The Runaway Bride Episode 4

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Back in Lagos
Senator Babalola hissed as he walked past the
nurse attending to his wife, he walked to the
sitting room where the commissioner of police
sat with Chief Ajayi; his in-law and business
partner.
“Any news, Gbade” he referred to the
Commissioner not too politely
“None yet honorable, and I am afraid the
press will start cooking up something soon”
“Well, don’t make them” he said in an
angered tone
“So what do you want to tell them?” the
Commissioner asked calmly
“That she was kidnapped, I will not be
shamed on this day. Tell the news men she
was kidnapped”
“But don’t you think that would be unfair”
Chief Ajayi, Tokunbo’s father asked from the
corner of the room.
“Ajayi, we are all here and it is clear with the
look of things, that daughter of mine ran
away, but if you tell the press she did, we
might not get any help in finding her. So let’s
tell the press she was kidnapped and there
would be a reward if there is any information
about her whereabouts.” He explained to the
whole room
At that moment, Tokunbo walked in and
heard what they planned to serve the press,
he was not ok with the idea but agreed
there’s a little sense in it, but he is more
worried about his wife’s whereabouts.
He walked back out to the corridor to meet
his friend Chris who was also on the phone
with someone, on seeing him; Chris ended the
call and sat beside Tokunbo.
“What do you want to do now?”
“Nothing, just wait for a call”
“Can I ask you a question?” Chris asked
“What is it?”
“Do you think she ran away with another
guy?”
“I don’t know, but I don’t think so”
“But you must have seen or heard something
from her before now that would have alerted
you she would be running away”
“Chris, she called me on Thursday and asked
if she could cancel the date we planned, she
said she needed to be somewhere. Each time I
called her after that, she replied with a
message, she said she was busy and was
putting some things in place”
“And you did not bother to see her
yesterday?”
“I did and she seemed different, I just ruled it
off to stress from the whole wedding plans”
“Men! I have never ever seen such in my life,
what was she thinking?”
Tokunbo sat back and could remember when
she said “I do”, she had paused and looked at
him with tears in her eyes and all he could
think about was how beautiful she looked and
she must have been overwhelmed by the
emotions and that was why she hesitated
before replying the pastor with her “I do”
He did not suspect a thing and he did not
expect such.
They had met 5 months ago, he was in the US
when his father went into a business merger
with Chinwe’s father, they had agreed behind
them their children would marry and when
his father told him so, he had been furious
and he reminded him such things happened
centuries ago and people have the choice of
picking their own spouses in this present age.
His father had listened to his rants and made
a deal with him, he should meet with Chinwe
and if he does not like her or vice versa, they
could do without the wedding.
And they met; it was the most exciting and
fulfilling moment of his life. Unconsciously,
he had always imagined her to be a bull eyed
ugly Betty, but when he met her at the
airport, he was blown away by her beauty
and he fell for her personality, pure, gentle,
calm, funny and everything he had always
hoped for in a woman he would marry.
Weeks after meeting, she confessed she felt
the same way; they started talking over the
phone even after she returned to Nigeria.
Their talks were endless; they practically fell
asleep on the phone and talked as soon as
either of them wakes up.
When he moved to Nigeria 2 months after,
they had become inseparable and their
parents had put the wedding plans in gear.
Chinwe started coming to the office and they
would pore over the details of the merger
with their respective fathers.
He fell in love with her and he could swear
she felt the same way.
They planned everything together, they picked
a house together at Lekki and she had
supervised the interior decorations of the
house, she had made plans for the staff and
had taken everything perfectly, ready to settle
into marital bliss with him, or so he thought;
till she ran away from the reception of their
wedding this afternoon with just a message
from the phone she left behind “ I cannot
continue with this ”
Tokunbo had not seen the message early
enough; he had left his phone with his best
friend and best man, Chris, who did not even
look at the screen until they were alarmed
that she had gone missing from her hotel
room where she was supposed to change.
It sounded like a movie narration to him
when his friend whispered it to his ears, he
stood up slowly and followed him to the back
room he had changed in. they called the MC
who only God knows how he managed to
dismiss the guests. His father in law had
called the police immediately and arrests were
made at the hotel; poor staff who probably did
not know who they were dealing with.
She could not have gotten away without a
plan and without help, no she couldn’t have.
How she sneaked away from the whole bridal
train and even the security is a well-planned
strategy that made Tokunbo wonder what
went wrong between Wednesday and
Saturday, why did she come for the wedding
at all when she knew she would be running
away from him?
“Tokunbo, let’s get going, Chris has the car in
front for you” his mother called from the
balcony door,
she was still dressed in her reception attire.
He stood up from where he sat and picked his
phone, the screen saver; Chinwe, was smiling
at him brightly, but it looked more like a
mockery now.
He locked the screen and shoved the screen
in his pocket, he walked ahead of his mother
and went into the car, and Chris was behind
the steering. He drove off without saying a
word; he drove him straight to the apartment
they were supposed to use for tonight before
traveling to Maldives for their honeymoon.
Honeymoon indeed, he felt raw as if someone
had cut him open with something sharp, but
he cannot tell exactly where the pain is
coming from.
Chris handed him a bottle of water already
opened, he remembered taking a sip from it
and that was the last thing he recalled before
sleep took him over. His friend shook his
head sadly at his friend, took off his shoes
and arranged him well on the bed so he could
get some rest.
Drugging him is the best option for now;
otherwise, he would not be getting any sleep
at all.
Honorable Babalola went back into the room
where his wife was seated with their son,
Nkem.
“Have you seen what your daughter has
caused me?” he glared at her menacingly.
Ngozi looked away and focused on the other
side of the room, still her husband pressed
closer to her threatening to pounce on her.
Nkem stood up and walked to the door,
obviously not able to bear the sight any
longer. Any attempt to talk sense to his father
would only infuriate him more; he likes the
attention.
Ngozi could no longer hold back the tears; she
stood up gingerly and walked to the dresser
table,
“Why did you ask them to say she was
kidnapped?”
“Because she was kidnapped, I know you
know about her escape and must have helped
in one way or the other, but I swear if I find
out and it is true, I will make life unbearable
for you”
“You already do, every day when I see you,
life is unbearable, what can you do more than
living?” she laughed sarcastically.
“You will know soon, pray she comes back
soon too” he told her as he went to remove
his shoes, discarding them carelessly around
the room.
“You will use any means to butter your
political ambition would you not, kidnapping
would attract sympathy from the people and
that would fetch you more votes would it
not?” she looked at him with pure disgust.
“Say whatever you please, but pray she comes
to her sense soon and returns home,
otherwise…”
“You practically forced her into the marriage”
she spat back at him
“she wanted it, you idiot, she was willing
even when you were not supportive, do you
think I trust Ajayi one bit, if he aims for a
bigger political position, the only thing that
would stop him from coming after me is the
thought that a smear on me would be a smear
on him, and Chinwe agreed to marry that son
of his, but I should have known you would get
to convince her against it eventually” he
returned hotly.
“If I had my way, I would have convinced her
to leave earlier and not marry anyone
connected to you at all, you evil man”
“well, she did and she must come back and
make me look good and secure my political
seat at the senate as well as my interest in
this business merger, or the gods help me,
heads would row” he swore as he tossed his
agbada angrily at her feet and went into the
bathroom.
Ngozi watched him leave, regretting ever
marrying him and also not being able to make
her daughter confide in her, she knows her
daughter is safe, she just could not say for
how long.
Dele would secretly turn the ends of every
corner he knows to bring her back from
whatever she was trying to escape from.
Ngozi sat back on the bed and looked at her
phone, totally lost at whom to call, all her
friends she knew were at the wedding with
them, who she could be staying with.