It sounded like thunder.
That was my first irrational thought, that there was thunder in my bedroom.
That was my second irrational thought – that I was in my bedroom back home.
And then I remembered that I was still at res and that the thunder was a loud knocking on the door.
I rolled out of bed and stumbled to the door, realizing too late that I must look completely awkward.
I hadn’t showered yet, my face was thick with oil, I no doubt had dragon breath – oh, my word.
It was ten in the morning.
I remained silent, standing right at the door, waiting for the person to go.
And they did.
I waited a good twenty minutes before I gathered my things and made a mad dash for the bathroom. I had a good, long shower and I felt good.
When I came out, the banging was continuing at my door – by some random female who stayed in the building.
“Is this you? Is this you?!”
She was shoving a newspaper in my face.
I didn’t look at it, pushing it aside.
“Do I know you?”
The girl leaned back like I’d slapped her and I continued to look at her.
“Seriously,” I said. “Seriously? You don’t say anything to me at all since the dawn of time, now all of a sudden you want to talk to me? No!”
I side-stepped her and moved for my room door.
Maria rounded the corner then and I let her into my room without looking at the random female again. Then I locked the door and we moved all the way to the other side of the room.
Maria produced what looked like the same newspaper and pointed at the picture that had made the socials.
Dominick Tyree on the left and Dilia Nambiro on the right.
Oh. My –
Maria immediately clamped her mouth shut, looking like she wanted to bounce off the walls. “You look excellent!”
“I didn’t think it would make – anything!” I said, shocked.
“Well,” Maria whispered. “It’s out there now..!”
And I laughed.
I laughed hard.
“Guess my parents will know now then,” I said.
Maria flipped through the newspaper and showed me another picture.
“The parents were there? You met them?”
I blushed, remembering last night.
“I danced with the dad and had a small talk with the mum and I met Aiden before so –”
“He is soooo –”
“Shut up, Maria!” I laughed. “But okay, it was a great night, for a great cause. I had fun.”
Maria gave me a hug and I hugged her back.
“So he’s serious,” she said when we let go of each other. I nodded my head.
“I didn’t know I’d be meeting them, last night,” I told her. “I thought it was just a thing. I even forgot the fact that his life is very different from mine… And then the cameras started flashing and…”
“These guys are so rich! Shit!” said Maria as she looked over the other pictures.
I blinked, thinking back. I could almost remember the effort it took not to blink when all the flashes started. It was like staring into the blaze of a thousand fireworks.
“Well, at least now my parents can put a face to the guy who helped my hand,” I said. “But now I have to explain to them that we’ve been together for a while now.”
“Just remember to filter,” Maria warned. “They don’t need to know all the details of your togetherness!”
“Like I’m gonna tell them that!”
“You haven’t even told me!”
“You want me to describe the way that he kisses me? Seriously?”
“Why the hell not?”
Maria sat down on the bed and looked up at me expectantly.
“I’m not telling you that.”
“Come on!” she whined.
“But it’s not even about that,” I said. I sat down beside her, trying to bring forth the right words.
“Dom is a – he’s a passionate human being,” I said. “He doesn’t always show it, but when he does it’s like – a thousand colours coming at you all at once.
He doesn’t like anyone seeing him angry. He’s never really been angry at me, but I’ve seen how he gets – he doesn’t want me to see that. It’s like – his expression just goes dead and he shuts down. In the beginning, I could never really tell when he was happy, like proper. I mean – he’s in business, so that means appearances. So, when he would smile, I thought he was just selling me dreams, right? But then I got to know him and I realized that sometimes, it would take a lot to make him smile openly. I mean – it only matters that he feels it, you understand.”
I rose to my feet, moving to the window, marveling at these things.
“I always used to wonder what the hell it was he was thinking because his face would be so blank,” I told her. “And sometimes, he would look so angry but then I realized that it’s just the way he looks. Focused and concentrating and thinking deeply!”
“I’ve seen that face,” said Maria, nodding enthusiastically. “Sometimes, I’d think maybe you guys had a fight or something.”
I laughed at that.
“Yeah,” I told her. “Like last night. He didn’t say anything for almost an hour when he came to pick me up. I was too scared to speak – I don’t wear stuff like that, you know me!”
“Oooh,” she said. “Then what did he say when he spoke?”
I bit my lower lip, smiling widely. “Let’s just say, he really, really liked it. And I liked that he liked it. And that’s why I came back here instead of staying there –”
“You guys –”
Maria burst out laughing and so did I.
I sat down again, looking at her.
“That’s another thing about him,” I told her quietly. “He is the sexiest man I have ever met.”
“I think everyone thinks those brothers are sexy, Dilia.”
I was already shaking my head.
“No,” I said. “I mean – he is –”
I stood up again – I could not sit still.
“We were in the kitchen this one time and –”
Maria jumped to her feet, dancing on the spot.
“He just lifted me up and put me on the kitchen table – like, the counter or whatever and he kissed me so seriously Maria, I couldn’t walk!”
She buried her face in a pillow and screamed.
I wanted to do the same thing.
“He makes me feel things, Maria,” I told her. “He can hold my hand in a certain way and we can be talking and I don’t notice at first but then… Wow!”
I shook my head, again, my body remembering that long-awaited kiss.
“When we kissed for the first time – Maria – he warned me that we had to be careful… I wanted him to… And he wanted to…”
Maria leaned forward.
“Wait, so you guys haven’t – you haven’t –”
“Dilia! What the fuck! I would so do it, even if we broke up two minutes later!” she exclaimed.
I laughed nervously at that. “Well,” I said. “We’ve done – other stuff…”
“You – I mean – you – he’s –?!”
I had no idea what she was asking me here, so I simply stood there with a stupid grin on my face.
“He ate you out! OH! MY –”
“Since then, we’ve been careful… When things start getting heavy, we go public. That way, nothing happens.”
Maria had already seen it in her mind, something happening and I pulled a face at her.
“I told him, that I loved him and that I wanted to – you know –”
“And then I told him to take me home!”
“And he just did that? Damn, the man is strong!”
Maria chuckled, looking at me wide-eyed.
“It wasn’t that simple,” I said. “He was a little pissed that I just said that randomly and left it there, but we talked about it and I think he understood… It would have been a big mistake if I stayed there.”
She nodded her head, clearly understanding.
“And then he promised me again that he’d never – you know – and told me again that he’d wait for me and that he’d respect our relationship and protect the bond I have with God –”
“Oh my word! That is so beautiful!”
My eyes were wet again and I wiped the tears away.
She hugged me again and I laughed.
“Now I see that you are serious…”
I forced myself to sober up.
“If this doesn’t work out…” I breathed, my heart now feeling the inklings of fear. “I don’t know how it could ever get better than this, Maria. How will I ever love another guy again after him?”
Maria smiled ruefully.
“Relationships are no joke,” she said. “Lots and lots of things can get in the way, but you have to work, remember why you’re there.”
She shrugged. “Some things are just – unforgivable but if your gut tells you it’s worth it, then fight. If you feel the opposite, get out.”
I stared at her, seeing the sadness on her face suddenly. I sat down and gestured for her to join me.
“What happened?” I asked.
Maria sighed heavily.
“He cheated on me,” said Maria. “From the start.”
I clenched my jaw.
“I didn’t see it at the time, not really. But after he told me –”
She shook her head.
“He didn’t tell me, I caught him. And then he told me.”
An image of Hilda flashed in my mind.
“And now that that part was out in the open he just stopped pretending. All the glow wasn’t there anymore, he didn’t try anymore… So I walked.”
I shook my head.
“If I’d known –”
“There’s nothing you could have done,” she said with a shrug. “He’s still a jackass and that wouldn’t have changed even if you’d tried to do something.”
I sighed heavily.
“I don’t get how people come back after something like that,” I said. “I don’t get why people do that to each other.”
“Because they’re people – we tend to screw up before we see the light.”
“Would you take him back? If he asked?”
Maria shook her head. “No,” she said. “Our – my chapter with him is over. If he learnt anything from this, great. If not – it will come back to him.”
“I’m sorry, Maria.”
“Don’t be,” she said. “It’s part of my story.”
I nodded, still wanting to find him and kill him, just for her.
She left the room then and I knew just by the look on her face that she wanted to be in her own company.
I knew that she was a strong woman but she had loved him. What would become of her?
My phone beeped at me from the charger.
It was a message from Dom.
He would be busy all day but wanted me to join him for lunch at work.
Which was fine by me!
It must have been really busy at Tyree Towers if he was in on a Sunday.
I passed the hours in my room, putting away the gorgeous dress and making a note to see the instructions for caring for it properly.
Last night had actually happened!
We’d gone on an actual, pre-planned, date!
And to a gala event like that!
And now, I’d met his parents and they knew about me and it seemed like they liked me.
Was it just because of who I was or because of his history?
Now that was an interesting question that rightfully shouldn’t have mattered because the point was that he liked me – loved me. And I loved him.
I smiled to myself.
As it was passing twelve, I made my way out of the building, hoping to grab the bus to the mall, but of course, the sleek, black private car that could only belong to him, was waiting for me.
I climbed into the backseat and greeted the driver who replied politely.
This was the same one who had driven us to the gala last night.
He already knew where he should go.
I couldn’t wait to see Dom!
I just wanted to hug him, hear his voice, look into his eyes.
It didn’t even matter where we went for lunch!
My stomach grumbled in protest and I laughed to myself. I had had a very small breakfast, knowing how he enjoyed food.
I knew that whatever we ate, would be a big, delicious, savoury meal.
Half an hour later, I was taking the lift up to his office.
Tanya was there but she appeared busy with the phone cradled between her face and shoulder as she wrote something down, while relaying whatever it was she was seeing on her computer screen to whoever was on the phone. I didn’t think it sensible for her to announce my presence. I simply walked on past her to his office, sure that he was expecting me.
I knocked twice on the door before simply entering the office.
I saw two things at once and I stopped right there at the door.