Episode 15

Even though Tony thought it would be risky for Richard to drive the car by himself, his warnings fell on deaf ears and he quickly threw himself at the passengers seat beside Richard. He drove like a mad man cursing all the witches behind him, home and abroad and also prayed that nothing serious had happened.

They got there safely much to Tony’s relief and ran into the hospital in top speed. They saw Prisca first and while tony stayed behind to find out what happened, Richard proceeded into the room belina was taken to and found her on the bed already being attended to by the third doctor in the hospital. He noticed the cut on her head and knew that though the cut looked deep, it could not do any damage to her brain and he heaved a sigh of relief. He touched her neck and discovered that it was very hot and was taken aback. He knew that she definitely could not have developed that degree of temperature by just hitting her head so he thought it best to find out what really happened to her. When Doctor Deolu discovered that he was a little bit intimate with the new psychologist in his actions, he did not allow him to treat her despite all that Richard said. Richard waited and monitored the doctor until he was sure that the doctor had done all that needs to be done so he kissed Belina’s forehead and left the room.

He got to where Tony, Prisca and Prisca’s parents were in the waiting room and started seeking explanation. Tony, after calming him down, led him towards his office in order to give him the explanation he needs but they hadn’t taken three steps when Richard’s gaze fell on someone and he stopped immediately. “Is that not Belina’s father?” he asked. “Yes… No… I mean, you don’t understanding” Tony was saying but Richard was beyond hearing as he matched towards Mr Badmus and would have blown the life out of him if Mr Jegas and Tony hadn’t held him back and the hospital workers around the scene were wide eyed but Richard did not give a damn. Tony dragged Richard to his office and after they both calmed down, he explained everything that Belina had encountered to Richard and Richard became bitter. He thought about what Belina had passed through and his heart ached to kiss her hard until all the hurt she felt had seeped out of her.

They both sat down silently for some minutes and was joined by Prisca who was very tired. Tony saw the strain in her eyes and begged her to sleep but she refused. Richard also supported Tony and with two formidable forces like they were, she had to succumb. She slept on the long couch in the office while tony stayed there watching at her sleep like a baby.

Richard left the office for Belina’s room to check on her and stood there looking upon her beauty as she slept. He sat beside her and buried his hands in her rich black hair; the hair he had so wished to feel against his fingers for close to two weeks now. He had tactfully warded off the people in the waiting room in order to be alone with her and also for her to have enough time to herself before seeing those people heart breaking people. He kissed her forehead again and so hungrily wanted to kiss something more but he held himself back. His eyes started closing after some minutes and he opened them reluctantly but when it became evident that he needed a good sleep, he made for his office where he slept with one eye closed.

**********

Prisca opened her eyes after a very enjoyable sleep and she stretched lazily. Working as a banker had made her wake up early, no matter the time she slept. It took her a while to remember where she was and why she was there and when she did, she jerked up to leave the office but a text message which entered Belina’s phone distracted her. She picked up the phone and since Belina does not hide anything from her, she scrolled through the phone. She left the messages unread for belina to do justice to them herself and saw 43 missed calls. The missed calls came from Tony, Richard, Wole and Brenda. She knew them all; wole being one of Belina’s friends who had invited her to the concert she went for and Brenda was the girl that Belina would be mentoring. She saw the amount of times that Richard and tony had called and smiled to herself. She remembered the day that Tony had proposed to her and her smile grew wider, it was such a glorious day.

She had been coming back from work after a very long day and was very tired. Luckily for her, she had taken her dad’s small car (baby boy) to work so the trouble of entering public buses was eliminated.

She got home and instead of her opening the gate, the gate opened just as she got there and she was so surprised. She packed the car and turned to look at the new gate man which her dad had hired after years of pleading but did not see anyone. She got to the house puzzled but did not get to open the door when the door opened of its own accord. The alarm started sounding in her head and she was beginning to think she had turned to a ghost when suddenly, the lights were turned on and she saw so many people in the hall like sitting room. Her sitting room now looked like a party hall and she stared at the faces in extreme surprise. It was not her birthday or any special day but she saw both her friends and Tony’s friends and she knew he was behind this. She started searching for him but was whisked away by her friends who dressed her up and didn’t allow her to lift a pin though they refused to answer her numerous questions.

She felt like the queen of England when she got back to the hall-like party ground and was being ushered by well dressed friends of Tony. She walked on the red carpet while photographers chimed their cameras and she felt on top of the world. She walked to the multicolored curtain ahead of her not knowing what she was going there to do but just as she got there, the curtain lifted and there stood Tony beside a table for two. He looked so handsome and her mind was fully blown away when Tony walked up to her and gave her a mind scattering kiss while the audience clapped and shouted merrily taking pictures. He broke off the kiss leaving her breathless and looked into her eyes. “You must be hungry”, he said softly and unable to utter a word, she nodded and he took her to her seat, pulling it back for her. They ate and chatted all the way, she was truly famished and the food seemed to be made in heaven. A phone call distracted her very special date and she became angry that she hadn’t removed the phone, or did she? She was searching for the phone when suddenly, all the lights went off leaving a searchlight focused on them. She looked at Tony and found him on his knees with that shinning little thing in his hand. She could not hold back the tears as she stared at him.

Prisca stared at the sparkling gold ring on her fingers and her heart pounded with love. She had been afraid that she would be kidnapped because of the ring but thank God for giving her joy and adding no sorrow. She stood up and went out of the office, moving towards Belina’s room but as she went, she saw her mother and father sitting separately so she decided to play her card as the peace maker.

**********

Richard jumped up from the couch with a start and discovered it was already 6:30am. He never knew he could sleep that long without the usual nightmare especially after his encounter the previous day and he said a prayer of thanks to God. He hurried off to the bathroom in his office there to wash his face before going to check on Belina. Immediately he stepped out of the bathroom, he heard a knock and was startled because Tony does not knock before entering. He asked whoever it was to come in and in came Tonia. He stood rock still but instead of being afraid, he was prepared to bind her with the Holy Ghost fire if she would not leave him alone. His talk with Tony made him realize that he would be losing the love of his life if he did not get over Tonia.

“Tonia, please leave me alone. My life has been miserable enough with you enveloping my senses. Please go back to the land of the dead “, he pleaded Tonia moved closer,
“Richard, I am not dead. I did not die then, please understand. Feel my hands, my legs, everything so that you would know that I am real”, she said. Richard said a silent prayer in his heart and reached out to touch her and was very surprised that his hands held real flesh and not just air.

“what… where…” he was saying confused when Tonia threw her arms around him and enveloped him in a hug he knew too well. Just then, the door opened and Tony entered. He stood poised at the door when he saw the person standing with Richard and looked like he was about to pee in his trousers. “Ghost” he yelled
Tonia smiled, “no, I am not a ghost Tony”, she said and after a few minutes of trying to convince Tony, he finally entered and shut the door. They all sat down and Tonia opened a chapter of talk about how she had opened her eyes to a new hospital in another country. Her father, who had never supported her relationship with Richard was the one who flew her abroad, orchestrating the story that she was dead.

Richard sighed in total relief and said, “I have not had a day of sleep without nightmares ever since you departed. I never got over the fact that I had called you over to my place when you got involved in that accident”. “I told you then that it was not your fault. Now, I am back; my dad saw that he could not hold me any longer cos my heart is here with you so he let me go”, she said. The only problem was that Richard no longer had feelings for her; his entire heart was with the beauty on the sick bed.

Richard found it hard to say anything as he watched Tonia talk endlessly. Tony, like the good friend he was and talked with her and it was not so obvious that he was silent. Richard remembered his promise to her and his lifestyle of always keeping his promises but did not give a damn anymore so he decided to take the bull by the horn.
“Tonia, please listen to me. Sitting here beside you after years of thinking that you are dead is still so strange to me. I cherish you so much because you know that I loved you so much but I can’t deceive you or myself anymore. I am in love with someone else. I know you would think that I am not a man of my words but when you think about our time together, you would see that I always keep my promises. I have kept your promises thus far but now, I have come across a lady that refused to leave my head and she does not even know it. I am sorry”, Richard said.
He had recited everything not looking directly into her eyes but when he finished, he saw her smiling slightly. He saw the pain behind the smile but the smile was still a surprise, he had expected something far worse. “You are smiling?” he asked puzzled and uncomfortable.
“Yes I am Richard. I won’t deny that I am very sad you are gone but I half expected it when I was coming back but I still had to try it first. You are the best person that anyone can ever have Richard but I understand. Is this woman of yours a certain young Psychologist?” she asked taking Richard and Tony by surprise.
“How did you know that?”
She smiled slightly, “I heard you talking to Tony last night. After you locked me out, I could not just leave like that so I decided to pass the night at your door step but when I heard someone coming, I hid myself and Tony went in. I went back to your door and was intent on hearing what you were saying because I was worried that you were a little over the edge, maybe my visit was more bad than I had imagined but instead, I heard a whole chapter of confession of love from your mouth, only that it was not love for me”, she said. Richard was speechless and could not say anything so Tonia continued, “I know that I still love you but it is so obvious that you don’t love me anymore and it is alright, fine, erm *coughs* can I see the girl you love?” she asked. Richard was elated and since he had been looking for a way to escape to Belina’s room, they all stood up and went there together.

**********

I woke up and the first thing I perceived was the strong smell of medicine washing over my face. My eyes popped open and I scanned the beautiful room I was in and after seeing some gadgets, I knew that I was in a hospital. Why? I thought and just then, a doctor walked in and I recognized him instantly as Doctor Deolu. He smiled when he found me awake. “How are you feeling miss?” he asked.

I opened my stiff mouth to talk but was immediately interrupted by the door and when I looked in that direction, I saw Richard, Tony and a lady. Who is this lady, I wondered and when I saw her hold Richard’s hand tenderly as they moved closer, jealousy sprang up in me and I scolded myself immediately. Richard got to me and a happy smile replaced his earlier on worrisome gaze. I looked around for Doctor Deolu but he was nowhere to be found.

“What am I dong here?” I asked in a faint voice looking up at Richard’s face.
“You just had a minor fall; you hit your head and was brought here. You just need to rest dear”, he said.
The word ‘dear’ stuck in my head and I didn’t know why. I need to get a hold of myself, I thought. Everything that happened to me some hours ago came back to me like a mighty river and I became edgy. Richard must have seen it because he placed his hands on my shoulders soothingly. I tried to sit up but I was pushed back by Richard gently. I noticed the jealousy in the eyes of the lady with the side of my eyes and smiled internally.

Richard apologized for his manner after some minutes and said, “Tonia, meet Belina the psychologist and Belina meet Tonia, my friend” I noticed the little wince from Tonia before she said ‘hi’ and I knew that there was more to this than the eye meets. Richard looked at Tony in conspiracy which did not escape my notice and within seconds, I was alone with this disturbing guy. Richard pulled a chair close to me and he sat on it, increasing my tension.
“You should go with them. I am fine here but your girl friend needs you”, I said trying to make him leave even though I wanted otherwise.
He brought his mouth close to my ears and whispered, “Are you jealous?” My head moved immediately he talked with his breath seeping into me and I said,
“Me… Jealous? Of course not. Why should I be? I only feel that it is not proper for-”
“Shhhh”, he said, “you only need to relax”. “I should be at work now”, I said trying to sit up and he helped me up after I refused to lay back. As he helped me to sit comfortably, I became tenser because he was alarmingly close and for a few split of seconds, we both froze as we gazed into each other’s eyes. His blue eyes were so captivating that I threw caution into the wind and satisfied the hunger of my eyes. Before I knew what was happening, we were inches away from each other and my eyes were not on his eyes but on his lips which was one thing that was a constant distraction whenever he was close. The alarm went off in my head and even though I terribly wanted to explore, I shifted slightly and he got the message.

“I am sorry”, he said
My breath was restored back and I was furious about what had almost happened and opened my mouth without thinking.
“What exactly do you want from me? I now know that you are the owner of this hospital. Is this how you go about seducing your workers because you are handsome?” I asked

He was stung and I knew it instantly but words once spoken can’t be gathered back. He was on his feet instantly. “I am sorry” I said immediately.
“No, you are right; I don’t have any right whatsoever to try to kiss you but I don’t go around kissing people if that is what you think I do. I just can’t control myself with you and it is best for you to start knowing the type of effects you have on men, though I am not just physically attracted to you. I have not been able to get you out of my head ever since I saw you in the concert but it is obvious that you don’t like me. Take care of you” he said and marched out before I could say anything.

I sat down there too stunned to speak. I wanted to cry but water just did not come out of my eyes. I wished I had not opened my big mouth and I didn’t even think about the hurt in his face cos it was just too much for me to bear. Prisca entered immediately and we talked the way we usually did intentionally leaving our parents and yesterday’s issue out of it. After some minutes, she asked, “what did you do to Richard?” I sighed deeply and narrated the whole episode to her. “Oh my God Lina, why did you say that now? The poor guy loves you to perdition and you made him feel like trash” Pric said. Prisca’s words made my misery worse and I sighed again, “I know but the words were out of my mouth before I knew it. I was angry at myself for falling in love with him and I took it out on him”. I said without thinking again. She gasped, “I knew it; you are in love. Wow… just perfect”, she said grinning widely. I eyed her annoyingly but kept quiet, so she later said, “you have to apologize to him but give him some time”.

I relaxed fully in the bed with my brain filled with one person.

**********

I looked around gazing at my best friend who had now become my sister, my new mum or step mother, my new father and old father or rather, step father. Prisca had spent nothing less than one hour trying to make me forgive her dad. I was about to leave the hospital and I had refused to forgive him but Prisca has a way of making hard and bad situations simple. She brought to my consciousness the fact that, if my old dad hadn’t spilled the beans, we would still be happy together and that her dad was more or less like my dad before we even found out the truth. I thought about everything and all he did for me when I was nothing but a stranger and had to let my anger dissolve. She had one way or the other united her mum with her dad and everyone with my old dad and I was internally happy; Prisca is an angel when she sets to be one and she can also be the exact opposite when you step on her toes.

Mr Jegas came towards me and bent down beside me. “I am sorry for what I did to your mother and to you. I did what I did out of ignorance and fear that I was about to scatter my home with my own hands. I am sorry, please find a place in your heart to forgive me and your second dad there, please”, he said pleading. No matter how stubborn a person is, it is always difficult to discard the pleadings of an elder. My anger dissolved and I rose up, wiping the tears that had come to my cheeks as I hugged everyone. We all hugged each other and Prisca made a funny remark about the emotional atmosphere and we all laughed.

I got to work after two days at home being a Friday and everyone welcomed me. I sat on my seat in the office feeling very lonely and not quite long, my intercom chimed and Joke told me that someone was there to see me and the person prefers to remain anonymous. My hopes were raised as I expected to see my blue eyed love but my expectations were dampened when I saw the visitor.

My expectations were dampened but not so much because the person I saw was welcome. Deji had been discharged from the hospital on Saturday but before he left I had given him tips of what to do during his spare time. He had been scheduled to come thrice a week. He looked s smashing and I gazed at him with a smile on my face. “You were not expecting me right?” he said and I knew he had caught my earlier facial expression. I smiled at him embarrassed. “Not really. How are you doing young man? You look exceptional”, I said meaning it. “Yeah yeah, my life has changed. I am better than fine cos my memory is back”, he said almost yelling and my eyes opened wide. I was out of my seat in an instant and I started asking technical questions and when passed the test, we both laughed happily. He brought out a cheque and stretched it towards me but I refused without even checking the amount. We argued for a while but he later hands down when he saw that I stood my grounds. We chatted for a while and when he left, I was smiling, very happy for him.

*TWO WEEKS LATER*

I threw my pen on the table furiously and hissed. I hadn’t been able to concentrate at all thinking about Richard. It was like he was tactfully dodging me because I did not cross his path once. I had wanted to go to his office many times but I thought better of it but now, I wasn’t finding it funny. Everyone and everything makes me angry and I could not focus at all, even music did not seem to wipe out the feeling of emptiness I felt so I decided to remedy the situation by taking away the façade and doing what my heart dictates.

I left my office and got to my secretary’s desk. “Joke, please postpone any engagement I might have for the next one hour, I need to get somewhere. If there is an emergency, you can call me”, I said. She had a puzzling smile on her face but I didn’t even think about it.

I was about getting to Richard’s office when my brain started bugging me with the fact that I should not be doing this but I was past caring. I saw his secretary and greeted her,
“hello Tolani, how are you doing?” I asked to sound casual.
“I am fine Miss Belina”, she responded.
“Please is Doctor Richard in? I need to see him urgently”, I said hoping to get a positive response.
“Yes, he is. Wait let me inform him” she said picking the intercom.
“NO. Please don’t. I want it to be like a surprise visit, please”
“Aaaahh, please o, I might get into trouble. He has been so harsh on everyone recently and I don’t want to lose my job”
“Don’t worry, he won’t do anything like that, I promise” I said and without waiting for a reply, I went to the door and knocked. I heard the familiar voice say come in, a little above the normal but I entered. The sight of him made me forget all I wanted to say but he was not looking at me, his eyes were on the books on his table.
“Yes?” he said without taking his eyes from the books.
I took a deep breath and said, “Richard” His head jerked up instantly and his blue eyes pierced into my soul. I was shaking there, not knowing what to say so I looked at my hands and said whatever came to my mind.

“Richard, I know I have offended you and I am sorry. I should not have said what I said but I just could not imagine myself falling for a man so I tried to push you away with my words. I know you have been avoiding me and you should because what I said is bad, it is very bad but I can’t concentrate, I have been trying to work but I just can’t, I… I…” I stopped unable to continue. My eyes were wet and I just wanted to run out of there but I noticed a finger raise my head up and I was surprised that he was already at my front. We stared into each other’s eyes and I just wanted him to hold me close because my heart was pounding wildly. I don’t know who moved forward between the two of us but I noticed that the space between us had thinned and all I wanted was to have him kiss me. He bent his head forward like he read my thoughts and closed his lips against mine. I was totally lost and when we finally broke off some minutes later, he placed his head against mine and looked into my eyes. “You don’t know just how long I have wanted to kiss you, heart. I love you so much”, he said.
“I love you too with all my heart Richard”. He kissed me again. After the kiss, we just held on to each other and seemed to melt into one another.

We went to the couch in his office laughing happily and there, I explained everything that happened with Kelvin, my mum, everything and he was so sympathetic and said he wished he could see Kelvin face to face in order to teach him a good lesson. He also promised never to hurt me but respect me always. He then went forward to explain everything about his family, mother, love life especially his affair with Tonia and how it had become his nightmare after her supposed death and I felt his pain. I remembered that I had felt he had a dark side but I never imagined something as serious as that. He apologized for keeping away and said that he wanted to give me time to get over what I was going through and that he had climbed the steps severally on his way to my office but had returned back after a second thought. We kissed, laughed and by the time my phone started ringing, I discovered that I had spent three hours with him. “Aaaahhh, I have to go, I have stayed too long” I said standing up immediately but he pulled me back and held me against himself in a warm hug then he kissed my cheeks and whispered, ‘I love you’. I replied the same way and was out of the office.

That was the beginning of our relationship and it is an experience that remains stamped in my memory. We were together for three months, had some misunderstandings which never lasted two days before either of us, mostly him would desolve and exactly three months after our relationship started, I got a ring on my fingers in a very dazzling way.

I had been at home all day, watching movies and listening to music to my heart’s content when all of a sudden, the lights went off. I was busy raining insults on NEPA and trying to look for the lamp when suddenly the lights went on again. It went off and it later started doing on and off like you would see in ghost films. I was so scared that I ran out of the house in utter confusion and when I got outside, I saw a chauffeur who claimed to be sent by my father to get me away from the house that the house would soon explode. I was so scared that I entered without complaints. He drove for a while and I asked him where he was going exactly and he said that I would know soon. We drove for close to an hour without traffic and my panic started rising. I asked questions and he did not answer. I started calling people secretly thinking that I was being kidnapped by nobody’s number was going through. I almost died out of fear cos everywhere was terribly dark.

We got to a place and he told me to come down. “Are you crazy? Where am i?” I yelled as I stepped out of the car looking at the large expance of bushes by my sides. He pointed at a tiny footpath at my front and said, “go through that path and you would your parents”, he said and as was protesting, he entered the car and zoomed off. Tears started pouring down my face as I looked round in fear. I stared at the tiny footpath and was scared as hell then I remembered how I had escaped my previous kidnap and moved into the bush. The light from my phone did not even do anything to favour me so I started running with tears in my face when all of a sudden light appeared everywhere and the whole place was filled with people screaming ‘surprise’. My heart jumped and relief washed over me even though my heart still beat wildly.

Prisca came to hug me and wipe my tears but I just stood there looking like I was in another planet. I was furious at the stunt they pulled but the anger died after I had been dressed by beauty queens who washed my feet tenderly. I wore a flowing red gown which was like the most beautiful gown I had ever seen. When I got out, everyone had vanished and I was standing there looking lost again only that this time, I was not afraid. I turned round and saw Richard coming towards me being traced by a search light and when he got to me, he kissed my forehead and said, “I have been waiting for you, heart”. I kept quiet and he led me to the most beautiful place I had ever seen. We were surrounded with flowers which sparkled in the dark like a star. I held him close as my breath was taken away and whispered, “It is so beautiful Prince” He faced me and said, “I want everyday of our lives to be more beautiful than this, love, but there is only one way this can happen” he said, knelt down and picked something from one of the flower and immediately, the flowers grew letters. I gasped and looked from the flowers to Richard and he produced a sparkling diamond ring. “Please marry me”, he said and the tears in my eyes started flowing freely. I looked at the flowers and saw the same words on it. I knelt down in front of him and shouted, “Yes… yes… yes… I would marry you”. He slipped the ring into my finger, I opened my eyes everyone was there taking pictures and I pulled Richard into my arms.

*ONE YEAR LATER*

“Please hurry up, we are going to be late for church”, mummy said in her dazzling native attire. My makeup artists just did not leave me alone as they were intent on making me look exceptional and I wanted to. Yes, it is my wedding day! Prisca came in looking so unique in her wine gown as the maid of honour. She had her wedding two months ago and it was the talk of the town. Their wedding had been very big and it was carried on TV. They did their honey moon in the United States and had gone from one place to another, sightseeing.

We entered the car and zoomed off. Definitely, a wife would always be late to her own wedding. I got there and guess who walked me down the aisle? My two fathers did. Mr Badmus and Mr Jegas. Mr Badmus is now a big man in the society and has remarried and coming as a surprise, his wife is pregnant! God is awesome. They took me to the front and I could not hide my joy. When Richard saw me coming, he opened his mouth in awe and my steps quickened.

After sometime, we both were ready to say our vows and we said it gazing at eachother’s eyes and a promise in our heart to fulfill our vows to the letter. I respected him because he had fulfilled his promise of respecting and not asking for sex no matter how tense the atmosphere might be. We said our vows and kissed with all the love in our hearts. After a lot of merry, there was a time for couple’s dance and a slow romantic song was played, Richard took me to the center to dance floor and we moved slowly in circles to the music. He looked into my eyes and said, “Today is the happiest day of my life honey”. I smiled and said, “Even when I am one hundred years old, I would remember today”.

Richard had briefed me about his father’s wealth but I never imagined he was exceedingly rich and famous until our wedding. So many government officials were present and so many TV stations sent their journalists to capture the event.

“I want our daughters to be exactly like you. Your eyes, hair, nose, voice, everything”, he said smiling lovingly. “And I want our sons to look like you, to have everything you have including your doctoring skill but most importantly, the colour of your eyes” He laughed. “You have not told me where we would spend our honey moon” I said after a while “It is a surprise”, he said and kissed me deeply. All the journalists there battled to get the best position but later I forgot all about them and enjoyed the arms of my love.

*I am here in Costa Rica having the best time of my life. It is just so wonderful checking out the animals, exploring the forests and swimming with the love of my life beside me and we are going to wrap it up by spending a week at Sunset Beach in Jamaica. Believe me, it pays to wait until you say your vows before exploring what is beneath the cloth of your spouse.*

***THE END***

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