THE CHURCH GIRL
Copyright © Ufuomaee
Ifeanyi was glowing, smiling like a freed man after a long sentence. He was even more attractive now that he was renewed in his mind and committed to the woman he loved, that all the ladies at Ifeanyi and Mary’s engagement party could not help but be jealous of the bride-to-be. Many of those who came to wish him and his fiancee well, never thought they would see the day that Ifeanyi would devote himself to one woman, nor the day that he would declare “it’s all God’s doing”.
Even his parents were amazed at how mature their son had become, in such a short time. Though they knew his life would not be smooth sailing, they knew that Mary was a blessing to him and their family, and that he had made the right choice. They smiled and hugged each other. They had not done so badly in bringing him up afterall.
Chuka came up beside Ifeanyi to congratulate him. “Congrats my friend! I’m really happy for you.”
Ifeanyi smiled. “Thanks! You helped to make it happen.”
“Me? What did I do?” Chuka asked, perplexed, but happy to be credited with bringing the happy couple together.
“You told me where she was serving. If you hadn’t, who knows what I might be doing now,” Ifeanyi said, his eyes alight with joy.
“Wow, I’ve never seen you like this!” Chuka marveled. “You’re a completely different man from the one I met in Camp.”
“If I tell you the truth, will you believe me?” Ifeanyi looked at him seriously.
Chuka was intrigued. Was he going to confess it was all an act? “Sure, tell me man,” he said with a lowered voice.
“Jesus is real!” Ifeanyi smiled. “I just don’t want what I wanted before. He’s completely changed my heart. And now, I just feel like there’s so much more to life… I’ve been blind, and now I see.”
“Ummmm,” Chuka said, a little disappointed that it wasn’t a juicy secret. “So, no more clubbing for you???”
“That’s not what it’s about. My time here is limited, and I don’t want to waste it being where I don’t need to be, or doing what will not give me peace,” Ifeanyi responded. “You know, I actually love spending time with Mary and the boys. They’re just great. It’s better than clubbing!”
“Damn! You’re so sprung!” Chuka said, shaking his head, but also feeling a little envious of Ifeanyi’s new life.
“It’s all God’s doing,” Ifeanyi said with a smile, before excusing himself to go to his fiancee.
Chuka watched him, with envy. He had missed his friend, but now he realised that the man he knew was really gone. But there was something to be admired and respected in this new Ifeanyi. Maybe he was on to something. Maybe Jesus is real, Chuka pondered.
It was Christmas time, and Mary was eight months pregnant and in full bloom. She had the glow of an expectant mother, and of a beloved woman. In the aftermath of the scandal, she had regained some of her old friends, who had gotten in touch with her. She had also made some new friends through her blog. Women who had similar experiences, and who had never been bold enough to speak up, until the Bolaji scandal and Mary’s press release, which sent out a message of hope to the hurting.
Mary’s relatives from her mother’s side also got in touch with the family, when they heard what had happened to Mary. Some of them apologised for not helping her and her brothers. Still others held their tongue, and were just happy to share the limelight with her, and hoped to gain from her new found prosperity. Mary gained family and friends, after such a long time of feeling alone and unloved in the world. Her world had completely changed.
Of all the women in her life, Mary adored Kelechi and Chidinma, Ifeanyi’s elder sister, the most. They were her role models and confidants, and the three unlikely friends, became the best of friends. Ifeanyi was pleased to see how Chidinma adored Mary, and he knew that his home would be a big and happy one. Chidinma had always longed for a sister.
Mary wore a red cardigan over her black and white maternity dress. She would be going over to Ifeanyi’s for a Christmas dinner with the whole family. The boys wore their best Christmas outfits too. They were excited about going to Brother Ifeanyi’s house. It was big and beautiful, and they especially loved the swimming pool.
“Are we going to go swimming today?” they asked eagerly.
“I don’t think so. But pack your shorts, just in case,” she said with a wink.
Ifeanyi arrived with a bouquet of red roses. Her room had turned into a garden, and they had no need for air freshener, with his frequent gifts of flowers. “They are beautiful, darling,” Mary said, accepting them with gladness, as Ifeanyi gave her a kiss on her forehead.
He touched her stomach and the baby kicked. “How are we all?” he asked her, inquiring about her unborn child too.
“Just perfect,” she smiled.
Ifeanyi opened the grand doors that led into the main hallway of his family mansion. They were immediately greeted with a chorus of “Sur-prisssse!!!”
The living room was filled with Mary’s friends and family, who had gathered to throw her a surprise bridal shower! Mary laughed and smiled and tapped Ifeanyi on his arm, fondly. “You made me think it was a Christmas dinner!”
“We’ll have the dinner later. You deserve this,” Ifeanyi said. He hugged and kissed her goodbye, before taking the boys to their own children’s party, somewhere else in the estate. They also had a swimming pool, and the boys were thrilled to see that it was even bigger than Ifeanyi’s and filled with other children!
On New Year’s Eve, Mary woke up from bed to a massive kick in her stomach. Within seconds, she felt the beginnings of a contraction. She reached for her phone and dialed Ifeanyi’s number. He picked up on the first ring, even though it was 11pm at night. “It’s time,” she gasped into the phone. “Will you meet me at the hospital?”
“No, I’m coming to get you. Wait for me,” he said.
“Please….hurry,” she said, through another contraction.
Ifeanyi made it over to hers in record time. They got to the Premier Hospital in Ikeja just before the stroke of midnight, declaring the New Year. Mary’s water broke as she stepped into the hospital. She was rushed into the delivery room, with Ifeanyi by her side holding her hand.
At 2 O’Clock in the New Year, Ifeanyi was crying! The labour had been agonizing, and Mary had drifted in and out of consciousness. They had to perform an emergency cesarean to get the babies out safely and save her life too. Now, Mary was recovering, after a very close call, and Ifeanyi was carrying their twin daughters!
Mary had fallen asleep, and was sweating. The nurses took the babies from Ifeanyi to clean them and prepare them for their first feed. Ifeanyi sat by Mary’s side, cooling her with a towel, praying over her, and speaking to her, telling her of the beautiful twin girls she had birthed. “They have your eyes, and your lips. Oh, if you could see them, they are gorgeous,” he said.
At 3:30am, Mary stirred to Ifeanyi’s delight. “Hello, gorgeous,” he said to her.
“Is the baby fine?” she asked, looking up at him.
He smiled, and said “Our daughters are beautiful, just like you. I always wanted twin girls.”
“Oh wow, twins! What are we going to do?”
“Use birth control!” Ifeanyi joked.
Mary laughed and looked at her fiance. She was indeed the luckiest girl in the world. “I love you so much.”
“I love you more…” he said.
“I love you MOST!” she grinned mischieviously.
“I love you DIE!” he laughed, and shut her up with a kiss before she could respond.
“So many nights I wondered
About this day I pondered
When you just stepped right in
I didn’t know what to do
All I knew is I needed you and you rescued me
And you changed my life…“
The wedding singers sang to the tune of Yolanda Adams’ duet with Doug Williams, “You Changed My Life”, as Mary walked into the Church to meet her Groom, who stood expectantly at the alter. Ifeanyi stood tall and proud, handsome in his black tuxedo, with his hands at his back. This was the day he had waited for since he first laid eyes on Mary.
Mary’s lace ivory gown showed off her amazing figure, which had been restored six months after the birth of her daughters, Precious and Hope, who were now sleeping in their travel cribs, and being looked after by one of her aunties. She carried a bouquet of multi-coloured roses in front of her, as she was escorted to the alter by her eldest living uncle, who would give her away to her husband on behalf of her family.
The bride was aglow, and as she listened to the lyrics of the song, tears of joy ran down her cheeks. Who would have thought that someone like her would be where she was today? It was God’s doing alone. He had set her free. And He had used Ifeanyi to show her that she deserved so much more than she had settled for. And she just knew, there was so much more in store…
The ceremony went ahead without a hitch, and soon, they were pronounced the newest couple in town! They made it to their reception at the Palace Gardens, a new event centre in Lagos, where many of their guests where already seated to welcome them.
The bridal party danced in ahead of the Bride and Bridegroom to a selection of Nigerian hit love songs, and made space available for the couple to show off their dance steps and romantic moves, to the delight of all watching. Ifeanyi and Mary danced liked they had never danced before, laughing and giggling as their friends watched and took videos and photos to share on social media.
When they finally sat down to catch their breath, Ifeanyi held Mary’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “Tonight’s the night,” he whispered into her ear and sent a powerful sensation down her spine. She smiled widely. She couldn’t wait.
Their first night together was more amazing than Mary had ever imagined it would be. Ifeanyi was gentle and firm all at once. She had been afraid her past would cloud the experience, but she was indeed delivered from all her traumas. Making love to Ifeanyi came naturally. And the best part was holding him in her arms, both of them naked, vulnerable and submitted, knowing that it was her he loved…and would love for the rest of his life.
Ifeanyi and Mary moved into their new five bedroom home in Lekki Phase 1 after they returned from their two weeks honeymoon in Barbados. Their home was a wedding gift from Ifeanyi’s parents, to help them start their lives together without added financial burdens. The boys had their own room, and the girls had their nursery too. One of Mary’s aunties also stayed with them for a while to watch over the babies, so that Mary was free to explore her new role as Ifeanyi’s wife.
Ifeanyi and Mary prospered in their work, and Ifeanyi accepted a job offer from Wisdom Bank, to become their General Manager. Daniel changed schools again, to continue his education in a private and well-equipped establishment.
Samson and Sunday soon went away to University, and Mary and Ifeanyi took a chance to try for another child. Nine months later, they welcomed twin boys!
“Okay, we’re done!” Ifeanyi said, and Mary laughed heartily.
Copyright © Ufuomaee
Photo credit: http://www.stanfellerman.com
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