After Maxwell’s lecture, he waited for his roommates at the school’s shuttle terminal to join him so they could all go back to their hall of residence. Soon, his roommates joined him and they set off for the hall. When they arrived in front of the hall, Ben complained of being famished so he went on ahead of his other roommates. When he got to their door, he opened it widely and exclaimed sarcastically, “Sweetheart, your boys are back”. “This place smells delicious already”, Ben added and picked up a plate to dish out his meal. When he got to the balcony, he met Alberta and another young lady about Alberta’s age. Ben had wanted to beat a quick retreat back into the room but it was too late and he was quite embarrassed because he had indirectly informed their new visitor that he was the room’s glutton. “Hello, my name is Ben, may I know your name please?”, Ben asked and extended a hand toward their new visitor and also tried to hide the plate he had in his hand. Ben’s action had gotten the two young ladies giggling already. “My name is Nancy, how do you do”? Before Ben could respond, his other roommates had also barged into the balcony and were fighting over a big bowl they both claimed they had a right over. “Can the two of you behave like gentlemen for once?”, Ben asked. Maxwell could not believe the words he was hearing from Ben of all people because it was so unlike him. Maxwell quickly lifted his head and immediately figured out why Ben was being so gentle; it was because of Nancy. Maxwell quickly let go of the bowl to make his other roommate appear like the rowdy one amongst them. “Hello guys, welcome back”, Alberta started. “Meet my friend and old classmate, Nancy”, Alberta said and placed her hand on Nancy’s left shoulder. Maxwell quickly rushed to Nancy’s side and said, “We are complete gentlemen so don’t pay attention to what you just saw, it is not the true reflection of our attitudes”. Maxwell was trying to defend their rowdy behaviour. “Nancy laughed as Maxwell made his submission. “Don’t worry, I understand”, Nancy said. “Moreover you are guys and I hear you left without taking any breakfast because of your lecture so it is only normal that you would be famished”, Nancy added. The two ladies helped the guys out with their meals and soon, they were all served and ate to their fill. After the meal, Alberta and Nancy washed the dishes in the balcony as they chatted and giggled. Soon, they came back into the room and Alberta introduced all the boys formally to Nancy but saved Maxwell’s introduction for last. “This is my boyfriend, Max”, Alberta said when it got to the turn of Maxwell. “Don’t worry Albie, I am aware of that”, Nancy responded. The five young people chatted for a while and Alberta decided it was time for them to leave because it was getting late. Alberta packed the last of her belongings and hugged all the roommates before stepping outside with Maxwell right behind her carrying her bag. When they got to the taxi station in front of the hall, Maxwell asked how they intended getting home. Nancy said she was going to take Alberta home then leave for her house afterwards. As the two ladies sat in the taxi,Maxwell took Nancy’s phone number and gave her his number and asked her politely to call him when she arrived home safely. When Alberta arrived home safely, she dropped her bags and gave Maxwell a call informing him that she had arrived safely. Maxwell asked to speak to Nancy and asked her to take good care of Alberta for him. Nancy promised to do her best possible in ensuring that Alberta was well taken care of. Nancy and Alberta kept each other company for a while and Nancy asked to take her leave. Alberta saw Nancy off and on her way back, she went by a pharmacy and bought some condoms. When she got into her room, she put on a skimpy dress and headed for the room of Calvin, the guy who got her pregnant. “Where have you been?”, Calvin asked, looking worried as Alberta walked into his room. “Your brother has given me a hard time and made my stay here unbearable when the issue of your whereabouts came up”, Calvin added “So I had to relocate for a while”, Alvin said. “Do you know that you almost killed me?”,Alberta asked looking intently at Calvin. “I know, Alberta but the both of us know full well that we could not have possibly kept that baby because of my situation”, Calvin said, trying to defend his actions. “From the deepest parts of my heart, I apologize for what I did to you”, Calvin added. “Don’t worry, it is all past and gone and after all, I am fine” Alberta started. “I believe we can solve any problem through dialogue so don’t hesitate to talk to me about anything when the need arises”, Alberta said, passing her hand over her thighs to draw Calvin’s attention. “Guess what?”, Alberta asked and smiled. “What?”, Calvin asked. “I went by the pharmacy and bought you your favourite condom flavour”, Alberta said as she pushed Calvin unto the couch, sat on top of him, opened the box of condoms and handed out one to him. Calvin smiled and said, “Please lock my door first”. The following morning, Maxwell called Alberta to check up on her. Alberta and Maxwell checked up on each other in the days that followed and it appeared everything had returned to normalcy. Throughout that semester, Maxwell and Alberta kept each other company but Alberta never mentioned that she was still in contact with Calvin. Soon, the semester had come to an end and Maxwell left for home for the long vacation. As usual, when Maxwell got back home from school, Alberta’s house was his next destination. He called Alberta and asked if they could get a drink from an icecream shop which had been recently open in his neighbourhood. So Alberta joined him and they had a nice time together. “Welcome back home again, Max”, Alberta said as she took her strawberry smoothie. “Thank you”, Maxwell responded. “What have you been up to ever since you left my school?”, Maxwell enquired. “Nothing really”, Alberta responded. “Just the usual rounds”, Alberta added. The two of them talked for a while before leaving the icecream shop. Maxwell saw Alberta off before heading home. Both of them talked over the phone most of the time when they could not see each other. One evening, Maxwell tried reaching Alberta but she refused to answer all his calls or even return them after hours. After a while, Alberta returned Maxwell’s call but immediately Maxwell answered the call, he knew something was wrong and he sensed it in Alberta’s voice. “Albie, is everything alright?”, Maxwell asked. Alberta was quiet for a while until Maxwell repeated the question. As soon as Alberta opened her mouth to speak, she started crying. “I am sorry, Maxwell”, Alberta started amidst tears. “When I got back, I met Calvin and we started getting along fine again”, Alberta confessed. “So why didn’t you tell me about it?”, Maxwell cut in immediately. “I didn’t know how I was going to tell you and I didn’t know how you were going to react if I told you”, Alberta said. “Okay, now that I know, why are you crying?”, Maxwell asked. “Calvin started acting weird three days ago so I kept asking him what the problem was but he always told me that he was fine but I knew he was not”, Alberta narrated. “I was here with him tonight when his girlfriend walked in on us”. “The two of us started exchanging words so when he tried separating us, his girlfriend asked that he chose between us the one he wanted to be with”, Alberta added. “I guess she chose her over you right?”, Maxwell suggested. “Yes”, Alberta answered and started sobbing uncontrollably. “I just can’t believe that he would do this to me after all that I have been through for him”, Alberta said, still weeping uncontrollably. “Take it easy Alberta”, Maxwell started. “Where are you now?”, Maxwell asked. “I am in front of my house and I think I want to kill him and I mean it”, Alberta responded. “Don’t do anything you would regret”, Maxwell cautioned Alberta sternly. “Stay where you are, I am coming to get you”, Maxwell said. “Maxwell please don’t come here, I don’t want you to get yourself involved in all of this”, Alberta pleaded. “You cannot tell me what I can or cannot do”, Maxwell fought back and dropped the call. In a matter of minutes, Maxwell was knocking at Alberta’s door. Alberta came out wilt a knife in her hand and her eyes all swollen from the tears she had shed. “What are you doing with that?”, Maxwell asked , pointing down at the kitchen knife in Alberta’s hand. “I was not kidding when I said I wanted to kill him”, Alberta answered, tightening her grip on the knife. “He is not worth all this hatred and bitterness”, Maxwell started. “You are doing yourself more harm than good by thinking about all of this”. “There are far too many people in this world who care more about you than him so just let it go and promise me that from tonight, you will put all of this behind you and start all over again”, Maxwell counselled. “It is not the end of life and you are far too good to go let anyone see you going down like this because truth be told, it breaks my heart to see you like this”, Maxwell confessed. “Drop that knife and let’s take a walk”, Maxwell said. “I know you will feel much better afterwards”, Maxwell added. After the walk, Alberta was already smiling when Maxwell brought her back from her door where he picked her from. “Thank you so much, Max”, Alberta started. “You have made me laugh and I am already beginning to let go of some of the bitterness that has filled my heart”. Alberta placed a kiss on Maxwell’s cheek and thanked him one more time before going into her room to sleep. As Maxwell walked back home, he wondered to himself, “What are you doing , Maxwell?”. “Why are you so attached to this young girl?” “You used to hate her so much but all that hatted has turned into passion and is slowly turning into pity; the pity of seeing a young, beautiful girl being mistreated by another man”. “You need to tread cautiously”. When Maxwell got to his gate, helooked into the star-studded night sky and said, “I guess that is what it feels when you are in love”. He pushed open his gate and closed it quietly behind him in order not to awaken any member of his household. Maxwell kept Alberta company throughout her trying moments and soon, she was back on her feet having forgotten about Calvin and all the misery he had caused her. Alberta informed Maxwell that Calvin had finally moved out of their house so her road to recovery had received a major boost. In a month and a half, Maxwell’s long vacation was over and he had to return to school. He visited Alberta before leaving for school. They spent the whole day together before Maxwell left. Maxwell was in school when Alberta called that she was passing through his school to attend an event in the next town. Maxwell saw it as an opportunity to expertly kill two birds with one stone so he thought up a brilliant idea. He also informed Alberta that his mother wanted him to come back home to pick up some stuff. Maxwell suggested that Alberta picked up the stuff and brought them to him and it would also pass as a visit from her. “Max, I am scared of your mum and what she would say if I told her this”, Alberta complained as Maxwell made the suggestion. “Don’t worry, Alberta”, Maxwell started. “If it would make you more comfortable, I would have my sister deliver the stuff to you when you are getting ready to leave”, Maxwell suggested. “Okay”, Alberta responded reluctantly, although not in favour of Maxwell’s suggestion. Everything went on as discussed and Alberta arrived safely in Maxwell’s hostel with the stuff from his mother. Maxwell called his mother and informed her that Alberta had delivered the stuff. Maxwell’s mother requested to speak to Alberta. Even though Alberta vehemently refused to speak to Maxwell’s mother when Maxwell informed her, she had little choice. “Hello mummy”, Alberta started, when Maxwell handed over the phone to her. “I don’t expect you to sleep over “, Maxwell’s mother started. “My son is there to study so I don’t want anything or anyone to distract him, do you understand?” “Yes please, Alberta responded and handed the phone over to Maxwell. “Maxwell I am leaving”, Alberta said as she started packing her stuff with tears in her eyes. “There is no way on earth I would allow you leave without any explanation”, Maxwell said and stood in front of the door. Alberta dropped her bag and headed for Maxwell’s balcony. On her return, she had a kitchen knife in her hand.
…To be continued