Dorcas Ajayi, my little one, this is for you…
Jennifer took in a deep breath. “You disgust me. Get out of my house” she whispered, not finding the strength to voice the words out.
“I said get the hell out of my house!” she yelled, throwing his engagement ring at him in the process
Nelly rushed upstairs the moment she heard her daughter shout. Something definitely had to be wrong. She found Jennifer crouched beside the door weeping profusely. Nelly rushed to her daughter and held her in her arms.
“What happened honey? Why the tears? And where is Anthony?”
“Ma, I should have known, I should have seen it coming.” She cried
‘What do you mean child?”
“I should have known there was something wrong; the mood swings, the hushed conversations; I should have known ma. I cannot marry him”
“What is all this nonsense you are spewing Esi? What do you mean by you cannot marry him when your wedding is just three weeks away? Calm down and speak some sense to me. I am beside myself with worry.”
“Stephanie is pregnant ma! And… And the baby…” she hiccupped
“Eh heh? What happened to the baby?”
“Anthony is the father of the baby!”
– Three Weeks Later –
Anthony was beyond depressed. It seemed like a dream how his life had turned a three sixty degree angle in the space of two months. One moment he was engaged to be married to the love of his life and the next, he was married to his worst nightmare and nothing could be done about it. They had been exchanging greetings with people at the reception for some time now and the grave expressions and forceful smiles from church members and family proved no one was happy. Stephanie seemed to be the only one happy at that event.
Jennifer turned him away so quickly, it did not make sense. Several attempts to get her to see reason proved futile. And what made matters worse? Rev. Sackey told him to right the wrong he had done. He had to marry Stephanie in Jennifer’s place. He could choose to marry his other daughter in his next life. Anthony expected Jennifer to protest, say something, but she refused to fight for him, for their love.
“Congratulations sir” Joel, his assistant brought him out of his thoughts.
“Thank you for coming Joel”
“No sweat sir. Please how about the cheque?”
“Oh yes, yes… let me grab it for you quickly so you can pay everyone on Monday else they would say the boss used their salaries for his wedding.” He joked.
Anthony excused himself from the party and walked to his room to pick up the cheque. He remembered placing it in his dairy to keep it safe. He found it just where he left it; on the desk. As he picked it up to remove the cheque, an envelope slipped and fell. Wondering what it could be, Anthony picked it up from the floor and examined it carefully. It did not look like something he put there. To clear his curiosity he opened it to be sure of its contents.
I am sorry to say this may be the most selfish act I have ever undertaken in my entire life but I gave myself no other option. I grew up thinking I was the only child of my parents; the preacher’s golden child. When I found out my dad had another out of wedlock I was beside myself with fury. I did not hate Stephanie, I just never wanted to share my father’s attention with anyone else; selfish of me again.
I died inside the day I found out she was carrying your child. It completely broke me. I am sorry I refused to marry you but I just could not come to terms with the fact that my unborn child would have to share his or her father with another woman’s child. My mother was right after all, family patterns indeed exist.
Yes Tony, I am also with child, the fruit of our first time together. I was going to tell you about the pregnancy the day I found out about you and Stephanie. I know; selfish of me again. I am going to end all of this. I need you to forget me, forget everything I ever meant to you. Forget whatever memories we shared. Call me selfish but I am doing this in the best interest of my child and myself.
Anthony was losing his mind.
“Where is Jennifer? Has anyone seen Jennifer?!” Anthony yelled to the crowd, looking frantic with worry. He clutched the letter in his hands with all the strength left in him.
The music stopped abruptly and the crowd began to murmur.
“Why is the groom looking for the sister of the bride?” one asked
“I always knew there was something untrustworthy about that girl and him. They have been having an affair”
Stephanie pulled him aside and half-whispered, half-yelled, “What is wrong with you? Can’t you see people are staring? What do you want with Jennifer? I thought it was over between you two?”
“I need to find her Steph”
“Are you even listening to me? People are watching Tony!”
Mr. and Mrs. Adjetey rushed to their son’s side with their in laws following closely behind. “Is everything alright son?’
“No mum. I need to find Jennifer.”
“It is your wedding day son! Stop this.” his father scolded.
“What is going on here?” Rev. Sackey asked sternly
“Hush Joseph. Let us take this inside the house. We cannot afford to wash our dirty linen in public.”
– In the house –
“I asked a question” Mr Sackey impatiently asked the moment they entered the house
“I don’t know dad. Tony has been acting really funny since he returned from the house. He keeps asking for Jennifer”
“And what is this nonsense about calling for my daughter on your wedding day?”
“I am sorry sir but I need to see Jennifer. It is very urgent.”
The Reverend placed his hand on his forehead to steady himself and calm his anger, “Nelly, you see why I did not want this boy anywhere near any of my daughters? He has been nothing but trouble.”
“Calm down Joseph.” Nelly whispered
“Calm down?” he fumed “Calm down for what? I want to know what this man wants from my Jennifer! Hasn’t he destroyed her enough? Hasn’t…”
“She is going to kill herself and our child!” he yelled
“What did you just say?” Mrs. Adjetey asked as silence engulfed the room
“I said I need to find Jennifer because she is going to kill herself and our unborn child”
“Unborn child? What do you mean by unborn child?” Joseph grabbed the scruff of Anthony’s shirt. “You impregnated two of my daughters and now one is going to commit suicide?”
-To be continued-