Read episodes 1-5 in previous posts.
Tunji was set for school and had packed his bags as his dad told Yusuf the family driver to drop him off at school. As an African parent that he is, he admonished his son with the same words he says every time his child was leaving home, “take care of yourself and remember, in all things the Owolabi family must remain outstanding”. Yusuf helped him carry his luggage into the car; Tunji was a pampered child, life has always been easy for him and he always got whatever he wanted.
Tunji’s parents were wealthy; they lived a good live unlike my family where we struggle to eat twice a day. His life was rosy, he always had the best grades since he was a child and was in a relationship with the most beautiful girl in his secondary school so he thought life in the University life would be as easy as the rest of his life.
Everything was perfect for him but perfection stopped when he realised we were birth in the same class back in our first year in school. Tunji couldn’t believe that someone else could do better than him academically and the infuriating part of it all was that a girl is topping the class. He began to think about how shameful this was and that his father would consider him as being a weakling if he discovers a girl has better grades than his son.
His perfection flowed with everything else; he has been the best basketball player in Engineering Department from his first year till now his third year. His rank in the cult ‘Red Dragons’ was also elevated and he had now become the Don. He was flawless, every girl’s Prince Charming except me, he had everything in check except his academics, he couldn’t even be the second best student anymore. According to him, he had tolerated me enough and given me the chance to opt out but since I had refused he was ready to get me out of his way by all means.
As he stepped into a building which happened to be their hide out, his boys were all lined up as they bowed before him to welcome him back to school. What sort of life style is this??? If I will bow to someone let it be someone who adds value to my life. I hope Tunji did not hear that. The arrogant Don didn’t give any respond to his subject’s greetings instead he began to rant as usual, saying, “I hope you gave her the final warning? I think we have pampered her enough. She needs to blame her mother for bringing her into the world”. One of boys responded, “yes boss, I attacked her with a gun on the field last week and gave her a piece of my mind. The silly girl thought it was Eze, the Don of the Black Tiger boys as I had covered my face with a mask.
I’m sure she has no idea she is in our black book and would not have mercy on her like Eze would. In fact, we should have killed her, she’s stubborn but we wanted to act under directives”.
Tunji nodded his head as he spoke with satisfaction, “That’s good, I’m impressed with how you carry out clean operations with no traces of me seen. Anyway, killing her is boring, she won’t learn if she dies quietly. We need to make her feel some pain so she will pray for death but it will be far from her and every girl will take a cue from this. Keep sure you all keep an eye on her, I want every detail of her movements“.
The boys replied, “Yes boss” then bowed and gave the Don some privacy.
“Time was running out, It’s already final year and if I doesn’t act fast I’ll will carry this bag of shame forever”, he said to himself aloud. All the while the boys didn’t know I had come to read in this same building where they were making plans on how to eliminate me. I sat really quietly as I was scared that the boys might notice my presence there and kill me immediately. I waited for all of them to leave and thought of the best way to exit the building unseen. Guess God takes us to specific places at specific times to reveal some things to us.
“Haven’t you noticed the way Mr Bamgboye ignores you every time you raise your hand to ask a question or to answer one in class? I’m sure he’s angry that you made it to final year. The charm your mother made for you must really be a strong one“, Tope gave that serious face as this ridiculous statement proceeded from her mouth like her observations were an emergency. “I think he is angry because both of us made it to final year but that’s his business. My concern right now is making it through this year without drama and becoming the first best graduating female Engineer student”, I just couldn’t hide the joy behind my thought as I expressed myself.
Tope continued, “No, I wasn’t the one acting as a female activist with feminism in our first year. Or have you forgotten so soon how you were trying to form Wonder Woman and land all of us in trouble because of your stubbornness. The fact remains that I’ll also become an Engineer in my life time after I’ve deal with my carry over courses”.
We both walked to our hostel when Tope saw Bayo coming towards our direction and began to say, “B for Bayo. Here he comes, walking like he owns this school”.
I could sense that something was wrong when Bayo didn’t give his usual enthusiastic laughter but simply responded with, “Tope how are you? Ugo, can I talk to you for a moment?” I could tell that Tope was jealous. The way she stepped aside to give us space without saying a word. Bayo and I sat beneath a tree then he looked into my eyes and said, “Ugochi, it’s obvious you’ve been avoiding me, don’t lie to me else I’ll be hurt”. I replied saying, “I have only been busy with studies”.
Bayo could hear lies in my voice and smiled while patting my shoulder then said, “Is that the best lie you could come up with? I thought you were smarter than that”.
Bayo loves me and I couldn’t keep doing this to him. I had to tell him, “Bayo, Yes I’ve been avoiding you. It’s not like I want to do so but I don’t want either of us to get into trouble with these people. I bowed my head speechlessly”. “What trouble are you referring to because there seems to be a lot of that around? Is it Eze? Are you avoiding me because of Eze or because I confessed my love to you? I need sincere answers Ugo, let’s know what we are doing”.
I was already tearing up again when Bayo held my hand and reassure me that he isn’t letting me go this time. I had no choice than to share my fears and concerns with Bayo. I was scared that someone else was listening to us so I whispered gently, “I discovered that it isn’t just Eze that wants to kill me but there is a second cult group hunting me and are serious about killing me the next time they get hold of me”. “Ugo, I need you to forget about all these things. It’s just for show, they can’t do anything to you. It’s me and you against the world. I love you, I really do. Eze doesn’t want us together and you’re giving him exactly what he wants. You are making him feel like he has a say over your life. Look at me. I love you, I swear, I do“.
“I’m sorry but the feeling isn’t mutual”, I withdrew my hands immediately. I was startled by the way Eze’s clap announced his presence. He seemed to have been watching and listening to us for a while. He started another episode of his drama as he exclaimed, “Wow, this is beautiful. Modern day Romeo and Juliet, very romantic! This is absolutely impressive”. “What do you want?” Bayo asked confidently. And Eze replied in the most sarcastic manner I’ve ever heard, “Bayo, I like you. You’re so bold. Is she the source of your confidence? I didn’t ask for much. Did I? All I asked was for you to leave my Ugochi for me but you have refused to comply. Or is that too much to ask?“
I was shocked to my marrow when I heard Bayo defend me like his life depended on me. Maybe it did afterall. “I can’t leave her. I’m in love with her”. No one had ever spoken to Eze with such confidence and I sensed that Eze was angry already when he replied, “I don’t think she feels the same way”. Bayo replied him again this time he was holding my hand, “She loves me too; she’s just shy”. Eze turned to me as he did not want to believe what he just heard, is that true Ugo?” I was a coward indeed. I feared that if I admit to loving Bayo, Eze was going to kill him so I decided to protect him by saying that the feeling wasn’t mutual.
Eze had now regained his confidence after hearing the words I said, “you’ve heard her right? She doesn’t want you, so leave now”. Eze spoke with authority. Bayo turned to me and said, “Ugo, If you don’t love me, Ugo look into my eyes and say it. Don’t let him bully you like he always does”. “That’s enough”, Eze said impatiently.
Bayo didn’t listen but continued talking back at Eze, “you said you’re a man in this world. Look at me and speak confidently. Allow this girl to have a life in this school; Leave her out of your mess”. At this point Eze had lost all the patience he had within him and brought out his pistol from his pocket. Yes he shot Bayo the first, second and third time on his chest. The sound was deafening and every other student in the area ran for there dear lives. I shuddered as I watched Bayo become motionless and lifeless in the pool of his own blood.
The tears rolled down my cheeks uncontrollably. I kept shaking him and begged him to wake up. I began to confess my love to him but it was too late. If I had know I would have told Eze earlier that I was in love with Bayo so that he would just kill us together.
I turned around to beg Eze to kill me too but he was nowhere to be found. I stared at Bayo’s corpse and regretted every single moment, every time I had avoided him. Above all, I had rejected him because he was truthful, because I was a coward. I cried, held his cold body and said, “I’m sorry Bayo. I love you too, I really do. I knew it was too late and Bayo was gone.
I locked myself up in my room all week, I couldn’t face the world anymore, even from my window all I heard was, “the Black Tigers have killed her lover”. How do I keep up with my life now that someone has died in my place?
To be continued next Friday.
Written by: Ordeezy.
Photos from: Google Chrome Images.