Liz had sought him out back on campus, and had found him in the library two days later with his old laptop. She had slipped him a note telling him she wanted a word with him outside, and then she had gone out to wait for him.
Well, normally, a note like that from her to any boy would have made that boy break a leg to meet her, but infuriatingly, this reader had not come out after she had waited for close to thirty minutes. She went back inside and he was still sitting behind the laptop and when she sat next to him again his look had been bland.
“What the hell is the matter with you?” she had enquired angrily, her voice quite loud in the library, and had drawn a few titters.
He had just looked at her and said nothing, so she had left in anger, deciding to put him out of her mind forever.
That, however, had been just a spur-of-the-moment angry reaction because three days later, she had been driving past the basketball court and had seen him playing with some friends. She had been amazed at his prowess, and had parked the car to watch the game.
Later, when he picked his bag and stepped out of the basketball court, still wearing his Chicago Bulls outfit, with the Michael Jordan number, she had stepped out of the car and looked at him darkly.
“Hey, Michael Jordan!” she had called, half-expecting him to take to his heels because his behaviour towards her in the library had just been shitty, to put it mildly.
He had stopped and looked at her with those calm eyes as she walked over to him.
“I don’t need this,” he said calmly.
“What?” she had asked with raised eyebrows. “What don’t you need?”
“If you want to apologize for what happened in Kakum, please don’t, because I have moved on,” he said quietly. “Anything apart from that, I don’t need.”
And Liz had been stunned.
Boys sought her company, gloated that she was their friend, flaunted her exceedingly on social media and whenever she was in their company. It was something that always made Frank mad, but she enjoyed making friends.
And yet here was the one exception who obviously did not want her friendship.
“What are you scared of?” she asked curiously. “Are you scared of falling in love with me?”
“Yes,” he said softly. “I don’t need that.”
She sighed and looked at him with sudden gentle eyes.
“Let me guess… you’ve been hurt before.”
“And now you don’t want anything to do with love,” she stated.
“Not that,” he said.
“But what?” she had asked.
“Your circle ain’t exactly mine,” he said calmly. “I don’t want any spotlights.”
“You believe me capable of making you fall in love with me?” she had asked with a heart that was suddenly beating.
He looked at her for a long time, and then he took a step towards her and spoke softly.
“Listen, Liz, I live at Low Cost.”
“Oh, my God!” she cried suddenly, her eyes going wide. “You’re from Winneba too? Low Cost? My area?”
“I am,” he said calmly. “I know you.”
She stared at him hard, incredulous, and then she put her head to one side and smiled.
“Okay, cool. Don’t remember seeing you around, Tony Siaw.”
He had turned away then.
“Circles, Liz, circles.”
She had reached out and taken his arm.
“Tony Siaw, yes, I want to apologize profusely for what happened at Kakum,” she said gently. “I’m really sorry and ashamed of what we did to you. Please, forgive us.”
“It’s all cool.”
“Good,” she had said. “Now, get into my car and I’ll drop you where you want to go.”
“No, Liz, thanks,” he said quickly.
“You either get in, or I’ll lift you up and push you inside the car.”
“You can’t lift me up,” he stated.
“Oh, I’ll try, and probably make a frightful scene in the process.”
He stared at her with sudden worry in his eyes and sighed.
“So, it’s like that, huh?”
“It’s like that, Tony,” Liz said with a smile.
“You’re going to complicate my life,” he said, and his genuine conviction made her nervous for a moment.
“No, Tony, believe me,” she said kindly. “I’m absolutely in love with Frank, and so I know what I’m doing. We’ll just be friends.”
“I hope so, Liz,” he had muttered. “I really hope so.”
Maybe it was because Tony had not been a talkative like all the men she had met so far. Maybe it had been his constant guard that made him strive to keep things strictly on the friend-level with her.
And maybe it had been bound to happen…
But, whatever it was, Liz Baidoo soon found herself in real trouble; she began to think more and more of Tony, and spent more and more time with him.
She did her best to keep it from Frank, but it was something that was bound not to be hidden.
Fact was, she found Tony so much fun to be with. Their conversations were soft and deep, their emotions real and passionate. They both agreed it would be just based on friendship, and yet as the days moved on, they found each other’s company increasingly pleasurable.
During vacation, she got to know more about Tony Siaw.
His parents were divorced, and each of them had remarried. Tony’s mother, Ethel, was married to a politician, a member of parliament, to be exact, and she now had two daughters. She was a gynaecologist, and came from a rich family.
His father, Kwame Siaw, was a company driver by profession, and had now married a waakye seller called Oforiwaa, with whom he had three other children.
Tony had not had much of love from his own mother. Apparently, his mother had divorced his father when he was just two years old and married the politician soon after. Tony, therefore, had lived with his financially struggling father for three more years before he married again, and it was his new wife who had helped take care of Tony, and she had been a wonderful step-mother.
A year before graduating, on Tony’s twenty-fifth birthday, Liz had brought him a new laptop, much to his surprise, and as he sat checking out the specs, she had linked her arms around his neck from behind.
Startled by her intimacy, he had lifted his head to enquire what was going on, because he still considered her a friend, and that was when she had lowered her head and kissed him slowly and tenderly.
He had turned around, grabbed her, and kissed her back with a longing and fierceness that made her heart sing, and her belly ache.
However, walking her home that night, he had taken her hands and looked deeply into her eyes.
“I don’t want to see you again,” he had said in his direct speech that always shocked yet delighted her.
She had felt the kick of her heart in agony.
“Tony!” she moaned with pain as tears came to her eyes. “Why? Why?”
“You kissed me,” he had said painfully.
“So what?” she cried. “You kissed me back!”
“I did,” he had said. “But it won’t work, you and me.”
“And what kind of rubbish is that, Tony?” she threw at him fiercely. “You don’t want to be loved? You want to wallow in your sadness and loneliness forever?”
“Circles, Liz, circles,” he had said sadly.
“Stop that silly talk, Tony!” she had screamed. “I don’t care where you come from! If I wanna be with you, you should also crave to be with me!”
“What we want doesn’t matter, Liz,” he had told her gently. “My parents loved each other, but my mom’s parents hated my father because he was from a low circle, Liz. They fought it, and tried to make their love work. Eventually, they got divorced, and I suffered.”
“And what has that got to do with us?” she almost screamed.
“You’re high circle, and I’m low circle,” he had explained gently. “If you continue this way, we might eventually get married, but your family will reject me, and eventually, we would get divorced. If we have children then, they would suffer.”
“Do you love me?” she had asked as tears fell down her face.
“It is insignificant in our circles,” he said.
“Do you love me or not, Tony Siaw?” she had screamed. “If you don’t love me, I’ll walk away right now and you’ll never see me again!”
“I see,” he had said calmly. “Do you love me?”
“I love you more than the air I breathe,” she whispered tenderly.
“That is theoretically silly because if you stop breathing right now, you’ll renounce your love and choose air.”
“Oh, Tony! Are you mad?” she had screamed. “What’s wrong with you?”
“So, if I also love you, what then, Liz?”
“Say it!” she screamed. “Say it, Tony! I want you to say it!”
“I loved you even before we met on that bus,” he said softly. “Saw you when you were like ten years old, and your mother stopped to buy waakye from my step-mom. I carried the food to the car, and when she opened the back door, you were sleeping in the seat. You were like an angel, Liz. I fell in love with you that day, and it has only increased.”
“Why now?” she had said as tears fell down her face. “Oh, Tony! Why didn’t you try to befriend me then?”
“Circles, Liz, circles.”
And she slipped her arms around him and kissed him deeply as she felt his arms holding her secure.
“Nothing in the world will make me ever leave you, Tony,” she had whispered.
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