Wedding et al…
I always have flashbacks about the night before the wedding. The night Emeka gave me a glimpse into a different life, one I would probably never know. That night after Emeka’s offer to take me back to the States with him and accept TK’s baby, we shared a very passionate kiss that left my head spinning and then he gave me the address of the hotel he was lodged at and his number. He left after I promised to let him know my decision.
Banke came in shortly after he left. She was so excited she kept chatting away, oblivious to the fact that I was in another world. I didn’t say anything to her because I didn’t know how to address the issue and also because I hadn’t made up my mind if I was going to marry TK or go away with Emeka. Banke eventually fell asleep and even though I am not exactly the praying type, I said a prayer in tears because I really needed someone to talk to and someone to help me make the almost impossible decision. All I had asked for was a sign. I woke up on my wedding day with a pounding headache because I had cried myself to sleep. I checked my phone, Emeka had sent a text and it read:
“My angel, I am waiting… always.”
I was so confused. Banke woke up shortly after and in the space of minutes my suite was full of people running around to get me ready. I was literally in a trance and I didn’t say a word to anyone. My sister in law was there, Banke, my hair stylist, the makeup artist and her assistant, my Aunt Titi, Tolu my dear friend from my time as TK’s PA in Octave, the photographers…it was a circus and I was starting to feel claustrophobic. Eventually Aunty Titi spoke. Aunty Titi: Anjola, I wish your mum was here to see this day too but I know she is here with us in spirit.
I figured she thought that was the reason for my strange behavior. I nodded and then my phone rang it was TK
TK: Hey you. So I heard you have cold feet.
He said chuckling.
I knew Banke must have told him of my strange behavior that morning.
Me: Are you sure you want to do this?
I asked him. I was hoping he would say no. My decision would have been much easier instead he said
TK: Hell Yes! I can’t wait to see the look on my mother’s face when you also become an Ayo-Kessington. Mrs. Anjola Ayo-Kessington. When he said it, the reality dawned on me. I was becoming one of them, entering the inner circle I only read about in the tabloids. He had told me just the other day that his sister couldn’t make our traditional wedding because she was in court for her divorce proceedings. It was a family where obviously divorce and marriage were not a big deal, where it was ok for a mother to try to buy away her son’s happiness to preserve her public image. I told him I had to go back to getting ready and was contemplating calling Emeka to come and get me when his next words changed everything.
TK: Look darling, I know none of this has gone the way you would have liked and I cannot make you any promises about our life together but I’m willing to try to be the man you need. I’m willing to try and be the father our child needs, I don’t even require anything of you just keep being you and I’ll take it up from there. See you at the altar Anjola and thank you for giving me a chance to be the man I know I can be.
With that he hung up and my mind was made, my child deserved his/her father, if he was willing to try I was willing to give him a chance. I sent Emeka a text it read “Obim I’m sorry. I gave him my word, there is no going back. I will always love you please forgive me for this”
I waited for his response; it eventually came a few hours later when I was just about to get out of the car and into the church to get married.
“Goodbye my Angel.”
My wedding was spectacular! The talk of the town and even though I didn’t know half of the people in the hall I felt like a princess. My ivory coloured lace and silk ball gown was the dress of my dreams and I had on a beautiful tiara. My whole look cost an obscene amount of money and TK had signed the cheque with relish. It was during the preparations I discovered just how wealthy he was. Money obviously was not a problem and would not be anytime soon with the kind of gifts we were given.
We received cheques worth millions, two cars; an all expense paid boat cruise…the list was endless.
Everything was perfect. Oh and yes the Duchess showed up. She almost upstaged me with her dazzling white outfit and jewelry but I didn’t mind sharing the limelight with her as long as she didn’t cause a scene. The reception ended at about 9pm and it was time for my husband and me to head to the surprise location he was taking me to.
I had changed into a more comfortable dress and was ready to go but I had one more thing to take care of …Banke. I asked her to follow me to the garden outside the reception venue where no one could hear us. The conversation didn’t go well. Me: Banke, Emeka was here last night. He came to the hotel to see me.
Banke: Why? What did he want?
Me: He asked me to go away with him.
Banke: (laughing hysterically).That boy is a dreamer! How could you possibly have left a whole TK for him? Who is he? Me: He is an honourable man who loves me. That’s who he is!
I was getting angry already.
Banke: Na honour you go chop? Anyway, I am glad you used your head my dear. You did the right thing. Me: What exactly is the right thing? Emeka told me about the lies you told him to get rid of him! How dare you play God in my life! How dare you???
Banke: Oh please you are so naïve. So you would have married that thing? Haven’t you suffered enough? You deserve better. Me: And what exactly is your definition of better? A divorced man who slept with his wife’s best friend months after they got married? Banke: Oh please! Stop exaggerating. That thing he had with Nicole was not a marriage.
It occurred to me that I had never told her TK’s ex wife’s name.
Me; I never told you her name! Did you know TK was married all along???
Banke: Of course I knew. My brother is his best friend isn’t he? Look I was just trying to do what was best for you. You have always had this fairytale dream in your head that I know is not possible, I figured you needed a nudge in the right direction.
Me: What are you saying?
Banke: Well, after my graduation party, where you first met TK he was always asking about you. He seemed quite smitten but you were still hung up on Emeka and you went to England for your masters so he eventually gave up. Fortunately, you came back just when the scandal with his former Executive Assistant was winding down and you needed a job. The position was open and knowing TK I knew it was only a matter of time before he wooed you into falling for him so I spoke to Brother Ope and he told TK you needed a job. TK hired you because he had always wanted you and the rest is history! I was worried you won’t play your cards right but this pregnancy came at the perfect time.
I couldn’t believe I had been so naïve. I had been manipulated all along, what I didn’t understand was why.
Me: Banke why did you go through so much trouble to get me in TK’s bed?
Banke: Don’t you know how important money and power is? Think of the quality of life you can give this child. All the things you never had. Anjola you are my best friend and you know I would do anything for you, I couldn’t have loved you more if you were my blood sister. I just knew you were too uptight to take this chance so I tried to help.
Me: You mean you manipulated me! That’s not help that’s deceit! So when you offered to let me come and stay with you in America to have the child you didn’t mean it? Banke: I called TK and told him your plans. I told him he had to propose otherwise you were going to take his child away. I convinced him of why he should marry you that you are the sort of woman he needs. Young, beautiful, good morals, gentle, no drama…I was able to convince him and that day when he first proposed you had told me you were going back to pick up your remaining things from his guest house, I called him to set up a proposal that you won’t be able to turn down. I even helped in choosing the ring I hope you like it.
If only we had had this conversation before the wedding I would never have gone through with it.
Me: So basically, you convinced TK to marry me, he didn’t even intend to. You knew his history and his past and you manipulated the situation to have me right where he wanted me.
Banke: Anjola in all fairness, you fell for him all by yourself! You decided to start sleeping with him all by yourself! You got pregnant all by yourself. Admit it you wanted to part of this world. You have always wanted to be a part of this world isn’t that why you chose to be my best friend? I gave you the opportunity to have the life you wanted but you took it by yourself. Admit it! You claim you love Emeka but you are here wearing TK’s ring when you had the opportunity to give it all up and follow him. Me: You encouraged me every step of the way with TK. You encouraged me!
Banke: You are 26 years old madam. You are not a child if you didn’t want him, if you didn’t want the life that comes with being with him, you should have made a choice. It was your choice to make so if you are here married to him today; it’s all on you not me! I gave you a ticket; I didn’t force you to get on the bus! I am tired of you always playing the victim with your goody two shoes behavior. Well you got knocked up by your boss…big deal! At least he married you unlike the others.
Banke’s words stung me one word at a time. I had never felt so used, so manipulated, so naïve in my entire life but she was right. If I didn’t want to be there as TK’s wife, then why was I there? I guess a part of me had craved the fine things that came with being with TK but now I would have to bear the consequences. Her revelations had also confirmed my worst fears, TK did not love me. I was a trophy wife, my primary role was not to give him drama and have his children. At 26, I felt like my life was over.
Me: Banke I never want to speak to you again and I mean that. Stay away from me and my family. You are not a friend this isn’t what friends do. You have ruined my life and I allowed you do it. I take responsibility but it ends here Banke. It ends here. Goodbye. As I walked away, Banke kept calling out my name and saying she was sorry I didn’t respond I just kept on walking. That was when I spotted someone standing not too far off, even through my tears and in the darkness I didn’t need to be told, I knew who it was and from the smirk on her face I knew she had heard everything…standing there in the shadows was The Duchess!