Read Parts 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Pristine series herehere  Here Here here herehere  and here

Dara had just finished teaching
her first class the following Monday morning when a student met her on the way
with a handwritten note. She hurried off to the headmistress’ office where an
unfamiliar female corper in uniform sat before the headmistress.

“You sent for me, ma?”
“Yes, corper Dara,” the woman
replied, motioning for her to take a seat. “I’m pleased to inform you that we
have a new corper joining us. She has just been redeployed to Gombe and was
posted here, and as the ever resourceful person that you are, I thought you
might like to meet and welcome her, especially as you are both in the same
batch. She’s Uju by name.”
Dara and Uju exchanged brief
smiles as the headmistress continued, “Corper Uju has just reported here this
morning, so she’ll be given the rest of the week off to settle before resuming
fully next week. She’ll be occupying the room next to yours at the lodge so
please help her get comfortable. I know you must be happy to have a fellow
corper in the school now. Congrats.”

Dara, shocked, asked Uju, “You
relocated to Gombe? Why? My parents have barely forgiven me for not leaving

“It’s personal,” Uju replied dismissively.

“Alright. I’m sure we’ll get to it
Dara smiled. “Will you take my number so I’ll be around when you move

They exchanged numbers, and as
Dara left for her next class, she thought of Chika. They hadn’t spoken since
the very awkward day at his place and it was unusual for him not to have called
or reached out somehow. Thinking she had probably embarrassed him although she
felt embarrassed herself, she decided to break the ice.
                    Hi. There’s a new corper at my PPA. Wonder if she’ll join our CDS.
His reply came almost instantly.
                    She already did. Met her @ secretariat this morning.
Dara had never really celebrated
Valentine’s Day. It was afterall a day for lovers and she hadn’t had any. The
yearly red-themed youth fellowship ‘secret’ gifts exchange at church usually
made the day.
This year, all roads in Gombe led
to the Mallam Sidi camp for the batch A passing out parade. She didn’t expect
to have any fun there when a batch was done with their service already while
she still had eight more months to go, but being at the event gave her hope
that it would be her turn someday.
Chika was waiting by the camp gate
when she got there, and his warm smile quickly dispelled all thoughts of hostility.

“The next POP would be yours. Does
knowing that feel as good as I imagine?”
Dara grinned at him.
He laughed. “I suppose. It’s
“The parade hasn’t started, has
she asked, squinting to see the parade ground at a distance.
“Nah. The governor’s probably just
woke up now. They can’t start without him.”

He made no move to leave the gate,
so she asked him, “Waiting for someone?”

“Yeah. How’ve you been?”

“Not bad. You?”

“I was starting to wonder if you
weren’t lost,”
he said loudly, chuckling.
“Lost?” Puzzled, she look up at
his face and turned to follow his gaze to see who he had been talking to.
Uju smiled and explained when she
was close enough, “I stopped to get something at a shop on my way. Have you
been waiting for long? I tried to call but couldn’t get through.”

“Uju! Hi! I didn’t know you were
back in town,”
Dara said, surprised.
“Yeah, I’ve been at Biliri with my
dad. He stays there,”
Uju replied.
“Oh. I didn’t know that.”

“I moved in at the lodge late last
night. I guessed you might have been asleep and I didn’t want to disturb.”

Dara frowned. “Are you serious?
You couldn’t have disturbed in any way, we live right next to each other now.”

Uju shrugged wordlessly.

“Shall we proceed?” said Chika,
both girls on either of his sides.