Stop calling me that . . .
Ok, baby, please . . .
Don’t call me that either . . .
Stop giving me a hard time, Declan . . .
You know what to do to make me stop . . .
You know I can’t do that . . .
Well then, I can’t give you what you want . . .
My fingers danced furiously on the keypad of my Blackberry as I chatted with Basil. I kept my focus on the phone, even after he sent me a grumpy-faced smiley and told me he was signing off the chat. He just couldn’t go on chatting with me while I was like this.
Like what? Answer me, I typed. Then I PINGED him, and PINGED him again, and watched as my messages remained unread.
“Sweerie,” Ekene said beside me, “this one your face looks like thunder, na who you dey vex for?”
Before I could answer, Paschal interjected with a grin, “Don’t mind him, he’s forming seriousness now that Bryson is here, so he won’t have to face him, with all the false gist he has been spreading about him.”
This Paschal, one day I will kill him, aswearigawd! I shot him a fulminating look, and he returned it with an unabashed smirk, before turning away to continue conversing with Biola. Across the table, my gaze lanced with Bryson’s, and my breath caught. He’d been looking at me, and for a microsecond, he let his eyes remain locked with mine, before he looked away and behind me, at the entrance of the joint, as though looking for someone.
Our corner of the bar cum restaurant had started to become quite the ruckus of merriment. There was loud laughter and louder conversations, with accompaniments of hand gestures to punctuate punch lines before the outburst of fresh mirth. Our table was an expanse topped with bottles of alcoholic drinks, plates of goat pepper-soup and saucers filled with minced pieces of fried meat. Frequently, our servers sauntered to our table at the wave of a hand, whose owner was seeking to place yet another order. The discreetly stationed speakers in the arena blasted melody after melody of Nigerian music, which kept the atmosphere upbeat and slightly rowdy.
I let my eyes sweep over the table, at the different occupants. My friends, some whom I’d known longer than others, some whom I was closer to than others. There is Ekene beside me, who I went to the same university with in the East, where we first met in our First Year and struck up a friendship. He doesn’t have a job now, but at least, he’s got a good man who’s giving him regular sex.
Paschal is also unemployed, but the guy is a typical example of ‘Use what you have to get what you want.’ The only other Top in our gang besides Jonathan, he has a very, VERY big cock, one that has gained an infamy in the Lagos gay circuit. Paschal’s cock is the kind of sex tool that young Bottoms gossip about and older queens pay top Naira to have bang them silly.
Yinka is my other BFF aside from Ekene, and he works in the cabin crew of an airline that flies locally. He travels a lot, and gets to meet a lot of people. His Blackberry is a very precious commodity, because it is filled with an impressive number of gay contacts. The guy just seems to know everybody, which is probably the reason why his relationship with some dude who works in a blue chip organization is an open one.
Biola is a lawyer by day and a bitch by night. Jonathan – well, you already know he’s a self-loathing doctor. Edidiong, mostly known to all as Eddie, is a jobless, hopeless romantic, who frequently shuttles from Lagos to Abuja, to Port Harcourt, to Enugu, to Owerri, to hook up with guys while searching for love. He’s also a celebrity blogger, who blogged about everything from scandals in the entertainment industry to Adebola’s latest designs. He’s the only one amongst us who has dated Paschal – for all of three weeks, before his promiscuity and Paschal’s massive cock ended the good music they were both making. Adebola comes from a rich family and has some talent in fashion. Due to the affluence of his family, he can afford to dabble in the fashion industry, a career which gives him access to very choice events in the city. He has selfies with lots of celebrities, from Genevieve Nnaji to Uti Nwachukwu, and it was during one of the Lagos fashion shows that he met and made the acquaintance of Bryson, who was one of the models.
Ah yes, Bryson . . .
My gaze drifted toward him again, the super-sexy-straight-stud (I think I’ll pass out from the alliteration), whose cock I wish I can have again. He was seated between Adebola and Jonathan, and was alternating between conversing with them and craning his head toward the entrance, as though he was looking out for someone. I was starting to wonder if he was expecting someone when the music that was playing segued into a hit track by D’banj, and Ekene let out a whoop before gyrating his butt on his seat in tandem with the rhythm. The pikin is a huge fan of the Kokomaster.
“Every time you hear D’banj,” Yinka began with a smile, “na so your body go dey sweet you any-anyhow.”
“My sister, the guy dey always make me wan comot my bra” – he jiggled his bust – “come scatter my weave-on on top.” And he ran his fingers vigorously through his head, as though shaking out imaginary abundant tresses.
“Eh-eh, eh-eh, wetin dey do you?!” Jonathan hissed, his eyes suddenly snapping with irritation. “You no go behave yourself for here now. Which one you come dey shele like this?”
“Eh, holitdia biko!” Ekene swept up his right hand, splaying the fingers in Jonathan’s face. His face had tightened with annoyance. I could recognize the sparks of another one of their legendary spats lighting up. “Kilode? Which one is biting your nyash this evening? Must you notice me whenever I’m doing my thing?” Ekene was weaving his head left to right while wagging his forefinger as he railed.
“Look at you, you will not respect yourself,” Jonathan said, his lip curling, “you’ll just keep acting like a woman every time –”
“Eh, leave am like that!” Ekene roared with a clap of his hands, half-rising from his seat.
“Ekene,” I cut in, “not here please –”
“Leave me, Declan, let me tell this monkey a few home truths –”
“Home truths? From you? Ha! Now, I’ve heard everything.” Jonathan’s scorn was magnificent.
“You are just an idiot, you hear?” Ekene snapped, before sitting back on his seat and lapsing into a sulky silence, apparently realizing belatedly that this was not a good place to have a fight with Jonathan.
A brief awkwardness settled on us before tatters of the conversations were pulled back together and the lightheartedness gradually returned. We were all chatting about anything and everything when a stunning girl sauntered over to our table. She had an hourglass figure clad inside a skimpy blouse and skin-tight jeans, and her auburn hairdo was pulled back into a ponytail that hung in a thick braid over her shoulder. Most of the other male eyes in the joint followed her as she approached us, and I caught Bryson’s face relax in a smile before she got to him and gave him a peck on the cheek.
“Hey,” he beamed.
“Hey back.” Her voice was husky. She looked familiar.
“Sup, Asri,” Adebola hailed.
Ah yes, Asri, I remembered her. She is one of the topmost models in the Lagos fashion scene. Highly in demand, complete with her pretentious name – just Asri, no last name.
“How’s it going, Bola,” she greeted Adebola, and then turned to the rest of us with an expansive smile and a ‘What’s up guys.’
There was a chorus of responses, before Bryson said by way of introduction, “Asri, this is Jonathan, Biola” – he pointed as he spoke – “Paschal, Declan” – his eyes lingered on me – “Ekene and Yinka. And guys, this is Asri, my girlfriend.”
I almost choked on the glass of Smirnoff Ice I’d just then lifted to my mouth. Girlfriend? I felt Yinka’s and Ekene’s pointed looks rest on me for a moment before they turned back to the couple. Paschal leaned toward me and whispered close to my ear, “He’s straight, hasn’t been seduced by Adebola, and has a hot girlfriend. Are you still going with that story of him fucking you?”
“Fuck off, Paschal!” I hissed with feeling.
He chuckled and turned away. I stared at the female, who I’m going to call the straight-guy-thief. I didn’t feel very good. I felt a crushing weight inside me which made me suddenly realize that ever since my encounter with Bryson, I’d been nursing a hope that we would have sex again. I mean, we’d done it once. Surely he’d come back for more. But with this – a girlfriend in the picture, especially one as hot as this – there was no way I was going to get anywhere near Bryson’s dick, not unless something – another something – unexpected should happen.
There was some idle chit-chat for about a minute, before Asri gestured at a friend who was waiting for her some distance away from our corner, and excused herself. She had some quick errand to get to.
The moment she was out of earshot, Adebola said with a playful slap on Bryson’s shoulder. “You sef eh, you didn’t tell me you and Asri are now doing the nasty.”
Bryson was grinning. “We’ve always been off and on, you know that. The decision to go steady was a recent one though.”
How recent? I wanted to say. As recent as when you fucked me? An attempt to reassure yourself that you still like pussy? But I kept quiet and lifted my glass of Smirnoff Ice to my lips again.
“Well, it’s good we’ve been introduced to your girl,” Paschal said. “At least it will help some people to stop having delusions about you.”
I choked on my drink again.
“What are you talking about?” Bryson queried, his smile turned to Paschal.
“Nothing!” I burst out. “He’s talking about nothing –”
“What do you mean nothing?” Paschal interrupted, blithely unaware of my sudden panic. “Are you not the one who’s been trying so hard to get us to believe that you and Bryson had sex?”
“What!” Bryson’s outraged eyes swiveled to me.
“I – er – this is just…” I was stammering, feeling my face go hot with embarrassment.
Biola chuckled. “I talk am, I knew Declan was just telling us tales by moonlight.”
“Shut up, Biola!” I rounded on him.
“Is it true though?” Adebola was asking Bryson.
“You sonofabitch, you told them?” Bryson erupted at me.
“So it’s true!” Adebola and Biola chorused in shocked gasps.
“You know what, this is bullshit!” Bryson jerked up from his seat.
“Bryson, wait –” I began.
“Don’t even call my name!” He jabbed a finger in my direction. His eyes were hot with anger. “I thought you were a decent human being. I should have known better. I had no idea you are just a lousy guy who doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut.”
“Hey!” Ekene bridled. “Don’t you dare open that your nonsense mouth to insult my friend.”
Bryson glared at him. He glared back. Then, Bryson turned his glare to him and hissed, “Whatever!” And he pulled away from the table and stomped out of the joint. In the wake of his departure, there was another strained silence, during which time I sat there, feeling miserable. Ekene squeezed my hand comfortingly. Jonathan cleared his throat. Yinka shifted in his seat. And Paschal said with a forced laugh, “Well, at least now we know that what Adebola can do, Declan can do better, right?”
At that quip, one which came with the reminder that this incident was his fault, my misery was short-circuited to anger, one that burned in my heart and sparkled in the eyes I turned to him. “You just love to talk, don’t you?” I spat. “You with your big mouth, you just love to wag it anyhow, don’t you?”
“Hey, Declan –”
“Don’t ‘Hey Declan’ me. You have a big mouth, Paschal. So big it looks to be about the only hole that can accommodate that monstrosity you call a dick.”
One or two persons at our table fought back giggles.
“You don’t get to talk to me like that,” Paschal said with a scowl.
“You’re right.” I got to my feet. “Because this is the last time I’ll be saying anything to you.”
There was an instant outburst of protests from the other guys. “Declan, no –”
“Calm down, Declan –”
“Paschal, just say sorry –”
“Let’s not do this, guys –”
But I was already on my way out of the bar, my back stiff with wounded pride, determined to stick to my decision to discontinue my friendship with Paschal.