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    Queen and Asha returned to the hotel where she had packed her car and there they spent the night. As soon as it was morning the next day, the two girls drove back to Abuja.

    Asha: “can you imagine the audacity that that thing called Mercy has. So after all that we are doing for her, she still had to go and tell your parents about your lifestyle?” she asked shortly after they had passed Ganaja junction.

    Queen: “but now that I have slept over the matter, I think Mercy is innocent. Remember that my dad insisted that it wasn’t Mercy who told him about what I do in Abuja and I know that my father cannot lie about things like that” she explained.

    Asha: “so who told them if she wasn’t the one?”

    Queen: “you never can tell who. Remember that the university is a place where we have so many people, some of which we may even be related to without us knowing” she said quietly for she was beginning to regret walking out on her parents.

    Asha: “don’t tell me that you believe that story your father told you. Don’t you know that the old man was only trying to wash you? Remember that the person we are talking about here is his brother’s daughter and so he wouldn’t want anything to come in between you two for family’s sakes”

    Queen: “I am confused” she said trying to dodge a trailer that was coming in at top speed from the one lane Abuja-Lokoja express way.

    Asha: “there is nothing to be confused about. All I know is that Mercy is leaving that house today. Oops, I forgot that she is still with her people. All I know is that as soon as she returns, we will throw her things out. I cannot take the risk of allowing her live with us, who knows one day she would call my parents and tell them about me and you know that my father is a retired old soldier, the man will just kill me and bury me with his hands” she said.

    Queen: “but where will she go if we throw her out?”

    Asha: “how that one take concern me? She should have thought of that before carrying tales about you to your parents. If not for the runs that you do in school, where will you get the money to rent and furnish the apartment that she is squatting in?” she asked rhetorically.

    “hmmn” Queen inhaled deeply and exhaled loudly.
    ==Playloaded Stories==
    Mercy left her parents’ house for the Ayo’s home so that she could meet up with Queen and Asha who had told her to met them early so that they could leave on time. She knew that the two girls would not hesitate to leave her behind if she wasted few minutes of their time. Leaving her behind was what she wanted to avoid at all cost because following them back to Abuja would save her the money of transporting herself back to school. She had already planned to buy textbooks with the little money her parents gave her. She got into the Ayo’s residence and knocked gently. The couple who were having their breakfast of pap and beans cake invited her in.

    Mr Ayo: “how are you my dear? We weren’t expecting you this early morning? How are your parents? Join us on the table” he said amidst mouth full of beans cake.

    Mrs Ayo: “come over here and eat, I know you o, next thing now you will say you are full”

    Mercy: “thank you very much ma and sir but I am not hungry. I already had something before I left the house” she said politely.

    Mrs Ayo: “I said it o, this one will never eat in somebody’s house”

    Mercy: “please ma, is Queen inside?” she said holding on to her bag.

    Mrs Ayo: “which Queen? The one that left the house since yesterday without saying a word to us?”

    Mercy: “What!” her heart flew to her mouth.

    Mr Ayo: “come o, Mercy. What is this news that we hear about my daughter, your cousin flirting with men in school?”

    There was a moment of awkward silence during which Mercy felt like the ground should open and swallow her up.

    Mr Ayo: “How true is it that my daughter is going out with men old enough to be her father in school?” he asked cutting through her chain of thoughts.

    Mercy who was struggling between saying the truth and betraying her cousin’s trust or lying and displeasing God decided to cover up for her cousin since she had already promised that she would not disclose her lifestyle to anyone.

    Mercy: “don’t mind those rumour mongers o, they are only trying to cause confusion in this family” she answered tactfully.

    Mr Ayo: “You have not answered my question. I said does she flirt in school or are you trying to hide her lifestyle from me? Wait a minute, are you into that too?”

    Mercy: “me? God forbid o. I am facing my studies in school and Queen is doing that too. She is a good girl, don’t pay heed to rumour mongers”

    Mr Ayo: “Oda, tell me. Do you advise your cousin at all? Do you know that she walked out on us simply because we talked about her marrying Peter who has been her childhood friend?

    Mercy: “We always talk to ourselves o. Don’t mind Queen o, I am sure that with time she will bring a man home. It’s just that this pursuit of a good university degree leaves us with no time for other things. Please sir and ma, just give us more time” she said eager to leave them.

    Mrs Ayo: “God bless you my child. That is how a respectful child should talk to his or her parents. If Queen had spoken to us the way you did, we would have understood. Are you not somebody’s child and yet you are this respectful? Why should my own case be different?” she asked opening her palms for emphasis.

    Mercy: “It is okay, ma. I will talk to her when I get to school” she said and excused herself without giving the impression that she was supposed to follow Queen back to the university.

    Mercy took a car to the hotel in Lokoja city where Queen had packed her car the previous day. On making enquiries, she was told that Queen had picked the car early morning. Mercy needed no soothsayer to tell her that Queen and Asha had gone back to Abuja without waiting for her. Disappointed, she went to the park where she boarded a bus going to Abuja. Just as she was about to pay for her transportation fare, she was told that someone had already paid for her. She turned around to see someone smiling at her. When she looked at the smiling face properly, she realized that it was Peter. The same guy that had gone to ask for Queen’s hand in marriage the previous day. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw him extend his hand to her for a handshake………..






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