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****EPISODE 13****

Justice Bola Arowolo sat in her son’s sitting room as she sipped the hot cocoa Ose had made her and chatted with her children and grandchildren. They were all there including Seun’s husband, Austin Nnabuife, an ict engineer, Jire, Bolu’s fiancée and Femi, the one she was really watching.
Nathaniel and Andrew were busy trying to make a ship in a big bowl of water behind the chair, she saw them but didn’t bother to tell them paper doesn’t float on water, let them learn. Bolu was sitting on Jire’s lap, talking wedding plans, she for one couldn’t wait for Bolu’s wedding, it was going to be huge society wedding, and the first since her Husband became a Minister.
Seun was talking animatedly and spreading the latest gist, that girl, always laughing and happy, a perfect opposite of her husband, Austin, a very quiet, unassuming man. Very deep too. Fiyin was contributing to the comment and asking if he was allowed best man functions at his friend’s wedding.
Femi was by the chair, holding Amanda and chatting with her. When she had started at first, she watched her to see if she was trying to get into her good books but the girl wasn’t even particularly conscious of what she was doing and Amanda obviously had great chemistry with her
So did the boys for that matter, since she got here with the children yesterday, she had seen that Femi was a natural with them. She got them to do things even their parents had a tough time getting them to do and she made them do it with glee.
She also saw that all her children liked her. Bolu bought gifts for her and asked her opinions on things, Seun really enjoyed talking to her, but then Seun enjoyed talking to everyone. Seun, despite all her talk was a very intelligent and introspective person too and she usually had a correct opinion on everyone so she intended to ask Seun about Femi later.
She could see Jire liked her. She had known Jire for years as he and Fiyin had been friends since they schooled abroad together years ago and she trusted the boy. Even Austin, who was usually uncomfortable around people seemed to like her very much and was very comfortable around her.
And Fiyin, her poor son, his eyes lit up whenever he saw her and he was happier than she had seen him in years. For no other reason, she liked this girl because she made her son a very happy person. The happiness also transcended to Amanda, she could tell that her granddaughter was much improved from before, quicker, more confident, more independent and if Fiyin was to be believed, she had Femi to thank for it.
Of course, when she arrived yesterday, she had immediately gone over to see her old friend, Justine Ingalam, Proprietress of the Reign Academy, Femi’s employer and someone she trusted to always tell her the truth. According to Justine, Femi was well behaved, well trained, kind, diligent and so forth.
She had also stopped at the school to talk to the security man who also gave good reviews on Femi, reviews that matched the Femi sitting before her now. Reviews that did not match her husband’s report. Now, she was curious to know who had given her husband a report about her because the person appeared to be holding a singular opinion.

“Dinner is ready.” The cook called out and they all trooped to the dinning where more chairs had been added to the big six seater table so everyone could seat.

“Nate, Andrew. Take that bowl to the kitchen and throw those paper ships away!” She heard Femi say to the boys who began grumbling and she smiled to herself, so she had seen them too.

They sat down to eat after the grace and conversations started flowing. Soon, she noticed Femi was talking quite comfortably with the rest of the table and she decided she didn’t believe that report one bit except if the girl was an Oscar winning actress.
She was watching her when she excused herself to answer a phone call and then screamed almost immediately.

What is it?” Fiyin asked, getting up and running to where Femi was, everyone else looked in concern.

“It’s Ronke!” Femi was saying, tears streaming down her face, “she just had her baby”

“Really? Is that why you screamed?”Fiyin laughed and hugged her and everyone relaxed.

“I’m sorry” She said, still crying, “I’m so sorry, I’m just so happy.”

“Who’s Ronke?” Jire asked.

“Her best friend…”

“Aww, congrats!” Bolu said and soon the table was awash with congrats from everyone including the children, although Femi was still sniffling and was just mumbling thank you from her position on Fiyin’s chest.

“Aunty Femi cries a lot…” Amanda whispered to her grandmother, “….daddy says she’s motional!” And then, “Daddy, if you marry Aunty Femi, what will happen to me? Your name is Fiyin, Aunty Femi’s name also starts from F, will you use F for my brother too? Will I be the only A?” She asked, suddenly disturbed.

No one laughed and everyone turned to Fiyin and Femi. He came to her seat and held her hand “No, baby, of course not, we won’t use F if you don’t want F.”
In fact, Femi said, “We will ask you to pick 5 names you really like, then we will use one of them.”

“Really?” Amanda screamed, running to Femi, “Really, really?”

“Yes, really!” Femi laughed.

“Okay, I will go and write them now.”

“Not now oh! What are you writing them now for?” Femi asked as everyone started laughing.

“So, i won’t forget it when my brother comes” Amanda said with determination.

“So, i guess that means you guys are definitely getting married, abi?” Seun asked mischievously, Femi’s cheeks went pink and everyone started laughing.

Justice Bola, however noted her son’s comfort with the whole idea. In fact, if she was reading her son correctly, he was already working on that.

After dinner, Femi said she would be going to Abuja in three days to be with Ronke and Bola insisted they travelled back together as she was also due to return the same time. The truth was she had planned to go the next day but she wasn’t going to pass off an opportunity to spend alone time with Femi.

After everyone had gone, Fiyin to drop Femi, Jire with Bolu and Austin with the boys, Bola sat Seun down to ask her about Femi. She explained the report to her and her reluctance to bring it to Fiyin’s notice.

“Oh, God, I should have known she would do this!” Seun exclaimed.

“Who?” Her mother asked.

“Its Tiwa, mummy. She liked Fiyin and was chasing him, the entire hospital knows, and yes, Fiyin was showing some interest but when he decided to go after Femi, she got jealous and she started slandering the girl. She told Fiyin exactly the same thing you’re saying and Daddy might admit who told him because he likes her”.

“Eh, ehn? So it’s Tiwa but how did she know all this?”

“She’s Femi’s cousin!”

“They are cousins?”

Yes oh and there’s bad blood between them. Fiyin didn’t really ask Femi all those things but he told me she started telling him about them. About her parents, her brother and her ex. He believes her and now that I know her, I believe her too.”

“That’s good to know, I liked her when I spoke to her over the phone and I like her more now. I will talk to your father when I get home, he trusts Tiwa, you know.”

“Well, he shouldn’t. Tiwa is very pretentious.” Seun said matter-of-factly.

“Really?” her mother asked.

“Yes oh, she is. She someone I enjoy talking to, she’s very smart but she’s proud, ambitious, pretentious and she looks down on people a lot. Most of the staff at the hospital don’t like her, her roommate doesn’t talk to her and even her parents will call Femi before they call her.”
“Hmmm, I see!” Her mother said, and she saw indeed.

Femi was packing up for her trip to Abuja the next day and she was looking for the perfect baby gift to get for Ronke. She waited till 3:30pm for Fiyin to follow her since he insisted on buying a gift for Ronke’s baby too. He said he was sowing into their future and she had laughed.
They got lovely gifts at a huge mom and baby store and stopped at a fast food to get ice cream for Amanda. While Fiyin went into the fast food, she waited outside with the car and snapped some nice selfies. She was still snapping when she heard David’s voice
“Femi! Femi!” He called.

She turned around reluctantly, “Hi, David, how are you?” She noted now that he was more orange these days than just light skinned, his hairline was receding, he was developing a paunch, probably from sitting down all the time and he was only 33. From where she stood, she could see the top of his head, since she was just 5”7, she was wondering what she ever saw in him.

“Why are you snapping beside someone else’s car? Do you know they can arrest you?” He asked her. Same old David, small minded and delirious.

“Hi, David, nice to see you.” Not!

“Nice to see you too…..this one I haven’t seen you around, i will change my mind about you oh. I cannot marry a woman I don’t see often.” David said with feeling.

“Really?” Femi giggled, “Is it a woman you want to marry or a slave?”

“Have I ever asked you to do anything extraordinary? Ehn? Femi, I’m serious, I reported your attitude to Ronke last month, how can I be with a woman who doesn’t call? Who doesn’t inquire about my health? You too, reason it now.”

“Ha, sorry David, I saw all your missed calls, I just chose not to answer!” She said sarcastically.

“You see how you are talking, I told Ronke, I don’t want to cheat but at this rate, I will.”

“I’m not surprised Ronke did not mention this conversation of yours to me, she knows I have moved on.”

“Moved on to where? Because you are now borrowing clothes, you think you are special, better come and lemme manage you before you become old without prospects.”

She smiled, feeling bigger and stronger. Of course, he would try to put her down, that was where he got his own high from. Months ago, she would have been in tears by now but that’s what the tender loving care of a good man does to you, it makes you confident.
No, David, don’t manage me, okay? I have good prospects and I like them like that, thank you.” She looked up and saw Fiyin coming, already frowning at David’s back.

“Sup?” He said when he got to them.

“Fiyin, meet David, David, meet Fiyin, my boyfriend.” She said to both. They stared at each other aggressively and refused to shake hands. “Fiyin, let’s go!” she said to him before they both started anything funny. She opened her side door and turned around to better see David’s reaction when she got into the car. His mouth was agape.

“You dated that guy?” Fiyin asked he entered the car, loud enough for David to hear, “Femi, you have no taste whatsoever.”

“I have taste jor, am I not correcting my errors now?”

“True!” Fiyin said as he started the car. By the time he drove off, they were laughing at David still standing staring at them.

Femi’s plane ride to Abuja with Mrs Arowolo turned out to be fun. They actually kept up a steady stream of gist from the Airport in Lagos till they got to Abuja. Mrs Arowolo had been a teacher during her youth service and they exchanged lovely anecdotes of teaching children and their misdemeanours. When they got to Abuja, they were sad to part and Fiyin’s mother insisted she come and stay with them for a few days before she returned to Lagos.
In Ronke’s house, she met a very ecstatic Ben proudly showing off his cute Son. Femi was so excited and spent a long time carrying him and crying until Ben’s mother collected the baby from her. Afterward, she spent the rest of the day with a very tired Ronke planning the baby’s naming ceremony which was barely 4 days away.

On her 2nd day there, returning from the tailor where she had gone to collect the clothes Ronke would wear at the naming, she was waiting at the side of the road after she had called an Uber taxi when a car stopped beside her and the driver got down.

“Femi!” The driver, a tall, handsome fellow with a bearded face shouted.

Femi turned around and nearly went into shock when she recognised Lanre Balogun, her runaway ex fiancée. She stared for seconds before she could respond, “Lan…. Re, right?”
“Yes…..” he said as he came around the car, “….don’t you recognise me? I know its been years but I recognised you right away….”

“I’m sorry, I was just shocked to see you, especially on the circumstances by which we parted”. She replied, still in shock.

His face dropped, “Femi, I am sorry. If I could rewind my life back, I would do that time again differently. Nothing else has really felt right since then. I am so sorry but I didn’t have the guts to tell you and I have not been able to forgive myself for that.”

“Why then did you do it?” Femi asked, suddenly very eager to know.

He scratched his head, “I… you know what, why don’t we go somewhere else? We can’t talk here on the main road.”

“Oh, I called a cab, an uber cab, I need….”

“Please cancel, let’s talk” he begged earnestly, “Please.”

“Alright.” She quickly made the call and followed him into his car as he drove to an ice cream shop, remembering her love for chocolate.

At the shop, he asked her what she was doing in Abuja and she told him about Ronke living in Abuja now and having a baby. He was happy to hear that for he had always liked Ronke and her boyfriend Ben. When she asked him the same, she learnt his company had a contract with the government and he was in charge of the Project’s execution.
After a short while of small talk, she learnt he was still single, which was a big surprise to her since she had always seen him as a pretty good catch. When she could stand the suspense no longer, she blurted out,

“Lanre, why did you end things like that? What did I do wrong?”

He sighed, regret etched all over his features, “Femi, I am so sorry, you did nothing wrong, I swear!”

“Then wanted happened?!” She almost shouted.

“I… you know what? I was stupid. You were the best thing that happened to me, since you, I haven’t felt with any other woman what I felt with you, I….”

“Lanre, what happened?!!!” She finally shouted.
He took a deep breath and went for it. “I slept with Tiwa and she threatened to tell you and everyone else at the introduction what we did. I told myself I will tell you the truth but I didn’t have the guts so I ran.”

“No, even Tiwa wouldn’t stoop so low, she didn’t even like you!”

“Really? You think I made that up?” He started laughing. “You think I want to rehash a big mistake for funsies? I don’t know what Tiwa told you about me but from the day I started coming to your house she chased me relentlessly, everywhere and everytime”
Femi couldn’t believe it, she shook her head, could Tiwa have done that?

“The mistake I made was that I never told you she was after me, I didn’t want to be the cause of a fight between two cousins especially because I knew your relationship with her wasn’t stable in the first place. I figured she would get tired and go away, I was wrong. She only saw it as a challenge and chased me harder.”

“She told me stuff about your family, how your brother had killed your parents, how….Femi, please don’t cry” He said as he moved closer to her when he noticed her eye start leaking, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry”

How could she do that? How could she? My brother didn’t kill my parents, I swear!” She cried out.

“I know, your uncle told me the truth, I asked him. I am so sorry, it’s just things happen, you know?” He sighed. “A week to the introduction, she suddenly appeared at my house, she had never been there before so I don’t know how she located it but she did, said she was running an errand for you, I didn’t believe her but I let her in thinking my will power was strong enough but I was wrong, very wrong.”
“Afterwards, I begged her to forget and let me marry you in peace but she refused and threatened to tell everyone if the introduction held. I think that was when I understood her. All along, I thought she wanted me but she didn’t really want me, she just didn’t want you to have me.”
“I promised myself I was going to tell you personally, I really was but when I looked at you that day you brought our clothes, I just couldn’t say it, I couldn’t, so I left, I ran away like the coward that I was.” He finished bitterly.

Femi was overwhelmed at the lengths her cousin was willing to go to hurt her and realised she had been foolish to think she and Tiwa would ever be friends. She promised she was going to woman up and have a very serious talk with Tiwa when she got to Lagos. No more peace-making, no more adjusting, no more concessions. If she wanted war, war she would get!
She covered Lanre’s hands on the table, “Lanre, I am sorry about what happened to you, to us. I take responsibility for not paying enough attention and for not dealing properly with a problem that was mine. For a long time, I blamed you for everything else that happened afterwards and I was wrong. You made a mistake and I forgive you, okay?”
“Right now, I am in a good, strong, healthy relationship that Tiwa is once again trying to mess up but I won’t let her, no way! I loved you and I am glad I knew you. Thank you for telling me the truth today, I wish you all the best.”
She pecked him on the cheek and stood up, she left the shop and never looked back to the very lonely guy who realised he had lost her a second time.

They named him Nicholas Oluwasefunmi Itodo Onoja and the baby accepted the name by crying almost all throughout the ceremony. Afterward, Femi spent a lot of time on her knees picking up the money they sprayed on the mother and father as they danced. It was a position she was familiar with as she had done the same at their wedding.
Preparing for the naming had helped distract her from the revelations that Lanre had made to her and talking to Ronke about it had also lessened her anger. Her friend had been filled with righteous indignation on her behalf again and while breastfeeding her baby, had offered to come to Lagos and carve up Tiwa’s face. The picture of tiny Ronke with a baby attached to her breast carving up Tiwa’s face left Femi and giggles and made her feel better.
She really wanted to get back to Lagos but because she had promised Fiyin’s mother, she decided to visit his mom and also meet his dad. She understood from her last conversation with the man that he didn’t wholeheartedly approve of her and his wife had as much as said the same, she hoped when he met her, he would realise she was a good person.
And if he didn’t, that was fine too, she was done with approval seeking, what really mattered was how Fiyin felt about her and that was that.


****EPISODE 14 (Semi Final)****

Fiyin was missing Femi something fierce and he realised both times when he had missed her this much, she had been in Abuja, he decided he didn’t like Abuja that much anymore. His only consolation was that while she wasn’t with him, she was with his parents and his dad had called him yesterday to tell him she was an absolutely adorable girl. Well, he couldn’t wait for tomorrow to come so the absolutely adorable girl could fly back.
He stretched his legs out on the chair in his office and closed his eyes, quite exhausted, two surgeries would do that to you. Since Femi wasn’t around and Amanda was with his sister, he had cramped up the week with surgeries so he wouldn’t miss either of his girls but it hadn’t worked out. It was almost 12am and while he knew he should be going home but he really was too tired to drive.
As he nodded sleepily, he admitted that he should have gotten a driver like his father had suggested earlier but he had been too arrogant for that, preferring to drive himself around. The only driver he had was the one who used to take Amanda to school and since Amanda stopped school months ago, the guy had apparently moved on.
He heard the door to Ozioma’s office open and he briefly opened his eyes. As a member of the administrative staff, Ozioma closed by 5pm and had since gone home, so who was there? He didn’t wonder too long for seconds later, his door opened and Tiwa walked in wearing a lovely black strapless dress with sequins all over, her hair packed up and her perfume spread liberally.

“Hi, Doctor Arowolo.” She purred as she sat in the opposite chair.

“Hi, Tiwa, thought you had gone home.” He said as he looked her over, she was a remarkably beautiful woman. “Isn’t it too late for a date?”
She giggled, “No silly, I left earlier but I came back for you” She said and moved over to sit on the centre table in front of him.

Fiyin jumped up, albeit sluggishly, “Came back for me? Why?”

“I wanted to see you….” She said as she stood and moved closer to him, “…..didn’t you want to see me?”

“See you? No, not at all. Look, I’m really tired, let’s talk tomorrow.” He stood up.

“Come on Fiyin!” She said as she grabbed his waist, “come on now!”

“Stop it Tiwa!” He pushed at her, trying to dislodge her clinging hands. She let him go only to release the side zip of her dress which slithered off her body and pooled at her feet.
Fiyin’s eyes goggled, high firm braless breasts seemed to stare at him and he could see that her body was toned to near perfection, her stomach flat and a few hairs covering her privates. She stepped out of the dress and approached him.
Without thinking, he jumped on the chair, surprising Tiwa, he crossed to the centre table landed at the door before Tiwa knew what was happening.

“Are you crazy? What’s the meaning of this nonsense? You stupid idiot, aren’t you aware I’m dating your cousin? Why would you do this? You know what, you just lost every single grain of respect I ever had for you!!”

“Fiyin, I……” Tiwa started as she bent to pull up her dress.

“No, shut up!!” Fiyin shouted, his eyes hard, “I’m leaving now. When I leave, I expect you to clear up your messy self, lock my door and drop my key downstairs!” He turned and left the office.
When he arrived at his car, all sleepiness and tiredness had vanished, he drove home quietly and crashed on his bed.

Tiwa woke up on the wrong side of her bed Saturday morning. She had spent a miserable night crying. Last night had been the worst night of her life, the most embarrassing and painful. She had never known a man who had turned down the sight of her body and for Fiyin to walk away without a backward glance made her feel very low.
She realised she had thrown everything she had at Fiyin, her brains, intelligence and now her body, nothing had worked. She was faced with the horrible sinking sensation that she had lost Fiyin and that was incomprehensible, she loved that man for crying out loud.
Tiwa did not make a habit of offering her body to men. In fact, besides the two men she had seriously dated, she hadn’t really been all that sexually active. Seductions excluded. The first time she had actually set out to seduce a man had been when she seduced Isaac, the guy her best friend had been dating.
She had wanted Isaac pretty badly, he had been rich and really generous but he had been Mayowa’s boyfriend. She didn’t know where the idea had come from but she had seduced Isaac and it had worked, for a shot while, she and Isaac had had a deeply satisfying affair and he had spoilt her silly. Eventually, Mayor had found out and their friendship had ended.
Tiwa hadn’t cared, Mayor had been a selfish, shallow friend anyway but she had been coldly disappointed when Isaac had chosen to reconcile with Mayor later and they had even gone ahead to get married and now had 2 little girls.
The second time she had tried her hand at seduction was with Lanre, Femi’s ex. She had hated the thought that Femi would get married before her and if it had been someone pretty low, she wouldn’t have minded but Lanre had been pretty comfortable and was obviously going to go farther later.
While she hadn’t wanted an average guy like Lanre, she hadn’t wanted Femi to have someone like that too. The plan was she would marry a rich man and Femi would marry a poor man and come to her house to beg for help. And it had worked too. When she hadn’t been able to convince Lanre to leave Femi despite everything, she gave up her body and it had worked like a dream.
Now the picture of her victory over those two men was ruined by her remembrance of the way Fiyin had looked at her yesterday. Like she was a filthy crawling insect. It had taken her minutes to get her clothes back on and even longer to leave his office, she was yet to get over the whole incident.

She was barely out of bed when she got into a fight with her crazy, useless housemate who accused her of using up the gas without filling it back up or informing her so she could fill it herself. It had degenerated into a shouting match and Tiwa had left the house and gone home to her parents. Her brothers were around anyway and she wanted to hang with them.
When she got home a few hours later, passing the kitchen entrance, she met her brother, Demola’s wife, Anita chatting with Femi and her mother in the kitchen. She was angry but she tried to hide it. It was always like this at home, before it was her mom and Femi and now, it was her mom, Femi and Anita, always having women talk in the kitchen and leaving her out.
She greeted her mom and Anita, whom she knew didn’t like her but she didn’t greet Femi as she left the kitchen to go to the sitting room. She couldn’t believe that Fiyin had turned her down over Femi. She wasn’t as angry as she was deeply hurt by his actions. Seeing Femi now, she felt incredibly small and useless next to the stupid fat ass.
As she got to the passage, it struck her that Femi hadn’t greeted her, which was strange because Femi always greeted especially in front of her mom. She turned back to the kitchen and saw Femi smirking at her, she was shocked. Femi! What liver had that girl eaten?
She entered the sitting room and went to hug her dad and brothers. These days, she never saw them anymore. Kunle was working in Akure as an assistant Lecturer at FUTA while Demola was Head of Sales for his Company’s branch in Benin. Both of her brothers were doing quite well and she had heard the gist that Demola and Anita might be expecting. She wasn’t going to say anything though until Anita came to inform her of her pregnancy. She was sure she had already told Femi though, that stupid betrayer!
Seeing her brothers and talking with them helped cleanse her a little but as soon as Femi came in with her mother and sister-in-law, she felt her hurt turn rather quickly to deep anger. She simmered while eating and for every word Femi spoke, the anger worsened until she felt she might choke on it.
Of course, it didn’t help that Femi who usually tried to please her was deliberately ignoring her and snubbing her. Did she know about yesterday’s episode? Had Fiyin told her? Had he shared her shame with his ugly, good-for-nothing, boyfriend-stealing girlfriend? Was that smirk on Femi’s face a mocking smile?
When lunch ended, everyone went into the sitting room to watch Tv, Tiwa followed Femi, who had gone to clear the dishes into the kitchen.

“What’s with the attitude today?” She asked Femi angrily without preamble.

“What attitude?” Femi asked her calmly without taking her eyes off her Aunty’s precious china as she washed it.

“What do you mean what attitude? Did you greet me when I came in?”

“No, I didn’t since you didn’t greet me either.”

“Ehn? What does that even mean? When have I ever greeted you?”

“Exactly!” Femi said as she returned the plates. “Since you don’t greet me, I have decided to stop greeting you. I don’t have spit to waste.”
Tiwa was taken aback, Femi had never spoken to her that way before. And the confidence she exuded, where did that come from. Tiwa felt unnerved and this made her angrier.

“I’m thinking you don’t know your place anymore. I am the daughter in this house, you’re the borrowed child! If you dare tr….”

“Tiwa, please shut up!” Femi told her calmly, facing her properly to see Tiwa’s eyes grow double their size. “I have heard this story too often already, you sound like a broken record. Go and find something new!!”

“Me, Femi?” Tiwa choked out. Fiyin must have told her about last night, he must! Femi would never talk to her like that otherwise. “So Fiyin told you what happened abi? You think you have won because I could not seduce him? It is tempor…..! What?” She screamed as Femi grabbed her shirt with angry, wet hands.

“What did you try with Fiyin? The same thing you tried with Lanre?” She shook Tiwa until her teeth rattled.

“Let go off me, you stupid b—h, let me go! Are you mad?!!”

“No but you are! You are mad and you are the b—h! Sleeping with other people’s men!” Femi screamed back at Tiwa, angry and shaking.

The rest of the family heard and rushed into the kitchen to see Tiwa slap Femi, before they could shout about that, Femi followed it with two slaps of her own.
Their mother started screaming as Femi pushed Tiwa’s slim body down and started pummelling her. Demola rushed in and grabbed Femi who kept kicking at Tiwa, Kunle pulled Tiwa up and she rushed toward Femi. Releasing themselves from their keepers, they came together again. Tiwa with a slap for Femi and Femi with a kick that sent Tiwa into the stools in the kitchen.
Her uncle’s voice finally penetrated Femi’s anger and she saw that her cousin was lying weakly against Kunle, bleeding from her mouth and nose.

“How could you? In my house? How dare the two of you?” Her uncle shouted, very displeased at both of them.

She saw Anita with her hand over her mouth and her aunty shaking her head. Her brothers were both shocked and she felt deeply ashamed of her conduct and soon, tears started finding their way to her eyes.

“I’m sorry uncle, there is no excuse for what we did. I’m sorry, everyone.” She told them.

Kunle took a miserably crying Tiwa to the toilet to treat her face while the rest of them went into the sitting room.

“What happened?” Her Aunt asked “I have never seen you violent before, no matter what Tiwa did to you.”
That was when she tearfully told the story as Lanre had told her and also mentioned Tiwa’s problem with her relationship with Fiyin and that she thought Tiwa had tried the same seduction routine with Fiyin.

Her Uncle could not believe his ears and immediately called Tiwa out to come defend herself. When Tiwa tearfully admitted it, he looked shattered. Anita stared, in shock. Both brothers were dumbfounded while her Aunt sighed and looked at the ceiling.
“Tiwalola, why? Why would you do this to your cousin? Didn’t you see how much pain you caused Femi over the Lanre incident? How could you be so callous and unfeeling?” Her uncle asked Tiwa, utterly disappointed in her.
Tiwa sat down quietly as tears flowed from her eyes.

“Tiwa!!” Demola shouted “Will you answer Daddy’s questions? I want to hear your answer because I want to know if you are just cold and unfeeling to Femi alone or to all of us? After this, I’m going to totally avoid you!!”

“Tiwa, I have often warned you about your attitude to Femi but you wouldn’t listen! You have always thought that your brains and beauty would get you everything you wanted! How many times did I warn you?” Her mother asked, her voice shrill. “Character, respect for others, humility, these are the things people want to see in other! What a man wants to see in a woman! If you are as beautiful as Miss World and yet have no character, no one would want to have anything to do with you.”

“I’m sorry, Tiwa said, her voice thick and choked. “I am so sorry! Please forgive me! I just always felt insecure since Femi came here and you always seemed to like Femi more than me. To you, she was the perfect daughter! It wasn’t my fault.”

“Femi was not the perfect daughter. She is flawed like you! There is no such thing as a perfect daughter anywhere. You tried your best and I loved you, I gave birth to you, you were and are still my Princess but if you had only tried a little, you would have made Femi your sister instead of your enemy.” Her mother told her.

Femi, who had since stopped crying started getting emotional again when she saw her aunt crying and stood up to go embrace the older woman in her seat. “Aunty, it’s okay” she whispered in her ears.

Her Aunt’s silence allowed the brothers to express their disappointment at Tiwa. Kunle didn’t say much, just gave his sister dirty and pitiful looks, Demola however had a lot to say, wondering why Tiwa hadn’t matured along with everybody else. He admitted that initially he and Kunle hadn’t liked Femi too but they had gotten to know and cherish her for the amazing person she was but Tiwa had decided to remain enemies with her which was her loss.
After the talks, Tiwa, her face swollen and her eyes red felt very sorry, realising how wrong she had been, she knelt down to apologise to every member of her family. After which she crawled over to where Femi sat close to her mother. “Femi, I’m sorry for everything I have ever done to hurt you. I acted out of insecurity and fear. I made your life which was already tough, tougher and I was arrogant, stupid and selfish.”
“Sorry cannot undo and we might never be friends but I hope you can forgive me so that I don’t hate myself more than I do now. I was envious and I thought I was better than you and I was wrong, I am not better than you or anybody else. You are a good person and you deserve to be happy, I am so sorry. Please forgive, I beg you.” She told Femi earnestly.
Femi stood and pulled her up, she embraced her and let her know she had forgiven her for everything. “You are my sister, Tiwa and I don’t have a choice but to forgive and love you. I’m sorry we didn’t understand each other better but I hope we can be close in the near future, okay?” They embraced again as Tiwa nodded.

That night as Fiyin came to pick Femi up at home, she brought him inside to introduce him to everyone. He was pretty excited as he had begged Femi to introduce him to her Aunty before that day. Anita told him she could see how both Femi and Tiwa would be fighting over him since he was very handsome. He blushed then looked questioningly at Femi since he had heard nothing about the fight before.
Initially, she hadn’t wanted to tell him about the fight since she and Tiwa had made their peace but since he heard from Anita, he started disturbing her to tell him what happened. She then told him about meeting Lanre whilst in Abuja and him telling her what had caused their relationship to end.
Naturally, he was jealous when he heard she had met her ex-fiancee and had given her funny looks. When he heard what Tiwa had done, he was shocked and then quite upset as she had also tried the same trick on him.
Nonetheless, he was grateful that Tiwa had ended Femi’s relationship with the wonderful Lanre guy as that had given him the perfect grounds to meet and keep the special person Femi was. He explained what he had also experienced with Tiwa.

“He didn’t love you enough, Femi. If he did, he would never have had anything to do with Tiwa.” He told Femi who could only laugh and agree.

Question: Will Femi’s friendship with Tiwa last?


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