“What are you doing here?” Bunmi’s former sister-in-law spat.
“I’m here because of my son.” Bunmi fired.
“What son? The one you abandoned?”
“I never abandoned him and that’s why I’m back.” Bunmi fired.
“You have to leave my brother’s house this instant.” Adunni shouted.
“Leave? You’ve got it twisted Adunni, I am here to stay till my son’s father is found. My son needs me for support.”
“I am here now and I am sure that I can take good care of Gbenga.” Adunni spat. “I was the one that looked after him when you left him as a little toddler.”
“Adunni, please don’t waste anymore time on that woman, let’s go inside and find out what’s happening.” Seyi, Gbenga’s uncle said to his sister.
“Hello Seyi, I see that you’ve finally grown some kind of sense.” Bunmi smirked.
Seyi didn’t respond to her, instead, he took hold of his sister’s arm and pulled her with him towards the house.
Jermia looked at Bunmi and shook her head.
“What’s your problem? What’s with your expression?” Bunmi spat.
“Doesn’t it bother you that no one really likes you?”
Bunmi took a step towards her so their noses almost touched.
“Caring about what people think or don’t think of you is only a hindrance to your success. Even with all their hatred, I have been able to do what I want to do and I will get away with it.” She said and turning around, she walked away.
Jermia stared at Bunmi’s retreating back and shuddered, she was officially an accomplice.
Chekwube and Mickey stared at the houses on the paved street.
“Number twenty-five…number twenty-seven…” Chekwube said as she looked at the numbers on the houses. “It seems that all the houses with even numbers are on the left and the ones with odd numbers are on the right.”
“Yes, it seems so. Gbenga’s house is number forty-four so we should keep to the left.” Mickey said.
“How in the world did you get his address?” Chekwube asked.
“I stalk him, remember?”
“You what? You stalked him to his house?”
“No, silly. If I stalked him to his house, why am I looking for the house?” She said. “I only went through his wallet when I took it from that stupid boy that stole it, the first time he joined our school. I memorized the address in my head because it was written in his former school’s identity card.”
Chekwube was stunned.
“Are you serious? So, did you write down the address somewhere?”
“I have it in my head.” Mickey said, still looking at the house numbers.
“What? That means you have a photographic memory.”
“I can’t possibly memorize an address and have it in my head for such a long time.” Chekwube said.
“Mtcheew…it’s not a hard thing.”
“If you have such a memory, why haven’t you been doing well in class?”
“Don’t insult me ooo. Just because we’ve become friends doesn’t mean that I can’t beat you.” Mickey warned.
“You’re not getting my point, Mickey. You are really brilliant and I’m sure that if you channel that ability of yours to school work, you’ll really excel.”
Mickey kept silent for a while, then said.
“I used to be very brilliant during my primary school years.”
“Then, what happened?” Chekwube asked.
“That’s the number!” Mickey exclaimed as she pointed at a black gate. “That’s number forty-four.”
Chekwube looked at the direction of Mickey’s finger and stopped.
“Yes, that’s number forty-four.” She said.
The two girls walked towards the gate and pressed the bell.
“The house is really big.” Mickey said in astonishment.
“We can’t tell how big the house is because we haven’t seen the house yet. All we’re seeing right now is the gate and the fence.” Chekwube said regarding the high walls of the house.
“Who would have thought that Gbenga’s family has so much money.” Mickey said.
The gate opened and uncle Soji looked at them.
“Sir, good afternoon. Do you remember us? We are Gbenga’s classmates.” Mickey said.
“Yes I do. What brings you here? Did Gbenga call you?” Uncle Soji asked.
“No, he didn’t but he hasn’t been in school for two days and he hasn’t been answering his calls too.” Chekwube said.
“Come in…” Uncle Soji said.
Mickey and Chekwube walked into the compound and stared. Gbenga’s compound was really large and the house was big too.
“If his family is this rich, why is he is a government school?” Mickey whispered into Chekwube’s ears.
They both followed Uncle Soji inside the house.
Gbenga sipped some water and shook his head when his aunt lifted the spoon of food towards his mouth.
“Eat something Gbenga, you can’t starve yourself.” She said.
“Justina, can I have the phone number of the people that called? I need to speak to the police and get them involved.” Gbenga’s uncle said.
“What? Police? Why would you involve the police? Didn’t you hear Justina say that they warned that we shouldn’t get the police involved. I knew it! I knew you hated your brother but this just proves it. Do you want him dead?” Bunmi fumed.
“How dare you talk rubbish? The best thing is to involve the authorities besides, you have no say here, you are not a member of this family.” Gbenga’s uncle fired.
“Please…can we stop this? I want my daddy back as soon as possible…” Gbenga said with tears in his eyes.
“I’m sorry Gbenga, I know how you feel. I feel the same way too.” His uncle said.
“You are the only one who can make the decision on what to do.” His aunt, Adunni said. “Your dad named you his next of Kin and even though you are still underage, you are the only one who has access to all his money.”
Bunmi’s eyes sparkled.
“Well then, we can’t waste anymore time can we? Gbenga darling, you know what is right and that’s what you should do.” She said.
The door opened and the driver, Soji, walked in with Mickey and Chekwube. Gbenga saw the two girls and sat up.
“Mickey! Chekwube! What are you doing here?” He asked.
“We were worried about you, silly.” Mickey started. “If we knew that you were lounging at home, we wouldn’t have wasted our transport fare and come here.”
Bunmi looked at Mickey and Chekwube, there was something about Mickey that made her quite uncomfortable. She looked so achingly familiar as though she bore close resemblance with someone she knew.
“Who are these girls?” Bunmi asked her son.
“Meet Mickey and Chekwube, they are my classmate and friends.” Gbenga said.
“This is not the best time to entertain guests.” Bunmi cautioned. “We have important matters to get to and we need to get to it fast or something bad could happen.”
“What sort of rubbish are you talking about? They are here to see their friend, why do you want them sent away? Besides, you are not needed here, you are not part of this family.” Adunni spat.
Mickey and Chekwube were confused as to what was happening. Gbenga stood up from the sofa with difficulty and walked up to meet them.
“Please excuse me everyone, I will speak with my friends upstairs.” He said.
His mother opened his mouth to protest but shut it up immediately because she didn’t want to draw so much attention to herself or she might be suspected.
Mickey and Chekwube followed Gbenga upstairs to a smaller sitting room. When they’d all sat down, Chekwube spoke.
“We were so worried about you. Are you alright?”
“How come you attend our school if your parents own a big house like this?” Mickey asked.
Chekwube threw a warning glance at Mickey and she kept silent.
“I really appreciate it that you both came to see me.” He said. “Thank you.”
“Is everything alright?” Chekwube asked.
“My dad has been kidnapped and the hoodlums are asking for twenty million naira.” Gbenga said.
Mickey froze as the picture she’d seen in her house flashed through her mind.
Her heart did a sommersault.
To be continued next week….