“What? Daddy, you’re saying that if a guy doesn’t take me shopping in Paris, he’s not good enough for me?” she said, laughing.
“Amongst other things.”
“Daddy, only guys your age have this kind of money to spend. Surely you can’t expect me to only consider guys, my father’s age?”
“If any man, even half my age comes near you, I will kill him. And very gladly go to prison.”
“OK, daddy, there’s no need to get carried away. That was just a hypothetical question.”
“I know,” he smiled. Then he continued, “I don’t think any man will ever be good enough for you.”
She blinked when she saw that he was serious. “You want mummy to throw me out.”
“What for? Nobody can throw you out of your father’s house.”
“She’d probably be like Nadine, go to your own husband’s house and leave mine alone. I wouldn’t be very amused, too. Not that I want to get married now, obviously. So, some guy, somewhere in this world, has to be good enough.”
“Oby”, her father said, shortening the Igbo name he liked to use sometimes, Obiageli – which literally meant ‘she (who) came to eat’. Like every indigenous name given to a Nigerian child, this name was meant to allude to the circumstances surrounding her birth. As the first – and although it wasn’t known at the time, only – child of wealthy parents, she was named as someone who had 'come to enjoy that wealth'.
“That’s what every father thinks. No other man can ever be good enough for his little girl.”
“I’m not a little girl,” she replied, “I’m 17.”
But Ezekiel shook his head. “You’ll always be my little girl. Even when you’re old and grey. I waited a long time … your mother and I were married 15 years before you came. When you’ve waited so long for something and you finally have it, it’s precious. It’s a blessing. That’s why your aunt also gave you the name Ngozi.”
“Yes, I am aware of the meaning of my name. Blessing. But it’s rare for fantasy to live up to reality,” Nadine said in a small voice, wise beyond her years.
Ezekiel looked at his only child and shook his head. “You are not a fantasy. Fantasies are fleeting. You are a reality. My reality. You are the best reality I could have had. The day you were born was the happiest day of my life. Since then, you’ve brought me nothing but happiness and good luck. Beyond my wildest dreams. I have such high hopes for you.”
Nadine hugged her father and tried not to cry. “So, you’re not going to hate me, if something happens and I don’t fulfil your high hopes?” she asked, in a muffled voice.
“Why? Is anything wrong?” he asked her, his eyes full of concern.
She shrugged. “My upcoming exams. I don’t know … sometimes I get scared and think that I might not do well. I don’t mean I’ll fail; at least, I hope I won’t. But sometimes, it crosses my mind that I might not do as well as you and mummy want me to do, and that I’m really going to disappoint you.”
“And then, all this will be for nothing.”
“Where are you getting this? Who have you been listening to?” Ezekiel asked, looking genuinely worried and pained.
Nadine shook her head.
“OK, first of all, if you’re having problems in school, we can get you extra-tuition … I will gladly do whatever needs to be done, to fix the problem.”
“I don’t buy or give you things because I’m trying to get something from you. So … any guy who tries that with you …”
“I’m serious, Nadine. Listen to me.”
“OK, I’m listening.”
“I buy you things, because you are my daughter and I love you. I have told you this, many times. ”
“And,” he continued, “nothing you could ever do or fail to do, will make me … Yes, I do have high hopes for you; every parent does. Every good parent has high hopes for their child. But at the end of the day, we just want our child to be happy and healthy.”
“Daddy, you say that now, but …”
“I mean it, Nadine. I loved you, from the moment your mother told me we were expecting you. Nothing can change that. It is my hope and my prayer that nothing will distract you from the path we … your mother and I, have tried to teach you to go on. That we’ve done enough to help imbibe in you, a strength of character that is able to make you refuse to tow any line of destruction. I know that you are your own person. You will eventually make decisions that I may not be ecstatic about. I dread the day. But I will get over them, because they won’t change the fact that you are my daughter. Nothing you ever do, could make me love you any less. Nothing.”
Title: Forever There For You
Author: Chioma Nnani
When NADINE is confronted with the reality of her failing marriage, her first instinct is to work it out. She has had it drummed into her that marriage is ‘for better, for worse’. Walking out is just not an option – her faith would condemn her and her culture would make her a pariah.
The combination of Nadine’s background, education, social standing, friendships, faith, experiences and past relationships is meant to equip her to become a success. Failure is alien to her and love means forgiving at all cost.
As she tries to survive and make the most of the curves that life has thrown her, she discovers that ’success’ is a subjective term, and ‘happily ever after’ is something that you have to discover and define for yourself …
Chioma Nnani is an award-winning author, who also contributes to business, lifestyle and literary publications. One of Africa’s most fearless storytellers, she is a 2016 CREATIVE AFRICAN Awards finalist in the category of “Best Fiction Writer”, and a DIVAS OF COLOUR 2016 finalist. Chioma has also been nominated twice for a UK BEFFTA (Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts) Award in the “Best Author” category. A talented ghost-writer who is known for “being able to get into your head and under your skin, before writing down exactly how you’re feeling”, Chioma has been named “One of 100 Most Influential Creatives in 2016” by London-based C.Hub Magazine.
She holds a Law (LLB) from the University of Kent and a Postgraduate Certificate in Food Law (De Montfort University, Leicester). She is the founder of THE FEARLESS STORYTELLER HOUSE EMPORIUM LTD (a premium storytelling outfit based in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, where she lives), typically contributes to lifestyle and literary publications, and runs the “Memo From A Fearless Storyteller” blogazine at www.fearlessstoryteller.com for which she won the 2016 BEFFTA (Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts) Award.
Amazon (Kindle): United States,
United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Mexico,
Australia and India. It is also available on Smashwords, Kobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Okadabooks, and major online stores. Okadabooks is mainly for buyers in Africa.
As a paperback, Forever There For You is available from Amazon in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Canada, and India.