The Marriage Ultimatum

TMU EPISODES

TM David-West

FIVE

 

Kaine felt like she was a helpless spectator watching a poorly written screenplay. They were at the Registry and waiting for their turn to take their vows. It seemed so surreal that she should be at a Registry waiting to exchange marriage vows with a man she’d met just two days ago.

She’d spent the entire night asking herself—and God—if she really knew what she was doing? There had been no answer, none that was satisfying. None that made her feel more at peace with what she was about to do.

She’d begged God for a miracle that Dominic would call her and say he’d had a rethink and there was no need for them to marry. She’d prayed that, by some divinely prompted miracle, Anwuli would return and stop her from entering into this covenant that already felt like a noose around her neck.

But her prayers—desperate as they were—hadn’t been answered. When morning came, she’d had to face the fact that there was no choice, none other that made sense to her except to marry Dominic Kojo-Edwards and to continue to pretend that she was her sister and the mother of her sister’s son.

She’d wanted to wear black for the ceremony. It had, after all, felt like her life was over and she was going to her own funeral. But Juliet had vehemently protested and had dug out her box-pleated, just-below-the-knees, high-neckline rose-pink dress. It was the best dress in her wardrobe and ironically, it had been a last-Christmas gift from Anwuli. As were the three-inch heeled sandals Juliet had forced on her feet.

She felt ridiculous standing at the halls of a seemingly ordinary public office wearing a girlish dress and having a rose-shaped clip fastened to her hair. The clip, like the silver choker and tiny studs on her ears were gifts from Juliet. She’d given them to her that morning and had brushed aside her protests with a jocular—it’s my big sister’s right.

It had almost made her weep, hearing her say that. Anwuli had always been her big sister, even though there was just a year’s difference between them. She had looked up to her, admired her—wished she’d had her single-minded drive, her fearlessness to pursue whatever she wanted.

She’d always thought that when she finally met the man God had designed for her, the man of her dreams, and was marrying him, that it would be Anwuli standing next to her as her chief bridesmaid.

But that was not to be. She was getting married—to keep Anwuli’s baby with her—and her sister was faraway, God knows where, searching for a man who was dead.

What an irony!

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The Marriage Ultimatum

TMU EPISODES

TM David-West

Four

“I don’t know what I’m going to do!” Kaine wailed, distraught as she stared at Juliet and her husband, Udo. “My God, what can I do? What am I going to do? He says it’s either I marry him or he and his family take me to court to get custody of Baby Tobi. And then he threatened me with how wealthy and ruthless his family is. He was so pompous, so insolent, so annoying and so… so pompous!” She felt enraged as she recalled the man that had at first sight dazzled her with his great looks and then ended up infuriating her with his sheer arrogance.

“You said pompous twice.” Juliet pointed out with a smile, trying to ease the tension.

“That is because he has too much of that quality swimming inside his big head!” Kaine snapped, springing up to her feet and clasping her hands firmly together because she felt tempted to grab something and just throw it.

She could feel the anger vibrating through her. She should be home. It was almost eight pm and she and Baby Tobi should be home and preparing for bed. But she’d come here straight after the… the pompous ass had left because she’d been desperate to confide in someone and she’d known that unless she found a solution she wouldn’t get any sleep.

And the infuriating man had said he’d be back tomorrow morning for his answer.

“He said his family never loses. And I don’t doubt that they’d win if we go to court… my God, this is Nigeria and even if they are not Nigerians, they are wealthy and I am sure they have connections here and they’d know how to influence lawyers, judges… darn it, they’d know how to make people… everyone dance to their tune!” Kaine threw up her hands and then pressed them to her mouth, groaning helplessly into them.

“Hey, calm down and sit.” Juliet walked over to take her by the shoulder and walked her back to the high-back sofa. She sat her down and joined her in it. “You have to be calm, so we can think things through. There’s got to be a solution.”

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The Marriage Ultimatum

TMU EPISODES

TM David-West

Three

 

“Dominic Kojo-Edwards?” Kaine stared at him in confusion. She’d expected Tobi. He looked exactly like the man she’d seen in the pictures Anwuli had shown her. They had to be brothers. They had to be with such an uncanny resemblance. But why was he here? How did he even know where they lived? “I’m sorry. I wasn’t expecting…” She shook her head, still confused.

“Miss Nwaolisa, I suggest you invite me inside so we can talk. I have travelled a long way and what I have to say cannot be said at the door.” His voice was authoritative and arrogant. Kaine found herself stiffening.

She didn’t need a soothsayer to tell her that he was a man used to giving orders and having them obeyed too. But he didn’t right to give her any others, so she banished the nerves and jutted out her chin. “I would like to know why you are here before I let you inside my house. I was, after all, not expecting you.”

Something flickered in his eyes. Annoyance no doubt, but Kaine didn’t care. “Miss Nwaolisa, I insist that we talk inside. And I insist we do so now.”

Kaine bristled and almost hissed at the tyrannical manner. There was no doubt in her mind that the man must be a bully. She didn’t know why she was insisting they talk outside. She didn’t feel the least bit threatened by him, despite his very masculine physique and she knew it was the polite thing to do to invite him inside but it was just that his cold, dominating manner peeved her.

She sniffed and stepped back from the door. “Well, I guess you can come in.” She needed to check her soup on the stove anyway.

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The Marriage Ultimatum

TMU EPISODES

TM David-West

Two

 

Kaine still wasn’t sure she’d heard correctly. “You are… pregnant?” She stared at Anwuli uncomprehendingly.

Anwuli blinked, swiped off the tears with her knuckle and nodded. “Yes, I am pregnant, Kaine. I am having a baby.” She added as if it make it clearer.

Kaine blew out a breath. She continued to stare at Anwuli. She didn’t know what to think—what to say. What was the right thing to say in these situations? How did it happen? She needn’t ask that. She knew how babies were made. Was the right question who—who was responsible for the pregnancy?

“Don’t judge me, Kaine.” Anwuli murmured, her voice piteous. “I know we were supposed to wait until we were married. It was how mummy counselled us. And I really wanted to. He was my first. My only.” The tears started to come again.

Overwhelmed with compassion, Kaine rose and went around the table to wrap a hand about her. “Of course, I’m not judging you, Anwi. How could you think that? You’re my sister and I love you and will stand by you no matter what.”

Anwuli nodded, held onto her hand. “We met two days after our arrival in Johannesburg.” She started to explain. “Some of the cast and crew had decided to go to a bar and nightclub not from where our hotel and they cajoled me to join them. Whilst many of them danced or mingled with others patrons there, I simply sat in my corner enjoying my drink. He came over to where I was sitting and starting chatting with me. Kaine, I swear he was the most handsome man I ever saw in my life. He was of mixed parentage and had this rolling accent… I was just blown away.”

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The Marriage Ultimatum

EPISODES: Two. Three. Four.

I am so, so sorry I’ve been absent… again! These are hectic times for me so please bear with me. Ego and Favouriteshades, pardon my forgetting your birthdays please. Today’s chapter of our new story, The Marriage Ultimatum is dedicated to both of you. And the story in its entirety dedicated to all of you, dear reader, and especially to all who take the time to always leave a word. God bless you all.

TM David-West

One

 

As the last of the distant relatives and not-quite-close friends mourners drifted out of the house and through the gates, Kaine breathed more easily.

She didn’t really feel relief—or comfort. She was too aggrieved, too sad, too empty to feel relief. She just felt exhausted and wanted, needed to be alone again. It had been one horrible week. One week that has changed her life forever. One minute she’d been a simple, not overly ambitious young lady of just twenty—well, not even twenty as her birthday was next month. But she’d been young and content and full of dreams and had a father. She’d had her father.

And now, he was gone.

Gone in an accident that had been sudden and fatal. An inebriated truck driver who’d also died had crashed into her father’s car as he made his way back home from the office. That was how the Police had put it, along with other details Kaine didn’t have use of. The only worthy information was that her father was gone; taken from her by a cruel stroke of fate.

Kaine rose from the rather worn couch and trudged to the light switch to turn it off. It was early yet, just barely six-thirty and she knew the night was still too young to go to bed but she needed rest—yet, she knew she wouldn’t get any. But a lie down would do her good. She should have some of the rice Aunty Colette had brought along.

She wasn’t really her aunt; just a distant cousin of her father’s.

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Too Little, Too LATE

TLTL EPISODES

too little,too late 3

Chapter Eight

 

They were both on the balcony. There was no power and since Esosa wasn’t in the mood to bear the noise of the generating set, he’d chosen instead to join her on the balcony for some fresh air.

The night air was cool though not breezy but they were both grateful for the freshness it presented whilst enjoying the oranges Prisca was peeling.

“So, you finally saw the wife?” Esosa mused, turning the orange in his hand inside-out, so he could eat the carpels.

“I was almost astounded seeing her out there in their yard.” Prisca chattered, still very pleased with her encounter with Priscilla Williams. “She was making her way back to their backyard when I saw her. When I called out to her and she turned, she looked positively shocked. Like she was taken aback with my appearance. It was as if my presence made her apprehensive.”

“Maybe she was just startled.” Esosa suggested.

Prisca pursed her lips thoughtfully. That was possible, though she’d perceived a certain nerviness in the young lady. “Maybe. I guess she might have been startled.” She conceded. “She’s quite a pretty too… in fact, beautiful. Possibly in her mid-twenties. She’s a little too slim though—well, not according to their stick-slim size-zero generation, I’m sure. But too slim for my liking apart, she is indeed beautiful. Had this oval, miniature angelic face with a perfectly spotless caramel complexion. There was a tint on her cheeks.”

Her forehead creased as she remembered. “It looked something like an old bruise. Or maybe too much use of blusher. Though she didn’t quite look like the too much makeup type. And she’d had a plaster on her chin.” She’d wanted to ask her how she’d gotten the wound but had restrained herself, so as not to appear too inquisitive.

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Too little, Too LATE

TLTL EPISODES: Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. Twelve.

too little,too late 3

Chapter One

 

Prisca Denton sat on her balcony. It was one of her pleasures when the day’s work was done and the evening hombre sky had swallowed up the sun.

It was mid-November so the sun shone bright and fierce during the day. It also meant the nights were mostly warm, sometimes even stifling hot. It was why she enjoyed her breeze-hour on the balcony.

Not that there was much breeze tonight but she had her hand-fan to help the process and that sufficed.

She could have stayed inside, at least the Power company was generous this evening. But despite the ceiling fan blowing at top speed inside the living room, she preferred the noiseless, solitude of her balcony.

The quiet peace was of course disturbed, every now and then, by a dissatisfied grunt or a yell of triumph from Esosa as he watched his football match but she wasn’t bothered by it. It was all part of the familiarity she welcomed in the quiet night.

Their neighbourhood, a little outskirt of the Benin ancient city, was quiet almost to the point of isolation. Again, she didn’t mind it. She had lived in various Nigerian cities in the course of Esosa’s working years as a federal civil servant and now retired, she considered it a long-earned pleasure to have some privacy.

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