Valerie lightly tapped the open-panel glass door. She needn’t have bothered, for barely a moment later the door slid open and a smiling Toinette flung herself into her arms.
“Aunty Valerie.” She screeched happily. “It’s so nice to see you. It’s been so long. Dad said you travelled to Asaba on some family business.” Then giving Valerie a head-to-toe scrutiny, she rolled her eyes. “My oh my, you look so beautiful. And nice shoes too.” She eyed the carton-coloured wedge sandals.
Valerie lips widened into a happy smile as the nineteen-to-the dozen-talking Toinette literally dragged her inside.
Damn, she’d missed this. This ever-chirpy, excited voice. This cool, charming spacious house… everything. This soothing feeling of being… home.
She smiled down at the chattering Toinette. She was now giving her the load down on every one’s whereabouts.
“Grandma has gone out to visit Nana, they are having some kind of meeting over there and she’d be sleeping over.” She shrugged as she supplied the last bit of info. “Uncle Udochi is in his room attending to some private matter – I believe that would be watching football.”
Valerie chuckled at the knowing smirk on her lips.
“Effi, I’m sure you saw at the gate – in a hurry to get the diesel he’d forgotten to buy earlier.” She continued cheerfully. “Aunty Sochi and Chidinma are in the kitchen getting ready to serve dinner. “ She gave her a conspiratorial wink. “Which of course is why I’m taking my time welcoming you.”
Valerie laughed at her naughty and mischievous mind. “And your daddy, where is he?”
“Ha, daddy?” She rolled her eyes dramatically. “Outside, viciously weeding the flower beds and talking to the grasses.” Clear emphasis was laid on the ‘talking’.
“Talking to the… grasses? What do you mean?”
“Don’t ask me, Aunty Valerie, I’m as puzzled as you are o. All I have is an eye-witness report.”
“Aha.” Valerie’s brows arched shrewdly. “And could we take this eye-witness report to the kitchen.” Raising her hand to stop the next flow of words. “So I can say hello to Aunty Sochi and Chidinma.”
“Ha… okay.” Toinette agreed with a nod, leading the way to the kitchen.
The delicious aroma of fresh-fish tomato sauce hit her nostrils, tantalizing them the minute she stepped into the kitchen.
“Aunty Valerie!” Chidinma shrieked excitedly. “You are back.”
Aunty Sochi raised her head from the sauce she was dishing out. “Hey, look who finally remembered us today.” She smiled warmly.
“Haba, Aunty Sochi, I was here barely ten days ago.” Valerie protested.
“Today is the eleventh day o.” Toinette quipped. “I’ve been diligently counting the days.”
“Thank you, brilliant mathematician.” Valerie pulled her braided hair. “Anyway I’m here to see you guys now.”
“To see us or to see Uncle Nathan?” Chidinma gave her an outrageous wink. “Because you are looking real hot.”
“Ah, I thought the same thing when I saw her too.” Toinette added. “Can this hot dressing just …”
“Shush!” Aunty Sochi snapped out, giving the two girls a frowning stare. “Fashion Police, who asked you?”
Valerie felt flushed all over, these 21st century children, they know way too much.
“Anyway, since the nosey parkers have uncovered your secret,” Aunty Sochi continued, smiling mischievously now. “You can go outside and get the grumpy Nathan inside before he goes from talking to the weeds to actually eating them.”
Valerie gave an embarrassed chuckle. “This house is filled with mischievous troublemakers.” She feigned a long-suffering sigh. “I wonder now why I missed you guys so much.”
“That’s because we’re absolute fun to be with.” Toinette inclined her head wisely, smiling broadly.
“Yeah right. Anyway, I’ll go call him in.” Valerie tried to sound a little off-handed. “Tell him that dinner is about to be set.”
“Uh hmm.” Aunty Sochi gave her a knowing smile. “And as they say in the movies, knock him dead.”
Valerie escaped through the back before she got more audacious rejoinders.
“And talking about movies…” Aunty Sochi turned to the giggling girls, hands on her waist. “I’m beginning to think you two watch way too many of them.” She narrowed her eyes at their innocent stares. “We have to do something about that.”
Valerie walked noiselessly towards the hot, sweating, dark athletic figure, bent over the flower beds, watering can in hand. Even from a distance she could see the seductive outline of toned muscled hands and legs, and oh yeah, and the really nice, firm butt. She shamelessly ogled the blood-heating image before her.
First time she’d seen him, he’d been bending over too, after slamming into her. Her errant wild mind wondered what it would be like having him slam into her, butt naked. She almost giggled aloud at the crazy wild images that ran through her vivid mind.
First things first, get him back, get the ring on the finger, then get him naked.
Stopping a few feet away, she said in a husky, cool voice. “Good evening.”
For the second time in one evening, Nathan found himself jerking back in shock. The watering can behind him went down, thankfully it was empty this time. But the can in his hand had clanged to the floor and splashed water all over him.
He swore violently. Spurn around to blast whoever thought creeping on him was a fun idea. The irritable words forcing their way out his mouth just slammed back into his throat at the sight of Valerie.
She was standing there, hands loosely crossed just below her tummy, holding unto black, crocodile-skin clutch purse. Looking at him with smoky, intense light-brown eyes, maple pink luscious lips curved slightly in a sultry smile.
“Good evening, Nathan.” Valerie repeated voice still husky, eyes still smoky.
“Ah… err… hi… ha, good evening.” For Christ’s sakes, he was stuttering. He should be making her stutter, not doing the stuttering.
“I didn’t hear you creeping up on me.” He scowled. Doing his best not to let her see how her well-planned attire was affecting him.
The little devil, she knew he had a weakness for her flawlessly smooth, long legs. It’s the only sane explanation why she’d come clad in this way-above-the-knee dress, looking so utterly… alluring.
The body-hugging cotton, rich blue-mix print dress, seemed like a second skin, accentuating temptingly her curvaceous figure. And the shimmering silver and gold double strand necklace she had round her neck, fell down the front of the dress, burrowing tantalizingly just at the tip of her slightly visible, supple cleavage.
Women, he thought bitterly, they treated you shabbily. Dug out your still beating heart from inside of you, threw it on the floor and squashed it with their heels. And still sashay over, looking all sexy and seductive, wanting you to be the one to stutter and grovel.
The evening air suddenly went all hot and smouldering.
“Sorry if I jolted you.” Valerie apologised, eyes twinkling. “And sorry I didn’t call before coming, thought a surprise would be pleasant.”
Pleasant indeed. “Oh, okay.” He turned to pick up the watering cans, trying to get back his bearing. “Em, I’m through here.” He faced her now, eyes a little cool, voice a little aloof. “I need a shower.”
Valerie smiled winsomely. “But of course, you must be feeling… hot. Besides, Aunty Sochi said to tell that dinner is set.”
Nathan tugged the collar of the grey T-shirt. He badly needed the cool comfort of his shower.
He gestured for her to go ahead, he didn’t want her erotic perfume draining the blood of his near bloodless head.
To be continued…