“…… everything I’ve ever known, disappeared one day, so I’ll spend my whole life hiding my heart away…..” Kim is singing along with the song coming from the mini speakers on her desk. As I watch her, I’m half parts irritated, and half parts angry. Irritated because she is not bouncing back from this like she did the first time, angry because that Iyke dude did such a thing to someone who didn’t deserve it in the first place. Since I saw her cry last week, my perspective of her has changed a lot. Now, I know that she holds back when she is angry just so she can avoid breaking down and giving in to the frustration that is definitely niggling at her with the way her life is going.
I shake off the worry and try to look busy, but I can’t stop thinking about the way Kim said my name that day. We are friends now, and she doesn’t ask me to get stuff for her anymore even if I beg her to let me. Lekan looks between me and her and gives me a questioning look; I just shrug and look away. I know he likes her, I don’t know how to tell him that I like her too; he’ll probably try to let go for my sake, and that would make me feel like the lowest of the low. I steal another glance at Kim, and she looks up at the exact same time; so our eyes meet. As opposed to her former habit of eyeing me and then clicking her tongue, she looks away quickly and I start to wonder if she likes me too. Or maybe she is still embarrassed because she cried in front of me.
“Wale!” Lekan calls suddenly from what seems like a faraway place, and I almost jump out of my skin.
“What?!” I snap before I can control myself. I regret it immediately though, as Kim is staring at me with shock written all over her face.
“Ar…ar… excuse me?” Lekan mumbles trying to look angry and failing miserably at it because he is so shocked. He gets out of his chair and marches swiftly to the door, then he turns to look at me and says calmly: “See me outside for a minute.”
I meet him pacing in the corridor with his hands behind his back.
“What is going on with you?” he asks the moment I close the door behind me.
“I don’t understand” I say, feigning innocence.
“I’m sorry your highness, but that is nonsense.” I raise my brows at his tone, but he ignores me and continues “What is going on between you and Kim?” he asks and I sigh. So much for faking it.
“Nothing.” I reply in my most serious voice
“But the both of you have been acting strange for a while now.” He says
“How?” I ask
“You won’t stop stealing glances at each other, she doesn’t want you to go on errands for her anymore, and she’s sad again.”
“Oh?” I say, trying to control my glee at the fact that she won’t stop stealing glances at me.
“Why are you smiling? Why is she sad?” Lekan asks
“I don’t know. Ask her yourself.” I reply and stroll confidently to the office. Lekan calls after me, but I ignore him; and I can’t help the silly smile that is spreading across my face. It feels great to know that Kim likes me as much as I like her. I take a minute to thank God again for making me come to work an hour before Lekan last week.
When I enter the office, she is turning on her laptop; the one I bought for her. She has no idea that I got it for her; she probably thinks Lekan did it. I walk over to her table and turn off her music; it’s playing “Undone by Haley Reinhart” now, and I can’t stand all the gloominess anymore.
“Heyyyy. That’s my music.” She says and slaps my hand away. She has bags under her eyes, and her nails look like she has spent a lot of time biting them.
“Well, maybe you should listen to some new music.” I say and dial her number. I try to quell my anger at how much she is suffering. Her phone rings, and her new ringtone – she changes it every other week – is Mercy Said No by Olamide. She picks up her phone and frowns at the strange number before answering the call.
“Hello, good morning.” She says
“Hiii.” I answer back and she just drops her phone and rolls her eyes.
“Leave me alone, this man.” She says so I decide to make her smile if it’s the last thing I do today.
I go to my desk and start searching online for all of Olamide’s songs; there is one that used to be very popular a few years back. The First of All song. I find it and send it to my phone, then I play it and start dancing. It’s the only trick in my book; people always find my dancing funny. About 30 seconds into the song, she finally looks up. It takes her just seconds of watching me dance for her to lose it. She coughs first, and then she starts laughing; I just ignore her and keep dancing. By the time the song is nearing the end, she is gasping for breath, and so am I. Flailing around so much has got to be bad for a man’s health. I stop the music and go back to my seat.
After the dancing, the whole day goes pretty well. Lekan didn’t come back for some reason, and it’s not like I’m bothered because Kim has not stopped laughing since. I look at her, and catch her watching me. She quickly looks away. I smile to myself for the umpteenth time and thank God.
I think I’m falling for this girl.
I clear my throat and stare hard at my screen, but the words are kind of blurry. At first, I’m scared because I think I’m about to cry, but I’m not. But I should be, because the stupidest thing ever is happening, and I am letting it happen. I wonder for a second if I am not a whore of some sort; that should be the only reason why I like two men at the same time.
I don’t know how or when it started, but I am really really starting to appreciate Wale. His looks are not so bad anymore, and that body, God. That body. Although, all that doesn’t matter to me in the long run. The strangest thing is how nice he has been this past week; how gentle, attentive, funny, and sensitive to my moods. Just the perfect gentleman. Lekan has been slacking on that front; he rarely ever comes to work nowadays, and he spends all his time staring between myself and Wale.
I suddenly realize what I am doing, and shake my head to clear out all the silly thoughts. I shouldn’t be doing this. I should be working on a new start; on a new me. I should be working to be the girl who doesn’t fall and trust in love easily. I should be hiding my heart away.
How to hide your heart away: take it off your sleeve.