Cherry’s mother had just gotten home from work when the loud bang at the door startled her.
She was the only one home since Cherry and Diamond were still at work and Jerry was at his Jamb class. She looked around the house as the knock persisted, she was searching for a stick of some sort just in case it was a dangerous person at her door. She blamed the fact that their compound didn’t have a gate-man on her neighbours who hated to pay bills and who had sent the last gate man away five years ago after owing him for months.
“Open the door! It’s Mitch’s mother.” The voice said.
Her heart stopped beating so fast and she closed her eyes in relief. She walked over to the door and opened it. Mitch’s mother and sister were both at the door staring at her.
Cherry’s mother was acquainted with Mitch’s mother and since their children had become friends from a very young age, they both knew each other quite well, same with his sisters.
“This is a surprise! Why are you banging at the door like a thief?” Cherry’s mother asked.
“The only thief I know is your daughter, Cherry!” Mitch’s mother said in spite.
“What is the meaning of this? How dare you come to my house to hurl false accusations at my daughter?” Cherry’s mother shouted.
Mitch’s mother was a bulky woman and she never failed to show how much she weighed, she pushed Cherry’s mother into the house and stepped inside with her daughter. Cherry’s mother almost fell to the ground but got her composure and stood staring at them.
“Why did you push me?” Cherry’s mother shouted. “I could get you arrested for this!”
“Yes, get me arrested so that we can go to court and so that I can tell whoever cares to listen that your daughter is a scam.”
“My daughter? A scam? You don’t know what you’re talking about!”
“Listen to me and listen real good, Mitch is my only son, and I know he had something with your daughter but it’s over. She is engaged to be married and instead of being courageous and telling Mitch the truth, she’d rather string him along and accept a proposal from him.”
Cherry’s mother looked at Mitch’s mother, she was hurt and she vowed to end Cherry’s craziness, once and for all.
“Yes, tell your daughter to leave my brother alone! Her fiance just bought her a car and it’s so obvious that she’s just playing with my brother’s heart. If she loves herself…tell her to leave him alone or we could go to extreme measures to make sure she doesn’t ever come near him again.” Angel said.
Cherry’s mother watched as Mitch’s mother and sister quickly exited the house, she took in deep breaths and quietly walked over to pick up her bag in the corner and bring out her inhaler.
Kamsi was having so much fun in Anita’s office and she decided that Anita was her fairy godmother after all. Her tummy was filled with cakes, ice cream and sweets and she was watching Barney and Friends without being disturbed.
Soon, her father walked into the office and saw her seated beside a large bowl of ice cream and cakes.
“Kamsi!” Her father called out in shock.
She gave him a smile.
“What is all this?” He asked gesturing to the bowl of ice cream and wraps of cake.
“My fairy godmother gave it to me…” Kamsi said innocently.
“Stop eating all that at once! Do you want to purge? This is too much!” Her father said as he began packing up all the goodies before her.
Kamsi wanted to cry, she was really enjoying herself. The door to the office opened and Anita walked in.
“Why are you packing up the goodies I got her?” Anita asked.
“I’ll take it that you haven’t really dealt with kids that’s why you have given her all this stuff.” Madu said, sounding a bit upset.
“I didn’t think that it was a bother, I was actually gave her what she wants.”
“That’s not how we bring her up. These sweets are going to give her tummy troubles and it also makes her hyperactive because of the sugar.” He said.
Anita placed her hand on his shoulder and said.
“I am really sorry, I just wanted to make her feel better. Her arm was hurting…”
“No, I apologize, I shouldn’t have spoken to you that way. I am sorry.” Madu said.
“It’s okay, you’re being a very protective father and your daughter is so lucky to have you.” She said.
“Daddy, can I skip school tomorrow? I want to come here.” Kamsi said.
“Of course you can come here any time you want.” Anita said sweetly.
“C’mon Anita, you can’t give her so much hope.”
“I thought you said no one stays with her at home. Why don’t you tell her school management to let her school bus drop her off at this office after school every day? Then after work, you guys can go home together.”
“You’re too kind Anita and I can’t infringe on your generosity.”
“That’s not a problem Madu, we are old friends and good friends at that and now that we are working together, we are family.” Anita said.
The way Anita spoke with such longing made Madu realize that even with all the money, power and class, she might be extremely lonely.
“That’s okay then…I’ll talk to her mom and then speak with the school management.” Madu said then turning to his daughter he said. “Kam, you still have to go to school tomorrow.”
Kamsi didn’t look too pleased with her father’s verdict.
Soon, Madu and Anita began talking about his new role and business.
Stella alighted from Duncan’s car and walked into her house, his driver, Greg, had complained a little about the roads leading to her house and the traffic too and she had been tongue-tied, she wished she could move out of the squalor they lived in.
She pushed open the door to the house and the aroma from the kitchen hit her nostrils. Was something cooking? She thought to herself.
Madu emerged from the kitchen with a smile on his face.
“Someone wise told me never to go to bed angry and I…made that mistake with you last night. I’m sorry.” He said.
Stella’s breath caught in her throat, she smiled and walked over to hug him.
“I’m the one who should apologize. I am really sorry Madu…I should have handled things better…It’s just that with the stress at work and everything, things haven’t been so easy.”
“I’m making jollof rice with croaker fish.” He said with a smile.
Stella looked at him in surprise.
“Where did you get the money? Did you get your severance pay?”
“Nope! It’s better than that! I started a new job today and I was given my allowance for the week.”
“What? Oh my goodness! This is great news!” Stella said giving him a hug.
“Yes it is…”
“I thought Kamsi stayed home today, how did you manage it?”
“Well, I have a very good boss who didn’t mind that I brought her with me. In fact, the whole staff are smitten with her and my boss said that Kamsi’s bus can drop her off at my office instead of the house so that we could come home together since I close at six.”
Stella’s eyes widened.
“Wow! That’s so good to be true…my goodness!” Stella said. “So what’s your role? Tell me…what’s your role at the office?”
“I’m the P.A to the boss.” He said.
“Is the boss female or male?” Stella asked.
“Female.” Madu said, skipping the part that his boss was his long-time girlfriend, Anita.
Stella knew Anita so well, and she knew how close they used to be till his aunt sent her packing from his life.
“I don’t like the job.”
“What do you mean by you don’t like the job?”
“So, when people ask me what my husband does for a living, I’ll tell them that he’s the P.A to some lady?”
“Hey! She’s a woman like you and what’s wrong with being a male P.A?”
“Open your eyes Madu, she might really like you and soon, we’ll be singing another song.”
Madu laughed and hugged his wife.
“You’re jealous huh?” He said tickling her.
Stella laughed and pushed his hands away.
“Says who? I’m just stating the obvious.” She said.
Madu lifted her chin with his hands and said.
“When I made the vow before God’s altar and said it’s for better or worse, I meant every word of it. If a new job or a boss is going to make me cheat on my wife, I’d resign. I’ll never ever cheat on you baby…never.” He said and pulled her to him for a hug.
Stella hugged him back and felt tears sting her eyelids, here she was questioning her husband while she was actually on the verge of cheating on him. What an evil person she was, she thought.
For the first time in a long while, Madu, Stella and Kamsi ate dinner like a normal family. Kamsi told tales in between meals, leaving out the stories of her fairy god-mother. For the first time in a long while, Madu and Stella, made love like man and wife.
Cherry was bursting with excitement, she rushed upstairs brimming with good news. She pushed open the door to her house and saw everyone looking so sober.
“Hey guys…what’s up?” She asked.
Diamond was seated by her mother and handing her some medicine while Jerry was massaging his mother’s feet with balm.
“What happened here?” Cherry asked.
No one answered her.
“Well, since you are all being gloomy, I’d like to tell you something that would cheer everyone up! So, today, my fiance…got me a car!” She said in glee.
“Which one?” Diamond spat.
“Oh you mean the kind of car?”
Diamond stood up and walked up to her.
“I meant which of the fiance?”
“Don’t use that tone on me, Diamond.”
“I’ll use whatever tone I want on you! Look at the havoc you’ve caused!”
“Diamond…please leave your sister and I alone, same with you Jerry.” Their mother said.
Cherry looked at her mother in surprise, her siblings left the sitting room and went into the house.
“Cherry, sit down.” Her mother said.
Cherry sat, wondering what was going on.
“I don’t believe you’re ten years old or twelve or even fifteen…you are a mature young adult who very soon, should have a family of her own.”
Cherry was puzzled, she wondered why her mother was talking this way.
“Today, I was almost beaten up by Mitch’s mother and sister.”
“What? How dare they?” Cherry screamed jumping to her feet.
“Sit down!” Her mother fired at her.
Cherry sat down.
“They came here with a claim that you accepted their son’s proposal while you are still engaged to someone else. Cherry, I’ve spoken to you about this, I begged you to tell Mitch the truth and move on with Sean if that’s who you want or tell Sean the truth and move on with Mitch but you refused. Now, Mitch’s family came here with the full intent of disrespecting our home. I have tried so hard to bring you up, and now, you are big enough to make your own decisions that’s why I’ve made my decision.”
Cherry stared at her mother.
“I give you tomorrow to return one ring to its owner or leave this house for good. I won’t let you drag my good name to the mud.”
“Mitch’s mother came here to what?” Cherry started.
“Don’t give me that rubbish talk! Don’t veer from the topic at hand, Cherry, you caused this. If they’d killed me today, you’d have been the cause of it all, so don’t go plucking the speck in another’s eye when a large plank is in yours.”
“I see that everyone in this house is against me, and I don’t blame anyone. Right from childhood, I’ve
always been favored even by my dad.” Cherry said. “I see that no one wants to hear my side so, I’m going to my room.”
“Cherry, you have just one day!” Her mother said.
“And this is not the only roof available in Lagos. Is it?” Cherry said and stormed off into the room.
Mitch’s parents were eating dinner when Mitch ran out of his room like an enraged animal.
“Mom! How dare you? How dare you mom?” Mitch shouted at his mother.
“What has gotten into you Mitch? Why are you shouting at your mother like that?” His father asked in displeasure.
“You went to Cherry’s house and almost killed her mother? My future mother in-law?” Mitch stressed.
Mitch’s father looked at his wife.
“What’s all this about?” His father asked.
Angel walked into the sitting room and folded her arms under her breasts and said.
“Yes, mom and I went to pass a message and from the look of it, our message was well received.”
Mitch stormed up to his sister and gave her two loud slaps on her cheeks. Angel jumped on him and clawed him with her nails, biting and scratching. Mitch’s parents hurried over to stop the sibling fight.
“How dare you? How dare all of you?” Mitch screamed like an animal.
“Can anyone tell me what’s going on here?” His father asked.
“Mitch is currently engaged to Cherry who is also engaged to someone else and we’ve been trying to tell him to no avail.” Angel said as she fought back the tears.
“Does that make you guys his protector of some sort to go and fight for him? Mitch is a man, if he refuses to listen, let him make his own mistakes. Don’t go fighting for him. What if the police had been involved in this? Do you know how the both of you look? You look like uncultured people!” His dad said to his mother and sister.
“Cherry’s mother is asthmatic and they ruffled her up badly.” Mitch said.
“What? The both of you are going there to apologize to them.” His dad said.
“Over my dead body!” Mitch’s mother said. “I went there to make my voice heard. I went there to show Cherry’s mother that Mitch has a family who’ll stand up for him. It’s a pity that Mitch is so stupid to believe otherwise.”
“You had no right to go there and cause trouble, mom.” Mitch said.
“I wash my hands off you…if that girl kills you, so be it.” His mother said and walked away.
“You’re going to regret this…” His sister said and walked away.
Mitch rushed to drag her but his father restrained him.
“Don’t be a fool.” His father said.
Cherry sat in her room and cried, she stared at the two rings in her hands and cried some more.
“I’ll never let go of the two of you…I love Sean because he provides for me, he takes care of all my needs. he’s every girl’s dream man. And Mitch, he’s the love of my life, he’s my innocent love and even though his not rich, he really cares for me. If only I can merge the both of you into one man. If only I can marry the both of you. But I would never return any of my rings and neither would I let you guys go, somehow, I’ll find a way to keep the both of you by my side forever.”
To be continued on Friday….
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