Obiechina Rossi Onyeka
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Two neighbouring communities, Iso-Bendeghe and Boje had enjoyed a long-lasting feud for years, till the two wives of the clan heads had to make a marriage deal which they believe will bring an end to the long-lasting feud. Njuare the spoilt City girl will have to marry Akan the village farm boy, this was an arrangement that never went well from the unset with both betrothals. Since no one knows Njuare in the village, she planned to go to the village pretending to be a maid in the house of Akan, her goal was to ascertain the true personality of her supposed affiance, she will have to leave the village and also never return to her mother who initiated the marriage if she finds out that he was not the kind of man she wished to spend eternity with. But she only got more than she bargained for as the Village farm boy turned out to be all she dreamt of.
Chapter 1 Pilot
In a luxurious dining room were two beautiful ladies who sat facing each other at the opposite ends of the dining table where they were supposed to be having their dinner. Both ladies were worried about something as they both sat looking frustrated, trying to transmit their aggression to the defenceless rice which they rigorously mixed in a ceramic plate which sat on an expensively looking dining table made of marbles. The two ladies barely tasted the food before them, they both seem to have something to say, but yet, they remained silent, waiting on who will air out the first word. The two ladies shared an immense resemblance, no distrust about them being mother and child as one appeared to double the age of the other, while the younger one seemed like what will be called "the before" of the older one. These ladies had identical brown eyes, pointy noses, and puffy lips. The younger lady who appeared to be in her early twenties was tall, slim, light-skinned, and had very long hair that rested on her shoulders like the thick mane of a well-groomed lion. She was simply the definition of a supermodel.
"Mom, must I go to the village?"
Suddenly, the younger lady broke the silence. She spoke with so much anger registered in her voice, she was clearly unhappy with her mother, and she took some jabs at the plate with her fork.
"Common Nicole, you know you have to, we have discussed this severally, you have to do this for our family's sake, and the sake of your community. Plus, you will also get to meet with your father and brothers."
The Older lady said. She spoke in the politest of manner. She tried to make her daughter see the reasons why she had to go to the village, but the poor girl obviously will not like to.
"But why me Mom? Why must it be me? Why must I be the sacrificial lamb? Why me? Why should my destiny, my life be traded for the settlement of some feud I know nothing about? And... Mom, I've told you... I don't want to see that man, I don't want to see Dad, why will I want to see him? When he doesn't even care about my existence."
Nicole blurted. Nicole used to be her daddy's girl until she stopped being a fan of him. She might not know when her father and mom were together, but she knew that she loves him severely, and she also used to think that he loved her back until "she realized his real self". Now Nicole felt only hatred for her father, she believed that he did not care about them, so, what was the need to love him?
"Who said he doesn't care? He does, your father loves you, and James loves you greatly."
Said, her mom, when she spoke she did it with loads of care, she made that sympathetic face that turns Nicole off, she never understand why her mother will always speak well of the man who obviously had no feelings for her.
"Common mom, when will you stop defending him? He abandoned us, mom, yes he did. Yes, I admit that he used to visit, but that was twelve years ago, the last time I saw his face, I was ten. I am twenty-two years old now mom, twenty-two!" She said raising her two fingers to identify the number, and tears ran down her shining cheeks through her lips then to her jaw.
"NJ. You won't understand, you just can't, this is bigger than you."
Her mom said with sympathy written all over her face, Nicole's mother had always wanted Nicole to see her father as a hero, but she knew not the right way to communicate that to her. She most time prefers to call herself NJ, the acronym for Nicole Jame.
"What is it not to understand mom? No, tell me, what is there not to understand? Do you know what I don't understand? It's you, mom, it's you sitting here and defending the same man who abandoned you and your daughter to die, who never cared to text not to say call. Have you ever sat to think, maybe he had forgotten about our existence, Mom, live with the truth, he doesn't love you anymore, he probably never did love you, if he did, he will be here, with us! Who knows, maybe he has married already."
Once again Nicole blurted, but this time she slightly crossed the line. NJ's Mom Clara was disappointed and irritated by Njuare's comment and she reacted with anger and frustration by attacking her daughter with words.
"At least I know my part as a mother and as a wife, I play my roles, and I make selfless sacrifices to make sure my family never falls apart, unlike you!"
Clara said as droplets of tears dripped from her eyes.
"Oh! play part? Seriously, mom, what is my role here? To get married to one village farm boy? A Sunderland boy!"
Nicole said feeling disgusted with the idea
"Not Sunderland! It's Rossville"
Clara quickly corrected. Almost often Clara corrected Nicole about the name of the place which was literally her place of origin, Nicole was a lady that hardly forget things but often forget the name of her place.
"All the same, poteto-potato. Even worse! You want me to marry those beastly wicked people so that I will end up like you? Lonely, bitter, and sad?"
Nicole said too quickly, airing out words that should have passed through some level of scrutiny. the words came out so quickly from her lips without consideration of the damage that they will cause her mom. As she said these words, it was almost as if Clara saw something irritating as goosebumps appeared all over her body, she sat there on her chair staring at her daughter with intense disappointment. She had always known that her daughter was not composed with words that well, but she was never expecting that a day will come when her own daughter will call her lonely and bitter, these words ran deep into her soul stinging the only light-like thing in it.
When Nicole realized her action, she felt sober, but she was also disappointed in herself, she knew that her words must have hurt her mom badly, and she thought of what to do, and how to do it, but she found no result in her search
"I am sorry mom, I... I never meant..."
"Hold it, Nicole... Hmm... Get your bags ready... By this time tomorrow, you should be on the road leading to Parkville. And we are not discussing this anymore."
Clara said as she exits the dining room with tears gushing down her eyes.
In a well-decorated bedroom was Nicole, she lay in her bed which was wrapped in a blue and pink bedspread. The room was painted pink and blue in a very fashionable way, no doubt her best colours were pink and blue as almost everything in her room was of these two colours. Nicole was lying with her face upward, she had her eyes on her pink-coloured ceiling fan which hung high and rolled on the blue ceiling. She lay there with her legs crossed and shaky, she had this mixed expression on her face an expression that looked like a cocktail of sadness and joy.
"Madam NJ. Madam said I should come and help you pack." A young lady also in her Twenties said, she spoke in a funny Efik accent. She stood at the widely open door waiting for permission to advance inside. From her outfit and countenance, it can be deduced that she was a maid in the house. The sudden comment from the lady startled Nicole who was already lost in thought, and it immediately dragged her back from her land of imagination.
"Oh Ini, it is you, pls come in I need you now."
Nicole quickly invited her in. Right now Nicole looked like someone in desperate need of company. Ini was the short call for Inirose, she was one of the maids of the house, and also Nicole's favourite. Nicole had always wanted her relationship with Inirose to be a bit more than that of staff and boos, she would rather prefer if they would perceive each other as friends, but Ini's professionalism towards her job made that almost impossible. Though Ini also enjoyed the company of Nicole, she still will not like Mrs Clara to come and notice her daughter and herself in any way that might suggest her not taking her job seriously. Poor Ini, she had been returned to the agency twice already by her former bosses who treated her wrongly, so, she was being careful so that it might not repeat the third time.
"Ini dear, you may sit."
Nicole added as Ini stood looking at her with her hands crossed behind her and resting on her massive bum. Ini was this plumpy-looking lady, she was relatively short dark-skinned and pretty, and she was also smart, but she has a funny way of speaking. She finally sat at the space made for her by Nicole, Nicole quickly stood up and locked the door which was also in blue with a pink write-up that read 'KNOCK!! NJ's PRIVACY' in bold and capital letters.
"Madam said I will be going with you, she believes my presence with you will bring more comfort to you over there."
"Just listen to the way said it, like you are not bothered about it. Like you don't truly mind going. Don't get me wrong Ini, If I must go that that evil forest, I will rather we go together, but I know that it is me being selfish, it is me punishing you because I am being punished. So I really see no reason why you will act like you have no issue with it. "
"What do you expect I do?" Ini asked.
"Well... A little hesitation, but I must confess that I'm happy to know you are going with me." Said Nicole with some obvious traces o happiness.
"But Ini, do you think mom is being fair? Marrying me to a village farm boy, and you know I'm in love with Kenneth."
"What do you mean by her being fair? Did she say that you must marry the man? Sorry, but I thought I overheard madam clarifying to you that she never said you must marry him, and I also heard her telling you the other day that you and the boy will only have to court first, if it didn't work out then you won't have to marry him, plus you will also get the chance to meet with your brothers, you know you have always fantasized about meeting them again, it has been long since you last saw them, or am I wrong? So you see, it is a win-win for you. I don't think it's as bad as you magnify it madam NJ."
Ini said in very clear language, making Nicole see that she does not have to see the arrangement as a death sentence.
"Yeah... My brothers John and Asama, the thought of seeing them again brings me great joy, I just can't wait to see them again. But on the other hand, Ini, seeing them also means seeing Dad, you know how I feel about that man."
Said Nicole who started with a smile but ended in sadness, the thought of her father often ruins her mood. Her hatred for him was a twist or turnaround of the love that she once had for him. She had often pictured him as her hero. There was a time when he used to visit them, he made a lot of promises to her, telling her how he planned to reunite the family, but all of a sudden, he left and never returned, the last time she saw him in person was twelve years past, she was ten years old then.
"And who even told you it's going to be that easy? You are listening to mom's way of marketing me to that village, And in case you don't know, my marrying that village son of a farmer Calvin is a sealed deal. Someone I've never met, not even a picture of him have I seen. Who knows how he looks, he might be one dirty smelly bleached-skinned he-goat who can't even shave his armpits."
Nicole said looking even sadder and depressed.
"Aha, talking about pictures, why not look him up on Facebook? Everyone is on Facebook now."
"You think I haven't tried? After a long search for him with mom like some obsessed folks, we finally found one account that mom believed was his, babe, this guy has not been online since 2014 after he created the account and not even a pic of him was uploaded, just a pic of a little horse with a broken limb and a large cocoa farm, mom was convinced that the account was his because his parents love pets and that they are cocoa farmers. Can you imagine?"
"Hmm... That's serious, a horse for a pet, the one with a broken limb."
"Now you have seen my predicament, a man who is not on social media in this era, how more local can he be?"
"I keep wondering why mom would accede to such an archaic thing. Betrothal! In this century? After all her education and exposure? I'm so disappointed. I swear, she just did not behave like a literate woman. I swear!"
Nicole expressed her feelings to her friendly maid. Where are the things you will be travelling with? Let's start the packing, I'm already done with mine."
Ini said, trying to change the topic of the discussion which was already taking an unhealthy path, and she really will not like to involve herself with the things of Mrs Clara.
"Leave that packing of a thing it's going to be a night journey, so mom said, so we still have tomorrow to pack, you and I will soon become village girls, hahaha!"
Nicole teased Ini hilariously