Behind Her Smile-Chapter Nine

Click here to read the previous chapter; Behind Her Smile – Chapter OneBehind Her Smile – Chapter TwoBehind Her Smile-Chapter ThreeBehind Her Smile – Chapter FourBehind Her Smile – Chapter FiveBehind Her Smile – Chapter SixBehind Her Smile – Chapter SevenBehind Her Smile-Chapter Eight

CHAPTER NINE

*****

I was seated in the cafeteria early the next morning having breakfast when a shadow fell across my table. I dropped my spoon on my plate and looked up.

“What do you want?”

“Someone isn’t very happy to see me.”

“Why would I ever be happy to see you?”

“That wasn’t the case a couple of years ago,” Leo said as he grabbed the seat opposite me and made himself comfortable. I noticed his guys weren’t around him this time.

“Exactly,” I sneered. “That was in the past.”

“Why don’t we go back to how things were before?”

“Are you crazy?” I hissed.

“Watch your mouth.” His voice was a low growl which nearly shut me up immediately.

“Just leave me alone and let’s pretend neither of us exists.”

“Oh, but that’s impossible now,” He grinned wickedly. “Especially considering what you know.”

I realised he was talking about the fact that I knew he was involved with Orion.

“I won’t tell anyone.”

“Unfortunately, I don’t trust you to keep that information confidential so I’ll be watching your back very closely.” He whispered the last words and it sent a chill of dread through me.

“Why do you love to torment me like this?” My fingers clenched around my spoon, my appetite was long gone.

He said nothing. He simply smiled and walked away. I was sick and tired of his games but I didn’t have the upper hand and we both knew that.

***
Later in the evening, the girls and I decided to treat Anna to dinner at a popular restaurant called Aroma on campus which was known for its quality, but a costly menu.

“Okay, you guys, what’s the occasion?” Her gaze was filled with suspicion as it moved from one person to the other.

“Once in a while, there is a need for a little bit of change.” Nafisa shrugged.

“Well, this is quite an expensive change though.” She raised an eyebrow.

“Jeez, just enjoy it while you can because, after this, we might be soaking garri as a delicacy.”

“True.” We burst into laughter as we walked into the restaurant.

Even the air smelled different in there. The plastic chairs I was so used to seeing in the school cafeteria were replaced with plush, velvet comfy looking chairs and the harsh lighting was replaced with a soft glow that gave the place a certain air of sophistication.

“I now see why some girls are so eager to get a guy to take them to this place.” Nafisa sighed.

“Good thing we can take ourselves.” I grinned.

“Although it is a group effort.” She said.

“It doesn’t matter.” Anna shrugged and grabbed the menu off the table. “Hmm, let’s see what they have here.”

We took it as a cue to go through our own menus and ended up wincing at some of the prices. After a lot of deliberation, we decided to go with Goat meat pepper soup for the appetizer and Spaghetti Bolognese for the main course. The girls argued over the choice of dessert but eventually agreed on ice cream sundaes. Suffice to say, the meal was heavenly.

“Hey,” Anna whispered. “What’s going on over there?”

We followed the slight tilt of her head towards the direction where we found a couple in the middle of a heated argument.

“Uh oh,” Ada snickered. “I guess there’s trouble in paradise.”

We watched as the buff looking guy held the arm of a girl who was already halfway out of her seat. I just hoped he wouldn’t squeeze too tight or else she might lose an arm. It didn’t seem like he planned to hurt her though, just to keep her in place. The girl rolled her eyes before she sat down and folded her arms across her chest. I squinted closely at the back of the guy’s head. Something about him looked familiar, especially his build. That was when it clicked that he was the huge guy I saw on the night of the raid. The same guy who I also saw with Leo.

“Are you guys through yet?” I asked the girls.

“Not yet,” Ada said, licking her sundae. “Why? You seem nervous.”

“I just remembered I have some things to do back in the hostel, how about I catch up with you guys later?”

“What’re you talking about? You can’t bail on us. We came here together so we’re leaving together.” Nafisa said firmly.

I angled my body away from the view of the couple and lowered my head as I took another spoonful of ice cream.

“Have you guys heard the latest gist?” Ada cleared her throat.

“Nope, what’s new?” Nafisa asked as she turned to her eagerly.

I wish they’d just hurry up already, it so wasn’t the time to gist.

“You guys remember all the fuss about Orion right?”

“Who can forget that night?” Anna shook her head.

I gave her an encouraging look because I knew her mind had gone far ahead of what they thought she meant. I mean, one would have expected it to be one of the cultists that would commit such a violent act, not a lecturer to a student.

“Zach told me that the group is planning to make another comeback on campus, in fact, many of its members are already on campus as we speak.” Her voice was as low as a whisper.

I knew she was talking about Leo and his friend but who knew how many others were out there.

“Only God knows what would happen if another raid happens on campus, it’ll be worse than the last one.

That’s it, I’m calling my parents and going home.” Nafisa said.

“Don’t be stupid, exams are just around the corner,” Ada rolled her eyes. “Where are you running to?”

“Well, not all of us are protected like you are.”

At this point, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, that the couple had gotten up from their seats and they walked out arm in arm like they never fought in the first place. I didn’t feel at ease until they walked out of the restaurant. I released a breath I didn’t even know I was holding and tuned back into the conversation.

“This is the last time I want to hear about this.” Ada hissed. “I love Zach and he loves me, that’s what matters.”
“I still think you’re being very stupid Ada, he’s a cultist for crying out loud.” It was Nafisa that said this.

The girls were so silent you could hear a pin drop. My spoon clattered unto my plate in shock and I stared at their faces. It was like an open secret among them, something I was completely unaware of.

“I think it’s time to leave.” Anna cleared her throat and got up.

“You’re right.” Ada got up next but didn’t wait for us before she stormed out of the restaurant.

“Did you really have to go that far Nafisa?” Anna asked.

“Someone had to tell her. We all know what happens to most girls who date cultists. They get hurt, badly. Maybe not now but in the long run, they do. I won’t just sit quietly while she throws her life away.” Nafisa was the next one to storm out of the restaurant.

Anna and I exchanged glances and quietly walked out too, we had caused a scene already so it was best to leave as quietly as possible.

“What’s all this about Zach being a cultist?” It was the first thing I asked once we were a distance away from the restaurant.

“It’s kind of a recent development, what I mean is, we found out only recently after the raid. The fight between him and Leo, the whole gang attitude thing they had going on were clear warning signs. Nafisa decided to confront Ada about it when she returned days after the fight. At first, it was because she felt she hadn’t been there for you when you were in the hospital but then Ada kinda spilt the secret about

Zach being a cultist.”

“You mean Zach is part of Orion?”

“Of course not, there’s a rival group called Fugitives.”

“What do they do?”

“Well according to what Ada said, they sort of want to take out the members of Orion.”

“So basically, they’re asking for war?”

“Exactly,” She clicked her fingers. “And we’re right in the middle of it.”

The following day, Anna and I went to the hospital to get the results of her test. She tapped her foot impatiently as we waited until I grabbed her leg and told her to stop. Once it was our turn, she held tightly to my hand as we walked into the doctor’s office.

“I have good news and bad news.” The doctor began. “Which do you want to hear first?”

“Um… bad news?” Anna didn’t even sound sure of herself.

“Alright, the bad news is that your test results were initially switched with that of another patient. When we discovered the staff who did this, we had her removed from our service immediately according to the hospital’s policy.”

“And what’s the good news?” I asked.

The doctor smiled and looked from Anna to me.

“The good news is that you were never HIV positive and the confirmation tests we ran were negative. You’re very healthy.”

“Oh my gosh, that’s great news! Anna-” I turned to face her only to see her slumped in her seat. “Anna!”

“She must have fainted due to shock, don’t worry she’ll be alright.” The doctor sprang into action and sprinkled a bowl of water on her face. Minutes later, she became conscious again.

“Please take good care of yourself from now on and as her friend,” He turned to me. “Please watch her carefully.”

“I can’t believe how lucky I am.” She said once we left the hospital.

“Imagine if you’d gone and killed yourself for a disease it turns out you don’t even have.” I nudged her shoulder.

“Okay, I agree that was stupid of me.”

“Finally, she listens to me.”

“But I really can’t thank you enough Precious, you’ve really been a good friend and you’re the last person I expected this from.”

“What can I say? People can surprise you.” I shrugged. “But what are you going to do now?”

“About what?” She asked.

“Mr Essien, are you just going to brush it off like it didn’t happen?”

“I don’t know Precious, I want to forget all about it.”

“What if it he does something like this again?”

“You’re right, I’ll think of something.” She nodded. “Come on, let’s go get some food. I think all that relief has made me hungry.”

“I second that.” I smiled.

The first sight we saw when we opened the room door was an enraged Nafisa seated with her arms folded across her chest as she stared at the door. She held a piece of paper in her hands which she raised immediately we stepped in.

“When were you going to tell me, that’s if you even planned on doing so?”

“What’re you talking about?” I asked.

She shoved the paper at Anna and went back to her position.

“I knew you guys were hiding something but I didn’t expect it to be this big!”

“Lower your voice okay?” Anna hissed. “And why on earth would you go through my stuff?”

“Anna, how could you keep something like this from me, only to tell Precious?”

“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?” I spoke up.

“Stay out of this okay?” She snapped at me. “I don’t mean any offence but you’re the last person I expect her to tell.”

“Nafisa, take that back,” Anna said. “She’s been more supportive than anyone else.”

“Well, that’s because she’s the only one you told.”

“She’s the only one I trusted at that point!”

Nafisa was silent and her mouth dropped into an ‘o’ shape.

I decided to let them be at that point so I walked out of the room in order to clear my head. I tried to be reasonable and see things from Nafisa’s perspective but she had no right to treat me that way. Anna was free to tell her secrets to whoever she saw fit and if Nafisa had a problem with that, I wasn’t the one to take it out on.

I’d walked as far as the regular student hangout when I decided to turn back or head in the direction of the library. I still had some time to kill so I could put it to good use. I was about to head in a different direction when my eyes stuck fast to the scene ahead of me. A couple was entwined in what I felt was a blatant display of PDA. The guy was none other than Leo which I found highly disgusting but the girl was very familiar. I squinted at her features and gasped when I realised it was the same girl I saw at the restaurant earlier with Leo’s hulk of a friend.

Wait, could it be? I thought. Could she possibly be two-timing both of them? Two cultists for crying out loud?

I made a U-turn and headed in the opposite direction. She was so doomed.

*****

To Be Continued…

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