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“Tangled Emotions” — A Flash Fiction by Somtoochukwu Benedict Ezioha

I should never have gone to Amara’s place without informing her, but I had no choice; I needed her opinion on a new apartment I had seen downtown. You see, we would be married in three month’s time, so we were on the hunt for a bigger, comfortable place which we would call home. How excitedly I was looking forward to the day I would finally have her as my wife.

As I turned out, she wasn’t at home, but her roommate and best friend, Ella, was. She had thought I was Amara, so when she opened the door, she had only a towel tied across her midsection. She flushed with embarrassment when she noticed I was the one, and an awkward silence ensued. Which was broken by her.
“Hi Jude!” she exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”
“Am I not welcome in my fiancée’s house again?”
She said nothing, but went aside for me to enter. I sat on the couch and dialed Amara. But her line wasn’t going through. I decided to give her an hour to come back, then, I would leave. Ella had by then, went into her room and I was left to think about the cost of the new apartment. Before I knew it, I dozed off.
Then I heard a scream. I jolted awake, and ran into Ella’s room. I saw her lying on the floor, her towel still draped over her body, and crying. I went closer to her, and inquired about the cause of her shout, but she kept on weeping.
Believe me, I battled with myself on whether I should hold her while she was barely dressed, or just keep on talking without any form of contact. But what’s comfort without a sense of touch, of feeling?
I helped her up, sat her on the bed, and cradled her in my arms. The way she sank into my arms told me that she must have gotten a pretty big shock. I stroked her hair, her shoulders, her arms, all the while cooing and telling her things that had little meaning. Slowly, her cries ebbed down to mere sobs and occasional hiccups.
“It’s all right, dear. It’s all right.” The sobs finally died down, and I had the opportunity to ask her what it was. “What happened, Ella?”
“It’s… It’s… Oh Jude, I’m dead!”
“Shh… It’s all right. Talk to me dear, what is the problem?”
Her next words shocked me to the core. I had to keep her at arm’s length and look at her squarely in the face to be sure that she wasn’t joking. And she wasn’t.
“What do you mean that you have HIV” I asked, shock still reverberating in my voice.
“It was a one-night stand at a friend’s party. I was drunk when I had sex with him. It was just that once… and now I have HIV!”
“Why didn’t you use protection?”
“I was just stupid.” She let out fresh wave of tears. I held her as my mind raced. Did she have the one-night stand before I had sex with her, or after? As I was about to ask her, what I heard next killed me, figuratively, at least.
“So Ella you were the one that gave me HIV?” It was Amara. What was she saying? She… Ella… they were lesbians? Oh my God, I was done for.
Finally, I understood why Amara never allowed our romances to go past the kissing and the smooching. Anytime I pressed her, she always told me that she wasn’t ready, that it would be her gift to me on our wedding day. That was what led me into the beguiling arms of Ella, her best friend. Now, the three of us had to pay for our sins. Together. I needed no one to tell me that Ella was HIV positive before we had sex; her guilt was written all over her face.
Then Amara went stormed out of the room. I was even too tired and angry to follow her. She came back a minute later with a gun. Which she pointed at Ella.
“You fucking bitch! You’ve ruined my life!” she yelled, as her fingers tightened on the trigger, her eyes blazing with pain and rage. Ella, with her face a pure mask of terror and pain, cringed, and knelt at her feet, pleading for mercy. I was just too numb to speak. Then as if my magic, my head snapped up and I tried prying the gun out of Amara’s hands. It was a tough battle, with her straining to press the trigger and I forcing the gun out of her hands.
As we fought, my forefinger slid into the trigger and without warning, the gun went off…
I woke up with a start, cold sweat on my forehead. I was still in my office, and had dozed off. Thank God. I quickly dialed her line, this was a warning, a rare one. There was no use testing Fate.
“Hello, Ella.”
“Yes, love. Are you at the hotel already?” her voice was low and husky. I shut my eyes and willed myself to make the decision.
“No. And I won’t be coming.”
“Why?” she sounded incredulous.
“Because what I had planned to do was wrong! I don’t want to cheat on Amara please.”
She put up various objections, but by her fourth sentence, I ended the call. I had decided to give in to the advances of Ella, my fiancée’s best friend, but before I could get to the hotel, I had dozed off in my office, and had had the scariest dream of my life. There was no way I could go on with it, or with cheating for that matter.
This time, I’m sticking with my woman. Whether she gives me sex or not, it’s better to wait till our wedding night than to…

Read Also==>“The Money Syndrome” — A Short Story by Somtoochukwu Benedict Ezioha.

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