The Runaway Bride Episode 21

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“But I am a bit confused here, have you seen
Henry?” Chinwe asked, talking for the first
time as they all sat to have the conversation.
“I have seen him and the mark on his head is
the same as the one on my head, I looked at it
when I carried him from the airport, but
believe me, I am not his father.”
“Are you a twin?” Clara asked, sitting upright
in her position now.
“Not that I know of, but I will ask for my
parents to meet us tomorrow so we can talk
about this extensively and see the possibility
of someone else in the family having that
mark.”
“it is not just about the mark, the resemblance
is glaring too”
“I know, but I am not your guy. August 28 or
whatever date you said. I can’t say for sure
where I was or what I was doing, but I
definitely was nowhere near a club not to talk
of raping a woman in that club. I used to
work with my dad, and if I sit to think about
it more, I’m sure I will be able to tell you
exactly where I was on that date. However,
trust me, it would not be at any club. The last
club I entered was in 1998 and it was not
even in Lagos.”
“What have I done, what do we do?” Clara
said, almost in tears already. When she
turned to her friend, she could see her fear
mirrored in her eyes too as Tokunbo stared
calmly at the 2 women. All the while he was
talking, he never mocked, insulted, ridiculed
nor raised his voice.
They were like that for some minutes before
Tokunbo stood up and went to get his phone,
he placed a call to his mother immediately.
“Hello mum, sorry were you sleeping
already?”
“No dear, what is going on there”
“Nothing serious, I just want to ask you and
Dad to please wait for us tomorrow morning,
we will be coming there first thing in the
morning”
“Is everything alright, is Chinwe still acting
the same way?”
“No mum, not Chinwe, we just need you to
help put some light on a particular issue”
“I am worried, I just hope you can give me a
clue of what is going on, would you like me to
pass the phone to your father?”
“No, no need for that, just be available
tomorrow morning please” he ended the call
and placed a call to his doctor immediately.
“Hello Doc, do you run DNA test in your
hospital?”
“Hello Tokunbo, no we don’t, we only sell the
DNA kit and help take samples and send to
another lab outside Nigeria”
“Okay, how soon can the results be out?”
“It depends on the type and how soon it gets
there, but 5 days max, you will get the result
mailed to you”
“Can you take samples tomorrow? What are
the things I need to get?”
“Nothing much just the person whose
paternity has to be determined, the mother
and father”
“Can we do that tomorrow?”
“Why not, we open by 8. I will be here to
attend to you myself”
”Thank you” Tokunbo ended the call and
turned to the women staring at him.
“We all need to get some rest, we will
continue tomorrow”
“But my flight is for tomorrow, what will
happen?”
“We can postpone it till Monday; I understand
you work and would not want to jeopardize
that”
“Okay, we will continue tomorrow then”
Tokunbo walked outside the house and felt
the fresh breeze on his face, he could not
believe he is being wrongly accused and he
had been suffering for another man’s sin;
someone who probably is his lookalike.
Chinwe and Clara went to the room Clara
would be staying and she sat down beside her
friend who could not hold back her tears.
“Clara, stop this for Christ’s sake”
“Do you know what I have done,I made you
believe the wrong information and accused
the wrong person, because if he did not do it,
why would he go to the extent of wanting to
go for DNA?”
“You did not make me believe anything, I
made my decisions and I will have to live
with it.”
“But”
“shhh, we are yet to find out the truth”
“But he is so certain he did not do it”
“I know’
“And as odd as it might sound, I believe him”
“So do I” Chinwe closed her eyes and let the
tears fall freely at her stupidity.
When Chinwe left Clara alone on the phone
with Joseph, she walked to the room and
stopped in her tracks to find Tokunbo already
preparing for the night on her bed.
“Don’t tell me you are surprised to see me
here, I already told you and your friend I did
not rape her. I am sure you won’t expect me
to sleep in the guest room after knowing I
have been wrongly accused ”
“But we are yet to know that”
“I do, I know I did not rape her and she can
take the test anywhere of her choosing after
tomorrow, the result would still be the same.
So don’t expect me to play the fool and suffer
in silence for the sin I did not commit” he
settled in under the duvet and left Chinwe
staring at him with a defeated look.
As she opened the door to leave the room,
Tokunbo stopped her
“If you go to the guest room to sleep, I will
come there to join you also. We are married
and I tend to take my vows seriously, you
hear me, so do whatever it is you do before
bed and get in here, tomorrow, we continue
with who did this.”
Some minutes later, Chinwe joined her
husband in bed and even though they were
not touching in anyway, she could feel his
presence beside her and for the first time
since she can remember, she could not fall
asleep.
She abandoned the thought of getting any
sleep, after a while she stood up and went to
the sitting room where she sat and wept her
heart out. Could she be more stupid? Using
one man’s error to her to judge all others?
********************************************************
In the room also, Joseph was trying to calm
Clara down ; she had not stopped blaming
herself for everything that had transpired
between Chinwe and her husband.
“See, if you keep doing this, I will have to
take the first flight to Lagos tomorrow, you
hear me?”
“You don’t have to”
“Then you need to be strong. For me, for
Chinwe, for Henry and for yourself, you did
the right thing and you have to remain strong
to get to the bottom of this”
“Okay, I just don’t know what would come out
of this”
“But whatever does, you are not to blame,
okay?”
“Okay, thanks”
“And know this I love you and will be waiting
for you on Monday morning, ok?”
Ok” not replying the I love you part for fear of
him saying it only to calm he down
********************************************************
Tokunbo woke up and was surprised to see
Chinwe all dressed up; he looked at the time
and expected to see he has over slept but was
surprised to see it was not even 6:30 am yet.
“Where are you going?”
“Nowhere, I thought we all are going out
early”
“Early, but the hospital opens 8 and we go to
my parents’ place from there, is that what you
are dressed for?”
“Yeah, I assumed we would be leaving early,
we have to so we can get there early”
********************************************
“Yeah, I assumed we would be leaving early,
we have to so we can get there early”
Tokunbo collapsed back on the bed and wiped
his face before replying her calmly.
“Chinwe, we will get there on time and even
after we do, the result still will not be ready
until about 5 days”
“I know, I am just…”
“Anxious?, so am I, but we are not leaving
before 7, your friend still needs the sleep; that
is if she slept at all and besides, that small
boy needs to sleep too, so please, calm
yourself down and relax.” Instead of going
back to sleep, Tokunbo went outside the room
to get a bottle of water but was not surprised
to see Clara boiling water, probably for her
son.
When she saw him, she was startled but
recovered quickly “sorry, I want to be ready
so we won’t have to delay in going”
“No problem and Chinwe is ready too. I will
go and get ready soon but the hospital does
not open till 8 am. I hope we don’t have to
get there to wait, so we might all still have a
little time to have breakfast”
“I don’t think that is necessary, I will just
make some golden morn for Henry before we
go. I don’t think I will be able to eat”
That is alright, but take your time” Tokunbo
left the kitchen and went back into the room,
this time Chinwe is slumped over a pile of
pillows and she looked like she has been
crying. Tokunbo felt like comforting her and
reassuring her but did not know how to start,
so he went into the bathroom instead to have
his bath.
When they got to the hospital, the doctor true
to his words was waiting for them. After the
payments were made, Tokunbo was asked to
open his mouth and the nurse in attendance
poked an object that looked like a longer
version of a q-tip into his mouth and scrapped
the side of his cheek followed by Henry and
then Clara; hers was to make the result very
accurate.
Forms were filled and he put his email
address, Chinwe and Clara’s email addresses
as the reply routes, the doctor spoke with
them on the possibilities of getting the results
later than Friday but assured them he would
try his best to make everything be on time.
Before they left the hospital, his mother had
called about 4 times and when he did not
pick, she sent him 2 messages; warning him
not to be the reason she would have a heart
attack
When they got to his parents’ house he met
his mother at the door as he was about to lead
his companions into the gigantic mansion that
he grew up in.
“Why have you not been picking your calls
nor replying my messages, do you want to kill
me?”
“Good morning ma” Tokunbo replied instead
and the people with him greeted before his
mother would allow them into the house
“You called since last night and instead of you
to get here as soon as you can this morning,
you ….”
“Woman, they are here now, at least you can
see they are with guests, so why don’t you let
them feel welcome” Chief Ajayi answered
from the corner of the room and they all
greeted him before they were seated at the
veranda at the back of the house.
“Mum, Dad, that is Clara and her son Henry,
she is a friend of Chinwe, they were friends
from way back” not knowing how long
precisely
“Welcome my dear, how are you”
“Fine sir, thank you ma” Clara replied calmly
“I don’t know the softest way to say this, but
Clara here believes I am the father of her
child; Henry”
“What, do you know her or what is the
meaning of that claim” his mother cut into his
sentence
“I have never met her, but she was raped 4
years ago by someone and she got pregnant
and she believed I was the culprit, which
Chinwe later heard about and I asked to meet
her so we could clear things out”
“Is that why you ran away Chinwe?”
“One of the reasons, yes”
“Clara, how certain are you of these
allegations because my son says he did not
rape you”
“As certain as I was, but now I am no longer
sure”
“But what were you hoping to gain from such
ludicrous allegation, saying something like
that about a man you have never met, what
do you want, money?”
“Mum!”
“ma, with all due respect, if I wanted money I
would not be here, I just wanted to protect my
friend from the man I thought him to be and
if you look clearly at Henry, you will see the
reason for my claim, forgetting the face of the
man who rapes one is not the easiest thing to
achieve ma. So if you can help us with family
members that bear the same resemblance with
Tokunbo, maybe we all can finally move on
with our lives”
“We don’t have lunatics in our family young
lady and..”
“Come here boy” Tokunbo’s father beckoned
on Henry and with the look on his face, it was
clear he sees the resemblance too. Chief Ajayi
touched the base of his birthmark and looked
at Tokunbo.
“Go to the shelf in my study and get the
albums, all the old albums you can get from
there”
“What is the need for all that; I still don’t
believe her for one moment”
“Why not let’s settle this like sensible people,
if she wanted money as she said, it would be
over the news now, don’t you think?”
When Tokunbo returned with the albums,
about 6 in all, Chief Ajayi started flipping
through them and were looking at Henry
when he got to a particular page of the
second album he picked. With a sigh, he
passed the album to Clara and Chinwe, in the
album were pictures of Tokunbo, looking
exactly like Henry, the resemblance cannot be
dismissed at all. Clara also pulled some from
her bags and handed them to Chief Ajayi, who
looked through them patiently before passing
them to his wife, who flipped through them
hurriedly before dropping them carelessly on
the coffee table beside her husband
“Tokunbo, I will ask you again as your father,
even though you already said it, did you have
an affair with this woman or any woman that
could have resulted to this boy here”
“No sir, I swear it and I am ready to do
anything to prove it wrong, I did not know
her before I met her yesterday”
“That settles it then, Clara or what is your
name, my son is not responsible. I am sure
there are ways we can help you, out of the
goodness of our hearts, consider it charity”
his mother interrupted again
“Ma, keep your money, I have been able to
care for him single handedly till now and I
will continue to with the help of God, and if
you think this is still about money, then ma,
you don’t have any compassion”
“Will you insult me in my own home?”
“Listen, this is not the time to trade words,
we are here to find solutions, so please, let’s
all calm down so we can find solution. Daddy
please, is there anyone in the family, who you
think has that kind of resemblance with
Tokunbo, or someone with the birthmark, we
can start from there”
“as a matter of fact, I can’t think of any,
when she had Tokunbo, he was the first of
his kind in my family to have that kind of
mark, even my mother who was alive then
thought it was a birth injury and we did all
we could, even outside Nigeria to get it off or
find its cause, but nothing worked. A doctor
friend of mine asked us to rule it to genetic
marker that could have been recessive in our
lineage both for years.”
“It is the same with Henry, I saw that mark
clearly on the head of the man who raped me
and when I saw it on Henry, I and Chinwe
tried to find a way to get rid of it but nothing
worked too”
“That is that, there is a sure way to find out
the truth and that is through DNA testing”
“We already stopped at the hospital and
Doctor Kunbi should be sending it off now to
the US for analysis, he promised to press some
buttons so we can get the results within a
week”
“Very good, so in the mean time Clara, let’s all
continue with our lives, we will get to the
bottom of this, but I can assure you, if there is
any other information that would be helpful
to this matter, I will get in touch with your
friend”
“Thank you so much sir”
“You are welcome, where do you live, so the
driver can drop you off”
“She came in from Uyo yesterday and luckily
she would be able to make her flight back”
“Ok, then the driver can take you to the
airport. Little Henry, take care of your
mother, hmm?” He rubbed his head and
pulled some wads of clean naira notes and
gave to him
“I am sorry we won’t take that sir”
“It is for the boy”
“sorry but I will not allow it, please, when
next we meet, under a better circumstance,
maybe when Chinwe delivers a bouncing baby
boy, anything you give to Henry then might
be appropriate”
She took the money from Henry who was not
too cooperative and she straightened the bills
and placed them on the coffee table before
picking up her photos.
Chief Ajayi watched the young woman with
admiration and he could conclude in his heart
that she was not doing all this for money. He
looked at his wife who suddenly had gone
silent and went with them to the car park to
give instructions to the driver.
Clara and Chinwe hugged tightly and she
picked Henry up to give him a kiss on the
cheek, which he did not stop wiping till they
drove out of sight.
“Now that she is gone, can I see the 2 of you
in private?”. Chief Ajayi led the 2 of them to a
door that led to a large study and he asked
them to sit
“First, I want to thank God for this
opportunity because since Chinwe returned, I
have been hoping to get a chance to talk to
both of you. I will be fast about it, and when I
am through, if you have anything to say,
anything at all, please feel free to do so, are
we on the same page?”
“Yes sir”
“Fine, Chinwe I want to assume you ran away
from the reception because of this rape
allegation, am I correct?”
“Partly sir, I have another reason but”
“Then on a side of the coin, would you have
left the reception if the rape case was not
brought to your notice?”
“No sir”
“Then you ran away because of it, I might be
wrong but leave me to my conclusion. What I
just want to say is this, I know you feel we
pushed this whole marriage thing down your
throat, but just to make it clear, I told my son
specifically to see you and decide if he would
love to marry you, if not then we would not
allow it. I am a proud man yes, but I would
love to tell you here and now that I will not
subscribe to anything that would make either
of you unhappy. In relationships, there are
always hurdles, we jump over them with the
strength we get come love from our partner
and the information we get from the
communication. I am sure if you told Tokunbo
about what you learned, he would have told
me and we would have sorted it without you
having to run away, but all that is in the past
now
I am confident there is something about the 2
of you that is beautiful, so I would like you
both to go home and try to build a home and
shut out all the noise and the distractions, if
things are not working as you expect, lock the
doors and settle it before you allow anyone
else in or before either of you go out. So is
there something either of you would like to
say?”
“Just that I am sorry for whatever my action
might have cost you, I am truly sorry. But
what do we do about the DNA test, what if it
is positive or negative or…?”
“In the mean time, we wait, when it comes,
we will have another meeting like this, but I
want to bet you that it would not be positive, I
know the boy I raised to become a man, he
would not look me in the eye and tell me
otherwise if he actually did it, especially
something of this magnitude”