Heart Thieves

Chapter Five

Kamji counted the days backwards until the day for her departure finally arrived. Her father had taken her to the airport and parting from them was a heart wrenching experience for her

” Give me a call when you arrive at your Auntys place. ” Her father said hugging her tightly.

”Sure. ” she replied and ruffled Somtos head.She had insisted her father bring him along to see her off.His big brown eyes looked at her expectantly as if trying to comprehend what was going on.

”Goodbye little man. ” She kissed his cheek, blinking back the tears that were threatening to fall. ”I will see you again soon. ” Her flight was due to leave in few minutes and she hurried away with her bags. She could still hear her Dad and little Somto shouting goodbyes but she didn bother to look back.

The flight was smooth and short and as soon as the plane landed, the metal door descended revealing a row of stairs. The passengers had rushed towards the exit. They were no doubt happy to be reunited with their families for the holidays. The airport was noisy, families could be seen screaming their head off as they welcomed one of their own from the pack of arrivals. In the midst of all the smiles and laughter Kamji felt left out. Not until she saw her Aunt Ebere, standing in front of the exit. She was dressed in a beautiful ankara gown with floral patterns and black silttelo shoes to go with it. Their eyes met and Kamji braced up for what was going to happen next.

”Oh my goodness. Kamji is that really you? ” She screamed bundling the girl up in her arms. She was hugging her so tightly that Kamji swore her bones were going to break.

”Yes its me Aunty Ebere. ” she assured, hoping the woman would release her grip on her. Aunty Ebere was her mothers younger sister and the last time she had seen her was during her mothers burial some months ago. The two sisters had striking resemblance but while her mother was calm and quiet, her Aunt was wild and a typical extrovert.

Aunty Ebere released her tight grip on her, ”Come on. Lets get out of here. The twins can wait to see you. ” The woman said grabbing her bags. Kamji used the opportunity to get back air into her lungs.The twins were her cousins and she was really looking forward to meeting them again. She quietly followed her Aunty out of the crowded airport to her car. It was a black Lexus. She eyed the car curiously wondering what had happened to the old jeep her Aunty usually drove. It seemed like the Principal job really paid off.

”Kalu bought it for me as a congratulatory gift for landing the promotion. ” her Aunty explained as if reading her mind. ”He is such a sweetheart. ” she giggled like a young schoolgirl talking about her crush.

Kamji nodded in agreement. Her uncle was a good man who had cared for his family. Eventhough he was a doctor and was always busy in the hospital, he still made out time for his family.

The drive was taking longer than expected due to the heavy traffic. Kamji was irritated and feeling stuffy eventhough there was AC blasting from all corners of the vehicle. Her Aunty had said something about Lagos being a city that never goes to sleep and the roads were always packed every twenty-four hours. Feeling bored she watched people through the cars tinted galss as they carried on their daily business. There were hawkers manoeuvring dangerously through the busy streets as they tried to sell there goods. She was afraid that some might get hit in the process but they seemed to be used to such things as they expertly glided in-between vehicles selling their goods. Her attention soon fell on some bus conductors shouting on top of their lungs as they tried to get passengers to board their bus. A popular song was on the radio and Aunty Ebere sang along to the beat. Her high pitched voice reverberated throughout the car and Kamji winced. With all the noises going on around her,she was going to get a headache at this rate. The whole place was noise polluted and she hated it already.

Just when she couldn take the noise any longer, the vehicle made a turn and entered a beautiful estate. It was calm and peaceful compared to the chaos they met on the way. Her eyes feel on the huge signboard that said Welcome to Beverly hills.

” Its pretty, right? ” The woman asked, noticing the girl looking eagerly at her surroundings.

”Its quiet. ” she said instead noticing the place was named after the famous residential area for celebrities in the states.

Aunty Ebere smiled. ”We moved in here last year. Kalu and I thought that it was a good place for the twins to grow up. Someplace quiet and peaceful. ”

Kamji nodded. This wasn her first time of visiting her Auntys place. She remembered their old house had been a small cramped up apartment. She always had to chair a room with her cousins any time she visited. She admired the beautiful duplexes that flaked each corner of the street. Each house getting more impressive in design as if trying to outshine the previous one.

The car soon came to a halt in front of a beautiful two storey building and her Aunty beeped the horn. A small man,whom she guessed must be the gateman had opened the gates allowing them to drive in.

”This is it. Welcome to your new home ” Her Aunty said as she pulled the car over. Kamji didn like the sound of that. she had wanted to say this wasn her home and will never be but she opted against it. Her real home was back in Abuja but she chose to remain quiet. Stepping out from the car she couldn help ogling at the house. Sure it wasn as grand as her house in Abuja but it was a big improvement for the cramped up apartment they used to live in.

She headed for the trunk of the car to get her bags when she heard a very familiar scream. She turned around to see a slim slender younger version of her Aunty rush towards her.

”Cuz! ” The girl screamed in delight, ” I can believe you
e finally here. I mean Mum told me you were coming but I didn believe it. ” The girl said in one breath as she practically jumped excitedly on Kamji, hugging her tightly.

Kamji was having a hard time keeping her balance and almost fell over from the embrace. ” Its nice to see you too, River. ” She was struggling to breath again as the girl had hugged her so tightly that she thought she would pass out. Seriously what was with this family and tight hugs?

”Hug her any tighter River and you will squeeze the life out of her. ” A tall teenage boy with a striking resemblance to the girl said from behind. There was a headset which hung around his neck, taking it off he brushed past his sister and bundled Kamji in a warm embrace.

”Hows my favorite cousin doing. ” He asked placing a peck in each of her cheeks.

”Charming as always,Peter. ” she giggled, batting her eyelashes at him a teasing way.

”What can I say. ” Peter shrugged, ”Girls cannot resist this charm. ” He pointed to his face and struck a pose.

”Oh please, ” River scoffed clearly annoyed with her brother. ”Mum, Peter is flirting again. ” she called to their Mother who had parked the car in the garage and was about to head inside the house.

”No. I am not. ” Peter retorted. ” I was just showing you how to welcome a guest properly, so you won go squeezing them with those metal hands of yours next time. ”

Rivers mouth dropped open. ” My hands aren made of metal. ” she whined. ”How dare you… ”

Peter grabbed Kamjis bags. ” Seems my sister lacks proper manners so I guess I will be the one showing you to your room. ”

As they walked towards the house. Kamji could still here the twins bickering and snapping at each other. She couldn help but smile at their mindless arguments. Maybe coming to Lagos wasn such a bad idea anymore. And with the twins she was certain her stay was going to be a whole noisy experience.

it didn take long for Kamji to unpack and get settled in. She had given her father a call and informed him that she had arrived safely. She had wanted to call Mic as well but later opted against it. He was still so emotional about her departure that she decided he was going to need more time to get used to it. She looked around the room making sure everything was in place. There wasn much clean up she had to do as the room was spotless when she arrived. She loved everything about it, from the cream coloured walls to the matching bed side furnitures. Aunty Ebere had even hung some of her old pictures with the twins on the wall. it was obvious they were doing everything they can to make her feel comfortable. Going closer to have a better look at the old photos,she couldn help but smile in remembrance. Her favorite one was the one they had taken at the beach ten years ago. The three of them with Peter in the middle all smiled widely at the camera, hugging themselves. Kamji had been seven at that time and the twins were a few months shy away from that too.

There was a knock on the door and River walked in with a tray of food in her hands. ”I thought you might be hungry. ” she set down the dish on a wooden mahogany table. ”How do you see your room? ”

” Its beautiful. ” She replied, walking over to the oversized window that started from the ground and shot up to the ceiling. It was her favorite part of the room.She pushed back the green pleated curtains that had the same flowery pattern with the duvet on the bed allowing light to spill in. From here she had a clear view of not only their neighbors yard but also the quiet streets below.

”Mom says you will be attending the same school with us. ” River said throwing herself on the bed.

” I guess. ” Kamji replied, sitting next to her.

”Don worry, I promise your going to love West Lake College. ” She chriped excitedly.

”West Lake? ” Kamji lifted a brow.

” Yeah. Thats the name of the school. ” the girl replied. ”Wait here, Ill be right back. ” She dashed out of the room and returned shortly with neatly ironed clothes.

”What are those? ” Kamji asked as River placed the clothes on her bed.

”They are your uniforms. ” her cousin replied absentmindedly as she ripped off the tags on the new clothes. ”We weren exactly sure of your size so mother decided to use my measurements instead. ”

Kamji looked at the uniforms. Sparkling white shirts with a short darted black skirt to go with it. There was also a plain black jacket with the schools crest and a neck cape.

”We only wear the Jackets on Mondays and Fridays during assembly. ” River explained.

Kamji felt somewhat relieved. She couldn imagine wearing the jacket on a hot day. And what was with the white shirts? Did the school management have any idea how hard it was to maintain whites. Her eyes studied the schools crest was which was a big capital W sitting on a lake making a big splash of water. Kamji thought it looked dumb.

” Do u want to try it on? I hope it fits. ” River proposed.

”Maybe some other time. ” Kamji replied as she packed the uniforms and hung them neatly in her wardrobe. She wasn in the mood for playing dress up.

”Heres also a copy of the students handbook. ” River tossed a small leaflet on the bed. ”It has the rules and regulations, Dos and Don . Subjects offered and the rest of them. ”

”Thanks. ”

”Its nothing, thats what sisters are for. ” River smiled. ”Your food is getting cold by the way. ” she reminded.

Kamji carried the food on her laps and uncovered the lid. The delicious scent of the soup wafted into her nostrils and her stomach grumbled. She hadn eaten anything since the apart from the tea she took on the plane. Taking a sip of the soup with her spoon, she savoured the delicious taste in her buds. The hot liquid left a burning sensation in her tongue but she didn mind. Wait, that wasn right, she thought as the burning felt worse on her tongue. Then she realized with horror the cause of the burn.

”Whats wrong? ” River asked, noticing Kamji had stopped eating and grabbed a bottle of water.

”My allergies. ” she replied, gulping down the water in a matter of seconds.

”Oh my God! I am so sorry Kamji ”, the girl stood up, panicking. ” I totally forgot that you didn eat peppery dishes. ”

”Milk. ” Kamji cried, ”I need milk. ”

River said no more and zoomed off to get the milk. She returned shortly and gave Kamji a glass. ”Are you better now? ” she asked, visibly worried. No doubt feeling terrible for making such a mistake.

”I am fine. ” Kamji wiped the beads of sweat from her head and handed River the empty glass. She moved away from the food like it was some sort of poison.

”I can make you another one. Free from pepper. ” River said, noticing her actions.

”No its fine. ” she said almost immediately. The corners of her lips were itching badly and inside her mouth felt like it was on fire.

”I will leave you to rest now ” River began to pack the dishes. ”I guess you must be tired from your trip. ”

Kamji nodded and River left the room, closing the door behind her. She picked up the students handbook on the bed and flipped through the pages. There were so many rules. No cellphones were allowed. No smoking. No fighting. No tattoos. She closed the book and kept it by the side. She was feeling tired and was still hungry but she couldn risk eating another food made by River. Lying back on the bed she closed her eyes and soon drifted into a dreamless sleep.

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