Martha walked into the party hall. She looked around through her blurred vision. Tears had gathered in her eyes again. She saw her parents seated with John, Dorcas and their spouses and children. The Dj had stopped the music and the remaining guests were taking their leave. She avoided them and approached her family.
“Is that Martha?” Charles noticed his eldest daughter. Everyone at the table followed his gaze.
“I thought she left… ” Dorcas got to her feet. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw her sister’s tears stained face and red eyes. Martha got to the table, drew out a chair and sat down.
“Sweet heart, are you okay?” Her mother reached out for her hand.
She remained mum and faced John, “This is the last time I am going to accommodate being in the same room with your daughter… ”
Nnese and Charles sighed, what has their grand daughter done again? Is there no end to her menance?
Dorcas sat back on the chair, she looked around, all the guests had left. Good, they were alone.
John held his sister’s gaze. Her countenance was heart breaking. If Sheila’s actions had affected her to this extent, he was scared of knowing what his daughter had done. Eureka mumbled a prayer. Her heart was racing so fast, she could hardly hear herself.
“Your daughter slipped her pant into my fiance’s pocket… ”
Eureka stopped praying. John glanced at his daughter, she was grinning from ear to ear. Nnese tightened her grip on Martha’s hand. Charles and Imabong exchanged glances. Boma and Edidiong glared at their cousin.
“Daniel admitted that he touched her… ”
“No!” Eureka’s shrill echoed through the walls. John was torn between consoling his sister and strangling his own daughter. He remained motionless on his seat. Dorcas closed her eyes, her husband pulled her close.
“They… I don’t know what… I… ” Martha swallowed hard. “I can’t go through with the wedding.” She pointed a shaky finger at her brother, “I want your daughter to stay away from me… ” She rose, Nnese released her hands, she could feel her daughter’s pains.
Charles turned to look at his grand daughter. She was smiling! Anger began to brew inside him. What sort of a child is this?
Sheila met her father’s gaze. His looks seemed to say, ‘I am ashamed of you’. Was he? He has never looked at her like that before. She tore her eyes away and glanced at her mother who was crying as if she had lost someone. For a moment, she regretted what she had done.
Martha kicked her seat out of her way and headed out.
“Martha…” Nnese called out, but her eldest daughter disappeared into the night. She turned to her husband. “She cannot drive in that state…”
Imabong leapt to his feet, “I will take her home.”
“I will come with you… the kids can stay with their grandparents,” She hurried after her husband.
All eyes fell on Sheila, a mischievous grin was pasted on her face.
“Until further notice, I don’t want to see Sheila at any family event.” Charles pulled his wife up.
He raised a hand and she kept quiet. He turned to John.
“She has caused this family enough pain… ”
“No… No… This is the height.”
“Let us go,” he beckoned to Boma and Edidiong.
Charles ignored his son and left the party hall with his wife and grand-children.
John glanced at his weeping wife, then at his unrepentant daughter. Oh lord God almighty… Please show up. Show up now!