(Hey. So this is the first ever “short” story I’ve published here… I’d really appreciate your feedback on it, thanks x. -S)
He smiled at her. She smiled back, and wished she could calm her racing heart. She’d been waiting for this moment all semester.
He was Ivan Fiifi Deviens, this boy she’d been crushing on since he passed by her in the Chemistry class they shared. He wasn’t classically handsome, and he wore glasses that gave him a slightly nerdy vibe, but he had this really cute dimple that flashed when he smiled, which was often, full pink lips surrounded by dark curly hair he couldn’t seem to tame by shaving, six-foot height and a lean frame with a whipcord grace that fairly had her drooling. His hair was bushy and often messy because he tended to run his hands through it, but the overall effect was more endearing than annoying – at least to her. And that’s saying a lot, because Ewuradwoa Clarke was the type of girl who ditched boys for reasons as shallow as using shorthand during texts.
For him, he’d wanted to talk to her all semester. But how could he when she was so darned intimidating? You could smell the money all over her as she walked in to a place. And goodness, she wasn’t just beautiful. She took his breath away. She was petite, with the curves of a goddess, skin the colour of creamy Cadbury’s chocolate, teeth so white they made fresh snow look dirty and hair that his fingers itched to caress every time he saw it because of how soft it looked. Tie all that together with the intelligent questions she asked in Chem class and answers she provided, and you had a girl who was waaaay out of his league, Ivan was sure. So he was more than a little surprised when one day, she came up to him after class and said, “Hi, my name’s Carlene Ewuradwoa Clarke but my friends call me Raj. What’s yours?”
Mr. Smooth that he was, the best he could do was sputter out, “Oh, errrm… my name is Ivan and my friends call me Ivy for short.” He could have slapped himself. Why would his neurons embarrass him like that? “Cute. But I think I prefer Van instead”, she responded with a teasing smile. He smiled back at her and said, “Whatever rocks your boat, princess.” And that was how, to Ivan and Ivan alone, Ewuradwoa Clarke became “Princess.” Even though she protested outwardly, it gave her a certain frisson of delight every time he whispered “Hey, Princess” to her the very next day, which is where our story starts from.
“So, ummm, I was wondering… what’s your Saturday look like?” “I don’t know… I’ll probably go home or something. Is there anything I could do for you?” Ivan swallowed and ran his fingers through his hair. “Yeah, actually. There’s this Ebo Whyte play at the National Theater this weekend, and I was wondering if you’d like to attend. Saturday at 4p.m I have an extra ticket and I thought maybe you’d like to come along…” his mouth burbled on like he was cursed with some kind of verbal diarrhea while he mentally willed her to say yes.
Raj was elated. Finally, he’d asked her out! But being Raj, she just smiled and said, “I’ll think about it and let you know the next time I see you.” She giggled inside as she saw his face fall and make a valiant attempt at recovery. “Oh okay, sure, cool, great. Uh… gotta go. I have a Physics class and that lecturer gets really wild when you’re late…” He’d begun to beat a hasty retreat. “Wait!” she called out. “Don’t you want my number?” ”Who says I don’t already have it?” Now it was his turn to laugh as her jaw fell slack in an O-shape. He raised two fingers to her in a mock salute and walked – well, really, swaggered off to his Physics class.
The next time he saw her was Thursday, the day of the Chemistry practical class. For some weird reason, that day they were both assigned to the same group. He didn’t bring it up during the titration. Neither did she. He didn’t bring up the date during the washing up of the glassware and post-practical clean up. Neither did she. He didn’t bring it up while the group did their laboratory report, or while it was being presented. Neither did she. By this time, he had concluded that she had either totally forgotten or she just wasn’t interested.
For Raj, she was more excited about the date than she let on. So it was with a grin that she tapped Ivan on the shoulder as he was packing his books to leave and said, “Hey, Van?” “Yeah?” he replied without looking at her. “I’d be more than delighted to go with you to the play on Saturday.” He turned so sharply that it was a miracle he didn’t get whiplash. ‘You would?’ “Yep. Totally. So when should we meet up?” “I’ll text you the details” he said with a smile so wide it could have split his face in two.
Saturday dawned fair and clear. Ewuradwoa started preparing as early as 1p.m. for the date. After much discussion with her roommate (and best friend since like forever), Chelsie, she settled on a taupe round-necked blouse with three layers of fluted sleeves starting from the elbow and ending almost at the wrist, which she paired with a pair of dark blue skinny jeans and three-inch-high strappy nude brown stilettos. For her hair, she just parted her long jet black weave to the side, blow-dried it till it was stick straight and brushed it till it shone brighter than a diamond. A touch of light make up and our girl Raj was more than ready to take over the world.
At 3:00pm, the arranged pick up time, there came a knock at the door as Raj was slipping diamond studs into her earlobes. “Come in,” she yelled. There stood Ivan, in a dark blue shirt rolled up to show his strong, hairy forearms and blue jeans that hugged his fit looking lower body. He’d also trimmed his hair, fading the sides in a look that made him look a little roguish but definitely suited him. He’d traded his wire-rimmed glasses for a pair with dark purple handles that looked infinitely nicer than the previous. In short, he looked really, really good.
“Ready to go?” he asked with a smile. She could only nod a yes as she grabbed her handbag, a large one in statement tangerine. “By the way, Princess…” “Yeah?” she squeaked. “You look extremely pretty. But then again, I think that whenever I see you,” he admitted shyly. “Thank you, Van. You look good too.” By this time they’d reached Ivan’s car, a silver Honda. He opened the door and she sat in.
“What would you like to listen to, Miss Clarke? The news, music, jazz, classical alternative rock…” ”Anything you want chale.” The mellow sounds of Paapa hMensa’s music soon filled the car as Ivan expertly navigated Accra’s busy streets and in no time they were at the National Theater.
He took her hand and led her into the theater after showing their tickets at the door. However when they were seated, he refused to let go of her hand, gently stroking her fingers and her palm alternately. It made her mouth go dry and her heart felt like it was going to burst out of her chest, but before she could complain (like she even would have!), the play had started.
The first time he heard Raj laugh, he felt his heart constrict as though in pain. This girl laughed like a snorting hippo, but to him it was the sweetest sound he’d ever heard, second only to the sound the rice cooker makes when the rice was done boiling. And by the time Ewuradwoa had leaned her head against his shoulder, he was in heaven. He didn’t want the play to ever end and if only he could have her in this position by him forever he’d be content to die…
But end the play did and they had to leave. It would have been an understatement to say he’d enjoyed himself. The play was top-notch, as Ebo Whyte plays usually were, and the cherry on top was the privilege of having Ewuradjoa there with him. For Raj, she was virtually walking on air as they moved back to Ian’s car. Time seemed to speed pass as they chattered on excitedly about the play on their way back until finally they were back at Ewuradjoa’s door.
“Thanks so much for inviting me to the play, Ivan. I had fun tonight. ”Thanks too for coming. I really enjoyed having you around. Goodnight then,” he responded, backing away toward the corridor. “Uhm… Ivan? C’mere.” She tiptoed, caressed his cheek as she turned it toward her and planted a butterfly soft kiss on it. He drew back, stunned as she whispered “Goodnight” and shut her door, where, safely in her room, she shrieked in pure joy and prepared to update Chelsie on everything that had happened.