Since they left for Lagos, Abi’s been so nervous. She’s been busy making a silent prayer, of her staying in his house for at least a year. The girl, ever an ambituous one, was already making plans in her head:
Work as a nurse for a year, in the space of this, get a phone, save a lot of money, and go back to school―
“I was told you are quite good.” Tonye interrupted her thoughts.
“Ye-ye-yes sir.” She stuttered in reply. Quite good ke? She hadn’t told Mr. Udofia anything about the level of her skills, just her having an experience in nursing. God bless him. She said inwardly. She made a mental note to thank him later.
Tonye responded with a curt nod as he swerved the vehicle through a roundabout. Then he spoke, “Nineteen huh?”
“Hmm”. He said, then continued. “What kind of experience will one have in a space of how many years? Why nursing?”
Is this an interview? Aren’t we already going to Lagos? It’s now this one wants to do interview? Burst my brain. All these, she wanted to say.
“I’ve been into nursing, although not professionally, for about three years. And well, I love nursing, always loved it since I was a kid. Love to help people.”
Keep talking. He wanted her to. He was asking her these questions because he wanted to hear her beautiful voice. Interview be damned! Under normal circumstances, he would have interviewed her, before employing her. But mom was due to be home by tommorrow, he didn’t want unnecessary drama.
“What level are you?” He finally asked.
“What level? I don’t understand.” Abi replied.
“What year are you in school?” He asked again.
She went mute. She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know how to say that she was a nineteen year old in SSS1. It was embarrassing. It was why she had planned to write all her external qualifying exams as soon as she finished SS1, and not after SSS2 as it is normally done.
“Miss Abi?” Tonye was waiting for an answer.
“Ermmm…. Well… I’m not really in a level right now” Abi said, dragging her words.
“What do you mean?”
She couldn’t tell him she’s a village girl, of nineteen years old, in SSS1What if it turned him off? She couldn’t go back to Rhexas’. So, she lied.
“I’m a school drop out. Being out of school for a year, due to lack of funds. Lost my parents two years ago, so life’s been tough and all. So, uhmmm that’s it.” She winced at her lies. Oh God, please forgive me.
“I see. Do you plan on going back to school?”
“Yes!” She said almost too loudly. She missed school.
“Sorry.” She added. She shouldn’t have shouted like that.
“No problem.” Tonye said, smiling fondly at her before turning his gaze back to the road.
Shit! Abi almost said aloud. Her heart just skipped a beat at the beauty the smile added to his already too handsome face. He had one dimple, which made him younger than he already his. She wanted to touch that dimple. He looked too cute when he smiled. It is only out of self-respect that she didn’t lick his face like a dog.
“Anything the problem?” Tonye’s voice took her out of her riverie. Arrgh! She must have been staring at him. She didn’t know she was.
“No-no-thing.” Just then her stomach growled.
At the sound, Tonye looked at her giving her one of his boyish smiles again.
“Hungry, Miss Abi?” He said.
She was more than hungry. She and Maria hadn’t eaten last night. They had traded food for gossip and gists about how Lagos looked like. Now she was really hungry. In the space of the time she had spent during this journey, she had seen lots of hawkers with lots of snacks. She had been tempted to stop one, she just didn’t know how to tell him to stop his vehicle, that she wanted to get something to eat. For some reasons she couldn’t understand, she was quite shy around him. She didn’t want to talk except he prompted it. What if I say nonsense?
“Yes, kind of.” She finally said.
“Hmm Hmm.” Tonye said in an almost teasing tone. Then he stopped two peddlers in a gesture to get a snack and drink. He got two beef rolls and two cans of Cocacola.
“Thank you.” She said, taking one beefroll and the drink.
“Nah….just the drink, the two rolls are for you.” He said realising what she took. Then he added, “except you wanna feed me, I don’t mind.” He winked, a big flirtatious grin on his face.
Abi found herself smiling, who wouldn’t smile to that face. She didn’t reply though, not out of rudeness, but because she knew not what to say. So, she dug into her snack.
。 。 。
What have you gotten yourself into Abi? Maria asked inwardly. She needed to warn her fast. She had told him Abi was on her way to Lagos. She had had to, for the man had almost choked life out of her with his two hard palms. She couldn’t let him kill her. She had a son for goodness’ sake. She couldn’t bear not seeing him again.
I’ve always told you to get a phone! Maria yelled facing the wall of her apartment, where the stranger had dropped her off.
Everyone in Rhexas’ probably think she was out there screwing someone and getting some cash.
She sighed heavily and said a quick prayer: “Oh Lord, don’t let him find her. Please…..”