Rain told David she needed time to think about his proposal. She needed to be sure before committing the rest of her life to him. As far as she was concerned, they still had the unresolved issue of the waist beads and the possibility that he brought another woman into their house, their room and the bed they shared in their profoundly committed relationship as lovers and best friends.
When she brought up the reason for their last fight, D3 flat-out denied the allegation of unfaithfulness again, and that made her even angrier. Rain didn’t hold back her rage because she had been looking for an opportunity to vent and ask David the many questions she had been dying to ask him since he told her he was leaving for Warri.
What Rain wasn’t sure of, though, was whether her anger was because she wanted to believe David when he said he didn’t do it or that it happened at all.
After the way he handled the situation and the disappearing stunt he pulled almost immediately, she didn’t know if she could ever rise to the level of trust she had for him before doubt crept in.
Cheating and abuse were the two transgressions she promised herself she’d never condone in a relationship, whether as girlfriend or wife. David knew how strongly she felt about both sins because she had mentioned them to him as deal breakers so many times in the past. Both, or either one, was reason enough for her to walk away for good. But faced with a situation where there wasn’t any concrete evidence to prove that D3 cheated on her, Rain was confused about breaking things off or giving him a second chance.
Her options were obvious. It was between giving up on a good thing on the suspicion that one cardinal rule had been broken or continuing to have faith in a man that had looked out for her and was in a way instrumental to her career dream being actualised.
“I don’t know, I don’t know, David. This marriage proposal thing is coming to me as a surprise, a very big surprise.” Rain collapsed on the colourful beanbag close to the door. It was the spot she was when David popped the question so unexpectedly. Sitting down helped steady her nerves. “Honestly, I don’t know what to say. I didn’t think I’d be hearing anything like this from you this morning.”
“It’s sudden…we should be discussing the elephant in the room and not marriage.”
“Rain, do you love me?”
“That’s an unfair question, David. You know I do.”
“You think I don’t love you?”
“Can we not make this about what I think or do not think?” Rain raised her voice slightly to let him know how serious she was. “You left me all alone in this house for days.”
“I left because I was hurting. Rain, you don’t know how deflated I was finding out you didn’t trust me. You didn’t believe me when I said I didn’t bring any girl to this house. Why would I do that? Why would you even think it? We’ve been living together in this house like we’re husband and wife already, where do I have the time and space to carry another woman?”
“You guys always find a way.”
“Rain, please marry me. It’s the only way I can show you how committed I am to what we have, and that I, David Spiff III of Asamabiri, Bayelsa cannot live if you aren’t a part of my life.”
“But you don’t even have a job. How are we going to pay for the wedding and start a life?”
“I’ve done three interviews in the past week alone, and I’m positive I’ll be working again very soon. In any case, you know my plan has always been to open a restaurant of my own here in Yenagoa. If I’m able to raise the capital for a small place, who needs to work for someone else and be answering, ‘sir, sir’ to someone else all my life? I can be my own boss and still make enough money to take care of us.”
“I don’t know about this, David. This is all too much for me to take in this morning. Can we talk about it when I’m back from Dubai?”
“I love you, Rain. I have a good feeling about us, I always have.”
Rain remained speechless for a couple of minutes and then she gathered herself together.
“I’ve got to go. I’m running very, very late.”
Ohita Edozie was late getting to the restaurant at Juanita Hotel. It was the venue she chose for her 6pm appointment.
In the last sixteen months, she had made seven trips to Port Harcourt. The meetings were necessary for her future and that of her two children. Ohita had invested so much time and effort in praying for her husband to overcome, but in the event that the prayers failed and Chief Edozie didn’t make it to fifty-five, she wanted to be sure that she and her children were well taken care of financially and that they would be alright for the rest of their lives.
Chief Rowland Edozie believed her when she told him that her visit to Port Harcourt was to meet with Pastor Ginika Orianze of People of Grace Assembly. Because, even more than he, she was troubled what impact his situation would have on their lives as individuals and to their collective dynasty. Ohita knew well enough that if her husband didn’t survive the ancestral curse of the Edozie men, she was going to be a widow with five children to worry about and a business empire she wasn’t equipped to manage or even interested in keeping.
Whenever she asked for money to begin another prayer chain with a new church or a different man of God, her husband didn’t ask questions, he just went ahead and gave her whatever she asked for. Whenever she told him she had to see someone about the curse, he gave her his blessing without hesitation because he knew she trusted in the efficacy of prayers, especially when they came from powerful Christian leaders like Orianze. Her husband believed in prayers too, but he also believed in other things. So, in order to avoid conflict between their approaches and beliefs, he let her have her way.
Her husband believed she was helping. Since letting her in on his secret, not once had he tried stopping her from seeking the help of any deacon, pastor, prophet or reverend with the maturity and power to intercede on his behalf.
Sometimes, her quest took her to nearby Port Harcourt, and at other times she travelled to places as far-off as Port Elizabeth in South Africa and Philadelphia in America. No matter how far away or how often Ohita needed to travel for spiritual intervention, Chief Edozie let her go. They were both looking for a solution, and neither of them knew just where they would find it.
This time though, Ohita lied. Although she made the trip at the invitation of the popular television evangelist and Miracle School Principal, as Pastor Orianze likes to call himself, she had other plans. The prayer and anointing session with the church was a decoy for the more important reason she was in Port Harcourt.
Ever since her husband confided in her two years ago his fears about his life, she had been concerned. Knowing him the way she did, Mrs. Edozie feared that if he died, Kendrik and Kendra would not be treated with the same generosity as his three older children from his first marriage.
That marriage was to his soul mate and undergraduate sweetheart. Ihuoma was the wife of his youth, the one created from his ribs. When she succumbed to breast cancer after giving birth to three children, Chief Edozie was devastated. Because of that, Klarissa, Kennedy and Kobi were the apple of his eyes and he didn’t hide it. He loved her children too, but as a mother, she didn’t see equality.
After the unfortunate death of his first wife, no one believed he would marry again. Such was the bond they shared, so much so that their friends called them the John Lennon and Yoko Ono of Bayelsa. You could hardly see one without the other being a few feet behind.
Although a few months after Ihuoma was laid to rest, Chief Edozie had a string of supermodels, beauty queens, actresses, singers, on-air personalities and socialites sharing his bed, he told people it was to help him forget the pain of losing Ihuoma. The eligible widower wasn’t in the market for a new wife.
When he met Ohita on a British Airways flight to London, he still wasn’t looking for a wife, but he had started to think that his children needed a stepmother. The attraction was instant. The beautiful twenty-one-year-old flight attendant agreed to be his wife on their second date, even though she knew she would always be the trophy and not the heart. The two were married one month later, two years after the death of his beloved wife.
Now, he too might be dying and Ohita didn’t want any surprises when his will was read. She knew she had to do everything within her power to secure enough money for Kendrik and his sister Kendra.
Ohita feared that if she didn’t act fast, between Ihuoma’s children and The Ihuoma Edozie Cancer Treatment Centre that Chief established in honour of his late wife, she and her children wouldn’t be getting the kind of settlement she felt entitled to as the one who raised his children and became his comforter.
That was why Ohita consulted real and phantom men of God for prayers. And every time Chief Edozie gave her money to sow in a church or in the life of a particular servant of God supplicating for his deliverance, she kept something substantial for herself.
Ohita refused to believe she was doing anything fraudulent against her husband, neither did she consider her action as robbing God. She was merely being proactive of her children’s interest, as any good mother would.
On this trip to Port Harcourt, Chief Edozie had accepted her appeal to donate thirty thousand dollars to People of Grace Assembly. Half of the money would go to the church, while the other half she would collect in cash. That was why she was going to Juanita Hotel, to collect that half, and she was late.
“Sorry I couldn’t get here earlier. We were held up in Choba.”
“It’s okay, Madam. I was also held up in the same traffic for about an hour. I haven’t been here long.”
“I can’t stay. I’m meeting the pastor in an hour and I don’t want to be late for that,” Ohita said still standing. “Do you have the money?”
“Yes, Madam,” Donald Wakama reached for the duffel bag on the chair beside him and handed it over to her. “You don’t have to count it. It is complete.”