Read Chapter XXXVIII here.
Bisi hummed to herself as she prepared dinner. Being left alone with Fiifi felt like being newlywed all over again. They had the house to themselves and had only themselves to think of. Though the house felt a bit empty without the children, it gave them the opportunity to bond more as husband and wife and gave them some relief over their roles as parents.
She turned when she heard the distinctive ring tone of a Skype call. She wiped her hands with a napkin and leaned forward to see who was calling. She smiled as she swiped the button with her finger.
“Hi mum, how are you doing?”
“I’m great. I was thinking of calling you during the weekend. How’s school?”
“It’s cool. Kuks and Esi are in school, right?”
“Uh huh, you miss them, don’t you?”
“I do. Where’s dad?”
“He’s in his study. Want to talk to him?”
“Not now. Um mum…I know I should have told you this but I’ve been chatting with Auntie Constance…” Bisi sighed.
“Yeah, I found out when she rubbed it in my face on live TV.”
“She told me and I felt bad about it.”
“Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
“I thought you wouldn’t want me to be in touch with her and I wanted to know who my real mother is. I wanted to know her more.”
“And how do you see her?”
“She’s okay; she’s nice. But when she told me about the text she sent you on TV, I didn’t like what she did. She sounded proud of herself though. So I want to apologize for that.”
“It’s okay, Nhyira. I’ve decided to let it go. I’m just worried that she’d turn you against me and this family.”
“No, mum; that won’t happen. She might be the one who gave birth to me but you’ll always be my mother. I wouldn’t have had a better mother than you, mum.” Bisi smiled.
“I’m glad to hear that.”
“I love you, mum.”
“I love you too. I always miss you when I get back from work and there’s no one to walk me up the stairs.” They both chuckled.
“I miss that too. I saw that in one of the Disney animations and I liked it; that’s why I always did that with you.”
“Awww…so sweet. And your heart, I hope you haven’t had any problems.”
“No; not until Auntie Constance told me of the stunt she pulled. I felt pains in my chest but I didn’t want to panic because it was the first time it had happened without you being by my side. So I pictured you telling me to breathe and that it was going to be okay and I felt better.”
“That’s good to hear but make sure you go for checkup, okay?”
“Okay, I will.”
“Good. Should I take you to daddy?”
“Yeah, sure.” They continued chatting as Bisi made her way up the stairs. She knocked on the door and entered. Fiifi raised his head, his fingers pausing on the keyboard. Bisi gave him a smile as he showed him the screen.
“Hi dad.” Bisi handed him the iPad. Bisi watched her husband as they chatted. She could always notice the glow on his face whenever he was speaking to Nhyira. She wondered if he would have ever felt fulfilled with only two daughters. God knows best. She was grateful for having Nhyira in their lives.
“Come here,” Fiifi said, pulling her by the arm and out of her thoughts. She sat on his lap and the three shared jokes and laughed together.
“I’ve to go. Goodbye, you two.”
“We love you!” Bisi blew him a kiss. He blew one back.
“Talk to you soon.” The screen went blank. They both sighed.
“I miss him,” Bisi said, leaning on his chest.
“I know; I miss him too. But being alone too has its perks, huh?” They chuckled.
“Oh yeah, I kept praying for the girls to grow up quickly and now that they have, I wished I could have one more moment of their cuteness. Esi was such a sweetheart.”
“And Kukuaa was a headache.” They laughed.
“You forget to get her what you asked for and you must prepare your explanation like a lawyer preparing his case. She still aspires to be a lawyer, huh?” Fiifi asked. Bisi nodded.
“Then I feel sorry for the judges she’d be working with.”
“I know, right? And even worse for the other lawyer.” Bisi lifted her head suddenly.
“Oh no; I think I left the food on fire.” She stood and rushed out of the study.
Months passed by and the girls came home. Nhyira flew down soon after. The sisters went with John to pick him up from the airport.
“Where’s dad? I thought he’d be the one to pick me up,” Nhyira asked as they settled in the car and John drove off.
“Something came up at the office. But he’ll be home early. Oh gosh, is that an accent I hear?” Kukuaa asked teasingly. Nhyira chuckled and shook his head. They spent the time on the road catching up on each other’s lives. John carried his suitcase up when they arrived home. Nhyira went to his room to have a shower and change of clothes whiles the sisters warmed the food and set the table.
Esi went up to his room to tell him the food was ready. She knocked and opened the door. Nhyira immediately shut his laptop close. Esi raised a brow as she entered.
“What was that for?”
“Nothing,” he replied with a shrug.
“Ugh…ugh; that was something. Who was it, an American girlfriend, perhaps?” She teased.
“Nope; I don’t have a girlfriend.”
“Uh huh, then who was it?”
“There’s no need to keep secrets, Nhyira. We are your family, remember?”
“I’ve no secrets to keep.” They stared at each other for a moment.
“Okay, fine. Let’s go down and take a bite.”
“Yeah, sure.” He got up and they left his room.
Bisi arrived home first. Kukuaa and Ewuresi looked on as mother and son went all over each other.
“And now, let’s have our walk up the stairs,” Nhyira said, giving her with arm.
“Awww…I miss that,” Bisi said girlishly and batted her eyelids at the girls.
“We’ll be down soon,” she said as they went up the stairs. They nodded.
“Wow…sometimes I wonder how she does it,” Kukuaa said.
“How she does what?”
“Love Nhyira the way she does though he’s not her son.”
“Well, he came in as a baby. It is easier to bond that way,” Esi said.
“But it’s still not the same. Looking into his eyes everyday would remind you that your husband cheated but she never for once, mistreated him; made him feel her anger. I don’t think I’d have been able to do that if I were in her shoes,” Kukuaa admitted.
“I understand. Nhyira is a sweet boy so he makes it easy to love him.”
“Yes, he is; but mom has a heart of gold.”
“One I hope we both have been born with.” They glanced at each other.
“I do hope so. But I’d definitely not get my husband off the hook that easily if he cheats on me and fathers a lovechild,” Kukuaa pointed out.
“I don’t expect you to. Let’s pray history doesn’t repeat itself with us.”
Fiifi arrived later and as father and son were catching up, Bisi decided to start dinner. The girls offered to do the cooking but Bisi insisted. Her son was home and she wanted to be the one to cook him a welcome home dinner.
“You made us cook dinner when we came home,” Kukuaa said as they entered the kitchen.
“Uh huh, because you’re excellent at cooking and I missed that. And Cape Coast is just about two hours from Accra. I visited you twice, I think. That euphoria of missing you wasn’t that high.”
“You’re going to help, of course. You do the chopping, I do the pouring and stirring.”
“Is it safe to say you are a lazy cook?” Esi asked. Bisi laughed.
“I guess I am. That’s why I thank God for giving me girls who love to cook,” she said with a wink. As they cooked, Esi remarked, “I think Nhyira has a girlfriend.” Kukuaa chuckled.
“I went to call him to come down to eat and he immediately dropped the monitor when I entered. He said it was no one but it has to be a girl, right?” Bisi sighed.
“Not a girl.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m sure he was talking to his mother.”
“His what? He was chatting with you?”
“No; his real mother.” The girls gasped.
“He’s been talking to Constance?”
“Oh yeah, and she thought the best way to mock me with it was to send a text to my show for me to read out loud.”
“Wow…why can’t she get a life?”
“Because she doesn’t have one. So did Nhyira confirm it?”
“He did; she told him what she did and he called to apologize. But from the look of things, they are still in touch.”
“And you’re encouraging it?”
“What can I do? I can’t stop him from talking to his mother. Forcing him to do that would make him withdraw from us. That’s what Constance wants. And we’re not going to take the bait.”
“Do you have an idea what they talk about?”
“I try not to pry; but he drops a hint once in a while. I just take it to prayer.”
“That woman is dangerous. She could turn him against us,” Esi said, worry drawn on her face.
“I’m aware but we need to be tactful. At least, he’s staying here with us. All things being equal, we have more influence on him.”
“It still doesn’t make me feel better.”
“Till she dies, we have to deal with Constance. She’s the thorn we have to tolerate for God knows how long.”
“Thank God for your heart, mum. Mine is a little less tolerant,” Kukuaa confessed.
At dinner, they discussed plans of their anniversary and decided on dates Fiifi would take Nhyira out to get him a suit and Bisi with the girls to get dresses. It was slated for the second next Satuday.
The day finally arrived and the event took place at Villa Victoria. The Pratt family had decided to spend the night there so the couple would have the nostalgic honeymoon feeling. A number of relatives and friends from both sides were invited. The place was decorated to give a cozy feeling. It started in the late afternoon and their pastor led them to renew their vows to each other.
“Bisi Pratt, these years we’ve spent together have been the most fulfilling years of my life. Through the ups and downs, you’ve stuck with me. Even when I let you down, you never gave up on me. God had used you to hold me and our family together and I wouldn’t be where I am without you by my side. So I stand here today, before God and man and renew the covenant that I have with you; to hold and to cherish, to love you the best way I know how; to be your shoulder to lean on and your arms to hold you. I’m not perfect; you know that very well. But you’ve loved my imperfections and made me way better than I could ever make myself. I vow to keep loving you as a husband should till death do us part,” Fiifi said.
“Awww…dad can be so sweet. I imagine what he told mum to say yes the first time,” Kukuaa said to his sister.
“I can bet you he made mum melt.” Kukuaa glanced at Nhyira.
“I hope you’re taking notes.”
“Oh yeah, I am.” They chuckled. “Let’s listen to mum.”
“Fiifi Pratt, I never knew how to truly love someone till I married you. Being the perfectionist that I am, it was a challenge at first to love an imperfect person but you’ve shown me how rewarding it is to love beyond flaws. You’ve been a wonderful husband and an even more amazing father. You believed in my dreams and have been my number one fan. You gave three beautiful children and have been my backbone all these years. Even through our darkest times, you still believed in us and stood your ground to make our union prevail. You taught me how to be the best wife one could ever be and a good mother. In spite of all we’ve been through, I don’t regret saying yes to you and later ‘I do’ up till now. You never held my faults to a grudge and you made my apologies easy to say. I love you, Fiifi more now than ever. I vow to be an even better wife to you and a better mother to our children. I wish us the very best as we grow older and I pray God makes us die in each other’s arms than for death to do us part.”
The guests clapped again.
“I think I’ll let mum write my vows for me,” Ewuresi said.
“Yeah, good idea.”
The head pastor and a few associate pastors prayed for the couple and pronounced blessings on them. The couple hang out with their parents and friends as food and drinks were served.
The three sat at their grannies’ table and chatted as the guests began to leave. After a while, Nhyira excused himself to use the bathroom.
Bisi and Fiifi were helping themselves to some wine when Bisi glanced over at the table where the sisters chat.
“Where’s Nhyira?” Fiifi turned.
“Must have gone to the bathroom or something.” Bisi gasped.
“What?” He followed her gaze. Nhyira sat with Constance at one of the last tables.
“What is she doing here?”
“I have no idea. Let me go and find out,” Fiifi said but before he could get up, he saw Kukuaa walking towards them with Ewuresi pausing at a distance.
Constance turned when she felt a tap on her shoulder.
“Hello, Miss Whatever name you go by but I’m pretty sure you were not invited to this ceremony.”
“But he invited me,” Constance said, pointing to Nhyira.
“Which must have been happened by mistake because the couple of the night would not be happy to see you here. The whole point of this ceremony is to make them happy and your presence here defeats that purpose. So without much ado, I’d ask that you leave.”
“Kukuaa, I invited her. She’s my mother!” Nhyira protested.
“Yet she isn’t the one one renewing her vows tonight, Nhyira. Did you even tell them you had invited her?”
“We were told we could invite a few friends.”
“Uh huh and she isn’t one. Please leave,” Kukuaa said more sternly this time.
“And if I refuse?”
“You wouldn’t want security to drag you out, would you?”
“Kukuaa, stop it.” Fiifi walked over.
“What are you doing here, Constance?” Fiifi asked.
“Oh hi, Mr. Pratt. Congratulations on your…renewal, is it?”
“Uncalled for. Please leave before you ruin the night for all of us,” Kukuaa said.
“Dad, please tell her to stop embarassing us,” Nhyira pleaded.
“She’s right. She has no reason to be here.”
“She’s my mother.”
“She’s not part of this family and this is a family event.”
“She’s my family,” Nhyira said.
“Then you are in the wrong location,” Kukuaa said. They glared at each other. Bisi joined them.
“The ceremony is over,” she said, grabbing Kuks by the arm.
“Congratulations, Bisi,” Constance said with an irritating smile.
“Please lead her out, Fii.” Bisi rolled her eyes and dragged Kukuaa away. Constance got up.
“Whoa, what drama for a vow-renewing ceremony. We’ll be in touch, dear. Care to escort me out, baby daddy?” she said tauntingly. He dragged her away. Ewuresi sat beside Nhyira.
“Why did Kuks have to be so mean?”
“You shouldn’t have invited her here, Nhyira. I know she’s your biological mother but you couldn’t have forgotten the hell she’s put mum through. Mum almost lost her sanity, remember?”
Nhyira said nothing.
Bisi and Kukuaa entered a room. Bisi sighed.
“I didn’t mean to cause a scene, mum. I just asked her to leave as politely as I could,” Kukuaa explained.
“I know but Nhyira isn’t going to see it that way. He’d feel like we’re attacking him.”
“Well, he has to know where the lines are drawn between getting to know his ‘mother’ and disrupting the family he is part of. He’s a great kid but he’s also gullible. We shouldn’t allow him to do this or soon, he’d be inviting her into our home for dinner for crying out loud!”
“I know. Gosh, I can’t believe that woman had the nerve to show her face here. I’m sure I’d be seeing her in my dreams tonight. What a bummer.”
“I’m sorry, mum.” They hugged.
“You have a rather fierce daughter. I wonder where she gets that from,” Constance said.
“From both of us; a perfect combination.”
“But I like our combination bettter. A sweet, handsome…”
“You’re really forcing my hand here. You have no right to contact my son. You sighed off all your rights.”
“Try explaining that to him. If he doesn’t want to keep in touch, I’ll back off. But something tells me, that won’t happen. Have a great second honeymoon tonight. Don’t think about me too much,” she said with a wink and got into her car. Fiifi shook his head and turned back.
“I’m sorry,” Fiifi apologized when he entered the room.
“I’m okay; it’s Nhyira I’m worried about.”
“We’ll handle that when we get home. For tonight, let’s just celebrate us, okay?”
“Agreed.” They hugged.
“We’ll get through this. I know we will.”
“Yeah, I know.”
(c) Josephine Amoako 2016
Read Chapter XL here.