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At the moment when Caleb got the call from his girlfriend Tolu, the latter was in her friend Yemi’s room. At Amina Hostels.
Tolu’s room happened to be just a few doors away from Yemi’s.
Tolu had just spoken to Caleb on phone, reminding him to keep to time. They’d got a date this evening.
Tolu wanted to while away time with a little chitchatting with Yemi in her room while she expected his boyfriend. She knew Caleb would call when he arrived at the hostel entrance.
Tolu sat crossed-legged on Yemi’s bed, bowed over a game of checkers she was playing against herself.
Most of Yemi’s roommates had gone for some evening classes they had, or had simply gone to read at the University library. Some others might just be hanging out around the hostel.
It was only Yemi, along with Tolu who came to check on her, that was left in the room.
Tolu raised her head. Yemi was still pacing about. She’d been pacing aimlessly around the room for close to five minutes already.
‘You’re not yet decided, sweet girl,’ Tolu teased.
Yemi blurted out the words. ‘If he wants to apologise, I believe he should’ve done that this afternoon when he saw me in the Department; but his ego—his stupid ego—won’t let him do that!
‘Imagine—he now wants me to come take a walk with him! ’Course, I’m definitely not going to answer him, goodness knows! Not when I know he’s being mean on purpose!’
She paused and scoffed.
‘Who does he think he is by the way? If you ask me, he’s too full of himself. Really! And mean, on top of that! You see, answering him is the last thing I’ll bring myself to do!’
Yemi felt embarrassed by the fact that she really loved to hang out with Kelvin. The same Kelvin that hurt her days ago and didn’t even feel remorseful.
She hated to admit she loved him this much not to still care about taking a walk with him… that she loved him that bad.
She hated to admit this, and denying the feelings she had for him was just so easier.
She blurted. ‘I just hate people like him, really! I hate people like him. I just don’t like him at all. Really!’
Yemi didn’t know she was overreacting. She doesn’t also know it was obvious.
A sheepish, mocking smile marked Tolu’s face.
‘Why d’ you hate him so much?’ she chuckled. ‘Why all the energy in saying that you hate him, I mean? He’s not Osama Bin Laden, is he? Well, you didn’t need so much energy to dislike someone, do you?’
Tolu paused a moment, squinted at a quieted, silent Yemi; and gave her a teasing smile. ‘Oh, don’t tell me this is what I’ve been looking for, uh! Don’t tell me this is love. I mean L-O-V-E—love!’
She paused again to read her eyes. Yemi would’ve mouthed a word of protest, but she couldn’t.
Tolu went on. ‘Yeah, that’s how it rolls, I bet you! You’re perfectly in love … with… I mean… with that charming dude!’
She finished her words with a little wink that entirely got Yemi.
Yemi yelled. ‘No, I’m not!’
‘You’re denying it—that’s more like it!’
‘Well… I’m serious! I’m… I’m dead serious. I can’t be in love with him—why would I be? Tell me why I’d be in love with that very proud guy?’
She’d just resumed pacing about again.
Her mind wandered into the terrains of memory.
◙ ◙ ◙
Earlier today, Yemi anticipated a sincere apology from Kelvin.
She was sitting in the peopled lobby of the Departmental building at the Faculty of Arts. She plugged her ears with an earpiece and bowed herself over her phone.
She busied herself with reading a short story from the free web series Hurting Hearts and Haunted Heads by Kayode Olla.
A warm hand touched her on the shoulder from behind. It was Kelvin.
‘Hey!’ Kelvin flashed a sweet smile at her.
Yemi turned around. ‘Hello,’ she muttered, with her face was rather inscrutable, but an expectation lingered beneath her mask.
Kelvin surprised her. He looked into her phone; figured what she was doing and only asked her about novels.
He asked if she’d got any of C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of the Narnia series. He wanted to borrow any of the novels if she’d got them. He said he’d planned to read any of them after exams.
When Yemi replied she didn’t have any of those books, he remarked that the first thing he’d do when he got a phone was to read web novel series, too.
Yemi thought he must really be unserious to bring up reading novels. Especially when he knew she was angry with him for what he did the other day.
Well, was he doing that on purpose?
Yemi was not in the mood for all these. How wouldn’t this proud dude know there was no reason for her to feign interest in what he was saying? How wouldn’t he get that?
Yemi’s face grew red hot in a moment, but she tried to maintain her cool. ‘Okay,’ she muttered in a flat tone of voice.
Kelvin took a seat beside her and warmed up to her. ‘You’re reading a web novel, right? I know. Can you, at least…’
Yemi rolled her eyes and scoffed. ‘Erm… what else?’
‘Well, you’re vexed having me around, or something?’ Kelvin had a sly smile in his dark face.
She knew Kelvin was deliberately avoiding the standing issue. He was that clever. And mean, she said to herself.
She threw him a hard, cold glare; and her lips curled up in a short lived smile that accentuated her mean stare.
‘Gotta go!’ she snapped at him in the instance, stood up and walked away.
◙ ◙ ◙
Tolu had to call Yemi back to the present. She’d been pacing about a single point.
‘Hey, is it that you wanna take a walk by yourself in the room by pacing up and down this way. Or you wanna take the real walk by your Prince Charming’s side?’
Yemi threw her a pillow. ‘Shut up!’ she screamed, and turned out through the door.
Tolu giggled and sent her voice following Yemi through the bedside window. ‘Hey! I understand you’re madly in love with Kelvin. But, please, don’t go out in your underwear, huh!’
Yemi chuckled. ‘Silly girl! She thinks everything’s a joke!’
Tolu drew her board game to herself with some eagerness, bowed over it and smiled to herself.
When Yemi heard Tolu’s last words through the window, she thought of Kelvin.
She had to wilfully wipe out a smile already forming on her lips at the thought of the charming boy.
Oh no, she couldn’t be smiling just at the thought of him. She chided herself.
After a little while, she was back from the restroom where she’d headed. She started dressing up in a cream sleeveless blouse on top a coffee brown pleated skirt with cream polka dots.
She slid her slender feet in a matching pair of coffee brown leather sandals with white soles and golden buckles.
Tolu paused in her moves on the board game and took a moment to gaze at her friend.
Yemi applied light makeover on her face and applied just lip gloss and just a little cologne. It was evening anyway.
She took her silver necklace in her hand and hesitated for a second, not sure whether she wanted to have it on tonight. She decided on having it on.
She lifted it to her neck, standing in front of a long mirror suspended on the wall. She checked in the mirror how the necklace would look on her.
She turned back all of a sudden. She realised Tolu’s staring eyes had been rested on her all along. She chuckled. ‘What?’
Tolu shook her head, a teasing smile appearing on her face. ‘Kelvin must be a perfect criminal to have been able to steal this iron lady’s heart!’
Yemi’s hands dropped. Again she was at loss on what to say. She didn’t want to look silly like the deep feelings she’d got for Kelvin was bent on making her seem.
She wanted to say something at least; whether she was sure of herself or not. She attempted. ‘Well…’
Tolu’s phone rang.
It was Caleb. Tolu had got to go.
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