Jacob sat in front of the television and watched the match, he drank a bottle of beer and ate some fried meat he’d found in the fridge. His mother wheeled herself in, she was sitting in her wheelchair.

“Jake, didn’t you go to work today?” She asked.

“Ohhhh…why is everyone asking me about work? I am not strong enough to go to work besides, how much is the pay sef?” He whined.

“Are you going to sit here and let your wife take care of you? You are a grown man with responsibilities.” She said.

“Whatever mom, all I know is…I’ll be rich soon.” He said as he picked up his bottle of beer and drank.

“How’s Leyla?”

“The last time I checked, she’s okay…” He slurred.

“What of the hospital bills? I heard it’s quite a sum.” She said. “We should come together as a family and agree on how to settle the bills.”

“Those friends of hers who had her beaten up should pay for her treatement.”

“Stop talking rubbish! She is your sister, remember.” His mother said.

“And a careless one at that.” He spat.

“Just like you are!” His mother fired with anger in his eyes. “Your father and I raised the three of you to rely on others for help, if only we’d known it’d amount to no good. My family warned me when they saw how spoilt the three of you were but I paid no heed. Now, look at what’s happened. Leyla is the reason your dad is dead, you are the reason I had a stroke and Mabel is the reason this house was almost lost to us a few years ago.”

He shrugged.

“They’re your mistakes…not mine.” He said.

She gave him a long look.

“Where’s Ashanti?” She asked.

“Where else, she’s with her mother.”

“When are we going to tell her the truth?” His mother asked.

“What truth?”

“The truth that she’s been living a lie all of her life and that she has a family somewhere who has no idea that she exists.”

“Don’t worry your sweet head mama, I have it all planned out.” He said.

“I can’t help but feel guilty. When you and your siblings brought that girl into this house I should have talked sense into your head but I didn’t. I should have been a responsible mother.”

“Well, you didn’t say anything so…” He shrugged.

“Please Jacob, tell your sister to tell Ashanti the truth…” His mother said.

“What are you scared of mom? Are you scared to die with something heavy on your conscience?” He asked. “Don’t worry, I’ve got this all figured out. Very soon, Ashanti will be reunited with her family and we will be very wealthy.”

His mother looked at him and shook her head, whenever her son sounded so positive, something was definitely wrong.

******

“Could…could this…mean…that…our babies…were…two instead…of one?” Lois’s mother’s lips quivered as she addressed her husband.

“How’s that even possible?” Lois’s father said. “We had an ultrasound…didn’t we?”

His wife shook her head.

“No, you remember that she disappeared from sight immediately after she went for her dad’s burial.” She said.

Lois and Ashanti stared at one another, Lois was relieved that her parents were really hers but it was Ashanti who was shaken. She didn’t know what to do. Suddenly, coming here seemed wrong.

“I need…need to go…” Ashanti said.

“No! You’re not going anywhere until you tell me everything you know about Leyla and explain what’s going on.” Lois’s father said in a loud voice.

“Take it easy honey, she’s a little girl…” His wife said. “And there’s every possibility that she is our daughter…”

“I don’t…have anything…to tell…to tell…” Ashanti’s voice shook, she was on the verge of tears.

Lois looked at Ashanti, it all made sense now but did it mean that Leyla had found out that she was carrying twins and decided to keep one child for herself?

“Lois, take Ashanti upstairs…I’m getting the police involved.” Her father said.

“No! Don’t you dare drag my mother into the police net!” Ashanti cried.

“Dear…we need to get to the bottom of this. Isn’t that what you came here for? Don’t you want to know the truth?” Lois’s mother asked Ashanti with tears in her eyes.

“You guys are trying to fool me. My mom warned me against looking for my dad but I didn’t listen. If only I’d listened to her…I won’t be in this mess.” Ashanti cried.

“You are not to blame for anything…” Lois’s mother sobbed. “You might be…be…my daughter.” She said reaching out to her.

Ashanti quickly pulled away.

“No! My mother is Leyla and that’s final. Don’t you come near me. You guys are liars! You’re all liars!”

“Ashanti, we are birthday mates…remember? This means there’s a truth to what mom and dad told us.” Lois said.

“No! My mom is truly my mom and I love her.” Ashanti sobbed, turning to leave.

“You can’t leave this house Ashanti, not until everything is resolved.” Lois’s father said. “I am going to see your mother and I am taking a police officer with me.”

“Huh? You won’t do that…she’s in the hospital…she’s ill…she’s…” Ashanti stammered. “Don’t hurt her…”

Lois’s father turned to her mother and heaved a deep sigh, he ran his palms through his head in dismay.

“I need to get to the station and then I’ll go to Leyla.”

“I want to go too…I need to come with you.” His wife said to him.

“Someone has to stay with the girls.” He said.

“Don’t worry dad, mom, I’ll stay here with Ashanti.” Lois said, looking at Ashanti who had tears running down her face. “I’m sure that Ashanti knows it’ll be stupid of her to try to leave.”

Ashanti looked at Lois and looked away.

******

Leyla was lying on the bed in the hospital, she looked at the clock on the wall, it was five pm and there was no sign of Ashanti. Where could she be? She wondered. Jacob’s news about Ashanti’s biological parents had unnerved her but she had made up her mind. She was relocating with her daughter once she was out of the hospital. She was never giving her up, never!

The door opened and she sat up and said.

“Ash…where have you been?”

A couple walked in with two men in police uniforms. At first, she was confused, then she realized that she knew the couple. They were Ashanti’s biological parents.

“What…what’s going on here?” She asked.

“You are a liar and a thief!” Lois’s mother yelled at her. “Leyla, after all we did for you. You decided to pay us with what? You stole our daughter right from under our noses. How long did you try to keep our other daughter’s existence a secret? You rid us of her childhood!”

“What are you talking about? Who are you? Have we met?” Leyla asked, speaking as though she was meeting them for the first time.

“It’s not use pretending, Leyla. Ashanti is at our house with our daughter and she’ll be there until we get a DNA test done to prove that she really is ours. You’d better start talking or it will be worse for you.” Lois’s father threatened.

Leyla closed her eyes and hit her head against the pillow repeatedly.

“Jacob…oh Jacob…you just had to do this…you just had to …” She groaned.

 

To be continued…

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