Osas Idubor 1 year ago
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Play Her (chapter Six)

(Sly) She had really tough questions for Chuggs and couldn't wait to see him.

No matter how she might have been feigning ignorance about his disappearance, it didn't help that rumors about his lackadaisical attitude were beginning to go around like wildfire in their campus fellowship. He had missed two Sundays in a row. No longer showed up for excos' meetings, amongst other things. But had all of that been her main concern or problem at the time, it would have been better. She received a very disturbing call whilst still at the mai shai joint, it was her course rep, and he was reminding her that she needed to pay up for some textbooks and equally have them registered as the deadline was the following day. He had also asked if she made full payment of her school fees for that semester as people who were yet to pay the balance; in cases where they are owing, they will be stopped from writing their test.

After receiving the call, she became disoriented and, at the same time, overwhelmed with sadness, and that was when she went into the hut to let Lanre know that she was leaving. She never expected that he wouldn't be concerned. He never called after her. And just like that, she was back to face her life and was now by the door of Chuggs and Lanre's room. Waiting for Chuggs to show up and save her, however way he could. "Sly." At first, she was confused about whom he was addressing. Till it hit her that he might just have wound up a nickname from her name, "Sylvia." Regardless, she avoided his gaze, not failing to remember that he hadn't been bothered by her and had his back turned to her even as she made for the exit.

"Sylvia," He called this time. "Why are you here? Have you been waiting for someone?" It was one silly question Lanre found himself asking and immediately hated himself for. It was rather obvious that she was there for Chuggs, but jealousy won't bring him to admit it. A part of him wanted to hear that she had been waiting for him, but that would mean that he was reaching. What were they? Had he suddenly forgotten that they had no such plan to be intimate? Except, of course, he might have to play out that part whilst playing her. Sylvia scoffed, avoiding his question, but after what seemed like a million years, her heart started racing fast against her chest even as she made out a solution to her problem in her head. "You didn't even ask why I was leaving." She said and swallowed hard. Hitting her shoes on the floor to ease her nervous legs. He moved closer, his lips suddenly stretching into a half-smile. "I was rather disappointed you were leaving." It wasn't just her heart skipping a beat; her stomach immediately knotted. Surprise washed over her like an intense evening bath. "Why did you suddenly leave?" He propped down next to her on the step.

Her heart wouldn't stop racing, and the first thought that crossed her mind had been to walk away rather than move with the conversation and execute a plan she had in mind, but the more she thought about it, the more she admitted to not wanting to walk away from such a harmless conversation or so she thought. He had never been that calm talking to her. His voice was void of the usual harshness it carried. "I got a call; I couldn't collect my thought and needed to sort some things out...not to bore you with details, it was the reason why I left. Although I'm still here..." She paused for a while, then continued shortly. "And I'm yet to solve anything." "What was the call about? What do you need to fix?" Had he turned in her direction? "I...I...money. I need to pay for some textbooks and also pay what's left of my school fees for the semester."

Lanre heaved a sigh of relief. "Just that? Thought the place you had your boyfriend buried had been uncovered, and you need someone to further help in..." One look at her, and he was convinced he didn't want to go on with the joke. "Never mind." He said whilst smiling. "But you look like someone capable of murder. Nor be you again?" She didn't know if it was the way he said it, but she burst into a short peel of laughter. "And you are here because you need Chuggs' help, right?"

She nodded, her heart rate racing again; she didn't know what to expect of the reveal she forced herself to give. "When is the deadline for payment? And do you know Chuggs isn't around? I might have heard him say to someone over the phone that he would be traveling to Ughelli." By this time, Sylvia was convinced she couldn't get help from both men. She had never been so quiet all her life, yet she couldn't bring herself to talk as freely as she wanted to, considering the mess that was her life at the time. "So..." He didn't take his eyes off her. "Why don't you take your mind off everything." Sylvia could feel her eyes wet. It was over. She was done for. "Even as I give you the money for everything. No matter the amount." Sylvia could swear she didn't hear right. She waited patiently till he repeated himself. "I mean it," Lanre said. "So stop sulking, or I would come up..."

"Thank you, Lanre." A laugh accompanied her appreciation.***********

(Lanre) One thing. Lanre couldn't help but smile when Sylvia mentioned his name, every inch of him happy to hear her call his name for the first time. It felt heavenly till he found himself questioning why he had been all too cheerful. Yes, he wanted to play her, but the more he got close to her, the more it became difficult to carry out his plan. He was back in his room and Sylvia back in her hostel. He indeed helped with the money she needed; what surprised him was how incredibly low the fee was and how much that came off as similarly huge to Sylvia, but he knew better than to think lowly of her. Reminding himself that not everyone had so much money and could foot their bills at a go. It was going to be a problem trying to fight that which he had been running away from for a long time, and it was why he didn't stop himself from thinking about her that night. Thinking of the time in the future when getting close wouldn't be any problem for them both, wishing that it could even happen in the first place, terrified that it never will. She plagued his entire being; thoughts of her kept filling his head, but rather unavoidably, thoughts of them never really being together drowned all the good memories he pictured of them making someday.

He wasn't new to this feeling, even though he was scared to ever name it. He had such fond memories of a girl once that he could go to the end of the world for her, but circumstances prevented them from being together.

"Na to continue with my hoeing na." He said to no one but himself. He was acknowledging that it was better to continue playing other daughters of Jezebel and indeed letting go of that which could never be possible. He had barely thought of what he indeed wanted when he got on his feet, freshened up, and went in search of Oge that late at night. Sex with her was exactly what he thought he needed. *********

"It worked!" Sylvia screamed at the top of her lungs. Tayo readjusted in her sitting position to face Sylvia. "What did?" Ngozi, who had been humming along to Olamide's rock, unplugged her earphone, looking intently at Sylvia from where she was lying on the bunk. "Do you want to burst my eardrums?" Sylvia hissed, rolling her eyes even as she turned to face Ngozi properly, looking up at her from where she was sitting on the mattress next to Tayo. "Me or your earphones which is going to take out your hearing?" Tayo burst into a peal of laughter whilst hailing Sylvia. "My friend! My friend! You don dey wise oh." She hit Sylvia lightly on the arm. Sylvia turned to look at her. "Goat." "Friend to a goat." Tayo retorted. "When have I never been able to defend myself?" Tayo hissed. "Forget matter, forget your fronting sometimes, but you are a coward when it comes to fighting back. You tend to chicken out of a fight rather easily." "And this is the best time to talk about this?" Sylvia asked, embarrassed.

"Is there any other person in this room apart from you and me? Or weren't you addressing cow minutes back?" Tayo asked. Sylvia hadn't expected the turn of events; she placed both hands over her lips, trying to contain the laughter that was threatening to come out."What?! When it isn't that you are mad? Am I the one you are talking to that way?" Shouted Ngozi. "Toh, you missed the chance to say "when nor be say you dey craze?" Abeg, madam posh, keep quiet if you can't defend yourself like an adult. Always throwing tantrums like a kid, always addressing matters like you are three." "Reallyyyyyy?" She jumped down from her bunk. "If there is anyone to blame for these insults, it is Sylvia who constantly let goats into our room. How dare you come to my room to address me in such a manner?" "You blame Sylvia, yet you are asking me? Omo, relax. Sleep, it's way past your bedtime and..." Tayo shouted in response. "Okay, Tayo, I think that is enough. It's quite late, and again, it's rather unfair to make this matter escalate more than it already has." Sylvia said. "Oh, now..." Ngozi was saying. "Shut up!" Barked Sylvia. Tayo attempted to laugh. "Shut up too!!" She said, returning to her bed. "Thank you, oh, I be wan come lash their cane." Someone shouted from another room in the same block.

Tayo remained on the single mattress on the floor with a flowering bedsheet on it while Ngozi returned to her bed, fuming all the way. Sylvia, on the other hand, was way past their fiasco; although she might not have liked the way Tayo addressed Ngozi, the latter had it coming. On a typical day, she too would have avoided Ngozi, but it was about time she shushed her. Later that night, while her roommate was fast asleep, Sylvia made the big reveal known to Tayo. There was no way she could go to bed without letting her know that her bills had been taken care of. She couldn't stop thinking of the heavyweight that had been lifted off her shoulders. She flashed her phone in Tayo's face showing her the credit alert from earlier that day from Lanre. Whilst whispering, she made it known to Tayo that she felt bad for playing out the script earlier put together by Tayo. The latter advised her that she needed to brace up. "Aren't you lucky it worked out?" Tayo's voice was as low as Sylvia's when she spoke. "I don't know; I don't know," Her face was void of any excitement in the dark. "Stop acting like a JJC abeg. Run this package well. Dating him will make this feel less of a scam, in my opinion. And the faster you got him to ask you out, the better." "Really?" "Uh, Ngozi the second. You know deep down that I am right." Shotayo replied. Rolling her eyes in the dark.

Sylvia remained quiet after that. Soon, she turned in the other direction and was now facing the wall, no longer whispering to Tayo, who was still lying flat on the mattress on the floor. She wanted to fight all she could that Shotayo was indeed wrong, but she knew she would always need money. And seeing how footing her bill wasn't really that much of a hassle for her, a part of her was willing to give what Shotayo advised a try. 

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