It had been several weeks since Shalewa’s confrontation with her parents and ever since then she had been avoiding her parents at every opportunity she got. Whenever she got back from work she would run up to her room and hide there. Her mum sought every opportunity to chat her up, all to no avail.
Anyone who entered their home could feel the tension in the house, Shalewa’s relationship with her parents was deteriorating but she didn’t care. She went out every day, stayed out late just to avoid coming home. Her boss which she thought was tough became a nightmare, a thorn in her flesh. Ever since the fight at Bogobiri between Tunde, Shawn, and Efosa, he changed. He treated her like shit and called her names at every opportunity he got.
The only thing that gave her joy was her relationship with God and her friendship with Efosa. Their friendship blossomed really fast; they always sought every opportunity to see each other. Slowly the lines of friendship were being blurred and they were falling hard for each other. One Sunday night after they had gone to see a movie on their way to her house, Shalewa who was laughing just minutes ago suddenly started frowning.
“Shalewa what is it? Efosa asked her. “How did you notice I was moody? “Shalewa like I’ve told you before when it comes to you, I notice everything”, “hmmm”, she replied. “Come on Lewa, tell me what is it? He nudged her. “I’m tired of my job”, “but why? Efosa asked with a look of surprise on his face.
“I thought you loved it, you work at one of the best organisations in the whole of Lagos”, “well, true my job is to die for but lately I feel suffocated like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to do, do you understand me? “I’m trying to”, Efosa replied her.
“Shalewa tell me really, what’s going on? “I hate my boss”, she said sharply. “Shalewa hate is such a strong word”, “Efosa I know, but he’s been a pain ever since that fight at Bogobiri. He tried to set me up with Shawn and since it didn’t work out, he’s been so bitter, throwing tantrums like a child, I’m tired of everything and long before now, I’ve been feeling out of place in my office, kind of like I have overgrown the place. Do you understand me?
She said turning to Efosa, “as a matter of fact, I do”, “but I don’t know what to do”, she said facing the road again. They were almost at her gate now; Efosa turned to her briefly and gently squeezed her hand.
“Now that you’ve said it, I think you should start your own business”, Efosa told her. “What?” “Yes, your own business, you are the best interior designer I’ve ever meet”, “where did you see my design? “Orode told me you were the one who designed the interiors for her house and trust me Shalewa it is world class”, “honestly I have never thought of it, can I do it? Setting up a business in this country is no small task”; “Shalewa there’s nothing you cannot do as long as you put your mind to it”.
They were finally at her gate, “and I will help you”, Efosa continued. “But I need more training, I’m not sure I can do it, who will hire me, would I get jobs? Suddenly Efosa started laughing, “What’s funny? Shalewa asked confused, “You” he replied. “Me? How? “You worry too much. The thing with business is once you are good, do a few jobs, word of mouth would spread. You will be fine, trust me”.
“Thank you”, Shalewa told him smiling, “I would think about it”. “You should”, he replied and got down from the car, turned around and opened the door for her. “Must you always do this? She asked pointing to the open door, “yes, that’s how my mother taught me”. “Thank you,” she said as she got down, they hugged and she walked into her gate.
“Shalewa welcome” her mum greeted her as soon as she entered the sitting room, “thanks, mum” she answered as she was about running to her room, “Shalewa jo wa”, her mother beckoning on her to come. “Yes? “I have been meaning to talk to you”, “mum about what? “Can you sit down? “No mum, not today” and she disappeared.
“Adebayo you must marry her”, his mum shouted, he had just come back from work and his mum had started her usual marriage talk. “Mum I won’t marry Roshana and there’s nothing you can do about it”. “Adebayo Williams, you are a joker, after playing with her heart and leading her on, you think you will just drop her like that and ruin our family’s relationship with her’s? “Mum is this about you or me? “Young man, you can think what you like, you must marry Roshana” and they continued arguing back and forth. “What is all this argument going on here? Mr Olaotan Willimas had just walked in. “It is Bayo, after using Roshana he thinks he would just dump her like that?
His father sat down, turned to him and said, “Adebayo sit and tell me do you like her? His father asked, “no dad I don’t. I admit I lead her on, but at the time I actually thought something serious could come out of it”. “Bayo in as much as I would have loved for you to marry her, I cannot force you because it is your life”, Bayo was already smiling, he threw a look of mockery at his mum, but her face remained expression less.
“but you must get married”, his father continued, “and I don’t care to whom; after all, you are the one who would live with the person. I want to retire from the Williams Corporation and I want to hand it over to you, but I wouldn’t do that until you get married”.
“Dad let me get this straight, are you saying I must get married before I inherit your company? “Yes son, you must”. “Well, that’s not a problem, if it’s a wife you want I will marry one”.
He stood, picked his grey suit which he had thrown on the floor during the argument with his mother on him and went to his room.
It had been six months since Efosa and Shalewa started dating, and they were having the time of their lives. She had met his family and they all loved her, a matter of fact, his mum treated her like a member of their family.
She had been to a number of his family’s events but no one in the Adebambo’s family knew him except Foye. The thing bothered Efosa that Shalewa was keeping their relationship a secret from her parents, he confronted her a number of times but she always told him, I’m waiting for the right time.
In his mind, he felt her reluctance to introduce him to her parents was because he hadn’t proposed. He had already bought the ring but wanted to ask Shalewa’s dad for permission first, but Shalewa refused to introduce him to her parents.
He told Tunde about his worries and Tunde told him to go ahead and propose to her, that there was nothing to be afraid of. That if they got engaged, Shalewa would have the boldness to take him to her parents.
Meanwhile, Bayo had started making moves towards Funmi, he will show up at her office unexpectedly and take her out to lunch, movies on the weekend, unexpected foreign trips for shopping with a chartered private plane, Bayo went all out and spoilt her silly. After a month of a whirlwind romance, he asked her to marry him and she said yes. He had proposed in the island of Seychelles with a 4.00 Carat Emerald-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring.
She excitedly called her friends and immediately posted a pic of her hand on Instagram. When they got back to Nigeria, she sent a few popular blogs the story of her engagement and the engagement photos.
“Funmi why did you send the proposal pictures to blogs?” “And who told you I did?”, “don’t lie to me Funmi you know I don’t like the whole publicity”, “for crying out loud Bayo, you are the most eligible bachelor in Lagos, you think you will be getting married and no one will know or be interested in knowing, moreover even if I didn’t send the pictures, someone else would have”, and she began murmuring, “is it me you are talking back to? Bayo shouted at her and soon enough a slap followed.
Funmi was too dumb for words, “Bayo did you just slap me? “Yes I did and I would do it again if you don’t learn how to talk to me”, “How can you slap me, what is wrong with you? And she began crying, she couldn’t believe her dear Bayo could even lift a finger against anyone. “Baby I am sorry, I don’t know what came over me, I’m so sorry”, he knelt down and started crying too. Funmi pulled him up and they hugged. And they settled. The very next day while she was at work, he sent her a box of chocolates, flowers, and a note saying, Baby I am sorry, let’s do dinner, tonight at 7; Radisson. “Babe, I wish I were in your shoes”, one of her colleagues said to her, “you’re so damn lucky”. Funmi just smiled sheepishly.
The day the story was published, Roshana was presenting her midday show, during the commercial break, she reached for her phone as was her usual practice but her colleague Fatima had hidden the phone from her. Fatima knew how hung up she was on Bayo and she knew she would be devastated by the news of Bayo’s engagement.
“Fatima did you by any chance see my phone? “No oh, where did you put it? “In my cabinet but it’s nowhere to be found”, “Roshana you know no one steals in this office, just get back to your show, I’ll help you find it, ok? “Ok, thank you”, Roshana replied.
At the end of Roshana’s show, Fatima had placed her phone where she could find it, immediately Roshana found it, and there were several missed calls. She wondered why the whole world seemed to be calling her, as she was still thinking about it, one of her cousins was calling, “Babe where have you been? I’ve been calling you”, “I was presenting my midday show but, I’m here now, what is it?”, “Oh, babe have you seen the story the blogs are reporting? “I haven’t what is it about? “Since you haven’t seen them, I won’t be the one to break the news to you, why don’t you go to one of these blogs and see for yourself”, “alright, I will do that, bye”, “bye”.
Her heart started pounding loudly in her chest like it would explode, what is going on? She thought to herself. She had just opened SDK when she saw the headline, and immediately she collapsed. Fatima who was there beckoned on others who rushed her to the hospital. She was in the hospital for seven (7) days and throughout the seven days she said not a word to anyone, the doctor had told her parents her sickness was of an emotional nature, so she was discharged.
Immediately she left the hospital, she called her boss and requested for an immediate leave, she was granted an indefinite leave and she left the country immediately. “Are you going to come back to Nigeria? Fatima asked her while Roshana packed her things, “I don’t know yet, I will just use this opportunity to tour the world and if I get a job in the US, I won’t come back, you know I’m a citizen of the US right? “I know that, but I can’t still understand why an independent woman like you will leave her job, her family and her dreams simply because of a man”, “maybe we should just say, my dreams changed when I met Bayo and I’m terrible at losing, if I don’t leave I won’t be able to heal. Maybe this is even good for me; let me find myself, for too long I’ve sought myself in men and every single time I’ve ended up disappointed”. Fatima nodded and gave her a hug.
Meanwhile, Funmi was still basking in the euphoria of her engagement and her new found celebrity status, everyone wanted to know who had eventually stolen the heart of the most eligible bachelor in Lagos. Her mum was finally happy her daughter was getting married, but she didn’t understand why Funmi was rushing the wedding, she would have preferred they still take the time to get to know each other.
“Mum I don’t understand you, one would have thought, you would be the most happiest person since I’m finally getting married”, Funmi said gleefully as she was showing her mum the different patterns of laces she had bought for the wedding asoebi. “Funmi I know, but don’t you think this is all happening too fast? In one month, you have gone from a single depressed lady to an excited engaged lady. When was it that Bayo was linked to Roshana and now he’s engaged to you, this is a guy who barely picked your calls, who made you miserable, then all of a sudden he turns around and wants to marry you?I just hope he’s motives are right? Do you know him well enough? Have you tested his reactions to various situations? Does he love you?
“Mum his family loves me especially his mum, he buys me gifts and treats me like a queen”, “Funmi you are not marrying his family and you are already a queen, you don’t need a man to treat you like one, before you know you are a queen and you still haven’t answered my question, does he love you? “Mum he does”, “and how do you know that? “But I just listed the reasons how I know. This is why human beings can never be satisfied, it’s the same you who was pressuring me to get married, now I am getting married and you are not happy, wo mummy help me choose out of these laces abeg, let me start distributing it for the asoebi”, she said but then she remembered the slap he had given her and she suddenly became afraid and started thinking, “Funmi when is the wedding? Her mum asked her bringing her out of her thoughts, “mum it’s next month”, “but why next month, who plans a wedding in a month? “Mum, after all these years of waiting for Bayo, he finally came around, I’m not going to take chances, the wedding must be sharp sharp and it must be a society wedding”.
Her mum sighed and shook her head; she wondered why Funmi was in so much hurry. Ronke her friend shared the same sentiments, “Funmi I hope you have considered this decision well enough”, “what do you mean? “I hope you are not in a rebound relationship? “Babe rebound relationship or not, this relationship is bound towards marriage and do you see this ring on my finger? And she threw her hand in Ronke’s face, “do you know how much this ring cost? It can buy your family, plus your generation and there would still be change”, “Funmi are you insulting me or what? “Babe calm down,” she said as she patted Ronke on the lap, you better get on with the programme, abi you don’t want to be the chief bridesmaid in the biggest wedding that will shake Lagos?”, she said standing and cat walking around her room.
“Funmi I will be your chief oh, no one is taking that place”, and they both laughed. “Since the wedding is next month, let’s start with the wedding planning”, “Ronky baby I have already started the planning”, “without me? “You think I will waste any time, you don’t know how this wedding is doing me, I am finally marrying the man of my dreams”, she said smiling.
“So who’s planning the wedding? Ronke asked her, “Come here and take a look”, Funmi passed a note to her and in it, she had written the names of all her vendors, Elizabeth R for the planning, Banke for Makeup, Toju Foyeh is making my dress, Cakes by Tosan is making my cake, Jide Odukoya for Photography, “but how were you able to get all these top guns at short notice? “My dear it’s just the favour of God, funny enough they weren’t even booked for my date and I had to pay one of them extra to cancel an already made an appointment just for me.
Now Ronke, you have the sole task of planning my shower and I want nothing but the best, no expense spared, Bayo already told me money is not the problem, for this wedding, whatever I want he will give me. Let’s I forget, you and my other bridesmaids have an appointment with peridot official for your dresses, all-expense paid by me”. “Hmmm, babe well done, you are footing the bills for our dresses? “Point of correction, Bayo is footing the bills”.
Wedding preparation began in earnest, her mother’s house was being renovated, asoebi was distributed; the least amount being
N25, 000, she had gone for beauty treatments, dress fittings and all. She had the best shower she could ever dream of, blogs and gossips sites were all counting down to the big day. The hash tag BAMI17 was trending on social media and she was beyond excited, but every now and then she remembers the slap Bayo had given her before, and she felt she was the one who made him slap her. If I hadn’t sent those photos, he wouldn’t have acted the way he did, it’s my fault and I know.
A day to the wedding, Funmi had gone to the market for last minutes shopping, meanwhile, everyone was wondering where she went and Bayo had been calling her non-stop but her phone was nowhere around her. When she finally resurfaced at her house, everyone was furious with her on why she had disappeared with no one able to reach her. Bayo dragged her to a corner and gave her the hottest slap she had ever received she let out a cry, she was holding her face and demanding from him why he had slapped her, “How dare you disappear just like that, is this how you want to be behaving like a child when we get married, if you don’t behave yourself I will cancel this wedding right now”, “Bayo I’m sorry”, she said sobbing. I had some few things to get at the market and my phone was hidden far away in my bag, but you shouldn’t have slapped me now”, “you are the cause of my action, if you don’t misbehave then I would have no cause to slap you, ok I am sorry” and he begged her, she forgave him and they both left the corner smiling like two fools who had a perfect relationship.
Their wedding went on without a hitch and it was the wedding of the year, the biggest event in Lagos, celebrities and socialites made it a point of duty to make an appearance, it was like a mini carnival, a mini concert and Funmi had the time of her life, she was finally living her dream and if the price she was going to pay was a few slaps she was ready to pay it, moreover I am the one who provokes him, she thought to herself.
“Shalewa where are you? Efosa I’m on my way oh, I will soon be there”, Shalewa wondered what the fuss was about. Efosa had insisted they see that day and even though it wasn’t convenient for her, she promised she would see him. What was even weird was that he was waiting for her at the supermarket; the same supermarket they had met. She met him standing outside, looking very good, my handsome man she thought, they hugged and went in.
“Efosa I don’t know why you insisted we come here today, I have no intention of buying anything”, “a lady always has something to buy, come on” and he urged her in. “Baby give me some few minutes I will be right back” and before she could utter any word of protest, he had disappeared.
She looked around and thought to herself since I’m already here let me see what I can buy, but he’s definitely the one paying. After some few minutes, she started hearing a song, her favourite song, their song playing in the background and she thought it weird, I know they play music here, but this is different. Just then, she started hearing whispers around her and turned to see what it was, then she caught a glimpse of herself on the large screen she froze when her mind began to register what was happening, Efosa knelt before her with the most gorgeous ring ever, the one she had specifically told him she wanted, a Sylvie Collection 14k white gold engagement ring.
“Baby, today makes it one year we met; here and it’s being the most interesting one year of my life. You’re beautiful, godly, charming and you have the kindest heart and soul I have ever met, it would make me the happiest man on earth if you marry me and share life with me. Be my companion and my partner, what do you say? Shalewa couldn’t even utter a word; she just stretched out her hand.
The whole supermarket went up in excitement, flashes of light everywhere; people were clapping, ooohing and taking pictures. They hugged and he lifted her up and spun her around. She was so excited, they went for dinner, soon after shopping, then she called Orode and Foye and told them of her engagement, then she took him home to inform her parents.
After the introductions, her father who had seemingly been very quiet, suddenly stood and started shouting, “Is this not the guy that took you away that night when we all thought you had been kidnapped? Before Shalewa could respond, he continued shouting, “I see a ring on your finger, who gave you the permission to accept his proposal”, he said turning to Shalewa, “but dad”, “keep quiet and let me finish, you’ve been dating him for how long now? “Dad it’s been six months”, “and in six months you did not deem it fit to inform neither of us? You think you are smart? You shut me & your mother out of your life, so a stranger who you just met is better than we your parents?
“But dad”, “I haven’t finished”, he then turned to Efosa, “as for you, you say you are from Edo right? “Yes sir”, “Shalewa you see yourself, you want to marry an Edo man that will bring his benin gods into your home abi? You don’t even know them well, they are idol worshippers, anyway”, “eh ni suru” his wife urged him to keep calm, “allow me to talk woman, your daughter thinks she’s smart, you refused the one we choose for you and you dare bring a Benin man into my house, you think you can do what you like?
“But dad Bayo is already married”, “why won’t he marry when you disappointed him, moreover did he tell you he loved her, anyway that’s by the way, to you Mr Efosa, Esosa, Ewosa, wo whatever your benin name is, I want you to lift yourself out of my furniture this minute and disappear from my house this minute before I unleash my terror on you, my daughter will not marry an Edo man”. He was breathless, panting and glaring at Efosa who stood hurriedly and left the house.
Shalewa who was already crying ran after him, beckoning him to wait but before she could get to him, he had already gotten into his car and drove off.
Read Part 19 HERE
Photo Credit: Dreamstime.com