ELEVEN YEARS AGO.
Ezinne sat on the bleachers outside the basketball court, watching Mofe’s team trash the opposing side mercilessly.
She had been tagging along him to the court for a while now but she marvelled every time at how he played the game so well. His moves, the stunts, if she wasn’t already so into him, she would have fallen all over again for him. He moved so fluidly and unpredictably, always taking the opposition by surprise. Once Mofe had the ball, there was a high chance he would be making the basket.
For his tall, intimidating stature, one would think he would play the ‘big man’ but he did really well for a point guard. According to him he played in any position but he preferred being the point guard as he controlled the game and his size intimidated other point guards who were usually smaller in stature.
She had been cheering with glee enjoying the game immensely as she usually did every time he played.
She had even learnt terms of the game and didn’t hesitate in unleashing them when necessary, especially whenever Mofe, her babe, her boyfriend, made an awesome basket.
She watched now as he slowed down the game, he was with the ball, with a defender from the other team trying to keep him from getting closer to the basket.
The defence was tight and making a basket seemed tricky as every player on Mofe’s side was being covered closely.
It was obvious he was thinking of the best way to get past the defender on him. He looked around, as he bounced the ball closely to his side but all his guys were being heavily guarded.
He made a slight gesture with his head and quickly his assist guard approached, creating a screen which was an obstruction for the defender on him. Mofe tried to make use of the suddenly available space to move but was blocked by another defender.
Suddenly as quick as lightening, working with his hands. He bounced the ball from one hand to the other quickly, faking to the right and making the defender move in that direction and creating some space he made quick use of by taking a lay up from the left and then a jump, finger rolling the ball directly into the net, making the basket.
It all happened in the space of two seconds, very unexpected. Ezinne hadn’t seen him making the move, no one had thought he would make such a move with such speed so suddenly. His game was totally unpredictable.
In her glee, she jumped up from her seat, yelling, “That’s it babe! Take them to school!”
She got a quick glance, a flash of a grin and a wink from him as he jogged back, preparing for the opposing side’s attack on his team’s side of the court.
Their offense didn’t last long as Mofe’s assistant guard stole the ball off the opposing guard whose control on the ball had been quite loose.
Mofe, seeing the opponent’s side of the court empty, made a run for their net as he screamed “Break!”
The assistant guard understood and sent a long overhead pass in the direction of the rim.
The opposition tried running back but she doubted they could do much to save that basket from happening.
For a second, Ezinne thought he would miss it but still wasn’t at all surprised when he got there just in time, jumping really high to catch the ball in the air and dropping it into the net at the same time.
They had won the game.
It was all so awesome, she jumped up and screamed, “yeah baby! That’s how it’s done!”
She got amused stares from people around the court who were mostly guys but she didn’t care. Mofe was so good he could give Michael Jordan a run for his money, or even Lebron James, in her own opinion.
As the game was over, Mofe jogged outside the court to meet with her, he was all smiles as he shook his head wonderingly at her.
She applauded him as he approached. “You won five straight sets and the last alley was totally bunkers!”
He swooped her in a hug lifting her off her feet briefly, all sweaty and everything but she didn’t mind, she loved his male scent and she definitely loved being held so close to him like this.
Putting her down, they were just an inch apart. “I see you enjoyed the game immensely…. And you have appointed yourself my personal cheerleader.”
She giggled, ” I couldn’t help it, you are so awesome whenever you play.”
‘Well, I guess you are my lucky charm?” He told her giving her a look that resurrected the butterflies in her tummy. Gosh, he was so hot.
“Somehow I doubt luck has anything to do with your game.” She told him.
He shrugged, “Well I do good by myself but with you, it seems I’m awesome.”
His gaze moved down to her lips as he said, ” I want to kiss you so badly right now.”
She wanted it also, “What’s stopping you?”
He raised a brow, “Umm..common sense and maybe…because we are in public? You don’t want to be known in the estate as that girl that kisses her boyfriend at the basketball court, do you?”
“I don’t think I care.” She shrugged wishing he would do it already, she really didn’t give a hoot if the whole world was watching.
His grip on her waist tightened. “Well I do. Do you care if I do one more game before we head home?”
She shrugged, “No, it’s fine.” She enjoyed watching him, it even sort of turned her on watching his moves.
“How many baskets do I let them make this time?” He asked her with a smug smile.
She smiled wickedly “None!”
“As you wish, my lady.” He said, brushing her hair from her face and tucking it behind her ear.
“Mofe abeg, game wan start…leave woman!” Someone called from the court.
They both burst into chuckles.
“And that’s my cue, I’ll finish this in ten minutes at most and then we’ll head out.” He promised pulling away, his intense gaze on hers.
“It’s okay.” She reassured him. He probably felt he was keeping her for too long at the court and she was getting bored. “Just keep whipping them mercilessly.”
“Keep cheering.” He told her as he made his way back to the court.
He was stopped on the way by some girl who he seemed to know. He said something to her and she laughed but when her hand lightly grazed his arm, Ezinne’s attention got piqued.
She knew flirting when she saw it and the girl was doing just that. It was clear in the way she flipped her long weave and looked at him so endearingly while her fingers lightly touched his arm.
Ezinne sat up raising a brow as Mofe didn’t even brush her off. He just let her hold on to his arm as they talked.
The girl was light skinned, slim and about six feet tall.she was on a basketball Jersey which was knotted at the waist exposing well toned abs and making Ezinne feel slightly self conscious about her slightly fleshy pouch of a stomach.
Unconsciously, Ezinne folded her arms across her chest, how could he allow some unknown chick hold him like that when she, who was supposed to be his girlfriend was there?
Still holding his arm, the girl was still speaking when someone called from the court. “Mofe leave woman na!”
Ezinne narrowed her eyes suspiciously, as Mofe quickly said his byes and dismissed her.
He had some explaining to do.
Mofe didn’t need to be a genius and to know something was wrong. Ezinne had been suspiciously quiet through his final game, she hadn’t been as vocal as she usually was during the game. He had stolen glances over at her during the game, and the looks she had given him had said it all.
He had even slam dunked a basket and had gotten no reaction from her.
Now as she parked the car in front of his place, she didn’t say a word.
He took a glance at her, her features were straight, giving off nothing which was really weird. Ezinne was always bright and after a great game today, she wasn’t supposed to be this quiet.
“I am sorry for keeping you so long on the court.” He tried apologising again wondering if that was the problem.
“It’s okay.” She replied quietly still looking ahead.
“Are you sure?” He had to ask.
“Sure.” She replied with a shrug.
“Are you coming in?” He asked again, he didn’t need a psychic to tell him what her answer would be.
“No, I think I will go home now, it’s getting late.”
“Late?” He asked her, “It’s just five pm. What’s really wrong, Ezinne? What did I do…or not do, knowingly or unknowingly?”
“Nothing.” She replied quietly.
“Ezinne I am not leaving your car until you tell me what is wrong.” He reached out to her, lightly touching her chin, turning her face, so he could look into her eyes. She couldn’t hide when he was holding her gaze. “What is the problem?”
She sighed and finally spoke up. “Who was that girl on the court?”
He frowned not recalling any other girl aside from her on the court. “What girl?”
“The one you were talking to when you were going back for your last game…. The one rubbing on you all over!” She snapped, looking away from him.
He remembered talking to Trisha, a girl he trained privately sometimes but he didn’t recall her rubbing him all over. ” Are you talking about the tall, light complexioned girl?”
“Yes! She was heavily flirting with you and you just let her. Touching you like you were her boyfriend and you let her!” She accused, looking at him now, she added. “In my presence for that matter!”
He really didn’t recall any touching happening, they had just been talking normally.
Ezinne continued. “At least Ekene had the gall to hide his philandering but you….”
“Hey, hey!” He cut her off. “Don’t lump me in with your ex boyfriend! You know it’s not like that, you know I would never do that to you. All I did was talk to the girl….”
She sighed seeming to calm down a bit, “I don’t know Mofe…. she was flirting and you didn’t mind at all.”
“Wait…but she didn’t touch me inappropriately…. I really don’t recall any touching, talk more about inappropriate touching.” Mofe defended, what was Ezinne talking about?
“She was rubbing her fingers against your arm… to you it might be normal and okay but I don’t like it. That’s it, I just don’t like it.”
Mofe’s eyes widened as realisation dawned on him, “Ezinne..are you jealous?”
She gave him an incredulous look.”No…of course I’m not jealous! Don’t turn this on me, you allowed her to touch you in my presence… I didn’t like it…please next time don’t let her do that, that’s all I’m asking.”
Mofe shook his head, smiling. She was so jealous, she didn’t want any other females hands on him except for her’s.
So she was the possessive type, that was good to know. He decided to play with her a bit.
Speaking up, he said, “Oh, okay? I guess I can make demands of mine as well since you brought up the subject. There are also a few things which you do that I don’t like.”
“What are you talking about?” She asked turning to him.
“Your shorts…they are usually too short and clingy…showing off your…… I don’t like you wearing them outside… in public!” He said trying his best to keep a straight and serious expression on his face. “I don’t like the way all the guys stare at your hips, your butt and your creamy legs. I haven’t said anything about it before but since we are discussing our likes and dislikes, this is mine, I just don’t like it.”
A smile slowly crept up on her face, “You are joking right?”
“Were you joking when you accused me of enjoying another girl’s touch?”
“No..I , that wasn’t a joke.”
“Then I am also not joking. Since you don’t like a girl touching me, I don’t like guys staring at your …. Lower parts.”
She burst into giggles as she shook her head looking at him, she still couldn’t tell if he was serious or not. “It’s just stares, no harm in people staring, is there…”
“I just don’t like them staring at you.” He said, his tone adamant.
“Mofe… I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet… but you can see I am quite attractive…. they will still stare if I am not on shorts.”
“Okay,” he nodded in agreement. “Then I want you in Caftans all the time… big parachute Caftans.” He said trying hard to still keep a straight face but gave into a smile as he couldn’t hold it anymore .
She doubled over in laughter, as she punched him on the shoulder playfully, “You are such a clown.”
He smiled, watching her. She looked so adorable and he couldn’t help but stare at her entranced, almost in disbelief that she was his.
Reaching for her again, he pulled her closer, closing the distance between them, capturing her soft lips.
They kissed for moment before he pulled away.
” You are so beautiful. ” He told her. ” I see only you, I really didn’t notice Trisha touching me like you said… But if you don’t like it, it won’t happen again. “
She smiled at him with a slight shrug, “guess I’m jealous, buy thanks for understanding.”
He nodded, “You have nothing to be jealous about, I see only you. So you coming in? I need to take a shower then we could hang, maybe go over our Project defence?”
She nodded smiling and everything was good again.
Ezinne was deep into the group chat with her friends that she barely noticed Mofe come out of the shower.
Her friends were complaining that they had hardly seen her for a while now, she always spent whatever free time she had with her new boyfriend and it was getting annoying.
She was trying to pacify them, promising to meet soon but not sure when. She wasn’t even sure what the fuss was about, she did get to see them sometimes at school but it seemed that wasn’t enough for them.
“Erm…. Zinnie,” Mofe called her and she looked up noticing all he wore was boxer shorts. “ It smells funny in here, did you…put anything on the stove?”
“Oh…shoot!” She jumped up from the couch and ran past him into the kitchen.
She had put a pot of water on the stove, hoping to make semolina for them. She had recently learnt from Mofe and had hoped to try it out for the first time by herself.
The pot was dry and already burning when she turned off the gas stove.
“Shit.” She cursed, couldn’t she get something right for once?
Mofe followed her in, taking in the damage she had caused. He looked so good in just his boxer shorts but she was so disappointed in herself she couldn’t appreciate his awesome body.
“I’m so sorry, I wanted to make Semo as I saw you had some Vegetable soup… I got so carried away with my damn chat, I totally forgot… I’m so sorry.” She apologised feeling like such a failure and unable to look at him.
“It’s okay…don’t worry about it.” He said taking the pot off the stove and into the sink with the help of a kitchen towel. He turned on the tap and ran some water in it, cooling it down, luckily the pot hadn’t blackened too much.
She sighed. “I don’t know why I even bothered, I can’t even get boiling simple water right.”
“Hey,” he glanced at her, “stop beating yourself up, just try to pay attention next time so you don’t actually burn down my house.”
She smiled, seeing the glint in his eyes, he was playing with her. He turned back to the sink, washing the pot.
“ By the way, you are still under my supervision and need my permission to do anything in my kitchen, even boiling water.”
She walked over, and put her arms around his waist, pressing herself to his back, hugging him.
“Next time, I will definitely ask your permission….hmm…you smell so good.”
“Thanks… So who were you chatting with that got you so engrossed anyway? Ekene still apologising?”
She hissed, releasing him and creating some distance between them. “Please, I blocked him since. I was talking with my girlfriends, they were complaining that I spend all my time with you.”
Mofe turned around, carrying the now clean pot back to the stove. “What?”
“Yeah,” she nodded.
“Is that a bad thing?” He turned on the stove.
“They don’t like me neglecting them.”
“Hmm, and I don’t want you neglecting me either…. Not even for five minutes.” He said, turning to her with a small smile.
She laughed. “But I have to hang out with my friends sometimes. You have to agree that I am always with you, even when you are busy working on other people’s school projects, I am here in your apartment just lying around.”
He shrugged, holding her gaze, “I like you lying around here.”
” But I need to have some ‘me’ time also, Mofe.”
“Why? Spend your me time with me, you know you want to.” He smiled with a wink. “We have loads of fun together.”
“But my friends…..”
“Will be fine…. They have had you to themselves long enough. Now it’s my turn, and till I get enough of you, which I doubt I ever will, you will hang around me.” He came towards her now and sweeped her easily off her feet, taking her into the bedroom.
She laughed. “You are quite selfish, Mofe. You really don’t know how to share.”
“I agree, I don’t share my cherished possessions.” He kissed her deeply on the lips as he dropped her gently on the bed, his large frame over hers, she slid her hands around his neck, giving herself to him.
He dropped light kisses on her cheek, face and neck.
She welcomed it, immensely enjoying the feelings he aroused within her. For the few weeks they had been together, all they had done was some light making out, she understood he would go only as far as she wanted him to.
The thing was his touch turned her madly on and she wanted him to go further but wasn’t sure how to broach the subject with him.
His large palms ran over her bare thighs, kneading, caressing as his lips now teased her’s. She closed her eyes, struggling to steady her breathing as she felt that familiar sweet, pleasurable ache just below her belly.
“You know…” She managed, breathless, “I am not exactly your possession yet.”
Moving from her lips to kiss the curve of her neck, he asked “how do you mean?”
She had never known her neck could be so sensitive until the day Mofe had first kissed her there. His breath fanned her skin as he spoke, giving her pleasurable goose bumps.
“You know what I mean.” She whispered, her voice seeming to have disappeared because of the intense sensations he was whipping up in her.
He paused, getting up on his elbows to stare down at her.
She wished he hadn’t stopped.
Their gazes held as he said, “you mean sex?”
“Yes..” She replied and he got up and sat down. She did also, missing him already. Maybe she shouldn’t have brought sex up.
“You want sex?” He asked again. “You want us to be….’consummate’?”
She laughed at his choice of words. “You don’t?”
He shrugged smiling also, ” I wouldn’t mind it but it’s not a priority for me, I wasn’t thinking along those lines…but I guess it might have been a while for you so you would crave it.”
She couldn’t help but laugh at how serious he was analysing the issue. “Oh gosh, Mofe you sound like a scientist that is observing a specimen. Don’t you want to…’consummate’ …us.. also?”
“Well…. I don’t take sex lightly, Ezinne. I am not with you for sex but if it’s what you want, I wouldn’t mind….”
“Stop, stop, please…” She said between giggles, “Mofe, you almost sound as if I am forcing you, which I am not. I just…I…” She calmed now and took in a deep breath before speaking. ” I am really attracted to you physically, I haven’t been this attracted to anyone before and unlike you have assumed, I have never had sex before.
I was also kind of concerned for you but since you say you are okay without it, then I guess it’s fine.”
She wondered if it was really fine? Could she take more of the pleasure he gave her without going further, without being fully satisfied? Did she want to give him her Virginity?
He frowned, “You mean you haven’t ..um..ever…?”
“Seriously? I wouldn’t have thought, not when you had a virile man whore for a boyfriend.”
She shrugged. “Years ago, Ekene and I made a pact to wait till marriage but obviously he didn’t keep to his end of it.”
She said just as his phone began ringing.
“Well, we will keep yours the way it is.” He said with a note of finality and before she could give her own opinion he got up to go pick his phone on the desk.
So he wasn’t even going to consider or ask for what she wanted. How did he find it so easy to hold himself back? Didn’t he feel the same as she did? Did he not feel the intensity of the passion he riled up in her body?
He did, sometimes she felt how hard he got against her but how could he hold himself back. She got all swollen, her womanly places throbbing with heightened pleasure that needed some form of release and he was here saying she should remain a Virgin when all she really wanted was for him to take her over the peak of pleasure.
Or… Had he never done it before? They had talked about her Virginity but hadn’t said anything about him. She doubted he was one, not with the way he expertly touched her. He was very familiar with a female’s body, and knew what buttons to push.
She sighed, he had taken the phone to the kitchen and was answering the call there.
He meant well and she admired his strength and control but she doubted she was as strong as he was. She should talk to him about it but what would he do, stop touching her?
She didn’t want that but knowing Mofe he might probably suggest that they stopped making out.
Many guys would have pressured her into doing it but he chose to hold off on it.
He was so noble and selfless, always putting her first. He was too good to her.
He came rushing back into the room, flustered.
“I have to get to my aunt’s place. She isn’t well and I need to get some stuff for her.”
She sat forward on the bed, watching as he hurriedly grabbed his Jean pants, struggling into it.
“Is it like an emergency, does she need to get to the hospital?”
“No…not yet.. she’s diabetic, her medications have finished for a while now and she didn’t tell anyone about it. Now she’s down….I need to get it to her….Sh’it where the hell did I drop that bloody wallet, my ATM cards are in it.”
“Forget about it.” She jumped up, “I have mine, will you drive?”
He didn’t stop his search for it. ” I will find it, don’t worry….it’s here somewhere. “
“Mofe, time is of essence, we should go…..” She called for him, now at the door.
” Here it is!” He snapped it up.
She sighed. “Okay, let’s go.”
He turned to her as he put on his undershirt. “You coming with?”
“Of course, I want to be sure everything is alright.”
“You really don’t….”
Ignoring him, she opened the door, slinging her purse over her shoulders she walked out, he followed behind, locking the door.
He might be used to making all the decisions in his life but he wasn’t making her’s also.
Mofe had been quiet for most of the ride back home from his aunt’s place. Ezinne had fallen asleep in the passenger seat beside him while he drove.
He had just arrived and parked inside her compound but didn’t want to disturb her peaceful sleep.
He was content just watching her as she slept.
She had been something else that evening at his aunt’s place. She had just jumped in, assisting him as he had gotten his aunt to take her drugs. Helping his aunt sit up and setting the pillows behind her back and asking if she was comfortable.
The two had taken an instant liking to each other, both making fun of him as Ezinne had browsed through the old album of family photos.
They’d all had a modest dinner of rice, stew and fish which he had prepared while warning her to stay out of the kitchen and not bring her bad kitchen omen along with her.
She had bonded with his aunt listening and asking questions about him growing up, his aunt had not been stingy with information, especially the embarrassing stories.
His aunt hadn’t needed to be told that he had deep feelings for Ezinne. He knew she could see it written all over him.
Eric had made himself scarce after his arrival with Ezinne. Eric clearly disapproved of him being with her and Mofe wasn’t exactly sure what his problem was. He wasn’t even giving her a chance or trying to know her more.
Anyway, what Eric thought wasn’t his problem. He was in a happy place at the moment and that was all that mattered.
Ezinne stirred and he called her softly. “Zinnie, we are home.”
“Hmm” she opened her eyes, “home?”
“Yeah.” He replied. “Your house.”
“Okay.” She said stretching languidly and yawning. “What’s the time now?”
“Past ten pm….sorry I kept you out so late.”
She shook her head, smiling, “Oh please, I had fun. Your aunt is an awesome woman….. Did you tell her about us before today?”
He shook his head. “Nope. She is quite perceptive.”
“I like her, she was so welcoming and so forthcoming with your childhood stories.”
He laughed reaching out his hand to lightly caress her cheek.“You were also wonderful.”
Ezinne was smiling, looking at him like he was everything to her and he almost did not believe she was his.
She suddenly frowned slightly as if remembering something, “she said something about you saving up for a trip, are you travelling somewhere?”
Mofe’s smile dimmed. He hadn’t told her of his scholarship in the United states.
Her bright features dimmed also, as if from his reaction she could tell something wasn’t right. “What is it Mofe?”
He wasn’t sure where to start, he had been postponing telling her because he felt the time hadn’t been right. Now he had to say something and the timing was still far from perfect at the moment.
“I….got accepted into Caltech for a two year M.Sc program… full scholarship and everything… I just have to get myself over there and that’s what I’m saving up for.” he told her and her eyes widened in surprise.
She was quiet for about three seconds before sitting forward, asking, “What? H…how come? We haven’t even graduated and you have already been accepted into a Masters programme in the United States? How in the world did that happen? Into Caltech for that matter?”
He could see this piece of news wasn’t going down well with her. He felt guilty for keeping it from her all this while, he couldn’t look at her hurt and accusing eyes anymore so he turned away.
“I err… I got my transcripts from school sometime back and sent them to some schools along with some personal projects I had been working on …… the modified designs for the supercomputer and some other security software and technology I had been working on….. They replied liking my ideas, asked me to take some exams, I did and passed and they offered me a full scholarship provided I work as a research assistant.” He said knowing this wasn’t what she wanted to hear but he wasn’t sure what else to say at the moment.
When are you supposed to leave?” She asked quietly now looking away from him.
“In two months…. I plan to leave after graduation.” He replied.
“Two months!” She screeched, appalled. Turning to him, she asked, “and you never thought to tell me? You never cared to tell me you were leaving for two years in two months time?”
This was getting worse by the second. He wasn’t sure how or where to start explaining. “I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to tell…..”
“Oh save me that bull shit excuse MJ! You intentionally kept it away from me, probably because you planned on just up and disappearing!”
“What are you talking about, I would never….I didn’t plan on….”
“Yes, you did! This thing between us is only temporary… you lied to me, you are only with me till you leave and stupid me… I allowed myself to fall for your charms!”
“No,it isn’t! Ezinne please calm down and listen to what I have to say….” he tried pleading with her but she was having none of it. She was angry, and the look of distrust and disappointment on her face broke him.
“ I am not listening to any rubbish you have to tell me! Give me my car keys!” She ordered opening her palm to him.
“Ezinne please just give me a chance to ….”
“Keys!” She barked and he handed them over with a resigned sigh. He needed to give her time to cool off, she wouldn’t be listening to any explanations tonight.
She got out of the car, slamming the door closed, leaving him alone in the car.
He got down, watching her retreating silhouette in the dark. He really shouldn’t have kept it from her for this long, but he’d had no plan.
How was he supposed to ask her to wait for him for two years? Maybe more if he decided to study further. He could wait for her till the end of time but he didn’t want to place such a burden on her.
He sighed again, he didn’t like this sinking feeling presently within him. He didn’t like being at odds with her. He sure as hell didn’t like her so unhappy with him and he felt even worse knowing he had been the cause.
Closing the car door, he decided to go home as nothing more was happening that night. He would have to give her time and hope she came around soon.