“Of course not sugar. Listen to me.” I drew her close “Daddy
loves you really much. Don’t ever believe that he doesn’t love
“Okay aunt Jam Jam. I love you.” She hugged me.
“I love you too baby.”
“Mille let’s get out of here.” Niel barged in.
“Are you going now aunt Jam Jam?”
“Yes baby. I have to go now. I promise to come back
“Mille I said I want to leave.” He yelled again making Jane
flinch. I got up and followed him. I stopped at the door.”Bye
I walked quietly behind him and we entered the car. He
zoomed off almost immediately.
He drove on in silence. Once in a while, he would murmur silly
things but I played deaf. He drove me home. I took out my
things from the car and went in, I asked the security man to
help me carry some of the foodstuff to the store at the
I met daddy Liam as he was about going out.
“Good evening dad.”
“Hey sweetheart. Welcome back.”
Niel came inside “Good evening sir.”
“Yes my son. How are you?”
“Dad are you going out?”
He looked at me strangely before answering “Yes, I’m going to
the hospital but I have to pick Kara from school first.”
“I thought today is a public holiday.”
“Yeah, she needed to get something from her coursemate.”
“Oh okay. I’m going with you.”
“But…” Niel put in before I cut him off.
“I’ll see you later Niel. Thanks for all the fun we had today.” I
smiled sweetly at him but I was sure he got the message. He
couldn’t even smile back.
“Alright Mille , later as you said. Goodbye sir.” He left the
“Dad, we’re good to go.” I said but he didn’t move a muscle.
“Oh sure. We’re good to go but you better get ready to tell me
what exactly is wrong with both of you.”
I didn’t reply him. I just followed him to the car. As we drove
out of the compound, he brought up the topic again.
“Mille, don’t pretend like you didn’t hear what I said.”
“Dad, you’ve said over twenty things since I saw you in the
“Smart one there baby. I mean what I said about you and
“Nothing’s wrong daddy.”
“Save that for the gods Mille. I’ve seen how you both carry on
together from day one so you can’t tell me you both are okay.”
“Okay dad. We’re not okay and I don’t feel like talking about
“I understand baby but as usual, you know I stand for…”
“Forgiveness.” I completed for him.
“You know me so well.”
“Yeah yeah. I’ve lived with you for almost five years dad and
I’m so grateful that you treated me as one of your own.”
“I wish I could do more for you child. You’re my daughter and
I love you more than you can imagine.”
“I love you too daddy.”
“Promise me you’ll answer Niel’s calls.”
“Yeah I will but not now.”
He laughed “You guys better make up, you know your
introduction ceremony is this weekend. Let me call Kara to
“Alright dad.” I plugged my earpiece into my ears to calm my
nerves with music. Kara entered the car some minutes later.
We said our hello’s before I returned to my music world.
We got to the hospital and I ended up spending the night there
with Tristan when he wouldn’t stop crying each time I tried to
leave. Kara and I left his side the next day when mum came to
stay with him. Kara had classes to attend. On our way out, we
met a doctor. Kara and the doctor shared a hug and she
introduced me to him. They had a short conversation before
we left the hospital.
“He’s quite young, I mean the doctor.” I started a conversation
as we boarded a cab home.
“Yeah he is and very nice too. Tristan adores him.”
“Mille, what’s that supposed to mean? Of course, he’s my
son’s doctor and I’m grateful to him for saving my son’s life.”
“Uhn uhn, she’s getting defensive. Experts say that’s…”
“Mille,you’re still the same silly girl I’ve always known. Leave
me jare with the doctor.”
“I won’t leave you oh until you tell me what I want to hear.” I
smiled sheepishly at her and she laughed.
“Okay, okay, I may like him just a little bit.”
“I knew it.” I exclaimed triumphantly.
“Shh, nobody must know about it.”
“You can count on me sis.”
“I know and that’s why I want to tell you something else.”
“I don’t understand what I’m feeling at all for Eric. Sometimes,
I feel for him like everyone else does and sometimes, I just
feel like making him suffer.”
“And that’s why you’ve been attacking him all round.”
“Yes. I want to hate him but I can’t hate him totally. In fact,
I’m confused. One minute, I feel like I should murder him and
another minute, I feel like hugging him and telling him
everything would be alright. I’m so lost and confused Mille and
I can’t think of anyone that will understand me except you.”
“I know that feeling Kara, honestly I do. Have you tried
“I pray but not about this. I only remember to pray for Tristan
to be able to walk again. Maybe, after I’m sure he’s okay, I’ll
be able to calm down and pray for myself.”
“I know you care about Tristan a lot but you should also make
time out for your own session with God.”
“You’re right Mille. Thank you.”
“Anything for my big sis. So how have you been able to cope
with Tristan in the hospital and school?”
“I won’t lie to you that it has been easy because it hasn’t been.
During the day, mum stays with him while I’m at school. When
I’m done with lectures, I go back home to freshen up and I
spend the night with him while mum goes home to rest. It’s
kind of like a morning shift and night shift arrangement.”
“Eya. I’m sure he’ll be okay soon enough.” We had reached
home so she paid the can and we headed inside.
I saw Niel’s car inside the compound and I rolled my eyes.
“You’ll pretend like you didn’t hear me now oh.” Kara brought
me back to reality.
“Sorry, I didn’t actually hear you.”
“I said I wish I get someone as good as your Niel. He has
already come to see you this morning. He’s really romantic.”
I smiled. “ Kara, I know your husband will be a million times
better than him.” I said just as I entered the living room. Good
“Good morning Jathniel.”
“You’re back.Good morning ladies. How was your night?”
“Splendid. Mille where are you going?” Kara asked.
“I need to shower before I pursue my heartbeat.” I smiled at
him from the stairs. “I’ll be right back darling.”
“Alright I’m waiting.” He said and I went to my room. I made
sure I wasted enough time in the bathroom.
“Mille, did you sleep in mud?” Kara asked as she banged on
the bathroom door.
“Time to step out.” I said to my reflection in the mirror.
“Kara what is it?” I said as I came out of the bathroom with my
towel wrapped securely around me.
“I was scared. You’ve never wasted time in the bathroom
since I knew you.”
“I just formed the habit today so relax buttercup.” I picked up
my lotion from the dresser.
“Is there something wrong with you and Jathniel?”
“Of course not. I just wanted to be really nice and clean for
“If you say so then.” She looked at me skeptically. “I’m leaving
for school. I’ll see you later.”
“Alright darling. Have a lovely day.” I pecked her on both
“Sure, bye.” She left the room while I continued with my
Kara came down the stairs with a handbag.
“Jathniel, Mille is coming down soon. I’ll be leaving for school.
See you later.”
“Alright. Did you meet my dad when you arrived?”
“Yeah. I came in just as he was going out,”
“Okay. Bye then.” She dashed out.
I knew she was acting this whole drama because of what
happened yesterday. I had a lot of explaining to do. I could
only hope that she would believe me. I should have just
allowed my anger to subside before I went to meet her.
“Great God! Just help me.” I bowed my head.
“If you want to run crazy, you shouldn’t start from here. There
are enough streets in Uyo to start.”
I raised my head to see her at the foot of the stairs. She was
barefooted, that was probably why I didn’t hear her descend
the stairs. She was wearing a yellow chiffon gown. I still
couldn’t understand why she was so much in love with gow
“Stop staring Niel. You care for a drink?”
“I’m fine, thank you.”
“Alright, excuse me for a minute.” She walked to the kitchen.
Mille had always been a slim lady. I guess her body size made
her feel insecure sometimes. I vividly remember the times
when she would lament about her small body. She had the
height and I loved that but it took her a while to believe that I
was okay with her being slim. The slimness was inherited from
her mother. I remember thinking that Aunt Kimberly didn’t give
birth to the the twins because she didn’t increase so much
after childbirth like normal mothers I had always seen.
“And now you’re smiling.” She reemerged from the kitchen
with a glass of orange juice in her hand. She sat on the sofa
“I’m smiling because of you Mille.”
“Cut the crap Niel.”
“Baby, I’m sorry.”
“For what exactly? Embarrassing me in front of a child or
yelling at me?
“Both. I’m sorry Mille. Please forgive me.”
She dropped the glass cup on the centre table. “No Niel,you’re
“This isn’t the first time you’re venting out your anger on me
when I’m completely not at fault or anything of the sort and
each time you always say you’re sorry but guess what, you
always do it again and again. You enjoy letting your temper get
the best of you. I’m sorry but I’m tired.”
“Mille, it isn’t like that. I just got really crazy and I needed to
leave the house but I couldn’t leave you there.”
“I see and so you resorted to shouting at me when I had
nothing to do with your anger.”
We were both on our feet already.
“Mille haven’t you heard all I’ve been telling you? It wasn’t my
fault. I’m sorry it even happened.”
“It was who’s fault? All I’m trying to stress is that you should
learn not to transfer your aggression on someone else. If I
forgive you quickly like other times, you’ll do it again.”
“Well, you started it all. I told you I didn’t want to go inside
while they were arguing but you forced me too.”
“Wait, wait, I can’t believe this. You’re blaming me for
“No, I’m not.”
“Then what are you doing Niel? I know Elliot may have started
the whole thing but I expected you not to engage him in a
quarrel as a gentleman.”
“So you expected me to stand there like a banana tree while
Elliot insulted me?”
“If it meant standing like a banana tree, yes. You should have
simply ignored his silly comments.”
“If I ignored him, he would have insulted me again some other
“No, if you ignored him, you wouldn’t have had to disrespect
the presence of your mother and yell at me and we wouldn’t
be here arguing when we should be planning our future
I went back to my seat. Mille was right but she didn’t
understand that I couldn’t help it. Elliot really got on my
nerves. How could he dare to call me mum’s favourite child
when he took all the love that was supposed to be shared
“Mille. Like I said earlier,I’m sorry for yelling at you.”
“There’s no need. You’ll still do it again.”
“Is that what you think of me?”
“Let’s not go there. I think our minds need rest Niel. Maybe the
stress is getting to us.”
“Maybe. I’m going to the office .”
“Office? Why don’t you go home and distract yourself with
“Right now, the best distraction for me is work.”
“I guess I’ll see you later then.”
I left the house without another glance at her.
Mum took Jane to see a movie so it was the perfect time to
leave. I was sick and tired of staying in the house. I had to go
to Lagos before mum would drive me crazy. I planned to be at
Niel’s introduction ceremony but I had messed things up. I’m
sure he would have my head on a dinner plate if he caught
sight of me there. Travelling was undoubtedly the best option
for me at the moment.
“Well, that turned out half sour.” I said to myself after Niel left.
I called my dad to find out if he was home. He confirmed he
was so I took a cab over to the house. We had to talk about
how Saturday would look like.
For the rest of the week, my life revolved around the
hospital,market, and home. Jathniel and I spoke everyday but
our conversations were so rigid. I was scared for us but as
usual, I didn’t show it. I just hoped that after the introduction,
we would find a way to sort ourselves out. By Friday, Jason
and Rachel were back home. It felt like they were the perfect
relief from the stress I was going through.We slept late that
night. The next day brought so much anxiety.
I left for dad’s house with Rachel and Jason. Mum and daddy
Liam came much later with some relatives. The ceremony was
set to begin by 1pm so when the clock struck 3pm and Niel
and his family were nowhere to be found,I knew there was fire
on the mountain. I was all dressed up in my nicely sewed
“Rachel please turn on the air conditioner.” I said
“Mille calm down.” Jason said.
“It’s easy for you to say because it’s not you whose fiancé has
“Baby.” Mum called as she entered the room. “ I need you to
take it easy. I’m sure they’ll be here soon.”
“I hope so. I can’t get stranded by my in-laws like this. Thank
God I didn’t invite many relatives. I would have been laughed
“Nobody’s going to laugh at my daughter.”
“I hope Niel is alright. No one’s phone is going through. What
kind of thing is this mum?”
“Mille, don’t get so worked up. Maybe Niel is planning a
wonderful surprise for you.” Rachel said.
“Niel doesn’t like surprises Rachel.” I almost yelled.
So and so, the encouragements went on till it was 5:30pm.
“Mum, I’m going crazy. It’s almost 6pm mum. Jason has gone
to their house and there’s not a soul there. What could have
happened to my Niel?”
I was pacing all around the room. My eyes were already red
from crying. Jason and Rachel couldn’t even talk anymore.
They just stared at me pitifully as I was walking up and down.
Esther called but I couldn’t even talk to her. Gloria and Kara
called too. I rushed to pick Gloria’s call thinking she knew their
whereabouts but my hopes were dashed when she asked if
Niel was with me.
My legs told me it was time to sit. My mind was running fast
and my head was spinning.
“God please just save me from all these. I need help from
above right now.” I silently prayed.
All of a sudden, Jason flew to the window side.
“Jay cut it out. You’re making her nervous.” Rachel cautioned.
“They’re here.” He announced.
I stood up immediately. “If you’re toying with my brain, I
promise you that I’ll finish you with my bare hands Jason
“Come see for yourself.”
I moved quickly to the window side. I saw Aunt Charis holding
Jane and I saw some of Niel’s relatives but I didn’t see Niel
and there was no car parked in the compound apart from the
ones parked previously.
“Where’s Niel? Why aren’t they with him?” I ran out of the
room only to collide with Niel as I was about descending the
“Baby I’m sorry. I…’
“Is it really you?” He was a stair below me so I reached to
touch his face. In the process, I slipped. He tried to catch me
but I had already hit my head on the railing.”
I used to think that when people said they saw stars, it was a
joke but I could testify to it too immediately I hit my head. I
didn’t just see stars. I saw a group of dancing butterflies of
different colours. I felt someone lift me off the floor. A
banging headache announced its arrival immediately. I could
hear them calling my name but the ability to respond wasn’t
“Mille,I’m sorry. Please just open your eyes.” Niel tapped my
cheeks repeatedly. I raised my hand, beckoning him to stop
when my cheeks were beginning to share in the fire that had
caught my brain.
“Jathniel just let her be. She hit her head hard.” I heard dad
say before I felt something terrilbly cold and yet soothing on
“How long will she remain like this?” Niel asked.
“Not for a minute longer.” I said in a near-whisper.
“Mille!” Everyone seemed to exclaim at once.
“Less noise people. I think it’s best we lessen the crowd here
too.” Dad announced.
I heard them move out of the room one after the other. I
opened my eyes slowly to check who was left in the room. I
saw only Niel, mum and my father, of course he was the only
“Baby, don’t you ever scare mummy like that again. What
happened? You left the room so fast and before I could catch
up with you, you fell.” She touched my face.
“Sorry mum. It happened so fast after I saw Niel.”I tried to get
up but dad’s disapproving look stopped me. He removed the
ice pack from my head for a while, examined it and placed it
“Please don’t tell me it’s swollen.”
“It’s not bad Jamille.” He tried to encourage me but I knew my
head probably looked like Olumo rock already.
“Niel what happened?” I turned to him.
“I’m really sorry for this Mille, Uncle Brian and aunt Liz.”
My head did a backflip.” Was he gonna say we can’t
“The thing is I went to the village yesterday with my mum and
Jane to do some things. On our way back, we decided to take
a shorter route. Since it rained yesterday, the road was beyond
horrible and the car got stuck. As if that wasn’t enough, we got
robbed right there along with some other persons. It took so
many hours before we could successfully get the car unstuck
and tow it to Uyo. That’s just the summary of what
happened.I’m so sorry I came here this late. I also had to
shower and carry another car.”
“I’m so sorry Niel. I was so worried baby.” I held his hand.
“We’re so sorry for you Jathniel. I think we should postpone
the introduction.” Mum said.
“No ma. We have to do it today as soon as Mille is strong
“I think I’m strong enough mum.”
“Now she’ll be strong oh because it has to do with marriage.
Okay then, we’ll just make it very short so we can finish before
“Yes mum.” I got up slowly from the bed. Niel tried to help me
but I told him I was fine on my own. A quick glance at the
mirror showed how swollen the side of my head was.
“Will you still be able to tie your head gear?” Mum asked.
“No. Please let Rachel come in and style the hair for me.” I sat
on the stool before the dressing mirror.
“I’ll go get her.” Mum said.
“And let her get a glass of water so Mille can take her
“Okay.” Mum left the room.
“I’m so sorry my love.” Niel apologized for the hundredth time
as he watched me examine my head in the mirror
“Mille, hold the pills. Let me give you both some space.” Dad
gave me the pills and stepped out.
“Baby, it’s okay. It wasn’t your fault. I understand that.”
“It’s not just that. I know we haven’t really been cool with each
“Mille are you alright now?” Rachel came in with my glass of
water closely followed by mum.
“Yeah I am. I just want you to style my hair to cover this
“Alright ma’am. Take your drugs first.” I obeyed.
“Why are you all looking at me like that?” I asked when I
noticed they’d been watching me the whole time.
“Nothing.” Niel replied.
“Are you sure you’re okay Mille?” Mum asked.
“Yes I am. Rachel I’m ready.”I dropped the glass cup and she
came to style my hair. She was really good in all matters
concerning the hair.
“Should I wait for you here?” Niel asked.
“I should even tie our hands together so I don’t have to cry
“I’m so so sorry darling. It won’t happen again. You know I
love you so much.” He cupped my face in his hands.
“Oya, lover people abeg help me to help you. Let madam keep
head for me to work, time has gone.”
“Rachel don’t be jealous of my wife and I.” Niel replied and
She succeeded in covering my swollen head. It was finally
time for the ceremony to begin. Niel went to the living room
first and I followed after. I was just praying quietly for them to
skip some of the procedure. I was busy scanning all the faces
in the room. Elliot was absent and I wondered why. Thankfully,
dad made the ceremony brief. They didn’t bug us with too
many questions so we were done within an hour. We
proceeded with pictures and the never ending wishes of family
“Are you going back to aunt Liz’s?” Niel pulled me to a corner
“I’ll stay here for the night. I’ll return to mum’s place
tomorrow. Where’s Elliot?”
“Mille, don’t you think this night is too blessed to be ruined by
“Niel, that’s not the answer I want.”
“Fine. He vanished into thin air. We don’t know where he is.”
“What do you mean he vanished?”
“We haven’t seen him after the day we quarreled.”
“Have you tried looking for him?”
“Mille,he’s an adult”
“Alright love. I’m sorry. I think you should get going with mum
and the rest.”
“Yeah we should. We’ll talk later doll.” We walked to the living
“I love you.”
“I love you too my angel.”
“Jathniel, we should be leaving now.” Aunt Charis announced.
“Mille baby, sorry I have only few months to kidnap him like
“It’s okay aunt. You’re free.”
“She’s sleeping in your room.”
“I’ll go get her for you.” I offered. I met her sleeping soundly
on the bed. She looked just as beautiful as Natasha. Tears
threatened to leave the gates of my eyes but I reminded
myself of what I came to do.
I picked her up from the bed ever so gently and took her out
to meet them in the car. I placed her in Aunt Charis’ arms.
“Thank you Mille. You’ll make a wonderful mother.”
“Yes she will.” Niel replied from the driver’s seat.
“Good night aunt and Niel, you know where we’ll say our own
He nodded and I closed the car door.
Jason, Rachel, mum and daddy Liam went back home. The
few relatives that attended the ceremony lived in Uyo too so
they left for their houses. I had a long talk with dad and I
could confidently say we were okay. I also talked with Niel for
a while before retiring to bed in my old room. It brought back
lots of memories of mum. Shedding some tears seemed to
make my burden lighter.I was sure that she was resting in
The next day,being Sunday, I had to divide my time between
Niel and Tristan after service. My flight was booked for 7pm
so I spent the first few hours with Tristan in the hospital then
Niel took me out for lunch before we left for the airport.
“I wish you didn’t have to go back to Lagos this soon.”
“Yeah, me too hon but it’s just remaining three months of
“And when you’re back, you’ll be Mrs. Jathniel.”
“Yes, I can already feel the moment when I’ll walk down the
aisle to meet you waiting for me with a smile like this.”I used
my fingers to extend his lips into a wide smile.
“Yeah. I can feel it too but I hope the stress of mixing wedding
plans and work is not too much.”
“I’m not complaining Niel. I can’t wait to be your wife. The
stress isn’t too much since we’re just going to do a simple in-
house traditional marriage and I have more than enough
people to help out.”
“Okay then. I’ll miss you plenty.”
My flight was announced. “I’ll miss you too love. I’ll be in Uyo
in a month’s time. I have to be moving in and out of Uyo for
the remaining three months.”
“Yeah. Call me as soon as you land okay?”
“Sure I will. Bye.” I was waving with one hand but still holding
on to him with the other.
“Mille, don’t let people start laughing at you.” He smiled at me.
“Oh yeah but it’s their business. I love you my love.” I finally let
go of his hand.
And so, I headed back to Lagos. I spent the remaining months
of service shuttling between Uyo and Lagos.
Tristan was able to walk again so he was discharged and Eric
too. I was really happy that Kara’s life was taking shape again.
None of s had any idea of what her relationship life lookedlike
and we didn’t bother her. She needed all the happiness she
could get in the world.
My new source of worry became Elliot. He had disappeared
ever since before my introduction ceremony and no one knew
his whereabouts. I wasn’t even sure he would come to the
wedding. Niel believed there was no cause for alarm since he
was an adult. The one who was the most affected was Aunt
Charis. I could only imagine what the poor woman was going
through. Despite all that, she still gave me her full help and
support in all the wedding preparations.
Everyone else was doing alright . I felt like I could say my life
was perfect but I let it remain as a thought. I didn’t want thing
to turn around for the worst. It was best for me to enjoy the
goodness of life while it was readily available.
To Be Continued