THE posh restaurant was noisy. Students and teachers alike moved about the large place with trays containing different dishes and drinks. Soft music filtered from the plasma televisions placed against the wall from two locations. The two occupants of one of the round marble-top tables visible in the place were locked in an animated conversation while the third was silent as he watched the other two with narrowed eyes containing a mixture of anger, jealousy and misery.
Gio was miffed that his girlfriend was ignoring him. She was all smiles and laughter for Tosin who was seated beside him while he was being treated like an outcast, the proverbial third wheel. She scooped a spoonful of fried rice garnished with coleslaw in her mouth and chewed softly before continuing her lively conversation with Tosin. And the idioti.c roommate of his didn't notice that she was ignoring him, her boyfriend. Tosin lapped up her smiles like a dog enjoying a bowl of milk.
Gio's teeth gritted. He knew why Nkiru was ignoring him. After being his girlfriend in the real sense of the word for almost three months, he knew everything about her. Her mood swings when he behaved abominably--according to her--usually grated on his nerves. Didn't she realise that he'd ignored her so-called friends because they weren't really her friends? They'd scurried out of the woodwork and included her in their circle simply because she was connected to him and dressed better now. He couldn't tell her that for her not to feel bad. He'd fought a classical world war with her before she'd allowed him change her entire wardrobe and bathe her with gifts. She'd felt he was ashamed of her but he'd reminded her that he had fallen in love with her just the way she was. The clothes and gifts were just a way of expressing his love. He had to explain why he never got her anything when they were pretend dating; she would have taken it as payment for her kindness. Black Homecoming Dresses 2020
He called her name to get her attention. She paused in mid-sentence as if she was trying to remember something but continued as if he'd not spoken. Tosin, the foo.l, grinned as if he'd won a lottery. Gio's eyes narrowed to slits. Two wannabes who were dressed to test a man's libido walked up to their table. They greeted him, Nkiru and Tosin. Tosin and Nkiru replied. Gio, for the life of him couldn't open his mouth to reply them. When they left, Nkiru stood fluidly, picked her black Prada purse and her Iphone on the table, said goodbye to Tosin and walked away.
"Luna...Luna...Nk." Gio called but he might as well be talking to himself. Head held in a regal position, his girlfriend, who was looking resplendent on a dress top and lace leggings with flat gold and grey Gucci sandals walked out of the restaurant.
Gio sighed and fixed his angry gaze on Tosin who was grinning broadly.
"You do realise you're a foo.l, don't you?" he asked as a matter of fact.
His rommate gave a bark of laughter but sobered up quickly when he noticed Fiorella entering the restaurant. Fi, the diva, was of course looking sensational in a Mini Bodycon dress in all over stripe teamed with ankle-length Dunhill boots and a Saint Laurent medium monogramme croc-embossed shoulder bag on her shoulder. Tosin's countenance became that of one who was seeing his late ancestor. Gio looked from his sister who was about to sit with her whorish friend, Jessica at a table close to the restaurant's entrance to Tosin who was trying his best not to glance in her direction. Something was going on here. He couldn't place his finger on it but he knew something wasn't right. He had noticed the stilted way Tosin and Fi responded to each other's greetings recently. The air sizzled with tension whenever they were within two feet of each other.
"Tosin," he began but was cut off by his friend who scrapped his chair back and got up. He unhooked his black jacket from the chair.
"I haven't finished my assignment and you know we're to submit it tomorrow. I'll see you later." Tosin put his hands in his pockets and tried his best not to look at Fi who was in his line of vision as he walked out.
Gio's eyebrows nearly hit his hairline when Fi pretended as if she was talking to Jessica but her gaze followed Tosin to the door. His eyes widened when his sister rose gracefully and took rapid steps to the door.
Tosin hit his hand against the wall of the restaurant when he got outside into the moonless night. He was in deep trouble. He took slow steps from the place until he heard his name being softly called and turned around slowly. His eyes roved the petite beauty with disgust.
"What do you want?"
Fi rubbed her wet palms together and with pleading eyes said, "You won't tell him, will you?"
With a deep frown, Tosin eyed her and was about moving away but she held his hand. When she beheld the smoking fury in his eyes from the streetlight, she let him go. Her heart was thudding a frantic drumbeat behind her ribcage. She felt charged with a sensation disturbingly akin to humongous fear.
"Please." The whisper was softly spoken.
With venom in his eyes, Tosin walked away and was soon lost in the crowd of moving students.
"Oh, God!" With a hand to her mouth, Fiorella hunched, unaware that her brother was watching her from behind. Her teeth sank into the soft underside of her lower lip and she tasted the sweet tang of her own blood when what she most wanted was Tosin's to keep him from talking.
"Fi," came the soft call behind her. Her head snapped up and she took deep breaths in trying to steady her nerves while staring straight ahead without minding the students who were walking to and fro and wondering why she'd taken the pose of a statue.
"Fi," Gio called again and held her arm. He made to turn her around but she yanked her hand from his.
"What is it?" She pasted fierce eyes on him. He was to blame for everything.
Gio grew alarmed. Fiorella had never ever spoken to him this way before. Was it that time of the month?
"What's going on between you and Tosin?"
"Oh, so you've finally realised I exist. Nkiru no longer around to lick your a**, hmm?" she sarcastically threw at her brother.
"Don't talk to me like that, Fi." Gio's eyes were getting darker.
Fi put her hands on her waist and drew her head back to look up at him and gave a soundless laugh. "Why shouldn't I talk to you like that? After all, you're just a stranger to me," she slammed back at him with angry emphasis.
Gio raised his hands to shake the nonsense out of his sister but thought against it. He dropped his hands slowly. His teeth were clenched however.
"Don't toy with my friends. You have enough dummies chasing you. Leave my friends out of it," Gio pronounced with care.
"Since you don't own my life, I'll do whatever I want," she responded curtly and tried brushing past him but he held her hand.
In dangerously low tones, he whispered into her ears. "Don't test me, Fiorella."
Tears wet Fi's eyes. She couldn't remember the last time Gio had used her full name. They hadn't had this sibling rivalry in a long while. She really didn't want to fight with him but she was so angry and bitter at him all because of his girlfriend.
A part of her heart cracked and along came the rest, piece by delicate piece. "Why couldn't I make you smile? Why wasn't I the one who brought back the musical sound of your laughter. Why wasn't I the one to soften the contours of your face? Ever since Dano died, I've been trying to be like Mum to you but you've never noticed but she...she..." Tears clogged her vocal cords. Gio dropped his sister's hand slowly.
Gosh! Two female tantrums in one day? How had his life become so dramatic? He brushed her tears away with his fingers, took her hand and led her to his favorite spot with his girlfriend-- the stone benches.
He sat down and made her sit also before putting his arm around her. She placed her head on his shoulder and snuggled closer to his warmth.
He kissed the top of her sweet-smelling artificial hair. "I never asked you to be Mum. You're my sister and I love you that way. I don't need another mother. Mum will always maintain that position in my heart."
Fi sniffed. "I just want us to go back to the way we used to be."
"But that's impossible, Fi. We've lost two members of our family. Things can never be the same again but I'll try my best to make it close."
"All these because of her? Is it any wonder that I'm jealous of her?"
Gio chuckled. "You don't have to be jealous of her, Fi."
"Why? She's just after your money."
"Dad's money you mean. She doesn't know anything about mine. Fi, Luna...I mean, Nkiru is...she's my Luna."
Fi lifted her head to glance at her brother. "Your moon?"
Gio saw a flash and heard a click behind him but when he turned around, he saw no one. Fi snuggled closer to him and he rested his head on hers. Fi smiled. Just like the good old days. Well, she had something to thank that tramp for. This hadn't happened in years.