I really hope you like this chapter cause I really took time on it.
As I got to the bottom of the stairs, Chinelo and his mom were taking turns in hugging him by the doorway while two guys who I guessed to be his brothers walked in carrying a container of food presumably Jollof rice.
“Where do we drop this?” The guy with short curly brown hair said.
“The kitchen” Noah replied pointing in the direction, leaving his mother’s side to help his brothers out.
“Ijeoma” Noah’s mother announced as soon as she saw me.
“Good Afternoon ma” I said with a smile as I approached her. “Merry Christmas”
“Merry Christmas, my dear” she said jovially as she enveloped me in a hug.
“How are you?”
“I’m fine, thank you ma” I said with a little curtsy.
“Oh please, stop all this formalities. You sound like you’re talking to your professor” she said with a wave of hand.
I chuckled before nodding. I didn’t know if I could be as casual and informal as she might want me to be but I’d try. She headed into the house leaving Chinelo and I.
“Merry Christmas, Ijeoma” Chinelo greeted giving me a hug.
“Merry Christmas. It’s been a while” I said as we pulled apart.
“Yeah it has” she concurred. ” We have a lot to catch up on”
Meeting her again reminded of how bubbly and outgoing of a person she was. I smiled and nodded.
“I love your gown by the way” she said giving my gown another glance. “I just love anything in denim”
“Thank you, you also look very good” I replied gesturing at her light blue ruffle crop top and dark jeans paired up with matching light blue heels
Noah’s father walked into the house carrying a carton of drinks both hard and soda. He gave me a side hug as we exchanged ‘Merry Christmas’ before he headed into the house to offload the drinks.
“Ijeoma” I heard Noah’s mother call out.
Before I could move to see what she needed me for, she appeared before me with a calm Zozo in her arms. How she was able to get Zozo in her arms without me even being there to introduce them was beyond me.
“Okwano chizolum d’iha?” She said. (This is Chizolum, right?)
“Oh my goodness!” She exclaimed, turning her head to look at Zozo. “Obu so mma” (she is beautiful)
“Thank you” I had to resist the urge to add ‘ma’ at the end of every statement.
“Oh my gosh! She’s so adorable” Chinelo inputted as she moved closer to her mom to pinch Zozo cheeks.
I couldn’t get the wide smile off my face. I loved that they accepted Zozo so easily and even though she hadn’t met the rest of the family yet, I was glad that at least the most important one adores her already.
Zozo was in a denim gown like me only that hers was a cute little jumpskirt which hiked up a little as she was been carried and I moved to adjust it before Noah’s mother headed back inside with her.
We were about to leave the doorway and move into the living room when a stunning woman in a red jumpsuit matching her fiery red curly locks that cascaded down her back. I had actually forgotten that Noah has two sisters and by the looks of her fit physical appearance, I could tell she was the model.
“Okay, thanks Julien. I’ll get back to you” she spoke into her phone. “Mm hmm, okay bye”
Putting the phone away in her designer purse, she lifted her head up to meet me with a smile. “Hi, merry Christmas”
“Merry Christmas” I replied as we both hugged.
“I’m Debby also known as Adaobi” she said firmly. “You must be Ijeoma”
“I am” I chuckled.
“You’re even prettier in person. It’s so nice to finally meet you”
With her closer to me, I could see the original dark brown color of her roots. They all had brown hair of varying shades except for one of the boys who had jet black hair.
Adaobi stood tall at 5′8 which was ideal for a model, she was lighter than the rest of her siblings followed by the boy with the black hair. She had very prominent dimples on each side of her cheeks which gave her a cute, soft feminine look.
Chinelo, on the other hand was about an inch shorter than her sister and she wore her curly hair in a messy bun. She was a perfect blend of both her parents giving her a nice caramel blend. Like her sister, she also had dimples but it only showed when she smiled or laughed. I noticed that her along with Noah were the only ones with their fathers grey eyes and the rest took their mothers light brown eyes.
“Thank you, it’s nice to meet you too”
Noah’s parents were seated on one of the sofas along with Zozo when I walked into the living room with his sisters in tow. I headed over to the kitchen and Noah was chatting with his brothers.
“Hey babe, meet my brothers” he said pulling me close to his side.
“I’m Jeremiah Ekene, the sexy one of the family” the one with the straight, black hair said taking my hand and placing a kiss on it. “The pictures of you, do not do justice to your beauty”
“What pictures?” I asked bewildered
“My mom asked for pictures of you and Zozo for her to send to the rest of the family” Noah explained, pulling my hand away from Jeremiah’s grasp.
“Hosea Chinedu. Nice to meet you” the other brother who I assumed was Chinelo’s twin from the matching names said outstretching his hand.
“Ijeoma” I replied, giving his hand a firm shake.
Hosea was solidly built, standing at about with short curly light brown hair. He shared the bronze-like, tanned skin tone that Noah had. He had a stoic expression plastered over his face and a neatly kept stubble on his chin.
Jeremiah was leanly built, although he looked like he worked out a couple of times in a gym. He had an open hearted, friendly and social persona which I was sure made it easy for him to mingle with any and every kind of person and get along with them just fine. He wasn’t spotting any beard which made him look boyish and the curly hair nature of his siblings wasn’t the issue in his case instead he had the bone straight nature of his father’s hair.
In a way the difference made him stand out from the rest of his siblings, you could say he was the most handsome among his brothers but not to me though. What the three brothers shared in common was their height; they all stood at about six foot something, maybe varying by a few inches amongst their selves.
“Wait, do you all have two names each” I asked
“Yeah, even Italian names” Jeremiah said
“What?” I turned to face Noah. “How come I didn’t know you have an Italian name?”
He chuckled. “I don’t really like it”
“Tell me” I urged him
“Why?” I asked
“I don’t really like it that much”
“Please, tell me” I said pouting like a child.
“I’ll tell you later”
“Fine” I huffed, crossing my arms across my chest.
We turned to find Jeremiah and Hosea watching is with knowing smiles on their faces.
“Kosi, did you get a cake for Christmas?” Chinelo asked, walking out of the kitchen.
We had all eaten the Jollof rice and fried chicken that they brought along with them and were seated in the living room. Noah’s mother was showing me cute yet embarrassing pictures of Noah as a child much to his chagrin.
He was such a light skinned baby. I also saw where Jeremiah got his black hair color from; Noah maternal grandmother had shiny black hair. It was such a wonder how genes work.
“Wait, there’s cake?” Jeremiah said, lifting his head from the cartoon he was watching with Zozo.
“Oh yeah, IJ. made it” Noah replied, gesturing to me.
“Wow, you can make cakes?” Jeremiah said, his eyes lit up with excitement.
“Yeah” I chuckled at his expression
He gasped. “Marry me, please”
“She’s already taken” Noah said, sending his brother a playful glare.
“You know, I completely forgot I about it. I’ll go get it” I said as I got up from the sofa.
“I’ll help” Noah announced.
We walked into the somewhat messy kitchen; a few empty cans of beer were laying on the counter and the sink was filled with oily, soiled plates.
“So what did you think?” Noah said as soon as we were alone
“Of my family” he said leaning on the unoccupied side of the center counter.
“They’re wonderful” I replied truthfully as I brought out the cake from the refrigerator.
“Yeah. I know I’m still getting to know them but I love them already” I replied. “They love Zozo despite her not being yours biologically and that goes a long way for me”
“I’m glad” he said grinning.
“Were you worried?” I asked moving to get saucers from the overhead cupboard.
“Well, you have nothing to worry about” I turned to look at him.
He pulled me to him and placed a soft kiss on my lips and I responded.
“You know for someone who is supposed to be helping me out, you’re doing quite the opposite” I said.
He shrugged. ” What can I say, you’re just too irresistible”
I chuckled, shaking my head at him.
“Help me get the saucers out” I said, before picking up the cake and heading out of the kitchen.
“Oh and a knife too” I said over my shoulder.
I placed the cake on the glass center table in the living room and Noah placed a couple of saucers, a plastic plate, a pack of serviette and a cake knife next to it.
“Wow. This is beautiful” Noah’s mother gushed.
“Thank you” I grinned before moving to take a seat on the sofa next to her.
“If you’re interested in the cake, you can come and have some” Noah announced.
Noah helped cut a portion his mom, me and Zozo before leaving the rest for his siblings to devour.
“Chinedu, drop that iPad, you can always do that some other time” Noah’s mother said, motioning with her hands. “In you and your father, I don’t know who’s worse”
Noah’s father and Hosea were huddled up in a corner talking about business stuff. Hosea was showing his father some things on the said iPad.
“We’ll talk about this some other time” Noah’s father said to Hosea before moving to grab the plate of cake his wife set out for him.
“Noooo” Zozo screamed at Jeremiah
I looked over to their direction and saw that Jeremiah was trying to feed Zozo her cake but she wasn’t having it. She kept trying to grab the plate to eat for herself.
“Just let her feed herself, sometimes she likes to be independent” Noah spoke up.
As soon as Jeremiah handed her the plastic plate of cake, she used her hand to pick the cake, squashing it and messing up her entire fingers all the while bringing it to her mouth to eat. In less than two minutes, she had the cake smeared across her cheeks and mouth with a little icing on her nose. Her dress was another ball game entirely.
I internally winced thinking how I would be the clean up after her and wash the clothes she messed up.
As if Noah read my mind, he took Zozo by the hand, excusing himself to go clean her up and make her look somewhat presentable again.
My heart did a double flip.
“Ijeoma, please come” Chinelo called out.
Chinelo and Adaobi were standing in a corner discussing something on Chinelo’s phone. I took out a piece of serviette to wipe my fingers from the oily nature of the butter icing and then moved to join them.
I found out that Chinelo’s English name is Hannah but for reasons best known to her, she preferred Chinelo, Nelo for short.
“What do you think about these dresses for me? Which do you think would be best?” Chinelo asked showing me a picture of a mustard yellow gown and a bright red gown on her phone.
“Uhm... I think the yellow one is better” I said after scrutinizing each outfit. “The yellow goes well with your skin tone”
“Told you” Adaobi said in an “A ha” manner.
“Oh okay, thanks” Chinelo succumbed and walked away tapping on her phone.
“You have a good eye” Adaobi complimented, which mwaia lot coming from a top model.
I was about to walk away when she held me back.
“Sorry” she said gesturing to the sudden pull back.
“No problem” I said waving it off.
“Uhm... I know we’ve not really gotten to know each other but I can tell that you’re good for him” she said
“Yeah, I mean... Noah’s more on the quiet and calculating side but you’ve brought out an outgoing and fun side that I didn’t even think he had and I’m thankful for that” she poured out.
“I don’t know what to say” I said which was true, because Noah has been more of an influence on me than I thought I was on him.
“You don’t have to say anything” she said with a genuine smile.
She chuckled at my profound dumbfounded state and pulled me into a hug.
“Incoming” she whispered as soon as we pulled apart and walked away
“Hey. What was that about?” Noah said as we walked up to me with Zozo in his arms.
“Nonya business” I said cheekily
“Hmm. Is that how it is now?”
“Yup” I said popping the ‘p’.
“Is this about the Italian name?”
“Nope but it could be about it” I said patting his shoulder twice before walking away.
I was not about to make his head swell.
“Let’s head out. Remember Noah has work tomorrow” Noah’s mother announced. “He also has to drop I.J and Zozo off at their place”
It was already 8:30pm in the evening and I had to admit, the day went even better than I expected. It was so nice having all of them around, they were like an entire family I gained apart from my original family.
Speaking of my original family, Noah and I face-timed my parents and sister wishing them a ‘Merry Christmas’, the face-time ended up being elongated because Noah’s mother wanted to meet my family. We ended up switching to Noah’s MacBook in order for them to see and meet everyone here.
“Urgh, you have to work after Christmas” Adaobi stated. “I could never ‘for the life of me’ be a doctor”
Noah simply shrugged.
“We get to keep the remaining cake, right?” Jeremiah piped in
“Yeah, if you want”
“Oh, I do” he said rushing to grab the remaining cake.
Noah just shook his head at him.
In five minutes, everyone was at door, exchanging hugs and contact info. I was sure going to be keeping in touch with each and every one of them.
Jeremiah and his playful flirting, Chinelo and her bubbly self, Hosea well... I didn’t really spend enough time with him but I could tell he was too much of a workaholic albeit still nice. Adaobi and her sophisticated ways, last but certainly not the least Noah parents who have quickly become mine in the span of a few hours.
We watched their car leave the driveway before heading back into the house. I moved to pick up the unused saucers and serviette to take them back into the kitchen. Luckily for us, Adaobi and Chinelo helped clean up the kitchen and wash the dishes before leaving.
“Nataniele” Noah said as he walked into the kitchen
“The Italian name is Nataniele”
I stopped and turned to his direction. “Wait, is that the name you don’t like and didn’t want to tell me since”
I playfully hissed. “You just like shakara too much” (show off or playing hard to get)
Which ‘Wilson’ did you fancy?
I apologise if the two name thing was confusing but moving forward I would be using one for each of them.
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