Excerpt From Episode 9:
“Someone has been texting Chioma and it was Gift. What games are you playing David? What the freaking hell is going on. This wasn’t what I signed up for.”
“Shit. I got to go. They are back, I will explain later. But I need you to transfer me some money. I will be needing new clothes. I will explain everything later. I love you.” The line went dead before Maryam could say anything and she dropped the phone more confused than ever. David didn’t know about who was texting her? For the first time, she wondered what she had gotten herself into as she stared at her own reflection in the mirror and felt the beginning of a headache again…
Read Episode 9, CLICK HERE
It was 5:30pm, everything needed for the get-together party Mrs. Ugochukwu was throwing was in place. The guests were already arriving the apartment with their smiles and congratulations. Chioma stood at the front door like one assigned the duty of a gate keeper. She was dressed in a black gown with little traces of purple flower. The short dress had been designed by her mother and as she greeted each guest with a plastic smile, she kept hoping Maryam would appear.
In Edmund Crescent, everyone knew each other so it was no surprise that their house was flooded with people by a little after 7 pm when the party itself had been slated for 7.30pm. Chioma tried to hide her discomfort at Gift’s presence. Although Gift had not been formally invited, it would have been rude to turn her away, she was after all a member of her mother’s staff.
At 8:00pm, there was still no sign of Maryam so Chioma decided to give up her watchdog duty and socialise with some of the guests. They were all there to celebrate with her mother for sparing David’s life after all. As she moved from one group to the other, she contemplated the idea of going to where Gift was standing, laughing with a group of models from the agency. There were so many questions she wanted to ask but she knew this wasn’t the right place or time. Besides, she was sure Maryam wouldn’t approve. As the night wore on, she retired to her bedroom, leaving the door ajar just a bit so that the soft music from the living room found its way into her room. She couldn’t bear the silence. As she began to remove her earrings, thoughts of the past days came flooding back to her and she sat down on the bed as if lost in a trance.
Suddenly he was there. Matthew. Right in front of her in the flesh. She looked at him in awe as he stretched forth his hands and his gentle voice asked for a dance.
“Can I have this dance my lady?” Am I running mad? Can it be? “Matthew,” she whispered, standing unconsciously from the bed and stretching out her hand. She felt his skin against hers. “I thought you were dead, Matthew what happened?”
“Hush, don’t speak,” he said as he circled his arms around her and began to move their body gently to the soft tune of the music. Chioma closed her eyes and sank into him. He was alive, that was all that mattered.
‘What are you doing?’ Maryam’s voice penetrated through the fog in Chioma’s mind. She had been standing by the door of Chioma’s room for several minutes watching her friend dancing alone with her eyes closed. Chioma’s eyes flew open and she saw she was holding on to thin air.
“He was here, Matthew. I saw him.” Her voice was agitated as she ran towards Maryam, looking frantically around the room.
“Matthew is dead. Don’t lose it friend, please don’t! You must have been hallucinating.” Maryam hugged her and stroked her hair as she allowed Chioma sob on her shoulder.
“I miss him. Am I going insane? I am tired Maryam, tired I tell you. Tired of everything. Gosh! I miss the days when life was without worries and when…”
‘You have to be strong,” Maryam cut in gently, “you can get over this, we can overcome all of this. Trust me, that is all I ask. Gift is here.”
“I know, I wasn’t sure what to do. I am sorry about the way I accused you about sleeping with David. It was uncalled for. I guess you would have told me in your own time.”
“I didn’t mean for any of it to happen but right now we have more pressing issues and I need you totally on my side.” The two girls hugged again even as they began to make plans of what to do concerning Gift.
Gift had left the group she had been drinking with and was now standing alone by the drink table, a frown on her face. From her position, she observed everybody in the room and took a sip of her drink from time to time not to appear out of place but her glance couldn’t stop going to the gold wristwatch on her left wrist. Anybody watching her would conclude she was either waiting for when the party would end or if she was waiting for someone.
Mrs. Ugochukwu soon caught sight of Gift and bothered that her secretary was feeling out of place walked up to her with a smile on her face, “Gift dear, hope you are having fun? Why are you standing here alone? I suck at throwing parties I know. Everything was hurried.”
Mrs. Ugochukwu was pleased to see that Gift was wearing one of the designs from the agency. Gift looked pretty in anything she wore and Mrs. Ugochukwu had a soft spot for the younger woman.
“Oh no Ma! I’m waiting for someone that’s all. Great party,” she said with a saccharine sweet smile.
Chioma and Maryam watched the scene from their corner. Mrs. Ugochukwu said something to Gift and then walked away.
“Now, let’s go meet her,” Maryam said.
They had hardly taken two steps when the loud shrill of the doorbell sounded above the din of noise. Mrs. Ugochukwu with a tilt of her head indicated to Chioma to get the door and Chioma found herself walking away from her target. She stalked to the door and yanked it open angrily. Her scream was audible enough as a splitting image of Gift stood hand poised to press the bell again. Everyone’s eyes turned towards Chioma as guests hurried to the door to see what the commotion was about.
“What? Who’s there? Chi is everything alright” Mrs. Beebs, one of the neighbors who everybody said had the faintest heart ever known to mankind asked, her face ashen with fright even though she had not seen what made Chioma scream.
“Gift?” Mrs. Ugochukwu asked in a confused tone as she stared at the stranger standing a bit confused.
“I am here ma,” Gift’s voice came from the other end of the room, “that is my twin sister, Grace.”
Read episode 11: CLICK HERE
Twenty is co-written with Akinwale Poshkid Akinyoade
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