Story: His Valentine Desire

Sequel to ‘Her Christmas Desire’

    Episode 1

    The silence of the night was stinging, loneliness hung grimly in the atmosphere as she stared at her design book. Cassie bit her lip and leaned closer to the table so she could take a closer look at her designs.
    A sigh escaped her thin lips. She had spent a whole day within these walls without stepping outside. She had buried herself in creating a hundred designs in twelve hours, but the intensity of her work couldn’t chase the feeling of pain away.
    A rush of memories infested her mind at once, and she had no option but to toss the pencil she’d clutched between her fingers to the table. She pushed back her seat and straightened the milky white dress that she was forced to wear by the King.
    A numbing pain ate at her heart as she moved towards the window, which usually offered her an insight into the beautiful hills and fields that surrounded the area around the palace.
    As she reached the window, the wind caressed her face lightly, playing with some strands of hair. She took in the clean smell, and the flowery scent it carried.
    ‘Freedom,’ she gave the evening breeze a name. She missed being free. Cassie missed waking up in the morning and going to work. She missed getting a good cup of tea and a cheap breakfast of fried plantain from the little restaurant that was beside her shop.
    She couldn’t believe that her family would completely forget her in the King’s palace. She found it hard to come to terms with the situation that she found herself.
    When Eno had been kidnapped by the king, Elvis and Elena, her siblings, had done everything in their power to save her, but why was her case different?
    Two months had passed, and nobody had showed up for her. From the little she heard, her mother had fled the country in other not to be arrested by the angry King whom she had outsmarted.
    Since Yemi had invested so much in her elder sister Eno, and couldn’t make her his wife at the end, he had decided to redeem his image by taking her as a replacement for his lost wife.
    ‘F^ck!’ Cassie cursed in frustration.
    She resented the king from the first time he set foot in their house. Yemi’s pride was laced with impudence, and he wasn’t any different from his younger sister, the princess.
    Yemi had walked into her shop on Christmas Day and had taken her against her will. He told her that she would be his wife once the rituals were completed, and she had no control over the matter.
    A tear scurried down her cheeks as she thought of a life with a man she had no attraction for. Why did she always end up with the wrong men?
    Before giving up on relationships entirely, Cassie had dated eight men and it all ended sourly with each. She had been hurt and broken countless times, but being forced to get married was the height of her ill-luck.
    Cassie had dreamed of a life where she could afford Fashion school in Milan or Venice. She loved creating designs and working on them occasionally, she wanted to make a name in the fashion world, but the King was bringing her dream to an end by forcing her to marry him.
    Yemi was a very powerful monarch, and her average family couldn’t afford to stand up against him. It would mean doom. She just wished her sisters could find a way to reach out to her, maybe that could alleviate her suffering somehow.
    Cassie had totally pushed out of her mind plans to escape the palace. She knew if she abandoned the King, he would go after her younger sister, Elena and she didn’t want that.
    She shrugged and wiped away the tears that troubled her lashes. She had no option but to sacrifice her happiness for the greater good of her family. But she wouldn’t forgive them that easily for abandoning her, especially her mother, Tamar Benjamin.
    Suddenly, the door to her room flew wide open and an angry looking Princess Tayo sauntered in.
    ‘It is dinner time…’Tayo crossed her arms against her chest in annoyance.
    Apart from ignoring Yemi whenever he spoke to her, she had purposely avoided eating for some days now. Maybe that could persuade him to release her.
    ‘I am not hungry.’ Cassie replied defiantly.
    ‘Oh yea? You’re going to eat tonight, whether you like it or not. And that nonsense of ignoring my brother whenever he speaks to you ends today.’ The princess waved a finger over her face.
    Just like Eno her sister had told her when she had been rescued by Sam from the King’s palace; the princess’ arrogance was greater than her brother’s. What irked Cassie more was the fact that Yemi couldn’t take his own decisions sometimes, so Tayo had to do it for him.
    ‘And if I don’t?’ Cassie stuck her chin arrogantly.
    Couldn’t these people understand that she wasn’t made for this sort of life? Every morning she awoke with maids by her doorsteps, fawning over her like she was a queen of a hive. Life in the palace was something different from the ordinary life she had lived. She was out of place.
    ‘Trust me; you aren’t going to like what would follow.’ Tayo tilted her head and laughed.
    She had warned Yemi about taking another commoner as a wife. At first, she had assumed her brother had considered her advice, only to come home after hanging out with her friends to meet Yemi with another woman.
    At first, Tayo didn’t have a problem with Cassie’s presence in the palace. She was a striking beauty, so she passed the test of elegance, which all potential queens had to pass.
    She was tall and slender, with a warm complexion that looked edible. Tayo had thought her brother lucky, only to discover that he had taken the lady since her sister’s rescue by the Mask.
    That night, Tayo had been furious with the King. What on earth had possessed her brother? Why couldn’t he just let go of the impoverished Benjamins and move on with his life?
    ‘You and your whole house can be bought with a few coins. You should always remember that when next you talk back at anyone in this palace.’ Tayo ran her eyes disdainfully over the skinny figure.
    The princess’ words cut Cassie deeply, but she maintained composure. Tears tickled her lashes badly, but she wouldn’t let them fall. Her mother had brought this upon her.
    ‘You cannot talk that way to me. Ask you brother to tell you the truth! He kidnapped me here. I am not after his name or his money. He doesn’t mean anything to me.’ Her voice was shaky as she tried to defend herself.
    Tayo scoffed and rolled her eyes, ‘I don’t have time for your drama. The King has made his choice, and I will support him. But I wouldn’t have you insult my brother one more day in this palace.’ Once she was done talking, Tayo snapped her fingers and two hefty guards hurried into the room and grabbed Cassie roughly by the arms.
    The Princess rolled her eyes and laughed as she watched her brother’s prisoner fight with the guards.
    ‘I warned you Cassandra, you should learn to respect your King. Now you are going to eat or you will be assisted of course by these hefty men.’ Tayo winked.

    Episode 2

    The pain she had been holding on to became too much for her to bear. Cassie could no longer contain the tears that stung her eyes, so she let them flow.
    ‘You cannot do this Tayo! Tell these idiots to release me at once!’ Cassie felt humiliated and disgraced. The King and his sister weren’t treating her nicely, if she had her way, she’d pay them back for all that she had suffered in the palace.
    Tayo waved her aside, ‘Oh come off it darling. You are my brother’s whore and I can do whatever I want.’
    The vile name the princess had labeled her with; hurt her more than anything else.
    ‘who are you calling a whore?!’ Cassie fought with all of her strength to break free from these men, but their hands only tightened around her delicate elbows. She was defeated. It was time to accept that she would never be free from the King.
    When he had plotted Cassie’s kidnap, he’d thought he could easily replace her presence in the palace with her sister. King Yemi had thought that she would be different from Eno, and embrace every good thing that he had to offer her.
    Yemi gritted his teeth as the screams and grumbling increased. He had been working on an important document for his mining company, and Cassie’s yelling was distracting him.
    He regretted taking her as a wife in place of her sister, but he had to do it. As a king, he had to redeem his image and pride. The only way was to take Cassie as his new queen, but she had rejected him from day one.
    Angrily, Yemi shut down the laptop, pushed the papers aside and rose to his feet. Burning hatred mixed with resentment consumed him. As the days passed, he hated Cassandra Benjamin even more than he hated her sister.
    She had a wild tongue and didn’t miss any opportunity to express her hatred and discomfort around him. Cassie made him feel less of a King, and less of a man. She stripped him naked with her tongue, whenever she called him names like “arrogant,” “lonely,” “beast,” e.t.c
    Sometimes she insulted him in the presence of the domestic staff and there wasn’t anything he could do to stop her. He didn’t hit women, and placing her in the dungeon wasn’t something she could bear.
    ‘Foolish girl,’ Yemi caressed the stubbles on his chin as he marched towards the dining hall.
    He had totally forgotten about her elder sister. Yemi knew he couldn’t go back on the agreement that he had with the Mask. He had traded Eno for vermillion, and he wasn’t going back on the terms of agreement.
    Cassie was more beautiful than her sister. From what he observed, she was the most beautiful of all the Benjamin women, and he was particularly drawn to the structure of her cute face.
    She was a puzzle, and the more he tried to solve her, the angrier he got. All his life, women had thrown themselves at his feet. Even now as the King, their desperation increased, knowing the power and honor being a queen offered.
    He knew he was an attractive man. He had the money. Why was she still rejecting him like her sister had done?
    Briefly, Yemi pondered on all the abusive names Cassie had hurled at him. He had never been called an arrogant person. He had been trained never to apologize and to always do as he liked. He was the King!
    ‘Evening,’ Yemi mumbled to the greetings of his guards as he strolled towards the dining hall.
    Yemi suddenly felt unsure of whom he really was. He had planned to send Cassie away from the palace secretly one day. But now that he thought of her as a puzzle, he was determined to break her and find out her greatness weakness.
    The dining hall was enormous. It was made to occupy more than two hundred people at the same time. There were hundred rectangular tables and three hundred chairs with identical decors.
    However, the table meant for the king and other members of the royal family was carved in a different design and purely made of graphite. The chairs that followed were silvery.
    Once the King stepped into the hall, all the guards prostrated before him but he ignored them. He had abandoned his work, so he could find out Cassie’s reason for disturbing the peace and quiet of the palace with her screams.
    ‘The King is here…’ Tayo wore a mischievous smile as she cast a look at Cassie who was still stubborn.
    Cassie felt her heart race as the masculine fragrance spiraled into her nostrils. She suddenly realized that she had gotten used to his smell, and she could tell that it was him from a thousand miles away.
    ‘Good evening brother,’ the princess dropped her fork and rose to her feet in his honor as was the custom.
    Yemi ignored his sister and pinned his dark glare at Cassie who was positioned between two guards.
    ‘What is going on here?’ Yemi directed his questions to them.
    You are reading Davina Diaries Fiction:His Valentine Desire Ep2
    Before the men could respond, Tayo cut in. She quickly explained to her brother that Cassie had deliberately stayed away from eating for some days.
    ‘If she continues to do this, she may die in this palace and I know you wouldn’t want that.’ Tayo tried to get her brother to understand that whatever she had done was for his own good.
    Angry tears sliced her cheeks as she stared at the baked turkey and German bread before her. She had always seen foods like this on the internet and she had dreams to travelling round the world to eat them.
    Now that she had come face to face with the things she desired, Cassie found it difficult to enjoy them.
    Yemi couldn’t stand her crying. He was hardly touched by tears, but something about the silence in her weeping spoke to him.
    ‘Look…’ he licked his lips swiftly and walked towards Cassie. It was time to let her out of the palace. Obviously, she wasn’t happy being here and he wasn’t a beast like she had assumed.
    Cassie quickly wiped her face and grabbed the nearest utensil, which was a spoon and pointed it at him.
    ‘Don’t come near me! You have done enough wreckage to my life and dreams. I hope you are happy now.’
    Yemi didn’t step back. Her eyes glazed with anger, which made their golden depths even more alluring. She was a goddess in this angry state and for some reason, he enjoyed looking at her.
    Her pinkish lips trembled as she spoke. There was fear in her eyes and voice, but she managed to wear a frown.
    ‘Smart woman,’ he advanced towards the table knife that she had quickly replaced with the spoon.
    Princess Tayo wasn’t comfortable with this scene. She didn’t know if Cassie’s mental health was questionable. What if the lunatic did something horrible to her brother?
    ‘You have to step back Yemi. Please grant her wishes, and let her out of the palace.’ Tayo rushed to his rescue but he quickly stopped her.
    ‘No, I want her to kill me and end it all.’ Yemi grinned and leaned into her face.
    Cassie had dreamt of harming Yemi many times, because that was the only way to secure her freedom. But right now, the seducing glint in his dark eyes made it very difficult for her to think.
    Cassie slowly realized that he wasn’t wearing his white robes today. The King wore a deep blue T-shirt and three-quarter shorts which revealed a pair of hairy strong legs.
    She swallowed as images of them making love, while her smooth legs caressed his hairy ones.
    ‘You need to focus! Remember he is the enemy!’ Cassie thought. A blush spread across her cheeks as she blinked away from his attractive legs. She wondered what the rest of his body would be like, if his legs were that gorgeous.

    Episode 3

    Yemi had numerous experiences with women. He didn’t need an Ifa Priest to tell him what went through Cassie’s mind. He was only stunned by the discovery.
    So she was sexually attracted to him?
    ‘I guess you can’t.’ He grabbed the knife away from her and yanked her out of the chair.
    Cassie gasped, knowing he had caught her at a point of weakness. She felt ashamed. She had to cover it up before he discovered the mistake she had made. How on earth could she fantasize this beast making love to her?
    Yemi ignored her mild struggling and took his lips closer to her small earlobes.
    ‘I’ll have you in my bed one of these days, wife.’ He released her immediately and stormed out of the dining hall, leaving Cassie deeply confused.
    A fire had just started and she was well aware. She only prayed that it wouldn’t burn her.
    ‘If I didn’t know you well, I would’ve sworn you wanted my brother to kiss you right here.’ Tayo smirked at Cassie’s pretence.
    Cassie quickly grabbed the plate that harbored the well baked turkey and marched to her room, ignoring Tayo’s laughter and mean jabs.
    Tonight, she would let her mind roam freely. She wouldn’t restrict her thoughts for she was already a prisoner in the physical.
    Two months had passed since Sam made a deal to stay away from the vermillion that had been discovered in Lokoja. He was more focused in his new relationship with Eno, which he hoped would lead to something great.
    ‘We can’t just pretend that Yemi isn’t behind this. We have to come up with another plan to save my sister.’ Elvis paced the study furiously. After learning about Cassie’s kidnap on Christmas day, he had been very restless.
    Sam remembered clearly what had gone down between himself and Eno that night. They had made passionate love and slept in each other’s arms that night, while Cassie had abandoned dinner to be in the shop.
    At first, when she didn’t return home, neither of them was scared. Eno had made it clear to him that Cassandra was very passionate about her fashion designing career and could spend hours creating new designs.
    Then a day passed, and a day after that without Cassie returning to the house, that was how Sam knew that something had happened to Eno’s younger sister.
    ‘Why do you think the King kidnapped her? We reported this matter to the police and they haven’t given us any positive impact. A lot of bad people have overrun this town, why drag the King into this?’ Sam rubbed his chin while thinking of this possibility.
    Elvis was baffled, how could Sam sound so ignorant and naïve?
    ‘Why do you think my mother suddenly travelled out of the country? She went to visit my aunt, Agatha who lives in Jamaica. She knows something about Cassie’s disappearance. And we both know that she had sold Eno off to the king, just that it didn’t work out like she has planned.’ Elvis could swear before any deity that the king had taken Cassie in place of Eno.
    Sam’s left brow arose, ‘How do you even know so much about your family without being close to them?’ Sam mocked. He knew Elvis hadn’t set a foot in the Benjamin Mansion for more than a decade, but he seem to be in perfect knowledge of all that was going on.
    Elvis shrugged, his younger sister had fed him with all necessary information. Elena was really on his neck about Cassie’s disappearance. She wanted her brother to anything he could to find their sister.
    ‘Elena eh? That blogging job really suits her.’ Sam found his answer. He visited Eno almost every day, while consoling her about Cassie’s mysterious disappearance. He was very careful with the way he interacted with Elena, because she was highly inquisitive and he still had a reputation to protect.
    He was still the Mask, and no one could ever come to that knowledge.
    Elvis nodded, ‘That girl is going to bug me to death. We have to find Cassie before it is too late.’
    Sam held his breath, knowing he didn’t want to involve himself in this.
    ‘You don’t expect me to appear in Yemi’s palace with a gun and a mask again? I made a pact never to trouble the King and I have to respect that. If I don’t, he could expose me. Besides, don’t you think your little sister would begin to add things up?
    First, I rescued Eno. Somehow, I still find a way to rescue Cassie. She will carry out a research and realize that I am the Mask. I cannot allow that to happen.’
    In a lot of ways, loving Eno and being close to her family had changed him. He was no longer that impulsive and revengeful man. Eno’s love had captured his soul, it had re-created him and he would never do anything to lose her.
    Elvis wasn’t comfortable with Sam’s response, ‘But Cassie is the sister of the girl you are dating, who by the way is also my sister.’ He couldn’t understand why Sam was trying to run away from saving Cassie.
    ‘Elvis, you won’t understand. Do you think Eno would still love me if she found out that I am the Mask? Have you ever considered that?’ Sam asked. He wasn’t going to involve himself with whatever had happened to Cassie. The best he could was to give Elvis his blessings, but for a very long time he had thought of leaving the Militant group that he had created for a normal life with Eno.
    Elvis was disappointed by his friend’s response. He decided he would find a way to save Cassie on his own. He just needed to find out who kidnapped his sister. One he got hold of that information, he would know how to act from there.
    ‘Excuse me, that looks important.’ Sam quickly grabbed the TV remote on the wooden table and increased the volume. The television had been switched on for a long time, but the men had been neck deep in their conversation to notice it.
    It was Elvis that first caught the sight of the Princess, the woman whom he found it difficult to push out of his thoughts.
    ‘Isn’t that the King’s younger sister?’ Sam’s eyes grew wide as he watched her smiling face.
    She was shaking hands with some Federal Government representatives, and he quickly recognized the last man she shook hands with.
    ‘Professor Ahmad Jamal,’ Sam called his name. The bald man was the minister of Mineral resources.
    Elvis quickly understood what was going on as Sam had been a little bit distracted, wondering why Princess Tayo would meet with such top government officials.
    ‘The devil!’ Elvis quickly slammed his hands on the table.
    ‘No, she cannot…’Sam quickly turned off the television and grabbed his head between his hands.
    ‘Yes she did, I warned you. I told you not to trust those people, now they have played us. We have lost out!’ Elvis yelled at the top of his voice.
    One of the terms of agreement for the release of Eno, was the King’s unlimited access to the vermillion in the rock fields in Lokoja. But there had been a condition, Sam had warned them not to tell the Federal Government about the mineral; he had plans of taking some and making money out of it.
    Once the Government, which was a conglomeration of greedy thieves got wind of any mineral resource and one as scarce as vermillion, they would take everything for themselves without taking the indigenous community in consideration.
    ‘Fuck!’ Sam fingered his hair.
    The Princess had outsmarted him.
    ‘The King and his sister must have tapped enough vermillion for their saves. Instead of telling us they were done mining, they told the Federal Government about it. That way, they have broken free from our hold and we have nothing against them.’ Sam complained.
    They couldn’t go back to the rocks to mine, because the Federal Government had taken hold of the lands and going there would mean asking for trouble.

    Episode 4

    ‘I warned you Sam. From what I have researched about the Princess, she is more ruthless that her brother. We have lost at both ends now. What are we going to do? We can’t let them walk over our heads like that.’ Elvis fumed.
    He was quite sure King Yemi had taken his sister captive. And his sister, Tayo had taken all of the vermillion. They had to retaliate.
    ‘We can’t do anything. Attacking the rock fields would expose our cover and we have been hiding since we were falsely accused for the explosion at Ughelli. We have to be careful.’ Sam tried to calm his friend.
    But Elvis could see what was going on in Sam’s mind clearly.
    ‘You no longer want to be a part of us, do you?’ Elvis asked. He quickly rushed towards the door before Sam could make him change his mind. The battle line had just been drawn; he would fight King Yemi and Princess Tayo on his own.
    ‘Elvis wait, you cannot do anything stupid!’ Sam sighed and rushed after his friend.
    Elvis was right; he could no longer work with the boys because he was a new man. He had a secret to protect and no one could ever know that he was the Mask.
    Her golden eyes glowed in awe as she scrolled over to another page. She had just discovered one of Sam’s accomplices along the years, and she found him very intriguing.
    She wore a red dress and leaned her back against the swivel chair in her bedroom, while her laptop was on the desk before her. She had spent many nights and days, looking for more information on the handsome man she had discovered while looking for some dirt on the Mask.
    ‘Who’s there?’ The Princess quickly shut down the laptop and rose to her feet. No one could know that’s he secretly admired one of Sam’s men, who went by the name; Elvis Benjamin.
    She straightened the rumple on her dress and quickly moved away from the desk.
    ‘It’s me, open the door at once!’ Yemi barked from outside.
    At once, her heart began to beat as she realized that her brother, the king had come to see her. He rarely stepped into her room, except to discuss something very important in the absence of his servants.
    From the tone of his voice, her brother wasn’t pleased with her latest actions. She knew for sure he had seen it like every other person who had watched the morning news.
    ‘I have to stay calm in the midst of trouble,’ Tayo closed her eyes and opened them swiftly. Yemi’s outrage wasn’t the best thing to witness on a sunny day. She moved over to a drawer by her bedside and grabbed a bowl from it.
    The bowl contained one of her favorite fruits, grapes. Their reddish color attracted her even more and she knew she needed it while waiting on her brother’s anger.
    ‘You can come in!’ Tayo popped one of the reddish delights into her mouth and squashed it with her tongue.
    The door flew open with a powerful force, crashing into the marble walls with a bang.
    ‘What were you thinking?’ Yemi’s eyes darkened. His voice was gruff and loud. She hadn’t seen the King being so angry for a long time.
    The glassy bowl escaped her shaky hands and crashed into pieces. For the first time in her life, she was actually scared of her elder brother.
    ‘Did you hear me? Don’t just stand there and play dumb! What were you thinking?’
    King Yemi had been present when the Mask had paid a visit to the palace at the time he had taken Eno Benjamin to be his wife. It didn’t take long for Sam to show up and claim her as his’. He would have waged war against the criminal, but he had come up with a favorable trade.
    ‘Vermillion is a scarce mineral. The Mask, gave us an opportunity to enrich ourselves and you foolishly got the Federal Government involved. Did you think he gave us access to his homeland freely?’ Yemi scoffed, his sister had always considered herself wise yet in her wisdom she had committed folly.
    Tayo pulled in a breath and tried to calm herself.
    ‘But…but he paid for the vermillion when you allowed him to take Eno. Taking that woman that you loved from you was price enough. The rock fields were no longer his’ for the taking, it belonged to us and we could do whatever we wanted.’ She came up with a defense.
    Her response further infuriated the king, ‘Are you listening to yourself? Nothing goes for anything! Sam and his men still had an interest in the vermillion. He was only giving us a short time so we could take as much as we want…’
    ‘But we did take as much as we wanted. What was left for us? I had to tell the Federal Government before someone blew the whistle on us. What makes you think Sam wasn’t trying to set us up? Why did he relinquish the rock fields with the vermillion so easily?’ The way the princess saw it, the man called Sam was very tricky.
    He wanted to call the Federal Government on the Royal house, but she had been smarter.
    ‘You are even more foolish than I thought. Sam Ojonugwa would never have called the Government on us. He is the one with so many things to lose, things that are provable.’
    First, he is the mask and we have seen his true face. Why didn’t you tell me about your plans? You just went on to the TV without any thoughts, now the Mask and his men would come for us.’ Yemi sighed.
    You are reading Davina Diaries Fiction: His Valentine Desire Ep4
    He was tired of his sister doing the things the way she wanted.
    Her heart was beating fast as she thought of the anger Sam and his boys would unleash upon them.
    The Princess quickly understood that she had made a mistake by involving the Federal Government.
    ‘But the Mask never showed too much interest in the vermillion.’ She tried to defend her actions once more.
    ‘Only a fool would look away from an opportunity to make wealth. Already, the Russian Armory institution has contacted me for supplies. The Mask and his boys would need their own share. You will give it to them.’ Yemi waved a finger over her face.
    Tayo avoided her brother’s flaming eyes the whole time. She couldn’t bring herself to look at him.
    ‘You will take a good percentage from all that you collected from the rock fields and hand it over to the Mask and his boys. I don’t want any trouble with that criminal. I am the most important monarch in this country and I wouldn’t have anyone stain my name.’
    Tayo understood why her brother had taken this decision. But she had a little problem with it.
    ‘What if they want everything?’ Tayo was ready to fight the Mask and his boys should they threaten to take everything that she labored to mine from her.
    King Yemi ran his eyes angrily over her. He didn’t have time for her questions, she had angered him enough.
    He spun on his heel and hurried out of her room before she said another word.
    ‘Damn!’ The Princess sank into her bed and covered her face. Obviously, the King had lost faith in her. She had to redeem his trust before it was too late.

    Episode 5

    She rose to her feet immediately and rushed back to the computer. She had to contact the Mask and his militants before they contacted her first.
    A smile wavered on her lips as she stared at the picture of Elvis, who worked closely with the Mask and had become the object of her infatuation. His eyes were seductive and called to her.
    ‘I have an idea…’ she ran a finger over his picture. She had a crush on the criminal and she would find a way to make her fantasies come true.
    She clicked on the Ms. Word Icon and began to type a letter that she was sending to Samuel Ojonugwa A.K.A the Mask:
    I need a Man in exchange for ¼ measure of the vermillion the Royal House mined from the rock fields. Princess Tayo Lasisi.
    The shiny beads that were attached to the help of his garment kissed the marble floor as the king stormed towards the royal garden, where he normally relaxed whenever he was pissed off.
    Yemi’s eyes were reddish. His heart pounded against his chest with a great propensity, one that he hadn’t expected. Tayo had gotten him extremely angry with her recklessness. How could she not tell him about her plans?
    The King hoped that Sam wouldn’t make trouble. Already, foreign companies knew that his mining firm had a good quantity of vermillion to sell and he couldn’t miss out on this opportunity.
    He knew Tayo’s problem was overconfidence. In the past, he had let her take decisions for him and somehow that had gotten into her head. Their parents always confided in her, and made her feel like the smart one. But this recent mishap on her part had revealed she still had a lot of things to learn.
    Yemi was in a good place. He had the vermillion he wanted. He had a woman he was attracted to, and he was prepared to do anything to get Cassie into his bed.
    He didn’t know why he cared about her so much; maybe it was because he hadn’t been with a woman for a very long time.
    His anger was fuelled by the thoughts of Cassie and her mother, Tamar, who had tried to play him. The King learned of her sudden trip to Jamaica, and he knew why she escaped.
    Yemi had sent some of his men to keep watch over the Benjamin Mansion because he wanted Tamar arrested. Somehow, she had learned of the plan and escaped.
    The lovely smell of the queen of the night tree which stood at the middle of the garden welcomed him. He pulled the sweet smell into his lungs and exhaled. Already, the gentle breeze that played with the flowers had a calming effect on him and all the anger he felt ebbed away slowly.
    At first, Yemi thought his anger had given birth to hallucinations. From where he stood, he heard three different voices, laughing and speaking in hushed voices. But when he looked around, there wasn’t anyone.
    Yemi tightened his fingers around the staff of authority which he carried, an object passed unto him from the first ancestor. It was forged in bronze and ivory.
    With the golden crown firmly placed on his head, he trudged deeper into the garden but stopped immediately at the sight of Cassie.
    All the things that had troubled him vanished at once. The sight of her beauty and the cute smile on her face calmed him better than the flowers. He had never seen her relaxed or happy, since she came to the palace like this time.
    Cassie wore a pink dress which paused on her knees, revealing a pair of shapely legs. There were long and slender but very sexy to look at. The pink dress hung loosely on her slim body, but couldn’t hide the rising of her boobs.
    ‘She could wear anything and still torment a man in his dreams.’ Yemi murmured in admiration.
    The pink dress matched the blue ribbon which she fixed on her thick black hair. Cassie appeared very natural. She looked like a mermaid who lived in the royal garden.
    Yemi held his breath and watched quietly as she interacted with the palace maids.
    She held a tape and a notebook. She would flip open a page and show it to each girl and they would either nod or grin.
    The King wondered briefly what Cassie was doing with a tape when he suddenly remembered that he had found her in a shop filled with clothes, on the night he had kidnapped her.
    ‘She must be a tailor,’ Yemi thought.
    He didn’t know much about Cassie; except the fact that she was related to Eno Benjamin; the woman he had wanted to marry.
    He was curious about Cassie. He had to know more about her, especially the things that made her happy because he could do anything to have her smile that way at him every day.
    He didn’t know the names of all his servants, but he recognized a distant cousin who served as a maid. She was short, plump and dark of skin. The King rarely spoke to her, even though he knew her name.
    Pelumi was the answer to his problems. He would pay her to spy on Cassie and return information on her every move in the palace. He wanted to know the things that made her happy and those things that made her sad.
    You are reading Davina Diaries Fiction: His Valentine Desire Ep5
    Cassie had woken up feeling depressed that her family had forgotten her in King Yemi’s palace. But she was determined not to stay down for too long. She reminded herself that her dreams where more important to her than being in captivity.
    Cassie had faith that she would be free one day. So, she jumped out of bed; had a light breakfast and rushed to the garden to work on some designs.
    She had spent two hours alone, sketching and designing when the palace maids whose presence she had come to enjoy, joined her in the garden.
    ‘You guys should have another uniform. Here, I designed something beautiful for you.’ Cassie flipped to the sixth page in her designs book. She nibbled on the butt of her pencil while waiting for their comments.
    After two seconds of no response from them, Cassie noticed a look of fright in their eyes.
    ‘What is it?’ The three girls- Pelumi, Esther and Demola, looked like they had seen a ghost.
    She tried smiling but they quickly moved away from her and rushed back to the palace. Immediately she turned around, she found herself staring into the deep black well of the King’s beguiling eyes.
    Cassie was thrown into confusion as he was the last person she had expected to see. And she had been thinking about him the whole time while measuring the girls!
    God, what was happening to her? Why would she think about a beast that kidnapped her and separated her from her family?
    Cassie sucked in some air and started for the palace. She couldn’t let him know that she found him extremely attractive. The white garment that he usually wore suited him like second skin. The crown was made for his head. He was born for kingship.
    ‘Don’t you have manners?’ The King got in her way.
    All the servants had curtsied or bowed their heads before leaving his presence. He hadn’t expected Cassie to walk past him without a word.

    Episode 6

    ‘Can you get out of my way? I need to rest.’ Cassie stared at the carpet grass, afraid her eyes would let go the secret she was protecting.
    Yemi quickly grabbed her left arm and pulled her closer to him, so he could take a closer look at her angelic face.
    ‘I’ll teach you some manners tonight,’ he whispered, his breath hot against her face.
    This was the first time they ever got so close and she marveled at his perfectly built body. She suddenly wondered what sort of clothesn her design book would fit the king.
    Her small hands were entrapped in his’ but she wasn’t eager to pull them away. She loved the tingly sensation that emanated from that sweet touch but she couldn’t let it show.
    ‘Get your hands away from me, you unrepentant brute!’ She fired at the King. He let go of her hand at once, and scurried away. Cassie left the King in wonder.
    Yemi had come to realize that Cassie was slightly different from her sister. Of course, no two people were the same, Cassie was a spitfire. And this got him confused.
    He could swear that he had caught her admiring him the other night at the dining hall, but why was she acting irked by his presence?
    Did Cassie like him and was pretending or was she always arrogant?
    ‘I guess I have to find that out.’ His mind was made up, he needed to ask Pelumi to help him out.
    Immediately Cassie reached her room, she shut the door firmly behind her. She peeled off her clothes and rushed towards the bathroom. Her skin was burning from his touch and she had to quench the fire.
    She pulled off the ribbon from her hair and tossed it on the bathroom floor. Now she was free from him. She was in a place where the king couldn’t enter. This was her own world, were she would be transparent with herself and what she truly felt.
    Cassie closed her eyes and let the cooling effect of the water pour into her head and her body.
    Scenes of Yemi bathing and making love to her attacked her mind. She wondered what it would be like for the King to kiss her and run his hands all over her. He seemed like a passionate lover and she was eager to find that out.
    ‘This isn’t me!’ A yell of frustration poured out from her and she immediately got out of the shower. She rushed to the mirror and took a good look at her pale eyes.
    How could she be attracted to the man that kidnapped her? Wasn’t that madness?
    ‘I miss home,’ her lips shuddered as she thought of her sisters-Eno and Elena. Cassie wished she was never kidnapped in the first place. Now, she was torn between her attraction to the wicked king and her love for the family that had forgotten her.
    You are reading Davina Diaries Fiction: His Valentine Desire Ep 6
    The Benjamin house seemed empty though people still lived in it. The gloomy atmosphere was a result of Cassie’s mysterious disappearance and the inability of her sisters to find a way out of the problem.
    Their mother on learning about the kidnap had immediately travelled to Jamaica to be with her sister. Tamar knew the King was behind her daughter’s disappearance and would come for her head soon, so the best thing was for her to run.
    ‘I can’t believe God gave us such a mother. I can bet my life that mum knows something about Cassie’s kidnap.’ Elena who had been reading something interesting from a blog said.
    Their mother’s unusual behavior right after the Christmas break had been very suspicious.
    ‘Yea, mum had really acted weird after I told her Cassie hadn’t come home for two days. But that is not enough reason we should accuse the King of something so grave.’ Eno held her breath.
    She desperately prayed and hoped that her sister hadn’t been kidnapped by King Yemi, because she had taste firsthand what it meant to live in a palace.
    Irritated by her sister’s statement, and from what she had just read, Elena tossed her phone aside.
    ‘When you speak that way, it seems you are taking Yemi’s side. Have you forgotten that his men took you against your own will? That King is nothing but a criminal! He is behind this sister, why can’t you see it? It all makes sense.’ Elena wished her sister could share her point of view.
    The Police hadn’t found their sister after searching for two months. And they couldn’t indict the King in this matter because they had no proof.
    ‘Wait Elena, I am not taking King Yemi’s side but I just want us to talk like intelligent people.’ Eno replied.
    She knew why her younger sister believed the King was behind the kidnap.
    ‘You may think he took Cassie because he couldn’t have me, but that is wrong. The King swore to stay away from our family, that’s what Sam told me. He wouldn’t do such a thing.’ Eno was confident that her sister had been taken by some other people.
    Elena arched a brow in disbelief, ‘How do you explain mum’s sudden travelling to Jamaica? Can’t you see that she is escaping to save herself? The King suffered humiliation at her hands when Sam took you away from him. She knew he would make her pay.’
    Eno hated conspiracy theories. She was a scientist and dealt with facts and not mere assumptions.
    ‘I pray Cassie is safe wherever she is.’ This was her final resolve as the matter was out of their hands.
    Elena quickly wiped a tear that scurried down her cheek. When she had newly learned of her sister’s kidnap, she had spent two weeks crying until she developed a migraine.
    ‘I just read something about the Princess. Vermillion was discovered in Lokoja and she led the Federal Government to it. She doesn’t look as hideous as you had described her.’ Elena decided to change the topic to avoid crying all over.
    Eno felt peeved as she remembered the arrogant Princess Tayo who had treated her like scum.
    ‘Don’t let her fake smiles deceive you. She is a pain in the ass. I just hope Cassie isn’t in that cursed palace.’ Eno shuddered as she remembered how she was locked in a dark room for hours; and action that later had a traumatic effect on her sleeping pattern.
    Elena reached for her phone again, ‘I thought vermillion wasn’t existent in this part of the world. And why does the princess have anything to do with it?’ She suddenly became curious, as her mind had found something to replace her worries over Cassie.
    Eno didn’t know much about the princess, so she didn’t have much to add.
    ‘I don’t know about that. But I learned the King has a mining company, which explains a little.’ She shrugged.
    She was getting bored in the discussion with Elena. Her heart yearned for another kind of company.
    ‘I have something else to research on,’ Elena quickly brought out her jotter and crossed off a name that she had been obsessed it during the Christmas period.
    ‘And what is that?’ Eno smiled, knowing that Elena was the Sherlock Holmes of the family.
    Her slender fingers grabbed her pen tightly as she crossed off the Mask’s name from her list of things to research on. She had been interested in the faceless outlaw, but she hadn’t found any information about him. Elena couldn’t see anything that would help uncover his identity.

    Episode 7

    ‘I am no longer interested in the Mask. I want to find out if the King is behind Cassandra’s disappearance.’ Elena scribbled quickly on her note and rose to her feet.
    She was about retiring for her room when she heard knock on the door. Both siblings exchanged gazes.
    ‘Are you expecting anyone?’ Elena raised a brow.
    ‘No, are you?’ Eno rose to her feet.
    ‘I forgot to tell you something…’Elena caressed her forehead as the throbbing pain had returned.
    Since her mother had abandoned them for Jamaica, she had decided to invite their father to stay with them for a little while.
    ‘What is that?’ Eno drew closer as she saw her sister wince.
    ‘Nothing, we can talk later.’ Elena tasted her lips with her tongue and decided to get some sleep. She had been up all night researching about the Mask, but now she had given up on such a wasteful venture.
    Slowly, the door to the mansion parted and someone she hadn’t expected to see walked in.
    ‘Sam?’ Elena smiled; she hadn’t seen her sister’s lover for a long time.
    Sam knew how bothered Eno was about Cassie’s disappearance, but he couldn’t do anything to help her. If he rescued Cassie, he could be exposed for who he actually was.
    ‘Hello there!’ Sam waved at Elena, but avoided looking into her eyes. He wasn’t comfortable with Elena for no reason. His criminal instincts warned him that she was somehow dangerous.
    Eno was all smiles as her lover walked in. She and Sam had not seen for long. They only conversed over the phone and social media platforms. She missed is face, his smile and his touch.
    ‘Darling…’She rushed forward and grabbed him with her slender arms.
    ‘I miss you so much.’ She whispered huskily.
    Sam was delighted to see her. There were bags underneath her eyes and that meant that she hadn’t slept enough.
    ‘You have been thinking.’ He raised her chin up with his index finger. She looked very pale and fragile. He wanted to kiss away her pain.
    Eno forced a smile and buried her face against his chest.
    ‘I am fine.’ She lied. She couldn’t let Sam know that she was disturbed about Cassie’s disappearance. She had grown fond of him and his company. But she didn’t want her personal issues to get into the way of their blossoming relationship.
    Sam gently pushed her head up, so their eyes would meet together. He understood the kind of person Eno was after two months of dating. She tried to be strong even in the face of the storm.
    ‘It is okay if you let me into your pain. I love you Eno and I would do anything to make you feel better.’
    His words had a soothing effect on her skin. She was suddenly filled with passion for him.
    ‘Make love to me please…’she failed to whisper, forgetting that her sister was there.
    Elena rolled her eyes and stepped backwards.
    ‘Not yet, you’ll beg for it.’ Sam didn’t give her an opportunity to say another word before his lips swallowed hers in a delicious kiss that entrapped her entire being with desire.
    Elena chuckled, ‘You guys should a get a room!’ She was about leaving for hers when she noticed the ugly scar that ran across Sam’s forehead.
    This wasn’t the first time she had seen that scar, but at that moment, she felt strange about it. A feeling of déjà vu washed over her.
    ‘I’ve seen that scar before.’ Elena whispered, and quickly ascended the staircase. The Royal family could wait; it seemed there was more to her sister’s boyfriend than his lovely smile.
    Elena was determined to find out.
    You are reading Davina Diaries Fiction: His Valentine Desire Ep7
    The King had decided to spend his morning in the garden briefly, before leaving for the meetings he had with some of the foreign companies that needed vermillion supplies.
    He wanted to use this opportunity to get some information from his cousin Pelumi, whom he would assign officially to spy on Cassie. His night had been long and unfulfilled. His bed had been cold.
    The truth was that he was attracted to Cassie from the first day he had stepped into the Benjamin mansion. She was blazingly attractive, and any man would kill to have her.
    ‘My brother looks troubled.’ Tayo walked majestically into the garden.
    The smell of tafia stung her nostrils and travelled down to her stomach. Her eyes quickly fell to the table in the garden. There was a huge bottle of Caribbean rum and her brother was drinking heavily from it.
    ‘You cannot be seen drinking brother,’ she rushed to take the glass he held but Yemi pushed her hands away.
    ‘Back off!’ The King quickly gulped down the dark brown liquid in the glass into his mouth. He gritted his teeth as a warm sensation spread over his belly.
    If only his younger sister knew how much his thoughts had reflected on Cassie, she would leave him be.
    ‘Is this about what I did? I already fixed it! I sent a message to the Mask and his men. I expect a reply soon.’ Tayo said in a shaky voice, afraid she had pushed her brother to the brink.
    ‘Just go, I want to be alone.’ Yemi waved her off. He had forgiven his sister for her foolishness. All he could think of now was Cassandra, and the means to get into her heart.
    Whenever he closed his eyes, her innocent face always appeared. Her lips, her laughter and the beautiful dresses she wore plagued his thoughts. Yemi had never been this obsessed with a woman.
    He just wanted her to be comfortable around him. He wanted them to be friends, but she was really making things hard.
    His eyes flew open at once, when a strange smell that wasn’t his sister’s troubled his nostrils. At once, he knew he wasn’t alone.
    Pelumi had come.
    ‘You sent for me, your majesty.’ She bowed her head and stared at her toes. Yemi knew his request would sound absurd and awkward. He didn’t care. He simply wanted Cassandra to fall in love with him.
    ‘Sit,’ he gestured at a second chair in the garden, but Pelumi was hesitant. The King was the true representation of God, on earth. She felt undeserving of such great honor.
    ‘I shall stand my Lord.’ She played with her fingers.
    Yemi didn’t have patience for her drama. He needed her to be relaxed with him. that was the only way she could get him the information he needed.
    He did the unthinkable by dragging her closer to him without her permission. Pelumi’s eyes were wide in fear and confusion as she hadn’t expected him to act that way.
    ‘Are you ready to sit now?’ Yemi eyed her in annoyance.
    ‘Yes.’ She stuttered and grabbed the chair.
    Once she was settled he explained that he needed her help with something important and he couldn’t trust any other person to do it, not even his sister.
    ‘You are my cousin Pelumi and you have to help me. If you work with me in honesty and pureness of heart, there shall be a great reward.’ Yemi promised and he would keep to his words.
    Pelumi felt gladdened that the King wanted something from her. She would be the object of envy in the palace when the other maids learnt of this.
    ‘I would do anything that you want me to. But I don’t need a reward for it. You are my King and I am at your service.’ She bowed.
    Yemi scoffed, why couldn’t people just act be themselves when they were around him?
    ‘Very well then, but you must not share this with anyone.’ He hoped his cousin was discreet. If she failed to keep their plan a secret, it could backfire and that would make him look like a fool before Cassie.
    Pelumi was sure she didn’t need any reward for helping the King.
    ‘Can you tell me what it is that bothers his majesty?’ She clasped her hands together, ready to listen.
    Though he was alone with Pelumi in the garden, he couldn’t shake off the feeling that they were being watched. Yemi scrutinized the garden once more, before proceeding with the meeting.

    Episode 8

    ‘I saw you in the garden with Cassandra. I want information about her.’ He said.
    Pelumi’s brows jolted from their sleep and a look of bewilderment filled her eyes.
    ‘I…don’t understand.’ She stuttered as she hadn’t expected that sort of request.
    Yemi poured himself another glass of rum and drank it greedily before answering. He was about baring his innermost thoughts and he hoped he wasn’t making a mistake by sharing it with Pelumi.
    ‘Why do you think I brought Cassie to the palace?’ He touched his lips with the tip of his tongue, savoring the taste of the tafia.
    Pelumi wriggled her fingers and quickly looked away. She had heard many stories about the King’s new wife. Some said he took her by force, and others said she was only pretending to be sad in the palace; when in truth, she was greatly excited.
    ‘To make her your true queen,’ Pelumi replied.
    ‘I am happy you know that. You are my cousin, so I wouldn’t lie to you. I trust that you’ll be discreet with whatever I share.’ He dropped the glass and watched her face for any sign of reluctance. It wasn’t too late to cancel this silly plan of his.
    Pelumi sighed, ‘I swear it. I wouldn’t tell anyone.’
    ‘I find myself being attracted to Cassandra Benjamin. The first time I went to get her sister, who was supposed to be mine, I bumped into her. Our eyes had jammed for minutes before her mother walked in. I never really understood why we stared at each other like that.
    She fascinates me and I’d like to know more about her. I saw the way she interacted with you and the other girls. You must be close.’ He paused, an attempt to establish a fact.
    Pelumi tried to control the smile that danced on her lips. She couldn’t believe the King was deeply taken by Cassie’s beauty. He had never struck her as a man who could show affection, or maybe he was only doing this because she was his relative.
    ‘Yes we are close. Princess Cassie is a beautiful soul. I can’t wait for her to become your Queen.’ Pelumi smiled.
    Cassie was given the title of princess, until the marriage rites were formally done to make her the queen. Most of the palace workers preferred Cassie to Tayo, who they referred to as “Tiger Queen.”
    ‘She is really sweet and polite. She makes us feel important. I will find out everything I can about her and report back.’ Pelumi couldn’t wait to begin her new duty.
    Her zealousness pleased the King. He was confident that Cassie would crawl into his arms without realizing it.
    ‘Thank you…’ Before Pelumi’s arrival, Yemi had already made some plans for Cassie’s wardrobe. He adored the dress that she had put on in the garden and he wanted to see more of her trim figure.
    He dipped a hand into his pocket and fetched a wrap of naira notes.
    ‘Here, take the driver and go shopping. I don’t know how you’ll do it, but I want you to get Cassie very sexy clothes. Don’t let her know about it now. Drop the clothes in her room when you are back and tell her they are from me. She must wear one of them for dinner.’
    Pelumi collected the cash with shaky hands, ‘As you wish my Lord.’ She bowed her head before leaving the garden.
    A trickle of excitement rushed down her spine as she thought of the best clothes that would suit Princess Cassie. Pelumi herself was a fashion lover; one of the reasons she was drawn to Cassie’s creative mind.
    ‘Go well dear.’ The King stared at her retreating figure. He couldn’t wait to set eyes on Cassie tonight. He was tired of pretending that her presence meant nothing to him.
    ‘Beast!’ Cassie hissed angrily as she moved away from the window. She had seen the King speaking to one of the palace maids in a very compromising position and that made her feel jealous.
    Why had Yemi invited the maid into his royal garden? And why did he hand her some money? Was the King having an affair with Pelumi?
    ‘Not that I care.’ Cassie snorted and rushed back to bed.
    But she found it difficult to push the jealousy that she felt out of her mind. Seeing Yemi at the garden the other day had really thrown her mind into confusion.
    Cassie’s mind was like a whirlwind; one minute she fumed with anger whenever she remembered all the clients she had lost since her kidnap; and the next, daydreaming about making love to him.
    ‘I don’t know what to do, I am so lonely…’ Her voice cracked. She was not used to life in the palace. She missed Eno’s jokes and Elena’s unending questions.
    She could forgive her sisters for forgetting her, but she could never forgive their mother, Tamar who knew about this arrangement.
    ‘No, I won’t cry today.’ Cassie closed her eyes sharply as a wave of anger washed over her.
    It was the face of Yemi that she saw in that moment that her eyes were closed.
    ‘Adeyemi…’her lips shuddered as she called his name. His eyes burned like coal in the fire. The golden crown was magnificent upon his head. He was no longer human to her.
    He was her god, and that explained her undying obsession and love.
    ‘Love?’ Her eyes snapped open. No, she could never love a man that ruined her life.
    Her eyes strayed to the corner of the room where her purse was being kept. It was the purse she had carried with her on the night of the kidnap. It wasn’t a huge purse, so it had fitted perfectly into the pocket of her jean.
    Cassie tried to remember if she had left her phone in the purse.
    ‘Yes!’ Her heart raced as she rushed towards the corner. The King and his sister had barred her from using a phone. The servants had been sternly warned not to assist her in the things that had to do with communication with the outside world. And they would abide by it.
    Cassie knelt beside the dark yellow purse and unzipped it immediately. However, she was met with disappointment when she realized that her phone wasn’t in there. In its place, was a tiny diary where she wrote down all the names of the men whom she had dated; and how they had torn her heart into pieces.
    Tears dropped on her lashes as she caressed the diary; a reminder of her past experiences.
    Being attracted to a man after all her experiences was a miracle. This was the reason she considered the King to be a very special man. For her to be drawn to the regal was significant, there had to be something exceptional about the man.
    Cassie had two options left for her: she either found what was exceptional about Yemi or a way out of the palace.
    She was about reading from the little diary, when a knock sounded on her door. At once, Cassie returned the diary and zipped the purse.
    ‘Come on in, the door is open.’ She called sweetly to the knocker.
    Her jaw tightened as Pelumi walked into her room with shopping bags from the most expensive boutique in Lagos.
    ‘You don’t look happy to see me.’ Pelumi noticed the frown on Cassie’s face.
    Cassie quickly got rid of the frown. She couldn’t believe she was so jealous of the poor girl. Even if Yemi was in a liaison with all the palace maids, she had no business.
    ‘I am happy of course.’ Cassie wondered what kind of clothes were in the bags. ‘Don’t lie…’ Pelumi emptied the content of the bags upon her massive bed. It was a rainbow of dresses from different designers.

    Episode 9

    Cassie thought she could trust Pelumi; she could no longer hold back her worries.
    ‘I saw you with the King in the garden, what were you two discussing?’
    Pelumi’s hands froze on a green Givenchy mini gown. She couldn’t allow Cassie to suspect the king’s plan.
    In order to distract her, Pelumi decided to play a mind game.
    ‘Why do you ask? Are you jealous?’
    Cassie fought hard to keep back her emotions, but the reddening of her cheeks was all that gave her away. Even the response she later offered was weak and shaky.
    ‘I am not jealous.’
    In that moment, Pelumi realized that Cassie was also attracted to the King. She couldn’t wait to report this incidence back to him.
    ‘Wow!’ Pelumi grinned.
    ‘What is that?’ Cassie wondered.
    ‘Well, the King asked me to help change your wardrobe. He wants you to wear one of these for dinner. Luckily for you, I think the red dress would be best.’
    First, she was surprised to hear that he had such plans for her. Secondly, he had no right to boss her around. Hell, she had already lost her rights as a human being when he had kidnapped her. Wasn’t that enough for him?
    ‘You’re joking right?’ A crackling laughter poured out generously from Cassie’s lips as she stared at the array of expensive dresses. From what she observed, they couldn’t have cost less than five hundred thousand.
    Only men, who cared about women in a certain way, would spend so much on dresses.
    ‘I am not. I must leave now Princess. I have other things to attend to.’ Pelumi had a feeling Cassie wasn’t thrilled about the dresses. In order not to get involved in her complaining or rebellion, Pelumi quickly rushed towards the door and out of the room.
    Before Cassie could stop her, it was too late.
    ‘Wait, Pelu…’
    Anger coursed down her spine as she stared at the dresses. She buried her knees in the dresses and inspected them one after the other.
    ‘How on earth does he expect me to wear these scandalous dresses?’ She couldn’t believe Yemi would ask that of her.
    If a dress wasn’t thigh revealing, it was designed to show cleavage. If it wasn’t showing a portion of her belly, it was too tight on her hips.
    ‘A dinner dress you want, a dinner dress you will get.’ A mischievous smile played on her lips as she stared at the curtains. She was going to make something out of them.
    Although a week had passed, Eno was still basking in the memory of Sam’s skillful lovemaking. Spending time with him was always worthwhile, and it made her wonder what her life would be like once she returned to America.
    She had applied for an extension on her Christmas break; luckily it was time for leaves, so they had fixed her in. She had approximately six weeks to remain in Nigeria.
    ‘I will miss him.’ She thought, a feeling of sadness wading in to spoil the moment she had once enjoyed.
    Eno forced the thought of her mind and focused on her man. Sam was a god in bed. He knew how to make a woman submit.
    His hands were learned, they knew the right places to touch and caress. His hands could send one to dreamland with their soothing touch. She loved it most when his elongated fingers found their way beneath her abdomen, and towards the opening between her thighs.
    His lips and tongue knew the right crevices to fill. Anytime he used his tongue on her, her whole body surrendered to the renewed manner that he offered her pleasure.
    A soft moan eluded her lips as scenes from her last bedroom encounter with Sam replayed in her mind. Her reverie was short lived as Elena had heard her moans and ran downstairs.
    ‘Sister?’ Elena eyed Eno suspiciously.
    She had thought something bad had happened. She had lost Cassie for now, she couldn’t lose Eno again.
    ‘Yes?’ Eno quickly straightened on the couch, hoping her sister wouldn’t know the train of her dirty thoughts.
    ‘Are you alright? I heard you groaning.’ Elena settled beside her sister.
    Eno stifled a laugh, how sweet and innocent Elena was.
    ‘I am fine darling, what have you been up to?’ Eno shifted closer to Elena and leaned her head on Elena’s shoulders.
    Elena sighed, ‘I have been researching on a particular problem, just when I thought I’ve found my answers. It gets trickier.’ Elena shrugged.
    Eno wondered what her sister had been up to.
    ‘Um, care to share?’
    Elena was hesitant at first. She didn’t want to come off as nosy after carrying out some findings about her sister’s boyfriend.
    ‘It’s about Sam,’ she finally decided to let the cat out of the bag.
    ‘Sam?’ Eno’s heart jolted. Was something wrong with her baby? Had Elena discovered something bad about him?
    Elena could see the confusion in her sister’s eyes. Eno probably thought her man was cheating.
    ‘He isn’t cheating on you; I just want to ask you a few questions about him.’ Elena smiled a bid to calm her sister who was already shaken.
    Eno felt respite on hearing that, ‘You scared me dear, and that guy has gotten under my skin. I have never felt something this powerful for anyone. It scares me at times. I don’t know if this is healthy, but my heart tells me that it is right.’ She couldn’t wait to hear Elena’s question.
    The scar on Sam’s forehead was a significant one and Elena had come across it when she had been working on an article for a newspaper she worked for briefly; before starting her own blog.
    The article had been an expose on the lives of the most notorious Nigerian criminals that ever worked the surface of the earth. One man on the list was forced to confess that he belonged to a cult which served the purpose of humanity.
    He had cried to the jury about his innocence, but like the others, he was hanged. His name was Ifeanyi Ogene and he had been the leader of the Knights of Robin Hood. And he had a similar scar on his forehead.
    ‘How did Sam become scar faced?’ Elena held her breath, while waiting for an answer.
    The time which she waited for the answer seemed like years because her sister couldn’t offer a response.
    ‘I…I don’t know. I’ve never asked but I guess it was an accident.’ Eno stuttered, feeling bad that she had never asked Sam about the scar.
    Elena could tell that her sister’s answer was shaky. It wasn’t strong enough. Two people couldn’t have the exact scar, and at the same spot on their bodies. Maybe she was going crazy from watching too much detective movies. But she had a feeling that Sam’s scar would lead her to an important discovery.
    ‘Why do you ask?’ Eno shifted uncomfortably in the sofa.
    Elena smiled, ‘Nothing, I was just curious.’ Elena couldn’t let her sister know about her research on Samuel Ojonugwa. She resolved in her heart that she wouldn’t ask her sister anymore question about him.
    She would find about all she needed about Sam without her sister’s knowledge. She was a blogger, and she had been trained in the art of information collection.
     ‘What are your plans for valentine?’ Elena quickly changed the topic because she noticed how uncomfortable Eno was after the question.
    However, the topic of the lovers’ yearly celebration brightened Eno’s features and she quickly forgot about Sam’s scar.
    ‘I can hardly wait. It is a few weeks ahead and you know Valentine had always been my best season.’ Eno winked. Of all celebrations that existed, she was always drawn to lovers’ feast.
    Elena could see that her sister was deeply in love with Sam. She hoped that whatever she discovered about him wouldn’t be negative. Eno had finally found love after many years of being alone. She was happy and in a good place. ‘I cannot ruin this.’ Elena thought .

    Episode 10

    ‘I have plans for me and Sam. I plan to take him to a Turkish restaurant and treat him to a fine dinner. I’ll get him some gifts too and I’ll need your assistance on that one.’ Eno’s eyes twinkled in a dreamy fashion as she thought about her man.
    ‘Like condoms?’ Elena snorted, and quickly moved away from the sofa.
    ‘Get over here you dirty girl!’ Eno chuckled and chased after her sister with the little pillows that warmed the sides of the chair.
    She tossed the first one at Elena whose wild screams tormented the once silent house.
    ‘Wait…’Elena giggled.
    ‘Where did you learn to be so sweet and evil?’ Eno grabbed another pillow and made ready for a launch.
    She was about throwing the pillow at her sister when the doorbell was rung. The sisters exchanged glares for some seconds, wondering who could be at the door.
    ‘Could it be Cassie?’ The pillow cascaded from Eno’s hands. Her heart raced as she gingerly marched towards the door. All these while, she hadn’t given up on finding her sister.
    Elena felt slightly guilty, at the mention of Cassie. She was supposed to find out if King Yemi was behind her sister’s attack, but she had been too busy researching about the Knights of Robin Hood.
    ‘Wait here, let me get the door.’ Eno raised a palm and Elena obeyed.
    ‘Who’s there?’ She whispered in a fearful voice on reaching the door, but nobody answered.
    She closed her eyes and opened them in a flash, had someone come to kidnap her and Elena? What was happening?
    ‘Who’s there?’ Her voice was louder and bolder this time around.
    A croaky voice returned, ‘Open the door Eno. It is I, your sister asked me to come stay with you for a while.’
    Without wasting time, Eno pulled the door open to welcome her father whom she hadn’t seen in a long while.
    ‘Dad?’ Tears streamed down her cheeks as she stared at the scrawny looking figure that was once full of energy and life. He had aged badly, and his eyes had wrinkles beneath them.
    ‘Is it daddy?’ Elena rushed in excitement towards the door, but her countenance fell when she noticed how unkempt their father was.
    The Royal family had dinner very early, quite unlike her house. They had their meals once it was 7.p.m and a bell would be rung to notify all those that were to share the king’s table.
    An impish thrill tickled her sides as she stared out of the window, in the ill-fitting gown that she had made out of the flannel material; from the curtains that guarded her window.
    Cassie stared at the ambience of the universe. The clouds were a mixture of purple and reddish colours. The moon was a bit shy and refused to show up early. It was twilight, and dinner was for fifteen minutes.
    She had deliberately ignored all the clothes the King had bought for her. She wouldn’t wear any of the designer clothes. She was ready to spite him and make him angry tonight.
    ‘This is the only way…’ she ran her fingers over the smooth material. She was attracted to the King, but she couldn’t let him know that. Acting indifferent and stubborn was the only way to hide her feelings.
    She moved away from the window back to the mirror. The figure in the mirror resembled a milk maid on a ranch or better, a woman who was heavily pregnant in a maternity gown.
    The dress swallowed her slender figure. It seemed she was wearing a sac. Once the King saw her, all thoughts of fornication would flee from his mind and he would leave her alone.
    ‘I can’t wait!’ She laughed. Cassie could already imagine what Yemi’s face would be like when he was angry. His eyes would sink into their sockets, and possess a darkness that could even scare the night.
    His voice would be like thunder. It would make the dining hall quiver. But she was no longer afraid of him. She would draw his bad side out, and make him regret kidnapping her in the first place.
    Tired of adoring herself, Cassie moved towards the purse that had accompanied her to the palace.
    ‘Come here my sweet diary; let us see what you got.’ She unzipped the purse and pulled out the diary.
    She was about scanning through the pages, when a knock sounded on her door, and she knew it was time for dinner.
    ‘Good evening Princess Cassie, your food is ready.’ A baritone bellowed from outside.
    ‘Thank you. I shall not keep the king waiting.’ Cassie dropped the diary at once and rushed towards the door. It was time for dinner, and she looked forward to what the maids would serve tonight.
    While trudging towards the largish dining hall, Eno couldn’t help but admire the designs on the walls of the palace. Whoever carved the figures on the walls was skilled. A wave of sadness almost quenched her excitement as she thought about her own skill.
    She had passion for fashion design, and she had always dreamt of getting schooled in one of the most prestigious fashion academies in the world. There was Milan, Venice and Paris. But she didn’t have the money to facilitate her dreams, which her mother had never supported.
    Briefly, she thought about her mother, the selfish Tamar Benjamin who had driven their father out of the house. Like her dad, Cassie loved creating new designs and bringing them to live on paper. Her father had created a lot of designs for people, but they ended up hijacking it and making a fortune from what was stolen.
    ‘I cannot make that mistake.’ Cassie mumbled as she reached the door to the entrance of the hall. This was one of the reasons that she guarded her design book very carefully.
    Only the maids had seen it so far in the palace, and they seemed perfectly harmless.
    “Good evening Princess.” The six guards that kept watch bellowed at once, and she felt honored by their greetings.
    ‘Good evening, thank you.’ She flashed a polite smile and walked into the big hall.
    Her heart sank when she noticed that the hall was empty. All kinds of food had been served. As she moved closer to the long table, she noticed six trays of baked turkey; a large pot filled with vegetable soup; a stack of freshly baked bread and a jar of jam beside it.
    There were three bottles of red wine; a basket of green apples and another flash which contained Fufu rolls.
    Cassie felt disappointed that none of the royals had showed up for dinner, and she was even a minute late.
    ‘Where are they?’ She wondered. She felt disappointed that the King wasn’t around to witness her grand entrance with her flannel gown. Cassie hoped she hadn’t destroyed the curtains in her room for nothing.
    Slowly, she pulled a chair backward and settled. Her eyes feasted on the clock, and the more she waited for the arrival of the King or his sister, the more the feeling of loneliness intensified.
    She felt like an ant in such a big room. She felt empty and sad. For once, she wished someone else joined her for dinner. At this point, she wouldn’t mind having dinner in the company of the arrogant Tayo.
    Her appetite fled after thirty minutes of waiting and nobody showed up. How could she eat all these food alone?
    Cassie leaned closer to the table and pushed a tray of baked turkey closer to where she sat. She would eat the delicious looking chicken and wash it down with a bottle of red wine; little did she know that the alcoholic content in the drink would knock her out.
    ‘Bon appétit,’ a smile caressed her sweet looking lips. She quickly pulled the cork out of the rose bottle and emptied the rouge content greedily into a conical glass.
    The ginger-garlic taste of the turkey kissed her lips. She loved a well spiced meal. The turkey was incredibly nice and it reminded her of a particular Christmas she had spent at home. ‘To the King and my extra large garment,’ she lifted the wine glass into the air.

    Episode 11

    The King had been in a meeting with some Russian investors who were interested in purchasing a large quantity of vermillion. He hadn’t expected the negotiation to take so many hours. He lost interest in the meeting, as his mind was far away.
    Yemi had been thinking about Cassie while the men went on and on about the prices. He hadn’t set eyes on her that day, and he felt incomplete.
    Pelumi had reported back to him; she had gotten Cassie lovely dresses and she had even sent some pictures of his phone. He felt his blood rise, as he imagined her in one of the dresses, especially the thigh revealing red gown.
    ‘You don’t look fine brother,’ Tayo whispered.
    Most meetings were held in the throne room, and his sister’s mini thrown was next to his’ until he officially named his Queen. She had been the one striking the negotiations all these while, he only watched and listened. When the Russians tried to be smarter, he would step in occasionally and remind them about the scarcity of vermillion.
    ‘This meeting is taking too long. Aren’t you hungry?’ Yemi asked in Yoruba.
    ‘We need the money for business and power. We have to expand.’ Tayo replied.
    Both siblings watched as the foreigners conversed in Russian. They wanted to reach a conclusion and bring an end to the meeting.
    ‘Well, I am hungry.’ Yemi’s eyes feasted on the large clock that hung on the wall. It was 8:30. He wondered if Cassie would still be at the dining hall. He was going crazy for staying this long without her.
    Tayo relaxed against her throne and stole a glance at her brother. She had heard the maids whispering in hushed voices about the King and his love for Cassie. But at the sight of her, they all fled away like flies.
    ‘Why do I have a feeling that you are hungry for other things, huh?’ Tayo teased, she wanted to see his reaction and draw a conclusion. But Yemi was smarter; he knew his sister was drawing him out. She was setting a trap for his feet and he would escape.
    Yemi forced a smile as the Russians finished their own meeting.
    ‘I don’t know what you are talking about little sister. Now let us focus on sealing this deal before it gets out of our hands.’ He muttered.
    The leader of the Russian team was Mr. Gubin Ivanov and he had this to say to the king: ‘We have accepted your terms. We hope you are a good man and what you have to sell is genuine.’
    The King laughed heartily knowing they had a deal.
    ‘You’ll love the element Mr. Ivanov. You’ll come begging for more.’ Yemi replied.
    ‘Good then, we must take our leave. We leave for Moscow first thing in the morning.’ The man announced, while the others came nearer for a final handshake with the King.
    Princess Tayo rolled her eyes as she noticed one of the men ogling her.
    ‘Ugly goat!’ She muttered in Yoruba.
    ‘You have a very lovely sister. She should pay Russia a visit sometime.’ The man winked at her, while shaking hands with her brother.
    Yemi almost laughed on hearing Tayo’s words, but like the King he was, he controlled himself.
    ‘My sister is an archeologist. If your country can arrange an excavating contract, I am sure she would love to visit.’ Yemi replied.
    It didn’t take long before the pleasantries ended, and the royals were left with a feeling of fulfillment and exhaustion.
    ‘Damn! I am going straight to bed.’ Tayo yawned and walked towards the door.
    ‘Aren’t you going to have dinner?’ Yemi wondered.
    ‘Not now, my bones hurt from too much sitting. Goodnight brother.’ She blew him a kiss and rushed out of the room.
    Now that he was alone, he had to take his decision. He could either check on Cassie in the dining hall or go to her room. But one thing was for sure, he had to see her before sleeping.
    Yemi was about rising from the throne when his cousin, Pelumi, walked in with an excited look on her face.
    ‘Good evening My King.’ She bowed.
    ‘Pelumi, you look happy. May I know why?’ Yemi asked.
    He had a feeling that she had valuable information that would help in winning Cassie’s love.
    ‘Can we talk now or tomorrow morning in the garden?’ Pelumi asked. She couldn’t wait to tell the King what she had discovered. She knew he would be deeply please. It was the desire of a subject to please the King.
    Whatever she had to tell him was important, but he still needed to see Cassie before it was too late to walk around the palace.
    ‘Now, but you have to be brief.’ His eyes strayed to the clock, and she understood that he was hurrying somewhere.
    Pelumi smiled and clasped her hands together, ‘She likes you.’
    ‘What?’ Yemi relaxed against the throne.
    ‘She saw us speaking together in the garden and from the way her eyes ransacked me, she feels we are lovers. I can swear it. Jealousy was written all over her; she tried to cover it up, but failed.’
    This information intrigued Yemi, ‘Are you sure it was jealousy that you saw in her eyes not hatred?’ His heart banged in an uneven motion. He couldn’t believe Cassie would feel jealous, it only meant one thing.
    ‘Find out more about her. I need to know if she is in a relationship.’ Yemi appreciated Pelumi’s efforts. He was ready to fight any man to the death for Cassie. He had let Eno slip through his fingers, but he wasn’t going to let the same thing happen to the woman that he loved.
    Pelumi felt satisfied because the King was happy with the results.
    ‘I will do as you have spoken.’ She bowed and rushed towards the door, but quickly halted when the King called her.
    ‘Pelumi?’ Yemi moved closer to her.
    ‘My Lord?’ She bowed.
    ‘Don’t tell Cassandra about us yet. She must not know that you are my cousin.’ Yemi wanted to be very sure that Cassie liked him enough to feel jealous.
    The sourness of the wine had bitten her insides and driven her to sleep. At first glass, Cassie had not felt anything, so she continued to drink from the bottle. It didn’t take long before a feeling of heaviness clipped her eyelids.
    She had known that sleep was coming, but rising from the table became a problem. With a rueful glitter in her eyes and a sad smile, she rested her head on the table and began to sleep.
    Cassie wasn’t happy that the King hadn’t showed up to dinner. Why had he bought her clothes in the first place when he wasn’t going to see them? She had wanted to spite him by wearing her flannel dress, but he had played out of her hands.
    Yemi had wanted to march straight to Cassie’s room, but one of the guards who kept watch by the dining hall told him that she was still indoors.
    ‘How long has she been in there?’ Yemi asked.
    ‘From 7,’ he replied.
    Hurriedly, he pushed the doors open and strolled into the hall majestically. Yemi didn’t have any action plan. He wasn’t ready to act on the information that Pelumi had given to him. He just wanted to see her lovely face tonight.
    From where he stood, there wasn’t anyone in the hall and he wondered if the guard was playing tricks on him.
    ‘He wouldn’t dare.’ Yemi sighed.
    He guessed Cassie had slipped out of the dining hall without the knowledge of the guard. Yemi was ready to leave the hall for her room when he noticed a large figure next to the chair meant for his sister.
    ‘Cassie?’ He was unsure if she was the one. Maybe his eyes were deceiving him, but the woman in the hall seemed fat. Last he remembered, Cassie was sexy and trim.
    Yemi grabbed his staff tightly and moved closer to the table. A frown furrowed his brows as he realized the servants were yet to take the bowls and plates out of the hall.
    On second thought, he didn’t blame them. They only cleaned out the hall when he had tasted the food. He would have to call the head servant, to check things out once morning came.
    He scoffed as he reached where Cassie lay. He noticed the dress she wore wasn’t one of those that Pelumi had purchased from the boutique. The flannel fabric was used in making royal curtains.
    ‘I can’t believe she would wear this.’ Yemi laughed for the first time, since his entry to the dining hall.
    ‘Oh you poor thing, you deliberately refused the dresses I sent to you. You wanted to get me angry, but you failed.’ Yemi reached out for her silky hair while running his eyes over the contents of the massive table.
    He was now thankful that the meeting had been delayed. If he had seen Cassie dressed in such a tacky manner, he would have been greatly upset. She wanted to get him angry tonight, but her plans had failed.
    His eyes rested on the bottle of rose that was almost half empty. Gently, he grabbed the bottle and examined it.‘Oh no,’ fear jumped into his eyes, as he realized the alcoholic content was high. Yemi had a feeling that Cassie hadn’t known about that.

    Episode 12

    He returned the bottle gently back to its place and focused on her angelic face. She was so beautiful in her sleep and he could watch her all night long.
    The golden dress she wore gave her an angelic allure. Her face was pure, peaceful and content. She even had a little smile on her lips. And it made him wonder, just what was on her mind before she fell asleep.
    ‘You must retire to your room.’ Yemi mumbled as his eyes met with the clock. It was 10.p.m and his bones were already aching. Like his sister, he was more fatigued than famished. So, he decided to take some rest instead of stuffing his belly with food that would take too long to digest.
    The King was about calling his guards to take Cassie to her room, when a thought crossed his mind. This was the closest he could ever get to her for now, why waste this opportunity?
    ‘Come now darling, you are sleeping in my bed tonight.’
    Yemi sucked in an abundant supply of air into his lungs. First, he raised her head carefully from the table, and then reached for her waist. It didn’t take long before he walked out tardily from the dining hall.
    He had a feeling the night would be very interesting.
     An ominous silence hung in the air as the two friends met in the study. They hadn’t spoken to each other after their last encounter. It was time to take a decision and move forward.
    ‘I want out.’ Sam said. He was the first person to break the deadly ice that formed in the room.
    Sam had spent days and nights thinking about his life. He wanted to fight for humanity, which was a good cause, but his love for Eno had come and turned a lot of things around.
    All his life, he had been running from the call of the law. In his goodness, he was guilty. He had destroyed a lot of Government property and vandalized pipelines. He had soiled the hands with the blood of guilty men, when the need arose.
    He was a knight of Robin Hood. The second in command, after the death of the first master; he had tried his best to save the poor from the sins committed against them by those who ruled.
    But these same people were ignorant of his aid. They were the first to call him out whenever something went wrong. They didn’t like him, or appreciate his efforts. Only a few people did, but of what use was their gratitude?
    He was done with this sort of life. He was tired of running away from shadows and guns. He was tired of wearing a mask. Love had found him and he couldn’t deny himself the opportunity of being happy, since the death of his fiancée.
    ‘I understand,’ Elvis Benjamin nodded.
    He had known this day would come. Elvis had known that his best friend, Sam, would desert them all for another life. From the first night he returned from the States, wearing a confident smile and a smug, Elvis had noticed a change in Sam.
    He had fallen in love with his elder sister, Eno and that wasn’t a bad thing. This was the reason Sam couldn’t risk going after King Yemi concerning his sister Cassandra. That could backfire and bring his identity to the surface.
    ‘You aren’t mad? It seems like you don’t understand me.’ Sam exhaled sharply. Maybe Elvis didn’t realize that he no longer wanted to be a part of the knighthood. He wanted to walk away a free man. He was ready to burn his mask.
    Elvis shrugged, ‘I always knew you would leave us one day. I am not happy that you are leaving Sam, but you have to. I haven’t fallen in love before, but you look very happy with my sister. Go for it.’
    Sam couldn’t believe his ears. He had expected Elvis to be mad at his decision, but his indifference made him respect Elvis more.
    ‘Thanks bro,’ Sam smiled and moved to hug Elvis.
    When they had broken apart, Sam whispered, ‘I may no longer be your leader physically, but I will always be one of you in my heart.’
    Elvis knew he would miss Sam, the other boys would miss him too but they had to move on. Obviously, the mantle to rule the group fell upon him. He was ready to lead without complain.
    Like all the knights of Robin Hood, his desire would be to fight the Government that continued to make bad economic policies without taking the people they ruled into consideration.
    ‘This is easier than I thought.’ Sam wiped a strand of sweat from his brow.
    ‘You know I cannot stand against you. You are still very powerful. You are the Mask.’ Elvis smiled.
    Sam sighed, ‘So as the new leader of the knighthood, what are your plans for this year?’ He teased.
    Elvis didn’t smile. He clenched his fist as he thought about his missing sister and the vermillion that the Princess had stolen from them.
    ‘First, I’ll need access to our database. I would need all the information I can get my hands on. I need the list of all the corrupt Government officials. I need to be well grounded before any attack.’ Elvis replied.
    Sam nodded in agreement.
    ‘I would rekindle all my rights as leader and grant you access to our database.’
    Elvis had plans to attack the King and find his sister, but he wouldn’t share that with Sam, knowing he wouldn’t approve. He would also find the attractive princess and get their share of the vermillion.
    ‘M-E-R-R-Y-M-E-N.’ Sam quickly added.
    ‘What does that mean?’ Elvis raised a brow.
    ‘It is the password to our database. You must never share it to anyone or all our identities would be discovered. And you know what that means.’ Sam warned.
    ‘Thanks.’ Elvis quickly rushed to the only laptop in the study and turned the computer on. He couldn’t wait access the well of information, that would help him rule the knighthood like others had done.
    Respite washed over Sam as he stared at his best friend. He felt like a free man now he had relinquished his position to his friend. There was no way he would be an outlaw and be in love at the same time.
    He had chosen Eno and there wasn’t any turning back. There was just one thing that he would do to straighten his ways finally.
    He had to tell her everything about his past, before someone else did.
    ‘Sam?’ Elvis called to his friend. He had just received a message on logging in.
    ‘Yes?’ Sam immediately rushed to his friend’s side.
    Elvis had clicked on the profile of the sender; his heart missed a beat as he stared into the seductive eyes of Princess Tayo Lasisi. The woman he couldn’t stop himself from admiring.
    ‘The princess sent us a message. She wants to trade. By revealing her profile, she shows seriousness.’ Elvis explained as he zoomed into the screen, so he could see her picture clearer.
    He couldn’t help but relish the fragrance of her flowery perfume. Her silky black hair poured over the sides of her face, adding a babyish touch to her already angelic features.
    ‘You’re going to sleep in my arms tonight.’ Yemi smiled as he led her towards his room. While at the meeting, he couldn’t stop thinking about the woman that had found a special spot in his heart.
    Cassie was an adorable creature, and he was even more intrigued after learning of her jealousy from Pelumi. He had to be certain of it himself. His heart thumped as he imagined what her facial expression while he was in the arms of another woman.

    Episode 13

    ‘You have unleashed the mischievous part of me.’ The king smiled as he approached the bronze door of his chambers. The moment the guards saw him approach with the lovely woman in his arms, they didn’t waste time. They quickly pushed the door open and murmured their greetings.
    Yemi ignored the guards. He was more interested in the wellbeing of his angel. She must have waited in anticipation, so she would get under his skin and spite him. But her plans had failed.
    ‘Here we go…’ He dropped her gently on the left side of his massive bed.
    The king’s room was the largest in the palace. The walls were coated with an immaculate paint and at their middle, there were golden horizontal stripes. There were seven glassy wardrobes which sparkled like the stars of the night. All the King’s dresses were spotlessly white.
    The wardrobes stood in a straight line, and beside the seventh was a huge shoe rack which contained more than a hundred shoes with a similar design. Stepping into the King’s chamber always felt like a visit to the celestial realm; everything was white.
    Yemi carefully pulled a thick milky colored duvet over his sleeping beauty. He folded his arms across his chest and watched her sleep. She looked like a goddess, and he could do anything to be her worshipper.
    Yemi was about joining her on the other side of the bed when he remembered that he hadn’t taken her shoes off. He chuckled and knelt at the edge of the massive bed.
    He rolled the duvet gently above her feet. Her silver pumps looked so perfect on her tiny feet, and this made him wonder why Cassie would make such a dull dress for her cute shoes.
    After pulling off the pumps, he carried them to the desk where he usually stayed to work. Staring at her beautiful shoes while working on important documents would be such a great inspiration.
    Yemi smacked his hands, feeling exhausted, he decided it was time to take a rest. Now that the Russians had agreed to make his company their chief supplier, he had to draw up the terms of agreement and send it over to them for signing.
    ‘I’ll do that once I wake.’ He moved towards the mirror and stared at his reflection once more. His reflection was a happy man, someone who was in a good place but who was anticipating more.
    He pulled off his golden shoes and moved towards the bed. It didn’t take long, before he lay aside her, snoring.
    Cassie’s mind had floated to another realm of imagination. She was trapped in a sweet dream of love and passion; she didn’t want this to end. Her eyes glowed as she stared into the face of the nascent moon. The night had just begun, and the presence of her lover would make it more interesting.
    His back was to her. And he wasn’t putting any shirt on, so she could see clearly was his chest looked like. He was a well muscled man, his hard body glazed under the shine of the moon. He was so perfect and she couldn’t take her eyes off him.
    Slowly, her little feet kissed the wetness of the sand as she marched towards him. The evening wind played with the blue waves and teased the sides of the white dress she wore.
    Like a goddess advancing towards a worshipper, she took her steps carefully and majestically as he advanced towards him. Tonight was different, it was sacred. It was a night where her desire would be fulfilled.
    The wind played with her silky hair and pulled it backwards, but she didn’t bother arranging the strands. Her eyes were focused on one man. She craved him deeply, but there still parts of her that fought against her burgeoning desire. But Cassie had made up her mind to love him regardless. In this realm, she would pour out her heart to him and let him take the lead.
    ‘Yemi…’ his name was a whisper on her lips.
    The King whose eyes had been fixed on the beautiful waves of the sea tilted his head to the left; the direction where Cassie came from. His dark eyes caught a fire on beholding this beauty. He couldn’t wait to pull her into his arms and kiss her breathless.
    ‘My darling,’ his voice was deep and rough. He quickly rushed towards Cassie and swept her off the ground. His strong arms welcomed her delicate body. Her soft breasts settled on his hard chest. He couldn’t believe he had her in his arms now, all he wanted to do, was make love to her.
    ‘You are so beautiful under the moonlight. You are a child of the moon.’ He kissed her tender ears and led her closer to the beginning of the sea where they would make their covenant.
    Cassie’s heart danced, she hadn’t expected the King to react this way.
    ‘You look so adorable tonight.’ She surrendered herself in his arms as he dropped her on the wet sand. She was fascinated with this man and she could do anything for him.
    She closed her eyes as the water seeped into her white dress. Her feet were drenched by the slippery sand, but she didn’t mind. Cassie understood what he was about to do, and she would welcome him into her arms without hesitation.
    ‘I have always loved you. From the first time I set my eyes on you, I knew you’ll be mine.’ Yemi knelt beside her.
    Cassie took a deep breath, ‘I felt the same way too, but what about my sister Eno? Do you still love her?’ A wave of jealousy hit her chest as she imagined Yemi and her sister together.
    He shook his head, ‘I am a King Cassie, and I can have whoever I want. I chose you because there is something special about you. We have a strong connection. And the more you fight it, the stronger is becomes.’
    She was about to say something in return when he pressed his lips against hers. The time for conversation was over. It was time to make her feel his love. He wanted nothing else but to express his undying passion for her tonight.
    Cassie trembled when his tongue found its way into her lips. Her skin burned with desire as he licked the insides of her mouth like his life depended on her. He was sucking the breath out of her body, but she liked it.
    Yemi crouched over her and deepened the kiss. He was taking all of her tonight, and there wasn’t going back.
    Cassie squirmed and twirled her hips. She couldn’t wait for the final communion of their souls. This hot kiss wasn’t enough for her, she wanted more.
    Swiftly, she pulled her lips away from him. Her eyes were like darts, sharp and precise. She knew exactly what she wanted, and she would get it.
    ‘Please…don’t torture me anymore. All my life I have been waiting for the right man, then you came along. I love you. Please show me that you feel the same way too.’ Cassie didn’t wait for him to respond, from the way his eyes lustfully fed from the sight of her cleavage, she knew he wanted a piece of her.
    Her slender fingers worked the buttons of her dress. It didn’t take long before her creamy breasts poured out once the buttons were undone.
    ‘Please Yemi, make me feel like a woman,’ she begged.
    Joy welled up within him as he realized she loved him. Cassie was offering herself to him, and he wouldn’t refuse her request.
    ‘Are you sure you want this?’ He licked his lips and leaned closer to her face, so he could search her eyes for the truth. He wanted her to, but on her own terms.
    Cassie nodded, ‘I want you.’
    He paused and dug a hand into his pocket. She had accepted to be the love of his life forever and his queen and he wouldn’t turn her down because he felt the same way.
    All his life, he had yearned for true love but he had never found it. Most women that came to him were after the crown and the fame that followed. But Cassie was unique, she was indifferent about his wealth and power. She was a woman who wanted to write her own destiny, this was the reason he had fallen in love with her.
    He pulled out a necklace made out of jade. The jadestones radiated a soft green light as he led it towards her swan-like neck.
    ‘It looks expensive.’ Cassie tried to stop him, but it was too late to reject the gift. His strong hands encircled her slender neck and placed the necklace on it.
    Yemi ignored her complains, ‘I could buy you anything you want. But this necklace is hallowed. It was passed down from the first queen in my bloodline. I want you to have it Cassie. You deserve it.’ His eyes travelled to the swell of her breasts, he couldn’t wait to take her to his bed.
    Tears splashed on her cheeks as she felt the necklace on her neck.
    ‘I don’t know what to say,’ Cassie whispered.
    ‘Then say nothing,’ Yemi cupped her boobs into his palms.
    ‘I’ll make you a woman tonight Cassandra Benjamin.’
    A moan rushed out of her lips as he replaced his burning mouth on her boobs. His lips played with her nipples. He kissed them. He sucked them. He drew a circle around them.
    When she thought her pleasure had almost ended, she felt his hand running up her thigh. He searched for the place where all her wanting lay. Her brain split apart when Yemi slipped a hand between her legs.
    ‘Arh…’ her moans increased as he began to stroke that erected bud between her thighs.
    The King was a deep sleeper, and his tendency to drift off completely from a state of consciousness worsened if he was stressed. However, this night was different from others. He wasn’t sleeping alone, but with a woman who sparked a new desire in him, and he could do anything to protect her.

    Episode 14

    At first, the cries were faint, but it grew louder and he was forced to open his eyes. Yemi jerked out of sleep and straightened on his bed. His hands went straight to his bedside lamp which supplied all the light he needed at night.
    When the blue flame illuminated the room, he noticed that Cassie wasn’t crying or in some kind of trouble like he had thought. She was still sleeping…
    ‘A dream,’ he murmured and watched her face intently. To his surprise, her cries didn’t come from a place of pain or fear; they were intense cries from sexual pleasure.
    A mischievous smile danced on his lips as he stared closer at her face. Her pink lips were slightly parted, she was crying out his name. Cassie was obviously stuck in a sex dream where he played a key role. He knew this when her moans gave way to broken murmurs.
    ‘Please Yemi…harder, faster.’ He couldn’t take his eyes off her when he noticed that her fingers clung tightly to the bedcover. Yemi carefully straightened on the bed, afraid to wake her. He loved the spectacle before him and he would entertain himself all night.
    Suddenly, all his doubts and fears of never winning Cassie’s heart flew away. First, Pelumi had told him about her jealousy when she had seen them in the garden together, and now this.
    ‘She is attracted to me,’ he murmured.
    He wondered why she fought so hard to hide the truth for him when she was dying on the inside. He watched as her babyish face divided with a content smile, on the other side the lovemaking was over. And she had derived a good measure of satisfaction from his arms.
    Yemi quickly turned off the lights and rolled farther from her. He couldn’t wait to see her face in the morning. He considered a lot of mischievous thoughts as he giggled in a low voice. Cassie was meant for him and he would let her games play out.
    Now that he knew she felt something for him, he would no longer chase after her like a King who was hopeless. He had found his queen; all he needed was her surrender in this game of hearts.
    Mr. Benjamin had been used to living next to the sea in a lonely house. He wasn’t used to the sound of human voices but of speed boats taking the next cargo to its proper location. When Tamar his wife had filed for a divorce, he was more than delighted to leave the trap of a marriage that he had found himself.
    He had been far away for his family for too long. He had lived in isolation for many years and he never bothered to return home because he knew his ex wife had fed his kids lies about him.
    From the beginning, he had known that Tamar wasn’t the right woman for him. He had always wanted a woman who would believe in his dreams and persevere with him, but Tamar didn’t possess any of those qualities. She was extremely materialistic even before they got married, and her greed for mundane things only heightened when she began to make friends with women from elitist circles.
    Mr. Benjamin had taken a second look at the text he had gotten from a strange number inviting him to spend some time in the Benjamin mansion. At first, he had thought that Tamar had deliberately invited him over so she could humiliate him before his kids. But a closer look revealed that Elena, his last child had been the one to issue the invitation.
    He hadn’t set eyes on his children for a long time, and he didn’t bother. Tamar was a vile woman and she loved to poison people against him. He was embittered as he remembered how she had betrayed him on that night, but he wouldn’t tell her children what she had done yet. He was more mature than she was. He would keep her dirty secrets away from their children.
    His lips parted as he smiled. The sound of female voices singing love songs and the collision of beautiful laughter made his heart relaxed. He missed this. He missed being around people.
    It didn’t take long before he pushed the thick bedcovers from his lean frame and got out of bed. He had learned from the girls that their mother had travelled to Jamaica to see her sister and he found that odd. Tamar was a toxic person. While they had been married, she had quarreled with all her family members. She was more like an outcast, so whom would she be visiting in Jamaica? And why would she abandon her kids and travel like that?
    ‘Something is wrong somewhere.’ He strolled to the mirror and stared at his reflection. He was no fool. Something had happened while he was away and no one was willing to tell him anything.
    Mr. Benjamin knew that Elvis had kept himself far away from the family because of the way his mother treated him. It was Tamar’s ill treatment of him that had led Elvis to live among thugs. It was too late to change Elvis; all he did was pray for that child.
    He thought about his favorite child, the one whom he was yet to see. He had asked Eno and Elena about their sister, but they had seemed evasive. He decided to meet them downstairs and inquire about Cassie as she had been the only one to truly understand him.
    He thought about Cassie as he climbed down the stairs. His daughter had an interest in fashion design, but her mother had always discouraged her. Tamar wouldn’t fail to remind Cassie how poor he was and how fashion designing wouldn’t put food on a man’s table.
    He was on the last stair when he realized that the girls’ laughter had ceased. They were discussing something intimate and he yearned to be a part of their discussion.
    From the little he could garner, Elena was asking her sister about her valentine. Mr. Benjamin chuckled as he listened to his inquisitive lastborn. There was something that he noticed about his children. None of them could be manipulated by Tamar, and he loved it. He wanted them to live their own lives, make their mistakes and grow.
    Tamar’s mind control wasn’t good for anyone. She was one who clouded the atmosphere with her sharp tongue and cruel words.
    He felt at home again, after many years of being away. He couldn’t wait to set his eyes on Cassie. He wondered if she had given up on her career like her mother had advised, or she had defied Tamar and tried Fashion designing for herself.
    ‘So I googled up some special gifts you can get Sam on Val’s day. You should check them out,’ Elena took out her Smartphone and rushed to her sister’s side. She knew how deeply Eno had fallen for this guy, she still hoped that Sam wasn’t whom she thought he was.
    Elena had tried to get more information about the Knights of Robin hood which had been led by Ifeanyi Ogene, but nothing popped up in her search engine. Searching for such confidential information in reality could get her into trouble, so she had decided to tell Elvis all about their sister’s boyfriend.
    She had dropped all of her messages concerning Sam. She had made Elvis understand that Eno’s man had a scar on his forehead and the scar resembled the same on Ifeanyi Ogene’s forehead. Although Elvis was yet to send a response, she was confident that her brother would have some vital information for her.

    Episode 15

    ‘Yummy, these Balenciaga shoes are worth the price.’ Eno couldn’t take her eyes off the phone screen. The shoes were adorned with glittery silver stones which added a classic touch to it. She liked it that Elena was concerned about her happiness. Eno knew she was in a good place at this point in her life, but she her joy wasn’t complete as her sister was still missing.
    The moment Cassie crossed her mind; her zeal concerning the shoes waned. And Elena quickly noticed the frown on her face.
    ‘Don’t you like the shoes?’ Elena narrowed her eyes. One minute her sister had been bubbly, now she wore a gloomy face.
    Eno shrugged, ‘I don’t think Sam is really a shoe person. I’ve never seen him with a wristwatch. Maybe I should get him one, what do you think?’ She forced a smile and moved towards the sink to wash out the cabbages she had soaked in warm water.
    Elena rolled her eyes, ‘Come on sis, you can deceive every other person with your fake smile, but not me. What is wrong?’ Elena dragged in air sharply. She hoped that her sister hadn’t found out that she was researching about Sam.
    Eno closed her eyes shortly and opened them, ‘its Cassie. I don’t know how long we’ll keep floating in the air and pretending that she has been taken by someone unknown. I don’t know how long we’re going to do this.’
    Elena had wanted to find out if the King was behind her sister’s kidnap, but Sam’s matter had popped up. Unlike her elder sister, she now had a conviction that her mother knew something about Cassie’s disappearance.
    ‘You know what I think?’ Elena moved over to the sink and placed two hands on Eno’s shoulders.
    ‘What do you think?’ Eno searched her sister’s eyes.
    ‘I think we should relax,’ Elena shrugged.
    Eno scoffed, she couldn’t believe what her younger sister had just said.
    ‘Relax? Why would we do something like that? Okay, I know we have spent a lot of money working the Police but that is not enough reason to forget our sister. Look at dad; we had to lie to him the other day. You know he was very close to Cassie, how do you think he would feel when he finally discovers that we haven’t seen her for two months plus?’
    Elena got her sister’s points. She perfectly understood why they had to begin a fresh search. Cassie and father had been very close. Their love for fashion design had further strengthened their bond.
    ‘I had a conviction last night that mother knows about Cassie’s kidnap. Remember that we told her about it and she didn’t seem to worry about anything.’ Elena replied.
    Unknown to the sisters, their father had heard all of their conversations and it greatly shocked him. He now came to terms with the reason the girls had been so evasive about his questions of Cassie.
    His heart broke into a wild race and pound firmly against his chest. He almost fell from the stair because his legs lost their fire when he heard the news.
    At first, he wanted to storm back to his room and find a way to contact the devil he had married. But that wouldn’t lead him to Cassie. Tamar was more evil than he thought. Perhaps it was time to tell the children the secret about their mother.
    He walked slowly towards the kitchen. He had heard enough. A lot of things had changed while he was away, and it made him feel bad. He was a coward that had allowed Tamar emasculate him. He had abandoned his children at their greatest time of need; he hoped Cassie would forgive him if she was ever found.
    Eno’s lips shivered as she quickly noticed their father walk in. The old man had a scowl on his face, and she had a feeling he had overheard their conversation about Cassie.
    ‘Dad?’ Elena pulled her arms away from her sister and faced him.
    ‘Good morning, I trust that you slept well.’ Eno pushed a smile.
    Mr. Benjamin didn’t return either of their smiles. They had welcomed him with the same fake demeanor and he had felt everything was alright.
    ‘What happened to your sister? Tell me everything that happened while I was away!’
    The girls quickly exchanged glances. They couldn’t tell their father the truth about Cassie’s mysterious disappearance. He had gone through enough in their mother’s hands. The old man deserved some peace and calm. He was worthy of rest.
    ‘Dad, can we talk about this later? You’ll need to eat your breakfast.’ Elena quickly rushed to his side so she could lead him away from the kitchen, but he wouldn’t have any more of their lies and deceit.
    ‘Stop right there!’ he yelled.
    ‘I want both of you to tell me what is happening now. I need to know if your sister is safe.’
    The princess had been the first to wake. Tayo had woken up with a throbbing head and a swirling belly. She knew her condition was a result of the stress she’d encountered in the meeting with the Russians. The only cure to her discomfort was having breakfast and taking some milk, as she usually did when she was overstressed.
    Tayo grabbed her phone first before rolling out of the bed. So many thoughts had run through her mind as she strolled out of the bedroom towards the dining hall. She hadn’t received any message from the Mask or his men and that scared her. She had offered them a fair deal, and if they refused to take her offer, that would be an open declaration of war.
    ‘I can’t let that happen on my watch.’ She muttered under her breath as she neared the hall. Her brother was still mad at her for tricking the Mask and his men. If they rejected her offer, she would have no other choice but to sacrifice herself.
    The Mask was a dangerous criminal and she had offended him twice. His wrath could consume the whole royal family, but she didn’t want that. She loved Yemi too much to allow any harm come his way.
    ‘What am I having for breakfast?’ She stopped at the entrance. There were two guards in place and she had directed her questions at them.
    ‘The maids haven’t dropped anything yet.’ One of them replied, and his response annoyed her.
    Tayo bit her lip feeling quite disappointed. She had expected to fill her belly with a delicious breakfast before going about the day’s activities. Angrily, she strolled away from the dining hall and decided to check what the maids were up to.
    Her right hand held the phone tightly while the left encircled her flat belly. She wondered why the King wasn’t up yet. Yemi was a morning person and an early riser. Most times, he left the palace before she even woke up.
    “She has quality designs. If the princess has someone to fund her dreams of going to a fashion school, she could become a unique brand…” A female voice said.
    Tayo’s brows narrowed at the mention of “princess”. Had the maids resorted to early morning gossip about her instead of preparing her food?
    ‘I can’t believe this.’ Tayo increased her footsteps. The maids were all going to receive a tough punishment from her. They had easily forgotten their place in the royal house. It was necessary to remind that they were servants.
    Pelumi and the other maids had been talking about Cassie’s designs. They were awed by her high level of creativity and the sophistication of her designs. While in the royal garden, Cassie had told the maids about her ambitions and her hope to attend the best fashion school in the world.
    ‘Why are you girls talking about me?’ Tayo stormed into the kitchen.
    At once, the girls dispersed. They were all shocked to see the princess this morning and they were more surprised at the question she had thrown at them. None of them could remember talking about princess Tayo. Who would even dare try that, knowing how arrogant she was?
    ‘Are you all deaf? I heard my name in this place clearly. Is this what you do early in the morning instead of working?’ Tayo scoffed. Their silence enraged her further.
    The maids’ heads were bowed; they couldn’t utter a word in the presence of Princess Tayo. Pelumi had a feeling that her cousin, Tayo, had misunderstood them when she had heard the mention of her title. But she didn’t have the courage to speak.
    Tayo stared at their bowed heads and shivery feet. She didn’t know the name of the other girls, but she recognized her relative. She couldn’t believe that Pelumi would join these girls in backbiting her.
    ‘What were you guys talking about Pelumi?’ Tayo called out her cousin.

    Episode 16

    At first Pelumi had wanted to deny talking about the princess, but she pushed all her fears away. Now that she was working secretly with the king, it meant that she was in his good books. She had no reason to fear getting kicked out of the palace.
    Without her, the king wouldn’t get more information about the woman that he loved.
    ‘We were talking about Princess Cassie. She showed us her fashion design book and everything in it looked perfect,’ Pelumi replied. She also went on to add that Cassie was a professional designer and she had a lot of clients that patronized her.
    Tayo chuckled, ‘Princess Cassie?’ This was new to her. Well, she wasn’t aware of many changes that had taken place in the palace. And she wasn’t close to any of the domestic staff too, so she wasn’t aware that Cassie had also become a princess.
    ‘We were told to address her that way on the King’s command,’ Pelumi replied.
    ‘That’s laughable,’ Tayo grinned. The Benjamin sisters were not fit for the royal house, but she didn’t hate Cassie the way she hated Eno. Cassie seemed like a girl she would like to be friends with on a normal day.
    Only one thing interested her in this conversation with servants: Cassie’s designs. The princess was known for many things apart from her arrogance and ruthlessness in taking decisions. In the circle of nobility, she was known for her fashion sense and she was an addict when styles were involved.
    ‘How good is this Princess Cassie?’ Tayo mocked.
    Pelumi had seen enough designs to convince her that the next sentence wouldn’t lead her to jail.
    ‘She is better than your current designer. You should try her.’ Pelumi spoke swiftly. Tayo found the confidence of her relative odd. If Pelumi could say that about Cassie, then she was really good.
    Tayo sighed with relief, the anger that had grown inside her was gone and the hunger she had felt earlier had returned.
    ‘What is the king having for breakfast?’ Tayo licked her lips.
    ‘Fried plantain and grilled fish; he would take pap or a warm glass of milk alongside.’ Pelumi briefly explained.
    Already, the aroma of baked fish, onions and garlic spiraled in the air. It matched the delightful smell of fried plantain. Tayo knew she would lose control and act like a commoner if she didn’t leave the kitchen fast.
    ‘Hurry, I am famished.’ She scanned the faces of the girls once more, before strolling out of the kitchen. When the Princess was finally gone, they all fell on their knees and thanked the heavens they hadn’t been gossiping about her.
    ‘That was close,’ Esther whispered and pressed a shaky hand on her belly.
    ‘Yes it was. We have to hurry with breakfast.’ Pelumi quickly slipped on her baking gloves and rushed towards the kitchen.
    Tayo heard a beeping sound on her phone as she sauntered back to the dining hall. It seemed like someone had credited her bank account with some money. At first, she had wanted to ignore it, but she decided to check it out right there.
    _The Mask is no longer a member of our knighthood. You’ll be dealing directly with me. I will accept your offer if you can answer just one question. My name is Elvis Benjamin. I am the new Mask._
    The android almost popped out of her shaky hands as she realized that the Mask and his team had responded to her messages. The name, “Elvis,” struck a chord and she remembered his sexy face easily. He was the only man she had been sexually attracted to for a very long time.
    ‘Shit,’ Tayo bit her lip and leaned on the wall for support. She had to reply his message as soon as she could. This was the only opportunity to fix things, and she couldn’t miss it.
    Princess Tayo: Hello, good morning. Please what is your question? I am willing to answer. Just take the offer.
    Elvis: I have two actually.
    Princess: What are they?
    Elvis: Does the king have a certain Cassandra Benjamin in his palace? If you lie to me and I discover you did. I would reject your offer and come for what is ours.
    Princess: ( doesn’t know what to type.)
    Elvis: Are you there?
    Princess: What is your second question? I need to weigh the risks.
    Elvis: LOL. I thought you had your brother eating from your palms. Are you scared of him now?
    Princess: Keep my brother out of this. What is your second question?
    Elvis: Answer the first. I give you two seconds. Your time starts now.
    Princess: Cassie is safe, that’s all you need to know.
    Elvis: She better be. Why do you want one man from our team? You broke the contract you had with Sam. You are not in a position to make demands.
    Princess: (She wished this was Whatsapp where she could stare at his handsome face again.) I need a certain man from your team.
    Elvis: Who?
    Princess: Elvis Benjamin.
    Tayo was about typing more when the King walked towards the dining hall with a bright smile on his face. He was about stepping into the dining hall when he noticed his eyes met with hers. Tayo’s features had all contorted as she tried to adjust to the shock of chatting with Elvis Benjamin. She knew it was too late for her to compose herself as her brother moved closer to her.
    She couldn’t tell him about the latest development yet. She had to cook up some lie and make him believe that she was alright.
    ‘Good morning your majesty,’ Tayo pulled herself from the wall and quickly dipped the phone in her pocket.
    Yemi’s smile faded. His sister had a little fear in her eyes, and that seemed odd for a fiery personality like Tayo. She looked pale and distressed. He had a feeling that something was wrong with her.
    ‘Are you alright? You look like you have just seen a ghost.’ He searched her face.
    Tayo quickly parted her lips for a smile, ‘Maybe I have. You always dress in white,’ she winked. When the king immediately began to laugh, she knew that her trick had worked.
    ‘For a second I thought a guy broke your heart,’ the King replied.
    Tayo snorted, ‘It would take a god to do that. You know me better than anyone. I don’t believe in love.’
    Yemi shrugged as they strolled towards the dining hall. His sister had always made that statement and she was able to abide by it. But he was a believer in love, and it had found him.
    ‘I guess you wouldn’t feel comfortable in the palace because I’ll be throwing a valentine party in honor of a very special someone.’ Yemi replied.
    Tayo laughed. She had always known the Benjamin girls had cast a spell on her brother. When he had taken interest in Eno, she had fought with all of her strength to stop their union. But she wouldn’t repeat that mistake.
    Obviously the King was in love with Cassie. Bestowing the title of “Princess,” upon her was significant. He hoped to make her his queen someday.
    ‘Has she finally agreed to be your wife?’ Tayo pulled a chair and settled next to her brother. She had no business with his personal life, but she had noticed how stiffly Cassie related with the king.
    Yemi almost laughed as he remembered how she moaned his name at night. But he was able to stifle the giggle. He had come up with a beautiful plan and he would bring Cassie to her knees.
    ‘No, but she will.’ He quickly poured himself a glass of water and gulped while imagining what Cassie’s reaction would be when she awoke to find herself in the King’s chambers.

    Episode 17

    It didn’t take long before food was brought for the royal family.
    ‘I have an important meeting later today. Hold the fort while I’m gone.’ Yemi grabbed a chip of fried plantain but dropped it immediately it burned his hands. Leaving the palace earlier before Cassie awoke was part of his plan to conquer her.
    He had never felt this confident while wooing a woman. Now that he knew her secret, he would use it against her.
    ‘I don’t understand, where are you going?’ Tayo began to pick the grilled fish with her fork after chewing the pieces of garlic and onions.
    ‘None of your business little sister, now let us eat'.
    From the feel of the velvety material on her legs, Cassie knew she wasn’t in the right place. Her bed cover was made out of pure cotton. Slowly, her brown eyes gave way to the deep blue light in the room. She took in the numerous wardrobes; the stack of expensive looking shoes and dazzling floors.
    It was the painting of King Adeyemi Lasisi in the middle of the wall that made her realize she was in the King’s chambers.
    ‘My God,’ Cassie gasped and quickly pushed the thick bedcover from her body. How had she gotten into his bed? What was she doing in Yemi’s room? Her heart thumped with so many questions. Her blood boiled in fear of what may have taken place on the previous night.
    Cassie jumped out of the bed and ran straight to the mirror. She was so terrified and confused as she remembered one of the things Yemi had threatened her with on one night.
    “I’ll have you in my bed.” His words reechoed in her memory, and she briefly wondered if he had taken her into his chambers to fulfill his vile promise. She tried to stay calm by breathing very slowly. She closed her eyes and searched the deepest parts of her soul, the place where all events were recorded. It didn’t take long before her mind presented her with loads of memories from the night before.
    She remembered making an ugly dress from her curtains. She also remembered feeling disappointed when Yemi didn’t turn up for dinner. She could recall finishing a bottle of rose by herself. Cassie tried to get more memories after the drinking part, but her mind went blank.
    ‘Damn!’ She opened her eyes and glared at her reflection. There seemed to be a sort of amalgam, which blinded her from the rest of what took place at night. Cassie averted her gaze and set it on the King’s picture. She briefly wondered if…
    ‘No,’ her legs felt wobbly as she began to move away from the spot. She began to wonder if she had sex with Yemi.
    ‘God please no,’ Cassie’s lips trembled.
    She couldn’t remember anything. What if Yemi had made good his promise? What if he had taken advantage of her all through the night? Cassie tried to believe the worst of him, but her mind told her that the king was a good person. He was a noble man and would never violate a woman’s body.
    Besides, she didn’t feel any strange sensation on her body. Everything was intact. Everything was alright.
    She felt humiliated and embarrassed. She had worn the ill-fitting dress to spite me, but she had ended up in his arms. Cassie ran her eyes over the room one last time, before making up her mind to leave. How would she even look at him?
    ‘I messed up,’ she murmured.
    From what she could make out of the few memories, she had taken too much wine and that had knocked out completely. A scene of a drunken Cassie, staggering or farting popped up in her mind. What if she had acted that way? Or done something more stupid?
    ‘I’ll never forgive myself,’ she whispered. Yemi would always use that to spite her, and she couldn’t live in the Palace like that.
    Cassie was about running out of the room, when she noticed she wasn’t wearing shoes. She carefully ran her eyes over the glittering floor which distracted her a bit. She couldn’t believe, Yemi would bring her to such a hallowed ground.
    The chamber of a king was holy. It was revered. How could he bring her into it? Did he consider her special? Did he like her?
    ‘No he doesn’t stupid.’ Her mind whispered, and quickly reminded her that the King could be having an affair with Pelumi. Yemi only lusted after her body, like the other men whom she’d dated in the past had done.
    The King was a classy man. He was refined in taste and pedigree. His room spoke of great wealth and majesty. It felt like she was in a five star hotel. A man like Yemi who lived in such an exquisite haven could never bring himself to love someone like her.
    Her sister was even better. Eno had been a medical doctor. She was educated and exposed. She was a better match for the king than herself. Cassie knew she could never fit in here. She had no money. She was just a struggling fashion designer. She had dreams to go to Milan or Venice, but who would be her sponsor?
    ‘I have no place here.’ Those were the last words that emanated from her lips after she had found her shoes beneath the bed. She didn’t hesitate before walking towards the door. She took a glance at the room one last time, before closing the door behind.
    Cassie slipped her tiny feet into the shoes, and decided to have some breakfast first. By now, the dining hall would be empty. The King was a very busy man, and she hardly saw him at breakfast. She would have to ignore or deal with his annoying little sister.
    She would have breakfast and retire to her room. She had a lot of designs to work on, and she would spend the whole day alone. Cassie felt like her time in the palace was up. She had no place in Yemi’s home or heart. She had to find a way back home.
    “Good morning princess Cassie.” The guards bellowed as she passed.
    ‘Morning,’ she replied calmly. How could these men give her such honor that she didn’t deserve? She was no princess and she knew it deep down. She was just an ordinary girl, from an ordinary home who had somehow made a terrible mistake.
    Even as she marched towards the dining hall, her thoughts were filled with his handsomeness. She couldn’t stop thinking about a man that would never be hers. She had made a grave mistake by falling in love with King Adeyemi Lasisi.
    ‘Wait!’ Tayo called to her brother. He was unusually excited this morning, and it made her wonder why he was in a rush. Yemi loved to savor his meals, especially the ones with fish in them. He was a fish lover.
    ‘How may I help you Tayo?’ Yemi paused. He had a meeting with an important person, and he couldn’t waste more time in the palace.
    Tayo drew in a deep breath. She was tempted to tell her brother that the deal with the Mask had pulled through. She needed Yemi to know that the coast was clear. But on second thoughts about the terms of agreement she’d entered with the Mask’s team, she decided to let the matter die.
    If her brother knew she had asked for a man in exchange for a quarter of vermillion, he would begin to ask her questions. Elvis Benjamin had caught her attention, and she liked the bad boy in him. She wasn’t ashamed of what she felt. It was just a sexual fire, and she wanted to be burned by him.
    But one thing was certain, Yemi could never approve of her relationship with an outlaw. He could throw her out of the palace if he discovered she was frolicking with the new Mask. She couldn’t even tell him that Sam had resigned from the militia.
    ‘You seem kind of lost.’ Yemi noticed.
    ‘Um, I’m fine. Just take good care of yourself. And let me know when you’re planning that valentine party. I may invite a few friends over, if it is okay.’ She lied.
    Yemi was surprised by her interest in the valentine party that he planned to organize. He had meant it. Now that he was sure that Cassie Benjamin was attracted to him, he would conquer her and make her his queen.
    ‘Well, let’s see how it goes.’ He winked.

    Episode 18

    He was about leaving the dining hall when the door burst wide open, and a palish faced Cassie strolled into the room with her eyes on the ground. He noticed she wasn’t bright this morning. She seemed sad, broken and lost. And this made him wonder why.
    Yemi was moved by her gloomy expression, but he couldn’t say a word to her now. He wanted to draw her out. He was playing a mind game on her, and he would watch her reaction closely.
    ‘See you later sis!’ He barked in a loud voice, which alerted Cassie of his presence.
    At the sound of his voice, all the sadness and pain she felt fled. She couldn’t believe one man would have such a great power over her. Cassie was shocked to see the King in the dining hall. She quickly felt embarrassed as she realized she had slept in his bed.
    ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ Tayo’s eyes widened, and the fork she held, fell to the ground.
    ‘Where on earth did you get such an ugly dress?’ Tayo scoffed. How could Cassie whom the maids praised for her designing skills wear something so hideous?
    Blood rose up in Cassie’s cheeks as her eyes met with Yemi. She felt ashamed of the large dress she’d worn. She couldn’t blame the princess for screaming like that. She had wanted to annoy the king, but her plans had failed.
    ‘G…ood morning,’ Cassie tried to cover her shame by greeting Yemi and Tayo.
    Yemi quickly gulped some water and swiftly marched out of the dining hall, without one glance at her. Cassie felt horrible as his cologne danced after him. The King wasn’t pleased with her, he was angry that she had refused to wear the clothes he’d bought.
    Tayo began to laugh at the ugly dress again.
    ‘Girl, let us imagine you were going to the Grammys. Joan Rivers if she still were alive, would have ripped you apart for wearing that piece of depression.’
    Cassie ignored the princess and pulled a chair. Yemi had never ignored her. He couldn’t even smile at her or answer her greeting. Fear gripped her as she wondered if she had made a show of herself while drunk.
    What if she had staggered into his chambers? The thought of it killed the strong appetite she had, and she quickly pushed the chair back to its place. She had to run away from the palace before she got insane.
    ‘Are you leaving because of what I said?’ Tayo rose to her feet.
    She had just learned that the man she liked was related to Cassie. In her world, food wasn’t a way into a man’s belly. It was his relatives. From the beginning, she had preferred Cassie to Eno. And now she learned of her prowess in fashion design, which could bring them closer.
    ‘And you care? Wow!’ Cassie gaped at the arrogant princess. She wasn’t in the mood for her insults.
    Tayo sighed, ‘Look, I am sorry for laughing at you Cassie. But truth be told, your dress is ugly. And why is my brother not talking to you, are you guys fighting?’
    Cassie was surprised at the princess’ sudden behavior. Tayo had never apologized to her before, and she never asked her personal questions. At first, Cassie was about to warn the princess to keep away from her. But on a second thought, being close to Tayo could make her know why Yemi was angry.
    ‘Why are you talking to me princess high and mighty?’ Cassie folded her arms and crossed it over her chest.
    Tayo laughed and shook her head. She wasn’t surprised that Cassie addressed her that way. Princess Tayo knew how rude she was. She had been trained form childhood to be impatient, intolerant and arrogant. She was trained not to subject herself to ridicule by mixing with her subordinates or commoners.
    ‘Look, I admit that I am not a good person. I don’t even want to be. Good people don’t live long. I am sorry I treated you badly in the past. But when you walked into this hall, you had a sad look on your face. I want to know why my brother isn’t talking to you.’
    Cassie could see an atom of concern in the princess’ eyes. However, her abusive relationships in the past had made her realize that not everyone had good intentions. Princess Tayo couldn’t just have started talking to her out of the blue. She wanted something, and Cassie was willing to offer it for a price.
    ‘Try harder,’ Cassie replied.
    Tayo couldn’t believe Cassie could see through her acting. Apparently, she was as smart as her brother Elvis.
    ‘Okay, let’s do this. I actually prefer you to Eno. You fit my brother, but you’ll need a little grooming on the palace way of life to be perfect. I like you Cassie, and it is obvious that you like my brother. Don’t even try to hide it now…you’re blushing.’
    Truly, Cassie was reddening on the cheeks and neck. Was it that obvious what she felt for the king? Did Yemi know this?
    ‘Can you go straight to the point?’ Cassie snorted.
    ‘Fine, let’s eat breakfast.’ Tayo gestured towards the tray clustered table.
    ‘Okay,’ Cassie settled in a chair, and pulled a bottle of water close to her.
    Tayo nibbled on her fish for a few minutes, before she began to talk.
    ‘I heard about your designs, but the way you dressed this morning made me wonder if you’re truly that good. You should wear your profession. Carry it proudly like an artwork.’ Tayo advised, still skeptical about what the maids had said about the designs.
    Cassie remained quiet. The princess was in the dark about her large dress. She guessed Yemi hadn’t told his sister that he had purchased some designer clothes for her.
    ‘I need a new dress for a charity ball I’ll attend in two weeks at Abuja. I’ll be presenting the King.’
    Cassie almost choked on her food, ‘Why do you want me to design for you? You have people that are better than me.’ Cassie thought the princess was joking at first, but when she looked into Tayo’s eyes, she realized Tayo was serious.
    Her heart began to race.
    ‘Who told you I design clothes?’ Cassie immediately asked.
    ‘Your little friends in the kitchen. Look, I haven’t seen the designs but from the way they praised your work, you’re good. I’d love to see them too.’ Tayo forked a chip of plantain.
    Cassie was still not comfortable around the princess. Why was she being so nice?
    ‘I’ve told you one of the things I need from you. It’s your turn, tell me yours.’ Tayo nibbled on the plantain.
    The only thing Cassie wanted from the princess was information about Yemi. Knowing more about the King, would make her feel better.
    ‘I got drunk last night. I woke up in your brother’s bed. We didn’t have sex.’ Cassie quickly added as she noted a mischievous gleam in Tayo’s eyes.
    Tayo chuckled and pulled a glass of water closer to her. How on earth had Yemi kept that away from her?
    ‘That’s hot. What if you did and you totally forgot? Maybe the sex was so bad and it got my brother in a foul mood. Your entrance probably reminded him of you.’ Tayo teased and giggled.
    Cassie ignored her. She had just learned something about the Princess. She wasn’t as cruel or arrogant like she made people to believe. She had a good sense of humor, and she loved to laugh. Tayo was a happy person. ‘Does your brother like me?’ Cassie blurted out.

    Episode 19

    At once, Tayo’s annoying laughter ceased. She noticed the solemn calm that fell upon Cassie’s face as she asked the question. Only a woman in love would make such an inquiry. Tayo was surprised.
    ‘Of course he does. Do you think a King would invite just anyone into his sacred chambers? You slept in the first and most spiritual chamber. You lay on the bed of the gods with my brother. I have never stepped into the first chamber, only the second and the third.’ Tayo couldn’t believe Yemi would lead Cassie into the first chamber.
    Cassie’s hands became jittery when she learned of this. Did he value her that much?
    ‘What does that mean?’ She wondered.
    Tayo shrugged, ‘Well, where I come from, it means you will become his queen. You have seen his nakedness.’
    Elvis couldn’t stop going back to the chat he had with Princess Tayo. His eyes were glued to the computer screen, and it made him ponder what speaking to her in real life would be like. From the manner she expressed herself, the princess was confident and ruthless. She was smart and fearless too. And Elvis realized in that moment, that what he felt for her was more than a sexual attraction. It was a deep seated admiration.
    How many women would outsmart the Mask and still go ahead to strike a deal? She wasn’t afraid of him or his boys. She wasn’t afraid of Sam or anyone. The Princess was a woman of her own making, and he couldn’t wait to meet her.
    He felt relieved, knowing that Cassie was with Yemi. Although the princess had been tricky in answering his question about his sister’s whereabouts, he could tell Cassie was in the palace. She was safe. But he would still fight for her freedom, once the vermillion deal was sealed.
    ‘You’ve been staring at that laptop for too long. If I didn’t know you too well, I’d say you’re sexting.’ Sam rolled his eyes as he strolled into the study. He had been jogging, he was done now. It was time to rest.
    Elvis had already sensed his friend’s approach, so he wasn’t startled with the sharp baritone.
    ‘And morning to you,’ He quickly turned off the laptop and moved the swivel chair around.
    Sam laughed, Elvis was definitely hiding something. But he wasn’t interested. After Elvis’ initiation rites, he would finally be done with the Knights of Robin hood. He would start a new life with the woman that he loved.
    ‘I would take a quarter of the vermillion. It’s not a fair trade, but I don’t want to fight the King or the princess now.’ Elvis relayed the information he’d gotten from the princess.
    Sam moved closer to his friend. He dropped the water-bottle he carried and pulled out a chair. Elvis was acting very differently this morning. Sam knew how much Elvis hated King Yemi and his sister. Why did Elvis suddenly have a change of mind about attacking the royal family?
    ‘Look, I know you’re wondering why I’m taking just a quarter of the vermillion. They have Cassie. If I try anything stupid, they could my sister.’
    Again, Sam spotted another lie. He knew a lot about the King and his sister. If anyone had the heart to shed innocent blood, it wouldn’t be Yemi. Tayo was more like the person who could frame an innocent person, just to achieve a selfish purpose.
    ‘We both know you’re lying, Elvis. You’re getting soft. Yemi would never harm Cassie. If he tries that, I’ll rip his head off and do same to his sister.’ Sam’s eyes rested on Elvis’ this whole time. Sam noticed that when he’d made mention of the princess, a flame of anger burned in Elvis’ eyes.
    Elvis couldn’t think of any harm coming to the princess.
    ‘Look, I don’t want any trouble. I was just telling you. Tell my sisters that Cassie is safe when you visit next.’
    ‘Are you attracted to Princess Tayo?’ Sam scoffed.
    Elvis’ quickly look away. He couldn’t think of a suitable answer for Sam. Just when he was about to change the topic, his phone beeped.
    ‘Excuse me; I’ll have to check this out.’ Elvis grabbed the phone and moved a distance from Sam.
    ‘Whatever, liar,’ Sam giggled. He had been like Elvis once; passionate about the fight for the poor and full of hate for the government. All that had changed, since the day he set his eyes on Eno Benjamin. He had a feeling; Elvis would abandon the group soon.
    The position of the Mask was meant with someone who was ready to sacrifice his heart. Somebody could never be distracted by emotions. Sam had lived all his life for the people, but they always turned their backs on him and believed the worst of him.
    To them, he was the enemy not the government that was robbing them day and night. He had found completion in Eno and he would do more to make things right. He wondered if she would still love him after he revealed the truth to her.
    He touched his scar with his left thumb. It was the mark he’d gotten on the night of initiation as the leader of the knighthood. Elvis would get the same mark too.
    ‘We have a serious problem.’ Elvis rushed back to the table, with a confused look on his face. He had just received a troubling message from his younger sister, Elena. One day, her smartness was going to land her into trouble.
    ‘What is that?’ Sam quickly rose to his feet.
    ‘It’s Elena; she is just an inch away from knowing who you truly are.’ Elvis tossed the phone angrily on the table.
    She had done a quick research on the Knighthood, connecting the scar on Sam’s face to Ifeanyi; who was the first Mask to lead the Knight of Robin hood.
    ‘I always knew your sister didn’t trust me. She has been studying me all these while.’ Sam sank into the chair. If Elena found out that he was the Mask, it could ruin his chances with Eno, because it would be better if the revelation came from him.
    Elvis sighed and closed his eyes, ‘She’s asking me to do a research on you. She is a hundred percent sure that you aren’t innocent.’
    ‘I told you it was dangerous for me to involve myself in Cassie’s case. If I’d succeeded in taking her from the King’s palace, even Eno would’ve become suspicious.’ Sam replied.
    Elvis thought about his initiation rites, and the deep cut that would be made on his forehead. If Elena ever saw a scar on his face, she would know about the knighthood, and that wasn’t safe. If she knew about his involvement in the group, it could land her in trouble.
    ‘You have to tell Eno who you are. Tell her you no longer belong to us. She needs to know the truth before Elena dishes it out to her.’ Elvis suggested.
    Sam didn’t argue. He had prepared himself for the confession, and the outcome. If Eno’s love waned because of his past, he would move and live in peace. Knowing you once were loved by someone so special like her was more than he could ever ask for.
    ‘I will. But you cannot have the scar on your face Elvis. It will expose you to your sisters and that is not good. If they know about the knighthood, the police or the Government could get them arrested one day.’
    Elvis understood why this exception had to be made.
    ‘You were the former Mask. You still have the power to rewrite the rules of initiation. Anything that would bring exposure and hurt should be taken out.’
    Sam agreed with his friend, ‘I will reveal only myself to your sister. But we both die with the secret of the knighthood. Tonight, I shall consecrate you to lead the boys. The people may not appreciate our goodness now, but in future, they’ll understand what we were up against'.

    Episode 20

    The Mask and his men were against the corrupt Nigerian government and the host of elites who fed on the people’s sweat.
    ‘I’ll need you to something for me. I am planning on a dinner date with Eno. Set the mood right by telling Elena that Cassie is safe. I want to walk into a happy house before my confession to Eno.’
    ‘I will do as you have said,’ Elvis nodded.
    Sam turned on his heels, ready to leave when Elvis stopped him.
    ‘One more thing bro…’
    ‘What?’ Sam asked.
    ‘My father is around. He is very protective of his girls,’ Elvis winked.
    Sam laughed, ‘No problem then. I guess I would have to answer a lot of questions from him.’
    He walked of the room feeling a heavy weight on his shoulders. It was the weight of guilt. It was the weight of secrecy. He couldn’t wait to unburden himself by confessing to the woman that he loved.
    Mr. Benjamin had found it difficult to sleep after realizing that his beloved Cassie had been missing for over two months now. He felt angry and frustrated like his children. Already, Eno and Elena had tried their best to find Cassie, but the Police hadn’t come up with anything.
    ‘It’s my fault, I shouldn’t have ever left.’ The man sobbed. When Tamar had issued him the divorce papers, he could’ve rejected them and fought for the unity of his family. In his absence, she had used his kids as bargaining chips to secure wealth for herself. Now that things were messy, she had absconded to Jamaica.
    ‘Cursed woman, you’ll never find peace until my Cassie is found.’
    The man was deeply broken and sad when he also learned of Eno’s kidnap by the King of Lagos. Even Tamar had him fooled that their daughter had won a scholarship. He imagined the shock Eno had received on the first night the King came to take her back to the palace.
    Mr. Benjamin held no grievances towards the King. If Tamar hadn’t sold off her children, no one would’ve bought them. His only wish was for Cassie to be safe wherever she was. He would be heartbroken should something happen to his baby girl.
    His lips trembled as he wept. Her sisters had told him of her passion for design. Elena had shown him some of Cassie’s samples; the ones she had posted on her blog. They could only be described in one word: excellent.
    Cassie’s designs were unique. They were in a league of their own; intricate and refined. She brought something new to the fashion world; it would be just a matter of time and luck, for her to become a big name. Unlike Tamar who had betrayed him, he was ready to support Cassie till the very end.
    Mr. Benjamin was still mourning the absence of his daughter when he heard a bang on the door. At first, he remained silent, wanting some alone time. But when the tone of the pounding increased, he sensed that all wasn’t right. The bang had been desperate, and hurried.
    ‘Who is it?’ He raised his head from the pillow and stared towards the door.
    ‘It’s me, Elena. I am here with Eno dad. We have good news.’ She sounded excited and relieved.
    The man sighed and wiped his face. The only news that could excite him would be the news of his daughter’s return. He loved all his children very much, and would go to extreme lengths to protect them. For someone like Elvis, he totally steered clear because Elvis wanted it to be so.
    ‘The door is open.’
    Hurriedly, Elena pushed the door from outside and rushed into the room, closely followed by her elder sister. They both wore a look of excitement on their faces. He could tell that something good had happened.
    ‘What is it?’ The man asked.
    Suddenly, Elena’s smile was replaced with a scowl and so was Eno’s.
    ‘Dad, you have been crying.’ Elena observed.
    ‘You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself father. This was the reason we kept it from you, knowing how close you and Cassie were.’ Eno joined him on the bed.

    Episode 21

    Mr. Benjamin blinked the tears that had gathered again away. He stared out the window, as if the ray of sunlight that had come in would give him a new hope to survive.
    ‘All my life, I’ve worked so hard to make the best for my family. I toiled all night, creating and working on designs. I was this close to getting a sponsor from Italy.’ He paused and gestured with his hands.
    The girls exchanged glances. Elena had just received a message from Elvis stating that their sister was alive and safe in the palace. She and Eno had come to share the good news, only to find their father weeping.
    ‘Dad…’Elena tried to cut in, she was desperate to break the news.
    ‘No, let me finish. Let me tell you the mistakes I made, so you wouldn’t make the same. I loved your mother to a fault, and she preyed on my weakness. I forgave her even after she committed the worst crime against me. But what did I get in return? A broken heart and a divided home is what I got.
    Your mother is a beast and she deserves a special place in hell. Have you ever heard of Talia Abdul?’ He paused. And the girls nodded.
    ‘She is one of the best designers in Africa. She is the wealthiest, currently.’ Elena supplied more information, while wondering where her father was headed.
    Eno wasn’t comfortable. She had a feeling her father was about to open up a huge can of worms. This made her nauseous.
    ‘Your mother sold my designs to this woman twenty years ago. She sold them all for a huge amount of money. When I first saw them in a fashion, I thought the replication was a coincidence, but how can hundred designs be coincidental? What hurt me most is that she couldn’t deny it when I confronted her. She told me that I should go to hell. But I forgave her, now I am wishing I’d smashed her head that night.’
    The girls were stunned. They were fixed to the spot due to the shocking news about their mother. How could one woman be that evil?
    ‘Dad, please don’t talk like that. It is an established fact that our mum is a greedy person. I am sorry for the way she treated you in the past, but you have to move on to greater things.’ Eno moved closer to him.
    Elena felt terrible that her father had to go through such a toxic marriage. She quickly joined him on the other side of the bed.
    ‘Greater things?’ The man scoffed. How could he move on when Tamar was bent on destroying his kids?
    ‘You don’t understand Eno. Cassie is missing, and if we can’t find her, this family would never have peace.’ He replied calmly.
    Elena placed a hand on his shoulder, ‘Dad, Cassie is alive. That is what we came to share. She is with the King, and she is safe. I don’t know if she is happy, but her being alive is something we should be grateful for. We’ll talk about the best way to get her back later.’ Elena announced the news.
    Elvis had confirmed her suspicions. He had also cleared her doubts about Sam. Elvis had researched and told her to forget him. Sam wasn’t the Mask, even if he was, Elena saw him a nice person.
    ‘I don’t understand…’ The man stammered. He couldn’t believe things could just change overnight.
    ‘How do you know this? Did you speak with her on phone?’ He was eager to get the source of the information.
    Eno smiled and pulled the man closer to her, ‘Come on dad, don’t ask us that now. Why don’t we celebrate this good news with a glass of wine and some Samosas, huh?’ She tickled his sides and the old man burst out with laughter.
    Mr. Benjamin was thrilled with the news. He was too shocked to say anything. ‘Well, I don’t really have a choice here, do I?’ He winked at his beautiful daughters. The girls moved closer to their father and gave him a tight hug; this made the man feel alive and important. The love that radiated from his children drove all the anger and bitterness their mother had caused.
    ‘I can’t wait for Cassie to be home,’ he whispered.
    ‘Me too,’ Elena tightened the hug. She missed Cassie so much. She couldn’t even pen down the love she had for that sister.
    Eno was about adding to the conversation when her phone buzzed in the pocket of her jean. The minute she pulled it out, a smile played on her beautiful lips. It was Sam that was calling.
    ‘Um, I have to get his.’ She pulled away from her father and rose to her feet.
    ‘Valentine bells are ringing,’ Elena squealed with laughter, it was only Sam that could make Eno break the connection they had with their father.
    Mr. Benjamin laughed, and glanced at his eldest daughter.
    ‘I thought you always said you could live without a man.’
    Eno had been the most ambitious one. She had been passionate about saving lives and making the world a better place. He was surprised that a guy was calling her.
    ‘Well dad, there are some people you meet who change your whole life forever.’ Without waiting for another word from Elena or her father, she rushed out to speak to the man that had claimed her heart.
    When Eno was out, Mr. Benjamin turned his youngest daughter.
    ‘What are your plans for Valentine?’
    Elena blushed and looked away, ‘Can we just enjoy this hug dad? I am too busy publishing stories on my blog to notice any man. Besides, I am just twenty three. I still got time.’ Elena was confident that she would find her man at the right time.
    ‘I have a feeling you are the only single daughter I have.’ Mr. Benjamin returned.
    Elena bit her lip and pulled away from him. Obviously, her father was trying to tell her something, but she couldn’t understand.
    ‘Why do you say that? Eno is the only one dating, and her man is amazing. Cassie has been single for a very long time.’

    Episode 21

    Mr. Benjamin sighed, ‘If what you said about Cassie is true, why you think she is still in the palace? Hell had no fury than an enslaved woman. Your sister is smart and intelligent; she would’ve found her way out. But, maybe the palace has become her second home.’
    Elena could see where her father was going, ‘Nah, Cassie never liked the King. She considered him arrogant and proud. I don’t think she had feelings for him.’
    He shrugged, ‘Sometimes love is not felt directly. Sometimes, we try to get rid of what we truly feel by seeing the worst in object of our admiration.’
    Elena pondered on her father’s words carefully. She wanted to ask him another question, when Eno returned with a bright smile on her face.
    ‘Sam asked me out on a dinner date, but it’s not here! I am going to one of the best hotels for my Valentine!’ She was all smiles; she couldn’t wait to meet with Sam on that beautiful night.
    ‘Your majesty, why don’t you quit playing the games? I think Princess Cassie likes you and you should go for it,’ Pelumi advised. The King had asked her to meet him at a bar which was a bit far away from the palace. He had come up with a plan that would make Cassie more jealous.
    He wanted Pelumi to pose as his girlfriend. He wanted Cassie to feel like he was having an affair with her. This plan was most suitable, because Cassie wasn’t aware that Pelumi was his cousin. He just couldn’t wait for her reaction.
    ‘Don’t tell me that Pelumi. Cassie is attracted to me. She wants to hide what she feels, why can’t I play my own games?’ Yemi asked.
    Pelumi sighed, ‘Your games could backfire, just like her baggy dress did. While she’d been making that dress, I am sure she never thought you’d miss dinner. I know you think your idea is good, but it could fail on someone like Cassie who has been through a lot.’
    Yemi caressed his staff of office. He’d thought Pelumi would agree to his plan easily. She wasn’t into it, and he didn’t want to force it.
    ‘Fine, if you wouldn’t help me, I’d get one of my old girlfriends to do it.’ He said to her, while watching her reaction.
    Pelumi lifted her shoulders in indifference. She just wished the King would understand the reason for her advice. Though he had involved her in his personal life, she couldn’t be too forward with her opinion. Yemi was still the King.
    ‘You don’t approve?’ Yemi read her shrug as disapproval. One of the things he had learned while being groomed to be a King was to listen to the opinions of others. And he would apply that same knowledge to this case.
    Pelumi could see that the King wanted to hear her thoughts on his plans. Well, she didn’t like them. She had just discovered something about Cassie that could make the King change his mind, about his plant to make her jealous.
    ‘You asked me to find out everything I could about Cassie right?’ Pelumi clutched tightly to her black purse.
    Yemi nodded, ‘Yes I did. Did you find anything else?’ He wondered.
    ‘Yes, I did. But it is highly confidential. I read part of it. This would help you take your decision.’ Pelumi quietly unzipped the purse and fetched a diary. She had spotted a purse while in Cassie’s room. While Cassie had left for the dining hall, she had sneaked into the room and searched the purse. The yellow diary was the product of her search.
    Yemi dropped his staff, and collected the diary. He held it like he normally held his staff. Whatever Cassie had in there was personal, and reading it would make him feel like a terrible person.
    ‘I don’t think I can do this.’ He was reluctant to go through it.
    ‘Just read a page. It would give you an insight on the kind of woman you’re dealing with. She is a good woman, your majesty. She has been hurt by a lot of people, you cannot be on that list.’ Pelumi decided she was done with spying on Cassie. She had served the good King to her capacity. She had to return to the palace and finish her duties.
    ‘I must go now.’ She bowed and rose to her feet. The King was too engrossed in the pages of the yellow book to notice her departure. He wanted to know more about Cassie. He wanted to know the little things that made her happy, and those that made her sad.
    The first page spoke of her dreams and how she wanted to become a powerful force in the fashion industry. She planned to get schooled in a fashion institution, but she noted sadly, that there was no money. That broke his heart.
    ‘Ambitious woman,’ he opened another page.
    He was one of the wealthiest men in the world. His wealth had just increased by a hundred of billions, since the discovery of vermillion. He was ready to spend all that he had, just to make her happy. Cassie was different from Eno, she loved him.
    She wasn’t after a man’s money, but she was hungry to make her own. Cassie yearned for success and fame. She spent nights creating and working on designs. This explained the reason he had found her in the shop on the night of Christmas.
    As he flipped through the pages of the diary, he felt all the emotions Cassie had felt when passing through the numerous breakups. There were eight men in number, and they had all treated her like trash. She had taken a long break from relationships, and buried her time in work.
    ‘Fool,’ Yemi gritted his teeth angrily as he read a page on a particular guy:
    Dear Diary,
    May 22, 2009
    I’ve always heard of this sort of thing in movies. I never knew Lekan could do this to me. He broke up with me, minutes after I’d raised some money for his fees. And today happens to be my birthday. Will I ever trust any man again? I am hurt. My pride is crushed. I feel used and stupid. And I cannot fight back, I feel helpless.
    He could feel her pain and humiliation after discovering that the man she sincerely loved was also sleeping with her best friend, Maria. Yemi wanted to find all these men in her diary, and pound their heads with his fists, until they passed out. How could they treat Cassie with such impunity?
    From what he observed, when Cassie fell in love, she felt deeply. He now understood why she had built up a wall of defense against him. She probably thought he was line her ex boyfriends. Her ugly encounters had blurred her mind’s eyes and made her to bundle all men into one class.
    ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ He closed the diary and made ready to live.
    He had feelings for Cassie. And if those feelings were returned in appropriate measure, he would make up for all the pain those guys inflicted on her. There was no need of trying to get her jealous, that would only drive her further from him. Pelumi was right. He had to abort his plans immediately. He had to go straight to Cassie and tell her how he felt. If she refused to open up, he would release her and allow her be with her family. But he prayed she accepted him.

    Episode 22

    A week later,
    Her relationship with the princess had changed drastically. They were no longer enemies, but friends. The Princess found it difficult to stay in her room, since the day she discovered Cassie’s design book. The maids had been right about Cassie, she was better than all the designers she had hired in the past.
    ‘Where did you learn to design like this?’ Tayo’s eyes were on the notebook. Her eyes had strayed to a pink butterfly dress with a golden hook. It reminded her of some of the peculiar designs she saw on Fashion TV.
    Cassieloved that the princess greatly admired her work. Tayo had come to her room for some measurement. After changing her mind over a hundred times about the particular dress he wanted, she had finally settled on one. Cassie couldn’t wait to make the dress for the princess. Making dresses was something she enjoyed doing.
    ‘I fell in love with designing at an early age. My father is a fashion designer.’ Cassie informed the princess. She felt sad that her mother had divorced the man and sent him out of the house. Maybe if Tamar was like other good wives who supported their husbands, her dad would’ve been the biggest players in the fashion world.
    She hated his job, and had transferred that same hatred to Cassie. But Cassie had persevered; she could be stubborn when her passion was involved.
    ‘That’s lovely, so what plans do you have? Where do you go from here?’ Tayo shut the book and stared at Cassie’s face. She was done looking through the design book. She wanted Cassie to talk more about her family, especially Elvis and why he exiled himself from the rest. But the princess didn’t want to push it, she wanted Cassie to open up to her willingly.
    Cassie averted the princess’ penetrating gaze. She was tired of talking about dreams that would never hatch. She had no money or sponsors. How would she make it?
    ‘I don’t know about that. Are you ready for your measurement?’ Cassie walked towards her dressing table where she kept a tape. She wasn’t comfortable around Tayo completely, and she didn’t want to talk about herself.
    Tayo saw this and decided to respect Cassie’s boundary.
    ‘Has the King spoken to you yet?’ Tayo changed the topic.
    His name had a strange effect on her. She hadn’t set her eyes on Yemi for the past seven days. She had tried waking up very early or sleeping very late. But she was never able to catch up with him.
    She loved him. And she missed him. Cassie knew she would go crazy in this palace, if another week passed without her meeting the King. She wanted to apologize for ending up drunk in his sacred chamber.
    After Tayo had explained the significance of the first chamber of the King, she was deeply awed that Yemi could let her into his world like that. She was tired of his silence. It was killing her.
    ‘We both know that I haven’t set my eyes on him.’ Cassie replied.
    Tayo smiled, Cassie was smitten by her brother. She was helplessly in love, though she had been fighting it from the beginning. The princess was glad that Yemi felt the same way.
    ‘Well, we are working on a deal with a foreign company in Russia. Yemi is very hard working and committed to contracts. You may not see him till the deal is fixed.’
    ‘When will that be?’ Cassie licked her lips nervously.
    ‘Three weeks,’ Tayo lied, she wanted to have a good laugh and Cassie fell for her bait.
    ‘Okay,’ Cassie replied in a dull tone.
    Immediately she dropped her response, Tayo began to snigger. It was loud and crackling. It annoyed Cassie.
    ‘Look, I am tired of waiting for him. I love him okay? But I had to pretend. I have been hurt too many times by gorgeous men.’ Cassie rolled the tape around her wrist, and strolled towards the window that opened into the Royal garden.
    Most of her mornings and evenings were spent looking down at the garden; she was desperate to set her eyes on Yemi.
    ‘Now that is the mistake people make in life. Your experiences with men in the past have no bearing for the way you treat an innocent man in the present. You are a beautiful person Cassie, and I don’t mean physical beauty. I am talking of the kind that makes it difficult for people to stay away from you. You have found a man who cherishes you, just be patient.’ Tayo joined her by the window.
    Cassie’s body felt warm as she listened to the Princess’ kind words.
    ‘I just hope he forgives me for wearing that ugly dress and sleeping drunk beside him.’
    ‘Come on, my brother doesn’t keep grudges…’Tayo trailed off as her phone vibrated in her palms. It was a strange number. The first thought that crossed her mind was that one of the Mask’s men had contacted her. She quickly excused herself and rushed out of the room.
    Unknown to her, Yemi had set up a distraction. He wanted time alone with the woman that has captured his heart.
    Her back was to the door, while her eyes dwelt on the flowers. She heard a creaking sound, but wasn’t perturbed. She guessed the princess had returned.
    ‘I am thinking of making a crown of flowers for you, but with fabric. What do you think?’ Cassie licked her lips, excited by this new idea.
    There wasn’t any reply. And it made her wonder why the princess wasn’t answering.
    ‘Did you hear me?’ Cassie murmured and swirled round. She almost died of shock, when she noticed that the King had walked into her bedroom. This time, he looked different. He wasn’t in his regal robes, but a simple denim and polo-shirt.
    She froze and rested her hands on the window frames to stop herself from falling. He looked younger and more handsome without all the regalia. His eyes were still dark, but less arrogant. And he wore a friendly smile.
    ‘Cassandra, I missed you.’ He called her by name.

    Episode 23 (Final)

    Yemi had come fully prepared. Though he had been very busy the past few days, he had squeezed time out for her. He missed her. He yearned to look into her beautiful eyes and tell her about his feelings.
    ‘Can I sit?’ He scanned her room which seemed empty. He noticed a velvety material on the bed, which definitely belonged to his sister. She was a velvet addict.
    Cassie was too dazed by his presence to speak. When she parted her lips, no words came out and she blushed in embarrassment.
    Damn! Why can’t I control myself around him? She thought. Whenever Yemi was around, her senses would fail her. Her palms would become sweaty, and she would look like a confused person. And she hated for him to see her that.
    On a normal day, she was confident and bold. She wished she could walk right there and just throw her arms around him. Cassie wished she could make her fantasies come through at that moment.
    Yemi noticed she was shy and reserved. That was surprising, considering she was the person that’d been giggling with Tayo, some minutes ago. He decided to cut the chase and hit the hammer on the head.
    ‘I won’t sit then, I’ll stand by you.’ He walked closer to the window. Cassie died a thousand times even before he reached there.
    Yemi smiled, ‘Do you remember the first time you saw me?’
    Cassie swallowed, and cast her mind back. It was the night they had been waiting for Eno’s arrival. The King had breezed in without permission. She hated him instantly, but she couldn’t deny the fact that Yemi was the most handsome man she had ever met.
    ‘I could tell from the way you looked at me, that you hated me. And your hatred increased when I took your sister.’ He stopped a breath apart from her. So that Cassie, could feel his warm breath on her skin.
    She licked her lips and forced her eyes on him. She had been with too many people to act up like school girl. No, this wasn’t who she was. She was a vocal and bold woman. And she would tell Yemi what she felt for him.
    ‘You couldn’t blame me. I am not used to Kings breaking into people’s homes uninvited.’
    Yemi chuckled. He was happy Cassie was more relaxed than when he came.
    ‘I know, I truly loved your sister. I thought she was the one for me.’
    Cassie felt a tinge of jealousy when he said that. It wasn’t like she hated her sister; she just couldn’t stand him talking about any other woman.
    ‘I don’t love her anymore. She was never meant for me.’ He quickly said, he noticed the way her eyes darkened. He had to dispel her fears.
    Cassie’s eyes didn’t falter from his’. She was no longer shy. She was ready for his amorous confession and he wouldn’t leave anything behind.
    ‘It is you I love.’ He collected her hands and began to play with them. He caressed and squeezed them at will.
    ‘I know you have passed through a lot with men. You have been hurt, deceived, betrayed and all of that. But I am different. I am not a polygamous King and would never be. I am promising you that. I love you Cassandra. Since the day you stepped into my palace, you’ve brought me joy and peace. You filled the hole that your sister left. All I am asking is for you trust me with your heart.
    I do not want your body. I would’ve had you when I carried you in my arms that night. You were so beautiful in your sleep and I couldn’t help but watch. You are special to me.
    You are the first woman to step into my chambers. I want you to be my queen and my valentine.’ He dipped a hand into his pocket and fetched and envelope.
    Cassie’s eyeballs burned with unshed tears. She had not known this man for a very long time, but he knew everything about her. All long, she’d blame herself for staggering into his room, but he had swept her into his arms. His action revealed the romantic part of him. He was a kind man.
    ‘Are you still angry with me?’ Cassie’s lips trembled.
    ‘Angry? I was never mad at you. I just wanted to keep my distance, but I couldn’t control what I felt anymore.’ He peeled the envelope and pulled out two tickets.
    A tear dribbled down her cheeks, ‘I love you too. But…I just hated being locked in this place. I miss my family. I miss my job…’ she began to sob.
    Yemi couldn’t stand her sobbing; he quickly pulled her into his arms and placed a soft kiss in her hair.
    ‘It’s okay darling, we’ve been fighting this for too long. Love is like the sun, it doesn’t hide.’
    When she’d calmed, he released her and offered her a ticket.
    ‘What is this?’ She asked without looking at it.
    ‘What do you think it is?’ He winked.
    He had just been invited to Paris by the French President, who was also involved in the mineral he’d discovered. Vermillion was important, and most world powers would want to have a fair share.
    ‘I’m leaving for Paris in a few days. I’d like you to join me. We’ll celebrate our valentine over there. After which, we’ll look for a good fashion school for you.’
    Yemi knew Cassie was different from most women. He prayed she didn’t turn down his gift. That would make him feel really terrible.
    ‘What?’ Cassie quickly skimmed the paper piece.
    The King was offering to take her on a luxurious trip. That wasn’t enough, he wanted to be a part of her fashion design by involving himself in her dreams. She couldn’t believe it.
    A part of her was excited about the offer, but another part made her feel like a gold digger. All her life, she was used to giving. She hardly received gifts from her past boyfriends. They only took her love for granted and the little cash she gave to them.
    ‘I…I don’t know what to say.’ She stuttered.
    ‘Just take this Cassie. You deserve it. You are diligent and hard working. Take this as a gift for my cruelty. If I hadn’t taken you away from your shop, you’ll still be working for your clients.’ He had to convince her somehow to accept this gift.
    Cassie loved the offer. It was huge and juicy. Maybe the King was right; she deserved to have a little fun and happiness. This was perfect.
    ‘I guess falling in love with a billionaire King comes with its perks.’ Cassie winked. She would accept his gift.
    Yemi couldn’t hold back his excitement. He pulled her roughly into his arms and crushed her tender lips with his wet and burning mouth. He had found the woman of his dreams. He had found a rightful Queen, who would share his bed and his throne.
    He had found his Valentine desire in Cassandra Benjamin; a woman of substance.
    Yemi had come fully prepared. Though he had been very busy the past few days, he had squeezed time out for her. He missed her. He yearned to look into her beautiful eyes and tell her about his feelings.
    ‘Can I sit?’ He scanned her room which seemed empty. He noticed a velvety material on the bed, which definitely belonged to his sister. She was a velvet addict.
    Cassie was too dazed by his presence to speak. When she parted her lips, no words came out and she blushed in embarrassment.
    Damn! Why can’t I control myself around him? She thought. Whenever Yemi was around, her senses would fail her. Her palms would become sweaty, and she would look like a confused person. And she hated for him to see her that.
    On a normal day, she was confident and bold. She wished she could walk right there and just throw her arms around him. Cassie wished she could make her fantasies come through at that moment.
    Yemi noticed she was shy and reserved. That was surprising, considering she was the person that’d been giggling with Tayo, some minutes ago. He decided to cut the chase and hit the hammer on the head.
    ‘I won’t sit then, I’ll stand by you.’ He walked closer to the window. Cassie died a thousand times even before he reached there.
    Yemi smiled, ‘Do you remember the first time you saw me?’
    Cassie swallowed, and cast her mind back. It was the night they had been waiting for Eno’s arrival. The King had breezed in without permission. She hated him instantly, but she couldn’t deny the fact that Yemi was the most handsome man she had ever met.
    ‘I could tell from the way you looked at me, that you hated me. And your hatred increased when I took your sister.’ He stopped a breath apart from her. So that Cassie, could feel his warm breath on her skin.
    She licked her lips and forced her eyes on him. She had been with too many people to act up like school girl. No, this wasn’t who she was. She was a vocal and bold woman. And she would tell Yemi what she felt for him.
    ‘You couldn’t blame me. I am not used to Kings breaking into people’s homes uninvited.’
    Yemi chuckled. He was happy Cassie was more relaxed than when he came.
    ‘I know, I truly loved your sister. I thought she was the one for me.’
    Cassie felt a tinge of jealousy when he said that. It wasn’t like she hated her sister; she just couldn’t stand him talking about any other woman.
    ‘I don’t love her anymore. She was never meant for me.’ He quickly said, he noticed the way her eyes darkened. He had to dispel her fears.
    Cassie’s eyes didn’t falter from his’. She was no longer shy. She was ready for his amorous confession and he wouldn’t leave anything behind.
    ‘It is you I love.’ He collected her hands and began to play with them. He caressed and squeezed them at will.
    ‘I know you have passed through a lot with men. You have been hurt, deceived, betrayed and all of that. But I am different. I am not a polygamous King and would never be. I am promising you that. I love you Cassandra. Since the day you stepped into my palace, you’ve brought me joy and peace. You filled the hole that your sister left. All I am asking is for you trust me with your heart.
    I do not want your body. I would’ve had you when I carried you in my arms that night. You were so beautiful in your sleep and I couldn’t help but watch. You are special to me.
    You are the first woman to step into my chambers. I want you to be my queen and my valentine.’ He dipped a hand into his pocket and fetched and envelope.
    Cassie’s eyeballs burned with unshed tears. She had not known this man for a very long time, but he knew everything about her. All long, she’d blame herself for staggering into his room, but he had swept her into his arms. His action revealed the romantic part of him. He was a kind man.
    ‘Are you still angry with me?’ Cassie’s lips trembled.
    ‘Angry? I was never mad at you. I just wanted to keep my distance, but I couldn’t control what I felt anymore.’ He peeled the envelope and pulled out two tickets.
    A tear dribbled down her cheeks, ‘I love you too. But…I just hated being locked in this place. I miss my family. I miss my job…’ she began to sob.
    Yemi couldn’t stand her sobbing; he quickly pulled her into his arms and placed a soft kiss in her hair.
    ‘It’s okay darling, we’ve been fighting this for too long. Love is like the sun, it doesn’t hide.’
    When she’d calmed, he released her and offered her a ticket.
    ‘What is this?’ She asked without looking at it.
    ‘What do you think it is?’ He winked.
    He had just been invited to Paris by the French President, who was also involved in the mineral he’d discovered. Vermillion was important, and most world powers would want to have a fair share.
    ‘I’m leaving for Paris in a few days. I’d like you to join me. We’ll celebrate our valentine over there. After which, we’ll look for a good fashion school for you.’
    Yemi knew Cassie was different from most women. He prayed she didn’t turn down his gift. That would make him feel really terrible.
    ‘What?’ Cassie quickly skimmed the paper piece.
    The King was offering to take her on a luxurious trip. That wasn’t enough, he wanted to be a part of her fashion design by involving himself in her dreams. She couldn’t believe it.
    A part of her was excited about the offer, but another part made her feel like a gold digger. All her life, she was used to giving. She hardly received gifts from her past boyfriends. They only took her love for granted and the little cash she gave to them.
    ‘I…I don’t know what to say.’ She stuttered.
    ‘Just take this Cassie. You deserve it. You are diligent and hard working. Take this as a gift for my cruelty. If I hadn’t taken you away from your shop, you’ll still be working for your clients.’ He had to convince her somehow to accept this gift.
    Cassie loved the offer. It was huge and juicy. Maybe the King was right; she deserved to have a little fun and happiness. This was perfect.
    ‘I guess falling in love with a billionaire King comes with its perks.’ Cassie winked. She would accept his gift.
    Yemi couldn’t hold back his excitement. He pulled her roughly into his arms and crushed her tender lips with his wet and burning mouth. He had found the woman of his dreams. He had found a rightful Queen, who would share his bed and his throne.
    He had found his Valentine desire in Cassandra Benjamin; a woman of substance.
    The End

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