Written by Ed..
There were at least a two-dozen empty beer cans scattered around the room, on the floor and on the furniture. Plastic cups, some half-full of beer or other, dry gin, were all over the place. A large wet spot on the floor marked an empty pot of ricewason the television; it was off, but the XBOX was on. Kelechi’s laundry basket had been wrong side up, and dirty clothes were thrown about the room. The mattress on Kelechi’s bed had been pulled midway off the bed frame and turned around so it sloped downward, and the bed sheet was nowhere to be seen. The whole room stunk of alcohol, rice, cigarette smoke—although smoking wasn’t allowed in the hostels, so Uju didn’t know where that could have come from—and the nauseatingfragrantodour of weed.
Kelechi himself wasn’t much better off. He was lying down on the chair. It seemed that he had managed to get one leg out of his jeans before collapsing, revealing his white boxers. One hand was pushed below the waistband of his boxers. A small pool of saliva marked the chairheadrest under his mouth. He was sleeping like a log of wood, and he made no response at all when Uju entered the room.
Ujucombed the room for a clean glass or an unused plastic mug and found nothing of the sort. She ended up rinsing out the least-full plastic mug she could find and refilling it with water. She gently woke up her boyfriend and offered him the cup. He accepted it thankfully and finished it in one long drink.
“What happened last night?” Uju asked.
Kelechiflinched at the sound of her voice and replied, quietly, “I am not sure. Dele brought over some alcoholic drink, said we should invite some persons over. I didn’t know any of them. And I had too much to drink.”
“That is obvious and it’s going to take at least, a day to clean this mess.”
Kelechi sat up a bit straighter and looked around. He seemed surprized by what he saw. “I don’t remember cooking rice.” He pulled his trousers up and tried weakly to clean up his hostel with Uju, but his hangover made it hard for him to work.
Uju took pity on her boyfriend. “You should have yourbath and get yourself cleaned up; I’ll relax in here before my lectures. I’ll try to come by this evening too and check in on you.”
Kelechi nodded, and then immediately gasped again as the movement worsened his headache. “Thanks a lot, darling. I’ll do that. I may take time in the shower, so just let yourself out whenever you need to go.”
Uju spent about thirty minutes getting the worst parts of the untidiness under control. She put Kelechi’s bed back in place, threw out the pot and most of the smaller items, and opened a window to ventilate the room. Kelechi was still in the shower when she left.
That evening, Uju headed over to Kelechi’s hostel to see how he was feeling. They had been chatting all day, and he said he was fine, but she wanted to see with her own eyes. But as soon as she entered the lobby outside his room, she heard loud music booming out of one of the rooms—it wasn’t loud enough for her to make out the song, but it was loud enough to be noticeable. She had a hateful feeling in the pit of her stomach as she walked down the hall and the sound grew louder.
Sure enough, the music was coming from Dele’s room. It must have been easy to hear in Kelechi’s room, too, and it was probably worse than in the hall. With Kelechi’s hangover, it might have been physically painful. She decided it was time to do something about Dele’s behaviour, and so she knocked on his door.
Dele opened the door on the third knock. He was wearing a pair of tight trousers with the top button opened and nothing else. Uju was dumbfounded for a moment as she took in the image of Dele’s muscular chest; she knew he worked out, but she never realized how well developed he was. His expansive chest had a light brushing of dark hair, forming a trail that led down to his six-pack abs and then lower still to disappear under the waistband of his trousers.
When she gave wayto reality, Uju realized that Dele was giving her another of his annoyinggrins. Uju glared at him. “Oh, Smallie how nah. You forget him room?Or you come visit me?”
Uju let out a small hiss. “I want you to make an apology for what you did to Kelechi. You got him drunk and disorganised his room on purpose, didn’t you?”
Dele held up his hands, palms out. “I bin wan dei friendly ni. I for no even show if no be you wei—Kelechi talk say nah you bin wan invite me. No be my fault say him drink too much.”
Uju wasn’t appeased. “He’s understandably smaller than you, and he’s not a drunkard like you clearly are. You should have lefthim alone.” As she spoke, she push her finger at his chest furiously. When she made contact, there was a delightful, electric sensation that went down her finger and directly to her Kittycat.
Dele was firm and muscular; there was barely any give when she pressed her finger into his chest. It was so unlike Kelechi; he was soft (“conceding” was probably the best word). Uju was stunned; she let her finger trail down, following the path of his hair, until she reached his navel. Then she withdrew.
They stood there in the hall, music booming from Dele’s room. Then Dele spoke. “See ehn, you suppose come inside instead of to scream scream for lobby” He stepped to one side to allow Uju to pass. His room was similar to Kelechi’s, but simpler; Kelechi had put up a few artworks and framed pictures (mostly of Uju, or of him and Uju out on dates). Dele’s walls were undecorated and white. The room was cleaner than Uju expected, given how he and his friends had destroyed Kelechi’s place. But on a second thought that made sense—why mess up your own room when you can go next door and cause trouble?
Dele closed the door behind Uju and sat down in his desk chair. Even seated, he could comfortably look Uju in the eye without angling his head. He reached over and turned down his music, so he and Uju could speak normally.
“See ehn,” he began, “No be my duty to take care of your boyfriend. If him no wan party with me, make una come to a reasonably agreement. Nah him cause everything, If he him no fit handle life, if for no commot from him mama womb at all.”
Uju still wasn’t pleased, and she started to distrust her wisdom in coming here. “Fine,” she said. “But do you have to loud that music right now? He’s hung-over, and he already missed one day of lectures. You’re not helping.”
Dele considered Uju’s request. “Okay o, I fit stop to dey play my music for the night. But you dey ask for me for a favour. I go need something in return.”
If Uju had been thinking clearly, she might have left the room right then, and that might have changed everything. But her emotions were flowingroughly—anger, mixed with lust and taintedby a bit of fear, made her stay. And she couldn’t help but be distracted by Dele’s body and raw animalistic appeal. In these close quarters, she could even perceivewhiffs of his smell, anaromaticmanly smell that brought to mind images of primitive hunters in theearly forest. So rather than leave, UjuindulgedDele. “What do you want?”
Dele shifted his weight in the chair, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees and bringing his face close to Uju’s. Speaking just loud enough to be heard over the music, he said: “I want make you show me your body.”
Uju froze in place, like terrified prey, and withelated emotions and wild heartbeat. “Wh… what do you mean?”
“You go strip for me. You wan do am, and you sabi am. You dei show of yourself for me for gym every time. You wan make I notice you. I don notice and I wan more.”
Uju willed herself to move, but something seemed to be holding her feet to the floor. “No… I haven’t… that’s all in your head.”
Dele stood up and stepped close to Uju—close enough for her to feel his warmth, even though he didn’t quite make contact. His mouth was level with her ear. “True? I sabi say this idea dey turn you on. Me no talk say make you cheat. You no need dey Unclad—just remove that your top and shorts, then dance for me small, and I go torn down the music for your poor darling the next room.”
To Be Continued…