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According to the words Hilton drilled into her ear about his adopted
brother, his image had not only crept and intruded her head privacies, his
image had also taken over her mind and usurped her heart. How she let
that to happen, she couldn’t say. She had thought it was only Khalid that
owned her heart, how did she become so softened that she allowed another
man to take what belonged to Khalid away? Tamara hated herself right
now. She so much hated the fact that she could fall in love with justordinary picture of a man she had never met. That craziness of the highest
Tamara laid on her bed with Jamal’s portrait held tightly to her chest.
Hilton and Amanda had gone out on an outing, and with the way things
were, Tamara did not pray they come home so quickly. Hilton had
promised to take them out today, but Tamara had slyly dodged the outing
with them. Certainly, she was aware of all Hilton was trying to do. He was
trying to get her to love him which was obviously impossible for her. All
his antic was to prove to her that he was a good, reliable soul, but that
wasn’t going that well with her. Apart from the fact she didn’t feel
anything for him; she just didn’t want to feel anything at all for him. Not
when she still had two guys fighting for supremacy in heart. When Hilton
approached them in the morning for the jaunt, she had told him she was
sorry she wouldn’t be able to make it with him because of cramp. But she
made sure she endorsed her daughter to go with him, to keep him
company. After they had left, Tamara was happy she would be all in alone
to in her thought about the-man-in-the-portrait.
She curled up in her bed holding Jamal’s portrait in her hand, staring
intensely at it. Apart from the emotional feelings she developed for the
man inside the portrait, Tamara could still sense something else seeping to
her from the portrait. A nostalgic feeling overwhelming her, giving her
funny little ideas in her head. The chromatic eyeballs of his was something
she had seen before. The lips was something she had kissed before. Tamara
chuckled at the latter, there was no way she would have kissed him before.
The only person she had ever kissed was Khalid. The thought of their
nights in the cave filtered back into her head and everything that happened
between them kept reiterating, again and again. Khalid was a young
affable soul her heart would ever miss. She so much loved Khalid, even till
now, but what she couldn’t decipher now was with whom her love is
greater. Khalid or the-man-in-the-portrait?
Even till now, she had cautiously keep her fantasy to herself, shelving it
way from the prying eyes of Amanda and Hilton. She believed Hilton
would be hurt immensely if he found out she still nursed something for his
brother. For he had always whinnied to her ears about how wicked and
impassive his brother was. Even though Tamara had always altered a
gloomy face whenever he did the whining, Tamara still didn’t believe the
man-in-the portrait could be like that. To her, his face looked innocent of all
the guilt Hilton sank on his head. Perhaps, Hilton was just painting him
evil so as to successfully kill whatever feelings she might or already had for
him. Nevertheless, all of his outburst about him wasn’t doing an inch to
scare away what he felt for his brother.
Tamara was still staring, and still smiling idiotically at the portrait like a
docile pet when she heard a phone buzz. She took one last peek at the
picture and scampered to pick the call. It was Hilton’s phone.
“Hello.” She said on the phone and awaited for some seconds before a
Jamal swallowed the lumps in his throat before clearing it. “Hi.” He said,
“Hope I’m not connecting the wrong line?”
A soothing feelings caressed Tamara’s eardrum as she listened to the caller
talk. “I ..I I don’t think so if you’re trying to connect with Hilton.” She
replied, cursing herself for stuttering.
Jamal’s eardrum pricked at the sensation coursing through it. The voice
was sweet and at the same time sounded unwavering familiar to him. “Yes,
can I talk to him?”
“He is not around. You mind dropping a message for him?” Tamara
“Yeah sure, just tell him his brother called. Tell him I’m just calling to check
Immediately Tamara heard the said those words, she felt an unnerving
feelings hit her neurons.
“I’m sorry, what’s the name?” she asked, suppressing the urge to falter
The last time she asked Hilton the name of his brother he always nagged
about, Hilton had told her bluntly that it would be better for her not to
know in other to prevent murky ideas. Tamara was sulky she wouldn’t get
to know the name of the man she was falling in love with.
“I’m Jamal.” Jamal said. “What about you?”
So Jamal was the name of the man that had been contending with Khalid in
her heart. The name ring a bell though, she couldn’t recollect where she
heard it before.
“Are you with me?”
“Yes I’m here, Jamal.” she replied.
“So what’s the name?” She heard Jamal ask her.
An impulse was coursing through her. She wanted to say Daisy but the
impulse to scream Tamara was more. Tamara had even wondered why
Adriana suddenly changed her name. She changed her name the same day
she hurled her back to Laraba town. Could she be she was hiding her from
someone or something? Well for now, she would spurn Adriana and her
rules. Not when she wasn’t under roof, moreover it wouldn’t bite if she
told the man she had feelings for her real name.
“Are you there?” His voice came slicing her thought.
“I’m sorry, Jamal.” she said.
“It’s okay. The name, please.” He commanded, albeit pleadingly.
Tamara cleared her throat. “Call me …”
“Who are you talking to?” A throaty voice boomed behind her. Tamara
turned to see Hilton walking towards her. His face wrinkled seeing Tamara
using the phone. She frowned at him.
“I guess I have to go Jamal, your brother is here.” She said and stretched
the phone to Hilton.