Ehi and Cicero walked hand in hand as they strolled their neighborhood. It was dark but they were still a lot of people roaming about and going about their business. Earlier they had seen a movie, it was a new romantic comedy film and it was great and from there they proceeded to a restaurant to eat.
Usually she never stayed out this late but Simeon was out of town so she could do whatever she wanted.
They walked in silence till they got to her door.
“I really had fun today, thank you.” She said looking at him in his eyes.
He stared at her for a while before replying “No I should be the one thanking you, I really enjoyed myself today.” he said with a chuckle.
They stood staring at each other in awkward silence until she broke eye contact and looked at the floor.
“I guess this is good night.”
He dipped his hands into his pockets and nodded but he still did not move. He took a step forward and closed the gap between them and before she could react he leaned in and kissed her. It took her a few seconds to get her bearing and then kissed him back. He broke the kiss and pushed her against the door and resumed from where he dropped off but this time it was passionate like there was this chemistry between them that they just discovered.
“Yo, we either call it a night right now or I won’t be able to hold back.” He whispered in her ears.
She didn’t reply him instead she turned around and used her keys to open the door and stepped inside. He didn’t follow her and she turned back to look at him.
“Are you sure you want this? Like I want it and all but I could be patient and wait until you are—” she cut his sentence short by standing on her toes and kissing him. He needed no further persuasion than that because he stepped in and kicked the door closed with the sole of his boots.
They lay, side by side in silence with each to their own thought. After a while he leaned on his side and using his elbows to support himself he said in a low voice “You know you should have told me right?” She stared at him blankly.
“It was your first time, you should have at least given me a heads up, you know?” He explained himself.
She turned to face him “Are you complaining?”
He looked at her as if she was a runaway patient from Bedlam.
“No I am not. I’m not just comfortable, I feel like I seduced you or something.” He said waving his hands in the air.
“Well didn’t you?” She replied.
“Hell no, I did not, it was mutual and we knew what we were doing,”
She laughed for a while then said “then stop beating yourself up. I knew what was going to happen and I did it anyway. On Simeon’s bed for that matter.” She said with a chuckle.
“It still doesn’t make me feel better though… So tell me, did you like it?” He asked as he used his fingers to rub her chin.
She chose to ignore his question and just lay there while his fingers that had since left her chin and was tracing her body and leaving her hot with need. She shut her eyes and silenced a moan as they continued their wicked investigation on her.
“You like that right?” He whispered in her ears and she nodded in agreement “Well you are not getting shii until you reply me.” He said and withdrew his hands.
She opened her eyes and then wrinkled her nose in mock annoyance “I will answer your question when I have others to compare you to,” she said laughing “but isn’t it time for you to go home? Are you sure your mum is not worried sick?”
He laughed at her question “Unlike you, some of us are not monitored and are left to make our devices.” He rolled over and was on top her in a flash but he used his elbows to support his weight. He looked her directly in the eyes and said “I doubt you will ever have someone else to compare me to because you are now mine and I don’t share.”
He used his tongue to lick her ear and whispered “I don’t share…I never share… not now… not ever” and then started to trail hot kisses along her neck.
They spent the remainder of his holidays together. Whenever she was not working, she was with him. They visited museums, went shopping, worked out together. She sometimes followed him to the court whenever he went to play with other guys in the neighborhood.
Since Simeon returned from his trip, they couldn’t be together at her place. They switched their meeting place to his room. At first she wasn’t comfortable especially with the fact that his mum was downstairs but he quickly put her mind to rest. His mum never said a word to her about the relationship but she was willing to bet all that she had that Ms. Smalls was aware of what was going on under her roof. She always had this funny look on her face whenever she spoke with Ehi and since there was no hate in her voice or actions, it was relief to know that she approved of the relationship.
It was his last day at home and she was lying across his bed while he did some last minute arrangements.
“I’m going to miss you.” she said.
He looked across at her and walked over. He placed his hands in her own and lifted her to a sitting position at the edge of the bed before proceeding to squat before her “I’m also going to miss you too Hilz—”
Hilz was a nickname he gave her. It was a play on her name since Ehi was pronounced “Air-he”, he started calling her “he” and after getting a lot of warnings from her, he styled it to Hilz and even after pleading with him, he refused to stop and the name stuck. Even in the salon the girls now called her Hilz.
“—You know it’s necessary for me to leave. Just close your eyes and before you know it, two years will be over and I will be drafted into the league and I will be able to provide for us and we could start our own little family and I promise to come see you whenever I get the chance.”
He lifted her hands to his lips and kissed her wrists “I love you babe, that’s all that really matters right now.”
She wrapped her arms round his neck “I know and I love you too but it’s going to be months before I see you again and I don’t know how I will cope.”
He placed his hands on the left part of her chest “I’m right here babe, plus I’m going to call you always. We will work out fine you’ll see.” he said reassuringly while he wiped the tears that was rolling down her eyes.
“But I am scared.”
“Don’t be… I got something for you,” he reached into his pocket and brought out a gold necklace, he opened the pendant and the letter C was engraved in it, “Use this to always remember me.”
He lifted her hair while he clasped it round her neck. “There you go.” He murmured.
She lifted the necklace. “It’s so beautiful, I love it.”
“I’m glad that you do”
“I also have something for you,” she brought out a ring “Yes I know you will someday wear championship rings and all but I wanted you to have mine first,” she wore it on his index finger “Since you always call me Hilz even though I’ve asked you not to. I had the jeweler—” he cut her sentence short as he covered her lips with his own.
Just like he said it would, two years passed by in a blink of an eye. She had gotten more jobs but nothing major. The only thing that seems to have grown in her life was her relationship with Cicero and her friendship with Mani.
Cicero was having the best year of his life. He had been selected as the #3 overall pick by the LA Falcons and he was currently training with the team.
Her year wasn’t going so great even though she got more modeling gigs, she still had nothing to show for it. She had no idea how much she was being paid because Simeon handled all of it. Whenever she tried to find out the exact amount she was being paid, he ignored her rather he told her about how expensive it was to take care of her. He gave her little money from time to time but she suspected that those were just peanuts from what she was really entitled to.
She celebrated her nineteenth birthday with Mani and Christian who was a photographer and Mani’s roommate at a club. Simeon had earlier given her a thousand dollars to celebrate. Cicero had sent her a pair of brown leather lace-up boots. Nessa as usual had sent another gold wristwatch, this was the third time in a row that she had done that. Ms. Smalls had baked a cake for her and the ladies in the salon had sang for her earlier in the day. It was the best birthday ever.
Two days after her birthday, Ms. Smalls was hit by a stray bullet on her way back from church. She died on the way to the hospital. Cicero’s team allowed him to come home to mourn and bury his mother.
Luckily for her, she had no bookings at that period so they were together for most of the time. She helped out with the funeral arrangements because he was worn out with so much grief. He hardly spoke and ate very little. She tried her best to console and be there for him at all time. She tried not to rush him and just let him cope the best way he could. She knew how painful it was for him especially with the fact that his mum had been his everything, he had never seen his father and had no idea who he was. His mum single handedly raised him and went out of her way to make sure he never lacked anything. She knew how close they were and she felt his pain.
Once again they were in his room, it was almost like a replica of two years ago except this time he was lying down while she was helping him arrange his things.
“You should come with me to LA tomorrow.” He said.
She walked over to the bed and lay down beside him “I wish I could but you know that’s not possible.”
He hissed and sat upright “That’s bullshit and you know it. Why don’t you just come with me? Your modeling career is not even picking up. You told me you suspected Simeon of embezzling your money so please tell me what exactly is keeping you here.”
She sat up too and placed her hand on his back “what’s keeping me here is my career, I’m not going to leave it because it’s not picking up. I’m going to continue trying until I get where I want to be. I have always been very supportive of your career, I don’t understand why you won’t do the same for me.”
“Don’t try to bring something else up. I have been very supportive and you know it. I can’t be flying back here like before. Things have changed and we need to make some changes too. You can always continue with your modeling, all I’m saying is you do that from LA. I don’t have tons of money yet but I can provide for us and we will be just fine.” He said in an angry tone She removed her hands from his back “I’m sorry to disappoint you but I’m not moving. I love you but we both know the best place for me to succeed is here in New York. We have worked just fine for the past two years, why can’t it continue like that?” She asked.
He brought his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms round his legs “I’m selling this place.” He said quietly. “There is nothing to come back to here for me. I love you and I really want us to work out but I don’t see that happening with me in the west coast and you in the east. I know you feel we have all the time in the world but the truth is we don’t. One minute we are here the next minute we are gone… gone forever.” He sobbed.
She wrapped both her arms around him “I’m right here babe. I’m not going anywhere. We can work this out, trust me. I got you.” She said.
He turned and faced her “Are you sure?” He asked and she nodded her head and leaned over and kissed him. He kissed her back and they fell back on the bed.
She had a shoot the next day so she left early in the morning. Once she was through, she returned back but found the building locked. She went up to her apartment and found a note addressed to her on the floor as soon as she opened the door. She quickly opened the note and read its content.
I hate myself for doing this but I know it will be impossible to say these words to you. I thought about our conversation last night and came to a conclusion that we were better off if we ended this relationship. We both want different things and it will be selfish for me to insist you give up your dream. I love you and I always will but right now it’s best we go our separate ways. I don’t know what the future holds for us but I can only hope and pray that we will find our way back to each other. I wish you all the best in your endeavors.
She couldn’t believe what she just read. She scanned the note over and over hoping its content would change but it didn’t. She forced her limbs to carry her over to her couch. She lay down and began to weep. She cried for hours until she fell asleep.