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Ximena sat on the bed and read the reply from Aylin over and over again.
‘fight for your love. Dont come running back like some poor loser’ the text message read.
Should she really go back to Mexico? Or should she stay and fight for Tony. Her phone beeped signalling another text message; from Aylin.
‘nothing good comes easy’ the text read.
Indeed! Nothing good comes easy. She wasnt going to go back to Mexico, she was going to stay back and fight.
And with that, she reopened her suitcase and carefully arranged everything in the wardrobe.
Then she smiled as another message came from Aylin, her bestfriend and half sister, same mother but from another father.
‘i will be praying for you. You must succeed Ximena, FIGHT!’ The text message read.
What would she ever do without Aylin?
Abby woke up panting heavily, then she stood up, opened her wardrobe, brought out a big suitcase and packed all her things into it.
She couldnt take it anymore, she was scared. And she was leaving.
Ever since Gilbert had told her about who her biological father was, she had been having nightmares about him, almost every night.
Sometimes, she would be playing with him in the dream, then suddenly he would try killing her telling her to come home with him, that she was his daughter and whether she liked it or not she was going to come home with him, because her parents were there. Then sometimes, she sees a woman who introduced herself as Gina, her mother, together with her father telling her to come home to them. Most times in the dream, her mother gives her something to eat, and she eats and dies in the dream.
Living alone in the well furnished three bedroom flat was scary to her now. She had been comfortable living in it before whenever Gilbert travelled but now, it was scary.
But she had nowhere to go, but one thing was certain, she was leaving this house and that was it.
‘so you are going to be your stepmother’s maid of honour?’ Susan said to Maria as they settled in her room.
‘yes’ Maria said taking off her shoes and sitting on Susan’s bed.
‘so you’ve come to accept her?’
‘accept her indeed!’
‘what do you mean?’
‘she’s going to regret marrying my dad. I will make sure of that’
‘how do you plan on doing that Maria?’
‘before i wasnt going to allow her marry my dad but now i change my mind. They should get married and try living their so called happy ever after life. I will teach her a lesson she would never forget. I will never give up, never! And i will hate her for the rest of my life’ Maria said with anger in her eyes.
Susan was a bit scared. This wasnt the Maria she knew. There was something about her, something but she couldnt place her fingers on it. Seems like Maria had become the devil herself.
‘Maria, those words are too deep’ she managed to say.
‘same way my hatred is deep’
Susan shrugged and decided to change the topic. She didnt like where this was heading at all.
‘what do i offer you?’ she asked.
Susan laughed ‘abeg talk jor. Which juice do i offer you? 5alive or chivita or…..’
‘i’d rather take something alcoholic’
‘you cant be serious’
Maria took off her sunglasses ‘look into my eyes Susan, i’ve changed. Changed like mad. I want something alcoholic’ Then she put her sunglasses back on.
Susan laughed uneasily then excused herself and went to the kitchen.
She was telling herself that keeping Maria as her friend wasnt a good idea. But apart from that, she couldnt deny that there was no way she was ending her friendship with Maria, if not for anything, at least for all the goodies she was benefiting from her.
She took a bottle of whisky from her father’s minibar and a glass cup and went back into the room.
‘so, how are you preparing for the WAEC?’ Susan asked.
‘i’m not even preparing sef. I’ve got my head clouded with too many thoughts, i’ve forgotten what is called reading’ Maria said nonchalantly.
‘so tell me, what are those thoughts that are clouding your head?’
‘i want nothing than getting rid of Alice Tarulba’
‘no tell me what you planned to do before? So you just planned to walk out just like that? Like a loser right?’ Aylin barked from the other end of the line.
‘its not that Aylin……’
‘its not what Ximena? Didnt you just text me that you were coming home?’
‘your reply changed my mind’
‘i dont really get you Ximena, why do you like walking out on your destiny so easily without a fight? Really why?’
Ximena bit her lower lip in frustration as she tried to calm Aylin down. At a point, she started apologising, for no offence. She couldnt place her fingers on what she did to Aylin that was making her shout on her as if she killed someone.
‘look Ximena, i want you to get hold of that guy, what ever his name may be, i dont fu.cking care. Marry him! Get rid of any blockade whatsoever, dont let another woman steal him away from you’ Aylin said harshly from the other end of the line.
‘but Aylin, you know i dont have that kind of mind. I cant hurt anyone besides that woman is a very nice woman and even the insults i manage to give her everyday always pains my heart because i know she did no wrong to me. I know how i suffered when Vanessa and Elvis deviced a plan and took Tony away from me, and i dont want another woman to suffer that because of me’
‘get rid of those unwanted sentiments Ximena!’ Aylin barked ‘do whatever you can and pay the price later. You need ideas? I’ve got loads of it. Need help? I can send someone over or do you want me to come over myself?’
‘no Aylin, i dont need your help’
‘i could take the next availabe flight there’
‘i dont need your help darling, thanks for volunteering’
‘you know i love you Ximena and i want the best for you. Nothing good comes easy. Do you know how i fought so very hard to get Verdugo to love me? Do you know?’
‘i know’ Ximena smiled. Even though Aylin was 20, the girl was deadly. She had witnessed how her half sister had killed a woman with her bare hands. Aylin was heartless and if ever Aylin stepped foot into Nigeria, both Maria and Alice would be gone within a twinkle of an eye.
Aylin never joked with her and she could kill a whole country if Ximena ordered her to but she hated having blood in her hands. She couldnt hurt a fly!
‘are you kidding me or what?’ Susan asked in disbelief ‘i thought you were liking the woman already?’
‘yes i like her. I mean she’s kindhearted, caring and forgiving and what have you but that gives her no right to steal my mother’s position in that house!’
‘haba Maria!’ Susan sighed softly ‘you know that i’ve been supporting you since but i think its high time i said the truth. Just let that woman be. When i was in your house two saturdays ago, i wasnt blind to the fact that the woman truly cares for you like her own daughter. Even when you kept on rebuffing her, she never stopped. Have compassion on her. At least, just stop for the reason that you made her spend one month of her life in prison when she was innocent. She’s pregnant for your dad Maria, let them just get married, please i beg of you’ Susan pleaded.
‘i never said i wasnt gonna allow them get married!’
‘but you are going to make life a living hell for her abi?’
Maria shrugged ‘a little’
‘Susan, its not that i am a wicked person and all but i just dont want Alice to marry my dad, i just dont want it’ Maria said sobbing.
‘i understand Maria that you are not a bad person but….haba! Let them have their peace abeg. Remember you are a woman too, dont you want to have peace in your husband’s home?’
‘i wont marry someone else’s husband!’
‘so whose husband is your dad?’
Susan chuckled ‘silly! Your mum is dead’
‘doesnt matter’ Maria said wiping her running nose with her flowery handkerchief.
Susan stood up and went to sit beside Maria on the bed, then threw her arms around her ‘Maria, talk to me. I know there’s something bothering you. Apart from Alice and your dad getting married, there must be some other issues.
Maria’s sobs intensified but she said nothing.
‘the you i know never take alcohol, even when Abby sometimes take a bottle of beer, you refuse to take a sip but today, you ordered for a bottle of whisky, Maria talk to me, even if you cant talk to anyone’
‘you…you wont understand. Susan, i’m scared and i cant talk to anyone’
Maria shook her head ‘i’m sorry no’
Susan shook her head as a frown creased her brow ‘but why?’
‘because….because i’m not sure of it yet but i’m scared. I feel i’m….i’m….never mind’
‘arent we best friends anymore?’
‘we are….and we would always continue to be’
‘then……its okay. If its something you cant share, its okay’
Maria nodded, ‘thanks’
‘but if you cannot keep it all in, just know that i would always be there for you’
Maria smiled in gratitude ‘what would i have done without you Susan?’
Susan just smiled.