‘I have enough blisters to last me a life time.’ Ibitoru complained a [email protected] in her right hand.
‘Blisters don’t kill,’ Toni informed her. ‘And they won’t stop you from working. Remember, no cutting, no meal for today.’
‘I won’t forget this,’ she swore. ‘You will pay dearly for what you are putting me through.’
‘And I’m so scared,’ he feigned fear, then seriously, ‘start cutting.’
She mumbled and grumbled every step of the way. Louder when he made her scrub the floors of the house. She was sweating profusely. There was no light.
If she didn’t know better, she would have been convinced that he had brought her here to teach her how to do domestic chores. And the idea itself was ludicrous.
It was almost a month since her abduction and she was yet to find out why she was here. He was making her do things she never imagined she would ever do. She had been a day student at the secondary school she had attended and so there had been no fear that she would be made to do her own share of cleaning up. In place of Foods and Nutrition and Home Management, she had been a student of Agricutural Science, paying other students to work on her farm. Now she was forced to wield [email protected] like a common labourer.
She looked up to glare at the man who was responsible. He did his own share. He was dressed in only a pair of shorts and his muscles rippled as he worked. He almost had her salivating as she watched but she looked away. He wasn’t a nice man. He had no right to punish a princess like this!
She mopped the area she had just scrubbed thinking that in her pres£nt state, she looked like a damned house maid: kneeling on the ground, her hair scattered all over head, one part flattened while the other stood upright like that of a person who had received an electric shock.
She adjusted the upper edge of her wrapper she had on. Her life had being totally disorganized by a man who believed that he could get away with it.
She missed giving orders in the company. She missed the men she flirted with. She missed the outdoors.
She missed Steve. And most of all, she missed her family, her home. She missed the comfort it provided. She missed her friends. So far, she hadn’t spoken to another female in almsot a month.
All she had for companion, when he was available, who was her jailor and he couldn’t be [email protected] as a companion. Not with his countenance. He looked more like a man spoiling for a fight. He would stand there, his handsome face [email protected] and unsmiling giving orders, like he was in the army. If she wasn’t partly convinced that he had to be [email protected] or an eunuch, she would have attempted to se-duce him. That would have earned her an escape. But this man looked at her like she was a mouse he wanted to squash for peeing in his bag of garri but didn’t, only because he needed her!
And that was an insult!
She was beautiful and shapely enough to go out there and win a Miss World competition. And she also had the brains. She was used to men staring whenever she [email protected], men better looking than her jailor but he was acting like she looked like something the cat dragged in or wouldn’t even drag in. She must look a fright without her make-up and her hair all over the place. Anyone who knew her would scream if he/she saw her in her current state.
She glared at Toni but it was wasted because he wasn’t looking at her.
‘Hey,’ she called insultingly.
He ignored her.
‘Toni,’ she amended and this time he looked at her.
‘What do you want?’
‘I’m done,’ she announced.
He looked at the area she’d been working on, then nodded for her to leave. An indirect way of dismissing her.
‘You know, a little compliment won’t hurt,” she told him.
‘Of course, like you compliment the servants in your home or the people working under you at the company.’
Her eyes narrowed into slits. ‘They get paid to do their work.’
He looked at her for a moment then walked up to her, close enough for her to smell sweat and his natural male scent. And be very aware of him.
‘You did a good job,’ he said patting her cheeks. ‘For that expect a raise in your salary this month.’
‘Hey you wanted a compliment, didn’t you?’ He interjected.
‘Not an insult.’
‘You don’t compliment people especially those not in your [email protected], so why expect me to do so?’
‘You are not in my [email protected] You are a-‘
He caught her upper and lower l!ps between his f!ng£rs and held them in place, making it impossible for her to talk.
‘Sorry. I can’t stand foul language in the morning. It’s a bad omen. And you should learn to talk without using them. It is unladylike.’
He released her.
‘Ladylike my-‘ He shut her up once more.
She glared at him. If looks could kill, he would be dead right now, he thought. He let go of her once more.
‘Get your filthy hands off me.”
‘Or you’ll do what? Tell daddy?’
‘No. I’ll simply break your arm.’
‘Tough luck. There are so many ways to silence an angry woman.’
‘And you have been reading too many novels. klzz me Toni, and I shall gladly scratch out your eyes.’
‘Is that a challenge?’ he asked arching an eyebrow.
She took a step backward. ‘It is a warning. One you should heed. I have no use for guys like you.’
‘You think that you are too good for me?’
‘I don’t think so. I know so.’
‘I am never one to turn down a good challenge.’
‘Don’t you dare. Hey!’ She cried out when he suddenly grabbed her wrist and pulled her against him.
His face was so close she could feel his warm breath. She was certain he was going to klzz her and prepared for all of the things she would do to him: bite his tongue, scratch his face and break his arm. She was so lost in the thought of all the things she would do to him that she didn’t even notice when he let her go.
‘On second thoughts, you are not my type,’ he told her. ‘Besides, there are different ways to silence a female that do not in any way require klzzing her.’
She was not his type! The words sparked something in her head. How dared he act like he was too good for her?
Without thinking, she literally threw herself at him and klzzed him. Toni laughed inwardly as took the bait. She was so predictable. He had known that once he made the comment about not being her types she would klzz him to prove the point that he wasn’t immune to her. Well, he got a slap for his effort. She klzzed him for a few seconds and when she saw the look of triumph in his eyes, she gave him a hot slap.
‘What was that for?’ He demanded rubbing at his cheek.
‘For laying you filthy peasant l!ps on mine.’
‘Point of correction, you threw your rich l!ps at those filthy peasant l!ps which obviously just gave you pleasure.’
‘You pig!’ She swore turning to walk away missing a step in her haste to escape but he caught her quickly, saving her from a [email protected] fall. She glared at him and tugged her wrist free. ‘I’ll get you for this.’
‘Go take your bath. I’ll fix breakfast.’ he told her, his f!ng£r on his l!ps without even realising it.
Ib prepared lunch and he didn’t compliment her cooking. That pissed her off and she marched into her bedroom. He didn’t bother locking the door behind her.
About an hour later, and just for the fun of it, he walked into Ibitoru’s room. She lifted her face and grimaced.
‘You should learn to knock.’
‘In my own house?’
‘It doesn’t make a difference. You might just see something you least expect.’
‘I’m sure I won’t see anything that would make me run outside screaming and tugging at my hair.’
”Very funny Toni. Very funny. But then I am not in the least bit amused. And by the way, you owe me an apology.’
‘I owe you an apology? What for?’
‘You ate my food without saying thank you or paying me a damned compliment.’
‘And that hurt you?’
‘Of course. I’m a human being with emotions.’
‘You are learning fast,’ he said. ‘When the maids at your home give you your meals, do you say thank you or compliment them?’
‘Are you by any chance calling me a maid?’ She demanded her eyes blazing hot at what she considered an insult.
‘You haven’t answered my question.’
‘Why should I thank them when they are paid to do their job?’ She enquired like the idea was ridiculous.
He looked at her, his eyes slightly narrowed. She still had more lessons to learn. She had learnt a little but she still had a long way to go. As much as she felt that he was disrupting her life, he just felt that he had to do something about her attitude towards people especially those she felt were not in her [email protected] He had no interest whatsoever in Chief Davids’ spoilt daughter despite the effect her short klzz seemed to have on him. The klzz only proved that he had been too long without a woman.
‘And you think that they are less than human?’
‘I haven’t thought about that. But we pay them to do their job so what is the problem if I don’t pay them compliments? They don’t complain about it.’
‘And that is because if you heard any of them complaining, you would have had them fired for being so bold.’
She glared at him for some time but what he said was the truth and she knew that. However, she would not admit that to him.
‘What are you anyway? An advocate for the less privileged?’
‘No, but unlike you I see people as people irrespective of their [email protected]’
‘I never said that they weren’t people.’ she said in self-defence.
‘No, but you treat them that way. You remember the first time we met?’
‘You were leaning against my car.’
‘And you took that as an insult. You asked me to take my filthy self off your car.’
‘Well you had no business leaning over my car.’
‘Because it was a new car?’
‘It still is.’
‘The point is you act like people not in your [email protected] are lesser human beings and that is not a good attitude.’
‘Then sue me.’
‘You have a lot to learn, Ibitoru Davids and until you do you are going to remain here.’
‘What are you? My conscience?’
‘I won’t even take up such a tasking job. Now about the lunch, the dishes are still waiting for you in the kitchen.’
‘I can’t believe this. I spent almost an hour in that cardboard box fixing the damn meal, and while you ate to your fill, now you want me to wash up.’
‘Yes. You mess up, you clean up.’
‘I’m not your hired servant.’
‘Just do it. We’ll talk about the pay later.’
She cried out when she found herself off the bed and tossed over his shoulder. And to think that he did that with just one arm, made it more [email protected]
‘Release me this instant, you brute.’
He didn’t oblige her until he got to the kitchen. She stood, her dark eyes shooting darts at him.
‘I might have been forced to remain in this dump but I’m sick and tired of being man handled. I scrub your damn floors. I cook for you. I get locked up in that damn bedroom and have to beg to be let out. My nails are all broken and misshapen and my hair is in dire need of a relaxer. I can put up with those for now but I will not tolerate being mauled by a-‘
‘A what? A little nobody? You are going to wash up …’
‘And if I don’t?’
‘You know the answer to that.’
‘You can lock me up here and I wouldn’t do anything.’
‘Let’s wait and see.’
He turned and began to walk away when she tossed at him. ‘And you better keep your filthy hands off me.’
He reeled back and grabbed her wrist pulling her to him. Their faces were less than an inch apart. She held her breath without even realizing it, expecting him to klzz her. His l!ps hovered over hers and she parted hers waiting. But nothing happened, instead he lifted his head and released her.
‘Wash up the plates and maybe that will put me in the mood to humour you with a klzz.’
‘Why you …’
He shut the door behind him.
How dare he do that to her! She thought. How dare he take her for a ride? Even as she thought of it, she heard a key turn in the lock as he locked her in the poorly ventilated kitchen.
‘I’m going for a walk,’ he said. ‘And I expect you to be done by the time I get back.’
‘Go and hug a transformer.’
She told herself she was not going to do anything but soon found herself grumbling as she washed up.
‘Damn you Toni! Damn you!’
Toni returned about half an hour later. Ibitoru didn’t utter a word to him as he had unlocked the kitchen door. He noticed that she kept her right hand hidden. As she walked past him, he pulled her backwards and heard the distinct sound of steel as the knife she held in her hand fell to the [email protected] floor.
‘Murder, Miss Davids,’ he jeered as he picked up the knife. ‘I would never have expected that from you. That neck is too pretty to have a noose around it.’
‘And I’m sure the world would forgive me for getting rid of one bad seed,’ she countered.
He shook his head and returned the knife to the cabinet.
‘Any attempt on my life, Ibitoru and I won’t be responsible for my actions.’
‘What will you do? Kill me?’
‘It would be so easy, believe me, but as much as the thought of s£nding the corpse of Chief Davids daughter to him is appealing. I won’t be turned into a murderer. Neither of you is worth it.’
‘You’d have to tell me what you have against my father.’
‘Haven’t you figured that out?’
‘I’m not a seer.’
‘You’ll find out soon.’