The Games We Play

by Xyvah Okoye


Synopsis:

When Poppie tries to end her relationship with her long-standing lover, she finds herself facing a bigger dilemma than she is trying to get out of.

A short but fascinating story of love, betrayal, sex and daddy-issues.

*****

Category: Romance


(!) MATURE CONTENT: contains graphic depictions of sexuality, strong language, and mature themes. Not suitable for readers under 18

(c) All Rights Reserved.


Chapter 1: Poppie Gwan


Poppie never knew love could feel this good. She had read about happily ever afters more than once upon many times but had stopped believing a long time ago that it was possible for her. Now, strolling along the streets of Paris, his touch sent bolts of electricity shooting down her spine as his arm gently grazed hers. She watched the autumn leaves floating slowly to the ground while they walked side by side, his voice, a muffled melody to the love song she was writing in her mind, still unable to comprehend the reality of her state. 

They were in love. 

Or so she wanted to believe. 

She smiled sheepishly as they made their way through Luxembourg gardens. He fascinated her. Was it the deep husk in his voice that made the tips of her ears prickle? Or his gentle smile that filled her cheeks with a warm redness every time it touched his dark eyes which glistened, framed by his long lashes rimming his chocolate brown skin? Those eyes… they melted her heart every time she looked into them. 

Adetunji smiled when he noticed her staring at him and her cheeks flushed red again. She quickly looked away, unsure of how to react, kicking herself internally for being so emotional. His rough hand caressed her cheek, sliding to hold her chin up as he pulled her face up to meet his.

Her heart stopped for a moment as their lips connected and her eyes closed, shutting out the world swirling around her as she allowed herself to lean into his embrace. 

After what felt like not long enough to her, he pulled away ever so slightly that all she had to do was breathe and their lips would connect again. But she held her breath, mind and heart racing as her ears rang from the blood rushing furiously through her system. 

She wanted more. More than a kiss. More than a hug. They both did. But they couldn’t have that. They shouldn’t even have this. But she couldn’t help it. Her body couldn’t help but respond to his touch. He knew the power he held over her, and he wielded it well. 

When she didn’t move, he kissed her softly, then led her towards his hotel, where he planned to take her from his room to worlds only they could know. 

Poppie knew this was a mistake and a part of her wanted to stop walking, to plant her feet firmly on the ground, say what she had to say, and then run in the opposite direction, but that logical part of her was drowning in the chemicals now flooding her system, the emotions welling up inside her clouded her judgment as reason gave in to lust and, before she realised, she was staring at the curtains of his hotel room, brown fabric drawn shut, synonymous to his usual manner of shutting the world out of their business. 

She shook her head, disappointed at her inability to resist him. This was not why she asked to meet with him, he didn’t know why but he had agreed. He obviously had his own agenda and she wasn’t leaving until he carried it out. He kissed her neck repeatedly, hands searching her body, running from her shoulders, down her arms, to her waist, tugging gently at her blouse as he untucked it from her skirt. She wriggled uncomfortably, trying to push him away as she turned her face towards him to ask him to stop. 

Before the words were out, he silenced her lips with his, hands sliding up her blouse, caressing her back, down her sides, up to the nape of her neck, pulling tightly into him. She held him too. Kissed him like she would die without him, like he was her oxygen. She needed him, even more than he wanted her. The voice of reason screamed frantically for her to stop now, to tell him she knew the truth and she was leaving him, she was done, to push him off her and walk away from this toxic affair, but he silenced it with a whisper in her ear, “I’m going to fuck you till you pass out.” 


Chapter 2: A Hold She Can’t Explain


Poppie sat up in bed, unsure of what had happened, Adetunji’s heavy hand falling from across her chest, down into her lap. He stirred, grunting in his sleep and she held her breath. She dared not wake him. As much as she was there to end whatever they had, she still feared angering him and that made her very careful with what she said, who she spoke to and what she did. She slipped silently out of bed, making her way in the darkness to the little bathroom. She shut the door quietly and wiped the cum that leaked down her thighs, before stepping under the hot shower, the high pressure massaging her soul as she hugged herself and let it wash the muted tears as they ran down her face. 

She was a mess. He had her wrapped around his little finger and there was no breaking free. She was supposed to be breaking up with him, instead she was making love like it was their first time. She sighed heavily, listening to the sound of the rushing water, taking her back to their first time. 

Theirs had always been a complicated relationship, right from the start and, although she knew they were bad for each other, her attachment to him was beyond normal. Her low self-esteem, a condition stemming from childhood daddy-issues, had allowed her to settle for less than she deserved. She had settled for him because he knew how to make her feel special – that, and he was a beast in bed – and she didn’t know how to give that up. 

The bathroom door opened and Poppie froze as Adetunji walked in. Had she woken him? He yawned loudly, easing himself, before stopping as he noticed her in the shower. She watched him from the corner of her eye as he examined the discolouration on her naked body. Her light skin bruised easily, but what did he care? He liked it rough, and he always got what he wanted. 

“Hmm,” he mused to himself as he opened the small glass door separating them. He stepped in, pushing his body up from behind her and kissing her. She flinched, steadying herself on the shower walls. She didn’t want this. 

“Hey,” she whispered, shrugging her shoulders as he pushed her body up against the wet walls, massaging her waist gently, “can we not do this? Can we just talk?” her voice sounded shaky and timid, but his kisses slowed, before finally stopping as he spoke. 

“What do you want to talk about?”

“I don’t know,” she said honestly, “anything. We don’t talk like we used to do anymore. We used to talk all the time before, now we hardly even communicate, like our friendship is dying…”

“What? Why would you even think that?” he kissed her cheek, then spun her around to face him, “you mean a lot to me. You’re one of my closest friends. I’ve let you into my life, into my home. We’ve been through things, I’ve done things with you that I’d never do with anyone else.” 

She nodded, staring into his eyes, unsure of what to say now. 

“You’ve helped me so much,” he continued, “you’ve been there for me. When I traveled and I was sick, you stayed on the phone with me all the time, you encouraged me, helped me get through it, and when I got back, you visited me and made sure I was alright. You helped me financially when I was struggling and you’ve never asked for anything in return. Why would I let anything happen to my relationship with you?”

Poppie sighed, she knew he was in her head again, “I can’t do this Tunji.”

“Do what?” he asked, holding her at arm’s length as he scrutinized her face.

“This!” she said, “whatever this is, whatever we are. I can’t do it anymore.”

“What are you talking about?” he pulled her close to him, hugging her as his face searched for hers where she had buried it in his shoulder, “We’re going to be ok.” he guided her mouth to his, squeezing her tightly, then lifting her, pinning her against the wall. She moaned loudly as he slid into her, “Does this feel like I don’t love you?” he asked as he started to grind into her, “does it?”

She shook her head, allowing him to do what he did best, until he was done. 

Her legs felt like jelly when he let her slide to her feet, and she had to lean on him to keep herself from falling. He laughed, supporting her with one hand and proceeding to sponge her down with soap. After he had given her a wash, he helped her to the bed where he dried her body and then tucked her in. The lamp above the bed was on, lighting the room dimly and Poppie wondered what the time was. It was definitely past midnight, that she was sure of. 

The kettle clicked and Adetunji poured some hot water into a mug, stirring lightly as he made his way around the bed to where she lay, “this will help you feel better.” 

She smiled politely, taking the mug from him and sipping its contents as he watched. Hot chocolate, just the way she liked it. Her smile grew wider and he chuckled, climbing over her and getting into bed beside her, resting his arm around her shoulders as he began to recount the journey of their friendship from his perspective. 


Chapter 3: When History Repeats Itself


The retelling was quite the same… until it wasn’t. He was right that what they had was great at first. For many months, they were absolutely in love, until she found out that he was involved with someone else. The pain of his betrayal almost shattered her. The hardest part was finding out that, after going through three miscarriages, the person he decided to get involved with was a good friend of hers. The friend, in fact, who introduced her to him. 

Poppie hated him, she couldn’t bring herself to forgive him – or her – until the day her friend confronted her, telling her that she and Tunji were engaged, and had been for five years. Something in Poppie died that day. She avoided him like the plague. But he was persistent, and because what Tunji wants, Tunji gets, he was somehow able to persuade her to take him back. Till this day, Poppie had no idea how it had happened, all she knew was she was back in his arms and he wasn’t letting her go. 

She was with him, his ride or die, the Bonnie to his Clide, until misfortune struck again and another friend confided in her about the secret affair she was having with Tunji. Poppie realised that her extremely private way of living was serving Tunji’s purposes. Because nobody, not even her friends, knew of her private life, her relationship with him was basically nonexistent to the public… and Tunji was fair game. 

This slap in her face had not been enough to wake Poppie. In his usual way, he had wooed her, and she had fallen for his charm once again. She loved him. Something about him kept her hooked, coming back for more. She trusted him with her secrets (which is a lot for any intensely private person) and she felt like she could talk to him about anything at all. He knew her inside out, mind and body, and he always said and did the right things to make her keep running back to him, no matter what he did. 

He took the empty mug from her, placing it on the bedside table as she snuggled into his chest. “Things are different now,” she thought to herself as she drifted to sleep. 

That night, her dreams were plagued with warnings not to trust him. 

The next morning, Tunji greeted her with another round of good sex, before allowing her to jump in the shower and head home to get ready for work. She was starting late that day so she had enough time to stop by her apartment before work. She smiled to herself, humming all the way home and dancing in her room to an inaudible song as she picked out what to wear. She felt great! Things between her and Tunji were looking up and she had nothing to worry about. She consciously ignored the warnings in her dreams, pushing the nagging feeling aside in her mind, singing louder to drown it out. 

She got changed, had a cup of tea and a croissant before settling down to read and respond to her calls, messages and texts from the night before. As per his usual protocol, she had to have her phone off or on airplane mode when they were spending time together, but she usually just put it on do not disturb. 

She replied to a text message from her mum, then a few whatsapp messages from her friends before viewing the status updates loaded from before. Her sister walked the dog, her mum learnt to use whatsapp statuses, a friend was writing a book, another was at the gym. Some updates about the weather, a video of – 

Poppie gasped, her phone slipping from her hand. The screen smashed as it hit the ground, but the images replayed themselves clearly in her mind… Tunji, on one knee, rings in hand, proposing to one of her colleagues, uploaded less than twenty-four hours ago. 

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