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EPISODE 20
The pain coercing through me is so unbearable. It felt like the end of the world was just a breath away. Everything I thought of, everything I saw, everything I felt was pain. My water broke just as I played chess with my step-mum. She had been staying with us for two weeks now.  Richard’s mum wanted to stay also but Richard still could not see eye to eye with his mum. Through my efforts, he has been able to release some of the hurt he felt but he still could not handle having his mum helping me through the pregnancy period. He lamented that some of her promiscuous nature could be transferred. I felt he still held a level of grudge against her. Months flew by without me actually noticing it. My belly rose and rose and with each passing day, my joy increased and anticipation rose. Richard stayed at home most times, leaving the hospital in the hands of doctor felix. Something I never anticipated happened: we became friends with Kelvin. The past was buried and we became family friends. Life is a lot better when we forgive. I had always said that most women always exaggerate their labour pains. Even when Prisca was heavy and in labour, something still told me that it could not be that painful. Experiencing it now was giving me the first hand idea of what it is all about.
Richard drove in like a mad man, after the gateman had opened the door for him. He did not even kill the engine or shut the door of the car, instead, he rushed to take over from my mum; Prisca’s mum to be precise, who rushed inside to take a box filled with baby clothes. The scan had confirmed Prisca’s suspicion, I am expecting a boy. I tried to be brave, holding back the pain but I let out exclamations unconsciously every now and then. He murmured endearments, slowly moving me to the backseat. Mum ordered him to hand her the keys and seat with me at the back. There was really no time to argue, so he obeyed immediately. She drove in a sane manner, still on top speed.
Richard’s face was carefully guarded as he caressed my hair, dropping kisses on my forehead. He was visibly worried. I looked at him and smiled through the pain. Even in pains, my head still worked to capacity.
“Honey” I whispered and gasped as another wave of pain seared through me.
“Yes baby. You would be fine. Just take in lots of air.” Even as a doctor, he was I nodded filling my lungs with air.
“Would you make me a promise?”
Richard looked at me with dread. We had watched so many movies with this line of action, they don’t always end well.
“Don’t scare me Bell, please don’t. You would be fine” he murmured, his hands shook as he held mine.
I smiled weakly. “If our son comes out and he happens to be as handsome as you are, especially possessing your blue eyes, promise me that you would forgive your mother. Totally”
Richard heaved a sigh of relief. “I promise, just promise me you would be fine. We are meant to grow old together, remember?”
I smiled.  “I love you”
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Richard paced the waiting room restlessly. He could not even sit down for two seconds. People who were also nervous were trying to calm him down but it did not work. His parents, step mother, tony, Prisca, Mr. and Mrs. Jegas, and Kelvin were also with him. All the BRH workers were also in anticipation and seeing Richard so distressed made them even more anxious. Everyone had a prayer in their mouth. Doctor Felix was with Belina along with four nurses. They had refused to allow Richard in. Richard had wanted to go in, even if only to hold Belina’s hand through it all but doctor Felix had refused.
Mr. Branson, Richard’s father went and held Richard in a tight hug. He had watched his son move restlessly and felt the deep urge to reassure him.
“She would be fine. God is in control. She needs your faith, now more than ever” he patted Richard’s back while Richard nodded. He has never been in this situation before and now that was, his heart has changed location and is now residing in his mouth but that did not stop him from praying.
“I remember feeling this way when you were to be born” Richard smiled when he heard that. “It is well” Mr. Branson whispered.
Richard heaved a sigh and said, “Amen”
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Oyinade rolled and tossed on the uncomfortable mattress in her one room apartment. The mattress lay on the floor without a bed and the more she laid on it, the more her discomfort. She had rushed out of her own house some months ago and since then; her life has been a living hell. She had heard of the visit of the officials sent to her house to get her barely five minutes after her departure and she had thanked her stars for leaving early enough although her leaving happened to be the worst thing that had ever happened to her. Her account was frozen so there was no way she could withdraw any money. Her house was seized and she was left with only one thing: her car.
She had to pawn her expensive car for two hundred thousand in order to secure an apartment. Due to the fact that she was on the run, she left Lagostotally and got an apartment in Ogun state. She was only able to secure a one room apartment in order to buy some foodstuff and clothes cos she had only left her house with the cloth she had on.
Hunger raked her tummy and she grimaced. All she had left from the bag of rice she bought months ago would not last her a week. All her foodstuff was on the edge. Getting a job had proved to be a futile effort because she had to lie low for fear of being arrested. All these happened because of Belina. That little witch. Oyinade hissed, combing her hair with her fingers. She had watched Belina on television barely a month ago attending a red carpet even with Richard, Tony and Prisca. She almost used her eyes to abort the pregnancy through the screen. She made a pledge to have her revenge. She definitely would do that, even if it happened to be the last thing she did, she vowed.
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Tears rolled out of my eyes, going in the direction of my ears. I lay on the hospital bed, in labour. Sweat covered my face in the air conditioned room and a nurse was mopping my face, with words of comfort floating out of her mouth. I gasped as I took in enough air, as directed by the doctor.
“Push”, I heard the doctor say. I gathered all my will and groaned as I pushed hard. I gasped, filling my lungs. I had been pushing and pushing but it seems like the baby would never come out. The pain was so unbearable that I started doubting my ability to go through it all. I held on to God, the only one that could help me through it all. I envisioned God standing there with me and I got a renewed strength. The echo of ‘push’ rang in my head and I gave it all I could. I could only feel pain coercing through me like a thousand knives.
The cry of a baby pierced the room and swallowed. A weak smile was displayed on my face as I weakly took the baby from the doctor. I laughed weakly in tears as I stared at the tiny creature I was holding. The love I felt there and then is one which I have never experienced before. Even though I felt weak and semi-conscious, I knew that I would not leave my baby for anything in the world. The second I held him in my arms, I knew I would love him forever.
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Ronke grimaced as she stared at her profile in the mirror. She did not believe she could be dressed so moderately. Her usual bum shorts pant and showy tops were not the ones she had on. Who would have thought that change could locate her? She had been visited by the person known as Christ and everything about her had changed. Even though she had been spending stolen money, she hadn’t been able to get happiness. She felt more miserable by the day. She hadn’t even spent quarter of the money.
One day she just stood up and started walking on her street in Abuja. What prompted her, she could not even pinpoint. She had entered the church that always caught her eyes. Since that day, her life had changed. She stopped spending the money and started a teaching job. Returning the money was foremost in her mind but she was too scared to do it. She hoped that she would gather that courage after meeting with the pastor. She hoped that the people waiting to see the pastor would be few, being a mid-week service. She grabbed the small bible she purchased some weeks ago, put it in her bag and marched out with a song on her head.
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Richard was becoming more restless by the minute. He could not understand what could be taking them so long. He swallowed hard as he stared at the door countless number of times. If he hadn’t been so worried, he would have known that the time he had spent, waiting was not over-stretched. The time only seems longer when you are involved with the patient personally.
His heart skipped several beats as the door opened. He rushed there, along with everyone. Doctor Felix had a smile on his face. “Congratulations sir, you have a bouncing baby boy”. The once quiet room became noisy with jubilations. “And Bell?” Richard asked.
Doctor Kelvin smiled. He had expected that. “She is resting now”
Richard unleashed his joy as he yelled happily. He knelt down there, giving all the glory to God. He started receiving hugs from everyone. He even hugged his mother without noticing it. The last person he hugged was Kelvin. Prisca lifted Patricia in her arms, turning round and round until she became dizzy, saying ‘now you have a baby brother’. Patricia giggled and giggled, like she knew what had just happened.
Kelvin felt genuinely happy for Richard and Belina. Belina definitely deserves happiness and no other person can give her apart from Richard. He had felt a sickening dread during the waiting period and seeing Richard that worried gave him cause to panic. He had kept his extreme worry hidden even though his restlessness often took over him. He still loves Belina. He has accepted that they could be only friends but that did not stop him from feeling the way he did. He was content though. It is better to be her friend than have her as an enemy.
Richard finished his display of gratitude to God, and headed towards Belina’s room. All the workers in BRH were full of rejoicing. Not only is Richard the best employer you can have, he is also a friend. The most humble man you can ever come by. They had all prayed for a day like this for him. Belina was more of a friend to them than a boss. If there is anything like a perfect match, the coming together of Richard and Belina would be their own description of a perfect match. Their childlessness had affected everyone and they never failed to pray for them. Individually, they started thinking of what to wear to the naming ceremony.
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It is the naming ceremony day. Saying that I am the happiest woman alive is definitely not an understatement. Our extra-large compound seemed to have become a market place because everywhere was filled with people. Everyone in Nigeria seemed to have their eyes fixed on Richbel’s Estate as journalists came enmass to capture the event.
The large and beautifully crafted events centre in the estate is the venue for the naming. The crafts and art works were inspected by everyone that came. The flowers gave the environment a sweet smell and those who were not flower freaks started developing interest in them. My native attire dazzled and accentuated my body as I went from one place to another greeting people. It is certain that I would not be able to greet half of the guests but I still went about welcoming people. My mum was taking care of the baby and Richard has been held down by a group of friends. I saw some of those friends coming with Richard and I smiled. Richard and I had the same costume on and my heart swelled with pride as I gazed at my handsome husband. They took me before I could even protest and placed me beside Richard, with their cameras in hand. I laughed as we both tried to find a wonderful position and style. I ended up standing right in front of Richard. He had his hands on my waist and my hands were placed on his, my back resting on his broad chest. Everyone around joined the friends, bringing their phones and Ipads out and clicking away. We laughed and smiled as flashes of cameras continued to beam.
“How are you feeling today after close to three years of no issue” I heard a journalist say, standing right in front of me.
I smiled at the camera as all the journalists gathered round to capture my speech. “I feel ecstatic. I am so grateful to God for a day like this. I feel I am the happiest person alive. Nothing compares to the joy of being a mother. To my loving husband who stood by me throughout the waiting period, you are the best husband ever. I owe it all to God. Speaking of children, I have to get back to my angel. Chao” I turned back and hurried inside.
The ceremony was very interesting and wonderful. It ended after about two hours. Our pastor was the one that did the naming. My son was giving three names: Roland, Samuel and Promise. We were asked to dance after the ceremony and we danced and danced. People came around and danced with us. Immediately after the dance, someone stood in front of Richard and i. Richard’s mum was glowing in her native attire and her beauty was evident. How could she not give birth to someone as handsome as Richard? I wondered. Even at fifty, she easily turns heads. I looked at Richard, reminding him of his promise with my eyes. He smiled. The reconciliation is long overdue. He went forward and hugged his mum tightly. Cheers filled the air, as cameras clicked. Tears flowed from the eyes of Loretta, as well as Richard. They helped wipe the eyes of each other and held on to each other again. Tears threatened to go down and it flowed down unhindered as I looked at them. She took little Roland from my hands for the first time, beaming with the joy of being a grandmother.
“I am proud of you” I whispered to Richard and he beamed. We both watched as my mother-in-law held Roland with so much love. Richard’s friends came and took him. It all happened within the twinkling of an eye. Loretta let out a scream and before we knew what was happening, a gun was placed against her head.
“Nobody moves or I’ll blow off this woman’s head along with this thing she is carrying” I heard a familiar voice say.
I saw with horror as Oyinade’s face came into view. Richard was moving closer slowly, I saw from the corner of my eyes.
“Don’t you dare move. Don’t dare me. I would blow her head off. I swear” she yelled at Richard. Obviously, she had seen him.
A sickening dread covered me. A fear I had never felt before. “Leave my child out of this Oyin, your problem is with me.”
She laughed. “Really? He is the reason why you won. Tell me something: don’t I have the right to be with the man I love?”
“You don’t have the right to be with another woman’s husband” I said quietly.
She laughed. “Well, I don’t have the time to banter words with you. Since I can’t have Richard, you also would not have the chance to be with him. Bye”

 

My face grew pale. “No”, I heard Richard yell as he ran towards me. The gun shot echoed, shattering the silence that had once engulfed the air.
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