The other side of Love.
Anita was exhausted.
The event had been a complete success.
She took a shower and changed into her nightwear. Her phone rang. It was her fiancé Edward.
“The news about your show is all over the city. You did good.”
“When is the next one coming up?”
“As soon as I recover from this one, it was really exhausting.”
“I am so proud of you.”
“How did your meetings go?”
“We had a few hitches, but generally they went well.”
“Are we still doing lunch tomorrow?” she asked.
“Until something comes up,” she said.
“Nothing will come up this time. I have cleared my table. Tomorrow afternoon is free for us.”
“If you say so.”
There was a knock on her door.
“I’ve got to go. See you tomorrow. I love you Edward.”
“I love you Anita.”
She got out of bed, put on a robe and opened the door. Her dad stood at the door. He wore a traditional ljaw outfit with a hat. He held his walking stick in his right hand.
“Dad, you look regal in your woko.”
“Thank you dear. I decided to abandon my suits for an ethnic look.”
“How was your outing?”
He walked past her into the room and sat on the bed. “It was good. Sit down Anita. I want to talk to you.”
“Would you like some tea?”
“Not now,” he pointed at the chair by the wall.
Anita sat down. She didn’t like her dad’s tone.
“Let me come straight out. I don’t want you to marry Edward.”
“Why?” Anita stood up.
“Please sit down,” her dad said.
“Dad, what do you mean? Edward and I love each other deeply,” she said.
“Do you really?” He asked.
“Dad, what is going on?” She left her chair and came to sit beside him on the bed.
Chief Batubo paused for a few seconds before he continued.
“I did some checking up on Edward and found out certain things about him you should know.” He saw the questions on her face. “Did you know that Edward has a child with a German lady?”
“Dad is this a joke or what?”
“Am I laughing?” Chief Batubo Briggs asked her. ” Five years ago he worked for a German company in Nigeria. He was transferred to Munich for a skills acquisition program. There he met this lady and who had a baby for him. He reportedly abandoned mother and child and absconded to Nigeria.”
“Dad are you certain about what you are saying? Edward never told me he was in Germany. He worked in South Africa before he moved back to Nigeria.”
Anita noticed that her dad tapped his walking stick on the floor impatiently. She looked at her phone. It was 10pm. Where could he be going this late?
“Did he tell you that his mother suffered a severe mental breakdown when he was in secondary school?”
“What?” Anita stood up for the second time.
“Will you be patient and let me finish? The more you interrupt me, the longer I will be here. I have to see someone tonight.”
Anita knew better than to question her dad. She got her stubbornness from him.
“She was confined to a mental institution after she viciously attacked a lady who was talking with her husband at a dinner party. She followed the woman into the restroom and slashed her face and chest with a knife she picked from the table. When she was arrested, her lawyers argued that she was mentally challenged and she barely escaped going to jail. That was the seventh woman she had attacked in public. She spent seven years in the hospital and was released last month.”
Anita’s mouth was agape.
“Dad, this is stranger than fiction. How did you get this information?”
“You know I have my sources. And with my present placement as chairman of the bank there is hardly anything I can’t find out.”
“So he has a child and didn’t want to talk about it, so what? He loves me too much not to ruin our relationship with his past. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“How about the fact that his company has gone broke?”
Chief Batubo kept quiet.
“Dad, I know you don’t like Edward but saying he is broke is going a bit too far, don’t you think?”
Her father looked at her and smiled. “Since your mother passed on I have been there for you, haven’t I?”
“Yes, you have.” She agreed.
“Have I ever disappointed you in any way? I have my limitations as a man but I have always tried to be forthright with you. I know Edward better than you think.”
“What do you mean?”
“Edward Osagie banks with us.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“He has defaulted on his loans five times. The company is haemorrhaging badly. If he doesn’t receive an infusion of three million dollars from our investment partners in Canada, he will be forced to close up shop.”
Anita’s head was spinning with questions. Why didn’t Edward tell her this? Why was he keeping so many things away from her?
Chief Batubo put a hand on her shoulder.
“I tried to keep this away from you. I tried to protect you from the truth, but I can’t anymore.”
“Dad, I don’t know what to say.”
“Do you remember the story about the man who duped me several years ago when I started out in business? He almost reduced me to penury,” he said with some bitterness in his voice. “If it wasn’t for your mother who stood by me, I would have completely failed in business.”
“That man in Benin. It was a mister…”
Her eyes opened wide in recognition.
Chief shook his head in acknowledgement. “Osagie. Nosa Osagie.”
He paused for a moment and watched his daughter’s confused reaction.
“Edward is his third son.”
“No, no! This can’t be happening to me,” Anita held her head in her hands.
“I will not allow my daughter marry Osagie’s son. Never!” He hit the floor with his walking stick, stood up and walked out of the room.
“Dad, please wait,” Anita looked for her slippers. By the time she got out of the house, her dad was in his car. She stood on the gravel drive-way and watched her dad’s Mercedes sport utility vehicle exit the gate behind a Toyota Prado.
“Good evening ma,” a security guard said.
Anita didn’t answer him. She stood there staring as the back lights of the vehicles disappeared into the night. It seemed like her dream of getting married to Edward was about to fade away.
“I am greeting you ma…”
“Will you shut up!”Anita pushed him out of her way and walked into the house.
“Did I say something wrong?” the bewildered man asked.
To be continued.