NIMI PETERS – Grace Ochigbo
Happy New year, Lovelies!
Thanks for all the support in 2017. Let’s do it again and even greater this year, starting with my next story, This thing called LOVE.
Make sure all your friends are following it, commenting and sharing. Let’s spread our enjoyment, right? Lol.
After today, you won’t hear from me frequently for a while.
See you on Feb., 14th 2018 with the first episode of the intriguing story about ‘This thing called LOVE.’
Don’t miss me!!!
Did I just say that? You know I didn’t mean it.
EPISODE TWENTY SIX – FINALE
TWO WEEKS LATER
Chief Ogbonna strolled in between the several big cars in the parking lot. He noticed his friend wasn’t at the venue and needed to find him. For all he knew, Emeka shouldn’t be left alone as he has a ‘chicken heart’… or so he thinks.
“Today is too honourable for you to be isolated from the crowd and lost in thoughts.” Chief Ogbonna confronted Mr Johnson on finding him, leaning against the Jaguar XF 2015 model car he had prepared as his own gift to the newest couple.
“Ike, life now scares me. You know, somehow I feel bonded to Ojonimi the whole time he worked for me; he wasn’t the best per se but he was my favourite. I loved him with the love of a father, and I hear some of his colleagues tease him with that. I could have killed my own son in a selfish quest to get a girl, Ike.” He held his cap over his head firmly.
Chief Ogbonna chuckled lightly. “Well, inasmuch as I didn’t want you to marry the girl, it was also for selfish reasons. I wanted Nimi to marry the girl because I needed him to be out of Joelyn’s way so that my son could have the full edge. Isn’t it so that everyone in life is selfish?”
Mr Johnson nodded in the affirmative. “Of course, my friend. Everyone in life is selfish in their own little ways, none regardless. If only we all can sit and think over all our actions in life, and ask what we have ever done out of outright selflessness, not for fame, money, greed, or emotional need. I think the almighty created us selfish, just as He. I mean, weren’t we all created only for his glory and honour? That’s selfish, mehn!”
Chief Ogbonna burst out in laughter now. His friend’s attempt at biblical analysis sounded funny to him. Mr Johnson smirked.
“I’m still worried, Ike. Joelyn has been unreachable since we told her about her adoption. Remember she ended the call on us that day…” he waited for Chief Ogbonna’s confirmation before continuing. “I still haven’t been able to reach her. I wired a lot of money into her account, just in case she would need anything. I’m happy Lauren is back fully but I also need our daughter back, Ike.That way we become a full family once more.”
Chief Ogbonna took in a deep breath. “I really hope Joelyn is safe, truly. The poor girl has been through a whole lot in her life. No thanks to me too. By the way, Tolu has turned a new and responsible leave. Seeing that therapist or counsellor or whatever he’s called in the past week was a good omen for the poor young man.”
Mr Johnson smiled. “Talking about your son and grandson, I don’t think I’ve seen them around.”
Alarm rang in Chief Ogbonna’s head. “Junior is the ring bearer nau. Where could they have gone to? Where does Tolu know in Dubai for heaven’s sake.”
Mr Johnson shrugged.
Her body’s fitted into a long flowing peach gown. The design was completely out of this world. It could be likened to the Nigerian Ebuka who came all stunning to a celebrity couple’s wedding recently. She placed her brown sunglasses and pulled her bag behind her. A taxi was supposed to be waiting for her. Rose, her friend, who claimed to be familiar with all the nooks and cranny of Dubai already had everything booked down for her before she took off from the U.S. earlier this morning.
She looked up to see the owner of this voice who was trying to collect her bag. Slightly thick baritone voice was her ideal; it adds this rich and comfortable carriage to its owner. The sporting waves on his head shone brightly as the sun kissed it. He kept his mouth closed in a thin straight line. The jacket he wore over his broad shoulders had neatly polished buttons, and the scarf around his neck was tied so that the ruffles perfectly filled the space left open by his coat. His dark eyes were small and spaced evenly apart, sitting below trim eyebrows that seemed to curve as a natural extension of his broad, rounded nose.
Wow. Handsome is not enough to describe this fellow right here.
“You?” she pointed her first finger at him in shock. “How… how… how did you know I’d be here?”
Tolu smiled. “We’ve been together for several years, Joelyn. I know Rose. You’ve had us talk sometimes.” Joelyn cursed Rose in her mind. What betrayal! “When your father, and of course, we all couldn’t reach you, I tried to contact Rose. She told me you’ve been with her since your dad last spoke with you. Yesterday, she affirmed your journey. The rest is history.”
Joelyn rolled her eyes as he collected her bag and led her towards the car.
“Junior, come say Hi to mummy.” He motioned the young lad jumping from side to side at the backseat of the car. Joelyn’s heart missed several beats when the boy got down. He looked so much like Tolu instead of her, which was fine. She never thought Tolu could be this breath-taking while he was wallowing in wretchedness.
She picked the boy from the floor into her hands, kissing his cheek over and again. “Nice to finally meet you, son!” she glanced at Tolu and he smiled. “…father said you are Chief Ike’s son. That isn’t even as unbelievable as how you look now. Who would think Tolu could look this responsible?”
Tolu chuckled lightly. “The only constant thing in life is Change, Jo. That’s what I’ve found.”
Joelyn took in a deep breath and stared vacantly into thin air as though her mind wandered about.
“Of course, I’ve been undergoing psychological rehabilitation, Jo. I’m not the same guy you used to know. C’mon now, we are already late for the wedding party. Nimi and his wife will not forgive me if they find out I disappeared with their ring bearer.” Tolu interrupted her thoughts and opened the car’s door for her. She swallowed and stepped in quietly.
“For the first time in my entire life, I had fear; fear of the unknown. Fear of losing out in the end of it all. Little did I know that the creator had better plans…” Fiyin said slowly.
“Eddy and I called you THE VOICE. You are a strong force, like a mighty wind, you give me tachycardia…” Nimi winked and the congregation roared in laughter, but he continued. “God has been so merciful to me in life and giving you back to me is the most merciful deed of God towards me, Fiyinfoluwa. You are my essence and henceforth, I won’t even bear to share your shadow with anyone.” He smiled.
Fiyin smiled as well. Her hair, parked in a ponytail, was held by sparkling silver hairpins. Her face beamed with a celestial beauty that even the light makeup couldn’t hide. She’s the most beautiful bride yet.
Fiyin cleared her throat and made to respond. “Our love is so sacred, Ojonimi. It’s like prayers. Both the worlds are merciful towards us. I found peace in your breaths. How can I stay away from here? I’m so close to you that your dreams belong to me now.”
“I see with your eyes, Fiyinfoluwa. My days and nights belong to you. I don’t exist without you. My destiny shined with your love. Thank God, oh loved one. When our eyes met, the breeze became fragrant like in heaven. When my lips touched yours, blessings showered upon us from above. You brought happiness, joy and laughter. You brought out the revelations and the secrets my life has been buried in.” His hand held onto her tightly and they held each other’s gaze.
“You are that dream that I would have been left incomplete forever if you had gone. My days and nights belong to you, Ojonimi Peters. I don’t exist without you. My destiny shined with your love. With you, forever is just the beginning.”
Nimi smiled so broadly. “To wake up beside you and watch the sun rise on your face; to say I love you in any given time and place; that’s my job from now, always and forever.”
The priest cleared his throat loudly. “This is serious.” The congregation thundered with laughter again. “Haven said your vows after being joined in the name of the father, son and the holy spirit, by the power bestowed upon me today, I declare you Ojonimi Peters and Fiyinfoluwa Abosede Lawal, man and wife.” The auditorium was set on fire now as a lot of persons were on their feet. “Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one put asunder. You may now kiss your bride…”
Nimi looked through the crowd and spotted his mother. She had tears in her eyes… tears of joy and fulfilment. His eyes moved away to see his foster dad, Achile Peters, smiling proudly. He couldn’t be more proud of himself as he reached out for Fiyin’s jaw. He stared at her lips as though reading something on it, and Fiyin closed her eyes. Lowering his head, he yanked her to him and covered her mouth with his in a hungry kiss. She responded immediately, surprising herself. His mouth was so warm, the caress of his lips softer now than she could have imagined. He tasted tentatively with his tongue, and coursed through the entire circumference of her mouth deep down.
The audience cheered on.
Mr Johnson and Chief Ogbonna stood standstill as the car drove into the parking lot where they were. The doors opened and Junior ran out first and disappeared behind them into the auditorium. Tolu hurried after his son. As Joelyn walked closer to her dad, she had some weird feelings. The older men looked at her as though they saw a white ghost in the snow.
“I’m sorry, Chiamaka…”
Joelyn covered her father’s mouth with her hand and collapsed in his hands for a tight hug.
“I love you, father! You are forever my father!” Joelyn said, squeezing herself closer and tighter.
Chief Ogbonna wiped at a lone tear down his face.
“I can’t help it, Honey. It feels like all my life’s burden has been lifted.” Ojima wiped at her tears as her husband had bent over to talk with her. The applause from the audience while the couple kissed made the hall so rowdy and noisy.
“I’ve always wanted to wipe your tears away, Ojima but today, I’ll just watch you cry, because I’ve come to realise that tears cleanse the soul and refreshes the memory. After now, you would never see any reason to cry any longer, ever.” He held onto her hand tightly.
Ojima smiled through her tears. “I will marry you over and over again, Achile Peters. Thank you for standing by me through it all. I love you to the square of infinity!”
Achile smiled and drew her closer for a hug regardless of the spectators.
Nukpe nudged her fiancé as her eyes caught her parents who were hugging, from afar. Caleb smiled. He was a lot taller than Nukpe.
“My parents make marriage beautiful, baby!”
Caleb chuckled this time.
“You asked me two days ago if I still wanted to continue with our marriage plans. Even though I didn’t know what necessitated the question, I saw you doubting my promise of staying by your side for ever.”
Nukpe nodded her head in the affirmative, looking all childish while at it.
“I need you like air, Nukpe. The last thing to worry about is me leaving your side or not. I think the question would be ‘would people still be in love in heaven?’ Because for me, I would love you forever and a day more!”
He lowered his head and kissed her while their own little audience around them cheered too.
Goldie cheered in her flowery ball dress. She was Fiyin’s little bride. Her golden crown sat on her small head with full hair. The joy in her could literally be felt. Ele clapped her hands away as well, alongside Edward.
“Life is so beautiful, darling. What do you think?” Ele asked loudly so Edward would hear.
He nodded in the affirmative. “Nimi and Fiyinfoluwa are definitions of beautiful but you Ele, are a definition of most beautiful. You make it all complete for me. Thank you for marrying me, Ele. Thank you!”
Ele blushed involuntarily, bringing her head closer to rest on his shoulders.
“Guy, these people should be fast let’s go and rehearse for our presentation o.” Ojonugwa ranted, yet smiling.
“What? You are jealous of the love in the atmosphere? Mind you, you are next!” Deji scorned with a snare.
Ojonugwa was laughing really loud now. Thankfully, the noise from the audience didn’t give way any bit. “Are you missing your sister already?”
Deji shrugged. Shouldn’t it be obvious?
“Don’t worry, you can come live in our house henceforth.”
This got Deji laughing too. “No be only. What happens to my sweet mother?”
Fiyin’s mum stared at her gorgeous daughter. She’s been catching her heart praying for the couple severally today. She’s always heard how love conquers all. How wrong was she to put money and material things above love. It’s true that God endorses genuine love and makes it triumph above all else. The more she feels grateful for the exposures, the lessons and the turn-around in her life, the more she wishes her husband was still around to see his beloved daughter finally getting married to the man of her dreams.
Tolu hurried after Junior until he reached out and caught him, just few distance from the altar.
“Let the poor boy be.”
He heard his grandmother’s weak voice and smiled, letting Junior go while he walked over to where the aged woman sat. She’s too weak to join the applaud from the audience.
“Don’t forget to thank your father for me again. It’s because of him I’m in a white man’s land today.”
Tolu smiled as he pecked her forehead. The older woman was saying this for the seventh time today, if he wasn’t mistaken.
“I will, mama. Excuse me please, I want to do something.” He hurried away before he could get any response.
Mr Johnson walked in hand-in-hand with Joelyn through the back door. Chief Ogbonna followed after them. Lauren was talking with Mark, her shrink-turned-best-friend. Joelyn recognised Lauren immediately she saw her. She may have grown older but her beauty never wavered an inch. Lauren froze before Mark. She didn’t know how to react to Joelyn. It’s been so long since she saw her – since Joelyn was five.
As all the possible options ran through her head, she saw Joelyn detach from her father and started walking towards her slowly. Joelyn looked indifferent and that worried her more. By the time they were barely before each other, Joelyn had crashed into her warm embrace. They shook in tears in each other’s arms. Mr Johnson muttered some energy and walked over to Mark. He’s trying to supress the evil suspicion about Lauren and Mark having an affair. A typical African doesn’t believe a man and woman can be dear friends with no strings attached.
“Thank you for all you did for my wife. I really appreciate you.”
Mark smiled politely. “Lauren, much more than being a patient to her shrink, has become a friend to me. I’m most grateful she overcame her fears in the long run, came to Nigeria and she’s now united with her family.”
Mr Johnson nodded in the affirmative. He turned around and encapsulated his hands around his wife and daughter.”
They were still in that priceless moment when the applaud reduced and that drew their attention back to the altar.
The gorgeous bride was giggling from ear to ear as her bouquet was handed over to her. She was supposed to turn her back and throw it out and whoever catches it is believed to be the next in line for marriage. Nimi steadied his wife’s hand while she turned and she felt a flush of gratitude around her. She didn’t think she would become this much ‘celebrity’ overnight. Starting from still having her destination Dubai wedding, only that it’s with Nimi.
She realised she was taking so much time so she raised her hand and slowly let go of the bouquet in her hand. The ladies fought themselves over to grab it.
They both turned to the congregation to see in shock who caught the bouquet.
“Joelyn?” Nimi and Fiyin screamed at the same time as though planned.
Joelyn wriggled the beautiful bouquet in her hand. “Yes, that’s me babe. You didn’t expect me at your wedding? Why did you mail invites to me then?” She hugged and pecked Fiyin before hugging Nimi.
Nimi smiled as family and friends were gradually gathering around them now.
“Happy married life, Mr and Mrs Ojonimi Peters. My crush’s lover, daddy’s cook, my almost to-be step mother, now my Nimi’s wife?… this girl is just one very lucky human being sha.” She touched Fiyin’s smooth cheeks jokingly. The three of them laughed but stopped abruptly as Tolu’s voice interrupted through the loudspeaker.
“Jo, are you free?” he called out loudly from where he was standing before them, drawing people’s attention in the process.
Joelyn felt funny about the ridiculous question and so did most people.
“Free? Free for a date or something? Like today or tomorrow?” She asked to clarify her sincere confusion.
Tolu nodded from side to side, all smiles. “No, Jo. Free… I mean, are you free for the next 90 to 100 years? I want to spend forever with you and our son.”
We don’t live together because we forget,
We live together because we forgive!
NIMI PETERS – THE END