Here is Episode 1 of the story.
Juliet jumped out of the Benz before the driver even had time to park properly. She didn’t respond to the gateman’s sleep laden “welcome madam” and neither the house-maid nor her kids’ nanny got a response to their greetings as she stormed through the door and all but ran up the stairs fuming and close to tears. The sweet old nanny shook her head in pity; it was obvious that their ‘oga’ and ‘madam’ were at each other’s throat yet again.
Gbade Johnson calmly stepped out of the car and into his mansion, also seemingly oblivious of his home staff; he went up the stairs after his wife.
“What was that show you put up there at the party?” He said almost as soon as he opened the door to the master bedroom.
“Gbade! Gbade! Gbade! How dare you?” Juliet retorted poised for a showdown. “Everywhere I go, they’re whispering about how you chase after everything in skirt and how you would give just about anything to get in a lady’s pant. I chose not to believe them all this time because I thought I knew the man I got married to. I trusted you…”
“Wait please! What’s all this sermon for Juliet?” Gbade attempted to counter.
“Are you seriously asking me that question? After what I saw you doing with that little brat?” Juliet was beginning to raise her voice.
“Calm your nerves woman! She’s just a client to be. She’s into business too, and we were discussing a deal…”
“Oh really? Standing chest to chest with your hands over her bossom, and hers on your shoulder? What a way to discuss business! I think its high time I started discussing ‘business’ with every man I meet too or what do you think Mr Businessman?” Juliet retorted with heavy sarcasm.
“There’s nothing harmful in that. Don’t you watch movies? We were dancing and discussing.” Gbade tried to remain calm and in control of the situation.
“Gbade, look at me properly, I am not a fool! Don’t think I’ll take your nonsense forever. If I keep quiet, it’s for the sake of my children; I don’t want them exposed to the rigor of growing up in a broken home, but if I have to, let me assure you that I will fight to keep my home together.”
“But this is not how to fight. You are getting it all wrong. You should at least have heard me out instead of creating that completely unnecessary scene at the party. You did not only embarrass the lady, you embarrassed us too, both of us!…”
“I don’t care! And I will do it again and again till you come back to your senses!” Juliet had finally lost her cool, and her voice was ricocheted against the walls of their room to fill the mansion; it was late in the night and the neighborhood was already asleep.
“Here we go again. Juliet, you are screaming.” Gbade moved close to calm her, but she retreated from him. He persisted and she shoved angrily making him land awkwardly on the large twin bed and wriggling in pain.
“Serves you right!” She said without any remorse for her action. She picked up a pillow and was on her way out of the bedroom when she realized her eldest son Dominic, at the door.
“What’s wrong mum?” He asked switching glances between his ashen faced mother and his groaning father.
Tunji blinked repeatedly as if trying to come out of a dream. He couldn’t believe his eyes; Amaka would have his head for dinner if she couldn’t submit that assignment, she’d been whining about how she missed two tests in that course, and how the assignment was important for her to at least have hopes of a C at the end of the semester. He had to get the piece of paper to her somehow and he broke out in cold sweat at the realization that Prof. Awofisibe was known to conduct just one test for his Continuous Assessment. He couldn’t dare to miss this test too, except he could convince himself that he would make 50 out of 60 in the exams to have any hopes of a C too. He was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea…
In his confusion, he tore out a paper and lazily scribbled down his Matric number. The whole class was taking forever to get set, no one saw the test coming and they were extremely ill-prepared. Tunji was still lost in thoughts when Prof. Awofisibe’s deep voice jerked him back to life.
“Question One. Explain what you understand by Interdependence of nations.” He called out as he roamed the front desks of the class. Every hand got busy scribbling, except Tunji’s. He was totally confused.
Suddenly his phone rang, and one glance at it told him Amaka had discovered the error and wanted an explanation. Of course, he had no intention of answering the call in class; seeking permission in the middle of a test to answer the call was a taboo in Awofisibe’s world so he quickly silenced the phone-but it was already too late.
“Give me that phone!” His lecturer ordered. “I have said it severally in this class that all phones must be switched off once I’m in class”
Tunji felt a heavy lump in his throat. He wanted to say something but the words choked in his throat. He slowly rose from his seat and walked towards the huge figure of the Professor.
“You should come back for it at the end of the semester.” he said as he received the phone from Tunji.
In a flash of insanity, Tunji turned back to his seat and instead of sitting, he took Amaka’s assignment and dashed out of the class.
“Please, there’s a mix up somewhere. I think I left my assignment with a friend, and took the wrong paper. Just be a little patient with me, I’ll get it for you.” Amaka was desperately pleading with Uche, the class representative, who was saddled with the responsibility of submitting the assignment to the course lecturer. But the latter seemed uninterested in anything she had to say.
“I can’t wait, I’m sorry. Dr Ajah is waiting in her office, and she’s asked me to come with the assignments now.” He said as he walked out of the class. “Lazy girl. After she don go flex finish, come here dey tell me story.” He jested wickedly with his assistant as they made for the lecturer’s office.
Amaka was totally enraged. She couldn’t understand why Tunji would give her the wrong paper. He wasn’t answering his calls and had finally switched off his phone. She wanted to cry, but her status as ‘Miss Inter-Rel’ wouldn’t let her; the looks on the faces of her jealous classmates was enough for her to know that they loved the sight of her misfortune; crying would just add icing to their cake.
She gathered herself together and was going to pick her bag when she noticed Tunji waving the assignment at her from the window. She ran quickly to him, and without saying a word, she snatched the paper from him and ran like a rabid dog in the direction the class reps went, hoping to catch up with them. Tunji in his confusion, followed suit.
She got to Dr Ajah’s office just as Uche and his assistant were exiting the office.
“Here’s my assignment.” She offered it to him.
But Uche remained staunch.
“We have submitted to her already and she’s not willing to receive any more.” He replied.
Tunji arrived in time to hear his last words, and while still catching up with his breath, he responded quickly “how about you go back right in and tell her this fell off, and you only just discovered it?”
Uche was taken aback, wondering why a senior colleague would be interfering in the issue.
“Well, I’m only following her strict orders as a class rep…I wish I could do that, but it will only make me look incompetent.”
“If that’s the case, I’ll go in myself.” Tunji took the assignment from Amaka, and knocked on Dr Ajah’s door.
To Be Continued Next Week ….
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Edited by Olarinde Samuel.
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