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Chekwube arrived home tired and weary, the long trek from school proved strenuous especially as the sun was so hot in the afternoons. She walked up to the door of the room she shared with her sister and brother-in-law and knocked. There was no response. She knocked again and again.
“Ola!” She called out, hitting the door hard.
There was still no reply.
“Olanma! Open the door!” She called out.
She checked the burglary and realised that it had been padlocked. Where in the world was her sister? She wondered.
Chekwube hardly knew anyone in the compound and she didn’t really socialise with anyone. She stood at the door intent on waiting for her sister till she returned from wherever she went to. She had hardly waited for five minutes when a middle-aged man everyone referred to as Broda Stanley walked past her, he suddenly stopped and turned around to regard her.
“Hello…what are you doing outside here?” He asked.
“Good afternoon.” Chekwube greeted.
“Isn’t your sister at home?” He asked.
“No…she’s not.” Chekuwbe replied.
“Haba! How come she didn’t even give you a key?”
“Maybe she thought she’d be home early.” She said.
“You can come and wait in my room.” He said.
Chekwube didn’t really know Broda Stanley, except for the fact that he was always fetching water and filling the drums in his room as though there was going to be a kind of water scarcity. She also knew that he wasn’t married and that he lived alone.
“Don’t worry. Thank you for your kind gesture.” She said.
“I see you’re very polite.” He said. “You speak English so well, better than your sister.” He said with a smile.
Chekuwbe didn’t respond, she was so tired and very hungry.
“Have you eaten anything?” He asked.
Chekwube looked at him and didn’t respond.
“We are all family in this compound. Didn’t Mr Nosike tell you? We are one big family here and he’ll be angry if I saw you standing out here and I didn’t help you out.”
Chekwube pondered on his words.
“Yes…I am hungry.” She said.
He pushed his hand into his pocket and brought out five hundred naira.
“Take this and go and buy food from Iya Iyabo, buy two plates of food…I am hungry too.” He said. “You can buy drinks if there’s change.”
Chekwube took the money and curtsied in thanks, she was so relieved. She had skipped breakfast that morning after the argument she’d had with her sister over the perfume so she hadn’t eaten all day.
“Thank you very much, sir.” She said as she dropped her bag by the door and hurried off to buy the food.
Gbenga looked at the woman peering at him and couldn’t believe it.
“Won’t you come out of the car and give mummy a hug?” She asked with a wide smile.
Gbenga didn’t respond, suddenly his eyes caught the young teenage girl who was walking up to the car.
“Bunmi, is this your son?” She asked, staring at him.
“Yes…he’s so big now…and he looks so surprised to see me.” Bunmi said. “Soji, drive in…I’ll follow behind.” She said.
Uncle Soji drove in and Gbenga sat at the back seat, his heart pounded so hard. She was here! He thought to himself. After years of waiting to see her, of longing to have her close, she was finally here.
He opened the car door and alighted pulling out his school bag with him. His mother’s hug nearly knocked him down.
“My baby! Look at my baby! Such a big boy!” She said in a mixture of some kind of strange accent. She planted kisses on his face and Gbenga cringed as he went through the torture.
“Hold it! Stop it!” He protested.
“I know you feel you’ve outgrown mom’s kisses but my darling….I haven’t seen you in years…it’s proper that I give you all the kisses you never received from me.” She said.
Gbenga looked at his mother and wanted to feel something, anything, but he couldn’t. He had always replayed the scene in his head; he’d thought that at the sight of his mom, he’ll scream and jump into her arms while goosebumps wash over his skin but it wasn’t the case. It was as though he was meeting a stranger.
He pried himself away from her choking hug and said.
“I have to go inside.”
“Wait…won’t you tell me how much you’ve missed me?” She asked with a smile.
The teenage girl and a woman walked into the compound with bags in their hands, it looked as though they had come to stay.
“Where are they bringing the bags to?” Gbenga asked.
“I came to see you so, it’s necessary that I stay with you.” His mother said.
“Look, I think you should stay at a hotel…my dad won’t be happy to have you here.” Gbenga said.
“Are you kidding me?” The teenage girl half-yelled. “I thought you said that we’re going to stay at the mansion with your son and his pops.” She said to Bunmi.
“Son, are you really going to kick your mom out in the cold? I am your mother…and I carried you for nine months in this belly, you were my tenant for a very long time and I nurtured you…don’t tell me that you can’t give me a room to lay my head in for a few days.”
“I am not the owner of the house…I don’t want dad to get mad at me.” Gbenga started.
“You are the heir to all this fortune…to the house and to everything your dad has. I wonder why you aren’t acting like the owner of all these…” His mother started.
Mummy Justina made her way out of the house and stared at everyone standing outside, she looked quite confused.
“What is going on here? Gbenga! Who are these people?” She asked.
“And who are you?” His mother fired at her.
“She’s our housekeeper and has been like a mother to me for as long as I can remember.” Gbenga said.
“Well…you don’t need her anymore because I’m here.” Bunmi said.
“Who is she and what’s she talking about?” Mummy Justina asked Gbenga.
“Justina, meet Bunmi, she’s Gbenga’s mother.” Uncle Soji said.
Justina stared at Gbenga’s mother with mouth wide open.
Chekwube rushed back with the plates of food, she had been salivating all along as Iya Iyabo dished the food, the aroma of the stew assailed her nostrils and she wanted to gobble everything up as soon as possible.
The door to her place was still locked so she hurried to Broda Stanley’s room with the food. She knocked at the door and heard his voice from within ushering her in.
“Come in…” He said.
She pushed open the door and walked inside, Broda Stanley was standing beside a dingy looking fridge, the room was quite warm as the ceiling fan swirled around in circles.
“Thank you for buying the food.” He said.
“Thank you, sir, for the food.” She said dropping one of the plates on the small table in front of the bed.
“Eat…you should start eating.” He said.
“I will eat outside….thank you.”
“Outside? Why? This place is big enough for us…” He said.
Chekwube looked at him and nodded, she felt it would be very disrespectful to refuse his offer since he’d bought her food to eat. She sat on the ground as there was no chair and began to eat the food, while he stood beside the fridge and ate his. Chekwube wanted to tell him that standing while eating wasn’t ideal but she kept silent and focused on the meal. She was so hungry and the food before her suddenly meant everything to her.
Ten minutes later, they had both finished their food and Chekwube stood to pick the plates. She pushed them into the polyethene bag and wanted to take them out when Broda Stanley stopped her.
“Don’t worry…Iya Iyabo will send one of her children to pick the plates.” He said.
“But…I can take it to them.” Chekuwbe said.
“Aren’t you tired of walking up and down? Lie down and rest…have an afternoon siesta.” He said.
Chekwube looked at him in confusion.
“Siesta?” She echoed.
“Yes, don’t you know that it’s good to take siestas in the afternoons?”
“Yes but…I’d rather go out and wait for my sister. Thank you again for the food.” Chekuwbe said and turned towards the door.
Broda Stanley rushed up to the door and leant against it.
“Go and sleep.” He said.
“I don’t want to sleep.” Chekuwbe answered, trying hard to understand what was going on.
“I want you to stay here for a while at least, keep me company…”
“I want to go outside.” She insisted.
“So, after buying you food worth two hundred naira, you can’t even stay with me and gist.”
“Gist about what? You are not my age mate and I don’t know what we’ll be talking about. Please leave the door and let me go.” She said.
He shook his head.
“You have to pay me for the food if you feel you don’t want to stay.” He said.
“My brother-in-law will pay for the food when he comes home. I’ll tell him.” Chekwube said sounding quite annoyed. He had been the one to insist on buying her food, she thought, why then was he acting like she’d forced him to buy her food.
“No, I want my payment now.” He said.
“I don’t have any money. You saw me outside when I came home from school and you know that I don’t have any money.” She said.
“Ehen, so pay me with what you have.” He said.
“What I have? I don’t have anything…” She said.
He reached out to caress her face, Chekwube’s eyes widened in horror.
“No! Let me go! Let me out of here! Get out of the door! Get out!” She yelled as she tried forcing her way through the door he’d barricaded with his frame.
Broda Stanley clamped his hand over her mouth and pushed her towards the bed. Chekwube struggled hard with all the strength in her body but it was no match for his.
Ola hurried home, she knew she was late and she had made up excuses to tell her sister but then again, she felt she really didn’t have to explain herself since it was her house and Chekwube was living with her.
Baba Tee had taken her out again today and he had shown her the best part of Lagos, they had been to the beach and she had been so excited to see the huge waves of the sea. He had also bought her a new pair of sandals which she knew she would have to hide from her husband again. Baba Tee’s gifts were already becoming too much and she was sure that soon, she wouldn’t be able to keep up with hiding them. She had an idea, she could ask her husband to start a business for her so that she could use her store’s proceeds as a coverup for all her gifts.
She walked into the compound and headed towards the door of their room, she saw Chekwube’s bag at the entrance and sighed. Her sister was already home.
“Chekwube!” She called out.
She walked towards the back of the house and saw no one.
“Chekwube!” She called again.
She made her way to the front of the compound and saw some children playing about. She asked them if they’d seen her sister but they shook their heads. She made her way out of the compound and looked left and right. She was still looking when someone tapped her, it was a small boy.
“My mama say make I collect our plate wey ya sister use buy rice.” He said.
“My sister wetin?” Ola asked, she was already getting a hang of the pidgin English spoken in the neighbourhood.
“Ya sister come buy food, she talk say na for her and broda Stanley.” He said.
Ola looked at him in confusion, she knew broda Stanley but she hardly ever spoke to him except exchange greetings with him.
“Broda Stanley?” She asked.
“Yes, ma.” He said.
Ola was angry, when did her sister become friends with Broda Stanley? She thought. Didn’t she have her age mates to speak with? She stormed into the compound with the little boy on her heels.
To be continued….
Mothers often get confused in front of the shelves with kids’ footwear because selecting that “one and only” pair that would be the perfect combination of quality and comfort for their kids’ feet is not an easy task.
Let’s take a look at basic principles of the selection of kids’ footwear in order to make your choice easier!
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Buying on Jiji is simple: intuitive interface and search filters make it easier to contact the sellers directly and find out everything about the product, while our low prices will never upset your budget!
Buy footwear approximately one size bigger (1.5 centimeters). Remember that winter shoes should be worn with extra socks.
It is not just about the length of the insole, but also about the shoe width. The foot should not feel cramped, but at the same time it must be fixed in the heel part. If the shoe is too tight in the forefoot, it can lead to problems with blood circulation and joint strains, while wide shoes will not distribute muscle strain properly.
Feet can be different, and the instep may be low or high. Pay attention to the fact how the shoes stay on the instep, whether the feet are cramped or there is a large gap.
It must be natural – this is a key point in the choice: you can choose from leather, suede, and nubuck so the foot could “breathe”. Natural materials provide adequate air circulation and help evaporate moisture.
The sole should be:
● Not slippery.
Bend your shoes at the bottom – they should bend easily.
A perfect heel stabilizer should be closed and stiff (you should not be able to bend it, even if you make an effort), solid (no seams, solid material). Your child’s heel will be well fixed and will not turn out to the side.
The outsole at the back doesn’t have to be more than 7-10 mm higher than the outsole at the toe tip. If it is higher, it can be dangerous for developing children’s feet and spine.
The toe tip should be round, spacious, so as not to compress the toes, and durable enough. A rounded toe tip ensures the natural position of the fingers!
This is a special pad on the inner side of the footwear (the middle part). It helps to shape a right instep arch of the foot, protecting it from becoming flat.
Now that you have checked the shoes for the necessary anatomical features, it’s time to evaluate the aesthetic appearance of the shoe. You should like everything about the shoes – from heel to toe, every rivet and bow velcro. They should be lightweight. Your child should like their color and style.
If your child asks: “Mom, can I wear these shoes right now?” after trying them on – it means that you have selected the perfect footwear for your kid!
Kentura stared at the bible that Melvin had given to her before she’d left his bedroom, she looked at the hard cover and stared at the bold letters in gold.
“The Holy Bible.” She read.
She had returned to the boys’ quarters after speaking with Melvin and she could tell that he was deeply troubled. Maybe it was the fact that he’d let her into his house after his mother had openly showed her dislike, or perhaps it was something she’d said, she thought. She stared at the clock, it was almost six am in the morning and she had less than thirty minutes to leave the house.
Since she moved to Melvin’s house, she’d been very careful while sneaking out of the house in order to avoid being seen by his parents. He had given her one week to get settled and she wanted to stay in his boys’ quarters for the duration of time in order to avoid trouble. She didn’t want him to get into trouble especially as he had done her a huge favour by bringing her into his house.
Her flat had been engulfed with fire a few days ago but thankfully, most of her properties had been salvaged by good neighbours, her landlord had asked her to leave the building at least till the house was worked on and he’d charged her for damages, seeing that she had been the one who’d caused the fire. Incidentally, she had left her electric kettle on before leaving the house and when light was restored, it had caught fire.
She quickly wore her shoes and sprayed her perfume, she looked at the clock again, she still had twenty five minutes left before she caught the company bus so she shrugged, lay down on the bed and set her alarm for the next fifteen minutes.
Melvin’s mother was walking about the compound and praying, something distressed her spirit and it had nothing to do with her ailing health. She was in a tremendous amount of pain but she bore it courageously as she walked about praying. She prayed for her husband, who seemed to grow more troubled by the day and she prayed for her son who seemed to have lost focus from his calling as the GO of the church.
“Dear God, this is what I’ve prayed for since Melvin was a boy…I prayed that you make him your prophet and the leader of the church. Why do I feel that we made a hasty decision in making him the GO? Why are all these happening especially now that my health fails me? What is to become of my family Lord? What is to become of all my hard work? I spent most of my life training Melvin to lead, to take the reigns of the church in his hands, strangely, he is not showing the leadership qualities that I expect to see. He didn’t handle the news of my frail health well, he has stopped joining the family for prayers and on Sunday, he refused to preach but let Pastor Simon speak to the church. I want Melvin to take over from where his father left off…please God…do this for me…” She prayed.
She woke up with a start and stared at the clock, it was 7am. What was happening? She wondered, she never woke up in the mornings but at night time. She stood up and stared at her reflection on the mirror.
“Why am I dressed like this? Mtcheeeew! This stupid Kentura has dressed herself for work in decent clothing.” She hissed.
She walked over to the wardrobe and hastily began to pull out the boxes of clothes. She pulled out some clothes from the boxes and scattered them everywhere, searching frantically for something.
“Where are my personal items? Where are my clothes?” She screamed. “The stupid girl has discarded my clothes! All my wears for night time are not in this box.”
She began to tear some of the clothes in the boxes then after a while she stopped and looked around.
“This is a different place…where am I? Where is this place? Did Kentura move to a new house? How come I’m just finding out about this?” She asked herself as she quickly opened the door and tore out of the room as though chased by mad dogs.
She made her way out to the boys quarters and headed towards the main house, on her way, she bumped into the maid.
“Madam…you’re not out of the house yet? Mummy is praying around the compound and she shouldn’t see you.” The maid said in a shaky voice.
“Who is mummy? Who gave me a mummy?” Kentura screamed.
“Madam Kentura, are you okay?”
“My name is not Kentura, it’s Alicia and please get out of my way, I need to go home.”
The maid looked at her as though she was suffering some sort of mental relapse.
“Is everything alright with you?”
“Get out of my sight this instant!” Kentura screamed as she hurried towards the main house.
Bianca’s mother waited for the security men to open the gates before driving into the GO’s residence, she had always admired the beautiful house, the well-pruned lawns and the serenity of the place. As she drove to park her car, she saw Melvin’s mother walking about the compound and holding a bible.
“Oh, she’s praying…” She muttered as she parked her car and turned off the engine. “I wonder what she’s praying for?” She hissed. “Maybe she’s asking God to prolong her life. Haha…don’t bother yourself with excessive prayers sweetheart, your time is up! Having you alive and the mother of the GO of the church would cause distractions. I want my daughter to be the only lady of the house and of the church as well.”
She alighted from the car and was about walking towards Melvin’s mother when she saw a young lady, corporately dressed but walking in a very confusing manner towards Melvin’s mother.
“Who’s that?” Bianca’s mother asked in surprise as she looked at the young woman.
“Hey you!” Kentura shouted at Melvin’s mother who has broken into songs of praise.
Melvin’s mother was shocked and looked up at her, immediately she saw her, she held out her bible and began to cast and bind.
“Heyyyy….madam, do I look possessed? Why are you casting and binding spirits?” Kentura spat.
Melvin’s mother stopped praying and asked her.
“Are you not the same woman I saw on Saturday? What are you doing here? I thought I told you not to come to this house again.”
“Oh…is that so?” Kentura fired.
“Agnes!” Melvin’s mother called out. “Agnes!”
Bianca’s mother walked up to them with a questioning look in her eyes.
“Good morning mummy.” Bianca’s mother greeted.
Melvin’s mother nodded in greeting as she waited for Agnes to answer her call. Agnes hurried up to them.
“What is she doing here? Who let her in here?” Melvin’s mother demanded.
“Madam…it’s sir Melvin ma…”
“Who?” Bianca’s mother squeaked.
“Please could you wait for me in the sitting room? I need to sort out some things.” Melvin’s mother said to Bianca’s mother.
“Oh come on, I need to be here…it’s obvious that you need help.” Bianca’s mother said quite upset that Mevin’s mother had dismissed her to the sitting room.
“This is my house and I make the decision here, that’s why I am asking that you wait for me inside the house.” Melvin’s mother said.
“With all due respect mummy, I am staying right here. Anything that involves Melvin is of great concern to me because he is going to be my future son-in-law.” Bianca’s mother said.
Melvin’s mother was taken aback.
“Excuse me? Has Melvin asked for your daughter’s hand yet?”
“No he hasn’t but he will.”
“Listen, this is something I’d like to deal with on my own….kindly go to the sitting room and wait for me.” Melvin’s mother said.
“With due respect mummy, I will like to stay here and offer you my support. I heard that your health is detoriating…”
Melvin’s mother stared at Bianca’s mother in anger, she wanted to speak but she refrained herself because she knew that she might regret the words that will come forth from her mouth.
“Hey….what is wrong with the two of you?” Kentura spat at them.
Melvin’s mother spoke to Agnes.
“When did Melvin bring her here?”
“She’s been living in the house for the past three days ma.” Agnes confessed.
“What? How did he keep this from me?” Melvin’s mother asked.
“He brought her here? What for?” Bianca’s mother shouted. “Who are you?” She asked Kentura.
“My name is Alicia….and why do you sound surprised that I’m here?”
“Melvin is interested in my daughter, Bianca, and he is going to marry her so you’re wasting your time with him.” Bianca’s mother said in warning.
Alicia walked towards Bianca’s mother and laughed in her face.
“If he brought me home and not your daughter, then, I’m obviously his first choice.” She snickered.
“Listen here you pigeon, my daughter and Melvin have been an item years before you decided to sniff the face of the earth so…”
“Hold it!” Melvin’s mother said to Bianca’s mother.
“Don’t shush me up! I want to speak some sense into this girl’s head.” Bianca’s mother fired.
Kentura threw her head back and began to laugh very hysterically.
“Where is my son? Where is Melvin?” Melvin’s mother asked the maid in fury.
“He left early this morning….” Agnes said.
“Get me my phone in my bedroom…I need to call him and speak to him.” Melvin’s mother said to Agnes.
Agnes scampered off towards the direction of the house while Melvin and Bianca’s mothers stared at Kentura who was shouting with laughter like a hyena.
To be continued….
Lola lay on the bed in the room and wrapped her arms around her belly, she was still in shock. When she’d been told that she was to be released today, she thought it was all a big lie till she found herself with Jacob. As soon as they got to the house, she had had a bath which she hadn’t done in days and had gotten into bed, she felt so feverish.
The door opened and Jacob walked in.
“How are you feeling?” He asked.
“Don’t worry, everything is over….you are safe now.” He said to her.
“Thank you.” She said.
“You should thank Ella, she was the one who brought the money even though I recall how much stress I went through trying to get her to bring it.” He said.
“Ella?” She asked.
“Yes, Ella. Where else would I get five million naira?” He said. “Now, the kidnappers took the car too but I’m sure that we will get it back in no time. All she needs to do is report the car stolen to the police.” He said.
Lola nodded again, she felt so guilty. She had gotten kidnapped on the day she’d gone to the shrine to work against Ella and now, Ella had been the one to set her free from the clutches of the kidnappers. She began to cry.
“Shhh…stop…I told you you’re safe now.” He said.
“I know.” She sniffed.
“Why are you crying?” He asked.
“Nothing…” She said.
“Get some rest…I hope the baby is fine.” He asked.
She nodded slowly. Jacob nodded and got up to leave when the door burst open and Ella stood at the doorway.
“My goodness! Lola! You’re back! Thank God.” Ella said hurrying up to her to give her a hug.
As soon as Ella hugged Lola, the dam burst as she began to wail loudly.
“Is everything okay? Are you alright?” Ella asked looking at Lola in pity.
“I think she’s still traumatised by the ordeal.” Jacob said.
“Shhh…darling, everything will be fine…just get some rest. Have you eaten anything?” Ella asked.
“Not yet.” Jacob said.
“We need to get something for her to eat.” Ella said.
Lola wiped the tears from her eyes and lay on the bed again.
“Let’s give her some time to get some rest…” Jacob said to Ella.
Lola watched them leave in silence, she knew she had to remove the blinders from Ella’s eyes as soon as possible. She had to tell her the whole truth and make her know the kind of man she’d married.
“They took my car?” Ella shouted as soon as they stepped out of Lola’s room.
“Well…that’s how they were able to leave with the money. We could report the car as missing and in a few days, we’ll get it back.”
“Report the car as missing? I gave you five million naira to give the kidnappers and my car wasn’t part of the bargain.” Ella yelled.
“Why are you yelling at me? Are you the only one who’s had to part with five million naira? Besides, it’s just a car, if we don’t get it back, you’ll get a new one. We should be grateful that Lola was brought home alive.”
“Listen to yourself, Jacob! How dare you speak about my property as though it’s trifle? That car was a gift from my dad and if he finds out that it’s missing, he won’t be happy with me.”
“Daddy this…daddy that…when will you grow up and act like a woman? When will you stop your father and your family from having a say in your life? This is your family now! I am your family whether you like it or not and we are in this together. That was just a car and you can get another one.” He said.
“Get another one? Is it that easy? With the state of the economy, cars have tripled in price and I don’t have the money to get a new one. This is on you Jacob, you have to report at the police station and get my car back or else.”
“Have you resorted to threats? Are you threatening me?” He screamed at her in anger.
“Yes, I am Jacob! I am threatening you and telling you that if I don’t get my car back in the next few days, I am …”
He cut her statement with a loud slap across her face.
Ella’s eyes widened in surprise, it all felt like magic.
“Oh my God! I’m so sorry darling…please…I am sorry…it’s the work of the devil…I am sorry…” Jacob apologised, pulling her into his arms for an embrace.
Ella opened her mouth to speak but a loud yell from Lola’s bedroom unnerved them and they both rushed in.
They opened the door to see Lola clutching her abdomen and yelling in pain.
Jessica and her sister sat in the hospital room together, they were both staring at the television but not speaking. Jessica’s sister suddenly broke the silence.
“The doctor should discharge you today.” She said.
“But…it’s strange how we never knew that Zach was married before.” She said.
“Well, he said that she showed him hell and he wants to divorce her but she’s threatening to take his son away from him.” Jessica said.
“Are you sure about this? There are two sides to every story ooo…”
“Yes I know but everything he told me makes so much sense. You remember I told you that he began to act strangely some time ago and that coincided with the time that Queen joined our company.”
“But you know Queen and all you’ve ever done since you met that woman is sing her praises.” Her sister said.
“Yes I know, but people can be deceptive. I mean…Queen was nice to me because she didn’t know that I was married to Zach but now that she knows, she’s going to try to punish him more especially by taking his son away from him.”
“Wait…isn’t that the same little boy that came for my child’s birthday?”
“Didn’t we find it strange that he was latched to your husband all day?”
Jessica looked at her sister.
“Something is not right Jess, I think you need to get to the bottom of this. There’s something Zach is not telling you.” Her sister said.
“C’mon sis, Zach is telling the truth. He broke down and cried, and I’ve never seen him cry before…he actually cried hard when he was telling me the truth. He regretted not telling me the whole truth before we got married but he did that because he was scared that I won’t marry him.”
“He hasn’t divorced his first wife Jess, he is a polygamist.” Her sister said.
“Don’t call him that.” Jessica said hotly.
“I regret the fact that we didn’t do our investigations properly before you got into the marriage.”
“Well, there was nothing to investigate besides, we are going to be fine. Zach has removed Queen from his life and…”
“Look, darling, I’m not speaking of the present but of the future. You have thrown yourself into a situation with this messy triangle. If Queen is as dangerous as Zach claims, then, your life and that of your unborn children can be in danger.”
“Do you know what I think? I feel you should put off getting pregnant till you’re sure that the divorce is final between Queen and your husband.”
“Sis, c’mon! There’s nothing to be sure about. I trust my husband totally and I believe all that he told me.”
Her sister looked at her and sighed, she wanted to speak when the door opened and Zach walked in with a large pack of pizza and a large bowl of ice cream.
“You want me to get fat.” Jessica laughed.
“I’m doing everything to make sure that my darling gets all the care in the world.” He said with a smile.
He greeted Jessica’s sister who quickly stood up from the chair and walked towards the door.
“Leaving already?” Jessica asked.
“Yes, I have to go home to get some things.” She said.
“The doctor should discharge her today or latest tomorrow.” Zach said to Jessica’s sister.
Jessica’s sister didn’t reply, she opened the door and walked out of the room.
“What’s wrong with her? She didn’t speak to me….” Zach said.
“Don’t worry about her, she’s just playing the role of the big sis.” Jessica said with a smile.
As Jessica opened the pack of pizza and began to devour it, Zach looked worried, he just realised that he had Jessica’s family to contend with.
Ella and Jacob waited for news at the waiting room of the hospital, Jacob watched as Ella sat at the other side and waited for news. She hadn’t spoken to him since he hit her at their house. Jacob made his way towards her and as soon as she saw him approach, she stood up and made to walk away. The doctor chose that moment to emerge from within and they rushed up to him.
“Doc…is she okay?” Jacob asked.
“Are you the father of the child? Is she your wife?” The doctor asked.
“No…No…” Jacob said.
“She’s a relative.” Ella answered.
“Lola went into early labour.”
“Early labour?” Jacob and Ella asked in shock.
“Yes, we had to deliver the baby…” The doctor said.
“How are they doing? I mean…how’s the mother and baby?” Jacob asked.
“We are sorry…the baby was a still born…” The doctor said. “The mother is stable.”
Ella shook her head sorrowfully while Jacob groaned in pain and crouched to the ground in tears.
To be continued next week…..
Ella signed the form and waited for her money to be released to her. Her bank had wasted most part of her morning as they’d delayed her with questions as to the reasons she wanted to withdraw such a large sum of money in cash.
“We are not supposed to give out such sum of money in a day, besides, you can always do a direct transfer to the account of whoever you wish to pay the money to or issue a cheque.” Her account officer said.
“I really need the cash.” She stressed.
“Well, it’s not going to be easy to get it especially as you need it now. You gave us such short notice and ….”
“Please do all you can…I really need the money.” Ella said.
“Could you kindly sit for a while, I need to check some things.”
“Sure…” Ella said as she made her way to take a seat.
Jacob was there seated and flipping through the pages of a magazine, as soon as she walked up to take a seat, he looked at her.
“They are refusing to release the money, they claim it’s a huge sum…”
“What rubbish? It’s your money! This bank is useless, I know other banks that will give you your money in a snap.” He said raising his voice.
“Hey, calm down…yes, it’s my money but the bank has rules.” She said.
“That’s not fair. Lola has been in the hands of those miscreants for days now. They called me yesterday and I told them to wait until today because yesterday was a Sunday and there was no way we could get the money on a weekend.”
“Well, if the bank can’t release the money in cash, the kidnappers should accept a cheque.” She said.
“Cheque? Kidnappers don’t accept cheques.”
“Then they’ll just have to be patient.” She snapped.
“You’re speaking this way because it’s not your sister who’s kidnapped.”
Ella stared at him in anger.
“What do you mean by that? I am bringing five million naira from my trust fund and my sacrifice isn’t enough for you? The last time I checked, she’s your relative and all you’ve brought so far is emotional support and panic.”
“Hey, babe…I didn’t mean that…it’s just that I’m really desperate.”
“Desperation can’t solve any problems, the country is on a cashless policy and I can’t withdraw the sum of five million naira over the counter unless I withdraw it bit by bit during the week and…”
“We don’t have time for that.”
“Then, chill and wait….let’s see what my account officer has to say.” She said.
Jacob looked at her, he hated it when his wife acted high and mighty just as she did right now. She loved to rub her riches in his face, he thought, but it was going to be all over soon. All he needed to do was to convince her to present the remaining money in her trust fund for a joint business venture and he’ll set up a new business in his name and become very successful with her money.
“Honey…can I make a suggestion?” He asked.
“What’s your suggestion?”
“Can you maybe…talk to one of these your rich friends…do you remember those ones you told me that their dad is a politician? Why don’t you ask them if they have cash with them and if they do, you can transfer the money to their account while you get the cash from them?”
“Do you mean Jade and Jackie?” She asked.
“Yes…speak to them, they are very wealthy and you used to tell me how they spend millions of naira in clubs every weekend.” He said.
Ella looked at her husband and sighed.
“The things I do for love…” She said as she brought out her phone from her bag and made a call.
Zach was shuffling himself between his two wives locations; he spent two hours at Jessica’s bedside nursing her back to health and spent the next two hours at Queen’s doorstep, begging her to let him in. After two days of pleading, Queen opened the door and let him into the house.
“Queenie…darling, please understand me…I would have never ever hurt you on purpose.” He said.
“You don’t have the right to speak Zach!” Queen screamed at him. “If a woman was giving you issues, the least you could do was to call me and tell me. Can you imagine the shock I felt when I found that you had another wife?”
“Stop calling her that my darling…please…don’t call her that…” He begged. “She repulses me, she makes me sick, you are the only wife I have and you are my family.”
“I still don’t understand any of this…how I am supposed to process all of this? Do you know the most painful part? It’s the fact that I’ve been in Lagos for a while and you haven’t bothered to tell me anything. If she didn’t confide in me that she thought her husband was having an affair and hadn’t sent me the receipt you’d used to pay the rent for this house, I’ll still be naive over the situation.” She said.
Zach looked at his feet sadly.
“I am sorry…I am very sorry but you have to understand that it wasn’t easy for me. I couldn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to be disturbed and I also didn’t bother to tell b=you because she means nothing to me, nothing at all.” He said.
“I hope you’re telling me the truth, Zach.”
“I swear on my father’s grave darling…all I told you is the truth and nothing but the truth.” He said.
“Okay…fine…I believe you.”
“Can I hug you? I’ve missed you so much.” He said reaching out to hug her.
“You really got me worried…I had to call in sick at work today because I spent the weekend deep in thought.” She said walking into his outstretched arms.
“I love you baby and you don’t have to worry about anything…my love for you is forever and beyond.” He said hugging her tight and sighing in relief that she believed him. “Now, I have a favour to ask of you.”
She broke the hug and looked at him.
“For my sake and the sake of our family, I want you to resign from your job at the company. I have set some money aside to start a new business for you. I also want us to move away from this house as soon as possible. What do you say?” He asked, looking at her with pleading eyes.
Queen looked at her husband, she didn’t know what to say.
Jacob sat behind the wheels of Ella’s car and breathed fast, the five million naira was in a bag at the booth of the car. He had refused to an exchange in the night but had asked that the exchange is done in broad daylight. His phone rang and he jerked.
“Hello…” He said.
“Are you at the junction?” The gruff voice asked.
“Yes…yes I am…” He whispered.
“Are you with the money?”
“Yes…” Jacob answered as his eyes quickly darted left and right across the busy street.
“Good. Did you come with a vehicle?”
“Yes…I drove my car.” He said.
“Describe the car…what colour is it?”
“It’s a dark red Nissan jeep.” He said. “2015 model.”
“Oh…I see…” The kidnapper said.
“Now, leave the car running and get down from the vehicle slowly. Don’t take out the keys.”
“What? Why shouldn’t I take the keys?” He asked.
“Do you want Lola alive or not?”
“Yes….yes…” Jacob said quickly.
“Good. Now, do as I’ve told you.”
Jacob nodded, hung up the phone and quietly made his way out of the car.
Ella was trying to concentrate at work but she couldn’t, she stared at her wristwatch and sighed. She was worried. Jacob hadn’t called her to give an update on what was going on and she was really beginning to panic. Suddenly, her phone rang and she quickly answered, relieved to see that it was Jacob, calling.
“Hello, babe…” She said breathlessly into the receiver.
“She’s safe….Lola is safe…” Jacob whispered.
Ella closed her eyes in relief. “Oh thank God.”
“They didn’t hurt her right? I hope they didn’t hurt her…” She said.
“No…she’s fine…just a little dehydrated. We are on our way home now, we are in a taxi cab.”
“A cab? Where’s my car? Didn’t you take my car with you?”
“Yes I did but there was a change of plans…”
“What change of plans? Where is my car, Jacob?”
“The kidnappers…they took it.” He said. “Along with the money.”
Ella’s phone dropped from her hand and clattered to the ground, she was shocked.
To be continued…..
Bianca’s mother sat before Prophetess Antonia, she was her last resort. Prophetess Antonia was a woman she’d hoped she’d never have to go to but had to because of the way things were going. Her daughter Bianca was very upset, Melvin had crushed her and she needed to be sure that things were going to be fine.
Bianca’s mother had known Prophetess Antonia long before she’d gotten married, the woman had been an ordinary seer back then when she was still a young woman but now, she had her own church and followers.
The church was painted in white and blue and a large pentagon sign was drawn at the front of the altar and also at the center of the church. There were about three large crosses placed on the table before the altar as well as prayer materials. As Bianca’s mother sat with the prophetess, she could hear a deliverance session going on, not too far from her and some members of the church praying very rapidly. She couldn’t make out their words but their eyes were shut and they were in deep concentration.
“What do you want to know?” The prophetess asked.
“I just want to know if my daughter is going to marry Melvin…I really want her to and I see a future for the two of them.” She said.
“You can’t see the future unless you have the powers to see the future. You just perceive that they are meant for each other.” The prophetess said.
“Yes…right…they are meant for each other.” Bianca’s mother said.
The prophetess looked at Bianca’s mother and sighed.
“Your daughter’s name is Bianca.” She said. “She is a determined lady with the support of a strong mother.”
Bianca’s mother was shocked, she couldn’t recall telling the woman her daughter’s name.
“How…did you know her name?” She asked.
“I see a lot of things.” The prophetess said. “Your daughter is like you, she wants Melvin for herself but he’s already destined for someone else.”
“What? Destined for who? God forbid!”
“In life, we all have destinies…just the way we all have different patterns on our palms, so are our destinies different. The sun and the moon determine most of what we are going to get in life and when two people’s stars do not align, there is no future.”
“How can you say that?” Bianca’s mother said in panic. “Bianca is meant for Melvin. She is the most eligible woman in that church and she deserves him!”
“Yes, she could deserve him but the question is, are they meant for each other? There are marriages and unions that can be toxic even though the couple seems to be meant for each other. If you drag them together, they will barely make it work. In fact, their marriage could destroy the church.” She said.
“No! That’s not possible!”
“It’s what I see and my visions do not lie. My advice is that you let things rest…leave things as they are. Another man will find your daughter and make her happy. There’s no need trying to match make her with Melvin.”
“Impossible! That can never happen! Impossible!” Bianca’s mother cried. “Melvin’s mother is on the verge of death and her death will push her son into the hands of a woman and he will choose my daughter because…he…he…lay with her and I believe that they would marry and…”
“If you have all the answers and solutions, why then are you here? You asked your daughter how her meeting went with Melvin and what did she say?” The prophetess asked. “She told you that he has no interest in marrying her.”
Bianca’s mother stared at the prophetess; it felt as though the woman was looking into her soul.
“Yes but that can be changed…he can learn to love her and…” Bianca’s mother said sounding frustrated. “Can’t you do something to help me? Please…”
“I can work with the wind and the stars to change your daughter’s destiny to fit Melvin’s but I can’t change his, it’s already set and can never be altered.” The prophetess said.
“What does that mean?”
“It means that I can change your daughter’s star so that it can align with Melvin’s but I can’t make his, align with hers. What I’m saying is that once I make these changes, your daughter must try to marry Melvin at all costs or else…”
“Or else what?”
“She can never marry anyone else. Once I alter her destiny, she can never be seen by any other man except Melvin, who by the way might not eventually marry her.”
Bianca’s mother stared at the prophetess, her throat was suddenly parched.
Melvin knelt beside his bed and prayed, he had been praying for the past hour as he’d woken up before dawn.
“Dear Lord…” He prayed. “What am I doing to myself? Why do I feel responsible for Kentura even though I barely know her? After the fire incident at her house, I gave her shelter in the boys’ quarters of my parents’ home even though my mother clearly warned that I stay away from her. Was I wrong to have let her in? Am I wrong to smuggle her into my house without my parent’s knowledge? Am I wrong to have sworn the security and the maids to secrecy? Your word tells us to help those in need and that’s what I’m doing for Kentura. I had no other choice but to help her move in here for the meantime, at least till she’s back on her feet and so far, I have seen her resilience. She has been looking for a new place to stay and I’m sure that she’ll move out soon. I am so worried about everything, Lord, suddenly it seems as though we don’t have the connection we used to have before, I remember hearing you speak to me very clearly but now, it’s so difficult to hear from you. It’s almost like a wall is standing between you and I and I don’t want it. Is it because of my sins with Bianca? Or is it because I got angry with You when my parents told me about my mother’s sickness? Don’t I have the right to be angry even though I am your child and shouldn’t question you? My father didn’t act on his threat to remove me as the GO of the church but he’s stopped speaking to me, I see the hurt in his eyes whenever he looks at me and I feel so bad. My mother’s illness is troubling, she’s been to the hospital again but the answer is still the same, she has a little time to live and there’s no use wasting time on treatments. I am angry Lord, you have abandoned me and I have no one else to turn to…” He prayed.
There was a rap at his door and he suddenly lost track of what he’d been telling the Lord. He sighed and waited for the person at the door to go away. The knock came again, this time it was more persistent. Melvin looked at the time, it was a little after five-thirty am in the morning. He stood up from his kneeling position and made his way to his door. He opened it and was taken aback.
“Kentura, are you out of your mind?” He asked in shock. “What are you doing here?”
“I need a favour…” She said.
He hastily ushered her in and shut the door.
“You ask for too many favours. Why couldn’t you call my phone instead of coming into the house? How many times do I have to tell you that my parents have no idea that you’re here?” He spat.
“I know and I’m so sorry…” She said.
“What do you want?” He spat at her.
“Melvin, I hate it when you speak to me like we’re strangers. You were never like this before, you were so kind, nice and fun to be with but now, you’re always on edge.” She said.
“Get to the point.” He said.
“I actually came to ask for toothpaste. The one that I was using fell into the toilet by mistake and I can’t use it anymore and that’s why I’m here.” She said.
He walked away from her and headed towards his bathroom. Kentura’s eyes scanned the bedroom, it settled on the open bible on the bed. Melvin stepped out of the bathroom with the paste.
“Here you go.” He said as he handed it to her.
“Your bible is open.” She said. “I hope I didn’t disturb you.”
“I was praying.” He said.
“Seriously? Wow! It’s been long since I prayed…I mean…it’s been years since I’ve even opened a bible.” She said. “I don’t even own a bible.”
“How did you find my room?” He asked.
“I asked Agnes for directions and she showed me, I saw her sweeping the sitting room.” She said, referring to the maid.
“How do you communicate with God if you don’t pray?” He asked.
“Communicate with God? Who can do that? I mean…God is somewhere way up in the sky while we’re here on earth. Most people haven’t even communicated effectively with the people around them talk more of a God that we don’t see. Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally go to church but I don’t feel any connection with God.” She said.
“That’s where you’re getting it wrong. You have to learn to communicate and wait to listen to Him.”
Kentura laughed again.
“Listen to Him? Are you nuts? Does He speak?”
“Don’t be ridiculous! Of course, God speaks…”
“I know you’re a pastor and all and I do respect your decision to be that but I have one question to ask. Since you woke up so early to pray to Him, has he spoken to you today?” She asked him mockingly.
Melvin opened his mouth and wanted to speak but he knew the answer so he kept silent.
To be continued on Sunday….
I stepped out of the taxi brimming with fear and excitement all rolled into one as I waited for Gabriel to alight and pay the taxi driver. I had my bag in my hand as I stared at the house where I had lived for most of my life. Gabriel had insisted on accompanying me home and even though I had rejected his offer at first, I realized that he really wanted to come with me so I let him.
The taxi drove off and I took my first step towards the compound.
“Abosede.” He called out to me.
I turned to look at him.
“Calm down, take deep breaths, it’s been quite a while since you left home.” He said to me.
It was only for a few months but it seemed like an eternity. I nodded and smiled at him.
“Are you ready?” He asked me with a wide smile.
I nodded again and we both walked into the compound. The first person I saw was Sisi Eko, she was walking towards the clothes line to hang her clothes. As soon as she saw me, she opened her mouth and let out a scream. I was surprised.
“Come ooo…make una come ooo…trouble maker don return ooo….Abosede don come back ooo…” Sisi Eko screamed dropping her bucket and rushing into the building.
I felt a bit saddened by the way she’d referred to me. She’s called me the trouble maker.
“Don’t mind her…let’s go inside.” Gabriel said taking my hand in his and also taking the bag from me.
“No…you heard what she called me…I am ashamed to go inside.” I said to him.
“Okay, let’s take a minute before going inside the compound.” He said to me.
We waited for a short while before he spoke to me again.
“Are you ready to go in now?” He asked.
I nod again and we take a few steps into the house only to hear what sounded like a loud noise coming from inside the building and soon, we saw what it was. A number of tenants came out bearing objects like sticks, long spoons and the like as they chanted.
“We nor go gree ooo…we nor go gree….Abosede, you must return!”
I couldn’t believe my ears, was I such a nuisance that they wanted me gone? I stared at them, my heart pounded in my chest and my eyes darted left and right in fear.
“Lai lai…Abosede nor go return for dis we compound again. We nor care say her mama be our landlady. If her mama allow her back, we go evacuate.” A tenant said.
“We nor go gree ooo…we nor go gree…Abosede, you must return!” They chanted.
I burst into tears, I couldn’t believe it.
“Wait…you have no right to send her back, besides, this is her house too…” Gabriel defended.
“Look hia Gabriel, we nor want Abosede for we compound again. Since she comot, peace don reign for we compound. We nor want her wahala abeg.” A tenant said.
Suddenly, my mother burst through the crowd and stared at me in shock.
“Abosede! Wetin you dey do for hia?” She asked.
I felt as though my world had crumbled.
To be continued tomorrow….
Bunmi was so sure that once her son sees her, he would jump right into her arms; right from childhood, he’d always been clingy, needing the affection she couldn’t offer herself, least of all, him. With her luggage in the booth of the taxi cab and Folake and Jermia seated at the back of the cab, she alighted and made her way towards the gate of the large house.
Folake had done a bit of investigative work and had found out where Bunmi’s son and his father lived. She stared at the house which was a twenty times bigger than the house she lived in Brazil and shared with seven other people from different African countries. She remembered the fight and tussle for everything within the small apartment and suddenly, this house standing before her seemed like a breath of fresh air.
Before she had made her way out of the taxi cab, Folake had said to her.
“Bunmi, please don’t take it the wrong way but there’s no space for you in my house. I think you should go to a hotel.”
“Why would I do that? I have a son and he lives in a house or doesn’t he?” She’d asked.
“I heard…I heard that his father has remarried about seven times and I’m sure that one of his wives lives with them in the house.” Folake had said quickly.
“It’s her house…you can’t go there and …”
“Watch me!” Bunmi had said.
“Ahhh… don’t go and find trouble ooo….”
“My son still remains the only heir to Felix’s fortune! Let them try and stop me so that I can have them show me the fruit of their union with my son’s father!” Bunmi said with eyes ready for war.
Folake had kept silent after the statement.
Bunmi marched up to the gate and pressed the bell. The gate opened and a man in security uniform stared at her.
“Good day madam.” He greeted.
“I am not your ma’am and where is my son?” She asked.
The security man stared at her in confusion.
“Yes, my son, Gbenga!” She said.
The security man looked at her for a moment and shook his head.
“Can’t you speak? Are you dumb?”
“Madam…” He started.
“If you call me ma’am again, I’ll slap your face. Take a good look at me, I can pass for a twenty-five years old woman.”
The security guard looked at the woman who was obviously well into her forties and didn’t say anything.
“You will have to wait for my oga to come back and…”
“Look here, my son is the heir to this place and everything in it. I can have him sack you in the blink of an eye.” Bunmi said.
The security man quickly shut the gate. Bunmi’s face contorted in horror as she pressed the bell and suddenly began to bang at the gate, hard.
“What’s going on?” Folake asked, walking up to her.
“The stupid security man just slammed the gate in my face!” She spat.
“The taxi man is already asking for his money, he says he will start to charge extra if we keep him waiting.” She said.
“How much is his money?”
“Five thousand.” Folake said.
“Yes, pay him. I don’t have naira on me…I’m just coming from Brazil.”
“Pay ke? If you knew you didn’t have money to pay, we would have taken public transport.”
“Folake, pay the money and I’ll do a refund besides, I didn’t remember to change currency at the airport and you were dumb not to have reminded me.”
Folake looked at her cousin and sighed, a side of her blamed herself for coming all the way to the airport hoping that her cousin had changed for the better but deep down, she knew that it would be so good to be true because a leopard never changes its spots.
Chekwube stepped out of the school gate with her new friend, Aline. She saw Gbenga get into a car and watched the car drive off.
“Isn’t it nice to be rich?” Aline said. “Imagine us lounging at the back of a cool air conditioned car and going home instead of trekking under the hot sun.”
“Huh? What did you say?”
“I’m just imagining the kind of life that Gbenga must be living. He’s obviously from a rich home and his family just sends him here for quality education.” She said.
“There are private schools.”
“It’s common knowledge that most private schools don’t have half the facilities that government schools have.” Aline said.
“Well…maybe you’re right. Maybe his parents decided that sending him to a rich fancy school is a waste of money and at the end of the day, we’ll all sit for the same examinations.” Chekwube said.
“That’s true.” Aline said. “Your face is swollen, what happened to you?”
“Mtcheww…it’s Mickey ooo…that annoying girl fought me.”
“Ha! Mickey! Don’t try to get in her way ooo…that girl is too notorious.”
“Do you think I don’t know that? I live in the same compound with her.”
Aline looked at Chekwube and shook her head.
“Ha! God forbid that I’ll live in the same compound with that wild animal.” Aline said.
“Don’t speak too loudly or she’ll hear you.” Chekwube said.
“Do you notice that she likes the new boy?”
“What new boy?”
“Who else? Gbenga of course.”
“What’s funny?” Aline asked.
“It’s impossible! You don’t need a soothsayer to tell you that a relationship can never work between the two of them.”
“Is it because he’s rich?”
“No…but c’mon…look at her and look at him. They are very different. Mickey can kill him.”
Aline looked at Chekwube and burst out laughing.
Gbenga stood at the gate of Amanda’s house with a beautiful card and a single rose and pressed the bell. A security man answered.
“How can I help you?”
“Sir, I’d like to see Amanda please.”
“She’s not home yet.”
“When will she be back home?”
“Who are you? You’re not her school mate.” The security man said taking in his school uniform.
“We used to be school mates.” Gbenga said. “Please, can I wait for her?”
“Are you ready to wait all day? Amanda doesn’t come home till six or seven pm, her parents enrolled her in a private tutorial school in preparation for her junior WAEC.”
“Oh really…okay then, can I leave something for her?”
The security looked at him and nodded. Gbenga handed him the card and rose flower.
“Please tell her that it’s from Gbenga.”
As he walked back to the car, his shoulders slumped in defeat.
Gbenga and Uncle Soji were shocked to see some people sitting outside the gate as though they were some sort of refugees in a camp.
“Who are they?” Gbenga asked. “What are they doing at our gate?”
Uncle Soji horned and the gate was opened, one of the women hurried to the car and rapped at the driver’s window. Uncle Soji wound down and gasped.
“Bunmi!” He exclaimed.
“Sojistic Soji! How far?” The woman greeted in a booming voice.
“It’s been ages…I mean…how…where have you been?”
“I’ve been out here a long time and I need a glass of water to drink first before I answer your question. Where’s Gbenga?” She asked.
Gbenga wound down his window and stared at her in confusion.
“Why are you looking for me? Who are you?” He asked.
The woman looked at him with a smile and with emotionless-looking eyes.
“Gbenga, my darling…it’s me, mommy. I’m home!” She said.
To be continued next week…..