Story: Alone


    Episode 1

    A slap landed on my left cheek while I got a knock on my head from behind. "mummy,I swear,I didn't take the money. I haven't even swept your room this morning." She looked at me with scorn and had another reason why i would be dealt with. "Chy,go and call your father."she said to her daughter who was my age mate and had given me the knock on my head.
    Chinenye ran into the house,leaving me alone with her mother who was my aunt.
    My name is Chimamanda Okoye. I'm nineteen years old and just finished my waec. I don't know my real parents but I grew up with mummy Joy and daddy Alex. According to what I was told,daddy Alex was my mother's elder brother. They were the only children of their parents. My mother had died while giving birth to me three months after my father was buried. I grew up knowing Joy and Alex as my parents.
    On the other hand,Chinenye and Chukwuebuka are the only children of mummy Joy and daddy Alex. They were twins. They're older than me with just two months. We three wrote waec together and were awaiting our results. Chukwuebuka left for Abuja immediately our exams finished. He was my best friend,my confidant and my saviour. Daddy Alex was also good to me but he was never around. It was from one country to the other and whenever he was around,mummy Joy tried her best to prove to him that I was worthless.
    Alex: Amanda,why are you kneeling down? What did you do?
    I quickly noted the frown forming on Chinenye's face. She had come out to the backyard with her father smiling sheepishly.
    Joy: You won't ask me, your wife,why I'm punishing her eh daddy?
    Alex: What did she do?
    Joy: She stole my money.
    Daddy looked at me and frowned. He came closer to me and squatted,daddy was a tall man.
    Alex: Amanda,did you take your mother's money?
    I shook my head as fresh tears fell from my eyes.
    Alex: Speak my child and stop nodding. Learn to defend yourself.
    He spoke in a very soft way that I wanted to pull him to me and hug him for loving me so much.
    Me: Daddy,I didn't take the money. I haven't even gone into mummy's room this morning. I........
    Joy: Shut up your mouth. I'm still talking about the money that you stole and you're drumming it into my ear that you've not swept my room this morning. What do I keep you in this house for?
    Alex: And what will Chinenye be doing while she's working herself up in this house?
    Chinenye: Daddy......
    Alex: Shut up and get into the house. Make sure you've swept the entire rooms before I get back into that house.
    Joy: Daddy leave this girl alone. How can she be suffering in her own father's house?
    Alex: If sweeping the house is suffering,she should suffer. Now,get into that house now.
    Chinenye ran into the house making noise like she was crying. She had never touched a broom since our childhood. I wanted to stop her and tell her to wait for me to do it but I caught daddy staring at me in a mean way.
    Joy: Look how you overlooked this fool's mistake and carried it all out on my daughter. Nenye is still a child. She.....
    Alex: Woman,don't provoke me anymore. You call that arrogant girl a child? If so,then Chimamanda is a child too. Why leave her to do all the work?
    Joy: This is your house and Nenye is your child. If this bastard needs someone to pamper her,she should go and look for her late parents and live with them.
    Mummy Joy meant to walk away but daddy slapped her and she fell on the ground.
    Alex; You dare call my niece a bastard? Twenty one years ago,who was i? Who knew me in this country? Her father made me who I am. Her father restructured my life and that is why you even married me at the first place. This house belongs to Amanda because her mother willed everything to her,the money and every other thing you used in starting your business,it was from Amanda's money. Now,you call her a bastard. Is that how shameless you've become? I won't say this again,lay your hands on this girl just one more time and that will be the end of our marriage.
    I knelt there and tried to think over all daddy was saying. The house was mine? I had money too? Then why did mummy Joy always refer to me as a wretched child who her parents left with nothing? I wanted to smile and dance around for joy but not now,not when my mummy was on the floor in pains.
    Alex: Amanda,go and finish with whatever you're doing. Once I come back,you're leaving this house with me.
    Mummy Joy left as soon as daddy left the house but while mummy came back later around 8:00pm,daddy never returned.

    Episode 2

    I sat down on the muddy ground,looking on as daddy's golden casket was being lowered to the earth. I had cried and gotten tired of crying. I couldn't believe that my foster daddy was gone,after promising to take me away from mummy and her constant troubles. I looked at mummy,dressed in a lacy white gown. She was looking at me and I wondered if it was pity or hatred that I saw in her eyes. She wasn't crying. She just kept her gaze on me.
    Three months ago
    After daddy left the house,I went into the house and saw Nenye struggling with the broom. I took it from her and swept the entire house before going into my room. I picked up my phone from where it was charging and dialled Emeka's number.
    Emeka: Sisi m
    Me: Emy nwa,how are you?
    Emeka: I'm fine. How are you?
    Me: I'm not fine.
    Emeka: Ahn ahn. Are you sick?
    Me: It's mummy. She.....
    Emeka: Did she beat you? I'll call her up right now.
    Me: No. No. She's having problems with daddy because of me.
    Emeka: How?
    I took time to explain to him all that happened that morning,including the slap.
    He sighed deeply and paused for a while before speaking.
    Emeka: Nne,I'm sorry about what mummy did. I'll round up my computer classes and come back as soon as possible.
    Me: Daddy said I'll leave with him today.
    Emeka: Sisi,you're not going anywhere. I'll call daddy immediately and plead with him. For my sake please.
    Me: Its okay. I also want to stay with my family. Daddy is just angry,when he comes. back,I'll talk with him and we'll settle everything.
    Emeka: Thanks Sisi m. Where is mummy now?
    Me: she left while I was sweeping the house.
    Emeka: Okay. But trust me,I'll be back as soon as possible okay?
    Me: Better o cause I'm missing you too much.
    Emeka: Me too.
    We spoke a little longer before we said our goodbyes and I went to eat breakfast. Nenye didn't come out of her room till I served lunch. She ate and asked me to keep food for mum and dad before she went back to her room.
    While frying plantain for dinner,hot oil poured on my leg. I cried out in pain and cried while the plantain burnt away. Mummy came back around 8:00pm and I served dinner. On a normal day,she would beat me once she sees any burnt part of the food but today,she ate it without saying anything to me.
    I did the dishes that night,using the opportunity to wait for dad. I wanted to talk to him. He needed to stop beating his wife. I waited till I slept off on the couch.
    The next morning brought about the worst news I'd ever heard. Daddy was found in his car along the road,dead. It was not an accident,he was not shot or injured. His head was on the steering,like he was sleeping.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    I watched as the men from Kingdom Heritage funeral undertakers lowered the remains of my daddy to mother earth while on the other hand,mummy stared at me,not removing her eyes for once. We were all dressed in white but I didn't care. I was sitting on the muddy ground as it had rained heavily that morning. Emeka stood beside me. He was crying his eyes out. My friends from school were all around me but will there presence bring back my daddy Alex? I only came back to the present when Ginika tapped me,asking that the priest was talking to me. I stood up and realised that everyone was looking at me. I looked at Father Jude,he was our parish youth father. He was a close friend to the family. He was smiling but today,I wouldn't smile with him.
    Fr. Jude: Amanda,show respect to your father.
    The catechist handed me a shovel. I took it from him, collected some sand from the heap on the floor and held onto the shovel. For the first time in two weeks,tears fell from my eyes.
    Me: Daddy,why didn't I leave the house with you? I would have being with you today. Why did you choose to leave me alone? Why daddy? Who did you visit? Who did this to you? Is this where you promised to end? I thought you promised to be there with me all the time? Are you happy seeing our faces this swollen and red? Daddy why didn't you fight death? Why didn't you come home like you promised? Or is this a better way of making peace reign? Daddy who will take care of us? Daddy I have so many questions to ask you but since you swore not to answer them,rest in peace. Since you were weak to fight death,daddy,fight now that you're immortal. Fight whoever did this to you daddy.
    The shovel left my hand and landed into the grave,right on top of the casket while I slumped on the floor,crying my heart out. Emeka and some of my friends came and took me away into the house while the rite continued.

    Episode 3

    Mummy: Amanda,get inside.
    Emeka reluctantly left me and I made fast steps into the room. On a second thought,I came back and hid behind the curtain.
    Mummy: What's the talk about going to Tansian? Who made that decision in this house?
    Emeka: Mummy,I had told daddy about it and he supported the idea.
    Mummy: Did he also support that Amanda goes?
    Emeka: Yes mum. In fact,he said that we all can go to Tansian. He.....
    Mummy: If you all go to Tansian,who would stay with me? The house will be so lonely and dead. You know I need company especially now that your father is no more. Maybe you and Nenye can go while Amanda will go to Esut or IMT.
    Emeka didn't say anything. There was silence in the sitting room.
    Mummy: Daddy talk to me nau.
    Emeka: Till we get back to Enugu first. Amanda also has to make a decision y'know.
    Mummy: But.....
    Emeka: Mum please don't stress it. I'll be inside.
    I quickly walked down the corridor to my room. I prayed like I had never prayed before,asking God to see me through.
    I didn't mind going to any school so long as I was going to further my education and get a degree.
    Our journey back home wasn't bad. The driver drove us and we didn't say much on the way. As soon as we entered our compound,I knew I was back to being the slave. We all got down and was waiting for the driver to come open the boot when mum called for our attention.
    Mummy: Drop all the luggage downstairs. We'll be having a meeting now.
    Nenye: But mum,I'm hungry. Can't we at least eat something before the meeting.
    Mummy: Don't worry dear. Its going to be a short one.
    Emeka looked at me and smiled. I was too nervous to smile back? Instinct told me I was the reason for the meeting. He came to me and patted my shoulder.
    Emeka: What's the matter?
    Me: Nothing. I'm fine.
    Emeka turned to know if anybody was close but he saw mum opening the door while Nenye stood behind her complaining of something.
    Emeka: I know you're worried about this sudden meeting. You have to always believe me, I'm here for you and I'll always be. You need not worry about mum and her wahala. You'll be safe okay?
    I nodded,trying hard to fight the tears and stop them from falling.
    I lifted my box and dragged it into the house. Mum and Nenye were already seated. I quickly dropped my box where Nenye had dropped hers and took a seat. Emeka entered shortly and the meeting began.
    Mummy: First of all,I want to thank you all for the good behaviour you all put up in the village. It shows you all are now matured enough to know between right and wrong. Thank you very much for not disgracing me at the village.
    Nenye: Don't you trust me mummy. I knew that those wicked men and women at the village will be monitoring all our movements so that they'll have something to gossip about when we return,but I'm glad there plan didn't work at all.
    Mummy: That's my girl. Now,to the reason why I called this meeting,I'll go straight to the point.
    I adjusted in my seat,waiting for the worst.
    Mummy: Amanda!
    I swallowed hard. Here it comes.
    Me: Ye.....yes mummy
    Mummy: I want to state how the affairs of my family will be ran from now onwards. If you're not happy with it,you can pick your box from that spot and walk out,I'll be kind enough to give you transportation fair although I know that you made new boyfriends at the village who gave you enough money.
    Nenye chuckled and my eyes got wet.
    Mummy: Did you get me clear?
    Me: Yes mummy.
    Mummy: Good. From today,you'll be seeing to all the domestic chores in this house; cleaning,washing,mobbing,drying,cooking,every damn chores. Did.....
    Emeka: Mummy please wait.
    Mum: I'm not talking to you. Will still get to your part.
    Emeka: But mum,if she handles all the chores,what will Chinenye be doing?
    Nenye: Mummy tell Emeka not to call my name there again o. Is it bad if I don't do anything?
    Emeka: Ihere mee gi(you should be ashamed of yourself). Look what is coming out from your mouth. At your age,you can't do any thing. Spoilt brat. If its to have boyfriend now,you'll know how to do that one. Emulate Amanda for once and......
    Mummy: Now shut up both of you. Nobody is going to speak anymore until I'm done. Do you get me?
    Nobody said anything. Was I talking before?
    Mummy: As I was saying,Amanda will handle all the domestic activities of this house. After this meeting,you'll go back to your former room,pack out everything you have there and move them to the boys quarter.
    I raised my head in shock. I was alarmed. I never knew it would get to this. Tears ran down my face and I began to miss daddy.
    Emeka: Why? Why will she move to the boys quarter? Has the rooms in this house finished? What will you do with all the rooms here? Mummy this is wickedness. It is not fair.
    Mummy: Ikwusigo?(are you done speaking?) Nobody will flaunt my orders in this house not even you Chukwuemeka.
    Emeka sprang up immediately like he's being bitten by something.
    Emeka: I'm sorry mum but I'm going to flaunt your orders this time. Amanda is not moving to the boys quarter but if she must,I'll also move in with her.
    Mum sprang up immediately and launched an attack towards Emeka. He stood his ground and looked on as she approached. She raised her hand to give him a slap but somehow,she missed the target. I quickly went between the two of them and knelt down.
    Me: Mummy please,Emeka biko. Don't say anything anymore. I'll move to the boys quarter. Don't fight because of me. Mummy,I'll do anything you say don't just fight anymore please.

    Episode 4

    We remained at the village until all the rites were completed which was close to six months. Our waec result had being released and we all did brilliantly well. I must confess,while at the village,I enjoyed a little peace because mummy treated me fairly with Nenye. I knew without being told that it was to please our relatives but I had to enjoy it while it lasted. A week before we were supposed to travel back to Enugu,uncle Henry visited us. He spoke to mummy for a very long time before he sent for us. As soon as we sat down,mummy left. We greeted him and sat down. Uncle Henry was mummy's twin brother. They didn't look alike one bit but I knew for sure that Uncle Henry was nicer than mummy.
    U. Henry: Beautiful children. How're you all doing?
    We replied casually. We were used to him calling us beautiful.
    U. Henry: I came to speak to the three of you and I'll do that the same way I'll talk to my children so I would love it if you listened attentively.
    We all nodded in approval and listened.
    U. Henry: I need not mention to you the kind of relationship I hold with your mother. I also know very well how you three came about being siblings. There is this bond that binds blood together and I want that bond to bind the three of you together. Your father,of blessed memory loved you all equally and treated you all with same hands but now that he's no more,I want each and every one of you to take care of each other,love each other and protect each other. I don't know how you live in Enugu but I know that once in a while,there's bound to be quarrels and disagreement between family members but as the saying goes,the hurt from a brother doesn't reach the bones,try to mend fences as quickly as possible. Don't look at your mother. I know women. She'll confuse you with having a favourite between the three of you,let it be. Show her that no matter her choice,you three can still pull forces together. Let love lead and direct you all and in the long run,I believe that you all must surely be where your late father planned that you'll be.
    Tears ran down my eyes. I thought about daddy and all he normally said to me about loving my mummy no matter how bad she treats me. I was lost in thought that I didn't know when Uncle left. It was Emeka who took me out of my thoughts.
    Emeka: Sisi m,where are your thoughts?
    I looked at him and he hugged me immediately. He was my companion and best friend.
    Emeka: Stop crying. Am I not here for you? Or you want me to cry too?
    I shook my head and he used his hand to raise my chin.
    Emeka: Daddy left for good. Do you know what our condition will be if he were still here? I believe that everything that happens on earth happens for a reason. We've cried enough so stop please.
    Me: Daddy just left. He was the only person who understood me,he believed my words and .........
    Emeka: I'm here now. I promise never to leave you alone. Remember daddy opened an account each for us for our university education? This is time to prove to mummy that we're no longer kids and I won't let her hurt you anymore. We'll both go to tansian university. I googled the school,even told daddy about it and he agreed so now that I know he gave his consent,we'll both attend the university together. I promise you,I'm still your best friend. I won't leave you,not in this life and not ever.
    I smiled and went into his arms. At that same point,the door swung open and in she came,with the worst kinda devilish look I've ever seen. My smile quickly went sour and I struggled to get away from Emeka's arms but he wouldn't let go,unaware of the volcano that was waiting to erupt.

    Episode 5

    Emeka: If someone else was treating Nenye like this,how will you feel about it? I don't see any wrong Amanda has done but if you insist that she moves to the boy's quarter,fine. I'll move in with her.
    Mum stepped back and her eyes were filled with rage. I kept on kneeling,waiting for the next reaction.
    Emeka: Listen to the voice of reasoning mum. If daddy were here,would you send Amanda to the BQ? You're just doing all this things because daddy is no more. This is wickedness.
    Nenye: Don't talk to mother like that. Even if you will,not because of this thing here.
    Emeka: Call her a thing one more time and I'll slap out a tooth from your mouth. Look at you,spoilt brat. Trust me,you'll regret all this in the near future.
    Nenye: That's your own cup of milk. I'm beginning to wonder if you two are up to something secre......
    Emeka rushed to her and held her arm and she cried in pain.
    Emeka: You should bed grateful that I'm your brother. One more word from you and I'll beat you to pulp. Look how mummy has spoilt you. God forbid but I'll never attend same school with you because you'll end up rubbing mud on my face.
    Mummy: That is one place you're right my son. You don't need to tell her that. You'll be going abroad to further your education.
    There was silence in the room. I was shocked. This was a plot to send Emeka away. I looked at Emeka. I couldn't look at anyone else. He started with a smile and then he started laughing. I became confused. Why was my life like this? Every saviour I had known always left me alone. Why?
    Emeka: If you're still planning,better stop it cause I'm not going and if you've planned it already,I'm sorry because you just spent your money on nothing. I'm not leaving Nigeria for anywhere. Dad never wanted it and I'm going with dad's decision. I don't care how you'll do it but just give up the passbooks to our accounts and we'll see ourselves through school.
    Mum: Chukwuemeka,what do you think your mother is? Nenye will go to Tansian,Amanda will go to open university and you're going to oxford. Take it or you leave it.
    Emeka: That's your business mum. I.....
    Mum: Mind how you talk to me boy
    Emeka looked at his mum and shook his head.
    Emeka: Making your hatred for Amanda go this far has made me loose all the respect I have for you. Eat your Oxford. I'll be in this house and see how you'll maltreat Amanda.
    He turned to me.
    Emeka: Get your bags. We're going to the boy's quarter.
    He picked up his bag and left. I remained in my position,with streams of tears running down my cheeks. I could feel there eyes on me. I needed no Jupiter to tell me that.
    Mum: And you,get out before I loose it.
    Me: Mum please I'm sorry for......
    Mum: Get out. You're worthless and I don't care about whatever nonsense you want to vomit from your mouth. Get out.
    She was screaming so loud that I thought her voice would ache from it. I got up and picked my box and made to leave.
    Nenye: Mum had said you should take the things from your room upstairs as well.
    I turned around and went upstairs,packing everything I called mine including daddy's pictures which hung on the wall.
    Two hours later,I was in my new room at the BQ. I had put everything in place with the help of Emeka. We had sat down to rest when I got a text message on my phone.
    "will you just sit down there and lazy about? get your sorry self in here and make lunch for my children and I".
    Me: Emy,I need to go and make lunch for us.
    Emeka: They should prepare it themselves.
    Me: Are you not hungry? Won't you eat as well?
    Emeka: Listen sisim,so long as they don't want you in the main house,we won't go there either. We'll make do with what we have here. I'll go out now and get some money from the ATM so I'll buy some foodstuff we can use here. Don't worry yourself. We'll be fine here. By Monday,I'll go and see Barrister Kelechi. He was daddy's lawyer. I believe he'll help us out a lot.
    Me: No please. I don't support this idea of yours. Mummy deserves our respect and......
    Emeka: Now don't provoke me. Sit down here and I'll be right back.
    Me: Wait Emy. Let's go and discuss it with mum first.
    Another text came into my phone and before I could read it,my phone started ringing. It was Mum. I looked at the screen and Emeka took the phone from me. He picked it and put it on speak out.
    Nenye: Bia,mummy is coming there now. You better come out from there and come and make food o.
    She hung up before Emeka could say anything. He dropped the phone on the bed and walked to the door. The door flew open hitting Emeka so hard and he fell,hitting his head on the wall before falling down on the tiled floor. Mum came into the room just as I stood up to run to Emeka. She froze on the spot. What has she done.
    We were at the hospital. I was pacing around the reception. Mummy and Nenye were sitting down. Both of them were crying. My prayer was for nothing to happen to Emeka. I looked at my wristwatch, 7:45pm. The same day we came back from the village,how could things go wrong like this? I heard some footsteps and I turned around to see the doctor walk into the waiting room. We rushed to him but I stood behind mummy. The doctor's face wasn't encouraging at all.
    Mum: Doctor,how is my son please?
    The doctor shook his head.
    Doctor: Its terrible madam. His condition is very critical. I don't know if he'll survive this.
    Mum: No doctor. Please do anything. Do something please.
    Doctor: We'll try our best. For now,let's pray he survives.
    I carried myself to a nearby chair as tears ran down my cheeks.
    Mum: Doctor,he's my only son. Please do something to help him.
    Doctor: Like I said,let's pray he survives.
    Mum: Can we see him?
    Doctor: Yes. Follow me.
    We walked down the corridor into the private ward. We entered one of the numerous rooms and there was my brother,lying stiff with closed eyes,bandages on his head,his face obvious he was in pains. Some nurses were attending to him. I moved forward and went beside the bed. The nurses and doctor left us. I touched his head and my tears fell on his chest.
    Me: Emy nothing will happen to you. God won't let anything happen to you.
    I looked at mummy and Nenye and they were both crying. What hatred would do to someone. Look how Emeka is suffering because of his own mother. I hated her that instant. She noticed the way I was looking at her and she left the room. Nenye came closer and sat on a chair close to the bed.
    Nenye: Ejimam(my twin),please open your eyes. Please fight this thing. Mummy is sorry. She didn't mean to harm you. Open your eyes please.
    None of the words we said got him to open his eyes. Nenye left the room crying. I went to the chair she had earlier occupied and sat down. I wondered if he was still alive. If he could hear us after all. If there was a better word to qualify my feelings at that moment,I would have explained how I felt,watching my saviour lying helplessly on that bed. What caused all this? Food right? I hated mummy that moment. I was still lost in my thought when I fell asleep.
    I was hearing my name in whispers. Who could be calling my name in that manner? I opened my eyes and looked around. Memories of what happened came to me immediately. I heard that faint whisper again and I looked at Emeka,his eyes were open just a little. I looked at him to be sure he was the one whispering my name. His lips moved and that whisper came again.
    Me: Emeka, you're awake. Oh! Thank you Jesus.
    The wall clock took that instant to sing its 12:00 hymn. I looked at the clock and it was strange. It wasn't here earlier when we came into this room.
    I looked at Emeka and he was smiling. The bandages on his head was gone.
    Emeka: Sisim,I'm healed. I'm well now.
    I was confused. What's going on. He was just whispering my name some seconds ago and now,he's fit. I looked around and this was no longer the hospital room.
    Me: Where is this place? We're supposed to be at the hospital.
    Emeka: Yes,I know. Its only those who are sick that need the doctors and hospitals. I'm here because I'm not sick. Sit down let me talk to you.
    I sat down,not removing my eyes from him. His smile was constant now,like it was a permanent birthmark.
    Emeka: Nothing happens without a reason. I'm here today is because that is how God wrote it in my destiny. Don't live in fear of anybody because you're the light shining in our family. You're a great girl sis and nobody can ever take away your light.
    I smiled. He always knew how to praise me and he used every opportunity he had to do that.
    Emeka: You'll go to school. I may no longer be there to support you but trust me,you'll go to school. No matter the school it is,just put in your best to it,something good will come out of it. Another thing,don't fight them. Please don't. They'll find every reason to taunt you but just don't fight them. You're a great girl and you'll go places.
    Me: But.........
    Emeka: Wait for me. Daddy is calling me.
    Before I could say anything else,he walked away. I decided to wait for him on that chair. I relaxed on it and closed my eyes.
    Some minutes into my sleep,I felt the urge to ease myself. I opened my eyes and I was back in the hospital. That was when it became clear to me that I've being dreaming. A look at my wristwatch told me it was twenty minuted past 12. I shrugged my shoulders and went into the toilet. I did my business and came out. I looked at Emeka and he was breathing heavily,like it was difficult to get the air out of his lungs. I rushed to him but I didn't know what to do. I ran out to the waiting room to call the nurses there. I also woke mummy up,she was sleeping at the waiting room.
    Me: Please help me nurse. My brother is breathing heavily.
    What I said got mummy standing up immediately,waking Nenye whose head was on her laps. We all rushed back into the room and this time,the tears ran down on there own. Emeka was throwing his arms around,like he was struggling with something. His eyes were now open but he was still breathing heavily. The nurse ran out to call the doctor while mummy went and sat on the bed and carried Emeka on her laps. His struggle didn't stop. He fought whatever it was. He fought with his strength, not taking his eyes away from me. Suddenly,he stopped struggling. A tear ran down to his ear. I saw his chest go up and with a loud grunt,it fell back heavily,his eyes still on me,but he was no longer breathing.
    I went closer and mummy shook him. My throat suddenly went dry and I couldn't speak. The doctor came in that minute,he asked mum to leave him alone. Mum stood up and Emeka's body fell back on the bed. The doctor straightened him up,ran his fingers in some areas of his body while the nurse wrote down something in a file. I watched as the doctor used a sheet to cover him entirely and Nenye started wailing. The doctor turned around and the next thing he said after looking at his wristwatch was;"time of death,12:30am."
    I passed out.

    Episode 6

    Mum: Now listen both of you,I'm glad you're through with registration. You'll both go to school from here. I want to keep my eyes on the both of you.
    Nenye: But mum,all my friends live around the campus. What if we have morning classes? Mummy please let me stay off campus with my friends.
    Mum: The driver will always take you to school. I want to keep my eyes on you two.
    Nenye: Mum......
    Mum: Don't argue now. Chimamanda,hope I'm clear?
    Me: Yes mummy.
    Mum: Good.
    Its being four months since Emeka was buried. Everyone at the village had called it a taboo. They thought it was daddy's spirit who took Emeka. We didn't tell them that it was mum who killed her only son. We mourned Emeka like he was our god. After the mourning period was over,we went back to Enugu. Mum agreed that both Nenye and I attend Esut,because Nenye's friends were jambites there. I got my admission on merit and I'm sure Nenye got hers with connection. It doesn't matter to me one bit as long as I went to school. Every night while I slept alone at the BQ, I would keep seeing Emeka's face,the way he stared at me even at death. Memories of our last discussion would always fill my head,worst still,the accident had occurred in my room and there was no way it would leave my head.
    After that discussion,sorry,what should I call it? After that "talking to" with mum,I left the main house and walked to the BQ. I had become the lonely girl who always hid behind closed doors. The only person who was my friend in that compound was Chekwube,our driver.
    I walked into my room and sat down on the bed. We had earlier had lunch and I had just one hour to rest before going to make dinner. I suddenly felt a knot tighten in my stomach and I quickly rushed to my calendar. Jesus! My period. I checked my wardrobe and thankfully,I just had one sanitary pad which I would use at that moment. I made my way to the bathroom,took a warm bath and padded myself. I knew I was going to be in pain for the rest of the day and in order to prevent that on time,I made my way to the main house and into the sitting g room. Mum was still in the position where I left her but Nenye was nowhere to be found.
    Me: Excuse me mum.
    She looked at me and returned to her phone. I wouldn't dare say anything so I waited. Five minutes later,she looked up.
    Mum: What is it?
    Me: I'm sorry to disturb you mum but my period just started and I don't have any sanitary pad to use. I would like you to give me some money so I can rush down the street and get one.
    She gave me this wicked stare and dropped her phone.
    Mum: Is that how ungrateful you are?
    Ungrateful? What have I done? I thought.
    Mum: Some minutes ago,I just gave you the license to further your education and now you're coming to me for just sanitary pad. Must I see to all your necessary expenses? Be grateful for once Chimamanda. Don't you have savings at all?
    Tears dropped from my eyes. Did I mention that mum always gave Nenye #5000 weekly but never gave me even a hundred naira? Where then was she expecting me to get my savings from?
    Mum: I'm very well aware that you buy the foodstuffs for this house. I give you more than enough money to get them. At least,you should save from there. What am I even saying? Your miserable mother doesn't know how to manage so how will you learn that? If you don't have sanitary pad,tear your towel into shreds and use them. I've got better things to think of than a stupid teenager who wants to announce to the whole world that she's menstruating.
    My tears ran down in full speed as I watched her climb the stairs without looking back. I sat down on the floor and cried bitterly. This was not life. If only my parents,daddy or Emeka were still alive. Why was life so cruel? The burning in my lower abdomen started adding with each second so I stood up and left for the kitchen. I quickly got hot water from the flask and started massaging my stomach with it. I also drank some before settling down to cook egusi soup and pounded yam. Everything I knew about reducing menstrual cramps were taught to me by daddy Alex and today,I missed him a lot.

    Episode 7

    True to her words,mum didn't give me money to buy sanitary pad. I took her advice and tore one of my towels into pieces,cutting it in a way that it would fit like pads. I had never felt so much discomfort in my life. Two days later,we had some guests. The Kalu's family came to see us. They've being family friends right from when we were still kids. They had a daughter and two boys. The girl,Kamsi was my friend. The two boys,Kenneth and Gospel were Emeka's friends. I also knew that Kenneth and Nenye were dating. Gospel was older than Kenneth and Gospel. There father was also late.
    I woke up that morning,did my morning ritual of praying,washing up and sweeping before I went into the kitchen to prepare different varieties of food as the Kalus' would come for lunch and leave after dinner. I made a simple breakfast of bread,egg and tea and served mum and Nenye before going to the kitchen to have mine. Mum was never stingy with food. I always ate to my satisfaction and shed wouldn't scream or beat me. I was almost through with my breakfast when she came into the kitchen.
    Mum: Bia,you've not finished?
    I shook my head and she hissed.
    Mum: Vegetable soup with eba for lunch,it'll go with goat meat pepper soup,then fried rice and chicken for dinner,it'll go with salad. I'll come and inspect you to make sure the meats are cooked and fried properly. Be careful while you make them because I won't forgive any mistake from your path.
    Me: Yes mummy.
    She left the kitchen and I hurriedly finished my breakfast before swinging into action. Mum had turned cooking into my hobby and I was always happy anytime I was cooking.
    I was putting down the peppersoup from the cooker when I heard a honk at the gate. I smiled as I was pretty sure it was the Kalu family. I didn't bother coming out,instead,i turned the peppersoup into a cooler and started parboiling the rice. I looked at the table clock in the kitchen,it read 12:05pm. They were early and I was glad that I was at least through with lunch and everything that will go with it. I had put the coolers containing the food away when I heard chattering in the sitting room so I guessed they were already in. I heard Nenye laugh so hard and I smiled. Our house has never seen laughter since Emeka left. I sat down on the kitchen stool and waited for Kamsi to come and join me. I was still trying to remember the last time they visited when I heard her voice coming towards the kitchen.
    Kamsi: Where is she? My nostrils surelg ain't lying to me.
    I smiled and stood up. She appeared at the door and we enveloped ourselves into a tight hug.
    Kamsi: Look at you. You sure look like a chef,with your apron and.....
    Me: You're looking very gorgeous.
    Kamsi was a very beautiful girl. She had always being. She was the one of my friends who I trusted with my life. She wasn't there when Emeka was buried but she had always called me. Today,with her pink top that stopped just on top of her belly button,her rugged jean and pink snicker with little make up,Kamsi looked just like barbie.
    Kamsi: I know. So what are you cooking?
    Me: Rice. Its for dinner.
    Kamsi: Oh! Come and greet mummy and the boys then we'll come back here and finish the cooking.
    I nodded and followed her into the sitting room. Mrs. Kalu was looking as beautiful as I had always known her to be,Gospel and Kenneth looked bigger than I had seen them and they were very handsome as well. Nenye was already sitting beside Kenneth and her face was glowing.
    Me: Good morning ma.
    Mrs. Kalu: Goof morning my dear. How're you?
    Me: I'm fine ma. How's business?
    She laughed. She was a very easy woman.
    Mrs. K: Business is fine my dear. Hope you're fine?
    Me: Yes ma.
    I looked at Gospel and Kenneth and waved my hands. They smiled.
    Me: I'll get you all something to drink.
    Mrs. K: That'll be nice. Juice please.
    I smiled and left while Kamsi followed. She had never being in good terms with Nenye. She always called Nenye a flirt and I was sure they hadn't spoken to each other. She helped me serve juice to everyone including Nenye. I turned and Gospel was looking at me with a smile on his face. I returned the smile and we went back to the kitchen.
    Kamsi: I think you should take down that rice. Its burning.
    I quickly checked it and put it down,pouring water inside so I can wash it.
    Kamsi: But why is she not here to help you out.
    Me: Who?
    Kamsi: Your sister of course.
    I smiled,praying that she drops the topic,at least for now.
    Kamsi: You people are spoiling that girl. Look how she's sitting down there,enjoying senior jokes.
    Me: Kamsi,help me transfer those basins to the counter.
    She stood up and started doing as I said,chewing the carrots I had earlier sliced.
    Gospel: I'm trying to believe you won't finish the carrots before they're put into use.
    We turned and looked at Gospel. He was smiling so wide
    Kamsi: What brings you to the kitchen?
    Gospel: Exactly what brings you.
    Kamsi: I see,but you won't enter the kitchen at home.
    Gospel: Why should I? When there is no Amanda in that kitchen.
    We all laughed. I wished it would remain like that forever. Wish I had company in this house.
    Me: Gospel!
    Gospel: Yes dear. How are you?
    I shrugged my shoulders and showed him my palms.
    Me: God has being faithful.
    He looked at Kamsi and shook his head.
    Gospel: Let me not waste your time. We will talk later.
    I nodded and he left while I continued with what I was doing

    Episode 8

    I served lunch and returned to the kitchen to put some finishing touches to my food. Mrs Kalu called me so I went back to the dinning to answer her.
    Mrs k: Why are you not here?
    I looked down immediately to avoid cold stares from mum and Nenye.
    Me: sorry ma. I'll eat later.
    Mrs k: I won't take that. You should come and join us. You did the cooking right?
    Me: Yes ma.
    Mrs k: Its delicious. Come and sit.
    Me: I still have something on fire. I'll eat later ma.
    Kamsi: Look,everyone is here. Don't be a spoiler.
    Nenye: She's still busy okay. Besides,you don't expect her to leave what she's doing in the kitchen.
    Kamsi: If she leaves it,you'll finish it nau.
    Nenye: Imagine. In my house?.
    I quickly walked away but there word exchanged increased. I knew I was in hot soup. Mum would finish me for whatever is happening there. I started scooping the rice into another cooler,praying silently that today should just start all over. I carried the cooler to a corner and started packing up the utensils I used when I heard Kamsi's voice approaching.
    Kamsi: Spoilt brat. You should be thankful I don't live here if not,you'll cry everyday of your life till you change. Shameless flirt.
    Her words stung into my heart and I thought about how Nenye will feel. If only I could be that tough. But Emeka's words came coming to my head,"never you fight them'. Kamsi came into the kitchen and sat down.
    Kamsi: Is that what you see in this house.
    Me: Kamsi calm down. You're.....
    Kamsi: That girl is so mean and arrogant. I'll start visiting frequently to teach her some manners.
    Me: But you know things are not done that way. Things will change with time. We don't have to fight cause of the things that happen in our lives. Nenye is who she is and its better for her to be like that than to carry a fake personality. Trust me Kamsi,she'll change.
    Kamsi: You and this your preaching.
    I laughed. But my laughter was cut short when I heard footsteps approaching. I turned to look at the door and I saw Mrs Kalu.
    Mrs k: Kammy what was that for? Do you know you're a guest in this house?
    Kamsi: Mummy I'm sorry.
    Mrs k: Don't apologise to me. Go to your aunt. You shouldn't have spoken at the first place let alone exchanging words with that girl. That's not how I raised you.
    Kamsi: I'm sorry mum. Let me go to mummy Joy now.
    Kamsi stepped out of the kitchen and I turned to continue with doing the dishes.
    Mrs k: Amanda
    I turned to her immediately.
    Me: Yes aunt.
    Mrs k: Ain't you done?
    Mrs k: Then hurry up with that so you can go shower and we'll all sit down and talk. That is,after you must have eaten.
    Me: Okay ma.
    She gave me a smile and walked out and I started wishing that she was my mum.
    Kamsi didn't return till I finished the dishes and sat down to eat.
    She kept me company while I ate. When I was done,she asked to follow me upstairs to my room but when I told her that I no longer stay upstairs but at the BQ,she wanted to make an issue out of it. I had to beg her to calm down at least till we get to the BQ.
    We walked into the sitting room on our way out. Mum,Gospel and Mrs Kalu were engrossed in a conversation. When we made to walk past them,Gospel stopped us.
    Gospel: So where are you two going?
    I bent my head immediately. I was so not used to looking up whenever a topic that concerns my mummy was raised up in her presence.
    Kamsi: We're going to her room. She needs to shower and change into another clothe so she can join us
    Mrs k: Beautiful. But how come you both are headed out?
    Kamsi: Mummy cause that's the direction to where she now stays. The boys quarter.
    Everywhere went still. I couldn't look at there faces to know there facial reaction but I knew they were staring at mummy and she in turn was conjuring ways to punish me in her mind.
    Mrs k: Joyce,how come? What happened?
    I knew she wasn't going to answer that so I just walked out before she would direct the question to me. I got to the BQ and cried bitterly. Don't know if its because of the punishment I was yet to receive or because everything reminded me of how inferior I was. I felt a hand hold my shoulders. It was masculine and yet very tender. It sent shivers down my spine and I jerked. I turned and it was Gospel. Behind him was Kamsi. He hugged me and I cried the more,holding him so tight,the way I would hold Emeka if he were here. Even in my tears,I could still perceive his perfume. It was so lovely and it filled my nostrils. I looked at Kamsi and she was crying too. I had to release myself from Gospel and led them inside the room where I told them everything excluding how Emeka died. Gospel looked so angry and Kamsi wouldn't stop crying.
    Kamsi. This is wickedness.
    Me: Its okay. Stop crying. At least,I'm glad that I've got where to lay my head,feeding and also going to school.
    Gospel: Its not enough. Its not. You need more,you deserve more. I bet if Ken finds out what this people do to you,he won't be with that girl. She......
    Me: No please. Don't talk like that.I'm okay. its just for a while and things will be fine. I'm very sure of that.
    Gospel came close to me and hugged me. We wrapped our arms around each other and I felt safe.
    Gospel: Don't worry. Just give me sometime and all this things will end.
    Gospel was between 24-25. A graduate of John Hopkins university. He was now the one managing his late father's mass of wealth. He was just the perfect guy. He was handsome,intelligent and a humanitarian. I was lost in thoughts,thinking of what he meant by giving him sometime that I didn't notice when Kamsi left the room. Gospel pulled away from me and cupped my chin.
    Gospel: You're a beautiful girl,do you know that?
    I bent my head. I knew I was good looking but beautiful? I doubt that. With the oversized tops and jeans I always wear? With a body that had never seen any body cream or makeup? Tears welled up at the corners of my eyes.
    Gospel: I suggested this visit because I wanted to see you. Kamsi knows how much I feel about you. I've lived with it for years,before I travelled out to school. I love you so very much Amanda and I promise to take you away from here.
    I looked up at him and let the tears fall. What was he saying? How can he love me? Nobody loves me. Everyone who had always loved me ended up dying. My mum,daddy Alex and Emeka and no,I was not willing to have Gospel on the list. He's too good to end up dying for my sake,for loving me.
    Gospel: Amanda.
    Me: Gospel please don't say it anymore.
    Gospel: Why? Are you also afraid to tell me you feel the same way about me? I saw it in your eyes back at the main house. Don't deny it. Please don't.
    I stood up immediately. How do I tell him that I may be cursed? How?
    He stood up and came to me. He held my hands and looked into my eyes.
    Gospel: Let me love you. Don't push me away please.
    He released one of my hand and pulled me into himself. Our faces were very close and his lips were slowly coming down to mine. I looked steadily at his eyes,loving this guy whose presence made me feel safe. His lips came crushing into mine and the journey into my first kiss began. He used his tongue to open my mouth and I repeated whatever it was he was doing to me and I loved it. I loved every bit of it..........then I heard a gasp coming from the door and I pulled away from Gospel and looked at the door.
    Mummy Joy. With the meanest look ever. Gospel saw the fright on my face and turned to the door. He didn't look shaken.
    Gospel: I'll be in the main house. Take your bath and come join us.

    Episode 9

    I bent my head as I couldn't stand mummy's gaze. I knew I was in soup.
    Mum: Is this the height of your shamelessness? You fake innocence just to get pity from them,then you lure him to your room to seduce him?
    I shot my head up immediately. I opened my mouth to speak but no words came out.
    Mum: You have done enough today,hiding behind your innocent face. I've had it up to the neck and I'll have to speak to Mrs Kalu about this so she'll see that I've got reasons why I'm not so good to you. You're just like your mother and......
    Kamsi chose this time to push the door open. She was smiling but immediately she saw mummy,her face turned into a frown.
    Kamsi: I'm sorry ma if I interrupted something. Didn't know you were in here.
    Mummy sized her up and left the room immediately.
    Kamsi: What's the problem? You look so bitter.
    She came closer to me and held my shoulder.
    Kamsi: Tell me. Or don't you share your problems anymore?
    The tears started falling and I sat down on my bed.
    Me: I want to leave here. I want to go somewhere else. Even an orphanage will be more fair to me than here.
    Kamsi: You still haven't said why you're in this mood.
    Me: I'm so ashamed to say it. Coupled with the fact that mummy saw......
    Kamsi: You and Gospel kissing?
    I was surprised.
    Kamsi; I know. I was coming here to tell you that Gospel just spoke to mum about you two. Mum is okay with whatever you both share together.
    No! This is not true. It can't be happening.
    Kamsi: What are you thinking of now? Come on,I know Gospel loves you very much. He hides nothing from me. I also know that you may not love him yet but you feel something strong for him. So cheer up,go and take your bath.
    I nodded and undressed in front of her. She saw the blood stain in my pants and couldn't keep her mouth shut.
    Kamsi: So you're menstruating and I've being begging you to go and take your bath eh?
    Me: Its not like I've not showered today.
    I brought out a piece of my towel and folded it,took my pant and towel and made for the bathroom.
    Kamsi: You're forgetting your pad.
    Me: Help me look around,if you find one,bring it into the bathroom for me.
    I didn't let her to speak further before entering the bathroom. While I showered,I spent some extra time,thinking of Gospel and why his sudden interest in me. I recalled that before he travelled,we were so close that people called him my god father. Will the forces that always destroy my happiness allow this one to grow? Or will they take him as well? I left the bathroom after a thorough bath,making sure I washed off the other pieces I used earlier. I came out to see Kamsi wearing a frown.
    Kamsi: Don't tell me you used that thing I saw.
    I don't know if it was a question or a statement so I just kept quiet.
    Kamsi: You don't want to answer me bah?
    Me: What should I tell you? I don't have money to buy pads.
    Kamsi: And you didn't tell your mother about it?
    Me: Who says I didn't? I did. She advised that I use one of my towels.
    Kamsi: Gosh! This woman is so wicked. I need to speak to her right now
    Me: No wait. You can't. I'll pay the price when you leave. Today is the third day and it'll be over by tomorrow or next. Just let it go. I even feel more comfortable with this pieces of towels.
    Kamsi: Amanda you're something else. Dress up so we can go to the main house.
    I wore my baggy jean short with a polo.
    Me: I'm done
    Kamsi: You and this your baggy wears. I'll talk to Gospel to do something about your outfits.
    I smiled. She doesn't know that each clothes that were bought for me in the past,mummy would always take them and give it to Nenye. We walked outside and I was surprised to see Nenye and Kenneth at the terrace. Kamsi hissed and muttered something while we entered the house. Mummy was no longer in the sitting room. It was just Mrs Kalu and Gospel.
    Me: Do I bring you something?
    Mrs k: No my child. Come and sit.
    She tapped the sofa beside her and I lowered myself to it,feeling Gospel's eyes on me.
    Mrs k; Why do you always look down? You're not a slave. Now,look at me.
    I slowly looked up and met her gaze. I looked away immediately and she smiled.
    Mrs k: Kamsi,you'll have to do a good job in teaching her a lot. Is this how she'll walk around in school?
    Kamsi; Don't worry mum. Just get me the supplementary form for ESUT and I'll teach her all she needs to know.
    Mrs Kalu smiled and I bent my head again. I've never witnessed people talk about me with so much love in my presence.
    Mrs k: We'll be leaving now. But I'll like to talk to you first.
    Me: You're leaving? Without dinner? I made dinner as well and it won't be fair to leave without eating.
    Mrs k: Your meals are always wonderful and I'll give anything to always eat them but my dear,I think we've overstayed our welcome here so it'll be in our best interest to leave.
    I understood what she was saying but before I could speak further,Gospel spoke up.
    Gospel: Amanda,why not pack up some food for us. We'll eat it at home.
    Kamsi: Perfect.
    I smiled and stood up while Kamsi followed suit. I quickly found a warmer and dished out a good quantity of the food,with some chicken as well. Kamsi was happy and wouldn't stop talking. I carried the warmer to the sitting room and Gospel took it from me and left.
    Mrs k: Amanda please come.
    I went back to her and sat down in my former position.
    Mrs k: My child,I fear this will be the last time that I'll be here.
    Me: But why?
    Mrs k: I don't want to get angry and speak some words that will ruin our family's friendship. I want you to know something,every great man or woman has a bitter story. Whatever you're going through now,take it as a big challenge and tackle whatever problem that comes your way. You won't be alone for long. My daughter will get the supplementary form for your school and enrol as well. She'll guide you in whatever difficulty you encounter.
    She paused and looked at me.
    Mrs k: Secondly,you need to stop this shyness of yours. Be bold. Be strong, communicate with people because it'll help you out a lot. Being distant from yourself and people will only add to your emotional torture. Learn to speak up, it's the key to a perfect life. Finally,Gospel told me something which i loved. Do you want to know?
    I nodded.
    Mrs k: He loves you and needs my blessings. Now tell me if you feel same way for my son.
    I became tongue tied. What if mummy was somewhere listening to us? Like Kamsi had said,I felt something strong for Gospel but won't it be just one of my usual fantasies because I was sure mummy won't let it happen.
    Mrs k:My child?
    Her voice brought me back to reality and I stared at her.
    Mrs k: You'll be fine. Trust me, you'll be fine. Heard you'll be resuming school tomorrow.
    I nodded and she frowned.
    Me: I'm sorry. Yes ma.
    Mrs k: That's better. We'll leave now and try to be a good girl.
    Kamsi; Of course she is a good girl.
    I smiled and Mrs Kalu stood up.
    Mrs k: Kammy go and call your brother while Amanda walk me to the car.
    Kamsi headed upstairs while I followed Mrs Kalu. Immediately we walked out of the door,she put something into my pocket and shook her head. I thanked her and we went outside to the car pack where Gospel was leaning on their car and taking a call. Immediately he saw us,he dismissed the caller and ended the call.
    Gospel; Amanda thanks for today. I had fun with your meal and please,forgive me if I did something to upset you.
    Me: No please. Don't apologise because you did nothing wrong.
    Gospel: You'll go to school tomorrow right?
    I nodded before I could get myself.
    Gospel: Eh?
    Me: Yes,I'll go.
    Gospel: I'll come and pick you up for lunch. Hope you don't mind?
    Me: Not at all.
    He gave me his phone and I dialled my number.
    Gospel: Thanks. See you tomorrow okay.
    Me: Thank you.
    He opened the back door for his mum who has being smiling and she got in. He came back to where I was standing and looked at me for some seconds.
    Gospel: About that kiss,if she lays a hand on you,don't hesitate to give me a call.
    My mood changed immediately as I remembered I was yet to be punished for kissing him. It occurred to me immediately that my phone may be seized as well.
    Me: Please can you give me your card? I fear that my phone may be seized.
    I saw a frown appear on his face and he looked around. He opened the car and got a card out before slipping it into the same pocket his mum had earlier slipped something into.
    Gospel: Just let me know if something comes up.
    Me: Thank you.
    I heard footsteps approaching and I turned around. It was Kamsi and Kenneth.
    Ken: Amanda you didn't notice my presence in your house abi.
    He enveloped me in his arms immediately.
    Ken; You know you can never be a disturbance,not when you're going to be my sister in law soon.
    They all laughed while I smiled.
    Gospel: Don't embarrass the girl Ken. You know she's shy.
    Kamsi: Don't worry Gospel,she'll snap out of it once I'm closer to her.
    Gospel: We'll leave now. Take care okay.
    They all hugged me before getting into the car. As I watched them drive away,I prayed silently that my punishment will be little.
    I rushed to the boys quarter and emptied my pocket,there was #5000 together with Gospels' card. I quickly wrote down his number in my diary,returned the card in my pocket and hid the money behind the wall clock in my room before going to ease myself. I was in the toilet when I heard my door open and I knew the worst has visited me. I finished and left the bathroom to meet my mum with a cane while Nenye was grinning behind her.

    Episode 10

    mum: you want to be great by using every opportunity to prove that my daughter and myself are bad people right? You want to smear my name in the mud trying to act all innocent eh?
    Me: No mother. If I did something wrong,forgive me please.
    I knelt down immediately, rubbing my palms together to show my sincerity.
    Mum: Your good acts won't save you today. You've done more than enough.
    She attacked me with the cane,flogging me everywhere she thought would hurt me; my head,my breasts,my face,my back,she didn't spare any part of my body. I cried nonstop but she wouldn't stop either. It was at this point that I knew how much she hated me. Suddenly,she stopped.
    Mum: Now look at me
    Her voice was loud enough to wake a deaf man. I shot my head up and I felt something drop on my hand. I looked down and shivered. It was blood,my blood.
    Mum: You had the guts to be kissing that boy in my house. You're just like your mother. So shameless. Not only that,you had the effrontery to hug Kenneth,my daughter's boyfriend,I'll deal with you today.
    She resumed her flogging again,but this time,I didn't cry,not because it didn't hurt,but because I couldn't cry anymore. She flogged my head especially,I don't know if she had plans to kill me or something. I just remained on the floor,protecting my face from her assault.
    Mum: Get me the grinded pepper right away.
    I raised my head and watched Nenye leave the room. They had it all planned out already.
    Mum; UnCloth.
    Goodness knew how I felt that moment. I wouldn't stay here and let them add pepper to my wounds. No I won't.
    She kicked my stomach and repeated her order.
    I gently stood up,struggling with myself not to fall back on the floor.
    When I was standing erect enough,she flogged my ribs repeatedly while I screamed in pain.
    Mum: I said, UnCloth. All down to your pant.
    I shook my head as no words could exit my mouth at that moment. Nenye came into the room,carrying a plate.
    Nenye: I know you're not deaf. So just do as mummy said.
    I kept on standing,holding my ribs which felt like it was going to break that moment.
    Mum: You're tasting my patience right? You think I can't tear your clothes to shreds?
    I coughed and felt blood leave my throat and into my mouth. I opened my mouth and they dropped.
    Nenye: Mum,just do it let's get out of here.
    I could detect the fear in her voice. Mummy herself had wrinkles in her forehead and I was sure it was from fear and worry.
    Me: You.......you can do what you wa....want to do mummy. I won't hold it against you.
    Mum: Who cares if you hold it against me or not? Who are you? What do you have? Disgusting. You want me to fall for your acts and pity you? Never. Never. You did me wrong by coming into this world and letting your mother will everything to the child she had not even born. Not only that,I had to nurse you when my children were just two months old. I heard people gush about your beauty and brains whereas my daughter was called the black sheep of the house. Your entire life did me wrong. I'll never feel pity for you. Never.
    And like a flash,I felt it on my face. I heard a scream which I was sure came from my mouth. I closed my eyes immediately as the pain started. She had poured the pepper on my face. What wrong have I done?
    I writhed in pain and tried using my hand to locate the door to my bathroom. I found the door quite alright but the flogging started again. This time,she rained curses on me while I cried in pain as I felt my face burning from the pepper. Even in the darkness I felt,I knew I had to struggle to survive. I stood up and located the bathroom even with the lashing I was getting. I always leave water in the bucket and I'm grateful I did. I quickly located the bucket and started pouring water on my face. I knew the pain and hotness won't stop but I needed to wash off the pepper to stop it from causing more damage. While I was washing off,she stopped flogging me and I heard footsteps and a door close,which means she had left the room. Out of instincts, I buried my face in the bucket full of water and prayed nothing will happen to my face. I needed to be in school tomorrow and I don't want anything to spoil my education. When I eased up a little,I stood up with my eyes still closed. I walked to the bathroom door and picked my towel,dabbing my face gently. I slowly............ Incomplete

    Episode 11

    But they were both n'aked. There was no sign of mummy or Nenye. Instead,I had seen two heavily built men,n'aked in my room,holding unto there huge member which was filled with veins.
    They were smiling at me.
    Guy1: So we heard you're menstruating, go back there and take your bath,then come here for a good time.
    They both laughed out loud and I felt like the world was going to collapse on my head.
    Guy2: You know,she looks like a fresher. I'll go first.
    Guy1: You na boss nau so I go just give you time to kpansh am before I go follow do.
    Guy1: Correct.
    The first guy started walking to me and I immediately ran into the bathroom but he was faster than myself. He got to the door before I could bolt it and pushed the door open before registering a trademark slap on my face.
    Guy1: No just try am. Cooperate with us and we go ball out before you know it.
    Me: Please sir. Have pity on me. I'm not just an orphan but......
    He registered another slap on my face and this time,it mixed with the pepper stings I was already getting,causing me to scream painfully.
    He started attacking my clothes,tearing them into shreds,including my pants,allowing my fake pad drop to the floor. He ignored it and pushed me into bathtub,following after me. He turned the shower and let the water run down our body before picking up my sponge and soaping it up. At this time,tears refused to fall anymore. I just stood there,accepting my fate and watching him bath me roughly. He got to my legs and looked up at me and I gently opened my legs for him. He concentrated on my womanhood,taking his time to wash it properly while he smiled up at me. I had never being Unclad in front of anyone else apart from Kamsi,but surprisingly,I didn't bother to cover up my bosoms at least. I just allowed him wash me up.
    After he was done,he hugged me and the water washed both of us clean. He got down and pushed me out and we stepped into the room.
    Guy1: Lie down girl.
    I looked at him one last time with pleading eyes but he pushed me down to the bed. The other girl came down on the bed too and started sucking on my melons while the first guy positioned himself before my entrance. He shoved into me with no care and I cried out in pain. It was this time that my tears started falling. I cried as they molested me,taking there turns to have fun with my body. I know I passed out at one point but they didn't stop because I got back to consciousness but they were still there,having their fun and depositing their seeds inside me.
    We've being there for goodness knows how long before the second guy stood up and looked at the clock. I followed his gaze.
    Guy2: Boss na 2am o.
    Guy1: Na the last round be this nau. Wait make I finish abeg.
    He thrusted some more before grunting and collapsing on top of me. He looked at my face and smiled before getting up. He dressed up as quickly as possible before they left my room.
    I laid there,praying that I die than live to being treated this way. How could mummy be so wicked. What did my late mother do to her that made her hate me this much. If I had known where my parents had being buried,I would have gone to there graves and curse them for leaving me in this wicked world.
    I laid there till the wall clock told me it was 3:30am. I stood up from the bed, with so much pain. I tried to walk but I wouldn't except I separated my legs very wide apart. I looked at the bed and I saw the stains,which were a mixture of my virginity and my period. I wasn't staying in this house,no, I won't stay in this house. I dressed up slowly,the pains reminding me of the torture I had being in some hours ago. I dressed up,padding myself and putting on the first cloth my hand laid upon. it was a big polo,one of Emeka's polos which I always wore. I rummaged for a trouser but I found a short instead. I wore it,picked up my diary with the money I had hidden at the back of the clock. I searched for my phone and didn't find it then I knew without being told that mummy had taken it.
    I walked with open legs outside my room. I was going to leave through the back gate. It was always locked from inside without a padlock. Emeka always sneaked out from there to buy suya which we always ate at night. I had never used that gate before,because I never knew I would be leaving this house without anybody's notice. I had always thought that things would get better between us but I was wrong. I opened the gate as quietly as I could before stepping out into the tender bush. I found my way into the streets,walking past familiar routes and saying goodbyes to them like they were my friends...........of course they were. I was leaving home for an unknown place,with just #5000 and my diary. I silently prayed to God to direct my destiny.
    I had walked out of the housing gate,thanking God that the security men were fast asleep. I hit the express,walking head up,with open legs through the streets of the abakpa. I had walked a long distance,only paying attention to my silent prayers and thoughts when I heard a screech of tyres.......and then,I hit the tarred road with a thud..

    Episode 12

    I woke up with a heavy banging on my head and pains in my lower abdomen. I tried to raise my head but I couldn't. Last thing I remembered was that I was walking on the street of abakpa very early in the morning. I opened my eyes slowly and realised I was on a hospital bed. A nurse was seated beside my bed and there were different machines in the room. The nurse saw that I was awake and ran out of the room. She came back with a doctor some minutes later and he was all smiles.
    Doc: Good evening miss. How're you?
    I held my head and shook it.
    Doc: Where do you still feel pains?
    Me: My stomach is burning and my head. Doctor,how.....
    Doc: Nurse,please call the gentleman that brought her here.
    Nurse: Right away doctor.
    She left the room and the doctor sat down where she had earlier occupied.
    Doctor: Tell me dear,how old are you?
    Me: I'm 19
    Doctor: What's your name?
    Me: Chimamanda
    Doctor: Hope you don't mind if I call you Ander?
    I smiled and nodded.
    Me: Doctor please tell me,how long have I being here?
    Doctor: Exactly three weeks and two days.
    Me: What?
    it was more of an exclamation than a question.
    Doctor: Yes my dear. You were brought in here by a man. He said he had hit you without knowing it. But some tests were carried out and we found out that there was more to it than just an accident. If you don't mind,please,tell me where you were going that morning.
    Tears wedged at the corners of my eyes and I recalled the events of that Sunday. The events I was sure had changed my life for good.
    Doctor: Ander?
    Me: I had no destination.
    Doctor: Where do you leave?
    Me: Abakpa.
    Doctor: With your family?
    Me: No. They're not my family. They are mean people. They are wicked. They're not my family.
    He came and sat on the bed and held my hands.
    Doctor: Calm down dear. Calm down.
    Me: I should calm down? I should calm down? Do you know what they did to me? Do you know? I should calm down? You better not ask me to calm down anymore.
    He kept on pleading with me to relax,but the more he did,the more my anger rose. He stood up and left the room while I cried my heart out,cursing mummy joy and Nenye for all they've done to me.
    I had stopped my tears from flowing when a knock came and then the door opened. A fine young man came into the room. He was smiling.
    Ted: Good evening dear.
    I shot him a glance and looked away. I was sure he was one of them,those selfish species of men who only found joy in molesting innocent girls.
    Ted: My name is Ted. How're you?
    Me: It's not your business how I'm doing or not. Get out of here.
    He was taken aback with my response but in a flash,his smile returned and he sat down.
    Ted: Maybe you now know I'm the guy that hit you. I'm sorry about that okay. I understand that you're angry with me but don't take it out like this. You're still recovering and ......
    Me: So because I'm recovering I shouldn't speak to you? Why do you care anyways? Thanks for hitting me
    He smiled.
    Ted: But even if I hadn't hit you,you still needed the hospital anyways. I was scared and worried that you won't open your eyes and forgive me for adding to your pains.
    Me: What pains?
    He coughed and looked at his hands and I found my diary. He was clutching if like he was the owner. I know I don't write my daily life events in my diary but it contained all my life; Gospel's number.
    Me: Give me that please.
    He quietly handed it to me without arguing and I was grateful.
    Ted: So tell me what you would love to eat. Anything and I'd get it for you.
    I looked at his face and sighed.
    Me: Mr Ted,you were saying something about pains. What pain?
    Ted: You're such a stubborn woman. Actually,the doctor had told me all that had being found out while you were unconscious. But let that not bother you. Once you eat,we'll call anybody that you know so the person can know your whereabouts.
    Ted: Rice then.
    He stood up and left the room while I kept myself busy with counting the blinds in the room. It was more of a private ward. That Ted guy looks cool but he'll surely pay for hitting me. I'll give him one hell of a time if he doesn't apologise properly.
    I may have drifted off to sleep because I felt a tap on my hand and I opened my eyes. It was Ted. He helped me sit down and I looked at the big polythene on the floor.
    Ted: I bought provisions as well.
    He began to bring them out and I concluded that it was already more than the apology I needed. He finally designed my side cupboard with the provisions and handed me a plate of jollof rice from KFC.
    Ted: Once again,I'm sorry for hitting you.
    I began attacking my food while he sat down there looking at me like I was an alien who just came to earth. I finished my rice and started murdering the chicken. His gaze was fixed on me and I had to look at him in an unfriendly way before he took his eyes off. I managed to finish my food with him pressing away on his iPhone 6.
    Me: Thank you.
    Ted: You're welcome. I'll get water from the bathroom so you'll wash your hands.
    He stood up and did as he said and while I washed my hands,I wondered if he was real or just like those two guys who'd attacked me. That thought made me shiver in fright and he looked at me
    Ted: Let it go my dear. Just relax okay.
    I nodded,not sure of what he wanted me to let go.
    He returned to the bathroom and came out after a while. He handed me the phone.
    Ted: Call your people while I clear this up.
    I took the phone and thanked him before opening my diary to search for Gospel's number. I dialled his number and he picked at the third ring.
    Ted left the room that moment with the take away plate I just used in eating.
    Gospel: Hello!
    I kept quiet.
    Gospel: Please,I'm sure you know its your airtime that is burning up and I'm not gentleman enough to cut the call from this end.
    I chuckled. He would apologise gravely for that whenever I see him
    Me: Gospel?
    Gospel: Of course its Gospel. And you are?
    Me: Calm down.
    Gospel: I'm not high either.
    Me: I wonder where you got your arrogance from.
    Gospel: Oops! I'm now arrogant right? What about you who called me and refused to speak up?
    I laughed,trying my best to deal with my headache.
    Gospel; Listen,I've got pressing issues that needs my attention and if you're trying to pick a joke from ......
    Me: Its me,Amanda.
    There was silence from his end and I knew I had caught him unawares.
    Gospel: You say?
    Me: Chimamanda.
    Gospel: Jesus Christ!
    And I hung up.

    Episode 13

    The phone rang immediately and I picked it with a smile.
    Gospel: Amanda if this is you,please speak up. Tell me where you are this minute. This silly game of yours has got to stop now. How can you leave home for weeks without informing anybody? Is that how you are? I thought.......
    He spoke more and more,trying his best not to call me names. My smiles had turned to a sour frown as I began to think of all the bad things mummy must have said to them. It was enough that they sent people to rape me,and now,I'm being called names?
    Me: I'm at the hospital. Comforter of the afflicted. That's where I am.
    I hung up,not letting him reply. If he wished to come,fine. If he believed my mummy over me,its fine as well.
    I clutched the phone close to my heart,not knowing that I was crying till Ted walked into the room. He tapped my shoulders and I looked up
    Ted: Don't you think you should stop crying and thank God for your life? Do you think its everyone who gets lucky in situations like this? You should be grateful for life. You should be grateful. Wipe those annoying things let's pray. The Almighty has being waiting for you to thank Him.
    I dropped the phone on the bed and wiped my tears. How did I forget to thank God? This was unlike me. He held my hands and prayed fervently. I prayed along,telling God how grateful I am for being alive at least. I don't know how much damage had being done to me,but I prayed that it won't be much.
    Ted: Amen.
    Me: Amen.
    He sat down and looked at me.
    Ted: So who did you call?
    The tears formed at the back of my throat and I swallowed hard. I cleared my throat and made a promise to myself that I won't cry anymore.
    Me: A family friend.
    Ted: How close are you two?
    Me: Very close.
    Ted: What about your parents?
    I stared at him. Why was he asking me a lot of questions? What difference will it make anyways?
    Me: I'm an orphan.
    He paused for a moment and murmured some words.
    Ted: Its a pity. What about a guardian?
    Me: I think its best we shut them out of this question and answer. To me,they don't exist.
    Ted: That's bad. Very bad. Why would you say that?
    Me: If you know my story,you'll hate them more than I do.
    Ted's phone started ringing and I handed him the phone. He spoke for some seconds before handing it to me.
    Kamsi; Amanda!
    Me: Kammy
    Kamsi: Jesus Christ,where are you?
    I found her question funny. Was it me or Jesus she was asking about our location?
    Kamsi: Please speak to me
    Me: Comforter of the afflicted.
    Kamsi: Doing what?
    Me: What does one do in a hospital? How can you even be asking me that? Anyways,whenever you want to see me,I'm here. If I'm discharged and no one is here to take me home,I'll just hand myself over to an orphanage.
    I hung up and Ted frowned at me.
    Ted: What's wrong with you? You shouldn't talk that way.
    Me: I know. I know. I was always quiet yet they did this to me. I'm going to speak up now. I'm going to spare no word while talking to any of them
    Ted: No child of God does that. He's always faithful to they,who put there trust in Him. He's preparing you for something great my dear. He didn't ask you to be weak neither did he ask you to be harsh. Take whatever life offers you in good faith. If you don't mind,tell me your story.
    I spared no word in telling him everything. I told him what I had always gone through,then Father's death,Emeka's death as well,the rules,the Kalus' visit,the kiss,the floggings and then the rape. I barred my mind to him.
    Ted: Jesus Lord!
    The door swung open and there stood Kamsi,Kenneth and Mrs Kalu. Kamsi came into the room in quick steps and hugged me while Kenneth and there mum stepped in and I greeted them. A look around the room told them I was in the intensive care unit. Ted stood up and greeted Mrs Kalu before he excused himself and left the room. The older lady sat down while Kamsi sat on the bed with me. Kenneth stood beside his mum. I saw concern in there eyes and I was glad that I had them.
    Mrs K: How are you my child?
    I shrugged my shoulders and smiled.
    Me: I'm fine.
    Mrs k: We heard you ran away from home. Where did you go?
    I kept quiet.
    Ken: Amanda please talk to us. Don't hide anything from us. We've being worried about you. Nobody will shout at you. Just tell us okay.
    Kamsi: Yes Amy,tell us.
    I was surprised that the tears hasn't started falling yet. I looked at each of them on there faces,something I never did before except with Kamsi. I think this experience really killed the timidity in me.
    Without mincing words,I told them all that happened that Sunday after they left. The room was silent for a while before Kenneth spoke up.
    Ken: I knew that something was wrong. I knew those two devils were up to something. Mum,what's stopping you from calling the police? I wonder why Gospel isn't in town.
    Did he just call his girlfriend a devil? And talking about Gospel,God knows where he had gone to.
    Mrs k: Amanda my child,who was that man that was with you here?
    Me: He's the guy that hit me.
    Mrs k: okay dear. You said you got conscious today?
    Me: Yes ma.
    Mrs k: Its alright. Gospel will be in town by tomorrow. He travelled to pH for a meeting. I don't want you to call any other person. We'll take care of you till you get better and I promise you,you ain't going back to that house.
    Before nko? I thanked her with all my heart. We were talking about something I don't remember when the door opened and the doctor walked in.
    Doc: Oh! Good evening ma
    Mrs k: Good evening doctor. How do you do?
    Doctor: How do you do too. I'm elated her family members are here already. Are you her aunt?
    Mrs Kalu looked at me and smiled before turning to the doctor.
    Mrs k: She's my daughter.
    Doctor: Eh? Amanda.....
    Mrs k: But she has not being staying with me. But from this moment,I'm not letting her out of my sight anymore.
    Kamsi and Kenneth smiled and the doctor nodded.
    Doctor: Okay ma. Please,follow me to the office. I'll love to discuss one or two things with you.
    Mrs k: No problem doc. After you then.
    I watched them leave and so many thoughts came to my head. I have always seen Nigerian movies and talks like this always confirmed that the girl is pregnant. "God please help me,I don't want to be pregnant" .
    I closed my eyes and prayed silently while Kamsi held on to me.
    How was your day guys?

    Episode 14

    Kenneth: Can I say that this room is tensed? I don't like how you both are silent.
    Kamsi: You'll never be comfortable in a quiet place. We're both worried about what they're both discussing in the doctor's office and you're here talking trash.
    Ken: Did I call your name sis? Anyways,Amanda,have you eaten anything?
    I nodded,still placing my hands in my chest.
    Ken: Eh?
    Kamsi: This is no time for that your question and answer Ken. You......
    The door opened and Mrs Kalu walked in with the doctor.
    I stared into there faces but it was just plain,no emotions.
    Mrs Kalu sat down and the doctor asked me to lie down and I did.
    Doc: Like I told you,we were able to collect some sperm samples as evidence which we'll keep safe in case she needs to file a report.
    Mrs k: I heard when you said that. But is there no way the culprits can be found with those samples?
    Doc: I'm sorry madam. Our hospitals are yet to get the equipments for that. I even doubt if its here in Nigeria.
    Ken: What nonsense? Stuffs like these are easy to trace in the states. I.....
    Mrs k: Kenneth you're not in the states. I'll advice you keep quiet for now.
    Ken: Sorry doc.
    Doc: Its okay young man.
    Mrs k: So doctor,you said you've ran all the necessary tests right?
    Doc: Yes madam.
    Mrs k: And she's not pregnant or infected?
    Doc: Not at all madam. We just found some traces of staphylococcus in her but we started treatment even in her unconscious state.
    I heaved an audible sigh of relief and everyone in the room looked at me.
    Doc: Its okay Ander. You're fine.
    I nodded with a smile and Kamsi started rubbing my arm.
    Doc: She'll be free to go home by next week.
    Mrs k: Thank you doctor.
    Doc: You're welcome.
    He left the room and Mrs Kalu smiled at me.
    Mrs k: You're fine my child.
    Me: I'm also very lucky ma.
    Mrs k: That's why you shouldn't bother about anything else because God is always by your side.
    She looked at her wristwatch.
    Mrs k: Its late now. Ken and I will be on our way. I'll be travelling to China tomorrow to get some supplies done but Ken and Kammy will be here for you. Once he drops me off at the airport,he'll get you and Kammy breakfast and some change of clothes. Gospel will also be home tomorrow.
    Me: Thank you ma. God bless you a lot.
    Mrs k: He will. And before I come back,make sure you're used to calling me mummy and not that ma.
    I smiled and thanked her again.
    Mrs k: And if I don't come back and you're discharged,don't hesitate to follow them home,is that clear?
    I looked on in confusion. Who are the them?(forgive that blunder)... Hope its not Nenye and her mother? She read my confusion and redirected it.
    Mrs k: I'm talking about my children.
    Me: Oh! Thank you ma.
    She stood up and approached me,gave me a peck and left the room. Kenneth did the same,promising to come early tomorrow.
    Kamsi: Those people. Very wicked species of human beings. You won't believe what they told us.
    Without being told,I knew she was referring to the two villains at home.
    Me: Tell me please.
    Kamsi: Gospel had gone to school to look for you that Monday but you were not there so he went to your house. He asked after you and your mother told him that you went out on an errand. He called your line but it was switched off so he left. He kept going from your school to your house every day till that Saturday when I followed him to your house. I insisted I'll go to your room and wait for you till you return. I went to the BQ but your room was locked. That was when they told us that you had invited a guy to your room and when she found out,she was beating you and you ran away.
    Me: Chineke! Why will mummy say something like that nau?
    Kamsi: That's not all. Nenye started telling us how you flirt with every guy in the neighbourhood,how loose you were. I didn't believe that but Gospel was already mad. We got home and he vomitted everything to mummy.
    Me: Now I understand why he spoke to me like that when I called him.
    Kamsi: But you don't have to worry. I believe mummy will tell him everything tonight and if he doesn't apologise to you,I'll disown him.
    I was forced to laugh.
    Me: Kammy you need to help me cause I doubt if I can walk properly. I just remembered how I could barely walk that night.
    Kamsi: Its alright. Let me help you up.
    She helped me stand up on my feet and pleaded with me to close up my legs. I did and it hurt. She kept on pushing me to try. After some minutes,I started walking round the room,but I was limping.
    Kamsi: At least,your legs ain't open.
    She guided me to and fro. I stood at the window and looked out into the dark night. My thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door.
    Kamsi: Come in.
    Ted walked into the room. He was no longer with the same clothes I had seen him with so I guessed he had gone home. Like he did that evening,he was with a bag.
    Kamsi: Hi.
    Ted: Hi.
    He dropped the bag and walked up to us.
    Me: Ted,meet my best friend,Kamsi....Kamsi,that's the guy who had hit me and brought me here,Ted.
    Ted laughed at my dry joke.
    Kamsi extended her hand and he shook it.
    Kamsi: Nice meeting you Ted.
    Ted: Pleasure is all mine.
    He turned to me immediately.
    Ted: Your friend is gorgeous.
    We laughed and Kamsi thanked him.
    Ted: Amanda,I'm glad you've got someone to keep you company tonight. I went home to change my clothes and bring you dinner.
    Me: That's very kind of you Ted.
    Ted: I also had plans to spend the night here but since your gorgeous friend is staying behind,I'll have to leave now. I'll see you tomorrow.
    Me: Now that's funny. Did you think I'll let you suffer yourself by spending the night here?
    Ted: I....
    Kamsi: Its settled now. I'm here so thank you very much
    Ted: That's what I expected to hear Miss gorgeous. I beg to leave you two now.
    Me: Thanks. But,the food,don't you think it won't be enough for my friend and I?
    Ted: Oh! Like I said before,I thought I would spend the night here so I had packed dinner for two.
    Me: Okay. Thanks alot.
    Kamsi: Thank you.
    Ted: You're welcome. Let me leave now.
    Kamsi: I'll walk you to your car.
    Ted: That will be nice.
    They both left the room while I dragged my feet to where he dropped the bag. I had faith that if I continue practising,I'll be able to walk perfectly in some days.

    Kamsi and I ate away on the plates of breadfruit(ukwa) Ted had brought. It was so delicious with the right spices,it was in a lunch box so we guessed he made it himself. Kamsi wouldn't stop talking about how handsome Ted was and then how fluent his speech are. I knew without being told that she's got it hot for him. Sh even told me they'd exchanged numbers at the car park.
    After eating and putting away the lunch box,she opened the cupboard and got out bread which had crunches label and greased it with butter generously. I was even surprised at the amount of provisions Ted had brought me. Being with Kamsi,I always eat plentiful and excessively. Even now,we ate a good quantity of the bread before we showered and talked some more. Gospel had called before we slept and I refused to speak with him.
    The next morning,just after Kamsi had helped me shower and put back the hospital cloak on me, Ken came in. I looked at the clock and it was some minutes last 8.
    Me: Good morning.
    Ken: Yes dear. Good morning.
    Kamsi just waved and entered the bathroom.
    Me: You're early. Didn't you drop mummy anymore?
    Ken smiled and I realised I had taken the first step in accepting that I was now part of the Kalus' family.
    Ken: Her flight was scheduled for 7:30. So sis,I dropped mum off before coming.
    It was my turn to smile.
    He handed me the minibox he was carrying and helped me open it. There were towels,clothes and some slippers.
    Me: We're not living here are we?
    He laughed out loud
    Ken: Now I knew you would say that. I didn't know which of them to bring so I decided to come with as many as possible for you to choose from.
    Me: Nice. But I don't see any food with you.
    He hit his forehead with his palm.
    Ken: Give me twenty minutes. I'll be right back.
    Kamsi came out,changed her clothes and made tea for us while we waited for Kenneth and Ted.
    Ken was the first to come back. He bought rice and banga soup(ofe akwu) with lots of meats and fried fishes and plantain. We all ate and chattered away. We were busy with our meal when a knock came and the door opened. Ted walked in with the doctor and we all greeted them
    Doc: Ander how are you?
    Me: I'm very fine doctor
    My mouth was filled.
    Doc: Of course I can see that.
    We all laughed and he checked my pulse.
    Doc: Do you still feel pain anywhere?
    Me: No. Just my thighs.
    Doc: Its normal. With the injections and drugs you're taking,it'll disappear in a couple of days. You're really a very strong woman.
    Me: Thank you sir.
    Doc: I'll leave you all now. The nurses will come to you soon.
    Me: Okay.
    Everyone in the room thanked him before he left. That was when I took a closer look at Ted and realised he was carrying a bag. He noticed me staring and frowned his face.
    Ted: Its wrong to stare I hope you know.
    Me: I'm sorry.
    Ted: Good. So you all didn't tell me there was a food party going on.
    We all laughed.
    Ken: Join us then. There's still enough in the cooler.
    Kamsi: Yes. We'll have yours later.
    Ted: If you all insist.
    Kamsi stood up and Ted replaced her. She served him and joined me on the bed while we all chartered away.
    Ted told us about himself. He was 26,born and raised in California. He worked with a telecommunications company there in California and was just home to see his parents who lived at Enugu but somewhere I couldn't remember the name. He said his own house was in TransEkulu and he was just going home from his parents house the morning he had hit me. I wanted to ask him why he would leave his parents house that early but I thought against it. We all said a thing or two about ourselves and that was how we all became friends. Surprisingly,Ken paired him with Kamsi and said they would be perfect together and he laughed,admitting that he liked Kamsi. The conversation flowed so well that we didn't know that it was afternoon till the nurse returned to give me my injections and drugs. And she came in with Gospel.
    He ignored every other person in the room and enveloped me in a warm embrace. I had never received such show of emotion from a male before who isn't related to me so I was shy.....very shy,as all eyes were on us including that of the nurse.
    When he finally released me,it was to look at me with loving eyes.
    Gospel: I'm sorry
    Me: I.....
    Kamsi: I thought you won't say that.
    That was when he remembered that there were other people in the room. He began talking with them while the nurse gave me my medications and left.
    Gospel: Thank you Ted for bringing her here. So many people would have left her and disappeared. To think that you've even being around all this while,helping the doctors take care of her.
    Ted: I did what every normal human being would do.
    Gospel: Thanks once again.
    Ted: You're welcome.
    We spent the rest of the day chatting and eating away our lives. They would take turn to help me walk around the room. It became the normal routine; Ken would bring breakfast,Ted would handle lunch while Gospel would take care of dinner. At night before they all left,we'll put a call to mummy through Skype and we'll all talk for long. Then when they finally leave,Kamsi and I would help ourselves to some provisions from the cupboard.
    I experienced so much love and affection like I've never experienced before but one thing kept on bothering me; Nenye and her mother,
    I was in the school canteen with Kamsi one afternoon after lecture,munching our meaty meatpie with a can of lacasara when I felt I was being watched. Its being two weeks since I resumed school. I had spent three more weeks at home after I was discharged,perfecting myself and learning to walk and talk like I'm royalty(trust Kamsi nau). Gospel had taken us shopping,buying me clothes I'm sure I wouldn't finish wearing in six months,shoes (combination of heels,snickers,flats and boots), handbags,make up box(I didn't even know they used to exist),deodorants and so many things. I was taken to a spa where goodness knows the magic they did with my skin and my entire looks. I became a princess in three weeks. At first,I wasn't comfortable with all that but mummy(Mrs Kalu) and Kamsi always encouraged me. While I was being transformed to Chimamanda Kalu,Kamsi got admission through the supplementary form and we resumed school the next week. Did I say that Ted and Kamsi were now dating? Forgive me. Everyone approved of there relationship and they were perfect for each other. He and Gospel took turns to take us out for lunch. Ted had applied for a transfer to one of there companies in Nigeria(I think it was because of Kamsi). His transfer was not granted so he had started making plans to start his own company here in Nigeria. Life was so much fun and back to the present,I felt I was being watched.
    Me: Kammy,look behind me please and see if you'll notice anybody giving me an odd look.
    Kamsi: Why?
    Me: I feel like I'm being watched.
    Kamsi stylishly looked around before resuming her eating
    Kamsi: I see no one babe. Besides,who wouldn't stare at you,with all these your hotness.
    She was right. I had started receiving more than enough glances and "hi" from girls who I'm sure were from rich homes. It was good to be rich and classy but in all that,I never let it get into my head. I still remembered who I was and I had promised myself that once I graduated from school,I'll take back everything that belonged to me.
    We had finished eating and was about stepping out when four girls walked in and stopped in front of us. I looked up at there faces and was I surprised to see Nenye with them?
    Kamsi: And what's the meaning of this?
    I stood there,staring at each of there faces. I remembered two of the girls. They used to visit Nenye back then at home.
    Nenye: I'm not here for you. I'm here for my sister.
    Kamsi scoffed and shook her head. Everyone in the cafe had turned there attention to us.
    Kamsi: Did you just call her your sister?
    Nenye: Of course she is my sister who your family took away from us.
    Kamsi looked at me and smiled. She held my hand and we walked away. We got to the door and she left me and returned to them.
    Kamsi: You're lucky. Very lucky that I'm in a good mood today,if not,I would have beaten you black and blue here and this nitwits you call friends won't do anything about it. Spoilt daughter of Jezebel.
    Nenye: Never you call me or my mother names or....
    Kamsi: Or what? What will you do? I've even forgotten that you're a student of this school so watch closely. I'm sure you barely recognised Amanda. That's what love and care can do to someone so stick your fingers into your ass and watch how beautiful her life is now. Stop us any other day and I'll have you locked up. Bi'tch.
    Kamsi approached me and we walked out of the cafe and headed towards school gate.
    Kamsi: That girl! I'll so deal with her. Because we didn't file a case against them right.
    Me: You're angry. Calm down.
    We got to the bus stand and sat down.
    Me: Kammy,why are you angry now? She's not worth it.
    Kamsi: I know but a part of me tells me that they're up to something. My instinct can never lie to me.
    Me: I....
    Rose: Excuse me please.
    Kamsi and I turned to see a girl of our age. She was pretty and average in height. She was dressed in a jean short,jean snicker and a while crop top. Her jean jacket was tied to her waist. She had money written all over her.
    Kamsi: Hi.
    Rose: I'm Rose,from the department of social sciences.
    Kamsi: I'm Kamsi. This is my sister and best friend,Amanda,we're both studying radiology.
    Rose: Oh wow. Nice meeting you.
    We shook hands with her and she sat down between us.
    Rose: So,I was sitting down at the cafe where the show down had happened. You're a brave soldier girly.
    Kamsi and I laughed.
    Rose: So I've being following you girls,thinking of a way to start a conversation but you stopped here and I decided to stop as well.
    Kamsi: Oh!
    Me: Hope there's no problem
    Rose: Not at all. I've just being seeing you girls around for some days now and I love your closeness. I just want to be friends with you two.
    My phone rang and I brought it out from my handbag. It was a blackberry passport which Gospel had gotten me two weeks ago. It was Kenneth calling.
    Me: Hi Ken.
    Ken: Hey sis,where are you two? Being calling Kammy but she didn't pick up.
    I glanced at Kamsi but she was saying something to the new girl.
    Me: Uhm,she turned it off before we went in for lecture but we're on our way home now.
    Ken: Okay. Hope you both are safe?
    Me: We're at the bus stand beside school gate actually.
    Ken: I came around to see someone. Wait for me there and I'll come and pick you both.
    Me: Okay then. Don't keep us waiting.
    I hung up and let the girls in on what's happening. We decided to take pictures before he arrives. We were having fun with ourselves when our(I'm now part of the family so everything is ours now) red spider stopped just in front of us and Kenneth came down. We all turned to him and Rose stared at him for a while before shouting;
    Rose: Ken!
    Ken: Rose
    It was our turn to stare as we looked at them hug each other like long lost friends.

    Ken: Where in God's name have you being?
    Rose: Sweetheart,I've being here. Its you who just disappeared.
    Ken: Baby its not that. What......
    Kamsi: Hello! Like you both have forgotten that we're here.
    Me: I don't know for these two.
    Ken and Rose smiled.
    Ken: Sorry girls. Meet Rose,my sweetheart from forever. Rose, those are my sisters,Kammy and Amanda.
    Rose: They're your sisters?
    Kammy and I nodded with smiles on our faces.
    Ken: So how come you all are here? Like you know each other?
    Kamsi: We just met here. She schools here as well,department of social sciences.
    Ken: Wow. Wow. I'm glad to hear that you're finally in this our Enugu.
    Rose: Come on. I've always being here. You know online dating doesn't work this days.
    Finally I got it,they had met online. Kamsi and I just shifted and got busy with our own topic and left the two lovers to talk for a while. After about thirty minutes,they remembered they were with us.
    Ken: Girls,let's go home. Rose lives at GRA so we'll go there and drop her before going home.
    We all agreed and got into the car,leaving the front seat for our new friend/brother's girlfriend.
    Personally,I was glad that Ken had gotten over Nenye. Goodness knows how they even fell for each other sef.
    School became fun for me. Rose,Kamsi and I were the talk of the school,among the 100 level students. People who didn't know us started seeking our attention. We were not only beautiful but intelligent. I never for once allowed all that get into my head. My only problem now was Nenye. She seemed to be in a competition with me and try as hard as i could,I couldn't figure out what the competition was all about. On the other hand,Gospel had travelled and we were kind of distant. His calls came once in a blue moon and I was very worried.
    I was in my room,going through a magazine when my phone rang. The number looked so familiar but I couldn't place it.
    Me: Hello.
    Mummy Joy: Yes. Hope you figure out who you're speaking with.
    Me: Mummy?
    Mummy J: Save that. Heard you're now living the life of a goddess. Don't forget who you are and what you are. Your life is made to be miserable and so....
    Me: God forbid that. I'm the image of God and whosoever declares war on the anointed shall get war in tenfold
    There was silence from the other end so I continued.
    Me: I can't forget who I am. I can't do that because I have people who feed from my wealth. You should be grateful I've not come for my properties.
    Mummy J: Wow. The girl has learnt to talk. I wonder what they feed you....
    Me: Love mummy. They feed me with love,the love that you never gave me,that is what they feed me with. I'll advice that you stop calling me so I won't get angry and remember all you did to me.
    I hung up and walked out of the room. I was angry,very angry with myself. I stormed into the sitting room and met mummy(Mrs Kalu). She was taking a call and immediately she saw me,she ended the call.
    Mrs k; Young woman,what's the matter?
    I went close and sat down beside her
    Me: Its mummy.
    Me: The twin's mother?
    I briefly told her about the call and she flared up,threatening thunder and brimstones. I felt relieved,at least,she's got my back and I was sure that she'll never let anything happen to me.

    Episode 15

    Mrs k: Is that why your face is like that? You should know that those words are empty threats. Look how beautiful and healthy you've become. They're just jealous of your progress.
    Me: Thanks mum. But I wish to get back my things,my money,my house,I wish to get everything back.
    Mrs k: No my child. There are some decisions you shouldn't make while angry. Come to think of it,is there any proof to back up your claims to those properties?
    I never thought about it. I didn't even know where daddy's lawyer lives or where his office was. Did I even know his name?
    Mrs k: I want to assure you,so long as you're with us,you'll never lack anything. You're my child and I'll treat you with so much love and care. By the time all these is over,you'll get back everything that you've lost in greater digits.
    Her phone rang and she picked it.
    Mrs k: ......Tuesday?..... I'll be there.....just book a flight for me....thank you.
    She ended the call and looked at me with a smile.
    Mrs k: Hope you heard what I said to you?
    Me: Yes mummy.
    Mrs k: I'll be travelling on Tuesday.
    Me: I heard that. Hope everything is fine.
    Mrs k: Yes. They're done with the designers I ordered from London. I just need to go and check if they're complete.
    Me: What about your manager? She should be handling all these things. You shouldn't be travelling all the time.
    Mrs k: I know my dear. She's on maternity leave.
    Me: Oh! I forgot.
    We spent more time discussing till Ken and Kamsi came back. I excused myself and went into Kamsi's room.
    Kamsi: Hey BF
    Me: Hi!
    Kamsi: I got you grilled checked from KFC. Ted and I went out.
    Me: Oh! Thanks very much.
    I opened her bag and brought it out. I made to go out but she stopped me.
    Kamsi: Can I talk to you for a minute?
    Me: Sure. Why not.
    I came back into the room and sat on the bed.
    Me: What's it all about?
    She came and sat down beside me.
    Kamsi: Its about you and Gospel. What's happening.
    I heaved a sigh
    Kamsi: Do you both have time for yourselves at all? He's always at the other side of the house or out of the country. What's happening?
    Me: Kammy I don't know. I really don't know if I offended him in some way. He doesn't pick my calls anymore neither does he return it. Maybe its because he's used to seeing me in this house.
    Kamsi; Don't say that Amy. But,do you mean that you both don't have a problem or disagreement?
    Me: None that I know of. And I'll be lying if I say I'm not disturbed about it.
    There was an unusual silence in the room.
    Kamsi: Call him now.
    Me: He won't pick it.
    Kamsi: Use my phone.
    She passed me the phone and I dialled Gospel's number. He picked it immediately
    Gospel: Hello sis
    Me: Its me.
    Gospel: Amanda?
    Me: Yes. Good afternoon.
    Gospel: Same to you. Can you call me back? I'm busy at the moment.
    Gospel: I said I'm busy. I'll call you back once I'm done.
    He hung up before I could say any other thing. Tears flooded my eyes and I let them fall.
    Kamsi: Don't do that. We're going to his quarters now.
    There(our) compound housed four mansions. Gospel has one which is the first. The second one which was the smallest housed the servants,cooks and drivers. Mrs Kalu,Kenneth, Kamsi and I stayed in the third one which was the biggest. The fourth one was still empty. Plans are being put in place for Kenneth to move over.
    I had never being to Gospel's quarter before and hearing Kamsi say it now caused me to shiver in freight.
    Me: I'm not going. I can't go.
    Kamsi: Why? He can't make you fall for him and then start treating you like trash. I won't let him do that.
    Me: Kamsi let it go. It's his life after all
    Kamsi: And what about you? How do you feel? Amanda get up. We're going there now,except you want me to inform mum about it.
    Me: Okay. I'll go with you.
    My heart was beating fast,missing several beats and making me swallow hard. Mum was no longer in the sitting room and I was grateful. We walked out of the house and met Rita,she was the second cook.
    She greeted us with a smile.
    Kamsi: Is my brother around?
    Rita: Yes but he has a visitor.
    Kamsi: Its alright. Thank you.
    We continued walking towards his house till we got to the door.
    Me: Don't you think we should go back since he has a visitor?
    Kamsi: We're here already.
    Kamsi opened the door and we walked in. There was nobody in the sitting room but we confirmed that he had a guest because there was a Gucci handbag on a sofa and a heel beside it. My heart started beating faster than before.
    Me: Kamsi please let's go.
    She didn't speak to me. I saw the frown and anger on her face as she raced up the stairs that led to Gospel's room I guess while I followed in hot pursuit.
    She pushed the door to a to open before I could get to her but I noticed that she froze on the spot. I came closer and took a look. I gasped in shock at what I saw.

    Episode 16

    Gospel sprang up from the bed,his huge member shrinking immediately. The lady with him stood up from the bed,dangling her body which was full of fat and headed towards the bathroom. Kamsi wondered how her brother found the lady attractive. Gospel quickly picked his boxer from the floor and wore it,not taking his eyes away from the girls.
    Kamsi walked into the room not taking her eyes away from her brother.
    Kamsi: I'm sorry bro. We were looking for answers and I think we've found it. We'll just go back to the main house.
    Kamsi turned and looked at me. I was still recovering from my shock but I could see her struggle with the tears.
    She walked past me but I was still rooted to the ground,looking at someone I loved.
    Words can't explain how I felt. I wanted the day to start afresh so I wouldn't follow Kamsi to Gospel's quarter. You'll agree with me that its better for your spouse to break up with you than catching him or her in the act.
    I felt so weak that my knees were now unable to carry me.
    He didn't say a word to me neither did he move from the spot. I weakly carried myself out of his house and headed to the main house.
    If Gospel could do this to me,then,anybody can hurt me and I'll survive it.
    I got to my room and laid down,pondering over my life and where I had gone wrong. A knock came and I asked the person in.
    Gospel: Amanda.
    I turned immediately, staring at Gospel who was now a different version of the man I had seen some minutes before. He had tears in his eyes and his face was greased with sadness.
    Me: Sit down please.
    He sat down beside me and crossed his hands.
    Me: I'm sorry for barging into your apartment without prior notice. I....
    Gospel: No please. Your words would make me feel worse than I'm feeling now. You're such a nice person and you don't deserve what I did to you.
    Me: Why? You prefer plumpy women,I'll be that for you,or,you don't like my colour,I'll do something about it. Tell me what you like and I'll make myself suitable for you.
    He held my hands and kissed them. Tears ran down my eyes and I thought it best to let them flow.
    Gospel: You're perfect just the way you are.
    Me: Then why will you do these to me? Thought you said you loved me? Why then will you choose to hurt me in this manner? Avoiding me wasn't enough for you,then you started bringing them into the house. Why?
    Gospel: I couldn't continue anymore. I....
    Me: Continue? With what?
    Gospel: I'm sorry but I think its time I tell you.
    He stood up from the bed and walked two steps away from me. I joined him,eager to know what the problem was,what our problem was.
    Gospel: The rape Amanda. I couldn't bring myself to be with a victim. You experienced hell and I know without being told that it will affect our relationship. I've seen victims,I've heard there stories. They don't go beyond kisses and memories of the incident will cloud there heads and they'll start seeing you like you mean harm for them. They....
    I broke down automatically, crying my heart out and telling him all sorts of useless jargons I could think of.
    Me: You're wicked Gospel. You're cursed. How can you say that to me? How can you say that in my presence? Did you give it time? Did you try it out. You back up your stupid exploits using my worst experience as your excuse,rubbing it to my face that I can never stand a relationship. Gospel you're heartless and mean. I curse the day my heart fell in love with you. Get out. Get out of here now.
    Gospel: Amanda cal........
    Me: Don't Amanda me. Don't you dare try to mention my name with those cursed mouth of yours. I curse you Gospel. You said I can't stand a relationship, Gospel,same thing will go for you. You shall never be good for anyone. You...
    Gospel: Amanda stop it,you're angry and saying all these words. Stop it now.
    Me: Get out.
    I began to push him before he figured out I meant it then he left on his own.
    I locked my door and flung myself on the ground,crying my heart out and cursing Gospel for the rest of his life.
    I remained on that position even after I got tired of crying. Someone kept on knocking on my door but I refused to get up,let alone opening the door. It was the ringing of my phone that got me up and I went and picked it. It was Mrs Kalu.
    Mrs k: Amanda.
    Me: Yes mummy
    Mrs k: Open the door sweetheart. I've being here for sometime now.
    Mrs k: I know. I won't take much of your time I promise.
    Me: Okay.
    I dropped my phone and opened the door for her and she hugged me. It opened doors to the tears I thought had finished. She let me cry for a while before she pulled me into the room.
    Mrs k: You don't know my child,so many people long to be in your shoes right now. A lot of people out there have so many problems which are worse than yours,yet,they won't look like it. There are lots of girls your age who live there lives without having a boyfriend till they are ready to settle down. You can't be here,crying out your eye balls because your boyfriend is with another lady who I'm sure you're prettier than,I'm also sure you're more intelligent than her. It shows he's classless and has lack of good taste. You're beautiful my child and your destiny is in your own hands. You'll be whatever God wants you to be only if you take it with faith. The word of the Lord even said it,that the kingdom of God suffereth violence and violent people taketh it by force. I don't know why you're crying when you have a life that is ahead of you. Gospel shouldn't be your priority now. Your priority should be your education. You should know that with education,many men would come knocking on your door and it'll be your time to choose whoever you want to be with. With Education,good one,you'll be able to shut the likes of Gospel. My child,I won't deceive you. Think about all I've said here and pick the ones you want to pick. By the time I'm back from London,I want to see a new you.
    She stood up to leave and I also stood up.
    Mrs k: Dinner is seven pm on the dot. You should look your best. Kenneth's girlfriend is coming
    I smiled and gave her a nod.
    Me: Thank you mum.
    She hugged me before leaving the room. I looked at my table clock and it was past five. I quickly washed my face and started going to Kamsi's room. I met Kenneth at the hall way and he hugged me tight.
    Ken: I knew you were a strong lass.
    Me: I'm not
    I managed to give him a smile.
    Ken: You are. You just haven't noticed it.
    Me: Okay. Okay. So you didn't tell me that Rose was coming around. Not fair.
    Ken: Oh. I'm sorry. She told me this afternoon as well. We didn't plan it.
    Me: Hmmm. Okay o. So you both are now official? Since mum is now involved?
    Ken: Yeah!
    Have I told you guys about Kenneth? I'm sorry. He's what I will describe as breath takingly handsome. He's chocolate in complexion,a graduate of Madonna and he's a lawyer. He's just 24 and was called to bar few weeks after Emeka's death. Since then,he's being one popular guy in and outside the neighbourhood. He's tall and has a baritone voice. His nose is pointed,his lips are small and he loves to pout them,his eyes are sexy and blue. He also has this side burns which he leaves bushy always,saying that nobody would love to work with a small boy,but his beards make him older. Mrs Kalu is indeed blessed with beautiful children with good manners............ all except Gospel.
    Me: Wish you guys the best. I need to go to Kamsi.
    Ken: Alright then. See you guys later.
    I walked away and finally got myself in Kamsi's room. She was speaking with someone on the phone so I sat down and waited. She spoke for some minutes and hung up.
    Kamsi: BF
    I smiled at her and she came and sat down beside me.
    Me: Was that Ted?
    Kamsi: Nope. Most handsome guy, ESUT, campus one chapter.
    Me: Hmmm. This year?
    Kamsi: Yes.
    Me: Okay. So I heard Rose is coming for dinner.
    Kamsi: Don't mind Ken. I don't even know what I'm going to wear.
    Me: Hello! She's a lady not a guy. A Lady like you and I. So it doesn't matter what we wear.
    Kamsi; I know. But haven't you noticed she looks like someone from a rich family?
    Me: Ain't we rich too? Just that we don't dress over classy for school.
    Kamsi: You're wrong. She wears designers o.
    I laughed and she stared at me.
    Me: Next thing now,you'll start asking mum to order our clothes from London or China or maybe task Ken to take us out. This clothes in your wardrobe,have you finished wearing them?
    Kamsi: You're amazing. We're going shopping by weekend. I'm already sure that mummy will get us something once she travels. For now,let's talk about something else.
    I told her my conversation with Gospel and mummy and she supported mum. Saying that I need to take my mind away from Gospel and move on,that I should learn to be strong. She said one thing that made me determined,"if you fight this and move on,you'll find out that Gospel was never meant to be part of your life.Move on sis,we don't have enough time in the world to start crying over guys who don't think twice before breaking us.Use the time you have now to the fullest."

    Episode 17

    Dinner was ready before 6:30. Kenneth had stepped out of the house to only God knows where. Kamsi and I dressed up with a little make up and sat down in the sitting room,chatting away with our phones. A honk outside got us rushing out of the house as an ash coloured highlander drove into the compound. Ever seen these Nollywood movies where the servants would be standing in a queue,waiting for the prince or princess to arrive or get down from the car? Lol. That was the scene being played now. Only difference was that we weren't servants and we looked too good to be one.
    We watched as Rose got down from the car and we gushed shamelessly at her beauty. She was dressed in a short pink floral gown,wearing a gold plated heel which was about five inches. Her handbag marched her heels and she looked like a celebrity going for a photoshoot.
    Rose and Kenneth had met on badoo the year Rose had written waec. Ken was in law school then. So many calls,chats,video and audio calls kept them going for a while but just like many other online dating,distance didn't help them grow so they broke up in a couple of months. Now,they were back together and I prayed silently that they work out now.
    We took turns to hug Rose and she was all smiles.
    Kamsi: Welcome to our house girlfriend.
    Rose: Thank you. Your house is so beautiful.
    Kamsi and I thanked her before we moved into the house.
    We three sat down and started discussing about school and matters that concerns girls before mum came downstairs.
    Perfect wife material.....She stood up immediately and waited for mum to get to her.
    Rose: Good evening mum.
    OMG! Mum already?
    Mrs k: Good evening my dear. Sit down
    Rose sat down and mum took a seat beside her. They began to talk,with mother trying to know everything about Roses' background in one night. We excused ourselves and went to make the table,silently gossiping about mum's likeness for good girls.
    Rose was from a family of four;her mother,her father,her elder brother and herself. They lived in old GRA. Her father is a retired soldier while her mum is a lecturer at IMT(institute of management and technology, Enugu). Her elder brother owns a construction company in portharcourt and he's still single.
    Just before we came to call them to the table,Kenneth and Gospel came in. We all went to the dinning and Kamsi served us with the favourite meal of the house;breadfruit which was well garnished with smoked fishes and meats. We ate quietly(who dares to talk in the dinning while mum was around?). Gospel kept on stealing glances at me and I also fought with myself not to pour my food on him. While everyone had dessert, I excused myself and went to the sitting room with my own plate.
    I know he is surprised that I'm over what he had said to me. I'm also surprised myself. But those words he spoke,everyone of them is locked somewhere deep down my heart. Like mummy had said,I had sealed the part of my mind where he existed. I would focus more on my education and once I get to the level I want to be,I'll open up myself and unleash the same quantity of sorrow to him.
    30 minutes later,we were all sitting together in the sitting room,chartering amongst ourselves.
    Mrs k: Rose darling
    Rose: Yes mum
    Mrs k: I beg to take my leave now. I'll be having a hectic day tomorrow.
    Rose: No problem mum. It was nice meeting you and dinner was awesome.
    They exchanged hugs and we watched mum go upstairs.
    Ken: So,I also beg to leave with my girlfriend now.
    I giggled audibly but Kamsi won't take any of it.
    Kamsi: See this man. As if she's not our friend,we'll just take her from you now now.
    Rose: Of course. Ken,these girls have more rights to me you know?
    Me: Exactly. So do the right thing Ken.
    He shrugged his shoulders and opened his palm like he doesn't have a choice.
    Ken: Okay. Please girls,can I have some time with my girlfriend?
    Kamsi: That's more like it.
    Ken helped Rose up and they walked upstairs. I got busy with my phone and didn't notice when Kamsi left and which direction she went but I looked up to show her a picture but I only met Gospel,sitting just where he had being.
    I stood up and made for the stairs;
    Gospel: Can we talk for some minutes please?
    I turned around and he was standing up.
    Me: Did you talk to me now?
    Surprisingly,my voice was calm
    He came close to me and held my hands. It reminded me of the days we spent,visiting all the malls in Enugu,all the eateries,showing off our love to the world. I shook those thoughts out of my mind as tears were already forming at the back of my throat.
    Gospel: Baby you know I love you and I'll always love you. Its just that circumstances beyond my control seems to be against us. I....
    Me: Uhm.... Its alright. Just forget it.
    Gospel: Not until you forgive me. I know I chose the wrong words. I didn't just know how to explain things to you so you'll understand me.
    Me: Understand that you have needs as a man and you refused to share with me? You said you love me,what happened? Aren't you the right person to help me get out of whatever fear it is I dwell in? Did you ever try to? No you did not. Instead,you started avoiding me and bringing in girls who I'm way better than.... Gospel its not fair.
    Gospel: Baby you know I'm not good with words. You know I.....
    Me: I know that. And I also know your likes of ladies,your best sex positions. I also know you screw girls without protection. Gospel I hate you. Get this thing clear,for every tear I shed for you,you'll get back in tenfold.
    He held me close this time,tears falling from his eyes and I looked away,fighting with my own tears. I am strong,of course I am.
    Gospel: Baby please I'm sorry. Forgive me.
    Me: Let me go now. Just let me go.
    Gospel: You know I can't let you go. You know that. I love you so much and will do anything to make you happy.
    Me: Fine. Make me happy by leaving me alone. Leave my life alone. Just let me be.
    His hands left me immediately and I turned back and ran up the stairs counting the third person I loved so much who had left me all alone......Daddy,Emeka and Gospel....
    They were all gone....gone for good.

    Episode 18

    I walked into the lecture hall with my peplon gown,clutching my handbag and wondering what the lecturer would say to me. I had come to school with Kamsi that day,we got a seat and sat down but my period pain wasn't helping me so I had gone to a chemist to get some drugs. The midwife I met there helped me with warm water instead and asked me to relax a bit. Now,the menstrual pain has stopped but I'm 20 minutes late to class.
    Mr Ofor was a no nonsense man. He took the smallest of things serious. I was very good at his course but I just don't want to get into his bad books.
    Me: Good morning sir.
    I greeted with the most tender voice I could give. All eyes were now on me and I wished I had just stayed back at the clinic.
    He looked at his wristwatch and gave me a scornful look
    Mr Ofor: Lady,you're 22 minutes late for this class.
    Me: I'm sorry sir. I was at the clinic. I'm sick.
    Mr Ofor: Sick? Which clinic are you coming from?
    Me: Toks pharmacy.
    Mr Ofor: Because I'll go and confirm. Give me your ID card right away.
    There was a loud murmuring from the class. I looked at them and some were shaking their heads,asking me not to give it to him.
    Me: I'm sorry sir,I don't have it here. But if you wish to confirm,I will go with you.
    He frowned his face immediately. That was what lecturers were known for. They found any reason to take your ID card,then they'll ask you to come and take it later. Once you're in there office,they'll give you conditions;either to bleep them,get your ID card and pass their course or you take your ID card and keep on carrying over their course.
    Mr Ofor: Alright. Go and sit down.
    I silently said "thank you Jesus" and walked over to where Kamsi was seated.
    After lectures,Rose,Kamsi and I decided to pick a cab to thrillers and have lunch. It had being two months since after Roses' visit to the house and since then,Gospel and I haven't set eyes on each other and I loved it that way.
    We got to thrillers and ordered same meal;fried rice and chicken with yoghurts. We ate amidst taking pictures and laughing at our smiley faces.
    Kamsi: So I think its time I say this.
    We asked her what it was about and she said we should guess.
    Me: Ted has proposed?
    Kamsi: Nope.
    Me: You're pregnant?
    Rose: Wtf! Say no please.
    We all laughed.
    Kamsi: I'm not pregnant
    Rose: Then what?
    Me: What is it?
    She cleared her throat and looked at our curious faces
    Kamsi; Someone has being on my neck for a while now.
    Me: Better tell him that Ted is in the picture o.
    Kamsi: Shuu! Wait let me finish first.
    Rose: You don't know your sister fa?
    Kamsi: He's being disturbing me for you,Amanda and in fact,I just texted him our location and he'll be here soon.
    I frowned immediately. Rose and Kamsi stared at me as they didn't understand my countenance.
    Me: Why nau? You would have told me first.
    Kamsi: Amy I know you very well. You would've gone home straight if I've told you.
    Me: And you think I can't go home now?
    Rose: I'll just bundle you back to this place and get you tied to a spot.
    Me: Its not funny Rose.
    Rose: I'm sorry.
    Kamsi: Come on Amanda,you're beautiful and people have the right to admire you.
    Rose: I don't know why you're acting so reserved. Open up and socialise girl. Let them admire you,let them approach you.
    Me: Hey! Now I smell a conspiracy. You both are in this right?
    Rose raised her hands.
    Rose: I'm not. But I want you to socialise that's all.
    Kamsi: Exactly.
    Me: Okay. I've heard you two. Who's he?
    Kamsi giggled and we looked at her expectantly.
    Rose: Talk nau.
    Kamsi: Most handsome guy,our chapter.
    Rose: Wow! Hillary?
    I sat down there,looking at the entrance. He chose to enter the very minute his name was mentioned. I've seen his pictures everywhere in school,he's even my friend on Facebook but I've never had a chat with him. Seeing him facially now,I couldn't help but wonder why he took pictures because he looked more handsome than in the pictures.
    If I had said breathtakingly handsome for Ken,Hillary is then the beauty god. I fell for his colour immediately which were a bit darker than my chocolate complexion. I watched him approach our table with a smile and I looked away,silently wishing that I can disappear because he looks too handsome to be seen with him.
    Ever heard of beauty being intimidated by handsome?

    Episode 19

    His steps were gracious,very gracious. He walked to our table with a permanent smile. His tooth were gaped and he knew how to flaunt them with his smiles.
    Hillary: Hi ladies.
    We took turns to say our greetings and I wondered where my shyness had gone to.
    He took a seat beside me and I could feel his eyes all over me.
    Hillary: So,hope you girls are enjoying your meal,yes?
    I giggled as usual.Who ends statements with rhetorical questions?
    Kamsi and Rose replied in the affirmative so he turned to me.
    Me: Of course. Though,you're a little late.
    Hillary: Had lunch in school.
    Me: Okay.
    Hillary: So I'm Hillary Thompson,final year student of microbiology.
    Me: Wow! Rose,radiography,100 level.
    Hillary: Nice. Very nice.
    Me: Thanks.
    Hillary: Very much welcomed. Can I ask for a favour?
    Me: Of course.
    Hillary: Would really love to know more about you,yourself and yours.
    I chuckled,finding his words sexy and funny at same time
    Hillary: Is that a yes?
    Me: To what?
    Hillary: Dinner tomorrow. To tell me more about yourself.
    I gave Kamsi a glance and she was smiling and nodding. Rose was doing the same thing.
    Me: Okay then.
    He passed me his phone and I put in my number. He called me immediately and I saved it.
    Hillary: You'll text me your house address and I'll come and pick you then.yes?
    Me: Its okay
    Hillary: 6:30 yes?
    I laughed,throwing my head backwards..
    Me: Yes please.
    He smiled before turning to Kamsi and Rose.
    Hillary: I beg to be excused now girls. Thanks for giving me a "me" time with your friend. I appreciate.
    Kamsi: Its okay Mr handsome.
    Rose: No. No. What if I don't agree with that?
    We all turned to her to know what's wrong with her.
    Rose: So you came here,not even an introduction or something, you just went straight to business and forgot there are other girls these side of the table. Not fair if you ask me. Besides,its not because you're familiar with Kammy means its same with me.
    By the time she was done,we were all smiling;
    Hillary: Sorry damsel. I was taken away by the thoughts of this girl that I forgot she was with her friends. Forgive my manners please.
    Rose: You're making it up to me.
    Hillary: Fine. How?
    Rose: A selfie.
    We all laughed. We all tool selfies with him before he left,not before registering a peck on my forehead.
    Kamsi: Aha. I can see you like him already. Look how you're smiling
    Me: He's a nice guy.yes?
    We all laughed as I mimicked his misuse of the word "yes" in his own sexy way.
    Rose: And he's too cute to be real. Amy,you've got to play your cards well.
    Me: Of course. The way you're playing your cards well with Ken and Kammy is playing hers with Ted.
    They rolled their eyes at me and I smiled.
    We finished our lunch and went home,with each of them trying her best to give me a thousand and one reasons why I should be with Mr handsome(as if he's even asked me out)
    _______________________________________
    The ride to Golden Royale hotel was a silent one. We just kept on stealing glances at each other as he drove into bisara road.
    Kamsi was quick to tell mum about Hillary. She had called me to her room and asked me so many questions like if I was ready to move on,if I had gotten over Gospel,if the new guy was good for me. I did tell her that I liked him but he was yet to ask me out. She had showed her concern,saying she didn't want any of her children to get hurt again,me especially. We had hugged each passionately and I had slept in her room that night. I woke up the next morning to her voice,asking Kamsi to come wake me up and help me pick out an outfit for my dinner. That was how I ended up wearing a black handless gown which showed off lots of my cleavages. I had worn a blue wedge which had made me stand tall and clutched a blue purse. You should have seen my face. It went from Chimamanda Okoye to Celebrity Rihanna. I looked absolutely cute and I was afraid Hillary won't be able to recognise me anymore.
    When Hillary had driven into the house,I thought it was to cancel the dinner but was I wrong? He came in to greet mummy and Kamsi before we stepped out hand in hand after mum had had a little chat with him and asking him to take care of me and bring me back in one piece.
    The universe always favours the just because as soon as we stepped out of the house,the first person we ran into was Gospel. He didn't respond to our greetings because he was staring at the way Hillary had held my hand in his.
    Now, we were sitting in a honeymoon suite at Golden Royale. I don't know why I felt comfortable enough to follow him to a room. The room was well decorated. A table was set already and I quickly did a calculation that he had booked a reservation. Two waiters and a waitress were also in the room which made me more relaxed. They used our phones to take pictures after which they shifted from earshot.
    Hillary: I guess you're used to these luxuries already?
    I scoffed, trying to make it sound sexy though.
    Me: Are you kidding me? Why would you say that?
    Hillary: I was at your house few minutes ago remember?
    Me: Oh yes. Still doesn't beat a student who rides a venza.
    He tilted his head to a side and smiled.
    Hillary: You've won.
    Me: I always win. Just tell me what I want to know already.
    Hillary: And what is that? Can't it wait till we're done eating?
    Me: Okay. I'll serve.
    There were varieties of meals on the table that I didn't know where to start from. I looked at Hillary in confusion and he smiled before calling on the waiters. He had called the girl by her name and I was surprised. I didn't say anything till they had served us and poured our wine.
    Me: Thank you.
    The girl nodded with a smile and they left. We began to eat,with me,looking for the very moment to pop in my observation. And of course I got it. The very moment he picked up a serviette to wipe the sides of his lips.
    Me: Guess you're already a regular guy here that you already know their names. Wonder how many girls you've given same treatment.
    He paused his lip before bringing in a smile;
    Hillary: Sorry to disappoint you,none.
    Me: I....
    Hillary; I'll tell you. There's a club house here. My dad and his friends are registered members here so this is just one of our rights. Its wrong for you to think so lowly of me.
    Guilt and shame washed over me. He dropped his fork and stood up,leaving the dinning area and going deeper into the room. I stood up and followed him.
    He got to a point and stopped.
    Me: I'm sorry. I'm not used to having dinner in this flamboyant way. I'm also surprised that you called her by her name so I just had to ask. I'm sorry.
    He turned to me with a smile.
    Hillary: Its okay. Let's go back and finish our meal then I'll clear all your doubts.
    Me: You ain't angry anymore?
    Hillary: I'm not.
    He led me back to the dinning area and we resumed our eating,stealing glances at each other and thinking the other doesn't know each other

    Episode 20

    We were done with eating and were sitting on a double couch. I had a glass of chamdor in my hand,waiting anxiously to hear about his background.
    Hillary: Maybe when you stop looking at me with those dreamy eyes,I'll get back my sanity and kill your curiosity.
    I smiled and looked away but he placed his hand on my jaw,cupping it and making me face him.
    Hillary: You're beautiful y'know?
    Jesus! Will he just get a normal voice than this one that's already sending shivers down my spine.
    Hillary: I'm lucky to be with you now. And I'm going to utilize my time as I don't know if we'll still talk after tonight.
    I looked up at him immediately, my brain sending different versions of what he meant by that.
    He stood up and backed me.
    Hillary: When someone is as beautiful,curvy,sexy,intelligent and calm like you,I find it difficult to speak. But I'm going to do that tonight. I'll speak to you Amanda,about my feelings for you.
    I dropped my glass on a side table and swallowed hard. He turned and sat down just where he was some minutes ago.
    Hillary: The day you had come for registration with the other girl,can't remember her name, I had seen you from afar. I loved the way looked around with these your lovely big eyes. I thought you would be able to see deep into me. I wanted to come to you at the admin block but I noticed the other girl was giving you orders,making you carry her bag and I felt uncomfortable. I had thought you were not even our student.
    I closed my eyes,remembering the incident of that day. I was on a milk colour polo and a jean baggy short, together with my trainers. It was my best set of clothes but I began to think otherwise the moment we stepped into the school and people started giving me odd looks. Nenye had made matters worse,she had added to my misery by making me carry her handbag and throwing orders at me like she was a princess and I'm her servant.
    I wiped the tear from the edge of my eyes and opened them. Hillary was looking into my face so I looked away.
    Hillary: I didn't see you again afterwards. I went to that girl and asked after you but she denied ever knowing you. I had always followed her,trying to see if I could set my eyes on you again but it didn't work out. Seven weeks after registration, you came to school as a different person. I didn't recognise you at first because you weren't that girl I saw that day. Your dressing,steps,your smile,it was all different. I made enquiries to be sure if you were the one but nobody knew you too well.
    He paused and tucked my weavon behind my ear.
    Hillary: That day at the cafe, when the other girl had come to you and your best friend,I confirmed it all. I knew it was you. The pain I saw in your eyes that day told me it was you. I had to do something that was why I approached your best friend Kamsi. And look where we are today.
    He held my hands and I was forced to look at him.
    Hillary: I love you very much,I sincerely do love you Amanda. Forget the transformation because I know you're still that girl I had seen during registration. You made your way to my heart and you've habited there,not willing to share with anybody. All I ask for is a chance,a chance and if I'm not that guy you want,I'll let you be.
    Gospel's words came rushing into my head,"rape victims can't stand relationships". The tears formed in my throat and I let them fall,taking my hands away from Hillary and clutching them like they were going to save me.
    The confusion on his face said it all and I know i needed to give him answers.
    Me: Behind this face,behind this smile is a sorrowful heart,a condemned one. They ruined me,they took everything from me and left me like this,empty and without support.
    He frowned at my words but it didn't stop me.
    Me: I'm sorry Hillary,I can't accept to be in a relationship when I know I can't really get involved. When I know I can't make relationships work. Where I will be a catalyst that will destroy that relationship. I can't do it. I'm sorry.
    Hillary: What do you mean? What are you saying?
    Me: You want to know? Of course I'll tell you.
    And without mincing words,I told him everything,from start to finish,including Gospel. I expected him to walk me to the car,take me home and never contact me again. But he proved me wrong. He enveloped me in his arms and let me cry my heart out. We remained in that position for a good number of minutes before he pulled me up;
    Hillary: Did you visit a counselor?
    I shook my head negatively
    Hillary: When are you starting your exams?
    Me: Next week.
    Hillary: Once your exams are through,we'll go to a counselor. She is a very good friend of mine and she'll help you out of this. Whatever your past was,doesn't and won't change the fact that I love you and always will.
    Was I surprised? Yes I was. I looked at his face and he was smiling.
    Hillary: The way I feel about you,no amount of what you went through will change that fact. And I promise,I'll make your life perfect that you'll never remember that you once had a bitter past. I promise.(he placed his hand on his chest as he said I promise)
    I couldn't control myself as I hugged him lovingly.
    Me: Thank you.
    He pulled away from me and held my hands.
    Hillary: Look how you ruined your beautiful face.
    I smiled and he handed me his handkerchief,leading me to a mirror and asking me to recompose my face. After I was done,with most of the make ups gone,we went back to the couch...........

    Episode 21

    He approached me with mean steps and I tried my best to muffle my laugh.
    Gospel: Who's he?
    Me: Who?
    Gospel: The boy you went out with. The same one you just kissed.
    Me: That means you were spying on us?
    Gospel: Answer me right now. Who's he?
    His tone was now high and obviously angry. I grinned at the thought of him being jealous.
    Me: Okay. No need for you to be angry okay? I'll tell you. You see,when he came to pick me up this evening,he was just a friend from school,but after a wonderful night,I'm proud to say that he's my boyfriend.
    Like lightening,he pushed towards me and held my arm and I winced in pain.
    Me: Leave me alone Gospel.
    Gospel: Is that how shameless you've become? You left this house with your face heavily made up and look how you came back. You even have the guts to kiss him when you know my window overlooks the gate. To spite me right?
    Me: You're just being jealous that someone else is doing what you couldn't do. Leave my arm.
    He left my arm and stepped back.
    Gospel: Amanda what happened to you? Why are you doing this?
    Me: What happened to me? You think I'll sit down in this house,mourning my heart because you broke up with me? Sorry to disappoint you because I've moved on. You did that as well so let me be. That's why you refused to acknowledge our greeting before we left. My life is no longer your business so quit acting like you're my boyfriend and let me be.
    He gasped at my words and I felt his eyes tear up.
    Gospel: But you know I loved you and always will?
    Me: I believed that as well. But your love is selfish. Your love is self centered. You're no worse than those loafers that took advantage of me. You moved on before you even broke up with me and if Kamsi and I hadn't caught you in the act,I would have being dwelling in sorrow of why you are avoiding me. I wouldn't have met Hillary and I wouldn't be this happy. The earlier you stop monitoring me,the better for you.
    I walked out on him,happy with myself for not breaking down in front of him. I've moved on and I can't wait to share my dinner experience with Kamsi and mum.
    The next morning,I took Kamsi to mum who was dressing to go to her boutique. I told them word by word about what had transpired at Golden Royale including the proposed visit to a counselor. They were both happy for me and mum apologised for not thinking about taking me to a counselor all these while.
    We were talking about when to invite him over for dinner when Gospel stormed into the room.
    Gospel: He's not coming to this house.
    Kamsi and I stood up to face him,ready for an attack but surprisingly,mum was calm.
    Mum: Why?
    Gospel: Cause he's not good for her. I know his likes. This university cheap boys who'll do anything to get a beautiful girl on his bed including coming to her place with borrowed cars and suits.
    Kamsi: But he won't include sleeping with different girls before breaking up with her.
    Mum: Kamsi!
    Gospel closed his eyes and swallowed hard. He opened them again and gave Kamsi a very mean stare.
    Kamsi: I'm sorry mum.
    Mum turned back to Gospel.
    Mum: If he's not good for her,who then is good for her? Will you be the one to choose a spouse for her?
    Gospel: Bu.....but mum,I saw that boy,the look......
    Mum: You've being standing there,eavesdropping on us and its wrong.
    Gospel: I was also coming to tell you about him when I heard you all discussing the same thing. But I'm sorry. And I still maintain the fact that he's not good for her.
    Mum: Amanda will say who is good for her and who's not. You don't have a right to decide for her. She's matured enough now so please,I'll advice you to stop meddling.
    There was a look of surprise on his face.
    Gospel: I'm I now meddling?
    Mum: If you don't mind,I beg to leave now. Kamsi,make sure to lock my room after you people are done.
    She picked up her hand bag,looked at herself in the mirror and stepped out of the room. Gospel sized Kamsi and myself and also left.
    Kamsi: He's now making me to dislike him the more.
    Me: Please don't. He also approached me last night immediately I came into the house.
    Kamsi: He did?
    I told her what had happened between Gospel and I. She didn't find it funny.
    Kamsi: Why didn't you tell mum?
    Me: Let's just forget it. Are the girls done with making breakfast?
    Kamsi: Let's go and check. It's past seven already.
    We went downstairs and the table was already made for breakfast. We sat down and helped ourselves to the meal.
    Ken came in just when we were almost done. We greeted him and he sat down to join us.
    Ken: Where's is big bro?
    Kamsi scoffed and continued with her meal. Ken looked at me for answers but I shrugged my shoulders.
    Ken: Kammy I wonder when this bad blood between you two will stop.
    Kamsi: Of course I was thinking about it before now. But after what he did last night and this morning,I don't think it'll ever stop.
    Ken: What's the problem again?
    Kamsi told him about Hillary and Gospel's view on it.
    Ken: He's just jealous. It's normal for him to feel that way.
    Kamsi: Does he now expect Amy not to move on when he's busy having the fun of his life?
    Ken: Okay. I'll talk to him later. For now,let me talk to Amanda.
    I raised my head up and looked at him.
    Ken: Are you comfortable with that guy?
    Me: Yes
    Ken: And you're not with him to get back at Gospel?
    Kamsi: Even if......
    Ken: Kamsi I'm not talking to you. Amanda?
    Me: Gospel didn't even come to my mind the moment i agreed to be with him. He's just understanding and calm and I like him a lot.
    Ken: You know you shouldn't take decisions like this in a hurry,just be careful till you're sure of his intentions. Let's not get too excited for now okay?
    Me: Thanks Ken.
    Ken: Its nothing. Now you two should allow me to eat. I'm late for the office.

    Episode 22

    The exams were over and I was grateful. Kamsi and I invited Rose and Hillary to the house for lunch and dinner on Sunday and they had agreed to come.
    The next day being Friday,Hillary called,asking for permission to come pick me so we could eat out. I dressed up and didn't wait for long before his honk came and I stepped out to meet him. We drove to an eatery where we ate quietly. We finished without discussing anything and he drove to shoprite.
    Me: What do you wanna buy?
    Hillary: Anything. I just want to spend this afternoon with you.
    We shared a quick kiss before alighting from the car.
    He asked me to pick anything I wanted. I had always fantasized about finishing a full bucket of ice cream so it was the only thing I picked. He wasn't satisfied with that so he started picking boxes of sweets,chocolates,biscuits and drinks.
    The ride back home was interesting as I had my bucket of ice cream and was spooning good quantities into my mouth and that of Hillary. I texted Kamsi,telling her that we were coming back and she said she was going to wait for us at the car park.
    Hillary drove into the house and while he made for the bags,I just stepped out with my bucket of ice cream which hasn't gone down a bit.
    Kamsi welcomed us and took the bags inside including my bucket of ice cream.
    Me: So you ain't coming in?
    Hillary: Not today. I have somewhere to be by 5:30 and look,its almost 5:00.
    He fixed his gaze behind me and I followed to see Gospel walking towards us. My face flushed as I wondered why he was at home.
    Hillary: Good day.
    Gospel: Save your greetings. Who are you and what are you doing here?
    Hillary looked stunned. He looked at me and I couldn't say anything.
    Hillary: I'm Hillary,a.....
    Gospel: What are you doing here?
    I had to come in now. He won't embarrass my boyfriend. I won't let him.
    Me: Gospel you're embarrassing my boyfriend and I don't like it.
    Gospel: Did you say that to my face?
    Me: You heard right. It's.....
    Hillary: Baby!
    I turned to him and he asked me to come. I went closer and he hugged me.
    Hillary: Don't argue. I'll be here on Sunday. I won't allow you to get into a fight with your brother.
    Me: But....
    Hillary: Sshhh.
    He kissed me not minding Gospel's presence. He entered his car and drove off.
    Gospel: How shameless. Better tell him not to step into this house on Sunday because I'll break his bones.
    Me: You'll do no such thing. You won't dare.
    Gospel: Don't push your lucks. You can't just bring in anybody to this house. Its not done.
    I scoffed and walked closer to him.
    Me: You just feel threatened by him. He's a lot better than you so quit trying to make a mountain out of an ant hill.
    Gospel: I can never feel threatened by him. If you want to do anything to spite me,look for already made men,men who'll treat you right,not some university boy who goes round in borrowed cars.
    Me: Made men indeed. Made men like you? God forbid. Its better I follow this university boy around than a made man who can't control his libido,a made man who doesn't care about the feelings of those he hurts. You don't know Hillary Thompson but I promise you,he's already a made man,not some fake guy who is wallowing under his father's treasures.
    He raised his hand to hit me and I ducked. He didn't stop. He held my arm and pulled hard,causing me to cry out in pain.
    Gospel: Not a word against me next time you cheap.....
    Kamsi: Cheap what?
    Gospel left me immediately and stepped back.
    Kamsi: You're just disgustingly jealous. I regret that you're my brother.
    She held my hand and we walked into the house,leaving Gospel behind.
    We got to the kitchen and she brought out a pack of ice and placed it on my arm.
    Kamsi: Sorry okay?
    Me: Is that how he is?
    Kamsi: Sometimes,especially if he's angry. But what happened?
    I told her everything and she just smiled.
    Kamsi: Just let it be. We'll report to mum once she's back.
    Me: No please. Let it be.
    Kamsi: That's what you always say. I'll let it go this time but when next he touches you,I'll tell mum.
    Me: better

    Episode 23

    As early as 11am on Sunday,Rose was already at the house. She had told us that she came straight from church. As usual,mum was very happy to see her. They talked for a while before Rose changed into one of my clothes and we sat down to chat for a bit at the terrace.
    Rose: So how's Hillary? Kamsi told me you both went out the other day?
    Rose: So you finally said yes?
    Me: Of course. Hillary is such a nice guy. I wonder where he'd being all my life.
    Rose: Wow.
    Kamsi: He's being waiting for the right time. And immediately the time was ripe,he came.
    Me: Miss philosopher.
    Kamsi: Call me that again.
    We all laughed and got busy with our phone. Some minutes later,Hillary called.
    Hillary: Hi bae
    Me: Hi dear.
    Hillary: Will you be kind enough to step outside your gate? I'm parked here and waiting for a Cinderella to come and walk me to the ball.
    My chuckle got Kamsi and Rose' attention and they stared at me.
    Me: You won't only get a Cinderella,you'll also get Jasmine and snow white.
    Hillary: Beautiful. Please I'm waiting
    I hung up and told the girls and they smiled.
    Rose: So,I'm not fair so I'm Jasmine.
    Kamsi: Unarguably Snow white.
    We shared a laugh before walking downstairs and outside the gate. He was sitting on the hood of his car. He was dressed in a body hugged shirt and jean trouser. His shoe was shiny black and he looked like one going for a fashion show. My friends and I couldn't help but stare shamelessly.
    Hillary: Won't you stop staring and at least give me a hug.
    I came out from my trance and hugged him,sharing a quick kiss too.
    Hillary: (turned to Rose) Jasmine,how are you?
    Rose: I'm fine handsome. You look amazing.
    Hillary: Thank you. (turned to Kamsi) Snow white,how are you as well?
    Kamsi: Better than yourself.
    Hillary: I doubt.
    We shared a laugh before entering the house. We led him to the sitting room where mum was seeing a movie.
    Hillary: Good day Mrs Kalu.
    He greeted with a little bow.
    Mum: Good day son. How're you?
    Hillary: Very fine ma. You look quite good yourself.
    Mum smiled like a teenager.
    Mum: Thank you my dear. Please have a seat. You're just in time for lunch.
    I looked at the wall clock and it was some minutes going to 1:00.
    We all sat down.
    Mum: Amanda,go ask the girls if they're done with making the table,Kamsi,go call your brothers.
    Did I mention that Ken had moved to his own building? I guess I did not so please forgive me.
    Kamsi walked out while I went to the Kitchen. I passed the dinning and noticed that the table was already prepared and I liked what I saw. I was tempted to take a peak to know the meals we'll be having but on a second thought,I turned and went back to the sitting room.
    Mum and her in-laws (Rose and Hillary) were already conversing so I stepped out of the house.
    Kamsi was taking a call so I stood beside her. She dismissed the caller and turned to me.
    Me: So you've not called your brothers?
    She smiled and kicked my shoulders playfully.
    Kamsi: Was thinking of a way to inform Gospel,maybe sending him a message. I've vowed never to go into his apartment again.
    I frowned at her but she didn't stop.
    Kamsi: I'm beginning to see him as the black sheep of this house.
    Me: Are you alright?
    Kamsi: Of course I am. You don't get it do you? He's not the gentleman I've always thought him to be. I dunno what changed him and....
    Me: You know what? Go and call Ken while I call Gospel. We'll talk about this after today.
    Kamsi: Whatever.
    I spanked her behind with my palm and we both went on our different directions.
    I got to the door and rang the bell and the door swung open immediately.
    Me: Hi.
    Gospel: Amanda,come inside.
    He was on a jean short and polo and he had a smile plastered on his face.
    Me: No. Not now. I was sent to call you. Lunch has being served.
    He looked at me like I was hiding something.
    Gospel: So I guess your boyfriend is here?
    Me: Yes. Together with Rose.
    Gospel: Okay. I'll join you guys in two minutes.
    I walked away,surprised that he didn't react,also praying that he doesn't have a back up plan hatching somewhere.
    Mum was still busy with Hillary,asking him his parents occupation,where they lived,where they came from,trying to drill out everything about him,with Hillary in turn,giving her all the answers with a smile.
    I sat down and joined Rose. Kamsi and Ken came in some minutes later.
    Ken walked to Hillary who stood up and gave him a handshake.
    Ken: Hillary right?
    Hillary: Yes and you are?
    Ken: Kenneth. Nice meeting you.
    Hillary: The pleasure is all mine.
    They both sat down beside mum.
    Ken: I've heard quite a lot about you and I do hope they are all true.
    Hillary laughed,throwing his head back.
    Hillary: Depends on what you heard.
    Ken: I see you're an intelligent guy. I hope you'll be able to take care of my sister.
    Hillary: I.....
    Gospel: Of course he will. If he doesn't,I'll so beat him up.
    We all turned to look at him and he was all smiles. He approached Hillary and offered his hand for a handshake. We were all surprised including mum. Hillary looked into his face and shook his hand,looking back at me for answers but I just shrugged my shoulders,indirectly telling him that I knew nothing.
    Was this part of a plan? Or has Gospel changed for good?

    Episode 24

    Lunch was amazing. Different varieties of food; from fried rice and drilled fish to yam and sauce with fried eggs. There was also a chicken soup,some baked cakes and fruits to wash down the meal. I didn't have time to acknowledge the meal because it was like a rule in the Kalu's residence,never to talk while eating. The only thing you'll keep hearing is,"please pass the salt" or "is there any serviette at that side?".
    But once we had all left the table,every one started confessing about the meal including Hillary and Rose.
    We all sat down at the sitting room to discuss. The look on mum's face showed that she was happy and anyone seeing us sitting together would think that we're gathered for a family meeting.
    Mum: I'm not going to take much of your time as its compulsory that I take my siesta,I don't play with it especially on Sundays as it is the only day I get to relax properly. I just need to chip in one or two sentences.
    She paused and looked at our faces.
    Mum: You're all grown ups. The youngest amongst you all is Amanda and she's no longer a kid. I want unity between all of you here. See each other as brothers and sisters. Quarrels and feuds should be far gone from you all. I know why I'm saying it and most of you know that as well. You all are old enough to know what's right and wrong. You also have rights to call yourselves to order when you see that one of you is doing something contrary to your expectations. Finally,I wouldn't want you all to disappoint me. Keep clean records and never,I mean never do anything to jeopardize your relationships.
    She looked at all of us as if the words would sink in properly with her looks.
    Mum: Having said that,I beg to leave you all now. Have fun and call me once dinner is served.
    We thanked her and watched as she walked up the stairs gracefully.
    Gospel was the first to break the silence.
    Gospel: So,Hillary, tell us,what do you do with your free time?
    Hillary cleared his throat..
    Hillary: I go to my father's hospital to help in the lab.
    Ken: Wow! Your dad is a medical doctor?
    Hillary: Yes.
    Ken: Interesting. What are you studying in school?
    Hillary: Microbiology.
    Ken: What year.
    Hillary: I'm in my finals.
    Ken: Congratulations dude.
    Gospel: So,what time do you spare then for Amanda?
    Hillary: Oh! I always make sure we see at least three times in a week.
    Gospel: Just that?
    Hillary: Yes. That way, it won't make the relationship boring. I don't want her to get tired of seeing my face. Though I know I'll love to see hers everyday and I plan to make it so.
    We all laughed except Gospel. I could see the defeat in his eyes.
    Gospel: So how old are you?
    Hillary: Wow! Is it necessary?
    Gospel: Of course it is. I....
    Hillary: I'm 24.
    Gospel: Ken is already a lawyer at 24.
    I frowned immediately. A quick tension passed through the sitting room but Hillary remained with a smile.
    Hillary: That's very good. Very encouraging I must say. So when did you leave school?
    Gospel: I schooled abroad. Got my degree at 23,now,I'm managing my father's multinational company.
    I knew what he was trying to do but I refused to say a word because I wouldn't want our beautiful day to end up in fights.
    Gospel: I'm the youngest CEO around the globe with a certificate from Oxford and Harvard.
    Hillary scoffed and didn't say a word,instead he sipped from his glass and focused more on the fool who wanted to show him he was lesser.
    Kamsi stepped out with Rose to God knows where but I refused to leave.
    Hillary: You've made a name for yourself I must say. Congratulations.
    Gospel: Thank you. I deserve it.
    Ken: So tell us,where are you from?
    Hillary: My parents are from Udi local government.
    Ken: Your parents? What about you? Ain't you from there as well?
    Hillary: I'm from California. I was born and raised here and only came back to be with my parents for a while.
    I saw the smile on Gospel's face disappear and change to a look of surprise. He wasn't getting the victory anymore and I had Ken to thank for throwing in that question at that time.

    Episode 25

    to my sweetheart,my Onyii,who's reading this story. My sweetheart who doesn't believe that relationships work. Onyii repent o
    Ken: Wow! So you're a citizen there?
    Hillary nodded,sipping from his glass again.
    Ken: I swear you're good man. You don't even act like one. Your personality is beautiful.
    Hillary: What's the need? I love this place more that's why I tried to adapt immediately I came in.
    Ken: Beautiful. I like you man.
    Hillary: Same with me here.
    Ken: Follow me to my apartment. I need to show you some stuffs.
    They excused themselves and left the sitting room. I was now alone with Gospel. He wasn't smiling and he seemed so distracted. I went to him and tapped him.
    Me: Thinking of what to do next?
    He hissed and looked away but I won't stop pestering him. No.
    Me: You got a degree at 23 yet you can't maintain a relationship. You're not even good at it. Things...
    Gospel: Amanda please.
    Me: Please what? Accept defeat and leave my life alone. Let me be. I've moved on. Quit trying to show Hillary that he's not good for me. He's the best gentleman I've ever met outside Ken so leave us alone.
    He stood up and held my shoulders lovingly. I was even surprised.
    Gospel: Okay. Fine. I accept that I don't like that boy. I admit okay. But you know I love you. You know how much I care about you.
    Me: No you don't care about me. You don't.
    Gospel: They say,you don't know the value of what you have till you loose it. I've lived in regret and it worsened after I saw you with this boy. I love you so much and I'm ready to make amends. I promise.
    I stepped away from him,turning my back to him and fighting the tears that were threatening to fall.
    Me: I needed support,love,attention but you offered none. Even if you couldn't continue with me,at least,you would have being kind enough to hide those words. You said them before me,in my presence, you didn't mince words remember? What happened? Now you've seen this light that is shining on my path and you want me to leave it and come back to you? Gospel,its not done. I love Hillary a lot and I'm ready to step on toes just to prove that point.
    Gospel: The same way I'm ready to step on toes to prove mine too. I love you so much. Don't you get it? You drive me crazy,being without you has left me empty and useless. I need you in my life baby and I'm willing to do anything to make you happy,I promise.
    I turned back to face him and he held my hands.
    Me: You don't need to step on toes for my sake cause you've stepped on more than necessary. You've done enough. I don't care about whatever stupid love you have for me. I'm happy now so quit trying to be nice.
    He left my hands immediately and frowned his face.
    Gospel: I'm sorry Amanda but you're making things very difficult for me. What part don't you get? The part that I love you or the part that that guy doesn't deserve you?
    Me: Oh! I don't get any of them cause the only language my brain listens to now anything positive about my boyfriend.
    He sneered and turned away.
    Me: I don't care the way your brain interprets it. I'm in love with someone else and that's final.
    Gospel: You lie.
    Gospel: If I can't have you,nobody will.
    He turned and repeated it again,pausing his lips to make sure I understand.
    I stood there as we looked each other in the face like sworn enemies.
    Gospel: If you can't be mine,you can't belong to anyone else. I made you what and who you are so you owe me a lot. I own you and there's nothing you or anybody can do about it.
    I found my voice immediately but instead of speaking,I found my arm flying in the air and registering a slap on his face.
    Me: You listen,I own my life. If there's anyone I should be fighting with about it,it should be God and not any useless and selfish man. That you picked me up from a dungeon,brushed me up,sheltered me,clothed me,doesn't mean you own my life. And as for what you said,you'll see with those two miserable eyes of yours how I'm so going to spend the rest of my life with the boy who loves me a lot and not you. You'll apologise with that miserable mouth of yours for every damn word you said here.
    I stuck a finger out and poked at his chest.
    Me: And when that time comes,I'll give you more slaps than I just did.
    He didn't say another word. He just rubbed his chin and walked out.
    I sighed and sat down,giving a deep thought to what just transpired. He shouldn't dare to hurt my boyfriend,if not,hell he'll have me to battle with.
    I felt a new fire light up in me and I knew I had to fight this one,no matter who was involved, even if its not for my relationship,at least to get my sanity back.

    Episode 26

    Just as he had promised,I started my counselling the next day. He would always pick me up from the house and take me back home,then after my session,he'd come and take me home.
    The session helped a lot as I also saw different girls whom their cases are a lot worse than mine,they were already acting like they were crazy. They avoided physical touch and would scream whenever someone approached them.
    I watched videos and listened to audio messages which were made to strengthen victims and get them back on their feet. I swore never to give up on life anymore. I swore to fight whatever it was that happened to me.
    I had the session for three weeks before my own time was up. That afternoon,Hillary had come in his car and was waiting downstairs for me to finish signing up. A lot of my mates who were doing the session with me congratulated me and prayed for my success. I ran down the stairs and into Hillary's awaiting arms. We embraced like we were long lost siblings. Someone who had seen us wouldn't know he was the one that brought me to the place that morning.
    Hillary: I'm happy for you sweetheart.
    Me: You made it possible. Thank you very much dear.
    Hillary: So where do I take you?
    Me: Before we go out,get into the car and I'll tell you something.
    Hillary: Now?
    Me: Yes please.
    We both entered the car and he turned on the AC,staring at me like my face would give him the answers he needed.
    Me: I'm sorry but please,I have something to tell you.
    Hillary: That's why we're here. Tell me.
    I cleared my throat and started talking. Telling him about my conversation with Gospel the day he had come to the house for lunch and dinner,including what he had said about not letting any other person have me. He maintained a straight face throughout the period of my explanations.
    Me: Baby I'm scared.
    Hillary: I know. Nothing will happen to us. We're meant to be and nothing or nobody will change that.
    Me: But honey.....
    Hillary: Sshhhhh. I don't like the way you sound sometimes. You always sound discouraging and you have to stop it.
    Me: I'm sorry. It's just that I'm scared that he might do something bad to you.
    Hillary: He won't touch a strand of my hair. He's just whining and talking trash. I won't leave you the way he did. I'll take care of you with all my life,with everything that I am.
    Me: Thank you. I love you so much.
    Hillary: And I love you more than life itself. So tell me where you wanna go for lunch and we'll be there in 20 minutes.
    We spent the rest of the day visiting places of interest and eating lots of junks.
    Sometime around 6,he took me home and after a passionate kiss at the gate,I went into the house after I watched him drive off.
    I had finished from the bathroom and rubbing some ointment on my face when my phone started ringing.
    I looked at my phone and it was Hillary.
    Me: Hi baby.
    Caller: Please don't be upset. Come to St. Patrick's hospital at the moment. The owner of this phone was rushed here and his phone read that you were the last person he contacted.
    I looked at the screen of my phone and of course it was Hillary's number. What was this guy saying?
    Me: What do you mean by he was rushed to St Patrick? What happened to him?
    Caller: I'm sorry ma but you need to come and know for yourself. St Patrick please.
    He hung up before I could speak further. That was when I let my throat loose and screamed on top of my voice
    Back at the Okoye's residence, things haven't being going down well with mother and daughter;
    Mum: For months,we've not cooked in this house,always eating out. If we continue this way,we'll go bankrupt before Christmas.
    Nenye: What? Mum don't even say that. Dad left a huge amount of money for us. You've got your business and Amanda's money too. How can you think of that word,bankruptcy?
    Nenye said,filing her nails without looking up at her mum.
    Mum: Look how it's easy for you to say it? The weekly allowance I give you? The things you order online? You go to school,see something Amanda puts on and you come home and cry on my head that I get it for you. You insisted on a car and I bought you one. I must confess,you're the one lavishing the money.
    Nenye: Of course I'm your only child so you've got to do things to make me happy. Imagine that Amanda,if you see her phone,or the kind of clothes,handbags and jewelries she puts on? I think that's why that classy Rose became her friend,a girl I've wanted to befriend since last semester.
    Mum: I'm saying something else and you're here talking balderdash.
    Nenye: Mum?
    Mum: Get your useless self up from that chair and go to the kitchen. From today,we'll do the cooking in this house.
    Nenye stood up quickly but instead of going away,she dusted her short and placed her left hand on her waist.
    Nenye: When I wanted to learn how to do all these things,you stopped me,you called it suffering. I won't touch a thing in this house,I won't lift a finger. If you want someone who'll do the cooking and household work,kindly get a house help,but if your pocket is too small to contain her,better do them yourself.
    Mum: Nenye!
    Nenye: Its the truth mum. I can't do anything and please,don't make me do any. Anyways,today is Thursday,my allowance is tomorrow,hope you'll still give me that. I deserve it you know.
    Mum: Get out. Money is the only thing you care about.
    Nenye: Fine. I'm sorry for the way I just spoke to you. You started all these you know.
    Mrs Okoye raised a hand to slap her but stopped in mid air.
    Nenye: Chei. Mumsy,you bin wan slap me? I'm not Amanda o. I'm not Amanda that you treated anyhow. I'm not the curse of your misfortunes so no just try am. She's gone now and you wan transfer that your wickedness to my side,no just try am.
    Nenye walked away while her mother stared in shock. Did her daughter just talk to her in that manner? She sat down heavily on a sofa and the tears started flowing. Her daughter had just insulted her,using foul words on her? She carried her weeping self to the room and lay down,crying her heart out and wondering where she had gone wrong(imagine)

    We were on our way to St Patrick with Ken behind the wheels. Kamsi and I were sitting at the back and she was rubbing my shoulders.
    Kamsi: He's fine. Trust me.
    Me: We just came home few hours ago. What must have happened to him? Jesus!
    Kamsi: At least,I'm glad you've got a grip on yourself. Let's get there first.
    Me: Let nothing happen to him God. Please save him for me.
    Kamsi: Nothing will happen to him. Trust God.
    Me: I wonder where......
    I was interrupted by my phone. It was an unidentified number so I picked it.
    Me: Hello.
    Caller: Baby.
    That voice was familiar. I knew that voice. Where have I heard that voice before? I....
    Me: Hillary!
    Hillary: Yes baby. I...
    Me: Sshh. We're coming to the hospital to see you. Keep quiet and be still. I'm happy you're okay. Your voice is....
    By now,Ken had packed to a corner of the road and they were both looking at me with expectant eyes.
    Hillary: Hospital? Who's in the hospital?
    I frowned my face immediately. So even in his Ill health,he loves to crack jokes?
    Me: Now don't play smart with me. We're coming to that hospital.
    Hillary: But I'm at home. I'm calling you with a friend's number.
    Me: At home? Have you been discharged?
    Hillary: I wasn't even in a hospital. We were together through out today nau so when did I get admitted?
    Me: But baby,someone called with your number,saying you were rushed to the hospital. What then is that?
    Hillary: Oh i think he got wat he deserved
    Me ; who

    Episode 27

    Hillary: Bae,I don't know him.
    Me: Then how did it happen?
    Hillary: Was withdrawing from an ATM when he suddenly bumped into me. He took my phone,my wallet and the money I withdrew. I'm glad he didn't notice I was with my ride if not,he would have driven away in it.
    I gasped and Kamsi focused more on me.
    Hillary: But I'm fine.
    Me: We were worried. Kamsi,Ken and I are even on the highway now.
    Hillary: It's alright. I'm fine. Just go back to the house. It's late already.
    Me: Of course we'll go back. But I must get to that hospital and get your phone and other stuffs.
    Hillary: Baby,let him be. I'm sure he'll still sell those things off to foot his bills.
    Me: I....
    Hillary: Bae,just...,you know what? Give the phone to Ken.
    I gave the phone to Ken who's being silent throughout the call. They talked for a while before he gave the phone to Kamsi. When they were through,Kamsi ended the call and gave me my phone.
    Kamsi: Let's go home.
    Me: But....
    Kamsi: Now,don't argue. Ken,let's go.
    Ken started the ignition and hit the road again. I was angry. I don't know the exact brand of that Samsung but I knew it was very very expensive. How can we leave something that expensive for a common criminal? Nobody said a word anymore till we got home.
    Mum and Gospel were outside when we drove in.
    Mum: Amanda,come my child.
    I went into her arms immediately.
    I heard Gospel asking Ken what happened.
    After mum released me,Kamsi told her what had really happened and she was relieved.
    Mum: I was worried. God please save this children.
    She led us all inside. We said a quick prayer and everyone retired for the night. I went to my room,undressed and laid on the bed. I was very tired and I hoped to relax my bones for a while before putting on my nightie and going to bed.
    I unlocked my phone and started chatting. I got a message notification so I opened it;
    "why can't you just love me the way you love this boy? I saw how you ran out of the house just because you got a call that he was in an accident. Amy please,love me"
    With a quick thought,I knew it must be Gospel so I replied;
    "love comes to those who love. You're not the right person for me so I'll advice you quit trying.
    Seconds later,a reply came in;
    " I love you and I'll do anything to prove it to you. Just give me some time with you."
    I refused to reply. I continued with my chat,Kamsi had a picture of her and Ted in her profile. I opened the picture and started looking at it,imagining it was me and Hillary. Just then,a call came in. It was the same number Hillary had used in calling me.
    Me: Hello dear.
    Hillary: Not sleepy yet?
    Me: No. But I'm lying down. I'm very weak and tired.
    Hillary: Enough reason you should be sleeping by now. So ma'am,close those lovely eyes.
    I stiffed a yawn and smiled.
    Me: Not yet honey, I'm yet to dress for the night. I'm bare.
    Hillary: Oh! Okay then,I just called to say good night.
    Me: Thanks my love. Sleep tight.
    Hillary: Thanks. And don't sleep bare.
    I blushed.
    Me: I won't. Take care.
    Hillary: Okay dear.
    We hung up and I changed position,lying face up with my tips pointing towards the ceiling. I smiled as I thought of Hillary's goodness. We had never gone past kissing and he seemed comfortable with it. Now I was through with my counseling, I'll initiate a deeper intimacy. He's my boyfriend and he deserves it.

    Episode 28

    He walked into my room na'ked and surprisingly,I smiled at him. I was still lying face up and made no attempt to cover my bare self.
    He bolted the door and started a graceful walk to my bed,with his huge member pointing upwards and a bit curved. I sat up and we held each other's gaze for a while before I raised my hand and wrapped his huge member in my hand. It was so big that my hand couldn't even cover it properly.
    He came forward and I lowered my mouth to his joystick. I'm still surprised with what I'm doing but I didn't stop. He held the back of my head and started directing my pace. I sucked on,trying my best to get the whole of him into my mouth. He was grunting and whining his waist to the rhythm of my own movement.
    I continued with what I was doing,looking up at him once in a while and he always gave me a smile to encourage me. After some minutes,he gently pulled out of my mouth and pushed me down on the bed. With expectant eyes,I looked at him,wishing he would touch me in places I've never being touched. He opened my legs very wide and used a finger to press on my cli't making me quiver. He slowly lowered his head to my womanhood and started feasting away. He wasn't gentle yet,he wasn't rough. He was lapping,sucking and gently chewing on whatever he found down there while I kept on giving out my screams of pleasure. I pressed on his head,silently asking him not to stop. He didn't. Instead,he inserted a finger to increase the crazy feeling I was having.
    I felt something heavy on my chest and I started shaking,throwing my legs and hands in the air. A warm sensation washed over me and I felt myself going through an orgasmic bliss. He gently and lovingly cleaned me up before coming up to kiss me,making me taste my juices. He paused and we both looked on.
    Hillary: Are you ready? Or should we wait?
    What kind of man is this? Even at this point,he sought my opinion.
    Me: Please. Make me a woman.
    Hillary: But bae,I don't want you to regret anything. I'll wait till you're ready. Don't do this to please me.
    Me: No no. Please. I want it now. Take me now.
    Hillary: Let me get the CD from the bathroom.
    I nodded and he stood up and disappeared into the bathroom. I turned to face the direction he had gone only to feel someone tapping my shoulders. I turned to see who it was.
    ____________________________________
    I jumped and looked at him. He was smiling. The chilly sensation on my tips reminded me that I was still bare so I quickly grabbed my blanket and covered myself. I had slept off while I thought about my boyfriend and Jesus! Was that a dream? It was too real to be a dream. Now,what was this fool doing in my room? He had seen my unclothedness. Gosh!
    Gospel: You're beautiful.
    what guts?
    Me: What are you doing in my room?
    He still stood there,just beside my reading table and he was smiling shamelessly.
    Gospel: Was your dream about us? I've been here,watching you beg for a release.
    Now I was angry. But I can't let him have a second show of my body.
    Me: I repeat for the last time,what are you doing here?
    Gospel: Hey! Come on. I had sent you a message and you didn't reply so I decided to come and talk to you. We've passed the stage of sending messages. We should sought it out once and for all.
    Me: You're talking nonsense. And when you saw I was na'ked,why didn't you carry your filthy self out of my room?
    His smile disappeared.
    Gospel: Amanda,don't use stupid words on me.
    Me: Why? Wait till morning when I'll tell mum you were spying on my bare form.
    He shook his head and grabbed the edge of my table.
    Gospel; It's okay. I'll just go. Not because I'm scared of your threat or something but because I want to respect you.
    Me: Thank you. So get out.
    Gospel: Okay.
    Instead of going out,he came in further and stopped at the edge of my bed.
    Gospel: Between,if that's how you moan,then he's not doing it better
    He smiled and turned, trying to leave the room. I had to say something to make that smile disappear. Just before he opened the door,I found the right words;
    Me: But at least,in my dreams,he's getting something you'll never get and very soon,I'll make this dreams turn to reality,trust me.
    He turned,his smile disappearing entirely. It was my turn to smile. He couldn't stand it so he walked away,banging my door in the process.
    I smiled,carried my bare form to the door and bolted it before going to bed.

    Episode 29

    The next morning,I woke up feeling very happy and satisfied. The first person I had to call was Hillary;
    Hillary: Morning baby.
    Me: Good morning honey. You still in bed?
    He yawned and I knew the answer to my own question.
    Hillary: Yea bae. Couldn't sleep well last night.
    Me: Ah! What happened?
    Hillary: Something serious. I had to manage all night.
    I became worried immediately,thinking up different things that could make him loose sleep.
    Me: Tell me. What's the problem?
    Hillary; Don't worry bae. I'll get over it.
    Me: Over what?
    Hillary: How was your night?
    Me: Now don't even try it. What's wrong with you?
    Hillary: You.
    I eased up immediately. So,it wasn't that bad.
    Me: What do you mean by me?
    Hillary: You were going through my mind last night,i couldn't sleep as I was pointing an erection all through.
    Now,I was left to wonder what he meant by that.
    Hillary; Bae,I'll call you back. Someone's at my gate.
    Me: Okay.
    I hung up and quickly put on one of my old baggy tops. i had slept unclad last night and it felt really good. I ran out of the house and headed straight to Ken's apartment. He was receiving a call when I got to his sitting room so I sat down and waited. He didn't take long before joining me.
    Me: Good morning bro.
    Ken: Morning sis. This one you're here with all this modalities,hope you ain't planning a seduction?
    Now,I smiled. That's how he talks to both Kamsi and I. If it had being Gospel,he would have ogled me out of his house.
    Me: You're sick.
    Ken: Yes. I know. So what brings you this morning.
    I cleared my throat and thought of the right way to ask him the question.
    Me: Please,what does it mean for a guy to say that he was pointing an erection?
    He smiled and looked away,making me feel very sorry for asking that question.
    Me: I'm....
    Ken: Wait. You don't have to feel bad okay. Its normal for every Lady to ask questions. But let me ask,who told you that? Gospel?
    Me: No. I called Lary and he was sounding so down. When u asked,he said he didn't sleep well last night cos of the pointing of erection something.
    He nodded like he understood and stared at me for a while.
    Ken: Let me ask,do you both get under the sheet?
    I paused for a while.
    Me: Like sex?
    He nodded.
    Me: No. We've not gone beyond kissing and i feel bad about it because it's like I'm the reason for it.
    Ken: What do you mean? Did he ask and you denied him?
    Me: No. No. I feel he pities me,he's never asked for it,he doesn't even talk about it. And I'm sure it's because of what....
    Ken: Sshh. Stop talking trash.
    He came closer and touched my hair.
    Ken: You're a beautiful girl and it takes a great man to resist you. You have to stop thinking whatever it is that you're thinking. And don't go throwing yourself on him like you're a flirt. If he wants it,he should initiate it. I'm sure whatever happened in your past is now in your past. Hillary is a nice guy but you don't have to take chances. Don't do anything to kill the respect he has for you okay?
    He made sense. A lot of sex,sorry,sense. Here I was,thinking it was time to give myself to my boyfriend but I never thought the other way round,what if he's not ready,what if he has never done it? What if he was waiting till we get married? I smiled at the last thought.
    Ken snapped a finger at me and I remembered I owe him an answer.
    Ken: Am I clear?
    Me: Yes. Of course. Thank you very much.
    Ken: Why am I your elder brother then?
    I smiled and stood up.
    Me: Let me go back to the main house now.
    Ken: It's okay. Help me ask your friend what I did to her. She stopped taking my calls.
    Me: Rose?
    Ken: Yea.
    Me: Since when?
    Ken: Two days now.
    Me: What did you do to her?
    He stood up and looked at me
    Ken: Nothing. I asked her for her phone so I can call someone since the person wasn't picking my own calls. After that,she got upset and left immediately.
    Me: Hmmm. Who did you call?
    Ken: A client o. But it was a female.
    Me: Huh? And you expect her not to be jealous? And I'm sure you haven't tried to explain things to her.
    Ken: Cos she won't pick my calls. Please talk to her. I miss her a lot.
    Me: And how much will you pay me?
    Ken: Chai. I thought mum was the only business woman we had in this compound?
    We had a long round of laughter and I ended up pushing him down to a sofa and finishing him up with pillows. I was now sitting on him and he didn't stop laughing.
    Me: If I'm a business woman,what are you? My client then.
    He tried lifting me up so I wrapped my arms around him and steadied myself in a way that he won't be able to stand. He placed his hands on my waist and succeeded in standing up. In my effort to fight him,his hands took my top up and my womanhood was on display for him. I didn't know what was happening but he put me down immediately and became uneasy.
    Me: I won then. I'll talk to her when I see her okay?
    He still didn't respond,instead he looked away.
    Me: Ken?
    Trying to walk up to him,my top fell back and I realised what just happened. I ran out of the house and bumped into the devil himself.
    Gospel: How was it? I've being standing here waiting to tell you that I know what's going on in there.
    I hissed and continued from where I stopped,running into the house,upstairs and then into my room.
    Ken had seen my womanhood, he had seen me and he didn't react? He didn't say anything like Gospel? Jesus! What am I going to do? Will I ever be able to  stand him again? But Gospel has seen my nakedness and i wasn't this uncomfortable
    The next couple of weeks got me in a different mode. Worst case scenario,Kamsi and Ted were preparing for their engagement night so they had travelled to Abidjan for goodness knows whatever,leaving me all alone. Mum herself was now always busy as her clothing line has being registered and opened. I prayed unendingly for the vacation to be over.
    One Thursday,I was so bored so I placed a call to Rose.
    Rose: Hello girlfriend
    Me: Hi dear. How're you?
    Rose: I'm good and you?
    Me: I'm fine,just bored to the bones. You mind taking me out?
    Rose: Awww. I'll really love to but I'm currently two hours and some minutes far from your location.
    Me: Eh? Did you travel too?
    She laughed.
    Rose: Yes babe. I'll be back tomorrow though,we will do it tomorrow.
    Me: Okay. I'll wait then. Better get something for me while coming back.
    Rose: I will my dear. Take care.
    Me: You too.
    Now,what am I going to do? Everyone is just busy with one or two things. Ken? I can't even go to him,since that incident,I've not seen him and its best that way. Gospel? Sweet Jesus,who would go to a devil? Then I'm left with Hillary. We've not spoken that morning and I'm not going to call him. I'll just surprise him,spend the day in his house and then come back late. Yes,that's what I'm going to do. I went into my wardrobe and started fishing for the best outfit to wear to my boyfriend's house. I went for a jean short,a black singlet and a black long packet shirt. This shirt belonged to Ken but I had shaped it in a very sexy way. One thing i liked about this shirt was that it was long and it stopped just an inch above the jean short i had picked. Ehen,I completed it with a jean snicker and smiled at my sense of fashion. I got into the bathroom and spent enough time washing and scrubbing myself. I was over excited. I had being to his house once but didn't stay long. I'm sure he was going to be happy to see me.
    The next hour got me in a cab and I was riding to Ogui road. The cab man stopped me in front of the gate,I paid him and went in. Surprisingly,the gate was open so I just walked in. I opened the door to the sitting room and I met no one. He must still be in bed. I climbed the stairs,trying to remember the door to the room he had shown me to be his.
    The house was a five bedroom mansion,three rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs. He lived in it alone. I got to the door and opened it gently,with a loving smile plastered on my face.
    What did I see? Was that Rose? They both looked in my direction and sat up. Rose was well dressed,either she was just coming in or about going out. She was kissing Hillary who was lying down and shirtless.
    I walked further into the room and dropped my handbag on a table.
    History was repeating itself but now,its different because I won't go without a fight.
    Hillary: Baby,please its not what you think.
    I looked at him but no,I'm not coming for you,not yet. And like a ball of fire,I attacked Rose,slaps first,and once she fell on the bed,I climbed her and started raining blows on her face. Hillary tried to separate us but I wouldn't let go. Rose just remained under me,crying for help.
    I got tired of wasting my blows and got up from her. I dragged her out of the room and into the sitting room upstairs. I went back to Hillary's room,rummaged my bag and found my phone. I went back to her,took pictures of her messed up face before going back to my boyfriend, sorry,ex boyfriend.
    He had succeeded in wearing something decent.
    Me: How long has this being going on?
    Hillary: Baby,I can explain everything.
    Me: I asked,how long?
    Surprisingly,my voice was calm but I was breathing fast. Finally,I believe that I'm cursed like one of my monikers had said previously. My parents,daddy Alex,Emeka,Gospel, and now, oh Jesus,Hillary.
    Hillary: Baby,its a mistake.
    Me: Mistake? Did you say mistake? Both of you were kissing and I'm sure she spent the night here. Hillary why?
    I'm also beginning to think that I'm not attractive. Why would two people that I loved do the same things if not that I'm not attractive. Gospel was with another woman,now Hillary and this one hurt most,with my friend.
    He came closer to me and held me in his arms,it was now that the tears fell.
    Hillary: She came to me, I promise she did. I tried my best to fight it,I tried. But that morning that I told you I had an erection,she was the one at my gate,I was weak and defenseless and she took advantage of that. I've avoided her like a plague till last night when she came back,baby I'm sorry.
    Me: Why? Hillary,I love you,why will you choose to treat me like this? Why didn't you even tell me?
    Hillary: I wanted to protect your relationship with her. Please forgive me. I promise it won't happen again.
    I withdrew from him and cleaned my face.
    Me: Of course it won't happen again. I won't give you another chance to mess with my life. You would have gone for someone else,not my friend.
    Me: She came to me baby. You know I can never hurt you. I....
    Me: We're over. You can do whatever pleases you now. I'm done here.
    I clutched my bag and walked out but he followed me. He stopped me at the foot of the stairs and held me,tighter than before.
    Hillary: Baby don't do this to me. You know how much I love you,you know how much you mean to me. I'm sorry for what I've done. Please forgive me.
    Me: At least,you would have told me before now,you would have told me.
    Hillary: I was trying to protect.....
    Me: What fu'ckin protection are you talking about? What friendship? You did me bad Lary. I loved you with my life. You're my everything,my life,look what you did to me,look at me now.
    He loosened his grip and I used that opportunity to walk out,walking out of the house and promising never to return again

    Episode 30

    I went home a different person. Enough is enough. Maybe I've being too naive and vulnerable but from today henceforth, I'll change. In fact,I've changed. No more men.
    I refused to mention what had happened to anybody even Kamsi. I'm not going to spoil her fun. I started going out,trying my best to socialise more with people that weren't just course mates. I registered into a driving school and that was how I started passing time,waiting for school to resume.
    I was in my room five days later when my phone rang. It was an unsaved number. I picked it and listened.
    Hillary: Bae.
    I hissed. I've refused picking his calls and now,he's calling with different numbers.
    Hillary: Bae,I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I wronged you,yes I really wronged you but please,for the sake of all we've shared,forgive me.
    Me: Is that all?
    He paused for a while so I continued.
    Me: For goodness sake,why my friend? Do you know Gospel is better than you? To think I trusted you and loved you with all my life? Jeez I can't believe I'm in this now.
    Hillary: C'mon bae,I'll do anything to make it right. Anything.
    Me: Fine. Alright. Anything right?
    Hillary: Yes. Anything.
    Me: Good. Kill yourself.
    I hung up and went back to my magazine. Nobody was going to kill me in this life. If I had survived at the Okoye's house,I'll survive anything.
    I was flipping through the pages of the magazine,muttering to myself when Gospel came in.
    Gospel: Hey.
    I looked up. He was looking calm and a bit happy so I relaxed.
    Me: Hi.
    He sat down beside me and rubbed his palm
    Gospel: You free to talk?
    Me: Yup. So long as its not those your normal bickering.
    He chuckled and oh yea,I was surprised.
    Gospel: I wanna apologise. Sincerely,I've being a pain in the a$$ and I'm sorry. I shouldn't have gone to certain extents but I dunno what happened to me. I'm not that kinda person. So I just wanna ask for your forgiveness.
    STUNNED is indeed a very big understatement to the way I felt at that moment. I opened my mouth to say something but nothing came out. He noticed my reaction and plastered a smile.
    Gospel; I knew that's how you were going to take it. I'm deeply sorry for everything. It's wrong that we're living in the same house yet we don't talk. I understand that we can't be together again but at least,bring me to heart just like you do with Ken and Kammy.
    Me: So you're jealous.
    Gospel: Of course. You run to them for explanations,you laugh and play with them and I'm the outcast. Its somehow dear.
    Me: And thus is not a plan to get something from me?
    Gospel: Oh please. I'm not that kinda person okay? I promise never to hurt you with my words or actions anymore.
    Hmmm. Today can't get any better.
    Me: Okay. We're good but under one condition.
    He rolled his eyes and clapped his palm.
    Gospel: Name it.
    Gospel: Hmmm. Why not make me your husband? It will be better that way
    Me: Your head. In or out?
    Gospel: Can I ever be out?
    Me: Good for you. We'll start tomorrow and better don't use this as a reason to try any rubbish with me cause I'll ply out your manhood.
    Gospel: Oops. That's scary. But I promise,I won't misuse my new opportunity.
    Me: Okay. Maybe I should just call Kamsi and tell her the good news.
    Gospel: She knows already.
    Me: Oh. So you had it all planned out?
    Gospel: Kinda.
    Me: Okay. Its alright.
    Gospel: And,the doctor called me this morning.
    Me: What doctor?
    Gospel: From comforter of the afflicted.
    I sat up immediately, my curiosity switch(like in smartestpopqueen s literature) active immediately.
    Me: What did he say?
    Gospel: Its good news actually. With the sperm samples collected from your body that day,those criminals has being caught.
    Me: What? How? After a year? But the police said they couldn't do anything about it since there was no evidence.
    Gospel: Yes,but thanks to the equipments that were shipped into the country from the US,the police and the doctor used your case to check if the instruments work and just like magic,it did.
    Me: Have they being arrested?
    Gospel: Just one of them. The other is late. But one thing is that,he's refused to speak up.
    Me: Hmmm. I thank God. I don't even want to see him.
    Gospel: If its necessary,you'll have to see him
    Me: Thank you. Till I'm called then

    Episode  31

    was still in bed when I heard a honk outside. My alarm rang about three hours ago,yet,I was still in bed,tossing and hissing.
    I came out from my room and walked to the balcony to see who came in but surprisingly,there was a knock at the gate. Maybe it was a cab. The gateman opened the gate and Rose catwalked into the house. My blood started boiling and I knew she would get another dose from me before leaving the house.
    She didn't look up. She just walked past the other houses and walked in to Ken's apartment.
    This girl just dey find trouble. She go hear nwii today.
    I went back to my room and brushed up,took my bath and wore my usual bum pant and singlet,making sure to wear a tight fitting bra just in case another beating tournament was going to happen.
    I stepped out just as Gospel was about driving out. He honked for me and I went to say hi.
    Me: Morning.
    Gospel: Beautiful morning my dear. How was your night?
    Me: Grateful for life.
    Gospel: Thank God. I wanna go sort some things out in the office. I'll come back before lunch.
    Me: Yes please,we won't eat out. I'll cook for us.
    Gospel: Interesting. Can't wait.
    Me: Okay. See you then
    Gospel: Take care.
    He drove out and I smiled. Today is Monday and since Thursday,Gospel had done more than enough. He bought me a Tecno w4. Not like I needed it since I still had my BB passport,but I loved it all the same,along with the clothes,handbags,jewelries and a make up kit. He never went beyond his limit. Eh! Still doesn't mean I'm taking him back.
    I remembered my mission and turned,ready to make someone shiver. I stepped into Ken's apartment and there they were,she had her head on his laps and they were both laughing at something I didn't get. WOMEN.
    I cleared my throat and walked in further to the sitting room. An innocent Rose would remain in her position and yab me for trying to disturb them but today,she sprang up immediately and sat properly.
    Ken: Hey sis. Sit down.
    Me: Of course I won't stand.
    This was the first time I'm in the house since the other incident. Ken and I haven't spoken to each other except on Facebook where he'll comment my pictures and I'll reply. Surprisingly,he didn't look like anything was between us.
    He laughed at my dry joke and watched me sit.
    Me: Rosey,you didn't tell me you were coming. I wonder where our relationship is heading this days.
    Rose: I....uhm...I....I wanted to...I tried...
    Ken: What's that? When did it start?
    I smiled.
    Me: You don't know Rose always gets tensed whenever she's caught in the act.
    Rose gave me a pleading look but I wasn't stopping.
    Ken: What act? What?
    Me: Romance. Weren't you two getting all intimate before I walked in?
    Ken: Silly girl. Thought you were talking of something else.
    Me: Like?
    Ken: Let's forget it.
    Me: I didn't come down for breakfast. What do you have?
    Ken: Provisions. Make yourself comfortable with them.
    Me: Thanks.
    I stood up and walked to the dinning,leaving Rose with a wicked glance.
    I made a mixture of cornflakes and golden morn with a good quantity of milk and groundnuts. I sat down to enjoy my meal,staying as close as possible to hear whatever Rose would say and just two spoons into my big bowl,it happened.
    Rose: She should excuse us.
    She spoke more in a whisper but I heard right. I dumped my plate and went straight to her.
    Me: Hello? What did you just say?
    Ken: Amy calm down. Are you girls having a feud or something?
    Me: Bros wait. I want to be sure I heard clearly.
    I squatted just in front of Rose and cupped her chin with my hand.
    Me: Babe abeg repeat.
    Rose: See,I didn't mean it as an insult,don't misunderstand me. I just wanted to have a private discussion with him.
    Me: Private. Indeed.
    I stood up and dragged her up as well. Ken followed suit.
    Ken: Amanda you're embarrassing my girlfriend. If you two have issues,you can sort it out in a much better way than this
    This angered me even more.
    Me: Ask her. When she was sleeping with Lary,did it occur to her that he was my boyfriend? Did it occur to her that you were her boyfriend? And because I kept quiet,she's asking that I excuse you both. For what?
    Ken: What did you just say?
    Me: You heard right.
    Ken walked closer to Rose who was now shedding tears.
    Ken: Tell me,is it true?
    His voice was calm and loving but the veins appearing in his neck and arm was cleat evidence of his anger.
    Ken; Rose?
    Instead of answering,she picked her handbag and ran out of the house. Ken turned to me.
    Ken: How did you know?
    Me: I saw them. I'm sorry but...
    Ken: And why didn't you tell me?
    Me: I was ashamed. I had no face to tell you that Hillary has repeated what Gospel did. I couldn't.
    Ken: And you let me still be with her? Just to hide your sorrow?
    Me: I'm sorry Ken. I didn't mean to keep it a secret for long. And I thought she will tell you when you ask about the wounds she got.
    Ken: Oh! You did that?
    I nodded.
    Ken: She told me she was in an accident.
    I chuckled and stopped immediately.
    Me: I'm....
    Ken: That Hillary needs to be taught a lesson for doing what he did. Look at you,nursing another heart break. Come here.
    And I went into his arms and he held me tight,promising not to let anyone hurt me again.
    So I let myself cry,to wash away my sorrows and open my heart for a new life

    Episode 32

    I was behind the wheels while Gospel was beside me,giving me directions on how to handle the steering. We were in okpara square where he had insisted to be the one teaching me how to drive instead of going to the driving school where I had registered.
    I had successfully reversed the car and was going to continue moving when I saw Hillary's car drive into the square. I quickly turned off the ignition and watched the car,waiting to see whoever it was he had come in with. Surprisingly, he got down from the car and started walking to Gospel's car. My face turned into a frown.
    Gospel: Your boyfriend is here. Did you invite him?
    Me: I didn't.
    Gospel got down from the car and went to Hillary who was now close to the car. They shook hands and said something to themselves before Gospel walked away and Hillary came and opened the car.
    He occupied where Gospel had being sitting and faced me.
    Hillary: Bae how're you?
    Me: Are you stalking me or what?
    Hillary: No I'm not.
    Me: Then who told you I'm here.
    Hillary: Kamsi did. I went to the house but I found her instead.
    Yes. Kamsi came back the previous day and she was looking very robust and happy.
    Hillary: Bae I'm sorry. Please don't punish me this much. I know I wronged you but I'm sorry. The temptation and urge was just too much for me to handle. I...
    I got down from the car,closed the door and leaned on it. I'm done hearing whatever he has to say. I'm done with letting myself fall so cheaply for men who will spare no time in hurting me.
    He also got down and came to my side..
    Hillary: Bae
    Me: Hillary please. Get out of here. I don't want to embarrass you. Get out.
    Hillary: If that's what will make you forgive me,fine,embarrass me,do anything to me but please,forgive me. I can't be without you,I can't even concentrate anymore. I'm deeply sorry.
    Me: Whether you eat,sleep or concentrate less,its none of my fu'cking business. When you were with Rose,did you pause to think about me? Listen,don't make me remember what I've tried to forget and don't make me forget my hand on your face.
    Hillary: Do it.
    Me: Get lost.
    I opened the car and got in,locking all doors immediately and driving away. I don't care anymore. Why should I?
    He was there while I rode to and fro,angrily stepping on the brakes and honking nonstop. At about 45minutes later,Gospel called and asked me to stop. I halted the car and waited for him to come to me. He did,asked me to get down and I did. We both walked to a shade.
    Gospel: You're angry. What's wrong? Did he say anything to you?
    Remember that Gospel isn't yet aware of what happened between Hillary and myself.
    Gospel: Amanda?
    Me: He didn't say anything.
    Gospel: Are you two okay?
    Me: Let's go home.
    Gospel: No. I'm calling him. I need to know what's happening.
    Me: Suit yourself.
    He walked away and went to where Hillary was standing. The next minute,they were walking up to me.
    Gospel: So both of you,indulge me,tell me what's happening here.
    Me: Nothing.
    Gospel: Man,tell me.
    Hillary looked at me before he started talking,saying everything that had happened. I was mad with rage. How dare he?
    Hillary: But I'm really sorry. I am.
    Gospel: Amanda....
    Me: Don't call my name,he has the effrontery to say he's sorry? He did it the first time and didn't tell me. What if I hadn't caught them that second time? Will he have told me? You guys should just not mention my name here. If he wants to continue stalking my life,fine,I'm out of here.
    I walked out without sparing them another glance. I got into the car and decided to wait patiently for Gospel. Time passed but he seemed to be enjoying whatever Hillary was saying.
    I took my purse and got down from the car,I walked out of the square,found a cab and made for home. Why won't he enjoy the story? They were birds of sane feathers and they are so good in flocking together.
    The first person I went to see was Kamsi. She was stepping out of the bathroom when I got in.
    Kamsi: You back?
    Me: Yes Mrs Abidjan.
    She laughed and hit my shoulder playfully.
    Kamsi: Can see you and Gospel have bonded so well.
    I shrugged my shoulders.
    Me: He's shown how repentant he is.
    Kamsi: Yea. He called me as well,begging to have back his position in my life. I only agreed to forgive him because he said he'll apologise to you as well.
    Me: Its all good. At least,since then,he's being good.
    I told her about our shoppings and the new things he bought for me.
    Kamsi: Wow. I'm sure Rose must have taken some. I dunno why she's refused to pick my calls since yesterday.
    Me: Ehe. Why will she pick it when she's afraid you'll also give her the beating of her life like I did.
    I unlocked my phone and showed her the pictures I took after beating Rose.
    Kamsi: Jesus! What did she do?
    Me: What else? She's being sleeping with Hillary.
    Kamsi's face flushed. She sat down on the bed and hugged me. I was past this emotion stage so I just hugged back and freed myself.
    Kamsi: And that slowpoke had the guts to come here and look for you?
    Me: Leave it. I didn't tell you because I didn't want to spoil your vacation.
    Kamsi: Chai. Why was I not here?
    Me: She even came to deceive Ken,because she thought I wouldn't tell him. I wanted to keep quiet but when she asked that I excuse them,I had to open my mouth.
    Kamsi: That girl eh. Wait till I see her in school on Monday.
    Me: I'm not going on Monday o. I'll start by Wednesday.
    Kamsi: Onye ujo akwukwo. Anytime we start,I'm still going to pay her a visit. She made a mistake by messing with you.
    I smiled and rubbed her back.
    Me: Dress up joor. You're showing too much skin and I'm not Ted.
    We both laughed before she dressed up and we went down to watch a movie together

    Episode 33

    We just came out from a class that lasted three hours. Trust lecturers, upon we were not up to 100 out of three hundred and something radiography students,he gave us a quiz. Kamsi and I stepped out of the class three hours later and proceeded to the cafe which was always our consoler after such lectures.
    We were almost there when we saw Rose leaving the cafe. Kamsi quickly ran up to her while I followed in quick steps. I knew Kammy was good at embarrassing people but I just wanted her to let things end the way it had.
    Kamsi: Hey!
    Rose turned and her smile disappeared.
    Kamsi: Have your tongue fallen into your throat?
    Rose swallowed hard as I came in to view.
    Rose: Hi.
    Kamsi: Better. So I heard you now sleep around right?
    Rose: I...
    Kamsi: Don't. Better don't stammer before me because I'm ready to tear you into pieces.
    Kamsi had come prepared for a war. She was dressed casually in a jean short and polo,unlike Kamsi who wouldn't look at a polo on ordinary days.
    A small crowd had gathered,eager to know why people who were friends during their first year had now turned enemies.
    Rose: Kamsi please,you're embarrassing me.
    A slap landed on Roses' face and the crowd was filled with '"ohs" and "ouchs".
    Kamsi: When you were sleeping with my sister's boyfriend,did you think twice before doing it? Did you think up the consequences?
    Rose was rubbing her face now,with tears dropping from her eyes.
    Rose: I...
    Kamsi: Shut up. You had my brother,why would you go to Hillary? How shameless and disgusting.
    Rose: But I'm sorry. I'm truly sorry.
    Kamsi: You're still talking eh? You're still opening that gutter you call mouth?
    Kamsi went for an attack but I was just in time to come between them with one other guy who received the slap meant for Rose. I looked up at his face and it was Hillary.
    What insolence? So he came to defend her?
    Kamsi: Clap for yourselves you shameless animals. You came to fight for her. You should be grateful that it was just a slap. And I'm sure you're also here to take her home to compl.....
    Hillary: Kammy stop. Why are you doing this? We're sorry. We shouldn't be fighting and disgracing ourselves in public.
    Kamsi walked up to him with scorn and hatred written on her face.
    Kamsi: But that's the plan. To help you wash your dirty linen in public. To warn people to be careful of you two backstabbers.
    She pushed past Hillary and went to Rose.
    Kamsi: Listen wh'ore,you should be thankful today,not because this woman eater came on time,but because my sister also came between you and I,which shows she's forgiven you. But I hope the slaps are enough to redesign your brains and get them back to default mode. Shameless things.
    She walked away leaving me behind. I went to Rose and she looked at me innocently.
    Rose: I'm sorry.
    Me: Save it. You've gotten what you deserve. Just know how to treat friends next time.
    I followed Kamsi's trail and walked out,hearing people murmur and say things I couldn't hear. But one thing was clear,anyone who has Kamsi,has a fighter and an adventurer.
    Did we go to the cafe? Nope. Instead,I met Kamsi at the school gate where we boarded a cab and drove home. Throughout the ride,we remained silent,not sure of what to say to each other. But I'm not angry with her. She's just looking out for me.

    Episode 34

    Today is Thursday and our lecture free day. We were at the terrace,thinking up what to do with our free time.
    Kamsi: Let's just go out,since you can now drive,we'll just go sight seeing.
    Me: I want to visit my house.
    Kamsi: The Okoye's?
    Me: Yes. I want to know how they're doing and also know how they're keeping the house.
    Kamsi: You miss them?
    I nodded.
    Kamsi: Its alright. We'll go but we won't tell anybody. From there,we'll now go sightseeing. And dress in your best so they'll know you're living fine now.
    I laughed and thanked her.
    Kamsi: Big mouth Chinenye,I've not seen her since school resumed.
    Me: That's why I want to go and see them.
    Kamsi looked at her phone.
    Kamsi: Its 9:45 already,let's go and get ready.
    We both went down to our rooms and I started rummaging through my clothes to know the one I'm going to wear. I finally settled for a pink crop top,jean trouser and a pink boot and in the next 95 minutes,we were on our way to abakpa,the location where my terror started with me behind the wheels.
    We got to our location and rode into the streets of housing estate. As I drove past each street,I remembered that night I had bade them goodbye. The pastures were greener and looked like it noticed my presence. I stopped beside a school,two streets from the Okoye's house and let my tears fall. Kamsi allowed me for a good number of minutes before she spoke up.
    Kamsi: Don't you think you should be praising God instead of crying? What if you had died that day? But he kept you alive,so that people will know your story and praise Him for His goodness? You shouldn't be crying Amy because I'm sure you've overcome your fears by wanting to see them.
    Me: I...
    Kamsi: Don't speak.
    She helped me dab my face with her bandana and using the make up in her Marlboro purse,she remade my face.
    Kamsi: Stop crying. Let's go and see your family.
    I nodded and brought the engine back to life. I wasn't perfect yet as we still had the L letter attached to the car and I drove carefully.
    We got to the house and I honked,expecting the gateman to come out and open the gate but we were there for some minutes,yet nobody showed up.
    Kamsi: I'll see.
    She got down and went towards the gate. She opened the small gate and went in,then opened the big one for me to drive in.
    I drove into the familiar compound. Nothing had changed. Everywhere was littered with dried leaves from the fruit tree that stood in the middle of the compound. I got out of the car and joined Kamsi.
    Kamsi: This place looks isolated.
    Me: You sure they still live.....
    Nenye: You don't talk to me because you put me in this situation.
    Kamsi and I turned to the direction of the voice and saw Chinenye,coming out from the backyard with a baby bump. She saw us and froze.
    Mrs Okoye: Who drove in?
    She joined her daughter and she couldn't hide the shock on her face.
    Kamsi and I greeted her.
    Mrs Okoye: Amanda?
    Me: Yes mum.
    Mrs Okoye: What are you doing here?
    Me: Uhm....we came to see a friend who lived in the estate so we decided to come and see you.
    Kamsi: Yes ma.
    Nenye ran into the house without turning back.
    Me: I'm sorry mum but you people didn't inform us that Nenye was married.
    Mrs Okoye hissed and I looked at Kamsi.
    Mrs Okoye: Don't mind that girl. She got pregnant and she doesn't know who's responsible. I don't know what I'm going to do with her. Since then,she's refused to be polite to anybody.
    Kamsi: Doesn't make sense. How can she not know who's responsible for her child?
    Mrs Okoye: My dear,you two should come in. How's your mother?
    Kamsi: She's fine ma.
    We followed her inside where she offered us seats. The interior still looked wonderful and I was grateful for that.
    Mrs Okoye: What do I offer you girls? You people are now big girls so I don't know if you still take juice.
    Me: I...
    Kamsi: We're fine ma. We're filled.
    Mrs Okoye: Ah! At least,take something nau.
    Kamsi: We'll leave with a pack of juice.
    Mrs Okoye: That's better so how's school?
    Kamsi: We're fine o. School is fine. Just....
    Me: Mum,can we go and see Nenye?
    Mrs Okoye: Uhm... Yes.. Why not? Its your house
    Kamsi and I quickly ran up the stairs,very well aware of the eyes that followed us. I led the way to where I know was Nenye's room and after a knock,I pushed the door open and we both went in. Nenye was lying on her side. I bolted the door because I knew that we three had issues to settle.
    She sat up and threw us wicked glances.
    Nenye: Get out of here now.
    Kamsi scoffed and folded her hands below her breasts.
    Nenye: You both are just here to mock me so just get out.
    Kamsi: If I were you,I'll be quiet and listen.
    Me: Kamsi please.
    Nenye started sobbing audibly and I cast Kamsi a pleading look.
    Me: We're not here to mock you. We don't even know u a pregnant
    Nenye looked at me.
    Nenye: You didn't know I was pregnant?
    Me: Not at all. We've both missed you,worse still,school resumed properly last week but we didn't see you around so we decided to come and check on you.
    Nenye: Really?.
    Me: Yes. We can never mock you. We're all women and don't know what our future will be like.
    Kamsi sat down beside Nenye and I smiled inwardly.
    Nenye: You've got a goof heart Amanda. I wonder why I've being blind to the truth all these years.
    Kamsi looked at me and I knew she wanted to say something
    Kamsi: Everything has a right time. Maybe this is your own time to see a change.
    Me: Yes. You were just blind all those years because you loved your mother and....
    Nenye: And she put me in this condition. I hate her. She's not my mother.
    Kamsi: What? What are you saying?
    Me: Nenye,tell us. What are you saying?
    Nenye: We've run bankrupt. We don't have anything now except this house. She's sold everything father had. When she realised she couldn't sell the ones in your name,she started sleeping with father's friends. I didn't say anything so long as she put food on our table. I was in the sitting room one night when she came in with a man, introduced him to me as her classmate way back in the university. She left both of us to talk and went into her room. That night,this man took advantage of me and no matter how much I screamed,mum never came out to help me.
    Kamsi: Jesus.
    Nenye: It was when he was ready to leave that I knew they staged it.
    Me: How?
    Nenye: He dropped twenty thousand on the table and asked me to give it to my mum, then he gave me five thousand naira saying I wasn't as good as my mum had said.
    Tears ran down my eyes. How can a mother do this to her own child? I understood it when it was me, but her own child?
    Nenye: When I realised I was pregnant,I told mum and she said she would call him. I later found out that she doesn't even have his number let alone knowing who he was.
    Kamsi: Oh my God. Did you go for a lab test?..
    Nenye: I did. I treated gonorrhea for weeks.
    Kamsi: I'm sorry to say this but your mother is wicked.
    Nenye: She's not my mother. I regret the day she conceived me.
    I had to stop crying and we three went into a warm embrace.
    Nenye: Please forgive me. She poisoned my mind against you,saying your mother was a witch and tried to kill her while she was pregnant. That was why I was against you.
    Me: I knew there was no smoke without fire. Let's not talk about the past anymore. Let's look for a way forward.
    Kamsi: Yes. Let's not discuss the past anymore. We'll go home and think of a way to help you out.
    Nenye: Please,come and take me out of here. please.
    Kamsi: Don't worry. It will be over soon.
    Kamsi and I gave her some money before she escorted us out. Mrs Okoye was no longer in the sitting room so we just left the house without bothering to look for her.
    We spent the rest of the day at new berries,talking about the Okoye's family

    Episode 35

    We started talking to mum,asking her of possibilities of getting Nenye out of the house. She was surprised about our sudden interest in her. We had to tell her what happened that Thursday,then she said something that I never thought of.
    Mum: If the police can get that criminal to confess to the crime and name whoever sent him which is madam Okoye, it will be a lot easier. She would be arrested and you'll get all your properties back. That way,you can take care of your sister without her having to leave the house.
    Kamsi: Mum you're a genius. Let's go to the station immediately.
    Mum: But wait. Why will a woman treat her child that way? I've never heard of that.
    Me: I'm surprised myself.
    Mum: Anyways,let's just go immediately. That woman doesn't deserve to be with a child.
    We called Ted,Ken and Gospel who were all at work and they decided to join us at the station.
    We got there an hour later and mum informed the DPO on duty of our mission which was to see the criminal. He willingly brought him in and I saw him. He was the boss,the one who had molested me most.
    He saw me and looked away immediately.
    Me: Why?
    He looked at me and bent his head.
    Me: I'm I not young enough to be your sister? What did I ever do to you?
    Guy1: You no do me anything abeg.
    Me: Then why? Why did you do that to me? Every girl always cherishes her first time. But look at what you did to me. You made me regret being a woman,you made me wish for death. Why?
    Guy1: Sister abeg no vex. Na your mama o. My mind never settle since we do that operation. i bin no wan talk but now wey i don see you,abeg,forgive me. She pay us good money for that job. I no suppose say this one but na me and my guys dem kill your papa.
    Kamsi and I shouted in surprise. Mummy looked away and shook her head.
    DPO: Inspector,take him back to the cell. Get three boys from the counter. We're going to arrest someone.
    Inspector: Yes sir.
    He led the rapist back to the cell and in the next minute,we were all riding to the Okoye's house. It was when we were driving out of the station that Ted, Ken and Gospel were also driving in. We all got down again and tipped them all that happened.
    We all drove in a convoy and soon enough,we were at the house. We got down and I led the way into the house. Mrs Okoye was watching a premiere at televista. She saw the entourage and sat up.
    Mrs Okoye: Amanda,you're here. What's happening?
    That moment,Nenye came downstairs. She came and hugged Kamsi and I,then greeted everyone else in the room.
    DPO: You're Mrs Okoye right?
    Mrs Okoye: Of course.
    DPO: You're under arrest,for masterminding the rape of Miss Chimamanda Okoye and the death of Mr Alex Okoye.
    Nenye: What? Daddy?
    I nodded
    Nenye: Jesus.
    Mrs Okoye said nothing. She just stood up and went to the police officer.
    Mrs Okoye: Can I call my lawyer?.
    Mrs Kalu: Imagine. What will he defend? Its crystal clear that you're guilty.
    Nenye was sobbing now and I was holding her affectionately.
    DPO: Thanks for not resisting arrest. You all will also follow us to the station to write down your statements.
    Mrs Okoye was arrested and while they led her away,I slumped on a couch to cry while Nenye went upstairs to change into something better.
    I felt a hand on my shoulder and I looked up. I looked up and it was Ken.
    I stood up and we hugged each other affectionately.
    Ken: It's okay. Stop crying.
    Me: She killed daddy. She killed the father that I know. Why is she this wicked? Because he said he was going to take me out of the house?
    He hugged me again and this time,he didn't let go.
    Ken: We're here for you now. I promise you'll never feel pain,hurt or heartbreak anymore. We won't leave you,I promise.
    He let go and pecked my forehead.
    Ken: Come,we'll ride in my car.
    He left while I waited for Nenye to come down.
    With money,life could be so easy. But on the other hand,money can't buy everything.
    With the necessary connections and a wonderful lawyer,mum got me back my properties and I officially became a land and property owner. Of course,I gave all the papers to mum. She had given me everything I needed and hoped for in life. I knew those documents were not enough to pay her back for everything but at least,I started from there.
    It was more of a reunion. We were all happy including Nenye. She had insisted on leaving for the village but mummy refused,telling her that she would live with the Kalus till she's ready to settle down.
    While we partied and drank wine, Ken was mostly beside me,never leaving my side. We were about eating when I asked Nenye to go up and call Kamsi,who had gone up to take a call outside the loud music. I watched her climb the stair,admiring the way her hips has expanded due to the pregnancy, I don't know but she turned immediately and her foot slipped,then she fell,rolling down and landing at the foot of the stair. She zoned out immediately. There was blood on her head and blood was also coming out from her body. I froze. Ken and Gospel rushed to pick her while mum shut down the music. I started crying immediately. How can I loose the remnant of my sibling? As they carried her out,I didn't move. I couldn't move. I just watched them leave while mum followed,saying something that I didn't get.
    Kamsi came down and immediately she saw blood,she started screaming,asking me what had happened. I still didn't say a word. She pushed me down on a cushion,yet I didn't say anything.
    She started calling everyone but nobody answered their phones. In my state of shock,I wished she could read minds. It was as if I had lost my voice.
    They didn't come home that night and I didn't leave that cushion. Kamsi sat down beside me,saying things I couldn't hear. We remained that way till morning when Ken came in with Ted.
    I still couldn't speak,my brain hadn't registered what was happening so I couldn't hear whatever they were saying with Kamsi. I saw the look of fear in Ken's eyes as he carried me out of the house,into the car and straight to the hospital where I was admitted immediately.
    I don't know how long my eyes were closed but when I woke up,the first person I asked after was Nenye. The nurse who was beside me said she'll call her for me,but instead,Kamsi came in.
    She sat on a chair beside my bed and held my hand.
    Kamsi: Doctor said it was shock. How're you?
    Me: Where's Chinenye?
    Kamsi: She's fine.
    Me: Let me see her please.
    Kamsi: You can't. You're not healthy yourself.
    Me: Please let me just see her. I need to see her.
    Kamsi: I'll call Ken.
    She left immediately and my heart started beating. She was hiding something from me and I must know what that thing was. I'm sure Ken will never lie to me.
    The door opened and Ken came in alone. I smiled at him and he gave me a peck on my forehead.
    Ken: How're you?
    Me: I'm okay. How's my sister?
    He breathed out,but his smile never disappeared so I had hope.
    Ken: She lost the baby before we got here but she's fine. Though she's in coma now but doctor has said that she'll be fine.
    Was I happy or not? I was lost in mixed feelings.
    Ken: Kamsi just left to get you food and change of clothes. I'll stay here with you.
    He sat down and held my hands in his.
    Me: Have you eaten?
    Ken: Yes.
    Me: Where's mum?
    Ken: We asked her to go home. She's being here since the night Nenye was brought here and when you came,her worries doubled and she refused eating or sleeping. Gospel had to forcefully take her home this morning.
    I was grateful. I had love around me and it served as a protection. It was all that I needed to be happy.
    I was discharged that day so I went in immediately to see Nenye. She looked so peaceful while she was in a far away sleep. I heaved a sigh and said a quick prayer.
    Ken drove me home to see mum later in the evening. We hugged each other and shed a little tear before she made me promise her that the next time I'll be in a hospital bed would be when I'm about to deliver. Ken and I laughed and I made that promise,not sure of when it will be but I was hopeful,once I'm done with school and working,I'll get a better man to love me....................that's what all ladies say anyways.

    Episode 36

    The house looked so deserted. I was the only one in the big house. Kamsi had gone out with Ted immediately we came home,leaving me all alone. I sat down in my room to think about all that Kamsi had earlier said,despite all my trials,I failed to get Hillary out of my system. He was there like a stamp. But why won't I forgive him? Why is it so difficult for me to forgive him?
    I put my thoughts together and hit the shower, letting the water run down my body and cool my nerves. I stayed longer than necessary because I gave a run down to what had being happening in my life. It would be wrong to let whatever forces that was following me to ruin my happiness. I would be stupid to let them win this time. I couldn't fight them all this years,I suffered and bore the pains alone. But now,I was going to fight it,no matter what it was.
    I got out of the shower just in time to hear my phone ring. I picked it and listened.
    Caller: Amy is that you?
    Me: Yes it's me. Who am I speaking with?
    Caller: Love.
    Me: Love?
    Caller: Yes. Give a new meaning to your life and try to work on bringing back people you've lost. It will help you in life. It will pave a way to greater height for you. Love is the ultimate,it's the greatest. He loves you,so love him back.
    And the call was up. It was an unknown caller. I threw the phone to the bed and checked my wall clock. Few minutes to seven.
    I dried my body and quickly put on a white bum pants with my favourite baggy polo. Of course I won't forget to take a selfie with whatever delicacy it was that Ken had prepared. I added a little make up to spice up my already beautiful face before stepping out of the house. The gateman came to me immediately and delivered a flower. Ahn Ahn,what's happening? The call,and now flowers? Before I could ask him questions,he was already going back to his duty post.
    I shrugged and went into Ken's apartment. He was sitting in the sitting room with a frown. He saw me and sat up. I looked at the dinning,it was empty.
    Me: Now,you've played me. And you think I'll be compensated with these flowers?
    I flung the flower at him and he ducked.
    Ken: Hey,calm down. it's not my fault. I couldn't do it. You know I'm not a good cook. Everything got burnt.
    I went to the kitchen to confirm. It was a mess. There was an over baked chicken,a groundnut paste on a plate,grilled,sorry,pounded fish on the sink,a pepper paste mixed in half done groundnut. I don't know whatever he wanted to prepare but I started laughing. I turned back to go to him but he was there already.
    Ken: Let me make it up to you.
    Me: Forget it. I'll just pick my flower and go back to the house. Mr chef.
    I started laughing again but stopped when I noticed he was still sad.
    Me: Okay. Sorry for laughing.
    Ken: Let me make it up to you. Go back and dress nicely. We'll eat out.
    I'm easily deceived with eating out,especially with people who meant a lot to me.
    Me: Fine. So long as you stop keeping a mean face. And you won't act awkward while we're at it. It will be more of a romantic date,agreed?
    Ken: Anything for her majesty. And please,dress in your best. I want us to be the centre of attention while we're there.
    Me: Hmmm. Give me thirty minutes then.
    Ken: Okay your highness.
    I giggled,picked my flower and left. I will tell him about how I felt for Hillary and ask him to help get us back together. It's only Ken who would do that for me because he's the only one who understands.

    A week and three days after I was discharged,Nenye regained consciousness. I was the happiest person on earth that day. I had gone to school and was about boarding a cab home when Kamsi called,asking me to rush to the hospital. I got there and everyone was there;Ted,Ken,Mum,Gospel, Kamsi and hmmm,Hillary.
    Nenye looked so happy. I embraced her in a warm hug that lasted for eternity. The atmosphere was peaceful and everyone had smiles on their faces.
    Immediately I got the chance,I pulled Kamsi out of the room and began interrogating her;
    Me: What is that cheat doing here?
    Kamsi: Calm down joor. He's here to see your sister.
    Me: Who asked him to come?
    Kamsi: The same person who brought him to see you while you were unconscious last two weeks.
    Me: He came here?
    Kamsi: Yes.
    Me: And who is that person? I'm sure it's Gospel.
    Kamsi: Nope. Ken.
    Me: Ken?
    Kamsi: See babe, this guy is really sorry. While you were here,he's magically worked himself back into our lives. He really regrets what happened. You know we women can be devils sometimes. Rose wanted him and he couldn't resist her because he's being without a woman for long. Try to understand how this thing works.
    Me: You're preaching me now,for him?
    Kamsi: It's not preaching. It's the fact. I know how much you love this guy,I saw it in your eyes when you came in here. Don't let a single mistake ruin your chance to a perfect relationship.
    Me: It wasn't a single mistake Kammy. He did it twice.
    Kamsi: Don't be this difficult Amy,don't loose this guy.
    She walked out and left me to think about it. I heaved a sigh and sat down on a chair in the corridor. Ken came immediately and joined me.
    Ken: How was school today?
    Me: Was fine. Though there was nothing serious done today.
    Ken: Okay. You look so different. Any problem?
    I looked at him,how will I tell him that he's my problem since he's the one who brought Hillary to the hospital.
    Me: I'm fine.
    Ken: So now that your sister is fine,you'll have time to spend with me right?
    Me: Of course.
    Ken: Thanks. How about dinner in my apartment tonight? I want to make a special delicacy that I learnt from YouTube. You in?
    Me: Why not? I love tasting new and interesting delicacies. Hope it'll be worth my coming?
    Ken: You should trust me.
    Me: And do I come with Kamsi?
    Ken: I mentioned it to her,but she said she's going out with Ted.
    Me: Okay then. I'll be there. And hey,better finish up before I come cause I won't help with anything.
    He threw his head back and laughed.
    Ken; Okay. I knew you were a lazy girl. I'll be through before seven.
    Me: Good for you.
    Ken: Let's get back to the room. Mum was saying something before I came out.
    And it happened that mum was saying that she already had a flight scheduled for five. She had a fashion show to attend in Dubai and from there,she'll leave for London to get more supplies. Gospel drove her home to pick her bags and head for the airport while we all remained at the hospital,cracking jokes and yabbing each other.

    Ken: Hillary,we all were angry with you,I still am anyways. The girl in question was my girlfriend. You were kpanshing my babe when you have my sister as a girlfriend. Is that not simply wickedness? If you wanted to cheat,why not go for someone else? You're just like a rat,you'll be biting and blowing us so we won't feel the pain. Don't think I'll forgive you because you did me wrong big time. Even if she was the one coming to you,you would have at least,told Amy or myself but you did not.
    Hillary: I'm sorry bro. I was trying to protect our relationships.
    Ken: Pro what? If Amy hadn't seen you both that day,you two will still be frolicking together. I just did this because of my sister not for anything else. Amy,I'll be in the car.
    Me: Wait!.
    He looked at me and I saw sadness in his eyes. He wasn't happy.
    Me: How do you expect me to be happy when you're not? If you're angry with him,why bring us back together? Why can't we be like we were? Let's put everything aside and move on. You k ow I love him so much and I love you as much,being angry with him won't make his relationship with me work out perfectly. Please Ken,for my sake,for this love you have for me,forgive him
    Ken: And what about Rose?
    Me: I judge you're a wise man Ken. Without batting eyelids,you know who's faulty here and you know the best way to handle this. But being angry,do you think I'll be bold enough to date someone whom my brother doesn't like?.
    Hillary's head was bent all this while,I don't know if its out of shame,guilt or anger.
    Ken heaved a sigh and smiled at me.
    Ken: It's alright. You know I'll do anything for you.
    I smiled.
    Ken: Hillary?
    Hillary looked up and I saw tears at the edges of his eyes.
    Hillary: I'm sorry man. I'm so ashamed of myself.
    Ken: It's okay. Let's go home.
    Hillary: Thank you.
    Me: Thanks Ken.
    Ken: Now I'm feeling special
    We three stood up,Ken dropped some money on the table and we walked out all smiles. Was I lucky? Of course I am and not eveb you,yes,you,I mean you,can be half as lucky as I'm becoming this days.
    We got to the house and went into Ken's ao

    Episode 37

    We got to toskana hotel at a little past 8pm. Eyes turned to Ken and I and I was embarrassed even before I sat down. I had decided to look sexy tonight,the motive was to show some flesh,get drunk and sleep away my thoughts. I was in something you can call a mini gown which showed off lots of cleavages and the back has a v-cut from the shoulders down to the top of my behind. My make up wasn't light,I had matched my gown with a pink boot and no purse. I didn't even go with my phone,what's the need since I don't plan on being myself before coming home. Ken had stared at me with open mouth as I stepped out of the house but I just laughed it off,but this mini crowd got me quite embarrassed.
    We sat down in a secluded part and placed our orders,I made sure wine comes first and clearly enough,Ken was surprised.
    Ken: You would have simply ordered for food.
    Me: I know. We're not going out now,are we?
    Ken: Nope.
    Me: I want to enjoy tonight. Don't spoil it.
    He smiled and brought out his phone. He typed something and quickly dropped the phone.
    Me: So tell me what you were trying to make back there.
    He chuckled and I smiled at his triability to be a teenager (don't argue that word.I know it doesn't exist but I figured it's the best for now).
    Ken: I'll tell you later tonight.
    Me: Looks like you were just trying to make poo.
    He laughed,throwing his head back and just then,our wine came in a bucket of ice. I helped myself out immediately downing a glass of the fairly hot drink which I knew would be doing wonders soon.
    Ken; Do you want to tell me anything?
    Me: Yes. But that'll be on our way home.
    Ken: Is that why you're drinking?
    Me: Nope.
    Ken: Amy,you just show up new abilities everyday. Never knew you drink.
    Me: But mum knows. You don't live in same house with me.
    Ken: Strange girl. You won't stop amazing me.
    We both laughed. Our food came and we both left ourselves to the mercy of the fried rice and chicken.
    Me: So,any chance you're getting back with Nenye?
    He paused and looked at me.
    Me: I'm sorry if the question upsets you.
    Ken: It's alright. I was expecting that question anyways.
    Me: Okay
    Ken: Nenye is a nice girl. She really is but was influenced by her mother. I was upset with her for being an aid to whatever you went through. But seeing her in this her present condition,I realised that she was a pawn and every blame I had on her washed away.
    Me: So?
    Ken: I loved her. She's my first love and always will be but I can't be with her anymore. I'm loving someone else already.
    Me: Wow. Interesting.
    Ken: You see,I like you a lot. I even made the mistake of falling in love with you.
    I dropped my cutleries and looked up at him.
    Ken: Let me finish. I fell for you because you have a very simple nature,you've got a big heart and you have a forgiving spirit. You're beautiful,well end owned and intelligent. What more can a man want from a woman. I fell so madly that I had to start distancing myself from you because there are some things that are not meant to be. Coming to you when I know I have a brother who's also crazy about you will be a blow to our family. I had to let go and the very day I met that decision was the day I met the one who I'm loving now.
    I fought to find my voice. Where was it? I raised my fork to see if it was there but no. I cleared my throat and yes,I found it.
    Me: Uhm....I'm surprised.
    He took a sip of his drink and nodded.
    Ken: I knew you would be. But it's best that I told you,now,let's enjoy the meal before it gets cold.
    I felt like I was in a strange place. Ken was a perfect gentleman. Why didn't I read the writing on the wall all this time? At least,I would have seen if I will feel the same thing for him. Wait! Am I alright at all? What did he just say now? Yes. It's wrong to date two brothers. I can't even see myself doing that. Mum would be so disappointed. I smiled at Ken for his intelligence and continued with my meal.
    Few minutes later,we were done and using a serviette.
    Ken: I'll be back in a minute. I need to shake hands with a friend of mine that's being calling.
    I laughed,audible enough to attract people and he joined me.
    Me: Your friend indeed.
    Ken: What was I supposed to say?
    He stood up and walked around to where I was. He gave me a peck on my forehead and we smiled
    Ken: Better don't touch that your drink again.
    Me: Ah! But we'll pay for it so I need to finish it.
    Ken; I'm serious here now. Stop taking it. I'll get you one good for you when I'm back
    I nodded and he walked away,going to shake whatever friend he has down there

    Episode 38 (Final)

    As I sat at the airport that morning,waiting patiently for my flight to be announced,I took a look at the event of the last two weeks.
    I had remained indoors after Rose had shamefully left. I didn't even know when the others left. I only got busy with my laptop,always expecting emails from the university
    The mail finally arrived on Friday morning. I was about going to shower when it came in. I was so excited that I placed a call to mum immediately. She was also happy,telling me what to do in anticipation for my journey. I started packing my stuffs immediately. I choose to go to the bank that day. I got the money mum had given me transfered into a new account,withdrew the amount I needed for a little shopping, stopped at a supermarket and got all the things I thought I needed before going back home.
    The house was extremely quiet when I arrived so I just stole in the things I had bought. I continued my packing till I eventually got tired, had my dinner in my room and went to bed.
    Saturday morning,I left for the embassy like mum had advised. I showed them my admission letter and after series of questions,they booked a flight for me on Tuesday morning.
    I got my flight ticket and left for home in the mid afternoon.
    While I drove in,I met Gospel about leaving the house. Before I could finish parking the car,he was already waiting for me to get down.
    Gospel: Hi.
    Me: Good day.
    Gospel: What's up? Earlier this week,you've refused to be seen and now,you're going in and out. Tell me,are we celebrating anything soon?
    I smiled and locked the car.
    Me: Of course. But mum will be the one to tell you that.
    Gospel: You no longer go to school. Why?
    Me: Cause I gave myself a break. Besides,you don't think it's easy for me to come to terms with the fact that my companion just left.
    Gospel: Hmmm. I get.
    Me: You going out?
    Gospel: Yeah. Want to get one or two things.
    Me: Alright. See you then.
    I walked into the house with my handbag and began to recheck my stuffs.
    Now,I was ready to travel and begin a new life.
    On Monday evening,I decided to join. the guys for dinner. The girls had sent my food upstairs but I asked them to take it down. I walked down the stairs with my heart beating fast.
    Ken: You decided to join us,thank God for that.
    I smiled and Gospel peered at me.
    Gospel: This girl is up to something. She acts weird this days. Or is it the absence of Kamsi? We both feel same way too
    Ken: I think it's more than that. I just can't place my hand on it
    Me: You both should just quit gossiping about me in my own presence and eat. Not because mum isn't around.
    They laughed and we settled down to our food. After eating,I took away the plates and quickly went outside to inform the gateman that he'll be taking me to the airport as early as 5:30am tomorrow. He was confused and I pleaded with him to keep it confidential.
    That night,I parked my things into the car I intended to use in order to make my departure unnoticeable to the two brothers. I was leaving the Kalu's residence for good and I know it is far more better than the way I had left the Okoyes'.
    My flight was scheduled for 8:00 but I was at the airport as early as 6:30. I got a room where I intended to get an hour sleep but sleep wouldn't come. I hadn't closed my eyes one bit last night and I knew it was going to affect me.
    Exactly one hour later,I'm now here,waiting for my flight to be announced. It came just as I looked at my wristwatch the 100th time that morning.
    As I walked out of the departure door,a single tear dropped from my eyes as I thought about Ken and Gospel. I had left them in the dark and they wouldn't forgive me for that.
    I found my seat and sat down,bent my head and let my tears flow.
    Ken: Excuse me ma'am,you should be sitting this side.
    I looked up and behold,it was Ken. My tongue suddenly went dry. He lowered himself beside me and shook his head.
    Ken: Why are you crying? Since you think you're doing the right thing?
    I bent my head again and wept audibly.
    Ken: I knew something was wrong. I knew it,so I followed you,I monitored all your movements,I knew everything you did,all the calls you made,even your admission. Why did you choose to do that to me? You know how much I love you and you chose to walk out of my life when I needed you most.
    Me: I had to,I had to do it. There was Gospel and then you. What was I supposed to do?
    Ken: Gospel will be going back to owerri today do you know that?
    I shook my head in the negative.
    Ken: I told him and he asked me to follow you. Reject me again and I'll scream loud and clear for everyone to know how badly you've been treating me.
    Me: Ken please. I have to go.
    Ken: I'm not stopping you from going. I'm following you. I'm actually in this flight. We're going together.
    Me: What?
    Ken: Yes.
    The fasten your seatbelt announcement came immediately and we did that. I still looked on in surprise.
    Immediately we took off,he held my hand and I turned to him
    Ken: Don't love me and I'll keep on following you till I die.
    Me: Ken?
    Ken: We'll meet mum,she'll give us her blessings.
    He hugged me and I cried in his arms. He cuddled me like life depended on it and I felt safe in his hands.
    Ken: Remember I had promised you,I'll never leave you alone. We're in this together and that's how it'll remain.
    And so it came to pass,five years later,I've graduated from university and is now a certified medical doctor,returning home for my traditional and white wedding.
    As I walked into the arrival of the airport,the faces I saw were all faces of people I had loved and will always love.
    Ken was with a billboard with the inscription "Mrs Kalu" on it.
    Gospel: Was holding a pregnant Nenye. They had wedded the previous year and I had seen their pictures.
    Mum: Still looking young and full of life.
    Ted: All smiles with a child that looked just like him
    Kamsi: Heavily pregnant with face full of smiles.
    We all went into a long embrace,each trying to say something against the other playfully.
    On our way home in the sienna,I got a text message on my phone,
    "we'll never leave you alone. didn't I promise?"
    It was Ken who was sitting behind me. I looked at him and smiled.
    I had a loving family and a lovely fiance who would be my husband tomorrow. I've got a fulfilled life and I'm happy I never ended up ALONE.....
    It doesn't matter what life throws at you. Pick it up and make something good out of it. All bitter stories don't always end sorrowfully the same way all beautifully stories never end happily. There's a light at the end of every tunnel the same way every dark cloud has a silver lining.
    Your story today may be a lesson to someone else tomorrow so take life suffry and never regret any second of it.
    Thank you all for sharing in my story. I love you all to the moon and back to earth especially everyone of you who supported the growth of this story,who invited friends to the thread,who shared the links,and those who read and refused to acknowledge it. I love you all.
    ALONE

    .......the end......

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