[STORY] The Runaway Bride (Episode 1-10)

THE RUNAWAY BRIDE
THE RUNAWAY BRIDE

THE RUNAWAY BRIDE
THE RUNAWAY BRIDE

EPISODE 1
She quickly shrugged off her white wedding
dress and flung it on the bedside couch, next
came the undergarments and all the things
that went with the attire; peeping through the
gaping window blinds to see her friends
chatting away at the car park. Her best friend
who was supposed to be with her; Leah, had
been sent off to get a bottle of water she did
not need. The makeup artist said she would
join them shortly, which means she could
arrive any moment. She picked some facial
wipes from the box and wiped her face as
clean as she could and removed all her hair
pins and clips.
Now dressed in a casual jeans and a tank top,
Chinwe walked down the passage way of the
hotel, going the opposite direction of her
room, she was very sure her other friends
that were in the bridal train were still waiting
for her to come downstairs before she would
be ushered into the reception party; the
reception of her wedding to Tokunbo Ajayi.
She rushed through the staff only marked
door that was at the end of the hall beside the
staircase which took her to the ground floor.
She walked and took the next turning to my
right as she heard the voices of her friends
coming from the elevator; she has become
very conversant with the areas of the hotel,
having deliberately stayed back 2 weeks to
survey the area. 2 weeks ago, everything was
fine; she wanted to get married to Tokunbo.
All things working well, her escape plan
would work. She already called the driver who
assured her he was packed at the agreed
location to take her to the airport for a flight
to…
Chinwe peeped to be sure she was not seen,
her friends, Sarah and Leah were chatting as
they walked past her at the elevator she was
bent over a service trolley, they did not pay
her any attention, they were gushing about
how the wedding ceremony had lasted the
exact time they estimated it to be, thanks to
the officiating minister who was known not
to ever waste time, he had in time past
coordinated wedding between a man and the
absent bride, who was shocked to meet the
departing guests at her arrival. That particular
bride had wanted to look her best and insisted
it was “my day and everyone would have to
wait for me”; well, not Pastor Akintola.
Chinwe purposely asked for him, her family
had wanted a more ‘senior’ pastor to join
their children, offering to have him brought
in from the headquarters but she had whined
until they agreed to her choice, the only
choice she had in the matter, everything else
had been her parents’ choice; the venue for
the wedding, the colours of the decorations,
the wedding gowns, the bridal styles and even
the ladies in the bridal train were chosen by
her parents.
she was constantly reminded she was the only
female child they have and the day must be
perfect; perfect in their own definition meant
a picture perfect suitable for the newspaper
tabloids and the local news; her parents being
the well-known socialites in the state.
As she walked briskly towards the end of the
hall, she came out at the pool side, the pool
was slightly occupied at that time of the day,
she took a right turning which led her to the
“staff only” apartment, a place the staff kept
all sorts of pool safety tools, as she searched
in a box, she found a jacket that matched the
ones the hotel staff wear, she quickly pulled it
on and pulled on her glasses as she sashayed
boldly past the park joining a couple of guys
who were exiting the hotel gate at that time,
to her right hand were her friends and some
other guests standing with them at the car
pack, she walked past them and out of the
gate, just holding her purse which had her
ATM, her flight schedule and N18,000,
walking past her was her makeup artist
hurrying to fix her up for the next event; her
reception party.
As she walked briskly down the street, she
made a sharp turning at the end of the street,
she walked the long distance before dashing
to the street that cars hardly drive through
due to the bad roads, she squinted against the
afternoon sun, and to her greatest joy, her
escape ride was parked right in front of the
tree she asked him to. She would be paying
him N2,000 more as she already paid him
N3,000 the week before.
“Sister, welcome”
Thanks, Hassan, let’s go.”
“Your bag dey inside the booth”
“Thank you”
She simply said and she strapped herself in,
the driver revved the engine and off they
drove towards the airport. Some few minutes
down the long road, a couple of police
vehicles sped past them, probably on their
way to the hotel to look for her, ”they must
have known she was missing in my room
now.” The reception was supposed to hold in
a large hall, at the other street of the hotel.
Her back pack was given to him on Thursday,
when she thought she would get a flight out
of Lagos but no such luck.
If the driver knew she was running away, he
would simply drop her off at the nearest stop,
because if he was caught with her, he would
know she was the daughter of one of the
richest men in the country, he drove without
paying them any mind.
She quickly sent a message to the flight
attendant she met some days ago, who
promised to help her check in online through
her phone if she arrives late. She pressed on
the phone, not familiar with the small screen
and the tiny buttons on the keyboard, but she
managed to send a message across to her that
she would be arriving on time for the flight,
thanking her for her help.
She already ditched her Samsung 5 but not
before copying all her contacts on that phone,
she bought this new SIM card just yesterday
and was using the other phone she collected
from her friend to “play the snake game she
missed so much”, the phone can only make
calls, send messages and receive messages
too, any attempt to use the battery at a long
stretch, the battery would flatten out.
“This craze people, see as them dey drive, if
na another man now, dey for ask him to park”
“Don’t mind them”
“They are always like that, if they should give
me a gun, I can kill all of them without
shaking, last year, my brother wan join them,
dem dey do recruitment, I tell am, if you join
them, we don turn enemy be that o”
Ah ah” she replied halfheartedly
“Yes o madam, policemen are crazy people, if
you fall for their trap one time, you go know
say they no be human at all”
“I pray you don’t fall in their trap, especially
today” I said with a heart of prayer
“No, me ke? I drive with sense, especially on
Saturdays o, any grab they grab today, the
person go sleep for cell till Monday, but if
they wan craze totally, they pick people
randomly so that they can get their weekend
tips too”
“Na wa o”
They drove some minutes again and Hassan’s
eyes caught a boy running after a commercial
bus to collect his money
“These boys, na God dey protect them o, na so
one run last week for Ikeja side wey he almost
kill himself. The cars coming behind him
almost jam him”
Chinwe listened with feigned interest as he
narrated the escape of the poor boy to her,
she was shaking and nodding her head as he
told the story, but her mind was miles away.
The driver was able to move freely and within
20 minutes, they were at the airport. She
counted out some N500 notes and decided to
give him extra. She proceeded to the check in
point and produced her reservation code,
leaving the grinning and satisfied driver
behind.
“Ma, do you have a luggage?” asked the
airline attendant
“Just this as a hand luggage”
“Ok, your ID card please,”
She waited as she was checked in, moved to
the departure waiting room awaiting her
flight to Akwa Ibom state. As she sat at the
waiting room, she wondered what stage of the
search they were on now, they probably
would be at the point of rushing her mommy
to the hospital, and her brother would be
trying her number. She snapped back to
present environment and moved her legs out
of the way for a guy that was pulling his back
pack across the spaces in between the rows of
chairs.
He took a seat beside her after surveying the
other seats that were occupied or with people
or objects like their books or bags.
As he sat, he put his earpiece in his ears and
listened to some music, it was loud enough
that she could hear as the jazz master play on;
Yanni, she thought to myself. She would miss
her Yanni collection on the phone she left
behind, she thought.
Track after track she hummed along, the
gentle flow of the symphony washing a cool
effect all over her, she was in a trance of the
beautiful music.
She has not always loved music where words
were made, but has been able to get attached
to jazz; they seem to suit every mood.
Introducing to you Chinwe Babalola, the only
daughter of her parents Dele and Ngozi
Babalola; Dele Babalola, a senator from one of
the western states of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria, an influential man, owner of
different businesses in Nigeria and across the
borders, married to Ngozi, blessed with 2
children in their marriage and their only
daughter just eloped from her wedding
reception and before you chastise her on why
she waited this long before taking the bold
but crazy steps, well
she did not know about him (Tokunbo Ajayi)
until 3 days ago.
she was not able to get an earlier flight out of
Lagos to Uyo.
she loved the man she married but she no
longer does, or she could not love him any
longer.

[nextpage title=”Episode 2″]
EPISODE 2
As she sat there, almost lost in her thoughts,
the flight to Uyo was announced, the
announcement startled her as she moved
quickly and caused the phone of the man
beside her to fall to the floor, he reacted by
trying frantically to save it but it was an
unsuccessful effort.
“What the hell?” he almost shouted at her
“I am sorry,” Chinwe said as she quickly
picked up his phone and tried to see if no
permanent damage was done to it, he
snatched the phone out of her hand as if she
wanted to contaminate it.
“Watch yourself lady,” he hissed as he took a
good look at his phone before advancing to
the exit door for the boarding pass, but not
before giving a hateful look at the
perpetrator.
Chinwe almost poked her tongue at him as
she followed him to the exit door. She waited
in line till she got to the lady attending to
them, who did a quick body search on her
and asked her to proceed to the aircraft, at
the entrance, Chinwe was met by a very
attractive lady who gave her a genuine smile
and directed her to her seat after taking a
look at the perforated boarding pass.
“8A ma” pointing to the right side of the aisle
“Thank you”
As she walked down the aisle, she saw that
someone was at the row already and she
moved closer, she discovered the person to be
the Yanni guy, whose phone she accidentally
knocked off his hands.
Chinwe decided to ignore him as she put her
back pack in the locker closer to her; she sat
down beside him and rested her head back.
Finally, she thought, finally, she is escaping
the life that would drown her if she stayed.
She heard and listened faintly to the safety
briefing before takeoff and as the engine of
the aircraft revved, she took a deep swallow
and dug her hand frantically in her jeans
pocket to see if she could possibly find a gum;
none, she would have to wait for the
refreshments to be served and endure the
fullness in her ears due to altitude changes.
The aircraft ran along the airway and she
watched through the window at the distance
they leave behind, and before long, they were
airborne. Chinwe watched as her seat
“companion” put his prized phone on the seat
in between them.
When she saw it, she took a better look at the
phone and almost hissed, the phone was
cheaper compared with the one she left
behind. She looked straight ahead and before
long, refreshment was served. She consumed
the snacks ravenously because she had little
to eat earlier; her friends had mocked her of
having knotted stomach because of the events
and because of what would happen later in
the night. Little did they know she was all
strung up because of what her plans were and
the fear of it not working out had left her all
knotted up inside.
After eating her snacks, she opened the single
candy in the pack and plopped it into her
mouth. All the while she was eating; she did
not notice the man beside her looking closely
at her. He was acknowledging her for the first
time since he bumped into her at the
departure waiting room.
Taking a closer look at her now that her cap is
off, she looked to be around 24 or 26, her hair
was shiny and very lady like as if she was
going for a stage event that would attract lots
of audience. Her ear ring seemed very small
as if it would go well with a larger piece if
she likes. Her nails were well painted too; her
feet were covered to the toes with a pair of
sandals well embellished in bright white
stones. She looked like royalty if one could
separate her from the jacket and the white
top and a faded pair of jeans and even at that,
her face stands out.
She has a small pointed nose well placed at
the center of her face, her lips are well
proportioned not too full and not too thin
either, her eyes are big but not
overshadowing or reducing her beauty, every
feature on her seem to compliment the face
and yes, she is a looker.
Davis wondered why he never noticed her
earlier, she was having a cap on, yes and she
appeared to be in a hurry even while she was
seated there. Her mind was miles away he
could tell, although he noticed her tapping
her foot along with the rhythm of the song he
was listening to, but he did not care for her
interest in music. Who could blame him, he
was also miles away, fuming silently and
hoping the flight would be announced soon.
He arrived angry and listening to music was
the only way he would not be sitting there
scowling and scaring people away. He did not
know how long he stared at her, but she
seemed to be falling asleep, Davis had never
been known to be able to fall asleep on
flights, he was always scared of missing the
opportunity for escape if there was an
emergency.
The flight continued beautifully but on some
other occasions, he would have been admiring
the clouds out his window, he never got tired
of looking at them especially on a bright
sunny day as this, but the beauty beside him
was taking all his attention. He wondered
what her name would be, he found himself
giving her different names in his head. Sylvia,
Joy, Mercy, Glory, Sandra, Princess, yes,
princess seems more suitable.
His Princess slightly moved her head from
side to side, she was coming out of her beauty
sleep, but she settled in again and resumed
her sleep, she must be very tired to be able to
sleep soundly on a plane or she is a good air
traveler. Davis wondered how many times she
must have taken air trips in her young
beautiful live.
After some enchanting moments, the pilot’s
voice broke into his thoughts and announced
the weather and that they would be arriving
Uyo airport in 15 minutes. Davis simply re-
seated himself well so as not to startle the
princess beside him, who was waking up to
the announcement. He wondered if he could
chat with her as they were preparing to land
in Uyo, or if he could charm her to take a ride
with him to the city. Who knows if a convoy
is awaiting her at the airport, he thought to
himself.
Looking away from her only made him dwell
on the thoughts he had been planning to
postpone, but there is no getting away from it,
his parents were at it again and he will not
give in to them this time. He will finish his
Master’s degree and advance to do his PhD in
any state or part of the world he wants, he is
an only son, but he is a full grown man with a
mind of his own and they should release their
hold on him. He can’t stay with them forever.
As things went on in the plane with the
hostesses walking to collect the paper cups
and nylons of the snacks, his princess passed
hers to them and resumed looking out the
window, Davis wished he could look into her
eyes and see the color of her eyes, but he was
sure it would be brown, brown not black,
black would make her intense, brown would
make her…, he stopped musing, he must be
going crazy defining her eye color or
whatever it was he was doing.
He should be concentrating on his problems,
on how he would survive and make money,
prove to his parents that he is grown and that
he could take good decisions. He is 27 for
God’s sake; he would not continue to work
there with his father and made to believe he
knows what he’s doing when he knows well
they are tolerating him because he’s the
CEO’s son, besides, sitting in the room and
talking money is not his thing.
His decision to have his Master’s degree was
not because he wanted to study but because
he needed to be free.
Chinwe woke up and gathered herself into a
sitting position, her mind was clearer than it
was before she fell asleep, she hoped Clara
would be available when she gets to Uyo
airport. She found the annoying guy staring at
her but she chose to ignore him. She,
however, looked from the corner of her eyes
to see if she had not mistakenly gathered his
stuff with hers in the seat in between them.
She knows he does not recognize her from
anywhere; she has always kept a low profile.
It is too soon for her pictures to be flying over
the internet.
When the announcement to buckle up for
landing came, she felt he was still looking at
her so she faced him and she caught him off
guard because he almost wanted to look away
but must have decided against it, instead of a
scowl on his face, he kept staring at her as if
he had something to say. Chinwe was also
staring at him as if she wanted to bite his
head off but continued to look at him also.
A hostess suddenly appeared beside him and
asked him to buckle up and put his seat in an
upright position, which must have broken the
spell that was over him because he
awkwardly sat up and adjusted his seat.
When the hostess walked away, he turned to
her and said;
“How could you manage to sleep through the
entire flight?”
“Did my snore bother you?” she asked rudely
“No, of course not, I only meant it is a good
gift to be able to… you know, and no you did
not snore?”
“Hmm” Chinwe said and turned to look out
the window,
The view was getting bigger and becoming
clearer, but her mind was on the lady that
promised to take her in, her friend from the
University days. As they got off the flight,
Chinwe was moving quickly and towards the
taxi section, she had no bag to claim at the
conveyor, so she did not notice Davis rushing
and almost pushing a woman to the floor in
order to catch up with her.
“Hey, wait up” he said as he rushed after her
“Uni-Uyo” Chinwe was already bargaining
with a driver
On hearing Uni-uyo, Davis was ecstatic, he
was heading the same way to meet with his
friend he would be staying with and proceed
from there to get an apartment.
‘’Yes, Uni-Uyo gate, the new campus”
The driver mentioned an outrageous price,
that gave Davis the opportunity to cut in, he
was going the same way and today would
make it the 3 time he would be going by
taxi, he knows the driver was asking for
almost twice the price.
“You can’t be serious, the price is half of that,
if you would take us say so now before my
regular driver comes out” he has no regular
customer of course.
On the other side, Chinwe was asking him
with anger
“Which ‘Us’ are you referring too?”
“Are you two together?”
“No”
“Yes” they both answered at the same time,
“Ok, I understand, oga I will carry you both at
that price, but e be like say you don offend
your woman o”
“Don’t worry about us, just bring your car
around”
The driver on hearing this hurried off to get
the car,
“I am not taking a cab with you mister”
“Davis. Why? It would be cheaper we could
split the fare if you don’t feel comfortable
about me paying”
“I don’t want to share a vehicle with you”
“Ok, but I would love you to, so I can
apologize for my behavior back in Lagos, and
sharing with me would reduce the money for
me too, I don’t have enough to pay for the
trip. Please”
While he was talking, the driver pulled up
beside them, Chinwe looked at him and
opened the door and took her seat, and Davis
clapped his hands excitedly and got in beside
her
“What can I call you please?”
“Nothing”
“Wow,that’s an odd name, nothing?”
Chinwe picked her phone and dialed Clara’s
number, the number was switched off, she
was scared already, that was the only contact
person she has in Uyo, she does not know if
she could get a room for the night with the
N15,500 with her, and she still has to pay for
the driver
Davis must have noticed her panic. She dialed
again and it was the same response, so she
sent a message quickly to her hoping she
would put on her phone and call her back
before they arrive at the Uni-uyo gate. She
does not know how long the ride would be
for, but was scared to ask the person beside
her.
Davis also dialed his friend’s number to know
his fate; he broke into a wide smile as he
heard his friend’s voice at the second ring,
“Guy, how far. I am on my way to the gate;
we should be there in the next 30 minutes”
On hearing 30 minutes, Chinwe dialed again
and was disappointed to hear it was still
switched off.
“The number’s not going through?”
“No”
“Do you know where she stays; we could ask
to locate the hostel”
She’s not staying in the hostel; we only
agreed to meet there”
Ok, do you know anyone apart from this
person?”
No”
Ah”
“She will call as soon as she puts on her
phone” she said as prayers
As they both sat at the back of the car, the
driver was looking at them with curious eyes,
wondering if he could drive her to someplace
safe, boys this age and looks cannot be trusted
and the lady looked like she needed
protection, although he doesn’t mind offering
her a place in his arms, he smiled to himself.
As they drove on, Chinwe kept dialing the
number, but the replies were the same;
”switched off.”
“I think you need to stop dialing the number
in order to save your battery life, in case she
sees your message and decides to call, don’t
run out the battery before then.”
As their driver took them through the road,
Chinwe’s mind was worlds apart; fear gripped
her heart at the thought of Clara not putting
on her phone.
At the end of their journey, Chinwe counted
half of the money they agreed to pay the
driver and handed it over to Davis who added
his also, and then gave the notes to the
driver.
“Sister, if her number is not going, I know a
place that is cheap that you can stay”
The look in the drivers eyes made Davis stand
protectively beside Chinwe and told the driver
in no words to be careful;
“She is fine oga, we have paid you”
“I can give you my number in case you need
me to pick you up later”
The driver ignored Davis as he scribbled his
number on a piece of paper he got from his
car, Chinwe took it and thanked him, and she
shoved the paper at the back of her jeans and
pulled her backpack on her shoulders.
“See, my name is davis and it seems my
friend is running late, can we go somewhere
and have something to eat while we wait?”
“Ebere, where can we wait?”
Davis remembered a small shop he got an
envelope from the last time he came to Uyo,
he pointed in the direction of the shop and
they both walked to the entrance of the
University, looking like what the driver
initially thought them to be.
Davis asked her to follow him to the snacks
joint to the side of the gate, when they sat he
placed a call to Joseph, his friend who
promised to be out soon to pick him up. He
decided not to mention Ebere yet, in case her
friend showed up and took her away before
Joseph himself arrives.
As they sat, Davis asked for some biscuits and
drinks for the 2 of them, Chinwe collected
them gratefully and opened them to eat
slowly; she was worried and calculating how
she would spend the night if Clara’s number
never got through.
She did not know for how long they sat there
waiting for either a call from Clara or from
Davis’ friend, but it was beginning to look
late, a glance at her cellphone confirmed it
was few minutes before 4 pm,
Some minutes later, a car came and packed in
front of the shop where they sat and a man
came out, looking like a DJ, as soon as he saw
Davis, he gave a shout.
“Rabbi” Davis shouted as they enveloped
themselves in a big hugs full of claps and
punches to the shoulder, Chinwe almost
winced on their behalf.
“You must have been sitting for long, no vex”
“No problem, meet my friend, we arrived
together and it seems her friend is also
running late”
“Oh, Ebere, how are things?” she greeted him
they shook hand as his eyes grazed over her
from the head to the toes and back again.
So what’s happening, can we leave now or…”
he said as he looked back at where Chinwe
stood
“I don’t know if we can wait for her friend”
Joseph looked his friend over and they started
talking about lots of things, they did that for
about 30 minutes before the owner of the
shop started clearing the goods from outside
the shop.
“Why not come with us to my place, not too
far from here and when your friend calls, I
could drive you back to meet with her. You
guys must be tired and to be sincere, I am
too” he said to Chinwe in particular. Chinwe
looked at Davis and he shrugged at her as if
the decision was left to her.
She stood up and picked up her back pack,
Davis eagerly took it from her and dropped it
at the back of the car for her; all the while,
“Rabbi” was looking at his friend. He was so
sure he was smitten by the beautiful lady.

[nextpage title=”Episode 3″]
EPISODE 3
The drive to rabbi’s house was fun and full of
laughter, Chinwe could not hold back the
laughter most of the times. Rabbi obviously
was not from Akwa Ibom and he made sure of
mocking everything about them, from the
ladies to the housing to the accent and
everything else.
Davis made sure to remind him he used to
think the same way about him, coming from
Abia state himself, they talked and made fun
of each other on the short drive.
When they arrived, Davis helped her with her
bags and Rabbi led them to the small
apartment at the back of the building they
parked in front of, he opened the room and
she was surprised at the ambiance and the
cool decor. The room was small but had
everything in place.
“I know, I arranged everything because I
knew you will be coming” he said before
Davis could say anything, which made them
burst into another bout of laughter. Obviously,
he was not a very tidy person, but he kept
everything orderly because of his friend, they
must be close, Chinwe thought as she sat on a
plastic chair, one of the 2 around a plastic
table.
Her eyes traveled to the arranged books in
the corner of the room, almost all were
computer books, she looked at the TV and the
CD collections, all were seasonal movies, all of
which Chinwe had watched herself.
They both disappeared through a door at the
side of the room; Chinwe pulled out her
phone charger and plugged in her phone and
rested back on the unusual plastic chair.
When they both came back outside, Davis had
a cup of water in his hands and said they
were cooking too.
“What are you guys cooking?”
“Rice I guess,” he said as he sat on the second
chair
“Can I help?”
“Just relax, we got this” he was not sure how
to start a conversation with her that could
lead to knowing more about her.
“Dave!! Abeg come” Rabbi called from the
kitchen
He stood up and she stood up with him,
following him to the kitchen
Rabbi was in the process of opening a Geisha
can and he had a knife in his hand
“Babe, don’t worry about a thing, I am still
the better cook between the 2 of us, you have
nothing to worry about, oh maybe pepper sha
because I eat a lot of pepper” he laughed
jovially again.
“I can’t just sit still, let me do something”
Chinwe said as she moved into the tiny
kitchen and collected the knife from him, she
opened it with ease and poured the content
out, before long, she was asking for the next
ingredients as both men talked and
reminisced about their university days.
They all went back to the room and Davis
offered to put on the TV; Chinwe, who knew
she could be the topic on the local news,
quickly asked for one of the seasonal movies
to be played. Rabbi was happy to oblige her.
They watched and she checked the food
which was ready, she served the 3 of them
and when she came back, Rabbi had gone out
to buy ‘something’, Davis informed her. She
ate slowly and watched the movie while Davis
watched her instead.
She was so natural in the kitchen and even
though she appeared to be relaxed on the
surface, a little bit of tension is still lying on
her shoulders, giving her a vulnerable look.
Davis wondered what he could do to help her
relax more. He could try reassuring her that
she could stay as long as needed, but that
would be left for Rabbi to determine, even
though he knows Joseph would gladly take her
in, but would she be willing to stay?.
Rabbi retuned with a pack of orange juice for
them and he went in search of glass cups for
them to drink it with.
They ate and watched the movie, when they
were done eating, Chinwe wanted to pack the
plates but they both stood up and asked her to
sit, they washed the plates and they returned
to join her in front of the TV, with Rabbi
sitting on the tiled floor, Chinwe and Davis on
the plastic chairs.
Davis looked at her and when he looked up,
he saw his friend looking at him with a
bemused look on his face, they both laughed
softly and Rabbi went into the narration of
one of the characters.
Chinwe picked up her phone and called Clara,
her number rang this time.
“Hello, Chinwe, I am so sorry, where are
you?” she said
“I am in a guy’s place, where are you?”
“On my way to the place I asked you to wait
for me, where is the guy’s place, I could come
to pick to pick you there”
“Hold on, Rabbi, please where is this place?”
“Give me the phone” Chinwe handed the
phone to him and listened as he gave a
description to his house, they seemed to agree
on a place and he handed the phone back to
her.
“I will be there shortly, the house he
described is not too far from the gate I asked
you to wait, and it is not too far from my
apartment also”
She ended the call and thanked Rabbi
“It is your first time in Uyo, right?” Rabbi
asked
“Yes”
What have you come to do?”
“I came to look for a job”
“Ahah, you left Lagos for this place in search
of a job, what kind of job are you looking
for?”
“Any business management job would be
fine” she replied smoothly.
“You read business management?”
Yeah”
What level?”
Masters”
“Ahhhh that is big o Ebere, Masters. Why did
you not stay back in Lagos?”
“I have tried Lagos and nothing came up”
“This friend of yours is she working or
something, that is, is she likely to fix you up
somewhere?”
“Something like that sha” she lied smoothly.
“Because, ordinarily, you are not from here
and unless your father is connected to some
of these big shots, you are banking on the
long thing” he said with a smile.
“I know, but hoping is all I am doing at the
moment”
“Davis, do you know you guys would be
starting lectures soon?” he turned to his
friend who could not take his eyes off Chinwe
“Soon as in when?”
“Soon as in Monday, as I heard”
“No problem, as long as they don’t stress us”
“Is there any university in Nigeria they would
not stress you?”
They talked at length about the school system
and she came to understand that Davis was in
Uyo for his Master’s degree in some computer
studies. Her phone rang and she was glad
Clara was outside the apartment waiting for
her.
She jumped up and picked up her bag as
Rabbi and Davis followed her out, Davis was
scared he might not see her again and he
stayed close to her as Clara stepped out of the
tricycle.
They watched as she pulled a young boy by
the hand out of the tricycle and Chinwe ran
to them and picked the boy up and hugged
her friend tightly. Both guys were however
shocked when they both started crying, the
tricycle honked for him to get paid, forcing
them to let go of each other as Clara paid him
off.
Rabbi asked if they would like to come into
the apartment for some time, but they
declined, she said they would walk to the end
of the road where they could get a tricycle to
her house. Rabbi went inside instead and
came out with his car keys and Chinwe’s
charger in the other hand.
Davis went into the car with them and
unconsciously picked up the little boy, who
did not seem to mind, both ladies sat at the
back of the car, while Davis held Clara’s son
at the front seat.
They were not talking, but Chinwe was still
sobbing quietly at the back of the car and
Clara was also wiping her eyes as she directed
Rabbi to her apartment.
When they arrived her house, Davis came
down and pulled out Chinwe’s bag and Clara’s
son, waiting for them to be led to the right
apartment. Rabbi parked the car well and
came to join them at the gate as they were led
to the first apartment in the compound.
They followed them in and she offered them
refreshments, which they declined, Chinwe
went to Davis and thanked him before moving
to Rabbi to thank him for his hospitality too,
she asked for their numbers and promised to
visit them.
Davis was so happy he got her number and
asked her to call him anytime she needed
something. After they left, Clara undressed
her son and made him something to eat
before she asked him to seat in front of the
TV to watch his favorite cartoon.
When they eventually had time alone, Clara
turned to her friend and asked her solemnly…
“Why did you do it?”
“Why would I not?” she replied with a
shocked expression.
“Chinwe…”
“Clara, I did the right thing, I would not be
able to look myself in the mirror if I went
ahead with it, I only regret I could not get a
flight out of there yesterday. I regret saying I
do to him in the church” she started crying
again
“I wish I had kept my mouth shut, I swear, I
wish I did” Clara said softly wiping her own
tears
“I would have hated you for if you did, you
did the right thing”

[nextpage title=”Episode 4″]
EPISODE 4
Back in Lagos
Senator Babalola hissed as he walked past the
nurse attending to his wife, he walked to the
sitting room where the commissioner of police
sat with Chief Ajayi; his in-law and business
partner.
“Any news, Gbade” he referred to the
Commissioner not too politely
“None yet honorable, and I am afraid the
press will start cooking up something soon”
“Well, don’t make them” he said in an
angered tone
“So what do you want to tell them?” the
Commissioner asked calmly
“That she was kidnapped, I will not be
shamed on this day. Tell the news men she
was kidnapped”
“But don’t you think that would be unfair”
Chief Ajayi, Tokunbo’s father asked from the
corner of the room.
“Ajayi, we are all here and it is clear with the
look of things, that daughter of mine ran
away, but if you tell the press she did, we
might not get any help in finding her. So let’s
tell the press she was kidnapped and there
would be a reward if there is any information
about her whereabouts.” He explained to the
whole room
At that moment, Tokunbo walked in and
heard what they planned to serve the press,
he was not ok with the idea but agreed
there’s a little sense in it, but he is more
worried about his wife’s whereabouts.
He walked back out to the corridor to meet
his friend Chris who was also on the phone
with someone, on seeing him; Chris ended the
call and sat beside Tokunbo.
“What do you want to do now?”
“Nothing, just wait for a call”
“Can I ask you a question?” Chris asked
“What is it?”
“Do you think she ran away with another
guy?”
“I don’t know, but I don’t think so”
“But you must have seen or heard something
from her before now that would have alerted
you she would be running away”
“Chris, she called me on Thursday and asked
if she could cancel the date we planned, she
said she needed to be somewhere. Each time I
called her after that, she replied with a
message, she said she was busy and was
putting some things in place”
“And you did not bother to see her
yesterday?”
“I did and she seemed different, I just ruled it
off to stress from the whole wedding plans”
“Men! I have never ever seen such in my life,
what was she thinking?”
Tokunbo sat back and could remember when
she said “I do”, she had paused and looked at
him with tears in her eyes and all he could
think about was how beautiful she looked and
she must have been overwhelmed by the
emotions and that was why she hesitated
before replying the pastor with her “I do”
He did not suspect a thing and he did not
expect such.
They had met 5 months ago, he was in the US
when his father went into a business merger
with Chinwe’s father, they had agreed behind
them their children would marry and when
his father told him so, he had been furious
and he reminded him such things happened
centuries ago and people have the choice of
picking their own spouses in this present age.
His father had listened to his rants and made
a deal with him, he should meet with Chinwe
and if he does not like her or vice versa, they
could do without the wedding.
And they met; it was the most exciting and
fulfilling moment of his life. Unconsciously,
he had always imagined her to be a bull eyed
ugly Betty, but when he met her at the
airport, he was blown away by her beauty
and he fell for her personality, pure, gentle,
calm, funny and everything he had always
hoped for in a woman he would marry.
Weeks after meeting, she confessed she felt
the same way; they started talking over the
phone even after she returned to Nigeria.
Their talks were endless; they practically fell
asleep on the phone and talked as soon as
either of them wakes up.
When he moved to Nigeria 2 months after,
they had become inseparable and their
parents had put the wedding plans in gear.
Chinwe started coming to the office and they
would pore over the details of the merger
with their respective fathers.
He fell in love with her and he could swear
she felt the same way.
They planned everything together, they picked
a house together at Lekki and she had
supervised the interior decorations of the
house, she had made plans for the staff and
had taken everything perfectly, ready to settle
into marital bliss with him, or so he thought;
till she ran away from the reception of their
wedding this afternoon with just a message
from the phone she left behind “ I cannot
continue with this ”
Tokunbo had not seen the message early
enough; he had left his phone with his best
friend and best man, Chris, who did not even
look at the screen until they were alarmed
that she had gone missing from her hotel
room where she was supposed to change.
It sounded like a movie narration to him
when his friend whispered it to his ears, he
stood up slowly and followed him to the back
room he had changed in. they called the MC
who only God knows how he managed to
dismiss the guests. His father in law had
called the police immediately and arrests were
made at the hotel; poor staff who probably did
not know who they were dealing with.
She could not have gotten away without a
plan and without help, no she couldn’t have.
How she sneaked away from the whole bridal
train and even the security is a well-planned
strategy that made Tokunbo wonder what
went wrong between Wednesday and
Saturday, why did she come for the wedding
at all when she knew she would be running
away from him?
“Tokunbo, let’s get going, Chris has the car in
front for you” his mother called from the
balcony door,
she was still dressed in her reception attire.
He stood up from where he sat and picked his
phone, the screen saver; Chinwe, was smiling
at him brightly, but it looked more like a
mockery now.
He locked the screen and shoved the screen
in his pocket, he walked ahead of his mother
and went into the car, and Chris was behind
the steering. He drove off without saying a
word; he drove him straight to the apartment
they were supposed to use for tonight before
traveling to Maldives for their honeymoon.
Honeymoon indeed, he felt raw as if someone
had cut him open with something sharp, but
he cannot tell exactly where the pain is
coming from.
Chris handed him a bottle of water already
opened, he remembered taking a sip from it
and that was the last thing he recalled before
sleep took him over. His friend shook his
head sadly at his friend, took off his shoes
and arranged him well on the bed so he could
get some rest.
Drugging him is the best option for now;
otherwise, he would not be getting any sleep
at all.
Honorable Babalola went back into the room
where his wife was seated with their son,
Nkem.
“Have you seen what your daughter has
caused me?” he glared at her menacingly.
Ngozi looked away and focused on the other
side of the room, still her husband pressed
closer to her threatening to pounce on her.
Nkem stood up and walked to the door,
obviously not able to bear the sight any
longer. Any attempt to talk sense to his father
would only infuriate him more; he likes the
attention.
Ngozi could no longer hold back the tears; she
stood up gingerly and walked to the dresser
table,
“Why did you ask them to say she was
kidnapped?”
“Because she was kidnapped, I know you
know about her escape and must have helped
in one way or the other, but I swear if I find
out and it is true, I will make life unbearable
for you”
“You already do, every day when I see you,
life is unbearable, what can you do more than
living?” she laughed sarcastically.
“You will know soon, pray she comes back
soon too” he told her as he went to remove
his shoes, discarding them carelessly around
the room.
“You will use any means to butter your
political ambition would you not, kidnapping
would attract sympathy from the people and
that would fetch you more votes would it
not?” she looked at him with pure disgust.
“Say whatever you please, but pray she comes
to her sense soon and returns home,
otherwise…”
“You practically forced her into the marriage”
she spat back at him
“she wanted it, you idiot, she was willing
even when you were not supportive, do you
think I trust Ajayi one bit, if he aims for a
bigger political position, the only thing that
would stop him from coming after me is the
thought that a smear on me would be a smear
on him, and Chinwe agreed to marry that son
of his, but I should have known you would get
to convince her against it eventually” he
returned hotly.
“If I had my way, I would have convinced her
to leave earlier and not marry anyone
connected to you at all, you evil man”
“well, she did and she must come back and
make me look good and secure my political
seat at the senate as well as my interest in
this business merger, or the gods help me,
heads would row” he swore as he tossed his
agbada angrily at her feet and went into the
bathroom.
Ngozi watched him leave, regretting ever
marrying him and also not being able to make
her daughter confide in her, she knows her
daughter is safe, she just could not say for
how long.
Dele would secretly turn the ends of every
corner he knows to bring her back from
whatever she was trying to escape from.
Ngozi sat back on the bed and looked at her
phone, totally lost at whom to call, all her
friends she knew were at the wedding with
them, who she could be staying with.

[nextpage title=”Episode 5″]
EPISODE 5
Davis could not concentrate in class; his
thoughts kept wandering back to Chinwe and
her friend. They spoke briefly yesterday with
her, thanking him and Joseph for taking her
in. she sounded subdued on the phone as if
she cried the whole night. Davis could hardly
keep himself from going to see her, but
Joseph would not have any of it, saying she
needed time to sort whatever it was they were
both crying about.
As soon as the lecturer left the class, he stood
up and went to Joseph’s café, which he runs
beside the school campus; he saw his friend
with a lady and they seemed to be lost in
conversation. He decided to seat away to allow
them the privacy they seemed to need. The
café was opened two months ago and with the
look of things closing the other café at the
center of the state was the right decision
His phone rang and he hoped it would be
Chinwe, but no, it was his mother.
“Mum” he answered blandly.
“How are you Davis?”
“Fine ma”
“Ok and your friend?”
“He’s fine also, with a customer now”
“Ok o, since you decided to abandon me here
in Lagos, I said I should call you and ask how
you are”
“I am doing great” he replied without
bothering to deny the abandonment
allegation.
“Have you called your father since you left on
Saturday?”
“No, is there any problem?”
“There is no problem and there does not have
to be before you call him, he’s your father
and he wishes the best for you”
“Hmm”
“Are you there?”
“I am with you ma”
“Will you at least tell me your friend’s address
so we can be at peace that we know your
whereabouts?”
“Okay, I will text it to you”
“I know you don’t want to associate with
anyone now, but be sure we have your best
interest at heart when we asked you to take a
Master’s degree in business management and
it should be in Lagos, leaving the way you did
on Friday is what no parent would pray to see,
and to make matters worse, you did not even
wait for me to return from that wedding on
Saturday before taking off, even though…”
“My flight was for 12” Davis cut in
impatiently
“All the same I would have loved to drop you
off”
“I managed on my own”
“Well, thank God for safe trip, your sister is
also here, should I give the phone to her?”
“No, we will chat soon”
She talked some more and ended the call on a
better note, praying for him. Davis loves the
woman, but she should understand he’s
grown and can make decisions for himself.
Joseph saw him and beckoned on him,
“How far with class, guy?”
“Good o” he replied as he shook his friend’s
hand briefly.
“You can go home you know, I will still stay a
while before I close up the café for the night”
“So what will I be doing at home?”
“Then come inside the admin lounge, you can
monitor prohibited sites while I fix the second
link that was not working well before you
came in”
Joseph introduced him to two of his staff and
led him to a table to monitor the customers.
At the end of the day, they closed the café
together and headed home in his car; they
talked all the way to the house and arranged
for how to get the extra computer systems
that were due the following day.
Chinwe was indoor all through the day, she
however volunteered to pick Henry from
school while Clara worked, Henry, such an
amiable boy, easy and cool headed, also
mature than his 3 years. He had taken a look
at the 2 of them again crying the night before
and had gone to the room to get a tissue box,
which made both of them laugh and decided
to stop crying.
She watched as he ate the yam and eggs she
made for him, not a single mess on the floor,
he ate so neatly and she wondered if he had
always been like that or was just welcoming
her. She picked her phone and saw another
message from Davis; he has not stopped
texting since they dropped them off on
Saturday night.
She quickly replied him that she would be
available to see him the following day, before
she would go pick up Henry from school. He
seems like a nice guy and she really likes his
persona, cool and caring, but she would not
like to encourage him further than that.
She helped Henry with his home-work and
they watched cartoons together, when he fell
asleep, Chinwe skipped to get the news
update and was not surprised to hear that she
was kidnapped. Trust her father to always
choose the dramatic explanation of any
scenario that would not make him appear
good to the populace.
As she listened to a fake narration of her
“kidnap”, “Chinwe, who was believed to have
been threatened to board a car without
raising alarm at the hotel was driven away
unnoticed by friends and staff some blocks
away from her point of abduction”. Clara
came in with a bag of vegetables and she
caught the news.
“I am worried, Chinwe, I saw it in the
newspapers this morning” she said without
any preamble.
“I did not see the papers, but I have heard it
on the local news for more than 3 times today
already”
“Henry is asleep right?”
“Yes, after eating and doing his home-work”
“Don’t you think you need to contact your
parents at least to get them off the news?”
“Clara, if I do, my dad would just make a big
noise out of it, he might say they are
demanding for ransom already and just cook
up another story to make him win people’s
sympathy, election is just a few months
away.”
“But what do you want to do, staying here is
not the problem, but I know what your father
can do with anyone he finds you with”
“I know and I am somewhat scared too, but I
really don’t know. I am yet to make up my
mind about what the next step would be”
“What about traveling out of the country, you
have enough money don’t you?”
“Money is not the problem, but any
application for a ticket in my name now
would attract my father and I can assure you
he has people looking at that place already”
“So what do we do?”
“I know I really need to think but I swear, I
have not been able to”
“I am sorry I have caused you all this trouble,
I should have just kept quiet” Clara said sadly,
placing her hand on her friend’s shoulder.
“And I would have been sorrier if I found out
later than this, and I am sorry for the troubles
I have caused you, four years ago and now”
“you know, I thank God for Henry every day,
his coming to my life might not have been
under the best circumstance but I could not
have loved him less”
“I can imagine, and there’s not a day that
goes by that I have not thought it differently,
how your life would have been better if not
for my stupid lifestyle”
“Everything is for a reason; God has a reason
for everything that happens to us” Clara
replied, but Chinwe was in no mood to argue
with her about God.
“What would you like to eat, I made yam for
Henry”
“Yam? Nope, I would go with soup and
something to swallow”
She followed her friend into the kitchen
where they forgot their problems and
concentrated on the meal they were
preparing.
Later that night, Davis called Chinwe while
she was in the bathroom and she asked Clara
to answer the phone for her, she spoke with
him like a lost friend and passed the phone to
Chinwe when she came out of the bathroom.
He still thinks her name is Ebere, pity.

[nextpage title=”Episode 6″]
EPISODE 6
Tokunbo could not but leave the office earlier
than he planned, when he could no longer
cope with people staring at him from every
side and angle of the office complex. Most of
them had been guests at the wedding and
those that were not there must have heard
that his wife was kidnapped right before the
reception, few minutes away from the venue.
Chris had advised him to stay at home but he
could not stay without being buried in his
thought, he had thought it back and forth on
what could really have been the reason a
woman who seemed to be in love with him
could run right after saying her vows.
Could it be she was actually kidnapped or
could it be something he did that made her
run?
Chris called him and told him he was
downstairs, he did not want him driving
himself for fear of losing himself in thought
and gets into an accident, so he had taken it
upon himself to be his personal chauffeur for
the time being, until when they could get him
a driver.
“I told you to stay at home” says Chris as
Tokunbo got into the car and locked it behind
himself
“Doing what, thinking what the problem is
with me or what I probably did wrong” he
almost snapped at his friend.
“Well, the office is not the best place to
escape to either” Chris replied calmly
“I know that now” he said tiredly, rubbing his
eyes as he slumped back in his seat.
“Why not go to your parents place for a week
or so?”
“I don’t want to, they are worried also, and
seeing me there would constantly remind
them the source of their worry”
“This is so hard, but you still need to steer
clear of the office and your social pages”
He drove him straight to his new apartment
in Lekki and asked him to wait in the car.
Chris went upstairs and grabbed some clothes
from the wardrobe, some shoes and other
necessities, and drove him to his own
apartment in Gbagada.
He was sure his sister would be available to
keep company when he will be at work
***********************************************************************
It was Saturday, a week since she had taken
flight in the middle of her wedding, she
looked outside the window of the café where
she sat; Henry was fiddling with her phone
beside her. Clara was with Davis, he was
setting her up on one of the computers.
When he came back to sit with her, she was
lost in thoughts, her staying there would open
Clara and her son to some dangers and she
could not afford for them to be hurt, not
again.
“A penny for your thoughts” Davis said beside
her
“Hmm, I wish I could trade them”
“You could if you want, I am all ears”
“Well, I would not want to bore you”
“Do you think I would ever be bored with
you, staring at you all day entertains me”
“Really, I should start charging you for that
then”
“I mean it, I know you have troubles, but
can’t you share them with me”
“Can we walk outside for some minutes?” why
not indeed.
“Why not?”
Chinwe quickly told Clara she would be out
with Henry and Davis; she walked towards
the back of the café which used to be a
generator house, and beside it is a little open
field where the young boys earlier played.
The rain that drizzled some minutes before
had dispersed them, now the sun is back in
the skies.
“Henry, don’t run too far off” she cautioned
the little boy as he ran after an insect
“So, what has been troubling you?”
“I don’t know if I can trust you”
“Well, I can trust you to try to trust me”
“I am the daughter of Senator Babalola who
was thought to be kidnapped last week at her
wedding” she started simply.
Davis stopped in his tracks and glared at her
face, trying to link her with the same person
she claimed to be, he has never been the
news person, but he has seen different
versions of the story on the internet but he
never linked them to her.
The pictures he saw were of a well painted
lady and her name made it somehow difficult
to link, Babalola Chinwe to Ebere? He almost
could not believe it.
“So your name is not…”
“My name is Chinwe, not Ebere”
She sat down on one of the cemented drums
used as a goal post, and Davis sat beside her,
while they both watched Henry run around in
the small field.
“Go on” Davis urged her gently
“Clara and I were friends back in the
university, she was leading the department
from the beginning of the set and I became
close to her, so as to get academic support
from her, she was quite helpful, way helpful.
I lived like a crazy person back then and she
was the reason I passed most of my papers.
We started living together in our final year
and we became very close friends. A week to
our first semester exams, some of my friends
came from the UK and we agreed to have a
party, I invited Clara along and she said no. I
practically forced her out of the house to
come with me to the party, we were almost
graduates anyway and she would still lead the
department after the party, so I told her.
She went with me to the party and when we
got there, some other people had joined in the
party, people we did not know. I quickly
mixed with some of my friends and we went
different parts of the venue, I left her there
alone, hoping she would be fine.
I was apart from her for not up to an hour
when we were rounded up by the police, they
said there were suspected thieves amongst us
and we were all taken to a cell. I called my
father from there and was released the
following morning, but he refused to get Clara
out, saying he would not be smeared with
such ill publicity, she was there for 5 days
before I could get some friends to help her
out.
When she was released, she told me she had
been raped at the party, just right before the
police took us all to cell, and she had been
raped by one of the guys that escaped the
police.
The following day we started our exams and
we did not suspect anything. In the process of
going back and forth to the police station for
the daily appearance until the case was
dismissed, her parents found out she was
locked up and her mother took ill, she
shuttled between the exams, her mother and
the police station, that she forgot to visit the
hospital for an after rape treatment and
medications.
When we thought about it, a friend suggested
a drug to me which I bought for her and she
used it, that was after about 2 weeks.
She was fine all through the exams and when
the result came out, her result had dropped
badly, she was still not bothered, not pointing
any accusatory finger at me but we still
remained friend. When the second semester
exam started, we found out she was pregnant,
the drugs she used had been too late I
suppose. She fell sick so bad that we were not
sure she would be able to make it for the
exams but she did.
When she told me about it, I advised she go
for an abortion but she was scared and she
decided to keep the baby, which she did” she
pointed at Henry who was still trying to catch
a grasshopper in the grass.
“She could not graduate as the leading
student in the department; she lost the seat to
another guy in the department, forfeiting her
automatic employment that she would have
been entitled to if she had graduated as the
best student in the department, a position she
would have taken immediately after NYSC”
To cut the long story short, I practically
ruined her life even though she says it is just
chance and time.
That happened four years ago. Earlier this
year, my father’s company went into a
business merger with another top shot
company, and both men decided to sacrifice
their children for the company, asking us to
marry so we could hold the company even
after they are retired. I was against it, but my
father told me point blank it was marriage to
his business partner’s son or all hell would be
let loose.
I agreed to meet the reluctant guy and when
we did, we hit it off straight away, we fell
hard and deep for each other, so plans for the
wedding began but Clara had moved to Uyo
here and said she might not be there for the
wedding.
So a few days to the wedding I sent a picture
of myself and my husband with his friend to
her, that one captured his face, she saw the
picture and replied me in a text message the
following morning, “How well do you know
this his friend? Because I am dead sure your
boyfriend’s friend was the one who raped
me” . I was not sure who she was referring to
because, the person next to me in the picture
was Chris; my husband’s friend, my husband
was at the far end of the picture so I called
her to confirm.
She did not want to talk about it until I
threatened to come here personally to hear
from her. She was apologizing for mentioning
it at all and asked me to forget about it, but I
could not just let it go. What I sent as an
accompanying message with the picture was
“me, my boo and his friend” and she probably
took the naming for the way we stood in the
picture
When she told me the guy at the far end of
the picture, I was practically paralyzed for
minutes; she was referring to my husband to
be and not his friend. I had to run, but I
wished I knew earlier, I would have been
long gone.”

[nextpage title=”Episode 7″]
EPISODE 7
Davis could not take his eyes off her when
she finally finished her story, but what kept
ringing in his heart was the fact that she was
married and she is the daughter of a very
powerful as well as a wealthy man in their
part of the country. His mind weighed each
question he would like to ask her but he just
could not voice them out.
“But you said you love him, right?”
“I liked him that much to know I could live
with him, I agreed to marry him, remember?”
“But did you ask him, as in did you confront
him with this accusation?”
“Clara is not just a random person; she could
not have made that up”
“I am not saying she made it up, I am just
saying does your guy know what his real sin
is?” Not wanting to say the husband.
“Why does he have to know, Clara swore he is
the one”
“Ebe… sorry Chinwe, I think you just made a
big mistake”
“Well, it is my mistake, but if your eyes are
actually working well, I would like you to
compare the pictures tomorrow, or wait, let’s
compare it now. Wait for me”
He watched as she stood up fast and went
back into the café, Davis does not know why
he is defending the guy, but he would love to
be given the benefit of doubt if he was found
in the same situation. He watched quietly as
Henry ran around the field, obviously
enjoying himself and totally unaware of the
happenings around him.
When she returned, she showed him a picture
of her with two men, probably from a chat
history with Clara; she handed the phone to
him and went to Henry, pulling the playful
boy with her till he was right in front of her.
“Look at him and point to who his father
could be in that picture”
Davis almost rolled his eyes but did as she
said, and he was almost shocked out of his
skin at the facial resemblance. The smile on
Henry’s face and that on the man in the
picture was 100% alike
“Well, I must admit that they look alike, but
we share resemblances with people we are
not even related with”
“Very good, look at the forehead of the man
in the picture and tell me what is there that
Henry also has?”
The birthmark was so obvious, a dark round
patch just above the forehead, almost
disappearing into his low cat hair, looking at
Henry, one could see the birthmark very
boldly as he has a lighter skin than the man
in the picture.
“Clara and Henry used to live in Lagos and I
watched him grow, we have tried everything
we possibly heard off to get the mark off his
forehead. I personally followed them to a
doctor to ask what could be done to get rid of
it, you know what he told us? He said it was
probably genetic. When I met Tokunbo, I
remembered asking him if he got the mark on
his forehead from an accident and he said he
was born with it. His mother testified to it
that he had it from birth. I did not really
connect the two, why would I, he was in the
USA and Henry and Clara here in Nigeria, but
it was not a random accusation, how come the
same man Clara pointed to has the same mark
as the son she has”
Her story sounded credible enough to Davis,
so he could not dig up any other defense in
the man’s favor.
“But, why did you not ask him still, I mean I
would have loved to be asked”
“Would he have said the truth?, well he
might, but does that make up for the damages
done? Would that wipe away the pains of 4
years?”
“He could have changed you know?”
“It does not matter now, a rapist is capable of
any other murderous act, believe me” the way
she said it almost scared him as if she had
been raped before, he almost asked he if she
had been raped before, but he kept quiet and
focused on the picture in his hand. He looked
at it and also at Henry and could not but
shakes his head.
They sat down there in silence for sometimes
and neither of them knowing what else to
say, Chinwe’s mind was torn again as if it
was healing and fresh wound was inflicted on
it again.
Her heart was heavy and she felt it in her
breadth, Davis handed the phone to her and
asked calmly…
“So what do you want to… you cannot hide
forever, you can’t, not with your father being
influential and not with the social media,
sooner or later, someone would identify you”
“Don’t you think I know that, I fear more for
Clara and her son, they don’t deserve to be
hurt again, and especially not by me”
“That is right”
“I have to just hold on for now, I would
handle it when I get found out, but I need a
low-key job to make me get some money and
move out of her house and being seen with
her as little as possible”
“A job is a good idea, but what type of low-
key job could you possibly be looking for”
“I don’t know, all I know is I have to start
looking for one”
“What are you guys doing out here, Henry,
drop that right now” Clara called from the
back door of the came and walked towards
them. She pulled her son from the insect he
was holding in his palms and came to where
they sat.
“We are just taking fresh air. Are you through
with what you are doing?”
Yea, I was able to download some materials
for the topic, but I will have to edit them on
my phone. Rabbi is having a moment with
one of his staff, so I had to leave the room for
them”
“What happened?” Davis asked curiously
“I don’t know what the guy did to get him so
angry, he was practically spitting fire. Thank
God there is a door separating the staff room
from the main cafe”
“Which of the… the tall fair one I guess?”
“Yeah, him”
“I pray that guy does not push Joseph to the
wall”
“Ehya, can we go back to the house now?,
that mister has not had a time off play today
at all”
“Ok, let’s go”
She stood up and looked at Davis who it was
obvious by the look on his face that he did not
want them to go, but he did not say anything,
he simply walked them back to the café,
where Rabbi was making a call, obviously still
angry. He helped them gather their stuff and
walked with them out of the café.
He motioned to him that he wanted to walk
them to the road where they would get a
tricycle to their house. They all walked
towards the road with Henry taking his hands
out of his mother’s so he could walk on his
own, which was very amusing to Davis.
He walked back alone to the café when he
saw them seated in a tricycle after bargaining
with the driver. His mind was filled with
different thoughts and he could not help but
go to the web to read about the story of her
flee.
He was surprised however when he saw
instead that the news claimed she was
kidnapped which sent a cold sensation down
his spine. As much as he would like to feel
protective of her, his common sense still told
him it would be dangerous for her to be
found near anyone with such news flying
around especially.

[nextpage title=”Episode 8″]
EPISODE 8
Davis was eating when Joseph came back
from the bathroom, he was telling him about
the café attendant he was angry with earlier,
whom he caught him printing someone’s
project with the intention of taking the
money. That would be the second time.
The first time he had caught him printing out
a large document in several copies for a
particular lady, he had asked her to buy
reams of papers so Joseph would not suspect a
thing. He had placed a call to the friend that
introduced him and he promised to warm
him. When he caught him receiving money
from another person yesterday for a
completed project work that would have
fetched him a lot of money, Joseph knew he
had employed the wrong guy and not getting
rid of him now would only dug a bigger hole
in his pocket but might also influence other
workers to take such acts as a norm.
He picked up his plate of food and started
eating.
“So what do you want to do about him?”
“is that not obvious, who knows how many he
must have done that I did not get to know. I
will ask him to stop coming on Friday, the
only thing stopping me from not asking him
to stop now is for him not to hurriedly round
up some transactions I suspect he still has.”
“But do you owe them?”
“I don’t, even when sales are low in some
months, I would rather pay them than pull
out money for myself.”
“That is unfair of him, but he might be
splitting the money with others and that is
why they cover up for him”
“Sacking him should get the message across, if
any of them is caught, they should be ready to
leave. I am just not ready to start looking for a
new person, I will have to start showing the
in an out of things here”
“Chinwe nko?”
“Who is Chinwe?”
“Ebere, her real name is Chinwe”
“Did she tell you that?”
“Yes and she told me more” his friend looked
up from his food, waiting to hear what
Chinwe had told him.
“She said she did not trust me when I asked
her for her name” Davis provided the first lie
that came to his mind.
“She is not serious, so she now trusts you?”
Joseph said, eyeing him in mock
Davis simply shrugged and continued with his
food, hoping Joseph would not ask more
questions he would not want to answer.
“She is a master’s degree holder, how much
do you think I can pay her?” Joseph shook his
head, discarding the idea of having her as his
employee.
“The work her friend was trying to source for
her might not be coming as fast as they
hoped, she said she would be looking for
something so as not to be a burden to her
friend”
“I still don’t know”
“What don’t you know, it is not by force, you
offer her a salary and she can either accept or
refuse”
“Well, you are right, if she asks me I will talk
with her about it”
Davis was satisfied that he has spoken to his
friend about it and he is willing to consider
her
The days went fast and Chinwe often visited
the café to sit with Joseph and sometimes
wait for Davis, Joseph was already warming
up to the idea of having her work there with
him.
She seems to know a lot about the use of
computer and just needed a little putting
through as a café operator. They seem to work
well too but Joseph must confess he likes
having her around so that he could see Clara
when she’s returning from work, with her
son sometimes.
He likes her and would like to ask her out
properly but he is always careful with women
with kids, most them he believes still have
ties with the father of their kids that would
have a great say in their present
relationships.
She sometimes would sit with them for a few
minutes before they would all leave for her
house.
On this particular Saturday, Davis had called
him to inform him that his mother would be
coming to Uyo from Calabar where she had
gone to for a party, she wanted to surprise
him but not too familiar with the direction he
had send her.
Also, he would be tied up in class till some
hours after noon and his mother’s flight to
Lagos would be the 3:30 flight back to Lagos.
Joseph agreed to pick her up from the park
and take her to the house while Chinwe
watched the café for him.
When he returned with her to the café,
Chinwe came out of the admin room to give
Joseph information but was not prepared for
the reaction he met from the woman Joseph
introduced as Davis’ mother.
“Are you not Chief Babalola’s daughter?” She
asked without wasting time. Joseph was totally
lost, looking back and forth between the two
women who kept staring at each other, one
with a total dumbfounded look and the other
in shock and fear.
“Joseph, is she living with you guys?”
“No ma she is a friend”
Chinwe stared in shock as she recognized the
look in the woman’s eyes; she knows her from
somewhere
“You are Chinwe Babalola, right” she pointed
at her with a surprised look on her face
“No ma I am.. ” Davis chose that moment to
walk into the admin room of the café where
the whole drama just unfolded
“Don’t you dare lie to me, you are Chinwe
Babalola,” she turned to her son and his
friend “do you know who this young woman
is, do you know she is on the news and the
word out there is that she has been
kidnapped?” she stared at them as they did
not give her any answer, neither refuting the
claim that they knew who she is.
“Oh my God, did you kidnap her”
Of course not”
“But…”
“Ma, they did not kidnap me, I came here on
my own”
“And they are housing you?”
“No they are not”
“Do you know who her father is and what he
could do to anyone who he finds her with, or
anyone helping to keep her at all?”
“Mum, calm down, she knows what she is
doing”
“Apparently she does, but I don’t think either
of you do. Her father is an influential man; I
can assure you his influences run to this part
of the country and would ruin anyone who
could be keeping his daughter”
“Mum, the decision was hers and she should
be left to make that decision when she wants
to return”
“You mean to say if?, this lady would put you
in trouble.”
“Mum,”
“Don’t you dare mum me, I am telling your
father about this this instant” she stood up
and walked to where she dropped her bag,
Chinwe stared in shock as Davis hurried after
her. Joseph could only stare at her with
nothing to say.
Davis collected the phone from his mother
and held it away from her
“Mum!, listen to me, that lady ran away for a
reason, she deserves to have a right to make
her decision”
“Which I perfectly understand, but were you
there when the whole situation started? No,
you were not, and you don’t have a right to
butt in now and act the super man. Let me
tell you this, your father secured a contract
from her father and the project is about to
begin. I was at the wedding when she
disappeared and saw how distraught her
mother was, I would never want to be in that
position, and that would happen if her father
finds out she is being helped, especially by
you, the son of a man who won a contract
from his portfolio, would he not think it is a
planned work, that your father knew about it,
especially since he could not make the
wedding and I was there alone to attend the
wedding. Davis, think for goodness sake. ”
“Oh God, but I did not know her, we never
met and she’s not staying with me”
“Who would listen to you then?”
“She’s staying with her friend”
“With another man?”
“No, a lady, her friend from way back”
“Davis, give me the phone and let me speak
with your father about this, we can find a
way around it and not get the police involved,
and this is way beyond you. Please, don’t
invite the devil to a private dinner, that man;
her father would destroy us if he finds out we
have a connection to this.”
Davis handed her the phone and walked back
to where he left Chinwe and Joseph, they
were quiet and looking at him with curiosity.
Davis shook his head and pulled Chinwe to
his arms, and she began to cry.
Joseph walked out of the room to give them
space, closing the door quietly behind him.
“My parents work for your father indirectly
and if you are found here, they could be
accused wrongly for what they know nothing
about” he said as he pulled her back and
stared at her tear stained face. He held her
shoulders tightly and barely could hold back
his own tears.
“If you still want to go somewhere else before
your father gets here, there is still time, I
could help you to do that”
“No, I guess I have to go back, Clara would be
ruined if my father finds out I have been
staying with her”
They walked back to where Davis’ mother
was speaking on the phone as she saw them
approach she told the person on the other end
of the line
“Davis is here now”
She stretched the phone to him, he asked who
it was and when he heard that it was his
father, he turned back and pulled Chinwe
with him, they walked back to the back of the
café, to the field where she had told him
everything the week before.
He pulled out his phone and asked her to
speak with Clara.
“hello Clara, can you help me get my things
together”
“What is the problem, did your father find
you?”
“Someone else did, someone who knows him
well and she is contacting him soon, I don’t
want him to find me with anyone…..”
“oh my God, what do you want to do now, are
you going somewhere else or what…”she was
already sobbing from the tone of her voice.
“No, I have to go back, how long can I hide
anyway, it was just stupid of me in the first
place to think I could run away forever”
She ended the call and waited for Clara to
bring her bag to the café; Davis’ mother came
to where they sat, close to the field and sat
beside Chinwe
“My dear, I am sorry I came to spoil your
plans, but believe me when I say I am doing
this to protect the people I love. I know your
father too well to want to get in his path.
Whatever your differences are, I would like
you to settle it with him and if it is with the
man you married, divorce is an option. But
your father would ruin the lives of people
who are helping you to escape or hide.”
“Ma, I understand, but just to be clear, your
son did not help me escape. We did not know
each other till I arrived Uyo here”
“I understand that now, but I have called my
husband and informed him, who in turn has
called your father and they are on their way
on a private jet to the airport, I suggest you go
to the airport to wait there for them, they will
arrive in less than 3 hours”
On hearing that, Chinwe’s heart went heavy,
beating with effort and she became weak, she
pulled herself to an upright position and
walked back to the café, while Davis watched
with sorrow in his heart, especially with the
thought of losing the woman he has come to
love leaving him.
He knew his father would gladly come with
Chinwe’s father, his involvement would put
him on the good page with him and that
would lead to bigger projects would it not? He
could not just disown him, because truthfully,
he hated the man as much as he loves him
sometimes, but his mother would always want
to do what would protect her family.
Clara was paying the keke driver when
Chinwe came out of the café, she pulled
Henry into her arms and rubbed his head
fondly, she would miss the little man who
looks like the man she would be returned to.
Davis came out of the café too, his mother
and Joseph behind him.
“Let me drop both of you off at the airport”
Joseph said after lifting Henry in a
halfhearted greeting.
“No, I still have the number of the cab man
that dropped us off the last time, his car is a
taxi, I don’t want to risk the chances of my
father already alerting the police and then
pick up anyone who drops me off”
“That is true, although my husband assured
me they would be arriving without any police
being informed”
“Give me his number so I could call him then”
Davis said
Chinwe pulled the piece of paper from the
small pocket of her back pack and handed to
Davis, she listened as the man bargained for
the price, claiming he would have to drive
from the airport to pick her up.
They all went back into the café while the
waited for the taxi, all the while Clara was
sobbing quietly, while Joseph tried as much as
possible to distract Henry.
When the driver arrived, he was surprised to
see Chinwe, she dropped her bag in the booth
of the car and Davis helped with his mother’s,
who climbed in beside Chinwe. As the car
drove off, Clara was weeping loudly now,
Joseph had to pull her into the café and Davis
watched as she was driven off, holding Henry
in his arms.

[nextpage title=”Episode 9″]
EPISODE 9
Tokunbo could not believe his ears that
Chinwe had been found and she was willing
to return only on the condition that they
would not ask for the involvement of those
who helped her hide all the while. Of course
her father would have refused if he had not
put down his foot that they leave out the
police until she’s found.
He was surprised the man has no thought for
his daughter’s life and all he could think was
the shame she had made him go through.
Tokunbo had informed him angrily that
Chinwe was not kidnapped but she ran away,
and if she was willing to return on that
condition then it would be reasonable for
them to accept her back and keep the police
and the press away, or her father’s lies would
blow up in his face.
The last part must have driven a point home
as he agreed to leave the police behind and
asked for a private jet to take them to Uyo and
back.
All he could think about aboard the jet was
what the reaction would be when she sees
him and him, her. He watched out the little
window as the objects below appeared bigger
in preparation for landing. Chinwe’s father
was as anxious as he was for the plane to
land, maybe for different reasons, but they
were both anxious.
“Sir, I would advise we don’t cause
unnecessary scene when we see her, people
might get to know and news would travel”
“What scene would I probably cause, she just
has to get on the plane, all that would be
handled when we get back to Lagos”
“yes sir”
When they landed, Tokunbo walked quietly
behind his father in law, the man who
walked closely behind him; they were
directed to the VIP lounge where Chinwe was
waiting with the woman who called them.
And there she was, sitting stiffly like he
imagined, looking cold and ready to cause a
scene if they triggered it. Tokunbo suddenly
could not make use of his feet, they became
too heavy for him to pull, he watched in relief
mixed with shock as their eyes met, he
wished to run and take her in his arms, but
her eyes told him to stay put and his body
seems to obey.
Her father walked to her and stared at her for
some seconds before moving to the woman
sitting some distance away with her husband,
he thanked her and they talked for some
minutes before he went back to Chinwe and
Tokunbo watched as he pulled her up and
they walked past him at the door and went
back to the aircraft. He followed them and
could not place a thought on why he was the
object of her coldness, which confirmed to
him, he was the reason she left in the first
place.
Her father pushed her not too gently on the
seat behind him, the seat Tokunbo had used
on their flight to Uyo, he watched at the door
as the couple that helped them find her sat at
the other end of the aisle. Tokunbo walked
and took the seat beside her as it was obvious
that was what her father wanted. She buckled
herself in as the flight attendant came in to
ask if there was any way she could help them.
Tokunbo has a lot of questions to ask and he
almost forgot that there would be no
confrontation, not at the airport and not in
the aircraft until they were back in their
apartment in Lagos.
The engine of the aircraft revved and he
strapped himself in his seat and rested his
head on the headrest, taking a deep breath to
clear his head and get his common sense to
the surface. They took the rest of the journey
in silence.
When they arrived Lagos an hour and half
later, Tokunbo was surprised to see Chinwe
dozing beside him and he was stricken by her
beauty as she slept. He shook her gently and
she woke up, he walked out of the aircraft
leaving her with her father and to make a call
for the driver to come to the tarmac to get
them, in order not to attract people to them;
they would be easily recognized here in Lagos
than in Uyo.
Safely driven to his father in law’s house,
Tokunbo met his parents there waiting to see
if it was true, they were happy for a safe trip
but when they saw Chinwe, they did not
know what best way to react, either to
welcome her back or to ask if she was alright.
Chinwe was led to the sitting room by her
father who asked his son; Nkem to dismiss all
the staff working in the house at that time, so
they could have the proper privacy they
would need
When she saw her mother, Chinwe ran to her
and hugged her tight; both women sobbed
uncontrollably, the first emotion she showed
since she was picked at the airport. No one
needed to look at her father to know he was
ready to spit fire but probably was holding
back because of his in laws. When Chinwe’s
brother returned from dismissing all the staff,
they all sat down and of course, Chinwe’s
father started.
“I would like to welcome you both my in laws
and we have to thank God for the safe return
of this…., well before I ask if anyone has
something to say, young woman, can you
please tell us what on earth you were thinking
to have taken such act on your wedding day”
“Chief, I think what we need her to do now is
to rest for a while, she is back and we would
like to put all this behind us”
“But, dear, we need to know why she ran
away, is it because of something your
husband did or something else?” Tokunbo’s
mum asked.
“But at the moment we are all hurt and
tensed, making her talk would only end in
raising our voices and I don’t know about
you, I think we all need the rest after being
assured of her return and safety”
“I still want to hear what her reasons are and
who her helpers could be or we are not
leaving here tonight”
“Chief…”
“If you want to know why I ran away… it’s
because I no longer want to be married to the
man you chose for me, you picked him and I
went along with your choice, but I am making
a choice of my own now, I no longer want to
be married to him” Chinwe replied defiantly.
“What has changed dear, I thought…” her
mom cut in
“Mom, a lot has changed and I would like to
be free from this wedding, I want a divorce”
“Di….vorce?” They all echoed as if they heard
her wrongly.
“If you have a reason on why you want to be
divorced, why not tell all of us here, but it is
too late to be thinking about divorce, I
thought the two of you were getting along just
fine even though it was all arranged from the
beginning” her mother in law reasoned
calmly.
“Ma, with all respect, my reasons would be
secret”
“If you cannot tell us the reason why you ran
away and why you are asking for a divorce? I
am commanding it now as your father and the
head of this family that you are going back to
his house with him tonight otherwise, I swear
to you, you have just woken the beast in me”
“Chief, I advise that you calm down, I suggest
we take Tokunbo to a separate room and you
speak with your daughter, she might not want
to tell us but she could open up to you in
private”
Tokunbo’s father stood up and his wife did
the same, they waited for Tokunbo to stand,
who all the while had not said anything but
was staring at Chinwe. He finally stood up
and went with his parents to the visitor’s
room opposite the living room where his in
laws were seated.
“Chinwe, what is the problem, what
happened?”
“Mummy…” Chinwe broke into tears again as
her mother tried to console her.
“Listen to me you foolish girl, if not because
you are now married and I wouldn’t waste my
energy, I would have stripped you naked here
and flog you till you no longer can walk. I
don’t care what that guy has done or what it
is you found out about him, I am not ready to
lose to Ajayi. If you know what is best for
you, you will go with him and be the best
wife to him, Divorce is not even an option”
“But don’t you think we have to listen to her
reason before…”
“will you shut up your mouth you older fool ,
I am still trying to disbelieve the fact that you
did not help her run away, so if you know
what is best for both of you, talk sense into
her head and make her go back with him
tonight or your life is over. I swear, your life
would be over if she dares says no when they
return”
“Wait, please, I am begging you, anything you
want to do to me please do but don’t hurt
them. Don’t condemn her to an unhappy
marriage as I have been condemned, let’s
hear her reasons.”
“Daddy, please…. I don’t want to marry him,
he is a monster…”
“Even if he is the devil, you are staying with
him, when I am dead, you can get out of the
marriage, but not before then. And as for you,
who condemned you too an unhappy
marriage? It is your choice and you should
live with it”
With that said, he walked out of the room and
slammed the door behind him, he returned
some minutes later, not sparing the crying
women a glance nor the young man who was
barely keeping his anger in check.
“Yeah, we found my daughter today, it seems
she was able to escape the kidnappers and
made her way to the airport, we found her
today and she’s home with me now”
After the call to the police, he called some
newspaper reporters too and told them the
same thing before ending the call and taking
the seat he vacated before; waiting for his in
laws.
When the Ajayis finally came out of the room,
Tokunbo’s mother was wiping her face,
obviously she had been crying, hoping to get
information from her son that could have
made his wife run away on their wedding
day.
“Welcome back, were you able to get anything
from him?”
“Nothing, I think it is between them and
maybe we should leave them to talk so we can
know the next step”
“There’s no need for that, we already decided
here, she is going back with him”
“Sir, I don’t think that is necessary, if she
wants to stay here, it is fine by…” Tokunbo
tried to talk some sense into the situation, so
he could understand it himself.
“She is going back with you” Chief Babalola
declared with set eyes on Tokunbo, a tone of
voice that left no room for further bandying.
Chief Babalola stood up and with that his in
laws also got to their feet and he turned to
his son, get the drivers and you” he turned to
Chinwe, who was still folded in her mother’s
arms “get up and go rinse your face, before
the drivers get here”
He preceded Chinwe into the hallway that
leads to a bathroom for the visitors; she
walked with a slumped shoulder as if the
weight in her heart would break her down
any moment.
Tokunbo’s heart went out to her immediately,
he wished he could give her comfort and
protect her, but here she is, rejecting him for
reasons only known to her. She needs lots of
protection from her father but she rather
would continue to stay with him than stay
married to him.
In the bathroom, Chinwe supported her
weight on the counter that holds the
washbasin, looking at herself in the mirror
and how close she was to escaping this life.
The door to the bathroom opened suddenly
and her father came in.
“Hurry up with that and don’t keep them
waiting”
“you really would not listen to me? You are
selling me off because of your greed and
black heart, I hate you so much and I wish I
was never born” she told him in the meanest
voice she could muster.
“It doesn’t matter what you feel, all I care for
now is that you remove yourself out of this
house soon”
Janet came to the bathroom but was
prevented from coming in by her husband
who kept leering at her with so much hate in
his eyes
“What, won’t you allow me to see her alone
before she is shipped off to your business
partner?”
“I will not spare you a minute with her; who
knows what the plan would be this time,
hmmn Ngozi”
“You give us a minute alone, where could she
probably run to at this time and in this house
or are you already losing touch with your
powers?”
“Fools, one minute or I swear…”
“swear what?, to beat me like you always do?,
please don’t hold back, what wonderful scene
that would be to our in laws and what a good
message that also would be for your son in
law, at least with his father in law beating his
mother in law, what stops him from tying his
wife to the bed and giving her a good beating
once she upsets him, hmmm?”
“Don’t stay too long and don’t make me get
come get you” he turned to Chinwe and
sauntered out of the bathroom
Finally at last, Chinwe broke down in front of
her mother who quickly gathered her into her
arms and held her tight, her heart was also
shattered that she could not protect her
daughter from these pains neither could she
take her place. She would have taken the
maltreatment of her husband a thousand folds
more if it would free her but she knows she
would not be able to.
“Baby, what has he done, why do you no
longer want to marry him, I thought you two
were beginning to like each other”
“He ….oh God, he is not who he seems or says
he is and I just don’t think I am ready,.. ”
“Honey, all this you are saying is medicine
after death and you should have made your
decisions and acted upon them before the
wedding”
“Mum, I did but I …”
“You should have told me, I would have
arranged for you to be taken out of the
country, I thought you wanted the wedding,
and I was happy you could finally be free of
your father, but now that you married him,
things are a bit …. You know?” she said in a
firm voice that surprised Chinwe even though
she had tears in her eyes too.
“I know, I have to live with my decisions”
Chinwe said with a sigh that further broke
her mother’s heart.
“I wish I could help, but I am glad you are
safe and alive, I almost died when they could
not find you, your brother was the only sane
reason I was holding on to hope”
“Did he blame you for my action?”
“Of course he did, but I no longer care, he
could beat me and blame me for the rest of
his years on earth, all I am after is the
happiness of my children” she said with a sad
smile on her face.
“Mum, you have endured it enough; you
should get out of this house and his life
before he does a permanent damage”
“He already has done that but believe me; it is
just for a little while more”
“What has he done, tell me mum”
Her mother held her shoulders tightly and
shook her once, “listen to me Chi, wash your
face and leave me with him, I have borne it
this far and believe me, I can for a few years
more, just go far away from here, he will calm
down and things will be better”
“I am sorry of all that my actions have
brought on you, I am so sorry” she hugged
her mother tightly and when she pulled back
she decided to face the music and dance to
the tune, her mother would constantly be the
object of her father’s fury with any news of
her truancy inn her husband’s house. Her
mother has paid a lot for her to be in this
position and now that she’s married, she
would make her status to reduce her mother’s
suffering.
If staying married to Tokunbo Ajayi would
make her father stop beating her mother then
married to him it would be, but it would not
be a happy marriage.

[nextpage title=”Episode 10″]
EPISODE 10
Tokunbo was sitting at the back of the car
with the driver when Chinwe finally joined
him in the car, she was holding her brother’s
hand tightly. He did not seem to mind or want
to let her go either, they held each other at
the door of the car. He was saying something
quietly into her ears, which she was nodding
to, he later pulled her phone from the back
pocket of the jeans he had on and placed it in
her hands.
“I installed candy crush for you and Scrabble,
and also some other games” Tokunbo
managed to hear part of the discussion.
“Thanks, will you come to visit?”
“As soon as he travels, but we will chat until
then.” He was obviously referring to his
father, he seems to be afraid of him also. This
got Tokunbo wondering how they lived
together this far.
“okay,” she hugged him again before finally
taking her seat beside him, not sparing him a
glance as she buckled herself in. the driver
started the car and she watched as they
moved away from the gigantic house that has
been the image of her misery but has been
her safe haven at the same time.
The street lights on the road made the night
yellow and lively as the car sped by so many
people still walking the streets, the woman
selling recharge cards at the end of her street
caught her attention and she wondered if her
daughter has now finished her secondary
school exams? Her mind wandered and
sampled different thoughts altogether, but she
refused to dwell on the obvious one staring
her in the face. Or better still, sitting calmly
beside her with a stoic expression.
The drive to their house took 30 minutes;
Tokunbo spent the whole time wondering how
he would handle the situation he found
himself in. How does one welcome a bride
who tried to escape their wedding back to the
house? How would he live with her and make
her happy? How would he get the information
he needed the most from her? He wondered
what sin he had committed that made her run
far from him because he has gone through
every possible details of their months together
and even hours together before the wedding
and he could not come up with tangible
reasons why she escaped.
He wished there was something he could do
just to put an end to the entire nightmare.
Tokunbo turned his head to where she quietly
occupied, wondering if she was sleeping. That
has always been her greatest ability, Tokunbo
once asked how she does it, falling asleep in
the midst of some obvious chaos and he
fondly recall her response; which was a smile
and a change in her position as she continued
to sleep.
He likes her a lot and he is so sure she felt
the same way before the wedding, but what
has changed?
The drive was smooth and as much as he felt
the tiredness in his body, he wished the drive
would continue, at least, it would postpone
the inevitable awkward situation that was
bound to take place.
The driver honked gently at the gate of their
house, the house they picked together and she
even supervised the furnishings, the place he
would have loved to call home but
unfortunately, the heart of it wants out and it
is now just a house to him.
He wondered if he should open the door for
her or if he should ignore her, but he would
like to welcome her to their house, to hell
with what she thinks he has done.
“Welcome home honey, I hope you will be
happy and safe here” Tokunbo said gently as
he leaned to open the door for her from inside
instead of doing the obvious of rounding the
car too her side to open the door for her from
outside. Their arms brushed and he could
sense her shrinking into the seat to avoid
further contact.
Tokunbo released a rush of air he did not
know he was holding and went on into the
house before her; she climbed out of the car
and walked after him, ignoring the driver
who was trying to get her bags from the
booth. She did not even know she had
anything left in her father’s house.
As she walked into the living room, she was
surprised at the beauty of it all, the furniture,
the blinds, the lightings and the little
nothings that added something to the whole
beauty of the house, she looked round the
room and could not find a trace of Tokunbo.
The beautiful house would be her prison till
her father dies or better still till she finally
dies.
Tokunbo came out of the kitchen which is
adjoined to the dining room; a section of the
living room to the right, he had seen her from
his angle in kitchen where he went to get
water and also for her to be the first person
to choose where she would be sleeping, he
would not want to get into the bedroom first
and make her choose the guest room or vice
versa. Not that it looked like they would be
sharing a room anyway.
Tokunbo treaded gently to the room that
would have been their bedroom and was
surprised to see her there, sitting on the
dresser with her back to the mirror as if she
was observing something on the wall opposite
her. Tokunbo walked past her into the
bathroom and placed an extra toothbrush for
her while he removed his as well as his other
personal belongings from the bathroom, when
he came back into the room; Chinwe was
sitting on the bed, removing her sandals.
“If there’s anything you need or can’t find, let
me know, the domestic staff are not yet
employed” he said simply as he exited the
room, not waiting for her reply.
Chinwe took her sandals to the compartment
beside the large wardrobe and placed her
sandals there wondering if she would get to
ask him for anything, she went to the
bathroom and was surprised and amused that
a fresh toothbrush was laid out for her.
She went about the process of brushing like a
zombie and bathed in a very hot water to jolt
her senses on what could be happening to
Clara, Joseph and Davis, wondering if her
father had made good his promise of not
getting the police involved.
After bathing, now wrapped in a large towel
and feeling refreshed, she sat on the bed and
picked her phones, transferring the numbers
of her friends from the smaller phone to the
bigger one her brother just returned to her.
She dialed Clara first and was beginning to
get worried when she did not pick at first;
she dialed again and with a sigh of relief,
when she heard her friend’s voice over the
line.
“Hello Chi, how are you?”
“I am fine, I should be the one asking that,
did anyone come there to harass you, and
how is Henry?”
“Nobody came, Henry is sleeping, I was
putting him to bed when you first called, what
is the situation of things now, hope your dad
did not get too upset with you”
“He has been upset since I was born or long
before that, don’t worry about me”
“How can I not, I am so worried I have been
useless to myself since you left, I was scared
too.”
“I am fine, and I am sorry for the troubles I
caused you, thanks for being my friend”
“Thanks for being my friend too and for
willing to foolishly throw everything away
because of me, I know I should have kept
quiet, but I just hope…”
“I wish you would stop saying that, we have
already gone through that, please, I just
wanted to be sure you are ok, let me let you
rest, hmmm?”
“Thanks, you should call Joseph and Davis too,
they were here and we all were worried,
trying not to call too”
“I will, thanks, we will talk again soon, bye”
“bye”
The call ended and she placed the next call to
Davis, who picked almost immediately as if he
was expecting her call.
“Hello Chinwe?”
“How did you know it was me, I never gave
you this number”
“True, but I got it from Clara, she was worried
too but we decided not to call just yet till we
are sure of things”
“How are you?”
“I am fine, just a bit worried about you, but I
guess I’m better now that I have heard your
voice”
“is Joseph there with you?”
“Yeah, he is dozing off already”
“Must have been a long day for you both”
“Trying day more like it, where I had to
choose between my mother and my friend,
my very good friend” Chinwe could not
pretend she did not notice the way he
emphasized on the friend both times and
smiled fondly.
“What is happening there, I hope all is fine,
where are you now”
“With him, I was forced to go back with him”
not bothering to elaborate on the “h im”,
hoping he knew who she was talking about
“Wow, did you not tell them, at least your
mum what you told me, she could see sense
in your decision”
“I could not and I would like to keep it this
way, just don’t worry, I have this under
control” she said assuredly
“What is the plan, I hope you are not
planning to run away again?”
“No, my mother suffered too much because of
the first one, I can’t make her go through that
again”
“Divorce?” he offered slowly
“It is too early to apply for one, we have to
wait at least 6 months”
“Really, does that apply in Nigeria?”
“It does, when my father is involved” she lied
“Oh, I guess that is true”
“Have you called your mum?”
“Why would I call her, I’m sure she arrived
safely, since you must have been on the same
flight with her to Lagos”
“Yeah, the plane my dad came with took us
both to Lagos, your dad was there too, but I
could not get to see his face clearly, given the
situation of things”
“Your father chattered a plane down?” Davis
asked almost unbelievably
“Yeah?”
“Wow, now I know the magnitude of what my
mum was saying, but anyways, she got to
enjoy a private jet too, and as for my old man,
I knew he would not waste that opportunity,
given the other benefits he would get from
your father for being the one who ‘found’
you”
“Don’t be too harsh on them, they did it to
protect you and I don’t blame them”
“I hear you, my mother yes, but my old man,
forget it, that man is selfish”
“Dave, just drop it, I am tired and just wanted
to be sure you guys are ok, we will talk again
soon”
“Yeah, sorry, my big mouth running fast, you
should rest, take care.”
“bye”
She ended the call and placed the last call to
her brother
When he did not pick she left him to sleep,
giving the time of the day, but as she changed
to her t-shirt she travelled down in, finding
nothing else of hers in any of the drawers,
her bags from days back still lying in the
corner of the room, he called her back and
she picked
“Hi dude, I thought you were sleeping”
“I was with mum, she needed something”
“What’s that?”
“Her drugs”
“Ok, how is she, and how are you, I hope he
did not transfer the anger on you”
“see you, I am used to it now, what’s the
worst he can do than what he has been doing
or what he did those days you were missing,
mum is sleeping by now I guess” Nkem said
“I am sorry, I am so so sorry, I wish I could
make up for it”
“No problem, mum bore most of his wrath”
“Did he beat her?”
“Of course now, twice I guess”
“Animal, I just wish he would die”
“Me too, but God does not kill bad people, he
prefers to take the good ones like our dog
shey?” He tried his joke on her and it worked
like magic. That has been their survival pill,
his sense of humor and her willing ears.
Whenever they could afford it, they would
gather, with their mum and laugh at his silly
jokes till their father returns.
One would always take Nkem to be a geek,
with his willowy stature and a thick glasses
set on his nose, but he is the sweetest, most
caring and loving brother one could ever ask
for.
They talked some more, with Chinwe asking
most of the questions and he giving her the
answers, often times telling the funny sides of
some family members who came to
sympathize with them but ended up asking
for money or taking some items from the
house, some asking for her personal
belongings to make her return, they ended up
taking her beautiful clothes, shoes, jewelries,
one of their aunts even asked him to give her
the phone she left behind, saying she wanted
to take it to a prophet to pray on it.
“I wondered if the angels needed it to track
you down like the CIA”
“You are not serious” Chinwe could not help
but laugh out loud.
Not noticing the man at the door, calmly
watching her at wondering what he could do
to make her laugh like that with him,
Tokunbo retraced his steps back to the guest
room to get some rest that he doubted he
would be getting, especially since the woman
he always wanted is back and obviously hate
him and he can’t fathom what he did to
warrant it.
Chinwe fell asleep as soon as her head
touched the pillow, while Tokunbo tossed and
turned and was counting the time with the
second hand of the clock on the bedside
drawer. He was awake till around 3 am in the
morning and slept after that…

Not completed

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