Black Coffee and Mocha: Serial Killer or Something Else?

Greg is a dark-skinned, philosophical model who is the perfect gentleman… every naïve girl’s worst nightmare. Thelma is an ambitious bad-ass combining school with running her own bistro… every unserious guy’s worst nightmare. Together they form a dynamic duo never failing to get caught up in one adventure or the other… especially when they don’t even try!!!

Another chapter of Black Coffee and Mocha is up… longer than the usual though. It was a weird inspiration piece, but yeah… I don’t give off details. I hope you enjoy this and as always, Big shout out to Tega Oteve for her support on this… much love!!!

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

“This would have been a whole lot better if Ivy came along.” Greg muttered as they walked out of their apartment building. “We don’t even have a game plan.”

“Says who?” Thelma said, rolling her eyes (courtesy of hanging around Ivy too long). “You’d slip into the seat right behind mine and eavesdrop on our conversation. Make sure you scan his features when you walk in okay?”

“That plan is fifty shades of wrong my friend.” Greg said with a grunt. “And just to show you it’s not completely wrong, we’ll leave the elements in there.”

“Will we get arrested?”

“Of course not Thelma.”

“Okay then… what do I have to do?”

“Nothing… except me, of course.” Greg said with a sly grin, and Thelma shoved him like she was angry.

“Okay… for real… what’s the plan?”

 

Thelma walked into the coffee shop nervously. It was a serene place with plus leather armchairs and loveseats, with a setup that made it look like a lounge for coffee and intellects (no surprising, since they named the place “the coffee lounge”). This was her favorite place to unwind when she wanted to get away from everyone, so she didn’t understand why she told the guy to meet her here on their first date.

Only Greg knew about her favorite spot, so he didn’t understand her choice either. “You may end up changing spots… because the last thing you’d want is to have some guy that couldn’t get over you not wanting more than one date hanging around there like some pathetic sop, only to see you there and come in embarrassing you with some poem he wrote about you not picking up his calls anymore.”

She bit her lip thoughtfully. She hadn’t thought about that before, and one could trust Greg to rub in some annoying facts. Shaking the image of her best friend with a triumphant smirk on, she ran her hands through her hair and tightened her grip on her handbag while she searched for a suitable spot. She found one close to the window, with two arm chairs with an end table between them. The coffee lounge was usually packed during the weekdays, filled with students from the nearby community college and workers who wanted their morning coffee before work or a sandwich during their afternoon break.

She settled on one of the armchairs and let out a big sigh. She was not worried about she looked— she didn’t need anyone to tell her she always looked amazing, but Greg had made it his point of duty to do so for free— but she was concerned about what her mischievous best friend had up his sleeve. Her eyes strayed to the entrance as it opened, and her breath hitched a notch.

Her date was here

Tall, handsome and well sculpted, just like the day they met… with the sleeves of his loose cotton shirt rolled to the elbows. Thelma exhaled a little loud for her own ears. She decided to pretend she hadn’t seen him yet, but then his eyes met hers and he waved. She waved back, trying her best not to grin.

“Hey Thelma.”

She was getting dizzy from staring at him up close. He sat down and apologized for being a little late, and all she did was nod because she was busy trying to remember how she had met her date. Nothing came up— she met lots of people almost every day. Suddenly a text came in and Greg’s name flashed on her screen.

“One minute please… it’s important.” She said, giving him an apologetic smile before tapping on the text.

“He’s definitely a serial killer… I should be in soon.”

Thelma resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She turned to focus on her date and they fell right into conversation.

 

Greg tucked his phone back into his pocket— he didn’t expect Thelma to reply, as they would have gone back and forth and completely forgotten she was on a date. He didn’t think she really needed him to be there, so he was contemplating on leaving when he saw her.

Or rather, she saw him.

Those long legs and olive skin… they were all too familiar, even as they were covered up by black leather knee high boots. She stopped in front of him and folded her arms.

“Fancy running into you here… Greg.”

“It’s nice to see you again, your highness.” Greg said with a smirk, mirroring her gesture.

“It’s Nancy… not surprised you don’t remember… considering how your girlfriend yanked you out of my car that night.”

He knew her features were too recent in her memory. Instead of widening his eyes in realization, he kept his smirk intact. “I wonder why you’d think you’re that easy to forget.”

Nancy eased into a smile, most likely buying into his comeback. “So… what are you doing here?”

“Came to get a sandwich… care to join me?”

Her only response was a smile.

 

Thelma’s impulsively looked at the entrance door again, not surprised to see Greg walking in with a date of his own, probably someone he bumped into on his way here. She didn’t want to look but the girl looked awfully familiar. She turned back to her date. He was engrossed in his description of his latest art project he didn’t seem to notice he had lost her for a few minutes.

“Are you dirty-minded?”

“What?” her date was obviously taken aback by her question.

“It is said that creative people are usually perverted to a degree…” Thelma said with a shrug.

“Wait… do you want to sleep with me?” her date asked, raising an eyebrow.

Thelma raised an eyebrow. “It was a simple question…”

Her date laughed and shrugged. “Time will tell… maybe you’d be able to tell after another date?”

Thelma could only flash a smile. Just then, her date began to frown. He got to his feet without speaking and walked to a table.

“Nancy! What the hell are you doing here?!”

Nancy chuckled without taking her eyes off Greg, who had become visibly uneasy. “I’m on a date John, what does it look like?”
John was about to speak, but Nancy rose to her feet and looked him in the eyes. “You have some nerve you know… getting angry seeing me with a guy when you’re out on a date yourself.”

John was unfazed. “You’re my little sister… and you keep getting yourself into trouble.”

Nancy scoffed. “Do you know how old I am?”

“You just turned eighteen this month.”

Greg’s eyes widened, but he didn’t say a word. This was getting good.

“You’ve had more trips to the hospital than girls twice your age.”

Nancy’s fists tightened. “Airing my dirty laundry in public, are you?”

“If it keeps you out of trouble then I don’t care.”

“Says the guy who does porn for a living.”

“Wait what?” Greg couldn’t stop himself from blurting out. Nancy and John gave him a look.

“Do you mind? Siblings are arguing over here.” Nancy said, flipping her weave.

“Porn is good for the health… I’m doing the general public a favor.”

“I don’t understand…”

Greg turned to exchange a look with his best friend, who had been standing right in front of John and Nancy the whole time they had been arguing.

“What’s healthy about porn?”

“Yes please, help us understand what is healthy about stuff that triggers the same chemical secretions that cause addiction?”

“Yes Thelma… talk nerdy to him.” Greg said with a snicker, and she gave him a look. John gave Thelma a disapproving nod.

“If anyone should understand what I mean, it should be this guy here… but apparently he doesn’t.”

“So you’re saying porn is only for men… that’s sexist you know.” Thelma said, putting her hands on her hips in disapproval.

“So you’re saying… you watch porn?!” Greg asked, staring at Thelma in disbelief.

“Shut up Greg… stop drifting off the point.”

“I know you… you’re that girl that pulled Greg from my car that night at the club! Aren’t you his girlfriend or something?”

“Shut up Nancy.”

John looked at Greg and Thelma in disbelief, and grabbed his sister by the wrist. “Let’s go Nancy.”

His little sister didn’t object. Thelma and Greg stood side by side and watched the two of them leave.

“I told you she’d make you scratch and sniff.” Thelma said, shaking her head.

“So you almost dated a porn star eh?” Greg said with a sly smile. “Would have been fun, you know.”

“He told me he was an actor.” Thelma said, slapping her forehead.

“He probably walks around visualizing everyone in a porn movie.”

“Shut up Greg.”

Chapter Twenty-Six: Pick A Guest

“Probed” is a science fiction concept with a Nigerian setting about five extraordinary children trying to live ordinary lives. I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I love writing it!

Hello!!!

It’s been a while… hope you’re not mad. I am going through too much… in a good way. I just need to be prove to the world… that I am bursting with that energy that will translate to something so…

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

“Wow. Okay daddy… I’m so… thank you sir— thank you so much!”

Muyiwa hung up the phone and rubbed his palms together with glee. His roommate Michael who had been walking beside him looked at him mischievously.

“Care to share the reason for your excitement?”

Muyiwa nodded. “My parents are throwing a party for me this weekend.”

“That’s nice.”

“Saturday and Sunday… We’re having a small indoor party on Saturday with a few of our friends, and Sunday to for just my friends only.” Muyiwa said excitedly. “My dad is renting an event center for the Sunday party at a hotel not far from school.”

“Mehn!!!” It was Michael’s turn to rub his hands gleefully. “We’re gonna make sure the party is off the hook!”

“Dad said he’s only organizing the venue and mum the small chops.”

Shak no be problem naa… me and the boys will organize the whole thing don’t worry.”

“I just hope the whole ish doesn’t get out of hand though.” Muyiwa said warily, and Michael put a hand loosely over his friend’s shoulder reassuringly. “I know how crazy you guys get.”

“We’re never that crazy… and you know it— don’t worry about it.”

“I guess you’re right.” Muyiwa said with a laugh. “But what if no one shows?”

“That’s impossible… especially when strongest is the one organizing the whole thing— I don’t think you know you’re popular. Besides, who wouldn’t show up to the party of my best friend? I mean association with me is enough cred.”

Muyiwa laughed hard and moved away from Michael’s grip. “Who’s best friend?”

Michael joined in the laugh. “Forget it o… we don’t have to say it to know that we are best friends, at least as far as this school is concerned.”

Muyiwa slapped Michael on the back. He truly did consider them best friends.

“So then… you wouldn’t mind spending the weekend at my place.”

Michael raised his eyebrow at him. “For real?”

Muyiwa nodded in affirmation. “I’m supposed to bring two friends for the party on Saturday, so I’m inviting you and Ronke to my place on Friday.”

“Thanks bro, I’m honored.” Michael said with a chuckle. “I’ll finally get to see your family, especially that your fine sister.”

“Guy… e be like say you wan die early.” Muyiwa said firmly, but with a small smile on his face.

 

Aisha stared at the report card on her desk, a smug smile plastered on her face. Her seatmate Brenda was staring at her in shock. Aisha averted her gaze to her close friend, her smug smile not faltering.

“What?”

“How so?” Brenda asked, gesturing towards the crowd of students around a bewildered Banji. Aisha shrugged nonchalantly.

“I was so sure you’ll carry first position this term.”

“I know right?” Aisha said with a chuckle, making Brenda give her a look.

“You’re not sad?”

Aisha shook her head. “Of course not. Carrying second position doesn’t making me any less smart.”

Brenda nodded in agreement. “That’s true.”

“Aisha.”

She didn’t bother to look at the person standing in front of her desk. “Yes Banji?”

Brenda looked at Banji, then at Aisha. “Let me go and check Binta’s score eh Aisha. I’ll be right back.”

And with that it was just the two of them; Aisha still staring at her report card with a smug smile on her face, and Banji staring at her only because she wasn’t staring back at him.

“I got first position.” He said in a low voice. “And with your perfect CA the only way that could have worked out is for you to flunk your exams, even if a little bit.”

Aisha only responded with a shrug. Banji clenched his left hand into a fist.

“So what are you trying to prove?”

“You get the stupid plaque you never let me rest about when I got it last term.” She said placidly with a shrug, still staring at her report card. “Now you can sleep well at night.”

Banji opened his mouth, but no words came out.

“I tried to be nice to you, especially when our family bumped into yours at the hotel last Christmas. We got along during the trip, only for you to turn back to your mean self back in school. You shunned me in front of our classmates, making them think that I was latching on to you all through that holiday.”

She finally looked up at Banji.

“Since you were nice enough to admit that you hated me because of your stupid first position plaque, I let you have it.” Aisha said coldly. “I don’t need first position to prove how smart I am, especially to my family.”

“Wha- what are you implying?” Banji said in a bid to conceal his growing shame. Aisha got up from her seat and gave him a once-over.

“I don’t need your stupid friendship either… so please move away from my desk.”

Banji wordlessly walked away, angry at how guilty he felt. He clenched both hands again; the grip of his right hand tightening over the plaque he held in that hand, while the left one was balled into a fist.

 

After school Mustapha was leaning on the wall of the car park, looking at the students hanging around while he waited for his siblings. But he was so wrapped up in his thoughts he didn’t notice them approach him. Nneka snapped a finger in his ear to bring him out of his thoughts.

“Haba what’s on your mind?” she said, putting her hand on her hips.

Mustapha gave her a once over and nodded at Folarin who was standing right next to her. “Guy what’s up? Mama nothing is on my mind.”

“Hmm… ok o.”

“So Folarin will you be around on Saturday?” Mustapha said with a mischievous grin. Nneka put a hand to her younger brother’s chest and glared at him.

“Yes he is, and no one is going to do anything funny.”

“Like what? Hint our parent that he’s your boyfriend?”

“For Christ’s sake Mustapha don’t talk about this like he’s not here.”

“So what? It’s not like he doesn’t know how protective dad and mum are of you.”

“Yes he is aware. So stop scaring him and making him second guess this.”

“What’s there to be scared about?” Mustapha said with a chuckle. “It’s not like lover boy over there is going to say or do something stupid that would tip dad off.”

Nneka put up a finger in a bid to give Mustapha a stern warning when he held her deftly by the wrist.

“Hold that thought for a minute mama… I’ll be right back.”

With that Mustapha broke away from his sister and rushed to where he had sighted his target. Banji had just walked into the car park. Mustapha rushed to meet up with him, much to his surprise.

“Banji what’s up?”

Banji narrowed his eyes at Mustapha. “Hello Mustapha.”

“Um… where’s your sister?” Mustapha said nervously, putting both hands in his pocket to give a casual air. Banji raised an eyebrow at him, trying not to smile despite how uncomfortable he felt. Mustapha was the kind who pierced through you when you looked him in the eyes— he had no idea how Sade did it without flinching or even looking away for a second. Love, the young thought, is indeed blind.

“I’m taking it she hasn’t turned on her phone yet.” He said, scratching the back of his head. It was Mustapha’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “I doubt she’s home yet.”

“I don’t understand. Where did she go?”

“She got admitted last night.”

“What happened to her?”

“Her meds stopped working, and she passed out last night from exhaustion.” Banji explained with a sigh.

“Wait… her insomnia meds?”

“You know about that?” Banji said with shock, and Mustapha nodded in affirmation.

“Okay then… I’ll tell her you asked after her.”

“Um… there’s no need t… no problem then.”

“I have to go… my driver’s waiting.”

“Yeah.”

“Banji!!!”

Muyiwa and Mustapha turned towards the familiar voice. Sade was heading towards them wearing casual clothes. She beamed at Mustapha, but he froze in place, unable to speak.

“You’re supposed to be at home resting.” Banji said with a frown.

“I’ve been at home since morning joor.” Sade said, folding her arms. “Home was boring so I followed Mr. Jones to come and pick you up.”

“Yeah…” Banji drawled. “Anyway thank God you’re here… Mustapha asked after you.”

“Oh really?” she said, giving him a side glance.

It was then Mustapha thawed out. He cleared his throat and looked away. “Today was pretty peaceful, is all. It’s not like I missed your company or anything.”

“I never said you did.” Sade said with a giggle, making Banji roll his eyes. “Let’s go little brother.”

As they turned to leave, Mustapha grabbed at Sade’s arm gently, making her and Banji turn at the same time. Mustapha’s lost his resolve immediately.

“Err… Sade… I thought…” He scrubbed a hand over his face and took a deep breath. “My elder brother is having a party on Saturday and we’re to bring a friend each… and I haven’t asked anyone yet.”

Sade’s stomach did several flips, but she did her best to act casual. “Okay… soooo?”

Mustapha let out a frustrated sigh. “You’re not letting me do this.”

Sade’s smile widened. “Of course I am.”

“You’ll come for the party right?”

“Ask nicely.”

Mustapha let out another sigh. “Would you like to come along for the party?”

 

This is fun! It’s been a while since I did this!”

“I have a feeling this is going to turn into a weekly routine.” Muyiwa said with a laugh. Ronke didn’t reply— she wrapped her arms tightly around him instead. He was giving her a piggy-back ride in Leke’s garden, which had very few people there at the time.

“It’s not like it’s straining you or anything.” She said, planting a soft kiss at the back of his neck.

“Better stop o. I’ll just drop you.”

“If I hear.” Ronke laughed long and hard, and then decided to share what had been on her mind.

“How do you want to spend your birthday?”

Muyiwa froze in place. “I was thinking about how to bring that up.”

“Oh really.”

“Yup. We’re spending it at my parent’s place.”

Ronke was so shocked she almost fell off Muyiwa’s back, saved only by his firm grip. He noticed, and let her down gently.

“What’s wrong? Do you have plans on Sunday?”

“It’s not that it’s just that—”

“My dad wants to throw me my first birthday with them, and wanted to do it with a few of our close friends— and you of course.” Muyiwa said with a small smile.

“Muyiwa… it’s going to be a little scary.”

“You don’t know the half of it.” he replied with a laugh. “You and Michael are to spend the weekend at our place, so we can all go for the main party Dad and Mum are throwing for me and my friends.”

“Now it just got a whole lot scarier.”

Muyiwa laughed heartily. “There’s nothing to it! You’d share a room with mama and Michael will sleep in my room, so you won’t have to feel too shy about being among us.”

Ronke tried to smile, but she was all twisted up inside. “It’s not about that Muyiwa.”

Muyiwa threw an arm over her shoulder. “They are going to love you. If only they knew you knew about our secret… Abiye would have turned into some pretty cute animals for your amusement.”

“I don’t understand… animals?” Ronke said, her heart beating furiously in her chest.

“Yeah… he turns into all sorts… but he won’t turn into anything scary— you’ll just die.” Muyiwa laughed heartily, but Ronke didn’t find it funny. She frowned, much to Muyiwa’s amusement.

“I thought I would ease it up on you.” Muyiwa explained gently, giving her a comforting smile. “But I didn’t want you coming over and dreading those you had no idea what they are capable of. Michael has no problem because well, ignorance is bliss.”

“Hmmm.” Ronke said, pinching the bridge of her nose. Maybe she shouldn’t have probed him. She found it hard to believe yet, but she saw no reason why she shouldn’t, especially since she witnessed what had happened that day with her ex-boyfriend.

“This is too much to take in.” she finally admitted. All Muyiwa did was smile.

“Of course it is, but you asked for it.”

He put up four fingers to represent each of his siblings. “Here’s the breakdown: Mama heals herself of all injuries and those of others to an extent— something you know already. Aisha is a super computer with a large knowledge base, and can temporarily take copies of documents for content duplication; Mustapha has super speed and our last born Abiye changes to different animals.”

“Okay… I think I need to sit down.”

“No problem. Are you coming over for the weekend?”

Ronke looked at him. There was something about the way he asked her that question, like her refusal would cost them their relationship. What he said next affirmed it.

“It will always be family above everyone else Ronke… If you have a problem with how we are it’s never too late to leave.”

Ronke’s feet were shaky, but she ignored it and smiled. “We still have to talk to your dad about the issue with mine… don’t forget.”

 

“Aisha… 2nd Position? What happened?” Lillian stared at her daughter worriedly as she skimmed through her report card. “You seemed to have decided to do a little less than perfect in your exams unlike in your CA.”

Aisha gave her mother a small apologetic smile. “I thought fluctuating grades will throw a lot of attention off me, asides from the fact that I got picked on in class by some of my classmates who thought I showed off my intelligence a little too much, when they don’t even know the half of it.”

“Oh I see. I understand dear.”

She reached out and put a hand on her mother’s shoulder. “It was quite excruciating for me to flunk mum, trust me. It’s even more laborious than those who have to study when they don’t want to.”

Lillian pulled in her daughter for a hug. “It’s okay for you to fluctuate every once in a while, but nothing lower than 2nd position, okay?”

Aisha stared at her mother, horrified. “Never!”

 

Aisha was reading one of the encyclopedias her father bought her in class during break for the umpteenth time. Although she had already absorbed the information within, it was like reading a favorite novel. She reached for her bottle of fanta without looking away from her book, until she realized that it was no longer on the table. She finally looked away, only to see Banji in front of her with the fanta in his hand, smiling her mischievously. She raised an eyebrow at him, her face expressionless.

“I’m thirsty.”

“Who are you taking to your brother’s party?”

“One. You take going straight to the point to far… you could have at least eased it into a conversation.” Aisha said, still staring at him expressionlessly. “Two. Who told you about that?”

“Mustapha asked Sade to the party yesterday.” Banji said, finally setting the fanta down so he could fold him arms stubbornly. “I want to come to.”

“Why?”

“What naa? I just want to.” Banji said, narrowing his eyes. “I like parties.”

“I don’t need your company as compensation for you getting first position. I already told you that I don’t need grades to determine how intelligent I am.”

Banji knew that. He had known that from the very first term, even before she had snatched his perfect first position streak from him— he was just too proud to concede defeat.

“I really just want to come and watch Sade make a fool out of herself in front of your brother and… see your books.”

Aisha muttered something in Dutch under her breath. She liked to speak to herself in other languages when she needed to make a decision. She was the only one among the children that understood all the three major Nigerian Languages, and she had the mid to learn more soon enough.

“That one sef dey.” She said, rolling her eyes. “Okay I’ve heard… you’re lucky I haven’t asked Brenda yet.”

Banji pumped his fist in the air with excitement. “Thanks a lot!”

Aisha didn’t expect his reaction, but she didn’t betray her surprise in her expression. “You’re welcome.”

 

“Mummy let me take you on a ride… pleeeaaassseee!!!!”

Abiye put his head on his mother’s lap as they watched TV while she played with his hair absentmindedly.

“Oh dear… I’m still not sure I’m totally comfortable with that yet.” Lillian said with a soft chuckle.

“But you liked it when you rode on me as a camel, and the other time when everyone took turns riding me as a donkey— they both have very strong backs.”

“Yes they do dear…  I still haven’t warmed up to your wild animals you know… but its one day at a time.” she replied with a laugh.

“I noticed it, that’s why I only change into house pets in front of you and daddy. But you really tried your best.” Abiye said with a laugh. “Imagine when I first transformed before your eyes? You passed out, just like Daddy did.”

“Your father fainted when he first met you? He didn’t tell me that.” Lillian said, trying to choke back a laugh. “He will so hear plenty stories when he gets back.”

“Mummy… I want to try something.”

“Hmmm…. Okay what is it?”

Abiye got off the chair and turned into a tiger. Lillian jumped before she could control herself.

“Mummy please… I need to know that I don’t scare you. Touch my head.”

“Abiye.”

Lillian was uncomfortable, and mouth and teeth were so big but she understood the young boy’s point. She hesitantly reached out to touch the side of his head, and he leaned into her palm. It amazed her that the small boy’s head that lay on her lap about a minute ago had become a massive animal’s. Her hands were still shaky, but she put the second one on his face.

“See mum? You have nothing to worry about.”

Lillian flinched again when he opened his mouth, but she didn’t let go. She drew close and wrapped her arms around Abiye’s neck. Suddenly her hands were suspended in mid-air, and small, long arms were wrapped around her own neck.

“I love you mummy.”

She drew him close and kissed his forehead. “Mummy loves you too.”

Suddenly she snapped her fingers as she remembered something.

“Abiye I didn’t ask who your guest for the party is so I can take permission from his or her parents.”

Abiye laughed. “There’s no need for that mummy, you had already invited Julian and his mother.”

 

A Beautiful Lie

Hello Reader! If you’re a rock fan and you know 30 Seconds to Mars, then you’d be familiar with their track “A beautiful Lie” I love the video… You can check it out Here

The beautiful thing about music is no matter how simply the lyrics are written, you can always get more than one meaning from it. Kind of like this story.

Like similar stories that would appear in this category, i made sure to interprete EVERY line of the song. If you know the lyrics to this song pretty well you can go through this and prove me wrong with a comment. I’ll show you I’m right tho… *shrugs*

In case you don’t know the lyrics well enough (or at all), I’ve inserted a link Here out of the goodness of my heart… Lol.

Woah… Too much talk. Get on with the reading please!


A Beautiful Lie

“Hey Jake aren’t you coming with us?”

Jake peered at his best friend Moesha and her new boyfriend Jayden from beneath the hood of the sweatshirt he wore under his jacket. He despised Jayden, but he could never refuse Moesha anything. He shrugged in response to her question and unfolded his long legs from the bench he was sitting on so he could follow them. He’d never spoken to a soul- not even Moesha- since he was six. Moesha respected his decisions to be mute, and accepted his plain reason (written on paper like the rest of their conversations) that there wasn’t anything worth saying in his opinion.

But Moesha was really the only person he had ever warmed up to in his entire life. At first when she insisted on becoming friends with him he viewed her as nothing more than a pest, though he never made any effort to push her away. She was practically his only friend; and even though they were polar opposites, they were comfortable with each other’s lifestyle. Jake could never decide on what he liked most about Moesha- maybe the fact that she wasn’t a snob even though she was very popular (and hot) or the fact that she could beat up any jock as much as he could. Or the fact that she was sort of a tomboy, though not in appearance. She was practically the only girl he knew that could beat a guy in arm wrestling while checking out her lip gloss.

But most of the time it was just the two of them though, even with her large number of friends. She never tried to impose her friends on him, and she always made time for her other friends even as she spent more time with him. Everyone wanted to be around her, and it never bothered Jake until she started crushing on Jayden Adams, the class president. She started spending more time with him, and after a while Jake began to feel jealous; even though he tried hard not to be. She had liked (and dated) a lot of guys in the past, but she was never serious with them like she was with Jayden. He really wanted to be happy for her, but he just couldn’t. Jayden was a jerk, and didn’t really care about anyone but himself. He didn’t want Moesha getting hurt. Even though she was physically strong, she was very emotional.

“Hey…” Jayden said nervously as Jake walked beside them. He nodded at him in reply and looked away.

Jake wasn’t shy- he was just mute. But he was a loner; a social outcast who never smiled at anyone except his best friend. But he knew how to mask his emotions- even to Moesha- so it was easy to hide his resentment for Jayden for her sake. No one said anything after that, and for a while they walked at a steady pace, moving silently against the dry wind blowing against them.

“I can’t believe you’re not even going to ask where we’re going.” Moesha said, cracking up for no apparent reason, evidently to break the silence.

Jake rolled his eyes and smiled, before shrugging in reply.

“We’re going to the fair.”

Jake looked at her with a grim face, eyebrows raised.

“Hey I know you don’t like crowds but you’re going to love it.” Moesha squealed, tugging the sleeve of her jacket excitedly. “Besides, they’re only here once a year so I don’t want to miss it.”

Jake didn’t see the deal in public events. He loathed them, and avoided them as much as possible.

Today wasn’t just one of those days.

“OOH LOOK AT THE RIDES!!!! AND THE STUFFED ANIMALS!! AND THE-”

Moesha’s voice faded into the background as Jake tried to make as little contact as possible with the people around him. He stuffed his hands in his Jacket and tried to make himself look as small as he could. The action was stupid; since he was extremely tall, and likely to attract attention, especially in a crowd. His height was one of the things that never made him invisible, except when he was sitting down.  Moesha on the other hand, was having the time of her life with Jayden. She made him go with them on all the rides; so by the end of the day, he wasn’t feeling so good.

“I think I’m going to throw up.” he said, sitting beside Jake on a nearby bench. Jake got up immediately- he wasn’t ready to get barfed on.

“Sorry Jayden. I told you not to eat so much before going on the rides. Let me see if I can- Wow look at that!!!”

The boys followed the direction of her finger, which was pointed towards a tent with a signboard that said:

Morgana the Medium: Make your dreams come true

Jayden let out a snort and Jake rolled his eyes. He didn’t believe in magic,  ghosts, or anything supernatural. But he knew Moesha was crazy about that kind of stuff.

“Let’s go inside.” Moesha said, jumping up and down excitedly.

“I still feel like throwing up.” Jayden said, his face turning green a little. “I think I’ll wait here.”

Jake would rather have waited too, even if it meant being barfed on. But he didn’t have much of a choice because Moesha was already dragging him in before he had time to protest. The medium’s tent was giving off bad vibes in his opinion, but it had to be in his head since it seemed like he was the only one that felt it.

He snapped out of his thoughts as he heard Moesha gasp. He turned to the direction of her wide eyes and saw a sight that sent a shiver through his bones.

A tall beautiful woman with almond shaped eyes and shiny olive skin stood beside a table, on which a crystal ball and some tarot cards were placed. Behind the table a bent old woman sat on a chair.

Her face was full of lines and her hands were gnarled and twisted. She had a sinister smile on her face, and her eyes were glassy in appearance. She looked at Jake, and her grin widened. Jake took a step back, but Moesha held him firmly in place.

“Come to change your life Jake Thompson?”

Moesha looked at Jake, her eyes questioning. Jake shook his head to indicate that he didn’t know the woman.

“Do not be surprised I know your name… I also knew you and Moesha were going to come here”

Jake looked at the woman, scared and puzzled at the same time. She stared back, with a sort of emotion in her voice this time as she spoke.

“Your destiny depends on it”

Jake shook his head and turned to leave. He didn’t have time for all this. He was almost regretting coming to the fair in the first place.

“I can make you sleep well again”

He snapped back and looked at her. He never got a lot of sleep, since he was ten. Even after the dreadful experiences passed over the years, the memories kept flooding back at night, and all he could do is think about his messed up life as he lay in bed every night.

The tell-tale rings underneath his eyes were enough for her to work on. There was no way she could know about his past- it wasn’t possible. No one knew of his past, not even his aunt who he was living with presently.

“Do you like the way your life is? Or do you want to be different?”

Jake looked away from the lady, growing impatient with every passing second. He didn’t need anyone reminding him of how much his life sucked in a bid to take advantage.

“Try to let go of the ugly truth… your youthful battles.”

He gritted his teeth and stuffed his hands deeper in his pockets.

“Life isn’t hard… it’s just a game.”

Angrily, He shrugged Moesha off him and walked out of the tent.

“Jake! Wait up!”

He turned back and gave Moesha an apologetic look.

“Wanna talk about it?” she said, reaching for the small notebook she kept in her purse for their conversations. He shook his head and lowered his head.

“Fine.” Moesha said in an expressionless voice, looking around. “Hey do you know where Jayden went?”

Jake shrugged. They went into the tent together- he didn’t see how he could know. Besides, it wasn’t like he cared.

They searched everywhere they could, but there was no sign of Jayden.

“He’s not answering his phone either.” she said with a frown “I hope he’s alright.”

Jake pressed his lips in a thin line. He had other things on his mind that did not involve Jayden; like the old woman’s words that kept coming back to him. What did she mean by what she said? He couldn’t help but feel that she wasn’t just saying it for business sake.

Just then a strong wind blew against them, making them shiver.

“Let’s go- it’s no use… He’s probably gone home now.” she said, holding her jacket tightly to her body.

They walked home in silence for a while at first.

“Um… do you think the medium was serious back there?”

Jake tensed up, and shook his head.

“Well she did seem to have struck a nerve when we were in the tent.”

Jake stopped in his tracks and shook his head again; hoping Moesha would get it this time.

She did. “You don’t wanna talk about it, do you?”

He sighed and nodded his head.

“Well, you never want to talk about anything.” she said in a wavering voice.

Before he could understand what he did wrong, she dashed off.

It was late. She shouldn’t be wandering off on her own. He raced to catch up with her, but he couldn’t seem to find her anywhere. It seemed like she just disappeared, or worse still…

A scream in the bushes confirmed his fears. He ran towards the direction of the voice and managed to pull Jayden off Moesha and punch him before he could do anything.

Moesha collapsed into his arms, sobbing. He lifted her bridal style and took her home. No one was home, so he got her keys and opened the door. She was trembling by the time he set her in bed. He threw a towel to her and pointed to the bathroom, and she shook her head.

“I think I’d rather be alone.” She said in a cold expressionless voice that he had never heard before. It wasn’t weird for him to sleep over at her place, and it shocked him that she’d push him away after what had just happened. Still startled by her response, he squeezed her hand reassuringly and left a note on her bedside table.

Text me if you need to talk. It doesn’t matter how late.

That night the day’s experiences haunted his thoughts. He thought about the woman and her mysterious words; about Moesha and how he’d not been fair to her. He knew how much she preferred to express herself through conversation, and he couldn’t even provide her with a response when she needed it the most. He wasn’t surprised she didn’t text him, even though he hoped she would. It was about 2am before he finally drifted off to sleep.

He left the house earlier than usual so he could check up on Moesha, and if possible apologize. She’d been so patient all this while… she deserved to know a bit of his past so she could understand why he became this way. Her parents were rarely around, and she was an only child. He thought about how lonely she must get as he made his way to her room; clutching tightly the flowers he had bought on his way to appease her.

As he opened the door, he got the shock of his life. Jayden was standing in her room, pleading to Moesha who was standing on the leather seat of her window sill, poised as if she wanted to jump off. He dropped the flowers and raced to Jayden’s side.

“I’m so sorry Moesha. I… I was drunk.” Jayden said, looking at Jake for help.

“You weren’t. Don’t make me feel worse by lying- just leave me alone.”

“Jake’s here Moesha. Please don’t do this.”

Jake looked at Jayden. He couldn’t decide if he was doing this because of his conscience, or to save his reputation. But it didn’t matter either way- Moesha’s life was on the line. He knew he could startle her if he made a move to get her down so the only way was to coax her out of it. He grabbed a large piece of paper lying on her desk and scribbled on it in large print.

Please Moesha… don’t do this.

Moesha turned back and looked at him. She was a mess today- her blonde hair tangled, her eyes red and puffy from the tears and yesterday’s makeup still running over her face. She had evidently been crying all night.

She looked at the note and shook her head. He scribbled on the other side.

A lot of people have gone through worse, and they didn’t have anyone to share their problems with. You have me- and you know I really care about you.

She shook her head again and started to sob. He threw the paper aside. Time was running out- and he didn’t know what else he could do.

Then for an unknown reason, the medium’s words came back to him.  And he knew that the only way to save Moesha was to forget about the past; to wash away what had happened. He had to let his emotions out- he had to quit hiding behind an empty, expressionless face.

“Moesha please.”

Moesha and Jayden stared wide-eyed at Jake. It was surprising for everyone, even him.

He thought for a split second how husky his voice was, and how shaky it was, like he didn’t know how to use it.

“I’ve… I’ve been in your shoes once” He said, his voice gaining strength with every word. He blinked back the tears- no time for them now.

“Get out.” Moesha said to Jayden, not leaving the window as she spoke. Jayden complied without argument. She then nodded at him to go on.

It was then Jake poured his heart out- telling Moesha things he’d never told anyone before- about his psychotic father who beat his mum to death, raped him, then killed himself. He was ten years old then, and he’d been mute ever since. By the time he was through he was bawling, but an immense relief washed over him, like a big burden had been lifted off his shoulders.

Moesha was crying too. She wasn’t even raped, and she tried to kill herself as though her problems were the greatest in the world. Jake had gone through so much, and had managed to keep going. She knew his past had something to do with the way he was now, but nothing she imagined was close to the actual truth. She had so much to ask, but she knew it wasn’t the time for that. But she had to say one important thing though.

“I’m sorry.”

She turned to him slowly to look at his tear stained face. She had to comfort him. But as she tried to step down the window sill, she slipped and fell out, screaming Jake’s name all the way.

Jake raced down the stairs to the front door where Moesha’s dead body lay. It was like his whole world had ended that minute.

A crowd of people had gathered, and they were all giving him questioning looks. He was feeling lightheaded, like he had been running in circles.

“I didn’t kill her… she fell off the window.” He said in a soft voice, his throat dry all of a sudden. He clutched at it, unable to stop the fresh tears from falling. They kept staring, but they didn’t appear to be listening. He shut his eyes tight, expecting the worst as they closed in on him slowly, chanting his name.

Jake… Jake…

“I didn’t do it” he said, his voice pleading, his desperate cries building higher as they moved closer, still chanting his name.

Jake… Jake…

“Jake… Jake wake up!”

Jake opened his eyes slowly. That couldn’t be Moesha- she was dead. Unless they were both dead…

“Hey Jake aren’t you coming with us?”

She was standing next to Jayden, her long brown hair blowing the wind, her green eyes full of amusement.

He let out a laugh, making her and Jayden jump. He continued to laugh uncontrollably, until tears fell from his eyes.

“I was so… happy to hear the sound of your voice at long last but now I’m just creeped out.”

Jayden wiped his eyes and got off the bench he was sitting on.

“We’re going to the fair. Wanna come with?”

“You’re not going anywhere” He said, hugging her tightly. “I’m not letting you out of my sight again”

“Again? What are you talking about?”

Without caring that Jayden was there, he kissed her. Dreaming about her dying was enough for him to think about how he couldn’t live without her; and how he loved her more than a friend.

“I love you Moesha.” He said, breathing heavily.

Moesha smiled at him, and held his hand. It was then he remembered Jayden was still there.

“Beat it.” he said, narrowing his eyes at him for a second. Jayden rolled his eyes and walked off.

It was a dream… rather, a beautiful nightmare. But he needed it.

Just then a small paper fell out of his pocket.

Life isn’t hard… it’s just a game.

Remember that

xMorganax

He shook his head and laughed again. That medium played him. The whole thing was a lie- but a beautiful one, now that the whole thing is cleared.

She made him realise that his present life was a perfect denial of what his life really had in store for him. But not anymore. It was definitely a lie, but a beautiful one to believe in.

“You know what Moesha? Let’s go to the fair. You know it only comes once a year and I don’t think you’d want to miss it”