When he got home in the evening the next day, his mum was outside with her bags and furniture waiting for him. The door to their house was locked with a new padlock.
Lanre: “Maami, what are you doing outside with this whole stuffs? Are you going somewhere? Let’s go inside please” he tried to draw her along but she broke into tears.
Iya Lanre: “We’ve been sent packing Lanre. We have no house now” she buried her face in her hands shamefully.
Lanre: “What do you mean by that?”
Iya Lanre: “What do you mean by that stupid question? I said we have been sent out by the landlord, what do you think all these stuffs are doing outside? I am sure you still have some of the money, go to him now and pay the rent. It is #500,000 only”
Lanre: “Hmmmm…how I wish I have that amount of money?”
Iya Lanre: “What do you mean by that? Please I cannot become a homeless woman at this age. I am supposed to be reaping the fruit of my labour right now but all I am doing is suffering. Suffering upon suffering. What kind of life is this?”
Lanre: “Whose fault is it? Tell me now! Whose fault is it that all these is happening? My life is ruined because I have you as my mother. I have lost everything I hold dear, even my wife and all you care about is money?”
Iya Lanre: “You are not serious. Is it a crime that I wanted the best for my son? The only child I have whom I suffered to train?”
Lanre: “That is the problem with you. You will never accept that you are wrong. I can see why my dad sent you away from his home. I can see why you don’t really have genuine friends. Nk really tried by living with you all those while. I understand why she wouldn’t come back even if she wanted to”
Iya Lanre: “I feel sorry that Nkeiru left, at least if she was here, she would have paid the rent but you followed Oyinbo woman and made the good lady leave. Where is your Oyinbo woman now? Even the baby you were so happy about, where is he? Useless boy looking for whom to blame for his misfortunes. Better find solution to our problem first, aren’t you ashamed of yourself? You went to London and came back empty handed. Empty handed and you have the audacity to open your mouth to talk about a wife? I really do feel sorry for you” she looked away from him, trying to avoid seeing the hurtful look on his face. She felt sorry for him, she knew it was partly her fault but she couldn’t just bring herself to accept it.
He without saying anything, picked up his bag and started walking away with a distant look on his face. She grabbed hers and ran after him. Where they went to or how they lived after then, no one knew or cared to ask.
After the incidence with Lanre that day, Dave became extra caring towards Nkeiru. He would take her to all of the events he gets invited to. But he was careful not to go to an extreme in doing that. She wouldn’t collect expensive gifts from him or his mum since she wasn’t sure how she felt about the whole thing. Vanessa however tried on several occasions to persuade her…
Vanessa: Nk why are you being so stubborn? This guy loves you much more than I have seen anyone love anyone. Despite the fact that you’ve been married before and all. If he didn’t love you, would he still be here for you?”
Nkeiru: “Lanre also loved me a lot from the onset. Besides I don’t think I still want to marry someone outside my tribe again” she replied nonchalantly.
Vanessa: “My dear, Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa, humans will remian humans. You only have to pray you don’t meet the wrong people in life. An Igbo man can make you go through worst if he is wrong for you likewise a Hausa man. What will you do if you married an Igbo man now and tomorrow he turns out to be worse than Lanre? Besides in God’s face, there is no tribe, no country and no state. We are all just one people before him. He only recognises us as man and woman and knows us by our names not by the tribe we were born into. Do you understand my point?”
Nkeiru: “I understand but I am just so scared. I am afraid the same thing will happen to me again, I wouldn’t be able to bear it again Vanny” she was on the verge of breaking down into tears.
Vanessa: “I know dear. Who wouldn’t develop a phobia? I would too but I can assure you that Dave is the right man, he will love you with his last breath and I don’t want you to lose him. If you do, you might find it difficult getting another like him. Baby please, I want us to do our wedding the same day. Can’t you grant me that one wish?”
Nkeiru: “Funny girl. Well you are right about Dave. Even his family has proved they aren’t biased towards people from other tribes or someone with a dark past like mine. You are really right! I don’t think I’d be able to live if I lost him to another woman. Gosh! Why didn’t I think of this? I guess I kept thinking he will stick around forever”
Vanessa: “No! He will not stick around forever. If you keep rejecting him, he will find another woman to channel all his attention to and you would have lost a friend and a good partner too. Don’t let that happen bae. Go and claim what is yours” she winked at her knowing she had succeeded in wooing her over at last.
Nkeiru: “Thanks bae…I have never regretted knowing you since I met you. Thanks love” She stood up to get ready to meet Dave. He had called her earlier that day to meet him at their normal rendezvous at Millennium Park.
Meanwhile, Dave had confided in Vanessa about his plans to propose to Nkeiru that evening at the Park. She had to try in talking to her one more time, to be sure she wasn’t going to embarrass him in the presence of all those he had invited over, including his parents and her dad. Vanessa made sure she dressed up pretty, helped give her a professional make over and sent her off. After like 10 minutes, she quickly dressed up and followed her too.
Dave: “Since I met you, my life has changed, I stopped being a shy dude and now I can actually express my feelings well enough. Nkeiru…I don’t want to lose you, I want you all to myself, whatever you are going through we will go through them together, I want to be in your life but only if you will permit me” he looked down sadly. He had set a table covered in white beautiful floral linen. There were bottles of red wine on the table and small chops. He had specially invited a waiter from a five star restaurant to see to it that everything was in order. Those he had invited kept their distance, waiting for him to say the three words before coming out of their hideout.
Nkeiru: “You are sweet dear” she admired his finely cut suit and how handsome he looked in it. She didn’t see his next action coming…
Dave: “Will you marry me then since I am sweet?” he said coyly, brought out the little box which had being taunting him in his pocket, opened it and knelt in front of her.
She was dumbfounded.
Nkeiru: “Yes! Yes!! Yes!! I will absolutely marry you” she clasped her hands together as tears of joy went rolling down her cheeks. He reached out and inserted the ring into her left ring finger. Just then applause rent the air from all angles. His family, friends and her dad started trouping out with smiles all over their face. She burst into tears when she saw her dad. He stepped forward and enfolded her in his arms whispering ‘it’s okay daughter’ into her ears.
Nkeiru and Vanessa got married the same day and never lived to regret their decisions. Their husbands were the best they could have ever prayed for.
Erica: “Paaaatrrriick!” She screamed and fell to his side but one of the soldiers dragged her away from him. “Please leave me alone…leave me please, I need to be by his side”
Soldier: “No! Let the paramedic do his job, just stay here and pray he survives” he said.
She closed her eyes as the paramedic checked his pulse and shook his head but not out of hopelessness.
Paramedic: “His pulse is weak. We have to get him to a hospital with immediate effect” he announced.
On hearing hospital, Erica sprang to her feet and ran back to his side, followed the two soldiers who carried him carefully, careful so the bullet would not burrow further into his body and jumped into the van with them.
Erica: “I am going with him” she dared anyone to object to that with the look she gave them.
1st Soldier: “Don’t you want to go home to your parents?” he asked as the van got ignited and he took his place beside her.
Erica: “I want to and I will but until I have made sure he is fine” she held on to his hand, saying silent prayers for his survival, whispering occasionally into his ears until they got to the hospital.
The X-ray showed that the bullet had almost grazed his heart, so a surgery will have to be carried out. After much struggling at the theatre, the surgery was done and he was transferred to the ICU. He was in coma for a month, a period during which the news of the arrest of the group had reached the nook and cranny of the country. Erica’s dad learnt about her rescue and didn’t waste time in searching her out.
He almost died with excitement when he laid his eyes on her and wanted to get her back home immediately but she refused. She told him how she wanted to remain in Abuja for the time being to be sure her rescuer was alive and well. He knew better than arguing with his daughter so he stayed with her for some time at the hospital and went back home.
She sat by his bedside, watching him quietly as he struggled to sit up on his bed.
Pat: “Why are you looking at me like that? You look terrible like a ghost out of Harry Potter” he tried to make a joke but she did not smile.
Erica: “You scared the daylight out of me and you are here trying to make a joke?”
Pat: “I am sorry. How is my baby?” he said afraid she lost it.
Erica: “She is fine” she replied absent-mindedly.
Pat: “A she?”
Erica: “I don’t know yet, I said she because I want a baby girl”
Pat: “We want the same thing of course. I want another fiery eyed Doe like you” he winked.
Erica: “Are you strong enough to talk now?” she looked around to be sure no one was eavesdropping. They were in a private ward, so no one shared the room with them.
Pat: “About what?”
Erica: “Why did you become what you became? Why?” tears dripped from her eyes.
Pat: “I am sorry…I was behind myself with madness and cowardice and that’s why I went into that” he told her how he grew up, how his dad treated his mum, how that built him into a man who was afraid of turning out like his father but Erica was not satisfied.
Erica: “Do you think that was really enough for you to go into such crime?”
Pat: “It’s not and I don’t have any excuse for my actions but you should know that growing up in a broken home where you have another woman trample upon you is hard. Growing up, I swore never to be like my dad and that meant not getting married at all. I devised a way to have all the women I wanted without them seeing my face. I know this is not good enough but the best explanation I can give you is that I was crazily possessed until I got liberated and started seeing the errors of my ways. Don’t think I don’t dream about those women, I do. They torment me day and night even when I was in coma. I will not be able to pay for my sins enough even if I had died. I guess God let me live because he wants me to pay for them every day of my life until he calls me home”
Erica: “I don’t see any sense in what you are saying still but you being possessed is a better explanation. So how were you able to cope with work and all that atrocities you carried out? Staying in camp and all?”
Pat: “Like I told you before, I didn’t stay in the camp much. Anytime I had work to do, Locust took over here. And the thing is I wasn’t there when they carried out most of the operations. Locust was more brutal than I was and always seemed to stir up factions in the camp. All I wanted was to kidnap the ladies, keep them safe in one place so they don’t have to get married either. So they don’t have to go through the same thing my mother went through in the hands of their husbands. And as for the children, I personally take them to orphanage homes, I abandon them there at night. I thought that was the safest place for them to be and every month, I send huge amounts to each of the orphanage homes. I go there to see them sometimes too. Locust was the only one who knew about this and only he knew my real identity. That reminds me, what of Locust?”
Erica: “He died that day. A soldier shot him immediately he shot at you. And wow! I am speechless”
Pat: “Too bad. Too bad. I am sorry guys. I am really really sorry guy” he shook his head from side to side. All these is my fault…How will I be able to live now?” he started to cry for the first time in her presence.
Erica: “It is fine. We can atone for the sins together. God has given you a second chance and you must use it wisely. I will be here to help you through every step” she said, standing up to wipe off the tears on his face.
A month later after he had recovered fully, he took Erica home and handed her to her dad, her mum had also returned home after hearing the news. He made known to them of his intention to marry her, they thought the pregnancy was for one of the men in the camp and so they did not question how she came about it. They were more than happy to see someone who was willing to marry her despite everything she had been through and so they gave them their blessings. They got married three months later.
Erica gave birth to a baby girl few months after their marriage. They christened her after her godmother, Vanessa. Patrick left his publishing company to Erica to run where she published as many books as she wanted ranging from novels to motivational books and poems. He made Vanessa and Nkeiru Managing directors. He knew he was never going to pay for his sins enough, one day he felt the need to become even closer to God and that was how he found his true calling. He went to a pastoral school and after passing out, he joined a Pentecostal church where he started preaching salvation to the lost. He preferred to go evangelising in the streets, prisons, IDP camps where he knew the lost really were than preaching on the pulpit. He continued taking care of the children in the orphanage homes and those at IDPs. He built a school for the less privileged where this children could go to school without having to pay a dime.
They all lived to fulfil their dreams except Lanre whom no one got to know what became of him. Whether he went back to the States or continued his life in Nigeria.
Share your thoughts on this episode please. Thanks for reading. WINKS…
Stay tuned for another interesting story from Adelove (You don’t wanna miss this!)…AdeLove Stories…Premier Naija Inspirational Blog!
EXCLUSIVELY FROM ADELOVE.COM
All Rights Reserved