THE RICH MARRIED WOMAN – Onyekachi Ikeh
“Who took the garri that i kept inside this container?”I cried out from the depth of my heart immediately i had noticed that the garri that I had reserved in a cooler was missing. “Oya! All of you! Assemble here!!!”. I screamed and my three younger brothers rushed into the kitchen. I tried to control my temper. “Last night, everybody drank their own garri and i reserved mine because I was stressed from the day’s work. So tell me, who would be so heartless to steal my garri? Who?”.
“The WrestleMania that i watched all through the night didn’t even allow me to know that you kept garri anywhere” Tony, my immediate younger brother explained himself and walked away.
We had fought countless times during childhood.
Tony had always failed to give me my full respect despite the two years age difference between us.
“Hey! Tony! I have not even finished talking! Hey! Big head!”. I watched as he ignored me and walked away.
“If I took any garri from anywhere, let God punish me! I swear I didn’t take any garri”. Greg explained himself.
And then, Ben panicked. “I only took very small. I swear”.
My mother rushed into the kitchen. “Gold, sha be calming down now. Is it because of garri that you are screaming like this?”.
“Mummy! We all know that I had reserved that garri as breakfast this morning so that I will have something in my stomach before i leave for pa Brian’s house”.
“What of the leftovers that will remain this morning in their house? Have you forgotten that those spoilt brats don’t eat much?”.
I licked my lips as i thought about it. “That is true though”.
“What are you doing? Get going to work!”. Mum cried out and smiled at me.
Immediately I noticed that the maids were not watching, I folded the left over pancakes inside a nylon.
I heard footsteps from behind and I turned.
It was the legitimate grandson of pa Brian.
He stifled laughter. “So despite your twenty four miserable years on earth, despite how old you are now, you still eat crumbs! Well I just took the video of you stealing leftovers. I will upload it on U- tube soon, and I bet you, you will be a star!”.
My heart was beating so fast. I felt so ashamed of myself. How would I explain to the idiot how much I had relied on them for left overs for so long because everything i earned at their place was used to fix house rent and pay the school fees of my three younger brothers? “I still have the video of how you beat up Zechariah because he refused to join your group”. I tackled back at him.
He panicked and placed his palm on my mouth. “Shhhh…so you saw us that day?”.
I bit his palm hard and watched him wince in pain. “You think I have forgotten how you made life hard for me in Mountain life?you think?”.
Yes, Raymond Roland had bullied me in secondary school. He had made secondary school a living hell for me.
Anytime Matilda framed me that I had beaten her up, he would come with his boys and force me to drink gutter water.
Raymond Roland’s grandfather was the one that had sponsored my secondary school level, up to my completed diplomas.
Even now that I was his grandfather’s care giver, it didn’t change the pain in my heart of what I had gone through when i was in secondary School.
Raymond cleared his throat. “Look here, let us make a deal. If you expose that video, I will expose yours. How about that?”.
I shrugged. “Okay then”.
He made eyes at me. “Just look at the way you stink around the house! You guys are so poor that you can’t even afford money to buy cologne”.
I smelt my underarm and i couldn’t smell anything disgusting from me. “… probably you are just smelling yourself”.
He picked a spoon from the plate rack and flung it at me but I dodged and rushed to his grandfather’s room.
It was time to bathe the old man.
As I washed him up in the bathtub, he smiled as he observed me closely. “Gold, I want you to marry my son”.
I stifled as I looked up at him. “Grand pa? What did you just say?”.
He cleared his throat. “For years, I have been looking for a well-behaved girl that will support my grand son when he inherits the company and you are the perfect person. I know that you will help that naughty boy take Bower bound company to the next level”.
“Sir, I only finished higher national diploma at a polytechnic. I don’t have more qualifications than that”.
“The qualification to be a wife is not education. It is responsibility. You are a responsible woman”.
I couldn’t marry Raymond, the man that had caused me pains all my life.
Raymond walked into the room, cleaning his hands with a towel. He had obviously washed his hands because he had touched me. “You called me, grandpa”.
“Tell your parents to fix the date. You will be getting married in three weeks time”.
“Three weeks???”. I and Raymond chorused in complete shock.
Raymond shook his head disapprovingly. “I just got back from England after completing my masters not too long ago and just immediately, i returned, marriage? are you kidding me right now? By the way, who is the woman? The daughter of a company that you want to merge with ours? Just tell me!!!”.
“No, she is my daughter”. He answered and smiled.
“Your daughter?”. Raymond was more confused.
He smirked and looked at me. “Grandpa, do you really look down on me this much?”. He scoffed and looked away. “I can’t marry this thing”.
I looked firmly at pa Brian. “Grandpa, the feeling is mutual. I can’t marry Raymond. God forbid marrying such a person”.
“Grandfather, please don’t get ideas because she is taking care of you. She is paid to do it! Infact,anyone can do it”.
“She is doing it to take care of her family. She had options, but she humbled herself”.
“Humbled herself? She is already from an humble background, so what exactly are you talking about?This girl eat crumbs, she can’t even afford a cologne! She is a bag of thrash with no standard! How can you just demean me this much?”.
“This girl you look down on so much will save you from people and build the company. People that hate you, but smile at you, she will save you from them. What an old man sees when sitting, you can never see it even if you climb an iroko tree”. Pa Brian said and looked away. “You will marry her and that is final”.
Raymond glared at me. “If you don’t talk him out, I will make marriage a living hell for you”.
I looked at pa Brian.
He looked like he had totally made up his mind.
Even if I had to stop being his care giver, I would rather risk it than marry a bully.
Immediately I got home that day, I pulled my mother to the room I shared with her. “Mummy! Guess what! Pa Brian wants me to marry Raymond! He saw all the classy girls with university degrees abroad and chose me! I can never do that! Never!”.
“… because Raymond bullied you?”.
I gasped at her. “How on earth did you know about that?”.
“I read your diary this morning”. She made me sit in front of the dressing mirror and combed my hair. “Do you remember that I was pa Brian’s caregiver before I handed over to you? Did you ask me why despite the fact that you are already a graduate, I still made you work there? It is not because of the money or because i want to appreciate him for sending you to school, it was because of a word he said when I was bathing him one Monday morning.
He said, ‘Elisa, help me look for a well behaved girl irrespective of her background, but has a fighting spirit that will help me support my grand son. If he doesn’t find this girl, his enemies will kill him’. I got home that day and thought about it…if you become his care giver, pa’ Brian will definitely want you to become his daughter in law because you are exactly what he need for his son”.
“Mum, is it because we are poor that you want me to take that decision?”.
“Gold, your father is not dead”.
I gasped and looked at her. All these while, my mum had lied to us that our father was dead?
“Your father was once the most famous designer in Nigeria. Companies needed him but he ignored all offers and dedicated his life for Bower bound. But one day, they took him away and lied to me that he had dropped a resignation letter and disappeared. Gold, the only way to find your father is if you become a wife of the rich. Don’t you want to have back your revenge on Matilda who had framed you for so long? Matilda is in love with Raymond. You will take Raymond from her and teach her that she knows her place”.
“What of the bullying that I will get from that psycho?”.
“Bring out the true person that you are, Gold. When you get married, you are no longer poor, you don’t have to be frightened that if you do this or that, people will lock you up in jail or blame you. Now, you will be treated with respect. You have to teach Raymond that you are no longer the woman that he used to know in secondary school. Take your place as the RICH MARRIED WOMAN“.
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