(The Other Side Of Cool short story series which kicked off few weeks back was divided into three parts. The story will be concluded today. Missed the two parts? Read them here. Part 1 and Part 2

I gave my youth away to Martins. An OAP at Galaxy FM. I was an ardent radio listener and participant at the time. I still am, only I have grown and I have learnt. I had called in severally on his program and Gosh! He had a lovely voice. All of them do, anyway. 
Almost all, my mind corrects stoically. After one of such programs, he calls me on his private line, my face flushes with youthful pride. We start chatting often, and calling each other and soon he starts to visit at school. 

Only at night, awkwardly so. He would claim the day always caught him up in a whirl of events and nights were the only time he had to chill out before his program. I was glad he at least made time for me. And from fond feathery touches on my face and lips, to caressing Cara every minute he could, to forehead kisses, and cheek kisses, and eventually mouthful-tongueful kisses. I let him have me, brand new as I was. And I was good, damn, I was. Unknown to me, there was that other side of me that needed only a nudge to bloom.
We went on for months. We’d make love almost every night before his program and I would blush each time his voice came through on the radio at the thought that I knew that big sweet voice more than other listeners and its many other shades that came through only when we were making love. I was sure we were happy and that whatever it was we shared would last long. It wasn’t a proper relationship where one person expected certain things from the other. 

It was random yet so well put together. He never said he loved me, but I adored him, and on one of those nights when through his husky voice he told me I had etched an unforgettable mark in his life, I knew somehow he felt something for me too. But it was all so sudden when he disappeared. Yes, disappeared. No trace was left of him. It was sad. Mind-breaking-soul-ripping-ego-smashing kind of sad. And it took a year or so to get over him. So that now when I meet the likes of him that want to get too close to Melody, Martha or Cara, I make them fall hard and then pull away. No strings attached, no commitments. And I almost always succeed.
The next day, he is talking Love at first sights on Souls. I smile to myself. He is surely good at what he does. Giving nothing away with his voice that filters through the radio. Thinking about it now, maybe everything he discusses on the show has some bearing to his everyday life. Just maybe.
Two days later, I receive a call from him. He wants to hook up. He surely got my number from Zara, how dare she? He wants a see-you-like-right-now date, and although I am craving some good company like his, who does he think he is to just barge in on my privacy like that? 

‘I am a little busy with a couple of things at the moment. Weekend would be great. I can always make a minute.’ I respond coolly. Ah! Did I just hear his heart break so loud? His voice dropped. He says I really did inspire his week and he is needing more inspiration so he thought he could drop by at mine since it isn’t so far a distance. What? He knows my house too? Ah! Damn Zara! Really damn Zara! ‘You’ll be fine.’ I promise like a fairy princess. After fixing a date for the weekend, I call Zara to warn her to never try that again in her life. 

I really do not appreciate unexpected calls on a Wednesday evening from some gorgeous man who’s a constant reminder of a past I’ll love so much to put to rest.
The weekend date is a mini road trip, characteristically delightful. He picks me at mine and we drive through Dominos and Coldstone to get a 10 inch pepperoni Pizza, and two big cups of German chocolaté- chocolate ice cream, pecans, coconut, brownie and caramel- yum yum! He is on the steering so I have to feed him. Eew! My subconscious smirks. I forgive her audacity.
We make a few stops every now and then. Somehow at some point he dares to kiss me. The taste of chocolate and caramel melting on his tongue is exquisite. My breath stops. The ambience is delightful and his eyes warm with feelings. My stone cold heart seems to be failing. Melody is working up on me. She is the gentle, calm one, remember? Where is Martha when I need her now?! But I can handle this, Melody protests. Damn right you can! 

She doubts the sound of that even. It’s easier to deal with the other kinds- the ones that are fine, but not particularly gorgeous, and the ones that are gorgeous but are too nice-guy to feel comfortable in their own skin- but his type? Lawd! He affects your whole being- mind, body and soul- a typical Christian Grey? Or Bill Fraser? I muse a little as I try to place him between E L James’ and Sidney Sheldons’ characters. Gorgeous men, those ones!
I dare to spend more time with him, and indulge myself as much as he indulges himself. It’s fun. Watching someone you’ve crushed on for so long unravel before you with each passing day, melting in the glory of what you do to him, ah! Fun is an understatement even. It’s two months running, this friendship thing, and it’s almost tempting to just let it play out as time wills it to. I never ask him about his relationship life, he never asks about mine and we are fine with it. If he is not getting into my body, I really am fine with it too.
He is surprised at my kind however, he lets out one day, he is surprised that I am different from every other girl he has come across. He is surprised that I am not floored by his personality -oh, he’s got a lot of that and ‘m floored, I just won’t feed his manly ego-, he is amazed that he is more affected by me than I am by him. He finally reveals how badly he wants me. 

I smile and I don’t know when I start to spill ‘Of course you want me, everyone does. Everyone wants a perfect size 8, with enough bust and butt to grab on to and hold, and then they penetrate your being and tell you you’re pure amazing and make you feel things only naïve people feel and then they balk out of your life like an eclipse! But ‘m done being wanted like that. Whoever wants the body, wants the heart with it too…’ 

His face is white with a where is all that coming from stare. Good, point well served! He apologises to have made me feel that way and just as quickly, he spares me a disarming smile, and I forget what I am mad about. Let me remind you again, he’s fifty shades of gorgeous.
Some days after, we have a Sunday lunch date at mine. I make Poundo Yam and Efo riro. I love to cook, especially for people… More like special someone’s my subconsious teases. I am wearing a long sleeveless top on a leggings. Nothing too curvy and showy. He is wearing a pair of jean, shirt and black jacket. He is sexy in anything. I feel my face heat up suddenly. Is it him, or it’s the kitchen? I welcome him with a hug and a smile. He takes in my apartment as I would take in the sight of a freshly baked chocolate cookie. I blush. It’s a small apartment but the touch of Melody and Martha gives it all so much appeal. 

After meal, we pack up together to the kitchen where I set to wash the plates. That’s when he comes to me from behind. He kisses my neck. I quiver under his warmth. He wants me.
‘Am I crazy to want you like this?’ He murmurs, his breath raspy. I want him too. I turn to face him. We kiss, long fierce passionate kisses. His hand rummages through my body. I stroke him through his jean, slow and steady. He whimpers. He pulls me up on the pantry and pushes into me. Cloth after cloth we peel off. In another thirty minutes, we had made love on the kitchen floor. Plates long forgotten in the sink, unwashed… In my mind’s mind of course. What happened to the Steven Harvy’s ninety day rule? Melody asks jabbing me back to reality. If he breathes on me one more time, I won’t be able to help it. Melody steps in for me.
‘I think it is time to go Sola’. I didn’t have to muster anything up. Courage and good cover is me right now. If it is not the way my body is quaking under his glowering stare, my voice will never give out a clue. He lets out a sharp exasperated breath.

‘Why are you torturing me like this Folorunsho?’ He stares at me, truly pained.‎

‘I am too old to play games Sola. If you want us to stay friends, we’ll stay friends. If you want us to kiss, we’ll kiss, hell friends do that all the time. But this side of me, you’ll have with some commitment.’
He is flushed. I salute Melody quickly in my head. I never knew she could stand up for me like that! He leaves after about a minute of thorough soul searching to no avail. I am not sure if he’ll come back but then it’s safer when they go leaving you as they met you, or better.. But not worse, with the best part of your life in their hands. Steven Harvy must be so proud of us right now, I reckon in my head! I am truly too old to play the I don’t know what we have game. 

It is either friendship, or a relationship. No in-betweens. Some Sunday night this one is as I find it pretty hard to sleep. My body needs him but I am sure we’ll get over it.
The next day, he is talking I love you just because… On Souls. And when one of his listeners after making her contribution asks what he’d say to complete that sentence to a loved one, he muses and responds ‘I love you just because. No more. No less.’ And then he plays Michael Buble’s you are always on my mind for her. How sweet, I muse. I am smiling unconsciously. And a part of me is wishing, hoping dearly that I am her. His loving feels good. And it is not just the untamed electricfying current that charges between us when we are a breath apart, it’s much more. 

Maybe you are her, Melody acquiesces. And maybe you’re not, Martha steps in. Ha! This bitchy one is back, I retort offensively. And just then, his call comes through. My heart stops. Should I pick it?
‘Hey’ my hand acts before my thought forms completely. Damn my nerves!

‘Oh hi. Is this the call operator to tell me my credit is exhausted? But I recharged for 3k earlier today and…’ God! He is such a peacock. He won’t let me breathe because I picked the call at the first ring.

‘Just shut up already.’ I blush.‎
He does his confident-in-my-skin laugh. ‘I am sorry about yesterday. I wasn’t thinking.’
My hearts stops again. ‘It’s okay.’ I respond. But it isn’t. Why is he sorry? Why wouldn’t he just take a step further and act like a man rather than a teenage boy who understandably cannot handle commitments and responsibilities.
Omg. Did he really just imply we stick to the ‘friends forever zone’? Now my heart just broke. Would he never take it past that? What is he scared of? ‘Sure’ I respond almost coolly.‎
‘But I really do like you Gosh!’
I smile. ‘I am sure you can deal with it.’
He wheezes.‎

‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ I dare to ask, against every nerve of my being. There is a lull or is it just in my head?‎
‘Errm. I thought you’ll never ask.’ He pauses for effect.
‘I have now. So?’

Omg again.
‘…See, it’s not what you think okay? It’s… It’s… I don’t know! I was here, with my girl on this side of the world and all, and then you came along at the store that day. It wasn’t your body I fell for. Damn, you’re fine and yes it attracted me to you, but then I got to hang out with you and the things you’d say and do damn right swooned me. I never, never thought it would get to this, and I never meant to let it come to this… And, and then again, you seemed fine with whatever we had, and it just made me feel comfortable… I…’
What’s all this about? Martha and Melody ask in unison, both looking thoroughly pissed.
‘It’s a yes or a no question mhan.’ I am sure my voice is rather harsh but I don’t care. He’ll be damned if it is what I think it is. A wife.‎
‘Engaged.’ He finally responds with a sigh.‎
Bubbles! And he had the guts to go down on me like that yesterday and tell me that bullshit story of how I swept him off his balls? For the first time in a long while, my face is wet. Omg, I am crying. And it feels like 2007 again in the four walls of my hostel room in Moremi hall where I am mourning the loss of Martins and all the beautiful things I thought I had.

‘Goodnight Sola Williams. I have to get to work in good time.’‎
‘Fo–‘ he is calling my name but I disconnect the call before he says something stupid that’ll really tear down my walls.
And it seems like everytime I fall in love with someone and it looks like they are loving me too, something rears its head and they’d rather pick it over me. Is it me? Or just my body? Or is it the way love is? That feeling hurts. It feels like the other side of cool, and I don’t ever want to feel it again! I plug in my earpiece to the timely rendition of Jennifer Hudson’s ‘I ain’t going nowhere’ and as more tears slip out my eyes, I am wishing I have her tenacity to fight against all odds when it comes to the things I love.
The End‎

Damore Ali is a poet, short story writer and blogger. She has been published on several online forums including Naija ‎Stories. She is an accountant by training and a lover of good music. Damore also goes by the name Dr. 2103. She blogs at https://minisculediary.wordpress.com/

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