Two weeks had gone by since Brenda kicked a visibly angry Ella out of her house. At the same time, it was the week her wedding was to take place.
Joseph had resumed work, so had Amanda. Ella, on the other hand, had rented one of Joseph’s property. It made things easy and removed agency fees from her bill.
Her place was not too far from Amanda’s and so they spent time together a lot; especially in the evenings after both ladies were done with work.
Amanda’s vacation with Joseph wasn’t much to write home about. Right from the moment Brenda sent a text asking her to come over, Joseph had also received messages from his mother about Simi some minutes later.
It turns out, Simi couldn’t bear the humiliation and insult from the online community any longer and resorted to suicide. But her plans failed. She was found in time by her receptionist just before the close of work and was rushed to the hospital.
The doctor had said she was lucky. Her survival was a miracle. But still, they were hoping the child in her womb wouldn’t get affected by her callousness as they were yet to carry out a full scan since the last time she heard anything about it.
Of course, their plans for a very intimate vacation was disrupted. Amanda and Joseph cuddled up in each other’s arms and stayed wide awake most of the night.
The next morning met Joseph preparing to go to the hospital. Amanda decided she was going with him. They met his mother and Simi’s mother at the reception, as Simi was resting in her room.
The conversation that transpired was another thing entirely. After introducing her as his woman and wife to be, Simi’s mother flew into a rage. She insulted both of them and asked what it was he saw in Amanda that made him humiliate his daughter the way he did and almost caused her to take her own life.
Every explanation Joseph gave fell on deaf ears and got drowned by her loud wailing and curses. It took the intervention of the doctor in charge and some nurses, for sanity to return to the reception. However, after she kept quiet, Simi’s mother refused to say another word. She looked away and wept bitterly.
If not that she already displayed her true character, Amanda would have loved to comfort her.
The height of it all was when Joseph’s mother led the duo outside the hospital premises and reprimanded Joseph for bringing Amanda to the hospital. And her utterances made it clear, she would never accept Amanda as her daughter-in-law.
Joseph argued his case and tried to make her see his reasons, but she was adamant. It was in the heat of their argument Amanda decided she was leaving. It was best to be away from them before she becomes stupid, ignore the fact that Joseph was standing up for her and actually call off their relationship.
It was from the hospital she went over to Brenda’s, and what transpired was heartbreaking. Joseph’s mother had rejected her. Her own friend pulled away from her and kick in their mutual friend out of her house.
After relating the day’s event to Joseph, he was quick to offer Ella one of his unrented houses two blocks away from Amanda’s. But the rest of the vacation did not go as planned. Joseph found himself in one family drama after the other, over Simi’s suicide attempt. Moses seemed to be the only one backing him up.
Despite sleeping in each other’s arms for a few nights after Simi’s drama. They couldn’t bring themselves to engage in full intimate activities. But they shared kisses, caresses and cuddling.
It wasn’t up to a week before Joseph suggested they go back to work. Simi, having recovered but still at the hospital for special care, had started her drama again. She made a video of herself in her hospital bed and posted it online with the caption; ‘he paid the doctors to alter the result because he knew I wouldn’t fight on live TV. Now to get rid of me, he poisoned me.’
Of course, the outrage was crazy. Nigerians in the online space called on the police force to do the needful. They believed Joseph didn’t deserve to be walking free.
Amanda was the angriest about the development. If she wasn’t in the same room with Joseph when the news of Simi’s suicide attempt reached them, she wouldn’t have known what to believe.
So you can imagine the anger with which she stormed the hospital the following morning to warn Simi. Unfortunately, Simi’s mother was present and jumped to her defence. Joseph’s mother also chose that moment to arrive and the friends turned enemies on the spot.
Mrs Ossai gave Simi’s mom a solid piece of her mind before stating clearly, that she now understood why Joseph wanted nothing to do with her daughter. She insisted Simi is poison and should be avoided at all cost. She wouldn’t take things lightly with anyone who dared to drag her son in the mud, especially in something as serious as attempted murder.
It was the security man who brought some sanity to the reception, again. And he asked that Mrs Ossai and Amanda leave the hospital. They did.
It was outside the hospital premises Mrs Ossai apologized to Amanda for the earlier drama about not wanting her. She made it very clear that Simi was her choice because of the closeness she shared with her mother. But then, she couldn’t sit back and let the girl continue to drag her son in the mud.
So yes, a lot had happened leading up to the third week. And while Joseph had dragged Simi to court for defamation of character, Tony was taking Brenda to court for a marriage that Amanda knew could ruin her friend’s life forever.
So it was Thursday evening. 6:16 pm precisely. Amanda sat in front of her doorstep receiving fresh air when she heard a car park in front of her gate. Within minutes, the small gate was unlocked from outside and opened. Ella stepped in. She was still fully dressed in office outfit. Amanda could tell she drove straight down and hadn’t gotten to her apartment yet.
“Hello, babe! A lovely evening to you. Despite the stress you’re still looking good,” Amanda called out with a smile. But the forced smile on Ella’s face told Amanda she was in no mood for flattery or compliments.
“Good evening dear,” she said; her tone cold.
“What’s wrong with you? Did someone die?” Amanda quarried.
“No. Not yet. But people will definitely die if we sit back and do nothing,” She sat on the empty space bedside Amanda.
“I guess you’re referring to Brenda and…?”
“I cried today, Amanda. I cried. You wouldn’t believe what I saw. You know Brenda is the one handling some official matters for my bank branch and a need came up today at the office. So I had to drive down to her office to let her know what was up so her firm can handle the documentation. You wouldn’t believe Tony is now in charge of that office…”
“What?” Amanda was sincerely shocked. Her heartbeat tripled, “please tell me you’re joking.”
“I’m not. If it isn’t for the fact that I went there for an official visit and my bank pays a regular monthly fee for that service, Tony would not have allowed me in. Brenda is useless right now. She cannot talk against him, and she is no longer the jovial, carefree lady she used to be. She’s uptight and very, very unhappy.”
“Oh my God! But why can’t she leave him? I hope he isn’t using charms on her?” Amanda was very worried now. And to think their wedding was just two days away.
“It is not a charm. He ordered her to prepare the documents I came for, and when she gave it to me, she slipped a note in between them. I didn’t see the note until I got to the office. It slipped out when I was separating the documents. It seems like she had been carefully writing us a letter in Tony’s absence. I read the letter and cried, Amanda. I cried. We need to stop him, and we need to stop that marriage. Brenda is so scared that if she fights back, her dreams would be in ruins. But even then at this rate, her dreams are in ruins and her life is on danger. Here,” she extended a folded piece of paper to Amanda.
Amanda quickly took it from her, unfolded it and read out the words.
Dear Ella and Amanda,
Please don’t hate me. I didn’t know what I got involved in until it was too late. I thought I could handle him. I thought things would get better, or at least, not worse.
When Tony first approached me, he seemed like a gentleman who could not hurt a fly. He did everything to woo me. Thinking about it now, I believe he followed me about and studied me well so he knew just how to woo me. And I fell for him.
As at then, I never knew he was the same Tony who abused you, Amanda. And every time I mentioned introducing him to my friends, he would say not yet. I never really knew what was up until the evening I exposed Simi’s plans to you.
That same evening, Joseph made it to N’slayers’ Bar. I am sure he came to see you, or someone else. I’m not so sure now. Tony challenged him at the parking lot and threw insults at him that day. I didn’t know why.
It was after Joseph had left and Tony joined me in the car that I asked what was his relationship with Joseph. He was reluctant to tell me. It was after we arrived at his place I insisted and he opened up to me. It was then I understood why he was shying away from meeting you in particular.
But again, Tony is a smooth talker. He easily convinced me that why should anyone hold grudges against him and forgive Joseph for the same act of irresponsibility? And I saw reasons with him.
But the green light for me should have been the first time he slapped me due to an argument we were having. But I forgave him because he talked his way back into my heart and apologized.
Later on, I started noticing a pattern of always asking me for money, using my car and other stuff. I complained. But he explained he needed support in finding his feet again, especially as he had lost his job. He promised once he could start a business of his own, he wouldn’t inconvenience me any longer.
Then he proposed marriage. I was overjoyed and I accepted. I never knew he had a bigger plan. The plan is to get to Amanda and Joseph, through me. It was one of the major reasons I distanced myself from you girls. I don’t want you getting hurt.
You might ask why I am still with him. Well, for one, he knows some of the dirty deals I did in the past for some clients. I really don’t understand how he found out. Also, he is well aware I gave away my client to save my friend’s relationship. This, I told him about. And he is using it against me.
If news ever gets out that I am the sort of lawyer who sells out her clients, or have hands in the kind of dirty deals I’ve done in the past, my career is over. Tony is blackmailing me. He wants to take everything from me, hence we’re having a court marriage. After the marriage, he may kill me off and keep all I’ve worked hard to build.
You wouldn’t believe he has hooked up with Simi. He got wind of her being in the hospital and he went to her. He dragged me along and reported about how I sold her out, instead of helping her win a case.
Of course, she was really mad at me. She has vowed to make me pay and for now, she’s in alliance with Tony. He was the one who prompted her to take that stupid picture and post on her social handle about Joseph wanting to end her life.
He is out to destroy me. He is out to destroy Joseph. And he would come for you next, Amanda. You have to be on the lookout. Try not to be alone. You can be in Ella’s company. He seems to have no beef against her.
As for me, I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this. But I need your help. Tell Joseph to please, help me. Tell him to help us.
To be continued…
A Pelleura Story – Chapter 17 Written by Karo Oforofuo
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