Kike came home with a man who she introduced to her niece as her fiancé. Bukky recognized him. he was one of the Assistant Pastors in the church they both attended. She now understood why her aunt was always going out. Her relationship with the man took all her time. Or rather, she gave all her time and attention to the relationship. No wonder they were now engaged. They informed her that the introduction, traditional and white wedding would be taking place that Summer. Bukky was very happy for her aunt who was in her late thirties.
The man shared his plans of opening a shop for her aunt in Yaba, so that she wouldn’t be too far from home. He lived in the area. That way, after marriage, she would be able to continue the fried yam and plantain business. Kike wanted her niece to join her. They made a very good team. Bukky was a bit worried about their customers in their present area, but, her aunt’s fiancé convinced her that they would have better and richer customers in Yaba. Their business would blow up if they put their heart to it.
Bukky promised to speak to their sales girls and find out if they would be willing to work with them in the new environment. When the man took his leave, Kike discussed the kind of Aso ebi she wanted for her wedding. Bukky volunteered to go to the market to make the enquires, so that the bride to be could focus on other things.
Kike called her elder sister and intimated her of her plans. Bukky’s mother was thrilled with the goodnews. She had been praying that God should give her younger sister a good man to marry and her prayer had been answered. She promised to notify the elders in the family and get back to her asap.
Bukky began to daydream of the day she and her boyfriend would also get married. It would be the happiest day in her life.
The day before Gbemiga returned to school, his girlfriend visited. She came along with foodstuff and cash. He thanked God for bringing a special girl his way. He let her into the room and closed the door.
“Where is everyone?” It was her first time in the Phillips’ room. Most times when she visited, she sit outside, but, that day, he invited her in.
“They went to celebrate with one of our church members who just moved into his own house.”
“God will do our own too.”
“Amen.” He switched on the big black box television on the wooden table.
Bukky looked around her. There was a big bed at a corner, and a bunk bed adjacent to it. A big wardrobe stood at the other side, and the sitting area took the remaining space. She had no idea how they lived in the cramped room with little or no ventilation.
“My family are looking up to me to move them out of this hell hole,” he noticed her scrutiny.
“It is well.”
“My father’s salary, in combination with what my mother and sisters earn at the paper factory is used to pay the rent, electrical, water, security and other bills. Feeding, clothing, etcetera, the money is swallowed up monthly with no room for saving.”
“I pray I get a good job when I graduate. They have suffered enough.”
“I believe that God will perfect all that concerns us with time.”
“I believe so too,” he tried to smile.
“Everything is going to work out for our good,” she encouraged him.
He nodded and drew her close, “I know. I wish I don’t have to go back to school.”
“I don’t like being away from you.”
“Me neither,” she looked up at him.
He dropped his head and kissed her. She placed her hands on his shoulders and responded. His lips trailed her neckline, sending shivers down her spine. She buried her face in his chest and tried to breathe steadily.
“I love you.”
“I love you too,” she whispered.
“I want you so much, but, I already promised you and God that I won’t sleep with you again until our wedding night.”
She raised her head and saw the desire in his eyes.
“I am willing to keep that promise.”
She smiled and sighed with relief.
He kissed her again. The door swung open. They pulled apart and saw his parents standing by the door, staring at them in shock. His sisters stood behind them, seething.
“What is the meaning of this?” Baba thundered and marched into the room, “Do you mean that after we have warned you, you are still dating this girl and you have the guts to bring her into our home?” he glared at his son.
“You!” Remi approached her, “You don’t want to leave my son alone. Is it by force? Is he the only man on earth?”
“Instead of you to concentrate on your studies, you are wasting your time with this illiterate.Can’t you date someone else? At least, an educated girl from a reputable home.”
“Dad,” he stared at the man.
“Shut up!” the man shouted, “I don’t want to hear a single word from you.”
“Ashawo!” Remi clapped in her face, “Look here, if you get pregnant, you are on your own. We will not accept your bastard. You better receive brain.”
Bukky stared at the woman. She didn’t understand why she didn’t like her.
“Eh! You!” Baba barked at her, “Get out of my house!”
Bukky looked back at him, then at her boyfriend. His face was saddened.
“I said out!” Baba approached her.
Bukky backed away, brushed past his sisters and fled.
“Gbemiga! Gbemiga! Gbemiga! Break up with this girl before trouble start to knock on your door,” his mother stood toe to toe with him.
“I love her,” he took some steps back, “And I am going to marry her.”
They all stared at him as if he had lost his marbles.
“Nobody can stop me,” he looked back at them, determined.
“You have gone mad! If you think we will allow you to marry that girl, then, you are dreaming,” Baba glared at him, frustrated by the boy’s stubbornness.
“Over my dead body! You can never marry her. We will never support you. No one in the Phillips family will support you, I will make sure of that,” Remi warned him.
Gbemiga stared at her with disgust. It became clear to him that his parents would go to any length to sabotage his plans.
“I don’t care if she has charmed you. You better receive sense and break up with her. The sooner, the better,” Baba settled on the long chair. He felt suddenly tired.
“Bukky is a good girl…”
“Shut up! What is good about her?” his mother hissed.
“I love her,” his voice wobbled with emotion.
His parents started to laugh.
“This boy will not kill me,” Remi joined her husband on the chair.
Gbemiga brushed past his angry looking sisters and walked out of the room. He went straight to the back of the house, and sat on the bare ground behind the kitchen. What was he going to do? Who would follow him to go and meet Bukky’s parents? His own parents were against their union. Maybe he could talk to his uncles. But, his mother had already threatened that no one in the Phillips family would support him. It became clear to him that they would never support the relationship. He placed his hands on his head. What was the assurance that they would change their minds when he graduated? Tears slipped down his dark face. How was he supposed to convince and assure Bukky that things would go according to their plans? He wasn’t prepared to let her go without a fight. There must be a way out of their situation.