"Since I know Daniella's house already, I'm going to be following you to your house today Adam." Gbemi said as we got to the juncture where we usually part ways.
"Must you go to everybody's house?" I tapped Gbemi's shoulders as I asked.
"What?" She looked at me with a frown on her face. "Can't I know where my best friends stay again?"
"Okay o, bye! Don't disturb Adam too much with your talk sha." I teased, looking at Adam, who seemed quite exhausted and probably could not wait to start walking to his house.
"What do you mean by that Daniella?" Gbemi placed her right arm akimbo. "That I'm talkative?"
"I didn't say so. Let's not keep Adam waiting before he faints here." I said when I noticed how withdrawn Adam was.
"I'm tired my sister." Adam said, one arm akimbo and running his other hand over his face. "Today was tiresome and now the sun is blazing hot."
"Eya, sorry." Said Gbemi and I didn't fail to notice the mockery laced in her utterance. "Okay, let's be going before someone come and faint. I don't have that energy to carry an unconscious body. Bye Daniella."
"Bye." I waved at both of them. They reciprocated my gesture and walked off.
As I trekked back home alone, I couldn't help but think about Peter. Could Adam and Gbemi be right? Did Peter have a crush on me? His reaction today when he saw Charles and I talking was shocking. He almost got into a fight with Charles. Could it have stemmed from the fact that he was jealous? I don't think so. I don't want to believe so. What was I thinking? There was no way Peter could have a crush on me. I was just a local village girl and he... he was a rich city boy. I wasn't his type.
An arm going around my neck ripped me off my thought and made my heart skip a bit. "Boom!"
I was accustomed to that voice and that smell, that without even turning back I knew it was Peter. To be sure, I looked up at the person whose arm was around my neck and indeed it was him.
With the back of my palm, I swatted his chest. "Hey, you startled me!"
"Ow!" Still placing his arm around my neck, he placed his other hand on his chest. "Your hand coming in contact with my chest feels so sensational. Hit me again."
I rolled my eyes and threw his arms off my neck. "You're crazy."
"Crazy about you." He retorted.
I chuckled softly. For some very weird unknown reason, I found his reply funny. Adam and Gbemi might have been right after all. Peter might have a crush on me.
"First time in history I made you laugh baby doll." He said, grinning toothily and his dimples appeared.
My face morphed into a serious look and I rolled my eyes. "I didn't laugh and what did you just call me? Baby doll? Please don't call me that ever again."
"Why? I like it?"
"And I don't." I was walking faster now.
"Okay, what about Cutiepatootie?" He asked, keeping up with my pace.
I chuckled at how funny the name sounded. "No!"
I sighed exasperatedly, "Just call me by my name, thank you."
"But Daniella is such a bore." He sounded a tad bit whiny.
"Peter, please leave me alone."
He jumped in front of me to stop me from walking further. "Why?"
I stood to a halt immediately. "Duh! Because you're boring and irritating." I replied tartly, swept past him and continued walking. To be honest, I didn't want him to leave me alone. For some reasons, I enjoyed being around him.
"Ouch! That hurt so bad!" He drew abreast me, placing his hands on his chest as though he had a heart ache. "But I'm sure you don't get bored with that Charles guy, because I saw you laughing with him today."
Was that jealousy I perceive? Could it have been because Peter was jealous that he acted in that violent way towards Charles?
"Were you jealous?"
"Of course..." He trailed off, "Not! I mean I wasn't jealous." He said, looking away. He couldn't even lie. His demeanor and the way he sounded betrayed him completely.
"Okay yes I was." He sounded like it was difficult for him to say. "I was jealous that you were laughing with him, but you've never laughed with me before." He looked away and his tone was close to a sad one.
I fought the urge to go all "Aw" on him. I didn't want him to think I pitied him or felt for him or something like that, even though I actually did.
"You want to know why?"
"Because you're an annoying, arrogant, boring stuck up! That's why!" I almost laughed because from the look on his face, he didn't see that coming.
"Thank you Daniella, thank you." He rolled his eyes.
"You're welcome." I smiled with an intention of getting him angrier. "While Charles is so funny, so—"
"Shut up Daniella!" He raised his voice a bit.
"What? You don't own my mouth."
He looked at me, rolled his eyes and looked forward. I stifled my laughter that was about erupting. He was so cute when angry. We walked silently without speaking to each other and I walked a bit slower than he was walking, which left me a few steps behind him. I watched how he walked with one hand in his trouser pocket and the other was holding his bag strap. He walked like his father owned the street, that anyone passing would definitely know he was an arrogant snob. The silence was getting uncomfortable so I decided to break it.
"Are you angry?"
"Of course, I am." He snorted with a chuckle as he said that.
"Yes, I'm happy that you're angry. You deserve it. Just remain angry like that."
"If I'm stuck up, then you're mean." He said and his words stung me. Now I was also angry.
"Wait, why are you even following me?"
"To know your house." He gave me a duh look.
I stopped in my tracks immediately, but he kept walking without turning back. "How rude! You didn't even ask for my permission before following me. You're just following me like a lost course."
"Yunno, you're low-key savage."
"Now you're veering off course."
He stopped and turned to look at me. "I don't need permission to follow you pretty damsel."
"Oh you do mister man! And let this be the last time that you'd call me by any nickname. My name is Daniella, call me that." I said firmly.
"Okay ma. You know you're really pretty, right?" He smirked and cocked one of his eyebrows. His compliment sent shivers down my spine and if I weren't caramel skinned, I would have flushed red.
I hissed and continued walking.
"Yunno, thank you is not that hard to say." He said, facing me and walking backwards. "So who's the snob now?"
"Okay thank you. Are you satisfied now?"
He smirked smugly. "Not yet. Add my one and only."
I burst out laughing. I couldn't help it. This boy was such a dreamer.
While walking backwards, Peter hit a woman coming from the right turn. She was hawking oranges. As he hit the woman, her tray of oranges fell to the ground, the oranges rolling over in different directions, some entering into the gutter by the roadside.
"Ah! Egbami o!" She threw her hands up in her head. "My orange! This boy, you must provide my orange today!" She dragged the waist of Peter's trousers. "I don't want to hear anything. Just provide my orange."
"I'm so sorry ma." His voice was higher as he said that. It took me a lot not to laugh. But I giggled anyway. Good for him. Serves him right! I whistled and walked past. Then I noticed that the ruckus between Peter and the orange seller was beginning to gain attention from a few passersby.
"You're speaking English o. Better provide my orange!" She shouted.
I walked quickly away from the scene so that nobody would look at me as Peter's friend, because we were both wearing the same school uniform.
When I had walked a bit far, I turned back to see what was going on and surprisingly, I saw Peter running towards me. I laughed and ran fast so that he wouldn't catch up with me. Laughing and running at the same time made me exhausted, so Peter was catching up with me faster than I expected. When he eventually did, I ducked in order for me to go under his arm but unluckily for me, his arms went around my waist. He gave me a hoist, spun me around and I laughed hysterically. Then he dropped me down and we both burst into a peal of laughter.
"You know you deserve spanking right?" Peter said as his laughter subsided. His voice was deeper than usual.
As I stopped laughing, I started to cough.
"Sorry." He said.
My cough subsided and I cleared my throat before speaking. "Thank you." I said and snorted with laughter. "How did the woman release you?"
He smirked smugly, "I always have my ways."
"Tell me what you did joor!" I swatted his arm.
"I just gave her money to cover for her fallen oranges."
"Wow! You paid for all of it?" I asked, surprised.
"Uh-huh." He shrugged his shoulders.
"I just gave her two thousand naira, even though her oranges were not up to that amount."
"Two thousand what?" My eyes widened in surprise. "You bring that amount of money to school?"
"I'm a rich guy." He shrugged his shoulders again.
I scoffed, rolling my eyes at him. "Get over yourself Peter. You're too proud."
"It's not a bad thing."
"God resist the proud and give grace to the humble."
"Preacher!" He chuckled as he said that. "Anyways, why did you leave me back there alone? You know it was all your fault. You should have told me that someone was at my back."
"What do you mean it's my fault? Who told you not to face forward while walking?"
"You really deserve some ass whooping girl."
"We're close to my house, so please behave yourself and mind your language. People could be watching us."
"Where's your house?" He asked, looking around at the duplex houses in the street.
"That house with a black gate." I indicated the house by pointing and he traced my fingers with his eyes.
"The one that has a red car in front?"
"Okay, so give me your phone number before you reach your house."
"I don't have a phone." I said.
With the way he looked at me, I'm sure he was shocked by what I said, but he immediately masked it up with a smile. "Okay, anyways bye Daniella. See you in school tomorrow."
"Bye Peter." I said and made my way to the house. I had not reached the house when Peter called me and I turned around to see him walking towards me with a polythene bag in his hand.
"It's yours." He said, handing the bag to me.
"What is it? My gala?" I asked, collecting it from him.
"Yeah and some other things." He said and walked off. I put the stuff in my bag and smiled as I watched him kick a stone while walking and he turned back to look at me. We both smiled at each other before I entered into the house.
I rinsed the last plate remaining in the sink and walked to the living room to check the time on the wall clock. It was past eleven. The house was silent because everyone had gone to bed. They all went to bed quite early today.
I made my way to my room, got in and threw myself on the bed. Since I got back from school, I hadn't rested. It was one chore or the other— from cooking for the family to sweeping the house to washing my uniform to doing the dishes. Boy was I exhausted! I needed to sleep.
As I snuggled into my bed, I thought about everything that happened between Peter and me today. I really enjoyed his company. I couldn't help but wonder what he was doing at the moment? Was he sleeping? Watching TV? Or thinking about me like I was thinking of him? God knows. One thing was certain, which was the fact that I was beginning to like Peter. With that thought in mind, I smiled as I drifted off to sleep.
I felt a tickling feeling on my lap and I first thought it was an insect creeping on my skin but when it started to go under my skirt, I jolted up from sleep and saw uncle Henry in my room. ON MY BED! What the!
"Shhh." He placed his index finger on his lips, moving closer to me.
I sat up on the bed and withdrew backwards. What was going on? I couldn't believe Uncle Henry was in my room. Could this be a dream? Could uncle Henry actually be in my room on my bed right now?
"Daniella, I can't sleep. I can't seem to get you off my mind. I love you Daniella, I really do. Please make love to me this night." He spoke in hushed whispers.
I was shocked to my very last cell. To say I was disgusted by what uncle Henry just said was an understatement. How could he think of such abominable act? As he moved closer to me, I retreated.
"Sir, please don't do this to me. My aunt would kill me if she found out." I pleaded, tears welling up in my eyes. Panic swept through me and to say I was scared wasn't just enough. I was petrified. What if uncle Henry raped me tonight?
"She wouldn't find out. We would do it quietly."
"No, no I can't do this sir. It's a sin. Please let's not do this. Please, I beg you."
He kept moving closer to me. "I'm begging you too. Let's just make love only this night. I promise you; just this night and we wouldn't do it again."
I stood up from the bed and moved towards the door. "Sir, I'm surprised you want to cheat on your wife and abuse your wife's niece this way. This is wrong and I'm sorry, I can't do this. Please leave my room sir. I don't want my aunt to find you here. Please."
He got down from my bed and moved towards me. "I would do anything for you and give you whatever you want if you'd just allow me to make love to you this night. I would even make sure you don't do any chores in this house."
"No, no," I shook my head vehemently, tears streaming down my eyes. "NO!" I shouted as I saw that he kept on moving close to me. "Don't move any closer to me unless I'd report you to my aunt."
"Okay, okay," He raised his hands up in surrender. "I would leave." He walked to the door and opened it, "Remember, this night never happened." He said and walked out of my room, closing the door behind him.
As soon as he left, I locked the door and laid on the bed. I tried to forget everything that just happened, but I couldn't. It kept replaying in my mind. How could uncle Henry think of doing this? Tears trickled down my eyes and I sobbed quietly until I eventually drifted off to sleep.