Chapter Seventeen

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***

After Mr lobe's class, we had to go for breakfast. While the others left class, I struggled to put all my stuff back into my bag, except the drawing.
As expected, Lucas stopped by where I was sitting.

"Don't wait for me guys. I'll join you soon." he told his friends who nodded and left. He then turned to me.
"Let's go for breakfast?"

"Yup. Here." I stood up and gave him the drawing, "Here's what boredom can do."

He stared at the picture in great surprise.

"Wow." he whispered, eyes wide. "You're good."

"I know. Let's go."

*
We each got our tray of food and found a table to sit. Two other people people joined us at the other end.

"I guess your weekend was awesome." Lucas started.

"Yup."

"Wanna tell me about it?"

I looked at him, taking a bite into my sandwich.

"Not really."

"You know you want to."

I shook my head, amused.

"Fine. I met my mom. We were happy to be together again."

"That's great."

"And, of course, my best friend."

"You have a best friend." he said, surprised.

"I ain't a monster, hon."

"Who said you were? It's surprising."

"And can I know wh– Oh no." I mumbled when I saw Bella and Brianna coming towards us from behind Lucas.

"Hey, Rahim." both said, mischievously smiling.

"What do you want?" I frowned.

"I heard you make portraits for some money. Is that true?" she kept her smile on. Why was she smiling? Something wasn't right.
I didn't answer.

"Your silence means yes. And don't deny it, we have proof." Brianna said.

"Don't worry, we're gonna come meet you for our own portraits to be drawn. I'm sure fifty dollars for a poor girl like you means a lot."

What? I swear I was about to stand and teach her a lesson but Lucas was quick enough to grab my hand. I stared at him and the look he had on said:

'calm down else you'll do something you'll regret.'

I looked around and noticed that some people in the huge cafeteria already had their eyes on us. I took a deep breath and kept quiet.
Both idiots turned to look at Lucas. To my surprise Brianna said,

"Lucas? Lucas Drew?" she asked with a huge smile. Lucas looked up at her, exasperated. They knew each other?

"You know him?" Bella asked.

"Yeah! How are you, Lucas?"

"I'm fine."

"Um okay." she smiled, "It was nice seeing you again. Bye."

"Yeah."

Both walked away.

"You know that bitch?" I asked.

"Wish I didn't, but unluckily, yes. We were in the same school but she left after the tenth grade."

"You were friends?"

"No. She was a wicked brat."

"She bullied you?"

"Not really."

"Then what?"

"Sorry Harlem, but it's personal."

He seemed irritated so I let go.

"Fine."

*
During my free time, Lucas and I went to the empty gym. The guy I was supposed to draw was already there. I sat down and got to work with Lucas watching.

Everything was going on well until Bella appeared at the door.

"Sir?? Here she is!" she shouted, pointing a finger at me. I stared in confusion as the academic advisor angrily walked in.

"Harlem Rahim?"

I stood up, confused.

"Yes sir? Any problem?"

"You've disobeyed one of the school's rules."

"What??" both I, Lucas and the guy I was drawing exclaimed in surprise.

"How?" I asked.

Bella stepped forward, satisfied.

"How? Honey, no one, whether student or not has the right to practice any form of commerce or mini business on campus without permission or a legal document signed by the university's Chancellor."

I was speechless. Bella had reported.

"Sir, she didn't know! None of us did." Lucas stated.

"Meaning you did not take time to read the rules. Rahim, to the Chancellor's office."

In disbelief and anger, I walked past Bella and the advisor. Great. I was already in trouble.

*
I left the Chancellor's office that afternoon. Luckily, he'd understood me and had decided not to suspend or punish me. I was still furious within though. Not only had I been called to the Chancellor's office, I'd also lost my only source of money. Bella would regret it.

I quickly went for my class which was presently going on. Great, I'd arrive as a late comer. Something I never did. I got a shuttle and headed for the amphitheatre in which that particular class was going on.

I reached the door and knocked. Oh gosh. I heard the professor who asked me to enter. I did. And as expected, the two hundred and something students in class had their eyes on me, including the professor.

"Are you supposed to be in this class?" the old man asked.

"Yes, sir. Sorry I'm late."

"Can I know why?"

"I was called by the Chancellor."

"Ghetto bitch!" someone in the crowd of students yelled. It was a female voice. Everyone burst out laughing. I ignored, though anger was rising in me.

"Silence!" the professor ordered and turned to me, "You can go sit, miss."

I nodded and went up the stairs to find a seat. There was fidgeting as all eyes were on me.
Someone raised a hand, motioning me over. Lucas. He'd kept me a seat.
I walked up to him and sat down.

The lecture went on. Never in my life had I felt so furious and sad at the same time. There was a lump in my throat and my eyes watered, tears threatening to roll down my cheeks. But no. I wasn't gonna cry. Not now.

"Don't mind them, Harlem." Lucas leaned in and whispered to me.
I winked away my tears. The anger in me was crazy.

"Who said that?" I managed to whisper to Lucas, through the heaviness in my throat. He looked at me.

"You look too angry now, Harlem. It'll be better if you don't know."

"Lucas, who??"

He was silent for a moment.

"Who?" I repeated.

He sighed, desperately.

"It's– It's her." he pointed at a brunette with short hair. So that was the thing that had called me a ghetto bitch? I hoped she knew knew how to run.

"Harl, let it go. Don't do anything stupid." Lucas pleaded.

"Mister Drew! What did I say about talking in my class??" the professor suddenly said. Lucas reddened.

"Sir, I–"

"Please, leave." the professor ordered. He was strict.
Lucas got his bag and without another word, he stood up and left class.

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