By Adeola Nissi



Amara couldn’t determine just how long she sat frozen in the car, looking at Mrs Bello who also looked back pensively. Amara willed her eyes to stop deceiving her but the more she looked, the more she saw Mrs Bello. Was it just coincidence that she was meeting all the ghosts from her past within such short duration or was she suffering from an irrevocable curse? She swallowed, gripping the steering wheel tight. She was probably under a curse, besides, her birth was as disgraceful as her life is. Of all the humans she wished never to see again, her biological mother was top on the list, and just like everyone from her past, Mrs Bello has found her way to her doorstep.

Deciding to face her challenge, she opened the door of the car, after easing it to its rightful parking space. Her fingers shook but she made sure to keep it hidden. Taking a deep breath, she slowly turned away from the car to face Mrs Bello.

“Amara” Mrs Bello croaked out, her voice barely recognisable. “My daughter” her voice broke as her eyes roamed over Amara’s face. Mrs Bello took unsteady steps as Amara stood poised by the car, just staring at the spectacle which was her mother. The older woman looked far too slim, compared with the perfect image Amara had of Mrs Bello. Her costly apparel did nothing to boost her frail appearance and the dignifying way in which Mrs Bello carried herself was totally lost. If Amara hadn’t known better, she would have doubted that this was indeed Mrs Bello. But then, who could deny that voice, even though it was shaking? Who could deny that face, which, although thin, still portrayed such elegance?

Mrs Bello walked shakily towards Amara. “My… daughter” she gasped out again as she drew near, tears running down her face. She raised her hand, as if to touch Amara’s face and Amara froze, pressing into the car.

“Have you all made the vow to never leave me in peace?” Amara asked as a frown crept up her face.

“My daughter, I know I have hurt you, and I am sorry. I am suffering enough, please”

“Daughter? You must be mistaken because I have no mother. The only person I consider my mother surely doesn’t look like you ma’am” she answered with a stern look in her eyes. More tears ran down Mrs Bello’s cheeks and Amara walked away from her front. Her anger grew with each step she took away from Mrs Bello.

“Please… please forgive me Amara. I am so sorry”

“Did I not say it?” Amara yelled, fully angry now. “Did I not ask you never to show yourself before me? I don’t need you; is that so difficult to understand?” She yelled.

“But I need you my child” Katherine cried out. “We can be there for each other”

Amara laughed bitterly. “You need me!” It sounded too funny to her own ears. “You are so selfish! You never cared about what I need, and now, you expect me to care about you? Oh please, Mrs Bello. I have had too many things to deal with today, please kindly see yourself out and never surface again”

“I can’t stay away from you Amara, you are my daughter” she gasped out.

“Stop saying that” Amara yelled, boiling with excessive rage that she felt she might explode the next second. “I am not your daughter and I can never be” she lowered her voice slightly, suddenly remembering that she had neighbours. “And what do you mean by you can’t stay away from me? You were bold enough to throw me in the garbage, remember?” She clenched her fists tighter as Mrs Bello cried. “It is not possible! Not in a thousand years would I acknowledge such a wicked and despicable person as my mother.” She dropped, looking at Mrs Bello straight in the eyes, then pointed to the gate. “Please leave”

“Please… I regret what I did, I am sorry” Mrs Bello pleaded sternly, drawing closer.

Amara stepped back. “Sorry doesn’t always solve our problems, does it?” She smiled drily. “Go and never come back. My life is back on track, I don’t want you ruining it all over again. Please relay the message to your son also, or else, I would get a restriction order”

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She swallowed. “Even if you get a restriction order, I won’t stop coming to you” Katherine squared her shoulders, showing the stubborn side that Amara knew so well; probably because she was equally stubborn. “I won’t stop until I have your forgiveness Amara, no matter what it takes.”

“We shall see about that, won’t we?” Amara returned, glaring at Mrs Bello.

Mrs Bello swallowed and turned, but before she took two steps away, she stopped, standing still. “Alex is not your brother” she dropped. Amara froze as those words echoed for the second time. The Senator had an affair with someone over thirty years ago” she turned her brimming eyes to Amara, who stood, shocked. “I have also been lied to and deceived for years Amara”. With that, she turned and walked away.

**********

**********

Lisa struggled for the umpteenth time, trying to free her wrists and feet from the ropes which held them bound, but instead of loosening, the ropes seemed to grow tighter. She grunted as tears of pain nearly broke free from her lids.

“The more you struggle, the tighter it becomes” Mr Sinja said, coming inside the small room he had kept Lisa. “It would be best of you stop struggling”

“What else do you want you stinking man? I already told you that I am not responsible for the misfortunes of your stupid daughter” she spat out through clenched teeth. “A slut like her should have so many enemies.”

Mr Sinja shot her a ferocious look that had her squirming on the chair. “You repeat that again and I would make sure you spend the rest of your life in jail, do you understand me woman?” Lisa looked on silently. “Do you understand” he roared. Lisa nodded fiercely, wisely closing her mouth. “Good”

Silence reigned for some seconds. “Why were you loitering around her company then?”

Lisa sighed. “I already told you that. I suspect that she is again having an affair with my husband since I traced him to her office about three times. Despite knowing that they are related, they still carry out the shameful act” she hissed. “I really would have taught her a big lesson she won’t forget”

“Alex said Amara isn’t his sister”

“What?” Lisa gasped out, stunned. “The lying womanising bastard” she hissed. “Wait till I get a hold of him, he won’t know what hit him”

Lisa’s phone rang and Mr Sinja picked it from the cabinet he had dropped it. “Becky” he said to Lisa.

“I need to speak with her, my daughter is with her” she said instantly.

Mr Sinja moved closer and picked it up, putting the phone on speaker. “Becky” Lisa called instantly, angry that Mr Sinja would be listening to the conversation.

“Lisa, where the hell are you? You need to come over here” Becky yelled back.

Frozen, Lisa spoke. “What is wrong? Is my daughter alright?” She asked fearfully.

“Her temperature is so high, I am rushing her to the hospital now”

“What? My baby” Lisa shifted in her seat. “Nothing must happen to my daughter Becky. Nothing!” She yelled.

“Don’t you dare yell at me. Bring your sorry self down here. You and Alex are the most irresponsible parents I have seen, not caring at all about your daughter… I don’t know why I even agreed to keep her in the first place”

“I am coming now Becky. Please take care of my baby… Please” she pleaded, then the phone went dead.

She looked at Mr Sinja, pleading with her eyes. “Please sir, please let me go” she pleaded. “My daughter needs me, please”

He looked at her in irritation. “What sort of mother are you? You left your child to chase a man? You are despicable”

“I know that” her mouth tightened. “But please release me, I need to take care of my daughter. Please…”

Mr Sinja swallowed and sighed, shaking his head as he went to loosen the ropes.

*

**********

“Amara” Tina called with a frown as Amara entered her hospital room. “It is late, what are you doing here?” She asked.

Amara smiled at her. “I came to spend the night with you”. After Mrs Bello left, Amara couldn’t think of sleeping in her apartment, especially not after getting the confirmation that Alex was really not her brother. She had to keep her brain from thinking about it. She just wanted to forget the trauma she had gone through, thinking that she had had an affair with her brother.

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“You just left this place. What is wrong?”

Amara frowned at Tina. “Nothing. Is it wrong to spend the night with you? I told you before that I won’t leave you” she pulled the chair closer to the bed and sat down. “Where is Aisha?”

Tina smiled. “I finally got the girl to go home to sleep but she promised to be back very early. She is such a darling” Tina said and Amara smiled.

“Yes.” She murmured and grunted in pain. Amara shot up instantly.

“Are you OK? Is everything alright? Are you hurting” she rushed.

Tina smiled softly, the flicker of pain fading slightly. “It is fine. I was just trying to get a better position on the bed.” She murmured gently. “I think the kidney is getting worse” she smiled painfully at Amara.

“Don’t say that! You would leave this place soon, I assure you” Amara said instantly.

“Really?” Tina asked anxiously. “Why do I always feel that I won’t see my company again; that I won’t have the opportunity to cook anything…”

“Shut up! Don’t you dare say such ridiculous things” she rebuked Tina sternly. “You would surely walk out of this hospital, don’t be negative now” Amara’s eyes watered. What would she do without a friend like Tina, who would always look out for her despite her foolishness? “You can’t afford to give up”

Tina swallowed and nodded gently. “I won’t… I won’t”

Amara sighed. “Should I call the doctor”

“No” Tina said instantly. “I am so tired of being examined. The pain is gone, truly. Tell me instead about what is troubling you”

Amara frowned. “Asides the fact that you are here, nothing is bothering me” she lied. She couldn’t imagine unburdening herself to Tina who already had too much to worry about.

Tina smiled. “You are a poor liar. You have been working your behind off and you look stressed. The other time when you came, you were constantly staring at your phone. Does this have to do with Kelvin?”

“What is it with Kelvin? There is nothing going on between us”

Tina grinned. “He kissed you in my presence yesterday morning, remember? People don’t go around kissing their friends. And if I noticed correctly, you were glowing yesterday”

Amara opened her mouth to say something then shut it again, repeating the motion again. “You notice the wrong things, even your brain is too presumptuous.” Amara murmured.

“Oh, no! I know I am right. Is something going on between you and Kelvin?”

“No! I mean…” She sighed “…I was just worried. Last night he received a call and said he had to take care of some things, I haven’t seen or heard from him since”

“You are worried something happened to him?”

Or that someone is keeping him tied to her skirt, Amara thought bitterly but nodded. She raised her eyes to see Tina grinning widely. “Oh! It is great to see you head over heels”

Amara sighed. “Are we going to go over this again?”

“Have you called him?” Tina asked instead.

She shook her head. “No… I won’t have him thinking…”

“That you are worried?” Tina completed, smiling. “What if a woman is the one keeping him?” Amara swallowed, trying to keep her face straight and not show Tina how much those words affected her. “He has done so much, it won’t be fair if you care so little for him. Why not call him, just to know if he is OK?” Tina urged.

Amara looked sceptical, then grabbed her phone. “Don’t start getting ridiculous ideas, I am calling because he is my friend.”

“Of course” Tina said, grinning sheepishly and Amara rolled her eyes.

**********

**********

Amara drove home in the wee hours of the morning, still very worried. Kelvin’s line had been unreachable last night and she was beginning to really worry. She had gone through the list of ‘What ifs’ and was already tired of it. She entered the still-dark compound and parked her car. She walked to her apartment and froze as she was about to open the door. A note hung on the door and she fearfully took it out. Kelvin had said that someone was watching the house, what now? Carefully, she opened her eyes and stared confusingly at the words.

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YOU THINK YOU HAVE MET THE MAN OF YOUR DREAMS? KELVIN IS HIDING SOMETHING. SOMETHING REALLY BIG… hahahahaha…

“Who the hell are you” Amara screamed at the note, crumbling the paper in her hands. Her heart beat fast. Kelvin? What is he hiding? What is going on? She gripped the handle of the door and leaned against it, staring into the thin darkness around her. Kelvin!

Amara entered her apartment minutes after and paced the sitting room. She felt like she was already minutes away from madness. It might just take another time bomb to throw her into the state of complete insanity. Who the hell was manipulating her so effectively? And what on earth is Kelvin hiding. She knew very well from the numerous Nigerian and American movies she had watched that there would be an element of truth in what she just read. What could Kelvin be hiding. Could she even confront Kelvin because of what a demented person scribbled on a paper? Worse still, could she ignore the note and not die due to curiosity? She took a deep breath but it was useless because her breath came in gasps. No, she didn’t want to have a cause to hate Kelvin. Of everyone on earth, please, not Kelvin!

She picked her phone and shakily dialed Kelvin’s number. She was surprised when it rang since it hadn’t been going throughout yesterday. She contemplated hanging up before Kelvin picked up, but just then, Kelvin picked up, his muffled sleepy hello enveloped her senses. She almost discarded her reason for calling on the spot.

“Kelvin” she murmured as her heart pounded. “I need to see you”

“Is everything alright?” His voice was sharp and alert now. “Are you OK?”

“Yes, I am fine. I need to see you now, can you tell me your address?” She asked, pacing.

“I would come over”

“No” Amara cut in instantly. “I want to come”

There was a slight pause, then Kelvin conceded and gave her his address. “Please drive carefully honey”

Amara sighed and ended the call.

The drive to Kelvin’s house seemed too long. She was forgetting inside and out, but she had to get this out of her system before she exploded. She pressed the horn when she got to the massive gate which should belong to Kelvin and almost instantly, the gate opened. As she drove into the compound, she saw him standing outside in a fitted top and jeans trouser. Her heart pounded and she parked instantly, alighting from the car. Kelvin approached her, frowning deeply as she came out of the car and closed the door.

“What is going on Ara?” He asked instantly. Noticing the chill outside, he quickly pulled her into the house. Amara did not have the time to admire both the outer and inner decor of the house, she just needed to be sure Kelvin wasn’t an enemy. Oh God! I really pray so.

“What are you hiding from me?” She dropped immediately the door closed.

Kelvin stood stock still as blood drained from his face. “What do you mean?”

“Just answer me Kelvin” Amara said shakily, noticing with great horror the state of his pale face. “Are you hiding something from me Kelvin?”

Kelvin swallowed hard and looked away.

“What is going on Kelvin?” Amara yelled in fright. Oh no! “You are hiding something? What is it?”

“I… I am sorry Amara”

Amara paled. “You are?” Was he the one responsible for what has been happening? “What are you sorry for?”

“Your… child”

Child? What child? Amara stood like a stick staring at Kelvin. “What… What…?”

“Your child didn’t… die at birth Amara. He is alive”

…to be continued

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