As the days slowly progressed into weeks, Lois tried to tell herself that she shouldn’t attach so much importance to the fact that she looked so much like her neighbour’s girlfriend, Ashanti. She went about the house doing her daily duties and spent most of her time reading and baking with her mother. She was enjoying the holidays so that when it was time to go back to school, she wouldn’t feel like she didn’t have enough rest. Ashanti hadn’t returned to the estate ever since she left her house almost two weeks ago. Amelia was a constant vistor at Lois’s place and they’d both become fast friends.

Lois was reading a novel when her door opened and Amelia peeked in.

“Guess what?” She said.

“Good morning…” Lois greeted.

“Oh, silly me…sorry…good morning.” Amelia smiled, grinning from ear to ear.

“What’s up?”

“Did I tell you about the guy who’s been chatting me up on Facebook and who also slid into my DM on Instagram?” Amelia squeaked in delight.

Lois slowly shook her head; her parents gave her access to gadgets but she wasn’t allowed to join any social media groups until she was eighteen. Instead, they bought her a lot of books to read.

“Slid into your DM? What does that mean?” Lois asked.

“What century did you come from? I don’t think I have time to explain what a DM means.”

She entered the room, shut the door and walked to sit on the bed beside Lois.

“Okay, never mind…I’ll google it anyway.” Lois said.

Amelia smiled.

“So, I told him yesterday that my birthday comes up this weekend and that we’re going to throw a party here at the house and guess what he said?” Amelia said in glee.

“What did he say and who is he?” Lois asked, more confused than ever.

Amelia rolled her eyes in frustration.

“Like I said earlier, he slid into my DM.”

“Oh…DM…” Lois echoed.

“So, he told me that he’s coming to Lagos for my PARTTTTY!” She screamed.

“Keep your voice down!” Lois urged.

“Hey, this is not a monastery.” Ameila protested.

“Wait…how did you meet this guy and who is he?” Lois asked.

“I can’t believe you expect me to explain from scratch.” Amelia grumbled. “Okay, well this guy is like my best friend, I mean…we chat everyday.”

“Have you met him before?”

“Nope, like I said earlier, he slid into my DM.”

“Why did he slide?” Lois asked.

Amelia mock-collapsed on the bed and closed her eyes.

“You don’t really know him even though you’ve been chatting for a few weeks.” Lois pointed.

“I know him! Like I said earlier, we’ve been chatting on Facebook.” Ameila groaned.

“Have you met him in person? Do you know what he looks like?”

“Do you know what?” Amelia said, sitting up on the bed. “I blame your parents for locking you in a cave and throwing away the key. Live your life like it’s golden! I know this guy, we chat and we gist…and on my party day, he’s coming and we’ll finally see ourselves face to face.”

“You haven’t even met him and you’re excited.”

“I’ve seen his pictures, duh!”

“What if those are not his pictures. Someone can upload another picture on the internet. We have fraudsters everywhere.”

“Your dad has influenced you wrongly. He keeps filling your head with a lot of unnecessary stuff.” Amelia said.

“I’m just trying to be logical…” Lois said.

“If I didn’t like you very much and if I didn’t look forward to your mother’s cooking everyday, I would have stormed out of this house.”

“I’m not trying to upset you…” Lois said.

“Look, I’m a big girl…” Amelia stressed. “I turn eighteen in a few days and what more do I need than a guy who understands me? We’ve had people meet eachother on Facebook and…”

“I’m not saying that…” Lois said. “Some people are lucky to meet sincere people on social media platforms while others aren’t. I’ve heard a lot of scary stories about these online stuffs. Some people on social media are rapists, robbers, kidnappers, ritualists and so on…”

Amelia got off the bed.

“I’m hungry, I need a snack from your kitchen.” She said and headed towards the door.

Lois watched her leave, she shook her head and sighed. Then, standing from her bed, she walked to the door of her balcony and opened it.

********

Rebecca watched Ashanti litter the sitting room with food as she lay on the couch and carelessly ate cornflakes from a bowl. Rebecca had swept the sitting room very early in the morning and she refused to sit and watch mess it up.

“You have a room upstairs, I believe.” Rebecca started.

Ashanti gave her a bored look and refocused her gaze on the television.

“You came home almost two weeks ago, a changed person but here you are. Your true colours have come out.” Rebecca spat.

“Oh please…stop trying to distract me, I’m watching a nice show.” Ashanti said.

“Really?” Rebecca said, walking to stand in front of the television and block her view.

“Aunt Rebecca, can you move away?” Ashanti asked in anger. She was already pissed that she was in her family’s old house instead of in Lois’s mansion.

Since she left Lois’s house, they’d never contacted each other again. She spoke to Jeff from time to time but since he was spending a few days at his uncle’s house, she’d not visited the estate. She couldn’t wait for him to return home today so that she could storm his house and maybe ask Lois if they could switch places again.

“Put this sitting room in order and I’ll get out of your way!” Rebbeca yelled.

There was a knock at the door, Ashanti looked at the door and looked at Rebecca, she didn’t move.

“Go and get the door!” Rebecca spat.

“Oh please…you’re standing and I’m sitting…you should get the door.”

“You’re so mannerless!” Rebecca shouted.

“Just the way you are.” Ashanti said.

Rebecca hissed and walked to the door, she opened it and stared at a strange face.

“Hello…what can I do for you?” She asked.

“Please is this the residence of Miss Leyla?” The man asked.

“Yes, it is…why are you looking for that stupid woman?” Rebecca asked.

“Well, I saw this address on her identity card.” The man started.

As soon as Ashanti heard that, she rushed off the chair, Rebecca was staring at the man.

“She was found at the side of the road, beaten and ….” He stopped when Ashanti reached the door.

“Where’s my mom?” Ashanti asked with tears in her eyes.

“I’m sorry…” The man started, “She was rushed to the hospital by good Samaritans and I was asked to contact her family.”

Ashanti couldn’t believe her ears, she opened her mouth and let out a piercing scream.

 

********

Jacob leaned against the car and watched, he had been playing hawk for the past few days after he’d found out that Ashanti’s father lived next door to his boss. He stood there and waited, staring intently at the balcony.

The door opened and she stepped out, his heart skipped several beats. The first time he’d seen Lois he’d been so shocked; there was no feature that could tell her and Ashanti apart. They were mirror images of each other. How could the secret be buried for so long? What could he do to let the cat out of the bag?

Since Leyla left the house almost two weeks ago, her phone was out of coverage and he couldn’t reach her. He was bursting with the news and he wanted to tell her what he’d seen. But then, his heart told him that Leyla would pack up a few bags and run away with Ashanti.

As he watched Lois stretch her body from side to side at the balcony of her bedroom, he wondered how much he’d make from the secret he was about to reveal. There was a fifty percent chance that both he and Leyla might go to jail but then again, there was another chance that they wouldn’t. Ashanti’s father had always been successful but not as successful as he is now and from his close investigations of the family, they only had one child, which is Lois. This only meant that his wife was still having the same problems she had with childbirth and that was the reason she never had any other children.

What if he sent anonymous messages to Ashanti’s father with pictures of Ashanti, telling him to bring a large sum inorder to be given Ashanti’s exact location? But that would bring nothing but trouble, he thought. If after he’d been given the money, then, Leyla would be in trouble. He knew that Leyla would never agree to giving Ashanti back to her family but then again, Ashanti wasn’t hers so, she shouldn’t hold on to what doesn’t belong to her.

He’ll admit, he’s grown close to Ashanti inspite of her bad character and he knew his sister would be too shattered to see her go.

He stared again at the girl on the balcony and sighed, she looked like a well-brought up child unlike his niece who was loud-mouthed, unruly and very rude.

As he stared, Lois turned around and entered her room and at once he knew, he had to make money for himself whether Leyla wanted him to or not.

 

To be continued….

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