It’s always heartbreaking to witness a marriage proposal being rejected. I always wonder what happens to the relationship after that. Can the relationship be salvaged?
In the only one I’ve ever witnessed, the couple went their separate ways.
In Thorns and Roses, Ifeoma turned Chuma down in what I thought was a sweet marriage proposal.
Here is another instalment of my teaser series— Breakup to Make up. Enjoy.
Thorns and Roses
A few minutes after they left the restaurant, they arrived at their destination. Chuma led her out of the jeep towards a building. Ifeoma followed closely beside him, holding his hand.
She stopped when she saw the sign that said Eastern Delight hoisted on the ground floor of a three-storey complex building. Appearing puzzled, she turned towards him.
“What’s going on?”
“Just follow me,” Chuma said, leading her into the building.
“Follow me to the kitchen,” he said.
Ifeoma froze as soon as she stepped inside. It was a beautiful modern restaurant with mahogany tables and chairs neatly arranged, silk table clothes spread across the tables and lovely floral arrangements on the centre of each table.
Before she could respond to his prompting, he took her hand and led her to an even more fascinating kitchen where three yam pounders, multiple fancy kitchen equipments, including two large cookers, were strategically placed.
“I bought what I think you need but we can add anything else that you want,” Chuma was saying, but Ifeoma hardly heard a thing. Her mind was reeling from shock.
“Ifeoma Okafor, this is all yours,” he said, holding out a bunch of keys towards her. “All paid for in your name.”
Ifeoma was still speechless, her eyes widened in astonishment, her heart fluttering.
“Ify, I was there this afternoon. I know about Mr Peters. Trust me, he will never bother you again. I will never let anyone hurt you again.”
Getting down on a knee, Chuma brought out a box from his shirt pocket. He opened it and Ifeoma gasped. A huge diamond ring dazzled her vision.
Will you marry me, Ify?” he asked simply because he was a simple man. Always direct, he did not know how to use any other approach.
She stared blankly at him for a few seconds, then turned and fled.
Cursing, Chuma got to his feet speedily and pursued her. He caught her in his arms before she could get far. They were in the middle of the empty restaurant.
“Let go of me!” she screeched.
Chuma dropped his hands. Ifeoma escaped his embrace and began to pace the room.“
“You were there this afternoon? How do you know about Mr Peters?” Ifeoma asked, panting heavily, eyes wide in shock.
“I found out about him, about what he did to you, I’m sorry for what he did. He will never bother you again.” Chuma’s tone was calm, even though he felt the direct opposite.
Ifeoma paused her pacing as if suddenly having an epiphany.
“Mr Peters … his face … did you … did you do it?” she asked, eyeing him sceptically.
“Not personally, but I was there when it happened.” Chuma did not bother to conceal that truth. “I wanted them to do worse, to break his neck.”
“Did you tell him to… to—”
“Yes! Ifeoma, yes!” Chuma answered indignantly. “I told him to stay away from you.” He noticed the repulsion on Ifeoma’s face, and then added. “I don’t regret it, I don’t apologise. I will do anything to protect you.”
“Protect me!” she cried in disbelief. “You think losing the restaurant I worked so hard for is protecting me?” Ifeoma shook with the rage that swept through her entire body. Chuma said nothing.
“You are a controlling, manipulative asshole, and I will never marry you!” Ifeoma pointed angrily at him as she spoke.
Flinching inwardly at her words, Chuma remained still. A deep-seated fear that he was losing her made his insides burn. Many women had called him an asshole. It was nothing new. Until now, he had actually thought nothing of being called that because he knew it was the truth. Even his family frequently called him an asshole. But hearing it coming from Ifeoma’s mouth was like a knife to his heart.
“I did all of this for you! Ify, can’t you see that?”
Chuma drew closer to Ifeoma, desperate to make her see how much she meant to him. He couldn’t lose her. She backed away.
“No, you did it for yourself. To control me. I will not allow you to control me!” she snarled, her nostrils flaring. Just then, the front door to the restaurant burst open.
The loud sound of cheering from the door interrupted them. Ifeoma and Chuma glanced simultaneously at the entrance.
Nnamdi, Adaora, Chioma, and Ngozi walked in cheering loudly with flowers and champagne bottles in their hands. Adaora held a big banner with congratulations on your engagement written boldly across it. They seemed to halt in unison as soon as they properly observed the expressions on Ifeoma and Chuma’s faces.
“You got my sisters involved?” Ifeoma turned towards him, her voice saturated with fury.
“I wanted to make this a wonderful night for you, believe me, Ify, I did this all for you,” he replied, running his palm over his shaved head. The vein at the side of his head became more prominent.
“Should we leave?” Adaora asked hesitantly.
The atmosphere was awkward and full of tension.
“No, I’ll leave,” Ifeoma said, her tone low, her eyes not straying from his face.
“Stay away from me,” she said to him as she took off her shoes and ran out into the night, leaving him staring after her.
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