Halima said her prayers and crawled into the cool sheets of her queen-sized bed. Moments later, as expected it would, Sade’s Sweetest Taboo began to play. She picked up her phone, smiled and accepted the call.
“Hello.” Her tone was low and tired.
“Hey yourself,” he responded with a voice that prickled her skin every time. “How are you? No need to ask if you made it home okay since you were with Kam.”
Halima let out a faint chuckle at the fight she had to put up, so Kamal would drop her in her own home instead of her staying overnight in his. He just got back from a trip and she was in no desire to see him and Ebele all over each other. Amongst all her brother, that couple couldn’t function without their hands or lips being on each other. For someone who’d been celibate for years, that wasn’t where she needed to be.
“So, you just had to go and add another reason for me to be upset with you?” The normal softness of his voice when he spoke to her was absent.
“And what’s the first?” She knew exactly what he was talking about, but she wouldn’t be the one to admit it.
His grunt caused her to smile.
“You’ve been avoiding me. We’re going to get to that, but first why didn’t you call me when those men came to your office?” He paused. “I was going crazy with worry.”
“That wasn’t my intention.”
“Are we that bad? I mean you’d rather get in trouble than see me?”
“I didn’t call anyone at the time. It wasn’t personal.” Halima rubbed her forehead. She didn’t want him running with the wrong impression. Yes, she was avoiding him, but it was nothing he did. It was all her. Be that as it may, this wasn’t the heavy conversation she wanted to have tonight. Besides, the phone worked both ways.
“Kene, you’ve always been good to me—”
“But nothing. Can we not talk about this tonight?”
“No can do. Your brothers are like putty in your hand but that’s not me, Princess. I want to know why you would endanger yourself that way instead of calling me?” His anger laced with frustration seeped through the phone.
Halima sat up against her keyboard and creased her brows. She wished her brothers would be putty in her hands.
“That’s not true.”
“You and I know it is. But that’s not the point. We’re talking about you deliberately putting yourself in danger. You weren’t under arrest so why would you go with those people without your lawyer present?”
Two opposing emotions clashed within her. Aggravation and pleasure. The former at the fact that he was talking to her as though she were a child and he referred to himself as just her lawyer. He was acting just like her brothers. And the latter at the fact that he cared enough to be angry. She knew she sounded crazy but there was nothing she could do about her truth. She imagined the six-foot four-inch dark chocolate brown package pacing wherever he was with a scowl on his face.
“Ekene, I’m going to tell you like I tell my brothers, I’m a thirty-six-year-old woman perfectly capable of taking care of herself.” She paused for his response, got none so continued. “Abubakar was going to call you as my lawyer but Chiaka got to Kammy first then he Rasheed and I’m sure that’s who called you.”
“If your little outburst and the use of my full name are supposed to dismiss me, it’s cute but not going to work,” he said. “Considering I broke every traffic law to get you out of where you shouldn’t have been in the first place, I want an explanation.” His chuckle irked her.
She yawned. Hopefully, he’ll get the message and get off the phone. She was done talking to him.