She notices that Chris has gotten down from the motorbike and kicked it up on its stand, and has gotten down but he has made no attempt to climb to the veranda to Baaba.
Baaba has descended the steps and is standing in front of Chris.
Eyram leans on the balustrade of the porch and looks at them, and she is absolutely shocked by how rapidly her heart is beating.
Chris. Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for you for a long time.
You could’ve called my phone.
I did. Twice. You didn’t pick up.
Chris unclips his phone from his waist and pushes the power button.
The screen lights up and he sees several missed calls. The phone is on silent mode because he had not wanted disturbances during his time with Effe and Junior.
Sorry. Silent mode.
That’s okay, my love. Would wait for eternity for you. Take me inside, Chris, and make sweet love to me again.
Chris sighs and takes a step closer. He places a hand on her shoulder.
I’m sorry, Baaba. I can’t do that, not now.
She stiffens, and the joy leaves her face.
She takes a step back slowly so that his hand falls from her shoulder, and she c—s her head to one side and looks at him, and he sees the hurt in the depths of her eyes.
What are you talking about, Chris? You told me …no, you promised me that if you touched me, or made love to me, that meant you’ll be ready to take it to the next level. You told me that, and that’s why you didn’t make love to me in my apartment. But you made love to me, right there in your room, so we are a couple now. You’re the only man I’ve willingly given my body to, and now what the hell are you telling me?
Chris is evidently bothered. He looks desperately at her and goes closer to her.
I’m sorry, Baaba. You know where my heart is. I have not lied to you about that. That night we made love, I was hurting. I saw Effe and Steve in a way that made me believe everything was over between Effe and me. That was my conviction. I was hurting and I was lonely, I couldn’t control myself, I just wanted the pain to go away.
Her face is expressionless, and she watches him with eyes that are soft and impossible to read.
So, what changed, Chris? Why are you refusing to sleep with me now?
I was with Effe and my son today, and I learnt that Effe and Steve are not intimate. There’s a chance that Effe and I could work things out, Baaba! And I want to take that chance. I’m telling you all this because I care. I don’t want you to settle for less. I can choose to be with you but you will never have my heart. My heart was taken a long time ago. I don’t think that is fair to a kind person like you.
Her jaw tightens, and he sees that her hands are balled up into very angry fists.
She is breathing hard, and he sees that suddenly her face is full of sweat as if a bucket of water has been poured over her.
It disconcerts him greatly.
So, what happens to me? You f*** me and drop me like a used sanitary pad, Chris?
No, no, no, Baaba! Come on! How could you say such a thing! Something beautiful happened between us. It was at a time I was so vulnerable and lost, yes. But you must understand me. I love Effe. I’ll always love her, and until the door is finally closed, I doubt I would be able to love you the way you expect me to, the way you deserve to be loved, Baaba. It’s never been my intention to hurt you, please.
Second best, right, Chris? You want me to be your second best? Jesus, do you know just how much I care for you? I’m ready to give you everything! I was with you, day and night, inside that d–n prison keeping you alive, encouraging you, motivating you… whilst she was out here f***ing your best friend, and she never, not even once, visited you in prison! And you will choose her over me?
This is not about choices, Baaba. You knew all along that I still loved Effe. You were there, you knew. You saw my pain and you supported me. I will forever be grateful for that. I’m really sorry you misunderstood our getting together the other night. I behaved badly, I know, but I wasn’t looking for a relationship. I’m in no state to think of that right now. I just got out of jail. I’ve lost everything and until I rebuild my life, I can’t commit to anyone else. I’m really sorry. If I have hurt you, please forgive me because it was never my intention to do so.
Baaba relaxes suddenly.
Her fists unclench, and she turns her head slowly, working out the kinks in her neck with her eyes closed.
She finally opens her eyes and smiles at him, a sweet smile that lights up her whole face, making her look as innocent as a child.
She holds out her arms to him.
I’m so sorry, Chris. It’s just that I love you so much. I loved the way you made love to me, the way you touched my body. But I understand, love is powerful, and you love Effe. Hmmm, it’s okay, darling. I’ll just be your friend then.
(sighing with relief)
Thank you, Baaba. Thank you for understanding.
They hug tightly.
Up on the porch Eyram closes her eyes, and wonders why she feels that strange sharp twinge in her heart at the sight of them that close.
Baaba breaks free from Chris and walks past him.
She stumbles suddenly and falls down.
Chris approaches her, his face concerned.
Baaba! Sorry, are you hurt? Let me help you up!
Chris bends to help Baaba up.
She has not really tripped. She had just pretended, and as she sits on the grassy ground her right hand is holding a huge chunk of rock she has seen, and which had been her target for feigning a fall in the first place.
She grips the rock tightly, and as Chris bends to help her up she suddenly gives a blood-curdling scream.
Her face is no longer human. It is twisted into the most hideous of expressions, her eyes bulging, her nose flaring, her mouth open in a frightful snarl.
She brings her right hand round, still clutching the rock, catching Chris totally by surprise.
Baaba slams the rock into his left temple, and a million stars explode in Chris’ head.
It is as if he has run into a wall. She is quite a strong girl, and the blow is hefty.
Chris falls with a moan of pain.
On the porch Eyram sees what has happened and she begins to run towards them, her fear lodging in her throat.
Oh sweet Jesus! Oh dear, oh dear! CB! Oh Chris, oh CB!
Chris drops to one knee, dazed, watching the screaming girl who is now looking like a lunatic.
She is still screaming as she brings the rock down hard on top of Chris’ head, cracking his scalp!
Blood spurts down Chris’ face immediately, and he holds up a hand weakly.
Nosh, Baabish! Pleasshh, don’tsh do thatsshh! Stopshh itssh pleasshh!
I’m going to kill you, Chris Bawa! f*** me for free? No bloody way, you stupid little a—–e! You think I’m your w—e, your s–t? You’re just like Daddy….you think every p**** can be f***ed as long as you have a f***ing hard-on. Well this is one holy p**** you’re not s——g for free, Daddy-O!! Not by a long shot, you f***ing jailbird!
She drags up a massive globule of phlegm and spits on his face.
She laughs crazily, then without warning she slaps Chris, and then she tries to kick in his balls but Chris instinctively shifts his legs, and her kick lands painfully on his right thigh.
She screams at her miss, so furious that she drools spittle down her chin.
She chooses a spot on Chris’ neck, intending to smash him on the neck and break his neck.
She draws her hand back, still clutching the rock firmly, and that is when Eyram reaches them.
Eyram throws herself at Baaba, bringing her down heavily.
The rock flies from Baaba’s hand.
Like an eel Baaba screams and wriggles out of Eyram’s reach, and she gains her feet and looks at Eyram.
You’re Effe, ain’t ya? I’m gonna kill ya right here, you stupid little b—h!
Eyram is scared. She is on her knees, and she knows she is no match for this maddened girl’s brute strength.
She hears the strident sounds of an ambulance approaching, one of the hospital ambulances bringing in a case, and suddenly an idea occurs to Eyram.
I called the police, Baaba. They’re coming for you!Do you hear the sirens? You’re going to be locked up, Baaba!
Baaba’s hands are drawn back like claws, and her teeth are out like fangs.
In that instant, she looks absolutely insane.
She fights with her inner devils, deciding whether to tear Eyram to pieces or flee.
Obviously, she is scared of being caught because she suddenly gives an agonized scream as the wailing sirens of the ambulance grows stronger and closer.
Finally, she turns on her heels and begins to run away.
Eyram’s body collapses with the most profound of reliefs.
She gets to her feet and rushes to Chris’ side.
His left temple is a mushy map of torn flesh from the first blow. He is bleeding rather profusely from the wound in his scalp.
Eyram takes his arm and tries to raise him to his feet.
Get up, Chris, please. Let me take you inside and take a look at your wounds.
Chris is m0aning with pain as he struggles up.
Limping, dazed and bleeding, he moves in step besides Eyram.
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