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    I was cooking at the backyard when mum ran into the kitchen very excited and full of smiles.

    “Guess who just visited us?” she asked happily,

    “I can’t guess mum, please tell me” i begged.

    “Emmanuel came with his parents, they are in the sitting room with your father” she said to me. I quickly dropped the kitchen spoon i was holding, without minding where it fell nor the rough clothes i was wearing and ran into the sitting room where dad sat with Emmanuel and his parents.

    I greeted and welcomed them happily, my heart pounding furiously. Emmanuel stared at me with a smile, understanding the girlish shyness and sweet fear that had changed me into a timid girl. He stood up without wasting time.

    “Mary please i have something to tell you” he calmly said to me. My face instantly flushed at his words, eyes drooping with shy, sweet happiness.

    “Let’s go outside dear” he begged. I breathed deeply, looked at my dad who nodded in approval, shrugged and left the room with him.

    “I have borne my impatience and pride for the last three months,” he said when we got to a lonely part of our compound; “but i now must speak to you, for i can bear it no longer, Mary. Oh, do not turn away from me! I can’t hold my pride anymore, I love you, and i want you to be my wife– my wife, darling; and i will love you– I will cherish you– I will spend my whole life in working for you, I have no hope so great, so sweet, so dear, as the hope of winning you.” he poured out.

    I made to answer. Yet my silence was more eloquent than words.

    “It seems a strange thing to say, but, Mary all the time i was away, my heart was really with you” he confessed. I listened with a happy smile playing round my lips, my eyes drooping, while my face flushed and turned from his.

    “You are my fate, my destiny!, if only you will say yes to me. Your love would incite me to win name and fame, not for myself but for you. Your love would crown a king. I beg of you, say yes to me this instant. Surely great love wins great love and there could be no greater love than mine” he begged desperately.

    It was at this stage that our eyes met. The next moment he clasped me to his heart, pouring out a torrent of passionate words– such words, so tender, so loving, so full of passion and hope, that my face grew pale as i trembled and listened.

    “It’s love that makes life. Only to think, my darling, that you and i may spend every hour of it together. Just say yes to me and by Easter we will get married” he proposed.
    ===Playloaded Stories===
    I raised my eyes to the fair, calm heavens, and infinite happiness filled my soul, a deep, silent prayer ascended unspoken from my heart.

    “Yes Emmanuel i accept you” i finally opened up with tears.
    He smiled happily as we hugged each other, but deep down i still felt an uncertain fear.
    With a whimper of relief he smiled at me. His face was absolutely ashen, his lips white, as he pulled me savagely into his arms, folding me into the safety of his body, cradling my head, then cupping my face in his hands and tilting it upwards.

    His eyes moved feverishly over my face as if he wanted to reassure himself i was really there.

    “Thank God” he murmured as he bent his head, pressing his lips to my hair.

    “I thought i’d lost you again” he confessed.

    “But what kept you away for so long?” i asked curiously,

    “It was my pride my dear, it ate me up like a terminal disease, but i eventually overcame it and came running with my parents. How do i make up for my complete and utter crassness?” he asked remorsefully. I looked away.

    “I got this for you……” He said, as he let go of me for a moment, pulling out something from his pocket,

    “Now i want to do it properly, before anything else happens to come between us” he smiled as he held out his hand. In the centre of his palm lay a golden ring.

    ‘Mary—‘ he pulled me gently back into his arms.

    ‘I love you—‘ he murmured.

    “I will forever love you, cherish you–”

    “Comfort you, protect you…..” he kissed my middle finger.

    “Honour you and make endless fantastic love with you for all the days of my life.” Holding up my third finger, he slid the ring onto it.

    “If you will have me” He prayed. Through a shimmering veil of tears, i gave a soft laugh…….

    I was so happy, and so thrilled, because all my dreams were coming to past. What else could i wish for?

    Together we walked into the sitting room to break the joyful news to our dear old parents.

    Emmanuel made the necessary first payment which showed that he has reached an agreement with my family, just like our custom demanded, before collecting the list of items required for our traditional marriage, Promising to show up three weeks later for the first stage of Introduction……

    Unluckily it never happened as we planned.

    Precisely two weeks later, I got a very terrible news which almost killed me.

    Hmmmm it truly wasn’t the kind of news i was expecting at that stage of my life, neither is it the kind of news you guys are eager to read…….

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