Amelia hurried to the back of the house and saw Ashanti there, she was hiding behind a sack of old newspapers.
“What is your problem? Why did you run?” Amelia asked.
Ashanti stared at her, there was no way she was telling the rich girl that her uncle was her father’s driver.
“Can we take a taxi instead?” She asked.
“I’ve already asked my dad for permission to use his car, so I can’t spend extra on a cab.”
“Please…let’s take a cab. I just had a bad feeling. What if your driver sees us make the switch and tell your dad and then, Lois’s parents find out. We need to be careful. We shouldn’t be caught unawares.”
“Well…you have a point then, but we will split the cab fare in half…I’ll pay for our trip there and you’ll pay for our trip back.” She said.
“I’ll pay for our trip back.” Ashanti said quickly, knowing that Lois will have to pay for it since she wasn’t going to follow Amelia back to the estate.
“Okay, I’ll go and tell the driver to get me a cab from the cab service at the gate. Aren’t you coming?” Amelia asked.
“Well…I’ll tag along, just go and speak to your driver first…I’ll catch up with you.”
Amelia turned to leave, as she left, she wondered why Ashanti seemed to be acting so strange.
Lois couldn’t wait for the switch to happen, she desperately wanted to go home. She couldn’t stay in Ashanti’s house any longer. She was bored, tired and very lonely. She had just worn the dress she’d worn yesterday to the house- as she didn’t want to take any of Ashanti’s things- when she heard a knock at her door.
“Yes…” She answered.
The door was lifted up and moved to the side as it had broken from its hinges. Ashanti’s mother stepped in, she was dressed to go out.
“I’m on my way out…I don’t think I’ll be back today.” She said.
“Where are you going to?” Lois asked.
“To see my friend…”
“But why aren’t you coming home today?” Lois asked.
“What’s the matter with you, Ashanti, you never ask so many questions. You know how I roll right? Sometimes, I don’t come home for weeks. Anyway, I kept some money for you in the drawer. When you’re hungry, go out and buy some food to eat.”
“Buy food? You mean like on the street?” Lois asked.
“Ashanti! This is definitely not you and I hate to think that you’re changing from who you are! When I get back, I want it to be that you’ve snapped out of this weirdness.”
Lois looked at her and said nothing.
“Besides, it’s the holiday, won’t you like to perhaps, braid your hair? I hate that you have to go on low cut but your school demands it. However, since we have a long time till resumption, why don’t you make something nice with your hair or better still do a nice hair cut and have your hair dyed. Gold colour will look great on you or would you rather do red?”
Lois touched her cropped hair with her fingers, she could feel the thickness within.
“I guess you have to go now mom, errmm…see you later?”
Ashanti’s mother nodded and walked to hug her tight.
“Remember not to do what you did this morning ever again. I don’t want my daughter to become everyone’s servant in this house. Your uncle, aunts and grandma are all users and they would take you for granted if you begin to serve them. Do I make myself clear? Hopefully, when I get back, we’ll hang out together, perhaps we’ll go to a spa or have a beauty treatement.”
“Mom, what do you do for a living?” Lois blurted before she could stop herself.
“What?” Ashanti’s mother asked with eyes wide. “There is something wrong with you! You’ve never asked me such question before.”
“I just want to…er….to know…”
“We both know that I hustle hard. I have good friends who help me out from time to time. It’s an ‘I scratch your back and you scratch mine’ kinda thing. Do you know what? I need to go…” Ashanti’s mother said and hurried out of the bedroom.
Lois closed her eyes and sighed, she couldn’t wait to get home.
Jacob entered the house and hurried to Mabel’s compartment in search of her.
“Mabel!” He called out loudly.
“What!” She answered.
He entered her dirty and unkempt compartment and made his way inside. Mabel was lying on a battered sofa and typing into her phone. She didn’t look up when he came in.
“Guess who I saw today?” He said in a whisper.
“Sit up and listen to me…” He said.
Mabel sat up and looked at him.
“What is it? Who did you see?”
“I saw Ashanti’s father…he’s back!”
Mabel’s eyes widened.
“What? He’s what? I thought they moved to Ghana and they were never coming back!”
“That’s what I thought too…but…I saw him with my own two eyes.” He said.
“Where? Where did you see him?” She asked.
“At the estate gate…I was on my way to my boss’s place and I saw him at the gate.”
“Do you think he moved back to Nigeria?”
“I think so and I think he lives in the estate too because I heard him tell the security that he needed a car sticker for a car which belongs to his wife and daughter.”
Mabel’s mouth stood wide open.
“His daughter? Ashanti’s twin?”
“Shhhh…keep your voice down.”
“What do we do? Do we tell Leyla?” Mabel asked.
“Tell Leyla? She’ll panick and we don’t want that do we? Besides, I was thinking…”
“What are you thinking?” She asked.
“We’re broke, right? We can make some money from him besides, that was our intention from the start…we can still…”
“Are you mad? If he ever finds out that Ashanti exists we are going to jail! Don’t talk rubbish!”
“But we could find a harmless way to errm…to…perhaps blackmail…”
“No Jacob! No! Besides, Leyla loves Ashanti so much and she’ll never give her up, never!” She whispered.
“Not even when she has no right to her? That girl is not her…”
They heard footsteps and they both stopped talking.
Lois closed her eyes and lay on her bed, she couldn’t believe it. She was home. Home at last! She heard a knock at the door and her eyes opened.
“Who is it?”
“It’s mom…” Her mom said as she pushed open the door and smiled at her.
Lois shot off her bed and rushed to hug her mother.
“Hey…” Her mother laughed.
“I missed you mom…I missed you…so much.” She said.
“You miss me already? I just went to the market and then, to the salon. I asked you if you wanted to come with me but you and Amelia had plans. How was the movie?” Her mother asked.
“What movie?” Lois asked.
“Didn’t you guys see a movie?” Her mother asked, looking at her in surprise.
“Yea…I mean…yea…” She said, angry with herself for having to lie. “Why did you knock before coming inside?”
“You said you needed privacy…and you’re right. We should knock before entering your room.” Her mother said.
Lois almost groaned, Ashanti had barely spent one day in her house and she’d already given rules.
“Don’t mind me mom, I wasn’t in my right mind…I don’t want you to knock when entering my room.” She said.
Her mother looked at her and hugged her again.
“I was so scared…you know…for a minute, something told me that it wasn’t you but someone else. Now, I’m glad that you’re back.”
Lois hugged her tight.
“Me too mom, me too…”
To be continued next week….