Grace sat in the student`s common room watching some movie that she had not really paid attention to. Only the pictures moving about the screen made her mind find some easiness on the tension she had been feeling earlier. It had been a busy semester which was almost coming to an end finally.
Things had not been so easy in terms of school but she had worked so hard her inner most desire and her prayer was that her efforts would finally pay off.
“I have moved all campus looking for you, I never guessed you could be hiding here” a voice called out and she sharply turned looking at who it belonged to.
“Junior” she sighed shifting in her seat to save space for him to sit next to her.
“Hey! You look tired, are you okey?” Junior asked sitting next to her.
“You bet I am, I had a long chain of tests the past week and am so exhausted. It being a Friday I thought of sitting here and watch some TV. Dingile has gone to spend the weekend at her cousins in Avondale so am all alone. What is going on with you? Heading somewhere?” she asked him seeing his back pack on his shoulder.
“Yep. Am tired too and want out of this place for the weekend. I decided to take my cousins out as I promised them last time. They will be dropped by my uncle soon” he explained
“Wow, I envy you. I wish I could take that break too” she laughed softly without really meaning her words.
“Well, it’s done, let’s go” Junior announced cheerfully.
“What? No, I mean I was just saying junior come on, I cannot just interrupt some family outing like that” she smiled shaking her head.
“Yeah why not, it’s just two young people a girl and a boy, they are funny and you will like them. We have been friends for over 5 months now my dear. It’s no big deal” he added to convince her.
“Um, I don’t know Junior, it doesn’t feel right at all, what I will even be talking about with you guys. I promise to come with you next time but this one I will pass” she argued
“Am not taking no for an answer, go to your room now, change into something appropriate and let’s get going Grace” he ordered faking to be serious.
“You are unbelievable” she frowned putting her legs down from the bench she had sat on.
Junior watched as she headed to her room to change. He felt good around her. It was that natural connection he felt attracting him to her that he could not explain. His friends had been accusing him of having some close relationship with Grace. He got tired of arguing about his true feelings to them so he let them think whatever they wanted to. He could not let days pass without seeing Grace and sometimes would move about campus the two of them hand in hand. For some reason none of them ever mentioned anything intimate to each other and they both seemed comfortable the fact of being just friends.
“How do I look?” Grace asked startling him he smiled standing up.
“As beautiful as an angel, now am jealousy” he teased holding her hand.
“What? Jealousy? That’s a start, the mighty handsome junior jealousy of me?” she laughed as they walked out the hostel to the car park.
“so, when is this uncle Ben of yours dropping his kids?” she asked wrapping her hands around herself as the weather felt a bit chilly on her skin, she wished she had taken something to pull on top of her sleeveless splattered dress.
“There he is” junior responded pointing at a ford ranger driving into the park in front of them.
“Come on lets go say hi” he held her hand and led her to the car. The moment Ben saw his nephew walking towards him he pulled down the windows and before they could even get down Grace saw a boy of about 13 and a girl step down running towards them.
“Easy guys!” Junior who the kids where hugging shouted with a laugh.
“I missed you J” The girl Grace suspected to be Mapalo from the stories she had heard from Junior about his cousins shouted excitedly.
“And who is this beautiful lady? Your girlfriend” Isaac asked smiling at Grace she looked down shy. In her heart wishing that were true since she had come to love Junior more than the friendship they had, though she vowed to never tell him a thing till one day he would start that ball rolling.
“Hey guys behave” the elderly man came out of the Car and Grace quickly looked up at him her heart skipped a little bit she didn’t understand why. She told herself maybe it was the fact that the man was so handsome even when he looked order than her by far. He was around 40 from what she had heard but at the moment she could argue he was 10 years younger, his skin was so smooth and tender his face so calm with a well shaved moustache.
“how are you young lady, you must be Grace?” the man spoke and for a moment she froze in her steps realizing that his voice sounded so familiar, like one she had heard more than once in her life.
“Am fine thanks Sir” she responded with a smile.
“Grace as in Grace?” Isaac asked making his father look at him warningly Grace saw the boy must have struck something in his father only she had no idea what.
“Don’t mind him. I had a daughter by that name years ago” Ben responded and quickly changed the topic looking at Junior and handing him some money.
“Well, guys, just let me know when you done with your outing, am coming to pick you up” he told them mostly looking at Junior who nodded his head.
“I was hoping you drop us at Arcade’s uncle. I mean I decided to let these guys watch some movies first” Junior looked at Ben.
“well, if that is the case then hop in, I need to get back to the office before 17 hours” he walked to the driver’s seat and Grace who`s heart kept pumping fast followed everyone in the car. Not that she was coming from a family that was poor, but there was some class to Junior’s uncle that struck her attention. The neatness and sweat scent of the car seats made her feel relaxed the moment she sat down. Junior was in the front seat and she had to sit with the two siblings who kept picking on each other. In the few minutes they travelled from the campus to arcades they had argued about 3 or four things but Grace found them fascinating.
“Enjoy your outing guys” Ben shouted from the window when everyone was out of the car.
“Nice to meet you Grace” he smiled at her and she responded watching him leave.
“I told you he is nice” Junior spoke up making her realise they had to start moving to the cinema room.
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Mapalo and junior walked in front whilst Isaac stayed back keeping pace with Grace and chatting softly like he was a gentle man. Quickly Grace connected his ways to his father. the boy not only resembled his father`s beauty he was so calm and composed too she knew even the fights he was having with his sister were started by Mapalo.
They walked into the cinema wall after buying some popcorn and Junior excused himself leaving the three seated in a row.
“Am coming Grace” he told Grace before leaving.
“Yeah sure” she nodded and sat silently.
“So what was that about Grace?” she laughed interrupting whatever Isaac was he was telling his sister.
“Well, it’s a sad story in our house. Apparently my little sis doesn’t know about it but as an older child of the family, you know dad tells me things” the boy smiled with clear pride he even raised his voice to make his sister get him.
“See, he is the one that starts me” she winced like a baby and they all laughed.
“I know the story too” she added with so much conviction.
“Mom told me that Grace was our elder sister. She died in a terrible accident mom doesn’t like talking about it.” She explained and Grace felt sad about the story.
“Am sorry guys I didn’t mean to….” she apologized.
“it’s okey, it was many years ago anyway” Mapalo added but Isaac cut in…
“Many years ago but for mom it is like yesterday, sometimes I feel like she cannot love us as much as she loved her.” The boy shook his head.
“Oh come on Isaac I don’t think that is the case. How is that even possible? It’s just that it hurts to lose someone you love. She loves you both am sure even though I know her not” she tried to console the boy.
“Well Grace have you ever lost anyone before?” Mapalo asked innocently.
“Yeah I lost my aunty a few years ago. I loved her so much and she died. So yeah I miss her a lot but that doesn’t mean I cannot love others around me” she explained in the simplest way possible and Isaac nodded his head she saw he was good with understanding things.
“Yeah am sure you are right” the boy shrugged putting some popcorns in his mouth and looking forward at the screen in front of them. Grace took time watching the kids in silence. Something about them seemed to get to her heart and she sighed sitting back, feeling glad she agreed to go out with them. There was evidence she was going to enjoy their company.
“Hey guys am back” Junior sighed pushing himself into the rows and Grace looked at him with a smile.
“Where did you even go? You almost missed, the movie is about to start” she giggled handing him a pack of popcorns and he deepens his hands grabbing his handful.
“You really want to know?” Junior teased and she shook her head getting his point already.
“Yeah you had to wait to come to the mall huh?” she teased back with a laugh and the two of them laughed making Isaac shush them as the movie had started. She looked at him, placed her forefinger on her lips and smiled as Junior nodded to agree to silence too.