He heard a knock on his be-droom door. “What is it Ada?” he called out without checking who it was.
“Someone is here to see you sir” he heard Ada respond.
“Who is it?” he yelled out of anger but heard no response. He stood up reluctantly and moved to the sitting room but his anger dissolved when he saw the person standing there.
“Jess” he breathed.
Jessica felt shaky as Andy’s gaze drove into her. Suddenly, meeting his eyes was not so possible. Andy did not leave where he was standing, at the far end of the sitting room, so she was f0rç£d to go and meet him. Standing directly in front of him, she looked at the floor, then his white short sleeved shi-t. “The p@rty is today” she said at a loss for words.
“Yes” Andy’s heart was pounding but he looked as calm as the open sea. “Is that why you c@m£”.
“No” she turned away from his overbearing pres£nce and walked slightly away. “But I don’t know if I can state why I c@m£. I don’t know if I should put my trust in you.”
Andy placed his hand on her shoulder and turned her. “I know you have gone throu-gh a lot Jess, all I want is a chance to make you happy. plea-se Jess”.
“I am scared Andy. I am scared that you would crush my heart like so many people have and I don’t think I can-”
Andy k!$$£d her de-eply, st©pping her words. She returned his k!ss, as the memories of the past few days flashed throu-gh her head. There was no doubt in her mind that Andy loved her. His hands shook slightly as he held her, with his heart racing against her che-st.
“I would not make you cry again Jessica, I promise” Andy said breathlessly.
“I love you Andrew”.
Andy smiled from the bo-ttomof his heart for the first time in years.
“I love you Jessica”.
The exquisite hall was filled to the brim with people. Andy and Jessica had arrived late because they have been so preoccu-pied with their newly found love. Their father had s£nt a driver to pick them up. They both stared at the building with anticipation. They had both decided that the p@rty was very perfect because it would be a means of starting all over again.
Andy smiled at Jessica. “Jess, you look absolutely stunning sweetheart”.
Jessica looked at her f!ngersfeeling shy and nervous. She was putting on a short black go-wn which clung to her skin. It contrasted perfectly with her skin, ma-king her eyes twi-nkle.
“I got you something” he pu-ll-ed out a box and opened it. Jessica g@sped as she saw the sparkling jewelry in the box.
“Andy” she g@sped. She hadn’t worn jewelry for a very long time.
“I saw this when I was returning from Lizzy’s place and I could only imagine you wearing it.” He ran his f!ngerson it. “May I?”
She nodded and turned. Andy raised the n£¢klace and put it carefully around her n£¢k, moving her hair in order to secure the hook. He put the br@celet around her wrist and put the ear-rings in her ear. She looked breathtaking.
“Thanks” she murmured.
He opened the door and stepped out. He stretched his hand to her and she put her hand in his. “I hope you enjoy your evening my lady” he leaned down and k!$$£d her.
The p@rty was going on smoothly. The crowd was as full as the wedding day, with numerous family members and friends. There was actually no one that Jessica knew that was not there, including her uncle and his family; her friends and others. Andy and Jessica had met about half of the invited guests and were busy chatting with some friends when their attention was drawn to the podium. Andy’s father stood there with the microphone in his hand.
“Hello everyone, I am so happy that you were able to make it today. I was not around for my own son’s wedding but now, I do not feel so bad. I have a surprise for you”.
Everyone applauded him but the smile on Jessica and Andy’s faces vanished when Sonia surfaced.
“Come up here my dear”.
“Oh my God” Lizzy g@sped as she stared at Sonia.
“This girl here has something to tell everyone about the couple” Mr.
Williams announced. He handed over the microphone to Sonia, who took it with a smile. Jessica felt like she could not breathe. Andy was just glued to the ground, staring with horror.
“What are you doing Sonia?” Lizzy yelled.
Sonia ignored. “Hello everyone, I am sorry to inform you that Jessica is a fraud” g@sps of surprise followed the announcement. “She pressured Andy into marrying her so that she can make away with most of his money. She planned to pene-tratethe company in order to escape with 20 million naira.”
Everyone had horrified looks on their faces. “I heard Jessica telling Lizzy this. She planned to divorce Andy once she gets the money.” She looked straight at Jessica. “Am I lying Jessie?”……..
Jessica concentrated on taking in air and re-leasing it but even at that, her breathing was terribly fast and her che-st was heaving. No! This is not happening! She tried to shake herself to see if she would awaken from this horrible nightmare but she could not even muster enough energy to move a muscle. Her horrible life of constant nightmares and disasters seem to be adding another event to the pent-up list.
“Answer me Jessica, is this information false?” Sonia screamed.
Andy, who had been glued to the sp©t, too stupefied to do anything suddenly charged to the front, marching to the podium. All he could see was Sonia and he would not st©p till he got to her. A viselike grip dragged him back and he struggled, succeeding, due to his great strength. He did not even have the time to check the face of the person that st©pped him as he charged forward. His dad blocked his way and Andy almost collided with him. The place was like a backstage entrance to the podium so people could not see them.
“Dad, plea-se leave the way” He growled.
“What do you want to do?”
“What sort of ru-bbish is this dad? What kind of stunt is this? Why are you doing this?” Andy’s hands were fisted and re-ady to charge. The only problem is that he could not punch his own father.
“I am saving your sorry a-s. Don’t think I don’t know what really went on but I am obliged to think that this Jessica of a girl bewitched you.
I would not let the name of this family fall into a stinking mud because of your s-en-selessness” Mr. Williams said too calmly.
“How did you even find out? I bet that stinking thing out there spilled everything” Andy wished he could be left alone with Sonia so he could teach her a lesson she would live to remember.
His dad smiled. “I knew something was fishing when I heard you got married. When I got to your house, I planted a c@m£ra in the sitting room when everyone was asleep. I did not expect to find anything suspicious though because you and your so-called wife seemed so inti-mate.”
Andy stared, not believing his own ears. His father had invaded his own privacy. What on earth had given him the right?
“I felt guilty about the c@m£ra and went back to the house to get the c@m£ra. I pla-yed what I saw on it just in case and saw some love scenes, just as I was about to st©p it, I stumbled on the very interesting scene where Sonia c@m£ to your house. I heard all the drama that ensued and went looking for Sonia”.
“Who gave you the right dad? What makes you think you can meddle with my life? I am a grown man dad, perfectly capable of ma-king my own decisions and choices” Andy yelled.
“Even stupid decisions like a contract wedding? What happened to a normal wedding?”
“You are pushing it dad. It is my life. How dare you do this to her? You may want to destroy someone’s life but the person involved here is the woman I love; my wife” Andy emphasized.
“Contract wife you mean. Son, that girl is only after the money, she has no dignity and don’t even think of loving her.”
Andy gritted his teeth painfully. “It is a bit late for that. Dad, tell that demented thing to get off the stage, or so help me God, I would cause a scene that even your almighty self would not be able to control.”
Jessica, who was still standing where Andy left her could not respond to the challenge that was being tossed her way by the very person she called her best friend. Lizzy and Paulina went to stand with Jessie but she almost could not notice them, the only thing that clouded her s-en-ses were the murmurings she heard and the loud accusations.
Her uncle suddenly appeared in front of her, his face as ti-ght as ha-rd rock. He seized her hand r0ûghly and started pu-lling her out of the hall. She staggered behind him but he did not slow. When they got outside, her hand c@m£ free but pain sh0t throu-gh her like lightening as her uncle’s hand connected with her cheek. She winced and m0@n ed in pain as tears that had been held in her eye socket rushed out.
“How dare you Jessica” he roared. “How dare you shame our family like this? How can you stoop so low? Tell me” he growled.
“No…” Jessica sobbe-d. “Dad, I…”
“Don’t call me dad; don’t you dare. We are not rich but then, we are not hungry. Were you so discontented?”
Her uncle’s wife pushed throu-gh the crowd that Jessica was just noticing. “Funsho! St©p this” she tried to calm him down. “We have not heard her own side of the story”
“What does she have to say? She does not look re-ady to protest”.
What could Jessica say? That she had actually married Andy for 20 million Naira but not the way Sonia had put it? That she had decided to forfeit the money? That all their declarations of love had been a perfectly rehearsed drama? No! She could not say anything. In fact, it might just make things worse. She looked at the faces of people who had gathered, seeing so many friends of hers, seeing so many people who had attended their wedding, seeing their best man who was Andy’s best friend and some of Andy’s friends and family members. They all had the look of hatred and disgust on their faces. Some were stunned and many murmured continuously. She took to her heels and started running as fast as her legs could carry her, even though she wore high heeled shoes.
Andy charged throu-gh the door. “Where is Jessica?” he yelled.
No one was re-ady to give a reply but as he saw a familiar figure running ceaselessly, he ran after her. As he ran, he yelled her name but she did not slow down. Andy did not know if he was feeling rage, worry or confusion, all he knew was that he wanted Jessica to be alright.
The heels were really affecting Jessica but she continued running. She just wanted to run. She could still hear all the voices in her head as she cried. She st©pped abruptly and started tugging off her shoes. She did not care if her ba-re feet got severe injuries by running without her shoes. She felt she would be glad if a physical pain could take her mind off the incident that just occurred. She continued to sob furiously as she gathered the shoes in her hands and started running again.
Andy’s arms closed around Jessica immediately, dragging her against him f0rç£fully. She did not know that she was being followed but even as the familiar hands wra-pped around her, she started struggling.
“plea-se Jessica, sweetheart, plea-se calm down”.
Jessica struggled and shook in his arms. “Leave me…” she cried. “Let me go Drew”.
“No, Jess. Let me hold you”.
Jessica had no more struggles. She buried her head against his che-st and cried. Andy’s heart was shattered into pieces. It took all his willpower to st©p him from crying. Seeing Jessica so heartbroken and shattered was more than he could handle.
“I am ruined Andy.” Jessica wailed. “Why can’t I just die? Tell me Drew. Why does God hate me so much” she cried….
To be continued.
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