Matured Stories

THE RUNAWAY BRIDE – Season 1 – Episode 4

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Back in Lagos

Senator Babalola hissed as he walked past the
nurse attending to his wife, he walked to the
sitting room where the commissioner of police
sat with Chief Ajayi; his in-law and business
partner.


“Any news, Gbade”
he referred to the
Commissioner not too politely
“None yet honorable, and I am afraid the
press will start cooking up something soon”
“Well, don’t make them”
he said in an
angered tone


“So what do you want to tell them?”
the Commissioner asked calmly


“That she was kidnapped, I will not be
shamed on this day. Tell the news men she was kidnapped”

“But don’t you think that would be unfair”

Chief Ajayi, Tokunbo’s father asked from the corner of the room.


“Ajayi, we are all here and it is clear with the look of things, that daughter of mine ran away, but if you tell the press she did, we might not get any help in finding her. So let’s tell the press she was kidnapped and there
would be a reward if there is any information about her whereabouts.”
He explained to the
whole room At that moment, Tokunbo walked in and heard what they planned to serve the press, he was not ok with the idea but agreed there’s a little sense in it, but he is more
worried about his wife’s whereabouts.
He walked back out to the corridor to meet his friend Chris who was also on the phone with someone, on seeing him; Chris ended the
call and sat beside Tokunbo.


“What do you want to do now?”
“Nothing, just wait for a call”
“Can I ask you a question?”
Chris asked


“What is it?”
“Do you think she ran away with another guy?”

“I don’t know, but I don’t think so”

“But you must have seen or heard something from her before now that would have alerted you she would be running away”

“Chris, she called me on Thursday and asked if she could cancel the date we planned, she said she needed to be somewhere. Each time I called her after that, she replied with a
message, she said she was busy and was
putting some things in place”

“And you did not bother to see her
yesterday?”

“I did and she seemed different, I just ruled it off to stress from the whole wedding plans”

“Men! I have never ever seen such in my life, what was she thinking?”

Tokunbo sat back and could remember when she said “I do”, she had paused and looked at
him with tears in her eyes and all he could
think about was how beautiful she looked and
she must have been overwhelmed by the
emotions and that was why she hesitated
before replying the pastor with her “I do”

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He did not suspect a thing and he did not
expect such.

They had met 5 months ago, he was in the US when his father went into a business merger with Chinwe’s father, they had agreed behind
them their children would marry and when his father told him so, he had been furious and he reminded him such things happened centuries ago and people have the choice of picking their own spouses in this present age.

His father had listened to his rants and made a deal with him, he should meet with Chinwe and if he does not like her or vice versa, they could do without the wedding.

And they met; it was the most exciting and fulfilling moment of his life. Unconsciously,
he had always imagined her to be a bull eyed
ugly Betty, but when he met her at the
airport, he was blown away by her beauty
and he fell for her personality, pure, gentle,
calm, funny and everything he had always
hoped for in a woman he would marry.
Weeks after meeting, she confessed she felt the same way; they started talking over the phone even after she returned to Nigeria.

Their talks were endless; they practically fell asleep on the phone and talked as soon as either of them wakes up.
When he moved to Nigeria 2 months after,
they had become inseparable and their
parents had put the wedding plans in gear.

Chinwe started coming to the office and they would pore over the details of the merger with their respective fathers.

He fell in love with her and he could swear
she felt the same way.

They planned everything together, they picked a house together at Lekki and she had supervised the interior decorations of the house, she had made plans for the staff and had taken everything perfectly, ready to settle into marital bliss with him, or so he thought;
till she ran away from the reception of their wedding this afternoon with just a message from the phone she left behind “ I cannot continue with this ”

Tokunbo had not seen the message early
enough; he had left his phone with his best friend and best man, Chris, who did not even look at the screen until they were alarmed that she had gone missing from her hotel room where she was supposed to change.

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It sounded like a movie narration to him
when his friend whispered it to his ears, he stood up slowly and followed him to the back room he had changed in. they called the MC who only God knows how he managed to dismiss the guests. His father in law had called the police immediately and arrests were
made at the hotel; poor staff who probably did not know who they were dealing with.

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She could not have gotten away without a plan and without help, no she couldn’t have.

How she sneaked away from the whole bridal train and even the security is a well-planned strategy that made Tokunbo wonder what went wrong between Wednesday and Saturday, why did she come for the wedding
at all when she knew she would be running
away from him?


“Tokunbo, let’s get going, Chris has the car in front for you”
his mother called from the balcony door,
she was still dressed in her reception attire.

He stood up from where he sat and picked his phone, the screen saver; Chinwe, was smiling
at him brightly, but it looked more like a
mockery now.

He locked the screen and shoved the screen in his pocket, he walked ahead of his mother and went into the car, and Chris was behind the steering. He drove off without saying a word; he drove him straight to the apartment they were supposed to use for tonight before
traveling to Maldives for their honeymoon.
Honeymoon indeed, he felt raw as if someone had cut him open with something sharp, but
he cannot tell exactly where the pain is
coming from.

Chris handed him a bottle of water already
opened, he remembered taking a sip from it and that was the last thing he recalled before sleep took him over. His friend shook his head sadly at his friend, took off his shoes and arranged him well on the bed so he could get some rest.

Drugging him is the best option for now;
otherwise, he would not be getting any sleep at all.

Honorable Babalola went back into the room where his wife was seated with their son, Nkem.

“Have you seen what your daughter has caused me?” he glared at her menacingly.

Ngozi looked away and focused on the other side of the room, still her husband pressed closer to her threatening to pounce on her.

Nkem stood up and walked to the door,
obviously not able to bear the sight any
longer. Any attempt to talk sense to his father would only infuriate him more; he likes the attention.

Ngozi could no longer hold back the tears; she stood up gingerly and walked to the dresser
table,

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“Why did you ask them to say she was
kidnapped?”

“Because she was kidnapped, I know you know about her escape and must have helped in one way or the other, but I swear if I find out and it is true, I will make life unbearable
for you”

“You already do, every day when I see you, life is unbearable, what can you do more than living?” she laughed sarcastically.

“You will know soon, pray she comes back soon too” he told her as he went to remove his shoes, discarding them carelessly around the room.

“You will use any means to butter your political ambition would you not, kidnapping would attract sympathy from the people and that would fetch you more votes would it not?” she looked at him with pure disgust.


“Say whatever you please, but pray she comes to her sense soon and returns home, otherwise…”

“You practically forced her into the marriage”
she spat back at him


“she wanted it, you idiot, she was willing
even when you were not supportive, do you think I trust Ajayi one bit, if he aims for a bigger political position, the only thing that would stop him from coming after me is the thought that a smear on me would be a smear
on him, and Chinwe agreed to marry that son of his, but I should have known you would get to convince her against it eventually”
he returned hotly.


“If I had my way, I would have convinced her to leave earlier and not marry anyone connected to you at all, you evil man”

“well, she did and she must come back and make me look good and secure my political seat at the senate as well as my interest in this business merger, or the gods help me,
heads would row”
he swore as he tossed his agbada angrily at her feet and went into the bathroom.

Ngozi watched him leave, regretting ever
marrying him and also not being able to make her daughter confide in her, she knows her daughter is safe, she just could not say for how long.

Dele would secretly turn the ends of every
corner he knows to bring her back from
whatever she was trying to escape from.
Ngozi sat back on the bed and looked at her phone, totally lost at whom to call, all her friends she knew were at the wedding with them, who she could be staying with.

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