Bella and her Presentation
Bella had dragged her friends to the event she had been hyping all month. She had always wanted to start a business of her own, hoping to someday be a prominent business owner. Being a business mogul was a dream she held onto ever since she entered her third year on campus, and even two years out of campus, she still held onto it dearly. So when the calls for people with small businesses to come to pitch their business ideas for funding from willing partners, she wanted to be included.
Since this announcement came through, Bella prepared day in and day out, some nights, she barely slept because of an idea that gave her no peace. She also resolved that any time a thought came through that could make her business plan stand out, she would attend to recording that idea before she forgot.
All of her friends knew how much this business thing meant to her. Though she had a job, all she eyed was to one day be fully self-employed.
“Hi, bestie.” Bella’s phone beeped with Lucy’s text.
“Hi. How are you?”
“I am well. I knew you’d still be up at this hour. Let me guess, you are up working on that business idea thing?”
“You are right. This thing is eating me up. I want to make it perfect.”
“When do you sleep?”
Bella laughed and replied, “Imagine 24 hours in a day is a lot of time. I get time to do and redo all this.”
“Speaking of which, you are not working on any business plan what are you doing at this time of the night?”
“I had a bad dream and I couldn’t sleep. Maybe I can help you to think some things through. What are you working on tonight?”
That night, Bella and Lucy brainstormed a few ideas, which became a habit over the next few days.
Motivation to go for the funding
The motivation behind Bella going for this funding was driven by the history of her commitment to her entrepreneurial ambitions. Campus life had her multitasking between studies and business, not because she needed tuition fees or pocket money. She had seen a niche in the market and started the business using her own money.
Her campus was located in a remote area where certain services were not accessible. She realized that students went out of school to access a PlayStation centre. At this time, she had enough money to establish a small PlayStation centre and so she did. Within no time, her small PlayStation business had grown into something bigger and more profitable. By the time she left the university, the business had grown significantly.
After getting a job and moving out, the business experienced competition and managerial challenges. When this funding was announced, Bella needed money to start a new business idea she had thought of after seeing a new market niche she had observed in the town where she settled for work. The PlayStation business needed more money to give money for this new business.
On the day of the presentation
After a month of continued dedication towards creating a viable business plan with the help of her friends, she was finally confident that her business idea of creating an online pharmacy would come to be. This new business was to work just like Jumia but specifically focused on pharmaceutical products. She needed money to build the app and set up a team to keep the business rolling.
She dragged her friends, Lucy, Ali, and Yvonne, to the event. Brenda and Brian were not available for the weekend; even so, she already had a whole team behind her. They went, and having prepared holistically for the day; she finished quickly. Bella had answers to every question thrown at her at the back of her hand. She also illustrated so much confidence and understanding of her business by asking essential questions to the panel.
When walking out of the presentation room, almost everyone was confident that Bella would bag this funding. She, too, had so much faith that the win was hers.
“I have a good feeling about how things went in there,” Ali her friend told her.
“Me too,” added Lucy.
“The tireless preparations will bear fruits.”
“Amen guys, amen. I am also positive about how the whole thing went down.” Bella told them.
That Saturday night, she was seated in her living room, taking coffee while chatting with her friends, keeping them updated on the presentation. Brenda and Brian, who had each their personal and inevitable engagement to attend to, had so much to catch up on.
“I hear you massacred that presentation, Bel.” Texted Brian.
Bella texted back some laughing emojis and also said, “That’s what I hear too.”
Brian texted back laugh emojis as well. “All the best girl, you have worked really hard, your business idea deserves that money.”
“Thanks, dear one. I am hoping for the best too,” replied Bella.
Then, Brian sent a screenshot. He then deleted it within a second. But because Bella had an anti-delete feature in her WhatsApp, the screenshot remained intact on her phone, with the notification of how Brian deleted it showing below.
She read through it, and she could not believe the betrayal.
“We had to hype her up to boost her confidence, otherwise the presentation was shoddy. After all the preparation and the heartbreak she is nursing, we had to be good friends and lie to her to soothe her ego.”
That was Lucy.
“But I hear from everybody else that Bella did very well in her presentation?”
“Nope, she did terribly. I have been her friend for more than three years, and there is nothing that that lady does well.”
“Wow! Lucy. Don’t you think you are being mean to your bestie?”
“She ain’t even my bestie.”
“You are mean.”
The screenshot had Lucy still typing.
Bella decided to pretend not to have seen the screenshot.
“What have you just deleted Brian?” She asked in an innocent manner.
“Nothing. I just sent something by mistake; that screenshot was not meant to be yours.” he texted back.
“Ooooh. I was wondering!”
This betrayal was the last thing that Bella was expecting from any of her friends. Even if betrayal or bad-mouthing could be something that happened in her circle of friends, the last person she would have expected to be a pharisee was Lucy. Their friendship had started way back and they had been friends since campus.
She went back to cross-check the screenshot details to confirm if it was her. She checked the profile picture in the screenshot again, and it was Lucy. She was still in disbelief over what had just happened.
She had never seen any weirdness that insinuated hypocrisy in Lucy. She was her closest friend, and they even called each other “best”. She was the first person she would tell her secret and most of her plans because she trusted her so much. Wherever this attitude and meanness hid, she could never have known.
What could have gone wrong
The details on that screenshot tore her heart. She thought the heartbreak she had experienced three months before was painful. This conversation between Brian and Lucy right here was even more painful.
She decided to call Yvonne and ask how she thought the presentation was. While still holding this thought, something came to her mind. Maybe the three or even the four had the same perspective about her and that Bella would just be wasting her time and effort. While she was still thinking about it, her phone rang. It was Brian calling.
“I know you saw that screenshot.”
“Yes, I saw it. I am still looking at it actually.”
“Well. Sorry for the contents in there. I know how it may feel. I wanted to ask Yvonne if it was true, but then it came to you by mistake. Everyone had said that you did well. Then Lucy said what she said. It left me wondering. Aren’t you friends anymore?”
“We are. Could you do me a favour?”
“Could you go ahead and ask Yvonne what you were to ask her about today using that screenshot?”
“Why would you go that direction, Bel?”
“Because I can’t believe what I just saw.”
“What do you want to know? If Lucy actually texted that or if you did well in that presentation?”
“Both; she has been my best friend for a long time. Nothing in our interactions has ever hinted of this part of her.”
“Bella, what is it that is unclear in that screenshot about Lucy having sent it? Her opinions may be untrue because we all thought that you did well and you may bag this funding.”
“I don’t know what or who to believe anymore.”
“It is understandable. But know we are positive except for her. I am confident you did well.”
Lucy and Bella converse
A few minutes did not go by, and Lucy texted.
“How’s the evening, after a very long and tiring day?”
“It is very fine, a long day that has finally opened my eyes to the friends who are Pharisees.” Bella texted..
“Okay girlfriend, what’s not happening?” Lucy replied.
“Friends like you who pretend to be real but are haters all the while.”
“What do you mean?” Lucy replied with an angry emoji.
“What I mean, is the details of this screenshot,” Bella then sent the screenshot.
Lucy started typing to reply. She typed for a considerable amount of time. All the while, Bella was waiting to see what Lucy had to say after it was obvious that her friend had been fake. Lucy stopped typing and went offline. A few seconds passed, and Lucy called. Bella was too angry to pick, and she waited for the ring to stop and what sapped her, “Just text, I can’t talk right now.”
“I am sorry.”
“It’s okay. Though this is the end of our friendship.”
To Bella, that was the end of their friendship.
She won the competition and was awarded the funds which she used to start her business. Winning proved to her that ditching her long-time friend was a good decision.
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