*** A powerful wave swept onshore, spraying cold sea water at their feet. That brought them back to reality and they broke apart. Tare touched her lips, that still had the imprint of his kiss, with her finger, then gazed up at him. "Why?" There was a look of wonder, surprise and growing excitement on her face. He smiled. " What does it look like? " Taking her hand, he led her to a dry spot on the beach, under some coconut trees. They sat down and he began to speak; how he had been attracted to her right from when they firstmet but "I had to resist because of Ini." "So, why now? " He cupped her face in his hands. " Because I couldn't fight It anymore! You're just too irresistible, Tare! " And he kissed her again. She wound her arms round his neck, a euphoric feeling washing over her. What she had longed for, dreamed about all this while was finally happening and she could not be happier. Later, something occurred to her. "What about Ini? " He hugged her close to him. "I'll take care of it. Don't worry about it, my darling. " *** Three months later, Eddy proposed to her. Tare, surprised and overjoyed, happily accepted and immediately began planning their future together. "I love you, Eddy. I promise to be a good wife to you." "Love you too, sweetheart. I'll love you forever and take good care of you. You're my destiny now." *** It was a Saturday morning and Tare was busy in Eddy's kitchen preparing breakfast. She was alone in the house as he had stepped out to buy some stuff she needed in the kitchen at a nearby store. She hummed to herself as she worked, sometimes snapping her fingers to the song in her head. Later that night, they would be attending a birthday party of a friend of his. She was thinking about what she would wear to the bash, when she heard a knock on the door. Thinking Eddy was back, she went to the parlour. A young lady stood there by the door, a suitcase by her feet. She was clad in the white T shirt and khaki trousers of youth corpers and she looked tired as if she had been on a long journey. The lady eyed Tare up and down, and pushing her aside, stepped into the room. "Who are you and what are you doing in my fiancé's house so early in the morning? " shedemanded crossly. Fiancé? Tare looked closely at the lady. Ini! This must be Eddy's ex. What was she doing here? Eddy was supposed to have broken up with her so how come she was still coming to his house as if she owned the place, she thought. The front door opened and Eddy stepped in, a shopping bag in his hand. He looked surprised at seeing Ini. "Oh, Ini. You're here," he said, heading for the kitchen. Ini followed him. "Eddy, who's this lady and what's she doing here?" Back in the living room, he walked up to Tare, took her hand and in a calm voice, said: "Ini, This is Tare. She's the one I want to marry! " A shocked look appeared on Ini's face. " What? Marry? " *** She sat on the couch, her head buried in her hands, crying quietly. After a while, Eddy went up to her and patting her on the shoulder, said: " I'm sorry, Ini. That things turned out this way. It wasn't planned, it just happened. You just have to accept the situation. Besides, you should take part of the blame for what has happened. You were far away up North, leaving me here all by myself and..." Ini jumped up then. "How dare you, Eddy? You now want to shift the blame on me? Instead of taking responsibility for your stupid actions, you're blaming me? What did I do wrong? Did I go to Jos to play? Or am I the Federal government that posted me faraway from home to serve the Fatherland? "Look at you, you should be ashamed of yourself! The moment my back is turned, you start jumping around with all kinds of strange women! I was hearing all kinds of rumours, about you and that ***** in the kitchen, a rich man's daughter, but I didn't believe it. I said my Eddy would never do such a thing to me. How wrong I was! "Five years! I gave you five years of my life and this is how you treat me? How could you do this to me, Eddy? You promised to always be there for me, to love no other woman but me. What happened to all your promises? So, they were nothing but lies? You said we would get married once I finish my service. I've finished and I'm back home now. It's time for you to fulfil your promise, Eddy!" She grabbed his hand and began to shake him. "You must fulfil your promise. You must, Eddy!" Tare walked in then, a look of irritation on her face. "What's all this noise about? Eddy darling, I thought you had sorted this out, ended things cleanly with her. So, why's she still here creating a scene?" Tare queried. Ini turned to her, hissed and said: "And who are you to stick your nose in this matter? Oh, you are feeling on top of the world because he chose you over me? Why did it have to be him? You could have any man you want with your looks and 'aristo' background. Why did it have to be my Eddy, my man?" she shouted. "Just because you are rich, you think you can have just about anything you desire. You rich people are the same- selfish, wicked, greedy! Eddy was all I had, he was my world, but you took him away just because you could." "Look here, I know it's painful, but accept it. It's over between you. You can't force someone to be with you if he doesn't want to, so..." Tare said. " You! You dare preach to me? A thief like you? You better shut up or..."Ini said, her eyes spitting fire. Tare, who was getting pissed off by her attitude, said: "And what can you do if I don't?" Something seemed to snap in Ini then. "You little *****!" she shouted and rushing towards Tare, grabbed her by the neck and began to squeeze, all the while screaming abuse at her... A shocked Eddy rushed at Ini and prised her hands from Tare’s neck. “Control yourself, Ini! What has come over you?” he said angrily. He then focused his attention on Tare, examining her neck and face. “Are you alright?” he asked in a concerned tone as he led her to the couch. Tare nodded, rubbing her neck with her hand. Eddy pointed at Ini and indicating the door, said: “I think you better leave before something terrible happens.” Ini stood for a moment, observing them, a pained look on her face. “I’ll go. But remember this,” she said to Tare. “Just as he has made me cry today, so will you also weep tears of anguish over him one day. You’ll remember my words one of these days!” And with that she was gone. *** Tare began her wedding preparations in earnest, fully supported by her mother who looked forward to another wedding in the family after the nuptials of Selema, Tare’s older sister, three years earlier. Her father though was not too keen. “Why the rush to get married? We barely know this young man. Or his motives,” he said grumpily. “What other motive is there apart from love? He loves our daughter and it shows. And he has promised to take good care of her. That’s enough for me,” her mother insisted. “You should know better, Agnes, that there’s more to marriage than love. I just have this feeling he might be with her for other reasons.” “What other reason?” she countered fiercely. “That has always been your problem, you’re always suspicious of any man you see near our daughters. So, because you have money, our daughters can’t find true love? You acted the same way with Selema’s husband, George when they wanted to get married. Look at them now, how happy they are together!” “Well, I’m just being careful, as a caring father who wants the best for his children, should be. I don’t want Tare to be hurt,” he said, picking up his phone and leaving the room in a huff. *** About seven weeks before the wedding, Tare flew down to Port-Harcourt where her parents lived and the wedding would take place, to make some arrangements for the ceremony. One evening, she and her mother sat, going over the guest list, when the older woman said: “Your father said he has a surprise wedding package for you and Eddy.” Tare looked up from her iPad. “What’s he giving us? A house? Money? What’s it, Mum?” she cajoled. The woman shrugged. “I don’t know. He didn’t say. He said he’ll announce it on your wedding day.” “Is it becoming a family tradition?” said Tare, smiling a little, remembering how her father had lavished gifts including a house in a choice part of the city and a large sum of money and other gifts on her sister and new husband at her wedding reception years back. “Ask your father. You know he has his own unique style of doing things.” The reception Finally, their big day arrived and by 2pm, the happy newlyweds had left the church for the reception venue at the Imperial Garden Hotel and Suites in the city. Sometime into the proceedings, which consisted of speeches, music, dancing, jokes, eating and drinking, Tare’s father rose, and taking the mic, began to speak… Something big went down at the reception. What is it? The mystery will be revealed on Friday so watch this space!