Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 7
It was Friday and every Friday’s we hold the last assembly for the week. Collette conducted the assembly while Mrs Cooker made the announcement.
Mrs Cooker reminded me a lot of Ngozi Okonjo–Iwela but only that she was bigger with lots of jewelries around her neck, fingers and ears. She was a strict woman and everyone feared her.
Well, she’s the boss. Who wouldn’t be wary of her?
” Continuous Accesment Test would begin in two weeks time,” she announced over the microphone. ” So I’d advise you girls to stay focused on your studies and make the best grades this year. As you all know, we don’t condone dullards here. We educated smart intelligent students. So far for a long time now, the poorest grade has been a straight C. That’s a great achievement but we can do better. So inorder words, I’ve decided to raise the grade standards.”
She paused for effect. ” So the game’s changed. Any student with more than six C’s would be sent home.”
A murmur rose amongst the students.
” That’s insane,” I nearly yelled when a girl hushed me up.
” Quiet, quiet, quiet,” Mrs Cooker ordered. The murmurs stopped instantly. ” I know it’s an incredibly crazy standard but that’s my decision. Our school has a great reputation for producing bright and intelligent young girls. I want us to think bigger and go beyond our limits. So I urged you all to study harder. That’s why this is an all girl’s school. There are no boys to cause any sort of distraction or whatsoever. It’s expected of you girls to be better than your contemporaries.”
We were silent, waiting for her to make another announcement. I on the other hand was fuming with rage.
Any student with more than six C’s would be sent home? Then what I’m I suppose to get? For crying out loud, I’m the C student. Does she want to kill me before my time?!
I bowed my head, lost in my thoughts. This is a big problem. I’ll have to sit up if I’m going to beat this trap. I don’t want to go home, not just yet.
I glanced up to see Collette staring at Vee from across the staff stand. She noticed me watching and galred at my direction.
I quickly looked away, angry at myself for bothering to stare at her.
” And for an important announcement,” Mrs Cooker continued. ” Next year, Queen’s Academy would be participating in the National inter high school Mathematics competition.”
Everyone became excited and began clapping.
I’ve heard of that competition.
Only top school’s in the country participate in that competition. It’s all about mathematics and stuff. Mom always watched it on live television every year and always made sure I sit through it all to watch. From records, Queen’s Academy has won six times. That was an outstanding record and no other school had beaten their record till now.
” And that’s not all,” Mrs Cooker was smiling foolishly. ” There’d also be the African Grand High School Chess competition coming up next year as well. Sadly last year, we didn’t bring back home the cup but next year, we’d definitely win. I spoke to the chess club coordinator. She’s certain we’d be able to take down anyone next year. The federal ministry of education rang me up today and told me he’d love Queen’s Academy to represent the country once again. That means he’s giving us a second chance. Now to all members of the chess club, I want you all to give in your best. This is a great opportunity we just can’t blow up. Our school is on the map of the best school’s in Africa. We can do better.”
All these while, I noticed Collette’s expression had changed. Instead of looking excited as everyone else was, she was nervous as if that announcement was the most terrifying thing she’d heard in ages.
Afterwards, some bunch of girls were called out to the assembly floor. Before everyone, they were expelled for cooking in the hostel.
But that wasn’t really what caused my day to be moody. It was about my grades. Although continuous Accesment Test was two weeks off, I’m dead worried I’d fail and I don’t want to fail.
My mom may have spoilt me as a child but when it comes to my grades, she doesn’t take bullsh*t. She hates it when I get an F. She really hates it a lot and I end up suffering for it.
After lessons and lunch, I decided I was going to pay a visit to Vee’s Lodge. I realized I hadn’t really thought about Vee since my first kiss with Collette.
I hoped she’d be nice enough to hear my problems and help me out one way or the other.
I knocked the door and waited.
Outside her door were her shoes. Surely she must be in her lodge. I knocked again.
Still, no answer.
Just when I was about giving up, the door opened and Vee’s face popped up from inside the house. ” Why, little Lucy. This is such a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know you were coming to visit today.”
” Oh I’m sorry,” I apologized, studying her anxious eyes. ” I didn’t mean to bother you. You must be busy with something. Don’t worry, I was just leaving.”
” That’s nonesense,” she laughed, grabbing my hand. ” Come on in.”
And she dragged me inside her Lodge, shutting the door.
The room smelled very lovely. I took in a deep breath, inhaling the sweet scent of roses.
” Ms Vee,” I spoke, sitting on the soft red carpet. ” Your room always smells Soo nice.”
” I grow flowers,” she smiled sweetly. ” That’s why the lodge smells that way. Can I offer you some cookies and milk? I made those yesterday.”
I relaxed my mind. ” That’d be nice, Ms Vee. I’d like that.”
She narrowed her eyes. ” Ms Vee? I told you to call me mom.”
I grinned. ” I’m sorry, mom.”
” That’s more like it,” she became cheerful again. ” Wait a moment, I’ll go get the cookies.”
I watched her leave and I just couldn’t help but notice what she wore.
She was wearing a tight black shorts that gripped her laps and held her bumbum just right. Her oversized white polo shirt was perfect but from the looks of things, I’d bet she wasn’t wearing a bra.
At long last, Vee returned with the cookies and milk. We sat on the carpet, talking about many things.
She asked me if I’d made any friends? I said I did. I even mentioned Mia’s name alongside Sharon.
She also asked me about my roommate. I simply told her Collette was alright.
Ofcourse I wasn’t going to tell her about my first kiss with Collette nor was I going to tell her about our last discussion that resulted into a nasty argument that was hurtful as it was true.
Sometimes a woman just have to keep some stuffs to herself. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble.
Collette was enough trouble. I don’t want Another.
Vee was impressed I was roommate with Collette. ” This is great. I’m glad you’re sharing the room with her. She’s my favorite ward and the school’s champion. With her as your roommate till graduation, there’s no way you’d struggle academically.”
Easy for her to say. She’s never been kissed by a girl before that’s why she’s talking this way.
” Actually, that’s the reason why I’m here,” I said. ” Mom, I’m scared.”
” Scared of what?” She asked, crunching on a large cookie.
” Scared of failing,” I began speaking fast. ” It’s not as if I’m a dumbass but there’s far too many competition in this school. Everyone’s the best, everyone’s better than me. I get it, I’m a weirdo and the new girl but my grades are a big bother to me. I can’t seemed to cope. The teacher’s are boring, the subjects are difficult to understand and I can’t even ask a question in class because nearly everyone understood it except me. I s--k at this school. I don’t feel like I can continue any longer.”
All these while, I never knew I was sitting very close to Vee. She watched me closely, paying attention to every word I said until I was done.
I closed my eyes and waited for her response.
Vee regarded me for a while then shooked her head. ” You can’t give up now, little Lucy. You just have to study a little bit harder. There are tons of girls who started out the same way you did and they all had the same troubles with their studies. It wasn’t easy at first but with a little push, a little encouragement and they took up the pieces and moved forward. Now these girls are doing great. You just have to believe in yourself. It’s not the school that’s your problem. The problem lies with you.”
I was wondering why she would say something like that. ” I’m my own problem?”
” That’s right,” Vee held my face in her palm, stroking me lovingly under my chin. ” You’re still stuck in your comfort zone. You’re a little lazy that’s why you can’t seemed to progress very well. What you need to do is get out if your shell, step out of your comfort zone, kick laziness aside and began studying harder. Once your mind is clear and opened, it’s possible to learn anything you wish to learn. Anything.”
This was one hell of a motivation. I liked it although it was quite a rare one I’d like to follow through.
She was right. I am a little lazy and soo obsessed with myself and home. I have to let go and free my mind. How I was going to do it was the tough question.
Vee refused to give me clues. She set me out with only these last few words, ” follow your heart.”
On my way to the hostel, I began thinking really hard about what my heart really wanted.
The first thing that came to my mind was a name.
My face screwed up in disgust as I tried thinking of something else but no matter how hard I tired, I always saw her image in my mind.
I could hear her voice in my head, feel the softness of her boobs against mine, the smell of her hair shampoo and her unexpected kiss.
That devilish kiss that started everything. Approaching the elevator, I slapped myself. What in heaven’s name is the matter with me? I can’t be thinking of a girl this bad.
Then I realized it was because I missed her. Ofcourse we do sleep in the same room but we rarely talk to each other since that night I warned her never to touch me.
Untying the tie around my neck, I dialed my floor number and waited as the elevator doors slided closed.
My mind did a flashback to that faithful night.
You talk too much, Lucy,” she had said. ” I’m a very private person and I like my peace and quiet but you always keep running your mouth. I guess the best way to keep you shut was to—”
She didn’t say anything else again. She was suddenly quiet as if she was thinking. ” Kissing you doesn’t mean I have any interest in you. It simply means I want you to shut up and grow up. You’re too childish for my liking.”
The elevator stopped on my floor and the doors swished opened. ” Too childish for her liking?” I gritted my teeth. ” But she was the one going around kissing me and making me feel soo special. Now all I can ever think of was her. I can’t concentrate in school work anymore because of her. It was that kiss. That stupid kiss that ruined everything.”
My mind went back to that night again and I could hear my voice angry and loud:
” I’m going to give you a strict warning, Collette. If ever, you ever kiss me or touch me again, I’ll report you to the school principal. If she doesn’t do anything about it, then I will. I’ll involve the police.”
She replied in her calm quiet voice. ” So long as you keep quiet and obey the rules, I have no business with you.”
I stopped infront of my door.
I stared at the door, the door stared right back at me. I knew Collette would be inside behind that door. I also know she’d be either naked under the shower or she’d be busy going through some sheet of papers.
Vee was right about one thing. I really need to step out of my comfort zone and follow my heart. I realized my mistakes and also saw different angles in solving all my problems.
First things first, I was going to apologise to Collette. Then I’ll ask her to help me study.
Summoning all the courage I could muster, I opened the door to my room and stepped in.
The moment I was inside the room, I was strucked by what I saw.
My eyes grew wide and my mouth parted in an insane shape of horror and fear.
Collette was lying lifelessly on the floor, an empty little can of plastic tube in her hand.
A hot scream went out of my throat, echoing round the hostel.
I stood beside my window, staring at the men in white coats as they carried Collette’s body in a long stretcher, rushing into the waiting ambulance outside the girl’s hostel.
Everyone was outside the hostel except me. I don’t know why but I was scared of going down there in the crowd.
It didn’t take me a minute to rush to the emergency call booth and placed an urgent call. The moment they heard it was Collette, the school broke loosed and immediate action was taken fast.
Vee was the most worried. She was amongst many of the teachers who followed the ambulance to the hospital.
It made me realized just how dear and special Collette was to this school.
Immediately after the ambulance was gone, the seniors ordered everyone to their rooms to prepare for dinner.
Because of the incident, there would be no night prep so it was expected of us to remain in our rooms after dinner.
I didn’t feel like going to dinner. I was of two minds wether to skip meals tonight or pretend I’m sick. The thought of Collette kept banging in my head. Because of her, I did a silent prayer.
I hoped she’d be okay. I really prayed so.
Just then, the door to my room opened and stepping in was Temi. Her eyes were red and swollen from crying. Trust me, I’ve never seen anyone Soo broken hearted in my life.
” Senior,” I ran up to her and hugged her. ” How’s she? Will she be alright?”
Temi stroked my hair, trying her best not to sob. ” She’d survive. There’s no need to panic.”
I took a step back and looked at her. ” Senior Temi, what exactly is wrong with Chi-Chi?”
I stiffened when I said that. It was my first time addressing Collette as Chi-Chi.
Temi sighed and found her way to one of the chairs in the room. ” Chi-Chi is an asthmatic patient. She’s been that way since her nursery days but not everyone in school knows about that.”
I gasped when I heard what she said. ” Asthma?”
I knew someone suffering from asthma has difficulties in breathing. The only way asthmatic patients make it through were by constant use of inhalers.
I remembered the plastic tube in her hand the night I caught her crying.
” She was stupid not to get a new inhaler,” Temi was speaking admist sobs. ” She knew how risky it was to go around school with an empty inhaler and yet she deliberately refused changing her inhaler.”
” That sounds like suicide,” I noted.
Temi looked at me and nodded. ” Exactly. She wanted to die. It was a deliberate act on her own part.”
” B—but why?” I asked, becoming a little confused. ” Why’d she chose to risk taking her own life? Isn’t that stupid!”
Temi wasn’t looking at me. ” It’s because mom is getting engaged to a man soon.”
She was talking about Vee.
” Wait a minute,” I sat forward. ” Collette risked her own life simply because of a supposed engagement news of Ms Vee? Why’d she do something that stupid.”
Temi didn’t answer me. She stood up instead, cleaning her eyes with the back of her hand. ” It’s nearly time for dinner.
Prepare for meals and return back to your room. You’ll have a new roommate to replace Chi-Chi until she recovers and return back.”
Wait a second! A new roommate?! Why? And why was she avoiding my questions? What’s the relationship between Collette and Ms Vee that’d make her want to commit suicide? What has Vee’s engagement got anything to do with her students and why are they soo upset about it?
Lots and lots of questions but I dare not ask Temi. She seemed Soo upset.
After dinner, I returned back to my room and waited for my new roommate.
I can’t believe I’d be saying this but I kinda missed having Collette around. Some days ago, I’d have trade anything to get a new roommate but now I realized I don’t need a new roommate.
I just needed Collette back.
While I waited, I made some cereals while I sat on Collette’s bed. I can’t seemed to get her perfume and body warmth out of my head whenever I’m on her bed.
I wished she was here, with me.
Taking a spoon of cereal, I dumped it in my mouth and chewed noisily. ” I have a lot of questions, Collette. Do returned back so you can give me some answers.”
Suddenly the room door swung opened and someone stepped in, rolling a suitcase and some luggages.
My new roommate has arrived. Well, well, time to go give her some welcome treatment.
The moment I stood up and turned around, I received a jabbing shock that transfixed me to the spot.
My plate of cereal fell off my hand and crashed to the floor.
Glaring at me from the doorway was Efua, the black Ghanaian witch!