Basic Reality – Chapter 4

Basic Reality; by Boakyewaa Glover; Chapter 4

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Nii Ayi crouched in front of the VCR and slipped a tape in. Then he got up and sat back down in the sofa next to her. He casually slipped an arm around her shoulders.

“Since you didn’t want to go to the theatre, I rented the tape,” he said, leaning in close.

“You shouldn’t have.”

“Why not?”

“I’ve watched it before.”

Nii Ayi rolled his eyes, he was clearly irritated. It took him a moment to regain his composure.

“Okay, so what now? What do you want to do now?” he asked, as he leaned in even closer.

She stared at him right back, holding his gaze, unflinching.

“Anything you want,” she replied, as coyly as she could muster. 

It was a dangerous thing to say but she was prepared for anything. She felt his other arm snake across her waist and he kissed her cheek, lingering against her face.

“Kiss me,” he whispered.

He lifted his head and ran one finger along her cheek bone. Shauna wrapped an arm around his neck, pulling him down. Even though he asked for the kiss, he didn’t wait for her. His lips found hers pretty quickly, almost as if he was afraid she would chicken out. He was a pretty good kisser, she thought, as she allowed herself to let go and kiss him back fully. She hadn’t kissed in a very long time, but it came back naturally. They broke apart after a while and she traced the length of his body with one finger. He shifted in the sofa, pushing her gently back against the pillows, and leaning right on top of her. There was no escape for her as his head came down again. Shauna felt herself drowning. She broke away, panting. It amazed her how composed he seemed. On the other hand she was losing her mind. His breath had increased slightly though. His lips moved to her ear and he nibbled on her ear as his hands moved up and down her body, caressing her.

Shauna’s eyes flew open. What was happening? She tried to think, to grab a moment of sanity but there was no opportunity to do so as he continued kissing her and caressing her through her clothes.

Finally, he raised his head and gazed down at her.

“Wanna slow down?” he asked.

She laughed weakly, “Yeah. I think Bruce Willis wants us to pay attention to him.”

She jerked her head towards the tv screen where Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman were having a heated conversation in The Fifth Element. Nii Ayi smiled and pulled her up against him. Their faces were only inches apart and he kissed her lower lip.

“What’s happening?” he murmured.

“I don’t know,” she said truthfully.

“I can’t seem to read you.”

“There’s nothing to read,” she said, shrugging.

She didn’t really want to discuss what was happening between them because she couldn’t deal with it right now. This was all such a big mistake. This was so unlike her. What was she doing here in Grey’s TV room with a boy she only properly met yesterday? They watched the movie in silence for a while and then he started kissing her again. No wonder he didn’t talk much, she thought, he was a physical kind of guy. Grey and Keshia descended a short while later and came into the TV room.  He had a hard, cold look on his face and Keshia looked equally angry.

“Kesh wants to go home now, Shauna,” Grey said, ignoring the cozy position Shauna and Nii were in.

“Yeah, sure,” Shauna said.

She scrambled up and Nii Ayi followed suit. It was a painfully silent journey. Nii dropped off first and then Grey dropped Kesh.

“What’s wrong with her, Shauna?” Grey asked as soon as Shauna moved to the front seat.

“I don’t really know. What did she say?”

He shrugged, “She was cold. She said it wasn’t the same anymore. I know she’s right, but it was still hard to hear.”

 Shauna turned to look at him, not wanting to say much, hoping he’d do all the talking.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Ah, just forget it.”

Grey fell into a deep silence. Shauna was his very good friend. He used to confide in her a lot in the past but then meeting Keshia changed things. Kesh and Shauna were best friends, had been for years.  Confiding in Shauna wasn’t wise, she would feel obligated to share it with Keshia. Grey did trust Shauna, frankly he liked her a lot. He looked at her from the comer of his eye. She wasn’t traditionally beautiful, but there was something about her that was just striking. She was fragile and confident all in one. The only thing he couldn’t figure out was her figure. She always hid her frame in baggy clothes. He didn’t know what she was doing with Nii Ayi but it was kind of fast. It didn’t seem like her to be like this with a guy she’d barely known.

For a levelheaded person she was surprising him. Everyone was surprising him!

Shauna was also thinking about Grey. In a way she missed having a heart to heart talk with him. They used to be such close friends. Something was troubling Grey but he wasn’t going to say it. She eyed him a little. He was pretty attractive, but not in an overwhelming way. Even though she was tall, he dwarfed her completely. Grey was six feet one, brown skinned with a well-defined face. He also had broad shoulders, along with a built frame. He took care of himself. She wanted to say something comforting or distracting, but what? Confide in him about Nii Ayi?

They got to her place and she hesitated in the car.

“Do you want to come in? I’m sure Damon is in there somewhere.”

Grey glanced at the house and then at her.

“Yeah, but it won’t be because of Damon. You and I should talk, right?”

He got down and she quickly followed him.

“Okay, here we are. Spill it. What’s going on with you and Nii Ayi?”

Damon wasn’t at home, and Ray was playing video games in their room, so Grey and Shauna were in Lamond’s room. He was also out. They were watching music videos, drinking juice and catching up.

“Nii Ayi,” she said softly.  What was happening? She didn’t know!

She continued, “I… well, I like him. He’s okay but it’s not serious.”

Grey raised an eyebrow quizzically, a disbelieving look on his face.

“That’s all?”

“Well… not exactly. It’s…” she hesitated and then sighed, “I can’t explain right now.”

There was no way she could tell Grey that she planned to have a fling with his friend, because she also wasn’t sure if that was what she wanted.

“So, your turn. What’s going on with you and Keshia?”

Grey slipped deeper into the armchair and took a sip of his drink. His eyes shifted from Shauna to Notorious B.I.G.’s Hypnotize video. How could he possibly tell Shauna that even though he liked Keshia, he had never really wanted this. Keshia made the first move and how could he possibly resist a five-foot seven girl who looked like a cover model? Dating Keshia scored him some major points.

“I don’t know. I guess it’s not the same anymore, but maybe things will work out,” he said.

She didn’t believe that was all there was to it, but in a way, she wasn’t being honest either. They were both in weird places and they weren’t ready to share just yet.

Later that night, Shauna lay on her bed exhausted and tired. As soon as Grey left, she had visitors continuously, and she had to entertain some of Shan’s visitors too. That was the problem with summer vacations, kids couldn’t stay home. They just hopped around visiting each other. After all the visitors were gone and Damon was finally home, he and Shauna went out to rent some tapes and then spent over three hours watching back to back movies.

Lamond also brought home Chinese food. He was dating the daughter of the restaurant owner so he got a lot of takeout which Shauna appreciated. She loved Chinese food. Since the universities were out as well, Lamond was working at Civil Aviation and he was actually making a lot of money. Damon, for the first time in his life, had begun working as well, scoring an internship with Lamond. It was just for the summer though.

After entertaining visitors, movies and food, Shauna spent the rest of the night on the phone. Nii called twice, Keshia called and Grey too. Shauna felt herself caught up in a situation she didn’t want to be in. She was worried about Kesh and Grey, and uncertain about Nii Ayi. She made up her mind to end things with her and Nii soon. Until then, she had to find something to wear for the Cape Coast trip tomorrow. Grey’s mom, who was an architect, wanted him to go to Cape Coast to collect something for her for a project. Kesh thought it would be great if they all went with him. It wasn’t a bad idea but Shauna wasn’t sure she could handle a whole day with Nii Ayi. His physicality was alarming. He didn’t say much but he was all over her!.

“Cape Coast? All day?” Shan exclaimed as she watched Shauna get out of bed at six a.m.

“Yeah, big sis. Help me with something to wear, okay? Not provocative. I can’t handle that today.”

Shan smiled and got out of bed. This time she went over to Shauna’s closet and yanked it open. Jeans stared blankly at her and she shook her head disdainfully.

“It’s a pity your legs are… umm… a bit too thin for short things.”

Shauna felt a familiar emotion surging through her and she stared down at her legs. This fattening course had to work. She disappeared into the bathroom, leaving Shan to rummage through heaps of clothes.

When Grey’s car pulled into the driveway at seven-thirty, Shauna was wearing a long white silk top and blue polka dot, pajama-style trousers and blue thick soled shoes.

“Hi, Shauna, breakfast’s at the back, just stuff yourself, it’s going to be a long drive,” said Grey cheerily. Shauna wondered what was up with him. She said hi to Kesh and leant over to place a peck on Nii’s mouth. Now where did that come from? She planned to end things!

“Hey, you guys should take it easy back there, okay?” Kesh called out.

“If Grey wasn’t driving, you would be doing worse things,” Shauna remarked.

Kesh smiled. “Who says I can’t do anything?” she said as she leaned over to nibble Grey’s ear. Shauna was glad everyone was in a good mood. She had to go with the flow. She nestled into Nii Ayi’s arms.

Grey wasn’t exactly in good mood. He hated running errands for his mother and he hated driving long distances. And just when he was planning to be honest with Keshia today, she started acting all lovey-dovey. He knew she was trying to salvage their relationship by being sweet or maybe she was hiding something. In any case, she was in a good mood, how could he tell her when she was in such a mood? He looked in the rearview mirror and scowled.  Nii and Shauna were kissing. Kesh told him yesterday that Shauna was just using Nii to have fun. Grey was disappointed, this wasn’t like Shauna at all.

Now, he was irritated. His grip tightened on the steering wheel and he increased speed. He and Nii hadn’t really discussed, but Grey was sure that his friend was developing feelings for Shauna. Girls! He swore under his breath and stepped on the accelerator.

“Grey! I have a lot to live for, okay?” Kesh hollered above the music.

“Yeah? Like what?” he asked sarcastically, not easing his foot off.

“Like you, baby. Now ease up, please,” she replied sweetly.

He wasn’t buying that, but all the same he slowed down, his thoughts in a turmoil. Shauna raised her head from Nii’s shoulder and caught Grey’s eyes in the mirror. He had a grim look on his face and his eyes were so accusing. Their eyes held for a long time.

“Grey!” Kesh screamed as the car hurtled towards a ditch.

 He jerked his head back to the road and stepped on the brakes. The car halted and they all sat still. Kesh broke the silence.

“You need to get your act together, Grey, because I am not prepared to die!” Keshia snapped, and got out of the car. Grey got out too and the two strode angrily off.

“I wonder what’s up with Grey,” Nii said anxiously.

Shauna climbed to the front and slipped into the driver’s seat. She could drive really well but she wasn’t old enough to get a license.

“Can you drive?” Nii asked.

She nodded, “Move over here, we’ll switch halfway.”

She would be breaking the law by driving but it might possibly save their lives.

Shauna and Nii sat there for ten minutes watching Kesh and Grey argue across the street. Shauna was worried, Grey was not himself today. He never raised his voice when talking to Kesh so this was unusual. When the two were done arguing, they got into the back wordlessly. Shauna drove on, talking and trying to keep the atmosphere jovial. Nii helped her lighten the mood and very soon Kesh joined in. Grey remained silent, gazing blankly out the window. An hour later they parked somewhere and ate the packed breakfast. Grey still hadn’t said a word. Shauna took a deep breath and then dragged Grey out of the car, leading him away from the car.

“Lighten up, you’re being a spoilsport. We are all here because of you,” she hissed.

“Not you too. I just want to be alone, okay?”

She flared up, “Then you should have said so before you picked us all up! Honestly, staying at home would have been more fun than this!”

Grey closed his eyes and sighed. What now? He really wasn’t in the mood for all this but what were his options? He could turn the car around and take them all home. His mom could get the parcel herself. But they had already covered half the journey. He looked at Shauna and forced a smile for her sake. He had to shake this mood off.

“I’m fine now,” he squeezed her hand and then strode off to the car.

“This is so much fun!”

Shauna squealed and ran barefoot across the beach. Nii caught up with her and held her tight. Grey and Kesh were lying together on a blanket. Grey had become himself again and it hadn’t been a bad day after all. Shauna and Nii dropped down onto the sand, right at the edge of the water. She laid her head contently against Nii’s shoulder. The errand trip had turned into a cool daycation. Grey picked up his mother’s package first, and then they visited the Cape Coast castle. Nii bought her an ivory ring which she loved but felt bad about. After all this whole thing wasn’t going to last and she would have to return the ring. They had lunch at Hans Cottage Hotel, watched the crocodiles and then headed for the beach. Shauna didn’t want the day to end especially when Nii Ayi was holding and touching her. She glanced at her watch, three-thirty. She had to be home by seven because the Tates were going out for dinner as a family and Shauna was looking forward to it. Their dad worked long hours to provide for them so these family dinners were rare.

She turned and faced Nii.

“What are you thinking of?” she asked. He was so quiet.

He didn’t reply, he simply kissed her collarbone. His answer to everything – kissing.

“Okay, pause for a moment, we need to get going. I need to get home,” she said.

If he didn’t want to talk, that was fine, but she didn’t have time for another kiss-fest. Nii drove all the way back to Accra and Shauna sat at the front with him, listening to R&B tapes and thinking about where all this was leading to. If only she could read the future. She looked sideways at Nii, hoping he wasn’t getting serious about her. She wasn’t serious about him, and the sooner it was over the better, and that meant someone was sure to get hurt, badly.