Read Chapter 19 here.
Tariq was straightening his bow tie when he heard the door open and close behind him.
“Hey Omar, I hope you have the rings with you. No tapping your pockets when the priest asks for it.”
“That would be awkward, wouldn’t it?”
Tariq turned to see Nadia.
“Hey you…you look great.”
“And you look dashing.” Nadia sat on the arm of the sofa.
“Thanks. Seen your father?”
“Hanging around somewhere. Just wanted to see you before you got to the altar.”
“Happy for me?”
“Mixed feelings to be honest. Don’t know of anyone who’d smile at the thought of losing the love of her life to another woman because it’s scandalous for her to be the one,” Nadia said.
Tariq walked to her. He placed his hands on her cheeks and kissed the top of her head.
“You will always have a special place in my heart, Nadia. Always.”
“So we can still be together?”
“It would be better and wiser if we didn’t.”
“But we are not better or wiser people, are we?” Nadia asked, getting up to face him.
“We can be.”
“And if I refuse?” Nadia asked, wrapping her arms around his neck.
“You’re not a married man yet,” Nadia said huskily and kissed his ear.
Nadia kissed Tariq. They broke apart when the door pushed open.
“Oh there you are!” Ayesha said as she walked in.
“What, you two are saying goodbye?”
“Seen Omar?” Tariq asked, ignoring her question.
“Not on my way here. You look great, dad.”
“Wait, is that lipstick?” Ayesha asked, touching her father’s ear. Tariq glanced at Nadia. Nadia shrugged with her arms crossed.
“Geez Nadia, are you trying to get the bride to walk out on him?” Ayesha said, taking out tissue from a box and wiping her father’s ear and lips.
“That would be an answered prayer for sure.”
“You’ve got to play nice and smart, dear.”
“Listen to her,” Tariq said.
“Like father like daughter.”
“Oh the whole squad is here then.”
“Where’s mum?” Nadia asked Omar.
“Seeing to the bride.”
“How pleasant of her.”
“You should be with her as well, you know…showing support.”
“I have…and she’s excited and nervous which is kind of cute,” Ayesha said.
“Well, I’m going to be seeing her around from now on so why not spare myself a few moments before it all starts?”
“She’s going to know that you don’t like her, Nadia if you keep this attitude up. And her intuition will drive her to find out why. Is that what you want?” Ayesha asked.
“I’ll try to play nice. I will.”
“Thank you,” Tariq said gratefully.
“You’ve got the rings? Uncle T seems to think you might find them missing at the ceremony,” Nadia said.
“Right here,” Omar assured the groom, tapping his pocket.
“I believe it’s time. Shall we?” Ayesha asked.
“Let’s do this.”
Ayesha noticed Nadia’s heels making tapping noises on the floor as Tariq and Bibi said their vows. She covered her friend’s hand on the lap with hers and gave it a gentle squeeze. Nadia stilled herself.
Nadia gave out a sigh when Tariq and Bibi were declared husband and wife.
“Just remember it’s for his public image,” Ayesha whispered in Nadia’s ear.
“He likes her though. I can tell.”
“He likes you too. It depends on how you leverage it. Your father loves your mother. I won’t deny that or even dream of interfering with that. I just have to keep reminding him that he loves me too,” Ayesha said with a wink.
When it was time for photos with the couple, Ayesha stood next to Bibi while Nadia stood by Tariq. She put her arm around the small of back, her fingers brushing Bibi’s slightly. Bibi turned and saw where Nadia has delicately placed her hand. She glanced at Nadia but she was smiling at the photographer. When the photo session was over, Nadia said to Tariq, “Congratulations, Uncle T.”
“Thanks, Nadia.” They smiled at each other.
At the reception dinner, Bibi kept her gaze on Nadia and Ayesha. She kept refilling her glass after each gulp. Tariq noticed and touched her hand when she was about to take the glass for another drink.
“I think you’ve had quite enough, honey,” he said softly. Bibi gave him a stern look. He took his hand away. Bibi lifted the glass to her lips and drank. She turned her head when she heard giggles.
Ayesha and Nadia were toasting to themselves. Tariq followed Bibi’s gaze.
“Is anything the matter, my love?”
“Who is Nadia to you, Tariq?”
“What do you mean? She’s my goddaughter. What is it?”
“Why do I feel like I just made a mistake saying yes?”
“Where is this coming from? Enough with the wine,” Tariq said, snatching the glass from her; attracting some looks in their direction. Tariq offered an apologetic smile and took his wife’s hand.
They got up and walked out of the room.
“Oh…oh…trouble in paradise already?” Nadia asked with a mischievous smile.
“I’m sure it’s nothing,” Ayesha said.
“Ah where’s Jamal? Haven’t seen him since the wedding.”
“He had to rush off. Some family emergency he had to see to.”
“And where’s mum?” Nadia asked, looking around.
“Wow…so this is what a big person’s wedding looks like in Accra?” Yaw asked.
“Well…not exactly. The bride wanted one that would be the talk of the town,” Ida replied.
“And so it will be. Where’s your husband? I think our eyes met at a point and he made a face…like trying to place me in his memory.”
“Really? Then you should go. Seeing us together would be bad for me. I need to go back inside.”
“Sure. It was nice hanging out with you in public…from a distance,” Yaw said and gave her a brief hug.
“Yeah. Take care of yourself, Yaw.”
“When am I seeing you?”
“Will let you know. Bye.”
Yaw watched Ida as she walked back into the building. He walked to his car and found all his tires deflated.
“What? Who did this?!”
Ida turned to see Omar walking towards her.
“Hey…where have you been?”
“Exactly the question I was about to ask you. Been looking all around for you,” Omar said, kissing her cheek.
“Sorry about that. Just stepped outside for a bit.”
“Oh I see. Care to dance? We haven’t had a go at the dance floor yet,” Omar said, offering his hand.
“Sure,” Ida said with a smile, placing her hand in his. They started walking to the dance floor.
Her phone began to ring. She stopped, making Omar stop as well.
“Sorry, need to pick this. Yeah, hello?”
“Someone deflated my tires. All of them.”
“What? Who could have done that?”
“Your guess is as good as mine.”
Ida glanced at her husband who gave her a patient look.
“So sorry about it. So what do you do?”
“I guess I have to Uber myself out of here and get a mechanic to fix them first thing tomorrow.”
“Great. Goodnight then,” Ida said and ended the call.
“Everything okay?” Omar asked as they resumed walking.
Tariq and Bibi entered a suite. Tariq closed the door behind him.
“Okay, could you please tell me exactly what is going on?”
“Do you know that your goddaughter Nadia has a crush on you?” Bibi asked.
“What? Is that what you’re getting all worked up about on our wedding day? A young girl’s crush?”
“Not just any young girl, T. This is Nadia, your best friend’s daughter.”
“And my daughter’s best friend. Please let’s not be caught having this conversation. It’s embarrassing,” Tariq said.
“Don’t downplay it, T. I can tell trouble when I see it. And in this case, I can smell it as well.”
“Good for you. But let me assure you, your instincts are wrong this time. I won’t deny that Nadia is fond of me and honestly, so am I. Always have been. She’s like a second daughter to me.”
Tariq placed his palms on Bibi’s cheeks and kissed her forehead.
“There’s nothing to be worried about, I promise you, Bibi. Omar and Nadia are family to me. And I’d love for you to feel belonged in my family. I love you, Bibi and I need you to trust me, okay?”
Bibi stared into his eyes and nodded. They kissed and hugged.
“The girls are going to love you.”
Bibi chuckled. “Looking forward to that.”
“Beautiful ceremony. I’m happy for Riq. He really looks in love with Bibi,” Ida said when they returned home.
“Yeah me too.” Omar sat down to remove his shoes.
You are happy here, right? Happy back with me and Nadia?” Omar asked. Ida was taking off her jewelry.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean…things were bad between us and that’s why you left. And I always looked forward to the day I’d see you again. I’m glad you’re back with us…where you belong. Nadia seems happier now than when you were gone. Just wanted to know if you’ve been happy…since you got back.”
“Of course I’m happy. You are busy doing something you love…we get to spend more time together than we ever did. What else could I ask for?”
“I’m glad you appreciate that. So there’s no way you’d go back to…your old ways, right?”
“I thought I saw someone at the party tonight…someone familiar. At first I couldn’t place him but thinking about it, I think I do now. It wasn’t him, right?”
“It wasn’t who, Omar?” Ida asked back.
“You didn’t answer my question about returning to your old ways, Ida,” Omar said.
“And I don’t intend to. The same way I trust that you’re not still engaging in your ‘old ways’, extend the same courtesy to me, alright?”
“Ah…is that your way of telling me you’re actually seeing him again?”
“And does that imply that you’re still involved with someone in a skirt outside the confines of our marriage?” Ida retorted.
“No, I’m not.”
“Then neither am I.”
Omar walked up to Ida and stood right in front of her.
“If I find out he’s still in the picture, I won’t be amused, Ida.”
“Is that your idea of a threat, dear husband?”
“Just a heads up.”
“Then here’s mine: if I find out…no, when I found out who the new girl in the shadows is, I won’t be amused either, Omar.”
“I think I’ll sleep in the guest room,” Omar said, walking away.
“Did you do it?”
“Deflate the tires.”
“What tires?” Omar asked innocently.
Ida chuckled and shook her head. “Never mind, Omar. Goodnight.”
“Just remember that every action comes with its consequences. And for someone like me, I’ve a lot to lose if anything untoward is to show up. You get what I mean?” Omar said.
“Oh I do. I just hope that you’d apply same wisdom to yourself, husband.”
“Goodnight,” Omar said and left the room.
(c) Josephine Amoako 2021
Read Chapter 21 here.