It was too late before Kade saw Priye, or she would have warned Timi. He took large strides towards them from the street on the other side of the road. The sleeves of his starched buttoned-down shirt were rolled up, revealing strong arms. Those arms were balled in fists as he drew closer to them. His deep-set eyes were fixed on her.
What do I do? Kade wondered.
Timi seemed not to notice the distress on her face. He just carried on with their discussion. She looked around for a way of escape. Her eyes went to the supermarket a few feet from where she stood with Timi in front of a woman selling roasted plantain. She could easily hide in the supermarket. There were several people going in and out, and the place had different sections.
Hope lit in her eyes. She took the first step but stopped. Knowing Priye, he would search every corner in that supermarket until he found her. She let out a sigh as she took in other options. She saw none. Where she stood had roadside traders. Most of whom sold fruits. She couldn’t hide under their umbrellas. It would be too open. Priye would catch her easily. The evening breeze touched her skin but failed to cool it. Her eyes remained on the angry man approaching them. He ran across the road towards them. She could see the anger clearly on his face. His jaw was set firmly.
Anyone paying close attention would have admired him. Priye had such effect on people. His tall and athletic built made it easy to draw people to him. The same physique she admired was what scared her now. How would she escape from him, when he stood about 3 feet over her? When her petite stature would be easily eased off the ground by his strong arms?
Priye’s eyes held hers in a steady gaze with an air of authority as he took the last steps to them. She knew what would happened next. However, knowing it did not mean she could stop it. She rubbed her palms on her skirt. She felt her body shivering. No more was she listening to Timi’s talk. Her mind was totally on the angry man making his way towards them.
She spared Timi a glance just before Priye got to them. She pitied him. Priye would easily overshadow him. Even his sturdy build could not stop Priye when he was in one of his moods. She took in Timi’s happy face as he finished the story of his journey to the States. Her eyes went over him quickly. He was smartly dressed in a light blue native attire. She wondered what would happen to his fine clothes after his encounter with Priye. He was going to be in trouble just because of her. She hoped her apology afterwards would be enough to save the friendship they just found. She heaved a heavy sigh as Priye finally got to them.
“So this is the reason why you didn’t pick my call, right?” He bellowed at her, his dark eyes went from her to Timi who stopped talking to look at the newcomer.
She swallowed. “It’s not the way it looks, Priye.” She muttered, trying to keep her fear from her voice. She twisted her fingers to stop her trembling.
He bristled. “Oh shut that lying mouth, Kade. You think I’m a fool, right? You’re trying to say I don’t know what I’m doing, right?” He snarled, causing her heart to beat wildly against her chest. He drew dangerously close to her.
Timi looked at one face to the other, mystified. “What is going on here?” He asked Kade, befuddled. Kade said nothing. She gave him an apologetic look. He didn’t get it. “Kade, what is happening?”
The woman selling roasted plantain stopped fanning her coals and turned to look at them with open curiosity. She adjusted her wrapper and took a step closer. Kade turned her back to her to block her from the unfolding scene. She stretched her hand to touch Priye, but his unblinking eyes stopped her. She read the interpretation: it was war.
“Hey, lover boy,” Priye called to him in utter fury. “So you’re the one keeping Kade away from me, right? What do you think you have? Do you think you can compete with me?” He poked Timi’s chest severally.
Kade made eye contact with Timi. She pressed her lips together and sent him yet another apologetic look. Timi was a man and wouldn’t take insult from a fellow man for no reason. He ignored her silent plea. He sized Priye up. Priye stood over him. He took a step backward. He adjusted the cap on his head, looking up into Priye’s eyes.
“This is total madness.” He bawled at Priye, raising his muscular shoulders. “You don’t even know who I am, or what I have with Kade. You can’t go about vomiting nonsense. Who exactly do you think you are? Bill Gate’s son?” He demanded, sounding tough.
Kade saw what would happened next. The moment Priye flexed his jaw muscles she knew Timi was in hot soup. Timi didn’t know. He totally ignored Priye and put up a victorious smile for her. He took her hand. “Let’s go, Kade.”
Kade tugged her hand free to his surprise. “Please go, Timi. We’ll talk later.” She told him, her voice shaking ever so slightly.
He regarded her for a few heartbeats, his eyes filled with disappointment. It wasn’t the way they planned to end the day, but he couldn’t force her. He shrugged and turned to leave. He was almost at his car when Priye’s punch hit him. He landed heavily on the ground beside his car. His cap flew out of his head, revealing his balding head.
It wasn’t only the plantain seller who was watching now. The fruits sellers joined her, all whispering. Even those going into the supermarket stopped to watch. Across the road people stopped to stare.
Timi struggled to get up. One of the men in the small crowd that have gathered helped him up. Someone picked his cap. Blood trickled from a small cut just below his left eye. He staggered a little before he steadied himself. He opened and closed his mouth but no words came out. Priye lunged at him again. He moved away quickly as those around held Priye back.
“Bros, take it easy. This guy is not even fighting back.” One of them rebuked him.
Priye pushed the hands away from him. He fixed menacing eyes on Timi. “Just let me catch you near her again. I’ll kill you. If you don’t know your boundary where Kade is, I’ll let you know. You won’t like it if I do.” He rubbed his fists. Timi got the message clearly. He pushed his way through the people, got into his car and zoomed off.
“Na wa o. All these for a girl. You guys are jobless.” One guy spat at them. The crowd dispersed gradually, making comments as they went.
Hot tears rolled down Kade’s cheeks where she stood. Shame filled her eyes. She wrapped her arms around her body. She felt like she was doused with a bucket of iced water. Each incident with Priye left her more shaken than the last one. How did she not see this side of him from the beginning?
Her eyes darted back and forth as he came back to her. His eyes were still blazing with anger. Fear gripped her already trembling heart.
He regarded her with disgust. “Tell me, Kade, was it his car that attracted you? Was it his clothes that drew you to him?” She said nothing. This only infuriated him. He gripped her shoulders. “Answer me, Kade. Is that guy better than me? What made you stand here talking to him when you knew I would be waiting for you after Youth Fellowship?”
His fingers dug into her skin. She cried out in pain. “You’re hurting me, Priye. Please, let me go.” She cried. He held her for a while, then he released her. She staggered backwards, her braids coming loose. Her tears came like a water fall. “You promised this would never happened again, Priye. But here we are.” She choked on her tears.
Priye’s eyes softened a bit. “Let’s talk about this in my house tomorrow evening.” He looked straight at her. “Don’t come late.”
He walked away without a backward glance. Kade watched his departing back. She wondered again what she saw in Priye that made her say yes to his proposal.