“I’ll schedule a consultation and hire the
right attorney so we can start the court
procedure for child custody.”
Something had awakened me. I’d heard a
sound other than the pitter-patter of rain.
Wide-eyed, I listened for it. Moments
passed and it never came. Perhaps I’d been
The book I’d been reading fell off my chest
as I rolled to my side. I slipped my phone
from underneath my pillow. I still couldn’t
believe I had a phone. If this was a dream, I
didn’t want to wake up. Amarachi and Flora
would be so thrilled to have my number.
The time read 2:48. Sliding my phone
underneath the pillow, I lay back in bed,
hoping to get some more sleep. And then I
heard it. The sound that had awakened me.
Amidst the heavy rainfall, something
whimpered. I bolted to my feet and raced to
Our animal guest crept beside the wall
opposite my room. It shivered in the cold
rain, whimpering with each step it took. My
stepmother couldn’t stand animals. But I
couldn’t leave the dog to die in the cold. I
would never forgive myself.
How had it gotten in anyway? If Cynthia had
brought it in, then wouldn’t it be in her
room? If neither of us had brought it in,
then it must have dashed in when Cynthia
opened the gate for her mother.
Without a second thought, I sprinted to the
backyard. Ice-cold rain whipped hard,
drenching me in a split second. My teeth
clattered, forming a beat I could almost
dance to, and despite all efforts, I could not
make it stop. I wrapped my arms around
myself and advanced toward my new friend,
but it scooted away from me.
“I’m a friend,” I said.
The dog stared at me as though trying to
decipher if I could be trusted. I held out one
hand. And the other. I placed one foot
forward. And then the other. The dog
stiffened. It let me scoop it into my arms.
I clutched the adorable puffball to my chest.
It nestled in my arms as though we were old
“There now,” I said. “You’re safe.”
With my new friend in my arms, I made for
my room. But I’d only arrived at the dining
when the door leading to my stepmother’s
side of the house flew open. I crossed to
the other side of the dining, eyes roaming
in search of the perfect hiding place for
Bruno. That would be his name during his
stay here. He stared back at me, his wide
eyes telling me he perceived a threat.
“Who’s there?” my stepmother asked from
the passageway. Her footsteps approached,
forcing me to hide Bruno behind thick
“Don’t move.” Whirling around, I stepped
away from the curtains. My stepmother
walked into view, her face darkening at the
sight of me.
Glaring at my soaking-wet nightgown and
the water dripping on the floor, she
scrunched up her nose. “What nonsense is
“I will mop the floor,” I said.
She rolled her eyes and turned to leave, but
then she pinched her nose and looked back
at me. “What smells like wet dog in here?”
“Go back to bed, mum,” Cynthia said. She’d
walked in a moment ago. “I’m sure it’s
nothing but her filth.”
My stepmother sniffed. “Goodness. How can
a human being smell like wet dog? There’s
nothing I won’t see in this—” A sneeze
pushed through. Without another word, she
stormed off, slamming the passage door.
“Where is it?” Cynthia asked.
“What?” I asked.
“The dog, you idiot.”
I feigned innocence. “Dog?”
Her gaze fell to the floor. I froze as she
traced the pattern I’d made with drops of
water. It led her right to Bruno. Scooping
him into her arms, she cradled him.
“Nice doggy doggy,” she petted, her voice
like a child’s. “Look how wet you are. Poor
thingy. Will take care of you, love.”
All smiles, I watched her leave. I knew
without a doubt she’d take good care of
Bruno. He would be fine.
I awakened to a hysterical scream of my
stepmother. My heart thumped hard against
my chest. Had someone broken into the
house? Jumping out of bed, I dashed out of
the room and into the passageway where
the scene unfolded.
Cynthia clutched a whimpering Bruno to her
chest. My stepmother lunged at Bruno, but
Cynthia scooted to the other end of the
“Mum, stop it,” she cried.
“Get this filthy thing out of this house this
instant!” my stepmother said. “Who brought
it in anyway?”
“I did,” Cynthia said. “He was going to die
in the cold outside, so I brought him in.
Mum, please, don’t ask me to send him
away. I’ve always wanted to have a dog.”
“That is not happening!” my stepmother
said. “Not under my roof. Do you know how
dangerous these things are? Look how
you’re cradling that dirty creature.”
“He isn’t dirty,” Cynthia said. “I had him
“That’s enough now!” my stepmother said.
“Enough of this insanity.”
“Mum is right,” I said. “It wouldn’t be right
to keep Bruno. His family must be looking
for him. We have to return him after
“You, shut up!” Cynthia said. “You have
absolutely no right to tell me what I can and
can’t do. Do you understand?”
She turned to look at her mum. “Mum—”
“Do as you wish,” her mother said. “But if I
get bored and something happens, don’t
“Thank you, mum,” Cynthia squealed.
“Thank you so so much. I love you. I know, I
just know it that you’ll love Bruno, and
maybe then you’ll think about buying me my
My stepmother’s warning resounded in my
head. But if I get bored and something
happens, don’t blame me.
Cynthia should have paid attention to that
warning. She obviously didn’t think her
mum would do anything to hurt Bruno. I
wanted to share her faith, but I just
couldn’t. My stepmother would get bored
and something would happen to Bruno.
Sat with Amarachi, Flora, Mary and Farah at
our lunch table, I barely even heard a word
from their conversation. I could not get my
mind off Bruno.
“Earth to Victoria,” Farah said. “Are you
even listening to us?”
“I guess,” I said.
Amarachi sighed. “She’s been like this all
“Are you alright?” Mary asked.
“Yes.” I stared at her, noting how Raheem
had overcrowded my friend-circle with his
family. I’d been surprised to see her walk to
“She’s thinking of Bruno,” Amarachi said.
“Who’s the dog?” Farah asked nonchalantly.
Silence greeted her question. “Sorry. Is it a
human being? I’m sorry. It’s that dogs are
called Bruno, so I just thought—”
Amarachi giggled. “Bruno is a dog.”
“So what’s the story?” Mary asked.
“He was shivering in last night’s cold rain,”
“Yesterday’s rain was cold enough to wake
up one’s dead grandma.” Once again,
silence followed Farah’s words. Punctuating
the silence, Mary and Amarachi burst out
laughing. Flora and I fought to resist the
contagious laughter, but luck eluded us.
“So, about Bruno,” Mary said.
“I brought him in,” I said. “But mum doesn’t
like dogs. And she gave us a very unsettling
Coloring her voice with a dramatic evil,
Amarachi said, “If I get bored and
something happens, don’t blame me.”
“Wow,” Farah said. “That woman is so
scary. What does she look like?”
“Farah!” Mary warned.
“The person you’re calling is currently
busy,” Farah said, winking at Mary. Mary
shook her head, and although she tried to
fight it, a smile stretched her lips.
Farah returned her attention to me. “You
best take that warning seriously. Who
knows, you could return home to find poor
Bruno hacked into bloody little bits. Poor
poor doggy. At least you can’t say she
didn’t warn you.”
Farah’s perception of my stepmother had a
striking resemblance with Amarachi’s. My
gaze darted between the two girls. I had a
feeling they would be great friends.
I spent the rest of the day with Amarachi
and Flora, giving Raheem close to no
chance to steal away a glance. I’d told them
about his proposal. Amarachi seemed more
than excited to keep me away from him,
although she believed in the end I would
give up on keeping him at arm’s length.
Once the closing bell rang, Amarachi and
Flora guarded me to our car. Raheem stared
from the top floor. His wounded look aimed
to make me feel sorry.
Thoughts of him crowded my mind. Only
when I arrived home did I remember Bruno.
I would find a way to sneak him out of the
house. That way, he would be safe. Cynthia
would hate me for it, but I didn’t have a
choice, did I?
“No!” Cynthia’s scream cut through me like
a sword. I bolted in the direction of her
voice and found her sitting on the kitchen
floor with a mass of fur in her arms. Bruno.
I drew nearer to the scene. “What
Tears spilled out of Cynthia’s eyes as she
cradled Bruno’s limp body. My eyes
adjusted to a half-eaten loaf of bread lying
across the floor. And then it hit me. Bruno
had been poisoned. How could my
stepmother have done this?
Tears flooding my eyes, I sprinted to my
room and slammed the door behind me.
Flaring voices sailed to my hearing.
Cynthia’s and her mother’s. Cynthia’s
brittle voice rose and fell with every word
she said. I reached for my phone and called
Stella. She rejected my call and called back
My sniffle caught her attention. “Vicky,
“She’s killed him,” I said. “She killed Bruno.
I should have taken him out of the house
when I left for school. If I had, none of this
would have happened.”
“Calm down, please,” she said. “I can barely
even get a word you said. Try to calm down
and tell me what happened. In.”
“And out. Now, tell me what happened.”
“Remember the dog I brought in last night?”
“Stepmother killed him,” I said.
Stella gasped. “What do you mean she
“She poisoned him. I just feel so terrible.”
“Victoria, this is serious. Anyone who kills
an innocent little puppy is capable of killing
a human being! Now I’m afraid, Vicky. I’m
afraid of what she could do to you. She’s
Regrets flooded my insides. “I shouldn’t
have brought him in. It’s all my fault.”
“Shh. Hush now. Don’t blame yourself. It’s
not your fault. The dog snuck in when
Cynthia opened the gate for your
stepmother. And then you brought him
indoors to save him from the cold. You did
your part, Victoria. Don’t let anyone make
you regret your fine works.”
“I’m just so broken right now,” I said. “Why
did she do this?”
“You’ve seen what she did to Bruno,” Stella
said. “Now we know what she’s capable of.
What if she did that to you?”
“I thought of that too,” I said. “But she
“Well, we won’t wait to find out. There’s no
way I’m letting you stay with that woman.”
“What? Are you implying I leave? But you
said it yourself that you wouldn’t let me
leave this house to them.”
“You’re not leaving the house,” she said.
“You’re only going away for a few days.
Just until I think of something. That woman
has to pay for her crimes. I told you from
the start that justice must be served, but
you’re bent on making her accept you as a
daughter. That will never happen. Do you
see it now? You want a chance for love, but
with her, the only realistic thing you can
hope for is a chance for death. Do you not
I kept mum. Stella sighed, breaking through
the silence. “Victoria, do you trust me?”
“Then you must do as I say,” she said.
Doing as Stella said involved leaving for
school the next day with a few clothes
packed in my bag. I did just so. Uncertainty
coursed through my veins at the sound of
the closing bell. Was I ready to leave my
family behind? Stella believed this to be for
the best, and Amarachi thought no different.
From the corridor, I watched Cynthia leave.
My heart swelled with a longing for home. I
couldn’t do this. I couldn’t leave my family.
I’d tell Stella. She would surely understand.
I turned to leave, but found myself facing
“I know you’re conflicted about this,” he
said. “But it’s only for a few days. At least,
till Stella and I put things in order.”
“How?” I asked.
He smiled in a way that brought my father
to mind. “That’s my job and Stella’s. Your
job is to seek happiness. Can you do that
“That’s a good girl. Come now, I have to
finish up with my work. It’ll only take a
minute or two.”
Sir Aaron’s ‘a minute or two’ translated into
an hour or two. Watching him attend to
paperwork made my eyes droop. I pulled
Stella’s Robber’s Heart out of my bag and
flipped to page sixty where I stopped. I read
through four pages, and Sir Aaron’s ‘a
minute or two’, counted on.
“Five minutes and I’m done,” he said.
That would mean five hours. But this time,
he kept to time. It felt awkward following
him to his car. He didn’t seem to notice my
discomfort. Either that, or he was a great
We got into the car and he pulled out of the
lot, his pace noticeably slower than
Raheem’s. Being with him brought a new
kind of feeling to my body; a bold mix of
fear and the promise of relief.
I looked down at the book on my laps, my
new companion. But Sir Aaron interrupted
me before I could even take in one
paragraph. “What did they do with the
“What body?” The answer hit me once the
question left my lips. Bruno. “I don’t know.
Stepmother and Cynthia disposed of it. I’m
thinking they buried him somewhere.”
“Or tossed him in the trash somewhere,” he
said. “Why, it’s possible. I doubt that
stepmother of yours would trouble herself
by digging him a grave.”
An image of a decomposing Bruno lying in
the trash raked into the walls of my chest. I
turned away, willing this image away. I
wanted to believe Cynthia had forced
Bruno’s murderer to honor him by burying
him. But the more I thought of it, the more
I thought of his corpse being exposed to
“You’re a strong one,” Sir Aaron
commended. “You go through a lot, and yet
you wear a smile and act like everything is
“I learned to cope,” I said.
“That’s a fine skill. Holding your head under
water and still breathing fine.”
After a moment of silence, he asked, “Are
you nervous about meeting my family?”
“Yes, sir,” I admitted.
“You shouldn’t be.”
“How many kids do you have?”
“Three. Bolaji is the eldest. He’s not home
at the moment. He’s studying Medicine in
Uniport, and so, he stays at Choba. You
know, distance and all. And then there is
Sharon. She’s done with high school, but
hasn’t gained admission yet. I know you’ll
get along just fine. Although, I must say,
she’s obsessed with being neat. Can’t stand
a small stain on her cloth. Washes her bed
sheets and towels every week. She won’t
have a handshake unless she’s sure you
just stepped out of the shower, or used a
hand sanitizer. And then she always carries
with her a hand sanitizer. And finally,
there’s your namesake. Vicky. She’s only
eight, but she’s a handful. Looks just like
“Your family is adorable,” I said.
He smiled. “Wait till you meet them. You’ll
feel so at home, you’ll see.”
I’d feel so at home. Although he’d aimed at
helping me relax with those words, he
achieved the exact opposite. But I wouldn’t
bare his failure to him. The thought of
feeling at home in Sir Aaron’s house
frightened me. What if I felt so at home
that I forgot my family and wished to belong
here instead? Wouldn’t that count as
“Daddy!” a little girl screamed, bursting out
of Sir Aaron’s house. “Daddy! Daddy!”
She flung herself at Sir Aaron and wrapped
him in a bear hug.
“How are you?” Sir Aaron asked.
“I’m fine!” the girl, Vicky said.
Emotions swirled within me as I watched
them. They brought to mind the great
relationship I had had with my dad.
I missed him. At first I’d thought the wound
of his departure would heal, but it never
did. And now, seeing the love between Sir
Aaron and his daughter had just reminded
me of my hurt, and how ruthlessly life had
Looking away from the tear-triggering sight,
I led my eyes to the house before me. It
didn’t compare to the mansion I lived in,
but it held an air of love around it. It felt
“Where’s Sharon?” Sir Aaron asked. “I
brought you guys a new friend.”
“A new friend!” Vicky said. “Cooool!” She
hopped to me and took my hand. “Hello. I’m
Victoria. But everyone calls me Vicky.”
I smiled at her. “I am Victoria.”
“Great! Dad, she has my name. Come, mum
would be so glad to meet you!”
Before I could protest, she dashed toward
the house, pulling me with her. For a child,
she had some unbelievable strength.
“Mummy, daddy brought a friend for me!”
She made to step into the house, but I
“My shoes,” I said.
She gave me a moment to kick off my
shoes. In seconds, I found myself in the
kitchen. A woman turned to look at me. She
held a spoon she’d been using to stir. From
the scent wafting through the air, I
recognized the food-in-progress to be
vegetable soup. Dad’s favorite.
“Good evening ma,” I said.
“Good evening dear,” Mrs. Aaron said. “You
must be Victoria.”
“My husband has told me so much about
you. It’s great to finally meet you. You must
be starving. Food should be ready before
you’re done showering.” To Vicky, she said,
“Vicky, show her to the room.”
Returning her attention to me, she said,
“You’ll be sharing a room with my
daughters. Vicky will show you to the room
so you can freshen up. I’m sure Sharon’s
clothes will fit you just fine.”
“I brought a few clothes,” I said.
Mrs. Aaron gaped at my backpack. “What?
In that little bag of yours or there’s a
A suitcase? Would I be staying here
She waved off my unasked question. “Never
mind me. Oh, anyway, you can always try
Sharon’s clothes. She’ll be pleased to
“Come on,” Vicky said. All smiles, she ran
past me and flung open the door to a room.
She grabbed a pillow and approached
Sharon who lay asleep in bed. Before I
could protest, she slammed into her with
“Wake. Up. You. Sleepy. Head.” With every
word, she slammed the pillow into her.
Sharon grunted. “Vicky, allow me to sleep!”
“No I won’t,” Vicky said. “Wake up this
Groaning, Sharon dug her face into the
pillow underneath her head. She crushed
her fist into the wall and leapt to her feet.
Vicky screamed and giggled as Sharon
dashed after her. She leapt behind me and
gripped me for shelter. “Ogre,” she said,
jumping and giggling. “Ogre! Ogre!”
I couldn’t help but share Vicky’s
excitement. Frozen in her tracks, Sharon
took a few moments to smoothen her
disarrayed hair. “Hi, Victoria.”
“Hi,” I said back.
“I swear, had you not been here, I’d have
tickled her to death for interfering with my
sleep,” Sharon said. “I was even dreaming
and she just interrupted it like that. Can you
“What were you dreaming of?” I asked.
She waved off my question. “Speaking of it
will only break my heart.”
“That heart has been broken over and over
again,” Vicky said. “I wonder how it still
“Vicky, I don’t have strength for you,”
Vicky detached her hands from me. Her
fading footsteps told me of her exit. Sharon
“Come in,” she said, heading for the bed on
which she’d slept. Her reflection in the
mirror caught her eye. Picking a hair brush
from the closet, she kept each strand of
hair in place.
Just as I made to sit on the second bed,
Sharon turned around with a shriek that
almost split my eardrums. “No no! Don’t!”
I held my awkward position for a moment
before straightening my spine. My face
contorted into a grimace.
“Go shower first,” she said. “You’re all
sweaty right now.”
Had I not been warned beforehand of her
obsession with neatness, I would have taken
offence. But now, I could only find it
Moments later, freshened up and clad in a
jean skirt and pink t-shirt, I stepped out of
the bathroom to find a pair of slippers at
“I wouldn’t want your feet to get dirty,”
Sharon said. She didn’t look away from the
game she played on her laptop.
“Thanks,” I said.
“Mum came a moment ago to tell you
food’s ready,” she said. Too engrossed in
her game, she didn’t notice my departure.
Neither did she notice my presence fifteen
I plopped down in the unoccupied bed and
busied myself with Stella’s Robber’s Heart.
More stories @ www.chorusman.com
I’d barely even finished one page when
Sharon paused her game. The sudden
quietness forced me to look at her. Laying
in bed and propped up on an elbow, she
stared at me.
“I didn’t even notice you were back,” she
“I didn’t want to interrupt your game,” I
said. “What game is that?”
“Fast and Furious. I doubt you know it.
You’re not allowed to watch TV anyway. But
don’t worry. You’re here now. You’ll get all
the love you’ve been deprived of.”
It felt awkward knowing Sir Aaron had told
his entire family of my misery. But with
Sharon’s sweetness, who could dwell on a
thing like that?
“Wow,” Sharon said. “I can’t believe I
haven’t even told you my name. I’m—”
“Sharon,” I said.
“Ah! I see someone’s been talking about
me. What did dad tell you? I’m dying to
“He said you’re done with high school.”
“What else? I hope he mentioned my
supposed obsession, because only then
would you be able to stand my personality. I
mean, some people take me for a proud
person. But that’s not what you think, is
“Of course not,” I said. “I think it’s
She grinned. “Adorable. I’m adorable.” She
sat up and leaned toward me as though
wanting to peer into my mind. “Hey, tell me
something. Do you think the Iraqi Sherlock
Holmes likes you? I mean, from what I’ve
heard, he’s allergic to humans, mostly the
ones wearing skirt. But then, he didn’t mind
spending time with you in the name of
solving a case. What’s your take on this?”
“Where do you get your news from?” I
“Why? Are you stunned about how reliable
my source is?”
“Well, yeah,” I said. “I know it isn’t Sir
Aaron. No, it has to be a student.”
“Of course it is. But I won’t tell you who.”
She stuck out her tongue.
“It’s a girl?” I asked.
“Not telling you.”
“Oh, please. Come on!”
“No way on earth am I.”
“You have to tell me. If transporting you to
Mars is the only way, so be it.”
Sharon giggled at my hopeless threat.
“Guess what else the person told me.”
She grinned. “You are to Raheem what
Juliet is to Romeo.”
“No,” I said. “That’s the sickest thing I’ve
“Really, it’s totally wrong.”
“Oh, but the look on your face tells me
A smile stretched my lips, making it
impossible to hold Sharon’s gaze. She
smiled knowingly as I averted my eyes.
“You’re only imagining things,” I said.
“Besides, Raheem would never look at me
that way. And even if he did, I wouldn’t be
ready to play ‘Juliet’ just yet. It’s a really
“Yeah, right. Anyway, about the case you
solved, my dad is really proud of you. And I
am too. Ever since, I’ve been dying to meet
you, and now here we are.”
“I shouldn’t receive any credit. Raheem did
all the work.”
“Yeah, right.” After a moment, she added,
“Hey, you’re so easy to talk to. I feel like
I’ve known you all my life.”
“I was about to say the exact same thing,” I
“If only we attended the same school, we’d
have been great friends. But I never even
thought of Western High, because the fee is
just too much. It’s more than hundred times
the fees in the school I attended. No
kidding. You can compute it yourself. Mine
was twenty eight thousand per term.
Highest was thirty four. At least, writing my
WAEC in SS2 has helped save one year’s
worth of fees, thank goodness.”
Our conversation went on till darkness
conquered daylight. At one point, I’d even
convinced her to give Stella’s Robber Heart
a chance. Going through my phone, she
found a video of Raheem’s live show I’d
downloaded from YouTube.
“This guy is bomb!” she said.
“There’s more to him than meets the eye,” I
“I’m turning on my Xender. That video
needs to be on my phone!”
I shared the video via Xender. Sharon
cranked up her volume as she played the
video. “When’s his next performance? I
wouldn’t forgive myself if I missed it!”
“I don’t know when,” I said.
“Are you for real? Call him right now and
“I don’t have his number.”
“We aren’t exactly friends. We were only
partners in crime solving. And that’s that. I
think now we’re back to being strangers.” A
wistful look crept to my face.
“You’re okay with this?” she asked.
“Returning to being strangers when there’s
a great possibility of a wonderful
“Actually, I’m the one avoiding him. I don’t
think he wants friendship. He—”
“You see! I told you!” Sharon’s piercing
voice could slice through rock. “My source’s
right. There’s a modern-day Romeo and
Juliet in the making.”
“No,” I said. “That’s not even it. He has a
very wrong view of girls. He thinks we’re all
the same. And now he wants me to prove
that not every girl is the same.”
Her smile said she’d seen this coming.
“That is him asking you on a date, my
friend. His way, though, is…wow. Don’t say
yes, though. If he wants you to date him,
he’ll have to drop his ego and ask you
directly. We won’t accept anything less than
“We?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said. “We are a team. High
The door cracked open and Mrs. Aaron
stepped in. “Dinner’s ready.”
“One moment, mum,” Sharon said.
“I don’t think I’ll be having dinner, ma,” I
said to Mrs. Aaron. “I ate barely two hours
ago. I am still full.”
“Sweetheart, I have already dished out your
food,” she said. “So please, come and eat.
You don’t have to finish everything on the
“Sorry, my friend,” Sharon said. “But here,
we make sure to have three square meals.
Walking away, Mrs. Aaron said, “I didn’t
cover anybody’s food o.”
“Oh poo!” Sharon sprang to her feet. “You
should have said so earlier, mum. Thanks,
mum! Just thanks!”
Sharon fled to go attend to her uncovered
food. I made to follow, but my ringing
phone held me back.
I answered Stella’s call with a smile. “Hi.”
“Hey, what’s up?” she said. “You’re all
good, I hope.”
“I’m fine,” I said.
“Perfect. And your new home? I hope you
feel at home.”
“I do. They’re lovely. Thank you so much
for helping me.” I wished she were here so
I’d hug her.
“It’s okay,” she said. “You have to do
something for me in return, though.”
Words failed me. What would she have me
“Are you there?” she asked.
“Okay. I was saying you’ve got to do
something for me in return.”
“Be happy,” she said. “Can you do that for
As simple as her request sounded, we both
knew happiness was the number one
emotion that eluded me. But for her, I
would try to find a place for it in my gloomy
“Yes,” I said.
“That’s a good girl,” she said. “I just wanted
to know how you’re doing. I’ll call you later.
She ended the call. I placed my phone
beside my pillow and made for the dining,
but an ongoing conversation stole my
“What do you think of her?” Sir Aaron’s
voice sailed amidst the clatter of cutlery.
Careful not to make any noise, I stood
beside the wall, and thankfully, my shadow
hid beside me. Entering the dining would
bring their conversation to a halt, and I
didn’t want that just yet.
“I like her,” Vicky said. “She’s nice.”
“We got along just fine,” Sharon said.
“She’s a lot prettier than I thought.”
“She’s okay with your obsessive neatness
disorder?” Mrs. Aaron asked.
“Mum, it’s no disorder,” Sharon said. “It’s
the best way of life. Don’t you see that I
don’t get sick like the rest of you?”
Mrs.Aaron played deaf to Sharon’s
question. “I’m impressed you all like her.
We need to be good to her, okay? She’s
been through a lot. Sharon, you’re a bitter
old maid sometimes, but put that away
while she’s around, okay? She needs a
break from sickening dramas.”
“Mum, I’m not a problem as long as you
give me all the freedom an adult needs.”
“I’ll start treating you like an adult when
you start acting like one.”
“I’m not a kid anymore,” Sharon said.
“I’m invisible,” Sir Aaron said. They all
smiled at me as I joined them in the dining.
A plate of fried plantain and fried egg sat
“Dad, will Victoria return home sometime?”
Vicky asked. “I’m so worried about her.
She’s happy with us. I don’t want her to go
back to that evil woman you told us about.”
“She has a point, dad,” Sharon said. “That
woman is capable of murder.”
“Your mother and I were thinking the very
same thing,” Sir Aaron said. “We have
decided to take custody over her. I’ll
schedule a consultation and hire the right
attorney so we can start the court procedure
for child custody. But first I’ll visit that
woman to tell her of the new turn things
have taken. Victoria will have no more of
her abuse. That woman is crazy! Killing a
pet dog is unthinkable. It shows just how
depraved she is.”
“You’re right,” Mrs. Aaron said. Staring at
me, she went on, “It is not only not in your
best interests but also to your detriment to
be left with your so-called family. They’ve
caused you much harm already. With them,
your physical, emotional, moral, or mental
health is in jeopardy. You are a fine young
lady who needs an appropriate home. I know
our home isn’t much, but we will treat you
right. Things are hard in Nigeria at the
moment, but my children don’t starve. I’m
sure there’ll be enough food for everyone.”
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