RULES OF ENGAGEMENT – 3

The story so far:

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT – PT 1

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT – PT 2

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Girls want to be fawned over and petted. They love a guy who would pamper and answer to every one of their whim, not complaining and always ready to lend a listening ear and a strong shoulder to rest and cry on. For most girls, when a guy doesn’t provide either of these and is not ready to be there to catch them when they throw a tantrum, then he is not caring.

He knew what she expected, so he was able to thwart her moves at every point. It was like a chess game, and he had all her pawns scattered all over the battle front leaving her queen wide open for the final strike. He had taken preemptory and calculated strikes at her right from the beginning and now here he had her seated before him, smiling away like an idiot at every foolishness that dripped out of his mouth.

He allowed her to do most of the talking, while he sat there and smiled or murmured now and then. Not like he had much to say to her anyway, but he had realized quickly that she had a need for someone to listen to her. It was evident most of the people she had ever had around her where the ones who were eager to do most of the talking, all in a bid to gain and retain her attention.

So, he sat there and listened. Occasionally, he would interject just so she knew he was still interested and was paying attention. Then he would sip at his ginger juice, smile at her and then point her in another direction with a question he was sure was bound to lead her into the desired line of discussion. She was pleasant to talk to, even more pleasant to look at when she talked so animatedly.

And she had a lot to talk about and he had all the time, to absorb every bit of information relevant to him.

In the short time they had been here talking, he had been able to garner that she loved music and dancing. He also knew she was lonely, even if externally she had a friendly demeanour. Her loneliness stemmed from the fact that she trusted no one. She kept people away from her personal life, only projecting an outward charade that was meant to make everyone else happy. He had also found out she had big, vain dreams for her life’s trajectory  she wanted to be famous, a movie star or perhaps a singer. Anything that assured a life of glitz and glamour. He also knew she was the only daughter of a chemical engineer father and a medical doctor mother, both of whom live in Port Harcourt.

He had found out more than he cared for, but he listened all the same as she talked.

“Why did you try to cripple me the other day?” It was a question she had asked before which he had stylishly side-stepped. But now, she was asking it again. He wondered why most girls do that – ask so many questions, and continue to do so even when it was obvious the guy doesn’t want to be asked those questions or have any inclination to answer them.

He couldn’t tell her that he bumped her because he found her intriguing and had the unquenchable urge to fuck her, and then kill her, could he? That might be funny, but it would defeat the purpose of his plans and designs for her. It may make her more wary, spook her and spoil his fun.

“What are you smiling about now, freak!”

He broadened his smile, his thoughts centred on what designs he had in store for her, “You see, if I tell you why I ran into you, you wouldn’t believe me. So, let’s just say that I wasn’t looking and it was a fortuitous accident, because it has led me to the most beautiful girl on campus,” he paused as he contemplated the dimple that began to grow deeper on her cheek at his words. This girl has all manners of alarms flashing like a beacon in a stormy night. She was uncontrollable, her emotions worn on her sleeve like a Red Cross badge. Glowing red and calling for all kinds of trouble. He continued, deriving pleasure from her unhidden abashment at his words, “as for me being a freak, you have no idea.”

“That’s where you are wrong Shai,” she countered him. “On this campus, there are freaks running about everywhere and I still have my jury out on you. Who knows if you are not of them, those boys who cause mayhem all over the place.” From the quizzical way she looked at him, he knew perfectly well what she was talking about. She had veiled a question in her statement and he could see that a number of thoughts were racing in her mind which she couldn’t voice, either because she was afraid of what the truth might bear or she just didn’t want to know and yet couldn’t help herself asking.

“I am not making any promises, refuting anything or agreeing to anything. But, one thing I am positive of is that everyone is a freak, one way or the other. We are all just either hiding or suppressing our freakish side.”

“Oh Yeah? You don’t say,” She arched her brows at him. She checked her watch, “Shoot! I have to be in class in ten minutes.” Her voice dripped of the disappointment she tried vainly to mask.

He had enjoyed himself too. But, at one point or the other, every good thing must come to an end.

“It’s OK,” he beamed at her. “It had been a good hour, stealing you away from whatever or whoever it was you were going to before.”

“Whatever…whoever…you are not getting anything off me that easy, fine boy,” she gathered her things from the table. He doffed his hat for her in his mind, nice move, Nike. Very good. He was impressed at her composure and presence of mind still, in spite of her inner turmoil at grappling with how to deal with all the emotions bubbling over the surface.

“I will see you around nau, Shai,” it was a question as much as it was an invitation. He was wise enough to know that a girl can be clear about the way she communicates if she wants to be. And she can do this very well without using clear words.

He tilted his head in a nod, touched his cap and watched her leave the eat-out place, swinging her hips to good effect as she went. A ‘tail feather salute’, was never so good. He knew he had scored big with Nike. He had her where he wanted her. She was smitten with him and it was obvious. He knew in no time he would have her eating out of his hands. For him, it made no difference what she wanted.

But, he knew and was clear in his mind what he wanted.
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It’s all very crazy how she found herself in this situation with Timi. She could no longer deny the fact that she was ‘catching feelings’ for him. It was not those gradual things that grow on you, this was a tsunami that was ravaging all her defences and tearing down her built-in codes of conduct in relationship encounters.

In all her life, she had never been very serious with a guy. She had never allowed herself to fall into that trap. The trapdoor called love into which most people fall through into the everlasting life of perpetual heart breaks and heartaches.

Now, everything has changed. It was as sudden as it was baffling, how she got where she was now. She recognized her feelings for what they were. She was in love, as inexplicable as it was, she could no longer refute the fact. Just after a few weeks, one date on drinks and an hour of talking, she knew she was in love with Timi. There was no point in denying the obvious.

However, it was dangerous for her to not be able to control how she felt towards him. She had to do a better job at masking how she felt; otherwise he would take advantage of her and abuse the privilege.

Everyone does. Once they are aware they have the upper hand in a relationship, they take advantage and milk it to the fullest. It is just the natural rule of human relationship and it was the exact reason she had never allowed herself fall in love with any guy before. From her experience it always led to heart breaks.

She must regain the upper hand in this tango. She had to re-calibrate the rules of engagement in her encounters with Timi. For her, it was a simple matter of taking away his aces. If she didn’t make herself available to him, it ought to throw him off-balance and thereby granting her the control to direct the way the relationship went going forward. The downside was, it was a high stakes risk. She could lose him forever if he decided he wasn’t going to chase after the quarry, like most guys would normally do. From what she had seen and heard from him so far, he was not the regular guy. He was so different, so direct he broke her defences even before she had her guards up. If he decided she was not worth chasing, she didn’t know how she was going to deal with that. She wanted him to desperately want to chase her. On the flip side, if he does chase and she gives him the long rope treatment, he might become a stalker.

Fortunately for her, she had not given him any of her numbers and he had not asked. The only place he knew where to find her was in her room and in class.

She will make herself scarce for a few days. Nothing much was happening in school anyway. She picked up her phone and dialed a number. She couldn’t go home at the moment, so she had to find a place to hide for a few days.

Hey Festus. Yes, its me, She smiled as she listened. That was why I called. You will have to pick me up in school, she beamed. Festus, she could always count on to come running like a lap dog whenever she needed to get out of a tight spot.

He stood on the corner, just outside her hostel and watched her room. He had waited there for a couple of hours and had observed the flurry of activities as she went up and down gathering things. He had no idea what she was about, but he would wait it out.

He had nowhere else to go. And he wasn’t letting her out of his sight now that he had her in his cross hairs. He knew he had to move swiftly in for his strike before she began to grow wiser to him or something else sneaks in to disrupt the equilibrium.

He was still there when he saw the blue Toyota Camry car drive up to the hostel. The driver didn’t come out and after a few minutes, she came downstairs carrying a small traveling case and entered the car. He saw her give the driver a peck on the cheeks, and then they drove off.

He stood a while after they had gone, his mind absorbing the details of the drivers physique and his face, the car and car number. If anyone had the misfortune of seeing him and looking into his eyes at that exact moment in time, they would forever be panicked when they remember the sight. It was the stony face of a demon, a demon that was ready to destroy anything in its path.

Shai contemplated his moves carefully. He was sure it would be easy to trace the car owner through the car number. And then, when he found him, he was going to make him regret ever meeting her.

-TBC-

Author: shaiontheprowl

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