Ashanti held her phone to her ear and cringed as she listened to Lois cry over the phone.

“I don’t want to be here anymore…I want…I want to go back home…” Lois wailed.

“Pull yourself together, you’re not a baby!” Ashanti nearly yelled at her look-alike. She hadn’t enjoyed Lois’s house and its luxuries well enough to have to go back to squalor, so soon.

“I can’t take it anymore…I’ve been here for less than a day and I want to go back home.” Lois cried.

“Why? What’s the problem?” Ashanti asked.

“Your mom!”

“My mom?”

“Yes… your mom…” Lois sniffed.

“How’s that?” Ashanti asked.

“She told me that I am supposed to lie. I mean…how can she say that? How can she ask me to lie?”

Ashanti rolled her eyes.

“Is that it? I thought you saw cockroaches in our bathroom.”

“Huh?” Lois asked over the phone.

“Oh, never mind…” Ashanti said.

She was in Lois’s bathroom and was trying to turn on the shower.

“How does this shower thing work anyway?” Ashanti asked.

“What?” Lois asked.

“Your shower! How does it work?” She asked.

“Just lift up the handle and it will come on.”

Ashanti did as she was told and the warm water began to pour.

“I’m about to have my bath now…let’s talk later.” She said.

“What? What’s going to happen to me? I can’t…I can’t possibly stay here.” Lois said in a whisper.

“Stop being a spoilt rich kid.” Ashanti chided.

“I’m not being a spoilt rich kid…” Lois said in her own defence.

“Look, I am separated from my family too but do you see me whining?” Ashanti spat.

“At least my mom isn’t telling you to lie.” Lois said quickly.

“No she’s not but she’s forcing me to eat crossaints and she barges into the bedroom without knocking. Don’t you have rules to keep your parents out of your bedroom?” Ashanti asked.

“Rules? My door is always open to…” Lois started.

“Well, not for me it isn’t!” Ashanti said.

“If you act strangely, they’ll suspect and find out soon enough that you’re not me…and they’ll be upset that I left the house without letting them know.” Lois said.

Ashanti furrowed her brows, she was worried.

“I’ll go have my bath now, talk to you later.” She said and hung up.

*******

Amelia was bored, her chat mate hadn’t texted her and she really wanted to chat with him. She almost dropped a ‘hi’ on his chat box but she stopped herself.

“What can I do this Saturday morning?” She asked herself.

She had already had a bath, changed and even brushed her teeth but she was avoiding the dinning room till she was certain that mommy was out of the house. She walked to her door and and placed her ear at the frame.

“I think she’s out already.”

She unlocked the door and stepped out. Just as she was about to make her way down the stairs, she heard her mother’s voice.

“Amelia, come here…”

Amelia wanted to scream out of frustration. She turned around and saw her mother standing at the door to her bedroom, she was dressed in a very sparkling lace fabric and she was holding a headtie in her hands.

“Good morning mom…” Amelia said, angry that she’d chosen to leave her room at that moment.

She walked towards her mother’s bedroom and saw her mother’s make-up artiste polishing a plate of fruit salad while sitting on the bed.

“Good morning miss Lavi.” She greeted.

“Hello Amelia, how are you? You seem to grow taller by the day.” Lavi said still chewing her fruits.

Amelia didn’t know whether to say thank you to the woman or not.

“I have a wedding to attend, it’s my colleague’s wedding.” Her mother informed. “I’m taking Jeff with me.”

“Oh…” Amelia said.

“I’m not ready to answer questions on whether the giant of a daughter is mine or someone else’s.” Amelia’s mother said to miss Lavi.

Miss Lavi smiled at Amelia fondly.

“She’s like a cuddly bear.” Lavi said affectionately.

Her mother looked at her and scoffed.

“She looks like a giant elephant.” She said. Then turning to Amelia, she said. “I have registered you at the gym down the road. You are expected to go there at least thrice a week.”

“Gym?” Amelia almost yelled. She hated excercises.

“Don’t sound like you don’t know what’s done at the gym. You need to lose weight and fast too. I’m receiving an award in a few months and I want to show off my family. I don’t want the press taking pictures of my very big daughter. Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? You look like an elephant!”

Miss Lavi tried so hard not to laugh but the laugh came out anyway. Amelia felt so humiliated.

“Can I go now?” Amelia asked, trying so hard not to cry.

“Yes, I told the cook to make your breakfast purely fruits. No bread, no tea…nothing that would add extra pounds to the one you already weigh.”

Amelia turned around and walked away, as she made her way out of her mother’s room, she almost collided into her brother.

“Amy, how do I look?” Jeff asked.

Amelia stopped to look at her brother who looked like he was being swallowed in his sky blue Agbada.

“Fine…” She said as she brushed away the tears from her eyes and hurried downstairs.

********

Lois’s mother looked at Amelia with a small smile, the girl had literally run into her kitchen some moments ago, asking if she could have even a slice of bread. Now, she was seated at the small dining in the kitchen and enjoying a large crossiant and a cup of hot cocoa.

“Lois told me you baked, I never knew…it was this good. Yummmm…” Amelia smacked her lips.

“Don’t flatter me dear…” Lois’s mother said.

Amelia looked up at her and said.

“Where’s Lois? Isn’t she up yet? I thought she said she’s an early bird.”

“She’s still upstairs in her bedroom…” Lois’s mother said and looked at Amelia hesitantly then said. “Amelia, have you…I mean…how does Lois act around you?”

Amelia stopped eating and looked at the woman.

“She’s probably the most well-behaved teen I’ve ever met.” She said softly.

“So, she doesn’t act strange around you?”

“No, she’s a bit shy and quiet…but that’s it.” Amelia said.

“I know you’re a good girl and I don’t want to say that your company has influenced her in a wrong way but…there’s something wrong and I can’t place my finger on it.”

“Something wrong? What do you mean ma?” Amelia asked.

Ashanti chose that moment to step into the kitchen.

“Oh, here she is.” Lois’s mother said turning to regard Ashanti with a smile.

Amelia didn’t need a scientist to tell her that the girl in the kitchen wasn’t Lois. It was Ashanti!

********

Jacob looked at Mabel and counted the change in his hands. He was broke, as always and he had no one to ask for money. He was yet to pay the money he’d borrowed from his mother last month.

“I’m broke again.” He whined.

“As always.” Mabel said as she sipped from a can of malt.

“Do you have any money to loan me?” He asked.

“Nope!” She said quickly. “The money I have right now is to sew some new clothes for myself.”

“I promise to pay you back. I just need to settle some bills for my kids and…”

“No way!” Mabel said quickly. “Why don’t you ask your sister, Leyla. I’m sure she’ll give you some money.”

He doesn’t speak.

“Well, I was surprised at Ashanti today. Imagine her cooking for all of us and even cleaning the house.” Mabel said.

“I am surprised too…it seems so strange. She’s so different, so well-behaved and well-mannered…it almost seems as if…” He stopped.

“It seems as if it’s someone else huh?” Mabel asked.

“Yes…it’s like it’s a girl who bears the exact resemblance with Ashanti but she’s not the same person.”

“You mean like a twin…” Mabel said.

Jacob drew in a deep breath.

“It’s not impossible…you know…” Mabel added.

“Let’s not talk about it. We promised Leyla that we will never talk about it.” Jacob said.

“I know we did but what if…”

“What if what? We both know that they are separated and that…that…no one knows anything…just you, I, Leyla and mama…” Jacob said in a whisper.

“Hey…I’m not saying anything…I swore to carry this to my grave remember?” Mabel said as she picked up the remote control and tried to change the TV channel to no avail. “Oh my goodness! The battery is dead! Is there anything working properly in this house?”

She sat on the sofa and folded her arms as she forced herself to watch the programme on television.

Unknown to them, Rebecca slipped out from behind the door and disappeared into the house.

 

To be continued…

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