Read Chapter 24 here.
As the ceremony was going on, Ayesha noticed Jamal was a bit nervous. She held his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. When he glanced at her, she smiled to calm him down. Jamal exhaled deeply and smiled back.
When the ceremony ended, Ayesha and Jamal entered her room to get ready for some photos. Ayesha dabbed his face gently with her makeup puff.
“Are you alright? You seemed a bit overwhelmed out there.”
“Of course I was. Did you see the crowd out there? You said the number of guests would be about fifty. There are about three times that number out there!”
“What was I supposed to do, Jamal? Turn them away? My father and uncle obviously understated the number of people they invited to come. What does it matter? What’s important is that you and I are together now…about to create lots of memories together. Lots of witnesses and blessings is a good thing, right?” Ayesha said, wrapping her arm around his neck. Jamal sighed.
“I guess so. You always see the brighter side of things, don’t you?”
“Someone has to,” Ayesha said and kissed him. The door opened.
“Hey lovebirds, photographer is on standby,” Nadia announced.
“Thanks sis. Ready to start capturing memories, love?”
“Let’s go make them.”
They left the room.
As Tariq and Omar chatted with some guests, Nadia passed by holding the hand of a gentleman. Tariq stole a glance at them, giving the guy a once-over. Tariq’s eyes followed them until they entered the guest room.
Ayesha and Jamal entered the living room some minutes later.
“Where’s my lady in waiting?” Ayesha asked dramatically, looking around.
“She’s locked up with some dude in the guest room,” Tariq said.
“Who is?” Ida asked, pausing in her walk across the room.
“No one, Auntie.”
The guest room opened and Nadia and the guy came out. Nadia brushed her palm over her hair to straighten it. She froze when she realized the eyes on them, especially her mum’s.
“Nadia? Who’s he?”
“Hi, I’m…” he started.
“I wasn’t talking to you,” Ida interrupted him with her gaze on Nadia.
“A friend. Met him at our graduation party a couple of weeks back.”
“And what were you two doing alone in the room?” Ida asked, turning her gaze to him this time.
“I’m Taye, ma’am.”
“Do you know whose daughter she is?”
Omar and Tariq watched in amusement as they sipped their drinks.
“She’s the only daughter and child of the Honorable Member Omar…do you even know him?”
Taye’s eyes darted to the two men seated who looked back at him blankly.
“I’m sorry; I haven’t yet had the pleasure.”
“Nice to meet you, Taye; I’m Ayesha, Nadia’s sister,” Ayesha said, offering her hand.
“Same here. Congratulations on your marriage.”
“Thank you, Taye. Looking forward to getting to know you more.”
“Auntie Ida, could you please help me out with something?” Ayesha asked, wrapping her arm around Ida and pulling her away. Nadia took Taye’s hand.
“Could we do this another time, please?”
“Sure,” Tariq said with a smirk on his face. Nadia pulled Taye away.
“Taye…interesting name,” Omar remarked.
After Nadia had seen Taye off, she came back into the house. Ayesha beamed when she saw her.
“Inviting him over to family gatherings now, eh? Is there potential for something solid?”
“Fingers crossed. It’s fifty-fifty. Could go either way.”
“Where’s the photographer? I hope he has been able to edit some of the photos by now. They need to be on the gram,” Ayesha said.
“Way ahead of you, sis. The first photos I posted have over a hundred likes now,” Nadia said, scrolling through her Instagram page.
“And your hubby, where’s he?”
“Speaking to his folks.”
“Oh okay. Have you had something to eat? I’m famished.”
“Your mum has some food ready in the kitchen.”
“The last person I want to see right now. I mean, what was that drama all about?” Nadia asked.
“Cut her some slack. She’s only looking out for you. Who wouldn’t be concerned if she saw her only daughter coming out of her room with a stranger?”
“Geez…like she’s the moral compass around here. Gosh, her hypocrisy stinks,” Nadia scoffed.
“Aren’t we all hypocrites of a sort?” They looked at each other.
“Well, we don’t pretend to be goody two shoes, do we?”
“Fair point. The fact that she might not be a faithful wife doesn’t take away she has been a good mum to us, Nadia.” Ayesha hugged Nadia.
“But seriously, what were you doing with Taye inside the room though?”
Nadia rolled her eyes. “Nothing. Get your mind out of the gutter,” Nadia said as Ayesha laughed.
“Oh…just an innocent question.”
“Yeah right. Do you even know the meaning of innocent?”
Ida was lying in Omar’s arms in bed, both watching a show on Netflix. A wedding scene played out on their screen.
“That will be our girl Ayesha in a few hours. How time flies. I still remember her running around in her diapers and scribbling on our walls,” Ida said with a smile.
“Indeed. Feels like yesterday.”
“She will soon be made a woman. Huh, do you think Ayesha is already sexually active?” Ida asked.
“Um…why do you ask?”
“Nothing…just curious. Surprisingly, she has never mentioned any physical relationship ever since I got back.”
“What’s surprising about that?”
“I remember Ayesha and Nadia being very curious about relationships when they were younger. Of course, that didn’t just disappear especially when they are full-blown adults.”
“Well, perhaps they prefer to discuss such matters between themselves than coming to you.”
“Perhaps…but knowing Ayesha, she would tell me if something was going on. Unless…”
“She was doing something she knew I wouldn’t approve of.”
“What makes you think that? Ayesha is a big girl now. She doesn’t exactly need your approval,” Omar said with a nervous chuckle.
“I raised her, remember? I know her. I just hope she enjoys her marriage and her husband doesn’t cheat on her.”
“It’s interesting how you think cheating is only a male disease. You forget men cheat on women with women, right? Why don’t you hope the same for the poor guy Ayesha is going to get married to?”
“He’s not my concern at the moment. I’m sure his folks are praying on his head as we speak. Mine is Tamar’s little angel. I hope she isn’t too disappointed in me…that I tried to raise her girl into a good woman. We did well, didn’t we, honey?” Ida asked.
“Yeah…yeah, we did,” Omar replied dryly.
How would she think of me if she found out I have been having an affair for as long as I can remember? Ida thought to herself.
What would you do if you found out I was the one who stole her innocence? Omar thought to himself.
“I love you, honey,” Ida said and kissed him. She turned her back to him and he wrapped his arms around her, settling into a spooning position. He kissed her neck.
“Love you too, sweetheart.”
“How does it feel, having to walk your daughter down the aisle tomorrow?” Bibi asked Tariq when he came out of the bathroom, wiping his hair dry with a towel.
“Anxious as hell. I know she’s all grown up now but she’ll forever my little girl, you know. I know I should be able to trust her decision to spend the rest of her life with Jamal but a part of me doesn’t want to lose her.”
“You’re not going to, T. Ayesha will forever be a daddy’s girl; your girl. For the short time I’ve been around, I’ve seen you treat her like a princess and she adores you. No one can replace who you are to her,” Bibi assured him.
“Oh I love it when you say such sweet words,” Tariq said, walking up to her and kissing the top of her head.
“Now that you’re going to marry your only daughter off, how about we working to make another one?”
“Ah, I love where your head is at.”
“Oh and I love where yours is.” They both chuckled and kissed.
Ayesha and Nadia laid in bed together, both staring at the ceiling. Ayesha sighed and raised her hand, staring at the ring on her finger.
“It’s beginning to feel heavy already.”
“It’s that heavy?”
“Not the jewelry; the responsibility that goes with it. Traditionally, I’m already a wife and it feels different. I’m excited about what the future holds but I can’t help but feel a little jittery,” Ayesha confessed. Nadia held her other hand. Their fingers intertwined.
“You will be fine. Just take it one day a time. And if it doesn’t seem to be working, you know you can always come out. You don’t have to sentence yourself to the ‘till death do us part’ prison people like to cage themselves in,” Nadia said.
“Oh I don’t plan to. No love is worth losing my sanity and dignity over.”
“That’s my girl.” They did a fist pump.
Ayesha’s phone beeped. She took it. A message from Jamal.
Can’t wait to start forever with you – the wife of my youth.
Same here, my love.
“Aww…isn’t he sweet?” Nadia said.
“Yeah he is. He has such a big heart. I sometimes feel I’m not good enough for him.”
“Why? Because of whom you’ve slept with? You don’t know what he has been up to as well. Don’t let guilt win. You two are going to start a new life together. Focus on that.”
“I will.” A pause. “But if things turn south…”
“I’ll always be here. Marriage is overrated anyway.”
They both chuckled.
“You’re not going to move on without me because you’ll be Mrs., are you?”
“You’re my sister, Nadia. I’m going nowhere without you. And whenever I start showing such signs, kindly slap me back to my senses.”
“Hold on; say it again for the record,” Nadia said, picking up her phone and opening her voice recorder.
“You’re crazy,” Ayesha said, laughing.
“Just in case Jamal decides to drag me to court for assaulting his dear wife. Uh huh, say it.”
“I, Ayesha grant thee Nadia the unreserved permission to whoop my ass at any point if I become bitchy towards her because I’m a Mrs. I say it by my own will and without any duress.”
“Perfect,” Nadia said, stopping the recording it and saving it.
“Bitchy Ayesha insurance,” Nadia said as she typed it.
“Much better.” They both sighed. “But if I happen to change my mind and run out, you will not be mad at me, right?”
“Of course not. Just say the word and we will run out together. But for my mum’s sake, please don’t.”
They both chuckled. “I won’t, then.”
(c) Josephine Amoako 2021
Read Chapter 26 here.