“Thank you for the asking my opinion in this very difficult situation. I know how difficult this must be for you and your family”, Mr. Martins finally said. “However, I wish to remain to you as I was before this incident. You see, I am truly in love with your daughter and for some reason, I had thought this was a mutual feeling”, he looked at Nifemi who wouldn’t look at him as he spoke. “Regardless of the situation, if she would admit that she made a mistake and renounce the school boy, I will marry her nonetheless – with your permission and blessing, sir”, he bowed his head to Nifemi’s father. “I have full faith that your capabilities and love for your family is very paramount to you but once again, I ask for your permission to take full responsibility for her and the baby. After the baby is born, depending on what she chooses to do, I will sponsor her tertiary education or secure a decent job for her in a reputable organization. I believe entrusting her safe delivery and well-being into the hands of a small boy might not be the best idea. Just like you sir, I want what’s best for Nifemi in this situation and although I am in support of any punishment you wish to give her, I will humbly request sir, that you let me bear the shame and cost of this. However, if the boy wishes to have his child after delivery – ”
“The boy is unaware of the present situation”, Nifemi’s mother was quick to point out.
Mr. Martins swallowed hard. “Very well then. I propose taking total responsibility if that is alright by you, sir. I will also like to have a talk with Nifemi about this in private. After all, it’s her future and ours that is at stake here”.
As Nifemi’s mother would have loved to keep her daughter uninvolved about the decisions, she couldn’t deny her betrothed and more importantly herself from this once in a lifetime opportunity. Giving them some privacy seems very little of a price to pay in such a case.
“Only few men would accept the responsibility which you so gracefully want to impose on yourself”, Mr. Adeniji spoke after a quick glance at his wife. He wore the confusion on his face even though he tried hard to conceal it. The wavering lines on his face gave him away. “I am grateful to you. However”, he continued, keeping a polite appearance to Mr. Martins. “I believe the misconception that my daughter is ready for marriage has lingered long enough. With due respect to you and everything you have done for this household, I implore you to exercise some patience, if you can. I want her to be with me for now. Apparently, a lot more still needs to be done to make her into a responsible . . . wife material”. He struggled to say address his fifteen year old daughter as such.
“I maintain that the baby will be born and given to its biological father. What lesson will Nifemi learn if after making such a grave mistake, she finds a knight in shining armor to clean up her mess? In life, even though we may get second chances, there are always consequences for our actions. Let her bear her cross. Nifemi will deliver the baby to its father and return home to us as a daughter”.
Nifemi’s mother would have accepted Mr. Martins’ kind gestures with open arms, if the decision were hers to make. In such a gathering however, as a supportive better half, she would accept whatever Nifemi’s father says. Nifemi began to feel the weight in her knees been kept on them all the while. It looks as though she would be there for a little longer. Her eyes were red from the tears, but her ears were wide open, listening to all that was said.
“Well said, sir. With your permission and due respect to your family, I will be grateful if you consider me a part of this family still. After all, this has gone beyond acquaintance”.
“If you insist”, Mr. Adeniji smiled, giving a slight nod of acceptance.