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25. Wedding Chronicles…EPILOGUE!

It was a beautiful day, the sky was bright, the air was cool and four girls sat in a hotel suite chatting excitedly, barely able to sit still as their hair and makeup were done to perfection. Today was a day none of them would ever forget. Today three of them were getting married and they’d all decided to have just one bridesmaid cater to all three of them. Tayo didn’t mind being a bridesmaid, she just couldn’t believe they were all getting their fairy tale endings.

“Earth to Tayo! Thinking about Ahmedy-bobo again abi?”

“Don’t call him that!”

They all burst out laughing. When Sheila had jokingly called Ahmed that the first time they were introduced, it had stuck and now that was his standard nickname, one Tayo absolutely detested. She preferred to call him Philip but she knew that the more she protested the more her friends would keep teasing her. Philip didn’t seem to mind so it was all good. She loved his sense of humor.

“She has that dreamy look in her eyes again. EARTH TO TAYO!”

They burst out laughing again. Prompting the hair stylists to caution them to hold still.

“I wasn’t thinking about Philip, ok not directly anyway. I just can’t believe we got everything we ever dreamed of…God is so merciful.”

“Yes He is”

They all chorused.

Amaka: “But mehn see all the drama we got caught up in all untop ring matter. If I could advise single babes I’d tell them to just chill, that things always work out in the end.”

Aisha: “Yes oh! Imagine if you had married Ehis before he sorted out his past? Maybe they would have killed you in the process!”

Amaka: “God forbid! But you have a point. Waiting for your man to propose can be such a long thing. The men always have excuses and I won’t even begin to tell you girls what naughty schemes I delved into just because I wanted him to put a ring on it!”

Aisha: “We all had our dramas. Imagine if Tanto was actually carrying Tosin’s child? Where would I have started from? After bearing so much sh*t from that man for so long! But the new Tosin is such a dream. Sometimes drama is good!”

Aisha blushed and the girls giggled loudly.

Sheila: “Not all drama is good oh. It took me almost getting raped and being scared out of my wits that I had HIV for Chinedu to decide he was never gonna let me out of his life ever again. But I can tell you girls that sincerely I could have done without that drama!”

Tayo: “Something good did come out of that drama dear, you retired! We all knew the Sheila of before!!!”

Sheila: “Hey!!! Old things have passed away and behold all things have become new joor! Don’t wanna be a player no more…”

Aisha: “What even happened to Richie? Did you guys press charges? Did he finally see a psychologist? How’s he coping?”

Sheila: “After I got over the trauma, I started feeling really sorry for him. He is on his HIV meds and sees a psychologist every Thursday. We didn’t press charges. On the contrary you won’t believe that he is one of Chinedu’s groomsmen!”

“What?”
The other girls chorused.

Sheila: “Yep. People with HIV shouldn’t be stigmatized girls. If you make them outcasts they get bitter because somebody else is always responsible for giving them the infection and they want to lash out at anyone for the rejection. I was almost a victim because of this and y’all know if I got HIV I’d personally infect all my girls because I’d wanna share the love!”

They all burst out laughing.

Amaka: “You are not serious. Remind me not to touch anything Richie touches at the wedding in case his personal vendetta isn’t over yet!”

Sheila: “Amaka!!! HIV is not spread by touching or kissing or sneezing or sharing toilets joor. It’s spread by sexual contact and blood! With all these gadgets around you, I wonder why basic info still passes you by!”

Amaka: “Don’t blame me girl, my blackberry is for pinging Ehis and my Ipad is for planning our fabulous wedding!”

The girls giggled again.

Sheila: “Besides Richie met someone at his clinic. They are dating and she’s very beautiful.”

Amaka: “You’ve gotta be kidding me!”

Aisha: “Does she have HIV too?”

Sheila: “No she doesn’t! She accompanied her elder sister who has been living with HIV for seven years now to the clinic and she and Richie got talking and that was it!”

Tayo: “Doesn’t she mind that Richie has HIV?”

Amaka: “Isn’t she scared that she’ll get infected? Hian!”

Sheila: “The doctor told them there were ways that they could go about it that she and even their children- if they chose to get married would be HIV negative and as long as Richie kept taking his drugs, there’s nothing stopping him from living a long and fruitful life. He really digs this babe oh and she loves him die!”

The four girls were silent for a while. Each thinking about life and how God always had a way of making things alright in the end. There was a knock on the door.

Ahmed: “Ladies you all look exquisite! It’s time!”

It was the most beautiful wedding any of them had ever seen. The three brides were radiant and the air was full of promise and laced with genuine love. It was a beautiful gathering of friends and family and each couple had written their vows to each other. They had all passed through hard times but true love had prevailed. The men were more mature, the women wiser. Their ideas of marriage had evolved and as they listened to the pastor preach a moving sermon. Each person was lost in thought…

Tosin…I will never cheat on you Aisha. As long as I live, I promise you.

Aisha…God keep my home and keep Tosin and I faithful to each other

Chinedu…Thank you Lord for giving me this precious gift. Heal the wounds of her past and give me the capacity to love her always regardless of her flaws.

Sheila…Thank you, thank you, thank you. Lord I’m so grateful.

Ehis…God I’m gonna make you proud. I’m gonna be the best husband Amaka could ever have and I’ll never keep a secret from her ever again.

Amaka…I’m finally getting married! (((SCREAM)))

The reception was fun. The first dance brought tears to the eyes of all who watched. Never had there been such a romantic wedding. The months put into planning this wedding really paid off.

“You look exceptionally beautiful today babe!”

“Thanks Philip, you look very handsome too.”

“You didn’t catch the bouquet.”

“Naaaah. Too old for the whole bouquet war. Wouldn’t you have laughed if you saw me fighting for a bunch of flowers on the dance floor?”

“That would have been funny but you don’t need to actually.”

“Why? Because I have you?”

Tayo teased.

“Yes you have me. Now and always…”

And with that Philip went on one knee and whisked out a box from his pocket.

“Marry me Tayo. Make me the luckiest man on earth.”

“Philip, baby we’ve only been together for a couple of months. Are you sure?”

“Surer than I’ve ever been of anything or anyone in my life. Please marry me baby.”

“Yes, yes, yes I’ll marry you!”

And right there, in a little corner in the huge tent amidst the wedding noises and with only a few people observing them, Tayo agreed to be married to her lover and her best friend.

“Sometimes when it’s right, it’s right.”

THE END!

Hey Chutzpah fam. The curtain finally falls for the Wedding Chronicles. Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’m a sucker for happy endings! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

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Love you muchos!
Xoxoxoxo πŸ˜‰

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Hall of Fame, Wedding Chronicles

 

24. Wedding Chronicles: EHIS…the concluding story!

Ehis was going to tell her. He had arrived at that conclusion while watching a wedding on TV. He knew Amaka had doubts, he saw it in her eyes every time he looked at her. He missed the old Amaka. The one who loved him without questions and trusted him 100 percent. He had secrets but who didn’t? The things he had kept from her where to protect her, he wished she could understand. There was only one secret he had held back for selfish reasons but now he wanted to tell all. He wanted to erase all doubt from her mind once and for all. He wanted her to look at him once again the same way this blonde woman on TV was looking at her new husband. He wanted to be her world again.

He believed so strongly that the foundation of a good marriage was laid in the very beginning and he didn’t wanna spend the rest of his life struggling to earn his wife’s trust. He knew telling Amaka this would change a lot of things but he had to. He was willing to take the risk. Amaka had more than proven herself in the years they were together and he knew deep down that she could handle the truth.

He had started rehearsing his speech as soon as he got behind the wheel. He knew if he didn’t put it the right way, it’d all blow up in his face.

15 minutes later he was seated in his future wife’s apartment and you could slice the tension with a knife.

“Amaka I have something to tell you”

“Another secret?”

“Please hear me out first boo”

“I have something to ask you too but after you are done”

“Babes I know I told you about Italy and my drug dealing days but there was something I left out…”

“A baby mama? A secret marriage? A criminal record?”

Amaka had to hold herself back. She was starting to sound a lot like Vivian.

“Please hear me out first”

“Ok…”

“No I’ve never been married and no I do not have a child somewhere and no I haven’t been in jail. I told you about the only time I was ever caught and how-”

“Yea, yea how your blonde friend who almost had us killed bailed you out. Please spare me the details…”

Ehis was getting frustrated. Obviously Amaka was on the war-path. He needed to tread carefully or he’d mess things up further and he couldn’t risk losing her.

“Amaka please…”

“Ok I won’t say anything again”

“When I was with her, from time to time she gave me little gifts. Sometimes it was cash, other times it was paper. I didn’t understand what the paper was but she asked me to keep them close that one day I would need them…”

Ehis paused. He silently said a prayer in his head.

“When I got back to Nigeria I hid the papers from my family. I was afraid they’d take one look at them and know what I had gotten mixed up in while I was away. Soon I forgot about the papers. The week after the incident, I was spring cleaning my house when I discovered them. I looked through them again and suddenly understood what they were.”

Ehis paused again.

“So what were they?”

“Treasury bonds”

“What?”

“Amaka those bonds are worth over five hundred thousand dollars”

Amaka was silent. She didn’t know what to say. She hadn’t expected this in the least. Ehis had just informed her that he was bloody rich but it was drug money. She struggled within herself.

“Amaka please say something…”

“What do you want me to say? Do you want me to jump for joy that you are suddenly rich without considering the fact that the money was given to you by a drug dealer?”

Ehis kept quiet. The ball was in Amaka’s court now. He hoped he wouldn’t have to make a choice between his money and his woman. Life was tough as it was.

“I’ve been re-thinking this engagement Ehis.”

“W…what?”

“I want a man who is trustworthy. I want a man who won’t disappear or get killed. I want a man with an honest income, an honourable man. What if EFCC tracks you down? I just don’t know anymore…”

“Amaka I was young. I am no longer the man I was then. You know the circumstances surrounding my drug dealing and how I was forced into it. Baby we’ve been together for years, isn’t that enough for you to know how much I love you? Isn’t that enough time to judge my character?”

“I’m sorry Ehis but I have to look out for myself. Marriage is a life long commitment and I don’t think I’d feel completely safe with you not after what happened…”

Amaka slipped the ring off her finger…
Ehis felt like his world was crashing down around him. Tears stung his eyes as he struggled to remain in control.

“Amaka please don’t do this. I have loved you since the first time I met you. You are my world and I’d die before anything happened to you. Babe I’m straight I swear. I’m sorry my past is such a let down and if I could change it I would. You have no idea how terrible things were back in the days. Honey you turned my life around. Please don’t leave me. I couldn’t live without you. Amaka you are a part of me. Please I’m begging you…”

Amaka was silent. In all the years they had been together she had never seen Ehis cry and it broke her heart to see his tears. She loved him with all her heart but she needed proof. A sign maybe, that Ehis was her husband. Now that she had gotten the ring, somehow the ring had magnified all her fears. She needed to be certain.

“Baby I’ll give it all away if that will show you how sincere I am. I don’t need the money, I have a job. I’ll make it all back someday. I didn’t get it doing drugs, I got it satisfying a woman at the risk of death if I failed in my duties but I’m ready to give it all away cos I’d rather have you and no money than have all the money in the world without you!”

Amaka smiled. It was a small smile that only tugged at the corners of her mouth but with it came a giddy feeling. This dude loved her. She didn’t need any other sign.

“You don’t have to give the money away though we are going to use a great part of it to help keep young boys off the streets-”

“Did you say ‘we’?”

“Yep, I love you too much to let you go Ehis and I felt the sincerity in your words but baby promise me that no more secrets between us ever again”

“I meant every word my darling and I promise you that no more secrets”

“Everything’s gonna be alright!”

“Yes, everything is gonna be alright”

And it did feel like the heavens were in agreement…

Have a lovely day peeps…xoxoxo πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Wedding Chronicles

 

23. Wedding Chronicles: AMAKA…the concluding story!

Amaka looked at the ring on her finger!

“Finally!”

She’d waited so long for Ehis to propose. It really seemed like she had just been passing the time till the real show began. Now her life could start. She had the wedding all planned out. Had even book-marked all her favourite vendors and knew their rates. So all she’d have to do was call them up and finalise plans. She’d settled on a wedding dress 2 weeks before she got the ring. Life was perfect. It’d have been even more perfect if Ehis hadn’t kept so many secrets from her. She tried to put it out of her mind but she kept seeing that woman’s face and then the story would play out again in her head.

Did she really want to marry a man with such a coloured past? She knew she loved Ehis and she definitely was tired of being single but she couldn’t help worrying about how many other secrets were gonna pop up after they were married. She’d always trusted Ehis but now she wasn’t sure if she could still trust him 100 percent.

“What’s a marriage without trust?”

She asked aloud. She needed someone to talk to and of recent her friends had been so hard to reach. Aisha was in paris and planning a wedding, Tayo was dating that new guy and blissfully happy and the relationship was definitely heading for the altar and getting her off cloud nine was too tasking to even bother with and Sheila was planning her wedding too. She sighed. There was no other person that readily came to mind. Every time she called one of the girls, they ended up excitedly comparing wedding notes and she was unable to pour out her heart each and every time.

Love wasn’t her issue at all. She knew she loved Ehis with all her heart but this trust thing made her uncomfortable. In the past, she could have boasted about knowing Ehis like the back of her hand but now she wasn’t even sure she knew who he was for sure. She felt like someone had swapped the back of her hand for something else. She glanced at her hands and sighed as the ring caught her eye again. Ehis had tried on several occasions to reassure her that other than not telling her about his past life in Italy, he held no secrets from her. Ehis loved her, she knew it but her over-active imagination kept conjuring up unbelievable scenarios. She imagined being kidnapped on the wedding day or Ehis being bundled off to Italy never to be seen again. On a whim, she decided to call Vivian. Vivian always gave her candid advice…eventually. She sighed. Before the candid advice came the sarcasm and caustic remarks and truth be told she really didn’t need that right now but Vivian could be trusted to speak only the truth. She sighed as she dialled her number.

“Hey babes, this one that you remembered me today, is it time to buy asoebi or you want to make me a bridesmaid?”

“Like you’d ever agree to be my bridesmaid…”

“Thank God you have sense! Because I’m 31 and being unmarried doesn’t give people the audacity to be making me bridesmaids up and down like I don’t have other things to do with my money!”

She ranted.

“How’s Nicholas?”

“He’s fine oh. Amaka I don’t know how you got Ehis to propose oh cos that Nicholas don dey taya me. Soon I’ll be given d award for longest relationship ever since my only competitor- yours truly, finally got her man to put a ring on it.”

“Vivian…”

“Yes? Why do you sound so serious all of a sudden?”

“It’s Ehis”

“Don’t tell me you are having cold feet? C’mon you guys dated for a century!”

“N…not cold feet, just a bit unsure…”

And Amaka proceeded to tell Vivian everything that had happened the last couple of days.

“So what’s your fear? It seems the woman is gone for good and you both can finally put that part of his life to rest…”

“I know, but I keep worrying about what other surprises may be in store after we are married”

“Like a kid? Or a secret marriage?”

“Very funny Vivian!”

“Babes I think you worry too much. Lighten up and plan a wedding even I would have to work really hard to top!”

“You really think I have nothing to worry about?”

“Yep and you could pray about it. I always believe in committing the unknown into God’s hands since He alone knows the end from the beginning. Talk to Ehis while you are it.”

“Ok dear, thanks a bunch.”

“If he ever springs you a baby mama surprise I’ll be by your side to whip her ass and his!”

Amaka laughed as she said her good-byes.

She knelt down and said a prayer. Not really knowing the best way to put it but yet she was assured that God knew exactly what she wanted to say and things could only get better. They did get better cos she felt an odd sense of peace as she got off her knees.

She’d been putting off setting a date for a while now but she knew she was ready to take the plunge. Whatever marriage brought she was ready to face it with her man Bonny and Clyde style, guns blazing! Divorce would never be an option and she’d guard her marriage with her life but first of all she needed Ehis to make a promise to her. A promise he would hold close to his heart. A promise he would never break. A promise as vital as the vows they would exchange on their wedding day. Her trust was hinged on that promise. She got up and began to dress up. She really needed to see her fiance. They had something very important to discuss and she’d have to postpone her meeting with the lady baking her wedding cake cos there were more pressing needs to attend to.

As she opened the door, she jumped as she saw Ehis, his fist about to knock on her front door.

“Hey babe, sorry I startled you. Are you going out?”

“Y…yes, I was coming to see you.”

Amaka took a deep breath, her mind fixed on the promise…
____________________________

Have a great night peeps…xoxoxo πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Wedding Chronicles

 

22. Wedding Chronicles: CHINEDU…the concluding story!

Chinedu wanted to propose so badly. But the time wasn’t right. He felt it’d be better to get it over with before the re-testing because he wasn’t sure he’d be able to stay strong for the both of them if she was HIV positive.

As he drove Sheila home he thought of Richard. He had agreed to see a psychologist and that was a start. Chinedu knew he had to do all he could to be the friend Richie needed him to be. The man he saw now was broken and had lost all hope but Chinedu knew for sure that as long as there was life there was hope. He sighed. Richie had once been so vibrant, so full of energy and optimism but now he’d allowed his circumstances overwhelm him even to the extent that he was prepared to hurt anyone whom he believed was to blame for his predicament. Even Sheila. Chinedu felt torn between the two people he loved. He hated Richard for hurting Sheila but he knew Richard was going through so much pain. He snapped out of his reverie when he heard Sheila’s voice.

“Thanks for bringing me home Chinedu.”

“Sheila you don’t have to thank me, that’s what boyfriends do.”

“I thought we had broken up?”

“Like I said at the hospital, I’m never ever leaving your side again.”

“You don’t have to be so dramatic. I’ll be fine…”

Chinedu thought about how ‘fine’ she was when he found her passed out on Richard’s bed. He loved this woman so much. He thought of the ring he’d bought some days after he took her to meet his family. He wanted that ring on her finger soon…

“You seem very pensive today Chinedu”

“Just overwhelmed. Almost lost you then was so grateful when I heard the results were normal-”

“But the nurse said it isn’t confirmed till the test is repeated in 6 weeks.”

“It’s confirmed to me Sheila”

“How do you even know Richard?”

“It’s a long story but I’m glad I got to you in time…”

“Y…you rescued me? Please tell me what happened. I don’t remember much.”

Chinedu proceeded to narrate the story of how his instincts had led him to Richard’s house. Telling the story made him re-live each painful detail and his voice kept breaking.

“…And then I carried you to the hospital. Can’t keep thanking God enough that I got there in the nick of time.”

“Did you really get there on time? He tried penetrating me twice but I was dry, isn’t the forceful entry enough to give me HIV? Thanks anyway, it could have been much worse. I’ll forever be in your debt. As for Richard…”

“Baby don’t even think about Richard and you’ll be ok I promise?”

“What if I’m not ok? What if I end up sick and twisted like Richard? Will I even live to see the end of 2013?”

Sheila broke down in tears.
Chinedu was approaching her street but he swerved sharply and headed for his instead.

“W…where are we going?”

Chinedu didn’t respond. There was never going to be a perfect time. He might as well do it now.

“My house”

The drive to Chinedu’s house was a silent one. The only sound in the car was Sheila’s sniffles every now and again. As he parked in his driveway, he thought of the most romantic way he could propose. Life had a way of throwing a spanner in the works. He’d imagined a very grand proposal amidst cheering friends not a sober, tear-filled one but this woman was his wife and he needed her to know for certain that she never had to be alone ever again. He would be there for her, he would protect her.

“Please sit down Sheila, I’ll only be a second.”

Sheila thought of all the happy memories she’d made in this house. This was probably going to be the last time she sat on this very chair. The chair she’d been sitting in when Chinedu had kissed her for the very first time. Sheila loved him so much but Richard had determined her fate. The irony of the whole thing was if Richard hadn’t done what he did, she and Chinedu might still be apart, pretending not to care, not even on speaking terms but now here they were together yet they could never be together. Big, fat tears rolled down her cheeks.

“Damn you Richard, God will punish you!”

Sheila sobbed into a throw pillow, she felt like her heart was broken into a million pieces and each piece was piercing into her. She didn’t want Chinedu to see her like this. She had to be brave. She brought out a handkerchief from her bag and began wiping her face hurriedly as she heard his footsteps approaching.

“Sheila, there’s something I wanna ask you. I’ve been waiting for the right time to ask but I realise now that now is as good a time as any-”

“Yes I slept with him in the past. I’m not sure when exactly he caught the disease but chances are even if he didn’t give it to me on Sunday, he’d already done that ages ago. I’m sorry…”

“I don’t care about your past Sheila. I know the woman that I fell in love with and your past contributed to making you the strong, independent woman you are today. We all have pasts baby. That wasn’t what I wanted to ask you!”

“Sheila will you marry me?”

“Are you crazy?”

“Yes, crazily in love with you”

“Chinedu if this is a joke, please stop it. I have HIV, why would you be so mean as to offer me something I can never hope to have? And even if you were crazy enough to marry me and risk catching the disease, what would your family and friends say when they find out?”

“Baby I don’t care about the disease, we all die some day. I’d rather spend my living moments with the one woman I truly care about. And you know I don’t give a damn about any other person.”

“I can’t Chinedu. Please don’t ask me to make such a decision. I love you too much to be the cause of your death…”

“Then marry me Sheila because if you don’t it will be the death of me. You are my missing rib boo, I feel it deep down in my heart.”

Chinedu got on one knee and put Sheila’s hand over his heart. Sheila couldn’t trust her legs to stand. She couldn’t believe this was happening. How she had hoped and prayed that one day Chinedu would propose but now she wasn’t even sure she’d live to see the wedding day and she couldn’t imagine putting him at risk. The tears rolled down her cheeks, life was so cruel.

Chinedu took her hand and slipped the most beautiful ring onto her finger. Then he held her tight. Sheila turned her face away when he tried to kiss her. Her tears wetting his shirt.

—————————————-

Sheila was a most unwilling bride. Everyday when she woke up, she’d mark the date, counting down to the day when she’d know her fate. She was almost afraid to say the word ‘wedding’ feeling that if she did, she’d jinx it and it would never hold. In her constant nightmares, it did hold but Chinedu died as soon as she kissed him. She always woke up drenched in sweat. She avoided kissing Chinedu like the plague and refused to wear the engagement ring or even allow Chinedu bring his family for a formal introduction till she knew her fate. It was the longest 6 weeks in her entire life and every day of those excruciating 42 days, Chinedu had promised to stand by her whether she was negative or positive. He was certain she’d be negative and his unwavering optimism irritated her at times. He’d started wedding plans in earnest, booking the venue, getting vendors. She couldn’t believe the man.

6 weeks later!
Chinedu held Sheila’s hand tight as the lab scientist took her blood.

“It’s gonna be ok babe I promise.”

They were asked to wait for 45 minutes.

Those forty-five minutes were the longest forty-five minutes in history. Sheila couldn’t stop the tears. She knew what the result was gonna be. She felt bad for Chinedu. His prayers and optimism couldn’t change facts. They’d stay friends but she was certain he’d rethink the whole marriage ish when the realisation of her HIV status hit him.

“Madam your result is ready.”

Sheila asked Chinedu to allow her go into the office alone. She didn’t wanna have to look at his face when she heard the news for the first time. Before the result was given to her, the man went through the routine counselling. She didn’t hear a word he said, thankfully was done in no time.

“Madam you are HIV negative.”

“Oh God!”

Sheila began to sob loudly.

“My life is over.”

Hearing him pronounce her fate made the dams holding her tears burst. She cried like her heart would break. She’d never be Chinedu’s wife. She’d die a lonely woman in the prime of her life just because one man decided to punish her for a sin she knew nothing about.

“Madam you should be rejoicing, I said you are HIV negative.”

“N…negative?”

“Yes, you do not have the virus.”

Sheila was stunned. Hadn’t she heard right the first time? Could this really be possible?

“Are you sure?”

“Positive ma’am. No I mean I am positive that you are HIV negative!”

“Thank you Jesus, thank you sir.”

Sheila grabbed the result and ran as fast as her legs could carry her out of the office.

“Baby what was-”

“We are planning a wedding Chinedu! I’m not sick! I’m gonna be married!”

Sheila was crying, relief washing all over her. Chinedu pulled her into his arms and gave her a long wet kiss outside the lab. That kiss was long overdue.

“Let’s go home my wife…”

—————————————-
Have a lovely night peeps. Xoxoxo

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2013 in Wedding Chronicles

 

21. Wedding Chronicles: SHEILA…the concluding story!

Sheila woke up in a hospital.
She feared the worst had happened. Her memory of events that occurred after she arrived at Richard’s house was hazy at best. She looked around warily, wondering where every body was. She glanced at a HIV poster on the white washed hospital wall and she felt like she’d been hit by a train. It all came flooding back.

“Oh God please don’t let me have HIV”

She begged silently. She kept repeating the words over and over. She promised God heaven and earth. Promised to clean up her act. Promised to join a convent and then hastily withdrew the promise. She couldn’t imagine life living with HIV. The stigma, the constant rejection, the numerous hospital visits, living with the fact that death could come knocking any time or that she could infect the people who ventured close to her. There’d be no hope of reconciling with Chinedu, not that she had much to begin with. Her thoughts turned to Chinedu and what might have been. She sighed. Well since she couldn’t very well kill herself, she’d brace herself and see how she could make the most of this HIV-business.

“Who am I kidding? My life is over!”

And she broke into a sob. She wished someone would pinch her. She desperately wanted to wake from this nightmare. What had she ever done to anyone to deserve this? There were prostitutes roaming the street who were HIV negative. Why had Richard decided to end her life?

“What did I ever do to him?”

She wailed.

How had Richard even caught the disease? It had to be tough living with it but he looked like the same old Richard to her except for that sinister part of him that she hadn’t been able to figure out till he drugged her and showed his true colours. Why was he out to punish every woman or was it just her? Did he actually believe she had given him HIV? It didn’t matter anymore, she was sure he had given it to her.
Big, fat tears rolled down her cheeks as she thought of her family and how they’d react to the news of her death. She didn’t hear the door open and she jumped when she saw Chinedu, flowers in hand accompanied by a nurse.

“You are awake, thank goodness!”

“Hi”

Sheila responded rather awkwardly. A bit confused about the turn of events.

“It’s normal for the patient to feel a bit confused so take it easy with her ok?”

The nurse advised and then turned to Sheila.

“How are you feeling? Any pains? Your test results will be out in a few hours and then we’ll discharge you and give you a six weeks appointment. I’ll leave you with your visitor. He can explain anything else you are unclear about.”

And with that the nurse was gone. Leaving Sheila bewildered and with a million questions.

“Chinedu what are you doing here?”

“It’s a long story Sheila. I’m glad I found you when I did.”

“What do you mean by ‘found me’?”

“You don’t remember what happened?”

“No”

Sheila lied. Suddenly ashamed to narrate her own version of the story. Chinedu probably had a pristine past and would never understand the events that had put her here.

“Then we won’t discuss it at least not now. Let’s just focus on you getting better dear.”

Chinedu put the flowers by her bed and held her hand.

“I’ve missed you so much Sheila and I’m sorry if I did anything to make you push me away. I really wanna be with you…never ever wanna lose you again”

Chinedu choked on the last part of his sentence. He seemed laden with emotion. Sheila felt the tears falling down her cheeks. He was the very best thing that had ever happened to her and now to protect him she had to distance herself.

“Chinedu you really shouldn’t have come…”

Sheila whispered. She felt like she had thrust a dagger in her own heart. This was gonna be hard.

“I can take care of myself Chinedu. Besides I thought we had kinda decided to go our separate ways. Things just weren’t working out.”

Sheila was sobbing quietly. It hurt too much.

“Sheila I’m never ever leaving your side again. I don’t care what you say. I love you and nothing can ever change that!”

HIV can and it will! Sheila sighed. She wasn’t doing a good job of chasing Chinedu away but she had to for his sake. She felt so tired and emotionally drained. It wasn’t easy coming to terms with certain death. She wondered where Richard was. She hoped the bastard rotted in hell!

As if on cue, there was a knock on the door and then there was Richard. Sheila stared unable to react. He seemed broken! Like his spirit had been crushed. He looked older and his shoulders sagged. Sheila couldn’t muster enough anger. She felt cold towards him but at the same time pity. She just stared.

“Richard I told you that you didn’t have to come…”

“I j…just wanted t…to see if she was alright.”

Sheila looked at both men. How did Chinedu know this beast? And if Chinedu knew what Richard had done to her he wouldn’t be talking to him so courteously. What story had Richard told Chinedu? She was suddenly angry.

“Richard get out of here! I never ever want to set my eyes on you ever!”

“Forgive me Sheila…”

Richard whispered. Sheila felt her momentary anger dissipating. She was so drained. The tears filled her eyes. She and Richard were one and the same. He’d made sure of that and the fact that someone else had given him this dreadful disease which he in turn had given her filled her with much sorrow. Life was so unfair.

Chinedu held Sheila in his arms. Sheila couldn’t believe what a mess she was in. She didn’t even have the strength to demand that her attacker be apprehended instead she felt something akin to pity for the poor man. She sighed at the hopelessness of the situation.

Just then the nurse returned.

“Your results are out and they are all normal…”

“Including-“

Chinedu stopped mid-sentence and his unfinished question seemed to hang in mid-air.

“Yes, including that one. Although she would have to be re-tested in 6 weeks because of the window period. I’m going to write out her prescription and discharge her now…”

Sheila had never been big on faith but she desperately needed a miracle.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Wedding Chronicles

 

20. Wedding Chronicles: TAYO…the concluding story! (Valentine’s special)

Tayo was glad she didn’t share an office. She’d gotten to work earlier than usual hoping to avoid the barrage of questions about valentine gifts and what nots. She just wanted to be left alone!

Last Val’s she had complained about Jide’s cheap-ass presents, well cheap-ass presents were better than no-ass presents. She went online hoping to find something remotely amusing about the morning. Being the boss she didn’t have a pile of work to do. At this point she really wished she did.

Knock knock

“Come in…”

“Madam good morning, I brought you some cake.”

Her secretary chirped gaily. She forced a smile.

“That’s so nice of you but it’s lent and I’m fasting…”

She knew that piece of information would be widely disseminated round the office and save her several knocks and several pieces of cake that would only serve to remind her that though she was boss, her subordinates had something she didn’t have- a man!

It’d been weeks since Jide had dropped the bombshell. Her parents had been shocked, her friends stunned. She just felt numb. She wasn’t sure if she ever loved him but she felt like marriage had cheated her yet again.

Her phone began to ring loudly. She sighed as she was rudely brought back to the present. The number was unfamiliar.

“Hello beautiful”

“Please who is this?”

The voice sounded distant but vaguely familiar. It was obvious the caller was making an effort to remain anonymous.

“A friend or someone who would like to be one…”

“Whoever you are, I’m at work and very busy. Got no time for games”

“This is not a game. Let’s call it breaking the ice. Happy Valentine’s day Tayo…I hope you got the memo cos you are my valentine!”

“Did Amaka make you do this to cheer me up? Is this a joke?”

“No it isn’t…I’ll call you back!”

And with that the line went dead and as if on cue, there was a knock on her door.

“Come in”

She responded absent-mindedly, still pondering about the caller.

A man carrying a huge bouquet of red roses came into the office. The flowers obscured his face and Tayo’s heart began to pound.

“Happy Valentine’s day ma’am”

Tayo was speechless. He dropped the flowers and left.

There was another knock on the door. This time it was a lady with a big, white cake box.

“Happy Valentine’s day ma’am, please where can I drop the box?”

Tayo pointed, still speechless.

Not up to five minutes after the lady left there was another knock on the door.

Am I dreaming?

“Come in”

Tayo half-expected another stranger bearing gifts but instead it was her colleague Bisi.

“Tayo I thought you said you and Jide broke up? Besides he must have really stepped up from last year oh! See performance! The whole office is talking about it”

“Bisi apparently it’s from a secret admirer. Jide’s probably married by now or something.”

“Wow lucky you. Anyway I’m not roasting this valentine’s, John from accounts wants to take me out after work. I told you he had been eyeing me, he finally worked up the nerve to ask me on a date!”

“That’s great dear”

“Please call me when you cut this yummy cake!”

Bisi exclaimed as she opened the box.
“And ping me once you find out who this admirer is!”

In a few minutes, Tayo was alone again and she began to create a mental list of people who would pity her enough to val her. Could it be her parents? Or Sheila? Or maybe Amaka? Definitely not Aisha cos she was away enjoying herself in Paris. She hadn’t heard from both Sheila and Amaka in a while. She made a mental note to call them after work.

An hour later her phone began to ring. It was the same number. Tayo caught her breath.

“Hello beautiful”

“Hi, thanks for the gifts. You really shouldn’t have. I am not a charity case!”

“Who said anything about charity? Can’t a man be utterly and totally in love with you?”

“But you don’t even know me.”

“I met you a while ago and was captivated and being who I am, I did a thorough investigation and everything I found out made me want you more and more. Tayo I’ve been searching for you all my life I swear!”

“Please don’t swear, it’s lent!”

“Sorry hon. I’ll call you back!”

And the line went dead again. This was surely a conspiracy because there was another knock on her door.

“Come in”

A guy with a chef’s hat rolled in a trolley and she could smell the delicious aroma of fresh oven baked pastries.

“Ma’am tea or coffee?”

“C…coffee thanks”

He served her a cup and was gone in a flash.

There was another knock.

“Come in”

Maybe the chef had forgotten something. Where was her secretary anyway? This all felt like a grand conspiracy she thought for the second time that morning.

In walked a delivery man with a box.
She signed for it and he left. Inside was a Chanel No. 5 perfume gift set. This man definitely was loaded. She began to cross out names from her mental list. Nobody she knew would go this far for her.

An hour later, her phone rang and the cycle repeated itself.
By closing time, she had 13 cards, 2 giant teddy bears, breakfast and lunch, a cake, a perfume set, 2 shirts, jewellery, a bouquet of red roses and a bouquet of white roses, a hamper, shoes (how on earth did he guess her shoe size?) and a beautiful wristwatch.

This was the most romantic valentine she’d ever had. Even better than the ones she dreamed up and saved away in her ‘frivolous dreams’ box. Who was this guy? He knew so much about her tastes and each gift was well thought out but he had signed every card and she couldn’t make out a name from the signature.

Her secretary and another staff helped her load up her car with the gifts. She had hoped he’d be waiting for her after work or call her at the close of work but her phone remained silent. She actually didn’t wanna go back to her empty house. Times like this she wished she hadn’t moved out of her parent’s house. Who would she share all her goodies with. She’d fed the office fat but still had surplus.

As she was about to get into her car, she saw a man in a suit. He was wearing dark shades which was odd since it was evening already plus he was in her parking lot and she knew every staff in the building and to top it all, he was walking towards her with a little smile tugging on the corners of his mouth.

Tayo’s heart began to pound. She decided to take control of the situation.

“Hi, I’m Tayo, you must be the guy I spoke to on the phone, Mr-“

He removed his shades and Tayo swooned! She’d recognise that face anywhere!

“Philip!!! You?!!!”

“Yes, Tayo. Happy Valentine’s day. Been tryna get your attention for weeks now but ever since the whole akward situation at the restaurant, you won’t pick my calls or agree to see me. Tayo I really wanna be with you.”

“Philip or Ahmed or whatever you call yourself. You lied to me, you tricked me. You tried to play me, why should I give you the time of day and FYI I cannot be bought over with gifts!”

“I wasn’t tryna buy you over babes. I’m crazy about you. I just need you to give me a chance. I didn’t get to introduce myself properly last time we met. My name is Philip Ahmed Adewale Rogers. My friends call me any name they choose. I didn’t know you were Jide’s girl…”

“But after you knew who I was, you didn’t back down! What does that say about your loyalty and friendship with Jide?”

“Tayo, Jide and I had a long talk and he gave his blessings…”

Tayo was furious.

“I am not some toy to be passed from friend to friend so you can compare notes! This is ridiculous, I’m leaving.”

“Please Tayo. It’s not like that at all. I know the circumstances in which we met were not ideal but I also know you felt something that day and I felt it too…”

“We are grown-ups Ahmed in case you have forgotten. We do not act on ‘feelings’…”

“So why didn’t you do the logical thing which was to say yes to Jide’s proposal that day at the restaurant? Or did ‘feelings’ have you confused?”

Tayo fell silent. Philip or whatever he called himself was cocky! She had no time for men like this. Arrogant men who were used to getting anything and anyone they desired. But why was her heart beating so fast and her stomach in ridiculous knots? Why did this very annoying man have such an effect on her? Amaka thought he was trouble and she was inclined to believe her.

“Please give me a chance Tayo. Have dinner with me. At least you owe me that…”

He saw that his attempt at humor was lost on her. He continued.

“I promise we’ll take things very slow. Be just friends for a while if you like till you are certain that what I feel for you is genuine but I promise you that it is Tayo. Please say you’ll go on a date with me?”

“Ok…”
____________________________

Happy Valentine’s day chutzpah fam! Hugs and Kisses…xoxoxo πŸ˜‰

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2013 in Wedding Chronicles

 

19. Wedding Chronicles: JIDE…the concluding story!

Jide noticed his palms were sweaty as he took his seat. The look on the lab scientist’s face was ominous. Had they find out he had HIV or some other dreadful disease? He knew they tested blood for all sorts of things.

“Sir your blood group does not match the patient’s blood group…”

“W…what do you mean? What are you saying?”

“Sir that’s what the result says!”

Jide lost his temper. What sort of rubbish was this?

“Incompetent fool my son is on the brink of death and you are telling me I cannot give him blood?”

Then a switch flipped in his head.
Was it medically possible? Could Nkechi have lied to him? Was there a chance that Gideon wasn’t his son? He needed answers!

He got up in a hurry and bumped into a man carrying a black bag.

“Wait…Mr Ojo!!!”

“Yes” both men answered.

Jide turned incredulously to look at the other man who was looking at him with a bewildred look.

“I am Mr Ojo”

“I too am Mr Ojo”

The scientist looked very confused. He rummaged through the papers on his table and fished out a second result.

“Ermm sorry sirs, I t..think there may have been a slight mix-up but please can you show me your receipts so I can verify the hospital numbers of the patients you are donating blood for.”

The two men silently handed over their receipts. Jide’s mind was reeling. What on earth was going on? He had a thousand questions for Nkechi but the turn of events had him holding his breath.

“Sir, there was a mistake…”

The lab scientist stammered as he addressed Jide.

“Your blood is a perfect match and free from any disease, we will proceed to take your blood. I’m so sorry.”

Then he turned to the other man. Jide didn’t hear anything else after those words. His mind was lost in thought.

To taste freedom and then to have it taken from you again so suddenly was so cruel. A part of him was relieved that he would be able to help his son but a part of him wept at the direction his life would have taken if Gideon wasn’t his…

Five days later, he was seated beside Nkechi watching Gideon as he slept peacefully. He would be alright. The doctor said they’d discharge him at the end of the week. He had never seen her so worried. She seemed to have aged and he felt sorry for her. He held her hand reflexly.

“He’ll be alright…”

“I know Jide but I can’t stop beating myself up for being so careless. What if I’d lost him?”

Nkechi broke into tears.

“You didn’t lose him and we never will. Please stop crying. God gave us a second chance with our son and we should be grateful.”

Jide felt for Nkechi. She seemed so frail. So broken. Thank God they wouldn’t be burying a child. He didn’t think she or even he could take that sort of loss. Gideon had stolen their hearts and the effect that little boy had on Nkechi was something he was unravelling day by day. The Nkechi he was beginning to see was mellow. Did motherhood make a woman mellow?

They still bickered and quarrelled when they were apart but when he was with her, she reminded him of the woman he had once loved. The realization took him quite by surprise. They had had to postpone the court wedding because of the surrounding circumstances and no fixed date had been set. Maybe they really could make the marriage work. Nkechi as if reading his mind, turned to look him in the eyes.

“Jide I’m sorry for everything. It’s my fault that all this has happened. I now see that I have been a bad mother and a bad woman. Please forgive me…”

He looked at her face laden with sorrow and regret.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself Nkechi, we have all made our mistakes. Let’s look towards the future.”

“I’ll understand if you do not want to marry me…”

She trailed off in a mournful whisper.

Jide was silent. Was this a test? A part of him wanted to take the offer and run. Nothing had prepared him for instant fatherhood but where was he running to? Tayo would be trying to move on with her life and probably assumed he was already married. And there was the issue of Ahmed and his feelings for Tayo. Jide had been shocked out of his mind when Ahmed had broached the matter with him but he could see the sincerity in his friend’s eyes and though it had been a very bitter pill to swallow, he had finally accepted the fact that it wasn’t a premeditated betrayal. Jide knew Ahmed had the means and methods he lacked and would win Tayo’s heart effortlessly even if he was still in competition. Tayo deserved to be happy and so did Ahmed. Ironically, he loved them both and he knew that if any woman could give Ahmed the fairy tale he dreamed of long ago, Tayo could. He sensed how much Ahmed needed his blessings and he had finally given them. He knew they were better suited for each other anyway.

Besides who would take care of Nkechi and Gideon if he went back to Tayo? He looked at Nkechi and he wanted to protect her. They’d shared a tragedy together and lived through it. He didn’t want her to suffer alone. He wanted to be there for her and his son. He looked at Gideon. His firstborn son. He felt a sudden well up of fatherly pride. He’d do right by them, so help him God.

“I’m not going anywhere Nkechi…”

“But I don’t think it’s fair tying you down just because we have a kid together. You deserve true love…I deserve true love too…”

“Nkechi remember September 9th, 2011?”

“You took me to that concert, it was my birthday…”

“And remember how the bouncer wouldn’t let me in even though I had my ticket because he said I was wearing slippers?”

“You wanted me to go in and have fun without you…”

“But you insisted that you weren’t leaving my side!”

“We ended up missing the concert… Why did you remember this?”

“Because I made you a promise that day. To love and cherish you for the rest of my life as long as you would have me. Do you still want to be with me Nkechi? I still don’t have much. May never be able to give you all the beautiful things you desire-”

“Stop Jide. I was being immature and selfish when I broke up with you just because you were poor. When I realised I was pregnant, I was too ashamed to come and tell you. My mother eventually did it for me. I have matured a lot since then and I’d rather help you build your fortunes than grumble about the things I can’t have. I am truly sorry Jide. I realise that men like you only come around once in a lifetime. I never for once stopped loving you…”

Nkechi was sobbing and she knelt before him penitently.
Jide pulled her up and hugged her. He felt like a weight had been lifted. Life was truly full of surprises. He knew beyond doubt that there was no other place in the world he’d rather be…

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2013 in Wedding Chronicles