Johnny Drille’s voice filled the room as Ruby powdered her face. She hummed along to the song, feeling his words wash over her. He was her celebrity crush.
“Why do you like these boring songs? They make me want to sleep.” Boye turned on the bed, the rumpled sheets going down to his waist. She had woken up to find him scrolling through Twitter. It was about an hour and a half since then, and while she had taken her bath and dressed up, he was still changing positions on the bed as he continued his morning job of twittering.
She ignored his question and continued what she was doing. “Are you not going to work today? Abi, you want to take another day off today?”
He groaned. “I don't know. Let my guy call me first. You know how my work is.”
She opened her mouth to say something but shut it up. It wasn't her business. She didn't need to force him to take his unstable job seriously.
“You know that babe I was talking about the other day?” He sat up on the bed and stretched. His brown lean body gleamed in the brightly lit room.
A few names ran through her mind. When the answer wasn't forthcoming, she asked, “Which one?”
“The one I met at the junction, Stephanie. I just found her page on Instagram. You should check her out.” Yawing loudly, he came down from the bed and wore his slippers.
“If you want to ask her out, just do it. There is no need for me to validate her for you. Moreover, my standards and yours are not the same.” It was difficult to keep the bite out of her words, but she tried to sound as casual as possible. Yet, deep down in her heart, she hated the feeling of hurt that had flamed. Just friends, she reminded herself, Bestie.
“It's just that I don't want any girl to do me like Josephine. You know na? And you are always quick to point out those tendencies in girls.” He came to stand beside her, picking up a makeup item, looking at it, and then returning it to its position.
“That was before, not now. If you want to date any girl, go ahead. I won't stop you. But just inform me when you do, let me pack my load. I don't want any girlfriend wahala.”
“Ah babe, noo! we can continue. Even if I find another girl, we can continue sleeping with each other. It's not as if you have any boyfriend yet.” He walked to the bathroom, leaving the door slightly open.
Ruby winced at the sound that soon hit her ears. He was really clueless about everything, wasn't he? With a sniff, she packed up her makeup items and stood up. “There's this guy I met the other day. he chatted me up on WhatsApp and it seems to be going somewhere. If it works out, I'm not going to be having anything with any other person including you.” The lie flowed seamlessly from her lips. She mentally went through her WhatsApp contacts wondering if there was anyone that remotely filled the description. There was none. She bit the inside of her lips softly in disappointment. She had chased them away all because of one person.
“Which guy? Why didn't you tell me about it?” He came out of the bathroom still tying his trousers.
“Did you flush the toilet?” she asked instead.
He frowned and looked back into the toilet. He shut the door as though trying to hide the evidence. “I will do it later. You didn't tell me about him.”
“Oh, I must have forgotten.” She hoped she sounded nonchalant.
He stood beside the table and watched her as she adjusted her clothes and packed her things into the overnight bag she had come with. “So, you want to date him? What does he do? Are you sure he is really interested in you?”
She rolled her eyes, forcing her makeup bag into the larger, already filled red bag. “Of course. He's not just interested in me because of the different sex positions I can invent. He actually wants to date me. Take me out on cool dates and the rest.”
“I'm not just interested in you because of sex. You are my best friend.” He seemed to finally understand her words.
“Best-friend,” she stressed. “And I need a boyfriend, Boye. In fact, we both need to get into a proper relationship with other people. We have been doing this,” she gestured at the scattered bed, “for over three years now and I don't see it going anywhere. Maybe it's time we acknowledge that whatever we have has gone beyond the limits of friendship and is now something else. God knows I don't take you as a friend anymore.” I take you as something much more different from just a friend, she completed in her head.
“What do you mean?” He straightened up.
“Let's stop this, whatever it was. I want to get into something serious.” She looked at him.
“Ehn?” He barked out a laugh. “I'm not stopping you from dating anyone. But we can still be friends.” He moved closer to her and attempted to draw her into a hug.
She pulled away. “No, Boye. I want a serious, exclusive relationship.” She took a deep breath. “You don't ever see yourself dating me right? You just see me as your fuck buddy, your booty call, the girl that can be as adventurous as you are on the bed, right?” Finally, she was saying the words that she had been hiding in her heart for over two years now.
“What are you saying? Ruby, you are my friend.”
“No, Boye. I am not your friend. I stopped being that the moment we started sleeping with each other. I am the girl you have been fucking under the guise of friendship. I am the girl who fell in love with you and kept waiting for you to take me seriously. I am the girl that had to watch different girls take the position that I wanted so much in your life. And yet…” Her eyes watered. She blinked rapidly. She didn't want her makeup soiled.
Seeing Boye’s expression, the instinctual repulse on his face, the way he moved away from her, told her all she wanted. She sighed and breathed deeply to school her emotions. With a small smile, she looked at him. “It's alright. I've always known that I can never be your girlfriend. It just... ... hurts.” Her voice caught in her throat, it was as though needles were piercing her chin. She looked around the room, searching for any of her property that was still lying around in the scattered one-room flat. Maybe there was, she thought of her panties and her green sponge in the bathroom. He would dispose of it himself.
Boye still hadn’t said anything, but she wasn’t going to wait for him to do that. With a final goodbye to him, she picked up her bag and went out of the house.