Chekwube didn’t know whether to be flattered by Gbenga’s sudden attention or whether to feel indifferent. The truth was, she couldn’t feel indifferent. He was a very handsome young boy and he was exceptionally neat too. Chekwube loved neatness, she loved the fact that his shirt was always crisp white and well ironed, she loved the fact that his hair was well cropped and she also loved his white socks which he wore with his brown shoes.

As he sat beside her and bent his head to study, she could smell the nice scent of his perfume. It wasn’t harsh and it wasn’t too soft but it was nice.
“So, what do you think about a study session? Are you interested in a study session with me.” He said.
Chekwube’s tongue was tied.
“Do you think we could study together from time to time? I have a lesson teacher but I don’t really understand his teaching method.” He continued.
“A lesson teacher?” She echoed, sounding surprised. What she would give to have a lesson teacher, she thought.
“Yes, I have a lesson teacher.” He said.
“What subjects…does he teach you?” She asked.
“English language and phonics…but my dad is getting me a Maths teacher soon.” He said.
“Would you like to join? I mean, you could join me during my lessons…if you want.”
“No…no…I study better on my own.” She said.
As they conversed, Mickey stormed into the class with a bottle of zobo drink in her hand. She slammed the plastic bottle on the table, making sure that water from the bottle touched the books.
“Gbengs! Have some zobo.” She said.
“Err….thanks.” Gbenga said, taking the zobo from Mickey, afraid that she might explode if he didn’t do that. “I’ll errmm…pay you back when I’m done studying.”
Mickey nodded and walked out of the class.
“Do you want zobo?” Gbenga asked her.
“Do you want her to kill me?” Chekwube asked.
Gbenga smiled, it was the most charming smile she’d seen in a long time and his teeth were white too.
“No, is she a murderer?” He asked.
That brought forth a chuckle from Chekwube.
“I’m glad you’re laughing…do you know I’ve never seen you smile?” He asked.
“I smile from time to time.” She said.
“So, tell me…you don’t seem to like Mickey.”
“She hates me for some reason and she calls me a village girl.”
“Why’s that?”
“I just moved to Lagos.” She said.
Chekwube didn’t respond, she flipped the page of her book.
“Do you want to know a secret?” Gbenga asked.
Chekwube looked at him interestedly.
“I don’t like her too…I feel she’s so intense. Girls are not usually like that, sometimes I think she’s a boy.”
Chekwube burst into laughter. Mickey peeked in through the door.
“What is so funny?” She spat, walking up to them.
“Nothing…we are just studying…” Gbenga said.
Mickey packed Gbenga’s books and took them to her table and placed them there.
“If you want to study….” She yelled. “Study far away from the village girl or she’ll kill your shine.”
Gbenga looked at Mickey in surprise, he didn’t understand why she was suddenly so possessive of him.
“Excuse me, Mickey…” He said.
“What are you still doing there? Come and sit here and study.” Mickey spat pointing at her table.
“You’re not the boss of me!” Gbenga spat at her.
“What?” Mickey asked, stunned at his reaction.
Gbenga stood up from the chair and walked up to her desk. He picked up his books and said to her.
“You are not the boss of me. I came here to study and make good grades and not play around…”
Mickey stared at Gbenga as he made his way to Chekwube’s seat, for the first time in years, she felt really bad.

“Mickey…you nor wan chop?” Her mother asked, shaking her awake.

Mickey was lying on the bed with her face to the wall. Gbenga’s words had cut deep and she couldn’t stop thinking of the way he spoke to her or of the amusement on Chekwube’s face when he said those hurting words.
“That girl! I go kill am for dis compound…I swear!” She spat, sitting up and getting off the bed.
“Mickey!” Her mother called out.
“I nor wan chop.” She said.
“Dis one wey you dey like dis…wetin happen?”
“Nothing…make I go piss.” She said to her mother and walked out of the room.
Mickey made her way towards the room Chekwube shared with her sister and brother-in-law. She quickly rapped at the door and Ola answered.
“Mickey…” Ola said.
“Where is that she-goat?”
“Goat kwa?”
“Dat ya sister…”
“She baffing…” Ola said in bad English.
Mickey nodded and turned around, heading to the bathroom. She got there and noticed that Chekwube was inside the bathroom having her bath. She turned around to go back and wait for her at the back entrance but an idea formed in her mind. She smiled as she quickly snatched the wrapper which was drapped on the door of the bathroom and ran away.
Chekwube had just finished having her bath and had reached out to take her wrapper only to notice that it was missing. Her towel was small in size and she couldn’t use it to cover her body properly.
“My wrapper! I am sure I hung it on the door.” She said as she looked around the small dark bathroom she shared with half of the compound tenants.
She didn’t know what to do so she stood in the bathroom confused.

Gbenga sat down at the dining and ate an early dinner, he noticed that something strange was going on as he hadn’t seen his step-mother anywhere around the house. He raised a glass of water to his lips when his father walked into the dining.

“Dad…good evening sir…I didn’t know you were here.” He said.
“I came home early. How was school?” His father asked.
“Fine dad.” Gbenga answered.
“I am glad that you’re no longer complaining.”
“Well…at the end of the school’s academic year, my results would determine if I’m staying at the school or leaving…”
“I’m glad you’ve finally adjusted.”
“Yes dad and I’m sure that I will work very hard to make very good results.” He said.
“Good.” His father said and turned to go.
“Dad, where’s my step-mom?” He asked.
“She left.” His father said and walked away.
Gbenga’s eyes widened. She left? How come? Why did women find it so hard to live with his father? What was really the matter? He thought.


To be continued next week…..



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