TROUBLE VIII

When I’m assured that he’s really gone this time, I allow myself to come apart. In my crouched position, perched on the tips of my toes, my face is inches from the ground.

I’ve heard putting your head in between your legs helps if you’re hyperventilating. Which I most certainly am not. Because it would be stupid to freak out over a guy you only met a day ago.

In the muddled mess of my emotions right now, underneath all the righteous anger, I’m mostly mortified. I mean, he’s right. Of course, he could have put it better, but he’s right. I heave out a sigh. Anyway, there’s no use crouching here and feeling sorry for myself.

I pull myself up and clear up the plates and dishes. Might as well clean it up so it looks like nothing ever happened. (Let’s pretend that nothing ever happened.)

As I pull my tired, weary self up the stairs (avoiding any place Bubble head Toni might have stained in drunk mistakes), I think about whether or not I should leave. Wouldn’t it be really awkward? But where else would I stay? How would I meet his eyes again? Ugh. I push those thoughts away and focus on the thought of Toni being horrible in bed. Because Lolu is still annoyingly perfect. It’s sickening.

Once I’m finally cocooned in my bed, in my comfy, pijamas and my headphones in my ears (I am blasting Pink Rabbits by the Nationals, yes I like to feel sad) I allow myself to shed one tiny little itty bitty tear. But of course, soon enough, I’m bawling and snot is dripping down my nose and I can’t breathe. Fun stuff. Crying is my stress relief, don’t judge me. Naturally, I cry myself to sleep.
***

“Hey.”

“Hey, Adure”, a sexy British voice intones, waking me up.

I open my eyes to Lolu peering down at me, with a slight frown on his face.

“You look like shit, are you okay? Did you catch a cold, or something?”

Charming. He raises his hand as if to feel my​ forehead for my temperature. I swat his hand away as I sit up.

“What?” I don’t mean for my voice to come out sharp, but of course, it is.

“Ah, well, I made you breakfast. It’s downstairs if you want some. It’s past ten so I’m not apologizing for waking you up.”

I groan and cover my head with my duvet, leaving my hand free to shoo him away.

A grin slowly forms on his face like he can’t help it. He says in a booming and theatrical voice, “Is THAT my thanks for being SUCH a gracious and accommodating and handsome and sexy and generally pleasing HOST? Surely, lady, you jest. I’ve never been so disrespected in my life.”

I flip him the bird because wtf I just woke up.

“WHY, ADURE, such uncouth manners from a young lady! Whatever would your mother say??”

I throw a pillow at his head just as he closes the door, causing me to miss. Well, I’m awake now, dammit.

I shower quickly and meet him downstairs. I check around for any sign of Bubble headed idiot (I know, my snide remarks are lacking) but she’s nowhere to be found. Lolu notices me noticing her absence and says, “What? Toni? She already left.” His voice turns hard. “I don’t make it a habit to play house with my play things.”

“Can you not be such an ass?”

He smirks. “Are you going to do something about it? Like make me pasta?”

Eyyy. That’s going too far. I understand my mistake, but rubbing in the fact is uncalled for.

I shake my head and pile some food on my plate. “I’m leaving. I’ll be out of your hair by noon, latest.”

“Oh, so that’s it? A little challenge, a little pushing, and you just run away? You’re acting like you’ve never had to deal with someone being mean to you.”

“That’s not what this is about-”

“Yes it is! You’re just hanging back and swallowing everything like a good little girl.”

“WHY SHOULD IT EVEN MATTER TO YOU?”

“Because I hurt you, dammit. And it feels like you just want to pretend it never happened.”

“That doesn’t sound like an apology.”

“It’s not, at least not yet. I want you to have a problem with it. Pick a fight with me.”

“I don’t want to, it’s not worth it.” I pick up my fork and start forking some food in my mouth.

He sneers at me in disgust, over the rim of his apple juice, and picks at his eggs and bacon. Why did he even bother to make breakfast for me if he’s going to act like a little bitch?

“Maybe I shouldn’t have shot you down so fast yesterday. Since you’re so good at laying back and taking it, I could have had you for seconds.”

I wasn’t even aware I’d stood up until my hand is landing across his face. He stares at me in shock, his eyes wide and mirroring my own. I’m hardly violent (I would probably die if I was, lol), but there are limits, LIMITS. Anger replaces the shock. How dare he?

“How dare you? Who do you think you are? Talking about women with that tone and that look on your face. Acting like you know it all. What, you think there’s something wrong with me? That I can’t stand up for myself? You don’t KNOW me. Your mother would be ashamed-”

He cuts in softly, “Don’t bring up my mother.” He breathes in, he breathes out. Touches his cheek. It’s at this moment I realise I’ve never seen Lolu look actually serious. I’ve seen him around campus a bunch of times and he always has this playful glint in his eye. It’s scary to finally see.

He looks up at me. “I’m sorry. Forgive me?” The emotions in his eyes show me he is absolutely sincere. Well, there’s nothing else to it. I sit back down, all the anger gone, feeling like a deflated balloon.

He touches my hand, “I really am sorry, I crossed a line. I just really wanted to get a reaction out of you. I’ve seen you around, yes, I see you watching me-” He winks. “- and you always have this superficial look to you. You’re happy, yes, but textbook happy. Like you live in this bubble. Like it’s a mask. And I know a thing or two about masks.” He pauses, takes a deep breath. “Yesterday was unacceptable. I could blame it on a number of things but the bottom line is that I hurt you. That is not okay. But I don’t want you to run away from this. Don’t leave.”

Well. I feel a bit overwhelmed and I’m not sure what to think. It’s weird to know that someone has been observing me so closely. But yeah, I don’t feel the need to leave anymore.

“Okay, I’ll stay.”

“Great. Let’s be good friends, Adure.”

“Sure, Lolu.”

Trouble VII

Damn. This. Boy. Will. Kill. Me.

I take steadying breaths, and try to calm my racing heart. He touched me. Put his hands allova my body. Gahhhkaksijem. I cover my face in the darkness, glad no one is around to see me have a complete nervous breakdown. Call it the Lolu Effect.

As soon as my hands eventually stop shaking, I exit the room. Looking around, I deduce that The-One-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has left the building. His keys are gone from the counter by the door. It’s just as well, I wouldn’t know how to face him after that.

I mean, there’s always been this sexy, tense aura surrounding our interactions with each other. I’m not imagining it, right? Right??

I decide to go to the kitchen to appease my growling stomach, my other hungers sated. I knew he would taste good.

As I cook, I decide to make something for Lolu. You know, in case he’s hungry when he gets back. I decide nothing overly fancy, I’m not trying to get the boy to marry me, obviously. (Crossing my fingers!) Pasta in sauce with some cheese on top should do.

As soon as I’m done, and have dished everything out, I check the time. I discover is it already past 9, and wonder when Lolu will be coming back.

I set the table all nicely, with a vase of flowers from the garden and a solitary, lit candle. I’m feeling quite proud of myself when the door clicks open.

I don’t know why, but the first thing that registers is the giggles. They are high pitched and annoying. Next comes Lolu’s voice.

“You never shut up, do you.” Lolu asks, his voice still annoyingly sexy. He wraps his arms around her as it seems she has difficulty walking straight.

The annoying girl speaks. (So, she has a brain.) “Ohh myy, I am soooo druuunk rihht now”, she slurs. “Why’d you let me have so muchhh?” Another giggle escapes.

“Well, love, so that I could get you out of your clothes and into my bed easier.” He flashes a cocky grin.

They finally look up and notice me, gaping at them from the kitchen.

“Oh, hey, don’t mind us.We’ll just go upstairs and let you get back to whatever it is you were doing.”

He notices the food and elaborate set up.

“Were you expecting someone?”, He raises one eyebrow.

I finally find my voice after a hard swallow.

“Yes, but they didn’t show. Sorry I couldn’t ask for your permission first.” I reply.

His eyebrow goes back down. “It’s okay, it’s not like I’ve been around for you to ask. I mean, I left immediately after we…” He trails off. He looks again to the set up on the table.

I see the moment he realises. His face goes still and his mouth forms an Oh. It’s like the light bulb goes off in his head and his mouth forms a mocking smirk.

He turns to the bumbling idiot besides him, “Go ahead love, wait for me upstairs.”

At this point my mortification is supreme. I don’t think I could get anymore embarrassed and my heart will not stop thudding. Anything I try to say will probably come out as a meaningless stutter.

I keep my gaze on the wall behind his head as he begins to talk.

“Look, Adure, what happened was just me being horny and not thinking. I can’t believe you thought something was going to happen though. You developed a crush in like 2 hours? What are you, five? I mean, you’re cute, and I’m always up for a quick tryst, but you don’t seem like that sort of girl. I can’t believe I have to explain this.

If you’ll excuse me, I have some urgent business to attend to.”

He bundles up the stairs, leaving me to clean up the shards of my dignity. After a few seconds, he returns, looking slightly sheepish. He grabs two bowls and scoops out some pasta from the pot.

“I mean, you made it for me, right? Toni and I will get hungry soon enough.” He gives me a wink. “Thanks love.” He bounds up the stairs again without a second look back.

What an ASS.

TROUBLE VI

I woke up to the sun setting through the window. I didn’t even realise I was sleepy. Ugh, remembering my conversation with my parents makes me want to cry. They are so unreasonable. They were so uncaring about their own daughter that they did not understand why I did not want to be at the mercy of an almost complete stranger.

Well, I think part of the reason was Lolu’s family. Or his father anyway. I googled Lolu and found out some basic info about him, and when I called my parents to tell them who I was staying with, they instantly recognised his father, and deemed me safe enough. At least they had his name and address so he could be arrested.

After i’m found dead.

After a while I started feeling hungry. I wondered whether Lolu was back. If he still looked as sexy as he did that morning. There were certainly perks of being at his mercy. Gosh, I could probably write songs for that boy. I want to unwrap all that caramel goodness and take a bite.

Oh, right, I’m hungry.

Getting downstairs, I started towards the kitchen. As I passed the door to the living room, I heard some music.

Lolu must be home.

I hesitated at the door handle, then went in. It was all dark and the stereo was playing ‘omo pastor’ by ajebutter. Now, I had a problem with keeping still, and I really loved to dance. Not amazingly well, but I still liked the movement.

I was already wavering to the beat. And the stereo was really high quality.

As expected of Lolu. Probably does all his babes on that couch. Damn.

I started moving my hips, my waist, putting my hands in my hair, really feeling it. I felt Lolu walk up to me, and his hands were on my waist, and his body was pressed against mine.

We were moving in sync. I pushed my hips back, and arched my back a little. He made a sound at the back of his throat. He put his face in my neck, his mouth softly grazing my ear.

“Adure.”

He left, closing the door softly behind him.

Trouble V

Feeling clean I stepped out of the bathroom. Getting to my bag, I started contemplating what to wear. How to look great without seeming too obvious. To look like I’m in my element, all natural. Which is a very big lie cause it takes a lot for this beauty to shine. Looking through the contents, I decided on some jeans and an armless white t-shirt. With a gold collar necklace and bracelet, of course. I decided to wear my converse today, going with the ‘in my natural element’ look. I brushed my hair back and applied minimal makeup and started downstairs.
Getting downstairs, I was accosted with the sight of Lolu reading on his couch, and damn, the boy is finnne. I didn’t get a good look at him earlier because I was too busy worrying about my own appearance. He was wearing a simple black shirt and jeans, with converse as well, I noticed. We have matching shoes! I’m already doing a victory dance in my head. This just opens up a world of possibilities! What if we start dating, get married, live here and have beautiful babies together! Sensible Adure steps in, interrupting my tirade,whispering to my soul, just because of converse? All my dreams and aspirations crash and burn. Lolu looks up from his book. “Oh, hey. You’re clean”, he says. Are you trying to say I was dirty looking?
“Yeah, shower’s really nice”,I reply. He looks me up and down.
“I gotta say, I’m surprised you didn’t dress up. Not trying to impress me are you? That’s a first.” He says with a haughty brow.
“Ehn? If I sock your half-white behind! Are you trying to say I don’t look good enough to be in your presence?”,I lash back. He laughs that his burriful laugh, tilting his head back. “Chill, chill, I’m just kidding. You look like a freshly blooming evening flower. You’re ‘quint’.” He replies with a wide grin. Foolish boy.
“Anyway, where’s food?”, I ask.
“Dining room table. Leave stuff where they are when you’re done. My staff will take care of it.”
Foolish rich boy.
“Okay, thanks. I’ll call my parents and see if I can get in touch. I should be outta here latest mid-afternoon”, I say. I wish I didn’t have to go.
“Okay, then, hope you had a nice stay at le hotel de Lolu, a la free service”, he says, not even looking disappointed that I’m leaving.
Foolish rich blind boy. I’m one of a kind. Getting my food I stalk back to the couch.
“So, its time you explain why you pick up a stranger and take her to your house if its not a case of rape”, I say. He drops his book and looks at me. “You’re not a stranger”, he points out. “We go to the same school. And you needed help. And I’m a nice guy. Its simple enough.” “Okay….I suppose I could accept that. I’m thankful you’re a nice guy then. Any news on the strike?”
“Err, no change. Looks like we’re on holiday for a while.”
“Okay, so what if I can’t get another place to stay?” What if I don’t want to get another place to stay?
“You could always stay here. We could become ‘fast friends'”
Foolish + Fine + Nice + Rich + Funny = Husband material. “Why don’t you have a girlfriend?”, I ask.
“Whoa, going on the offensive. No subtlety. I like your style, Miss Adaora. But who’s to say I don’t?”,He replies.
“Well, I don’t think you would bring a girl home, if you had one, no matter your good intentions”, I retort. “Well, a point for you then. I just recently went through a heart breaking break up. Quite the sob story really”,He says.
“What happened?”,I ask. “She wanted more of my body, I told her I had given her all I could. So she went through LAS(Lolu Attraction Syndrome) until she couldn’t take it anymore. Really not her fault, poor lass”,he says with a ridiculously straight face. I had to laugh.
“What about you?”, he asks. “Nah, I’m single and ready to mingle”, I say with the naija accent of life. He makes a face.
“That’s great. We should be friends.”,Lolu says. Zoned. “How old are you anyway?”I ask.
“19. You?”
“18.”
“Lie.”
“What?”
“You look 14.” I hit him with a cushion.
“I have some errands to run, so I’ll have to leave you to your own devices. There’s tv and video games here and you have your phone and laptop yh? There’s also wifi, you can ask Mr. Oni about the password. Well, I suppose I’ll see you later then.” “Alright.” I took my plate back to the dining room and went back upstairs. I needed to call my parents soon.

Trouble IV

               I woke to a knock on the door. I quickly put on a large t-shirt to cover my braless chest(I was wearing pyjamas of course, but in current weather the skimpier the better*wink*). “Adure? Can I come in?” Lolu called from outside the door. He had a sexy lilt to his voice I didn’t notice the day before. He just keeps getting better and better, I thought to myself. “Sure” I called back as I tied up my hair. As the door opened I saw he was carrying a basket with some toiletries. “Thought you might need some lady stuff”,He said with a smile.  “That’s nice of you. I have to say thank you for all-” “No, no, it’s my pleasure to help.” Lolu cut in. “Well, I can’t overstep on your hospitality, and I think I’ll be able to leave by this afternoon.” He looked at me with a thoughtful frown on his face. “What is it?”I asked. “You just speak english with style. Good vocabulary and all that. Are you an english student?”Lolu asked.  “Well, no. But I was a literature student in addition to science classes when I was in secondary school. I still read a lot of books now. I’m a medical student.” I replied. “Oh? okay. That’s quite the common choice”,He noted. “Well, I’ve never really known what I wanted to do as an occupation and medicine seemed like a good choice at the time. It’s not that hard when you study and pay is good so..” I shrug. “What are you studying?”  “Err, engineering. It’s bloody hard and I almost regret it. But the feeling you get when you pass a test or get a good grade is quite awesome. You know it’s because you’re smart enough that you could pull it off, that you worked hard enough and got your result. And I’ve always wanted to design and build”,Lolu replied with a grin. “That is pretty cool. You have a british-y accent to your voice. Is that where your mom is from?”I asked. “Yeah, where she was from. She died some years back”,He replied, a shadow crossing over his face. “I’m very sorry to hear  that”,I said. “Yeah, well, it was a while ago. You’d think my accent would be gone by now but I stubbornly cling to it, absorbing all the british shows I can from the bbc. It’s all for the ladies really.”He said,smiling coyly. I laughed. “Anyway, thanks for the stuff. Is there any food to be eaten?”I asked. “Yes! Part of the reason I came up here actually. There’s breakfast ready downstairs whenever you’re ready.” He handed me the basket and backed out of  my room. Already willing to think of it as mine. With free food I might stay forever. As an afterthought I thanked God that Lolu wasn’t a rapist, or someone with very naughty intentions, because I’d just been alone with him in a house with only one other occupant that might condone his actions, even encourage them, and here we all were in a remote location where my screams would not be heard. But I’ve always had an over-active imagination. But still, this is Ibadan.

                I went off to the bathroom. It was pretty normal. Shower, toilet and sink. I went back to my bag and got my toothbrush and sponge out. Getting to the mirror on the wall, I examined myself. No sleep grunge. Hair mildly untidy in its bun at the back of my head. I untied it and shook my hair out. It was brown and straight. My mom was half indian and had relatively manageable hair. Mine I straightened every week and relaxed every three months. I cut it short so it just brushed my shoulders in an asymmetric style. I was quite proud of it, since it was my hair , and not some crap weave-on. I’ve always adored myself, vain to the core. And my best feature is my eyes. Light brown and glowing, a gift from my mother. I’ve been trying to cut down on my habits, but at least I’m confident in my looks, tee-hee.  I looked in the basket Lolu gave. There were bottles of soap and some nice smelling cream. Lady stuff. Turning to the sink I saw there was already some toothpaste  and floss. Okay, everything accounted for, I got to work cleaning myself.

Trouble -III

        Pulling up to this little estate in Samonda, I could see what a posh life Lolu lived. There were only 4 houses, all really huge with amazing gardens. As we passed each one, I found myself wondering which one would be his, but we drove past all of them to another gate on the inside, past a long driveway filled with trees. It was all very private.
Finally, we stopped at the prettiest two-story house you could ever imagine. It wasn’t all that huge, but it was big and whoever designed it had taste. There were vines growing up all the outside walls and lots of plants and trees. I couldn’t imagine living here, it was all like some wild fantasy to me. “Shet, you take care of all of this by yourself?”I asked. “No oo, there are like 5 gardeners, what’s my own, lol” “It’s beautiful, anyway” “Glad you like it”he replied.”At least something beautiful came out of my father’s money.” I put it in mind to ask him more about his family.

         He took my bag and walked up to the door. Before he could open it, an oldish man, probably in his fifties, opened the door. “Lolu! Shouldn’t you be in school? And who’s this?”said the old dude. “Oh, there’s another strike. This is Adure, she didn’t have a place to stay so I offered”he replied. “I hope both of you are not doing any nonsense, but it’s not my business” Lolu laughed at that and reassured him we were not. I felt a pang of disappointment, but I don’t want to think too hard about what it means. Lolu turned to me. “Adure, this is Mr. Oni, he’s been this house’s keeper since when I started living here. He’ll show you to your room.” “Oh, its nice to meet you sir”I said to Mr. Oni. He smiled warmly at me and took my bag from Lolu.

We entered the house and I forgot we were in Ibadan. Omo, I was jelzin o, tinz are sweet in this boys life. Lolu started down a corridor but stopped and turned to me. “So, you’re okay? You can say if you need anything. Mr. Oni will help with that.” “I’m fine, thanks” Maybe just to share your bed….”Goodnight, Adure”he said with a knowing smile on his face. Shet, can the boy read thoughts ni? “Night, Lolu”I replied. Mr. Oni led me up the stairs to a medium-sized bedroom with an adjoining bath. It was all really pretty, quaint and still very cozy . As Mr. Oni closed the door behind him, I sank into the mattress and tried not to think about the sexy boy across the house from me.

 

Trouble -II

Lolu let go of my hand and picked my bag up. He started walking towards a shiny black harley davidson. “You drive that??” “Yeah. Sexy no?” “Totally”,I replied with my mouth open. I slammed it shut and continued towards him. He handed me the helmet and attached my bag to the back of the bike. “What about your helmet?”I asked. “Don’t worry, my head is made of steel. Besides no cop ever gave a rats ass” “Darris d truth” “What?” “Haha, that’s the truth. I just like to use a naija accent sometimes” He looked at me for a while and burst out laughing. “That’s rich”he said. Laughing a little, I replied,”How? You don’t think a tush girl like me can have a naija accent?” “Who said you’re tush? Just because you’re light skinned and pretty doesn’t mean you’re tush” “You think I’m pretty?”I replied, batting my eyelashes at him. “So not the point! And it wasn’t even a real naija accent”he retorted. “Yeah, yeah, whatever!”

Still giggling I got on the bike after him. I didn’t know what to do with my hands so I just held down on the seat. “What are you doing? Put your arms around me!”He exclaimed. “Do you know how that sounds?”I replied, but complied. And wow, what a nice tummy he had. Hard and soft at the same time. Shet mehn, I could feel the pacs and it felt goood. “I can feel you checking me out”he said, smiling. “You wish” “Anyway, you gotta get closer, or you’ll fall off”said Lolu. “I’ll be the judge of that!” True to his word, once he revved up the engine and started forward, I nearly fell off. I saved myself by grabbing him tight, around his middle. I thought I heard him mutter, in a slightly strained voice, “not that close….” You don’t have a DD cup for nothing! And tiny waist too. Feeling sexy and smiling to myself, we thundered down the roads of Ibadan.

*******

Trouble

I looked up at my new, young and fresh lecturer as he called my name to the front. He handed me a sheet of paper with my name on top, Adure Adaora, which I vaguely recognised as a bio-chemistry test from a few weeks past. “How’s your name pronounced?”he asked, tapping on the sheet. I used to get irritated being asked this question all my life, but I suppose I got used to it. Honestly its not that hard to pronounce, in my opinion.”A-dyu-rey” “That’s beautiful!” he said. “I know”, giving him a little wink. You might think that’s a little bold for a student in her second year to be giving a lecturer, but it was typical Nigerian weather and I was feeling a little daring. He didn’t seem to mind tho…..I suppose it’s because he’s young and all that. I hope its sha not because of some mixed signals, I must remember to steer clear of any summoning to his office.

         Class was finally over! We had been asked to stay longer for an impromptu tutorial and it was already getting late. On my way to the hostel, a girl I recognised from class stopped me. “Adure! Guess what’s happening with these people again. Another strike is going to be effective from tomorrow and the VC ordered all students out from the hostels to show the government that they’re serious. You better go and get all your stuff cause it’s going to be locked down by midnight.” “Oh shit! I don’t have a place to stay……what’s wrong with these people na?” “You don’t have parents again?”she asked. “They’re out of the country. What am I supposed to do?? Shit….thanks tho” “No problem” She ran off, presumably to spread the word. But I’m really in trouble. I always stayed at the hostel during sessions and the apartment I lived in for holidays had its lease expire a few months ago. I’d been meaning to renew it but I hadn’t received my allowance in a while. By that principle I couldn’t afford a hotel without forfeiting food. I could try getting in contact with my parents to send money, so I can at least buy a room for the night. But before all that, to get some stuff from my room.

            Standing outside my hostel, travelling bag in hand, I made towards a credit stand. I didn’t have enough credit on my mobile for an international call so I could just place one here. I got some credit and dialled the ‘in case of emergency’ number. “Sorry, this user is unavailable” Crap…..I tried again 4 times, same answer. Arrrrghhh, what am I supposed to do then?? I considered staying with friends but I’m not close enough to anybody to sleep over. Always been a very private person, so close friends are scarce for me. I sat under a street light with my head in my hands, feeling helpless and foolish. “Ummmmmm, Adure right?” I looked towards the voice.

A boy with light skin, half-cast skin, not that yellow igbo complexion that looks oily most of the time, with brown curly hair and hazel eyes was there. I recognised him, I think we have like one class together, but I never talked to him. His name is Lolu…probably. “Yeah?” “Are you okay?”he asked. “What do you care?” “Nawa o, forget I said anything. I just saw you alone and tried to be kind or smth. I mean with the whole strike thing again…” “Oh? Well thank you, Lolu. Lolu right? I appreciate your kindness. Eshey!”I replied. “Haha, you’re welcome. Will you tell me what’s wrong tho?” Now normally, I would have blown him off, but I was already close to tears and he was willing to be a recipient of my sorrow, so I just let it out and stuff. “I don’t have a place to stay!! This strike ish just hit me at the worst time possible and my parents are incognito” “Friends nko?”he asked. “I don’t have any that’ll be willing to take me in” “Hmmmn, that’s quite shitty, so will you be okay on your own?” At this I squared my back and stared him in the eye. “Yes, thank you very much. You can stop bothering yourself about me now.” “Easy, didn’t mean to offend your lady pride” he said with a smile. “And will you like to come home with me?” “What?”I said in surprise. “Not in any way like that, its just that I have this big, empty house, and you obviously need help, and I really don’t mind.” “Seriously?” “Yeah” He held out his hand, and I took it. It was probably a bad idea but what choice did I have?