She walked over to Jennifer, then her arm across her waist and whispered a few words into her ears. I allowed about 80 seconds to pass before I joined them outside.
“What am I to intercede in a Prisca and Princess meeting?” Prisca teased “Permission to leave, please..”
Her gesticulations and the comic flow of her words was the simple tonic we needed to get us flowing. The short interval of amusement created the much-needed avenue for me to liberalise our discussion. I threw my arm across the iron bar adjacent me, fitting my weight slightly in that direction. The smile on my face narrowed down to a broad grin and I shook my head passionately. Watching attentively to decode the impression my presence had been able to induce in her. “Jenny”‘, I called out, pausing briefly to assess her reaction. “I don’t really know what to say to you. But the simple truth is that you’ve taken over my ‘heart. I can’t explain why or how it happened. I flipped my arms in the air submissively and not allowed the words to flow, carrying with it an engulfing air of emotion. The sincerity in my heart, pumping out tunes of compassion rocked-her wall of defence, leaving the usual film of feminine obstinacy. Jennifer had one reason or the other to keep me posted. I have never been one to easily give up, not when I was convinced that Jennifer just wanted to play tough. I kept pressing on, consolidating my seriousness. Prisca was always there to urge me on.
“Ken, just give her some time, I’m very much convinced that you’re the best thing that can happen to the social life. She just wants to be sure all she’s gathered about you is true”.
She patted my back tenderly. “I can’t wait to see both of you going out together. Your compatibility is what amazes me most.”
“Thanks for your concern. I really don’t know what I’d have been able to do without you and Ben.” I managed a weak chuckle.
“Prisca, I called out, suddenly changing my composure.
She glanced at me sharply, wondering what I wanted to say.
“Jennifer is hurting me, so bad. I’ve never had such emotional stress all my life. I don’t know if it’s now a crime to fall in love with someone, is it?
“Come on…just try and take things easy. Free your mind a bit and you’ll be better off.” She consoled using her warm jokes to brighten me.
The semester was gradually approaching its critical period. The examination was just three weeks away with the rash academic environment it carried with it. Everything was at the peak and even the ants crawling on the floor were conscious of that, but one tings seemed to sing a different tune, apparently indifferent to the tide of events. My spirit was actually at its lowest ebb. I was enveloped in a maze of psychological anarchy.
I was engaged in a tussle to free my mind, I needed to be in control of myself. Then Lovelyn came into the scene.
The emotional gap that existed between Lovelyn and I started to narrow down. Subconsciously, I initiated the moves. I started to see her more often than I used to and I encouraged her to do the same. My room-mates didn’t even help matters. They urged me on, creating the impression that I had failed to take advantage of what I had. While I wallowed in the mire of self -deceit, going after a damsel that didn’t deserve a guy like me. Lovelyn had been a good friend to me, for the short time we had known each other.
In fact, she’d been able to induce that sisterly care in me that I would have preferred we remained liked that. I cared for her in my own special way, a way that unwittingly lost its defence, drawing in the clouds of love with its side of emotional attachment.
Lovelyn’s presence, though, couldn’t erase Jennifer from my heart but it created the much-needed cushion against the hard bite of my emotional stress. I continued to open up on her without any form of resistance whatsoever. Deep in my heart, I knew I still wanted Jennifer, I knew I still longed for the day she would finally make up her mind. That notwithstanding, I’d made a quiet resolve, not to hurt Lovelyn in anyway. I could help it, I would have sneaked away from the cloud of love that was building up around us. But how could I give up the only opportunity I had to get myself going.
I picked up the card by my bedside and glanced through the words again. It was indeed a lovely one. As lovely as its sender, Lovelyn. My mind moved to the sweet words she had whispered into my ears that last time we had stayed alone together. Memories of her warm kisses still lingered on my lips, the hot romances, passionate caresses, the climax of ecstasy we’d shared together. I closed my eyes and allowed everything to flow, as freely as they had come.
But why the persistent craving for Jennifer’s unpredictable love. I couldn’t understand why that was happening to me. I shook my head meditatively. Why now! Why the unexpected turn of events. I had gone to the female hostel with Ben on an occasional visit. We had gone to see Lovelyn first and spend about 45 minutes with her.
As expected, our next part of call was to be Prisca’s room. If I was to have my way, I wouldn’t have made that move with Ben but for his insistence. We were just a few steps from the hall entrance when someone shouted Ben’s name. We turned and guess who it was, Jennifer!
We walked over and exchanged pleasantries with her. I didn’t say any other thing, I knew I still cared for her but Lovelyn’s presence did a great deal of good in curing the depression that had eaten deep into me. I busied myself caressing my non- existence moustache while Ben did all the talking. Just then, I felt a very soft arm form a ring across my eyes. I stretched my hands backwards and pulled the figure close to me getting a firm grip on the feminine waist.
“Ini” I managed to hold back my voice when the arms finally left my eyes. “what are you doing here?” I asked, having noticed her very casual, I belong here appearance.
She smiled in her usual cute way. “I should direct that question to you.”
“You mean you’re now staying in the hostel?”
“She shook her head affirmatively.
“And you didn’t care to tell me?”
“I didn’t see you now..” she tried to defend herself.
“Simply because you never cared to,” I allowed the disappointment to be registered on my face. Ini reached out and held my hand.
“Please, don’t drag it far, I just wanted to be alone for a while after what happened to me.”
I smiled at her, my mind going back to what she had told me the last time we met.
“It’s alright, so how do I get to see you?”
“Hall I, L231”.
I brought out my diary and jotted the number down.
I’ll see you on Sunday evening, okay?”.
She nodded. “Make sure you come o, no be this one wey you go talk finish no-one go see you”, she accused me,
“Don’t worry,” I called her back.
“You ain’t got no problem. I’ll see you then.· .-
I turned and faced Jennifer who was laughing hysterically. ·What’s putting you off”, I asked, throwing my eyes, in turn, to each of them. If not your useless friend”, Jennifer replied, pointing at Ben.
“What did he say?”
“It’s not for your consumption”, Ben pulled me out.
“Is she around. Can we go and see her?”, I quickly changed the topic, masking my interest.
“Sure, Jennifer, how do we see?” stretched out his right hand, engulfing her arm in his.
“I’ll see you people tomorrow evening. I’ll come over”, she added having read the expression on our faces.
I let out a sigh and placed the card back in its former position. My head was vibrating ceaselessly with numerous incoherent thoughts.
How I ‘wished she didn’t visit as she had promised.
How I wished Lovelyn was not around when she called. At least that would have given me enough time to reorganise myself. I don’t know who to blame for the drama that ensued the previous evening.
Jennifer actually took us unawares in every respect. We never believed she was going to come; how much more coming over with a bottle of wine and a card for me – she wanted to spring a surprise. An ill-timed one it was. She was convinced no other babe was on the line. That is what it ought to have been, that’s the way I had always wanted it but for her delay.
Lovelyn walked away in annoyance. Jennifer left with cold feeling •.
How do I compromise this ugly situation? Who do I run to? Can someone bail me out!!
…To Be Continued