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Thursday, December 10, 2015

'I found out he was married a week before our wedding' (2)

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Despite my misgivings about Stan, I still agreed to marry him when he proposed. You might wonder what made me do it. If I was not sure of a man, why would I want to marry him? Frankly, I can't really tell. I just found myself agreeing to the plans he was making concerning our future; where we will live, how many children we will have and other stuff. Perhaps I was tired of seeing my mates getting married while I remained single. I wanted to be attached to someone too, have a man of my own that I can call my husband.
Anyway, when I told my family I had found a suitor, they were happy as well as relieved. I was the only girl in my family that was still single; even my younger sister had beat me to the altar a year before. Though her case was a kind of 'emergency marriage' as she had been pregnant for the guy while she was still a student and my father had insisted he married her or face the consequences.
Out of happiness that I was finally settling down, my parents offered to foot most of the wedding expenses. I expected my fiancé to object and insist it was his responsibility and all that. But to my surprise and annoyance, he gladly accepted their offer. The issue caused a big quarrel and I refused to speak with him for some days. I felt he was trying to take advantage of my parents by shirking his responsibilities.
Afterall, he worked in a bank and was making good money so what was his problem, I told him angrily during the argument. 
"It's your duty as the man. I can support with what I have but leave my parents out of it. They can assist us but I think it's unfair to leave everything for them to do! What kind of man are you if you allow your prospective in-laws to be solely responsible for your wedding?" I said angrily.
"But you shouldn't blame me, Nelly! Afterall, it was your Dad that offered. I didn't ask," he pointed out.
"Then you should have refused his offer!" I countered. Though retired from the civil service where he had worked for many years, my Dad did consultancy and other businesses to keep busy and supplement his pension. Though he was doing well financially, I did not want him to exert himself too much on my behalf just because I was getting married. 
The church member
Later, Stan and I sorted out our differences and forged on with our wedding plans. A few weeks before the day, my fiancé informed me he was having cash flow problems due to a business investment he had made. He then asked for a loan to help with some of the wedding expenses. At that time, I did not have much money of my own. What I had was some money my brother had sent towards his house project and a small business he was planning to set up.
I decided to 'borrow' the money and give it to Stan with the understanding that it was a loan that had to be paid back as the money, about N2m was not mine but my brother's. He agreed and collected the money, promising to give it back once his investment paid off.  
Then one day, about a week before our church wedding, I was in church when a woman, a church member approached me. Though I had been seeing her around, I was not close to her. 
The woman, Sister Agnes said she had some useful information for me pertaining to my fiancé and would like to talk with me. Wondering what it was all about, I followed her out of the hall.
Outside, she showed me one of my wedding invitations, stating that somebody in the church had given it to her. It was Gina, a member of the youth programme to which I belonged. I had given some IVs to her to distribute to her family and friends.
Sister Agnes told me it was the name of my fiancé on the card that had attracted her attention. She asked if he worked in a certain bank, even mentioning the branch he was based. I nodded my head.
She was silent for a while before speaking and what she said shook me deeply.
She advised me to call off the wedding at once because my fiancé was a married man.
"What?" I nearly screamed on hearing her words.
"It's the truth. We work in the same office so I know him very well. He's not only married, he has children. I think he has four kids. They all live with the wife in his hometown," she stated. I felt as if I was dreaming or was in a trance. How could this be? That the man I was about to walk down the aisle within a few days is already married, with children? Impossible!
I could not believe it. And from my countenance, the lady could tell what I was thinking.
"This can't be true. Sister, are you really sure about this?" I queried.
"Of course I am. I even know his wife. She has come to the office a couple of times to see him. Wait let me show you something," she said. She brought out her mobile phone and showed me some pictures. It was a send forth party for a member of staff that had left the bank. There among the other staff was my fiancé, smiling happily at the camera.
"It's him," I stated, staring blindly at the photos.
Suddenly, my legs felt so weak that I had to sit down or I would have fallen. The woman later told me things about my fiancé that left me dazed. She said he was fond of dating ladies, especially customers of the bank whom he perceived as having money. He would promise all kinds of things including marriage just to get close to them and their money.
"There was a case he was involved in a few years ago that almost cost him his job. The lady in question whom he had nearly conned with a fake marriage was from an influential family. They had threatened to take the case to the police but pressure was put on them by a top official of the bank whom Stan is close to and the matter was resolved quietly. I thought he had repented but he is still at his old tricks," she noted.
To confirm her words, she called Stan and put the phone on speaker. When he answered, they spoke briefly about office matters then she asked after his family.
"They are all fine. I'm even with them right now at home. My second boy has been ill and is on admission at the hospital. I had to come down and see how he is doing. I will be back in town tomorrow though. So, see you in the office then," I heard him say on the phone.
"My God," I intoned, suddenly feeling cold and hot at the same time as if I was coming down with a serious case of malaria. It had been confirmed in his own words. What further proof do I need?
That day, I can't remember how I got home. I was in a state of shock from the revelations about my fiancé. Later, I told my parents what I had heard and they were equally shocked. They felt deceived and my father, in great anger vowed to deal with him 'for trying to mess with my daughter' as he put it. 
He called a top police officer he knew who went with his men and arrested Stan the following day at his office. I took some satisfaction in knowing the shame and embarrassment he must have felt at being taken away from his place of work in a police van.

The wedding was called off and my family filed a case of fraud and theft against him. 
He could not refund the money he collected from me on the pretence of planning a fake wedding. So, the case was charged to court. As I write, Stan is cooling his heels behind bars, serving a five year jail term. He was sacked by the bank not just because of my case but another case involving some stolen funds.
To me, it serves him right for what he is going through. He tried to fool me, deceiving me that he wanted to marry me when all he was interested in was my money. Nemesis has caught up with him and I hope he rots in jail!
I hope other ladies will learn from my case and be careful because a lot of guys these days are on the prowl, looking for gullible ladies to devour.

The End!

Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.

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