It all started like a bad joke in a boring movie. Kayla had gone to see her boyfriend when she bumped into him. He was tall and big; exactly how she liked her men. She smiled and said hello. He did the same. As she walked past him, she mentally noted that his voice was soft, smooth…almost like he was shy.
Her boyfriend introduced them later. Terver. Terver Aondowase. Like she would remember the last name. What she did remember was the array of books in his living. ‘Oh my God! Your Deen Koontz’s collection is legit!’ she said as she caressed his books. Then she remembered; he was a stranger! And she just acted a fool. She blushed clear to her thick Afro roots and pulled her hands back to herself.
‘It is okay. Big fan?’ Kayla nodded shyly.
Kayla’s boyfriend saw the exchange, looked from one to the other and declared, ‘You book lovers amaze me. Please, before you cum all over his books, come and be going oh.’
Kayla laughed. So did Terver. They were embarrassed. But not for themselves. Kayla took ‘One Door Away From Heaven’, looked at it longingly and returned it to the shelf.
‘You could borrow it if you want. You just have to promise to return it in one piece.’
‘Don’t give her. She is control spoil. She will return your book in tatters.’
And though Kayla’s boyfriend was right, she gave him a stink look and turned to Terver. ‘I promise to take care of your book if you promise to allow me access to all of them.’
Terver smiled and nodded.
As Kayla walked out of the room, she couldn’t have been happier. It wasn’t until she got outside that remembered her manners. She rushed back into the compound, went to Terver’s flat and knocked.
‘May I have your number? I mean…you just gave me your book without guaranteeing you can get it back. How many books have you lost this way?’ came tumbling out as soon as he opened the door. Terver smiled. He took out his phone and gave her. She dialed her number and returned his phone to him.
‘We will be fast friends, Terver.’ And she was gone.
And soon they were. It started with a private message she sent to him. Soon they were talking about any and everything. Their conversations were easy, free flowing and, if Kayla admitted to herself, a battle of wits. He was painfully sarcastic and she was titillated by his intelligence. They spoke every day; first thing in the morning and last thing before they slept. And though they only saw each other once in a while, they couldn’t be any closer.
Then one day she texted; or more appropriately, sexted. It was supposed to be a battle of wits. They had to continue each sentence with the last word from the other person. Whoever got stuck first, lost, and had to forfeit something valuable. They started. It was fun. Then it wasn’t. Kayla felt the moisture pool in her nether region as the sexts became raunchier. She could barely breathe with how much she wanted him. But he was her friend! When did this move from playful banter to full blown sexual awakening?
‘I yield. You, dear sir, are too much for me and if I continue, I may have to jump you physically. I declare you the winner. Your intelligence turns me on.’
‘Huh?’ Kayla wondered what he was about.
‘Sapiosexual. Turned on by intelligence. That is what you are.’
And Kayla knew Terver was right.
‘Can I be real with you?’ she typed, anticipating his response.
‘I think we crossed an unwritten line.’
‘I think so too.’
‘So are we going to…?’
‘Do you want to?’
Kayla breathed in deeply and let it out slowly. A minute passed as she stared at her phone. Their sync was so good that they didn’t need to spell out what they saying. That, more than anything else, scared her.
Two years after they slept together, they were still friends. Best friends now. They shared everything and were each other’s support system. Once in a while, they flirted and sexted but it was more for fun than anything else.
Kayla however began to notice that Terver became a bit withdrawn. The calls began to dwindle and when they did talk, he sounded cool; no…cold. She tried to get him to talk but he wasn’t forthcoming. So she gave him space. The first full day they didn’t speak to each other was torture for Kayla. She wanted to pull her hair out. She wanted to drop her pride and call him. She wanted to connect in whatever way. But she stayed resolute. And then it started. One day became a week. A week a month. A month two years.
Then he called her.
‘Who is this?’ like she had not memorized his number.
‘Terver. Can we talk?’
He was dating someone. Had been all the time they were friends. That was not news to Kayla; she had been dating someone too. Though he loved his girlfriend, he had fallen for Kayla. And though he loved her, they couldn’t be together. She was what he wanted, but his girlfriend was what he needed. She fit the life his parents chose for him; a choice he had to get on board with because it was his duty. For them, marriage was not about love but about solidifying empires.
‘But I didn’t ask you to marry me! We weren’t even dating. Why would you think I would want that?’
‘Because eventually, it would have gone there.’
‘No. I wanted my friend! That is all. You were my best friend, my confidante, my support system. We may have had sex — ONCE — but you were my friend! And you left.’
And he did leave. To protect her. His father had sent him a tape with a note. ‘You know what to do.’ The tape had them having a wild night out on that night things changed. Full. Nude. Sex. With Kayla’s face clearly depicted. He didn’t need anyone to tell him what his father intended to do with it. So he left. And the tape stayed out of the glare of the public. And fast rising deputy District Attorney Kayla Oghene wasn’t embarrassed by a sextape scandal.
As he walked away a second time, he didn’t see the tear drop run down Kayla’s face or know that, like him, she fell in love with her best friend. It was unfortunate that she lost him…to his girlfriend.