Rose turns around hugging Grace..jumping happily. But the look on Grace’s face caused her to stop ..
“Whats wrong Grace?? What’s the matter. ? She tugged her sleeves. Grace’s eyes darted left and right, she pushed her way in and stood face to face with the board. Rose behind her..
“Grace what’s wrong. What’s your score..??”
“I …I can’t find mine. It’s not there. It’s saying “zero” I don’t understand, All seven scripts. Zero!! ”
“What!!!.. that can’t be. Did you check it well??” Rose pushed her gently out of the way and searches for her name… and beside it, beside each course was the ord NIL. Which meant she either didn’t sit for it or….it was a missing script.
“That’s isn’t possible!” Grace voiced when Rose told her what it meant.
“I know right. You wrote those beside me. Let’s go to the HOD and complain…maybe it’s a mistake from their part.
Grace had already begun crying… she couldn’t control her tears..
“I read for those test. I wrote them.. how can they give me a Nil. All seven of them. It doesn’t make sense. Exams is just around the corner. What am I gonna do.??” She cried, oblivious of the onlookers. Rose gathered her in her arms.
“Ssshh hey, relax. Let’s just report it, they would check it. Am sure it’s there and this is just a mistake..”
“Or not!!” A voice says,
They turn around, as the crowd breaks and Victoria walks in like the queen that she is, a path opened up for her…the slight murmuring began.
James and Anthony had turned and had begun walking away having seen theirs, when they heard the commotion and chattering…
“What the hell??” He mouthed.
“Isn’t that Victoria ?? ..
Her voice was heard as everyone else kept quiet, they wanted to listen to every detailed showdown and when it concerned Victoria, they were never disappointed.
“GRACE!!!” Anthony exclaimed and pushed his way back into the crowd, James behind him.
“Whats wrong poor Gracey…someone take your toy from you??” She folded her arms, revealing beautiful cleavage.
“Victoria stop, you can see she isn’t happy at the moment. ” Rose pleads, pulling Grace away. But Bunmi stands in front of them.
“You don’t leave until she is done talking.” …
“What do you want ?” Grace spoke through her tears.
“Oh nothing really. Am just wondering why you are crying like a little girl. It’s not enough you live like a rotten pig at home with worms as your sleeping bed mates. You stroll back into school with no shame now you are crying like a willy-whining baby in front of the school. Are you sure you are even old enough to be in the university. ..come tell us your age little girl!!”
The crowd laughed. Victoria was enjoying herself.
Sandra looks through the board, pointing. .
“Oh poor Grace, she flunked all seven courses. For a pretty girl you are quite daft.”
“I didn’t, I studied and I wrote them all of them, I have been an exceptional student all through my stay in the Lagos university. How can I flunk a mere test.”! Grace spat, defending herself.
Victoria blew her nails, smiling..
“How were you getting your A’s.? I assume by taking in huge sticks in your mouth and breaking your back on the ground for those lecturers out in Lagos..?”
Graced gasped, Rose was shocked and the crowd chuckled. Victoria was having the time of her life. It was even better with a willing audience who knew better than to intrude .
“How dare you insinuate I slept with lecturers for my grade!!”
Grace walked towards her, forgetting her teary eyes, Rose holds her back.
“Oh no?? Then how do you explain your daftness here. At least one should have given you a score. But all we see here is Nil. You should go back to crèche. You need to re-learn a thing or two. By the way, you are welcome. My advice is free.” She chuckled.
“We don’t have to listen to this nonsense. Let’s leave Grace”..Rose nudges Grace, daring Bumni to move
“Or maybe your mother was the one servicing them. Like Rose ‘ s mother, who has no idea who knocked her up. Tell me Rose, am I lying ” ..she smiled. She has hit a cord, and in public too. That would shut her up indefinitely.
Rose ‘ s grip on Grace loosens. She staggered back in shock, hand flew to her chest. Her eyes darting to the crowd as their eyes judged her.
In that minute, bumni and Sandra were distracted. Graced rushed to Victoria and slapped her across her face..
“How dare you insinuate that vile thing about my mother, how dare you ruin a friend. You are evil. You are cursed!!!”
Rose rushes to Grace as Bunmi and Sandra closed in. Victoria was too shocked to move.
Then her anger resurfaced and she grabs Graced by her collar, Bunmi and Sandra pull Rose away. No one intervened. No one dared to.
“You little cunt!!” Her hands rose over her head, Grace saw it coming, Victoria was strong for a girl, holding her by the collar, choking her…she closed her eyes and willed the slap to come down quickly. ..her struggling didn’t help her…
“VICTORIA! !!” Anthony breaks through the crowd , forcefully pulling her away from Grace as he held her hand. He stood face to face with her, Grace behind him.
“I warned you Victoria !!”
“But she hit me. You saw it. Everyone saw it. The bitch slapped me…she insulted me. In front of everyone. Don’t you dare come in between this Anthony. ”
“Its a lie. Victoria started it. ” Rose screamed from her end as she struggled to be let free by Bunmi and Sandra. James walked towards them, his look caused them to let her go.
“And all of you stood there and watched it all without intervening. What’s wrong with the lot of you. ..??” Anthony glared at them.
“Are you all that scared of Victoria. .. a mere girl. What can she do to you..?? That you let her prey on an innocent girl..!!”
“Apparently I can do a lot. So they respect themselves and stay out of my business. But she has no idea what am capable off that’s why she has the mind to slap me. I will break her arm and feed it to the worms that she breeds . That would teach her”
“You asked for it Victoria. After all take it as payment for your slap to her. ” he moved closer..
“By God Victoria you don’t want to test me and my patience is running thin. I don’t know what you did, but I have a feeling you somehow had a hand in what’s going on. But believe me, believe me….you would pay dearly for it if it turns out to be true. ” He threatened her.
“But baby how can you say that. I came here to check mine like every other person..and this twart attacked me. Now you blame me for her empty scores too… “?
“Victoria you never come to the board. You never check yours scores. For some reason you are never perturbed about tests or exams, but all of a sudden you seem to care. Tell that to the birds.”
He grabs Grace’s hands and pull her away..James and Rose behind him.
“Anthony. Don’t you dare walk out on me. Anthony.!!! ANTHONY !!”
They walked a good distance, Anthony not letting go off her hands, even when she tried to pull away. He pulled her into the car, and drove off when the four of them got in.
She didn’t stop crying. Rose was unusually quiet. She wouldn’t look James in the eye nor answer his questions. He understood. He heard what Victoria said. He didn’t want to make her remember. So he pretended as though he didn’t hear. But held her hands instead. She didn’t pull away.
“Stop the car. ”
“Wait. ..what..??” He looks sideways at her teary face.
“I said stop the car and let me out.” Grace repeated.
When he didn’t stop she started to scream. He quickly pulled into a curb and she jumped out immediately, and started walking. Rose made to get out but James shook his head..
“Let him” .
Anthony jumped out of the car and ran after her.
When he got to her and pulled her hands, she flung her hands away. He reached for it again..and held on tight.
She turned and screamed at him. Slapping him, hitting his chest.. He didn’t stop her. He didn’t even try. She stood and allowed her vent her bent up anger on him.
He knew it was his fault. He felt guilty. And if this was the only way for her to release her hurt..He would let her, so he raised up his arms and allowed her scream and hit his face..He only closed his eyes when she slowed down, when her screaming stopped. And her sobbing continued…He opened his eyes..
He wrapped his arms around her.. “Am sorry Grace” his voice cracked.
“Don’t touch me. It’s because of you Anthony. Don’t come near me. Don’t ever talk to me. Just disappear. What did I do. I don’t even talk to you. Don’t even like you and yet am getting all this. Just stay away from me”
She pushed his arms away. But he held her in place, her struggling didn’t cause him to waver.
“Am sorry Grace. Am so so sorry. It hurts to see you like this. Victoria is a mad woman. I have no idea why she does what she does.”
“I don’t care, just want both of you to leave me the hell alone” she screamed.
“Let go of me Anthony. Please!!!”
“No I won’t. I can’t. Now now. Not even by tomorrow. ” he held her tight.
“Victoria can get all crazy if she wants. I don’t care but I won’t let her hurt you again. I won’t allow it, whether am with you or not she would still find a way to. So I rather be close to you so I can protect you..don’t ask me to stay away because I won’t. Especially not now”
Her tears flowed freely.
“Please Grace. Let me help you at least, exams is around the corner…you need my help. Let me ..Please ! Am really really sorry Grace. ”
She kept quiet. But she wasn’t struggling anymore…but he held on to her still.
In another five minutes they were back in the car and drove in silence. No one saying a word.
…..**** three hours later***….
Victoria stood in the midst of 3 boys. They came in from another university.
“Who is troubling you, tell us. Don’t they have any fear. ?” The bigger one asked.
“Just tell us and we would take care of it.” The other one with a white goatee joined in.
“I just need you to threaten them for me, you can hurt one, make him bleed a little. But don’t touch this one, scare him, but don’t hurt him” she handed them a picture of Anthony, James and of Grace.
“And I have something entirely different in mind for her”…
She told them what she needed them to do.
Victoria always kept them close when she needed a job done that she didn’t want traced back to her. She walked out of the uncompleted building but not without dropping a packed envelop with them.