Married episode 1

“This gown is perfect” Sonia exclaimed as she

hurriedly held out the wedding gown that

caught her fancy in the extremely large room

filled with gowns.

Jessica sighed exhaustedly. “You can’t obviously

expect me to wear that?”

“And what is wrong with this one again ooo”

Paulina asked, equally exhausted.

“Yes, tell us what is wrong with it. Even though I

don’t like the design at the back, I can’t wait for

you to make your choice. We have been in this

dress shop for hours” Lizzy scolded.

“And every cloth you guys have been pointing

out is either too showy or too expensive” Jessica

pointed out.

Lizzy stood in front of Jessica. “You are dulling

my spirit honey. You are getting married to the

richest and most famous guy in this blessed

country of ours and you are lamenting money?

He gave you his MasterCard for crying out loud”

she exclaimed.

“So? Am I supposed to drain the account all in

the name of a wedding dress?”

Sonia stepped in. “I agree with Jessica” Jessie

smiled. “We can’t overspend just because the guy

is rich”. Lizzy hissed

“All the same, no gown here is expensive enough

to catch his notice. I mean, come on, this gown is

not even up to 150, 000 Naira” Paulina said in

one breath.

“I agree with Paulina” Sonia said.

Jessica shook her head. Of all her friends, Sonia

was closest to her. Jessica believed that no

matter how many friends you have, you would

always have a best friend, or at least someone

who was closer to you than the others. Sonia

always played it safe. She is not the arguing type

but when it came to advice or a good listener,

Sonia was impeccable. She would reason with

you and carefully try to make her point without

an argument. Lizzy was the fashion freak that

could use her last penny to buy what was in

vogue, as long as it fits her perfectly. Paulina was

the one with the attributes of a mother. She

babied and bullied everyone into doing her will

but she could never really exert her controlling

power on them; especially not on Jessica.

Jessica was the most stubborn. Once she made up

her mind, it takes only God and divine

intervention to change it. The only way her

three close friends ever succeeded in

manipulating her is if they joined forces. Her

stubborn nature was the reason why they still

have not picked a wedding dress for the

wedding that would hold in two weeks time.

Lizzy was busy sampling other dresses while the

others continued to argue.

“What is wrong with the ones I selected?” Jessica

asked.

“No… I surely would not best you if you wear

any of those” Sonia said with her eyes wide.

“Your fashion sense is totally out of league. I am

sure no one would have agreed to wear those

ridiculous dresses in the year 1789. Do you know

the dignitaries that would be present at the

wedding? I would definitely not miss handshakes

and photographs with governors. You need to

look presentable enough my dear, if you are

going to be marrying Andy Williams. He is every

woman’s dream”. Paulina had dreamy eyes.

“Why don’t you marry him instead? I am so tired

of this”

“Oh really? I am so grateful honey” Paulina

squealed happily.

“I always knew you liked her more than me. Why

did you not give him to me?” Sonia asked with

sad, accusing eyes.

Jessica hissed. “See the people I call my friends”

she shook her head.

“Hey lazy bones” Lizzy called, out of sight. “Get

your butts down here. I got the hottest gown

here and I am not taking ‘no’ for an answer”

The girls walked there even though Jessica was

reluctant, knowing that whatever caught Lizzy’s

fancy would not please her. Paulina and Sonia

gasped when they saw the gown. Jessica’s breath

was blown away as she stared at the gown. It was

the most beautiful gown she had ever set her

eyes on. She hid her interest in it and noticed

what she had suspected. The gown needed no

jacket, unlike most of the tubes she had seen. It

was a tube with a transparent net finishing which

gave it small hands, although sleeveless. The

design of the gown from the net beginning to

the stylish finishing was so breathtaking but the

gown was too exposing to Jessica.

“I can’t” she finally said and they all turned

stunned eyes at her.

“OK, listen bride, you are going to wear this

gown whether you like it or not. What is wrong

with it?” Lizzy was clearly angry.

“The net” Jessica said flatly.

“What?” Sonia exclaimed.

“You can’t be serious” Paulina said

Jessica caught sight of the price tag and her eyes

widened. “It is also too damn expensive”. The

three friends turned glaring eyes at her and from

the look on their faces; Jessica Adams knew that

she had been boxed into a corner.

**********

**********

Jessica Adams stood at the entrance of the

overcrowded hall, feeling like an exposed rabbit.

Her uncle had her hand tucked in his elbow and

the music was being sung softly but Jessica heard

nothing. She felt a chilling fear in her spine that

something would go wrong. As her eyes took in

dignitaries as they stared at her, she felt

incredibly small. The gown which she had been

forced to buy by her friends now seemed like a

big consolation and life-saver because it made

her look important and rich.

Rich? She swallowed. How could she be marrying

Andy Williams? He was not just rich, he was

exceedingly rich. Apart from the wealth of his

father, Andy was the owner of Max Petroleum

which had uncountable branches all over the

country. It was not surprising that he was that

established at 35; he was born into a wealthy

family and once there is money, anything is

possible.

Jessica stared straight at the altar and saw Andy

with his back to her. Slowly, as if noticing

everyone’s diverted attention, he turned round.

Jessica who had been standing rooted to the

ground seemed to freeze the more. If there was

one man who had the most compelling and

breath-taking physical appearance, it was Andy

Williams. He was exceedingly handsome with an

arrogant air in his stance. He always stood with

so much confidence that Jessica wondered if

anything could shake him. The black suit he

wore did nothing to hide his muscular body;

instead, the suit emphasized his financial status.

When Jessica’s uncle tugged at her hand, she

instantly snapped out of her thoughts. He smiled

at her and they started moving towards the altar

while various photographers snapped away.

Looking at Andy at the altar should make her

want to run to him but instead; she wanted to

run away; far away. Jessie, what is wrong with

you? She asked herself. Her uncle tightened his

grip on her hand, noticing her nervous state; he

smiled at her. Jessica had lost her family – father,

mother and brother – in a car accident when she

was eleven. Life had not been the same since

then for her. Her father’s brother and his wife

had been the ones to take her in when every

other person in the family deserted her. Even

though they always struggled to eat on a daily

basis, they ensured that they took care of her.

Jessica’s joy had known no bounds when God

answered the couple’s prayers with a baby boy.

She suddenly found herself standing opposite

Andy who seemed not to be able to take in what

he was seeing.

“It’s the gown right?” she asked nervously.

“Uhn?” he instantly snapped out of his thoughts.

“You look erm… very ravishing” he said. Jessica

blushed instantly. “You are nervous?” he seemed

surprised.

“Shouldn’t I? Everyone has their eyes fixed on

me and I feel like a dripping cat”

Andy laughed and looked like he was about to

say something but he swallowed his words. He

took her hand and they faced the church.

**********

**********

“Andy Williams, do you take Jessica Adams to be

your wife? To love and cherish her until death

do you part?” The pastor asked.

“Yes, I do” Andy replied without hesitation and

the cheers in the church was deafening.

“Jessica Adams, do you take Andy Williams to be

your husband? To love and to respect him, till

death do you part?”

Everyone seemed to hold their breath, or was

Jessica just imagining it? Only one thought came

to her mind and her answer was decided. “Yes, I

do”

The applause went out.

“Do we have anyone who has any reason why

these two should not be married? If so, speak

now or forever hold your peace” The pastor said

and everyone started turning heads. The

question was repeated again but no one

signified. The wedding rings were brought

forward.

The pastor faced Andy, giving him a ring. “Now,

repeat after me: I……”

The vows were exchanged between them and

the rings were slipped into their fingers. After a

simple kiss, they were pronounced husband and

wife.

**********

**********

Contrary to the thoughts of Jessica’s friends that

Jessica would be spending her honeymoon in

one of the most beautiful countries in the world,

Jessica ended up spending it in Nigeria. As the

driver drove Jessica and Andy to a beach house,

the silence in the car was so uncomfortable.

Jessica later dozed off, giving in to sleep after a

very stressful wedding. Andy woke her up when

they got to the beach house and the first sight

she saw was both heavenly and frightening. She

had heard of the beach and had also seen it on

the TV but she had never been to one. Looking

at it now, she was scared that the water would

carry her away if she moved an inch closer to it

but she surely wanted to play inside it. She had

always loved water and seeing the beach was like

an irresistible invitation.

“You like the beach” Andy said, knowingly.

“I love it” she breathed.

They walked to the beach house and as they

went, it became increasingly difficult for Jessica

to walk on the sand with her shoes, so she took

them off, feeling the cool sand with her bare

feet. She admitted her exhaustion when she

entered the house and although the only

thought in her mind was a warm bath and a cool

mattress, she still appreciated the luxurious

house. It was so beautiful and everything in the

houses spoke of Andy’s financial status.

“This place is so beautiful” she said. Despite her

tiredness, she was incredibly aware of Andy. He

had removed his suit jacket and his shirt hugged

his muscular body so firmly that she itched to

touch him. She had always thought that rich men

should be fat, due to the loads of garbage they

eat on a daily basis but Andy was very hefty. He

looked like a model that spent most of his time

in the gym, gathering muscles. He was not a

talkative but she noticed that he had been

incredibly quiet. Perhaps that comes with being

married because she was also quiet.

Andy showed her the bedroom and she walked

in, only to find that he was not following. She

was happy because she needed some privacy in

order to shower and change her clothes. All the

things she might need were in the room already,

including her boxes of clothes. As she showered,

she scrubbed her body, hoping to erase the

thoughts that were flooding her head. Back in

the room, she mopped her body dry and wore a

long oversized gown. The gown carefully

disguised her endowed body but still gave a hint

of what to expect underneath. Her wedding

gown left her feeling exposed so she

intentionally chose this gown in order to get her

bearing back.

She lay on the bed and started wondering where

Andy must have gone to on their wedding night.

Just as she was about to doze off, he entered

with a laptop in his hands. An alarm went off in

her head.

“You should be tired after the wedding. Won’t

you come to bed?” she asked, sitting up.

“Come to bed? You can go to sleep; or have you

forgotten that we have a signed contract?” Andy

replied with his eyes fixed on the laptop.

Jessica blanched. For a moment, she had

forgotten about everything, about the contract

agreement she had with Andy Williams. For once,

she had thought that this façade was real. She

might be Jessica Williams now but it would only

last for a year. In the next one year, she would

be back to being single, or rather, divorced. She

swallowed.

“How can I forget?” she said forcefully.

“Thank God” he murmured.

Jessica breathed and stood. “Well, since you

obviously don’t need my help here, why don’t I

just have a room to myself? This building should

have more than one room” she was already

taking out her bags from the wardrobe.

“Some cleaners and helps may notice that we do

not share a room and spread rumors” Andy

replied, raising his eyes from the laptop.

“Then don’t employ their services; I can help

myself here. I have been doing so since I was

born without any difficulty”

“And what if I can’t do without the maids?” Andy

asked as Jessica started dragging the boxes out,

not willing to see reason.

“That is for you to worry about. I am around in

case you need my help” Jessica closed the door

gently.

Andy stared at the closed door in anger.

“Damned woman”

Jessica packed her hair up the way she always did

as she stood facing the mirror. The length of her

hair always made people envy her even when

the only thing she wanted to do recently was to

cut the hair off. Combing it was always a burden

for her and she had resorted to packing it. She

rarely made her hair due to the long waits she

was always subjected to at the salon, so she had

stuck with retouching and setting which was less

expensive and also time saving.

It has been two days after the exhausting

wedding and she hadn’t really left the beach

house. Andy had practically restricted her to the

building, saying that it would be awkward for

the bride to be seen outside alone without her

husband, immediately after the wedding. Jessica

had asked him to go out with her then but her

contract husband had so many things to sort out

on net and did not have the time to camouflage

with her.

If a prophet had prophesied that Jessica would

be married to a jerk like Andy, she would have

called him a joker but now that she faced the

reality, she really could not believe that she had

agreed to this marriage.

After putting on a long blue skirt and a white

top, she lay on the bed, feeling the pieces of her

shattered world the more. Jessica was someone

who loved and loved deeply but that proved to

be a very bad thing for her. She had been jilted

by three different guys who were practically sex

addicts. Her mother always told her before that

abominable day that she should hold on till she

was married before opening her legs for any guy.

Before the death of her entire family, she did not

really give the advice much thought but when

her family died; all she wanted to do was to obey

everything that her parents ever told her. The

first man she had fallen in love with several

years back, who was her first love had shattered

her world by sleeping with her best friend. When

she caught them in the act she almost ran mad.

Trusting another guy again had been almost

impossible but due to her nature, she moved on

and fell for another guy. He had been descent

enough to call it quit with the excuse that he

could not do without sex until marriage, after

several attempts to sleep with her. The third guy

had been the one that really hurt her. It had

taken a long time for her to get over the trauma

and even now, the remembrance always moved

her to tears and filled her with undiluted anger.

A knock interrupted her thoughts and she stood

up from the bed. She opened the door and

stared at Andy. He was in a grey suit. “Good

morning sir”

Andy muttered under his breath. “Would I have

to spend a lifetime explaining why I hate this

‘sir’ you use for me? It makes me look old”

She stared at him for some seconds then

swallowed. “Andrew, Andy, Drew; choose one”

she responded with an official look on her face;

not smiling and not frowning.

He looked on the verge of laughter, and then

raised his brow. “They all sound good but Drew;

it sounds very good” He looked surprised.

“Good morning Drew” she responded.

He looked at her with a frown on his face. “Do

you ever smile?”

“Do you respond to greetings?” she returned.

He shook his head slowly.

“Then I guess I should not bother greeting

again?”

Andy realized that she took the shake of his head

as the answer to the question she asked. He

thought of explaining but realized that he had

wasted a lot of time already. “Today is Monday, I

am off to the office” he said.

She blanched. “This is supposed to be our

honeymoon, however fake it might be. What

would people think when you return to work just

two days after the wedding? It is not like you

would be sacked if you don’t appear even for a

year.” It was after Jessica heard the echo of her

voice that she realized that she was shouting.

“Everyone can think whatever they want to

think, at least, you did not mind what the maids

would think, why should I mind what my

employees would think?” he challenged calmly.

“They would think that I don’t have the

womanly or feminine erm… expertise to keep

you for at least a week on our honeymoon. How

would people look at me?”

“I guess that is for you to worry about”

Jessica noticed that he was throwing her words

back at her and it made her even angrier. “This is

the worst marriage ever. No wonder you had me

sign a contract to marry you, no woman would

marry such a self-centered man”

Andy’s face transformed before her eyes and she

wanted to run but her stubborn nature made her

stand where she was, returning his glare with

equal measure. He grabbed her hand fiercely and

all her courage seeped out of her, leaving her

with dread. “I guess that makes us the same. You

also accepted this contract because of personal

gain so think twice about calling someone else

names”

He was gone before she could even blink and

she leaned against the door for support.

*********

Even as Andy alighted from the car about an

hour later, he was still boiling in anger. Jessica

had guts, he could give her that. No woman

had ever confronted him hands down the way

Jessica constantly did. She had the talent of

getting him angry whenever she felt like. The

frustrating thing was that he somehow felt

that she was right. Self-centered, he muttered

to himself with a grim face.

As he matched into the massive building, he

did not notice the intense surprise on the

faces of the security men; neither did he hear

their greetings. He entered the office like a

soldier instead of the calmly measured steps

he was used to. The surprised looks he got

from his employees made him aware of his

environment. He returned their gaze with a

stern glare and they all started pouring

greetings and congratulations on his just

concluded wedding, before returning to their

duties.

Andy felt the eyes of staff on him as he

entered his office. Again, Jessica had been

right; coming to work was a stupid thing to

do. However right she was, he told himself

that he ought to be at work, if not, his

workers would run the company to the edge

of bankrupsy.

He hadn’t even sat down when the door

opened. He was not surprised when he saw

Tunji, his best man and his assistant, standing

at the entrance with a bewildered look. “Hey

man” Andy called.

“What is the meaning of this Andy?” Tunji

asked, closing the door.

“The meaning of what? Andy sat down

feigning ignorance.

“What are you doing here? You ought to be

with your wife, this is your honeymoon man;

the company is not running anywhere”

“My wife and I decided to use this time wisely

instead of wasting it on a leisure beach. You

know the challenges we have been

confronted with by our competitors, staying

back would just be useless”

Tunji was glaring at him. “So you could not

trust me enough to know that I would handle

the company properly till you are back?”

“Come off it man, I trust you; still it is

scientifically proven that two heads are

better than one. My being here gives us more

chances. I don’t want to have another

lengthy meeting with displeased

shareholders” he powered his desktop and

centered his attention on it.

Tunji shook his head. “If I were a woman, I

surely would not envy Jessica.” With that,

Tunji left, leaving Andy with a measured

level of anger.

*******

Jessica walked barefooted on the beach

sands that same evening as the breeze blew

at her packed hair. She wanted to remove the

bond and have the breeze blow her hair into

disarray but she quenched the wild feeling.

She had long ago stopped leaving her hair. In

fact, she had stopped everything that could

make her look attractive to the opposite sex

long time ago. She wore oversized clothes,

packed her head tightly upwards and used

almost no jewelry at all except the

occasional stud she had resorted to. Men had

made her life a living hell and she had

resorted to living her life alone with only her

family and friends, until Andy asked her for a

contract wedding.

Why Andy had decided to pick her, of all the

women in the world still remained a mystery.

Even at that, the thought that she could be

bought with money, no matter the amount

would have made her laugh but here she was,

in an agreement to stick with a rich

handsome workaholic for the sum of 20

million naira. Tears stung her eyes but she

blinked them away. She had stopped crying a

long time ago, she wasn’t about to start now.

“Hey lady” she heard a guy call and she

turned. He walked up to her. “I am not lying

when I say you are the most beautiful

woman I have ever set my eyes on”.

From the physical outlook of the guy, he

looked like someone within her age bracket.

He was very slim but handsome, nonetheless.

“Should I say thank you?” she asked.

He smiled. “I am Jack. You look vaguely

familiar”

She took his hand. “Jessica”

“Cool. J.J; Jessica Jack. We are a perfect

match” he murmured grinning.

“You dream a lot” She responded.

“Every reality started with a dream in mind”

Jessie seemed to think about that. “Not every

dream sees the limelight”

“What are you doing dressed like this on the

beach? You should be in shorts” he asked,

changing the subject.

“What are you doing talking to me then?

There are a lot of women here in shorts”

“Well, it is very easy to notice an outstanding

woman”

“Why don’t I believe you?”

“Do you ever smile?”

Jessica noticed that she had heard that

question for the second time that day. Andy

had asked her that same question but she

hadn’t given him an answer. She was about to

give an answer when she heard a voice

behind her.

“Hey sweetheart”. She did not have to turn to

know that it was Andy. His voice was far

different from every other guy’s. She

swallowed and turned. He had a smile on his

face but she sensed the anger beneath. “I

have been looking for you” he said with his

eyes on Jack who had become rigid.

“I came for a walk on the beach” Jessica

responded sweetly as he stunningly placed his

arm around her waist.

“I knew I had seen you before. Your wedding

was carried by almost all the TV stations”

Jack’s eyes were on arm Andy put around

Jessica’s waist until he forced them upwards

with a frozen smile. “Congrats” he murmured.

“Thanks” Andy said stiffly.

This struck Jessica as awkward as she

swallowed bile that formed in her throat. The

silence that followed was so uncomfortable

and Jessica decided to put an end to the

awkwardness. “Drew” she called, turning to

him and placing her slender palm on his chest

the way only a woman could. “Why don’t you

walk with me?”

Andy felt a great sense of victory that

stunned him. He looked into her eyes and

quickly looked away. She was dressed in an

unappealing way but the shabby dress looked

to him like a challenge. He wanted to see

what she was hiding underneath. But the idea

vanished immediately it came and he

mentally made a note of never allowing his

mind to go astray. He kissed her forehead. “As

your ladyship pleases” he gave a slight bow

which had her grinning.

“It was nice meeting you” she murmured to

Jack. She would have mentioned his name

but she realized that she could not even

remember his name. Andy’s arm around her

waist was disturbing. Both of them walked for

a long time without speaking. “That was an

excellent drama you displayed back there.

You could make it in the movie industry” she

stated.

“Uhn?” Andy could not understand what she

was saying

“I don’t suppose you were genuinely jealous,

or were you?”

“Who is that guy?”

“You met him too, right? You know him just

as much as I do” she said with faint

amusement. The response did not satisfy

Andy but he said nothing. “We are far from

prying eyes so you can remove your hand

from my waist now” Jessica said.

Andy extracted his hand instantly, like her

body suddenly caught fire. He had forgotten

his hand around her. He swallowed hard as he

stared at the beach, wanting to dive inside

for a swim. He ran his hand through the tiny

waves of his hair as he got back to the beach

house. He marched into his room without

looking back.

After two days and Andy continued to go to

work, Jessica became fed up with the pretense.

She felt bored and useless in the beach house so

she decided to go and see her friends. If Andy

wanted to be unreasonable, she would show him

that two can play his game.

She sat at the owner’s corner at the back while

the driver which Andy had assigned to her drove

the car. She had argued that she needed no

driver but he won when he found out that she

hadn’t perfected her driving skills. After their

little drama at the beach, she and Andy had

barely talked. The house had almost been as

silent as a grave yard and for the umpteenth

time, she regretted the decision she made.

She sighted the small shop a few feet away and

smiled. Lizzy was a fashion designer who rented

the shop in front of her rented apartment for her

enterprise. She was a graduate who had no

interest in working for anyone. Jessica always

envied her independent lifestyle. She had

wanted to visit Sonia but she knew that she

would be at work. Sonia worked in a bank and

was almost always unavailable. Paulina, just like

her motherly nature, teaches in a big primary

school and she seems to find fulfillment in the

work. Only Jessica seemed to be lost in this

equation. After her entire family perished in one

day, leaving her all alone in a crazy and

meaningless world, she had changed her mind

from being a lawyer to being a doctor. She

studied medicine in the university, thanks to her

uncle and his supportive wife but after working

for five years in a hospital, she finally decided

that she hated the job. Initially, she felt that if

she could be a doctor, she could save a family

from dying but later she discovered that

hospitals reminded her of what she had lost.

18 YEARS AGO…

Jessica bounced up and down the sitting room,

expecting her family to return. It was the

beginning of a long vacation and her parents

had gone to pick up her brother from the

boarding school which he attended. She had

missed her brother immensely and she longed to

play the computer games with him so she could

show him how much she had improved. She

smiled at the thought of beating him at the

games. Even though she knew the sound of her

dad’s car horn, she checked the gate every time

she heard a horn.

“Settle down Jessie, when they come, you would

see them” Miss Boluke said. Miss Boluke was their

house help. She was more or less like a family

and like a big sister. She turned and frowned at

her.

“I have no home work since I am on holiday and

the TV is so boring. I have nothing to lose by

checking the gate a million times”. At 11, Jessica

was a very bright and sharp kid. She was so

mature.

“Yes you do. You are too small to develop high

blood pressure. Come and help me in the

kitchen”. Jessie groaned and Miss Bolu raised her

eye brows. “I am baking some snacks; you know

how much your brother loves them…”

Miss Bolu did not need any other words; Jessie

bounced into the kitchen. The both of them

talked and laughed together like two adults and

Miss Bolu marveled at the questions the small

girl asked. She had successfully diverted Jessie’s

mind from the tense state it was in but when

silence reigned some minutes later, Jessica asked.

“They would be here soon right? They are taking

too long” Jessica looked worried.

Miss Bolu was also slightly worried but she hid it

well. Mr and Mrs Adams never stayed so long

whenever they went to pick up Mark. She

assumed that they got stuck in traffic and told

Jessica the same thing. Lagos’ traffic was always

unpredictable.

They removed the brown snacks from the oven

and Jessica stared longingly at it. Miss Bolu took

one look at her face and laughed, extracted one,

placed it in a plate and gave it to her. Just as she

was savoring the taste, the residential intercom

rang and she flew there.

“Don’t touch that phone Jessica Adams” Miss

Bolu roared. She had her mind set to disobey

that order but Miss Bolu smacked her hand which

was already on the phone.

“Hello” Miss Bolu said, knowing that the person

speaking was at the gate. “Yes, this is the Adams’

residence… ok” she dropped the intercom and

turned glaring eyes at Jessica. “I don’t want to

see you outside, do you hear me?”

Jessica nodded with a meek smile, only she

should have known that the ever stubborn

Jessica does not listen to anyone.

Miss Bolu stepped out and opened the main

gate. “Good afternoon” she greeted the man in

front of her, who was looking like someone who

just left the battle front. “Please, how may I help

you?”

“My name is Tony; I came to deliver

information.” He became silent. Miss Bolu urged

him on, feeling dread creep into her system.

“Actually, there was an accident along the

express and after checking the valuables found

on the victims, we noticed that they are the

Adams Family”

Miss Bolu had frozen as her pale face stared at

the equally pale face of the reporter. She did not

hear the gasp behind her as she grabbed the

pedestrian gate for support before she fell from

the blow. An image caught her eye and she spun

with alarm as she stared at Jessica who stood

rooted to the ground.

“Jessica…” she gasped.

The words Jessica had heard continued to echo

as she stared ahead, seeing nothing. It was until

tears had slipped out of her eyes that she again

saw the bad news bringer and Miss Bolu. She

wiped the tears instantly and marched forward,

standing in front of the man before Miss Bolu

could even think of what to do or say.

“Where is my Mummy?” she demanded. The man

looked totally at a loss. “Where is my dad and my

brother? Their snacks are inside. Where are

they?” she yelled.

The man bent down to her level, the way her

dad usually did, holding her hands. As Miss Bolu

placed her hand on her shoulder, she lost it. She

snatched her hands from the man and grabbed

his shirt with her small fists. She was shivering.

“Where is my mummy?” she yelled, shaking the

man with all her strength. “I want to see her. I

want to see my daddy.” She gasped. “Where is

Mark? Where is my brother? I still have not beat

him at the computer game, where is he.” She

wiped her tears furiously because it was

hindering her from seeing the man clearly. Miss

Bolu tried all she could to detach her from the

man who just stayed with sorrow written all over

him, without touching the child but she did not

succeed. When Jessica discovered that shaking

the man was not working, she started pounding

her fists on his chest until he held her firmly with

his strong hands.

“Ok, let me take you to them.” He said, smiling

faintly but tightly. “Go and put on your shoes.”

He said gently.

“No. I can go like this. Lets go” she wiped her

eyes again. Miss Bolu could not even get a grip

on herself, not to mention, console the child. Mr

and Mrs Adams had been like parents to her. The

man insisted until Miss Bolu went in to get

Jessica’s shoes, and locked the door.

When they got to the car that the man brought,

Jessica’s hand was shivering so terribly that she

could not hold the handle of the car, not to talk

of opening it. Tony opened the door for the

ladies and went being the wheel. He could not

even think of any word of consolation to use. He

hadn’t exactly told them the worst part of the

news but he knew that they had already drawn

up their own conclusions. He would have been

able to handle it if the little girl hadn’t been

involved but seeing the girl tearing apart had

almost driven him crazy.

When they got to the hospital, he hesitated but

when Jessica opened her door, he hurriedly went

out. Before he left the hospital minutes ago, the

little boy had been alive, though in grave

danger. He hoped and prayed that the boy was

still alive but immediately they got into the

hospital he knew that the prayer hadn’t been

answered. There, Jessica’s life became altered.

Without being told anything by anyone, due to

her age, she was still able to fathom what the

news was. A trailer had collided with the car; she

heard someone say. Suddenly, the smell of blood

and drugs hit her like a slap. She imagined that

the blood of her parents and her brother was

what she was inhaling. She grabbed her

expanding head and screamed…..

**Present**

She clutched her purse tight as the scene of over

18 years replayed over and over again. She had

cried and cried secretly but never in the presence

of others. She quickly wiped her brimming eyes

and blinked. The driver was watching her now

and she realized that they had stopped moving.

“Are you alright ma’am?” he asked softly with

worry.

She smiled. “I am fine. Thanks.” She stepped out

of the car and walked towards the shop, hoping

that her friend would be able to lift her spirit. It

was like life always threw her battled.

“Who am I seeing?” Lizzy yelled immediately she

saw Jessie. “Jessie baby” she hailed. “The sexiest

SU bride in town”

Jessica frowned at the endearment but internally,

she was glad. If there was someone who could

make her feel extremely happy with words, it was

Lizzy. “Na who be SU”

“Who else my dear” Lizzy hugged her fiercely.

“Hold it. What are you doing here? You should

be on honeymoon. Don’t tell me you guys got

fed up of each other’s company this fast. You

both seemed so much in love that you got

married barely two months after meeting.” They

sat down on the chair. No one was in the shop

except clothes.

“He had to quickly fix some things at the office

so I decided to visit you”

“Wait” Lizzy raised her hand in surprise. “You are

trying to say that your honeymoon was put on

halt because of work? That Andy is really

something”

“No, he had something very important to sort

out at work today and I advised him to go.

Besides, we still have the rest of our lives

together” she lied.

Lizzy tried to think about it then shrugged it off,

as her face brought on a ladylike smile. “Tell me

babe, give me the gist. How was your

honeymoon, most importantly, the wedding

night?”

Jessica doubled up and almost threw up at the

question. She looked pale. Jessica realized that it

had been a very terrible idea to come to Lizzy.

Lizzy was always direct and it was increasingly

difficult to lie to her.

“OH… I had forgotten that my SU friend can’t

divulge that information. In fact, pardon me, it

was inappropriate. It was not like I actually

wanted you to tell me, just wanted to see your

reaction, and I got it” Lizzy said, misinterpreting

Jessica’s reactions.

That was the lifesaver that Jessica needed. “I

won’t tell you. But you can follow me to the

beach. I guess Andy won’t be back until it is

almost dark. You have been to the beach, you

can teach me how to play in it and possibly

swim”

Lizzy’s eyes widened and she stood up instantly.

“You don’t have to ask me twice”

“What about the shop?” Jessica asked, laughing.

“It can do without me today” she closed the shop

and they both went into her apartment where

she fished out some beach-fitting clothes.

Jessica and Lizzy got to Eko Tourist Resort and

for the first time, Jessica knew that she would be

having a lot of fun. They had both talked

endlessly on their way there, even though almost

all the references Lizzy was making were of the

gossips she had heard ever since Jessica got

married. She talked about her own sudden

popularity as the friend of Andy Williams’ wife.

When they got to the beach, Lizzy looked

longingly at the wide expanse of water. She wore

small shorts with a tank top with a dark

sunshade. She wanted to play in the water but

one glance at Jessica had her frowning.

“You are not entering that water in this flowing

gown, are you?” she gave Jessica a thorough

scrutiny.

“What is wrong with this dress? I just knew you

would begin another lecture here again” Jessica

sighed.

Lizzy smiled. “No honey, I am not giving you a

lecture here, I am giving you a dress-up. You are

the most beautiful SU I have ever seen, once I

am done, you would be as good as new” Lizzy

grinned.

“Did you bring a full wardrobe with you?”

“I am sure I could use scissors and blades to

bring out a new design from your clothes. Let’s

go”

They entered the beach house and Lizzy opened

her mouth in astonishment. “This place is

heavenly Jessie” she murmured with wide eyes.

All the while, Jessica had been thinking of how

to stop Lizzy from entering her room. She knew

that with one glance, Lizzy would know that

Andy never slept in that room.

“Why don’t you wait here Lizzy, while I go in and

change?”

“And have you change into another mother in

Israel gown? No honey, let’s go”

“Lizzy, the room is meant for Andy and I only,

stay here, I promise to put on something you

would like” she flashed her teeth in a grin.

Lizzy snorted. “I doubt it but what can I do?

Even if you have to change fifty times, you

would wear what I approve today. Go on” she

ordered.

“Yes, your majesty”

Jessica was gone for some minutes while Lizzy

took in the beautiful sights before her. She

brought out her digital camera and started

snapping pictures. Inside the room, Jessica stared

at a large number of clothes, most of which she

hadn’t worn in a very long time. She knew Lizzy

enough to know that she would not rest until she

had her way. What harm can come anyways, she

wondered, it would just be for a few hours.

Lizzy was busy snapping the beautiful parrot she

sighted at the balcony when the door opened.

She turned with the mind of condemning

whatever Jessica was putting on but her mouth

dropped open when she stared at the figure in

front of her. She walked towards Jessica slowly

and Jessica had a knowing smile on her face.

“Snap out of it woman, it is a crime for a woman

to be looking at another woman like that” Jessica

dropped with a grin.

“Holy mother of Jesus” Lizzy exclaimed. “Look at

our SU… babe, turn around, and let me see you”

“C’mon stop that and let us go” as she made to

go, Lizzy pulled her back. “Stand here, let me

give you some shots; I must show the girls”

Jessica had no choice but to stand like a statue

while Lizzy snapped away. Jessica was putting on

a three-quarter army green trouser which clung

to her legs like a second skin and a butter

colored sleeveless top. Lizzy had always known

that her friend was gifted with a perfect body

that any woman would kill for but she never

imagined this. She almost found herself being

jealous of her friend’s curves and narrow waist.

“I think my next line of action would be to burn

up all those 1975 clothes you have in your

wardrobe”

“In your dreams! Now, let’s go before I change

my mind” Jessica was already feeling creepy.

“Of course honey, we can’t waste this cloth… I

just wish Andy were here.”

Jessica snorted.

**********

**********

Jessica had a very nice time playing in the beach

but men were constantly disturbing her. Her

irritation towards men increased when she

realized that their only appeal towards her was

her body. They could almost strip her naked with

their eyes. Even though Lizzy was receiving her

own fair share of admirers, she had come to

Jessica’s rescue by warding off the advances of

men, telling them that she was married.

“Men are so stupid, the only thing they are after

is sex” Jessica murmured with anger.

Lizzy smiled and bent to pick up a shell. “Then I

guess you are lucky to be married to someone

who does not have sex as his priority”

“Sex is not even on the list” Jessica said without

thinking and almost bit off her tongue.

Lizzy laughed slightly, turning towards Jessica.

“You must be kidding; every man wants sex,

unless his is impotent”

Jessica swallowed. “Yeah, of course. I was just

saying that sex is not Andy’s priority. Love comes

first”

“I am of the opinion that love comes along with

attraction; and I mean physical attraction”

“Of course”

Lizzy looked at her directly and Jessie felt

uncomfortable. “Are you hiding something from

me?”

Jessica thought of a safe landing. “We all have

got things to hide Elizabeth”

“True, but is there something you feel I should

know?” Lizzy pried further.

“Like what?”

“I don’t know… Maybe like ‘why you don’t look

like a newlywed’”

Jessica paled slightly. “I was married four days

ago, besides, how am I supposed to look?”

Lizzy was about to say something, then she

shrugged it off. “I was pulling your legs girl.” She

looked up and suddenly grabbed Jessie’s hand.

“See that wave? I won’t miss it” The tension

oozed out of Jessica as she raced with Lizzy

towards the water, even though she knew that

Lizzy was not merely pulling her legs.

**********

**********

“How could you do a thing like that son?” Mr.

Williams was yelling on the phone. Andy had

been postponing this call but now, he didn’t

have to. He had done the wedding without his

father’s consent. His father had been in Germany

on an important business trip when he got

married. He had intentionally fixed the wedding

for that time.

Mr. Williams had been preaching marriage to

Andy, ever since he became thirty because he

said it was good to make hay while the sun was

still shinning but Andy was not ready for any

commitment. Everything had become

complicated when his father introduced him to a

girl on his thirty fourth birthday. The girl was

the spoilt daughter of one of his rich friends and

they were already talking marriage. When they

would not yield to Andy’s refusal, he decided to

take a step. Hiring a bride had been the best

solution to his dilemma and he had been so

happy when he found someone who was also

opposed against marriage. He knew that if his

dad were present, he would know that the

marriage was a farce.

“I did what you have been asking me to do dad”

“You got married behind my back? Do you know

how happy a man is when he sees his son getting

married?”

“I am sorry dad but I had to do it. I felt that if I

told you, you would object to the wedding. I

can’t get married to Sylvia dad” The very idea

horrified him.

“Still you should have told me, I am your dad, I

had to watch my own son get married on the

television. If your mother were alive, she-”

“Please don’t go there again dad” Andy sighed.

They had been arguing this issue for almost an

hour. Andy’s mum had died while giving birth to

Andy. Andy was the second child and the only

son of his parents. His sister was married to a

Ghanaian guy and they had two strikingly

beautiful girls to show for it.

“All the same son, I am so happy for you. I

would be in Nigeria soon so you better be

prepared to face me.”

Andy smiled. His father could never stay angry

with him for long. Andy was exactly like his

father; they were both stubborn and always had

a way of having what they wanted, no matter

the cost. Andy knew that he needed to get a very

convincing story for his father, if not; the elderly

man would see his ploy instantly.

**********

**********

Jessica had sent the cook back to her house in

order to see to the cooking herself. She had

changed back to a long skirt and a small top

after Lizzy left and she really wanted to do the

cooking herself. She knew that if she had spent

those hours in Sonia’s company, she would have

not been this happy. Lizzy was so perfect when

you need a good time.

She looked at the ingredients in the small shelf

and decided to cook jollof rice. She fried the

chicken first, enjoying the delicious aroma that

filled the kitchen. She rinsed some fresh

tomatoes, onions green beans and carrot in order

to add color to the food. Melodious tunes

escaped her lips as she sliced the tomatoes and

the other condiments into bits.

Andy cleared his throat and Jessica shrieked,

almost hitting her finger with the knife. He tried

unsuccessfully to hide his grin as Jessie put her

slender hand against her heart. “Did you have to

startle me?”

“I never knew you could be frightened by

anything” he walked towards her. He had been

standing at the entrance for some seconds,

watching and listening to Jessica as she worked

and sang. He never knew she could sing or that

she had a lovely voice.

Jessica turned back to her work, taking out the

brown chicken from the pan and replacing them

with fresh ones. She did not like having people

sneak up on her; it was always so frightening and

unnerving.

“How was your day?” Andy asked her even

though he was staring hungrily at the chicken in

the perforated bowl.

“It was fun”.

She saw his hand go out slowly to touch the

inviting chicken and she smacked it, raising her

finger in warning. When he tried to take it again,

she blocked it with her body and faced him, but

she instantly knew that she had made a horrible

mistake. She had to bend her head backwards in

order to look at Andy. He was standing

devastatingly close and he put his hands on the

cabinet on either sides of her, successfully

trapping her. “What are you doing?”

His eyes held a level of laughter and amusement.

“You are the one who put yourself at my front”

“Let me go”

“Are you frightened” He moved closer, making it

very difficult for her to breathe.

Jessica shook her head. “Of course not. You

would not do anything improper, so I am safe

with you”

“Nothing I do with my wife would be improper

Jess” he took his hands off the cabinet and they

dropped to her waist, giving a measured level of

panic.

“Drew” she gasped and he lowered his head

instantly. His lips were just a breath away from

hers and Jessica’s eyes dropped shut. Their breath

mingled and Jessie’s heartbeat quickened then

Andy dropped a kiss on her cheeks and stepped

back. Jessica’s eyes flew open and it settled on

Andy. He held out a fried chicken and put it in

his mouth for a bite.

“Hmmm… Delicious” he murmured and walked

slowly out of the kitchen, as Jessica stood, shaken

and stunned by what just happened.

Two months into the wedding and Jessica was

already feeling extremely frustrated. Ever since

they left the beach after the pathetic

honeymoon, Andy had gone worse, leaving the

house at seven and arriving a little before

midnight when she would have been fast asleep.

At first, it did not bother her because she was

overtaken by the massive and tastefully

furnished house but after spending a week in the

house and was already used to its beauty, the

house bored her. The maid and the gateman in

the house were the only people she talked with;

asides that, she talked with herself alone. When

she had said ‘Yes’ to Andy, she never imagined it

would be this bad.

The way Andy had been behaving, it was like he

could not even stand one second of being in her

company; he even always looked for one reason

or the other to go out on Sundays. Somehow, she

wondered if her stay would have been worse

that it already was if Andy had stayed home

more. It was a Saturday and Andy was obviously

at work so Jessica decided to spend the time with

her friends. The three women decided they

would all come over to Jessica’s house since they

hadn’t visited her since she got married. Jessica

was happy about a little fun even if it would last

for just a few hours.

She entered the kitchen feeling some level of

excitement. “Well done Ada” she greeted the

maid.

“Thanks ma” the young girl responded, smiling.

“uhmmmmnn… I love this aroma”

The girl grinned. “It must be the chicken” she

said.

“I think it is the combination of rice and chicken.

What is yet to be done?” Jessica asked, needing

something to busy herself with.

Ada looked critically at everything. “I think the

only thing left undone is your appearance ma”

she smiled. She had become friends with Jessica

and now she felt comfortable chatting with her

madam the way she would normally chat with

her friend.

Jessica frowned. “What is wrong with my

appearance?”

“You need to look like the hostess ma. You are

not dressed yet”

Jessica put her hands on her hips. “Now you

sound like Lizzy. What is wrong with what I am

putting on? I am not going anywhere”

Ada let her eyes roam over the body of her boss

and tried hard not to grimace. The gown Jessica

was putting on was specifically for someone who

was twice her size and Ada wondered why Jessica

was always trying hard to look unattractive when

it was not even working. Despite the shabby

dresses Jessica wore, she still looked

exceptionally outstanding with her spotless

round face with a lengthy hair to die for.

“Anything would look good on you ma’am” Ada

said.

“Hmmm, why the change of tone now? Don’t

worry, I would change the clothes”

Two hours later, Jessica was waltzing down the

staircase in a beautiful but similarly big gown.

She sat in the sitting room and put on the TV,

relaxing her back as she waited for her friends.

She was hungry but she wanted to eat with her

friends, so that they won’t be eating and she

would be looking due to an already filled

stomach.

She heard the doorbell and went there happily

before Ada could even think of leaving the

kitchen.

“Open this heavenly door Jessie” she heard Lizzy

say and she smiled. Paulina’s ‘Comport yourself’

was not lost on her too as she opened the door

with a big smile on her face.

The ladies screamed and cooed in delight as they

fussed over Jessie.

“See this small babe of yesterday ooo, your face

is so fresh and your cheeks are fuller” Lizzy said

with delight.

“Oh please” Jessica giggled.

Sonia kissed Jessica’s cheek. “I have missed you

honey”

“Me too dear” Jessica said truthfully and stared at

Paulina. “It is only proper that I greet the

mummy of the house last right? I have her to

thank for making the rest of you look so

dashing”

They laughed.

“If I don’t take care of them, who will?” Paulina

asked dramatically.

“We are old enough to take care of ourselves

mummy” Lizzy and Sonia chorused and they all

laughed.

“Well, get your little butts inside” Jessica said and

they all left the entrance.

“Oh my God, this house is dynamite” Paulina

exclaimed as they all murmured one thing or the

other about the house.

“Comport Yourself” Lizzy said to her and Sonia

laughed at them.

“Babe, you are enjoying ooo, this house is

amazing. You are the luckiest babe on earth”

Sonia said.

“Lucky” Jessica muttered silently as they all sat

down.

Ada came to the sitting room and greeted

everyone before whispering something into her

boss’ ear. Jessica nodded and Ada left.

“Well ladies, let’s eat first before we have a nice

chat or we do both at the same time”

“Neglecting your table manners?” Paulina asked

with a raised eyebrow.

“Maybe. How does fried rice, salad and fried

chicken sound to you guys?”

Everyone jumped out of their seats and headed

for the dinning. “I think we can forfeit the table

manners for today” Paulina said.

**********

**********

They had all eaten and were busy sipping drinks.

The food had been so delicious that they all ate

their fill and even more. As they sat in the sitting

room, the talked about everything that came to

their minds.

“How is life as a married woman” Paulina asked

after some time.

Jessica swallowed slightly. “Life is beautiful. You

should all get married”

“Yeah, we are working on it” Sonia said, focusing

her eyes on the decorations on the wall.

Lizzy was in thought and Jessica was curious as to

what she would say. Lizzy was the one who

always saw deep into things and people; that was

one of the reasons why Jessica always tried not

to spend so much time with her alone, especially

when she had something to hide.

“How are you coping with Andy’s work

schedule?” Lizzy asked pointedly.

Jessica swallowed. “It is my cross but I am

coping. It can be hard not to have him around

most of the time but it is fine, we understand

each other” Jessica said with a smile.

“I only wonder why he has to go to work every

time. I mean, he is the owner of that money-

making company which spread across the

country, why should he work himself half to

death when he has more than enough

employees?” Lizzy continued.

Like I have not asked myself the same question,

Jessica thought. “He has shareholders to answer

to and he is already used to the office, you can’t

blame him”

“Well, to me, if his going to the office is what

brought about this beautiful house, he should

continue his workaholic routine” Sonia said.

“Sonia” Paulina called. “Money would not kill

you. Banker”

“Is it easy?” she retorted.

“Jessie, are we expecting Andy junior?”

Jessica choked on her drink at Paulina’s question.

She coughed as the drink clung to her throat and

made it impossible to talk. The ladies muttered

apologies until she became calm but she caught

Lizzy’s curious look. “Most times I forget the type

of friends I have” thinking of a way of escape,

she faced Lizzy. “Liz, have you settled your

dispute with Alex?” It worked because everyone

started talking at once.

“Don’t mind this stubborn girl, she refused to

apologize to him o” Paulina said.

“Why should I apologize when he is clearly at

fault? He did not remember my birthday and he

wants me to just forgive him when he has not

begged properly? Abeg free me jare” Lizzy said

and hissed.

“I agree with her, the guy should take off his

pride and apologize” Sonia said.

“I think Sonia should apologize nonetheless, I

mean, men are scarce these days, we should hold

on to ours firmly” Paulina pointed out.

“She is right” Sonia said again.

Jessica heaved a sigh, happy that she was not the

subject matter again.

**********

**********

Andy sat on the chair in his office the next day

doing absolutely nothing. He should have gone

home hours back when there was almost nothing

for him to do but he could not imagine going

home. Although Jessica always dressed like a

saint who was still living in the era of his

forefathers, he felt drawn towards her. That day

in the kitchen during their honeymoon was a day

he had desperately tried to get out of his mind.

Standing so close to her that day had made him

aware of her perfume which was totally

feminine. He had always known that she was

beautiful because he would never have picked

someone less beautiful to be his wife for a day

but that day, he had come to the full realization

of her exquisite beauty. He had noticed that she

did not have black pupils but instead had dark

grey. The realization had stunned him. But most

of all, he had been thrown off balance by how

slim her waist was.

He could not remember how his hands had

managed to get to her waist but he couldn’t

have been more surprised when he noticed the

slim waist she had. The dresses she always wore

were big enough to hide her waist and hips but

ever since that day, he kept on imagining what

was beneath that cloth. His eyes had never even

seen her legs before. He had decided to use work

as a good distraction and it worked to a certain

extent.

His phone rang and he frowned when he saw the

caller. His dad? The number proved that he was

already in Nigeria.

“Dad?” he said immediately he picked up.

“Yes son, how are you doing?”

“Are you in Nigeria?” Andy stood up from his

chair.

“Yes I am. Get ready to receive me in your house

tonight because I would be having dinner with

you today”

The alarm sounded in Andy’s head. Trust his

father to always put them on the spot. “What? I

mean… why didn’t you tell me you have arrived

Nigeria? When did you arrive?” Andy was pacing.

“This afternoon. I would be at your house in

three hours time. I need to see my daughter in

law face to face and not some unclear picture,

although she looked stunning in those wedding

pictures”

His dad ended the call and Andy stared at the

phone in agitation. Three hours! The words

echoed in his head. How was he going to

convince his ever-suspicious father that he and

Jessica were in love? Jessica was a strong headed

girl, how was he going to convince her to act

like a loving wife, perfectly enough to convince

his father? Does she even know how loving

wives behaved? He wondered. He took his car

keys and his suit jacket and left the office

instantly. He dialed his best friend and assistant

to tell him that the office was in his care. He had

a feeling that he was in for a long night.

**********

**********

Jessica lay on the chair, reading a novel. One

thing she loves about the house was the study

which was filled with all kinds of books. She had

found a novel which looked interesting and

occupied herself with it. She was surprised when

she heard Andy’s car horn. He never arrived

around six and she knew that something was out

of place. She stayed where she was, even though

she was curious.

Andy entered and she lifted her head with a

nonchalant look on her eyes but the look faded

when she saw him. His suit jacket was in his

hand, along with a nylon bag and his car keys

were on the other hand. His shirt which her eyes

focused on was buttoned halfway down, leaving

his muscled chest partly visible. She swallowed

and looked at his face.

“Good evening Drew. You are early”

“It is necessary. My dad would be here soon”

“Your dad” she muttered as the realization slowly

dawned on her. Her eyes slowly widened and

Andy fought back an amused smile. “He is

coming here?”

He nodded with a faint smile. “My dad is one

man who can’t be fooled easily. I don’t know if

you can act like a love-struck woman.”

Jessica frowned. “I believe I can be or do

anything if I decide to. The question is, ‘can you

act a man in love’?” she smiled slightly.

“We don’t have enough time to act a proper

rehearsal so I guess we would both find out the

hard way. It is either we are both poor actors or

we are both meant to be in the movie industry”.

He smiled and remembered what he was holding.

“I got you a befitting gown” he said and

stretched the nylon to her.

“Befitting” she muttered, hating the word.

Well, you refused to go shopping every time I

mentioned it and I can’t have you meet my

father in one of those gowns you always put on.

She collected the nylon and removed the cloth

inside. It was a multicolored gown which had

expensive written all over it. She removed the

nylon that was used to cover the gown and let it

fall to the ground.

“I noticed that you love clothes that goes all the

way down to your feet so I got this which has a

long hand to go with it, but it is still elegant and

speaks of class” he explained nervously as she

quietly scrutinized the cloth.

The cloth was beautiful, very beautiful, she

admitted to herself. “It is beautiful, but I can’t

put it on”

“What? We are not going to argue about this

again”

“I don’t mean to be rude but your dad is going

to know that something is fishing if I put this on.

This cloth is meant for an important event and

not just an indoor dinner. What I need to put on

is something simple but also classy.”

“Well, we don’t have time, let’s go for it. My dad

would be here any minute”

“I have what I need. I would go and freshen up.

Tell Ada to make the food ready for three” she

turned and left Andy standing there.

Andy grimaced at the thought of what Jessica

would put on. After an hour, Andy still did not

see Jessica. He wanted to inspect the cloth she

would put on to see if it was fit. Even though he

did not really think much of classy dressing and

the likes, he knew that his father would expect

his daughter-in-law to dress like a William. He

wondered which oversized dress Jessica would

choose to put on. The car horn he heard almost

made him jump. He called Jessica’s name but

heard no response. Knowing that he was

doomed, he went to the door and opened it.

Seeing his father after more than five months

shouldn’t make him nervous but he was not sure

how the evening would turn out. He saw his

father step out of the car and he walked up to

the elderly man with a cool smile.

“Dad” he called.

Mr. Williams turned with smiles. “Son.” He

hugged Andy. “I have missed you. How is

Nigeria?”

“Nigeria is still the same old busy place. Why

didn’t you inform me of your arrival? I could

have picked you up”

“That is why I have a driver. Where is my

daughter-in-law?”

“She-”

The door opened and he turned. When he saw

the person at the doorway, he blinked and froze.

Even if the trumpet sounded three

times in a row, Jessica was certain that

Andy would not have heard anything.

He seemed to be glued to the place he

was standing beside his father, as he

gazed with disbelief in his eyes. Her

normally bold personality instantly

became self conscious. The dress she

had on was totally modest and good for

the occasion which was nothing

spectacular other than meet her father-

in-law whom she should have meet long

time ago. She was putting on a short

gown for the first time in a very long

time. The short gown was slightly above

her knees, though it was not the

clinging type; it was sleeveless which

left her shoulders and hands bare. She

suddenly felt exposed as Andy’s eyes

bore into her. Noticing that they had

been staring at each other for some

time, she quickly moved forward, and

noticed the elderly man Andy, looking at

them with amused curiosity. That Andy

got his height and good looks from his

father was not to be denied. The man

was still very attractive at his age.

Andy looked a bit different from him

facially and Andy wondered what his

mum looked like.

“Sir”, she moved forward quickly, not

knowing the proper way of greeting

your father-in-law. “Good evening dad”

she bent to kneel down but the man

held her back.

“C’mon, give your father-in-law a hug”

he pulled her into his arms and Jessica

remembered her father.

“I am so sorry sir” she said as she

pulled away. “I told Andy severally that

we should wait for sometime until you

are back from your trip before we get

married but he refused” Andy was still

lost in trance and it bothered Jessica

as she tried to cover up.

“Do I blame him? He is a William; we

grab opportunities when we see them.

Frankly, if I were in his shoes, I would

want to take you off the market as

soon as possible because you are a

rare commodity”

Mr William was making her look like a

product which was for sale but the

funny thing is that she did not feel

insulted, in fact, she felt flattered.

“I always wondered where Andy got his

good looks from, now I know” she

smiled.

The man adjusted slightly, “Well, he is a

combination of his mum and I, he is

one selfish boy right?”

Referring to Andy as a boy was strange

to Jessica’s ears. Andy was not doing

anything to help her and she didn’t

know if they would be able pull this

farce through if he kept mute. The

possibility was becoming increasingly

hard.

 “Yes sir, he can be so selfish” she

nudged Andy with her leg.

“Yes, tap him, he seems to be lost in

cloud nine” His father said. Jessica

hadn’t thought that her father-in-law

saw her.

She smiled nervously. “He is always like

this when I put on this gown, I don’t

know why”

The man laughed. “Then make sure you

put it on when there is a quarrel, it

might save you the stress of

apologizing.” Jessica laughed and was

relieved when Andy seemed to be back

in their midst.

“Come daughter” Andy’s dad put his

hand around Jessica’s shoulders as he

walked inside, leaving Andy to tag

along. “Tell me about yourself”

**********

**********

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