Thursday, 17 May 2018

WEDDING OF MY EX (A ChrisEffe Bliss) Episode 21-22

THE BAWA RESIDENCE - EVENING
Chris stands just inside his living-room.
He looks around slowly, his face anxious.
He takes a few steps further into the room.
He racks his memory, dredging up that painful moment when he had seen a mean-looking Effe standing over the sprawled body of his mother, holding a side-table in her hand as blood dripped from his mother's scalp.
He hears Dr. Anaman's voice talking about glass particles ...
and then, suddenly, Chris remembers!
There had been a fancy flower pot, shaped like an octagon, near the door!
It had held artificial seaweeds with lights in them!
Yes, he remembers now! It had shattered that day!
He is so engrossed that he does not notice that her mother has appeared on the landing, and that she is staring at him with a slight frown of worry on her beautiful face.
He gives a startled jerk when she speaks suddenly, breaking into his reveries, her voice in a happy.
MADAM LOIS
Chris, my darling Prince! You're here!
His mother is coming down the stairs with outstretched arms.
She looks extremely happy.
She throws herself into Chris' arms and hugs him tightly.
She steps back with a look of sudden anxiety on her face.
MADAM LOIS
Chris-love? What's it? You don't look too cheerful. Sick? Where's my daughter-in-law? I thought you were coming here together.
CHRIS
(softly)
Mom, Effe didn't hit you that night with the side-table. You fell down on the glass flowerpot accidentally, didn't you? And you lied that Effe hit you, didn’t you?
His mother's face collapses instantly.
The happiness drains from her face, and she looks haggard and old suddenly.
Her shoulders drop, and she looks at Chris with abject misery.
She looks scared.
MADAM LOIS
I've been dreading this day, son.
Her words make Chris' own face contort with shock.
He feels so weak that he almost falls down.
He shakes his head numbly at his mother.
CHRIS
Oh, my God, Mom! How could you? Oh, dear Lord, you lied to me? You accused Effe falsely? Why, oh why, Mama?
Madam Lois turns away.
Shakily she sits down and clamps her hands in her laps.
Her head is down because she cannot bear to look into her son's hurt eyes.
Her voice is contrite.
MADAM LOIS
I won't bother to deny it, Chris. It has haunted me ever since. I don't know why I did it, son. I felt so ashamed afterwards and wanted to tell you, but I couldn't. I was overcome by the moment, son, and acted shamefully without thinking!
CHRIS
Oh, my God! Oh, God! Oh, dear sweet Jesus! How could you, Mama?
MADAM LOIS
Oh, son! Please forgive me! I think I was still angry with you for breaking off with Elaine. When Dr. Anaman told me you were hurt and I came here to check on you that night, Effe was very moody. She was weeping and told me you were angry because you saw Steve kissing her, much against her will. I was convinced you had finally seen her for what she was, and on the spur of the moment I lied to you.
CHRIS
Did Effe push you, Mom?
Madam Lois remains silent.
Chris’ voice explodes like a whiplash.
CHRIS
MAMA!
MADAM LOIS
(trembling, wringing her hands)
No, she did no such thing. She didn't push me, son. I tripped when I tried to hit her and fell down hard on the flowerpot. The flowerpot cut me on the head. The side table got dislocated and trapped my hand. Effe picked up the side-table and she was trying to help me get up, and that was when you came in...oh, Chris-love, I'm so sorry! Please forgive me!
Chris wordlessly begins to walk away from her.
She gets up and blocks his way, and her face is acutely distressed.
MADAM LOIS
Oh, son, I'm so sorry! Please, forgive me! I would've told you, but I was scared. Later, I thought whatever caused the breakup between you two had nothing to do with my lie! If you broke off with her because of what I accused her of, then I’m very sorry, Chris-love! I have been feeling so ashamed for four years now. Please, son, forgive me!
Chris looks at his mother with so much pain on his face that she drops her gaze, and tears come into her eyes.
CHRIS
Yes, it is true that I was going to break up with Effe anyway before that incident, but because you lied, our breakup was nastier, and very painful. I would’ve spoken to her and broken off with her with mutual understanding, because although I was very angry and disappointed in her, I didn’t hate her. However, because you made me believe that she dared raise a hand against you, my mother, my treasured Mother, I hated her that night! That was something I couldn’t tolerate. I hated her for that single act. That hatred has lived with me all these years and I have suffered considerably because of a lie. Why would you compromise me in such a way? What in God’s name were you thinking, Mama?
Chris stops and looks at his mother with his tormented soul on his face.
CHRIS
What you did was wrong, Mama, so damn wrong!
Madam Lois doesn’t speak.
She keeps her head bowed as Chris steps past her and climbs the stairs.
She speaks behind him.
MADAM LOIS
Chris? Did you speak to Effe? Is she the one who told you?
CHRIS
Does it really matter where I learnt the truth that my own mother could betray me like this? For your information, Dr. Anaman made me see the light of day. He told me you had glass particles in the wound. Obviously, the side-table didn't have any glass.
He enters his bedroom and falls on the bed.
He shuts his eyes tightly as he recalls how he had screamed at Effe that night, and would not allow her to speak.
His phone rings; it is Elaine.
CHRIS
Hello, Angel?
ELAINE
Darling, is everything alright? We are very worried! I expected you back here ages ago.
CHRIS
I'm okay, darling. Doc told me ... no, ordered me, actually, to rest after he gave me a barrel of medications. I didn't want to spoil your mood so I came home. Was about to call you when your call came through.
ELAINE
Oh, I see. You had me worried. Alright, I will see you in a little while, so get some rest. I'll come and caress your body, Tiger.
CHRIS
Hurry up then, honey. I could use some TLC.
He ends the call but keep on looking at his mobile phone.
He sighs deeply, and stands up, but almost immediately he inputs a number manually, and then he puts the phone to his ear.
Chris hears loud music in the background, and a lot of excited voices.
And then, he hears a sweet voice in his ears.
EFFE
Hello?
Chris sits down slowly. He cannot speak for a while.
EFFE
Hello? Who's this, please? Hello? Can you please speak up a bit? I can barely hear you.
CHRIS
It is me, Effe.
He hears her sudden intake of breath.
She is silent for a long time.
CHRIS
Effe? Are you there?
EFFE
Chris. Please. Stay away from me. I beg of you.
She cuts the line.
Chris dials again, it rings with no answer.
He redials. She cuts the call.
He redials. Her phone is switched off.
He sits down, navigates to MESSAGES on his phone, and begins to compose a text message:
I JUST FOUND OUT U DIDN’T HIT MA MOM. SHE JUST CONFESSED. I JUST WANTED TO APOLOGIZE FOR NOT GIVING YOU THE CHANCE TO EXPLAIN YOURSELF. I’M VERY SORRY 4 NOT BELIEVING YOU ON THAT THAT.
He sends the message.
He strips and enters the bathroom.
He is getting into the bath when his phone begins to ring.
In a rush he runs into the bedroom and snatches up his phone, thinking only about Effe.
CHRIS
Hello,
EVELYN
Chris, my darling. Are you in Tadi now?
CHRIS
Yeah. Landed a couple of hours ago.
EVELYN
Wonderful. The wedding is at ten tomorrow morning. Rupert has managed to arrange a meeting between you, John Tamakloe and the South African Team led by their Minister of Trade and the CEO of Black House Creations. We've just shown them your FURY collection and it has completely blown them away! Chris, darling, you've just put your stamp on world fashion!
CHRIS
I see. Time of meeting tomorrow?
EVELYN
You okay, Chris? You don't sound overly joyous about the news! Expecting you to jump through the roof and break one leg, at least. Hahahaha!
CHRIS
I'm okay, really. Just stunned, I think. Can't believe what began as a pursuit of a hobby can end up in such a fulfilling way.
EVELYN
Now you're chirping the love song I want to hear! Okay, the meeting's scheduled for seven o'clock, venue First Floor Conference Center of the Slash House. Wouldn't take more than an hour; they just want to meet you and brief you about the South African Lounge. Can you make it?
CHRIS
Of course I'll make it. It is the reason why Tamakloe dragged me to this wedding, isn't it? This is good news for me in more ways than one. Way I see it, after the meeting, I may decide not to grace the wedding. Thanks, Boss.
EVELYN
No, I thank you! You've vindicated me, love. Some of the Directors almost had my head four years ago when I took you on and made you a section head. Now they can’t look me in the eye because you’ve put our name on the international map. But don't start that absentee show now, please. Be at the wedding; John and Rupert would want to see you there. Bye.
To be continued..
.
Episode 22
Continues..
THE BAWA RESIDENCE - MORNING
Chris opens his bedroom door and comes out.
Elaine is following closely behind.
Chris is well-dressed in an expensive and well-cut suit with a crisp white shirt and polka-dotted tie.
Elaine is wearing her nightdress but has pulled on a morning gown.
They go down the stairs, chatting softly.
They find Madam Lois in the living-room.
She is dressed casually and has her headgear on.
She is perusing a Bible.
MADAM LOIS
Chrissy love? Are you going to the wedding this early?
ELAINE
No, Mama. He has a meeting with some important people. They're pleased with his work, and very soon Chris Bawa is going to be a famous household name in fashion!
MADAM LOIS
Oh, thank God for that! Finally, your efforts are paying off. Does that mean you're not going to the wedding after all?
CHRIS
I'll go to the wedding when the meeting's over. Steve will pick Elaine up, and I'll meet them at the church.
Just then a delighted voice shouts from a doorway across the hall, and Chris turns to see a medium-built handsome young man emerging from one of the rooms.
He is MICHAEL AMEYAW, Chris' friend.
He has been taking care of the Supermarket when Chris left for Accra.
MICHAEL
Chris, my main man! Don't run out on me, bro!
Chris and Michael embrace warmly.
CHRIS
Mike, bro, damn you're looking good. Been a while, dude.
MICHAEL
When I came in last night you were out cold. Oh, Lord, you look svelte, like a president, man!
CHRIS
You're probably looking at the man who's gonna knock Pierre Cardin, Tommy Hilfiger and all the other bigshot fashion gurus off their pedestals! Good to see you, man. I'm very impressed with the returns on the shop. Highly impressive figures! Thank you, Mike.
MADAM LOIS
Yes, I commend him too. He's running the place better than I ever imagined.
MICHAEL
Thanks, folks. But where're you bouncing off to this early morning? Mommy told me the wedding you'll be attending is around ten o'clock.
CHRIS
Yeah, right. But I gotta tie a few ends before I get there. We would go back to Accra tomorrow, but when I come back from the wedding I'll like us to talk about that Colombian rice deal you told me about.
MICHAEL
Sure thing, sure thing, bro. But come on, let me see you off to your car!
ELAINE
(feigning mock indignation)
What's this? I thought I was doing that? You wanna take over my man or what?
They all laugh.
MICHAEL
Go back to bed, pretty face. Let me hang out with my big bro a bit!
Laughing, Chris and Michael leave the two women behind.
They engage in chit-chat as they walk out towards Chris' four runner.
Chris climbs into the car.
MICHAEL
Just a moment, bro. Almost forgot. Me and a few friends are going to the beach this afternoon. I was wondering if I could use your camcorder.
CHRIS
Yeah, why not? I wouldn't be needing it today. Elaine will give it to you.
MICHAEL
No, not that one. I'm talking about the one in the house.
CHRIS
(puzzled)
You've lost me. Is there another one in the house? I know nothing about it.
MICHAEL
I found a Sony camcorder under one of the living-room furniture about two years ago. I gave it to your Mommy.
CHRIS
Oh, I remember now. Yeah, Mom gave it to me. Actually it belonged to Effe, you know, a lady I went out with four years ago. I bought it for her, but it seems she forgot it in the house. No sweat, man. I don't think she needs it now. Trouble is, I don't remember where I put it.
MICHAEL
It is in the living-room, locked away with the other equipment.
CHRIS
Take it and keep it, boss. No sweat.
MICHAEL
Thanks, bro. Hey, hurry back, okay? Looking forward to a little jaw to jaw with you.
They wave, and Chris drives out.
SLASH DESIGN BUILDING, TAKORADI - MORNING
There are four men in the plush conference hall.
Mr. John T. Tamakloe, the owner of Slash Designs.
The South African Minister of Trade.
The CEO of Black House Creations, South Africa.
And Chris.
They are all happy, and they are laughing.
The meeting has gone on well, and ended very satisfactorily.
Chris' FURY Collection has evidently impressed them very much.
Mr. Tamakloe looks at his watch and stands up. He informs them that he has to be at the wedding.
They all shake hands and congratulate Chris profusely. They leave the Conference Hall.
They are seen emerging from the lift and a few seconds later coming out of the sliding glass doors of the building.
The South Africans are seen entering a sleek Mercedes Benz and Chris and Mr. Tamakloe are waving at them.
Chris chit-chats with Mr. Tamakloe as they walk towards their cars.
A uniformed chauffeur takes Mr. Tamakloe's bag.
Chris and Mr. Tamakloe are chatting when a white car enters the park, passes, stops and reverses slowly.
The driver's door opens and a handsome young man steps out.
He is holding a brown envelope.
He walks towards them.
Chris stares at the approaching man with an expression of shock and instant hatred.
MR. TAMAKLOE
What's wrong, Chris? You look like you've seen a ghost!
The man approaching them stops, smiles and begins to speak.
With a snarl Chris steps forward.
His fist flies out, crashing into the man's temple, sending him sprawling heavily to the ground in a daze.
Mr. Tamakloe screams with shock.
MR. TAMAKLOE
MY GOD, CHRIS!!! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, BOY?
He holds unto Chris tightly.
Chris tries to push Mr. Tamakloe aside.
The young man struggles to his feet, and his eyes flash angrily at Chris.
He stands shakily, still dazed from Chris’ blow.
CHRIS
Let me go, John, please!
MR. TAMAKLOE
But why? What's come over you? Calm down, boy, calm down!
Chris points an accusing finger at the enraged young man staring at him.
CHRIS
That man is Effe's lover, sir! A little over four years ago she withdrew a lot of money out of our joint account and gave it to that son-of-a-bitch! They are con artistes! They stole my damn money!
MR. TAMAKLOE
Are you crazy? What drivel are you spewing?
CHRIS
Not drivel, sir, but unadulterated fact! It is one of the reasons I left Effe. She was meeting with this dirty bastard at the Takoradi Sports Club where she hands over my money to this fool!
MR. TAMAKLOE
Bright Koffie?
CHRIS
(looking at Mr. Tamakloe in utter shock)
You know him?
MR. TAMAKLOE
Of course I know him, you hothead! He works for Rupert! I've known him for a while. He is a fine gentleman.
CHRIS
Bright Koffie works for Rupert Henderson, Effe's soon-to-be husband?
MR. TAMAKLOE
Yes! The one and only Rupert I know.
CHRIS
Now you see what I was talking about? Effe managed to get him to work for Rupert! They're playing him for a fool! They'll con him out of his wealth! You better warn that old man to open his eyes, sir, and not be fooled by these liars!
MR. Tamakloe begins to speak, but turns away with a strange sound of indignation and approaches Koffie.
MR. TAMAKLOE
Are you okay, Bright?
The young man nods, but his furious eyes drive into Chris with venom. He bends down, picks up the brown envelope and approaches the fuming Chris.
BRIGHT
(angrily)
You're lucky I have so much respect for Effe, and for Mr. Tamakloe! I would gladly have met you blow for blow, Chris! You’re the big fool here if you believe all that shit about Effe!
Chris rushes towards him again, but Mr. Tamakloe steps between them, pushing them apart.
MR. TAMAKLOE
Stop that, stop this at once, both of you!
Chris and Koffie glare at each other, but they step back.
MR. TAMAKLOE
Chris, I don't understand you. Bright here's been working for Rupert for a while now. What nonsense were you saying about him? That he stole your money? Did you steal his money, Bright?
BRIGHT
(handing over the brown envelope to Mr. Tamakloe)
You know something, Chris? I've spent the past four years feeling sorry for Effe because things didn't work out between you two. I got the impression that you were the perfect guy for her, but after meeting you today, and from what I have seen, I can say Effe is better off without you. I am totally convinced that Effe is the lucky one. You don't deserve an angel like Effe!
MR. TAMAKLOE
(gesturing with the brown envelope)
Bright? What's this?
BRIGHT
Accounts of Chris’ investments with us. That's the documentations for his money, the money he claims Effe stole. All the deposit slips and statements of investments are in his name. Please give it to him!
Bright turns to leave, but Mr. Tamakloe hold his arm.
MR. TAMAKLOE
Hold on, Bright. I don't understand a thing! What's all this? What are talking about?
BRIGHT
Sir John. You see, four years ago, Effe and I were both lucky to leave the orphanage. Thanks mainly to this man, Chris Bawa! Effe and I were like brother and sister...
CHRIS
(angrily, bitterly)
The hell you were, you stupid liar! They were lovers! They still are, John!
BRIGHT
(face tight with anger)
I'll tell you this, Mr. Bawa, and only this once. Effe and I are friends, very close friends. Maybe you saw Effe and I together, maybe the way we relate so each other suggested to you that we were intimate, but it was nothing. It was a show of affection between a brother and a sister. A deep love between siblings, for that's the love I feel for Effe. What's got you so riled up anyway?
CHRIS
Because she stole my money and gave it to you, idiot!
BRIGHT
(taking a shuddering breath)
I’m trying to remain calm and civil here, Mr. Bawa. You better stop those insults because you’re really making me angry. Effe never took a pesewa from you, Mr. Bawa. Her father, Mr. Opoku, found work for me at the African International Bank many years ago. I was a clerk then, and we had just introduced a high-yielding investment account into the system. I advised Effe to sign on to the investment account. She bought the idea and brought you an application form to complete. After completion Effe brought it back to me!
Chris' eyes narrow.
His mind flashes back to a warm evening.
He and Effe are in his study, filling out an African International Bank account form.
CHRIS
I remember something like that, yes, but I also remember she had a portion to fill too. I gave the forms back to her, but never heard about it again. I forgot all about it, and I don’t think I asked her what happened to the forms.
BRIGHT
She filled her part and brought it to me. That investment account wasn’t meant as a Joint Account, so you were the sole signatory. She only filled the emergency contact section of the form. Shortly afterwards, I was transferred to the Cape Coast Branch. I however came to Takoradi weekly or so for official purposes. I met her at the Sports Club where she gave me the deposits for the account, YOUR account, because everything was in your name, not hers. All the monies I received from her on my weekly visits were deposited into that account, and she could not withdraw from that account because EVERYTHING WAS IN YOUR BLOODY NAME!
CHRIS
(voice now low, devoid of fury. He seems confused)
But she never mentioned you. Not even once. If you were like siblings, how come she never mentioned you?
BRIGHT
She did. I was known at the Orphanage as Kofi Panyin, a name I couldn't use when I got employed. I began using Bright Koffie only as an adopted name when I got the appointment. Not all of us grew up knowing our parents, Mr. Bawa!
CHRIS
Oh, Lord! You're Kofi Panyin, her brother at the orphanage? She mentioned you all the time! Yes, we were coming to Cape Coast to visit you one day...oh, God! But why the Sports Club? Why didn't she bring you home instead?
BRIGHT
It was because I was time pressed. The Takoradi sports Club was one of our biggest clients and I managed their accounts too, so I was coming to the Sports Club every week to go over their investments portfolio with the Chief Executive. Besides, you were not home during the weekdays. So that's it. I deposited all your money into the new account. She told me you were saving it for your marriage. She only made deposits into the account. Not a pesewa was taken from the account. So the money she gave me, YOUR MONEY, grew even after you were separated.
CHRIS
(shaking his head dizzily)
Oh, no, no, oh no!
BRIGHT
Yes, Mr. Bawa. When the two of you broke up, I was then attached to the Kumasi office. Effe was so hurt that she never informed me about the break up. When I came back to Cape Coast, after two years, I assumed that you might have withdrawn the money, you being the sole signatory. A few weeks ago I was privy to our Internal Auditor's report, and I realized that the money was still in the account, untouched. I notified Effe and she asked me to give all the documents of the investment to your mother, but I never could not make the time. Later, Uncle Rupert told me you would be meeting here this morning. I manage some accounts for Uncle Rupert too, and work for him on the side, so he gives me a lot of info. When I heard you would be here I went for your account documentations two days ago. They’re all in that envelope. All your statements, deposit slips, account details, everything! They’re all in there. Effe never stole a pesewa from you, Mr. Bawa.
MR. TAMAKLOE
So, the money Chris thought Effe was stealing and giving to you is all here?
BRIGHT
Yes, everything. The envelope has all the deposit slips, and since no withdrawals have been made, and the amount was re-invested quarterly, it has now earned very impressive interests.
MR. Tamakloe tears open the bulky brown envelope.
He rummages in there and finally withdraws what looks like an account statement.
He looks at the entries, opens to another page, and then he whistles silently when he sees the current closing balance
MR. TAMAKLOE
Chris, you're a millionaire!
Chris’ face is twisted with shock and pain.
There is sweat all over his face, and he is trembling. For several moments his eyes dart from Bright’s face to the sheet in Mr. Tamakloe’s hand.
CHRIS
Oh, God! Oh, Lord no! Oh, God, oh God, oh God!
BRIGHT
Oh, man, don't tell me you really didn't know! How can you even think Effe can ever steal from you, or con you? Are you mad? That girl loved you! She worshipped you! You were her world! She wanted you to be proud of her.
Chris loosens his tie.
He cannot speak. His face is so shocked.
Wordlessly Mr. Tamakloe puts the accounts statement back into the envelope and hands it to Chris.
BRIGHT
I have to run now. You look genuinely shocked, so I wouldn't hold it against you. My question is, why didn't you ask Effe about the money when you were convinced she was stealing from you?
Chris still cannot speak.
Bright shakes his head sadly and gets into his car.
He drives off.
MR. TAMAKLOE
(sadly)
Is this why you broke off with Effe, Chris, my son? You thought she was stealing from you and giving it to her lover?
CHRIS
(unsteadily)
I am scared, John! Within a few hours I’ve had shocking revelations. I’ve found out that two of the reasons I had for breaking off with her are false! Sure, they're nothing compared with the other reasons, but Lord, I'm scared! I'm scared to the core!
MR. TAMAKLOE
Did you ever speak to Effe about your reasons for ending your relationship?
CHRIS
No, no! I was too overwhelmed! I can't tell you what happened, but it wasn't nice! But now, faced with these, maybe I should've spoken to her!
MR. TAMAKLOE
(softly)
Do you still love her?
CHRIS
(voice breaking)
I've never stopped loving her. Yet I've done nothing but hate her. I will never stop loving her, that's a fact, but she hurt me so much that I hate her!
MR. TAMAKLOE
Chris. That's some damn crazy talk if you ask me. Listen, kid, I'll give it to you straight, man to man. You got to get your act together. I'm beginning to think that maybe you broke off with Effe when lies were flying all around you. You didn't take time to know whether she was really doing the damn things you assumed she was doing. Your mistake, I think, was that you didn’t confront her, or talk to her about the whole caboodle.
CHRIS
Maybe you're right, yeah, about some of the reasons, anyway. Maybe I let my heart rule my head, yes. But then, maybe there was no other way considering the circumstances. If only you knew the kind of things she did, you would award me for staying sane all these years. At the time there was no way else but to call it off.
MR. TAMAKLOE
There's always a way, boy, there's always another way. Listen, your girl is going to get hitched in a couple of hours. Whatever your reasons for hurting her...
CHRIS
She hurt me John! She damn hurt me, not the other bloody way round!
MR. TAMAKLOE
Maybe she did, boy. Listen, I've been a tad longer on this earth than you, and I still say you got to get your act together. I've just been privy to how you thought she stole money from you and how it just turned out that she didn't do nit! Maybe, just maybe, you might be wrong about your other reasons too!
CHRIS
(tremulously)
No, Sir. The other reasons, the REAL reasons for the break up, I WITNESSED, okay, saw with MY OWN EYES. She just acted bitchy, that's all she's always been. I've found out two shocking misconceptions I had about her, but the rest, she is as guilty as Cain, Boss!
MR. TAMAKLOE
Okay, if you say so, boy. But, maybe you shouldn't come to the wedding. Maybe you have to go home!
CHRIS
Go ahead, Boss. I need a little time. Oh, God!
Tamakloe nods, squeezes Chris' shoulder affectionately, and then he turns and heads for his car.
.
It continues after comments..

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