She slept restlessly that night, tossing and turning in bed long after the vigil had ended. The pastor’s words weighed heavily on her mind and they refused to go anywhere. Izzy lay next to her on a smaller bed which had been moved into the massive room, snoring contently.
She woke up to the sound of her name and an uncomfortable tapping on her leg, her nightmare flashing before her mind’s eye for a couple of seconds before she recognized Izzy’s figure right above her.
“Wake up girl!” Izzy screeched “What is it with you?”
She groaned and turned. Izzy was unrelenting. With a quick tug, she pulled off the blanket.
“Oh my God! What do you want from me?!”
“It’s twelve o’clock on a Saturday and you’re still asleep.”
“We had a vigil today, remember?”
“Yeah, it ended at two am. This is eleven thirty.”
“I didn’t sleep till four -ish.”
“What were you doing?” Izzy inquired “Don’t tell me that Pastor’s gist got to you?”
“What if it did?”
“Look, that could have applied to anyone, me especially,” Izzy replied “You’re a saint compared to me.”
“I doubt it. I’ve been sleeping with Andy.”
“So, who hasn’t?”
She raised her brow in a curious glance
“Ha-ha! I mean we’ve all been sleeping with our boyfriends, isn’t that what people do?”
“I don’t know Izzy; I’ve been feeling strange about it.”
“C’mon! Don’t even start again. You do this every time.”
“What do I do?” She asked between a yawn, getting up from bed to stretch.
“You have a good thing going and then you over process it and let it go.”
“By the way, your Mom and Andy have been calling you.” Izzy added handing over the phone to her.
She stared at the 5missed calls and 45 notifications on the screen. She navigated her way to the text messages. Andy’s text was on top.
Hey, I’ve been trying to reach you. Still on for today or should we re-schedule? Get in touch. Love You
“Andy?” Izzy asked
“Yeah, I almost forgot. We’re going to palms.”
“YES!” Izzy danced “Wait, he’s paying right?”
She smiled at her friend’s demeanour and continued reading her pending texts.
My dear, I’m not going to ask you what you’ve been doing because I trust you. Please don’t just make me sad. You’re bright and beautiful. Love you.
Her mother’s text cut her to the heart. She fought back the tears and turned to head for the bathroom as Izzy ranted on about her lack of clothes to wear.
By 2pm, they were at Palms. Underneath her denim jacket, She was wearing a white tank top on folded khaki cuff shorts with her favourite leopard print shoes. Izzy opted for a black open arm tank top and blue denim jeans. The two girls looked stunning. They both spotted Andy at the same time, seating in Chocolat Royal with 2 empty cups of Ice Cream on the table. His back was turned to them but She knew already that he was wearing her favourite blue of his infinite supply of Polo shirts. Seating across him was Izzy’s ex-boyfriend and his best friend, Tobi. A smile formed on her face in anticipation of the awkwardness she was positive would ensue.
Tobi pointed in their direction and Andy turned to usher them in, waving them in.
“Hey there boo,” She said softly as she slid into the seat next to Andy, leaving Izzy no other option but to seat next to Tobi “Hi Tobi, what’s up?”
“You’re very late,” Andy said “Why’d you let her waste so much time, Izzy?”
“One, I’m good,” Tobi began “Two, Hello Izzy. Three, ignore Andy, he was almost shedding tears here, look at him trying to act all tough now.”
“Don’t mind her jare,” Izzy cut in “She almost slept till one pm.”
“Whatever, anyways, what are we doing here?” She asked “I’m not just going to be walking around for hours.”
“Well you can always come to my house.” Andy winked with a wide grin on his face and immediately the uneasy feeling came flooding back in.
“Can we talk?” She inquired
“Here?” Andy looked confused
“We can go somewhere else.”
“I don’t see why not,” He replied “Guys, we’ll be back.”
Izzy shot an Icy look in her direction. She obviously wasn’t pleased that she’d be left alone with Tobi.
Andy took her out of the Mall to his car. They got into the black Honda Accord and he started the engine, turning on the Air Conditioner to save them from the blistering heat outside.
“So, what do you want to talk about?”
“Um—I’ve not been comfortable with what we’ve doing for a while now.”
“What have we been doing?” Andy asked with a puzzled look on his face “I’m lost here.”
“This feels awkward and I don’t know how to say it”
“Then don’t say it” Andy replied placing one hand on her thigh. He leaned in to kiss her, placing the other hand under her chin. She tightened for a second before shifting out of his touch.
“Not now, Andy.” She crooned “This is what I’m even talking about.”
“What is it?” Andy sounded exasperated.
“Sex! I’m not comfortable with us having sex anymore. I’m not up for it anymore” She replied looking down.
Andy laughed out loudly.
“So that’s what you didn’t know how to say? You’re too shy.”
She didn’t reply his jibe.
“Anyway, I’m cool with whatever you want dear. If you don’t want us to have sex anymore, I have very little reservations.”
For some reason, his assurances didn’t make her feel any better. She however made an effort to smile and locked her arms in his as they walked back into the mall. In a short time, they found Tobi and Izzy laughing loudly in a liquor store. They joined them and soon, Tobi, Izzy and Andy were sufficiently drunk enough to be improper and disorderly. She chose to stay sober seeing as she was the one who would be driving back home.
In a short while, their raucous laughter to improper and unamusing jokes was becoming embarrassing and she walked away from the table. She wandered around the mall aimlessly, trying to clear her head before realising that she was hungry and getting on the line at KFC. She stared at the menu above, thinking about how what was served never looked like what was advertised. Dipping her hand into her bag to retrieve her purse, she was tapped from behind and she turned. Standing behind her was a revelation of God’s glory. He was tall and dark. Baby pink lips she was sure were natural and not chemically induced parted way to reveal almost perfectly set teeth as he smiled. Dimples accompanied the smile.
“I know you.” He said in a calm voice.
She couldn’t help but smile at his cheesy pick-up line.
“I’m not very sure you do,” She said “But you can with time.”
Idiot, why on earth did you say that? She thought to herself.
“No, seriously, I actually do know you.” He asserted.
She found herself studying his unbuttoned blue and red check shirt which was over a white T-Shirt that had the inscription “God over Money” in a fancy design. Even with the people around, she could smell his cologne wafting towards her. It was very masculine and definitely not cheap.
“Did you go to Blue-Water Academy?” He inquired.
It was the name of her Secondary School.
“Yes, did you?”
“Yeah, I left in SS1 though,” He replied “My family relocated. I think you used to seat next to me in junior school.”
She studied the face again and the features started becoming more recognisable. She knew him, only the name was eluding her. It would only be a matter of time before she-
“Jonathan?” She asked with disbelief.
“There you have it.” He smiled and beckoned to her to move up the line.
She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The Jonathan she had known was short and stocky with pimples, which didn’t go well with his dark skin at all. He had been tormented in school and she had defended him once. It led to a brief friendship which ended as soon as they got into senior school and he left. This Jonathan was devilishly good looking, standing at over six feet. Her five feet and seven inches frame was dwarfed in his presence. Ignoring his instruction for her to move up the line, she threw herself at him in a warm embrace.
“Oh my God! It is so good to see you!” She said “This is unbelievable! Where have you been?”
“Ha ha! We’ll talk, let me get your order and then we’ll grab a seat. Or are you with someone?”
“Um, yeah I’m with my b—- friends,” She paused “I’m with my friends but it’s cool, they’ll find me later.”
What are you doing? Why did you leave out the boyfriend part? You’re looking for trouble.
“Cool, let’s eat then.”
They spent the next thirty minutes devouring chicken and fries, catching up. She thought he was very easy to talk to. He was calm and intelligent, or at least he sounded intelligent. Her phone annoyingly buzzed from time to time and she was forced at a point to tell Izzy where she was.
He told her he was a Software Engineer and had recently started his own Company while in School. He turned twenty in May and wasn’t seeing anyone. She skilfully avoided his questions about her relationships and soon they settled on talking about life in school. They were still on the topic when a plate whizzed past his head and clattered onto the floor behind them. They turned at the same time to find the source and their eyes settled on a steaming young man with fair skin.
Andy didn’t look pleased at all.
Jonathan got up as Andy approached them. She could feel the tension in the air as people stared at the events unfolding.
“Guy! What on earth was that!?” Jonathan bellowed.
“What the f**k are you doing with my girlfriend!?” Andy replied with equal force.
Jonathan looked back at her and she felt the blood flow into her cheeks.
“Girlfriend or not, flying plates don’t answer questions or solve mysteries.”
“Dude, I will f**king pound you if you don’t get the hell out of here!”
Tobi approached them and held Andy from behind.
“Andy! You’re causing a scene, let’s go!”
“And you! What on earth is this?” Andy asked pointing at her.
She was both angry and shocked that he was causing such a ruckus over an unnecessary situation. She knew it was the alcohol he had been drinking that was at work.
“I didn’t know I’m not supposed to talk to other boys, Andy” She answered, her words dripping with Sarcasm. Her eyes caught Izzy standing just outside the food store, watching remorsefully. She got up just as the food vendors began to intervene and stalked past Andy. He grabbed her hand but she jerked it free from her grip. He turned even louder.
“Bitch, come back here! Where the f**k do you think you’re going!?”
“Dude! That is no way to talk to her!” Jonathan cut in.
Andy shook off Tobi and threw a punch at Jonathan. Jonathan ducked and pushed him aside. The alcohol didn’t help Andy as he fell back helplessly into Tobi who in turn crashed into a table. Jonathan walked past them in pursuit of her. He caught up to her in no time.
“Don’t ask,” She said “And you didn’t help matters, Izzy.”
Izzy remained quiet as she walked beside them.
“Take it easy on her; I’m sure she didn’t mean any harm with whatever she did.” Jonathan said.
“Whatever, I’m going home. It was nice to see you again.”
“Wait, you just can’t leave like that. Give me your phone number.”
“You still want to talk me after that?” She replied pointing in the direction of the food store.
“It’d take more than that for me to not talk to you.”
Those words warmed her heart. She typed in her number with a smile on her face. He walked them to her car and waved as she drove off.
They continued through Lagos Island heading for the 3rd Mainland Bridge in silence. She couldn’t believe Andy had shouted at her and called her a bitch. She wondered if it was his real identity that the alcohol brought to the surface. Izzy broke the silence in the car with a chilling message.
“Simi, Andy just texted me that he has seen that guy you were with and that he’s going to kill him.”