“Oh my God, oh my God,” Amaka muttered to herself over and over again in disbelief. She had stopped running but was walking very fast trying to put as much distance between herself and the horrible mathematics teacher. Although, she was a good distance from the staff room, she kept on glancing backwards every few seconds worried that he would come after her.
It’s okay. It’s fine. He can’t do anything to hurt you. She spoke to herself in her mind trying not to shiver in repulsion at just the thought of him. All you have to do is be strong. Don’t let him scare you, girl. You can do this. She was still in thought when she bumped into someone.
“Hey! Slow down,” the person said. “Where you going in such a haste?”
“I’m so sorry,” she apologized, her palm cupped over her mouth. “I’m sorry,” she said again and hurried off immediately.
“Amaka!” a slightly familiar voice called out.
Who knows me in this school? She thought and turned around. It was Miebaka. He jogged casually over to where she stood waiting for him.
“Hey, how far?” he asked pleasantly. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine. Sorry I bumped into you. I was just in a hurry,” she rushed out anxious to be on her way. She needed time to clear her head and she still felt unsafe knowing that Mr. Samson was just a few metres away.
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing. I’ve had worse,” he said and flashed her a smile which she didn’t return. “Are you okay?””I’m fine. I’m just in a hurry.”
“Why are you in such a hurry? Is someone chasing you? ” He asked and she froze. “Sorry, that was a stupid question. I’m just pulling your legs. ”
She nodded absent mindedly, body still tense. She wasn’t ready to talk to anyone yet about what had happened and was terrified that someone might have overheard her conversation with Mr. Samson. Although, she had done nothing wrong, she still felt strangely uneasy.
“Are you okay? I don’t mean to pry but you look like something is bothering you.”
“I’m okay,” she mumbled. “I should be going.” She began walking again.
“Wait,” he called. “Can I come with you?”
“I just want to. Actually, I was walking around. Needed to clear my head.”
“It’s still prep time. ”
He checked his wrist watch. “One minute left. Besides, it’s Friday. No one takes prep serious on Friday.”
“So, where are we going to?”
“I’m not really sure. Maybe, class.”
“I don’t really know. I’m not really sure. I’m just confused right now.”
He looked at her with concern. “Perhaps, we should take a walk. Seems like the both of us have something on our minds.”
She nodded. “Where to?””Let’s stick to the corridors first.”
They began to walk slowly each occupied with their thoughts. She kept on glancing surreptitiously backwards and he did the same but his was directed at her face.
“It’s drizzling,” she observed.
“Not for long, it’s about to rain crazily.” As if on cue, the light drizzle intensified into heavy rainfall that beat upon the zinc roof noisily. A bolt of lighting struck and she screamed.
“Calm down, it’s just lightning.”
“Sorry,” she mumbled in mortification. Did he always have to appear at her vulnerable moments?
“Why are you always apologising?”
“It’s habit,” she answered and shivered lightly. It was getting really cold.
“You are cold.” Damn this guy! Did he have to make her look weak always?
“No, I’m not,” she snapped in annoyance.
“You are. There are some classrooms that are not in use anymore nearby. We can wait there for the rain to stop.”
“I’m not cold,” she insisted. Why was he so stubborn? A gust of wind blew cold air towards them and she shivered again. “Fine, let’s go,” she faltered.
He pulled off his jacket and offered it to her. She looked at him in surprise. “No, thank you.”
“Why are you so stubborn?” he asked and in spite of herself, she laughed.
“Exactly what I was thinking of you.”
“Good,now we both know we are stubborn. Can you accept the jacket please?”
“I’m not asking again,” he draped the jacket over her shoulder and continued walking. “You can thank me later.”She scowled at him but put the jacket on. It was freezing!
After a short while, they arrived at the classrooms. He opened the door to one of them and entered. She followed behind, not so daring. He flicked a switch and a light bulb came on. “This is the only one whose bulb is not yet dead,” he informed.
“Oh,” Amaka said. His eyes darted around as if in search of something. “What are you looking for?” she asked.
She looked around too. “I don’t think there’s any here.”
“No problem, I’ll just have to improvise.” He untied the bandana he wore around his wrist and proceeded to dust a seat with it. “Here, have a seat,” he offered.
“Me?” she looked surprised.
“Of course, you.” It was his turn to look surprised.
She looked at him warily for a while and sat down. “Thank you,” she whispered.
“You are welcome.” He dusted another seat for himself and sat down opposite her. They sat like that for a while with him studying her surreptitiously.
“Stop staring, it’s not polite,” she said breaking the silence.
“I wasn’t staring,” he gave her a cocky grin. “I was trying not to stare.”
“Smartass,” she muttered.
“So you say. Tell me, what school are you coming from?”
“You won’t know it. It’s in Port Harcourt.”
“Port Harcourt,” he gave a low whistle. “All the way from Port Harcourt to Lagos. Why?”
This guy was absolutely nosy. “Well, it’s none of your business but since you asked so nicely, I’m currently living with my aunt and uncle.”
He smiled at her again and said, “I know what you’re thinking.”
“This guy is absolutely nosy.”
She gaped at him and he burst into laughter at her expression. Recovering from her shock, she joined and finally managed to ask. “How did you know?”
“I know myself too well. I just voiced out what I will think if I ever got to meet myself.”
They began to laugh again and she mused on how nice it was to be free of her worries. Ever since Mr. Samson had called her attention in class that day, her stomach had been tied up in nervous. She shivered as his malicious laughter echoed in her ears.
“Are you okay?” he asked concernedly.
“Yeah, I’m fine.””I was asking how you like the school,” he said.
She hadn’t realized when she blanked out or the fact that she was wearing a deep frown. “I’m fine,” she repeated.
“You look like something’s bothering you.”
She looked up at him and wondered if she could trust him. There was something about him that made her want to open up like a dam and let the flood out. But she restrained herself and forced a smile on her face. “I’m fine. Just a little bit distracted. I guess I’m tired.”
“You can talk to me, you know,” he said in a solemn voice.
She looked out the window. I wish I could. “It’s stopped raining.”
“We can leave now if you want to.”
“I have to return to my hostel.” She stood up and began walking to the door. He hesitated and then followed after her. Her hand was on the handle when he held her by her arm.
“Will you be fine?” he asked staring into her eyes and for a moment she forgot to breath. He was so close to her and his hand on her palm was distracting.
“I’ll be fine, I just need some time alone,” she breathed. He let go of her arm reluctantly and smiled at her. “Bye.”
“No need for bye. I’ll see you soon again.”
He gave her another smile as she opened the door and stepped out.