Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 18
” Come on Lucy,” Sharon was pleading, tapping noisily on the table. ” Eat something, don’t go starving yourself cause of some test.”
I didn’t answer her. My head was on the table while I sniffed, abandoning my meal before me.
” What’s happening here?” Efua’s voice sounded nearby. ” Why isn’t she eating her meal?”
I refused to look up at her. Sharon spoke for me. ” She’s having a running tummy, senior.”
Efua was sorry and I could feel her cold hand touching my neck as she bent over to talk to my ears.
” Are you, alright, Lucy?”
I didn’t answer.
She drew my meals closer. ” I’m really sorry about your tummy. Come on, have a bite, I’ll take you to the school’s clinic after lunch.”
” I’ll be fine,” I said sharply.
She didn’t seemed to get the message that I wanted to be alone.
She urged me on. ” Don’t be soo stupid, here have a bite. Come on, open up.”
” I said I’ll be fine,” I raised my voice, shifting away from her.
Now that was some drama. Everyone turned around to watch what just happened but Efua was already on her feet and was walking away, a puzzled look on her face.
Sharon would’ve asked me the questions bothering her about my involvement with Efua but she was smart enough to know now wasn’t the time. I was in a really sour mood.
Finally, lunch was over. I was more surprised I didn’t touch my meal.
I just wasn’t hungry.
I still can’t believe I FAILED
I knew this would happen. I just knew it.
The moment I saw my name on the scoreboard, I lost all atoms of hope. It was some quarters left to lunch when an announcement came over the speakers near the scoreboard.
” Will Lucy Williams come down to the principal’s office?”
That was the first time I’ve ever been summoned to the principal’s office.
It was nearly time for lunch but I decided I was going to see Mrs Cooker’s office first before anything else.
” I’ll accompany you,” Sharon had insisted, escorting me to the office.
When I arrived at Mrs Cooker’s office, I became immediately scared.
Mrs Cooker looked huge, sitting behind her desk, her eyes going through some papers before her. The moment she saw me at the doorway, she waved to the available seat.
” Don’t bother greeting me, Lucy,” she spoke in a harsh loud voice that shooked me. ” Have a seat. I want to talk to you.”
I obeyed her and when I sat, I realized my legs were shaking.
She studied me from head to toe. ” You do know why I called you in here, don’t you?”
I was about answering her when she cut me sharply with a loud blood curdling voice.
” You failed your C.A test. Scoring below average at a miserable 2.9 points. Truth be told, I was surprised when the results were displayed to me and your name appeared as the only student who was stupid enough to fail an ordinary C.A test. That was the poorest result I’ve ever seen since the very beginning I built this school. You’re a big for nothing disappointment to yourself and your parents.”
I bowed my head and squeezed my fingers. She was hurting me terribly.
Mrs Cooker returned back to the papers and I could hear her jade earrings making noise and she shooked her head.
” We do not house dullards in this school, Lucy. From the very first day I saw you at the assembly, I knew instantly you were going to be trouble. I don’t know what school you were picked from and I don’t care. It’s quite obvious this isn’t the school for you. I love smart girls. You’re just not one of them. By failing your C.A test, it only proves how useless and hopeless you are. I don’t think you’d ever amount to anything.”
I couldn’t answer her. My eyes were growing misty by the second.
” I called your mother and told her what happened,” Mrs Cooker added after a moment silence. ” Luckily for you, it’s just a test but mind you, it’s going to play a very important role in your examinations. I’ll be watching you from now henceforth. Perform badly at your first term examination and I’ll kick you out of my school, are we clear here?”
” Yes, ma’am,” I replied in a broken voice.
She frowned. ” Not ma’am. My name is Mrs Cooker.”
” I’m sorry, Mrs Cooker.”
” Now get out of my office,” she snapped with a disgust look on her face.
Sharon was waiting outside when I came out of Mrs Cooker’s office. If it wasn’t for Sharon, I would’ve not moved an inch from where I stood.
It took a lot of persuading from Sharon’s part before she succeeded to drag me to the cafeteria.
But I couldn’t eat a thing.
I saw Collette and the student council as they walked around with their clipboards.
She didn’t even look my way but I knew she knew I was watching her.
After lunch, I waited behind while other’s left.
Usually, the student council only eats after everyone else had gone so it was just me, Sharon and the students Council as their lunches were dished out by the cook.
Collette took her tray and walked further away from me and sat down. I noticed Efua and the other girls were seated together but Collette chose to seat alone.
Which meant she wanted me to come meet her.
But I was scared to. After what happened the last time….I just couldn’t face her.
Sharon tapped me on the shoulder. ” Go talk to her.”
I looked away and I could feel my heart pounding. ” I can’t.”
” Look, Lucy,” Sharon began. ” Collette’s a nice person. I’m sure she wants to help you. You two are roommates. I’m sure you can work things out if you both had a misunderstanding. If there’s anyone who’s gonna help you pass your exams, it’d be Collette.”
” I know,” I bite my lips hard. ” Just that….I don’t know. I feel soo stupid.”
” Don’t be shy,” Sharon urged me on. ” Get up and go meet her. She’s waiting for you.”
Glancing over my shoulder, I stared at Collette.
She was eating her meal as if she wasn’t expecting anyone. From time to time, she’d stare absentmindedly at nothing in particular, drumming her left fingers impatiently on the table while she chewed.
She was definitely waiting for me to come to her.
” Go on,” Sharon pushed me up. ” She’s waiting.”
Licking my dried lips, I slowly rose to my feet and with heavy legs, I walked over to her.
From the corner of my eyes, I noticed Efua was watching me but she didn’t do anything.
Collette was still chewing when I sat opposite her on the table. She was staring outside the window at the kitchen staff chopping off logs of firewood.
For a while, we sat without saying anything to each other. She was still drumming her Fingers on the table and I could feel my heart banging outta my chest.
Suddenly she stopped drumming her Fingers and opened up her can of Pepsi. ” So how was your test, Lucy?”
I swallowed, staring at my feet. ” It terrible.”
” How many points?”
I licked my dried lips again. ” 2.9 points.”
She drank from her Pepsi and returned back to her meal.
She was giving herself Time to think. She’s always like that when she’s thinking.
After a while, she spoke, ” you should be thankful you ended up with a 2.9. The vice president really did a great job tutoring you.”
I frowned and clenched my fists. ” I wouldn’t call it that. She made me fail.”
Collette said nothing.
” All she ever did was….” I paused shuddering with rage. ” I should’ve listened to you. If I’d known Efua was a bad teacher I wouldn’t have—”
” Shut up!” Collette interrupted me.
I glanced up at her. ” Shut up?”
” That’s what I said,” she met my eyes. ” Stop blaming people for your misfortunes, Lucy. The vice president did excellently well tutoring you. You should be thanking her. You think you were lucky enough to get a 2.9? Think again. If she hadn’t tutored you, you wouldn’t get close to 1.2 points.”
She was right. Nearly everything Efua taught me last night appeared on my test but I couldn’t remember everything.
” You cannot live with your own failure,” Collette continued, returning back to her meal. ” Where does that lead you? Back to me.”
I bowed my head in shame. ” I am sorry, Collette.”
She was cutting through a big chicken lap on her plate. ” I didn’t call you for an apology. I only called you over to know why you were crying at the scoreboard.”
” That’s because I failed,” I said quickly. ” I thought that was obvious.”
” Perhaps,” she stopped eating and looked away. ” So what are you going to do about it now?”
Seriously? She had to ask, does she.
” I don’t know, Collette,” i sighed. ” My life’s a big mess right about now.”
I continued, groaning. ” Mrs Cooker even called me into her office. You should’ve seen the way she talked to me. I was heartbroken. And the worse part was she called my mom and told her everything. Now I feel like a big disappointment. I can’t even bear to call my mom with Vee’s phone. I’m even scared of meeting her on visiting day.”
Collette was staring at me as I covered my face with my palms and sobbed. ” I’m a big time loser.”
Suddenly, I felt warm hands holding my hands. I looked up to see Collette removing my hands from my face.
With a slow gently movement, she wiped my tears off my face.
” Pretty girls don’t cry, Lucy.” she said without making an expression.
Pretty girls don’t cry.
Pretty girls don’t cry.
Pretty girls don’t cry.
I smiled. ” I’ll try.”
She shoved her plate towards me. ” Go ahead, eat. I can tell you didn’t touch your food during lunch.”
” I just didn’t feel like eating,” I said, staring at her half eaten food.
” You’re eating,” she insisted and dropped the can of Pepsi next to me. ” That’s an order from me.”
She meant it so I didn’t argue. Slowly taking her fork and knife, I scooped the food and placed it in my mouth.
I can’t believe I was eating Collette’s food with her own fork. I could taste her saliva but I didn’t care. I took one spoon, then two spoon until I was nearly scrapping the plate.
” Care for More?” She asked, as I drank her can of Pepsi.
I bobbed my head like a child.
She took the plate off my hands and went to get more. From where I sat, I saw Sharon giving me a thumbs up and a wink.
I smiled. Thanks Sharon.
Collette returned with a new plate. I descended on the food and flushed it down with another can of Pepsi.
” You still haven’t told me your plans,” she said suddenly and I noticed she was watching my legs. ” Exam is in five weeks time.”
She was worried about me but Collette wasn’t the type of person to reveal her feelings just like that.
I dropped the fork and knife on the plate and faced her. ” Well, I’ve been thinking about it since I saw the scoreboard.”
” And what have you decided?”
She wasn’t looking at me but that didn’t mean she wasn’t aware I was staring straight at her.
I hesitated then after a couple of silence, I said it. ” I want you to become my private tutor.”
She didn’t make any reaction. ” What about the vice president?”
That was the trouble. ” I don’t know about Efua. I guess, I’d have to stop seeing her.”
” Are you sure this is what you want?” She asked.
I nodded. ” Absolutely. I want to pass my exams and make up for my failed test.”
Her eyes met mine and for a while, I thought how beautiful she looked. I felt that warm sensation in my guts again.
” Alright,” she faced me fully now. ” I’ll help you but I’m going to lay out the conditions. If you’ll listen and agree to all of it, then I’ll be your private tutor.”
This was it. I waited for her to drop it. ” I’m listening.”
” I want you to meet the vice president before dinner. Thank her for helping you study. You probably think she made you fail but she didn’t. She did her best for you. If it weren’t for her, you’d end up with a 1.2 point. Appreciate her for her effort and make sure you mean it from your heart.”
I stared at her, surprised at this condition. ” Is that all?”
She shooked her head. ” There’s more. Now after you’ve thanked her, I want you to stop being her school god daughter. Tell her you’re no longer interested. Make her understand you just want to be on your own to figure out yourself. I don’t know if you two are going out so….”
” We’re not going out,” I said sharply. ” Just that, she’s forcing herself on me. Efua and I aren’t dating. She’s creating the impression we are but the truth is we aren’t.”
Collette shrugged. ” Do whatever you want, Lucy but that’s my first condition. Now secondly, you’re going to pay me.”
I wasn’t expecting this one but I answered immediately. ” How much?”
She began stroking her chin thoughtfully. ” How much is your pocket money?”
” My mom mentioned she’d be sending 30k every month to Vee’s account,” I answered.
” That should do,” Collette nodded. ” Don’t ask for a raise. The moment she sends the money, take it all from MÓM and send it to me. That’s my payment.”
30k?! Just for tutoring me?
” But how do I manage without my pocket money?” I asked, devasted.
” Pretty easy,” she replied. ” Whenever you need something, let me know and I’ll get them from you. But the money is mine.”
I didn’t feel like arguing about this so I skipped it. ” Anything else?”
She told me I’d have to partake in the chess club activities, I must study with her every night before going to bed and I must always submit a summary note of two books I studied per day.
That was all.
At the end of everything, I accepted her conditions even though I knew it’d kill me.
” Alright,” she stood to her feet. ” Now that we’ve come to an understanding, you ready to face the vice president?”
She was talking about Efua.
I slowly turned to the other girls at the table, chattering with Efua.
She was staring straight at me.
Efua watched me with arms folded as I stood in her room, staring at her feet.
I couldn’t bring myself to do this but I was going to do it.
” You said you wanted to talk to me about something,” she said.
” Yes,” I paused, swallowing hard.
She waited. ” Alright, I’m listening.”
I can do this. I can do this.
Taking a deep breath, I raised my head to look her straight in the eye. ” I just want to say, thank you for helping me.”
” Is that all?”
I removed something from my school bag. It was a big carton juice I bought from the tuck shop. ” Here, my treat.”
She stared at it then at me. ” What is this?”
” Please accept this,” I smiled awkwardly. ” I mean it’s nothing compared to what you’ve done for me. You’ve really helped me a lot. Thank you.”
She regarded me for sometime then collected it. ” Thank you. How was your test?”
” I did my best,” I said instead. ” It just didn’t work out.”
She looked sad. ” Was that why you put on that attitude towards me at the cafeteria?”
” No, that’s not….” I paused as I realized my mistakes. ” I am sorry about that, Efua. It really wasn’t your fault.”
She managed to smile. ” It’s alright Lucy. I know you didn’t get the best grade but there’s still exams to worry about. If you’d started earlier enough with me, your test would’ve be fantastic.”
I moved my feet restlessly from one spot to another. ” Yeah. I thought as much.”
I was feeling sweat beads at the back of my neck. Why can’t I say what I have in mind to say.
” Say,” Efua broke the silence. ” Is Collette going to be your new tutor, now?”
I looked up sharply at her. ” How do you know?!”
She turned away from me to drop the juice on her table. ” Well, I kinda guessed it, seeing the way you two were talking after lunch.”
” I see,” was all I could say.
She didn’t turn to look at me. Then she spoke sharply. ” When did you decided that?”
I was having a hard time thinking. ” I didn’t decide it… like… I just don’t know what to do anymore. I…. I felt like I should try her out…”
” You felt like?” She sounded angry. ” You felt like and you didn’t care about our relationship since we became involved with each other. Things like competition and the differences between Collette and I.”
I glanced up at her. ” Relationship? Wait a second, Efua you and I are not dating. And speaking of competition, Collette isn’t competing anything with you.”
She didn’t turn around. ” She has always been competing with me, Lucy. The fact she wants to be your private tutor shows her intentions plainly. She’s trying to steal you away from me.”
I wanted to say something but she continued.
” I mean that much is fine because she’s more smarter and beautiful than I am. It’s just that….how do I say this? I’m just wondering why you chose to pick her over me.”
I didn’t say anything. I was staring at my feet now. I could feel her pain and anger and I could understand how hard it was for her to accept this.
” Why?” She asked all of a Sudden. ” Why do you prefer her over me?”
” Efua,” I said, raising my face. ” You’re getting it all wrong.”
” No am not,” she approached me. ” I’ve been watching you, Lucy. You’ve never been attracted to me. I love you Soo much but you don’t feel the same way. Whenever I kissed you, I don’t feel that vibe from you. I’m always the one putting all the effort, the energy and time. But Collette… Collette doesn’t even do a thing and yet you chose her over me.”
” You’re wrong,” I spoke quickly, feeling my heart racing. ” That’s not it… That’s not it. I… think you’re a really good person but….but the truth is I’m not really ready to get down into a relationship. Not just yet. Also, if we look at it the other way round, we’re both girls. So… it’s not possible. I didn’t see how it’d work.”
” Stop trying to avoid the issue,” she said, raising her voice. ” You and I know what we feel for each other. I love you but you don’t love me. Your heart belongs to Collette but Collette’s heart belongs to MOM. Can’t you see how complicated this sh*t is?”
She paused then continued. ” I know I’m moving too quick. I know you think I’m all about the s*x and nothing else. But the truth is…no one in school actually likes me. Everyone hates me. I tried being the good girl, it didn’t work out. Then I became the tough girl, everyone hated me the more. You’re the only one I could look at and feel loved. You have no idea how much my heart bleeds for you. We’re both girls and so what? No one says we can’t have feelings for each other. I can’t stand competition, Lucy. The fact that I love you more and you love me less is heartbreaking. I feel like a lousy fool.”
I would have said something but my throat was stuck.
” But I think I finally understand you,” she said coming closer to me. ” You’re following your heart. That’s fine. I followed mine too but I only ended up looking like an idiot. I won’t stop you but I’ll fight for your love.”
She leaned forward and kissed my forehead. ” This isn’t over yet. Collette might’ve won but I’ll come back and when I do, she’s going to be surprised at how fast I move.”
” Shhhh,” she placed her finger on my lips. ” Don’t say anything. Follow your heart. I know you love Collette. The sad truth is she doesn’t love you. It’s MOM she loves. A time will come in your life, Lucy; You’d finally get to understand what it feels like to love someone and not get loved back in return.”
I stared at her and for a second there,I thought I saw tears in her eyes.
She shut her eyes and rubbed it with her hand. ” You have no idea how much it hurts inside, lucy. You have no idea. I’m a broken soul. No father, no mother and the only one I feel something for doesn’t feel the same way. But it’s alright. I’ve always been unlucky in relationships. I do hope you find what you’re looking for.”
And with that, she left me and shut herself in the bathroom.
Stepping out of Efua’s room, I met Collette waiting for me by the side of the wall.
She had escorted me to Efua’s room and had waited outside while I went in to talk to Efua.
” I bet you must’ve heard everything we talked, huh?”
To my surprise, she was unusually quiet. Her right hand was covering her mouth and I saw emotions in those eyes.
Then she sniffed and looked away.
Wait, was she crying?
” Let’s get back to our room,” she said and left without giving me a second glance.
Efua was still in the bathroom and I could hear her sobbing.
This is all my fault. I was just adding to Efua’s pain.