Gracie watched as the sleek car had pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot and to her greatest surprise, her friend had majestically climbed out of the car.
Deola had quickly hurried them inside and dropped her tired self into one of the plastic chairs provided for customers. It didn’t help that the interior was as hot as a furnace, and packed full to the brim with hungry people.
Gracie didn’t wait before the questions began to roll out. Who was the man? Where was Kay? Why was she in a Benz? Did Deola break up with Kay?
She listened as her friend began her rant about Kayode, pounded yam and pizza. In the middle of the rant, her thoughts drifted off to Xander.
After Xander had “manipulated” her into following him to the 500lv class that fateful day he had bumped into her at the long corridor, she had avoided staring at him while he briefly chatted with a course mate by knocking on the door and to her greatest dismay, the same guy who had embarrassed the foundations out of her the first day she had visited the senior engineering class had opened the door again. Gracie had turned to leave only to collide with Xander who had silently come up behind her.
“Mtchew!” Emeka hissed like a Cobra. “All these Jambito have come again; freshers and their need to fraternize with final year folks…when will you guys learn it takes time to reach these heights? Anyways, no spaces available here so kindly find yourself another class.”
Xander had silently looked on as Emeka kept spitting fire on the poor girl. It amazed him that Gracie who had just finished a battle of words with him moments ago was actually speechless but then Emeka was a bully and nobody dared stood up to him in these areas.
Well, nobody of course except Xander.
He bent to pick up the items that had fallen when Gracie had collided with him in a bid to make a beehive for the stairs, away from Emeka.
“I’m sorry,” she had muttered for the umpteenth time.
“It’s ok,” Xander had said as he handed the items back to her.
He turned to Emeka.
“Emeka, this is Gracie. A bird tells me you two have met before and apparently, you had chased her out of the class even then. We’ll talk about that later but for now I need a Wi-Fi Password for her if you have any. Take it as an opportunity to apologize to my friend for scattering her stuff all over the floor.”
So the Orangutan’s name was Emeka, Gracie thought.
Emeka whose bulky frame was still blocking the entrance to the class had turned to the other students in the class and howled out in laughter.
“Xander don finally get babe oh my guys! Finally, here comes a distraction for his focused mind. Are we not happy? On top of that, he even wants me to find his girlfriend a Wi-Fi password. Oshey Class Rep for the gods.”
Class rep? Fine boy never said anything about him being a class rep, Gracie searched his face for a tangible explanation but he just shrugged.
She could not take it anymore but as she turned to leave Xander held her hand.
“Stay, please.” His eyes searched hers.
Unruly tears were already threatening to cascade down her face. “That guy is just a monster. How do you guys even cope? I would never wish him on anyone, not even stubborn engine guys.”
Emeka heard her above the cacophony of voices and ruckus his snide remarks had caused.
“Say that again,” he goaded.
“She said you are a bully and a monster,” Xander said with the slightest hint of a smile on his face.
“Well, today is your lucky day baby girl and fortunately for you, you are with Xander. Nobody touches Xander on our watch, mine especially. Class Rep, carry your girl and go oh before I show her what monsters do.”
“You are a pervert, Emeka. Remember that as you prepare for your project defence, you may want to explore it as a project topic in fact.” And no, she’s not my girl. Yet. He wanted to add but quickly dismissed the thought.
They stepped into the class and were welcomed with a roar and thunderous claps.
“Guys, calm down; Emeka was just being a clown, no strings attached here,” Xander stepped in to save the day seeing Gracie’s discomfort.
Gracie wondered why they thought she was his girl. Maybe he had someone and was hiding her away from them. There was a Yemisi back home in the choir who everyone knew had eyes for Xander but he had either ignored her existence or was totally not interested in her advances. She had even heard that Yemisi had tried to do cooler ministry for him one time he was home for the mid-semester break but Xander had declined saying he always looked forward to eating his mother’s food when he was at home. Gracie felt her stomach knot just thinking of the embarrassment Yemisi must have felt.
Xander found a spot for her close to the window and dutifully sat beside her like a mother hen protecting her chicks from harm.
“You need anything else?” he asked after giving her the Wi-Fi password Emeka had magically produced.
“No, you and your class have done enough.” She threw back her reply.
“You will like them soon enough, “he encouraged.
“And what makes you think I’ll come here long enough to fraternize with your folks?”
“I’ll make you. If I don’t, Emeka will and if he does not succeed, the fast wireless network will. Either way, there a lot of reasons why you should come here often.”
She buried herself behind the course material she had brought along and pretended to study it intensely even though she had read only two lines in the five minutes she had held it.
Xander had proceeded to ignore her as well while he fiddled with her phone. He excused himself for a while and headed over to another group of guys taking apart an electrical panel. As she watched, he explained what they were doing wrong and after a few sparks, the electrical panel was as good as new.
Oshey, Mr. Sparks…she couldn’t help but say so.
Next he pulled out her phone and although she could not hear what he was saying, she knew he was asking about “His phone repair guys in PZ.” He sauntered off to another deserted seat and picked a laptop. Gracie turned her head as he made to come back to where she was seated.
Better to act like he is not here, she advised herself
“Here,” he said dropping the laptop on the desk. “You can use mine to finish up your assignment. I’ll be over there if you need anything.” He pointed at a group of girls waving at him already.
Gracie sat upright.
Why did she feel a twinge of jealousy? She wondered. “Great.” She replied stiffly.
“You know, for the records, you should relax. Don’t hurt your spine with the stiff act you are putting up. Nobody is going to disturb you while I’m here. Nobody.”
“Thank you for that assurance but you see, you are not Davido and I don’t need assurance.”
Xander laughed. “And what would Pastor say if he were to find out you know Davido’s song?”
“All melody belongs to God, Pastor Xander. That is what Pastor will say and he would also preach to you about the dangers of gossip.”
“I’ll be over there ma’am.” Without another word, he walked away.
So I’m now “Ma’am” because he wants to go and chill with fine girls?
She was jealous and she knew it but the pride that was currently seated on her shoulders wouldn’t allow her say. Instead, she concentrated on reading two lines of course materials for the time being.
“You are doing it again!” Deola’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “Here I am pouring out my relationship woes and you are in the Bahamas with Xander. In your head.”
“Sorry nau,” Gracie pacified her friend. “I couldn’t help but remember how I started out with Xander. What did you say again?”
“I said Kay just called to ask where I was and he’s coming over to meet us…I presume he wants to see you so he can tell you how I’ve joined bad gang so let me just tell you now that I want to attend a birthday party in KD on Saturday but Pastor Kay said God will not be glorified.”
“So it wasn’t about his pounded yam over pizza preference then?”
Gracie shook her head. “When will you settle down Deola? We could all attend Worshippers Circle on Saturday you know. Spend time with Bae in Heaven with Bae on earth. How about that?”
“You can go with Kay, be his chief protocol officer. I’ll see you guys in Church on Sunday.” Deola was adamant.
“Speaking of whom…” Gracie said as she pointed at the entrance to the restaurant.
Kay had just walked in and was headed straight for where Deola, hands clenched and jaw twitching.
Episode 6 comes up next week.