I opened my eyes slightly, turning fully to my side, my gaze was fixed on the flat screen T.v on the wall. Shooting my eyes open, I looked around me as I took in my surroundings then I knew something was wrong. It’s not possible! I tried to sit up, and I had a momentary flash of dizziness, I rubbed my temple with my fingers as I tried to silence the throbbing in my head. Staggering off the bed I searched for my bag, my eyes caught a blinking sign from my phone and it all began to sink in. I remembered my walk of shame back to my seat after the kiss, Uju’s annoyed stare and Jessica’s questioning glare. I shut my eyes recollecting my incessant consumption of alcohol as I tried to drown my guilt and embarrassment. I remembered vividly Uju asking George to spare a room for me as I was getting intoxicated, I crawled to the bed with my last strength and that was the last I remembered. I closed my eyes as I swore silently never to get drunk again. I picked up my phone from the floor where it was plugged to a wall socket, “Jesus!, it’s to three”. I was confused momentarily as I wondered if my phone was maybe wrong, I dialed Uju’s number, she picked up at the fourth ring
“Hello, where are you?” I was too curious to exchange pleasantries.
“I am in school” She said sounding normal.
“Doing what?” I asked already raising my voice
“I had a test at 9:00am, same with Jessica. Are you still at George’s place?” she said sounding impatient
I took in a deep breathe as I tried to calm my nerves down.
“So, why I am still here, why didn’t you wake me up?” I said already fuming.
“You were knocked out, I warned you about taking more alcohol didn’t I?” she answered sounding defensive
“So, that’s why you left me in a stranger’s house till now. What if something happened to me while I was sleeping”
“Nothing can happen to you, George’s a good guy have you forgotten all he did for you at the beach?”
“Don’t tell me about that, admit you and Jessica did something wrong”
“Why are you getting worked up, you needed the rest and we were both rushing off for our..”
“Bye, I don’t have airtime for this” Cutting her off mid sentence. I ended the call, I bit my lower lips as I thought of what next and hoped George was in the house.
Roland must be so worried now, this was the first time I was not keeping my word with him. I glanced at my phone nervously, I had ten missed calls from him and I was out of airtime. I checked my BBM and he has sent different messages asking ; where are you?’ ‘I have been expecting you?’ ‘Amaka?’ ‘Are you there?’
I decided not to respond yet, I did a small leap of joy mentally. This was the first time he was showing concern, but this was the first time I was not showing up at his place after promising to.
Picking up my bag after throwing in my phones, I cautiously made my way out of the room. I stood at the hallway and contemplated calling out George’s name as I didn’t know which was his room, I decided to go to the sitting room.
He was lying on the couch shirtless, I stood for a few seconds, his eyes were closed and I knew he hadn’t noticed my presence. Maybe I should tip toe my way out, but on a second thought that would be rude. Moving closer to him, my eyes roamed over his face and shoulders, I scanned his hard chest and flat tummy, he was just like Flavour without the packs. Taking my eyes back to his face I met two pair of eyes staring back at me, I knew I have been caught admiring his physique.
“Hi, I woke up and found myself still here” I said quickly
“Yes, you were knocked out last night and I thought it would be better you rest here since your friends are having tests and you would be home alone” he said as he flung his long legs to the floor and sat down.
“Thank you” I said adjusting the hem of my gown as I pulled it down. It seemed ok for a night out but I felt naked right now, he picked up his phone from the tiled floor as his eyes did a slow long travel from my thigh to my face making me feel more self conscious. “where is everyone?’ I asked wanting to be sure we were not alone
“Everyone left after we cleaned up”
“Oh” I said
“I boiled rice, I have some stew. Eat something before you go”
“I am fine, I would eat something when I get home”
“No, you would stay and eat then I would take you home, if you insist watch me while I eat I could use the company” he said smiling as he headed out of the sitting room.
Minutes later we were sited beside each other at the dining table eating quietly. Yeah, I agreed to eat, why starve myself or be in the awkward spot of watching him eat? The stew actually tasted good, Uju could take lessons from him I thought smiling.
“Why are you smiling” he asked grinning at me
“Nothing, a thought crossed my mind”
“Ok” he said, not probing further.
We ate the rest of the meal in silence, I kept avoiding his eyes as the thought of our kiss last night still made me feel embarrassed. Now I believe some people are blessed with seductive moves and lips. The sound of a phone ringing snapped me out of my imaginations
“Hello” he paused for a few seconds
“No, I am going out. I will see you later in the evening ” Still another pause “Yes, she is still here, I will drop by at your place after I drop her” He was silent for a few seconds as I heard the female voice on the other end get louder but I couldn’t make out what she was saying. I didn’t need a sorcerer to tell me who he was speaking with. He dropped his spoon abruptly, worry lines emerged in his forehead, he lowered his voice as he said
“Meriam, I said I will see you later”
So her name is Meriam, I was confused on whether to excuse myself quietly or pretend I wasn’t hearing this conversation.
“Ok, if you say so, bye” he dropped his phone, picking up his spoon like nothing happened and continued his meal.
“I will take a cab home, your girlfriend will be mad if you show up late” Standing up and picking my bag from the floor.
“She’s not my girlfriend, I wouldn’t kiss you like that in the presence of my girl” He was looking directly me at me now, I avoided his gaze as I stared at the empty plate on the table.
“Let me take you home, you should know by now I mean no harm or intentions”
“Ok” I said seeing no need to prolong this argument.
He cleared the dishes, minutes later he came back to the sitting room dressed in a striped polo shirt and shorts .
“I am ready if you are”
We sat in silence, while I thought of a suitable excuse to give Roland, I thought of asking George to drop me at his place but I knew that will be a bad idea.
“Are you late? ”
“You keep staring at your watch, are you late for an event?”
“No, not really……. I told my boyfriend I would be at his place today and I am so late”
“That’s too bad, call him and explain to him”
“Will do that when I get home”
“Ok, so what course are you studying?”
“Economics, 200 level”
“Cool, I hear your exams will start anytime soon”
The questions and small talk went on, and I kept giving vague answers limited to a word most times. We drew nearer to my house, I saw a familiar figure standing beside a red Honda car. My heart sank and did a flip all in one second.
“Oh No, that’s my boyfriend standing by my gate”
“The dark guy?” He asked with an eyebrow raised
“I think he has seen me” I said looking directly into Roland’s eyes mortified.
“Take that look off your face or you would be perceived guilty”
My heart beat faster as I walked towards Roland, he was glaring at me, and also staring suspiciously at my gown then at George. I kept hoping Uju can show up at this point.
“Amaka, I have been calling you” I was thankful he said something because my throat was dry. I was even more startled when he pulled me closer for a hug, I heaved a sigh of relief.
“I will get going” George announced
I moved away from Roland’s arms, started unzipping my bag for my phone which I didn’t need as I mumbled a barely audible OK to George. As soon as his car reversed and was out of sight, the smile on Roland’s face left with it.
“What is the matter?” I asked
“Who is he?”
“Who?” I feigned ignorance
“We will have this conversation later, before then think of a reasonable explanation why you stopped picking my calls, why are you on a skimpy gown in another man’s car?” his voice was raised already, which attracted some curious stares from passer bys.
“Roland, calm down for a sec…..” before I could get the whole words out of my mouth he was walking out already. He zoomed off without looking back, tears I didn’t notice rolled down my cheeks. I wiped them off quickly and walked into the gate, our little drama was already raising eyebrows from women sitting in a shop beside me. I wondered how I could resolve this without sounding guilty.
* * *
Uju and I were seated on the small couch in our room as we looked at Jessica in expectation. She kept twisting the edge of the pillow on her lap, she finally looked up and we saw she had tears streaming down her eyes uncontrollably.
“Why are you crying?” I asked
Uju was already next to her, patting her back
“What happened?, did you have a fight with Wale?”
Jessica shook her head, as more tears kept flowing.
“Then what is it, you are making me scared” I said
“Wale has contacted an STI” she said sobbing more loudly now.
I was dumb founded, it was the last thing I expected to hear.
“Are you sure?” I asked “How did you find out?”
Jessica was shaking as the tears kept flowing like a tap. We were all silent, allowing her time to put herself together. She drew in a deep breathe, wiped off the tears
“I saw a text message on his phone, I was with the phone when the text came in, the girl was denying infecting him. She asked him to ask his other hoes” Jessica said in a shaky voice
“Did you find out which STI?” Uju inquired
“Have you had unprotected sex with him recently?” Uju asked
“No, I haven’t tried it without condom yet. He stopped having sex with me some weeks ago. I guess the reason is clear now”
“Then you should worry less and stop crying. You just saw your exit point from that messed up relationship. However, we would go see a doctor tomorrow.” Uju said calmly
“Jessica, stop crying he is not worth all this” I said
“Ye, Amaka tell that to yourself too, has Roland called you since the incident on Saturday?” Uju fired at me
“No, he isn’t picking my calls too. I would be mad if I was in his shoes too”
“Please let me hear, he is jealous you found someone else. I will stop chasing George if you will agree to have a fling with him. You need to know what it’s like with someone else, that kiss shows the guy is gooood”
“Hello?… I am still here with a boyfriend who has been sleeping with hoes and now has an STI” Jessica cut in
“Ye, sorry about that. But Amaka here also has her own matters arising”
Jessica’s tears were gone now and her voice was no longer shaky. Uju’s conviction that it was unlikely she has caught the infection lightened her mood.
“So Amaka, would you?” Jessica asked
“Would I what?” it was obvious Jessica wanted a distraction from her own troubles so I was going to be the topic of discussion.
“Have a fling with George. You can’t be so sure you are having the best offer when you haven’t tasted something else” Uju said with a mischievous smile
“No I won’t, he is all yours to keep”
“I don’t want to keep anyone, with the kind of relationship palava you and Jessica have I think I am cool with no strings attached”
“Suit yourself” I said annoyed at the idea she was presenting to me.
I heard the familiar tone of my phone ringing..
“Hello” a deep male voice said “It’s George, i asked Uju for your number I thought I should ask you if your boyfriend isn’t still mad at you. Uju mentioned something like that to me”
“We are fine, thanks for asking” I stole a glance at Uju, she was discussing Psquare’s impending split with Jessica.
“Ok, take care then.” he said , he knew from my tone I didn’t want to discuss it
“Ok, bye” I said not wanting Uju or Jessica to have a clue who I was talking with.
I hung up and joined the argument on how possible the break-up could be.
* * *
I promised never to hurt you again, I was jealous seeing you with someone else dressed like that. I know I should have listened to you. I love you, I know I haven’t been the best boyfriend but I think I should forgive you as you forgave me. Let’s start afresh, no more lies. Roland.
I read the message again, surprisingly I felt indifferent. I sighed, closed my eyes, drifted off to sleep.
* * *
I opened my eyes suddenly, a shiver ran down my spine as I had just had the same dream reoccur again. I looked over the other side of the room, Jessica and Uju were sleeping peacefully. Why was I being chased again? I was sweating and still panting like I actually ran in real life. I still couldn’t make out the face of the lady but I was sure it was the same person.
With my heart beat drumming and my hands shaking I picked up my Bible.
“Fight those who fight against me lord..
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