The next morning, I came out to help but the maid informed me I was not to touch anything in the house. I gladly let them be. I had told Emeka about it and he said he spoke with her too. She had no right to stop me from going for my test. She was being wicked and selfish. I told him I want to remain in the school until evening before going to the house. I planned on going to the library to read before going back since I was doing nothing at home and I didn’t need any fracas. He agreed.
Jacinta acted as if she didn’t notice my absence from the house but the children did. One evening, she locked the door and didn’t open it until her husband came back. She did it three times but I didn’t report her. I was done reporting. I started coming home about the time her husband came home. I took his phone number and
asked him to call me when he is on his way home. Initially, I stayed in the library and class. Then I made friends and waited in their hostels if I had to wait very long.
I loved the hostel life. I wished I could have the experience. I ate suya for the first time ever at the hostel and fell in love with it. They also had moi burger. Those selling cut open a small loaf of bread into two and placed the moimoi in it. I loved it too. I looked forward to coming to the hostel. I also ate at the bukas close to the hostel. Their foods were cheaper and tastier. I would prefer to cook my own food but I didn’t have the opportunity in Jacinta’s house.
Ugonna landed for the weekend. She tried to be friendly with me but I could see through her charade. I avoided everyone and stayed in my room. I heard a knock on the door and it was Ugonna.
“Can I come in?”
“Yes, you can”
“Your room is nice. Do you do any other thing apart from reading?”
“No, I spend my time reading”
“You have provisions here; no wonder you don’t eat in the house”
I didn’t reply. I was wondering what she was looking for. She came to my wardrobe. She looked at my clothes. I was uncomfortable with her doing that.
“Emeka is taking very good care of you. You have more than enough provisions, see your lovely clothes; this room has transformed. You even have duvet”
“It’s not Emeka. The provisions, my bedsheet and duvet are from my family. Emeka gave me some of those clothes but most are from my auntie. He got the table, chair and dressing table”
“Your family? Which one? Your parents in the village?”
“Yes, and the ones in Enugu”
“Anyway, I came to ask you for a loan. Emeka must have settled you very well. I just need N1000 to tide me for the week”
“I am sorry I don’t have to spare”
“What do you mean by you don’t have to spare? I need your help. It’s a small money compared to the amount he gave you. You can’t spare me?”
I remembered the conversation I eavesdropped on. I knew she didn’t like me. Why would she be all nice suddenly and want to take money from me? I didn’t feel comfortable. I asked her to give me some time, I wanted to check what I had and revert. She left telling me she was waiting.
This situation needed a wiser person who understands human behavior and would think this through thoroughly for me. I know what Emeka’s response will be but I didn’t want to inform him yet. I called auntie Nneoma. When I shared with her what Ugonna requested, she initially said I should give her. But when I told her what I overheard, she said I shouldn’t.
“Don’t give her. She is a very stupid girl. O, they got a wife for their brother and because their brother decided on a good girl they are angry, they have not started being angry. Nonsense. Tell her you don’t have. Do not allow her come into your room again; what is she looking for?”
I waited for some time then I went out to meet her.
“How far?” she asked
“I went through my expenses for the week and what I have can only tide me for the week; there are no extras to give away and that amount is a big sum”
“But Emeka gave you money. What are you doing with the money? Why are you being stingy?”
I shook my head in pity and said to her, “I am sorry I can’t help. You can ask Emeka for help directly; he didn’t keep any money with me”
“What is your contribution to the house you are living in? You don’t do anything here. Contribute financially, you have refused. What kind of human being are you?”
“I didn’t want to stay here and inconvenience anyone but Emeka insisted. I am here because he wants me to be. He claims there is no issue with my being here but if there is, I will let him know. In respect to your request, I can’t be of assistance to you because I live by what I have and it is well planned. I avoid feeding here just because of what you said. I haven’t had a meal here since Emeka went back; I buy my food or eat my provisions. We can co-exist in peace; I sincere wish I could help but I can’t right now” when I finished talking, I walked to my room. I was tired; very tired.
Emeka and I began to discuss the traditional wedding plans. He finally agreed to push the wedding to June; after my exams in May. It would also be very convenient for him to stay at least a month with me. I had to get auntie Nneoma involved; mother didn’t mind at all. They agreed we shouldn’t be frivolous in spending. We talked often. Everything was going smoothly. Immediately exams started, I faced my studies. I studied night and day until it was over.
Jacinta never asked me anything concerning the traditional wedding even after Emeka confirmed to me he informed her. I packed everything I owned in the house when I was leaving; I didn’t leave anything behind. I told her I was leaving; it was as though I was talking to a brick wall. It was her husband who took me to the park and got me a vehicle to take me home. I went to Enugu to stay after the exams. Auntie Nneoma didn’t like the way I looked but I explained it was the exams.
“We have to get you to look better before Emeka comes” she replied.
I stayed two weeks in Enugu getting things set. Father and mother were in charge of the home front. As was customary, Emeka was to buy the attire my parents will wear on that day. His family had collected the list and my parents cancelled everything that was their rights. Emeka sent money to auntie Nneoma to buy everything. Mother came from the village to go shopping with auntie Nneoma. I relaxed at home. I didn’t need any stress.
When Emeka came back, he went straight to the village; he wanted to see me after I had become his wife. I felt it was fair enough. As a Catholic, I have issues with consummating the marriage with just traditional wedding. I wanted a white wedding and then we would consummate. It had bothered me for a while because Emeka claimed traditional wedding was the main wedding. I didn’t know what to believe. Chiamaka had become cold towards me; the answers to my questions always seem to be a bother. Ever since she took Kosi to Abuja, our relationship had been a bit strained. I loved her like a sister. She still visited my parents but I was a different case. I stopped confiding in her.
I spoke with auntie Nneoma about a problem bothering me. I asked her when should the marriage be consummated? She told be in all honesty,
“The marriage is supposed to be consummated after the traditional wedding because once he pays the dowry, you are already his. So, they consummate and try to avoid pregnancy until the church wedding is done. That’s why you see many pregnant women during church weddings. But some people consummate after the sacrament of holy matrimony”
“So, once a man pays your dowry, he takes you to his home. How do I manage Emeka? He will not allow me stay back with my parents”
“He won’t. We don’t need to know everything. Pray about it. But once he has paid the dowry, you are legally his wife. I must tell you the truth, I also didn’t wait for white wedding before we consummated ours. You are not alone”
I thought about it for so long. I knew Emeka would want to consummated and nothing I tell him will make him change his mind. We have never discussed it but I knew it.
The morning of the traditional wedding, auntie Nneoma and mother were all over the place. The caterers had started work. The young boys in our family came to mount the canopies. The decorator was busy trying to make the place beautiful. Ikenna, Obinna and Amanze were chilling the drinks. I was in the room with Chiamaka. She came from school for the wedding as her school was still in session. She was on her phone while I peeped at the women cooking. I was excited
but I also had my reservations. Some members of his family didn’t like me and I was worried his two sisters despised me. Emeka kept reassuring me.
My outfits were in mother’s room. I had just glanced at them. I was told I was going to change three times. A makeup artist was to come and prepare my face for the occasion. I didn’t know why I needed one but Emeka insisted. His friends came in from abroad too and other relatives. My father had invited other family members.
By 10am, the makeup artist arrived and started her work. Not long after, the wedding entourage arrived. I peeped at them through the window. I saw Emeka and he was full of smiles. He looked very happy. All my doubts evaporated; I loved this man.
They spent time in my father’s sitting room arguing over the list. My father had removed everything himself and my mother were entitled to and he told his family members. It was the things for the age grade, Umunna, Umuada and so on he provided. When it came to the dowry, father asked them to pay whatever they felt I was worth. They handed him a brown envelope. His family members smiled at it. My father smiled too. He turned to Emeka and asked, “How much is here?”
The family members cheered and were happy. Father asked Emeka to come to him. He did. Then he handed the envelope back to him and said, “This is a good sum. I expected you to ask me how much she was worth to me but I will answer you. My daughter is invaluable to me. I am giving her to you today because I believe you are the right man for her. From the day you saw, you did not relent in making her your wife. You have respected and helped her uphold her values; for this I am grateful. I haven’t collected anything from you. I owe you nothing should the marriage break which is what we don’t pray for. I haven’t collected any money for dowry or my share of the omenala. Remember this. I am not a rich but I am content. Akwaugo is my pride; there is nowhere she has been they don’t say good things about her. The only negative thing they can say is she has pride. This is because she would always uphold her values. Treasure her. Believe her; she’s an honest person. Love her and you will enjoy for the rest of your life. She’s like her
mother; she would listen and obey you if you give her good reason to. Remember that. My people, this is my son-in-law. Welcome him to the family”
Amanze sent the video to me while I was still making up. It touched my heart. I loved my father. he was wise. He always knew the right thing to say at the right time. When I confided in him about Jacinta and Ugonna, he said,
“All you need to is love and wisdom. It is only the devil it doesn’t work on. Use both. I agree with your husband, stay with his sister for this year. She is the one that would attest to your character when the time is right. She’s not happy her brother rejected her choice for him. She will grow on you as others have. At least her husband and children like you. These are the challenges in marriage. You need to assert your position where you step. Emeka is the first son and you are the wife of the first son. Your duty is to bring everyone together no matter what. You should be known as a vessel of peace. Pray always and God will guide you”
The makeup artist helped me get into my first outfit.it was a fitted long gown made with red velvet. I wore beads on my neck, on my wrist and on my waist. My braids were packed up and decorated with beads too. I went out to show my husband’s family the bride they came to marry. I went back in and came out in a cream coloured lace blouse and gold George wrapper. The three quarter hands of the blouse was see through while the v necked blouse was lined. This was when I went to find Emeka who was beaming. I smiled when I found him and knelt in front of him to offer him palm wine to let the world know he is the one. I was happy. He held me and we walked to our parents for their blessings. We both went to change after the prayers for us and I wore a pink lace blouse and wrapper. Emeka wore a very light pink senator to match my outfit.
The traditional wedding was a huge success. It was the talk of the village for a long time. I was grateful to auntie Nneoma and uncle Emma who took the financial responsibility of making it successful. I was happy. My family was very happy. His family was happy.
I saw Jacinta when she arrived in the company of a lady. Looking closely, the lady fitted the description Ugonna gave of Chisom. Ugonna, who arrived with the entourage went to sit with them. I was happy I allowed mother and auntie Nneoma
take care of things. I looked very beautiful in all my outfits and Emeka couldn’t stop whispering it to me.
All the money sprayed at the event were gathered together and given to Emeka. He rejected it and asked that it be left with my mother. My mother was scared of keeping such an amount in the house so she gave it to auntie Nneoma. They both went into the room with Chiamaka, Amanze and Ikenna to arrange and count the money. We got over N200,000 that day.
Emeka refused to leave unless I was leaving with him. My father told him I couldn’t go to his house unaccompanied. He asked Chiamaka to join us but she said she was going back to school the next day. Eventually, auntie Nneoma saved the day.
“Nda, your method is old school. Let her go with her in-laws. She will be with Emeka and you trust he will treat her well”
“They are not fully married”
“He has paid dowry; what remains? The rest are formality. Even the catholic church recognizes our traditional marriage. Just tell her not to get pregnant before the white wedding”
“I did not collect dowry for Akwaugo. I did not sell my daughter; I gave her out in marriage. The sacrament of holy matrimony should be adhered to strictly. He cannot know her until after they have received that sacrament”
“Are you going to tell him?” auntie Nneoma asked.
“No. But I believe his father should be able to tell him. She needs a chaperone”
“Will the person sleep in the same room with them? Will she stop them from doing what they desire? If it will ease your mind let me get Adaku to go with her. She is to be there for a week. The girl will come back after three days. Is that ok?”
She arranged for my cousin to go with me. I had packed my box for the week. I was scared of what might happen that night when I was alone with Emeka. Auntie Nneoma had told me what to expect but I was still very scared of the pain I would experience. I planned to postpone this aspect until after the church wedding. I believed if I talked to Emeka he would listen.
I joined him to go home with Adaku. He asked why she was going with us and I explained to him I had to go with a chaperone. He drove a little distance from our house, gave Adaku a packet of N50 mint and told her to hide somewhere for three days and then return home. I was shocked. She took the money gladly and abandoned me. We drove back to his village.
There was still merriment ongoing in the house. He showed me to his bedroom and left. I wanted to change so I entered the bathroom. It had a lock but I could see it had been removed. I quickly changed into a simple but elegant Ankara skirt and blouse. I let my hair down and wore a pair of slippers on my feet. I locked the room door and came out to join him. He came to my side immediately he sighted me. He held me by the hand and introduced me to his childhood friends who attended the wedding, his cousins, his uncles and aunties. Then he introduced me to Chisom. She was indeed beautiful and she was dressed to kill. Smiling, I greeted her.
“Do you know who she is?” Jacinta asked.
“Yes, I do. She is the lady Emeka intended to marry before he met me” I said still smiling. I knew my countenance had disarmed them. Probably they expected a showdown but I disappointed them.
Emeka locked his arm in mine and continued the introductions. There was music playing and they asked us to dance. I was courteous in my dancing. I wasn’t used to listening to music or dancing. Also, I was tired and hungry. Mother had packed food for me to eat. I had to excuse myself to eat.
I was in the room eating when I heard two ladies discussing by my window. I listened to the conversation positioning myself to hear what they were saying while I was eating.
“That other girl Emeka wanted to marry is more beautiful than the one he married but I am happy with his choice. That other girl is so snobbish and pretentious. You know she is friends with auntie Jacinta. She is just like her. When she stayed here, she did not do anything than to be servicing Emeka”
“But Jacinta is mad. Why would she bring that girl to the wedding? Was she planning to disrupt it?”
“Disrupt what? Emeka never proposed to Chisom; he has said it repeatedly. They were getting to know each other before he saw Akwaugo. He didn’t propose or promise her marriage. It was Jacinta that asked her to move into the house and be servicing Emeka so he will marry her”
“But Jacinta doesn’t like Emeka. Why that Chisom girl?”
“You don’t know Jacinta is a sadist. She enjoys when others suffer; it makes her happy. I experienced Chisom; she would have made Emeka very unhappy. And Jacinta would have liked it”
“Emeka has the best of lives out of all of them now. She wants to put an end to it. I know her game”
“And she has a willing pawn in Ugonna”
“Ugonna goes where the money is. She doesn’t know what she wants yet. She is now for Jacinta until they fight which will be very soon”
Someone was at the door so I moved away from the window quickly to answer the door. It was Emeka.
“Are you bored? Do you want to come out?” he asked.
“I am fine in here. Go and have fun”
“I will join you in thirty minutes. Just give me thirty minutes”
“Take your time; I am fine”
He kissed me and then left. I wasn’t interested in the kiss but the discussion I was listening to by the window. Unfortunately, they had left. Who were they? The people talking were very educated and couldn’t be servants. I went to take a shower after clearing where I ate. I changed into my nightie with my housecoat.
My phone rang and it was Chiamaka. “How is going? Sorry I couldn’t join you there”
I told her all that had transpired and what I heard at the window.
‘Where are you?”
“I am in his room”
“Where is he?”
“He is outside with his friends and cousins”
“Where is Chisom?”
“I don’t know”
“That’s where he is. Don’t worry, he won’t touch you tonight. He will spend the night with her and join you in the morning. Go to bed, don’t bother yourself. That’s men for you”
I was unhappy after our conversation. Was that what he was really going to do? Leave me to sleep in his room while he stays with Chisom. I was tempted to go looking for him but changed my mind and decided to hold my peace. If he didn’t come back then I will go back to my family tomorrow. I laid down to sleep. The split unit which was directly over my head cooled me to sleep.
I heard a heavy knock on the door and my name called repeated. It roused me from sleep. I asked who it was; it was Emeka, I opened the door for him as I checked the time. It was almost midnight.
“What happened? Did you fall asleep?” he asked.
“Yes, I did. I didn’t know you would come back”
“Why wouldn’t I come back; this is my bedroom”
I yawned and went to sit down. He smiled at me and began to take off his clothes in my presence. I was shy while he did that. I laid down on the bed and looked away. He went into the bathroom. He was there for some time and I guessed he was taking a bath. I turned on the television in order to distract myself. I could have gone back to sleep but I didn’t want to be taken unawares. It was better I was awake.
He came out of the bathroom wearing a pyjamas bottom and joined me on the bed.
“Have you eaten?” I asked.
“Yeah, I ate with the boys. We drank too”
He moved closer to me. “Take off your housecoat” he said.
“I am cold” I replied.
“The duvet and I will keep you warm”
“What’s the problem? You are so stiff. Talk to me baby” he replied as he turned me to face him.
“I don’t know if I’m ready. I would have loved to wait until the white wedding”
“Wait for what?”
“To have sex”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m saying we are supposed to have sex after the sacrament….”
“Baby, forget about that. I am not religious. I will wed you in the church because you want it. But that I have to wait until December will not work. It’s tonight”
“I am a virgin”
“Jacinta mentioned it. It doesn’t matter”
“Whether you are a virgin or not doesn’t matter to me. I love you that’s all that matters”
“You wouldn’t have rejected me if I was no more a virgin?”
“Why would I do that? What does virginity have to do with anything? Chisom wasn’t a virgin and I considered her”
“Did you have sex with her?”
“I won’t lie to you baby, yes I did”
“So, what I want to give you isn’t special?”
“You are special. It’s you, the total package I want. It is not about sex, I can have it anytime I want it but I want you; only you”
Emeka got me where he wanted me. He kissed me with so much passion that I couldn’t think anymore. He stopped and came down from the bed. “Take off your housecoat” he said to me while he went into his wardrobe to bring out something. I took off the house coat and had on just my long sleeveless side slit satin nightie. I dropped the housecoat on chair. When I turned to go back, Emeka was with me. He pulled me close to him. he kissed me again. He kissed my neck, my shoulder and back to my lips. The feeling I was having was sensational. He led me back to the bed and took off my nightie. I tried to struggle with him but he won. He did things to me I never thought possible. He gave me so much pleasure he had to increase the volume of the television so we would not be overheard. I was ashamed of my reaction that I covered my face with my palms. He removed them and smiled at me. He then said,
“Don’t ever be shy with me. If you want me, tell me and I make myself available. I’m all yours and you are all mine. Ok?” I nodded. He removed his pyjamas bottom and used the ointment he had kept on the bed on his manhood and then applied it into mine. I wondered what it was but that was not the time to ask questions. “It’s your first time and I want to make it as painless as possible for you. Just relax” he kissed me as he tried to break the hymen. He was very gentle with me and when he eventually did, I felt a sharp pain that made me cringe for a moment and that was. It was pleasure thereafter.
When it was all over, we went to the bathroom to clean up. We had to change the bedsheet as it was stained with both blood and the ointment he used. He made me lay in his arms. I felt safe. I felt loved. I closed my eyes and went through the all that happened. I smiled to myself. I was now a woman.
The next morning, it was a knock on the door that woke us up. we wondered who it was. We slept na.ked the night before. Emeka wore his pyjamas bottom and went to answer the door.
“How was your night?” was what I heard from the person on the other side.
“What do you want?”
“I am leaving. Just wanted to let you know. When do I see you?”
“Never. I am on honeymoon; you just interrupted us. Safe trip back to your base” and Emeka slammed the door in her face.
“Who was that” I asked.
“Chisom. She was just being mischievous. Why are you dressed?”
“Won’t people eat in the house today?”
“You are not doing that here. You are staying in bed with me. Food will be served here. There will be no going out. Are you in pain?”
“No. I am fine”
‘Did you enjoy yourself last night?” I became shy. “Didn’t I ask you not to be shy with me?”
“Feel free to ask me any question and tell me anything”
“I have a question; what was that ointment you used?”
“It is called a silicone lubricant. It was to get you really wet and slippery so the pain won’t be felt that much. It is not an ointment”
I had learnt something new. He dragged me be back to bed. We were at it until we were spent. There was another knock on the door. This time it was for our food. After eating, Emeka went to see his friends who were leaving that day. I picked up my phone for the first time all morning. I had missed calls. I called my parents back. They asked if I was fine which I affirmed to. We talked for awhile about the wedding and I thanked them again for everything. I tried to avoid them asking questions about my cousin.
Next, I called Chiamaka. She was excited to hear from me.
“So, what happened?”
“He came back. He spent the night with me”
“Did you guys do it?”
I was quiet for a while. I desperately wanted to share this experience with someone but the disappointing tone of her voice discouraged me from saying anything further.
“I asked if you both did it? Didn’t you hear my question?” she sounded angry. I cut the call. I wondered what made our relationship go sour. She had been acting up of late and sounding like doom awaited me. Hat was wrong with her? Was she jealous? Was she not genuinely happy for me?
I called auntie Nneoma. She was happy to hear from me. I told her what Emeka did about my chaperone and she laughed her off.
“I like my in-law, no time for nonsense”
“Honestly, I was shocked myself. You wont believe it auntie, Jacinta came with the girl she introduced to Emeka”
“I saw them. That girl doesn’t have sense. What did Emeka say?”
“He introduced us. Jacinta asked if I knew who she was and I told her who she was”
“She was surprised you knew her?”
“She was and I am happy I answered them calmly. I was even smiling”
“Exactly. Don’t allow them intimidate you. I hope your night was good”
“It was auntie”
“Thank God. All you need to learn, Emeka will teach you. You have to keep him happy in that regard, he should never look for spoils as long as he is in Nigeria”
“Ok auntie. I will try”
As I went off the phone with auntie Nneoma, Emeka came into the room. he pulled me to standing position and kissed me. Then he made it go deeper. Next thing, he was undressing me. I wondered if this was how it was. Were we to just make love all through the day? I was bored of just staying in the room and watching television. This was a welcome distraction.
We both fell asleep afterwards. We woke to lunch. I was not interested but Emeka said I might be later.
“My cousins are having another party; I want you to be there”
“What type of party?”
“Just us the cousins in the house drinking, eating peppersoup, nkwobi and peppered goat meat. The women have been told what to prepare”
“And I have been with you here? I should be with them”
“I don’t want that. You will not cook, you will only supervise”
‘What am I supervising? I make food myself”
“Until I get my own house, I don’t want you cooking here; you are not anyone’s slave”
I knew listening to Emeka will cause problem between his family and I. Already two of them didn’t like me.