AUTHOR: OGECHI ALABI
Demian came in a few days to the wedding which was slated for Easter Monday. He met Nkem in Abuja and they both travelled to the east together. She hadn’t changed at all, her body didn’t undergo any major changes thus far. He was scared of making love to her but she encouraged him. He wondered if she was truly pregnant.
Nkem’s dress was delivered to her family home in the village before she arrived. She tried it on and it fitted perfectly. She saw the accessories and was surprised. She had sent money to Funke to buy her mother and brothers their clothes and accessories. Her mother received a gorgeous outfit from Funke through Uloma and the natives her brothers would wear. Nkem was happy her family would be well-dressed for the occasion.
Nkem’s friends arrived on the evening of Easter Sunday. She was so happy. They stayed with her in her home in the village. It had been forever since they had been together like this. There was a lot of catching up. They were all happy for Nkem, she would be the last person to get married amongst them. It was exciting.
Zainab looked amazing. She had added some more weight and wore clothes that showed off some of her curves. She loved her look. Her face was still the prettiest and her skin was soft and beautiful. She had decided never to get married again. She believed all men have issues and she was loving her life as it was. Her parents want her to get married and have at least one child but she has declined. One marriage in a lifetime was enough.
Concerning Bashir, he had made several attempts to see her but she had refused to see him. His mother claimed he had received treatment and was on medication to control his anger. She begged Zainab to reconsider as Bashir still loves her. She blocked his mother on her phone and social media. Bashir hasn’t given up. He refused to marry another woman. He came to her parents to beg but her father chased him out of his house. She changed her number and only close family members and colleagues have access to it. Her friends were happy she had moved on
Later that night when everyone was asleep, Esther tapped Nkem for them to have a conversation. They went outside to the compound so they could talk in private. Nkem knew what she wanted to talk about.
“I know you are disappointed in me, but hear me out. I ended it with Efe but he is refusing to go. He wants to be with me. If I have to leave Jake, he would want to withhold the children from me and I don’t want that. Jake says we can fight for custody. This is my only fear, my children. I am ready to leave everything behind.”
“And how will Efe fend for you? You are used to a particular lifestyle, how will he maintain it for you?”
“Efe is not poor. He is very comfortable. He just won contracts in three African countries for his private company which runs into millions of dollars. He is doing very well. He can take care of me and I can work too. I am thinking of starting my business aside from the one we jointly own so when we separate, I will have something to fall back on.”
“Efe is pushing you to leave your husband and be with him because he left his wife to be with you. This is a dangerous move. Don’t allow Jake to catch you in this, confront him with his infidelities and file for a divorce. Let Efe keep away for now until the divorce is final. After that, you can rekindle your relationship. If Efe didn’t come into the picture you would never have left Jake.”
“I know but I love Efe. I have loved him since our first encounter. He is my best friend and a good lover. Jake doesn’t care about me or my feelings, he cares only about himself and his philandering. He has been making some moves towards reconciliation but I have warned him it won’t happen.”
“Divorce him then move to Efe, don’t stay in his house and be sleeping with another man no matter how good he is. It is disrespectful and a sin.”
In the morning, Nkem woke up very early and took her bath. She went to check on the women cooking. Her mother had made arrangements for those who won’t go to the reception with them. They will be entertained in the compound. They were also carrying some food with them to the reception venue in case they were not given food.
She saw Chidindu and Obioma outside. They hugged her. Her brothers were so proud of her. She had brought pride to their family and the family that she was marrying into respected her. Her mother came out to join them. She was very excited. The village said only good things about Nkem and praised her mother for raising her right.
The hair stylist and the makeup artist were at Nkem’s home as early as 6:30 am. They styled her hair and Uloma’s hair. They did the makeup for Nkem, Uloma and her mother. When she was ready, she wore her beautiful dress and everyone was speechless. She looked ravishing in the wedding gown. The photographer and videographer couldn’t have enough of her. Her mother had her gele professionally tied to complete her look. She looked so beautiful. This was the way Nkem remembered her before their father’s death.
The bridal vehicle was a limousine. Nkem didn’t want all this attention. She entered the vehicle with her friends and siblings while Esther’s vehicle carried the other family members. Her mother had packed her luggage into the boot of the vehicle while she was dressing up. She told Nkem she had to travel back to Abuja from her husband’s house. Nkem wanted to cry but her brother cautioned her.
The villagers didn’t recognise their church when they arrived at it for the wedding. The decorator had transformed the church and it was impressive. Demian and his family were there. The church service was to start at 10 am. Nkem arrived at the venue at 9:30 am. They waited in the vehicle. Her mother went to greet her in-laws. The wait wasn’t for long before Demian entered the church with his entourage.
Read – The hammingtons episode 47 – 48
Her friends joined them at the church while Nkem and Uloma waited in the vehicle until it was time to walk in. Her brother, Chidindu came to get her and he walked her to the altar with Uloma behind her as her bride’s maid. People were mesmerised by her beautiful wedding gown. She smiled at Demian because he couldn’t stop smiling at her. Behind him was his younger brother Iyke. He was his best man, a very handsome young man. When she came close, Demian told her how beautiful she looked.
The latest couple left the church in a limousine and ‘escort’ vehicles. They headed to the reception. The escort vehicles cleared the road for them to get to the reception in good time.
When they got to the reception, Agnes helped Nkem remove the attachments to the dress to convert it to a reception gown and for her to be more comfortable. She still looked amazing. She joined Demian for the reception. They walked into the hall hand in hand to the cheers of their guests.
As they began their couple’s dance, the first person to step forward to spray them was uncle Tobi. He sprayed N1000 notes until he finished a bundle. Then he brought a second one. By then others had joined in spraying them.
Mama Nkem had wanted uncle Tobi to be on the high table but he declined. Instead, he suggested another man. Uncle Tobi didn’t want Nkem to feel awkward there. His wife had a nice time at the church service and was enjoying the reception. She came with a beautiful gift. Uncle Tobi had other plans. He wanted to talk to Nkem alone but he knew it would be difficult. He decided he would ask permission from Demian and then speak to her.
After the reception, Chidindu and the rest of the family presented Nkem with some household items. She was surprised they were willing to spend so much on her. They were too many. They told her a car was supposed to be part of the gift but since she was travelling soon, they agreed on giving her the money instead. Nkem was so proud of her family. She didn’t know how they pulled it off without the company shutting down but they did and removed shame from her.
As they waited to leave, uncle Tobi came with his wife to congratulate the couple again. He said to Demian, “This girl you have married holds a special place in my heart. I would do anything in this world for her. I just want you to know that. She loves you and has agreed to spend her life with you. You are aware of the excesses of your family, especially your mother. Protect Nkem. She doesn’t thrive in a negative environment; she will give up and walk away. I am tellling you for free. Be a man and defend your family. I believe you can. With your permission, I will like to speak with Nkem alone if you don’t mind.” Demian agreed.
Both of them stepped aside but not far from their partners. Uncle Tobi said to Nkem, “I hope you are happy now. If you need anything regardless of what it is, call me. Be it advice or whatever, just call me. I know you will be travelling soon, but this is the right time to give you my gift.” He gave her two envelopes. “Keep them well. I want you to remember, if it doesn’t work out, it is not the end of the world. I believe your husband is smart and knows what to do. You have to be smart too. Whatever his family wants or suggests, or demands, refer them to him. Don’t get involved with them. Let us go back to our spouses before they will wonder what we are talking about.” Nkem was quiet, she didn’t know how to react when uncle Tobi was around her. She gave the envelopes to Uloma because they were heavy and asked her to safeguard them.
They came home after the reception. Demian went to see his family while Nkem and Uloma were unpacking. Nken remembered the envelopes she had given to Uloma and asked for them. She opened the first one, there were shares certificates. Nkem was a major shareholder of one of uncle Tobi’s companies which she knew very well because it was the same company her mother went into contract with. She had 40% shares of the company. She also had shares in some other publicly quoted companies, he gave her the certificates. She appreciated the gift. Then she opened the second envelope and she saw four packs of $100 bills. She quickly closed it. She knew it was for her trip. She was very grateful.
The following morning, Nkem invited her friends to her new home before they left for their various destinations. She was happy she got to spend time with them. Demian got introduced to them and then he excused himself. They all talked about how beautiful the wedding was.
Esther brought up seeing Nkem talking to uncle Tobi. She asked if all was well, and Nkem said he gave her a special gift on her wedding day.
“He has always liked you. What did he give you?” Esther asked.
“He gave me money so when I travel I will be comfortable before I start a job. He gave it to me in dollars. I appreciate it.”
“That’s very nice. The guy has always been generous. When you travel, Uloma will be safe in his hands,” Zainab added.
“No! Uloma will not be connected with any man, please. She is young and gullible.”
“But uncle Tobi is not that type of person, he will not take advantage of her rather he will protect her,” Esther replied.
“You won’t understand.”
As they were about to leave for the airport, Funke cornered Nkem and asked her, “Did something happen between you and uncle Tobi? I sensed tension between both of you when you were talking yesterday.”
“Nothing happened.” Nkem couldn’t bring herself to tell her.
“I hope so. Maybe Uloma should serve in Lagos since you are not comfortable with her in Abuja with uncle Tobi.”
“I am comfortable but you know her story. I don’t want any issues between my sister and uncle Tobi’s wife. Uloma is gullible. Please understand.”
“I have taken your word. I didn’t like the way he was looking at you and Demian today when I was talking to him and his wife. He was lost staring at both of you. Demian has persevered and won, let it remain like that. You are the smart one, keep it that way.”
“There is nothing, Funke. Demian is my first and only lover. Stop overthinking things. Uncle Tobi just warned me about Demian’s family and that’s it. He was just looking out for me.”
“I believe you. Let me join the others.”
Demian left for Abuja with Nkem two days later. He helped her organise some of the things they came with. The vehicle Demian used in the village was brought to Abuja. Demian hired a driver to move Nkem around. He ensured she was very comfortable before he left.
On her next doctor’s appointment, she went with Demian. She requested to have a sonograph done so Demian can see the baby. Demian saw his child and was close to tears. He did a video call with his family for them to experience it with him. They were so happy. It had become a reality for them and the father asked that they commence shopping.
Demian was sad when he was leaving Nigeria. He wanted to be with Nkem. He complained about the internet service if not, he would have stayed back until Nkem was prepared to come to the US. Nkem encouraged him to leave. “It is a matter of two and half months and I will be with you for three years. Don’t make it sound like it is such a long time.”
“It is because I miss you already. I really do. I can’t wait for you to come.”
“We were together in December, had our traditional marriage in January and now we are officially husband and wife. Why can’t we wait three more months? I will be with you soon.”
“Don’t forget to apply for a visa for your mum. This will be her first grandchild and I want her to come after the child has been born.”
“I will do so. She will come to Abuja for the interview and stay until I travel before she goes back to the village. She will come to America after I have had the baby. What do you think?”
“A perfect plan. Be fast about it.”
Demian’s mother called Nkem asking for her medical report so she could get a hospital. She wanted a hospital where she lived. Nkem told her to discuss it with Demian first as he had already made arrangements for her medicals. Demian’s mother was upset.
“Who will be with you and help you when you have the baby? Have you had a baby before? I am offering to help you and you are asking me to discuss it with Demian. What does Demian know? You, a woman should be smart.”
“I know ma. Demian instructed me not to make plans with anyone except him. If anyone wants to discuss anything about his life and his family, they should talk to him. Why would I defy his instruction? Please ma, I can’t decide on my own, Demian will decide and let you know or you can make this suggestion to him.” She answered her. She wasn’t ready to argue with her or inform her about her mother coming to the US.