In The Dark – Episode 33

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A Story By Stanley Oluwatosin

I looked at my girls and all i felt was the joy of motherhood. Nothing can be more fulfilling.

There was a striking resemblance between the girls right from birth.

As a mother, i could not even point out a difference between the both of them, they were a set of identical twins.

After been cleaned up, i was asked to feed my kids. I could remember, shedding tears of joy as the girls sucked from my dry boobs. Everything was like a dream come through for me and i saw the girls as the reward for all the hardship i went through.

There and then promised myself that i wouldn’t let go of my girls for anything in the whole world.

I stayed back at the hospital for awhile after delivery. Biodun was the only one that stood by me throughout this period of time and he even scheduled his annual leave for that month. He would bring us breakfast in the morning, buy lunch in the afternoon and go home to make dinner at night. During this period of time the hospital practically became Biodun’s home. He found pleasure in playing with the girls while i would sleep. He also stayed with me during sleepless nights when the girls are crying. We would carry the girls and dance round the ward the way Nigerian mothers does. Whenever the girls fall asleep, Biodun would sleep in a one armed chair while my babies and I would sleep on the comfortable bed. I did’nt know how i was going to repay him but i am eternally grateful for his support.

After spending a week in the hospital, we were due for discharge. Before I was discharged, the birth certificates of my kids were issued to me and i was surprised to see Biodun’s name on it as their father. I enquired for the reason why Biodun included his name and he made me understand that he did’nt include his name because he wanted to claim my children but he was lost on whose name to give when the babies father name was requested for. So he filled in his name for the main time.

Biodun wanted to request for a change in name after explaining his reasons to me but i kicked against the idea. To me James was not worthy to be call the father of my children and even though Biodun was just a friend, he had done more than what a father could do.

I left the hospital without changing the name on the birth certificate. Biodun drove us home afterwards and we were awesomely welcomed by a surprise party.

****

The sight that welcomed me was pleasant when we arrived my apartment. Biodun had the whole interior decoration changed, he decorated the nursery and he even went to the extent of changing the furnitures. The whole apartment was sparkling. I did’nt know how biodun pulled the whole surprise off but he did it perfectly well.

Some of Biodun’s friends were present as well. I got gift from most of them and we had fun having a low key welcome party. Throughout the party, Biodun portrayed me as his girlfriend. He would whisper into my ears and touch me lightly on the cheek. Though i was happy to have him by my side, i was scared of falling for him as well.

At exactly 6:00pm, our guest exist the apartment and we were left to clean up the used dishes.

****

While washing the dishes, i to take a bold step by asking Biodun why he chose to stand by me. I selected my words carefully in order not to him or portray myself as an ungrateful soul.

After a long speech, I was able to convey my message to Biodun and his response was something i never imagined. Though the message was clear, it was hard to believe.

Biodun made me realise that he liked me the very day he set his eyes on me and the day i shared my story with him, he became more attracted to me. Though it was alittle crazy to be inlove with a lady who was carrying another man’s child,he decided to stick around and let fate decide the future.He also included that all he did was for my girls.

I agreed with Biodun’s decision to allow fate play it’s part and i also used the opportunity to thank him for all he had done.

Myself and biodun shared a kiss that day and we were eventually interrupted by the cries of my babies.

****

After two weeks of been discharged, my life started to take a new turn. Biodun added meaning to my life and existence. He represented the father i thought my kids would never have and he represented the family I left back home.

We found pleasure in doing everything together. Everything! including changing my babies napkins and watching them grow.

Having my girls, Biodun and my family, made my life beautiful.

I had the happiness i thought i had lost until one day.

****

I was about putting the girls to sleep when i heard a knock on my door. I gave the girls to Biodun and went for the door.

Standing in front of my door was a man in suit. He delivered a letter to me and i signed the delivery book.

I got the shock of my life when i read the content of the letter.

It was a court notice.

A notice that stated that i was sued by James.

It was a court notice. A notice which stated that i was been sued by James.

****

I stood at a spot and read the letter over and over again. It was like a night mare to me and i was so confused on what could possibly make James decide to sue me. I could not even close the door as i read the heading of the letter over and over again.

I was accused of violating the right of a father to meet his kids, something i never did. Ever since i got pregnant, i never crossed part with James, not even accidentally. Right there and then, i felt like seeing James and showing him the stuffs i was made of. For him to think that he could gain an access to my kids by suing me made me more determined to fight him with my last penny. James turned his back at me when i needed him the most and he realised he had kids with me just when i was getting my life back. If i could stand on my own and fight life itself , i believed i could fight for my kids. Nothing else mattered to me apart from winning the court battle created by James.

Biodun had already put the girls to sleep and was about existing the nursery when i entered. He noticed the look on my face and he asked why i was sad.

I gave the letter to Biodun and explained what James was driving at to him. The letter specified that the court hearing would be in three months time and i was to show up on the date given. I expressed my fears to Biodun and he promised to fight with/for me. I was happy to have him by my side but i was scared of losing it all. I saw My kids as the reward for the hardship i went through, i couldn’t let go of either of them.

Biodun concluded that he would invite his lawyer friend over the next day. Though i was scared, Biodun promised me that everything was going to be fine and i took in his words.

****

The next day, Biodun’s lawyer friend (David) came over and we had a long talk over the court notice and my relationship with James.

He opened our eyes to things we did’nt know. At first, he made us realise that James suing me ment that he was ready to play it dirty with me and we must as well be prepared.

He asked if i had any criminal record or if i had anything to do with hard drugs and alcohol and i replied negatively.

The next important step he stated was my level of responsibility. According to him, James could win the case if he was able to prove that i was just a student who got pregnant in a foreign land without my parent knowledge. He could even make the court believe that i would not be capable of raising the kids in the right way.

My heart was broken when the lawyer elaborated on the danger i could face and how slim my chance of gaining custody of my kids could be.

I told the lawyer he could counter James if he also made the court realise that he was the irresponsible one. Since james neglected me throughout my pregnancy and child birth, he could be tagged as the irresponsible one. I went further to make it clear that it was Biodun that stood by me throughout my rough time and he is better off to call Biodun the father of my kids instead of James.

The lawyer took in my points but he explained how less useful it could be. According to him, James could accuse me of shutting him out and hooking up with Biodun even when i was pregnant with his child. He could even play the victim and make the court believe that i chose Biodun over him.

I was so lost and confused when i realised how things could turn out. The lawyer went on and on to tell us how James could paint me black and gain custody of his kids since he was their biological father. We were at a blocked edge when Biodun brought up the issue of the birth certificate. He reminded me of filling in his name as the kids father on the hospital record and he elaborated on how the hospital record and the birth certificate could be used against James.

The lawyer’s face brighten when he heard this and i was happy until he pointed out somethings. The lawyer made us realise that the certificate could be used against and in favour of us. According to him James could broaden how irresponsible i was by giving a total stranger the right to lawfully be the father of his kids and on the other hand it could be in my favour if i lawfully get married to Biodun. I can then then argue that i filled in Biodun’s name because he was there for me when James could not take responsibilities and Biodun was ready to be my kids step dad. By so doing, i would be able to establish the fact that James was irresponsible and Biodun, been the responsible man he was took responsibility for him. We would as well be able to give the girls the best upbringing.

Though the lawyer’s advice was valuable, getting married to Biodun was something i was’nt sure was right.

My kids were my first priorities and i went through alot without the knowledge of my parents but i could not imagine getting married without their consent.

I was more than confused.

****

It was as if the whole world was revolving around me. I was lost on what to do. I was given a lead plan on how i could win over James but i was’nt sure if it was the right step to take.

Biodun must have noticed my confused state as well. He told the lawyer that i would think about the whole plan and get back at him. Before The lawyer left, he made us realise that we should draw a conclusion in time because he would have to notify the registry beforehand.

Biodun saw the lawyer off and we were soon left alone with the kids. I thought about the whole scenario but i was too confused to draw a conclusion.

****

Though we took care of the babies together, myself and Biodun did’nt talk about the court case till later that night. I gussed he must have had lots to think about as well.

Later that night, after putting the girls to sleep, Biodun held my hand and led me to the livingroom. Knowing that he was going to start a conversation about the lawyer’s advice made me abit scared but i was ready to take in any response from him.

Biodun made me sit close to him and he asked what my conclusion was. I told him i was yet to draw a conclusion and i was’nt sure if getting married to him just so that i could gain custody of kids was the right thing to do.

I made Biodun realise that i wouldn’t love to inconvenience him further neither would i love to complicate his future just for the sake of my kids.

Biodun held my face and told me that he was inlove with the me and if having a complicated future is a necessity, he was more than ready for it.

Biodun’s words got to me and i could remember shedding tears. My tears made Biodun think that i did’nt want to get involve with him.

Biodun stood up and told me to do it for my kids if i couldn’t marry him because i loved him. He even suggested that we could get a divorce after a year or two.

I was speechless on how much Biodun was willing to give just for the sake of me and my children. I could not help but wish he was my first love and the biological father of my kids.

Right there and then, i confessed my love for Biodun and i also expressed my wish to get married with my parent’s consent. I made Biodun see how complicated things would be if my parent decide to come over for my wedding.

“How will i explain the kids presence to them?” was the question i asked biodun.

Biodun told me not to worry about my parent, he told me to concentrate on doing the right thing and with time, we would have the courage to inform our parents.

I agreed with Biodun and he asked if i was ready to be a fake bride or an original bride.

I chose to be an original bride and Biodun ran into the house. I was confused on what could have happened to him until he came back with his hand hidden in his pocket.

He knelt before me, pulled out a ring and popped in the question that left me blushing.

Biodun said a short story about how he kept the ring he was proposing with ever since his fiancee left him hanging and took off with another man. According to him, his relationship was arranged by his family because of his parent’s relationship with his ex-Fiancee’s family. After the heart break, he promised himself that he was going to give the ring to any lady he fell inlove with. Without considering her class, background or past.

Biodun recited a long romantic poem before he asked if i would marry him.

Without a second thought i said “Yes!” and Biodun slipped the ring into my finger.

We sealed the indoor proposal with a kiss and we ended up sleeping in eachother’s arm.Biodun made me worry less about tomorrow or the next. According to him everything would be just fine.

****

The next day, we called the lawyer and informed him to go ahead with the registry arrangement. He was also happy for us and he agreed to invite us whenever we would be needed.

Since i was so desperate to inform my parent,Biodun decided that i should inform them over the phone and he could meet them through skype.I prayed inwardly that the whole plan would work out smoothly like Biodun suggested.

My heart was in my mouth when i placed a call through to my Dad.He accepted my call immediately it went through and he happily informed me that himself and my mom were just talking about me. We exchanged pleasantry and my parent told me how much they missed me.

I told them i couldn’t wait to be back as well and they teased me about coming back with my fiance.

I told my dad to place the phone on speaker before i revealed that i was calling to inform them that i was going to get married.

There was a long pause from my parent before my dad broke the silence.

“Come back home” he said and ended the call.

****

I looked at Biodun and said “It’s never going to work”

I knew my dad would be difficult to convince and him hanging up on me, signified how angry he was when i told him i was going to get married without them. My dad only run away from a conversation whenever he doesn’t want to say something he would later regret.

Biodun told me not to worry and he decided that we should give my parent alittle time and see if they would come around.

I agreed with Biodun and we went on with the next plan (informing his family).

Biodun already told me that his dad was late and he only had his sister and mother left. He also told me how supportive his sister was and this made him inform her first.

Biodun placed the call on loud speaker as he explained to his sister that he would be getting married in less than two months. At first she was happy and then she started talking about the preparation for an elaborate wedding. Biodun’s sister was disappointed when he told her that he would be getting married without his family and an elaborate wedding could wait until he was ready to come back home with his bride. His sister was more worried about the reason for the rush and why Biodun did’nt want his family to be present. Biodun told her he wanted it that way and pleaded for his sister’s support. His sister enventually agreed and promised to help convince his mom prove difficult.

I was happy with how supportive Biodun’s sister was and this encouraged us to call Biodun’s mom immediately.

Biodun’s mom was difficult to convince but she enventually agreed when Biodun told her he wouldn’t give her a grandchild if she fail to support him in marrying the girl of his dream. Biodun’s mom requested to chat with me on skype in order to know me better before she enventually gave her final approval.

That very Night i met Biodun’s mom and sister on skype. His mom was welcoming. She asked for the reason why we were in a rush to get married and i told her we were inlove. She also asked if i got my parent’s support and i honestly told her that they were yet to give me a go ahead.

She talked about how bride price was an important due in Nigeria and she ended up suggesting that we could arrange a meeting between the two families in Nigeria. Biodun’s mom suggested that myself and Biodun could get married abroad while the two families could as well carryout a wedding ceremony on our behalf.

The advice we got from Biodun’s mom was timely and useful, i thanked her profusely before we ended the chat.

I decided to call my parent the next day and chip in the new plan. With high hope and prayers, i watched the night pass by slowly.

****

The next day, the lawyer invited us over to the registry where we provided some necessary information for the court wedding. The registration procedure was alittle longer than expected but a date was enventually fixed and the wedding was to take place in the afternoon. We left the court with excitement and happiness. It felt like the first time i would be taking the right decision in my life.

****

Back home, after lunch, i placed a call through to my mom with Biodun close to me.

After the third ring, I was about giving up when she accepted my call.

My mom told me how upset my dad was and she asked for the reason why i chose to marry a stranger in a foreign land.

My mom gave me a listening ear as i explained to her how much i loved the guy in question but she was not really confused that it was enough reason to get married without their presence.

In a bid to get mom on my side, I told her that Biodun’s family were ready to come over to our house and pay all the necessary dues, including performing all the traditional rites.

After listening to me, my mom paused for awhile before she said “Lillian, tell me, are you pregnant?”

I looked at Biodun for a response and he noded positively.

I told my mom yes and she asked why i did’nt confide in her in the first place. I told her that i was scared and i thought she would be disappointed in me.

My mom told me never to shut my family out no matter how messy the situation gets and she promised to talk my dad through. I was happy that i had my mom’s support, i knew getting my dad’s won’t be difficult.

****

Three days later, My dad called. At first he expressed his disappointment in me but after his long rant, he gave me his support as well and requested to meet with Biodun’s family.

My parent also met Biodun through skype and we made arrangement on how the two families would meet.

The traditional marriage was also scheduled to take place on the same day we would have the court marriage.

I was happy everything enventually worked out perfectly. I had my family support, I had Biodun and I had my kids.

If things could work out fine after the dark tunnel, i believed I’m a conquerer and i would crush James no matter what.

…to be continued

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