Jackie opened the note that had been passed to her in the chapel. The chaplain was rounding up on his sermon. She recognized the writing on it immediately: I ❤ u. It brought a smile onto her lips as she opened it.
Looking extra radiant today. Must have slept really well. Did you dream about me? She chuckled and shook her head as she refolded the note. She turned her head slightly and met his waiting eyes. He mouthed, ‘beautiful’ and Jackie looked away; this time, the smile fully formed on her lips.
When the service ended, he walked up to her.
“What’s with you and sending silly notes during service? That’s pretty third-grade-ish. Don’t you think?”
“Maybe but it made you smile, right? Mission accomplished.”
“What do you want from me? Friendship, a date?”
“That’s so short-sighted. I’ve a tunnel vision for both of us.”
“And what would that be?”
“Marry me.” The words shocked Jackie.
“What? I doubt marriage is in the books of a guy like you.”
“Maybe; I’ve a lot of housecleaning to do, I admit but if there’s one thing I know I want, it’s to have a life with you. So I’m going to make you this promise: I’m going to clean up and get my act together and then we get married. Deal?”
Jackie chuckled. “We’re in high school and you’re thinking marriage?”
“Why wouldn’t I if I met the one?”
“Oh you think I’m the one, huh? I’m not your type.”
“Why, because you don’t flirt and show off your body like the others? I guess that makes you special, doesn’t it?”
“I’ve got to go. Don’t want to be late for supper.”
“Of course. I wouldn’t want you to get punished on my account. See you around.”
Jackie picked up her bag and walked out, overly conscious that he was watching her. Of all the pretty girls in the school, how could Dante like her of all people? She wondered.
Dante was Jackie’s senior in Achimota College. He was athletic, smart, neat and good-looking, making him one of the most popular guys in school. The girls crushed on him so much that, he had jokingly posted on Twitter during one vacation that whoever posted the cutest tweet with the hashtag, #ThisIsWhyILoveDante and got the most likes and retweets would earn a date with him. It went viral to his own amazement. He had no choice but to go by his word with the ‘winner’, Eyram.
Cece Eyram Biney was the leader of one of the ‘it girls’ clique’ on campus. Born to a political family, her name preceded her. Both teachers and peers sucked up to her. And she loved the attention. Every guy was at her beck and call except Dante. He greeted her casually and even when she acted all sweet around him, he didn’t look impressed. So she pulled all the strings she could gather to make sure she won the tweet date challenge.
Dante and Eyram met at Coffee Lounge. When their food and drinks were served, Dante was about to dig in when Eyram stopped him.
“Why not share this moment with our friends so they know this actually happened?” She asked, taking out her phone.
“Move closer,” she said and took a Snap. Dante also took photos and shared on Instagram and Twitter. A minute later, his phone was buzzing non-stop.
“Wow…people are really eating this up. Can’t believe people were looking forward to this meetup that much.”
“Well, if two of the most popular and good-looking people in Motown are hanging out, of course, that would create a buzz,” she said and sipped her cocktail. He chuckled and began to eat.
Jackie was scrolling down her timeline on Twitter when her eyes fell on a photo of Dante and Cece. Her breath got caught in her throat as she paused to read the caption, ‘Having the best of time with @cece4real. Proof I’m a man of my word. #TimeoutWithCece #ThisIsWhyILoveDante
Of course he would go out with her, Jackie thought. Who wouldn’t? She had heard countless stories of Dante’s ‘adventures’. Why then would he approach her and tell her the things he said? She knew better than to take him seriously but subconsciously, she had and now she was afraid she was suffering a heartbreak over a guy who she wasn’t even involved with yet.
She left the app and put the phone away. “This is ridiculous,” she said, scolding herself. She deserved better than this. She deserved better than a notorious player and charmer like Dante Ekow Mends. She just had to forget the notes he passed to her and the words he told her. All of it.
School reopened two weeks later. Dante saw Jackie on her way to class and called out to her but she kept walking. He ran up to her, still calling her.
“Hey…I’ve been calling you. Didn’t you hear me?”
“Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t,” she said with a shrug.
“How was your vacation?” He asked, choosing to ignore her attitude.
“Quiet and uneventful; unlike someone who had a date with one of the hottest girls on campus.”
“Do I sense a hint of jealousy here?” Jackie snorted.
“Why on earth would I be jealous? One thing I can’t help but wonder is why you’d approach me and tell me the things you did when you know you like to have your female admirers’ squad all hovering you every given minute?”
“Wow…someone took my words seriously.”
“Of course I did unless you were playing me.”
“I wasn’t. I meant every word I said. I was talking in future terms…”
“Oh okay so let me get this straight: you have someone in mind for when you want to settle down but until then, you play in the pool as long as you can to see how many fish you can catch?”
“Okay, this isn’t the right time or place to have this kind of conversation. Can we meet…?”
“No, I’m meeting you nowhere! We are clearly out of each other’s league and I’d appreciate it if we could keep it that way.” She walked away. Dante chuckled, shook his head and walked in the opposite direction.