F B -12

TWELVE

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‘HI Sweetie. ‘ Hester chuckled.
Ethelbert came into the sitting room and lowered himself on the
sofabed facing the large screen.
‘Princess? ‘
‘Uh-huh.’
‘No, this has got to be a joke, is this a candid
phone or is someone trying to pull my legs? ‘
‘Jay come on …’ She drawled and adjusted the
phone.
‘My darling princess! My sucre banana! ‘ He
hailed. ‘How’re you doing? ‘
‘Great darling and you? ‘ She beamed.
‘Splendid love because my everyday for the rest
of the year has been made by the sweetest
voice to me.’
‘I’m blushing cyan and violet.’ She chuckled.
‘The babes are in dilemma. As if the money is
not enough, the good look is taking our breath
away, as if that is not enough, the sweet talk is
making our head touch the sky.’
He laughed softly. ‘I know you too well, Hess,
how is Nigeria? ‘
‘Cool and my ex? ‘
‘Serene. ‘
‘How are your folks? ‘
‘We all well. We miss you.’ He replied.
‘Words can begin to describe how much I’ve
missed you all. ‘ She told him and meant it. ‘I
need a car, what is my bill? ‘
‘My angel needs a car and she wants me to bill
her.’ He burst into bouts of laughter.
‘Jay come off it. It isn’t a joking matter. ‘
‘It is dearest! I can’t bill you …my parents will
think I have lost my mind if they get wind of
it. Personally, I will go have my head
examined. ‘
‘I understand completely Jay, knowing you and
the quality of car you will send to me, please
forget pal basis. ‘
‘I ain’t forgetting anything Sweetie, I will send
you a car next week and give you a call later to
give you details. ‘
‘Jay …how do I express my gratitude? ‘
‘You saved my life Princess, what more
gratitude do I expect. I love you very much.’
‘Jay.’ She chided.
‘I love you with all my heart! ‘ He giggled.
‘You are cheating and it’s unfair. ‘
‘I don’t know much but I know I love you that may
be …’He begin to sing.
‘love you too dear. Thanks Jay. ‘
‘Cheers Hess. ‘
+++++
****
‘This chick got them connection! ‘ Ethel looked
up at her from the photographs of the car he
had been viewing on her system.
‘Hold it.’ She halted and both palms descended
on her waist. ‘I ain’t a product of mother hen,
watch ya tongue. ‘
He grinned mischievously. ‘Pardon me my lady,
I almost for thought you are …’
She delivered a blow to his side and posed for
another.
‘I’m sorry …’ He bent over and clutched his
side. ‘Oouuch! ‘
‘You are a pure case of pot calling kettle black!
‘ Hester pulled a chair and sat. ‘Be careful. ‘
She pursed her lips.
‘I said I was sorry.’ He grinned. ‘I could help
you claim the car.’
‘You see …you see what am talking about. ‘ She
laughed as he pouted like a spoilt child.’I don’t
mind. ‘
‘What’s the story? The story behind this rare
affection. ‘ He focused on her.
‘Hmmmm …’ She sat back thoughtfully.

‘As a medical student, ℓ̊ studied a̶̲̥̅̊η∂ practiced
parri passu. ℓ̊ was driving home from my
hospital when ℓ̊ witnessed a fatal accident.” . ℓ̊
rose to the occassion because ℓ̊ knew the guy
was hanging loosely to life. So, before the
paramedics arrived, ℓ̊ performed a major
surgery on him right there at the corner of the
road. ℓ̊ eventually followed him to the
hospital a̶̲̥̅̊η∂ assissted in other things .’ She
paused momentarily. ‘In essence, with God
help, ℓ̊ saved his life.
‘How were you able to achieve all that on the
road? ‘ Ethel asked.
‘​ℓ̊ always have in my car a standardised first
aid box. Later ℓ̊ discovered he was the only
son of Daniel JacksII, as at then his name was
among the list of the ten wealthiest a̶̲̥̅̊η∂ most
influential men in the world. ‘
Ethelbert nodded knowingly.
‘His family invited me for lunch in his palace
after his son’s recovery, Mr Daniel offered
me …’ She laughed . ‘a huge amount of money.
I rejected it but he wouldn’t take no for an
answer. He did wiring of the money because …’
‘Because you thought your bank account will
blow up.’ Ethel concluded smiling.
Hester nodded.
‘Tell me about the media report. ‘ He urged.
‘For two full moon, my photographs with
various headlines and in different newsprint
was all ever.
‘Was that your greatest publicity? ‘ Ethel
sipped from the tumbler.
‘Nope …’ She paused. ‘My greatest publicity was
when I was appointed the Youth Ambassador
on Health. ‘
‘I loved your maiden speech, it was like
nothing I’ve heard before. It was innovative,
powerful and homely. ‘
She went wide eyed .’You watched the
telecast?’
‘I read it in a magazine and have kept till date.’
‘That publicity exposed me and gave me
opportunities to learn and achieve a lot. I also
met with lot of celebrity. Same publicity that
kindled Oladimeji interest in me.’
‘Woah! ‘ Ethel exclaimed and then studied her
a while. ‘You should contest as a beauty queen.’
Hester smiled. ‘I have heard that a number of
times. On three occasions, I had received the
MBGN form as a gift but I’m not interested.
let others do the honors. ‘ She replied simply
and stood. ‘How about you Mr Pot-calling-
kettle-black, you should contest too.’
‘Na …’ He replied and burst into laughter.
****
+++
Agatha glared at her mother as she digest the
news. ‘She escaped via an underground? How
on earth could she have achieved that! ‘
Empress exhaled before sitting and facing the
dressing mirror. ‘I don’t know. He said there
was blood everywhere and she left four of his
men unconscious. ‘
Agatha gasped in utter shock. ‘Seriously mum,
am beginning to get scared. How are we so
sure she has not gotten herself tangled with
the dark world. ‘ She sat on the bed and shook
her legs.
‘Agatha! ‘ Empress chided and turned to look at
her. ‘ When Oladimeji said blood was
everywhere, It was actually her blood. Since
when do people from the dark world bleed. ‘
She raised her brows.
‘Hmmmm …Mmmmh. ‘ Agatha bobbed ger
head from side , she hissed before crossing
her legs. ‘I hope she is alive. ‘.She reached into
her jeans trousers pocket and brought a
packet of gum, she put one into her mouth.
Her brows creased with a mixture of worry and
anger. ‘I don’t know how my own daughter will
be handed a golden egg and she decided to
smash it . Hester has a way of getting on my
nerves and on that wedding, the last straw
broke on the camel back. I am yet to recover
from the embarrassment she caused me. ‘
‘As in … mummy. That girl unbelievable! What
else could a full blooded Nigerian lady ask of?
‘ Agatha said spitefully. ‘ I lost my class amidst
my friends because of her silly decision. ‘
‘When I have brought myself to forgive her,
she will hear from me.’ Empress said and faced
the mirror.
‘Who will hear from you? ‘ Douglas entered the
room.
Agatha rose to collect his briefcase. ‘ Welcome
dad.’
‘I was talking about Hester.’ Empress stood and
approached him.
‘We have done our part, the rest is left for
Oladimeji.’ He looked from his wife to his
daughter with a stern expression. ‘I don’t want
to hear talks about her anymore. ‘
Empress and Agatha exchanged glances.
+++++
****
Hester watched and listened to the news
attentively.
The Kenyan bridge being Osagie last was named
after him. On and on, it went.
She felt stronger thinking of him, she was
more determined to take care of herself so his
effort won’t be in vain. Sometimes in the
future she would set up something in his
honor.
Hester drummed her fingers thoughtfully on
the bed.
++++
Hester hesitated.
Ethel turned to look at her. ‘What’s up girlie? ‘
‘I can’t Ethel.’ Her expression was sad. ‘I can’t
face them, I have abandoned them for too
long .’
It really amazed him, the way she felt
responsible and took responsibility for the
littlest things. ‘My parents will understand, just
open up okay. Since my mum called to deliver
the message, you’ve been walking about like
someone who has guilty sentence shadowing
her.’
Without waiting for any sign of conviction, he
took her hand and led her into the expensively
furnished sitting room of the ex president of
the federation.
Hester glanced around, it was only few
differences she noticed. She knew the mansion
like the route from her hand to her mouth.
The memories all came back, she exhaled.
‘Sweetheart. ‘ Akudo Onyemakazi, the wife to
the ex-president after the first lady was
assassinated when he was in power called and
descended the stairs smiling with open arms.
She was the mother of both Ethelbert and
Victoria. Ethel spent his early days in the South
Africa living with his eldest half brother.
He had three half brother and a sister.
Ethel embraced his mother.’Good morning
sweet mum. ‘ He looked at her.’You look
charming. ‘
‘You have me to thank for that. ‘ Franklin
Onyemakazi strolled into the room.
‘Good morning dad.’ He gave a low bow.
‘How’s my boy doing? ‘ He beamed. One would
hardly believe he was in his early seventies. He
looked trimmed and fit.
Ethel shrugged. ‘I can also thank mum for
your splendid look.’
‘Yes you can sweetheart. ‘ Akudo answered and
sat.
Franklin laughed heartily.
Ethel glanced back at her. She was looking
down at her toes.
‘Hi darling. ‘ Franklin acknowledged her
presence with a smile. ‘It has been quite a
while. ‘ He sat.
‘A very long time. ‘ Akudo seconded.
She went down on her knees and lowered her
gaze for few seconds.
Ethel sat.
They watched her.
‘All I can say is that am sorry and I hope you
will find it in your heart to forgive me.’ She
looked up at them and her eyes were filled
with tears. ‘After my last visit here, my family
begin to pressure me about that Oladimeji guy. When
I refused to have a relationship with him, my
father grounded me, I couldn’t leave my room.
The whole situation got me broken hearted and
confused, the few family friends I had couldn’t
change my parents mind. Before I realised it, I
was to be married to Oladimeji. It was on the
wedding day I stepped out after being
grounded. ‘ Her tears fell off. ‘From there to
Kenya. I know if I had contacted you, you
would have felt bad and tried to help me …I
don’t want your effort to be met with
disappointment. It has been very devastating
for me, I have been so confused, all I can say
is that am sorry.’ She opened her palms as an
expression of plea. ‘Help me dad, help me
mum …help this guilt of mine …’.She sobbed.
Ethel looked at his parents.
‘My darling girl.’ Akudo stood and helped her
up. She embraced her. ‘I understand you Hess,
you never offended us really. Besides, we have
a mind set of you.’
‘Yes Honey.’ Franklin agreed. ‘I must commend
you for the way you’ve upheld yourself. ‘ He
smiled.
Hester wiped her tears feeling relieved.
‘You’re still my baby girl. ‘ Akudo led her to
seat beside her.
‘Thank you very much.’ Hester sat.
Soon they head to the dining room to have breakfast.
++++

****
‘Do you know Kendall McGrath? ‘ Franklin
asked.
‘Yes. He is an an attorney, a friend to Victoria
and I. He also lives on our street. ‘ Hester replied.
Akudo voice became calm as she observed
Hester. ‘Victoria is a testate. ‘
‘She had a will? ‘ Hester was completely taken
aback.
The news was also new Ethel but he remained
silent knowing it was Hester that was
addressed.
‘Yes sweetheart, it was oblivious to me until
Kendall called few days ago. He said that a
couple of days before you two left Hollywood
for Nigeria, she did it.
Her facial expression became blank.
‘My dear girl, ‘ A smile spread across her face.
‘Her will is simple and straight forward. To me,
it portrayed the love, trust and bondness you too
shared. Based on her will, everything that has
the name Victoria Franklin Onyemakazi has
been willed to you, bank accounts, inheritance,
property, stocks, shares and all are now yours
for you and the execution of the dream you
two had in common. ‘
‘So it shall it be. ‘ Franklin added.
For his younger sister to have considered her
worthy of all that was hers, he knew Hester
must have mean a lot to her. The respect he
had for her took a new dimension.
Hester blanched.
‘Darling? ‘
She was quiet.
‘Hester? ‘
‘Yes …Yes ma.’
‘Are you all right? ‘
‘I don’t know. ‘ She said choking, it almost
ended in a whisper.
‘It okay honey, all the paper work and
documents are all ready. ‘ Franklin told her.
+++++
++++
Franklin walked alongside Hester with a arm
around her shoulder. ‘Hester we love you and
believe in you.’
‘I love you two, about believe, I’m unsure of
myself. ‘ She swallowed hard. ‘Sometimes I
can’t grasp what is happening to my world. ‘
‘Experience like we all say is the best teacher.
Experience has taught me that the journey of
life is not a smooth one, it’s up and down. It
was down for me when I lost my first love to a
brutal death and also my baby girl. It comes in
different package for everyone and it’s
inevitable. Be strong …’ He smiled at
her.’Stand for what you believe in, fight for
what belong to you and never try to relegate
your Creator to the background. ‘
They strolled behind them.
‘I’ve know Hess since she was eight. I’ve seen
how she had reacted to various situations. She
is unlike her now, the cheerful, lively,
charming and influencing Hester is now
disturbed, worried and all. I feel her, I can
imagine how it feels to be chased by a ruffian.
There is something I want you to know Ethel
…’Akudo stopped for few seconds to look at
her son. ‘There is something Victoria would
love you to do, do all you can Ethelbert …do
all you can to protect her.’
Ethel looked away from her and stared at the
flowerlawn. A memory of the last time he
shared with Osagie came back to him. How
they teased each other. Eventually he chased
Osagie and Osagie had bumped into Hester
that she lost balance. Osagie had swept her off
the floor into his arms and rocked her like a
child while he apologised to Hester. That was
when he knew his friend would do anything for

‘Ethel? ‘ Akudo called.
He looked at her. ‘I am a person who do
things not because others need me to but
majorly because I am convinced to. Right now,
I have enough reasons to protect her and you
just gave me more mum. ‘ He took her hand. ‘I
will do all I can to protect her.’
She embraced him relieved. ‘I feel better dear,
she is my baby girl.’
They finally said goodbyes before Hester and
Ethel entered the Jeep.
Akudo and Franklin waved until the vehicle
went out of the gate.
++++
****
Don’t tell me you’re going to start crying. ‘
Hester looked up at him from all the papers
and documents she had spread out on the bed.
‘How will you feel if you’re were informed
seven months after you lost your best friend,
that you that he willed everything that has his
name on it to you and the shared dreams you
two had.’
He was seated across her. He placed both
palms under his chin and shook his head
slowly. ‘It is pretty difficult Hess …it is hard to
process. ‘
‘Tears can express the way I feel. I am not
happy because we don’t hide things from each
other and she had a will and never told me.
That makes me feel she knew she was going to
die.’ The dam in her eyes let loose. ‘
‘Don’t Hester, I supposed she must have her
reasons. She probably didn’t want you to
dissuade her.’
‘I heard so much about you from Dad, Mum
and most especially Vicky . I have always
wanted to meet you.’
She couldn’t help but smile in fond
remembrance of her how Victoria had went on
and on about him . ‘Same here.’
‘There was a time, I called Vicky from Belgium,
I asked to speak to you but she came up with
an excuse. ‘
Hester laughed as she remembered. ‘That day
we had what Victoria called our greatest fight.
I was like -never ever talk to me again, I don’t
know how I got stocked with an insensitive
human like you! She was like -You are
thoughtless, you’re so thoughtless, it is written
on your forehead! ‘
Ethel chuckled.
‘Come tomorrow, I’ll move out, you hear me,
very very far away and I cross my heart,
anytime, I set my eyes on you, I will flee! I
retaliated. Eventually your call came through
and when she said to me -my big bro wants to
talk to you. I gave her a cold glare and
stormed out of the room.’
‘ I understand. ‘ Ethel grinned.
‘You do? ‘ She raised he brows amused.
‘Sure, how long did the fight last? ‘ He
beamed.
‘Guess.’
‘Two months, Five months, one year? ‘ He
shrugged.
‘Twenty four hours. ‘ She said and burst into
laughter as his shocked expression.
He kept looking at her and spoke up after few
seconds. ‘You two were close. ‘
‘Yeah.’ She nodded and became serious. ‘We
were so close that many believed we were twin
sisters, I go by the name Hesteria.’
‘Hesteria …Victoria, that is perfect.’ He said
‘Yeah.’ She nodded and became serious.
“Hi girls, I’m John, what are your Lovely
names? ”
“Hi am Victoria and she is Hesteria. ”
“Wow! Are you twins?”
“Isn’t it obvious? ”
“Yeah! Yeah! sure. ”
She gave an instance. ‘Most of everyone we
knew thought we were twins. ‘Hester smiled.
‘We celebrated together, bore our
shortcomings together, we supported each
other, we raised dust together, together we
were unbeatable, we shared, cared and loved
each other like we knew it wasn’t last for long.
‘Hester shook her head.
Ethel felt his chest tightened in pain in fond
remembrance of his departed friend. He could
say same for both of them but he wasn’t going
to let the emotion linger. ‘I know your
university is more populated with white than
black. How were you two able to cope? ‘
‘We represented Africa and Nigeria to the full,
who are you to come around us with the aim
of making us feel inferior, we sit you and
school you. Victoria and I topped the class so
it was difficult for our course mate to try it.’
She paused momentarily. ‘There was a
particular day one of my Prof in the course of
his lecture said derogatory things about Africa.
Victoria and I kept exchanging glances-
like what in the world does this guy think he is
talking about?’
‘Thank you.’ She acknowledged his input. ‘At a
point, Victoria couldn’t take it anymore
because by then students from other continent
were grinning from ear to ear. She raised her hand
and stood. “With all due respect, I object to
everything you’ve said hook, line and sinker. If
you will, I like to give give reason to buttress
my objection. ” He allowed her and by the
time she was through, I asked for permission
to support her with five reasons. We were
applauded, our Prof acknowledged our points,
afterwhich, he called us Queen of Africa.
Hence, we were popularly addressed as Queen
of Africa. ‘
On and on she went about the times she had
shared with her bf.
‘I happened to be first that was called after her
accident. ‘ Tears formed in her eyes. ‘I guess
my name happen to be dominant in everything
the rescue team could find after her identity.
When the call came I was shocked because we
spoke an hour prior to then and we planned
on meeting later in the day. I ran to my car
and head for the hospital, I couldn’t be
stopped by the nurses because I used my
psychological instinct to find her. God …’ She
closed her eyes as the memory flashed back
and her tears flowed. ‘When I set my eyes on
her …I just knew she was dead , I just knew I
had lost  my greatest friend and confidant for
fifteen years. An emptiness engulfed me, I
cried, I screamed into instant
unconsciousness. Her burial was delayed
because of me. It is only God that know how I
was able to …’ She looked up. ‘to watch her
being buried. ‘
‘I saw you, I saw your reaction and action. ‘
Ethel took her hand in his. ‘I asked my dad and
he told me who you were. Ever since, I’ve
wanted to meet you.’
‘No amount of emotions can express the
absence of a love one that can never be
present like ever before. I felt that with Osagie
and I felt same with Victoria. They are
irreplaceable. ‘
‘That is because we love them very much. ‘ He
embraced her as tears welled in his eyes. ‘I
pray God heal our heart.’
++++

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