[STORY] In One Night (episode 1-6)

In One Night

In One Night

 
Chapter One

Ahmed stepped in the bank security door, and as the door was closing, he felt something behind him. He turned around and saw a petite lady with glasses on behind him, giggling. The compartment was made for one person to enter at a time, but the bank was about to close and he guessed she wanted to get in before the guards started stopping people from getting in. At 6’2, and 90 kg, only a petite person could have squashed up with him like she did.

The bank was crowded as usual. He saw his favorite cashier as he stepped into the banking hall and he instantly felt butterflies in his tummy. He wondered if it was considered cheating if he had an innocent crush on another woman. It wasn’t like he wanted to date her, but she made him happy just looking at her; the fine pointed nose on the oblong head, the short Halley Berry style weave on, with the smile that was always almost evident on her face warmed his heart.

He approached the guard closest to him and asked where the MoneyGram section was, and he was directed to a door by the extreme left side of the banking hall. Ahmed used the First Bank branch occasionally, but he had never had to do anything other than make deposits here before today. He tucked his white long sleeve shirt properly into his grey wool slacks and approached the place. Hitting the gym daily the last couple of weeks had really paid off. He felt fit. He felt like how Chris Evans felt after coming out of the machine that made him bigger in the first Captain America movie.

A standing Air Conditioner took half the space of the corridor as he walked into the door, and he felt that was odd. Up ahead was another opened door that led to the bulk room, with a crowd of people there. Just before the door, to his right were two desks with two bank staffs behind them. He approached the lady by the desk closer to the bulk room door and asked if he was in the right place for MoneyGram transaction, and she pointed to the smallish man with glasses on beside her. He was just getting off his seat when Ahmed walked up to him. “I’ll be right back. Please take a seat.” He said, pointing at a bench by the window opposite them. The man arranged the documents in his hand and walked off, heading towards the banking hall. Ahmed took a seat and pulled out his Samsung Note 8 phone. As he went through his Whatsapp messages, from the corner of his eye, he saw the figure of a female walk past him and took a seat on the bench; then came the sweat voice with, “Please can I make a call on your phone?”

The first thing he noticed when he looked up was her big bust, and then the inscription on her black t shirt that read, ‘my eyes are up here’ with an arrow sign pointing up. He smiled as he said “no problem” and handed over his phone. She thanked him and punched numbers quickly into his phone. She had chubby chicks and a cute face. Her complexion was that of the old Benin bronze works, shining under the room’s fluorescent light. The tight blue jeans she had on accentuated her thick thighs, which curved up to a slim waste. He shifted his gaze when he caught himself staring. He looked at the first bank staff at the desk and wondered if she was really working or playing games on her computer.

“I’m using someone’s phone at the bank, please talk fast.” He heard her say in a hurry. After about thirty seconds, she ended the call and handed the phone over to him with a thank you and a smile on her face. She got up, pulled up her jeans, and walked out. Seconds after she vacated the room, the bank staff that was meant to attend to him walked in.

……….

The First bank branch was right beside the prestigious University of Ibadan. As he drove his silver colored Mercedes Benz C230 out of the parking lot, he wondered what Bimpe, his girlfriend was up to right now. He met a little traffic as he approached the University Campus gate, and he pulled out his phone. He was about to dial her number when he dropped the phone on the car center console and decided to surprise her.

Ahmed felt alive as he drove into the University gates. Old cab drivers leaned on clean Japanese cars, calling out their destinations; threes were everywhere, in contrast to the polluted atmosphere just outside the campus; teenage girls dressed up to look older, and teenage boys mostly wore skinny jeans which they sagged.

He nodded his head constantly to the afro pop music booming out of his car speakers as he drove down the road leading to the main section of the University, After passing by a roundabout, he took the next turn to his right, which led to the bar he and Bimpe usually hung out. There was a white church building right next to a mosque on his left, and he wished worshipers of the two religions could get along in the real world.

It was 4:45pm on a Friday afternoon, and the outside bar was already filled as he drove in. He parked his car next to a white Nissan Micra by a mesh fence which had been overgrown by weed. He switched off the car engine, did a mental check of his plans for a second, and then got out of the car. “Hey! My yellow pawpaw friend,” a middle aged man in baggy shorts and vest said as he walked past carrying what looked like a big rat. Ahmed was startled for a second, before getting back his composure and returning the man’s greeting.

He took a seat by an empty table and stretched before settling down to study his environment. It was a setting of black rectangular plastic tables with four chairs at each corner scattered all over the open bar. You could find every type of person here; old professors; young lecturers; students, outsiders, everyone mixed in this place.

To his left was a couple of makeshift shops; one of which the man that had greeted him earlier was in front of. The man usually made barbecue fish for him, but with what he had seen with him earlier, he sure wouldn’t be patronizing him any time soon. Just next to the man’s shop was a blue painted kiosk with a couple of very active boys working by a grille. He had bought chicken and chips from them the last time he was here, and he really enjoyed it. He was thinking of signaling one of them over when the barman came over. “Umm! Big stout.” Ahmed said and the guy nodded before heading off.

He pulled out his phone and called Bimpe. She picked on the first ring.

[nextpage title=”episode 2″]
episode 2

He ordered his second bottle of Guinness Stout half way through the plate of chicken and chips in front of him. It was quite spicy, and it would have been wiser to buy a bottle of water to cool his mouth, but he had always hated drinking water while taking beer.

Bimpe had told him on the phone that she had gone to see one of her aunt’s and would be back in school tonight. He felt there was no need to tell her he was on her campus at the moment. He would rather enjoy this alone time with some hot and spicy chicken and chips, cold beer, and eavesdrop on people’s conversations.

The table next to him was filled with middle aged men in Ankara attire. He guessed they were probably lecturers at the University, or maybe non academic staff. One of them was talking about his recent trip to Ghana, and how beer and most things were more expensive in Ghana compared to Nigeria. It amazed Ahmed as he had remembered how much cheaper alcohol was there back when he traveled to the country in 2008.

His phone started vibrating on the table. He dropped the greasy chicken lap back in the plate, whipped his hand clean with the serviette by his plate, and picked up the phone. He stared at the unfamiliar number for a couple of seconds before picking up. “Hello!” He said.
“Hello. Please who is this?” A female voice said on the other end of the line.
“You called me.”
“I know, but you called me first.”
“What do you mean?” Ahmed said, irritation in his voice.
“You…” She was about saying but stopped. He could hear another female voice saying something in the background, and then there was silence for a few seconds, like the other girl was coming to the phone, and then she said, “Hello. Did you give your phone to a girl at the bank earlier today?”
He thought for a few seconds, still vexed as he swiped flies away from his plate of chicken and chips. “Yes. I did.”
“Okay. That was me. I’m so sorry.” She said with a little chuckle.
“Oh!”
“Yea, I called twice before my friend picked up. She must have seen the missed call and thought it was a new one.”
“Okay.”
“Thanks once again for earlier.”
“It’s no problem.” He said and the line went quiet. In a micro second, a picture of her flashed through his mind, and he thought of sparking up a conversation, but he went on to say, “Okay. Have a lovely day.”
“Okay. Bye.”
“Bye.” He said, put the phone on the table and went back to his plate of chicken and chips. The bartender was approaching with his second bottle of Stout when he rushed back like he had forgotten something. When he came back out from the inner bar with the drink he bumped into a flashily dressed guy. He apologized and kept walking, but the guy seemed offended, and shouted out curse words at him, adjusting the gold watch on his wrist, and intermittently pushing his cap up. Ahmed didn’t know if the guy was doing that because of the girl on his arm, or maybe he was a cult boy who was power drunk. With the glass jug to his mouth about to gulp down its last content, he froze at who he saw. In the sexiest mini gown he had ever seen her wearing was his girlfriend, Bimpe, beside the wailing guy. She was calming him down with her hand around his waist. “Oga, make I open am?” The bartender was saying, but Ahmed was dazed. He dropped his mug on the table, with shaky hands he pulled out his wallet, counted two pieces of five hundred Naira bills, squeezed it in the bartender’s hand, picked up his phone and almost tripped as he got up in a hurry to leave the scene.

His car keys fell to the floor as he pulled the bunch out of his pocket. “Ahmed!” he heard her call, and he quickened his pace. He pressed the key fob to unlock the car, got in, and quickly slammed the door. She was by his car window now, with fear in her eyes as she knocked on the glass. He didn’t know if he had become temporarily deaf, or the inside of his car was soundproof as he couldn’t hear anything she was saying. The red dress she had on was cleavage revealing, and the thought of her dressing sexy for another man vexed him even more. He slowly backed out of the spot he had parked, and then zoomed off.

Patrick had just kissed a girl goodbye when he saw a girl waving at him from the right wing of the mall. He turned in the other direction and kept on walking. He was so much of a player, he didn’t know if she was someone he had left on a bad note. He pulled up the collar of his black polo top and adjusted his dark shades as he headed towards staircase that led to the cinema.

They say short men always do extra everything because they feel people always look down on them and belittle them, so they want to show they are just as capable as tall guys. If that was really true, Patrick was a very good example of that theory. He was charcoal black, 5 ft 4, with muscles he built to compensate for his vertical disadvantage. His charm was his wit, and he had gotten a fair share of girls just by making them laugh.

He was about to take his fist step up the stairs when she pulled him by the hand, and the curious look on her face turned to an angry one when they came face to face. She was just about an inch taller than him. “Why didn’t you answer me? I’ve been shouting your name.” She said, standing at akimbo. Her face was like the canvass of a confused painter. She had been crying, and her makeup was all over her face. For someone that was light skinned, it was very obvious, but it was clear she didn’t care.

“Oh! Bimpe, it is you? Sorry…I thought…” He was saying and stopped to laugh and lift up his shades. “What’s up with your face? Is this the new trend now? You young girls keep coming up with weird fashion.” He added as his eyes scanned all around the place. “Are you with Ahmed? Where is he?” He said with his eyebrows arched. She sighed and rubbed her forehead. “What’s wrong?” He said looking at her intensely.
She looked up, and her eyes searched everywhere, probably looking for a quiet place they could talk. It was 8 pm on a Friday night, the whole place was rowdy, and loud music was playing at the bar by the mall entrance.
“Did you come with your car?” She asked and he nodded. “Great. Let’s go talk there.”

……….

The car was silent for a while and then Patrick said, “But Bimpe, you messed up big time. Ahmed is a…”
“I know! I know! He is a great guy, I f—-d up.” She said and hit her forehead with her palm. “Patrick, that guy is just someone that keeps boys away from me on campus.”
“So…”
“Come on Patrick, you know sometimes girls just have this guy on the side. Not like I’m double dating or anything.”
After looking into space for a while, he said, “Men! Ahmed is a cool guy, but you know how he can be when he gets angry.”
“I know.” She said and rested her head on her clasped hands. “Please, I need you to let me into your apartment, so I can wait for him tonight.”
“Girl, where have you been? I moved out like two months ago.”
“Are you serious? Why?” She asked, shocked.
“You don’t expect me to stay with my best friend forever, do you?” He said with a frown on his face. “And I just dropped the key to the apartment with him yesterday.” He added. She looked at him for a second, and then bowed her head again. “But the Ahmed I know would definitely not be heading home at a time like this.”
She looked up excited as she said, “You know where he could be?”
“Yes I do.” He said and started up the engine of the Toyota Sienna space wagon. “I think I do.” He added.

[nextpage title=”episode 3″]
episode3

They were at the top of a rock, in a place called Alapata, which, loosely translated, meant ‘rock area’ in Yoruba language. The space wagon was parked under a tree, next to about half a dozen cars. To their left were four, fancy white party tents, spaced out in sort of like a four pointed star pattern. The insides were illuminated with fluorescent lights, and the whole arrangement looked beautiful under the moon light. A few people could be seen moving around in the tents, and service boys went and came.

“Stay here, I’ll be right back.” Patrick said before coming down from the Sienna. She watched him walk off to the tent closest to them. Bimpe turned on the car inner lights, flipped opened the sun visor, and slid the lid to the side to checkout her reflection in the mirror. She was dazed at the person that stared back at her. Ahmed always used to say if she were just a few inches taller, she and Omowunmi Akinnifesi could pass for twins. She shrugged off the thought as she definitely wasn’t feeling like a beauty queen right now.

Patrick had tried calling Ahmed multiple times on their way here, but he wasn’t picking his calls. She felt Ahmed must have guessed she had gotten through to Patrick, and he was trying to beg on her behalf. Ahmed’s Benz wasn’t among the cars parked in the place, but Patrick had said he sometimes came to the place with a cab.

She lazily pulled her small rectangular shoulder bag to the front from where it was stuck behind her, opened it, and pulled out some face wipes. She was cleaning makeup off her face when, from the corner of her eye, she saw Patrick rushing back to the car. He got in and coughed a few times before saying, “they said he just left here like 5 minutes ago.” Patrick strapped on his seatbelt before adding, “He must have gone down through the other road. That’s why we didn’t see him.” When he tried to start the car, it made as if it was going to start, and then it ran down. “Shitt!” He cursed out loud.

……….

30 Minutes Earlier
He was sitting outside, in the center of all the tents, looking up at the full moon and wondering if there would ever be a time when people would have to start moving to the moon because of overpopulation on Earth. Elon Musk and some other tech billionaires were already working seriously on making visiting and holidaying on the moon a reality in the near future. He looked down at his vibrating phone beside his bottle of water on the table and saw it was Patrick again. He pressed the side of the phone, and the screen went blank.

He usually came to this place whenever he had something bothering him, and he never came with his phone or car, so as to avoid distractions. Today was different because he more or less drove here on autopilot; his mind had still not been able to accept what he had seen earlier. In his 28 years on Earth, he didn’t think he had ever felt this miserable. Patrick had told him not to take her serious, but he never took his friend’s words serious as Patrick never took any girl serious in his own life.

On impulse, he picked up his phone and dialed the last received call on his call log. “Hello,” a female voice on the other end said.
“Hi…Umm! I spoke with you earlier. I am the guy…”
“Oh, yea, I remember. I guess you want to speak with Ruth.” She said shouted her friend’s name a couple of times, and then said in a whisper, “it’s the guy; the guy from the bank.” Ahmed had a smile on his face now.
“Hey, hi.” She said. The shock in her voice was evident.
“How are you doing tonight?”
“Fine.”
“By the way, my name is Ahmed.”
“I’m Ruth.”
“Nice name.” He said and she said thank you. The line went silent for a few seconds before Ahmed blurted out, “I’d like to see you tonight if you don’t mind.”
“Oh!”
“So…”
“I don’t know.” She said, dragging her last word. Then she started giggling, “I’m sorry. My friend here is…” She was saying then chuckled before adding, “Okay.”
“Is the okay a response to my question, or…”
“Okay, I’ll see you.”
“Great. Where do I pick you up?”

He couldn’t believe he was driving back to the University campus after what had happened there earlier in the day, but he sure wanted to see the Ruth girl. It was like the Universe was trying to tell him something.

Just before he approached the University gate, he saw a man sleeping on the sidewalk. He had seen stuff like that many times, but this time, he thought of what could actually be wrong with the man; wondering whether he was just drunk, or a mentally ill person. He looked at the man in the rare-view mirror after driving by him, and as he put his eyes back on the road, he saw an obstruction right in front of him and swerved just in time to avoid hitting it. A streetlight had been knocked down probably by a heavy duty vehicle, and the bottom concrete part was sticking out on his side of the road. His heart beat faster for a few seconds before it went back to normal.

As usual, the community opposite the University entrance was bubbling with activity; people were coming and going, some were at the bus stop waiting for cabs, and there was a little traffic on that side of the road.

She had told him on the phone earlier that he was lucky to have caught her, as she was about leaving her friend’s room when his call came in. He got her personal number, and she told him she would wait for him by the school bookshop as her friend’s hostel might be too hard for him to locate. He described the car she should lookout for and told her he would be there in twenty minutes. That was about twenty five minutes ago.

As he lowered the window to collect a gate pass from the school guards at the gate he wondered what time the gate usually got closed for the day, or whether it was opened 24 hours a day. The cab park to the right that was lively when he came earlier in the day was now deserted. There were just a couple of cabs there with very few people around. As he wound up his car window to start the drive into the campus, Wizkid’s Come Closer song came on, and he started bumping his head to the music.

A couple of meters after driving past a roundabout he got to an intersection; the road to the right would have taken him to the bar the whole drama with Bimpe happened earlier. The one up ahead separated the glass house bookshop and a tall white building that had a big clock at the top. He always wondered why the clock was never correct.

He didn’t see her anywhere. He turned on the car’s inner light and was about to pull out his phone from his pocket to call when she appeared from the shadows; standing at about 5 foot 8 inches, with an incredible hour glass shape, she was hard to miss. He turned the car deck down a few notches, and drove over to her side of the road, signaling to her with his index finger that he was going to park the car. Right after the bookshop was an admin building with a car-park in front. He pulled into the lot, and he saw her approaching him from the corner of his eye. She had on the same thing from earlier on at the bank.

By the time he was properly parked, she was already by the passenger’s side of his silver colored Mercedes Benz C230. He got out, tucked in his shirt properly as he walked to the other side of the car. She stood there, with her hands behind her, and a smile on her face.
“Hope you haven’t been here long?” He asked.
“Not really. I actually just got here.”
“Nice top.” He said and she laughed, and leaned on the car. “I was actually dared to wear this throughout today.”
“Oh! That’s interesting.” He said, right in front of her now. She folded her arms, and looked up at him, waiting for him to say something else, but he said nothing. He just stared at her, and was surprised she didn’t look away. It was like she was gazing into his soul trying to figure out who he was. Her phone started ringing and she excused herself to answer it. She spoke for about half a minute then walked back to his front.
“Sorry, that was my friend.”
“Hmm! Is she checking whether I have kidnapped you?”
She laughed before answering with, “No, actually, we were meant to go clubbing tonight, but…” She was saying then stopped to type something in her phone before adding, “Abike’s boyfriend was delaying, so we kind of changed our minds, but he is around now.”
“Oh!”
“Yea, and…sorry, Abike is my friend you spoke to earlier.”
“Yea, I kind of figured that out.” He said and rubbed his neck. “So, you love to club.”
“Nah! Not really my thing, but today…”She was saying then looked into space like she was thinking of something. The cheerful look on her face disappeared for a second, and then she shrugged before adding, “Today, I just feel like going out.”
“Oh, that’s great. I can take you to the club, and we can catch up with your friends there.”
“Umm! You don’t have to.”
“Yes, but I want to.” He said.
She looked up at him in silence for a while, and then looked at her dress before saying, “Okay. I need to get to my hostel and change though.”

[nextpage title=”episode 4″]
episode 4

Bimpe and Patrick were sitting by the edge of the rock, overlooking the city below. The large granite rock was probably formed from slow crystallization of molten magna centuries ago. The space wagon was still not starting up, and Patrick had called up his mechanic to come and check it out. It was an electrical problem that he had taken to the man to fix earlier on in the week, and was surprised when it occurred again.
Patrick was going on and on about a party he had gone for the day before in a secluded part of Ibadan, but she wasn’t paying any attention to what he was saying. Her mind was miles away, wondering if this was karma paying her a visit for all the bad things she had done in the past. She snapped out of it, and focused on the beauty in front of her. About hundred feet below was a fully lit up community, with tiny specks of light from cars and motorcycles moving here and there. “This kind of reminds me of when Jesus was tempted by the devil.” She blurted out all of a sudden.

“What? What’s that?” He said and turned around to look at her. “Girl, have you been half-listening to a single word I have said?”
“Oh sorry.” She said and chuckled.
“And How did you know how it looked when Jesus was tempted Satan? Are you Satan’s sister?”
“No.” She said and laughed a little more before saying, “You know…that Jesus movie.”
“Passion of Christ?”
“No, Jesus of Nazareth. I watched it when I was a kid. There was a scene like this in it.”
“Okay. So, as I was saying, Ahmed and I recently found a spot with rich deposits of Aquamarines.”

“What? I thought you were talking about a party you went for where girls were walking around half naked?”
He turned around to look at her with a frown on his face before saying, “That was like 15 minutes ago.”
“I’m sorry.” She said and closed the gap between them on the rock before adding, “Okay. Please tell me more.” She added as she crossed her legs and straightened out the rumples on the bottom part of her red mini gown.

“Well, you know me and Ahmed have been mining Aquamarines in Ibadan North for a while now.”
“Okay.” She said and urged him to go on, even though she didn’t have a clue what he was talking about.
“Aquamarines don’t have value like Diamonds or Rubies, or even Sapphires.” He said and looked at her to see if she was following. She nodded and he went on with, “Aquamarines are just like $100 a carat, so you need a shitt load to make some substantial income.”
“Oh! I actually thought you guys were mining diamonds.”
“Diamonds in Ibadan?” He said in between laughs, and when he saw the angry look on her face, he composed himself. “Anyway, earlier this week, we found a spot that could give us lots of carats of Aquamarine.”
“Oh! Cool.” She said, sounding enthusiastic. Then like she remembered that she was no longer in good terms with her boyfriend, a sober look crept up her face. Then she looked at Patrick and said, “Patrick, why are you helping me?”
“I don’t understand.”
“You know what I did, but you are still helping me. Why?”
He looked into space for a while before saying, “Because…I don’t know, maybe because I like you.”
“You like me and you told Ahmed not to date me.”
“What? I…”
“I overhead you telling him that the first time I slept over at you guys flat.”
“Well…” He was saying and stopped to scratch his head. “You are a very beautiful girl, and you are on campus. I knew there would be different guys chasing you.” He said and looked at her. He didn’t have to say anymore to pass the message. She looked away, and when she looked his way again, tears were rolling down her eyes.

It started with little sobs, and then she broke down and cried uncontrollably. Patrick couldn’t help but move in closer, and hold her in his arms as her body vibrated.
“I messed up real bad.” She said between sobs.
“It’s okay.”
“Patrick, I’ve been a bad person; a real bad and ungrateful girl.”
“It’s okay.” He repeated, patting her hair. After some time, the sobs turned to low sniffs, and then she went quiet.
“Yusuf’s dad is an Oba.” She said all of a sudden. “Yusuf is the guy Ahmed saw me with.”
“Oh! Okay.”
“I never had sex with him.” She said as she lifted her head to look him in the eye. He was caught off guard with that and didn’t know how to respond, so he kept quiet, and she put her head back on his chest. “He’s really harmless, but he has a lot of hothead tag-along friends because of his money and his dad’s position.” She stopped to wipe tears from her eyes before going on with, “He has helped keep a lot of guys off me. I mean a lot.” She went silent for a few seconds before adding, “I’m not a saint, but I never slept with any guy asides from Ahmed. But he definitely won’t believe that now. He won’t believe me.”

After a prolonged silence, Patrick lifted up her head and said, “This guy isn’t coming. Let’s go and see if the car will start now.”
She had actually been dozing off and staggered a bit as he stood her up. He held on to her in a reflex action, and she laughed as she said she was okay. He let her go and headed towards the car. She looked down at the bright lights below for a few seconds, sighed, turned around, and walked off to the car.

Patrick got in the driver’s side of the space wagon, and she leaned on the door. He took a deep breath before turning the key in the ignition; the Sienna started right away.

……….

Ahmed and Ruth had gotten to talk and know each other better when they ate late dinner at a restaurant in the same building that housed the club they were going to be partying in that night. Now they were at the club, seating side by side on a couch, drinking and bumping their heads to music; occasionally leaning in to talk into each other’s ear, while Abike and her lanky boyfriend danced in front of them. The place was packed. There were two higher institutions within close proximity of the club, and most of the students had wound up work for the year, so it was like they had come to unwind in a major way.

Ahmed was about to ask Ruth if they could go out and talk when Kehlani’s CRAZY song came on, and she slowly got off her seat nodding her head. She adjusted the black Chinese style mini gown she had on, and started a slow dance; she picked up pace when the beat of the song came on. He couldn’t believe how flexible she was with her thick body. With a smile on his face, he looked from Abike to Ruth, and then got off the couch to dance with her.

[nextpage title=”episode 5″]
episode 5

2:00am

After dancing to exhaustion, he whispered in her ear, asking if she would like to step out for a minute. She nodded, and walked over to tell Abike that she would be downstairs.

As they walked past the two heavily built bouncers and stepped out of the club, she said, “Whoa! My ears are thanking me right now.”
“I bet your legs are thanking you too; those steps…I thought you said you didn’t like clubbing.”
She turned around to look at him with a smile on her face before saying, “That Kehlani song got me in the mood.”

Ahmed took the lead as they made the descent down the stairs leading to the parking lot. A lot of people were still arriving and there was heavy human traffic heading into the club. They walked in silence, till they got to Ahmed’s Benz. She leaned on the driver’s side door and folded her arms as she looked up at him. “Can I ask you a question?” She said with a smile on her face.
“Shoot.”
“Why did you call me?”
“Why did I call you?” He said with a quizzical look on his face.
“I mean, why did you call me back?”
“Umm!”
“You could have asked to see me when we first spoke on the phone, or even when I asked to use your phone in the bank.”
“Well…”He was saying, then stopped himself. It would have sounded bad if he had told her the real truth. And he was really getting to like her, and didn’t want to complicate things so he went with, “If I had asked to see you at the bank, it would have been a cheesy move.”
“True.”
“Yea, and when your friend called, it would still have been awkward asking you out then.”
There was silence for a while, and then she looked at him and said, “When you saw me at the bank, I…” She stopped to move hair blocking her view of him to the side before continuing with, “I was actually coming from a guy’s house.”
“Oh!”
“Yes. He was someone I had just started seeing. I went to his off campus apartment, and he…”She stopped to cough before adding, “He tried to forcefully have sex with me.”
“What? Are you serious?” He said and moved up closer to her.
“Don’t worry, he didn’t get far before I slapped him in the face and got out there.” She said and laughed. “But I forgot my phone and bag there.”
“Okay.”
“Yea, And…actually…What I’m trying to say is, this…” She said and looked away. “A lot of guys are usually after me for my body, and it can really hurt when you know that is the only reason guys want you.”
“I totally understand you.”
“This would sound odd, but I think I have to say this.” She stopped to clear her throat before adding, “You seem like a great guy, but if your goal is to shag me, then…”
“What? No. Come on! You are a very intelligent girl; a great conversationalist.” He was saying and stopped to look at her for a few seconds before adding, “And yes you do have a beautiful body I love to look at, but your other qualities overshadow your body in my eyes.” He said and she smiled. He was about to say something else when he saw her gaze shift from him to something behind him. He turned around, and he saw her walking towards them. She stopped all of a sudden and stared at him as if scared to approach any further.

Ahmed told her he would be right back, and walked over to meet Bimpe. She just then realized they had never spoken about his relationship status. Could this girl be his girlfriend? And who is the short guy with her, she thought to herself in a confused state.

He stood in front of Bimpe for a while, not saying anything. He actually didn’t know how to react. The anger was still in him, but he had been having such a great time with Ruth a few seconds ago. “I’m sorry.” She said as tears rolled down her eyes. He looked at her and it was clear she had been crying all night. He looked back at Ruth, and rose up his index finger; like he was signaling to her he needed a minute, then held Bimpe by the hand and walked her to where Patrick leaned on the space wagon.
“How did you guys find me?” He said with irritation in his voice.
“Hey bro, just…just hear her out.” Patrick said and gave his a quick hand slap.
“There is nothing to hear. I know what I saw.” Ahmed responded sharply in a somewhat muffled voice, like he was stopping himself from shouting.
“Who’s that girl?” Bimpe said in a tired voice.
Ahmed looked at her with a snarl on his face, and then looked at Patrick before saying, “Take her to her room. I have to go.” He turned around to leave, but she grabbed his hand, and looked up at him without saying anything. A black Land Rover 4 playing loud music drove past them. It stopped all of a sudden, reversed, and came to a halt in front of them. They were two guys in front, and two behind. Bimpe cursed under her breath and let Ahmed’s hand go when she realized who it was. When the driver came out, Ahmed just shook his head and walked off.
“What’s up?” Ruth asked as he approached her.
“Let’s leave, I’ll tell you in the car.” He said and hit the key fob in his hand. The car headlights blinked and the doors unlocked. Ruth looked over to where the girl in red was, and she saw her cursing out some guy she recognized from campus. She saw another guy step out of the SUV he had come out of, and she was sure he was the one she thought he was; quiet looking guy who moved around campus with lousy friends. As she got into the car, she wondered what was really going on. Ahmed looked pissed as he fastened his seat-belt and fired up the engine, so she didn’t bother asking him anything.

As Ahmed drove out of the car park, he looked at his side mirror and caught sight of Patrick having an argument with one of Bimpe’s friend’s goons. When he looked again, a scuffle had started; Bimpe was shouting at her friend, and Patrick was in a tussle with the guy he had been exchanging words with. Then the SUV back doors opened, and two other guys jumped out of it. He kept driving, and taking deep breaths, and then he stopped all of a sudden, turned to Ruth, looked at her for a few seconds before saying, “Please wait here. I’ll be right back.” She just nodded at him. He took a deep breath and slowly got out of the car. As he approached them, he pulled off his watch, put it in his pocket, and folded his shirt sleeves.

[nextpage title=”episode 6″]

episode 6

Patrick had overpowered the guy he was in a scuffle with, and was now on top of him, slapping him and yelling out curse words. The other two guys were out of the SUV now, heading towards Patrick. They stopped, and turned around when they saw Ahmed approaching. All the while, Bimpe and Yusuf were still in a heated argument.

One of the guys raised his right hand in front of him at 90 degrees from his body with his palm up, indirectly telling Ahmed to stop and walk away from the scene. When he didn’t get the response he wanted, he yelled out, “Mr. Oga, I say go back!!!” He had a mean mug on his face now as he approached Ahmed aggressively, like a Rottweiler about to attack. He was about the same size with Ahmed, with big broad shoulders like a bouncer, but it was clear he was out of shape, as his tummy protruded out of the black t shirt he had on. One fast and unexpected punch from Ahmed to his nose bridge had him on the ground, rolling around, and making shrieking noises. The second guy raised his hands and took a fight stance, but when he realized his skinny self would obviously lose in a hand to hand combat, he turned around and started running towards the car.

He was about to open the right-side back door of the Land Rover when Ahmed caught up with him, snatched him by the collar, and had him flying in the air. He landed on his butt; with his mouth opened, face screwed up, he grieved in pain like a little kid crying with no sound coming out of his mouth.

Bimpe and her friend, Yusuf had stopped arguing when the first guy hit the floor, and they both had their eyes on Ahmed as he approached them now. Patrick was still by the guy he had been fighting, kicking him, and shouting out ‘freaking kid’ repeatedly as he did so; Obviously angered that someone much younger than him had had the nerve to challenge him in a fight.

Ahmed walked up to Bimpe and Yusuf, looked at Bimpe for a few seconds before turning to Yusuf and saying, “Come.” Yusuf reluctantly obliged, and the two men walked over to the Land Rover. They spoke for a while; Ahmed doing most of the talking, while Yusuf nodded. After about three minutes, Ahmed tapped Yusuf by his upper arm and walked away. By now, the two injured guys were up, and had walked over to the SUV, looking at Yusuf in confusion.

Bimpe watched as Yusuf yelled at them, asking why they had attacked Patrick. The one that had been badly beaten by Patrick had run off to get a beer bottle, and was running back to where Ahmed, Patrick, and Bimpe were standing when Yusuf shouted out, “Tiger, you dey craze? Drop that bottle.” Tiger had a frown on his bruised up face, staring at Patrick, as he rolled the green bottle under a yellow VW bug beside him, and walked over to the LR4.

“Let’s leave here.” Ahmed said and started walking off to his car. Patrick was about to speak when Ahmed stopped, turned around, walked back to them and said, “I’m heading to the University campus. We can meet at the bookshop junction.” He said and Patrick nodded at him. He took one more look at Bimpe, before walking off.

3:30 am

They had to bribe the guards at the school gate before they could be allowed in. The Benz was in front, and Patrick drove behind in his Space Wagon. Ahmed turned on his car hazard light as he got to the school bookshop junction, slowed down, and navigated to the car park by the bookshop building; Patrick did the same.

Ahmed put the car in park and turned to face her with a smile on his face. He had apologized for what she had to witness earlier, and she had said it was alright, but they hadn’t spoken since then. “So…I really had fun with you tonight.” He said.
“Me too.” She said but it was clear she still had a lot on her mind. She looked up and then smiled before saying. “Your girl is staring at you.” Ahmed laughed lightly before looking to his right and seeing Bimpe’s blank stare on him. “I put two and two together.” Ruth added
“Technically speaking, she is no longer my girl.”
“Well, from the look of things, she definitely doesn’t think that.”
Ahmed looked to the side briefly, and then focused on Ruth before saying, “I’ll be right back.” He left the car running, stepped out, walked over to the driver’s side of the Sienna and before he said anything, Patrick opened the door, got out, and said, “I think I should give you guys a minute to talk.” Ahmed smiled stood still for a few seconds before hoping into the driver’s seat, and shutting the door.
After a prolonged silence, Ahmed said, “I’m sorry Bimpe, I can’t see you the same way again.” She turned her face the other way and tears rolled down her eyes. She saw Patrick getting into Ahmed’s Benz, and immediately he said something, the girl in the car started to laugh. Even as much as she was in pain, a smile started to form on her face.
“I understand Ahmed. I understand.” She said, wiped the tears from her face and smiled. He was shocked and didn’t know how to react. “Friends?” She said and stretched her hand at him.
“Friends.” He said and gave her a hug.
He pulled away and was about to get out of the Sienna when she pulled him back and said, “Wait. What did you say to Yusuf back at the club?”
He smiled before saying, “Let’s just say I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.” He got out of the space wagon, leaned in on the window and said, “Take care Bimpe” before walking off. Bimpe looked into space, wondering what her ex boyfriend meant by that statement. She was still lost in thought when Patrick opened the door and got in. “So, how did it go?” He asked and she shook her head. He looked surprised and added, “Don’t worry, I’ll…”
“No.” She cut him off. “It’s okay. It’s okay this way.”
“Hmm!”
“Patrick.” She was saying and stopped to clear her throat. “Thanks for everything you did for me today.” She added.
“It’s okay.” He said, still looking shocked that at how she was handling the situation.
“I want to make it up to you. Let me take you out for drinks tomorrow.”
“What?”
“All expense on me. I’ll rent an Uber and come pick you up.”
“Bimpe, it really was no biggie. You don’t have to do that.”
“I know. But I want to.” When he didn’t say anything back, she added, “Please give me the opportunity to be nice to someone that was genuinely nice to me.”
“Okay.” He said and her face lit up like a Christmas tree.

……….

When the two vehicles got to the bookshop building junction again, Patrick went left, and Patrick drove right. The Benz made another turn to the left, and drove for a few seconds, before stopping in front of The Queens hall. Ahmed turned off the car, sighed and shifted in his seat to face her. “It’s been one hell of a night.” He said.
“It sure has been.”
“Sorry again for what you had to see…I mean the fight.”
“Oh! That was actually pretty cool.” She said and her face lit up. “You just went, chap! Pow! Bam!” Ahmed laughed at how dramatic she was while describing his earlier fight incidence.
When the car got quiet he said, “Ruth, I’d like to see you again tomorrow. Sorry, later today.”
“Umm! Well…you know what I would like?”
“What?”
“Let me have your phone.” She said and he looked at her for a few seconds, wondering what she was up to. He gently pulled out his phone, unlocked it, and handed it over to her. She navigated through the phone for a few seconds, and then handed it back to him. “My number is no longer on your phone.”
“What?”
“I deleted Abike’s number too.”
“Why? Why would you do that?”
“Just hear me out first.” She said and smiled. “Today was great, but it was also complicated. If you still want me after seven days, then come see me here, the old fashioned way.”
“But…”
“Just seven days.” She said, cutting him off. “I’ll be waiting for you at this spot next week Saturday at 8 am.” She added.
What kind of childish game is she playing, he thought to himself. But he really liked her, so he said, “Okay.”
“Cool. I got to go now; I think the porter is by the gate.” She said and opened the car door. He got out and walked over to her side. “Seven days.” She said in a low voice, and gave him a hug. She was about rushing off when he caught her by the arm, and pulled her back towards him. They were chest to chest now. He looked deep into her eyes, slowly leaned in and kissed her passionately.

When he pulled away, she stood there stunned, looking up at him for a few seconds before turning around and slowly walking off to her hostel gate. She turned around just before stepping in, with a smile on her face, she rose up seven fingers. He smiled back at her and nodded.

The End