By Gideon Odiase
The rain poured down heavily that Friday afternoon. Though it was just 3pm, the day had lost its light and the cloud wore a dark cloak. Many feared the end was nigh and secretly said little prayers of reconciliation just to be among the ‘taken’ when the trumpet sounds. Dera, unlike the others did not have such thoughts going through her mind. Her lopsided lips with thick eyebrows give her an unusually appealing face with a well structured forehead above her natural blue eyes. The colour of her eyes was not the only visible quality met by her admirers; her innocence gave her away easily. At just sixteen, she could hardly fool anyone by her curvy hips and her mature body frame; she was very appealing to look upon and her fair skin glittered.
The wipers of the taxi swiped to and fro like a mad pendulum clock, in a bid to give a bit of clarity in vision for the embattled driver who held on to every nerve of consciousness to keep them going on the road while feigning comportment, in a bid to allay the growing concerns and frustration that was already brewing up on the faces of the two women at the back seat with Dera and the middle aged man at the passenger seat, just right of the driver. “Uwelu bus stop dey?” he announced almost sounding like a man tired of turning the steering and wanted to go home. “yes oo.. driver” Dera replied. The driver reduced his acceleration and gradually came to a halt after finding a parking space at the side of the road, Benin is no place to park just anywhere.
Her feet had hardly touched the ground when the pouring rains drenched her from her hair, which was worn in locks, to her feet. She ran to a kiosk nearby to shade from the rain. While under the protection of the thatched roof, she slipped out her phone to call Jimmy. Now, Jimmy was not just any guy, he was her boyfriend. Despite warnings from her parents to stay away from him, pointing out the obvious that she was not yet ready for a relationship as she was not yet of age, she never listened. It always sounded like a badly composed song to her ears whenever she was educated on sex and relationships. “Hello boo, I am already at Uwelu bust stop, under the shade of the Phone shop. Please come and pick me up.” She said, rolling her eyes as an expression of her frustration. If only he could see them almost fall off.
It didn’t take long for a black Toyota Camry, 2016 model to park just in front of the shop. The music was so loud, even with the four windows shut. Splashing of the pouring rains on it gave it an even darker glow as the wheel cover continued turning even with the car already halted. She hurried towards to car, opened the back door and went in. Jimmy was only a 200 level student of the University of Benin, studying Statistics. He had a full hair in the centre of his head with the sides hairs almost scraped off, a style predominantly worn by most stylish guys. Two quick locks from his front hair dangled down his forehead, almost touching his nose bone. ‘Black J’, as he was commonly called around campus was rich and famous above all that, he was powerful because he had the backing of the strongest cult in Southern Nigeria, the Vipers. He was a sworn member of the brotherhood which he joined in his early 100 level days. “Baby, how are you? Hope you did not tell your parents that you were coming to see me in school?” he said, using his right hand to hold her lower chin which was already getting dry from the rain’s wetness. “No, I just told them I am going to see my classmate to gather materials for my holiday study” she replied, with a crooked smile, in a bit to hide to scuffle that ensued between her and her mother when she told them she was going to visit Jimmy. Dera was still in her final class in the senior secondary school and was on holiday to prepare for her forthcoming Certificate examination.
It was 4:15pm that evening; Jimmy drove through the gate, into the compound of the apartment he rented, which was floored with Interlocking tiles. The spacious compound proudly housed no less than six exotic cars including Jimmys’ and to come to the knowledge that it was rented out to only students further gaped Dera’s mouth which was already oval in awe. There were eight flats in the compound, all painted light brown with colourful yellow patterns at the sides. The roof was of red aluminium material, looking new as though they were freshly installed. Her relationship with Jimmy was just few weeks old and this was her first time of meeting him in person. They met each other on Facebook and communicated actively on the same platform, after three weeks of their relationship they decided to meet. He settled her into one of the two rooms which alongside the large parlour, kitchen and the toilet, made up the apartment. The room was about the size of her father’s sitting room back home and she could tell it could take two mid-sized beds comfortably. She sat on the soft cushion chair beside the bed and just about when she opened her mouth to speak of the splendour of his apartment, Jimmy received a call which he said was urgent and had to leave the room to answer it. With her eyes, she trailed him as he not only left the room but the apartment; she never saw anything to it. But why should she be worried?
He came back after 30 minutes, apologized and told her he had somewhere important to be and he would not be returning until the next day. He dropped some crisp One thousand Naira notes on the centre table for her well being until he comes. Though disappointed, she did not question him. She slept alone that cold night and could not stop thinking about all the things they could do together, had he been around.
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