THE CHURCH SCANDAL (EPISODE 21 – 32)

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RETURN OF THE CHURCH SCANDAL
(EPISODE 21)

A throaty chuckle traveled down her spine.
Nduke’s face flushed a deep, dangerous crimson and her chest rose and fell like a neap tide.
“Oh my God!” Nduke squealed. “What a surprise visit!” She added. Inibehe had rose from the seat to pay more attention to who Nduke was talking to.

Smiling her ferocious social smile, she closed the door behind her and was so uncomfortable within herself.
They were the girls from the youths choir, and there were seven of them.

“We’ve come to help you do house chores and some cleaning pastor Nduke.” One of the girls said excitedly.

“Oh my dears, thank you so much. I do not have chores or anything to do now. I did that yesterday. Thanks a lot.” Nduke said, smiling sheepishly.

“We saw pastor’s car parked here. Is he inside?” Another girl asked girlishly.

“Oh no my dear…” Nduke blushed. “He brought it for my mechanic to handle it.” She added.

“Okay pastor, bye bye God bless you.” The Girls said in unison as they prostrated and walked out of the compound.
She inhaled a deep breath and went inside the house.
Inibehe waited at the sitting room for her; smiling. When she saw his face she began to laugh. “I was so damn scared!” she exaggerated.

“I know. I heard from your voice.” Inibehe said and laughed out so loud.

“What if it was Uduak?” Inibehe asked staring at her eyes. She shrugged.

“She doesn’t know here. I don’t wanna talk about her.”

He smiled as if he knew exactly what she meant. He closed the distance between them, stroking the fire of curling desire building low in her belly.

“You’re eating me up alive with that look. Do you know I used to dream about how we got married on the island and our house was built in the middle of a Marathon street in London. And just us lived in this world and no one else.” He said thickly.
She laughed out so loud, excitingly staring at his face. He pulled her blouse up through her head. She smelled of sweat and cologne, of freshly mowed grass and sunscreen lotion. And such a combination was so unbearably stimulating for Inibehe.
“You’re gorgeous my love.” he whispered wondrously. “You’re my everything. And God brought us together for good. You will remain the love of my life.”

The prayer came from his soul, a whispered plea to heavens for help.

He carried her in his arms and walked to the bedroom.
He laid her carefully on the bed and began to kiss her incredibly. The kiss started out as soft as a sigh, as potent as an explosion. Every nerve in her body short circuited. His mouth moved with slow deliberation, tasting, sampling, savoring. The kiss lasted forever, over in the blink of an eye. She parted her lips, staring at him helplessly. He smiled and lowered his mouth to hers once more. He probed the hot, moist cavern of her mouth with his tongue.
He’d been there in her house for hours, making love to her. His phone rang countless times, but he didn’t answer the call.
His sister Sifon called, his father and his wife. When he was done, and he stared directly at the phone, he’d wondered why his father and his sister called almost at the same time.
His expression went from frowning concern to careful neutrality.
Not long after he wore his clothes, a text message got into his phone. “I will be at your office tomorrow, something important to discuss with ya. cheers, baby sister.”
After he read it, he was relieved. It was almost twelve midnight. He clasped his hands in Nduke’s hand and prayed for few minutes. And after the prayers he kissed her and drove home.

When he got to his gate and Faro opened it, he was surprised to see his father’s car parked in the garage. “Faro!” he called out his driver.

“Sa!” Faro ran to where he stood.

“What’s happening in the house. Why is Daddy here?”

“I don’t know sir. He came here since 7pm. I hear as madam dey cry for am, him dey tell am sorry.” Faro said.

Inibehe now had an idea why his father was in his house. He boldly walked into his sitting room and when his father saw him he wouldn’t let him say a word. He walked toward him and gave him a thunderous hard slap on his cheeks.

“Where are you coming from Udo?” He asked with a baritone voice. Inibehe held his cheeks and experienced a quiver of fear.
Uduak was sitting down on the single sofa. She was mute all through the Bishop’s presence.

“I ask you again Udo, where are you coming from? You keep your wife lonely at night and go to God knows where. From today let it stop! We gave you a driver, but you go out alone!” He yelled.

“You married her for me. Take her along with you as you’re going out.” Inibehe said and walked away.

“Udo come back here! Even your elder brother has never walked out on me!”

Inibehe slammed his bedroom door, and slept off.

The next day, Uduak would visit her mother and pour out her heart to her.


THE CHURCH SCANDAL
(EPISODE 22)

The morning before the secret first dropped out by mistake, Nduke had gone to submit her year Agenda to at Inibehe’s office. It was what every assistant pastor did in a Rhapsody church.
She’d wore a pink gown and left her long dreadlocks on loose.

She knocked on the office door once and clicked it open. A young man was seated there already, he was having a serious conversation with pastor Inibehe when Nduke walked in.

“Good morning pastor.” She greeted him with a smile and then turned to the young man who couldn’t keep off his eyes off her when she walked in. “Hello, welcome.” She greeted politely and sat down.

“Pastor, we will talk about this again when I’m back from offshore.” The man said boldly as he stood and walked away.

Inibehe laughed out loud when the man left.

“What’s making you laugh?” She asked.

“That brother that just left is brother David. He works with Total, he came to make enquiries about you. He said he loves you and would want to marry you. And that he wants me to talk to you.”

Nduke giggled. “so what did you tell him?”

“That you’re in a relationship. Or are you not?” He asked with a smile and walked to where she sat, planting tiny kisses along the line of her jaw.
He slipped his hands beneath her locks cupping the back of her head firmly. She was captive to that touch. The sensation was highly erotic. She strained against him, wanting more as his mouth worked incredible magic, kissing the curve of her cheek, nibbling her chin, biting lightly at the lobe of her ear. He began to lift her to himself, trying to pull her clothes.

“Big brother…” They sprang apart like guilty children at the sound of Sifon’s voice. Sifon stood there by the door, staring at them, looking aghast at the sight of what she saw.

They didn’t hear when the door clicked open.

“Hey Baby sis.” He said uncomfortably. Nduke was ashamed. She couldn’t look at her face. She put the file on the table and walked away.

“Ini, what are you up to? do You know who you’re?” Sifon asked sitting on a chair.

“That’s Nduke, we met in London. She is my first love.”

“Wait a minute. You were in love with someone else?”

Inibehe nodded.

“Well, why did I ask that? I saw the look in your eyes when you did those things to her. I have never seen you that way. Trust this family shit is tearing us apart.”

“I am following my heart Sifon. I am no more pretending about this.” He touched his white collar. “I have wasted Years, fulfilling daddy’s dreams. Look, I married a woman I never had feelings for. I am yet to know why it had to be Uduak mommy had to choose for me. You might call me a cheating pastor, or whatever…but my life would have been more fulfilling if I had married Nduke, the girl you just met. It would have been better if I never went to missionary school. I am used to being a pastor. I enjoy God’s kingdom, I enjoy preaching. But my marriage to the wrong woman ruined it all. Whenever I am in the hands of Nduke, i become someone else. I feel good. I have never felt that way with my wife.” He said fiercely under his breath.

Tears ran out of his sister’s eyes.

“Usoro disobeyed daddy. I heard he got married to someone else three months ago in Eket.”

“He didn’t disobey Daddy, he followed his heart. He would have married you if his heart was for you. I wish I can change the hands of time. I would have married Nduke a long time ago. I mean in the church. By Now, we won’t be hiding to do all of these…”

“You really love her…” Sifon said calmly.
He nodded.

“I came to tell you that I have been in love with someone else a long time ago. Just after your wedding. When Usoro got married to someone else, I was happy. Really happy. Now he has given us the opportunity to settle down. I will be visiting him next month.”

“Who is this guy?”

“Laurel.”

“Laurel Dixon my best friend?” He asked, looking surprised.
She nodded.
“How come you’re just telling me this?”

“Because he told me not to tell you yet until the right time. He told me not to make the same mistake you’ve made. And when I realized I was almost in the same shoes with you, I had to correct it immediately, and follow my heart. I will be in Jamaica by next week to see him. We will get married in court, before we come to see Daddy. in case of anything, give blessing.”

Sifon and Inibehe became emotional as they hugged themselves.

“I wish I was this bold enough.” He said to himself.


THE CHURCH SCANDAL
(EPISODE 23)

Though she didn’t sleep, Uduak remained in bed, lying on her back, staring at the ceiling. The room was bright and warm and filled with the scent of vanilla air freshener. She lay naked beside Inibehe, he’d come back home quite early on that day, she was surprised. He lay on his stomach, his cheek on his arm, the pillow half across his face. The sheet loosely covering him. She could see the definition of his muscles. He slept like a baby, unmoving and unaware of her staring.

For a long time she wondered and thought about what she was doing in Inibehe’s house. Tomorrow she will go to her mother and then prophetess Nene. She would do whatever she will be asked to do. Finally, easing off the bed, she recovered her night trail and wrapper from the floor where she had carelessly discarded hours ago. She’d thought Inibehe was going to touch her, but he didn’t, after he had a shower he jumped on the bed and slept off as usual.

Sinking to her knees, she didn’t know what her purpose on earth was anymore. She began to sob softly.

She’d thought of the man who’d loved. He was older, a widower. Her father would have fainted immediately, if he’d heard that his daughter was sleeping with an older man. But she felt loved in his arms. It’s was almost two years, and her husband had not touched her. she didn’t know what to do or say anymore she only stared at him until she slept off too.


Uduak drove as fast as she could to her mother’s office; From there, they drove to prophetess Nene’s house.

“Mommy, I am not a happy woman.” She said sadly. “I have prayed, fasted, but Inibehe gets worse by the day. He keeps late nights, talks to me when necessary, and worse of all? doesn’t touch me. I have been married for almost two years mom, and yet this man has touched me just once.”

“I knew he never loved you. Even when I told your father, he still said he wanted you to be married to that boy.”

“This is my worse mistake mommy.” As they drove along a street that leads to prophetess Nene’s house, she began to cry uncontrollably. “Can’t God just make me happy? I mean just for once.”

“Nene will sort it out.” Her mother consoled.

When they got to prophetess Nene’s compound, they noticed that it was dry and empty. After they’d knocked on her door for moments, a young man came out from another apartment.

“Who una dey fine?” He asked rudely.

“Good morning, I am looking for the prophetess.” Uduak said.

“That fake prophetess? She dey cell.”

“What?” Uduak’s mother asked surprisingly.

“Yes, one man come arrest am since last week. She do fake prophecy for the man chop the man money.”

Uduak became weak instantly. She didn’t know what to do. She got into her car, while her mother ran after her. She drove off with a bittered heart. After she dropped her mom, she drove to ministers meeting at the church.
She entered the church like a wrathful, all knowing Jehovah. She snob everyone and walked straight to her seat.

Nduke led in the opening remark of the meeting. As she was talking, her eyes became dim, she became weak and fell unconsciously on the floor. Inibehe’s heart fell as he stood immediately and ran toward her, he carried her like a baby and ran to the car. Uduak was heart broken. The other ministers ran after them.

“Open the car door!” Inibehe yelled at one of the pastors. He almost cried. But he controlled the tears in his eyes as he drove to the premier hospital in Town.
She opened her eyes weakly as he opened the car door and tried to carry her. The smoky flare of his eyes was all the encouragement she needed to stay strong.

“Call the doctors!” He yelled at the nurses who came with a stretcher to take Nduke.

Uduak stood at the church like a statue, she wondered why her husband would take Nduke’s fall on the podium that serious like his life depended on it. She suspected it might be more than just being a good pastor, but she wasn’t sure if her instinct was right.

———————-

Moments after Nduke was admitted, Inibehe was left alone in the room with her. He held her hands and muttered few words of prayers. “You’re healed in Jesus name!” He’d never prayed like that before.

“Excuse me sir, we will have to talk to her husband.” The female voice came in, she was the doctor. Inibehe stood up and said boldly “I’m her husband.”

“She is fine. It’s just stress that made her faint. She will be discharged today. But we discovered something sir.” The doctor said smiling.

“What’s that?” Inibehe asked with a shaky tone.

“She is pregnant. Congratulations sir.”

Inibehe sank down on the nearest chair. The emotions churning inside him were nearly as overwhelming as they’d been when he first kissed her.


THE CHURCH SCANDAL
(EPISODE 24)

Tears blurred her vision when Inibehe told her that they were expecting a baby. She’d thought of the people she was going to hurt; the people who believed in her, the church members; her foster mother and the way people will look at her.
Inibehe was Uduak’s husband, and everyone knew that. Nobody was going to understand why she had to get pregnant for someone’s husband.
Being a pastor was going to give people the guts to say more.

Inibehe didn’t care about what people might think. All he knew was that he was having a baby with the love of his life. He’d bought her roses and love cards from the gift store.
He drove her home that same day in her car, and after he’d bath her and made her dinner, he carried her in his arms and placed her on the sofa, putting the remote control in her hands, he kissed her on the forehead.

“I will be back in a jiffy. Let me shower and get some stuffs at home.” He drove home thinking about his unborn child. And the amazing life that he was going to have with the love of his life. He was going to prepare for the coming of his child. He knew that stormy days were close, and he had to prepare for it.

As soon as he got home, he threw his phone on the bed and rushed into the bathroom.

Uduak walked into the bedroom, a message entered Inibehe’s phone and she rushed at it. “Don’t forget to buy suya love.”
Uduak’s heart was on fire when she saw the name ‘My love’ in her husband’s phone as the messenger. She wondered who it was. She took the number and dialed it in her phone. But it wasn’t available at the moment.
When she heard that the shower had stop running, she knew that he had finished having his bath. She placed the phone back where she saw it and sneaked back to the seat.
Inibehe came out and was surprise to see her.

“Hey Udy…”

“How did it go? I mean pastor Nduke’s health?” She asked, pretending to be nice.

“She is fine now. I’d expected you and the other pastors at the hospital.”

“I ordered them not to come.” She said arrogantly.

“Why?”

“Because you took it upon your head to carry her in your hands like she is your wife.”

“urg, see, Uduak, I am not ready for that discussion right now.” He said.
He took his clothes to the bathroom, wore them and appeared in the bedroom. He inserted his laptop In a bag, carried his ATM cards…

“Why are you carrying those? won’t you come back home tonight?” Uduak asked curiously.

“No. I won’t. I will be sleeping over at a friend’s place.

“Never!”

“Watch me.” Inibehe sprayed his perfume on his body, carried his phone and walked out on her, slamming the door behind him.

Uduak wore a shirt on a jean and ran downstairs.

She could not believe herself when she saw that her husband was driving Nduke’s car. She began to feel heat rushing in her body.
When Inibehe drove off, she went to the boys quarters and screamed Faro’s name aloud.
“Faro!”

“Madam oh…” He replied with a shaky loud tone.

“Drive me to pastor Nduke’s house right now. ” She ordered.

Faro hurriedly got the car keys and drove straight to Nduke’s house. Uduak’s heart was beating.
Faro had wondered what was happening. Why madam had woke him up from sleep to suddenly visit pastor Nduke.
When Faro arrived Nduke’s house, he stopped the car.

“Madam na here. Na pastors quarters be this.”

Uduak alighted from the car, she could hear the sound of her beating heart. She dialled Nduke’s number in her phone again, and when she saw that it was ringing, she placed it on her ear.

“Hello, pastor Nduke on the line, who is this?” Nduke said calmly.

Uduak stood by the car and wept softly when she discovered it was Nduke her husband saved in his phone as ‘my love.’ She hung up the call and cried.

All the things she’d suspected, she had come to find out it were true. Nduke and her husband smelled of the same perfume. She wiped her eyes and boldly walked into the compound.

“You didn’t buy the suya?” Nduke asked Inibehe as she searched through his bag.

“You didn’t ask me to get you suya.”

“I did. check your phone. I sent a message to you.”

There was a loud knock on the door, Nduke stood up and walked slowly toward the door, she clicked it open and when she saw Uduak standing right there with a teary face, uncomfortable with the depth of her feeling she knew that she’d found out about them.

“Who’s there honey?” Inibehe asked from the kitchen. But Nduke was still mute.

Uduak’s eyes met with the necklace on Nduke’s neck, it was the exact necklace she’d always seen on Inibehe’s neck. She pulled it out of her neck and opened the pendant immediately, and she could feel turmoil and frustration rolling through her when she saw the picture of her husband in that pendant.


THE CHURCH SCANDAL
(EPISODE 25)

Nduke tried to stop her fall when Uduak landed her a hard slap on the cheek. Dragging her out of the house, and pulling her out from the door. Chills snaked up Nduke’s spine.

When Inibehe rushed out to see what was happening, he could not believe his eyes. He pushed Uduak off Nduke and she fell on the sandy ground.

“Get your hands off me you cheating bastard!” Uduak cried out. “Do I really deserve all of these? Isn’t it too much? So she was the one, she was the girl you’d dated back in London?”

“Uduak stop this! You’re trying to cause a scene here and it’s not worth it.”

“Go to hell!” She yelled and flew at Nduke, and slapped her hard again.

Nduke didn’t fight back, she didn’t lift a hand. She knew how bittered Uduak felt.

“Husband snatcher, pretender, prostitute! Sleeping with my husband! God will punish you and punish you well!” Inibehe dragged her off Nduke and tried to protect Nduke from Uduak. He’d never seen Uduak that angry before. Nduke stayed calm and began to sob softly.

“Crocodile tears, mammy water, look at you ashawo! ashawo fifty kobo! akpadino awaga iso ibaaaa! I will show you pepper in this town if you don’t leave my marriage in peace. Fake pastor o!” She clapped her hands and threw at her, she did this continuously.

“Uduak, leave!” Inibehe yelled. “Leave, don’t hurt her anymore, just leave. I don’t wanna lay my hands on you, just leave!” He added angrily. Inibehe had always known that Uduak was a mad dog since from childhood, but he had never seen her display in this kind of scenario before.

“No I will not leave this compound without you. I will not! If that ashawo behind you.” pointing a finger at Nduke. “has bewitched you, I will bring it out of your body today!” She flew at him and held his shirt, but Inibehe held her hands tight. “Uduak, if my hands should touch you, you might die!”

“Kill me today. Like mother like son!” Uduak yelled angrily.

Inibehe’s eyes widened and he seemed ludicrously shocked at her blatant words.

“Why do you have to mention my mother in this?”

“Because you have your mom’s slutty blood running in your veins!” Inibehe rushed at her, but Nduke held him tight. “Please, never lay your hands on woman out of anger. You’re a gentle man, don’t pass the boundary.” Nduke said softly, there were sands all over her body.

Uduak laughed aloud crazily.

“Just look at. Deceive yourselves. I have regretted falling in love with you cheat. I wish I can come out of it that easily. But your whore of a mother promised that you were going to be my loving husband. She said it! She convinced your father, and they both agreed. But if I had known that you were going to be this useless! I would have disgraced that whore of a woman called Valerie, she will rot in hell!” She said, laughing out loud.

“What are you talking about? What did my mother do to you that you render insults on her even in death?”

“Your mother took my father away from my mother. I caught them six Years ago, sleeping with each other on my mother’s matrimonial bed when she’d left for pilgrimage in Jerusalem. They’d done it countless times, and I always caught them. of course I wanted to tell the church, and expose them. But they’d begged. They knelt down and said I should ask for what I wanted, and I said ten million naira and you. She offered them. But you turned to be useless to me. She never wanted anyone to hear of this, and I kept the secret for years, I couldn’t even tell my own mother!” She cried out loud.
“You still need me to keep the secret, or I will tell everyone of your mother’s frivolous life with my father, Bishop ebebe.” She clapped and then laughed. “It’s going to make the headline news, your father will hear of it, every member of Rhapsody world wide will hear of it, the church will stop flourishing, and everyone will vanish! kpom! into the thin air. And when the news gets cold, I will then narrate the story that happened this moment. How I caught my husband, the popular pastor Inibehe Okoko, son of Bishop Cosmos Okoko sleeping with his assistant the prostitute Nduke!”

“Do not call her that! Go to hell, tell whoever cares to hear about what you’ve seen, tell them all the dirty secrets.Now get out of here now!” Inibehe yelled angrily and dragged her out of the compound, locking the gate with a bolt.

His heart was heavy with all the words Uduak said to him about his mom and her Dad. Tears ran down his eyes as he walked toward Nduke and hugged her tight to himself. “They used me to cover their dirty secrets.” He muttered.

He felt saved in her hands as he wept bitterly.


THE CHURCH SCANDAL
(EPISODE 26)

The world gave Uduak a bitter taste.

On her way home, she’d branched a supermarket and bought a bottle of whiskey.
She gulped it down her throat and listened to the hot liquid drain down her throat to her belly.

“Take me to Osongama estate.” She said to Faro. He drove her to Osongama estate and when she got to Bishop Charisma’s house, she alighted and walked to the gate. She pressed the door bell. Waiting anxiously for the security man to open the gate.
When the gate finally got opened, and the security guard saw that she was the one, he was surprised.

It’s been so long since Uduak visited Bishop Charisma. As she got into the house, she walked herself down to his bedroom. She haf not forgotten the way to his bedroom.
He was shocked to see her. He jumped off from the bed, and held Uduak by the hand.

“I hope all is well?” He asked surprisingly. But Uduak didn’t respond, she kissed him deep on the lips and suddenly broke into tears.
Bishop Charisma was the youngest Bishop in the state. He was Forty five, he was handsome, wealthy but had no child who will take over his name. Women in his church fought for him and struggled to be in his life when he lost his wife in a fatal accident. But he’d loved just one person after his wife died, and that was Uduak.

Uduak attempted kissing him again, and he responded hesitantly.

“This isn’t right and you know it.” Charisma said and pushed her slowly away. “Is Everything okay with you? You smell ethanol.”

Uduak began to cry aloud. She was hurt and heartbroken. She whirled, while she cried.

“I should have married you and damned what my father would have thought” She said bitterly. He urged her forward. “Tell me what the problem is?”

“I can’t say Charis. I’m ashamed.”

“Did pastor do anything to hurt you?”
She nodded.
“It must be character flaw.”

“Worse than that.” She said sobbing softly.
She stopped moving and then stripped herself naked.
“The last time I had a passionate love making was the night to my wedding, when you licked my skin and touched the most sensitive part of my body. You know my body, you know me more than anyone else. I have been married for two years, but my husband has touched me just once. Touch me Charis. Make love to me, I want to feel your body once more.”

Charisma turned his head. “I can’t do this. You’re now someone’s wife.”

“He cheated on me too.”

“Go back and amend your home Uduak. You’re a pastor’s wife and not just an ordinary christian. We can’t do this anymore. You lured me into making love to you on your wedding night, even after he’d paid your bride price.”

“He didn’t pay a dime on my head. His father did.”

“I don’t care who did. Go and settle scores with Inibehe Okoko. Dress up and go! Before the gossip factory begins duties.” He said and walked out on her. For a moment, she felt rejected by the world.
She didn’t know where her pride was anymore. She walked to the car staggering. Faro drove her home and when she got into her room, she didn’t step out until after few days.


Uduak stopped going to Church for Five months. She’d told only Bishop Charisma of her husband’s misconduct. And Bishop Charisma held it at heart.

Inibehe only visited his house once in a while to carry his clothes and some books. He spent most of his nights with Nduke whose stomach had started protruding.
The members of the church had started asking questions of Uduak’s whereabouts and why an Unmarried pastor Nduke was pregnant.
Rumours of Pastor Nduke being pregnant got to Uduak one day, and she decided to resume church service the next Sunday.

She decided to step into Church on a Sunday morning dressed in a Swiss blouse and skirt suit.
Everyone was surprise to see her. She settled down on her chair, right beside Inibehe as she placed a kiss on his cheeks.
“I have come to take what is mine.” She said boldly. He gave a light smile and shook his head.
The church gave a loud round of applause when Nduke walked to the podium to lead in praise and worship. Uduak watched her sternly. Fire rushed in her body as she saw Nduke’s protruded tummy.

The next day which was Monday, she was going to report her to the church officials, tell them of her fornicating life, but will not expose her husband for the sake of the church.
She suddenly stood up and walked to the podium too, snatched the microphone from her and pointed it at her own mouth.

“from today henceforth, Pastor Nduke ceases to be a pastor of Rhapsody! A female pastor of rhapsody who isn’t married should not be pregnant. You committed fornication, what will you teach our youths?” She asked. The whole church yelled and clapped their hands. Tears ran out of Nduke’s eyes. She walked as fast as she could out of the podium, and out of the church.
Inibehe didn’t run after her, but he was heart broken and pained.

The next day, Nduke will drive to Eket, and tell her foster mother of the shame she’d caused herself, the family and the church.


THE CHURCH SCANDAL
(EPISODE 27)

She faced him, feeling her heartbeat.

“A lot of people in church never knew you were pregnant. The few that knew had to find out from Uduak why you were still preaching. Tomorrow the officials will be here, to interrogate you. If anything happens, have this.” He pulls a cheque from his laptop bag and handed to her. She collected and opened it, reading it she got amazed.

“Jesus…” She whispered. “How did you get this kind of money?”

“It’s part of the share of money I had from my mother’s savings while she was still alive. I want you to leave town.”

“I can’t leave without seeing my foster mother.”

“She might have heard this by now.”

“I doubt.”

He giggled. “News flies in the wind to people’s ears in this state. How did Uduak find out that you were pregnant? You have to leave. Leave for Lagos, get a ticket to London. I will meet you up and we settle. You will go meet Eddie, he will take you to the house I bought in Croydon.”

“You bought a house in Croydon?” She asked shockingly.

“Yeah. I sold my mom’s house at Rumford. It was part of what I owned from her. You have to move, after the church official arrives tomorrow. I definitely know what Uduak is going to say to them. Awful things that you can’t imagine.” His heart fluttered when he saw tears in her eyes.
Inibehe tensed.
“My father doesn’t know anything about this yet. I am very sure he hasn’t heard. News hardly gets to him.”
He kissed her on the forehead and hugged her tight.

“You’re giving me a whole lot of money to elope without you? Are you sending me away?”

“For your safety honey. I will be with you in one month time. I promise. I can’t live without you.” He kissed her again.

“My mom…”

“Shhhhhh…If she doesn’t want you I do. I am your mom, your father and soon to be a legally married husband. I own you everything. You have gone through a lot for me. I have been under your spell.”

She laughed. For the first time since all of these began. She laughed heartily at her lover’s sincere hearty words. She trembled, even as she melted in his arms. She still felt that same emotions, feelings and tension she’d felt many years ago when she first fell in love with him. Hungrily, his lips closed over hers.


The next morning, after the church authorities stormed into Nduke’s apartment, they gave her a letter to sign. She signed it without reading it, without hesitation. She knew what it was.

“The bishop and the church is angry for what you have done. And therefore, you are suspended for ten years.”

“I know. You don’t need to suspend me. Expel me from church! I don’t wanna be here anymore, it wasn’t my will.” She said and stood to walk away.

“You are to leave this place in the next forty eight hours. you’re not to be seen close to the church premises.” One of the church officials said.

They expected an argument, but she only nodded and walked away.

As they stepped out of the house and slammed the door, a woman’s voice called out her name stridently.

“Nduke!”

Her heart trembled when she knew it was her foster mother’s voice. She’d wondered how her mother knew the pastor’s quarters.

She inhaled sharply, opened the door.
“Mom!” She called out with a forceful cheerful grin. She pushed her off.

“The news of the suspension got to me yesterday. Ndukeobong, you have caused me shame.” She said, looking at her protruding stomach.
Lady Irene was dressed in a buba blouse and a loosed wrapper tied around her waist. Her head tie, not properly tied.

“Look at you, your father and I raised you well, despite the fact you were not our biological child. I have now seen that blood is blood. If you were my blood, you would not have been this loosed and wayward…”

“Mom, I thank you for all what you’ve done for me. I went to Rhapsody on scholarship, you forced me to apply for that scholarship. You forced me to do everything I never wanted to. You adopted me when I was sixteen, you adopted me because you had no child. I thank you. And I am sorry I couldn’t pay back by making you proud. But whatever you think about me right now, it should be positive. I am still the good girl you knew. I fell in love. Love did this to me.” Her mother laughed softly and hugged her.

“I knew that there was more to this. Tell me.” She said softly.
Nduke held her foster mother’s hands and walked into the room where she’d arranged her box and piled her clothes.
She told her mother everything that led to her circumstances, but she didn’t tell her that her late foster father had raped her several times in the past.
Her mother studied her expression while she talked. She seemed to age before Nduke’s eyes. Her shoulders sagged, pain filled her eyes when she heard Nduke said she was relocating to London.


THE CHURCH SCANDAL
(EPISODE 28)

Uduak came to an abrupt halt when Inibehe called her name.
He was sitting on an high stool in his large dark sitting room.

“I want us to talk.” He said calmly, but boldly.

Uduak walked slowly to where he stood.

“What?” She asked rudely.

“Please sit…”

She settled on a couch, facing him.

“I am so sorry…” He choked.
Uduak lifted her face and stared at him in amazement.
“I wouldn’t have come into your life at first. I would have followed my heart and not just try pleasing my late mother who is never gonna come back to life because I’d married you. It pains me so much that I was used to cover up her dirty secrets. It pains me deep that I’d wasted two years of my life and yours, being married to a woman I never loved.” He paused for a moment. “Nduke is pregnant for me.”

“I know.” She retorted abruptly.

“She is my first love.”

“I know.”

“And, I want a divorce, because I am not happy. You’re not happy.”

“I don’t know about that. Divorce is a sin. The bible says it. A divorce person can’t marry someone else until they die. God hates divorce.”

“We were never married. vows can be broken.”

“Not matrimonial vows. They can never be broken. The bible…”

“Everything in the bible isn’t true. Our marriage was never ever recorded in heaven. You and I can’t keep pretending to be married. I have tried my best, and I am seeking for a divorce.” He said and took piles of paper from his laptop and handed to her.
“You have to sign this urgently.”

Uduak chuckled.

“do you believe that I can sign that shit? I’m so sorry I won’t divorce you, not for that whore Nduke!”

“Do not get me angry. I don’t like her to be insulted by anybody, not by you Uduak.”

“Where did you get this braveness from? You’ve suddenly turned bold and Brave since that girl got posted to our church. Did she use charms on you?”

“Uduak, please sign this paper and let’s free ourselves.”

Uduak’s heart got filled with anguish as she stood up and walked away.

“Uduak, you have to sign this!”

Inibehe yelled. But she took her car Keys and drove off to Bishop Charisma’s house. As soon as she got to his house, she walked straight to his room and when she heard the shower running from the bathroom, she knew he was having his bathe.
She stripped herself naked and walked into the bathroom. When he felt the presence of someone in the bathroom with him, he could sense that she was the one. She hugged him backwardly while the rushing water from the shower fell on them.

“I made a mistake. I should have loved you more enough to damn what my own father would have thought. But I felt I owned a younger person that privilege.” She said softly.

He’d missed her so much. And on the night he’d made love to her, thinking it was for the last time, he’d cried like a baby. Filling her body with his warm tears. He was backing her, while her breast pointed at his back.
The only thing she could think of was how badly she’d like to slide her hands across his chest and pull him closer.

“I really missed you.” Charisma said.

“Me too.” She whispered.

“I heard a female pastor was suspended for formication in your church.”

“She is pregnant for my husband. He seeks divorce.”

Charisma turns immediately to face her.

“Inibehe was sleeping with his assistant pastor?”

She nodded softly. He kissed her on the lips and withdrew his lips immediately.

“He doesn’t deserve you. Oh no. I wonder how Bishop Cosmos is going to feel when he hears this.” He said.

“He doesn’t know yet. Just the two of us knows.”

“If he seeks divorce, grant him. Take over the church and be mine.” He said. Kissing her again. “I will like to have your hair wild, tumbling around your shoulders. I’d like it even better, spread on my chest.” He said sensually.

Uduak removed the hair ribbon that tied her hair to the back and allowed the curls to fall bountifully on her shoulders.

Uduak thought it wasn’t the right time to eroticize the moment. She’d thought of how she was going to divorce Inibehe. But She suddenly had a picture of Bishop Charisma making love to her in her head. She pictured him naked beneath her, their bodies pressed together, was a little more than she felt prepared to handle.
He kept looking at her and rubbing his body to hers. Her stomach was turning somersaults.


THE CHURCH SCANDAL
(EPISODE 29)

‘I’m sorry, I was just not myself last night.” Uduak hurried on. ‘I should not have behaved as I did.”

Charisma interrupted, his voice soft with knowledge. “The deed has been done already. We made love last night and I haven’t regretted it. He walked close to her and grabbed her backwardly, kissing her hair, down her neck. She couldn’t resist him. It was so long Uduak got laid, and right at that moment, she needed Charisma just as he needed her.

She looked away when he tried to unzip her dress.

“We are in your sitting room, the security man might walk in here and see you touching me this way. And you know that he knows who I am.” She said grimly.

“You’re the ex wife of Inibehe Okoko. Please get it now in your head that you were never married to him.”

She turned to face him. Her eyes fluttered to him. A sense of hopelessness ripping through her heart. She was now reminded again of Inibehe who had asked for a divorce the previous night. Her heart became strong like a stone. If Inibehe could have the effrontery to cheat on her, then she too had.

She paused, obviously composing her thoughts and not liking any of them. She drew in a quiet breath. His eyes came back to her. His mouth curled a little as he spoke, whether in irony or self mockery, Uduak didn’t understand what he really meant.

“You have found yourself a new husband. Me.”
The quiet statement of fact was like a bullet through Uduak’s brain, shattering all the foundation of her reasonings.
Not for one moment did she doubt what he said, but she was afraid it was going to break her parent’s heart. But she needed to follow her heart too.
She turned and kissed him deeply. He started removing her clothes and disposing them on the floor.

“Let’s go to the room.” She muttered.

“We’ve been making love in the sitting room ever since before you got married, nobody walks into my house like that.” He said while he kissed her even deeper.

He’d started pulling out his own clothes when the door suddenly clicked open. Their eyes widened.

“Jesus Christ!” Bishop Cosmos, Uduak’s father inlaw exclaimed when he saw his daughter inlaw and his colleague making out in a broad day light. He stared at them in appalled horror as the implication of such dreadful situation sank in. To have thought his late wife was right about choosing a virgin and a perfect wife for their son, he was heart broken. But he summoned on courage and began to talk, while Charisma pulled back his trousers through his legs.
He was still mute, he was lost of words.

He’d gone to tell Bishop Charisma of the suspension of a female pastor in Rhapsody. And he’d also gone to tell him that he wanted to find out if she was ready to be married to the man who got her pregnant. But he didn’t have to anymore.

“I have called your lines Charisma, but you’ve not picked my calls. I am disappointed.” He said weakly.
“A Bishop of my church fornicating with my son’s wife! Abomination!” He yelled.

“Your son started it first. Your late wife started it first. They cheated first! The girl who was suspended recently for fornicating has your grandchild in her womb. Your son Inibehe Okoko was committing adultery with her.” Uduak said bitterly.

“Bloody lie! Non of my sons can ever do that. I and their mother raised them well.”

Uduak gave a bitter little laugh.

“Your family tries to use the church of God in covering up their messes. Your wife was a whore! She slept with my father. You raised a male whore for a son. he took after his own mother.”

“May the lord forgive you.” The bishop said. He shrugged, but it was not a careless shrug, more an attempt to shift a bitterly heavy burden that was about to be placed on him.
He walked out boldly.
Choosing a wife for his son was his worse regret. He was an ordained bishop who loved the lord. And he thought he was doing the right thing for his children. He heaved a sigh but he still looked tensed. The things Uduak said to him hunted his thoughts. He drove to his office and wept bitterly for a long time.


The unforgettable Sunday came, when Inibehe wore a suit and a bowtie after a very long time.
He stood at the mirror for a long time, staring at his image. He stared at his bible for long moments and then whispered, “I am still your servant oh lord, I must not bear the name pastor, or own a church. but I will still worship you and love you. Stay with me in this moment.”

There was a world of pain in those words.


THE CHURCH SCANDAL
(EPISODE 30)

It was a Sunday to remember.

The morning sun offered some warmth. But as soon as he got into his car, he felt the chill. He suddenly remembered that he had to pick the divorce papers along with him to the church. He rushed back to the sitting room and heat flooded his body blazed from his cheeks when he saw Uduak’s signature on it. She’d agreed to the divorce and Inibehe’s smile was more appealing than apologetic.

He took a deep breath and drove to the church.

He had invited almost all the bishops and senior pastors of different Rhapsody Churches in Uyo to a program in his church. But it wasn’t really a program as the invitation stated.

Inibehe walked into his office and looked at his wedding picture for long moments, then he glared at his picture.

When he overheard the choir’s ministration from his office, he knew that the service had began. He took his bible and walked into the crowded church. The front lines were filled with bishops and pastors.

His eyes caught with his father’s and Bishop Cosmos probably felt his son was going to make him proud. And after the church program, he was going to tell him of what he saw at bishop Charisma’s house.

The church gave a loud round of applause when Inibehe walked into the podium to deliver his message.
And as he stood there, he looked at the choristers, the bishops, the pastors and the congregation. His eyes searched for Uduak in the crowd, but he couldn’t find her. He looked at his father for several long moments, a calculating gleam In his compelling eyes.
He took a deep breath and then said. ” Today, I gather you all here to officially say that despite the fact that I have Jesus Christ as my lord and saviour, and that I’ve got to serve him all the rest of my life. From today henceforth, I Inibehe Cosmos Okoko, ceased to be referred to as Pastor Inibehe…” There was murmuring as his father stood up immediately in the crowd. He couldn’t believe his ears. He stared at Inibehe, absolutely dumbfounded.

Inibehe continued in a quiet, relentless, voice.
“I am now as ordinary as everyone of you out there, sitting in the congregation, yet still loving the lord. I no more serve as a pastor of Rhapsody ministries. Uduak Ebebe and I, Inibehe Okoko are officially divorce…”

There was another loud murmur again, as the church people began to scream “No! No! No!”

But Inibehe tightened his face, and a cool reserve slid into his eyes.

“Uduak Ebebe has nothing to do with me from today henceforth. Thank you and God bless you all for honoring my withdrawal speech and resignation as a pastor. But I am still servant of God.”

Some bishops shook their heads as they watched him walk out of the church with his bible in his hand.

Bishop Cosmos stood as if frozen to his spot. He thought he was aware of the divorce issue. But he wasn’t sure of why his son had to quit serving in the ministry. He had everything given to him at a platter of gold. There was more to this that he didn’t know. The pastors and the bishops held his both hands and walked out of the church, in the midst of a confused loud crowd of congregation who were asking questions and seeking answers.
Everyone was stunned. Too shock.

Inibehe went back to his office and wept bitterly. He’d imagined his father’s face when he cried. How he stared at him in shock. He was innocent in all of these, and he never knew that he was always manipulated by his mother to do things he’d never thought of.

He drove home that day thinking of the words he had said before the congregation.
And when he drove into his compound and saw his father’s car parked at his garage, he was ready for every painful word and query he was going to say out of his mouth. But despite all of his bittered words, he will pack his luggage and move to London, where he will start a family and be with the love of his life forever.

His father stared at him aghast when he stepped into the sitting room. He suddenly walked toward him and hugged him tight to himself. The smell of his Creek perfume bursted his nose. He could hardly believe that his father who would have slapped his face or threatened to cease his wealth, or render curses on him was hugging him tightly.

“Your mother and I did a terrible thing to you. We’d thought we were right. There are things I just found out. It breaks me as a man.” He echoed faintly. His words came out sharp and staccato, not at all like the his usual husky tones and his dark brows lifted interrogatively.

“You are a brave man Inibehe Okoko.”

Inibehe stared at him for several seconds, and then he knelt before him and asked impatiently. “Bless me father.”

Bishop Cosmos Laid hands on his head, and when he began to pray, there was wonder in his voice.


The Church Scandal
(Episode 31)
Uduak’s mother stared at her daughter like she was reading something on her face. A calm settled over her. She didn’t believe her ears.
“You knew this a long time ago, and you covered it up for your selfish interest.”
“What would I have gained for telling you that Dad was having an affair with the late Valerie?”
“And what have you gained for telling me now?” She uttered a word she didn’t generally use.
“You’re such a shame. And you and your father have gotten what you deserve. Shame to you.” Her mother added.
Uduak forced herself to exhale slowly. There was more than a chance to start all over again.
Her Mother felt oddly hollow inside. Anger built slowly, tempered by an odd sense of deflation.
“Don’t say a word to anyone about this.”
“The bishop already saw Charisma and I together. He knows. He thinks that Inibehe is right by divorcing me.” Uduak said.
“You should leave town for now. Go to Lagos and stay with my sister. She will be happy to accommodate you.”
Her mother said. Uduak nodded calmly. But she was not leaving for Lagos without telling Bishop Charisma. She held her mother’s hands and left it immediately, walking away to her room to pack her bags.
Moments later, Uduak’s father entered the sitting room.
“How are you doing Ima?” He asked.
She glowered at him. Her courage faltered. She stood up and walked toward him, giving him a hard slap on his cheek.
“You cheat! Servant of God my foot! you have caused this shame to my daughter and I.”
He held his cheeks with one hand, heat burning down one side of his cheeks. “What have I done to deserve this?” He asked painfully. But she walked away with painful anger in her eyes.
She will tell him of his sins, and he will weep and ask for forgiveness.
“It’s the devil.” He cried out to his wife.


Inibehe arrived london with deep joy in his heart. When he sat behind the car that took him from Luton Airport. He’d inhaled a deep breath when he could view his house from inside the car.
When he alighted from the car and saw Serena from afar, he screamed her name.
“Serena!”
Serena turned, and when she saw that he was the one she couldn’t help but cry the more. Inibehe was surprise to see tears in her eyes. He stopped the taxi and ran toward her.
“What is the matter? Where is your school mom Nduke?” He asked. But she kept crying the more.
“Sir I need to get away from here.” The Cab man said. He rushed to the car, took his luggage and counted few notes of pounds to the driver. He zoomed off, leaving Inibehe and Serena together on that lonely street.
His heart was heavy with the weight of fear and worry. He walked as fast as he could toward the house, rolling his two huge boxes after him. His heart beating so fast and heavy like it was about to explode.
Serena cried even louder. Her stern expression and teary face obviously told him something was wrong. But he was not sure what it was. He hoped nothing had happened to Nduke. When he got to the house, he threw his boxes on the floor and knocked on the door for several times. Pressing the doorbell switch and waiting impatiently for Nduke to open the door.
He could still see Serena walking slowly toward the house and crying at the same time.
Mutely, he stared at her for a long time. His eyes wide with so many thoughts and imaginations.
His legs became weak. He could not move anymore.
“Jesus, for the few years I have served you, do not let anything happen to the woman I love.” His voice was shaken.
So many emotions tumbled inside him that he was almost going crazy.
Anger and resentment drained away. All he had in his mind were questions, unanswered questions.
And when Serena got close to the house, her pain lashed him where he stood.
There was a malignant sensation of evil in those tears that dropped from Serena’s eyes.
The last of his anger trickled away when he saw how badly she staggered as she walked. Panic suffused his face.
Inibehe stood there, trying to marshal his chaotic thoughts.
Torn between anger, hurt and sorrow, he walked as fast as he could toward her and dragged her hands. “Where is Nduke?” He yelled with anger in his eyes.
“She is dead!” Serena said tearily. Crying even louder. She wiped furiously at her eyes as she kept crying.
Inibehe’s head exploded. His heart shattered into pieces. He was shocked. He stared at Serena till her words sputtered into silence. She was saying something. But he didn’t hear her. The fierce light of love faded more slowly from his eyes, but the power of love that he’d felt for her looked oddly defeated.
He fell unconsciously to the floor. But he only saw Nduke’s face when he closed his eye and passed out in the cold London weather.


The Church Scandal
(Episode 32)
The loud scream from Serena woke Inibehe. He rose and stood to his feet, immediately walking around confusedly.
“Which hospital is she?” Inibehe asked in a shaky tone.
“Saint Ann’s hospital on the ocean road.” She said, still crying.
He gripped her hand tight and ran with her toward the main road.
And while he was running breathlessly, he muttered. “I spoke with her yesterday, before I boarded, I did. She told me baby was kicking fine.”
When they finally took a cab that got to Saint Ann’s hospital, he threw money at the cab guy and ran out of the car, followed by Serena.
“I want to see my wife. Her name is Nduke, she is black. She has dreadlocks.”
“Calm down sir. A nurse will take you to her room.” A white lady with a black squiggly brow said oddly.
“What happened to her?” Inibehe asked.
“She had a little abdominal pains. She will be fine.”
There was silence in the air for moments as Inibehe turned to face Serena.
“She will be fine? I thought…” Inibehe whispered.
“But I came here few hours ago and you said she is dead.” Serena said.
The nurse startled in exclamation.
“No. I Thought you asked for Nuke? Nuke is the Whitelady who died this morning from food poisoning.” The nurse said with a British accent.
Inibehe laughed tearily. He could not believe his ears.
Serena pronounced Nduke’s name as ‘Nuke’ and Inibehe as ‘Ni-be’. He had corrected her countless times, but she kept calling them that way until they got used to it.
“You mean she is alive?”
“Of course.” The nurse replied softly. “She is in room 508.” She added.
Serena held Inibehe’s hand and led him to the room Nduke laid.
She was asleep when they walked into the room. She was lying down with her stomach facing the ceiling. When Inibehe saw her protruded stomach he walked toward the bed and kissed her forehead, then her stomach. She opened her eyes and her heart lifted when she saw Inibehe. Nerves played havoc with her stomach when she tried to sit up.
“Why are your eyes wet, is everything fine?” She asked, looking at Serena.
“The nurse said something, I thought she meant you.”
“What did she say?”
“That Nuke is dead.”
“May the lord forbid!” Nduke exclaimed softly.
Inibehe began to laugh so loud. As he hugged her and kissed her lips.
Serena sat beside her and walked her fingers on Nduke’s big tummy excitedly. There was a joy in the room for as long as they all stayed together.
On that same day, Nduke was discharged. Doctor Francisca, her own doctor told her that she will be due in two months.


While awaiting fatherhood, Inibehe had started buying baby clothes and diapers in large quantities from the mall. He’d bought a bed and mickey mouse wall papers for the baby’s room.
“It’s going to be a girl. Doctor Francisca told me after the scan.” Nduke said, after she went through the things Inibehe had bought from the mall.
Sifon had call the next day to inform Inibehe of her wedding in Nigeria in five months time.
She will be getting married to her brother’s best friend Laurel Dixon.
“By that time, Nduke and I will be married too. But here in London. Your niece will be around by that time.”
“Niece? Is she pregnant?”
“Yeah.” Inibehe replied excitedly.
“Oh Ini, you’re going to have such a happy family. Can she be my little bride?” Sifon asked.
“No. She will be too little by then. Still a baby. Take Mimi, Mfon’s daughter.”
“I will let aunty Eno know about this. Daddy said he will want all his children to be at the wedding, so that he can bless us all.” She said softly. “I also heard that Uduak was caught kissing bishop Charisma, few days before you withdrew from the church.”
“Who told you that?” Inibehe asked giggling.
“Daddy.”
He chuckled softly and then asked, “did he tell you something else?”
“No.” She replied softly.
Inibehe wasn’t surprise to hear that Uduak cheated too. He was still smiling when his sister hung the call.
He was happy that Uduak had found love too.
He kept smiling, memories of the past clinging to his heart.
“Love is the greatest of it all, God was right.” He muttered to himself.
Marrying Nduke officially was his next wish. He wondered what she was going to look like in a wedding dress, Like a fairytale princess or a black African queen from Nigeria?
And his daughter, would she look like him or Nduke? And if she looks much more like him, he will name her Timaro, which means remember that love.

……….watch out for the final episode


The Church Scandal
(The End)
The Morning Timaro was born, it was also the day Uduak had wedded Bishop Charisma in a small church in Lagos.
One of the former church members of Inibehe had called to inform him of the news of Uduak’s wedding. But he was less concerned about it. His eyes was gritty from lack of sleep. Nduke had been in pains all through the previous night, and he was awake, right by her side.
He was in a room with her when she gave her last push, and the whole of Timaro’s body fell out from mother.
Inibehe widened his eyes when he saw how beautiful and hairy she looked.
“She looks like me.” He said excitedly as he watched the nurses clean her up and wrapped her in a towel, placing her on Nduke’s chest.
“She is so pretty, just like you my love.” He said delightfully to Nduke who was trying to see the beautiful face of their love child.
She inhaled a deep breath, when she saw how pretty she looked. Inibehe kissed her and carried Timaro from her chest. He cuddled her until Nduke was cleaned up; she slept off and woke up and still smiled at Inibehe still walking around with their child in his arms.


Two months had passed and Inibehe was set to wed his long time lover Nduke.
He had made plans for a perfect garden wedding. And his elder brother Pastor Mfon had promised to join them together in holy matrimony.
On the morning of the wedding, the guests, and mostly ex students of Rhapsody missionary school had gathered under a well decorated canopy that covered over a hundred people.
Nduke was dressed in an ivory wedding dress. She had a white crown on her head, and she kept her gaze fastened on Inibehe as she walked down the aisle.
The guests stood still, as she hung her hand in the air, and he reached to it, clasping his hand in hers.
Serena walked behind her as her bride maid. While Eno rocked little Timaro in her arms until she’d slept off.
“Will you Inibehe Cosmos Okoko, take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forth, to love and cherish her…”
Nduke blinked rapidly, afraid to cry, she might not be able to stop a damn burst. She forced the necessary smile on her face, gritting her teeth hard against the emotional lump rising in her throat. She fixed her gaze on Inibehe’s radiant face as he made his vows to her in a deep voice that throbbed with commitment.
Nduke spoke her vows softly. Inibehe looked at her with glowing adoration.
Then Laurel Dixon stepped forward to hand over the wedding ring. Inibehe smiled at him. Laurel smiled back too. Then he turned and shared the smile with Nduke, the most beautiful smile he had ever directed at her, and for some reason, it broke her iron control and the treacherous tears swam into her eyes.
She swallowed hard and put up her finger, and they exchanged rings. She could feel the moisture clinging to her thick lashes, but at least, she stopped the tears from dropping down her cheeks.
She took a few long, deep breaths as pastor Mfon concluded the ceremony.
“…I now pronounce you man and wife.”
He started to usher Inibehe and Nduke over to the table where they were to sign the marriage certificate. And after they’d signed, Pastor Mfon signed in place of his father, while Sifon signed in place of the mother.
There was joy in the air as loud Nigerian gospel music was heard.
Nduke and Inibehe held their hands and danced out.
It was a Nigerian wedding in London. And the reception hall was quite small, but classy.
When Laurel made a toast for Inibehe, tears rolled down his eyes when he said ” This is love. You both have taught me what love is truly.” There was a loud round of applause after he made his heart thrilling toast.
After the eating, dancing and melodies, everyone went back to their different destinations.
Bishop Okoko had demanded to carry Timaro with his bare hands.
“I want to see my grand child and my daughter inlaw.” He said over the phone. There was joy in his tone when he spoke of Nduke and Timaro.
In few months time, Sifon will be married to Laurel. And everyone will visit Nigeria again. After the wedding, the families will kneel in the midst of Bishop Okoko, and he will bless all his children and give to them their own share of his wealth.
He will name Timaro ‘Ediongseyene’ and dedicate her to the lord.
Mfon will be ordained the new bishop of Rhapsody after Bishop Okoko, and the church will continue to grow as it used to be.
Nduke and Inibehe will relocate to London, where they will be in each other’s life forever.

The End.

Sorry for the long story

Thanks for reading

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