"Is that what you think? That I took a loan to pay for our wedding?" Raffe asked.
"Yes! Where else could you have got the money you
plan to spend that is way beyond our budget?" I countered. He had arrived home a short while before from work and I had confronted him immediately on the issue.
"Look, Raffe dear, much as I want a nice wedding, I think it will be foolish of us to spend not just all our savings but borrow money too. We need money for other things after the wedding, like a bigger apartment, a new car and other stuff. So, let's be prudent in our spending. That's all I'm saying," I explained.
"Oma, come here," he said, drawing me towards the sofa where he sat.
"I understand your concern and I'm not stupid. Thing is, it was a gift, not a loan that I got," he disclosed.

"A gift?" I exclaimed.
"Yes. From Tega," he added. When he mentioned the amount, I jumped up from the couch.
"Tega gave you all that money? And you didn't inform me so we can visit and thank him for his kind gesture?" I asked. Then remembering something, I said: "I thought you guys had fallen out? Why did he gift you such a huge sum of money then?" Some months back, the two friends had quarreled over a business proposal Raffe wanted him to be part of, which Tega had turned down.
"Just because he now has money, he has forgotten his roots, his old friends he grew up with. He has no regard for us anymore," Raffe had grumbled back then.

Raffe laughed.
"He heard about our upcoming wedding and sent for me. We settled our differences and here we are!" he stated.
I felt happy and relieved on hearing that. At least, he had not mortgaged our future by taking a loan, I thought.

We sat, finalizing the plans for our big day.
"I'll take my annual leave from work so we can have time for a honeymoon. We are going abroad!" said Raffe.
"Can we afford a foreign trip?" I asked sceptically.
He nodded.

"We have the money to do whatever we want. So, let's spoil ourselves! Europe, U.S, Canada, anywhere you want. Just name it!" he declared.
"We can visit those places some other time. Let's stay in Africa for now. We have a beautiful continent that has so much to offer, to see and explore," I said.
"Which African country will you like to visit?" he asked.

"Let's go to Kenya! My friend, Roli was there for her annual vacation last year and she said she had a nice time," I told him.
"Kenya then. I heard the ladies are pretty," he said, grinning.
"What? So, you want to go there because of the girls?" I demanded.
"Relax, darling! With you by my side, I won't have time for other women even if they are as beautiful as Agbani Darego!*" he said, holding me tight and kissing me.

The big day
Our journey to the altar began with the traditional marriage ceremony with the church wedding fixed for the following week. 
The traditional marriage took place in my late father's compound in the village. Raffe arrived with his father, uncles and other relatives and they were the ones who paid my bride price (dowry) to my uncles, who stood in for my deceased father. Though, my mother was present at the ceremony, she could not collect the dowry because it was not a woman's place to do so.
It was the tradition.

It was a joyous occasion. Raffe and I were resplendently dressed in ethnic attires in the colors we had chosen- blue and gold. I was in a blouse and 'wrapper', likewise my husband, who wore the long blouse style for men.
Raffe had spared no expense and there was enough to eat and drink. It was a good thing we prepared so much as it looked as if the whole village had shown up at the ceremony considering the crowd. There was nothing strange in that. In our community, such events like weddings, funerals and others were open house- you don't need an invitation. You simply show up at the venue and you are served whatever you want.
Anyway, the party went on late into the night with different live bands that blasted all sorts of music, from the traditional to hiphop/R&B and dance hall tunes to the delight of the guests.
Soon, it was time to escort the 'bride' to her husband's house. We left in a convoy of cars to Raffe's family home, about seven kilometres away from my village. I was accompanied by some of my aunties and cousins, whose duty was to deliver me safely to my new husband's house.

At Raffe's home, a mini party was taking place. After my relatives had handed me over to Raffe's people, I was escorted to the specially prepared room where my husband and I would spend our wedding night, our first night together as a married couple.
A small group of women comprising his female relatives took me to the room. Before stepping through the door, over the threshold, my feet were washed, to signify a new beginning. Prayers, that my arrival in the family would herald blessings for my new home and I would be fruitful, were also offered. 

Inside the bedroom, I was made to lie on the bed while the women sat around talking and laughing. We were waiting for Raffe to join me. Soon after, he entered the room. The women left, smiling happily at the money Raffe had tipped them.
Finally, we were alone for the first time on that busy and eventful day.

"God, what a day! I'm so tired," I said, yawning and stretching fully on the bed after changing into a short, pink nightie. "All I need now is sleep."
"You can't sleep. The night is just beginning," stated Raffe, as he undressed and joined me in the bed. "We still have some 'business' to take care of," he added, reaching for me.
"Raffe! Don't tell me you still have the energy for that after such a hectic day!" I said incredulously.

"I can't be too tired to make love to my sweet wife. Do you know how sexy you look in that nightie? Just looking at you makes me feel hot all over!"
"Then, you need to take a shower and cool down that 'heat'," I suggested.
"No way, baby! I won't be able to sleep if I don't have you tonight. Come here," he ordered, as his lips locked with mine. He kissed me deeply, then his lips trailed down my neck and he removed my gown to have free access to my body. All my tiredness, the stress of the ceremony and the whole world melted away, all I could do was moan softly as his lips teased my nipples and his hardness pressed against my thighs.
I reached down to remove his boxers and that was when we heard shouts, raised voices outside, followed by a loud banging on our bedroom door...

Note: Nigerian born Agbani Darego was Miss World 2001.

To be continued...Log on for the conclusion of Oma's story tomorrow!
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Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.

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