He called her…Golden Eyes.
I’m delighted about More Than a Crush coming out this weekend! Watch out for details where you can read this sweet, yet poignant romance about college love. Remember Jimi and Zaynab? Nnamdi, Oby and Bisola? If not then here’s a little refresher!
By the end of the month it was no longer news that Zaynab and Nnamdi were an item.
Zaynab could tell the other girls around were green with envy. Especially Bisola who was furious. She had been Nnamdi’s girlfriend before he broke up with her to go after Zaynab – and Zaynab didn’t mind at all being his new flame.
Already, everyone was commenting on how well-matched a couple they were. To top it off, Nnamdi had already asked Zaynab to partner him at the annual dinner night – and it was the consensus that they’d make “Lord and Lady of the ball”, a highly coveted award, among others which was given out every year.
Zaynab still kept getting anonymous “love notes”, as she and Oby tagged them, inside her locker. Always something different, but always romantic and moving. They’d seemed so silly at first, but week after week and thanks to Zaynab’s state of infatuation with Nnamdi, she began to see the little notes in a different light. Now she always looked forward to them – and no matter how much Nnamdi tried to deny it, she just knew it had to be him.
“Nnamdi’s just not good with his emotions, and this is his way of showing his sentimental side without seeming too mushy in person,” Zaynab surmised aloud to the resigned looking Oby.
“Looks like I just can’t change your mind about him. I can see you think the world really revolves around Nnamdi Eze.” Oby heaved a deep sigh, while deep inside she hoped her fears might just turn out wrong this time – for all the right reasons.
That fateful afternoon, some weeks after, both girls were studying in their favorite spot – underneath the cover of a shady elm tree, on the expanse of lawn in front of their faculty. A figure loomed and they looked up and saw Jimi. He had a charming smile on his face. “Hi. You girls mind if I join you?”
Zaynab was surprised just how far up she had to look to meet his eyes. She hadn’t realized how tall he was. Or how nicely he wore his clothes on his lean yet well-built frame. He couldn’t be more than a year or two older and seemed to still have that slight hesitance she’d first detected from their initial meeting.
“You don’t really need our permission, do you,” Zaynab said with more shortness than she intended. His eye-catching appearance had caught her off guard for one, and she met Oby’s glare with a slight shrug, thereby missing the bruised look that crossed his face.
“Of course you can join us, Jimi. Here, take this spot next to me,” Oby said with a wide smile before shifting to give him room on the wooden bench.
“Thanks Oby,” he said, settling beside her.
Now it was Zaynab’s turn to glare accusingly at Oby, then back at Jimi.
“Will you be nice,” Oby hissed for her ears only, and Zaynab made a face at her before pasting a smile on her face and leaning forward on the table to look across at Jimi on Oby’s other side.
“So, what are you studying for?” Zaynab asked, her tone light and friendly. He looked up at her, startled.
“Uh, one of our Statistics course. We have a test tomorrow, remember?”
“Hmm,” Zaynab agreed, while secretly admitting to herself that Oby had been right; he was cute. His shoulders were surprisingly broad, stretching the fabric of his button-down white oxford shirt, which contrasted attractively with his smooth, dark complexion. He had the thickest lashes she’d ever seen on a male, and when he smiled those elusive dimples appeared in his sharply angled cheeks.
Okay, so this Jimi guy was more than cute, thought Zaynab in mild surprise. He really was hot, if you liked the big, silent type.
She’d never taken much time to appraise him that closely before, but his kind of attractiveness smacked into you like a thunderclap when you least expected. There was just that boyish charm he exuded so effortlessly, that made you inadvertently want to get closer.
“You must be good at it,” Zaynab said suddenly without thinking. “You always get A’s.”
He smiled at her words, obviously taken aback, yet pleased. Yep, he definitely had some killer dimples, confirmed Zaynab internally.
“I didn’t realize you’d noticed,” he said, and Zaynab shifted uncomfortably, especially when she caught Oby’s teasing look. Zaynab hated that he even sounded good too. That husky baritone, was having way too much effect on the tiny hairs atop the back of her neck.
“But you’re right; I am good at it,” he added, without a touch of conceit. “I always had a thing about applied math and majored in it before I came to Platinum. I’m somewhat of a reformed geek.” He sent them a half-humorous grin.
“Cool,” Oby said, returning the grin. “We totally have nothing against geeks. Geeks are cool. Hey, and now that you’re here, maybe you could be our tutor on the subject. Just a few pointers would be nice.”
“I’d be happy to help.” Jimi nodded. “Signify the areas you don’t really understand and I’ll do my best to explain.”
Zaynab had to grudgingly admit, as time went on that he did so quite clearly and intelligently. It was easy to see what a basically nice and thoughtful person Jimi was as he patiently took them over areas they found difficult. It would be an effort, she realized, not to like him more than she should.
But Zaynab stamped the notion aside almost at once. She had no business liking anyone but her amazing Nnamdi, she decided with a dreamy inner sigh.
Just then, as Jimi was setting some points down in Oby’s book, Zaynab’s eyes pinned on his writing. Why did it look so familiar? There was something about the slant in the cursive, and in the big rounded script…
With a shake of her head, Zaynab let the distraction of such ramblings fade to the background, as she focused more on the impromptu lesson he was giving them.
It wasn’t until much later when they were alone together in their room that the rattling impression finally hit her…