WAEC result was released. Farida hurriedly dressed up to go and check her result on her secondary school’s notice board where it was pasted. The notice board was crowded. Some people were excited while others were not. Farida waited for some people to leave. She stood aside. As people were leaving, some congratulated her which heightened her expectation. Her Mathematics teacher was passing by when he saw her standing aside. He called out to her and asked if she had seen her result. She told he she was waiting for the crowd to reduce. He asked her to follow him to the staff room. He brought out the result and asked her to search for her name. When she found it, tears flowed from her eyes.Mathematic A1English A2Economics A1Commerce A1Geography A3CRK A2Biology A3Yoruba A3Home Management A2“You have made this school proud. You and Samson had all As in this WAEC. This is the first time the school is recording an A1 in Mathematics and we have you to thank. Teaching you was not a wasted effort. We are so proud of you”This was not the result she was expecting; this was far better. What she had here was as a result of her hard work. She was happy. She excitedly copied the result amidst congratulations pouring in from teachers. She held her head high as she rushed home to share the good news with her mother. She wanted her to be the first she would tell. When she got close to her house she ran into the compound and then into their apartment. Farida knelt down in front of her mother and handed her the result. Her mother couldn’t hold back her tears as she saw the result. Then she said, “See what you have done. Who has this brilliant result? Is it you Farida? Who helped you achieve this? You have made me proud. All I couldn’t achieve; you will achieve them and even more.”“Amin. But maami, you will achieve all you ever wanted to achieve. It is just a matter of time. Don’t ever give up just like you taught me”“Amin my daughter. I have started achieving them. See your result. So, it is left with Jamb?”“Yes maami”“You will pass in flying colours too”“Amin”Farida went to see Madam Joyce later that evening and also shared with Brother Chris and sister Chioma. They were very happy for her. Madam Joyce gave her a bottle of non-alcoholic wine to share with her family. Brother Chris promised her a present while sister Chioma mentioned it to everyone who cared to know. She received congratulatory messages everywhere she went.Farida’s success was blessing to her. Parents referred to her when they talked to their children. She became a role model and someone people looked up to. Parents came to her with their children for her to advise them. She was like a celebrity. Wale visited when the results were released. It was the first time she had seen him since their outing to Ikoyi club. She had wondered what happened to him but it didn’t bother her much. He heard the good news and embraced Farida in excitement. She wasn’t comfortable with that and wriggled out of the embrace. He apologized.“I’m so proud of you. Farida, you actually smashed WAEC just as you said you would. How do you feel?”“I feel good. I am very happy to be honest. I feel I have achieved something great” She took a good look at Wale he looked odd. There was something different about him. Then she saw it. His hair was cut lower, he wore a trouser, shirt and a tie. He was corporately dressed. How come? “Why are you dressed like this? Where are you coming from?”“I thought you would have asked me about my own result first. It was very good. Close to yours but I can’t take credit for it. I confessed to my father what I did for both WAEC and Jamb. I expected him to shout or scold me but instead he was happy. He said he was happy I came to confess to him. He said the secret remains with us. I told him I wanted to work and so I could get experience while waiting. I am working in one of his filling stations now. He insisted I must dress corporately to work every day. I work with the manager of the filling station to learn the ropes. I have been going there for three weeks now. It is stressful but hard work pays. I resume there at 8am and close by 8pm. By the time I am through, I am dead tired. I took permission to close a bit early today to see you. I had missed your company. When I received my WAEC result, I knew you would have received yours. I didn’t expect less from you”Farida smile grew as he was talking. She couldn’t believe he took everything she said to heart. He was working now. He looked responsible in his new look. She liked it. “I can’t believe you are working. You actual wake up in the morning and go to work? This is amazing. What of your friends? How are they coping without you?”“They came to check on me twice and I didn’t see them again. I refused to release my car to them to drive around while I worked so they stopped coming”“Really? How do you feel about that?”“I expected it after you mentioned it. They were my friends because of what they could gain from me. Now I am not available, they have moved over to another. I understand. The last time they came, they came with Aisha. She came to apologise for her actions. I told her to come to you and then I will forgive her. Has she come?”“She won’t. I am happy things are working out well for you”“I set small goals and I am achieving them. My mother couldn’t believe her eyes. She has come to check on me thrice and sends lunch to me every day. I told her if she is sending me lunch, she should prepare enough for ten people so I can eat with them. She screamed and said I should be careful; they would poison me or plot to kill me. I told her it was either that or she stops. She sends lunch enough for ten now. They always look forward to the food”“That’s great. I am sure the staff there love you”“I think they like me. Come and visit me there. I will appreciate it. Come on Wednesday”“I will tell maami. If she agrees, I will come.”“I will send a car to pick you up. After work, we can have dinner before I drop you off”“Ok. That’s fine” Farida saw him off. She was happier than before. Her excitement was that she was able to transform Wale. She rushed back in to share the good news with maami. “You are a positive influence on Wale’s life. Imagine all the changes he has made just because of you. He truly needed a friend and he found one in you”“Yes maami. He invited him to his workplace on Wednesday. He said he will send a car to pick me up. Can I go?”“Yes, you can. I like the boy. I pray he doesn’t disappoint me”On Wednesday, Farida dressed up in below the knee, A-lined jeans gown and flat black shoes. She carried the sling bag Wale gave her. She packed her hair into a ponytail and applied her signature powder and colourless lip gloss. She wore a stud earring. She liked her look. She was ready by the time the car arrived.The car took her to Oba Akran in Ikeja. She had never been to that area in her life. The car stopped at the filling station. Wale was outside talking to someone when they arrived. The way he smiled when he saw her made her smile back. “I am glad you could make it”“I told you I would come”“Yes, you did. You always keep to your word. Come let me show you around and introduce you to my colleagues. By the way you look lovely”Farida smiled again at his compliment. There was a way he compliments her that made her feel good. She realized he had a way with words. He tried not to be too obvious but it still made you feel good. He showed her around. There were ten pumps in all which were manned by five individuals. He explained that they ran shifts. He introduced her as his friend. Then he showed her the supermarket. It was quite large. The next place was the office. He shared an office with the accountant while the manager had an office to himself. The manager offered his office for his to entertain her. He offered her soft drink and roasted groundnuts. They discussed for about twenty minutes then Wale excused himself to check what was happening outside. He came back after ten minutes. They talked again for thirty minutes then he excused himself again. Farida realized he was working while entertaining her. She came outside to find out what was happening then she saw a truck. She went to the back and saw Wale with a notepad and a pen. When he sighted her, he signaled her to come closer. “I’m sorry I left you alone. The truck is discharging PMS and I want to ensure they discharge the entire 33,000litres. Would you want to wait inside?”“No, I’m fine here. I would like to watch the process too”The manager smiled at both of them. He found it interesting that a pretty girl like Farida would be interested in watching the discharge of petrol. Other girls would have wanted to drag Wale out but she seemed genuinely interested. Farida didn’t look like one of the rich kids but he liked her and he could see Wale liked her too. She was calm and very composed.Immediately after the discharge, Wale took permission to go home early. He changed into a jeans and t-shirt with a jacket. He looked nice. “I hope you don’t mind, I want to take you to my place” Farida minded. She thought they would spend the day at the filling station. She wasn’t comfortable with the idea and her countenance showed it.“What’s the matter?” Wale asked observing the change in her.“It wasn’t in the agenda that I would go home with you”“I didn’t tell you doesn’t mean it wasn’t. By the way, I have been to your house many times but you have never been to mine. I thought since it was close by, I could treat you to a late lunch/early dinner at home and take you back. Nothing more”“You should have mentioned it before I came”“Why?” Wale tried to understand what the fuss was about. Then it dawned on him. It might be her first time in a guy’s house. “I will call my mother to be with us if it will make you feel more comfortable. I can’t believe you don’ trust me. Have I ever given you any cause to distrust me? I can never force any girl to do what she doesn’t want to do”“It’s not about trust but being on the safe side. My mother is not aware of where I am. I will feel much better if she knew where I was going to”“No problem. I will tell my mother to join us”At the entrance of the estate, Farida was speechless. The gate alone spoke volumes of what was inside. It was a fortress. Wale drove past a drive way. There were houses on both sides of the drive way. She counted four of them. At the end of the drive way stood a big house. Veering off the drive way to the right, he connected to another pathway. Then she saw beautiful duplexes. The entire estate had trees and flowers planted around. There was a garden close to the duplexes and also a playground. Wale drove to the back of the initial houses she saw. He parked his car on the drive way behind one of the houses. He opened the door for her and led her in. He led her upstairs and opened the door to a flat.“Make yourself comfortable while I get my mother. No matter what she says or does please don’t get offended”Farida had the opportunity to look around the flat. There were three sets of leather settee, a glass centre table with side stools. There was a very large Panasonic rear projection television. It was surrounded by a big massive sound system. The sound system in brother Chris’s room was miniature compared to this. The floor had a coffee brown rug which looked luxurious. Farida thought it would be comfortable to sleep on. Before she could glance around further, Wale came in with his mother. Wale’s mother was a beautiful average height light in complexion woman. She was dressed as though she was heading for a party. The lace and gele she had on were shiny not to talk of the heavy jewelry that adorned her neck, ear and wrist. She had this air around her. Farida didn’t know when she went down on both knees to greet her.“Stand up my dear. Wale, where did you get this one from? She is kneeling down to greet me” Wale’s mom said jokingly.“She is well brought up. Farida, meet my mom, mom this is my friend Farida”“It is nice to meet you ma” Farida replied.‘Thank you ojare. You are welcome. Ave a seat” she then turned to Wale, “the table has been set. Call shef on the intercom to bring the food and drinks up. I ave a party to attend but Wale dragged me here to meet you. My girl will come and elp shef when he comes. Make yourself comfortable. Wale, mo ti lo” and she left.“I am sorry she can’t stay. She has a party she’s attending”“On a Wednesday?”“She said it is her friend’s cousin’s surprise birthday party. I was surprised when she said it. Her maid will be around so you will be comfortable”“Thank you. She’s pretty, I mean your mom.”“That’s why she’s the last wife. Don’t mind me. Thank you. Your mom too is pretty”“Thanks”He turned on the television for them to watch while they waited for ‘shef’ to come. Farida hadn’t heard ‘h’ factor as bad as Wale’s mother’s even with all her glam. She looked like a nice person. They watched a movie while they waited. There was a knock on the back door which Wale attended to. After about ten minutes, he asked her to the dining table while he paused the movie.The table had fried rice, chicken in sauce, fried plantain and salad. They all looked appetizing. If Farida wanted to reject the food, she couldn’t have rejected what was in front of her. Wale asked the chef to leave and the house maid waited in the kitchen. He brought a bottle of fruit wine from the fridge to add to the freshly squeezed juice already set on the table. He dished out Farida’s food asking her at each time to tell him when to stop. The food tasted very delicious. Farida enjoyed everything served. The chicken was so soft and juicy. The bones cracked very easily. She had the freshly squeezed orange juice. Wale quickly poured some fruit wine for her. She tasted it and loved it. They moved to the sitting room with the wine to finish the movie. They drank their wine and chatted about the movie with Farida bringing Wale up to date. Immediately the movie was over, Farida was ready to go.