“Why did you bring us here again?” Abeebat asked with a smile, revealing her snowy set of teeth, while Kamil helped her sit on a step of the stairs.
Kamil settled beside her, smiling too. “At least I didn’t drag you here this time around.” he replied.
“Oh, thank you Mr.” Abeebat said, sarcastically. “Thanks for not dragging me out.”
Kamil laughed softly, simultaneously joined by Abeebat. Soon, their laughter subsided and all of a sudden, Kamil’s countenance changed like a bright day into looming storm.
“Are you okay?” Abeebat asked, noticing the change in his facial expression.
“No, I’m not.” Kamil said, looking sadly into her eyes. “I’m not okay Abeebat, I needed to feel better, that’s why I brought you here knowing I can only feel better talking with you. Please make me feel at ease Abeebat…”
Abeebat pressed her lips together, and then moved closer to Kamil, taking his hand in hers. Kamil’s breath was caught in his throat. She was way too close. He could feel her hips gracing his side. Moreover, her hands were unbelievably warm. “Have you talked to your dad?” Abeebat asked, staring tenderly at him.
Kamil sighed and batted his lashes. “Maybe. Kind of.”
“Well ‘kind of’ is a good start.” Abeebat said, smiling. “How was it?”
Kamil sighed again before talking. “Well, he said he was sorry. That he regretted everything. I’m not sure I believe him though.”
“Maybe he is truly sorry. You have to talk more with him Kamil.”
Kamil simply nodded.
“Hmm?” Abeebat pleaded, noticing his reluctance.
“Okay.” Kamil said, smiling.
“What…what about the pregnancy?” Abeebat asked, hesitantly. “Were you able to tell him?”
“It was the first thing I told him.”
“Really?” Abeebat asked, narrowing her eyes. “What did he say? How…how did he take it?”
Kamil shrugged. “I guess we all have no choice but to face reality. He knows the deed has been done. So…” He shrugged again, scratching his hair.
There was a moment of silence.
“Have you spoken with Lolade?” Abeebat asked, letting her eyes wander now. For some reason, she disliked the fact that a girl like Lolade was with his child.
Kamil noticed her discomfort with mentioning Lolade’s name. “Let’s forget about Lolade and talk about us.” He said. Abeebat turned her eyes to him, surprised at his sudden dismissal of the topic. “Let’s start with you. Who are you, Abeebat?”
Abeebat withdrew her hands from his. And immediately, Kamil felt his heart shrink. He wished she hadn’t done that.
Abeebat smiled shyly. “What do you want to know about me?”
“Anything. What are your dreams? Things you like, dislike?”
“Umm, well, I’d love to be a journalist.”
Kamil half-smiled. “Figures. You are quite outspoken, Miss.” He said, wryly.
“Oh stop it.” Abeebat retorted shyly, nudging his shoulders. She knew he was referencing to her earlier bouts with him.
“But seriously you will make a great journalist.” Kamil started, looking into her eyes with a serious expression. “You are bold and you stand your ground even when you are shaking inside. You’re fearless and it’s a great quality for anyone who wants to go after the truth and expose it.”
Abeebat could feel herself melting at Kamil’s words. The conveyance of those words by the tone of his voice was ecstatic. Was she developing feelings for this guy? No, impossible. She was not crazy. But her heart was beating faster than normal. Oh God!
She looked away from Kamil, blinking her eyes severally in a bid to get her senses together. He was going to have a child soon with another girl, so get your senses together, Abeebat felt herself nudging herself. She chuckled nervously now. “Huh. Thanks for the compliments, Sir.”
“So, tell me more. I want to know a lot more about you.”
Abeebat scratched her Shuku hairdo nervously. “Umm, before I say more about me, why don’t we talk about you?” She took her hand off her hair. “I want to know your dreams too. What would you like to become?”
Kamil laughed softly. “Well, I think I’m one of those teenagers that don’t know what they want to do with their lives yet. But, I do love to draw and I’m really interested in graphics designing.” Kamil shrugged. “I don’t know jare. But those are basically the things I love to do or have interest in.”
“You love to draw?” Abeebat asked, smiling.
“And you are interested in graphics?”
“Those are related. You are an Artist then.” Abeebat deduced. “I think you are going to become a great Artist.”
Kamil shook his head and chuckled. “Well, I guess you’ve given me a dream then.”
Abeebat clapped her hands together and tipped her head dramatically. “I guess you can say so.” Then, both of them started to laugh.
“But wait o,” Abeebat said, abruptly interrupting the laughter. “You have to show me some of your works. Let me know if you are going to be a great artist indeed or an apprentice in long term training.” cocking out her tongue funnily.
Kamil couldn’t hold back his laughter. “Sure, Miss Abeebat.”
- * * *
“So, will you tell me today?” Bimbo asked, squealing with excitement.
Abeebat rolled her eyes lazily and huffed. “Tell you what Bimbo? It’s early o. Don’t start with your prying this early morning. Abeg.”
“Come on now, tell me! I see you guys you know.” Bimbo was wriggling her brows and winking her left eye notoriously, trying her best to get something out of her friend.
Abeebat huffed again, obviously frustrated with her gossip-loving bestie. “See what Bimbo? You are annoying. Just keep quiet and let’s study for our mock exams. You know we have Maths next week Monday sha?”
Bimbo rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Please don’t remind me that we are starting mock next week.”
“Well, be reminded dear. You know, to come out in flying colours in our WAEC exams, we have to prepare well for Mock. Our Mock results will determine how good or bad our WAEC results might be. So let’s buckle up and,” Abeebat narrowed her eyes now, “quit with the ‘Kamil’ questions.”
A smile crept up to the corner of Bimbo’s lips. “Sure. Talking about boyfriends now is probably not the right time.”
Abeebat’s eyes widened in horror. Her eyes quickly shot around the classroom. “Boyfriends?!” She growled through gritted teeth as she faced Bimbo. Her friend was definitely nuts.
Kamil and Lolade kept glancing at each other. No word had been exchanged between them since the past ten minutes that they had entered the uncompleted building.
“We need to talk.” Kamil said, after clearing his throat.
“That was what you said fifteen minutes ago when you dragged me away from the assembly ground. But you’ve said nothing.”
Kamil closed his eyes and then sighed. “Are you not tired? Don’t you want to sit?” He was worried that he might be stressing her. She was pregnant after all.
Lolade seemed to smirk and then shake her head. Kamil’s kindness had always been something that endeared him to her. She was attracted to him because she was not as nice as he was. “No, I’m not.” She folded her arms in now. “Just say what you have to say. I’m cool this way.” She added, feigning indifference to his caring gesture.
Kamil nodded slowly and cleared his throat again. “First off, I want to apologize for ignoring you all these while. I was still trying to process the information and…”
“It’s okay.” Lolade said, cutting him short. “I totally understand. Just move on to what you want to say.”
Kamil let out a sharp breath. “I will still say I’m sorry. I should have acted more responsibly. You are the one carrying the baby but it’s obviously my responsibility to be there for you and the baby too.”
Lolade shifted on her position but remained quiet. “Lolade,” Kamil started. “You have to tell your parents that you are pregnant. Our final exams are lurking and…”
“I don’t need to tell them now. I’m just 3 weeks gone. And I’m very sure that I will not start exhibiting signs now; at least not until we are done with WAEC.”
Kamil moved closer to Lolade now, holding her by her arms. “Lolade you need to tell them now. They need to know now, so that you can get adequate care and attention while preparing for our WAEC exams. I know it won’t be easy at all to tell them, but you have to. They are your parents. And as mad and disappointed I’m sure they will be, I’m also sure they will never kick you out onto the streets. So tell them now. We need to make this work. We are going to parent a human being soon, Lolade. You have to open up to your parents now. I’ve told mine already.”
Lolade swallowed hard. He was just a teenage boy that had not even graduated high school and he was this prepared to be responsible for a child? She just loved him.
“I just have one question for you, Kamil.” She swallowed hard again. “If I have your child, will you marry me?” She could feel Kamil slowly release his hands from her arms.
Kamil lowered his gaze now, completely caught off-guard by her question. “Answer me, Kamil. Will you marry me after I have your child?” Lolade asked again. Her heart was thumping fast, but she herself, was unsure about the kind of response she wanted from Kamil.
Kamil heaved. He felt like he had been placed on a hot seat. Kamil raised his head to Lolade now and began to shake his head. “I don’t know for now, Lolade. I mean, I’m only 18 and our relationship has obviously been more sexual than…” His eyes wandered in thought. “What word should I use now?” He sighed before facing her again. “We’ve…we’ve never had a serious or real relationship, all we do with each other is have sex. And now, we are obviously facing the consequences. So,” Kamil shook his head in thought. “I think I will just try my best to be the best father I can be to the child even though I absolutely have no idea how. But us…” Kamil shook his head. “I don’t know about that.”
Lolade held back the tears that stung her eyes. “Do you love me Kamil? No.” She shook her head. “Do you like me Kamil?”
Kamil took a moment before answering.
“Sincerely, I like you and I think you are a good person. But truthfully, I don’t love you. I don’t really know what love feels like, but I know that I don’t love you.”
Lolade couldn’t keep the tears backs. Tears were already streaming down her cheeks.
Kamil felt pity for her, he couldn’t watch her cry. He moved close to put his arms round her only for her to jerk his arm off. Blurting amidst tears “Leave me alone Kamil!” “I’m not pregnant!”