Written by Onyeneka Abel

***EPISODE 19***

“Jovita?..alright fill me in?”
I asked..I needed to know how the competition has always been conducted..I planned to introduce something new.
“Ok, what we do is, the lead model which is you will supervise the gowns and suits to be worn..On the day we March out and show case..the best team wins”
I thought for a while
“Is it just gowns and suit?..nothing else?”
They all nodded to my question..
“Jovita, you would put on a strap jacket, a Jean and white canvas”
They had that look on their faces..I was guessing this was something new to them
“Listen, what gives us a edge in this competition is if we do something different.. This is a fashion house..and we sell lots of clothes and shoes.. We don’t base on gowns alone, or do we?”
Nobody objected so I assumed they understood
“You Viktor..”
I was referring to one of the male model
“You would put on a Jean as well with a fleet dark jacket, a gold wrist watch and a brown timberland”
I was getting their attention now..I made sure the selection was mixed..I reduced the models wearing gowns and suits to just three each..
The House of Earl was about to experience something different
“Alright double time girls..we got this”
We were sewing out our styles now..I sang when I noticed they were getting tired
“Wow, you’ve gat a pretty voice Bukky”
Diana one of the black ebony lady commented.. She was a beauty to behold, black indeed is beautiful..
I wondered what Vodka was up to now, I made sure all my trainings and clothes were kept confidential, there is no way I would let that Devil know of my plans..
For that week I didnt focus on both Jeremy and David, I didn’t even have the time to..though Jeremy do come around to cheer me up..I still longed for David to at least show up and tell me what I was doing was right..he finally did a day to the finale..
“I know you would make me proud”
He said when I met him in the hallway”
There was no word to say..his words really boost my courage..I just hugged him and sighed in relief
“Thanks David”

Finally, the day arrived.. I won’t deny the fact that I was extremely timid..I wore a stilettos gown with a strap up heels..I made sure I visited Madam Clara before the competition started..Vodka’s team was exquisite though, they marched out with their gowns..the soft music that played was good..until it got to my turn now..
“What’s wrong?”
I asked the DJ why he hasn’t played our music. “I can’t find the plate, its gone and my media player’s wire has been damaged”
Oh no..Vodka!
What do I do?..We would be called up in 5minutes..
“Bukky think think think”
I thought pacing around..the rest of the models were looking at me for ideas, no one could even say something
“Without the music, there is nothing”
Jovita spoke out and sighed in disappointment..
Yes! That’s it, music..
I hurried to the DJ..
“How many minutes have we got left?”
“Less then 3minutes”
I turned to my models..
“Girls gather around..guys take the next line”
They all starred at me like ‘what’s she doing’ they obeyed anyway..
“I need that keyboard on stage, attach a good mic with it”
I ordered the DJ..he quickly arranged a keyboard for me on stage..
“Now attach the keyboard to these speakers..and once I am about to go up on stage..switch off the main light. When am seated with the the spot light centered on me first..another one centered on every model who would walk in”
The camera man and every other machinery got my message
“Up next is Bisola Oluwatoke”
The stage went dark immediately.. Perfect!..I could hear everyone murmur, like what was going on? The power went off?
Seconds later when I was on stage, the spot light shone on me
The Audience roared with applause..I cleared my throat, and started the keyboard with C-sharp..I started a song by Emeli Sande “clown”
As planned the next spotlight shone on every model who walked in..I made sure the models with gowns and suits walked in first, that’s what suits the song I was singing..I signalled the DJ if he had gotten another media player..he nodded in affirmation.. Good, he took my phone and played “love is wicked” by brick and lace..before he played that, the stage went dark again..and brightened up fully now with the remaining models marching in with their jeans, canvas, timberlands and jackets of different type and colors, to match..with the music playing in rhythm..
When they were through the hall was strangely quiet, no one moved a muscle..oh God, did I do this all wrong?..but then one of the judges stood up and started applauding
“This is unbelievable!”
He kept saying..the whole audience stood up with him and roared with shouts and applaud..God my eyes brimmed..even if I didn’t win this competition, I’m impressed I never failed to leave them amazed.
After the applaud, both teams were called out.
“Vodka and her team scored 74 points..”
The applause was rather legs were shaking now..
“And Bukky and her team scored 120points!”
I went mad with Joy!! But then clarise drew me aside and gave me the bad news ever.
“Madam Clara is dead”

You know that moment when you don’t know if you should be happy or burst out crying..I was caught up in a web
“Clarise, stop this joke I have an Award to collect”
I attempted to walk back to the stage and collect the best model of the year award..maybe Clarise just wanted to pull my legs, this Clarise self
She drew me back..
“What nah?”
What else does this lady want, I am trying so hard not to believe what she said, ah! What is her own na
“Madam Clara is gone, David and Jeremy don’t know yet”
Now my brain accepted the painful fact
I broke down in tears, I felt my heart would rip out..
“No not now for Christ sake”
My legs became weak that I sat on the bare tiles..
“Not now”
I knew it was more than three months as the Doctor presumed she would live, but she seemed fine, that I was starting to think it was a miracle.

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