IN ALL SHADES OF GORGEOUSNESS!
Belinda, as usual was in the library reading a novel by one of her favorite authors. She still remembered how hilarious it had been when she was proved wrong by her friends a few years back. She had insisted that novels by Christian writers weren’t interesting and had vehemently refused to read any of their works including the ones presented to her by her friends. It had taken a five hundred naira bet between her three friends: Jachim, Mirabel, Christina and herself to convince her to read Francine Rivers Redeeming love. She could remember spending the entire day reading the story in a bid to collect her one thousand five hundred naira from her friends. The look on her face when she read the last page had made her three friends laugh at her. They had laughed so hard that Belinda felt like crying. She knew she had lost her one thousand five hundred naira.
Belinda was now smiling. It’s still funny how she turned from someone who had apathy for Christian Novels to one who visited the library at least once a week on a quest to finish every novel by Francine Rivers. She had read quite a number but wasn’t ready to give up on the rest. A casual look away from her book and she was shocked. She had been so engrossed in the story that she didn’t notice a young man occupy the previously empty sit beside her. She suddenly felt uncomfortable. She found herself intermittently stealing glances at his perfectly handsome face. At a point she was confused. He obviously wasn’t the first handsome man she had seen, why then was her heart beating so fast and her stomach suddenly so uncomfortable that she lost her ability to concentrate…. something that has never happened to her before. Her friends used to jokingly tell her that she had no emotions as she never admitted that any guy was cute not to mention coming close to him. She didn’t even as much as have male friends.
She was soon out of the library and in her room. To her disappointment, her friends who also happened to be her roommates were all around. Pretending to be okay, Belinda made straight for her bed even though the prying eyes didn’t stop piercing through her skin. She was determined to say nothing about “her moment of brief embarrassment” to anyone.
A week later, Belinda and Jachim went to the mall to pick a few things. Jachim was glad that Belinda had things to purchase herself…an opportunity to drag her along for the shopping. The four friends knew better than ask Belinda to accompany them to anywhere outside their hostel as they knew what the answer will be. Jachim had vehemently refused to help Belinda buy her own stuff, forcing her to go with her.
Midway into the book section, Belinda stood frozen like cold water was poured on her. Jachim only realised what had happened after she got no reply to the series of comments she had made. “What is it?” She asked her friend, confused. For a moment Belinda was silent, her gaze fixed at a particular direction. Jachim followed the direction but saw no familiar face.
Babe, talk to me now, what is the problem? Jachim was getting scared. “You know what, let’s just pay for what we have picked and go, I will explain everything when we get back to the hostel” Belinda said, and without giving her friend the chance to complain, led the way to the payment section of the mall, walking briskly. Jachim had to run after her, turning intermittently to see if she could sight the cause of the sudden change in her friend’s behavior.
As they stood by the road side waiting for a taxi to come, a car pulled to a halt in front of them and the driver came down and strolled towards them. The moment Belinda saw him, she immediately turned and faced the opposite side. Jachim didn’t notice what was going on till the young man got to where they were standing. “Hello ladies” he greeted but Belinda didn’t reply. Pretending not to hear him, she kept darting her eyes about as though looking for a taxi to wave down.
“Hello” the young man greeted again, now concentrating on Belinda. Jachim was surprised that Belinda still didn’t want to greet the guy. Belinda almost weted her pants when the guy walked to her front and looked at her eye ball to eyeball. “Excuse me, have been greeting you for the past few seconds but got no reply, are you okay?” He asked. Again, Belinda said nothing. Okay, I’m so sorry to bother you, I just wanted a direction to Paul Collins hotel. I’m quiet new in town and I seem to have lost my way. By the way, do I know you? You look quiet familiar” Belinda couldn’t keep quiet anymore. “Paul Collins hotel is that way” she said, pointing at the direction his car was facing, and no, you don’t know me! She yelled, dragged her friend and went towards the opposite direction. The young man smiled, entered his car and drove off.
Jachim couldn’t wait to narrate the story to the rest of the clique. She literarily started talking the moment they got into their room. The first guy to have an effect on their bookwarm roommate! She went on and on to describe how handsome, tall and good looking the guy was. Trust Jachim now, she didn’t leave out the fact that he seemed rich, pointing out the fact that he was driving a Prado Jeep.
Mirabel and Christina were so thrilled. They hugged Belinda happily as though she had just won a lottery. In the midst of the entire drama, Belinda couldn’t maintain the mean expression she had earlier won. She was soon laughing too. She went ahead to narrate to them the effect she had had the first day she met the guy in the library. Her friends kept laughing as she narrated the story, leaving nothing out. It was at that point that she realized that the story lines she sees in movies do exist.
The following week arrived almost immediately and Belinda was yet to make up her mind on what to do. She had left a book halfway the last time she was in the library and wasn’t so sure if she should go back for it or not. The story was interesting, one she wouldn’t want to read halfway. After much deliberation in her mind she decided to go. This time, she sat at a different corner of the library, trying everything possible to avoid running into “Mr handsome” as she nicknamed him. She wasn’t so sure what she would do if she ran into him again.
She was soon engrossed in the book that she didn’t notice that the bell indicating time for closing the library had been rang. It was until her neighbour tapped her on the shoulder and told her what was going on that she picked her stuff and was soon rushing to the counter to drop the book. As she walked, she read the last page of the novel, her mind more focused on the story than on the not too broad passage. She soon bumped into a hard body and the book fell off her hand. “Will you watch where you are going!” She screamed and bent to pick the book. The person she had collided with equally bent down to help her. It was at that point that she saw the same dazzling eyes she had seen some days back. The same eyes she had tried to avoid all evening. They starred back at her, holding her to a spot. She suddenly couldn’t move. The guy was now holding the novel. “I’m so sorry” he said, handing her back the book. Belinda simply collected it and without saying a word to him, walked towards the bookshelves, dropped the novel and rushed out of the library.
“Running away again right” came the umistakable voice of the last person she wanted to see. Belinda was shocked. How exactly is he already outside? She asked herself. “What do you want? Are you following me!” She screamed the moment she turned to face him. She tried to hide the flush on her face. Mr handsome was soon smiling. “My name is Kenneth” he said, extending his hand for a handshake. Belinda looked at him and rolled her eyes. “I keep running into you too you know. I’m new in town. I decided to develop my writing skills…the reason am here. I’m looking for how best to garnish my first write up, so I have been driving around town, looking for the best in the business to seek advice from. You seem to be a better reader, you will soon have my magnificent piece in your collection. I’m a Christian novelist as well” he said and flashed her another smile. Belinda couldn’t mask the effect anymore. The flush on her face was obvious. “How could one have such a charming smile as well as good looks and all” she just kept staring at him, unable to say anything else…