Recap: Dami got an unexpected promotion after a clumsy accident at the restaurant.
She also realised that she was being stalked on her way home by a stranger.
Minutes after discovering the shirt, I picked up my phone and dialled Daniel’s number.
He lived in themale dormitory which was on the other side of campus.
After briefly narrating what happened, he sounded worried and confused at the same time. “Dami, are you sure about this?” “I’m telling you it’s the exact same shirt and the oil stain is a sure confirmation that it’s the guy I bumped into at the restaurant.” “And you’ve never met this guy before, except today?”“Yes, why won’t you-“I turned sharply when I heard footsteps approach the door.
My heart felt like it was about to leavemy body.“Th-there’s someone coming.” I stuttered. “Please tell me you locked the door, Dami.”My mind raced.
Did I? Oh God, why couldn’t Iremember?I felt paralysed until his voice snapped me out of my silent panic.“Go and check Dami, hurry up!”I’d barely taken two steps before the handle turned and the door flew open.
My phone crashed helplessly to the floor and I heard it come apart at the impact.“Why are you staring at me like that?” Chioma snapped as she tossed her bag unto her bed.
I felt torn between two decisions at that moment. I didn’t know whether to slap her silly for scaring me like that or to hug her for well… being her.“You wouldn’t understand.” I sighed.
She gave me a strange look and shrugged before grabbing her towel and going to the bathroom. I quickly assembled my phone and called Daniel.“Dami, are you okay? What happened? Why did theline go off like that?” He fired all three questions inone breath.“I’m fine. It was just Chioma, my roommate.”I heard him take a deep breath and release it slowly. “You scared me for a moment there. I thought Iwas about to witness a murder over the phone.” “It was a false alarm.” I said, letting out a smalllaugh of relief.
I finally felt like I could breathe again.“False alarm or not, just take care of yourself okay? And be careful.
Call me if anything happens and stick within groups as much as possible.”He rattled off more instructions and I was surprised he seemed to know so much.“Daniel, calm down. It’s probably not as terrible asit seems.”“I know what I’m talking about.” He replied quietly.“Just promise you’ll follow my advice.”“Okay, I will. Bye.” “Bye.”It wasn’t until several hours late into the night that a thought hit me. If the man left his shirt, does that mean he plans on coming back for it?
***The following morning, I woke up tense and paranoid. My nerves were frazzled from getting up several times at night and staring at the door. Chioma once caught me awake and for the first time since we met, she looked concerned. “Are you sure everything is okay?” She asked asshe picked up her bag to leave for the day.
Only God knows when she’ll be back this time.“Everything is fine.” I smiled.“Okay then.” She nodded and turned to leave.“Um wait, do you mind if we walk together?” I thought I sounded absurd. Never in my life had I felt scared to leave the room by myself.
She frowned before shrugging a single shoulder abruptly. “If you want to tag along, then okay.”Tag along. She made me feel like an unwanted kid sister. All the same, I grabbed my purse and we left the room together.
The whole situation was beyond awkward and neither of us exchanged aword except when we parted ways with murmured farewells.
I braved the rest of the walk on campus without any incident and arrived safely at work.
During our lunch break, Daniel led me to a quiet corner to talk.“Any news about who this guy is?” “No, I’ve only seen him once in my life and I don’teven remember what he looks like.”“Did you do what I asked you?”“Yes, I even walked with Chioma this morning.”“Good. If anything strange happens, let me know.” “What do you plan to do about it?” I asked incuriosity, but he didn’t even answer.“I’m serious Dami.” He said before turning to leave.
As I watched him leave, I couldn’t help but feelt here was something he wasn’t telling me. Afterwork, Toyin called to remind me about the dressfitting today.
I was to be part of the bridal party,yet I’d put off this part of my duties for as long as possible. “I’ll text you the venue, just remember to show up early.
Or shall I come and pick you up?” She asked.“No, I can get there easily from work since it’s onthe Island. I might need a ride back though.”“Okay, bye.”“See you soon.” I said before ending the call.“Going some where?”I turned sharply to find Kevin standing behind me.“When did you get here?”“Not too long ago.” He shrugged.“Well, did you have to sneak up on me like that?” I snapped.
The effects of yesterday’s events stillmade me wary of being watched.“What’s up with you?” He chuckled, looking amused.“Nothing.” I mumbled and walked past him.
On the way out, I spotted Daniel with his bike inthe parking lot. I was about to ask him for a ridebut changed my mind when I saw him repairingsomething in it. I sighed and continued towards the main road to get a cab. Maybe I should treat myself to a little comfort once in a while even if itcomes at an expense. I arrived at the boutique around 4:30pm and made my way into the shop to look for Toyin.
The ACwas on full blast and I immediately felt better.“For once in your life, you’re early.” I smiled and gave my sister a big hug.“How could I resist? You promised me a free ride and free food afterwards. ”Toyin shook her head and led me to where the other brides maids were. Her maid-of-honour was Hadiza, her best friend since secondary school.
After introducing myself to the ladies, Toyin gotright down to business and instructed the shop attendant to bring out the dress.
Frankly speaking,I was intimidated at first sight.“Please, tell me there are more options available.”“There are no options available. We’re sticking with that colour.”“But-““What? There’s nothing wrong with that dress.”I stared at it again in disbelief. It was a deep pink, pink!
The other brides maids smiled encouragingly at me but what I knew, that they didn’t know is that I couldn’t possibly look reasonable in a dress like this.“Just try it on.” Hadiza said.
I grudgingly accepted the dress and went into the changing room.
When I stood before the mirror, Ijust didn’t see the girl that type of dress was made for.“So, what do you think?” I asked the ladies.
There were mixed reactions. Toyin managed astrained smile, Hadiza wrinkled her forehead, and Sarah who was one of the brides maids, saidnothing.“Um…”“Er…”“It’s beautiful! You look absolutely gorgeous.” Weall turned to look at the shop attendant who was all smiles.
Toyin and I gave her a sharp look which silencedher and she quietly retreated to another side of thestore. I scoffed as she hurried past me. These people will tell you that anything looks good aslong as they get to sell it.“Take it off, we’ll find something else later.” Toyin sighed, but I could tell she was barely holding inher laughter.
The pink monstrosity was a floor length gown with a side slit that started at my knee.
The mass of ruffles on the neck was enough to create a newdress al together and let’s not even get started on the legion of sequins that made me look like a human disco ball.
After that epic fail, the girls split up leaving Toyin and I to head to the restaurant.“So, when do I get to meet Bello?” I asked when we found some where to seat.
Bello Yakubu is the groom. I don’t know much about him except that he’s an investment banker in his mid-thirties who’s rolling in cash.“Soon, I’m thinking of inviting him over to the house this weekend. He’s already met mom anddad.”“Okay, let me know so I can come over.”Soon after, while Toyin was in the ladies’ room I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket followed by the message alert tone.
5:46pm, Sweet Sensation.
White short-sleeve T-shirt and denim skirt. It was a pleasure seeing you.
R. At first I was confused. But when the words registered, I felt my blood run cold.
It was a perfect description of my outfit and the time was 5:46pm.
He was here and he was watching me.“Are you ready to leave?”I was startled when Toyin returned. “What’s wrong with you?” “Nothing.” I forced a strained smile and gathered my things to leave.
My eyes constantly scanned the restaurant for anysign of him. I didn’t even think I would recognise him if I saw him but I couldn’t help but look closely at everyone we passed by. I didn’t feel relaxed; not even when we were safely in the car.
And I especially didn’t feel safe when I arrived atmy dorm to find another package waiting for me.
As I pushed the door open and stepped into the room, I heard paper crinkle under my feet. I lookeddown to find a brown envelope lying on the floor. It was close enough to the entrance to tell that someone slid it underneath the door. I felt a tinybit of relief at that. It meant whoever this person was, didn’t have access into my room.
Although, Ididn’t know how long things would stay that way.
I dropped my purse on the bed and ripped the envelope open. A picture fell out and landed rightside up at my feet. I scanned it quickly and realised it was taken today while Toyin and I wereat the restaurant. Behind it was a short message saying, “Next time, it would be me sitting next toyou. R.”“Oh God, what do I do?” I whispered, dropping the picture into my purse.
I wish I was never at work on Monday. I wish Itruly fell ill and couldn’t make it and most of all, I wish I’d never spilled food on his shirt. I would never have gotten myself into this situation otherwise.
I knew nothing about this person. Ididn’t know if he was truly dangerous or if it wasa fleeting thing that will pass soon.
And why was I the target? Surely, his shirt wasn’t that important.
Do I report this to someone? Even if I wanted to,who do I go to? All these thoughts were beginning to give me a headache and staying alone in this room was beginning to feel like a bad idea.
I picked up my purse and locked the room as I went out. Even if it was for a few hours, at least I would be surrounded by people or maybe I should visit Daniel instead I thought. I decided to stop at an eatery to pick up some food. I was starving and knew from experience that Daniel almost never had any food.
After several years of friendship, I knew him that well.
As I was standing in line to order, I felt move ment behind me as someone brushed me from behind. I turned sharply, already scared of who I might find behind me.“I’m sorry. I wasn’t looking.” He said.I nodded and faced forward as the lady at thecounter called my attention.
As I waited impatiently for her to pack up the food, the guy behind me cleared his throat. I didn’t turn around.
I just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible andgo somewhere I felt was safe.