The Runaway Bride Episode 9

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Tokunbo could not believe his ears that
Chinwe had been found and she was willing
to return only on the condition that they
would not ask for the involvement of those
who helped her hide all the while. Of course
her father would have refused if he had not
put down his foot that they leave out the
police until she’s found.
He was surprised the man has no thought for
his daughter’s life and all he could think was
the shame she had made him go through.
Tokunbo had informed him angrily that
Chinwe was not kidnapped but she ran away,
and if she was willing to return on that
condition then it would be reasonable for
them to accept her back and keep the police
and the press away, or her father’s lies would
blow up in his face.
The last part must have driven a point home
as he agreed to leave the police behind and
asked for a private jet to take them to Uyo and
back.
All he could think about aboard the jet was
what the reaction would be when she sees
him and him, her. He watched out the little
window as the objects below appeared bigger
in preparation for landing. Chinwe’s father
was as anxious as he was for the plane to
land, maybe for different reasons, but they
were both anxious.
“Sir, I would advise we don’t cause
unnecessary scene when we see her, people
might get to know and news would travel”
“What scene would I probably cause, she just
has to get on the plane, all that would be
handled when we get back to Lagos”
“yes sir”
When they landed, Tokunbo walked quietly
behind his father in law, the man who
walked closely behind him; they were
directed to the VIP lounge where Chinwe was
waiting with the woman who called them.
And there she was, sitting stiffly like he
imagined, looking cold and ready to cause a
scene if they triggered it. Tokunbo suddenly
could not make use of his feet, they became
too heavy for him to pull, he watched in relief
mixed with shock as their eyes met, he
wished to run and take her in his arms, but
her eyes told him to stay put and his body
seems to obey.
Her father walked to her and stared at her for
some seconds before moving to the woman
sitting some distance away with her husband,
he thanked her and they talked for some
minutes before he went back to Chinwe and
Tokunbo watched as he pulled her up and
they walked past him at the door and went
back to the aircraft. He followed them and
could not place a thought on why he was the
object of her coldness, which confirmed to
him, he was the reason she left in the first
place.
Her father pushed her not too gently on the
seat behind him, the seat Tokunbo had used
on their flight to Uyo, he watched at the door
as the couple that helped them find her sat at
the other end of the aisle. Tokunbo walked
and took the seat beside her as it was obvious
that was what her father wanted. She buckled
herself in as the flight attendant came in to
ask if there was any way she could help them.
Tokunbo has a lot of questions to ask and he
almost forgot that there would be no
confrontation, not at the airport and not in
the aircraft until they were back in their
apartment in Lagos.
The engine of the aircraft revved and he
strapped himself in his seat and rested his
head on the headrest, taking a deep breath to
clear his head and get his common sense to
the surface. They took the rest of the journey
in silence.
When they arrived Lagos an hour and half
later, Tokunbo was surprised to see Chinwe
dozing beside him and he was stricken by her
beauty as she slept. He shook her gently and
she woke up, he walked out of the aircraft
leaving her with her father and to make a call
for the driver to come to the tarmac to get
them, in order not to attract people to them;
they would be easily recognized here in Lagos
than in Uyo.
Safely driven to his father in law’s house,
Tokunbo met his parents there waiting to see
if it was true, they were happy for a safe trip
but when they saw Chinwe, they did not
know what best way to react, either to
welcome her back or to ask if she was alright.
Chinwe was led to the sitting room by her
father who asked his son; Nkem to dismiss all
the staff working in the house at that time, so
they could have the proper privacy they
would need
When she saw her mother, Chinwe ran to her
and hugged her tight; both women sobbed
uncontrollably, the first emotion she showed
since she was picked at the airport. No one
needed to look at her father to know he was
ready to spit fire but probably was holding
back because of his in laws. When Chinwe’s
brother returned from dismissing all the staff,
they all sat down and of course, Chinwe’s
father started.
“I would like to welcome you both my in laws
and we have to thank God for the safe return
of this…., well before I ask if anyone has
something to say, young woman, can you
please tell us what on earth you were thinking
to have taken such act on your wedding day”
“Chief, I think what we need her to do now is
to rest for a while, she is back and we would
like to put all this behind us”
“But, dear, we need to know why she ran
away, is it because of something your
husband did or something else?” Tokunbo’s
mum asked.
“But at the moment we are all hurt and
tensed, making her talk would only end in
raising our voices and I don’t know about
you, I think we all need the rest after being
assured of her return and safety”
“I still want to hear what her reasons are and
who her helpers could be or we are not
leaving here tonight”
“Chief…”
“If you want to know why I ran away… it’s
because I no longer want to be married to the
man you chose for me, you picked him and I
went along with your choice, but I am making
a choice of my own now, I no longer want to
be married to him” Chinwe replied defiantly.
“What has changed dear, I thought…” her
mom cut in
“Mom, a lot has changed and I would like to
be free from this wedding, I want a divorce”
“Di….vorce?” They all echoed as if they heard
her wrongly.
“If you have a reason on why you want to be
divorced, why not tell all of us here, but it is
too late to be thinking about divorce, I
thought the two of you were getting along just
fine even though it was all arranged from the
beginning” her mother in law reasoned
calmly.
“Ma, with all respect, my reasons would be
secret”
“If you cannot tell us the reason why you ran
away and why you are asking for a divorce? I
am commanding it now as your father and the
head of this family that you are going back to
his house with him tonight otherwise, I swear
to you, you have just woken the beast in me”
“Chief, I advise that you calm down, I suggest
we take Tokunbo to a separate room and you
speak with your daughter, she might not want
to tell us but she could open up to you in
private”
Tokunbo’s father stood up and his wife did
the same, they waited for Tokunbo to stand,
who all the while had not said anything but
was staring at Chinwe. He finally stood up
and went with his parents to the visitor’s
room opposite the living room where his in
laws were seated.
“Chinwe, what is the problem, what
happened?”
“Mummy…” Chinwe broke into tears again as
her mother tried to console her.
“Listen to me you foolish girl, if not because
you are now married and I wouldn’t waste my
energy, I would have stripped you naked here
and flog you till you no longer can walk. I
don’t care what that guy has done or what it
is you found out about him, I am not ready to
lose to Ajayi. If you know what is best for
you, you will go with him and be the best
wife to him, Divorce is not even an option”
“But don’t you think we have to listen to her
reason before…”
“will you shut up your mouth you older fool ,
I am still trying to disbelieve the fact that you
did not help her run away, so if you know
what is best for both of you, talk sense into
her head and make her go back with him
tonight or your life is over. I swear, your life
would be over if she dares says no when they
return”
“Wait, please, I am begging you, anything you
want to do to me please do but don’t hurt
them. Don’t condemn her to an unhappy
marriage as I have been condemned, let’s
hear her reasons.”
“Daddy, please…. I don’t want to marry him,
he is a monster…”
“Even if he is the devil, you are staying with
him, when I am dead, you can get out of the
marriage, but not before then. And as for you,
who condemned you too an unhappy
marriage? It is your choice and you should
live with it”
With that said, he walked out of the room and
slammed the door behind him, he returned
some minutes later, not sparing the crying
women a glance nor the young man who was
barely keeping his anger in check.
“Yeah, we found my daughter today, it seems
she was able to escape the kidnappers and
made her way to the airport, we found her
today and she’s home with me now”
After the call to the police, he called some
newspaper reporters too and told them the
same thing before ending the call and taking
the seat he vacated before; waiting for his in
laws.
When the Ajayis finally came out of the room,
Tokunbo’s mother was wiping her face,
obviously she had been crying, hoping to get
information from her son that could have
made his wife run away on their wedding
day.
“Welcome back, were you able to get anything
from him?”
“Nothing, I think it is between them and
maybe we should leave them to talk so we can
know the next step”
“There’s no need for that, we already decided
here, she is going back with him”
“Sir, I don’t think that is necessary, if she
wants to stay here, it is fine by…” Tokunbo
tried to talk some sense into the situation, so
he could understand it himself.
“She is going back with you” Chief Babalola
declared with set eyes on Tokunbo, a tone of
voice that left no room for further bandying.
Chief Babalola stood up and with that his in
laws also got to their feet and he turned to
his son, get the drivers and you” he turned to
Chinwe, who was still folded in her mother’s
arms “get up and go rinse your face, before
the drivers get here”
He preceded Chinwe into the hallway that
leads to a bathroom for the visitors; she
walked with a slumped shoulder as if the
weight in her heart would break her down
any moment.
Tokunbo’s heart went out to her immediately,
he wished he could give her comfort and
protect her, but here she is, rejecting him for
reasons only known to her. She needs lots of
protection from her father but she rather
would continue to stay with him than stay
married to him.
In the bathroom, Chinwe supported her
weight on the counter that holds the
washbasin, looking at herself in the mirror
and how close she was to escaping this life.
The door to the bathroom opened suddenly
and her father came in.
“Hurry up with that and don’t keep them
waiting”
“you really would not listen to me? You are
selling me off because of your greed and
black heart, I hate you so much and I wish I
was never born” she told him in the meanest
voice she could muster.
“It doesn’t matter what you feel, all I care for
now is that you remove yourself out of this
house soon”
Janet came to the bathroom but was
prevented from coming in by her husband
who kept leering at her with so much hate in
his eyes
“What, won’t you allow me to see her alone
before she is shipped off to your business
partner?”
“I will not spare you a minute with her; who
knows what the plan would be this time,
hmmn Ngozi”
“You give us a minute alone, where could she
probably run to at this time and in this house
or are you already losing touch with your
powers?”
“Fools, one minute or I swear…”
“swear what?, to beat me like you always do?,
please don’t hold back, what wonderful scene
that would be to our in laws and what a good
message that also would be for your son in
law, at least with his father in law beating his
mother in law, what stops him from tying his
wife to the bed and giving her a good beating
once she upsets him, hmmm?”
“Don’t stay too long and don’t make me get
come get you” he turned to Chinwe and
sauntered out of the bathroom
Finally at last, Chinwe broke down in front of
her mother who quickly gathered her into her
arms and held her tight, her heart was also
shattered that she could not protect her
daughter from these pains neither could she
take her place. She would have taken the
maltreatment of her husband a thousand folds
more if it would free her but she knows she
would not be able to.
“Baby, what has he done, why do you no
longer want to marry him, I thought you two
were beginning to like each other”
“He ….oh God, he is not who he seems or says
he is and I just don’t think I am ready,.. ”
“Honey, all this you are saying is medicine
after death and you should have made your
decisions and acted upon them before the
wedding”
“Mum, I did but I …”
“You should have told me, I would have
arranged for you to be taken out of the
country, I thought you wanted the wedding,
and I was happy you could finally be free of
your father, but now that you married him,
things are a bit …. You know?” she said in a
firm voice that surprised Chinwe even though
she had tears in her eyes too.
“I know, I have to live with my decisions”
Chinwe said with a sigh that further broke
her mother’s heart.
“I wish I could help, but I am glad you are
safe and alive, I almost died when they could
not find you, your brother was the only sane
reason I was holding on to hope”
“Did he blame you for my action?”
“Of course he did, but I no longer care, he
could beat me and blame me for the rest of
his years on earth, all I am after is the
happiness of my children” she said with a sad
smile on her face.
“Mum, you have endured it enough; you
should get out of this house and his life
before he does a permanent damage”
“He already has done that but believe me; it is
just for a little while more”
“What has he done, tell me mum”
Her mother held her shoulders tightly and
shook her once, “listen to me Chi, wash your
face and leave me with him, I have borne it
this far and believe me, I can for a few years
more, just go far away from here, he will calm
down and things will be better”
“I am sorry of all that my actions have
brought on you, I am so sorry” she hugged
her mother tightly and when she pulled back
she decided to face the music and dance to
the tune, her mother would constantly be the
object of her father’s fury with any news of
her truancy inn her husband’s house. Her
mother has paid a lot for her to be in this
position and now that she’s married, she
would make her status to reduce her mother’s
suffering.
If staying married to Tokunbo Ajayi would
make her father stop beating her mother then
married to him it would be, but it would not
be a happy marriage.