When Sammy drove into the Ajayi compound, he had this pain in his back caused by trying so hard to focus his attention on the road. He alighted and held open the passenger's door for his passengers to alight. He proceeded towards the house with the box he had brought out of the trunk of the car. The girl had gone inside without pausing. Seun met him halfway and received the box from him.
He went back to his quarters. That night, he kept thinking about her; he kept seeing her in his dreams. Sammy did not understand why she haunted him, but she did. He longed to get a glimpse of her, but she seemed to have disappeared. He would even volunteer to run errands around the house, but it seemed nobody needed his help. He almost gave up until one morning, when he washed the car. While singing and dancing, he perceived her long before he saw her.
“Excuse me! You would take my friends and I to the mall today,” her sonorous voice rang in his ears. She turned without waiting for a response. He stopped and watched her retreat. He took in her beguiling figure through her not-so-becoming nightwear.
“Sammy!” Akpan screamed his name. “Why are you staring at this little girl? I hope you know she is still a teenager.”
Sammy got offended at having been caught unawares; however, he did not respond. He chose to continue with the washing of the car. This girl, though a teenager, would be his undoing if he did not tread with caution.
He dressed up, very giddy with excitement at the thought of driving Desire and her friends to the mall. When Akpan knocked on his door to inform him they were ready to go, he was almost losing his breath, but he composed himself. When he approached the car, he saw Desire and her friends engrossed with something on Desire’s tablet. He opened the door, hoping that Desire would sit beside him at the front, but she chose the passenger’s seat behind him. Sammy was disappointed.
He drove them to the mall and waited for them in the parking lot. He dozed off while waiting. He woke up when she tapped the driver’s window to alert him that she was ready to go. He opened the door so he could alight and help her settle in. He almost hit her with the door and apologized. She ignored him, opened the door herself and settled in.
Sammy drove out of the parking lot.
“Where are your friends?” he asked as he joined the express road.
“They've gone,” she responded without taking her eyes off her phone.
Her phone rang. She picked it up almost immediately.
“What?” she asked.
“You know what? You owe me no explanation for whatever you do,” she said, paused, and listened.
“I don’t care! In fact, you know what? I’m done with this crap. I'm not coming for your birthday either.” She ended the call and sighed in anger.
Sammy would have given anything to know what the person on the other end was saying. He could deduce she was speaking to a boy, perhaps her boyfriend. He did not understand the pang of jealousy that he felt.
“She's a teenager,” the small voice whispered.
Sammy knew better than to ask her any questions. He drove her home in silence.
He did not see her again until one week later. On that fateful day, one of her friends came along in her car to pick her up so they could attend a birthday party together. Mama and Pa had traveled. They would have insisted he drive her there.
She hadn't returned by 9:00 p.m. Nobody seemed anxious. Akpan tried to assure him that nothing was wrong and that it was normal for Desire to sleep at her friend's place when her grandmother was not around. Akpan wondered why he was that worried. He convinced himself that it was his job as the driver to feel distressed. It was 11 p.m. when his phone rang; a strange number kept calling him. He picked up the phone and spoke; it was Desire on the other end. She was crying. She needed him to come and pick her up.
He got the address from her and zoomed out of the house. He shouted at Akpan to open the gate. A confused Akpan opened the big gate. Sammy drove out of the compound.
“I'm so sorry,” Sammy consoled the distraught Desire. They were on their way to the house. He had just rescued her from an attempted assault. Apparently, she had gone to her boyfriend's birthday party. She had tried to get cozy with another boy when Kunle appeared. He tried to pull her away; he dragged her to his room upstairs. During their argument, he slapped her. She had to escape into the bathroom and lock herself in there, and that was when she called Sammy.
Sammy kicked open the door to Kunle’s room.
“What do you want?” an angry Kunle, who was sniffing a white substance, asked. Sammy ignored him, shouting Desire’s name. Desire responded by opening the door. She jumped into Sammy's arms to avoid Kunle.
“Who the heck do you think you are?” Kunle started, but he did not finish his statement before Sammy drove his fist into his gut, knocking him out. Desire screamed, but Sammy hurried her out of the room and dragged her out of the building and into the car. She was tipsy.
As Sammy consoled her, he could not help but smile at her bravery. He was glad she reached out to him. That means she thinks of him the same way he thinks of her. He placed one hand on her lap in consolation and noticed she had dozed off. He wished he could see her face. He smiled as he drove into the compound.
Akpan rushed to find out what happened. Sammy evaded his questions. Akpan yawned and retired to his room. Sammy quietly woke Desire up, letting her know they were home. He meant to let her in, but she drowsily begged him to let her spend the night in his room. Sammy should have insisted she go to her room; he would have gone to Akpan's room, but no, he just had to sleep in the same bed with her.
He helped Desire to the bed and helped her with the pillows. He wished he had changed the sheets. She lay down and murmured, “Thank you." Sammy stood for a second, watching her, before he lay on the floor. He must have slept, for when he woke up, he heard the flushing of the toilet and saw Desire coming out of the toilet. He sat up to give her room to walk.
She stopped in front of him and asked, “Why are you lying on the floor?”
“I'm okay here,” he responded, grateful for her concern.
She climbed into the bed, but instead of lying down, she sat with her knees up and her back leaning against the wall.
“I have been having nightmares; Kunle is a monster; I hate him so much,” she paused. “Thank you, Sammy. I can call you Sammy, right?”
Sammy nodded. His name sounded so wonderful coming from her.
“I can't tell Granny about him or that I went to a party; please don't let them know.”
Sammy got up from the floor and sat next to her on the bed. He gathered her in his arms and rocked her to sleep. She stirred and dragged him to bed with her. She snuggled against him. He liked how she made him feel. He hugged her and smelled her hair. She smelled so good. He smiled.
“Kunle!” she murmured.
He got angry. Why would she use that name? Before he could stop himself, he started kissing her. He felt her respond, and it warmed his heart. It encouraged him. Something warned him to stop, but he ignored it and continued. Sammy explored her body with his hands, and it felt good. He could not stop. He knew the consequences. Then she opened her eyes altogether.
“You are not Kunle,” she said.
His heartbeat skyrocketed.
“What do you think you are doing?” She questioned.
Sammy could say nothing. He wanted to have more of her. He wanted to pour his love into her. He wanted her so much.
“Do you know how old I am?" She said, “I am just 16!”
That statement should have made him stop. But he only got excited.
“I love you, Desire,” he mumbled.
“Well, I don't love you, sir,” she sneered, and she tried to sit up, but he did not allow her.
“Yes, you do. You don’t know it yet, but you do; that is why you have been avoiding me; that was why you called me and opted to sleep in my room,”
“Let me go!” she cried.
“Why are you crying?” He asked, “I love you and will show you how much. Believe me, you will love it. You love me; I know it.”
“Let me go,” she kept saying, struggling to get up.
He pinned her down in bed with his body. He struggled to keep her quiet. He got excited. He was bent on showing her how much he loved her. He was so sure that she would enjoy every bit. Passion blinded him. His emotions fueled his goal, and he defeated her and found himself inside her. She screamed, but he covered her mouth with his palm.
Some minutes later, he was sitting on the edge of the bed. She had stopped crying. Sammy felt bad that she had cried. He had meant to console her, but she moved away from him with fear
written all over her face. He did not understand her reaction. He felt confused. She stood up and entered the toilet.
Seeing her stand, he wanted her again. He should have suspected when she took so long. After a long wait, he lay on the bed; he must have slept for long because he woke when the day was bright to the sound of his door being kicked down. He was perturbed and sat up. The door burst open, and two uniformed men rushed in, pointing guns at him. Seun and Akpan, who were screaming Desire’s name, followed them. Desire rushed out of the toilet into the arms of Seun and started crying.
“He raped me, Aunty,” she sobbed. It bewildered Sammy with the rush of events. A policeman cuffed him and shoved him into the police car outside. How did this happen? Sammy later found out that Desire had called her grandmother when she went to the toilet. Her grandmother, in turn, called Seun and the police.
The police arrested and detained him. He’d be going to court from his cell. What hurt him most was that he felt betrayed. Yet he wanted her more. The monster in him needed her. What were they saying? That he raped her. How? She also enjoyed every bit. It could not have been his imagination. Why won’t she tell them the truth? She should tell them she loves him as much as he loves her. They were calling her a minor. What does that even mean? Have they not seen her? How can they call her a child?
Now, he was to spend his life in prison for a long time. As they led him away, his eyes stayed on her. He wanted to remember her because he had decided within himself to stay alive for her. Sammy would come out one day, and nothing would stop him from having her all to himself...
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