‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.‘ Romans 8:28
As he adjusted his suit in front of the mirror at the hotel, he felt excited, ready for the next step, Shade was awesome, and he felt lucky. A year ago, he would have described Shade as everything but awesome. A year ago, he could have married her, however it was the least thing he ever wanted to do. But today….Demilade weds Shade! Demi + Shade = Demshade?! Does it even make sense? Whatever men…it doesn’t even matter. He smiled to himself.
“Demi, we need to leave now else we’ll be late to YOUR wedding.”
“In a bit, give me a minute!”
12 Months Earlier
“Demilade, I can’t lie, these are the most unromantic pre-wedding photos mankind has ever witnessed.” said Phillip as he went through a slide show of the photos taken only minutes earlier. Demi couldn’t agree more. The smiles were forced; the shot where the guy was looking into the girl’s eyes looked like they were rookies auditioning to play a role in a Bollywood movie, totally horrific.
Shade walked in and the guys ended the rant. “Awwwn just look at these. How romantic. Anyways Demi, I have to go. We would see tomorrow?”
“Yeah I guess. I would call you.” He managed a reply.
Shade walked away and returned in a flash. “I have your number right?” she asked half puzzled, half embarrassed. Demi was even more horrified as he scrolled through his contacts. How do you explain not having the number of the girl you would be marrying in a few days?
“Um…You know what? Can I have it again? 08…..” He said just staring at his phone. She obliged and left. There was an air of formality about her, her approach to everything was business-like. Hian, please what’s that?
Philip was seated sipping a coke, this he had to see.
“What?” Demi said, once he noticed the photographer giving him a ‘what in the world’ look. “I think the photos are great, we can use them for the souvenirs, right?”
Philip nodded and gave a shrug, it wasn’t his call. His was just to take the photographs and get paid, no questions asked.
However, that night after work when Demi met up with his friend Mike, reality came calling.
“Demi, let me get this straight. Your father has arranged for you to marry the daughter of his longtime business partner, to qualify you to take over as CEO so he can retire? Dude this is 2016 men!” Mike said having to raise his voice to be heard over the loud music at Shaunz Bar.
“Well that’s what it is.”
“And you are doing it?”
“Yup. I feel terrible but Shade is a great lady, talented, not drop-dead beautiful but just precise. She is smart, this could work, you know.” Demi was convinced himself he was saying nonsense.
They paused a minute to listen to someone do an Awful rendition of Chris Brown’s With You in a shallow attempt at Karaoke. It was good to laugh and release some tension. Karaoke was one activity that always thrilled Demi about Lagos’ night life. Maybe he could bring Shade one Friday night and they could do Lionel Richie’s Endless Love or Banky W’s Don’t Break What’s Left of My Heart. Whatever.
“Dude, COULD is not a good bargain for the choice of a lifetime. But how is this marriage even a criterion to be CEO? There are tons of single CEOs. How is being married even your father’s or the board’s business?” Mike’s piercing look drove home the question.
“When my father started out Cobblers R Us, he had a partner: Tega. Totally smart. He was the brain behind the designs for the shoes in the early days. It was his idea for them to even invest in Oil in the early days of the Nigerian oil boom. Tega committed suicide. A life of partying, heavy drinking and women, made my father deem him unfit as a business partner. So my father manipulated him to sell some shares, bought over those shares, and became CEO. Once CEO, my dad fired him as Head of Operations. Tega’s heavy spending made him broke after a while and depressed too. After the suicide, Dad put a clause for any incoming CEO to be married. My Dad has cancer now and wants to retire as soon as yesterday, therefore I, as anionted heir, have to be married before I become CEO. You see.”
“Hmmm.” was all Mike could say.
As He drove home, all Demi thought about were the words: COULD is not good enough for the bargain of a lifetime.
“This is like old times Daddy.”
“Like old times baby. You, me and a cup of tea before bed. I am glad you are back Shade.”
They savored the rich blend of Indian teabags in silence for a few minutes.
“Daddy, is this the way you and mum got married?” Shade asked with the inquisitiveness of a little child.
“How do you mean dear?” And now her father sat up.
“I have known Demi what? Two weeks? We would get married in what, ten days from now? I don’t even know if I like him and I can’t tell if he likes me, he is just bland.” now she was lamenting.
The great Chief Olopade laughed heartily and so long, he coughed. Ki’ l’omode mo? He laughed again. He had always chosen for Shade. It was his idea for her to go to Queens College, it was his idea for her to study to become a doctor at Drexel University, Philadelphia; He was the ‘genius’ behind her majoring in Pediatrics in India and working for two years in Abu Dhabi. Now it was his plan that brought her home. It was time to get her married to a respectable young man.
“Shade….Do you trust me?”
“Yes Daddy.” Not exactly. Why do I always say yes to his schemes?
She liked pedatric medicine, she liked kids but not enough to hang around them all day in a hospital. She did not like Nigeria nor consider it home.
“Shade, Demi will love you. Chief Shonibare is my goooooood friend. We are like 5 and 6. His son Demi is like a son to me….”
“….then doesn’t this marriage become incest?” Shade cut in. Why did her funny American accent always creep up on her when she asked genuine questions?
‘“ba wun e ko ma s’oyinbo. Pschew… Your mother and I were third cousins…she was from my mother’s uncle’s second wife’s brother’s compound….Did it not work? Me I am going to bed.” And he left.
“Dad…I don’t think this African thing is such a great idea…?” She yelled as he climbed the stairs to his room.
“Odaaro…” He replied. Her Odaaro reply was as pathetic was her situation appeared.
To be continued