………**** A week later***…..
“Am sorry about the inconvenience Rose, once I secure another accommodation I would leave” Grace sank into the chair. Biting her lip. Her forehead wasn’t swollen and the redness to her chicks had faded. It had been a long day.
“Don’t be silly. It’s fine. Besides I don’t mind a room mate. We can gossip and stay up all night watching movies and talking about boys and whatnot ” Rose answered, collapsing on her bed. But the joke was lost on Grace who had not been in the mood since the incident.
“In-fact if you feel so bad, we can split the bill . So you don’t have to keep looking for another space. Mine is big enough for two. Forget about the agents. The houses we have seen are either too expensive or too small. So why not stay here with me?.Ask for a refund from the landlord. That’s it. It’s no big deal. In-fact I insist. Case closed ”
Grace thought about it.
“But Victoria might turn on you for helping me. What if she comes to trash yours too.?”
“Well ever since we stopped being friends, I moved away from our former house. I really don’t have friends and I never invite them over. I love this place because it’s hidden and only a few students stay here. She doesn’t know where I stay and no one does. So how would she find you.?”
“But she found me!!” Grace stated.
Rose shook her head. Knowing it was a possibility she wasn’t safe either being close to Grace. But she couldn’t sit back and not help Grace, especially now.
“Don’t worry about it. You are staying . Period! !!”
Rose looked at her and said “We are going back to class tomorrow, you can’t hide from everyone just because of a nasty rumor of you that isn’t true. Plus you can’t just miss classes and all. It’s been a week you need to forget about this and get back on track”. At least it was a rumor about her hygiene, she had not being paraded as a slut like the last girl rose thought to herself.
“Its easy for you to say. It isn’t your room that they pasted on that stupid campus blog with your name and face with worms all over the place looking as if it was breeding there and the room was a mess. Grace retorted
“Still, you came here to finish your education. Are you gonna keep hiding away?.”
“No. Of course not. I just—” Grace trails off.
“You just what Grace??” Rose interjected slighted annoyed
Grace sighed. It was because of Anthony she was in this mess. Bearing the brunt of a mad girl who felt she was after her man. What a joke and then she said ” Its all Anthony’s fault, I don’t even want him to come near me. Not even his shadow. He has brought nothing but this ..this. …” She sighed. Spreading her hands and dropping it.
“How can one suffer for what she has no idea or plan for. It’s annoying. ” She shook her head. Rose kept quiet watching her, a side smile on her face.
“What??” Grace asked her, folding her hands.
“Nothing !!” Rose replied . “Nothing at all”. But she didn’t stop smiling a knowing smile.
Anthony looked worried, he had finally gotten her address and gone to check on her, her room was empty. He had gone the next day and the next day and the next. It had been a week and no sign of her or her friend Rose.
“Do you think she has left school. Like gone back to Lagos??” He spoke to James back. Who was trying to lock his door.
“Well it’s possible. No one has seen her or Rose but I doubt, She probably just moved and besides , she got slapped and someone trashed her room and filled it with disgusting worms. It’s okay to be shaken and want to be left alone and you know it’s because of that crazy bitch likes you. ”
Anthony closes his eyes and ran his hands over his face., swearing.
“Don’t I know it and the stupid girl denied it when I asked her again yesterday. ”
James ached an eyebrow as he turned. .
“You went to see her..??”..
“Am I high??! She ran into me while I headed to the supermarket. I believe she was following me. Trying to know where I live. You remember what happened the last time when she found my house right?, She was trotting around naked in my room . I was just disgusted than even turned on. She kept showing up unannounced . I had to move” He shuddered from the thought.
James shakes his head…” Women”!
“But am really worried about Grace. I feel like I want to protect her. I just hope I can get a number or find out where she is. Just make sure she is fine. And I won’t bug her . At least that’s the only way Victoria can stay clear of her. She got the weirdest idea as though Grace is after me and I after her. That’s ridiculous. I just met the girl and I haven’t had time to even know her before she disappeared into thin air. How can I possibly be interested in her ??”
James eyes him, not saying a word. They had walked to the front of the building and entered Anthony’s car.
“Hmmmm”! James muttered. He knew that tone well. Denial!
“What does ‘hummmm’ mean James? ?”
“No I just accepted the fact that you said no one is interested in the other ” James raises up his hands to indicate innocence .
“Well because no one is. She isn’t and I obviously aren’t as well. The only thing I know about her is very much her name and helping her nurse her cheeks. That’s it. ”
James nods again. “Hmmm. I hear you .” One look from Anthony made him burst out in laughter.
He knew it without saying. .. for as long as he knew Anthony..He has never seen him care much about a girl’s feelings. He was handsome and always had girls throw themselves at him, he broke a few hearts and more girls still long for him. But he never cared. He was a genius and a player . A cassonova if you may. But Anthony never cared . Until now. It was pretty obvious. Anthony liked Grace. Period.!!
“Dude just drive”….James chided.
Anthony put the car on drive and pulled away from the gate, not without sticking James a third finger with a sly smile on his face. It still didn’t stop James from laughing even harder.
….***Social sciences block**….
It was a long class, but Anthony couldn’t concentrate.
Grace was here. A few sits behind him and all he wanted to do was walk to her and find out how she was doing. He hated the fact that it was because of him her short stay in school was a painful one and probably still counting.
When he had given up hopes of seeing her today…when the class was almost filled and the lecturer was a minute behind . Grace had strolled in and all eyes turned to her and murmurs began. He saw her tense. He heard Victoria and her minions laugh. He wished he could gag their mouth.. but James beat him to it by standing up to calm the crowd just before the lecturer walked in. He hated it. He hated all of it .
Class was rounding up. He needed to catch up with her before she leaves .
“Dude don’t think of doing what you are thinking of doing ??”
“What am I thinking of doing ??” Anthony asked. James had suddenly become that little subconscious voice in his head, breaking him out of his thoughts.
“You know what am talking about. Victoria is in class. It doesn’t matter if you hate her guts but you should think of Grace. So Victoria doesn’t cause her any more problems. You can catch her up later…or something!”
Anthony shook his head. ” I won’t let Victoria touch her. And she won’t when am there. Not when am there. ” he rubbed his jaw.
James shook his head. Knowing Anthony can be stubborn when he set his mind to it.
And just on cue, the class ended, Grace and Rose were one of the first persons to grab their things and head to the door, Anthony went after them only for bunmi and Sandra to step in front of him as the class thinned out leaving only them.
“What is this ?? ”
“Victoria tell your little devils to step out of my way… I may be a gentleman but that doesn’t mean I can’t put them in their place. ” he spoke over his shoulders.
James turns at the door noticing Anthony wasn’t behind him. ..
“Seriously!!” He exclaimed when he realised why. He edged at the door and watched. Hoping Anthony would get out of her claws unscarred.
They didn’t move. Instead Victoria came behind him, wrapping her hands around him and placed her head on his back, breathing his cologne. He stiffened.
“I just want to talk to you Anthony . ” She nuzzled the back of his neck on tiptoe
” And I don’t Victoria. I am really not in the mood for your games right now. Please, Let go Victoria. I have somewhere to be”. He looses her grip from his torso and nudged her away gently.
“Where to be..or who you want to be with??” She spat.
He turns facing her, his jaw set in anger.
“I said somewhere and not someone. But even if that’s the case, how does that concern you Victoria?”
“If it’s Grace. It concerns me plenty. Stay away from her Anthony. ”
He laughs, crossing his arms over his broad chest.
“Why don’t you go look for someone who wouldn’t mind your crazy Victoria. Because really it’s become quite annoying and sad. But at the same time you are starting to piss me off. Let me officially warn you in front of your clones ” he gestured towards bunmi and Sandra. .
“Don’t you ever lay a hand on Grace again or else you would have me to contend with. And by God if I ever find out it was you that trashed up her place, you would wish you never knew me” he snarled.
Victoria had never seen him like this. Even James ached an eyebrow. But all the more reason he made her blood boil.
“You get angry at me because of that little cunt? No let me warn you Anthony, if I ever see her near you or you her.. I swear I will make her life a living hell. If I don’t get you ..no one else will. Much less that twart of a girl. So look all you want. .but from afar. I can’t deny your eyes some sight. But other than that, you would be playing with fire and I may not burn you but I will burn her. And trust me, I would enjoy it. So be careful. Be very very careful “.. Victoria came inches of his face and stared him straight in his eyes.
Anthony wondered what impetus she had to threaten him. Him off all people. A girl like Victoria? ? His hate for her grew a thousand fold. He hated so much he was a gentleman. He would have cut a lip already and bloodied a nose if she was a man.
“Damn”! he swore under his breath to calm himself. He took deep breaths and breathed out. Closed his eyes for a second and then opened them. Then he smiled, taking a step towards her…too close. Too too close..
“Anthony,!” He heard James call his name. That hidden message of “relax man” seeped through his bones. He ignored him.
“I will repeat for emphasis Victoria and am glad you and your minions can hear me. If you as much as lay a finger on Grace’s delicate skin ever again, by purpose or deliberate…you will answer to me.
“Now tell your girls to step away or I would ram them through the wall. And you don’t want to test me ” Anthony’s eyes had gone from wide and bright to red slits.
“Let him pass!”. She nodded to them. He turns and walks away..
“I hope you listen to me Anthony. ” She called after him.
“I hope you fxxking stay away from her” she screamed at his back.
He didn’t turn. He didn’t care.
She slams her hands to the desk, fuming. Bunmi and Sandra knew better than to come near her.
“Oh Gracey. Oh gracey…” She trailed off. Her anger boiling..
“He had better listen to me or else your pain would be much worse than the hurt am feeling right now”..
“Follow him. If you see them together just let me know.” She points to bunmi. Who nodded and left the class room.
“Anthony thinks I am joking. I would rain down hell like never before. I can’t chase him for three years and get side tracked by some newbie …
God forbid. ” She spat.
“Calm down Queen V, that ain’t gonna happen” Sandra tried. But the scowl she got from Victoria caused her to shift back one step.
“Grace is gonna get what is coming to her. ” Sandra added, nodding.
Victoria’s faced was like granite.
“Anthony, where are you going to?..Relax man.” James caught up with him.
“Can you imagine that ..that Victoria threatening me. Haa baba God I don die” .. He looked to the heavens and back, shaking his head. Clenching and un-clenching his fist. He wanted to ram his fist into something to calm his anger.
“I know right. The nerve. But the concern here is grace. She would take out her anger on her.”
“Let her dare”. Anthony says, looking right and left as he headed to where his car was parked.
“Where are you going??.. I hope you aren’t still thinking of doing what I think you want to do. ..especially after that confrontation “.?
“James are you high??. You think I am scared of Victoria’s threats. Do you think am going to stop talking to a girl just because Victoria warns me. Are you fxxking serious?” He turns to face him.. “Are we going out?. Have I even seen or tasted the insides of her thighs?? What bloody right does she have over me to threaten me to stay away from a girl I like??”
He sighs turning…his eyes searching the crowd of students walking in and out of Ps block , he turned the corner of their department. James following behind. A crocked smile on his face..
“So you do like her…you have admitted. ”
“Don’t be stupid James. Am not in the mood.” Anthony continued walking. James didn’t stop smiling.
“Sorry mum I was in class I couldn’t pick your call”.. Grace stood up carrying her bag as she and Rose left the café
“I was calling to tell you I was heading to your school, I wanted to come see you and drop some things for you. It’s been two weeks . I miss my baby girl. I haven’t gone far I would just tell musa to turn..”
“NO!!” Graced says, lowering her voice when people turned and Rose stops in her tracks.
“No ..no need mum. I have tutorials this evening, and then evening mass and I have assignments..loads of it to attend to. And since you have already gone, you don’t need to stress it. I would come home this weekend and see you. I have just being swamped with school stuff mum. So go on back to town”…
… Grace didn’t want her mum to come and realize that the house she paid and furnished for her, she hasn’t been there for a week and get to hear of the rumors or get wind of what has happened. She would worry. She would pull her out and transfer her without a second ‘ s thought. She was tired. She was tired of the moving. And she didn’t intend to run from Victoria. She came here to study and that’s what she intends to do.
She gave her goodbyes and cut the call, pushing her phone into her pocket. Rose ached her left eyebrows..
“Your mum?.. you don’t want her to worry right??”
Two girls walk out, brushing them, their ears picked up their conversation. .
“They have pasted the test scripts on the departmental board. We did really good” they hugged each other …
Rose smiled holding onto Grace’s hand.
“Let’s go check ours…am sure we aced all seven courses. All we have to do is break it during exams and soar even higher..”
“Whats the commotion about??” Anthony asked James. They had walked the distance their feet could carry them. There were no signs of Grace nor Rose. But a small crowd of students gathered around the departmental board.
He shrugged. Stopping a passerby, “Whats going on there”?
“Test scripts and scores have been pasted.” The boy says heading towards the crowd.
“Oh ok. Thanks ” James turns to Anthony.
“Can we go at least go check ours and then we can go back to continue looking for your missing princess. ” he laughs.
The joke was lost on Anthony who didn’t smile but followed him despite.
A few meters away Victoria and her girls stood watching them.
“Am so tired. They kept walking around. No destination. ” Bunmi cleaned out sweats from her face. Drinking a bottle of water.
“But you didn’t see him with Grace?” Victoria asked to be sure. Bunmi nods.
“I think it has been pasted. The test…” Sandra trails off.
“So??.I already know my scores and yours. Let’s go” she turns but stopped when bunmi taps her.
“Look, Grace and Rose..There.!!!”
Victoria turns and watched as both of them seeped their way into the crowd of people to see the board, a little distance from them Anthony and James were standing, trying to see the board amidst people. .
“Come girls, wouldn’t you want to see the epic look on her face when she realises what has happened ….??”
They smiled knowingly…
“At least some good feeling after the anger of this afternoon. I would love to break the news to her…
After all what are friends for…
If not for inconveniences, bad advice and bad news”!!!
She laughed, and walked towards the crowd, bunmi and Sandra following behind her like her own personal guards. .
She knew she was going to enjoy the next few minutes.
To be continued. Next Episode to be posted next friday.
CLICK HERE TO READ WALK OF SHAME PT 7
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