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Chapter Two - Surprise!

I lived in an apartment that was thirty minutes away from Sarah's practice. My apartment had an open-ended plan kitchen mixed with a TV room, a bathroom with a shower, bathtub and a toilet, and two bedrooms, I used one of the bedroom as my home office. I let out a soft sign, in relief that I was at the comfort of my own place. I poured myself a glass of Merlot Red Wine and gazed outside the kitchen window. The sky looked near from the apartment and the birds were cheerful. I simply welcomed their efforts. My phone buzzed. It was Maggie, one of my company secretaries. I answered. “Maggie, this better be important.”

I had told her not to call unless it was important. I had reserved the day for self-care purposes.

“I would have never called if it wasn’t ma’am.” responded Maggie.

“What is it, speak!” I ordered her as I gulped the contents of the glass.

She was as silent as a satisfied toddler.

“Maggie.” I said in irritation.

“Spit it out before I hang up! I just arrived.” I paused. “I do not have time for this.”

“Well, Mr Shad is in his office.” she quickly said in one breath “Uh, I did not say anything to you okay. But he had roses and all, he seemed rather hasty. He asked about you.” said Maggie.

“You called to tell me that?” I asked and hung up before she could say anything else.

I suddenly felt anxious and started breathing heavily. This had happened before. An anxiety attack. I quickly walked to the bedroom and searched for pills, another second longer would have caused a blurry vision. I saw a box of Benzodiazepines and quickly grabbed it then took two pills, like Sarah had prescribed. As I walked back to the kitchen and uttered the words “calm yourself before you hurt yourself” three times - that was my anxiety attack mantra - I heard my phone buzz, as I had anticipated, it was Maggie again. I ignored the call and switched off the phone. It was only noon and I had told Sarah that I would meet her back at her office that night, along with Mrs Radebe to give her legal advice. Since, she is a potential murderer.

I graduated from law school two years ago. But, I had not planned on practicing law or opening a firm until I had figured out where my passion really lied. Besides, I had other dreams. I loved the concept of law but it was more of my parent's dream more than mine so I pursued it to get them off my toes.

I had not planned on going anywhere else until that night so I let the pills fulfil their course. I dozed off into what seemed like a coma I would never wake up from.

I was woken up by a loud knock on the door. I had been asleep for four hours. I had hoped to sleep until I had to go to Sarah. “It better not be her. Urgh Maggie!” I murmured. “Who is it!” I thought I had said it out loud. I got out of bed and wore my sandals - annoyed. Anyone who knew me well knew that I hated being woken up from my sleep. Another knock!

“I am coming, coming, coming and coming.” I said while I opened the door.

My red tiny eyes widened. I was greeted by Shad's lively smile. I had not seen him in over four months. His muscles had gotten bigger and his skin tone had gained complexion. He looked like he had been taking his baths in ocean water and also looked handsomer than he was when he left.

“Oh, I woke you. Didn’t I? I know how much you hate being woken up.” he said.

I gestured that he may come in. I wore a short dress which exposed my toned thighs and lean arms, he looked at me with intense astonishment as he explored specific areas of my body. I had not uttered a single word; I was still half-asleep. He sat down.

“I was worried about you. Your phone has been off.” he said.

“Is that why you are here. Because you are so worried about me.” Finally, I spoke.

He giggled. Shad noticed that I was still half-asleep and nothing that was coming out of my mouth was to be taken seriously by him.

“I missed you so much. I wanted to surprise you.” he said.

“I appreciate the sentiment Shad. But, why did you not tell me that you were back? I had to hear it from Maggie? how long have you been back.” I frowned.

“There she is, the Tigress has awakened!” with his arm raised, he shouted.

I laughed and gazed into his eyes, appreciating that he had not lost his sense of humor.

“Maggie huh. She is a nosy one, isn’t she? I thought I would find you in your office today. My plane landed last night. You would have been the first to know that I am back, okay. I am sorry you had to hear it from the daily newspaper” he responded.

I shrugged and said: “Now that you have ruined my beauty sleep! Let me go wash my face. I will be right back. Make yourself comfortable. Mr Shad.” I mimicked Maggie’s voice when I said his name and he laughed.

I rushed to the bathroom and washed my face. I could feel the medication doing its rounds in my body and washing my face was an excuse to talk myself out of my heavily sedated self. I performed my anxiety matra as I looked at myself in the mirror and applied bio-clear to my face.

Shad and I were acquainted before we became business partners. We met through another friend of mine, at the University, on our second year and formed a friendship. I had been invited to a poetry event and my friend said he knew someone who liked poetry so I said he could tag along. To my surprise, we shared the same star sign! And had plenty in common: from fitness, law, to poetry so we hung around each other for a while until we decided to explore the business world together. However, I never saw him as more than that at the time. He was simply engaging but not enough to capture my romanticism. It was only until we got too close and had to work hand in hand with one another that we started to be attracted to each other.

“Would you like something to drink?” I offered as I walked towards the kitchen, admiring the change in weather.

It was suddenly cloudy. The rain was teasing and I enjoyed the tease.

“That would be lovely. Yes.” he responded.

He stared at my thighs as I walked. They had gotten toned, he admired the new look, but said nothing and admired my body in silence. As soon as I opened the fridge, I felt a soft kiss on my neck. His arms were already wrapped around my waist from behind.

“I could not sit there and just stare at you.” he whispered into my ear.

I turned my body towards him and gazed into his eyes. They were bright but seemed different, like he had changed into a new person, only with a different intention. Like something he once nurtured broke and this time, it cannot be fixed. I had not known him the longest. But, I understood him.

“But, what about your juice.”I asked as I pointed back at the juice in the fridge.

I felt a sudden feeling of empathy, like his own thoughts were racing through my mind and I could not help but disregard the feeling. It made me feel... vulnerable. I knew something was wrong but I did not want to be the one to fix him. To fix it.
“I want you. The juice can wait.” he said.

He picked me up, closed the fridge and gently placed me on the kitchen counter then breathed into my neck. I had a strawberry scent on me that I knew made him want me even more. Although he was fighting an intense inner battle, I sympathized. I did not want my body to be a battlefield for him to fight his demons.

“Kiss me.” he ordered.

I studied him carefully and grabbed him by the waist, pulled him closer and fitted his lower body nimbly between my thighs. I carried myself through my own tender emotion and welcomed a smile on my face as I softly kissed his upper lip.

“Like this. Do you want me to kiss you like this?” I asked as I consecutively slow-kissed his upper lip then moved to his lower lip.

I did this until he kissed back, passionately. I felt him slowly erect, his manhood pierced through my thigh. We French-kissed and proved how much we missed each other by grabbing and pulling onto each other like we would always have one another to run to. It was only then that I realized that I was his home, his place of comfort and for a moment that felt right. He fiercely pulled me closer, and I was almost seated on air. But, he held me tight, ditched my lips and kissed my neck. I let out a soft moan and closed my eyes, I almost lost myself to his hidden fury. I was charmed but not naive.

I said: “Maggie said something to me.”

I had wanted to ask the question. But, I wanted to be calculative and as a tribute to expanding my persuasive communication skills, I had worked on perfecting my timing so I could gain an upper hand in the conversations I had.

“uh-huh” said Shad.

“For some reason, she thought the flowers you had were for me.” I said calmly. “You came here empty-handed.”

The mood in the room tensed. He stopped kissing my neck. I gently pushed him out of my thighs then jumped off the table and walked past him.

“Aadya.” he called.

I did not respond, instead I opened the fridge and grabbed a jug of juice and placed it on the counter. Both his hands were on the opposite counter, his backside was faced towards me and his head was bowed down, like a guilty criminal who had been waiting for his verdict. He was processing what had just transpired. I rinsed a glass to pour juice for him. If we had been playing chess, he would have been a King that had just been eaten by a Queen. Checkmate.

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