Seyi and her dad had left late in the evening. Tope was agitated; things were not going well for him. This was not what he had planned for himself. He needed to remedy the situation and fast. He sat on his bed, his fingers drumming on his knee, the other hand spread on his shin, deep in thought. “How do I get to make this people understand that am serious about marrying Chidinma? How do I go about this? I need to see her before she hears of this dumb introduction matter o. I need to explain. God, Seyi is evil.” He thought, perturbed.
He picked up his shirt that was lying beside him on the bed and wore it. He stepped out of the house and headed to Chidinma’s place.
Gladys sat with her husband all through the night. He had woken up but his words were slurred and he complained that he could not feel his right hand. She had calmed him down and with the help of the doctor, she had succeeded in putting his mind at ease before the drugs kicked in and he slept off. She stared at his sleeping form, wearily rubbing his numb right hand. “How do I handle this? Am I not too young for this kind of stress? Please Lekan get better o, I cannot leave like this o. chai…Biodun dead, how? That boy sef…he was too headstrong for his own good. He thought that God made him that big to cause problems for everyone. Please Lekan get well, so we can find joy, please.” She thought to herself, tears trickling down her face.
Chidinma woke up drowsily. Something had awoken her. She sat up on her bed, wondering what had woke her up then she heard the sound again. It was a stone on her room shutters. She got out of the bed and walked to the window, she opened the shutter and there, to her surprise was Tope, looking ravishing in the moonlight.
Chidinma: “what are you doing out so late?” she whispered, smiling. “This man is mad. He wants to get me in trouble ni?” she thought to herself.
Tope: “I could not sleep. I wanted to see you and tell you that I love you more than life itself.” He whispered back.
Chidinma giggled: “Tope, you are crazy. Please go home before my father finds you here.” She replied, her face glowing with joy.
Tope: “I will not go until you say you love me too.” He replied, his eyes looking lovingly at her. A dog barked in the night and he jerked in shock.
Chididnma suppressed the laughter that came bubbling to her lips.
Chidinma: “okay, I love you too. Oya go.” She replied, quickly.
Tope smiled and blew her a kiss then he disappeared from view in a run. Chidinma shut her shutters and stood, resting her back on the shutters, a silly smile on her face, her eyes closed. She opened them to see her mother looking at her.
Mrs Nzeribe: “you are lucky it was not your father who came in here. ‘I love you too’ anuofia! Come on go to bed!” She said derisively, hissed and walked away, closing the door behind her.
Chidinma stared at the shut door in surprise. “This boy will get me into trouble.” She thought then she sighed and the silly smile covered her face again.
Two days later, Tope sent a note to Chidinma, inviting her out for a date. She dressed excitedly and told her parents that she was going out with Tope. Her father grunted with his eyes on the newspaper he was reading. Her mother looked at her from the shadows where she sat sewing.
Mrs Nzeribe: “you better be home early. You have to help prepare dinner.” She said, her eyes digging into Chidinma.
Chidinma skipped out of the house excited. She had not seen Seyi in some days now and she planned on visiting her soon before she left the shores of Nigeria for the western world. “I really envy her o. she gets to study at Oxford or any good university of her choice while my Tope is here telling me that being a housewife is the best. That man does not know what he is saying. I will further my education, whether he likes it or not.” She thought as she walked down the road, her umbrella twirling in her hand.
She soon got to Tope’s house. She knocked on the door and Tope opened with an apron tied around his waist. He welcomed her in and gave her a seat.
Chidinma: “what are you doing with an apron on?” she asked, interestedly.
Tope: “cooking now.” He replied, looking wounded.
Chidinma: “that, I want to see.” She replied, chuckling.
Tope: “what? You think I can’t cook? I will shock you, come.” he replied, taking her hand.
Chidinma: “where are your parents?” she suddenly asked as she got up, observing for the first time the fact that the house was quiet.
Tope: “oh…they are out. We will be going out soon but let’s eat first.” He answered, as they walked into the kitchen.
Mr Adetola invited Seyi to the sitting room. They were both at home that day. Seyi came in and sat down as her father placed the book he was reading on the stool beside his chair and looked at her.
Mr Adetola: “Mr Adepoju called me earlier on to inform me that Tope wants the introduction as soon as possible.” He said drily.
Seyi beamed. “I knew he will come around. Lovely…this is so awesome.” She thought to herself.
Mr Adetola: “the way your young man is acting is weird, it makes me wonder.” He muttered quietly. Seyi looked at him curiously.
Mr Adetola: “why do I have the feeling that there’s more to this marriage than meets the eye? Your boyfriend doesn’t seem too keen to get hitched. What are you doing, Seyi? Marriage is not something you walk into blind, you have to be sure. Seyi are you listening to me?” he asked, sitting forward on his chair.
Seyi: “father, I know what I am doing. Don’t worry all will be well, you’ll see.” She replied, with a forced smile.
Mr Adetola: “you do? Okay…do not say I didn’t warn you.” He replied, and then he picked the book and opened it. The conversation was over.
Chidinma was having a good time, in fact, she was having too much of a good time. The food had been good, not up to her standard but not bad for a guy. They went out to a cinema to see a movie. Tope had his arms around her and she was feeling really comfortable. Tope had kissed her several times since they entered the dark theatre and she was tingling all over. “He kisses so well. God…Tope….” She thought to herself, her heart palpitating.
They had stopped to do a bit of shopping. Tope had wanted some clothes for himself and he had encouraged Chidinma to pick some items for herself. She had refused, not wanting him to get the impression that she was materialistic. After the shopping, they went back to his home. His parents were still not at home. Tope put record on the gramophone and invited Chidinma to dance with him.
They danced, holding each other close, murmuring sweet things to each other. Tope forgot the Seyi and her pregnancy, his impending marriage to her and his father’s insistence that he does not marry an Ibo lady. Chidinma forgot her father’s admonition, and she freed her mind; exploring the depths of feeling she never thought she had. They kissed and smooched and soon, Tope led her to his room. She looked at him from the bottom of her eyelash. She knew where he was headed.
Chidinma: “I am a virgin, Tope.” She said quietly.
Tope: “I will cherish that for the rest of my life. I love you.” He replied, smiling.
Chidinma smiled as Tope divested her of her clothes and moved her to the bed. All worries were gone, all fears, all petty issue as Tope slide into her and broke her hymen. She gasped in pain and soon forgot as the pleasure overcame the pain and she held Tope close.
Chidinma: “I will love you for all of time. No matter what will come, I will never stop loving you.” She muttered, as she held Tope close.
Tope gave no reply; he was intent on sliding in and out of her. “God…she’s tighter and sweeter than Seyi, not that I was myself when Seyi decided to conscript me into her scheme.” He thought to himself as he sweated over her.
Chidinma left Tope at a junction. He had seen her off to that point then had rushed back home put the house in order. Her body was suffused with electricity and heat. She was still reeling from her first time and she had done it with the man she wanted to marry. She could barely stand still. She wished she could share her feelings with a friend but she could not tell Seyi and she could not tell her mother or father. They will not understand.
Chidinma watched the road and day dreamed. She crossed the road, a smile on her lips, and the euphoria of sex on her face, so she missed the incoming car. She turned and tried to avoid the screeching metal of the car but was too late. When people rushed to the spot where the accident had occurred, she had passed out with blood on her face and pooling around her head.
The following day, Peterson came out to clean up his car and he saw Margaret passing. He called her and she stopped. He soon got her chatting and laughing with him as they exchanged stories of life in the village and in Lagos. She was very interested to hear stories about Lagos. She told Peterson that it was her hope that someday she will move to Lagos. After several minutes of great conversation, she told him she wanted to take her leave. Peterson invited her for lunch but she rejected the offer, instead she reminded him of 21 days fasting and Prayer programme that was going on at her Church. She informed him that the fasting started that very day and Peterson decided there and then to join in the fasting programme.
Margaret implored him that if he was truly interested joining her in the church programme, they will start the first two days with prayers for FORGIVENESS of sins.
Margaret: “Are you with your bible?” she asked.
Peterson: “No, I didn’t come with one.”
Margaret: “okay, I will bring one for you at noon when going home for my afternoon prayers.” She replied.
At exactly 3pm, they both agreed to read Psalm 51, and also use it as a prayers point. She read the verse quickly for him,
Margaret: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Verse 2; Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Verse 3; For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Verse 4; Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Verse 5; Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Verse 6; Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Verse 7; Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Verse 8; Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. And Verse 9; Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.” She looked up after reading it.
Peterson: “I will read it, and pray with it.” He replied.
Question: will Chidinma survive the accident? Will Tope’s plans work? Is Margaret a God sent to Peterson or a devil in disguise?
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