Tope: “getting married? What is that supposed to mean?” he asked, anger smouldering beneath the mask that had slipped over his face after the first few minutes of shock.
Mr Adepoju: “Seyi here, this beautiful Yoruba girl, claims you have put her in the family way.” He replied, a satisfied smile on his lips.
Tope turned to Seyi, who stared at him coldly. “Are you pregnant?” he asked in surprise.
Seyi nodded her head. Tope sighed and dropped on an empty chair. A beautiful sunny day had just gone dark gray in a few minutes.
Mr. Adepoju: “we need to arrange everything before she travels to Britain. So I will suggest announcing their engagement as soon as possible.” He said.
Mr Adetola nodded his head absentmindedly. He was troubled. “Tope had never seemed to like my daughter. I had expected her to say Biodun was responsible for the pregnancy not Tope. This child, please don’t get me into trouble o. Mr Adepoju is not a man to toy with.” He thought, his face in a bland smile that hid his worries.
Tope: “I can’t marry you Seyi. I am in love with someone else and I intend to get married to her. I promise to do right by the baby when he is born but I can’t marry you.” He said quietly.
Mr. Adepoju: “you are a fool boy! If you think you are going to bring that thieving Ibo girl into this family, you are in for a shocker.” He retorted, veins popping on his head as he swelled with anger.
Mr. Adetola: “which Ibo girl?” he asked, curious.
Seyi’s eyes glittered with malice
Biodun stood before the lorry and stared at Papa John. He stretched forward his hand and shook the old man quietly. Papa John revealing his brown teeth and gums.
Papa John: “Now be a good boy. When you get to the barracks, remember that you are a Nigerian first eh…everybody has good in them and bad whether they be Yoruba, Ibo or Hausa. You will do fine. Here, if you want to reach me call this number, I will get your message.” He said, putting a piece of paper in Biodun’s palm. Then he turned around and shambled off.
Biodun stood his eyes searching the crowd gathered around the lorry but he could not find her, Preye. She had come to him last night after avoiding him for days after the talk about love. She had held him and rode him hard all through the night. She had not uttered a word to him all through. When she came at the last round, she had burst into tears. He had tried to console her but she had pushed him away and fled away into the night.
He sighed. She wasn’t coming. He climbed into the lorry and sat down. A small boy came to the window and stretched his hand towards him. In it was a piece of cloth, wrapping something. He untied the twine that was tied round the cloth and opened it. Inside was a picture of Preye. It was an old picture but it showed her beautiful smile and glittering eyes full of mischief. He turned the picture and saw written in an uneven hand with ink, the words ‘never forget, soldier man’. He looked up but the boy was gone. He looked round then he saw Preye, standing at the edge of the village, a basket in her hand, her cutlass slung on her side. She raised her hand in a wave then turned and walked away. Tears welled up in his eyes as the engine of the lorry started. He turned back one more time but smoke had clouded the view. He turned back and bowed his head in anguish.
Driver: “something fall from your lap o.” he said as he moved the lorry out of the village.
Biodun looked down and saw a necklace. It was made from beads and cowries. He picked it up and tied it around his neck. He had seen a similar one on Preye’s neck before. He sighed and placed the picture in his breast pocket and settled down for the journey back to reality.
Tope: “why are you doing this to me?” he asked, wearily.
He and Seyi were in his room, where they had retired to, leaving their parents to continue making their plans.
Seyi: “why am I doing what to you? Where you not the one, who slammed into me like a bull despite my pleading.” She retorted angrily.
Tope: “you conniving bitch…you drugged me.” He replied through gritted teeth.
Seyi: “that does not give you the right to rape me.” She replied, hotly.
Tope: “God…what did I do to you, Seyi. Why do want to destroy my life.” He asked, his hands covering his eyes in anguish.
Seyi sighed and rolled her eyes in exasperation. She sauntered to where he was seated and placed her arm around his shoulder
Seyi: “Come on lover. This will be a good thing. Besides, I will be going to Britain after our introduction and I intend to deliver there while you go do your soldier boy routine. When I return, you will see how right this is, I promise.”
Tope: “Seyi, I don’t love you. It is Chidinma I want. I have gone to see her parents today and now this…” he replied, petulantly.
Seyi’s visage hardened on hearing Chidinma’s name. “something has to be done about that girl. Something critical, I took her under my wing now she aims to take food out of my mouth? No never!” she thought within. She sighed,
Seyi: “you don’t have to worry about that. Her parents have got an Ibo man suitably arranged for her, I promise you that.” She said calmly.
Tope looked at her suddenly and smiled.
Tope: “Seyi you lie poorly but never mind that. This introduction will not work.” He said determinedly then he got up and walked out of the room, leaving Seyi to fume alone.
Mr Nzeribe sat with his wife and his daughter, Chidinma, in their sitting room. The atmosphere was somber.
Mr Nzeribe: “Chichi…” he said.
Chidinma: “Sir.” She replied.
Mr Nzeribe cleared his throat: “your friend, Tope says he wants to marry you. He came to seek my permission today. What have you to say?”
Chidinma: “father, I don’t know o. I feel that there are too many things to consider before I get myself entangled in his life.” She said softly, her eyes downcast.
Mr Nzeribe: “Chukwu thank you for giving me an intelligent child. Marriage is not a thing that is entered into lightly. First of all, what sort of person is he? Who are his people? What plans does he have for you in his life? And do you love him?” he asked quietly.
Chidinma: “Tope is a good man. He is decent and intelligent. My worry in all that you have said is, will his father let him marry an Ibo woman?” she asked thoughtfully.
Mr. Nzeribe: “you are not worried whether I will let you marry a Yoruba man?” he asked, curious.
Chidinma: “you won’t? “she asked, surprised.
Mrs Nzeribe: “there are very good, Ibo boys around who will make suitable husbands for you, Chichi. Besides what happened to your dream of going to the University College?” she said, feeling the need to clear the air of the sudden tension that had arisen.
Mr Nzeribe nodded his thanks to his wife, who smiled imperceptibly. Chidinma didn’t see them, her face furrowed in a worried frown.
Mr Okunola came out of the bedroom to open the entrance door. He looked at the policeman standing in front of him.
Mr Okunola: “yes, what can I do for you?” he asked, curious.
Policeman: “are you Mr Okunola, father of Biodun Okunola?” he asked, staring at a piece of paper in his hand.
Mr Okunola: “yes I am he.” He replied, his heart skipping a beat. “what has this boy gotten himself into this time? Does he want me dead before my time?” he thought, perturbed.
Policeman: “I am sorry to inform you that your son was found dead at a river inlet close to the Atlantic. We found a box of pictures and letters by his side, which helped us identify him. His face had been chewed off by fishes and he was already swollen with gas. He has since been buried.” The police man rattled on, oblivious of what his information was doing to the man standing before him.
Mr Okunola stared at the policeman in shock. “hey…it is not true. Mirabel, I have killed our son. Jesu! Jesu!” he turned from policeman, the man’s words still ringing in his head and stumbled into the sitting room. He gasped and held his chest as Gladys came out of the bedroom.
She ran towards him and raised an alarm. The policeman ran inside the house to see Mr Okunola on the ground, his wife, Gladys, screaming and crying.
Peterson after thinking deep and considering the Evangelist’s message, decided not going for second option. He instead left for the village, to visit his mother. She was excited to see him, and to see that he was doing well for himself. She greatly admired the Morris Minor he drove down with and the foreign things he bought for her, she kept carefully.
After greetings have been exchanged and Peterson had settled in, before he could even get to the purpose of his visit, his mother attacked him,
Peterson’s mother: “What are you waiting for before you settle down and start giving me grandchildren?” she asked, looking at him intensely.
Peterson: “Mama, i am working on it.” he replied slowly.
Peterson’s Mother: “which one is, am working on it? Do yo have a girl? where is she? i am not getting any younger, young man. i wold like to carry my grandchild before i leave this world. You have a good job, so what is holding you from getting married.”she retorted, angrily.
As Peterson made to reply, a knock came on the door. the door opened and a pretty girl entered the hose.she greeted Peterson and his mother quietly and delivered a message from her mother to Peterson’s mother.
Peterson’s mother::”look at you with your mouth wide open. you don’t know her again?” she asked, hitting Peterson on the lap.
He had been staring at the girl, dumbfounded by her beauty. He jumped when his mother hit him.
Peterson: “am i suppose to know her?” he asked, curious.
Peterson’s mother: “It is Margaret now. whose mother owns the chemist down the street. You use to call her ‘my wife’ then. chai, big city has destroyed your brain, you this boy.” she replied, laughing.
Margaret smiled shyly on hearing the story. She greeted Peterson again, a little smile playing on her lips. Peterson answered her absentmindedly, “God…she is irresistible. Look at her skin? Who would have thought that she would grow into such a beautiful woman?” he thought to himself, admiring her.
After Margaret had gone, Peterson’s mother turned back to him,
Peterson’s mother: “what do you think about her, eh? she is beautiful and disciplined, from a good home. she is also smart and knows how to take care of the home.” she said, singing Margaret’s praises
Peterson: “Mama you won’t understand. I’m burning inside.” he replied, sadly.
Mama: “eewwoo… what happened, my son? What’s that fire burning inside?” she asked, shocked.
Peterson: “hmmm… don’t worry Mama.. not something I could explain at this time.” he replied.
Question: Will Mr Okunola survive the heart attack? Peterson is afraid to share his problem with his mom.. since goddess threatened not to share secret with any third party … What should he do?
See Episode 14 Below (You don’t wanna miss this!)…AdeLove Stories…Premier Naija Inspirational Blog!
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