(Seven Months Later)
The sitting room was quiet; with only the hands of the ticking clock reminding Nora that time was not on her side. Starting to get impatient, she tapped her feet on the smoothly tiled floor. Kay was supposed to be ready already. What could be delaying him? She thought.
Having agreed to a serious relationship with Kay, the duo had been having it smooth. Her parents, after a series of argument, accepted their daughters decision to be with the man she loved. However, she refused to go back to being a house help. There were better opportunities out there for her, and she truly wanted to take advantage of them. Kay supported her decision; he wouldn't have it any other way.
With the money her father saved up, Nora set up her own restaurant. Kay and Tayo were helpful with planning and starting up the business. It wasn't easy running it but she understood that good things never come easy.
Five months into the relationship, Kay proposed marriage during an evening date in a small restaurant. She wasted no time saying yes.
"If I don't say yes now, someone else will attack you, get me arrested while planning to say the yes in my stead." She joked.
"Well, we can't let that happen." Kay laughed; pulling her into his embrace.
"No we can't." She replied, putting up no resistance at all.
Tayo and his parents were happy about the development. They still felt very guilty about what they did to her and couldn't think of what other way to make her happy. As soon as news of their engagement reached the older Adepojus, they began to plan ahead for the wedding. They refused Nora or her parents taking care of even the slightest expenses. However, Kay insisted on buying the wedding gown. They had fixed a date for gown shopping and the day had arrived. Later in the day, they also had a company dinner party to attend; in celebration of the successful opening of a new branch office for Kay's Gold Shop. Nora had come early, hoping that they would make an early start but Kay hadn't come downstair since she got into the house; not even to see her.
Trying desperately to keep busy and forget that they were running late, she looked at each art portrait on the wall and formed stories in her head for them. While she was at it, the new house maid, a young girl in her late teens; Light skinned, slim and had her hair pulled back into a pony tail; choose that moment to appear with a tray containing juice and biscuits.
"I'm sorry I took so much time ma." She apologized; dropping the tray on the side stool.
"It's ok, Amina. I understand." Nora said, smiling. She knew that running the house was no child's play. She ran it before so she knew. "What's keeping Kay?" she asked.
"I don't know ma. But I'll go and call him again."
"That would be nice. Thanks."
As the maid worked back toward the kitchen, Nora's eyes trailed her. Her mind couldn't help but drift back to the events that led to the young girl being in the house. Poor Mustapha; he only wanted the best for his sister. Unfortunately he went about it the wrong way. If only he had just asked for Amina to be helped, the Adepojus would have obliged. He didn't have to attack Kay or get her arrested. Look where it landed him. And to think Tunde got roped in the whole mess.
"Hmmmmmm..." Nora sighed. She didn't want to think about the past but she couldn't help herself.
From a distance, Mustapha had noticed the growing relationship between Kay and Nora. It started with Kay always been in the kitchen with Nora, as well as assisting her with house chores. From what he saw, no doubt, the duo had sincere feelings for each other. It was something he never expected. At first he overlooked it but as time went on, an idea came to him. He thought if Kay, with all his wealth and access to beautiful, rich girls of his choice chose to feel something for Nora, then his own sister had a chance. Amina was beautiful, full of wits and very hard working. In fact, she was more beautiful in many ways that Nora was not, or so he thought. He felt if given the chance, Kay will undoubtedly fall head over heels in love with Amina. Mustapha knew that an opportunity to introduce the duo to each other would never come if he didn't create it, so, he set to work.
One afternoon, he brought Amina to the Adepojus but, no one seemed to notice her, she was just so invincible. Even after introducing her, they just said she was beautiful and welcomed her. Kay nodded to her greetings and after that, drove off, like the person who had just greeted him didn't even matter.
Not liking what was happening, he started to plot. The best way was to get rid of Nora and put Amina in the house as the new house help. Out of sight was out of mind. He believed Kay would eventually forget Nora and Amina will be onboard. Fortunately, the older Adepojus took Nora as their own. In their eyes she could do no wrong. To make them hate and get rid of her, she had to commit a crime.
Mustapha couldn't do everything himself so he discussed his plans with Tunde. Tunde was stronger. If staged in a fight with Kay, he was more likely to win. Mustapha on the other hand, wouldn't be able to due to his slim features. Tunde refused at first, saying he would never do anything bad to his boss or members of the family. Mr. Adepoju had been too kind to him and he only wanted to repay the elderly man's kindness with good.
"You no go kill am." Mustapha persuaded him. "Just injure am. If you kill am my plan no go work na. Even if Amina com dey the house, na Tayo wan look her side, talkless of to marry am."
"Mustapha forget this kain plan, abeg."
"I no go forget o. If you help me, I go share money with you."
"Which money be that?" Tunde asked, curious.
"You no know say if our plan work, Amina go fit dey collect better money from Oga Kay? Then if them marry, Oga and Madam go give me house, come give me better job or better money to take start business. Them no go gree make their son-in-law dey for security again na."
"As you take know say dem go help you reach like so?" Tunde doubted.
"I hear madam dey advise one of her friend one night, for garden. Her friend son wan marry their house girl. Madam come say since them go com be in-laws, make her friend treat them well o. say if na she, she go treat her in-laws well."
Tunde, convinced that Kay would not die and that Mustapha would share his monetary gains with him, accepted to execute part of the plan.
That night, it was Tunde who attacked Kay. It was he who placed an anonymous call to the police; telling them he worked hand in hand with Nora. To top it all, Mustapha went on to make a statement, claiming that Nora really had a hand in what happened to Kay. Mustapha was sure Nora would not get out of police net.
During the period Nora was in police cell and Kay stayed in the hospital, he brought Amina to the house. He told the older Adepojus that she needed a job and since Nora was no longer in the house, she could fit in and help tend to their everyday needs. To further convince them, he stressed that she was hard working and would never commit the crime Nora was found guilty of. Unfortunately for him, the Adepojus had lost the trust they once had in house girls. What if Kay had died? What if the new house help decided to also attack Tayo? If both their sons were injured and hospitalized, what will they do?
"We can't accept her." Mrs. Adepoju said. "I am grateful that you came forward to testify about Nora's deceitful actions. But we can't trust another house girl. Not so soon."
Mustapha didn't give up. He decided to give them time to get over the issue and then, he'd present Amina to them again.
His plan worked. After Kay recovered and went to get Nora out of police net, the Adepojus felt well, maybe she is innocent and since Mrs. Adepoju could no longer keep up with the chores and her job at the same time, she hired Amina.
However, Mustapha's joy was cut short as Kay got to him and beat him into confessing his crimes. Both Mustapha and Tunde were arrested. Amina would have joined them in police cell but because she was innocent and initially had no idea what her brother had planned, they decided to let her remain, as long as she behaved herself.
"Poor girl." Nora thought; pouring some juice into her glass and drinking from it. "No mother, no father and now no bro..."
"Hello baby." Kay's greeted; interrupting her. Nora turned to see him descending from the stair case, full of smiles; smiles that did nothing but confuse her.
"What is going on? You're not dressed? I waited patiently for you and now that you show up, youre not dressed. Kay!"
"Well, just wait for it." He said; ignoring her outburst. Within minutes he was bending over and planting kisses on her full lips.
"Wait? More wait? Really?" She asked; her expression, confused, as she pulled back. "You said we had to be early. You said we needed to be back in time for the company's dinner party. You said ..."
"I know what I said, Nora. Jeeez! Just relax a while longer and please, wait for it."
"I don't get you Kay. I'm beginning to think..."
The sitting room door chose that moment to open. Mrs. Adepoju, along with Tayo, stepped in; carrying a very big box as well as other smaller ones. Amina rushed out to greet them after which she was instructed to go out to the car, as there were other items to bring in.
Nora moved forward to greet her soon to be in-laws; as well as help carry some of the boxes.
"Oh dear. Have you been waiting long?" Mrs. Adepoju asked.
"Very long ma." Nora admitted; shooting Kay a look that said she was still pissed at him. Kay didn't seem to mind. He simply grinned at her, making her feel even more frustrated.
After carrying the things to the inner sitting room, Kay proceeded to open the biggest among the boxes. It was then Nora knew what had been happening.
Kay wasn't going on a shopping spree. He had already ordered for a gown, specially made for Nora. His parents had gone to help pick it up. Since it was supposed to be a surprise and he didn't want Nora probing him and then finding out why he had refused to get ready in time, he stayed upstairs. As soon as he called and Tayo told him they were close to home, he came out.
"This is beautiful." Nora said in awe; admiring the white gown. She chuckled afterwards. Wow!
"So I guess I know just what your taste is." Kay said, chuckling too. "So you see, shopping is over dearie."
"You should have just said something. Nora hit his stomach playfully. In turn, he fell on the couch and pretended to have fainted.
"Check the accessories." Mrs. Adepoju said, opening a smaller box.
"Wow! I guess I'm really in for a surprise." Nora bent low to inspect the items.
Allowing her admire everything he had bought, Kay sat quietly and watched his soon to be, ever active and beautiful wife. He loved that it was easy to please her. Some other women would have rejected the gown and gone out to look for another. Probably one that was not better than what he had bought; but not Nora. She was satisfied with what she had. Most importantly, she was satisfied with being his woman. They had been through a lot together and he had come to truly appreciate her.
"What is this?" He heard Nora ask; examining a small brown envelope found in one of the boxes.
"It's where we will spend our honey in the moon." Kay replied after getting off the couch and moving forward to give the envelop a closer look.
"How do you mean?"
"Have you ever heard of a place called Sunset Beach?" He asked.
"I only read about it in a novel." She admitted and Kay laughed.
"Well, you're in for a surprise then. We're going to love each other by the beach side from sunrise to sunset. How about that?"
"Jeez! I'm out of here." Tayo said; chuckling. "If I don't, you two are going to spoil me before my time."
"Look who's talking." Nora fired at him.
"Don't mind Tayo." Kay dismissed his accusation with a wave of hand before turning back to Nora. "So, what say you?"
"It sounds like a great plan, as long as you put a ring on it first."
Tayo, now standing at the exit, was the first to laugh. The Mrs. Adepoju followed but Kay simply moved forward and planted a passionate kiss on her lips. She was his woman and he was sure their happily ever after was truly going to be happy.