Gbenga sat on the chair at the back of the house while Chekwube brought out two additional chairs and a table.
Gbenga’s father and Auntie Lizzie conversed at the background.
“I am so impressed with my son’s change…and now, I know who I owe it all to.” Gbenga’s father said with a smile as he regarded Chekwube.
“Chekwube is a very bright girl…she’s very intelligent too.” Aunt Lizzie praised.
“Yes…I can see that…” Gbenga’s father said. “I’d like to thank her specially for helping my son out. I am very impressed with the fact that she’s willing to share her knowledge with her classmates. A lot of intelligent students will never do that.”
“Chekwube is a very nice young girl.” Aunt Lizzie said.
Chekwube dropped the table and set the two chairs then walked up to her aunt.
“We are ready to study now…we’ll just wait for Mickey.” She said.
“Chekwube, I want to thank you for helping my son with his studies and I want you to know that you can come to me if there’s anything you need.”
“Thank you, sir.” She said and walked to sit with Gbenga at the table.
“Thank you very much madam for allowing my son into your home.” Gbenga’s father said to Aunt Lizzie.
She opened her mouth to speak but was cut short by Mickey’s entrance. Mickey walked to the backyard from the front entrance of the house. She didn’t even acknowledge the presence of aunt Lizzie and Gbenga’s dad, she simply walked up to meet Chekwube and Gbenga and spoke to them in a very loud voice.
“The gateman said you guys are here!”
“You are late.” Gbenga said sounding upset.
“Oya sorry… wetin I miss?” She asked, sitting down roughly on the chair and dragging it forward in a way that it scrapped the ground and made some kind of disturbing noise.
Gbenga’s dad and Chekwube’s aunt exchanged looks, they were beginning to wonder what sort of a study partner, Mickey was.
Mickey chewed the bottom of her pencil and stared at the books before her, Gbenga was concentrating on his English text while Chekuwbe underlined some words in her textbook with a pencil.
“I want water.” Mickey said standing up from the chair.
“We haven’t read for long and you already want water?” Chekwube asked
“I trekked to your house, don’t I deserve a glass of water?” Mickey asked.
Chekwube sighed and left the study table. As soon as she disappeared into the house, Mickey sat down, opened her bag, brought out a small box and handed it to Gbenga.
“What is that?” He asked.
“Take it…open it.” She said in excitement.
“Tell me what’s in it, first.” He said.
“You nor trust me?” She asked with a smile as she opened the box to reveal a wristwatch.
“Why are you giving me a wristwatch?” He asked.
“Today’s not my birthday.” Gbenga continued.
“Well…you are my friend and friends give each other gifts.” She said with a smile.
“I don’t see you giving Chekwube any gifts.” He said.
Mickey rolled her eyes.
“Chekwube is not my friend.” She said.
“Define friendship because I don’t remember us, being friends.” Gbenga said.
Mickey felt hurt by his words.
“Tell me the truth, you like Chekwube.” She spat at him.
“She’s a nice girl and she helps me out with my studies…so yes, I like her and she is my friend but as for you, I really don’t know what makes you my friend.”
“I fought for you, I was punished because of you. I helped you get your stolen wallet back.” She said to him.
“I know that but that doesn’t make us friends. People don’t impose friendship on other people, they earn it.” Gbenga said.
“You’re speaking English!” Mickey spat. “We are friends, whether you like it or not.”
Gbenga looked at Mickey and sighed, she was too rough for his liking and she loved to bully people a lot. Chekwube walked out of the house with three tall glasses of juice and some biscuits.
“Yum…” Gbenga said with a smile as he stood up to help her with the drinks.
“My aunt asked me to bring this.” Chekwube said.
“She’s so nice…” Gbenga said. “I’ll go and say thank you to her once we’re done studying.”
“Okay.” Chekwube said.
Mickey sulked, she was upset. The box with the wristwatch sat on the table before her.
“Who has the wristwatch?” Chekwube asked.
“Mickey got it for me but I don’t want it.” Gbenga scoffed.
“You’re so proud.” Chekwube chided. “It’s a gift, you should take it and say thank you.”
“But I don’t want it.” He said. “Mickey thinks she owns me and that we can be friends by force all because she fought that guy at school for my wallet.”
“Well…that doesn’t mean that she’s not worthy of being your friend.” Chekwube said taking her seat and picking up a glass of juice.
“I don’t want the gift. I have so many wristwatches already and if I take this one, I will not wear it.” Gbenga said as he took his glass of juice.
Mickey glared at the wristwatch in rage.
“Mickey, you can have a glass of fruit…” Chekwube started but Mickey cut her off.
“Nor be water I ask you for? Na juice? Abeg carry dis nonsense comot from my face!” Mickey hissed. She got up from the chair, picked her books, and dumped them into her bag and stormed off.
“Mickey! Mickey come back!” Chekwube called.
Gbenga looked at Chekwube and shrugged.
“This is all your fault.” Chekwube said to him.
“What did I do? She never wanted to study anyway, if she did, she’d never have walked out on us.” He said.
Chekwube dropped her glass and opened her books again while Gbenga did the same.
Ola bit her fingernails, she didn’t know what to do. Nosike had been so good to her and in fact, he had taken the day off work today to be with her. She watched him busy himself about the house as he washed clothes, the bedspread and cleaned the house, refusing that she touches anything. Ola was lazy and this was the sort of treatment she liked but not this way, not when this baby she was carrying might not be her husband’s.
She chewed her fingernails and stared at nothing in particular. After her discussion with Baba Tee yesterday, she was very sure that she wanted to be with him and not with her husband and just like they’d agreed, the earlier she made her husband know the truth, the better for everyone.
“Ola, are you hungry?” Her husband asked. “You’re biting your nails.”
“Ehn…” She said shakily.
“Are you hungry?” He asked again.
Ola nodded quickly and he smiled.
“I made porridge in the kitchen, I’ll go and get you some.” He said and left the room.
As soon as he left the room, Ola bent to pull her bag out from under the bed, she walked to the wardrobe and began to pack the few clothes she had there. Her heart beat so fast.
She was still packing when the door opened and Nosike walked in with the plate of food.
“Ola, where are you going? Why are you packing your bags?” He asked.
“I…errmm…I…” She started.
Her husband stared at her, quite confused at her behaviour.
“Are you alright?” He asked.
“What is it? Where are you going to?” He asked.
“Nosike…I am sorry…” She said as tears fell from her eyes.
“Sorry, for what?” He asked.
“The baby…the baby….I don’t think it is yours.” She said in their native language.
The tray of food fell from her husband’s hands.
To be continued….