Stephanie hurried into
her room and slipped on the dress and wore a beautiful pair of burgundy shoes
and held on to a dark red clutch.
“Hmmm…on your way
out?” Pamela asked, eyeing her cautiously.
“Yep…dad’s wedding
connection…who knows? I might snag a boo…” Stephanie smiled.
“The dress is nice….”

“Thank you…Auntie
Maggie got it for me…”
Pamela scoffed.
“What is wrong with you
guys in this house? What has Aunty Maggie done to warrant this kind of
hostility from you guys?”
“Well, she’s not who we
think she is…” Pamela said.
“Says who?”
“Listen Steph, I don’t
want to scare you or anything but have you noticed that auntie Maggie doesn’t
go to church? She…has a way of avoiding attending church with the family and…”
“She has her own church
and besides when did attending church become the passport to heaven? You will
be surprised to see many so-called men of God in hell…” Stephanie said.
Stephanie did her make-up and when she was done, she turned to face her sister.
“How do I look?”
“Gorgeous! Where did you
learn to make-up like that?” Pamela asked in awe.
“Have you forgotten that
I live in Lagos? The city of the unending fashion and make-up enthusiasts?
Besides there’s YouTube so…”
“Wow….you look so
glam, you are really going to be the center of attention at that wedding plus
your yellow dress is so sensual….hhmmmm…”
“Thank you
sweetie…wish me luck.” Stephanie said and hurried out of her room.
She got to her father’s
sitting room to find that he was already outside so she hurried outside and
headed to her dad’s car. As soon as he saw her, he smiled.
“There comes the belle
of the ball…my daughter…:” Her father said with a huge smile.
“Daddy…come on, you
make me shy…”
“You are so beautiful
Asaroyoma Stephanie….” Her father said in praise.
Stephanie smiled again,
her father loved to call her full name whenever he was happy with her.
Elohor walked out of the
house in native attire and a well-tied scarf.
“Why are you dressed
like you’re twenty?” Her father asked.
“Mommy said I should
look traditional, she even tied my scarf herself…” Elohor said not sounding
too pleased with her look. “You look so beautiful sister, can we exchange
clothes please?” Elohor pleaded.
“Get into the car and
stop whining…” Her dad ordered.
As they were about
entering the car, Ochuko, Aunt Maggie’s second son walked out of the house.
“Good morning sis…” He
greeted Stephanie.
Ochuko has always been
the quiet one of all Auntie Maggie’s children, he walked about like an old man
and never joined his mates in activities, his father fondly referred to him as
his grandfather.
“Can I join you dad? Mom
says I should go to her friend’s place to deliver a message.” Ochuko said.
“Doesn’t she have a
phone? Can’t she call her friend?” Stephanie’s father asked.
Ochuko held out a sealed
bag in his hands.
“I have to deliver this
to her friend…” He said.
His father nodded and
they all got into the car and left the house.
*********
Thelma sat with Obinna
in the small room he was placed in, she had woken up early that morning and
cleaned the room as he had defecated on the ground and the whole place smelt of
urine. He had not allowed her change his outfit as he kept snarling at her like
a dog and baring his teeth at her. Thelma wished that she could wake up from
this terrible dream and continue with her life. She was still hurdled in a
corner when the door burst open and Nnayelugo stormed in. He took one look at
his cousin and started laughing then began jesting by singing some native
moonlight songs.
“Stop it! Will you stop
it?” Thelma raved.
“Keep quiet! I am your
owner, whether you like it or not.” Nnayelugo spat.
Thelma struggled to her
feet, she felt so swollen, her stomach had begun to protrude and it hurt.
“Listen to me you dirty
pig, you don’t own me or my husband or anybody for that matter. You are nothing
but a useless man who has no idea that he’s no longer a child.” Thelma spat.
“Hahahahahahaha….prepare
for our wedding because Obinna will die whether you like it or not!”
“Something tells me that
you and your…father have a hand in this…” Thelma said.
“We shall swear…and we
shall see….hehehehe…” Nnayelugo laughed and started a new batch of mock
songs which he sang to a very calm Obinna who was staring at the ground
fixedly.
*********
Stephanie sat beside her
father at the wedding while her sister flanked her side. They were into the
second course of their meal when a very young guy walked up to their table.
“Good day sir…” The
young man greeted Stephanie’s father.
“Hello…how are you?”
Her father responded.
“My name is Felix and I
am the son of Barrister Samta, I would like to request that your beautiful
daughter joins us at our table.” Felix said pointing to his table at a distance
where a crop of finely dressed young men and ladies sat.
“Okay…she’s free to
go…” Her father said.
Stephanie smiled and
stood up but the chilly stare the guy gave her almost pushed her back on her
seat.
“Not you!” Felix said,
and pointing to Elohor, he said “Her!”
Elohor was surprised but
flattered and she stood up to go.
“Will you sit down?” Her
father barked at her. Regarding the young man he said. “Elohor is sixteen and
she’s going nowhere…”
The young man looked
quite disappointed.
“Sixteen? I am sorry…I
actually thought she was more mature than that…”
“Her sister here is old
enough to join you at your table…” Her father waved his hand casually,
already a little upset.
“Her? No way!” Felix
said and cringing his face in disgust, he hurried back to his table.
“You see? Your mother doesn’t
learn, I wonder if she wants you to get educated at all before getting married.”
Her father almost shouted at Elohor.
“Take it easy daddy…”
Stephanie said, shocked at the young man’s outburst.
Her father looked at her
and said nothing.
During the reception
party, Stephanie couldn’t help but notice that the dashing young men looked at
her in horror as though she was repulsive. She went to the toilet to check
herself at the mirror and saw nothing defaming so, she walked out again. Little
did she know that she actually looked like the black widow spider in her
outfit. To the men at the wedding, she looked horrific, dirty, disgusting, ugly
and very irritating but how could she know that? After all, she was only seeing
in the physical.
**********
On their drive home,
Stephanie watched her father clutch the steering of his car in anger. She
looked away at the window, staring at the billboards and pedestrians, Elohor
had received not more than ten male admirers at the table while she had received
none. Elohor wasn’t the conventionally beautiful type, she had extremely slim
facial features and didn’t have the womanly curves yet. Stephanie could tell
that her father was angry that she wasn’t the one to have gotten all the introductions
from potential suitors.
“Come to think of it
dad…we’re in a jet age and people don’t need to come home to meet
suitors…ladies meet eligible guys everywhere irrespective of location…”
Stephanie said.
“You can say that
again…I am just disappointed that no one even spoke to you.” Her father said.
“It’s my fault, I should
have gone over to the table with all the youths to say hi….I’m sure that some
guys were scared of coming to our table because of you…” Stephanie laughed
trying to make light the situation.
Her father laughed too
as he rounded the car into their street and drove towards their house. At the
front of their house were people and Stephanie wondered what had drawn the
crowd. Her father stopped the car and they all got out, running towards their
gate in worry.
“Heeyyyy! Papa Alvin ooo….”
A neighbour cried running towards them.
“What happened? What is
wrong?” Stephanie’s father asked in panic.
“Ochuko!” Their neighbour
cried.
“Which Ochuko?”
“Your son! He’s dead…”
The neighbour cried.
Stephanie’s heart stood
still for a while. Her father pushed the neighbours at the gate aside and
pounded on the gate. Soon, Alvin walked out of the house and opened the gate
for them, the neighbours were still outside while some other neighbours were
inside.
Stephanie, Elohor and
their father rushed into the house with their hearts in their mouth. They
stepped into Auntie Maggie’s sitting room to see her crouched on the ground in
tears and Ochuko’s body lying lifeless at the center of the small sitting room.

To be
continued on Sunday…..

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