By Dr Ogonna Okeke



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“What makes you think that I love you in the first place ” she said with pride.

He turned to face her properly and looked into her beautiful brown eyes .

“Tell me that you don’t love me “! he said to her with a soft voice.

Nicky tried to look away and refused to give him an answer.

“Your eyes and your actions betray you.I will never break your heart.Why are you so scared? “he said to her.

Nicky got up from the chair and walked to her window .

William came up behind her .He just stood behind her and said in a very low voice;

“I am sorry if I went out of line”

“It’s okay . I am not scared .I just want to be careful , that’s all!” she replied and turned around to face him.

“I care about you William, I would be lying if I said I didn’t like you a lot”. Let’s get to know each other better “she said to him.

William smiled and said” that’s good enough for me”.

They discussed for a while and he left so that she could go for her lectures.

Several Months went by , Nicky was in her second semester. She was working on her project .

Nicky and William were head over heels in love with each other. They looked so good together.

Nicky was glad that her graduation was in a couple of months. She looked forward to introducing William to her family.

William had said in so many words that she would be his wife.He had already started planning his life around her.

He had some contacts that would help fix Nicky into a good company. Her impeccable grades so far and past academic records made helping her get a job easy.

It was a cool friday evening. William went over to Nicky’s room to celebrate the submission of her project after work.

They had just finished eating dinner when she got a call from her mum.She discussed with her mum and dad who was beside her.

They were looking forward to coming for her graduation.

“Nicky my daughter, you should think of settling down” ,she said to her with a warm voice.

“Mummy God is in control, don’t worry about me .I will get married one day and give you all the grand kids you desire” she said with subtle sarcasm in her voice. The conversation ended amicably.

Nicky and William laughed about her mum’s desire to get married and her reply to her.

” I think I have seen the picture of your mum and sister only.Let me see your dad’s picture babe ” , he said to her.

Nicky went to get her old phone and switched it on.She sat in front of him on the small Persian rug and they scrolled through her phone gallery for family pictures.

William looked keenly at the pictures as she mentioned their names while scrolling through the gallery.

“This is me at my elder brother’s wedding,this is Jidenna, my other brother. This is Arinze my elder brother and yes !this is my darling sister in law Amoge.She is Arinze’s wife” she said to him with excitement.

William froze for a minute. It was like time stood still. He managed to pretend that all was well while his heart bled internally. After some minutes he gave Nicky an excuse just to leave her room.

William drove for a while and packed his car in a safe area.He used his fists to hit his steering wheels several times in anger.

“Why is this happening to me?.Why are there always obstacles when I meet someone I truly love ?”.

He drove home and went straight into his room. He ignored the missed calls from Nicky and switched off his phone.

He didn’t know which was more painful. Seeing Amoge’s bridal picture or the fact that the guy who took her away from him is actually related to the love of his life.

He disliked the man who married Amoge. How was he going to ask for the hand of his sister in marriage when the time came,he asked himself in anger.

“So Amoge will be by inlaw if eventually I ask Nicky to marry me and she accepts.

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“Do I tell Nicky about this new discovery? If I do,I might scare her away and I can’t bear to loose her”,he said to himself.

William was so confused.A million thoughts crossed his mind.

“The past is the past . The future is more important. I will keep it to myself” he rationalised.

William figured that since Amoge had married ,he too

deserved to be happy.

He tried to relax by watching his favourite soccer team play against their arch rivals but the match which supposed to be exciting became boring to him.He couldn’t concentrate anymore and so he switched off his TV and went to bed.

William kept on dating Nicky. She graduated with a distinction and was so thrilled when she got the information.

Meanwhile , Amoge was discharged from hospital and didn’t have any other cause to go the hospital except for the regular antenatal visits.

The babies were doing great .Both maternal and paternal grand parents were looking forward to carrying their first twin grand children.

Amoge was excited to to be travelling to the UK to attend Nicole’s graduation.

Arinze wanted Amoge to stay behind in England to give birth to the twins ,since his parents were going to be on vacation in the UK.

It was a couple of days to Nicky’s graduation. She made her hair and picked up her beautiful dress and graduation gown from the dry cleaner.

Her entire family arrived a day before her big day.There was so much excitement in the air. They arrived with Amoge. They lodged in a five star hotel not too far from the school.

Nicky didn’t see much of William a day before the graduation because he finished late from work. It didn’t stop them from communicating regularly on the phone.

Nicky’s parents , siblings and heavily pregnant Amoge were sitted around a big table for their dinner.

It was a  buffet, so they helped themselves from the array of mouth watering dishes served by the hotel.

Amoge and Nicky were left on the table while others went to get their food.

William called Nicky to know if her family had settled in well.Their conversation ended with her saying “I love you “to William.

“Hmmmm Nicole, who is this guy you are loving oh?, you didn’t gist me about him” Amoge asked with a curious smile.

“Don’t worry sis ! I will give you the full gist .He is coming tomorrow for the graduation”,She said with a smile on her face.

The other family members returned to their sitswith their plates and Nicky changed the topic of discussion.

William got home that evening and was relaxing. He wondered in his heart how the following day was going to play out.He thought of the option of avoiding the ceremony but he knew that Nicky would be upset.

He wasn’t so sure about Amoge and Arinze attending the graduation because Nicky laid more emphasis on her parents and sister attending.

“Anyway I know how I will handle the situation till I am able to muster enough courage to tell Nicky. After all , I didn’t commit a crime” he said to himself.

It was the morning of the graduation. Nicky got dressed and put on her make up. she left earlier than her family to sort out a few things .

Amoge and the rest of the family got to the graduation hall.It was a magnificent hall.They sat on their seats and eagerly waited for Nicky’s name to be called. It was only a matter of some minutes when the name Nicole Okafor was called.

Nicky’s parents and siblings stood up to cheer her as

she walked to the podium. The other guests watched them as they screamed with excitement.

Amoge was tired of standing and decided to sit down. As she turned to pick up her bag on the seat so that she could sit properly, she literally froze.

She couldn’t move. She kept staring at the image before her. She felt as if his eyes could pierce her soul.

Amoge sat down quietly and faced the podium. Her heart raced .

“What is William  doing here?” She asked herself.

“The last time we met, my marriage almost ended ” ,she said to herself.

“Why did he stand when Nicole’s name was called? “She wondered.

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“How am I going to avoid greeting him since he has seen me already? , she asked herself.

When the ceremony ended,Amoge remained sitting on her chair because she had an important phone call she had to pick from Nigeria.

She later went outside to join the rest of the family who were taking pictures with Nicky.

When Nicky saw her, she walked up to Amoge and whispered into her ears;

“That guy I spoke to you about is here . I want you to see him first before I introduce him to mum and dad”.

Amoge excitedly agreed and walked with Nicky to meet her boyfriend.

Meanwhile, Nicky’s friend Ada was taking pictures with her brother and William.

Nicky walked up to William and put her arm round his shoulder.

“Meet my darling sister in law “she said to him with a smile.

William turned around to see to see Amoge. He didn’t know whether to smile or frown.

He just said “nice to meet you” with a cold smile.

“What a small world we live in” Amoge replied as she looked at William.

“Have you met each other before? “Nicky asked Amoge .

“Oh yes! We went to the same primary and secondary school” Amoge replied .

“Really! “Nicky said to her excitedly as she held William’s hand and looked at him.

Amoge did her best to hide her emotions. She didn’t want to ruin Nicky’s day.

“Let me leave you both “Amoge said to them and went to join Arinze.

“I have been looking for you” Arinze said to her. “We want to go and have lunch somewhere. Where is Nicole?”he asked with curiosity.

“She is with her friends “, Amoge replied with a straight face.

Nicky said goodbye to William and went to join her family.

On their way to lunch, Arinze stole glances at his wife. He noticed how she stared at the moving vehicles and wondered if all was well with her.

When they got to the Chinese restaurant, Amoge and the rest of the family sat behind the large table assigned to them.

“Mum and dad,I invited a friend of mine to eat with us , I hope that is okay?”.

“Of course my daughter. Who knows! It may be our future in law madame Grace said with a michevious smile.

“Mummy mummy!, leave me alone oh” she replied in a shy manner while looking at Amoge.

As they enjoyed the crispy jumbo sized fried prawns with chilli pepper and garlic sauce, the long awaited guest arrived.

Nicky stood up to usher him to their table. William greeted everyone and sat down beside Nicky.

“Nicky ask the young man to place his order “,Mr Okafor said to her. Nicky nodded her head in agreement and she quietly discussed his meal order with him and the Asian waiter.

Amoge was glad when her main dish arrived because the silence at the table was beginning to get awkward.

She couldn’t say a word because she didn’t want to betray her emotions.

The man she once loved with every cell in her body was sitting in front of her ,separated by a wooden table.

William sat beside Nicky who equally sat opposite Arinze.

Arinze ate his meal like a gentleman would.

He recognised the face of the man who joined them at the table. He was the same man who stole a kiss from his wife some days to their traditional wedding.

He watched William as he ate his meal while occasionally discussing with Nicky. He noticed a few moments when Amoge moved her gaze away from William hurriedly when their eyes met.

Arinze ate his food with all the self control in the world. The meal that he decided abinitio to devour with delight now tasted like chaff.He couldn’t wait for this ordeal to be over .The respect he had for his parents, kept him calm at the table.

When lunch was over , Arinze politely told his parents that he had to visit a friend of his with Amoge.

Nicky was a bit disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to discuss with William and wondered why he was not friendly towards her guest.

Arinze and Amoge got into a cab and went to their hotel room. He made up the lie because he didn’t want to spend an extra second close to William.

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They entered the room and Amoge quickly went to the bathroom to empty her full bladder.She wiped the make up on her face afterwards while looking into the mirror of the bathroom .

At a point, she just stared into the mirror. A tear escaped from her eyes.William her best friend in the past had now turned to be a stranger. She missed her childhood friend .

She couldn’t even talk freely with William because she was scared that Arinze would misinterprete her friendliness .

Amoge loved her husband so much but she felt it might be awkward having William as an inlaw if things eventually worked out between him and Nicole.

Amoge went to the room and sat down on the bed drinking a glass of water.Her husband barely said a word to her.He laid down on the bed and slept off as he watched the news station.

She laid down beside him to rest her tired body. She was so heavily pregnant that sleeping comfortably became luxury.

Amoge and Arinze slept for a couple of hours. They were woken up by a call from Arinze’s dad announcing their return to the hotel.

They heard a knock on the door. Arinze opened the door to allow his siblings and parents into the hotel suite.

“I hope you and Amoge are okay ?Madame Grace asked Arinze.

“Yes we are” he replied. They sat on the bed /sofa discussing how the day went and the planned visit to London in a few days.

Out of the blues, Madame Grace said to Nicky. ” I think I like that your friend William. He is such a polite young and he speaks well too.I hope we shall see more of him”.

“Mama Arinze you met him only once and discussed for roughly an hour after lunch and you are already excited. This woman eh!, “he said to her with a smile.

“Thanks mummy”, Nicky replied.

“Arinze, what did you think about him? “, Nicky asked excitedly.

“You don’t really need my opinion dear”,he replied with coldness.

“I don’t understand you oh” Nicky replied.

“Well if you must know what my opinion is then here it is;He isn’t the best option for you. I am sure that there are other handsome eligible bachelors who would be so blessed to marry you when the time comes”,Arinze said to Nicky.

“Why do you say so my son?” , Mr Okafor asked with curiosity.

“I don’t know dad.  I just don’t have a good feeling about him” , he replied.

“Arinze how can you just see someone briefly and write him off quickly?,she said in anger.

“Well I have given my opinion” he said with a loud voice .

“Well I am sorry but I won’t break up with him” she yelled back and walked towards the door.

“By the way ,you better tell that boyfriend of yours to tell you about his past” he replied and sat down.

Nicky stormed out of the room in anger.

Arinze’s parents and other siblings reprimanded him for his attitude to Nicky and they left his room.

“So why didn’t you even say a word ?” Arinze asked Amoge angrily.

“What was I expected to say?.You know that you are over reacting. After all I am happily married to you”,Amoge replied.

“Why were you so uncomfortable at the restaurant when your ex boyfriend came to join us? Why were you so quiet and moody in the car?” , he asked with anger

.

“Arinze please don’t start.How can you be acting so insecure ?”she said with a loud voice.

“Answer me “he yelled back at her.

“I have absolutely nothing to say to you. When you are ready to have a mature conversation, you can let me know”,she said to him.

“Besides, this is your sister’s happiness we are talking about. You and I know that there is nothing wrong with them dating. I have moved on. We are happily married, let them be,Amoge replied.

She laid down on the bed and covered herself with the duvet. I suggest you come and lie down she said to him with a soft voice.

Arinze ignored her and sat on the couch watching TV angrily.

…To be continued

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