Exams were around the corner and students were putting final touches to notes and handouts. Tochukwu sat in one of the classes in her faculty trying to compare a note she had borrowed from a course mate with hers. She raised her head for a moment trying to absorb what she had read and did not see Fadeke walk in. “Hey girl, are you here?” Fadeke smiled.
“I was trying to meditate on what I had read”. Tochukwu smiled back.
“Hmm…that’s what exams do to students”.
“So, what’s going on?” Tochukwu asked resting her chin on her palms.
“Just passing by and decided to check on my roommate”.
“Are you leaving for the hostel anytime soon?”
“No, not yet. I have a tutorial at 5pm”.
“Okay. See you later in the evening then”.
“Yeah, catch ya”. Fadeke said as she walked out of the class.
Tochukwu was about to bow her head to continue reading when she caught a glimpse of Kunle standing on the corridor outside the class. His new “jambite” girlfriend had her hands round his neck and Tochukwu remembered when she was in her shoes. She hissed, leaned over the table to see him clearly and watched him as he stared at Fadeke who was walking down the corridor. He smiled, tapped his fore finger gently on the tip of his nose and rubbed his chin continuously. The look on his face shocked Tochukwu. She saw him exhale and rub the back of his neck. As he looked away from Fadeke’s backside, he caught Tochukwu’s eyes and looked away. His girlfriend who had initially wondered who had caught his attention for the short period was smiling that she had his attention back.
The look on Tochukwu’s face as she eyed Kunle was that of disgust. She couldn’t believe it. If she had not known Kunle, she would have called it a coincidence. But this was no coincidence; Kunle was attracted to Fadeke and it was obvious from the way he ogled at her. Did Chinedu know this? She wondered. She would have loved to see Chinedu’s expression when he found out that his best friend was attracted to his girlfriend? She wondered if Fadeke was aware and made a mental note to tell her what she had seen. She wanted to know what her roommate thought about Kunle’s attraction to her.
Tochukwu looked at Fadeke expecting an astonished look. Her roommate continued reading as if she had not heard her. “Fadeke, did you or did you not hear what I just told you? Fadeke only grunted absent-mindedly. “I just told you that your boyfriend’s best buddy is attracted to you and you don’t seem to be bothered. What the heck is going on?” Tochukwu asked alarmed.
“Look Tochukwu. What do you want me to say? You just told me he is attracted to me, so what? An attraction, right? As long as he does not open his mouth to ask for anything, it would forever remain an attraction”. Fadeke snapped back.
“This is unheard of. So you are just going to sit there and do nothing about it?”
“You want me to do something? Okay, give me ideas. I really want to know what you would do if you were in my shoes”. Fadeke replied impatiently.
“You should let Chinedu know that…..
Fadeke’s laughter, full of sarcasm interrupted her. “Know that what? That his best friend is attracted to me? Excuse me, what do I intend to achieve by telling him?”
“He has a right to know what his best friend has up his sleeves”. Tochukwu said standing up and doing her best to convince Fadeke. “What was so special about her roommate that the two men who were meant to be in her life were craving for? What did Fadeke have that she was lacking? She stopped to take a look at herself in the mirror. She was more beautiful, by all standards. She had all the curves in the right places and she was never short of admirers, she knew that much.
“You haven’t answered my question, Tochukwu. What would be my intention?” Fadeke asked jolting her roommate back to reality.
“Don’t you think he would be hurt if he finds out later that you tried to cover up for his friend?
“And don’t you think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill? For crying out loud, you said it is an attraction. It hasn’t gone beyond that. Or is there something I should know that you are not saying? Fadeke asked searching her friend’s face for an answer.
“I don’t know what you mean”. Tochukwu said becoming evasive. “Look, just forget we had this conversation, okay? You don’t seem interested in mentioning it to Chinedu. Who knows? Maybe, you even have something up your sleeves as well”. She continued with an intention to get back at Fadeke.
Fadeke who had gone back to reading her book looked up with eyes flashing with anger. “Something up my sleeves? You think I have something to do with this, Tochukwu?” She asked her whole body seething with rage. “You know what? I think you are the one who really has something up your sleeves. Do you have a personal vendetta against Chinedu? What has he done to you that any mention of his name makes your blood boil? Since you broke up with whoever your boyfriend was, you turned into a wounded lion on a revenge mission. Tell me, what do you have against him?
“Everything”. She thought. She had everything against Chinedu. He was the reason why she was in this mess. He was the reason why she had dated Kunle in the first place. It was his fault that Kunle had broken up with her for some little tramp. His fault that Fadeke had become a rival. It was his fault that Kunle; the same boyfriend who jilted her was attracted to her rival. What wasn’t his fault, anyway? He was just a bastard as far as she was concerned. But she loved him. She wanted to have him as long as she lived. And no matter what, she was going to. Her emotions wavered on the thin line between love and hate. Yes, she hated him for doing all this to her. She squeezed her hands hard until her fingers dug into her palm. She would have him, regardless of Fadeke.
Fadeke who had been watching her friend all along was shocked at the expressions she saw. She saw hate in her friend’s eyes. She was also biting her lips and gritting her teeth. What was on her mind? All of a sudden, Tochukwu’s eyes softened and filled with tears and then determination. Whatever was on her mind was definitely a mix of emotions. Fadeke thought about asking her but knew it was no use. Tochukwu wasn’t going to let her into her deep secrets.
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