She poured them both glasses of juice, each she poured to the brim, ignoring his questions and dedicating her time to the action as if it was a huge task.
“Did you know she was my Aunt and that you were meeting me?” She interrupted him, accidentally spilling juice on the recently waxed table in the spacious kitchen.
“I found out yesterday.” He replied, trying to get a hold of her as she reached for a clean paper napkin.
She snatched her hand away from him and cleaned the spot where the juice had been spilled.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
She was cleaning the table now, her hands working furiously on the table as if it were more than a spill.
“I felt like you would not want to see me… Wait, Tamilore why is this a big deal?”
She did not fail to recognize the slight irritation in his voice.
She looked at him, eyed him, stepped on the lever of the black trash can in front of her and threw the napkin in it once the cover popped open.
“So what are you going to do now? Give me tips on how to be a successful entrpreneur?”
She was reaching for the full glass of cold juice now, her eyes on him.
“Let’s not fight about this, Tamilore. Even though I cannot understand why you’re so riled up.”
She did not know why she was so riled up either.
Maybe it was due to the fact that she had not been expecting him to be the one to show up for her in Ibadan.
Maybe because she had been expecting it to be the love of her life, Jide.
“Fine. Where are we starting from.”
The words came out angrier than she had intended them to be. “Even though I had no idea you were an entrprenuer builder.”
He ignored the coldness in her words, held the back of her neck and kissed her till she couldn’t breathe.
“Why don’t we talk about why you should be with me first?” he asked with a wink and a smile that caused Tamilore to smile back.
Jide did not know for how long he was out but the moment he opened his eyes, he knew he must have been unconscious for a very long time.
He looked around him, he was in what seemed like a basement but which had a neat and well laid bed, on which he had been spread out like an animal waiting to be offered as sacrifice.
In front of him, there was a cloth rack, black and brown blazers of what seemed like different sizes hung from it.
There were also several white shirts and black pants.
He sat up, his hands and legs were not tied. He was not sure what that said about his captor, but it probably meant he was being watched carefully by some camera somewhere.
Instinctively, he looked around for hidden cameras, he could not find any one in sight.
Curious, he strode to the rack and looked through every jacket, suit, shirt and trousers, what were they supposed to be for?
He glanced across the room and that was when he saw the mirror hanging on the wall, when he inched closer, he found out he was wearing a well tailored black suit and white shirt.
He gasped in horror, was he being coerced into getting married?
Or what was the explanation for being forcefully abducted, drugged and then waking up to see he was finely dressed on the day his mother had initially announced he would be exchanging vows with a woman he felt scarce nothing for?
Did she have anything to do with this?
Then he banished the thought as soon as it crept up in his mind.
He was being foolish indeed.
His mother might be overbearing and manipulative but she couldn’t have had him kidnapped.
She was a woman of God, a saint – at least to an extent and Holy Spirit filled.
He was wearing what seemed to be a pair of new patent shoes and when he pulled up his trousers, he realized even his socks seemed new.
That caused him to laugh, he laugh so deeply his chest hurt.
Someone planned his wedding on his behalf and planted him in the middle of it all.
This was Nollywood, it was drama, it was all playing out in 3D.
The door opened and Agnes strolled in, her perfume actually announced her presence before she reached where he was standing.
It was very strong and also very disturbing.
From the very moment he set eyes on the woman, he knew there was something not right about her.
She unnerved him and she seemed to have a lot of secrets buried beneath that vain exterior.
She was dressed in iro and buba, her gele reminded one of a ship and her jewelry looked like she robbed a jewelry store and packed everything in sight.
Three gold rings adorned each finger on the left hand and three others decorated the right.
Her bangles made noise that unsettled him, as if her perfume was not doing a good job of that already.
She was heavily made up as usual and Jide knew that application must have taken nothing less than three hours.
But whoever did the make up application must be mad at her though, because the foundation and powder shade seemed different from her skin tone.
“Jide Ademola-Rogers.” She called him.
He knew it was supposed to be a greeting but it came out like she was summoning him.
The way a teacher would summon a student in front of the class.
He did not respond to her greeting, he waited for an explanation as to why he was being forced into marrying her daughter.
“I know you must be waiting for an explanation.” she said to him, stating the obvious.
“But that is not my job, that is your mother’s job.”
“My mother?” Jide inquired and then watched as his mother strolled into the room.
“What’s the meaning of this, mom?”
“Olajide, you’re getting married today.” Grace announced as if he hadn’t heard that rubbish all week long.
“Of course not. If you think bringing me here like this and getting me dressed while unconscious would change my mind then you better have another thing coming! In fact what am I saying sef, I should be leaving here not talking to you both.”
Then he started towards the door.
His mother stopped him when she pulled him back.
“You are not going anywhere, my dear. People are waiting outside for you. Everyone and your bride.” Agnes said before Grace said anything.
Jide looked at his mother for an explanation.
“Mom, what is this?” he was impatiently waiting for the explanation to everything that was happening.
To say he was confused was stating it mildly, he was dazed, feeling so many things at once.
“You have to get married today, Jide. Please do it for me.” She was pleading with him like her life depended on it and that unnerved him.
She reached for his hands but he snatched it away before she made a contact.
“Please” she muttered, tears gathering in her eyes and threatening to fall.
“Please?” he asked silently, wondering why of all people in the world to be begged into marriage, he was the one that was chosen by the gods of ill-fate.
“Please” she replied.
“Okay.” he replied.
Tamilore learnt a lot from Timilehin and for the first time in a very long time, she realized she was fueled to begin something with her life.
It was a good feeling, it was a rush that she intended to build on.
The excitement that stemmed from knowing the direction in which she wanted to go caused her to miss Jide.
She wanted to call him and share the news.
She grabbed her phone the instant she was alone and dialed his number.
Jide heard his phone ring but he couldn’t pick it.
He had something to take care of first.
He smiled in front of the Church where he was standing and from where he was watching Alero, looking like a dream in white, approaching him and the priest before them.
She got to the altar, stood side by side him and put her hands in his.
And he smiled at her, a reassuring smile that comforted her and made her feel everything was going to be alright.
-Tomilola Coco Adeyemo