Jacob stood outside the gate and waited for Leyla to come outside the house. Soon, the gate opened and she stepped out.
“You again!” She said.
“Stop pretending as though you didn’t know that I was coming.” He said.
“Look Jake, whatever it is…can we just stop arguing for once?”
“Why should we? You’re throwing your life away and you’re asking me to stop arguing with you? Forget it!” He snapped.
“Let’s walk to the park across the road.” She said and started walking.
Jacob followed her behind and soon they got to the small park where a couple of kids were playing with their nannies. Leyla sat on a bench and watched the kids.
“This is what I’ve always wanted. To watch my kids, play while their nannies do their bidding…” She said.
“Stop dreaming! Even if you were able to deceive a man to marry you, you’d have never stuck around long enough to build a family of your dreams.” He said.
“Why so pessimistic?” She asked.
“I know you want Lionel but come to think of it, he has a family. A wife and two daughters. One of which you stole from them. You are sitting on a time bomb sis and I swear it’s going to explode in your face.”
“Bomb? Me? Hehehehe…you must be joking. Camille is the one sitting on a time bomb, she better get ready because her family will be mine soon. I have a good plan up my sleeves.”
“Do you think that your daughter’s father will fall in love with you? You tried it before and it didn’t work, what makes you think it’ll work now?”
“Patience brother, patience!” She said. “Very soon, the couple will fight and I’ll step in. It’s only a matter of time.”
“Look Leyla, the best option for you is to demand a heavy price for Ashanti and leave their lives for good. They have so much money and I’m sure they’ll be willing to pay as much as ten million for their daughter.”
“Ashanti is my daughter too.” She said.
“Your daughter? Tell me, how did you raise her? Have you ever spent as long as two months with her in a row since she was born? That girl practically raised herself and you somehow brainwashed her into believing that you are her only family.”
“Say whatever you like Jacob. I am not leaving that house! The house is mine because very soon, Camille will lose everything to me.”
He looked so upset with his sister’s words.
“You just love to spoil stuff.” He whined. “Please, let’s make money with Camille and Lionel, please.”
“If you want money, I can ask Lionel for some and I’ll send to you.” She said.
“I don’t want chicken change. I am tired of feeding from hand to mouth. Mom’s medications are almost finished and her nurse is threatening to leave because we haven’t paid her in two months. I need real cash…real cash.”
She looked at him and sighed.
“What do you want to do? Dress up in a robber’s costume and rob the house?” She asked.
His eyes lightened up.
“Yes! That sounds like a plan!” He said.
“There’s strict security at the gate…I promise that even if you’re able to get in, you won’t be able to get out.” She said.
“Errr…what if I plan a kidnap of one of the girls? I can get enough from the ransom money.”
“Don’t even think of it. You’ll be playing with fire. Besides, Lionel has connections and if you’re caught, I’m not ready to go down with you.” She said.
“What then can we do?” He asked getting up from the bench and stamping his foot like a child.
The party was on in full swing but Amelia’s eyes couldn’t leave the entrance, she kept watching it like a hawk.
“Hey…aren’t you going to enjoy your own party?” Lois asked.
She turned to regard her friend.
“I haven’t seen Suave yet. He told me he was in Lagos two hours ago. What’s keeping him?”
“C’mon Amelia, this is your party…you should be having fun.” She said while sipping a glass of cocktail.
“Thanks for coming. I know how hard it must have been for you to sneak out of your house.”
“I wasn’t going to miss out on the fun of the party.” Lois said.
Amelia smiled at her and then, she saw Ashanti laugh with Jeff just outside the games area.
“That sister of yours doesn’t seem to know you’re grounded, she didn’t raise an eyebrow when she saw you here.”
“I don’t think she knows and even if she does, who cares? My parents would just ground me all over again or perhaps spank me. I really don’t care.” Lois said taking another long sip of her drink.
“I’m worried about you Lois, you seem so sad and I feel bad for you.” Amelia said.
“Don’t be…I can take care of myself. Since my folks are focusing on their…” She started.
Suddenly Amelia shrieked in delight and raced towards the entrance. Lois looked up to see a gang of about five young guys ranging from age twenty to twenty-three years enter the party arena. She stared.
Amelia rushed to hug Suave, she recognized him from his pictures on Facebook.
“Hello…oh my goodness! I was beginning to get so worried…I thought you’d never come.” She said.
Suave hugged her back.
“Wow, you look better than pictures.” He complimented.
“Thank you…” She blushed. Then, she turned around and beckoned to Lois. “I’d like you to meet my friend, Lois.”
Lois walked to meet them and shook hands with the guys, she felt a bit uneasy with the way they scrutinized her.
“Come on in…the party just started.” Amelia said breathlessly.
As Amelia and Lois led the guys to the large photobooth, Ashanti stopped talking to Jeff and turned to stare at the guys. Who were they and how did they know Lois and Amelia? She turned to look at Jeff briefly and groaned inwardly, he didn’t hold a torch to those young men, she thought.
“So, do you want to have more cocktails?” Jeff asked.
“Yea…please get me a glass.” She said.
Jeff nodded and went off to the drinks booth, Ashanti smoothened her leather shorts with her palms and patted her hair, then walked over to Amelia and her company. There was no way she was missing out of the fun. She thought.
Lois felt a bit strange with Amelia’s new friends, they had started off by taking pictures at the booth and the way Suave groped Amelia made her raise her brows. Amelia seemed to be having so much fun, and it seemed as though the guys were the reason for the party and not because it was her eighteenth birthday.
“Come…join us.” One of the guys whose name was Ticker, said to Lois.
Lois felt that Ticker was an odd name and the way he slurred his words made her think he was a bit drunk. She shook her head and gave him a polite smile. Just then, Ashanti walked to stand beside her.
“Oh my goodness! You girls are twinsies?” Suave hooted like an owl.
“Yes, we are but I’m way cooler.” Ashanti said with a smile.
Lois gave her a sour look.
“Come on…join us.” Ticker said to Ashanti.
Ashanti smiled and joined them at the photobooth, Lois watched them take pictures and from what she could see, she could tell that Ashanti had her eyes on Suave. Suave was the typical big boy, he looked no older than twenty-one but it was obvious that he had a lot of money to spend. Lois assessed him cooly, she could tell that Amelia was love-struck but there was something off and she couldn’t put her finger on it.
“Let’s do a group shot.” Suave was saying to Amelia.
They all gathered round and squeezed themselves tightly together while Lois stood her distance and watched in silence. The curtain to the booth opened and Jeff stood there holding two glasses of drinks.
“Oh…here she is…” He started, referring to Ashanti.
When the picture taking was done, Jeff walked to meet Ashanti but she was laughing at what Ticker was saying that she didn’t notice Jeff.
“Ash, here’s your drink.” Jeff was saying to her.
“Who’s the pest?” Ticker asked Ashanti, referring to Jeff.
Ashanti smiled at him and said nothing. Jeff grew mad.
“I’m her boyfriend, you good for nothing!” He yelled.
Ticker looked at Jeff and had a good laugh.
“Don’t tell me you date babies.” He said to Ashanti.
Jeff quickly punched him in the jaw and Ticker rubbed his jaw slightly and laughed and just when Jeff didn’t expect it, he swung at him and gave him a loud blow to his face that knocked him out. Lois was alarmed, she rushed to Jeff’s side.
“What are you doing? What do you think you’re doing?” Lois screamed at Ticker.
Amelia seemed to wake up from her infatuation with Suave, she rushed to Jeff’s side.
“Oh, my goodness! What happened?” She asked.
“Ticker punched Jeff.” Lois said.
“What? What’s going to happen now? Mom and dad…they…they’re going to get mad. This is a non-violent area…” She babbled.
Suave walked up to them and took Amelia’s arm.
“Are you ready? Let’s go.” He said.
“But my brother…” She started.
“She’ll take care of him.” He said, referring to Lois.
“I…I…” She stammered.
“This party is boring…and I really would like us to chill.” He started. “Do you want to come with me or not? Remember I came to Lagos because of you.”
Amelia looked at Jeff and then, at Suave, then she nodded. Lois was alarmed.
“Amelia…your brother!” She started.
“Take care of him Lois…. I’ll be back soon.” She said.
“This is your party Amelia, you haven’t even cut the cake yet.” Lois said frantically.
“Cut it on my behalf…” Amelia said clinging to Suave as though hanging onto life itself.
“I’ll come with you guys.” Ashanti said with a smile.
“Huh? He’s your boyfriend, isn’t he?” Lois asked Ashanti.
“I dumped him long ago.” She said, then taking Ticker’s arm, she walked out of the large photo-booth.
Lois watched in dismay as everyone walked away, leaving her alone in the booth with an unconscious Jeff.
To be continued….