Palm lines - Episode 35
"Promise me you won't cry if I get the maximum?" Feso asked me and I scoffed. "Don't say crazy things" "Promise me, you'll smile when I smile back at you"
"Why would I promise that?"
"Just promise me, it's either that or you stay away from the hearing. I don't want anyone making me emotional and crying"
"I'm not promising anything"
"Please Erika, please don't cry." "David is going to help you get a reduced sentence"
"I know I'm screwed Erika and I'm trying my best to accept what might be my fate . If something goes wrong, I want you to know, you didn't make the wrong choice, David is a good man. You're going to be happy with him"
"Don't act like you're dying"
"I'll either i die in prison or I'll be seventy something when I get out from prison. It's the same" he answered and I shut my eyes in tears.
"Take care of the boys and promise me you won't cry" he requested again and I nodded.
I had to stay away from school because of the court proceedings, I felt the need to be around.
I cried after the judge gave his final verdict. "Being found guilty of the murder of Alhaji Danladi, the accused is hereby sentenced to twenty years imprisonment"
Tears poured down my eyes, it didn't hurt me as much as it did Ifeoma
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. She screamed and tried to claw her way through the crowd as the police took him away.
I was shocked to see Feso's mom standing through it all, Feso must have made him promise too. David rushed out with the lawyers. I followed him out.
Feso faked a smiled at me as he entered into the car, "Promise me you won't cry if I get the maximum?" Feso's words came breezing in.
"Promise me, you'll smile when I smile back at you"
I couldn't smile at him, instead I cried. I turned my back at him cleaning my tears.
Feso's mom fainted.
Feso pushed his head out in worry, "Mom!" He yelled and the police pushed him back into the car.
Ifeoma knelt down close to her.
"Call the ambulance!" She yelled. "Someone call the damn ambulance" she yelled her voice was already cracked from all the shouting.
She woke up later on, I was close to her, Ifeoma had left to attend to her husband so I called the nurse's attention.
"You should have some rest" David said to me after he got back from the police station. "I'll do that later, I'm just worried about her, I'm worried about Ifeoma, she went out to see her sick husband. This must be hard on her"
"It is. Besides that, I have a lot of worries now, I just can't begin to point or speak."
"Are you okay?" I asked and he sighed. "He'll be transferred to the prison tomorrow"
"We're pushing for a reduction in sentence, we're looking at ten years." He paused, I noticed he was so close to crying.
" I tried my best" he added.
"We all know" I hugged her. "It's not your fault sugar, baby it's not your fault."
He sniffled then blew his nose with an handkerchief. "Let's go home" He asked and I walked into the ward, Feso's dad was in the room, his palm was clutched in his wife's palm.
"I'm about to leave Ma"
"Thanks dear, you should go home, have a bathe and long nap. The baby needs it" she smiled.
I couldn't agree more.
"How was it?" Sharon asked, "It was ...." I paused, "There was no mild way to put it." "He was sentenced" I answered, "How long?"
"It's so unfair, why twenty years. He pleaded guilty right? It's that judge right?" She asked, I didn't even know which and how to answer.
"The judge shouldn't have been allowed to preceeds over the matter, I've been reading these stuffs" she complained, "Well what you read it different from reality, we're in a country where corrupt practices has eaten deep into the judicial system" David answered.
"Nothing in life is fair again"
"So is he going to stay the entire twenty years, since corrupt practices have destroyed the judicial system, you can also engage in this corrupt practices to get him out" she suggested and I chuckled.
"We're appealing for a reduction," "Like a retrial?" She asked me and I shrugged. "You can say that" he smiled.
"This sucks! Just after your proposal. This is really annoying and sad. He deserves better than that" Sharon cried, David walked away.
"He's going in to cry right?" She asked and I chuckled softly. "I should be worried," I paused, "I think your father's in love with Feso" I guessed and Sharon laughed.
I walked into David crying. "Is there anything I should know?" I asked again and he cleaned his tears. "Like?"
"I don't know, maybe you're in love with Feso" I climbed on the bed, leaned on his back and he laughed.
"That's funny" he laughed again.
"I didn't even cry this much when Pa Tom died" he confessed. "It's going to be fine" I kissed him on his back. "It'll be fine"
The next Saturday was Ego's wedding. It was great, she had her dream party and she looked really happy.
David made an official entrance into the family the following week. Traditional wedding lists were presented to him. In a week, wedding cards had been printed.
Our wedding was scheduled to hold on April. "Let's talk about the invitees" the wedding planner, Jane smiled at me.
"How many do you want? What's your limit"
"We don't engage in those 'I want only hundred persons' bullshit" Kechi answered, "I don't recall the wedding planner asking you for your opinion" Dorcas smiled.
"It's our wedding, it's not just her wedding" Kechi answered and I laughed. "Me like this, I've invited more than fifty persons, all my friends and their friends. Mehn it's going to be awesome!" She squeaked in excitement.
"So let's talk about your wedding dress" she raised a magazine up. "I've got clothes from the best designers" she flipped to a point.
"An original Vera Weng gown, you'll be the light of the party"
I was shocked by the price, $2000???
"How much is that when converted in naira?" I asked, "725,000 naira" "What?" Kechi and I yelled.
"It's more than my entire wedding price list added together" I answered and Dorcas laughed.
"You'll be the light of the party oh" the wedding planner busted in igbo.
"Nne, abeg. We'll stick with Nigerian designers" Kechi concluded. "Will she wear the gown on judgement day?" She added and everyone in the room busted into laughter.
"But Mr. David's credit card is my complaining oh, we've known ourselves for a while and I personally planned his ex-wife's wedding. The woman spent money"
"We'll stick with Nigerian designers Jane, thanks"
From the house, I took a taxi over to Savage's Realtor. Imabong was by the stairs just as I climbed up to David's office.
"Here you are again" she looked at my belly bump. "Are you trying to make me feel uncomfortable?" I asked and she scoffed.
"Uncomfortable? I can't make you feel something you are already. Cause I believe no one would be comfortable being in your position but you're just so so comfortable In it. Aren't you ashame the littlest bit, you're pregnant without a husband. Oh you're engaged" i guess she raised my fingers up.
"How did he afford the ring, this must have cost a fortune" she dropped my hands and I chuckled.
"I have a lot to do Imaobong, I believe you do so..."
"Yes I do, I was just looking for the secretary. She's delaying me" she answered and I scoffed.
"What's the point of faking?" I snapped and she scoffed.
"Excuse you?" I mimicked, "Seriously dear, it's not healthy to pretend to be what you're not. You lost your job years ago along side your husband, so what? Do you still have to pretend you're rich to the public eyes. Imaobong, it's fine. I'm not going to mock you. I'm not you! Shit happens in life and it's not worth you pretending about it, someone might resist from helping you because they may think you're okay." I pointed out.
She stood still in shock.
"It's sick, ten years taught me a lot and I've grown. Grow up Imaobong" I chipped In leaving then I turned back removing an invitation card from my bag then I stretched it at her.
"You're welcome to my traditional wedding" I smiled and she received it from me looking at the name. "Jesus!" She dropped it, "You're the..." She stalled.
"The..." She pointed abstractedly.
"Good day Imaobong" I walked away smiling. It felt so good!
The door to David's office was opened, he was in with Ade since it it was the holidays. David was mentoring him on business.
Since his Dad cut him off after he challenged him, Ade has surrendered himself to mentorship.
"You wait for the right time and then you kiss her" I heard David say to him and I scoffed.
"Do you think Sharon would freak out if I use that style on her?" He asked, "Do you think you'll look good with two of your arms?" He asked and Ade cleared his throat.
"I was just kidding Sir"
"Smart boy," he answered and I walked in.
"So, being an entrepreneur entails a lot of persiverance like I said the other time. Remember what I said?" "No I don't Sir, we were talking about the style and pattern of kissing girls" Ade answered. He wasn't aware that I had walked in.
"That's not" he coughed and Ade turned back at me.
"Yes Sir.. I remember those things you said"
"Remember that quote"
"You wait for the right time and then you kiss her" Ade answered and David glared at him.
"You're fired!" He yelled and Ade laughed. "Good afternoon Miss Erika" he greeted and I smiled.
"What does kissing or romance has to do with business?" I asked and they both laugh.
"Well it's a business of love" he answered. "You're supposed to be mentoring him in business, not influencing him" I kissed him.
"I better leave" Ade rose up.
"I'll be leaving soon, I and the boys just felt the need to see you" she answered. "I think I'd go see Sharon at home"
"Okay" I answered and Ade made way to the door.
"No kissing!"David warned.
"What are you scared of?" I asked and he laughed.
"I'm scared of a lot.
"How's Mom?" Feso asked, "She's awake and she's fine." "How's Erika?" He added and I smiled.
"Erika is fine"
"Ifeoma is fine too"
"They promised not to cry yet they broke it" "I didn't promise anything yet I cried, you have to admit it was a really emotional moment in there" I answered and he scoffed.
"Twenty years huh?" He added, "We're looking into an appeal for ten years," I explained but he had that doubt in his eyes.
"If you can't do it, it's fine. I'll just accept my fate"
"They'll move me to my permanent site soon." He joked and I scoffed. "Not funny, it's just twenty years"
"Twenty years in prison should feel like hundred years. I guess I'll use it to calm my head, think through about my life and what I want for myself"
"You had thirty two years to do that and you didn't, what makes you think twenty years or ten years would help you with that?"
"I'm thirty five years old, going to thirty six" "Seriously? I always knew I was older than you, you should call me brother David" I teased and he laughed.
"Wasn't that obvious all these while from all your grey hairs?" He asked and I chuckled.
"I don't want anyone visiting me when I'm in prison"
"That's unfair Feso, it's unfair to you and to them"
"It's my decision David and I want you to make sure of it."
"They'll surely come to give their good byes. Will you deny them that part too?" I asked and he shook his head.
Looking closely into Feso's case, I realized it was similar to Ade's case. The following week I invited him into the car after school hours so I could talk to him.
"I know you hide under your humor but how long are you going to hide? How long till the anger takes over, it can't just go smoothly that way. You can't just repeat a class because of your step father and just accept it that way, there must be anger, there has to be frustration. Even I don't have such tolerance" I said to him and he paused.
"Sometimes I'm tempted to kill him in his sleep" he confessed to me.
"And I bet you will someday" I concluded and he looked down. "What do you want me to do"
"Speak up, if you don't want to, let your mother help you out"
"Mom loves the cash too much to speak up. She's blinded by money"
"Should I help you out?" I asked and he shook his head.
"I'll do It myself"
Feso had his last good bye from everyone expect Ifeoma who refused to stay away. Feso' sentence was.
Feso had his sentenced reduced to ten years.
While we had dinner, i observed my step dad. I wanted to know if he was in a good mood or not. After what Sharon's dad said, I knew I needed to sort the issue out.
"I don't want to grow up to run your company" I declared and Mom scoffed.
"Have you smoked?" She asked in Yoruba, and I shook my head. "Mom you know very well that I don't smoke"
"Then there has to be something wrong with your head. Are you sane? Has the pepper entered into your brains?" She asked.
"Why do you say so?" My step dad asked, he was still calm and I sighed.
"I'm done with you threatening me with your inheritance. I should be in Ss3 but I'm still in Ss1 and you Mom allowed him bully me, but you know what, I'm done! I'm done with your threats, I'll write my exams and I I'll get promoted whether I make it too of the class or not which I know I obviously will"
"I'm going to write my waec because I'm smart enough and I'm going to pass and you're not going to stop me and you're not going to hold me back. Good night" I added retiring into my room.
I guess whatever I said didn't go down well with my step dad. He saw it as a challenge and demanded that I leave the house.
Despite Mom's plea to apologise to him, I didn't. I missed the school that day cause I had to pack my stuff over to my aunt's house.
I was happy cause she lived just close to Sharon's house. It felt like fate.
I turned off my phone because I was trying to avoid calls from teachers and Sharon.
I paid Sharon a visit at the house later in the evening. "I was so worried" she kicked me on the leg and I groaned.
"Your reaction doesn't look like one from someone who was worried"
"You couldn't even call" she tapped my arms and I smiled.
"I'm sorry, I was dealing with a little ish" I answered. "What happened?"
"My step dad threw me out of the house" I answered and she scoffed. "Why did you do?"
"I took your dad's advise to tell him my mind . It's not my fault he didn't like it."
Soon I was left alone with Mr Savage and Miss Erika. "That's stupid of him" Miss Erika commented.
"What about your mom?" She added and I kept mute.
"She should have done something!" She added.
"How about your school fees?" Miss Erika asked, "I don't think he'll pay any longer, maybe I'll find myself a job" i answered and Mr Savage scoffed.
"What can you do"
"I can't do anything but ...."
Mr Savage promised he'll help me out.
"Ma I would love to sit for waec" I requested, "By right, I should be preparing to write this year. I won't mind writing with the Ss3 students, and I won't mind you mentoring me in business" I answered and Mr Savage smiled.
"I'll find your a tutor for waec and It'll be a pleasure to mentor you"
Things were falling in place, the wedding was fixed in April.
We had a Igbo wedding, it was sweet, Mom dressed in a black and yellow Jorge wrapper with her belly bump hanging out.
It was a funny sight.
I walked up to Dad dancing to David's Flora my flowa, he was trying to bust into one of the latest dance, "Shoki".
I closed my eyes in shame and I saw him intentional bust the move in my face to annoy me the more and I laughed.
Everyone joined the bride in dancing on the floor and I saw Ade walk up to me holding me by my waist.
"Did I mention how pretty you look?" He asked and I chuckled.
"Maybe once once or twice" I answered. "Have you thought of it, maybe someday it might be the two of us getting married"
"Keep on dreaming" I said and he laughed, "But it won't be a bad idea would it?" He moved close to me and dad came in between us.
"Dad you're supposed to suppose to be with your bride!" I complained on top of my voice because of the loud music.
I turned towards Mom who was dancing with her friends. "Congratulations" I whispered to dad and he smiled.
Seeing Erika's life turn from bad to better, I started to think of my life. Who I'm going to end up with, I felt like I needed to get serious with life and relationship.
I got Mrs Reiner the palmist number and my wandering steps led me there. I told her I needed to know who my future husband would be.
"Do you know that too much information ruins suspense" she asked and I nodded. Then i gave her my palms to read it.
"Give me clues then."
"You're too picky, that's your problem, you don't want them short, you don't want them this , maybe you're not meant to be with the hot guy like your ex boyfriend Nathan"
"Wow... You're so real! Give me clues please, I'm dying to hear all what you'll say."
"You're going to meet your soul mate" she paused, "He's going to be different from all of your exes" she smiled.
"You're going to make the best out of him, you're going to teach him a whole lot" he added and I frown.
"Where's the clue?" I asked, "He's going to be dressed in white suit"
"Urgh! I hate guys with white suit"
with a blue pocket handkerchief and he's going to to be on glasses"
"Hmmn.. I love guys that looks good on shades"
"When you find him, you'll know"
"What if there are many guys dressed that way."
"Not all of them walk up to you and say hi" she answered and i braced myself for Erica's wedding day.
I looked around in search of him but I couldn't find him. I took a glass of wine then gulped it at once. "Careful there young lady" Dorcas warned, "You don't want to end up like Erika, the night of Ugo's wedding"
"It won't be a bad thing if I end up in bed with man as hot as David" I answered and she laughed.
"What if you end up with someone wretched"
"Haha very funny" I scoffed.
"She said I would meet him today, it's getting late"
"It's barely two, live and just relax and just feel and live in the moment, let go of all anxiety. If you're meant to meet with him, he'll come around" Dorcas danced and I smiled.
"I just love your positive spirit"
Suddenly I saw a hot guy in white suit with a blue and a dark shades. "Oh my God, check out the hot guy at 12 o clock. I think he's the one" she whispered and I smiled.
"He looks so hot" I squeaked and then I saw him wave at me. I waved back then I saw a lady walk towards him and they both kissed.
Dorcas laughed. I felt so embarrassed.
Then I sighted another man in white suit walk towards me, he had a blue too and he wore a glass too but in this case, it wasn't shades it looked like a recommended eyes glasses especially those worn by nerds.
"Isn't that the guy who dropped Erika off the other day and the one she went on that date with?" I asked and Dorcas nodded.
"The one that talks about his mom and dog"
"And he's also a virgin" I whispered. "He can't be the one" I added.
"You said the palmist said you'll see help him and teach him stuffs, who knows, you might be the first woman he has s*x with" she whispered.
"I'm leaving, he's not hot... He's...
Read " Without Bridges " by the same author ( Essien Eno )
. I paused"
"Come on, embrace it"
"Maybe there's another man in white"
"Hi" he waved at the both of us. "I would really like to talk to your friend. "Yeah sure" I answered leaving.
"I meant you" he pointed at me.
"Are you sure?" I asked and Dorcas smiled. "Later Kechi" she left.
"My name is Stanley, I'm a lawyer, people mistakenly mistake me for being weird for loving my mom and my dog. But the truth is it's gets lonely and the other day when I saw you, I just..." He smiled.
"I've.. I've never approached a lady before to ..." He stalled. "You're really pretty, I've staring at you"
"And that's not weird at all" I answered sarcastically. "Is that sarcasm?" He asked and I rolled my eyes.
"What do you want?"
"Do you want to maybe have lunch or dinner sometime, or sit and talk to me for a while. I could use the company" he requested, "No" I answered abruptly.
"Oh" he paused.
"Fine" he answered turning back, then I remembered Mrs. Reiner talking being too picky and I rolled my eyes.
"I'm Nkechi and as much as I don't like this, I'll love to have dinner or lunch with you, and maybe get to know you better. How does that sound ?" I answered and he turned back at me smiling.
"Sounds like a plan"
Anticipate final episode
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