Haliru was becoming uneasy. He looked around him, trying to see if his bride was coming. He dabbed his fore-head with a soft towel, as he was visibly sweating, even in the air-conditioned cathedral. Was it possible that Tehilah had changed her mind about marrying him?
“Oh no” he gasped. He was not worried about becoming the laughing stock, but he was worried about losing all his dreams; all the dreams of loving her and her child, and building a family with them.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the heavy oak doors of the cathedral opening. He turned abruptly, with a big smile on his face. Yes, his bride had shown up, or so he thought.
“I hope I am not late to the party!” Adara walked up the aisle, with a mischievous smile on her face. “Happy married life, Haliru.”
“You were not invited!” Haliru could not control his rage. The truth was, he was not angry at Adara, but at the continuous absence of his supposed bride.
“Oh…” Adara looked around her. “It seems the bride did not make it to her own wedding.”
Adara sashayed to the front pew and sat down. “I am going to enjoy this show,” she said to herself.
The door to the cathedral opened again, and this time, it was Wale. Haliru rushed to him and held him by his shirt neck.
“What have you done to Tehilah? The fact that you are here tells me that you have something to do with her absence.”
“I have nothing to do with her not being here.”Wale pushed Haliru off. He was worried himself. He knew now why the marriage had been a rush. He could bet on his life, that the marriage had been Tehilah’s idea; it was her way of keeping him away from the truth.
Looking down on the envelope in his hand, he was faced with a dilemma, what was the need of exposing the truth here, when Tehilah wasn’t even at her own wedding.
“I don’t think she stood you up. She wanted this marriage more than you and I know why. I think we have to look for her.”
In the commotion, Adara’s phone rang. She smiled when she saw the caller was Romeo, so she stood up and walked to the restroom where she could comfortably attend to her call.
“Talk to me Romeo.”
“Your enemy is dead, killed in a fiery flame.”
“How dare you, I did not ask you to kill her. I told you to follow my instructions to the latter. How dare you do this?”
“Shut up bitch. You don’t tell me what to do. This game is no longer yours. Did you forget who I am in such a short time? I a the game master and now, it is business as usual.”
“What are you talking about?” Adara clenched her fist tightly. She wished she had Romeo in her hands, so she could strangle him to death.
“I have called emergency responders and soon the news of Tehilah’s fiery death would be on the front pages of our newspapers. Then you can swoop in and take the keys to the kingdom, which you would be giving to me. I am sure you understand what I mean.”
“I owe you nothing, Romeo. I did all you asked me to do, and we are done.”
“I say when we are done, not you. If you do not comply to my request, I will just submit all the evidence I have to the police, and then you can kiss your freedom goodbye. I give you a month to marry Haliru, so that we can get this show on the road.”
“What do you want, is it money? I can give you that. I can give you five million naira.” Adara was desperate at this point.
“What is five million naira? Even I have more than that. What I want is the whole gold chest. I will be watching, one month, or else everything goes to hell.”
Adara opened her mouth to speak, but the dial tone in her ears told her Romeo had hung up on her. “Oh no, what do I do? It seems my hand is stuck in the tortoise’s anus.”
She walked out to the auditorium and when she saw Haliru looking distraught, she realized that Romeo had given her exactly what she wanted. At a later time, she would take care of Romeo, but now, she had to enjoy her blessings and get to work; she had one month to get married to Haliru.
It was a black Saturday not just for Haliru and Tehilah’s family, but also for the city of Lagos. All those who loved the couple mourned the tragedy that ahd befallen them. The police was still investigating the incidence, but there was every indication that it would be ruled an accident and nothing more.
Wale was distraught, not only had Tehilah died, she had died with his unborn child. It was more agonizing that her body had been burnt to ashes.
“Life is so unfair. If there is a God, why did he have to punish a beautiful soul like Tehilah? I was the one who committed adultery, and cheated her, so why did she have to be punished? What sin did my unborn child ever commit?” Wale lamented.
Haliru could not be consoled; he cursed his ill luck, as something seemed to happen every time to snatch away the people he loved. Adara saw his emotional state as the best opportunity to crawl back into his life. Haliru could not reject her this time, because he needed emotional support and Adara was the only one available. She was always seen around him, and she even stayed in the guest room in his house. She was the first person he saw in the morning and the last person he saw at night.
“If I had not taken our love for granted, we would be married now and you wouldn’t be going through such pain. I blame myself for everything that has happened to you.” She began to sob, even as she got closer to Haliru. “I am so sorry.”
Adara held Haliru’s face as she cried, and pulled his face closer to hers. Haliru could not reject her still, even when she pressed her lips to his. He knew something was wrong, but he could not fight what Adara was doing. However, something else was going to jolt him to the present, and see Adara for whom she knew him to be.
One day, Adara had just made breakfast, and they were at the breakfast table, about to eat. But the sound of the doorbell made them stop. Adara thought it was more reporters and she couldn’t stand the fact that they were always coming to remind Haliru of something she wanted him to forget.
“Let me get the door.” Adara pushed her chair backward and stood up.
“You don’t have to, the servants can get it.”Haliru said weakly, but it fell on deaf ears as Adara marched to the door.
However, she was met with a surprise when she flung it open. It weren’t reporters she saw, but police men. Her eyes almost came out of their sockets, as she stood transfixed looking at them. Panic had taken control of her, and she did not hear when they asked her of Haliru, until one of them nudged her.
“What is wrong with you woman?” Please we want to see Mr. Bamanga.”
“Oh…ok…ok. Come in…” she stuttered.
The police told Haliru that before they had ruled it an accident, but now they had reasons to believe it was not.
“There are several smash marks on the tail of the car which showed that someone was tailgating them. Someone caused that accident, and we have officially made this a murder case.”
“How is that even possible? Tehilah is not exactly an important person, who would want to kill her?” Adara jumped in.
“That is what we want to find out. She was not the only one in the car. It seemed her friend was also there, so it could have been anyone of them being targeted.” One of the policemen explained.
“I still think it is just an accident, how does smash marks infer a murder?” Adara, against her better judgment, argued with the police.
“One smash mark could have been an accident and the worst we would be looking for is a hit and run driver. But several marks show that they were deliberately tailgated, so they could have that accident. It is murder, and we are interviewing everyone in her life, to find out who could have killed her.”
“Tehilah had no enemies because she was loved by everyone, except the woman standing in front of you. Adara hates Tehilah because she knows I am in love with her.” Haliru dropped the bombshell.
Adara swirled round to look at him. She could not believe that this was the man she was kissing just a few minutes ago. “What are you saying, Haliru?”
“Take her, and questions her until she tells you why she murdered the love of my life. If you want money to do that, I have plenty.” Haliru grabbed Adara by the hand and pushed her towards the policemen. “Take her!”