Ella kicked the shoes off her feet as soon as she got into
her car, leaving the door ajar. She breathed a sigh of relief as she stared at
her toes. Her shoes were too tight and she couldn’t complain to anyone, not to
her parents, or her siblings or even her fiancé who hadn’t arrived yet at the
registry. She massaged the sides of her head with her fingers and closed her
eyes as she tried to focus on the good side of things. First, she was getting
married at twenty-seven years to her best friend, the man who dotted her ‘i’
and crossed her ‘t’ her knight in shinny armour- well, perhaps not too shiny
but he was a knight in his own way. She opened her eyes and stared at her feet
and reached over to massage them with her palms, and just then, she heard a
rip.

“My God! What was that?” She asked aloud as her hand flew to
her back and touched the soft lace fabric which had been tailored to perfectly
fit her slender curves. The zip had ripped. “My good Lord!” She hissed. “Not today
Lord, not on my wedding day!” She cried out in alarm.
She heard the clicks of expensive heels on pavement as her
younger sister, Tamara, walked up to her car.
“I told you we were going to get here early…we should have
waited a bit longer. Besides, it’s just a court wedding.” Her sister, said to
her with a frown.
Ella looked up at her sister who was three years younger
than she was and who was so different from her that people found it hard,
believing they were sisters. Her sister, Tamara Lawson, was high-class,
sophisticated and cultured to the teeth, she was best described as the ‘high maintenance
chick!’ She was very materialistic, elegant and never mixed with people she
considered below their social standing.
Being the daughter of a top judge was no easy feat as their
father made sure he spoiled his children with everything money could buy. Their
mother was no exception; being at the forefront of the health sector of the
country made her wealthy in her own right and her three children; Ella, Tamara
and Justice were her top priority.
Ella sighed and shook her head at her sister.
“I am the bride and I’m supposed to be here on time.” She
said.
“Well…so? If I knew that I’d be here earlier than the
groom and standing outside under the sun, I’d have tarried at home. The sun is
already out and my sunscreen can only protect me for sixty minutes. What will
happen if my skin gets burnt?”
“You’ll go for a skin pampering session and you’d be fine.”
Ella murmured, then touched the back of her dress again in worry.
“What is it? Why are you frowning? Do you know it could
cause you wrinkles and you could age quickly? You should smile even when you’re
worried.”
“My zip ripped!”
Her sister’s eyes widened like saucers.
“Your zip what?” She screamed drawing the attention of their
mother who was speaking to their father beside their car.
Ella sighed and shook her head, her sister was very
dramatic. Her mother rushed over to them in panic.
“What’s wrong? Ella! Tamara! Talk to me. Is the sun too hot?
Are you guys getting sick? Is the….” Their mother asked in panic.
“Calm down mummy, my zip just ripped and trust Tamara to get
over dramatic about it.” Ella said with a frown.
“Doesn’t that say something? Doesn’t that tell you
something?” Tamara said in a half-scream.
“What does that tell me?” Ella asked her sister.
“It reeks of a bad omen! Something is not right! You’re
rushing with the wedding…it’s…” Tamara said in a panic.
“Hey…cut it out darling. I can fix this. It’s just a
rip…I’ll go look for a pin….” Ella said already bored over her sister’s
attitude.
“No, stay in the car, I’ll tell the driver to go look for a
pin or better still look for a tailor who can help you fix it.” Her mother
said. “Bend over and let me see the rip.” Her mother said.
Ella bent over towards the dashboard of her car and her
mother inspected the rip.
“Don’t worry, it’s not too bad…I’ll have the driver get a
safety pin.” Her mother said.
“Thanks mom.” Ella smiled at her mother in gratitude.
As soon as her mother left, Tamara continued.
“You should have gotten that Stella McCartney dress we saw
in London. You are just being so stingy with money that you’ve refused to spoil
yourself and splurge.”
“I’ve told you that Jacob and I are on a budget…we’re just
starting life and I shouldn’t be spending the way I used to when daddy’s money
was at my beck and call.”
“It’s still at your beck and call, if only you’d accept it.
Daddy says you refused to take the sum he gave you to support the
wedding…that’s totally ridiculous.” Tamara said.
Ella wanted to reply but a noisy vehicle interrupted her
reply. A white rickety bus sauntered into the registry conveying an overload of
people. The bus stopped and Jacob alighted from the front passenger seat of the
bus.
“Here comes the in-laws.” Tamara said with a hint of sarcasm.
“Will you shut up?” Ella said sounding hurt.
“I don’t know why of all the men in the universe, you had to
settle for a penniless urchin.” Tamara said.
“Don’t you dare!” Ella warned as she got off her car and
slammed the door.
“Hey calm down sis…don’t take out your anger on the poor
car…” Tamara said raising her hands in mock surrender.
Jacob saw Ella and smiled as he walked over to meet her. He
reached her and pulled her to him for a hug.
“I’m sorry we’re late honey…the traffic was terrible.” He
said. “Hello Tamara.” He greeted her his future sister in-law. Tamara didn’t
reply, she was staring at him from head to toe in disbelief.
“It’s okay darling, I understand. You guys had to come all
the way from Ajanbgadi and the registry is close to my house here in Ikoyi, so
it’s understandable that we’re here on time and you’re a bit late..” Ella said.
Jacob nodded and mopped the sweat off his face with a brown handkerchief.
“Let me quickly go and greet your dad and mom.” He said to
her and walked over to meet her parents.
Tamara watched him go and shook her head in disbelief, she
wondered what her sister saw in Jacob that she was willing to leave her life of
plenty to suffer miserably in poverty because no matter how her sister tried to
cover up for him, she could tell that the young man had no dime to his name.
****************
Zach stood before the altar of God and held Jessica’s left
palm up and said the words.
“Jessica, take this ring to show my love and sincerity…in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.”
The thunderous applause from the audience almost split the
ground in two. Jessica repeated her vows and pushed the ring into her husband’s
finger and they were bound as man and wife.
“Well…you may now kiss the bride.” The officiating
minister said.
Jessica was delighted as she watched Zach lift up the veil
and inched his head closer to hers for a long kiss.
“Thank you very much newlyweds…you can continue in the
other room.” The minister said jokingly when the kiss had prolonged for too
long.
The whole church burst into laughter as the couple blushed
and broke the kiss. Shortly, the wedding ceremony at the church was over and
everyone was headed outside to take pictures. Zach walked hand in hand with his
wife, receiving congrats from everyone while Jessica smiled shyly as she
accepted everyone’s congrats.
Zach’s phone vibrated and he brought it out from his pocket
and said to his wife.
“Baby, can I take this call? It’s quite important.” He said.
“Who is it? Doesn’t the person know that it’s your wedding
day?” She asked with a worried frown.
“It’s business…don’t worry, I’ll be back soon.” He said
and walked away from her to take the call.
As Zach walked away towards the car park, a lot of guests
greeted him and congratulated him. He waved at them and quickly walked over to
the quiet car park to take his call.
“Hello darling…” He said into the phone.
“Hi babe…I’ve been calling you since last night. Where
have you been?” Queen asked frantically.
“I…I’m fine…I haven’t seen your missed calls. What’s up?
Is Junior okay? Is he sick?”
“No…he’s not sick…it’s just that I was calling because I
had to make a quick decision between yesterday and this morning and I needed to
hear your thoughts about it.” Queen said.
“What is it?” He asked.
“My company is short of staff in Lagos so, I was asked to
fill in for a while…it’s just for a while till they get a replacement.” She
said.
“What?”
“You know how much I love Calabar since my family is here
and for quite some time now, I’ve been thinking that I haven’t been fair to
you. Since we got married four years ago, I have refused to move to Lagos and we
both decided to have a long distance marriage which…has been okay by you
since you’re such an understanding husband. But lately, I feel that it’s God’s
will that I come to Lagos because that’s where you’re based and also, Junior
can see you from time to time because we’ll be living together like a family.”
“What?” Zach spat.
“All you’ve said since I told you that I’m on my way to
Lagos is ‘what’. Is anything wrong?”
“You’re on your way to Lagos?” He squeaked.
“Yes, I’m about boarding the plane with Junior. We leave
Calabar in approximately ten minutes. Are you coming to pick us up at the
airport?”
“What?” He asked again.
“Zacchery! Is everything okay? Why are you giving me
monotones?”
“It’s errrmmm…I’m not in Lagos right now…I travelled to
Ghana for a business trip and…errrm…I won’t be back for a while. How long
are you staying in Lagos?”
“I have no idea, but wait…did you say you’re in Ghana? How
come I know nothing about it? Zach, I’m your wife and I should know about your
goings and comings. Why did you keep such information from me?”
“Picture time! Groom! Please come for your pictures!” The
wedding organizer called out as she hurried up to him.
“Yes…groom…where’s the groom, your pictures…go for
your pictures!” Zach shouted at the top of his voice while waving the wedding
organizer away.
“Are you at a wedding?” Queen asked. “Why are you calling
out to the groom?”
“Yes I am…errm…one of my client’s brother is
errm…getting married and errm…I am there…” He said.
“So who’s going to pick us up at the airport? The human
resources manager knows that my husband stays in Lagos so I wasn’t given any accommodation.”
She said worriedly.
“Stay at a hotel…tell them to sort you out for a while…I
mean…tell them to give you a place to stay….I err…I errm…will contact
you soon. I have to go now. I love you honey…” He said and hung up.
As soon as he slipped the phone into his pocket, he let out
a low groan and shut his eyes tight. His wife was on her way to Lagos and he
needed a good explanation as to the reason she couldn’t stay in his place.
He surely couldn’t tell her that he just got married to
someone else.
To be continued tomorrow….

 

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