“You be fool o!” Stanley was saying, clearly angry. “Which kind talk be that?” Utibe had just told Okpara and Stanley the decision he and Shade had taken earlier in the day. When they returned to the room, Stanley had asked him why he wasn’t making sly moves on Shade during sports. He said he had noticed that Utibe and Shade were just flowing freely and talking normally; no sensual tints to the flow. It was then Utibe had told them things were different. They were just going to be friends and nothing more. That had gotten at Stanley.
“After all you don enjoy, you no wan finish wetin you don start?”
“Stanley, to tell you the truth, I enjoyed the time I had with Shade during sports more than any other time I had ever had with her. I was able to be myself and I got to see the true Shade because my mind was clear. I was seeing her for who she was not seeing her body or imagining stuff. We had fun, knowing there were no extra strings attached and not feeling guilty about anything.” Utibe paused. “You should try it Stanley, you would feel free!”
“Shut up. I’m disappointed in you.” He thought. “You’re even about to ruin my chances with Tunbosun. It won’t work o! I’ll find a way around it.”
“Leave that girl alone.” It was Okpara saying.
Stanley was shocked beyond words. “You too?” He shook his head. “You were the one that asked me to get her; to pay her back for humiliating you.”
“That was then. I’ve changed my mind.”
“Baby boy, that’s too late”, Stanley said. “You’ve whet the lion’s appetite and it must be satisfied.” Okpara wanted to respond but before he could, Stanley faced Utibe. “And you lover boy!”
Utibe looked miffed at that word.
“Let me tell you something,” Stanley started. “I have imagined how sweet Shade would be. If you don’t have her, I’ll be glad to do the honors for you”.
“Don’t you dare touch her” Utibe spat in Stanley’s face. Stanley had never seen the guy that angry before. His eyes were blazing. But it seemed like a thought passed through Utibe’s mind, as Stanley noticed his veins calming down. “Moreover,” he said, “I know Shade. She would never allow you touch her. Can you hear me? Never!”
With that Utibe turned to leave, and then remembered he had something else to say. “By the way, Mr. Player, this marks the end of our friendship. Your lifestyle is just so despicable. I hope you change soon.” Utibe walked away, and without a word to Stanley, Okpara followed leaving Stanley to himself.
‘Losers! They don’t know how to enjoy life while it lasts.’ Stanley thought. ‘And for Utibe, does he think I’m a fool? I know his Shade won’t let me; I will force her. So, I have two girls on my rape-agenda; Tunbosun and Shade; two good friends’. Stanley smiled. ‘How splendid!’
Tara lay on her bed, waiting for the dinner whistle. It had indeed been a remarkable day for her. Her mind played over the events of the morning. She would never forget what happened. If anybody had told her she would forgive Doctor Festus in her lifetime, she would have told the fellow it was impossible. But she hadn’t only forgiven him; she had done so barely five months after the abortion.
She would always owe the moment to God and the four folks he brought around her at that moment, especially George. If it had not been for them, she knew she wouldn’t have been able to make it.
She smiled at herself. She felt much lighter and relieved. She knew however that she had two more hurdles to cross; and those were even more difficult. George had told her she had to forgive her mother and Douglas for what they both did to her and made her do. She knew she would have to forgive them eventually but she wondered how she would.
“God, please help me” she pleaded. “Please perfect what you’ve started.”
At that, she heard the whistle and prepared to leave. She remembered George and his friends. She hadn’t talked with any of them since then. She had only see the other Igbo guy but from a distance during Networking meeting. She was most grateful though that she hadn’t seen George. She had been thinking about him too often lately and was still looking for a way to calm her flaring emotions.
“I hope I don’t see George again till tomorrow. I should be better settled then”, she said to herself. But as she said that, her heart was screaming the direct opposite. She longed to be with him again. She was actually going to eat dinner only because he had asked her to begin eating conference food. She wanted him to be there when she did eat it for the first time.
The dinning hall was filling so fast. It was no wonder many people were walking in; the menu was spaghetti; a meal that cut across varying backgrounds. George sat, watching as people entered in individually and in groups. He had just concluded his meeting with his fellow Group 7 leaders.
Out of all of them, Tunbosun was the most creative and intelligent both in her ideas and in her expressions. They were working on a project that would drastically reduce the level of illiteracy in their host community. George wasn’t surprised; Tunbosun had made it clear, when they had spoken earlier that she has a passion for education. The ideas were just pouring our. Other members also made nice suggestions. They would put it to the whole house on their next meeting for general deliberations.
Tunbosun was an asset to his group and her commitment also endeared her some more to him. He had been able to keep his feelings in check so far, but he wondered how last he would last. They were bound to see almost everyday. It was easier for him to concentrate when they had work to do, but when they were done, he easily got carried away. That had just happened before she left.
She had been the last of the four to leave. After they had rounded up their analysis, she lingered a little and they had a light chatter, but during that period, George couldn’t understand the feelings stirring up within him. It was a feeling of wanting to have exclusive right to her; wanting to be more than a friend to her but he wondered if that feeling was right.
He was quite relieved when she asked to leave to use the ladies in the hostel before dinner. As he yet studied people walking into the dinning room, he heart practically stopped when he saw the next loner that walked in. It was Tara. He had not expected she would actually yield to his advice that she begin eating conference food.
What bothered him more was his liking two girls at the same time. Was it sane at all? As she drew closer, he noticed that she looked more beautiful; he could only attribute it to the fact that she had found peace after the morning’s experience.
When she had almost reached her, he noticed for the first time that she had a lovely shape. He willed himself to look away. ‘What’s wrong with your head?’ he scolded himself.
“Hi” he said, as she eased herself to the space beside him.
“Thanks for this morning” she said, sincerely grateful.
“You’re welcome. It was my pleasure seeing God do what He did; I’d never seen such before.” He paused, looking at her. “Thank you too for obeying God.”
“I’m so glad I did.”
“I bet you are; it’s showing all over your face.”
“How?” she asking smiling.
“You’re looking…peaceful” It was the closest he got; he dared not say beautiful – he knew that would be asking for trouble.
“Thank you”, she said, rather content with the compliment.
“You decided to give the food a try.” He said, smiling at her.
“Yes o!” she smiled back. “I’ll have your head if I purge”
“Now, I’m scared!” George said mockingly.
“When is food going to be ready?”
“In about ten minutes, I guess”
“Okay then. Can I tell you something I discovered today?” she asked, folding her arms in her laps.
George nodded, his gaze following the movement of her arms. What he saw in the process immobilized him for a moment. Her skirt was not too short but when she sat and she folded her arms, unknown to her, it had shifted up a bit, revealing more of her legs than she would have wanted to. Forcing his eyes back up, George looked at her and saw she was oblivious to what he was seeing.
To make matters worse, he then noticed that her first button was open. He was so sure it was a mistake as he had seen her earlier with the same shirt but that didn’t matter now; he could see things he hadn’t bargained for.
He wondered why he was noticing all these things; his eyes hardly strayed in those directions. It was then it hit him like a sledgehammer. The spirit of lust was trying to get him. The devil wanted him to begin to lust after Tara; taking advantage of the feelings he was beginning to develop for her.
When he got that understanding, he knew he would have to talk to Fatima about it. He had never won a battle against lust in his life and he sure didn’t want to lose this. His weakness was however getting the better of him. His gaze went down to her legs again and back to her shirt. His eyes kept doing the to and fro motion. He kept checking to see that Tara didn’t know what he was doing as she continued talking. He dreaded what she would think of him if she found out he was feeding his lust on her. He hated himself for what he was doing but felt helpless to stop it.
‘God, please save me from myself’, he pleaded in his heart as his eyes kept moving.
Christiana was sitting beside her prey; the guy she was going to have that night. They had already talked about it and it was settled. But what pre-occupied her mind was the Christian guy she would conquer. She laughed at herself. She felt like a vampire thirsty for pure blood. She had watched so many horror movies; she now behaved like the beasts themselves.
She longed to have one of those so-called born-again boys; she needed to suck him dry. If she succeeded with him, she would be most satisfied.
Her table was soon called for food and she went over to get her food. When she returned and sat, facing one of the entrances, she saw a fair boy walk in with a short girl that looked like a Hausa girl. There was something about the boy; a special modesty that caught her attention – that made her heart-beat intensify. As she ate her food, she kept her eyes on the boy.
His table was called to come for food. She noticed how he talked easily with the short girl. There seemed to be nothing extra to the way he related with her. She wasn’t still sure where to place him. The jackpot was finally played when she noticed something. As they got back to their table, they bowed their head and the boy seemed to pray over their food.
That was all she needed. She was going to chase that Christian Igbo boy, until she caught him. His life was about to change forever. She felt she needed to make a contact with the boy, to set the ball rolling.
Christiana hurried through with her food, told her date to excuse her, telling him she would be back. She walked towards the boy’s table and noticed that he stared at her a little before taking his eyes off. Even a Bishop would fight hard not to give her a second look. She knew she was beautiful, well proportioned, well curved, and her clothes left much to be desired.
When she got close to him she dropped her biro, and bent to pick it. The poor boy was also bending to help her pick it but he seemed to change his mind when he discovered he would see what he didn’t want to see if he bent any lower. He left her to pick it herself. She looked at him when she had picked it, holding his gaze a while and said thank you in the most enticing way she could.
The boy just nodded and turned away. She could see he was fighting it. He was the type of person she wanted. She had found her guy; a guy that wanted to please God and didn’t want to lust or sin against God. She would so pressure him till he lost everything he ever held dear. She walked back to her seat, and looked in his direction. He wasn’t looking at her.
She wasn’t moved by that. She was going to get him or die trying. The chap was hers.
“Fatima, did you see what that girl just did?”
“Yes I did”
“I was just thanking God I didn’t help her pick her pen; I would have seen…”
“I understand. Some girls are like that; they don’t care.”
Uche shook his head. “How I wish all girls would be like you; decent and proper.”
Fatima smiled, refusing to be moved by the comment. “Only God can do that in any life”
“I agree, but it’s so shameful. Some girls don’t seem to have much worth for their bodies. Some dress carelessly, and some that even dress decently, sit carelessly, so all that they covered while standing is exposed when sitting. I just wish someone would teach our girls how to sit and dress.”
“Really. My respect for any girl heightens when I know she dresses, sits and talks well.”
“What’s so funny?”
“You’re an Igbo boy proper” she said, now laughing.
“Knock that off”, he said, smiling. “I think it’s about values.”
“I agree. And I think guys too should learn how to refuse to look if they face the temptation.”
“It’s hard o!” Uche lamented.
“I can imagine. But it is possible. Didn’t you just do it?”
“Yes, I succeeded but not all guys can do it; it takes a lot of discipline, and God’s help too.”
“You see”, Fatima said, “that’s the conclusion. To avoid being temptresses or falling into tempatation, as the case may be, girls and guys need to have a relationship with Jesus”
“Uche, be serious for once” Fatima said, swinging to slap him on the back, but Uche dodged.
Shortly before they finished their food, they noticed the girl walk towards the door with a guy in a way that spoke volumes – they were about to destroy their bodies some more.
“I think that girl needs prayers” Fatima said and Uche was about to assent when the girl turned in their direction, smiled at Uche, and then continued her exit.
Fatima couldn’t believe what she just saw. She looked at Uche and his eyes reflected her thoughts. Uche was in big trouble.