Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 18
“There’s never been a party like this” Ella told Ken as she looked around in wonder.
Robert had spared no expense for his engagement party. He had hired the biggest event hall, a live band from Owerri.
The halls was decorated with red, pink and white flowers, roses and tulips, which came all the way from port Harcourt. The food was in excess, the drinks came in a big truck.
And the whole city and neighboring cities had come to celebrate with him.
And celebrate they did. The party started in the afternoon with a feast of love, presented by Robert McKenzie himself, talking about his love experiences, plus advice to both the single and married people on how to stick to the love that started the relationship.
After that was a game for all ages, designed to counteract the effect of the mid day meal, so that the guest could enjoy dinner.
After the dinner was concluded and the children drifting to sleep—the dancing begun.
“I’ve never seen Robert looking this happy” Dr. Ken frowned “he doesn’t know what he’s getting into”
Ella smiled then said “not everyone shares your opinion that marriage is a curse” if her voice sounded rude, then Ken deserved it, why wouldn’t he hide his cynicism and let Amanda and Robert enjoy their day.
Dr. Ken peered over his glasses, staring at her, as if she were a specimen under his microscope. When he had completed his study he said “why don’t I see you rushing into a matrimony soon?”
As the music band began their music, Ella’s feet started to tap the ground rhythmically
“There’s a difference between us” she told Ken “I’m not opposed to marriage, I simply haven’t found the right man”
He gave her another appraising look “and what kind of man would that be?”
Ella smiled and greeted a man and a woman as they danced by, then turning her attention back to Ken “the man I’ll marry will be kind, patient, a good provider and he will love children” Ella counted the items with her fingers
“Patience, huh? That leaves me out of the running”
What nerve! As if she had ever considered him in the light
“You were never in the running, Ken, so you can’t be out of it now” as Ken raised his eyebrows, Ella continued “maybe I should have added a fifth criterion; I want a man who doesn’t rely on whisky to solve his problems”
Dr. Ken tightened his lips to conceal his anger to what sounded like an insult to him “and if I were going to remarry, I will most certainly not settle with a cold blooded woman”
It seemed Dr. Ken was taking it more serious than she had expected
“What makes you think my blood isn’t warm” Ella asked.
Ken laughed “you don’t do things that normal people do”
How it hurts to have him say that she is not like other women — to her face!
“What kind of things, don’t I do?”
“You don’t dance, look around Ella, everyone else in town is out there, dancing to this wonderful music, and you are as standing here like a wall flower”
Ella watched Amanda as she danced with Robert, joy and love coupled with enthusiasm clouded her as her satin gown was swirling to her dance steps, another look around, she noticed ken was right. Every other woman in Isshangbo was out on the dance floor, dancing –except for her.
“there’s a reason why I don’t dance” she told ken.
“Yeah, I know. You don’t approve it, your over righteous lifestyle has convinced you that anything that is as much fun as dancing must be a sin, right?”
“Wrong!” She wasn’t sure why she bothered explaining to him, but somehow she had to clear the air “u don’t disapprove dancing” she said “I just don’t know how to dance”
“Do you want to learn?” Ken said glaring straight into her innocent magic
Ella shook her head “not interested” meanwhile her leg was still tapping the ground in rhythm to the music. Ken stared at the leg for a moment
“Let’s make a bargain, we’ll go outside this hall, where no one can see us, and I’ll teach you, easy dance steps, but only if you’ll agree to come back here and dance with me”
Ella felt a stab of panic “in front of everyone?” How was she going to learn well enough that she will not embarrass herself.
“In front of everyone” ken repeated
“Even you know it’s not possible to learn dance in….”
“The dance step is called ‘salsa’ its as simple as 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4 you just keep counting the steps that’s all, forget the other effects, they are really not necessary”
Ella tipped her head, considering “all right” she agreed ” but I have a bargain of my own, I will dance with you only if you agree not to take another drop of alcohol tonight ”
That was a hard one
“Starting now?” Ken asked
She nodded as she took the bottle from his hand “take it or leave it”
“I’ll take it” ….
He was right, dancing was fun, just like ken said, she needed not to display too much to enjoy a good dance. Just count in your mind, and add a little creativity to your body movement, that’s all. There was awkward moments when she missed steps and wanted to embarrass herself, but the moments in between was glorious. And when ken pulled her close to him as the music slowed, she was filled with a sense of belonging that her cheeks blushed, and she could feel her pulse grow erratically.
It had to be magic. Nothing else could explain the way she felt.
“It must be magic” Amanda said as she twirled around Robert’s arm.
Amanda gazed around, it was just a hall designed with lights and flowers. Everything was normal.
But from the moment she had set foot inside the hall, she felt like a Disney princess in a fairy tale and this was her happy ending. She was dancing with her prince charming on a night that would never end.
“Magic? What do you mean?” Robert asked
“This has been a perfect day, no one had gotten sick, not even a fever”
Robert chuckled ” I don’t think any one will dare. They all know is your day ”
“Our day” she corrected “but whether it was your threats or magic. Its wonderful. I never realized I could be so happy
Robert smiled broadly ” I’m the luckiest man alive”
Just then Amanda spotted a couple who had just entered the hall and started dancing.
“Look, Robert” she said in amazement “Ella’s dancing… With Dr. Ken!”
Ella’s face flushed with excitement, even from the other side of the hall, there was no mistaking her smile. It was one of pure happiness.
There had to be a touch of magic in the air to make Ella look so happy.
“I thought Ella said, she was scared of dancing and she doesn’t even know how to start” Amanda said “I even offered to teach her, but she never showed interest”
Robert watched the couple with their slow dance steps. “Looks like she’s interested now” Robert said “and look at how Dr. Ken is staring at her as if he just discovered she was a woman”
Turning around again she saw him –Chris– his face dried, his eyes rounded with dark circles, he stood at the entrance of the hall. Since the day she had refused his proposal, Amanda had seen him only from a distance and no one had discussed him in her hearing.
Poor. Chris, tonight he looked like a man suffering from a terminal illness
He pulled her closer and whispered “now don’t get all weepy, you picked the right man”
Her eyes shining with unshed tears, she managed a smile “I most certainly did!”