Story: Jane’s Story

by onojeta Grace

    Episode 1

    I rushed into the waiting room panting and sweating profusely.
    One would expect me to be drenched in tears after all that
    had happened but I just didn’t feel the urge to cry. I was
    overwhelmed with anger, regret and fear. I was mad at Chuks
    for trying to kill Somto and I regretted ever getting involved
    with either of them and I feared for Somto’s life. All these had
    happened because of me, if I hadn’t loved both of them,
    Somto would not be in the hospital fighting for his life and
    Chuks would not be in police custody for attempted murder.
    * * * * * * * * *
    During my teenage years, all I cared about in life was boys—I
    would stare at any handsome boy I came across; in the class,
    in the hallway, in the bank, on a queue, in the cafeteria etc.
    Wherever I was, I was always on the lookout for good looking
    guys, a habit that earned me the nickname “Crusher” among
    my friends. I crushed on virtually every handsome guy that
    caught my attention, some crushes lasted for hours, some
    days, weeks, months and even years. It took more than good
    looks to stay in my heart, I also had a thing for smart boys
    and that was why I couldn’t get over my secondary school
    crush, Somto. Somto was drop-dead handsome, he was light-
    skinned, tall and lanky with broad shoulders, dark hair and
    pink lips. He was a typical igbo boy so his irresistible beauty
    was not a thing of surprise. I was in ss2 when I developed a
    crush on Somto who was in ss3 at the time. He was a
    charismatic genius and unarguably the most popular boy in
    school. Every boy wanted to be his friend and as one would
    expect, every girl wanted to be his girlfriend including me.
    I had such a huge crush on him that I even prayed to be his
    girlfriend.Once in church, we were all asked to tell God our
    greatest wish in life and I told God that I wanted to be
    Somto’s girlfriend and that I wanted us to get married and live
    happily ever after. On our way home, my mother asked all of
    us in the car about what we requested from God and I lied of
    course.
    I was extremely sad when Somto graduated from secondary
    school, I couldn’t imagine going through my final year in
    secondary school without seeing his perfect face. Months
    later, a Friend of mine told me he had gained admission into
    UNIBEN to study Mechanical engineering. That was when I
    made it my goal to get into UNIBEN by fire or by force.
    My dream to study in UNIBEN was easily realised because I
    wasn’t at all a dull person, I was indeed very good in my
    academics. I passed my JAMB and WAEC at first attempt and
    the year I graduated from secondary school, I gained
    admission into UNIBEN to study Physiotherapy. During my first
    semester in 100level, I desperately tried to see Somto, I
    visited the few friends I had in the engineering department on
    a regular basis just to get the opportunity to see Somto again
    but I never saw him throughout my first year in the university.
    I was sad and heartbroken but in time, I moved on because
    there were tons of handsome boys on campus whom I could
    have.
    During my second semester in 100level, our department
    organized a dinner party for all freshers. With little help from
    one of my roommates Elohor, I got all dolled up for the party.
    I wore a blue dress with silver shoes and a silver purse to
    match.
    “How do I look?” I asked Elohor skeptically
    “You look beautiful but you need to do something about your
    facial expression”
    I smiled awkwardly, revealing my beautiful set of teeth
    “Perfect” said Elohor, giving me a thumbs up.
    I arrived at the banquet hall at 7:30pm, everyone stared at me
    as I walked in, I was extremely beautiful and shy and I
    couldn’t handle so many eyes on me. At that moment, I
    wished the ground would open up and swallow me.
    “Jane!” someone screamed excitedly. Hearing my name made
    me feel less awkward and uncomfortable. I turned to see who
    it was.
    “Sonia! ” I screamed, I was so excited to finally see someone I
    knew very well—my childhood best friend Sonia. She took my
    hand and dragged me to the table where she had been sitting
    with two other girls
    “I saved you a seat” she beamed
    “Thank you…you look gorgeous by the way ” I laughed. As I sat
    down, I noticed a handsome dark guy staring at me with a
    smile on his face. I smiled at him uneasily and sat down
    feeling very uncomfortable.I was determined to never look
    back at him again till the end of the party.
    When the party was almost over, I summoned courage and
    looked back. to my greatest surprise, he was still staring at
    me!
    “what a freak! ” I muttered
    “who? ” whispered Sonia
    “Some dark guy sitting behind us” I whispered
    Sonia giggled “He keeps staring right? ”
    “You noticed? ” I asked
    “Yes, I think he likes you ” she grinned
    “ugh—I don’t have time for that ”
    Sonia giggled again “The Jane I know has more than enough
    time for boys, especially handsome guys like this”
    “Whatever —I’m going home, you coming?”
    “Nah….I think I’ll spend the night at a friends place”
    “You mean Chris? ” I asked rolling my eyes
    “How did you know about Chris?” she asked wide eyed
    “I read your whatsapp chats ” I chuckled “On a more serious
    note, just be careful, you are 17 you can’t afford to get
    pregnant ” I warned
    As I walked out of the party, I noticed someone was walking
    behind me. I was a little bit scared but I summoned courage
    and turned back abruptly to see who it was. I was shocked
    “You? ”
    “Yes, me” he smiled broadly, it was the guy from the party.
    “Are you following me? ” I asked angrily
    He smiled again “Is it wrong to go after someone who
    captured my heart? ” I blushed slightly then rolled my eyes to
    avoid looking cheap
    “So what do you want from me?”
    “I just wanna talk to you for a while—I’m Chuks by the way”
    “I’m Jane—nice meeting you”

    Episode 2

    Chuks and I talked for quite a long time and he was really funny,
    I was laughing so hard my stomach began to ache
    “Can I walk you home? ” he asked politely
    “Sure” I smiled. We walked home in silence, glancing at each
    other occasionally ‘perhaps he’d run out of jokes’ I thought.
    Although we were both in 100level he was way taller than I am
    and quite muscular, walking with such a guy at night made me
    feel safe and protected. When we got to my hostel I muttered
    “Thank you ”
    He nodded “Can we talk later? ”
    “Of course” I replied sharply “Here’s my number” I pulled his hand
    out of his pocket and wrote my number on his palm like I had
    seen in a movie I watched during the holidays. He smiled “I’ll
    definitely call you”. I bade him goodbye before walking to my
    room. Elohor was still awake but our roommates were asleep. I
    narrated all that had happened between Chuks and I, I went on
    and on about it excitedly but she didn’t seem impressed “Don’t
    even think about wasting your time with these small boys, what
    does a guy in 100level have to offer? ” she hissed
    “I don’t plan to date him! ” I replied rudely
    “Good, cause you would definitely regret it ”
    “Why are you so sure? ”
    “These fresher boys have nothing to offer, they are kids, they
    don’t even know how to love a woman ” she chuckled. I threw an
    angry glance at her “Whatever.” I sighed.
    Throughout the next day, I waited for Chuks’ phone call but it
    didn’t come. I checked my phone every minute but there was no
    incoming calls nor missed calls. I was quite disappointed, soon
    my disappointment turned to anger and I shoved my phone aside
    angrily. Later that night, I received a text from him ‘I’m outside
    your hostel, please meet me outside’ -Chuks
    All my anger melted away instantly and I found myself
    rummaging through my closet looking for something nice to
    wear, I couldn’t possibly let him see me in my domestic clothes
    and smelly hairnet. After about ten minutes, I rushed out to meet
    him in fresh clothes and neatly combed hair. He was waiting for
    me patiently in the common room “Hi” I smiled
    He looked up and smiled “You’re finally here”
    “How long have you been waiting? ” I asked blushing
    “Not too long”. he stood up and walked closer to me “I have a
    surprise for you, come with me ” He extended his arm and I took
    it impulsively and followed him outside “Where are we going? ” I
    asked curiously “I just said it was a surprise didn’t I? ” he grinned
    He flagged down a taxi and we got into it “Are we leaving the
    university’s premises? ” I asked fearfully
    “Maybe” he looked at me and smiled “Relax, we’re going to the
    cinema —Silverbird”
    “Oh” I heaved a sigh of relief “I’ve never been to a cinema before
    “Me neither—I worked all day to get us these tickets ” he
    chuckled
    I was taken aback “You worked all day just to get us tickets?—
    that’s so sweet ” He laughed “It’s nothing, don’t get too
    emotional”.
    While we were watching the movie in the cinema, Chuks touched
    my hand and later placed his arm around my shoulders just as I
    had expected. I felt butterflies in my stomach and I couldn’t stop
    blushing. After the movie, we had some ice-cream together and
    he took me back to my hostel. That was my first real date and I
    couldn’t wait to tell my roommates about it.
    “He didn’t disappoint, kudos to him” said Elohor
    “You see, freshers are not that bad, some of them know how to
    love a woman and treat her right” I replied calmly, I couldn’t tell
    her that he had to work all day to get the tickets, she would
    mock him and laugh at me because money was not an issue for
    her boyfriend, a final year student who engaged in internet fraud
    to make money. Our other roommate, Lola, a bookworm who
    was currently in her third year in the department of dentistry
    cleared her throat, held my hand and said “I know this is your
    first time and you are excited but you need to take things easy
    and slowly, you can’t afford to let anything come between you
    and your studies, Physiotherapy is not a joke o”
    Our last roommate Tracy who had been quiet for a while hissed
    loudly “Studies my foot—that’s all you know, boring human being”
    then she turned to me “Jane my dear, abeg have fun don’t let
    anyone take away the joy of teenage years from you”. I headed
    for my bed quietly, I didn’t want anyone to quarrel because of
    me.
    The second semester exams came as a surprise to me. I had
    been so busy with my personal life that I completely forgot about
    the real reason I was sent to the university. I barely studied my
    books although I attended classes regularly. My whole life
    revolved around Chuks, we were always together. Not a day went
    by without us spending time together. when we weren’t together,
    we chatted for hours on whatsapp, he made me feel very special,
    I couldn’t wish for anyone else as my first boyfriend. We had our
    first kiss about a week before the exams began and it still
    lingered in my head even during the exams. I smiled whenever I
    thought about him, my life was finally perfect, it was just like in
    the movies.
    Chuks and I had an amazing relationship, even after almost a
    year together it was as if we had just met. He adored me and I
    loved him very much, it was as if all other guys in school didn’t
    exist, I didn’t fancy any other boy no matter how handsome.
    However towards the end of my second year, something
    happened and I began to second guess my relationship with
    Chuks.
    One fateful day I went to the ATM to withdraw some money, the
    sun was scorching and I was sweating badly. The queue was
    also very long, when it finally got to my turn I realized that I didn’t
    know how to use an ATM machine, it was my first time and I
    didn’t want to ask for help because I thought it would be easy to
    figure out on my own. I stood in front of the machine for almost
    ten minutes fidgeting and sweating profusely.The persons
    standing behind me in the queue began to complain impatiently
    “Young lady what’s wrong with you na, withdraw your money and
    get out of here” a male student shouted from behind. “I’m sorry I
    don’t..I…I..” I stuttered “You don’t know how to use the
    machine?” Someone else asked calmly. I turned to see who it
    was and I received the shock of my life, it was none other than
    Somto! my secondary school crush whom I spent an entire
    semester looking for. I almost opened my mouth but I restrained
    myself and tried my possible best to hide my shock
    “Let me help you” he said with an incredible smile on his face. I
    felt my knees go weak and my heart skipped a beat. I gave him
    my ATM card with shaky hands and he taught me how to use the
    machine. “Thank you” I muttered without looking at him. “Leave
    there oooo” someone screamed from behind, others were
    murmuring angrily. “I better get you away from here before they
    roast you alive” he joked. He took my hand and pulled me away
    from there, I was visibly shaken by all that had happened “Are
    you alright? ” he asked when we were far away from the ATM
    “I’m okay” I managed to reply. I still couldn’t believe I was
    standing face to face with Somto, I felt chills running down my
    spine. “I’m Somto ” he said with that sexy smile still on his face
    “I know who you are ” I said bluntly
    “You do? ” he seemed surprised
    “Yes, you are the former head boy of NNPC Staff School”
    “Wow—so we attended the same secondary school, how come I
    don’t know you ” he squinted
    “You were a class ahead of me, you couldn’t possibly know me” I
    replied
    “Anyway—never mind, you haven’t told me your name”
    “Jane—my name is Jane” I replied feeling overwhelmed.
    We talked for a while and I couldn’t help but blush at the
    slightest thing he did or said. He walked me to the library and we
    exchanged numbers! I almost died of happiness. I couldn’t read
    at the library, all I did was stare at my book, think, blush and
    laugh. Somto was such a charmer, his cute facial expressions
    were stuck in my head the entire day. I completely forgot that I
    had a boyfriend until Chuks called me that night. That was when
    it dawned on me that nothing could happen between Somto and I
    because I was already taken. When I answered the phone, I
    sounded quite off, I wasn’t in the mood to talk with him that
    night, I was too busy thinking about Somto.
    About an hour later, Somto called and I answered the phone in a
    flash
    “Hey, remember me”
    “Of course” I replied, my heart was pounding
    “I’ve been thinking about you all evening, what did you do to me?
    ” he laughed
    My heart skipped a beat, did he just say he had been thinking
    about me?! I was happy and scared at the same time. I was
    happy because the ‘almighty’ Somto finally noticed me after
    nearly three years but I was sad because I already had a
    boyfriend and the last thing I wanted to do was hurt Chuks.

    Episode 3

    I laughed “you don’t seriously expect me to believe that ”
    “I’m not joking, you’ve been on my mind all evening. I’m not even
    the type that calls girls in the night but I just had to call you ” he
    sounded really serious
    I didn’t know what to say “oh…wow..that’s…” I stammered
    “So how was your day?” he asked
    “Great”
    While Somto and I were still talking on the phone, a text
    message from Chuks flashed across the screen ‘Meet me
    outside ‘ I wanted to hang up and go see him immediately but
    Somto and I just started talking and I’ve been dying for his
    attention since I was 15, I couldn’t end our conversation just yet.
    Chuks can wait—I thought. I continued to talk and laugh with
    Somto for nearly an hour, I completely forgot about Chuks until
    he sent another message ‘Seems like you’re not in the mood to
    see me—I’m leaving, Goodnight I love you ‘ I felt guilty instantly.
    What kind of girl ignores her boyfriend because of another guy? I
    realized I had done something very wrong, I owed Chuks an
    apology. I finally ended my phone conversation with Somto and
    dialed Chuks’ number. He didn’t let it ring for long before picking
    it up “Baby…what’s up” he sounded quite sad, not angry. “I’m
    good, I’m sorry I kept you waiting, I fell asleep.infact I just saw
    your two messages just now” I lied
    “No problem, I’m not angry at all”
    I heaved a sigh of relief “I’m glad to hear that ”
    “Earlier when I called, you sounded really off, is there any
    problem? ” He sounded really worried
    “No baby, not at all, I was just feeling sleepy ”
    We talked for a few more minutes before saying our ‘goodnights’
    and ‘I love you’s’
    When I checked into whatsapp, I saw a message from Somto. it
    was a brief joke about none other than ‘Akpos’. I laughed heartily
    after reading it. I typed ‘LOL’ along with lots of emojis and sent it
    to him. He replied immediately and we began chatting. I guess
    our previous discussion on the phone wasn’t enough for him,
    honestly, it wasn’t enough for me either. We chatted till about
    1.am and I couldn’t help but fall in love with him all over again
    and unlike in secondary school when I had no hope of getting
    him, this time around I was very hopeful, infact I was very sure he
    liked me. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I had a boyfriend, I
    didn’t want to ruin any chance I had with him which was very
    wrong considering the fact that I was in a serious relationship
    with someone who was head over heels in love with me,
    someone who would be extremely hurt if he found out about what
    was going on.
    Valentine’s day was just around the corner and I couldn’t wait to
    see what Chuks had in store for me. I also prepared a very good
    lie to tell Somto just in case he asked me to be his val. I couldn’t
    choose him over my boyfriend on Valentine’s day, that would be
    unforgivable. But I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by turning him
    down, I cared about him deeply. Whenever I thought about my
    feelings for him, all I felt was guilt and pity for Chuks. He didn’t
    deserve a disloyal girl like me, he was far too nice and caring. he
    didn’t have much financially but he did all he could to make me
    happy, he was willing to spend even his last kobo on me, he
    wouldn’t mind staying hungry for my sake and here I was, playing
    hide and seek with someone else.
    A day to Valentine’s Day, Somto and I met at the library.
    Afterwards we strolled to the cafeteria and while I was having
    my drink, he asked me to be his val. His deep sexy voice and
    extremely handsome innocent-looking face made it very difficult
    for me to turn him down or give any excuse. I said yes even
    though I felt a hole in my stomach. ‘This is wrong…very wrong’ I
    thought
    I loved Chuks dearly but whenever I was with Somto, I
    completely lost myself, I was a fool who didn’t care about right
    or wrong I just wanted to have his attention for as long as
    possible because a few years ago I would have done anything to
    get it so now that I had it, I didn’t want to let go.
    Valentine’s day finally came and I was in a serious dilemma.
    What if both guys met in my hostel? or what if they wanted to
    take me out at the same time. Chuks was the first to call, he
    asked me to meet him at the school’s main gate by 4pm, he
    wanted to take me somewhere outside the university’s premises.
    Somto called about two hours later and told me he was coming
    over to pick me up at 5pm. I was in serious trouble, I couldn’t
    meet Chuks by 4 and still meet Somto by 5, I had to come up
    with a plan. I decided to seek help from Tracy because she was
    a very devious person, lying and sneaking around with boys was
    her talent.
    “Tracy I need to talk to you” I said panting
    “Calm down—what’s the matter?”
    “It’s a long story ”
    “Then summarize it ” she said in her usual devious manner
    “Ok—I think I’m in love with two guys and now…”
    “Whoah” she interrupted “You’re in love with two guys? hmmmm
    I hail ooo”
    I eyed her furiously “Would you just let me finish? ”
    “OK go on I’m all ears”
    “Both of them are planning to take me out and there’s a small
    clash of time”
    “That’s a small thing na…sit down and learn from the master”
    she replied boastfully
    I sat down
    “So when are you supposed to meet each of them? ”
    “I’m to meet one at 4pm and the other at 5.”
    “That’s an easy thing—call the one you’re supposed to meet by 5
    and tell him you wanna meet him at 7.”
    “But that would make him upset” I protested
    She frowned “Just tell him you have practicals or tutorials.”
    “Ok—that sounds good.”
    “Also ensure that you round up with the first one before 6:30,
    latest 6:45. that’ll buy you more time to meet the second one. ”
    “Wow! you’re a genius Tracy” I hugged her tightly “I’ll call the
    second one immediately”
    I dialed Somto’s number immediately
    “Hey, I just found out I’ll be having practical classes from
    4pm-6:30pm today so please can you come pick me up at 7?”
    He sighed “I’m not happy about it but—no problem, I’ll pick you
    up at 7.”
    “Thank you so much, you’re one in a million.”
    Finally, I was able to avert a potential Valentine’s Day disaster.
    All thanks to Tracy, I was able to go out with two guys on
    Valentine’s day and nothing went wrong! Unknown to me, that
    was just the first of the many problems I would have to deal with.
    After my second semester exams that year, I prepared to go back
    home to Warri where I lived with my parents. I was finally done
    with 200level and I couldn’t wait to paint the town red with my
    friends because once I started 300level, I would have to devote
    most of my time to my studies to avoid getting kicked out of the
    school of basic medical sciences. When I got to the motor park
    at Uselu, I saw Somto waiting for a bus. I had almost forgotten
    that he also lived in Warri, I was so excited to see him. The
    moment he sighted me he rushed towards me and embraced
    me.
    “Why didn’t you tell me you were going back today—I’m angry
    with you Jane” he said feigning an angry face.
    “You look cute when you’re angry” I said, tickling him
    He laughed and took my luggage from my hand. We waited for
    the bus together and when it arrived, we got in together. While
    we were chatting happily in the bus, Chuks called and I felt a hole
    in my stomach. I answered the phone “Hi, I’m in the bus now I’ll
    call you the moment I land in Warri”
    “OK but why do you sound so formal with me—what happened to
    the usual ‘good morning baby’?” he asked playfully
    “Nothing” I replied hastily
    “Ok—bye for now, I love you ”
    My heart skipped a beat, I couldn’t tell him I loved him too with
    Somto sitting right beside me “Uhm—me too, bye” I said hastily.
    “Who was that? ” asked Somto
    “Uhm—my roommate” I said, smiling uneasily
    “You have caring roommates, my roommates don’t care if I live
    or die.” he joked. I laughed
    When we got to Warri, we had lunch together at a fast food joint
    before going our separate ways. When I got to my parents house,
    I didn’t call Chuks as I had promised, Instead, I called Somto
    whom I had been with since morning! I knew it was unfair but
    Somto was like a magnet while I was the metal, he pulled me
    wherever he went. I couldn’t get enough of him, sometimes I
    tried to convince myself that I loved Chuks more but I knew I
    was just deceiving myself, as a matter of fact, I loved them
    equally but I preferred Somto’s company because he was
    irresistible.
    Later that evening Chuks called, he sounded very upset “Don’t tell
    me you’re still in the bus, cause that would be the most
    ridiculous lie I’ve ever heard”
    “I’m so sorry Chuks, my battery died” I lied
    “Really?” he replied more calmly this time.
    “Yes, I just finished charging it and I was about to call you.” I lied
    again. Dating two people at the same time made me quite a
    good liar.
    “OK, so how was your journey?”
    “It was fine” I was getting quite bored with the conversation.
    luckily it was over in about ten minutes time.
    Later while I was having dinner with my parents, I received a text
    from Somto ‘Let’s hang out together tonight, let’s meet at that
    restaurant’
    I smiled when I read the text. After dinner, I rushed out to meet
    him and we headed to a club together.
    “I don’t usually go to clubs but 400level isn’t gonna be easy, I
    need to have some fun before I begin my I. T” he said
    I laughed “Same here, I could really use some fun before next
    session”
    We had so much fun together that night, my phone kept vibrating
    in my purse but I didn’t care to know who was calling. We had
    drinks and danced all night. We left the club at 11pm, he opted
    to take me home but I suggested we go to his house instead
    because during our previous phone conversation, he told me his
    parents were out on a business trip and his only sister had not
    come home
    for the holidays. He smiled “That’s a good idea” I immediately
    called my mum and told her I may not come back home that
    night “I’ll explain when I come back ” I said before hanging up.
    When we got to his house, neither of us was feeling sleepy so we
    decided to watch a movie together. He turned on the flat screen
    TV in their sitting room and we began watching “The Hunger
    Games”. After the movie, we still weren’t feeling sleepy. We
    played cards and afterwards we sat on the floor and began
    talking. We had a really deep conversation about many things
    including our childhood, love, school etc. during the
    conversation, I revealed to him that I had a huge crush on him in
    secondary school and he couldn’t stop laughing. I felt a little
    embarrassed, he stopped laughing and said “On a more serious
    note, I was a fool to not have noticed someone as beautiful and
    amazing as you are.”
    My heart melted instantly “Why didn’t you walk up to me and tell
    me? ” he asked jocularly. I shrugged “Never—that would have
    been so embarrassing ” We both laughed and our eyes met for a
    moment, I felt a burning desire for him and I leaned forward and
    kissed him, he held my face in his palms and kissed me
    passionately. While we were kissing, I kept seeing images of
    Chuks in my head. I had finally crossed the line. We continued
    kissing until I began to feel massive sexual urges, he stopped
    abruptly “Don’t you think we’re going too far?” he asked. I knew
    we were going too far but I said “No—this is amazing.” I
    caressed his chest as an indication that I wanted more.
    meanwhile, I had told Chuks that I wanted to keep my virginity till
    marriage and he told me he was willing to wait for me for as long
    as possible. Now, here I was wanting to have sex with someone
    else. I felt like a hypocrite but I wanted Somto so badly. He got
    the message instantly and so he asked “Are you sure you wanna
    do this? ” I nodded and he lifted me up and carried me to his
    bedroom where we had sex for the first time.
    The next morning, I woke up in his arms feeling a slight physical
    pain and an overwhelming emotional pain. I felt dirty, ashamed
    and guilty. I made Chuks wait for me for almost two years now
    while I gave my virginity to Somto after just two months. I looked
    at Somto with teary eyes, he was still fast asleep. I got out of his
    bed and walked to the sitting room.My purse was on the couch, I
    brought out my phone and saw 24 missed calls from Chuks. My
    heart skipped a beat and I burst into tears. I wept loudly until
    Somto rushed out of the bedroom to meet me.

    Episode 4

    “What’s the problem?” he asked worriedly
    “Nothing.” I replied dabbing my eyes with my handkerchief as
    quickly as I could. I dressed up without saying a word to him, he
    kept staring at me but he didn’t say anything either. “I’m leaving.”
    I said in a strangled voice
    “Ok—I’ll call you.” he said hastily
    “Don’t bother ” I snapped
    “Are you mad at me? ”
    I didn’t answer, I just walked out of his house. When I got home,
    my parents were eating breakfast. “Where did you sleep last
    night? ” they asked in unison.
    “uhm…I…I..”
    “Young lady where did you sleep?” My father repeated angrily
    “Aunty Katherine’s place. ” I lied. Aunty Katherine was my
    godmother
    “Is that what you found difficult to say?” my mother hissed “Go
    freshen up and come and have your breakfast.”
    I walked to my room without saying another word. Once I was in
    the safety and privacy of my room, I shut the door and continued
    sobbing. I finally realized how inconsiderate and selfish I had
    been towards Chuks. While I was crying, my phone vibrated. It
    was Somto, I immediately rejected the call. I wasn’t in the mood
    to talk to him at all. ‘I should probably return Chuks’ call’ I
    thought, that’s the least I could do to lessen the guilt I felt. I
    dialed his number with shaky hands, when I heard his voice, I felt
    the urge to cry even more “Hello” I said, trying hard to pull myself
    together
    “What’s happening to you Jane, have I offended you in anyway? ”
    he sounded so sad and pathetic
    “No—not at all…you haven’t done anything wrong.I’ve just been
    feeling weird lately.”
    “Why didn’t you just talk to me about it? you know you can tell
    me whatever is going on in your life, I’m here for you.”
    “I’m really sorry Chuks.” I was trying hard to hold back the tears.
    “What exactly are you apologizing for?”
    “Uhm—the way I’ve been acting towards you.”
    “No problem—just promise me that things would go back to the
    way they were between us during our first year.”
    I smiled amidst the tears that clouded my eyes “I promise.”
    I spent three more weeks in Warri and during that period I
    completely blocked Somto out of my life. Losing my virginity to
    him made me resent him, I thought it would make me attached
    to him but all I felt towards him was resentment. I vowed to
    avoid him till I graduated but I was just deceiving myself. When I
    returned to school, the first person I saw was Chuks, he was
    waiting for me outside my hostel. I ran into his arms and kissed
    him. We sat under a shade and began talking, just then I saw
    Somto approaching us. He looked really upset. I stopped
    talking,my heart began to pound and I suddenly felt hot and
    began to sweat profusely. The closer he got, the more scared I
    became. “Baby are you alright?” Chuks asked suspiciously. I
    didn’t answer him, Somto was just a few steps away from us.
    “Hi” he greeted Chuks. They shook hands “Have we met before?”
    Chuks asked squinting
    “I don’t think so—Jane can we talk?”
    I laughed awkwardly “Sure—Chuks, please give me a minute.” I
    pulled Somto away from there and took him closer to the bus
    stop, few metres away from Chuks. “What happened?” he asked
    with sadness in his eyes. I wanted to yell at him but I quickly
    reminded myself that he was just a victim like Chuks, he didn’t
    know I had a boyfriend because I never told him so none of it
    was his fault. “I just think we’re going too fast.” I whispered
    “Too fast? but everything that happened that night was your idea
    —besides, why are you whispering?” he spoke loudly and Chuks
    began to watch us like a hawk. I smiled at him before pulling
    Somto farther away “That boy sitting over there is my cousin—if
    he finds out about you he’ll tell my parents.” I lied.
    “Oh—but that doesn’t explain why you ignored me for weeks.” he
    folded his arms angrily
    “I’ll explain later—we’ll talk tonight, just leave before my cousin
    starts suspecting us.”
    “Fine—I’m leaving but you must promise to contact me tonight.”
    “I promise.” He left and I went back to Chuks.
    “Who was that? ” he asked me the moment I returned
    “Oh—that’s my cousin Somto.” I lied.
    He looked at me suspiciously “Isn’t Somto an igbo name? how
    come your cousin bears an igbo name when both of your parents
    are urhobo?”
    “em—actually his mother, my aunt married an igbo man.” I said
    confidently
    “Hmmm—OK ooo” he didn’t sound convinced and this made me
    really scared. if I didn’t do anything about this love triangle as
    soon as possible, my game would definitely be up and I would
    end up losing both of them.
    Throughout the rest of that day, I was in deep thought. I thought
    I would be able to avoid Somto and focus all my attention on
    Chuks but after seeing Somto earlier, my resolve and
    determination weakened. I needed to talk to someone about it, I
    needed serious help. I thought about talking to Tracy but I
    changed my mind because I knew very well that she would cheer
    me on and advise me to continue playing the game. I needed
    someone who would tell me the bitter truth so I went to Lola. She
    listened carefully while I spoke to her about all that had been
    happening. She shook her head and said “God help us.”
    “What should I do? ” I asked impatiently
    “You can’t keep seeing both of them—it will surely catch up with
    you. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You have to end
    things with one of them and I suggest Somto.”
    “Why? why does it have to be Somto?”
    “Because from all you’ve said so far, it’s safe to conclude that
    what you feel for him is nothing but lust and infatuation.”
    I instantly got irritated “You know nothing!” I hissed before
    storming out. She was obviously shocked by my reaction. I called
    both guys later that night and all seemed well again until the day
    Chuks and I went to the library together.
    Chuks and I were reading in the library together when I suddenly
    felt a strong urge to pee. “I need to use the bathroom.” I
    whispered to him.
    “OK babe but please can I borrow your phone? I wanna use the
    calculator, mine is malfunctioning.”
    “Sure—you can have my phone.” I said without thinking about the
    dark secrets it contained. I unlocked the phone and handed it to
    him before rushing to the bathroom. When I finished using the
    toilet, I went back inside the library but Chuks wasn’t there. I
    walked outside and saw him sitting on a slab outside, he was
    staring at the floor. I walked over to him and tapped his shoulder
    “Hey..why did you leave.” He looked up at me and I discovered
    that his eyes were red and watery. I was shocked “babe what
    happened? ” I asked fearfully
    “You got a text from someone” he handed me the phone “Here,
    read it.” I hurriedly collected the phone from him and read the
    text with shaky hands. It was from Somto! “Oh God I’m dead” I
    muttered to myself.The text read ‘Good afternoon my princess.
    I’m waiting for you at your hostel, endeavour to come back as
    soon as possible, I’ve got a big surprise for you—Love you.’ My
    phone nearly dropped to the ground “Chuks—baby it’s not what
    you think.”
    He gave me a deathly stare “I tried to convince myself that I
    probably misunderstood the text so I checked all the previous
    texts sent by that same guy—he’s…he’s” he burst into tears and I
    immediately fell on my knees “Please just hear me out.” I begged
    desperately
    “Isn’t that the same guy you called your cousin?” he asked in a
    strangled voice.

    Episode 5

    “Yes but it’s not what you think—there’s…there’s nothing going
    on between us.” I lied.
    “Nothing? what do you take me for, a fool?! ” he barked.
    “Listen dear, Somto and I are just friends but he has a huge
    crush on me that’s why he keeps sending me love text messages,
    I’ve warned him several times to stop sending me such
    messages because I already have a boyfriend but he has refused
    to stop.” I burst into tears to make him feel sorry for me and it
    worked to an extent. He calmed down “Why didn’t you tell me?
    why did you lie about him being your cousin?”
    “Because I didn’t want to cause any trouble between you guys—
    but I swear, there’s nothing going on between us. why do you
    think I never replied any of his text messages?”(luckily for me, I
    do not reply text messages, just whatsapp messages and calls,
    it’s a habit I developed in secondary school)
    “I never saw any reply.” he muttered.
    “So you see—I’m not cheating on you.” I said sobbing.
    He heaved a sigh of relief and placed his hand on my shoulder
    “I’m sorry—I shouldn’t have jumped into conclusions like that.I’m
    really sorry baby please forgive me.” He enveloped me in his
    arms and I embraced him warmly. ‘Phew—narrow escape’ I
    thought.
    I pulled out of the embrace and poked his nose playfully. “Don’t
    ever doubt me again.”
    “I won’t I promise, can I walk you home?”
    I wanted to say yes immediately then I remembered that Somto
    was waiting for me outside my hostel according to his text. If
    Chuks met him there, hell would definitely break loose so I
    smiled and said “No baby—don’t bother, I can go home myself,
    I’ll call you later.” I kissed him and we parted ways.
    I heaved a sigh of relief ‘that was so close, really really close!’ I
    muttered to myself. ‘I have to be more careful next time, I may
    not be able to talk myself out of trouble next time.I’m running out
    of lies to tell.’
    I looked back to make sure Chuks wasn’t following me because I
    had seen many movies in which a jealous boyfriend secretly
    follows his girlfriend home and catches her red-handed with
    another guy. I didn’t want that to be my case, Chuks could never
    find out about Somto and vice versa. But having told Chuks that
    Somto was bothering me (which was a lie), I feared that he would
    confront him whenever and wherever he saw him again. I could
    imagine him running into Somto on campus and asking him ‘why
    do you keep texting my girlfriend even after she told you she has
    a boyfriend?’ or ‘why are you pestering my girl when she has
    made it clear to you that she doesn’t want you?’ I sincerely
    prayed that nothing like that would ever happen. the last thing I
    wanted was to be stuck in the middle of a brawl between two
    guys.
    When I got to my hostel, Somto was sitting outside. He smiled
    the moment he saw me and I smiled awkwardly in return. “How
    long have you been waiting?”
    “About twenty minutes.”
    “Sorry about that—can I make it up to you?”
    “Yeah.” he smiled seductively “You can make it up to me by
    having lunch with me.”
    I giggled “you’re such a charmer. I’ll go with you but please let’s
    not go too far from here, infact there’s a nice restaurant at the
    shopping complex behind this hostel—let’s go there.” I said
    hastily, pulling his arm.
    “hold on miss—why don’t you wanna go somewhere nice with
    me, are you ashamed of being seen with me in public?” he
    feigned annoyance.
    “No not at all—I just feel very tired, I can’t go far.” I caressed his
    hand.
    “OK, we’ll go wherever you like.”
    At the restaurant, we ran into my best friend Sonia and her
    boyfriend Chris. Sonia and I had drifted apart since the beginning
    of our second year. “Hi.” I greeted her awkwardly. She rolled her
    eyes. “Can we talk—Somto give me a minute.” I said ignoring her
    rudeness. “OK, Chris give me a minute.” she scoffed.
    We walked outside together. “I guess you and that Chuks guy
    didn’t work out…your new guy is cute though. isn’t he the one you
    were crazy about in secondary school?”
    “Chuks and I…” I shrugged “well we haven’t really broken broken
    up.”
    She widened her eyes in surprise “So that guy in there isn’t your
    boyfriend…hmm too bad.”
    “He is.”
    “I don’t understand…you’re still with Chuks right? ”
    “Yes—it’s complicated.”
    “So you’re dating two guys at the same time?” she twisted her
    lips in disgust “I may have lost my virginity at a young age but at
    least I never double dated, what you’re doing is absolutely
    horrible and unfair. I can’t stand cheaters, I’m going back inside.”
    She eyed me and walked back in. I was quite surprised, I thought
    Sonia was way worse than me but even she didn’t support my
    decision to keep the two boys I loved in my life.
    When I got back inside, I was in a foul mood. I didn’t touch my
    food, I was in deep thought. “Baby what’s wrong?” Somto asked
    concerned. “Nothing I just lost my appetite.”
    “Did your friend say something bad outside?”
    “No, it has nothing to do with her—I’m sorry can we go home?”
    He looked really upset “Fine.” he said without looking at me “I
    need to study anyway.” We left the restaurant and he walked me
    back to my hostel without saying a word to me. Sonia stared at
    us angrily as we walked out, I wondered what was running
    through her mind. I thought she would be happy to find out that I
    finally got Somto, afterall she was one of the few people who
    knew about my feelings for him in secondary school. It would
    have probably been better if I told her that Chuks and I were over,
    now she knew my secret and we weren’t even friends anymore.
    ‘What if she told Chuks?’ I thought in horror.
    []’No she wouldn’t do that—she’s definitely not a snitch.’ I
    assured myself.
    I switched off my phone for the rest of that day cause I was tired
    of all the drama surrounding my life. I began to regret meeting
    Somto that day at the ATM, he was better off in my head as a
    fantasy boyfriend and should have remained that way. He should
    never have come into my life because if he hadn’t, I would have
    been happy with Chuks and my life wouldn’t be so complicated. I
    hated having to sneak around and cook up lies all the time, it
    was exhausting.
    The following day, I went to lectures as usual. I wasn’t planning
    to see anyone that day, I needed a break from both guys. I just
    wanted to be alone or better still, hang out with my female
    friends. I went to the cafeteria with two of my course mates,
    Angel and Osas. We were having drinks and talking about the
    latest gists on campus when Somto showed up from nowhere. I
    was quite surprised and kinda annoyed, ‘did he have to ruin my
    little break from all the relationship drama in my life?’ I thought
    angrily.
    He greeted my course mates and flashed his charming smile.
    Angel couldn’t stop staring at him and licking her lips, “Hey—eyes
    off my boyfriend.” I joked, snapping her out of her daydream.
    “He’s hot! but I thought you were with Chuks—what happened
    na?you guys have been all over each other since that fresher’s
    dinner night and everyone in class still thinks you guys are gonna
    get married someday.” Osas remarked, laughing innocently.
    My heart leaped and Somto’s countenance changed instantly.He
    looked confused “Babe what’s she talking about?” Never has he
    sounded so serious since we met. I was dumbfounded “Uhm—we
    need to get out of here right now.” I said hastily, pulling him
    outside with me. He yanked my hand away from his arm when
    we got outside. “What was that girl talking about? who’s Chuks?!
    ” he yelled.
    “Calm down—you’ll cause a scene.” I whispered, trembling.
    “I’ll calm down when you tell me what I need to know.”
    “She was talking about my ex-boyfriend.” I lied
    “I don’t believe that!” he barked “I’m neither deaf nor stupid, I
    know what I heard so don’t lie to me.”
    “I’m telling the truth—Chuks is my ex-boyfriend.”
    Somto was about to raise his voice at me once more when I
    heard a familiar voice behind us “So now I’m your ex-boyfriend?”
    I turned back and I received the shock of my life. Chuks was
    standing right there and Sonia was with him. She was holding her
    waist and eyeing me furiously.
    “What’s going on here?” Somto asked gripping my left hand
    furiously.
    “Hey you—take your filthy hands off my girlfriend!” Chuks barked,
    freeing me from Somto’s strong grip.
    “Who the hell are you? ” he asked turning to Chuks.
    “I’m Jane’s boyfriend.” he made sure to emphasize the word
    ‘boyfriend’
    Somto scoffed “Is this a joke or what?”
    “No it’s not.” Sonia cut in. She walked up to us, gave me a
    deathly stare and continued “This filthy human has been playing
    games with both of you.”
    I felt like slapping her “How dare you! I’ll never forgive you for
    this…I thought we were friends.”
    She scoffed “friends? we stopped being friends a long time ago.”
    I looked at Chuks, he was in tears while Somto was staring hard
    at me. I didn’t know whom to approach first. Chuks broke the
    silence “Jane—If someone had told me that you would do this to
    me, I wouldn’t have believed them…”

    Episode 6

    I tried to speak “I’m so…”
    “Let me finish!” he barked “Do you have any idea how far I was
    willing to go to please you? do you know how many times I went
    to bed hungry because of you? ” he wasn’t crying anymore, he
    was furious.
    “I didn’t mean for any of this to happen—things just got
    complicated.” I pleaded.”
    Somto spoke after a few minutes of silence “How long has this
    been going on? how long have you been fooling me? ” he was
    breathing so heavily I thought he was going to pounce on me any
    minute. “Somto listen I..”
    “Why are you apologising to him? ” Chuks interrupted angrily.
    This angered Somto “Guy wetin dey worry you? nor vex me oo.”
    he remarked angrily.
    “Listen Somto or whatever you call yourself—this is between me
    and my girlfriend. you were nothing but her side nigga, accept it
    or leave it.” snapped Chuks.
    Things were getting heated and people began to troop out of the
    cafeteria to watch the free nollywood movie that was about to
    unfold before their very eyes. I caught sight of Angel and Osas
    standing among the crowd of students. ‘This is so embarrassing
    —this is gonna be an everlasting disgrace.’ I thought painfully.
    Somto and Chuks continued arguing “How dare you refer to me
    as a side nigga, do you know what Jane and I have been through
    together?” Somto retorted.
    “I met her when she was still a fresher, we’ve been together for
    so long.how on earth did you get into the picture?”
    “If you’ve been with her since forever, how come I was the one
    who deflowered her? ” Somto asked angrily. Everyone gasped
    including me. did he just tell Chuks in front of everyone that he
    deflowered me?! ‘that’s so childish.’ I thought angrily ‘real men
    don’t kiss and tell.’ Chuks faced me, I could see intense pain and
    disbelief in his eyes. “What did he just say? ”
    I tried to speak but only air came out of my mouth. He gripped
    me “Are you deaf? tell me I didn’t hear this idiot right! ”
    I tried to say something but before I could open my mouth,
    Somto landed a thunderous slap on Chuks’ face. “Who are you
    calling an idiot?! you imbecile.” he turned and looked at me with
    fury in his eyes “this is all your fault Jane—you’re officially my
    worst mistake.” I felt a stinging pain in my heart as he walked
    away. Chuks who was just recovering from the dirty slap, picked
    up a stone and threw it at him angrily. The small stone hit his
    neck and he turned back angrily.
    “You b-----d!” Chuks screamed “You wanna fight right?” The
    crowd began murmuring in excitement. I could hear some
    students screaming “fight! fight! fight! fight! ”
    My heart nearly jumped into my mouth ‘this is getting really
    scary, I had to step in.’
    I ran up to Chuks and held his hand, “Please don’t do this—you
    don’t wanna risk getting expelled over such a small matter.”
    “Small matter? you call your infidelity a small matter.” he replied
    in a murderous tone.
    “Don’t beg him! ” Somto yelled “Let him come and fight.” he too
    sounded like he was about to kill someone. Chuks pushed me
    aside and threw a punch at Somto. The punch split his upper lip
    and blood trickled out. I could hear cheers from the crowd.
    “Someone please call the security men!” I yelled desperately as
    Somto spat blood and gripped Chuks by his collar. He landed a
    punch on his left chin, the punch sent Chuks sprawling on the
    ground. Just as he was about to get up and continue the ‘punch
    party’, two uniformed security officers arrived at the scene and
    the crowd of students that had gathered eagerly at the scene
    disengaged quickly, no one wanted to be taken as an eyewitness.
    One of the men held Somto “You sabi fight abi?” he remarked
    sarcastically. The other helped Chuks up and dusted his trousers.
    “Both of you are coming with us—including the young lady.” he
    said calmly “instead of una to face book, una dey fight for
    woman.” the sarcastic one remarked.
    “This isn’t over—watch your back.” Chuks whispered to Somto as
    we were all led away by the security men.
    At the security office, while the two male security guards tried
    their best to settle the matter amicably, the female among them
    rained abuses on me. She said so many horrible things to me
    “Ashawo…i just pity your mama. only you, two boys. na so your
    toto dey scratch you?”
    I buried my head in shame as one of the male officers giggled.
    “After listening to all of you carefully, it’s safe to conclude that
    the girl is the biggest culprit here… I would have sent you all to
    the school’s disciplinary committee but that may lead to your
    expulsion so I won’t do that, instead I will advise you as a father
    to leave here in peace and face your studies squarely henceforth.
    Your parents didn’t send you here to mess around with the
    opposite sex, focus on getting your degree for now, after that you
    can think of dating and marriage. Is that clear? ”
    “Yes sir. ” we replied in unison.
    “Is not by saying yes sir.. ” the woman cut in rudely “Are you sure
    you can keep your yansh in one place?” she said eyeing me
    furiously.
    Tears began to trickle down my face, her insulting remarks were
    just unbearable. Chuks and Somto walked out and went their
    separate ways while I stood there crying. The kind male officer
    moved towards me and was about to place his hand on me,
    when the woman shouted “Bayo nor touch am ooo—this girl na
    winsh. she dey use men play ball. ” she turned to me “Oya
    disappear from here before I change my mind and take you to
    the disciplinary committee.”
    I looked at her with teary eyes and ran out without saying a word.
    I went to my hostel feeling devastated. Now almost everyone in
    school thought I was a w---e. I knew that in no time, the story
    would travel round like wildfire and then I would be unable to
    show my face in public. I wasn’t wrong at all, despite staying at
    home for three days hoping the situation would die down, the
    day I stepped out, curious eyes stared at me wherever I went and
    tongues wagged. All my female friends and roommates stopped
    associating with me, all except Lola—the same girl I had shut
    down rudely when she tried to advise me.
    I cried in her arms as she consoled me one afternoon “please
    don’t say ‘I told you so’ just tell me that everything will be
    alright.” she sighed “But I told you so, didn’t I? you should have
    ended your silly games a long time ago, you could have
    prevented all this embarrassment.”
    “Do you think I’m ever going to come out of this? ” I asked, still
    sobbing.
    “I hope so but—” she had a worried expression on her face.
    “But what? ” I asked, sitting up abruptly.
    “I don’t know if it’s true but I heard some really disturbing news
    on campus today.” she whispered.
    “What did you hear?! ” I asked curiously
    “Bring your voice down! ” she whispered ” I heard that Chuks
    recently joined a dangerous confraternity in order to get a good
    revenge on Somto.”
    I gasped in shock and horror. “Jesus! is he planning to kill him? ”
    I yelled.
    “I don’t know what he’s planning but tell Somto to watch his back
    —he’s a promising young man, I don’t want to see him dead
    because of your foolishness.”
    Somto was leaving for his I.T in a month’s time, I had to warn
    him to be very careful but I hadn’t spoken to him since the day
    of the incident involving him and Chuks. I grabbed my phone and
    dialed his number with shaky hands. I was scared to death, I
    never imagined that a handsome, quiet and intelligent young man
    like Chuks would go as far as joining a confraternity just to get
    revenge. I tried calling Somto severally but he rejected all my
    calls. I decided to text him, he deserved to know what was
    coming for him. “Chuks is after your life—please watch your
    back!! ” I texted. I was sure he received the text because I got a
    delivery report.
    Meanwhile I had to continue attending lectures despite the
    gossiping and ridicule that trailed me wherever I went because
    my grades were suffering terribly. I needed to make a C in all my
    courses at least because in my department, a D in any course
    meant automatic transfer to a lower department like Fishery or
    Botany. I tried as much as possible to put everything behind me
    but I couldn’t. I was constantly plagued by the fact that Somto’s
    life was in serious danger because of me and that Chuks had
    been pushed into cultism which was definitely going to ruin his
    life and reputation. All these wouldn’t have happened if I simply
    told Somto that I had a boyfriend. My inability to get over the
    crush I had on him despite having a boyfriend has landed us all
    in a hot mess.
    I tried to contact Chuks and possibly convince him to forget
    about everything and move on with his life but all my efforts to
    reach him failed. He completely blocked me out of his life. One
    evening, Lola ran up to me panting. “What’s happening?!” I asked
    gripping her, there was fear and horror in my voice.
    She tried to speak but she needed to catch her breath “Somto…
    Somto….” she stammered. I tightened my grip on her arm “What
    happened to Somto?!” I yelled, bursting into tears.
    “He…he…he got shot!”

    Episode 7

    []”Shot! ” I screamed. “By who? ”
    She squinted “Who else…who else if not Chuks? ” she sounded
    like she was about to cry. I was speechless, the world became
    blank before my very eyes. I stood like a Zombie until Lola poked
    me “What are we going to do?! “she screamed.
    “Where is Somto and how did you even find out?” I asked in a
    strangled voice. She looked at me like I was out of my mind.
    “He’s in UBTH… why are you so calm? ” she asked looking
    flustered. “Let’s go!” she screamed pulling me by the hand. We
    flagged down the first taxi we saw and headed straight to
    University of Benin Teaching Hospital. We met about six other
    students there and they informed us that Somto was in the
    accident and emergency ward.
    I was devastated but not a single drop of tear came out from my
    eyes, I was obviously still in denial about the news. “What about
    Chuks?” I asked hastily “He tried to run away but he was mobbed
    by some angry students, he was later rescued by some security
    men and handed over to the police.” one of the students replied.
    “He’s going in for attempted murder—or murder pending Somto’s
    survival.” another student quickly added. I gasped, it suddenly
    dawned on me that I wasn’t dreaming, everything was real!
    Somto’s life was hanging on a thread, Chuks was in police
    custody and I was right here in a hospital.
    I rushed into the waiting room panting and sweating profusely.
    One would expect me to be drenched in tears after all that had
    happened but I just didn’t feel the urge to cry. I was
    overwhelmed with anger, regret and fear. I was angry at Chuks
    for trying to kill Somto and I regretted ever getting involved with
    either of them. I also feared for Somto’s life, all these had
    happened because of me. if I hadn’t loved both of them, Somto
    would not be in the hospital fighting for his life and Chuks
    wouldn’t be in police custody for attempted murder. I caught
    sight of Somto being wheeled out of the A&E ward by two nurses
    and three surgeons . I ran up to one of the nurses and grabbed
    her arm “Where are you taking him to?!…is he going to be
    alright?” I asked, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. She
    stopped and urged the surgeons and the other nurse to continue
    without her. “Who are you? are you related to the patient?” she
    asked calmly. “Yes I am…is he going to be alright?” I asked
    bursting into tears. She held my hand softly “He’s still alive but I
    can’t say anything else for now—just pray he makes it through
    the surgery they are about to perform on him.” She walked away,
    leaving me all alone. Lola was nowhere to be found, she must
    have lost her way while trying to run after me(Ubth is a very big
    and complicated hospital).
    I sat on the floor and wept even more, I released all my pent up
    emotions that very moment. I didn’t care about the people
    staring at me. Suddenly, a doctor walked up to me and tapped
    my shoulder. I was startled by her touch, I quickly wiped my eyes
    with the back of my hand. “You’re disturbing our patients.” she
    said frowning.
    “I’m sorry.” I muttered standing up. I was led to the waiting room
    where I sat down with the friends and relatives of other patients.
    I was sobbing and begging God to spare Somto’s life. I would
    never forgive myself if he died because of my mistake. “God
    please spare him—it’s my fault, take me instead!” I pleaded
    desperately. I couldn’t imagine what would happen if he lost his
    life. An intelligent 400level Mechanical engineering student
    preparing for his I.T, the only son of his parents for that matter! I
    would definitely die of immense guilt if he passed away. worst
    still, the whole school knew that I was partly responsible for what
    happened and his parents would definitely find out about it
    someday.
    Lola finally found me after about twenty minutes. She was
    panting “I’ve been running around looking for you…any news? ”
    she asked panting. “He was taken to the theater about twenty
    minutes ago.” I replied without looking at her. My eyes were red
    and swollen from crying. She sat beside me “How are you
    feeling?”
    “I don’t know.” I replied blankly
    She placed her hand on my shoulders “Be strong—we’ll pray for
    him, he will make it.” I nodded and hot tears streamed down my
    face. “I will never be able to forgive myself for this.” I cried until I
    fell asleep on the chair. I was jerked awake by the grunting of an
    old accident victim. I woke up and found Lola sleeping soundly.
    ‘she’s indeed a true friend’ I muttered inwardly. I checked my
    watch, it’s been over two hours now and still, there was no news
    of Somto. I walked back into the ward and saw the nurse I spoke
    with earlier, she was trying her best to pacify a huge woman
    dressed extravagantly in a red laced skirt and blouse. A huge
    gele stood perfectly on her head and her gold purse and shoes
    shone brightly in the ward. I walked closer to them and to my
    greatest surprise, I discovered that she was Somto’s mother! I
    felt a lump in my throat, she must have taken a flight from Delta
    immediately she heard the news. Someone in school must have
    informed her—perhaps one of Somto’s roommates did. She was
    sobbing and saying things like “Who must have done this?… my
    son is a quiet person, he doesn’t look for trouble…all he cares
    about is his studies.” Her phone rang and she picked it up.
    “Honey where are you?…our son is in the hospital fighting for his
    life and all you care about is business! if I don’t see you here in
    the next one hour, don’t bother to call me your wife again!” she
    hissed angrily. I wondered if she knew that her son was shot
    because of a girl—’she can’t find me here, I can’t let her find out
    about my involvement in the attempted murder of her son’ I
    muttered. As I was about sneak back into the waiting room I
    heard the shrill voice of the nurse “Hey—where have you been?” I
    froze. “You’re related to Somto Okoye right?”
    Somto’s mother squinted, she wore a confused look on her face
    “She’s related to my son?—young lady who are you please? ” she
    asked frowning.

    Episode 8

    I remained mute for a few minutes, Somto’s mother and the
    nurse stared at me with curious eyes waiting for me to say
    something. Somto’s mother broke the silence “I just asked you a
    question miss…how on earth are you related to my son? ”
    The nurse touched my hand “You’re related to him right?—you
    came in here weeping and you’ve been waiting for him since.”
    Oh God this d--n nurse! I cursed her under my breath. I braced
    myself up for the worst and faced Somto’s mother. I’ve learned
    the hard way that lies do more harm than good so if I wanted to
    mend my ways, I could start by telling her the truth about my
    relationship with her son and the reason he got shot, she
    deserved to know.
    I took a deep breath “Ma…please can we…can we talk outside?”
    She squinted and ran her eyes all over me, from head to toe.
    “Whatever you want to say—say it here.” she replied rudely. I felt
    my heart sink, this was definitely not the right time to tell her
    ‘stories that touch’.
    “Well..ma I’m your son’s close friend, we study together.” I lied
    “Oh” she raised her eyebrows slightly “Is that what you wanted to
    tell me outside?”
    “Yes ma.” I replied without looking at her.
    “Seems very unlikely.” she eyed me suspiciously.
    My heart sank again. I stammered “Yes..I’ll..I’ll just go back to…
    to…to the waiting room.” She raised her brows again “Fine.” she
    replied dismissively
    I went back to the waiting room and found Lola awake though
    she still looked very sleepy. I shook her vigorously till she was
    fully awake “Lola we need to get out of here.” I whispered, pulling
    her up from the chair. “Why? have you heard from the doctor?”
    she asked curiously.
    “No—Somto’s mum is here and her presence literally gives me
    chills.”
    “But we can’t leave until we receive news about Somto’s
    condition…we need to know if he stands a chance.”
    “Well—I’m leaving.” I muttered
    “I’ll stay here and keep my eyes and ears open—I’ll call you if I
    hear anything.” she replied calmly.
    “Good—thanks a lot Lola, you’re an amazing friend.” I said
    hugging her.
    I left the hospital and returned to my hostel to cry. Things have
    spiralled way out of control and I was completely helpless, all I
    could do was watch, cry and regret all my decisions. I thought of
    going over to the police station to see Chuks and ask him why he
    did what he did but I quickly brushed off the idea. I was so lost
    in thought that I didn’t notice when Elohor strolled into the room
    and flung a parcel at me. it landed on my laps and startled me.
    “A guy asked me to give you this.” she said rolling her eyes in
    disgust.
    “Which guy?”
    “How am I supposed to know?” she snapped at me.
    I ignored her and shove the parcel under my pillow. I didn’t feel
    like opening it yet. I waited all evening for Lola’s call but it didn’t
    come, she came back to the hostel instead. I ran up to her the
    moment I caught sight of her at the door.
    “What happened?!’
    She was neither sad nor happy so I found it hard to predict the
    news I was about to receive. “Somto’s surgery was successful
    but—”
    “but what!” I screamed fearfully
    “He’s in a coma.” she replied dryly
    I swallowed hard to avoid bursting into tears “He’ll come out of it
    right?”
    “The…the doctors aren’t sure…he may not wake up any time
    soon.” she said sobbing. I was taken aback, tears welled up in
    my eyes and in no time I was weeping like a widow. Elohor and
    Tracy just ignored me, they didn’t give a d--n about what I was
    going through probably because they felt I brought it upon myself.
    Lola sat on my bed and urged me to sit as well “I know you did
    some foolish things in the past but blaming yourself isn’t going to
    solve anything—take it easy on yourself.” I nodded and reached
    for my pillow, I immediately remembered the parcel I received
    earlier.
    “What’s that?” Lola asked pointing to the carefully wrapped
    parcel.
    “I don’t know..let’s find out.” I tore away the wrapper and opened
    the small box inside. There was a rose and a note inside. At first
    Lola and I thought it was a love note from a secret admirer until
    we opened it and read the contents. I gasped in shock when I
    read the contents of the letter. “what does it say?” Lola asked
    grabbing the note from my shaking hands, she read it out loud
    “Jane you see that Rose there? well that’s exactly what we plan
    to put on
    your grave on your funeral day and believe us , that day is coming
    a lot sooner
    than you think.—Black Birds.”
    Lola and I exchanged glances. I’ve never been so terrified in my
    entire life.
    “You still haven’t told me why you came back home so early—
    what are you doing at home in the middle of the semester?” my
    mum asked for the umpteenth time. I sighed ‘won’t this woman
    give up already? I’ve been trying to avoid her questions since I
    arrived home two days ago because I didn’t want to lie to her but
    if she kept putting pressure on me, I would have no choice but to
    lie to her. How could I possibly tell her that the deadliest cult on
    campus was after my life because I sent “one of their dear
    brothers” to jail? She would definitely die of a heart attack, I was
    her only child and she was so close to menopause. I had vowed
    to keep my parents as far away from my problems as possible, I
    didn’t want them to be dragged into all the commotion in my life.
    They were innocent people who thought their “innocent” daughter
    was in school studying Physiotherapy and facing her studies.
    Unknown to them, their daughter was nothing but a useless girl
    who let stupid love ruin her life.
    “Can’t I come to my father’s house whenever I like? Or am I not
    welcome here anymore?” I asked feigning sadness “If you don’t
    want me around, I’ll leave first thing tomorrow morning.” She
    immediately fell for my cheap antics “No my darling, you know
    that if it were up to me, you wouldn’t be so far away from me in
    the first place, I tried several times to convince your father to
    send you to any of the state universities here in Delta state but
    he insisted on sending you to a Federal university in Benin—I
    wish you could stay here with me so I can keep my eyes on my
    little princess.” I smiled and enveloped her in a warm embrace “I
    was missing you and dad so much, that’s why I came back.”
    “But your exams are starting in about a month’s time, don’t you
    think you’ll miss out on valuable revision lectures? ” she asked
    looking worried.
    “Trust me mum, you know I can never fail my exams or have you
    forgotten that your daughter is the next Albert Einstein?” I joked.
    She laughed heartily “Let’s go and prepare dinner before you
    crack my aging ribs.”
    I followed her to the kitchen and we spent so much time
    together that evening. For a moment, I forgot about everything
    that was going on. With Lola’s help, I was able to sneak out of
    campus, heavily disguised as an old woman to escape the wrath
    of The blackbirds. I know I couldn’t run forever but I needed to
    stay alive in order to figure a way out of my predicament. I found
    it hard to sleep since the day I received the threat letter, most
    times I slept at 3a.m or even 4a.m. I lived in fear, any noise I
    heard in my room made my heart jump and whenever I went out
    to buy something, I trembled at the sight of any suspicious
    looking male. I sincerely hoped that the black birds would never
    discover my whereabouts.
    I retired to bed after another awful day, it was 2a.m and I had
    stayed up all night thinking as usual but occasionally glancing at
    the TV. I woke up the next morning to find an awfully quiet house.
    I didn’t hear the sound of my dad’s radio and my mum wasn’t
    battling with her kitchen utensils noisily as she did every
    morning. I felt a chill run down my spine, I tiptoed out of my
    room and headed towards my parents room, I opened my mouth
    in shock when I entered the room. They were both lying still in
    the pool of their own blood. I saw the inscription “BB” written
    boldly on the wall with blood. As I was about to scream, I felt a
    strong grip on my throat. I struggled to free myself but the grip
    only got tighter. I was just about to breath my last when I woke
    up panting and sweating profusely.
    “It was just a nightmare!” I heaved a sigh of relief “Thank
    goodness.” I was so terrified, I’ve never had such a terrible
    nightmare before. I jumped out of bed, it was 4:30a.m. I rushed
    to my parents room with trembling feet and found both of them
    sleeping soundly. “Thank God!” I muttered. I went back to my
    room and switched on my phone. I saw an email from an
    unknown account, it was a video with a short caption. I read the
    caption “You can run but your friend can’t!” I was horrified, i
    quickly opened the video and I received the shock of my life.
    Lola was tied to a chair and gagged with a masking tape, she
    was whimpering and I could see tears trickling down her
    beautiful face.
    “Oh God! ” I screamed. Another innocent person had just been
    dragged into my mess.

    Episode 9

    The thought of what Lola must be going through at the hands of
    the blackbirds made me weep like a baby. I couldn’t stay in Warri
    knowing that the only true friend I had was in trouble because of
    me, I knew I had to present myself to the blackbirds in order to
    save her. if I remained in hiding they would definitely harm her
    and I won’t be able to forgive myself. I packed my bags that
    night with the intention of leaving the following morning, I was
    prepared to die at the hands of the blackbirds. I sobbed as I
    arranged my clothes neatly in my bag, I thought about my
    parents especially my mother. She would definitely commit
    suicide if anything happened to me, but at least I won’t be alive
    to feel the guilt.
    The next morning my mum walked into my room, she was
    surprised to see me all dressed up and ready to leave. “I have to
    go back—when dad wakes up tell him I’ve gone back to school.”
    I tried as much as possible to hold back the tears that welled up
    in my eyes but trust Nigerian mothers, they always have a way of
    knowing when their children are hiding something.
    “Are you okay?” she asked suspiciously
    “Of course I am” I replied, faking a big smile.
    She wasn’t fooled a bit. “Jane, I’m your mother. if you can’t tell
    me what you’re going through, who will you tell?” there was
    sadness in her voice. I thought deeply about her words; if I
    couldn’t tell her, who then will I tell? perhaps she wouldn’t faint
    as I expected, maybe she would be strong enough to think of a
    way out for me. I broke down in tears and hugged her “Mum I’ve
    been a fool.. I didn’t focus on my studies like I promised you and
    dad.” I sniffed “And now—I’m in deep trouble because of it.” She
    widened her eyes “What kind of trouble?!”
    I made her sit on my bed before explaining everything to her in
    detail. She couldn’t stop weeping “How could you hide such a
    thing from us? How do you think we would cope if we lost you? ”
    “I’m sorry mum, I was scared.” I sobbed
    “We need to tell your father right away! I don’t care if we have to
    storm that school with the entire police force.” She gripped my
    hand and dragged me all the way to my father. She explained
    everything to him in tears and he was shocked beyond words. He
    kept shaking his head and muttering things to himself. I felt quite
    relieved after my dad found out because I knew he was a highly
    connected man, maybe involving my parents wasn’t a bad idea
    afterall.
    After nearly three minutes of complete silence, my dad finally
    spoke.
    “We’re going to that school this morning—I need to speak with
    that incompetent VC, he must explain to me why he has allowed
    those cultists to roam the campus and threaten the lives of
    innocent students !” he barked adjusting his glasses which always
    fell down whenever he spoke angrily.
    My parents and I arrived at the university campus at noon. My
    dad marched furiously to the VC’s office while my mum and I
    followed him sheepishly. Knowing that he wouldn’t be allowed
    into the office easily, he called the Vc’s personal number. in no
    time, we were allowed in. After exchanging pleasantries with the
    VC my dad asked me to repeat everything I had said at home
    and I did so with trembling lips. The VC was shocked ” I can’t
    believe what I’m hearing. So you mean that things like this have
    been happening right under my nose?”
    “Yes—you need to do something about it because if I lose my
    only child I will personally burn down this school!” my dad
    remarked furiously. ‘he’s just making mouth’ I muttered inwardly
    “Calm down George—you know you are my very good friend. your
    daughter is like my daughter. I will do everything in my power to
    protect her and her friends as well.” he turned to me “Young lady,
    one of them is in jail right?” I nodded affirmatively “Good—he
    would be able to tell us the whereabouts of the other members of
    the cult and we would hunt them down before tomorrow runs
    out.”
    I felt like a heavy burden had been lifted off my shoulders. I was
    sure that the VC’s plan would work but what if Chuks refused to
    cooperate? what if he refused to give out the name and
    addresses of the other blackbirds? The VC called the d.p.o of the
    ugbowo police station and I heard him telling him to ensure that
    Chuks is properly tortured until he revealed the details of his
    fellow cult members. My heart froze, I could imagine the pain he
    would go through and it was all my fault. I wanted God to strike
    me dead that moment because I felt that it was unfair for Chuks,
    Somto and Lola to suffer for my mistakes while I remained
    unharmed. Maybe if I was inflicted with some form of physical
    pain, I would feel less guilty.
    My parents,the VC and I waited all afternoon for the D.p.o’s call
    but it didn’t come until about 4pm. The VC put the phone on loud
    speaker so we could hear what he had to say. My heart was
    pounding faster than an athlete who just completed a race.
    “It was successful, we have the names and addresses of the
    other cultists. two of them stay at bdpa, three stay at Ekosodin
    and one stays in Hall 4.”
    My parents heaved a sigh of relief “So what next?” the Vc asked.
    “We plan to raid their hostels first thing tomorrow morning.”
    replied the d. p. o
    I wasn’t relieved, what if they killed Lola before then? they hadn’t
    sent me any other message and that made me worried.
    My parents and I passed the night at a a hotel somewhere in
    Ugbowo. I stayed awake all night worrying and praying to God. I
    begged him desperately to grant the police a successful
    operation. if Lola was saved and the blackbirds were in police
    custody, half of my problems would be solved. After a long night,
    morning finally came and I had mixed feelings. Fear, hope and a
    tiny bit of relief. I was told to remain in my hotel room by my
    parents and the d.p.o until the matter was resolved. I couldn’t
    bathe or even brush my teeth that morning, I kept pacing up and
    down my room waiting for my parents to return and give me
    feedback. My mum came back alone at noon, she wore a gloomy
    face. My heart sank “What’s the news?” I asked with trembling
    lips.
    She shook her head and my heart skipped a beat. I held her hand
    “Mum please tell me what happened! Is Lola still alive?!”
    “My daughter please be prepared for what you are about to see.”
    I held my breath as she opened the door to let someone in “Lola!
    ” I screamed joyfully. My friend was standing before me looking
    healthy and happy. I ran into her open arms and kept her locked
    in a warm embrace. “Thank God you’re OK.” I turned to my mum
    who was smiling deviously probably because she succeeded in
    fooling me for a moment. “You nearly gave me a heart attack!” I
    yelled playfully. She laughed and I hugged her in tears “Thank you
    so much mum—you saved me.”
    “It’s nothing—I was just protecting my daughter like every mother
    would.”
    She narrated to me how the blackbirds were nabbed in their
    respective hostels, some were even asleep when the police
    arrived.She said my dad was discussing some important issues
    with the VC.
    “Am I free to return to my hostel?” I asked curiously
    “Yes but I can’t let you go until I’m completely sure you’re safe—
    I’m going to get us something to eat OK? ”
    I nodded. When she was out of sight, Lola drew closer to me and
    whispered “Aren’t you going to check on Somto any time soon?”
    “I will but first I need to get Chuks out of the mess he’s in—I
    know he wasn’t thinking straight when he shot Somto.”
    “I thought so too but there’s nothing you can do for him or is
    there?”
    I sighed “I really don’t know—maybe I could convince my dad to
    help him.” I muttered.
    Later that evening, Lola returned to the hostel while I stayed back
    at the hotel with my parents. It was time for them to speak their
    mind. I received a furious tongue lashing from my dad. He kept
    going on and on about how I almost ruined my life because of
    my stupidity. My mum was furious as well but she didn’t shout.
    She gave me a long emotional speech and I couldn’t help but
    cry. I realized how selfish and insensitive I was and I was
    determined to give self-control a chance in my life.

    Epilogue

    After nearly two days of pleading, my dad finally agreed to have
    Chuks released because apparently, he was just an emotional
    wreck who was brainwashed by the blackbirds into joining them
    and seeking revenge for something so trivial, He was released
    after signing an undertaking. I went to see him after he was
    released to beg for forgiveness. He forgave me but refused to
    remain friends with me. He said he was going to stay as far away
    as possible from me till he graduated. I was a bit hurt but I
    understood his reasons. About a week later Somto finally
    regained consciousness and I went to see him as well. Just as I
    expected, he wasn’t happy to See me. He said he wanted nothing
    to do with me after all I put him through so I had to write down
    my apology on a small paper which I slipped under his provisions
    before leaving. When I returned to my hostel that day, I cried my
    eyes out but I finally felt relief. it felt good to be free from all the
    lies, deceit and heartache and I wanted things to remain that way
    for as long as possible.
    THE END!
    THANKS FOR READING!!

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