CHIOMA SAT ON her bed and thought of all she had seen. She guessed Dupe was on her usual rounds and was afraid she would meet her in the room. A thought played in her mind; she could not continue to trust Dupe’s advice since she was a hypocrite and certainly, she was sure Dupe was jealous of her and Timi. She also thought about the choir and the fact that Dupe was their leader. In her heart, she had left the choir; the only thing left was the physical manifestation.
Chioma looked out of the window beside her bed and saw Dupe coming towards her room; she quickly told her roommates not to tell Dupe where she was and ran out of the room. She was not ready to face her yet; the shock was still very raw.
Dupe returned to her room disappointed, she really needed to apologize to Chioma and she was nowhere to be found. Dupe had a feeling things were not well and she did not like that feeling. Things were actually beginning to go bad like she had felt weeks back and she was in the middle of the whole thing. She also remembered the dream Tunde had told her and even became more scared. She went on her knees and started praying hard, pleading with God to change the situation of things around her.
TUNDE WAS ON his bed reading a book “The Final Quest” by Rick Joyner on Saturday morning as the junior students were preparing for inspection. Other SS 3 students were going about their business. Amos started making an announcement in the hostel.
“If you see a corrupt follower, look at his leader because a follower will always follow the footsteps of his leader”. Other guys in the hostel turned their attention to Amos, waiting expectantly to know how the story will end.
“A few weeks back, it was the Pastor and the Chior leader, yesterday, it was a choir member, what are we going to see next? They are all hypocrites, no one is good.” Amos continued. “After all, God is a merciful God, He will forgive. Won’t He?” He said as he turned towards Tunde.
Tunde ignored him totally; he kept his attention on the book he was reading. This angered Amos so much, he hated the way Tunde kept ignoring him. He walked over to Tunde’s bedside, collected the book he was reading and threw it on the floor.
“Answer me man!” He shouted at Tunde. “Are you sure God is merciful? Are you sure He loves you enough to forgive you your sins? After all, He strikes people that offend Him dead, right?”
Tunde did not respond, he bent down and picked his book. When Amos continued staring at him, Tunde asked him “Tell me something Amos, Why are you so angry with God? What is eating you? Talk to …
“Shut up men! What do you know? You have never suffered anything. Your life has been so perfect.” Amos said.
“You are so wrong Amos, my life is not perfect. I don’t have any idea of what has happened to you, but you cannot keep being angry with God, He is the only one that can help you.”
Amos hissed and walked back to his bedside. The other guys in the room watched in amusement has the whole drama played out. They all gained a new level of respect for Tunde because of the way he had handled the situation. Amos stormed out of the room boiling in anger. “He knows nothing of what I have been through” He said to himself as he left the hostel premises.
THINGS HAD GOTTEN worse as the days tore on. Chioma avoided Dupe at all cost and had been seen often with the X girls, she had even left the choir. Dupe was devastated and it showed in everything she did; it affected her performance in class and her countenance really fell. She felt she was at fault for all that was happening and she felt really guilty. Often times, she had confronted Chioma, but she would just stare at her coldly. Dupe did not know what to do anymore, her pillow was wet with tears and her heart was very heavy. Prayer had been the only words she had spoken frequently.
Tunde noticed everything that was happening and decided to talk to Dupe. He felt obligated to do so first as her friend and then her Pastor.
“What happened between yourself and Chioma?”
“Timi asked her out and I only told her he might want to use her to get to me. She accused me of being jealous of her”
“Have you apologized to her?”
“Yes I have, but she has refused to even talk to me. On one occasion, she called me an hypocrite. Tunde, I don’t know what to do again, I’ve prayed, cried and even begged”
Dupe started crying, she was glad there was no one in the garden with herself and Tunde.
“Please stop crying Dupe, everything will be fine. Still try talking to her ok!”
Dupe nodded still crying. He took her two hands and prayed for herself and Chioma.
TEMI HAD SEEN it all and was very angry. She had come into the school garden to relax and was surprised to see Dupe and Tunde there. She walked away angrily as Tunde took Dupe’s hands. ‘That is the last straw’ She thought to herself, jealousy had engulfed her and all the words from Pastor Chris’s message disappeared like the wind.
Chioma felt so good and so free, she had taken up the offer of the X girls and joined their clique. They had danced together in a number of social nights and her popularity thermometer was on the verge of bursting. Her new found love, Timi also added to her popularity status. It was a big thing to date the head boy of the school and the most handsome guy in SS 3. Chioma could not believe how her life had turned around with just one stage performance. The X girls were not the born again type and Chioma did not need to try to fit in, she blended very well, this made her feel she was never born again, but was just hiding under the shadow of Dupe and the choir.
The X girls introduced her to a lot of things like parties outside the school and she had joined them to attend those parties. Sneaking out of school at night during weekends had become a specialty for her and it was much fun than the holier than thou life she had been living. It was time for sport and she was giddy to see Timi. They spent the whole one hour of sport together every day, it was their special time. She wondered how foolish Dupe had been to let such a guy go, but she was glad Dupe had let him go anyway. She smiled as she spotted Timi waiting for her at the end of the block, she walked towards him.
As Chioma walked towards him, Timi saw Dupe behind Chioma calling her, but Chioma ignored her and kept walking towards him.
“Sweetie, how was prep?” he asked her
“It was good dear! How was yours?”
Timi hugged Chioma and saw Dupe staring at them. He smiled at her. Dupe turned away from them and returned to the class.
DURING SPORT, SEUN took Vivian to the back of the SS1 block, a place that students don’t usually go to. He lured her there with a lie that he wanted to tell her something very important. Since they started dating, he had won her trust to a great extent and had noticed how naïve and vulnerable she was. This made him so sure that she would do anything he asked of her. When they got to the back of the block he said to her
“You know I love you very much Vivian, I just want to ask for a little favour”
Vivian nodded, smiling. No one had made her feel as special as Seun did. He was the first guy to appreciate her beauty and tell her how wonderful she was. At this point, she would do anything for him. Surely God certainly sent Seun to her because he had helped her improve in her self esteem.
“Please, I have always longed to kiss those beautiful lips of yours” Seun said with a seductive voice.
Vivian could not say anything, she was too mesmerized. All her senses screamed ‘no’ but she could not resist him, she nodded in acceptance. There was excitement written all over Seun’s face as his lips met hers. They were there kissing and smooching until the bell rang to return to the hostel and prepare for dinner. They walked to the hostel together hand in hand.
When Vivian got to her room, she felt very guilty and violated. She thought of going to see Dupe, but she knew Dupe had her issues. The whole school knew about the fight between herself and Chioma and how Chioma had become one of the X girls. Vivian did not want to add to her burden and she did not trust her friends. She was in love with Seun and convinced herself that kissing and smooching was not wrong as long as it did not lead to sex. With that settled in her mind, she prepared for dinner.
THE PRINCIPAL CALLED for an urgent meeting with the prefects of the school which was very rare. On Saturday afternoon, all the prefects gathered in her office for the meeting. The Principal’s office was a big and cozy place, it was like a mini sitting room with a fridge, Television set and a big table in the back for her office work. When all the prefects were seated, Eld. Mrs. Giftie Ayobami stood up and walked to the front of her table. She turned the seat and sat down facing the prefects. From the look on her face, Dupe knew it was a serious and grave matter that burdened her.
“Good afternoon prefects”
“Good afternoon ma!”
“I know I do not usually do this, but I have been pushed to the wall now. I do not know why you have been elected as school prefects if you cannot report matters happening in school to me.” She paused.
“You were elected prefects to be the eye of the school authority in the midst of the students not to boost your popularity status or make you feel good, there are responsibilities attached to your position”
The prefects all looked sober as she spoke, they did not like when the Principal was angry with them.
“Timi and Dupe, I am more disappointed in the both of you. Do you think being the Senior Prefect Boy and Girl is child’s play? What have you been doing?” She asked looking at both of them.
‘Hating ourselves’ Dupe wanted to say, but kept it to herself.
“Now I want all of you to be very vigilant. I hear some students sneak out of the hostel during the weekend to parties in neighboring towns. I want to hear reports on this news by next week. I do not want to know how you do it, I just want results okay!”
“Yes ma!” they chorused.
“My source tells me the major suspects are some girls who call themselves X girls. I do not want to do anything until I have confirmed this, so Dupe, and other female prefects, I want results”
Dupe weakened at the mention of the X girls. If it was true, then she did not want to be on that case because Chioma was involved and even though Chioma had hurt her, she still loved the girl. She looked at Timi and gave him a knowing look because she knew he was aware of Chioma’s involvement with the X girls.
The Principal dismissed the meeting with a stern reminder of her results. Dupe walked up to Timi.
“Please I need you to talk to Chioma for me?”
“Because I know she will listen to you”
“Now you need my help, hmmm, let me think about it….” He made like he was thinking. “No”
“Why are you behaving like this?”
Timi just laughed and walked away. He did not want to admit it in front of Dupe, but he was worried. He did not want to get into trouble and hanging out with Chioma as an X girl could spell trouble if what the Principal said was true. H e walked away thinking of what to do next.
Dupe went to her room and started crying. She did not like what was happening to her at all. She had a bad feeling that the dream Tunde had was coming true already.
“God you promised to be with me, please what should I do now?” She cried.
There was no still small voice, Dupe cried into her pillow even more. She had no idea that more things were still coming her way.
ONE WEEK HAD passed without any report for the principal and it was already Saturday night. Dupe knew the principal was serious and asked God for a breakthrough. At around 4am in the morning, Dupe woke up and went to the toilet to ease herself. As she was returning to her room, she heard some movements; she went around the corner and saw some girls jumping into the hostel in party outfits.
“Stop” She shouted.
As they turned to start running, Dupe spotted Chioma. She wanted to faint at the sight of Chioma.
“So it is true Chioma? Why Chioma?”
Chioma did not say anything; she just looked at Dupe and ran to her room with the other girls.
Dupe went to her room and started crying all over again, she had asked God for a breakthrough, but she did not expect what she had just seen. She cried until day break. She locked herself in her room the next day. She did not even attend church service that day. She cried all day in her room pleading to God to let the cup pass over her. She still loved Chioma so much and did not want to be the one to plot her downfall.
Tunde became very worried about Dupe when he did not see her in church, he had sent people to her but they came back saying they had knocked on her door and no one responded. He even asked Temi to check on her but she returned with the same response. Tunde went to his room disappointed. He remembered the dream he had and the role he had played in it, he was the only one that pulled Dupe up when everyone had made fun of her. So he did the one thing he knew how to do best. He went on his knees.