“Still no rings?” I asked.
Mayowa looked at me like I had asked a question completely alien to him.
“Where are the rings?” I asked, a little louder this time.
“I don’t know man.” He said. “Maybe we should buy another set.”
I looked at him and wished I could throw him at something. The elevator girl had put me in a good mood but these missing rings were working hard at undoing all the goodness.
“When was the last time you saw the rings?” Felix asked.
“When he gave them to me.” Mayowa answered.
“And that was when?”
“Sometime yesterday before the engagement.”
“What were you wearing?”
“I don’t know.” Mayowa blurted out. “Who are you man, stop asking me all these damn questions. I can’t find the rings, that’s it.”
Mayowa stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind him.
“Where did you find this idiot?” Felix asked.
“Olumide was supposed to be my best man but the car arrived late so he couldn’t return from Lagos on time.” I said.
“What car? And why is it so important?”
“I wanted to surprise Sharon with a Benz.”
I smiled, it was cool. “I’d been saving money for the honeymoon but one of her uncles decided to sponsor our honeymoon, so I decided to get her a car with the money.”
Felix nodded and looked away. I studied his face, there was something he wasn’t telling me.
“Felix?” I called.
“Is there something disturbing you?”
“What? Me? Nothing.” He said.
I wasn’t convinced but I was willing to let it go.
“So what happens if you don’t find the rings?” Felix asked.
I smiled. “I hope we do.”
“But if you don’t?”
“Then I hope the Benz will be enough to make her forgive me.” I said.
“Forgiveness, huh? That’s really important you know.” He said.
I raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, I know. Why did you say that?”
“No, nothing. You were the one who talked about forgiveness.”
“Okay.” I said. There was something he wasn’t telling me and I was getting inconvenient now.
“How much do you think Sharon should forgive you? What’s the limit? Especially as you’re not married yet.”
I stood and faced him. “What are you talking about?”
He stood and headed for the door. “I’m sorry, I already talked too much.”
“Wait.” I shouted at him.
I needed to think, what was he talking about? I ran my mind through everything I could remember that Felix could be referring to. I was about giving up then I remembered.
“Felix, what happened that night you guys got me drunk?”
“What?” He smiled. “What are you talking about?”
“I’m not a fool Felix, something happened that night, right?”
“Shade Ibitoye was at that party, I woke up naked, she never talked to me after that night, it all adds up now.”
Felix moved closer to me. “Stop it Ben, nothing happened that night. It was just boys fooling around with the class pastor.”
“I don’t know…”
He wasn’t fooling me. “I need to tell Sharon about this now, I can’t have this kind of thing hanging between us before we get married.”
“Wait Ben.” Felix said and I stopped. “Would you expect her to forgive you if something happened that night?”
“I can’t blame her if she doesn’t but she should, I didn’t even know this happened. If I knew, it’s another story.”
He looked at me in a strange way, something was going on.
“Felix, tell me what’s going on.”
“So, if something happened with Shade and you knew about it and didn’t tell her till today, you wouldn’t expect her to forgive you?”
“Of course not. That means our whole relationship has been a lie.” I said.
“Okay.” Felix said. “All the best with the rings. I think I need to be somewhere right now.”
What was going on with Felix? Something happened that night that he was hiding from me, I could tell.
“Okay Felix, see you at the wedding.”
I had a horrible feeling about whatever Felix was hiding, it could even determine if I had a wedding or not.
“I have nothing to hide, I’m just headed for a wedding.” I said.
The officer pointed a torchlight at my face even though the sun was as bright as it could be. Whatever he was trying to do was working because I was sweating. This was crazy, I wasn’t even a criminal.
“Who is that in your backseat?”
“Just my sister.” I said. It didn’t sound believable, not even to me.
Anita, Officer Horseman’s daughter was lying in the backseat because she was afraid one of the policemen may recognize her. This was supposed to be easy but my nerves were killing me.
“Is she okay?”
“Yes, she is.” I said.
“She’s not sick?”
“No, she’s not.”
“Okay.” He said. “You can go.”
“Thank you Officer.”
I sped out of the place as fast as I could. I don’t know what I’d been afraid of but I’d been very afraid, I was not doing that again.
“Anita, seat up please.”
She sat up.
“What were you scared of?” She laughed. “Your voice was shaking.”
Before I could answer I sighted another set of policemen standing in the middle of the road. This was a nightmare; we had been at a dozen checkpoints in one hour.
I slowed the car to a stop.
“How are you my brother?” The officer greeted.
I sighed, this was going to be easy. “I’m fine Officer and really tired.”
“I tell you.” He said. “The sun is hot out here. Anything for your boys?”
The officer was looking at my backseat. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m going to Ibadan.” She said.
“We are going to Ogbomosho.” I said and it made sense since we were past Ibadan already.
“Your parents stay in Ibadan, why will she be going to Ogbomosho?” He said to me then turned to her. “Are you trying to run away again?”
“Sir, everything is fine.”
He brought out his phone. “I’m calling your father right now.”
“No sir, no need for that.” I said.
“What’s going on here?” The officer asked. “Did you steal this car?”
“No sir, this car belongs to my friend, Ben and he’s getting married today. I’m trying to get to the wedding on time so he can give the car to his wife.” I picked the ring. “I’m going to propose to Kike today. She’s the chief bridesmaid.”
I knew I was rambling but I couldn’t stop it. The officer was looking at me but I wasn’t sure he was paying attention.
Finally he looked at Anita. “I’m about to call your father Anita, what’s going on here?”
She looked at me and looked away, tears forming in her eyes.
“Help me, he kidnapped me.”
I opened my mouth in shock, I could not believe what I’d just heard.
I could not believe what was about to happen but I knew I had to do something about it. I had one mission at Sharon’s hotel; make sure she doesn’t tell Ben her secret. He’d already implied that forgiving her would be difficult and I couldn’t imagine that he would go on with the wedding if she told him the truth.
I got to the lobby of the hotel and dialled Sharon’s number. Surprisingly, she answered.
“Hi Sharon, ready for your wedding?”
“Yes, I am. I’m sorry you couldn’t make it.”
“But I did.” I said. “I changed my mind and decided to come.”
She paused for a few seconds then asked. “Why are you here?”
“I need to talk to you.”
“Talk to me? I’m already on my way to the church. Is this about…?”
“Yes Sharon, it is.”
I heard a ‘clink’ and the elevator door open and the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen stepped out of it. She wore a very beautiful dress, I didn’t notice the colour, I was lost in her face. She had a confused look on her face, I loved it. What was I doing? Felix never got dazed by women this way, what was happening to me? That roadside girl really did something to me.
“Felix? Are you still there?” Sharon’s voice filtered from the phone’s speaker.
“Can I call you right back?” I said.
“I thought you said, you had something important you needed to tell me.”
“You’re still in the hotel, right? Just call me before you leave.”
I ended the call before she could respond. My eyes were yet to leave the girl for a second, she was looking for something. I walked up to her.
“What are you looking for?” I asked, giving her my best smile.
“Do you work here?” She asked.
“What gave me away? My expensive suit or my blue pocket square?”
“What?” Her confusion deepened, I loved it even more. “I need a box of pins please.”
“I’ll go get it now as long as you give me your number.” I said.
“What are you talking about?” She asked. “I am not joking, I need it urgently. My friend needs it for her wedding dress.”
Oh, this was getting more interesting.
“You are on Sharon’s train?” I asked.
She looked at me and for the first time paid me some real attention.
“How do you know?”
I stretched my hand to her. “Hi, my name is Felix.” I paused to see if she would recognise the name, she didn’t. “You are?”
“I’m Kike, Sharon’s maid of honour.”
“About the pins, I’ll get them for you.”
“Thank you.” She said and smiled for the first time.
I stood like some old fool in an Indian movie and watched her smile.
“Can you get the pins please?”
“Oh.” I’d been staring for too long. “I’ll get the pins then I’ll come get you.”
She smiled and I turned around to go get the pins, things might be about to go south for Ben and Sharon but I think I’d just fallen in love at first sight.
Sharon almost Dara
“Fallen in love? Felix?”
“That’s the way it looked to me.” Kike said.
I chuckled and for a few seconds I forgot my own troubles. Kike was enjoying what she thought was Felix falling for her. I knew better, Felix never fell in love, he used and dumped people.
“Don’t get your hopes up with Felix.” I said.
“Why not? Is something wrong with him?’
I paused and looked at Kike, I wanted to tell her things but there was no point.
But wait… “Kike, don’t you already have a boyfriend?”
“Olumide, remember him?”
She looked down, disappointed. “Yeah, I know. I was just joking, it’s not like anything can happen with this guy.”
My sister entered the room. “The car is ready, let’s go.”
I stood and Kike helped gather the helm of my gown.
“Have you been able to reach Ben?” Kike whispered to me.
I sighed as all my fears came rushing back. I was yet to talk to him and the later it got, the worse it was becoming.
I looked in the direction of the voice and saw Felix standing by the door. I smiled and waved at him.
“Can I talk to you?” He said.
“We are late for church, no talking to anybody.” My sister barked at him.
“It’s about Ben.” He said.
I immediately went up to him. The look on his face was not good.
“What is it Felix?” I asked.
“What’s going on?” Kike asked from behind me.
Felix looked at her and I saw what Kike meant, I’d never seen Felix look at anyone like that. But this was not the time, we had more important things to talk about.
“Give me a few minutes please.” I said to Kike.
“Okay.” She said and walked away.
“Wow, I think I’m in love with your friend.” Felix said.
“Felix, what about Ben?”
His face got serious and grim again. “So I talked to Ben this morning and he thinks you’re a virgin.”
“Yes, I know. I need to tell him I’m not before we get to the church.”
“I don’t think you should.” Felix said.
That was a huge surprise. “Why? Isn’t it better to be honest? I’m not a guy, I can’t get away with that kind of lie.”
“Okay Sharon. Do you want to marry him?”
I nodded. “Of course.”
“Then you can’t tell him.”
I shook my head and my eyes began to water. “What are you talking about Felix? You know I have to.”
“Why didn’t you do it since then?”
That was the question everybody will ask me, the very one I was afraid of. Felix knew why but I was ashamed to admit it to even him.
“What are you going to do now?”
“I don’t know.” I cleaned my tears. “Maybe I’ll just tell him right now. Maybe he will forgive me.”
Felix shook his head, there was something he wasn’t telling me.
“What’s going on Felix? Church starts in a few minutes, please be honest with me.”
“Ben is not going to forgive you. I painted the scenario and got his reaction.”
“He’s not going to…?”
I stumbled backward and fell into a chair placed by the door. I placed a palm over my mouth to keep myself from bawling. Tears flowed down my face freely. One silly mistake I made a long time ago was going to ruin my life. What would my parents say? Ben’s parents? My siblings and all the people I’d been a spiritual leader to for years. I couldn’t do this.
“Sis, we have to go now.” My sister said.
I shook my head. “Call Daddy, I’m calling off the wedding.