Bianca stood before the full-length mirror in her bedroom
and stared at her reflection. She was wearing a gold embroidered mermaid gown
with a V-neckline at the back and at the front. She was still twirling and
admiring herself in the mirror when the door opened and her mother walked in.

“You look breathtaking my darling…” Her mother said with a
smile.
“I know mum, I had to wear this dress today because Melvin
and I are going to be on the podium together. He is preaching for the special
service while I will be giving the special number and also leading the choir.” She
said sounding excited.

“There’s no way he won’t notice you in this dress. You look absolutely
gorgeous.” Her mother sang her praise.
Bianca looked at the woman who supported her in everything
and even pushed her hard to go beyond her limits and smiled. Ever since her father
had lost most of his fortune when she was still fifteen, and their lives had
changed for good as they’d suddenly fallen from grace to grass, her mother had
been hell-bent on getting back what they’d always enjoyed in life.
Bianca wasn’t the only child of her parents but she was
their first and right from the day things came crumbling down for her father,
she had known that she was the one to restore the family’s lost glory.
“I can’t stop thinking of your wedding my darling, it’s
going to be grand. Do you know that I’ve even started visiting bridal websites?
I already have an idea of the kind of wedding gown I want you to wear. It’s
going to be a very expensive gown with the most sparkling embellishments…”
“Oh mummy! All I want is for him to notice me and finally
ask me out. I want to show him how good a wife I can be to him. Right from the
day we joined that church and I set my sights on him, I’ve never loved any
other.”
“Yes my dear and that’s because I made sure you realized
that he is the kind of man you should marry and not just any kind of person. Do
you know what marriage to Melvin means? It means that you’re going to be very
wealthy, rich, influential and well respected. Marrying him, means hitting the
jackpot.”
“Oh! I’m so excited mummy.” Bianca said with a huge smile.
“Do you know what? Why don’t you invite him for a date after
the program?”
“A date? Wouldn’t that be too pushy? I don’t want him to
think I’m doing all the work.”
“Sometimes, men need a shove in order to wear the big boy
pants and step up. I know he doesn’t have a woman in his life so, you are free
to take him out and show him how much of a good wife material you are.” Her
mother said.
Someone cleared his throat behind them and they quickly
turned to see who it was. It was Bianca’s dad.
“Oh…it’s you. What do you want?” Her mother said sounding
bored.
“Are you putting ideas into this girl’s head again? How many
times do I have to tell you both that we joined that church to draw nearer to
God and not to get our hands on the GO’s son or on their family’s fortune?” Bianca’s
father stressed.
“We’ve prayed in that church for years and has it yielded
any results? We’re still not back to our social standing so, we need some new
strategies to get ourselves back on track.” Bianca’s mother argued.
“Do you know that it’s a sin to plot to take over the
fortune of the church instead of focusing on being a better person and praying
to God? You’re friends with the GO’s wife because you want to gain from her and
not because you sincerely love her.” Bianca’s father said to his wife.
“Bianca darling, let’s get going. The service is about to
begin. We can’t miss out on the start of a new dating life between you and
Melvin.” Her mother said and walked away.
Bianca nodded and followed her mother closely behind, she
didn’t want to be late.
*******************
Kentura made it to the church just in time. She got out of
the taxi cab and paid her fare. Her friend and colleague, Ijeoma stepped out
following her closely behind.
“Did you say that the GO’s son invited you to the special
service?” Ijeoma asked.
“Yes…is it a big deal?” Kentura asked as she found a scarf
in her bag and placed it over her hair.
“Of course it is. This church is very well known….fancy you
knowing the son of the GO.”
“I invited you here to come and worship with me and not
idolize the GO and his family.” Kentura said.
“Leave me jor…I like good things biko. The GO is very
rich, I heard that aside from the money he gets from the church, he’s from a
very wealthy family.”
“Hmmm…keep investigating people’s lives ooo…don’t mind
your own business.” Kentura said.
“Ehen, before I forget…tell me where you were two nights
ago? I called your phone to no avail and I had Chika check you at your
apartment but you weren’t there. Are you keeping secrets from me? Do you have a
boo that you spend your nights with?”
“Of course not…I…was at home, I can swear that I was
home…” Kentura said as her mind quickly flashed back to the night she’d spent
at the hotel. “Look, the programme is about to start. Let’s go!” She said
quickly and hurried up into the church.
************
Melvin was about to take the stand, he waited as the
announcer invited Bianca to render the special number for the service. Bianca
walked up to the podium and faced the church, the congregation clapped and
cheered for her,
“This song is a special number dedicated to special people
in my life, including people who make this church great. I’m referring to you, Pastor
Melvin, you are a real blessing.” She said with a smile.
Everyone cheered and Melvin nodded and smiled in response.
She started the song and it was as though the heavens opened because just then,
he saw her walk in like an angel on the clouds. He was stunned as he stared while
she made her way into the church and searched for a seating space, she was with
company, a lovely lady who smiled in appreciation at the church’s interiors and
who followed her to take a seat. Melvin let a small smile tug at his lips, he
was happy that she had accepted his invitation.
As Bianca sang, her mother watched Melvin’s reaction and
when she saw him smile so softly as though one who’d seen an angel, her heart
soared.
 She was sure she’d
won the jackpot.
***************
Service was over and Kentura stood from her seat and
beckoned that her friend does the same.
“Aren’t we going to say hi to the GO’s son?” Ijeoma
whispered with a giggle.
“He’s busy, besides, I didn’t come for him, I came for the
experience.” Kentura said.
“Are you sure? I saw him preach and I saw the way you looked
at him. He’s hot and obviously single because I saw no ring on his finger
besides, when did you start taking church service seriously? A while ago, I
invited you to my church and you turned me down. We all know you sleep at home
on Sundays.”
“Stop it Ijeoma, we are in church.”
“Oh, don’t give me that. Didn’t God say that it’s not good
for the man to be alone and that’s why he provided the woman? Men and women’s
relationships go back to the beginning of creation and it was even ordained by
God.” Ijeoma defended.
“Let’s go jor…” Kentura said turning around to leave.
Ijeoma stood up grudgingly but stopped when she saw that
Melvin was walking towards them.
“He’s coming…he’s coming…” She said excitedly.
Kentura turned around and saw Melvin try to pry his way through
the congregation as he made his way towards her. A lot of church members tried
to stall him as they all greeted him and wanted to draw him into conversations.
She took a step forward and just then, a young and very pretty lady-the same
who’d sang the special number, rushed up to Melvin.
“Melvin…I see you’re in a hurry somewhere…” Bianca said
with a smile.
Melvin gave her a brief glance and refocused his gaze on
Kentura.
“I need to say hello to someone.” He said with a polite
smile.
“What did you think of my rendition?” Bianca asked.
“It was special…” Melvin said and smiled broadly at
Kentura who had walked up to them. “Hello Kentura.”
Bianca did a one eighty spin and the smile on her face
froze. The woman standing in front of her was striking and she’d never seen her
before.
“Hello Melvin…” Kentura greeted, and then turning to
Bianca, she said. “Hi.”
Ijeoma slipped up to them and held out her hand for a
handshake.
“It’s an honour.” Ijeoma said with a wide smile. “When Kentura
told me that you had personally invited her for the special Friday service, I
was like…whaaaaat?”
Melvin laughed heartily.
“Don’t mind my friend. Errm…meet Ijeoma, my very close
friend and my colleague.” Kentura said with a smile.
“It’s a pleasure.” Melvin said.
“The pleasure is all mine pastor…or should I call you
Melvin…or maybe both.” Ijeoma said batting her lashes.
“Please call me Melvin…everyone calls me Melvin.” He said,
not taking his eyes off Kentura.
“I err…we…wanted to get going but Ijeoma was star
struck. She’s never seen a GO’s son in the flesh before.” Kentura said.
“Oh stop it you big head.” Ijeoma said nudging Kentura at
the side.
“Melvin, you didn’t tell me that you made a new friend.”
Bianca said placing her hand possessively on Melvin’s arm.
“Hey…Kentura, please meet our church’s wonderful assistant
choir mistress, Bianca. Bianca, meet Kentura and her friend, Ijeoma.” Melvin
said.
“It’s nice to meet you. Your rendition was really fantastic.”
Kentura said.
Bianca shrugged and stared at Kentura with an icy look in
her eyes which read ‘back off’.
“Yes, I’m used to the compliments. It’s a God-given
talent…” Bianca said.
“Okay, we need to get going…thank you once again for
inviting me to this special service. I felt greatly blessed.” Kentura said.
“You’re leaving? So soon?” Melvin asked.
“Yeah…am I supposed to help close the church?” Kentura
asked teasingly.
“Well…I dunno…I guess errm…I’ll see you guys on
Sunday. We do have service on Sundays…” Melvin invited.
“I attend an Anglican church…” Ijeoma said quickly. “I can
only make it to other churches during weekdays but not on Sundays.”
“Oh, that’s fine.” Melvin said then he turned to regard
Kentura. “You told me that you’re still church shopping…”
“Hahahaha…you got me!” Kentura said with a smile. “I’ll be
truthful…I don’t really attend church every Sunday so….”
“You are God sent Melvin, Kentura never attends church, she’d
rather watch TV in her pyjamas on Sundays.” Ijeoma chirped in.
“Are you serious? You’re an unbeliever?” Bianca asked,
making it sound as though Kentura had just committed an abomination.
Kentura stared at the lady in shock, she hadn’t expected her
outburst.
“You’re judging me without even knowing me.” Kentura said to
Bianca.
“What else do I need to know? You are an unbeliever! You’re
not even born again.” Bianca said.
“Bianca please stop it.” Melvin said in warning.
“It’s okay, I guess everyone is entitled to their opinions.”
Kentura said. “I’ll mull over your invitation and see if I can make it.
Goodnight Melvin and thank you again for inviting me.” Kentura said.
As Kentura and Ijeoma walked away, Bianca said to Melvin.
“I really don’t want to waste this dress. Would you be
interested in having dinner with me somewhere fancy? Dinner’s on me.”
“I’m busy Bianca…some other time.” Melvin said and walked
away.
Bianca stood there and stared his retreating back, she couldn’t
believe that she’d just been shunned. Something told her that there was more
than meets the eye between Melvin and Kentura but what was it?

 

To be continued on Sunday….

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