The next day, Miss Economics took Florence to one of the judges who had helped her win during her time. Florence wanted more than anything to win but she was not prepared to sleep with him. Ever since she was rejected by Philip, she had made up her mind to keep her body pure until she met the right man. What prompted her to take the decision was something she could not fathom. As soon as they got to the dean of student affairs office, Miss Economics introduced her.
“Sir, this is the contestant that I called to tell you I would bring to see you. She is anxious to win this competition and I am sure she will cooperate with you. Please assist her in any way you can”. After a while, she excused herself and left the two to discuss.
Florence: “Sir, please help me. I really do want to win this competition even though my friend that I wanted to impress with it is dead; I need it to help me feel like somebody on this campus. I am tired of people branding me a nobody on campus because my parents are poor”.
Organiser: “ I see what you mean. Are you ready and willing to pay the price? No achievement comes without a price you know”.
Florence: “It depends on what the price is, sir”.
Organiser: “Smart girl” He smiled. Florence noticed the way his lips twitched when he smiled. “Disgusting”, she thought.
organiser: “I am sure that your friend has told you to satisfy me in bed, well, I am not interested. Man shall not live by sex alone this recession, what I need is money and twenty minutes of freaking hot blow job right here. No sex, just give me a good head with the money and you will be crowned the winner with all the goodies associated with the crown”.
Florence: “How much, sir?”
Organiser: “N200, 000 cash. No cheque, no bank deposit, no ATM or mobile transfer, only cash!”.
Florence: “N200 what!”
Organiser: “You heard me the first time. Are you in or out? I am on my way out for a meeting”
Maya cleaned her eyes with her handkerchief. She knew that she had to be strong for herself and her mother. “doctor”, she said. “I will like to see my mother”.
Doctor: “That’s allowed but you have to be strong, remember that she is in a critical condition and as such you should show no grieve around her. Also, we have not told her about your father’s condition until her situation stabilizes, so you should discuss him with her if she is already conscious”
Maya nodded and the doctor led her to the ward. Maya’ s heart broke the umpteenth time that day when she saw her mother, all bandage and panting for air. The doctor ran to her and adjusted the oxygen machine.
Maya knelt beside her. “ Mummy, please don’t leave me alone, I can’t go through this without you. You are all I have got now, please pull through for me. I beg you in the name of God”. She held her mother’s weak hand and kissed it, wetting it with her tears.
Mrs Lanre laid put, oblivious of what was going on around her. If not for the timely intervention of the doctor who adjusted the oxygen machine, she would have been on her way to where her husband was, which was something she desired even in her unconscious state.
Doctor: “You have to leave now so that we can carry out the blood transfusion. You may wait for us at the reception”.
Two days later, the autopsy result was released and it was discovered that Naya had died of heart failure in her sleep. This ruled out any suspicion that she was killed or that Philip knew anything that had to do with her death. However, Mrs Lanre kept a secret in her heart about the twins that only her knew about. Maya instructed the hospital management to arrange for an ambulance and move her sister’s body down to the mortuary where her father’s body was kept since she was taking care of her mother in the hospital .
It took Mrs Lanre almost a month to recover and her daughter stood by her, patiently taking care of her and attending to all her needs while on sick bed. On the day she was told that her husband had died in the accident, she cried so bitterly that Maya feared her having blood pressure shooting up and causing further medical complications. Two months after she was discharged from the hospital, Mr Lanre and Naya’s body were taken to the village and buried amidst tears and great sorrow. After mother and child returned from the burial, Philip and Malik came to visit and condole with them. He had stayed away from the burial for fear that Naya’s ghost would embarrass him for how he had manhandled her corpse. As soon as he knocked and the maid led him in, he came face to face with Maya who was wearing a black short silk dress with a black scarf on her head, signifying the mood of the house. Her calm outlook discomfited him, she reminded him so much of Naya and the way she stared him that night before she went to sleep to her death.
Philip: “I am sorry”, he fumbled at loss of what to say. He was wondering why he had even visited the house in the first place.
Maya: “Sorry for what?”
Philip: “I, er, for the death of your sister. We also learnt you lost your father too, may their souls rest in peace”.
Maya: “Amen, who are you? I don’t remember seeing this face in the past”. She sized him up from head to toe and she couldn’t help but notice that he was good looking with cute eyes, tall slim figure and chocolate colored skin. He was in a black t-shirt and jeans and she noticed how well the color of the shirt contrasted with his skin.
Philip: “I…er…I am, no, I was Naya’s boyfriend”.
Maya: “Oh, the guy she died in his compound. Anyway, it is not your fault. The autopsy told us what she died of and it’s purely medical. Make yourself comfortable, please”.
Maya: “He is so cute, look at his sexy eyes, and the way his lips moves when he speaks, gosh. No wonder my twiny fell in love with him, who wouldn’t? I wish I had a boyfriend in Nigeria who would take my mind away from all that has happened lately”. She thought. Her mother came down the stairs, looking haggard and unkempt. The death of her husband had dealt her a terrible blow and she was a shadow of herself. She always stayed locked up in her room and would only come out when she heard strange voices downstairs.
Mrs Lanre: “Maya, who are these young men?”
Maya: “Oh mum, you are awake. I checked on you a while ago and I saw you sleeping. Anyway, this is Philip, Naya’s ex…”
Mrs Lanre: “Eh? Which Philip? The same one my daughter died in his compound? What is he doing here? To lure you to his room so that I will bury you too?”
Maya: “Mum, this is unlike you. What are you talking about?”
Mrs Lanre: “You just keep quiet there. Young man, what are you doing in my house” She asked Philip who got up abruptly from his chair as if he had sat on a pin.
Philip: “I came to condole with you and the family, ma. It is the least thing I can do for Naya. She was such an adorable person”.
Mrs Lanre: “What sort of a useless condolence is that? Did we tell you that we are in need of mourners in this house? Condolences oshi would ni ye? Iya laya condolence. If you don’t get your miserable self out of my house right now, I will get you arrested”.
Philip: “Ma, I mean no harm”.
Mrs Lanre: “Of course you mean no harm and that is why instead of you to face your studies in school, you lured my daughter to your bed. A very good girl that I brought up in the way of the Lord, only God knows the kind of crude instrument that you used on her that caused her that heart attack. Get out!” She screamed, startling Philip and Malik who scampered out.
Maya got up after they left and faced her mother.
Maya: “What was that for mum?”
Mrs Lanre: “What did it look like?”
Maya: “That was wrong mum. You know as well as I do that he didn’t kill Maya, the autopsy result says it all. Why did you have to embarrass him simply because he came to condole with us?”
Mrs Lanre: “I don’t care what the autopsy says. All I know is that my daughter never had any case of heart attack. I guess he was busy forcing his way into her when the heart attack happened if not how comes she died in that compound of all places.? I will not have such a person in my house, who knows the plan he has for you? You are all I have and I have sworn to protect you with my life if it comes to that “.
Maya: “Stop this, mum. This is very unlike you, you are not yourself. If he was making out with her forcefully before she died, the autopsy would have revealed that. What exactly are you protecting me from here? You are just using this to cover up your grieve and trust me it won’t help”.
Mrs Lanre: “Are you saying this to me, your mother?” She began to weep.
Maya: “Mum, stop this psychological torture that you are subjecting me to. You lost your husband and daughter, yes. But I also lost my father and my sister and not just any sister, my twin and my one and only sister. We are in this together, don’t make it more difficult that it appears, else I will just go back to UK and I will never return”. She ran upstairs leaving her mother who sank to her knees, weeping.
Question: Will Florence agree to the organiser’s offer? Is Mrs Lanre’s reaction to Philip appropriate?
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