Nkoyo felt like they were in their own little world, the music from the party seemed far away and muted in there. Her nose picked up the scent of polished wood and leather and books, the light enabled her to see a few bookshelves filled with voluminous books.
Onen shrugged out of his tux, loosened his tie and pulled it off and then went for his sleeves. Nkoyo watched the magnificent man as he undressed; he wasn’t aiming to be naked but still it was a thrill that went directly to swelling her already swollen nerves in her lady parts. Shockingly, he knelt before her, making her gasp in shock and uncertain thoughts, but he went for her ankles.
He pulled off her shoes tenderly and followed the movement of his hands with his eyes as he made his way up her legs to her thighs and then sighed, he loved the blatant contrast of his dark hands against the fair expanse of her thighs. Shaking his head as though breaking from hypnotism, his large hands settled and held her waist while his muscular body fit in the space in between her legs.
Nkoyo was breathless and this she admitted was very sexual in nature. Was he seducing her? Because he didn’t have to, if not for propriety she would have ripped off his shirts eons ago, but Onen seemed to have something on his mind that he was about to offload, the furrowed brow showed that it was something heavy.
“I don’t know what you have in mind about us, Nk, but I care only for what’s in mine. I’m sorry if that sounds high handed, but this past month has been terrible,” he breathed out the word and his suffering showed in his eyes.
Nkoyo couldn’t agree more. It had been a horrid past month, and she didn’t care that his words were high handed, she only waited with bated breath to hear those words.
“After this past month, Nk, I believe I cannot be without you…”
“No, wait, let me finish. I have struggled through this and I just want to say it. There might be problems but I’m determined we’ll go through them together. I love you, Nk and I cannot stand the thought of another man having his hands on you…” it just then occurred to him that the guy, Marcus, he’d challenged outside could have been her fiancé, though, when he’d conceded, it was apparent that he wasn’t. He momentarily wondered why she hadn’t been with her fiancé…
It wasn’t important, he looked in her eyes and saw her tears, “There is no need for tears, baby, we’ll do it together, but the first step is breaking off the engagement. I cannot marry you if you’re still engaged. Our parents might kick against it, there might be diplomatic situations between the kingdoms involved but we will fight this, I love you, Nk, I…”
Nkoyo burst into sobs of joy and surged into his arm, hugging him tight and kissing the side of his head. He was saying words that she’d only dreamt of; words that she’d hoped for but hadn’t believed she’d ever hear, not after he’d left her that night.
“I love you. I love you. I love you, so very much I feel like I’ve not been living, not been breathing before I met you. And then I left and it was worse because I was privy of paradise and lost it. You don’t know how I’ve wished countlessly that I never met you and in the next instant I’d be grateful that I did because it would be heinous to go through life and not experience what you made me feel…God, I love you, so much,” she breathed heavily, her eyes conveying exactly how she felt even as tears dripped from her eyes.
“This makes me really happy, Nk,” he groaned, the relief in his mind was just waiting at the periphery of his mind to be released. “But why are you crying,” his arm tightened about her, comfortingly caressing the length of her back.
“I already broke the engagement.”
His heart stuttered to a stop and then resumed beating faster than ever. “Then…but why didn’t you tell me?!” he felt perplexed and close to tears recalling all the time he’d spent struggling with his sense of duty and emotion.
“You were supposed to get an epiphany that you couldn’t live without me, at least that’s what I’d wished and then come after me to actually force me to disengage, like you’re doing now!” she snapped through her tears and then smiled lovingly at him.
He realized that both their suffering was his fault, yes, he shouldn’t have even let her leave in the first place, “I’m so sorry, Nk. It’s my fault and I promise to make it up to you in all the ways possible. Jesus Christ,” he exclaimed in relief and then returned to being slightly worried.
“Where there any issues…squabble?” he asked and sighed when Nkoyo shook her head in the negative.
“It was all mutual and amiable since my fiancé had already fallen in love with your sister and had been ready to break off the engagement by the time I…”
“Wait, what?! Ekong was your fiancé?!” he didn’t know how he felt about that, and he didn’t even try to find out, his heart was already full of positive emotions and he liked it; he’d had enough of the negative.
She grinned widely and nodded.
“How did I not know about this?” his brow furrowed, then cleared as his eyes widened in sudden realization, “Shit, do you think our parents knew about us?” he asked in a stage whisper.
Nkoyo’s smile wavered as her mind whirled in thought, recalling the tentative pushes and prods from her parents. “Oh my God,” she groaned and covered her face with her hands in embarrassment, “I think they knew. Your mother sent me a special invitation, worded just for me instead of to the royal house. My mother was so angry one of those days when I mentioned that I might not be able to make it because of work…”
“I was never bothered despite my obvious depression. It was weird because my parents always get to the crux of any matter, big or small, but they stayed away from me obviously plotting to have you here,” he grinned and leaned in close to kiss her softly, “I am grateful for their meddling,” he murmured seductively.
“Me too,” she pulled close and kissed him as softly as he had kissed her. Onen felt the effect right to his toes and he groaned his pleasure, deepening the innocent kiss into something heatedly sensual.
His hands crept to her breast for the first time that night, he sighed in satisfaction as he molded the large shape, squeezing and wishing her cloths off, so that he could lick her possibly hardened nipples…but then he recalled he had to make this right.
“Wait,” he drew back and Nkoyo protested again, “So, impatient, my sweet, love. I like it,” he murmured with a promising smile while reaching into his pocket to withdraw a ring.
Nkoyo gasped when she saw it, the ring was gold, exquisitely cut and obviously vintage, she was sure the diamond was real. The angular shaped stone stood out proudly and she breathed out through her mouth to control the urge to pant and jump up and down like a child.
Onen saw the look on her face and wasn’t really sure if she was shocked speechless or she didn’t like it. “This is mostly symbolic to me, if you don’t like the ring, by all means I’ll get you another,” he commented worriedly, he didn’t really know what he was doing and was just muddling along. He suddenly wondered how people managed to make marriage proposals in public, the tension was killing him and there weren’t any spectators to be worried about.
It took a while for what he’d said to penetrate her consciousness. “What? No, I love it, don’t do that…”
He sighed with relief, “It’s not really a big deal, it’s just that it’s been in the family for eons and it is both an heirloom and a tradition. My father says the ring always goes to the first son on his twentieth year, meant to be given to his wife and then she wears it until her first son is twenty.”
“That is a big deal, Onen,” Nkoyo whispered in awe. She at that moment felt so little in the sight of such an auspicious and profound tradition; vaguely she wondered who had first owned the ring and the story behind it. She would be eternally honored to have her name entangled with the story of the ring.
“If you say so,” he replied and grinned. Onen straighten on his knees and held her left hand, his thumb could feel the rapid beat of her pulse at her wrist, it mirrored his also. They were about to take a step here, they were about to merge souls and destinies for all eternity.
“I love you, Nk and I want to spend all of my life loving you; marry me, please,” he asked.
“Yes,” she sobbed and watched with tears in her eyes as he slipped the ring onto her finger. Nkoyo immediately felt acceptance and the wholesome feeling of belonging. It was absurd but she felt like she could feel invisible threads of fate weaving their destinies together right there in that study.
“I love you,” she whispered and kissed him both passionately and softly.
Onen groaned in his pleasure and pushed her back to the couch while climbing on to her. The leather of the couch made a yawning sound as Onen added his weight to hers, still kissing, tangling limbs and on the way to going wild.
But even in the midst of their frolic and the loud sound of the poor couch, they heard the sudden thump at the study door and it instantly broke them apart. Nkoyo’s eyes seemed startled, while Onen frowned at the door and went to check.
He worried that someone must have heard their passionate dealings in the study. Belatedly, Onen regretted not finding a more private place for his seduction and proposal, say like his room. Sighing, he opened the door expecting to find maybe his father standing there with a frown, but he was faced with an empty corridor; he looked left and right, but the stretch of space was totally deserted. So, who made the thump on the door?
“We should go back to the party, they might be looking for us, especially after the dramatic way we left,” Nkoyo suggested coyly, effectively erasing the frown on his brow and even his worry.
“Good idea, my love,” he said, kissed her and helped her into her shoes. Helplessly he pulled her into his arms again, kissing her senseless before he led her back to the party.
Their voices faded as they made their way towards the door they’d used. The hall echoed Onen’s loving murmur and Nkoyo’s girlish laughter rang out and bounced off the walls. It was clear they were very happy and soon, they reached the door and opened it, sounds from the party filtered in only slightly before it was closed, leaving the corridor silent and empty of their presence.
With the absence of the love birds, the long corridor was just a hall with closed doors on both sides, doors that guarded rooms that were as mighty as the rest of the palace was built…as should a palace be. Peace settled and the silence drew out until the soft yawning of an opening door broke the quiet.
INSIDE OUT continues
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