Game Over!

Grace, June, and Margaret let themselves out of Veronica's house that night. None of them thought about going up to check on Veronica, they were all busy wondering about what happened and what it meant. 

As they trekked home in silence, Margret was angry that she allowed herself to believe Grace's preaching on wanting to do something exciting before Graduation. 

"What the hell was all that?" Margret asked Grace after she couldn't bear the silence. "Was that the excitement you were yapping about all these while?"

Grace didn't know what to reply, she was busy being sorry she led her friends into whatever was going on.

"I-I don't know." She said.

"You don't know? We just told that bitch our deep dark desires and you're saying you don't know?" Margret raised her voice.

"I'm sorry."

Margret scoffed.

"Sure you are... Just so you know, whatever happens from here on, it's all on you." She said pointing a finger at Grace's face.

June was the worst of all of them. She could feel herself shaking with every step she took. She was scared of what she had said and more scared of what would happen if Joana found out.

"We can't tell Joana." She said finally.

"Huh?" Margret said. Grace stopped to listen too.

"We can't tell Joana what happened this night. She will hate me if she finds out what I said. Please."

"Oh Ju," Margret said putting an arm around her. June started sobbing immediately after, resting her head on Margret's shoulder.

"Don't worry Ju, we won't say anything," Margret reassured then looked at Grace who wasn't sure if she should comfort her friend or disappear.

'It's all my fault!' Her mind kept telling her. She should have kept her fantasies to herself. She should have stayed clear of the new girl. Everyone was right, after all, Veronica was bad news and they had learned that the hard way.

*  *  *

John had decided to walk Joana home after a not so great dinner which marked a not so memorable second anniversary. Joana after agreeing to let go of her worries and have fun couldn't help but snap herself back into her anxiety. She wasn't herself for most of the night and the only thing that blocked John's anger was the fake smile he wore on his face.

"I'm so sorry for tonight John. You made it perfect but I ruined everything." She said as they got to her house.

"Nah, it's okay." He lied.

"You sure?"

"Yeah, you care about your friends and that's what I love about you."

"Awww, thanks, baby." She said beaming a smile which he returned.

An awkward silence stirred up between them until Joana spoke again.

"So, we should call it a night I guess. Bye."

John raised a brow.

"Aren't you forgetting something?"

"Oh!" Joana said then leaned forward to kiss him on the cheek and tapped it lightly. "I want your lips but you know my parents could be watching from inside."

John chuckled.

"Not that silly. I meant my jacket."

"Oh, this." She said admiring the blue jacket she wore on her dress. John had given it to her because of the cold as he escorted her home. "Can't I keep it for tonight? Please."

"Uh, no."

"Please na, I love the smell. Please." She begged with a cute face she was sure that he couldn't resist.

He smiled.

"Alright, you can keep it."

"Yay!" She exclaimed in triumph and hugged him. "It's late. You should start heading home now." She said after letting go.

"Yeah, I should." He replied. "Goodnight. I'll text you when I get home."

"Okay, Goodnight," Joanna replied. She watched him as he walked far down the already quiet street before she turned to go into her house.

As she got in, she heard a clanging noise of utensils in the kitchen. She paused at first. 

"Why would mum want to cook at this time." She said to herself. She decided to check it out but found her dad instead.

"Daddy, what are you doing here?"

Gabriel, her father was a man of fifty. He had an average height which both his two daughters inherited and small brown eyes. Sprinkles of grey hair scattered all over his round head. He was checking if the pot soup on the stove was hot enough to eat but almost dropped the pot lid he held in his hand at her voice.

"Joana, you are back." He said smiling. "So how was dinner? Hope you had fun?"

"It was fine daddy." She replied, the level of suspicion not dropping from her face. "Why are you in the kitchen?"

"Why would I be in the kitchen if not because I am hungry and I want to eat."

"Yeah, I know but why isn't mummy doing this for you."

"Well, your mother is tired from today's work and I didn't want to stress her any further."

Joanna frowned.

"Just to make eba and warm soup? That's unlike mummy na."

"Well, today was different." He said taking the pot off the stove then placed a kettle on it.

"Okay oh, if you say so... Let me help you with the eba." (1)

"No no," He said raising a hand to stop her before she came any further. "I'm sure you are tired. Go and sleep."

"Are you sure you can handle it?"

"Who do you think made the meals I ate as a bachelor before I married your mother?" He asked rhetorically and smiled. "I can handle it. Go and sleep."

"Okay, daddy... Is June home yet?" She asked.

"Yes, she came not too long before you."

"Okay, goodnight sir," Joana said finally and started walking towards her room.

"Goodnight dear," Gabriel replied.

June was on the bed operating her phone when Joana walked in.

"Hey," June said.

"Hey," Joanna replied. She walked to her bed and sat to take off her heels.

"How was your dinner with John?"

"It was okay," She said taking off one heel. "How was the party."

"Well, it turned out that it wasn't a party after all."

Joana's eyes got.


June dropped her phone. The only way out was to lie and she saw that.

"Well, for starts, there were no friends at her house. It was just us four. Then she lied about it saying they were on their way to make us stay longer until we decided to leave."

"I said it!" Joana exclaimed. "I knew something was up with that girl but Grace wouldn't listen." She put an index finger in her mouth and bit it hard. "Oh I wish I was there, I could have broken someone's daughter's head."

"It's okay, we have yelled our own already. I'm too tired to think about that one now." She said picking up her phone and resumed her chatting.

Joana snapped her finger.

"Don't worry, we will see you on Monday."

*  *  *

Veronica couldn't remember what happened that night after she got to her room but she knew Grace and her friends now hated her and that something was going to happen on Monday whether she liked it or not. During the assembly she had looked at Grace who looked back then looked away, confirming her assumptions on them hating her.

'Well, I didn't need them anyway. In two weeks, I would be away from here and all this would be like it never happened. I'll be better on my own.' She thought.

After the assembly, she had gotten to her seat and brought out a crime novel to read when Joana came in front of her. She wasn't surprised. 

'Her friends had told her what happened and she decided to act on their behalf.'

Veronica kept her gaze on her book and didn't bother about Joana who stood with her hands on her waist glaring at her. As time passed, she grew uncomfortable and decided to raise her head.

"What do you want?"

"So that is what you have to say right?" Joana yelled, drawing the attention of everyone. "You lying snake! Why did you invite us to a party you weren't even planning?"

Veronica didn't reply.

Soon, the other girls walked into the class and rushed up to prevent a fight from stirring up.

"Jo, it's okay," Margret said trying to pull Joana away but Joana pushed her hands away.

"No oh, she must answer first," Joanna replied. "What was your plan eh? Were you so lonely that you had to lie to get them into your home?"

Veronica remained silent and that silence only made Joana more furious.

"Can't you talk? Answer me!" She yelled.

"Joana just leaves her, she doesn't want to talk... You're just drawing a crowd with your shouting." June pleaded.

Joana looked round to see that the eyes of all her classmates were all on her. She calmed down a bit and turned back to Veronica.

"See eh, you better stay away from me and my friends. Stay on your lane. Don't walk in the same direction with any of us, don't talk to us, and don't even wave at us. Rubbish." She hissed as she walked away in anger. Her friends followed.

Veronica caught Grace staring at her then looking away before she left. She curled up her lip as she turned her attention back to her book.




1) Eba: A local dish made with processed cassava.

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