PREVIOUSLY on LOVE UNTOLD, EPISODE 30.
Students passed and brushed me and none cared to know why I stood still, glancing around like a freshman searching for his department.
“You are one hell of a good boy,” Eric voiced behind me after some minutes, sending jitters down my spine.
I startled, inhaled and exhaled same way. “God! Don’t do that again,” I scolded him.
“Oh! I forgot, you are prone to fainting,” he teased. “Common, let’s go please, we have a birthday party to attend,” he added and walked out.
I moseyed behind him, wondering where he came out from and if he saw me only looking at my phone or admiring his picture. “Where were you?” I asked, unable to hold my peace.
“I was just there,” he said, pointing into the air.
I looked and I saw no place in particular. I returned my gaze to him.
“But I saw you, very clearly,” he continued. “Why didn’t you answer Dr Ahmed, he was calling you right?” he asked, flagging down bikes.
My face twitched as I wondered how he got hold of such information. I struggled to figure it out but the only thing I could make out of it was him being with Ahmed as at the time of the call. So I asked him, with all seriousness if he was with him. He only shrugged, took some steps and started negotiating with the bike man.
“Why did you go to him?” I asked, walking closer to him.
“I didn’t go to him,” he replied. “He came to me.” He turned to the bike man and told him his last price, which was unfair. I would have suggested we board the bike but that would put an end to our discussion, and one thing I have learnt about him was that any disturbed conversation, has no place in his diary again. So I let the bike man leave.
“Why was he calling me?” I asked.
“He was complaining about how you have been avoiding him, his calls and messages when we saw you walking out of the school gate and I told him to call you. He did, but you know…” he opened his palm like a child trying to prove he didn’t steal anything.
“You have to stay away from Ahmed. And if you can’t do that, don’t discuss me with him, please,” I said.
He stared at me, confused and shocked. I knew I got no right to tell him who to make friends with but Ahmed has become a sensational name and whenever I brought his name up, there was always juicy news to follow. He grinned. “And why would I listen to you?” he asked.
I didn’t know what to say, obviously because there was nothing to say. I shouldn’t have said that, I shouldn’t have given that order, but I have and if he didn’t think he could do it, he was free to discard it.
“Never mind,” I answered. “It’s your life. I am sorry I said that,” I stepped away from him, resuming his abandoned work of stopping bikes. I really needed to go home, take a bath and sleep.
“I know it’s my life but I do care about you very much,” he said, moved closer to me, with his right hand crossed on my shoulder.
Goose bumps covered my body, sending a hot rush of blood all over my arteries and veins. My lips shuddered and my hands trembled. I glanced around to see if anyone was looking, nobody was. I glanced at him, wondering if he knew what he was doing to me or he was just being a nice guy, even though it was wired for a guy to hang his hand across another’s shoulder in the street let alone in front of the busiest place in the city; the university, and at the busiest hour of the day; evening.
“I wouldn’t want to do anything that will hurt you,” he continued. “I care about your feelings and so I would stop talking to Ahmed if you could just tell me why.”
I was tempted to ask him to explain further the aspect of him caring about my feelings, but when I opened my mouth; my tongue didn’t move, I struggled to whine it but to no avail; it was glued to the roof of my mouth. I closed up and opened again, with a different question and thought all together. Then I felt my tongue snake around in my mouth.“Because I hate him,” I replied.
“I hate him too,” he whispered into my ear, his lips brushing my ear lobes, making the feeling intense.
I squinted at him; my face twitched and eyes rolled up.
“What?” he shrugged. “An enemy of my friend is also my enemy you know,” he added.
I started sweating, from my back, then my face. I glanced at him and smiled. “Thank you. Now can we go home?” I said. I needed to distract him before people start thinking we are company men.
“Sure!” he threw his hand down, and I let out a heavy sigh of relief. “I need to visit Chicken Grills before the party time,” he added.
“How big are you planning it?” I asked, flagging down bike-men who seemed to perceive us as unserious customers.
“Not quite big,” he slurred. “There is no money.”
I scoffed, happy that there was no money, because that would mean a small and short gathering, which would not give me much time to reminisce of my first date with Amanda.
Finally a compassionate bike-man stopped and without bargaining, I asked him to mount and he did. I sat behind him and the bike man zoomed off, producing cool and pristine breeze that whooshed away all my naked and evil thoughts about him, creating a clean image of him. He was not my type, he was just being nice, understanding and caring, after all we are friends, and friends care for each other. I smiled behind him, threw my hands on his shoulders after placing my books where he kept his own; on the gap between him and the bike man, then relaxed for the silent ride home.
When we got home, Frank and Ken were in the sitting room, quite and thoughtful. Eric yanked the door open with a loud giggle, drawing their morose attention to us. They glowered at us, eyes sullen, silently watching us as I walked in behind Eric and locked the door. I paused, after throwing a slurred greeting at them and getting no response, studied their stare which was nothing but suspicious. Eric glanced at me, our eyes met and he shrugged.
“Maybe their girlfriends broke up with them,” he teased and walked inside, unperturbed.
I scoffed, thudded my books on the table hoping to jolt them back to reality. But they were never lost, they were conscious of their acts. Ken hissed, stared at me again, this time with so much hate and disgust in his eyes. I flashed at Frank who has a mischievous look on his face.
“What is wrong with both of you?” I asked, sitting down on the empty sofa facing them.
“Nothing!” Ken jumped in as he stood up and ambled inside the room.
I turned at Frank, curious and anxious to know exactly what was going on. He read the meanings of my expression but he cared less. He sighed, victoriously and stood up, picked the TV remote and changed the channel then walked inside the room. I sat there, lost and shocked at the drama that just evolved before me. I rotated my sitting position to glance at the door through which the two of my roommates disappeared from, ignoring me like a fool. As stared on, scary thoughts filled my head. Maybe Frank finally told Ken about my sexuality, maybe he told him even things that weren’t true, like how I and Eric are lovers otherwise I don’t see any reason why they were acting that cold towards me. I inhaled, shook my head and stood up. It was Eric’s birthday and I would not want anything to distract me from having as much fun as I could at the party. So picked my books and headed inside.
I walked into the room and Eric was in the bathroom. I called out to him, and he mumbled under the rush of shower. Then he turned the shower off and bellowed name.
“What!” he bellowed after I refused answering.
“Come out first,” I replied.
Like he has been waiting for that line, he jumped out of the bathroom, his towel roughly tied around his waist. “What is it?” he asked almost immediately.
I glanced at his smooth and tempting body, his chest and tummy which bore the signature of his failed attempt to body build. The water, clean and reflective like a diamond, dripped from his chest into his towel like morning dew on a forest leaf. I froze, mesmerised, and with my boggled eyes stole glances at his waist, picturing the little bulge that appeared on the wool of his towel, imaging within the naughtiness of my brains the exact size of his manhood.
“What is wrong with you?” he called, jerking me back to my senses.
“Nothing,” I stuttered. “I was just wondering if you noticed anything strange in Ken and Frank’s attitude?”
“You are the one who is acting strange, staring at my…” he glanced at me and swallowed hard. “I am going to Chicken Grills, do you want to come?” he added, wanting to change the topic; an act I was most grateful for.
“No,” I answered, moving into the bathroom. I knew he was about to change his clothes and I wouldn’t want to stand before him when he did that. “I will just take a nap and come when others are coming,” I said from the bathroom.
“I was thinking you would help me arrange the venue,” he said. “The manager was saying something about me doing it myself.”
“Oh,” I muttered. Going to Chicken Grill early might help me overcome my nostalgic fear before the party starts. So I agreed to go with him, hoping to talk to him about my first date with Amanda as we arrange the hall. As I sat at the toilet seat, I could hear his excitement as he yelled in joy. “Are you ready to go now?” I asked, hoping he would tell me the stage of his dressing.
“Just my shirt and I will be ready,” he said. “And what are you even doing in there? I don’t want to wait for you?” he added, having realized that I have gone inside the bathroom with my clothes on and again, the shower was not rushing.
“Then go?” I said, opening the door. “Somebody cannot poo-poo again because it’s your birthday huh?”
He looked at me, sighed and picked his t-shirt from the bed where he laid it. I unbuttoned my shirt, pulled my trousers and picked my towel.
“Guy why are wicked?” he asked in a low tone. “You know your bathing takes hours.”
“So I cannot bath again because it’s your birthday?” I asked again.
“Enough of this ‘because-it’s-your-birthday’ nonsense please,” he cautioned. “You are doing this because I asked you to help me out.”
I glanced at him, smirked and stepped into the bathroom. I heard his loud hiss as he slouched on the bed. I smiled. I would go with him, but it would be on my terms.
I turned on the shower and stepped in, with flashes of Hope and what she would be thinking of me. If only I have her number, I would have invited her for the party. I shrugged under the rushing shower and stepped out, towelled my body and wore my boxers. Then I stepped into the room to meet Eric on the bed staring at me in disbelief.
“What?” I yelled.
“Are you still going back in there?” he asked.
“I mean, you didn’t even stay up to thirty seconds.”
“Was just being considerate.”
“And am I suppose to say thank you?”
I stared at him for a moment, shook my head and stepped to the wardrobe. Amidst my search for the perfect clothes, a thought struck me.
“Did you invite Ahmed for the party?” I asked, still facing the wardrobe waiting for Eric’s answer which did not come. I stopped my search, turned to him and he was staring at me, confused and shocked, like a child caught in a bad act. “Why?” I asked, disappointed and sober.
“I didn’t actually invite him. He just asked what your evening would be like because he wanted to come to the house and I said we have a birthday party to attend and…”
“Wait,” I moved away from the wardrobe. “You gave Ahmed the address of this house?”
“I was being civil Thony,” he said.
“God!” I yelled. “What kind of civility is betraying your friend’s trust?”
“I didn’t betray your trust. He said he only wanted to come and…”
“I told you I didn’t want to see him again. You know I didn’t want to see him again. Why did you do this?”
“Well you just told me that few minutes ago. Common Thony,” he said with that voice I heard over the phone when he called at school. His eyes were into mine as he moved towards me. “I didn’t think he would ever leave job just to come looking for you. I was just..”
“You don’t know Ahmed. He would do anything just to get back at me.”
“Even at that,” his hand held my trembling hands. “You know how confusing this street is, he would probably get tired before he finds the lodge. Don’t worry, he won’t have you back, I promise you that.” His voice was calming and soothing, like a husband assuring his wife of his everlasting love.
I looked into his eyes and saw love, a genuine love that I found very hard to understand. Eric was straight, a Casanova, why was he all of a sudden acting all lovely towards me? Was he sent by Frank to find out more about me? But that can’t be; he has being acting that way towards me even before Frank found out about my sexuality. And what even did he know about me and Ahmed to make a promise of Ahmed not having me back? I never told him he had me, so why did he use a phrase different from the one I used.
“You don’t know what you talking about,” I said, letting loose of my hand. “Can we go now?” I added.
“You have not dressed sweetheart,” he said.
I didn’t know which was more amazing; the title with which he addressed me, or the fact that I wanted to leave the house in my boxer shorts. But I guessed the former was. “I am not your sweetheart please,” I spurned in disgust, moved to the wardrobe and without much selection crawled into a jean trousers and a red t-shirt.
He smiled at me as we both left the house, reminding Frank and Ken the time and venue for the party.
…THE STORY CONTINUES….