I shot off my bed in fright and clutched the bed covers to my chest, I stared into the darkness wondering why I was suddenly having nightmares. I took in deep breaths and exhaled, then got off my bed and walked over to turn on the lights. I looked around the room to be sure that the man who’d plagued my dreams wasn’t there, and then I opened the wardrobe to check if he was in there but he wasn’t. There was no one in my room with me. I was only hallucinating, I told myself.

Ever since the night I desperately tried to forget, I have been having nightmares and even though my dreadful experience was six months ago, the dreams haunted me, each and every night.

I stepped out of my room and tried to locate the kitchen, the house was quiet and the only noise I could hear was from the ceiling fans in the house. I remembered that I had a sleeping drug inside my bag, it had helped me get through the most terrible nights so, all I needed was water, to take the drug. I opened the door to the kitchen and walked to the fridge. I took out a bottle of water and just as I was about to close the fridge, I was startled by a voice.

“Can’t sleep?”

I jolted and slammed the door of the fridge to stare at the impostor, it was Kanyinsola’s dad.

“You startled me.” I said, not in the least happy that he had entered the kitchen without my knowledge.

“I’m sorry, I came for a glass of water.” He said.

I moved away from the fridge.

“You can take some water from the fridge.” I said succinctly as I turned to go.

“Wait…not so fast.” He said to me. “I was so caught up in Kanyinsola’s return that I didn’t get to speak to you.”

I looked at the man who could be my father’s age or older and I sighed. He suddenly reminded me of an old record player that was insisting that it could keep up with the new music trends.

“What do you want to know?” I asked, removing the lid of the bottle and drinking some water.

“Everything…I want to know everything about you.” He said to me.

“In this kitchen?” I asked with arched brows. “Isn’t your wife a light sleeper?”

“I’m open to go anywhere you want. If you like, we could have dinner at a posh restaurant or hang out at a bar.” He said smiling at me.

“Your wife enjoys having all the family members present at dinner. She’ll be suspicious if we both miss out on dinner at the same time.” I said.

“My wife is a goody-too-shoe. We all know she was trying to show off last night.”

“Show off? To whom?”

“To you of course. She wanted to show you how perfect our family is.” He said to me.

I laughed and he joined in.

“Are you laughing, at your wife?” I asked taking one step towards him and looking him in the eye.

“Well…she’s a queer woman.” He laughed.

“Set a date and get the dinner reservations ready, I’m game if you are.” I said as I turned towards the door and exited the kitchen.

I returned to my room feeling so repulsed. I wasn’t attracted to Kanyinsola’s father in the least. Do I need to be attracted to them in order to exact my revenge? I thought to myself.

I am getting my revenge on every man who dares to make a pass at me. I will make them pay for the sins of the men who hurt me.

I walked up to the small mirror hanging on the wall and stared at my reflection.

“This is the new you, Cleopatra, don’t mess this up.”

**************

“I don’t like that friend of yours. Doesn’t she have someplace else to stay? This house is going to be occupied within the next few months because my sister’s kids are coming for the holiday.” Kanyinsola’s mother said to her.

I stood within earshot and listened to their conversation with interest. Kanyinsola and her mother were seated on the sofa in their sitting room.

“Mum…c’mon, you like all my friends….what is wrong with Cleopatra? She’s even nicer than all my other friends.” Kanyinsola said.

“She doesn’t give good vibes.” Her mother pressed.

“Good vibes? Mum…you really don’t have a reason for not liking her.”

“I can only let her stay for two weeks after which she must leave this house. I really don’t like her.”

“Ha! Mummy! I was even hoping that my big brother would fall in love with her. How can that happen if you don’t like her.”

“Don’t you see the bleakness in her eyes? I can see something deeper lurking behind her gazes but it’s obvious that you don’t see it.”

“What is this about eyes and gazes? She is a normal girl. Are you trying to say that she’s evil?” Kanyinsola said, clearly upset.

“Listen Kanyinsola, I am the mother in this family and this is my home. I forbid you to match-make her with your brother and I want her out of this house in the next two weeks.” Her mother spat.

“Mummy, please…Cleopatra doesn’t have anywhere else to go. It will be so unfair to toss her into the streets.”

“Then, let her go back home.”

I cringed when I heard her say that and turning on my heels, I made my way back to the bedroom.

My plans to live a comfortable life away from my family was flopping in my face, I told myself as I paced the guest room of Kanyinsola’s house. Did I even have a plan? I pondered. There was no way I was returning to my parents, as far as I am concerned, they are deceased. I have a little over a hundred thousand naira in my account but that can’t do any good. Something told me that I was stupid to have closed the account where my parents used to deposit money to me but I shook the thoughts away. I had made the right decision I said to myself, I had transferred all the money in the account to three orphanages in Abuja and I had closed the account. The money in my present account was from my savings and it was already running thin.

I heard that houses in Lagos are expensive and that Landlords ask for caution fees and also agent fees. I was practically homeless and broke.

“Where do I get the money to leave this useless place?” I say aloud. “I won’t give Kanyinsola’s mum the satisfaction of throwing me out into the streets. Never!”

I heard a knock at my door and I walked over to open it. Kanyinsola walked in with a small smile on her face.

“You’ve been asleep all morning.” She said.

“Not really.” I answered.

“Errr…errm…well, I was wondering if you would like to go to Abuja for a few weeks.” She said with a shaky voice.

I didn’t respond.

“You see…my mom rented some of our guest rooms out. It sounds stupid, I know but she rented our guest rooms to complete strangers in order to make some money from it. I’d have loved you to stay in my room but my little sister is coming back from boarding school soon and we will be sharing a room and…”

I hold up my hand to silence her. I could tell from the way her voice quivered, that she was lying.

“It’s okay dear, I’m actually house hunting.”

Kanyinsola’s eyes widened.

“House hunting? When did you start?” She asked.

“Today.” I said. “I contacted an agent and this evening, I’ll be meeting him up for dinner to discuss the kind of house I want.”

“That’s good.” She said with a smile. “I am so proud of you.”

“Could you loan me your phone for a bit? Mine is acting funny and I want to call my agent.”

“Sure.” She said, giving me her phone. “I’ll just go and get us some breakfast. Thanks so much for understanding.”

“Of course I understand.” I said, flashing a very fake smile at her.

Once she left the room, I scrolled through her phone for her contact’s list. I found what I was looking for as she’d stored the contact number I so desperately wanted with the name ‘daddy’. Taking my phone, I copied the number and saved it.

“Poor Mrs. Ore….” I said with a smile as I referred to Kanyinsola’s mother. “You think you’ve succeeded in getting rid of me. Yes, you have but guess whose money I’m going to use to get a new apartment for myself. Your hubby’s!”

 

To be continued….

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