Jim tried smiling but failed. He felt stretched to his limits. He really liked this feisty female artist’s work. He found himself responding to her as a woman too. It wasn’t hard peeling away her snug blue jeans and lavender blouse, in his mind; it wasn’t hard seeing himself with her, in her.
It had been three months since he’d had sex. Two since he had bothered with some self service. He felt desire pool in his loins and a kick in his pants.
He had to be careful though. This broad looked ready to slap someone. He had seen women act that way only to become a catalogue of smiles when the right buttons were touched. The problem was, he had no idea what Nma’s buttons were. Considering her last phone call, her ‘pay artists’ tirade, and her hasty exit, however, he imagined offering her little money wouldn’t be too far off target.
She had a call and he watched her answer it.
“Hello?” She said, cocking her head with a frown, giving him a great view of her smooth sepia skin, the arch of her neck,her luscious lips, the pinpoint birthmark on her cheek .
“Please tell them to give me more time. I will have the money next week.” She said, her lips twisted into a knot, her eyes misting over.
“Okay, then. Thanks.” She didn’t looked at him when she spoke. “Power cuts at my flats. I need to get to home now. Thank you Mr Newton. All the best with your exhibition.”
“Hey, you are upset now and you need to cool off a little. How about some juice? Hmm? You don’t have to worry about getting home, I’ll drop you off myself.” He said in a rush. He was aching with desire, a desire to taste her, have her.
She exhaled and closed her eyes, “Okay.”
Her shoulders were stooped and her eyes had a look that made him want to hold her. He wanted more than to hold her. He wanted to get to her core. To discover what made her laugh, moan and coo. He wanted to do that right there,but he had to be careful. Very careful.
He led her past the parlour to his lair. There the seats were coffee brown and the rug a robust olive green. He got pineapple juice from the fridge and poured glasses for both of them.
“To the beautiful Nma.” He said, giving her a glass and lifting his.
“To dignity in labour.” Nma replied, eyeing him with an upturned eyebrow above the glass.
“Nma, I like you.” Jim said, the words tumbled out of his mouth before he had a chance to push them back in.
“Really?” Nma replied, “How beautiful.”
“I’m serious. I haven’t met any girl as funny, fine, gifted, exciting and witty as you are.” Jim said, smiling. “I would like to us to get closer. Get to know each other better. Explore possibilities. Share. Love.” The desire in his eyes was as a naked flame.
Nma looked away. Blood rushed to her face in a wave and she didn’t know what to say. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. It wasn’t enough that the electricity company was disconnecting her. It wasn’t enough that her trip here was a waste of time. It wasn’t enough that she hadn’t figured how to get Dibaal money for Mama’s medication. Now this. This man wanted to get into her pants. How dare he? Was he crazy? He wouldn’t buy her art now he was hitting on her? The nerve of it. The ugly reality, that a woman’s worth was primarily her body. That a man could dismiss a woman’s talent but chase her body. It filled her with anger. She wanted to show this man that not every woman was that cheap. She wanted to punish him for wasting her time and raising her hopes only to dash them like a squashed roach. In the dim room, with the cold glass of pineapple juice in hand, a sinister plan began to form …