s a perfect cop-out.
Aunty Anike firmly says, “Child, you will finish what you came here for without complaints.”
I look at her, understanding the need for this to be complete, but I can’t see Segun the same way again. Still, I want children, so maybe one last meaningless and dreary sex won’t hurt.
“We are several kilometers away from home. And there is no hotel in sight,” I say. “Where is this supposed to happen?” Segun asks.
“We passed by a large compound on our way here,” Aunty Anike begins.
I nod. “Yes. I saw that.” The house is unpainted and without a gate or a fence. It’s the only house within a mile.
“You will go there but not together.”
I frown, “You mean someone will leave before the other?” I ask. I don’t have to glance at Segun to know that he’s not feeling this. I am grateful for the two minutes that this sex will take.
“No. You will both begin your journey at the same time,” She replies. “Take the left,” she says to Segun. “And you to the right. Remember, Omowande, your man and nobody else will be waiting for you outside that building. Go in. No questions asked.”
Aunty Anike’s instructions are pretty clear, but I still have questions. However, a glance at her reminds me of her determination to lay the rules and be asked nothing more.
At the beginning of two different clear paths, Segun and I begin our journey to the house. It’s a brief trip and by the time I get to the entrance, I am surprised it takes 8 minutes as said. At the entrance a tall familiar frame backs me, raising his phone as if looking for reception. When he faces me, I am stunned. I glance behind me. Segun emerges from the path just then, slowly, miffed. A look of displeasure edges his frame, and when he looks at me, it’s with the same gaze with which he reluctantly fulfils his duty in our bed.
From where I stand at the crossroads, I see him looking at me unbothered, while the man who was outside before I got here watches me, concerned. He doesn’t know what assignment I have been given. My heart flutters, my throat runs dry as I watch him, knowing that, instead of guilt, I feel an insane rush of excitement.
“Nicole,” he calls. My name, a wistful whisper on his lips. “What are you doing here?”
I remain mute. How am I supposed to convey this to him? Hey, so I think the goddess thinks you should blow my back out? That’s not the type of message you give to a man you just met. A man who, although I am seriously attracted to, isn’t mine to have. He’s a dashing, elite prince, who’s been fated to end up with a white woman. But when he reaches for me, logic escapes me and my heart begins a rhythmic beat, increased by every step he takes towards me.
His hands gently hold my face, as concerned eyes sweep over me. “You good?”
I swallow hard. I am. Strangely, I feel so at peace and so at home. Beside me, a few spaces away, Segun folds his arms. Laja seems oblivious to his presence.
“I was supposed to pick someone up here. My cousin. We’re supposed to ride to Lagos together and–”
He stops as a tear rolls down my cheek. “Hey, Nicole. What’s going on?” His thumb grazes my cheek, and I realize that I have never looked forward to doing any assignment the way I looked forward to doing him.
“Did you plan this?” Segun blurts, and only then does Laja see him.
“Plan what?” Laja matches Segun’s ire with impressive calmness. I watch in silence. I can’t speak. I am to remain mute. I raise my hands, struggling to convey the words to Segun without making a sound.
“Oh, please spare me the theatrics.” My heart falls as Segun steps closer. “You are sleeping with her, aren’t you?” Fury threatens to consume me, but I simply glare at him.
“Nicole, what is he talking about?” Laja’s eyes dart from Segun to me.
“Let me help you. My wife of ten years is supposed to find her man standing outside this building so he can know her as the concluding part of a barbaric rite.” What is barbaric is my marriage and the years spent with this man, but words still escape me.
“Know her?” Laja looks at me, amused. He’s not angry. Or riled up by any of these. He’s not worried either. I hate that I can’t control the tears, but it also brings with it the sort of relief that washes away the tension I felt thinking about finishing the rites in Segun’s arms.
“I can’t do this. Meet me in Lagos. I’m done here.”
But I am not. I want children. Even if Segun leaves after we finish off, I don’t care. I just want my kids, and I want it the old-fashioned way. However, as he turns his back on me, I am fully convinced that he isn’t even good enough to be a sperm donor. He’ll likely fumble the dad role the same way he’s done the husband one. He disappears through the narrow road we travelled through an hour ago.
Laja is waiting for me when I face him. “Your husband is an idiot. I don’t know what that was about, but you don’t deserve it.”
I wipe my eyes with the back of my hands and reach for my phone to type on the notes feature. “I’m supposed to have sex with you.”
He grins as he reads the words out loud, and as he lifts his eyes to meet mine, they darken. He raises my chin with a finger, saying the words firmly, “Listen, I have wanted to make love to you from the first day I saw you. And I know that sounds like I’m coming on too strong because we didn’t know each other, and I would have damn well kept my hands to myself until you ached for me and begged for it, but you’re another man’s wife. And–”
But I am already typing away. “It’s a goddess thing.”
He smiles again, and heat pools between my thighs as I watch his lips. I imagine them crushing against mine, our tongues swirling, passion igniting us–
“You are serious.”
“You can’t be,” he breathes, surprised.
I lower my gaze, my heart thumping through my chest. I try to brace myself for the possibility of losing the moment. If he doesn’t want to lay with me, I can’t possibly talk him into it. He has to want it.
“Hey,” he softly calls me back. “This means a lot to you, doesn’t it?”
I look at him, and as I nod, his lingering gaze darkens even more.
“Nicole, if I touch you,” he breathes, “You are not going to return home to your husband the same. Hell, you’re not likely going to return to him at all.” It’s a solemn promise. And I doubt there’ll be a marriage after today.
“I will own you the way nobody else can. And that’s because I already know what you’d like, what will make you ache for me the way I ache for you. Your body will be mine as mine will be yours.” They aren’t mere words, they sound like a vow. We remain silent as he closes the tiny space between us.
“Do you understand and accept that?” he asks, his voice low.
“Then come with me,” he says, holding my hand.
He leads me within. The interior of the house is painted white, and the furniture is a perfect blend of white and yellow. Laja’s hold is firmer, and my fingers hold on tight as a confirmation of my consent to what lays ahead. Inside, he shuts the door.
When it’s just both of us inside a locked room, I realize, through the pace at which my heart races, revealing how badly I want this. I don’t shift my gaze as I undo the knot of my iro. It falls at my feet, revealing nothing under.
His gaze falls to my bare lower body, touring me slowly but hungrily. I recently had a wax, and I don’t know if he’s a fan of–
“You’re just how I imagined,” he whispers. “Let me see you,” he adds.
I remove my buba, and he steps closer. “Fam, the way I dey craze for you ehn. I’m so into you. Are you sure this is what you want?” he asks. I can feel his bulging shaft against my bare skin. Anticipation consumes me and threatens to drive me crazy. He trails the top of my breasts. “I need you to use your words,” he says to me.
I type ‘Yes.’ And quickly add, ‘Badly.’
A twinkle reappears in his eyes. “We are on the same page then,” he adds, lifting me off the ground and taking me to the bed.
“I don’t have condoms here. And this is a risk. Even though I promise you that I run all my tests, and I am fine and–”
I press my fingers against his lips. “Me too,” I mouth.
He kisses me patiently as if ready for me to teach him the pace I need him to move at. I give in to the kiss, and every single touch promises pleasure in a million more ways. He sheds his clothes, and I marvel at the size of him before he joins me on the bed. I bite back a moan when he gently gets on top of me
“Are you ready?” he asks. I nod.
“I can tell,” he chuckles, his finger slowly pushing through my dampness.
He presses his forehead against mine and when his gaze finally drops to my thighs I suck in a breath, slightly self-conscious. The only man I have ever been with was the one I was with for over a decade. Laja is suave and the type of man women fantasize about. I’m not sure what to do with him or what he’ll think of me.
His fingers graze my stretch marks, and he lowers his head, planting kisses from my kneecap to my inner thigh.
“Let go, babe,” he murmurs, two fingers circling my entrance. It is then that I realize that he can tell that I am nervous.
It’s insane – the words that our bodies can communicate to each other. I release my body, submitting to him and giving him unrestricted access. I suck in a sharp breath when his tongue finds my clit. The euphoric feeling of being tenderly touched by the person one wants is unrivalled. With his touch, I feel liberated from everything that ever clasped me. I hold his head, my fingers stroking his back when his tongue works itself deep inside me. The deeper his tongue goes, the more I lose control of my mind.
Suddenly I don’t know what to do with my hands. The pleasure threatens to burst me into tiny blissful pieces. When I feel my release building, I hold on to it because I want this moment to go on for a minute longer. But he doesn’t leave me much of a choice. My body clenches as my release tears through my resolve, pulling down my hold on my climax. I bite my lower lip and shut my eyes as a blinding climax washes through me.
He kisses my lower belly, holding me tight as my body recovers from the vibrating release. When I open my eyes, he is on top of me, watching me with a smile. He presses his forehead against mine. He lowers his head and I raise mine, parting his lips, ready for him the moment I feel his hardness against my belly and the vibration of his timber against my skin. When he offers me a taste of myself on his beautifully formed lips I wonder how I got this lucky. Is he really the one? But Aunty Anike had been firm. My man was going to be waiting.
“Are you ready?” he asks. There’s nothing sexier than a man who’s only willing to move at their partner’s pace. I nod. I have been ready since I first committed him to memory. But it was wrong then. Now, nothing is more right for me than him.
Slowly he pushes into me, and my tightness stretches for him, taking every inch of him so easily I realize I didn’t even know the things my body was capable of. I arch my hips, accepting his length, my fingers digging into his arms. Still, I can’t look at him. He’s giving me so much pleasure and I can’t look into his eyes when he’s buried deep inside of me.
He pauses. We both do.
“Look at me while I do this to you.”
It feels impossible. To make eye contact with the reason I feel so alive, to enjoy living out my most sinful fantasies yet. Not just because I’ve never done it but because the action means it is real and that I am creating a connection beyond this mind-blowing fuck.
Finally, I look at him.
When I do, he places a soft kiss on my forehead.
And then slowly, he begins to move again, at first just gyrating in slow, insistent circles.
“You taste so good, and you feel so good.” He whispers the words into my ears at the same time his strokes increase. Damn it. I am going insane.
“Nicole, this can’t be our last time. It can’t be,” his voice is a hoarse whisper, and he watches me as if hoping for the promise of a next time. How can I promise a next time when I don’t know what the next hour holds for me?
Nothing about this weekend has been usual. However, the magic I have with him is the best thing that has happened to me in years. And I don’t want to ruin that by discussing the uncertainty of our future.
I hold his face, matching his thrust, running my hands through the muscles of his chest and the tightness of his abdomen. I press my lips against his, demanding an entry into his mouth with my tongue. I don’t want promises. I want orgasms. And as if he completely understands me, he bows to the rhythm of our desires. We change positions, on our backs, our sides, face down. I move easily whenever we do.
This doesn’t feel like sin.
It feels like heaven and it sure as hell feels good to be seen.
Check back in on 5 August for the last part of Efun’s Jazz. Until then, read 4 here.