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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

BEYOND HATE CHAPTER 9



Chapter Nine.


Toby.

I watched as Jerome, Afam and Dandy talked, laughing hysterically at some point and then nodding. I never really blended with anyone who wasn't Jerome and now, Wale. Sometimes I felt pained that he made out time for them. True we had our moments, but it was often as though he was more himself with them, with Afam. I wanted to know why. Maybe I'd meander my way to Dandy, do something he likes and start feeling welcomed.

"Hey,"

Shit. It's her!

I put on a smug smile and turned. Zara stood there, looking more beautiful than I'd ever anticipated. Her cornrows were neater, perhaps re-braided. She looked more than fine.

"I heard you're presenting today." I said.

She nodded, smiling. "Most definitely."

"Good luck dear." I said, placing a comforting arm on her shoulder.

She grinned. "Thank you."

Zara walked past me and headed to the biology lab. Just then, Jerome came in front of me. He smiled. "Bro. Lemme be going, presentation."

I smirked. "Good luck."

He nodded and made to go, I stopped him.

"Hey!" Someone called. It was Michael. "Jerome, Bald man!"

Jerome smirked. "I'm trying to do the Banky W style. My beards are even growing."

Both he and Michael laughed it off. I was stunned, previously he'd get angry or glare at anyone who makes a nasty comment but now he just flowed with it and then he'd crack some joke and everyone instead of laughing at him would laugh with him.

I also wondered what almost everyone saw in Jerome, I wanted people to recognize me too, I was tired of being that guy in middle class. My parents were filthy rich! I just always felt like everyone noticed Jerome more than me, and we were friends. I needed to be like him or more, mix with people and get friends.

"Hey," I said quietly. "Do well bro. Zara presenting with you?"

I excepted him to give me a disgusted look, instead he just smiled and nodded.

Ehn? Abi she has won him over? Are the talking now?

I recalled their exchange at the dinning hall last week, they seemed -

They had been flirting. No. He was trying to flirt. Lord. Something wasn't even right.

I clenched my jaws. If possible, Zara might fall for him oh? I needed to make my stand, I made a decision to make it possible that i upgrade my social class. She'd prefer it, I see the way girls drool over Jerome. He was popular, friendly, he could sing, draw. All the right reasons people would love him. But I could dance, I was in the school football club. Surely I could also make good use of it.

"Bye," Jerome smiled warmly and turned away.

The next person that walked past me was one person I secretly admired. Afam. He like Jerome was also very popular, blending in was not a problem to him. He had no talent that I knew of oh, the only thing he did was make people smile and laugh. And Afam, just like Jerome was absolutely selfless.

I'm just fucking tired of being that cool boy by the corner.

          ~~~~~~~~~~ZARA~~~~~~~~~~

Grace nudged me, pointing to Toby who stood outside now talking to Dandy. Toby and Dandy? Since when?

"I like that he is cool." She said.

I nodded. "I know right, he is really nice and always calm."

"Those are husband material." She smirked.

Jacqueline laughed beside me. "Please oh, we've not reach eighteen."

Grace rolled her eyes. "Ode."

Jacqueline sat up on the small lab stool. Eager to chip in on our conversation.

"I like Jerome too sha." Grace spoke.

I choked on my spit. "Toby is better."

Jacqueline shook her head. "Toby is his own person, always calm and on his lane. But Jerome is also his own person."

"He uses girls!" I blurted harshly.

Grace nodded. "Yes oh. I've heard that too."

Jacqueline rolled her eyes. "Majority of those rumors are lies. Most of those girls throw themselves at him. You know Jerome is very nice, I mean he can talk to any body regardless of the social stand you've been given in school. So most of this girls just think he is tripping for them once he talks to them."

Grace raised a brow. "Afam is more like that, why are girls not tripping."

"Because Afam always says stupid things. No one will take him serious sef. But Jerome can just wave and smile or wink. Those things are normal whining stuffs. (Teasing)," she turned to me before she went on.

"Ok. Like the way Afam does sometimes that he'll just say 'yes baby' and start moaning. It's a joke na. But some girls take it seriously. Ordinary smile and they'll just start drooling. Then sometimes, he'll be oblivious that they are drooling, he'll na start laughing with them. They'll na fall, the next thing, they will na claim girlfriend."

I threw my head back and laughed out loud.

Jacqueline nodded. "I'm serious oh. I'm in his class na. That's what's happening with Betty. I know he dated her before oh. But they haven't talked since then, so one day she came to class and went to see one of her girls, Ore. The next thing, Jerome bumped into her and threw her things on the floor and almost threw her down. So he now quickly caught her, pulled her up and asked if she was ok. She nodded. He picked her books and handed it to her. Then he mistakenly brushed her waist when he was handing the book to her. Since then, she has been disturbing him."

I couldn't help but laugh. I knew almost nothing about Jerome. The only ones I knew were the ones he told me during practice.

He always acted like I did something to him and really I don't recall doing anything.

"Well he practically hates me for no reason." I blurted out.

Grace and Jacqueline looked at each other then burst into laughter.

"What?"

Grace smirked. "Babe, I don't think he hates you, if he does, you'll know trust me. In my opinion, you guys are always bickering. He just likes to see you get angry."

I glared at her.

She shrugged. "That's how we see it on the outside sha."

"Well, Jerome does have anger issues, sometimes he gets angry over stupid things, like that his hair issue,"

I sighed. "Maybe he wasn't comfortable with it na."

Jacqueline rolled her eyes. "Jerome is the most comfortable person I've seen, he just seems to flow with everything. He was just being stupid for the hair-"

Mr Idris walked into class immediately, he kept his bag on the table and walked into his office. Just then, Jerome came up in front of Jacqueline.

"Ehis said you haven't drawn the Amoeba?" He asked.

Jacqueline widened her eyes. "Shit! I swear i forgot."

Jerome groaned. "Just give me a textbook. And a middle shit."

She handed it to him. Jerome placed it on the table and flipped till he saw an Amoeba and then he started drawing. I watched as he sketched out the shapeless organism and made it perfectly shapeless in the middle shit. It looked exactly like it did in the textbook, then he started labeling.

"So, you can draw?" I gasped.

Jacqueline nodded. "He can draw, and I'm just knowing! You'll be sketching all my biology animals oh mister!"

Jerome chuckled.

"It's so perfect." I said, looking at the Amoeba.

Jerome looked up at me, he let out a small smile. "Dollface, don't trip for the Amoeba oh."

I laughed and mimicked him. "Obim don't trip for the Amoeba oh."

He raised a brow and smirked. "I won't. I have something better to trip for." He winked and walked away.

I smiled.

Oh! Lord. I said Obim!

Jesus save me! He must be thinking the worse right now. Lord please, let him know I was joking.

"Ehn!" Grace exclaimed, grinning. "You guys are on nickname bases."

I turned to her. "Nooo."

Jacqueline snickered. "Which one is noo. He just called you Dollface and you called him what?!"

"She said Obim. It's an Igbo word!" Grace smirked. "What does it mean?"

I gulped. Both she and Jacqueline looked at me expectantly.

"Ehm... it means asshole in igbo."

Thankfully, Jacqueline was a port harcout babe and Grace was from Kogi.

"Hmm.."

A bright torchlight suddenly flased into my eyes. I winced in pain and shut my eyes.

"Afam idiot. Torchlight during the day!" Jacqueline laughed.

My eyes were still shut. I opened them, it was peach black. I shut them again and opened, it was still black. I panicked.

I suddenly remember my disease. The night blindness thing. I once read that I'd have black outs once there is in consistent light, even during the day. The way Afam had flashed the torch and then removed it would affect me.

"Guys," i called, trying to seal my panic.

"Yea?"

"Where is Ene?"

She was the only one who would understand, her brother used to have it.

"She said the Vice principal was calling her." Grace said.

"Ok." I gulped, everything was still black. "Guys, I can't see."

I heard them shuffling.

"Stop joking." Jacqueline sighed.

"I'm not, I can't see!" I snapped.

"Hey, Zara. I've re written some words. So just read this-"

I was about to scream!

"Why are you staring at my forehead?" Jerome questioned.

I lost it. I screamed.

                  __________

They were guiding me, telling me where to set foot and where not to. Jacqueline and Grace were by my right, Afam and Jerome on the left.

"Move-"

I bumped into something. I winced in pain as my head throbbed. It was the third time I bumped into a wall. I pitied my fair fore head.

"Zara stay calm, I'm going to carry you. Your forehead is turning red, you've been bumping into the wall." Jerome said.

I nodded, all i saw was black and we'd were heading to the school clinic.

The next thing I knew, Jerome scooped me up, muttering hang on.

"Sorry Zara." Afam murmured. "I didn't know."

"It's fine-"

"It's not oh. If he wasn't Afam, I'd have punched him." Jerome huffed.

I crease my brows.

"Are you her boyfriend ni?" Grace asked.

"What.. no! I meant on Toby's behalf. Fish."

Everyone laughed lightly.

"Hey!" A voice called out. It was a teacher. My heart skipped. The way Jerome was carrying me must look so unholy in a teacher's eyes.

"Jerome let me stand." I whispered.

"Why? 'Cause of mister Danju? Abeg. Hold my shoulders so you won't fall."

I swallowed hard. His foot steps got nearer. "What is happening?"

"She can't see sir, so we are escorting her to the clinic." Jacqueline said.

"All of you?" Mr Danju asked.

"Yes sir," they answered simultaneously.

"Let her only go with the person carrying her. The rest of you, back to class." Mr Danju snapped.

"Ehn.. I can carry her sir, Jerome don't you have class?"

It was Toby.

When did he get here?

"Ok, I'll just-"

"Can you carry her?" Afam popped in. "Toby, let Jerome carry her oh. You know your own is thin people swag. Jerome is broad chest swag. I'm not saying you're not capable oh-"

Everyone was already laughing before Afam finished but he was right,Toby couldn't carry me.

"White, bye bye oh." Afam announced. "Oya, Grace, Jacqueline, let's go."

"Bye b. Jerome take care of her!" Jacq called.

I felt lips against my cheek. It was Toby. I could smell his perfume.

"We'll talk later. Bye." He whispered.

"Hey! Coker, in my presence!" Mr Danju shouted.

I could hear different noises, but soon they started fading and I knew Jerome had started walking. It was silent for a long period. The school clinic was far from the biology lab and a little bit farther from the classroom area. I had no idea who sketched the position of buildings in this school, but that person needed cane.

"Almost there...." Jerome groaned.

I felt bad, I didn't think I'd be this heavy. I was slender, with a flat stomach and not too large burst. My hips weren't that visible but my shape was a defined figure eight. The slender type of figure eight, not the curvy one.

"Jerome just - I'll walk from here." I announced.

"I can't risk you banging you're head on something." He muttered, seeming out of breath.

"You'll be here to guide me right, I won't bang my head. Promise."

"Dollface, I can't risk it. Your head is red enough from your wall encounter."

I huffed. "Jerome, just let me walk, you can guide me naa,"

He stopped walking. "Fine."

I still clung to him as he lowered my feet. I gradually let go when I felt the sole of my shoe brush the ground. Before I could fully relax, a hand slipped round my waist. On instinct, I slip my arm on his shoulder. But something wasn't right. It was as though he was in front of me rather than beside me. We were in close proximity. His hand around my waist and mine around his neck.

Oh lord!

I let my hand drop. "Eh.. you are s-supposed to be beside me, not in front of me."

I felt his breath as he spoke. "I'm still contemplating whether or not I can risk you walking into a wall."

I gulped, he was so close. "Eh... I won't, You'll be with me."

"Kamby, Just hold on to me ok?" He spoke.

"Sure," I murmured.

Kamby. He called me Kamby.

I closed my eyes and inhaled sharply. I opened it immediately and I saw light. I blinked rapidly, things around were blur. I blinked once more, it cleared. I could finally see. Before me was a confused looking Jerome. He was still so close to me. His hands were still around my waist. His brows were creased, his upper lip bit into the lower one.

"Are you ok?" He asked.

"Eh... I can see..." I murmured.

"Oh!" His hands dropped instantly. "Chill, you sure?"

I nodded. "Yeah, I can."

He finally moved back. "Phew! Thank God." He looked behind me. "Toby... is coming now."

"Oh."

He looked at me again. "I'll just be going."

I turned to see Toby. He rubbed his palm together and smiled at us.

"You can see already?" He asked.

I nodded. "Yeah. Obviously."

"Oh. Let's go to class then," Toby shrugged.

"No... I mean she still has to know if she'll be given a pill, she can't just be having black outs," Jerome spoke up behind me.

I looked around, the clinic wasn't even far again. We were behind the girls hostel, in front of the dining hall.

"Yeah. True. Let's all go then." Toby shrugged.

"No, you guys go, I'll be in class." Jerome shrugged.

Toby nodded. "Yeah let's go."

"Just tell them it's nyctalopia. I think you have black out cause you aren't treating it. Call your parents." Jerome smiled. "Bye."

I really don't know what came over me, especially since Toby was beside me.

"Hey Chy," I called softly.

Jerome turned around. Toby stared at me weirdly.

"Thank you." I smiled.

He nodded, then he grinned. I turned my attention to Toby.

"Hey Kamby," I heard Jerome call. I turned. "Anytime."

He turned and with his hands in his pocket, he walked down towards the class room area.

"Let's go."

                           _________

"You guys are getting along hmm?" Toby asked on our way back to class.

I shrugged. "Yea, I guess."

He nodded. We had just stepped out of the clinic, we started walking towards the dining hall area. Toby suddenly stopped me.

"Hey, let's take the second route." He suggested.

The second route was called Jamo. It was mostly used by boys and often cool and deserted. I'd never been there but surely, I could try it out today.

"Ok. Sure."

We turned towards the road in front of the clinic. We started walking down.

"Twenty questions?" Toby asked.

I shrugged. What the nurse had told me rang in my head. She'd said I needed to see a doctor immediately. I hadn't been scared earlier cause the eye black out had happened before. I knew it'll eventually fade. But after my discussion with the nurse, I was more than scared I'd go blind.

God forbid.

"....start,"

I looked up at Toby. "Sorry, I wasn't listening."

He smiled at me. "I said let me start."

"Ok." I sighed.

He cleared his throat. "Favorite meal."

"Rice, any type at all, with chicken."

"Geez and you're not even fat." He noted.

I smiled. "My turn. Same question."

"Beans."

I scrunched my brows. "No way! I hate beans."

He laughed. "Berra be eating beans oh. So you can grow tall."

I smirked. "I'll grow jhoor!"

"Ok. My turn. Favorite artist."

I thought about it. "Nigerian would be Mayorkun. Foreign *drum rolls* Quavo!"

He laughed. "Wow. So you are a rap kind of girl."

"Not really oh sha. But Quavo has efizzy(swag). Ah! Just like Nasty C. I love that shide! (Child)," I closed my eyes.

Toby threw his head back and laughed. His laughter was deep and rich. His laughter reduced to a broad smile and I spotted dimples.

"You have dimples," I nudged him.

He nodded, biting his lower lip. "You likey?"

I smirked. "It's cool."

He shook his head and looked away.

"So you? Favorite artist?" I asked.

He rubbed his chin. "I'm a wizkid fan, and I love Nasty C as well. Down to the ladies, I love Adele and pink."

I smiled gleefully, we had common faves. "I love Adele and pink too. I love Yemi Alade. She badassy!"

Toby smiled. "I like Tiwa better."

I snorted. I wasn't such a huge fan of Tiwa. "She's old jhoor,"

Toby laughed again. "This girl you're funny."

I smirked. "I know."

As we walked towards the school church, loud music blasted from the other side. It was obviously from a radio. Kiss Daniel's Yeba rang out along the deserted path. The radio was probably for the security man who stayed at the Catholic church area. He had been appointed by the Reverend father who often came into school for service.

"Can you dance?" Toby asked, grinning.

I shook my head. "Hell no!"

He stopped walking. His hands rubbed his neck. "Can I teach you?"

"How?"

He stretched out his hand, slowly I placed mine on his. His other hand slipped round my waist.

"This is a Nigerian song, so the dance would be kind of fast."

I nodded, absolutely uncertain of how we'd even dance.

He suddenly moved right, holding me with him. He moved hid waist right and lifted it his leg to make quick motions. I copied. We did it on both legs, moving left and right.

"Kili somebody." He twirled me.

I laughed as I turned round. He laughed too.

"You have potentials," he said as the song stopped.

I laughed hard. "I doubt it."

Another music started again. This time we were already walking towards class. It was from a distance and we could make out the words. It was Rude boy's Fire Fire.

...cause today na the d day, oya put am for replay.

"Lemme dance for you." Toby said.

He moved in front of me and started dancing. I smiled. The boy had moves, his leg was mehn! He was such a dancer. The next moment, he pulled me close and twirled me again. Then I joined him, giggling.

I had forgotten about my illness and the fact that I had been sad. The laughter and the happiness, Toby had brought. Once we got to class, I raised my leg slightly and kissed him on the cheek.

"Thank you."


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