The Pastor's Wife

The President’s Wife episode 9

TITLE: THE PRESIDENT’S WIFE

WRITTEN BY: OGECHI ALABI

CHAPTER 9

Zara’s father called her on the phone and asked her to come home that weekend. She was to spend the weekend with Lere in Lagos but called him to cancel. She told Lere about it. She spent the night with him on Friday and then went to her parents on Saturday.

“Chizara nwam, a young man came here with his people to seek your hand in marriage.” Zara’s heart skipped a beat. She was scared it was Lere, but he wasn’t the one. “The man claimed he met you at the bank where you worked in Abeokuta and decided he wanted to make you his wife.”

“I don’t know him. Is that how they choose wives? He should have spoken to me first.”

“He came back from abroad. He was in Abeokuta with a friend pursuing a contract. He said he talked to you and you might remember him. He wants marriage, not boyfriend and girlfriend.”

“In this age and time? I can’t marry just like that. I have to get to know him before we can talk about marriage. I am in a relationsh¡p now, I can’t leave the guy to marry someone I don’t know.”

“In a relationsh¡p? With who? So it is true. I was told of your antics. Ok. He is coming today with some family members. We have to hear them out before we talk about the things you have been up to.”

“But papa, Adanna is available, she is interested in getting married to a rich man who she doesn’t know. I am not. Uju is also available. Let him know you have three daughters. I am not interested in marrying him.”

“This man you have a relationsh¡p with, where is he from?” her father asked.

“Why is his tribe the most important question?”

“He is from this land; a Yoruba boy. You cannot marry a Yoruba boy. I am a traditional Igbo man, my daughter can never marry from outside.”

Zara kept quiet. She looked at her mother who winked at her. She didn’t argue any further with her father. He stood up and went into his room. Mama Adanna called her daughter into the kitchen and said to her, “Don’t challenge your father. When they come, attend to them nicely. The guy will want to talk to you, you can tell him you are not interested. I don’t have anything against marrying a Yoruba boy but he must be a good job, come from a good family, love and treat you well. Once you check all these, then he can ask for your hand.”

“What of papa?”

“He will have no choice but to accept when you are ready.”

“Ok, mama.”

She recognised the suitor that came. He was very rich. He was very generous to her when she opened his account. She didn’t realise it was because he was interested. The little she knew, he was a big time contractor with federal and state governments and their parastatals.

They went out to talk. Andy was older than Lere by three years. Zara told him he was too old for her. She recommended her sister Adanna for him to consider. He and Adanna had so much in common that it will be a wrong match for him to consider her.

“And where is your sister?” he asked curiously. He had never seen a girl pass up an opportunity like this to another girl even if she is her sister. “She is in,side. Let me call her.”

Adanna joined them outside. Zara introduced Andy to her. She told Adanna she knew Andy and everything she wanted in a man, Andy had them.

“Is this a joke?” Adanna asked, confused.

“Nwanne m, it is not. He came for me because he hadn’t met you. Now he has met you, I am confident he will like you. Andy, please may I take my leave?”

Andy nodded and she left them alone. She knew they would have a good conversation. Adanna was crazy, and fun but also submissive like their mother. If she loves you, she will do whatever you tell her. Zara had watched it play out several times. Andy was a man who needed his ego massaged. He wasn’t ugly but wouldn’t be considered handsome. But he looked good because he had money. Adanna, on the other hand, is beautiful. She took her mother’s physique. Zara was more beautiful but Adanna wasn’t far behind. Adanna loved money, Andy wanted a woman who would be at his beck and call. They would make a perfect match.

When they came back in, Andy told papa Adanna he was reconsidering his request. He was now interested in Adanna as recommended by her sister. Papa Adanna was surprised, but he waited until the visitors had left.

“What happened? Zara, you rejected his proposal?”

“Papa, when he came, I knew who he was. Adanna is his best option, not me. We will never have worked. I allowed him to discover for himself and he changed his mind.” Zara replied.

“Adanna, what do you have to say?”

“I was also surprised. He asked me some questions and I answered him. He said he was interested in a relationsh¡p that would lead to marriage. He said three months is enough time for us to know ourselves and then we will get married. I agreed. He is a nice guy.” Adanna told her dad.

“So, Zara was right about both of you? Ok o. I want that guy in this family. His uncles said he is ready to change our lives if Zara accepts. So now it is if Adanna accepts. No problem.”

“Papa, I want to return to Abeokuta today. Corpers have something we are doing tomorrow and I am a part of the planning committee. Please, can I leave now?”

“Who is the boy? The one you are in a relationsh¡p with? I want to meet him. For you to defy me, the boy has turned your head. I want to meet him.”

“I will let him know papa when I see him.”

“As if you are not seeing him today. He should come by himself so you won’t be his mouthpiece. Let us know who our children are relating with.”

Her mother came into their room as Zara was packing and discussing with an excited Adanna and said, “Don’t bring him to see your father until you have met his own family and you are sure you can cope with them. The same goes for you Adanna, get to know his family. Ask questions before you enter. Some wicked in-laws can turn the mind of a husband against a wife. I don’t want any of you to suffer such a fate. Please do what I ask.”

Zara narrated the entire story to Lere. Lere couldn’t believe his ears. He was also surprised her father wanted to meet him even though he suspected he was a Yoruba boy.

“Don’t mind him,” Zara added. “I didn’t want to marry the suitor they brought that was the reason I mentioned you. He knows I am not the type of girl that jumps around.”

“Does that mean you don’t want to marry me?”

“There is no rush. I want to serve and get a job before I consider marriage. Adanna is ready, I am not.”

Lere was uncomfortable. Suitors have noticed her all the way from Abeokuta. Now they are asking for her hand in marriage. Her father was ready to give her out to the guy. What will happen when more suitors come for her? Won’t she be pressured to marry one of them?

That night, as they made love, he asked her if she loved him enough to spend the rest of her life with him. She said yes with passion in her eyes. He wondered why he couldn’t ask her earlier when they were talking. He was scared. He was scared he would lose her. He watched her sleep in his arms. He wanted her to always be there. What can he do?

On Monday, Lere took Zara with him to the office. She had seen some job adverts in the newspapers for fresh graduates. She went with him to the Island, so she could drop off her applications and resume. She went to all the banks where she had seen job adverts.

When she was through, she went to see Adanna in her office. Adanna bought her a late breakfast and they talked about Andy. They had a fixed date for Saturday. Andy had asked her to dress very nicely because they would be visiting some of his friends. Adanna wanted to clear her account to shop for two beautiful dresses, shoes and a bag. “My colleague mentioned there is a sale going on in one big boutique on Adeola Odeku. I will be going there on Wednesday to shop. He will be surprised when he sees me on Saturday.”

“I am glad you like him.”

“He is my spec; not too handsome with deep pockets. He has money. The guy I was passing time with has been misbehaving. It will shock him when I tell him I have a new bobo and this one is more loaded than he is. What I have done for him, none of his girlfriends can ever do for him. I did it in the name of love but now I am wearing spectacles, thick lens join. I will always be grateful to you for dashing me this man. Always.”

Zara knew what Adanna liked and she was glad she was able to link two vain people together. They would make a beautiful couple because they were alike.

Zara got to Lere’s office. She told the receptionist who she wanted to see. She was given a tag and she went on the lift. There was a guy in the lift with her. Immediately he entered, no one else entered the lift. He struck a conversation with her.

“Hello, what’s your name?”

“Good Afternoon, sir. Zara is my name.”

“Nice to meet you, Zara. Where are you going?”

“I am going to the 10th floor.”

“Who do you want to see there? Do you want to model for our brand?”

Zara smiled and replied, “No, sir. I am meeting someone there.”

“Who can that be? I am Raymond and I like your beautiful smile. Maybe we could talk some more in my office?”

“I wish I could but I am meeting someone.”

“Who is that?”

“Lere.”

“Lere? Did you come to see Lere? What for?” The lift chose that time to stop and they stepped out. She avoided answering the question thinking he would leave, but he waited for her to sign in and stopped the receptionist from calling Lere.

It was an open plan office, so everyone could see her when she came in. Raymond led her to his office. He offered her a seat which she declined, asking to see Lere.

“Who is he to you?”

“My friend. I am uncomfortable here; can I leave now?.”

“No need for that.” He picked up his intercom and called. He asked the person to come to his office. He said to her, “I head this department, they are all under me (referring to those on the open floor). I like you, you are beautiful. Let me have your number; we can talk later tonight. This is my card.”

“I am sorry. Maybe you didn’t get the message right, Lere is my boyfriend. I came here to see him.”

Lere knocked and then entered the office. Immediately Zara saw him, she smiled at him. He didn’t return the smile immediately.

“Lere, I saw your girl on the lift and decided to bring her to you. I was toasting her, but she declined. This is the first. If she had told me you were her boyfriend from the beginning, I wouldn’t have said anything to her. Zara, take my card, you can call me whenever you feel like it. As a friend.”

“Don’t waste your card. Lere has your number, I will get it from him.”

Lere led her out to the meeting room. He asked if the man had done anything apart from making advances at her, and she said no. He gave her money to buy lunch at an eatery opposite their building. He asked her to wait there for him to meet her at 3:30pm.

As she was waiting for the lift, Raymond came out to meet her. He gave her his card and said, “You are a smart girl. You are also Igbo; what are you doing with that Yoruba guy? I am single and searching. I like you, nwanyioma. Call me anytime you are free, I can meet you anywhere you are.”

Zara collected the card from him. Behind the card was money. She wanted to return the money but he walked away as her lift arrived. She went to the eatery as instructed by Lere, bought a bottle of Schweppes bitter lemon and fiesta. She ate slowly to buy herself time to wait.

At 3 pm, Lere came to meet her. She left with him to where he parked his car. They drove from there. She tried talking to him, but he was cold. She asked what the problem was, he said it was nothing.

“‘Your boss came out as I was waiting for the lift, gave me his card and some money. He is not a nice man and is highly tribalistic. I don’t think he likes you.”

“Where is the card?”

“Here.”

“Do you want to keep it?”

“Why would I want to?”

“Did you give him your number?”

“Why would I?”

“Good.”

“What of the money?”

“It is his payment for harassing you. He does it to most of the girls that come to our floor. I am glad you didn’t fall for his game. I was worried you were interested.”

“Interested in a man who is so vain? He is full of himself and he spoke to me as though he was sure I was going to agree. I can’t be interested in such a man.”

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For respecting me and proving to him and others I made the right choice. Many girls have fallen for him. He uses them and taunts their boyfriends with the fact their girls are loose. You refusing to give him your number and now giving me his card shows I chose well. Raymon can be very charming and persuasive.”

“He is tribalistic, that was all I saw.”

“I will take you to the park so you can travel. I have to return to work this evening; we have an important event tomorrow morning.”

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