She bit at her full kissable pink lips. Her hazel eyes were fixed on the bottles of wine arranged on the shelves. She read the labels and checked the percentage of the alcohol content on the wine bottles. She didnâ€™t like alcohol; the bitter, harsh stinging taste repulsed her. How or why many people got addicted to it, she couldnâ€™t decipher. She scanned the shelves again, concentrating on the fruit wine bottles. She decided on one and reached out to pick it. At five feet six inches, she wasnâ€™t that tall, but was a little above average height
|Winds of Fate|
â€œGood evening,â€ someone said behind her.
â€œEveningâ€¦â€ she glanced back and saw a tall dark brown slender man, she headed for the counter, a bottle of wine in one hand.
â€œThatâ€™s a good selection.â€
What is he referring to? The wine? Is he following me?
She frowned. She greeted the lady behind the counter and paid for the wine.
â€œI have tasted that particular wine. It is heaven on ice-cubes.â€
Is he still talking to me?
She glanced back and caught him grinning.
â€œThe name is Stephen,â€ he stretched out his right hand. She turned back to the lady and collected the bottle of wine wrapped in a colourful polythene bag. She walked towards the exit. He went ahead of her and opened the glass door. She rolled her eyes. She could tell that he was trying to get her attention.
â€œThank you,â€ she muttered and walked out. He followed her.
â€œSo, whatâ€™s the name?â€
She halted and turned to look at him, â€œLook Misterâ€¦â€
â€œWhateverâ€¦ I am not in the habit of exchanging names with strangers,â€ she started to walk away.
â€œSorry Missâ€¦â€ he hurried after her, â€œI have been watching you since you stepped into the wine shop.â€
â€œKeep watching,â€ she spotted a spa and walked in, despite the crowd. She would do anything or go anywhere to get away from him.
â€œCan I be your escort for today?â€
â€œI donâ€™t need one,â€ she picked a flier at the front desk.
â€œYou never can tell. The Galleria is a big place.â€
She shrugged and squeezed her way out of the shop. She sensed that he was right behind her.
â€œStop following me,â€ she glared back at him.
â€œCanâ€™t help it Miss, I just want to get to know you.â€
â€œGive me a chance.â€
She sighed, stopped walking and turned to look at him. He flashed a set of white teeth; not that white, a shade of creamy white to be exact. He towered over her, a little over five feet eight inches. The fitted black tee-shirt on him clung to his brown skin. The blue inscription on it matched the colour of his jeans. His shoes, a pair of black snickers with white stripes made him look cute in a boyish way. She searched his smiling brown eyes. He seemed decent, if looks were anything to go by. Regardless, she wasnâ€™t in the habit of been friendly with people she hardly knew, especially in public places.
â€œI donâ€™t need an escort, thanks for the offer,â€ she turned to leave.
â€œWait!â€ he held her by the elbow.
â€œDonâ€™t touch me!â€ she yanked her hand free and eyed him.
â€œI am sorry,â€ he sighed and raised his hands, â€œI come in peace.â€
She tried not to laugh. She was reminded of the conversation between Arnold and the Dark Angel in a movie she watched a long time ago. She cleared her throat.
â€œI am on my way out. This is the reason why I am here,â€ she raised the wrapped bottle of wine.
â€œOh, okay. Well, it is a cool evening, perfect time for a walk on the beach.â€
â€œHmmmâ€¦ tempting, but, I will pass.â€
â€œCome on. I havenâ€™t been to the beach in a while. I would love some good company.â€
She shook her head. The Galleria was not that far from the Bar Beach and Kuramo Beach. She glanced at her wrist-watch.
â€œI have to go.â€
â€œYes,â€ she met his steady stare.
â€œNone of your business,â€ she eyed him.
â€œIs that why you canâ€™t come with me to the beach.â€
â€œYes and no.â€
He raised an eyebrow.
â€œI have to go,â€ she glanced towards the elevator and saw a queue. She strode towards the stair-way. He marched her quick steps with his long strides.
â€œYou need to stop following me.â€
â€œA walk on the beach is all I ask for.â€
â€œI canâ€™t,â€ she climbed down the stairs.
â€œI have a family dinner to attend.â€
â€œThat is not important.â€
She eyed him again, â€œIt is. It is a monthly thing.â€
â€œGreat, you can go next month.â€
â€œHow many family dinners have you missed this year?â€
â€œI donâ€™t see anything.â€
â€œI know a great guy whose grilled chicken is excellente.â€
â€œThe chicken with fried Irish potato and creamy sour vegetable salad is a nice combo.â€
Her tummy made silly noises. The talk of food was making her hungry.
â€œYou need to try out this guy.â€
They found their way out of the building amongst the teeming crowd.
â€œI donâ€™t know.â€
â€œWe wonâ€™t stay long. We will take a short stroll on the cool sand; buy the chicken and drinks and leave.â€
â€œGreat!â€ he jumped. His excitement was contagious. She started to laugh.
â€œWhere do I park my car?â€
â€œThere is an area outside the beach. We can pay those hoodlums to watch it.â€
â€œYes. They will protect the car.â€
She nodded and followed him across the busy road.
Nosakhare Ehaekpen looked at his reflection in the mirror. The lemon coloured kaftan he was putting on didnâ€™t conceal his pot belly. The golden embroidery had enough detail to cause a distraction; maybe no one would notice his protruding tummy. It was high time he returned to the gym. He had been postponing a comeback for years, ten years to be precise. A man his age needed frequent exercise, nothing dramatic. He saw his wife the moment she came out of the bathroom. She was also dressed in the same attire. He noticed that she had make- up on. What was all the fuss about? It was just dinner. They were dining indoors with their children and not strangers.
â€œWomenâ€¦â€ he mumbled under his breath.
If he had his way, he would have put on a tee-shirt and a pair of shorts, but his wife wouldnâ€™t have it. She was all about being presentable at all times. Her constant excuse was, â€˜What if we had unexpected visitors?â€™
â€œAre you ready?â€ Etinosa glanced his way.
He nodded and turned around.
â€œDid Osayuki call you?â€
He smiled at the mention of his first daughterâ€™s name. She reminded him of his late mother. Petite, dark soft chocolate skin, unique full pink lips, hazel eyes, oblong face with the mannerism of an angel. If his mother was alive, Osayuki would have been her favourite grandchild.
â€œHelloâ€¦â€ she noticed his lost far off look.
What is he thinking about now?
He blinked and stared at his wife. His smile broadened. His girls got their pretty looks from her and his boys got their good looks from him. He hoped they wouldnâ€™t inherit his pot belly. A frown creased his dark brows.
She tried not to get upset, â€œDid she call you?â€
She blinked and stared back at him. She felt like throwing something at him. He noticed the irritation in her dark eyes.
What did I do now?
â€œDid Osayuki call you?â€
He shook his head.
â€œEveryone is here. She isnâ€™t.â€
â€œYes. She usually gets here before anyone else.â€
â€œShe will be here,â€ his favourite child was probably buying one or two things. She had a habit of bringing something to the monthly family dinner.
The cool ocean breeze swept over them. She shook and wrapped her arms around her curvy frame. The short-sleeve cream blouse she was putting on was as light as a feather. She hoped she wouldnâ€™t catch a cold. She turned her head and caught him staring at her.
â€œYou are shaking like a leaf. I think we should head back.â€
He helped her to her feet.
â€œI am so full. I doubt if I will be able to eat anything at my parentsâ€™ place tonight.â€
He raised an eyebrow, â€œAre you still going there?â€
â€œYes,â€ she glanced at her wrist-watch. It was some minutes past eight, â€œThey stay on the Island.â€
They walked towards the exit. She held her pencil heeled red sandals in one hand and her red Mark and Spencer pouch in the other hand. The sand felt smooth and cool beneath her feet. She was glad she agreed to come to the beach.
â€œHope we can do this again.â€
â€œI want your phone number, email address, face book account, twitter handle and anything else youâ€™ve got.â€
She started to laugh.
â€œI am serious.â€
â€œI am beginning to think you are going to stalk me online.â€
â€œOf course I am.â€
She chuckled and met his endearing brown eyes. He was really cute. She looked away. If they become good friends, maybe something good would come out of their relationship.
â€œCome, I have an idea.â€
â€œComeâ€¦â€ he headed towards a group of big rocks that stood between Kuramo beach and Bar beach.
Where is he going now? Bar beach is deserted. People rarely go there.
She followed him and he helped her to climb to the other side. She saw scanty groups of people on the beach.
â€œDo people still come here?â€
He nodded, â€œIf you want solitude, this is the place to be.â€
â€œI heard that those white garment Prophets build wooden shanties on this beach.â€
â€œYes, like that bamboo hut covered with blankets,â€ he pointed at a wooden hut a few feet away.
â€œLetâ€™s take a look.â€
â€œCome on, are you scared?â€
She shook her head. She looked around. It was getting darker. Her family must be wondering why she wasnâ€™t around. She wished she had called.
Etinosa nibbled at her food, her watch-full eyes were set on everyone at the table. Her husband seemed to be enjoying his meal. He had emptied his plate and refilled it. Her first son, Osarodion, was seated closest to him. He had also taken a second helping. He was the exact carbon copy of his father, except for the pot belly. Her second son, Osaretin, was a mixture of both herself and her husband. He wasnâ€™t as tall as his father; he was her height, five feet seven inches. Osabohen, her second daughter and last child was her exact carbon copy. She was the tallest in the family and the prettiest of her girls. She smiled, but it faded when she noticed her first daughterâ€™s empty seat. Where was Osayuki?
â€œDid Osayuki call anyone of you?â€
Nosakhare glimpsed at his third childâ€™s empty seat. Where was she? It was unlike her to be late. He hoped she was all right.
Osarodion was unconcerned about his younger sisterâ€™s absence. The last time he saw her was at the office on Friday. She was an adult. She was old enough to take care of herself.
Osaretin wondered why his mother had brought his younger sisterâ€™s absence up. He was enjoying his meal, but, now, he had lost his appetite. She was thirty for Peteâ€™s sake, not two years old. He picked up his glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and took a long drink.
Osabohen eyed her mother.
Osayuki, Osayuki, it is always Osayuki. Osayuki this, Osayuki that, is she the only one? Haba!
She was glad that her elder sister wasnâ€™t around. It would sink in the notion that she wasnâ€™t perfect after all. She had, had enough of her at the office. Why should the trend continue in her parentsâ€™ home? She hissed and dropped the fork and knife. She pushed the half-eaten plate of food away.
â€œI believe I am speaking to people that have ears,â€ Etinosa snapped.
Osarodion cleared his throat, â€œMum, she is not a baby. She will show up if she wants to.â€
â€œExactly,â€ Osaretin added, â€œShe will probably call you later tonight or tomorrow and explain why she couldnâ€™t make it.â€
â€œShe is on her way,â€ Nosa butt in.
His children looked at him with raised eyebrows. Trust their father to come to Osayukiâ€™s defense.
â€œShe has never missed a family dinner,â€ Nosa chimed in.
â€œThis is definitely her first time,â€ Osabohen played with her fork.
He eyed her. He picked up his Iphone on the table and dialed her number. It kept ringing. He sighed and dropped the phone on the table. He looked up and met his wifeâ€™s questioning gaze.
â€œShe didnâ€™t pick the call,â€ Nosa shook his head.
Osabohen chuckled. It seemed her wishes were coming true.
Etinosa frowned. It was unlike her daughter not to pick her calls. Where could she be?
He pulled her into the bamboo hut. It was dark, quiet and empty. She squinted her eyes. There was no form of furniture in the small space. She wondered what sort of religious meeting was held in the hut.
â€œCan we go now?â€
He shook his head and pushed her. She fell on the sand with a thud. He snatched her bag, flung it, grabbed her shoes, threw it and pinned her down with his weight. Fear gripped her.
What is he doing?
Gone was the friendly look in his brown eyes. It had been replaced by a dark sinister stare.
â€œTonight, you are all mine,â€ he made a devilish throaty laugh. It sent shivers down her spine. She struggled for freedom beneath him, but his grip on her was firm and steel-like. The thought of what could happen to her that night made her to break out in sweat, despite the dry cold air.
Oh Godâ€¦ Please help me!
He ripped her blouse apart with one hand and raised her short brown skirt. Her fear multiplied. She whimpered and fought him.
â€œBe still!â€ he struck her on the side of her face. The stinging pain made hot tears to gush out of her eyes and spilled all over her face.
â€œPleaseâ€¦ I beg youâ€¦ let me goâ€¦â€ she sobbed.
â€œHeyâ€¦ sssshâ€¦ donâ€™t cry,â€ he wiped her wet face with her torn blouse.
â€œPleaseâ€¦â€ she pleaded.
â€œSssshâ€¦ donâ€™t worry, I will be gentle,â€ he licked her face. She felt sick in the tummy. No man had ever gotten that close to her. She had decided a long time ago to preserve herself and give her virginity to her husband as a gift. Regardless of the temptations she had faced, she had never gone beyond kissing a guy. The thought of losing her virginity to a total stranger made something snap within her.
â€œSomebody help me!â€ Her shriek caught him unawares. He tried to cover her mouth, but she bit him.
He slapped her twice on both sides of the face, cutting short her screams. He looked towards the entrance. There was no sound. He relaxed. No one heard her.
â€œNo one is going to save you, you are all mine,â€ he pulled off her bra and stuffed it into her mouth. The lascivious look in his eyes made her heart to pound erratically against her chest. He dropped his head and chewed at her bosom, one after the other. The sound of her cries was stifled by the cloth in her mouth. He held her hands above her head and tore off her underwear. He kicked her thighs apart and drove into her. He met a resistance within. He pushed in further and rode her like a horse. Excruciating pains attacked her nerve cells and spread all over her body like wild fire.
Osabohen sipped at the glass of wine and sat cross legged on the sofa. She stared at the television but paid no attention to it. She saw her parents talking in whispers at a corner. Were they still worried about her sister? She laughed lightly. Their perfect daughter wasnâ€™t that perfect after all. As far back as she could remember, her parents, especially her father had dotted on Osayuki. She wasnâ€™t as dark, tall and big as they all were. She was different. What was so special about her? She had heard that her elder sister looked like her late paternal granny. What does that have to do with anything? Could the resemblance be the root of her fatherâ€™s favouritism towards her?
* * *