Chapter Three: Change for her

"How many times have I ... Why do you let this happen!? What is wrong with you!?" She shouted, her hands hanging loosely at her sides, not making any move to hug him back but not pushing him away either.

"I'm sorry" he murmured.

"No!" She continued, "You're not! You're not, King! Everytime this and you keep complaining yet you don't do anything about it. What's wrong with you!?"

"I'm sorry"

She opened her mouth to shout again but then closed it, shutting her eyes and taking deep breathes to calm herself.

"I'm sorry" he repeated.

They fell silent.

"Just let me go" she spoke upon opening her eyes.

He did slowly and reluctantly, his eyes searching hers. She looked away.

"Sit there" she nodded at the dining. He complied. She opened a cupboard, bringing out a first aid kit from there.

"You see this?" She asked him, bringing out an almost empty pack of cotton wool from the kit as she walked up to him.

"Most of it ended up on your face" she slammed the kit angrily on the table.

The table was pushed back with more force than necessary then she leaned against it, in front of him. He stared at her solemnly.

The cuts were ugly, the bruises discoloured. The last ones had not even healed completely and now this.

"You should just leave that house and come live with us" she spoke, now calm.

"As if" he muttered.

"King I'm telling you" she spoke, taking out the necessities, " You better do something. Avoid him, stay out of his way"

"I try" he said tiredly, "It's not that easy.

She positioned his face and began to clean the wounds.

"I don't like it" she sighed after some moments of silence.

"I can barely see your handsomeness any more. It's all covered in bruises"

He chuckled then stopped abruptly, wincing.

" So you admit I'm handsome"

"Like I've not said that before" she answered, giving him a look.

"It's rare" he said, smiling.

"Of course, it's supposed to be rare. You didn't give yourself your handsomeness, God did"


They sat together in the sitting room, watching TV. They had cooked and eaten dinner already. They sat close to each other but without making any contact. She stared at the little space between them, itching to cover it up and wrap herself in his arms.

"Are you okay?" King asked. She looked at him.

"You've been staring at nothing for a long time. You've not even been watching the TV" he explained, a concerned look on his face. She gulped.

"Nothing" she replied. He raised a brow but said nothing else, turning back to the TV. She stared at it too but she could barely concentrate.

She was the one who placed restrictions in their relationship, who made the rules. No excessive contact, no barging into rooms, no hugs longer than 30 seconds except on special occasions, pecking to be rare. King always broke them. He would hug her for as long as he liked; he would wrap her in his arms whenever they sat together; he would barge into her room whenever he visited; he would Peck her consistently and he was open about their relationship in public. Though she resisted; most of the time, she ended up giving in. He knew how to break down her guards, he was her best friend after all.

But recently she noticed he had started to follow those restrictions. He still broke them but not as much as before. With both of them sitting closely together, she had expected him to pull her into his arms as usual especially now that he was worried but he just sat, acting like everything was fine. It worried her.


She looked at him again.

"If anything is wrong, please tell me"

She stared at his worried face, noticing how good he looked despite the injuries. She liked the way his afro stood high and neat, how the front edges of his hair curled outwards; his eyes that grew smaller whenever it expressed emotion and his cheeks that stood high whenever he smiled.

She looked down at that little space and she crossed it, pushing herself into his arms. He let out a sigh of relief.

“You could have told me” he whispered, pulling her close and burying his face in her hair.

She said nothing, tightening her arms instead around his back.

“You could have told me” he repeated.

They had slept off. It was surprising. They had slept off in that position. It wasn’t until her mother woke them up that she realized it and she didn’t realize she had been clinging to King’s arm until she noticed her mother’s disapproving frown directed at her. She pulled away immediately. King noticed.

“Good evening ma'am” he greeted respectfully, getting to his feet.

“How are you?” her mother asked, a smile replacing her frown. She was still dressed in her work clothes with her bag hung on her shoulder.

“Very fine” he replied.

Her mother stared at his face.

“Did you get into a fight again?” she asked, her smile disappearing.

Joan brows shot up. Was that what her mother thought whenever she saw him with bruises? Her mother had never commented on King’s injuries in the past and she had never bothered to inform her why he had them.

“I… ma… no… “ King stuttered, glancing at her.

“He… “ She started, getting to her feet.

“You always get into fights, King” her mother interrupted, turning away from them and switching off the TV. The sitting room turned dark immediately; they had switched off the lights after they had dinner.

“And that’s very bad. Very bad” her mother added. She couldn’t see her mother and the next minute the sitting room was flooded with light.

“Joan, you should caution him and not just babysit him everytime he comes running here after getting beaten” her mother spoke coldly from where she had switched on the lights.

“I’m sorry ma'am. I’m really sorry but it’s not what you … “

Her mother held up a hand.

“That’s enough. My advice to you is to change, for your good and her good. You should get going now.”

With that, her mother turned and walked away. They stood there in silence after she left, not speaking a word.

King dropped down unto the sofa.

“I don’t want your mum to hate me” he spoke sadly, his head in his hands.

“She doesn’t” she sighed, sitting beside him.

“She thinks I get into fights”

“You do in a sense”

He glanced at her.

“I’ll get going now.” he said, getting up.

“No!” she said quickly, standing up also.

He looked at her perplexed.

“Stay. You'll stay in one of the guest rooms. You can’t go back home this night.”

“But… “

“Its too dangerous, King. You have to stay, you'll go back early in the morning.”

“Your… “

“I’ll talk to her. Just sit there and don’t move” she spoke sternly then quickly hurried up the stairs.

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