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A Story Written by Omolola…

Demola let her go, his arms suddenly cold and empty. She’d felt so right there. So damned right. He could have held her all night. Just held her.

A ruthless laugh echoed through his head. Yeah, right. He could have kept her in his arms all night, no problem. But holding would have turned into something much more active before long. And that was a trait he couldn’t go down. Not with Tomilola Daniels.

She already had enough complications in her life; she didn’t need more. And sleeping with him was loaded with complications. So he let her go and promised himself he’d keep his comforting on a verbal level from now on. Safer for both of them. He watched her stride toward the sofa where he’d dumped her bag. She swiped at the tears wetting her cheeks. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what got into me. Hysterical, crying female isn’t usually my style.” Her voice was soft, embarrassed.

He didn’t want her to be embarrassed. Didn’t want her to think she had to hide her emotions from him. “Don’t be silly, you’ve had a trying twenty-four hours.” She hung her hands on her hips, staring at the mess her outburst had created. “God, you must think am a meniac.”

“I think you’re tired and sad and angry.”

She expelled a long, shaky breath. “Yeah, I am. And with that in mind – ” She picked up her bag. “I think I’ll head upstairs.. Those are the bedrooms up there, right?” She pointed to the doors lining the back balcony wall.

“Yep, take your pick.”

She waved a hand toward the front door. “Come on I’ll walk you out.”

“Go on to bed, I’ll stay and clean up the glass.”

She shook her head. “I clean up my own messes, Demola. “I’ll get it tomorrow morning. Now go on, I’m tired.” She shooed him toward the door.

He strode across the marble floors, his boots echoing in the room He wasn’t thrilled about the idea of leaving her alone all night. Not as upset as she was. But short of camping out on the living room sofa, something he was sure she’d be just tickled pink about, he didn’t have much choice.

At the door’s threshold he hesitated, looking back to her. “If you need anything, my number is one on the speed dial. Don’t be afraid to call, any time of the night. I’m a light sleeper and I’m right across the road.”
She nodded, a faint smile turning her lips. “Got it. Good night.”

He closed the door behind him and strode toward the house he’d lived in for the last several years. The small log house that had been Wale’s original home stead. Halfway there, he stopped and turned back to the big house. He imagined Tomilola in the bedroom, unpacking her bag, getting ready for bed.
She’d looked tired, beat, when she’d closed the door on him. Like she was holding on to her poise by the barest of threads. And he suspected she was. With good cause. She believed her father had not only abandoned her and her mother, but hung them out to dry during their most desperate hours.

It was a belief he was going to have to straighten out. But it wasn’t going to be easy. Or fun. Showing Tomilola that the parent who’d raised her, the parent she’d obviously loved so dearly had been the one keeping them in poverty, the one who’d lied to her all these years, was going to take everything she believed to be true and shred it to pieces.

His gut clenched. He was good at shredding people’s lives. But putting them back together? A cold sweat broke out on his palms. God knew, he hadn’t been able to put his sister’s life back together. He’d only taken a bad situation and made it worse. Far, far worse.

He clenched his fists and stared up at the stars appearing in the sky. “If there’s a heaven up there, Mr. Adeyemi, and you’re in it, you had better be paying attention.” His voice echoed fiercely as dusk faded to night. “I don’t save damsels in distress, dammit. If you want me to tear this girl’s life up, I expect you to be around to help put it back together.”

To Be Continued…

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