Dawn to Dusk: 24 hours on crossroads – Episode 11

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This entry is part 12 of 24 in the series Dawn to Dusk

When his arranged marriage went haywire, James has to juggle from being a father to his eleven months old son, keeping his job, finding love in the strangest place, maintaining a balance and peace between his family and that of his in-laws, who are lost in the battle of power and authority.

EPISODE XI

The entrance door opened and Nnadi, her father, walked in. A short but well built man, who went everywhere in his red cap; an object he believed to be source of respect to him, adding to the influence his riches has mustered for him. Queen halted her clambering and scurried to her father.

“I warned you not to go to that house, when will you start taking to instructions?” Nnadi queried strongly as she was about lamenting on the humiliation she went through.

She was so taken aback. Wondering why her father was raising his voice on her, or admonishing her – something he never did. He always pampered her, made her feel loved and special above all her siblings; an act she later learnt was due to the belief that she was an incarnate of her father’s grandmother, and which she constantly used to her advantage. She enjoyed the special treatment, the queenly attention which caused a weighty sibling rivalry between her and her siblings. The attention became normal for her; hence she was apt to take any correction or advice as insulting and disrespectful.

“You are shouting at me, daddy,” she muttered as tears gathered in her eyes. “And if you know the embarrassment and humiliation I went through today…”

“I asked you not to visit that house; I made myself clear when I was leaving in the morning, why can’t you just take to instructions? What exactly did you visit that house for?” Nnadi’s voice rose even higher.

“Dad, I don’t understand,” her voice competed with her father’s as she moved even closer to him. “My son lives in that house; I only wanted to see how he is doing. Is that a wrong thing to desire?”

“What is wrong is the trouble you caused, which will take a while to resolve,” Nnadi removed his red cap from his head, aimed it at the chair but the cap fell on the floor.

Queen moved to pick up the cap but Nnadi shunned her, thinking she was walking out on him.

“I was not walking out on you Dad. I only wanted to pick up your cap,” she stammered in so much confusion.

The sudden change in her father’s attitude was bewildering. She could only guess someone beat her in briefing him on what transpired between her and James earlier, though his reaction was totally different this time. He was always supportive, no matter what. So why was he trying to forsake her now that she needed him most?

“Alright dad,” Queen picked up the cap and threw it on the chair. “I don’t know what you’ve been told, but I think you should calm down and hear my own side of the story,” she said with a soft voice that felt like a wet cotton swab on Nnadi’s ears.

He shook his head. He was getting tired of her excesses. He expected her to have grown up, but she chose to remain a kid even at thirty-three. He was not going to fall for her sweet seductive voice and acts this time. He has received enough embarrassment from her and must bring her to face the harsh realities of life, even though it was already late.

“A story different from what made your mother-in-law barge into my office with embarrassing utterances?” he asked in sarcasm. “Something she never dared to do,” his anger was building.

Queen recoiled.

If Catherine had visited her father with the anger and hatred with which she left the hospital, she obviously must have told him everything there was to tell.

“So she spoke with you? What did she tell you?” she asked.

“She did not speak with me. She insulted me. She embarrassed me in front of my business partners and employees because of you and your ever childish attitude,” Nnadi slumped on the couch shaking his short legs rhythmically, furious.

Queen was heartbroken. Her father just called her a child indirectly and that really hurt. She could take such an insult from any other person, but not her father. She quickly remembered the other side of the marriage arrangement.

She never wanted James, though she knew that could be her only chance of getting married. She yielded to it due to her father’s incessant advice on what she would gain from the marriage, how much the parents-in-law loved her and stories about how people grow and not fall in love. Unconsciously, her mind drifted into a strong passionate love for James which made her believe that truly, people grow in love; hence the constant unappreciated visits to James.

“Do not call me a child, Dad. I am not a child,” she cried. “This whole thing was your entire plan. You single-handedly forced me into this marriage. Whatever comes out of it is your fault; you have to take it because you made it happen.” Tears rushed down her face as she yelled out her mind at her father.

“Nnedimma!” Nnadi called her in bewilderment regarding her tone of speech. That would be the second time he would address her by her native name; a name he gave her in memory of his grandmother, but he preferred calling her Queen as he claimed she was the queen of his life.

Queen ignored his call. She was raged, filled with bitterness. The only thing on her mind was to hurt her father just as he hurt her by calling her a child.

“I never wanted this. I never loved James, you know it. But you told me people grow, and not fall in love. You gave me instances of happily married couples who initially didn’t love each other. I tried. I laboured so hard. I watered that love with all my resources and energy, but it refused to bear fruits after germination. This was not the life I planned for myself, you ruined my life daddy, you ruined my life so don’t stand there and call me a child.”

Nnadi’s anger escalated. Queen’s choice of words was infuriating. He only tried to fix his daughter’s life which was already dragged on the mud; a life on the verge of collapse, a fact she obviously was too blind and disoriented to see.

Queen was thirty-two when this marriage arrangement was made. Prior to that time, she already had five suitors, out of which three brought her back after introduction without any concrete reason, while one disappeared few weeks to the wedding date. The last one broke the camel’s back, pushing the father off the cliff of sanity: it was Ebube.

Read Dawn to Dusk every Tuesdays on Memorila.com!

Series Navigation<< Dawn to Dusk: 24 hours on crossroads – Episode 10Dawn to Dusk: 24 hours on crossroads – Episode 12 >>

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E.C Micheals

E.C Michael, a graduate of Theater Arts, is a passionate writer who believes that stories should blend with education so as to help correct social vices in the world. His watchword is edutainment. He writes screenplays, novels, short stories and essays. When not writing, he is blogging or watching Game of Thrones and Designated Survivor.

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