tagNovels and NovellasUniversity Life - First Ch. 07

University Life - First Ch. 07



It's getting close to the end of term. Whoop-di-doop!' Mykelos sang as he danced round the kitchen table with his slice of toast dripping butter everywhere.

'Will you stop waving that everywhere?' Lorna snapped at him. She had spent the best part of the morning tidying up the flat as Kainene's parents were coming over for the day and she, Kainene had been shaking with part-nerves, part-excitement. 'Nen's parents are gonna be here any minute now and I just cleaned this kitchen so you better stop waving it or else!'

'Sorry, Miss Williamson. I shan't do it again Miss...Ow' Mykelos rubbed his smarting head as Lorna smiled satisfactorily at the wallop she had given him. 'Fine, I'll clean up now. Bloody hell, where's Matt when you need him to control his woman' He muttered to himself.

'I heard that, gay boy. Now clean!'

As the two of them bantered with each other, Kainene stared at herself in the mirror excitedly as she spoke with her mum on the phone. 'How far away are you?'

'Not too far my dear. Just going past that hall you know? We'll soon be there.' Her mum shrieked back excitedly.

Kainene cut the phone grinning to herself. She had not seen her parents in so long and she was literally vibrating with excitement. She had so much to tell them. And show them too, especially her newly straightened hair and her new practice test results. All firsts, as usual. Then she was going to introduce them to her new lovely friends, especially Lorna. Oh, and she was going to treat them to lunch at the Lebanese restaurant close to the Student Union Centre, Sands. She had been there once with Lorna and Viola and they served amazing falafels. She studied her outfit for the umpteenth time. Her grey blouse looked very fetching matched with her mustard coloured skirt. Her black coat that she had splurged on from Karen Millen, even though it was on sale, complimented everything perfectly. She slipped on black pumps and smiled to herself. Her flat bell trilled and she took in a deep breath before rushing out of her room to open the door. 'Mu...' her voice trailed off as she glared at Matt. 'Oh, it's you. Get in quickly, I'm waiting for my mum.'

'And a hello to you too, Nens. Yes, I had fun skiing with the guys. Didn't sprain any wrists or fingers. Oh golly, do you really think I look tanned? Shocking isn't it when the weather's so terrible.' He warbled in a falsetto to Kainene.

Kainene stared at him blankly, 'I see you have me mistaken for your girlfriend. Well let me remind you that she's considerable shorter than me, red hair, you know, white...oh and her name's Lorna. Now naff off. I'm waiting for my folks.' She shoved him roughly aside and looked out the door towards the staircase for any sign of her parents.

'Hmph,' Matt snorted as he walked towards the kitchen, 'When's shy Nens coming back? I miss her. And I detest this new one. Really horrible to me nowadays.'

'Get used to it, Matt! She's here to stay until she sees her parents, so better hope they're pulling into the parking lot downstairs.' She yelled back at him. As she made to close the door, she heard footsteps coming up the stairs and her mum's voice drifting upwards complaining to her dad, 'Can't imagine why they put her on the third floor. What if she was asthmatic? And no bloomin' lifts, Chike!'

'Mum!' Kainene shrieked and rushed to meet them at the last set of stairs, hugging and practically lifting up her 5'5 mother. 'Ohmigod, mum I've missed you so much!'

Her mum hugged her back just as tightly and started crying immediately. 'My darling baby, you look so different. Your hair! It's gorgeous. Oh my, you are now a lady.' She hugged her daughter once more.

Kainene's father rolled his eyes, although good-naturedly, 'Come now, Jennifer. Can't I give my daughter a cuddle too? You're not the only one who missed her you know?'

Kainene turned to her dad smiling as she hugged him, 'Hello, dad. I've missed you too don't worry.'

He gave his hearty chuckle and patted her back as they walked into Kainene's flat. 'Me, worried? Why should I be? Of course you've missed me, I never doubted that.'

Kainene half dragged them to the kitchen to meet Mykelos, Lorna and Matt who were sat with fixed smiles on their faces. The new girl whose name she forgot was nowhere to be found.

'These are my flat mates and darling friends, Mykelos, Matt and Lorna.' She introduced them. Each of them shook hands with her parents and gave the necessary greetings.

'Okay, you've seen my flat. Again. Gimme a second to get my purse and coat, and we're off for lunch.' She ran to her room, grabbed the said items and went back to the kitchen.

'Bye, you guys. Come on.' She grinned at the two older people and they waved bye to the younger three and left the flat.

'Well.' Mykelos grinned slyly, 'A bit pointless me cleaning up all that butter then....Owww!!!'

'So,' Kainene's mum asked as they dug into their food. 'You've talked about your school work, which is amazing as usual; your friends, who you clearly get along with...any boyfriends then?'

'MUM!' Kainene groaned as her dad shook his head at the same time.

'What?' Her mum sputtered, 'She's not a child anymore. At her age I'd had three boyfriends hadn't I? And was just meeting Chike...and now, we're married.'

'Well, this generation's different from yours, Mum. We don't meet the guys we're going to marry at eighteen. We do so at, I dunno, twenty eight?' Kainene replied.

'Over my dead body are you waiting till twenty eight to think of marriage!' Her father snorted and Kainene rolled her eyes. Yeah, yeah, she knew how her Nigerian side of the family felt about late marriages. They all believed that a 'woman' should be courted for two years from the age of twenty three, married at twenty five and popping out the baby, preferably a son, at twenty seven. Well that was not happening to her and she was adamant about that.

'Yeah, dad. I know. Anyway, Mum. To answer your question, no. There aren't any guys.'

'But why?' Her mum looked genuinely confused, 'It must be you then, because no one can resist you. You're gorgeous and I'm not being biased.'

Kainene blushed a bit at this and stalled by chewing her lamb properly, 'Yeah, well thanks mum. But really, I can't force someone to go out with me now, can I? And anyway, I don't really have time for guys. Have my mid-sessionals in January and it's almost December now.'

'That's what I like to hear.' Her father nodded pleased at her answer.

'Pssshhh.' Her mum snorted at the two of them, 'It's not like having a boyfriend is going to stop you from passing. You read all those novels and I hardly ever used to see you studying yet you still passed. Well if you don't wanna have one fine. Just don't come crying to me when you're forty and single with cats and a broken fence. I'll be living it large in Mallorca then.'

Kainene laughed out loud at this, 'Okay mum, I'll keep that in mind. Now let's finish up. I want to take you to see my law building after this and later, we'll go to this lovely place on the waterfront where they make the best crepes ever.'

'How did your parent outing go darling? Did she like me?' Lorna asked as soon as Kainene stepped into the flat. Kainene smiled to herself. Trust Lorna to ask if she was liked. Lorna continued, 'They better have woman. I cleaned up the whole flat and you didn't even notice, 'cause if you had, you'd have made sure they stayed for more than two minutes and admired my hard work!'

Oh dear, that's why she's angry, Kainene thought guiltily. 'I'm so, so sorry Lorns. I can't believe I forgot that you offered to clean up for them. Oh shit, forgive me, babes. Please.'

Lorna looked on stonily.

'Okay, what can I do to make it up to you then? Do the grocery shopping for a week? Two weeks?' Kainene pleaded.

Lorna seemed to be lost in deep thought, 'Hmmm, till end of term.'

'Till exams?' Kainene gulped loudly, 'But that's in six weeks!'

'I spent all morning on the flat. Every single second of the morning.'

'Fine!' Kainene succumbed grumpily. 'But just for the two of us, though. If Matt and Mykenos take anything, then it's on your head.'

'Deal.' Lorna smiled happily. 'Now that that's sorted, let's discuss operation Christmas ball.'

'Errr, not going, thank you', Kainene quickly said, getting a can of Pepsi from the fridge.

'What?' Lorna shrieked and Kainene winced at the sound. 'Are you joking? You must be. Of course you're gonna be at the Ball. It's like our first undergrad Ball. You are definitely going, mate. End of.'

Kainene laughed dryly at this, 'You can't force me to go, Lorns. End of to you too.'

'Hmph,' Lorna snorted. 'We'll see about that, Nens.'


It was a week to the Christmas Ball and Kainene was still refusing Lorna's pleas and threats. Even Viola had been roped into the new 'Operation get Kainene to the Ball.' Kainene had resorted to hiding out in her new secret spot, a computer room in the basement of the French building on Woodland road. She smiled to herself as she left the basement that evening. It was nine p.m. and if memory served her correctly, Lorna would be out with Viola and a bunch of her course mates on their almost daily drunken lash and Mykelos would be at his totty of the day's hall. As for Matt, he was either home or at Wills and she really was not fussed either way. He hardly bothered her as much as the other two anyway. She plugged in her IPod earphones and hummed along to herself as she walked to the student union to get the bus back to halls. Although it was further down than the normal bus stop, the student one cost seventy five pence and she was saving money for all the novels of the author she had just discovered, J R Ward. Thinking of her books brought a new smile to her face. She could not wait to get home and finish one of the novels that she had borrowed from the library. She quickened her pace as she thought about this.

Forty five minutes later, she opened the door to her flat and groaned in near horror as she heard girl voices. They were either Lorna and Viola or friends of Matt. She doubted the latter as she knew Lorna would rip his head off if she ever found out so that left her with Lorna... 'Nens!'

Kainene gulped as she heard Lorna's distinctive voice.

She trudged slowly into the kitchen to see Lorna and Viola grinning excitedly at her.

'Okay, we know you said you don't wanna go to the ball and we've decided that we aren't gonna pester you anymore.' Kainene's heart rose at this but plummeted when Lorna continued, 'IF you give us a very real and viable excuse why exactly you don't wanna be at the ball.'

Kainene rubbed the back of her neck tiredly and slumped down on a dining chair, 'I just don't wanna...'

'Uh-unh.' Viola shook her head vigorously. 'That's not an excuse. You have to come up with something viable, darling. Viable being the operative word here.'

'Okay.' Kainene conceded as she desperately racked her brains, 'Okay, I don't wanna go because I'll be working that night.'

'No you won't.' Lorna objected. 'Freshers are excused from working in the student union on the ball day.'

Kainene wrinkled her brows confused, 'Really? Wow, just like that? Without any reason?'

'Yup.' Viola put in. 'Guess they really want all the freshers to experience proper university life, hunh?'

'Fine. Well I can't buy the tickets now can I? I saw a poster up in the common room this afternoon. All the tickets are sold out. Even the ones without the Christmas meal.'

'Not true.' Viola howled triumphantly, 'Well, not in your case, anyway. We bought one for you in the hope that you would change your mind. And it's for the full event.'

Kainene could not suppress a groan at this. Crap, she was well and truly cornered. She tried one last time, 'But you're going with Matt aren't you, Lorns? He's your date.'

'Yeah, but we're all gonna be on the coach together so it's not like I'll be glued to Matt's hip all night. Plus Viola hasn't got any date and she's still going so quit with the silly excuses, Nens. You are going to the ball.'

Kainene looked at them defeated, 'But I have nothing to wear.'

Both girls smiled evilly at her. They knew she had definitely conceded then.

'Not to worry, old girl.' Viola chortled gleefully. 'We're driving down to mine on Saturday to get some of Mummy's old stuff. Vintage, you know. Would be marvellous. And there's bound to be stuff for all three of us. In fact I'm certain there is.'

Lorna clapped her hands delighted at the turn of events and said just as much, 'Isn't this simply delightful?'

'Delightful.' Kainene croaked.


'Oh bothersome buggeration!' Lorna moaned in frustration. She had had her head stuck in the massive trunk in Viola's attic trying to find the most darling dress she was sure to be there. 'It's like this dress is eluding me. I pick something out certain it's the one for me, then I find something more darling. Gahhh!' She ended with a tiny scream.

Kainene shook her head at the two girls now covered in dust. She herself was sat on an old mattress staring at the two of them with something akin to disbelief. She did not think it was possible for girls to be that bothered about a ball. Granted it was meant to be THE event of the university calendar year, but for Pete's sake, it was only a ball. She said as much and nearly got mowed down with the sharp verbal attacks from Viola and Lorna.

'Only a ball? Are you starkers? This is the ball of the year. Our first ball as uni students. Our first adult Christmas ball. Do something Viola or I shall simply scream.' Lorna shrieked about to tear her hair out at Kainene's nonchalance.

'Okay, okay you guys. Keep your hair on. I'm excited about it.' This caused a loud snort from the two sceptical girls. Kainene ignored them and continued, 'As I was saying, I am excited about it, just not on the scale of you guys. Especially you Lorns. All the ball gowns here are amazing and would definitely look better than anything anyone else there wears, I am positive of it. So what you guys should be worried about now is finding one your...I mean our size and that's that.' She finished her impassioned plea and stared at them thinking she had finally gotten to them.

They stared at her blankly then resumed their moans completely ignoring her speech, 'Okay, do you think the organza one or the lilac one? Only that the lilac's got a fish tail so...'

Kainene sighed and left them to it. As she rolled her eyes turning away from them, she saw a flash of gold in one of the opened and discarded trunks a few feet away from the haggling girls. She walked towards it slowly, entranced by the bold colour. She knelt by the trunk and gently pried the dress away from the others shaking it out when she did so. Her eyes widened as she noticed what it was in her hands.

The other girls gasped out loud and she spun round to see them staring at her with the same awe-struck expression she was sure she had on her face.

'Bloody hell! Nens, you definitely struck gold with that. No pun intended.' Lorna whispered in awe.

Kainene numbly nodded looking back at the dress. It was a long gold number. It had no straps, a boned bodice and a seemed to trail to the ground. It was quite plain with no sequins or adornment but was so gorgeous in its plainness that it was clear the elegance of the dress was meant to speak for itself.

Viola cleared her throat and said, 'I remember this dress. Mummy told me about it. She got it from Grandmama as her debutante ball gown but it was too long and she thought it was too precious to be adjusted so she kept it for me. Clearly I don't have the height for it so we just left it here. It's gorgeous and not in the least crinkly. Mummy definitely thought it was worth treating well.' She walked over to another small box and started rummaging, muttering to herself. She found what it was that she was looking for and raised it with a triumphant 'Ah-Hah!'

She turned round to the silently standing girls and showed them a pair of black delicate silk gloves. 'This was to go with the dress. Both you and Mummy are quite long fingered. Go on, try it on.' She urged, giving the gloves to a dazzled Kainene.

Kainene quickly shrugged off her jumper and jeans and slid into the dress. The collective gasps said it all. It fit her like a glove and was just the perfect size. She slid on the gloves reverently and turned round staring down at herself. Viola silently led her to the full length mirror at the far corner of the room and Kainene stared at herself, her mouth agape.

'I look...I look...' She gulped to herself.

Lorna finished her sentence for her, 'Simply stunning, darling. You look bloody amazing. Minty, eat your minging heart out.'

All three girls giggled at this. Kainene really did look gorgeous. This seemed to give the other girls hope that they would definitely find the perfect dress and they renewed their effort doubly. Kainene took off her dress carefully and folded it up with the gloves and joined them in their search. In no time, they found a calf length red dress with tiny straps and a forest green cummerbund for Viola and Lorna settled for the floor length organza gown she had seen before.

Soon all three girls were shrieking to themselves with joy that they had found the perfect outfits. 'Okay, all we have to do now is find the perfect shoes, which we can anyway. Mummy has a Harvey Nichols card and we can get our shoes on it.' Viola said smiling excitedly.

Kainene quickly protested, 'Oh No. I couldn't. I can always get my shoes myself. Really you don't have to do that for me. I feel indebted to you already for what you've done, with this gorgeous dress and...'

'Oh shut it, Nens.' Viola chided gently, 'Mummy never and I mean NEVER uses her card because she's into her newfound hippy-ness and Grandmama's not too pleased that the card's going to waste so I rang her up and told her I was going shopping with a few friends. She practically clung to me through the phone with delirious happiness. It's going to be amazing idiot, so stop whinging.'

Kainene smiled at this. She was overwhelmed with the obvious wealth the other two girls carelessly showed. She had known that they were rather well off, but she did not think it was this much. Especially Viola; her country home looked like a castle and was clearly not as run down as the novels portrayed country homes to be. Never in a million years did she think she would run in circles with such girls. Her friends back home in Hackney would shit bricks when she told them.

Soon, the girls were driving off in Viola's little red Mini Cooper. It was truly a day for shopping and excitement was rife in the air.

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