Chapter Thirty Eight

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***

The next day, I was going to have a class at one PM and so early that morning , I went to give my painting to James. He was satisfied, as always, with my work.

*
I returned fast enough for the class. I entered the amphitheatre in which we were to have that class, thirty minutes earlier. To my surprise, the class was already very full as people waited for the arrival of the professor.
I found a seat.

Yasmin had returned to Brownsville for good. She saw it better to stay with her mom who was sort of lonely without her. She was right.

I took my books out and waited patiently too. I put my earphones on and listened to music.

At that moment, Lucas entered class with two of his pals. As fresh as always. They were chatting and laughing together.

They walked up to find a seat. As they did, they passed close to where I was sitting. I was last in line of a particular column.

"Hey." was the only thing Lucas said with a smile. I smiled a little and when he was about to go, I grabbed his arm.

"I need to tell you something. We gotta talk." I stated. He nodded.

"Okay, then. After class."

"Okay."

He walked past me and up to a seat.
The girl by me tapped my hand. I looked at her.

"You know him? Y'all are close?" she asked.

"Yeah. Sort of."

"Um..." she blushed a little, "...is he taken? Already?" she smiled.
I smiled back amused.

"Why? You're interested?"

"Um, yeah. For a long time now."

"I see. Maybe I can tell him about you later."

"Really?? Oh, thanks."

"No prob. I'll see what I can do during lunch."

"Thank you."

**
Lucas joined me on the same table for lunch.

"So what's this thing you wanted us to talk about?"

I stared at him and suddenly realised I didn't have that courage to ask him about his feelings. So I spoke about the cute shy girl who wanted him.

"Uh, did you notice the girl I sat close to during class?"

"No."

"You see the girl over there?" I pointed to her at a distance.

"Yeah?"

"How do you find her?"

He stared at the girl for a while.

"Very pretty."

"Good. Her name's Amanda. And boy she has a damned crush on you." I mused. Lucas looked at me and smiled.

"Really?"

"Yup. She's nice Lulu. The best girl I've told you about so far that is interested in you. She's calm and sensitive."

I knew Lucas had this problem of confidence and so I tried to encourage him.

"You know what, Harl?"

"What?"

He smirked and grabbed his tray.

"Forgive my manners but I'm gonna have to leave you." he stood up and went over to sit with Amanda. Yes!

I continued eating my food.

***
Another week passed and soon we made it to the second test week. I'd studied hard to make it. Someone like me who did not have a certified future like the Rich kids around me, had to study to make it.

During that busy week, I noticed that most of my mates weren't studying as hard as I was. I didn't understand why until the day I went to meet Rick. He and the other guys were playing video games in their living room. I called him over.

"Rick, why aren't you studying? You're graduating for good this year and you're kidding?"

He chuckled.

"Oh honey don't worry. Whether I kid or not, I'm still gonna make it even better that those who studied their brains out. Everything is under control. You're my girlfriend, baby girl." he kissed my forehead, "If you want, I can arrange for you to succeed in this exam without having to study."

That was when I realised what Rick meant. I stepped back, furious.

"What?? Do you– do you bribe your lecturers and professors??" I asked, angrily.

"Hey honey, calm down."

"No. People like me have sleepless nights in order to make it while princes like you just show some green papers and end up at the top? Do you think it's fair?"

"Harlem, look I–"

"Don't touch me." I stated and turned to walk away. He grabbed my arm

"Harlem, I'm sorry. Okay, okay. I promise to write this test loyally. Please. I'll study and write. And I'll show you my results. Okay?"

I stared at him.

"Until I see the results, don't talk to me." I got out of his grip and walked away.

***

At the end of that stressing week, all students were more than relieved. I'd done my best. Throughout the test week, I hadn't seen Lucas very much. We were both busy on our sides and didn't have the time to hang out. Now that that was all over, people could relax and flex.

Rick had brought to me the results of his first paper, and yes, this time he'd written it himself. I was happy with him and we immediately hooked up.
-
That Friday evening, news went round that the Alpha phi, another hot fraternity group, were gonna organise a great party Saturday night to celebrate the end of the test week. It was gonna be fire!

That night, I strolled on campus and at a point, I bumped into Lucas. He was hand in hand with another girl who wasn't Amanda.

"Hey, Harl."

"Hey, Lu."

"This is Lesley."

I greeted the Lesley then turned to Lucas.

"Can I talk to you?"

"Sure."

He asked Lesley to excuse us for a moment.

"Where's Amanda?"

"Hm, Amanda? She's somewhere around "

"Why aren't you with her?"

"Oh, she didn't tell you?"

"Tell me what?"

"I was beginning to really appreciate her until her ex appeared and tried to skin me alive."

I widened my eyes.

"Seriously?? Oh my."

"Yup. And he recently became her ex. That is, when you introduced her to me, she was already dating someone else."

"Oh, but she looked so–"

"Good? I know. Anyway, I recently met Lesley. She looks alright."

"I hope she is. Will you be attending that party tomorrow?"

"How can I not?? It's gonna be crazy." he chuckled and I laughed.

"Right. Okay rich kid, see you later."

"Harlem, don't call me that. You're so stubborn."

I smirked and walked past him.

"I call you what I want. What you gonna do about it?" I teased and walked away.

"How does Rick cope with you??" he yelled, amused.

"The same way everyone copes with my stubborn self. If anyone got a prob, they can still fuck off."

That was actually the last night that everything would be normal for me. My life was gonna change from the next day.

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