Journey to the Aisle Ep 15

Love gone sour.. Things are not pleasant in paradise. Enjoy this episode.

Episode fifteen
Deborah folded the last of the clothes she had washed that morning. It was a good thing all the clothes had dried before the rain came down. The cloudy sky mirrored her feelings. The gloom she felt enveloped like wet clothes on a rainy day. She could no longer deny Preye’s negative change in attitude. From the moment baby Rejoice was born, he had withdrawn from her and their baby girl. In the seven months of her existence, he had only been around a couple of months. In fact, that day made it the third month since she last saw him. His calls were also infrequent; neither did he answer her calls. Even his generosity had taken a nosedive. She had to manage the little she got from her small scale business. How else would she had survived one month to the other without financial support from Preye?
She shook her head sadly. His change of attitude was worrisome. He wasn’t even talking about their marriage rites anymore. Each time she brought it up, he had a thousand and one reasons why they should put it on hold. How long would she wait for him to do the right thing? How long would she prove to her parents that she knew what she was doing?
She sighed. She took the folded clothes and placed them in Rejoice’s drawer, then she checked on the sleeping baby. She stood for a while watching her beautiful daughter. The rush of love she felt when she first held her baby in her arms softened her heart towards her parents. Right there at the hospital she understood her parents’ position. They only wanted what was best for her. That understanding came from the strong feeling she had to protect her own child from harm and give her the best of everything. She was certain no true parent would want his or her child to fall into trouble. This realization led her to her parents’ house three days after the birth of Rejoice. She couldn’t name her child without her parents’ blessings. The urge to make amends was strong. Nyenbi, her ever dependable friend, had gone with her to beg for her parents’ forgiveness. Preye had opted out of the arrangement with a business meeting in Benin as an excuse.
She could still see the sorrow in her parents’ eyes. They hadn’t condemned her. They welcomed her like the prodigal she was, and rejoiced at the safe arrival of their first grandchild. They were however saddened by all that had led to that moment. Her father had immediately named the baby Rejoice. They ended the emotional reunion with a strong advice to her: Preye must do the right thing. She left the house with so much hope. Her mother had even come to spend a few weeks with her. All the while Preye was absent. He didn’t even bother to call on the day of his baby’s christening. Her mother’s suspicions had grown with each passing day but she never voiced her observation. She accepted Debbie’s excuses without questions. It was obvious to both of them that something was really wrong with Preye.
Months after, she was still trying to find out what led to Preye’s sudden change. How could he not be overwhelmed with love and care for his first child?
She sat on the bed and picked up her phone; with a click she dialed his number. It rang severally and went unanswered. She tried again but was told the number was switched off.
“Preye! Preye! This was not the way we planned it from the start. Why are you treating your child and me like this? If I had done something wrong, at least you will tell me so I can apologize. Don’t turn me into a laughing stock. Oh God, help me!” She wept softly. “Where do I go to from here? Who will help me after all these?”
Her shoulders hunched low, she wept into her palms. Her heart burned with a deep hurt. Just yesterday, her father had asked her about the plans for her marriage rites. She promised to get back to him within the week. What would she tell him now that Preye was totally incommunicado? She needed someone to share her burdens with, and the closest person was her friend Nyenbi. She quickly dialed her number. She answered on the second ring.
“What’s up, Debbie?” She called pleasantly.
“Nyenbi, how far? Are you still at the market or at home?” Debbie asked.
“At home, why?”
“I need to talk to you.” Debbie told her, trying not to sound desperate.
“Okay. Let me just finish cooking, I’ll come over to your place.” She replied.
“No. No.” Debbie interjected quickly. “I’ll come over. I need to leave the house.”
Nyenbi didn’t sound enthusiastic about that. “What about Rejoice?” She asked.
“She’s sleeping. I’ll be with you soon.’’
“Alright then. See you.”
Debbie ended the call and quickly dressed up. She carefully carried Rejoice without disturbing her sleep and gently placed her on her back. She threw a few things into her bag and then she left the house. She stopped a bike and directed the rider to Nyenbi’s house.
Nyenbi had just dropped her pot of rice from the cooker when Debbie arrived. She hugged her.
“Debbie, welcome. Come and sit down.”
Debbie took one of the two chairs in Nyenbi’s sparsely furnished but neat living room. She arranged a sleeping place for Rejoice in Nyenbi’s room. Baby Rejoice squirmed as she placed her on the bed. She cooed her until she was asleep again. She went to the living room. Nyenbi disappeared into the kitchen and reappeared with a big plate of rice and two spoons.
“I’m really hungry, Debbie. Come to the dining let’s eat.” She invited.
“No thanks.” Debbie declined. “I’m not hungry.” She looked away from the plate of rice on the table to the TV.
“Debbie, please let’s eat. We’ll have energy to discuss with food in our tummies.”
After much plea, Debbie joined her on the table. Nyenbi made small talks while they ate. Debbie responded in monosyllables. She just moved her spoon around the plate.
“Fegor is getting serious with me and I’m excited about it. I’m just still praying about everything. I hope it ends well.” Nyenbi had a happy gleam in her eyes as she talked about the guy who had become friends with her.
“I know you’re taking it one step at a time.” Debbie said, trying to sound excited for her friend.
“Oh yes, I am, my dear friend.” She assured her.
When the meal ended, Debbie was glad. She waited until Nyenbi cleared the table, then she unburdened her heart to her friend.
“Nyenbi,” she began in a tone heavy with sadness “I think I made a mistake.” She admitted. Tears spilled down her cheeks.
Nyenbi didn’t look surprised. Far from it. It was obvious she knew what Debbie was just realizing. Debbie talked about all that was wrong in her relationship with Preye while Nyenbi listened attentively. Each revelation drew a sad look from Nyenbi.
“What do I do, Nyenbi? People will laugh at me if Preye walks out of my life. I’ll become ‘after one’. Who will want me again?” She lamented.
Nyenbi sighed, calculating her words before dishing them out. “We can’t cry over spilt milk, Debbie; neither can we force a horse to drink from the river just because we succeeded in forcing him to the river. Yes, people will whisper, they’ll talk. They’ll even fabricate stories. They’ll look down on you and laugh but it won’t be forever. They’ll get tired and look for other juicy stories. What do you do with all what they’ll throw at you? You fight back, fight to stand on your feet again. Refuse to be torn down by your mistake. It’s not the end of the world. Make a fresh start with God.”
Nyenbi’s words comforted her. Though she cried for her mistake, her heart was lighter than it had been in months. Nyenbi closed her hands around hers.
“If Preye comes back, don’t run about to dance to his every tune. Discuss his plans for both of you. Debbie, never be disappointed if it doesn’t end the way you want it to. You have Rejoice. She is a wonderful gift from God.”
Debbie swiped the tears off her face. “Thank you, Nyenbi. You’re a friend indeed. I pray everything works out between you and Fegor.”
Nyenbi hugged her. “Amen. All is well Debbie.”
A new hope ignited in Debbie’s heart. She will stand again despite all. When she left Nyenbi’s house that night, it was with a certainty that something was about to change in her life.

Journey to the Aisle Ep 14

Deborah had taken her destiny in her own hands. Find out how it turned out for her?

Episode 14

Preye sat on the bed watching Deborah who was dressing up in front of the mirror. She looked beautiful in the pink and blue gown she had on. He had grown attached to her in the three months they’ve been living together. His lips turned up in a wry smile. He had gotten what he wanted despite her parents and her pastor’s objections. It hadn’t taken long to convince her to move in with him until her parents cooled off. Her mind was already set on being with him anyway, and he would never throw away an opportunity.
He had watched her defiance against her parents and the church with amusement. He made sure she had no reason to doubt him. He was her knight in shining armour. She was the best of all he had gotten in all his journeys to several places.
His heart flickered a little when he remembered his wife. Onengiye had been very angry with him when he called her the previous week. She counted each day he had stayed beyond the time he said he would. He frowned slightly. ‘Just a month, and she is lamenting. I will stay for three more months before I visit her in Portharcourt. After all, I meet all her needs.’
His frown gave way to a smile as he stared at Debbie. If all went well with the news she had given him two days back, then Onengiye would spend so many nights alone. His concern was however Debbie’s family. They seemed to have accepted her call for war. Not a word had been heard from them ever since she left home. He feared they could be bidding their time before they attacked him. It was the reason why he was not comfortable with her insistence on attending Gina’s wedding.
“Baby, I don’t think you should go.” He told her for the umpteenth time.
Debbie sighed. “We’ve been over this issue for a while now. I don’t want us to keep going back and forth. I have to attend my younger sister’s wedding no matter what.”
“But why do you have to?” He asked, worried. “She joined forces with your parents.”
“It doesn’t matter, my love.” Debbie answered, picking up her pink purse. “I have forgiven her childish outburst over my leaving the house.” She opened the purse and dropped some naira notes in it.
Preye frowned heavily. “You call her comparing you to a prostitute childish outburst?” His eyebrow raised in anger. “She said you were a disgrace to your family. She called you…”
Debbie raised her hands to stop him. “You don’t have to remind me all she said. Listen, baby, going there today will put the out the fire in their hearts. When they see how much I have changed, they will understand. My parents are not difficult people. They are just old-fashioned.” She dropped her phone in her purse and clasped it, then she turned to him “I wish you will go with me, honey. That way we’ll be showing them a united front.”
Preye shook his head. “No way. I have work to do at the site.”
“What about the money for the wedding gift?” She inquired.
“They won’t accept your gift, so don’t bother.”
“Just give me the money.”
“Okay.” He consented grudgingly. He picked up his wallet beside him on the bed and pulled out some naira notes. He gave her the money. “I included your transport fare. I won’t be able to drop you off.”
Deborah regarded him for a while. She let out a breath. “Okay. Thank you dear.”
“Make sure you don’t allow anyone upset you. You know why.” His eyes went over her.
She smiled knowingly. “I do.”
He came to hug her and kissed her lips lightly to avoid smearing her lipstick. “I love you, don’t forget that.” He said, looking into her eyes.
“I love you too.” She replied.
Debbie got to the church during the joining of Gina and Samuel. Her sister looked so beautiful in her white gown. She slipped into a chair at the back from where she could see the screen. Gina beamed with smiles as she took her vows. Sadness filled Debbie. This was what she wanted too. She wanted so much to wear a wedding gown to recite her marital vows with the man she loved. She felt an instant anger against Pastor Ray and her parents who stood against her choice of a husband. If they had supported her relationship with Preye, they would have been married now. She wouldn’t be feuding with them.
She thought of their reaction when they’d see her. Would they welcome her or send her out of Gina’s wedding? What about Gina? Would she be happy to see her sister or would she look at her with all the hatred she felt for her now?
Debbie sighed. Gina had been the most offended when she left the house. She had said a lot of insulting words without apology. Initially she had pleaded with her elder sister to stay back at home, but when her pleas fell on deaf ears she quickly turned to anger and disappointment. She looked at her with indignation. Severally they quarrelled bitterly before she left with Preye. Gina ensured that she left nothing behind. It was almost like she didn’t want any trace of her in the house. She even ran after the car and threw the bag Debbie gave her as a Christmas gift.
Only Preye’s love and encouragement had kept her from breaking down in tears. She never wanted to leave her family in such manner. If only they had supported her. If only they had allowed her to marry Preye. She shook her head sadly. She wouldn’t be attending her sister’s wedding as a guest.
She listened to Pastor Ray preaching about Love and submission in marriage. Again she wished it was her own wedding. She was certain of Preye’s love and she would definitely be a submissive wife. When the couple and their witnesses got up to sign the marriage register, she saw her father and mother for the first time in three months. They were both dressed in the same lace material and expensive native wrapper. The smiles on their faces irked Debbie. They looked like they didn’t even miss her at all. How could they be smiling when their first child was not with them. She walked outside while people danced and celebrated.
It took sometime before the couple marched out of the church amid cheers and jubilation. She waited at a corner when they all came out for the photo shoot.
When the bride’s family was called, Debbie stepped out from the corner she was and joined her parents. There was a brief look of surprise on her parents face before disdain took the place of surprise on her father’s face. Her mother looked away from her. Gina’s beautiful face hardened in anger. She opened her mouth to speak but her husband stopped her. She looked at him and he gave her a reconciliatory smile. Gina’s shoulders were rigged when Debbie came to stand beside her. She forced a smile for the camera.
Anger burned within Debbie when she stepped away from Gina, but she fixed a bright smile on her face for the crowd. She exchanged greetings with some church members as she went to stand in the corner. Some looked away from her. She didn’t mind. They could gossip about her for all she cared. They had no right to judge her.
Nyenbi came to stand beside her. “Hi, Debbie.” She said with a smile that didn’t cheer Debbie.
“Are you pitying me, Nyenbi?” She asked angrily.
Nyenbi was shocked by her reaction. “Debbie, why would you ask that? Why should I pity you?”
Arms akimbo, Debbie faced her. “You think I don’t know you supported Gina. You stood with her against me, and yet it was you who gave my number to Preye.”
Nyenbi sighed. “Debbie, indeed I gave Preye your number but I never suggested you move in with him without a wedding.” Anger flashed in Debbie’s eyes but Nyenbi raised her hand to stop the angry words from pouring out of her mouth. “I’m not judging you but I want you to do the right thing.”
“I’m doing the right thing.” Debbie insisted.
“Are you sure?” Someone asked from behind her.
She turned around and faced her mother. Nyenbi excused herself but her mother stopped her.
“You should be here, Nyenbi. You’re more like a family now than a friend,” she said to her but didn’t take her eyes away from Debbie. “I ask you again, Deborah, are you sure you’re doing the right thing?”
“Mother, I… I…” she stuttered. What could she say to her? Her mother waited. “I’m doing the right thing.” She said in defiance.
“I raised you better than this, Deborah. You defile your parents just because of a man who has not paid a kobo on your head.”
“How would he when you wouldn’t accept him?” Debbie bawled at her. “You accepted Gina’s choice but kicked against mine. You’re smiling like she’s your only child.” She wiped away the tears on her cheeks in anger.
“You should act like my daughter then.” Her mother retorted. “How could you be so foolish as to move in with a man?”
Nyenbi stood between mother and daughter. “Please calm down. Let’s not create a scene here.”
Ma Coker took a deep breath. “I hope you come back to your senses, Deborah.” She turned to walk away, but Debbie’s next statement halted her movement.
“I’m pregnant.” She announced.
Ma Coker turned around sharply. Her eyes were filled with pain. “Oh Deborah, oh Deborah.” was all she said before leaving.
Debbie covered her face with her arms and wept. Nyenbi hugged her. “Listen to your mother, Debbie.” She admonished gently.
Debbie looked at her. “I should go. They don’t want me here. If I stay here, I’ll taint their precious daughter’s purity.”
“Don’t go. Stay and talk to your parents.” Nyenbi said.
Debbie swallowed. “It’s no use. I better be on my way. Send my good wishes to my sister.”
She turned and walked out of the church premises, her shoulders hunched in shame.

Journey to the Aisle Ep 13

Deborah is desperate. Gina is getting set to walk down the aisle. What is Pa Coker saying? Find out in Episode 13

Episode 13

Deborah sat in front of Pastor Raymond clasping and unclasping her fingers. If Pastor Ray noticed it, he didn’t show it. His face held no expression whatsoever. He just stared straight at her. A familiar feeling swept through her as she sat there awaiting his advice on her relationship with Preye.
Pastor Ray cleared his throat causing her to sit up straight. She could hear her heartbeat in the silence that filled the room.
“How long have you known this brother, Sister Deborah?” He asked in a gentle voice.
“Two months, Sir.” She answered.
His eyes flickered at her response but quickly went back to its earlier expressionless look. “Don’t you think two months is too early to decide on a marital relationship?” he asked cautiously.
“It’s not, Sir. Preye is the right one.” She replied quickly, drawing a sharp breath.
Pastor Ray’s eyebrow lifted in amusement. “Oh really, how sure are you?”
Debbie shifted in her seat looking away from Pastor Ray. “We’re compatible, Sir.” She told him.
“You want to enter a marital relationship on the basis of compatibility?” He quizzed, the corners of his mouth now lifted in amusement too.
“Sir, we love each other. We want to get married.” She responded sharply.
“How well do you know him?”
Deborah fought back the rising feeling of impatience within her. She swallowed audibly. Her hand shook as she picked up the glass of water she had been offered when she got there. A drop or two fell from the cup as she took it to her mouth. She dropped the cup on the table with a small thud, then she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. Pastor Ray’s questions were making her uncomfortable. She wondered why he wouldn’t just ask them to come for counselling.
“I know him very well, Sir.” She enunciated.
“His family?”
“Late, Sir. He is an only child. He grew up in Portharcourt with an Aunt that is very old now.”
“How is his Christian faith?”
Deborah took a deep breath. She couldn’t stand much of Pastor Ray’s interrogation any longer. “Strong, Sir.” She answered through clenched teeth. “He has been attending this church for a while now.”
“Is he born again?”
Debbie bristled with anger. What was the man trying to do? “He is.”
Are you sure? A voice asked within her. She shook it off. Preye is a born again Christian, she told herself confidently. He attends all services regularly and prays with me once a week.
Pastor Ray let out a breath. “Sister Deborah, have you prayed about this?”
This question brought a smile to her face. She was very sure of her answer. “Yes, I have.”
“And what was the Lord’s response?”
“I have peace of mind, Sir.”
“Peace of mind is not the only confirmation needed, my dear.” He sat forward in his chair. “I think you should pray again about Preye.”
“Why, Sir?” Debbie burst out. All her hopes of joining the courtship class soon seem to go down the drain with that simple statement. “He’s a member of this church. The marriage committee has seen him and received his proposal. You haven’t even met him, Sir.” The words poured out of her mouth in frustration.
“But I’ve met him, Sister Deborah.”
Her eyes widened at his comment, then was immediately filled with accusation. “If you have then you shouldn’t ask me all these questions, sir.”
Pastor Ray sighed deeply. He wasn’t offended by her sharp tongue. He was used to young men and women putting their emotions before God in so many relationships. It was because of his meeting with Preye that made him see the need for more prayers on Debbie’s part. Despite Preye’s smoothness during his interaction with him, he had felt a warning in his spirit. Something was off with the young man. His heart went out to Debbie who could not understand.
“I also advised Preye to pray too.” He told her calmly.
Her eyes closed and opened in anger. Gina’s wedding was set for July. If the church approved her relationship with Preye, then she would be getting married around the same time with her younger sister. Why was Pastor Ray being difficult?
Impatient heart, be still. A small voice warned within her.
I am not impatient, Lord. I have waited on you. Preye is the one you prepared for me.
The ways of the Lord are not the ways of men, came the soft reply.
Oh Lord, how do I know your way?
Impatient heart, be still.
Pastor Ray watched the different emotions on her face. He saw her struggle. He could easily give her a letter to the marriage committee, but doing that would put on a burden in his heart. Better her present struggle than her destruction. Lord, give me the right words to convey your heart to your daughter.
“Sister Deborah,” he began gently “let God lead you to make the right choice. Remember Samuel the Prophet got carried away by the physique of Jesse’s sons, but God showed him his mistake and he anointed the right person: small David. Let God guide your choice.”
Disappointment clouded her face. “Pastor, are you saying Preye is not my husband?” she inquired.
“That’s not the point, my dear. Listen to the voice of God, daughter. Let Him guide you.” He said in a soothing voice.
Debbie’s eyes glistened with tears. “Is it because he is a new member.? Is it because he hasn’t joined any unit yet? But he attends all services.” She rushed on with her defence of Preye.
His heart broke at her misunderstanding. “I do not give my advice based on all you have said, but on the ministration of the Holy Spirit.”
“Sir, please pray with us. I know the Lord has convinced both of us, and we are sure of His will. Join us in prayers, Sir.”
“It’s alright. Let’s wait on God again. I know He’ll surely speak. God bless you.”
“Amen. Thank you, Sir.”
She left Pastor Ray’s office with a heavy heart. Her meeting brought memories of Pastor Daniel’s warning against Michael. But that was different, she thought. His heart was with Kate from the beginning. I only mistook his kindness for love, his attention for relationship. In this case, Preye loves me and wants to marry me. Why should I delay? Besides, it’s not Pastor Ray that will stay with him at home.
Her mind recounted all the times she had spent with Preye in the two months they’d been together. He was the best of all the men she had known. Not even Michael could measure up. He was loving, caring, attentive and generous. He was sensitive to her every need. Why would anyone oppose marriage to such a wonderful guy?
Her parents stood with Pastor Ray when Preye made his intention known to them the following week. They called her when he left.
“I don’t like that young man, Deborah.” Her father said bluntly. Her mother placed a hand on his arm but he shook it off. “Let’s call a spade a spade. Deborah is not a child that we need to pamper her with words.” He turned to her. “I am not comfortable with him.”
Debbie tried to be calm. “Father, why? What has Preye done?”
“He has done nothing wrong. He’s a fine young man but my spirit does not agree with him.”
“But what about my own spirit Father? It agrees with him.” She countered, her eyes crinkled in pain.
Anger crossed Pa Coker’s face. He was known for his quick anger. Her mother quickly intervened.
“Daughter, what your father is trying to say is that you need to take some time to watch this young man. Two months is not enough.” She explained.
“I don’t want her to watch him.” Her father interrupted in a thunderous voice. “I want her to leave him.” He stated authoritatively.
Debbie’s heart burned with anger. “That is not possible, Father.”
Her mother gasped in shock while her father looked completely furious.
“Don’t be so quick to be tied with Preye, Deborah. Don’t forget your infamous breakup with Johnny.” Her father commented.
Angry tears welled up in her eyes. “Preye is not like Johnny, Father. He is a God-fearing, responsible man.”
“Same sermon you preached about Johnny.” He retorted.
Her mother, always the peacemaker, quickly intervened. “Deborah, don’t get too emotional. Your father only wants your good.”
“And you think I don’t want my own good, Mother?”
“See her exchanging words with her parents over a man she has not even married. I wonder what would happen when you marry him.” He shook his head sadly.
Debbie said no more. She just sat there listening to her parents’ arguments against her union with Preye. When she visited Pastor Ray couple of weeks later, he had no good tiding for her. She sat patiently listening to the same objections he raised about her relationship with Preye weeks before.
She left his office with a new resolve: she would take her destiny into her own hands.

Journey to the Aisle Ep 12

So Kate is totally not happy with Henry’s decision. What right does she have to challenge him? Read more in episode 12 of JTA

Episode 12

Kate paced around her living room. Her husband’s eyes followed her every moment. She hadn’t stopped pacing ever since she heard the Starlite Bar’s advert on the radio. She had called Henry immediately inviting him over to the house.
“How could he?” She spat out in anger. “He came here to change not to become worse”
“Calm down, honey. Henry will soon be here and you’ll confirm if he’s the one or not”. Michael spoke softly. He came to stand behind her and rubbed her shoulders.
She turned abruptly facing him almost knocking him down. “Henry is HD, my love. He is the one.”
Michael stayed a few steps away from her. “Well, don’t overwork yourself when you are not sure.”
“What will I tell mother? She believes so much that Henry will go back to God. Four months in Azikoro Villa and he has never attended a single service in church despite my numerous invites. Now, I find out he’s the popular singer in Starlite Bar, following the path that destroyed him initially.” Her eyes shimmered with tears. Her anger evaporated. She went to sit on the couch, her head in her hands.
“God is in control, honey.” Mike said soothingly, going to sit beside her. He drew her close to him.
Kate burrowed into his chest weeping. “He broke mother’s heart when he left the faith. She was mocked by some people in church. They sneered at her and called her a bad mother. They wondered why a deaconess’ son should turn out that way.” Kate moved a bit from her husband and sniffed. “The thing is his scholarship came from the church. They wanted to suspend mother when Henry’s misbehaviour got out but for the intervention of the General Overseer. One time mother corrected a girl for indecent dressing and the girl’s mother attacked her. She told her to remove the mole in her eyes and not the speck in another’s.” She closed her eyes in pain as the memory of that time came to her.
“Mother wept for days. The shame was unbearable. Each video showed a part of Henry’s faith torn away. It continued until we could not even recognize him again. Mother prayed. She prayed until she got her answer. Henry returned home even though in disgrace and penniless; mother was comforted. How would she feel now?” Kate rested on her husband’s chest and cried again.
“We will pray, my love. We will not stop praying.” Michael stroked her head. “Now wipe your tears and be calm to face Henry. You can’t lose your temper with him.”
Kate gave a small nod. She went into the room to freshen up. A few minutes later, Henry arrived.
“Hi, sis.” He greeted with a big smile. “Hello, Michael.” His arm was draped around a lady’s shoulder.
Kate and Michael stared speechlessly at his companion. She returned their stares boldly and didn’t even make attempt to pull down the mini skirt that stopped just below her buttocks, leaving nothing to their imagination.
Kate was glad that Basil was asleep.
“This is the queen of my heart, Queen Vic.” He said in a passion-filled tone, dropping a kiss on Queen Vic’s cheek. Queen Vic’s red lips curved in a sensual smile. “My heart, this is my little sister.” He pointed to Kate “And her husband Michael.
Kate’s eyes raised in alarm. Little Sister? She looked at her husband. He gave a subtle shake of his head, stopping her reaction. Kate swallowed.
Queen Vic nodded at them. “Hello.”
“Hi.” Mike muttered in response.
Kate kept silent. Sorrow filled her heart. Henry was on the part of yet another destruction. She didn’t see a way out for him with the young lady hanging on to him. She couldn’t tell the difference between Queen whatever-her-name-was and a prostitute. The top she had on did little to cover her upper body. Her hair was dyed to a golden colour. Her earrings fell down to her sternum.
Henry moved her to the couch opposite theirs. “Where is my cute nephew?” he inquired.
“Basil is sleeping.” Kate answered.
“What’s up, sis? I came as fast as I could. What’s the urgent message?”
Kate tried not to look at Queen Vic with her exposed thigh. She wanted her to leave her house.
“Are you working in Starlite Bar?” She came out straight with the question.
Henry and Vic exchanged glances.
“Yes.” Henry answered calmly. “My heart helped me get a job there.” He pressed a kiss to Queen Vic’s forehead.
“And what was your heart doing in Starlite Bar?” Kate quizzed, her tone dripping with disgust.
“She’s the best dancer in the whole of Azikoro Villa. I’ve not seen any one dance like my Queen Vic. You should……”
“Why have you have you returned to your vomit?” Kate snapped at him cutting him short.
The smile disappeared from Henry’s face. His face tightened into a ball.” What do you mean by that Kate?” His eyes were cold.
“It seems you have forgotten why you are here in Azikoro Villa. You have forgotten Mother’s trust in you.” Kate felt the rush of anger within her. Her husband pressed her hand on the couch, but she pulled it away.
Henry sat forward, anger flashing in his eyes. “Do you want to remind me of my fall or tell me you gave me a place to stay?”
“That’s not the point.” Kate cried out. “You know what I’m talking about.”
Henry stood up. “You can’t tell me what to do, Kate. You are my younger sister. It doesn’t matter if you are married to a wealthy architect, you still can’t tell me what to do. I will live my life as I please. I am answerable to me and me only.
Kate’s anger boiled over. “You are the son of destruction.”
Henry raised his hand to hit her but stopped himself. Mike immediately got up and shielded his wife.
“You won’t dare it, Henry. Not in my house, not on your life. If you cannot understand your family’s pain over this path you have chosen, then you’re worse than I thought you were. May the Lord have mercy on you.”
Henry pulled Queen Vic up wore an amused look. “Take the Lord’s mercy and shove it.” Without another word, he walked out of the house.
Kate wept uncontrollably in her husband’s arms. God save my brother. Oh God save Henry. She prayed silently.
Henry tossed the glass vase on the dining table. The vase shattered in several pieces. He felt a twinge on his left feet. He looked down and saw a trickle of blood from the place a piece of glass had cut. He didn’t bother. He turned the dining table next, the veins on his neck popping with anger.
When he expended his anger, he sat on the floor with his back to the wall. He placed his hands on his raised knees.
He felt humiliated. Kate shouldn’t have interfered with his life. He had it all in place. He felt strengthened each time he stood on Starlite’s stage to perform. His fame was growing in Azikoro Villa. The few who knew him had recognized him as the HD they knew and they gave him his due respect. He even had his pick of beautiful ladies but he would have none except Queen Vic. His heart was completely filled with love for her. He had plans for her, and Kate dare challenge him in front of her.
He couldn’t allow Kate or her husband to look down on him. If they thought they could control him because they gave him a place to live then they should think again. He’d leave their house and live his life as he damn well pleased.
He got up and went into his bedroom. He threw clothes into his suitcase.
“She keeps talking about God. God! God! God!” He spoke to himself in anger.” If God didn’t want me to become what I became then He would have stopped me. You hear that, Kate, He would have stopped me.” He shouted to the empty room.
He pulled the zipper on the suitcase. He looked around. He was satisfied that he left nothing behind. His phone beeped. He picked it up where he dropped it on the bed. His face became hard when he saw the caller ID. It was his mother.
He let the phone ring until the call ended. He sat on the bed. He was sure Kate had reported him. His shoulders sagged. Why can’t he be left alone?
His phone rang again. He picked the call.
“Hello, mother,” he said.
He heard soft weeping and nothing else.
“Mother.” He called.
“Henry.” Margaret answered in a broken voice.
He took a deep breath trying to push away the guilt. “Mother”
“Kate called me.” She said simply. “What is going on, son?”
“Nothing I can’t handle, mother.” He replied.
“Have you chosen that path again?” She sniffed.
He closed his eyes. “Mother, I’m used to this. I can’t just stop singing.
“But you can do that in the house of the Lord”
“No, mother. I left the Lord long ago.”
“He wants you to come back. Don’t allow the devil to destroy your life.” She pleaded.
“Mother, I’m sorry if you think I have disappointed you but I’m doing very well. I’m becoming the star I use to be.” A half smile curved his lips. “Singing in a bar does not make me bad, I’m still your son.”
“And you raised your hands against your sister; the son I brought up.”
His mother’s silent words pierced his heart. He had been very angry with Kate. He was still angry.
“I’m sorry I lost my temper, mother. Kate is my younger sister and I love her. I just don’t want her to interfere with my life.” He heard his mother’s soft intake of breath.
“I’m fine, mother.” He assured.
“I’ll keep praying for you.” She said.
“Thank you, mother”
“God loves you, son”
“I know, mother.” He ended the call then.
He stood staring down at the phone in his hand. Unbidden thoughts of his father filled his mind.
His father had loved God with a passion. He had taught his son the love of the Lord. But he had chosen his own path. He couldn’t be like his father, not even his ever faithful mother. He had his own life to live and his own choices to make. He would never be made to walk in another’s path.
With this thought in his mind, he rolled his suitcase out of the flat.
Margaret put her phone aside and allowed tears pour down her face. Where had she gone wrong? What did she miss?
She had given her best as a mother to her children. She taught them about God and the right way of living. When they became teenagers she had watched their backs and prayed fervently. How many times had they joined hands together to pray?
Douye, God bless his soul, had been a wonderful father and husband. He had been a solid wall for his children. A gentle and a wise soul, he had given his whole heart to his family. And when he went to be with the Lord, she had been so heartbroken but his legacy had been a balm to her soul. Even Kate and Henry had drawn strength from their father’s gentle but solid personality.
How then did Henry, despite all, turn around to embrace the world with the whole of his being, the same way he had embraced God with every fibre of his being?
Who would have thought that her Henry would leave the Holy Spirit’s stage to become entangled with worldly entertainment?
A memory came to her mind from Henry’s teenage years.
He had come to her after a church service and told her boldly that he would never disappoint God. That had brought so much joy to her heart. It seemed so long ago now that he said that to her. If only she had known that his journey to America would corrupt him. If only….
A knock on the door put an end to her musing. She turned to look at the wall clock and realized it was five minutes past the hour of five. Her eyes widened. Her concern for Henry had made her forget the Women Bible study scheduled for 5pm in her house that day.
She got up slowly and went to the door.
Dorcas, a close friend of hers, stood on the other side. She let her in.
Hugging her, “Hello, Dorcas.” She greeted.
“Hi, Margaret.” Dorcas replied. She noticed the tearstain on Margaret’s cheeks. “What is the matter?” She asked in a voice filled with concern.
Margaret sighed. “Come in.” She replied leading her to the couch.
Dorcas took a seat beside her. “Margaret, what is wrong?”
Margaret fought back tears as she looked into the eyes of her childhood friend.
They had both been there for each other. Age had not separated them. They had had their shares of sorrows and joy, and they had stood together.
“It’s Henry.” She told her. She brushed the tears rolling down her cheeks. A sad look filled her aged face. “He’s worse, Dorcas. I have fasted, I have prayed but why is my son bent on treading the path of destruction?” She wept.
The knock on the door halted further discussion. Dorcas squeezed her hand gently. “God knows best. You are not a failure. God will touch the heart of Henry. All will be well. Don’t stop praying.” She got up and went to the door.
Margaret went to the bathroom to wash her face. As she stared at her reflection in the mirror, Dorcas words echoed in her head: Don’t’ stop praying.
“I won’t, Lord. I’ll keep trusting in You. I’ll keep praying for my son and I know You’ll touch him.”
She joined the women who had arrived for Bible Study with new strength.

Journey to the Aisle Ep 11

Debbie has a shooter o. Somebody is shooting his shots at her. Enjoy this episode.

Episode 11

Debbie didn’t welcome the New Year as others did, especially Gina. Another year was a reminder of her old age. She would be thirty-one in the month of May. It didn’t bring joy to her. She needed a distraction. The jobs she applied for had not been what she wanted. She discussed with Nyenbi who told her to go into business since she had the experience. She heeded Nyenbi’s advice and decided to visit the market for survey.
She went straight to Nyenbi’s shop in the market. It was very close to the new ultra-modern market under construction in the main market. The market was a beehive of activities as several shops displayed various goods and services. Debbie located Nyenbi’s shop easily. It was just as Gina has said. Crates of drinks lined up on one part of the shop. The show glasses displayed different pastries from meat pie to egg roll, cupped chin-chin and doughnut. Another part of the shop had items for baking.
A small part of the shop was covered with plywood to serve as an office for Nyenbi. Her two sales girls were attending to a customer when Debbie got there.
One looked up at her. “Aunty welcome, wetin you wan buy?”
“I want to see your madam. Tell her Deborah is around.”
The girl turned to the other. “Efe, go tell madam say person dey find her”
The girl Efe disappeared into the shop and came back about a minute later to Debbie.
“Madam say make you come inside.”
Debbie nodded her thanks and went in.
Nyenbi sat behind a big table. Vouchers and receipts were arranged on the table. She got up and hugged Debbie.
“Welcome, Debbie, sit down.” She pointed to the chair in front of the table.
“Thank you.” Debbie answered as she took her seat. “Nyenbi, you’ve really done well for yourself o.”
Nyenbi smiled. “It is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our sight.”
“I hope the construction work isn’t disturbing you.” Debbie said.
“My dear, it has been God. Business has been good and my shop was not marked for demolition. Some shops close by were demolished.”
“Thank God.”
“Efe! Efe!” Nyenbi called loudly.
“Madam.” Efe answered, running into the office.
“Get my friend two meat pies, one eggroll and a bottle of malt.” She instructed.
“Yes Madam.” Efe answered, disappearing immediately to do her madam’s bidding.
Debbie turned to Nyenbi when Efe left.
“Two meat pies and one eggroll? Do you want me to add weight?” She quizzed playfully.
Nyenbi laughed. “My dear friend, you are fat already.”
Debbie feigned annoyance. “There’s a difference between womanly curves and fat flesh.”
“Preach, sister.” Nyenbi teased, laughing harder.
Debbie eyed her. “I don’t blame you, when you are as thin as a broom stick.”
Nyenbi got up and turned around. “Don’t try me, Debbie. Slender ladies rule the world.”
“In your dreams.” Debbie countered.
Efe came in with a tray and dropped it on the table. Debbie thanked her and picked one meat pie. The discussion moved to her business plan.
“If I get a shop here, the competition will be high, Nyenbi. I passed several supermarkets on my way here.” She stated.
“But you will definitely get your customers.” Nyenbi replied.
“Maybe I should consider the shop Sammie told me about on Osiobe Lane, close to the church.”
“Wow! That’s a good idea. It’s a good location for a supermarket business.” Nyenbi beamed.
Hope lit in Debbie’s eyes but quickly faded when other thoughts filled her mind.
“What is the matter, Debbie?” Nyenbi asked surprised at Debbie’s change of mood.
“Even if I get the shop, I don’t have enough money with me to fill it with goods.” She answered sadly.
“The important thing is to get the shop first. All others will fall in place.” Nyenbi encouraged.
Deborah considered her words as she helped herself to the second meat pie.
“Wey your madam?” A voice asked outside the shop.
“She dey inside.” One of the sales girls replied.
“Tell her say make she come outside. I don come for break.”
Debbie cast a questioning glance at Nyenbi.
Nyenbi smiled. “That’s Preye Opigo. He’s the supervisor of the construction work going on here.”
Debbie’s eyes widened at this piece of information. Nyenbi continued, “He’s a Bayelsan who lives and works in Portharcourt. Ever since he found out I am from Rivers state, he has been coming often to pass time.”
Efe came in to give Preye’s message. Nyenbi pushed away from the table.
“Carry these chairs outside, Efe.”
The girl obeyed.
“Let’s go outside, Debbie. It won’t be for long. He’ll soon go back to work.”
Debbie picked up her bottle of malt while Nyenbi picked up the plate that contained the eggroll. Preye sat close to the door, his mouth working on the meat pie he bought.
“Preye, how far na?” Nyenbi said by way of greeting.
He smiled pleasantly when he saw her. “Nyenbi, Nyenbi.” He greeted. His eyes wandered to Debbie. “Hello.” He said to her.
“Hello.” Debbie replied.
Efe set the chairs down and they took their seats opposite Preye.
“Who is this pretty lady?” He asked Nyenbi, rolling out his charm.
“This is my friend Deborah Coker. Debbie, meet Preye Opigo.”
They nodded at each other in acknowledgement of Nyenbi’s introduction.
“Deborah Coker? Hmm… From where?” Preye asked.
“I’m a mixed breed.” Debbie answered and went on to explain at the questioning look in Preye’s raised eyebrow. “My father is from Ogun state while my mother is from Delta state. My father grew up in Oleh with his mother who was an indigene of Oleh.”
“Then I wouldn’t be wrong calling you a Deltan.” Preye commented smiling.
Debbie laughed a little. “Maybe. I’ve only been to Ogun state once when we went to bury my grandfather.”
They talked about various tribes in the country and her job in Bayelsa. They ended with the construction work in the market. All through Debbie observed him closely. She noticed he had no ring on his finger. She also became aware of the secret looks he gave her. After spending about an hour with them, he got up.
“Let me get back to site. Nice meeting you, Deborah. I hope to see you again.” He said.
“You can call me Debbie or Deb.” She offered.
“Debbie it is then.” He flashed a smile. After a brief goodbye, he left.
Disappointment washed over her as she watched him leave. He didn’t ask for her number. She had hoped the looks he gave her meant more.
“Is he married?” She asked Nyenbi.
Nyenbi regarded her warily. Deborah became defensive.
“What? It is just a question. I just want to know since he comes here often to spend time with you.”
Nyenbi looked unconvinced. “Hmm.” She answered. “I don’t know if he’s married or not. He has never mentioned a wife or children.”
Debbie grinned. “Nice.”
It was time to act. It was time to give every opportunity a shot. Preye seemed a good opportunity. She smiled to herself not minding Nyenbi’s suspicious look. She left Nyenbi’s shop later with renewed hope.
Preye watched Debbie leave from an open window in the building closest to the road. He wanted her and he would have her. The girls he had taken to various hotels in the two months he had been in Oleh were nothing compared to Debbie.
The little time he spent with her showed she would not be difficult to get. She had been taken by his charm. He would definitely work on her. All he needed was her details. Nyenbi was his surest bet. He would work on Nyenbi very well. Nynebi was a disciplined and tough lady. He had his eyes on her from the beginning but he had quickly been put in his place by her no-nonsense attitude. He had settled for friendship with her then. He hoped to convince her however to get Debbie’s details. He could have a relationship with her and not just his usual fling. If he kept her as a steady girlfriend, he wouldn’t need to be running around other girls. He would get all he wanted and still remain a happy man. Life was good.
Preye listened to the melodic voice of Deborah as she led the choir ministration in church that morning. Her eyes were closed and her left hand stretched out as the lyrics of the song rolled off her tongue in sweet rhythm.
The atmosphere was charged. Some people had tears in their eyes while some other stood with raised hands. A few others sat back and watched with utmost concentration. He wasn’t particularly moved; he was entertained. A mischievous smile played on his lips. If only they knew his plans for being in Grace Tabernacle that morning, they would probably tie him up and cast him into the bottomless pit.
When the singing was over, the pastor came up to preach. Preye tuned out of the message. His mind drifted to Debbie. She looked so beautiful that morning. She had on a white gown and an orange hat. Her feet were cladded in a white strapless sandal. She stood out among all the choristers who had the same uniform. Her gown was properly filled with her voluptuous curves. When the message was over, announcement was given and invitation for first timers was also given. He stood up on his feet as a first timer.
People came around to shake his hand and the other first timers too. Deborah walked up to him, a shocked look on her face.
“You’re welcome.” She said, stretching her hands to him.
He took her hand and caressed her palm lightly. Her eyes flew to his.
“Thank you, sister.” He said with an amused smile, then added quietly. “I’ll see you after the service.”
Debbie nodded and went to greet the other first timers. She pulled Nyenbi aside when the service came to an end and the first timers were being attended to.
“What is Preye doing here? Did you invite him?” She quizzed hoping it wasn’t the latter.
A guilty look came into Nyenbi’s eyes. “He is here to see you”
“What do you mean?” Debbie demanded.
“Preye pressed me for details when you left. I kept putting him off but eventually I told him where he could meet you. I didn’t know he’ll come to church. I’m really sorry, Debbie.” Nyenbi explained, an apologetic look on her face.
Excitement rose within Debbie until she felt it would choke her. She drew a quick breath.
“Don’t be sorry, Nyenbi.” She took Nynebi’s hands and tapped one lightly. “I’ll find out what he wants.” She said with a calmness she was far from feeling. Her inside melted in anticipation of her time with Preye Opigo.
When he was through with the resident pastor, he made his way to her.
Her heart did a double beat as he approached her. He looked breath-taking in his crisp white shirt and royal blue trouser.
“Hi,” she said breathlessly.
“Debbie,” He called her softly as though caressing her name.
“I’m so happy to see you.” He told her.
“You really surprised me.” She said
“A pleasant surprise, I guess.”
“Oh yes indeed. I never would have imagined you coming here.” Debbie commented.
“Well I’m here.” He replied, taking her hand.
“Yeah, I know.” Debbie felt her heart beat against her chest as she looked down on their joined hands.
“I came to meet with God in the church that a very beautiful lady that caught my eyes attends.” Preye commented in a flirty tone. He winked at her.
Debbie smiled bashfully. “And who is she?”
“She has an amazing voice and she is the one before me” Preye brought her hand to his lips.
Debbie pulled back, her eyes moving around. No one was paying them any attention. “I’m speechless.” Debbie replied, basking in his compliment.
“Then don’t say anything. Just go out with me” He urged.
“Are you asking me out?” She asked touching her neck with her free hand.
“Not just to ask you out, beautiful, but to win you. How about this evening?”
“I have to be in fellowship.” She answered.
“Then tomorrow 7pm.”
“Where?” She asked.
“Tell me where you live and I’ll come pick you.”
Debbie gave her address and phone number to him.
“I’ll call you later.” He said. “Take care of yourself, beautiful.”
“I will. You too.” Debbie replied.
Preye blew her a kiss. Debbie placed both palms on her cheeks grinning from ear to ear. Heaven had smiled on her.