Story: Intoxicated Romance


    Episode 1

    Steven Eight years ago “mom, wake up” i shake my
    mother but she doesn’t move. I
    look to her bedside table and see the glass of
    wine and her pill bottle. My
    mother is schizophrenic. Its a mental
    illness and sometimes she doesn’t
    know what she’s doing. I am just
    nineteen years old but i have
    been taking care of her for as long as i can
    remember. I even opted to study
    in a polytechnic close to our house in
    pti just so i could watch her. You are probably asking where my
    father is, but like you, i don’t
    know. He has never been in the picture and
    anytime i asked my mother she
    goes emotional on me so i stopped
    asking a long time ago. My mom
    has been living on pills for years now to
    suppress her imaginations and hallucinations which are caused
    by her illness. Last night, i got stalled because of a tutorial class
    and by the time i finished, it was already 9:28pm. There was a
    government imposed curfew and
    i wasn’t able to go home. I slept at a
    friend’s in school. As soon as it
    was safe enough to leave, i came
    home. I knocked the door and when
    there was no reply, i knew
    something was wrong. I used my keys to open
    the door and immediately went to
    her room. I called an ambulance and
    they are probably on their way
    here by now. I try to wake her up but she
    doesn’t open her eyes. I place my fingers under her nose and feel
    faint breathes on my hand. I sag
    in relief. The ambulance comes and
    my mother is taken to the
    hospital. After checking her, the doctor
    assures me that she is fine, she
    is just very drunk. I thank the doctor then
    walk out of her room for some
    fresh air. Her room smells of antiseptic
    and everything else that
    permeates a hospital air. Outside her room
    isn’t any better but atleast it isn’t suffocating. Being in there, seeing
    her like that, almost brings me to my knees in misery. I cant help
    her so i feel so helpless. I don’t know what else to do. If my
    useless father was here, maybe
    she would be better. Anytime she, has one of
    her ‘episodes’, she calls me Leonard. I think that’s my father’s
    name. I raise my head up when i hear a door open and i see a girl
    of about 16 or so. She’s crying
    and screaming for the nurses holding
    her back to save her brother. I
    look on as she is directed to a chair at a
    corner to wait. She sits on the chair then cover her face with her
    hands as she cries more. I should ignore her and think about my
    own predicament, but my feet
    starts moving towards her. I sit on the
    chair beside her but she doesn’t
    even notice. “he will be fine” i say silently. She
    looks up then throws her hands around me as she ramble about
    everything being her fault. “i left him alone. I shouldnt have. I
    just wanted to have some alone time. I didn’t know that he would
    walk into the pool. I am the worst sister ever” she says “its not your fault. God is in
    control, don’t worry, everything
    would be fine” i say then rub her back.
    She withdraws from me then look
    up at my eyes and i smile at her. “thank you” she says, wiping her
    tears “you are welcome sweets” she
    smiles and my heart goes warm.
    Her smile seems to light up the whole
    emergency ward and wipe away
    all my stress. Its like we are both in a
    bubble with nothing but the both
    of us. I continue to smile like an idiot
    at her until my mom’s doctor comes out and tell me to follow
    him to his office. I stand to leave and her face falls. I want to stay
    but i cant. I look at her for a second then remove the bracelet
    on my wrist and hand it to her. “take this. Its my lucky charm” i
    expect her to laugh in my face but she takes it and put in on her right
    wrist. She gives me a wane smile and i sigh as i turn to follow the
    doctor. I turn back and wave her goodbye. She waves me back and
    smile. I notice she’s crying
    through her smile. There’s nothing i can do
    to help so i continue walking with the doctor. “your mom’s schizophrenia is
    getting worse Steven. We need to
    confine her before she hurts someone or
    even herself” he says as soon as i sit. “we don’t have that kind of
    money sir” “you need to figure something
    out. I don’t like her results” he
    tells me. I nod my head and walk
    dejected out of his office, towards
    my mom’s room. When i get there,
    she isn’t in her room. I rush out to
    the nurse station and i am told that
    she just walked out. What kind of nurses let their patient leave like
    that?. They probably thought she was well as she looked healthy. I
    run out of the hospital which is along the road and look around.
    Suddenly, i hear someone shout. I
    turn my head to see my mother in the
    middle of the road and the girl i
    just gave my bracelet too is trying to
    drag her off the road. My mom is bulging though. They seen to be
    struggling and a lorry is coming towards them. I run towards
    them. My legs doesn’t seem to run
    fast enough as everything happen in
    slow motion. Only the lorry seem
    to be coming in fast motion. My mom is
    pushed off the road by the girl before the lorry sweeps her(the
    strange girl) off the road. “no!” i scream for the girl. There is
    blood everywhere.

    Episode 2

    Toni: “surprise!” i gasp in surprise as
    my eyes scan the room.They are
    about 25 people. I recognise a few as
    my colleagues. I work as a
    manager in this hotel and one of my superior
    had instructed me to bring some documents to the private suite. I
    was already on my way home but according to her, the occupant of
    the suite is important so they sent me. I just started working here last
    week and i didn’t want to make a
    bad impression so i dropped my bag
    and took the documents. I was on
    my way with the document when Cynthia,
    my best friend and colleague
    called me to meet her in one of the private
    rooms underground. The hotel
    runs a night club downstairs and i have
    never been there due to my background. My father is a pastor
    while my mother is just as
    devoted as he is and they brought me up
    in a conservative way. No
    trousers, no short skirts, no secular music and
    the rest. I stand at the doorway and stare in confusion until
    Cynthia walks toward me. “thank God you made it. I thought
    you would stand me up because
    of your over the top spirituality.
    Anyways happy birthday!” Happy birthday?. Oh my God, Its April,
    ofcourse it my birthday. “I totally forgot. It must have
    slipped my mind. With the stress
    of a new job coupled with my
    planning for my wedding next
    month.” I say and cynthia’s face falls at the mention
    of my wedding plans. Kacy my fiance, is a close friend of hers
    when she was in the states
    studying and when they came back to
    Nigeria, kacy courted me. We
    were in courtship for two years before
    I agreed. I am about to ask her
    why she suddenly looks down but she
    quickly diverts my attention by
    dragging me to a table. They sing me a
    birthday song and i blow out the
    candles in a hurry as i still haven’t taken
    the documents upstairs and it’s getting late. After blowing the
    candles, i thank everyone then
    turn to leave. “you should atleast have one
    drink with us before you go”
    Cynthia says and everybody murmur their
    agreement. “come on cyn, you know i don’t
    drink” she rolls her eyes at me
    then pour some orange juice in an
    empty glass for me then stretch it towards me with a smile. I collect
    the glass. I am about to drink it all in one gulp but she stops me. “what now?” i grumble “a toast, to many more years and
    a happy married life to our celebrant” she raises her glass
    and i clink mine with hers.
    Everybody in the room does the same and i
    notice that i am the only one
    drinking the orange juice. They are all
    having champagne. As soon as i
    down the whole glass of juice, i rush out,
    before Cynthia comes up with something else. Cynthia is a party
    girl but i am the total opposite. people who know us always
    wonder how we became friends
    but ever since she helped me when i fell off a
    see-saw in kindergarten and hurt
    my knee, we have been close. The
    only time we were apart since
    then was when i had an accident eight
    years ago and when she studied
    in the US. I notice she changed alot after she
    came back, but she’s still my friend. I rush to the first floor and
    wait for the elevator to take me upstairs so i can deliver the
    documents. My mom would
    already be worried by now. As soon as the
    elevator opens, i rush in and a
    wave of dizziness assail me. I stand
    upright and shake my head to
    clear my foggy brain. What is wrong with
    me? Why am i dizzy all of a
    sudden? I must be tired. The stress of my
    wedding plans is probably getting
    to me. The elevator opens at the top
    floor and i get out slowly so i won’t lose my balance. I hear my
    phone ring in my hand and i look
    at the screen. It’s blurry but i can
    make out kacy’s face on it. I go to answer the call but my hands are
    not steady and my phone falls to
    the hard floor and shatters
    everywhere. Stupid phone. I bend
    and pick all the parts i can find but i don’t see
    my sim-card. I stand up, barely able to stop myself from falling
    face down to the floor. I take in steadying breathe then walk to
    the door of the suite and knock.
    My body feels so hot. My stomach
    keeps fluttering. I don’t
    understand what’s happening to me. I fan my
    self with my hands and wait until
    the door opens. A goodlooking
    young man is standing by the
    door looking at me with glazed eyes. My body
    heat increases and i start taking
    my blazer off, then start undoing my
    shirt buttons. The man’s eyes
    bulge as he sees what i am doing. He
    goes to say something but i shut
    him with my mouth. He hesitates but
    just for a sec. He grabs my waist, then raises me up as i wrap my
    legs around his waist and he
    takes me to his bed. A little voice at the back
    of my mind reminds me of who i am but i cant stop. Kacy’s face
    flashes through my mind but i
    cant stop. I cant stop! Is that my hand
    undoing his button? No! What am
    i doing.My brain says stop but my
    body doesn’t follow the
    instruction. I wake up the next morning with
    an headache.I look around and
    see my clothes scattered on the
    ground.How did i get here?. A
    hand lands on my stomach and that’s when i
    remember last night. I silently get
    off the bed, put on my scattered
    clothes and sneak out

    Episode 3

    Steven: “No!” i scream and sit up on the
    bed with a start. My head spins at the sudden movement and i
    clutch it. It feels like a metal band
    is having a concert in my skull. What
    a hangover!. ‘I am never drinking again’, i tell myself. I get off the
    bed and realise that i am naked. Strange. I look around the room
    and see my clothes scattered on
    the floor. Okay, that’s certainly weird.
    I am almost obsessive about orderliness. It wasn’t really my
    best idea to drown in so whisky
    after taking my pills. I had been so
    angry and sad yesterday, i
    couldn’t sleep. The sleeping pills i usually
    took didn’t do the job so i added whiskey to the mix. I stagger to
    the fridge and pour myself some
    cold water. I turn to get some pain
    relievers from the cabinet but stop myself. I have enough chemical in
    my body for now. I drink the
    glass of water then drink another and
    another but my mouth still feels
    like a gutter. My headache seems to be
    getting worse. I think the only solution for this hangover is to
    shoot my brain out of my head. I
    sway as i walk back to the bedroom
    and realise that i am still drunk. I need to sleep this off. I crawl into
    bed and that’s when i notice the red stain on my sheets. I look
    more intently to inspect it and
    realise that its blood. My heartbeat shoots
    up in panic. I check myself for injuries but there’s none. Then
    whose blood is this?. I think
    deeply on the happenings of yesterday. I remember being called up by my
    dad to his office. He had sounded angry on the phone so i dressed
    up and hurried to his office. He
    was livid about the land deal i wasn’t
    able to close. I had lied to him that i already landed the deal so
    how did he find out?. Only one person could have told him. My
    brother. My step brother to be
    precise. Ever since my dad brought me
    into his house, there has been a
    form of rivalry between us.We both
    wanted our father’s approval. My
    father has always loved the rivalry between
    us. He fueled it actually.My father is a hotelier and we have multiple
    hotels within and outside the country. La casa is the latest hotel
    of our company. My brother
    wanted to be in charge of that project but
    my father had given it to me. James(my step brother) has been
    trying to bring me down since
    then. I have been able to buy all the land
    we needed around the site for the project except one. A particular
    man wouldn’t sell. I have even offered him more money to no
    avail. I was trying to placate him
    on the phone when James heard about
    it. He must be the snitch that told father. “i thought after taking you from
    your mother and brushing you
    up, you’ll be more useful but i can see
    that you are as useless as your crazy mother” my father had said
    to me. That alone had set me off
    and as soon as i convinced my father
    to give me till the end of the
    month, i drove to James’ house. His gate
    man had let me in and i barged
    into his house to receive a big
    shock.There my brother was,
    sitting majestically on his sofa with a
    bottle of Goldberg in one hand
    and my fiance’s boobs in the other. Jane
    was sitting on his lap, naked from waist up while straddling him and
    her eyes were closed so she didn’t see me at first. James saw me
    though, and he gave me a wide
    grin. The anger of the day flashed through
    me and i rushed to him and
    decked his face. Jane’s eyes widened as she
    saw me and she tried to pull her
    top up to cover herself. My brother
    just smirked at me and sat back probably to watch a lover’s
    quarrel but i didn’t give him the satisfaction. I just walked out on
    the both of them. I remember
    Jane following me while begging for
    forgiveness. I didn’t give her a passing glance though. I just
    drove like a crazy man to the suite
    i currently live in at one of the hotel
    branches i manage. I remember coming home and tossing and
    turning until i took my sleeping
    pills coupled with alcohol. I remember
    hearing a knock at my door and
    going to inspect it. There was a lady at
    the door. I don’t remember her face. Its all blurry in my memory.
    Who was the lady?. It must have been Jane coming to beg me. Did
    something happen between us
    last night?. If something did happen, it
    still doesn’t explain the blood on my sheets. Did she hurt herself?.
    Maybe she was in her period. I
    rub my head in frustration. Thinking
    isn’t helping my hangover
    situation. I have to sleep this off. Maybe
    everything will come to me when i
    wake up. Plus, i still have to think of a
    way to cajole that pastor to sell me his land. The fact that he is a
    pastor is probably the reason why money couldn’t convince him. I
    have to look for that pastor’s
    Achilles heel. I remember my father’s
    words about my mother and i
    clench my fist painfully. I just have three
    weeks to figure something out or risk losing to my brother. After
    what he has done, i just cant lose.
    I have to win this one no matter
    what. I lie on my bed and close
    my eyes as sleep claims me.

    Episode 4

    Toni: its been more than a week since
    the incident and I still cant think about anything else. Only one
    night’s event has ruined me. My family,my career and my
    impending marriage. How would i
    explain to kacy about how i lost my virginity.
    I have been avoiding him and i haven’t retrieved my lost sim-card.
    That morning, i had sneaked into the house without my parent’s
    notice and gone to work early the
    next day. When i got back, i only met
    my younger brother at home. Thankfully, my parents have gone
    on a two weeks prayer
    programme in owerri. They would be arriving
    tomorrow but i still haven’t found
    a good cover story though. My
    parents won’t be able to handle
    the truth of my circumstance. My mom
    would probably have a heart
    attack. I didn’t see Cynthia for two days
    and when i asked about her from
    other colleagues, i was told that she was
    ill. I went to visit her yesterday and i found out that she was
    drugged, just like me. Who could
    have done this to us?. Was it just a
    prank?.I sigh and rest my head on
    the glass door of the hotel’s pool
    house. I notice someone in the
    pool. Its too early in the morning for
    someone to be swimming and the
    pool is supposed to be locked by this
    time. I press my head to the glass and peer inside. I remain like this
    and admire the gait and agility of the swimmer. He really is good. My
    mind takes me to the time i loved swimming. Well, not anymore.
    Ever since my brother almost
    drowned, i have been scared of swimming.
    The swimmer starts coming out of
    the pool and my eyes trace his body
    from his feet upwards to his
    muscled legs and thigh. He must work out,
    i think out loud. My eyes continue their journey and i realise that he
    is just wearing a tiny swim short. I stare, as if hypnotized and lick
    my dry lips. I continue my perusal of his body till my eyes reach his
    face. I jerk backwards in shock
    and my heels slide on the tiled floor
    thereby causing me to lose my balance. I yelp loudly which
    draws his attention to me.I crouch
    on the floor and crawl away quickly. No
    no no! Its him! The guy i molested/raped. He didn’t seem to
    protest that night though. It isn’t rape when there is no protest
    right?. By the way, What kind of
    guy would just sleep with a woman he
    doesn’t know? If he had turned
    me away, maybe i wouldn’t be in the
    hot mess that i am right now. This
    is also his fault. I hope he doesn’t
    recognise me. This is all so embarrassing. I thought he would
    have lodged out of the hotel by
    now. I haven’t seen him since that
    morning when i sneaked out of
    his bed. “antonia, you have a visitor
    waiting for you at the reception
    hall” mercy says and this snaps me out
    of my thoughts. I thank her and
    move downstairs to meet my visitor. I
    have no idea who it could be. As
    soon as i get there i see kacy. His back is
    to me and i admire his lovely backside unconsciously. I never
    want to hurt him but right now its inevitable. He has been very good
    and patient with me. I cant
    imagine my future without him in it. I cant
    lie to him, that would be the ultimate betrayal. But how do i tell
    him?. “toni” he says my name and i cant
    hold back my tears. I burst out in tears and kacy rushes to me. “oh my God toni, what’s wrong?. I
    have been trying to contact you
    for more than a week now. I was so
    worried. Please tell me you are
    okay?” his concern for me fuels my tears.
    He stands there awkwardly, while
    i cry like a child in the middle of the
    reception hall as people watch us. “what are you doing to the
    lady?”a voice booms from behind
    me and suddenly, i see a guy seizing kacy
    by his collar. Kacy starts to protest but he isn’t given any
    chance as the guy’s fist connects
    with his stunning face. “no!” i scream and run to kacy
    who is now on the floor. “are you okay?” i ask him as i
    bend to help him up. He shrugs
    me off and shoots me an angry look. “ofcourse, i am not okay. Didn’t
    you see this lunatic punch me in
    the face?. I think the mother f----r
    broke my nose” he grumbles and
    hold his nose. “that should teach you to never
    make a lady cry again” the guy
    says. “what is your probl–” i turn to
    shout at him but my words hang
    as i see who it is. I turn away
    immediately. Why do i keep
    seeing him today?. Its the guy at the pool. He
    is clothed now though. “my problem? I was just trying to
    help you” he says. I cant see his face, but i know he looks puzzled. “umm..you shouldnt have done
    that, i didn’t need your um help”i stammer still not looking at him. “you didn’t?” i shake my head “but i thought-“he walks to my
    front and i turn the other way. “could you atleast look at me
    while you talk to me?”he says and
    moves in from of me again and i turn the
    other way. I see kacy stand up
    from the ground as he watches us.The
    guy keeps trying to look at my
    face and i keep turning the other way. “umm sorry for the disturbance
    and thanks for trying to help but
    um, i have to um, leave now”i stammer
    again and try to flee but he holds
    my shoulder and turns me to face
    him. Our eyes meet and i see the recognition and shock in his eyes
    before i flee.

    Episode 5 n 6

    Toni: i cant believe this. Now, i am
    jobless. That’s yet another thing i have to explain to my parents
    when they come back about an
    hour from now. What do i tell them. Hey dad,
    i raped my jerk of a boss and it got me fired. No way!. What do i
    do?. I pace up and down our
    sitting room which isn’t exactly big. “come on sis, your pacing is
    giving me an headache. What’s
    wrong” “what?. Nothing.” i squeak “toni, i always know when
    something is wrong with you so
    stop pretending and tell me” “its nothing” “you sure?” “um yea” “okay whatever” my kid brother
    says and plug in his earphones
    probably to make the fact that he is
    ignoring me, obvious. I sigh then
    continue my pacing. I am always truthful,
    so coming up with a good cover
    story is so hard for me. I jump in
    nervousness as i hear a knock at
    our door. They are early. I look to my
    brother but he pretty much
    ignores me. I have to go out and let them
    in. I clean my sweaty palms on my long flowing skirt and walk to the
    door. “welcome home d–” my eyes
    widen to unbelievable proportion
    once i see who’s at my door. He also looks
    stun. I come out of the house and
    lock the door. “are you following me?!” he asks
    and i laugh. “why would i follow you to my
    own house?. It seems to me that i
    am the one being followed” “your house?. Isn’t this pastor
    Solomon’s house?” “how do you know my dad?” “your dad?!” his eyes goes so
    wide and i fear that it may pop out
    of their sockets. “antonia” i hear my mom’s voice
    and i jump in fright. As i jump, i clash into my boss and he holds
    my hips from behind to steady
    me. I freeze and look to my dad who’s
    watching the both of us. His
    hands start to caress my hip and i sag
    against me. He feels comfortable which is weird as i barely know
    him. I have never felt this kind of connection with kacy. I look
    behind me and my eyes lock with
    his for a moment. “what is the meaning of this?!” my
    father bellows and snaps me out
    of my daze. I step away from my
    boss. “um, dad” i say and nothing else
    comes out “who is this young man and why
    does he have his hands all over
    my daughter?” “he is no one” i say but my boss
    steps in front of me “i am her boss” he says and
    stretches his hand to my dad for
    an handshake. My dad just looks at
    his outstretched hand dubiously.
    My mother takes the hand though. “wow. You are really young to be
    a boss already. That’s how young
    men should be.” my mom turns to
    me.”Antonia why didn’t you take
    him into the house? Where are your
    manners?. Come in my son. I am
    sure antonia has something prepared” i watch
    with my mouth open as my mom
    hook her hands in his arm and they walk
    majestically towards the house. I
    look towards my dad and he just
    shrugs and walks behind them.
    Am i the only one who finds this situation
    awkward?. When they get to the
    door, my boss unhooks his hand and open
    the door for my mom while
    grinning at her. “your majesty” he says and
    spreads his hand towards the
    door. I see my mom blush as she walks pass and
    pat him on the shoulder. The door
    is still held open as my dad walks
    through. The jerk has my parents fooled. They must think he is a
    perfect gentleman. I expect him to lock the door on my face but he
    holds the door till i enter before
    he closes it. I feel him beside me but i
    don’t pay him any attention. “we have to talk” “about what?. Didn’t you say you
    didn’t want to see me again?” “am sorry about yesterday. I
    realise that i was too harsh. Could
    you just please hear me out?” “i don’t want to” i say and walk
    away from him. The next half hour is just plain
    weird. My mom fuss around him
    during break-fast. It’s fun to watch him
    interact with my 16 years old brother though. They talk sports
    and game. My brother is just so impressed by him. I can tell by the
    way he hangs unto every word
    that comes out of my boss’ mouth. He
    even makes my dad laugh when
    he talks about his 11 months old little
    niece who during a sermon,
    shouted the pastor’s name. I ignore him
    throughout the meal and
    concentrated on my foot which i was just picking at.
    The sight of him interacting comfortably with my family was
    not good for my appetite. If only
    they knew who he was and what the
    both of them had done. After
    everybody was done with their food, i stand
    up and start clearing the table. “that was delicious” he says as i
    pack his plate. I don’t answer him but my mom does. “antonia is a very good cook. She
    is always experimenting in the kitchen. She’ll make a great wife
    don’t you think?” she says to him and i know what she’s trying to
    do already. “yes, she will” he affirms “too bad, her talents would go to
    waste on that no-good fiance of
    hers” “mother!” i scream “i told you, i don’t like him” “well i am an adult and i can make
    decisions on my own” “do you even know what he does
    for a living?” “he said he’s an importer” “of what exactly?. I don’t trust
    him. He always has this calculating look in his eyes”i go to say
    something but my boss clears his
    throat and i remember that he’s still here.
    My dad and brother just look everywhere except at us

    Episode 7

    Steven: okay, this is totally weird. I cant
    believe this cute little gold digger is actually pastor
    solomon’s daughter. Well, it has
    always been said that the pastor’s children are
    usually the worst. Her family is so nice. Having breakfast together
    and chatting amicably is not something that happens in my
    family. We hardly eat together and
    when we do, its a business dinner or
    something. I interact with them
    and i cant help but feel welcome, which
    is the complete opposite of what i feel when i am with my family.
    Ever since i was given to my father after the accident eight years ago
    when my mother was locked up
    in a psychiatric hospital, i have never
    felt at home, anywhere. I have never felt loved by My father who
    is a tough man who doesn’t show affection. His wife hates me,
    probably because i am the
    product of her husband’s first marriage and so
    does her son, James. I am on
    speaking terms with her two daughters but
    they are both married now so that sums up my family. Sitting here
    with Antonia’s mother fussing
    around me almost brings tears to my eyes.
    I miss having a mother. I wonder what hospital, my dad is hiding
    my mother. No matter the fondness i feel for
    antonia’s family, i still need their land. That land automatically
    makes me lord over my dad’s empire, giving me the power to
    free my mother and i have gotten
    the perfect plan to get it. From the
    conversation i am hearing,
    antonia’s mother doesn’t like her fiance.
    He’s probably the guy i punched yesterday. I cant believe he
    walked away even when he saw
    his fiance running away and another
    pursuing her. Well, this gives me
    the opportunity to engage my plan.
    Thankfully, pastor Solomon has
    never seen me. He has never agreed to
    meet with me and now, it will play
    to my advantage. Antonia and her
    mother’s argument gets heated
    and i clear my throat to interrupt them. “excuse me ma’am but i have a
    meeting in an hour and i have to
    talk to antonia before i leave. Do you
    mind if we go out to the eatery
    across the street to talk?” i ask “yes!” “no” antonia and her mother
    answer at the same time. “you can take her, my son” Mrs
    Solomon says then give her
    daughter a hard look. “stop being rude to your boss
    and hear him out. Its about work
    right?” her dad says “ofcourse dad. What else could it
    be about?”antonia asks
    defensively. Her reactions is going to make
    them suspect something is up. I
    am sure they don’t know about their
    daughter’s immorality. “i just need her to say yes to an
    important request of mine” i say “oh, she’ll say yes” Mrs Solomon
    puts in and i laugh. Antonia just narrow her eyes at me. “let’s go?” i say and stretch my
    hand toward her for her to take
    but she just drop the plates she was
    carrying and walk ahead of me. “make sure you say yes darling!”
    her mother calls from behind us. I smirk to myself. She may be
    joking but what she doesn’t
    know is that her joke isn’t far from the truth. Antonia and i walk in silence until
    we reach the eatery where we sit at a table at the back. I watch
    antonia for a while thinking of a
    way to go about this. I hear the
    eatery’s door open and close,
    then i notice antonia’s eyes go wide. I
    turn towards the door and see a
    guy and a very pregnant lady walk to
    a table. The guy is very attentive to the lady as he helps her sit and
    kiss her cheeks lovingly. Why is antonia so fixated on them, i
    wonder. The guy walks around to
    the chair opposite his pregnant wife
    or girlfriend and now that he is sitting, i see his face fully. This is
    the same guy that was with antonia yesterday. Oh no. If he is
    her fiance then this is bad. The guy and his pregnant companion
    doesn’t notice us due to where
    we are seated. I turn to look back at
    antonia and notice her eyes are
    shiny with unshed tears. As soon as she
    sees me looking at her, she sniff back her tears and smile at me but
    i am not fooled because antonia wouldn’t normally smile at me.
    She is just trying to mask her pain from me. I go to say something, i
    don’t even know what but i stop
    when the waiter brings us two glasses
    of water and the menu. Antonia
    thank the waiter and pick her glass of
    water. “What do you want from me?” she
    asks as she tip the glass to her mouth. Well, if she doesn’t want to
    beat around the bush, i wouldn’t either. I look straight into her
    beautiful eyes. Okay, stop. Where
    did that come from?. I just need her
    for her land and she probably
    needs me for money so no more
    thinking of how beautiful her
    eyes are. I shake my head to clear my
    jumbled thought. “i want you to marry me” i drop
    the bomb and watch as antonia
    spit out the water she was drinking all
    over my face.

    Episode 8

    Toni: “wh–at?!. You’re kidding right?.
    Am i on candid camera?. Is this a prank?” i sputter out as soon as i
    wipe the water that landed on my chin. There’s water on my boss’
    face but i ignore the funny sight. I am still reeling from the fact that
    my fiance is sitting just few feets from me with a pregnant
    woman. I have been trying to
    convince myself that there is a perfect
    explanation for it. She may
    possibly be his sister but i don’t remember
    kacy, mentioning any sister. My
    head is just about to explode with
    these conflicting thoughts and
    now my boss’ has dropped a bigger
    bomb. I would have walked out
    of this place but i don’t want kacy to see me.
    Confronting him in public is too embarrassing. I look around for a
    way of escape. “you don’t have to be too happy
    about it. Just say yes so we can
    start the preparation” my boss says
    and i stop my searching and look straight at him. “are you serious? Like serious,
    serious?” “i am dead serious. I have been
    looking for a wife and now i
    choose you” i cant help it and i laugh. A
    full belly laugh. Who is this clown? “for your information, Mr–” “Steven” he says and i laugh “don’t you see the absurdity of
    your words?. Are you sure you
    are not drunk or something. I didn’t even
    know your name and you expect
    me to say yes?.” “isn’t this what you want?. Money
    and fame?. I’ll give you al that. Just say yes”what is he saying? “let’s say i believe you. So why
    me?. Why did you choose me?.
    You don’t expect me to believe that
    you magically fell in love with me within the few minutes it took us
    to get here.” “ofcourse i am not in love with
    you. This will be purely business.
    We stay married for a year or two
    then we divorce and i compensate
    you with the sum of 10million
    naira.”he says this grinning,
    probably thinking that the money would
    persuade me. Not in this life!. I see kacy leave with the pregnant
    woman and i sigh in relief. Now, i
    can leave this clown. I stand up from
    my chair and smirk at him. “For your information, even if
    you’re the last man on this earth,
    I’ll just become a nun.” i say and i
    hear him scoff as i walk out on
    him. As soon as i open the eatery’s
    door, cameras flash on my face. I raise my hand to shield my eyes.
    What’s going on?. “someone just tipped us that our
    most eligible bachelor is here with his fiance. Are you the one?” one
    reporter shout at me. “how long have you guys been
    dating?” another says “when is the wedding and
    where?” “we just saw you guys having an
    intimate breakfast. Give us
    something. We have been looking for his
    mystery woman.” i just stand
    dumbfounded. The cameras keep flashing and i
    think i am going blind with the
    light. I want to move away from them
    but it seems my legs are rooted to
    the ground. My eyes p---k with tears
    and i wonder what i am crying for. There’s just too much happening
    to me right now. I’ve lost my virginity and my job in just few
    weeks. The man i am going to be marrying few weeks from now
    may have another woman. A
    pregnant one for that matter. I didn’t cry after losing
    my virginity and my job and it must be catching up with me now.
    This is a nightmare. I am going to fall apart in front of the media. I
    grab my head in frustration and scream. One of the reporters
    shakes me and i feel myself falling
    to the ground but i don’t fall. I feel
    strong hands around me, holding
    me up. I don’t open my eyes to see
    who it is. I know its Steven. I wrap my legs around his hips and bury
    my head in his neck. I can hear
    the cameras flashing and the
    reporters excited mumu but i
    don’t let him go. His scent settles me. “take me out of here” i whisper
    into his neck and he starts
    moving, with me wrapped around him. “get away from her” i hear him
    yell as he starts moving faster. I
    hear him hail a cab. “you have to let go of me so we
    can get into the cab” he whispers
    to me. I hang unto him for a while
    before i stand on my feet. My legs feel like jelly and he helps me into
    the cab. About fifteen minutes later, i put myself together. “stop the cab” i say and the car
    slows to a stop. I open the door
    and wipe my eyes. “am sorry, antonia” Steven says
    and holds my hand. “get your hands off me” i say and
    remove my hand from his. “i hope this is the last time we
    meet” i say as soon as i am out of the car. I close the door. I hear the
    car roar away and my heart sinks which is ridiculous. He is nothing
    but trouble. Just few encounters with him and i feel my heart
    getting involved. Falling in love
    with him wouldn’t end well. My parents
    must be worried about me. Thank
    God i retrieved my sim-card yesterday
    after i got fired. I bring my phone out to call them and i notice a
    message from an unknown
    number. ‘stay away from kacy. he is my
    husband. This is for your own
    good.” oh no! bile rise in my throat and I
    run into the bush and vomit
    violently.

    Episode 9

    Okay guys, some of you are
    confused about the characters.
    Toni is antonia, the heroine of the story.
    Kacy is her fiance and Steven is the hero of this story. Narrator: angelica tap her feet nervously on
    the ground. She look around the eatery where she told antonia to
    meet her. No one seems to be
    watching her. She pick the glass of water on
    the table and the water splashes on her hand due to the tremor of
    her hands. If she gets caught
    talking to antonia, she’ll definitely be in
    trouble. She look down at the phone in her hand. Its 11:31,
    thirty minutes past the time
    antonia was supposed to be here. What could
    be keeping her?. Angelica
    thought out loud. Ten minutes later, antonia is
    still absent and angelica’s nerves are closer to snapping point. She
    notice a man in black clothing observing her from across the
    eatery and that’s when she knew
    she had to leave. She bring her phone out
    and type a message for antonia. Antonia, you have to be careful
    and beware of your friend,
    Cynthia. I cant say much now but you
    should know that my husband
    was hired to marry you so he could get your–‘
    she doesn’t finish her message as she’s grabbed from behind and
    dragged out of the desolate
    eatery. She screams but There’s no one
    around except the creepy waiter
    who has already been paid off. Angelica’s
    phone fall of her hand and her
    half finish message gets saved as
    draft. Toni: After contemplating for an hour
    on if i should meet with kacy’s
    wife, i decide to go. I board a taxi
    which takes me to the secluded
    eatery is told me to meet her. I am about
    an hour late but i hope she’s still inside. The taxi drop me off in
    front of the eatery and i am about
    to go in when a state of nausea hits
    me. I hurry to the nearest corner and puke my guts out. I thought
    these vomiting was because i
    have the flu but its been two weeks and it
    hasn’t stop. Infact, it has gotten worse. I was supposed to get my
    period last week but its still in nowhere land. The possibility of
    me being pregnant is becoming
    more of a reality. I need to buy some
    pregnancy tests, just to put my
    mind at ease. Ok, note to self; buy some
    pregnancy test kits on your way
    back home. I wipe my sweaty brow
    and my mouth then turn around
    when i hear a car. I see a pregnant woman
    being carried into the car. The
    pregnant woman seem to be sleeping. Isn’t
    that the woman with kacy at the eatery the other day?. I start
    walking towards them to know
    what’s up but then another wave of nausea
    hits me and i rush back to the
    corner to vomit. I see the car drive away
    in my peripheral vision. After wiping my mouth again, i decide
    to check inside the eatery to make sure kacy’s wife is really gone.
    The eatery is completely empty
    when i walk in, except for a waiter. I
    wonder why she was carried out
    of here. Well i don’t want anything to
    do with kacy anymore. Our
    wedding is supposed to be two weeks
    from now but i still haven’t told
    my parents that he is a married man. I
    just don’t know where to start. I turn to leave the eatery and i Clash
    with the waiter. My bag falls off my shoulder and all its contents
    scatter everywhere. The waiter doesn’t even apologize. He just
    walks away. Jerk! I mutter under
    my breathe. I bend down and pack
    everything from the floor without looking at what i am packing. My
    attention is just on the jerk of a waiter who just stare at me. This
    place is starting to give me the chills so i pick up my bag and
    hurry out. I don’t find a taxi
    around here so i walk for a little distance
    before i start seeing cars. I wonder why kacy’s wife
    suggested that we meet here. I
    haven’t even heard of this eatery before now. If
    not for her good description, i probably wouldnt have been able
    to find it. I quickly board a taxi. On my way home, i stop at a chemist
    and purchase six different brands
    of pregnancy tests just to make sure
    there’s no mistake. As soon as i
    get home, i lock my self in the toilet,
    then pee on the sticks. During minute i wait, i pray silently that it
    should be negative. I cannot be a single mother. I don’t even have
    a job right now and my parent’s name would be dragged to the
    mud. Nothing good can come out
    of my being pregnant. Oh lord pls, don’t
    let me be pregnant. I have gone through alot this month, i don’t
    want more tribulation. Its been
    more than a minute but i cant bring
    myself to check. Ok be brave toni,
    you are probably not pregnant. I steel
    myself and check the tests. All six of them indicate that i am
    pregnant. Oh no! I sit on the floor
    and sob. After about an hour of crying on
    the toilet floor, i walk numbly to my room. I have to think of a way
    to resolve this. Having an abortion is not an option. The only option
    is to marry the father. I just hope that ridiculous deal of his still
    stands. During our one year of a sham marriage, i will make sure
    he falls in love with me and our
    baby. I won’t let him know about my
    pregnancy yet. He probably won’t
    believe me. I’ll tell him after we get
    married and when i am sure that
    he wants us. Yes, that what I’ll do. I
    place my hand on my still flat tummy. “don’t worry sweedy, mommy
    would make sure your daddy
    accepts you” i search my bag for my phone
    then take it out. My boss’ number
    is probably in the hotel card. I
    search in my bag for the card and
    i find it,I also touch something like a
    phone and when i bring it out, its not mine. Its broken. I must have
    picked it up from the eatery’s floor. The phone doesn’t even
    turn on. The owner must have
    thrown it away. I take the phone to the
    kitchen to dispose of it but my
    brother takes it from me. He probably
    wants to use it for his many experiments. My brother is kindof
    crazy about stuffs like this. As soon as my brother leave the
    kitchen, i dial Steven’s number. “hello” his deep voice says “will you marry me?” i ask and the
    line goes silent.

    Episode 10

    Toni: “are you still there?” i ask when
    the line is silent for too long “umm yea, you took me by
    surprise that’s all. Lets meet at the
    address I’ll send you, to discuss the
    details.” “okay” i say and the line goes
    dead. Ok, this is it. My baby isn’t really the only reason why i am
    agreeing to marrying Steven. I feel the chemistry between us and i
    want to explore it. If my plans to capture his heart doesn’t go well,
    the 10million I’ll get at the end will help me start a new life. I
    might open my dream restaurant.
    I close my eyes for a while and pray
    for the best. “so what made you change your
    mind?” Stevens asks. We are in a
    small cozy restaurant at the end of my
    street. The place is dimly lit and our table has two pink candles
    casting a romantic feel to our
    table. I wonder why he chose this
    restaurant. Anyone looking at us
    would think we are too lovers, hopelessly in
    love with each other. They
    wouldn’t be able to fathom the kind of
    situation we are in right now. “marrying you would be an
    adventure i cant miss” i say
    nonchalantly and shrug my shoulders. “an adventure” he muses. I have
    to be more convincing. I cant let
    him think i have an ulterior motive. He
    will surely doubt me if i come straight out and tell him i am
    pregnant for him. He already
    thinks i am a gold-digger. “10million naira is alot of money” i
    say as a way of explanation. His face falls for a sec then he smiles. “then its a deal?. Marry me for a
    year and walk away with
    10million naira?” “i have some rules I’ll like to
    enforce during our sham
    marriage” i say and steven’s brow rise. “go on” “before our marriage, you buy a
    house and i get the house after
    our marriage” he raises his brows at
    me then gesture for me to
    continue. “during our one year of marriage,
    there would be no sex between
    us” i continue “i have no problem with that” “no infidelity” “i can do that” “if anything happens, say you find
    out something you don’t like and
    it breaks the marriage before the
    completion of the year, i still get
    my money” “what could that be?” “just promise” “okay i promise. I have my rules
    too.” “i am listening” “k, we have to behave like we are
    in love in public and in front of my family.”he says and i nod at him. I
    can do that “and by pretend, i mean holding
    hands, smiling at each other and kissing if necessary” okay, that
    could work in my advantage. “what else?” i ask “we have to sleep in the same
    bed” “but i said no se-“i say and he cuts
    me off “its just for appearance. The maids
    could leak somethings to the
    press” “then we live alone. No maids” “even if there are no maids, we
    could have a surprise visitor” “okay fine!” i say and pout at him
    and he laughs “you were not against the idea of
    sex with me when you sneaked
    into my room last month” he mumurs but i
    ignore him. “so, are you ready?” he asks as he
    goes down on one knee then
    bring out a ring from his pocket. Its
    beautiful. “antonia, love of my life, do me
    the honour and marry me. I
    promise to love you till i die” he says. This
    may be ake but my heart is
    beating ten to the dozen. My hands are
    even shaking in nervousness. “yes baby, I’ll marry you” i say
    and stretch my left hand towards
    him and he puts the ring on finger
    then kisses it. This does ridiculous things to my heart. I don’t
    remember feeling this way when
    Kacy proposed. The lying cheat. His
    stupid ring is lying at the bottom
    of my wardrobe. I cant believe i fell
    for him. I was so naive that i didn’t see any signs that he was
    married. I push thoughts of kacy
    out of my mind as Steven stands
    upright and hold my waist. He
    stares into my eyes with a strange
    expression on his face. His head
    starts moving towards me and i realise that he is
    going to kiss me. His scent saturates my senses and my eyes
    flutter close. As soon as his lips brush mine in a light caress, it
    feels like electricity is passing from his lips to mine. I feel Steven
    stiffen and his hand on my waist goes tighter like he felt the same.


    His kiss intensifies but then he stops suddenly. I groan my
    disappointment then open my
    eyes when i hear flashes. The press are here
    and they are taking pictures. He
    must have alerted them. No wonder he
    chose this restaurant with a
    romantic setting. I had thought the kiss
    was real. He was probably acting
    for the camera. Steven pulls me to his
    side and kiss my temple then whisper in my ears. “that was amazing” and i blush “i should have known that you
    are a great actress. I think we
    have them fooled”he says and my heart
    sinks.I smile on the outside as our pictures get taken. An hour later, i am at home. I sit
    on the sofa and ponder how i am going to break the news of kacy’s
    betrayal and my new engagement
    to my family.My brother is beside me
    surfing through the tv. I see
    kacy’s picture on a new channel and ask
    him to stop. “he was found hanging from his
    ceiling fan few hours after his pregnant wife was found dead.”
    the reporter says. “Jesus!”i shout and my mom and
    dad come out of their room to
    inspect the noise. I hear my brother tell
    them about the news. “i knew something was up with
    that young man. Thank God you
    haven’t married him.”my mom says to me
    but i just think about kacy’s
    wife.She was probably getting kidnapped
    when i saw her. “what is the meaning of this?!”my
    dad yells and point to the tv.I look at the tv and behold its me and
    Steven with his hands around my
    waist. The headline reads: most eligible
    bachelor getting married. Oh no. “surprise” i say and grimace. “you are getting married?. To
    your boss? How? when?” “i love him dad” i half-lie “when did you meet him that you
    are already in love with him?! I
    would not be a party to this. This was
    how you rushed into courtship
    with kacy and now see what it turned
    into.” “dad, i am old enough to know
    what i want. I am marrying Steven
    and that’s final” “toni! Listen to your father!” “mom, i thought you like him” “i do, but this is too sudden” “i am marrying Steven next month
    so dad, mom, you better accept it
    or you’ll lose a daughter” i say and
    walk to my room.

    Episode 11

    Steven: Today has been bizarre. I had
    woken up thinking about antonia
    just like every other day since the day
    i met her. I was pondering if
    maybe she wasn’t a gold-digger like a
    thought. Maybe she was really
    drunk like me that night. I had dialed her
    number which i collected from her friend who worked here several
    times without calling her. What
    would i say to her?. The last time we met,
    she said she never wanted to see
    me again. I knew that She wouldn’t
    be so happy about my call. I had forced myself to concentrate on
    work until my lawyer called me. I
    had asked him to check if antonia had
    any claim on the land my dad desperately wants. “what have you found out?”i had
    asked without any greetings. I
    was anxious to know “miss antonia’s name is on the
    land’s deed just like you thought”
    he said in his gravely voice. “so, give me legal advice. If i am to
    get married to antonia, how much claim would i have on the land?” “legally, you would have no
    claims at all sir because that land
    was hers before your marriage. It
    wouldn’t be marital property” “so there’s no way my marriage to
    her would get me her land?” “no, except she willingly gives it
    to you or you could make her
    sign away her rights to you without
    her knowledge” i know she
    wouldn’t willingly give the land to me but
    would i be able to deceive her like that?. I was still thinking about my
    next course of action when my phone rang in my hands. As soon
    as i saw antonia’s name, my heart leapt and i became as giddy as a
    teenage boy with a crush. That
    was when i knew that i couldn’t
    deceive her like that and that this feelings i have for her was more
    than just attraction. I never expected her to accept my
    wedding proposal though. What
    could be her reason?. Now that i know that our
    marriage wouldn’t get me her
    land, there’s no need to get married
    right? But when i saw her waiting
    for me in the cozy restaurant i chose,
    looking so beautiful and innocent in her black maxi dress, i
    proposed. Not for her land or for
    my father. I just proposed. I didn’t
    expect the restaurant to have a romantic feel but it was perfect
    with the candles making our
    dinner romantic. When she accepted, i
    couldn’t help but kiss her. It
    started out like an innocent kiss but the
    chemistry between us ignited and
    i just wanted to taste her more. Our
    moment was spoiled when the
    media made their entrance though.
    Antonia had groaned like she
    Didnt want our kiss to end, making me
    wonder if she felt the same way i
    did. I wonder who called them. After
    the media left, antonia and i
    agreed to get married next month. She
    seems to be in a hurry to get
    married. She may have other agendas for this
    marriage but i intend to make her
    love me before our 1 year ends. I want
    to wake up every morning of my
    life to her sweet smiling face. I want
    to be a part of her family that makes me feel welcome. I just
    have to make sure she is not a gold-digger. I still cant fall for
    another Jane. When i get to my suite, i call my private investigator
    to find out Everything he can on antonia especially about her social
    life and the guys she have dated before now. After talking with my
    p.i, i turn on the news channel. Nothing interesting is on but then
    i see antonia’s fiance on the news. I turn the volume up and i am
    shocked to hear that he is dead
    and that he had a pregnant wife. Weren’t
    they supposed to get married this month?. I cant believe the b-----d
    deceived my antonia. Or could it
    be that antonia knew he was married
    but just wanted money. No, she
    looked shocked when she saw him with
    the pregnant lady two weeks ago.
    The dead fiance doesn’t seem rich
    either. Could this be the reason
    why antonia changed her mind?. I am
    still pondering this when my
    phone ring in my hands. Its antonia! “hello” i say trying to make my
    voice seem detached when all i
    want to cuddle her and console her. “Steven, my parents just saw our
    engagement on tv. Everything is
    in chaos right now. They say its too
    soon” she says “we could try to convince them.
    Maybe we should push the
    wedding back to two or three months from
    now” “no!. I want the wedding now!. I
    mean, i want it to be soon” why is she in a hurry? “why do you want it soon?” i ask
    because i need to know if this is
    about money. “umm. I want it now so that umm.
    So i wouldn’t lose my nerve. Yes,
    so i won’t change my mind” she
    says. She is definitely hiding
    something. “then what do we do? How can
    we change their mind?” “well, i don’t know. Think of
    something” an idea hits me. This is
    the perfect opportunity to put my
    plans of making her love me, into action. “i am not sure, you would like my
    idea” i say nonchalantly “what is it?” “we have to elope. Lets leave the
    country. Get married in Paris, maybe. That should convince
    them?” i expect her to refuse or
    even back out of our marriage. “yes!. Why didn’t i think of that?.
    When do we elope?” she asks and
    i am stunned. “umm tomorrow morning. But i
    want you to pack some
    necessities. I’ll pick you at your house in an
    hour. Do you have a passport?” “no. I have never travelled out of
    the country” “that would delay us a bit but for
    now, you’ll live with me before your passport is processed. Can
    you do this?” again i expect her to say a resounding no but she
    surprise me. “yes, i can. Make sure you park
    your car some distance from my
    house so you wouldn’t alert my parents.
    Call me when you get here and I’ll sneak out” “alright, take care” i say and the
    line goes dead.

    Episode 12

    Toni: WOW,we are going to Paris!Okay, i
    never expected this turn of event but its perfect.Paris, the city of love
    is the perfect place to entice Steven and if we are already
    married, my parents would have
    no other choice but to trust me and accept
    the marriage. Waiting to convince
    my parents would have been the best
    option but how long would it
    take? I want this as soon as possible,
    before my pregnancy starts
    showing. Steven would be here soon so, i
    need to start packing. I bring my
    small suitcase down from the top of my
    wardrobe and something falls
    with it. I bend down and see that its a
    bracelet.The goodluck charm i
    was given eight years ago in the
    hospital when my brother was
    admitted.I remember this bracelet for years
    after that.The only time i didn’t wear it was during my 2months
    coma. When i woke up, the only
    thing i remembered for a week was that
    boy and this bracelet. He was kind
    of my first love. I took this bracelet off
    three years ago when kacy and i started courtship. What a waste.
    Maybe that’s the reason why such badluck has been following me.
    Right now, i need all the luck i can get so i put the bracelet on again
    then, i continue with my packing. An hour later, my phone starts
    ringing and when i see that its
    Steven, i double check that i have
    everything I’ll need, then sneak
    out of the house. We are now at steven’s suite.
    Thankfully, i was able to sneak
    out without my parents notice. I
    wrote a note telling them that i am eloping and left it on my bed for
    them to find tomorrow morning. I don’t want to make them worry
    but i have to do this for my baby
    and for myself. Steven takes my suitcase inside to
    his room and that’s when i realise that we will probably have to
    sleep in the same room tonight. I
    sit awkwardly on the sofa and wait
    for him. He comes out minute later
    with his jacket and tie gone and his
    sleeves rolled to his elbow, showcasing muscular fore arms.
    He looks so good i could eat him.
    Wait, where did that thought come
    from?. I shake my head at my
    thinking. He looks so casual right now and i
    don’t think i have seen him in anything other than his suits
    except that night that brought us together. The suits fits him
    perfectly but kindof make him
    seem distant. Right now he looks
    comfortable and approachable. “i have good news and bad news,
    which do you want to hear
    first?”he says as soon as he sits on the
    same sofa that i am seated. His
    knees brush my legs and i gulp down
    air. He looks at me with raised
    eyebrows and i clear my suddenly parched
    throat. “sorry, wha-t were you saying?” i
    ask him and he smiles like he
    knows how much he affects me. “i said i have goodnews and
    badnews. Which do you want to
    hear first?” “oh, the badnews” “ok. I did some research and
    found out that we cant get
    married in Paris immediately. It would take
    too long because they have alot
    of legalities for foreigners” oh. I cant
    wait “oh,what’s the goodnews?” “i have a better idea. We should
    still go to Paris and have a fake wedding. We will dress the part
    then take pictures and send to the media here in Nigeria. This way
    your parents would think we are married and when they give their
    consent, we would get married
    the proper way here in Nigeria”he
    says “why do you have to come up
    with all the good plans?. I should
    have thought of that” i say and he
    laughs. A full belly laugh with
    thinking eyes. His laugh is doing crazy
    thing to my heart. Right now, he doesn’t look like a business
    tycoon that i cant reach. He looks
    so care-free and the fact that i had a
    hand in it makes me swell with pride. “i cant help it love, i am an evil
    genius”he says after he stops laughing and grin at me
    showcasing the dimple on his left
    cheek. I really wish i could lick that d--n
    tempting dimple. I shake my head again at my x-rated thoughts.
    What is happening to me? ‘Steven
    is happening to you’my inner mind
    says and i laugh. “what’s funny now?” he asks me “oh nothing. When do we leave?” “three days from now. I just need
    some of your documents” “wow, that’s fast. I thought it took
    weeks or even months” “with money, everything is
    possible, love” he says. Wow!.
    That’s the second time he’s calling me love.
    What’s the reason for his warm attitude towards me?. Maybe he is
    just acting. But we are alone so
    who is he acting for?. Well, i don’t care.
    I love how it makes me feel. Awkward silence descend upon
    us after awhile. I wonder what
    our sleeping arrangement would be
    tonight. Steven clears his throat
    then grab the remote and start channel
    surfing.He stops at mbc2 and my
    eyes bulge when i see the kiss scene
    they are on.AWKWARD!. Steven
    quickly change the channel and Nat geo
    wild comes on showing two
    monkeys mating. I start coughing and
    stand up as i run away from the
    sitting room. “am off to bed!”i say and i hear
    him stifling his laughter. I turn and toss in bed for an hour
    then i hear the door open,i close my eyes and pretend to be asleep.
    I feel Steven get into bed with me. He drags me to him with my back
    to his chest and we fall asleep like this.

    Episode 13

    Toni: i wake up the next morning still in
    steven’s arms.His left hand is on my waist and my head is now on
    his firm chest. He’s so warm. I
    press my cheek to his hard chest and
    sigh contentedly. Last night, i slept like a baby. Who knew someone
    so hard would be so comfortable.
    He looks so young and care-free as
    he seems. His features are relaxed making him look super
    handsome. I use this opportunity
    that he is asleep to admire his features. His
    chisel jaw, his small-ish nose, his eye lashes. Wow, his eyelashes
    are longer than mine. Its that kind that girl’s would give for. My eyes
    move to his perfect lips. Lips that has been on me several times.
    Oh the man can kiss. I don’t have many experience but i know a
    good kissed when i kiss one. ‘He
    must have alot of experience with
    other ladies’ my subconscious
    tells me and i shut down that thought. The
    thought of Steven with other
    women just makes me red with jealousy.
    Wow, now i am even being
    possessive. What is Steven doing to me?.I use
    my finger and trace his bottom lip. He mumbles in his sleep and i
    freeze. Okay, i have to get up and
    cook breakfast. Five more minutes
    won’t hurt. Get up lazy bones you
    have to cook for your man, i chastise
    myself. I reluctantly drag my body
    out of bed. Steven groans in his sleep
    and his hand moves on the bed as
    if searching for me. I stand silently
    so he wouldn’t wake up. Its still too early. Wait a minute, i look
    down at my self. Why am i in my nightie? I don’t remember putting
    it on last night. No no no. Steven must have undressed me. I am
    normally a light sleeper. How
    come i didn’t wake up?. I shake my head
    at my self then tip toe to the sitting room. I search the mini-
    fridge and i don’t find anything i
    can cook with. He must survive only
    on the home’s food. I go back
    into the room and throw some clothes on.
    I have to go to the market and purchase some things i’ll need. I
    hurry through the mall beside the hotel and purchase everything i
    need. I have to hurry before
    Steven wakes up. I am rushing out of the
    elevator when i barge into a hard body. My purchases scatter
    everywhere. “am so sorry” i say and bend to
    gather my pack of groceries. The stranger bends too and helps me. “thank you” i say and stretch my
    hands to retrieve my things from
    him but he doesn’t give them to me. “let me help you. The bag is torn
    so, you cant carry all this on your own and it seems i am going your
    way” he says and smiles at me
    and a cold shiver runs through my
    spine. I don’t know why but the
    air just freeze over as soon as i look into
    his eyes. This guy just gives me the chills. Its not that he’s ugly.
    No, actually he is very goodlooking but there’s
    something cold about how he
    smiles. I wave my hand at him to indicate that i don’t
    want to bother him and his eyes fix on engagement ring. I snap
    my hand down and his eyes
    narrow. “come on. Let’s get your groceries
    off the floor” i just want to get this over and done with so i just
    nod and allow him help me. We
    pick the groceries we can savour then
    we walk towards steven’s room.
    As soon as we get to the door, i
    stretch my hand to relieve him of
    my things but he shakes his head and
    motion for me to open the door. I
    am about to say something when the
    door bursts open and Steven
    comes out. “oh my God antonia, where have
    you been? You got me worried. I
    thought you changed your mind and left
    me” he says as he hugs me and
    the groceries i am holding. Wow, i
    never knew he cared this much. “i am sorry, i just rushed out to get
    some groceries. I would have been here sooner but my grocery
    bag tore up and i had to gather
    them from the floor.Thankfully this man
    helped me” i say, pointing to the stranger and that’s when Steven
    notices him. The stranger grins crookedly at Steven and his
    breath hitch.Steven drags me
    behind him. “get inside toni”he grinds out.
    Okay, what’s going on, i wonder. I
    am being shoved inside by Steven
    when the man speaks. “hey brother, you don’t have to
    hide her from me”i hear him say
    and Steven stiffen and stop but
    doesn’t look at him.Brother?. “is this Jane’s replacement?. Wow
    brother you are fast. How long as
    it been since you broke up with
    your fiance?.Two weeks? Three?.
    I must say, this one is really stunning
    though but why did you have to
    give her jane’s ring?” i gasp at this
    information and i start to slow
    walk away from Steven.what? He had a
    fiance?. A tear falls down my eye
    and Steven groans.Steven who has
    been silent snaps and rushes to
    his brother and seize his collar. His
    brother doesn’t seem fazed by
    this . No, he is actually smiling. “go ahead brother, show her how
    violent you can be” he says.
    Steven raises his fist to punch him. “stop!”i scream.Steven who’s
    seething in anger turns to me and
    i shake my head for him to stop. He seems
    to be calming down but his face
    goes pale as i slump on the ground.He
    leaves his brother and rushes to
    me. “baby are you okay?.Please let me
    explain”i cover my mouth with
    my hand as a wave of nausea hits me
    and i dash into the suite with
    steven behind me..

    Episode 14

    Steven: “antonia!” i yell and run inside my
    suite. I don’t forget to slam the door on James’ face before i
    continue my chase. I expect to
    find antonia in the room packing her
    belongings but i see her sitting on the toilet floor with her face in the
    toilet. I rush to her side and help her arrange her hair to her
    side to avoid its falling into the toilet. Her body shakes with
    violent heave and i pat her back. “go away” antonia says into the
    toilet as she tries to bat me away. “I’m sorry” i mumble and she
    turns to face me. “you should have tol–” her
    sentence is caught short as
    another violent heave rakes through her
    and she throw up on me. Gah!. “oh my G–” my own sentence is
    caught off as i dry heave. I shrug antonia off the toilet sit and puke
    my guts out. Why am i vomiting too? I never felt nausea even
    when my mother used to vomit
    and sometimes excrete on her body.
    This is bizarre. My stomach settles
    and i sag on the toilet seat. I feel
    antonia’s head rest on my back
    and i stay still. ” i am sorry, i should have told
    you about Jane. She’s no longer important so i didn’t think to
    mention her to you” i say without turning to face her. “its fine. I am just your pretend
    fiance. You don’t need to explain yourself to me” “ofcourse i do. Because i –” i want
    to tell her i love her but the words hang in my throat. “because you what?” she asks
    and i quickly change the subject
    of discussion. “you must be hungry after all this”
    i say “am not” “well i am, let’s get out of here” i
    say and stand up then look down at her when she makes no move
    to stand up. “well?” i say raising my eyebrows
    at her. “i cant feel my legs. Just go, I’ll be
    out when my blood starts flowing normally” she says but i
    don’t leave her. I bend and carry
    her up from the floor. “you don’t have to carry me” she
    says but she stays perfectly still in
    my arms. “okay” i say and pretend to want
    to drop her. She yelps and hook
    her hands around my neck and bury
    her face in my neck. I laugh then
    carry her to my bedroom after flushing
    the toilet. When i get to the foot of the bed, i tap her to indicate for
    her to let go of my neck. She reluctantly lets go then i hear her
    sniff my neck. “did you just sniff me?” i ask
    incredulously. I expect her to
    deny it but she just grins at me and my
    heart beat accelerates. She’s so beautiful. “you smell sooo good” she
    drawls and i look at her like she’s
    grown horns. She just blushes and i have
    this intense need to kiss her but i stop myself. I don’t want to go too
    fast. I still don’t know her intentions. We look at each other
    for a while and when i see her
    eyes go to my lips, i clear my throat. She
    blushes again and i groan inwardly. She just radiates
    innocence. “you have to let me down now”
    she says and i drop her on the
    bed. “so what should i order for you
    from the kitchen downstairs” i ask
    her “i am not really hungry” she says
    then her stomach growls and i
    burst into laughter. “this is so mortifying” she says
    and i stop laughing to see her
    eyes brim with tears. “oh baby, what’s up. Why the
    tears?” “you’re laughing at me” she sobs,
    crying more. She’s like a hormonal pregnant woman, switching
    moods in seconds. “sorry love. Hush now” i say as i
    sit on the bed beside her and rub her back. After a while, she wipes
    her tears with her hand then cup
    my right hand in her hands. I look at
    our entwined hands then look at
    her eyes. “i want garden eggs and
    groundnut” she says “you need to eat some
    substantial. You must be very
    hungry” “but i want garden eggs” she
    sobs out again. Chai, what kind of tantrums is this woman
    throwing?. Where do i find garden
    eggs in this neighborhood. Would the mall
    have some?. “okay, I’m going. Stop with the
    tears” “thanks” she says and hug me
    tightly. After squeezing the air out
    of me she finally release me and
    gives me a big smile. Okay, this
    smile is totally worth the troubles. I
    leave her lying on the bed after i dress up in readiness for my
    garden eggs hunt. An hour later, after searching for
    garden eggs without success, i walk dejected back to my suite
    with a bottle of groundnut clutch
    in my hand. I hope i can pacify her with
    this. I am almost at the hotel when i see a man walking towards me.
    He’s carrying a polythene bag
    which looks like it contains garden eggs.
    I hope its garden egg. Maybe he would agree to sell to me or he
    may be able to direct me to where
    i can buy. I walk to him with my
    fingers crossed. “excuse me sir, is that garden egg
    you’re carrying?” “yea, is there is a problem?” he
    asks “no sir but there will be if i don’t
    get garden eggs for my fiance. She was even crying when i left
    her to buy some.” “oh i understand. My wife was
    also the one who sent me. It
    seems your wife’s pregnancy cravings is
    similar to my wife’s” he says
    laughing. “it is?” “yea son. Don’t worry I’ll give you
    a few of the ones i bought for free. But make sure you stock up
    on garden eggs if you don’t want
    her to wake you up in the middle of
    the night” he says and i don’t
    bother to correct him about antonia not
    being pregnant. If he’s going to solve my problem, i don’t mind
    any misconceptions on his part.
    He gives me some garden egg and i
    thank him. I rush back to my suite to avoid
    more crying and everywhere is
    quiet. I call for antonia and when there’s
    no reply, i panick. I drop my purchases on the glass table then
    dash to check the room and i see antonia sleeping peacefully. I
    check my watch and see that its
    just quarter to 10. I watch her for a
    while before i wake her up. When
    she wakes up, she says she already
    ate as she ordered food from the reception. I shake my head at her
    and she smiles at me. Apparently, she doesn’t need the garden eggs
    anymore. What a day!

    Episode 15

    Toni: I cant believe i cried just because
    Steven was laughing at me and again, because of food. What must
    he think of me now. My mission is supposed to be to get him to love
    me but i think i almost chased him away. When he left for a long time
    to get me garden egg, i though
    he’s left me. Thank God he came back.
    While he was gone, there was a
    text from his brother. Steven had left
    his phone on the bedside table
    and when it kept ringing, i checked to
    see ‘James’. Not knowing who
    James was, i left it but when i heard a
    message alert i checked again and
    it was James. When i saw the
    highlight of the message, i
    couldn’t stop myself. I opened it. Wow brother, you’ll go to great
    lengths to win me. Btw, Does she
    know about your plans or should i tell
    her? That message was on my mind for
    a while until my dad started
    calling. I paced the room thinking of if i
    should answer the call or not. He calls for about 6 times before he
    sends a message. Come home sweedy. Lets talk this
    out. As a daddy’s girl, i already miss
    my father but i have to Steel
    myself for this. After waiting for Steven
    for awhile, i order food from the reception then fall asleep after
    eating. I am woken up by Steven
    who’s bought the garden eggs i was
    craving hours ago. Well, i don’t
    want it anymore. I check the wall clock
    and i see that’s it almost ten and i know Steven hasn’t eaten. I need
    to redeem myself after all i have taken him through today. “am sorry for taking you through
    so much today, Steven. I was just craving garden eggs so much, i
    couldn’t help it” “craving?” he asks and look at me
    thoughtfully. “yea. Anyways let me cook for
    you” “don’t bother your self, I’ll just
    order from downstairs” “its past breakfast time. There may
    not be any food left and i want to cook for you. So just let
    me.okay?”i ask and pout my lips
    at him “alright. I agree before you start
    crying like a pregnant woman” he says and his eyes go to my
    stomach for a second. I place my
    hand on my still flat tummy. “i am not pregnant!” “i didn’t say you are. I only said
    you cry like a pregnant woman” “ok, whatever. I’m off to the
    kitchen” i say and dash off. This
    talks of pregnancy isn’t good for my
    nerves. He is not supposed to
    know yet. I still don’t know what his
    reaction would be if he finds out. I
    think he is beginning to warm up to me
    though. I enter the kitchen which is like
    every chef’s dream with all the machines and stuff and prep
    everything I’ll need for a fast
    brunch. I lift my head from my task when i
    see Steven walk in. “need help?” he asks and props
    himself on the high stool by the
    counter. “how good are you at cutting?” i
    ask with a smirk. I expect him to
    say ‘no good’ but he gets off the stool
    and goes to the cupboard to retrieve a knife. He flips the knife
    in the air and catches it with a flair then walk to my side. “I’m super good. What should i
    cut?” he asks me. After picking my
    jaws from the ground, i assign him to
    tomatoes and pepper slicing
    duties. I’m making fried plantain and
    eggsauce.As i fry the plantain, i
    watch Steven dice the tomatoes and
    pepper with a chef’s precision. “wow, where did you learn that?
    It took me a year to be that
    good”l ask him. “i developed a crush on cooking
    while taking care of my mom
    when i was younger”he says grinning at me. “you cooked for your mother?
    Wow, that’s so sweet” “well she was sick so i had to” he
    says and i see sadness in his eyes. “was?. Is she okay now?. I’ll love
    to meet her” i say. “well, you cant” he says and my
    face falls “i understand. Who would want
    his fake fiance to meet his
    mother”i say “that’s not what i meant. I mean-”
    he says, rubbing his forehead and
    i cut him off. “oh, the plantain needs my
    attention now” i say with fake
    cheerfulness and hurry to the frying pan. I flip
    the plantains as i close my eyes to hold my tears at bay. “ow!” i scream as the hot
    groundnut spray on me. Steven is
    by my side in seconds and he drags me to the
    sink immediately. He turns on the tap and places my hand under. He
    lifts my hand up again and brings
    it to his lips as he blows on my
    fingers. “i am okay” i say and try to
    retrieve my hand but he doesn’t
    let go. I look at him and see that his eyes
    are fixed on my bracelet. Does he think its weird?. I know it looks a
    bit old. I use my other hand to cover the bracelet and his eyes
    goes to mine. “what’s this?” he asks, pointing to
    my wrist. “its my lucky charm”i say and i
    feel him stiffen. “i know its old and weird but it
    was kindof a gift”i say and
    retrieve my hand. “a gift from who?” he asks. I don’t
    want to tell him, i got it from a strange boy eight years ago. That
    would make me seem weird. “a guy i met somewhere” i say “by
    the way, your brother kept
    calling. You should go call him back. I’ll
    take care of the rest cooking” i continue just to change the
    subject. “I don’t need to call him back.
    And he’s not my brother, he’s just
    my father’s son” he says and i crease
    my forehead. Well, atleast i diverted his attention from my
    bracelet. We don’t talk for the rest
    of the time we cook. After cooking, i
    set the table for two. “i thought you said you’ve
    eaten?”he asks “well, i am a little hungry now”i
    say and move to the fridge to get water. As i open it, the smell of the
    meat i bought this morning hits my nose and i feel my belly turn.
    Not again. “um excuse me” i say and dash to
    the toilet to gag. I come back to
    see Steven has finished setting the
    table for me. “you should go for a check-up”he
    says “i don’t need a check-up, i am
    fine” i say “then what’s with the vomiting?” “um. Its the flu. I’ll be fine” i say
    and sit on a chair. “i love eggs” i mumble as i shove
    a spoonful in my mouth. This food needs more seasoning but i stay
    put. “wow, this is delicious” Steven
    says as he swallows down the
    whole meal and i blush. The rest of the
    day is taken up by packing as we
    are leaving for Paris tomorrow. We
    ordered pizza which we eat as we
    pack. By the time we are done, its
    already 10pm and we crawl to
    bed together and without thinking, we spoon.

    Episode 16

    Narrator:
    Cynthia groans as her ringing
    phone wakes her up. She stretch
    her hands to the night stand and
    hit ignore. The phone stops
    ringing and she sigh contentedly as she burrow into her pillow. The
    phone starts ringing again and
    she reluctantly sit up, cursing
    whoever is on the other end of
    the line.
    “hello” she grumble. “why are you so useless?. You
    cant even answer your phone.” all
    thought of sleep fly out of
    cynthia’s head as soon as she
    hears the cold voice.
    “i was sleeping. Isn’t it too early to be awake”
    “why didn’t you tell me about
    your friend’s new engagement”
    the voice asks
    “what new engagement?
    “you see your stupidity. Isn’t she supposed to be your best friend?”
    “yes but i don’t feel right about all
    this Amy more. Why cant we just
    get married. I don’t need money, i
    need you”
    “well, i need money and i cant get it until i get that land from antonia
    so if you don’t want to end up like
    your friend kacy, you will pack
    your bags and be at the airport in
    20minutes”
    “but where are we going?” “we are going to Paris, baby” he
    says and the line goes dead. ***********************
    Steven:
    The sun coming through the
    blinds wakes me up and i raise my
    hand to shield my eyes. Antonia
    moans beside me and move closer to me. Being here with her
    is like heaven to me but we have
    to get ready for our flight to lagos
    where we take another flight to
    Paris. This would be fun. I already
    have our five-days trip planned and by the end, i would propose
    to her for real. I can feel that she
    wants me too. After seeing my
    bracelet on her hand yesterday, i
    called my private investigator and
    asked him to get hospital records of antonia for me. I need to know
    if she’s the one. My soulmate. I
    have thought of that teenage girl
    who risked her life for my mother.
    And if it turns out that antonia is
    her, i would be so happy. The bracelet is just too identical for it
    to be a coincidence. Its even tied
    at the same place i tied it eight
    years ago when it broke. If it
    turns out she isn’t the girl i have
    been looking for, it still wouldn’t matter. I love her and that’s what
    matters. My private investigator
    also informed me of the fact that
    apart from kacy, the dead fiance,
    antonia hasn’t dated any other
    guy. According to him, she’s a conservative girl who doesn’t
    even attend parties. This news
    elated my heart. It means antonia
    isn’t a gold-digger. I just wonder
    why she got drunk if she really is
    conservative. Okay enough reminiscing. I have to wake
    antonia.
    “hey” i whisper and tap her
    shoulders but she just mumbled
    something sleepily.
    “wake up love” i whisper in her ears but she still doesn’t wake up.
    I drag away my arm that’s under
    her head and she follows the
    hand. This is hilarious. She is such
    a deep sleeper. Antonia is
    currently lying on her back with her legs slayed wide. I bring my
    face closer to her and i hear her
    sigh my name. This makes my
    heart leap. She must be dreaming
    about me and by the expression
    on her face, its definitely a good dream. She sighs my name And
    her lips poker up as if in a kiss.
    Wait a minute, is she dreaming
    about me, kissing, her?. Her
    pokered lips moves as if
    searching for my lips. I look at her face to make sure she’s still asleep
    then i bring my lips closer to hers.
    I am about to kiss her when my
    phone starts screaming ‘its time to
    wake up, the time is 6:30am”. The
    noise wakes antonia and her eyes pop open with me still above her,
    our lips almost touching. She
    jumps off the bed too fast and our
    head collide.
    “ouch! What’s in that head of
    yours? It feels like a big hammer just hit my head” i say and pout
    playfully.
    “That’s good. I hope it hurts more.
    What were you trying to do you
    pervert?” she screeche at me.
    “oh so i am the pervert? Atleast i wasn’t the one dreaming about
    kissing an innocent victim” i huff
    and place my hands on my waist.
    “what? You wish! That’s
    preposterous. Thinking about
    kissing you is just disgusting. I have endured it once and i don’t
    want a repeat even in the dream”
    she fire at me. Ok, ouch! That hurt
    my ego.
    “oh really?” i stalk towards her
    and she stands her ground. Brave girl. As soon as i get to her, i
    snake my hand around her waist
    and pull her tightly to me.
    “so, you think this is disgusting?” i
    ask and she nod her pretty head
    slowly while looking at my lips. Disgusting my foot!. I look at her
    lips and she suck her bottom lip
    into her mouth. I wish i could do
    that for her. I use my finger to pull
    her bottom lip out then i caress it.
    Antonia gasp then she step on my foot hard.
    “ow!”
    “that’s what you get for thinking
    of doing disgusting things”she
    says and she flicks at little tongue
    at me. I run after her and we run around the house until antonia
    slumps on the floor breathing real
    hard. I laugh at her and tickle her
    feet till she almost pee her pants.
    An hour later and we are already
    at osubi airport. We board after about ten minutes of waiting.we
    sit side by side with me by the
    window.
    “i am so nervous” antonia says
    beside me and i look at her to see
    her sweating. “are you okay?”
    “what if we crash?”
    “calm down. We won’t”
    “how are you sure?”
    “well, i don’t know”. The plane
    starts moving and antonia shreaks.
    “why don’t you have alcohol to
    calm your nerves”
    “i don’t drink”
    “so you have never had alcohol in
    your life?” “no”
    “but i thought you said you were
    drunk that night w-e, we did that”
    “umm i think someone spiked my
    drink”
    “what? How? Have the person be caught? Where did it happen?”
    “at the hotel. It was my birthday
    and no, he hasn’t be caught”
    “did you report this?”
    “no”
    “why the hell not!”i scream. Why would someone want to drug her.
    Something worse could have
    happened to her. I have to find
    the b-----d who did this.
    “what’s done is done Steven. I
    don’t want people to know about it.
    “don’t worry. I’ll take care of it”
    “what would you do?”
    “your pretty mind wouldn’t want
    to know” i say and antonia goes
    quiet. The rest of the flight was uneventful except during landing
    when i had to sing for antonia to
    get her to stop screaming. She
    was too surprised at my singing. I
    do have a nice voice. It always
    calmed my mom when I sing and it does the same to Antonia. As
    soon as we get to Lagos, we
    board another plane to Paris and
    again, I sing during take off and
    landing. After we alight from the
    plane, we are greeted by the people I hired to take us to a
    bridal shop. We have to purchase
    Antonia’s gown and my tuxedo

    Episode 17

    Toni: Oh my God. We are finally in Paris.
    I thought the 15 hours flight was never going to end. The only plus
    side of our flight was listening to Steven sing. It was just amazing.
    As soon as we land, i see a group
    of nigerian people with a card
    saying ‘steven and company” on
    it. Steven takes my hand and we walk to
    them. “welcome sir, madam” one of
    them says and shake our hands. “is everything ready?” Steven
    asks. “yes sir, your hotel room has been
    booked and you have an
    appointment with the bridal shop’s manager by
    4pm.” “okay good. We’ll just head to the
    hotel for a nap.”Steven says as we walk out of the airport. The
    welcome party leaves us after
    showing us the car they hired for us. Steven
    opens my door and i slip in while grinning. “what’s the big smile for?” he
    inquires “i can see the city of love is
    already affecting you” i tease him
    and he laughs. “you should be grateful. Do you
    know how many people want to
    be in your shoes right now?” he teases
    me back “oh. Really?. Then forgive me for
    being an ingrate” “you are forgiven madamoiselle”
    he says then lift my hands and
    brush my knuckles with his lips. I gasp
    like a fish on land and he raises his head and wink at me. I blush
    and cover my face with my head. I hear steven’s laughter before he
    moves to his side of the car and start the engine. We drive for
    about 20 minutes during which
    my eyes are glued to the car window as i
    watched the beautiful scenery
    pass with open-mouthed awe. Steven
    just remain silent beside me. He
    has been like this ever since the call
    from his father some minutes ago. “how can you not be fascinated
    by this?” i ask him as he comes to
    open my door. “i am fascinated” “well it doesn’t show. You have
    been quiet ever since you talked
    to your father on the way here. Is
    everything okay?” “yea, come on lets go in. I am
    famished”he says and give me a
    small smile. “okay” i alight the car and we
    walk into the hotel(which is just
    too beautiful to describe). Steven
    guides me with his hands on the
    small of my back, to the reception to get
    our key card. His pinkie finger caress the top swell of my a-s and
    i look up to see his eyes twinkling with mischief. I don’t stop him
    though, i just place my hand on
    the small of his back. He raises his eye
    brow at me and i smile sweetly as i move my hand slowly to his left
    a-s cheek and squeeze. His eyes bulge and he gets into a coughing
    fit while i giggle. A beautiful black woman walks to us in
    concern. “are you okay monsieur?” she
    has a French accent. “oh, I’m fine. Thank you” Steven
    lifts his head up and smile at her and i hear her gasp. Why does my
    man has that effect on women?. I watch as the woman’s face light
    up as she extends her hand to
    Steven. “I’m Beatrice, by the way”she says
    not even paying me any attention. Since when did i become miss
    invincible?. Steven is about to
    shake her but i extend my hand instead. “hi, Beatrice, i am the wife” i say
    and shake her hand firmly while smiling at her. I hear Steven laugh
    behind me and i elbow hisib “we have an honey moon to get
    to so, run along now, b---h” i say
    the ‘b---h’ silently but Steven hears
    me. Beatrice slip her hand into purse and hand Steven her card. “call me when you want someone
    classy” she says and walk away
    with her voluptuous a-s swinging like no
    man’s business. “did she just imply that i am
    classless?” i start going after her
    but Steven grabs my waist. “we just got here so please don’t
    get us thrown in prison, love” i remain still then pout. “wow!” Steven says laughing “what?” “she’s the bridal shop manager
    we’re supposed to meet by 4” he
    answers “well, I’m not going” i huff and
    walk away. Steven collects our
    key card and runs after me. He opens
    the door and i storm to the first room i see and slump on the bed.
    I hear steven’s footsteps
    approaching but then i hear his phone ring. My
    eyes goes heavy as i doze off. I open my eyes when i feel
    someone kiss my hair. Steven is
    lying behind me with his hand on my
    stomach. I rest my head on his
    shoulder and relax into him.. “good morning” he says into my
    ear and i jump off the bed. “good morning?!. I slept for a full
    day?. Why did you wake me?” i
    cry. “calm down baby. I am just
    kidding. Its just 2:30pm. You were
    sleeping like a log while snoring pigfully”
    he says and i raise my eye brows
    at him. “pigfully?”i ask and he laughs and
    i shake my head at him. My
    stomach growls and we both laugh. “even after the food you
    consumed on the plane, you are
    hungry again. Its like you’re eating for someone
    else too”he tease and i laugh at the truth of his words. “well go take a shower so we can
    go find something to eat before
    we go to the bridal shop. We need to get
    ready for the wedding tomorrow” “alright” some minutes later, we’re on the
    street of Paris, holding hands
    while we purchase street food from
    vendors. Steven looks awkward
    in these little stores but he seems to be
    enduring for me. “come on, taste it” i whine at him.
    I have been trying to get him to eat a delicious treat on the street
    but he won’t bulge. “it could be infected with germs”
    he says and i laugh at him. “whatever, your loss.”i say and
    stick my tongue out at him. “Votre femme est belle(your wife
    is beautiful)” the vendor says. “oui, elle est la plus belle femme
    Que je connaisse. Et je Jaime tellement” Steven replies and
    smile at me. “okay, what did you just tell her?”i
    ask him “she said you have a big appetite
    and i said she has no idea seeing
    as you cried just because of food the
    previous day” he laughs and i
    glare at him. “you told her that?!” he continues
    laughing and i storm off angrily. My anger increases when we get
    to the bridal shop and i see miss Beatrice. She fawns around Steven
    but when Steven sees my
    expression he shuts her down. “can you please do your job and
    get my bride a gown as beautiful
    as she is?” he says and i smile. We
    spend two hours there before i
    find a perfect gown. Its simple and
    beautiful. The gown is packaged
    for me and i hide it from Steven. Steven
    pouts but let it go. as soon as we get home, we crawl into bed
    together too tired.

    Episode 18

    Steven: This is it! I am getting married
    today. Ok not really getting
    married but today’s very important to me.
    Today, i profess my love to
    antonia. I’ll also tell her about my previous
    scheme to own her land. I want to remove all the fake between us
    and make everything real. I can
    feel it in my guts that she feels
    something for me but i am so
    d--n nervous about how she’ll feel if she know
    about my scheme. I am afraid,
    she’ll leave me but i cant continue lying
    to her. I’ll fight for her till my last breathe. I also suspect that
    she’s pregnant. After last night’s fiasco, i cant continue denying it.
    Antonia woke me by 1:00am this morning crying for ice-cream. I
    tried to persuade her to wait till
    the sun rose but she just cried more. I
    had to drag my jet-lagged body
    off the bed and take her out to look
    for ice-cream. It had turned into a date. After buying ice-cream from
    24-hours mall, we walked hand in hand to the eifel tower and
    boarded the elevator which took
    us to the top floor. The view up there was
    so breathtaking. I saw antonia’s
    eyes twinkling in wonder and i was so
    d--n proud to have been the one
    that made her that happy. I still
    remember how she felt resting on
    my chest with my arms caressing her
    stomach. I hope my suspicions
    are correct and antonia married me because
    she is pregnant with our child.
    This would make me so happy. I can
    already imagine how handsome
    or pretty our child would be. I hope He/she
    takes after their mother. We’re supposed to be at the
    church i rented for the afternoon
    in about three hours. Antonia is still
    sleeping and i don’t wake her up. My phone pings and i sigh. I
    know it’s surely my father. He has
    been Congratulating me for supposedly
    doing the right thing by marrying antonia so i can get the land for
    him. He sent me five texts yesterday, all of them
    commending me for being like
    him. He has no idea that i intend to protect the
    land from him. The phone pings
    again and i reluctantly pick it up. Just
    like i thought, there’s a text from my dad but there’s also a text
    from my private investigator. I
    click on the message. According to my research, Eight
    years ago antonia was in a coma
    for months after she was hit by a
    truck while trying to save a
    woman of about 40 years. I have emailed
    the records to you. My heart leap as i read the
    message over and over again. I
    knew it! Yes! Yes! Yes!. I am so excited
    right now. I don’t think i can wait till this afternoon for the wedding,
    to profess my feelings. I feel like my heart is going to burst out
    with excess excitement and love for antonia. I have to do it now!.I
    jump into the bathroom for a shower and i even whistle while
    showering. After i finish getting ready, i tap antonia and
    thankfully, she wakes up. “why are you dressed so early?”
    she asks then yawn and i grin at
    her. “i have to show you something.
    Come on, go get ready” “what about the wedding?” “we will be back in an hour
    max.”i say and when she takes
    alot of time to stand up, i pick her off the bed
    and carry her on my shoulders carefully to avoid hurting our
    baby. Just incase. She squeals out
    of surprise and her hands land on
    my a-s. “what do you think you’re
    doing?” i ask her as i start walking
    to the bathroom. “I’m holding on to you, so i won’t
    fall”she answers giggling. “you just love my a-s, don’t you?” “i cant help it” she punctuates this
    with a squeeze of my a-s and i laugh so hard. I so want this for
    the rest of my life. ************************ Toni: “where are we going?” i ask
    Steven for the seventh time since
    we left the hotel. We have been driving
    for awhile. “be patient, we will be there
    soon” he says then take my hand
    in his and place it on his lap as he
    drives. These past few days have
    been the best days of my life. I think
    Steven cares about me now and i
    hope he accepts our baby when i tell
    him about it today. I snap out of
    my thoughts when i feel Steven kiss
    my knuckles. He seems so
    excited. I wonder why. I hope its because
    of our wedding and i hope that
    my suspicion is right that he has fallen
    for me. I hope today goes well,for me and my child’s sake.
    My hand goes to my stomach at
    this thought and i caress it. “antonia” Steven says and i turn
    to face him. “are you okay? Or is there
    something you have to tell
    me?”he says and his eyes momentarily goes to my
    stomach. My eyes bulge. Does he
    know? Well, this is my opportunity. I have
    to tell him now. I clear my throat and turn my body to face
    him. “Steven, i am um” “you’re what?” “um I’m–” my phone rings in my
    hand, interrupting me. “hello” i say as i answer. “you can’t get married to Steven.”
    the voice says and the line goes dead. I frown at my phone. The
    voice was muffled like something, probably a cloth was used to
    disguise the voice but it seems like
    a woman’s voice. “are you okay?” Steven asks “yes, i am” “good, because we are here” he
    says and jumps out of the car
    excitedly to open the door for me. I slip out
    of the car and my eyes crinkle at the sight before me. “what’s this?” i ask as i walk
    towards the wall in front of me, covered with writings in different
    languages. “this is the wall of love. You see
    this writings, they all mean i love you in different languages” he
    says and i swallow forcefully.
    Where is he going with this?. Steven moves
    closer to me until his chest is pressed to my back, his hands on
    my stomach. “there was this girl i met eight
    years ago at a hospital, we
    bonded for just the few minutes we talked.
    I even gave her my bracelet for luck and for years i couldn’t stop
    thinking about this girl. Few
    weeks ago, i met this girl and she makes
    my heart leap. She makes me
    smiles and i want her to be mine forever.
    You see these red dots scattered across this wall, it signifies my
    broken heart and i hope you can
    put them back together” my eyes
    cloud with tears as he speaks.
    Could this be true?. Is he the little boy i have
    been crushing on for years?. Wow! I cant believe, i am in love
    with the adult version of my
    teenage crush. I look at him and whisper
    his name. “Steven”He smiles at me and I on
    his knees. “I love you so much antonia. And
    i’ll say it in as much languages that I can. Te amo,saranghae, to amo,
    se agapo,mahal kita, and since we
    are in Paris,je t’aime” I start crying and
    he kisses my stomach. “I love our baby too” he says and
    I gasp. “You knew?” “I suspected and you just
    confirmed it love.” I drag him to
    his feet and kiss his breathe away. Is this their happily ever after?

    Episode 19

    Narrator:
    Cynthia sits beside James in the
    car and ponder her situation. Her
    mind goes back to how she met
    James. She had just finished her
    exams that fateful afternoon when a thief snatched her bag.
    She yelled for help and thats
    when she saw him for the first
    time. James saved her bag that
    day and she fell in love with him
    instantly. Now that she think about it, everything concerning
    that day they met could be staged.
    For the many years that they have
    been dating, James only wanted
    two things from her: sex and
    information. She has been so blinded by her infatuation that
    she betrayed her friends. Kacy
    and his wife even died because of
    this. She was the one who got
    kacy involved in James plan and
    now his death is on her conscience. Now, James is going
    after her bestfriend’s life. She is
    the only one who can stop him
    and she is determined to. They
    arrived in Paris the previous
    morning and had booked a room at the same hotel as antonia and
    Steven. They have been following
    them since this morning. Cynthia
    knew what would happen if
    antonia marries Steven so she
    called her this morning, when James was in the bathroom. She
    was not able to say much before
    he came back out. Seeing as
    antonia was still with Steven, it
    shows that they didn’t take her
    warning seriously. Cynthia brings her phone out and secretly dial
    the police.
    “so, you are going to kill her at
    the wall of love?”she asks James
    trying to alert the police of their
    whereabouts without his knowledge. She disconnect the
    call, praying that the police
    understood her message then she
    turned on her phone recorder.
    “so James how do you intend to
    get her land if you kill her?” Cynthia asks
    “i won’t kill her until she Signs off
    her land to me.”
    “do you think killing kacy and his
    pregnant wife was necessary?”
    “yes!. The b---h was going to tell antonia about my plans so i killed
    her and kacy”James says and
    Cynthia press send. ************************ Toni:
    We kiss for what feels like hours. I
    am so overwhelmed with joy, i am
    shaking.
    “i love you so much Steven”
    “i know you do”he says then grin at me and i laugh.
    “you look so beautiful when you
    laugh” Steven says then peck my
    lips and i sigh contentedly.
    “i know. Am so beautiful, you cant
    resist me” “wow, arrogant much?”
    “its not arrogance. Its the obvious
    truth” i grin at Steven.
    “okay, miss beautiful, are you
    ready to get married to me?”
    “i thought you’ll never ask. Come on let go. Our wedding awaits”i
    grab steven’s hand and we walk
    to the car.
    My phone pings in my hand and i
    see another text from the number
    that sent me a text earlier. I enter into the car then click on the
    message. I warned you. What are these messages about?
    Is this a prank? I look to Steven.
    He is currently grinning while
    driving. I need to tell him about
    this.
    “Stev–“my voice is cut off when the car jerks forward and i almost
    fall off my seat.
    “who the hell is that?”Steven says
    and we look behind. A car is
    currently bumper to bumper with
    us. Steven drives to the corner and give way for the car to pass
    but it moves with us to the right
    and we are bumper to bumper
    again. Steven motions with his
    hand for the car to pass but it just
    hit us again and this time is harder than the last and i scream. Steven
    steady the steering wheel then
    look at me with concerned eyes
    “are you okay?” he asks and i
    nod.
    “Steven, i think we are in danger. A number has been sending me
    warning message to not get
    married to you” i say and start
    crying.
    “what?!. Why didn’t you tell about
    it?” “i thought it was just a pr–“i am
    cut off again as the car is launched
    forward. This time the steering
    goes out of control. The car divert
    off the road and speeds towards a
    broken car at the side of the road. Steven step on the brake and
    thankfully, our car barely hits the
    broken car. As soon as the car
    stops, Steven jumps down and
    lets me out. I hear siren and i turn
    to see about three police cars chasing the car that hit us.
    “are you okay?”steven asks and i
    nod.
    “you are bleeding!” i scream and
    Steven touch his forehead and see
    blood. “i’m okay. It doesn’t hurt
    much”Steven assures me.
    An ambulance arrives and i
    motion for them to help Steven.
    Steven is taken to the back of the
    ambulance where a band-aid is applied to his wound. Thankfully,
    it isn’t a serious injury so no stitch
    was required. Some uniformed
    police men asks us for our
    statement. Steven is currently
    explaining our ordeal and i stand in front of him lost in thoughts of
    how we just escaped death. I feel
    steven’s eyes on me so i look up
    to him. His eyes are glued to my
    legs.
    “baby, you are hurt” he says and walks to me.
    “no, i am fine” i assure him.
    “no, baby there’s blood on your
    legs. You must have hurt your
    thighs. Did you hit it on
    anything?” he asks “no, i don’t feel any pain” i raise
    my gown upwards a bit to inspect
    the source of the blood but i see
    nothing. I keep raising my gown
    up and my heart stops as i realise
    the blood is coming from my crotch.
    “the baby!”Steven and i yell at the
    same time. Steven scoops me up
    and carries me into the
    ambulance. The ambulance starts
    moving immediately i am put on the stretcher. Steven holds my
    hands through out our journey to
    the hospital. He keeps mumbling
    that our baby would be alright
    while crying. I don’t cry though,
    my tears just won’t fall. This is a disaster. I silently pray to the
    heavens that my baby be safe.
    When we get to the hospital, i am
    quickly transferred to a room.
    Steven is with me holding my
    hands all the way. The doctor and nurses carry out various tests on
    me and we are asked to wait for
    the test results. Steven paces
    around the room with his phone
    in his ear. Who is he trying to call?.
    His pacing is making me dizzy though
    “Steven calm down”
    “i cant seem to calm down love,
    our baby–. No, i cant lose another
    family member”he says and
    continue pacing. I have to distract him from his worrying.
    “i’m thirsty. Please go buy me
    some water.”Steven drops his
    phone with me and goes without
    arguing. A message comes in and
    i click it. Weldone son, now that you have
    deceived this naive girl into
    marriage, I expect her land to be
    in my name in three days. Oh no! I can’t believe I fell for
    another Kacy. Well never again

    Episode 20

    Toni:
    I cant believe this. No wonder he
    was in an hurry to get married. Or
    was i the one in a hurry?. Stupid,
    stupid me!. My body shakes with a
    violent sob. I really am naive. I could i have trusted someone i
    met few weeks ago when Steven
    whom i dated for years was able
    to betray me. I cant believe a day
    so amazing could turn out like
    this. Thoughts of our time together flash through my mind
    and i wail in agony. Letting go of
    Steven is like peeling off my flesh.
    He is forever stuck on me. The
    thought of leaving him makes my
    breathe seize but i know i have to. Being with him
    would just cause me more pain
    and i don’t want my baby to be
    with a callous man that would use
    a woman for selfish reasons. I
    have to get out of here before Steven comes back. I cant face
    him right now. I stand up frantic
    and a wave of nausea hits me and
    i dash to the toilet and empty my
    stomach. I lie on the toilet floor
    and cry my heart out. I have to stop crying and get going before
    Steven comes back. I wipe my
    tears then rush back to my room.
    I pick my bag and flee the
    hospital. I have to get to the
    airport. Twenty minutes later, i am at the
    airport. After moving my flight to
    the next flight, i sit down and
    think about a way forward. What
    am i going to do?. Steven will
    surely try to convince me that he loves me but i cant believe him
    because anything he says now
    would just sound like a scheme to
    get my land. Tears start falling off
    my eyes and i do nothing to stop
    them. My hand goes to my stomach and i sigh. I am not even
    sure if i am still pregnant. Its less
    than 10minutes for my flight to
    start boarding and i still cant
    move. Its like my body wants to
    go back to Steven and beg him to convince me to stay. Another
    wave of nausea hits me and i run
    to the airport toilet. ************************ Steven:
    I rush into antonia room after
    purchasing the bottled water from
    a mall, outside the hospital. There
    was an accident on the road
    which caused slow traffic movement. As soon as i got to the
    hospital, i parked my car and
    rushed in. I don’t want to leave
    antonia alone. I can only wonder
    the kind of pain she is in right
    now. I just found out about our baby but it still hurts so much.
    When i open the door, i don’t see
    antonia on the bed. I knock on
    the toilet door and when there is
    no answer, i panic. I open the
    door and find it empty. Ok, now i am worried. Where could she
    have gone in her condition?. I
    hope she isn’t trying to do
    something to herself. I stand in
    the middle of the room thinking of
    where to start searching for antonia when i notice my phone
    on the bed. I pick it up and when i
    click it on, i see my father’s text
    open. Oh no! No no no no!
    Antonia must have seen the text.
    What do i do now?. D--n my father. Why did he have to insult
    her onto of everything. My mind is
    not processing all this well. I
    breathe in and out slowly to calm
    my nerve so i can think of my
    next course of action. Okay, where would should be?. The
    hotel? No she’ll probably be trying
    to run away from me. That means
    the airport!. Yes, the airport. I
    should be able to catch up with
    her if i hurry. I jump in my car and zoom off to the airport. As soon as
    i get there, i park my car
    haphazardly probably blocking
    other people from leaving but i
    don’t care. I rush into the airport
    and look around. How do i find her now?. Charles de Gaulle is the
    second most busiest airport in the
    world. Its so full with people.
    Where should i start? She would
    probably be at the boarding area
    for people going to Nigeria. I rush there and i look around. No
    antonia. I walk around the area
    bumping into people without
    even apologizing. I am getting
    desperate.
    “antonia!” i scream attracting people’s attention. They probably
    think i am a crazy black man but i
    don’t care. I know calling out her
    name wouldn’t help but i am
    getting frustrated. I sit on the
    airport floor and cry. We have only just started and i cant believe
    she’s leaving me. An airport
    security walks to me.
    “sir, are you okay?. Do you need
    help?”i get off the floor.
    “did you by chance see a beautiful black woman in a blue summer
    dress with flowers on it?. If no
    then you cant help me” i say and
    start to walk away but then i stop
    when he touches my shoulder.
    “isn’t that the lady you are talking about?” he says pointing towards
    the airport restroom. I look and
    behold its antonia. She looks so
    pale. She’s walking towards the
    line of people waiting to board
    the plane. She doesn’t see me as her back is turned towards me. I
    rush to her and grab her waist
    from behind. She stops and burst
    out crying. She must have
    perceived my presence. We are so
    in tune with each other, we know when we are close.
    “antonia” i say and breathe out a
    sigh of relief. She rest on my chest
    for a second before she tries to
    free herself from my hold.
    “get off me!” she screams “antonia listen to me. You have to
    let me explain” i say holding her
    tighter.
    “did you plan to take my land
    from me?” she asks without
    turning to look at me. “yes, but–”
    “that’s all i want to know” she
    says and finally free herself from
    my grasp. I grab her hand and
    swirl her to face me then grab her
    hips. Her eyes moves from my eyes to my lips and i cant stop
    myself. I kiss her right in front of
    everybody. She relax her body
    and wrap her hands around my
    neck. Maybe there’s still hope. I
    move my hands from her hips to her face and she freezes. She
    pushes me away from her and
    slap me.
    “goodbye Steven” she says and
    starts walking away.
    “no! Baby please don’t leave me” i cry and try to follow her but i am
    stopped at the gate.
    “you cant go in there without
    your pass-port and ticket sir”
    “please, I-”
    “sir please leave before i call security”. I stand there and watch
    antonia walk away. ************************ Narrator:
    James stops his car after checking
    his rear view mirror to make sure
    he had out-ran the police.
    “you b---h!. What have you done”
    he screams and points a gun at cynthia’s temple.
    “you have to stop now James.”
    “i cant” he says and fires the gun.

    Episode 21

    Toni:
    I hold myself from running back
    into steven’s arms and walk away
    on unsteady legs. I finally locate
    my seat and as soon as I’m sitting,
    i cover my face with my hands and cry. I don’t even remember to
    be nervous during take-off. I just
    cry.
    “are you okay, miss?” i hear a
    voice beside me and i turn to see a
    French man sitting beside me looking uncomfortable.
    “I’m fine sir” i say and the smell of
    something great hits my nostrils. I
    sniff the air to find the source of
    the smell.
    “what’s that smell?” i ask the Frenchman and notice the plate
    he’s carrying.
    “its lasagna. You want some?”
    “umm no thanks.” i shake my
    head and my stomach growls as if
    to call me out for my lies. The Frenchman smiles then calls a
    stewardess to get me a plate of
    the lasagna. Few minutes later, I’m
    stuffing myself with the lasagna.
    “oh my God, its so good. What’s it
    made of?” i ask the Frenchman. He goes to answer but i raise my
    hand for him to stop.
    “wait don’t tell me. Hmm. I taste
    noodles, parsley, nut-meg and
    maybe cheese?”
    “wow, you knew that just from eating it?”
    “i have a sixth sense when it
    comes to food and i love cooking”
    i say smiling
    “well, you are good. You should
    harness this talent.” he brings a pamphlet from his suit pocket and
    hand it to me.
    “I’m actually going to lagos to
    recruit chefs for the catering
    programme I’m organising. It’ll
    take a year and half, then you’ll become a professional chef. Its in
    Paris.”
    wow. Is this the new beginning i
    need?. I have always wanted to
    be a chef. This is a big
    opportunity. And I’ll be far away from Steven if i take the offer. I
    take the pamphlet.
    “I’ll think about it sir. Thanks for
    the offer.”
    “alright sugar. Just make sure to
    get in touch with me before the end of two weeks. My number is
    on that pamphlet” he says and i
    nod.
    The rest of the flight is quiet as the
    French man makes multiple video
    calls and i doze off with thoughts of my parents. Would they receive
    me if i go home?. I send a silent
    prayer to God that everything
    would be alright. ************************ i get to warri the next morning
    and i drag my jet-lagged body out
    of the plane. I probably look like a
    walking zombie right now, with
    my swollen eyes but i don’t care. I
    don’t have any luggage so i walk straight and board a taxi home.
    Its fairly early so i don’t see
    anybody in my compound after i
    am dropped off. I knock on our
    gate and wait with bated breathe.
    Thankfully, my brother is the one who comes to open the gate.
    “sister toni!” he screams and i
    wince. He cant just be quiet for
    once. I enter into the house and
    see my parents rushing out of
    their room. My mom gets to me first.
    “oh lord thank you for bringing
    her back, safely” she says looking
    me all over.
    “where have you been? You got
    us all worried” my dad asks immediately my mom is done
    fawning over me.
    “toni, why do you look like
    you’ve been crying?”my brother
    chips in. I look at their worried
    face and my lips tremble. I burst out in tears and my mother hugs
    me
    “oh my baby” she pats my baby”i-
    i’m pregnant mom” i sputter out
    and i feel my Mom’s body stiffen.
    “what?!” my father yells and i wince again. All this shouting is
    giving me an headache.
    “is that why you wanted to get
    married quickly?. Who’s the
    father? Please tell me its not kacy”
    my mother rambles. “am sorry mom. Am sorry for
    leaving. Am sorry for not listening
    to you and jumping into another
    engagement. Everything is just so
    complicated right now and worst
    of all, am not sure if I’m still pregnant”
    “i don’t understand. What do you
    mean by ‘you’re not sure if you’re
    still pregnant’?” my mom moves
    back and look at my stomach.
    “i had an accident in Paris and there was blood coming from my
    crotch. I don’t really know
    anything for sure”
    “an accident? Oh my God. What
    were you doing in Paris?”my
    brother asks “we were supposed to get
    married there”.
    “was?”my dad inquires
    “not anymore. Dad, mom, I’ll
    explain everything to you later
    but right now, what i need is sleep”
    “yes yes. Go and sleep my child.
    But once you wake up, we’ll go to
    the hospital for an ultra sound”
    my mom says and walk me to my
    room. I look back at my father and he looks so worried. My
    brother just stare blankly. ************************ At the hospital
    My mom holds my hand as the
    doctor raises my shirt and apply
    some cool liquid on it. He places
    the weird looking device on my
    stomach and a blurry image fill the monitor screen beside me. The
    doctor smiles and touches
    something on the monitor and a
    weird noise fill the room. My heart
    beat speeds up as i hear the
    sound. “that’s your babies’ heart beat”
    the doctor says smiling down at
    me.
    “so, everything is okay?” i ask
    “yes, they seem to be doing well”
    my mom squeezes my hand and gives me a big smile.
    “wait! Babies?. They?”
    “yes, you’re having twins”
    “wow” my mom exclaims
    “are you sure doctor?” i ask. My
    brain is having a hard time processing this. How did i go from
    having one baby to none then to
    two?!
    “I’m sure. By the looks of it, you’re
    about 6 weeks gone and i can see
    two heartbeats.” the doctor explains. I lie there as tears of
    happiness falls down my cheeks. I
    hear my mom thank the doctor
    and he leaves.
    “are you ok?” my mom asks me
    and i give her the biggest smile ever.
    “i am more than okay mom. I am
    so happy” i squeal.
    “i am too. Twins! Wow.” my mom
    squeezes my hand again and
    smile at me. “we’ll help you through this baby
    girl”. I know they will. Before
    coming to the hospital, i told my
    parents everything. From the day i
    was drugged to this morning.
    They were outraged that i kept them in the dark all this while but
    they consoled me. I am so lucky
    to have such a supportive family.
    We leave the hospital after
    collecting the ultra sound pictures
    and i cant wipe the grin off my face. We board a taxi and my
    smile is wiped off my face as soon
    as i alight. Steven is standing in
    front of me looking like he hasn’t
    slept for days. I brace myself and
    walk straight pass him. He tries to block my path but i bypass him
    but my bag clash with him and its
    content spill everywhere. I
    abandon my bag and flee into the
    house. Steven goes to follow me
    but I hear my mom stop him. Thank goodness.

    Episode 22

    Steven:
    “come on antonia. Listen to me!.
    Please!” i yell as she walks inside
    her house leaving her things
    scattered on the floor. Something
    among her things gets my attention and i pick it up. Its a
    pamphlet on a chef internship
    programme in Paris. Wait a
    minute! According to antonia’s
    mother, antonia had always
    wanted to be a chef and this would be a great breakthrough
    for her. Oh no! If she goes to Paris,
    we will not be able to be together.
    What do i do?. This is a big
    opportunity for her but i cant let
    go. What about our baby?. I have to talk to her. I make to follow
    antonia inside the house but her
    mother block my path.
    “young man, you need to lea–”
    her mother says but i cut her off.
    “i cant leave ma. Cant you see i am going crazy because of your
    daughter? I just need a chance to
    explain myself. Can you please
    beg her to meet me?. She cant go
    to France.” i plead.
    “why would i do that after what you did to her?. I cant believe i
    welcomed you into our home just
    for you to hurt my daughter.”
    “am sorry ma. Please tell her i am
    sorry and i love her and our
    baby”i sob and antonia’s mother rub my shoulders awkwardly.
    “come on, lets talk somewhere
    else so you can explain yourself
    to me. Maybe i can help you. You
    look hungry so let’s talk at a
    restaurant so you can eat” i nod my head then walk behind her. I
    really am hungry. I cant even
    remember the last time i ate
    something. After antonia left me at
    the airport yesterday, i rushed
    back to the hotel to retrieve our things. In twenty minutes, i was
    done and back at the airport
    where i waited frustrated for
    hours. I didn’t eat anything on the
    plane and as soon as my plane
    touched down, i boarded a taxi to antonia’s house. She wasn’t here
    when i got here but her brother
    and father were present.
    Antonia’s brother who seemed
    animated with me the last time we
    met was furious when he saw me. He even punched me and for a
    teenager, he packs a mean punch.
    I had begged him to tell me where
    i could find antonia but he
    wouldn’t bulge. I had to stand by
    the corridor screaming for antonia to talk to me before antonia’s
    father told me she went to the
    hospital. My mind had immediately
    gone to our baby. I prayed that
    they were both alright. That was
    how antonia came to find me there. We get to the restaurant
    and even though i tell antonia’s
    mother that i wasn’t hungry, she
    ordered alot of food. I look at all
    the food on the table and my eyes
    water. I blink my eyes rapidly to stop the tears. Why am i so close
    to tears nowadays? Antonia is the
    pregnant one but it seems i have
    caught her emotional sickness. I
    look at all the food before me and
    wonder what why a woman would still offer food to someone
    who hurt her daughter. No
    wonder antonia is so nice. Her
    mother is amazing. I devour all
    the food on the table in minutes
    then i explain myself to antonia’s mother. I tell her about
    everything. my previous plan of
    stealing their land and my change
    of heart when i got to know
    antonia better and fall in love with
    her. “beliway. me ma’am, if i knew
    who antonia really is, i wouldn’t
    have planned it.I love her and our
    child”antonia’s mother places her
    hand on mine and squeeze it.
    “i believe you.You shouldnt have plotted something like that in the
    first place.Nobody deserve to be
    deceived and duped no matter
    how they live their lives.I’ll prefer
    if you give her space to think but
    if you insist, I’ll find a way to get her to meet you. I hope you can
    convince her because i can see
    that you really love my girl.I have
    to go now.” she says and stand
    up. I stand up with her.
    “one more thing. If you hurt my baby again, I’ll cut off your egg-
    rolls” she blushes at her words
    and for a second she remind me
    of antonia. My sweet antonia.
    Antonia’s mom hugs me then we
    bid each other goodbye. Talking with her has lifted my
    spirit a bit. I feel that there is still
    hope for me. I just have to prove
    to antonia that i love her. I need to
    prepare for our next meeting.
    That may be my only chance to explain to her.
    I board a taxi to my suite to catch
    some sleep before i face my
    father. I have to make everything
    right. Once i get to my suite, i plug
    my phone to charge it. It has been off for a day now. I switch it on to
    check for any messages and that’s
    when i see a video message from
    an unknown number. I click on it
    and my brother’s face appear on
    my screen. I watch the video and listen to my brother talk about
    killing kacy and his pregnant wife.
    He also threatens to kill antonia
    after he gets her land. I cant
    believe it! Kacy must be antonia’s
    dead fiance. So my brother is responsible for all this. I have to
    stop him before he hurts antonia.
    This video would serve as
    evidence against him in court.
    Who could have sent me the
    video?. I dial the police and inform the of my brother’s involvement in
    the death of two people. I am
    asked to come to the police
    station for my statement. I
    abandon all thoughts of sleep and
    head out to the police station. At the police station, i give my
    statement and they assure me that
    they would find my brother. I
    hope they do. ************************ narrator:
    The voices in James’ head was
    getting louder.
    ‘we are going to get caught by the
    police’
    ‘daddy would be so disappointed at us’
    ‘we couldn’t even beat your
    b-----d brother’ the voices keep
    repeating. The doctors promised
    James that if he took his pills
    religiously, the voices would all go away, so why are they back? He
    wondered.
    James walk to the bottle of
    whiskey on the table and grab it.
    He tosses the cover on the floor
    and drains the bottle into his throat. Some of the contents fall
    on the floor but he doesn’t even
    notice.His eyes meet his reflection
    in the mirror and he throws his
    bottle at it.
    “stop following me!.I wouldn’t get caught.I have to win Steven.” his
    hands start shaking and he brings
    a paper containing a white
    substance from his pocket. He
    lines some on the back of his palm
    and inhale it.His eyes go foggy and he slumps on the bed with
    thoughts of making his father pay
    for making him this way

    Episode 23

    This episode is dedicated to all of
    you who don’t fail to comment especially my bestie #NMASINACHI_STONE . I
    love you guys. So Much!
    Narrator: Jane stand in front of the door
    contemplating whether she
    should go in or not. The police had come to
    her house to inquire about James. She had told them that she knew
    nothing of his whereabout. Few
    minutes after that, James had called her to
    meet him here. She wondered
    why he wanted to meet her here which
    wasn’t his house and why the
    police were looking for him. She didn’t want
    to come here but she thought she should atleast tell him goodbye in
    person. She took in a deep
    breathe then knocked on the door. When
    there was no answer, she decided
    to just go home. As she turn in her
    heel to leave, the door click open. “Jane, thank God you made it. I
    have missed you” James says.
    Jane and James had been a couple for
    many years until James’
    infatuation of winning his brother overcame his
    reasoning. James had planted
    Jane in the hotel to gain steven’s love and
    trust so that he would knscream ut steven’s every move. Jane had
    started to fall in love with Steven but she was so scared of James,
    she couldn’t stop going back to
    him. “come in, baby” James says and
    open the door wider. All of jane’s danger alarms were blaring for
    her not to go in but she knew that
    now she was already here, leaving
    would only make James angry
    and when James gets angry, he hurts himself
    and people. She takes in a deep breathe then walk into the house.
    As soon as she enters the house,
    she gasps. Scattered everywhere on
    the floor were needles, empty
    bottles of whiskey and cigarettes. She
    looks to James and that’s when
    she notice his glazed eyes. James
    walks towards her and it takes everything in her not to run away. “I’ve missed you Jane, have you
    missed me?” he asks while
    caressing her face. When she doesn’t reply,
    his eyes blazes with anger and his hands go to her neck. “i asked you a question!” he
    scream in her face and wrap his
    hand around her neck. Jane knew that
    she had to leave now. “i h–ave t-o go James.” she
    stammers and James’ face twist in
    anger. His hand on her neck tightens and
    Jane start to choke. “say you miss me” James instructs “i-mish kwou” she chokes out.
    James’ eyes bulge and he releases
    her neck. Jane falls to the floor
    coughing. “oh my God baby, are you ok?
    That wasn’t me, it was them.” he
    says and kneels beside her. Jane flinches
    when he raises his hand to touch
    her cheek. She drag her oxygen
    depleted body away from him
    and James’ hands fall. James points at his
    reflection in the mirror. “its his fault Jane. You know I’ll
    never hurt you” Jane look to the mirror and then at James and he
    burst out in tears. Why haven’t
    she ever noticed this madness in
    James? She wondered. James
    hears her cry and he kneels beside her. “don’t cry baby, I’ll make
    everything go away” he grabs the
    nearest bottle and smashes it on the floor.
    Jane moves back. “no baby, its not for you. It for
    him” he says and starts using the broken pieces to cut himself. “don’t worry, I’ll get rid of him so
    you can love me again” he
    mumbles. “stop!” Jane scream”what has
    gotten into you?” she sobs. James looks at her with
    unfocused eyes. He looks at his
    body arms and throws the broken
    bottle away. “i don’t know. I don’t know. I
    cant stop Jane. I cant.”he sobs
    then stop. “this is their fault”he says “their you James” Jane reasons. “no, i meant Steven and my dad.
    They made me this way. My dad
    pushed me to it. He must pay” he says and
    stands up. He picks his long
    sleeve shirt from the arm of the only
    chair in the room and put it on
    without flinching in pain. “where are you going?” “i just have to speak with my
    father.” he says and hurry out of
    the house. Jane’s rushes after him to
    see him enter her car and drive
    off. Jane goes back inside the house
    to pick her bag. She sees her car
    keys inside and wonders how he’s
    driving it. Her body is shaking
    violently and her bag falls off her hand. She
    sit on the floor and search her bag for her phone. She finally
    finds it. She dials steven’s number
    but he doesn’t pick up. She keep on
    calling and when he still doesn’t answer, she text him. James is going crazy. He is headed
    to your father’s office. You have to stop him. P.S. This is not for
    attention. Its true. ************************ Toni: I feel numb. Its been almost a
    week and i still cant stop thinking about Steven. Everything reminds
    me of him. Even my morning
    sickness reminds of our time at his suite
    before we went to Paris.
    Yesterday, my mom had sent me to the
    market to get me out of the
    house. I had agreed to go and i was fine until a
    young boy hawking garden egg
    asked me if i wanted to buy some. I just
    burst out in tears right in the middle of the market. The poor
    boy almost got beaten before i explained to people that he didn’t
    hurt me. Pregnancy hormones
    makes it worse. “antonia, why don’t you meet him
    once?. You should hear from him
    first before you judge”my mother says
    beside me. She has been trying to
    get me to meet Steven for a week
    now. “i cant see him mom, it still hurts” “antonia, just meet him. It would
    give you closure. Also, if you don’t meet him atleast once, you may
    look back later in life and wonder
    what would have happened if you met
    him. You say you love him but
    isn’t love trust?” “he betrayed that trust mom” “yes, i know but i still think you
    should meet him and listen to his reasons. You have to take a leap
    and trust him for your babies and
    for yourself” my mom does have a
    point but i don’t trust myself with
    him. If i meet him, i know i won’t be
    able to walk away again. He could still be using me. Nevertheless, i
    have to meet him to see if i can savour our relationship so my
    children wouldn’t live without a
    father. “okay, mom. I’ll do it. Atleast for
    my children” “good girl” my mom says and
    smile at me. I dial steven’s number and i can
    hear the happiness in his voice
    when i agree to meet him. Fifty minutes later, i am still at the
    restaurant we are supposed to meet and Steven is no where to be
    seen.

    Episode 24

    James: i have to meet my father and end
    this. I have to know how proud
    he is of me now. I killed for him. Surely,
    i would get a compliment from
    him today. I concentrate my foggy
    eyes on the road. The voices are
    wrong. I wouldn’t be caught. My father
    would be proud and Steven
    would lose. I shake my head and take a bend
    in the direction of my dad’s office location. Dad has never been
    proud of me except that fateful
    day when i was just eight years old. I can still
    remember how it happened. Flashback: “daddy loves me. Daddy loves me
    not, daddy loves me, daddy loves
    me not” i recite while plucking the
    leaves off a small stem and when
    it ends at ‘daddy loves me not’ i
    fling the empty stem in
    annoyance. “stupid stem. You don’t know
    anything” i scream as i step on the
    stem furiously. “James!” i hear Diana, our house
    maid yell my name and i hide
    behind the sofa. “where is that little demon” she
    says and i cant help but laugh. She hears my laugh then match
    behind the sofa and drag me out
    with my shirt collar. “why did you do it?” she sneer at
    me “do what?” i ask innocently. “you know, you little s--t!. Why
    did you shred my son’s
    result?!”she yells. Diana’s son and i attend the same
    school. We collected our results yesterday and i came out second
    as always. Diana’s son always
    comes out first and no matter how i read,
    pray and cheat, i always come out second. Last term, my dad had
    beaten me with a mop stick and
    locked me up for a day without food. He
    imbibed in me that i must be a
    winner no matter the means i use to get it. So,
    this term i read hard, prayed harder and cheated but still i came
    out first. My dad wasn’t home yesterday and hasn’t seen the
    result so i sneaked into the
    servant’s quarters and destroyed the
    evidence. I shrug my shoulders and feign
    ignorance. “i know you’ll deny it. You always
    do. The last time, you broke your father’s vase, you said it wasn’t
    you either.” “that wasn’t me either, it was the
    boy in the mirror. I saw him” i say “what boy in the mirror?.You are
    just 8 years old but you are
    already a menace. I am going to teach you
    a lesson before your parents get back” she raises her hand to hit
    me and i smile, ready for the pain.
    I am so used to it now. Infact i
    crave it. “what do you think you are
    doing?!” my mom march toward
    us with my father behind her. “i- I’m sor–ry ma. Your son tore
    my s-o-n’s res-ult. I was just reprimanding him” Diana stammer
    out. My mom land two slaps on
    her cheeks and i smile. She’s not so
    smug now. My dad sees my smile
    and nods his head. “how dare you lay your poverty
    infested hands on my child?.
    Infact you are fired! I’ll make sure i fire your
    whole family from their various jobs anywhere. Now, get out!” my
    mother rants. I look to my dad but
    he is just nodding his head. “you guys better get this child
    help. He isn’t normal. His level of menace is bordering on madness”
    she says and that’s the only time i see emotion on my father’s face.
    His face distort in anger. “no child of mine is going to be
    Admitted in a mental hospital!. My son is perfectly normal. So you
    better leave before i calls the
    guards to teach you a lesson!” he scream
    then turn to me. “come with me” i walk behind
    him, thinking of the kind of
    beating i am surely going to receive. I am both
    scared and happy. We enter my dad’s study and as
    soon as i close the door, my father beams at me. This is the first time
    i’ve seen him smile. “come closer, son. I am so proud
    of you. You did the right thing by not admitting the truth. That
    would have been worse than
    coming second. I assume that’s the
    reason why you tore his result.
    Am i right?” “ye-s dad” “good. Now, I’ll only give you 12
    strokes of the cane but you will be rewarded for today.” my dad
    brings out the cane he keeps
    under his desk and he flows me 12 times on
    my back. I don’t even flinch. “and what are you supposed to
    say?”he asks me after he is done “thank you sir” “you know i am doing this
    because i love you. I am
    preparing for the business world where it is eat or
    be eaten. You must become like
    me. I do anything and i mean anything
    to be at the top. Do you
    understand what i am saying” i nod “okay you can leave. Your mom
    would take you shopping
    tomorrow. You can buy whatever you want” i never went on that shopping
    expenditure because that night, i couldn’t bear the yearning for
    pain, i wasn’t feeling anything especially pain so i sneaked to the
    kitchen, collected a small knife and cut myself once. I loved the
    feeling and i did it numerous
    times. Our gardener who came to the
    kitchen for some milk saw me
    bleeding out in the kitchen and i was rushed to
    the hospital. My parents lied to the doctor that i had an accident
    but the doctor suspected
    something was wrong with me. He
    suggested that i be checked into a
    mental hospital for help before it got
    worse but my father who didn’t
    want the scandal refused. Present day: my hands start shaking on the
    steering wheel. I pull over beside
    the road and walk the remaining
    distance to my father’s office. I get
    some strange look as people stare at my
    bloody clothes. I finally stagger into my dad’s
    office. His secretary tries to stop me but i push pass her and barge
    into my dad’s office. “what the hell! James, why are
    you bleeding all over my office”
    he asks as soon as he sees me. I
    came here to confront him but
    again i am reduced to that little boy who
    wants his father’s compliment “d-ad, i’ll get the land for you by
    tomorrow. I-i-killed them for you” my ears starts ringing and i clutch
    them. “d-ad you are proud right? I am
    just like you. Right dad?”i ask and
    he sneers at me. “ofcourse not! That’s like saying
    am crazy. Just like you. I don’t need you, Steven has already
    gotten the land. Now leave my
    office. You are staining the expensive
    tiles”he says and continue
    reading some papers on his desk. “he is not proud, i told you, Steven
    won. You are still below”the voices chant. I stare at my father
    and my blood boils. After everything he still isn’t satisfied. I
    am no longer his puppet. “After all these years, you still
    obey him. You are too weak” “I am not weak!” I scream. My father looks up at me
    then shake his head. He reaches
    for his phone,probably to call the
    police but before he types the
    number, I grab the phone from him and
    bash it against his head. He
    screams but I continue hitting his head with
    the landline phone. The sound of
    his brain crushing, thrills me and
    even after he slumps on his desk,
    I continue hitting him. “Who is on top now?”I sneer at
    his lifeless body. “Your worthy son.is next”

    Episode 25

    Toni:
    its been almost two hours and
    there’s no sign of Steven.
    Numerous times, i have stood up
    to leave but couldn’t really do it. I
    am really getting angry now and the only reason i am still waiting is
    to give Steven a piece of my mind
    for making me wait like this.
    Another reason i am still here is i
    want to see him. I miss him too
    much. A waiter walks towards me just
    like before.
    “ma’am are you sure you don’t
    want anything?”
    “yea, thank you”
    “okay ma” he says and gives me a fake smile. I’m sure he wants me
    out so a patronizing customer and
    take my seat. My phone starts
    ringing in my bag and i retrieve it
    fast thinking that it must be
    Steven. I look at my screen and see that its my brother. I sigh in
    disappointment and connect the
    call.
    “hello, brother of mine”i say
    “toni, i did it!” he says excitedly.
    “i am so giddy right now, it wasn’t easy and i have been trying for
    almost a month , but then i said i
    should try another method and
    bam! It worked” my brother
    ramble o and i have no idea of
    what he’s rambling about. “slow down, what worked?”
    “i repaired the phone i collected
    from you last month or so. The
    one you wanted to throw away.
    Oh by the way, there’s a message
    for you in the phone and its important”he says solemnly.
    “there is?” why would they be?.
    Wait a minute! That phone could
    be angelica’s. Am about to ask my
    brother about the message but i
    am interrupted by the same waiter. I roll my eyes.
    “ma’am are you sur–”
    “i’m sure okay? When i need you,
    I’ll call for you. So go wait on
    someone else. My companion isn’t
    here yet” i snap. “okay ma” he says but i don’t get
    a smile this time. Atleast he won’t
    be coming back anytime soon.
    “so what’s the important
    message?” i ask but there’s no
    reply on the other side of the line. “hello” i say and look at my
    phone screen. The call has been
    disconnected. Oh well, I’ll just ask
    him about it when i get home.
    What could be the important
    message though?. I check my watch and see that i
    have already been waiting for
    almost three hours. Ok, i cant do
    this anymore. Atleast i made an
    effort. I stand to leave and my
    phone pings in my hand, signifying an incoming message. I
    sit back down and click on the
    message. Its from Cynthia. Please i need your help right now.
    Come to my house. Please. What could she need help for?. I
    have to go see her. I’ll deal with
    Steven later. But for now, a friend
    is in need. Cynthia and i haven’t
    been in contact since the day i
    visited her. Wow, i never even thought about her. Now that i
    think about it, Steven has taken
    up all my time this past weeks. I
    pick my bag and rush out of the
    restaurant. I board a taxi and give
    him cynthia’s address. Twenty minutes later, i am at her doorstep
    and i knock. The door opens on it
    own and my danger alert rings.
    Why would Cynthia leave her
    door unlocked. Could she be in
    trouble now?. I rush into her sitting room to find a guy sitting
    on the couch.
    “excuse me, who are you?” i ask
    which makes him turn to face me
    fully and i gasp. Its Steven’s
    brother. He smiles at me and i shudder.
    “what are you doing here? Where
    is Cynthia?” i ask him while
    moving back slowly. Something
    isn’t right and i need to get out of
    here. “oh Cynthia is probably in hell
    right now” he answers then stand
    up and start walking towards me.
    My heart is already beating so fast.
    I can feel my legs shaking. I keep
    walking back as he walks towards me slowly.
    “what do you mean, she’s in
    hell?” i keep talking
    “i killed her”he says and i gasp.
    My legs almost give out under me
    but i hold myself up. I cant fall now, i need to escape.
    “honey, you should thank me.
    She’s a lying friend. Did you know
    that?”he stop walking and studies
    me.
    “she is?”i ask, still walking backwards.
    “yea, just because of a guy, she
    drugged her friend. That friend
    being you. By the way, you are
    one lucky girl. But i think luck cant
    save you today” “please, just let me go. I won’t tell
    the police about Cynthia.”
    “ofcourse you won’t, cause you
    would be too dead to talk”i feel
    the door at my back and use my
    right hand to find the handle without making it obvious.
    “why are you doing this?”
    “nothing much, i just need your
    land” that stupid land again?. Wait
    a minute! Is Steven a part of this
    plan?. Was that why he didn’t show up today?. No, i don’t think
    so. Even though i haven’t known
    Steven for long, i am sure, he cant
    plot such a thing. I hope I’m right.
    “you can have my land. I don’t
    need it. Just let me go” “i cant sweedy. I also need your
    fiance and you are going to be the
    bait” my hand touches the handle
    and i immediately twist it. The
    door flies open and i dash out. I
    run with all the strength in my body. I can hear the thud of his
    feet behind me but i don’t look
    back. I keep running in hope of
    finding a taxi. I don’t see any taxi
    and i can tell he’s already gaining
    on me by the close sound of his feet. I see an uncompleted
    building by a bend and i run in to
    hide. My breathing is out of
    control and i can feel a panic
    attack coming. Please, God help
    me. I pray silently. I hear footsteps close by and i close my mouth to
    keep from screaming in fear.
    “come out, come out little one” i
    hear him say. He must be close.
    “i think i like this game of hide
    and seek. Do you know, i never played it when i was a kid?. My
    dad thinks, no thought its a game
    for weak people. Well he isn’t here
    now to reprimand me, because i
    killed him. Just this afternoon” he
    says. This time his voice is closer. My check heave up and down.
    He’s going to catch me if i remain
    here. I look around but there’s no
    way of out except the way i came
    which is impossible because he
    would see me. I have to defend myself. I pick a plank beside me
    and hold behind me
    “you know i can see your feet
    right?” he says and i drag my feet
    backwards.He doesn’t know, i am
    armed so I have an advantage of surprise. He walks in front of me
    and grins. I raise the plank
    quickly and hit the side of his
    head. Blood gush out but he
    doesn’t seem fazed.
    “sorry babe, but pain is just for the weak”he says then punch my
    stomach twice and I lose
    consciousness.

    Episode 26 n 27

    Steven: Even though i had threatened to
    kill James numerous times, his
    death still shakes me. I use my palm and
    cover his eyes close. Few minutes later, an ambulance comes to
    carry his body away. Some tools
    were also brought with which antonia was
    cut out of the car. Antonia’s still body is carried in another
    ambulance and thankfully, she’s
    alive. I hold her hands all through the
    journey to the hospital while whispering that i love her and our
    baby. She cant hear me though as she is still unconscious. We arrive
    at the hospital fast and antonia is carried quickly into the hospital.
    I run beside them still holding her hands like its an assurance
    that she won’t let go and leave
    me. Antonia is carried into the
    operation room and i am stopped
    by the door. “please let me go in with you. She
    needs me. I have to be there for her and our baby” i protest. “sir, you cant help her in here and
    what you are doing right now is delaying the surgery. Now, go
    and fill out the necessary form.
    Your wife will be out in no time. Also
    get her family here.”a nurse tells me and i nod my head. The nurse
    gives me a re-assuring smile and rushes into the O.R. After i finish filing all the necessary
    documents, i inform antonia’s parents about her accident. I
    didn’t have any of their contacts
    except Mr Solomon and he was so mad at
    me on the phone for putting his daughter in harm’s way. It doesn’t
    take long before i see him rush into the hospital with his wife and
    son in tow. “Mr Solomo-“i get punched in the
    face before i get the name out of
    my mouth. I grab my nose which
    feels broken and look to pastor
    solomon’s who is grabbing his sore
    knuckles. His wife and son look
    stun. “am so sorry sir, this is all my
    fault”i say “you’ve hurt my daughter too
    much. I don’t want you to see her
    ever again. Now leave!” he says “Mr Solomon, please. I need to be
    here, i have to know if she and
    our baby is ok” i plead. “babies” antonia’s mother
    whisper beside her husband. I
    look at her with wide eyes and she nods to
    confirm my suspicion. Antonia is
    having twins. I am going to be a father of
    two in no distant future. This is a mind-f--k. I cant believe three
    people i love so much are
    currently between life and death right now.
    God please save them. I have lost too much already. “please sir let me stay here” i
    plead but he shakes his head. “cant you see we are having a
    hard time, now stop making it
    worse and leave.” i look to antonia’s mom
    and she just sighs. Antonia’s
    brother doesn’t even spare me a glance. I
    shake my head solemnly and
    walk to the farthest wall of the waiting
    room from them. Mr Solomon still
    eyes me but i cant leave antonia and
    our babies right now. I pace around trying to calm my
    nerves. Its been hours since she
    was taken in and we haven’t gotten
    any news. The nurse who came
    out of the O.R some minutes ago didn’t give
    us any information. Its Another thirty minutes before i see the
    doctor walk out. I rush over to
    him together with antonia’s family. “doctor how are they?” Mr
    Solomon asks. “the babies are fine but the
    mother suffered a trauma to the
    head. We were able to stop the internal
    bleeding but she entered into a
    coma some minutes ago. We cant do
    anything now but pray and wait.
    The rest depends on her will to live.”the
    doctor says. “can we see her doctor?”i ask “you cant for now but when she
    is transferred to the ICU, you can
    see her but not too many people at a
    time” he says then walk away. Its an hour later before we are
    allowed to see antonia. I don’t
    want to anger Mr Solomon so i let them
    go in alone. When i see them
    leave, i go in. Antonia is lying there
    hooked to so many machines and
    the sight nearly cripples me. I walk to
    her side and hold her hand. “i am so sorry for putting you
    through this, love. Please come
    back to us. Your family is really devastated
    and i cant seem to breathe without your presence. I love you
    so much, it hurts” i sob into her hand. I hold her hand for hours
    until a nurse tells me that i have to leave. I kiss antonia’s fore head
    and her tummy before i leave. The next morning, i am back at the
    hospital before 5am. Antonia’s
    parents come back by 8am and thankfully
    Mrs Solomon helped me persuade
    her husband to let me sit by antonia’s
    side. Its been almost two months and
    antonia is still comatose. Alot has happened though. I was able to
    find my mother. I was able to get
    her location from my father’s
    documents. She didn’t recognise
    me and her sickness had gotten worse. I
    admitted her into a better
    institution and she has gotten better. I took
    over my father’s company and i
    have been working from the hospital. I
    was always here. Reading antonia
    and our babies stories. Cleaning her
    and talking to her. I was able to
    get forgiveness from antonia’s family.
    Antonia’s brother and are
    buddies now. “so, antonia you have to wake up.
    We all miss you” i say while massaging her hands. “our babies need you” i place my
    hands on her tummy which has
    gotten bigger and i feel movement. “oh my God antonia. Our babies
    just moved!. Did you feel that?”i
    cry out. Antonia’s finger moves a little
    as if to say yes i do and my heart soar. Her eyes blink open
    and she calls my name. My name! Antonia has been transferred out
    of the ICU. She’s out of her coma now and her parents are here but
    she’s currently sleeping. She
    hasn’t regain complete control of all her
    body parts but i am so happy that she is alive and back to me. When
    she opened her eyes earlier, she didn’t talk to me. She just ignored
    me. I stand by her bed with a big grin on my face. Antonia stirs
    awake. “antonia, can you hear me?” i ask
    while clutching her hand in mine. “ofcourse i can, i am not deaf” she
    says and retrieve her hands from
    mine. Antonia gives me the silent
    treatment for the one week she
    stays in the hospital. She’s going to be
    discharged today and she’s going
    home with me. The doctor put her on
    two more weeks of bed rest and i
    am the only available one to monitor her
    as her parents are going on a compulsory missionary trip. I am
    going to make her love me again
    in the two weeks that she is going to
    live with me.

    Episode 28

    Toni: Waking up from my coma has
    opened my eyes to how naive i
    have been before now. So naive that i fell in
    love with two people who just wanted to use me. So naive that
    my best friend for many years was lying to my face and i didn’t
    suspect a thing. Well, no more. I
    would take this new chance at life to
    make myself stronger. Steven
    probably thinks he can fool me again, well
    he is sorely mistaken. I don’t want to live with him during my two
    weeks bed rest but my conniving
    mother decided to drag my poor father to
    a missionary travel which they
    never planned to attend before. I know
    my mother wants us to get
    married but i am determined to make it on my
    own. I will look for work or
    maybe i will take up the French man’s offer
    and go to Paris for that chef internship programme. I want to
    be able to provide for my babies
    when they are due. I already cleared it
    with the French man and he has agreed to let me on the
    programme with my pregnancy.
    According to him, i have alot of potential and he
    would take me on the programme
    with or without child. The only reason i
    agreed to live with him is because
    i didn’t want to disobey my mom.
    He will be under my mercy for the
    next two weeks and i would frustrate
    him with many pregnancy
    tantrums that he’ll beg me to leave. This is going
    to be so much fun. I hear my hospital room door open and i
    feign sleep. I am supposed to be discharged today and its probably
    Steven coming to take me home.
    Well, plan activated. I hear footsteps
    walking towards me and i brace
    myself for what i have in mind. Steven
    taps my shoulder to wake me and
    i groan as if asleep and push my
    legs back to hurt him. “ow!”someone screams and that
    person is definitely not Steven.
    This voice is deeper. I turn slowly and
    see that i just kicked my doctor’s balls. Oops. I see Steven with his
    hands to his mouth and i know
    he’s holding back his laugh. “i am sorry, doctor”i bend my
    head in shame and the doctor
    who is a middle aged man groans
    something which i don’t catch as
    he walks hurriedly away from the room. “do you want to kill the
    oldman?”Steven tease and i just
    hiss at him. “someone is grumpy this early
    morning. Just chill, i am here to
    take you home. Home being my house.
    Are you ready?” “i don’t think i have the strength
    to pack my things. Can you help
    me pack my bags. Please”i ask and
    give him my most innocent face. “sure, anything for you” he says
    and he walks to the table beside
    my bed. He arranges and puts every
    of my belongings in a bag my
    mom brought me yesterday before she
    left with my dad. I smile at the
    image of Steven folding and arranging
    my clothes. My smile falls when he raises a piece of clothing up. Its
    my panties. Steven turns to me
    and raises his eyebrows at me
    teasingly. I jump off the bed and
    try to retrieve it from him. He’s taller
    than me so i cant reach it as he raises it higher. I stretch on my
    toes trying to get it from him and i lose my balance. I almost fall
    backwards but Steven catches me
    with one hand firmly around my hip
    and the other on my left b----t. I
    look from his hand grabbing my b----t
    and his face. He’s grinning at me. “they’ve grown bigger”he says
    and i gasp. I push him away from
    me and lose my balance again. And
    Steven catches me yet again. This
    time, he secures me firmly to him with my
    b----t pressed to his chest. I look into his eyes and i have an insane
    urge to kiss him. His head starts coming closer and i know he’s
    going to kiss me but i don’t move.
    My brain is shouting at me to stop
    him but my body wants it
    desperately. Our face is so close now and he
    diverts to my neck and kiss it. “you smell so good”he says and
    his hot breathe on my neck
    causes a shudder to run through me.
    Steven cups my face in his hands
    and caress it. He’s about to kiss me on the lips
    this time when the door flies open and jump away from Steven. “be careful, baby”Steven chastise
    me. “don’t call me that” i say and walk
    out of the room. I hear the nurse who just walked in on us, telling
    Steven to go to the doctor’s office before we leave. Twenty minutes later, we are on
    our way to steven’s hotel. I have
    to remember that i shouldnt fall for
    steven’s lies and seduction again. ‘Who was seducing who a while
    ago’ my inner voice asks me and i
    just shut her down.

    Episode 29

    Steven: With antonia sitting beside me, i
    have the biggest grin on my face.
    I feel like holding her hands while i
    drive like we did before in Paris but i know I’ll certainly be
    rebuked. Antonia probably thinks
    i am trying to deceive her again. I must
    get her to trust me before these two weeks are over. Speating of
    my plan, i already have a welcome
    back brunch ready at my house. Chris,
    antonia’s brother who is in cohort with me called me at the hospital
    to inform me that everything is
    set. I drive into the hotel then park my
    car carefully. I rush out of the car and open the door for antonia
    but she just sit there frowning, making no move to exit the car. “what’s wrong?” i ask her. “i think i sprained my ankle in the
    hospital awhile ago. I don’t think i can walk on it”she pout at me. “okay, that’s fine. I’ll just carry
    you” “you don’t have to, but i won’t
    stop you”she says and i pick her
    up from the car. Wow, she has added
    weight since the last time i carried her. I walk faster so i can get to
    the elevator quickly. I breathe a sigh of relief when i get to the
    elevator. I am about to go in
    when antonia taps my shoulder. “what are you doing?” she asks “taking you upstairs” i answer.
    Isn’t it obvious? “you cant use the elevator?” “and why is that?” “i read on the net that it isn’t good
    for a pregnant woman to go on elevators. It affects the babies’
    lungs”she says and smile
    innocently at me. “so, you are saying i should take
    the stairs?” she nods “to the seventh floor?”she nods
    again “carrying you?” “yes Steven. Or you could just take
    the elevator and I’ll walk up the stairs myself, with my injured
    ankle, which hurts”she says but
    she makes no move to get down. Ok
    Steven, you can do this. She
    doesn’t weigh that much. “no. I was just asking to be sure. I
    can even carry you up 10 floors. Its no problem” i say and head to
    the stairwell. I endure and carry antonia up to my suite on the
    seventh floor. She doesn’t even
    come down when i reach the door so i
    have to maneuver my key card
    out of my pocket while trying not to drop
    her. I manage to get the door
    open. I hear antonia gasp and that when i
    remember my surprise brunch. “surprise”i whisper then carry her
    to the couch and place her on it gently. Our faces are so close with
    her hands around my neck. I
    know kissing her would attract a slap so
    i just slip her hands off my neck and stand up straight. “so what do you want to start
    with?. There are some toast, eggs,
    apples, stra-” “I’m not hungry” antonia says
    cutting me off and my face falls. “oh, i was going to say strawberry
    ice-cream but since you are not hungry, I’ll just throw it away” i
    say and i see her eyes light up. She stand up from the couch and
    smile at me. “on second thoughts, its a sin to
    waste food so I’ll just help you un-waste the ice-cream. Where is
    it?” she starts walking to the table Chris set in the middle of the
    sitting room and i stare at her
    back. Isn’t she supposed to be limping?.
    Antonia must feel my eyes on her because she turns back “Steven,
    come on. Where is the ice-
    cream?”she sees my eyes on her leg and she
    blushes. “antonia, how is your ankle?” i
    ask “umm. It still hurts a bit but i can
    manage” “the thought of ice-cream must
    have magically healed it huh?” “yes. Umm so where is the ice-
    cream” she says trying to change
    the topic and i chuckle. The little devil
    must have deceived me so i would carry her. Anyways,
    thankfully, the brunch wouldn’t
    be wasted. I knew she wouldn’t be able to
    resist the ice-cream seeing as she
    had woken me up to buy it for her
    when we were in Paris. I bring the
    big bowl of ice-cream i told Chris to
    buy and set it on the table.
    Without wasting time, Antonia opens the
    bowl and dip her index finger
    inside. She puts her ice-cream covered
    finger into her mouth and suck on
    it. I watch as her eyes close in pure
    pleasure as she moans. “its delicious, Steven. Try some”
    she says, her finger back in the bowl and before i know it, she’s
    shoving her finger in my mouth. I suck on her hand and close my
    eyes just like she did. “hmm”i murmur “delicious right?” she asks and i
    nod still swirling my tongue
    around her finger in my mouth. She
    removes her finger slowly out of
    my mouth while staring at it. “your finger tastes delicious. I
    want more” i say rubbing my
    stomach and wink at her. She burst out
    laughing and my heart leap. This
    is the first time i have heard her laugh
    since the accident. We smile at
    each other for awhile but the spell is
    broken by a knock on the door. Antonia divert her eyes
    everywhere but at me. I sigh. Who
    could be knocking on my door?. I am not
    expecting anybody. I walk to the
    door then open it to see Jane. My smile
    falls instantly. “don’t get mad at me please. I am
    just here to apologise” “you cant be here.” i say glancing
    behind me to make sure antonia
    is not there. “i have been trying to work up
    the nerves to ask for your
    forgiveness for awhile now. Don’t send me
    back, just hear me out” she
    pleads. “maybe sometime else, now is not
    a good time” i whisper. “why is this not a good time?” i
    hear antonia say behind me and i
    stiffen. S--t! “Jane, you have to leave now” i
    say “Jane?”antonia asks. I turn to her
    but she runs back into the room. What was i thinking, saying jane’s
    name. Ofcourse she knows i have
    a fiance named Jane. “Steven, who’s th–” Jane tries to
    ask but i shut the door in her face and run inside in search of
    antonia. I am surprise by what i
    see when i see antonia. She is just sitting on
    the couch in front of my plasma stuffing her face with ice-cream
    while laughing hysterically at whatever Mr ibu is saying on the
    tv set. She notice my presence and turn to me “where’s Jane?. Isn’t she joining
    us for brunch?”she asks while looking behind me in search of
    Jane. I walk to the couch sit
    beside her. “she left”i tell her then pick the
    little spoon on the table and
    scoop some ice-cream into my mouth. “oh that’s a shame. I would have
    loved to have a little chat with the love of your life”she says without
    looking at me. I am about to tell her she is a only of my life but she
    shuts me up with her hand. “Stop talking. I can’t hear the
    movie”she says and I sigh.

    Episode 30

    Toni: “shut up, i cant hear the movie” i
    say to shut Steven up. I don’t
    want to hear him talk about his ex
    fiance. He probably loved her
    sincerely. Maybe he still loves her. Unlike me,
    who he wants just for selfish reasons. I am trying to hide my
    jealousy and if he talks about Jane right now, i know I’ll burst out in
    tears. His closeness is already playing tricks with my senses. We
    watch the movie in silence for almost an hour before Steven
    breaks it. “so how’s your ankle?”he asks
    and i turn to him. “its fine. No need to worry” but
    before i finish my statement, i find my legs on Stevens lap. “we should massage it to prevent
    it from getting swollen” he says. “don’t!”i scream because my feet
    are really ticklish. My shout turns into giggles as soon as he places
    his hands on my right foot. “sto-p i-t. It tic-kles”i laugh out
    and Steven grins. “hmm, so you are ticklish on your
    feet. Where else are you ticklish. Wait, let me find out myself”he
    says then starts tickling my sides. I laugh so hard i almost pee my
    pants and memories of this same
    thing happening just few weeks ago
    bombard me. Alot has happened
    ever since. I missed this and i want it again
    but not at the expense of a
    broken heart. I don’t think i can take it
    this time. Steven keeps tickling me and i laugh crazily. His hand
    moves upward on his way to
    tickle my armpits and it brushes my b----t.
    He freezes and look into my eyes. Our eyes lock but i break the
    speed as i look away. ‘You cant
    get s----d into his life. He is a liar’ i
    repeat continuously to remind myself. “antonia, please-“Steven says but
    i stand up quickly from the couch and run into the room. ‘don’t get
    s----d into his life. He is a liar” i murmur to myself as i throw
    myself on his bed. The bed smells
    like him and i take comfort in one of
    his pillows. I remain like this, with my face pressed to the Steven-
    scented pillow for a long while
    before i hear Steven walk in. I close my
    eyes and pretend to be asleep. “antonia, are you awake?” he
    asks cautiously. “i just wanted to tell you the food
    is in the kitchen if you get hungry. I have to go out. I’ll be
    back soon.” he continues but i
    don’t stir. I remain silent. His footsteps
    starts getting closer and i feel his weight on the bed. It takes
    everything in me to not open my
    eyes to see what he’s doing. I don’t
    wonder for long as i feel one of
    his hand caress my cheek. “you look so peaceful right now. I
    am sorry for all the stress and pain you had to go through
    because of me. If i could take all
    your pains i would. Am so sorry and i
    love you. I love you with every breathe in me. I need you and our
    babies. Please open your heart to me” he says then chuckles. “i should be saying this when
    you’re awake.” i hear him sigh
    after saying this then feel his lips on my
    forehead. Something wet falls on my face. Is he crying?. “now i am crying like a girl.”he
    says then stand. I want to kiss
    him, hug him and console him but i
    also don’t want to. I am so
    confused right now. Is this acting or real?.
    Steven walks out of the room and
    i let my tears fall.I sob into the
    pillow. I am so confuse right
    now.I don’t want to make the wrong
    decision because i know I’ll regret
    it for life. What do i choose now? A
    career in Paris or a family in Nigeria. Well, i cant make a
    decision right now. My head hurts
    and i am so hungry. Steven did say the
    food was in the kitchen. “let’s go get some food” i say
    while rubbing my round tummy. I
    walk to the kitchen/dining and find food
    lined on the table. I quickly sit on one of the chair and rub my
    hands together. The thought of
    food has cheered me up considerably. “i bless this food and sanctify it in
    Jesus name.”i pray then grin at the food. A paper under one of
    the plates catches my eyes and i
    pick it up. Its a message addressed to
    me. Going out for a while. Will be back
    before you know it. I know you couldn’t resist the food.*winks* i smile at the paper. He actually
    wrote *winks*. How old is he?. I roll my eyes at the paper then
    place it carefully on the table
    before i dig into the meal. After eating, i
    move to the sitting room and watch ‘blank panther’ on mbc2. The delicious smell of stew
    permeates the air and i open my
    eyes. Everywhere has gotten dark. I
    must have fallen asleep during the movie. I sit up and notice a small
    blanket covering my legs. It
    wasn’t here before i dozed off. The smell
    of stew meets my nose again and i stand up and follow the aroma to
    the kitchen. I see Steven filtering spaghetti. He doesn’t see me as
    am behind him so i just watch him
    as he moves around the kitchen with
    ease. “like what you see?”he asks then
    turn to face me. “ho-w did you know?” “oh, i can feel you. Whenever you
    are close, my blood just fizz in excitement”he says and i blush. “hope you guys are hungry,
    because daddy just finished
    cooking spaghetti”he says while looking
    at my baby bump. I smile at him
    and he looks stun. “did you just smile at me?.
    Halleluyah. Its a miracle”he says
    and i laugh.Steven serves some
    spaghetti and stew on a small
    plate and pass it to me. “appetizer”he says and wink.I
    laugh as he turns back and put
    finishing touches to the meal.Once in a
    while, he’ll turn back and open his mouth for me to feed him.I was
    hesitant the first time but its too fun, i continue.A knock at the
    door stops us and i get up to go
    check since Steven is a bit pre-occupied.I
    open the door to see a very beautiful woman.She’s carrying a
    baby in her arms.I look from the woman to the sleeping baby. “you must be steven’s fiance.He
    told me so much about you when
    we talked after our dad’s funeral.
    Wow, its true, you are beautiful.I hope you are using your
    pregnancy to get whatever you
    want from him”she says and i frown. “no sweetheart.I meant,
    pregnancy is an opportunity for
    us women to control our man”she says and i
    laugh. “oh forgive my manners, come
    in”i say and direct her in. Steven is already walking towards us. “sis. Nelly, what are you doing
    here?” “just wanted to see my sister-in-
    law or cant i?”she winks at me
    and i smile.Steven looks at me but i just
    shrug.

    Episode 31

    Toni: “umm, ofcourse you can. its just
    that we were not expecting any company” Steven replies while
    rubbing his neck awkwardly. “but you said we should meet
    often to mend the rift our dad tore between us. I’ll just leave then”
    nelly says and pout. I just keep quiet and watch their exchange. “its just i want-” Steven says and
    nelly cut him off. “yea, i totally understand. What
    was i thinking? You guys
    probably want me gone so you can
    continue that thing you were
    doing.” she winks at us and i start
    coughing. “no, w-e were just cooking”
    I sputter out still coughing. Steven
    runs to my side and starts patting my
    back. “antonia, are you okay?” i raise
    my hand to signify that I’m okay. I turn to look at nelly who is
    making kissing gestures with her
    hands. My cough starts again and she
    giggles. Steven glare at his sister
    and she stops immediately then bring
    me a glass of water. Her baby
    starts crying and Steven takes her from
    nelly. “thank you” “no need to thank me. I caused it.
    You guys are just so adorable. I cant believe Steven actually
    blushed.” she whispers. “you know i can hear you right?”
    Steven says while rocking the
    infant in his arms. Nelly grin at him while
    Steven shakes his head and leave. “i like this new Steven.”she says
    which pique my curiosity. “what do you mean, new?” “he’s normally so serious and
    distant. Can you believe, we lived
    in the same house for years but i can
    count the number of times he
    smiles with just one of my finger. That
    once being the last day he left the house”. “really? So he wasn’t close to his
    family?” i ask “yea. So i am happy that he has
    found someone he could love.” “i don’t think what he feels for me
    is love” “look girl. He has been grinning
    like an idiot ever since i walked in. That smile is for you. I can see that
    you’re holding back on my brother. Please, let go and love
    him. This is going to be the first real family he’ll have.” “umm-“i say but she continues “our father had never let him get
    close to his family. He always set up things that would drive a
    wedge between us. The last
    competition killed my brother.” she says and
    close her eyes at the painful
    thought. I pat her shoulder to console her
    even when i know that brother
    almost killed me and Steven. “am sorry for my outburst its just
    that i cant believe my brother died because of a stupid land and
    Steven almost got killed too.
    Thank God its over and that curse land isn’t
    needed anymore” she says and
    my hand stop moving. “its not?” i ask “no, my dad was the one after
    that land so now that he is dead,
    its not needed. It was not even
    necessary. My dad knows the land
    owner won’t sell so he used it as a
    challenge for his sons. God, i am
    so happy that i am not a boy.”she
    says and wipe her tear eyes. She doesn’t even notice my stun
    expression. How could a father be
    so cruel?. I really pity Steven.
    Growing up in that kind of a
    family wouldn’t be easy. I look at where
    he is sitting on the couch and sigh in approval at the sight of Steven
    with nelly’s baby on his chest. I imagine nelly’s daughter as ours
    and the image is so perfect in my mind. If only he loves me
    sincerely, everything would be
    perfect. Wait a minute. Nelly just said Steven
    doesn’t need the land. That means
    he wants me for me. Not for my land.
    Could this be real. Does Steven sincerely want me and our
    children?. I am so lost in thoughts
    that i forget nelly until she snaps her
    fingers in my face. “girl! Where’s your mind?” “oh am sorry. Did you say Steven
    doesn’t need that land anymore?” “yes. Why?” “nothing. So what were you
    saying?” i ask. I feel so excited
    right now. My hope is high. Steven might
    sincerely love me and the thought
    is making me giddy. Why did i even
    doubt him when he has been so
    sweet and caring to me?. Mom told me,
    he never left the hospital except
    for some minutes every day for the
    two months i was in a coma. She
    said he brought his work to the hospital. “the actual reason i am here is to
    invite you and Steven to Jessica’s birthday party tomorrow. Here is
    your invite” she hands me an
    invitation card then sashay out of the
    kitchen and I walk behind her
    with a big grin on my face. She takes her
    baby from Steven who burst into
    wails. “shh. Jessica, its mommy” she coo
    to the baby and the baby falls
    back asleep “what did you give my daughter
    that she does not want to leave
    you” she scold steven playfully. “what can i say, i am a chick
    magnet” Steven says and smile at
    me. I cant help but smile back. “hey, love birds. Let me leave
    before you start giving each other
    love stares.”she says then drag me
    with her. “antonia, walk me out. You Stay”
    she says to Steven and he pout. “antonia shouldnt be out of the
    house, she’s supposed to be on bedrest” he yells after us but nelly
    ignore him. We take the elevator and we are out in the street in no
    time. “i just have one advice for you, let
    yourself fall in love with Steven he loves you. I know it”she says
    and i sigh. “I’ll give you one expo. Serve
    your dinner in the same plate and
    if he leaves the last spoon of food for
    you, that’s true love sweedy. Men don’t joke about their food
    except the one they love.
    Goodbye antonia. See you at the party” she hug me
    then hop into a taxi which just stopped at our front. I stare at the
    taxi as it carry her away. I start walking back into the hotel
    when a drop of rain hit me. Before
    i take another step, it starts raining
    heavily. I shriek at the coldness of the rain then start walking
    faster. Before i reach the hotel
    gate, i see Steven running towards me
    with an umbrella and i smile.

    Episode 32

    Steven: i was already waiting for antonia
    in the reception room when i saw the rain start.I had to bribe a
    security guard before he lent me
    his umbrella. I rush outside to save
    her from the rain. I see antonia walking fast toward me and i run
    to her. I get to where she is and
    she launches her self into my arms. I
    catch her and she hugs me tight. I open the umbrella and cover the
    both of us. The rain fall around us and we just hug for awhile. I hold
    antonia and rest my chin on her hair. She smells so good. After
    awhile i pull her away from me. “hey, what’s with the hug?” i ask. “what?. You hugged me, not the
    other way around.” she says and
    starts walking away. I run after her
    covering her with the umbrella. “stop walking away from me.
    you’ll get sick.” i say and she
    stops. “okay, i guess I’ll just have to
    endure walking with you” she
    says then move to my side. I put my hands
    around her waist and tuck her
    closer to me. She lean on me and we
    walk into the hotel. When we get
    to the elevator, i stop and raise my eye
    brow at antonia. She roll her eyes then press the button for the
    elevator. It opens and she stroll in without meeting my eyes. I laugh
    then hop in too. The ride is silent as antonia tries to avoid my eyes. “you know, you never told me the
    name of the website where you learnt that elevators
    are not good for pregnant
    women” i say as soon as we get off. “shut up”she grinds out and i
    laugh. “you should have just told me you
    wanted to be carried. By me.” “whatever” she says and walk
    faster to our suite. The smell of food reminds us of
    the dinner we were going to have before nelly’s visit and i move to
    the kitchen to dish out our food but antonia stops me. “why don’t you go in and change
    your clothes. You were mostly out
    of the umbrella our entire walk and i
    don’t want you to catch a cold”
    she says smiling sweetly and i cant
    help but get suspicious. “umm alright. I’ll just change my
    clothes. I’ll be back in five to set the table for us” “don’t worry. Leave the setting for
    me. Take a long as you want” she says. I shrug my shoulder and
    walk to the room to change. I
    make a quick work of changing and rush
    back to the living room to help antonia. I notice that she is
    serving only a plate of food and i
    help her retrieve another plate to serve
    mine. “no!. Stop!” she shouts at me. “what?. I just want to help” “don’t help.”she takes the plate
    from me and push me out of the
    kitchen. “watch a movie or something. I’ll
    bring the food here when I’m
    done”she says “here? what’s wrong with the
    dining?” “stop questioning me and do
    what i say!” she snap and i raise
    my hand in surrender. I obediently park my
    butt on the couch and surf
    through channels. I settle on a sport
    channel still wondering what
    antonia is up to. About five minutes later,
    antonia appears with a plate of spaghetti. No scratch that. A bowl
    of spaghetti. I rush and help her with it. “woah. Who’s gonna eat this?” i
    ask after placing it on the table. “what? Its too much?” she asks. “well, yea.look at it””its not too
    much for four people” she says pointing to her stomach and i
    laugh. “oh sorry. I totally forgot we have
    company. Come on, sit. You must
    be hungry” i say and sit her beside
    me on the couch. “i don’t normally eat much” she
    says in her defence and i give her
    a thumbs up. She prays on the meal
    and we commence eating. Its
    silent for awhile until antonia speaks. “nelly told me about the conflict
    between you and your brother.
    Am so sorry, my land made it worse and
    drove him insane”she says. “this isn’t your fault sweets. You
    should never think that. I should be the one apologizing for getting
    you almost killed. I really hope you can forgive me”i say and she
    just gives me a sad smile. I don’t want to push her. If she isn’t
    ready to have this talk, i won’t
    force it. “okay enough of the sad talk. Let
    finish this meal and get some rest”
    i say and take the last spoon of
    food. I see antonia staring at me
    and i stop with the food halfway to my
    mouth. “what?” i ask “umm you are going to eat that?”
    she asks “ofcourse. Is anything wrong
    with that?” “not really” she says. Why is she
    acting so strange over a spoon of food?. I shrug and am about to
    put the food in my mouth when
    antonia stomps off to the room. “hey, baby. What have i done
    again?.” i ask as i run after her. “leave me alone” she slams the
    door and i hear the door click
    lock. “hey, come on. Open the door”i
    knock but she does not reply.
    After knocking for some minutes
    without any success, i relent and
    walk back to the living room. What could i
    have done wrong now?.
    Pregnancy hormones is so frustrating to live
    with oh. I rub my neck in frustration and lie on the couch. A
    sudden lightning lights the sky and a violent thunder strikes. I
    hear antonia scream and she
    comes running towards me. She jumps
    on the couch with me and hide
    her face in my neck. She presses her body
    to mine and mind you, i am not complaining. “babe, its just thunder” i say
    soothingly. “its scary” she says and i laugh. “are you laughing at me?” she
    raise her face and glare at me. I
    raise my hands up in surrender again. “no! Me? Godforbid. You know i
    will never do that na” she smile a
    bit and yawns. “you did! So as punishment, you
    have to sing me to sleep”she says
    and snuggle into me again. I sing her
    numerous songs and we lie on
    the couch snuggled together for
    almost an hour before she finally
    fall asleep and I carry her to our bed.

    Episode 33

    Toni: i wake up to an empty bed
    wondering how i got here. I
    remember getting angry at Steven, regretting
    it and using the thunder as an excuse to cuddle with him. I also
    remember Steven singing
    different lullaby for me but that’s where i
    draw a blank. I must have fallen asleep and Steven must have
    carried me to bed. Did he sleep
    beside me last night?.Where is he then?. I get
    off the bed to look for him and that’s when i notice a tray on the
    bed side table. The tray contains a cup of green tea, some biscuits
    and a written note. Make sure you drink this for your
    morning sickness. Both the tea
    and the biscuit are made of ginger. I
    hear it helps. P.S. Will be back in an hour. Don’t
    miss me too much. *winks* i cant help it. I burst into laughter.
    Maybe he failed the food test but its so clear that he cares about
    me. I drink the tea and eat a few of the biscuits. My stomach seems
    settle as i perform my early
    morning routine. I order some bread from the
    kitchen downstairs and eat it with
    my ice-cream while waiting for
    Steven. Am almost done with
    breakfast when Steven works in. “Steven!” i yell excitedly and run
    to embrace him. “wow. Someone is happy to see
    me this morning”he says and i
    laugh. “well you deserve that hug for the
    biscuits and tea. I feel fine” “wow. That’s good. I think you
    are also going to like what i have planned today”he says “really? What is it?” “okay, my sis texted me this
    morning about jessica’s birthday
    and i know you don’t have anything
    here to wear that is appropriate
    for the party. So–” “you bought me clothes?!” i ask
    excited “no”he says and my face falls. “what i was going to say before
    you interrupted is, i got you a private clothes stylist and she will
    be here soon”. We hear a knock
    at the door and Steven smiles. “that must be her. Tell me you are
    excited because i am. I get to see you try different clothes till we
    find something perfect for tomorrow”he ramble on as he
    goes to the door to let the stylist
    in. I am excited just like him because
    duh, what girl wouldn’t love to do dress up in front of her man?. Not
    this girl. I walk to the living room to see a guy day in a rack of
    dresses. A stunning lady dressed fully in designer everything walks
    in. “hi Mr Steven, I’m zoe. The stylist
    you hired”she says and smile longingly at Steven. I know that
    look because I always have that
    look. I walk in between them and smile
    brightly. “and am toni, his pregnant fiance” “toni, isn’t that like a guy’s
    name?”she whispers and i gasp.
    Why are all the stylist I’ve met so
    obnoxious. Steven must probably
    sense my boiling state because he drag me
    behind him. “zoe. Thanks for coming on such
    short notice. This is antonia, my babies’ mama and i want you to
    find a dress she can wear to a
    child’s birthday party. Some not too
    formal”he says “leave that to me. I know just the
    perfect dress for her” she says
    and move to the rack. Steven moves to
    sit on the couch as he watch zoe dress me. All the dresses i have
    tried so far are either too tight for tummy or have too much
    cleavage. Steven is obviously
    amused by this. He finally stands up and walk to
    the rack. He moves through
    hangers and brings a dress out. Its a red
    lacy trapeze dress with an asymmetric hem. The neckline is
    high so there won’t be cleavage problem. “i love red, i love lace and i think
    you will look fabulous in this. Go try”he says and pushes me to
    the bathroom. I try it on and
    check my reflection on the mirror. Wow. It
    feels so soft. I walk out of the bathroom and Steven stands and
    walks to me. “you look amazing”he says and
    peck me lips. Yes! Take that zoe.
    Zoe clears her throat and Steven turns
    to her. “she’ll have this dress. Get her
    shoes that will go with it and whatever else she’ll need. Just no
    necklace. I got that”he says. It doesn’t take long to find the
    perfect shoe. I choose silver peep-toe pumps with ankle
    straps. They are just gorgeous
    and not too high. I am already so excited
    about tomorrow. For accessories,
    zoe chooses ornami open twist
    fishhook sterling silver drop
    earrings. Who knew a earring could have a long
    name?. After about two hours, i
    have all I’ll need for tomorrow’s party
    and We bid zoe goodbye. We
    relax with the television set the rest of
    the day. We are currently sitting on the couch after having dinner. “someone is going to look
    gorgeous tomorrow.”Steven says “well thank you”i stand up and
    curtsey. “i don’t think nelly would like you
    stealing her spotlight”he says and we laugh. I stare longingly at the
    shoes. So beautiful. They look like they sparkle in the light. “oh no!”i
    say “what’s wrong?” “i chose peep-toe shoes.” “so?” “i have to have my nails done!” “i don’t think we can find
    someone to do it for you now. Its
    already late. Cant you do it yourself?” “well i can. But i don’t think my
    hands can reach my toes
    anymore”i say pointing to my protruding
    stomach. “oh. I think i can do it for you.
    Nothing a few tutorials on
    YouTube cant solve”he says and brings his
    phone out. We watch some nails tutorial videos online. Steven goes
    out for some minutes and comes back with red nail polish. I
    wonder where he got it. “so are you ready?”he asks and i
    nod. “good, now lie back and place
    your feet on my lap”he says and i
    do it obediently. “are you sure, you can do this?”i
    ask timidly “trust me”he says then left my left
    feet up. Its ticklish and i squirm. “babe, you have to stay still so i
    won’t make a mistake.” “but its ticklish”i giggle and he
    shake his head. We battle for
    almost an hour before Steven finish both
    my feet and it actually looks great. He volunteers to do my fingernails
    but i thank him. He’s done so
    much already. I can handle my fingers
    on my own. “thank God. My neck is killing me.
    I have to sleep now. Don’t stay up too late” he says and walks to the
    bedroom. Wow, he is
    presumptuous. What makes him think i want to
    sleep on the same bed with him?.
    I shake my head and paint my
    fingers. By the time, i am done, i
    am so sleepy. I drag myself to bed to see
    Steven sleeping and an idea hits me. I g the nail polis from the
    living room and paint all Steven toenails. He is going to flip when
    he sees this tomorrow.

    Episode 34 (Final)

    Toni: “what the hell!”Steven scream and
    i jump off the bed with a start. I turn to him and frown. “what’s going on?”i ask and he
    just keep mumbling while
    gesturing to his feet. My brain kicks awake at
    the sight of the red nail polish and i stiffle a laugh. “this isn’t funny antonia!”he yells
    and i burst into fake tears. “a-m sorry. I thought maybe
    you’ll like it.”i sob out and his face
    softens. “awwn. Don’t cry baby. Ofcourse i
    love it. Its beautiful. A work of art. Thanks.”he says and i wipe
    my tears. “since you love it so much, why
    don’t i paint your fingernails too?” “we are going to be late. Go get
    ready”Steven says to change the subject and i let him. Yea, nelly
    was right. Throwing pregnancy tantrums can used to one’s
    advantage. I take myself to the bathroom
    where i laugh. In two hours, we are done
    preparing. I look at the mirror and
    nod my head in approval of my looks. I
    really do love my outfit. “wow antonia, you look
    amazing”Steven says and i twirl
    around laughing. Steven walks to me. “oh no. Something’s missing.”he
    says and caress my neck. “what’s missing?” i ask and touch
    my neck. My hand touches a chain
    and Steven grin. I rush to the toilet
    mirror. Wow, its beautiful. I go back to Steven in the living room. “so, do you like it?”he asks “i love it. Especially the locket.” i
    caress the silver bottle locket attached to the chain. “it represents our beginning
    seeing as i was drunk when i met
    you. I designed it and sent the picture to
    a jeweler in Paris to have it made.”Steven says. “wow, that’s so romantic”i laugh
    and Steven smiles. “okay, enough of the chit chat.
    Lets move it”Steven says and grab
    my hand, leading me downstairs to
    the car. He opens the passenger
    door for me and bows. “your highness”he says and i
    giggle. I hop into the car then pat
    his head. “thank you good and faithful
    palace guard”i say and Steven
    burst into laughter. He shakes his head at
    me and moves to his side of the
    car. We drive to the party in
    companionable silence.
    Throughout our drive, my hands are on my locket. Wow,
    i cant believe he made me a
    necklace. We arrive at the party before it
    starts and i help nelly who is ecstatic to see me again arrange
    things. By 11:00am the party
    kicks off and its the most fun I’ve had in
    a long time as i watch the kids dance and compete at different
    games. The parents’ games are
    mostly hilarious. Nelly force Steven and i
    to participate in one of them. Its a game in which five couples
    dance around four chairs and
    when the music stop, we sit carrying our
    partner. The couple without a
    chair loses. Steven is really competitive
    and we make it to the last level with aother couple comprising of
    a fat woman and her skinny wife.
    The fat woman who has been carrying
    her husband each time they sit, is also o determine to win. “you are going down”she sneer
    at me and Steven sticks his tongue
    out to her. “not gonna happen”Steven says. “come on, Steven. Lets just let
    them win. Its just a game”i plead
    but Steven isn’t listening. He’s
    currently Participating in a stare
    off with the woman. I look to the
    woman’s husband and he eyes
    me. Ok, lets do this. “Steven, permission to crush
    them”i say and he grins. The
    music starts and we dance around the only
    chair available. The music stops
    and Steven and i are directly in front of
    the chair. Steven goes to sit but stops when he sees the
    woman diving towards us. Oh no.
    She’s gonna run into me and it would hurt. I
    want to move but shock is
    pinning me to the spot. I close my eyes
    waiting for the impact but i only
    feel hands drag me away. I open my
    eyes to see Steven behind me with
    his hand over my tummy in a
    protective manner. I look beside
    me to see the woman on the chair with her
    husband. “am sorry we lost the game
    because of me” i tell Steven as we
    walk to our seat “you mean more to me than a
    stupid game. Infact there is no comparison”he says and my heart
    swoons. Nelly comes to us to
    apologise and we just laugh it off. Nelly
    looks agitated. “hey, are you okay”i ask her “actually, today is kindof my
    anniversary. Its the day i met my husband and i hired a musician to
    surprise my husband with the
    song from our first movie date. But he’s
    not here yet”she says biting her nails “oh, umm Steven can help you
    with that. He’s a really good
    singer” i say and her face brightens. “would he agree to do it?” she
    asks. “I’ll convince him” “thanks. You’re a love saver”she
    giggles and i shake my head as
    she walks away. Turns out Steven is
    shy of crowd. But after much persuasion and some bribing, i
    finally got him to agree.
    Thankfully he knows the song. “so next up, my brother Steven
    singing ’till i met you'”nelly says
    and everybody applauds. Steven
    walks to the Mic and clears his
    throat. “so um this song is for my sis and
    her husband. Its actually their anniversary today so um hahaha,
    here’s the song.”i stiffle my laugh where i stand. He’s so nervous. I never dream cause i always though that
    dreaming was for kids. Just a childish thing. And i could swear love is just a game that children
    play and no more than a game. Till i met you i never knew what love was Till i met you This feeling seems to grow more
    everyday I love you more each day Now i could swear love is not a game that children
    play So tell me that you stay you and i should be together cant you see cant you see Till i met you Till i met you The whole room erupts in
    applauds and i cant breathe. It
    was like that song was meant for me. I see
    Steven walking towards me and i
    rush to hug him. “you were amazing”i say and
    sniffle “hey baby, don’t cry”he says and
    catches a tear with his thumb. “come on, lets get out of here”he
    says and drag me to the car. I feel so overwhelm. I cant keep my
    feelings inside anymore. I have to
    tell him, i still love him. I place my
    hand on his right hand and he smiles. I cant wait to get home so i
    could confess my feelings. Steven: i poured my heart into that song.
    It said everything that i want to tell antonia. She seemed to love
    the song. I feel her warm palm on
    my my hand and i entwine them
    together. She doesn’t protest and
    my heart swells. We hold hands while i
    drive until antonia receives a call. I can only hear her side of the
    conversation but the mention of
    monseiur Charles is enough to scatter my
    hopes. She doesn’t talk much. She keeps glancing while taking the
    call. She promises to call them
    later. I totally forgot about Paris. She
    going to leave me soon. The rest
    of the ride is silent. I open the door
    for her when we get to the hotel but do not follow when i get a call.
    My mom just committed suicide.
    As if the night couldn’t get any
    worse. I walk nimbly to the
    elevator. As soon as i enter my suite, antonia
    walks to me. Her smile falls when she notices my expression. “are you okay, Steven”she asks
    and i just burst out in tears. She
    hugs me and pat my back. “my mom is dead”i sob out and
    she tells me everything would be
    okay but i know it wouldn’t. She will be
    leaving soon. Suddenly, i am desperate. I start kissing her neck.
    She moans and my lips move all over her face then to her lips. She
    doesn’t stop me and i keep
    kissing her. Soon, my shirt is off and i am
    pushing her backwards to our
    room without breaking our kiss. Still,
    she doesn’t stop me. We fall into bed our hands everywhere. “Steven”she whisper my name
    and i freeze. What am i doing?. I
    cant do this just to lose her. I pull away
    from her and she moans her disapproval “stop”i say “what’s wrong?” “i cant do this. It isn’t right. I cant
    take that you will be leaving to Paris soon”she looks surprise “yes, i know about your chef
    internship programme in Paris. I
    won’t stop you antonia. I want you to
    be happy and i know that has
    always been your dream. I don’t want to
    get hurt when you leave so i cant bear to lose another person i love.
    I am sorry. You should leave tomorrow. I won’t hold you back
    anymore.” i say and walk out of
    the room. I grab my shirt from the
    floor and put it on. I lie on the
    couch for hours without falling asleep. The sun rises without sleep thing
    me. I wait some hours before walking into the room and
    antonia is all packed and ready. I
    cant seem to help the hurt i feel. ‘You told her
    to leave and she’s doing just that’ i chastise myself. The drive to
    the airport is silent and so is our walk to boarding room. Turns
    out antonia already bought a
    ticket. I hold myself from breaking down
    as she walks away with my heart.
    As soon as she board the plane. I
    slump on the floor and let the
    tears fall. “hey, a grown man should be
    sitting on the floor”someone says
    and i raise my head to see antonia
    smiling down at me. “what?. The plane. You. Your
    dream. Paris”i mumble. “Steven, i could never leave you.
    You are my dream. I love you so
    so much. Which brings me to the
    question; will you marry us?”she
    says and goes down on one kneel. I rub
    my eyes to make sure i am not
    dreaming this. “I’m real baby and i need your
    answer so i can get off the
    floor”she laughs “ofcourse I’ll marry you” i raise
    her up gently and kiss the air out
    of her. **************
    The End

    Wow! Thanks so much for
    reading and also for the
    amazing comments it really
    encouraged me. Love you all..

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