The next day took an eternity to arrive. The soft crispy morning breeze whistled across the campus, making ghost noises. Temi stayed awake the entire night, with thoughts racing through her mind. She sat on the staircase leading to her room, arms folded and her body leaning against the concrete wall.
Mary sat by her, trying to console her. Temi was torn between the desire of wanting to be alone or having someone around but she let Mary be. Her eyes looked red and tired, but weren’t done producing tears as more rolled down her soft cheeks. Occasionally, she’d blow her nose and drop it next to a pile of crumpled tissues that had accumulated overnight. Mary was silent mostly, praying that she’d have the right words to say to her.
Temi had earlier explained everything to her amidst tears. Mary had just held her hand and let her cry. It wasn’t the time to talk. Mary wasn’t sure if she was crying because of what Usman did or because he was dead. But it didn’t matter, all that mattered was her friend’s well-being.
The next few days were hard for Temi, she couldn’t attend any of her classes. She couldn’t even get enough sleep. And when she did, she had nightmares where she saw Usman repeatedly. She woke up most times blinking rapidly and shivering intensely, with her heart pounding against her chest. Her sudden movements, loud and almost laboured breathing would alert Mary who was a light sleeper.
Mary was always there to help. She did everything for Temi; cooked for her, fetched water and even washed her plates. Every time Temi had any of her nightmares, Mary would rush to her bedside, calming her down and praying for her. Most times, she’d lay hands on her and declare words from the bible.
Temi didn’t understand most of the scriptures but they usually caused her to feel peace. Mary would stay next to her until she fell asleep again. Temi began to warm up to her because of her constant expressions of love. She never thought that someone would clean up after her like this.
This routine continued for a while until Temi began to recover. Mary finally invited her for fellowship that held every Wednesday at the school’s chapel. Initially Temi was reluctant but Mary pressed on until she agreed.
That was where she met David. A good-looking young man of average height. He was in his early twenties.
He was a 300 level student of architecture. A fire branded, Word giant in the Fellowship of Christian Students. He was the kind of person that taught the word and you’d look forward to the next time he took it. His speedy growth caught the specific attention of the leaders in the chapel.
Most of the ladies loved him because of his ability to blend spirituality with his charm. He was on the average in terms of looks but he always looked good and wore nice perfume.
Regardless of all this, He was still single and this raised hope in some of the single sisters in the fellowship. Some of them were always around him, trying to catch his attention. Others would make up an excuse just to go and talk to him.
He was sharing a scripture with a group of people when Mary and Temi walked into the chapel. Immediately, his eyes caught Temi, and they stayed there. He didn’t realise he’d stared for so long until he felt a tap on his shoulder.
“Brother David, is the Lord showing you something?”
“Oh, don’t mind me, so as I was saying, when Peter and John saw that lame man…” He continued, shaking off the topic.
After the fellowship, it was time for first timers to introduce themselves. A couple of them stood up. Temi glued her buttocks to her seat. Mary kept pinching her until she stood up reluctantly. She was a bit shy. It soon got to her turn and she spoke.
“My name is Temi Osafemi. I’m a student of Theatre and performing arts,” she said trying to sound formal. She wasn’t used to this kind of gathering. The coordinator gave her a warm smile and she relaxed a bit.
“You’re welcome sister Temi, we are glad to welcome you to this family and we hope you’re here to stay.”
“Thank you Sir,” she replied smiling.
Temi enjoyed the fellowship. She wasn’t comfortable with everything they did but she enjoyed the love shared. She made up her mind to follow Mary regularly and she did. Her life was gradually adjusting back to normal. She felt peace unlike any other she had ever felt.
But something strange was happening to her; every time she attempted to pray or study the Bible like Mary did, her whole body began to vibrate and she would stop suddenly. It was scary and she was dying to talk to someone about it. But she decided not to share this with Mary because she felt she had bothered her with enough of her problems. Mary had done far much more than she deserved.
One fateful Wednesday, Mary didn’t return early from class. It was almost time for fellowship. Temi decided to text her. She pulled out her phone, an old Nokia torchlight that was held together by three desperate rubberbands. She let out a heavy sigh and mouthed the words, “It is well.”
Mary soon called her.
“Hello, Temi. I got your text. I’m in class at the moment.”
“Ah, by this time? Doing what?”
“I’m frying fish,” she replied sarcastically.
“Haba, so I cannot ask you question again, abi?”
“Okay, I’m sorry. I have an upcoming test and I’m studying. I’m sorry I won’t be able to make it to the fellowship today.”
“Alright, let me remove this dress and save it for tomorrow.”
“Ah, for what? You should go. Temi it would help you a lot. Besides, its not everytime we would go together.”
“But I won’t be comfortable. You know this isn’t the place I normally find myself. These aren’t the people I normally hang out with.”
“Well, they are now. Please go. If it’s that bad then leave immediately it’s over, Okay? I have to get back to reading. Please cook for both of us oh!”
“You will eat that fish you said you were frying,” Temi replied jokingly and ended the call.
She pondered on Mary’s words and finally decided to go.
However, she arrived late and sat at the back seat. She planned to sneak away immediately after the fellowship. As soon as they finished sharing The Grace, a whistle blew in her head and she took off.
Just before she slipped through the door, she felt someone hold her arm gently. She turned already frowning her face, but the frown disappeared when she recognized who it was.
“Hello Temi,” greeted David, flashing her a smile revealing perfect white teeth. There were two reasons Temi took note of him. Firstly, because when she first heard him teach the word, she was blown away. Most times, while in church she usually kept herself busy with imaginations or even a novel, but his teaching caught her attention.
Secondly, because of his good looks. He knew how to dress and clean up real good.
“Hi, good evening,” she replied smiling.
“Forgive me, it seemed like you were in a hurry.”
“Oh, yes. I have something to do that’s why,” she lied. David folded his arms and raised an eyebrow at her. His body language made her understand that he knew she was lying.
“Okay, I’m sorry. I just really don’t have anyone here that I know and it makes me uncomfortable,” she confessed. David smiled.
“I understand. Do you mind if I walk you back?”
“Nothing really, its just an honest gesture,” he replied maintaining his smile. Temi scanned him with her eyes and finally saw what other ladies saw. The neatly carved haircut, prominent jawline, perfect white teeth and tight body build. His deep voice definitely left its own mark.
“Okay, no problem,” she said gesturing to the road. “But I don’t easily make conversation o!”
At first the walk began in silence, but David broke the ice. Temi soon was laughing her head off, often using David as support when she went hysterical. Temi had a soft spot for funny guys. But she refrained from saying too much. She was afraid he’d see through her words that she wasn’t as spiritually inclined as the other ladies. She felt she gave off the vibe of worldliness and it would scare David away.
Temi’s mind worked in a funny way. Being the introvert she was, she would never open up to anyone. Not even her parents have managed to get through to her. But once she liked someone, her emotions would go into overdrive. Her mind would go far into thinking of ways to impress them even when it was unreasonable. Any sign of cold treatment would send her into a fit of insecure thoughts.
She was a very dark slim girl with big beautiful brown eyes and very prominent curves, yet she was insecure about her looks. Every compliment felt like a mocking statement unless she knew you. She’d cook up scenarios in her head and convince herself that those fantasies were real and could happen. This was one of the reasons why she kept to herself. And soon, David would see why.
That night, David hugged her goodbye, leaving the strong scent of masculine cologne on her. At this point, Temi started crushing on him.
Consequent days turned to weeks, and the crush gradually was turning into an obsession. David’s ability to understand her even before she spoke made her fall deeper for him. He wasn’t judgemental about some of the bad things she’d told him about her past. But she dared not tell him about Usman. She often left for fellowship with Mary but returned with David, leaving her roommate to walk back alone. During prayers, she’d use it as an opportunity to hold his hand.
Soon Mary noticed the unusual behavior between the both of them and became troubled. She asked Temi to calm down and be cautious but her words fell on deaf ears. To Temi, Mary was just jealous. She was already in too deep with David. In her head, they were in a relationship even though David hadn’t put a label on it. She kept calling him pet names that often made David uncomfortable, but he never complained because he found himself falling for her.
David was a bit confused. He knew that this wasn’t healthy. He saw the signs; the prolonged hugs, the unnecessary overprotection from other ladies, the frequent holding of hands. But his emotional attachment to her prevented him from running away. Each time he was with Temi, he found himself having thoughts unbefitting of the Christian mind.
Soon, his prayer life started dwindling. He spent more time with Temi than in his secret place. Lust was finding its way into his life.
One fateful Wednesday evening, as usual the two roommates made their way to the prayer meeting. As soon as the meeting was over, Mary left because she had an assignment to do. As expected, Temi and David sat together talking and laughing. A voice soon interrupted them.
“Good evening o! Sorry for interrupting. Bro David, please did you bring the book?” A young man called from the gate of the chapel.
He had lent David a book that was to be returned today. Temi was already angry at the interruption and was even verbally abusing him in her head.
“Chei I forgot o!” David said, hitting his face in frustration.
“I really need it o!” The young man said somewhat sad. David felt remorseful and got up.
“I’ll dash home now and get it for you. Please don’t be offended.”
He dashed outside with Temi following him like his shadow. He observed the dark cloudy skies and predicted it would rain.
“Temi, please wait here. I just want to rush home and get this book. You don’t need to come with me.”
“Why? Don’t you want me around? Am I bothering you?” She said looking directly into his eyes. He froze. He didn’t expect that reaction from her.
“No, its just that, I don’t think its a good idea for us to be alone. Besides I won’t take long,” he begged. Temi gradually reduced her gaze to the ground in a sorrowful manner. She slowly turned away as though in pain. David saw this and his heart cut. He was about to call her back when he heard the Spirit say to him:
Put no confidence in the flesh.
He turned away to leave when he heard Temi’s voice.
“I thought you trusted me. Shebi it’s because I’m worldly abi? You’re the spiritual one na. I will tempt you. I always knew you felt that way about me. So that’s how you were going to leave me here?”
David let out a sigh in utter frustration. He turned to look at her face. His begging eyes met Temi’s adamant gaze. He finally agreed and gestured for her to come. She smiled and ran towards him.
“Lord, please forgive me,” he muttered on the way.
His house was a decent self contain.
As soon as they got to his house, the rain began to pour. David sighed and texted the brother that he’d couldn’t make it back. They both sat on the couch and began to talk. The cold wind from the storm whooshed into the room reducing the temperature of the place.
“David, I’m a bit cold,” she complained.
“Okay, let me get you something thicker to wear,” he replied. As he motioned to stand him she held his hand and pulled him back down. She further slithered her way unto his body and snaked her arms around him. She placed her head on his chest and held him tight. David gulped hard. He felt so much tension build up inside him. The kind of tension no Christian would want on a rainy day.
“Um, Temi? Do you think this is a good idea? I mean…”
“Stop jor, its not like we’re doing anything. It’s the same as hugging. Abi are you that sensitive?” She asked raising her head to meet his eyes. David’s hesitated response caused the tension in the room to rise. But his heart was pounding. He knew this was wrong.
“You’re too tensed David. Oya smile for me.” She said trying to lighten the mood. When he didn’t respond, she dug her fingers into his ribs, tickling him. David jerked up laughing and soon started returning the favour. They played and ran around until they found themselves on his bed. Temi’s body was overwhelmed with lust. David’s phone rang and he saw it was the chapel coordinator. The feeling of guilt began to rise but Temi snatched the phone from him and threw it aside. She planted a kiss on his lips and soon they both crossed the line they avoided to cross for the past weeks.
Temi came back to the hostel very late that night. She had left David asleep in bed. Mary was worried sick. As soon as Temi stepped through the door, she began her assault of questions.
“Where did you go? Where have you been? Temi, do you know what the time is? What is going on with you?”
“Mary I’m so sorry, I went to my faculty, I decided to read with some of my classmates and catch up on some overdue work.” Temi lied. Mary was clearly upset and simply hissed. Temi hugged and pecked her as a sign of apology. Mary soon smiled.
“Oya I’ve heard. Anyway I’m going to fetch water. I cooked something for you. Come and eat before you chase me in the dream. Olonje!” She said running towards the door laughing. Temi slapped her arm playfully just before she made it through the door.
“When you come back I’ll finish you, don’t worry!”
Temi sat down, served herself and began to eat. Suddenly, she felt this intense aura of impending doom around her. Her appetite was gone and her heart began to beat rapidly. She couldn’t point out what was wrong but she felt it strongly that there was something evil going on.
Mary soon walked in and saw the fear in her eyes.
“Temi? What’s wrong? What happened?”
“Nothing, I just had an uneasy feeling that’s all,” she said trying to bring the alarm she caused down.
About thirty minutes later, Mary received a call, it was the prayer secretary in the fellowship.
“Jesus Christ! How?!” Mary screamed, dropping the phone from her hand.
Her legs lost strength to carry her and she stumbled to the bunk to support her.
“What is it?” Temi asked.
“David is dead! He died coughing out blood…”
TO BE CONTINUED…
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this episode. Do drop your thoughts and comments below.
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