“Why are you not at least pretending that this arrangement is inappropriate?”
“Inappropriate to who?” Emma’s mother countered over the phone.
“The society will always have their say no matter what you do. If your man were to marry you this instant, someone would still sneer that you got pregnant first; even if you weren’t pregnant, there are people that will say that you snared a rich kid diabolically. The list goes on and on, Emmaline, so, there’s absolutely no point bothering your head about what other people consider appropriate or inappropriate.”
“That actually makes some sense,” Emma murmured to herself while packing a bag, readying to be transported to Fred’s apartment.
“You sound like I don’t usually make sense,” her mother accused.
“Hurry up, Emma, I want to drop you off and…”
Emma lifted the phone from her ears, “I thought Fred was getting me?” she whispered loudly with a frown.
“No need now. I need to have a word with the young man about the case and the way forward, so hurry,” Ette said and walked away.
“Mummy, I have to go, let’s talk later,” she didn’t wait for her mother’s reply, she ended the call.
Her heart hammered in her chest as she made sure to pick nice cloths, and flattering night wears. Emma was ignoring the fact that she was extremely excited to be moving to Fred’s apartment, which, ordinarily, considering what he’d done, she shouldn’t be.
Ette came in again looking impatient as Emma was zipping up the large bag, he said nothing but just hefted the considerably heavy bag and went out.
FRED WONDERED IF EMMA would still be upset with him. After giving up on keeping everyone happy at her uncle’s house a week ago, they’d not spoken since.
His stomach burned with the excitement of actually having her stay at his house; to live with him and she was having his baby. Fred’s heart flipped severally, as it has been doing since he accepted the fact that he was going to be a father.
Wiping the sweat from his brow, he stood back and admired his handiwork; he had taken it upon himself to set up the second room for Emma. He wished he didn’t have to, he wished she would share his room, but from her attitude the last time they’d seen, he was playing it safe.
He might have been opinionated a week ago but deep down he was scared shitless of everything. Fred was afraid of having to run his dad’s company, what if he failed. He was afraid that he wouldn’t make a good dad to his child, after shirking his responsibilities for such a long time.
Glancing at his watch, he frowned unhappily; he’d been scheduled to pick up Emma at eleven am, but no matter how he occupied himself, the time seemed to be crawling. He had woken up early, after not being able to sleep the whole night, and cleaned his apartment from top to bottom.
He had called his father’s driver and asked that his mother’s vanity be transferred to his house and surprisingly, it had gotten to him an hour after he’d called. Unfortunately, the dressing table did not fit into the second room which he’d arranged for Emma, so he had to put it in his own room.
Though, it failed the whole purpose to fixing up a womanly room for her, Fred was still glad that the room looked comfortable.
With less than two hours to pick up time, Fred decided to take a bath. He had just pulled on a jean when he heard the knock on the door. He smiled contemplatively as he left his room to open the front door.
Paul had mentioned that he’d be dropping by with Obot and Ekong to welcome him back from exile today, but he hadn’t thought it would be this early, he’d expected that they should be having lectures this morning.
“Don’t you have lectures…” the words stuttered to nothingness as he came face to head with Emma, because of her diminutive height, but he loved her height.
Emma’s eyes leveled with his chest, so she was treated to the sexily glorious expanse, adorned with crisp, black hair that went all the way down and tapered into his low riding jeans. She had to swallow with difficulty and clear her throat before speaking.
“Hi,” she managed but it came out as a croak, her nose was totally inundated with the fresh scent from both his soap and deodorant.
While she’d been staring at his chest, he’s been staring at how adorably round she looked in a short, flare gown and how her breast seemed to strain the bodies of her gown.
“You could allow her in, you know,” Ette teased as he closed the trunk of his car. He had been watching the reaction of the young lovers and it was comical that they insisted on pretending that they didn’t love each other blind.
Fred jerked into action, looking abashed at being caught staring, he shifted from the door to allow Emma in, her fast growing bump brushed his abdomen and he sucked in breath harshly as he was assaulted with a deluge of wonderful emotions.
Her fragrance wafted around him and he unconsciously, inhaled her, holding the scent in his system as she passed.
“A little help here,” Ette called again, bringing the boy out of whatever land he had retreated to. His niece was just stubborn, if not, she would have noticed how crazy her young man was for her.
Hurrying down the short flight of stairs, Fred grabbed the large and quite heavy bag from Emma’s uncle.
“I was supposed to come get her later, Sir,” Fred began respectfully.
“I know, I wanted to have a word with you about Mike Okpo.”
“Oh,” was the only thing Fred said, at the mention of the old thief’s name, his whole demeanor fell.
“No need to be afraid of the old fox, we’ll take care of him…but it has to be with your help.”
Fred nodded without much confidence and led the way into his apartment. His heart stuttered again at the sight of Emma standing in his apartment. His eyes, on their own accord shifted to her stomach again; it was a thing of awe that a human he had created actually grew in her belly.
“Sorry, I haven’t had the time to fix the place,” he apologized. His sitting room was literally empty and he felt embarrassed about it. He dropped the bag by the door and rushed to his room to get a plastic seat and a stool.
“So, sorry,” he reiterated.
“It’s okay, son,” Ette said, accepting the stool while Fred placed the plastic seat in a comfortable position for Emma.
“Thanks,” murmured with downcast eyes.
“You’re welcome,” he murmured back, finding it difficult to move away from her. He wanted to be around her, wallowing in her scent all day.
“So,” Ette said clearing his throat and snagging Fred’s attention, the boy was completely enamored with Emma.
“Yes,” he turned to Ette, and easily settled his butt on the tiled floor, leaning his back on the wall, but generally sitting close to Emma.
“I have to confess that I hadn’t been paying much attention to this case, in fact, I had put the two most incompetent agents on it, because I didn’t think it was worth it.”
“Why?” Fred asked curiously; everybody knew the infamous name, Mike Okpo and so, anything to do with him should have been taken serious.
“Well, my office, is the annex of the DSS main office and bureaucracy now uses the place as a dumping ground for incompetents; agents they wish to punish and cases that are going nowhere.”
“Is that legal?” Fred seemed worried.
“They’ve made it legal. Anyway, this is why when Mike Okpo’s file appeared in the pile, I wasn’t really worried about it. Normally, we would have just dumped the file at the back, but, I asked those two nincompoops to check it out and they did what they were good at…nothing,” Ette seemed riled up at the memory of what the agents had done.
Fred turned in time to catch the receding smile on Emma’s lips, she bit her lower lip to try and hide it. Her humor caused a humorous reaction in him too, he wanted to smile and laugh…with her.
“So, now, I’ve extensively studied his file and his crimes are basically hacking the bank’s system for fractions of people’s money. I have this inkling that for him to seek help, ergo you, it means he’s going for something big and if not stopped, the whole economic system of the state would be crippled.”
Silence reigned in the sitting room for a minute.
“I don’t know what to do?”
“Simple, work with him.”
Fred’s eyes widened, “But…I thought maybe, I could just lure him out and then you arrest him,” he didn’t want to have anything to do with the old man.
“Mike Okpo has been arrested severally. To make the charge stick, he needs to be caught red handed.”
“I might not even be able to do what he wants me to do,” Fred hedged.
“Pretend then, and document everything,” Ette said, standing up, a signal that the discussion was over.
Fred got to his feet in a fluid motion, “He has been sending messages to my facebook handle.”
“Good, you can chat with him there, that’s still some kind of evidence. If you can get him to explain what he needs, better. I’m going to arrange a strike team for this case and when we are ready, I’ll let you know when to approach him for a physical meeting.”
Ette stared at the young man and smiled, “Don’t worry so much,” he really was harmless and incapable to deceit. He patted Fred on his back and waved at his niece.
“Don’t quarrel too much,” he advised with a teasing smile before closing the door behind him.
Fred stared at the closed door for a while. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, collecting his wits about him; anxiety chewed at him because he realized that he was now alone with Emma. He could feel his tongue begin to tie up, the urge to become speechless, but he swore that would not happen.
Turning sharply to face her, “I made up the spare room for you,” he announced nicely and picked up her bag, moving to the direction of the rooms.
If he had looked, he would have seen Emma’s crestfallen expression. “Oh, okay,” she agreed soberly. “That’s nice of you,” she added as she followed him to the room. They sounded like professional colleagues in an office.
Fred hefted the bag on to a table, so that it would be easy for her to unpack without stress.
Emma kept wishing he would just pull on a shirt. The sight of his bare torso and the fact that she couldn’t touch it and the reality that she’d be staying in a separate room, made her feel as though she’d been dumped.
“So,” Fred dusted his hands and looked awkward, “Do you like it?” he seemed proud of his work.
“It’s nice,” Emma answered with a forced smile.
“Have you had breakfast,” he asked while wishing she would say she didn’t like the room so that he could offer his…
She shook her head, “Water would be nice though.”
He nodded and hurried off immediately. Seconds later he returned with two glasses of water, “I didn’t know if you’d like the chilled or ordinary one,” he said and smiled sheepishly.
Emma’s heart tripped, he was so adorable…why would he put her in a different room, she thought forlornly.
“So…which one?” Fred called, his heart hammering at the far away look in her eyes, she didn’t look happy.
“I…” she paused, licked her lips and seemed uncertain what to say.
How difficult was it to choose what temperature of water to drink? Unless, it wasn’t the water that was making her speechless; Fred swallowed with difficulty and held on to the glasses of water, waiting.
Her eyes flicked to his face. They stared at each other fixedly, each trying to read the other; each trying to mentally will the other to do that which they wished. They missed their camaraderie, the laughter and fun they’d had.
“Please, stay in my room…with me,” Fred capitulated, looking hopeful, wanting her to accept his outrageous request.
“Oh God, yes, please, yes,” she agreed with such a heavy sigh of relief her shoulders drooped in the process.
Fred didn’t care about boundaries any longer, he hurriedly dropped the glasses on the table, dried his hands on the seat of his jean and rushed to hug her, for the first time.
Her hands settled on his chest, reveling on the feel that she had missed so much. Fred engulfed her in a hug, his mouth connecting with her temple, his hands conveying his adoration for her.
“I missed you so much, Emma, and I’m so sorry, I can’t say it enough.”
“I’m sorry too, for last week, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I was just…”
“Sssh, it’s fine,” both his hands grabbed her jaws and bent her head backwards so that he was staring directly into her eyes. “I meant what I said last week, Emma. I want to do this, the whole nine yards…I want you to be my family.”
Her heart did a curious flip flop, “Because, you don’t want different women having you children,” she said with an adorable pout, reminding him of the annoying statement he had made.
Fred’s hands lowered, caressing his way down her arms and on to her bump, “I really sounded like an arsehole last week and I’m sorry. What I meant was…I love you, Emma, all of you, with this baby and babies that we might have…”
Emma went on the tip of her toe, her arm reaching around his neck to pull his face closer, she kissed him with everything she had in her body and soul and spirit. She kissed him, trying to communicate how much she loved him too.
“Does this mean I’m forgiven?” he whispered with an upward lift of his lip, his tongue reaching out to taste his upper lip, and of course, a taste of her.
Emma’s eyes clouded over as she stared at the movement of his tongue, “Does this mean your investment actually paid off?” she asked out of the blue with a teasing smile and flirty eyes.
Fred chuckled while leaning down to kiss her again, this time thoroughly tangling tongues and drawing her close, despite the bump.
“No, it hasn’t paid,” he said in a husky voice.
“I knew it,” Emma said smiling at him, “You were jerking your dad’s temper,” she observed.
“I was, the man is insufferable at times,” Fred said while smoothing hair from her face in a most tender move.
“I love you too, Fred,” Emma suddenly said, her eyes serious and conveying the extent of her emotions. “I love you very much, and no matter how I tried to punish you for disappearing, I couldn’t.”
“I really cannot explain why I disappeared, when all I’d always wanted was you, in my house…the baby is a bonus.”
They laughed, Fred led her to the bed, helped her lie down and joined her, cuddling her soft body from behind.
“So, you’re going to run the companies?”
Fred sighed heavily, “I’ll try,” he replied, tightening his hold around her, one massive palm, placed flat on her bump, “But I’m scared,” he confided.
“It’s okay to be scared, that’s the more reason you’ll succeed. I believe you can do it, Fred,” she placed her hands on his hand on her stomach. Fred turned his hand over and clasped hers.
He curved his height on to her back and nuzzled her nape, “Thanks so much for not giving up on me,” he murmured in her ear, his voice reverberating in his chest and her back.
“Me too,” she replied and scooted backwards, wanting, if possible, to meld with him.
For the first time in months, despite the looming job with Mike Okpo, Fred was truly at peace. She was his anchor, his pillar and he wished fervently to be the same to her and their child. Moments later, they’d fallen asleep in each other’s arms.
The story continues
LagosConvo family, I greet you all. Its your girl Emem Bassey. So, people have been wanting my stories as a full novel, I have done this and even added hotter scenes to it. Please help my ministry.
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