Story: Almost Pretty


    Episode One

    The clouds were gathering, the call of the wind was comforting and the gentle breeze calmed all of her fears as she stood by the streets of Alistair.
    ‘Get out of the way girl, a heavy rain is coming’ a man screamed at her and she quickly rushed out of the road.
    She was now an orphan, with her mother gone, she needed to take care of herself; it wasn’t such a novel thing to her. Her mother had battled with cancer of the blood for a long time before giving up, and during those times she’d been the one working and paying the bills.
     She grew up fending for herself and her mother, working her ass off as a bartender, librarian, housekeeper e.t.c she was prepared to do anything provided it was honest, one of the things her late mother had taught her.
    Tuesdays were beautiful, nothing as formal like mean old Monday; she  had read an advert in the paper that  Roseau Soft wares, a software creation and selling Company was hiring; that had kicked her spirits off as she was already worn out working as  a librarian. The job was boring; you could imagine spending a whole day in a dusty old library with books with ancient looking designs as your only company and pay that could get you something like Coffee and doughnuts.
    ‘I can do this; I need to do this’ she inhaled deeply as she reached the entrance of the enormous building.
    She had no friends, her whole life had been centered on her mother, she was alone now; whenever she was getting interviewed for a new job, her mother would be there to whisper words of encouragement; words that would lift her inferiority complex.
    “I’m Ugly Ma, nobody could ever pick me” Jane would whisper as she stared at the mirror.
    “Nobody is ugly baby girl, we all just need money” her mother would say and they’d burst out laughing.
    ‘Who you looking for’? She stopped at the security checkpoint, it was obvious she didn’t belong to Roseau Softwares.
    ‘Goodmorning, I am Jane Atkins, I’m here for the job’ she stuttered as the blonde middle-aged man stared right at her, why was he so unfriendly?
    ‘What job?’ he frowned and focused on her face.
    ‘The post of a Personal assistant’ she shifted nervously, why was he looking at her like that?
    ‘What are you up to buddy’? A younger man joined him in the glass cubicle.
    ‘I don’t know, Brunette here says she came here for a job, heard of that’? The older man asked.
    ‘A job? No way, what’s she here for anyway’? The younger man asked.
    ‘Personal assistant’
    ‘Where did you get that from’? The younger man winked at her.
    ‘Reach-out Daily’ Jane dipped a hand into her shaggy brown bag and presented the paper to the men.
    ‘Oh darling, these papers lie a lot, I don’t really think we’ll need a personal assistant here, you can be on your way now’ he squeezed the paper and threw it into a trash bin next to him.
    ‘How could you do that? You should’ve given it back’ Jane felt hurt, why were people so mean?
    ‘Do you mind getting out of here Miss Ugly Clothes’? The older man teased and they burst out laughing.
    ‘My clothes aren’t ugly’ blood tweaked her cheeks.
    ‘Yes they are, go get a fashion designer’ the younger man winked and the laughter increased.
    She had never felt so embarrassed in her twenty-four years on earth, tears blurred her eyes as she stared at the two men; tiny droplets fell on her yellow Jacket and stained her green boots. She just couldn’t leave, she didn’t have the courage to walk away, so she stood there and cried.
    ‘Brunette is such a softy’ the older man mimicked her and the sniggering increased.
    The Roseau Mansion was a three-story building; well-embellished balusters, a large flower garden where roses grew wildly, magnolias blossomed and a beautiful pool of blue water rested in the middle. Tall Palms were planted all over the mansion and their leaves provided shade whenever the sun chose to run mad.
    ‘Good morning father’ Kira rushed with her buttons as she neared the dining table.
    ‘Morning honey, where are your brothers’? Her dad asked.
    ‘Here I am’ Ryan joined them at the table.
    ‘Where’s Ivan’? The man rested his eyes on his younger son.
    ‘I don’t know, maybe he’s still sleeping’ Ryan shrugged.
    ‘Or had a rough night’ Kira’s eyes twinkled mischievously.
    Ivan Roseau, their half-brother, and C.E.O of Roseau Soft wares was the eldest son of Thomas Roseau; Ivan’s  mother had dumped him with Thomas when he was just a baby, for her lover, the man she cheated on with his dad.
    ‘If you’re bent on gossiping about me, you should do so with grace’ Ivan stepped out of his room and joined the trio.
    ‘Well then, breakfast is ready’ Pam his stepmother smiled charmingly and walked in with a tray that contained their breakfast.
    ‘Sorry Pam, we don’t have time for this, there’s an important meeting at the Company, we’ll have lunch at the office’ he worked on his tie.
    ‘Oh Ivan, at least eat something, besides Kira and Ryan may be hungry’ she pawed at her stepson.
    ‘We are not hungry, we’ll be fine’ his siblings hurried out of the dining.
    ‘Do you always have to be this moody and domineering’? Thomas clicked his tongue.
    ‘Maybe I am following your footsteps’ Ivan snarled at his dad.
    He was a fireball, his temper was quick and he had so much resentment in his heart; first his mother had abandoned him for her stupid lover and his father had practically forced him to take over the company.
    He had always wanted to be a painter but the man threatened to disinherit him if he refused to get schooled at Harvard; he had been young and had no choice, who could stand against a tyrant like Thomas Roseau?
    ‘It’s too early for you two’ Pam stepped into the situation.
    ‘He started it, he should stay out of my business’ Ivan grumbled and walked out on them.
    ‘I don’t know what to do with him, I’ve tried everything but his hatred for me grows by the day’ Thomas was getting frustrated.
    He’d ignored Ivan’s non- challant  behavior towards him as a child, he’d hoped his first son would come around one day, but as the years grew, he had lost hope in earning Ivan’s love.
    ‘I am sorry darling, I wish I could help’ she rubbed his hands.
    ‘He hates me, for his mother, for forcing the company on him but I only did what I thought was best’
    ‘It’s okay dear, all he needs is love. Once he finds the right person, he’d be healed’ Pam kissed her husband.
    ‘So what do you suggest I do’? He peered at her confused.
    ‘Let’s put a little fire up his ass’ she winked, she had a plan and was quite sure would work on her stepson.

    Episode Two

     ‘Let’s put a little fire up his ass’ she winked, she had a plan and was quite sure would work on her stepson.
    ‘Do you always have to be that angry Ivan? You ruined breakfast’ his younger brother ignited the car engine.
    ‘I never told you guys to leave your food’ he shrugged.
    ‘Well, if we didn’t agree to join you in your little hunger strike episode; you’d drive off without us’ Kira chipped in.
    ‘We Roseaus are very rich, you could’ve used another car’ Ivan replied.
    ‘And miss our driving pleasure? Hell no,’ Ryan winked at his elder bro.
    ‘Good thing you know this. I am not in a good mood, woke up on the wrong side of bed’ Ivan blurted out.
    He loved his siblings, Kira and Ryan were his friends and he cherished them very much. He was quite open with them, though they still feared him, everyone feared that dark part of him and he knew this; he used that to exercise control over the workers in the company.
    ‘What happened? Wasn’t the sex good’? Kira rolled her eyes. Though her brother was cold-hearted and impassive, he had a penchant for the finer things of life, things like beautiful, voluptuous blonde women and he wasn’t ashamed about that weakness.
    ‘Kira!’ Ryan called her name.
    ‘No, she is right, I sacked Samantha, the sex wasn’t good enough’ he replied.
    ‘Oh no Ivan, that would be the fourth personal Assistant you’d be sacking, haven’t you heard? Mixing business and pleasure don’t go well at all’ Ryan came for him.
    ‘Well, you know your job Kira, find me a new personal assistant’ he said in a commanding tone.
    ‘So you’ll sleep with her and sack her after a month? No way, I am tired of your immaturity’ she clicked her tongue.
    ‘Seriously? Why do you make your elder bro the devil, I am not Lucifer honey, most times these girls seduce me, they cannot resist my hotness’ he wore the face of an angel.
    ‘And my sweet bro here finds it very hard to say “No”, especially when she is hot’ Ryan joined.
    ‘Funny. I am not getting you any personal assistant; I’ll play that part till you’re ready to change. You’re thirty-two Henry, should be getting married to a nice woman, have a bunch of kids, make a father proud’ she advised.
    ‘Thanks, baby, but I don’t plan to get married ever. So you better get me an assistant else I’ll sack you’ his voice dropped to a deadly tone, humor wasn’t in it.
    ‘Sack me? Roseau is family business, I am a full-blooded Roseau’ she fired back.
    ‘And I am still your boss’ he replied.
    ‘Fine! I’ll get you an assistant. A personal assistant you want, a Personal assistant you shall get’ she hissed loudly.
    She had something mischievous up her sleeves, she’ll get a man as a personal assistant, that would get him more pissed.
    ‘What the hell is going on here?’ Ryan watched the struggle between a poorly dressed brunette and the security men.
    ‘Let’s go find out’ Ivan muttered.
    ‘Is it just me? Or are those clothes plain ugly, who dresses like that’? Kira was amazed one could be so poor at choosing colors.
    ‘What’s going on here’? Ivan’s sharp voice brought the struggle to an end.
     ‘Good morning sir, Brunette here says she came for a job interview, what’s the post again buddy’? the older man asked his partner who was shivering like he’d seen a ghost; Ivan Roseau naturally inspired fear in people.
    ‘Um, Personal driver…’ he stuttered.
    ‘Personal assistant’ he quickly corrected himself.
    Jane was stuck; her eyes focused on the handsome man in the car. He was blonde with tanned skin; a sea of blue eyes, a sharp nose and a pair of sensuous lips. He was every bit adorable, his eyes were his most arresting figure, they reminded her of the men she saw on the cover of Magazines.
    ‘Interesting, what’s your name young lady’? Kira jumped out of the car, this is the kind of assistant Ivan deserved for threatening her.
    ‘Get back in the car Kira’ Ivan commanded coolly, what the hell was she doing? He couldn’t imagine being in an office with the human scarecrow that gaped at him. Hadn’t she seen a man before? Her gaze unsettled him and he pulled on his sunshades.
    ‘It isn’t sunny bro, why the shades’? Ryan teased, he’d been watching the scene closely.
    ‘Mind your damn business’ Ivan scowled.
    ‘Jane  Atkins, I assure you, ma’am, I am very experienced, I have worked as a librarian, housekeeper’ she dug a hand into her purse and fetched the envelop that contained her Curriculum Vitae.
    ‘Wow, nice resume Jane, you know what? You have the job’ Kira patted her shoulder.
    ‘Really? Thank you very much’ Jane couldn’t control her excitement; she hugged Kira tightly and released her after she recovered from the shock of getting a job at such a huge company.
    ‘You’re welcome, meet me inside, let me brief you’ Kira smiled politely and returned to the car.
    ‘What do you think you have done Kira?’ Ivan slid off the shades and faced her.
    ‘I just got the boss a new personal assistant. Touché!’ she winked.
    Jane found it strange the way she reacted at the sight of the handsome guy; she had never had a boyfriend or any admirer for that matter but it never bothered her. All she ever wanted was food on the table for herself and her mother and money to pay the bills; she had never craved for any man’s attention up until now.
    ‘So Jane, you’ll be working here with the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ivan Roseau’  Kira showed her round the company and did a few introductions.
    ‘Um, who is Mr. Ivan please’? She asked as they passed several offices.
    ‘We’ll meet him soon’  Kira replied and stepped into the elevator.
    Jane joined her immediately; sweat broke out on her forehead, her hands felt like jelly as she stared at the unfriendly faces of other workers; they all dressed formally. The men did justice to their ties and suits or an Italian shirt and nice trousers to go with it, the women did same; they all looked formal and neat, expensive wouldn’t be left out of this description.
    ‘Are you okay’? Kira observed the new girl, she seemed nervous and scared.
    ‘Yes I am, just slightly claustrophobic’ she stammered. That wasn’t the reason she was all sweaty, she had never been around sophisticated people like this and she felt totally out of place.
    ‘Good thing we’re here’ Kira pressed a button and they both stepped down to the Twentieth floor, the peak of Lancaster Soft wares where her elder brother resided.
    ‘Yes…’ Jane nodded and trailed behind Kira.
    She noticed a slight resemblance between her and the handsome guy she’d seen in the car, she wondered if they were related briefly.
    ‘Wait here for me, I’ll be back’ Kira offered her a seat outside Ivan’s office. From the look she’d seen on his face, he wasn’t pleased with her choice of a personal assistant that was the reason she needed to speak with him first.

    Episode Three

    Wait here for me, I’ll be back’ Kira offered her a seat outside Ivan’s office. From the look she’d seen on his face, he wasn’t pleased with her choice of a personal assistant that was the reason she needed to speak with him first.
    ‘Knock knock’ she pushed the door open without waiting for his reply.
    Ivan ignored her, he ran his fingers through the files on his desk; he chewed on a pen; he did that whenever he was stressed out or upset about something.
    ‘Are you going to sit there pretending that you haven’t seen me’? Kira rubbed her hands on her skirt, preparing for a face-off.
    ‘What do you want me to say Kira’? Ivan’s piercing blue eyes focused on hers.
    ‘I brought the girl, she is ready to start work’ Kira informed him.
    ‘No problem, bring her in’ Ivan rose to his feet, poured himself a drink and readied himself for this game. He could read his siblings like a book. Ryan was easy going and was scared of him but he had problems instilling that same fear in Kira, she got him vexed most of the time.
    ‘So you accept her? you like her’? Kira poked her head to a side. She had expected her brother to be mad at her, to complain and lash her with his tongue, but he acted cool. What was his plan?
    ‘Sure, I needed a personal assistant, you gave me one’ Ivan flashed a smile. He knew she had purposely hired someone so unattractive to work with him because he threatened her, well, he would still carry out his threats for the craziness.
    ‘Alright then, let me bring her in’ Kira was confused, another problem she had with Ivan, he was like a serpent in a green grass, very much unpredictable.
    ‘You may come in dear’ Kira parted the door and beckoned her in.
    ‘Thank you Madam’ Jane bowed her head slightly and stepped into the office.
    ‘Welcome, I’ll leave you two now’ Kira left to see Ryan, if Ivan planned on dealing with her, her younger brother would know about it.
    She seemed calm on the outside, but an inferno of anxiety consumed her on the inside and unsettled her. Her eyes danced nervously as she stared into his face, how would she cope with a boss this hot?
    ‘Got a name’? Ivan poured himself another glass of scotch.
    ‘Jane Atkins’ she replied.
    ‘Have you worked as a Personal assistant before’? He asked then turned his back and faced the window.
    ‘Yes,’ she gave a brief history of her working experience.
    ‘Good. Take the day off, you’ll resume tomorrow’ he replied sternly and swirled around.
    ‘Thank you sir’ she smiled and rushed out of the office.
    ‘Good riddance’ he muttered under his breath.
    A smile curved on his sensuous lips as he thought of the best way to get Kira pissed off.
    ‘I got the job’ Jane rushed out of the office excitedly. She would use the day to get her clothes from the dry-cleaners. She needed to get herself prepared for what was to come, she knew this job was a big one and she wasn’t ready to take her chances.
    ‘Hello Brunette’ a voice called to her but she ignored it.
    ‘Excuse me’ the voice trailed behind.
    ‘Can I help you’? She turned and faced the young security man that had taunted her earlier.
    ‘What do you want? Are you here to sneer at me’? She kissed her teeth.
    ‘Um, I am sorry for what happened earlier, I was just having fun, nothing personal, I wish you’d understood that’ he replied.
    ‘Sorry? For humiliating me? Well, I didn’t get that particular joke, now I have to be on my way’ she hissed loudly and resumed working.
    ‘Hey brunette, I mean it, I am sorry. Call me Wale; I hope we could be friends’ he ran after her.
    ‘Back off loser, go back to your comedy’ she increased her footsteps.
    ‘Will be seeing ya’ he stood hands akimbo and watched as she walked away.
    ‘I wonder how long it will take before our boss starts to shag her’ his partner joined him.
    ‘I doubt he’ll fuck her, she’s not really his type’ Wale shrugged.
    ‘How so? Wanna bet’? His partner asked.
    ‘Pod, you dirty old man, well let’s do it if he fucks her, I’ll give you five hundred bucks and if he doesn’t you’ll do me the favor. Deal’? He reached out his hand.
    ‘Sure Wale’ Pod took his hands.
    The day had faded off like a candle whose flame had melted all of its wax; they had returned home; the drive wasn’t very exciting as it was a quiet one.
    ‘Get me the documents from the advertising department’ Ivan instructed  Ryan and slid out of the car.
    ‘Geez, why the tense environment? Did you quarrel with him’? Ryan faced Kira who wore a blank expression.
    ‘I don’t know, but I have a feeling Ivan is upset with me, he isn’t showing it for a reason’ Kira chewed her lip.
    ‘I bet I would be double-crossed if you hired for me such an ugly Personal assistant’ Ryan scoffed.
    ‘Well, I did the right thing, if she was a bimbo Blondie, he’d waste no time taking her down, don’t you see? I want the best for Ivan’ Kira replied.
    ‘Well, you guys should sought your issues out, don’t involve me’ Ryan warned.
    ‘Welcome my lovely babies, dinner in a bit’ their mother had already set the table.
    ‘Good evening Ma, what are we having’? Kira kissed her.
    ‘Spaghetti and meatballs honeycomb for dessert’ she arranged the table.
    ‘Hmmm, yummy, where’s dad’? Ryan asked.
    ‘In his study, do you mind fetching your brother for him’? Pamela asked.
    ‘Why me? Ivan is pissed off at me, I don’t wanna face him now’ Kira declined.
    ‘Why can’t dad just call him’? She continued.
    ‘Because everyone except I is scared of him’  Ryan winked and left to fetch his brother.
    Ivan loosened his tie and slumped on his California sized king bed; he was tired after such a long day at work.
    He closed his eyes briefly and went over the day’s events; everything came and passed except for the face of his new personal assistant.
    The girl was hardly a beauty; he had not really had the time to stare at her, why would Kira hire such a person?
    ‘Open the door Ryan’ he grunted.
    ‘Dad’s looking for you in his study seems important’ Ryan relayed the message.
    ‘Alright, let me see him now’ Ivan rose to his feet. What did the old man want now?
    ‘Are you and Kira fighting’? Ryan asked.
    ‘No, mind your business’ Ivan spanked his back lightly and left for the study.
    Turquoise Roseau was not just a Computer engineer; he was a lover of books and an avid reader; he established a library for himself and hid there most afternoons.
    He waited patiently for his son, Ivan, the one who hated him. Pamela had put him up to this and he hoped it worked out; he really needed to have a relationship with his son.
    ‘I’m here’ Ivan stepped into the study; it smelt of old rosewood and rum.
    ‘Come, sit’ his father beckoned to him.
    ‘How old are you Ivan’? He began
    ‘Excuse me? What’s this about’? Ivan quickly rose to his feet.

    Episode Four

     ‘How old are you Ivan’? He began
    ‘Excuse me? What’s this about’? Ivan quickly rose to his feet.
    ‘Always impulsive, you’ve not learned boy’ Turquoise dropped an envelope before him.
    ‘I need you to sign these papers, part of my will. Hurry, I need to give them to my lawyers’  Turquoise fetched the documents from it.
    ‘Okay…’ Ivan signed where the space for signature was provided.
    ‘You know why I asked your age’? A mischievous smile colored his dad’s aging face.
    ‘Why’? Ivan pushed the papers away.
    ‘Well, that’s because you’re old enough to get married and start your own family’ he replied his son. He prayed this worked out, if it failed, Ivan’s hatred for him would totally vanish.
    ‘I don’t ever plan to get married, told you that severally. Apparently, you haven’t been listening, I have to go now. See ya’ he rose to his feet and left for the door.
    ‘Ah, but you just signed an agreement that you’ll get married before your thirty-third birthday’ his dad’s smile was crooked.
    ‘I don’t understand, what you are talking about’ he paused and faced his father.
    ‘Well, your angry nature clouded your sense of judgment and you signed these documents without reading through. You just signed, that you’ll get married before you’re thirty-three else you’ll be disinherited’ Turquoise read from the document.
    ‘No, you cannot do this; you cannot ruin my life, what sort of monster are you’? Ivan felt defeated. How could his father do this to him?
    ‘I am not a monster Ivan, all I want is your happiness’  the man rose to his feet.
    ‘Well, I am not getting married. Period’ he banged the door loudly  and stormed out of the study.
    The clouds had gathered again, it was evening and a heavy rain would fall. Jane tugged herself neatly underneath her duvet and two pillows; she had a light dinner, a sweet tooth she was. Who ate muffins and drank milk to bed?
    ‘A new day’s coming, gotta be prepared for it’ she yawned and closed her eyes, but sleep seemed to wander off.
    She went through the day’s events, from the guards that had humiliated her, to her being offered a job at Roseau Soft Wares, that was a miracle.
    ‘God works miracles’ her mother would say. The woman had been very pious and had this unmovable faith in the divine.
    She slid off bed reluctantly and moved to the table close to her little bed; she caressed the picture frame, it housed her mother’s picture while she was still healthy.
    What would her mother say now that she got such a big job at Roseau?
    ‘I’ll make you proud Ma’ a tear slipped down her cheeks.
    Her thoughts moved to her handsome boss, Ivan Roseau, never had she seen a man like that; she imagined him kissing her and blushed immediately at her own folly.
    Her lips gave way into a smile and she jumped into bed; she couldn’t wait for the next day!

    He had not had much sleep at night; his father had tricked him into signing some papers that would ruin his whole life, how could one sleep at the thought of that?
    He stepped into the shower, turned it on and let the coldness of the water soothe his anger.
    He had sacrificed his dreams just to serve that of his father; all he wanted as a young man was to be a painter, leave a mark on the earth surface like Leornado Da Vinci; he’d worked hard for it, before his father dumped him at Harvard, he’d been  enrolling in online painting classes. But he gave up all that to please the old man, and now he had grown to love his job as a computer engineer, as a boss, he’d fallen in love with dominion, how would he give that up?
    He paused as his reflection spoke to him; it was all over him, the distress he felt; knowing his father too well, he would carry out his threats if he refused to comply.
    He had grown up without the love of a mother and that was a very painful experience on its own. How could she abandon him for a man? Her own child? It closed up all possibilities of him ever loving somebody or trusting his heart with them. One of the reasons he vowed never to get married, but now he had signed the papers, that could change his life forever.
    He needed to do something, speaking with his siblings would do the magic, he decided to forgive Kira for hiring the scarecrow of a personal assistant; he needed her help for now.
    ‘I am ready guys’ Ivan appeared in the dining room. All suited up, hair well brushed, no strand was out of place, he looked magnificent.
    ‘No breakfast’? Pamela asked with a disappointed look on her face.
    ‘Thanks, Pam, I’ll pass’ he replied.
     His siblings weren’t there, neither was his devil of a father, they must have been waiting in the car for him, so he trotted out.
    ‘Bye  Ivan’ his stepmother waved at him.
    ‘Darling? I made him sign the papers, are you sure this would work’ her husband later showed up.
    ‘I am confident Ivan would find love, I believe so’ she pecked him sweetly.
    The car seemed like a graveyard, it was obvious he wasn’t happy about something; and whenever he was that was, his siblings would keep off of him.
    ‘Is it cold in here or is it just me’? Kira whistled. She had tried getting words from Ryan concerning Ivan’s plan to sack her but he had refused to comply. She needed to be on the good side of her elder brother, she needed to pacify him in some kind of way.
    ‘Shut up Lisa, silence is golden’ replied.
    ‘I don’t like golden, I love it when it’s hot in here’ she gaped at Ivan hoping to get his attention.
    ‘Dad wants me to get married before my next birthday else he would disinherit me’ Ivan blurted out, he was tired of keeping it all in.
    ‘What’? Ryan and Kira exchanged glares.
    ‘He tricked me into signing some papers, I need your help guys, now more than ever’ he explained what had transpired between him and their father.
    ‘That’s insane, why would dad do such a thing? Marriage is by choice’ Ryan wasn’t too happy with the news.
    ‘Yea, he should respect Ivan’s wishes’ Kira chipped in, though she enjoyed this little game, she didn’t dare show it.
    ‘So what’s your plan big bro? Are you going through with the marriage thing? Should I start bride searching’? Kira asked.
    He didn’t answer, he looked at her sternly, was she enjoying this?
    ‘Okay, honestly, I want you to get married; don’t look at me that way. it’s going to be a great celebration’ Kira grinned.
    ‘Really?’ Ivan snorted.
    ‘What’s your plan, Ivan’? He turned to his brother.
    ‘I don’t know, I don’t have a plan, maybe I would ignore father…’ Ivan realized the best way to get the old man pissed off was to ignore him.

    Episode Five

    ‘I don’t know, I don’t have a plan, maybe I would ignore father…’ Ivan realized the best way to get the old man pissed off was to ignore him.
    ‘Are you sure that’s a good idea? He forced you to get schooled at Harvard remember’? Kira raised a brow.
    ‘Yes, I don’t have amnesia but that was then. I don’t know what he wants to prove, but I will not play along, he needs me to run Roseau Soft wares, but if he forces my hand, I’d resign and go to some painting school’ Henry smiled as he crafted the perfect plan.
    He knew deep down, his younger brother wasn’t that efficient when it came to running such an enormous organization, that left his father with nobody, what exactly was the old man planning? He needed to find out.
    ‘I was pretty mad at you darling sister for hiring Jane Atkins’ he started.
    ‘Jane the rainbow’ Ryan scoffed as he remembered Ivan’s new personal assistant.
    ‘Yes? Are you saying you have forgiven me and you wouldn’t do anything to harm me in any way considering you’re related to the devil’? Kira asked wide-eyed.
    ‘Sure honey, I just need you to do me a favor’ he replied.
    ‘What could that be Ivan’? She asked sweetly.
    ‘Dad adores you, Pam loves you, get closer to them, find out what dad is up to. Find out why he wants me to get married before I am thirty-three’ Ivan patted her head and slid out of the car as Ryan brought it to a halt.
    ‘What the “H”? How am I supposed to do that’? Ivan had put her in a very tight corner.
    ‘Well, you gotta do what you gotta do to keep your job, remember’? he winked and left his office.
    ‘Did you see that Ryan, he is blackmailing me? That’s payback, he has not forgiven me’ she pointed at his figure.
    ‘Well, you brought it on yourself, Ivan likes Pretty girls and you failed in your assessment of Jane ’  Ryan replied.
    ‘I can’t believe you’re on his side, what was I supposed to do? The way I see it, that girl needed help. I just did what my mind told me’ she fired back.
    ‘Well, your mind better tell you how to get Ivan answers, till then, good luck sweet pea’ Ryan kissed her face and left.
    ‘I am doomed, so doomed’ she sighed.
    They were on a beach, running wild like little children, burrowing in the clean hot sand of it and playing with each other.
     She wore a pink bikini and a straw hat; her lean body curled against his and she inhaled the fragrance of him, it was drugged, its scent was beautiful.
    ‘Kiss me, baby, you’re so beautiful’ he caressed her face.
    She moved closer to him and was ready to receive his mouth in a hot kiss when the alarm clock cried shrilly and woke her up from sleep.
    ‘Shit!’ Jane jumped out of bed.
    ‘No, no, I am so late’ she checked her time and realized the clock was an hour late.
    How on earth could the stupid clock do this to her? this was her first day at work and it would totally ruin it.
    ‘Help me dear lord’ she hurried into the bathroom.
    Five minutes later she was out, thankfully she had set out the clothes she would wear to work the next day. For her first day, she had chosen a pleated red skirt and a flowery blouse to go with it. She didn’t wear make-up, she just brushed her thick mane of brownness, fetched her only brown bag from where it hung and dashed out of the house.
    ‘8: 30, get out of my way people’ she burrowed into the crowd, she was supposed to resume at 7.
    ‘Hello sweetheart, where are you off to’? An old cab driver beckoned to her.
    ‘Roseau  Softwares’ she spoke hurriedly.
    ‘Chatter’? He asked.
    ‘No, yes’ she was confused; she didn’t have enough money on her for chatter.
    ‘Better make up your mind girl, I got other places to be’ he mumbled.
    ‘Hey Brunette!, come over here’ a familiar voice yelled and she followed the direction of it and found the face of the person she hated most.
    ‘Are you coming in or not’? She heard the cabman ask but she wasn’t paying much attention, so he drove away.
    ‘Come Brunette, from the look of it, you’re already late, Boss gonna be mad at you’ he called to her.
    ‘Okay’ she decided to join him, she had no choice.
    ‘Morning’ she muttered under her breath and slid into the car.
    ‘Good morning Sweetheart’ Wale regarded her steadily, his eyes strayed to her large skirt, didn’t she have friends at all?
    ‘What! Why are you staring at me’? she shifted uncomfortably.
    ‘Just so you know, I am not a Perv’ he chuckled but she didn’t share his humour.
    ‘I am really sorry Brunette for hurting you like that; I want us to be good friends. I have a lot to offer you know’ he winked.
    ‘Really? What can you offer me’? She mocked him with her gaze.
    Wale was a young man, maybe in his mid or late twenties; he was tall and lean with a pointed nose, thin lips, and blonde hair. He was biracial.
    ‘Fashion tips’ Wale replied.
    ‘Excuse me? Are you saying I don’t dress well’? Jane felt offended.
    ‘Honey, I am not saying that, but you could be more than this, you are such a pretty person but you’re covering it up with ugly baggy clothes. You’re tall, slender, perky breasts, full lips, dimpled cheeks, freckled face, nice hair, you’re hotness personified, but you don’t know how to wear it’ he pulled over as they reached.
    ‘You’re so stupid and full of yourself. Stay away from me and it’s Jane not Brunette’  she banged the door angrily after she stepped out.
    ‘Wow, Brunette’s got a temper’ he chuckled softly, he knew people like her, she’d come back running to him once she realized he had said the truth.
    ‘Kira!’ Ivan yelled angrily, he had arrived an hour earlier than his personal assistant, his files were scattered everywhere and she wasn’t in the office.
    ‘Be patient bro, I tried her number, let me fix this’ Kira tried to arrange his office.
    ‘I told you, that scarecrow girl isn’t worth it, I’m sacking her. Samantha was never this late, I got meetings to attend and I thought I could trust her to handle things well around here’ he grumbled. Ivan was a very principled man and hated it when anyone or anything stood in the way of those principles.
    ‘Patience is a virtue bro, just handle it’ Kira replied coolly. She didn’t regret hiring the girl, there was something in her, and she had potential.
    ‘Come on in’ Kira called to the person knocking as Henry had turned his back on her, he was facing the window now.
    ‘Good morning  Miss  Atkins’ Jane stepped into the office gingerly.
    ‘Jane, you should take over’ Kira left the office shortly and she was left facing the back of her new boss.

    Episode Six

    ‘Jane, you should take over’ Kira left the office shortly and she was left facing the back of her new boss.
    ‘Good morning sir…’ Jane stuttered. Her hands were sweaty, her legs had grown soft, what would he do to her?
    ‘What is the time’? Ivan turned round and faced her. Her combination of colors sucked and that infuriated him the more, even a fifth grader could do better.
    ‘9 o’clock’ she swallowed.
    ‘You’re such a dummy, a recluse, scarecrow’ he bit his lip as the words rushed out.
    Jane felt glued to the spot, it seemed her whole world had been brought to a halt. No one had ever spoken such words to her and here he was releasing profanity on her.
    ‘Now, go to the coffee shop opposite Roseau Soft Wares and get me coffee’ he gave her some dollar notes.
    ‘Alright sir’ she left his office immediately.
    Tears stung her eyes as his words kept finding their way deeper into her; was she dumb? She wondered as she rushed out of his office.
    He’d call her a scarecrow, what did that have to do with her coming late? Did he have anything personal against her?
    ‘I wonder where she is going, that one’ Pod stifled a laugh at her large skirt.
    ‘To buy coffee, of course, I did that sometimes for Samantha, but she still chose the boss over me’ Wale winked.
    Jane was too focused on what had transpired in the office, to take note of the two men.
    ‘Hello Brunette, I could help with the coffee’ Wale ran towards her.
    ‘Get out of my way Perv’ she yelled at him, he was surprised at her reaction.
    ‘He likes it black’!  Wale called after her.
    ‘You know what Wale ’? Pod gritted his teeth.
    ‘What’s that’? Wale returned to the cubicle.
    ‘I take back the bet, I don’t think Ivan would ever fuck that, she’s too ugly and dull, who wears such baggy clothes?’ Old Pod chuckled.
    ‘Not funny. A brunette is a pretty person, but she doesn’t know how to pull pretty off’  Wale explained, he was sure about this.
    ‘Well, let’s see how it goes for her’ Pod replied.
    Suddenly, the scales of infatuation fell from her eyes and she realized whom she was dealing with; Ivan Roseau wasn’t a nice person at all. Why hadn’t he asked her for the reason she reported late? Not that she had any good answer to offer.
    ‘Yes, Ma’am, how do you like your coffee’? a waitress asked her.
    ‘With cream, lots of cream’ she ignored Wale’s advise, who was that punk anyway?
    Ivan looked like a cream person; he sure would love a creamy coffee to help with his anger issues.
    ‘Thanks’ she whispered and trudged back to the company.
    She had stepped out of the house feeling self-confident, now she had so many questions, ones that fought with her self-esteem. She needed to know why he used “Scarecrow” on her.
    ‘Are you back already’? Wale tried to make conversation but she ignored him totally.
    ‘Sit your ass down boy, Brunette doesn’t love ya’ Pod sneered.
    ‘I think Ivan’s got to her, his temper is foul’ Wale observed she wasn’t in a good mood. He didn’t like his boss much because he was one of those rich and spoilt kids that believed they could do anything they felt like and get away with it.
    She climbed the elevator hurriedly, she could feel the warmness of the coffee, she prayed he liked it; she needed her first day to be perfect.
    ‘Can I come in’? She knocked on his door with her free hand.
    He didn’t answer, so she made for the door herself.
    She dropped it on his table; he stood beside the window and backed her.
    ‘So this wasn’t father’s plan? Pam influenced him’? Ivan was surprised at the turnout of events. Unknown to him, Kira had taken the car home and she had used that opportunity to carry out his request.
    ‘Yes, don’t sweat it, they want you to fall in love and be happy. They love you, Ivan, can’t you see’? Pam asked.
    ‘I don’t believe in love Pam. You should be on your way now, thanks. I owe you one’ he broke the call and sighed with relief.
    His father had nothing against him from what Pam had said. He didn’t believe true love existed and even if it did, he would never fall for it.
    His eyes strayed to the table then to her face; he realized this would be the first time he would be looking at her.
    Her skin was soft and pale and she seemed young but her fashion sense was old; Jane was tall and slender, her neck was long like that of a swan bird. She was lean in a sexually attractive way, even her baggy clothes couldn’t hide that fact.
    Ivan tore his eyes away from her and moved towards the table for his coffee, he loved to start his day with caffeine, he was an addict; an unrepentant one.
    ‘You bought me Cream’? His voice rose.
    ‘Yes, I… thought you’d like it’ Jane smiled weakly.
    ‘Shit!, you’re so dumb, I told you I like it when it’s black, get the hell out of my sight and you’re fired’ he launched the plastic cup at her. The thick creamy liquid spilled on her blouse.
    Jane couldn’t believe what just happened. Why was he this mean to her?
    Tears flowed freely out of her eyes and she ran out of his office.
    ‘Damn, I shouldn’t have done that’ Ivan sank into his swivel chair. He felt bad for the words he’d spoken to her, for launching the cup at her. Nobody deserved to be treated that way, no matter their misgivings.
    ‘Jane ’! He rushed out of his office, he needed to find her and apologize. He rarely apologized to people he wronged, but something in her beautiful brown eyes called out to him and he felt very guilty.
    ‘Jane? Please wait’ he trailed behind her but she wouldn’t stop.
    ‘Wait, listen to me’ he pulled her towards him.
    Her brown orbs sparkled like a blazing inferno, emotions ran wild, he could see a line of tears on her face, but that wasn’t what he focused on. He suddenly realized she wasn’t ugly like she had seemed. Her Oval face and the features that graced it were very beautiful, but she didn’t know how to carry herself.
    Jane wondered why he stared at her that way; his hands were tight against her and she wasn’t ready to struggle, she returned his gaze. His piercing blue eyes seemed dangerous as the waves of the sea, turbulent like a coming storm and yet soft and sincere like that of a baby’s. Why was he staring at her?
    ‘I am sorry; I shouldn’t have spoken those words to you. I was just in a bad place, you can have your job back; you’re not fired’ he spoke in a rush, afraid that she may disappear from him.
     Jane was lost in his eyes, she realized his lips were moving, but she couldn’t make meaning of the words that came out from them.
    Without hesitating, she tore herself from his arms and ran far from him.
    ‘Jane’! He yelled, but she was far away from him.
    ‘What’s going on bro’? Kira moved closer to him, she had returned.

    Episode Seven

    ‘Jane’! He yelled, but she was far away from him.
    ‘What’s going on bro’? Kira moved closer to him, she had returned.
    Her vision was blurry as she moved towards the gate; her clothing was stained with coffee; he’d humiliated her greatly.
    ‘Jane? Are you okay’? Wale spotted her from his cubicle and ran towards her.
    ‘Can you please stay away from me? Now isn’t a good time’ she wiped her face with the back of her hand.
    ‘I can’t, you don’t look good, what happened’? He insisted
    ‘Nothing’ she licked her lips nervously, wondering on the next action to take. She didn’t even understand herself anymore. Ivan had asked her to take the job back; she now understood what he meant. Before now, she had been captured by his aura, his cuteness, the smell of his perfume; now she felt better, her cheeks reddened as she imagined what he’d think of her.
    ‘Sure?’ Wale was uncertain.
    ‘Sure, you know what? Just take me home’ she replied.
    ‘Gladly, I’ll do anything for you’ he fetched his car keys and they both moved towards his Sedan.
    Going home was the best thing that came to her mind, she needed a breath of fresh air, she needed to relax and think about the words Ivan had spoken to her.
    ‘What does it mean for a human to be called scarecrow’ she asked Wale as he ignited the engine.
    ‘Well darling, it could mean a lot of things, but a human scarecrow would be someone who doesn’t know how to mix colors’ Wale took a glance at her face. She was beautiful no doubt, her eyes were red, had she been crying? She seemed to fit the perfect description of a scarecrow.
    ‘Did somebody call you that’? He asked.
    Jane stifled a soft cry, she couldn’t break down in front of Wale; she fought so hard with the tears but they conquered her and poured down her cheeks.
    ‘Oh, honey, why would someone do that? Why would they say something so mean’? He felt bad for her.
    ‘My boss did, I should’ve listened to you, I should’ve bought him coffee black’ she said.
    ‘Hey, it’s okay, you were just doing what you thought was best’ he gave her hand a tiny squeeze.
    ‘He said I am dumb, I’m so scared of working with him, he made me feel worthless and not good enough; but I need the money though’ she wiped her face.
    ‘You’re not dumb honey, you got that job because you’re an intelligent young woman, you know what? I know what to do to boost your confidence’ he brought the car to a halt.
    There was a beauty shop a few miles away, it was trek able.
    ‘Where are we going’? Jane stepped out of the car reluctantly, what was he up to?
    ‘Boosting your confidence, I know just how to make you feel good’ he winked.
    ‘Are you going to buy me ice cream? Because that makes me feel good’ a smile curled on her lips.
    ‘Something better than ice cream, it would bring out the best in you’ he took her hand in his as they both stepped into the beauty shop.
    ‘What happened? Why is the floor this messy’? Kira joined her brother in his office.
    ‘I don’t know’ he ignored her and poured himself a drink.
    ‘Ivan? Did you try forcing yourself on her’? Kira wondered.
    ‘Shut up Kira, how can you even accuse me of rape? That’s the last thing I could ever do to any woman, it’s a heartless thing to do’ he swallowed his drink.
    ‘Then what happened? Why is Jane not here to clean up this mess’? She asked.
    ‘I lost control, threw the cup at her and called her names’ he replied curtly.
    ‘Damn Ivan, you need to keep your emotions in check’ she didn’t approve of his behavior.
    ‘I guess it’s because I haven’t had sex in a long time’ he replied and rubbed his belly.
    ‘Disgusting. I have to go now’ Kira walked towards the door.
    ‘Thank you’ he retorted.
    That did it, had she heard well or had the egoistic Ivan made a mistake?
    ‘I mean it, Kira, thanks for checking dad for me’ he raised a glass up.
    ‘Welcome bro, why do I have a feeling you want to ask for another favor’? She stared at him.
    ‘I need your help, Kira, find me Jane’s address, I need to see her and apologize. I feel bad for what I did’ he replied.
    ‘This isn’t happening, so you actually have a conscience eh’? She was surprised at him.
    ‘I don’t but I need to make amends, I even fired her but I told her she could have her job back, I guess she didn’t hear me clearly. I think you were right, she really needs help’
    ‘Well then, I’d do anything to make you happy’ Kira shrugged.
    ‘Thanks, Little Princess’ he winked and poured himself another drink; he was never good with apologies, but he had to be this time, he had wronged her.

    She was nervous and excited about the whole shopping spree; Wale had bought her a complete make-up kit and even some new clothes; this was all new for her.
    ‘So Brunette, we’ll start your first makeup class together’ he joined her on the bed.
    Her apartment was little; there wasn’t any living room, just the place where she slept and her bathroom.
    ‘Wale, are you sure about this? I don’t have money to repay you back, Ivan sacked me’? She ran her fingers through the clothes. They were of fine quality and she knew deep down, she couldn’t afford it.
    ‘I never asked you to pay me back, all I need is for you to be happy and confident in yourself’ Wale scanned her room. From what he observed, Jane was not a fan of Fashion.
    Her dressing table was graced by a vial of lotion; a long brown comb and a mirror.
    ‘So why are you doing this? Why are you helping me’? She was confused, was he planning to ask her out?
    ‘Cause I like you and I want you to forgive me for the way I treated you the first day we met’ he managed to drag his eyes off the dull colored clothes that hung on the wardrobe.
    ‘Okay, thanks, Wale, but I am not too sure about this, I’ve never worn makeup my whole life’ she bit her lip nervously.
    ‘How old are you honey’? Wale turned sharply and faced her.
    ‘24’ she replied.
    ‘Do you have a boyfriend’? He arched a brow.
    ‘No, never’ she answered; why was he asking her all these?
    ‘Good. I see why you’ve never had a boyfriend, I’m going to turn you into a Vogue cover girl’ Wale fetched his scissors.
    ‘Vogue Cover girl? What’s a Vogue’? Jane wondered.
    ‘When I am done with you, you’ll be the definition of Vogue’ he pulled her closer to him.
    ‘What are you doing with that’? She turned and faced him.
    ‘Your hair needs some trimming’ he made a clicking sound with his tongue.

    Episode Eight

    Your hair needs some trimming’ he made a clicking sound with his tongue.
    The house was usually quiet except when their children returned from work; Turquoise was past his youthful days, the reason he’d put his son Henry in charge of everything. Henry was more than capable and he trusted him completely with the company.
    ‘What’s on your mind’? Pam had set the table for dinner; soon their kids would be home.
    ‘He is going to hate me’ he replied coolly.
    ‘I am sorry Turquoise, Kira asked me a question and I told her everything about the plan; what choice did I have when she made mention of Ivan’s threat to sack her if she refused to comply’?  Pam frowned.
    Kira had showed up looking all tearful and hurt, the reason being Ivan. He had sent her to find answers to their father’s prank; seeing Kira that way broke her and knowing who Ivan was, she couldn’t hold back.
    ‘That boy is stronger than I thought. He just wiggled out of my grip’  Turquoise sighed.
    ‘I am sorry; it was all a stupid plan. I influenced you to do it’ she apologized.
    ‘You don’t have to be sorry; I’ve decided to stay out of Ivan’s life. One day he’ll come around but I still have to enjoy my good old age’ a mischievous smile dangled across his lips.
    ‘What’s your plan honey? I know that look’ Pam moved closer to him.
    ‘A vacation. Let’s live the kids for some time, have our privacy and love each other up’ he pecked her forehead.
    ‘Oh darling, that would be so perfect’ she hugged him.
    ‘Guess where we‘ll be going’? Turquoise winked, he loved to see her happy.
    ‘I don’t know, not really well at guessing’ she pulled away from him; her eyes danced with expectation as she looked into the eyes of the man she had grown to love.
    ‘United Arab Emirate’ he fetched two tickets from his pocket.
    ‘Oh honey, you know how much I love the Arabian world. I love you, darling, this means so much to me’ she warmed him with another hug.
    ‘I love you two’ he embraced her. His first wife, Ivan’s mother had cheated on him and later dumped himself and Henry for her lover; he had been broken, devastated and felt he would never find love again but Pam found him in that broken place and their love soured like an eagle unbeatable.
     ‘Home Sweet Home, here we come, Roseau Mansion’ Kira was the first to jump out of the car.
    ‘Hey you two, what’s going on’? Ryan noticed his siblings were unusually chatty. Had they made up?
    ‘Nothing bro’ Ivan grinned and left for inside.
    ‘Seriously? You think I’m that dumb? Now spit it! what happened’ he dragged Kira back.
    ‘Chill Ryan, nothing happened. What’s with you man’? Kira feigned ignorance.
    ‘I feel like I am missing out on something like there’s a big part and I am not fitting in’ Ryan expressed his feelings.
    ‘Okay, I am sorry but Ivan made me promise I shouldn’t tell anyone about it’ Kira replied.
    They’d spoken at the office and he’d asked for her help. She had found Jane’s address from the paperwork department; they planned to go over there later in the evening.
    ‘Let me hear it’ he released her.
    ‘Well, you know his trademark. Angry outburst, bossy attitude, and tantrums, his new personal assistant was a victim of that today; she ran out of his office in tears’ Kira detailed him.
    That’s nothing, we’re used to that’ Ryan shrugged.
    ‘No there’s something to this Ryan, I think he likes her’ Kira voiced out her thoughts.
    ‘Are you fucking kidding me? I know Ivan, his type is a Taylor Swift but with Beyonce’s butt’ Ryan had a good laugh.
    ‘I am serious Ryan, I could see it in his eyes, and he felt sorry for what happened. Have you ever seen Ivan apologize to anyone’? She asked.
    ‘Well, thanks for your time, that was a hell of a joke’ he walked away laughing.
    ‘Crazy ass’ Kira hissed and trailed behind him.
    ‘You two should get a room will you’? Ivan walked in on Pam and Turquoise smooching.
    ‘Sorry Honies, we didn’t know you were back’ Pam pulled away from her husband.
    ‘Good evening father’ Ivan dropped his briefcase and sat at the table.
    ‘Evening Ivan’ his father replied.
    ‘Wow, somebody is hungry today, had a bad day’? Pam served him, she could read him like a book.
    ‘I’m fine’ he replied and tore his eyes away from her. This woman had tried so hard to be a part of his life; she had yearned to replace the hollowness his wayward mother had left behind but he wouldn’t let her.
    ‘We’re going for a vacation’ Turquoise announced as his other children joined him at the table.
    ‘Wow, can I come’? Kira was happy for them.
    ‘No, it’s just for your mother and I’ Turquoise winked at his daughter.
    ‘Two lovebirds’ Ryan muttered.
    ‘I see you two plan to run off since your plan failed’ Ivan gulped some water. He would ruin dinner for his father for trying to light a fire up his ass.
    ‘Excuse me’? Turquoise frowned.
    ‘Ivan’ Kira called his name sternly.
    ‘You heard me, lucky, I don’t have time for this, and we’ll do this once you return from your absconding. Get up Kira, it’s time’ he had been checking his watch the whole time.
    ‘But I am not done’ she hadn’t eaten half of the food.
    ‘No arguments, I need to see her’ he replied and rushed outside.
    ‘I told you, he’d hate me more, this vacation would help us’ Turquoise pushed his plate away, he’d lost his appetite.
    ‘Honey, please eat your food. Ivan will find peace someday’ Pam caressed his forehead.
    ‘Peace? When I look into his eyes, all I see is war, a fire’ he replied.
    ‘Well dad, don’t give up hope. From what my sister tells me, Ivan is about to find love’ Ryan grinned.
    ‘Are you sure about this’? Their faces lit with hope.
    ‘A hundred percent’ he nodded.
    ‘I can’t believe you didn’t let me finish my food’ Kira tried to catch up with him, he seemed to be in a hurry.
    ‘Sorry Kira, I want to do this and get over with it’ Ivan replied.
    ‘What’s your plan anyway, you just walk into her apartment and make a good apology speech eh’? Kira rolled her eyes.
    ‘Not really, I don’t have a plan. I just want to say the S word, launching that cup at her wasn’t nice and I feel bad’ Ivan was being honest.
    ‘Okay, do you like her’? Kira winked.
    ‘Who’? Ivan raised a brow.
    ‘Jane of course, your personal assistant’ she said.
    ‘Nah, She isn’t my type’ he fired the engine.
    Jane and Wale had conversed for more than an hour; she came to realize that they shared so many things in common; they weren’t that far apart. It felt like she had known Wale all her life which was totally ironical since they’d just started speaking to each other.
    ‘So, for this friendship to move to the next level, we have to share secrets’ Wale worked on her hair.

    Episode Nine

     ‘So, for this friendship to move to the next level, we have to share secrets’ Wale worked on her hair.
    Secrets? Well, I don’t have any’ she shrugged; she loved the idea just that she had been raised by a very pious woman and had not the time to indulge in mundane things.
    ‘Come on Brunette, you should have one, give me something’ Wale smiled satisfactorily as he stared down her hair.
    ‘Okay, I have a crush on our boss’ she bit her lip as she admitted her feelings for the first time.
    Wale didn’t say a word in return, he simply added more gloss to her hair and brushed it very gently.
    ‘Say something Wale’
    ‘I knew you liked him from the first day you set your eyes on him but I knew you’d get heartbroken’ Wale didn’t want to be the one to launch Ivan’s womanizing behavior at her.
    ‘Heartbroken? How’? She was curious to know more about her crush.
    ‘Let’s end it here, time to hear my own secrets’ he rubbed his hands nervously.
    ‘What’s stopping you? Please don’t tell me you murdered someone’? Jane swirled and faced him; he seemed unsure of himself.
    ‘I’ll tell you later’ he winked. He was in love with someone and she didn’t feel the same way for him.
     ‘Okay then, friends’? He reached for her hand.
    ‘Friends’ she nodded.
    ‘Good, now look at the mirror’ he felt proud of his work; her long and untamed mane had now taken shape; it framed her oval face perfectly and gave life to her beautiful and well-carved features.
    ‘Oh my God, I look different Wale’ she caressed her head, he had transformed her totally.
    ‘I told you baby girl, I could transform you into a Vogue cover girl’ he winked.
    ‘I love this Wale, I look beautiful’ she smiled and a dimple pricked her cheeks.
    ‘Good, now get into these clothes, start with this one’ he offered her hip clinging denim and a crop top.
    ‘I wasn’t expecting anyone’ she paused as she heard the door bell ring.
    ‘Get into your clothes, I’ll check that out’ Wale rushed towards the door.
    ‘Vogue cover girl’ she muttered to herself.
    Ivan wasn’t too comfortable with the part of Town they’d entered; the streets looked unkempt, meant for members of the lower class.
    ‘I can’t believe she comes to work from here’ Kira slammed the car door and joined her brother who’d already punched the doorbell.
    ‘Good evening Sir’ Wale was stunned to see his boss standing right before him.
    ‘Where’s Jane’? Ivan’s arrogance had not left him completely. He recognized the security guard; what was he doing at Jane’s house? Were they dating?
    ‘I’ll go get her’ he retreated into the house and called her name.
    ‘How’s it going bro’? Kira stood by his side.
    ‘Perfect’ he replied curtly.
    His eyes wandered to a shapely brown haired girl that followed Wale closely, the blue jean clung to her honeyed hips and that was very sexy. The polka dot crop top she wore exposed a clean and healthy looking skin; her hair was beautiful.
    ‘Is that Jane’? Kira was equally confused.
    ‘I think not, the rainbow is her sister’ his eyes raked this beauty that surfaced.
    ‘Good evening sir’ Jane came forward to meet him; for a minute their eyes locked together; Blue against brown; surprise and confusion merged into one and increased the heat in the shared gazing.
    ‘Resume your duty tomorrow by 8, don’t keep me waiting’ Ivan blurted out and left for his car.
    ‘Okay….’ Jane tried to regain her balance. He had stared at her for so long, she felt lost in his beautiful blue eyes, but something hurt her; he seemed not to care about her new look.
    ‘You really like him’ Wale’s voice crept on her.
    ‘I don’t know, maybe I am stupid. Maybe I should just forget this job’ she pouted. She wondered if that was the only reason that brought Ivan to her house.
    ‘Well, I think he likes you too. I could see it in his eyes’ Wale had observed the way Ivan had stared at Jane; one of admiration.
    ‘Why? I doubt it, I won’t work there anymore’ she shrugged.
    ‘Well, you need the money. You can keep your feelings aside, but if you must keep this new look of yours, you need money Brunette. Money makes a woman glow’ he pecked her softly.
    ‘I need to go home now, we’ll continue tomorrow’ Wale said.
    ‘What about these? What do I do with these’? She lifted the clothes up.
    ‘To get Ivan, wear them’ he winked.
    He had slept lightly; her almond-shaped brown orbs haunted him and her slender figure which was enhanced by the denim; what had happened to the scarecrow?
    He had gone to her house so he could apologize to her but seeing her looking that cute threw him off balance and returned him to his old self; his plans of apologizing would have been easier if she was ugly; he didn’t understand it, maybe he was an egomaniac.
    Why was he even thinking about her anyway? Jane was a different girl and he wasn’t drawn to her like the way he’d been drawn to the others; there was this halo of purity and naivety surrounding her, and he was afraid to break that.
    He had prepared very early for work, his parents would be traveling later in the day; he needed to be alone, he needed to have a rethink about his whole life.
    ‘Where are you off to Ivan? Are you sneaking around now’? Kira stood in his way.
    ‘I have an important meeting to get to, do you mind stepping aside’? He sneered.
    ‘So, you forced me to leave my dinner and take you to Jane’s, only for you to chicken out. I thought you’d changed Ivan, but it seems you’re still your old self’ she wouldn’t let it go.
    ‘I had my reasons for doing that’ he tried to push her away but she resisted.
    ‘No you don’t have any reason; I saw the way you looked at her, I saw the way she gazed at you and it scared you’ Kira said.
    ‘Scared me? Ivan Roseau fears no one’ he bragged.
    ‘But you’re scared of yourself, you’re scared of opening your heart to someone’ Kira chipped in.
    ‘That’s different sis, Loving somebody is scary’ he admitted his fears. How could one fall in love and not get hurt?
    ‘Well, dad and my mother got it good’ Kira made an example hoping to convince him.
    ‘The rules don’t apply to everyone, they got lucky’ he replied.
    ‘No  Ivan,  I saw the spark in your eyes when you looked at Jane; even before her make over, there was something beneath her scarecrow exterior that you liked about her; that’s why you felt bad that you hurt her. I know you well Bro, if you care deeply about someone, that’s the only time you’d apologize’ Kira explained.
    ‘I don’t know what to say Kira, I can’t deny it either. But how does that happen? People don’t just fall in love like a flash of lightning’? He asked

    Episode Ten

    ‘I don’t know what to say Kira, I can’t deny it either. But how does that happen? People don’t just fall in love like a flash of lightning’? He asked
    ‘You’re right, Love is a seed; it’s only when you plant it, that it’ll grow’
    ‘Okay kid sis, get out of my way now, I am late’ his alarm buzzed.
    ‘Think about Jane, she looks nice and looks like she could use your help’ Kira waved at him.
    ‘Whatever’ he winked, he felt better after speaking with his sister.
    Her hands shook as she applied the rouge lip wear on her lush lips; the make-up and change of clothes was all new for her but she liked it; she relished it. She wanted to look good, she wanted to be noticed by Ivan.
    A shy smile appeared on her lips at the thought of his name. What kind of arrogant person was that? The way he’d spoken to her, it was like a master to his slave.
    ‘Done’ she smacked her lips and rushed out of the house; she didn’t want to have any more problems with Ivan.
    ‘Alistair’ she slid into a cab, feeling all confident.
    ‘You are very pretty ma’m’ the cab driver dished out compliments in a British accent.
    ‘Thanks’ she crimsoned. She noticed something different about her, people stared at her in a way she never understood. Wale had done it, he had worked his magic on her.
    ‘Thanks a bunch’ she offered him some dollar notes.
    ‘Keep it, seeing your pretty face is enough for me’ the young man winked and zoomed off.
    ‘Whoa, interesting’ she straightened, her new look not only gained her attention but free rides.
    ‘What the hell happened’? Pod’s mouth widened as Jane approached.
    ‘I did tell you she was a hottie’ Wale waved at her as she passed their cubicle.
    ‘Will be back for ya’ she blew him a kiss and hurried to meet her boss.
    ‘Damn Wale, you got a hand of gold’ Pod couldn’t tear his eyes off of her.
    ‘Thanks, man, I just wanted to be on her good side’ Wale replied.
    ‘Now, I have a feeling Ivan would want to fuck her’ Pod fingered his chin.
    ‘Just like he did Samantha’ Vince replied with a sad voice.
    He’d been facing his window as usual when he spotted her alighting from the cab. He’d loosened his tie to take in this new Jane Atkins; he wondered how long he would last having such a beautiful woman in his office?
    Then he’d caught her blowing Wale a kiss; a slight ache filled his chest, he felt jealous.
    ‘Good morning sir’ Jane stepped into the office gingerly.
    ‘You’re late’ Ivan replied curtly and turned to face her.
    He took in her Pencil skirt and silky Blue top which suited her to a second skin. Her hips was lean and her legs were full; Jane’s lips shone a bright red, he felt like kissing her.
    ‘Late’? She checked her wristwatch in shock, she realized she was three minutes late.
    ‘I am sorry sir’ she bowed her head.
    ‘Here’s a list of what I want you to do for me, good luck’ he handed her a piece of paper and stormed out of the office.
    ‘Alright’ she accepted it, her heart fell, Ivan wasn’t moved by her looks, she could see it in his eyes; how stupid she was, a man like Henry must have had numerous girlfriends, why would he want a newbie like her.
    He’d purposely walked out of the office; being around her had an effect on him and he needed to focus. He was drawn to her on a different kind of level, not the type that led to steamy sheets, no; this feeling was alien to him.
    All he yearned for was her admiration for him; he remembered the way she had gaped at him the first time, he had felt irritated now, but he’d do anything to have her look at him that way.
    ‘Way to go brother mi, why did you leave without us’? Kira’s sharp voice broke into his thoughts.
    ‘I told you why’ he replied.
    ‘Where’s Ryan’? Henry asked.
    ‘Flu’ Kira raised a hand.
    ‘So what are you up to’? Kira joined him for a walk.
    ‘Nothing, meeting’s over, maybe I should return home’ Ivan suggested.
    ‘Return home? By this time? Are you kidding’? She raised a brow; she knew how much of a workaholic her brother was.
    ‘Yes,’ he nodded as he saw her stepping out of the office.
    ‘Wait, is that ’? Lisa’s eyes widened.
    ‘The very same’ Ivan offered with a  nod.
    ‘Oh, you like her! That’s why you’re running because you like her’ Kira slapped him on the shoulder.
    ‘I don’t hate people’ a coy smile formed on his sensuous lips; once again, his sister had read his thoughts.
    ‘So what are you gonna do? Please don’t sleep with her and sack her after’ She begged.
    ‘I wouldn’t, I can’t do that to her, I feel different for her’ he grimaced.
    ‘Then let’s plan, ask her out’ Kira said.
    ‘She has a boyfriend, that security guard guy, I saw her kiss him this morning’ he felt jealous.
    ‘Wait, Wale, are you sure she kissed Wale’? Kira held a laugh, unlike her brother she had the time for office gossips.
    ‘Yes, what’s funny’? He saw the look on her face.
    ‘I think Jane likes you’ she replied.
    ‘Good. So ask her out or I could help you do it. Seems you’re shy’ she rolled her eyes.
    ‘No! I’ll do it myself. I have a plan’ his eyes twinkled mischievously.
    She didn’t enjoy being in his huge office alone; she checked the list he’d given to her and realized she had fulfilled all of his requirements.
    He’d not taken a second glance at her, he was one of the reasons she had taken time to dress up but he didn’t give a damn about her.
    ‘You’ve been such a fool’ she fetched her mirror and gazed at herself.
    She was bored, Wale wasn’t at his station so she was stuck here; she got curious and moved to where he usually stood, by the window.
    ‘Wow’ she breathed in awe, the view was scintillating.
    Suddenly the door bust wide open and she felt like sinking into the ground, she froze where she stood. Surely he wouldn’t approve of her standing by the window.
    ‘Welcome sir’ she swallowed hard, expecting him to yell or call her more names.
    ‘Afternoon, come and have some’ he handed her a bag.
    ‘Thanks’ she blushed. How could he guess she was a sweet tooth? He’d bought her doughnuts.
    ‘Welcome’ he settled into his chair and watched her closely; he hoped he was doing the right thing.

    Episode Eleven

    ‘Welcome’ he settled into his chair and watched her closely; he hoped he was doing the right thing.
    She blushed the whole time as she chewed the doughnuts; they seemed to be from a very classy restaurant as she had never eaten something so delicious before.
    A smile curved on her lips as she remembered the conversation she had with Wale her friend; she had told him she had a crush on the boss but he had warned her to be careful as the boss was a heartbreaker.
    She stole a glance at Ivan Roseau, his head was buried in the files that he worked on; he wasn’t paying any attention to her.
    Why would her boss buy her doughnuts? Why would he care?
    ‘I’ll like to take some air outside’ she announced and rose to her feet.
    ‘Oh, go ahead, you’re free’ Ivan managed a smile.
    Her heart stopped as she stared into his face, he looked more handsome when he smiled; his smile brought light to the rest of his features and made him more appealing.
    ‘You’re free’ Ivan repeated, it seemed she had not heard him.
    He had that feeling again that she desired him strongly from the way she stared at him.
    ‘Thank you Sir’ she crimsoned and rushed out of the office.
    Ivan watched as she walked out of the office, he loved the view of her back; she wasn’t too big there, but she had a neat and firm bottom that sat on a pair of incredibly sexy legs.
    ‘We have a problem Ivan’ his sister, Kira burst into the office minutes after Jane was gone.
    ‘Can’t I have peace for once’? Ivan rolled his eyes and ran his fingers through his hair.
    His blue eyes ran over his sister recklessly, what was happening?
    ‘We have a huge problem, something that may affect the company, your reputation and everything we have suffered to build and this is all your fault’ she dropped a magazine on his table.
    ‘I don’t understand you, what are you talking about’? Ivan grabbed the magazine and flipped through the pages.
    His name was plastered in red at the tenth page and that made him more curious.
    ‘Samantha, she is such a terrible liar, I never harassed her sexually’ he threw the magazine on the table.
    ‘Tell that to the court, she is planning to sue us and you know damn right that she would milk a lot of money from us, should she take this to the court’ Kira replied.
    It wasn’t a secret that her brother had the habit of sleeping with his personal assistants and firing them after he’d grown weary of them.  Samantha wasn’t the type to be joked with, she was ambitious and greedy and would do anything to get money from Ivan.
    ‘So what are we going to do’? Ivan asked. He was confused and infuriated that Samantha would tell the “Reach out Daily” that he had harassed her sexually.
    ‘You. What are you going to do? You brought this upon yourself Ivan and you need to fix this’ Kira replied.
    ‘All what she wants is money, maybe we should give her that, it could stop her from going to the court’ Ryan strolled into the office and joined his siblings.
    ‘But you both know I did not harass her, what we had was consensual, I don’t understand why she would tell lies about me’ Ivan replied.
    ‘I believe you bro, but the court wouldn’t believe you. Just get her some cash and make this disappear’ Ryan raised the magazine up.
    ‘And about your new Personal assistant, I think you should put a hold on the feelings you have for her, till all these is over. I don’t even think you should date her, it could cause more trouble. She looks like a broke ass and may want to manipulate you. So quench any feeling that you may have for her’ Kira advised.
    Ivan thought he had not heard his sister well, he couldn’t deny his feelings for Jane anymore; she was nice and humble and he’d grown to like her, coupled with her new look.
    ‘I can’t’ he replied curtly.
    ‘What do you mean you can’t’? Kira’s eyes blazed. It seemed her brother did not understand the impact Samantha’s interview with the magazine would cost the company.
    ‘I sort of asked her out’ Ivan replied.
    ‘How did you do that’? Ryan raised his brow.
    ‘I slipped in a note in a bag containing the doughnuts that I bought her’ he sank into his chair.
    ‘Doesn’t matter, if she knows it’s from you, you can just deny you weren’t the one. If you ask me, it’s not a big deal’ Kira suggested.
    ‘But that would mean humiliating her’ he said.
    ‘Doesn’t matter, she would get over it’ Kira replied and walked away.
    ‘What do you think bro’? Ivan stared at his younger brother.
    ‘I think Kira is right. It’s for the good of the company’ Ryan said.
    ‘But what about my own happiness? I would find a way to fix Samantha’s case but I would never let go of something this important, I have never felt this way for any other woman before. I have feelings for her and I am not going to quench it simply because you two asked’ Ivan wouldn’t be cowered into killing his feelings for Jane.
    He was going to pursue it to the very end.
    ‘I guess I have no option but to support you’ Ryan winked.
    ‘Hey Pod, have you seen Wale’? She asked.
    ‘Yes, he’s been acting really funny though’ Pod replied in a gruff voice.
    ‘Funny? I don’t understand’ she raised a brow.
    ‘Here he comes, you could ask him’ Pod returned the paper he was reading.
    ‘Hey brunette, how are you’? Wale winked and placed a peck on her face.
    ‘I am fine, are you okay’? She noticed a sad expression in his eyes.
    ‘Yes…I think I am’ he forced a smile, which didn’t go unnoticed by her.
    ‘Wow, you are such a terrible liar, can we talk? I have a lot to tell you’ she winked excitedly.
    ‘Let’s go to the coffee shop then, I could really use a drink’ he suggested.
    Minutes later they were seated in a coffee shop which was a stone throw from the company.
    ‘What’s that glint in your eyes’? Wale smiled and winked. Jane looked very beautiful whenever she smiled, something was up.
    ‘Care for some doughnuts’? She handed him the bag.
    ‘Sure’ he snatched the bag from her and dipped his hand into it.
    ‘Where did you get this from? Looks kind of expensive’ he asked.
    ‘Take a bite first and I will tell you’.
    He felt something light brush his fingers, he quickly fetched it out and noticed it was a piece of paper.
    ‘What now’? He stared at it.
    ‘What’s that’? She stretched her palm for the paper.
    ‘I think that someone just asked you out’ blood drained from his face as he read the note aloud.
    ‘Are you serious’? She quickly snatched the paper from him.
    I want you to be my girlfriend, what do you say?
    ‘Who got you these doughnuts’? Wale asked after taking a bite.
    ‘Ivan’ she murmured her boss’ name.

    Episode Twelve

    ‘Who got you these doughnuts’? Wale asked after taking a bite.
    ‘Ivan’ she murmured her boss’ name.
    Wale quickly spat the pieces of flaked doughnut from his mouth.
    ‘Are you okay’? She noticed he now wore a frown.
    ‘Yes I am’ he quickly gulped down some water.
    ‘But there’s no name on it, it may not be from him’ Jane felt really excited and was hoping Ivan had really asked her out.
    ‘Honey, this note is from him. You need to keep your distance from that guy, he is bad news. I don’t want to see you hurt’ Wale quickly tore the note to shreds.
    ‘How could you do that? Why would you tear the note’? She snapped at him.
    ‘Because I know Ivan Roseau, I know the way he acts around pretty women like you; he doesn’t like you Brunette, he just wants to get into your pants and you will be a fool to let him’ Wale snorted.
    ‘I don’t like the way you’re speaking to me. What makes you think I am like the other girls? I am special you know, you told me that and maybe Ivan sees this too, I like him, I really do’ she pushed the rest of the doughnuts aside suddenly losing her appetite.
    Wale was about to say more; he wanted to tell her about how Ivan had slept with all his personal assistants and dumped their ass; he wanted to tell her about the bet he made with Pod and how everyone in the company was expecting her to fall for his charms but he wouldn’t; he couldn’t.
    He knew what it meant to like somebody. Love blinded people and that was what it was doing to Brunette.
    ‘Okay, I am just trying to look out for you’ he shrugged. He had been distracted a few minutes from his own personal problems. But the hollowness and the pain he felt had returned.
    ‘I know you are worried about me, but I can take of myself’ she was defiant.
    ‘Okay okay, can we go now’? He asked.
    ‘No. Talk to me Wale, what’s wrong with you’? Jane asked, her brown eyes dancing all over him.
    Wale was a cheerful guy, he made her laugh most of the time they spent together but now, he was the dull one and it bothered her.
    ‘My girlfriend broke up with me’ He replied.
    ‘Oh, I am so sorry about that, I thought…I’ she stuttered.
    ‘That I am gay? Why does everyone think that’? Wale scoffed.
    ‘Well, you know a lot about fashion and make-up’ she shrugged.
    ‘That’s not enough reason to make you think I am gay. I am a 100% straight and the woman I loved most just broke my heart, I feel horrible’ he was dead inside, only Brunette’s smile gave him a reason to be happy.
    ‘I am so sorry, what was the reason for the break-up’? She asked.
    ‘She is into rich guys and I am just the Security man’ he shrugged and beckoned on the waiter.
    ‘Whoa, that’s really hard and cruel to her, she doesn’t know just how amazing you are’ Jane reached out for his hands and gave it a comforting squeeze.
    ‘Thanks, Jane, promise me you will be careful with our boss’ Wale stared into her beautiful eyes, he hated Ivan with everything in him and hoped Jane wouldn’t fall prey to his ways.
    ‘I promise, what do you really have against Ivan’? She asked.
    ‘Nothing’ Wale replied and released a breath.
    How could he tell her that he had been dating Samantha? He had helped her get a job as Ivan’s personal assistant and immediately she got the job she started sleeping with him.
    He had forgiven her and continued with their relationship; he was deeply in love with her and was ready to overlook all her shortcomings including her cheating ways but she had ended their relationship that day.
    She called him a punk and a loser who is unwilling to make cool money and get rich.
    ‘So, what do I do about this note because I have a strong feeling my boss just asked me out’ she jiggled and jumped on her feet feeling very excited her dreams had come to pass.
    ‘Ask him’ Wale replied curtly.
    ‘Are you kidding me’? She laughed.
    ‘You need to be sure the note is from him, don’t raise your hopes only to get it dashed. Okay, take for instance, let’s say he was trying to woo another lady and she rejected his doughnuts and he brought them to you, what do you think about that’?
    She was silent for a while as she pondered on Wale’s line of thought; he helped her to see clearly.
    She had been so excited and her love for Ivan shielded her eyes from seeing the truth.
    ‘I have been so stupid Wale’ she released a breath.
    ‘No, you are not stupid. Liking him does not make you stupid, don’t ever say that’ he curled his arms round her shoulders.
    ‘I just really like him, from the first day I set eyes on him, something stopped inside of me. I guess you are right, I am not even his spec. I am not pretty enough like the girls on Vogue magazine, why would he want me’? Her confidence dropped to a zero degree.
    ‘Honey, trust me, you are more beautiful than all the models combined together on the Vogue or the Elle, but I don’t think Ivan is the right man for you’ Wale repeated.
    ‘Can you stop saying that? I feel worse whenever you do’ she rolled her eyes.
    ‘Sure, I need to take this’ he quickly took his hands off her and fetched his buzzing phone, Samantha was calling.
     His heart raced as he imagined she had called him to mend their broken relationship.
    The day was over and he’d driven his siblings back to the mansion; the car had been very silent as no one was in the mood to talk.
    Kira busied herself with plans on how takedown Samantha, her brothers’ ex who was bent on tarnishing the image of the company.
    Ryan was torn between his elder brother and Kira, whose side was he going to take?
    He loved Ivan very much and wanted him to be happy but Kira was seeing beyond love, she was being realistic and practical; she knew what would be best for everyone.
    ‘So Ivan, how do you plan to handle Samantha’? Kira asked.
    ‘You don’t need to worry, I can work my magic on her’ he replied coolly, his sister was starting to get on his nerves. She didn’t have to act like she owned the company and everything Samantha would launch would fall on her. He was deeply involved in this mess more than the rest of his family.
    ‘You should really be happy dad and mum went on their vacation, the more reason you should act fast before the news spreads globally’ she added.
    ‘Alright, I have had enough of your attitude, what’s this? You’re so judgy and insensitive. I don’t have time for this’ he turned off the car once they arrived home and rushed out of it.

    Episode Thirteen

     ‘Alright, I have had enough of your attitude, what’s this? You’re so judgy and insensitive. I don’t have time for this’ he turned off the car once they arrived home and rushed out of it.

    Jane was on his mind the whole time; he wondered if she had seen the note inside the bag; would she say yes? Obviously, she liked him, so she was going to say “yes”. Samantha could rot in hell for all he cared, he knew what she needed. As long as she didn’t have any proof of him harassing her, there was no case.
    ‘Did you just see that? He walked out on me’ Kira hissed.
    ‘Hey, you’re getting ahead of yourself, we’re all in this together, we’re one big happy family’ Ryan made for the door but Kira held his shirt tightly.
    ‘Are we’? Kira raised her brow.
    ‘You’ve been acting really strange lately, are you okay sister’? He sat back in the car and glanced at her.
    ‘Ivan is not really our brother, he is a “half” brother and we don’t owe him anything’ she started.
    ‘Whoa, slow down, where is this coming from’? Ryan couldn’t believe his ears.
    ‘I found a document in dad’s room, remember Ivan had asked me to look up and see what was going on with dad and mum…I found his will and he willed the company and a lot of money to Ivan. Ours is just 10% of the will, it made me realize something’ she licked her lips nervously.
    ‘Realize what’? Ryan still couldn’t believe his ears.
    ‘That Ivan has been given more than enough, more than he deserves; we work harder than he does and we are more responsible, why does he have to get the biggest share out of everything’? Kira sighed hoping Ryan would feel the way she felt.
    ‘He is our brother, my brother, we are blood, Kira. If father decided to will everything to him, then its best for us. He had his reasons why. Ivan may have his shortcomings when it comes to women but he is more hardworking, he gave Roseau Softwares her name, don’t you forget that. And I am done having this conversation with you’ he was irritated Kira would even reason that way.
    ‘I heard you two back in his office, he wants to go ahead with his new personal assistant. He wouldn’t kill his feelings for her Kira observed, she had overheard her brothers right after she’d walked out of the office.
    ‘Is that a bad thing? Honestly, I have never seen Ivan like somebody this much; it’s rare and I feel this is real. Leave him alone, we could sort Samantha out ourselves’ Ryan warned.
    ‘Yes, and that is why we must work together, you and me’ she had a plan.
    ‘We could meet up with Samantha and ask her to go to court, that way the company’s name would be smeared and dad would blame Ivan for everything, that way, he would be cut off from the will. What do you think’?
    Ryan scoffed, maybe he had not heard her well.
    ‘Are you asking me to betray my brother, our brother? I am really amazed, you’re greedy’ he pushed open the car door.
    ‘I have a little assignment for you, find Samantha and encourage her to go to court, offer her money and tape that conversation so we would have leverage over her for future purpose’ she said in a commanding tone.
    ‘I think you’re sick in the head, excuse me’ Ryan ignored her and stepped out from the car but his exit was not complete before she dropped the last arrow.
    ‘If you don’t, I’ll tell Ivan your secret, the secret that I have kept for so long’ Kira smiled a mischievous smile.
    ‘Are you blackmailing me now’?
    ‘It is what it is. That’s your job, mine is to destroy his relationship with Jane’ she sighed and jumped out of the car.
    He let the coldness of the water run down his back; the chill droplets calmed all his fears of being rejected, his anger for his sister and his budding hate for Samantha.
    He stepped out of the Shower and stared himself in the mirror.
    ‘I am hot and irresistible, she cannot say no’ he winked at his reflection.
    His skin was refreshed; his blonde strands were scattered and his blue eyes pierced the mirror.
    He had never been the type to get scared while wooing a woman, but he wasn’t that confident when it came to Jane, he didn’t know why.
    Even after he had found her eyes on him in a desiring fashion, he still felt scared of being rejected by her or maybe it was because he had seen her hanging out with the security guy.
    He released a sigh and stepped out from the bathroom.
    When she had returned to the office, she had not said a word to him apart from: “Good afternoon sir”.
    He had replied with a smile hoping that she had gotten the note he slipped into her doughnuts.
    “Did you like the doughnuts”? He had asked and she replied with a nod, followed by her beautiful smile.
    ‘I hope I did the right thing, else I’d feel so stupid’ he grunted and slipped into his clothes.
    He fetched his phone and scanned it briefly, Samantha was yet to hit the internet; he knew how to handle her, but Jane was more important now.
    He decided to take the bull by the horn, he dialed her number and placed the phone against his left ear.
    ‘Hello, Ivan Roseau on the line’ he pursed his lips, waiting for a reply, he wondered what her phone voice would be like.
    ‘Hello, honey, you have a call’.
    That was it, that was enough to make him drop the call, a storm of jealousy raged through him as he imagined her with another man.
    The male voice had called her “honey”, he had been such a fool to think she was a single woman.
    ‘Shit happens’ he threw the phone carelessly on his bed.
    He felt hurt that he had even made an effort but he also felt better he had not included his name on the note so he had not humiliated himself in any way.
    ‘I was so stupid’ he groaned and climbed his bed.
    Jealousy poured upon him like rain as he imagined all kind of scenes in his head; he imagined her with her lover kissing and making love; he found it hard to sleep as sleep had eluded him and left him void with nothing to think about except her beautiful face and her long brown hair.
    ‘I am going to get over you’ he muttered to himself.
    Now he had not gotten a favorable answer from her, he sank into a bad mood and decided that this would be the best time to see Samantha.
    He fetched his car key and rushed out of his room, he met his sister in the parlor but he ignored her totally.
    ‘Where are you off to’? She glanced at him briefly.
    ‘None of your business’ he scowled and continued towards the door.
    ‘We shall see’ she bit her lip and watched him walk away.

    Episode Fourteen

    ‘None of your business’ he scowled and continued towards the door.
    ‘We shall see’ she bit her lip and watched him walk away.
    All she needed was Ryan on her side to win this battle and there was no stopping her.
    ‘Have you decided to work with me or against me’? She rose to her feet as Troy walked into the living room.
    ‘I’ll work with you, but swear you’ll never tell Ivan about what happened that night’ Ryan swallowed the pain that built inside him, he couldn’t believe his sister would betray him like this.
    ‘Hands on my chest, I swear Ryan, I would not do anything to jeopardize your relationship with your brother’ she smiled.
    ‘Good. I need Samantha’s address’ Ryan asked.
    He didn’t feel right working against his brother but he had no choice, if Kira told Ivan about his secret, it would create a large rift between them forever and he didn’t want that.
    He cherished the relationship he had with his brother but wasn’t he still on the road to ruining that relationship by working against him?
    ‘Here, I got her files from the Records Department, here is everything you need. Just record your conversation with her and ask her to take the matter to court. All clear’? She needed to be sure.
    ‘All good’ he replied in a weak voice, still shocked that his sister would betray him.
    ‘I am doing this for us Ryan, for our family. I know you hate me and feel very disappointed, but we are doing the right thing. Dad would be so proud of us’ she placed a light peck on his face.
    ‘Can I ask for just one favor from you’?
    ‘Sure, what’s it’? She turned to him.
    ‘Can you stay out of Ivan’s love life? He is really happy about Jane, I feel you should let him be considering the amount of pain we’re about to inflict on him’ Ryan begged.
    ‘I may consider that, now run along, you don’t have much time on your hands’ she pushed him towards the door.
    ‘Brunette! You have a call’ Wale dropped her phone on the bed.
    ‘Really? Who? Maybe he called’ she rushed into the room to see it.
    ‘Your boss called, said to remind you of work, the company would be a beehive tomorrow, so he wants you to be prepared’ Wale lied.
    He knew Ivan had dropped the phone once he heard a male voice and he wasn’t sorry about taking it; Ivan had destroyed his relationship with Samantha and he wasn’t going to let him destroy his relationship with Jane.
    More importantly, he wasn’t going to let him hurt her.
    ‘Really’? Her heart fell as she stared at the phone.
    ‘I am sorry Jane, I told you not to get your hopes up, that guy is a real douche bag’ he put his arms around her.
    ‘I was so eager, I thought he would call. He even asked me how the doughnuts tasted’ she pulled away from him.
    She felt disappointed that Ivan would call to talk about work; she had expected him to mention stuff about the note; tell her about his feelings and ask her out in person.
    ‘Maybe he just felt like buying you doughnuts, you read too much meaning, I am sorry you feel disappointed’ he smoothened her hair.
    ‘Do you think he noticed my makeover? Maybe I should dress sexier, you know, reveal my curves or show cleavage? Maybe he would get drawn to that’ she was really desperate for his attention.
    ‘Hey, you don’t have to do that. Ivan doesn’t deserve you, you’ll find Mr. Right soon enough, okay’?
    ‘I always feel better talking to you Wale, thanks’ she smiled and hugged him.
    She had invited him over to teach her how to draw her brows perfectly and to spend some time with him so he could get over his ex. She knew what losing someone you really loved could feel like; she had lost her parents and that pain had left a huge void in her heart.
    ‘I have to leave now Brunette, you need to get some sleep, like your boss said, it’s going to be a beehive tomorrow’ he winked and planted a soft kiss on her hair.
    ‘Thanks’ she waved at him.
    ‘Excuse me, I need to take this call’ his phone buzzed, Samantha was calling again.
    He couldn’t believe what she had said the first time and so he’d cut the call on her, but now Ivan had decided to pursue his friend Jane, and he knew very well the story wasn’t going to end well, why couldn’t he do a little mischief to him?
    ‘Hello Samantha, I am in’ he replied curtly and turned off his phone as Jane returned.
    ‘Who was that’? She asked.
    ‘Just a friend, I need to go now honey, see you later’ he blew her a kiss and rushed out of the house.
    ‘Bye’ she waved. She noticed Wale had avoided her eyes and she found it really strange, like he was hiding something from her.
    ‘Samantha’ she repeated the name she had heard.
    A smile played on her lips, was Wale getting over his ex already? She couldn’t wait to find out his secret.
    The sadness she felt quickly returned as she stared at the bag that contained the doughnuts, she fought hard to control the tears that had welled up in her eyes but the tears prevailed and she sobbed herself to sleep not knowing how she would face him the next day.
    He had come up with a perfect plan that would dissuade Samantha from going to the court; he knew he was innocent and he equally knew that the court had convicted a lot of innocent people for crimes they didn’t commit.
    His love affair with Samantha could be read as a form of sexual manipulation and that would affect the image of his company badly.
    He stepped out of the car with a bouquet of flowers and scented candles in the other hand, he knew she loved scented candles and that’s why he had brought it to cajole her.
    He hoped he was doing the right thing, he rapped on the door twice patiently waiting for her to answer.
    ‘Who’s there’? He could see her eyes from the peephole, but he deiced to answer anyway.
    ‘Ivan’ he replied.
    ‘You finally came’ her sapphire eyes were dim with seduction as she stared into the eyes of the man that she had always desired.
    ‘Come on in’ she widened the door.
    ‘How are you, Sam? I came bearing gifts’ he smiled and showed the bouquet and the candles to her.
    ‘Aw, you know my favorite’ she inhaled the scent of the aromatic candles, it was Jasmine and rose.
    ‘What can I offer you’? She asked.
    ‘Nothing. I came here to talk’ he decided to go straight to the point, there was no point beating around the bush.
    ‘Talk shall we’ she sat cross-legged and waited for him to speak.
    ‘I know you spoke to a local magazine and you told them lies; why did you have to lie baby? I thought you enjoyed our relationship while it lasted’ he laced his tongue with honey; this was the only way to get her.

    Episode Fifteen

    ‘I know you spoke to a local magazine and you told them lies; why did you have to lie baby? I thought you enjoyed our relationship while it lasted’ he laced his tongue with honey; this was the only way to get her.
    ‘Are you kidding me? Do you think that line would work? You’re more shallow than  I thought’ she rose to her feet and walked towards her cellar, fetched herself a glass and a bottle of scotch.
    ‘What do you want from me, Sam’? He scoffed, this was going to be more difficult than he thought.
    ‘You used and dumped me like I didn’t matter; I thought I was different from the rest of the women that you slept with; I felt like a princess favored by her prince charming; I even dumped my boyfriend because of you. I want you to suffer for humiliating me’ she gulped the hot liquid down her throat.
    ‘And I want money too, lots of it’ she quickly added.
    ‘I could arrange for that’ Ivan exhaled; he knew her type, easy to get or silence with money.
    ‘Is that all you’re going to say? Aren’t you even sorry for dumping me and treating me like trash’? She couldn’t believe him.
    ‘What do you want me to say, Samantha? If I told you that I am a changed man, that I have realized the value of others; that I no longer sleep around, would that make a difference? If I told you that I am sorry for hurting you, would it make a difference? Tell me, Samantha, would it’? He rose to his feet and walked towards her.
    She had never seen him this way; something had changed in him.
    ‘I am truly sorry for the way I treated you, but you shouldn’t tell lies about me; you know my reputation would me smeared along with the company’s, please don’t let me lose everything. Everything we did was consensual, have a rethink Sam’ he begged.
    She said nothing. Silent and surprise numbed her lips. Who could believe that the great Ivan Roseau could apologize?
    ‘I’ll talk to the magazine to take off the interview and I promise not to go to court’ she swallowed the last remains of her drink.
    ‘Oh my God thanks so much’ he felt relieved.
    ‘Don’t thank me yet, I have not forgiven you totally, I want us to be in love again. I want us to go back to the way we used to be’ her eyes were dreamy as she spoke.
    Ivan’s euphoria swam away in the water of reality as her words registered.
    ‘I can’t do what you’re asking’ he replied without thinking.
    ‘Why’? She narrowed her brows.
    ‘Nothing. Just forget me Sam, take the money I would offer and leave’ he replied.
    This was totally unlike Ivan. How could he expect her to let go of him that easily?  How could he tell her to forget the passionate way he had kissed her or the way he made love to her like no man had ever?
    ‘I am sorry Sam, but I am not that man anymore’ he sighed. He truly regretted his past; his feelings for Jane had bought him a new conscience and a new mind.
    ‘What is that look in your eyes’? She couldn’t miss it. It was the look of a man in love.
    ‘You’re in love with someone else and that is why you are repulsed by the idea of us being together’ she observed.
    ‘Yes, I am’ Ivan replied and rushed out of her house.
    She felt greatly enraged as his cologne faded from her house; she had thought of granting him a pardon, but now, she would visit Ivan with full force.
     How could he fall in love with another woman after all the things they had shared?
    She poured another glass of scotch and settled herself on her sofa ready to drown in the liquor when she heard a knock on her door.
    She had called him earlier so they could work together; her eyes strayed briefly to the clock that hung on the wall; it had to be him.
    Without an alibi, someone to stand by her, she wasn’t going to win this case against Ivan; she had thought about it deeply and had approached him.
    ‘You came’ her lips twitched as she stared into his face.
    ‘You look beautiful tonight…’ he stuttered as he took her lovely eyes and her golden brown hair.
    ‘Come on in Wale, we have a lot to talk about’ Sam winked.
    Wale had always been an ardent admirer of blondes and brunette; from the very first time he had set eyes on Samantha, he developed a crush on her but she did not feel the same.
    She had been sleeping with Ivan at the time and that really bruised his ego.
    ‘I would do it’ he said curtly.
    Ivan deserved to be sued and milked dry of millions, he was the reason he had lost his darling Samantha and he was about doing the same thing to Jane. He needed to be taught a lesson.
    ‘Wow darling and here I was thinking you didn’t have guts, apparently you’re the kind of man I should be looking for’ Samantha felt pleased that he had agreed to work with her.
    ‘What I am about doing is dangerous, I need something from you’ Wale rubbed his hands nervously as he raked his eyes all over her.
    ‘And that would be? Name your price, I could write you a cheque’ she dropped her glass and swiftly rose to her feet.
    ‘No, I don’t want money, I want more’ Wale joined her standing.
    ‘What do you want Wale’? She rolled her eyes.
    She felt irritated that he would crave for her; she liked men that were made like Ivan; made and polished and not some Security man with a cheap salary.
    ‘You’ Ivan replied.
    ‘You cannot have me’ she replied bluntly.
    ‘Why’? Her words flayed his flesh once again.
    ‘I am not in the dating market right now’ Samantha lied smoothly; she needed his help to bring Ivan down.
    ‘Alright. Then I am not helping you’ he shrugged and quickly turned towards the door.
    ‘Wait’! She called after him, she couldn’t lose Wale now.
    ‘Once we win the case, we’ll go on a date’.
    ‘Are you sure about that or you’re just trying to act smart’? He scanned her carefully.
    ‘I promise’ she crossed her heart.
    ‘I guess I am in, when do I get to testify’? Wale couldn’t wait to tell the court how Ivan was sexually harassing Sam.
    ‘In two days time’ her eyes glowed with confidence and determination.
    Ryan had stood a few miles away from Sam’s house. He watched as his brother left and he was more astonished when he saw Wale, one of the security guards at Roseau Softwares stepping out of Samantha’s house.
    ‘What the’? He fetched his phone and took snapshots, something was fishy.
    He pondered on Kira’s assignment, how could he walk in there and tell Samantha to file the case to court; an action that he knew would ruin his brother’s life and damage his career forever.

    Episode Sixteen

    He pondered on Kira’s assignment, how could he walk in there and tell Samantha to file the case to court; an action that he knew would ruin his brother’s life and damage his career forever.
    He thought of how nice and kind of a big brother Ivan had been to him.
    Though he was hot-tempered and could get very controlling at times, he loved his brother dearly and wouldn’t do anything to betray him.
    But would Ivan ever forgive him if he found out about the past?
    He had seen the determination in Kira’s eyes as she threatened him, she had thought it all out and now she was using him as a pawn.
    ‘I am sorry Ivan, I have to do this’ he shut his car and strolled towards Sam. He didn’t have a choice, Kira couldn’t let his secret out, Ivan was going to hate him forever.
    He drew a deep breath and rung the doorbell.
    ‘Anybody home’? He yelled.
    It took him a few more ringing before the door fell open and he found Sam standing in her Lingerie.
    ‘What do you want Ryan? Did your brother send you to cajole me? Tell him I am moving forward. I will tell the world how he harassed me and fired me when I rebuffed his sexual advances’ she poked a finger at his face.
    ‘No Sam, I am here for something else’ Ryan exhaled sharply, betraying his brother was difficult.
    ‘What could that be’? She lifted a brow.
    ‘I want you to file the case, take Ivan to court. I and my sister Kira are solidly behind you’ Ryan said.
    He could feel her suspicious eyes scrutinizing every angle on his face.
    ‘Are you trying to set me up? What’s your plan’ she moved backward afraid he may hurt her?
    ‘No. Not all’ he raised his hands up.
    ‘Then why would you turn against your own brother’? Samantha wouldn’t be patronized.
    ‘Because he is a dick and I want to screw him over; I want Ivan to pay for the way he has been treating me all these years. I want him to suffer humiliation and disgrace’ Ryan replied.
    ‘Hmm, sounds tough. I’ll sleep on it, let’s talk later’ she decided she didn’t trust him just yet.
    ‘Thanks for your time, I promise you, working with me and Kira would be the best decision you have ever taken.
    ‘Goodnight Ryan’ she whispered and watched as he walked away, confused and torn between decisions, what had she gotten herself into?
    ‘He bought me doughnuts’ she muttered as she worked on her face, in preparation for work.
    ‘But doughnuts mean nothing’  she reminded herself.
    She felt really disappointed that the note she had found in the bag wasn’t Ivan’s.
    Wale kept telling her to be careful and everything, but it just wasn’t easy. She couldn’t lie to herself anymore, she was in love with her boss but of what use was one-sided love?
    She slipped on a cashmere sweater on top a blue denim and strode out of the house; her make-up had been light, she didn’t want to dress and kill today.
    ‘Roseau Softwares’ she waved a cab down and jumped in.
    As the car passed the streets, a cool breeze roused her hair which had been perfectly asleep; she was eager to see him again; she was eager to look into his stunning eyes and inhale the drugging scent of his perfume.
    ‘You really have beautiful hair’ the cab driver said to her.
    ‘Why, thank you sir’ she offered the older man a smile and quickly fetched her phone.
    She checked her long brown strands to see if this were true; before she met Wale, her best friend, she had never received compliments like this one.
    ‘You don’t need to stare at the mirror, I am not lying’ the old man replied.
    ‘I got it’ she grinned and flipped her phone.
    ‘You know, I have a son; he is partial to brunettes’ the old man winked.
    She hardly spoke to strangers but this man had her cracking up.
    ‘I am sorry, I am taken’ she laughed.
    ‘Are you’? The old man’s tone was mocking.
    ‘Yes’ she reassured him but deep down she felt hollow, not even her lies could help her through the love that she felt for him.
    ‘Then why are you blushing’? He pulled the car in front of the company and she jumped out.
    ‘Thanks’ she paid the man and was about walking into the massive building when he stopped her.
    ‘Hey! If you’re heartbroken it’s too bad, I guess that guy doesn’t know your value. Don’t let anybody hurt you beauty. You’re amazing and perfect’ he sounded his horn and drove off.
    ‘Thank you’ a wide smile split her narrow face as she watched him go.
    His words haunted her like a bad dream, maybe this was all she needed.
    Why was she killing herself in thoughts and fantasies for a man who hardly noticed her.
    ‘I am amazing and special’ she murmured confidently and stormed towards her boss’ office.
    Today was going to be a very different day, she wouldn’t smile or attempt jokes; she was going to be a 100% professional and nothing would stop her.
    ‘Hey Jane’! Pod, Wale’s partner waved at her.
    She thought it weird, she never liked the man and the feeling was mutual.
    ‘Hey Pod, I am really late, so later’ she was about leaving but stopped when she noticed he was running towards her.
    ‘Have you seen Wale today? He is usually early’ he asked after his partner.
    ‘No’ Jane replied calmly.
    ‘He has really been acting off these days; doesn’t talk much to me, avoids eye contact; keeps to himself’ he complained.
    “Well that’s because he isn’t your age range,” Jane thought in her heart but said this instead: ‘That’s too bad, maybe you should talk to him about it’ she suggested.
    Then she paused, Wale was going through heartbreak trauma, maybe he was still hurting and that was the reason he couldn’t come to work.
    ‘Let me call him’ she fetched her phone and dialed his number. It rang thrice but there was no answer, this got her worried.
    ‘His heart is really broken, this must be the problem’ she sighed.
    ‘Heartbreak’? The older man raised his brow. He knew Wale was not seeing anybody, he had been stuck on Samantha, Ivan’s former personal assistant for some time.
    ‘Yes,’ Jane sensed the scoffing in his voice.
    ‘I don’t know about that but Wale was not seeing anybody. I guess I’ll have to wait for him’ he patted her shoulder and returned to his cubicle.
    ‘Whoa, that’s strange’ she watched as the man disappeared. It didn’t seem like he was lying.
    Wale didn’t seem like the type to lie or was she all wrong about it?
    She pushed the thoughts aside and decided to head for Ivan’s office; her heart pulsated; her breathing increased as she neared his office.
    ‘Come in’ his baritone sounded so commanding and she was lost in it.
    ‘Good morning sir’ she greeted as she stepped in.
    As usual, his back was to her while he stared down the streets.

    Episode Seventeen

    ‘Good morning sir’ she greeted as she steps in.
    As usual, his back was to her while he stared down the streets.

    ‘You are late’ Ivan replied coolly.
    While he stood there, he fought hard for control, resisting all his desire to pin her down his chest and kiss the daylight out of her.
    He had been watching her from high up; he had seen her when she stepped out from the cab; when she had stopped to converse with the other security men. Yes, he couldn’t keep his eyes off her but he reminded himself that he was Ivan Roseau and he always kept everything in check.
    ‘I…I am sorry’ Jane glanced at her watch.
    ‘What’s your excuse’ he swirled around and faced her.
    All his control fled; the walls of defenses he had built were torn down; she was breathtaking in her ensemble; simply dressed but entrapping.
    His eyes took in her slender neck and the bones that defined it; it moved to her perky breasts that shot out in the cashmere sweater and traveled back upwards.
    First, to her clear brown eyes and then to her lips which were mildly colored.
    ‘I..am sorry’ she stuttered and stared at him.
    There was chemistry in the air; a strong scent of desire and wanting to plague her and she wondered if it plagued him too.
    ‘Sorry’? Ivan walked towards her, one step at a time, he couldn’t hold himself back.
    ‘Yes…’ heat rose up her cheeks as he neared her. What was he going to do? Was he going to kiss her?
    He stopped right before her. They were just an inch apart but he could feel her hot breath on his face; he could smell her feminine fragrance and as he stood before her, he couldn’t miss the desire that danced in her mahogany eyes.
    Did she want him too? This was confusing.
    She licked her lips nervously, waiting to kiss him.
    He moved closer to her and she closed her eyes, it was time for her first kiss.
    ‘You have lipstick on your face’ he whispered instead and stormed out of his office.
    Ryan brought his car to a halt; he had driven up to meet Samantha at the designated venue. He paused and took a deep breath and decided he was not going back.
    He took out his phone briefly and stared at the picture of the security guard that had left Sam’s house; there was something definitely fishy about the way he had left her apartment.
    He noticed his phone was buzzing, he had just received a message from Sam:
    “I can see you, come into the restaurant”.
    ‘Bitch’ he muttered under his breath and slid out of the car towards the Chinese restaurant that was crowded with people.
    ‘It’s a little noisy in here if you ask me’ He started as he spotted her inside the glassy building.
    ‘Ideal place for a meeting with someone you don’t trust’ she scoffed.
    ‘I am on your side, I want Ivan down as much as you do’ Ryan tried to convince her.
    ‘Really? Why? How do I believe you’re not trying to set me up and then sell me out later’ she beckoned to one of the waiters.
    ‘Our father’s will…’ he paused briefly and gave his order.
    ‘What about your father’s will’? Sam was getting interested.
    ‘He is giving everything to Ivan including the company and it’s so unfair’ Ryan sighed, he was actually speaking for Kira and not himself.
    Samantha drummed her fingers on the table impatiently waiting for him to drop the point; she paused as she heard him mention a will.
    ‘So you want to paint Ivan black before your dad in order for the will to get augmented’? She relaxed against the chair and cast a long glance at him; she was trying to read him; trying to see if he was playing her.
    ‘Something like that, I’ve put in a lot into the company too’ Ryan said.
    ‘I see, but why don’t you tell your brother this instead of plotting behind his back’? Sam took another angle, she was playing him.
    A slow smile crept on his face, he knew she was testing him; he was no fool and he would play right along.
    ‘We both know Ivan, he is selfish and controlling, he loves power. I know he is my brother but he wouldn’t listen’ Ryan stated.
    Samantha couldn’t agree less, she had dated Ivan for a couple of months before he fired her; she would never forget that humiliating experience.
    She had found her answer, she was going ahead with her plan. With Wale to testify against him and his siblings to back her up, she was going to milk Ivan dry.
    ‘Excuse me, I need to text someone badly’ she fetched her phone and sent a message to Wale.
    ‘Done’ she grinned and focused on Ryan.
    ‘So, what’s your plan exactly’? Ryan asked. He needed to know what she had in store for his brother.
    ‘Someone from the company would stand as a witness, telling the court of
    How he had seen your brother harassing me severally’ she replied.
    ‘Oh? Can I meet this person’? Ryan was quite sure it was Wale, why else had he visited her.
    ‘No. Not so fast. Let’s take it slow’ she offered him her prettiest smile.
    ‘Okay,’ he shrugged and relaxed against the chair not knowing the next step to take.
    Sam was no fool, Ryan seemed too curious for his own good and that was when it hit her that she had been tricked and she had a strong feeling that Ivan knew nothing about this.
    “There is lipstick on your face” his voice reechoed in her brain as she stared at the mirror.
    Heat crept up from her neck to her cheeks as she had been so sure he was going to kiss her.
    ‘I was so stupid, now I made a mess of myself’ she stared at her reflection. Her boss’ reaction was startling as there was no lipstick stain on her face.
    She wondered if she would have the strength to face him the rest of the day; she was ashamed for expecting a kiss, what was she thinking?
    ‘I’ll be fine’ she reassured herself, followed by few minutes of a deep breath.
    Her eyes strayed to a colorful book that lay in one of the bathroom shanks; someone must have forgotten the book there, she thought to herself.
    She moved towards it and picked it up. It was a magazine.
    She smiled faintly as she remembered Wale who always told her she could be a Vogue cover girl or an Elle cover girl.
    Her smile vanished swiftly as she spotted Ivan’s name with this caption: “Software Billionaire harasses Personal assistant”.
    She flipped through the pages till she found the spot where the said personal assistant was being interviewed. She found it hard to believe all what the girl said about Ivan, her boss.
    She knew he had a temper but he didn’t look like a perverted person, why hadn’t he made advances towards her? He apologized for yelling at her once and he bought her doughnuts.

    Episode Eighteen

    She knew he had a temper but he didn’t look like a perverted person, why hadn’t he made advances towards her? He apologized for yelling at her once and he bought her doughnuts.
    ‘Freaking doughnuts’! She rolled her eyes and was about closing the magazine when her eyes fell on the name: Samantha.
    ‘I need to speak to Wale’ she dropped the magazine in her bag and rushed to the coffee shop where they usually met.
    What if she was wrong? What if she was quick to assume Ivan Roseau was a nice person. She reminded herself that she had not spent a lot of time with him and so she couldn’t be in the position to vouch for him.
    ‘Hey there, what took you so long’? She was lucky to meet him right on time. Wale was feasting on some doughnuts while in his cubicle.
    ‘Brunette, how are you, I heard you asked of me’ he dropped the snack and stared at her.
    ‘Sure. Can we talk now? I really need to talk to you’ Jane said.
    ‘Miss me much’? He strode out of the cubicle and together they both left for the coffee shop where they usually met for lunch.
    ‘You look worried, everything all right’? He arched a brow and dragged her a chair.
    ‘And you look like you have gotten over your heartbreak’ she stared at him.
    She was starting to wonder if his partner was right, why would Wale lie to her that he had a girlfriend when in truth, he didn’t.
    ‘Oh, I am strong’ he stuttered and looked away from her.
    ‘Tell me more’ she forced a smile and scanned his face, Wale always made eye contact, why was he avoiding her now?
    ‘Can we talk about someone else other than me’? He winked.
    ‘Sure. Something terrible happened back at the office’ she drew a deep breath and begun.
    ‘Terrible? What happened? Did Ivan do something to you, you can trust me, go on tell me everything’ he seemed very eager to her.
    She wondered why Wale was so obsessed with Ivan; why did he feel that all her problems encountered at work were tied to Ivan Roseau?
    ‘Um, yes, why would you guess that’? She wondered.
    ‘Well, he is a devil and I know him’ he replied.
    ‘Oh’ she licked her lips, feeling more nervous and suspicious of Wale. Her desire to tell him about the “near kiss” experience with Ivan faded, she decided to keep that event to herself.
    ‘I am waiting for the news’ he asked.
    ‘Oh, I heard people saying some really bad things about our boss’ she said.
    ‘Bad things like’? Wale asked. He felt his phone buzz and quickly took it from the pocket of his denim, dropping it on the table.
    ‘He harassed someone, could this be true? I know he is many things but that tag doesn’t sit well. Why would Ivan Roseau, one of the youngest billionaires harass someone’? She scoffed.
    ‘Why wouldn’t he? He is such a dick’ Wale replied.
    His eyes were icy and in his voice was hate.
    ‘Such a big word’ she rolled her eyes.
    ‘I read in a magazine that his former personal assistant that goes by the name Samantha attested to this fact; I just don’t believe it’ Jane continued.
    And truly she didn’t, Ivan was a successful and wealthy man; he had the good looks to attract an ocean of women, why then would he harass one?
    ‘Because he is a pervert’ Ivan replied and rose to his feet.
    ‘Where are you off to’? She asked.
    ‘I want to use the bathroom’ he replied, he wanted to set up a meeting with Samantha to discuss their plans further.
    ‘Alright then, will be waiting’ she replied and called one of the waiters to bring her a cup of latte.
    She quickly fetched the magazine from her purse and scanned it.
    ‘Here is your coffee ma’m’ the waiter said.
    ‘Thanks’ Jane replied politely and with a smile.
    ‘Your phone has been blinking, it’s probably important’ the waiter called her attention to Wale’s phone that blinked incessantly.
    ‘Oh, thanks so much’ Jane quickly grabbed the phone.
    Her eyes followed the direction of the bathroom and she decided to run through his call log. She could swear she heard him call “Samantha” back at her house.
    There were so many irregularities in Wale’s break up story. People didn’t just wake up and get healed of their broken hearts; it could take weeks or months for people to completely heal.
    And there was what Pod said, about Wale not having a girlfriend, it was not making sense.
    She drew a deep breath and flipped open his phone; her hands were shaky, she had never done something like this before.
    She closed it back and dropped it on the table.
    ‘I can’t do this’ she folded the magazine back into her purse and rose to her feet. She needed to return back to the office.
    But then the phone began to vibrate against the table, leaving her with no other choice but to take it.
    She took the phone a second time and flipped it open, only to find a strange text message from the name “Samantha”.
       “Hey there, you didn’t reply my first text. I just met with Ryan Roseau; apparently, this case would be a big win. I still need you to cover my back. Love you. Sam.”
    Tears rose up in her eyes as she read the text as she realized that Wale had been lying to her.
    ‘Brunette’? Wale’s voice intruded her moment of discovery.
    ‘Who is Sam and why do you have to cover her up’? She dropped the phone on the table and stared at him.
    ‘I…she is just a friend’ Wale shrugged.
    ‘A friend? Why did she meet with Ivan’s brother? What’s going on Wale’?
    ‘Is there something you should tell me, about this’? She raised the magazine upwards.
    Wale was startled as he saw the caption on the magazine. He had been thrown off balance.
    ‘I can explain…’ he started towards her.
    ‘You never really had a girlfriend, did you? The way is I see it, you and this Samantha girl want to connive to set Ivan up’ she spelt it out. She was not a fool.
    ‘You don’t have to put it like that, Ivan is not who you think you are. Don’t let your love for him fool you’ Wale came to his defense.
    ‘Really? Tell me why you think Ivan is such a bad person’ she folded her arms across her chest.
    She really felt hurt that someone she trusted with her entirety had lied to her; he had seemed so honest and so sincere and now, she didn’t know what to believe anymore.
    ‘Ivan had slept with four personal assistants before you and he always fired them whenever he grew weary’ Wale explained.
    More tears ran down her cheeks on hearing this.
    ‘And you’re just telling me this now’? She raised her brows.
    ‘I just wanted to protect you’ Wale moved closer to her.
    ‘By keeping that away from me? By trying to pull him down? You have said it all, if Ivan slept with Sam, it meant it was consensual and not harassment. Why would you take sides with her to hurt your boss’?

    Episode Nineteen

    ‘By keeping that away from me? By trying to pull him down? You have said it all, if Ivan slept with Sam, it meant it was consensual and not harassment. Why would you take sides with her to hurt your boss’?
    ‘It’s bigger than that’ he said. He couldn’t tell Jane that he had feelings for Sam and it had hurt him real bad to watch her with Ivan. This was his chance to have her back and he wasn’t going to lose it.
    ‘Well, if you go ahead with that plan of yours, we’ll cease to be friends’ she fetched her bag and walked out of the coffee shop.
    He felt terrible that she had walked in on his plans to destroy Ivan’s image but he couldn’t go back now; he was already knee-deep; he was this close to winning Samantha’s heart. And at that point, nothing else really mattered to him, not even Jane’s friendship.
    ‘I am sorry brunette’ he murmured.
    After his meeting with Samantha, he decided to give his sister feedback.
    He felt terrible for doing this but he had no choice, either this or Ivan discovered what he did in the past which was way worse.
    He ran up the stairs that led to Kira’s office. Coincidentally, he found her stepping out of her office.
    ‘There you are, how did the plan go’? She paused by her door and stared at him.
    ‘Perfect, Sam is moving forward with the case’ Ryan replied.
    ‘Fair enough, let’s talk inside, the walls have ears’ she scanned the ceiling, knowing very well there were cameras everywhere.
    Ryan gave her a brief of what he had discussed with Sam and what she had also told him in return.
    ‘Where is the recording? You were supposed to make a recording which would give us power over her in future’? Kira asked.
    ‘I couldn’t record our conversation. She would have known and wouldn’t have opened up the way she did’ Ryan felt frustrated. It was bad enough he was betraying brother, why would Kira make this more difficult for him?
    ‘Really’? She scoffed and rolled her eyes.
    ‘Someone is going to testify against Ivan. Someone who works in this company’Ryan said to her.
    A lazy smile danced on Kira’s thin lips as she realized how perfect Samantha’s ploy was.
    ‘She is smarter than I thought. Who is her mule’? Kira inquired.
    ‘She wouldn’t tell me, but she did tell me she would file in the case in two days time’ Ryan replied.
    ‘That’s smart, once father realizes how irresponsible his first son is, he would be left with no other option but to will everything back to us.
    The words had not escaped her lips fully when the door flew wide open and Ivan stepped into the office.
    ‘Ivan! What are you doing here’? Kira jumped to her feet, she was unnerved by this unexpected intrusion.
    ‘What a question’ Ivan chuckled.
    He noticed how guilty Ryan looked and how bland Kira’s face was. Something was up, his siblings didn’t seem too happy to see him in the office.
    ‘What’s up with you’? Ivan asked.
    ‘Nothing’ they chorused.
    ‘Nothing’? He focused on their faces.
    Ryan looked like he was about to disappear; his face was pale and completely drained of blood.
    Kira was restless; she looked angry about something.
    ‘I realized we have not talked after the fight we had’ Ivan drew a seat.
    ‘That’s really not necessary, you can date whoever you want. You’re an adult’ Kira replied.
    ‘That was so easy’ he watched her carefully, she had been so uncomfortable with his feelings for Jane and now was giving up completely? Another clue, that was out of character. Kira was not the type to give on things so easily.
    In fact, once her mind was made up, it took someone of a much bigger willpower like himself to dissuade her from taking action.
    ‘I’ll have to excuse you both’ Ryan grinned and rushed out of the office. He couldn’t stare his brother in the eyes, his conscience wouldn’t let him.
    ‘Ryan…’ Ivan called after him.
    ‘Are you okay’? Ivan asked.
    ‘Yes, bro’ Ryan nodded and rushed out of the room.
    ‘That’s really sneaky if you ask me’ Ivan scoffed and turned to his sister.
    ‘Sneaky? How’?
    ‘Like he is hiding something, well, I came to tell you that I went to Samantha’s house the night before and she was so difficult especially when I told her I have feelings for another woman’ Ivan said to his sister.
    ‘Are you saying her choice to taint your name is solely based on revenge and not the desire to add more zeros to her account’? Kira raised a brow.
    ‘Something like that, I don’t know what to do Kira. I am honestly scared; if this news should get to dad. It wouldn’t only ruin his trip, he would be so disappointed in me and I don’t want that’ he reached out and grabbed his sister’s hand.
    ‘I know Ivan. I understand’ Kira nodded her head.
    ‘That’s why we need to work together. I am sorry I yelled at you, let’s work together and defeat Samantha. You are a very smart person and I know you will work up a plan. Please, Kira, I need your help’ he begged.
    ‘That wouldn’t be a problem, we would fight her together’ Kira agreed.
    ‘Thanks, I have to go now’ he pressed a kiss on her head and strolled out of her office.
    She scoffed as she watched Ivan leave, who did he think he was anyway? He felt by walking into her office, he could just give a command, one she would obey without questioning.
    ‘Your time’s coming to Ivan. You’re gonna crash and you’ll have no idea what hit you’.
    She felt worse after what Wale had told her concerning Ivan; she brushed her wet face with a hankie and rushed towards the company.
    She felt like a fool after the revelation; Ivan had slept with all his past personal assistants and fired them after. He was really a devil.
    ‘You will never get to me’ she whispered as she climbed into the elevator leading to his office.
    What if buying her the doughnuts were a signal that he was romantically interested in her?
    But she loved him, yes she loved him and that felt more stupid.
    Even after Wale had painted him so black before her, she still liked him and it hurt her more.
    What if she was the next in line? What if Ivan planned to use her next and she was falling so easily for his plan like fish to bait?
    There was only one way to end this; she didn’t want to end up like Samantha and the rest of the girls who had worked for Ivan. There was only one way to end this.
    She knocked on the door of his office twice and only pushed against the door when she heard his voice ‘Come in’.
    ‘I need you to get these files to the legal department and make me a cup of coffee or get one from that coffee shop’ he dished out orders without looking up.
    She stared at his handsome faced; well carved like that of an angel; his eyes were ever glowing and seductive and she knew deep down that she couldn’t resist his charms.

    Episode Twenty

    She stared at his handsome faced; well carved like that of an angel; his eyes were ever glowing and seductive and she knew deep down that she couldn’t resist his charms.
     ‘You there’? Ivan asked without looking up.
    She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out.
    ‘Heard me’? He pushed the files away and stared into her beautiful face. His heart leapt as their eyes met and he felt that spark another time.
    It was going to be hard to resist her. It was going to be hard to fight all he felt for her.
    ‘I quit’ her lips trembled as the words came out.
    ‘Excuse me’? His mouth fell open. He stared at her with a shocked expression that was written all over his face.
    She didn’t need to explain herself. Working with Ivan had gotten her enough salary to last her for some months, before she needed to look for another job.
    ‘Okay, cool’ he replied and continued working on his files, feeling very hurt that she would leave him.
    Why was she leaving? He took a deep breath and stared after her. He wouldn’t stop her; she had her reasons for doing so.
    He couldn’t stand up and stop her from passing through the door. He wouldn’t beg her to stay, no, he was Ivan Roseau and he wouldn’t beg anyone.
     Her ego felt pricked; she felt stupid for quitting her job; why didn’t he stop her?  Why didn’t he ask for the reason she left her job? Why didn’t he stop her from walking past the door?
    Slowly twilight covered the earth and the sun took her leave; evening had come upon the Roseau mansion. The gentle evening breeze ruffled the leaves of the tall palms and the golden of the sun reflected on the pool of water that lay before him.
    Ivan was deep in thought; he was confused too.
    She had quit her job, just like that, for no reason and he had failed to ask her why, he had failed to stop her.
    He realized he was scared of Jane Atkins; he feared her like no other person, not even his own father. He was scared of the power that she had over him, he was scared of the way she filled his thoughts and yet he didn’t have the power to conquer her.
    He poured himself a glass of lemonade to calm his clashing thoughts; he stared at his phone in one hand, wondering what he would do.
    It would have been an amazing thing to call her and pour out his whole heart, or driven up her house and dropped her some flowers but she had someone else.
    She was in love with Wale and there was nothing she/ he could do about it.
    Maybe posterity was judging him for treating all the women in his past wrongly; it was time for him to feel the rejection he deliberately met out to others.
    ‘Hello there, dad wants to speak to you’ Kira’s voice startled him.
    ‘Thanks’ he grabbed the phone from her but not without noticing a mischievous glint in her eyes. What was going on?
    ‘Hello, dad’? Ivan kept his eyes on the pool.
    ‘Ivan, I am disappointed in you’ Turquoise replied.
    ‘I don’t get you, is this the first thing you say to your son after weeks of not seeing him’? Ivan snapped irritably.
    ‘If that son is bent on tearing down everything I have built’ his father replied.
    ‘You know what dad? I am done with this conversation’ he pulled the phone away from his ear.
    ‘Don’t you cut that phone off me boy, I give you a week to clear your name in the papers else I am handing the company over to someone more capable’ his father threatened.
    ‘What are you talking about’? Ivan’s eyes crept to Kira’s, she quickly turned away.
    ‘You damn well know. Now get it fixed’Turquoise brought the call to an end.
    Ivan bit his lip angrily as he stared at his sister; Samantha’s interview had been with a local paper and there was no way their father would’ve gotten wind of it if he wasn’t told by one of his siblings.
    ‘How could you betray me like that’? Ivan rose to his feet and approached her.
    ‘I didn’t, you should be speaking to Ryan’ Kira grabbed her phone and walked away.
    He felt a jab of pain in his chest as he watched her go, why would his brother betray him? What was in it for him?
    ‘Ryan! Come out here, you little dick’! Ivan yelled angrily and made for his room but the loud ringing of his phone paused his steps.
    ‘What the Fuck now’? He cursed and took the call.
    ‘Call back later, whoever you are, not  a good time’ he spoke into the phone.
    ‘It’s Samantha’ the cool female voice replied.
    ‘What do you want now? You’ve wrecked my life, that should be enough for you’ he ran his fingers through his hair. He was exasperated by Sam, by his dad, and by his siblings. It seemed the whole world was against him, but he was always at peace whenever Jane’s smiling face flashed in his mind.
    ‘To talk. I have something very important that I want to share. In fact, I am willing to consider the court matter’ she replied.
    ‘And why would you do that’? He chuckled, girls like Samantha always wanted something.
    ‘Just meet me at Rosydew Lounge later this evening’ she said.
    ‘Alright, I’ll be there’ he turned off his phone and left to find his brother.
      Ryan had heard the loud screams of Ivan, he quickly rushed down the stairs to meet his brother.
    ‘Chill man, what’s with the shouting’? Ryan asked.
    ‘You son of a…’ Ivan launched a punch that landed on his brother’s jaw.
    ‘Ouch, that hurts, what did I do’? Ryan’s heart raced, had his brother discovered the secret? But Kira promised not to tell him, if he worked with her.
    ‘You betrayed me, I trusted you with everything. I love you more than I have ever loved anyone not even father or Kira but you betrayed me. Why’? Ivan clenched his fist.
    ‘I am sorry Ivan, it was a mistake’ Ryan wiped a trace of blood that flowed from his lower lip.
    ‘A mistake? But you did it, what were you thinking’? Ivan sighed.
    ‘I am so sorry Ivan, that night was a mistake. I still hate myself for it, I was terribly drunk’ Ryan decided to confess since Kira had ratted him out for whatever reason, he may as well tell his brother the truth.
    ‘What night’? Ivan narrowed his eyes, Ryan was definitely talking about something else.
    ‘The night I slept with Heather, your girlfriend back in college. I regret it and it never happened again. I swear Ivan, I would never betray you…Kira…’ Ryan paused as shock registered on Ivan’s face.
    ‘You slept with Heather’? Ivan drew a deep breath.
    ‘You know what? I don’t have time for you now, I’ll handle you later’ Ivan took his keys from his pocket and rushed towards his car.
    ‘Shit’ Ryan fell on his knees, his brother would hate him forever.
    Minutes after Ivan had driven out of the mansion, Kira rushed out to meet Ryan whose face was swollen from the hit Ivan served him.
    ‘I heard a lot of screaming and shouting and what the hell happened to your face’? She looked terrified.

    Episode Twenty-One

    ‘I heard a lot of screaming and shouting and what the hell happened to your face’? She looked terrified.
    ‘You. You happened. I thought we made ourselves clear, I agreed to work with you so you wouldn’t tell Ivan about Heather. But you failed me, now he is mad at me and would never forgive me’ Ryan felt hurt.
    ‘What? I never did tell him about Heather’? Kira was surprised.
    ‘But I lied you were the one that told father about Sam…’Kira stuttered as she realized her plan had backfired.
    ‘You did what? I hate you, Kira, you’re the worst person in the world and big bitch’ Ryan moved closer to her and spat on her face.
    ‘And if Ivan doesn’t forgive me, just so you know, you ruined our family’ those were Ryan’s last words before leaving and it hit her hard.
    She knew how angry Ivan would be when he returned when he found out her plot to take him down and no one could stand Ivan whenever he was angry. Only one thing came to her mind, she needed to run. She needed safety from the coming storm.
    She had eaten a light dinner of cornflakes and milk, she was not hungry; her appetite was washed in the drains and nothing could revive it.
    She lay flat on her backflipping through the pages of the magazine she had found in the bathroom.
    She always knew that guys like Ivan Roseau came with their own package of trouble, but hearing it from Wale that he had slept with all his personal assistants got her terrified.
    With Ivan around, she realized her walls of self-protection and control were down; he left her completely defenseless and she would’ve topped that list if she had not quit, so it was a good thing after all.
    She had wanted to ignore her buzzing phone at first, but she decided to tell him off as she knew who was calling.
    ‘Can you stop calling me Wale? You betrayed my trust, just stay the hell away from me’ she said.
    ‘You don’t understand Jane, let me explain everything that happened’ Wale begged.
    ‘Go on. I am listening’ she decided to give him a chance believing that he had good reasons for trying to set up his boss.
    ‘I was in love with Samantha the first day I saw her, I tried to make her like me, notice me but that never happened, she ended up with Ivan instead and that really hurt me’ Wale replied.
    ‘Really? So this is more about revenge’?
    ‘Please, you don’t need to end our friendship, we both know that Ivan is a jackass, sooner or later he would want you in his bed’ Wale said.
    ‘Well, that’s not going to happen as I quit my job. Satisfied now’?
    ‘You quit? No, you shouldn’t have done that, with this plan I and Samantha have, you will be working under Kira or Ryan or whoever the new boss would be’.
    ‘I can’t believe you would do something like that. I know Ivan is not the best person but he isn’t also the worst’ she couldn’t believe her own ears that she was vouching for him and it really was strange.
    There was a feeling she had about Ivan, he was much nicer than people thought.
    ‘You’re letting him get to your head Brunette. This plan would work’ Wale was confident.
    ‘And if it doesn’t’? She asked.
    ‘It will’ he replied.
    She shook her head and silently wept, she couldn’t be friends with a pathological liar and someone that would bear false witness against another.
    ‘You know what Wale, it’s time for you to choose, my friendship with you or your plans with Samantha’.
    There was silence. Thick foggy silence and suspense.
    After minutes of considering everything that was in it for him, he said this: ‘I am sorry Brunette, Samantha is really important to me’.
    ‘Good for you then, have a nice life’ she threw the phone on her bed and cried.
    She couldn’t believe he would choose Samantha over his friendship with her.
    Wale had been a good friend; he had changed her wardrobe and made her look more attractive but that was in the past now.
    She needed to get over him, get over Ivan. She was alone now and she needed to survive.
    After crying, she felt slightly better, so she decided to rest her head.
    However, a loud knock interrupted her sleep. She knew it was Wale and she wouldn’t see him, she had buried their friendship forever.
    ‘Go away Wale, I don’t want you anymore’ she yelled atop her voice.
    ‘Please open up the door Jane, it’s me Kira’.
    That did it, sleep fled off, wasn’t that Ivan’s sister? What would she be doing in her house?
    She rose to her feet and trotted towards the front door.
    ‘Kira? What are you doing here’? Jane was surprised.
    ‘I need your help Jane. I need you to talk to Ivan’ she swallowed.
    ‘About what’? Jane thought this had a connection to her resignation. Did he send his sister to beg her? Her heart fluttered at this thought.
    ‘I did something really bad and I think Ivan would never forgive me. Please, you must speak to him on my behalf’ Kira asked.
    ‘What makes you think your brother would listen to me’? Jane was flattered at her line of thought.
    Kira wondered how naïve Jane could be, was she that blind to the fact that her brother was head over heels in love with her?
    ‘Because he is in love with you’ Kira replied.
    ‘I am sorry for keeping you waiting’ Samantha apologized as she joined Ivan in the lounge.
    ‘Care for a drink’? He asked he had taken enough to drown his pain.
    ‘You look pretty drunk, are you sure we can talk’? Samantha stared down at him.
    ‘I am fine, perfect’ he lifted a glass of water.
    ‘Alright, so let me get straight to the point’ Samantha exhaled and settled in the chair.
    ‘Yea, go ahead’.
    ‘You have a lot of enemies Ivan’ she fiddled her fingers, not knowing how to begin.
    ‘Starting with you’ he interjected.
    ‘I know but you hurt me first, you humiliated me and I had no choice but to react’.
    ‘But I apologized, I am a changed person Sam, I swear’ he raised his hands in the air.
    ‘Only of recent’, she rolled her eyes.
    ‘Alright, go straight to the point’ he shrugged.
    ‘Your brother, Ryan came to me days back, he wanted me to file a suit against you; he told me Kira was in support of this’ she explained.
    ‘Why would they betray me’? Ivan felt terribly hurt.
    ‘Your father willed 90% of all his properties to you’ Sam said.
    ‘I can’t believe this, I see why that little bastard told our father about the newspaper. He wanted me to look bad so our dad would resent me and take my name off the will. I am going to deal with him’ Ivan rose to his feet.
    ‘Sit. We’re not done’ Sam ordered, he obeyed.
    ‘There is another person you must be wary of, he agreed to testify against you in court, I think you should fire him’ she continued.
    This was all a game for her, and she didn’t give a hoot about who was hurt and who wasn’t.

    Episode Twenty-Two

    This was all a game for her, and she didn’t give a hoot about who was hurt and who wasn’t.
    ‘Who’?
    ‘Wale’ Samantha provided.
    ‘I could provide evidence, call logs, text messages, voice recordings’ she unzipped her bag.
    ‘No. That wouldn’t be necessary, what do you want in return’? Ivan was determined to punish all his enemies.
    ‘Five million dollars’ she fetched a tiny list.
    ‘Done’ he replied.
    ‘A yacht’ she added.
    ‘Done’.
    ‘And a very expensive house and a ride’ she winked.
    ‘Done, I’ll send you a fat check tomorrow’ he bent low and placed a kiss on her forehead.
    ‘Thanks, darling, I’ll be waiting’ she smiled and waved at him.
    A mischievous smile carved his face as he turned off his phone’s voice recorder.
    Samantha thought she was wise, but he was wiser.
    His anger slowly returned, he would never forgive Ryan and Kira for betraying him; he would make their lives a living misery and as for that punk, he would not only sack him, he would turn him over to the authorities as he did not deserve a beautiful soul like Jane.
    Ryan watched as his brother stepped out of the lounge, this was the right time to meet him.
    ‘Ivan’! Ryan came out of his hiding place and raced towards his brother.
    ‘You? Are you stalking me now’? Ivan shut the car door and strolled towards him.
    ‘No. Remember our GPRS is connected, so I can easily track you’ Ryan licked his lips nervously not knowing how to begin.
    ‘I am so sorry Ivan, please forgive me’ Ryan fell on his knees.
    ‘It’s already done. What is broken cannot be fixed’ Ivan sighed.
    ‘I am sorry; I didn’t mean to betray you. I know there’s no excuse for that, but I really am’.
    ‘I am not hurt about the Heather part, everyone knew she was a slut back then but this? Are you going up to meet Samantha? I know about the will, she told me everything and to think it’s you that went to meet her, it really hurts’ Ivan expressed his feelings.
    ‘I was being blackmailed, you know I could never betray you, Ivan, I swear’ a tear slipped from his eyes.
    ‘I know nothing’ Ivan looked away, he didn’t want to change his mind about not forgiving his brother.
    ‘Kira blackmailed me. She started it all, she told me about the will and was mad dad gave you almost everything and she asked me to work with her. I swear Ivan, I was never moved by the content of the will. You’re my brother and you are more precious than wealth’ Ryan begged.
    ‘So why did you do it? Why did you let her get to you’? Ivan almost believed him, he knew Kira was the ambitious one.
    ‘She threatened to tell you about Heather and I didn’t want you to see me in bad light’.
    ‘Which light is worse? Heather or Sam? Because if you ask me, Sam is worse’ Ivan replied.
    ‘I was helpless and terrified of you, your wrath. Please, forgive me’ more tears trickled down his face.
    ‘But you should have come to me. You should’ve told me the truth instead of letting Kira work on you’ Ivan replied.
    ‘I am sorry, I was scared of losing your trust’ Ryan replied.
    Ivan understood where Ryan was coming from; he wasn’t exactly the best big brother in the world; he was foul tempered and controlling and knew why his brother hesitated.
    But he was willing to forgive Ryan; he was willing to trust him again but for Kira? That would be almost impossible.
    ‘Get up’ Ivan commanded.
    ‘I have what it takes to nail Samantha forever’ he announced excitedly.
    ‘Really’? Ryan beamed.
    ‘Yes and I forgive you too bro’ Ivan spread out his arms.
    ‘Thanks, man’ Ryan gave his brother a bear hug.
    The moon smiled on them as they had reconciled and become brothers again.
    ‘Why would you say that your brother likes me’? Jane asked.
    ‘Because he does. He actually planned to ask you out in a grand style’ Kira smiled.
    ‘Really’? Jane thought about the doughnuts.
    ‘Please, I need you to follow me back to the mansion, you need to beg him’ Kira changed the topic.
    ‘Why? What did you do’? Jane wondered.
    ‘I betrayed him and it is quite unforgivable’ Kira replied and then took fifteen minutes and explained how she had found their father’s will and felt bad about it.
    ‘That is cruel’ Jane felt really bad for Ivan, he must have been hurting so terribly, she suddenly yearned to comfort him.
    ‘I know. I am sorry’ Kira replied.
    ‘No you are not Kira, you’re only sorry because you got caught’ Jane differed.
    ‘I am still sorry, please, help me’ Kira pressed on.
    Jane saw that there would be no way she would get rid of this clingy visitor, so she had no other choice but to agree.
    ‘Yes, I will’.
    ‘But not tonight’ she quickly added.
    ‘Tomorrow’? Kira was eager to make peace with Ivan.
    ‘When I am ready to face him’ Jane replied and placed a hand on her chest.
    The boys returned home jesting and laughing just like old times.
    ‘I can’t wait to see the look on Samantha’s face when she realizes that I have played her’ Ivan laughed as they both jumped down from the car.
    ‘Me too, she thinks she is really smart, show her bro’ Ryan elbowed him.
    As they both stepped into the house, they realized Kira wasn’t home. Knowing his sister really well, she must have packed her things and traveled down south as she would be too scared to face Ivan.
    ‘I know you’re thinking about Kira, but let’s not talk about her for now, let’s focus on us’ Ivan said as he moved towards the cellar to fetch them both a drink.
    ‘Yes. Let’s focus on us’ Ryan replied.
    ‘So what’s up with Jane? Ask her out yet’?
    ‘No. She quit’ Ivan returned with two glasses and a bottle of red wine.
    ‘Yes. I don’t know why couldn’t ask her, I just watched her leave’ the scene replayed in his mind and he was suddenly filled with regrets.
    ‘That’s a bad move bro, you should’ve grabbed her and kissed her breathless; you have never been slow when it comes to women, what happened’? Ryan asked.
    ‘I…I think I am scared’ Ivan voiced out his feelings to someone for the first time.
    ‘Scared? Why? All women would pay to be yours’ Ryan replied.
    ‘Rejection doesn’t sit well with me, especially when I remember how my mother dumped me for her lover’ he sighed.
    This was the first time he had admitted what hurt him most; the reason he was such an angry and bitter person. The reason he slept around, to cover the pain of rejection and vulnerability that he felt.
    ‘Ivan…’ Ryan dropped his glass, he had never seen his brother this way. He was being brutally honest.
    ‘Yea…’ Ivan replied.
    ‘Jane is not your mother. You should give it a try, if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t define who you are. You are a successful billionaire, please bro, don’t give up on her’ Ryan encouraged him.

    Episode Twenty-Three

    ‘Jane is not your mother. You should give it a try, if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t define who you are. You are a successful billionaire, please bro, don’t give up on her’ Ryan encouraged him.
    ‘And what about her boyfriend’?
    ‘I don’t know about that, just give it a try’ Ryan tried to convince him.
    ‘I don’t know Ryan, but I really felt stupid for slipping the note inside her doughnuts. I acted like a coward’ Ivan gave a dry laugh.
    ‘Hey, it’s okay. We do crazy things when we  want someone in our lives. Yours was a crazy doughnut note, mine was a long poem which she never read’ Ryan rolled his eyes.
    This caused his brother to laugh so hard.
    ‘A poem? I never knew you were a poet’ Ivan sniggered.
    ‘A poet for love’ Ryan fetched his glass and sipped coolly from it.
    ‘So how do I win her love’? Ivan dropped the laugh and became serious.
    He wanted a woman like Jane by his side; he wanted to wake up to a pair of gorgeous brown eyes and smooth brown hair; he wanted her face to be the first when he woke and the last when he slept.
    ‘After work, we’re both going to her house and you will confess your feelings. That’s the easiest thing I could come up with’ Ryan said.
    ‘It’s dull and boring’ Ivan scoffed.
    ‘Oh, would you rather I write her a long poem in your name? Telling her how magnificent her toes are and how shiny her teeth are’? Ryan asked.
    ‘No bro. No poems’ Ivan begun to laugh again. His laughter rang outside the mansion to the gates, where Kira hid, praying and hoping, Ivan would forgive her.
    She was able to sleep at night with the thought that Ivan was in love with her; she was sure for now that he had been the one to sneak in the note into her doughnuts.
    However, she had a lot of questions; why didn’t he just say it? And what about the other women he slept with? What about his past?
    ‘Why didn’t your brother just tell me he liked me’? She smiled and straightened on the bed, Kira had crashed at her place.
    ‘Because he is Ivan Roseau and all must tremble before him’ Kira rolled her eyes and jumped out of bed.
    This was it, she couldn’t bear the guilt anymore, she needed to find her brother and ask for his forgiveness.
    ‘I don’t understand’ Jane joined her up.
    ‘Okay…why didn’t you tell my brother about your feelings for him’? Kira took another angle.
    ‘Because I don’t have feelings for him’ Jane lied but she blushed at once.
    ‘Such a terrible liar. The thing is, I guess this love thing is new to you both and that’s why you were so afraid to face it. Is that why you quit your job because of your feelings for my brother’? Kira watched her face the whole time.
    ‘Part of it’ Jane blinked and looked away.
    ‘What’s the other part, talk to me, I could help you’ Kira moved closer to her.
    ‘I saw this magazine, Samantha really said a lot and I heard he slept with all his personal assistants, what do I make out of that’? She voiced her fear.
    ‘Ivan has changed. I can tell you that. He has not gone on a date or been with another woman for some months now; he has feelings for you, you softened him’ Kira reassured her.
    ‘But why would he change now’? Jane was still unsure of what to believe.
    ‘Because he is in love with you Jane’ Kira replied coolly.
    Tears welled up in her eyes as she heard those words, but she didn’t hear it from the right person, she wanted Ivan to confess his feelings by himself.
    ‘We have to go now, the earlier the better’ Jane wiped her face.
    She was prepared to speak to Ivan on Kira’s behalf.
    ‘Thanks so much Jane, if this works out, I’ll become your personal fashion designer’ Kira winked.
    ‘Are you saying I don’t dress well’? Jane raised a brow and smiled.
    ‘I said nothing’ Kira stifled a laugh.
    The Roseau brothers stormed the Software Empire, looking all smart and sexy in their black suit and tie.
    ‘What’s the plan bro’? Ryan said to Ivan.
    ‘I already gave the evidence to the cops, Sam and Wale would pay for their conspiracy’ Ivan replied.
    ‘I was actually asking about the Jane matter’ Ryan snorted.
    ‘Oh, still not sure, I am still scared of confessing my feelings’ Ivan pushed open the door to his office and stepped into it.
    ‘You don’t have to be, with her boyfriend now in police custody, you are free to go ahead, bro. Play smart’ Ryan winked and stepped into the office behind his bro.
    ‘What a grand plan’ Ivan teased.
    He paused for a while as his eyes went to the table, there was a pack of pistachio nuts on the table, his favorite snack.
    ‘That’s weird’ Ivan mumbled and fetched it.
    ‘What’’? Ryan asked.
    ‘See’? He showed the pack to Ryan.
    They both know who was capable of dropping something like that on Ivan’s table.
    ‘I am sorry Ivan, but she is still our sister. You need to forgive her eventually’ Ryan placed a hand on Ivan’s shoulder.
    ‘I am glad you said eventually, not now though’ Ivan shook Ryan’s hand off and moved to the window that stared into the streets.
    He was still hurt by Kira’s betrayal, but thoughts about her vanished as he saw her stepping out of a cab.
    ‘Glorious’ he loosened his tie.
    She wore a very revealing dress; her lean hips clung to the short dress and her flawless creamy thighs blazed.
    His eyes traveled from her flat belly to her tiny waist and back upwards to the swell of her perky white breasts.
    It was her hair that cut his attention; she had packed it into a bun which accentuated all the features on her face; her large brown eyes, her straight nose and her cute lips.
    ‘Are you okay Ivan’? Ryan had been watching him, wondering all along why his brother was smiling.
    ‘I think I will be, she is here’ Ivan murmured.
    ‘Oh my…’Ryan trailed off as he stared at a totally different and sexy Jane.
    ‘Ivan’…a female voice called him.
    ‘Kira’? Ivan and Ryan chorused as she stepped out from behind the cellar.
    ‘How did you creep into my office’? The smile faded off his face as he stared angrily at his sister.
    ‘I have the keys too’ she managed a smile.
    ‘Go. Get out’ he wouldn’t give her a chance.
    ‘Please, Ivan’ she fell on her knees.
    ‘You betrayed me all because of a will; I can never trust you again and you’re only sorry because you got caught’ Ivan moved towards the door.
    ‘Ryan, talk to him’ Kira turned to her younger brother.
    ‘I can’t, this is beyond me’ Ryan rushed out of the office, he didn’t want to interfere; he was now in a good place with his brother and he was happy about that.
    ‘You lied to me. Lied on Ryan and blackmailed him, what makes you think you wouldn’t do it again’? Ivan scoffed.
    ‘Because I am changed; I realized how stupid I was and I am ready to take whatever punishment you would give to me’ tears rolled down her pale cheeks.
    Ivan quickly looked away; he hated it whenever his sister cried; he hated seeing her so weak and vulnerable. He wouldn’t pity her, he was the one that was hurting and not her.
    ‘Please…’ her lips trembled.

    Episode Twenty-Four

    He wouldn’t pity her, he was the one that was hurting and not her.
    ‘Please…’ her lips trembled.

    ‘I cannot punish you. I just feel so weak that my own sister would do that’.
    ‘I can fix this. I have already called father and he believes in you. He is mad at me. Please just give us a chance’ she begged.
    ‘I don’t know Kira…I don’t know…’ he sighed and looked into her eyes, searching, to see if she truly felt sorry.
    ‘I have a gift for you’ she jumped on her feet as her phone buzzed.
    ‘A gift? Is this some kind of bribe’? Ivan almost laughed but he controlled himself.
    ‘Maybe’ Kira smiled and moved towards the door.
    Kira had taken time to dress her up even better than Wale did; her confidence grew bigger than the skies; people stared at her, men drooled at her. This was all new for her.
    She had told Kira to meet her brother first and talk to him, she would show up later.
    She suddenly felt stupid as she stared at the door leading to his office; once that door was opened there was no going back.
    Though Kira had spent the whole night telling her about Ivan’s, love, she still wasn’t convinced, she wanted more; she wanted him to say it, but what if he didn’t feel the same for her? What if Kira only said those things to cajole her into begging Ivan on her behalf?
    ‘I can do it’ she took a deep breath and pushed open the door. Her heart stopped as she found him looking more handsome than ever.
    His seductive blue eyes ran all over her, she couldn’t miss the desire she found in them.
    ‘Are you kidding me’? Ivan swallowed and moved towards his window. She was even more beautiful than he had seen from afar.
    Tendrils of her mahogany hair fell on her fairs and made her look so angelic, so pure and innocent.
    ‘I’ll leave you two to talk now’ Kira smiled and stared at her brother.
    ‘Wait’ Ivan stopped her.
    ‘Yes’? Kira looked at him with tearful eyes.
    ‘I have forgiven you, but you must understand it would take a while to gain your trust. You have to work hard to fix that’ Ivan said to her.
    He felt glad that his sister had convinced Jane to return to work; all his anger and resentment towards her fled.
    ‘Thanks, I totally understand and this is more than I expected, you are amazing’ She rushed and flung her arms over her brother.
    ‘Thanks. I love you’ he pressed a soft kiss on her face.
    ‘I love you too’ Kira cried.
    ‘I must go now, this is your chance, she loves you too and there is no boyfriend’ Kira whispered.
    ‘I hear you, go now’ Ivan released her and she rushed out of the office happily.
    Jane almost cried as she watched the siblings; Ivan was not a devil like Wale had made her to believe.
    ‘Hi…’ Ivan stuttered not knowing how to begin.
    ‘Hi…’ Jane replied curtly as blood crept to her cheeks. She suddenly felt very self-conscious as she realized his eyes were focused on her bosom.
    His mouth felt dry, he didn’t know how to express his love for her; his feelings choked the words in his throat; he was overwhelmed by her beauty and the nature of her soul.
    ‘You bought me doughnuts’ the words rushed out of Jane’s lips. She felt awkward standing there and staring at him.
    ‘Yes…’ he smiled.
    ‘Did you see the note’? He summed up the ourage.
    ‘Yes. Yes’, she nodded.
    ‘I…I like you’ he looked away.
    This was it, she was done with the pretense, she couldn’t deny the love and attraction she felt for him.
    ‘I am sorry sir’ she took a deep breath and rushed towards him.
    It was quick; like the flash of lightning.
    She flung her arms around him, throwing caution into the air and pressed her lips against his.
    ‘Wow’, Ivan was amazed by her show of courage.
    This was all he had ever dreamed of, this was all he wanted.
    He took in her lips and caressed her face; their lips entwined together; dancing, biting, and teasing till they were both fatigued physically but stronger in love.
    It was only then they pulled apart and stared into each other’s eyes.
    ‘I love you, I love you Jane’ Ivan confessed.
    ‘Me too. From the first day I set my eyes on you, you left your mark on me’ she laughed.
    ‘It was obvious’ he laughed as he remembered that day.
    ‘I am sorry for the way I treated you in the past; like you were not special like you meant nothing to me; You are unique and I love you so much’ he caressed her beautiful face.
    ‘This is like a dream…I love you sir’ she bit her lip.
    ‘Sir? Darling, don’t make our love formal’ Ivan laughed.
    ‘I am sorry Ivan’ she called his name the first time, and it felt strangely sweet to relate with him on a new level.
    ‘Thanks, honey’ he pressed a kiss on her forehead.
    ‘Would you be my girlfriend’? He asked.
    Ryan was in his office wondering what went on with his siblings; he was still mad with Kira for lying against him, for painting him black before his brother.
    On a lighter note, he imagined what Ivan’s reaction would be when he met with Jane; was he going to confess his feelings or would his fear of rejection get in the way of his expression?
    ‘Ryan…’ Kira stepped into his office unannounced.
    ‘Before you say anything, I am very sorry for what I did; I have realized my mistakes now and I am truly sorry’ she said.
    ‘I have forgiven you Kira, but it is Ivan you need to talk to; he was pretty mad and hurt after Samantha ratted you out’ Ryan went on to tell her about Ivan’s meeting with Sam and how he recorded their conversation.
    ‘I feel so terrible but there’s good news’ she smiled.
    ‘Good news’? Ryan raised his brow.
    ‘Yes,’ she couldn’t wait to tell him that Ivan had forgiven her.
    ‘He forgave me’! She blurted out excitedly.
    ‘Wow, that was fast, did you do anything else than cry’? Ryan was surprised as he knew how revengeful his elder brother could be.
    ‘I brought him Jane’ Kira winked.
    ‘Really? I see…’ Ryan laughed.
    ‘Let’s go over to his office and drink some reconciliation wine’ Ryan dragged her hand and took her out of his office towards Ivan’s.
    “Get your hands off of me, I am innocent” they heard some struggling as they matched towards Ivan’s office.
    ‘Samantha’? Kira was surprised to see her with the cops.
    ‘I need to speak to Ivan, please, he cannot do this to me; I trusted him’ she cried.

    Episode Twenty-Five (Final)

    ‘Samantha’? Kira was surprised to see her with the cops.
    ‘I need to speak to Ivan, please, he cannot do this to me; I trusted him’ she cried.
    ‘Oh, just shut up, you know nothing about trust’ Wale groaned, he had equally lost his job, his friendship with Jane and everything about his reputation all because of Sam.
    ‘Well Sam, you got what you asked for’ Ryan patted her shoulder, grabbed his sister’s hand and continued the march towards Ivan’s office.
    ‘No! Come back! Let go’ she struggled with the cops.
    ‘You have the right to remain silent or anything you say or do from now would be used against you in the court of law’ one of the cops pinned her down on the floor.
    ‘Ivan’!!! She screamed as the men dragged her out of the building.
    His heart raced, his ears twitched to hear her reply; what if she said “no”?
    ‘I…’ Jane started but her lips were glued.
    She was overwhelmed by so many feelings, she was overwhelmed with joy, love and the peace she had found buried in his arms.
    ‘Please don’t say no’ Ivan’s voice was shaky, he wouldn’t take down her rejection very well.
    She was about to speak when the door flew wide open and Kira and Ryan peeped through.
    ‘Sorry guys’ Ryan pushed his sister back and shut the door amidst her childish giggling.
    ‘Jane…I love you very much. I have never felt this way about any other woman before; I know you weren’t my spec at the beginning, but I just got drawn to you and as much as I wanted to deny it, I failed. Please, will you forgive me’? He sounded helpless and frustrated.
    ‘I could never say no to you, not in this life but what about the other women? I heard things’ she paused.
    ‘They are all gone, it’s only you Jane. I know I was rough in the past, I know I did things that I wasn’t proud of, but I am changed now. I swear I wouldn’t break your heart, I swear I wouldn’t cause you to cry. Please Jane, just give me a chance’ he begged.
    He now understood why she was reluctant.
    ‘I love you too Ivan and I want to be your girlfriend’ she flashed him her cutest smile.
    Ivan couldn’t believe his ears; he had finally won her heart; he had finally conquered her love and there was no going back; there was no letting go.
    ‘You’re the most precious thing to me’ he scooped her up in his arms and dropped her on the table.
    Jane was out of words, she was fulfilled and being in his arms was the height of that fulfillment.
    As she stared into his eyes, she realized that there was no other man for her except Ivan Roseau; no other man had kissed her the way he did; no other man had ignited the fire of her love like he did.
    She felt passion at his kiss; a passion that would stand the test of time.
    Ivan found his missing part as he clung to her breathless; the scent of her hair spiraled into his nostrils and released him from all his fears.
    She was his soul mate, he had found what had been missing all those years of incessant partying and drinking.
    He had conquered his fear of rejection through her.
    ‘I promise to love and cherish you forever’ he whispered in her ears.
    ‘And I promise never to let you go’ she replied.
    He held to that promise as he kissed her face; he believed in that promise as he stared into her eyes and he accepted that promise the moment his lips travelled to hers.
     ‘I never knew my brother was such a good kisser’ Ryan laughed as he peeped with Kira.
    ‘They look so beautiful together’ Kira was awed; she had never seen her brother kiss someone like that.
     He kissed her slowly, gently; breath against breath; love for love and hearts engrossed they were…What else could this be than love?
    THE END

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