” Grace, didn’t you lock your room before coming for class this morning ?” Rose was in front of her, staring at the door knob to Grace’s room.
“What??” Yes I did why??” Grace was fishing for her room keys in her bag,. She only looked up when Rose didn’t answer.
“I think someone is in your room..because I hear voices ” .
“Whats that now??” Grace asked in awe. She dipped her hand in her bag and searched for her pepper spray. She was sure she had it in her bag this morning. She never went out without it. The life in Lagos had taught her to be security conscious. But it wasn’t there.
Did she misplace it somehow, ??
“Oh crap!” She muttered .
Probably when her bag ripped. It must have fallen out and slipped into anywhere..a hole , the gutter. She sighed, now she had to get another one
But who the hell had the mind to break into her room in broad day light with students lurking around. She placed her ears to the door but could only hear giggling and girly chatter.
“Grace, let’s go. We can come back later ” . Rose had a feeling she knew who was in there. They sounded too confident and relaxed. Like they had a right to be there. She tugged at Grace’s sleeves.
“Grace C’mon. ..let’s go …”
“Go where?? This is my room. I need to know who is in there. No am not leaving” she said with her stub-bone chin set. Her mother always said she could be difficult when she wanted to be. And this was her room. She pushed the door open slightly, and then all the way..
Victoria sat cross-legged on her bed. Sandra and Bunmi graced her two chairs. Her room was in disarray as though she had just been robbed and someone helped her to trash the place. Cloths everywhere and broken picture frames. Grace and Rose walked in slowly..
“Oh welcome. Glad for you to join us. I thought you were neat when I first saw you but your room speaks a different language. I hope you don’t mind but we took a few pictures for the student blog. It’s just gossip!! And everyone loves a good story .”
“This is low, even for you Victoria ” Rose said, bending to pick some things from the ground. Grace didn’t move. Her eyes glistened.
“Am sorry is someone talking.??” She looked at Bunmi and Sandra, asking.
“No. I just hear a fly buzzing. Do you hear anything Bunmi?? Sandra looks to Bumni
“No, just the bickering of a mad woman. ” she shrugged .
“I believe if you both have brains, you would realize that what Victoria is doing is darn right unfair.. but no you don’t. So you follow her like rats waiting for her left overs and prowling on unsuspecting victims. Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves.? “.. Rose fumed.
Victoria laughs, unperturbed.
“You are just an angry bitter girl who has been holding grudges because I didn’t make you one of my girls.”
Rose scoffed. ” Don’t be silly. I rather be no one than be a sorry excuse for your clones ” …Rose folded her arms.
“But do no get me wrong Rose. I can and will deal with you. So don’t assume my quietness for laxity. You know I only pity your poor mother selling worms in the market to fend for a twart like you. So you better shut up or else I would shut you up. And you don’t want to test me.”
“Don’t you dare call my mother” Rose points at her , anger in her eyes.
“Or would you prefer I call her some other name more befitting. ?? Or you can tell me who your father is and we can call it quits and I will leave Grace alone??”
Rose kept quiet. Her eyes fell to the ground and she closed her fist. The only thing Victoria knew about her. The only thing that made shame wash all over her. That was her weakness. Her past. Her life. Her beginning.
“Good. That would shut you up.”
Victoria turned to face Grace, “Ooh… Looky Looky here. Poor lil Gracey is about to cry. Poor baby…”Wahhh-Wahh-Wahh” . She placed both hands to her eyes and did the crying baby gesture. Bunmi and Sandra followed. A tear dropped from Gracey’s eye.
“How dare you? What did I do to you. I don’t even know or talk to you. This morning I got slapped. Wasn’t it enough despite I had no reason to be. And now this. What did I do to deserve this hatred. Can’t I be left alone. I don’t see Anthony here…what is wrong with you!!” Gracey cried. Her bag had slipped to the ground.
“Oh, she has a sharp mouth doesn’t she??. I like it. I love to put a knife to it. And for what you did. ..? I don’t know let me see…
“Anthony hasn’t looked at any girl, well not that I know off, until you walked into class today.
And not just that, in less than two hours he had you in his arms. My boyfriend had you in his arms.. how dare you ask me what you did??”
“He was helping me–
“Shut up. Can’t you see she is talking. Are you daft??” Bunmi nudged her to the side. Sandra poked her on the other side. Rose came behind her..
“Don’t touch her”
“What can you do…fight us??
“Maybe she is joking ” Sandra and bunmi pushed Grace again. Staring at Rose. Daring her.
Rose knew she couldn’t fight them. She knew she couldn’t go up against them and Grace seemed too soft. But she knew Victoria had people lurking around at her beck and call. That’s why she was able to come in here and trash the place.
Rose wished Anthony was around. He seemed to be the only person who could stand up to her properly.
“This here is just a fair warning. Stay away from Anthony . If you see him coming. Run the other way. If he talks to you. Act dumb. Okay??
” I just wanted to come by personally to give you the message. I usually just send someone to deliver it for me but…for some reason I wanted to see the look on your face…and I must say I love it. It’s epic!”
“Just leave her alone Victoria. Grace isn’t interested in your “Anthony ” neither is he interested in her. It was a bloody misunderstanding . Let it slide.” Rose held on to Grace, she wished she could protect her from this vile scums of the earth standing before them.
Victoria absentmindedly reached for a pen on the table, and ran a deep line on the bag on the bed… Then she gets up, laughing.
“Well let’s us just take this as a pre-warnig proper shall we??” She walked through Rose and Grace, hitting Grace ‘ s shoulders
“C’mon girls. Let’s leave them to themselves. Am sure they have much to do.” Sandra and bunmi laughed following her.. Victoria pauses and speaks over her shoulders..
“And oh…sorry about your first semester. You would pull through. And I hope you like my present? ”
And they were gone.
“Look at the mess. Just look at what they did. How ..how..??” She burst out in tears. Rose gathered her in her arms..Grace pushed her away. She was angry, she was really really angry. But mother always said two wrongs doesn’t make a right. Her bible teaches her to forgive. Not to curse or fight. But she really really wanted to lurch at Victoria and pull her hair out of their roots and scratch her with her nails, calling her all the names that would make the virgin Mary gasp. She so wanted to.
But all she did was cry as she bent down to pick up her cloths… Rose bends down beside her to help her out
“Let’s clean this place up. ”
Grace pauses then she asked “Why did she leave her bag here, and what did she mean about my semester? ?”
“I don’t know what she meant by that. Victoria is crazy. Sometimes she speaks like one who isn’t in touch with this world. Don’t mind her. ”
Grace had walked towards the bag, lifting it up while Rose talked. In another minute, tiny-brownish curly things fell out spreading over the bed, moving. she screamed and ran out of the room…dropping the bag.
It took only a second for Rose to understand what had happened as she fled the room behind Grace.
The bag was filled with worms