Celine watched her two friends and roommates get ready for the party they had found themselves preparing for since two weeks ago. It was an all-night birthday party of Olusola whose cousin was a senator in Kwara state. He wanted to use the birthday as a means to garner support for his cousin, the youngest man to ever run for a governorship post in Nigeria. The girls got ready with glee, fighting over the mirror, dancing and humming along with Olamide’s Konkobility. Sola had promised to pick them up that night, they could not wait to showcase their dance skills on the dance floor and probably catch the attention of the main guy Senator Kendrick Ogunbamisaye.
Shania cast a furtive look at Celine as she laid on the bed pretending to be asleep but watching them with an half closed eye and shook her head disgustedly.
Shania: “Zahra see your friend o.” she said tapping Zahra who was busy smacking her lips together in order to even out her red lipsticks.
Zahra: “What is wrong with her? Please don’t disturb me jare. I don’t have time for shit. I need to look as beautiful as I can be tonight. Kendrick is gonna be there remember?” she said and resumed with her lips smacking and smearing.
Shania: “Hmmmmm…I just don’t like the way she is. She feels she is better than us just because she does not go to night parties or clubs or whatever. She is simply too dull for my liking, I regret having her live in this room with us, it’s so fucking annoying mehn!”
Zahra: “Well that is her problem. You only have one life and you must enjoy it to the fullest. No time for dulling at all at all. As you see me so, I will live today as if it is my last, drink as if I will never drink again, smoke as if my life depends on it and date as if I am the only one on earth. I do not give a fuck about some god damned holier than thou girl” she said maliciously, knowing quite well that Celine could hear all they were discussing.
Shania: “Only God knows what she wanna do with all that beauty she got packed in there. Her big Chelsea and barca is what annoys me the most, the way she flaunts it at guys and makes them drooling and ogling at her. It’s so annoying” she said in hushed tones.
Zahra: “See please leave me alone. I don’t have time for unnecessary chit-chats let alone side talks. Seems you are done getting ready, we can talk when I am done, tonight is too important to me” she shushed her friend. “Is this skirt not too long like this sef? It’s a night party not a church service now” she said worriedly trying to draw her leather skin tight micro mini skirt up. She had on a white crop top which revealed her ringed navel.
Shania: “It is not long. It is almost revealing your pants now. How short do you want it to be? How about mine? I am only putting on bum short as if it’s a casual outing” she said sadly looking around to see if there was something better she could change into but then they heard Sola’s car horn honking impatiently outside. Shania checked her time, it was 12:12a.m. They quickly put finishing touches to their make- up, adjusted and readjusted their cloths, put on their gladiator heels which reached up to their knees and scurried outside almost falling on each other.
Sola did not bother getting out of the car. He looked out and saw then skimpily clad and smiled satisfactorily but his smile disappeared when he realised one of them was missing.
Zahra: “Hey Sola! Hope you did not wait for too long? Is Kendrick there already?” she asked when they got to the car but she noticed his mind was elsewhere. Shania had taken the front seat, she sat at the back. They waited for him to ignite the car but he seemed to be at a lost as to what to do.
Shania: “Are you waiting for someone? Let’s go now” she said impatiently.
Sola: “Oh yeah sorry” he made to ignite the car but stopped. “Ehn! Where is that your room mate? “Isn’t she coming?” he asked looking out the window hoping she’d show up too.
Zahra: “ You mean Celine?” she asked with a scowl on her face.
Sola: “Oh yeah! The girl with a beautiful smile. I have seen her once or twice with you guys in the department of Arts before and I also learnt you all stay together. So isn’t she coming?”
Zahra: “She is not coming. Let’s go already please?” she imagined Kendrick dancing with some other lady in the party and this made her restless.
Sola instead of igniting the car stepped out and walked towards the gate.
Zahra: “Where are you going to now?” she asked throwing her hands up in the air.
Sola: “I want to ask her to come with us of course. Come and show me your room” he said arrogantly.
Shania: “But she is sleeping. Sola why are you acting like this now? Let’s go now”
Sola: “Don’t bother then, I will locate the room myself” he said and stepped into the compound which had four adjoining buildings. Block A to D. He knew their room was in block A. at the back of his eyes, he saw Shania bounding towards him.
Shania: “Wait! I will show you the room” she said and led the way, swinging her straight hips and flat buttock from left to right trying to catch his attention.
Celine sat up immediately they stepped out of the room, she had tears in her eyes. She hated that she was all alone, had no one to call a true friend. She was frustrated more due to the fact that she came from a poor background where they could hardly afford a two square meal. Her dad was a taxi driver while her mum sold foodstuffs in an open market in Imo state. Sometimes, watching her friends buy all sorts of things: latest designer cloths, bags, shoes made her want to throw away the last of her dignity so she could live a good life too but she always checked herself. Despite her wandering thoughts sometimes, she would rather die of hunger than have any man mess her up for the sake of money. She did not care whether she had food on her table or the humiliation her friends put her through every day, she lived with her head held high and vowed to remain a virgin till marriage.
As she sat musing over her life and how she was going to ever get through school, she heard the tip tap of someone’s heels on the tiled veranda floor. The door handle turned and she quickly laid back on the bed, resuming her sleeping trance. Shania and Sola stepped in…
Shania: “Stop pretending as if you are sleeping, I know you are not sleeping. Someone wants to see you though” she was obviously annoyed and did not try to conceal it in whatsoever way.
Sola: “Can you excuse us Shania please? Just step outside for a minute, I’d be out soon” he said as gently as he could. Shania was saucy and he knew it.
Shania: “What for? So you can rape our virgin Mary? No way!” she folded her arms across her chest stubbornly, and hissed when Celine opened her eyes slowly, robbing her eyes like someone who had truly been sleeping. She sat up when she saw Sola with surprise registered all over her face.
Sola: “Okay then you can stay” he said then stooped down closer to Celine. “Okay your name is Celine right?” he asked with a look of admiration on his face. Despite her bloodshot eyes and dishevelled hair, she was a beauty to behold indeed. She was putting on only a nightie that barely covered the firm mounds on her chest, he looked down at her and swallowed the spittle that gathered in his mouth.
Celine: “Yes I am Celine. How can I help you?” she asked wary of his eyes on her which made her uncomfortable. She reached for the wrapper beside her and covered herself up properly. Shania was fuming jealously where she stood.
Sola: “Oh I’m sorry. I guess I was caught ogling. That was rude of me and I am sorry, you are just a beauty to behold indeed. Well it’s my birthday today and I am celebrating it in a little way. I don’t want you left alone in the house with the way cultists go on rampage these days. Why don’t you dress up so we can go together? I will wait for you” he said smiling coyly.
Celine: “No thanks. I think I will pass. I want to stay at home and have a good night’s sleep” she said uninterestedly.
Shania: “She said she is not going. Shall we leave now? Don’t forget we left only Zahra in the car outside o”
Sola: “Are you sure you aren’t going? Even for me? It’s my birthday celebration remember? Please?” he asked ignoring Shania.
Thirty minutes later, the four of them were on their way to the City Hill hotel where the party was holding at. In the car, Shania sat musing over the fact that Sola had the guts to beg Celine so much to attend a party with him in her presence while Zahra fumed for having been kept waiting for so long. In their hearts, they murdered her over and over again until she became a heap of ash on the earth surface.
Sola: “Why are you ladies so quiet all of a sudden?” he asked breaking the nerve shattering silence.
Shania: “You are mad for asking that kind of stupid question you despicable maggot” she cursed at him within herself. “Nothing. I am just enjoying the cool night breeze” she replied sweetly.
Sola: “Oh that’s good! I was worried I did something wrong. We are almost at the hotel” he said as he turned right towards Challenge from Tanke where he had picked them from. His mind went to Celine for an umpteenth time and he shivered at the thought of having his mouth wrapped around those sweet ripe nipples he almost caught a glimpse of.
Zahra: “The hotel is far though. Hope Kendrick will be there?” she said for the first time since they left the house.
Sola: “Of course! He will be there. Do you have a fling for my coz?” he asked and winked at her from the rear-view mirror.
Zahra: “I don’t have anything for him. I am just asking” she said taking her eyes away from the mirror and looking out of the window, admiring the trees dancing by like shadows in Halloween costumes.
Celine realising none of them had spoken to her decided to say what had been nipping at her thoughts all along.
Celine: “Please when are we going to get back home? I don’t like staying out late like this. How did you even get to convince me to come along with you?” she asked trying to catch Sola’s attention from the rearview mirror all to no avail. She repeated her question even louder but no one answered her. She thought it was strange since they kept on with their conversations as if she was not even there let alone screaming on top of her voice. She perched on the edge of the chair so she could tap him but her hand went through him like she was wind or he was the wind. She tried again but the same thing happened. She went closer to Zahra and tried touching her but her hand went through her too. “Guys something is strange, are you trying to play pranks on me? Mr Sola please stop the car I beg you” she started to weep as the car went to a screeching stop in front of the hotel. The others alighted but when she tried to open her side of the car…
Question: Is someone really playing pranks on her? What is happening to her?
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