Ashanti sent a text to Jeff.
“I forgot my charger at your place.”
He sent a reply.
“Oh yea, it’s with me…when next you come, I’ll give it to you.”
She sent another message.
“No, I need it tonight…my battery is almost dead.”
He sent a reply.
“Can’t you use another charger?”
She typed a message.
“But I have a charger, why do I need to use another one?”
He sent a reply.
“There’s no way you can get the charger this night.”
She sent a reply.
“Of course, I can. I could come and pick it up.”
He sent a reply.
“What? At this time of the night? Won’t your folks get upset?”
She sent a reply.
“Nope…I’ll just ask Jubril to bring me over but you’ll have to pay for the cab fare.”
He paused for a bit.
“How much does he charge?”
“About two thousand or two thousand five hundred.”
He sent a reply.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
“Just do it. I’m on my way.”
Ashanti applied her lipstick and smacked her lips before the mirror. She ran her hands down her bodycon dress and picked up her purse.
Her mother walked into the room, she was dressed to go out in a mini skirt and a sleeveless shimmery top. She was wearing a very high heeled pair of sandals.
“Where are you off to?” Her mother asked.
“I haven’t asked you where you’re headed so, why should you ask me?” Ashanti said.
“Young lady, you’re becoming rude.” Her mother warned.
“What mom? I wonder why you’re getting worked up. All those times that you spend days outside the house, do you know where I am? Even if you don’t permit me to leave, I’ll still do what I want to because you’re leaving anyway…”
Her mother looked at her and sighed.
“Ash, I know that I am not setting a good example for you especially because I keep late nights but you should know that I am doing this for us to have a better life.”
“I am not against it mom, I’m just…asking that you respect my privacy just the way I respect yours. I never ask you where you’re headed and I don’t even bother bugging you about it when you return one week after.” Ashanti said.
“You’re right…I should trust you.” Her mother said, giving her a long look. “Are you going for a party?”
“No, I forgot my charger at my friend’s place and I just called Jubril and told him to take me there…” Ashanti said in a low voice.
Her mother seemed relieved.
“So, do you need Tfare?”
“Nope, I’ve got it covered.” Ashanti said as she hurried out of the room.
As she left the large and shabbily furnished sitting room downstairs, she almost smirked when she saw aunt Rebecca glare at her from the sofa in the sitting room. Ashanti and her mother always had issues with aunt Rebecca and they never lost the fight.
Lois was preparing to go to bed. She rearranged her pillows and sat on her bed, staring at the night wears she had to chose from. Something told her to change to her pyjamas and then again, she felt it’s better to wear her night gown. She was still contemplating on what to wear when the door opened and her mother walked in.
“Lois, are you okay?” Her mother asked, leaning against the door frame.
“Are you sure? You can tell me anything…” Her mother asked.
“I’m fine mom.” Lois said.
“Are you upset because I refused to give you the pastries this afternoon because you stayed out for long at the pool?”
Lois looked at her mother in surprise, she’d forgotten about that.
“Of course not! I am not upset about that, mom.”
“But something is wrong, I am your mother and I know you…” Her mother said.
Lois looked at the woman she’d called mom all her life and sighed, she hoped with all her heart that she was really her mom and that her dad was really her dad.
“I am fine…I promise.” Lois said.
“Okay, if you say so.” Her mother said.
Suddenly, Lois stood up with a start.
“Amelia promised to loan me a the new Vampire Diaries series. I need to get it.”
Her mother looked at her.
“But it’s almost nine o’clock. You shouldn’t be at their house at this time.” Her mother said.
“Don’t worry mom, I’ll just call her phone and she’ll step out of the house. I’m not going in and I’m not going to stay for too long.” Lois said and hurried out of the room.
Her mother watched her leave and sighed.
Amelia received Lois’s call and quickly asked her to come into the house as she didn’t want to go outside. Lois took the back way and was soon inside Amelia’s room. As soon as Lois stepped into Amelia’s room, she was amazed.
“Your room is like a studio. Look at all these records…the DVDs…” Lois said in surprise.
“Yup! My uncle sends me the latest cos he knows that I love them.” Amelia said, glad to share her passion with someone her age.
“Wow! I could drown in this. I mean…I don’t know how to sing but I love songs so much and …wow!” Lois said breathlessly.
Amelia looked at Lois and smiled.
“Do you know what, Lois? I’m glad you moved into our neighbourhood and I’m sure we’ll be good friends.”
“Yes…I look forward to that too.” Lois said with a smile.
“So, regarding your lookalike…did you speak to your dad about it?” Amelia asked.
“I did but…I think he knows something and he’s not telling.” Lois said.
“Have you asked about your birth certificate?” Amelia asked.
“Dad is the custodian of that and I’ve never seen it. I wanted to search for it today but I knew I’d meet a dead end.”
“Why don’t you lie to him? You could get creative with words like ‘Oh, I need to use it for an article that I want to submit online.”
“My dad is smart, he’ll see through the lie.” Lois said.
“You’re like your dad, huh?” Amelia asked.
“I mean…you’re smart…like your dad. You got your smartness from him.” Amelia said.
“Yes, my dad’s like the most intelligent fellow I’ve ever met and I think I’m growing into becoming like him. I’m like my mom too, she’s very humble, down to earth and a loving person. I like to think that I have my parents’ qualities in equal sizes.”
Amelia smiled, she loved the way Lois spoke about her parents and she wished that she could speak about hers like that.
Jeff stood outside his gate, the air was chilly and he waited for Ashanti to show up. The security had called to inform him that she was at the gate as he’d been smart to stand by the house phone so that his mother wouldn’t find out that he was recieving a night guest.
The cab drove towards the gate and when it stopped, Ashanti stepped out.
“Give Jubril, his money.” She said quickly.
Jeff brought out some money from his pocket and handed it to her. She gave the money to Jubril and he drove the car and parked about two blocks ahead.
“Hey boo…” Ashanti greeted.
“I have your charger.” He said giving it to her.
She looked surprised at him.
“Don’t I get a welcome hug?” She said.
“Ash, it’s night and my dad would be home soon. I don’t know how to explain to him that my friend came to visit me at this time of the night.”
“Chill…don’t worry, I won’t stay too long.” Ashanti was saying. “Where’s your sister?”
“She’s upstairs, why?” He asked.
“I would like to say hi to her.” Ashanti said.
“Stay here…lemme call her, I’ll be right back.” He said and disappeared into the house.
Ashanti stood there for a split second and her eyes went to Lois’s house which shared a wall with Jeff’s place. She walked towards the gates and tried peeking in when the door opened and a man stared at her.
“Lois! Your mom said you were only going to take the DVD from the neighbour. Why are you hanging outside?” He asked sternly.
Ashanti wasn’t used to being addressed sternly, she stared at the man whom she recognized as Lois’s dad. She’d seen him play with Lois and a dog at their backyard in the afternoon.
“Errm…I…err…” She stammered.
“Get inside the house. The air is chilly and you know how easily you catch a cold.” Lois’s father said as he propelled her into the house.
Something told Ashanti to turn around but her heart urged her to move on. Besides, what would it hurt? From what Lois’s father had said, Lois wasn’t inside the house, meaning that she was in Jeff’s house. ‘I’ll just go inside the house for a while. What would it hurt?’ She thought.
Amelia wondered why Jeff’s annoying girlfriend wanted to see her, she made her way downstairs with Lois, taking the opportunity to accompany Lois to the gate. They all stepped outside and Jeff looked around in shock.
“She was just here.” He said.
“Look, I really don’t have time for all this rubbish, if your girlfriend was here, why isn’t she still here?” She turned to Lois. “Bye Lois, I hope you enjoy the movies.”
Lois held up the movies in her hands and smiled.
“Sure I will.”
Jeff dialled Ashanti’s number on his phone.
“I need to call her…” He started.
Suddenly a car light flashed their way and Amelia turned around and ran into the house. shouting.
“It’s daddy! Daddy is back!”
Jeff abandoned his quest to call his girlfriend and followed his sister, running as though pursued by wolves. Lois made her way to her house as Jeff’s father’s car headed into their compound. Just as she was about to go in, a scruffy looking man holding a lighted cigarette walked up to her.
“Ashanti, make we dey go house. Ya mama don dey call my phone.” He said.
“Huh?” Lois said stunned.
“Come enter motor, make we dey go. Shebi you don carry ya charger?” He asked. “Why you change cloth sef? You dis girl ehn…”
Lois was surprised, she stared at him.
“Ashanti, nor be you I dey talk to? Come make we dey go house. I go leave you for hia ooo and you nor go like am.” He warned.
Lois couldn’t explain how her legs suddenly started moving as she followed the man she’d never seen before, into his car. Perhaps it was sheer curiosity to have a sneak peak into Ashanti’s life or maybe she was just being plain stupid. She had no idea. All she knew was, she was headed to a strange destination with a strange man and as they drove out of the estate where she lived with her family, her heart thumped hard and fast.
To be continued….