WIP - Tall, Dark and Aggravating
Dunni had to stop herself from turning and glaring at the aggravating man again. It galled her that he had managed to find out her name when she didn’t know his. What an o-a-f! She had called him that and would’ve called him more if Folarin hadn’t intervened. That man had gotten on her nerves like no stranger ever had in the past. She first noticed him as she swam, realizing the stragglers must have caught up with them and wondering after she’d swam a few laps why he hadn’t moved from the same spot. It was during another circle round the pool that it dawned that his gaze was fixed on her. And not just on her, but on a certain part of her anatomy. After that, she had hurried up to get out of the water and put on some clothes.
It wasn’t the first time she would have men staring at her backside, but usually, most were more discreet about it. Especially the older she got. Her hips had come in early, and from when she was about fifteen, her male classmates and teachers would always pay her some special attention. She’d moved from those embarrassing days when she was all bones except for her hips to filling in other places and growing into her backside. Nowadays, she took pride in it, knew when to cover it up and when to reveal it, and how to deal with men who couldn’t tear their eyes away. With her stature, the sharp edge of her tongue could always be trusted to quickly send men on their way and it baffled her that the guy had stuck around to get more of it.
As she heard Folarin urging everyone to get moving, Dunni relived his enjoyment of her annoyance and how he had stood there, toe to toe with her. He’d seen how angry she was with him, but had gone ahead to smile and laugh at her. How dare he! He was probably still staring at her, the lech! More words bubbled on her tongue as she stumped over the clumpy grasses and shrubs on the trail, and she determined to find out his details from Folarin and have her cousin send him a choice message. She hissed and adjusted the straps of her backpack higher on her back. A smile drew on the corners of her lips as she recalled what he’d said about her backside not having any rival. Thinking further on their encounter, it wasn’t such a surprise that he’d been with so many women; he was good looking in his own way and had a persuasive tongue. The women in the village would certainly be bowled over if Dunni brought him back as a suitor.
She had arrived from the States for a six weeks long stay with her parents, thinking she’ll be spending it all including Christmas and New Year with them in Ilorin. But it turned out her aunt, her father’s older sister, had planned a Boxing Day memorial service for Dunni’s grandparents in their village church in Ilesha. Her parents had decided to travel early to the village which meant that they left town a week after her arrival. That first week in Ilorin had been great, she’d rested and also spent time with her father, but after only two days in Ilesha, she felt like the walls were closing in on her. If she wasn’t being pushed to greet one relative or the other, she was expected to join her female relatives who cooked for the entire extended family. Not that she hated cooking or the communal life, but most of the women were married and kept needling her about marriage. What made her seek escape was that no matter her answer, the blame inevitably turned to her. It was always the woman’s fault, they said, complaining about everything she did.
“Dunni, you’re too proud and picky. Give more men a chance.”
“You work too hard, Dunni, and your tongue is too sharp!”
“Dunni, you’re too much of a tom-boy, you’re wasting your god-given assets.”
“I promise to find you a husband in a day, once I mention your green card.”
While she was proud of how she didn’t get into any argument and was able to laugh at their thinly veiled jokes, inside she wished she hadn’t come down to Ilesha. But it had been almost five years since her last visit, and she missed Nigeria. Not forgetting that her mother had almost ordered her home after a scare about her father’s health had sent him to hospital. So she sat stoically through the cooking sessions, biting back any sharp retorts that threatened to tumble forth, and bore the pseudo-counseling from women, some of whom were much younger than her thirty. Dunni rolled her eyes as she recalled their words and looked around her. While she had not been paying attention, the group had arrived at the second cascade.
While everyone ohhed and ahhed over the plunging water, the lech tried to catch her eye but she kept her distance even if she watched him when he wasn’t looking. His dark-skinned face was not exactly handsome, but he had a strong jaw, his sculpted lips showcased very nice teeth, and she hadn’t missed how the smile he’d teased her with had set his dark eyes twinkling. Could it be that her earlier anger had been just a camouflage for the attraction she’d felt for him, and may be that was why she’d been so annoyed. It was really off-putting when an unmannered man was otherwise such an epitome of manliness. Dunni was tempted to fan herself, but chose to go behind the cascade, allowing the splashing sprays to cool her. He was taller than her, so at least six feet, with bulky biceps and calves exposed by his shorts and T-shirt. As her mind gave her further images of how fantastic he looked, she pulled in the reins.
Irritated with herself for being so stirred up, she joined the others as they left the ledge. As they began to walk again and the warm air and sunshine dried the droplets of water on her arms and legs, she looked around at the other women and men who like her were dressed in shorts or jeans and t-shirts. She wondered at what kind of people they were, who liked the outdoors and regularly went hill climbing in the wilds of the Nigerian south-west. In her experience, urban Nigerians weren’t the keenest outdoor types but Folarin assured her some hardy ones were becoming interested. In fact, he said people from Lagos and Ilorin paid good money - enough that he was thinking of quitting his day job as a copywriter – so he could guide them through some of the more accessible trails. One of the ladies rolled up her trousers as a muted splashing sound alerted them that they were approaching the next falls. Folarin looked back and announced the third cascade was just around the corner, telling them that would be their last since the other pools were too far up.
There's no dialogue in this bit. After the hot and fast (I hope) chapter one, I wanted to give Dunni some back story here. Let me know if it's too much information dump. What did you like or dislike?
If you missed Babs, he'll be making an appearance in the next installment coming in a couple of days.
pic from naijatreks.com