"Someone's super euphoric today huh?" teased Dalitso.
I was singing Lucky Dube's "Remember Me" loudly while getting dressed.
"I just have to be elated, man." I replied. "Gillen's finally gonna be mine. You guys better load your pockets cause I'll be needing my money, tomorrow!"
"Tom, Tom, Tom!" said Ben briskly. "I honestly don't believe this is happening. To think that there's only a day left?"
"How do I look?" I asked as soon as I was done dressing up. I was now putting on a white striped with black golf t-shirt, grey tight stone washed jeans and black snickers.
"You look jazz, man." said Ben. "Am certain girls will be all over you, Gillen included."
I smirked and with an attitude, putting on sunglasses.
"It's past 5 PM," said Dalitso curtly. "I don't think you'll be needing the sunglasses."
"Just shut up," I defiantly said. "Ben 10, mind if I use your cologne? Mine's finished."
"No way! So you can impress the girl more? There's absolutely no way am helping you." said Ben.
"Fine," I muttered, getting his cologne from his suitcase and spraying some on my shirt. "I smell fresh!"
I knocked softly on Gillen's door.
I knocked again, a bit harder.
"Coming!" called someone from inside.
Seconds later, the door creaked open and Thandi stood before me. She flashed a smile.
"Gillen will be out shortly," she curtly said. "How's Ben?"
I chuckled. "Am wounded. You ask how Ben is without asking how I am?"
"You seem fine," said Thandi nonchalantly.
"Have a thing for Ben? I can hook you guys up, seriously."
Thandi glanced over her shoulder. "Just between the two of us, I think a date with him might do." said Thandi in a barely audible tone.
"Thandi," called Gillen. "Who is it?"
Gillen was now standing beside Thandi. She was wearing a long red backless and and sleeveless dress that had one long slit on her right that ran from her ankle to her thigh. She also had red nude heels on and her shaggy hairstyle was on point! I swallowed hard.
"This feels like prom," I mumbled.
"Heard that," said Gillen quietly. "How do I look?"
"Do you even need to ask?" said Thandi at once. "Am certain Thomas here can't take and won't take his eyes off you tonight. Too bad he's hiding them behind those glasses."
I chuckled and extended my hand, "Shall we go? There's a taxi waiting for us somewhere."
Gillen flashed a smile and pecked Thandi's cheek. "See you later, babe." she said.
"Take care of yourself." said Thandi.
Gillen slipped her soft hand in mine.
This is going to be damn easy and fun, I thought.
"Bye, Thandi." I said, ushering Gillen away.
"Where are you taking me?" asked Gillen.
Both of us were seated in the backseat of the cab that I'd booked earlier.
"A restaurant," I flatly said. "Ever heard of the Hussar Grill, East Park Mall?"
"Yes. But please let's not spend so much time there. I find restaurants to be boring, no offense."
"None taken. Seems that's a mutual feeling cause I loathe restaurants too. We'll grab some take away and go to?"
She smiled. "A pub might do. It's been long since I had a drink and enjoyed myself to the max."
"A pub it is then," I said, suppressing a chuckle.
Gillen was making everything damn easy for me. We bought some ribs from The Hussar Grill and devoured them on our way to a pub. We found ourselves one in town and we immediately found ourselves an empty table in the corner. It was only 30 past 6 PM so the place wasn't yet packed.
"What should we order?" I asked Gillen once we were seated.
"I'd like a cocktail. You?"
"Some Vodka or wine will do for me."
"Now that you've mentioned wine, I think I prefer wine to a cocktail. Let me just have some white sparkling wine."
"Wine it is then."
And I gave the order to the bartender.
"You like this place?" I said, taking off my sunglasses and placing them on the table.
Gillen scanned the pub with her eyes. "It's not too bad," she said. "I like it."
A minute later, our wine arrived and I poured some into two disposable cups.
We drank the wine in silence. Occasionally stealing glances at one another. I refilled the cups and drank half when Gillen spoke.
"Tell me something," she said in a feminine tone. "Why have you been pursuing me?"
I almost choked on my wine. I wasn't expecting that question.
"Isn't it obvious? I like you."
"They all say that," muttered Gillen under her breath.
"Excuse me?" I shot at her.
She smiled. "Pardon my ill manners of speaking to myself." she said. "You like me? And then what? We'll go to bed and that's it?"
"What makes you think in those lines?"
Gillen leaned forward. "I've heard rumours, Thomas." she ominously said. "You're a cassanova who dumps women as soon as you have a taste of their cookie." She gulped the wine and I refilled her cup.
"You said it yourself, rumours! Rumours aren't always true you know?"
"I love this song," said Gillen, burping.
Shania Twain's "Forever and For Always" was playing.
"Shall we dance to it?" said Gillen enthusiastically, standing and briskly pushing her chair back.
"Sure," I grinned, taking her hand in mine.
Gillen wrapped her arms around my neck and I wrapped mine around her waist. We danced to the rhythm slowly, our eyes locked.
There was happiness written in her eyes, and then sadness, then fear. It was so confusing.
Maybe am getting drunk, I thought.
Gillen sang along to the song drunkenly,
"Cause I'm keeping you forever and for always.
We will be together all of our days.
Wanna wake up every morning to your sweet face---always.
Mmmm, baby in your heart---I can still hear a beat every time you kiss me..."
And Gillen placed her soft red lips on mine. I kissed her back. The kiss seemed to go on for an eternity.
People present in the bar were now catcalling and whistling.
"Let's go outside," whispered Gillen in a sexy tone.
I grabbed the bottle of wine from the table and followed her outside.
Chapter 7 (Unedited).
Gillen and I were leaning against the wall, admiring the stars.
"Today's such a beautiful night, isn't it?" said Gillen, pointing towards the stars.
"Yeah, it is."
"I've got a confession to make."
Gillen turned to face me. "I think I've fallen for you, Thomas."
"You're bluffing," I said.
She shook her head and wrapped her hands around my neck. "That kiss we shared inside the pub cleared all my doubts. I've fallen in love with you, Thomas. Can I call you Tom?"
"Sure," I grinned, doing a happy dance inside. "My friends call me Tom."
Gillen sighed. "Alright, Tom. I love you and am not ashamed."
"Don't you think it's probably the alcohol speaking?"
"Don't you act dumb with me, Tom. You know people usually speak their hearts out in the drunken state."
"Then why have you been resisting me all these weeks?"
"Because I was afraid," said Gillen flatly.
"Heartache. Thomas, love brings with it intense heartache and I've had my fair share of heartache and wouldn't wanna go through such again, never."
I stared at her beautiful face intently, she looked like a miniature goddess.
"Gillen," I warily said. "What makes you so certain I won't break your heart?" Cause this is all just a bet.
Gillen shrugged. "I just have a feeling you won't. Tell me you won't break my heart, Tom. No, promise me."
I can't promise you anything, dammit, I thought.
"Promise me, Tom." Gillen pressed on.
I sighed and without second thought, I said, "I promise."
Gillen flashed me a smile and placed her soft lips on mine.
"You look gloomy," said Dalitso as soon as I got home. "Did the sex drain you?"
"You betcha!" said Ben with a chuckle, he was seated at our study table.
I dumped myself on my mattress.
"There was no sex tonight," I said, taking off my snickers. "You guys win, I lose."
"You're kidding, right?" said Dalitso in disbelief, joining me on the mattress.
"Do I look like am joking?"
"But what went wrong?" said Ben. "I mean, that girl's clearly now mad about you so why didn't you get laid?"
"Cause she's apparently in love with me."
"That's good news, isn't it?" said Dalitso. "That even makes things easier for you."
I sighed. "Well, it kinda complicates everything. And the worst part is that I think am in love with Gillen too."
"Love?" said Ben and Dalitso in unison.
"Impossible!" exclaimed Ben. "You're incapable of loving anyone but yourself. Love is for the weak, you always say that."
I buried my head in my palms. "This is just so fucked up guys, am in love with Gillen. I don't know how nor when it happened but I immensely love that girl. Can you believe I felt her pain when she said she's suffered so much heartache in the past? She's so fragile and I found myself not willing to hurt her. Am never going to hurt her, guys. Am serious."
"Will you tell her this was just a bet?" said Ben.
"Maybe. I honestly don't know, guys."
"I suggest you tell her."
"That aside," said Dalitso. "Tell us how the date went."
When dawn came, the buzzing of my phone woke me. Without checking the caller ID, I picked up.
"Hey handsome." It was Gillen's voice.
But how did she get my line? I figured we must have exchanged lines the previous night.
"Morning, princess. How was your night.?"
"Boring. I couldn't stop thinking about you."
"Neither could I."
"You have plans today?" I said, breaking the silence and sitting up in bed.
"Today's Saturday, right? No, I don't think I have any plans. Why?"
"Let's meet up and talk."
"We'll take a walk outside campus."
"Gillen," I warily said, Gillen and I were walking side by side.
"I didn't get the chance to tell you how I feel about you last night."
Gillen abruptly stopped in her tracks and I followed suit.
"Okay," she slowly said. "Am listening."
I took her hand in mine. "I think I've fallen in love with you too. No, am 100% certain I love you."
Gillen beamed at me. "Glad to know the feeling is mutual."
"But I've got a confession to make," I sheepishly said. "Can we perhaps take a seat? I think that pillar will do."
I ushered Gillen to some pillar where we sat.
"Tom," said Gillen quietly. "Tell me already, you're scaring me."
"I don't know how to put this," I began. "But I'll tell you anyway---" and I told her about the bet. "My deadline is today." I shamefully finished.
There was silence and Gillen's blank stares were scaring me.
"You aren't mad at me?" I finally said. "Just say something. Curse me, hit me, just show some reaction but please don't give me the silent treatment cause it's killing me."
Gillen heaved a deep sigh. "Am not mad at you, Tom. But am a bit hurt, just a bit. Am fine though." she said.
"Okay?" I shot her an incredulous look.
"Tom, to err is human and it takes more than guts for man to admit his mistakes and apologize. So what if it was just a bet? You didn't sleep with me last night and that proves how much you love me. I appreciate it, Tom. I really do. Forget the bet, it's all in the past. To tell you the truth, had you told me this before the deadline was up, I would have willingly helped you scoop that K1000."
I chuckled. "You're crazy."
Gillen gave out a hearty laugh. "Well," she said, getting up and signalling me to do the same. "Let's go thank your friends cause without them, we wouldn't be here."
My relationship with Gillen was amazing even though we had a few silly fights at times but Yo, all couples go through that right? Four months into our relationship, Gillen and I finally made love. I had been to bed with so many girls but Gillen was different and it was because of this that I vowed to forever remain faithful to her.
I flunked my course and went back to Mufulira, my hometown. Of course, Gillen and I remained in touch. An uncle of mine found me a job as a truck driver months later and I relocated to Lusaka. Gillen and I were officially in courtship now. She introduced me to her family and I did the same.
Six years into our courtship, Ben married Thandi and I vowed to marry Gillen asap. But as they say, "your plans aren't God's plans."
One fateful night, I was in a bar in Dar Es Salam chilling when my head literally exploded with pain. Before I knew it, it was lights out for me. When I came to, I was in a hospital.
A male black and bald doctor was hovering over me, shouting instructions to two nurses.
"Gillen," was the first thing I said when I came to.
"Ah," said the doctor, beaming at me. "You're awake. You're Zambian, right?"
"So am I." said the doctor in Bemba, grabbing a chair and sitting besides me.
"What's wrong with me?" I asked, I had a throbbing headache.
"Thomas," said the doctor, staring at me with sadness written in his eyes. "Saw your name on your NRC. I've got some bad news for you."
I sighed. "Am man enough to handle the bad news maturely."
"Am sorry, you've got a brain tumor."
"How serious is it?" I asked.
"Antiseizure/Anti epileptic Drugs(AEDs), Steroids or surgery." said the doctor. "And all these depend on factors such as your age, overall health and medical history. The type, location, and size of the tumor. Am afraid yours is kind of large. Other factors are how likely the tumor is to spread or recur, your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies. I can't recommend any treatment as of now cause that would endanger your life. I suggest you pray for a miracle cause the treatment's awfully expensive too." long tight prom dresses
Whoever hired this doctor is a fool, I thought. Can't this guy have the curtesy to sugar-coat my predicament?
"Tell me something," I said, swallowing the lump that was on my throat. "How much time do I have left."
The doctor sighed. "A couple of months, nine, ten, maybe a year or less. I honestly can't tell."
This is too much for me, am outta here.