by Xyvah Okoye
From dysfunction to a dream come true, Adesuwa barely escapes death at the hands of her abusive boyfriend, finally finding true love in the arms of an old friend, Tayo.
They say true love lasts forever, but for how long is Adesuwa’s forever fated to last?
A three-chapter story to make the COVID-19 pandemic period easier.
Category: Romance, Tragedy
(!) MATURE CONTENT: contains graphic depictions of violence, sexuality, strong language, and mature themes. Not suitable for readers under 18
(c) All Rights Reserved.
Chapter 1: Their Dysfunction
Adesuwa screamed as the door crashed in, sending splinters of wood from the frame flying across the room. A splinter hit Osaze on the back of his head, just hard enough to loosen his grip on her neck. She struggled out from under his heavy frame as Lara charged through the open doorway, hurtling insults and anything she could lay her hands on at him. Her heart beat wildly and rubbed her neck as she tried to catch her breath, scurrying barefooted to safety, knowing the silent truth in her bleeding heart: if Lara had arrived 5 mins later, she would have been dead.
“You bastard!” Lara was shouting at Osaze as they exited the apartment, “If you even dream of following us eh, if you dare TRY to contact her, I will break your head and use your brain as a skipping rope! Mad man! The son of a thousand fathers!” she kissed her teeth as the beads of sweat trickled down her forehead, more from frustration than the heat.
Adesuwa’s heart still pounded hard in her chest and the ghostly feel of his fingers wrapped around her neck, crushing her windpipe made her gasp for air.
“It’s okay Adesuwa,” her best friend pulled her into a hug, “he can’t hurt you now. You’re coming to stay with me.”
“But he will come and find me,” the aching feeling in her heart grew larger as a cold fear crept across her skin, causing her hairs to stand, “you know what he’s like.”
“Don’t worry, we’re not staying here, we are going to Lagos tonight.” Lara led her out of the compound gate, to where she had parked on the side of the road.
They drove in silence, save Adesuwas intermittent sobs. The air conditioning did nothing to cool the rays of sunlight streaming through the window, which felt even hotter on her skin as she tried to understand how things had managed to get this bad.
Osaze was the love of her life.
And yet, she was running for her life… from him! A lump formed in her throat at the thought. 10 years gone up in smoke, all because she wouldn’t agree to a threesome? Would he rather she died than disagree with him? A fresh flood of tears fell from her eyes as she sobbed loudly once more. The sky suddenly seemed dark and she suddenly felt very cold and empty. She had given him everything, since she was 18. He was all she knew and she didn’t see how she would ever possibly be able to go on without him. He was her first, in every sense of the word, the only one who knew her like she needed to be known. She had given her time, her money, body, mind and soul to him. He was her safe place, and that was her home.
The realisation stabbed her heart like a million tiny pieces of glass, pain causing her to shudder, hugging her chest and bending over as far forward as her seatbelt would let her. She was through, and she couldn’t go back. The pain in her heart felt like she was dying, slowly and painfully.
Lara rubbed her back gently, pulling into the driveway of her house, allowing her friend to cry until she had no tears left, then helping her into the house, she asked “Do you have your phone on you?”
She searched the breast pockets of her checkered shirt, then her skinny jeans. It was in her back pocket. She held it up to Lara who nodded, ushering her to a seat at the dining table and offering her a can of Maltina and some biscuits, then disappearing up the stairs. She returned with a pair of slippers for Adesuwa, informing her that she was packing for the two of them because they were about the same size, before retreating up the stairs and leaving Adesuwa alone with her thoughts.
Lara knew her all too well. This wasn’t the first time her friend had rescued her from Osazes beatings, and she wouldn’t try to comfort her too much, or advise her about her relationship. Those days were gone, and Lara had learnt from experience that, after the many fights and breakups, Osaze would always come back for Adesuwa, apologising and demanding she take him back if she knew what was good for her… and Adesuwa would always comply.
Theirs was a dysfunctional entanglement. The dysfunction, the cage that kept them both trapped in eachothers arms. It was what they had built and Adesuwa held it as sacred because it was theirs.
Chapter 2: Friend with benefits.
The car bumped and bounced as Lara drove silently for the long journey from Benin to Lagos, Adesuwa riding shotgun, lost in her thoughts of Osaze and a life without him.
“He will come after me,” she thought to herself, “he will look for me soon.”
She checked her phone. No notifications. She missed him already.
“If he calls you,” Lara said, not taking her eyes off the road, “you’d better not answer it when I’m there, or I’ll stuff that phone down your throat and kuku kill you for him.”
Adesuwa stared at her for a few moments, then tucked her phone away in her back pocket. Lara was pissed, but they had been best friends since they were 7 and, no matter how stupid or dangerous the situations she found or put herself in, she knew that Lara would always stand with her, rescuing her if need be. Lara was the smart one, with a good job and a great boyfriend and her life all together. She was the emotional one, who gave everything up for Osaze.
Adesuwa sighed, “How is Brian?” she asked, knowing that he was the only thing that would take Lara to Lagos. She knew how much Lara loved him, and she was happy for her because he treated her well. She had come to see Brian as a big brother, and found that she had a lot of fun anytime they were around him and his friends, most especially Ty.
She smiled as she remembered him, the first smile since Lara had rescued her.
“Brian is okay o. I told him you’re coming, but I didn’t mention anything that happened,” she scanned Adesuwas face before continuing, “he said it’s fine. Ty was there too, he was even suggesting you come and stay with him instead, but I said no because I want to be close to you.”
Adesuwa nodded. She couldn’t help her lips as they stretched into a wider smile. Just like Tayo to suggest such a thing.
“He even said we should all just come and stay with him. You know his house is big and it’s only him there.”
She nodded again. They had been to Ty’s mansion a few times and she was never sure whether it was the beautiful architecture that made her love it so much, or the amount of alcohol Ty pumped into her while she was there. He enjoyed getting her drunk. He said he liked the way she laughed uncontrollably. And he never tried anything inappropriate with her when she was under the infuence or passed out, very different to Osaze, who would rape her when she was unconscious if he had to. She shook her head as the image of Osazes’ angry face flashed quickly across her mind.
“What?” Lara asked, honking as they reached Brians front gate, “You don’t want to go there? We don’t have to o. I sha left the decision to Brian, let him see how his house is first and then decide.”
Adesuwa nodded silently, mouth dry from the fear of Bambas wrath if he found her at Ty’s.
Brian was standing in the doorway of the front door, waiting for them as they got out of the car. He greeted Lara excitedly with hugs and kisses, then waved to Adesuwa who was keeping her distance. “It’s good to see you Adesuwa,” he smiled to her, “I have a surprise for you by the way.”
Adesuwa smiled, sending him a small wave before returning her hands to their folded position across her chest, “what surprise?” she asked.
“Meee!” a voice came from behind him somewhere inside the house. Ty materialised, animatedly waving his hands in the air as he made his way towards her. They all laughed loudly as he hugged her tightly, spinning her around. She flinched when he touched her, before finally settling into his embrace. Ty noticed, eyes flickering with concern, but said nothing and, in a moment, he was chatting excitedly, joking about like his usual self.
They had a nice dinner together, Ty entertaining them as per usual, filling Adesuwas glass over and over until she began to loosen up and relax. Brian wondered out loud why Adesuwa was so uptight and Lara drunkenly let slip that it was because she and Osaze had just broken up. Brian thanked his God and lucky stars for Adesuwas good fortune and Lara swore never to let “that miscreant” anywhere near her again. Adesuwa’s sad smile punctuated their many exclamations of joy and relief, the pain in her heart swelling once more at the idea of never seeing Osaze again. She noticed how Tayo remained silent on the matter, steering the conversation away from her relationship everytime she began to squirm uncomfortably and, at the end of the night, he announced to them his intentions to take Adesuwa home to live with him. She obviously needed somewhere to stay and he had a big enough house to accomodate them both, so he saw no reason why she should be sleeping on Brian’s sofa.
At first, they objected, but he remained firm in his resolve to accommodate her and eventually, they grew weary of arguing and sent them on their way. Adesuwa made a point of explaining to Ty that she had nothing to pay him back with because Osaze had control of all her bank accounts and belongings, and he very politely declined any suggestion of repayment, explaining that it was just one of the many benefits of being his friend.
That night, Adesuwa slept well, snuggled comfortably in the hug of the soft mattress and pillows, beneath the gentle covering of the warm duvet in the cosy king-sized bed Ty had personally prepared for her, a sharp contrast to the cold, hard, tiled floor she was used to sleeping on after Osaze was done with her for the night.
Chapter 3: Caption This:
Adesuwa settled in quickly at Ty’s, waking up every morning to the smell of breakfast in bed and a soft kiss on her forehead. He took good care of her, giving her everything she needed and more, from new clothes, shoes and accessories to her own car. He got her everything she needed to pursue her hobby – painting (a hobby she had forgotten she had while she was with Osaze), clearing out a room on the ground floor for her to work from and setting up a small shop for her to display them in. Soon, as Lara and Brian’s visits became less frequent, she found she had begun to blossom again, emerging from her shell, into the beautiful, intelligent, confident young woman Ty had always seen in her. He took her out to parties, dinners, galleries, movies, the beach, introduced her to new people, gave her a whole new life from the mess she had been living, though the lump still returned to her throat and the fear still swelled in her chest everytime Osaze crossed her mind.
“I don’t know how or why this happened, but I’m so glad I met you,” she mused as she and Ty laughed their way through the house and up the stairs one night, “I don’t know how I could ever possibly repay you?”
He stopped at her bedroom door, stroking her cheek tenderly as his big round eyes met hers, “seeing you this happy is more than enough.”
She smiled, averting her gaze. She could feel her heart beating faster in her chest and it took everything in her not to lean forward to kiss him, though she wasn’t entirely sure he would stop her if she did.
“You really are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met,” he let his hand fall, sliding down her bare arm to interlock his fingers with hers. Adesuwa knew this gesture all too well. He would pull her into a hug, kiss the top of her head and wish her a goodnight, then disappear down the hallway into the room next to hers, which felt like a million miles away. The longing for him to stay with her, which had begun like droplets of water running down her skin, now felt like a wild ocean current sweeping her away. She shivered and he held her tighter. He could feel the current too, but they were both trying to resist it.
“It’s been two years now,” Ty whispered into her hair while stroking it gently, “I just wondered, are you still in love with him?”
She shuddered as Osazes face flashed before her and she wrapped her arms tightly around Ty, something she had never done before. Here, she felt safe. Osaze couldn’t reach her here in his arms, protected by the man she loved.
She scowled, looking up into his face. He watched her, still waiting for an answer, but she said nothing.
After a few moments, he sighed, squeezing her one more time, before letting her go as he turned towards his bedroom.
“Tayo…” she whispered, unsure of what to say or do.
“It’s alright,” he didn’t look at her, “I shouldn’t have asked. Sorry if I was being intrusive.”
“Ty…” she called again, all she knew was that she wanted him to stay, to hold her and not let go.
“You know I love you, don’t you?” he asked, watching her eyes grow wide as the weight of his words hit her like a ton of bricks. She wanted to shout, “I love you too,” but instead, she just nodded. He continued, “Remember when we first met, I promised you I would marry you? That was even before you met Osaze, remember?”
She remembered. She had always thought he had been joking. He joked a lot about having feelings for her and oneday marrying her so she had stopped giving any credence to those words.
“I still want to,” he said, turning to face her, “to marry you, that is, but I don’t want to rush you into anything you aren’t ready for. It’s okay if you’re still in love with him, I’ll wait. I’ll wait forever if I have to.”
“You don’t have to,” Adesuwa heard her voice say, unsure how the words had escaped her lips. Ty’s eyes lit up and he took a step towards her. She pursed her lips, rubbing the back of her neck as she took a step backwards into her room, slanting sideways a little, giving enough room for him to enter also. He stopped in front of her, tilting her chin up as he bent in to kiss her and Adesuwa felt a welcoming warmth spreading from them through her, to parts of her body she had thought would never function again.
Her hands found their way to his neck as he wrapped his around her waist, pulling her into him and pressing his body up on hers. His lips were softer than she had imagined, fuller, and the lingering taste of wine made her head swirl. She was becoming light-headed, dizzy almost, as the passion began to consume them both. She wanted this badly. She had fantasized about it many times, and she knew he had been doing the same.
She gasped for air as his kisses got deeper and his hands began to roam from her waist, up her torso, grazing her breasts lightly then sliding up her chest, to the back of her neck, stopping her from pulling her lips away. His other hand, sliding down her back, found the zip of her burgundy strapless dinner dress. Her skin tingled from the mixed sensation of cold air and the touch of his warm hand beneath the cloth that once hugged her figure so tightly. She had no need for a strapless bra, her D-cups were already firm and pointed. She afforded herself the privilege of slowly undoing the buttons of his shirt, from top to bottom, savouring the feel of the toned muscles he concealed beneath them. She had never imagined Ty would be this fit, she didn’t know him to work out. She pulled her lips from his, assessing his bare chest, his strong arms and muscular neck as she caressed them gently.
He grinned and her heart beat madly as the lust burned in his eyes. He kissed her lips, then her jaw, tracing kisses down her neck, along her collarbone, tugging gently as the dress that was still being held in place by his own body. He shifted ever so slightly, watching as it cascaded to the ground in a heap of fabric, revealing her nakedness, a prize he greatly desired.
He smiled, displacing the air between them as he pressed his bare chest on her skin, securing her waistline to his with one arm and fondling her breasts with the other and Adesuwa took in a sharp breath on feeling the warm wetness of his tongue as his lips closed around her hardened nipples. He sucked on her, squeezing her, touching her, stripping off the minuscule piece of fabric she wore as a lace thong. He needed complete access to her, just as he was granting her complete access to him.
The two twirled across the room, to her bed, a tangled mass of sweaty bodies beneath the sheets, mirroring each others moans and cries of affection as they acted out their fantasies and, after desires were fulfilled and both descended from the height they had climaxed, they fell asleep in eachothers arms.
Ty apologised as he kissed her the next morning when she woke up to him still in bed beside her. She was up and her breakfast wasn’t ready.
Adesuwa laughed loudly, that laugh he loved so much, and he couldn’t resist pulling himself into her again.
The days rolled from weeks into months as their affections grew exponentially and each worked hard at making the other happy, never failing to retreat into each other’s embrace every night.
“You know it’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding,” Adesuwa teased as she lay there in his arms, watching the diamond sparkle where it sat neatly set in the 18 carat white gold ring around her finger as she lightly traced invisible hearts across his chest, cocooned by the warm affection she felt radiating from him.
Ty chuckled, kissing her forehead and stroking her hair. “I love you,” he said, staring up at the ceiling, “and I want us to be together for the rest of our lives.”
She stopped tracing, resting her chin on the hand that now lay gently on his shoulder, smiling as he closed his eyes, mouthing a silent plea.
This all felt too good to be true.
She pushed herself up to plant a kiss on his lips and had barely settled back into his arms when Ty began to cough. The coughing got steadily worse and they both had to sit up in bed, patting his back and chest to help, until Adesuwa gasped as she noticed a trickle of blood run down the side of his mouth.
Tayo coughed once more, withdrawing his hand from his mouth as they both stared in horror at the blood splattered across his open palm.