Amelia was so worried, she had no idea of what was going on in Lois’s house and she itched to find out. She paced the sitting room of her house in wonder.

“Stop pacing…you’re making me dizzy.” Jeff said.

“I can’t help it, Jeff. Lois’s parents are telling the girls something and we need to know what it is.”

“Face it, we’re not part of their family.” Jeff reminded.

“Of course, we are. I am Lois’s best friend.”

“Huh? You? Best friend with Lois? No way!”

“We are best friends because I’m the only friend she has here in Nigeria.”

“It’ll change soon…by the time she meets other people.”

Amelia stopped and turned to regard her brother with an angry look on her face.

“And what is the meaning of that?” She fired.

“Hey…calm down…chill…I was just kidding!” He said raising his hands in surrender.

“You don’t know how it feels do you?” She shouted.

“Hey…what did I do? I just made a careless statement and that’s all.” He said.

“You are one of the reasons I can’t ever love myself. Everyone loves you, mom, dad, even our relatives. Uncle even asked that you stay in his place and learn his business…can you imagine that? I am older than you are and I am already termed a failure because I’m fat.”

Jeff looked at his sister, he didn’t know what to say.

“Lois is the only one…who doesn’t look at me the way you all do…” She said with tears in her eyes.

“I…I’m sorry, it was a careless statement, I promise…” He said quickly.

“If your family is tired of me, why don’t they disown me and let me be?”

“Hey…sis, it’s not come to that. I don’t believe they don’t love you. Everyone loves you…I don’t know where you get these notions of yours from.”

“Whatever! I’m going to Lois’s house to see what’s going on. It’s been hours since we left there.” She said heading to the door.

“Wait for me…” Jeff said as he ran after her.

Amelia opened the door and stepped out of the house with Jeff on her heels, soon, she was at Lois’s back door. The kitchen was deserted, so they creeped into the house and made their way upstairs through the back. They were about to go to Lois’s bedroom when they heard the loud argument coming from the small sitting room upstairs. They made their way there.

Lois was barricading the door with her frame and her hands on her hips.

“Let me pass now or else!” Ashanti warned.

“What will you do? Beat me up?”

“I need to leave!” Ashanti fired. “I don’t know what your parents are up to and I blame myself for giving them the name of the hospital where my mom is confined.”

“We are staying put till my parents get back home.” Lois said firmly.

Ashanti rushed to her and tried to get past her, unfortunately for her, Amelia stepped in just in time and helped to barricade the door.

“You’re not going anywhere!” Amelia said.

“Stay out of this Amelia or you’ll regret it.” Ashanti warned.

“Why do you always like to act so irrationally. First, you were the reason you and Lois got switched up and you ended up here and she found herself at your house. Second, you were the one who barged in here looking for an explanation regarding your similarities as human beings. What else do you want? You are the one that keeps dragging Lois into one mess or the other. Aren’t you tired of causing trouble?” Amelia shouted.

“Let me out of here!” Ashanti shouted.

“Mom and dad said no one leaves until they get back.” Lois said.

“I will report you all for kidnap!” Ashanti warned.

“Ash, please calm down…” Jeff’s voice floated into the room.

Ashanti was surprised to hear Jeff’s voice.

“Jeff, is that you? Please save me…tell them to let me out!” She cried.

“Err…I mean…I would love to…but…but…” Jeff stammered.

“If you don’t do something to get me out of here, then our relationship is over!” Ashanti said.

“What?” Jeff exclaimed.

“Let go of the relationship Jeff, she doesn’t deserve you anyway!” His sister said.

“Huh?” Jeff echoed.

“Jeff!” Ashanti screamed.

“Stop blackmailing my brother. You don’t deserve someone like him.” Amelia said.

Ashanti pushed Amelia but Amelia didn’t budge, she tried to push Lois to give way but she didn’t budge either. Ashanti breathed heavily and turning on her heels, she walked into the sitting room and sat on one of the sofas.

Lois and Amelia breathed deep sighs of relief.

“Thank you.” Lois mouthed to Amelia.

“Anytime.” Amelia said with a smile.

The two girls left the door and Jeff walked into the sitting room. He kept throwing cautious glances down Ashanti’s way. Amelia and Lois closed the door and locked it with a key. Ashanti turned to look at them, she hissed.

*******

“Who are you? I don’t know who you are.” Leyla said.

“Leyla, how could you? How could you do this to us even after all we did for you?” Lois’s mother said in a broken voice. “We had two children and you gave us just…just one…”

“Leyla, you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.” Lois’s father said. “If you want a fight, we’ll give it to you but because of Ashanti and Lois, we won’t.”

Leyla looked at the couple she’d envied for so long.

“What do you want to do to me? Take me to jail? Try it! You don’t know how much my Ashanti loves me. If you do that, I promise you that you’ll never have her completely. Yes, you might claim her but truth is, she’ll never see the two of you as her parents. I have a strong influence on her.” Leyla boasted.

“So, you really did this to us. What for? Why did you take what didn’t belong to you?” Lois’s mother cried.

“She is mine. I carried those babies in my womb for nine months. I went through the morning sicknesses. I went through all the discomfort and I went through the pain of delivery and for what? Just for the two of you to come and take my babies? No way! I had to keep one of them. You should consider yourselves lucky that they were two instead of one or I’ll have taken my child and informed you that the baby died during childbirth.”

“Leyla, God will punish you for this. Karma will definitely serve you with what you deserve.” Lois’s mother cried.

“Sir, should I arrest her?” The police officer asked.

“Arrest who? Me? Where’s your warrant? Or did you just come in here because a rich man paid you to follow him?” Leyla fired at the police officer. Then, addressing Lois’s parents, she said. “Listen to me, don’t waste your precious time locking me up in jail or suing me to court because you’ll fail. Ashanti will not forgive the two of you for ridiculing her mother and by right, I am her mother because I gave birth to her and have nutured her for years.”

“You are not her mother. You were nothing but a surrogate.” Lois’s father fired.

“So? I bore the discomfort of carrying the children for nine months. Even the law will take my side. I will tell everyone at court that I loved the babies as though they were mine and that I begged you a few months before delivery for the privilege to see my kids but you refused. Let’s see who the court would believe. A woman who carried her children in the womb for nine months or the one who did nothing to deserve or earn them.”

“How could you? Leyla, you know what I’d have given to carry my babies…” Leyla cried.

“But you didn’t carry them, or did you?” Leyla fired. “Take me to court! I’d like to laugh in your faces when the law takes my side.”

Lois’s parents threw cautious glances at each other, then Lois’s father cleared his throat and said to the police officer.

“Please give us a moment.”

The officer nodded and left, Lelya stared at them in satisfaction, she had them where she wanted them. After all, she was right. She was so sure that no court would take their side after all the lies she’d concort against them. She watched the couple hold each other’s hand and her face tightened.

She had loved Ashanti’s father from the first moment she’d set her eyes on him but he’d loved his wife and no one else. This could be her little way of getting the man of her dreams, she thought.

“Now, let’s talk. I can give you Ashanti but I want something, in return.” She said.

 

To be continued…

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