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
Chidinma was so excited about her new job to plan Tolu and Danny’s wedding. She was happy that she’d decided to follow Mary and Ifeanyi to Dami’s wedding on Saturday. If she hadn’t, she would have missed out on tasting the heavenly delicacies they had shared on the occasion and would not have discovered the talents of Cindy the Chef. She really hoped they would be happy to cater for a wedding outside their hotel.
She’d told Lola about her discovery, and Lola was pleased with her suggestion to hire Cindy’s catering services. However, she thought that since Tolu’s wedding would be at least three times the size of Dami’s, they also needed an established catering service, to make sure there were no disappointments on the day. Chidinma thought that was wise and agreed.
Tolu had her heart set on the wedding venue and date. She’d already given a deposit to secure the event hall, but because of the incompetence of the previous planner, they had missed the deadline to pay the balance for the date she wanted her wedding. She hoped Chidinma would be able to use her influence and talents to secure the venue for that date. Chidinma said she would do her best.
It turned out that the owner of the event hall was a very good friend to Chidinma’s mother, Mrs Chukweke. When Chidinma had called, she had been happy to oblige, and raised the price for another couple that were considering the venue on that date. Tolu got her venue, and was elated.
Lola also spent some time with Tolu to agree on the colours, design and types of decorations for the day. They went through a catalogue together, and Tolu mixed ideas from different wedding themes. Tolu was keen on using fresh flowers to decorate her loveseat area, and desired to have a garden feel. It was Lola’s joy to please her.
Everything was moving along well and according to plan. Chidinma felt the grace of God on the occasion, as they received so much favour in getting contractors and discounts, even with Tolu’s unique ideas and tastes. The wedding was really going to be a beautiful, glorious affair!
Cindy had been given the rest of the weekend off, to resume work on Tuesday morning, due to all the hard work she had put into catering for the wedding on Saturday. A couple of hours after she had settled back in, and made breakfast ready, she was called in to see her Boss, Promise. She assumed it would be a discussion on how everything went on Saturday. She also hoped Promise would be thinking alongside the same lines she and Ope had discussed, about hosting more events at the hotel.
She took her seat, when Promise gestured for her to, and smiled shyly. Promise still made her nervous. She had really tried her best to be nice and respectful to the woman, but it seemed she was yet to convince her that she was worthy of the job Ope had given her by grace. However, Cindy was sure that soon, she and Promise would overcome their differences and become friends.
“Well done for a good catering job on Saturday! We got some high praise on your efforts,” Promise started.
Cindy beamed. “Thank you, Ma. I am glad.”
“However, I am afraid you can’t continue on with us at The Promise. This was a hard decision for us to make, but I have a certain vision for what I hope to achieve with this place, and I don’t think you fit into that vision.”
“I don’t understand, Ma… I thought you said…” Cindy couldn’t believe her ears. They were letting her go? Was this really Ope’s decision too? Did he know about this?
“I’m sorry that you may not understand. That is part of the challenge I am having, communicating my vision to you. You are a bright, young woman with great potential and great ideas. You will certainly go far in the Catering business, and I am even happy to write you a sterling referral. But I’m afraid you have no more future here at The Promise.”
Cindy was trying to control her emotions. She knew what this was about. Promise was jealous of her relationship with Ope. It was so obvious! It was the reason she never gave her a chance. Cindy decided there was no point arguing with Promise. She knew who she could talk to. She simply nodded and waited to be dismissed.
“I thought you would like to know that a call came through from Maarvelous Event Planners. Their MD was at the wedding, and she was keen to have us cater her next event. She asked specifically for you, actually. This is her number, in case you would like to take the job. It could be a good start for you.”
Cindy gave a small smile, and collected the small paper scrap from Promise. “Thank you, Ma.”
“We will make sure you are paid for the full month. I wish you all the best.”
Promise sighed as Cindy got up and left her office. She felt so bad, but she was sure she had done the right thing. She had been happy when the event planners had called to request Cindy’s catering services. It was just the cushion needed to soften the blow of her dismissal from work.
Ope was just leaving his office for lunch, when he saw Cindy sitting in his waiting room. He hadn’t been informed that she was waiting for him. She’d told his secretary not to bother him, that she would wait until he was free.
Ope swallowed. He had expected her to show up seeking answers. He had been praying for wisdom and grace to rightly handle her visit. But he still felt unprepared to see her today and to be feeling the way he was.
Ope invited Cindy into his office with him. He spoke to her formerly, emphasising their professional relationship. He gestured for her to sit down. He smiled genuinely, trying to keep his emotions out of his eyes.
“How can I help you today, Cindy?” Ope asked.
Cindy could sense a change in Ope. There was a difference in the way he looked at her, and the tone of his voice. She swallowed. Had Promise poisoned him against her?
“Madame Promise laid me off today… I don’t understand why. You said that I was doing a good job,” Cindy said.
“Didn’t she explain it to you, when she let you go?”
“No. She said I can’t understand. That I can’t carry her vision. Ope, I need this job. I loved it…” she said, beginning to shake with emotion.
Ope held himself back from reaching out to her, like he normally would. Promise had put him in a bad situation. How could he help Cindy now, without feeling like he was cheating on or offending his wife?
For her to have requested, even demanded, that he fire Cindy, she must have been hurting for a long time, and he had to honour her. He remembered his vows, which he had reaffirmed to her just four years ago. Cindy had to be sacrificed for their love.
“I’m sorry about Promise’s decision, but it was her call to make. The hotel is hers, and I trust her to make the right decision. It wasn’t right that I employed you without running it by her first. I’m sorry it didn’t work out.”
Cindy looked up into his eyes. Didn’t he care anymore? Wasn’t he going to help her? Maybe he could help her in another way…
“Okay. I understand. But is there any other way you can help? Please? Maybe you can refer me to another hotel or even help me with a job in one of your other companies. I am a quick learner, Sir.” Cindy couldn’t believe she had just called him ‘Sir’, though they were in private. She was losing him. She reached out to hold his hand. “Ope, please. I don’t think I can manage on my own.”
Ope swallowed, and retrieved his hand to a place of safety. He knew Cindy was bargaining, but he couldn’t give her an inch. Promise didn’t just mean for him to fire her from her job at the hotel, but also to cut her off from his care, from his life. She couldn’t have any part of him, because she would want more. She didn’t know it yet, but their relationship was doomed from the beginning.
“I’m sorry I can’t help you, Cindy. I’ve done my best. I believe that God will be gracious to you as you leave us. It is time for you to stand without me, Cindy. Trust God.”
Cindy looked in his eyes, hers wet with tears. His were dry and empty. He didn’t love her, she thought. She knew she shouldn’t want him to, but she really thought there was something special between them.
She stood up, and bowed her head slightly. “Thank you for all you’ve done for me. God bless you, Sir.”
She turned and left his office. Ope watched until she shut the door, before he broke down in sobs. Faithfulness in marriage was not an easy calling…especially when you find yourself in love with someone else.
Tolu and Danny were enjoying a lazy day together. They had just done a bit of shopping at a popular supermarket in Lekki, and were just about to go and watch a movie at a new Cinema complex nearby. Tolu had never been there before, and was excited about watching a 3D movie for the first time.
Danny chose the movie they would be watching. It had a lot of good reviews, and he thought they could draw great spiritual lessons from it too. They ordered some popcorn and drinks to share, and walked hand in hand to the Cinema hall.
Tolu was happy to see the place was packed, and that the movie hadn’t started yet. It was unusually quiet for a movie theatre, though. She followed Danny to sit somewhere in the middle of the hall. That was the only place left.
Moments later, the adverts started, with a couple of previews. Then a video clip of Tolu from when she was a little girl was played. She looked at Danny, stunned. He held back his giggles.
The next clips were of her friends wishing her a happy married life, and finally, a message from her fiancé, telling the whole hall, how much he loved Tolu, and couldn’t wait to escort her down the aisle. He asked them all to look after her tonight, at her Bridal shower.
Tolu turned to Danny and gasped. The lights came on next and everyone in the hall rose up to shout – “SURPRISSSE!!! It’s your shower!!!”
Tolu was beaming and crying at the same time. Danny took her in his arms and hugged her. They both rose up and began to hug or shake hands with her friends and family who had attended.
“Thanks for coming everyone! Have fun tonight…” Danny said. He kissed Tolu on her forehead, before he excused himself. He had plans with Bolu, Oyinda and a few other guys he considered himself close to tonight.
The noise in the hall increased significantly after he had left. Some of the women were gushing at how handsome Danny was, and others gushed over how romantic he was and how lucky Tolu was to be marrying such a stud. Tolu had not yet composed herself from the shock of it all. She saw family and friends she hadn’t seen in ages. And the video message was such a wonderful surprise.
“Okay, whose idea was this?” Tolu asked.
A few hands pointed at Chidinma, the wedding planner. “Lola, Bolu and Danny really helped to pull it off too,” Chidinma said, beaming. She was really glad Tolu liked it.
“Thanks guys!!! Thanks Chidinma. This is really ‘Maarvelous’!” she chuckled happily. “Really, it’s so amazing!” She clapped her hands excitedly. “Alright… I’m ready to have some fun!” They all laughed.
It turned out the proposed movie wasn’t actually showing, and Tolu had the option of picking between one of three of her favourite romantic comedies. After the movie ended, the women filtered outside, and Tolu wondered if that was going to be it. She was pleasantly surprised again to see a 15-seater Coach waiting outside for her to ride in with her friends to their party destination. It was branded “Tolu & Danny, Forever In Love”. She screamed with glee.
Some of the ladies called it a night after the movie, and a dozen of Tolu’s closest friends and family went with her, to the venue of the party. It was a small function room in a classy restaurant in Victoria Island, decorated for the purpose of the Bridal shower. They enjoyed a meal, played party games and received some great marriage advice from trained sexual, communication and relationship therapists. Tolu learned a lot and had the time of her life.
To be continued…
Photo credit: www.pixabay.com
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