It was just the two of them.

The doctor and the student. Just the two of them. They had tried fighting the chemistry that was pulling them together. They fought it from the moment they woke up that morning, but in the end, they went into each other’s arms and became one with a kiss.

The doctor’s boyfriend had gone for lectures in the morning. And the lovebirds knew he’d be back any moment, but lust was stronger than common sense. They were in the boyfriend’s apartment, making out on his bed while the movie Red 2 was playing on the laptop they had moved to the side.

How long did the making out last? They had no idea.

Cheating is easy. There’s no swank to infidelity. Betraying a friend is terrible. To borrow against the trust someone has placed in you costs nothing at first. You get away with it. You take a little more and a little more, until there is no more to draw on. Oddly, your hands should be full with all that taking, but when you open them, there’s nothing there.

“Stop!” the student gasped as he came up for air. “This isn’t right. Your boyfriend… my own friend will soon be back.”

He tried to keep himself away from the doctor by using con words like “fidelity” and “trust” and “integrity”, by telling himself that he would interfere with life. He tried to tell himself he was hurting his friend, hurting himself, making a spectacle of himself. He was. But nothing helped. He was possessed. The minute he looked into the doctor’s eyes, with that coy smile on his lips, he was a gone.

And unseen by the window, Fate was quietly slipping lead into the boxing glove.

“What are you two doing?” came the question from the window.

Jerking up and coming apart, the two occupants of the room looked up to find the boyfriend looking into the room from the window. His eyes were blazing. The pits of hell were a matchstick fire compared to the vortex his eyes were creating. His anger, a whirlwind couldn’t stand it.

“I’m sorry…” the student pleaded from a corner in the room, with tears flowing like a dam when the boyfriend finally came inside.

“Don’t be sorry. You’re a dog!” The boyfriend’s retort was razor-sharp. “And when you buy a gift for a dog, you’ll be amazed at the way it will dance and swerve its tail, but if you don’t have anything to offer to it, it won’t even recognise your arrival. Such are the attributes of fake friends.”

“It was a mistake. It just happened…” the student said by way of explanation. He really should have shut up.

“Earthquakes just happen. Tornadoes just happen. Your tongue does not just happen to fall into some other man’s mouth. My man’s mouth! Just get out!”

He turned to the doctor, his man. What irritated him most in that entire situation was the fact that he wasn’t feeling humiliated, or annoyed, or even fooled. Betrayal was what he felt, his heart broken not just by a guy he was in love with, but also by, as he once believed, a true friend.

“I loathe you,” he spat at his lover.

“I’m sor –”

The doctor didn’t finish the sentence. The cracking sound of the slap that struck the rest of his words from his mouth ricocheted on the four walls of the single room.

The student flinched. From fear mostly.

The boyfriend turned, went to the kitchenette and fetched a knife.

“How could you?” he raged, the hand wielding the knife flailing about.

“Baby, wait – what are you doing –!”

“How could you!”

The knife went into something soft – the doctor’s wrist. Blood spurted.

The cut wasn’t intentional. No, it wasn’t.

The boyfriend wasn’t fazed. Maybe he was. His expression was hard to read.

The friend was me.

*

I loved Jovi with all my heart. But we had challenges, especially over the age gap between us. I don’t blame him though. He was just as paranoid as I was and our mutual paranoia gave us something to talk about, something to work on… amongst other things.

I remember that day he first disclosed our relationship to a good friend of his. Jovi had just gotten off the phone with his business partner when Alice, his secretary, walked into his office with a look that was quizzical. “There’s a young man outside asking for you.”

Jovi cocked a brow while shuffling some papers on his desk absentmindedly. “Young man? Did he give you his name?”

“Yes, a very good looking young man. He said his name is Moyo Adediran,” Alice supplied as she watched her boss carefully.

Jovi smiled. “Okay. You can send him in.”

“Well, no rush. Ibidun from Marketing has already sniffed him out and is barking all over his tree.”

Jovi’s smile dimmed and he returned to shuffling his papers.

“But I’m guessing,” Alice drawled out the words, “that he’s not going to be interested in her, is he?”

Ever since Jovi and Bankole started their firm thirteen years ago, they had both shared Alice, until the workload had become too much for her. Bankole went on to employ a new secretary while Alice stayed on with Jovi.

Alice had found out about my boyfriend’s sexuality by chance. Jovi had sent an email with queer contents to her. The email was intended for his friend, and in it, Jovi had talked about his sexuality. The next day at the office, he feigned indifference and Alice simply minded her business. Somehow, the topic about the email was approached in another totally unrelated discussion and Jovi came out to Alice. Their relationship remained the same, except once in a while when Alice deliberately teased her boss.

Still refusing to look at her, Jovi muttered, “I have no idea.”

“Oh my God, sir.” Alice stepped quickly to the desk, sitting down in the chair across from him. “Tell me he’s not an escort.”

That made Jovi’s head snap up. “Oh, Dear God, Alice! Why would you think that?!”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. He is –”

“You don’t know? You’re not serious at all. Do escort services even exist in Nigeria sef?”

“How would I know? I’m a married woman.”

He grunted in response as he turned back to his desk.

“Look boss, I know your personal life is your private life. But do you think it’s wise letting him come to the office?”

Jovi looked up and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Alice, he’s not an escort. He’s not a hired entertainer or anything like that.” His face flushed as it usually did when he was about to blow up, and after working with him for five years, Alice knew the signs.

“Okay. calm down, sir. I didn’t mean to prod. I’m sorry.”

Jovi sighed heavily. “He’s…” He paused before going on, “He’s my boyfriend.”

Alice eyes popped and her mouth dropped open before she quickly composed herself. It was too late. Jovi had seen the excitement on her face.

“How did… I mean, when did –”

“We’ve been dating for two months before finally making it official two weeks ago,” Jovi interjected.

Alice’s eyes danced but before she could say anything, Jovi said, “Nope, don’t ask. Just know he’s over twenty-two.”

Alice puffed her cheeks in a bid to keep from giggling out loud.

“And it gets better.” Jovi paused and peered at her. “He used to live on my street when I was growing up. I noticed him two months before service year ended. He was fourteen years old then.” He set his hands down on the desk and said wearily, “Okay. Go ahead and let it out.”

Alice let out a short chuckle. “That’s so… Adorable.”

Jovi leaned back in his chair. “I look ridiculous, don’t I? Being with someone that young?”

They had been through a lot together. Jovi had helped deliver Alice’s second child in the office when she had come to drop some documents she’d been working on during her maternity leave. As young as he was, Alice had asked him to be the child’s godfather. They were more friends than colleagues, which was the only reason they could have this conversation now.

“Forty isn’t that old. You don’t even look it.” Alice meant that.

“You think?” Jovi asked with a sheepish look.

“I know.”

Jovi sighed.

“Do you like him?”

“He’s a really hardworking guy. He just finished service year and wants to get a business degree while working full-time.”

“While all that is good and admirable,” Alice said slowly, “you didn’t answer my question.”

Jovi sighed. “I do. I really do.”

“That’s all that matters. You need no validation from whoever has anything to say about your ‘friendship’.” She quoted the air and dropped a stress on the last word.

When Alice left his office, Jovi had mulled over her words as he closed his computer and packed his tote bag. She was right. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought. But he couldn’t get over his initial reaction when she thought I was an escort. We even laughed about it after sex that evening.

When he got to the reception, he saw me sitting quietly and grinning at my phone. We had planned to go on a date together. My treat, of course. I looked up in that moment and stood up as he approached.

“Hi, Mo. I’m sorry I took so long.” And sorry you got stuck with her, he added silently as he rolled his eyes in the direction of Ibidun, who was still staring unabashedly at me from the corner.

“No problem, sir,” I said as I offered my hand.

Jovi was taken aback, but then, he understood the little stunt I was pulling, and he took the hand I offered him. “Shall we?”

“Certainly.”

We were oblivious to car that trailed us to the restaurant. And we didn’t see the man that hid in Jovi’s apartment, who jerked off while we had sex.

Written by Vhar

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