Passwords and Permanent Seats
“Miss are you OK?” Xander inched closer.
“You know what? I’ll have your phone checked at PZ first thing tomorrow morning.”
PZ was the unofficial GSM, Electronics and other tech gadgets village in Zaria. From pilfered phones and new tech releases from smartphone giants like Samsung, Apple and Techno, PZ was the Silicon Valley of Zaria.
“Sister Gracie? Are you ok at all? Did you have any important thing to do with the phone tonight?” he asked again
She wished he would just go away rather than have her face this embarrassment.
“Yes,” she had managed to find her voice. “I was headed for Engine Garden; the network reception in the hostel is quite bad and I have an assignment to turn in on Monday.’
But it’s just Thursday night, he thought.
“Ok, I said I will take your phone to PZ tomorrow. You should have it back before evening if the water didn’t do much damage. I doubt if it did anyway but just to be on the safe side, I’ll have them dry it before we switch it on. I’m really sorry.”
She didn’t reply so he tried something else. “You are in 400lv I guess?”
“No. ABU didn’t come through the first time I applied so I missed a year. I’m in my third now.”
She started to laugh then caught herself and managed to switch to a pathetic cough instead. Female behave, Gracie silently warned herself, your phone just took a swim and you are busy blushing for man.
“Medicine?” he had repeated again when she did not answer the first time
“No. Besides, 400lv medical students stay in Shika because that’s where the teaching hospital is. Why would I come all the way from Shika to use your Wi-Fi?” she smirked.
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “Maybe Shika guys are too boring with their big anatomy and ear, nose and throat textbooks.”
They both burst out in laughter before Xander said, “Tell me, I want to know.”
Gracie didn’t know whether it was the way he said it or his voice that dropped decibels lower that made her reveal her department. Whatever it was, she was won over that minute as she handed over the information.
“Chemistry. I applied for Medicine actually but my course was changed. I eventually settled in and I am doing just fine. Well, physical chemistry is still an ogre and since I am no Fiona, there won’t be a marriage between us anytime soon.’
Jeez! Grace must you include marriage in a neutral conversation? She silently lamented.
Xander laughed; a deep-throated laughter that sounded like the carefully practiced notes of a base guitar. She studied him while he laughed. ‘Wasn’t she supposed to be embarrassed he had assumed she was in 400lv?’ She wondered.
“Maybe you were so attractive; Chemistry wanted a reaction with you.” Xander had finally controlled the impulsive laughter.
“Or maybe I was so unattractive Medicine wanted no reaction.” Gracie shot back.
“Well, you know what? My laptop is in class, I have a test on Monday and I just stepped out to get me some protection against sleep.”
Xander had wisely changed topics. “How about you accompany me to get my medicine against sleep? You can use my laptop, the Wi-Fi in my class is much faster anyway and besides, you don’t have to worry about the mosquitoes in the garden waiting to feast on your legs.”
She knew she was supposed to decline but it was too good an offer to reject.
“Errm-mmm…your course mates do not allow students from other departments into the class. The last time my friends and I were there. We were embarrassed to our foundations by one yeye boy.’
“I’m sorry about that. Can you remember his face or name?”
“Does it matter?” she hissed.
‘Well, let’s just say an apology and offering you a permanent seat in my class will be my way of saying I regret bumping into you and dunking your phone into the water.”
“No need jare, it has passed.” She flicked her hands in the air. “He was not even handsome and yet he was behaving like Mr. Nigeria. All these Engineering dudes sef, you people are not nice at all.” The temper had returned.
This one is interesting, he thought to himself, she has forgotten about her phone already…females ranting everywhere, from Twitter Feminists to Sisters Fellowship. He chuckled.
‘Oh, so I’m funny abi? See give me the phone sef. I’ll call Ali in PZ. He will find a way to fix this mess.’
There she goes again, he thought. ABU girls and their PZ contacts…when will they ever learn not all the guys in PZ can be trusted? He sighed.
“Who cannot be trusted?” she questioned.
Her hands were on her hips now. Xander noticed the span of her hips and vaguely wondered if she was soon going to pull out a scarf and tie it around her waist too. It was the unofficial way African women started a battle. He chuckled again.
“Who cannot be trusted?” she questioned again
“What?” he started to say before he realized he had spoken aloud. “I said not all your guys in PZ can be trusted.”
“Well, ‘my guys in PZ’ are sure better than Engine boys who lock ladies out of their yeye class.” She delivered a low blow.
“I know right…but neither of us are willing to use your phone to prove a point. So, I’ll use my guys in PZ and ‘my Engine boys’ will give you a permanent seat and just in case you don’t have any, free Wi-Fi password too.”
“Keep both your seat and your password and hand me over my phone.”
“No.” He threw back
“I will shout oooh! ABU security is in need of some adrenaline rush; I know you don’t want to be the adventure they need.”
“Try. I am pretty sure you don’t want to be asked what you were doing here alone with me in the first place.”
‘Jesus –‘she started to say.
“Do not call the name of the Lord in vain Sister Grace. What number is that commandment again?” he completed.
Now Gracie was enraged. She wanted to smack that cute mouth quoting the bible like he was some pastor.
What if he had the call of God on his life, she thought. Wouldn’t that be like touching the anointed of the Lord? Sigh! Church folks and their wahala. God please send thunder, she tried another thought. Your son is behaving like a coconut refusing to crack open.
“I am still here. When you are done consulting your village people, do let me know.”
“My village people are not witches. I’ll accompany you to Ribadu and then you will hand over my phone. Thank you.”
“What about your assignment? I heard Chemistry department is looking to deflate CGPAs by the end of the semester. You sure don’t want to be on that list, do you?”
He had won. Gracie was particularly mad that he had reminded her of her current situation: Escaping the CGPA deflating arrows of 300lv Chemistry. Without another word, she turned and headed for the popcorn stands.
Xander quickly bought his sleep-preventing cocktail and they headed back the way they had come. He had tried without success to buy her the same thing but Gracie had adamantly refused all his entreaties. She was still hurting from his comment about her CGPA. He noticed that she had expertly avoided the long, dark corridor she first took. Madam does not want to bump into strangers anymore, he silently laughed.
Finally, they were at the department and soon they began the long and horrible climb to the 500 level class. Gracie was happy these weren’t the winding stairs of the department of Civil Engineering. Those ones leading from the ground floor all the way to the top had a sure fire way of twisting one’s intestines. She stopped when she noticed Xander was not behind her.
She leaned over the banister and saw him on the floor before hers, explaining something to a lady. Academic guru, she snorted.
Xander looked up and their eyes connected. She quickly pulled back ashamed he had caught her looking and without thinking twice, she knocked on the locked 500 level door leading into his class.
Few seconds passed and then the door cracked open.
“Yes? Who dey dia?”
Gracie was staring at her feet but she would have that recognized that voice anywhere. Her entire body went limp before she turned to run only to collide with someone else.
Books and other stationery flew everywhere. She looked up to apologize to the person and the blood drained from her face.
Episode 3 comes up next week…
Go back to Episode 1
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