Richard looked around embarrassedly, trying to make sure no one noticed them but of course they were noticed as people had already started gathering with their phones and camera taking snapshots. There were sounds of “wow” coming from different directions. He heard someone say “She is quite brave, I wish my girlfriend will do this too” another said “what rubbish, women should not do this, how can a woman be so cheap?”
Ophelia: “Richie…I am still waiting for your reply” she said looking up at him pleadingly.
Richard: “Baby I am sorry but can we go somewhere private and talk about this please? People are staring at us” he said, lifted her up to her feet, collected the box from her, pocketed it and drew her along with him forcefully. They headed back to his office. As soon as they entered inside the office, whistles from different angles greeted them ”news indeed travelled fast” he thought as they maneuvered their ways to his office.
Ophelia: “What is happening? You don’t want to marry me?”
Richard: “That is not the issue now, the issue is you proposing to me. Why did you do that and in public? My God!” he paced around with his right hand on his forehead.
Ophelia: “I don’t understand, what is so wrong with that? Can’t I even do that?” she tried biting back tears.
Richard: “Not that you can’t but doing it in private would have gone a long way than this. Now we are going to be the talk of the town. Just check onyitex.com, you will see it as a hot news there tomorrow”
Ophelia: “What does that matter?”
Richard: “It matters dear, it does. Don’t you care about your dignity? Do you know what people will be saying about you? Especially those ALFs eehh.. they can find faults so easily on anyone. Have you ever seen a woman proposing to a man before in public?”
Ophelia: “I don’t care. If losing my dignity would make us be together then I will lose it over and over again. I just want to be fully there for you and the kids. How is that a bad move?”
Richard: Do you know AdeLove Fans are reading this?
Ophelia: I said, I don’t care … don’t you get it Richie? She flared uncontrollably
Richard: “Baby I appreciate your kind gesture towards I and my kids but I don’t think I am ready to commit to another person just yet. I am still mourning my wife”
Ophelia: “Oh really? And what about me? If you reject this proposal I will disappear from your life forever. I am on loose end right now. I swallowed all of my human pride to do this. If only you know how much it took me to take this step”
Richard: “Hey baby! I don’t want to lose you but please can you give me more time? I want to do it the right way. I want you to know I actually love you but don’t want to give people the wrong impression about us. Let’s take it slow?”
Ophelia: “Okay but for how long will I have to wait?” she asked sadly.
Richard: “It’s not going to be long I promise and thanks for taking this bold step. I will remember it for the rest of my life”
Ophelia: “Anything for my boo. And the rings? I was going to wear one though”
Richard: “I will keep them till further notice if you don’t mind” he said, went close to her and held her in his arms tightly. “I love you” he said and placed a light kiss on her forehead.
Ophelia: “Uhn uhn!” she grunted and pulled away from him. “I will get going now before you get fired cos of me. Catch ya later” she picked up her handbag and walked out without looking back.
He could not imagine his luck. He felt like a baby floating on water. All through that day, he kept giggling and grinning from ears to ears until his cheeks could not take it anymore and started protesting.
Sammy came back from school and met his sister on the floor crying, he scooped her up in his arms and sang her favourite song to her. Looked around the house and saw that the nanny Ngozi was in her room sleeping.
Sammy: “Nanny” he tapped her roughly on the feet. She refused to stand up but he did not give up. He was angry that his sister was neglected like that. ”Nanny…” he tried even harder. She stirred briefly, opened her eyes and sat up angrily.
Ngozi: “What is wrong with you this boy that is always behaving like an old man? Why are you disrupting my sleep?”
Sammie: “Why did you leave Annie alone in the parlour?”
Ngozi: “Who are you to question me? Besides why are you back from school by this time? Aren’t you supposed to stay for lesson? All your mates are in school learning but you are here questioning me like an idiot” she rose up and make to hit him but he dodged it shielding Annie too as she slept peacefully in his arms.
Sammy: “Today is Friday madam, you are our nanny and you can’t even take note of such little information. I am going to tell my mum all these when she comes back. Just be getting ready to leave our house”
Ngozi let out loud bouts of laughter
Ngozi: “Which mum? The one that is dead? Your mother is dead you dim witted boy…”
Sammy: “It’s your mother who is dead not mine. My mum went on a journey and asked me to take care of my sister on her behalf and that is what I am doing now. She will be back soon, I am only waiting for her to spill out all the wrongs you’ve been doing in this house. Dad will give you money to buy baby food and clothes for Annie but instead you will use it for something else. I am writing them all down for you”
Ngozi: “Who told you that? And besides your mother is really really dead but you can still wait for her though. Just know you will grow old waiting for her” she said laughing wickedly again. “Get out of my sight idiot. And don’t get too comfy yet, your dad is bringing in another wife to replace your mum very soon. You are motherless, motherless” she said rising up from the bed
Sammie: “I am not motherless, my mum is coming back very soon: he started to cry and the baby in his arms stirred restlessly.
Ngozi: “Pathetic boy” she said and left him the room.
He carried Annie to his bedroom and laid her gently on her cot. Looked at her as she cooed in her sleep and tears started flowing down his face. He went over to his drawer, brought out a picture of his mum, sat down as his tears dripped on the glass of the little picture frame. “Mum where are you really? You told me you wouldn’t stay long, you told me you’d be back or didn’t you?” he caressed her face from the glass of the frame and continued “Annie needs you mum! She hasn’t even had a breast milk before and that’s why she looks so small, I need you too and I miss you so much. I want my mum back. Did you leave because dad was not happy with you? Mum Aunty Ngozi, said you are dead when you aren’t. I feel so angry with her and I am going to tell dad everything when he returns. I love you mummy” he said, cleaned his tears and went to check on Annie who was still soundly asleep. “Baby don’t worry, our mum is coming back soon. You just be healthy and don’t worry, I will take care of you like mum said I should. It’s going to be fine little sister” he watched as the baby smiled sweetly in her sleep.
Sammy: “Daddy I want to report the nanny to you” he said after his dad had his dinner, showered and sat with Annie on his laps watching the 9:00 news on CNN.
Richard: “What happened?” he asked without looking away from the Television.
Sammy narrated all of the Nanny’s escapades to his dad and emphasized on the part where Annie don’t get fed enough.
Richard: “Ngozi…” he barked and she answered from her room. She ran into the sitting room with her wrapper hanging loosely around her waist. “Sammy repeat everything you just told me now” he order and Sammy concurred…
“Is that true?” he asked after Sammy had finished.
Ngozi: “It’s not true sir. I do everything according to your instructions sir”
Richard: “And the part where you neglected my daughter in the sitting room while you slept soundly in your room? A three month old baby who has not even started sitting on her own yet?”
Ngozi: “I am sorry sir, it will not repeat itself again sir”
Richard: “So you mean that really did happen? You abandoned my daughter all alone in this big sitting room? I was hoping you’d also tell me that was just a cooked up story. I am very disappointed in you Ngozi”
Ngozi: “Please forgive me sir! It will never happen again I promise” she was unable to look him in the eyes.
Sammy: “Daddy is it true mum is dead? It’s not true right?”
Richard: “Who told you that?”
Sammy: “She did!” he said pointing at Ngozi who was busy making signs to him to keep quiet.
Richard: “Now that is the limit to what I can take. I specifically told you not to talk about stuffs like this to him. I cannot have a lady like you around my children. I’d have asked you to leave tonight but considering that it’s late, I will let you stay till tomorrow. So first thing tomorrow morning, pack your things and get the hell out of my house. Do you understand?”
Ngozi: “Please sir. I will never repeat it again, just pardon me this once please?” she said kneeling down in front of him but just as he was about to say something, his Samsung Galaxy vibrated beside him, he checked and saw that the caller was Ophelia, he quickly picked it.
Richard: “Hello dear…what is happening?”
Ophelia: “I need your help Richie” she said and he realised she had been crying.
Richard: “What is wrong? Hope you are okay? Where are you right now?” he asked panicking. He handed Annie to Sammie and hurried to the room.
Ophelia: “I am at Orile bus stop, can you come and pick me please?”
Richard: “What are you doing there by this time?” he asked but she was not there to answer him anymore, she had disconnected the call. He hastily grabbed his car keys from the table and headed out the door. “Sammy…I will be right back, take care of Annie and make sure that girl did not touch her okay?” he said as he was walking out.
Sammy: “Okay dad, taking care of her is what I know to do best anyway. But to think of it, why do they all keep leaving asking me to take care of her? “He muttered to himself and when realization dawned on him, he sprinted to the door with the baby still in his arms but all he could see when his dad’s tail light zooming out of the gate. He shook his head and went back inside sullenly. “I hope you will not stay long like mum is dad. God Please make him come back today” he soliloquized
After like twenty minutes’ drive, he parked his car at the road leading to Coker Street and called her. He waited for some time then looked in the rear view mirror and sighted her dragging a big bag with her. He got down from the car and without a word took the bag from her, dropped it inside the boot and climbed in with her.
Richard: “What happened and where are you going to?” he said without starting the car.
Ophelia: “My parents sent me out of the house” she cried out wiping her face.
…PART 11 DROPS TOMORROW BY 7am.