Palm lines - Episode 17
I walked into my office with Sharon, I had this smile glued to my face. I was excited about seeing her.
"Is it just me or Miss Erika added weight" "Probably because her boyfriend is taking care of her well" I pointed and i turned towards her .
"I see what you just did, you just tried to remind me she has a boyfriend"
"Yes" she answered and I laughed. Nice tactics.
"How do you know someone gets fat because their boyfriends takes good care of them"
"Tinu told me" she answered and I scoffed.
"I'm sorry I brought Miss Erika, she wanted to see you too . She was asking a lot of questions why you stopped coming"
"I hope you didn't say anything to her"
"I didn't. I feel bad hiding it from her, I told her you didn't want to see her" "Why would you?" I tightened my fist, "Did you...Did you at least give a reason why?"
"She wasn't supposed to know that"
"I panicked, I'm sorry." She apologized. "She still looks pretty, it's like everything rushing back again and my one month five days of being away from her wasted!" I answered and someone knocked on the door.
Miss Erika walked in and Sharon walked out of the office afterwards to give us some time alone. "Have your seat" I cleared my throat and I saw her scoff.
"Are you sure you want me to have a seat?" She asked, "Why wouldn't I want you to have a seat?"
"Are you sure you don't feel like throwing me out since you don't want to see me" she added and I scoffed
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. "It's not what it looks like"
"What does it look like then. I heard this from Sharon's mouth,"
"How about the horse's mouth then?" I requested and she scoffed. "Cause you obviously look like one now" she salvaged me and I stood up chuckling, then I looked at my black and white Ankara top and trousers.
"You're wrong, I think I look more like a zebra's strip"
"That's not even a zebra stripe, it's more like a girraffe" she disputed and I looked at the top again. "It's true sha" I agreed.
"Back to what were saying" she sounded angry and I chuckled.
"It's not funny, is it true you didn't want to see me" "Yes" I answered as truthful as ever.
"It's damn true"
"Because...." I stalled.
"We were getting closer than usual, parents-teacher should have it's extent. I didn't want tongues wagging and people saying crazy things"
"I beg your pardon, I'm dating and I'm happy with who I'm dating. What would I want with you?"
"I wasn't worried about that... I was just..." I stammered.
"I didn't want people to start talking. Then my wife would hear what she's not supposed to" he answered and I scoffed.
"So you stopped picking up your daughter because of that"
"Yes... But our relationship hasn't changed, we're still best of friends. I hope you're okay with the changes" "Yes..yes I am" she answered.
I saw her sigh. I didn't know why
Part of me felt disappointed knowing that I might not see him again in school.
"Thanks" I chipped In when I remembered what he did for Richard and my sister. "For what?"
"For Richard and my sister, he told me everything, I mean everything. To think you would sponsor his wedding"
"It was nothing" he answered, "It was the least I could do, judging from the fact his wife was pregnant before the wedding" he answered and I opened my eyes in shock.
Ugo was pregnant before the wedding???
"Ugo was pregnant?" I asked and he quietly gazed at me. "I thought you said he told you everything"
"Not everything, everything! He told me you paid for the venue, food and drinks. Was my sister really pregnant?" I asked and he exhaled.
"Two months gone" he answered. "Seriously? That means she'll be like five months gone and no one knows, that's crazy! I saw her just last week and she looked normal"
"This is crazy"
"I wasn't supposed to say anything" he added. I picked up my phone putting a call through to Mom. "Hello Erika" Sharon called out.
"Do you know Ugo's pregnant?" I asked, "Was that the first thing you should have done?" She asked and I apologized.
"Good afternoon Mom. Do you?" I returned back to my previous question. "Yes, since last month. Didn't she tell you?" She asked, "She didn't" I answered.
"Why, maybe she forgot"
"For a whole month?" I asked, "Maybe you should call her" "I don't even have her time, I'm not even in a good mood to talk to her"
I called my elder sister, "Sister are you aware Ugo's pregnant?"
"She finally told you?" She asked and I read meaning to her response. "So she didn't want to tell me before"
"That wasn't what I meant" Ada tried shielding the fact she had already said all I needed to know. "Why didn't she want to tell me?"
"Cause she didn't want you to feel bad"
"Bad about what?"
"Tammie told her you cried at her wedding" she answered and i scoffed. "She was trying to spare you the heart break" Ada answered and I hung up.
Tears trickled down my eyes unconsciously. "Do you want to talk?" I asked and i shook my head, then I stood up to leave.
"My sisters think I'm pathetic, they all pity me"
"Because you're still single and they're married" he guessed right and I gazed up at him in suprise. "Sharon made me aware of it" he answered and i sniffled.
"I'm tired of feeling this way" I paused
"I'm tired of..." I paused and he hugged me. I couldn't help but sob even more. "It's okay" he rubbed his fingers through my weavon wig.
"It's not going to be this way forever" he continued and I tried to control my sobs. I suddenly pulled back, "This is ridiculous, I'm embarrassing myself"
"You're not." He gave me his handkerchief and I blew my nose in it .
"What's it with this coincidence, you're my brother in law's boss, you're my friend's uncle and very soon I'll find out you're my cousin" I joked and he laughed.
"Yeah that's funny... I also wondered the same thing from the first day we met, up till this moment. Why? Why do I bump into you every damn time?" I asked.
"If I wasn't married and you dating, one would have thought we were meant to be" he answered and I looked at him.
It sounded ridiculous!
"Crazy right?" He asked and I nodded. "It's crazy" I answered and we both cleared our throat.
"I...." I paused then cleaned my tears with the handkerchief. "I better go" ",I didn't offer you anything, where the hell is Imaobong?" He asked and I chuckled.
"You had to wait till I said I was going before you decided to be a gentleman?" I asked and he scoffed.
"What do you want?" He asked, "Feso" i answered. "The only thing I need right now is to see him and talk to him" i answered.
"I think you should" he advised and I nodded.
"I guess I won't see you again" I added and he shrugged. "Depending on how much you miss seeing me pick Sharon up at the school" he answered and I scoffed.
"You're so full of yourself"
"It's one of my many good qualities" he answered and I opened the door. "See you when I see you then"
I went to Feso's house, I still had his spare key. So I entered and I cooked something delicious for him.
"My sister's pregnant" I confessed to him and he looked at me in surprise while he ate his eba and vegetable soup.
"She's five months gone and I just found out today"
"Why didn't she say anything"
"Because she thinks my life is pathetic. Every member of the family knows already about it and I don't. They even think she's only three months gone.
"That's unfair" he answered.
"I don't know what they think about me?"
"Maybe they still think you're single"
"Yeah maybe" I thought of it.
"You haven't said anything about me have you?" He asked and I nodded. "I haven't actually" I answered in shame. Feso felt bad.
"Well... They'll think I'm lying"
"What if we go and pay your Mom a visit?" he asked and i thought of it. "Seriously? You would do that?"
"I already told you that i would love to meet your parents some day"
"My dad might not be..." I stalled and he nodded in understanding. "I understand, even if it's just your mom" he answered and I smiled.
"When would be convenient for you?" I asked and he drank from a glass of water. "Tomorrow sounds fine" he answered and I bit my lower lip.
"Thanks" I smiled.
"Anything for you"
When I called Mom to inform her that I would be coming home the next day with my boyfriend, she sounded surprised.
"I thought you didn't have a boyfriend" she said to me, "I do mom and he would like to meet you" I answered and she assured me she'll be prepared to receive him.
Feso dressed in suits and I wore a blue gown he bought for me. He brought some wine along with him.
I was nervous, I didn't know how the night would end, I didn't even know what to expect. Ego opened the door smiling at me. "Sister Erika good evening" she hugged me.
"Good evening dear" I answered then she turned over to Feso. "Good evening, you must be the man in my sister's life" she chipped in, "Please come in" she answered and I smiled.
"My name is Ego Nwachukwu, the youngest girl in the house, from my mother's loins of course and you are"
"Fesochukwu Odogwu" Feso answered, "Erika he's so handsome. I'm so happy for you" she answered and I wondered what she meant by that, was I supposed to bring an ugly guy home?
Soon we passed by the lobby at home, towards the parlor.
"Aunty Erika is here with her boyfriend oh" Tammie yelled and I wondered what she might be doing here.
I walked in to see every of my siblings, Ada,Ugo, Ego and their husbands and Ego's husband to be. Even dad was present.
I couldn't believe it.
"Feso my man!" Richard called out and I raised my brow In shock. How in the world did he????
He shook feso and they hugged. "What are you doing here?" Feso asked and he laughed.
"I'm married to her sister" Richard pointed at Ugo. "Mehn it's a small world" Feso answered smiling then he looked at me; I was still in shock.
"He's an old friend far back as 2016. We knew on some not so convenient grounds but Richard wasn't the villian" he answered.
"Good to see you again Man" he added then Richard hugged him again.
"Good evening Ma, good evening Sir, good evening all" Feso greeted everyone in ibo and mom smiled. "He's even ibo that's wonderful!" She replied.
She walked towards us holding Feso's hands. "You're welcome my son" she answered then she looked at me. "Can't you greet?" She snapped , and I cleared my throat.
I was still in shock from Richard and Feso knowing themselves.
I was still yet to get over the shock of seeing dad there. He definitely heard a man was coming was probably coming to size the amount to demand as dowry.
"I'm sorry, Mommy good evening. Daddy good evening" I added and he smiled.
"We are all excited to meet you" Ada walked towards Feso, "I even thought he'll be ugly" Mom added and I rolled my eyes.
"Mommy!" I whined.
"What's all this?" She asked.
"My son you're welcome" mom repeated.
Soon we were at the dinning having dinner, "What's your name?" Mom asked, "Your girlfriend didn't even tell us you existed"
"Fesochukwu Odogwu, that's my name Ma"
"And your job?" Dad asked and I cleared my throat. "I'm a civil engineer at Odogwu's constructions"
"Don't tell me your father owns the Odogwu construction company?" Dad asked and i saw Richard nod.
"His father does and right now, he's the one currently running the company" He answered and Feso smiled.
"Wow, is that true?" Mom asked and Feso nodded.
"It's been God" he answered holding on to my hands.
"How long have you two been dating?" Dad asked, "Almost two months now" he answered. "It hasn't been that long" Ugo complained and Ada glared at her.
"The time length doesn't matter, all I know is that your sister captured my heart and there's no one I want to be with than her"
"Wow" Ego chipped in and I smiled. "Where did you guys meet?" Ada asked, "In the school where she teaches, during a PTA meeting"
"Oh you have a daughter" Ugo asked and I scoffed, "Excuse you? What does that mean?"
"It's just a simple question"
"Simple question my ass, Ugo you know why you asked that question. You think a complete man cannot settle for me right?" I asked and she scoffed.
"Would you two shut up?" Mom demanded.
"Why are you guys acting this way in front of a guest. Erika in front of a man who might be your future husband, are you thoughtless?"
"Ugo didn't say anything insulting"
"I don't know why she has to feel like everything I do.."
"Shut up!" Mom demanded.
There was a brief silence which was later broken by Dad. "So what are your intentions for my daughter"
"So now I'm your daughter?" I asked, "Please who invited this man here?" I asked, "Oh...so now i'm your daughter" i paused fuming in anger, "Erika!" mom yelled, "Mom please, the only reason he's here to see if the man i brought home has money. Isn't that what he has turned us into? Money makin machines from dowries" i cried.
"Just remember your precious sons are men too, God help them, someone would also see them as one." "Erika what's wrong with you?" Ada asked, "This isn't you, you're not the type to blow things out of proportion"
"I never invited him," I pointed at Dad, "I came so i can introduce Feso to mom.
Read " Dysfunctional " by the same author ( Essien Eno )
. The one who took care of me, of us. Let's not pretend like he's the best dad, he's not"
"Have you seen your daughter?" Dad asked and i scoffed.
"All the school fees i paid in secondary school on all of you"
"Which school fees?" Ugo asked,
"This is where i come in. I wouldn't have liked to embarass you Papa, in front of our new in law but" she paused then she laughed.
"Daddy abeg which school fees you pay for us? How many times have you paid my fees? If not for Mom and sister Ada and a little effort from sister Erika, i wouldn't have completed my education"
"Chinwe, did you add indian hemp in this food? Your daughters have gone mad" "It's your sons that have gone mad" Mom retorted back at him.
"Chinwe! He called out.
Mom suddenly looked at Ugo, "Do you guys realize you're talking to your father?"
"Being a father entails more than that," Ego cried, "It goes beyond blood and that's the only thing you've done. The only time we ever get your full attention is when we're getting married" i continued.
"And it's so annoying" Ada added cleaning her tears.
After quietly observing us, dad left.
"I don't have the appetite anymore" i turned over to Feso?
"Me too" Ugo answered.
"I'll take my leave now" I stood up, "Mam it was nice meeting you" Feso smiled at Mom and she nodded.
"I'm sorry about the drama"
"It's nothing Ma, I would really love to reschedule this dinner to some other day"
"With less tension" Mom answered and Feso smiled again. "I better be on my way, Richie"
"Later Man" he stood up for an handshake.
"Let me walk you two out" Mom volunteered.
Feso entered into the car and i exhaled, feeling guilty about my rage. Doing in it front of Fesi was uncalled for but just seeing Dad come for the obvious, left me aggravated.
David was right, I had Daddy issues that I had to sort out; or maybe it's the pregnancy hormones messing with my emotions. I wasn't too sure.
"I'm sorry" I apologized and he shrugged.
"Your Dad felt bad"
"Serves him right" I answered.
"I'm just so angry right now. He definitely came to measure your financial capabilities so he'll make estimate of how much dowry to charge you. Now that he knows you're running odogwu's construction, I won't be surprised if he gives your an exorbitant list"
"I won't mind as long I fulfill all rites to call you mine" he answered kissing me on the lips and I laughed. Awwn, Feso and his sweet words!
"Thanks for not running away, thanks for your patience." I appreciated and he held my hands.
"I told you that I'm here to stay, no matter the challenges"
How about a three months gone pregnancy? I asked within and he kissed me on the lips once again. "I love you Erika"
"I love you too" I replied.
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