Hey dears,

I am sorry to inform you all that I won’t be putting up any new posts till Friday (God Willing) I have exams this week to prepare for. Please please please bear with me. I apologize for any inconvenience.

God bless you all.

*****

Lois watched her mother make series of attempts in bonding with Ashanti over the past week to no avail. She was upset over the recent developments at home and really wanted some time alone with her family. Even though she and Ashanti looked so much alike, they weren’t alike at all. Ashanti was rude and very impolite, and sometimes, she snubbed her mother, to her greatest chagrin, just the way she did today.

“Honey, c’mon…we need to understand her.” Lois’s mother was saying to her.

“Understand her? Why? She’s not a child. If she doesn’t want crossaints, she should get into the kitchen and prepare another breakfast for herself…. mtcheeww.” Lois hissed.

“You should remember that the two of you are sisters.” Her mother said.

“And what of that mother of hers. She keeps ordering the maids about and lazing around the house. What of the swimwear she wore yesterday, I could see everything mom…every…THING!” Lois said in desperation.

Her mother sighed. Leyla was really a nuisance, she’d stayed in their house for a little over a week already and it seemed as though she’s been with them for a decade. They couldn’t wait to see her to go even though that seemed like hoping for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.

“Don’t worry cupcake, in no time, Ashanti will not need Leyla and things will get back to normal around here.”

“When will that be, exactly?” Lois asked.

“All that’s needed is patience my love. We need to be patient and…”

“And what mom? Can’t you see that Ashanti and her mother are like twins? Ashanti can never leave her mother and that mother of hers can never leave Ashanti.” Lois whined.

Her mother got upset.

“Lois, this is unlike you. Why are you suddenly so selfish? What do you want me to do about the situation? Leave Ashanti? Forget about her? She’s my daughter too just as you are. You of all people should be supportive of the fact that we allowed Leyla and Ashanti to live here because not only is she your sister, she’s your twin sister at that!” Her mother said angrily and stormed out of the kitchen.

“What did I say wrong?” Lois asked aloud.

Since Ashanti stepped her foot inside their house, Lois has been trying to play nice to her but everytime she saw the way her twin sister ridiculed her parents and insulted them, she felt very angry.

“I guess I’ll stop defending them!” She swore under her breath. “If they want Ashanti to ride them like cows, then so be it!”

She walked out of the kitchen through the back door and stopped when she saw Ashanti and Leyla at the pool.

“The pool again? That woman swam last night and now she’s swimming again this morning?” She said aloud.

As she stood there and stared, the maid bustled past with a tray of drinks, she hurried over to Leyla.

“What do we run in this house? A hotel service?” Lois spat as she walked towards Ashanti and her mother.

Leyla turned and looked at Lois and smiled.

“Hey second daughter…” She said.

“Aren’t you tired of swimming? You could catch a cold you know, besides, it’s early in the morning.” Lois said.

“Oh…that’s not a problem.” Leyla said to her with a smile.

“Amelia’s birthday is, tomorrow right?” Ashanti asked.

“Yea…” Lois replied.

“I see the two of you are getting pretty close, I hope you haven’t forgotten that Jeff is my boyfriend and not yours so, you shouldn’t suck up to his sister to get noticed.” Ashanti said.

Lois looked at her and almost groaned aloud. She was very angry.

“I am not interested in having a boyfriend.” She said. “I’m not old enough.”

“Oh…” Ashanti said, giving her a once over. “We might look alike but I definitely have better style than you and I am more attractive. I understand if boys are not attracted to you.”

Leyla chuckled.

“Come on girls, enough with the arguments.” She said.

“Mom, admit it…I’m prettier than Lois…”

Leyla gave Lois a long look.

“Hmmm…well, if she ditches her glasses and relax her poise and also change her horrid wardrobe, she’ll look a bit as pretty as you are.” Leyla said.

“Haha…she won’t even come close, mom.” Ashanti rolled her eyes.

Leyla stood there and watched them assess her, she felt hurt and a little betrayed, perhaps by the fact that her replica and supposedly a girl who she shared a womb with, referred to her in such condenscending manner.

She was thinking of the right words to say inorder to put Ashanti and her mother in their place when she heard her mother’s voice from behind.

“I see you guys are having a conversation. Mind if I join?” She asked breathelessly.

Ashanti and her mother exchanged looks. Leyla slipped into the pool and began to swim, Ashanti picked a glass of cold juice and sipped.

“Oh…I guess I came in late.” Lois’s mother said with a quick smile. “Errm…Ashanti, we’ve not got the chance to errr…shop together. We were supposed to do it on Monday but…”

“Oh…that…I dunno.” Ashanti said.

“The three of us, Lois, you and I, should go out today to shop and then have a lunch break afterwards.” Camille said. “It’ll be fun.”

“We’ll have to go with my mom.” Ashanti said.

Lois’s mother looked disappointed.

“Ashanti, we haven’t had the time to bond. You and I.” She said.

“We’ve bonded before. Don’t you remember that Lois and I told you about that time we switched places? I was with you and your husband for one day.” Ashanti said.

“I thought we agreed you’ll call us mom and dad, just like Lois.” Camille said with a smile.

“Errm…well…since I don’t have a dad, I can call Lois’s dad, DAD, but since I already call, Leyla, MOM, don’t you think it’s a bit weird to have two mums? I’m okay with one mother.” Ashanti said.

Lois could see that her mother was hurt by Ashanti’s words.

“If it’ll help, I could call your mom, MOM, so that you aren’t the only one who feels weird about having two moms.” Lois said.

Ashanti gave her a hostile glare.

“I dunnooo…” She started.

“Think of it…no pressure but…I’d like it if you can call us mom and dad, besides we are your real parents…” Camille said.

Ashanti shrugged.

“So, what about the shopping for today?” Lois’s mother asked.

“Sure thing…but my mom has to come along…” Ashanti said.

Lois’s mother was hesitant.

“Don’t you think…” She started.

“Look, my mom has to come and that’s my condition. If you don’t want her to join, then…”

“It’s okay…” Lois’s mother said with a smile.

“I have to go to Amelia’s place…she needs me.” Lois quickly interjected. She was growing annoyed with her mother’s pleas and Ashanti’s insolence.

“But honey…” Her mother started.

“We’ve bonded a lot mom, your other daughter needs you.” Lois said and walked away.

********

Leyla swam out of the pool and towelled herself dry; things weren’t going as she planned and she was beginning to grow frustrated. Lionel seemed to be some kind of a rock, he didn’t even pay her attention even when she paraded about the house, half-naked. She thought of her brother’s anger when he found out that Lionel and his wife had found out the whole truth. She knew he’d wanted to exhort money from them and now that she was living with Lionel and Camille, he was begging her to buy into his plans. She knew that she could exhort millions from Ashanti’s biological parents but she wanted more than that. Seeing Lionel again, had made her crave for a family, a husband to call her own and children. She had never loved anyone as much as she’s loved Lionel and even though he’d never really been her friend, he was a man she wanted so much for her own.  She was still deep in her thoughts when Ashanti walked to meet her.

“I saw you talking to that dry-faced woman…what was she saying to you?” Leyla asked referring to Camille.

“She wants us to go shopping. Mom, can I go please? I need new things…” Ashanti pleaded.

“What did you tell her?”

“I told her that I couldn’t go without you.”

“Good. Now, you’re going to tell her to transfer the money to my account so that we can shop together.” Leyla said.

“She said she wants us to bond.” Ashanti said.

“Bond? Ash, are you growing soft? These people are like leeches, and before you know it, their claws will sink deep into your flesh. Do you think that because she wants to bond with you, that means that she’s going to love you like Lois? Never! Lois is already the first lady of this house. Don’t you see her pictures everywhere? Last night during dinner, didn’t you hear her take her dad’s call and speak with a business partner of his? Darling, these people just want to add a feather to their cap by taking you in. You will never be treated like Lois and they’ll never love you as much as they love her.”

Ashanti looked at her mother, tears welled up in her eyes.

“You’re right mom. I’m not interested in spending time with her at the mall if all she’ll do there is think of Lois or pretend that I am Lois.”

“Good. We are a team. We are the only family we have. My brother and sister and even my mom are not part of my family. You are the only family I’ve got. Don’t forget that.” Her mother said.

“Yes mom, you are the only family I’ve got too and I’ll never forget that.” Ashanti said.

Leyla held open her arms and Ashanti hugged her. While they hugged, Camille watched through the window and began to cry.

*******

“I hate it! I hate it! I hate it!” Lois spat as she paced Amelia’s sitting room.

“Hey…calm down…” Amelia said as she flipped through the photos on her tablet while the party planner sat beside her and took down some notes.

“It’s not fair! I’m not jealous of Ashanti but even my mom thinks I am. Why can’t they see that I am just trying to protect them? Ashanti doesn’t like them and I can see it in her eyes.”

“Don’t you think this could be the fault of aunt Leyla? I feel she’s somehow influencing Ashanti.” Amelia said.

“Ashanti doesn’t need anyone to influence her. She’s stubborn, rude and very annoying.”

“Come to think of it, would you like it if your parents forget that they have a second child and decide not to try to claim her?” Amelia asked.

Lois looked at her and said nothing.

“See? There’s no way you’d be happy if your sister is not living with you guys or if your parents do not acknowledge her.” Amelia said.

“You’re right but…she’s beem insulting my parents…” Lois said with tears in her eyes.

“She was brought up by someone different. For the past fifteen years, she’s been a part of another family. She’s definitely going to reflect whatever values they taught her.”

“You’re right…it’s just that everything is so messed up.” Lois said, taking a seat beside her friend and picking up one of the party confettis. “My only light at the end of the tunnel is this party of yours which comes up tomorrow.”

“Whooo hooo…I’m turning eighteen!” Amelia screamed in delight. Then she whispered. “Plus, Suave is arriving Lagos today…OMG!”

Lois looked at her and giggled.

“So, are we game for tomorrow night?” Amelia asked.

“You know what? My parents are busy trying to gain their other daughter’s affection. My mom doesn’t even come to my room at nights anymore. I guess it’s alright to throw caution in the wind and go with the flow. I’m in!” She said with a smile.

“Yay! We’re going to paint da TOWNNNNN!” Amelia shrieked and jumped to her feet to do a bit of dancing.

Lois laughed as she watched Amelia dance, now, here was her light at the end of the tunnel. She thought.

To be continued…

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