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
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the union of Olusola Olatunji and Damilola Ogunyemi in holy matrimony. This is an honourable estate, that is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently and soberly…” the Minister had begun.
Dami was smiling from ear to ear. Her wedding day had finally arrived, and it was going to be wonderful. She was so happy to be marrying the man she loved, and to do so in a Church, even though she was evidently pregnant. She didn’t care anymore that her stomach was protruding outwards. She had been able to get the dress adjusted to fit her growing bump, and her flat white shoes, which she had purchased a size bigger a couple of months ago, now fit perfectly.
Sola was working hard to maintain his smile. He was sweating and feeling rather claustrophobic in the Anglican Church, where they were being joined in marriage. Though he loved Dami, and knew he wanted to marry her, he didn’t feel ready. He had really wanted to wait until he was financially comfortable to get married, but she’d assured him that she was ready to marry him, even if he had no kobo to his name. He wasn’t sure she really understood the promise she was making.
Dami smiled at Sola, observing that he was a little sweaty. She hoped it wasn’t from nerves. She too was feeling a little hot, because of her gown, and also because the baby in her womb raised her body temperature, so she constantly needed to be in a well air-conditioned room to be comfortable.
She looked about the Church hall at the faces that stared back at her. She was happy to see her friends Mary, Ifeanyi, Ijeoma and Chuka seated among the congregation. A few of her friends from her school days, NYSC and Church were also there. She smiled at a couple who had waved at her, before she returned her attention to the Minister.
The Minister had already begun to recite Sola’s wedding vows for him to repeat. He repeated after the Minister. It was Dami’s turn, and she said her vows looking passionately into Sola’s eyes. She giggled afterwards, and he smiled warmly at her.
As Dami had said her vows to him, Sola had listened to each line. “For better or worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health.” He’d gulped. Had he really promised these same things to her?
It was time to exchange the rings. Everything was going so fast. Could he really do this? Sola looked about the room filled with his friends and family, and those of his bride. They had brought all these people here today to witness a wedding ceremony. Now was not the time to be having doubts, he thought.
He remembered a chat he’d had with Dami’s Uncle, Ope, last week. Ope had sensed his nerves and asked him if he really loved Dami. He’d affirmed that he did. Ope had told him that marriage is scary and risky business, but it takes genuine faith and love to succeed. He’d also said that he was proud of Sola for doing the right thing and looking after his family. Ope had said, “If you trust in God, God will certainly see you through any and everything…”
Sola was stirred to the present as the Minister declared, “I now pronounce you Man and Wife. You may kiss the bride…”
Wow, it was over! Just like that? Sola took Dami into his arms and kissed her, as the congregation cheered. They were married now, and the world hadn’t ended. He held her hand, as they faced the Minister for the completion of the ceremony.
Dami and Sola’s guests flocked to the Reception venue at The Promise (formerly Lily’s Dream Hotel and Suites), when the Church ceremony was concluded that afternoon. Ope had rebranded the hotel and renamed it after his wife, as her Valentine’s gift. He thought the name was inspired, and Promise loved it. It affirmed that she had truly been entrusted with the business of running the hotel, and the name also promised a bright future for them, in business and in marriage.
The restaurant was well furnished and decorated in burnt orange and teal, which were the colours the couple had chosen for their aso'ebi. A long buffet table lined one of the walls, and filled the room with the mouth-watering smell of grilled chicken, jollof rice, fried plantains and other native dishes. A small band played soft, uplifting jazz music as the guests filtered in to take their seats.
The hall had been divided into six long banquet tables. There was one for the Bride’s friends, and another for the Bride’s family. There was a table for the Groom’s friends and another for his family. There was a general table for well-wishers, who didn’t fit neatly into any of these categories. And finally, the High Table, that was for the parents of the Bride and Groom and their special guests.
Damilola and Sola had their loveseat by the band and a small gifts’ stand. There was no room for dancing as the hall had been maximally used. However, there was some space in the foyer by the restaurant, which had been designated for dancing, at the climax of the festivities.
Mary, Ijeoma, Chidinma, Ifeanyi and Chuka took their seats at the Friends of the Bride’s banquet table. They were advised on the order to go and serve themselves food from the buffet. Only the guests on the High Table were served their food, after they had placed orders. However, small-chops, wedding cake and other desserts were brought to each of the banquet tables at designated times. Waiters were also on ground to serve chilled soft and alcoholic beverages.
Chidinma admired the simplicity of the Reception. She was keen to know who had catered for the event or if it was done in-house. It was quite exquisite. She thought she could employ their services to cater for Tolu’s wedding too.
Nomnso and Kemi arrived a little late to the Reception, and took their seats at the Well-Wishers’ table, as all the other tables were already filled up. Nomnso had not yet met Promise, Kemi’s sister, nor her husband, Ope. However, Kemi had told him that they were the owners of the Hotel, and he would likely be meeting them today. He was nervous and hoped that they would like him.
Ope attended the wedding Reception and took his seat at the Well-Wishers' table. He noticed Kemi with a young man at the far end of the table. She smiled and waved when their eyes met. He decided he would go over and sit closer to them.
Kemi stood up to hug him when he came near. “Hi, Ope, meet my boyfriend, Nomnso.”
Nomnso smiled and extended a hand in greeting. He bowed his head and greeted, “Good afternoon, Sir. You have a lovely hotel.”
“Good afternoon, Nomnso. Thank you.” When he was seated, he asked, “So, how did guys meet?”
Kemi beamed at Nomnso. “At Camp.”
“What are your intentions with my sister?” Ope asked, dropping the ‘in-law’.
He loved to catch them unawares with this question. It often threw them off, but in the split second when they were thinking of how to respond, Ope was able to see if they genuinely had feelings for his nieces or sisters, or if they were just out to have fun. Nomnso looked like he was serious.
Nomnso swallowed, thrown aback by the direct question. “Well… I love her,” he said, surprising himself, Kemi and her uncle. He swallowed again. “I guess, ultimately, when we are ready, I hope we can get married someday.”
Kemi was beaming. She turned to Nomnso. “I love you, too.” He smiled widely and took in a deep breath.
Ope thought he had done enough for now. Later, he would need to meet with Nomnso to know him more. He was pleased when he saw Cindy pass by as she made her way to the loveseat, to speak with the Bride. He wanted to speak with her and tell her what a good job she had done to make this their first successful event.
When all the festivities were done, the friends of the Bride and Groom remained to dance and mingle, while the older generation either sat at their tables drinking, or went home or out to grace another event.
Kemi introduced Nomnso to her sister, Promise. Promise liked him, because he seemed to genuinely care for Kemi, but she worried if he had a strong enough foundation to lead her strong-minded sister.
Cindy was monitoring the waiters as they cleared up, and saw that Ope was alone on his table, sipping on a cocktail. She had been longing for an opportunity to talk to him since she had seen him walk in to the Reception. She went to ask if he needed a top up of his drink. He turned down her offer, but suggested she get herself a drink and come and chat with him for a while.
Cindy was overjoyed by the offer. She went to the bar, where she was served a small cocktail, and returned to sit with Ope.
“Thank you,” she said, when she had settled in her seat.
“No, thank you! I’ve been watching how busy you have been sorting out this event. You’ve really done well. My niece is very happy!”
“Thanks! But Madame Promise helped a lot.”
Ope looked in Promise’s direction and saw that she was watching him and Cindy. He gave her a small smile, but she averted her gaze. He looked at Cindy again. She was wearing more make-up than usual, and looked so pretty.
“Yes, you both did good. When do you think we can host another party?”
Cindy gushed. “You know, I was just about to ask you the same thing! Do you think we can host more events like this? It doesn’t always have to be weddings.”
Ope nodded. “I think so.” He sighed. His next question was a bit personal for a Boss/Employee relationship, but Cindy was more than an employee to him. She was also his friend. “So, what are you doing about your love life?”
Cindy blushed, because Ope was looking at her in her eyes. Does he know that I’m in love with him? She looked away. “There’s really no time with all the work I have to do… I’m always at the hotel.”
“We make time for the things that matter to us. The hotel will go on with or without you. You need a life apart from this.”
Cindy nodded. “What can I do? I go to Church… I go to the market sometimes… Do I have to go to the club to meet a guy? I believe if I am about my Father’s business, He will cater for my needs, even with this…”
Ope smiled. “Ummm… That’s true. Maybe, one of these days, you will meet someone at one of our events?”
Cindy returned his smile and breathed, wistfully. “Yeah… Maybe.”
Promise left the party to go out for some fresh air. She hadn’t liked seeing Ope with Cindy, even though she knew it was innocent. It was obvious to her that Cindy was in love with Ope. And if it was obvious to her, she knew her husband was not so blind, and neither were the staff at the hotel. But what could she do about it?
“That your Cook is really something special,” Promise heard a voice say behind her. She turned to see Richard. He was licking cream from his fingers, and smiling devilishly at her. She swallowed.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I just came for the jollof rice, don’t mind me,” Richard teased. He looked about to make sure no one else was around. “So, this your Cook, where did you get her from? I think Ope likes her.”
Promise pushed down her fears, and decided that she wouldn’t allow herself to be riled up by Richard. She sipped her wine, and decided to ignore him.
“You know you can’t ignore me forever, right?”
“What exactly do you want from me?”
Richard smiled. “That’s for me to know, and for you to find out. And you will. Soon enough. For now, I like how the anticipation is making you uncomfortable. It will be worth it in the end…to see your proud shoulders fall!”
He laughed at the expression on her face, before turning to leave.
After his brief chat with Cindy, Ope went in search of his wife. She wasn’t in the kitchen nor her office. He decided to go out to the Pool area. He saw her seated alone by the outdoor bar, looking despondent. He opened the door to go to her and hit someone on the other side as he did so.
Richard quickly put his hand to his face, where the door had hit him, as Ope entered the Pool area, apologising for the accident. Ope stopped short when he saw that it was Richard. What was Richard doing here?
He assessed the situation. There was no one about but Richard and Promise. He clenched his jaw.
“I thought I told you to stay away from my wife?!” His voice was menacing.
To be continued…
Photo credit: www.pixabay.com
REGISTER FREE to catch up with my Patrons and Members, who have finished reading the series!