Fatihat was just ending a call when her foster sister, Josephine Bob came in. The latter went straight to the kitchen. She was wolfing down a piece of fried cold chicken which she found in the fridge with a cup of garri soaked in cold water when fatihat joined her with a big grin on her face.
“Did you win visa lottery?” She asked with a bulging mouth.
“This is even better than visa lottery. I owned a bigger share of the Abeeb Group of companies at this moment. The share was losing value and his brothers released theirs into the market. I asked my stockbroker to get it all with his name. Isn’t that great?” She grinned at her sister as she spooned garri into her mouth.
Josephine was silent for a long time. She finished her impromptu meal and rinsed away the cup before facing her sister.
“Let me tell you something, little sister. Can you remember that medical association dinner party I was invited to by a friend a few weeks ago?” Josephine began quietly.
“What about it? What does it have to do with what we were discussing right now?” Fatihat demanded angrily.
“It has everything to do with it if only you will listen to what I have to say.” She returned with a hand on her hips.
“Go ahead, I’m listening.”Fatihat sat down on the kitchen table, obviously seething with anger but her sister continued anyway.
“I met this guy there. He was their guest of honor. He is a doctor. He works in Lagos university teaching hospital. His name is Olawale Abeeb.” She paused. Fatihat frowned, trying to remember where she had heard the name before.
“We‘ve been seeing each other since that evening. I’m afraid I’m fast falling in love with him.” She finished solemnly.
“You are falling for a guy you barely know, someone you just met? How stupid can you be at times, Josephine?”Fatihat stared frostily at her.
“I am stupid enough to say yes if he asks me to marry him.” Her voice was firm.
“It is your life. You can live it any way you like. It is none of my business but please don’t cry to me when it all ends.”Fatihat warned her, coolly.
“Don’t worry. I won’t.” Her smile was indulging.
“So what does this have to do with what I just told you?” Fatihat asked, puzzled.
“Well, Wale is Tunde’s older brother. They are siblings.’ She told her sister who looked shocked for the moment. “They are four of them. Wale is the oldest, followed by Tunde. I realized he is quite close to his younger brother. He is aware of everything going on in his father’s company and in Tunde’s personal life.” Josephine paused again.
“So what am I suppose to do with this story that touches the heart, Jose?” Fatihat demanded of her.
“How am I supposed to tell him it was my sister who is behind their entire problem without apparent cause?” Josephine snapped as her anger sparked to life.
“Without any apparent cause, you said? Why don’t you ask for the reason instead of just jumping to a conclusion? Are you so blind with love or lust?” She asked angrily, staring at her sister.
“Maybe you can tell me now because I want to know.” Josephine responded as she stared right back.
“I don’t think you are interested in knowing. You are only interested in defending your boyfriend. I don’t give a fucking shit about him, is that clear?”Fatihat walked out. She took a bottle of red wine and its goblet from the bar and went straight to her room.
A week later, Fatihat came back from class quite earlier than usual. Olawale Abeeb was in the sitting room, watching a movie while Josephine was apparently busy in the kitchen.
“Who are you please?” She asked, barely polite as she dangled her car key.
“I’m Wale Abeeb. You must be Delilah Smith, Josephine‘s younger sister, right?”He got to his feet but didn’t bother to extend his hand for a handshake. He could feel the waves of hostility coming from the beautiful young woman who stood a few feet away from him.
“I am. Welcome to our humble abode!” She gave him an up and down peruse. She had to admit he bore a striking resemblance to his younger brother.
“Hey, Lilah. You are back early today. How was your lecture?” Josephine came out of the kitchen with a tray of cold drinks with snacks and placed it on a stool in front of him.
“The lecturer didn’t turn up.” She sat on a sofa, adjacent to him and brought out a pack of a cigar from her bag.
“I guess you guys have met, right?”Josephine looked from one to the other.
“Yes, we have.” He replied quietly, wondering why Delilah disliked him on the spot. He has always been liked by most people on first meetings.
Fatihat removed a stick and dropped the pack on a stool, then lit it with a lighter.
“Lilah, what is the meaning of that? When did you start smoking in the sitting room?” Josephine went to stand in front of sister and glared down at her.
“I can smoke anywhere I like, girlie.”She inhaled deeply and blew smoke into the air slowly, then smiled at her sister through the cloud of thin smoke.
“God of mercy! You can’t even behave yourself in the presence of a guest. You are so rude, little sister.” Josephine was furious. “Which guest?” She feigned ignorance and then glanced at wale as if she just remembered his presence. “Oh! I’m so sorry. Enjoy yourselves, kiddies.” She laughed heartily, got to her feet and went upstairs.
Josephine stared after her, frozen with embarrassment before she finally turned towards wale and saw him smiling.
“It is okay, sweetheart. I’m sure she will get over it, she is just feeling insecure.”He tried to reassure her.
“I can’t just believe that. It is so annoying.” She sighed with feeling.
“Forget it. It is okay.” He took her wrist and pulled her down unto his laps.
“Please accept my apology on her behalf. She is usually not like this. I don’t know what got into her.” She hung her head in shame. He kissed her gently on the lips.
Later in the evening, fatihat was lying on the chaise lounge in the balcony of her room, clad in just her bra and panties. She stared into the night thoughtfully while she chain-smoked when her sister came to join her.
The latter lay in the second chaise, clad in blue shorts and white jumper. She poured herself a glass of cold fresh juice and sat back to drink it.
“Your guy has left, right?” Fatihat asked quietly.
“That is right. He extends his regard to you though.” Josephine told her and sipped her drink.
“At least he has his manners. He must have been thought in the school of medicine because they lacked it in their household.” Fatihat gave a bitter laugh which echoed between them.
“You seem to know a lot about the Abeeb family. Is there anything I need to know?” Her sister asked as she turned to look at her.
“There is nothing you want to know that your boyfriend cannot tell you.”Fatihat shrugged. She dropped the half-smoked cigar into the ashtray and lit another one.
“Lilah please cut down a bit on your smoking habit.” Her sister said with deep concern. She laughed at her.
“Are you scared for me? Please don’t be. I can’t die now but if I do, I’ve got nothing to lose. You have a lot to gain though.”Fatihat grinned at her.
“I don’t want your wealth or money. Your dead body is of no use to me. I want you alive, kicking and swearing at me. That is the only thing that matters.” She told her fiercely and Fatihat laughed again. “So what happened to you, Lilah? You never came around to telling me about your childhood. Will you tell me now please?” She said pleadingly.
“Do you really want to know?” She smiled faintly at her.
“I want to know. Please tell me.” Josephine pleaded quietly.
“I will tell you. My real name is Fatihat Ali and I was born in Kaduna.” Fatihat began quietly.
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