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Novel Title: TAKING CHANCES
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Daisy leaves her life behind in America to chase a dream in Nigeria – Jide, the only man she ever desired but who didn’t care she existed.
To further prove her love for him, she leaps at the one chance she gets to become his bride; forgetting that after the wedding comes reality.
Life becomes a roller coaster of loneliness, heart breaks and regrets for her as she wonders if love was really worth the chance she took…
Authour: Cynthia Ukamu
The sun smiled pleasantly at the large spaced and brightly decorated garden of Queens Hotel which was being used as the reception venue for the wedding of Jide and Daisy, the atmosphere was cheerful as would a wedding, bustling with guests in their Aso-ebi uniforms, the couple and the bridal train were beautifully dressed in their wedding apparel.
Daisy looked exceptionally beautiful than she had ever Imagined herself, and Jide, who, though seem to have a frown permanently etched on his face, did not look any less attractive as they sat on the special table meant for the bride and groom.
Nobody would ever have imagined that behind all that façade of smiling faces lay two hearts burning with anger and fear. While anger burned brightly in Jide’s soul, fear of the unknown stationed itself strongly in Daisy’s heart like a lump refusing to be swallowed. Even as they were both trying their best to put up appearances for their guests like the happy couple they should be.
And even though Jide seemed to be struggling with that part, It was all Daisy could do whether she preferred to or not, she had to make her step-mum see how happy she was and relay the information to her dad who had decided not to step foot in her wedding.
It was ironic that her stepmother was the only family who had come to celebrate with her. Her step-siblings couldn’t care less and it took all the will power she had to plead with Uncle Tobechi to come give her away in marriage and not long after, he left. Her uncle had initially disagreed and termed it a “taboo” for him to give Her away in marriage when her dad was still alive, but then again, her Dad had vehemently opposed the union, so, expecting him to give her away was like expecting the moon for breakfasts!
But the wedding had to go on, not even the insanity of it had deterred her. Yes insanity it was, getting married to a man who she hardly knew and who hardly knew her in this 21st century with all her education and exposure was madness personified! But as they say, it was too late to turn back the hands of time. The clocked stopped for her the day she had alighted the flight that brought her to her destiny.
The “I do’s” have already being said some hours ago at Love Word Assembly and they were now man and wife before God and before all these guests gathered here. The guest comprised people mainly from Jide’s side – his colleagues at work, his family, his friends and also friends of his friends.
The number of people who knew Daisy, even slightly were not up to ten and that made her feel more scared and lost as if on an island; her stepmother’s presence couldn’t even quell the feeling. It was so bad that even the chief bridesmaid who was perfunctorily dabbing away at her face trying to make her look splendid every now and then was scarcely known to her, she is a friend of Jide’s sister whom Jide’s Grandmother had recommended because, according to her, she complemented Daisy just perfectly.
Daisy nonetheless still braced herself to go through the ordeal she put herself in for if everyone abandoned her, she couldn’t abandon herself. And now, more than ever, she missed her deceased mum.
The feedback noise from the microphone brought Daisy’s wandering mind back to the venue, even as the MC started speaking:
“It’s time now for the bride and groom to cut the wedding cake, but before that, I would like to call on Miss Sarah Opeyemi, C.E.O of Sarah’s Bridals to come tell us the make-up of this cake and its significance to our lovely couples here” he announced cheerfully.
Amidst clapping, the said Sarah walked elegantly to the stage, collected the microphone and started speaking:
“Well, on behalf of Sarah’s Bridals, I am glad to inform you that…”
But Jide wasn’t listening. He had constantly checked the watch on his left hand and at other times checked the “Order of programme” that was placed on their table. He was checking it again and was visibly irritated.
“Just Number five?” he muttered angrily to himself “…what is this silly lady yarning on about?” he added while scanning the crowd looking for no one in particular. His eyes had continuously roamed everywhere but on the lovely woman seated by his side, he felt the more he forced himself to ignore her, the more he could cope with the whole nightmare that began with her.
“I need to visit the toilet” he whispered to Ade seated by his side. Ade was his best man.
“Come again” Ade replied, his eyes focused on Sarah Opeyemi and ears attuned to her speech.
“Mehn fuck this! I need to visit the gents” Jide cursed a bit louder now, making a move to stand up. He felt suffocated. But immediately, his friend held him back.
“What’s the problem with you man?” Ade asked, finally giving attention to him
“I want to ease myself” he said under his breath
“Hold it down man. No way that happening cause It’s time to go cut the cake made with honey, love and bliss” Ade replied sarcastically, and joined the audience already clapping.
“You have my permission to go cut that charade cake, that’s why you are my best man isn’t it?” Jide said but stood up nonetheless. Daisy also stood up, her countenance still looked cheerful even after hearing the last part of their discussion.
In between Miss Sarah’s speech, Daisy had wished that the honey professed by Sarah as a significance of sugar in their marriage, would really sweeten the life that lay ahead of her, and what’s more, sweeten the attitude of Jide, even for an hour.
“The groom always cuts the cake” Ade replied him minutes later as they walked to the stage.
The rest of the ceremony dragged on slowly, Jide’s anger increased with each activity they observed that was stipulated on the program menu. When it was time to feed each other the cake, Jide almost stuffed Daisy with the cake, that singular act had given him utmost pleasure. “Serves her right” he thought to himself.
Daisy had however tenderly given him his part of the cake, but inside she was burning with anger, Jide was really acting stupid and childish, she thought, he didn’t have to be so wicked trying to choke her with the cake, so she would cough out her pitiable self in front of all these people.
But she wouldn’t retaliate because there was no telling what lay in the sleeves of this husband of hers, and so she carried on with the facade of the happiest bride on her happiest day.
But how hard it was!
Also, during the couple dance, No matter how pretentious Daisy had tried to be, it was obvious that the rift between them was far from friendly, much less conjugal, those who had had an inkling that some things were wrong with this couple could really rest their case because Jide had been miles apart from Daisy and seemed more to be dancing with one of the female guests who had come to dance with them, even the M.C observed that and chipped in:
“It seems our groom here can’t tell the difference between a lady on white and one on red” But Jide was far from caring, if they wanted a dance, he reasoned, then dance he must give them, no matter who was on the receiving end. He so hated his wedding and loved every opportunity he could get to create a scene, that would at least teach his manipulative family spearheaded by his grandmother to stop meddling with the affairs of a grown man, he had had his misgivings about working in the family company, which meant he had to see the face of his over bearing father on a daily basis, an interaction which had finally led to this sham of a union.
And although it was too late to turn back the hands of time; it wasn’t too late to create a media scandal that would get through the thick skin of his family. This dance was therefore, short of the expectations of what lay ahead for them and their docile pet, Daisy.
When the wedding finally ended at about 6pm, Jide, to the chagrin of everyone wasn’t available to give a ‘vote of thanks’, it was said by his father. He had left halfway during the presentation of gifts and his space had been filled by Ade. That act had almost brought Daisy to tears, her rock-solid-don’t-care act couldn’t withstand that blow, and it took words of encouragement from Ade to calm her, for he had said:
“Daisy don’t work yourself up unnecessarily, Jide can be impulsive at times, but he’s a wonderful guy most times”
“Yeah right” Daisy had snorted in reply, sniffing in a tear and calming her nerves. The other reason she could still smile was because she was receiving gifts from the guests, gifts that seem to go on forever. The Olukoyas had friends who were very generous; she hoped she would soon get mixed in their world and earn their acceptance.
“This is enough to compensate all my loss right now” she had thought, calming herself.
But when at about 7pm and Jide still had not showed up, his number wasn’t connecting and nobody could say for sure where he went. The reality set in for her.
“This is an exclusive case oh”, it has always been the bride who gets missing before or after the wedding not the groom, this definitely is a shocker” Ade had replied dryly to Jide’s father when he had asked him of Jide’s whereabouts.
“That’s how silly and childish Jide is, let me just set my eyes on him, he will surely have a piece of me” his father had replied angrily and stormed off to go quiz more of his friends.
Ade had just shook his head, and walked towards the exit door, he was already tired of Jide’s attitude and the drama of the whole evening, “whatever happened to pretending” he said to himself.
Daisy on her part had calmly gone to one of the rooms they rented in Queens Hotel to moan her situation, she just wanted to be far from everybody. For though she had not expect the wedding to be so rosy, she hadn’t imagined it would be this bad, she was indeed starting to regret everything now.
She wondered when her tears would break forth, she was showing so much strength and calmness than she ever knew she had. “You never know how strong you are until you have to be strong” she said quietly to herself as she slowly lay on the bed she had been sitting on.
Just then she heard a knock, she didn’t feel like seeing anybody. “Why won’t they leave me alone for once” she cried silently without making a move to see who had knocked.
The door opened and in walked Jide’s grandmother.
“Daisy Omo mi” she said going to seat by her on the bed “Am really sorry for all that happened today, Jide was so…”
“Mama It is okay, there’s no need to feel sorry” cut in Daisy then she squeezed herself more, her wedding gown protesting the act.
“…Only God knows all the pain you’re going through now, no one envisioned that it would turn out this way, on behalf of the family, I must take the…” mama continued undeterred, her face revealing how unhappy she was.
“Mama please, if there’s anyone to blame here, It’s me. I’m the one who fell in love with a man like Jide, I did nothing to stop this charade because of this…this…” it was hard to admit “…love, I seem to feel thought I felt, a love that is causing me so much sorrow” Daisy completed, still lying down.
“Please don’t be hard on yourself Daisy” Mama cooed, tenderly stroking her arm.
“I’m okay. I just want to be left alone for now” Daisy calmly said. She really loved this woman who has been more than a mother to her during her years in the United States, but right now, she was irritating her with her insistence on crying over spilled milk. The best she could do now was to let her be.
Mama, as if reading her thoughts, stood up. “I also came to tell you that Jide is around now, but he’s having a word with his father. He will join you shortly” she said walking away.
Daisy said nothing, what was she expected to say Thank God? Jide could bloody well get missing again for all she cared. Yet deep down in her heart, she knew she cared. The reason she married him in the first place.
When mama got to the door, she stood for some second as if contemplating what to say. Finally she uttered:
“Please take it easy on yourself, everything will be fine” then she shut the door quietly.
Daisy still said nothing. She just lay still in her pile of white lace, she wasn’t crying, she just didn’t know how she felt.
Some minutes later she heard a soft knock on the door, exasperated, she shook her head mentally “why won’t this people ever hear!”
The door opened and in walked her step mum.
“Chinwe” her stepmother called softly “Are you sleeping?”
Immediately she heard her native name, she stood up quickly from her bed. There was only one person in the wedding who knew her by that name.
“Aunty, no I’m not sleeping, I was just…” she stopped talking and looked down at the lace bulge of her gown; she was tired of putting up appearances.
“Oh Chinwe” her step mum called and went towards her, extending her arm to embrace her.
Daisy slowly walked into her open arm, she felt heaviness in her heart, right then she knew the tears would soon come; but why now and in front of her? The very person it shouldn’t.
“Am sorry I couldn’t support you enough” her aunty said patting her back.
“You tried the best you could, I just wish…wish…my father was here now or even my mother” the tears had finally let down and Daisy was crying softly.
“This was what your father had seen in the first place that had made him put up strong opposition”
“Even if no one believes me, I love Jide, that’s why I married him” Daisy defended in a teary tone.
“You don’t know what you’re saying child” her stepmother replied, Daisy disentangled from the embrace and her step-mum led her to the bed. She was still crying softly.
“He obviously doesn’t love you back” aunty said as they both sat down.
“He…he… I don’t know” Daisy had wanted to defend Jide, but she knew in her heart that her aunt was right. It was obvious to all but her that the man felt zero affection for her.
“It’s okay, just relax, everything will be fine” aunty finally said.
Daisy nodded her head and rested it on her aunt’s shoulder. Everyone seemed to be saying that a lot to her, only at this point, she didn’t believe it would. But what were her choices?
They stayed that way for minutes. This bond they now seemed to share was all new to Daisy, it wasn’t as if they were enemies, but they had always been distanced, each acknowledging the other but not really bonding. Whenever she came home to Nigeria – which was rarely, she often stayed in her father’s house, she never could stand her step siblings attitude towards her, but the few times she did, Mrs. Amaka Okechukwu was civil to her and treated her fairly well. Daisy however hadn’t cared to get any closer; after all it was this woman who took her mother’s place, keeping her at arm’s length was just fine.
The relationship she had with her father didn’t fare any better, she had quite some grudges against him, and the part he had played in this marriage would definitely fuel the grudge. Thinking about all these things made her cry the more.
“Calm yourself now” her aunty said softly.
A phone rang just then, it was her aunt’s. Mrs. Amaka picked it up saw the caller and cut the call. Daisy shifted away from her as she made to stand up. Standing up she said: “That was your father, obviously worried, I must get going now, you know how it is with Lagos traffic at night and on Saturdays?”
She didn’t really know but she nodded, wiping the tears from her eyes, they were now red and a bit swollen.
“Just tell dad… everything was fine” she begged
“I will” her aunty nodded knowingly. Her phone rang again.
“It’s him, I must go, please take care and stop crying, everything will be fine. See you at the church tomorrow, Okay? Bye” she finally said and started walking away, her phone kept ringing. When she got to the door, she waved Daisy before stepping out. Then she closed the door softly behind her.
“Why is everyone saying everything will be fine when nothing looks fine” Daisy wondered as she started lying down again but midway the door opened. She stood up abruptly as the object of her woe, Jide, walked in.
“Mrs…” he drawled “…It’s time to go. Forever after await us” he said with sarcasm. Then started walking away, but stopped when he noticed she hadn’t made a move to stand. “And you better not keep me waiting!” he almost shouted and stormed off.
Daisy slowly, gathered her crumpled white lace of wedding dress, stood up and walked out to the future that awaits her.
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