“Are you ready to leave?” Anthony asked Grace who nodded slowly. She has been quiet ever since Victoria left. He hate to think she was thinking about what the evil witch said. He was afraid to think that she had become all of a sudden scared of him.
He was happy that she had warmed up to him the past week. Helping her to read even if he knew she didn’t need his help. She was smart. Too smart. But he insisted.
This was the only way he could spend time with her and he enjoyed every moment no matter how little. It didn’t matter if he had to bend over books with her all that mattered was that he was near her and he couldn’t for the life of him lie to himself, he liked her, he liked her a lot. And he wanted to tell her… but, he knew she would run the other way and he wouldn’t want her to but yet…. sometimes he longed to hold her. Breath in her perfume…and just…just…
“Yes let’s go”! Her voice breaks into his thoughts…
He smiled getting up, he drew back and allowed her and Grace walk forward, while he stepped in line with James.
“Do you think Victoria is actually being honest??” James scratched his almost non-existent beard.
“With Victoria, You never know, but since she says she wants to apologise… let her. If she wanted just Grace to be there… Of course I wouldn’t even agree. But she said we all could come. I don’t think she would be stupid to pull a stunt again…especially when we are all there. But it’s never bad to be careful. You never know what’s up her sleeves.”… He realised he held on to Grace’s bag…and caught himself smiling broadly, shaking his head…
“Anthony, you have been pussy-whooped. And you haven’t even tasted the cookie. And you don’t even care…” Shaking his head again….. “Damn!!! I am going completely insane”!! He chuckled to himself…
“Yeah, she probably is tired of your sorry ass. It would be a good thing if she changes her skin…it’s too dark. Even her heart too” ….James says, he turns hearing Anthony speaking and chuckling to himself…having heard it…
“Yes Anthony …it would seem so. I bet it’s a good feeling not to always have things planned out and for the first time to think of a girl genuinely and smile about the silly things you do that you don’t usually do. Please, Can I snap a picture of this moment and do a reminder over drinks later?” …James askes, pretending to bring out his phone…
“Oh Fxxk off.”!!! Anthony replies, bringing out his car keys and opening the door for them.
They drove in silence while the smooth clear voices of ed sheeren and Sam Smith filled the car with lyrics of “photographs ” and “lay me down”. He left the car on as they get to Rose’s house.
He quickly checked his time, it was still early. A quick drive to town wouldn’t hurt.
Rose gots down, saying goodbye to both men as grace reached for the door saying goodbye to James and smiling weakly at Anthony who quickly touched her arms..
“Yes what??” James askes…
“Erm, Rose?” He bends forward calling Rose who bends and sticks her head back into the car’s front seat where Grace sat.
“Erm…I hope you don’t mind but I kinda want to take Grace out to town for a bit. I promise I would bring her back before say….” .. He checks his time again..
“11pm. Scouts honour”!!.
“Well.. I dunno… Rose looks at Grace who just stares at Anthony. James clears his throat.
“Am right here, why don’t you ask me instead grace asked a little flushed
“Because I know your answer. And I did ask you ….but you haven’t given me a date yet so like they say…Violence taketh it by force… so am asking Rose on your behalf…even though you are sitting next to me…because I plan to kidnap you but it’s only fair I let your friend know….it doesn’t matter if you are seated here or not. One tiny drive…we have our water – drink and you get to see the town. PH is lovely at night and I will bring you back home in one piece….I promise”. He gave his cutest smile
“B-but just you and me?? Alone?…”
His heart sank. The smile left his face. A mischievous glint in his eyes replaced it.
“Are you scared of me??”
She blushed, letting her eyes drop.
“No. I just figured…But can’t they come…Rose and James. Us four…?”
*No they can’t come because I want to hang with you alone Grace. Just talk and get to know you*. Anthony thought to himself. But instead he says..
“Er…well sure they can. Why not. Us four….yeah”! He smiles warmly resting his head, resigning to fate.
Rose squeals in delight. .
James takes one look at Anthony and reads him like a book.
“Nah….!!! I have a horrible headache. I don’t feel up to going out… why don’t you both go. We can tag along another time…right Rose?? …please do you have noodles or something….am hungry. Then Panadol? Gosh my head!!! … He taps Anthony on the shoulders and hurries out of the car and pulling Rose with him towards her house..
“B-but James…. ” Rose staggers after him pointing at the car…
“Oh headache Rose. Indomie. Panadol. .my head. Come quick!” James cuts her off, feigning it.
Grace began to protest but ended up laughing seeing how Rose staggered behind James. Anthony watched her instead. Her laughter warmed his heart. He shook his head and puts the car in drive…
“What did you tell James? To lie so you can go with just me??” She looks him in the eye. He had to laugh..
“C’mon Grace I don’t have super powers. I spoke to you here…I didn’t even talk to James about it not now nor before now” he answered truthfully. …
“Then how come he suddenly claimed to feel sick and can’t go out??”
He shrugged.. “You never know this things Grace. Maybe he does…or it just started. I have nothing to do with it…” But he bite back a laugh
“Hey relax…you would be back before you know it”!
He speeds up, He was going to take her to China town… He never really wanted to treat any girl this nice until today and he intends to make the most of it.
James flings himself on Rose’s bed and held his head. She ransacked through her cabinet and came to him with a glass of water and Panadol..
“Here, sorry about your headache. ”
He thanked her taking the drugs, when she didn’t look away he pointed…
When she turned he flings the drugs away and gulps the water…
“What’s what?” Rose turned back wondering what he meant taking the glass from him.
“Oh darn…nothing. I thought I saw a rat”
Rose heads into her kitchen to make him noodles…
“I don’t have any rat in my small house James…”
“My headache is making me see things” he replies, turning on her tv and flipping through channels…
“Btw, why do I have a feeling you were faking your headache so that we don’t go hang out with Anthony and Grace huh?” Rose stuck her head out of her kitchen
“I have no idea what you are talking about” He replied the same time a text came into his phone… He smiled and he began texting back …”No probs Antho. And I will Def collect …..” To the message’s “Thanks J. I owe you one.”
“Oh am sooo hungry Rose…”
“I ain’t your mama” Rose replies, James had to laugh.
*****Town. Somwhere in Spa****
He liked her calm exterior. Half of the time as she ate he watched her, smiling as she laughed at his stupid jokes. He didn’t want her to just take water so she settled for juice and a plate of rice, after he insisted.
“You aren’t eating” Grace observed. She wondered why he kept staring at her the whole time. It made her strangely uncomfortable. People stared at her but his stares made her feel both uncomfortable and warm all at once.There was something intriguing about him. Despite the whole bad boy tendencies that everyone screams about him… He seemed to have a sweet personality as well.
She wondered about the other girls he had been with. No doubt more beautiful and more sophisticated and wild and free compared to her. She was just a simple boring church girl who wore over-sized cloths to hide her figure that she has always been shy about.
At first she thought he just took pity on her but Rose says he never did care about what happened to other girls.
Then was it possible what Rose says? That Anthony likes her? She? Gracey?
She watched him as he laughed at something he said. Throwing his head back and laughing like a little kid. That beautiful boyish laughter and she realised that he was just as they say… “Anthony the handsome”
She wondered how his lips would feel. Or what he would look like without his shirt. His bare skin. His strong arms… what it would feel like…making love.
Grace suddenly grew warm. Her chicks turned red and she closed her eyes briefly and opened them…muttering…
A worried frown crossed his forehead
“What’s wrong Grace, did I say something wrong…am sorry if I did?”
She shook her head, turning her eyes away for a brief second, willing her burning chicks to calm..
“No of course not”
“O….oookay” he drawled, looking into her eyes as though he read something other than what she said..
She laughed nervously…”Yes I am.”.
Pushing her empty plate away, “Why wouldn’t I be??”
“Good. So…a movie?? Tarzan is showing, he leaned forward..
Grace quickly looked at her watch and responded “I think we should start getting back, don’t you think so too?”
“C’mon already? A movie is just for what.. .an hour forty-five minutes, we still would have ample time to get you back to mummy Rose… besides it’s not that you are on a curfew or something, c’mon when last did you see a movie he asked it would be fun, am sure”.
She smiled and nodded in agreement.
His smile came from within, as he watched her go off. He felt warm. Really warm and he liked that feeling. It was new, exhilarating and exciting and nothing to do with the opposite $3x’s warmth between their legs. But the pure warmth of watching the opposite $3x be free, with reckless abandon and the fact that he was causing it. He absentmindedly touched her cheeks removing oil smeared on a small part of her face
She tensed, opened her eyes in shock and jumped, hitting the table briefly and spilling juice on her dress…
He picked up the napkin on the table, runs to her side, goes on his knees… and began to dab her quickly..
“Am sorry…look how silly I am.”
He didn’t stop smiling…and didn’t stop when she tried to stop him and take the napkin away from him…
“Hey relax. It’s my fault anyway and I don’t mind doing the honours. Ssshh hey…you aren’t silly ” he reached for her jaw, raising her head to face him, fixated while he spoke to her..
“You aren’t silly. Er…a lil clumsy at times. Which I find really cute. Strangely cute. But you aren’t silly. So relax. Just a tiny stain…that erm.” He lets her face go, poured a few drops of water on the napkin and returned to cleaning her dress…
“That erm water and a little rub won’t fix”… He smiled at his work..
“Viola!! Not even noticeable at all.” He gets up, dropping a few naira bills in the payment slip. Gives her his elbow …
Graced nodded, taking his arm and standing. Realising that her dress only had a tiny dull damp. Barely visible.
“Good job Anthony. How much do I owe you …?” She teased…
“Well…it depends…..should I collect in cash or kind”? When he felt her tense… ” lol..am kidding. This one is on the house. You want popcorn…? They make an amazing popsnack ……..
Their voices fade….