Chapter Thirty-Two: Trial and Error?

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

 

“Wait please… let them go. I did say I’ll sign the document, didn’t I?” Richard pleaded earnestly.

“And I am sick and tired of you acting like you have the upper hand! Sign the document and I’ll let you all go!!!”

“I think I need some air.” Muyiwa mumbled, taking giant strides towards the door. He was getting pretty upset at the whole situation, and didn’t want to do anything drastic. His father had tried to help him get everyone else out of the way but it didn’t work— and that stressed him further. He was three seconds away from wringing that man’s neck.

“And who permitted you to leave? Come back here now.”

Muyiwa sighed. His handle was already at the doorknob. He swung it open but didn’t make a move to step out. “Sir… I can never understand how you are the father of someone like Ronke.”

“Your son has guts… and lacks manners too.” Benson said, shaking his head. “But I’ll let it slide. Come back here boy.”

Muyiwa walked back, trying hard not to unleash the anger already at its brim. Mustapha’s heart began to beat and he held Aisha’s hands tightly. Someone was going to close that door in a few seconds, which was more than enough time to—

 

“What’s going on here? Where did they go? They were here all of a—”

Muyiwa lunged at the nearest men and crushed the bones of their hands before they could fire the guns. The others fired repeatedly at his back, but the bullets flew right off. Nneka flew at her father, ready to take any bullets that would possibly stray towards him. Abiye was nowhere to be found.

Muyiwa turned on the men who kept firing their shots. As he walked up to them lethally he saw Nneka drag Richard out of the room with the corner of his eye, so he felt more relaxed.

“There is no way I would let you lay a finger on my family.” he said between gritted teeth as he dislocated their right hands in one swift move before wiping out their memory as he did to the first henchmen that had attacked him and Mustapha. He turned his attention back to the men who had their hands broken, getting ready to perform the same wipe when he heard a large scream coming from the outside the front door. It didn’t sound like his parents or siblings so he didn’t bother checking.

 

“Ha…. This one is from fry-pan to fire.” Chief Benson yelled, trembling visibly. “Where did this thing snake come from?”

Richard could barely hold Lillian back. Even though her knees were shaking from the sight of the huge python wrapped around Chief Benson, she was determined to ensure her little boy didn’t hurt anyone. He wasn’t the same boy he was at the facility, and even in the face of danger, she would rather he remained her little boy.

“Abiye Ogunbade I need you to put the man down.” Lillian said gently, with no energy to infuse firmness into her tone. “This is no way to treat elders.”

Chief Benson looked at her in disbelief. “This snake is yours? And it has a name?”

“Mummy… Abiye can’t release this man just yet…” Nneka said pleadingly.

“Why can’t he? I know we are in danger but your father and I are not in support of you children putting your lives on the risk or causing any harm.” Lillian said, almost in tears. “Please my children don’t act irrationally.”

“It’s not about that mum… we promise we won’t hurt him.” Aisha assured her.

“But that’s because he is Ronke’s father more than anything else.” Mustapha chipped in through gritted teeth.

“We honestly can’t let Chief Benson go because he knows too much.” Nneka calmly explained. “We need to wipe his memory.”

“Wipe his… my goodness this is too much for one day.”

“I can’t say the same for those in there— I mean they are armed after all.” Mustapha went on as if his mother wasn’t faint enough. “But I know Muyiwa won’t kill them.”

“We vowed never to kill because of you and daddy.” Aisha added gently.

“Can someone wipe this man’s memory fast?” “He just peed on me.”

“Ah!” Chief Benson cried. “It talks!”

“I’ll make this quick.” Mustapha said, cracking his knuckles.

 

Ronke tried not to look at her father with disdain as his sleeping frame filled the bed. How could he do such a thing to Muyiwa’s family?

At least he was unharmed unlike the rest of the men found in the room, but Ronke was certain that he only got that grace because he was her father. As she wished they didn’t pity him because of her, as he did not pity them because of her.

The police had called to inform her that they had received a tip from an unknown source that her father was found lying unconscious with some men and malformed guns in a bungalow in an estate— right before she got a missed call from Muyiwa. She remembered the text she had gotten from him much earlier that had put her on the edge all day:

Going out of school with Fredrick… My mum and siblings are in trouble.

 I’m guessing your dad.

 

From the look of things, it was definitely him.

After that text Muyiwa’s number was switched off till she missed his call when they brought her father in. She stared at her phone blankly, thinking it was best to call him back when she was out of the hospital.

Suddenly her father stirred, and she started. The doctor had mentioned him not making any movement since he had been admitted. She rushed out of the ward to call on the doctor, not stopping to protest when a small group of men brushed past her as she moved across the hall.

 

Chief Benson was seeing things. He was in a white room with three familiar faces staring down at him. He blinked repeatedly and realized he was lying down on a bed. He tried to get up but one of the men pushed him back down.

“Where… where am I?” he asked. He tried to recall by himself, but his head hurt doing so.

“The boss wants to know what went wrong with the lawyer.” The tallest of them said, peering down at Chief Benson with eyes as cold as steel.

“The lawyer…? Oh Richard! I was supposed to meet up with him today, but I have no idea how I got here. Was I in an accident? I feel so weak.”

“Your boys are totally beat up. I thought you had it under control Chief.”

“You have no respect for me anymore Caleb.” Chief Benson said tiredly, even though he wanted to be stern. He felt drained and the worst part was he had no idea why. “And what do you mean my boys are totally beat up”

“Boss told me to tell you to hands off Richard. He knows far too little to be causing so much trouble.”

“I told your boss that I had it all under control. Once I get discharged I will—”

“The boss says to drop it Chief Benson.” Caleb said with an irritated tone. “He has lost interest in owning your company— you just have to find another way to pay off your debts.”

“Selling my company is the only way I can pay your boss back, and I can’t do that with Ibrahim still in the picture. Even if I get another lawyer, I fear Richard knows too much.”

“It doesn’t matter to us what the lawyer knows about you as long as he doesn’t know our boss. Your miscalculated antics though, may tempt him to pursue further in a bid to understand your desperation. No one must know my boss ever tried doing any business with you, and since he’s not the only one you owe, there’re a lot of enemies to blame this on.”

 

It took a while for Ronke to get the doctor to come back with her, but by the time they got back in her father was fast asleep. The doctor checked the sleeping man’s vitals and shook his head confusedly.

“I don’t understand this.” he muttered under his breath, but he wasn’t low enough to be out of Ronke’s hearing.

“Doctor what’s the problem? Did he slip into a coma?”

The doctor heaved a heavy sigh and looked at the panicking lady apologetically.

“We’re sorry… but we lost him.”

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Chapter Thirty-One: Close Contact

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

Mustapha was finding it hard to keep still. His stomach had done a number of flips when his mother had shown up instead of the driver to pick them up. She and Richard had been having a number of arguments recently because he insisted on putting her on house arrest since the party without telling her why. Lillian was fed up, and had snuck out of the house while Richard was at the study to pick up the kids. He couldn’t be as mad that she went out because of the children, she thought. Besides she needed to get some fresh air.

“Hi guys! Guess who came to pick you up!”

 

The trip back home to the present was all a blur— all Mustapha could do was to try not to focus on the ropes digging into his skin, wondering if it was hurting Abiye as much. He looked at his mother who had been tied into a corner with Nneka and Aisha, with the armed men ogling at his older sister’s flawless skin and tried not to lose his temper. Asides Nneka, no one could take bullets and live, and most importantly if his older sister tried to do so, she needed to have the bullets extracted from her before they heal and get shut within her body— that would require surgery; something they couldn’t expose her too. Even if she could, there was no guarantee that she could get shot at first, so he did his best to keep calm.

The door creaked open, and the armed men looked behind them. A stout looking man walked in with a mischievous grin that looked as clear as it would have if the room wasn’t dimly lit. Lillian couldn’t make out his face quite easily, but the children except Mustapha gasped. They had better eyesight, and the one time they had met this man was enough to have his identity registered.

“Good evening… comfortable?”

Lillian narrowed her eyes. The voice sounded strangely familiar.

“Who the hell are you?” Lillian blurted out before she could stop herself. “What did we do to you?”

Mustapha had his heart racing, but chose to only raise an eyebrow.

“You’ll know why you’re here soon enough.” The man said with a chuckle before walking out.

Mustapha rolled his eyes. Why did he come here if he had nothing to say? He already knew that he was the one behind all this— he didn’t need any confirmation.

Like the man has read Mustapha’s thoughts, he came back in talking on the phone.

“Yes… like I said, they’re only here for surety.” The man said with a chuckle. “All I need is for you to get back on board, and not a single hair on their head would be harmed. Just talk to them— you’ll know they are fine.”

He placed the phone at Lillian’s ear. “Choose your words wisely woman.”

 

Muyiwa could barely contain his anxiety, but he knew better than to attract attention. Fredrick gave him a small smile and motioned to the hostel door, and he nodded.

“I’ve gotten your exit pass— we don’t have much time.” Fredrick said to him in a low voice as they walked to his car. Muyiwa’s palms were sweaty. He had so much to ask but didn’t know where to begin, so he chose not to speak just yet. Fredrick seemed to understand that, and decided to go right into what they already knew.

“It seemed Chief Benson has your mother and siblings.” Fredrick said, driving a little faster than he normally would (he was known to be particularly careful on the road, so much that it frustrated Mustapha to be in a car with him). “He called earlier today asking that your dad become his lawyer again, or he hurts his hostages.”

Muyiwa was silent— too silent. Fredrick turned to look at the young man and found him staring out of the window in deep thought.

“Mr. Fredrick would you might stopping the car for a minute?” Muyiwa asked quietly, and he obliged. Immediate he did Muyiwa stepped out of the car and unto the sidewalk. He learned over to reach for a thick, rusty iron rod not too far off. He shook the sand off it and turned to Fredrick.

“We can go now— thanks.”

Fredrick silently drove on to the house, saying no more. Each distance covered filled him with dread, for Muyiwa made no comment and asked no questions, choosing rather to squeeze and contort the stray iron rod he picked up into different shapes. Fredrick could only imagine what was on his mind.

 

“Yes… just you— no funny business.”

Chief Benson was filled with glee. Richard knew better than to call the police. He was known to be quite sensitive when it came to his family, and this was a culture inherited from his father that was quite known by those who had anything to do with the older man back in the day. His grin wiped into a frown when he heard Richard’s request over the phone.

“I don’t see why you want to bring your son along… but it honestly makes no difference.” he answered with a shrug, even though the lawyer wasn’t physically present to see it. “For all I know, he could have been here among my hostages. But I promise you that I’ll kill all your family with me if I see anyone else— even that PA of yours, especially those boys of yours you had helping you earlier.”

“Your conditions will be met.” Richard said with a sigh. He had no problems with all that was requested and even if he did, he had no strength to argue. He was just glad he was allowed to bring Muyiwa along. “Just tell me where, and make the meeting today please.”

“Even if you brought those your boys, my men are even more armed than they were that day.” Chief Benson gloated as if he had not heard what Richard had said. “So if you like yourself you better don’t—”

“I said we have heard Chief. Text the address and I’ll show.”

As Richard hung up, he let out another sigh. “Fredrick, you’re staying. Only Muyiwa can come with.”

Fredrick’s eyes widened, but he nodded in response.

“What I don’t understand is why he still wants you as his lawyer.”

“I think it’s because I already know quite a number of things, maybe too much— he’s not sure, and would rather not take that risk.” Richard explained rather quickly as he rose from his seat. “I’m already entangled in the conspiracy in one twisted way; it’d be better not to bring in any more outsiders.”

 

The text came in no time, and Richard set off with Muyiwa immediately. They were to meet by 9pm, but they were there about an hour earlier— Chief Benson had no problem with that. They were led into a mini-flat that had no furniture on the inside, except two chairs and a table, and Chief Benson was sitting on one of them with two heavily armed men standing on either side of him. The men searched them for their phones and weapons, but didn’t find any on them.

“I’m glad that you could join us. Have a seat Richard.”

Richard complied without much thought, and turned to glance at his son, who stood right behind his chair.

“So let’s get right to it.” Chief Benson said, tapping his finger on the stack of papers right before him. “I’ll let your family go once you sign this.”

“Let me see them at least.” Richard said as calmly as he could. “Anything could have happened from the time we spoke last.”

“They’re fine, I assure you.” Chief Benson said with the wave of a hand. “Let your son confirm… you’d know better than to try anything funny.”

Richard nodded solemnly, and one of the armed men led Muyiwa to another room. He looked sternly at Chief Benson, wishing he could wipe the smug look off his face. “I’m definitely not signing this until my son comes back to ensure me all is well with them.”

 

Muyiwa got shoved in through the doorway, but he kept his cool. The small room had Mustapha tied in a corner with Abiye, and Lillian with Nneka and Aisha at the other. His hands tightened into fists, but he still struggled to maintain his composure. The armed man that had shoved him in had returned back to the other room where his father was, leaving the two men that were here before with him alone. He couldn’t do anything until his mother and siblings were clear out of sight, so he just stood there staring at them.

“Are you guys okay? Did they hurt you guys?”

Lillian and the others shook their heads, but they dared not answer because of the guns pointed in their direction. Muyiwa let out a small sigh and retreated back to where his father was. His father gave him a distressed look and he nodded dejectedly. “They’re unharmed sir.”

“You see? Now go ahead and sign the damned thing.” Chief Benson said a little impatiently this time. Richard shook his head.

“Let them go.”

“You’re making too many demands Richard.” Chief Benson said, his voice expressing how irritated he had become.

“Look, it’s me you want. I won’t move here until the contract has been signed and for even safe measure, I’ll leave my son with me here. But especially the little ones and my wife… let them free. They’ll sit in the car and wait till we are done. Put all the armed men on us till I’ve signed all the necessary documents I don’t care— but just do this last favor for me.”

“You seem not to like your first child as much as I thought you did.” Chief Benson said with a laugh. “I see no reason why I should oblige, so I won’t.”

“Then I won’t sign this document.” Richard said indignantly.

“Then watch your wife and children die one after the other. Bring them out.”

The other armed men came out with the hostages untied. Only Lillian was trembling. The kids looked distressfully at their father instead, as if hoping that his decisions were part of some master plan.

“So… who should we start with: your wife or your youngest child?”

Richard’s eyes widened as Lillian and Abiye were shoved to the front, with both armed men pointing a gun at each of them.

“I’m thinking… both.”

 

It’s Been A While (Probed RECAP and MORE!!!)

Hello July!!!

*breathes in deeply*

It’s good to be BACK!

I haven’t posted anything ALL YEAR!!! I took six good months into the year off, risking losing my tiny fan base, but I needed it. A creative mind can implode, especially if your creativity is something you use in your work life. I didn’t want to implode, but I did anyway. Without giving excuses like I always do (since from all I’ve given so far you can deduce that I’ve been up to a lot) to give you new content!!!

It’s been quite an eventful year so far, and I’ve got a lot more lined up… all I want to do is either be a kid again, or make enough money to employ a personal assistant.

We have no choice but to strive for the other option because unfortunately, time cannot be reversed.

To whatever is left of my fan base, get ready for quite a lot. I would not only put up the third chapter of my upcoming novel “Bounds” (I held up on getting votes, but I’m thinking of starting again from where I left off).

You’re also get a sneak peek into something quite new, but it’s not going to be out anytime soon. Just anticipate!

Anticipate more shorts about Greg and Thelma (Black Coffee and Mocha), as well as more song-inspired stories, as well as more short stories and poems.

 

I’m pretty sure you all will be asking…

“Where is Probed?”

Well… probed is back… shorter, but back.

Shorter… because of our dwindling attention span and my dwindling free time.

But before you delve into the next chapter, a quick recap on what has happened so far. It’s been quite a while so I know you’ve forgotten most of what happened, so I’ll put in briefs (not the underwear) to refresh your memory.

Thanks for your patience and support. I hope you still read.

I love you guys a whole lot… even those who only read and don’t comment.

 

The story “probed” gives us a focus into the lives of five youngsters between the ages of 8 to 21 with extraordinary abilities living with a wealthy lawyer and his wife in Lagos.  They are not born with these abilities, but their family knew about them anyway. Through connections they were able to get them into school even though they had no past records. It took a while fitting in, but they adjust after a while and begin to make friends and soon, Muyiwa leaves for university where he meets his roommate who becomes his best friend. His new friend Michael takes him out to a house party, where he meets a girl named Ronke who studies one of the courses under his department. They got talking and decided to take a walk on the street outside the house when Ronke’s ex-boyfriend came running at them with his car under the influence of alcohol. Muyiwa envelops her body with his and ends up taking the hit, causing fatality to the car due to his super strength. Bewildered by the turn out of events, Ronke takes off in fright and Muyiwa is left wondering how to handle the accidental exposure of his special abilities to an outsider. He decides to go home for the weekend to get advice from his siblings, who help out with advice even though they were paranoid about the implications of Ronke knowing. When he went back to school Ronke requested they meet up, and she assured him that she was going to keep his secret, and that was the start of a beautiful friendship.

Mustapha on the other hand had girl issues to deal with in school; a senior student whose advances he had turned down was still bent on getting close to him. Being granted super speed, he wasn’t ready to slow down for anyone, especially those who seemed so clingy like the young girl Sade. His older sister Nneka was also wrestling with her ability to draw men in (termed the naiad complex) and her crush on her schoolmate, which led to a new discovery about herself.

Soon we got a sneak peek into the past lives of the children, how they got their abilities and their experience at the facility and how they met the lawyer Richard Ogunbade and his wife Lillian.

Mustapha planned to ask Ronke out while Nneka had agreed to date her crush Folarin, but Mustapha could still not phantom the concept of emotion. Sade was still determined to be close to him and even though he didn’t like her, he had decided not to be as mean as he used to be to her.

When Christmas came the Ogunbades decided to spend their first holiday together by taking a trip, strengthening their family bond further alongside friendships. And just when they felt nothing could go wrong, Richard found himself in a dangerous situation relating to work that threatened Muyiwa and Ronke’s relationship, even though it was hard for both of them to break up with each other at first. But soon Ronke finds herself in a compromising situation that led to them splitting up, though for a short while. Muyiwa went to his siblings for comfort, and the day he went home they discovered that their neighbor’s son had been kidnapped. In the absence of their mother, the children were able to convince their father to let them go rescue the young boy Julian, but reported themselves to their mother when she came back from her trip. While still at home on vacation, Muyiwa gets a call from Michael that Ronke had been hospitalized and this prompted them to get back together, and him revealing to her the real details on how he got his abilities, even though Ronke found it hard to take in at first.

Muyiwa was having his first birthday with the family, and all the other siblings were asked to bring a guest each for a house party, with another party planned with his friends in school. The day before the party was nowhere close to being as eventful as the day of the party itself, although someone came to ruin it in the end.

Chapter thirty picks up from where the recap left, so enjoy!!!

 

 

Chapter Thirty: What Could Go Wrong?

CHAPTER THIRTY

“I miss you.”

Something was definitely wrong with Sade tonight. He glanced at the screen briefly before replying.

“Someone sounds sedated.”

“Ouch. I’m so glad we’re not dating.”

“We couldn’t. You have terribly unrealistic expectations.”

“Why do you find romance unrealistic?” Continue reading

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Crash the Party

“Probed” is a science fiction concept with a Nigerian setting about five extraordinary children trying to live ordinary lives. I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I love writing it!

Would you believe it?

If I told you I was abducted

By prioritized responsibilities and an unbalanced schedule?

You’d forgive that- 

If i told you you’re all appreciated

for your support of my writing… an indispensable life module.

Hahaha forgive my crappy poem and short chapter. I’ll do better in the future!

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

“Hello Richard! Are you having a party or something?” Chief Benson said, still sporting his plastic grin even after seeing Ronke before she could hide behind Muyiwa. “Ronke darling! You didn’t tell me you were going to be here today!”

“Good afternoon sir.” She said awkwardly, trying hard not to glance at Muyiwa. Her heart was thumping fast. They had not found time to discuss what she knew about her father, and only God knew what he had up his sleeves to show up at his place, especially since from their last encounter it did not seem as if he had known where they lived. A lot of thoughts were running through her head so fast it was making her dizzy. She unconsciously leaned on the nearest person for support, and it turned out to be Mustapha. He didn’t react to her action, probably assuming her nervousness was from probably coming over for the weekend without telling her dad.

“Chief Benson! I had no idea that you’re coming over today…” Richard said with a wary smile, trying to conceal his distress at the sight of the man in front of the house. “As a matter of fact I had no idea you knew where I lived.”

Chief Benson laughed heartily, but it sounded far from genuine. “Forget about that Richard… we need to talk, but I see this is not a good time. Maybe later?”

“We can talk now if you want, let’s just go into my study so we can discuss privately.” Richard offered, and the chief responded with a curt nod. “Let’s go inside everyone.”

Muyiwa turned to his brother to find Ronke groping his arm nervously. He tried to give her a reassuring smile, but she didn’t notice.

“Nneka please serve some food for Chief Benson.” Richard instructed. “Carry on with the party everyone… we’d be back soon.”

Everyone went back to the living room, but a bit of tension that couldn’t be explained was in the air, and only those who knew the truth about the Chief could understand the apprehension. Lillian could also sense Ronke was uncomfortable at seeing her father. She drew the young lady close before they could go into the living room.

“Richard never told me your father was one of his clients.” Lillian said quietly. “It seems Muyiwa was in on it too.”

Ronke nodded slowly, and gave Lillian an apologetic look.

“Why didn’t you tell him you were coming?”

Ronke smiled nervously. “My dad is remarried and I live with my mother. She knows I’m here.”

Lillian gave her a warm smile. “That’s good to know… that your mum knows you’re here, that is.”

Ronke found herself stifling back a laugh. At least she didn’t have to lie to get out of anything.

While Lillian and Ms. Olisa chatted away, Muyiwa and his siblings excused themselves from their guests as soon as Nneka was done serving chief Benson. They intended on keeping their discussions till after the party but it seemed the stories kept piling up the more they postponed.

They all filed silently into Muyiwa’s room, everyone bearing the burden of their secrets. Even Mustapha wore his guilt on his face, even though Aisha is the only one that knew what had happened. Abiye was the most impassive, even more than Aisha— Nneka envied the feeling of liberation.

“We shouldn’t be here long… we have guests.” Muyiwa said, striking the side of his hand against his palm. “So let’s get straight to it.”

Nneka let out an impassive sigh and decided to go first. “I didn’t think it was a big deal for me to mention that I was a year older. I mean, he doesn’t know I am.”

“Aisha dropped some dishes and I used super speed to get them… and Sade saw.”

Nneka’s eyes widened, but composed herself before speaking. “I’m worried Michael might get hooked on the complex real fast… that’s why I haven’t been making conversation with him.”

It was Muyiwa’s turn to widen his eyes. “Mustapha and I got ambushed while on an errand from dad and they were sent by Ronke’s dad.”

Aisha and Abiye widened their eyes, and Nneka gasped.

“Mummy doesn’t know about this.” Muyiwa said, casting a warning glance at Nneka. “So let’s leave it to dad to tell her.”

“Does Ronke know?”

Muyiwa nodded, taking the opportunity to clear any rising suspicion about his girlfriend. “She found out and told me about it, but I had already known by then. It was those series of events that prompted me telling her… our secret.”

“So what is he doing here?”

Mustapha let his shoulder slump. “Hopefully dad will find out… the chief will definitely not try anything here, but only God knows what is up that man’s sleeve.”

“We should get back.” Aisha mentioned quietly, and her siblings nodded in agreement.

 

Richard silently watched Chief Benson while he ate, apprehension rising with every passing second. He folded his hands and leaned against his desk as he looked on.

“Richard… it is rude to stare; I’m sure you have been told.” Chief Benson said, finally breaking the ice as he wiped his mouth with a paper napkin. “You may be my lawyer, but I’m still much older than you.”

“What did you want to see me for? I didn’t intend to work today.” Richard said curtly, ignoring Benson’s quip. The chief smiled and shook his head slowly.

“I received your letter… and the refund.” Chief Benson said through gritted teeth. “I need to know why you have decided to put your reliability in jeopardy.”

“The person I asked to get the documents you sent to me was attacked.” Richard said, his fists clenching.

Chief Benson eyes widened in mock surprise, and it took all of Richard not to punch him.

“I’m sure it was that stupid boy Ibrahim!” he said immediately, with a nod for emphasis.

“I don’t care… I’m not willing to die for some silly feud I’m not really a part of.” Richard said with the wave of a hand. “But what even motivated me more to wash my hands off your business is the fact that you never called to ask about the contract you sent… or even to enquire on the progress of the job you sent. Until I refunded your money and resigned from the job.”

Chief Benson’s eyes widened and he stumbled over his words before he could find a meaningful excuse. Richard didn’t even let him speak. He reached into his desk drawer and pulled out an envelope.

“Everything is intact, just as you sent it.” Richard said expressionlessly. Chief Benson wordlessly collected the envelope, not bothering to look through its contents.

“I’m sure Ibrahim’s men had an ordeal they’d never forget, but I’m no superman, and no amount of money is worth putting my family in jeopardy.” Richard said with a shrug. “So if you would excuse me, I’d like to spend the rest of my non-working hours with my family.”

Chief Benson rose from his seat and pointed a finger at Richard. “I’m sure you and Ibrahim have something planned… I’ll deal with you I promise!”

With those last words he stormed out, and Fredrick burst into the study shortly after, his fear heightened when he saw the horror-struck look on his boss’ face.

“Fredrick… I think it’s time we order those cameras.”

 

 

Chapter Twenty-Eight: The First Party

“Probed” is a science fiction concept with a Nigerian setting about five extraordinary children trying to live ordinary lives. I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I love writing it!

Hello!!!

Thank you all for supporting Probed and my upcoming novel. For those that haven’t heard about this novel or voted, please read the first and the second chapter of the novel “Bounds” and vote!!!. I need a total of 5000 votes to get published with Something Or the Other Publishing. Trust me, it’s a about a world you’ve never seen before.

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

“I’m dreaming… I’m totally dreaming.”

Sade was hyperventilating.  “I must have been thinking about this day too much… that’s why I’m dreaming it all up. I didn’t know I had an insane enough imagination to think up such—”

“Sade. Please calm down.”

“How can I be calm? How can I be calm when you—”

Mustapha hastily clamped a hand over her mouth. “You’re raising your voice.”

Sade bit into his palm, making him withdraw his hand. “What just happened? I don’t understand!!!”

Mustapha put a finger to her lips and spoke in a gentle voice he had never used on her before.

“No one can know about this.”

“I’m not dreaming?”

There was no use lying. “Got a minute?”

Sade nodded nervously, and all she saw next was clothes falling from thin air and the wardrobe opening and closing. Mustapha was back exactly one minute later, with his hair wet and wearing different clothes. What he had on previously lay scattered around them.

“Wow.” That was the only thing Sade could say. Mustapha smiled warmly at her, and she felt uneasy.

“What?”

Muyiwa couldn’t stop smiling. He had never felt this liberated before in his life, nothing like his parents knowing— a far more exhilarating feeling. Now he understood how Muyiwa must be feeling.

“You never smile like this. It’s actually scary to look at.”

Mustapha raised an eyebrow at her, his smile lessening. “You prefer my usual face?”

“Err… let’s just say I’ve grown used to it.”

“About the story… still wanna hear it?”

Sade nodded, her heart thumping at the prospect of an unimaginable secret.

 

“Hello… did you just get here?”

“Good day ma.” He greeted, smiling at Aisha’s mother and big sister, as well as another lady he had never met. “Yes ma we just got here.”

“We?”

“Yes ma… my sister and I.”

“Ah… Sade?” Nneka said excitedly. “She’s probably with Mustapha.”

“I wonder where.” Lillian said, frowning slightly.

“I made her get me something to wear.” Aisha called from the stairs, coming down with Mustapha and Sade, who looked a little dazed. “I’m afraid I was caught unaware when they walked in and I was still in my pajamas.”

Ronke and Nneka looked at each other uneasily. They weren’t wearing nightgowns but they were far from dressed from the party, just like their mother.

“I’m afraid we weren’t expecting anyone at this time.” Lillian said with a laugh. “But since Mustapha and Aisha are dressed they can keep their guests company. Let’s go girls.”

Aisha narrowed her eyes at Banji as soon as the others left, and he looked at the ground.

“Wanna see my books?” Aisha asked with an uneasy smile. Banji’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Um… sure.”

As soon as they went to her room Sade turned to Mustapha and poked his chest, but Mustapha cut her short before she could speak.

“If my parents find out I told you I’d be in so much trouble.” Mustapha said in a low voice, and a lump grew in Sade’s chest at that moment.

“What about your siblings?”

“They’d be angry no doubt, but since my brother just told his girlfriend about his abilities I wouldn’t be in that much trouble.” Mustapha said with a passive shrug. “No one else knows about us and no one can… you understand that right?”

Sade snorted. “We’re Nigerians. Who’d believe me if I told them that kind of thing? But even with that, I promise that your secret is safe with me.”

Mustapha felt himself tempted to smile the way he did earlier, but he refrained from doing so.

“We still need to talk. All you did was talk about how you and your siblings were different and what special abilities each of you have, but you didn’t go into details.”

“That’s because this is not the right place and time for that.”

“But you promise to tell me later?”

“Sure. I mean, why hold back now?”

“One quick question though… was this the way you were born?”

Mustapha shook his head. “That’s a long story… definitely for another day.”

Sade’s eyes gasped in realization. “That’s why you’re this way.”

Mustapha frowned deeply. “Like how?”

Sade stretched her hand to touch his face. “This… hardened.”

Mustapha gasped as Sade began to cry. “What did they do to you?”

Mustapha did not know what to say. He didn’t expect Sade to be able to read anyone so deeply, let alone him. He grabbed the hand on her face and squeezed it gently before finally breaking away from her gaze. Could she really care? Or was she just being her usual dramatic self?

“You know I hate to see girls cry… don’t play that card.” Mustapha said, offering her a comforting smile as he wiped her tears. “I promise to tell you everything okay?”

Sade nodded, a small smile tugging at the corner of her lips. “Who knew Mustapha could be so… romantic.”

Mustapha started and frowned, though playfully. “Trust Sade to ruin a moment. I’m not romantic anything abeg.”

Sade burst out laughing, and at that moment Muyiwa and Michael appeared at the staircase from the back door, sweaty from working out.

“Hey Sade! You’re here already.” Muyiwa said, grinning at her.

“Happy Birthday Muyiwa.”

“Thanks dear. I hope Mustapha is behaving himself.”

Mustapha scowled at the mischievous looks on the two older guys’ faces. “Abeg two of you go baff.”

 

Nneka had barely returned from freshening up when she heard the doorbell rang. A familiar scent hit her nose as Mustapha opened the door and her stomach did a thousand flips.

“Welcome to our home Folarin.” Muyiwa said with a drawl as he moved aside for the nervous teenager to enter. Nneka refrained herself from running back into her room. Just then Muyiwa brushed past her with Ronke stopping right behind Nneka with concern and him at the foot of the stairs, his eyes scrutinizing the new visitor.

“Hey Muyiwa… meet Folarin.” Mustapha chuckled, shoving the terrified boy forward. The oldest brother didn’t have the fierce expression the other boy carried, but he looked like he could snap him like a twig without a second thought. He was leaned muscled, but Folarin suspected he was a lot stronger than he looked. The older boy looked at him like he was a vermin in need of extermination for even knowing his sister existed, let alone having the audacity to date her. He could fully understand more than ever before Nneka’s concern about her parents knowing about their relationship.

The older brother was about to say something, but suddenly Nneka wrapped both hands around him from behind and muttered something like “you promised”, and his entire threatening demeanor vanished.

“Hey Folarin! Finally we get to meet.” Muyiwa said, stretching out his hand to Folarin as soon as Nneka let go of him. “I’m glad you could share this day with me.”

“Good afternoon sir.” Folarin said shakily, and everyone in the room snickered. Muyiwa’s grip was like steel. “I’m glad I was invited.”

Muyiwa drew him up close and spoke in a low voice, which of course, his siblings could hear. “Sorry I get a little overprotective when it comes to my sister… no one messes with her and goes unpunished.”

Folarin had to swallow the hard lump that had formed in his throat in order to reply. “I understand perfectly— I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Suddenly the door opened again, and Abiye walked in with Julian and his mother.

“Dad just got back!” he said excitedly, pumping his fist into the air as Richard walked in with two plastic bags full of drinks. Unconsciously, Folarin lunged for the back along with the two brothers, getting his hands on one of them before Muyiwa could.

“There are more drinks in the car with Fredrick Muyiwa.” Richard said, looking impressively at Folarin. “You’re Mustapha’s friend right?”

Mustapha snickered before he could stop himself and Richard turned in his direction. That was when his eyes caught Sade.

“Nneka… did you invite Sade?” he asked slowly, and Nneka swallowed silently. It was at that time that Lillian walked in.

“Oh no dear it was Mustapha… this friendship of his with Sade should be monitored o.” she said in her joking voice that the kids knew better than to take for granted.  It was when she set her eyes on Folarin.

“Hello there.” She said, her face plastics with a wary smile. Folarin bowed nervously in greeting.

“Good afternoon ma.”

“Good afternoon dear.” She said, turning to Nneka. “This is the schoolmate you were talking about shey?”

Nneka hung her head and answered quietly. “Yes ma.”

“Okay then.” Richard said curtly, clearing his throat. “You’re welcome to our home errr… what’s your name?”

“Folabi Adetunji sir.” The young boy said, bowing again.

Richard turned to the other guests in the room. “Thank you all for honoring our invitation.”

 

 

“Mrs. Ogunbade you have to be the best cook to ever exist, I must admit.” Mrs. Olisa said halfway through the meal, while Mustapha was already pining for a second helping.  They were all seated in the living room while a delicious spread lay out on the dining table— fried turkey and fish soaked in peppered sauce, jollof and fried rice, and coleslaw.

“I didn’t cook alone… my girls helped out, along with Muyiwa’s girlfriend.”

“How wonderful!” Mrs. Olisa said with a smile before taking another bite.

“I can’t take it anymore…  I need another plate of food.” Mustapha suddenly muttered to Sade.

“Then just go get it and stop whining.” She whispered back.

“No one likes me eating too much in front of visitors.”

“I think everyone here is used to you incessant eating, so don’t you think?”

“Not Mrs. Olisa, Banji or even Folarin.”

“Just go abeg.”

“Let me just eat from your own naa… I know you won’t finish it.”

“Who says I won’t?”

“I know how you eat. If not that mummy had served you herself you wouldn’t have taken this much.”

“But I don’t like food wasting… so I will finish it.”

“Let me just he—”

“Mustapha what are you doing?” Lillian asked her son, narrowing her eyes at him. His spoon was in Sade’s plate, and at that moment he looked like a child that had been caught stealing from a cookie jar. “There’s more food for you to help yourself with— stop harassing Sade.”

“It’s not like that ma.” Sade said, almost blushing. “I was actually begging him to help me finish my food, and you know Mustapha can never refuse such.”

“I just didn’t want the food to waste.” He muttered stubbornly and everyone laughed.

“So Folarin… are you in Nneka’s class?” Lillian said, trying to make conversation with the boy. She had plans to talk about him much later, but there was no use bringing it up at the party. Nneka was going to be nineteen and definitely old enough, but she was always wary about the children becoming too exposed when she was in a position to prevent that. Especially with Nneka, being female and laden with the Naiad complex— she needed extra care.

“No ma… I am in commercial class.”

“How old are you?” Richard had to ask. Folarin was getting uncomfortable, but he held his own. He knew that he was going to be interrogated on the long run, and her parents were kind enough to at least not be all up in his face, even if it was for the sake of the party and other guests.

“I’ll be eighteen in June sir.”

Lillian and Richard exchanged glances. Nneka was a year older than he was.

Her siblings stared at her. They had not known before now.

Nneka stared at her feet. There had never been a need to say it to her siblings; no one had ever asked of his age. Even Folarin thought they were the same age.

“So Sade how is the family?” Lillian said, deliberately shifting focus. “Aisha tells me Banji beat her in first position this time— keep it up dear.”

“No one got me a birthday gift.” Muyiwa suddenly said, trying to shift the focus completely from the guests before Michael gets probed. “Am I too old for that?”

“Guy… I’m helping out with your party tomorrow— for free.” Michael said, nudging him. “That’s worth something…. Could I have some more rice please?”

“I’ll get you some.” Nneka said, reaching out for his plate to get him a second helping. Their fingers briefly touched and a course of electricity ran through him. He looked straight at her in surprise, and she moved swiftly to the dining room. Muyiwa shoved him to keep him from staring at her retreating figure.

“Guy that’s not enough o.” He said with a laugh that Ronke could sense was forced. “You gotta have a little something for your boy.”

“Well… your family does.” Richard said with a laugh. “Stop forcing people to get you presents.”

“Really? Wow dad you shouldn’t have.” Muyiwa said in surprise. He really didn’t expect any gift from his parents, not after all they had arranged for him.

His parents exchanged a mischievous glance with Mrs. Olisa, who giggled. “It’s at our neighbor’s place.”

“Wow mum, dad… could we check it out now?” Muyiwa asked excitedly, and Richard nodded. Muyiwa jumped up and rushed out of the house to Mrs. Olisa’s place, with his family and guests trailing behind him. He stopped at her gate, and turned to his neighbor for permission to enter.

“Underneath the sheet!” she called out as he opened the smaller gate. By the time everyone had gotten in he had removed the sheet. The brand new Tundra pickup stood in front of him. He put a fist to his mouth briefly, before running to prostrate in front of his parents.

“Daddy… mummy… thank you.” Muyiwa said, glad his face was down where he lay outstretched so Michael couldn’t see him tearing up. Richard helped him up to his feet.

“We’re proud of you son.” Richard said, giving him an encouraging smile.

“And we know you will never disappoint us.” Lillian said, tearing up as soon as she saw the tears in her son’s eyes.

 

The adults decided to head back to the house while the children looked over the car. Richard let the women pass through the small gate before heading out with Fredrick, only for them to find the last person he and his PA expected to see standing in front of their gate with an obviously plastic grin.

 

 

PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!!!! 

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Pre-Party

“Probed” is a science fiction concept with a Nigerian setting about five extraordinary children trying to live ordinary lives. I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I love writing it!

Hello!!!

Thanks for continually reading probed. I’m happy you secret readers who refuse to comment keep raising up my stats. I love you secretly as you make yourselves be. Muah!

Hopefully I’ll put two chapters up within the week. Enjoy!!!

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

 “This one has turned into in-law something o!” Maria laughed as Ronke packed her overnight bag. Fatima didn’t speak at first; she just looked at her roommate with wide eyes.

“You guys naa… I’m already nervous as it is.” Ronke said, zipping the bag up. “You guys are coming to the party on Sunday shey?”

“Of course!” Maria squealed. “Your boyfriend’s parents really tried o— two parties in one weekend!”

Ronke smiled, but said nothing in response. Just then there was a knock on the door. It was Muyiwa.

“Hey girls.” He said with a smile, picking up the overnight bag deftly. “Ready to go babe?”

Ronke nodded, and he flashed her roommates a smile. “I hope I’ll see you guys at Arinze’s place on Sunday.”

Michael had suggested house party instead, as it was relatively cheaper and usually more fun and two of their gym buddies shared a flat with a big living room. His father didn’t object, especially since it cost him a lot less. He instead sent him money for drinks and fuel.

“Of course! Take care of our friend o!” Fatima said with a grin.

“You know I always do.” He said, looking at Ronke this time. “Let’s go babe.”

 

Michael was already waiting in the car. He whistled at the sight of Ronke’s bag.

“Na semester you wan go do for bros house or wetin?”

“Abeg free me. No be box I carry naa.”

Michael laughed and shook his head. “Girls and load shaaa.”

The ride to Muyiwa’s place was fun, with Michael making jokes all the way. But by the time they pulled up into his street her stomach had begun to do a thousand flips. Muyiwa pressed his remote and slid the gate open, and her breath hitched a notch. They were finally there… at his place.

“Your house is really nice.” Michael said, slinging his backpack over his shoulder and sizing the large compound.

“Thanks.” Muyiwa said, grabbing his bag and Ronke’s, while she clutched her handbag desperately. Muyiwa flashed a comforting smile at her.

“They’ll love you.” He said as he pressed the doorbell. Mustapha opened the door almost immediately.

“Hey big bro!” Mustapha said with a grin. Muyiwa gestured to Michael and Ronke.

“You know Ronke… this is my best friend Michael.”

Mustapha smiled at them. “You’re welcome to our home. Please come in.”

As soon as Mustapha turned away from them Michael leaned in to whisper to Muyiwa.

“That your brother scary gan… pass picture sef.”

Mustapha paused all of a sudden and laughed, making Michael wonder if the teenager had heard what he said.

“Big brother’s here… and he’s brought some visitors.”

Muyiwa stepped in with Ronke and Michael into the living room, where his siblings sat watching TV. As soon as Nneka set his eyes on Michael she became self-conscious as she had on a pair of shorts, even though they were just above her knees. Her outfit today in comparison to the loose dress she had work to the hospital brought out her curves, and made Ronke a little intimidated. Michael was close to drooling— Muyiwa had to tap him in the back for him to snap out of staring at Nneka.

“So sorry about that… I really don’t know what came over me.” Michael said uncomfortably, and he gave her an apologetic smile.

“It’s okay.”

“Guys… this is my best friend Michael, and for those who haven’t met her yet… this is Ronke.”

Abiye’s eyes widened in excitement and he got up from the seat he was sharing with Aisha to look squarely at Michael and Ronke.

“It’s great to have you guys around.”

Michael turned to look at Aisha, who sat quietly scrutinizing him and Ronke with her huge eyes. He smiled and waved at her.

“You must be Aisha— it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise.” She said in an expressionless voice that made Michael unsure whether she meant it.

“Nneka please take Sade’s things to your room so that she can freshen up.” Muyiwa instructed, handing his sister Ronke’s overnight bag.”Michael will be sleeping in my room.”

“No problem.” Nneka said, smiling at the two guests. “I have lunch ready for you both.”

“Mama what about us?” Mustapha said with a mock frown. “Me I’m still hungry o.”

“We already had lunch. Go and eat bread.”

“Sha all of you know that the bread is remaining half.” Mustapha said, pulling his ears for emphasis. “Me I don’t want to hear you people telling mummy that I ate a whole loaf of bread.”

Nneka shook her head while Ronke stifled back a laugh. As soon as Ronke and Michael were in the respective bathrooms Muyiwa pulled Nneka close to him, making her raise an eyebrow.

“I can see it in your eyes.” Nneka said with a frown. “What did you do?”

 

“You can’t be serious Muyiwa.”Aisha said in a low voice, glaring at her oldest brother. She wasn’t the only one upset with him. Mustapha’s eyes were filled with rage, and Nneka disappointment. They were talking in low voices so they won’t be overheard, but they could hear each other clearly. “So what if you break up with Ronke and you get another girlfriend… you’ll tell that one too?” Mustapha asked sternly, rolling his eyes.

“Statistically speaking a regular guy goes into a steady relationship with at least a girl a year… so you’re telling us that every year a new girl will be in on our secret?” Aisha said with a frown. “Girls are the worst at keeping secrets, you know.”

“I have a boyfriend Muyiwa… you don’t see me blabbing such to him… or has Mustapha ever said he had let Sade in on our secret.” Nneka said with fists clenched.

“Sade is not my girlfriend.” Mustapha corrected, but they all ignored him.

“Even Abiye who is the least mature among us has been able to conceal his abilities so far, even with Julian.”

Muyiwa didn’t look at his siblings. He just leaned on the kitchen counter and sighed.

“Ronke isn’t like other girls. Even if we break up I wouldn’t open up to any other person like I did to her.”

“Bro you can’t know until the time comes.” Mustapha pointed out. “It’s not like you knew you were going to be in this deep when you first started dating her.”

“You’re right— I didn’t know.” Mustapha said. “But you need to understand… I really can’t explain it— why it felt so right to tell her. I have no excuse and I’m not going to make any.”

“Like Abiye back then… I remember how you planned to rip him apart for spilling.” Nneka said, giving him an accusing look.

“You guys… he has told her and there’s nothing we can do about it. Let’s not ruin his birthday by giving him attitude before mummy and daddy know something is wrong.” Abiye said, to the surprise of his siblings. Abiye was very mature for his age in the way he thought about most things; though he still acted very much like a kid.

“I don’t need you guys putting up a fake attitude because of mum and dad.” Muyiwa said despite himself. “It’s either I’m forgiven or I’m not.”

“You amaze me Muyiwa… you’re still claiming right.” Mustapha said, folding his arms. “You just want to mess up and be forgiven right off the bat?”

“It’s not easy to keep this a secret!” Muyiwa groaned. “Listen to me… one day you’d have to tell someone… maybe if you were to get married or—”

“And if we divorce them and marry someone else, more people will know.” Aisha interjected. “Because the divorce rate these days are accelerating with no sign of a decline.”

“I’m really sorry guys… please forgive me.” Muyiwa said, hanging his head as he pleaded.

“Does Michael know about us?” Nneka found herself asking. Muyiwa shook his head.

“Like Abiye said, it’s been done. There’s no point in holding on to it.” Aisha said with a sigh. “To be honest we do have to tell at least one person at some point in our lives, for one reason or the other. Mum and dad won’t be here forever.”

“Speaking of mum and dad, I think we all agree that it’s best they don’t know?” Aisha enquired, and the rest of her siblings nodded in agreement.

“Your guests will probably be looking for us.” Mustapha said, grabbing the half loaf of bread as he exited the kitchen. The others looked at each other and shook their heads.

 

Lillian and Richard did not return until much later in the evening, when Nneka was contemplating on dinner. Mustapha was the first at their side, almost forgetting that he couldn’t use his super speed at first. He and Muyiwa helped relieve the items they were carrying.

“I’m so excited! I think I’m going to cook all through the night!” Lillian said in her singsong voice. Mustapha’s ears perked up at the last bit.

“Mummy I’m definitely keeping you company.”

“Then there will be no food in the morning.” Nneka said with a laugh. It was then Richard noticed his guests standing nervously, their greetings overshadowed by that of the kids.

“Hello.” Richard said with a smile, and they greeted them again.

Muyiwa smacked his forehead. “Mummy, Daddy, forgive my manners… this is Michael, and this is Ronke.”

“Your roommate.” Richard affirmed.’

“And your girlfriend.” Lillian chipped in mischievously. Ronke tried her best not to look embarrassed.

“You’re welcome to our home.” Richard said with a grin.

“Thank you sir.”

“Have you guys had dinner yet?” Lillian asked.

“No mum, we hadn’t decided what I should prepare.” Nneka answered hastily.

“Not to worry— I’m home now.”

 

It was decided that dinner would be served in the living room, as the dining chairs were only eight in number. The family had a hearty meal, with Mustapha helping himself to two portions of what everyone else was having, much to their guests’ amazement.

“Guy… na before I dey think say you dey chop.” Michael whispered to Muyiwa, who only laughed in response. Ronke couldn’t eat as much, as she was so nervous.

“Watching your weight?” Lillian asked her politely, and she shook her head shyly.

“I’m really sorry ma. This tastes really good, but I don’t normally eat much.”

“I understand.”

“Don’t worry about it… I can help you finish that if you can’t.”

“Mustapha!!!!” Nneka and Lillian called sternly, and he put his hands up in mock surrender.

 

Ronke sat on Nneka’s bed and looked around her. It was quite feminine, especially because of the pink walls. She didn’t get to observe her surrounding as much as she could because Nneka stepped out of the bathroom and smiled at her.

“I’m glad you’re sharing the room with Me.” the young girl said gleefully. “I normally don’t do sleepovers.”

“I’m really happy to be here.” Ronke answered shyly. “Your house is quite big.”

“Yeah… it’s got eight bedrooms, all with their own bathrooms.” Nneka said without a hint of arrogance. “I’m surprised that dad had a liking for big homes even before he had a big family.”

Nneka had to admit that there was a thrill of being able to talk with ease. It was so easy to say things as they were since Ronke was in the know, and she felt she could almost understand why it was easy for Muyiwa and even the older Abiye to spill.

“Eight rooms… that means there’s at least one guest room though.” Ronke pointed out quietly.

“Yes. For guests.”

That made Ronke smile. All of a sudden Nneka’s door swung open and shut so fast Ronke almost thought she imagined it— that is, if Mustapha wasn’t suddenly standing right in front of her with a mischievous grin on his face. Nneka rolled her eyes while Ronke swallowed.

“Rude.”

“What? We just thought to wish our wife good night.”

Ronke tried her best not to blush, and Mustapha laughed hard at the attempt. Just then the door opened again and Aisha walked in with a parrot on her shoulder. She shut the door behind her and sighed.

“Sorry for the intrusion. We really just wanted to say goodnight.”

“Yes! Goodnight!”

Ronke smiled gently at Aisha, grateful for the information Muyiwa gave her at the part. Now she understood what he was talking about. If she didn’t know the little girl was a super computer she would have imagined she was a deadly shape-shifter that could gouge her eyes out. As the term shape-shifter came to mind, she found herself staring hard at the parrot on Aisha’s shoulder.

“Nice Parrot.” She said weakly, and the parrot flew off Aisha’s shoulder and landed on her lap— as a cute brown-haired Yorkshire terrier. Ronke tried her best not to scream.

“Abiye… ease up on her… please.” Nneka said firmly, and the terrier sighed.

“I’m sorry Ronke. Goodnight.”

Ronke really did feel he was sorry, and immediately felt bad for her reaction, so she picked him up and cuddled him, much to everyone’s surprise. “Goodnight dear. You’re so cute and hairy!!! Thank you for not turning into a snake or something scary like that.”

Abiye jumped off her feet and changed back to himself with a huge grin on his face. “Of course not. Even my parents aren’t used to that side of me yet.”

 

Lillian woke the girls up early, though the house had already been swept and dusted, courtesy of Mustapha. The staffs were usually off work during weekends since the children moved in, unless requested for— of which today wasn’t such an occasion. Aisha was to clean up and arrange the plates and utensils while Ronke and Nneka were to help her with the cooking. As they trooped to the kitchen they found Mustapha there, pouring himself some Corn Flakes. He looked at them and grinned.

“Good morning mummy… good morning girls.” He said, opening the tin of powdered milk right by the box of cereal. Ronke gave him a small smile.

“Good morning Mustapha… what time did you wake up?”

“I didn’t sleep.”

“He never does.” Nneka mouthed to Ronke so she wouldn’t ask him why.

“Sure you all don’t need any help?” he asked with a smirk before digging into his cereal.

“Do we still have foodstuff in the fridge?”

“Of course mama.” Mustapha said with a chuckle. “Wouldn’t want to leave our guests hungry.”

 

“Meeehhnnn this your gym ehn!!!”

Muyiwa smirked as he walked in to see Michael running his hands over one of the heaviest equipments they had. “Abeg who dey carry this one?”

Muyiwa looked from Abiye who was choking down a laugh and looked at his friend quietly. “Na for show… don’t you worry about it.”

Muyiwa’s stomach rumbled. He could smell what was cooking in the kitchen, and they were yet to have breakfast. He shook his head and chuckled, hoping Ronke was having a good time in the company of his mother and sisters.

 

“He’s mostly reserved in school.” Ronke said as she chopped the carrots, while Muyiwa’s sisters and mother listened with rapt attention. “It’s quite a relief to see him like this at home to be honest.”

“I wanted to hear something more exciting, like stories of him doing bad things.” Aisha sulked.

Nneka rolled her eyes. “She’s his girlfriend. You don’t expect her to dish out the dirt on him.”

Lillian nodded. “True that. Why don’t we dish the food into these coolers and get ready.”

“Yes ma.”

Just then the doorbell rang, and the girls turned towards the direction of the kitchen door.

 

“I still don’t get why she picked you.

Banji smirked as he used the doorbell. “What? Like I told you before… we’re friends.”

Sade gave him a dirty look. “Like I asked you before… since when?”

Before anyone could say anything further Mustapha opened the door. His eyes widened as he saw the first guests at the door.

“Hey…” Banji said, trying to avoid Mustapha’s gaze. Even his surprised look was disconcerting.

“Hi. What time is it?”

Sade looked at her watch briefly and shrugged. “11ish. that’s a rude thing to ask your guest, you know.”

Mustapha sighed. “Apologies. I was just not expecting anyone till well, 12ish.”

“We know we are too early, but our big brother had to go somewhere so he dropped us along the way.” Sade explained, and Mustapha nodded absent-mindedly.

“Okay that explained… may we come in?” Banji asked curtly, though his resolve weakened when Mustapha turned to look at him with an eyebrow raised.

“Please do. I hope you’ll excuse me so I can go change.”

“Sure.”

Banji and Sade walked in just as Aisha was bringing the plates to the dining table.

“Mustapha who was that at the—”

Banji’s eyes widened at Aisha’s sponge bob pajamas, and he bolted for the door. Right at that moment, Aisha dropped the stack of plates in her hand. But they never crashed.

“What… what just happened?”

Aisha and Mustapha exchanged horrified looks. The plates were still in his hands.

“Am I dreaming?” Sade said, almost to herself, and Mustapha dropped the plates carefully before stepping slowly towards her. She took a step back.

“This is some side effect from the new medication right? It has to be.”

Mustapha turned to his little sister. “Go dress up. And make sure you don’t tell anyone anything… at least until later.”

Aisha nodded and dashed up the stairs. Just then the front door opened and Banji walked in.

“Um… sorry about that. I was just—”

He looked around him, wondering where everyone went.