NADIA: You know that awkward moment when you think you’ve got something covered till it shoots up from a different angle entirely? At first I thought Daniel was speaking in tongues when he made mention of the fact that Joyce was the president’s daughter, but he was damn serious.
"How did you get this information?” I asked.
“Joyce arrived in this academy with me, in the same public bus. It's impossible!" I added.
He frowned a little; he seemed a bit uncertain.
"Brenda told me," he replied.
“What on earth would make Brenda of all people - a supervisor for that matter - stoop so low to not just talk, but expose secrets to Daniel?” I wondered.
"Brenda!? You mean our supervisor?"
He nodded his head. I gave him that look that suggested I didn't believe a single word he said.
"Why would Brenda tell you that?"
"Cos I told her a very important detail about myself!"
OK, I was done. Enough of this!
"Daniel, I've got to go!"
"Nadia, be careful," he warned.
I could feel his eyes on me till I was out of sight. Although I had planned to ignore his words, it kept ringing in my head like an alarm clock.
DANIEL: I wasn't sure Nadia would believe me; but at least I told her the truth. When I mentioned that I had told Brenda an important detail about myself, I meant every word of it: Brenda is fully aware that I am the heir to Kayode’s kitchen; that alone is worth more than any competition they might be fighting for here.
Joyce remains a question mark; Brenda is not left out either.
NADIA: I didn't want to suspect Joyce, but I began to read meaning to her recent questions.
"Where are you going to?"
She startled me one night when I was about to sneak out to the mysterious old lady’s place.
I quickly lay back on my bed.
"For your information, I know where you are heading to. And I know you've been going there for a while now."
My heart skipped a beat. My mind flashed back on what Daniel had told me earlier; I could sense some truth in it. I wanted to ask, but my words got choked. I simply turned to face the wall.
"You don't know what you're talking about Joyce. Go to sleep!"
Next morning, it was time to learn how to prepare the Nigerian dish Funkaso. Joyce was up already; she wasn't acting like the talkative I knew. It was as if she knew Daniel had told me something already. We headed to the hall in silence.
Few meters away from the hall, we could hear Brenda going on with the lessons for the day:
“Funkaso is a traditional Nigerian dish made out of millet; it can either be served as a sweet breakfast or a savory side. Though they look like pancakes, the millet flour in funkaso makes it gluten-free, vegan, and an overall healthier option. Millet flour can be purchased at a health food store or you can buy plain millet and grind it into powder in a food processor. If you are planning to serve funkaso for breakfast, get the batter ready the night before, as it needs to rest for at least 4 hours. In the morning, you can just heat the griddle and get flipping!”
She further briefed us on the ingredients needed for this dish.
DANIEL: My plan to get Nadia was trailing off. I wasn't making any head-ways. There was no way to meet up at night. And during the day, her newly recruited crew members follow her around like hawks.
When I first met her, I was only interested in getting down her pants; but after seeing her performance in the just ended inter-group competition, I began to generate a likeness for her. Pure one of course! I felt like giving it a try and drawing her closer. Who knows? There may be life after this academy.
NADIA: That night, although I knew Joyce pretended to be fast asleep, I sneaked out to meet the mysterious old lady.
"How are you my child?"
She smiled at me and handed over a recipe.
"What's this?" I asked.
"All the foods you would encounter in this academy, from grade 1 to 6."
My eyes went wide. I opened and took a glimpse. This was all I needed. Joyce suddenly popped up in my mind
"Madam, does the name Joyce ring a bell?"
She paused for a while. Her reaction indeed explained that Joyce was a close one.
"Nadia, what's the name of this academy?"
I wondered what the name of the academy had to do with my question.
"Serena foodies!" I replied, smiling at the fact that it was my name sake.
She tied her apron and handed me mine;
"My name is Serena Temilade. And Joyce, is my daughter!"
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