SIX – 5

SIX – 5

The press conference was about to start.

The media was already snapping their teeth, latching on to the seedy reports flying around about Kareem’s sexuality. Even the Nigeria Football Federation was supposedly having talks about letting him go due to this scandal, a reaction based on no substantial evidence and plenty of speculation. No concrete investigation had been carried out to determine the veracity of the speculation, not that any was even required. The TV stations were already expectant that Kareem Wihu, the international football star, would come clean about his sexuality.

Blogs and social media users were agog, bandying about talk that the footballer’s sexuality, if he came clean, could change the face of LGBT in Nigeria. Many Nigerians online were raging for Kareem’s resignation letter, forgetting the footballer scored several goals for his nation’s football team, which had earned them the champions of the AFCON cup, three times, back to back, since he joined the team. His success and philanthropic nature had become a selectively forgettable thing of the past.

The international football community, especially his football club, was showing its immense support by not offering any statement, until Kareem gave the go-ahead.

Forgotten were the country’s dire situations. Kareem’s sexuality had taken centre-stage as the occupants of the room listened to the PR official for the National Team give the preliminary speech. There was a long table set up with microphones at the front. The room was packed with every form of the media, from the newspaper, television, radio and the blogosphere. There were football fans crowding in the room too. The atmosphere was tense with a mixture of simmering outrage and rabid pleasure. There didn’t seem to be any face in the audience who was rooting for the footballer.

The silence grew even tauter as he emerged. I was behind him, along with a very prominent lawyer and another colleague from his football club, Eduardo Miller, in tow. The silence lasted a split second before it was shattered with the chaos of hurled questions and camera flashes. Eduardo’s presence was a stunt I had come up with. He was married, had twin children born via surrogacy, and was close friends with Kareem, and much recently, myself.

I wanted to be there for Kareem without outing myself either. He had said he could only face the world if I was beside him while he gave his statement to the press. We couldn’t think of any solution until Faramade came up with the idea that I should be the only media personality to ask him questions after he’d given his statement. It would boost my career, give Kareem the confidence he needed, boost my show’s ratings and give my radio station the much needed local and international coverage we’d ever received. To begin with, the press conference was holding in the radio station’s conference room. It was brilliant plan.

“Hello, Kareem,” I started after order had been restored and we were seated.

He gave me a small smile. “Hello, Peka.”

“Thank you for being here tonight,” I said, wondering at how surreal it was that I was being so professional when all I wanted to do was reach out to him and hug him, protect him against the glare of all this unfriendly publicity.

“Thank you for having me,” he said with a small chuckle.

Under the table, hidden from the attentive gaze of the press, our legs were touching each other, my left leg pressed against his right. I didn’t even know when he made the move. I pushed my leg in, pressing against his in a silent show of support from me to him.

“So straight to why we are here,” I said briskly. “I’m told you have a statement you’d like to read.”

“Yes. Yes, I do.” He offered another smile, but his eyes weren’t twinkling like they usually did.

“Alright then, the floor is yours.”

“Thank you.” He turned to face the cameras. There was no teleprompter, no written notes. What he had to say, he would say from the heart. “Hello, everyone, thank you for being here on such short notice. As you well know, there’s been so much speculation going on about my sexuality. First of all” – he cleared his throat – “I want everyone to understand that what I do in the confines of my home as an adult and with another adult who is consenting is my business and nobody else’s. I was raised to keep my life private and while I’d have preferred it to stay that way, here I am, in front of all of you. And because we Nigerians aren’t really ready for most truths…” He paused.

The silence in the room tautened.

I pushed at his leg slightly to let him know that I was with him, body and soul. He pushed back his appreciation.

Then he continued, “I’ve come to you today to tell you my own story directly, rather than let rumours of certain members of your fine profession continue to abound.” He took a long breath. It seemed the entire room was now biding the moment he would say what they wanted to hear. Some of the press people were probably already crafting the headlines they would use to immortalize the moment. “I will not hide away from the truth. I will answer the questions posed at me. But before that, I will want the world to know that I am…”

***

SEVERAL MONTHS BEFORE…

The kiss took longer than expected. It certainly was not the kiss of a man testing the waters. Kareem knew what he was doing, expertly playing with the tongue, teeth and lips. A nip here, a lick there. I was a goner the second he claimed my lips, and we both knew it.

When we stopped to get some air, we were panting, slightly of course. I could feel his heartbeat where my hand was. It was going fast, an echo of mine. I wanted to say something, but what could I say? My eyes, which had fluttered shut with the touch of his lips and had fluttered open when we broke apart, were as large as saucers. It suddenly dawned on me that I had kissed someone who had annoyed me constantly for weeks. Above all, I had kissed a major celebrity, an international star.

The enormity of the intimate moment crashed down on my bearing and my legs began to tremble, threatening to give from underneath me.

Kareem’s hands tightened around me, holding me up, supporting me.

“My place,” he husked. “Let’s go back to my place.”

And just like that, he ruined the moment. The music from the party outside was still very loud. The magic was starting to evanesce with the bold intrusion of his words.

“What?” I asked.

“My place,” he said again. “Let’s go finish this at my place.”

“I don’t understand.” I honestly didn’t understand. I was mentally blinking my way back to the present.

“Come on, Peka. Let’s go back to my place.”

“For what exactly?” I said, suddenly realizing what he was saying and feeling the familiar rush of annoyance surge through me.

“You’re not a baby nau.” He paused, then ground his crotch against mine so that I could feel the strength of his hard-on. “For us to have sex.”

Wow!

“Wow,” I said out loud. I didn’t know what shook me more: the kiss I was still reeling from or his brazen presumption that he had me all sewn up, I could see nowhere but his bed to go to next.

“What is it?”

“Water and garri,” I hissed.

He sighed. “Come on, man. We are adults here.”

“And that automatically means I’ll have sex with you because you kissed me?”

“You kissed me back,” he protested.

“And I suppose, in some cultures, that must mean that sex is a foregone conclusion?” My sarcasm was rich and unmistakable.

He pushed away from me, and for the first time since our encounter that night, he didn’t look so genial anymore. The beginning of a frown was etched over his brow. “What’s with the attitude?” His voice went up a decibel. “Don’t bring that shit –”

“Attitude?” I cut him off swiftly. “Dude, your dick is not big enough to catch an attitude with me. And you better lower your voice.”

“You’re unbelievable.”

“Unbelievable?”

“Yes!” he said in a vehement loud whisper.

“Well, you need to get your head checked,” I shot back.

“Don’t insult me.”

“I shouldn’t insult you?” I reared my head back, incredulity mingling with my anger. “What would you call asking me to go back to your place with you? A compliment?”

“Consent.”

“That was consent? You asking me to go back to your place to have sex with you because we shared a kiss is consent? Are you serious right now?”

“You know what, forget it,” he hissed. “Forget anything happened here.”

“You didn’t have to ask,” I snarled back. I was angry and I didn’t even know why I was.

I turned to leave the room but he caught my hand.

“Please, don’t tell anyone,” he said.

I looked at him. There was a grudging plea to the words he’d just spoken. I was at once disappointed that our kiss – something that could count as one of the most explosive moments of my life – had been reduced to a shameful secret that must be kept, slightly offended that he felt he couldn’t trust me to keep this to myself, and understanding of the stakes involved. I could see the look on his face in the dimly lit room. He had a lot more to lose because of his recklessness in this party.

I nodded once, took my hand back from him and left the room.

Written by Vhar

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10 Comments

  1. Mandy
    May 22, 07:22 Reply

    Lol. I talk eet! Peka is just an ogbanje. After a steamy kiss like that, you still have energy to give attitude.

    And Ooooohhhh! What a “How to get away with murder” thing to do, starting with a cliffhanger and walking us back to the past. Nice Vhar. 👏👏👏👏 Very nice.
    Two questions : Who outed Kareem? And what did he tell the public?

    • BRYAN PETER
      May 22, 11:33 Reply

      Well, a kiss doesn’t automatically means consent to sex. He probably wanted to get to know him better, have more nice romantic moments that would culminate in sex. Its quite misogynistic to assume oh I’m the top, I’m a celeb, star footballer, I kissed you, made your knees go week, ngwanu lets forget all about the fact thay you exacrlt like me and lets go back to my plaxe and shag. Assume much?
      And I love the whole tell the story from the end thingy here. Awesome read. Can’t wait for the next part.

  2. Ria
    May 22, 07:40 Reply

    I have never been more grateful about the fact that we will be getting two episodes this week, as I am right now. Whew! Talk about a double cliffhanger. But really tho, Nigerians know how to show themselves even in fictional stories. Imagine totally ignoring all the goals and glory Kareem had brought to them, all because he is gay. Stupidity at its highest. Smh. Also, am I the only one who could hear Peka’s father screaming at him to say yes and finally get his groove on???? Really??? Only me???? Okay then.

    Tuh. Vhar, thank you for another amazing episode as always. We eagerly await the next phase in our torture 🙏🏿.

  3. Francis
    May 22, 09:09 Reply

    😂 😂 😂 I want to be sassy when I grow up

  4. Mitch
    May 22, 10:00 Reply

    Why does Peka strike me as someone who has been burned one too many times by the love/sex/feelings bullshit?

  5. Tristan
    May 22, 10:19 Reply

    Kareem got Peka real good. That’s why Peka gets so defensive and puts up the attitude.
    Been there, done that, it’s only a matter of time now.

  6. Jay Armstrong
    May 22, 15:35 Reply

    Peka…. Bitch get laid already. The cobwebs your tushi is accumulating dear… Is it worth it? 😪😪😪

    #fromAnAngryThirstyHo

  7. Brazyne
    May 22, 17:53 Reply

    Everyone is different nau…some people are difficult, others are not… With the things I’ve seen(Tops ehn!!!) I think I like Peka like that.

  8. Delle
    May 22, 18:14 Reply

    I love this series. Please, keep it coming, Vhar.

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