Osas Idubor 2 years ago
@Theosasidubor 12 min read Write a comment #creative-writing

Play Her (chapter Two)

(Sly) She believed in prayers. She prayed as often as she could, but somehow, she doubted that this was indeed the answer to her prayer.

She least expected Lanre to be the one offering her help. Not like she knew how the help was supposed to come or who would've been the one offering it. But she didn't exactly want for it to be Lanre. Lanre? Why Lanre? It wasn't like she was doubting God. She really wished in her heart that she wasn't. But she was sure coincidences like this could happen, and again, someone was always going to choose between good and evil. That was and is still the order of the world. She could be wrong about him, but she also didn't want to find out. She didn't think she wanted to, or did she? She was so nervous, standing a few paces away from him, even as he urged her to give a reply to his question. Three hours earlier...

Sylvia was hesitant before she entered the hut where she was supposed to wait for her friend Shotayo. She had never really been inside the locally but stylishly built hut that didn't only serve as a mai shai joint but was the place certain students went to for locally brewed palm wine and other drinks. She had passed a few times, owing to how really close the place was to one of the buildings where her classes were held. It was only a 5-minute walk away from the building known as NTF, and earlier that day, when she had called Tayo, that one had informed her that she was taking class attendance at NTF and would be with her in no time.

She finally found a spot to rest her butt. Inside, there were about four smallish men sitting around a small table, chatting over bottles of drinks. Some she recognized as monster energy, horsepower, and bullet drinks. Back home, she sold those drinks to customers in her mother's small kiosk. It was how she became all too familiar with them. Soon her nose began to pick the smell of locally brewed gin, and she couldn't help but wonder if such a thing was ever authorized within school premises and also wondered the kind of students that purchased it. She didn't think it was any right, and she also didn't think it was cool for her to be at the hut at the time.

Apart from the smallish men sitting close to the entrance, other people were scattered about in the hut. Sitting in twos and threes. Chatting. Really. As there weren't more activities, they could engage in. But she also didn't think the environment was any right for her to be in. She knew it was always gonna be a common trope for people to assume the worst about the people they happen upon in such places, and it also didn't help that she held a post in her campus' fellowship. For that reason, she decided she would step out. Not just because she was worried about someone finding her there, but because she didn't want to be there. Her phone began to ring, and she seized the opportunity to finally walk out. "Where are you, nau? Ehn, Tayo? I've been waiting for how long now, 10 minutes? I thought you said you would be here in 5." "Alaye nor dey para..." Came in the reply from the other end. "I'm not your Alaye." Sylvia corrected lightly.

"You no even let me explain. Ah ah nau. Oya, I'm sorry. After taking the attendance, I suddenly remembered Mr. Immanuel had asked me to get some textbooks from the school's bookshop. I'm headed there now. Could you meet me there?" Tayo said, all at one place. "Really?" She couldn't help it. She leaned her shoulder against the hut, took in a deep breath, and released it almost immediately. "Yes, baby. Love you bye." And with that came the disconnection from Tayo's end. Sylvia couldn't be more disappointed. It took her time to come back to some form of normalcy after calculating the distance between the mai-shy hut and the school's bookshop. She felt robbed of her sense of strength and kept looking down at her tired legs as if expecting them to speak to her. To let her know if they would be able to take her to the bookshop or not. Presently...

She was petrified of long distances but had what she was going for not important; she would not have come to find herself in front of her cousin's roommate, offering her the exact support Tayo hadn't only denied her but succeeded in publicly embarrassing her for. What happened was that the moment she got to the bookshop, Tayo was nowhere in sight, and she had gone in and out of the bookshop and was just about to dial her number when she finally saw her walking down to the bookshop. Apparently, she hadn't even left the class to go to the bookshop and had lied when she initially said she was headed there. Sylvia, however, did well to hide her anger. She needed to borrow money from Tayo. She had a course she needed to manually register with a lecturer alongside a compulsory textbook she needed to buy and present to him in his office. She had not the money. The deadline for the course registration was upon her already, and the one person who could have helped was her cousin Chuggs, but she tried his number all morning, and it wasn't reachable. Coupled with the fact that he wasn't in his room when she went to find him. She checked several other places she thought he could be but couldn't find him as well.

Another option would have been for her to ask members of her campus fellowship, but she had asked them one too many times, and it was beginning to be a thing of shame. It didn't help that they occasionally mocked her behind her back. It was how she realized that gossip and rumor didn't really take place outside of a church. Most times, it was the very hub it sprang up from. "Still considering the offer?" When he spoke, she couldn't help but notice his perfect dentition, but even that couldn't stop her from staring at him from behind her glasses as though he were some alien. He took two steps closer to her; she could feel the warmth from his body, which caused her to panic. Cause, in truth, she had never stood that close to any guy. Of all the actions she could take, of all the things she could say in response to his request, she settled for walking away.***

(Lanre)Two things. He didn't think she was going to walk out on him. He didn't think he was also going to be that cheesy around her. He felt like a fool for smiling too much. Giving her that much audience. He should have walked away. Or passed his comment with a straight face.

Why had he smiled? Why had he even offered her help? His offer caught him off guard a lot more than it must have caught her off guard. But he also couldn't help it; it felt like the right thing to do. His chest tightened the moment Sylvia's friend insulted her out loud so he could imagine what Sylvia herself had to go through at the time.

Even as he got to his room and found solace in his bed, he couldn't help thinking about all that transpired, especially the part he had played at the end. This was Sylvia he was talking about, the girl whose very presence terrified him. He could never really be comfortable around her, well, except for that day. A lot of things surprised him that day, no doubt. The climax is Sylvia's inability to talk back at her friend. He knew her to be the saucy girl. He didn't think she was one to take nonsense from almost anyone. Girls like her didn't think before they talked, they talked carelessly, and he could never really understand why despite learning these about her, he was still very drawn to her in ways that terrified him. He could never really place the feeling he got whenever he met her gaze. "Why don't you ever close this door? What will happen if we get robbed someday?" Chuggs asked even as he stepped into the room, shutting the door behind him.

Lanre turned to look at the annoying human, taking mental note of his state. Wondered where he had been in the last twenty-four hours. He had sweat pouring down his face and looked twice as tired and hungry. "For a Pastor, that is quite rich coming from you." "I'm not a Pastor." Came in Chuggs' reply. "Why deny what you are?" "Why impose a title on me?" He took his seat on the mattress Lanre was lying on. "Don't you go to church 24/7?" "Does that suddenly make me a pastor?" As soon as he said this, Lanre's leg was next to his butt, pushing him off the mattress. "Abeg, get out! Na you come to know wetin you be." Lanre said, shouting at the top of his voice but feeling a pang of regret the moment he noticed Chuggs' smiling fading. He didn't even think they were having a normal conversation. He didn't really care, though. His mood had become soiled in no time. It was about time, though, owing to how he wouldn't stop thinking of his encounter with Sylvia. He knew he could never have her, he never planned on acting on the strange feelings he had for her, and he was fine, but what he could never accept was her arrogancy. No one talked to Lanre the way they pleased. No one. And for that, he was going to make her pay for not only declining his offer but walking out on him. At the moment, he could have been baffled how he went from wishing he handled the situation differently to thinking he did the right thing and wanting to make Sylvia suffer. But he really had no time for that and was determined to see his newfound mission through. All he had to do was map out a plan and carry it out. Whatever the plan was going to be, it had to leave Sylvia heartbroken and in tears at the end. He was going to play her in the most skillful way possible. He thought to himself, grinning from ear to ear.

To be continued...

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