Jessica concentrated on taking in air and releasing it but even at that,
her breathing was terribly fast and her chest 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 spot, too stupefied to do anything
suddenly charged to the front, marching to the podium. All he could
see was Sonia and he would not stop 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 stopped 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, please leave the way” He growled.
“What do you want to do?”
“What sort of rubbish is this dad? What kind of stunt is this? Why are
you doing this?” Andy’s hands were fisted and ready to charge. The
only problem is that he could not punch his own father.
“I am saving your sorry ass. 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 senselessness” 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 camera 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
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 camera and went back to the house to get the
camera. I played what I saw on it just in case and saw some love
scenes, just as I was about to stop it, I stumbled on the very
interesting scene where Sonia came 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 making my
own decisions and choices” Andy yelled.
“Even stupid decisions like a contract wedding? What happened to a
“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
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
senses were the murmurings she heard and the loud accusations.
Her uncle suddenly appeared in front of her, his face as tight as hard
rock. He seized her hand roughly and started pulling her out of the
hall. She staggered behind him but he did not slow. When they got
outside, her hand came free but pain shot through her like lightening
as her uncle’s hand connected with her cheek. She winced and moaned
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 sobbed. “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 through the crowd that Jessica was just
noticing. “Funsho! Stop 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 ready 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
Andy charged through the door. “Where is Jessica?” he yelled. No one
was ready 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 stopped abruptly and started tugging off her shoes. She
did not care if her bare 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
Andy’s arms closed around Jessica immediately, dragging her against
him forcefully. She did not know that she was being followed but even
as the familiar hands wrapped around her, she started struggling.
“Please Jessica, sweetheart, please 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 chest
and cried. Andy’s heart was shattered into pieces. It took all his
willpower to stop 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.
Andy was not sure he had answers to any of the questions she asked.
He hugged her tightly. “It is going to be alright Jess. I love you,
nothing can change that. We would get through this” he kissed her
head and held her close. He called the driver that brought them to the
party and within minutes, the driver arrived. Andy was happy that the
driver had not witnessed all that took place because the driver looked
shocked when he saw Jessica crying.
“Is everything OK ma’am?” he asked with concern.
Jessica could not answer.
“She would be fine” Andy replied and took Jessica to the backseat,
sitting beside her also. The driver picked up Jessica’s shoes and purse
which was scattered on the road and put them in the car as he got
behind the wheels. Andy pulled Jessica back into his arms and she
rested her head on his chest. Jessica sniffed and swallowed as her
tears stopped. Andy stroked her head slowly and kissed the top of her
head. He felt responsible for this occurrence. He never should have
accepted the idea of a party, especially one which was being organized
by his own father. His father had always been mischievous and
spontaneous when it comes to the family name. To his father, nothing
was more important and anything should be done when something
untoward surfaces, even if it meant having a sacrificial lamb.
Jessica was already asleep when they arrived home and he was greatly
relieved. He carried her inside the house and straight to the bed. When
he placed her on the bed, she sniffed like a baby that just finished
crying and folded her knees, towards her chest. Andy swallowed and
kissed her cheek as he ran his fingers through her hair. His temples
throbbed. He had promised to protect her and make her happy but no,
all he had been able to give her was more and more pain. He felt
terribly devastated. He wanted to remove Jessica’s clothes and jewelries
so that she would sleep more comfortably but he remembered that she
did not get anything to eat at the party before it crumbled. He
covered Jessica with a blanket and put on the air conditioner. He went
to the kitchen but did not see any food there. Cooking seemed to be
out of it because he did not feel up to it so he picked up the car keys
and wallet and left the house to get food at the eatery.
He wished he had not relieved the driver, he would have sent him to
get the food while he held Jessica as she slept. He thought of how
small she looked as she slept; she looked like a little girl who was
afraid of a stormy rain. After he got the food, he got back into the
car and drove home. He locked up the doors and went inside the room
but received a very big shock when he found the bed empty.
Sonia left the podium, feeling very low. She had just acted a script for
personal benefit at the expense of her friend’s happiness. Sonia had
always been jealous of Jessica’s pronounced beauty even though the
person in question seemed not to notice it but instead, tried in vain to
look unattractive. She started wearing various flashy clothes just to
feel more beautiful whenever Jessica was around and her job at the
bank enhanced it but Jessica never even noticed this act, no one did
because Sonia was very discrete. Her jealousy had turned to envy when
Jessica announced that she would be getting married to the richest
bachelor in the country. Why couldn’t it be her? Why was it always
Jessica? All this questions had clung to her subconscious. Jessica
noticed that Lizzy was becoming closer to Jessie than she was and she
became suspicious then one day, she got the golden ticket when she
eavesdropped on their conversation and heard them talking about a
contract. All that came to Sonia’s mind then had been to snatch Andy
by seducing him but when she found out that he was loyal to Jessica
and even seemed to have feelings for her, she became confused but the
answer came looking for her.
“Sir” she called when she sighted Mr. Williams. “My job is done and
your son is not involved, he appeared to be the victim of the whole
“Yes, good job” Mr. Williams said dryly.
Sonia canceled the irritation she felt at the nonchalant dismissal. “Sir,
if you would give me my due, I would be on my way”
The elderly man faced her slowly. “You said that lady is your friend.
Don’t you feel guilty for what you did to her?”
Sonia was thrown off balance by the question but after thinking about
it she decided. “No. I am doing the right thing. What they both did is
wrong. No one should get married for money. She got what she called
for” Sonia remembered how stunning and sophisticated Jessica had
looked when she arrived at the party. She looked perfect and
everyone’s eyes, especially the men had followed her around. He could
almost feel the jealousy in their eyes as well as the desire to be in
Andy’s position. The ladies had also admired her beauty and coveted it.
Sonia remembered the golden costume jewelries that Jessica wore and
anger clouded her senses. She had no doubt that the jewelries would
cost a fortune.
Mr. Williams looked at the woman in front of him and shook his head
in disgust. “You are the worst friend a human being can have, it would
be better to be friends with the devil himself.” The words stung Sonia
painfully. He withdrew a check of 10 million Naira and gave her. “I
don’t want to set my eyes on you again”. He turned and walked away.
“Jessica” he called out with his heart pounding but did not hear any
response. Alarm bells rang in his head and he flung the package he was
holding, not caring where it landed. “Jess” he called louder. He
checked the toilet and every corner of the room but did not find her.
He started searching everywhere in the house, yelling ‘Jessica’ but he
got no response. He hurriedly unlocked the door and went to his
“Did Jessica leave the house?”
“Yes, oga. She just commot, she no tell me anything”
“Oh my God” He groaned. “Why did you not stop her? What is
happening for Christ’s sake?”
“Oga, abeg no vex”
“Shut up and open the bloody gate.” Andy yelled. The young man spun
Andy jumped into his car and drove out with his blood boiling. He
started driving and searching for Jessica. He crosschecked everyone
twice even though he knew he would identify Jessie immediately he
sighted her. After more than thirty minutes of fruitless search, Andy
had to confront the fact that Jessica was nowhere to be found.
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