Papa wants a horse?
Papa read the newspaper on the table and sipped tea. I bought a pretty blue dress and braided my hair. A lie would suffice in this situation.
Papa, I need the transport money. I can't walk to university my friends will laugh at me,” I scowled.
Papa placed the newspaper on the table he looked irritated.
“Nami, when I give you money it's budgeted for, you think money grows on trees?” He said.
I hated it when he called me Nami. I wasn't a kid anymore. You'd think a 22-year-old woman would earn some respect from her father, but no, I'm still a child to him. I rolled my eyes.
“Look at your daughter she's disrespecting me with her eyes,” Papa said.
Mom ate bread and savoured the tea as she portrayed a composed expression.
“Papa,” I used my honeyed voice.
For a rich man, he complained a lot about giving me money but ultimately he'd always give it to me.
“Don't use that sweet-talking voice with me, I invented it,” he said.
“How do you think I married your mother? I stole her from her boyfriend with my sweet-talking skills,” he said.
Mom spat her tea and coughed. Papa and I snickered. She wiped her mouth with a white serviette.
“If you are done I can drive you to school,” she said.
Mom was a woman of a few words well mannered and didn't like silly jokes.
“Don't spoil her, let her ride the bicycle to school. It will teach her not to spend money on dresses and hair,” he said.
I hid my smile by chewing the chunk of food in my mouth. Papa noticed my outfit. My light-black skin glowed from the premium treatment I received from the saloon two days ago finishing all the money in the process. I had the right to pamper myself.
“That mountain bike in the garage? I swallowed. I will be sweaty by the time I reach school,” I gestured to the pretty blue dress I bought for the summer.
“You see, you have spoiled her,” Papa pointed an accusatory finger at mom.
“Don't blame me I always tell you not to give her too much money,” She said with a flat voice.
I hated it when my parents argued in front of me. I was running late and I grew impatient. I left them bickering.
I wore the helmet and headed out of the garage with the bike. I rode the bicycle downhill leaving the mansion far behind me.
When I arrived, my dress was drenched in sweat. In the hallway, I met my best friend Doreen she always waited if we had classes together. Doreen abruptly put her head down and walked away from me.
“Miss Naomi, are you absconding from my classes again?”
Without looking behind, I could tell from the cheap perfume it was her.
“No, professor, I’m rushing to the toilet.”
“If you miss my class again you won't be allowed to attend it for the rest of the semester,” She said while glaring at me.
If papa heard I was missing classes he'd nag me to death.
“I need to freshen up so I don't smell like a sack of rotten potatoes,” I grinned.
“I'm headed to class now if you're not there I'll have a word with your father, you have been warned,” she said.
I masked myself in perfume and hurried to class the professor was crazy and I was afraid she'd get me expelled.Last year, I was suspended because of a fierce confrontation with one of my classmates since then, the professor monitored me like an aggressive wild animal.
The professor's lecture bored me. I tuned out and observed the men who were attentive to her because she was an attractive woman. Her tight suits always brought the boys to the lectures. She found her attractiveness with the help of her celebrity best friend Janet Mwape Bwalya who enrolled at the university. She sat in the front row I could see her up here from the back.
A pair of muscular men dressed in black muscle shirts and jeans trotted in towering over the professor scaring her and the class.
“Can I help you?” She said.
The man with dark shades gestured to her to be quiet.
Women dressed in white gowns placed red rose petals on the ground creating a shape of a heart then my hubby appeared dressed in a white suit that complimented his light-skinned complexion. It hugged his yummy lean tall body. He gazed at me with his gorgeous brown eyes.
“Baby girl, come to me,” he beckoned with his finger.
The students in the lecture hall murmured and complained.
“You-” the professor said.
“Sit down!” The muscular man said.
My professor sat and folded her arms.
I looked at Doreen teary-eyed.
“Go to him,” Doreen grinned.
I trotted down the steps to him and held my mouth when he knelt. He revealed a small box from his suit and opened it. Tears flowed from my face.
“Baby girl, I want to make you my queen, will you marry me?” he said with his husky voice.
He put the diamond ring on my finger and he kissed me. My classmates cheered, some booed and some took pictures of us. I looked for Doreen but she had disappeared. I felt disappointed that I couldn't share the joy with my friend.
Papa wasn't happy with my little engagement as it went viral and was the talk of the town. Papa said, “You'll too young to marry,” but mom convinced him, so the date was set for the families to meet and negotiate the bridal price.
The bald Uncle Zed and a fat pot-bellied old man accompanied hubby. Hubby and I called him uncle Zed because he drank like a fish when he was drunk he spat nonsense like, “I'm Zed you won't see me coming when I strike you,” with his croaky voice. I sat on the floor near papa who looked angry opposite to papa sat mom. Her presence would prevent him from creating a commotion.
The pot-bellied old man cleared his throat.
“We have come here today to negotiate the bridal price for this young man here. Jason, if the woman you want to marry is here, show us.”
Hubby clasped his hands and pointed at me with his finger.
“The beauty over there,” he winked and bit his lip.
Papa stirred in his sit I was scared he'd start a fight. The elderly man who sat next to papa peered at me.
“Naomi, do know this young man?”
My heart beat violently compelling me to stare at the floor. I wanted to scream his name on the rooftops and tell everybody how much I loved him, so I thought of a way to say it.
“Yes, he is my missing rib.”
There was silence then everybody roared with laughter except for mom and dad who shook their heads. Hubby mischievously smiled.
“The young lady is in love that she's seeing him as fried ribs,” the old man said.
The pot-bellied old man and uncle Zed laughed. That's not what I meant the old man misinterpreted soulmate for food. Papa interrupted the laughter.
“Now that we have established that they know each other, can we begin the negotiations?” he laid back and folded his hands.
The old man wiped his tears with a handkerchief.
“Young lady, young man excuse us. The adults have to talk,” the old man said.
I let him stand first then I headed towards hubby. Papa blocked me with his hand.
“Don't follow him, go wait in the bedroom.”
I looked to mom for help she gestured with her head to do as papa instructed.
Yes, you should wait until the negotiations are done,” the old man said.
I waved at him as he left. The thought of being without him tore me inside. I left the door to the living room slightly open so I could eavesdrop on them from the kitchen.
“The family love the lady so much that they have agreed to offer you four cows as bridal price,” the potbelly old man said.
A silent squeal escaped my lips. It was music to my ears they loved me.
“Only four cows?” Papa said.
“Did you have something else in mind?” Uncle Zed said.
“Yes, I want horses,” Papa said.
Uncle Zed, potbelly Oldman, mom and old man gasped.
I smacked my head. Papa must have smoked marijuana because he wasn't making sense.
“We can't pay you with horses. It's like giving you four commercial farms for free,” Uncle Zed said.
“Then your boy, will not be marrying my daughter,” papa said.
I barged into the living room brimming with anger.
He looked at me with a stoic expression.
“They can afford it,” he said.
“Mama, talk to him.”
She gently held my hand, “Calm down, your father knows what he's doing.”
Uncle Zed and potbelly old man asked for time to convey papa's demands to hubby's family. Outside, hubby called for my name. Papa and mom were focused on their argument so I rushed to him.
He embraced me. Papa had trailed behind. Hubby was furious when he saw him that pushed me aside to confront him.
“You can not keep us apart,” hubby said.
Papa slapped him hard that he fell to the ground. I shielded him from papa.
“You think I don't know what you did, boy?” He said.
He removed his mobile phone and showed us pictures of Doreen and hubby kissing. I became dizzy at what i saw mom held me. I looked at hubby teary-eyed.
“So what? She's going to be my second wife it's tradition,” Jason shrugged.
Papa hurled the phone at him. Uncle Zed came between them and grabbed him, pushed him into the car and sped out of the yard.
In my mama's arms, papa stared at me with sympathy.
“You deserve better, my daughter.”
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