Friday, 8 April 2016


Mystique shook her head
Jeff said to her, ‘I would conclude that you are insecure and I am not going to marry an insecure person in any area whatsoever. I love you. I don’t care if you are one million years. You are my chosen and that is what matters.’ 

Mystique felt ashamed of herself. She was not an insecure person but yes when it comes to age, she is a bit touchy. She told herself that she has to stop talking about this age thing so she does not make Jeff to get angry with her.

‘I am so sorry if I sounded insecure right now when I talked about my age. You know in Nigeria, we believe by a certain age, a woman should be married and a lot of people say the older a woman becomes, the more likely it is that she will not marry or even have a child.’

‘The concept of marriageable age is cultural. In those days, our mothers hardly obtained university degrees before getting married. Most schooling was done in their husbands’ homes. They also had many children. It is not the same thing now. People go to school and most people end up with maximum of 3 children,’ Jeff explained.

‘Besides you could have married early and been divorced. Don’t you believe in God?’ Jeff asked.

‘I do and I know you are the answer to all my prayers,’ Mystique said.

‘Then act like that. Just like I act towards you,’ Jeff said to her.

‘Okay I get it. I love you Jeff. This time I am marrying is the best time; the God ordained time for me,’ Mystique said as Jeff went to where she was and drew her up.

They stepped into the car after breakfast at exactly 10am. They first went to See CURE. Everyone was happy to see them. Yakubu was now in charge and had gone out with Mr. Harbor. She greeted the rest of the staff. Vivien was over the moon. She had put to bed. They were about to go when Yakubu and Mr. Harbor came back. They were happy to see Jeff and Mystique.

Mr. Harbor saw them and began to shout. ‘I talk am. I talk am.’

Mystique laughed and asked him, wetin you talk?

‘I talk am say two of una love each other well well and una go marry.’

‘How is your family? Jeff asked him.’

‘They are fine Oga,’ Mr. Harbor responded truly happy.

‘I hope you have not had another child’ Jeff asked smiling.

‘Haba Oga. Na only that six. One neighbour carry my madam go do family planning. Since that time, we never born again.

That is very good. God bless the neighbour, Mystique told him.

Yes Madam before my children go reach ten. Mr. Harbor said.

Mystique saw him walk towards Jeff and tell him something. From the way his hands and neck were going, she knew he was asking him for something.

She resisted the temptation to go to where they were. She decided to let them have their special moments. She will ask Jeff what they discussed later.

Just as they were about to go, Simon came in. He was happy to see Mystique. They were now best friends after having given up after he failed to persuade Mystique to marry him.

Seeing the way she clung on Jeff’s hands, he stretched out his hands and shook him, ‘lucky bastard’ he muttered under his breath before smiling to cover up.

‘You are a very lucky man. Mystique refused to marry me,’ Simon said to Jeff..

‘Please don’t mind this doctor. He was not serious,’ Mystique said to Jeff.

‘I wish both of you luck. I hope you remember to inform us when the wedding is taking place. Even if it is at the end of the world, we should be able to honour Mystique,’ Simon said to them.

They laughed. ‘The wedding is in Ghana. Thank God it is not the end of world. And of course you will all be invited,’ Mystique responded.

They left very happy that at least she was able to see her former colleagues. Jeff had given Vivien, Yakubu and Mr. Harbor some money before they left

‘So what was Mr. Harbor telling you?’ Mystique asked as soon as they entered the car.

‘Sorry my Madam, it is a big secret between him and me.’ Jeff said laughing.
‘So you are now keeping secrets from me,’ Mystique asked.

‘Well it is not exactly a secret. You will get to hear all about it in time, Mystique the nosey pucker.’

‘Ok o. Mr. Secret keeper,’ Mystique responded to him.

They drove straight to the airport and boarded the business class of Aero Contractors. Though they had to spend roughly an hour, they spent it reading. While Jeff read long walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, Mystique busied herself reading newspapers and once on a while, drew his attention to anything that caught her fancy.

In the plane, Mystique and Jeff were in the business class. Once in a while, Mystique stretched forth his hand to touch him and Jeff always reciprocated by squeezing her hand in response and sometimes pulling her closer. In one instance the air hostess came in just as Jeff planted a kiss on Mystique’s cheek. She smiled. She wished her own boyfriend was that romantic.

The ride to the house from the airport was a short one because traffic was light.

The sisters were very happy to see them. ‘Mystique you are busy enjoying and we are here running around for your wedding.’

Mystique smiled, ‘what are sisters for? Left to me, I would have just wedded quietly.’

‘Really?’ Shirley asked. ‘Well sorry. We had weddings and large ones and you enjoyed attending those weddings. So your own will be no exception.’

‘Okay. I understand but honestly it is becoming such a burden. All these preparations,’ Mystique said.

‘Look Mystique you will have a dream wedding because I don’t want you to tomorrow feel bad when you attend other people’s weddings,’ Jeff said.

‘That means you don’t know me,’ Mystique said.

‘But what is the problem? You are not necessarily doing anything. We have your sisters. We have Cecilia and the event planners,’ Jeff responded.

Mystique looked at everyone in the room. Joyce did not say anything; none of them said anything. ‘Okay everyone. I am sorry. It is just that it is becoming a bit burdensome,’ she mourned.

‘Okay sweetheart. I do understand,’ Jeff said. ‘Which part of it is disturbing you?’

The sisters hit their hands together. ‘Wonders shall never end. I don’t blame you Mystique. Those that have nose don’t have snuff and those that have snuff have no nose,’ Shirley said.

‘My in law welcome. How was your flight?’ Joyce asked.

‘Fine. We had a smooth flight is it not so?’ Jeff asked Mystique trying to draw her into the conversation.’

As soon as they left, Jeff swept her into her room. ‘What the hell is wrong with you? Don’t you realize all the efforts these people have made to see to successful weddings? Look you sounded so ungrateful just now.’

Mystique put her head on his shoulders and he could feel she was crying.

‘Why are you crying?’

She brought out her phone from her back and showed him. He took it and began to read several messages from Ebuka. Some he begged and some he warned that if he did not marry her, she would not be happy because his name and presence would continue to haunt her. The next text that came in after any such text of threat would be an apology saying he was joking and telling her that he was the only one who can make her happy.

The more Jeff scrolled down, the more worried he became. He also read some of Mystique’s comments asking him to leave her alone.

He sighed and drew her to him. ‘Was this what you have been trying to tell me all along?’

‘Yes but everyone keeps dismissing it as nothing. Even at a point he said he was going to kidnap me for himself but I didn’t believe it,’ Mystique said.

Jeff was confused but this guy told me in the hospital that he has moved on and even wished us well.

‘Well that was just to throw you off balance,’ Mystique said. ‘You don’t know this guy. He can be stupidly determined on the wrong things.’

‘So what do we do?’ Jeff asked.

‘I honestly don’t know,’ Mystique moaned.

‘I really know what I think we should do but again I am just thinking coming so close to the weddings, I did not think we need something to disturb us but again, I am thinking, supposing something serious happens to you,’ Jeff said putting her left hand by the side of her head.

‘By the way I believe Jude should be back by today. I was going to fly back to Ghana but I am going to wait for Jude so we can put our heads together. In the meantime, promise me, you will not be sad or afraid. Everything is going to be under control.

Mystique nodded.

‘Now smile for me. Smile and tell me it is alright.’

Mystique tried to smile but she couldn’t.

Jeff took her chin and looking into his eyes  he said; ‘look young lady, life is not all about you and me or us. So many people have been looking forward to these weddings. Your people, my people, my friends, associates. Look at your organization; they are ready to show up. See your Chairman. There are so many people who need these weddings to put some life into their lives. Tell me Mystique are you going to deny them the right or the pleasure?
Mystique shook her head. The enormity of what she was advocating hit her.

‘It is just that I feel the bigger it is, the more we attract the attention of Ebuka and honestly, I don’t seem to know him any longer,’ Mystique moaned.

They were still in the room when they heard a knock. ‘Hey my man. You in there?’ Jude, Joyce’s husband asked.

‘Yeah men. Was just talking about you to Mystique,’ Jeff responded as he opened the door to let Jeff in. Jeff was in a polo designer tee-shirt and jeans trousers.

‘You are just getting in?’ Jeff asked.

‘Yes. I just came in through Enugu airport. I have been in the village, supervising the work on the bore holes and they are turning up very nicely.’

‘Thanks man. If you need more money or anything do tell me,’ Jeff said.

‘No. we might even refund some money because I decided to use help from local community that does not cost as much as professionals. I know what you are thinking. Don’t worry my team is doing a brilliant work. Thanks man for the gesture. We are very grateful to you,’ he stretched out his hands to shake Jeff.

Jeff was pleased to be valued. Nana and his people never felt that he has done enough for them.

‘Yes. Mystique. How are you?’
‘I am fine. You are not looking happy like someone who is going to have the weddings of the year because Jeff, the only thing Joyce talks to me over the phone is her sister’s weddings.’

‘I am alright,’ Mystique said.

‘By the way, I saw Ebuka at the airport. He looked emaciated and from the time, we were there until my flight was called, all he talked about was Mystique. How he was such a fool. How he would do anything everything to have Mystique back. How Mystique was his soul mate. He narrated to me his relationship and how he was sure even if at the last minute, Mystique was going to come back to him.’

Jeff and Mystique sighed even though they saw Jude laughing at Ebuka’s foolishness.

‘Well Jude that is the reason why we are happy that you are here,’ Jeff said. ‘You may have to sit down.’

Jeff now told Jude everything.

‘So what do we do?’ Jeff asked.

‘Let me hear from Mystique first,’ Jude said. ‘Do you think Ebuka is serious and capable of harming you?’
All eyes turned to Mystique.

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