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    My heart jumped when i saw David standing beside my door. I instantly felt like turning and going back to Timi’s room, but i couldn’t. His right hand was on my door which showed he probably must have been knocking on it for long. I frowned and walked up to him,

    “What do you want?” i asked coldly, he scoffed and fed his eyes on me for a while,

    “Hmmm what a question, of course i want you dear” he replied with bright eyes which got me more annoyed. Just that moment Samuel came out from his room, stood beside his door and beckoned on me to come. He probably must have heard the conversation going on between David and i from his room which made him to show up that moment, but his action provoked David whose beaming eyes instantly burned furiously. He grabbed my right hand roughly and stared at me murderously,

    “You ain’t going anywhere, he should come here and tell you whatever he wants to say” he muttered, while i stared at him with confusion written all over my face.

    Samuel saw his action as a challenge and walked up to him bravely. I felt like fainting that moment because i knew what was about to happen wouldn’t in any way be pleasant.

    “Guy abeg free my girl, i won’t beg you again” Samuel warned courageously,

    “Your girl eeh? So you no longer have fear or respect in you??” David asked with a dirty smile.

    “Samuel please let me handle this” i begged, but he ignored me and faced him defiantly.

    David calmly freed my hand and held Samuel’s shirt by the collar,

    “What do you think you can do to me stinking jew?” he asked before slapping him. I panicked and instantly threw myself on Samuel who was already in the process of returning the slap, because he really was no fighter or match for David who might end up calling for backup.

    Instead of calming down, when he saw me hold Samuel, he pulled a belt from his trouser and flung wildly without caring whether it will land on me or not.

    Perhaps he did it intentionally for me to know i wasn’t save with Samuel or maybe as punishment for rejecting him.

    The belt soon landed on my back with full force, sending a horrifying message of pain all across my body. Yet i still held Samuel strongly and screamed for help.

    Luckily Neighbours rushed out from their rooms and held David strongly, even though none of them dared caution him. I managed to drag Samuel to his room, while some kind neighbours followed and assisted me in calming him down.

    “Why were you fighting with that criminal?

    Nawa for you oo,

    “Do you want to bring yourself down to his level?

    “Abeg always ignore him the way we do, he is just a frustrated criminal”.

    They asked, advised and cautioned Samuel who kept moving his eyes to and fro like a cornered rat.

    “I think you should report him to the police or school security” a neighbour advised,

    “Hmmm which kind advice you dey give so? Abeg don’t listen to him jare unless you are ready to fight all his cult group” another neighbour chipped in, instantly causing a hot debate among them and it lasted till late in the evening.

    “I’m sorry for dragging you into this” i apologized when we were finally alone. He bit his lips and stared at me with a blank expression.

    “Mary i failed you” he muttered sadly. My heart melted, i drew close and held him passionately,

    “You made me very proud today dear” i replied sweetly. He breathed deeply before giving me tight hug.

    “Please i will like to see the spot where his belt landed on you” he begged quietly. I instantly looked away with a coloured face.

    I never knew he noticed when David’s belt landed on my body because it happened in a flash and i equally failed mentioning it to him because i didn’t want him to feel bad.

    “oh my God!” he exclaimed as he examined where i was hit by David’s belt.

    “I will report him to the police” i heard him mutter. My heart instantly leapt, i turned and held his hand,

    “Please allow this matter to die abeg dear” i pleaded with guilt and shame in my eyes because i never knew i would stoop so low as to beg on David’s behalf, even though i was restrained from reporting him to the authorities few days ago, but my plea really was for Samuel’s good, because cultists are always very deadly and unpredictable.

    “So what do you think we should do to him?” i soon heard him ask. I swallowed hard, covered my face with my palms and rested it on my knees,

    “What really should be done to that rascal?” i asked myself over and over again. A multi million question very hard to answer.

    I was very busy with my thoughts that i never knew when he left me to boil hot water, nor when he returned with a hot bowl of water to press the wound caused by David’s belt-whip.
    Days later David saw me as i was returning from school, caught up with me at the staircase and held my right hand softly. I stopped and stared at him coldly while he returned my look with a calm smile.

    “I know you are still very angry with me over what happened the other day, I’m very sorry” he apologized. I tried to snatch my hand from his grasp but he strongly held me.

    “Please just take this and buy something for yourself, i really do apologize with all my heart” he muttered and offered a brown envelope to me. I stared at him speechlessly, tried again to snatch my hand but he still held it strongly.

    “Just take it please” he pleaded,

    “Just let me be David” i replied with a raised tone. He stared around, before facing me once again,

    “Mary what i feel for you is no ordinary love, i swear i can pull down any building just to make you mine” he added quietly.

    I unhappily shook my head as i tried to calm myself down. A new plan instantly rushed into my mind,

    “Okay let’s go to my room” i muttered coldly. He smiled, released my hand and together we walked into my room.
    He quietly sat on my bed, I sat beside him in a well composed manner and faced him with a fake smile,

    “I really do appreciate the gift, but i cannot accept it” I calmly said to him, while he silently stared at me,

    “I know you truly do love me David” i added and held his right hand which totally surprised him.

    “A great love, even if it be unfortunate, should enable a man, not make him desperate and heartless, please let’s just be friends, i do believe with time i may learn to love you” i murmured gently.

    “But can’t you offer something much more than ordinary friendship?” he asked instantly. His anguish very real, not feigned in any way. Love, life, liberty all were at stake which i very well knew and so had to choose my words carefully.

    “No David friendship is all i can offer for now”, “Here you are offering me love, and my hand does not tremble, my heart equally does not; your words give me no pleasure, only pain; i’m conscious of nothing, only a wish to end this interview, please do understand my plight. How else can i explain that i feel no love for you at the moment” i poured out to him.

    “But with time, could you learn to love me?” he eagerly asked,

    “Yes i’m very sure i will, please don’t think i speak out of pride or to pain you” i lied sweetly. All i wanted that moment was my freedom which i prayed our little discussion would grant me.

    I saw a sudden shadow of despair come into his eyes. I swallowed hard and muttered quick silent prayers to my creator.

    “You have unmanned me, but i think you are right, i can’t force out love from you, lets be friends like you said” he muttered while his cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

    I heaved a sigh of relief, my eyes instantly lit up with joy. I felt like hugging him in appreciation, but i held myself,

    “Thanks a lot for understanding my plight” i murmured with delight.

    He stood for some moments in silence; a dim perception of his own unworthiness came over him, with a smile, he tapped my left shoulder and left my room quietly.

    “Is this the end?” i asked myself happily, Only time will tell……

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