It is a year now since Tony got arrested and Brenda sued him and Simi to court. Simi had survived the beating she got from Brenda, but then, the stupid policemen must have shared those videos to the wrong hands because, at the end of the day, it was uploaded online.
The online community criticized the act and called for justice. Simi lost a huge following. Those left on her social pages and blog, called for her head to be delivered on a spike.
Her family got involved but couldn’t do much; not when Joseph was also pressing serious charges against her. Besides, he had a lot of heavyweights behind him.
The videos making rounds on the internet made Brenda stay away from public eyes; unless when she had to appear in court. It was sad enough that videos of her nakedness and dehumanizing experiences were all over the internet.
In a way, it helped her case. Some of her old clients withdrew their lawsuit against her. Some others pushed through but she got a mild punishment. She lost her licence to continue practising law.
Unfortunately for Tony, a female Judge who happened to be good friends with Brenda presided over the case against him. And seeing the video evidence, as well as that of Amanda’s where she was at the office by Tony, the judge didn’t waste time in slamming a 10 years jail term on him and a fine of 5 million to Brenda, for damages done to her personality.
Amanda, recounting her experience and presenting the CCTV recordings as video evidence in court, was proof that Tony had harassed other ladies in the past; most of who they didn’t know.
Simi on the other hand, couldn’t take the heat coming at her. Being so popular, she couldn’t walk on the street without being stoned. She was initially arrested but granted bail on the fact that the people who signed her bail would be held responsible if she fails at any time, to show up in court.
But when she didn’t appear in court by the third month of the case, policemen went over to her residence to pick her up. They met her dead body instead, and a note stating that she only wanted to have the best life. And that she was sorry for all her crimes.
That Letter found it’s way to online news platforms and the online community slammed her even in death. Some called her a coward. Some called her foolish.
No longer a practising lawyer, Brenda picked up her camera, as it had been a favourite hobby for her. Since she had to survive, she decided to turn it into her new profession.
Now it is exactly one year after all the drama. She was standing in front of Saint Patrick Anglican Church. The church hall was full with guests of different shapes and sizes wearing different sophisticated attires.
As the chief bridesmaid, she was dressed in an off-shoulder, dark blue floor-length gown that hugged her body and accentuated her curves. Her jewellery matched perfectly and she couldn’t help but notice the different eyes that admired her.
All the same, her experience with Tony was still fresh in her head. She wasn’t ready for another relationship yet.
Ella, also playing the role of chief bridesmaid and dressed in the same outfit and matching jewellery, stood next to her; all smiles. She had been a pillar of support, both physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially.
Now they stood, giving support to their mutual friend. It was her wedding day and everything just had to be perfect.
Amanda looked out from inside the car where she sat, dressed in a beautiful and simple white wedding dress. Her make up was mild; accentuating her beauty. She held a bouquet of flowers in one hand as her heart raced. Joseph had not arrived. She wondered what the delay could be.
Was he attending to an emergency? If yes, couldn’t someone else do that and let him have his wedding peacefully?
The past one year had been really trying; going from one court case to another. They had to be witnesses for Brenda. This caused a lot of eyes to be on them and at some point, Amanda did not feel safe. But never again would they leave Brenda on her own.
Joseph proved to be a man who cared for her total well-being, as well as that of her friends. He stood through thick and thin. And then in all of the drama, he still travelled down to Delta state to see her family and make his intentions known to them.
Shopping and planning for the marriage was possible with the help of family and mostly her friends. They were both invested in organizing the event and even picking her wedding dress.
Talking about dresses, shoes and perfumes, her business had grown to a large boutique. She had even registered it with the C.A.C. The scandals both online and offline, as well as the many court proceedings, gave her business some more publicity, as people who recognized her from the news rushed to buy from her shop with the hope of getting first-hand gist about Brenda, Tony, Simi and their experiences
Unfortunately for them, Amanda would not discuss her friend with strangers. Brenda needed love and healing. She didn’t deserve to be gossiped about to customers.
Amanda’s eyes travelled to where Brenda stood. She was all smiles as she chatted… no, gossiped, with Ella. These two love gossip too much. She thought and then chuckled.
She was glad that they were all back together. Brenda was growing strong and her photography and film business was starting to pick up. Ella was still in her job and now promoted to manager at her branch. Both of them were her chief bridesmaid, she didn’t need a bridal train.
As she admired her friends, a slight commotion started some distance away. Amanda looked up to find Joseph’s car driving in. Moses was at the wheels, Joseph sat at the passenger’s side and their parents were sitting at the back seat. The car parked a short distance away from her’s and the occupants stepped out.
6 other decorated cars drove in a convoy. They parked at the other side of the parking lot and the occupants stepped out. It turned out they were all Joseph’s groomsmen; dressed in a light blue tuxedo with a white long sleeve inside it, and light blue pence trousers.
Amanda grinned. “At last. Talk about style.”
Joseph moved to greet his groom’s men before turning in the direction of her car. He winked at her and then blew her kisses. Amanda rolled down the car window and blew him kisses too. His groom’s men laughed and dragged him in the direction of the church entrance; telling him to wait until he was given permission to blow kisses.
“Oooh leave him alone o. Let him blow as many kisses!” Brenda and Ella called out; laughing. Amanda laughed too. But the ladies didn’t miss Moses’ winks or kisses at Ella. And she blew him kisses too.
“Oh my! How did I not know before now?” Brenda turned accusing eyes on Ella
“You two better get married after us!” Amanda called out. the ladies laughed.
Stepping into the church premises, Joseph was all smiles. Those present could tell he was truly happy. He walked straight to the front seat with Moses, their parents and his groom’s men. he ushered them to their seats before moving to the front to seat with Moses by his side.
During the past year, or every time he and Amanda had an argument over anything at all, he’d tell her he would change her surname very soon. She’d laugh. Oh well, now he was in the presence of God to fulfil that threat. He grinned inwardly.
If anyone had told him he would be totally free from Simi and Tony’s wahala, he wouldn’t have believed; not when he and Amanda were dragged from one witness box to another, testifying against Simi’s cruelty and Tony’s insanity.
When the news of Simi’s death first reached him, he sighed in relief. An emotionless, Rest in Peace followed. And then he refused to talk or think about her again. She was not worth his thoughts; even in death.
Simi’s mother tried to reconcile with his mother after she watched the video her own daughter recorded and heard what Brenda went through in Simi’s hands. But it was too late. His mother was not interested in being friends anymore. Being acquaintances was enough.
2 months after Tony was sentenced, Joseph went to the prison to see him and Tony looked like he was geared up for a fight.
Joseph made it clear he didn’t come to fight. Due to not being stable at the office because of one problem after the other, he hadn’t had enough time to process Tony’s benefits from his five years work at the office.
But as at the time of his visit, the payment had been processed, he just needed to know which account to pay into.
Realising that even with his misbehaviour and evil intent, Joseph still processed his payment, he broke down in tears right there. For the first time, he felt really stupid and he started to apologise.
Joseph said nothing. He only looked at him without remorse. When the cry and apologies didn’t stop he had to ask again. “Tony, please tell me where to pay in your retirement benefits?”
Tony pleaded that the funds be re-invested into JExpress so that it could be yielding profits, instead of just lying in his account for ten years doing nothing.
“I can’t do that,” Joseph said.
“Because this is where the road ends for the both of us, Tony. And after you’re out of here, I wouldn’t give accounts of how your money was spent. It’s none of my business.”
“Joseph please, I just apologized now. Please help me. So I can stand properly when I leave this place.
I don’t care how you stand after now, Tony. I only came here for an account detail so I know I’m paying directly to you.”
Tony felt frustrated. He then asked that he pay the money into the account JEprex once paid his monthly salary into.
“Good. I will do just that and send someone to bring you documents of proof of payment. Meanwhile, hope you remember the court insisted you pay nothing less than 5 million for damages to Brenda? So with permission from the court, that money will be deducted and paid to Brenda; leaving you with a balance of 3 million.
“Joseph don’t try me. Don’t try that. I will fight you!” He raised his voice.
Joseph ignored him. His rants and yelling grew louder. The policemen standing guard dragged him back to his cell as Joseph left their meeting room. A smile curved his lips as he thought. One good turn deserves another.
The day he paid the 5 million to Brenda, she was almost dumbstruck. Not because she had never seen that amount of money before, but because she never expected it. Even though the judge had asked Tony to pay up, she wasn’t sure Tony had that kind of money to pay. But through Joseph’s influence, the money for damages was sitting right in her account.
Brenda thanked him repeatedly. And when Amanda learnt about the payment, she showered him with kisses. They ended up ruffling the sheets the rest of that night and it was afterwards they started to plan their wedding.
He was glad though, that after a whole year of trouble, he was finally having fun and getting married to the love of his life.
He looked around the church hall again. His smile broadened. Who would have thought that a Friday wedding would be as packed full as this?
“Mr Joseph Ossai, you were almost late,” the Vicar called out from where he stood at the altar.
“I’m sorry sir. The traffic was terrible. But we’re here now.”
“Good. We will now commence.”
About forty-five minutes later when they finally said their vows, both their heart’s jumped for joy. This was another Friday; a day that marked a new chapter of their love, and they were determined to make it work till the end.
Love Surely Starts On Friday
A Pelleura Story – Epilogue Written by Karo Oforofuo
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