12pm, the next day at the governor’s mansion
(Clara is seen sitting calmly at the balcony in front of her room reading a newspaper, Charles joins her carrying a bottle of wine and two glass cups)
Clara’s side of the story continues
‘’Deji will be getting married on Saturday, hope you will be attending?’’ Charles asked curiously as he offered me a glass of wine. I shrugged and shook my head.
‘’Deji?, which Deji?’’ I asked, pretending not to recognize the person he was talking about.
‘’come on are you joking or serious?’’ he asked with disbelief while I smiled. Deji was the first son of former deputy governor of Oyo state (3rd republic). He equally was one of Charles’s most loyal friends. However I never had any idea he was getting married.
‘’well he never told me and I don’t think I will be attending’’ I answered.
‘’he sent your invitation through me. The wedding is on Saturday at Abuja. At least you will use the opportunity to meet old friends you haven’t seen for ages’’ he pressed on with a smile. I breathed deeply as I gave him a long look.
Oh yes I already forgave him over the stunt he pulled on me the previous week but I couldn’t get myself to forget it. I was still very much uncomfortable with him and no matter how hard I tried to force myself into feeling very secure with him I just couldn’t.
‘’we will leave for Abuja on Friday and spend the night at my place. On Saturday we leave for the wedding. Once the wedding is over you can decide how long you wish to stay in the city. My job will be to guard and serve you’’ he added pleasantly to impress me. I forced out a smile that never reached my heart.
‘’Charles you very much know that what you did to me the previous week will never leave my memory. I still find it very difficult to be free with you’’ I bluntly told him while he nodded, drew close and reached for my hand.
‘’of course my dear I know. And I will do everything possible to make you trust me again’’ he promised quickly. I breathed deeply.
‘’okay fine, I will attend the wedding with you. I haven’t attended any high profile occasion since I arrived the country’’ I accepted with a smile. His eyes beamed with joy.
By 10am Friday , Charles walked into the lodge expecting to see me well dressed up and ready for the journey ahead. But instead he saw me in sitting room, busy with my phone. I expected him to get angry but Instead of getting angry, he drew close and knelt by my side.
‘’what’s wrong my dear?, you haven’t been picking my calls since 7am and you are equally not dressed up. Don’t tell me you are not going again?’’ he asked breathlessly. I couldn’t help but notice how tensed up he was. Of course he was trying hard to control his real feelings.
‘’I’m still indecisive. I don’t know if I will be going again’’ I muttered looking away like a spoilt child.
‘’come on my dear. I know you don’t feel safe with me but I promise I will never misbehave. I went through a lot of pains arranging for the helicopter that will take us to Abuja. Please consider my feelings as well. I already told Deji and his bride that I will be coming with you. You cant change your mind at the last minute’’ he begged desperately.
‘’okay fine but where will I be spending the night?. I don’t want to share the same room with you and I know it will be rude, leaving you to sleep over at my family house once we get to Abuja’’ I asked seriously.
‘’you will spend the night in my place but you have nothing to fear. I won’t be very much around because today is equally Deji’s bachelor’s Night and I will spend most of the evening at the party’’’ he answered quickly.
‘’so that means I will be all alone and lonely in your house?’’ I asked, putting him in a tight position with the question. He swallowed hard.
‘’come on why are you being so uptight. It isn’t fair’’ he cried. I laughed, got up and headed to my room to dress up.
The trip to Abuja in a helicopter was another wonderful experience. It was my second time of flying in a helicopter and my first time of going on a long trip in it. Charles was all caring and nice. He was all out to impress me and yes I enjoyed every moment.
When we got to his house later in the day, he never tried anything silly with me, instead kept a respectable distance. He just wanted me to see that he was a changed person. Yes deep down I appreciated everything but to be sincere to myself I wasn’t in love with him and I never promised him anything.
All I did before my parents when he apologized for his wrong deeds was to forgive and accept him back as a friend with the hopes of perhaps getting serious with him in future. But with the way I was seeing my feelings I still had my doubts over how my future with him would turn out. There was no denying my parents were encouraging the relationship just like his parents were and yes it would be good for business and for everyone. That equally was the main reason I was trying hard to be free with him but still I never get turned on nor felt any sexual urge whenever I was with him. Yes I knew love no longer mattered these days but at least a little of it was all I wanted to feel for him.
Saturday, Deji’s wedding
Deji’s wedding was a one in town society wedding that had almost all the personalities in Nigeria attending, From politicians to academia’s, business moguls and expatriates. It was just like an annual get together of the upper class. Almost all my friends were in attendance and yes none of us concentrated very much on the ceremony because of gossips and stories we had to share. It really was wonderful and I was so happy to be there.
The M.C, who was no other person than basketmouth the comedian, did what he was good at by making the second ceremony (reception) as lively as ever.
The event dragged on till around 6:30pm when the M.C, finally announced to everyone’s amazement that he will be in charge of another wedding coming up in few months.
‘’should I reveal the couple?’’ he asked in his usual funny manner, leaving a chorus of yes on everyone’s lips. He then asked the Dj to play him a song.
I laughed heartily as I watched the M.C, dance towards my table, not suspecting a thing. Then suddenly he stopped at the table I shared with Charles and three other friends, cracked a joke and handed over the microphone to Charles while the hall went silent as everyone watched. At that moment I understood what was about happening and my heart froze.
Charles softly took the microphone, pulled out a diamond ring and went on his knees before me.
‘’will you marry me Clara?’’ he asked in front of everyone. Our friends, family, the media, everyone that mattered were all there.
I felt angry, shocked and speechless. Rejecting him was close to impossible. It would be a huge embarrassment.
TO BE CONTINUED…