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WEDDING OF MY EX - Episode 5

WEDDING OF MY EX - Episode 5

Chris enters the well-furnished lobby of the Slash Designs building. He enters the lift.
There is already one other person inside. He is GABRIEL BLANKSON, 44 years old.
He is short and squat with a powerful compact body. He is dressed in a smart cream suit. He is Head Designer of Slash Designs. Chris smiles in greeting.


CHRIS
Good morning, Gabby.

GABRIEL
Morning. You didn’t get my memo yesterday, did you?

CHRIS
Oh, dear Jesus, forgive me, Gabby! I got it. You wanted to see me at four, right? It slipped right out of my mind. You see Evelyn brought in the Cameroonian figures and needed an immediate analysis. So sorry, Gabby. Can we make it today?

GABRIEL
Today will be fine if you can find some time off your busy schedule, or if our gods release you.

The elevator stops, and the heavy doors ding open. Both men step out unto a well-lit corridor.
Gabriel begins to walk away but Chris reaches out and holds his arm.

CHRIS
Listen, Gabby. It was a genuine mistake on my part. I forgot all about it, and I’m sorry. I’ve been telling you I personally hate these cold wars between us, and I do my best to be civil, but sometimes you make it so hard for me.

GABRIEL
We are not friends, Chris, and we shall never be friends. Maybe it is through no fault of yours, but I personally think the stink that permeates these halls are not as rosy as some of you may think.

CHRIS
Gabby, chill it. There is no need to start that kind of battle.

GABRIEL
Battle? Get real, Chris. It has been a war all this while. I think it is downright incredible that only your designs are going to be used for the South African shit, forgive my language. Personally I can’t congratulate you because that kind of shit sticks in a man’s claw. But what can mere humans like us do? Go to South Africa, Chris, but here’s one heart which will not miss you.

CHRIS
Give it up, Gabby. So much bitterness bottled up inside you is going to eat you all up. C’mon man, we can ride this together if you’ll just allow yourself to defreeze.

Gabriel turns and begins to walk away. He speaks over his shoulder.

GABRIEL
See you around, Chris. And if you can make the time, let’s go over the quotes today.

Chris stares after him, shocked. After a moment he turns and walks in the opposite direction.
He walks along a red-carpeted floor towards a glass door marked Evelyn Boampong, CEO.
Chris pushes the office door open and enters. The office is huge and has all the accouterments of a modern office.
Evelyn Boampong is dressed in a fetching cream skirt suit.

EVELYN
Good morning, Chris. How’re you this morning?

Chris takes her hand and shakes it gently.

EVELYN
You don’t look so happy, my darling boy. What’s the matter? Come, sit down, and tell me what’s ailing you.

Chris sighs and sits down on one of the chairs facing the desk.

EVELYN
The first prints of your FURY collection will roll off this evening, Chris. Already the feedback from the factory heads is astounding. You’re reaching for the skies with this one, boy.

CHRIS
So soon? Well, that is something!

EVELYN
You did it, Chris. This is what will cut your teeth internationally, and we’re all so very happy for you.

CHRIS
Evelyn, there’s something you must do for me, please.

EVELYN
Mmhhm? Let’s hear it, Chris.

CHRIS
It is about Mr. Rupert Henderson’s wedding, Evelyn. I am afraid I can’t attend. You just have to find a way to get me out of it!

Evelyn shakes her head at him, alarmed. Her eyes send him a desperate message, and she casts furtive glances at the sitting-room area of the office.
A huge, booming voice speaks, startling Chris. It is the voice of MR. JOHN J. TAMAKLOE.
He is the owner of Slash Designs, and Chairman of the Board. He is 62 years old, tall, slim, elegant and silver-haired.

MR. TAMAKLOE
You’re not getting out of anything, Chris. You’re going with us. Get that into your thick skull.

Chris swivels round in his seat. Mr. Tamakloe sits up straight. He had been at the sitting-room area, and Chris had not seen him when he had entered.

CHRIS
Mr. Tamakloe, please, I have very genuine reasons why I can’t go to that wedding!

MR. TAMAKLOE
The fact that Rupert’s bride-to-be was once your fiancee doesn’t mean you can’t attend the wedding. Hasn’t that relationship been dead for ages now?

EVELYN
(shocked)
What, John? Did you just say Chris and this girl – ah, what’s her name – Effe, yes, once dated?

MR. TAMAKLOE
Yes, you heard right. Chris here used to date Effe, Rupert’s bride-to-be. They had something thick and fancy going on, from what I heard from Rupert. Chris dumped the girl, and now she’s getting married. So what’s your beef, boy?

Evelyn Boampong stares first at her boss, then at Chris, lost for words.

CHRIS
Boss, how…

MR. TAMAKLOE
How did I know? Effe told Rupert, and of course he told me.

He gets up and approaches the desk.

MR. TAMAKLOE
Listen, Chris. Life is not as complicated as you young folks want to make it look like, okay? Evidently it didn’t work out between you and Effe, though I find that to be a pity. Quite by accident she finds out you’re on the invited list, and she told Rupert all about her life with you. It is over, and it is done with. Rupert holds no grudges, and believe me neither does Effe. I don’t know what happened, but the dear lady has moved on. So, if that’s the reason why you want to bail out, forget it. Unless there’s some other reason you want to tell me about.

CHRIS
I guess that’s the only reason really, boss.

MR. TAMAKLOE
The South African Minister for Trade will be at the wedding, Chris. Also, the CEO of Black House Creations, the biggest name in African fashion, as you well know, will be there. Rupert has conveniently arranged a meeting between them and Slash Designs, and we will showcase your FURY collection. So you simply can’t afford to miss this opportunity. Let me assure you that Effe bears you no grudge, if that’s causing the cold feet. She is a remarkable person. She speaks highly of you.

CHRIS
I don’t know what that little devil told you, but if there’s any grudge bearing, it certainly isn’t coming from her!

MR. TAMAKLOE
I don’t want to hear what passed under the bridge, my boy. Just be there on Saturday. Eve, I’ve to go now. I’m meeting the Minister of Tourism. Will catch up with you later.

Evelyn still looks shocked. She speaks softly.

EVELYN
Okay, John. We’ll talk later.

Mr. Tamakloe squeezes Chris’ shoulder and then he walks out.
Evelyn gets up and goes to the bar. She mixes two drinks and comes back to the desk. She hands a tall glass to Chris.

EVELYN
Here, take this. I think you need it.

Chris takes the drink. His hand is not steady, and it shakes slightly.

EVELYN
I must say this is quite complicated. I can’t imagine, by the craziest stretch of the imagination, how your ex ended up with Mr. Henderson. Obviously, you’re greatly affected. Believe me, if I had known about this earlier, I could’ve done something about it. I certainly would’ve prevented this seemingly ugly situation!

CHRIS
It is crazy, really. But well, there are things we can’t control, right? I’ll have to get it over and done with.

EVELYN
Four years ago there was a look about you. You were really hurting, and though you never told me anything, I got the distinct impression that your heart was badly broken. Can I safely guess that you were running from this Effe?

CHRIS
Yes. Effe was the reason. I’ll tell you this, Boss, this heart that is beating in my chest has never cherished any girl as much as it did Effe. I can tell you too, now, that although it might never beat as hard as it did for any other girl, it is now filled with only the bitterest kind of gall for Effe!

EVELYN
From what I hear about Effe from John, and from the little I’ve heard from Rupert, I find it very hard to believe that we’re talking about the same girl here, Chris.

Chris laughs gently, and then he wags a finger at Evelyn.

CHRIS
That’s her devil-given talent, Evelyn. That girl has the looks of an angel, but beneath that cover lurks the most vicious devil you’ve ever encountered. She makes everybody fall at her feet, fawning and lapping, and then when she bares those fangs, even the luxurious depths of hell does not compare to the torture of her sick soul!

EVELYN
Woah, Chris. Stop scaring me. Rupert is a dear good man, and quite frankly I’m very fond of him, and if you keep on that way about the girl he’s going to marry, you’re going to drive me really crazy with concern for him. I shudder to think he would be saddled with the type of girl you’re describing to me.

CHRIS
Effe Kedem. Nice name, isn’t it? She is even a more beautiful person. Seen her before?

EVELYN
Nah. Just the picture on the back of the wedding card. She looks very beautiful.

CHRIS
Beautiful? She’s breath-taking. She’s so beautiful I used to wonder how God ever decided to make something as perfect as that. I mean, that girl looks at you with those eyes and your heart just flips into your mouth and chokes you. I met her under bizarre circumstances, though.
There was an accident on the Accra-Winneba road, and that’s when I had the most regrettable opportunity of meeting that foul devil…

The clock on the wall shows that some minutes have passed. Chris has finished telling Evelyn how he had met Effe.



A ChrisEffe Romance © Aaron Ansah-Agyeman

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