“So, how was it?” Tunde heard Kola say as his colleague grabbed a chair to sit beside him in the office. The air conditioner had a fault and the fans were not doing much to help with the heat. Tunde had his tie loosened and a button of his shirt undone.
“How was what?” he asked, not removing his eyes from his laptop.
“Your date,” Kola whispered.
Tunde wished Kola would keep all this kind of talk for outside the office. But then again he hardly talked to the guy outside the office.
“My date? With who?” He feigned ignorance.
“You know who,” Kola said impatiently.
“Guy abegi, it wasn’t a date,” Tunde said dismissively. “It was just two people hanging out.”
“Isn’t that what a date is? Now tell me how it was. Did you like it? I told you he’s a real keeper.”
Honestly, Tunde had loved being with Dele. They had gone to see a movie together. It wasn’t the most private of places for intimate talks, but Tunde didn’t mind. They had been chatting over BBM for ages now, and this was a refreshing change of pace. While at the cinema, Dele had always hovered close to him in a non-intrusive way, always finding reasons to touch him. Tunde loved the attention a lot. That was one sure-fire way to get him. Shower him with attention. But since last night, after Dele dropped him home, he hadn’t gotten any attention from him.
Presently, Tunde’s mind had a flashback to when he was sitting in Dele’s car on the driveway to his house. There was no light and only the dashboard lights were the source of light. After the “I had a lovely time” banter, Dele had leaned in to kiss him. It wasn’t in that confident way that came with gorgeous-looking people, but in an unsure manner. Not presumptuous. Giving enough time for Tunde to back down. Like hell he would. The kiss was wonderful, and Tunde felt like he had been submerged in pleasantly cool water as long as it had lasted. When they pulled apart, Dele cleared his throat and asked if he could come inside. Tunde felt his mouth go dry. He desperately wanted Dele to come inside, but he hesitated and found that he just couldn’t, because of what the request probably meant. Their day had been wonderful. Too wonderful. And that bothered Tunde a whole lot. He wasn’t ready to let Dele come inside.
“It’s kind of late,” he finally said.
“I understand. I’ll try and beep you before I go to bed tonight,” Dele said, before Tunde stepped out of the car.
Walking into his house, he told himself he had done the right thing. But why did he have so much regret? He fell on his bed and was immediately fast asleep.
Morning came and he checked his phone. No message from Dele. Maybe he’d fallen asleep before he could buzz him. Tunde sent a “Hey you” and proceeded to get ready for the day. His message was delivered and received, but there was no reply.
Hmmm, perhaps he was getting ready for work too, he told himself.
“You there…” He sent that before beginning his drive to work.
At work, he checked his phone. Once again the message had been received, but there was no reply. And Tunde found himself worrying. Not worrying about whether Dele was safe or anything, but worrying that he had decided not to have anything more to do with him since he refused to let him enter his house. He sent a few more messages. All of them were received. No reply. He tried to remain calm and not get panicky or paranoid, like he was prone to do sometimes. He managed to keep his cool, only because there was work to occupy his mind. What would happen when he got home and didn’t have a lot to do, he did not know.
“Earth to Tunde.”
He turned to look at Kola and said, “Why don’t you ask him? You two live together, don’t you?”
He must have said that with quite a lot of venom, because Kola raised his hands in an ‘I’m backing off’ gesture, gave him a curious stare before going back to his cubicle. Tunde would apologise to him later. But for now, it felt good to have let off some steam.
He sighed and looked at his phone again. No new messages. He started to get a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, but shook it off and went back to work. He even ignored his lunch break. Kola had lightly touched him, asking him if he wanted to eat but he had said he wasn’t hungry. Tunde didn’t look at Kola’s face as he spoke. He didn’t want to see the concern that lingered there.
The drive home had Tunde worried about the way he was reacting to the whole thing. It was too strong. Too strong to be healthy. And the feeling was something all too familiar. He had let himself get in too deep in the past, and he had barely managed to make it out alright with his psyche intact. And now, here he was, worrying over the fact that someone hadn’t replied him after a first date, when normally he’d just delete the person’s contact details or even forget the person existed. He’d spent almost a year building tough walls, and someone was using just his eyes to break them down. He wanted to pound the steering wheel violently as he questioned why he was so weak. He was just too disappointed in himself.
Maybe this was better. If Dele was ignoring him just because he refused to invite him in so they’d fuck or make out or something, then Dele was a douche bag. The idiot was probably used to having his way all the time with whoever he wanted, what with his pretty face and broad shoulders. Maybe this was the universe helping him avoid terrible heartbreak. Maybe it was a sign to delete Dele, before more harm could be done to the walls he had built to protect himself.
After he parked his car in his compound, Tunde whipped out his phone and got around to deleting the contact. His finger hovered above the confirmation button.
And that was when the phone vibrated.
It was Dele.
Tunde wanted to bang his head against a wall.
His phone vibrated again. “I’m sorry I couldn’t reach you. I tried to, believe me. But the network has been crazy. None of my messages have been delivering. I even tried calling.”
Then there were some images sent. Sure enough, Dele had tried to reach him through BBM but had been given an X mark.
“How are you? I’ve missed you,” Dele pinged again.
I’ve missed you.
Tunde stared at his phone.
I’ve missed you.
Those words were making him feel warm inside, but with the warmth came dread. He had overreacted. And they weren’t even together yet. He normally knew how to keep his cool. Until his emotions got involved, that is. He could tame himself most times. But he had a feeling this was something he couldn’t handle. He should delete him. Before he was in too deep.
But instead, he replied. “I’m fine, dear. I’ve missed you too.”
Here’s music to accompany today’s chapter… basically what it sometimes feels like to fall in love when you know it’s dangerous. I do hope some of y’all listen to it. (Written by James)
Treacherous Lyrics – Taylor Swift: http://youtu.be/1U93pm7Axik