24 - BLOOD FEUD
“I’m not sure about this dance business,” Dr. Nnewichi stopped his daughter as she rushed to complete her outfit.
Never one to get all dolled up, Anya smiled as she gave her father a loving hug. She always thought it was so cute the way he tried to be extra extra protective of her. How in the world could anyone not love it when their father insisted on keeping his little girl safe? She was so appreciative of her parents. They loved her a little too much, but she was happy with the knowledge of how much they cared.
Anya wrapped her arms around her father’s waist and gave him a bear hug.
“Baba, I love you. You are the best dad in the whole wide world. You know that don’t you?” She offered him a pearly white smile as she showered him with praise.
The man who was always on her side teared up. He tried to hide them, but his daughter took note of how sensitive her father was as she gave him an even tighter squeeze.
“Alright young lady. You will break me in half at this rate.” He laughed at his own exaggeration. Dr. Nnewichi was a rather hardy man. It would surely take a much bigger stronger man to break him. His sweet daughter was just a tad bit on the chunky side, but she was by no means strong enough to negatively impact him in any way.
“You always try to make me seem like I am as strong as a bear.” She giggled as her mother joined them.
“Sweetheart, I know you will feel this is a little too much, but I want you to wear it.” In her hands, she held some sort of beaded arrangement. Anya never remembered seeing the beads before.
“What is this?” She asked innocently.
Her parents looked from one to the other. They glanced down at the beautifully tailored dress made of the finest sky blue satin fabric with a silky white flower overlay which had been fashioned to stop two hands below their daughter’s knees where it flared out just a bit. It was fashioned to look like a sundress but instead of straps, they had it designed modestly with short sleeves.
Anya wore satiny royal blue pumps to complete her outfit. For once her mother allowed her to wear a little wine-colored lipstick. The final touch was the beaded jewelry Anya’s mother brought and placed on her head. She also placed a single string of matching beads around the girl’s neck.
“Mom, I don’t want to wear these. They don’t actually match my outfit.” She complained.
“My dearest sweet daughter. These are the jewels of my people. Because you wear these beads, it tells all who gaze upon you that you are a member of the Royal house of Nnewichi. You are a princess by birth. Since this is your first official dance, it is only befitting that you wear your crown,” her father explained.
Knowledge is power. That’s what her parents insisted on every day of her life. She was amazed that they saw a school dance as some royal affair. Anya had already explained to her parents that the majority of the kids there would be dressed in very casual attire. Their response to that bit of information a few months earlier was simple. Because she wouldn’t be adorned in full royal attire, Anya was expected to at least be presentable according to her family’s standards.
Her parents settled for a beautiful sundress, some of her hair braided up into an updo with the rest caressing her shoulders in the most annoying fashion. When she glanced at herself in the mirror, Anya was met by a stranger. The person staring back at her was regal leaving her breathlessly astounded.
She was always Anya, the tomboy never... this.
The gym door swung open. With lights turned down a little, Anya struggled to see in the somewhat dark room. She did a quick scan to find some of her friends.
Braxton, Nelda, Jeremy, Rose, and several other couples were standing by a table taking.
When she noticed guys from one end of the gymnasium to the other with their eyes trained on her, Anya felt her cheeks heat up. She was never one who sought out the attention of the opposite sex. Some girls went out of their way to garner the affections of the jocks but she opted for sticking her nose in her books as she kept to herself.
No matter what she had in mind, the ‘get up’ that her family insisted she wear was destined to draw more attention than was comfortable. Anya made her way over to her cousin and her friend.
“Before you say a word, I know it’s a little much, but my parents could not be deterred. They treated the school dance as if I was going to a ball.” She explained as she walked up to the group.
“You look amazing,” Braxton whispered loudly without thinking about how his confession would be received by his date.
“Thank... you.” Anya looked away shyly not expecting him to say a word. She had known since the first day they met that her friend was crazy about her cousin. This was the first time he ever said anything like that to her.
When she turned to the right, she caught the glare of the one person she had no desire to make angry. Nelda was a jealous cruel person. She cared for one thing and one thing only. To have people worship and adore her was all she lived for. Anytime someone tried to steal her shine, something would always happen to the person.
“My... my... my... cousin. Ain’t you a sight?” The envious girl made the accusatory statement. Even though her cousin was a vision that held the attention of nearly every young man in the room, Nelda did exactly what she was known for doing. She tried to make Anya feel small.
“Thanks, Nelda. I’m gonna take that as a compliment,” Anya stated with a little defiance heard in her voice.
“Oh, so I guess you are trying to get smart with me?” The other people at the table turned to focus on the two young ladies.
“That’s not what I said Nelly. I said thank you.” She tried to assuage the storm she saw brewing in her cousin’s light brown eyes.
“Ladies we are here to have a nice time so take it down before they ask you to leave.” Marcus came over to the two to quiet things down.
“You stay out of this unless you need me to jerk a knot in you too.” She screeched at him sending the senior in the opposite direction.
“Why must you do this? What’s wrong with you?” The interaction began to shift the ambiance.
“I’m gonna say this one time and one time only. Get out of my face and do it right now. Nobody wants to see you dressed up like we’re at prom. This isn’t prom. You just had to come in here and try to upstage everyone.” The wild-eyed teen ranted. Her voice was at an octave which forced the teachers to join the group to investigate.
“Is there a problem over here? Oh, Anya. You look so adorable today. Is this a native dress from your father’s country?” The teacher insisted despite the noise she had heard earlier.
“Yes, ma’am. He had it specially made for today. I told him this wasn’t a formal dance, but it was a waste of time.” She smiled as she continued discussing her attire with Mrs. Whitmore who was one of the nicest teachers in their high school.
The World History teacher literally drooled over Anya’s attire. They discussed the significance of the patterns and the fact that it was actually made in New York by a friend of her mother’s. Unbeknownst to the chatting teacher and teen, the storm hadn’t died down. It had grown to a full-fledged category five hurricane.
“What is the significance of the beads?” The older woman continued to question the student.
“Oh, this is my crown,” Anya stated blankly.
“Is it a crown your parents had made so you could wear something nice with your outfit?”
“No ma’am. In the Nnewichi Royal Family, it is a requirement to wear your crown to any official events.” Anya repeated exactly what her parents had told her earlier.
“So... you’re a...” The teacher struggled to put two and two together.
“I’m a princess. My father is the second prince in our family and his brother is now the King of Nnewichi,” she shared with ease.
“Oh my... that is truly interesting.” Before Anya had the chance to stop her from asking the question that was destined to cause a catastrophe, Mrs. Whitmore turned to her cousin and asked the one question the evil girl hated more than anything else.
“So, Nelda... that must mean you are a princess as well.” The poor innocent teacher had no idea what she had done. It wasn’t until the girl let loose a tirade no one would ever have believed if they weren’t present that a blood feud began right before everyone’s eyes.
“No. I’m not some fake ass princess like my so-called cousin here. I don’t even believe that she is really my flesh and blood anyway. Look at her and look at me. Do we look like family members? Look at her. Her skin looks like tar. I’m fine as can be and I happen to be pretty. She looks like a dog. Just because she made up that stupid story doesn’t make it true.” The irate young woman screeched drawing the attention of everyone in the gym.
As with any other day, the prospect of seeing someone fight shifted the cheerful celebration to one of chaos. Students gathered around because pretty much everyone knew Nelda. She had a reputation for being one of the prettiest girls in school, but she was also known for her viciousness.
“Nelly, please...” Anya pleaded with her cousin. The girl was in tears as her own flesh and blood ran her for filth.
“Please... what? Please... who? Shut up! I can’t stand you. You knew when you came in here dressed like this that you would get people’s attention. Now, I guess you don’t want that attention... do you? You are such a desperate little wench.” Nelda continued to tear her cousin to shreds.
“Why are you doing this?” Anya’s tears only seemed to fuel her cousin’s rage.
“Because I hate the sight of you. You are a nobody. You wanted attention. Stop crying you stupid bitch. People who are such attention-whores like you disgust me.” With those hurtful words, Nelda became infamous.
”Miss Nelda Kensington follow me to the office this instant." The teacher stamped her foot and escorted the fuming young woman out of the gym.