By Serah Iyare
Ajibade and Jibike stood outside the house with their daughters. Their in-laws, friends and other guests had just taken their leave.
“Tell your husband that I have fined him for not coming,” Folake addressed her elder sister.
“Don’t worry, he will make it up to you,” Foluke winked at her.
The security guard approached them.
“Sir, there is someone here to see Aunty Funmike.”
Ajibade frowned, “Isn’t she in school?”
“No, sir. She came home this evening.”
“Oh my God!” Jibike panicked, “Hope none of the guests saw her,” she turned to her husband.
“No cause for alarm mum. I saw her when she arrived and locked her up in her room,” Folake winked at her mother.
“Wicked,” Foluke tapped her on the shoulder.
“In this case, wicked is good,” Folake winked at her.
They both bursted out in laughter.
“Let the visitor in,” Ajibade said to the guard.
“Yes, sir,” he hurried away.
“Folake get your sister,” Jibike faced her youngest daughter.
“Yes, mother,” she took her time and cat-walked into the house.
Ajibade and Jibike exchanged glances when they saw the tall, dark, broad shouldered handsome young man in a white long-sleeve shirt, black jeans and black leather shoes, approaching them with majestic strides.
Foluke stared at him, akimbo. Where did her sister find the Adonis? Assuming she wasn’t married, she would have made him hers. She turned green with envy.
“Good evening sir, ma.”
“Evening,” they chorused. Their curious gaze regarded him.
“I am Dantenimu, the son of Yaro Sheu Danjuma.”
“Nice Baby Limited CEO?” his eyes sparkled with excitement.
“I know your father. He is a very calculative business man.”
Jibike felt elated that her daughter knew the son of a very wealthy business magnet.
“You are welcome. Let’s go in,” Ajibade led the way in.
“Thank you sir,” he walked behind the couple and noticed a tall dark skinned lady who looked like Funmike’s father.
The way she stared at him reminded him of the look the lioness gave her prey before giving it a chase.
Folake hurried down the hall. She found her parents and sister in the company of a handsome stranger.
“Where is Funmike?” Jibike glanced at her.
She halted and stared back at her in fear.
“Where is your sister?” her father frowned.
She swallowed hard and met his questioning gaze, “She is not breathing,” she whispered.
Four pairs of eyes drilled an invincible hole in her head.
“I… I called her, she didn’t respond. I shook her, but, she didn’t move. I am not sure she is breathing,” she looked back at her parents. What if Funmike had been telling the truth about her health? She wished she had listened to the guard.
“Funmike ooo!” Jibike placed her hands on her head and ran towards her daughter’s room.
Ajibade and Foluke ran after her.
Panic paralyzed Dantenimu briefly. The last time he spoke with his love, he was about getting into a cab. The last time he called her, she didn’t pick his call.
He directed his gaze at Folake. She was trembling. He was gut sure that she was the little witch.
The elderly couple sat on the long bench outside the emergency room, awaiting feedback from the doctor.
Ajibade couldn’t erase the images that tortured his enraged mind. They found Funmike lying on her bed like a log of wood that night.
Every attempt to wake her up was unprofitable. What in the world made Folake to lock her up? He glanced at her and found her seated at a corner, her head in her hands.
Jibike crossed her arms and seethed. She glared at her youngest daughter. She didn’t understand why Folake thought her sister was lying about her health. She could have pleaded with Funmike to stay in her room until the party was over. Locking her up was the height of malicious intent.
Foluke noticed the way her parents were staring at Folake. She pited her. Under the same circumstance, she would have done exactly the same thing. It was so unfortunate that Funmike wasn’t feeling fine.
Their parents would definitely tongue-lash Folake. That was something they all tried to avoid as often as possible.
Dantenimu stood outside the emergency room. Several thoughts ran through his mind. He blamed Funmike’s family for her present condition. She was the love of his life. How he wish he could take her place. He would trade his life for hers without thinking twice.
A female doctor came out of the emergency room and turned to the couple.
“We found toxins in her system. We flushed it out, but, she is still unconscious. You brought her here rather too late.”
Jibike jumped to her feet, “Please tell me that my baby will be okay,” tears gathered in her eyes.
“We will do our best ma, but, you need to pray,” the doctor returned to the emergency room.
She turned to her husband and collasped in his arms. Foluke and Folake held gazes. It dawned on them that their sister was in a critical condition.
Dantenimu faced Funmike’s family, “We need to pray.”
They looked up at him.
“We need a miracle, it is only God that can save her now.”
“Let’s pray,” Ajibade held his wife’s hand and beckoned at his daughters.
Funmike opened her eyes and saw her fiance seated on a chair beside the hospital bed.
“Hey you,” he got up and stood by her side.
“Dante,” she whispered.
“Welcome back to earth.”
“How long… have I… been here?”
Her surprised gaze captured his happy face.
“You scared us all. Even the doctor thought we might lose you.”
“You ain’t getting rid of me that easily.”
He started to laugh.
Ajibade and Jibike came in looking tired and worn out. They stood at the edge of the bed feeling grateful to God for answering their prayers.
“How are you feeling?” her mother smiled at her.
“I feel light,” she responded.
“The cook will be here soon. You will feel better once you have eaten,” her father assured her.
Foluke and Folake came in together. They approached the bed and settled at the edge.
Funmike turned to look at them. Worry-lines decorated their faces. She felt pleased that her family were at her side in her weak state. She believed that somewhere deep in their hearts, they cared.
“Please forgive me,” Folake’s eyes glistered with tears. She wouldn’t have been able to forgive herself if her sister had not regained consciousness.
Her eyes smarted with tears, “I forgive you,” she reached out for her hand.
“I am sorry for stopping you from attending my wedding. Please forgive me,” Foluke pleade.
“It is okay,” tears streamed down her fair face.
“It is my fault. I failed you as a father. I distanced myself from you instead of accepting you the way God has made you. Please forgive me for rejecting you for so long,” he sat at the side of the bed.
“I forgive you daddy,” she wiped her tears with the back of her hand.
“I am also at fault,” Jibike stared at her daughter, “I should have stood by you and loved you regardless of how you looked. I should have defended you,” she broke down, “I am sorry.”
“It is all right mummy,” joy filled her heart. God had used the bad situation to reunite her family. She saw Dantenimu from the corner of her eyes. He gave her a thumbs up.
Dantenimu cleared his throat thrice. They all turned to look at him.
“I would have waited, but, I believe this is the appropriate time to ask,” he addressed Ajibade, “I love your daughter, I will like to marry her as soon as possible.”
He beamed, walked up to the young man and shook his hand with enthusiasm, “Beautiful, splendid, you have my blessings.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Welcome to the family,” Jibike was happy that her daughters had brought good men home.
“Thank you ma.”
Foluke leaned closer, “Dantenimu is your fiance?!”
“How did you guys meet?” Folake was eager for info.
Funmike giggled and waved her left hand. They saw the gold ring.
“Let me see that.”
“How many carat?”
While they pulled and poked her finger, she directed her gaze at the one her heart beats for.
He winked and blew her a kiss.
She chuckled and sighed with relief. She thanked God for the way everything worked out.