“Actually, he’s not my boyfriend” I said
“So who is he to you? And why is he pretending to be your boyfriend?” Aunty Juliana asked sceptically, eyeing the Slave Master.
“I bashed his car, this car” I said pointing at the Honda Pilot car parked right next to where we stood.
“I don’t think that’s the proper way to put it Brino” the Slave Master said coolly “you stole my car for a joyride and utterly destroyed it”
Aunty Juliana’s eyes widened.
“And instead of sending you to rot in jail for the rest of your life, I pitied you”
“Turning me into a modern slave does not count as pity” I retorted.
The Slave Master laughed humourlessly “Modern slave eh? I have never harassed you, nor have I ever laid a finger on you and you think you’re serving as a modern slave because you are doing menial jobs around my house? I told you, you are going to work for me till you pay back every kobo that went into repairing this car”
“And just how much is that?” Aunty Juliana asked having gotten wind of the situation, the Slave Master told her and her mouth went a little slack when the amount ran into 8 figures.
“A Honda Pilot is not the cheapest car to maintain in case you never noticed”
“Yes, but keeping someone against their own free will is against the law” Aunty Juliana equally quipped.
The Slave Master gave another dead laugh “It’s like you don’t understand my benevolence in this situation, she could be rotting in jail for the rest of her life under this very same law for what she did, with multiple charges of breaking and entering, stealing and destruction of property, and she would also have to pay me back for damages. Do you guys really want to go down that road? If so, fine by me, just know I have a degree in law and I can sue all of you for all you’re worth. You have 3 days to rethink this decision of yours and you know where to find me” the Slave Master said looking at me “and if you don’t find me… I’ll just have to find you then. You know I always do” with that said the Slave Master turned on his heels and went into his car which drove off immediately.
“How did you get yourself into such a mess?” Aunty Juliana asked, pacing about the living room.
I sat on the living room couch looking downcast, Tinuade and Vwaire were at the other end of the room, huddled together and whispering to one another.
“Do you like do things like this often? Randomly steal and destroy people’s cars?” Tinuade asked.
Aunty Juliana’s eyes shot up to her in a reprimanding look, before she turned back to me, expecting an answer.
I sighed “Not anymore”
“Not anymore? Meaning you used to do this before? Are you like kleptomaniac, should we be cautious with our stuff when you’re around?”
I steeled my expression, Tinuade meant no harm, it was obvious with the way she spoke that this was just the kind of person she was, but that didn’t stop the anger within me from stirring.
“I am not kleptomaniac, I have never been kleptomaniac. What I once was however, was lonely and poor and desperate. And you know what they say about desperate times don’t you?” I snapped at her, causing her to wince.
“Brino” Aunty Juliana said sympathetically regarding me with eyes full of pity, she came over to where I sat and regarded me “Please, if you don’t mind, I’d like to know what happened”
I gulped. I knew this day would come, when my real family would find out about my dark and awful past, I just didn’t expect it to be less than 24 hours after I met them. I closed my eyes, I had to tell them of my past, they had taken me in immediately they found out I was one of their own, I owed them this much.
“My dad died when I was 15, I was in SS3 at the time, my so-called mother proceeded to make my life a living hell, she changed me from a private to a public school, she’d make me do all the chores around the house and her shop before I could go to school every morning, I was to get home before her and cook for the family, it was torture. I cried myself to sleep every night, I was still dealing with my father’s death and my mum had turned into a monster overnight. It was a wonder I passed my O levels exam, as soon as I was done I ran away from home. I lived on the streets for close to a month on my own, moving from place to place with no money and no direction, until I made some friends.
“The first time I saw them, they were pickpocketting. I watched in wonder as a boy ran and slammed against a lady’s handbag, by the time he ran off after apologising, he had her wallet with him. My 15 year old self was entertained and so I followed him, having nothing else to do. I followed him as he made around the streets stealing stuff off random people, I was so captivated by watching him, I didn’t know he had colleagues, who were apparently watching me, at some point the boy just turned around and started walking towards me, he asked who I was and why I was following him, I couldn’t reply, some of his colleagues came to support him and they surrounded me and I just began to cry, before telling them my story. They took pity on me and took me with them. Apparently, they were like a family of thieves, all teenage vagabonds living together and training themselves.
“I stayed with them and learnt their profession, my specialty was cars, I learnt how to pick the lock of a car, how to disable alarm systems, how to start a car without the keys and stuff like that we soon began to grow in wealth and in number, we had ranks among ourselves and I was No.3, the boy I’d followed on the day I’d found my new family, Idris, he was No. 2, our leader was just a few years older, Donald, he took a liking to me and made me like his personal assistant, while Idris was his righthand man. I stayed with them for 4 years, till I met Bruno, we met at a supermarket one day and we just took a liking to one another, what with our names being very similar, Bruno-Brino, we exchanged numbers and soon began to talk about anything and everything, in no time, he became an indispensable part of my life, and I just had to tell him what I did for a living. He didn’t judge me or do anything like I expected, he — he… ” I stuttered tearing up at how kind and compassionate and loving Bruno had always been to me.
“He didn’t judge me” I continued “He told me that he was not going to condemn me, that Jesus didn’t condemn him on the cross for his sins and he couldn’t be a hypocrite and condemn me. He said he was not happy with the life I was loving but, he still loved me regardless and he didn’t even judge me or make me feel less than myself, we still kept on getting along with our friendship. After a few months, I summoned the courage and left my family, I left that life behind and swore to myself that I’d never go back. Bruno helped me to get back on my feet, he helped me get a job, provided accommodation for me, he enrolled me for A-levels classes so I could go back to school and he even caused me to go back to my so-called mother. She didn’t accept me, but for the sake of her reputation she let me back into the house, we never bothered to get along after that really. I occasionally used to bump into some of my old friends, one such time was 3 weeks ago at a party I went to, one thing led to another and they dared me to steal a car. I’ve never been one to back out of a dare so I did, I took a Honda Pilot car and accidentally destroyed it. Now I’m paying for my sins”
“So what are you going to do now?” Aunty Juliana asked worriedly.
“It’s a no-brainer” Vwaire spoke for the first time, since I came into the house with Aunty Juliana “we can’t go bankrupt because of her, she has to go back to that guy, whoever he is”
“Vwaire” Aunty Juliana chided.
We all turned at the sound of the doorbell before Aunty Juliana could say anything else.
I don’t know how to start apologising to everyone who waited for EXP #1 to come up last night and was disappointed. I am so very sorry guys. I just resumed school for second semester and everything is just overwhelming and I’m trying to adjust. I am so so sooooooooooo sorry everyone. Please forgive me.