Three days later, Fredrick decided to meet his yet to be disclosed twin, Ikem on his own terms and not make use of the relationship between him and Ugochi. He didn’t want Ugochi to be more hurt by his own inability to take the bull by its horns. It was time to meet the guy and talk to him, straighten issues out and see if what he wants is actually possible. Although, after the way Ikem treated Ugochi, he was having second thoughts about wanting anything to do with him.
He had gotten Ikem’s phone number from Ugochi when they met three days earlier. He had not told Ugochi what his decision is, he just told her he would think about it and he left it at that. He isn’t planning on telling her anything until he has made contact with Ikem and gotten some things straightened out.
He stared at the number on his phone screen for several minutes before he decided to dial the number. Ikem picked up on the third ring.
“Hello, who is this?” Ikem asked on picking up.
Fredrick hesitated for a moment before replying. “Good afternoon. Am I speaking with Ikem, please?”
“Yes, and who is this?”
“This is Fredrick.”
“I’ll like us to meet and discuss some issues.”
“Do I know you?” Ikem asked. He was clearly confused by the strange call.
No, you don’t Ikem.”
“So, I should just come running because you crooked your fingers? What is this about?”
“It’s about your girlfriend, Ugochi and about your future.”
“What about Ugochi?” Fredrick could detect traces of annoyance and incredulity in his voice.
“I’d rather we see face to face so we can discuss it. You can choose the time and place.”
“Okay, you’ve got me interested. Do you know ‘De Gome’ restaurant? It’s at Clip bus-stop near Samonda.”
“Yes, I do. What time do we meet?”
“I’ll be free by 8pm.”
“8pm it is then. I look forward to meeting you.”
“I can’t wait to hear what all this is about.” He said and dropped the call.
Fredrick stared at the dead phone. He couldn’t wait to meet this guy face to face. He had formed all his opinions on his twin based on what Ugochi told him but it was apparent now that Ugochi’s observations were obviously tinted by love. Tonight, the whole charade will be over.
Ikem stared into space as he recalled the conversation. The guy said his name was Fredrick and he wanted to talk about Ugochi. It’s probably the guy she had been sneaking around with for the past few weeks. I can’t wait to see the bastard and here what he has to say for himself, he thought.
Fredrick decided to dash home after work and freshen up before his meeting with Ikem. He wanted to give a favorable first impression. He was at the restaurant at five minutes to eight because he wanted to have the advantage of getting there first. He sat at a table close to the door and waited for Ikem to turn up. Fredrick knew what Ikem looked like because he had seen a picture on Ugochi’s phone and he sees the exact image in his mirror every morning, so, he felt pretty sure he would recognize him when they met.
Fredrick kept checking his watch. 8:01, 8: 03, 8:05, still there was no sign of Ikem. The restaurant door finally opened and admitted his quarry at exactly ten minutes past eight. Fredrick watched Ikem as he looked around the restaurant trying to figure out who he was meeting. He raised his hand and waved to get his attention and saw Ikem’s eyes move slowly towards him.
The guy did a double-take, obviously surprised at seeing a replica of himself sitting quietly, waiting for him. A frown creased his forehead as he walked measuredly towards Fredrick’s table.
He came to an abrupt halt when he got to the table. “This must be a joke?” he asked, incredulous
“I assure you it is not.” Fredrick said as he stood up and stretched his hand for a handshake.
Ikem ignored the outstretched hand and kept staring at Fredrick. “Who the hell are you?” he asked sharply.
“Shall we sit?”
“No, I’m not sitting down until I know what this is all about.”
Fredrick looked around and saw they were attracting a lot of attention from the diners. He knew the quickest way to diffuse the situation. He smiled as he looked back at Ikem. “I am your twin brother.” He said quietly and watched as Ikem’s eyes dilated and he fell on his chair.
Fredrick sat down quietly. “Now, can we talk?” he looked towards his twin.
Ikem nodded, unable to do much more than stare, dumbstruck.
They sat down and stared at each other for two full minutes. Ikem couldn’t talk, he was incapable of any action. He just sat there staring. Fredrick watched him as he stared, giving him time to absorb the bombshell he just dropped. After all, he had been aware of the situation of things for a while now. He also wanted to take his time too as he had been looking forward to this very moment for a long time.
Ikem finally found his voice. “What the hell did you mean by what you just said? I don’t have a twin. I’ve never had a twin.”
Fredrick nodded. “Calm down, will you? Let me start from the beginning.”
“I’m listening and I assure you heads will roll if this turns out to be an epic waste of my time.”
“I’m sure we can rule that out. After all, you can see for yourself.” Fredrick replied, indicating his face.
Ikem finally relaxed a bit. He called for a waiter and ordered a bottle of beer. Fredrick was surprised but he hid it well. He ordered for a bottle of soft drink instead; he needed a clear head to do what he was about to do.
Their drinks arrived and Ikem took a sip of his before he signaled Fredrick to go ahead. He was acting cocky and very rude. Fredrick was not impressed.
“I got to know about this a few months ago.” Fredrick began. “I was as surprised as you are now to say the least. I couldn’t fathom the idea that I wasn’t born of my parents and they hid it so well. Let me start from the beginning.
“I got sick a few months ago. I was diagnosed with kidney disease and I needed a transplant urgently. Suffice to say none of my so-called relatives could help out. It was then the truth came out. When I got stronger, I demanded the full story from my parents and they told me an elaborate story I wouldn’t have believed if it was not coming directly from the source.
“My mum told me the story of how they had been childless for many years. They had tried all they could to no avail. After speaking with their family doctor, a plan was set in motion to steal the baby of another couple who frequented the clinic they used. They had promised the doctor a huge amount of money to get it done.
“Your mother had twins and they told her the other baby didn’t survive. She never knew what happened. I am the other baby.”
“This tells a lot like a Nollywood story. Why didn’t they just adopt?”
“I assure you, it’s not. Things like this happened all the time many years ago. You can’t be that naïve. And you know the adoption culture in Africa is very poor. Nobody wants to be seen as barren and people would rather know the source of their children. That is why such situation as ours was unfairly common.”
“My mother never told me I was a twin.”
“She probably was not willing to resurrect all the painful memories. You can ask her now if you are in doubt.”
“Of course I’m in doubt. This is such a super story.”
“Then, can you explain the resemblance? You look like the exact replica of me.”
Ikem waved it away. “Things like that happen. We can look alike and not be related at all.”
“Not as much as this, I’m afraid. Look, why don’t you ask your mum? What could it hurt? And why will I be here if it wasn’t true? Believe me, I did my research very well. I searched for the doctor who committed the atrocity all those years ago and threatened to report him to the police if he does not tell me the identity of my real parents. He coughed it up very fast.”
Ikem ignored all those facts and just held on to a point. “Oh, I can think of a reason you would concoct this ostentatious story. How about to hide the fact that Ugochi had been cheating on me with you and you both needed a cover story to make me take her back.”
Fredrick looked at him, aghast. “Seriously? And why would she want you back? After the way you treated her, disrespected her?”
Ikem just grinned stupidly. His cavalier attitude infuriated Fredrick.
“You have such an inflated ego. You believe I would go to such lengths to get your woman? Come off it, man. Ugochi came into the equation because I needed an in. I didn’t want to come in your face all of a sudden and since she was your woman, I felt you’ll be more inclined to listen to her. She was never meant to be hurt in the process but of course you bungled it all with your insecurities.”
Ikem froze. He slowly lowered the bottle of beer in his hand. “What did you say to me?”
“Did you have to hit her? It’s only an imbecile who hits a woman and I really do not think much of you after the way you treated that poor lady.”
“What did you say to me?” Ikem repeated. He was furious.
Fredrick didn’t care. He had been looking for an opportunity to put the smug idiot in his place. “I said you are an imbecile for treating Ugochi that way. You had no right to hit her.”
Ikem slowly stood up. He wanted to hit Fredrick so badly but he refrained because of where they were. “Stay away from me.” He pointed before storming out.
Fredrick watched him go with a little bit of regret. I finally bungled that up, he thought.
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