Gbemiga sat on his bed in his off campus hostel, pondering over his life. His grades at school were okay, but, his relationship with God had gone downhill. He didn’t even recognize himself anymore. He had been lured back to his old habits since he broke up with his ex-girlfriend. He was drinking again and he went to the club almost every Friday night. He had lost count of the series of one night stands he had indulged in, in the past few months. He wasn’t happy and he wanted out. His parents and siblings were looking up to him. He couldn’t afford to smear the family’s name with mud and bring them shame.
He clasped his hands together and closed his eyes. He began to ask God for forgiveness and mercy. He re-dedicated his life to Jesus and promised to live for his savior henceforth. He thanked God for accepting him back, regardless of his reckless living. He ended the prayer and opened his eyes. Amazingly, he felt better. It was as if a huge burden had been lifted off his shoulders. He decided to talk to God more often and pray daily.
He lay on his side and thought of Bukky. He admired her stance to do things God’s way. He regretted the way he treated her and wished he had not deflowered her. Was it possible for her to forgive him and take him back? He still had feelings for her. Even after dating a few other girls, his affection for her never faded. He sighed heavily and closed his eyes.
God, please give me a second chance with Bukky.
Chike and Bukky sat on the leather chair, watching a movie. There was a bowl of popcorn on the stool in front of the chair and a pack of fruit juice. He turned towards her and grinned from ear to ear. He was counting down on the day he would finally ask her out and he was sure that her answer was going to be yes.
“Why don’t you come with me to Owerri for the Christmas holiday?”
She looked at him quickly, surprise written all over her face.
“Come and spend the holiday with my family.”
She blinked and stared at him. Was he serious?
“It will be fun. I will take you on a tour to all my favourite places in Owerri.”
She turned away. She wasn’t sure how his family would see her. Their son was almost a graduate and all she had was her First School Leaving Certificate. The thought that they might not approve their friendship scared her.
“Maybe next year.”
“Come on, please. I promise you a blast,” he tried to convince her.
“Em… I am thinking of visiting my parents. I haven’t seen my siblings like forever. I want to spend time with them this Christmas.”
He rolled his eyes. “Excuses, excuses, excuses. Do you know how much I am going to miss you?”
She sighed, “Then stay with me in Lagos.”
He gave a shake of head, “Owerri is much more exciting than Lagos during the festive period. Lagos will be too boring for me.”
She rolled her eyes.
“You are the only fun-thing for me around here. You make Lagos liveable.”
The intensity of his stare made her look away.
“Can I kiss you now? At least, you are now available and single.”
“Stop it! Why do you like expensive jokes?” she eyed him.
“Who is joking?” his firm gaze remained on her face.
She raised an eyebrow and stared back at him,
“I like you, you like me. The only thing stopping me from asking you out is the fact that I am waiting for you to completely get over your ex.”
Her jaw dropped in amazement.
“It’s being three months plus. How long do I need to wait?”
She closed her mouth and dropped her gaze. Was she ready to start a new relationship? Was she completely over her ex? She really liked Chike and wished she met him before she started dating Gbemiga.
“Your silence said it all. You need more time,” he returned his attention to the television.
She raised her head and stared at him. He turned his head and met her intense gaze. She looked away quickly.
“I will be traveling on the twenty-second.”
“That’s three days away,” she turned to look at him.
She paled. She was really going to miss him.
“Come with me.”
“I will see you off to the park.”
He hissed, “It is either you follow me to Owerri or nowhere else.”
“What’s doing you sef?” she eyed him.
“Owerri, yes?” he battered his lashes at her.
“No,” she folded her arms across her chest.
“Fine. Next year is not that far away,” he picked up the pack of juice and drained the content.
“Why did you finish it?”
He dropped the empty pack on the stool. “Go and carry another one.”
She hissed, “But, you know I like that flavor.”
“Bukky, abeg, free me,” he leaned against the chair and stretched out.
“Fine, watch the movie all by yourself. I am going home,” she got up abruptly.
“Where do you think you are going?”
“Home,” hands on her hips.
“After eating my popcorn and drinking my juice?”
She hissed, “You finished the juice.”
“You better sit down before I go and buy koboko for you.”
She hissed again and put on her slippers.
“If you want to leave, you better vomit everything you have eaten.”
“You are unwell.”
“Really? I will show you how unwell I am.”
The next thing she knew, Chike grabbed her by the waist and forced her to sit on the chair.
“Chike! Leave me! Let me go this minute!”
“Start vomiting my food, now!”
He started to tickle her. She tried to run, but, didn’t get far. She fell on the bed, and he pinned her down with his weight.
“I give up.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“I give up. Let me go.”
“Chike Nwosu please o, biko o, I am sorry. I am not going anywhere. I am staying right here with you.”
He chuckled and smiled at her.
“Oya get up,” she became aware of their awkward position.
“I wish you can come home with me.”
“I don’t want to go.”
“Maybe I will throw you into one of my suitcases and carry you off to Owerri.”
She started to laugh, “Kidnapper mode activated.”
He began to laugh too. Their gazes locked. The urge to kiss her overwhelmed him. The desire in his eyes made her heart beat to accelerate. It mirrored her exact frame of mind.
“I think you should go.”
She blinked in confusion.
“I will see you off.”
She stared back at him. She could bet on every penny in her bank account that he was going to kiss her a moment ago. What changed his mind?
“I will never take what is not fully mine,” his whisper flooded her ears, “I cannot take what has not been freely given.”
She swallowed hard. Her heart hammered against her chest, deafening her ears. “Kiss me.”
His eyes widened in surprise.
“I want you to kiss me.”
He parted his lips then pressed it together. “I don’t want to start what I am not willing to finish. When we start dating, then, I will kiss you.”
She blinked away her disappointment.
“Even then, I cannot go beyond kissing you. I will honour God in our relationship.”
She smiled happily, “I will have it no other way.”
“Perfecto,” he pecked her on the forehead and got up quickly.
Bukky lay on the bed and sighed with relief. Chike was simply God-sent to her. What was she going to do without him?