Unlike the other events that took place in the multipurpose hall, the Miss NYSC and Mr Macho competition was organized outdoor.
There was a makeshift stage that was beautifully decorated with prominent colours and a red carpet that represented a run way. Giant speakers were mounted at each side of the stage and the DJ had setup his equipment behind one of the speakers. The turnout that evening was huge! The white plastic chairs were all filled up, and the people standing were double the number of those sitting.
Adanna was backstage helping out with the wardrobe and logistics for her platoon. It was amazing the things she could do when she was not in the hostel passing time like she had initially planned.
She called home again, to hear that things were not rosy and her father was fast sinking into depression. Adanna was down cast, but tried to practice her faith in God, that everything was going to be alright. Even then, she still felt emotionally weak. This was not the kind of news she needed to add to her Jude situation. So when Bukky came and dragged her out for the Miss NYSC/ Mr Macho competition, she was grateful for the distraction despite her initial resistance.
“Where is my shoe?” Imaobong, the beautiful Awka-ibom girl that was representing platoon 7 screamed.
Bukky eyed her “It’s in your bag.”
“Right there!” Bukky pointed to the brown bag that was just beside Imaobong.
“I can’t start searching for the shoe. I fixed my nails remember?” she waved her perfectly manicured nails at Bukky “You get it and fast, I will soon be going on stage.”
“Look Imaobong, because you were nominated to represent the platoon in this competition, does not make you a princess to come and be ordering me around okay? Don’t let this position get into your head. Ahan! Do I look like your slave?”
“Shoo… wettin dey worry this one?” Imaobong laughed and hit her palms together in a ‘wonders-shall- never-end’ way.
“I am done. I came to volunteer my help not to be someone’s maid.” Bukky said and stormed off into the chaos that was the back stage.
Adanna was watching from one corner, not really in the mood to participate in what was going on around her. She giggled to herself as she watched her friend give a piece of her mind and stormed off. Adanna looked back at Imaobong and watched her struggle with the straps of her heels for the competition and decided to help out.
“Thank you. That girl just pissed me off and walked away. She is such a pain…”
Adanna cut her short. “Hey that is my friend and I have been watching you.” She paused her task of helping the girl and looked at her. “She was only helping and you didn’t treat her well.”
Imaobong felt bad “I am sorry, I didn’t mean to. I am just nervous.”
“It is no excuse.”
“I am sorry.”
“No Problem.” Adanna rose to her feet and was about to walk away when Imaobong spoke up.
“Please will you help me out?”
Adanna wanted to say no, but since she was not doing anything “Sure!”
That was how she found herself working as the personal assistant to their Miss NYSC and cheering along with the crowd as each contestant modelled. She enjoyed the whole backstage drama, the chaos and how none of it showed upstage.
The show progressed gradually and eventfully, from one outfit to the other. The bold and beautiful ladies went upstage looking beautiful followed By the Mr Machos, with their briefs. Now, that caused a lot of ladies to scream their brains out. Adanna wasn’t an exception, she Cheered Harry on, as he represented their platoon in the Mr Macho competition.
As the Machos were upstage, Adanna helped Imaobong to get dressed in her final outfit, a dinner gown. Imaobong sat on a white chair back stage while Adanna stood by her, listening to the answers that they gave.
“What is the full meaning of SAED?”
A question was directed at one of the guys and he went totally blank on stage. The question was asked again and it was a surprise to everyone, because that was one of the easiest question that could ever be asked.
Adanna was very thirsty, so as the questions continued, she left Imabong in search of water or a drink to buy. It was about 10pm in the night and the only source of light was from the stage, so the farther she walked from the backstage, the darker it became. She idly kept walking in search of a drink till she was a little distance away from the gathering but still close to hear faintly, what was going on.
She finally saw a woman with a wheel barrow by the side of a path selling drinks and pure water. Adanna sighed in relief and hurried to the woman. As she approached, she saw a military van parked inconspicuously and two people talking. A soldier and a female corper. Adanna rolled her eyes. It was a norm for soldiers to hook up with female corpers so she wasn’t surprised. She bent her head and walked past them to buy her drink.
As the woman was looking for her change, Adanna stood idly again and eventually looked at the girl that was laughing too loudly at whatever the soldier was saying to her. ‘Girls’ she thought, as she collected her change and turned back to return to the event. She had almost passed the couple when she decided to just steal a glance up close. She was not ready for who she saw.
Was that captain Jude? Adanna slowed her steps to analyze what she was seeing. Broad chest and arms, the height, the posture and carriage… it was definitely Captain Bagro. Adanna quickly turned her face and continued walking fast. What? To think that he liked her. Was it just her imagination? ‘What was she expecting?’ She scolded herself. ‘That the captain liked her?’ Even if he did, he was obviously a player looking for another booty call. Why did she think it was anything more? She chided herself all the way back. Even the drink she bought, did nothing to quench the sudden dryness of her throat. He walked out on her dance performance the other night and now he was with another female corper tickling her fancy.
She felt bad but tried her best to push it out of her mind as she focused on the competition. The final call was made and the ladies went upstage in their beautiful gowns. Adanna watched absentmindedly until Harry came from behind and wrapped his arms around her waist. She jumped a little, at the contact and turned to see Harry grinning. He was now wearing a suit that fitted him so well. If she wasn’t sulking over the captain, Adanna was sure that she would have given Harry a chance.
“I have finally got you.”
Adanna laughed and removed his arms from around her waist and turned to face Harry. “You look good in a suit.”
Adanna laughed “Yes.” She adjusted his tie for him and smoothened his pocket square. “Perfect now.”
“Thank you.” Harry looked at her with admiration. “Why have you been avoiding me? Even the cultural night, I didn’t see you after the presentation.”
“I know, I was tired and just went to my room.”
“If you say so. I want to tell you somwething.” Harry held her right hand in his left and whispered something to her ears because of the noise around them. It looked like a very intimate position and that was how Jude saw Adanna.
The anger he felt immediately was overwhelming. What gave this corper the right to touch her or whisper to her? He was so infuriated that all of a sudden, seeing her there with the guy, triggered an overwhelming sense of protection and desire for Adanna. He didn’t realise what he was doing till he walked up to them.
“Adanna!” his voice was so firm that it scared Adanna. “FOLLOW ME!” and with that, he turned and kept walking away without checking if she was following. She had to follow!
Jude could not understand how it all happened. Since the dance, he had tried his best to avoid Adanna. It was the best for both of them. Even if he got involved with her, what next? What would happen after camp? And if his dad somehow found out about it, it would be an outrage. Not that he feared his dad! Not anymore. His plan to stay clear of her had to work. He was patrolling round the camp, when he saw another soldier and a female corper. He stopped to talk to the soldier and somewhere along the line, the soldier left him with the girl to take a piss. That was when he saw Adanna passing and all his resolve to stay away melted. He waited till the soldier returned before he went after Adanna. His Adanna!
“Who is that boy?” He turned and asked Adanna once they were in a secluded place.
“Excuse me? How does it concern you?”
“Don’t answer my question with a question of yours Adanna. Who was that boy?”
Adanna laughed humorlessly and folded her arms. She seemed angry with him and he wondered why. Her anger only fueled his, but even in his anger, he thought her frown was cute and she was a vixen he was completely attractive to.
“Is that how you go around allowing these small boys touch you?” He said the ‘touch’ with disgust.
“What? I won’t even take it from you today. I am sorry I won’t. The other time you practically called me a slut for nothing and now you are making reference to the same thing. I won’t take it. I know who I am. I have my dignity and principles, I would not have someone that doesn’t even know who I am to insult me.”
She was spitting fire and right there he found her even more sexy and mysterious. The shy tongue-tied girl, who had an inner godness when dancing and spoke her mind regardless of who she was talking to. He was intrigued.
“Listen to me carefully, I won’t share you with anyone else. Especially these small boys.”
“What? Share me? I wasn’t yours in the first place.” Adanna fired back without processing the implication of his statement.
“Oh! You know nothing sweetheart.” He chuckled deeply “You became mine the moment I couldn’t get you out of my mind.”
“I would not fall for these lies. I am not yours.”
“Yes you are!”
“I am…” Captain Jude did not give her the opportunity to ague any further as he swallowed her next word with his lips on hers. His firm right hand glided easily around her soft body till it settled on her small waist while his left hand held the back of her head in place. His lips molded hers perfectly as his tongue tasted the sweetness of her mouth. Adanna did not know how she went from furious to melting in his arms, but all she wanted was to melt further into him till there was no separating her from him ever! The world around them faded till all they felt was the erratic pounding of their hearts against each other.
Jude broke the kiss and placed his forehead on hers “You are mine is that clear?” He asked huskily.
“Who was that girl?”
Jude laughed out loud and tightened his hold on her waist “She is nobody. Please Trust me Adanna.”
“Fine!Then it is very clear sir.” Adanna said and Jude tilted her chin for another toe curling kiss.
To be continued…