“What’s going on here? Lois! What is happening?”

Lois stood there and stared at her mother, she was tongue-tied. Amelia’s mother ended her call and spoke to Camille.

“Hello, I’m Amelia’s mother. Apparently, my daughter left with a group of unknown friends and Lois is helping me find her. She left with your other daughter…”

“What? Lois! Ashanti left with Amelia? What in the world is wrong with you?” Her mother yelled.

Lois didn’t speak, she never spoke whenever her mother got this mad even though today, her anger was definitely on another level.

“Are you dumb? Can’t you speak?” She shouted.

“I…I’m sorry mom, I couldn’t stop them…” Lois started.

Her mother stormed to her side and gave her two hard slaps on her cheeks.

“This is what you get for being jealous of your sister and also for not stopping her from going out. What were you trying to prove to all of us? That you’re the better twin or what? What’s more, you’re supposed to be grounded. This party was off limits for you but here you are. You disrespected us!”

Lois started to cry. Amelia’s mother spoke to Camille.

“In as much as I do not want to stand in your way while you discipline your daughter, I’d like her to join me as I go search for mine.”

Camille looked at Lois and then at Amelia’s mother and said.

“That’s fine…my other daughter is with Amelia…I’d also like to come with you guys.”

“I’d have loved that but the car is full. My driver is coming with us and there’ll be two spaces left in the car. If you join us, there’ll be no sitting space for my daughter and yours.”

“You’re right…I’ll wait here….” Camille said.

Amelia’s mother nodded and beckoned to Lois who followed her to the car with her head bowed.

The party was still on but it wasn’t fun as the celebrant wasn’t there. Jeff stood in for his sister but the blow to his face was making him quite dizzy and the ice pack was doing nothing to help it.

 

********

Amelia walked down the road, she had no idea of where she was headed. She noticed people’s stares and who wouldn’t stare? She was a sight. Her face was heavily made-up and her dress was a long flowing gown which bore close resemblance to a wedding gown although it was in gold and black. She looked like a stranded party girl.

“God, please…not on my birthday…please…” She sobbed as she walked down the road, wondering how to get home.

She was quite familiar with the area, it seemed to be close to the market where the housekeeper shopped for foodstuff, she knew the place because she sometimes accompanied her there whenever she was bored. She looked around for a yellow taxi and saw none, the area was quite bare as people made their way down the road with their destinations in mind. Luckily, she wasn’t finding it difficult breathing. If she’d stayed in the car longer, the smoke might have triggered her asthma.

“What did I get myself into?” She sighed. “I left my friends at my birthday party for a fool’s dream. What is wrong with me?”

She was still walking down the road under the heat of the sun when she saw a familiar looking car skid to a stop beside her. Her mother stepped out of the car and hurried to her. She was stunned. Her mother hugged her and when she came to her senses, she gave her a loud slap on her cheek.

“What in the world is wrong with you?” She yelled.

“I’m sorry mom…it was a mistake.” She cried.

“Your father and I, spent a lot of money in making your birthday party a success and how do you pay us? By fleeing the party! You should count yourself lucky that he’s not in town. If he were, you’d have received a good spanking.”

“I’m sorry mom, please don’t tell dad.”

“Who are those friends of yours, anyway? Who are they?”

“They are friends from school.” She lied. “One of my friends brought his new car to the party and he wanted to take me out for a short spin. I felt it was harmless so I joined him. He promised that we’ll just circle the estate, that’s why I went ahead, only for him to come this far. I had to demand to be dropped off by the roadside because I had to get back to my birthday party. I’m sorry mom.”

Her mother looked at her, she seemed to believe her explanations.

“Get into the car.” She said.

Amelia walked to the car, she saw Lois standing beside the car, she didn’t look too happy.

“Lois…” She started.

“Where’s Ashanti?” Lois asked, sounding glum.

“Ashanti? I don’t know…she joined the other car.” She whispered. “Look, don’t say anything that would implicate me further, okay. My mom doesn’t know the truth.”

They all got into the car and the driver drove away.

 

*******

Lois stepped into her house like a thief in the night, she was so afraid. Amelia hadn’t told her where Ashanti was and she knew that her mother would yell at her again and perhaps punish her. She hopped with all her heart that Ashanti was already back home. She had just stepped into the house when Leyla walked in from the kitchen area.

“Where’s Ashanti?” She asked.

Lois burst into tears. Leyla rushed to her and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

“What happened? Where’s Ashanti?”

“I don’t know…” Lois cried. “Amelia doesn’t know where she is, too.”

“How come? Didn’t she leave with Amelia? That’s what your mother said.” Leyla asked, sounding slightly worried.

Lois nodded. At that moment, Camille and Lionel walked in.

“Where’s Ashanti?” Camille asked.

“I don’t know mom…I don’t think she joined Amelia…” Lois started.

Camille looked ready to burst.

“What? You came home without your sister?”

“I didn’t know where to look for her. We saw Amelia on the side of the road because we followed the direction that Ashanti gave us when I called her earlier…” Lois started.

Her mother lunged at her. Leyla stood as a protective shield, shielding Lois from her mother.

“Stop it Camille! Beating Lois won’t solve any problem. Ashanti made the decision of going with Amelia’s friends, and Lois shouldn’t be blamed for it.”

“And why not? I trained my daughter to be smart and wise enough to step into situations. She shouldn’t have stood there waiting for her sister to make a mistake but she should have stepped in to stop her from going with them.” Camille yelled.

“I tried to speak to Ashanti but she didn’t want to listen to me…” Lois cried.

“That’s not true. You’ve been looking for ways to dispose of your sister for a very long time. I do not doubt that you wanted this to happen. Alright, now, she’s missing, I’m sure your happy!”

“I’m not happy about that mom. It hurts to hear you speak to me like this. Why are you treating me this way. It’s unfair!” Lois cried.

“Shut up and go look for your sister! I won’t let you inside this house if your sister doesn’t show up!”

“What is she? The police? Watch your tone with Lois, Camille! She’s my daughter too because I carried her in my womb. I know I didn’t raise her but if I did, I won’t make her feel this way. Ashanti made a decision and Lois couldn’t stop her. What’s the matter with you?”

“How dare you compare me with you? How dare you tell me that you’d have taken Lois too? Who do you think you are? You are not my children’s mother. You are nothing but a surrogate, do not forget that!” Camille thundered.

Lois’s father cleared his throat, he hadn’t spoken all the while.

“Shouting and yelling at each other will solve nothing. Leyla is right, Ashanti made her own decision and there was nothing Lois could do to stop it. Our first step is to try to contact Ashanti to know where she is.” He said.

His wife turned to look at him, she looked crushed.

“You’re taking her side over mine?” She asked.

“It doesn’t matter whose side I’m on. The most important thing now, is that we find Ashanti. Please Leyla, call Ashanti and ask her where she is so that we can pick her.” He said.

Leyla nodded and brought out her phone. Lois stood beside Leyla, afraid to leave her side lest her mother strikes.

“The phone is switched off…” Leyla said with fear in her eyes. “What do we do, Lionel…we need to find her…”

Lois’s parents looked quite unnerved.

“Let’s go to Amelia’s house. We need to know who her friends are and where they could have taken Ashanti.” Lois’s father said.

“I’m coming too.” Camille said.

“No, stay here…I’ll just go with Leyla.” Her husband said.

Camille was stunned.

“Can I come too?” Lois asked, afraid to be left alone at home with her mother.

“Yes, please…we need you when we speak with Amelia.” Leyla said.

As the three of them left the house, Camille stood there and stared, she was so confused on what next to do.

 

To be continued next week….

 

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