“Darling, am I that ugly?” Wofai commented when she sighted his frown, she was returning from fraternizing a bit with the guests.
He pulled her close, his arm tightening momentarily on her waist, “Never; you are the prettiest woman here this night. I was just frustrated about Nkoyo’s stubbornness, she should have been here, your brother is steadily getting drunk,” he complained bitterly.
“Don’t worry much, my love. Onen is also quite stubborn, he could have gotten Nkoyo’s number to call and specially invite her over. The lady probably just didn’t want to seem like she was pestering him with her presence, I hear when she got here she’d displayed an abysmal attitude, maybe she feels judged and ashamed,” Wofai pointed out, she was plastered by her fiancé’s side and she loved it.
Coincidentally, as Ekong expelled a particularly exasperated sigh, the monarchs, that of Efik and Atam kingdom were having the same conversation and their frustration surpassed that of the engaged couple.
“I am so sorry, Jesam, I really thought she’d make it,” Affy said to her friend, deeply feeling the burden of owning the disappointing child.
Even though Jesam portrayed a happy front for the benefit of her daughter, which honestly she was happy; she just couldn’t desist from feeling down for her son’s sake. She was drawn between both emotions, not surprising as she loved her children equally. What had happened between those two; why did they both have to be so stubborn?
“Look at him, Affy, he’s miserable,” Jesam complained and took a sip of her wine while managing to smile nicely at her guests that walked by.
“The party is a huge success though, so many people and for Wofai,” Affy said, trying to change the subject.
“I like the entourage from Ibibio kingdom, but we know some of these people are just here for the connections they can get and make; it isn’t every time the kingdom has three different visiting monarchs from powerful kingdoms. Additionally, there is the truck load of young ladies which I’m not sure I invited,” she said snidely and both friends laughed.
Young ladies were there to snag the single guys that were present. It remained a challenge to them, if Wofai, who’d been regarded as insane had managed to snag a prince, they knew they had a chance too; and where else better than the engagement party that would be full of entitled single men.
“Where we this obvious in our time?” Affy asked worriedly.
“Far from it, but Queen Uyai and her cohorts were,” Jesam pointed out and they laughed, “We better go join the men, Liman looks as though the minister’s conversation is sheer torture,” they laughed and advanced to where their husbands stood.
“My queens,” the minister solicitously bowed as the ladies joined them; the aspiring governor also bowed at the ladies.
“Good evening, minister,” Jesam greeted and nodded regally at the aspiring governor, “I trust you’re having a fine time?” she asked with a pleasant smile.
“You throw a fantastic party, my queen,” the aspiring governor commented with a smile that wasn’t so sincere, a moment later, Jesam knew why; introducing daughters to queens with single sons was in vogue, it was a blatant act that said ‘hey, you have a son, I have daughter, let’s get them together and be relatives’.
“Have you met my daughter?” he said, pulling his skimpily dressed daughter forward and Jesam recognized her as the young lady that had always given Wofai grief. “She just completed her second degree from Birmingham.”
Jesam tightened her lips, her smile was barely pleasant and was about to acknowledge the girl when a sight behind Nancy caught her interest. Jesam’s hand flashed out and grabbed Affy’s own in excitement, their eyes found the same sight of interest and Nancy, having always been the center of attraction was pissed and turned to find out what was more interesting.
Nkoyo advanced into the party in a shimmering, navy blue evening gown that emphasized at her curves. She was a perfect hour glass figure; her stomach may not have been entirely flat, but her impressive bosom and flaring hips covered for that slight. The length of the gown draped to her ankle and a slash up her right knee flashed an alluring amount of fair skin as she walked on sensible but sexy heels. Diamonds dangled in her ears and twinkled on her wrist, her make-up included a bold red on her lips, which stood out beautifully on her fair skin.
“That’s my girl,” Affy whispered excitedly, she was basically relieved that she’d decided to attend the party after all.
“And mine too, if my son would pull his head out of his ass and do the right thing,” Jesam said as she extended her arm towards Nkoyo in obvious welcome, something that had been glaringly lacking in her greeting of Nancy.
“Jesam!” Liman exclaimed in a scandalized manner at his wife’s comment, Asuquo chuckled and the aspiring governor and minister tried to keep straight faces, the queen had just broken a whole lot of royal politesse.
“Darling! You gave us all a scare,” Affy said, rushing over to her daughter.
“I’m glad you made it,” Asuquo told his daughter, he had sighed in relief at the sight of her. There was just so much moroseness a father could take from a love sick daughter and having arrived Atam two days before the party, he’d been privy to Onen’s depression too, that much gloom wasn’t healthy. “Let’s hope your boy takes it from here,” he whispered in an aside to his friend.
“If he doesn’t, I’d reacquaint his behind with my belt; they must have missed each other after all these years,” Liman commented and shared a wide grin with his friend.
At the pleasure of seeing Nkoyo, they had completely forgotten about the minister and his friend the aspiring governor, with his daughter. The men had no issues, but Nancy was incensed, so this was who Onen was pinning for, she thought snidely, a freaking fat bitch. Was this why he’d barely answered her greetings or replied her tries at a conversation with him?
Formerly, Nkoyo wouldn’t have even bothered with moving close to greeting the guests that were with her dad and king Liman, she would have remained regally aloof and waited for the guests to recognize and accord her the honor due a princess. But she was a changed person; she had come to realize that to maintain bridges and create beneficial relationships in the high circles usually rested on how nice one was to everybody…well, and the connection one brought to the table too.
“Good evening, daddy. Your majesty,” she curtsied nicely for Liman, who laughed and caught her in a loving hug.
“You do know I would have found you this night if you hadn’t appeared?” Liman joked, still holding her to him.
“I was held up a bit, but there was no way I’d have missed Wofai’s party, she’s more like a sister now,” Nkoyo said and the monarchs nodded in pleasant acceptance.
Nancy had snorted, not so quietly when Nkoyo had referred to Wofai as a sister; unfortunately, Nkoyo had heard.
“That’s what I like to hear. This is the minister and…” Liman introduced Nkoyo to the men and she greeted them rather solicitously, they beamed with self importance and she knew if ever she needed a favor, they would jump to her bidding.
Her eyes finally found the girl that had snorted. Nkoyo suspected that this was the person that Wofai had told her about in their many conversations about her life at her kingdom. Nkoyo towered over her and she wasn’t ashamed to intimidate her with it, she obviously didn’t regard Wofai and had been rejected continuously by Onen.
She paused as though she wanted to say something pleasant to her, but then appeared to change her mind and looked away as though she wasn’t worth the stress. It was an obvious snob, one that wasn’t missed by the monarchs or the victim; Nancy couldn’t control the slight opening of her mouth.
“I need to find the couple and congratulate them,” she said with a smile and only walked away from the group when the monarchs nodded.
“Close your mouth, dear,” Jesam softly advised Nancy as she watched Nkoyo walk away, Affy hid her smile behind a dainty sip of her wine.
The young lady snapped her mouth shut and seemed to bristle. There was no need for the introduction to the queen of Atam kingdom any longer, she obviously already had her choice of a daughter in law. But as she walked away, she fumed, how dare that fat bitch snob her so openly? Nancy regarded herself as the queen of social snobbery, to be on the receiving end of that sentiment rubbed her the wrong way. This was her town, the young ladies here revered her superiority, she would show the out-of-towner that she might be a princess, but she was still a stranger in Atam kingdom.
Nancy kept Nkoyo in her sights as she rallied some of her loyalists for bitch war, so she was privy to Wofai’s ecstatic scream when she saw Nkoyo. So, Wofai had made a small friend in her travel, she thought acerbically, it made no difference, Wofai might be engaged to a prince, but she was still the easily intimidated girl she remembered.
Nkoyo tightened her arm about Wofai and smiled, genuinely happy that she had overcome her reservations to be there. Not that she saw said reservation in sight, but it would have been terribly unforgivable if she’d skipped the party, as Wofai and Ekong were both her friends now, a luxury she’d not known she’d been missing.
“I’m so glad you came,” Wofai gushed. “I already told you I have no friends out here, all the girls congregate with Nancy,” she reported with a grin, “Thanks so much for coming. I know the struggle you went through to get here, thanks Nkoyo.”
“Okay, enough with the thanks giving,” Nkoyo chuckled, even though her heart hammered in expectation, she dreaded when she’d come face to face with Onen.
“I’m just so glad. Have you seen Ekong?”
Nkoyo turned and found her former fiancée in a circle of his friends, some very princely looking guys; they weren’t all princes, but they were entitled in their own right. Ekong’s gaze wavered for a moment and caught hers and she waved enthusiastically, he grinned widely and gave her a thumb up.
“God look at that smile,” Wofai commented and sighed in blatant love.
“Way to make me feel better, Wofai. Jesus, I know you had it bad for him but it seems this few weeks we’ve been apart, it has gotten worse,” Nkoyo joked and both ladies giggled.
“I’ll be eternally glad that you’d refused his kisses, it might have changed your mind about him and I’d never have had a chance,” Wofai said, sighing heavily with a sincere expression.
“There was never an urge and besides, babe, you’re freaking awesome, and beautiful, it is Ekong who never had a chance; I’ve never seen him act the way he acts with you, he has totally fallen,” Nkoyo pointed out. She understood that Wofai might have left her complex behind, but once in a while, she needed to hear that she was worth the best.
Wofai hugged her again, speechlessly communicating her appreciation.
“My oh my, isn’t this quaint,” Nancy said sarcastically, her comment elicited several derisive chuckles from the four other skimpily dressed ladies behind her. “Wofai and her new best friend,” she commented with a brittle laugh.
Nkoyo’s brow elevated an inch in surprise, she couldn’t believe what was currently unfolding before her, the Nancy girl had really taken the snobbery to heart and this was to be pay back.
“Are these your friends, Wofai?” Nkoyo asked nicely and hated that her friend had stiffened beside her, she looked like she’d just seen a ghost, which would be true, Nancy had bullied her almost all her life.
Nancy scoffed, “Friends…with an insane girl? Please,” she scoffed again with a flick of her wrist at Wofai and a roll of her eyes.
“So, who are you?” Nkoyo asked and waited until the flash of animosity in Nancy’s eyes prodded a reply before she interrupted her, “Oh wait, don’t bother,” her eyes went up and down Nancy’s torso in plain derision, “If you weren’t important before, you still aren’t now; but you girls make good impersonations of princess wannabes.”
“We should go,” Wofai whispered in an aside when she gleaned Nancy’s fury coming to life in the flash of her eyes, and made to leave.
“That’s right, you run away as usual, at least your brother taught you that very well,” Nancy snapped while her followers made supporting noises.
Nkoyo’s hand snapped out and held Wofai in place, oh, the bitch couldn’t talk about Onen in that insolent manner, her anger surged but she channeled it into a smile.
“Well, of course, we royalty have in built self preservation…”
“…from what, sanity?” Nancy scoffed, her wrist flicking at Wofai to show that the barb was directed at her, and laughed deprecatingly with her cohorts.
“From gold diggers,” Nkoyo concluded and was satisfied to see the cohorts’ mouth widening in shock.
“Bitch please,” Nancy scoffed, “My parents have money.”
“Then the dear prince must have been running away from certain diseases that are inherent in your…” Nkoyo cleared her throat after staring pointedly at her torso, and the barb was clear.
“…anyway, the gods show us, royalty, these things, there’s no need to be mad Nancy, rather, try treating yourself of germs and maybe next time, you might have better luck with the prince of nowhere.”
“Oooh!” was exclaimed right behind Nkoyo by a very masculine audience, apparently, Ekong’s princely friends had drawn near to better watch the cat fight. “Babe, just go home!” someone commented and the guys laughed.
Nkoyo’s eye brow went up and she seemed to be waiting, “Well…”
Nancy breathed heavily, she was ashamed, especially at the crowd of the prince’s friends that she’d been looking to fraternize with at some point. It would have been okay if she was the one doing the decimation, but it was a travesty as she was the one being decimated.
“Cat got you tongue, Nancy?” Wofai asked in a tiny voice that made Nkoyo chuckle.
Her eyes flashed desperately, her mind struggled for one more thing she could snipe at the smug princess. “You’re fat and she’s insane and stop raising your hopes because Onen isn’t into elephants, I’m more his type,” Nancy preened, flipping her long hair over her shoulder.
Wofai gasped, her eyes widening and giving Nancy satisfaction that she had scored a point, the girls behind her chuckled and belligerently folded their arms over their chests and waited for what Nkoyo had.
Nkoyo’s heart had skipped, the defense she’d created for all things Onen shifted slightly but the pain she felt at the possibility of Nancy speaking the truth, didn’t show in her eyes.
Instead, she smiled, “Seriously, is that all you’ve got?” Nkoyo asked in mock dismay, “I’m sorry but I left kindergarten centuries ago, you would have to look for your age mates if that’s all you’ve got. Oh wait,” Nkoyo widened her eyes in realization, “…they are right behind you.”
“Sniper shot!” another guy exclaimed and masculine laughter filled the whole place. It was as though they had created their own party away from the real party. Ekong slid his arm around his fiancée’s waist then and pulled her close, his eyes asking if she was okay and she nodded, he smiled then and kissed her temple before turning his attention to the unfolding drama.
Nancy’s friends began looking uncomfortable, two of them shifted slightly away from her. It was one thing to be embarrassed in front of females but another to take such a barb in front of potential husbands who seemed really interested in finding out which group would win the slanging match.
The problem was Nancy had ticked Nkoyo the wrong way which was quite unfortunate because the princess wasn’t finished yet.
“And as for wishing that you are the prince’s type, how is that working out for you, seeing as it’ll always be only in your dreams? The prince, dear Nancy, has taste.”
Nancy sputtered, “You don’t stand a chance…” she spewed in obvious anger but was once again interrupted, it didn’t help that the guys she’d wanted to impress were throwing dirty comments at her too.
“Oh please,” Nkoyo cut her off, “It isn’t about blinding decent folks with your…” her eyes roamed Nancy’s body again, “…depreciated body parts,” Nkoyo was furious and she ignored the roar from the guys and it was also of little consequence when she saw Nancy’s cohorts try to draw their dresses down, she was simply on a roll.
“What I see is an inferior person putting others down to have some relevance. Wofai will always be better than you, not because she’s a princess, which you’ll never be, but because she’s smart, and beautiful, and hardworking, despite being a princess and for the coup de grace, a prince is madly, in love with her!”
“Wofai is marrying a prince. Yes, Nancy, the insane girl which you’ve bullied in the past, is doing the coveted deed before you, deal with it,” she concluded and heaved heavily, her eyes flashing fire and looking ready to take on whatever Nancy had left.
But Nancy fled the scene looking close to tears.
“Flawless victory!” another guy exclaimed and the masculine laughter once again resonated the atmosphere, attracting curious glances from the other guests at the party.
“Thanks for doing that,” Wofai murmured with a wide, happy grin at her, she was still cuddled in her fiancé’s arm.
“Babe, that was nothing, it was like drinking tea and, well, it had to be done,” she commented casually, still trying to calm her adrenaline charged system.
“I got the feeling you went smarting mad when she insinuated something untoward about ‘the prince’,” Ekong said, emphasizing ‘the prince’; he had also noticed that Nkoyo had refused to use the said prince’s name in the battle.
Nkoyo looked away from Ekong’s knowing gaze and tried to come up with some sort of joke to avoid his observation. Just then, a masculine arm circled her waist and drew her close, saving her from having to answer her friend.
Before he spoke, she knew he wasn’t Onen, he smelled wrong and his touch had the effect reminiscent of darkness on night; no effect at all. “Babe, you killed it,” he praised and Nkoyo gave him a polite smile, imperceptibly struggling to leave his arm.
INSIDE OUT continues
Your comments bring out the beauty in our stories. Have your say in the comment box below. To share our story, click on the Facebook share button or on the twitter button.
Follow us twitter @lagosconvo
Copyright 2017 Lagos Convo.
Otherwise stated, all stories on www.lagosconvo.com are Intellectual Property of HMG STUDIOS LTD. No permission has been granted for the reproduction of our materials in part or whole on any platform, electronic or otherwise.