I had just stepped out from the lecture hall after spending three hours listening to a man who finds interest in talking about himself than teaching his students. I ransacked my handbag for my phone,I found it and dialled my bestfriend’s number. She picked it on the second ring,I told her where I was and she asked that I wait for her. I was about moving to a shade when someone bumped into me. I almost screamed out of frustration.
Tobe: Sorry dear. I didn’t mean to do that.
Me: Whatever. Just look where you’re going.
Tobe: Shuuu! I just said sorry.
I gave him my worst stare and he shook his head.
Tobe: I’m sorry okay. My name is Tobe.
Tobe: You from this department?
I saw my friend walking towards us so I left him without another word.
Franca: Babe,you look like you’ll die this minute.
Me: Why won’t I die? I’m still complaining about the pain in my behind,then,this stupid guy bumped into me only to start introducing himself.
Franca laughed out loud as we started walking. She was my best friend from home,we are actually childhood friends but she was a year older than me. We were both students of Enugu State University of Technology. She was studying computer science while I studied business management. We were both in our first years in school and also roommates.
Me: Its not funny biko.
Franca: Oya sorry nau. Let’s go and eat.
Me: Did you cook before we left the house this morning?
Franca: No,I didn’t but I didn’t mean going to the house. We can go to thrillers or any fast food.
Me: Thrillers will do.
We stopped a cab and rode to thrillers. The place was crowded because lectures just ended for the day and everyone wanted to eat good food plus it was still the second week of the second semester so students still had there pockets filled with money. We went to the counter and ordered for our meals and pleaded with a waiter to bring them to our table. I ordered for egusi and semolina while Franca ordered for moi moi and salad.
We were already deep into our meal when I felt I was being watched. I looked up immediately to see the guy who had earlier bumped into me. I gave him a cold stare and instead of looking away,he started walking towards our table. I quickly alerted Franca who was backing him. He majestically walked to our table,pulled a chair beside Franca and sat down.
Tobe: Hello beautiful.
He said soothingly to Franca who smiled shyly exposing her gap teeth.
Franca: Good day.
Tobe: Same to you as well. Hope you don’t mind me joining you?
What the hell! You’re already seating down and you’re asking for permission. What useless guts. I screamed in my head.
Franca; Not at all.
Tobe: My name is Tobechukwu,I’m a fourth year student of Chemical Engineering.
Franca: Wow. I’m Franca,computer science,100 level.
I pretended to be so engrossed on my meal whereas I was busy checking him out and also having the urge to introduce myself to him. He was tall,chocolate in complexion,had side burns(what we call side jars this days) that were sexy. His nose were pointed and he had this deep baritone voice. His hair style was more of Mohawk but was looking different. His dress sense was also amazing.
Tobe: Where do you stay,inside the dormitory or off campus?
Franca: Oh! Forgive my manners. Meet my roommate and best friend,Pamela. We stay off camp.
The quick introduction brought me back to my senses. I looked at Mr. Bumper and his eyes were all over me. I looked away and continued eating.
Tobe: Did she tell you someone bumped into her some moments ago?
Franca started laughing again.
Franca: Was that you?
Tobe: Yes miss. I apologized but she gave me attitude.
Franca: That’s what hunger can do to someone.
I washed my hands and wiped my lips with a serviette.
Me: Babe,I’m leaving.
I said,clutching my handbag and standing up.
She was surprised.
Franca: But I’m not done with my meal.
Me: You . . . .
Tobe; Its okay. Let me get you something to take away,then I’ll drive you girls to your lodge.
Franca: That’s very kind of you. Thank you.
Tobe gave me a wink and walked away.
Me: I’m not going anywhere with him.
Franca: Babe calm down. He doesn’t mean any harm.
Me: Just come home when you’re done here.
I left the eatery and as soon as I walked outside,I started regretting my action because the sun was very hot and merciless. I found a tricycle,told the driver the name of my lodge and in the next minute,I was on my way to ESBS,NTA hostel.
I was outside,about washing the clothes I had earlier worn when I noticed a black SUV driving into the compound. I took my eyes away because we were used to seeing different cars drive into the compound because it housed lots of runs girls. I sat down to begin my washing and noticed I wasn’t with my phone. I love music and it was(is) my better half. I went in,picked my phone and my ear piece and came out,only to see Franca stepping out from the SUV. She was face full of smiles. I knew that Charles,Franca’s boyfriend has a car but I’m also sure it wasn’t an SUV. Franca came to me and hugged me.
Me: Welcome. Sorry for leaving you behind.
Franca: It’s okay. I understand.
I was about asking her the maga she jammed on her way back when Mr. Bumper came down from the car too. My face flushed and Franca noticed it. She laughed audibly and entered the room leaving us outside.
Tobe: You know you’re not doing the right thing.
Me: And what is it I’m doing?
Tobe: You left your friend behind,just because of me. If you weren’t comfortable with my presence,you should have said it instead of acting childishly. But thanks,you gave us time to know each other better.
I was sure he noticed my face get tighter than it was. I looked at him and noticed he had a thriller’s polythene in his hand.
Tobe: Okay,I’m sorry for bumping into you,for interrupting your meal and generally ruining your day. Forgive me. I’m not like that okay.
Me: Who says I want to know what you’re like and what you’re not? You’re stalking me and I don’t like it.
I sat down without looking at him so I couldn’t see the expression on his face but what I heard next surprised me.
Tobe: Here was I,thinking I was talking to a well mannered lady,not knowing I was with someone whose arrogance is hidden behind a beautiful face. I regret driving to this place because of you.
He dropped the polythene on top of clothes which was heaped on the ground. He turned before I could say a word and drove out.
Franca came out of the room,tying a wrapper. The look she gave me wasn’t a good one.
Franca: What’s your problem? Are you the first person to have a bad day? Why are you suddenly rude to someone you don’t even know,just because he bumped into you? Don’t you bump into other people?
I had nothing to say. I began to see clearly. I had over acted my annoyance.
Franca; That’s the desert we bought for you. You might as well take it or return it back to him.
She walked back into the room. I picked the polythene and peeped inside. My favourite ice cream flavour,strawberry and two sandwiches. I smiled and went after Franca.
She was lying down on our big sized bed and making a call. She was apologizing and I quickly noted that it was Tobe. She noticed my presence and promised to call back. I jumped on her and she pushed me away.
Me: I’m sorry nau.
Franca: You did nothing to me. Call Tobe and apologise to him.
Me: But you’re angry. Forgive me first and then we’ll talk about Tobe.
Franca: Babe, it was too much abeg. It was too much. Except you know him from somewhere else?
Me: No. I’m just seeing him for the first time today.
Franca; And you put up all this attitude?
Me: I’m sorry nau.
Franca: I forgive you. I’ll call Tobe now and you’ll apologise.
Me: Lemme send him a text.
Franca: No. I’m calling him.
He picked his call immediately and no matter how Franca pleaded with him,he refused to speak to me. I finally sent him a message using Franca’s phone but making sure I wrote my name on it. He didn’t call back.
After we waited for minutes,Franca went to do the washing I started while I sat beside her,spooning my ice cream into my mouth.
She kept on talking about Tobe. He was the son of our vice chancellor and he stayed at old GRA. She seemed to know a lot about him in just one day. I figured that Tobe was a nice person and I regretted acting the way I did.
Tobe didn’t call Franca again,neither did he reply to the message I sent him. He also refused picking her calls. Each time I went to school,I would search around to know if I would see him or his car. I seriously wanted to apologise to him but he seemed to have disappeared from school.
Two weeks later,on our way to the cab stand,we heard the horn of a car behind us. We shifted to let the car pass but it stopped right beside us. It was a red sienna. He wind down the screen of the passenger window and we both opened our mouth in shock.
Franca: Jesus,Tobechukwu where have you being?
She asked moving closer to the car.
Tobe: Around but busy with stuffs.
Franca: That you refused to pick my calls or call back? Tobe its not fair o.
Tobe: I’m sorry.
I went closer to the car and greeted him.
Me: Good day Tobe.
Tobe: Good day too. How was lectures?
Me: Fine. I . . . .
Tobe: Franca,you look good. I’m sure that dude is really taking care of you.
Franca laughed,not noticing how bad I feel already.
Franca: Of course. Where are you going?
Tobe: Ogui road. Want to go to a hotel there. I’m bored and want to kill some time.
Me: Not bad. Tomorrow is Friday and we both don’t have lectures. What about coming over to the house so we can all spend sometime together.
He looked at me like I had just puked on his shirt.
Tobe: Franca dear, I’ll call you later okay. I need to run along now.
We watched him drive off. Franca held me close as we waited for a cab. I had never being humiliated that way.
I fell ill that afternoon. I cried my eyes out. Franca tried her best to make me better,from getting drugs to dabbing my face with a towel and water but none of them worked as I wouldn’t take anything or stop crying. I finally got tired of crying and slept off.
The banging in my head woke me up. I tried to move and noticed my right hand was held up to something. I slowly opened my eyes. Tobe was seated on the bed with my hand in both his hands. Tears ran down my face as I realised I was alone with him in my room.
Tobe: Baby,I’m sorry. I’m not supposed to treat you the way I did. Forgive me please.
I couldn’t speak as the tears had formed a gallop in my throat.
Tobe: I would have just replied your text or called back but I don’t know why my pride took control of me. Baby please forgive me.
I cleared my throat and asked for water. He opened the fridge and brought out a satchet water. He helped me raise my head and I drank thirstily .
Me: Thank you.
He put the water away and returned to his position.
Me: Tobe,I’m really sorry for the way I spoke to you the other day. You were so gentle towards me but I blew everything. I know I pushed you to act the way you did. I’m really sorry. Forgive me.
Tobe: It’s okay. But look now,you’re sick.
Me: I’ll be fine by morning once you’ve forgiven me.
He leaned in and pecked my forehead.
Me: Where is Franca?
Tobe: She got a call from someone and promised to return soon.
Me: Someone? She didn’t tell you a name?
Tobe: She did but I’ve forgotten. Its being like two hours since she left.
Me: Is it Charles?
Tobe: Yes! Charles.
I nodded slightly and he gave me a smile.
Tobe: So what will you like to eat tonight?
Me: I’m not hungry.
Tobe; Don’t give me that. Franca said you’ve not taken anything. I’ll go out now and buy whatever it is you want so just name it.
I looked at the wall clock and it was some minutes past seven.
Me: Anything you buy is okay by me so long as ice cream is included.
Tobe: Hmmm. Strawberry right?
Tobe: Go take your bath and wait for me,I’ll be right back.
He gave me a peck and left the room while I carried my weak self into the bathroom.
He came back sooner than I expected. He had fried rice from Mr. Biggs,suya and ice cream.
I was almost done eating when Franca came back with Charles. We chatted for a while before Charles and Tobe left,promising to return the next day.
Me: I’m 20,the only child of my parents and we live at Onitsha.
Tobe: I believe you but trust me,you lied about your age. You should be between 23 and 24.
I smiled. Tobe had fulfilled his promise of coming back the next day. He took me to a bush bar in the area and we decided to know more about ourselves over a few bottles.
Me: That’s what a lot of people say. I also believe them cause I look older than my age.
Let me take a short time to describe myself. I’m chocolate in complexion,average in height with straight legs,my natural hair is long and black so I love to flaunt them. My b0s0ms are round and full,my hips perfected my curves,giving me an hour glass shape. I’m not the girl you’ll call beautiful but God knows I’m good looking enough to make a man drool.
Tobe: Exactly. You look older than 20.
Me: Enough about me already. Tell me about Tobechukwu Onuoha.
He laughed,his voice ringing out and causing goose bumps to appear on my skin.
Tobe: How come you know my surname?
Me: Every student of ESUT is bound to know your surname. Except the person doesn’t know you as the son of our vice chancellor.
Tobe: I bet Franca told you that.
Me: She did. So start talking please.
He cleared his throat and sipped from his glass.
Tobe: I’m the last child of my parents. The rest of my siblings are either married or abroad. I’m stuck here with mum and dad. I live at okolozoma lane,old GRA,I’m 24 and finally,I think I’m falling in love with you.
My heart beat increased immediately. I stared at him and he didn’t stop smiling.
Tobe: Stop staring please. I know you’re used to hearing those lines.
He finished his drink,called a waiter and paid the bills.
Tobe: Come,let’s go to town.
I stood up like someone who’s being controlled with a remote. He held my hand and led me to where he packed his SUV. I got in and he drove off,heading to somewhere I don’t know. He drove for some minutes and stopped,clearing to a corner of the road.
Tobe: I don’t like silence. It makes me feel uncomfortable.
I opened my mouth to talk but nothing came out so I cleared my throat.
Me: I’m sorry just that I’m surprised. What you said was the last thing I expected to hear and . . . . .
Tobe: Is it wrong for someone to express himself? Or don’t you like me?
Me: Yes. I mean,I like you,its not wrong. What you said isn’t wrong at all.
Tobe: Better still,do you have a boyfriend?
Me: I don’t.
Tobe: It’s okay. I don’t really know where to take you to at the moment. You made me uncomfortable back there that’s why I decided we leave the place.
Me: I’m sorry.
Tobe: Let’s go to shoprite. I need to pick something for my house.
I smiled and he drove off. We got to shoprite and as usual,the place was crowded. We made our way inside,holding hands like we were couples.
We went from toiletries to provisions. He kept on asking me what I liked and what I didn’t. What i liked,he will pick it and what i didn’t,he would drop immediately. We bought canned drinks as well. Shopping with him was fun and I can swear I saw a lot of girls from school staring at us. Was I falling for this guy? Yes I was. He stopped a guy and asked him to give us a shot after which we took selfies.
We left shoprite with lots of bags,both mine and he’s. We stopped by an eatery and filled our empty stomachs before he drove me home. My excitement was immeasurable and it was obvious. We got to my lodge that evening,almost everyone was outside as it was more like a ritual to come out every evening and gossip with the excuse of receiving fresh air. Tobe helped me carry the bags to my block where Franca was waiting patiently. He hugged me before leaving and the first question that came out from Franca’s mouth was,”are you two now dating?”