CHAPTER FOURTEENChike beamed when he saw her. He stepped back into theapartment and let her in.“I came to say thank you,” she walked in bearing a larg
Chike beamed when he saw her. He stepped back into the
apartment and let her in.
“I came to say thank you,” she walked in bearing a large
“Interesting,” he closed the door and locked it.
She carried the basket into the kitchen and placed it on the
“What’s in there?” he stood by the doorway, eyeing the
She turned towards him, “Everything I prepared today,” she
smiled at him.
“Awesome!” he hurried to her side and looked into the
basket. There were about six covered bowls.
“There is ogbonna soup, melon soup, vegetable soup, meat
stew, yam porridge and beans.”
“Yippee! I am not going to cook for weeks,” he began to
She started to laugh.
“Thank you,” he looked directly into her happy eyes.
“You are welcome,” she stared back at him. His dark brown
eyes had a warm glow and the way he looked at her, she felt
wanted and desired.
He took a step closer, leaned forward and pecked her on the
cheek. Her heart lurched at his action. She punched him on
the shoulder and backed away.
“Ouch!” he rubbed the hurting shoulder.
“You need to stop doing that,” she eyed him.
“Why? Do you prefer a kiss instead?”
“Now you are talking crazy.”
“Am I?” he grabbed her and wrapped his arms around her.
“What’s all this nonsense now?? Let me go jor.”
“No, I won’t. I want to satisfy you. I want to kiss you.”
“Stop it now.”
“Why? I know you like it when I peck you. Maybe you want
me to kiss you. I have been dying to taste your sumptuous
lips like forever.”
“Chike Nwosu!” she shot him a warning glare.
“I know you like me, just as much as I like you.”
“You cannot deny it. I don’t want to hide it.”
She pushed against his chest.
“One kiss, just one sweet kiss.”
He dropped his head, eyes locked, and their lips an inch
apart. He felt her tremble against him. He was right, she was
also attracted to him.
“I am an honourable man,” he let her go.
She hurried out of the kitchen and he followed her.
“I will never take what has not been freely given.”
She settled on the leather chair.
“You are another man’s property. For now anyway,” he
joined her on the chair.
“Stop playing games,” she faced the television.
He observed her. She looked slightly shaken.
“Or else, I will stop coming to your place.”
“Shut up there! You that do not have friends in this area. You
will be lonely without me.”
She chuckled and punched him on the shoulder.
“Ouch! If you don’t stop hitting me, I will start retaliating with
sweet kisses,” he threatened her.
She glanced at him in bewilderment.
“I have warned you,” he rubbed his throbbing shoulder.
“You are a very bad boy.”
He chuckled and winked at her. She hissed and picked up the
“Where is your boyfriend?”
The thought of Gbemiga made her heart ache. She had been
avoiding him since their argument that morning.
He noticed the sad glint in her eyes, “Is everything all right?”
She shook her head, then nodded.
She turned her head and met his concerned stare, “We had a
little argument this morning.”
“I see,” he had a feeling that it was about him, “Don’t worry,
every couple fight.”
“Hmmm…” she returned her attention to the television.
“If he truly loves you, you will be just fine.”
She glanced at him. The assurance in his eyes calmed her
“You guys will definitely settle your fight with a sweet kiss.”
“What’s with you and sweet kisses?” she eyed him.
He started to laugh, “Don’t pretend, he has been kissing you,
She looked away.
“I hope that’s all he does,” he seized her up, “You are pretty
and you have a fantastic physique. He will find it very hard to
keep his hands off you.”
She swallowed hard.
You have no idea Chike.
“Or has he been touching you?” his heart missed a beat.
“Mind your own business,” she eyed him.
“I believe the both of you know that s-x outside marriage is a
no-no as a Christian.”
She dropped her gaze and stared at her feet.
“Have you guys been…”
The night Gbemiga deflowered her flashed through her
mind’s eye. She closed her eyes and opened it.
“Chike leave me.”
“Talk to me. What are friends for?”
She swallowed spittle, “We… it was just once.”
He felt pain spreading in his chest region. The thought of
what they had done made him weak. He turned away and
leaned against the seat.
“It was my first time,” she observed him.
He felt worse because she lost her virginity. It was a priceless
gift she should have fought hard to keep.
“I… I didn’t… it wasn’t planned.”
“Kissing and fondling always lead to unplanned things, you
guys should be more careful.”
She sensed that he wasn’t happy. She wondered if the way he
saw her had changed.
“You shouldn’t have allowed him,” he directed his sad gaze at
Tears glistered in her eyes, “I didn’t…” she whispered.
He frowned, “What are you saying?”
“I … I couldn’t stop him.”
“What? You should have pushed him away or screamed for
The tears came. It was the first time she was opening up to
anyone about that night.
“If I had screamed, we would have been discovered. My aunt
would have skinned me alive and his family might…” she
A scowl appeared on his face, “Did he rape you?”
She gave a shake of head, “We… he… I didn’t want to go that
far, but, he said he lost control.”
“Like hell he did,” he said through gritted teeth. It angered
him that her boyfriend took advantage of her.
“I broke up with him afterwards, but, he promised… he has
been em… nothing has happened thus far.”
Unexpectedly, he pulled her into his arms. She sighed with
relief and felt comforted in his warm embrace.
“If he ever touch you again, if he ever tries to forcefully…” he
inhaled sharply, “Just call me. I will show him pepper.”
She buried her face in his chest. It felt good to know that
someone was ready to protect her.
“You need to be careful.”
“Why are you guys sneaking around like children? If you love
each other, everyone should be aware that you are dating.”
She sighed heavily. He was right.
“Secret relationships are for babies.”
She raised her head and stared at him. He had a firm look on
“Are you a baby?”
She gave a shake of head.
“But, you are my baby.”
She smiled and rested her head on his shoulder.
“My beautiful baby.”
Bukky went to the back of the building to switch off the
generator. The electric power had just been restored in the
area. Many people had been running alternative current for
three days straight. It was pathetic that the electric power
authourity in the country were acting like dictators. The
masses do not get what they paid for and everyone was
suffering because the federal government couldn’t even
interfere. They were definitely in bed with whoever was in
charge of the generation and supply of electricity. On her
way back into the house, she met Gbemiga. She had been
avoiding him for days. What he said on that faithful day still
rang in her head and made her chest tighten in pain. She
tried to walk past him, but he stopped her.
“Please, I will like to have a word with you,” his dark eyes
were fixed on her averted ones.
“It is late. We will talk tomorrow,” she looked up at the
“Bukky please, I am returning to school in a few days.”
She dropped her gaze and met his pleading ones.
“Please,” he begged.
She folded her arms across her chest.
“Please, let’s go over there,” he pointed towards the back of
Without a word, she turned around and walked towards the
kitchen. She remembered Chike’s threat. He promised to deal
with her boyfriend if he ever tried to force himself on her
Gbemiga sighed with relief. He had been looking for an
opportunity to speak with her since she stopped picking his
calls or replying his messages. He followed her to the back of
“Bukky, I love you. I didn’t mean to speak harshly to you that
day. I was just protecting what is mine. I don’t trust that guy,
Chike, or any other guy in this area. You don’t know how it
feels like being in school, while your girlfriend is at home.
The distance is killing me.”
She frowned, “You hurt me.”
“I know and I am sorry. Please forgive me,” he reached out
for her hands.
“Chike is a nice guy, he is just a friend,” she tried to convince
He dropped her hands, “No guy is just a friend,” his
frustrated stare remained on her oval face.
Bukky shrugged. She was tired of explaining herself, “He is
just a friend.”
He sensed her unwavering stance. He swallowed hard. It
would be difficult to keep her away from her so called friend.
“Okay. Fine. Have it your way.”
She raised an eyebrow, weary of his capitulation.
“Just make sure he remains just a friend,” his warning look
drilled into her smiling ones.
“Chike is a good boy. He is not like other guys in the area.”
He wasn’t convinced, “If you say so.”
She took a few steps backwards and leaned against the rough
wall, “I cannot believe that the holiday is over.”
He took her by the hand, “I wish it will continue.”
“Do they know that we are going out?” she looked straight at
He blinked, “Who?”
“Your parents, siblings.”
He began to shake his head, “Does your aunt know?”
“No,” she turned her head and saw a few fire flies close to the
roof of the kitchen.
He sighed with relief.
“When are we going to tell them?” she watched the flies.
He let go of her hand and scratched a spot on his head,
“How soon?” she glanced back at him.
“I don’t think it is a good time.”
She eyed him, “So, when will the good time be…”
“Why do you want them to know?” he cut in.
She frowned, “Why are we having a secret affair?”
He turned aside. The conversation he had with his parents
replayed on his mind. They didn’t want him to associate with
the likes of her. How was he supposed to introduce her to
them as his girlfriend? He would wait till they have a change
of heart, then; he would be able to tell them.
“I am going to tell my aunt. You need to let your family know
that we are dating,” she informed him.
His heart missed a beat. “Bukky wait, wait…”
She saw the uncertainty in his eyes. What was he afraid of?
“By August, our relationship will clock a year. I will be
nineteen and you will be twenty-one by then. We are not
babies,” she stressed the last sentence.
“I know, I know, but…”
“Are you ashamed of me?” she looked directly into his panic
“No, no! Of course not. I love you,” he assured her.
She breathed out loudly in relief.
“It is just that…” how was he going to explain to her? “My
family… they are sought of hyped with the fact that I am now
in the university.”
She raised an eyebrow. She wasn’t surprised. She also
noticed the way they carried themselves around the
“They are trying to dictate who I should relate with…”
She narrowed her gaze and folded her arms.
“I will tell them, but, now is not a good time.”
She disagreed with him, “Now is definitely the right time. I
need to know what I am getting myself into.”
He placed his hands on her shoulders and drew her closer,
“Baby, I promise you, I will let them know.”
“When?” she fixed her eyes on him.
“When I return home for the next vacation.”
She wasn’t pleased with his decision.
“Please, try and hold off on telling your aunt about us,” he
“Fine,” she forced the words out of her mouth.
He brightened, “Thank you.”
She turned away from him, “I have to go in.”
He paled. He thought they would stay out there and talk for a
“My aunt will be wondering where I went to after putting off
He held her by the elbow, “You are not a baby.”
She raised an eyebrow, “It is past ten.”
“Aunty Kike knows that you are a big girl.”
Bukky couldn’t stop the laughter that bubbled through her.
Gbemiga noticed the way her pretty dark eyes lit up as she
laughed and her dark skin seemed to glow under the
moonlight. His steady stare ran down her slim frame, settling
on her cleavage which was slightly exposed by the blue
short-sleeve v-neck blouse she was putting on. The brown
and red print wrapper shaped her curvy sides, giving her an
attractive look. He felt like taking her into his arms and
caressing every inch of her body. The memories of their
kisses intoxicated him like sweet wine. His best ones were on
the day he deflowered her. He hoped to experience the moist
deepness of her inner core again.
She stopped laughing when she saw the desire in his eyes.
She had seen that look before. “I really need to go now.”
“Bukky…” he restrained her movement and pushed her
against the wall.
“What are you doing?” her heart beat accelerated.
“I love you…” he leaned forward and kissed her.
She turned her head away, breaking off her lips from his wet
ones. She must resist him. She willed her hands to push for
freedom, but, she felt weakened with the desires building
“I love you so much…” he planted kisses on her forehead, her
cheeks, her jaw, her neck and around her shoulders.
“Pleeeasee… stop,” she struggled with the emotions
exploding within her.
He claimed her lips again and kissed her until she responded.
His hands slid down her spine, till it settled on her soft, firm,
backside. He grabbed and squeezed it, rubbing his hardened
g—n against her. She trembled against him, wishing he
would stop and let her go. She wanted to fight him off, but,
her brain was fried and her mind had melted like butter on a
Gbemiga tugged at her wrapper until it came loose and fell at
her feet. He slipped his hands underneath her blouse and
fondled her bare flesh. She jerked and pressed her hands
against his chest.
“Stop… don’t…” she tried to push him away.
He held her firmly against the wall and slipped his fingers
into her underwear.
“Gbemi!” she panicked.
He turned a deaf ear on her pleas, driven by his own lust, he
“Gbemiga…please…” she dug her nails into his shoulders and
tried to withstand the intense sexual desire gathering
momentum within her.
Taken over by passion, he yanked off her underwear and
charged into her like a bull on heat.
Pain and pleasure spread through her like wild fire. She
couldn’t shout, she couldn’t cry. It was all her fault. She
shouldn’t have allowed him to touch her in the first place.
She closed her eyes and waited for it to end.
Gbemiga cried out and pulled out of her quickly. His breath
came fast and hard. He staggered backwards and drew the
condom off his skin, satisfaction was written all over his face.
Bukky picked up her wrapper, tied it around her waist and
Chike walked down the street. He thought of taking a cold
shower once he got home. It had been a tiring day at school.
The second semester had just begun and the lecturers were
already intimidating them with stressful assignments and
group projects. He was running out of funds and might need
to ask his parents or his elder brother for financial
assistance. Preferably the latter. His parents were taking care
of his younger siblings and most times, he didn’t like
disturbing them. They were four in number, three boys and a
girl. His elder brother was working for his uncle while he
awaited his call off letter and he had been very supportive.
His younger brother was in his second year, and his younger
sister was in her first year. They were both in Imo State
University. His younger sister, the last child of his parents,
was the age mate of Bukky. If they met, he believed that they
would become good friends.
He brought out his phone from his pocket and dialed his
elder brother’s number. It rang for a while.
“Chike, how now?”
“I dey bros.”
“How Lag? How school?”
“Lag dey there. Na school matter make me call sef.”
“I no get money like that.”
“Ah bros. Abeg o. Nothing is too small.”
“I just got my call up letter yesterday and I need to prepare
Eyes brightened, “Where are you posted?”
“I need all the money I can lay my hands on.”
“Thanks. I will try and send you something before weekend.”
Sighed in relief, “Thanks bros.”
“Hope you are coming home for the long hols.”
“I think so.”
“Don’t think. Come home. You can replace me at uncle’s
place and earn some cash this summer before returning to
“That’s true o.”
“You know dad and mum already have their hands full.”
Nodded, “Yes, I know. I rarely ask them for anything these
“Anyhow, man pikin go survive.”
“Yeah, thanks bros.”
The line went dead. He slipped the phone back into his
He heard the voice. He recognized it and broke into a smile.
He knew exactly who it was. He kept on walking, but, he
slowed his pace.
“Fine boy stop there!”
He started to laugh and glanced back. He saw her sauntering
towards him. Straight jeans, white tube blouse, black cap-
sleeve jacket, and a pink knapsack strapped to her left
shoulder. Her pink gladiator sandals had silver sequins
spread around it, giving it a unique look. Her smooth black
hair was packed behind her neck in a pony-tail. It looked
retouched. She looked fresh and pretty, like the flowers on
the screen saver of his laptop. His dark brown eyes grew
warm, lingering over her with intensity.
She caught up with him, “You! I haven’t been seeing you at
my shed. You just disappeared. Have you found another
akara seller,” she placed her hands on her curvy hips.
He gave a shake of head and grinned. They fell into steps and
“I leave for school earlier than usual these days.”
“How are you preparing for your Common Entrance
She paled, “I am scared to the bones.”
He glanced at her, “Hey…” he placed a hand around her
shoulder, “You know I am here for you.”
She sighed heavily and nodded.
“I will assist you in every way I can, okay?”
She met his kind eyes, “Okay.”
He smiled at her and she smiled back at him. “Has your
boyfriend gone back to school?”
She turned her head, “Yes.”
Her emotionless voice got to him, “Have you guys
“Yes,” her tone was flat.
He looked worried, “You sound like both of you are still
She heaved a tired sigh. She didn’t see her boyfriend the day
he returned to school. She practically avoided him since the
night he had his way with her at the back of the kitchen. She
barred his number on her phone so that he wouldn’t be able
to reach her. She didn’t want to communicate with him until
he returned home for the long holiday. Then, they would
decide whether to kill the relationship and move on or
rescue it before it disintegrate into nothingness. She didn’t
want a secret relationship. She didn’t want a relationship
based on only physical intimacy. They hardly talk. Every time
they were alone, things got complicated. Maybe she wasn’t
ready for a relationship or was she asking for too much?
“Bukky…” he noticed her distracted look, “Bukky…”
“Hmm…” she turned to look at him.
“A penny for your thoughts.”
“What about a dollar?” she grinned from ear to ear.
“See thief,” he eyed her.
She started to laugh.
“I am going home for the long holiday.”
“Yes. My elder brother has just gotten his call up letter and I
am going to replace him at my uncle’s firm.”
“Oh… okay. Where was he posted?”
“Wow! He is lucky.”
“Yea. Next year, I hope to do my industrial training at
“Shell or Texaco,” Bukky chimed in.
“Exactly,” he winked at her.
“I will miss you.”
“Same here. Anyway, I am not going anywhere until we
celebrate our birthdays together. I am going to borrow you
from your boyfriend.”
She chuckled, “He will fight you.”
“Let him try. I will finish him,” he boasted.
“We shall see,” she halted in front of her house.
“I will create time so that I can revise your notes with you
before your examination.”
Her eyes shone with joy, “I will really love that.”
“What are friends for?” he smiled at her.
“You must repay me with bean cake for a whole week.”
“See thief,” she eyed him.
He started to laugh, “The bible says he that does not work
should not eat.”
She hissed, “You are not serious.”
“I am,” he rubbed his belly, “I am so hungry.”
“Later now,” he backed away.
“I will call you.”
He waved and headed off in the opposite direction. She
stood there, watching him, till he faded. She sighed, turned
around and went into the building. She thanked God for
sending her a really good friend. What was she going to do
Bukky instructed her sales girls on how to sell the bean cake,
bread and corn pap. She had just increased the prices of her
wares and her customers were already complaining. It wasn’t
her fault. Everyone knew how hard things had become in the
country. Everything from foodstuff to social amenities had
gone up. At times, she wondered how people were coping.
Taking her compound for example, she noticed that most
families barely ate thrice a day. Breakfast and dinner had
become the order of the day. Many avoided coming to the
kitchen because they did not want others to know what they
were cooking. The landlady warned her tenants that anyone
caught cooking in their rooms would be sent packing, but,
people paid no attention to her.
She hoped that the situation of things in the country would
change for better soonest. The masses were suffering while a
few people squandered the nation’s wealth. She wished super
heroes like Superman and Captain American were really in
existence. The country needed to be rescued from the fangs
of greedy and selfish people who think of themselves and
loath the common man.
She did a quick estimate of how much she might earn that
day and left her sales girls in charge. She wasn’t going to be
around. She was taking her examinations that morning at the
Adult Education Centre. If she passed, she would be issued
her First School Leaving Certificate. If she failed, she would
be asked to retake the examinations over and over again,
until she passed it. Initially she had been afraid, but, after
series of study section with Chike, she became confident. She
was sure that she was going to pass. She had also prayed and
asked God for success. Although she was nervous, she
believed that everything would work out for her own good.
Gbemiga called his girlfriend’s number again and again, but,
he couldn’t reach her. He was beginning to suspect that she
probably blocked his line. Why did she do something like
that? Was it because they slept together? At least, he didn’t
force himself on her. She gave him access. What did she
expect? They were not made of wood. They had emotions
and desires. The thought that she had actually barred his
number on her phone infuriated him. He threw his phone on
the bed and leaned against the wall.
He loved the girl. He craved for her in such insatiable way
each time he was alone with her. She was like a drug he was
addicted to. The God that made the rules that unmarried
people should avoid sleeping with one another would
definitely understand that it was a near-impossible task.
He hoped his girlfriend would come around soon. He was
finding it hard to resist the advances of girls in his class and
those that live in his hostel building. If Bukky kept giving him
a hard time, he might eventually turn to these girls for sexual
satisfaction. After all, they were around him almost every
day, while his girlfriend avoided him most time during the
There were times he wondered why he asked her out in the
first place. The initial feelings he had for her were beginning
to wear off. Come to think of it, does he really love her? Or
was he just driven by the fact that she wasn’t an easy prey
like the girls he was used to?
Bukky returned home tired and hungry. She met her aunt’s
absence. The woman sent her a text earlier that she had an
occasion to attend and might not return home until the next
day. She had her bath and changed into a white sleeveless
knitted blouse and a pair of blue knee length shorts. She
prepared a meal of plantain flour, popularly called amala,
and ewedu soup with meat stew. She settled on the carpet
floor, in front of the flat screen television and ate with relish.
She finished the meal in a matter of minutes, set the plates
aside, washed her hands and returned to her position in
front of the television. It’s been a while since she had the
television all to herself. Whenever her aunt was around, the
woman colonized the T.V set.
She heard the knocks on the door and groaned. She got up
and dragged her feet to the front door. She turned the key
and opened the door. She gasped in surprise when she found
her friend by the doorway.
“Hello stranger,” he smiled at her.
“Where have you been?” he walked into the room,
She scratched a spot on her head and closed the door.
“Every time I come to your shed, I meet your sales girls,” he
sat on the plastic chair adjacent to the television.
Bukky returned to her spot in front of the television, “I had
“Oh…” he searched her face, “I didn’t know that you have
“Four papers to go.”
“Nice, my second semester examination is starting next
She met his gaze, “Good luck.”
“Thanks. How has the examination been?”
She shrugged, “More or less like what we have been taught
and drilled with for months.”
“Okay,” his eyes remained on her face.
“I believe that I am going to pass. God owes me a birthday
“Oh really? See levels,” her confidence gladdened his heart.
He had been a bit worried about her.
She laughed lightly and returned her attention to the T.V
“You and Zee World,” he eyed the T.V set.
“I use it to relax,” she defended her actions.
He rolled his eyes.
“You and Sports channel,” she turned to look at him.
“It is better than all these fictional pretentious non-existence
love portrayed on Televista, Telemundo, Zee World and what
She rolled her eyes.
“Have you called your boyfriend and wished him luck in his
She blinked and turned her head. She didn’t want to talk
about Gbemiga. She had a lot of things to iron out with him
when he returned home for the long holiday.
“Hmm…” she looked up at him.
“What is it?” he sensed that something was bothering her.
She shook her head.
He got up and came to sit by her side, “Bukky…”
“Chike, I am not in the mood.”
“You know that you can always talk to me,” he observed her
“I am fine. He is fine. We are fine.”
He raised an eyebrow. Doubt clouded his face. “Bukky…”
She hissed, got up and went to the bed. She lay down, hoping
that he would get the message and leave.
“Bukky…” he got up and came to sit by her side.
“Chike go away!” she lashed out at him and turned on her
side, facing the wall, “I said I am not in the mood.”
He stared at the back of her head, sighed heavily and got up.
He found his way out of the room and shut the door.
Bukky stood with a group people in front of the notice
board. She scanned the white sheet listed with names of
students who wrote the Common Entrance examination. She
found her name and saw the bolded letters beside it
‘PASSED’. She screamed with joy and pulled away from the
crowd. God had answered her prayers. He had just given her
an early birthday gift. She looked up and stared at the blue
sky, face brightened with joy. Her dream of getting educated
was unfolding in leaps and bounds.
She pulled her phone out of her jeans pocket and called her
mother. The woman was excited and impressed that her
daughter was leaving the illiterate class. Soon she would be
able to boast and tell all who cared to listen that her
daughter was now educated.
She thought of calling Chike, but, wasn’t sure if he would pick
her call. It had been a while since he came to her shed. She
had a feeling that he might be upset at the way she treated
him the last time he visited. She heard from students in the
area that the second semester examination had already
started. Maybe he was probably busy studying.
She missed his company. She hoped that he wasn’t angry