Hiya people. So sorry I haven’t been around. I’ve been so, so, so busy. Still busy but not as busy. Today is Horllybee’s birthday and the 5th was TeeWhy’s birthday (Tee, so sorry I wasn’t here to wish you a happy birthday). I wrote this short story for Teewhy and Horllybee (That’s why we have Horatio and Tyra, lol). It’s my birthday wish to you guys. Happy birthday, Tee and Horlly and many more happy returns. Cheers.
“What did I do? Why are you arresting me?” The young man protested as he was pushed into the back of the Pick-up van by the uniformed Police officers.
“Shattap and get inside! “Yahoo boys everywhere… carry laptop dey deceive mumu oyibo people.” One of them bellowed, hitting him with the baton in his hand.
A violent curse followed the assault and further protestations was drowned as the double doors were forcefully shut. Inspector Edobor watched the goings-on with bored, dispassionate eyes. He didn’t care how the job got done so long as it was done. Even more, he didn’t care about protestations of innocence or infringement of a citizen’s rights so long as he got the delinquents off the street and fattened his bank balance by their bail bonds.
And they have five unfortunate scapegoats this morning, so he considered it a job well-done. “Let’s go!” He ordered, tossing out spittle on the sidewalk as he got into the van.
“Goddamn it!” Tyra cursed viciously staring at the flattened back tire.
Why the devil did the damn tire choose today of all days to go flat on her. Irate, she kicked the deflated tire, wincing as the tip of her black pumps struck against the wheel.
“It’s not going to respond if you continue to treat it so meanly.”
Tyra scowled at the deep, lazy voice. This was surely going to be a horrible day. First a bad tire, now her new annoyingly flirtatious neighbour. Gritting her teeth, she turned to face him. As usual, he managed to make the rumpled sweats look like high fashion… damned man! Well, she was late and she had to play her feminine card… much as she hated to.
“Hi…err…” What the heck had he called himself last week?
“Horatio.” Horatio supplied with a lazy grin deciding today was his lucky day. “Looks like your tire gave out on you.”
“It did.” What the hell kind of name was Horatio? But she needed his manly strength, so she offered a girly smile and turned her voice whiny. “I don’t know how these things happen. I parked it last night hale and hearty and this morning it’s gone…”
“Puff.” He finished. He wasn’t at all taken in by the helpless flick of the hand and the faintly squeaky tone. But he was willing to bite the bait. “Likely you might have stepped on something. “Whatever the case, you need to change the tire.”
“Yeah, I know. And changing tyres can be such hard work.” The whine went major. “And even worse, I’m already dressed and running late…”
“Lucky for you I’m here.” Horatio’s grin broadened. “But I’m thinking I might require some sort of reward after the hard work.”
The twinkle in his eyes told her that he has guessed she wanted to take advantage of him, blasted fellow! She was tempted to tell him off and change the damn tyre herself but a quick look at her brand new turquoise-blue with inner white camisole pants suit changed her mind.
Switching her smile to dazzle, she fluttered her lashes. “What can I possibly pay you?”
The smile flew from her face and her mouth dropped. Was he serious? “Are you serious?”
Horatio chuckled. “Ease back and let me get to work.”
He’d better not be serious, she pursed her lips as she stepped back from the Toyota Camry, or he’d be getting a hot slap on that cute face of his. She rolled her eyes as he began to tug off his top. Did he have to undress to change a common tyre? But the derisive snort that was forming inside her froze as his lean, toned Guinness-dark body came to light. She swallowed instead and quickly turned her eyes upward, they slammed into his.
Horatio sent her a wink. “Boot open?” He asked.
“Ah…” Was her boot open? “Ah… no… I’ll unlock it.” She swung around and drew in a sharp breath. No need to lose her brain cells, she’d seen better looking men… no, she hasn’t but still no need to act like an idiot.
She unlocked the boot and stepped aside as he came over to pull out the spare tyre and then the jack.
Within minutes he was done. And she was relieved. “Thank you so much.” She sent him a bright smile. “You are a life saver.”
“You’re welcome.” He wiped his hand with the napkin she passed and returned it. “So, do I get my kiss tonight?”
“No, you’re not getting any kiss… tonight or whenever.” Tyra said firmly. “But I’m grateful for the help and…” her phone rang and she nearly sang out with gratitude. “Excuse me, I have to take this.” She reached for her handbag and fished inside for her phone.
It was her younger brother and he’d been arrested for no just cause. “I’ll be right there.” She said ending the call. “I have to go Thanks again for helping with the tyre.”
Horatio frowned faintly at her sudden dark, determined look. “Any problem?”
“Nothing that you can help with.” She sent him a brief smile and got into her car.
Horatio watched as she neatly backed out of the compound into the street and then zoomed off like a bat with the devil on its tail. When his phone rang, and he slipped it out of his pocket and answered the call, his frown deepened.
“Barrister, this one no be big grammar matter o.” The wafer-thin Corporal repeated. “Say you be lawyer no mean say you go fit threaten us o.”
“I am not threatening you. I am demanding to know what my brother’s offence was that warranted an arrest.” Tyra snapped.
“Na the same question me I dey demand, if your brother no commit crime why we go arrest am?” The infuriating Corporal retorted.
Gritting her teeth, Tyra sucked in her anger and strove for calm. “Corporal, I want to see your DPO right away.”
“Oga dey busy for office. But if na to bail ya criminal brother, dat one na 50k… simple.”
“And what court of law set that bail, Corporal?”
“Area H court of law.”
The sarcastic retort sent mad fury to curse through her. She slammed her hand on the counter. “Listen to me, your sorry excuse for a police officer…”
“Eh, Madam Barrister, no cause wahala and drama for here o. This na Police station no be ya office, so if….”
“I would like to speak with the DPO in charge.” A deep voice interrupted.
Tyra found herself turning mostly because of the Corporal’s shocked eyes. Her own eyes widened at the sight of Horatio dressed in military Uniform. So, he was an army officer. Had he followed her here?
The mild surprise turned to frown but her intended question was interrupted by the Corporal. “Why you wan see Oga?” His voice has lost most of its bravado.
“To inquire why my brother was arrested on his way to work this morning.”
The brusque, confident tone sounded nothing like the lazy, easy voice that has been flirting just barely an hour earlier. Tyra found herself straightening up even as the scowling Corporal muttered and grumbled before leaving them to walk inside the Station’s offices, no doubt to get the DPO.
“Was your brother arrested too?” She turned to him.
He looked at her and nodded. “Yes. On his way to work.”
Though he was smiling a little, it wasn’t easy and flirtatious just like his tone. Tyra supposed being in his uniform called for seriousness… or maybe it was the situation. “Mine was too. And that idiot Corporal has been acting up instead of allowing him see me.”
“Sometimes you have to pull rank with these Policemen.”
She frowned at his superior tone. “I am a lawyer! I have the right to demand to see my brother and have that ordinary Corporal obey me.”
Horatio grinned at the indignation in her voice. Damn he liked her. “Sometimes, pulling rank works better if you have a superior uniform.”
Tyra swallowed her retort as the DPO strolled out with the Corporal. She turned her glaring eyes on both of them instead.
Inspector Edobor didn’t care for the fact that a soldier had come to his Station to interfere with his work.
“Officer, with all due respect to your rank and station,” he spoke immediately to the uniformed man, ignoring the woman. Female lawyers set his teeth on edge. “But this is my police station and my jurisdiction…”
“No one is questioning that or your authority here.” Horatio cut him off. “Barrister Young-Harry and I are here about this morning’s arrest and to pick up our brothers.”
So he knew her full name, hmm.
“You two came together?” That wasn’t what the stupid Corporal had told him. The emphasis on ‘pick up’ wasn’t lost on him either.
“Yes, we did.” Tyra replied. She didn’t think she needed his help to pull rank with these Policemen but she needed to get the office ASAP, so avoiding further arguments was a better idea. “And while we are discussing our brothers, I’d like to inquire about the procedures of this arrest and the true nature of the young men’s crimes.”
Horatio almost chuckled as the Police officer glared at both of them. When he turned his gaze, Tyra was looking smug.
When the Knock came at the door, somehow she knew it was Horatio.
“Hi.” She said, keeping her tone aloof as she stared at him.
“Hello, Tyra.” The lazy tone was back. “So, I had this idea you owe me… twice.”
She arched her brows. “Owe you what exactly, Lieutenant?”
Horatio eyed her shorts and tank top clad form and his mouth curved. Damn the woman had a body that gave true meaning to the word curvaceous. “A kiss.” He grinned.
Tyra hated that she liked his dimpled, toothy smile. “I owe you nothing. If you want payment for changing the tyre, name your price… in Naira.” Just because she liked his smile… and his look, didn’t mean she should loosen up.
Horatio laughed. Tyra found herself liking the deep, rolling sound, damn!
“May I come in?”
She should say no. She should… but she stepped back. “Why not?” He sauntered in, looking appreciatively around. “A drink?” She asked.
He turned to her. “Is that a sort of an aperitif before the kiss?”
Tyra folded her arms across her chest and stared at him with a pointed look. “Lieutenant Horatio Kadri…” she too remembered the surname he’d mentioned last week when they introduced themselves, “I don’t know what kind of woman you think I am…”
“The kind of woman that has kept me awake these last six nights.” He widened his grin. “The kind of woman that is hell-bent on putting me in my place despite the obviousness that I am attracted to her.” He chuckled when her eyes narrowed. “The kind of woman that could have changed her tyre but chose to use me. The kind of woman that got out all three other erroneously arrested citizens today without demanding any form of recompense.”
Tyra regarded him for a long moment and then sniffed. “So, you are attracted to me and I’ve kept you awake for six nights, huh?”
“I can’t stop thinking about you, I swear. You give me fever.”
Her mouth curved at the chanted last bit. “Yeah right. I bet you’re a Casanova who go about saying such silly things to women to get them to let down their guard and let you in.” She said.
Horatio shook his head. “Would you believe me if I tell you I’ve not kissed a woman in more than six months?”
“Why, where you on a mission in a desert island?”
Horatio laughed. “No. But my ex left me six months ago and I haven’t met anyone else I liked since then.”
The simple answer had her brows knitting. He sounded so sincere. “Really?” He gave a single nod. She pursed her lips. “And now you like me?” Another nod. “And you want a kiss?” A nod and a smile. Tyra angled her head and considered him. “Okay.”
The quick flash of surprise pleased her. She’d guessed right, he’d mostly been fooling around. “Scared now?” She taunted.
Horatio hadn’t expected her to ever agree. Darn it, he hadn’t even been really serious. But he had no intention of being considered a coward, hell no!
“Scared? No. Surprised? Yes… and pleasantly so.” He eyed her cool stance. “Ready?”
Tyra shrugged. “It’s a kiss not a tumble in the bed… so.”
The curve of his mouth deepened and his eyes flickered with amusement. “Yeah, just a kiss.” He closed the small distance between them. “I just want you to know that I’ve never done this in all of my life.”
Tyra snorted. “What, kiss a woman?”
He chuckled. Dang, he really, really liked her. “Kiss a woman for changing her tyre.” He reached for her folded hands, unfolded them and held onto them. “Or kiss a woman before getting to know her.”
His voice has dipped and was now a low, rumble. Tyra found her throat drying as she stared into his eyes. They were now quiet pools of intensity. She swallowed. “Really?” Her hands felt damp in his.
“Really.” And he curved his head.
When his cool lips covered hers and caressed, she found her heart quickening and realised she’d never kissed a man she hadn’t gotten to know either. And as his tongue flickered over her lips and slithered, ever so gently, through them, she realised another thing, she wanted to get to know him.