Please note that this series contains some sexually explicit content, violence and offensive language. It is not appropriate for children nor an immature and sensitive audience.
A SMALL WORLD - SEASON TWO
Copyright © Ufuomaee
Jason and Fiona were having dinner with Jimmy and his wife, Fatima. They had survived the meal with her family, but it was made clear to them that they wouldn’t get her parents’ nor the Church’s blessing to marry, if Jason refused to be baptised into the Catholic Church, though Fiona no longer saw herself as a Catholic. As far as they were concerned, she still was!
Jason knew of Believers who were unequally yoked in marriage to Catholics, and hadn’t been forced to convert in order to marry. However, they had promised to raise their children up as Catholics, to receive the ordinance of marriage. He was not ready to make such a promise, nor convert, and neither was Fiona interested in raising their children Catholic.
He kept praying for God to make a way though, because he still believed that he had heard God say Fiona was the one. And he had fallen in love with her, and really couldn’t imagine his life without her in it. However, he knew that as much as Fiona loved him, she wouldn’t be happy to marry him without her parents' blessing…and neither would he.
As they ate, he considered his brother and his wife. They had not been of the same Faith when they married. How had they overcome this religious hindrance to marry, and how had they been able to cope with their differing beliefs in marriage? They seemed genuinely happy and peaceful. What was their secret? He decided to ask.
Fatima and Jimmy looked at each other and giggled at Jason’s question. It really hadn’t been easy for them, being married and having differing religious views and passions. But what had helped them were the basic principles that kept relationships together, being mutual understanding, respect and passionate love.
In the beginning, she had been hopeful that he would convert. He had shown an interest in her Faith, even though he didn’t express belief in anything himself. It was this interest and willingness to convert that granted him acceptance by her family. But then, after marriage, he didn’t continue in it. For months, she had felt tricked and was bitter about his change, but she finally accepted him for who he was, and worked on loving him and fulfilling her duties as his wife.
However, his conversion to Christianity had brought the most strain on their relationship. Before, he had no issue with her practice of her religion and never interfered. Now, he sought to turn her from it. Before, he had no problem with his children being exposed to Islam and learning the Quran, but now it was a contentious issue in their marriage. Yes, they were still happy and in love, but it wasn’t easy now that they both had passionate and differing religious beliefs.
Fatima sighed, and decided to try and answer Jason. “It’s really not as easy as it looks. I wouldn’t advise anyone to marry outside their Faith. You guys are lucky that you share the same Faith and understanding…”
Yes, they did. It felt like a light bulb was lit in Jason’s mind. In all this struggle, he almost forgot that the challenge was not about his and Fiona’s incompatibility, but her parents’ religious beliefs. “But, how did you get your parents to agree to you marrying someone outside your Faith?” he asked Fiona.
“I converted,” Jimmy said. “Technically. I just recited the Shahada… At the time, I didn’t see anything wrong with that, since I didn’t have a contrary belief.”
“What is Shahada?” Fiona asked.
“It’s the profession of Faith converts to Islam make. It simply says that they believe there’s no other God but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Prophet,” Fatima answered.
“So, that means you’re Muslim...?” Fiona asked Jimmy.
“No… But it satisfied them at the time. Then, I professed what I was told. Now, I profess what I know…”
“But… Isn’t that deception?” Jason asked, glancing between Jimmy and Fatima.
“I’m not saying it was right. Like I said, I didn’t see anything wrong with that. I was genuinely interested in the Faith…but most of all, I wanted to marry Fatima. I would have said anything!” he laughed. “But on a serious note, if Fiona’s parents are insisting on you getting baptised into their Church before you can marry her, what’s the issue? Is it the water that makes one born again, or the Spirit? If you are born of the Spirit, water baptism will not change that. And if you’re not, it won’t make a difference either. That’s religion for you, my brother!”
Ummm… Jason thought. This was so unconventional. But was his brother on to something? He would have to spend more time in study and prayer to truly understand the significance of water baptism to his Faith, and also the Lord’s will in all this.
Dami had called her uncle and requested to see him that weekend to talk about a few things concerning her wedding. He’d suggested that they meet for lunch at his hotel on Sunday. He wanted to meet her fiancé too.
Dami was pleased when she got to the hotel. It was small, but not overly so. She admired the tasteful furnishings and the economical use of space. The white paint they had used inside and out made the building look regal. And the restaurant was spacious. It was definitely big enough for a small wedding party. She was so excited imagining how the place would be decorated on her special day.
Dami spotted him sitting at a table, reading a newspaper. She went to him, smiling gleefully. “Uncle Ope!!!”
Ope looked up just as Dami swung her arms around him. “Dami!” He hugged her back.
Dami stood up straight and introduced her companion. “Meet my Fiancé… The love of my life, Sola Olatunji.”
Sola blushed at that introduction. He bowed slightly in greeting. “Good afternoon, Sir.”
“Good afternoon, Sola,” Ope said. “How are you?”
“I’m fine, Sir. Thank you.”
“Please… Call me Ope.”
Sola just nodded, and then pulled out a seat for Dami, before taking his. Ope observed this loving gesture and smiled.
“So, Dami… What’s up?”
Dami sighed and looked at her fiancé before answering. “Uncle, we need your help.”
Chidinma was in bed, alone, missing her husband again. It had been almost two months since he had left for Chicago. Though they spoke every day, and communicated constantly through WhatsApp and other useful technology, it couldn’t replace the warmth of his embrace nor the tenderness of his kisses. The thought that she would have to endure another four months of separation from him seemed almost unbearable.
She’d tried calling him tonight, but his phone had rung through both times. It was unusual, and she nervously waited for him to call her back. She didn’t want to go to bed without speaking with him and knowing how his day had been.
She was starting to doze off, when he finally called her back. Sleepily, she answered the call.
“Hey, darling!!! Sorry I missed your call…” Emmanuel said, jovially.
“Our meeting ran over today. Sorry. How was your evening?”
“It was okay. Jonathan crawled today! I am so glad I caught it on video.”
“Yes, I saw it. Thanks for sharing it with me. I miss you guys!”
“I miss you more! How is your project coming along?”
“It’s going great, babe. It’s challenging me and stretching my potential. This job is just what I need,” Emmanuel said, leaning back on his office desk. “I really think you should start packing… I can’t wait another four months to be with my wife again!”
Chidinma giggled. “It’s your cross, Baby… So, you like the City too? Have you found a place for us to stay?”
“I haven’t had a chance to search, Babe… But please, help me out. You can do searches online, and if you see homes you like, you can send me the links to follow up. How about that?”
“That’s not a bad idea. Then I can feel like I chose it too. Okay. What’s our price range?”
Emmanuel laughed. He knew why she was asking. She had rich and expensive taste, being from an affluent home, and without his restraint, she’d probably have him commuting from Beverly Hills to Chicago for work! He told her the amount he believed they could afford, and the areas he was keen on residing. She was happy with his suggestions.
They chatted about a few other things and Chidinma talked about the job she was doing for Tolu’s wedding. Their meeting on Saturday had gone well. Tolu had a clear vision for what she wanted, which always helped. Chidinma was also enjoying working with Lola. Emmanuel was proud of her, and agreed that the wedding would make a great item for her portfolio, which would likely open more doors for her in the States.
Emmanuel spoke of his longing for Chidinma, telling her of the many instances in a day that she came to mind. Chidinma knew he was keen on phone sex, but she was too sleepy to indulge him tonight. Emmanuel said that he would make sure he called earlier tomorrow night, and Chidinma giggled.
“I love you, Baby…” he said, huskily and blew her a kiss goodbye.
“I love you, too. G’night.”
As was in his nature, Ope agreed to support his niece by hosting her wedding at his hotel. They would decorate and provide the hall with every equipment and service needed, and were only charging half-price for catering! He was carrying a huge expense on his head, but he was happy to do it for his niece. He instructed his wife and Cindy to make preparations for the wedding in June.
Promise was not too keen on the extra work the wedding would be bringing in for them, while it was bringing in no financial benefit. In fact, she wasn’t sure they could afford the cost of it. However, Ope told her that it was a first of its kind event that was sure to attract more patronage for the hotel. He just knew it would be a worthy investment.
Cindy was excited about the wedding. It was also an opportunity for her to show off her skills in not only catering, but in planning. She maximised every resource in preparation for the day. She also organised a small cake tasting for the bride, so that she could pick her wedding cake flavours. Promise didn’t learn about this event until the day had come, and she saw Damilola, her sister, sister-in-law to be and mother at the hotel.
She greeted her husband’s elder sister, whom she had met only a few times. “Good afternoon, Mrs Ogunyemi. What brings you here?”
“Hi, Promise. We’ve come for the cake tasting,” she said.
"Cake tasting? Here?”
“Yes, your Chef notified us of it,” Mrs Ogunyemi replied.
“Oh, okay…” Promise said, trying to straighten the frown that was creasing her forehead. “Why don’t you take your seats, and I’ll call her to bring out the cake samples.”
When Promise entered the kitchen, she saw that Cindy had indeed baked a selection of cakes, which she had packaged as cup-cakes for the tasting. She didn’t hold back the frown and disapproval from her face nor her tone.
“What is this all about?” she asked sternly.
“Good afternoon, Madam. I just thought your niece would like to sample the cakes before choosing.”
“They were supposed to bring their own cake! That’s the one thing they are contributing to this wedding!”
“Sorry, Ma. I didn’t know. I thought we were handling the catering…”
“Yes, the food! But even still, why didn’t you check with me, before you decided to invite them over for sampling cake? Can you imagine how it must have seemed to them that I had no idea of such an event…in my own hotel?”
“I’m sorry, Madam. I guess I was so excited about it. It won’t happen again,” Cindy said, bowing respectfully to show her sincerity.
Promise heaved a deep sigh in her annoyance. Especially at blowing up in front of the other staff. “Well, it’s done now. Bring out the cakes you made. They are waiting.”
“Yes, Ma. Thank you.” Cindy finished arranging the trays of cupcakes she had made, and gave one of the servers to take them out to the restaurant for Dami and her family to sample.
When she had composed herself, Promise joined the family to see which of the flavours they loved. They loved them all, but Dami chose her three favourites to make a three-tier cake for her wedding day. Cindy was so pleased. She had even brought a magazine with some cake designs, and Dami had picked a pink, flowery design.
Now, Cindy had inadvertently offered to bake the cake, Promise could not rescind. She told them that there would only be a 25% discount on the cake, if they wanted them to bake it too. Dami had nodded excitedly. She had loved everything about the cake tasting. Especially Cindy.
“Oh, thank you, Aunty!!! You have done so much for me already. God bless you.”
Promise smiled. Genuinely. She remembered that it was all for God in the end. And it was only money. She just wished she had thought of it herself.
To be continued…
Photo credit: www.pixabay.com
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