The journey back home was the most quiet journey Alice and Jude has ever had. Alice wasn't sure if Jude's quietness is due to the fact that he's angry about everything his mother said about her or because he's thinking of retracing back his steps about marrying her. Alice's heart skipped a beat with the thought of Jude leaving her. She's fully aware of Jude's affections towards his mother. According to him, she's the only one he knows as both his mother and father and so he had vowed to take care of her with everything he has. 

Jude halted at Alice's mini flat, expecting her to alight off the car. 

"so you ain't going to say anything?" she said  feeling so disappointed. Jude looked at her and smiled 

"I'm never gonna leave you Alice. I can read your mind" 

Alice wasn't sure if she should jump out of joy or she should just pretend she never gave a fuse about it. But she knows if Jude isn't going to end things with her, she's going to have a whole hell of bad in-laws. 

"hmmmmmm" she sighed as she took her bag and got off. She suddenly looked back into the car to make sure she hasn't forgotten to take her phone. She found it on the chair and took it. 

"are you not going to come inside?" she asked him

"no, i need to go relax my brain at home" 

"so that means you are not going to tell me all she said about me?" Alice queried. She has an idea of all that's happening but she still wants Jude to give her a report. 

"Not now Alice, please" Jude uttered out of frustration. He took out a white handkerchief and wiped off the streams of sweat lining up on his forehead, he's feeling so hot despite the fact that the AC of the car was on. 

"i will call you later, okay?" he added after returning the handkerchief 

"Okay" Alice replied and shut the door. She stood there till Jude manoeuvred out of the compound. 

She was just getting into her flat when her phone rang. It's Ijeoma, her best friend. 

"hey girlfriend, i just saw Jude driving off now. How was the meeting with your in-laws? I'm sure you enjoyed the place. Hope Jude's Mum cooked bitterleaf soup with eba for you ooo cause i know ibo mothers don't joke with that dish" Ijeoma asked repeatedly, not giving Alice a chance to speak. "hello, are you there?"

"Yes i am, i wanted to make sure you were done asking your multiple questions" Alice replied and she could hear Ijeoma laugh heartily. She had known her to have a thing for laughing. She laughed non-stop for up to 2mins before talking again. 

"oya, I'm done asking. Start replying ooo. Or do you want me to come over so i will get the full gist" she asked. Ijeoma stays just 3 houses away from Alice. They actually met in a supermarket in their street. They were always meeting in the supermarket and finally decided to talk to each other one day, they became friends afterwards. 

"Yes, i think i'd prefer that so you will know how exactly the visitation went" Alice replied with a sober voice. 

"Aha Alice, why are you talking like this?" Ijeoma said, finally noticing her tone. 

"Just come first" 

10 minutes later, Ijeoma arrived and Alice told her all that happened. 

"so Jude haven't said anything about it?"

"No, he only said he was going to call me later" Alice replied 

"I'm sure Jude is capable of making his mother change his mind" Ijeoma said confidently 

"Hmmmmm, i hope so" Alice sighed heavily.

Two days later, Jude was at Alice's place and he told her all his Mum said about her. 

"So what exactly is going to happen now? She made it clear that she's going to do everything to tear us apart. At least if i didn't hear all, i heard that part" Alice asked with worry and anxiety in her voice 

"Just calm down baby. I know mama, everything she said is just out of saying sake. There's nothing she can do, you just have to..........

"She sounded serious Jude. She hated me immediately you told her I'm not an Ibo girl. I could see it in the way she looked at me" Alice snapped in

"I know my mother. At least you've only met her once. Don't worry, with time she'd grow to love you. She's a lovely person, just like you" Jude consoled as he drew her close and kissed her on the forehead. 

"I'm just worried" Alice said, putting her head on his chest

"I won't be if i were you"  Jude replied. 

But he's lying. 

Everything he told her about his mother is just a way of making Alice's heart melt towards his mother. He knows his mother will never accept Alice. She's a very tough woman and other women in the village don't like to cross her path. 

Jude sighed and whispered into Alice ears

"I love you so much"

Alice smiled. Jude has a way of making her heart melt each time he tells her that he loves her. 

"So when will you be back?" Alice asked, speaking with Jude on phone. She was just getting ready for work that Friday morning when Jude's call came through. They had planned to have a night out for the weekend but now Jude is calling to cancel. 

"I don't know yet babe but i should be back on Sunday. It's not every day my brother calls me early in the morning telling me to come home so I'm sure it must be something important" Jude replied. 

"Hmmmmm, i hope Mama hasn't told him about me" Alice said with a worried tone

"C'mon Alice. I don't think so. Remember i told you my brother and i ain't on good terms, so i think he has finally realized we should make up" Jude replied clearing the atmosphere of anxiety. 

Alice sighed 

"Well, it's okay. Let me know when you reach there. I'm dressing up for work now"

"Alright babe, I'm sorry for cancelling once again. I'd make it up to you when I'm back ok?"

"No problem. Have a safe trip" Alice said as she dropped the call.

He drove into the compound and stepped out of the car. Weariness was written all over him. He has been driving for hours. 

"Nne, Good evening" Jude greeted his mother as he stepped into the house. 

"You are welcome my son" She replied as she got up with a smile to hug him "how was ya journey?" she added, using her ibo version of  English 

"It was fine Nne" Jude replied as he drew a small sitting stool closer to himself. He sat down as his mother brought him a cup of cold water. 

"Thanks Nne" Jude gulped down the water in less than a minute and his mother brought him more when she noticed how thirsty he is. He finally spoke after taking the third round. 

"So where is Brother? I thought i was going to meet him here"

"Oh, he's around. He went to Chinedu's compound. I'm sure he will be on his way back now" his mother replied 

Few hours later. Jude, his mother, his brother and two of his Father's  brothers are seen sitting under the big tree in the compound. After taking palmwine and some kolas. One of Jude's uncles finally spake, after clearing his throat. 

"Uhmmmm Jude, I'm sure you know by now that ya mother isn't happy with ya choice of a wife" he said, hitting the nail on the head. 

Jude went freeze. He had thought the meeting was supposed to be a reconciliation meeting for him and his brother.

His Uncle paused for a while, and then continued 

"so me and your brother, including your mother has found a solution to ya problem"

"but Uncle, i don't have a problem" Jude flared up

"Will you shut up your mouth and let ya father's brother speak?" his mother snapped 

"as i was saying, we found a solution" his Uncle suddenly went mute and Jude's brother took it up from there. He cleared his throat and he spoke 

"We've arranged a wife for you from Chinedu's compound.

┬ęToluwanimi Odeniyi