Bukky got down from the bus and started to walk home. She sighted Gbemiga standing at a corner and wondered who he was waiting for. She waved at him and walked past, but, he held her by the elbow.
“I have been waiting for you.”
“Really?” she seized him up. He looked fresh, as if he had just had his bath. He smelled well too. The red tee shirt and black jeans did justice to his good looking features.
“Yes. Have you forgotten what today is?” he released her hand.
Her eyes darted about. What was he getting at? She hoped her aunt was home. It would be great if she had also prepared dinner. A nice bath, then a palatable meal, what more could one ask for?
“It’s the fifteenth of August.”
She shifted on both feet, “So?”
Her response didn’t go down well with him, “I can’t believe you forgot our birthday.”
“Oh… that… I didn’t forget,” she scratched a spot on her eyebrow.
He eyed her, he wasn’t convinced, “I don’t believe you.”
“I know my birthday is today,” she started to walk away. She was in no mood to banter words with him.
He followed in hurried steps, “So is mine, have you forgotten?”
She shrugged and moved her hand-bag to the other shoulder.
“We were supposed to spend today together,” he sounded exasperated.
“Ehn… when did I agree to that?” she glanced up at him.
He sighed with frustration, “We talked about it.”
“You and who?” she eyed him.
“That time now.”
He halted and held her by the hand, “Stop playing hard to get.”
She snatched her hand from his grip, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
He looked heavenwards, then back at her, “There is something special between us.”
She started to laugh, “Wow… you are imagining things.”
“We are attracted to each other. Stop denying it.”
She sensed the seriousness in his voice, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
Out of the blues, he pulled her into his arms. Gazes locked, her surroundings became blurred, mouth wide open, she felt wrapped in a warm tingling sensation that coursed through every part of her body.
“Can you feel that? Am I still imagining things?” the look in her eyes gave him the answers he needed.
“Let me go! We are in public for Christ’s sake,” she wriggled free and stepped back, “Please keep your distance,” she pointed a warning finger at him.
“I know you feel exactly the way I feel. I like you and I want to go out with you.”
She turned away. What rubbish was he vomiting? She was in no frame of mind to start a relationship. Things were topsy turvy in her life at the moment. She didn’t want to add the rigours of an affair to it.
“Spend the evening with me. I promise you a good time, no strings attached,” he tried to persuade her.
She looked up at him. She was very hungry. When was the last time she celebrated her birthday anyway? Here was her birthday-mate dying to give her a treat.
“O-kay,” she gave in.
“Halleluiah!” he raised both hands and looked up at the sky.
She raised a hand, “But… but, wait a minute.”
“What?” he beamed at her.
“I must be home before nine. I don’t want to be harassed by my aunt.”
“No problem,” he took her by the hand and pulled her towards the bus-stop.
“Where are we going?”
“I have it all planned out,” he winked at her.
On their way home that night, he took her to a cyber café and tried to teach her how to use the internet, but, her lack of education became a stumbling block.
He opened an email address for her and negotiated with the Café Attendant, who lived in their area, to help her send mails to him and also deliver any mails he sent to her from school. He hoped to get a mobile phone soonest, and hopefully get for her too, so that communication between them would be frequent. They bought popcorn from a shop beside the café and headed home.
“Hope you had a great time.”
She grinned, “Yes, I did. Thank you.”
“You are welcome. I hope you will spend this day with me next year.”
“May God keep us till then.”
“Is that a yes?”
“Yes,” she avoided his gaze.
“I will be leaving for school in two weeks time.”
“I will miss you.”
She remained silent.
“Will you go out with me?”
She didn’t respond. He reached out for her hand, but, she pulled free from his grip.
“I need an answer before I leave for school.”
They walked down the street in silence.
“I am not sure it is a good time for me to start a relationship.”
He turned his head and saw the uncertainty in her eyes, “I like you. I know you like me too. I will not disappoint you. Just give me a chance.”
She sighed and pressed her lips together, “Why start a relationship when you are going to be so far away?”
He grinned, “Lasu isn’t far away. You can visit anytime you are free. The cyber café attendant is my friend; he will help us to keep in touch. You have nothing to worry about.”
He sounded convincing. Maybe the distance was a good thing. It might help them build a strong connection.
He halted and looked at her, “Is that a yes?”
She stopped a few feet away from him and nodded. He started to laugh. He would have been depressed if she had refused him. He had a feeling that theirs was going to be a successful union.
“I have to go, it is almost nine,” she glanced at her wrist-watch.
“Hurry along, I am right behind you.”
She quickened her steps and hurried home. She met her aunt seated on a bench with a few other women outside the house. They were gossiping about people in the neighbourhood as usual. She greeted them all and went in. She unlocked the door to her aunt’s room with her spare key and walked in. She closed the door behind her and pulled off her sandals. She dropped her hand-bag on the carpet floor and sat on the mattress. Did she just agree to date Gbemiga? She lay on the bed and smiled. She was so crazy. She had never dated anyone before. What experience does she have?
Oh God… what have I gotten myself into?
She remembered the way he stared at her all night long. It was so obvious that he really liked her. She liked him too. She turned on her tummy. Gbemiga was tall, dark and good looking. His faith in God was an added plus. She reasoned that she had made the right decision. There was no need to panic. She wished she could share the news with her elder sister. They would have chatted into the night. Here in her aunt’s home, she had no one to talk to. She doubted if Aunt Kike would entertain such discussion. The thought of the way he held her made her to feel warm. The chemistry between them was undeniable. She would tread carefully. She had witnessed several girls been burdened with children that they were not prepared for. She would make no such mistake. She planned to remain intact until her wedding night. Be it Gbemiga or any other man, she swore to keep herself.
Watch Out for Chapter Four…