The party was in a chaos, the birthday girl was nowhere to be found, her brother was lying on the sofa in the house with an icepack on his jaw.
“What happened? Where’s Amelia?” Amelia’s mother yelled at no one in particular.
How could Lois tell her that Amelia had run off with a guy she’d met on Facebook. Lois groaned, she wanted to scream in frustration. Not only did Amelia leave with Suave and his friends, Ashanti left too. The best thing for her to do was to leave the party without a trace.
“You’re one of the twins from the house next door, am I correct?” Amelia’s mother asked.
Lois nodded numbly, grateful that the woman couldn’t tell the difference between her and her sister.
“Are you the one who’s closer to Amelia?” She asked.
Lois shook her head, at this point, she had to pretend that she was Ashanti so that she could sneak back into her house.
“Where’s your twin? Did she also disappear with my daughter?” Amelia’s mother’s voice resounded.
Lois’s eyes widened, she had just told a lie which could drag her into a deeper fix.
“My twin…errr…err…” Lois started wondering what lies to come up with. If she told Amelia’s mother that she had left with Amelia, then her parents might get involved in this. When Amelia had decided to go with Suave after the party, she had told her that her parents would be out for a dinner party so it would be easy to sneak out and in but there’s been a change of plans and instead of leaving with Suave after the party, Amelia had left with Suave during the party and her sister had been silly enough to go with them.
“I have spoken to the men at the gate ma, they said that since there’s a party happening in your house, they were instructed to let anyone in.” Amelia’s mother’s driver said.
“What? How could they?” Amelia’s mother yelled.
Lois looked around and quietly snuck away, she wanted to stay and check on Jeff but she couldn’t. She was at the risk of getting caught and it was all Amelia’s fault. She shook her head at the thought of what had happened earlier. Amelia had left her brother who was unconscious and had hurried off with Suave. Lois had no choice but to call for help and Jeff had been quick to relay information on what had happened.
What should she do? She thought. She was the only one who had an idea of who Suave was, at least, the little she knew was his Facebook name and that he lived in Abuja and that he schooled abroad. She knew nothing else and she was sure that Amelia also didn’t know anything about him either. Silently, she was thankful that she wasn’t allowed to use Facebook yet.
She was about slipping out of the house when the security man stopped her.
“You can’t leave the premises.” He said.
“But…I need to go home. My house is next door.” She said.
“The instruction is that no one leaves the premises.” He said firmly.
Lois groaned and closed her eyes in pain. She quickly brought out her phone and dialed Amelia’s number. It rang for a while but she didn’t answer the phone. Grudgingly, she dialed Ashanti’s.
“Hello.” Ashanti’s annoying voice floated through.
“She’s in the other car with Suave.” Ashanti said.
“Can I speak with her? She left the party in chaos and her mother is about to go ballistic.”
“How’s that my business?”
“Where are you guys?” Lois asked.
“We’re still on the Island.” Ashanti said.
“Where exactly are you guys?” Lois asked again.
“Do you want to come with us? Is that your plan?”
“No! I just want to know where you guys are. Come to think of it Ash, you are with strangers! What if those guys are kidnappers or ritualists?”
Ashanti laughed and Lois could hear her say what she’d just said to her companions. She heard a roar of laughter.
“Please, tell me, where are you guys?” Lois asked.
“We’re just around Sunbar which has large lights, I really can’t…see the name…err…”
The phone went dead. Lois panicked. She looked at the security and turned to look at Amelia’s mother who was pacing the party grounds, frantic with worry. It was either one of two options. Leave now and pretend that she never smelt the party or go to Amelia’s mother and tell her where her daughter was, and at the end of the day, get busted and also receive a firm reprimanding from her parents. She quickly turned around and ran towards Amelia’s mother.
“I think…I think…I know where they went.” Lois said.
Amelia’s mother looked at her in gratitude, she was relieved.
Amelia sat in the car and wished that Lois was here with her. Suave’s friend drove the car and she sat at the back with Suave and one of his friends. The guys were smoking and drinking and the air in the car was congested and smelt of smoke.
“Can you…stop…smoking…for a while?” She asked, as she struggled to breathe.
“Hey…don’t be a killjoy.” Suave said to her, blowing another ring of smoke in her direction.
Amelia was asthmatic although she hadn’t experienced any asthmatic bouts this year. The smoke was getting to her and she could hardly breathe.
“I’m getting choked…up…” She said.
Suave’s friend drove faster while the insides of the car turned grey with smoke.
“Guy, you told us that this girl is down for fun, why is she crying like a baby?” Suave’s friend asked.
“Hey…you’re pissing my friends off.” Suave spat at her.
“I’m dying here…” Amelia said, coughing hard.
“What’s in a smoke? It’s just ordinary cigarettes and not weed. Why are you so uncomfortable?”
“I’m asthmatic.” She said quickly.
The car screeched and halted.
“Huh? No one’s dying in my car…get out!” Suave’s friend at the driver’s seat said.
Amelia tried to drag in a long breath but felt a tightening in her chest.
“Are you with your inhaler?” Suave asked in a panic.
“It’s at home. We left straight from the photo booth remember?” Amelia said, finding it difficult to speak.
“Get down from my car!” Suave’s friend barked.
“Hey…calm down…” Suave shouted at his friend.
“Look Suave, my dad’s strict and he’ll definitely let the police lock me up if something bad happens. Get her out of the car now!” He said.
Amelia listened to them in shock.
“But how would I get back home? Why would you drop…me off…here?” She asked, still finding it difficult to breathe.
“Get out now!” The guy shouted.
“You need to get off now.” Suave said quickly. “This is my friend’s car and …and I don’t want any problems. I hope you understand.”
Amelia stared at Suave and at the three other guys. She was shocked.
“What? You have ruined my party Suave! How dare you? I invited you to my party and you whisked me out of the venue…”
“Tell your friend to get out!” Suave’s friend yelled.
“You guys have…to take me back…home…” She said with tears in her eyes as she thought of how she’d ruined her eighteenth birthday party.
The guy at the right side on the back seat of the car got out, holding the door wide for her to alight.
Suave looked away. Amelia stepped out of the car and watched as the other guy got back in and they drove off.
She couldn’t believe what had just happened.
“Lois is not in her room!” Camille exclaimed in disbelief to her husband.
“How? What do you mean by that?” He asked.
“I wanted to tell her that she can go to the party but I found her room locked. I knocked for a while but when she didn’t answer, I opened the door with the spare key and she’s not there.”
“What? That’s unlike her! Do you mean she disobeyed us?” Lionel asked his wife.
“Lois has changed overnight!” His wife said. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw her room empty. She went to the party even after we’d grounded her.”
“I’m going to that party and I’m dragging her back here by the ears.” Her mother said.
“I’m coming with you….I’ll just go and change.” Lois’s father said.
Lois’s father was mad with fury, he quickly stormed into his bedroom to change his clothes.
“I’ll go to the party venue, I’ll wait for you there.” His wife called out as she hurried out of the small sitting room upstairs.
As soon as she left, Leyla snuck into the sitting room and quietly made her way into the master bedroom. Lionel was wearing his shirt when she stepped in.
“Hey you…” She said with a smile.
He looked surprised to see her.
“What do you want? Why didn’t you knock?” He said through grit teeth.
“I keep wondering why you let Camille fill your head with rubbish. Lois is a smart young girl. She left her room and went for the party, so? She’s not the first teenager to disobey her parents. Must you go to the party to embarrass her? That would only make you the enemy.”
“What do you know about parenting? You raised Ashanti to be very ill-mannered and rude.” He spat.
“She’s bolder and more confident than Lois will ever be. I admit, I’ve not been the perfect mother but who has? Lois desperately wanted to go for this party but what happened? You guys grounded her for what? Bickering with her sister? You have siblings just as I do and I know that as kids, siblings have issues with each other. You shouldn’t punish one without punishing the other and since you punished Lois and allowed Ashanti go for the party, you made it seem as though you are taking sides with Ashanti.”
Lionel looked at Leyla, she seemed to have a point.
“I am Lois’s mother too, besides, I carried her in my womb for nine months and I love her too. Why don’t you wait till she gets back before scolding her instead of barging into a teenager’s party and ruin the whole day for her and also for her friends?”
He gave her a grudging look.
“You have a point.” He said.
“You see? I’m not as bad as Camille says I am. I am actually here for the good of this family. I know that I wronged you guys but please think of my feelings as well. You couldn’t expect me to carry babies in my womb and love them like my own and then, give them up as though they mean nothing to me. I want to make amends and return what rightfully belongs to you but I would like to do so in a peaceful atmosphere. I want everyone to be happy with one another and the best way is to avoid stepping on toes. If you embarrass Lois at the party, she’ll grow more resentful of Ashanti and that’s not what we want.” Leyla said, happy to see her point sink in. “I’ll see you during dinner.” She said and left.
As she left the room, her plan began to take shape in her mind. Now that Camille was slowly turning into her daughter’s own enemy, she could find her way into the crack and be the mother Lois craved to have. She couldn’t wait for Camille to build the bridge so she could cross over to Lois’s side.
To be continued…