Grim. Grim. The sound of the in-coming call made him stir. He rolled over, reaching for the phone with one hand while the other ran down the coarse, wiry dark hairs on his chest. He felt light when his fingers played under the elastic band of his short.
“Were you sleeping?” Margaret asked. Adam wondered what time of the morning it was. He guessed the morning was far gone, judging from the brightness of the room, and also his girlfriend’s slightly sarcastic tone.
“I had a long night.” Adam wondered if Margaret had heard him. He voice sounded throaty. His mouth felt dry. Adam made to sit, but a sharp pain at the back of his neck made him lay still on the bed.
“Ok.” Obviously, she had heard him. “I was expecting your call” Margaret paused briefly, enough time for Adam to come up with an excuse. She continued when none was forthcoming. “I decided to make the call instead.”
“Yeah. I…. I told you-”
“About the items, don’t bother about them. Pam just called. She would be in Lagos next weekend. She will be coming with them.”
Adam let a sigh of relief. It didn’t seem to bother him if it was obvious to Margaret.
“Hey, don’t think I’m letting you off so easily,” Margaret chuckled. Her chuckle didn’t help allay Adam’s fears. What comes next, he wondered. He knew Margaret never let go so easily. “You remember that …….” Margaret continued, but Adam heard none of it. He had heard the bleep sound indicating a call was waiting. Bringing his phone close, he saw the name on the screen. Steve.
“Ok” Adam said, even without getting the details of Margaret’s new request. He just wanted to end the call. An excuse would surely bail him out -however lame it proved to be- at least for the meantime. Margaret’s request could wait.
Adam dried himself hurriedly with the towel. The bath this evening had been like the one the previous evening, only he didn’t have the time for all the niceties of the former, and he’d used the soap this time.
Adam looked at the reflection of himself on the mirror. He smiled in admiration of what he saw.
……And God saw that everything He made was good, Adam mused. He wondered if the first Adam in the holy book had been as hung as he was.
As Adam pulled at the knob of the bathroom door, he heard his phone ringing.
“Hello, Dee” Adam cooed. He seemed to enjoy the sound of his voice.
“Adam. Where have you been?”
“Actually, I’ve been to several places, but the bathroom is the most recent. I -”
“What’s really going on there?
“Hmm! In the bathroom?”
“You know what I mean. What’s up with you and Steve?”
Adam giggled. “Oh! I thought -”
“Cut the crap, man.”
Adam was taken aback. Dotun rarely sounded serious, Adam thought. The tone of his younger cousin’s voice and the barrage of questions hurled at him meant only one thing; something was amiss -something completely out of order.
“I…” the rest of the words proved to be a mumble. Adam wondered why he sometimes had difficulties finishing his sentences.
“Adam” Dotun said and briefly cleared his throat. It seemed the words that would follow needed clarity when spoken in order to be understood. Dotun sounded mellow when he continued. “Dee,” he started, calling Adam by the pet name both guys called each other. “I thought this arranged meeting with my boss was more of building an acquaintance that was once lost? At least, that was what you made me believe.”
What I made you believe? Adam repeated to himself. Despite Dotun’s mellow tone, Adam still found Dotun’s words really disturbing. Adam felt his chest. He did not like the rhythm of his heartbeat. What has Steve said to Dotun? Adam wondered. He silently prayed Steve had not mentioned the events of the previous night -the bachelors’ party, the Never Have I Ever game. Still, it was certain that Steve had said something to Dotun.
“Adam” Dotun called. Dotun just sounded like Margaret, Adam mused.
“I….. What’s with all -”
“Look, I can’t dictate to you what to do with your life” Dotun started. Yeah, that’s how it goes, Adam muttered under his breathe. They ask you questions, and then cut you short when you try making an attempt at it. “Be careful.” Dotun continued. “My boss gave me your details earlier in the day. He wants me to dig up more information about you.” Dotun paused, then continued. “You may not like this, but my boss thinks there’s something phony about his long lost friend. He intends pursuing any lead he gets, however little. Steve has no intentions of handling this in a friendly manner.”
Adam swallowed hard. He wondered if Dotun meant gay.
“Steve informed me that he made arrangements for dinner and some drinks.”
“Yeah. He called this morning to inform me about it. I was actually getting prepared for it.”
“I’d suggest you tread with caution.”
Adam exhaled deeply. There was something in Dotun’s words that seemed to suggest that there was more to what Dotun had just told him.
“Thank you.” Steve said, as he closed the door to the receding figure. With his back to the closed door, Steve opened his wallet from which he had just removed some Naira notes. In there, he safely tucked the drug Nathan had just given him.