What could it be?

When Bayo got home, he became restless. He couldn’t help but think about the events of the day, which had left his mind at a cliff. From when he pardoned a junior student to when he was told to call the same student. He was even surprised she was in a B-class, judging from how his classmates had praised her. They just wouldn’t stop talking about how brave she was, that morning. He was she most of them had exaggerated but he had no choice but to listen, since he wasn’t there to witness it himself.

That same Monday, he had also encountered a woman while on gate duty, one that wasn’t his. The striking resemblance of the Nightingale girl, as she was now called, and the unknown woman didn’t escape his notice. And he couldn’t help but think she was her daughter. The woman had even complimented him without him knowing her. She had also told him to take care of her daughter like her big brother and smiled down at him. In his mind, he knew he had seen the woman before but he couldn’t place the face. Probably, one of his father’s workers, he thought.

Again, in the bus earlier he had come across the same girl again and she dropped just a street before his. ‘Oh! Could it be?’ he thought.

Amidst his thoughts, his best friend walked in, also an SSS 3 student in Nightingale Academy. He is also the prefect on gate duty, who was absent from school that day.

“Hey! Bayo,” Jide greeted.

“Don’t hey me oo,” Bayo scolded. “Why didn’t you come to school today? You are the cause of my headaches.”

“Ah! Ah! Me?” He looked puzzled. “You know how first days of resumption are na! You can’t expect me to clean the tables and chairs.”

“Whatever!”

 “Tell me what happened!”

Bayo narrated all that happened in the school that day to Jide, leaving nothing out. Jide could not stop laughing after Bayo finished, especially when he said the girl might be living in their backyard.

“What’s so funny?” he queried. “I should have known better than to tell you”

“Shun that talk joor!” He sat down on Bayo’s bed. “Did I beg you to tell me?”

“It’s not your fault! I shouldn’t have told you!”

“Come on, let’s play a game,” Jide suggested, ignoring him.

“Come and take the game pad na!” he said, sarcastically.

“Ahn! Ahn! Because of a girl?”

“I’m not just in the mood to play.”

“Please!!!” Jide tickled him.

“Okay! I’ll play.” Bayo went to his drawer and took out the gamepad he had earlier hid from Jide. He always changed the location everyday and the latter was never able to guess the new location. He only comes to their house to play games and Bayo wasn’t one who loves games to that extent. He prefers to spend his time studying rather than wasting it away. After picking it up, the duo went to another room adjacent his bedroom. They began playing a football game but Bayo wasn’t really enjoying it. His mind was still on the woman and the girl. ‘Could she be the girl’s mother?’ he thought. ‘If yes, where have I seen this woman before and why was she so friendly to me?’

“Oh! Yes I remember,” he screamed all of a sudden.

“Ahn! What is it?” Jide screamed also. “You scared me.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to. I remembered something.”

“What?” Jide paused the game. “Is it about the woman and the girl?”

“Yes” – he held the gamepad in one hand and placed the other hand on his knee– “the woman is my dad’s secretary at work and the girl happens to be her daughter.” He used his free hand to rub his forehead. “I have seen her two or three times before today when she visited our home on business related stuff.”

“Interesting!” Jide exclaimed. “You are about to have a step-sister.”

“What do you mean?” He looked at him puzzled. “Don’t be delusional.”

“Ehn na! I thought you said the woman asked you to look after your step-sister.”

“Daughter.” He dropped the gamepad. “Not step-sister.”

“As a big brother, remember?” Jide laughed. “And also the woman has been coming to your house frequently.”

Bayo looked at his friend and didn’t know if that was meant to be a question.

“Yes I said that,” he eventually answered when Jide stared at him.

“She lives behind your house. Her daughter attends the same school as you. All of…”

“What’s your point exactly?” Bayo queried.

“It’s not just coincidence. A lot of coincidence like this means it’s planned. Your p man is up to something.” With this, Jide put the gamepad back in Bayo’s palm and resumed the game.

“And what would that be?” Bayo asked but got no reply. He was confused. Then he began to connect the dots in his mind.

‘Ever since my mom died 5 years ago, I have never seen any woman so close to my Dad. Moreover, over the years he has always been against bringing office related work to the house. He claims that let the office worker stay at the office and be free for interpersonal relationships at home. Could it be they are both having a relationship? If not, then what could it be?’ A lot of thoughts flowed through his mind all at once.

Jide, on the other hand, wasn’t enjoying the game as he expected to. It was too easy for him and a game like this turns him down. They don’t seem competitive enough. It’s more or less like he was playing with a dummy. He paused the game and flung the gamepad across the room. He was glad Bayo didn’t notice, else he would have flared up. He faced his friend squarely and laughed, hysterically.

Bayo heard him laugh. So, he asked, “What’s wrong?”

“Your face! It looks like a rectangle.”

Bayo hissed but Jide kept on. “Did you even notice I paused the game?” That question fell on Bayo’s deaf ears, Jide assumed. He tapped him lightly on the shoulder to gain his attention. And when he had it, he asked, “Why so much thinking?”

“Never mind! Let’s play on.”

“No! I should go home.” Jide stood up. “Mum would be expecting me.” This said, he left Bayo and headed to his house.

‘Mum!’ Bayo’s eyes were tear filled. ‘I miss her!’ he cried.

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