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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Love Beyond Reason (14)



Fredrick knew he needed to act fast after his discussion with Ikem.

It was obvious Ikem was thinking of going back to Ugochi, and he wasn’t so certain the kind of reception he is likely to receive. Although, Ugochi had been very emphatic about not getting back together with Ikem, one can never be sure as love is a very funny business.

He had called her immediately after the party and scheduled a lunch date with her. Her time is much more valuable now that she’s gone back to work. He didn’t want to waste time, he would have preferred a dinner date instead. Well, he has to work with what he has.

Ugochi was waiting for him by the time he got to the restaurant at Ring Road. They hugged and sat down.

“It’s good to see you, Fredrick.”

“Good to see you too. I have missed you.”

“Yeah, you know that cannot be avoided. What have you been up to?”

“Nothing much. Just settling in with the folks. Getting to know them better.”

“That’s great. I’m happy for you.”

“Yeah.”

“And Ikem? Have you been able to settle your differences?”

“Yeah. We spoke at length at my welcoming party.”

“Oh, that’s great news. I’ll hate to see you guys drift apart.”

“I’m not sure we can have a very good relationship. Not after the way he treated you.”

“Come on Fredrick. Anybody can make a mistake. If I can forgive him, I’m sure you can too.”

“Are you saying you’ve forgiven him?”

“Sure. I have to if I want to move on.”

“That’s very selfless of you.”

“It’s not about being selfless. It’s just self-preservation. I don’t want to hold so much hate in my heart.”

“So, it’s not because you still love him?”

“Fredrick, you must remember that I was with Ikem for more than three years and in those three years, he never once maltreated me. It would be difficult to forget all the good times because of one bad incident.”

“I can’t believe you, Ugochi. You know once a beater, always a beater right?”

“I don’t believe that. At least not where Ikem is concerned.”

“Really? I can’t believe this.”

“Fredrick, why are you so dead set against your twin?”

“I just hate women beaters, regardless of the fact that he’s my tin or not.”

“I understand you but I assure you Ikem is not like that. I don’t get your antagonism.”

“Maybe it stemmed from the fact that I like you. You must know that, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do.” Ugochi sighed. “But what do you imagine will come out of that?”

“I imagine you’ll at least give me a chance?”

“I can’t do that, Fredrick. I’ve been with Ikem, I can’t be with you too.”

“Why? I don’t think it’s that big a deal.”

“To me it is. I just can’t.” she looked away

“So, that’s a no?”

Ugochi looked at him sadly. “Yes, it is. I’m sorry.”

He shrugged. “It’s okay. For what it’s worth, I think Ikem will come back to grovel very soon.”

Ugochi just smiled. Their conversation became stilted after that and after a few minutes, they parted ways.

Ugochi was not sure what will happen between them after that but she wished the friendship can continue. She valued Fredrick’s friendship too much to lose it over something as trivial as a failed attempt at love.

 ***

The next day, the last thing she thought would happen was a visit from Ikem. But alas, there he was at the door to Dawn’s house. Ugochi was dumbfounded.

He had in his hands a beautiful bouquet of red roses, and his face showed his deep remorse. Ugochi wasn’t about to be appeased with just a bunch of flowers and a sorry look though.

“What are you doing here, Ikem?” she asked rudely. Fortunately, Dawn was not home or she would have walked him out immediately.

“Can I come in, Ugochi? Please?”

“What for?” she frowned

“Please?”

She reluctantly opened the door wider and allowed him come in. She indicated a chair that was a bit far from the sofa she chose to sit in. Ikem sat with a contrite look on his face. Ugochi simply ignored him and stared at her phone.

“Ugochi, these are for you.” He said indicating the flowers.

“What for?” she asked, without looking up.

“Just a small token to say I’m sorry.”

“A little too late, don’t you think?”

“Ugochi, look at me, please.”

She looked up. “Yes?”

“I know I messed up. I know, and I’m so sorry. You know me baby, you know I’m not that guy.”

Ugochi just stared at him, tears trickling down her face.

Ikem went to kneel down in front of her and took her hand. “Please, baby? You know we had a good thing going before I messed it up with my jealousy. There’s no excuse whatsoever for my actions and I’ll not try to give you one. The only thing I can do is promise to spend the rest of my life treating you like the queen you are. I’m really really sorry.”

Ugochi snatched her hand from his and stood up. She walked to the window and stared out, seeing nothing. Finally, she turned back to him. He was still on his knees.

“The only question I have for you is why now? We’ve been apart for weeks with no word from you. Why did you suddenly feel you can come back now?”

Ikem looked down. “Because of Fredrick. He made me realize I’ve been a fool all the while.”

“I can’t believe this.” Ugochi shook her head. “Because of Fredrick? So, if Fredrick had not convinced you there had been nothing between us all along, what would have happened?”

“I don’t know baby. That’s why I said I’m a fool. My irrational jealousy made this happen between us.”

“And what will happen the next time you feel irrationally jealous? What happens then?”

“I promise to listen to you first before taking any action.”

“And that’s supposed to reassure me?”

“Yes, Ugochi. We’ve been together for a number of years and you’ve provoked me many times without it resulting in laying my hands on you. I don’t know what came over me but I will make amends even if I die trying.”

“Don’t you get it, Ikem? It’s not the act itself that has me so bothered. It’s the fact that you stayed away for weeks on end, never contacting me for once. How do you think that made me feel?”

Ikem hung his head. “I don’t know what to say.”

“I guess we are at an impasse. Before we can go on, I have to be absolutely sure that such will never happen again. Until then, you’re on probation.”

“Really babe?”

“Really.”

“How long of a probation?”

She shrugged. “We’ll see.”

“Oh babe, that’s harsh.”

“I guess. But that’s what it’s going to be.”

“Okay then. We can work with that.”

Ugochi knew she can never be sure what the future holds. She also knew her friends would be disappointed in her for the choice she’s making, but her heart is still with Ikem and we can’t help who we love.

Sometimes, love can be beyond reason.


 The End



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Love Beyond Reason (13)


  That week, Fredrick spent most of his time with his parents. It was a period of learning and getting to know one another.

 They had a lot of catching up to do so they found a way to get it done. They tried to stuff many years of absence into a little bit of time.

Nkechi called Ikem home for a family dinner the day after Fredrick came home. Ikem sent a message that he could not make it.

  Nkechi was crushed and shared her concerns with Fredrick. It was then he told her about all the drama with Ugochi and everything that had happened between him and his twin.

 He left out the fact that Ikem was abusive though as he did not want that to come between a mother and her son. 

Their mother was very disappointed in Ikem but she did not give up. She kept inviting him until he gave in and decided to come almost a week after Fredrick came home.

Nkechi was very excited and told Fredrick about it. She decided to use the opportunity to introduce their newly found son to their family and friends. It was going to be a party like they had never had.

Fredrick knew it would be an opportunity to make amends with his twin. He did not want the animosity between them to fester until it becomes something that would be difficult to get beyond or to handle.

He needed to clear the air with Ikem about Ugochi. He however, could not get beyond the fact that Ikem felt it was okay to beat up a woman. He simply could not wrap his head around the realization that his twin was abusive. He knew he had to deal with it if there was going to be any kind of relationship between Ikem and himself.

The day of the party arrived and Fredrick was feeling very conspicuous. He had thought of inviting Ugochi but he knew that would only add fuel to the fire that was already burning; he did not want it to become an inferno. Ugochi’s presence would have calmed him and made him feel less alone.

Family and friends started arriving and he was introduced to them all. He watched his parents talk about him to their friends with so much pride and he was humbled by how easily they accepted him into their family. 

Through the whirlwind of introductions and discussions though, he was on the look-out for only one person and he knew the exact time Ikem arrived.

A hush fell over the crowd and people started commenting on how alike both of them looked. There were murmurings and whispers all around. 

Fredrick was not fazed by all that. He waited for Ikem to finish his round of greetings before he approached him. As soon as he saw him move towards the bar, he went after him.

“Good to see you here Ikem,” Fredrick said, offering his hand for a handshake.

“I wish I could say the same.” Ikem eyed his outstretched hand carefully before clasping it. It was obvious he shook his twin because he wanted to avoid speculations from any onlooker.

“Can we go somewhere private and talk?”

“What about?” Ikem was still as deviant as ever.

“I think you’ll agree we have a lot to talk about.”

“Can’t it wait? I mean, I’m trying to enjoy a drink here.”

“No, it can’t and feel free to bring your drink along. I’m thinking the backyard will do?” Fredrick did not wait for his reply before walking away.

Ikem grudgingly followed him to the garden at the backyard. Fredrick was seated on a bench by the time he got there. Ikem sat beside him and put his head in his hands. There was no drink in sight. They sat quiet for a few moments, each lost in his own thoughts.

“Man, I’m sorry I’ve been acting all crazy. I don’t think you deserve that,” Ikem said, finally breaking the ice.

Fredrick was surprised. He had not expected his twin to own up to his own stupidity. “It’s understandable, I think.”

“My head has just been so messed up. I was filled with so much jealousy I ended up treating you and Ugochi horrendously. You both didn’t deserve that. I’m sorry.”

“That’s okay Ikem. I really want us to move past this and try to be friends if not brothers. I’ll like a relationship with you.”

“I think we can work on that.”

“I’ll like to clear the air about Ugochi though. You deserve an explanation.”

Ikem nodded. “I’m listening.”

“I approached Ugochi because I thought it would be a lot easier to get in touch with you through her. I was able to track you through the information I got from that horrible doctor. He gave me the name of you and our parents.
 I found you on Facebook, saw all the posts about you and Ugochi, and connected with her. I had no designs on her and there has been nothing between us but friendship. I’m really sorry to have caused you any pain.”

Ikem was silent for a few seconds. He finally looked at Fredrick and smiled. “Don’t sweat it bro. I made a lot of mistakes myself. I should have trusted her more.”

“Yes, you should have. And you never should have laid your hands on her.”

“True. I regret that the most. I guess it’s too late now?” He looked at Fredrick.

Fredrick could not answer. His chest suddenly felt constricted at the thought of Ugochi and Ikem back together. He turned and stared into the distance.


 To be continued

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Love Beyond Reason (12)


 



  Fredrick entered the compound and looked around. It was a duplex. The compound was very neat and beautiful with trees and flowers everywhere. There were two cars parked, a Peugeot and a Mercedes Benz. Those two cars spoke money or at least comfort. The gateman who let him in was looking at him strangely.

“May I speak with your madam?” he asked

He looked at Fredrick, dump-struck. “Oga Ikem, no be you?” he asked, looked around, obviously confused. “But, you comot now. I see you comot. How you come go come back like that?” he was walking around Fredrick, looking at him from head to toe.

Fredrick kept his cool. “May I speak with your madam?”

“Oga, who you be? Make I just go call my madam.”

“Please, sir. I really need to see her and I assure you she’ll want to see me too. Just say her son wants to see her.”

The gateman still stood back, apparently unsure what to do. “Please?”

He looked at Fredrick once more and walked towards the front door. He stopped, looked back for a few moments, shook his head and walked the rest of the way. He knocked.

The door opened and Fredrick could see the man gesticulating and pointing in his direction. He went on for a few moments and then the person he was talking to stepped into the light and Fredrick could see she was a woman. The gateman was still talking but she wasn’t listening anymore. She walked slowly towards Fredrick and he saw her face. This is definitely my mother, he thought.

She stopped after walking a few steps and just stared at him. Tears trickled down and she resumed walking until she got to him. No words were needed. It was very glaring who he was. She put her hand on his right cheek and stared into his eyes. Fredrick couldn’t hold back the tears.

“Mum?” he whispered

She nodded and pulled him in for a hug. They held each other tightly for a few moments. After a while, she withdrew, held his hand and led him into the house.



Few minutes later, they were seated comfortably in the living room. Fredrick’s dad had joined them and they all sat there staring at one another, totally lost for words. The twins looked like their mother; same eyes, same cheekbones and same mouth. It was unnerving for Fredrick sitting there looking at his parents after he had thought about it for many months. It was surreal.

Finally, his dad broke the silence. “How did you get to know about us?” he asked

Fredrick told them the same story he had told Ikem the other day. By the time he was finished, they were dumbfounded. His mother was crying while his father looked very furious.

“Those snakes. That stupid doctor!” he fumed. “How can they do that? That is inhuman and terrible. I’m going to prosecute them to the full extent of my power.”

Fredrick hung his head. He knew now was not the right time to plead on behalf of his adoptive parents. They had been as good to him as parents could be but what they had done was unforgiveable. He couldn’t bring himself to punish them though.

“No, Leonard. Let’s not pour petrol on this burning fire. What’s done is done. Let us just thank God our son is back home.” His mum said.

“Nkechi, how can you say that? Look at him, he’s a grown man. We missed twenty eight years of his life. And you ask me to forget it? How can I?”

“I know, dear. But we have the next forty years or so to make up for that. What is fighting going to solve? Please, let’s just be thankful we have our son back.”

Fredrick’s dad looked at his wife. She looked at him imploringly. He finally shook his head and looked down. Fredrick could tell he was not satisfied with his wife’s decision but he was going to respect it nonetheless. Fredrick was relieved.

His mum turned to him and smiled. “Come, my son. What’s your best food? Let me prepare it for you. Dear, can you bring out a bottle of wine? We need to celebrate.” She stood up and came to sit beside Fredrick. “Tell me, what food do you like best?”

He smiled. “I’m fine with anything you make, mum.” It felt good to say that word.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Okay then. Leonard, what are you still waiting for? The wine?”

“Oh yes.” He jumped up and went out of the room.

“Actually, mum I have a friend waiting outside for me. Could I bring her in?”

“Yes, of course. Why did you leave her outside all this while?”

“Let me go get her.”

“Please, do.”

Fredrick went out of the house. He felt elated and very happy. The reunion had gone a lot better than he had hoped for.

“Oga, well done o.” the gateman said as he stepped out. He was still scratching his head in confusion.

Fredrick smiled and went out. He saw Ugochi leaning on the side of her car. She had obviously gotten tired of sitting in. She walked towards him and a very big smile split his face.

“I take it it went well?”

“It went perfectly.” He took her hand and led her into the house.


 To be continued

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Launch of Ebook, Eki: The Prince's Bride



It's finally here! After over a year of working on it, sometimes with sleepless nights, our latest ebook- 'Eki: The Prince's Bride' launches today.

This captivating, engrossing sequel takes off where it's prequel 'Tomorrow Never Ends ' stops.

Folks, prepare for a gripping ride into another world- of love, passion, intrigues, loss and renewal; of Old Africa of powerful kings with their queens, princes,  princesses and traditional customs and values.

It's a must- read and it's all FREE as a loyalty reward for our wonderful,  lovely and loyal readers and followers  who have stuck with us for the past two years.

Peace and blessings to you all!

 We appreciate your feedback so do send us your thoughts, comments on the story.

 Happy reading and have a great week ahead!

Click image on the left side bar for your free copy.


Friday, June 01, 2018

Eki: The Prince's Bride (Book Excerpts) 4




The news about Eki’s engagement to the Crown Prince of Otumara reached their village, Igodi before their return from the capital.

The day Esiso and his group arrived the community, the villagers came out in large numbers to welcome him like a war hero returning from a victorious battle.

 Esiso lapped up all the attention, waving and nodding here and there thinking to himself that his daughter had not even married the Prince, yet he was already being treated like royalty.

 His home too, was in a tumultuous state as the various wives, children, relatives and household staff all clamoured to get the full details of the wonderful event that had happened in the family.

 “What does the Crown Prince look like?  Is he handsome?”

 “When is the marriage taking place? Will the King be present? Will he come to Igodi?"

 ”Eki, what charm did you use to catch the eye of someone like the Prince?”

 “Child, you’re so lucky!”

So said Eki’s friends, sisters and relatives who bombarded her with questions.

 Even her usually quiet, soft-spoken mother was full of curiosity about the unexpected engagement.

 “I hope your father did not arrange this engagement to further his political ambition,” Egwuono said later that night when things had quietened down a bit in the household.

Eki, who was admiring the bracelet the Prince had gifted her, smiled.



 "Mother, my father had nothing to do with this; ok, just a little.”

 “What do you mean, my daughter?” she asked.

 “Why don’t you ask him, mother? He’ll explain more to you.”

Her mother was silent for a moment.

 “Do you like the Prince?

 “Of course I do, mother. I would not have accepted his proposal otherwise; even though it was what Father wanted.”

 “That’s good. You have to have some affection for your husband- it will make marital life easier to cope with. My child, now that you’ll soon become a married woman, you have to know that marriage can be full of challenges. For someone marrying into the royal family and living in the palace, it can be extremely difficult. But, “ she said, pausing briefly. “Your father and I have raised you to be strong, to be able to cope with whatever situation you find yourself in life.  So, I believe you’ll do well in your new position.”

 “Thank you, mother! I’ll not disappoint you and Father.”

 Her mother smiled, a smile that softened the hard lines of her careworn face that still retained some traces of the beauty she had been in her youth.



  Esiso stared warily at the three men seated in his reception room, his mind still trying to digest the message they had just delivered to him.

‘There must be a mistake somewhere,’ he thought firmly to himself, his eyes straying to the array of gifts piled on the floor as well as a side table in the room.

Then he coughed and addressed his visitors. He thanked them for coming all the way from the capital to his home and for bringing along such wonderful gifts.

 “I feel honoured that my humble home has found favour in the eyes of His Majesty, the King,” he said formally, then paused. “I also want to express my gratitude for these great gifts you’ve brought. They are wonderful and I’m grateful to his Majesty.” 

 “Unfortunately,” he paused again. “I cannot accept them or his request.”

The three emissaries from the King looked at Esiso in wonder then exchanged glances as if trying to communicate through their eyes, their innermost thoughts.

“Chief, you’re a man of high status in this Kingdom, full of knowledge and wisdom,” said the leader of the King’s messengers named Etaneki.

 “You know the implication, the consequences of rejecting His Majesty’s offer of marriage to your daughter. The sanctions are severe which includes banishment from the Kingdom.”
Esiso nodded his head. “I’m aware of that,” he said.

 “And you still reject the proposal?” said one of the men named Agofure incredulously, unable to believe what he was hearing. In all his many years on earth, he had never heard of a family rejecting a marriage proposal from the King. Why, many families jostled for the privilege of being in-laws to his majesty. 

 Yet, here was Esiso, who in his view should be jumping for joy that the king wanted Eki, turning down an offer others would kill for. What an arrogant fool, he thought, wondering why such a usually sensible man like Esiso would embark on a route of self-destruction as he was doing.

 “I have my reasons,” Esiso stated, in a solemn voice.

 “They had better be good,” Etaneki said testily.

 “The fact is,” Esiso said, “My daughter, Eki is already betrothed.”
Etaneki glared at Esiso, clearly irritated.

 “So?” he countered sharply. “As long as she’s not married yet, that engagement can be broken once the King is interested. You know this custom very well, Esiso. The only exception is if she is engaged to the Crown Prince or any of the other princes and I know that’s not the case here.”

 “But it is!” Esiso said quickly. The third man in the group who had been silent all along said: “What do you mean?”

 “My daughter has been betrothed to the Crown Prince of this Kingdom!” he said, a note of triumph in his voice he did not bother to hide.

The three men looked at each other, a look of surprise on their faces.
 “Betrothed?” Etaneki exclaimed. “When did this happen?”
A little smile curved Esiso’s mouth.

 “During the ‘Uyere’ ceremony. Prince Obaro saw my daughter there, liked her and proposed,” he said. “We’re expecting his formal offer of marriage from the palace anytime soon. Infact,” he said, pausing briefly,” when I heard some people had come from the palace to see me, I assumed it was the Prince’s emissaries.”

 “We’re not aware of this proposal,” Etaneki said shortly. “I don’t think His Majesty knows of the Prince’s interest in your daughter or he would not have sent us on this mission. The Prince has been outside the capital for sometime, busy with community issues. Perhaps, that is why he has not informed His Majesty about his marital plans with your daughter.”
Esiso shrugged.

“I believe that must be the case,” he said.
The three emissaries conferred briefly for a moment, a grim took on their faces.

 “With this unexpected development,” said Etaneki, “We have no option but return to the palace to brief His Majesty on what transpired here.”
 They stood up, shook hands with Esiso and left with all the gifts they had come with.

Esiso stood in front of his house watching the King’s messengers depart.

 “He wants to marry my beautiful, young daughter! Lecherous old fool!”  Esiso mumbled to himself as he went into the house. Much as he liked and cherished his friendship with the king, the last thing he wanted was to have him as a son-in-law.

The next day, he sent two of his servants with a message for the Crown Prince at Okor.

 “You must wait for a response from the Prince before returning home. Is that understood?”

They nodded and left to carry out the assignment.



***

A night with the Prince


Eki stood in the middle of the dimly lit room, her arms raised up as Eloho, her maid slipped the loose fitting gown over her head. It fell to her ankles, skimming over her feet, painted with the red coloured substance (isene) used on brides. Her eyes strayed nervously to the bed by the corner of the room.

 A little shiver ran through her body as her thoughts focused on what would happen soon in that bed chamber. She did not know what to expect as she was so innocent about the ways of men and women.

What should she do?  How was she to behave when her new husband, the Crown Prince visited her on their first night as a married couple? What should she say?

 “You should relax,” Eloho, one of her maids said, breaking into her jumbled thoughts. Eki looked at the maid, who was a few years older than her, the anxiety she felt visible on her face.
 “I’m afraid, Eloho,” she confessed, as she went to sit on the bed, covered with a woven white quilt. 

 The maid smiled warily at her. “There’s no need to.”

“I’m afraid I won’t know what to do, or I’ll do something stupid and the Prince will be angry with me and … “ she said despairingly.

 “The Prince loves you,” she said softly. “And he knows what to do. So, trust him and everything will be fine.” Eloho assured.







To read the rest of the story, please join us on Sunday when the ebook will be launched on okadabooks.com and where you can download a free copy.

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