He sighted a feminine figure sitting still on the stairs in the dark; it was Tera. Her glasses had fallen to the ground and she was trying to find them with her hands. She felt a hand wrapped around her waist; it was Mark’s.
” Leave me alone. What more do you want from me? What?? ” She grizzled out loud and struggled to free herself from him.
” You’re the most important female in my life,my best friend..my everything..there’s no way I can let go of you. ” He pleaded and refused to let go. The generator was kick-started there and then,and the entire mansion was lit up once more. He let go of her waist reluctantly after she bit his wrist. Tears dropped down his eyes as she walked away from him. Viewing things from his own perspective,she was walking away from his life,and as some might as well add, ‘ For good ‘ . And there seemed to be nothing he could do about it.
” He doesn’t love me, Debs. I humiliated myself. I’m just a big fool. ” Tera lamented with. tears dropping down her swollen eyes.
” No,you’re not. Now you know better. Stop beating up yourself. ” She urged her with a big smile.
” But I can’t live without him,and I’ve broken my glasses,and I bit him. How do I explain this to mummy? ”
” How? We’ll just tell her the truth and nothing else. ”
” The truth? ” Tera enquired with a look of fear.
” Yes. It dropped when you were walking down the stairs. Mark’s case doesn’t deserve an explanation,there’s no way she can find out ” Debs answered with a facial expression of mischief which caused Tera to smile faintly.
They attended the end of year service several hours later. Tera sat next to her little brother in church and their eyes glowed with joy as the fireworks reverberated in the sky after the clock struck twelve. Tears dropped down Tera’s eyes as she remembered the previous year. This was the first end of year service she was attending without Mark in six years. She smiled when she remembered that she had expected him not to show up the previous year because his parents insisted that he must attend service in their chapel,and how he miraculously showed up next to her just a few minutes to twelve. He had always been there for her,but now it seemed like things were about to start going downhill. She wondered how the new year would turn out and poured out her heart to God in prayer,whilst her brother glared on in pity.
It was barely two weeks into the new year,and Tera was gradually getting saddled with worries,anxiety and fear due to her insipid lifestyle; all she did was wake up and eat,except for extra-special days when her mom took her two children out for a treat of some sort;Debbie had travelled to Ibadan for a wedding,and her dad still wasn’t back from his trip. She noticed that her arms had added a bit of weight as she tried on a shirt that was once too large for her,and was now her perfect size. Sisi opened the door after hearing the the bell ring; Tera’s two female friends had arrived. She had informed them that she was back from her ‘trip’ a day ago. All of a sudden, she looked sullen and felt a bit of shame regarding the incident at the Tutorship awards,but the two girls dragged her out of it in no time.
” Guess what? ” Oghene,the typical sanguine asked with a bright smile as she hid her hands behind her back and waited for Tera to make several attempts whilst Aminat winked at Oghene as the teddy bear looked clueless.
” Tickets to the cinema? ” She flashed her teeth in excitement and hoped her guess was right.
” No! Tickets.. ” Oghene answered and waited for Aminat to complete her statement.
” To Luminous’ concert! It starts today. ” Aminat giggled excitedly and wrapped her arms around Tera.
” Wait a minute. Why do you look clueless? Does it mean you don’t know? Mark didn’t inform you? You two haven’t sorted out yourselves? ” Oghene asked with a look of unbelief.
” No,jor. We have. He asked if I was interested in coming and I blatantly refused,that was why I didn’t get tickets. But I think he gave some to Chris. We’ve discussed about that and now we’re fine. ” She lied.
” Fine? Or dating? ” Aminat asked and she chased the frustrated Tera down the hall when she refused to reply..
They arrived at the Pavilion Center two hours after the concert had already kick-started. This was because their visit to the salon took more time than was expected,and they were stuck in traffic for over seventy minutes. Tera reluctantly stood behind Aminat on the queue as they waited for the able bodied guard who stood with a frail looking guy at the entrance who punctured and vetted all tickets.
” Ah ah ah..where did you get this from? ” He asked Aminat after collecting the strip of golden paper from her.
” We purchased it online. ” Oghene spoke up from where she stood.
” Oh! So you’re together? Well..I’m afraid you can’t go in,your tickets are fake. Pls excuse yourself from the queue. The guard ordered and moved towards them with a frown whilst others looked on. Tera felt excited as they turned back and headed home. A frown spread across her face at the gate when she sighted Mrs Kodjoe. The giddy woman got them front seat tickets in no time at all. Tera shut her eyes as she heard Mark’s voice; she didn’t want to see him..she couldn’t . His skin tingled as he saw her walk in. He smiled when he saw her two companions with her,he was most certain that they were the reason she was here. She looked beautiful and clueless as usual,and a bright smile accentuated his li ps as he saw that her eyes were jammed shut. His fingers strummed the strings of the guitar once more,and he tried to brush off memories of
the last encounter they had.
She blushed after sighting the plaster on his left hand; ‘ Payback ‘ She muttered to herself and stood as still as a rock throughout their whole performance. Tera silently prayed for the concert to end sooner than expected.
” We’ve got backstage passes. Let’s go in! That way,you’ll be able to introduce the whole. team to us ” The excited girls urged Tera and dragged her into the pathway which was a hub of activities. After flashing their passes to the guards,and asking for directions,they were led to Luminous’ special hive. The hive was painted with several flashy colours which could literally blind an individual. The boys looked stressed and tired; they assumed various weird positions on the chairs and sofas on which they sat.
” Tera! ” They exclaimed unanimously and all reached out to give her a warm embrace with a knowing look in their eyes.
” How have you been? We were just talking about you.. Are these your friends? Come! Have a seat. ” Chima affirmed with a wide smile and sat her down on the sofa which he was lying on,whilst her friends sat next to her with joy and excitement literally.
” Yeah. Fine. ” She whispered with a weak smile and tried to avoid their gazes. The door was opened shortly after; It was Mark! He carefully placed the cans of cold drinks he had gone to purchase from the supermarket and walked out almost immediately without saying a word to anyone. Tera bit back tears and rose up to her feet,with her friends trailing behind her as she bade the duo farewell and walked out of the room.
” Wait! Let me give you a ride. ” Yinka offered after Chima rose up and wrapped his arms around Tera re-assuringly.
” What’s wrong with him? I thought you two were dating? ” Oghene asked angrily as she jammed the door shut behind her.
” Let her be. This isn’t the time to ask such questions. ” Aminat whispered to Oghene reasonably. They arrived at the parking lot shortly after;and sighted Mark in a compromised state with another female as they approached Yinka’s car. Tera couldn’t believe her eyes! He was making out with a girl who looked way-ward and flashy. Her hand bag fell off her hand unconsciously as she stared on in disbelief.
” We’ll handle this. Take her to the car. ” Chima instructed Aminat whilst Oghene stared on with her mouth wide open. Tears dropped down Tera’s eyes as she was led to the car;she felt like fainting,her heart was exploding into tiny bits and. pieces. She heard Aminat’s voice as she lay down on the car seat,but was unable to decode any meaning from her words.