Patrick had overpowered the guy he was in a scuffle with, and was now on top of him, slapping him and yelling out curse words. The other two guys were out of the SUV now, heading towards Patrick. They stopped, and turned around when they saw Ahmed approaching. All the while, Bimpe and Yusuf were still in a heated argument.
One of the guys raised his right hand in front of him at 90 degrees from his body with his palm up, indirectly telling Ahmed to stop and walk away from the scene. When he didn’t get the response he wanted, he yelled out, “Mr. Oga, I say go back!!!” He had a mean mug on his face now as he approached Ahmed aggressively, like a Rottweiler about to attack. He was about the same size with Ahmed, with big broad shoulders like a bouncer, but it was clear he was out of shape, as his tummy protruded out of the black t shirt he had on. One fast and unexpected punch from Ahmed to his nose bridge had him on the ground, rolling around, and making shrieking noises. The second guy raised his hands and took a fight stance, but when he realized his skinny self would obviously lose in a hand to hand combat, he turned around and started running towards the car.
He was about to open the right-side back door of the Land Rover when Ahmed caught up with him, snatched him by the collar, and had him flying in the air. He landed on his butt; with his mouth opened, face screwed up, he grieved in pain like a little kid crying with no sound coming out of his mouth.
Bimpe and her friend, Yusuf had stopped arguing when the first guy hit the floor, and they both had their eyes on Ahmed as he approached them now. Patrick was still by the guy he had been fighting, kicking him, and shouting out ‘freaking kid’ repeatedly as he did so; Obviously angered that someone much younger than him had had the nerve to challenge him in a fight.
Ahmed walked up to Bimpe and Yusuf, looked at Bimpe for a few seconds before turning to Yusuf and saying, “Come.” Yusuf reluctantly obliged, and the two men walked over to the Land Rover. They spoke for a while; Ahmed doing most of the talking, while Yusuf nodded. After about three minutes, Ahmed tapped Yusuf by his upper arm and walked away. By now, the two injured guys were up, and had walked over to the SUV, looking at Yusuf in confusion.
Bimpe watched as Yusuf yelled at them, asking why they had attacked Patrick. The one that had been badly beaten by Patrick had run off to get a beer bottle, and was running back to where Ahmed, Patrick, and Bimpe were standing when Yusuf shouted out, “Tiger, you dey craze? Drop that bottle.” Tiger had a frown on his bruised up face, staring at Patrick, as he rolled the green bottle under a yellow VW bug beside him, and walked over to the LR4.
“Let’s leave here.” Ahmed said and started walking off to his car. Patrick was about to speak when Ahmed stopped, turned around, walked back to them and said, “I’m heading to the University campus. We can meet at the bookshop junction.” He said and Patrick nodded at him. He took one more look at Bimpe, before walking off.
They had to bribe the guards at the school gate before they could be allowed in. The Benz was in front, and Patrick drove behind in his Space Wagon. Ahmed turned on his car hazard light as he got to the school bookshop junction, slowed down, and navigated to the car park by the bookshop building; Patrick did the same.
Ahmed put the car in park and turned to face her with a smile on his face. He had apologized for what she had to witness earlier, and she had said it was alright, but they hadn’t spoken since then. “So…I really had fun with you tonight.” He said.
“Me too.” She said but it was clear she still had a lot on her mind. She looked up and then smiled before saying. “Your girl is staring at you.” Ahmed laughed lightly before looking to his right and seeing Bimpe’s blank stare on him. “I put two and two together.” Ruth added
“Technically speaking, she is no longer my girl.”
“Well, from the look of things, she definitely doesn’t think that.”
Ahmed looked to the side briefly, and then focused on Ruth before saying, “I’ll be right back.” He left the car running, stepped out, walked over to the driver’s side of the Sienna and before he said anything, Patrick opened the door, got out, and said, “I think I should give you guys a minute to talk.” Ahmed smiled stood still for a few seconds before hoping into the driver’s seat, and shutting the door.
After a prolonged silence, Ahmed said, “I’m sorry Bimpe, I can’t see you the same way again.” She turned her face the other way and tears rolled down her eyes. She saw Patrick getting into Ahmed’s Benz, and immediately he said something, the girl in the car started to laugh. Even as much as she was in pain, a smile started to form on her face.
“I understand Ahmed. I understand.” She said, wiped the tears from her face and smiled. He was shocked and didn’t know how to react. “Friends?” She said and stretched her hand at him.
“Friends.” He said and gave her a hug.
He pulled away and was about to get out of the Sienna when she pulled him back and said, “Wait. What did you say to Yusuf back at the club?”
He smiled before saying, “Let’s just say I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.” He got out of the space wagon, leaned in on the window and said, “Take care Bimpe” before walking off. Bimpe looked into space, wondering what her ex boyfriend meant by that statement. She was still lost in thought when Patrick opened the door and got in. “So, how did it go?” He asked and she shook her head. He looked surprised and added, “Don’t worry, I’ll…”
“No.” She cut him off. “It’s okay. It’s okay this way.”
“Patrick.” She was saying and stopped to clear her throat. “Thanks for everything you did for me today.” She added.
“It’s okay.” He said, still looking shocked that at how she was handling the situation.
“I want to make it up to you. Let me take you out for drinks tomorrow.”
“All expense on me. I’ll rent an Uber and come pick you up.”
“Bimpe, it really was no biggie. You don’t have to do that.”
“I know. But I want to.” When he didn’t say anything back, she added, “Please give me the opportunity to be nice to someone that was genuinely nice to me.”
“Okay.” He said and her face lit up like a Christmas tree.
When the two vehicles got to the bookshop building junction again, Patrick went left, and Patrick drove right. The Benz made another turn to the left, and drove for a few seconds, before stopping in front of The Queens hall. Ahmed turned off the car, sighed and shifted in his seat to face her. “It’s been one hell of a night.” He said.
“It sure has been.”
“Sorry again for what you had to see…I mean the fight.”
“Oh! That was actually pretty cool.” She said and her face lit up. “You just went, chap! Pow! Bam!” Ahmed laughed at how dramatic she was while describing his earlier fight incidence.
When the car got quiet he said, “Ruth, I’d like to see you again tomorrow. Sorry, later today.”
“Umm! Well…you know what I would like?”
“Let me have your phone.” She said and he looked at her for a few seconds, wondering what she was up to. He gently pulled out his phone, unlocked it, and handed it over to her. She navigated through the phone for a few seconds, and then handed it back to him. “My number is no longer on your phone.”
“I deleted Abike’s number too.”
“Why? Why would you do that?”
“Just hear me out first.” She said and smiled. “Today was great, but it was also complicated. If you still want me after seven days, then come see me here, the old fashioned way.”
“Just seven days.” She said, cutting him off. “I’ll be waiting for you at this spot next week Saturday at 8 am.” She added.
What kind of childish game is she playing, he thought to himself. But he really liked her, so he said, “Okay.”
“Cool. I got to go now; I think the porter is by the gate.” She said and opened the car door. He got out and walked over to her side. “Seven days.” She said in a low voice, and gave him a hug. She was about rushing off when he caught her by the arm, and pulled her back towards him. They were chest to chest now. He looked deep into her eyes, slowly leaned in and kissed her passionately.
When he pulled away, she stood there stunned, looking up at him for a few seconds before turning around and slowly walking off to her hostel gate. She turned around just before stepping in, with a smile on her face, she rose up seven fingers. He smiled back at her and nodded.
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