NADIA: "Today, these two ladies will get lucrative. All these while, they have proven to be capacitated, but one must surpass the other to win the prize," Mrs. Olutayo said.
My mind trailed a little back to 24 hours before the competition...
“OK girls, I have a confession to make."
I gathered my crew, with Daniel standing by my side. I tried as much as possible to guess what their expression could be.
"Emm... I wanna confess something," I said again.
"That Daniel is your boyfriend, right? Come on, we already know that. Rule breaker!"
Sharon blew my cover, just like that. My mouth went agape.
"Come on Nadia, it was obvious nah. Me too I have a boyfriend oh...” Jessy blurted out.
"My ex and I are back together," she explained further.
I took a deep sigh, it was a sigh of relief. That day, I got to understand that love is the foundation of the whole world. Love is what keeps us together. To those who think love has caused them hurt, I want to tell you today that love never caused you any hurt, loving the wrong person did.
I couldn't sleep for the next 18 hours; Daniel insisted we take a stroll out of the academy to a tent he had prepared at the beach.
"You planned all this, didn’t you?"
I questioned when I entered the tent. It looked like one prepared for a king; air conditioned and well designed with a massive bed that settled at the far end.
My mind began to connote one meaning: Daniel had an ulterior motive.
"Emm... Dan? Are we sleeping here tonight? Alone?"
I stressed on the word 'alone' so he could clearly understand what I really meant.
"Chill Nadia, we won't have sex."
Jeez, I felt embarrassed. He just dropped the word without thinking twice.
"No I didn't mean to say that..."
I tried to lie but the smile he shot at me made me realize that he didn't buy my excuse.
"What about Wilson?"
I quickly changed the topic.
"Forget about him. Let's focus on just you and me."
"Daniel, the competition..."
I tried to remind him of the pending issue but he interrupted again;
"Forget about that Nadia, just relax. You got it covered already."
"I know, I know... but I'm supposed to be practicing now right. I need to read through some theories, and...”
He placed his lips on mine, and took away my ability to resist.
"Will you relax now?"
My lips were weakened, so I could only nod.
"Alright, let's eat."
He cuddled me in his arms; he made me feel so relaxed, and for that moment, I completely forgot about the competition.
"The participants would compete in three stages of this competition: Theory, food preparation and food design.”
The host announced, snapping me out of my reverie. God knows my heart wasn’t playing it's normal beat anymore.
We sat on a cushion in the middle of the hall. This was a different hall entirely. It was designed in a circular orbit and we were placed in the middle of it, in the presence of every eye.
The cushion was comfortable, attached to a table, but I was far from being comfortable.
Brenda on the other hand looked so relaxed. I couldn't even read her.
I looked over to Daniel; he puckered his lips and threw kisses.
The questions were exactly what Serena taught me; all the questions she exposed to me were there live and coloured, word for word.
The moment I dropped my pen, Brenda dropped hers too. Shortly after that, we were given five minutes break.
Soon, we both entered our secluded kitchen in the middle of the hall. We were given a list of food to prepare. I chose pounded yam with egusi soup; not because it was easy to prepare, but because 90 percent of our judges were true Nigerians.
Few minutes into my preparation, I discovered the grinded melon I added to my prepared sauce had been soiled with kerosene. I knew it. Brenda was never planning to be fair.
Continued on next page...
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