Chinedu had woken up early to read as he had gone straight to bed the previous night after leaving Kunle’s room. By 7a.m when Kunle walked into his room, he had already put in 3 hours of study. “Hey, morning. I hope you are better”. He said as he stood up from his reading table to stretch his limbs.
“Yeah, thanks man”. Kunle replied as he sat down on Chinedu’s bed. He had woken up with a determination to call Tochukwu’s bluff but before leaving his room that morning; she had reinforced her threat to inform Chinedu about his recent attraction to Fadeke and that he was hitting on her. Even though he wasn’t hitting on her, he knew that his recent attraction was going to raise an alarm. Chinedu had noticed his strange behavior and it wouldn’t take long for him to put the pieces together. On the other hand, he wasn’t sure whether Fadeke would eventually tell Chinedu about what transpired between them the night he walked in on her.
“So, are you and Tochukwu back together?” Chinedu asked breaking into Kunle’s thoughts.
“Not at all. You were the reason why she came visiting”. He replied thinking of how best to approach the matter at hand.
“Me? I don’t understand”.
“Chinedu, don’t you think you are putting all your eggs in one basket. You know I have mentioned this to you before”.
“I still don’t understand what you are trying to say”. Chinedu answered looking lost.
“What I mean is Tochukwu came to see me yesterday still professing her love for you. She’s obviously over me and confessed that even while we were together, she longed for you. Chinedu, I think you should give her the benefit of doubt”.
Chinedu who was still standing was so astonished; his mouth was agape. Was that the reason why Tochukwu had come to see Kunle at that time of the night? He was even more shocked by Kunle who knew too well that he was committed to Fadeke. “You are crazy, man. I can’t believe you would even attempt to sell Tochukwu to me. Do you realize that Tochukwu and Fadeke are roommates? I have never mentioned her to Fadeke just because I do not want her to feel threatened. I can’t, won’t and would never give Tochukwu an opportunity; if that’s what you are asking for”. He concluded angrily.
Kunle opened his mouth to speak but thought otherwise. It was no use. He knew even before he attempted to, that Chinedu wasn’t going to give in. The next step was to inform Tochukwu about the development. He had tried his best; as far as he was concerned.
30 minutes later, Chinedu was alone in his room thinking. How else am I meant to tell Tochukwu that I am not interested in her? I have tried all I can; but it does not seem to be working. I have never met a woman so desperate and bent on having a man. Wasn’t it just three sessions ago that she was all over Kunle? To think that she could make a drastic U-turn with an intention to win me over again with Kunle’s help is unimaginable. Kunle should have known better. I am not into the two-timing game. I am not surprised that Kunle is not in the least jealous that his ex-girlfriend is making a comeback at his best friend. He is an unrepentant casanova who has the ladies whenever and wherever he wants them. I wonder why he has become distracted and unsettled of recent. He had always been able to handle his relationships and his studies perfectly well. I hope our final year exams are not taking a toll on him. Whatever the case, my mind is made up; nothing and no one can change it. I am stuck with Fadeke.
In four weeks, exams were over and students began trooping home in droves. Mr. Peters’ driver picked Chinedu and Fadeke from school and on Fadeke’s insistence; dropped Chinedu off at home. As he was stepping out of the car, he remembered his promise to his mother to introduce Fadeke to her during their next holidays. “Would you be able to come visit me some time during the holidays?” He asked.
“Why not? I would love to”. Fadeke replied excitedly. “When should I come over?”
“I would call you two days ahead to let you know”. He said slinging his knapsack on his back.
“Two days ahead? Does that mean you won’t call me every day?” She sulked.
“I will, my sweet “poff poff” cheeks”. He smiled touching her lightly on the cheeks. “Remember I have to work during the holidays. I would let you know when you should come over, all the same”.
“Oh, I absolutely forgot about your vacation job”. She said sighing. “No worries but I would expect your call everyday”.
“Yes, ma’am”. He replied as they both burst into laughter. He loved it when she laughed that way; like one who had no care in the world. He wanted to give her a kiss but thought against it. He was standing in front of the gate to his house and she was sitting in her father’s car with the driver behind the wheel. He would not want anyone misinterpreting his actions. He held her hand and squeezed it tight as he whispered “I love you”. Fadeke who by now had tears in her eyes from her bout of laughter returned the squeeze and whispered back a response.
As she was chauffeur-driven home, she laid back her head with loving thoughts of Chinedu filling her heart. She had never felt so loved by anyone besides her family. As she made a mental note of what she was going to wear to Chinedu’s house for the visit, she dozed off smiling.
“Come over to my hostel at 4.00pm. We need to talk”. Tochukwu said holding her mobile phone to her right ear and blowing a bubble with the gum in her mouth.
“I can’t make it. I’m going home at 4.00pm”. Kunle replied irritated.
“Sorry, darling. You can’t go home until you see me”.
“Do you ever stop, Tochukwu? If you need to see me, you know where to find me”.
Tochukwu was quiet for a while, chewing her gum with reckless abandon. “Okay, if that is how you want it. Expect me anytime from 3.00pm”. She said flipping her phone shut before Kunle could respond.
“What is all this?” He hissed.
He dropped his phone on his bed and continued arranging the few things he felt would be needed for the holidays into his travel bag. He looked at his wrist watch. It was a quarter to two. His intention was to leave school at 4.00pm and he sincerely hoped he had not made a mistake by asking Tochukwu to come over to his place. The last time, he had wasted two hours of his valuable time discussing her game plan. He was sure she wanted feedback. He sat on his bed and picked up a magazine. As he flipped through the pages, his mind raced back to when he was dating her.