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Friend Zone?

…Continued from last part…

“Hey mum,” I greeted as I came in, “Good evening ma.”

“How are you dear? And how was the party?” Mum asked anxiously.

“Terrible!” I whispered, “Bayo came.” That sentence was enough explanation for her, she knew everything, I always tell her everything. “I’ll tell you all later, I promise. Right now, I’m very tired,” I pleaded.

“All right, go right up,” mum said, “and by the way, who brought you home?” she asked.

“It was a bar guy, Mum. He helped me when Bayo assaulted me in the party,” I mumbled.

“Bayo assaulted you? Again! That bastard! I ought to report him to the police.”

“It’s all right mum. It’s not as bad as it seems. But Jason beat him up. He’s really nice,” I jumped in.

“Oh!” she cooed.

“Mum, what’s the ‘oh’ for?” I asked.

“I’m not saying anything,” she replied, “leave me alone, I won’t say more than ‘oh’,” she finished, and then we both burst into laughter. I knew I was going to get it out from her later.

As I got to my room, I undressed and fell on my bed with a soft sigh. My phone pinged, signalling that I got a message; it was from an unknown number.

“You’re one complex and sensitive lady and I hope to know more about you. By the way, will you be free tomorrow evening? I have a craving for popcorn and movies, it’s not a date, I promise you. Love, Jason.”

I burst into laughter at his boldness. “Yes!” I texted back with a smile on my face.

*******

I was out with Jason again, we had been steady for three months, though I wouldn’t say we were dating yet. I can’t seem to put him as just a friend. He took me to the cinema, they were showing “The Merry Men—The Real Yoruba Demons.” It was a movie I had badly wanted to see since its premiere, and I was not disappointed. It was truly hilarious that I kept laughing out every few minutes or so.

I wasn’t alone in this as virtually everyone in the cinema was laughing along too. “Oh my God! did you see what A.Y. did now? That guy is truly crazy!” I screamed, as I dissolved into laughter. Jason was just looking at me throughout, it was unnerving.

“Okay, chill pal, your look is starting to get me worried. Have I got popcorns in my hair or something?” I asked worriedly, as I tried to check my mouth and hair for errant popcorns.

“You’re beautiful,” he said simply.

I looked away immediately and cleared my throat
This shit was getting way too personal for my liking.

“I never knew you could laugh like this,” he quickly amended when he saw my expression. “You’re so full of life and laughter that it seems like it’s such a crime to keep everything bottled up or cut off totally. Which was what your ex tried to do,” he finished.

I didn’t even know if it was a compliment or something, but I guess there must be a compliment there somewhere.

“You’ve not really told me much about you, you know,” I said brightly to distract him from talking about me. It had been that way between us for three months now. I put up an invisible barrier between us thereby preventing him from getting too close. Call me a coward if you want, I was simply scared of being hurt again.

“What’s there to know,” he said with a shrug.

“Everything,” I said, “I mean at this stage of our… friendship, technically I have the right to know all.”

“So I’m in the friend zone?” he said in a strangled whisper.

“Of course, what did you think? Oh my God! Have I led you on? Made you believe there was something going on between us?” I asked wide-eyed.

“You know what Chelsea?” he grunted, “At this point I don’t even know what to believe again. You mean for this last three months when I had reason to think something was blossoming between us, I was only giving myself false hope? How cruel is that? Come on Chelsea, why do you still feel deeply for someone who obviously doesn’t deserve your feelings?” he said in a harsh whisper .

My lips trembled and tears threatened to come out. Anytime Bayo’s topic came out like this, it made relive the whole ugly episode all over again.

“You know what Jason?” I said “I’m tired and I have a raging headache, let’s just watch this movie in peace and go home,” I finished as I settled back.

“Of course. Naturally that’s what you will do, running from situations, instead of facing them head-on,” he sneered.

“Jason, you know what? I’m sick and tired of you shouting down on me already. At this moment I WANT TO GO HOME!” I screamed, as I stood up from my sit and left the cinema.

“Chelsea! Chelsea!” Jason called as he ran after me. I ignored him and kept on walking.

“Chelsea, come on, I’m sorry. I know I made a fool of myself back there, but I just couldn’t help it. I’m sorry ” he called out.

“Oh, you’re sorry,” I screeched, “You of all people know how difficult this whole shit have been for me and how I’m just learning to trust again and still you said those hurtful words to me? I don’t think you’re sorry,” I whispered and I walked away.

“Chelsea! At least let me take you home in my car!” he shouted.

“I don’t need your help! Go to hell! I can get home very much by myself, thank you,” I hissed.

“Shit!” he swore. “Come on, Chelsea don’t be irrational. We can settle this in the car. These streets are not safe, most especially for a young lady like you,” he shouted.

Still I paid him no heed and walked off in a huff. How dare he? Well as far as I’m concerned, I am never going to see him again. So preoccupied was I in my thoughts that it didn’t occur to me that I had gotten to a particular deserted street and I was alone in it. Maybe that was why I didn’t hear the footsteps coming behind me until it was too late.

A hand held my mouth, I screamed and struggled against the body, but I couldn’t break free of his hold. Then his hand kept touching my body in lewd and suggestive ways, I tried to scream but the hand securely held my mouth.

“Struggle all you want sweetheart, you’re going nowhere and pretty boy isn’t here to rescue you again,” the voice said.

My heart slammed painfully in my chest when I heard that voice. I knew that voice anywhere, he who haunted my dreams and waking hours. I once loved him so much with a passion unequalled. Bayo! My legs started shaking and I wanted so badly to close my eyes and wish it all away, to still see myself in the cinema with Jason. Oh what wouldn’t I give to have that now?

But sadly reality trooped in, it was Bayo! A very angry Bayo and I couldn’t even bear imagining what he was going to do to me.

“I’m dead,” I thought.

To be continued…

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