‘I accept your apology, just don’t break my heart the third time.’ She sniffed in some air.
‘I won’t. It’s a promise.’ I dropped a light peck on her forehead.
‘Dave-T?’ Her calling was desperate, she sounded scared.
‘Yes, what is it?’ I asked.
‘Do you really love me? Would you still stand by me if I told you something really shady about me?’ She asked.
What could be shadier than being addicted to drugs and alcohol? Even if she had slept with some other guy, I wouldn’t be hurt or bothered, because I pushed her away when she needed me the most.
I took a deep breath, readying myself to hear of this news.
‘I didn’t tell you I was a journalist …’ she paused; I already knew why she didn’t tell me about that part of her life.
‘You kept it from me because of the way I spoke about journalists, but that has changed now. I no longer undermine their job, it’s very important to circulate information.’ I wiped the tears off her face.
‘You don’t understand Dave-T, this is more than that…’ she pushed my hands away and stepped back.
‘What could be more than drug addiction?’ I scoffed, what was she keeping from me?
Teni ’s eyes were sad and forlorn, her lips shook as she cried, something was eating her alive, something made her feel very guilty. What could she have done?
‘You can tell me anything.’ I reassured her.
‘Maybe I should have kept that secret away from you, but I don’t feel right. What we have now…’ she grabbed my hands and stared at them, ‘Is a new slate, we are all starting out as clean people and I don’t want to be the one to walk in with dirty feet. I want this for real and I feel strongly that you want same. My conscience wouldn’t let me rest should I keep this secret away from you, I know you love me and you’d do anything for me, but if you cannot forgive me or move past this, I will understand Dave-T. I will totally understand.’
I was getting scared now, had she murdered someone or gotten involved with the law?
‘Just go on, tell me what it is.’
‘I came for the concert to get a big story, since the Golden Magazine had not gotten something viral for a long time, Madam Jamila sent me to work on a project that would draw more people to the journal and I felt lucky that you’d picked interest in me that night.
I really loved you at first, but I started having doubts about where our love affair would lead. After I realized you were heavily into drugs and booze, I considered just for a little while to make you and the Jagabans my primary project. I am so sorry Dave-T, I never went through with it. I…I love you too much to let you go down, I couldn’t bring myself to show the world your weakness, to put you on the spotlight and have you judged or trolled on social media. When I didn’t present Madam Jamila with a story, she demoted me and that’s where I am now.’
I laughed when she had finished speaking, it sounded like fiction to me. You know, writers could always come up with something funny; they were born to create lovely art. Comedy was a beautiful artistic piece.
‘I am not joking Dave-T, I am sorry I did something like that. I just couldn’t keep it to myself.’ She reiterated what she had said earlier.
This time, I noticed that her eyes had lost their sparkle, they were dim and anxious.
‘I don’t believe you’d do something like that to me or anyone. You’re Teni, please don’t forget you who you are. You’re my angel.’ I hoped, I prayed she was telling me a story about someone else.
‘No. I am serious Dave-T.’ She pushed my hands away.
‘You’re not! Please tell me you are not!’ I snapped at her unexpectedly.
‘Dave-T, I didn’t have a choice, I was under so much pressure to produce something. Madam Jamila didn’t care how or where I got that story from; she just wanted something out of me!’
‘Don’t give me that crap, I can’t believe you’d stoop so low. I thought you were different from other journalists. This is why I always have a strong aversion for the like of you! You are always desperate for something negative, you never focus on the positive side of thing, you feed negativity, you make it the bae of livelihood. I am so disappointed in you Teni .’
I felt hurt all over, that I had trusted her with everything in me. What if she still had evidence about my drug habit? What if she went to the media with it?
That would be an end to my career, that would be a fucking end!
‘Please Dave-T, you have to understand my position in all of this. I didn’t have much of a choice; I was desperate to bring something to the table.’
‘At my expense? Oh come on, don’t pin this on Madam Jamila. Fine, she pressured you to get a story, but out of me? I really loved you Teni , I still do, you’re so different from other girls I have met and that’s because I thought you had a good heart, a pure soul.’ I scoffed, she was the devil in a white dress.
‘That’s unfair!’ Her voice croaked.
‘You know what’s unfair? You treating me like dirt when you realized I was still on drugs, you were so righteous but you forgot you had something dirty in your cupboard. I am done with you! I am done with Golden Magazine. Goodnight.’ My heart had just been broken into little bits.
‘Wait…please Dave-T, reconsider.’
I swirled round and faced her, ‘Look around Teni , what do you notice about this bar?’
She scanned the empty room and replied, ‘There’s no one except us.’
‘No, there’s no one left except you, and you wore the appropriate dress for this occasion, because you are the devil. And devils don’t mix with well-meaning people. Goodnight Jezebel.’
I strolled out of the bar, without looking back. I was done, I was gone, goodbye to Teni .
‘Dave-T!!!’ She called to me, but there was no answer.
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‘Good morning Teni, I trust you are ready and prepared for today.’ Madam Jamila grinned at me as I walked into the office; she had called me to prep me for the interview that wasn’t going to hold.
What happened between I and Dave-T the night before had seemed like a dream, but now I was facing reality and the pain of his actions cut me deeper. He wronged me, I forgave him. I wronged him, he refused to forgive me.
I woke up that morning not able to feel my legs, I was numb. I was just like an element in the thick atmosphere; I just existed. I wasn’t myself.
Dave-T’s threats terrified me, I had tried to reach out to him but his numbers were all switched off. Madam Jamila and the rest of my colleagues would never forgive me when they finally realized that Dave-T was not going to show up.
I was weak; I was scared, I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to.
I thought I’d done the right thing by telling him the truth, but I’d only led him into a darker place, a place where he would learn to hate me and people like me, who were journalists.
‘I am good.’ I forced a smile.
I couldn’t tell Madam Jamila what I was going through, I couldn’t let her know my pain. I couldn’t tell her that Dave-T was pulling out of Golden Magazine.
‘Are you sure you’re okay? You’re supposed to be happy and bright.’ She noticed I looked withdrawn.
I reaffirmed my answer with a nod.
‘So, before we begin, tell me your findings from last night’s dinner?’
‘Dinner?’ My mind had gone blank. I was thinking of Uneku and UB and how I would lose their friendship because of my reckless behavior. Maybe the truth was better left covered sometimes.
‘Yes, dinner at Blue River with Dave-T,’ Madam Jamila said.
‘Oh dinner, dinner was good. It was fine.’ I forced another smile.
‘Okay, so what did you guys talk about? What interesting questions did you ask Dave-T?’
‘Um, I…’ I sighed; I never asked Dave-T any question. Madam Jamila had told me it would be a business dinner but we had made it personal and I had forgotten to carry out my assignment.
To be continued…