Precious Martins 1 year ago
@PreciousMartin... 21 min read View comments 1 #short-stories

One More Hurdle

"If you have a reason why these two cannot be joined together, please speak up now or forever remain silent," Pastor Francis asked as his eyes roamed over the small congregation of people in the church.

I took a deep breath and looked at the man that would soon be known as my husband. Our eyes met his dark orbs that churned with raw love and adoration so much that they took my breath away. I clasped my sweaty palms together as a mix of anxiety and happiness washed over me. You are getting married! My subconscious screamed at me. It was still hard to swallow; we had gone through a lot just to make this dream come true, we fought and pushed, and we finally succeeded. I pushed back tears that threatened to come out. Now was not the time, I scolded myself. "put the wedding jollof rice in mind before speaking up, oo," Pastor Francis added, causing the congregation to laugh with smiles.

I let out a breathy laugh and looked at the pastor, who winked at me; I grinned in return. Pastor Francis was like a child in a man's body, young and cheerful at heart while he was physically in his early forties. I let my eyes roam over the small congregation of people, mostly because I was avoiding "his" piercing gaze on me that made my knees feel like jelly. It was how we wanted it, small and private. It was hard convincing my parents, especially my mom, who wanted to bring a full crowd with her. His mother too, and my mother-in-law, according to her, wanted the world to know her only son was getting married. I sighed inwardly; Nigerian mothers are just too much. My eyes landed on my parents; my mom's face was beaming with smiles as she gave me a thumbs up. She was beautifully dressed in a navy blue lace straight gown that reached her ankles with a high slit; she wore black heels matched with a black gele and navy blue purse. My mother-in-law was wearing the same lace, but hers was made into a blouse and wrapper with a silver heel and silver gele. My dad was in a blue french tuxedo; it fit him like a glove and gave him that regal aura that he loved. He was smiling as well, and he gave me a small nod. My dad sure was a tough nut to crack, but he did come around.

I smiled widely at my younger and only sister, Chidimma, who was grinning from ear to ear; she was dressed in the asoebi gown that fit her growing curve perfectly. She has been my backup, my rock when things were rough. She likes Dele too and was always spurring us on. She was our number one shipper. Beside her was my best friend, Helen... We have been friends since childhood, and she has always been my partner in crime. Even with the smile that lined her face, I could still see the jealousy in her eyes. For some reason, she has always been jealous of me since I met Dele 2 years ago. She used to have this distaste for relationships and had numerous flings; she would go on and on about how love and marriage were a scam and how she enjoyed being single, but all that changed when I met Dele, and we started off as friends.

Apparently, she took a liking to him, but he always waved off her advances and chose me. Seeing that she had lost him to me, she started dropping indirect remarks about how Dele wasn't the right match for me and how the relationship wasn't going to last; soon, it was long sentences that I should be careful around him. I didn't understand what she was driving at; sometimes, I concluded that she was just being careful and protective like a good friend, but other times, we ended up throwing words at each other with me trying to defend my man. It left a strain on our friendship, but I still loved and cared for her, and I know she did too. I later understood that she was jealous because a good relationship like mine was only wishful thinking for her. She feels she is not lucky when it comes to love, as her past relationships left a bitter taste in her mouth. So I guess mine was sort of like a trigger for her. I was getting married after my first relationship, but she hasn't after so many relationships.

I breathed out as I returned my gaze to Dele, My man. My husband is a few minutes. His eyes were still on me, and the smile plastered on his face made my skin heat up. Damn! This man is going to be the death of me. He was perfect... perfect for me; I started growing impatient that the ceremony wasn't over yet. I can't wait for us to go home and have that crazy sex he had promised me for our wedding night. I blushed red at the thought, my light skin not making it easy for me to conceal. His eyebrows quirked up questioningly and were soon replaced by a smirk as if he could read my mind. I blushed more and directed my gaze to pastor Francis instead of trying to tell him to hurry up. He seemed to have gotten the hint as he chuckled and said, "We shall continue the...". He was interrupted by the loud opening of the church doors. "you can't get married," A lady's voice said. Everybody turned to find the source of the voice. There was a woman at the entrance of the church with a sleeping child in her arms. She looked desperate and sad, and as she walked closer, I noticed she was heaving like she had run all the way here. Two of Dele's guys stepped forward to stop her from walking any further. "what is the problem, ma? A wedding is going on, as you can see," one of them, Matthew, said. "yes, I can see just fine. She snapped angrily. Get out of my way, I want to see the father of my child now" she demanded firmly.

My dad stepped out from his seat; his eyes were starting to swirl dangerously. "who is the father of your child, young woman?" he asked loudly, shutting off the whispers. She rolled her eyes without a hint of fear, raised her hands, and pointed at him; her eyes were on the one man I feared would be. The murmuring grew, and I spared a glance at Dele, who was just as confused as I was. Dele.

Dele was the father of her child. The church erupted in gasps and shock; everywhere was rowdy with conversations and gossip. My head was ringing as my legs wobbled a little. I didn't know what to feel; I just stood there confused. I looked at Dele; his face held shock as he stared speechlessly at the woman. The woman pushed her way to the altar where Dele and I were standing. "Dele, your son needs you," she said desperately as she tried to grab his hands, to which he backed up like she was some deadly poison. "I don't know you. You must be inaccurate," he said as he tried to keep a lid on his brewing anger and irritation.

The woman tried to reply but was interrupted by Dele's mother, who had stepped out too and was now in-between the woman and her son in a protective manner. "stay away from my son, you wretched woman, he said he doesn't know you, are you deaf?" She said harshly; her voice was thunderous and her stance defensive. This woman has to be delirious. Yes! My Dele would never cheat on me; she has to be crazy. How could I be moved by words from a crazy woman? She will be arrested for defamation, and I will get married to my Dele. I trust my man. I proceeded to call for them to send her out when her next words made me swallow my order. "Harrison resorts, Delta State, December, two years ago. You can't tell me you have forgotten Dele. During the night party, we were both very drunk, and we had sex, unprotected sex in the restroom" she paused for her words to sink in properly, and gasps could be heard through the church. She turned to look at me dead in the eye. "you remember, don't you? We had just finished having sex when you called. He picked but was too drunk to say anything".

An arrow went through my heart as I remembered. Dele had traveled for a business deal with his friends/business partners. He was able to seal the deal, and his friends took him to the resort to celebrate. I remember begging him not to drink too much because I knew how he always went overboard with alcohol. But I called him later, and he was totally drunk and couldn't even form words coherently. I had to call his friends and ask them to help him to his hotel. He told me afterward that he didn't remember anything and promised to quit alcohol from that day, which he did for me. The woman turned to look at Dele's friends, Richard and Matthew. "don't tell me you guys have forgotten; you came in and helped him with his clothes while scolding him. I don't think you guys were that drunk that night" she smirked as she returned her gaze to Dele. "This is the result of that night dele...this is your seed...your son, and he is dying, he needs your help...we don't have much time," she cried out desperately. She was saying other things, but at this point, I couldn't hear much over my pounding head and racing heart. Should I be angry? Upset? Can I call this cheating? What happens now? What about our happily ever after we worked so hard for? Can I trust him again? He has a freaking 1-year-old son from another woman. What do I do? I was too caught up in my thoughts to know that I was hyperventilating. It was harder to breathe by the minute. I could hear voices, but none were audible; I could see people around me, but I couldn't make out their faces because of the tears that clouded my vision. My legs felt weak, and I was feeling dizzy. The pain was just too much that when the darkness came, I happily embraced it.*****

The noise of someone shouting from downstairs woke me up. I was in my room and still in my wedding dress. They were boxes of my personal things arranged neatly in the corner of the room; I was going to take them with me after the wedding...The wedding...I prayed endlessly that all that happened was only a dream, but it wasn't...Tears tried to well up again, but I wiped them away with the back of my palm. I stood up and proceeded downstairs. At the sound of my footsteps, the noise stopped as everyone stopped whatever they were doing to stare at me. I could see the sadness, anger, and pity in their faces. "how are you feeling, Ada? You should have lied down a bit more" my mum came forward and felt my forehead for my temperature. Her face was filled with worry. "I'm fine" "come on, let's get this dress off you so you can freshen up," she added and tried to turn me back to the stairs, but I wasn't bulging. I avoided their suffocating gaze and asked with a blank face, "where is Dele?" "That bastard? Don't worry; I'll deal with him...how he dare? He should be ready to rot in jail," my father's voice thundered as he swiped his phone furiously. "you will not do anything to him, dad," I said as I looked at him in the eyes. "what? Don't tell me you still care about that piece of shit after what he did? Did he brainwash you?" "Dad!!!" Chidimma chided, pissed. "Didn't I warn you not to marry a Yoruba man? They are known for broken marriages.

They cheat, abuse, and show their wives hell. I told you so, right? That good-for-nothing boy had the audacity to disgrace Nwosu... I always knew he was marrying you for fame and money...he wanted to join the popular barrister's family, but you wouldn't listen to me, Ada, can't you see?" "Dad!!!" I screamed at the top of my voice; the lid that covered my anger and pain had finally toppled over and would destroy anything and anyone in its path. "I will not tolerate any more insult about Dele from you. Why do you hate Dele so much? You never liked him from the very beginning. Why? Because he is Yoruba? Or because he isn't rich like your barrister friends? What has he ever done to you to deserve this ill-treatment from you? He has tried so hard to please you, but you blocked all his efforts; I am not surprised that you could not afford to leave this great opportunity to ridicule him and hate him more...but know this, Judge Paul Nwosu, if I don't marry Dele, I will not marry anybody else" I stomped off and took my car keys along. My dad and mom's calls fell on deaf ears as I entered the car and turned on the engine. Just as I was about to drive out, Chidimma appeared in front of the car, blocking me, but before I could shout at her to get out, she rushed to the shotgun seat and entered. "how will you get to Dele when you don't know where he is?" she smirked at me as she strapped in her seat belt.

I nodded gratefully and drove out of the compound. Only when I was far from it did I stop to catch the breath I didn't know I was holding. The tears were falling like a damn waterfall now, and Chidimma stroked my back without a word. After some minutes of crying, I cleaned up my face with a tissue. "where is Dele?" I asked her. She handed me her phone, and in it was a message from Dele for me. It says: "Ada, I'm so sorry for causing you so much heartache on our special day. Please find a place in your heart to forgive me. I swear I don't remember anything from that night; I didn't keep it a secret from you; I am just as shocked as you are. I know nothing justifies this, and I completely understand if you don't want to get married to me. It's my punishment for my sin, and I accept it. In case you want to know where I am, I am at the general hospital running a DNA test; the child is terribly sick too and needs my blood; I couldn't just let him die for a mistake I made. I'm genuinely sorry, my love" *****

I arrived at the hospital and rushed in with Chidimma. The first people I saw were Matthew and Richard. Immediately they saw me; they walked forward with an apologetic look. "Ada, we are really sorry. We didn't think they went too far when we saw him in the restroom that night, and we didn't see the lady again after that night. We decided to keep it a secret and move on because we knew how Dele would beat himself up if he found out," Matthew explained. "We are truly very sorry," Richard added with their heads bowed in shame. The scene grabbed some attention seeing that I was in a wedding dress and everyone knew about Ada, the fast-rising barrister's wedding. I didn't know what to say, so I just passed them and continued walking into the hospital; the next person I saw was the woman, the woman who brought me so much pain and ruined my wedding.

I proceeded to ignore her and pass too, but she called my name and came forward. "I'm sorry for ruining your wedding; I know my apology is useless, but I really didn't mean to disrupt your day. It's just that I was at a loss; my son was dying and needed his father's blood urgently; I couldn't lose him...he is all I had. When I found out I was pregnant, I decided to keep it and train my child with no father identity. I didn't bother looking for Dele because I didn't want him to know...but my baby fell terribly ill, and the doctor said they needed his father's blood since mine wasn't compatible. I tried to find out if there were any other options, but there weren't, and I was running out of time. I tried to find Dele but came up with nothing. It was on social media that I saw the news that he was getting married to you today, so I rushed to see him. I'm sorry, but my son was more important at that moment," she explained guiltily.

I couldn't reply to her, I didn't know what to say, so again I proceeded to pass instead. She called after me and said, "Dele is a good man. I hope you both sort this out. I promise not to disturb your lives again. I'll disappear into thin air once my son is fine". I quickened my pace and only stopped when I saw Dele. He was in tears and looked so dejected; my heart broke all over again to see him like this. He was talking to his mom when he saw me. He stopped and walked towards me slowly, like he couldn't believe that I was here. When he was only a few inches apart from me, his eyes searched mine with hope and fear. "Ada, I..." I didn't let him finish as I pulled him into a passionate hug. We held each other like our lives depended on it and cried our eyes out. He kept saying I'm sorry and I kept saying we will get through this.

Ada and Dele 2022

#Delda2022

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