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Kade walked down the street where Priye lived. She had an umbrella because of the rain that evening. The street was deserted. Only a few people stayed in the shelter of their shops. The tip of her skirt was completely soaked. She picked her steps around the water-filled potholes in the street. Lightening flashed across the sky. She was tempted to take cover in one of the open shops but thought better of it. She was five minutes late already and couldn’t afford another five minutes away from Priye. If only she had gotten an empty tricycle to charter. The rain discouraged tricycle riders. After standing under the rain for close to fifteen minutes, she had finally gotten the one that dropped her at Priye’s bus-stop, leaving her to walk down the street.
The wind blew the umbrella out of her hands. She ran after it and picked it up. She moved out of the way of a speeding tricycle coming down the street. Despite her effort to avoid it, it still splashed water on her already wet skirt. She groaned in displeasure. She moved her umbrella aside. “Hey!” she shouted after the fast moving tricycle. Of course the rider didn’t hear her.
She wiped off the water from her face. So much for the time she put into getting ready, she thought in anguish, shaking the water off her skirt. Priye would definitely complain about her look. She shrugged. The rain was not her fault. Still, she wished it hadn’t rain. She would have had no reason to argue with Tari about visiting Priye in such weather. She replayed their argument in her mind again.
“Really, Kade, must you go? Why can’t you just call him and fix another time?” Tari questioned. Her eyes showed her disapproval.
Kade smacked her lips with her brown lip gloss before answering her friend. “I have to see him now. I mean right now.” She rolled her braids into an onion ball. She turned around as she checked her appearance in the mirror.
Tari huffed in frustration. “Check out the weather, Kade. It’s still raining heavily.” She pulled up the curtain covering the window.
Kade saw the rain quite alright, but there was nothing she could do about it. She slung her bag over her shoulder. She sent a pleading look to Tari. “I’ll charter ‘keke’ to his house if that will ease your mind.”
Tari turned away from her, but not before she saw the pity in her eyes. “When will you come back to your senses, Kade? It’s as if you’re totally consumed by this guy.” She commented.
Her words grated Kade’s nerves. She was already nervous about meeting Priye, and Tari was not helping matters. “He has a name, Tari. Please, call him by his name.” Her tone took a sharp edge.
Tari fixed her with surprised eyes. “Well, do what you like. It’s your life after all.” She gave a nonchalant shrug and turned back to look at the rain.
Feeling dismissed, Kade got angry. She hadn’t meant to raise her voice, but that was what she did. “Fine, it’s my life, so stop poke nosing. You know nothing about love, about relationships because you haven’t had any real one.” She immediately regretted her words the moment they left her mouth; she couldn’t take them back. The hurt in Tari’s eyes was so raw. She had hit her below the belt. After regarding her with a look that could burn a hole in her skin, Tari left her in the room.
Kade let out a soft sigh. She would settle with Tari when she got back home. For now she had to tame the tiger waiting for her in the apartment just a few feet away.
It was drizzling now. She picked up her pace. Once she got to the house, she pushed open the small gate and went straight to Priye’s flat. The protector gate was locked. She hit the padlock against the iron so as to draw his attention.
It didn’t take long before Priye came to open the door. He didn’t smile at her, neither did he utter a word to her. He just opened the door and went back inside. Kade stepped in and locked the gate. She dropped her umbrella at the veranda and went to join him in the living room.
He was seated on his two-seater couch, his eyes fixed on the television. He didn’t even acknowledge her presence. She breathed in and out. It was obvious he was still seething. It was her fault indeed, she concluded within her. She should have known better. She should have picked his calls. She knew he would be waiting to drop her off. She shouldn’t have stayed back to talk to Timi, despite her excitement of seeing him again after so many years. Timi hadn’t picked any of her calls since yesterday. Her offences were piling up.
She went on her knees. “My love, I’m very sorry for what happened yesterday.” She said softly. “I should have answered your call. I was wrong to have stood there talking to another man.” She kept her tone as patronizing as possible.
He fixed her with hard eyes, pointing the TV remote at her. “You should be sorry, Kade. You should be very sorry. How could you have been so stupid as to keep me waiting because of that good-for-nothing fool?” His words rushed out in anger.
Kade closed her eyes. Oh Lord, let him calm down. She prayed silently.
“What do you want that I haven’t given you? What will make you stand me up for another guy? His car is not better than mine. I’m very sure he doesn’t have as much money as I do. Does he?” He demanded in a thunderous tone, slamming the remote control against the couch.
Kade shifted where she knelt. “I don’t know.” She replied, feeling the first wave of fear.
Priye didn’t like her answer. He got up and stood right in front of her, looking down at her in disgust. Kade shifted again. He grabbed her by the neck. “You think I’m joking with you, Kade? You’re telling me you don’t know how rich your lover is. You expect me to believe that.”
Wave after wave of fear hit her. Her fingers behind her back started shaking. She clasped them tighter. “I swear, Priye, I don’t know. I rea-lly don’t know, Priye.” She stuttered.
He pushed her and she landed on the floor. “Then what were you doing with him?” he asked.
“We were friends in secondary school. He left the country after our final examination. I met him by chance when I went to buy recharge card.” She explained. Tears glistened in her eyes. After regarding her for a few seconds, Priye moved back to his seat. “Believe me, Priye, I love you; just you.”
“I find that hard to believe.” He snorted in disgust. He picked up the remote control again and started flipping through TV channels.
She crawled to him and placed her hands on his lap. “Believe me, my love, you mean everything to me.”
He pushed off her hands, anger exploding in his eyes. He jumped up at once. “Are you trying to seduce me, Kade? Are you trying to ruin my testimony?”
Oh God, what have I done this time? How did I forget his ‘no-touching rule’? She cried within her.
“You’re shameless, so shameless.” He spat at her. “Get out of my house and go back home. Call me when you can control your emotions.” He turned and walked into his room. The door banged loudly.
Kade fell to the floor and wept bitterly.
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