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Priceless One - Episode 20

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 PRICELESS ONE
Priceless One - Episode 20


______________________________________

 
  
Harriet smiled broadly at her mom over lunch.

“ This is delicious mom….. did you ordered this?” She asked.

“ No…. I cooked it.” 
Harriet looked on at her mom in disbelief and chuckled.

“ What!.... You don’t believe me?” Evelyn asked her daughter with a smirk.

Harriet shrugged.

“ Not all bad cooks remain bad cooks forever Harriet….. I follow this chef on YouTube and get lots of cooking tips from her……that’s it dear…”

“ Wow! Mom…. Your cooking has greatly improved!!..... This really tastes delicious and above all, I’m so happy  you come back really early from work these days.” Harriet said.

Evelyn stiffled a smile.

“ I told you that I will change dear….. that’s what I’m doing….. I’m adjusting in playing my motherly role.”

Harriet chuckled.

“ Thanks so much Mom….. thanks for making these sacrifices for me.”

Evelyn laughed out and blew her a kiss.

“Anything for you my darling.”

She chuckled.

“ Your friend really looks like a good girl.” Evelyn told her daughter.
Harriet smiled broadly.

“ Yes she is.” 

She paused and wore a serious expression.

“ Mom...?

“ Yes.”

“ How do one handle a case when the victim of a bμlly is not willing to speak out because of fear of humiliation, even when there are strong evidences that can nail her bμllies and get them puníshed.” Harriet asked.

Evelyn studied her daughter keenly.

“ I hope you are not the one being bμllied?” she said.

“ No mom….. Shalewa is the one bμllied by a gang of girls in school and I feel so bád for her….. I mean, they gagged her mouth and tied her to a tree, with each one of them wanting to take turns to wh!p her, until I intervened and threatened them.”

Evelyn fell silent.

“ Bμlly is a very tërrible thing to do and must be treated with seriousness…… tying a girl to a tree in the name of bμlly is sheer w!ckedness and there is definitely no excuse at all to justify it….. Just last night, I read a journal of a child who was bùll!ed to dëåth in a prestigious school in this country……it’s really shámeful that things like this still goes on in schools in this time and age!.... Especially in the boarding school.”

“ it’s really so sad, that girl needs to speak up and speak up fast!” 

Evelyn paused suddenly as though she just remembered something.

“ You said you intervened and threatened them?” she asked her daughter.

“ Yes mom.”

“ Tell me about it?”
Harriet nodded.

“ I hid a few distance from them and made a video of what they were doing….. but when I saw that they had tied her and was about to whip her, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I intervened quickly and threatened them that I had a video recording and will send it to the school authorities if they didn’t back off….. they initially wanted to åttåck me, but when they saw my seriousness, they released her and left.”

Evelyn tapped her fingers on the table.

“ That was a very r!sky thing you did there Harriet….. what if they had surrounded you and beaten you up also?”

“ Mom I know, but i had to do something to save her.”

“ Why didn’t you run to call the teachers or even your principal?” Evelyn asked Harriet.

“ The school field is far from the staff room….. if I had done that, Shalewa would have almost be beaten to dëåth before I came back.”

Evelyn sighed.

“ I know it’s a brave thing you did there and I’m proud of you….. but I want you to be very careful among those girls….. they are very d@ngérous and I’m going to report this to the principal tomorrow….. please send me the videos you did…… I’m taking this up with the principal!!”

Harriet shook her head in disapproval.

“No mum…. Please not now…..I promised Shalewa that I won’t report to the school authorities without her permission.” Harriet replied.

Evelyn paused a while and nodded.

“ I want to have a word with Shalewa tomorrow.” 

“ Ok mom.”

******************

The students moved to their recreational section to have their sports. 

Normally, on Wednesdays, they always had their sports day after their morning lessons, and so immediately after break, they spent the rest part of their day, doing sports and playing games.

Shalewa played table tennis with some students from another class, while Sandra and her friends cheered on as Chima and Habib were part of those representing their class in a football contest with the SS2 Arts students.

Harriet simply sat in a corner and awaited her turn in a chess game.

“ It’s a Goal!!” The SS2 science students screamed as Chima struck the ball into the net.
SS2 science was leading by 3 goals to 1 and the second half session was almost over.

Ten minutes after, the referee blew the whistle as an indicator that the match has ended.
The SS2 science students continued to scream and jubilate. 

They hailed the strikers who scored the goals, among which was Chima. He was the one who scored the last goal.

Immediately after the SS2 match was over, another match began between the SS1 Science and Commercial students.

Wiping the bead of sweat off his brow, Chima excused himself from his company of friends who continued jubilating on their victory. He yearned for some privacy and freshness of air.

Climbing the stairs, he located his favorite spot in a long abandoned  empty class on the last floor of the school oldest building. He had discovered this spot several months back and made it his favorite spot when he found out that no one comes there and so it was a perfect hide out spot.

Chima lit a stick of c!garette from a pack and began to sm0ke. 

Sm0king was the major habit he had turned to, when things at home became too tensed for him and he needed to relax his nerve. He had copied the habit from a male actor in a movie series, who used it as a therapy to douse his tension when he needed to go for an operation. And ever since then, he decided to buy a pack and try one for himself.

The first time he took his first puff, he had remembered c0ughing out so loudly, but with time, his body grew adjusted to it and now, he couldn’t do without sm0king in a day. It was the only thing  he had found solace in.
Chima sm0ked on and on until the door suddenly flew open unexpectedly, and startled him to his bones.

He froze! with the c!garette stiffly stuck to his hand.

It was already too late to hide the c!garette. She had seen it already.

It was Harriet!

What the h£ll was she looking for in his favorite spot?

“Sorry to disturb your pastime….. but I just discovered this spot some days back and it’s cool for a reading atmosphere.” Harriet said with a smile.

She held some notebooks in her hands like a studious nerd.

“ Harriet or whatever they call you…. As you can see, this place is in use so get out of here!!” Chima commanded.
But she remained rooted to the spot, smiling.

“ Don’t worry Chima….. it’s not the first time I have seen you sm0ke……I’ll tell no one.” She said softly.

Chima stood up on his feet and faced her sternly.

“ On the contrary….. now that you are here….. I think we need to have a serious discussion.” He said in a coarse voice.
She looked at him, still unfazed by the int1midation his presence was supposed to generate.

“ Ok….. so what’s this serious discussion about.” She replied in aloofness.

Chima wore a smirk.

“ I learnt you’ve taken up a new occupation as a videographer…… jumping like a frog to record things that ain’t your business!!” Chima remarked.

She nodded.

“ I see your friends have briefed you on the latest happenings….. that’s good….. did they also tell you that they tied an innocent girl to a tree and attempted to béåt her up?” Harriet asked with her hands akimbo.

“ I don’t care whatever it is they did….. I want that video deleted….. because if it gets out, I’m going to make your life a living h£ll!!!” Chima threatened, wearing a Stern expression.

But Harriet was still unperturbed. She chuckled softly.

“ Hey relax Chima…. I’m not here to fight or banter words with you….. you are a good guy and I know it…… but learn to take things easy.” She said.

“ if I were you, I wouldn’t take such a thréåt lightly Harriet….. we are not ones you should mess with Harriet.”

She nodded and sighed

“ Ok fine!!.... I’ll delete the videos on one condition.” She said.

He paused and took a long look at her.

“ And what would that be?” he asked.

She took out a pack of WHOT cards from her pocket and waved it on his face.

“ Let’s play a game of WHOT…..if you win me in this game, I will delete those videos….. but if I win you, I will hold on to the videos.” She said confidently.

Chima chuckled unbelievably.

Sandra was right, Harriet really has some nerves.
Here he was threatening her of what he would do to her if she didn’t delete the videos, and all she could say was 'lets play a game!’

She wasn’t afraid of him at all, and that’s not a good sign. He moved towards her, closing the gap between them, drawing a long puff, he released it on her face, but she remained unnerved 

“ Fine…. I’ll play the game and I’m going to bëåt you hands down!!”

She smiled on.

“ Ok then.”

Harriet shuffled the cards and placed it in the middle. She picked out four cards and Chima did same. The game began.

“ Barely a year ago.” Harriet began, eager to start a conversation as they played the game.

“ I was still living with my grandma in our old neighborhood before she d!ed…..” She said, but Chima appeared uninterested in her mundane chat. 

She sighed and continued the discussion nevertheless.

“..We usually had these debate in my former school, class by class,….. where we spoke on the topic ' What is life?’….. and guess what?......I was the one chosen to represent my class….. my opponent was a guy named Richard….. he looked just exactly like you in height, mannerism and even complexion wise……. And I was deeply afraid.”

Chima looked up at her and chuckled. His interest was aroused now.

“ Why were you afraid?” he asked her.

Her eyes brightened.

“ Because he was the best student in my set….. every teacher used him as a standard to measure an excellent student…… Richard would represent our school in an interschool competition and bag several awards in the school’s name…… no one ever engaged Richard in a competition and won….. so it was logical that I was afraid to compete with him…… and guess what?...... we both won!..... and became best of friends!!”
Chima scoffed.

“ How come you both won?.... There can only be one winner in a competition.”

“ Yes….but ours was different….. the judges insisted we were both good and equal match….. but that’s not my point.”
Chima shrugged.

“ So what’s your point?” He asked casually, dropping his second to the last card. It was really evident he would win this game.

She nodded and looked intently on him.

“ Each time I see you….. you remind me of Richard.....”

Chima took his gaze off his card and looked at her, then broke into a loud laughter.

“ Yeah I understand!!….. I get such reactions on girls who crush on me….. so I don’t mind you crushing on me.” He bragged.

She laughed too.

“ I’ll tell you why you remind me of Richard…..” She said cheerfully and let out a sigh.

“ Richard became a shadow of himself….. and slowly went down the drain!!
 At first, we thought he was just passing through a phase, until he dropped from the first position to the 19th position….. our teachers became really concerned and invited his parents, but later realized that he was an orphan who lived with his uncle……there were so many days I saw Richard drink recklessly with the street touts……they taught him to be an alc0h0l addíct……” She said and exhaled deeply.

“...I warned him, I begged,  but he wouldn’t stop, until one day!” She paused and expressed sadness.

“...he drank himself to stupor and d!ed of alcohol overdose!!!”

Chima straightened from his position and shot her a Stern look.

“ Why are you telling me this?” He directed the question at her.

“ Because I stumbled on your record at the archive section….. you won the award of the best student of Hamsford School four times in a row…… until suddenly, you drastically dropped till you barely got the fourteenth position!!....” 

Her expression changed to that of sheer seriousness as she continued. 

“And just like Richard, you’ve taken to sm0king recklessly…… and soon, you’ll slowly fade away like the rainbow….. just like a steam that vanishes into the atmosphere, you’ll hit the rock bottom and plunge into a place of no return!” she said, and returned smiling softly.

Suddenly! She dropped her last card.

“ Check up!..... I’ve won.”

Chima froze with a visible frown on his face, with his eyes shooting d@ggers.

He was furious not because she won the game, but because her last words hit him to his bone marrow.

“ You have no right to judge me!!!..... You don’t know my story, my scars!…..And what I’ve been through!!!” He said angrily.

She nodded calmly.

“ You are right….. but I only know one thing Chima….
Life happens to everyone!..... And we may not be able to control the things that happens to us……but there is definitely one thing we can control.” She said and touched him softly.

“ Chima…… how you respond to the circumstances that life throws at you,…. is still your choice to make!
You can choose to wallow in self pity and find solace in bad habits, or you can choose to do things differently and rewrite your story.” She said softly.

Tears flowed freely from his eyes.

“ Its easier said than done!.... You think I like doing this things?..... It’s easy for you to say when you are not the one feeling the pa!ns!!” He retorted emotionally.

“ Chima, I have seen the path you are threading in, play before my eyes before….. and I can tell you boldly that it leads to destruction…… do not be like Richard who ended his life because of his bad choices…… it’s not too late for you to quit smoking before it ends you completely.” She advised and got up.

It was closing time already and she needed to leave on time so her mom wouldn’t have to wait up for her at the school park.

Harriet paused halfway and turned back.

“ Chima….. please think on what I have said….. it’s not too late to turn a new leave.” 

He clasped his hands on his head and cr¡ed bitterly.

(Do not take credit or Plagiarize AMAH'S HEART stories)

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