Tamira didn’t need to see him before she knew that his heart was made of steel. The thick bass emanating from his mouth, echoed throughout the quiet, exquisitely furnished office, carrying with it an icy feeling that made her shiver, even when it was the only middle of spring.
Although she was few meters away from him, she sensed that he was pacing as he spoke into the telephone and when he stopped, she yearned to know what part of the room he was standing, so she could look the other way. She didn’t want to be caught starring at him.Therefore, she kept her gaze downwards and tried to pretend like the words he was spitting out, to the disabled home agent,wasn’t getting to her.
“This wasn’t part of the deal. I only agreed to help your organization because of the sake of humanity,” he ran his hands through thick curly hair, and pinched his black pointed nose.
As much as he was angry, his voice never wavered from its smooth, icy effect, as if being rich comes with a calm demeanor.
“Look Mr. Cole, I appreciate what you’re doing for them, but this isn’t just the right time. Two weeks is a whole lot of time to host a blind 16 year old all by myself. Why do you want me to do with her?”
“I am nineteen,” Tamira retorted quietly. It was getting a little too much for her.
Mark Jones regarded her for a moment, as if he just noticed she was sitting there. He had expected to meet her fiery gaze, but when she just stared into space with tears in her eyes, her face distorted like someone who just suffered a partial stroke, he couldn’t help but feel pity for her.
Truly, he didn’t bargain for this. He had only wanted to paint a good picture for himself to boost his company’s reputation, by funding Caravan town’s only home for disabled children and youths. However, they were taking things too far, asking him to open his house and heart to one of the children as a way to promote equality between the socialites and the less privileged.
“You know what, let me call you back,” he hung up.
It was time to put an end to this madness in the name of humanity. But first, he had to apologize. So he took a chair closest to where she sat, and brought it even closer.
Tamira knew he was freaking close to her, but once, just once, she wished she could see what exactly he was doing; what he looked like.
When her little community had asked each one of them who they wanted to spend Christmas with, she didn’t choose anyone in particular. All she wanted was someone who could share and enjoy the knowledge of art with her. So when she was allocated to one Mark Jones, she was pretty excited, for she had heard tales of his marvelous craft.
And someone who wasn’t blind had mentioned that he was as handsome as the devil himself.
Although she yearned to be the judge of that, he was beginning to piss her off with every word that came out of his ill-mannered mouth. She had been trying to remain cultured and not bring shame to the only place she called home. It wouldn’t matter if he rejected her; it meant she would have to spend Christmas all alone in the large, eerie dormitory, which she didn’t mind. It would give her time to explore her imaginations.
Therefore, it was time to put this man in his place.
However, she felt something tingling and warm on her skin.
Did he just hold her hands?
His hands felt so strong and firm, but reassuring. They complimented his grey voice and demeanor like masks to hide how many times he had shown vulnerability and he was betrayed, and he had to grow a tough skin.
Tamira withdrew her hand from underneath his. She heard him sigh tiredly. Although she was prepared to give him a hard time, that one gesture made her weak. She also was tired of going back and forth with him.
“You know what? There’s no point. Call Mr. Cole back and have them come pick me up.”
He touched her again.
This time, she let him. If she wasn’t going to stay with him, at least his hands on hers would be a lasting memory.
“I apologize for acting like a jerk”, he started.
“Will you let me finish?” His voice rose a pitch higher.
His temper was beginning to rise again. He wondered if incapacities came with a shitty personality. But a quick glance at her again, and he knew he couldn’t be upset with her for so long. God, the poor lad didn’t even know the right tone of her own skin and it looked like she had combed her thick afro hair into a high puff herself; there were strands of hair askew.
“I apologize for not respecting your presence. However, you can’t stay with me. I have no training whatsoever in caring for another human, not to talk of – “
She raised her eyes to reveal milky pupils. This time, she did look straight at him.
“A blind girl, who would probably not be able to navigate the toilet and shit on herself every single time, putting you in the place of a nanny to clean her up?” Tamira raised her brows higher.
“I wouldn’t have put it like that, but that sums it up”, Mark managed to stutter. “The earlier I call, the better. I’m sure they’d be able to fix you in with a nice family. Not me”.
Having said that, the warm feeling on her hands was quickly replaced by cold air. She heard his footsteps, perhaps he was back to the window, facing the streets.
“Hello. Yes please. I made my decision. You need to come get her before 1pm.”
He paused. It looked like Mr. Cole was trying his hardest to keep them together, like a Priest strongly advising a young couple not to get a divorce.
“I have made up my mind. Send a bus.”
And he hung up.
Tamira swallowed bitter saliva. This was supposed to be the closest thing she’d feel to having a family. But then it finally came, that treasured moment, and it rejected her at only a glance.
She never knew her birth parent. They too rejected her. She grew up to the fatherly voice of Mr. Cole, teaching her how to use other nerve senses to navigate through the world. As much as it affected her childhood, she was somewhat grateful for her misfortune.
At least, fate spared her from seeing the world’s cruelty. Like the one that stood before her.
“You stay here till they come for you. I have to go out for a bit.”
He began to grab a few files on the black mahogany table and he threw on his coat.
“You’re leaving me in here?”
“They would be here shortly. You wouldn’t have to wait for so long.”
He walked to the door, opened it and walked out and closed the door with a slightly loud bang. The silence in the room was deafening. Just as Tamira was about to sigh, the doorknob clicked again.
Mark Jones poked his head in.
“And don’t touch anything.”
“I don’t plan on moving an inch from where I sit”, Tamira retorted.
And with that, he was gone.
But hus scent lingered with her, provoking, but soothing at the same time.
Like he was still there. Holding her hands.
When he opened the door again, he paused to appreciate the golden hues that seeped in through the enormous window. It was a view that never tired him and he basked in the glory of the setting sun.
Until he was interrupted by a soft moan coming from the sofa. He looked at the space littered with two packs of food and three bottled water.
Ah yes, the burden was still here.
His Emporio Armani Swiss watch informed him that the time was 5pm and his little package was curled up on his expensive sofa, waiting to be shipped off back to boarding school. But it was his fault. He had called Mr. Cole to stay back, after getting off the phone with his mother.
She had warned him against refusing to take the girl in as it would tarnish the family’s image of showing the most empathy towards humanity. Although she didn’t mention how she got wind of the situation, he suspected that slippery Mr. Cole to have told her. And he dared not go against his mother’s orders.
He moved closer to the couch and stooped low to have a closer look at her under the golden light.
She was beautiful. Skinny, but beautiful. His eyes traced the intricate lines from her forehead that sent the message of someone who frowned all her life. Her dark skin was just two shades lighter than his and her small flat nose flared as she breathed in and out.
He tapped her awake. She opened her eyes.
“Hey, get up. We are leaving now.”
“Where are we going?” Tamira whispered sleepily as she smoothened the fine lines the couch had created on the side of her face.
(It was too long I had to cut it short. Comment below if you want to see the concluding part. And yes, that’s where the real fun begins and ends *wink wink*)