Chike walked down the street. He thought of taking a cold shower once he got home. It had been a tiring day at school. The second semester had just begun and the lecturers were already intimidating them with stressful assignments and group projects. He was running out of funds and might need to ask his parents or his elder brother for financial assistance. Preferably the latter. His parents were taking care of his younger siblings and most times, he didn’t like disturbing them. They were four in number, three boys and a girl. His elder brother was working for his uncle while he awaited his call off letter and he had been very supportive. His younger brother was in his second year, and his younger sister was in her first year. They were both in Imo State University. His younger sister, the last child of his parents, was the age mate of Bukky. If they met, he believed that they would become good friends.
He brought out his phone from his pocket and dialed his elder brother’s number. It rang for a while.
“Chike, how now?”
“I dey bros.”
“How Lag? How school?”
“Lag dey there. Na school matter make me call sef.”
“I no get money like that.”
“Ah bros. Abeg o. Nothing is too small.”
“I just got my call up letter yesterday and I need to prepare for camp.”
Eyes brightened, “Where are you posted?”
“I need all the money I can lay my hands on.”
“Thanks. I will try and send you something before weekend.”
Sighed in relief, “Thanks bros.”
“Hope you are coming home for the long hols.”
“I think so.”
“Don’t think. Come home. You can replace me at uncle’s place and earn some cash this summer before returning to school.”
“That’s true o.”
“You know dad and mum already have their hands full.”
Nodded, “Yes, I know. I rarely ask them for anything these days.”
“Anyhow, man pikin go survive.”
“Yeah, thanks bros.”
The line went dead. He slipped the phone back into his pocket.
He heard the voice. He recognized it and broke into a smile. He knew exactly who it was. He kept on walking, but, he slowed his pace.
“Fine boy stop there!”
He started to laugh and glanced back. He saw her sauntering towards him. Straight jeans, white tube blouse, black cap-sleeve jacket, and a pink knapsack strapped to her left shoulder. Her pink gladiator sandals had silver sequins spread around it, giving it a unique look. Her smooth black hair was packed behind her neck in a pony-tail. It looked retouched. She looked fresh and pretty, like the flowers on the screen saver of his laptop. His dark brown eyes grew warm, lingering over her with intensity.
She caught up with him, “You! I haven’t been seeing you at my shed. You just disappeared. Have you found another akara seller,” she placed her hands on her curvy hips.
He gave a shake of head and grinned. They fell into steps and walked homewards.
“I leave for school earlier than usual these days.”
“How are you preparing for your Common Entrance Examinations?”
She paled, “I am scared to the bones.”
He glanced at her, “Hey…” he placed a hand around her shoulder, “You know I am here for you.”
She sighed heavily and nodded.
“I will assist you in every way I can, okay?”
She met his kind eyes, “Okay.”
He smiled at her and she smiled back at him. “Has your boyfriend gone back to school?”
She turned her head, “Yes.”
Her emotionless voice got to him, “Have you guys reconciled?”
“Yes,” her tone was flat.
He looked worried, “You sound like both of you are still fighting.”
She heaved a tired sigh. She didn’t see her boyfriend the day he returned to school. She practically avoided him since the night he had his way with her at the back of the kitchen. She barred his number on her phone so that he wouldn’t be able to reach her. She didn’t want to communicate with him until he returned home for the long holiday. Then, they would decide whether to kill the relationship and move on or rescue it before it disintegrate into nothingness. She didn’t want a secret relationship. She didn’t want a relationship based on only physical intimacy. They hardly talk. Every time they were alone, things got complicated. Maybe she wasn’t ready for a relationship or was she asking for too much?
“Bukky…” he noticed her distracted look, “Bukky…”
“Hmm…” she turned to look at him.
“A penny for your thoughts.”
“What about a dollar?” she grinned from ear to ear.
“See thief,” he eyed her.
She started to laugh.
“I am going home for the long holiday.”
“Yes. My elder brother has just gotten his call up letter and I am going to replace him at my uncle’s firm.”
“Oh… okay. Where was he posted?”
“Wow! He is lucky.”
“Yea. Next year, I hope to do my industrial training at Chevron, Mobil…”
“Shell or Texaco,” Bukky chimed in.
“Exactly,” he winked at her.
“I will miss you.”
“Same here. Anyway, I am not going anywhere until we celebrate our birthdays together. I am going to borrow you from your boyfriend.”
She chuckled, “He will fight you.”
“Let him try. I will finish him,” he boasted.
“We shall see,” she halted in front of her house.
“I will create time so that I can revise your notes with you before your examination.”
Her eyes shone with joy, “I will really love that.”
“What are friends for?” he smiled at her.
“You must repay me with bean cake for a whole week.”
“See thief,” she eyed him.
He started to laugh, “The bible says he that does not work should not eat.”
She hissed, “You are not serious.”
“I am,” he rubbed his belly, “I am so hungry.”
“Later now,” he backed away.
“I will call you.”
He waved and headed off in the opposite direction. She stood there, watching him, till he faded. She sighed, turned around and went into the building. She thanked God for sending her a really good friend. What was she going to do without him?
Watch Out for Chapter Seventeen …