Writer’s Word: I want to reiterate that this is a work of fiction. All names and/or resemblance to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

Previously on DOWN-LOW

*

“I know you are judging me right now…” Martin whispered, after relaying the details of the night before to Siji.

“I am not judging you,” Siji said, his lips pursed and his gaze narrowed.

“Then what’s with the look on your face?” Martin asked.

Siji sighed and looked away. “I’m really trying not to be furious right now.”

Martin blinked and cocked his head to the side, looking at his friend in bewilderment.

“Well, I’m sorry my risqué life upsets you…” he began.

“Oh please, one drunken make-out session with a superior colleague doesn’t make your life risqué. Rest in one corner,” Siji scoffed. Then the serious look crept back into his face again. “Your boss is a rapist, and I am angry that he would try such crap with you – You! My best fucking friend!” Siji’s rage was sudden and violent. Luckily it was only a nearby pillow that bore the brunt of his angry outburst.

Martin watched the pillow fly across the room and land with a barely audible sound on the floor. He sighed and put an arm over his friend’s shoulder.

“Baby boy, calm down,” he said softly. “I was not raped. I merely got drunk with one of my bosses and we made out. That’s all.”

Siji gave Martin a look that was part scorn, part pity. “My dear, rape isn’t just forcefully having sex with someone. Rape and the rape culture is in different tiers. If somebody has sexual relations with another person while the other person is incapable of giving consent, THAT is rape.”

Martin blinked several times and drew back, suddenly afraid. Siji sighed and hugged him.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that, boo.”

“Emeka was also drunk as well, Siji,” Martin said in slight protest.

“Oh really? You didn’t describe him as hung-over to me.”

That was because he hadn’t been, Martin thought. He’d been perky and energetic. But he didn’t say this to Siji. Instead, he demurred, “I can’t describe everything nau. Nawa for you!”

“Hmmm. Well then, because otherwise, it would mean that that oga of yours planned to get you drunk and get into your pants. He is a sexual predator. Please be careful.”

Martin shivered unconsciously and nodded.

“I will…” he said softly, before burrowing into another hug from Siji.

Moments later, Siji pulled back and looked at him. “Something else is bugging you. Spill.”

Martin sighed. “It’s Ricardo. I saw him today.”

“Oh? So your Latin lover still found a way to service your engines even after you didn’t show up for dance class?” Siji guffawed. “That guy really likes you o.”

“He said he’s in love with me,” Martin said with a doleful look.

“Oh dear…”

“Yes. Oh dear!” Martin stood from the bed and strolled to the window to gaze into the rainy black night. “This wasn’t part of the plan…”

“We can’t control these things sometimes,” Siji said.

“I controlled mine,” Martin interjected coldly. “I don’t know why these boys can’t just fuck somebody without catching feelings.”

Siji smiled ruefully. “You are actually very easy to fall in love with. I don’t blame Ricardo at all.”

There was a note in Siji’s voice that made Martin want to turn around, but he stifled the urge. If he turned and saw what he feared would be in Siji’s eyes, nothing would be the same anymore.

“Is that why your boyfriend hates me?” Martin asked, still gazing into the night.

Siji sighed, the lump in his throat threatening to choke him. “Ayo is aware of how strongly I feel for you. He is afraid that it would become something else.”

Martin turned then and scoffed. “But what reason does he have for that fear?”

Siji bit his lip, and Martin began to glower at him.

“Siji, what did you tell Ayo about me? Answer me right now.”

“Fine!” Siji barked. He looked at Martin with a bashful expression. “I told him that you were the best sex I ever had.”

Martin began to blink so fast at Siji’s response, that Siji was surprised his friend didn’t take flight. Then Martin threw back his head and gave a hearty belly laugh that shook his entire body and echoed around the apartment.

“Oh my days!” he gasped, doubled over, one knee on the floor. “Are you for real? So your boo is beefing me for one night of knacks how many years ago.”

“Almost five years ago,” Siji said, still bashful.

“Wow! Nawa! You sef, why would you say that?”

“Because it’s the truth – Was actually. Ayo and I have had some steamy encounters that have topped yours and mine several times.”

“I’m thrilled for the both of you,” Martin said drily.

Siji chuckled. “But seriously though, you know Ayo and I have a hundred percent honesty and transparency policy in our relationship. Any question he asks, I must answer truthfully and vice versa.”

Martin snorted. “Una try sha.” Then he gave Siji a coy look. “So was I really one of the best you’ve ever had?”

Siji groaned and collapsed on the bed. “Please, I’m not having this conversation with my boyfriend probably listening through the keyhole. You know I am already in the dog house, and we haven’t even ironed that one out.”

Martin laughed and joined his friend on the bed, lying down and giving him a bear hug.

“I could actually have fallen in love with you when we first met sha,” he said. “If I wasn’t on the rebound from Akin…” As he said the name, the memory of that afternoon’s Facebook message flashed through his mind and his mouth turned down.

“I know, right? I had to make a conscious effort not to fall for you, because I knew you weren’t ready to love anybody,” Siji said, not noticing Martin’s sour expression. “Akin really damaged you. He’s lucky he isn’t in this country anymore, because I’d have found him and broken his head.”

“You might still get the chance. He’s back in the country.”

Siji sat up and turned a startled look to his friend, one that quickly transformed into a scowl. “And how or why do you know this?”

“He sent me a Facebook message. He said he wants to see me.”

Siji’s expression was at once dark and fearful as he leaned toward his friend, pointing a warning finger at him. “You had better ignore that message and block that bastard, because if I find out that you carried your two legs to go and see him, I will personally beat you up.”

Written by Santa Diaba

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