Previously On THOSE AWKWARD MOMENTS: Two weeks after the whole cinema debacle, Jude visits Kevin’s house and kinda sorta confesses his feelings for him. But everything goes south when some armed robbers attack. And guess who saw it fit to out himself to a homophobic thug with a gun – JUDE!
And that’s pretty much all that happened in Episode Two. Oh yeah! And two shots were fired…
With everything that had just happened, all my damaged mind could do was wander back to October 9th, 2011. This was the first time I attended a traditional wedding, and I was just 18. I didn’t really know the couple, but my mum did. Why she thought to take me – her dainty, ajebo son – and not the other three girls she had was a mystery to me.
I wasn’t having any fun. The MC was trying too hard and failing, the bride’s makeup was too much to look at, the groom kept on frowning like the marriage was forced on him – and I certainly didn’t want to be reminded of something I may never have because of how I love.
I managed to sneak my Harry Potter novel into the celebration and sat far back so no one (especially Mummy Dearest) would notice me. But my plan must have failed because not more than ten minutes after I settled into my reading, I heard a boyish voice from behind me say, “Is it that boring?”
My spirit literally jumped out of my body in startle. And then, I turned back to look at the intruder. And boy, was I amazed. This guy looked like the definition of PERFECT – his eyes, his nose, his lips… Whoa Mama!
“Sorry, did I startle you?” he asked, looking really concerned.
“I…uh…I…” I tried to speak, but the words weren’t flowing. Then I finally managed to say, “No! Not really…”
“Okay, cool,” he replied. And just like that, he took the seat next to me. The Harry Potter novel in my hand caught his attention. He stared at it real sexy-like before asking, “You like JK Rowling?”
He nodded at the book. “The author – JK Rowling… You like?”
I had no idea who JK Rowling was, or that he wrote the book series I’d been reading for almost three years. But I wasn’t ready to make a bad impression on this super-hot guy, so I lied. “Duh! Of course, I like his works so much. He is a very talented man.”
“Nice. So you know HE’s a woman, right?”
A wave of mortification drenched my entire being in that instant. And surprisingly, all I could do was laugh, at myself and my pathetic attempt at impressing this stranger.
“Don’t feel bad,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know that it’s a woman who wrote the book. I didn’t know until last week myself.” He was smiling as he spoke.
“Really?” I asked, almost feeling better for myself.
“Nah,” he replied mockingly.
This guy had a sense of humour, and as bored as I was, his company was light to the darkness that was the seriously senseless wedding.
We soon began to converse, talking for a very long time, about anything that came up, like the below-average food served at the reception, the lukewarm drinks, the big lady who kept using her butt to hit people while dancing. However, what I loved most about our chat was how he said my name when he talked – ‘K-E-V-I-N’, pronouncing every single letter with every bit of care. I wanted to ravish him on that spot, but I didn’t know his name and didn’t know how to ask.
And then it happened; the groom and bride walked past us, and out of my disgust for their unimpressive demeanor, the former looking sulky and the latter looking overly dolled-up, I started ranting about how whack the couple was and how they may not last a year. I expected my new friend to join me just like earlier, but I could tell he didn’t want to. In fact, he looked angry.
“Uh, what’s the problem?” I asked warily.
“My sister is the bride. That’s the problem!”
You seriously don’t wanna know the kind of abuses I immediately began to heap on myself deep inside my mind for that silly mistake I made. Out loud, I began blurting so many kinds of apologies, before noticing the sly smile on his face. That brought me up short, and I stared.
Realizing that I’d noticed his mirth, he started laughing. “I’m just messing with you, man,” he said. “You looked like you were gonna shit your pants.”
I immediately frowned. “This guy, you’re crazy o,” I growled.
“Yeah, I know. If it makes you feel any better, I don’t think they’ll last too.”
The both of us burst out laughing. In that moment, Mum decided to show up.
“Kevin, I’m going o,” she called out as she approached.
Quickly, I rearranged my countenance into a bored expression, because if she knew I’d been having fun, she’d gloat all week long; I’d made such a fuss about not coming to the wedding with her.
Mum looked at my new friend and smiled; he did too, and then she said, “Aren’t you the bride’s brother?”
“Yes, ma,” he replied so respectfully, he looked even hotter to me.
“What’s that your name again?”
“It’s Jude,” he replied. “My name is Jude.”
“Hang in there, Jude!” I was shouting as he was rushed into the hospital on a stretcher.
It wasn’t as though he could hear me. He was unconscious.
I on the other hand was scared. Scared that my friend would die, scared that if he survived, he would blame me for everything, but mostly scared that he wouldn’t – because I already did!
I spent several hours in the hospital reception, waiting for news about Jude’s status. They were the longest hours of my life. I tried to go out to get something to eat, but I felt I didn’t deserve the satisfaction of a full stomach. Our phones had been taken by the robbers, and I couldn’t call anyone. And I was too beside myself with fear and anxiety to leave the hospital to go get anyone.
I tortured myself with my thoughts. If only I’d spoken out to tell Jude to shut up… If only I had paid attention to the peephole before opening the door to the robbers… If only I hadn’t let Jude into the house… If only I hadn’t let him kiss me at the cinema, so he’d feel the need to come see me for us to talk about the kiss… If only… If only… Overwhelming guilt ate at me.
Eventually, the doctor emerged into the waiting room, looking like he had been beat up by the guys that robbed my house. He was smiling though, which meant nothing really bad had happened. It could have meant anything bad too, but I grasped at the possibility of good news.
“How is he, doctor?” I asked, sounding a lot like a worried wife. Right then, I couldn’t care less.
“Your friend is a very lucky young man. The gunshot to his head only barely missed the blood vessels. So, he’s still alive. But I’m still running tests to see if there are any other problems. As for his leg, it’s just a minor bullet wound, nothing to worry about.”
“Can I see him?”
“Well, I wouldn’t suggest that because –“
I didn’t even wait for the doctor to conclude his statement, before I rushed past him into the ward section. I was aware that he could have had me stopped, but while I darted from ward to ward, no one came to accost me.
And then, I found Jude. My breath caught as I took him in, lying on the bed, looking disheveled, bloodied and vulnerable. Only his eyes moved toward me when he noticed my presence.
“Hey,” I said as I walked over to him. “Don’t worry, I’m here.”
I took his hand in mine and clasped it.
But Jude didn’t hold back. That didn’t bother me. I assumed he was too weak to expend much energy on much.
Then my world tilted when he opened his mouth, swallowed hard and mustered enough strength to ask in a hoarse voice, “Who are you?”
TO BE CONTINUED
Written by Reverend Hot