� Serah Iyare 2017
Edua drove her black Lexus Jeep to the bungalow behind the church, Pastor Victory�s home. She killed the engine and got down from the car. She dialed the number that he gave her and waited.
�Pastor, I am standing right outside your gate.�
�Really? Isn�t it too late for a cordial visit? It is almost midnight.�
�I know, but, I have been thrown out of my own house,� she leaned against the car. She felt exhausted.
�Technically, it is mine,� she scratched a spot on her elbow.
She heard him laugh. �Okay, okay, I am coming out.�
�All right sir,� she hung up and sighed with relief.
About ten minutes later, the Pastor came out of the house and unlocked the gate.
�What happened?� he surveyed the environment and came to stand by the vehicle.
�Alhaji Bature came by this evening and threw me out. We sort of had an argument,� she explained.
He nodded with understanding, �The warfare has begun.�
She sighed heavily, �I� I don�t have anywhere else to go at the moment.�
He smiled, �Don�t worry. You can stay in my guest room for the night. Tomorrow morning, we will put our heads together and plan a way forward.�
She broke into a smile, �Thank you sir.�
He patted the bonnet of the car, �Is this yours?�
He met her confident gaze, �Technically?�
She laughed, �No, I bought it with my own money.�
�Okay, nice. Let me open the gate so that you can drive in.�
�Thank you sir,� she sighed in relief and got back into the vehicle.
She heard a knock on the door. She turned on her side, wondering who it was. She had not been able to sleep well the other night. She made a mental list of who she could stay with, but, she realized that everyone she knew wouldn�t agree to her new life in God. Every single person she called a friend lived a wild life. It wouldn�t benefit her to be around such people. The knocks on the door persisted.
The door opened and a pretty brown skinned, average height lady walked in. Edua recognized her immediately. It was one of the Ushers at the church.
�Morning,� she approached the bed.
�Hi,� she sat up and smiled back at her.
�I am Chuka Chukwuka.�
She raised an eyebrow, �That rhymes.�
Chukka giggled and sat at the side of the bed.
�My name is Edua, Edua Imasogie.�
�Nice to meet you again,� she grinned.
�And you too,� Edua liked her. The lady was warm and friendly.
�Pastor Victory called me this morning, he said you needed a place to crash, for a while.�
She nodded quickly, �Yes, I so do.�
Chuka scratched an itchy spot on her nose, �I stay in the estate with my elder brother and my younger brother.�
Edua smiled, she had no idea how it felt having older or younger siblings. �I don�t have any brothers or sisters,� she said quietly.
She narrowed her curious gaze, �Are you an only child?�
�Yes and no. my twin brothers died before they were born,� thoughts of her late father flooded her mind.
�My goodness, I am so sorry,� Chuka felt sad for her. She had no idea what it felt like being an only child. She couldn�t imagine a life without her
Edua cleared her throat, �It is okay. It was a long time ago.�
She nodded and turned towards the opened window. Rays of sunlight flowed into the cream painted room.
�I spoke with my brothers before I came here.�
She glanced at her.
�They are in agreement that you can stay with us for a while, as long as you sleep in my room.�
Edua started to laugh.
�Just joking,� she winked at her.
�I like your sense of humour.�
�I like you. You are pretty. Prettier than I am.�
Edua blushed, �Come on.�
�And you so fair, are you a half-caste?� her brown eyes twinkled with curiousity.
She chuckled and shook her head. �I am a full blown Nigerian.�
�Interesting, you�ve got good skin.�
Edua just smiled. It took a lot of money and time to get her skin to where it was at the present. She frequented spas and beauty shops like every other day.
�I am ready when you are,� Chuka looked around, hoping to see her luggage.
�Okay. My things are in the car.�
Chuka glanced back at her in surprise, �You have a car?�
�I am loving you right now,� she got down from the bed.
She raised an eyebrow, wondering what the excitement was about.
�My elder brother is selfish when it comes to his Hyundai.�
Edua smiled, �Well, you know, men and their cars are like��
�Husband and wife,� Chuka completed the statement.
�Exactly,� she chimed in.
They both burst into laughter. Edua got down from the bed and strode out of the room with her new friend. They met the pastor and his wife in
the sitting room. She thanked them and left the building with Chuka.
�Is this your car?� Chuka touched the black Lexus jeep.
�God of heaven and earth! This is a Lexus jeep,� her eyes widened, she glanced at her new friend, �My brothers will die and go to heaven when they see this vehicle.�
Edua laughed and shook her head.
�They will turn green with envy. Can I drive?�
She shrugged, �If you want to.�
�Yippee!� Chuka collected the car keys and raced to the driver�s seat.
Edua climbed into the car and closed the door.
�How come you don�t have a place to stay?� Chuka started the engine.
She cleared her throat. She debated on her mind how much information she should reveal. �Well, em� my ex threw me out.�
�Live in lover?� she drove out of the compound.
�Not really, he paid for the place. I broke up with him and he kicked me out.�
�Messy break up,� she drove along the not so busy street.
�You can say that again.�
�Don�t worry,� she glanced at her and returned her focus to the road, �God will open another door.�
�Amen to that sister,� she leaned against the leather seat.
�Hope he isn�t the one that bought the car for you.�
Edua laughed, �Thank God, no.� Edua remembered when she bought the vehicle. It was during her service year while she pimped out corpers to money bags in the society.
Chuka sighed with relief. She parked in front of a three-bedroom bungalow. �Welcome home.�
�Let�s meet my brothers first, then we can get your things inside.�
�Okay,� she felt a bit anxious. She hoped they were as friendly as their sister.
Chuka led her new friend into the house. There was no one in the sitting room. They found her brothers in the kitchen making breakfast.
�Introducing, Edua Imasogie, our new flat mate.�
The men waved at her and chorused, �Hi.�
�Hi. Thank you for letting me stay,� she looked from one brother to the other.
�You are welcome,� he approached her, �I am Chidi, the eldest,� he stretched out his right hand.
�Nice to meet you,� she shook his hand. Their gazes locked.
�And I am Chuks,� he came closer, but, her attention was fixed on his elder brother. Chuks glanced at Chuka. She winked at him. He turned back
to Edua who was still shaking hands with his elder brother and cleared his throat, thrice.
Chidi blinked and dropped her hand.
�Come,� Chuka intervened and grabbed her friend�s hand, �Let�s check our room, then we can get your things.
�Okay,� she followed her out of the kitchen.
Chidi�s gaze followed them. Chuks noticed.
�Shut up,� he returned to the pot on the gas cooker.
Chuks began to laugh, �I haven�t said anything.�
�And you don�t need to,� he eyed his younger brother.
�Bros, ehn� ehn that girl, are we sure she isn�t Mammy water?�
Chidi glared at him.
�I am just saying�� Chuks explained.
Chuka and Edua returned to the kitchen.
�We need help. This babe�s load got K-leg.�
Chuks began to laugh again.
�Let�s go,� Chidi closed the lid of the pot and marched out.
Edua sighed with relief and followed him.
�If you see Mammy water ooooh, never ever run away, eeeh! Never ever run away�� Chuks began to sing an old song.
Chuka punched him on the shoulder.
�Ouch!� he eyed his elder sister.
�Wetin dey do you?�
�That girl is too fine to be human. She is too fair to be normal.�
She pointed a warning finger at him, �Behave yourself,� she eyed him and strode out.
Chuks followed her out of the building, whistling the song.
About an hour later, Edua and Chuka lay on the bed in their room, completely exhausted.
�Why did you buy so much clothes?� she turned her head and stared at her new friend.
Edua glanced back at her, �Honestly, I have no idea. I guess I love to shop.�
�You need to donate some of your clothes.�
She nodded in agreement, �I am contemplating that�� she looked away. She wouldn�t need half of her clothes now that she had decided to turn a new leaf and follow God hook, line and sinker.
�I am not as tall as you are, neither am I as busty��
Edua smiled at her warmly, �I am sure you will find a lot of clothes that fit you perfectly.�
Chuka grinned with delight, �I hope so. I have a feeling that we are going to enjoy living together.�
�Me too,� she shared her enthusiasm.
Both of them giggled.
Chuka turned and lay on her tummy, �I think my elder brother is attracted to you.�
Edua blinked, processing the information. The image of Chidi flashed through her mind�s eye.
�Don�t tell me you didn�t notice the way he was staring at you.�
Her friend shrugged. She didn�t want to be presumptuous. She was a very beautiful lady and many men had been attracted to her.
�Chidi likes you. I can tell.�
Edua rolled her eyes, �I don�t think so. He might just be admiring my looks,� she lay on her side.
Chuka punched her on the shoulder.
�Ouch!� her light brown eyes widened in surprise. �What was that for?�
Chuka started to laugh.
�You need to start acting like a lady,� she eyed her and rubbed the aching muscle.
She laughed harder, �Sorry your majesty, I grew up with boys.�
�You have no excuse young woman,� she hissed.
�Then teach me how to be womanly, my lady,� Chuka imitated a Southern Londoner accent.
Both girls burst out in laughter. They heard knocks on the door. The door opened slightly and Chuks popped his head in.
�Babe, that car of yours is something else.�
Edua sat up and looked at him, �Thanks.�
Chuks came in, �Is your father wealthy, an oil magnet, business guru or what?� he stood by the foot of the bed.
Chidi walked in and stood by the door way.
Edua chuckled, �He was into the transportation business. He is late now.�
�Oh! I am so sorry.�
Chuka sat up quickly, �Don�t tell me that your mum is late too,� she placed a hand on her friend�s shoulder.
Edua shook her head, �She is alive and kicking.�
�Thank God,� she sighed with relief. �I am not a fan of sad stories; they make me teary.�
�Sorry about your dad,� Chidi stared at her directly.
�Thanks,� Edua stared right back at him.
Chuks cleared his throat thrice. �Is the car your inheritance or��
�Chuks!� his siblings chorused in outrage.
Edua smiled at him. She didn�t mind his inquisitive tendencies.
�What?!� he eyed his elder brother and sister.
�Well�� Edua cleared her throat, �I bought the car with my own money.�
They all stared at her in amazement.
She fidgeted under their gaze, �I am not proud of the way I made the money.�
Chuks raised an eyebrow, �Drug trafficking?�
She shook her head, �It was nothing illegal.�
Chidi sighed with relief, �Chuka said a messy break-up got you stranded and homeless.�
She looked up to meet his calm eyes. �Yes. True. I could have gone to my mum�s place, but�� she began to shake her head. Her mother�s place
was the last place she wanted to be.
�Let me guess, she is domineering and controlling,� Chuks supplied.
Edua nodded and smiled.
�All these rich people and their wahala,� Chuka hissed.
�You can stay with us for as long as you want.�
�Oh� thank you,� she smiled back at Chidi.
�I am also into the transportation business,� he said confidently.
�Wow�� Edua sized him up.
�I know that you have just broken up with your boyfriend, but, if you don�t mind, I will like to take you out tonight for dinner,� his expectant gaze
remained on her surprised face.
Chuka and Chuks exchanged glances, then turned to face Edua. She was as shocked as they were.
�Em� well�� she dropped her shy gaze, �I� I don�t mind.�
�Good, I will see you later then,� Chidi sauntered out of the room.
Edua let out a loud breath. Chuka was right after all. Her elder brother liked her.
�If you see Mammy water oooo, never, ever run away, eeeh!� Chuks began to sing and walked out.
�What are you going to wear?� excited Chuka held her friend�s hands.
�I don�t know. Why don�t you pick out something for me to wear?�
�Yippee!� she jumped down from the bed.
Edua lay back on the bed. Several thoughts ran through her mind. Was it wise to begin another relationship with someone else? She had just re-dedicated her life to God. She had just started her life afresh. She closed her eyes. It was just dinner. She would zero her mind and have a good time. But, what if he asked her out? She opened her eyes. She liked him. What was she thinking? She doesn�t even know him. He knew nothing about her either. She had an undesirable past. What if he couldn�t handle it? She cleared her thoughts and tried not to think. She would take things slowly, a day at a time.
To be continued