vintage inspired gowns for mother of the bride

The Stranger I called FRIEND
EPISODES 17,18,19,20
“Eat up” Andy growled referring to the left-over food, looking
pointedly at Jessica. “You need to gain back the weight and
strength you had. You are nearly as light as a feather” he
Jessica frowned. “I am trying” she said and swallowed some
more food. She still could not believe that she was staying
with Andy. The whole world had already tagged her as a gold-
digger, but she still could not leave the man she loved.
Running away had given her a taste of what it would be like to
leave Andy and she was not sure she wanted to relive that
moment of pain. She had been happy at bit when her uncle
and his wife, whom she now saw as her parents, had come,
looking very relieved and worried. Florence had cried with
relief and she could see that her uncle, ‘Funsho’, who had
been very furious with her at the party was also deeply
worried. He apologized for his irrational behavior but also
scolded her for running away without thinking about how
worried they would be. She had been so happy, even though
she was being scolded. They wouldn’t scold her if they didn’t
love her. She missed the little children: the stubborn Jake and
the sweet and lovely Theresa. The two children of her uncle
were at school and Jessica thought of bringing them over for
their long vacation holiday; if Andy agreed of course.
Jessica still could not bear to think of Andy’s dad and Sonia.
She had nothing but hatred for Sonia now but her father-in-
law? Could she blame him? He was thinking of his own son’s
well-being but she still could not get rid of the hurt she felt.
Since she had arrived back in the house about three days ago,
Andy had made her feel like a queen. The fun she had with
Andy, both indoors and out was mind-blowing. She
remembered some of the nasty things she did with her
husband and her cheeks flushed at the remembrance.
“You are not going down memory lane, are you?” Andy winked
at her and her blush deepened. How can Andy know what she
was thinking just by looking at her? She wondered. Of course,
he is the master of his game. “Do you want us to talk about
your thoughts or act it out” Andy asked grinning widely.
Jessica lowered her eyes and swallowed. “Oh” he breathed.
“My shy wife. Don’t worry; we can go over your thoughts later.
Eat your food, we are going out. I need to show you
something” he kissed her cheeks.
“What is it?” Does my voice sound croaky? Jessica wondered.
Andy smiled, melting her heart, obviously hearing the edge in
her voice. “It is a surprise baby”. He sauntered off, towards the
study and Jessica followed him with her eyes. He turned his
head and met her eyes. Her cheeks flushed with
embarrassment but she covered it by sticking a tongue out to
him. He grinned and blew her a kiss
Sonia walked around the tastefully furnished apartment she
had just acquired. It had everything she ever dreamt of. The
house was up to her taste, with all that she could imagine. The
kitchen had all the accessories she needed with a microwave
and a freezer, which she purchased at a second hand market
to reduce the cost, although they both looked new. The
kitchen was filled with food stuffs and fruits; she took out an
apple from the fridge and chewed as she surveyed the house
again. It had taken a few days to make the apartment look like
this but even at that, she never got tired of looking at what she
owned. The bedroom was looking ravishing and welcoming,
with purple and pink colours scattered at strategic places. Her
wardrobe was still filled with her former clothes and she told
herself that she needed to go for shopping. There were
thousands of clothes, shoes, bags, jewelries and so on that
she had been dreaming of buying; now, she had been tossed
the chance to explore for as long as she could.
She had spent roughly three million naira out of the ten million
naira she was given by Andy’s father. Since she still had about
seven million naira left, she decided that she would set up a
business with four million naira. Thinking, she decided that a
jewelry store would be perfect. She loved jewelries and
anything that had to do with it. She wasn’t about to spend the
entire money until it vanishes, she told herself. The remaining
three million would be used for miscellaneous. She needed a
car, to match the class she was trying to build for herself. She
smiled at the thought. She also needed better phones; maybe
an apple and a tab, she mused. Proper and classy clothes. She
gave a delighted squeal but there was no one there to pounce
on her and share her joy. She swallowed as she thought of her
How lovely would it be to have her friends with her,
celebrating her success? How great would it be if she had
gotten this money from the right source? Her friends had been
with her through it all, through her challenging times but now,
now that she had something tangible, she had no one to share
her joy with. Joy? Could she describe this feeling as joy? As
happy as she was that she finally had real cash in her hands,
she could not quench the shaky feeling that this money would
vanish as quickly as it had appeared. She hadn’t worked for
the money; she had sabotaged her best friend in order to get
it. She shivered. Maybe, if she had asked Andy for a loan of
the same ten million naira, he would have given her. He might
have even dashed her something more than that because
frankly, the guy is worth billions. But no, instead, she had
shattered her own friend’s happiness.
She regretted her decision but there is no going back now.
She had to live with the current reality. She swallowed and the
thought of making new friends came pleasantly to her mind.
She grabbed her credit card and thought of how perfect it
would be to have a car. She already knew how to drive. Well,
her carless state would change now, she thought. ‘Let’s go
and spend some cash’
“You don’t want to go back to being a doctor?” Andy asked as
he drove. Jessica still did not know where they were headed.
Jessica shook. “No. It is frightening. After spending months
attending to patients, trying to cope with the situation, I have
realized that I hate hospitals. I hate them and the memories
they invoke. It was because of what happened to my family
that I decided to study medicine. I wanted to prevent people
from dying and prevent people from experiencing what I
experienced but after I got what I felt I wanted, I could not do
it. The heady smell was maddening and I could not keep up
because I kept remembering all the bad things that happened
years back: the smell of drugs; the nauseating smell of blood
that I thought was my parents and brother’s; the wheels of
sick people being pushed; the unnerving and scary rush of
nurses” Jessica shivered and Andy placed his palm on her lap,
squeezing in a comforting manner. “I could not take it.
Whenever we experienced a casualty in the hospital, the tears
of people nearly drove me mad. Their wailing” she breathed.
“It got stuck in my head and I just could not do it anymore. I
left as fast as I could” Andy moved his hand from her lap to
her hair, controlling the steering with his other hand.
“I am glad you did” he murmured.
She smiled. “I should have gone for law”
Andy raised his brow and laughed. “Right. Being a barrister
would suit you; it is in your blood”
Jessica frowned. “A subtle way of saying that I am stubborn
Andy grinned. “I married a stubborn woman. I would never win
an argument with you if you went for law. Do you still want to
pursue it?”
“No, that dream is gone. I like independence so I would like to
be on my own without having a boss to scream all the way
down his throat at me, just like Lizzy. It is really cute and
Andy nodded with appreciation. “Yes. Owning a boutique
would be perfect for you. Your dress sense is impeccable; it is
a wonder you were able to hide it for a while. Anything you do
would suit you perfectly. Frankly, I was worried that you would
want to work for someone; can’t imagine another man
screaming orders at my wife.” He frowned at the thought.
“Selfish, aren’t u?”
Andy grinned, “I won’t share you with anyone honey, you are
She blushed. “Where are we going Drew?” she hated
“Be patient my love” he grinned.
“Andy, this is a seaport. What are we doing here?”
Andy held on Jessica’s hand as they moved along the port
environment. Jessica’s curiosity had been on the high level
when they had arrived at the port. “Patience, honey, patience”
The sea was now clearly in view and Jessica could not hide
her curiosity anymore. She glanced at Andy, who smiled down
at her. She was busy admiring his facial structure when Andy
came to a halt, stopping her as well. “We are here”. He
murmured and she turned.
She had been seeing several passenger ships but here, she
was faced with a strikingly beautiful ship which was very small
like… she turned a stunned face at Andy. “Is that a… a…”
“Yacht” Andy offered.
“It is so beautiful. It looks new too. I have never been on
water” she said with longing, staring at the beauty before her.
“I noticed and decided to change that.”
Jessica turned to him suddenly.
“Hello Mr. Williams” someone greeted and they turned.
“Oh, Paul. Afternoon. How is she doing today?” Andy
Who? Jessica wondered.
“She is good to go sir”
Another man appeared onboard and greeted in the same
manner. Jessica turned to Andy. “Why do they seem to know
you so well?” she asked and when he smiled softly, realization
slowly dawned. She gasped and looked from his face to the
water craft. “It is not yours, is it?”
His smile widened and her eyes widened. He placed his arm
around her waist and drew her close, though she was still
“This is my wife, Jessica” he said loudly to the men.
Their eyes widened and they greeted shyly. Jessica wondered
why they seem to know her. Is it because she is married to a
very famous man or is it that Andy had told them a lot about
her? Her eyes inspected the Yacht, appreciating the structure
then she saw the scribbled name. She gasped again and
turned to Andy.
He grinned. “Lady Jess” he murmured.
“You… you named it after… after me?” tears streamed down
her eyes.
“Who else would I name it after, if not the woman I love?”
“Oh Drew” she hugged him tightly as tears coerced down her
cheeks. He pulled her slightly away and mopped off her tears.
He kissed her forehead and smiled. “How would you like a
She jumped up and down like a two year old at the mention of
ice-cream. Andy grinned, feeling happiness oozing out of his
pores as he walked with Jessica onboard ‘Lady Jess’.
Jessica cleared the plates from the dinning, happy that she
had been able to prepare the breakfast. She had asked Ada to
stay off for the rest of the day because she wanted to treat
her husband the way any wife would. She cleaned up the
plates and walked to the room, still in her night gown. She
met Andy dressing up, preparing for work and she knew that
she would miss him terribly.
She put her hand softly on his arm as he buttoned up his blue
shirt. He smiled at her. “I would miss you today Mr. Andy
Williams. Can’t I persuade you to stay?” she stood up on tip-
toes and kissed him.
Andy’s brow shot up and his smile widened. “If you keep doing
that, you just might”. He pulled her against him until she was
standing glued to his front.
“Then maybe I should continue” she whispered in his ear and
he laughed. She frowned. “You really have to go right?”
Andy brushed away the hair playing at her face and kissed her
nose. “Hmm. I really do” he murmured with an apologetic
smile. “I have not been in the office for a while but I must be
there today.”
Jessica sighed and picked up Andy’s tie, placed it around his
neck and started knotting it. “I think I need a job now. Staying
at home would be just so pathetic”
Andy frowned. “I don’t want you working for someone”
“No buts honey” he breathed. Jessica was about to argue but
then decided against it. Sending out her resume might actually
be a bad idea since her reputation had been effectively
shattered. She discarded the terrible thought and focused on
what she was doing. She adjusted the tie and relaxed the
collar. She picked up his ash colored suit jacket and held it out
for him. Andy smiled and put his arms in. “You pamper me.
What would I do without you?”
He frowned. “Nothing”
Jessica smiled shyly. They walked to the car together, Jessica
tucked under Andy’s arm. “Enjoy your day OK?” Jessica
nodded. Andy bent and kissed her. “I love you”
“I love you too Andy. Do not stress yourself today at the
Jessica danced around the apartment to the sound of the
music from the sound system. She was feeling very happy. She
refused to think about her father-in-law, refused to think about
the situation at hand but focused on thinking about this
happiness. This happiness that was bubbling inside her, all
thanks to Andy. Being on-board ‘Lady Jess’, sailing on the sea
in the arms of her love, visiting museums and tourist centers;
all these things had made her extremely happy, but all those
things had been perfect because she had been with Andy –
the love of her life. She wanted to scream, dance and cry
tears of joy. What had she done to deserve a man as loving as
Andy? She had loved people but never had she loved
someone as deeply as she loved Andy.
She heard the ring tone of her phone and jumped to it. She
checked it and saw that Lizzy was on the phone. When Sonia
betrayed her, she had decided to put an end to all form of
friendship but could she do that? Yes, she has had two to
three betrayals from friends but could she cut out all her
friends because of the bad ones? Lizzy had been the one who
stuck up with her and ensured that she went back to Andy
when they had the initial fight; Lizzy had kept her secret, the
one that Sonia licked after overhearing their conversation.
Jessica knew without a doubt that she could trust Lizzy and
that Lizzy meant all the best for her. The fact that she had
encountered bad friends does not mean that she can’t also
find good ones.
She picked up. “Hey girl friend” she said loudly, her happiness
ringing out in her voice.
“Hmm, someone is really happy today. How are you babe?”
“I am better than fine Liz, although a little bit lonely here. Andy
is at work”
“Well, come over, let us have a splendid ladies’ time” Lizzy
rang out.
Jessica smiled. “I would do just that. I would like a really
delicious meal when I get there”
“You are the chef baby, I am a fashion designer”
“Oh, that reminds me, I am bringing a material along. I need to
sew something really nice” Jessica grinned at the thought.
She had a really nice style in mind.
“Well, it would be my pleasure sweetheart; you know I am the
best you can find” pride oozed out of Lizzy’s voice.
“Flatter yourself” Jessica said, laughing.
Lizzy laughed. “Later babes”
Jessica hung up and ran off to dress up. It is refreshing to
leave the house because being home alone can be depressing.
She picked up her blackberry and typed a message to Andy via
‘The house is looking really empty without you in it Drew, I
miss you”
She dropped the phone on the bed and went to the wardrobe
to pull out black jeans trousers and a multicolored top. She
heard the sound of her phone and she jumped at it.
‘Oh baby, I have barely spent an hour in this office and I am
here wishing I had accepted your offer. We could have been
busy doing some naughty things right now’
Jessica grinned foolishly as she read Andy’s reply.
‘Well, you did not accept my offer so I guess those ‘naughty
things’ would have to wait till you get back’.
She pressed send and watched it change from the ‘D’ sign to
the ‘R’ sign. She saw that Andy was busy writing a message
and she lay on the bed, waiting for his reply, with a stupid grin
on her face.
‘You could come over to my office honey, that way, we won’t
have to wait. I have a really large table’
Jessica’s eyes popped open and her cheeks reddened.
‘Jeeez… No dirty business in your office, husband. What would
your staff think?’
‘They would think we love each other so much, we can’t do
without each other for an hour’
Jessica laughed. ‘Well, control your dirty thoughts husband, I
already told Lizzy that I am coming over to her place’
‘Hmm, you are going to make me jealous of your friend right?’
Jessica read the message and laughed. ‘Sorry papa.’ she
pressed send and picked up her clothes. After putting on the
clothes, she picked up the phone and opened Andy’s
‘Alright baby, have fun. Be careful and wave your left fingers at
any man who smiles at you’
Jessica snorted. “My darling possessive husband! Why do you
think any man that smiles at me wants something out of the
ordinary? It is obvious that ladies trip over you. I try not to be
jealous’. Jessica frowned. She hated it when women had their
eyes all over her husband. It was becoming the order of the
day now. Andy is just too good looking for his own good.
‘Oh Jess, you don’t understand the effect you have on men.
They look at you like you are the route to heaven. Believe me,
you are. As for the women, they are way beneath you.’
Jessica laughed. Andy and his flattery! ‘Go back to work
husband, leave your wife alone’
‘I would never leave you sweetheart. You are MINE’ ‘Ask Mike
to drive you to Lizzy’s place’
Jessica frowned. ‘No Drew, I would take a bus, I hate being
‘NO. My wife would not be jumping from one public bus to
Jessica sighed. ‘Then I would drive myself’
‘Are you sure??? You would be careful, won’t you?’
Jessica sighed. ‘I can drive well Andy, I would be fine. Take
care. I love you’
‘Sighs… I love you too baby, be careful. Call me when you get
‘I will. Kisses’
Jessica smiled and dropped her phone inside her bag. She
brushed her hair and decided that she would love a braid. She
picked a car key and headed out
Andy had waited one hour and still have not got a call from
Jessica. He was becoming worried. Lizzy’s house is not that
far, but he knew Lagos can be unpredictable, there might be
traffic. He was worried that if he called her, she might be
distracted, and that is not good, especially if she was still on
motion. But after waiting for some more time, his anxiety got
the better part of him and he called but the phone rang and
rang without any response.
‘She might still be driving’ a voice said but he shook it off and
dialed again but she did not pick. He called Lizzy and after the
first two rings, Lizzy picked up.
“Hey Mr. Williams” she said.
“Hello Lizzy, how are you doing?” He wanted to skip the
niceties but he did not want to appear too anxious.
“Well, I am great”
“Erm, Jessica said she was coming to your place, is she there
“Nope, she is not here. Maybe she is on the way”
“She left about an hour ago now, I have called but she is not
picking up.” His concern showed in his voice.
“Oh?” Lizzy sounded surprised. “Probably, she is being held up
by traffic Andy, she should-”
Andy heard the beep sound of his phone and checked his
phone. He instantly sighed, greatly relieved. “Lizzy, don’t worry.
She is on the line now, got to go. Thanks.”
He hung up and quickly picked Jessica’s incoming call. “Oh
Jess, thank God”
“Hello sir”
Andy frowned and checked the caller’s name again. What is a
man doing with my wife’s phone? “Yes, who are you? And
what are you doing with my wife’s phone?”
“I am sorry sir, this is inspector Majid. Your wife was involved
in an accident. She has been rushed to Jackins hospital in an
ambulance. I saw her phone and…
The phone slipped from Andy’s hand and crashed against the
tiled floor. He stared ahead, shocked beyond words, with the
words of the Inspector re-echoing in his head.
‘No…’ He gasped out.
Andy had never been more grateful to God that he had
listened to his father and hired some bodyguards. He only
used them at work because having bodyguards seemed more
of a burden to him and made him look older than he actually
was, but as he stormed the hospital, he was so grateful for
their help. Journalists were all over the hospital, trying to get
what was going on. The three bodyguards warded them off,
allowing him to have easy passage into the hospital. It was
during times like this that he wished that he wasn’t as famous
as he was; the fame always drew unnecessary attention.
Andy only dwelt on this for what seemed like a second and
then his thoughts were switched back to Jessica, making him
quicken his steps. He was inside the hospital after what
seemed like an eternity to him, whereas, it was only seconds
and immediately he entered the hospital, the nurses seemed
to stand at attention. They looked uncomfortable and shy as
they took in his imposing and exceptionally intriguing body but
Andy did not even notice. He towered over them, his eyes
penetrating their senses.
“Where is my wife?” He growled; his intense fear showing
vividly despite his attempt to cover it and be brave.
“Calm down Andy” Tunji admonished, placing a hand on
Andy’s shoulder but Andy was not ready to be in a calm mood
and Tunji knew that Andy would not be until Jessica was
certified hale and hearty.
The nurses did not need to ask who his wife was; they had
identified him immediately he entered. “She is in the A and E
department sir, some doctors are attending to her” One of the
nurses replied shakily.
“I want to see her now” Andy was glaring now, looking like he
would not mind tearing the nurse apart if she denied him. The
nurse squirmed. A much older nurse, seeing what was going
on quickly went to salvage the situation.
“I am sorry sir, you can’t see her now. Her condition is critical
and she is being attended to by our best specialists. Interfering
and disturbing the doctors can put your wife at more risk.
Please, I advise you to be calm sir, if you could wait in the
waiting room over there” she pointed in a direction, “The
doctor would see you immediately he gets out.”
Andy clenched his jaw painfully and folded his palms into fists
until his knuckles were as white as his spotless teeth. The
thought of putting Jessica in danger by his actions was more
than enough to make him back down. His arrogance oozed off
a bit, making his fear more evident. He marched to the waiting
room and Tunji followed closely behind murmuring something
that Andy could not hear. His mind was far away. His mind
was in the emergency room with Jessica. Andy roamed the
waiting room aimlessly, unable to settle down. Tunji’s
desperate attempts to make him calm down became futile
and Tunji also became almost as agitated as Andy.
Back at the hospital’s reception, one nurse that joined at the
middle of the scene stared at the closed door of the waiting
room and fanned herself with her fingers. “Jeez, that guy is
smoking hot. Who is he?”
The other nurses stared at her like she was an alien from
another planet. “You don’t know Andy Williams?”
Her eyes widened. “That is the Andy? The owner of… Oh My
God! He is as hot as they say he is, with a good looking bank
account too, I bet; in fact, an overflowing account to be
The older nurse turned irritated eyes at the lady. “I bet you
also heard that he is married” she hissed. “Put your cards
together and stop eyeing another woman’s husband”
The younger nurse frowned and turned away, chastised.
The door of the waiting room burst open and Lizzy and
Paulina bounced in with teary faces. “Where is Jessie? Oh my
God!” Paulina gasped out and seeing Andy, looking like a
shadow of himself, made her know that the accident was real.
Lizzy was just standing motionless at the entrance of the
waiting room, staring into space as tears fell freely. Seeing the
women in tears made Andy much more frightened. It was like
Jessica was already… already… ‘NO’. He refused to think
about it. ‘My Jessica would not leave me’ he told himself
repeatedly. He ran his hands through his hair and decided it
best to comfort the women; that would at least get his mind
off this waiting.
Tunji moved forward and held Paulina in his arms and she
cried the more. Andy saw Lizzy standing stupefied at the
entrance and instantly knew what she was thinking about. He
hurriedly went to her. He touched her hand and she seemed to
suddenly realize where she was. She raised teary eyes to Andy
and Andy felt like his world had shattered. There was
something about women’s tears which always seemed to
make situations much worse. Seeing the very strong Lizzy
crying scared him more than anything. Seeing Jessica cry
during the disastrous party that led to her disappearance had
been more than he could bear. He had felt stabbed,
devastated and shaken but seeing Lizzy’s tears felt totally
different. In that instant, he was transported back in time to
the time he lost his fiancée. Lizzy’s face reminded him of the
faces of the people he saw, crying after his fiancée died. Cold
dread seeped up Andy’s spine and he wanted to flee the
waiting room. Everything around him was pointing at a
frightening end and he could not bear it. At the same time, he
could not leave; not without knowing if his Jessica was alright.
“I called her Andy” Lizzy gasped. “She could have stayed at
“No Lizzy, don’t talk like that. This is not your fault. She would
be fine. She has to be” He said sharply, both to himself and to
She nodded, trying to accept what Andy said. She leaned
against him and he held her but he was detached from his
environment. ‘I should have insisted that she use the driver’ he
told himself for the umpteenth time. ‘I should have’. He gritted
his teeth as tears threatened strongly and he forced them
back forcefully. He has to be strong. Be strong for Jessica.
The waiting room door opened and Andy turned, releasing
Lizzy but his eyes collided with the dark intense gaze of his
Sonia sat in the bus, feeling all sorts of emotions: self-loath,
anger, agitation but fear was the most evident of all. She could
not believe that her life had turned into a nightmare within the
space of three weeks. She sat in the bus with dark specks
covering her eyes. She mopped tears as they seeped out from
under the glasses.
Listening to her mother had become the worst thing she had
ever done. Ever since Jessica had gotten married to Andy, her
mother hadn’t stopped poisoning her mind. Her mother had
complained endlessly on why Sonia had been contented with
being the bride’s maid of honour instead of being the bride.
“You sat down behind your friend, fanning her and mopping
her face; why were you not the bride? As far as I am
concerned, you are much more good looking. You are just too
dull. If you had been smarter, you would be married to that
money-bag and we would be swimming in money by now”
Sonia’s mother had said.
Sonia shook her head. She should not have listened to her
mother’s continuous talks. She hadn’t at first but then, her
mother never stopped. She continuously poisoned her mind
until she found herself becoming Jealous of Jessica. They say
blood is thicker than water but now, she preferred water to
Hearing that Jessica had been involved in an accident was
more shattering than anything she had experienced. It had
taken just the news alone to bring her to her senses. She
could not bear to think that Jessica might die; if that
happened, she would probably die of guilt and bitterness. She
wanted forgiveness but she did not know if what she had
done could be forgiven. She knew she would not forgive if she
were in Jessica’s shoes but she still had to try. But what if…
‘No’ she said internally as more tears trickled down her face.
‘She must not die… Please God… If you never hear me, please
hear me today… Jessica can’t die’
Andy’s dad had done all he could to see Andy and seek his
forgiveness but all his attempts had been truncated by Andy,
one way or the other. Even going to Andy’s office and
threatening his staff hadn’t worked because Andy had left
strict instructions with his staff to never allow his father into
his office. Mr. Williams had sent messages but Andy had
replied none.
“What do you want dad? Have you not done enough havoc?”
Andy said quietly, too quietly.
“I am sorry Andy. I have been saying this for the past two
weeks. I made a silly mistake but I was only thinking of your
“My welfare” Andy repeated. The fact that his dad had done
what he did because of him did not make Andy happy at all.
“My welfare? At what expense? You almost ruined Jessica’s
life dad. You almost ruined my life. Jessica is my life, my
everything; and you deliberately hurt her like that?” Andy shook
his head. He was not ready for this conversation now, he had
more than enough on his plate already.
“I never knew Andy. How would I have known? I only know
what I heard on the…” he looked round the waiting room and
saw that some strangers were looking at them. He moved
closer to Andy, talking for his ears alone. “On the tape” he
continued. “I never knew that you both had developed feelings
for each other, if I had, I would never have done what I did. I
know my move to put it all on her was very wrong and I regret
it but I only thought of it at that time in order to protect you”
Mr. Williams murmured quietly, his eyes showing signs of
“Why did you make it your business dad? You could have
confronted us or better still, stayed out of it” He was not as
aggressive as before.
“You are my business Andy. You became my business
immediately you were born; your mum would not have it any
other way”. Andy exhaled deeply. He loved his father so much.
His father had taken the responsibility of a father and a
mother, ensuring that he had all the love and affection he
needed. How could he not forgive his dad anything? Mr.
Williams touched Andy’s shoulder in a manly manner. “I know
how much you love her” he whispered. “I saw how depressed
and devastated you were when Jessica went missing and I
almost died of guilt. I am sorry son”
Andy looked at his father, and his arrogance disappeared,
leaving the fear very visible. Mr. Williams was taken aback. He
had never seen Andy look so vulnerable and scared, not even
when his fiancée had died. “She would be OK right? Dad, I
don’t know what I would do if she… if she…” Andy looked
twenty again as tears brimmed in his eyes but his
stubbornness would not allow them fall. “I can’t do without her
Andy’s dad drew him into his arms for an awkward father to
son hug. “We have to keep our faith up Andy. All would be
Doctor Bright worked endlessly with two other doctors and
two nurses. Immediately he saw the patient, he identified her
instantly. Who would not know the outstandingly beautiful wife
of the richest bachelor in Nigeria? Immediately he saw her, he
had known two things: that she had lost so much blood and
that she was his ticket to stardom.
There had been some problem with regards to the patient’s
marriage but it was also obvious that her husband was not
ready to leave her alone. After the scandal about the patient’s
intentions for marrying the famous Andy Williams and her
disappearance, he had seen pictures of the couple, having
good times at various places and he could tell that the couple
were very much in love. It would be disastrous if he could not
salvage this situation and would be a dream come true if he
As he worked with the other doctors with his entire body
covered, he soon forgot about gains or losses, all he could
think of was saving her life. It was a good thing that the car
had an airbag which must have obviously prevented the
patient from bumping her head. With what he saw, the car
must have been hit pretty hard. Some of the broken glasses,
perhaps from the windscreen had pierced her body, making
her lose a lot of blood. They had seen to the wounds after
removing the glasses from her skin but the problem was that
the patient was not holding on. She had lost so much blood
and they were currently transfusing some blood into her but
the patient was not holding on to life and that was dangerous.
He had seen this happen so many times. When a patient was
not willing to live, there is a limit to what a doctor can do.
“Her heart is failing doctor” one of the other doctors declared
in alarm and Doctor Bright checked the monitor, confirming
his fears.
it was like Andy was in for so many unpleasant surprises.
Everyone stared in one direction, gazing at the newest
addition to the people in the waiting room. Sonia stood there
in tears as a thousand eyes bore into her but Andy’s was what
frightened her the most. His gaze shot fire and she wanted to
flee but her legs would not agree. She had come here to do
something and she intended on pulling it through.
“Get out of here” Andy’s voice was quiet, too quiet and it
frightened her more; she wished he had shouted.
She went on her kneels instantly. “Please Andy, forgive me. I
am sorry”
Andy was quiet, looking at her without betraying any form of
Paulina turned smoking eyes at Sonia. “You better listen to him
o, because if I pounce on you… ehn… if I pounce on you, I
would beat you black and blue. You know I have not attacked
you, if I do, you would have marks.” Paulina was vibrating and
Tunji held her to prevent her from doing something stupid.
Lizzy did not even have the time to confront Sonia, she was
busy praying for her friend.
Andy stared at Sonia but he did not have the strength to deal
with her.
“I am sorry. I was misled. I… I am just so sorry” Sonia wept.
Andy’s father had gone out earlier to make some calls. Andy
took out his phone and punched a number. Within seconds,
two hefty men arrived. “Take her out of here” he murmured
and the men turned to face Sonia instantly.
“No, please Andy. I am sorry. Please forgive me”
“Please move ma’am”
A door opened and automatically, everyone jerked in that
direction. Andy saw the doctor and his blood froze as he
marched like someone going to war, followed closely by
everyone concerned.
Doctor Bright stared at Andy and swallowed hard. He was
seeing him live for the first time in an unpalatable situation.
“How is my wife doctor?”
Silence stretched out and tension was at its peak as everyone
held their breaths waiting for the doctor’s response. The
doctor seemed to have frozen on the spot he was standing
and for one second, he seemed like a frozen mummy statue.
“Well, Doctor?” Lizzy yelled impatiently. Andy’s face had
already drained, leaving him white as he expected a response
from the doctor but got none. It could only mean one thing.
Doctor Bright shook himself, the shock of seeing Andy and his
father all at once had rendered him speechless. He cleared his
throat. “She is still alive but very critical.” He swallowed. “Very vintage inspired gowns for mother of the bride
critical” He repeated. “She is in a coma now and we have
done all we can do for her now. All she needs now is prayers.
We expect a reaction soon. I don’t mean to scare you but she
is not fighting hard enough, or so it seems. I-”
“I want to see her” Andy interrupted, not wanting to hear more.
He felt like he had died a million times and gone to hell.
“She needs-”
“I need to see her” Andy stressed the ‘need’ because he felt
that if he did not see her instantly, he would literally die.
Doctor Bright swallowed and nodded. “Come with me sir”
Andy hated the ‘sir’ that was accorded to him but he did not
have the time to dwell on it or even to tell the doctor to call
him by name. It was very evident that the doctor was older
than Andy but Andy was ready to answer anything as long as it
took him to Jessica. The doctor opened the door and entered
with Andy closely behind. Immediately he was in the same
room with Jessica, all his bravery was gone and tears
brimmed his eyes. He moved like a robot towards the bed,
feeling all his strength drain away. Seeing Jessica attached to
so many machines shook him much more than anything. She
looked terribly pale and astoundingly vacant.
“I would leave you alone with her. Please try not to disturb her
in any way. There is a button by her bed over there, press it if
there is any reaction”
Andy barely heard the doctor as he spoke and vaguely noticed
him as he left. He lowered himself onto the chair beside the
bed because he could barely stand on his feet. He raised his
left hand shakily and brushed Jessica’s hair gently, careful not
to move her in anyway. The texture of the hair was as he
remembered. He remembered burying is hands and nose in
the rich mass of hair just this morning. How things change
within the space of a heartbeat, he mused. He picked up her
hand with his right hand and ran his thumb over her knuckles
shakily. Her hand was warm and very pale. He bent his head
and kissed her knuckles.
“My love” he breathed and almost choked as tears threatened
to gush out. He inhaled and swallowed. “My heart, it is me;
Drew” he continued. “Do you remember that day during our
honeymoon that you decided to prepare the dinner? I had
come back from work feeling hungry and the aroma of fried
chicken had greeted me at the entrance. That day, you had
entered my senses and refused to come out.” He sniffed and
smiled slightly. “You had been standing in the kitchen with
your back to me, seeing to the meal, not noticing my
presence. You wore one of those terrible oversized gowns I
hate so much, in your quest to look ugly. When you finally saw
me and I asked for chicken, you had smacked my hand
playfully. Do you remember that?”
Andy stared at Jessica’s face but her face was still blank. He
smiled shakily. “Then I had stood in front of you. Really really
close. I wanted to take the chicken but then you gazed at me
and I was lost. Your eyes drank me in and it was like you had
captured me and wrapped me around your little finger. I had
placed my hand on your waist and had been thrown
completely off balance by how slim your waist was. I could
almost wrap my hands around it. And then your mouth, Oh my
God! Jeez, I had wanted to kiss you so much that day that my
brain went totally blank just looking at your lips. I don’t know
where I got the ability to resist kissing you that day but
immediately I left that kitchen, I knew I couldn’t be around you
if I wanted to keep my sanity. I had ensured that I left for work
early and arrived very late so that I won’t be tempted to do
anything stupid. Jeez, even though you were putting on clothes
big enough for three of you put together, you had me under
your spell, not to mention now” he swallowed.
“You can’t leave me Jess. You just can’t. After so many years,
I have finally opened up my heart to love again and this time, I
did not leave anything behind. I have not loved anyone,
anyone, the way I love you. Seeing you like this is like a
horrible nightmare; I just want to wake up.” He sniffed. “You
just have to wake up baby, for me; for us. I promised you a
real honeymoon; I still need to make that a reality”
Andy stroked Jessica’s hair and gazed at her beautiful face.
No! She can’t leave him now. He did not know how long he
spent in the room, just looking at her but he knew that no one
would be able to take him away from her. A nurse entered the
room after some time and asked him to leave but he refused
completely and when she insisted, he glared at her sternly until
she recoiled and left. Lizzy, Paulina, Tunji, his father and some
other well wishers came into the room one after the other but
Andy did not leave the room. It was already running to the
middle of the night. Another nurse came in again and asked
him to leave but he refused, promising not to disturb Jessica
at all.
Andy stood and kissed Jessica’s forehead without disturbing
the oxygen attached to her nose. He sat down and started
talking again, softly and soothingly, telling her about his
childhood. He told her of the ambition he had as a kid to
become a footballer. He had watched every time Kanu played
and scored goals and had picked him as his role model. He
played for his school but was chosen to be one of the
defenders but he did not like it. Because of his quest to score
goals like Kanu, he always left his place and went to the
opponents’ side in order to score goals but most times, they
always ended up conceding goals because of his absence at
his position. The day he had scored a goal, he had rejoiced so
much that he had gone to bed without food because of how
happy he was. He told Jessica of the picture of Kanu that he
had pasted on the headboard of his bed so that he could look
at it every morning and tell himself that he would one day be
like Kanu. He laughed at the memory and almost fainted when
he stared at Jessica’s face and saw a smile playing on her
He blinked several times. Was he sleeping or hallucinating? He
blinked again but it did not wipe off the smile on Jessica’s
face. She hadn’t been smiling when he came in minutes ago;
or was it hours?
“Jess… Jessica” He called frantically but got no response. Her
hand which was still in his, was still warm. Nothing had
changed except the facial expression on her face. He pressed
the button by the bed hurriedly and waited impatiently for the
Jessica stood looking in all directions. She saw no houses or
things, she was the only visible thing and she stood on a
ground that looked like glass. The place was too bright for her
eyes and she had to use her hand to shield her eyes from the
blinding light.
“Sweetheart” she heard and turned around sharply. She would
know that voice anywhere even though she hadn’t heard it in a
very long time. her breath caught in her throat as she stared at
her mother, looking exactly the way she remembered her.
“Mum” she gasped and her mother smiled.
“Come Jessie”. Jessica loved the sound of her mother’s
voice. She had wanted to hear that voice for a long time.
Her head turned and she saw her dad standing not so far
away from her mother. she gasped again and felt the
incredible urge to run to him and hug him. Her dad had always
been very proper and formal. He was the only one that called
her name in full.
Suddenly her mum and dad and her brother were standing
together and beckoning. She smiled. Her complete family.
“Jessica baby, come to daddy” Her dad said. This is what she
wanted, right? Her family! She smiled and started walking
towards them. They smiled back and she walked faster but
the faster she walked, the farther they became. She hastened
her steps then stopped abruptly.
She could hear him, the voice was echoing in her soul. She
could hear the pain. The pain was so evident in his voice and
terrifying that her heart bled with compassion. She could not
move forward anymore, not even if her life depended on it. Her
family stood and watched her. Waiting? She could not tell. But
that voice… she could not ignore that voice. How could she
ignore the voice of the one that owned her heart? He was
talking but she could not decipher what he was talking about.
She could not make out the words. She walked backwards,
wanting to hear him. The voice was becoming a bit clearer
and she knew if she could move backwards the more, she
would be able to make out the words. She turned fully and
walked faster. What he was talking about sounded very
interesting and she wanted to hear it. She could make out the
words now…
He was talking about football. He wanted to be a player? He
never told her that! How come Kanu had been his idol? She
mused. Of all the players, Kanu? He laughed and she smiled,
loving the sound of his laughter even though he sounded
pained. She needed to ask him why he was in so much pain.
What had happened? Was his business at stake? Why was he
not a footballer? He did not seem like someone to pursue a
football round the field but she still wanted to know. She
turned back and stared at her family but they were so tiny afar
off. They looked like ants. One after the other, they vanished
and she swallowed. She had learnt to live without her family
but she still could not think of life without Andy.
She turned. Andy was calling her. She could distinctively hear
him call her name. “Jess… Jessica”. She wanted to answer but
could not. He sounded desperate. She needed to go to him.
But where is he?
Mr Williams paced the hospital reception as he called Sonia.
“What is the meaning of this?” He said immediately she
picked. “I just got an alert of seven million naira and when I
confirmed it, I was told that you had deposited it. What game
are you playing?”
“I am not playing any game sir. I regret what I did sir, I am
sorry” her voice made it obvious that she had been crying. “I
can’t accept the money anymore. It is wrong. I promise to get
the remaining three million and pay you back. Please forgive
me sir”
She hung up and Mr Williams just stared at his phone in
“She smiled” Andy murmured immediately the door opened
and Doctor Bright entered. He removed his stethoscope and
checked her heartbeat, noticing that it was already steady. He
did some other doctorate rituals and smiled with vague
“Wooow. I did not expect this level of improvement so soon.
She is stable now and if all goes well, I think she would be
Andy had never been more relieved in his life. A great amount
of tension raised from his shoulders and he felt a bit alive
again. After some minutes, the doctor turned to leave and
Andy turned to look at Jessica and froze when her hands
moved. His breath seemed to be suspended when all of a
sudden, her head moved and her eyes opened slowly.
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