Leyla screamed as she delivered the second baby, she sobbed as she rested her back on the bed. She had spent long hours in labour and all for nothing. The twin girls crying inside the delivery room of the maternity home weren’t hers. She’d just carried them in her womb but they didn’t have her blood flowing in their veins.

The midwife held each child in her arms and sat on the bed beside her, showing her the babies.

“They are beautiful girls…you have beautiful daughters.” She said.

Leyla wanted to weep, she wanted to cry so hard and tear her gaze from the babies but she couldn’t. The babies were hers. Why did life have to be so unfair? She thought.

“I’ll get them dressed and bring them to you in the room.” The midwife said.

She watched her take her children away and she was surprised to feel tears tickle down the corner of her eyes. An hour later, she was taken to the room and there, her brother, Jacob and her sister, Mabel, waited in apprehension.

As soon as she was helped into the bed and the nurse had left, Jacob spoke.

“I spoke to Lionel…he’s on his way.”

Leyla shut her eyes in pain.

“Are you okay? Leyla!” Mabel asked in concern.

“The babies…they are mine, right? They are mine…” Leyla sobbed.

“No, they are not yours. You are just the surrogate mother and that’s all.” Jacob said.

“After all I’ve put Lionel and Camilla through, are you sure they aren’t coming with the police? Remember that I disappeared without a trace and I…” Leyla started.

“I warned Lionel that if we saw the police, he’d never see his child again.” Jacob said.

“Wait…you didn’t tell him that they are twins?” Leyla asked.

“No, it skipped my mind…I mean…I thought he already knew.” Jacob said.

“They don’t know that there are two babies instead of one.” Leyla said.

Jacob’s eyes brightened.

“Smart move!”

“What do you mean by that?” Mabel asked.

“We’ve been extorting money from the couple for one child, why don’t we ask for an extra sum for the second baby?” Jacob said.

“How possible is that?” Mabel asked.

“We could hide the second baby and let them take the first one and after a while, we send them a message telling them that the babies are two and not one. They will be forced to pay us another huge sum.” Jacob said with eyes wide.

“Look, that doesn’t sound good…I don’t want to be a part of it.” Mabel said.

“You’ve always been a chicken.” Jacob said.

“I agree with you…why don’t I keep one baby and maybe after a few weeks, we can ask Lionel and his wife for an extra sum for the second baby?” Leyla said.

Jacob’s eyes brightened.

“That’s my girl!” He said.

Leyla opened her eyes and squinted at the light in the hospital room, her body ached and the pain she was feeling, took her back to the time she’d given birth to Ashanti and her twin sister. Why was she recalling the events of the past? Why was it coming back to haunt her? She wondered. She groaned and attempted to sit up but needle-like pricks shot up her spine.

The door opened and Ashanti rushed in, she was crying.

“Mommy…. mommmy…” She cried, hugging her fiercely.

“Darling…how are you?” Leyla asked.

“How are you mom? What happened?”

“I don’t know…it’s all foggy…” Leyla said.

Ashanti gave her a concerned look.

“Don’t die please…please…I don’t have anyone else in the world if you die.” Ashanti cried.

“Shh…stop it darling, I’m not going anywhere.” Leyla said.

“But what if…what if something terrible had happened to you? What would happen to me? I don’t have a dad or siblings or anyone…just you mum…”

“You have an uncle who loves you and an aunt and granny…”

“They are not enough! I just don’t want you to scare me like this again, ever!” Ashanti cried, hugging her mother tight.

Jacob appeared at the doorway, he walked in.

“Leyla, what in the world happened to you?” He asked.

“I really don’t know…I just found myself here…and my body hurts…” Leyla said.

“Rebecca called me to relay the news and I rushed here from work.” Jacob said to Leyla, then addressing his niece, he said. “Did aunt Rebecca accompany you here?”

Ashanti shook her head.

“She told Jubril to bring me…”

“Darling, can you get me a bottle of water? Do you have any money with you?” Leyla asked.

Ashanti nodded, still with tears in her eyes.

“Good…just get me a bottle of water, okay.”

Ashanti nodded and left the hospital room. As soon as she was gone, Jacob sat on the bed beside his sister.

“I know you feel like crap but I have news for you.” He said.

Leyla looked at him, her vision was quite blurry and her head pounded.

“What is it?”

“Lionel and his wife have moved back to Nigeria. They are currently living in my boss’s estate and guess what? Their daughter, is the exact replica of Ashanti.”

Leyla’s eyes widened. Is this what the sudden sense of dejavu was trying to tell her?

“Wha…what?” She echoed.

“From the looks of it, they’ve settled here and we both know that we live in a small world. I am scared that one day, the girls would find eachother. Blood is thicker than water, right? Plus, they are twins so, there could be some sort of magnetic force and…”

“That’s ridiculous, Jacob! They live far from us and Ashanti attends a boarding school in Oyo state. There’s no way that they’ll ever bump into each other.”

“Don’t you see what I’m telling you? They will grow up here in the same country and one day…just one day…”

“Stop it Jacob! What do you want me to do? Give Ashanti back to Lionel and Camilla?”

“Yes! Give her back but attach a price to it. Let’s do it the exact same way we did when we gave them the first baby. Let’s tell them not to get the police involved and exhort money from them. Do you know that we can ask for as much as fifty million naira?”

“I am not giving my daughter to anyone and that’s final!”

“She’s not your daughter…you held on to her with the initial plans of getting money from her parents but chickened out when you suddenly grew to love her.”

“She is my daughter, I gave birth to her…I carried her in my womb…” Leyla spat hotly.

“Well…suit yourself but I promise you that they will find out. It’s best that you use this medium to get enough money and maybe leave the country because if they charge you to court, you might end up in jail.”

“Do you think I’ve not done my research? In various parts of the world, surrogate mothers have more rights to the children than the real parents and they can decide to hold on to the kids. Remember that when we did the whole surrogate thing, it wasn’t really recognized in the country so, I was flown abroad for the process. What proof can they give? They have nothing whatsoever to throw me in jail. Nothing!”

The door opened and Ashanti walks in with the bottle of water.

“Mom, here’s your water…” She said.

Leyla and Jacob looked at Ashanti, they were unnerved.

******

Amelia typed into her tablet and smiles, Suave was so funny. He was already talking about a relationship.

“Don’t tell me you’ve never had a boyfriend before…” He typed.

“Nope…” She typed.

“Are you serious? So, like…you’re a virgin…or am I mistaken?”

“That’s a personal question.” She typed.

“I’m sorry, I just want to get to know you…” He typed.

“So, are you still coming for my party?” She typed.

“Sure…what time does the party start?”

“From about twelve noon…” She typed.

“LOLLLLLL…. are you having a children’s party?” He typed.

“What?” She typed.

“Children’s parties start from twelve noon…”

“I’m not a child.” She typed.

“Hmmm…your party should start at seven or eight till midnight or thereabout.”

“Huh? Midnight? My parents would rather die than let me have my party till that time besides, no one would attend because my friend’s parents wouldn’t let them come.”

“Your friends must be boring…” He typed.

“You’re twenty, right?”

“Yes ma’am.” He typed.

“How did you celebrate your eighteenth birthday?” She typed.

“It was a madt night…party started at ten pm and went on till dawn.” He typed.

“What did your parents say to that?”

“My folks? It’s none of their business. I’m not a child anymore.” He typed.

“But you had your party in your house, right? How did they feel, having your friends around all through the night?”

“I stopped having my parties at home since I was sixteen…”

“Where do you have your parties then?” She typed.

“At the club…I shut it down and let the booze roll.” He typed.

“Booze? You serve alcohol at your party?” She typed.

“Wait…don’t tell me you’re serving soft drinks and fruit juice or I might just change my mind.” He typed.

“No…I mean…it’s my parents place so they don’t allow booze but we can smuggle…”

“That sounds better…” He typed.

“So, you’re coming for the party?”

“Yup! Only if you allow me treat you to something special after the party.” He typed.

“Treat me? Really?” She typed and blushed.

“Yea…I’d like to show you the real world. You’re eighteen…my goodness! You’re not eight years old.”

“My curfew is at eight…” She typed.

“Oh, forget that…I’ll drop you off at home by midnight…” He typed.

 

To be continued next week…

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